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Monday, May 31, 2004

Air America continues to be on the ropes:
In a sign that the privately held company's financial woes have not fully abated, Al Franken, the network's best-known star, said in an interview last week that he had agreed not to draw a salary, however temporarily, making him "an involuntary investor.''

"We had some bad management,'' Mr. Franken said. "Then we got some good management.''

Still, Mr. Franken, his tongue only partly in cheek, added, "It's a little fuzzy to me exactly who's in charge.''

Puts the lie to the aphorism, "You never know who's right, but you always know who's in charge". Or perhaps liberal talk radio is the exception that proves the rule. Interesting that, after operating for a couple of month, and after all the planning that went into this, the chain of command is missing a few links.

But that's only the beginning:
The turmoil has shed light on the network's corporate culture, laying bare a mismatched collection of managers and investors, including Democratic Party fund-raisers, Internet entrepreneurs and radio veterans who, as it turned out, did not get along especially well. Even as the network was finding an audience with its blend of humor and commentary, many of the principals' business relationships were dissolving in a flurry of charges and countercharges. The most serious concerned how much money Air America actually had on hand when it went on the air on March 31.

In early March, the network's chief executive, Mark Walsh, said that the company had raised more than $20 million, enough to keep it broadcasting for months, if not years, before making a profit. At the time, Mr. Walsh said that the network's primary backers included Evan M. Cohen, a venture capitalist who was the network's chairman, and Rex Sorensen, a business partner of Mr. Cohen's who was the chairman of Progress Media, the parent company of Air America.

But in an interview on Friday, Mr. Walsh said: "I was misled about that number.'' Mr. Walsh refused to say who had misled him, but he said that he had resigned in April because "the company wasn't transparent'' and "I was unable to decipher how it was being operated.''

<Insert "vast left-wing conspiracy joke here>
Less than a month later, Mr. Cohen and Mr. Sorensen, who had previously operated radio stations together in Guam and Saipan, resigned under pressure from the company's other investors. David Goodfriend, who served as general counsel and later as acting chief operating officer of Air America, resigned about a week ago, having done his best, he said, to hold the company together in the wake of the departures of Mr. Cohen, Mr. Sorensen and Mr. Walsh. (Separately, Dave Logan, executive vice president for programming, also left, in late April.)

Jon Sinton, the president of Air America and one of the few top executives who remains from the day it went on the air, underscored Mr. Walsh's comments by saying, in a separate interview, that he, too, had been misled about the company's resources and that a cash crunch had ensued as a result.

"Financing wasn't as available for operational issues as we'd thought it was,'' he said. Reached on Friday, Mr. Cohen declined to comment on the state of the company's finances under his watch.

Sinton isn't just the president. As I noted in February of last year he's the CEO of AnShell Media, the company that came up with the whole idea in the first place. If you want to believe that Richard Melon Scaife was the founder of the "vast right-wing conspiracy", you'd be obliged to acknowledge that Sinton is at least one of the founders of a corresponding left-wing cadre. This is no patsy who didn't know what was going on; this is an architect playing dumb to the cameras in hopes of shifting the blame when the building starts to collapse.

The Arbitron ratings, although still preliminary as the network hasn't been around long enough for good numbers, do show that Air America could be holding its own for the moment.
For example, among listeners from 25 and 54, whom advertisers covet, the network estimates it drew an average listener share (roughly a percentage of listeners) of 3.4 on WLIB in April, from 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on weekdays, according to the company's extrapolation of figures provided by Arbitron for the three months ended in April. (Arbitron, which does not provide ratings in monthly increments, said the network's methodology appeared sound, although such figures were too raw to translate to numbers of listeners.)

By contrast, according to Air America's figures, WABC-AM drew an average share of 3.2 during the same period in April for the same age group. That time period includes the three hours in which Mr. Limbaugh was pitted head to head against Mr. Franken.

Phil Boyce, the program director of WABC , cautioned against drawing conclusions from preliminary data. "If they end up doing that well when the final number is out, which is two more months, I'll give them a congratulations," Mr. Boyce said.

While the network is awaiting the release of similar figures from Arbitron for other cities, KPOJ-AM, the Clear Channel station that carries its programming in Portland, Ore., informed Air America executives by an e-mail message in late April that its ratings appeared to have tripled last month, according to the station's informal survey. (A station executive, Mary Lou Gunn, did not return a telephone message left at her office on Friday.)

The network, which is also carried on the satellite radio providers XM and Sirius, has found an audience on the Internet. In its first week, listeners clicked on the audio programming on the Air America Web site more than two million times, according to RealNetworks, the digital media provider.

"It's clear the audience is there,'' Mr. Franken said.

Well don't break out the champagne yet, Al. First of all, you might not be able to afford it. Secondly, the media blitz that went into the start of the network at least guaranteed that you'd have a lot of folks listening in to find out what this was really going to be like--if it could live up to the hype. And don't discount the conservatives that use your shows as fodder for their blogs. It's still a novelty at this point, so I see no reason why, other than problems with financing, the network couldn't last past the election. However, my prediction of 2 years before it dies hasn't been shaken by any of the news since it began.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Here's a thought: Maybe bin Laden isn't the al-Qaida main man anymore.
Pakistani officials say al-Qaida is becoming more decentralized and its top leader, Osama bin Laden, may not be running the organization, reports Geostrategy-Direct, the global intelligence news service.

Instead, there is growing evidence al-Qaida No. 2 leader Ayman al-Zawahiri may be in charge of the terrorist network.

The officials also said Abu Musab al- Zarqawi, the Jordanian-based al-Qaida associate, is emerging as a new leader of the group.

This may or may not be true--it's the first I've heard of it--but keep this in mind when you hear Democrats harping on the fact that we haven't caught bin Laden. If he's become irrelevant, that won't matter one bit. As long as we don't have him in custody or dead, it'll be their "proof" that we're losing the war on terror, in spite of all the other al-Qaida honchos we've picked up.

(Not to mention that if the left's response to a bin Laden capture is anything like it was for Hussein, they'll be beside themselves with grief.)

Thursday, May 27, 2004

That was then (from Kos at Daily Kos):
If the voters defeat the bond measure (and it's still too early to predict one way or another), Arnold will be in a world of hurt. He will have no choice but to raise taxes (perhaps even the hated car tax) and make DEEP cuts in spending.

And if that happens, Arnold may not finish out the year.

Yeah, I know, it's the same "that was then" clip I used last Saturday. But it's more relevant today (as a bad example) because of today's "this is now" clip:
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has solid backing from California voters who say in two new polls that his performance is better than expected.

After six months in office, Schwarzenegger is winning praise across party lines and up and down the state, the San Francisco Chronicle says. His 65 percent approval rating in a Field Poll released Thursday is among the highest for any governor over the past 45 years.

Meanwhile, a Public Policy Institute of California poll also released Thursday shows similar rising approval ratings for the movie hero turned politician, with 65 percent of all California adults surveyed and 69 percent of likely voters saying they support the way he is doing his job.

On Saturday, I mentioned that California's credit rating was starting to see progress as a result of Arnold's policies. But then I said,
In one sense, kos may be right; perhaps the people of California aren't enjoying what it's taking to get out of the hold Gray Davis dug for them. But few people really enjoy the consequences of their excesses (or at least the excesses of those they elect to office). So that's not really surprising.

However, as it turns out, people really do like the way he's getting the job done.

(Enjoy the crow, Kos. I hear root beer makes it go down easier.)

Now that American Idol voters have made their choice, let's remember what Elton John had to say about them back in April.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - British Rock star Elton John, a guest judge this month on the U.S. talent hunt TV series "American Idol," said on Tuesday that he found the voting by the national viewing audience "incredibly racist."

John, who heard the wannabe pop stars perform his songs during an appearance on the FOX TV show, added his voice to a chorus of dissent that followed last week's shock exit of black vocalist Jennifer Hudson, considered one of the top talents among those vying for a recording contract.

To be honest, I don't watch the show at all. The only reason I knew anything about it was because a local girl from Snellville, Diana DeGarmo, was the runner-up, and she was making local news here for weeks.

But the main point: Who did these supposedly "racist" voters pick as the best? Given that, can we stop having to listen to Elton John lecture us on racism? If they pick a white guy or girl next season, might it be just for the fact that the voters think they sing better than the rest?

Get over it.

UPDATE: Q&O agrees, and adds an additional note about the winners of each of the three seasons. See if you can spot the incongruency between them and Elton John's comments.

Are gas prices the only economic news out there? Not so!
The economy grew at a 4.4 percent annual rate in the first quarter of this year, slightly faster than previously thought and fresh evidence that the recovery possessed good momentum as it headed into the current quarter.

The increase in gross domestic product from January through March reported by the Commerce Department on Thursday marked an improvement from both the 4.2 percent pace first estimated for the quarter a month ago and the 4.1 percent growth rate registered in the final quarter of 2003.

And that's not all...
From April to June, the economy is expected to grow at a rate in the range of 4.5 percent to 5 percent, according to some analysts.

And there's still more in the article. So now do you think we'll be hearing about this generally good economic news in all these areas from the major media, or do you think they'll harp on one bad number in a sea of good news?

I know which way I'm betting.

Singapore has relaxed some of its gum control restrictions.

Now, go back and read that again. No, there are no misspellings.
ULTRA-tidy Singapore is lifting its notorious ban on chewing gum after 12 long years – but only for registered users. Gum dealers face jail if they break the rules.

Before Singaporeans think about unwrapping a pack of the Wrigley's Orbit gum that's just started selling here – and only in pharmacies – they have to submit their names and ID card numbers. If they don't, pharmacists who sell them gum could be jailed up to two years and fined S$5000.

Sort of the antithesis of our constitutional idea of limited government. Were we to start down that path with things like, oh, regulating the amount of water a toilet is allowed to use per flush, we'd be ripping apart our own tried-and-true constitutional republic and be well on our way to replacing it with this kind of onerous socialism.

Good thing we're not doing anything like that. Oh, wait...

First, the background:
The Hill said a political controversy has been brewing over who approved the six controversial flights that carried 140 Saudi citizens.

At the time the members of the Saudi elite were allowed to leave, the Bush administration was preparing to detain Muslims in the U.S. as material witnesses to the attacks.

Democrat leaders, including Sen. Barbara Boxer of California, had been pressing members of the 9-11 Commission to find out, "Who authorized the flight[s] and why?"

A Democrat who attended a May 6 closed-door meeting of the panel quoted a panel member, former Rep. Lee Hamilton, D-Ind., as saying: "We don’t know who authorized it. We've asked that question 50 times."

Most of the 26 passengers aboard a Sept. 20, 2001, fight were relatives of Osama bin Laden, whom intelligence officials blamed for the attacks almost immediately after they happened, The Hill said.

We'll come back to this story and link to it in just a second, but first...

Indeed, who's idea was that? Michael Moore's adoring fans on Indymedia repeat his allegation in his new "documentary" Fahrenheit 9/11 that Bush made the decision.
AFTER the 9/11 attacks, why was the only plane to fly out of the US carrying 24 members of Osama bin Laden's family?

IN the wake of the attacks, the US became a no-fly zone. Moore asks: "Why did Bush allow a private Saudi jet to fly around the US in the days after September 11 to pick up members of the bin Laden family and fly them out of the country without a proper FBI investigation? Might it have been possible that at least one of the 24 bin Ladens would have known something?"

Of course, this, to the Indys, is another "Bush LIED!" scenario, and is one of the reason Bush (allegedly) wants to ban the movie (although nothing in the article except the headline talks about Bush making any sort of statement for or against the movie).

An article on says the same thing:
Regarding the curious fact that the flight had taken place when all other air traffic was still grounded, Dan Grossi said "he was told that clearance for the flight had come from the White House after the Prince's family pulled a favor from former President Bush."

A quote that says that the "White House" authorized it must mean that it was the President himself, ya' think?

Well, more folks than just these have argued that Bush himself was personally responsible. So now let's rejoin the original news story, already in progress:
Former counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke says he is solely responsible for allowing members of Osama bin Laden's family to flee the United States immediately after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

"I take responsibility for it. I don't think it was a mistake, and I'd do it again," Clarke told The Hill newspaper yesterday.


Clarke told the paper responsibility for the Saudis' departure "didn't get any higher than me."

"On 9-11, 9-12 and 9-13, many things didn't get any higher than me," he said. "I decided it in consultation with the FBI."

The conspiracy theorists all seemed to miss that, oddly enough, almost as if they'd made up their minds first and later looked for evidence to confirm it. (Look up any article about the 9/13 flight of the bin Laden family, and you won't find Richard Clarke's name in connection with it. Let me know if you do, though. I'd be pleasantly surprised.)

But it doesn't stop there. Mr. Clarke has some explaining to do:
But this new account of the events seemed to contradict Clarke's sworn testimony before the Sept. 11 commission at the end of March, The Hill said.

"The request came to me, and I refused to approve it," Clarke testified. "I suggested that it be routed to the FBI and that the FBI look at the names of the individuals who were going to be on the passenger manifest and that they approve it or not. I spoke with the – at the time – No. 2 person in the FBI, Dale Watson, and asked him to deal with this issue. The FBI then approved … the flight."

Panel member Tim Roemer said yesterday in response: "That's a little different than saying, 'I claim sole responsibility for it now.'"

Moreover, the FBI has denied approving the flight, according to the Capitol Hill paper.

Sounds like grandstanding to me. Sort of like publishing a book about 9/11 just days before you testify about it, eh Mr. Clarke?

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

A little sanity is returning to the same-sex marriage issue.
Two state supreme courts dealt same-sex marriage a pair of setbacks today, as the Arizona panel refused to hear a case brought by two homosexual men, and California justices, in hearing arguments in a San Francisco case, appeared to disapprove of the city's mayor issuing licenses to couples of the same gender.

Arizona make the common-sense determination that the Massachusetts courts don't make Arizona law. Questions posed by the justices in the California case make it sound like they disapprove of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's actions.
Questions from the justices during the two-hour session lead observers to believe the panel would not rule to approve Newsom's action, saying such a decision would give local officials the option of choosing which laws they want to follow.

"Wouldn't that be setting a problematic precedent?" asked Justice Joyce Kennard. "Presumably, other local officials would be free to say ... I don't like that particular law, be it a ban on guns" or another issue.

These are pretty obvious rulings that shouldn't have gone anywhere in the first place. But gay activists will just keep trying until they find a sympathetic judge.
"Although the majority of Americans consistently oppose same-sex 'marriage,' homosexual activists have filed lawsuit after lawsuit in an attempt to find radical judges who will tear down democratically enacted laws and impose a radical, nation-changing agenda on an unwilling public," [Gary] McCaleb [of the Alliance Defense Fund] said.

And check out this quote:
One lesbian activist put a positive spin on the court session.

"I am very hopeful, based on the nature of the court's questions and their sensitivity to this issue, that they could craft a solution where they would find the mayor exceeded his authority without finding that the marriages are invalid," Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, told the Associated Press.

Basically she's hoping for a multiple-personality ruling; he broke the law, but he should be allowed to get away with it. Thank you Ms. Kendell for your commitment to the rule of law.

An entry in this week's "Carnival of the Vanities" covered a new scientific theory about the production of oil; that it might not be a fossil fuel after all, but the result of an inorganic process deep within the earth. It intrigued me, but figured that if I heard more about it later I'd mention it.

Well, "later" came sooner than I thought. Today in WorldNetDaily there's an article that explains what this process may actually be like, and how this theory has emerged. Very interesting reading. It's just a theory at this point, but a link off the CoV entry shows that they've found oil in places that shouldn't have had it, and there are oil reservoirs around the world refilling themselves to the tune of 3+ times their low-end output.

Wonder how the environmentalists will take this?

Thank you, Mr. Zapatero and all those Spaniards who voted for him:
Federal officials have information suggesting that al Qaeda has people in the United States preparing to mount a large-scale terrorist attack this summer, sources familiar with the information said yesterday.
That information dovetails with other intelligence "chatter" suggesting that al Qaeda operatives are pleased with the change in government resulting from the March 11 terrorist bombings in Spain and may want to affect elections in the United States and other countries.

"They saw that an attack of that nature can have economic and political consequences and have some impact on the electoral process," said one federal official with access to counterterrorism intelligence.

As I said back in March, the more folks give in to terror, the more of a threat terrorists pose, and not just to those who capitulate, but to everyone. Emboldening terrorists, in essence rearming them, is a lose-lose situation for civilized people. In that March post, I noted an op-ed piece at the Command Post by Michele Catalano, that speaks to today's news.
Unfortunately, their votes spell certain doom for other countries, other innocent people. It's not hyperbole, it's not some form of right-wing histrionics to cry that the terrorists have won, because they certainly did.

This is the further results of appeasement.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Apologizes to my regular readers (both of you) for the dearth of posts of late. Work and personal demands have been higher of late, and (no offense intended, but) they get priority. It's a temporary condition, but I'll still at least try to get something in each day, even if it is, like today's, a round-up of things I'd like to comment on but haven't had the time.

We'll start with the attack on an Iraqi wedding recently. Civilian casualties are always something to be avoided, and are tragic when they happen. A wedding party, a time of great joy, is especially so. For some good information on this event, the Belmont Club has a great post, starting with a bit of Iraqi history that is pertinent. It also has a good in-depth analysis of the disparity in reporting on this event.

I have an entry in this week's "Carnival of the Vanities". This is always a great place to find new bloggers (whether or not I'm in there. >grin<)

Given how bad the news has been out of Iraq, you'd think Bush's numbers should be tanking, but they're merely slipping, if that. John Hawkins does the electoral numbers, and if the election were held today, not only would Bush win, but by a bigger margin than in 2000!

Go read Cox & Forkum. Just do it. I've always loved the political cartoon medium, and these guys are spot on.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Those convinced that liberals make up a disproportionate share of newsroom workers have long relied on Pew Research Center surveys to confirm this view, and they will not be disappointed by the results of Pew's latest study released today.

While most of the journalists, like many Americans, describe themselves as "moderate," a far higher number are "liberal" than in the general population.

At national organizations (which includes print, TV and radio), the numbers break down like this: 34% liberal, 7% conservative. At local outlets: 23% liberal, 12% conservative. At Web sites: 27% call themselves liberals, 13% conservatives.

This contrasts with the self-assessment of the general public: 20% liberal, 33% conservative.

The survey of 547 media professionals, completed this spring, is part of an important study released today by The Project for Excellence in Journalism and The Committee of Concerned Journalists, which mainly concerns more general issues related to newsrooms (an E & P summary will appear Monday).

Sneak peek of the next set of Pew Research Center findings: Sky is generally blue during the day (although confirms that "red sky at morning, sailors take warning").

UPDATE: By the way, that shouldn't be read as a slam against Pew. It's just that results that say "The media folks are generally liberal" isn't really new.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

That was then (from daily Kos):
Arnold campaigned on balancing the budget by rooting out "waste" in Sacramento. He ridiculed Davis for leaning on bond measures to balance the budget. He promised to protect education spending from cuts.
Well, Arnold couldn't find $14 billion in waste, hacked education spending, and floated the big bond measure. Yet the voters don't seem to be in the mood for further debt.

If the voters defeat the bond measure (and it's still too early to predict one way or another), Arnold will be in a world of hurt. He will have no choice but to raise taxes (perhaps even the hated car tax) and make DEEP cuts in spending.

And if that happens, Arnold may not finish out the year.

It's full of "ifs" and dire predictions based on those suppositions. One can't help but hear the glee in kos' voice (who, it appears, would rather have handed a new shovel to Davis and encouraged him to keep digging that hole he was in).

But this is now:
A leading Wall Street ratings agency on Friday raised California's credit rating, citing an improving economy, the first such upgrade in four years and a move that promised to bring down the state's borrowing costs on $44 billion in debt.

Analysts saw the unexpected credit upgrade by Moody's Investors Service as an endorsement of the steps Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has taken to bring California back from the brink of a fiscal crisis that drove its credit ratings near junk levels and had threatened to effectively shut the state out of the bond market for new borrowing.

Citing an "established trend of recovery," Moody's raised California's rating to A3 from Baa1, reversing a downgrade it made in December out of concern over continued political deadlock and a move by Schwarzenegger to cut car license fees.
Employment in California's private sector and personal income in the state have resumed a "moderate pace of growth," and tax collections signal an economic recovery, Moody's said.

California's credit rating may be in line for additional upgrades, said Evan Rourke, a municipal strategist at Popular Securities in New York. "I would expect that barring some kind of disaster or extraordinary event, you're likely to see further improvement. It's a reflection of the improved economy and credit conditions," Rourke said.

Not all analysts have done this, and California's still not out of the woods. Most analysts are waiting to find out what the state budget will look like. But regardless, things are beginning to look good for Arnold's policies.

In one sense, kos may be right; perhaps the people of California aren't enjoying what it's taking to get out of the hold Gray Davis dug for them. But few people really enjoy the consequences of their excesses (or at least the excesses of those they elect to office). So that's not really surprising. Arnold wasn't elected to create good photo-ops for California politicians, he was elected to fix things. Yeah, maybe among those wishing to replace Davis he was the more popular candidate, but the reason someone was elected was to turn the state's economic condition around. He promised that, and he's delivering.

He'll last the year. Easily. And he'll just keep on going.

Friday, May 21, 2004

Hey, I did this first, except with an issue that more people are truly interested in.


The stifling of dissent among those protesting the stifling of dissent.
Untold however, was the ironic story of a similar struggle within the anti-war camp, where some leaders, activists and writers who voiced opposition to leadership say they were stigmatized and labeled "red-baiters" and "McCarthyists" in an alleged attempt to intimidate and silence dissent within protest ranks.

Take Nathan Newman as an example.
Newman, former vice president of the New York City chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, is a union lawyer, political activist and frequent contributor to Technology Review, Progressive Populist, and American Prospect.

A political activist and former union organizer, he also was the project director at NetAction, a consumer technology advocacy group and wrote "Net Loss," a book addressing Internet policy and related issues of economic inequality.

Newman's offense? He repeatedly has described the ANSWER [Act Now to Stop War and End Racism] coalition, a prominent organizer of the anti-war rallies, as a front group for the neo-Stalinist Worker's World Party, or WWP, a group he describes as supporters of "mass murderers," "morally reprehensible," and "not fit to associate with."

Is that some sort of trumped-up charge, or can he back up that allegation of a tie-in?
To those who questioned his characterizing of ANSWER as a front group for the WWP, Newman responded, "I've worked with the WWP in various coalitions. You may not know how front groups work, but when the website was created by, the office is run by, and the main spokespeople are all from a single group like the Workers World Party, it is fair to characterize the group as being derived from that group."

He added, "And as a member of the leadership of the National Lawyers Guild, which has endorsed ANSWER - against my vote - and who has key people doing their legal work, I know pretty well the role of the WWP in organizing this stuff. "

"If the main group leading ANSWER supports mass murderers, " Newman concluded, "those working with them have some responsibility for disassociating themselves from those views."

Pretty convincing stuff. A "conscientious objector" in the ranks of those who would (normally) wear that label as a badge of honor. Newman says he's just trying to hold the folks on his side to the same standard they apply to the conservatives.
Newman called for consistency, saying the left rightly had condemned Trent Lott for his association with "neo-confederate racists," but added, "The same principle applies to the left not casually ignoring its own association with supporters of authoritarian butchers."

There's more in the article, but you get the idea. I disagree with him on the anti-war stance he takes, but you've got to admire a guy who's willing to take a long look at his own side and use the same standard of measurement with them. Well, apparently, some folks wouldn't admire that.
Newman's public expression of disdain for the WWP and ANSWER soon set him at loggerheads with the Guild, which maintains a cozy relationship with the groups.

Newman reported the Guild's National Executive Committee rebuked him and the New York City Guild chapter he led for their strident criticism of these key groups that wrested organizational control of and led the recent anti-war rallies.

At the time of his rebuke, Newman told fellow activists, "At the moment, I am being denounced by name within the National Exec Committee of my own organization, the National Lawyers Guild, for being critical of the WWP's connection to ANSWER on my personal blog, and a resolution is being voted on to denounce all such criticisms as red-baiting … denying that ANSWER can in any way be described as a front group of WWP, thus making any accusation of such 'unfounded' and a 'vicious attack.'

It's getting personal, but here's comes the clincher.
"Our executive director wanted to add part of the resolution that no local chapter could criticize the WWP's role or otherwise deviate from the national line (something the NYC chapter already has done in its own resolutions), so this 'anti-red baiting' position is turning into its own form of authoritarianism within various left organizations and publications."

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, here's the liberal answer to "McCarthyism": More "McCarthyism", but this time featuring the question, "Are you now, or have you ever been, a critic of the Communist Party?" John Ashcroft is not forbidding these folks from protesting publicly, he's not stifling dissent, but leftists themselves are doing far worse than they accuse him of. And this is not coming from some moderate, or some Blue Dog Democrat.
"I consider myself a 'leftist,' he said, "even Marxist in some vague ways, and have been member of softer left groups like Democratic Socialists of America and the Committees of Correspondence. So my opinion is not 'anti-left' or 'anti-Party' per se, but anti a particular kind of sectarianism."

There's a lot more in the WorldNetDaily article; a lot of background. Well worth the read. And it looks like Mr Newman has read it and generally approves of the article. (Instapundit would jokingly quip "Cats and dogs living together!") On his blog, Newman writes:
Rightwing on Me and WWP

WorldNetDaily, the popular rightwing online news site, has a full-fledged story on the attacks on critics of the WWP-ANSWER within the left, with a lot on my history within the National Lawyers Guild. They seemed to have combed every email list and web site to piece together the story. Although they didn't bother to even contact me for comment, a pretty shabby failure.

It's not too slanted, since it emphasizes how isolated ideologically the WWP is on the Left and distinguishes the vast numbers who opposed the war versus the tiny clique around WWP-ANSWER who were pro-Saddam.

The article even points out why the media pays more attention to fringe rightwing groups than to Stalinist groups like the WWP-- the rightwing groups are actively murdering people in the US. Quoting one source:
"The far right becomes relevant when it's shooting abortion doctors or blowing up courthouses," he said, "There aren't a lot of leftists blowing things up."
Which of course highlights why the rightwing is kind of silly to itself spend too much time talking breathlessly about fringe groups, when it tolerates Klan allies and abortion doctors in its midst. I wonder how many exposes WND has done on those?

To which I'd add a few things.
  • While the shootings and bombings mentioned are tragic and should not happen, any group (fringe or not) that finds moral equivalence between that and the hundreds of thousands in North Korean gulags where thousands die every year is seriously overdue for some introspection.
  • Oh, and there are leftists blowing things and people up too. (Anyone remember the Unabomber who was a big Al Gore fan?)
  • And finally, while there may have been just a "tiny clique" in the WWP-ANSWER movement who were morally pro-Saddam, the rest of crowd, marching to keep him in power and continue his skimming of billions (with a 'b') of dollars from the UN Oil-for-Palaces Food program, were effectively pro-Saddam, regardless of their intent.

Anyway, just something to think about when you hear the left complaining about the "stifling of dissent". Again, as Instapundit would jokingly quip, "I blame Ashcroft", except this time it could read "I blame the Ashcroft protestors."

Should abortion photos be shown in public so that the people understand what goes on? If you answer "No", do you believe the photos from Abu Ghraib should be shown to the people understand what went on? If you answer "Yes", read this from Stuart Buck:
But observe how differently we treat photos in each situation. As to Abu Ghraib, no one blames the messenger. Whoever secretly leaked the Abu Ghraib photos has not been criticized. Quite the opposite: People who have seen the photos have rightly focused their entire energy on denouncing the cruelty depicted.

What's more, you'll find pictures of Abu Ghraib everywhere in the mainstream media. In stark contrast, I've found no evidence that any mainstream newspaper or television station here has ever shown pictures or video of what happens to a fetus during an abortion.

Contrast this with the situation in England, where a mainstream channel last month showed a film, titled My Foetus, that unflinchingly depicted a real abortion. Made by Julia Black, who herself is pro-choice, the film shows "quiet moans and an 'oh dear' as the doctor sucked out the bloody tissue."

In an interview, Ms. Black was straightforward in acknowledging the difficulties of this issue: "We have to engage in the reality that abortion does destroy a fetus, and that a fetus is a potential life: a very strong life. ... We refuse to look at images of abortion because we find them shocking and gratuitous, but we must."

Shocking or not, such images should not be censored, because it inevitably leads to the politicization of news judgment.

(Gracious nod to Instapundit.)

Of course, in the case of Abu Ghraib, even with the photos, Democrats are politicizing it. Don't think so? Here's one more of the questions from the National Center Blog's questions to consider that I referred to yesterday
If a handful of low-level subordinates out of several million working for you commit crimes, you should resign in disgrace. If you commit a crime yourself - say, by lying before a federal grand jury - you should stay.

A double double-standard!

Thursday, May 20, 2004

John Hawkins at Right Wing News has a good post on a topic that I've been emphasizing as well. His comment is "It's not too late to stop gay marriage, but the clock is ticking".
Quite frankly, today may turn out to be one of the low points in the entire history of our nation. The beginning of the end of the relevance of marriage, the building block of our society.

Today, gays are getting married, soon polygamy will follow. Heck, if you ask me, you can make a better case for polygamy than you can for gay marriage. In fact, if Andrew Sullivan wanted to marry three wives instead of another man, we'd probably be complaining about Utah legalizing Polygamy today instead of Massachusetts putting their stamp of approval on gay marriage.

But, give it a couple of decades and we'll have people marrying the dead as they do in France, animals as they do in India, and you might as well throw adult siblings into the mix because that won't be far behind. Of course, advocates of gay marriage, most of them at least, will deny that. But, hasn't that always been what Americans have been told as they were dragged kicking and screaming down the slippery slope towards gay marriage?

Eventually, as marriage becomes totally debased and meaningless except as a method to get gov't benefits or insurance, most people won't bother to get married and we'll see skyrocketing crime and drug use, single mothers mired in poverty raising their kids, and all the other ills befall our society that go along with illegitimacy.

If all these things happened overnight, it would be easy to get people to understand what the problem is with gay marriage. However, because all of these events will take time, years, and in some cases decades to manifest, it's difficult to impress how urgent it is to fight against gay marriage right now.

His point about polygamy is worth noting. One of the arguments against same-sex marriage (one that Michael Medved often uses) is that children adopted into that marriage are essentially in a fatherless or motherless home, and study after study has concluded that a 2-parent, mother-father family is in all ways better for a child--emotionally, psychologically, any way you can name--than a single-parent family. This is not to disparage single moms or dads, but that's just the way it is. In polygamy, you could make a case, then, that both genders are, in fact, represented and thus children would get all the benefits of a mother-father family, something that same-sex marriage can not provide. If the latter is legal, then ("for the children") shouldn't the former be even more desirable?

Up until now, while marriage was generally understood to be between one man and one woman, recognition of polygamy as legitimate by the state or federal government wasn't even an issue. However, once you stray from that, when the definition becomes fungible, and regardless of the intent of same-sex marriage advocates, the result will be no definition of marriage. This isn't crystal ball speculation, it's an inevitable progression.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

marc over at marcland is starting to freak out over the impending arrival of his first baby. Head on over and enjoy the ride.

(Hey marc, put me on your mailing list of folks you E-mail with the good news.)

Hmm, maybe I should have done something like this back on my two-year blogiversary.

Over at Amy Ridernour's National Center Blog, her husband David has a bunch of good questions to consider. Here's a sampling, but RTWT (read the whole thing).
International terrorism is at a 35 year low; we've toppled a repressive, aggressive totalitarian regime; we put the architect of the Achille Lauro hijacking (in which American Leon Klinghoffer was killed) out of commission permanently; we've so frightened Libya that it has renounced terrorism and given up its weapons of mass destruction; AND we've shifted the frontlines of the war with terrorists from United States soil to Iraq - and they still say that the Iraq war is a distraction from the real war on terrorism.

If a handful of low-level subordinates out of several million working for you commit crimes, you should resign in disgrace. If you commit a crime yourself - say, by lying before a federal grand jury - you should stay.

The media led calls for Trent Lott to resign after he praised former segregationist Strom Thurmond, but the media was relatively silent when Senator Chris Dodd praised Robert Byrd, a former member of the KKK who has used the "n" word on network television in recent years.

When evidence of possible criminal acts by Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee were leaked to the press, the leakers, not the Senators, were considered the problem. But when evidence of possible criminal acts by U.S. soldiers at Iraq's Abu Ghraid prison were leaked to the press, the soldiers, not the leakers, were considered the problem.

Go take a look. A very good read.

Even when they get what they want, they still can't implement it fairly.
BOSTON -- The Romney administration has demanded copies of all marriage applications issued to gay couples in Provincetown, Somerville, Springfield and Worcester _ four municipalities that openly defied the governor's residency requirement for same-sex marriages.
After several unsuccessful attempts to delay Monday's court-ordered legalization of gay marriage, Gov. Mitt Romney informed city and town clerks that a 1913 statute barred them from issuing marriage licenses to out-of-state residents who have no plans to move to Massachusetts.

But clerks in Provincetown, Worcester, Springfield and Somerville said publicly that they would issue licenses to all comers, regardless of where they lived, as long as they signed a form attesting that there was no known legal impediment to their union.

Ignorance is no excuse...usually. And this report also demonstrates that leaving it up to the states in this matter may create even more problems.
Many of the nonresident couples who came to get their marriage documents returned home Tuesday to inevitable legal battles in their own states. Those who have no intention of moving here face the possibility that their state governments will refuse to recognize their union, and Massachusetts itself could nullify their license, as Romney has promised.

Gay rights advocates in neighboring New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island _ home to many of the gay couples who married in Massachusetts on Monday _ said they hope legal action is not necessary, but acknowledged it may be inevitable.

"It's America in 2004. I think legal action is guaranteed," said Kevin Cathcart, executive director of the gay-rights group Lambda Legal. "It's going to take the legal system and the political system quite some time to work this all out."

Mr. Cathcart, legal action is guaranteed not because of what year it is, but because of the way this "law" was put into place. When the judiciary overrides the will of the governed, this is what you get. No surprises here. Thanks for your support of legal chaos.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

That was then:
This, for instance, was Martin Sheen at a Los Angeles news conference a month before the war began:"As the dogs of war slouch towards Baghdad, we need to be reminded that as many as 2 million refugees could become a reality, as well as half a million fatalities."
Writing on the left-wing website AlterNet last March, senior editor Tai Moses expressed dread of the coming of a war that "could create more than a million refugees." The BBC, citing a "confidential" UN document, predicted that up to 500,000 Iraqis would be seriously injured during the first phase of an American attack, while 1 million would flee the country and 2 million more would be internally displaced -- all compounded by an "outbreak of diseases in epidemic if not pandemic proportions." The Organization of the Islamic Conference foresaw the "displacement of hundreds of thousands of refugees," plus "total destruction and a humanitarian tragedy whose scale cannot be predicted."

This is now:
A few weeks ago, the United Nations shut down the Ashrafi refugee camp in southwestern Iran. For years Ashrafi had been the largest facility in the world housing displaced Iraqis, tens of thousands of whom had been driven from their homes by Saddam Hussein's brutality. But with Saddam behind bars and his regime crushed, Iraqi exiles have been flocking home. By mid-February the camp had literally emptied out. Now, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees reports, "nothing remains of Ashrafi but rubble and a few stones."

Emphasis mine, mostly because, as Jeff Jacoby is pointing out, the news media is certainly not emphaiszing it at all. Here's more good news:
In a nationwide survey conducted by Britain's Oxford Research International, 56 percent of Iraqis say their lives are better now than before the war; only 19 percent say things are worse. Because of "Bush's war," Iraqis today brim with optimism. Fully 71 percent expect their lives to be even better a year from now; less than 7 percent say they'll be worse. Iraq today may just be the most upbeat, forward-looking country in the Arab world.

With all the news reporters repeating themselves day after day about the Abu Graib mistreatments, don't forget this. Yes, Abu Graib is a story that should be told, but even when there's nothing new to report, they still report it, investigate it, and scour for new leads. In the meantime...
But none of that changes the bottom line: In the ancient land that America liberated, life is more beautiful and hopeful than it has been in many decades. Bush's foes may loudly deny it, but the refugees streaming homeward know better.

The #1 search term on the web last week was "Nick Berg". I've saw a bit of an uptick in visits during that time, most looking for the beheading video.
Nick Berg-related searches are so prevalent that they dwarf all other searches, including the consistent pop-culture leaders. Over the past week, Nick Berg searches were 24 times higher than Britney Spears (#4), Paris Hilton (#6), and Clay Aiken (#5).

Clay Aiken? Get over him, folks. >grin<

Of course, my mere mentioning the video here will just server to pull more web searchers here, but they won't find what they're looking for. I don't have it folks, sorry.

But then, we can all use a little more traffic, eh?

Nick Berg video Nick Berg video Nick Berg video Nick Berg video Nick Berg video Nick Berg video

Monday, May 17, 2004

Sarin gas? Bombs? WMD? Apologies? Did somebody say, "lied"?

(I like The Rough Woodman's take on this. Good for a chuckle.)

Busy day, not much time for the ol' blog thing. However, I just had to at least make a note of the fact that today in Massachusetts same-sex marriage became legal. Not a good day at all for the institution of marriage. The old chants have died out, but expect to hear the new ones advocating groups of 3 or more, or marrying horses.

Actually, you may not hear those new chants, although they will still be out there. The media, sensitive to the fact that it may galvanize the country against same-sex marriage elsewhere (and they wouldn't want that, will probably minimize or censor completely those who would demonstrate the slippery slope in action.

Stay tuned. I'm going to try to keep an ear out for them.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Back in March, I said, "obviously the whole country [of Spain] didn't vote for the Socialists, but there was enough of a crowd wishing to appease the terrorists that gave them the win." Those Spaniards who didn't want to pull out of the war included soldiers.
But as a small contingent of Spanish troops prepares to remove the last vestiges of the country's 1,300-strong presence, there are whisperings of discontent from those now returned.

The previous prime minister, José María Aznar, contrary to 90 per cent of Spanish public opinion, committed the force in support of US policy.

Yet soldiers now regret leaving Iraq so hastily following Mr Zapatero's election victory on March 11, three days after the terrorist train bombs in Madrid that killed 190 people and wounded 1,900. They also expressed disappointment over a lack of official recognition on their return and the public's seeming willingness to forget them and their mission.

Does this sound like the airbrushing out of official pictures that the Communist Party used to do when some party members would fall out of favor? "We decided we didn't like what you were doing (even though we, the government, sent you to do it) so we won't even acknowledge your existence." Not only are the Spanish Socialists cowards in the face of terrorists, they're cowards in the face of their own people. These soldiers are now seeing the true results of the Spanish election.

Bryan Preston has gone from Iraq war optimist to pessimist lately. It's worth reading how he got there, and why, even if you'll still be an optimist afterwards.

Dean Esmay of Dean's World got fed up with debunking the same Iraq war misconceptions over and over again, and so he and Dave Mercer have set up "WarWiki, your collaborative source for info about the global war on terror and Iraq". If you'd like to find out what a Wiki is, here's a page that describes it. If this new site lives up to Esmay's dream, it should be a great resource in the combat against anti-war propaganda. I daresay that those of us in favor of the war in Iraq will find some views debunked there as well, as Dean is typically pretty good about goring any ox that needs it, but the inspiration came from the barrage of disinformation from folks rabidly against any use of the military.

One of the first pages explains the whole "Mission Accomplished" issue. Other pages that they're planning on having will deal with misconceptions like "Saddam was our friend", "America armed Saddam", "We went to war because of WMDs" and "Democracy wasn't a goal until after the war started".

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

When news breaks and I'm doing training classes, I'm really late to the party. Therefore, before I even surf the news and the blogosphere, I'm sure that just about everything that can be said has been said about the Nick Berg murder video. All I'd add (if, in fact, I'm actually adding this) is a thought I heard while listening to Mark Levin radio show.

A number of callers, and Levin himself, noted that the media will show Iraqi prisoners being humiliated but they won't show Americans hurt or killed by Islamic terrorists. They won't show people falling to their deaths from the World Trade Center. They'll show Iraqi prisoner videos, in the name of the right of the people to know what's going on, but they won't show Daniel Pearl or Nick Berg, or bodies from Ground Zero. I sorta' understood some of the reasoning behind this, but I heard a comment on Levin's show that changed my mind. The caller said, essentially, that the major media will show pictures and video that will inflame the "Arab street", but it won't show pictures and video that might inflame the "American street".

And that seems to be, based on what the media releases, the basis on which they make their decision. I'd note that this therefore means that anything that would boost the anti-war effort will be shown, but anything that may tend to increase support for the war is left unshown or untold, supposedly solely out of respect for the families of the victims. That's the media's story, and they're sticking to it, but the effect is to promote an agenda in spite of protestations of objectivity. Frankly, I don't see any compelling reason to believe that the promotion of that agenda isn't the #2, if not the #1, real reason these decision are made. Why did Ted Koppel only read the names of war dead from just the Iraq war? Why not any of those that died in Afghanistan? Is it because that there are more anti-Iraq-war folks than anti-Afghanistan-war folks? Their lives were just as important, they're just as dead, and yet ABC chooses its battle, so to speak, by picking that conflict which has the anti-war folks in a bigger tizzy.

And, as the Drudge Report notes, there are plenty of images of soldiers in Iraq being welcomed as heros, and you won't find those pictures in the New Yorker or on 60 Minutes.

Again, a liberal media shows itself in a number of way, one of which is what they don't report on.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Uh oh, looks like John Kerry's having to clean up after his wife.
LOUISVILLE, KY. (Reuters) - Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry warned his political opponents on Monday against attacking his outspoken wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, saying, "They're going to have to go through me."

I wonder if he's feeling the fallout from the "unpatriotic" bomb she dropped. Ya' think?

Just did some blog surfing recently and I've added the following one to the roll.
  • Midwest Conservative Journal - Specializing in (but by no means exclusively covering) the news from mainstream Christianity (and how liberal theology is affecting it).
  • RealClear Politics - Just 'cause it's a great resource.
  • Pejmanesque - Really, really good commentary from another TechCentralStation columnist.
  • The Lazy Pundit - I like the name, although he does live up to it (last three posts are dated April 25, April 22 and March 18). It's not just politics, and it does include computer stuff, which I'm partial to.
  • Jottings from Tertius - Sometimes over my head, but what I do recognize, I do enjoy. >grin<

Light blogging this week. I'm giving some training classes and that doesn't leave much break time for pontificating. Hopefully some evening posts, though.

Friday, May 07, 2004

This ought to destroy his credibility, but for those eager to believe anything bad about Bush, it probably won't phase them.
Less than 24 hours after accusing the Walt Disney Company of pulling the plug on his latest documentary in a blatant attempt at political censorship, the rabble-rousing film-maker Michael Moore has admitted he knew a year ago that Disney had no intention of distributing it.

The admission, during an interview with CNN, undermined Moore's claim that Disney was trying to sabotage the US release of Fahrenheit 911 just days before its world premiere at the Cannes film festival.

Instead, it lent credence to a growing suspicion that Moore was manufacturing a controversy to help publicise the film, a full-bore attack on the Bush administration and its handling of national security since the attacks of 11 September 2001.

In an indignant letter to his supporters, Moore said he had learnt only on Monday that Disney had put the kibosh on distributing the film, which has been financed by the semi-independent Disney subsidiary Miramax.

But in the CNN interview he said: "Almost a year ago, after we'd started making the film, the chairman of Disney, Michael Eisner, told my agent he was upset Miramax had made the film and he will not distribute it."

If you can't even promote your "documentary" honestly, it doesn't speak well for you at all.

Bush's campaign attacked John Kerry's patriotism yet again, another in a long line of...

Oh...wait...sorry, I got that mixed up.
President Bush's campaign on Friday criticized the wife of Democratic candidate John Kerry for calling Vice President Dick Cheney "unpatriotic" while defending her husband's service in Vietnam against critics who had avoided the military.

"This political line of attack is offensive and should be stopped," Bush-Cheney campaign chairman Marc Racicot said in a statement.

Although they have questioned Kerry's Senate votes on defense and foreign policy, neither Bush nor Cheney has commented personally on his service in the Navy during the Vietnam War. Bush served stateside in the Texas Air National Guard during the war while Cheney received five deferments from military service.

In an interview with Telemundo, NBC's Spanish-language network, Teresa Heinz Kerry said, "To have a couple of people, who escaped four, five, six times and deferred and deferred and deferred calling him anything regarding his service is in and of itself unpatriotic. Unpatriotic." NBC's "Nightly News" aired part of the interview Thursday.

Said Racicot: "Every time the discussion focuses on John Kerry's Senate record of voting against weapons systems, voting against support for troops in the field or his positions on both sides of critical questions of national security, his campaign falsely claims that his patriotism is being attacked."

When Bush's camp takes Kerry to task for his voting record, Kerry's camp alleges they're attacking his patriotism (and then cheerfully ignore the substance). But how in the world will they spin Kerry's wife actually calling the VP "unpatriotic"? This ought to be good.

Still more Al Qaeda - Iraq links come to light.
New evidence about a meeting in Prague between September 11 plot leader Mohamed Atta and Iraqi intelligence officer Ahmad Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani has been uncovered, reports Geostrategy-Direct, the global intelligence news service.

Investigative journalist Edward J. Epstein has uncovered Czech government visa records indicating al-Ani was posted to the Iraqi embassy in Prague between March 1999 and April 21, 2001, and was involved in handling Iraqi agents.

Of course, the mainstream news media will barely cover this, if at all, allowing Democrats to continue saying that there was no connection at all.

Bush has said the "S" word ("sorry") at least 6 more times in an interview for an Egyptian newspaper. Think Kos will credit him for this?

Oh, wait...nope, he's upping the ante. Now Trapper John over there wants Rumsfeld to cry. I wonder if these guys ever consider themselves and their "analysis" fair, or do they mean to just snipe their way through life.

Air America in a tailspin? Drudge is reporting:
In yet another sign of trouble for Air America Radio, the liberal talk network entering its fifth chaotic week on the air, co-founder and chairman Evan Cohen resigned Thursday, as did vice-chairman and investor Rex Sorensen.

The CHICAGO TRIBUNE is planning to report in fresh editions: The company also failed to make its scheduled payroll, leaving its staff roughly 100 radio personalities, writers, and producers unpaid until Thursday.

The departures of Cohen, a former political operative from Guam who was among the network's initial investors, and Sorenson, an investor who owns radio stations in Guam, mark the second executive shake-up at the fledgling network in as many weeks.

It's also being reported by the Chicago Tribune, but you need a subscription to get there, and I'm not submitting my E-mail for more spam at this time.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

I talked with Kim Peterson today on WGST about the latest kerfuffle floated by the left that President Bush didn't actually use the word "sorry" on Arab TV, although he certainly expressed all sorts of regret over the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners. As I mentioned in the previous post from today, there was another nationally televised presidential apology that didn't feature the word "sorry", but I bet the left didn't see anything wrong with that one.

And who says calling in to radio talk-shows doesn't pay? Listen to the end of this clip. Thank you very much, Kimmer.

"Considerettes Radio" on The Kim Peterson Show (WGST, Atlanta, GA) 5/6/2004 5:50pm EST (354K)

Kos is giving an "Amen" to a Washington Post commentary by Dan Froomkin complaining that Bush didn't use the word "sorry" when speaking of the treatment of some Iraqi prisoners. Never mind that many others in the administration have done so, Bush must say it himself, according to these fellas, or it don't mean a thing.

Perhaps they'd be appeased if he used words & terms like "not appropriate", "a critical lapse in judgement", or "personal failure". He could mention, though, that he never asked anyone to take any "unlawful action". He could "deeply regret" what has happened. He could even have started finger pointing (as Kos as Mr. Froomkin allege he's doing) and those investigating the matter. Then he could add that he is "prepared to do whatever it takes" to "put it right". Maybe he could end by saying that it's time we "turn away from the spectacle" and "return our attention to all the challenges and all the promise" of the future. I wonder if that would satisfy these guys.

Actually, I'm betting that they didn't mind an apology that didn't use the word "sorry", but did all these other phrases, back on August 17, 1998 when another president got on national TV with his mea culpa (which, I noted back then, was heavy on the mea and light on the culpa). That president's surrogates, however, were not apologizing in his stead. Rather, they were proclaiming his righteousness to all who would listen (and given the media's predilections, there were plenty of listeners). Today, however, Bush and his administration are acknowledging the problems, expressing sorrow (if not the magic "sorry" word by one person when talking to the Arab media) for what has happened, and vowing to deal with those who did these awful things.

But I'm betting this is lost on Kos.

UPDATE: He's now used the word "sorry". That should put his apology above and beyond Clinton's in the eyes of Kos. Shouldn't it?

UPDATE PART DEUX: JunkYardBlog takes on the more serious point of folks calling for Rumsfeld's resignation. He notes a similar incident in which soldiers raped a young girl but no Democrat called for the head of the Sec. of Defense. Could it be because it happened in 1995 under a Democratic president? Perhaps he said he was "sorry" and all was forgiven. In any event, as Bryan has further examples, and (as usual) more in-depth analysis of what this situation could mean for the country.

What liberal media? Ask JunkyardBlog, who has two posts detailing it. This one noting that the major media is doing their darndest to diminish the remarks of the Swift Boat Vets, and this one noting 3 other huge stories that are either getting ignored or buried.

Added QandO to the blogroll today. marcland keeps referring to them, so I had to go see for myself what it was like. And I must say I like what I see. Especially this post that rips to shreds a Washington Post editorial (disguised as a "Style" section article) on why you (yes you) are to blame for the Iraqi prisoner mistreatment.

Be there. Aloha.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

The Smarter Cop proves how much smarter he really is. Pietro takes the recent letter signed by 50 former US diplomats and exposes a bunch of their ties to pro-Arab and anti-Israel people and groups. Hamas and bin Laden would just love these guys.

Soon-to-be-daddy marc (4 weeks and counting) has a great take on the new "Al(Gore) America" TV network. We join marc mid-post, wherein he quotes the story on it and is then noticing that this Democrat is (again) pigeonholing demographics, much like his party does.
Gore said the network will be "an independent voice in this industry" with a primary target audience of people between 18 and 34 "who want to learn about the world in a voice they recognize and a view they recognize as their own."

"This is not going to be a liberal network, a Democratic network or a political network," Gore said at a news conference.

OK, Al, I'll bite. As a "young adult" male in that 18-34 demo, please tell me - what world do I recognize? What is my "view"? Are 18-34 year olds a monolithic group, wandering aimlessly through the media void looking for a news outlet that provides "bold and irreverent" programming that expresses their "view"? And does anyone really believe that this isn't going to be a "political" network?

Of course, this is how Democrats treat all sorts of groups (women, blacks, Hispanics), and in fact how the news media in general treats them (always going to NOW for the "woman's view" or the NAACP for the "black view").

So I join with marc in asking, "And this is, exactly?"

I've been doing the Atkins diet for a couple of months now and have lost 20 pounds. One of the claims of Atkins is that fat can be good for the body, and when you're getting low-carb groceries, avoid things that are also low-fat. Here's a small study that bolsters that.
A relatively high amount of fat in the diet may be a boon to a healthy person's cholesterol levels, a small study suggests. On the other hand, limiting fat intake too much could have the opposite effect.

Researchers at the State University of New York at Buffalo found that when 11 healthy but sedentary adults followed a very low-fat diet (19 percent of calories from fat) for three weeks, they saw a drop in their HDL cholesterol -- the "good" cholesterol believed to protect against heart disease.

In contrast, three weeks on a diet that provided 50 percent of calories from fat boosted participants' HDL levels, according to findings published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.

To circulate in the blood, cholesterol must be attached to a protein, forming a complex called a lipoprotein. HDL, or high-density lipoprotein, molecules carry cholesterol away from the arteries and to the liver to be cleared from the body. Experts believe that an HDL level of 60 or more helps lower the risk of heart disease, while a level lower than 40 raises the risk.

The new findings suggest that adequate fat intake can help ward off heart disease by raising HDL.

Finally, someone is taking on judicial activism in the same-sex marriage issue.
With just two weeks until Massachusetts enacts same-sex marriage, two noted state citizens filed a motion yesterday to dismiss the November high court decision upon which the new law is based.

The Supreme Judicial Court "effectively amended" the Massachusetts constitution, charge Ray Flynn, former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican and mayor of Boston from 1984 to 1993; and Thomas A. Shields, a Boston businessman.
According to the motion, the Nov. 18, 2003, decision redefined the term "marriage."

In the Goodridge opinion, the Supreme Judicial Court called its construction of marriage a "reformulation," the Flynn and Shields note.

However, the term "marriage" is in the Massachusetts constitution, their attorneys argue, and the authority to amend the constitution resides only in the people of Massachusetts, not in the courts or any other branch of government.

We're finally seeing folks call this for what it is. Some judges are no longer just deciding cases based on law, they're no longer just interpreting what the law is, they're now trying to make law. The irony is that they've decried that very thing before.
As the motion points out, the attorneys say, backdoor constitutional amendments such as the Goodridge decision have been condemned in other opinions by the SJC.

Yet they went ahead and rewrote it themselves anyway. Can't even stick to their own precedents. If this keeps up...
"If the court rules against the motion to dismiss, the Massachusetts constitution will have become the instrument of judicial whim and tyranny, and not the democratic bulwark it once was," Bull said.


Wonder if the Sudanese delegate to the UN Human Rights Commission will do the same thing.

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush said Wednesday in an interview with Arab TV that the treatment of Iraqi prisoners by some members of the U.S. military was "abhorrent" and does not represent "the America that I know."

The people of Iraq "must understand that what took place in that prison does not represent the America that I know."

One more time; that's the difference between us and them. A difference, I might add, that we shouldn't apologize for exporting.

Fer goodness sake, is this the best they can do?
President Bush rode across Ohio on Monday in a bus emblazoned, "Yes, America can." It turns out the bus was made in Canada.

The front of the bus bore another label: Prevost Car, jointly owned by the Swedish Volvo Bus Corp. and Britain's Henly's Group PLC. Prevost's manufacturing facility is in St. Claire, Quebec.

(I hear that the gasoline used in that bus came from the Middle East, too!)

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Concern over short-attention-span voters and whether or not they'll remember all this John Kerry information ("Medalgate", the Swift Boat Veterans letter calling him "unfit to be Commander-In-Chief", etc.) prompts today's Considerettes Radio entry. I called Hugh Hewitt to point out that it's only early May and November is a long way off. Folks who don't mind John Kerry's when he flip-flops, even in mid-sentence ("I voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it"), might consider all these revelations "old news" come October and November. Hugh had another opinion. I just hope he's right.

(By they way, he didn't pick up my line in time. I wasn't sitting there mute at the beginning >grin<)

"Considerettes Radio" on The Hugh Hewitt Show (WGKA, Atlanta, GA) 5/4/2004 6:55pm EST (331K)

Some folks over at the MSN group Pro-America, Pro-Conservative recently stumbled across my essays site and began linking to items there and to this blog. So I'd just like to welcome anyone from that crowd (especially "CommanderJimC" and "magnoliawoods" , who've both been quite complimentary) and I hope you like what you see.

The message board over there is hoppin'! Take a peek.

>yawn< Just another day at the United Nations.
Sudan won an uncontested election on Tuesday to the United Nations' main human rights watchdog, prompting the United States to walk out because of alleged ethnic cleansing in the country's Darfur region.

Sudan's delegate immediately shot back that the U.S. delegation was "shedding crocodile tears" and turning a blind eye to atrocities committed by U.S. soldiers in Iraq against civilians as well as against prisoners.

No sir, we're not turning a blind eye. That's the difference between us.

This is just one of those things that you don't even consider, but then when someone calls it to your attention you think, "of course!"
The growing popularity of hybrid vehicles is a step toward cleaner air and less dependance on gasoline. But for rescuers at accident scenes, they represent a potential new danger: a network of high-voltage circuitry that may require some precise cutting to save a trapped victim.

"You don't want to go crushing anything with hydraulic tools," said Samuel Caroluzzi, an assistant chief with the Norristown Fire Department outside Philadelphia. "It's enough to kill you from what they're telling us in training."

I imagine there would have to be some standards in the construction of hybrid and electric cars that would allow workers to know where the lines are, or some sort of automatic shutdown mechanism would have to kick in.
Manufacturers have put in place a laundry list of safety checks that the car's computer must go through for the electrical system to run. They've published guides showing where the electric components are on their models; on the Toyota Prius and other hybrids, the high-power cables are colored bright orange to catch the eye of a rescue worker or a mechanic.

But there are concerns over what happens if something goes wrong and the battery, ignition and other points are inaccessible.

"It's the 'what-if' that worries me," said David Castiaux, an instructor for Mid-Del Technology Center in Del City, Okla., who teaches rescue workers about hybrids.

Something to consider.

Monday, May 03, 2004

Comedian and liberal talk show host Al Franken put the odds of a challenge against Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., in 2008 at better than 50-50, and said he would make a decision by late next year.

Lemme late next year, Air America will be less than 2 years old. Looks like Franken gives AA a 50-50 shot of being worth staying on by then. My prediction is looking better.

It's truly disgusting what has gone on in Iraq with the recently reported abuse of prisoners. In addition to being outright wrong and against the principles we stand for, it also serves to embolden the rabidly anti-war left. A safe bet would be to expect to see reproductions of those picture in the next anti-war (or anti-Bush) march/rally. It's not something the vast, vast majority of honorable soldiers need to get clubbed over the head with, and one wonders if the whole Vietnam-era "babykillers" epithet will make some sort of comeback. The guys who did this will hopefully get the justice they deserve handed down to them.

And that is what starkly divides our influence with the world with other major world powers that had wide-ranging military influence; we are dealing with this. I read an article over the weekend that was posted at the Cato Institute last week called "'Empire' -- A Losing Political Issue". The point of it is that while some of the intelligencia believe that the US is an empire in all but name, the American people do not want that. An example:
"No need to run away from the label," wrote Max Boot of the Council on Foreign Relations, "America's destiny is to police the world." Harvard's Michael Ignatieff agreed. "Imperialism doesn't stop being necessary," he said, "just because it is politically incorrect." Ivo Daalder and James Lindsay, who both served on Bill Clinton's National Security Council, admitted that, for them, "the real debate is not whether to have an empire, but what kind."

And yet, the American people seemed unconvinced of the supposed benefits of empire. In July 2003 the American Enterprise Institute hosted a debate to discuss the straightforward proposition: "The United States Is, and Should Be, an Empire." Arguing in the affirmative was Niall Ferguson, the author of the best-selling book Empire, who had elsewhere asserted, "empire is a form of international government that can work -- and not just for the benefit of the ruling power." At the AEI debate, Ferguson surveyed the scope of American power -- military, economic, and cultural -- and concluded, "the only thing that is really quite remarkable about the American empire . . . is the fact that Americans refuse to believe in its existence."

I don't want to sound Clinton-esque, but I suppose it depends on the meaning of the word "empire". Certainly, "a political unit having an extensive territory or comprising a number of territories or nations and ruled by a single supreme authority" does not describe what we are. Afghanistan is under its own government, and soon Iraq will be. Where, I'd ask, are we ruling other territories or nations in the way empires have? If we were, why isn't Kuwait a colony, keeping us afloat in cheap oil? Why aren't France and Germany puppet governments that pledge fealty to the United States after we rescued one and defeated the other?

The answer, I believe, is that we're operating under what George Washington called an "exalted justice". For Washington, that meant that we followed God's laws in matters both foreign and domestic, and were to model that to the international community. While I'd say we've fallen a long way from that point, and while the acknowledgement of the Christian God has far less sway in politics than it did when this country was founded, at least the results of that initial belief and acknowledgement and the actions taken based upon it are still used at templates and standards against which we measure current national actions. That is to say, while many (most?) don't ask, "What would Jesus do?", many do ask, "What would Lincoln / Washington / et. al. do?" While it's not the best question, it's far, far better than what empires have asked, and is at least a step or three in the right direction.

It's that influence--the Founding Fathers looking over our collective shoulders, as it were--that keeps the United States away from picking up the mantle of "empire", with all the negative connotations and the temptations and troubles that come with it. And when our soldiers subvert those values, we take swift action.

Still there are those that believe that our way of doing things is no better (and in some cases worse) than things are done elsewhere, and I disagree most emphatically with those folks. Here's a portion of the Cato article that deals with this:
But while the possession of a military force that is second-to-none might appear on the surface to be a manifestation of imperial domination, the proponents of empire claim that the United States is not really an empire because it has noble intentions. The Bush National Security Strategy pledges to reshape the world according to our image, and establishes as a core object of U.S. policy the creation of a world that is "not just safer but better." Left unsaid, but implicitly understood, is that the United States will determine what is better. So much for the rhetoric from the 2000 campaign when candidate George Bush questioned America's right to "go around the world and say, `This is the way it's got to be.'"

While citizens of Rome reveled in their glorious empire, and the British "hailed Britannia," Americans have yet to embrace the term, or the concept behind it. And they are unlikely to do so. Most Americans, even those who did not pay attention during their high school history classes, will remember that America seceded from the British Empire.

This is the part of our history that many modern-day imperialists would prefer to forget. For most of our country's history, Americans resisted the imperial impulse. They were guided by the Founders oft-stated warnings that a republican form of government was incompatible with an imperial foreign policy. The Founders feared empire because it subverts the freedoms and liberties of citizens at home while simultaneously thwarting the will of sovereign people abroad.

(While I generally agree with this article, it seems to imply that Bush said we shouldn't be doing the very things we've done in Afghanistan and Iraq. But that's not what's happened here at all. I happen to believe that both campaigns were part of a strong national defense, not a matter of putting down rivals or potential rivals.)

There's always the balance that must be struck between defense and being the world's policeman. When we do remove an enemy, however, it is our responsibility, and is in our best interests, to help it climb out of the ashes, but to do so in a way that demonstrably has freed more people from bondage than any other; install a republican form of government. (The definition link is for those who think I'm talking about a particular political party.) Why wouldn't we want to provide an apparatus that has generated more freedom, security and wealth for those governed by it than any other? Not doing that would be the ultimate in irony; freeing a people long enough to simply to swap out oppressors.

No, the United States is not an empire, and as long as we value the examples of good men of the past that got the "government of the people" ball rolling, we won't succumb to that. We have a lot of power, that's true, but as the humorous cliche goes, we use that power for good. I'm not saying, by any stretch of the imagination, that we've always done the right thing or that the outcomes have all been perfect. But in a general sense, the intentions of the United States have been to spread freedom to the world, using the methods and institutions that have worked well repeatedly in the past. If that means that we're determining "what's better", I'd say there's few if any countries in a better position to both determine that and implement it.