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Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Public Service Announcement. For a conglomeration of all the posts from all the RNC-credentialed bloggers, visit RNCBloggers, and keep on browser window open to it all day.

I read a lot of negative comments about how the bloggers handled the Democrat National Convention, but if it was as bad as those folks said, it would be because it was the first time. There was the novelty of it all ("Oh look, Clinton's speaking now..."), and you can hardly blame those bloggers for the quality. I read some of it but not enough to form a good opinion of it (especially since I'd have probably done far worse), but it seemed OK to me. Hopefully, the RNC bloggers, having a bit of hindsight working for them, will do better. So far, it's looking good. (But again, am I the guy to go to for a decent review? >grin<)

Deskmerc has a good post on false dichotomies, non sequiturs, cold fusion and John Kerry. Of course, why didn't I think of putting all those together in one cohesive post! >grin< Nonetheless, he makes some very good points.

Congrats to marc who got interviewed about his blog. My brush with fame consisted of 2 sentences in a UPI article on blogging in January of 2003, but as I mentioned back then, it wasn't due to quality--just a healthy dose of luck.

Enjoy your 15 minutes, marc!

Y'know, this story just sounds like a Darwin award winner in the making.
Giuseppe Cannella had a big surprise for his mother-in-law when he put a jet engine on the back of her wheelchair.
Mr Cannella says the chair can now do top speeds of more than 60mph and has proved the star of a model plane championship during the Bank Holiday.

A model plane enthusiast himself, Mr Cannella has been putting on shows at Barkston Heath near Grantham, Lincs.

"It is just the wheelchair with the engine bolted on the back and steering on the front," he said.

Now, the Darwin Award I cite has been confirmed to be bogus (a guy who died when the car he'd attached a jet engine to went airborne and hit a cliff). However, there is a cartoon on that page which was inspired by the story; "Backed by a new set of sponsors, Evil Kneivel [sic] re-attempts to jump the Snake river canyon in a rocket powered wheel chair".

Prophetic? Only time will tell.

Before you blame Bush for high oil prices, don't forget that there's a whole world out there that has an effect on it as well.
EVIDENCE is mounting that China is buying more oil than it consumes, raising fears that oil hoarding may be supporting the current high price of crude.
The signs of aggressive Chinese stockpiling emerge from research by Merrill Lynch, the investment bank, which suggests that China is importing crude and refined products at twice the rate of growth in actual demand.

Rampant economic growth in the People’s Republic over the past two years has enabled China to overtake Japan this year as the world’s second largest oil consumer, burning some 6.3 million barrels a day.

Projections of the rate of growth in consumption in the People’s Republic suggest that China’s power generators, road hauliers, petrochemical plants and factories will burn an extra 500,000 barrels a day of crude oil this year. But Merrill Lynch’s analysis of implied demand, based on import data in the first and second quarter of this year, suggests that demand will increase this year by one million barrels a day.

Michael Rothman, Merrill Lynch’s senior energy analyst in New York, reckons that the second figure is not real consumption and does not reflect actual burning of crude in Chinese cars and power plants.

“It appears to be a hoarding phenomenon and we think it has to run its course, and when it does pass, prices should gravitate much lower, somewhere down towards $30 per barrel.”

It's easy to blame one guy (that you may hate) for all the ills of the world. Too easy. It's also rarely correct.

Oh, and if you think Bush went into Iraq solely to get cheap oil, you're in the same rut. (Of course, at this point in time, you may really be wishing that this alleged cheap oil would get flowing, so the pump prices would come back down, eh?)

In the 80s there were "Reagan Democrats". Ron Silver shows (in addition to Zell Mill, who we'll hear later) that 2004 may be the year that "Bush Democrats" tip the scales.
Even though I am a well-recognized liberal on many issues confronting our society today, I find it ironic that many human rights advocates and outspoken members of my own entertainment community are often on the front lines to protest repression, for which I applaud them but they are usually the first ones to oppose any use of force to take care of these horrors that they catalogue repeatedly. Under the unwavering leadership of President Bush, the cause of freedom and democracy is being advanced by the courageous men and women serving in our Armed Services.

The President is doing exactly the right thing. That is why we need this President at this time! I am grateful for the chance to speak tonight to express my support for our Commander-in-Chief, for our brave troops, and for the vital cause which they have undertaken. General Dwight Eisenhower's statement of 60 years ago is true today . . . "United in this determination and with unshakable faith in the cause for which we fight, we will, with God's help, go forward to our greatest victory."

Dubya will get their attention with his proper and principled stance on the War on Terror, and he'll keep them with the growing economy. His speech at the end of the week should emulate Reagan's approach; optimism for the future by giving people more control of their lives, taking that control away from government, and leaving government to its proper, constitutional role. One of those roles is fighting to protect us from those who would attack us. He's got all cylinders firing. He just needs to share that with the American people. quotes a good roundup of press coverage of day 1 of the Republican convention. As much as the press tried to portray this as a moderate face to a conservative party, conservatism showed up quite obviously. I think you'll find that conservatives are not afraid to identify themselves as such, and you'll see that this week. At the same time, liberals are forever coming up with euphemisms for their beliefs, unable to call it what it is.

Monday, August 30, 2004

From the Wandering Mind comes this information about connections between al Qaeda and Saddam, straight from the horse's...son.
AMMAN, Aug 29 (AFP) - Iraq is attracting Islamic militants from across the world determined to join the "holy war" against the US-led occupation, the son of Osama bin Laden's mentor Abdullah Azzam told AFP in an interview.

"Hundreds of Muslims from all over Arab and non-Arab countries go to Iraq to help the resistance end the occupation, spurred by the conviction that jihad is a duty against the occupier," said Hudayfa Azzam, 34.

He also claimed that the former regime of Saddam Hussein "strictly and directly controlled" members of bin Laden's Al-Qaeda terror network in Iraq before the US invasion, as charged by members of US President George Bush's administration but refuted by other experts.

Experts who, no doubt, know better than bin Laden's son what was going on in Iraq. Listen closely to how the American press will investigate this.

Or not.

These days, "Everybody Loves Raymond" apparently serves the public interest more than the political process. An FCC commissioner (a Democrat) disagrees that "Last Comic Standing" is more important that covering the Republican National Convention.
As a Democratic commissioner on the Federal Communications Commission, I may not agree with many positions taken by speakers this week at the Republican National Convention. Even so, I believe our broadcast media owe us more coverage of an event that remains an important component of the presidential campaign. Yet tonight, if people around the country tune in to the commercial broadcast TV networks, most will not see any live convention coverage. That's not right.

Let's remember that American citizens own the public airwaves, not TV executives. We give broadcasters the right to use these airwaves for free in exchange for their agreement to broadcast in the public interest. They earn huge profits using this public resource. During this campaign season broadcasters will receive nearly $1.5 billion from political advertising.

What do we get in return for granting TV stations free use of our airwaves? Unfortunately, when it comes to coverage of issues important to our nation, the answer is less and less. Coverage of the 2000 presidential election on the network evening news dropped by a third compared to reporting on the 1996 election. During the last election cycle we heard directly from presidential candidates for an average of 9 seconds a night on the news. Local races? Forget it. In 2002 - the most recent midterm elections - more than half of local newscasts contained no campaign coverage at all. Local coverage has diminished to the point that campaign ads outnumber campaign stories by four to one. What coverage there is focuses inordinately on polls and handicapping the horse race.

TV executives tell us that the convention and campaign coverage provided by the cable channels is sufficient. I don't think so. Around 35 million Americans don't get cable, often because they cannot afford it. To put it in perspective, that's more than the combined populations of Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Furthermore, broadcasters legally undertake to serve the public interest themselves in exchange for free spectrum - their licenses don't allow them to pass the buck to cable. Remember also that the vast majority of cable channels are national, not local. So don't look for local campaign coverage on cable, except in the few towns where local cable news exists. Most Americans still must look to their local broadcaster for news of local campaigns and issues.

Well, then it's a good thing we have the FCC in place to deal with this. Right?
The F.C.C. is doing nothing to help as the situation deteriorates. It has weakened almost every explicit duty stations once had for serving the public interest, like ensuring that stations cover local issues and offer viewers a diversity of opinion. Just as bad, the commission eliminated protections against media consolidation last year, even though critics warned that this would result in even less local coverage. Luckily, a federal court rejected this decision, so we have another chance to save these rules.

The F.C.C. has also failed to set guidelines for how broadcasters will meet their public interest responsibilities when digital TV and multicasting become more widespread. To make matters worse, the F.C.C. now practically rubber-stamps TV license renewals, usually without auditing station records to determine whether licensees are fulfilling their public interest responsibilities or checking with communities to ensure that stations are meeting local needs.

Whether we are Democrats, Republicans or independents, we all can agree that democracy depends on well-informed citizens. So as you flip through the channels tonight while the convention is largely ignored, consider whether TV broadcasters, sustained by free access to the public airwaves in exchange for programming in the public interest, are holding up their end of the deal.

Did the networks cover the first day for the Democrats? Do I even have to ask that question? Of course they did. Just more ammunition in the "Oh, that liberal media" campaign.

An interesting report on peace breaking out around the world:
The chilling sights and sounds of war fill newspapers and television screens worldwide, but war itself is in decline, peace researchers report.

In fact, the number killed in battle has fallen to its lowest point in the post-World War II period, dipping below 20,000 a year by one measure. Peacemaking missions, meantime, are growing in number.

"International engagement is blossoming," said American scholar Monty G. Marshall. "There's been an enormous amount of activity to try to end these conflicts."

For months the battle reports and casualty tolls from Iraq (news - web sites) and Afghanistan (news - web sites) have put war in the headlines, but Swedish and Canadian non-governmental groups tracking armed conflict globally find a general decline in numbers from peaks in the 1990s.

The authoritative Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, in a 2004 Yearbook report obtained by The Associated Press in advance of publication, says 19 major armed conflicts were under way worldwide in 2003, a sharp drop from 33 wars counted in 1991.

The Canadian organization Project Ploughshares, using broader criteria to define armed conflict, says in its new annual report that the number of conflicts declined to 36 in 2003, from a peak of 44 in 1995.

What's the main cause of this?
Why the declines? Peace scholars point to crosscurrents of global events.

For one thing, the Cold War's end and breakup of the Soviet Union in 1989-91 ignited civil and separatist wars in the old East bloc and elsewhere, as the superpowers' hands were lifted in places where they'd long held allies in check. Those wars surged in the early 1990s.

"The decline over the past decade measures the move away from that unusual period," said Ernie Regehr, director of Project Ploughshares.

At the same time, however, the U.S.-Russian thaw worked against war as well, scholars said, by removing superpower support in "proxy wars," as in Ethiopia, Mozambique and Cambodia. With dwindling money and arms, warmakers had to seek peace.

The Reagan "peace dividend" continues to pay off. Thanks, Gipper.

And now, what will we do with this new-found peace?
"The end of the Cold War liberated the U.N." — historically paralyzed by U.S.-Soviet antagonism — "to do what its founders had originally intended and more," Mack said.

Oh great. This may give them more opportunity for graft and corruption. One might pine for the days of UN paralysis. Their peacekeeping missions are laudable (although many Rwandans might disagree), but when they try to overextend their power, billions are lost. If it wants to remain relevant, the United Nations needs to stick to its original mission.

A peek into Pandora's Box:
A FERTILITY expert is set to provoke international uproar this week by claiming he has taken the first step towards cloning a dead human being.

In what many will regard as a grotesque experiment, maverick American scientist Dr Panos Zavos will announce that he has taken DNA from two corpses and used it to create embryonic clones of the dead people.

Zavos says he has taken DNA from an 11-year-old girl called Cady and a 33-year-old man, both of whom died in road accidents, and implanted it into living eggs that subsequently divided in the laboratory to form embryos.

But an attempt to make a third clone, using DNA taken from a dummy and nasal extractor belonging to a baby who died, has so far failed to provide results.

The controversial experiment is certain to provoke a furious backlash from critics, who will accuse Zavos, from Lexington, Kentucky, of using gruesome Frankenstein science and of playing God.

It will also lead to accusations that he is exploiting vulnerable people by raising false hopes that they can bring their dead loved ones back.

The road to human cloning is lined with hucksters like this waiting to exploit empty promises. If we really want to go down this road, these guy have to be dealt with early and often.

Pre-convention bounce?
For the first time all year, President Bush has moved ahead of John Kerry in the Rasmussen Reports Electoral College Projection, just as the Republican National Convention is getting underway.

The polling company says its latest numbers show Bush leading in states with 213 electoral votes, while Kerry is ahead in states with 207. There are 118 electoral votes in the toss-up column, and the magic number to win the White House is 270.

Over this past weekend, Arkansas, Virginia and Missouri moved from toss-up to "leans Bush." Minnesota moved from "leans Kerry" to toss-up. Maine and Michigan moved in Kerry's direction – from toss-up to "leans Kerry."

Rasmussen considers any state where polls show a candidate leading by less than five percentage points to be a toss-up.

Of course, this has nothing to do with the convention, but most likely the results of the Swift Boat Vets' challenge. I wasn't sure if "Vietnam Fatigue" had already hit in this campaign season, but perhaps not. If that's true, then further revelations from their book could be Kerry's undoing.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Chrenkoff on "doing nothing":
So next time somebody tells you that we should leave the foreigners alone and let them sort their own problems, remember these three simple propositions:

1) sometimes the alternatives to war are even worse.

2) sometimes our interests don't stop at our shoreline.

3) sometimes it's better to fight them in Fallujah.

Read all of "Why We Fight". It's long but worth the time.

From Brain Shavings, score one more actual success with adult stem cells (vs. embryonic stem cells, where the score is still 0).

"Bring it on", John Kerry challenged when asked about challenges to his Vietnam record. By "bring it on", of course, he meant more accolades; anything critical requires him to try to stifle it, whether it's filing FEC complaints or grandstanding. And it's no wonder; every time someone looks at his record, there's more contradiction.
Raising questions about John Kerry's Silver Star medal won in Vietnam, two researchers say its accompanying citation was reissued twice, an "unheard of" occurrence serving to expunge from the record the shooting of an enemy solider [sic] in the back and upgrade the signer from an admiral to the secretary of the Navy.

To reissue a citation, regulations would have required Kerry to prove there was an error in the previous citation or that the existence of the citation somehow constituted an "injustice," say Henry Mark Holzer and Erika Holzer, writing in Front Page magazine.


The authors, who want Kerry to release all documents related to the citations, have noted another peculiarity about Kerry's Silver Star -- its unauthorized "V" for valor which "makes it facially false, they say, and at variance with official government records." That's because Silver Stars are given for gallantry and never are accompanied with a combat "V," which would be redundant. But Kerry's DD 214, or "Report of Transfer and Separation," displayed on his website, shows the "V."

Oh, and in case you were wondering...
The researchers are not affiliated with Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth, the group of 254 men who served with Kerry in Vietnam and now assert he is unfit to be commander in chief of the United States.

And here's another account...
Former Navy Secretary John Lehman has no idea where a Silver Star citation displayed on Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry's campaign Web site came from, he said Friday. The citation appears over Lehman's signature.

"It is a total mystery to me. I never saw it. I never signed it. I never approved it. And the additional language it contains was not written by me," he said.

The additional language varied from the two previous citations, signed first by Adm. Elmo Zumwalt and then Adm. John Hyland, which themselves differ. The new material added in the Lehman citation reads in part: "By his brave actions, bold initiative, and unwavering devotion to duty, Lieutenant (jg) Kerry reflected great credit upon himself...."

Asked how the citation could have been executed over his signature without his knowledge, Lehman said: "I have no idea. I can only imagine they were signed by an autopen." The autopen is a device often used in the routine execution of executive documents in government.

Autopen is one thing, but having comments supposedly from him added to the citation without his knowledge is certainly worthy of investigation.

Glenn Reynolds agrees and has more analysis. His view of the medal issue as simply a "distraction" is changing a bit due to this.

Friday, August 27, 2004

A couple days ago I mentioned that one of the lawyers for the Bush campaign also did work for the Swifties. Under campaign finance "reform", this was perfectly legal, but Ginsburg resigned so as to not detract from the campaign. Wonder if these guys will be quitting anytime soon (or if they'll get major media press coverage).
Start with Robert Bauer. His Web site identifies him as national counsel to the Kerry-Edwards campaign (he's paid by the Democratic National Committee).

But he also represents America Coming Together, which is spending millions on mobilizing pro-Kerry voters and has been described as "the major ground-war vehicle for the Democratic groups."

In fact, ACT's president, Ellen Malcolm, boasts that her group is "looking for effective ways to do the work of delivering the message and getting out the vote that used to be done by the party."

Or Joe Sandler, who advises and also works for the DNC, which works directly with Kerry's folks.

Or Harold Ickes, the former Clinton politico, who also advises both America Coming Together and the Democratic National Committee and is president of the Media Fund.

The phrase "double standard" keeps coming up with the Kerry campaign; with the campaign lawyers, with the complaints about 527 groups, with the "how dare you challenge a Vietnam vet" stance. He claims to want an honest debate about the issues, but he won't be honest or consistent about the mechanics of a campaign. What makes us think he'll be honest with the issues he wants to address?

Well, nothing, actually.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Brain Shavings has read his copy of "Unfit for Command" and comments on a portion of it where Kerry tried to bargain with one of the original organizers of "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth". Kerry would rewrite his admittedly unfair representation of this Admiral in Kerry's book "Tour of Duty" if the Admiral would stop his efforts to challenge him.

That's all you need to know, both about Kerry and about the SBVT's revelations. As the charges continue to come out, I think we'll see that it's not just about "Christmas in Cambodia". There's a lot more waiting to explode on the scene.

Also, he's got a great graphical description of John Kerry's definition of the phrase "served together".

(Check out the "Homespun Bloggers" blogroll. That's where I found him. The list just keeps on growing; who can keep up? >grin<)

As noted by Croooow Blog, another installment of Good News Watch:
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently snuck out a telling confession beneath everyone's radar: Its flagship payroll survey is likely undercounting hundreds of thousands of jobs.
Most economic observers were too busy fretting over the lackluster gain of 32,000 payroll jobs in July to take notice of the other positive indicators, let alone the quiet little study that acknowledges payrolls have a problem.

The study describes how job-changing can inflate the payroll survey's numbers artificially. When worker turnover is brisk, as in the late 1990s, millions of workers are counted twice when they switch jobs. About 3.9 million people changed employers during a typical month during the 1990s, but only 3.1 million do so now.

Why is job-changing dropping? Maybe stability is preferred since 9/11. Perhaps lower turnover is a reflection of the aging workforce and low participation rate of current teens. Or maybe more workers are becoming self-employed. The reason doesn't matter, but the effect on payrolls does.

So comparing the Bush economy with the Clinton economy is almost an apples-to-oranges comparison. Time for a better statistic, I imagine.

So what's the good news? The good news is that the economy is even better that the stats show.

UPDATE: Little Red Blog has further comments.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Mail early and avoid the Christmas rush.
A woman in County Donegal in the Irish Republic has received a Christmas card from a nearby relative - almost five years late.

The card Peggy Watson got from her cousin Diana was posted on December 17, 1999, in the town of Raphoe.

Peggy, 85, lives just three miles away.

Looks like Democrats are stepping all over themselves overstepping their authority on the same-sex marriage issue. First it was judges, now local canvassing boards are doing it.
Backers of a ban on same-sex marriage in Michigan will have to go to court to get their proposal on the November ballot, following the unexpected and stunning rejection of the group’s petitions by the Board of State Canvassers on Monday.

The Citizens for the Protection of Marriage could find themselves waiting in line for a court date with those who want to see third-party presidential candidate Ralph Nader on the ballot in Michigan. The board also denied Nader a spot on the ballot as an independent. Both issues failed on a 2-2 partisan vote with Republicans in favor and Democrats opposed. A majority vote was needed.


The setback for advocates of the gay marriage prohibition was easily the most surprising development of the contentious four-hour meeting. Opponents of the ban did not even challenge the petitions, and the vote not to certify came despite staff recommendations to approve the issue.

A Secretary of State Elections Division review showed the proponents filed 464,243 valid signatures. They needed only 317,757.

Democrats who voted against the measure said it could be construed to outlaw domestic partnership benefits, union contracts, common law marriage, the equal protection clause and religious freedom.

“To put on the ballot a proposal that can never be enforced is a lie,” said Doyle O’Connor, a Democratic member of the board. “We have to vote our own conscience.”

An attorney for supporters said the board clearly overstepped its authority when it rejected the proposal based on the substance of the issue. It is supposed to decide simply whether the petition signatures are valid and sufficient, he said.

“Are we going to court? We have no choice,” Eric Doster said. “This was a clear violation of their legal duty.”

Sound familiar? Liberals are covering all the bases they can. When the courts look like they'll legislate from the bench, attempts to put the issue to a vote can be hampered by many other means. And of course, if this means ignoring current law, that doesn't matter to them. Activists judges have begat activist local politicians and board members.

I keep hearing about how conservatives (and, even more so, religious conservatives) want to shove their view of morality down your throat. Sorry, but same-sex marriage advocates are second to none in this regard.

First the book, now the movie.
As controversy over John Kerry's Vietnam service holds center stage in the presidential campaign, a war veteran is about to release a television documentary with devastating testimony by former POWs of the demoralizing impact of the senators' war-crimes accusations more than 30 years ago.


The documentary has no official connection to the swiftboats group, the source said, but one of the POWs the film features is Paul Galanti, who appears in the group's second ad, released this week.

Galanti, who spent more than six years in prison after being shot down south of Hanoi, says he first heard Kerry's testimony in late 1971 when it was broadcast by his Vietnamese captors over the public address system in the infamous "Hanoi Hilton."

Jerome Corsi, co-author of the swiftboat vets' book, "Unfit for Command," said he has seen some of the taped interviews used in the documentary.

"They are very, very powerful," he told [WorldNetDaily].

So what does Kerry think about this?
Kerry told Fox News in March he had no regrets about his service or his protest.

"Now, if some veterans still can't accept that or they don't like the fact that I stood up and spoke my mind, I respect them, that is their choice," he said.

On Sunday, the Kerry campaign's veterans organizer, John Hurley, said in an interview on Fox News Sunday that Kerry stands by his claims in 1971 before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that U.S. soldiers in Vietnam regularly, and as a matter of official policy, committed war atrocities against innocent civilians.

He denied that Kerry had overstated the case against the war when he returned home as a spokesman for the Vietnam Veterans Against the War.

So it sounds like Kerry's going to let his record stand on his war protest, although if he handles this in a similar fashion to the Swifties, the complaints will not be very far behind.

The Washington Times is reporting...
John Kerry's own wartime journal is raising questions about whether he deserved the first of three Purple Hearts, which permitted him to go home after 4½ months of combat.


Mr. Kerry has claimed that he faced his "first intense combat" that day, returned fire, and received his "first combat related injury."

A journal entry Mr. Kerry wrote Dec. 11, however, raises questions about what really happened nine days earlier.

"A cocky feeling of invincibility accompanied us up the Long Tau shipping channel because we hadn't been shot at yet, and Americans at war who haven't been shot at are allowed to be cocky," wrote Mr. Kerry, according the book "Tour of Duty" by friendly biographer Douglas Brinkley.

If enemy fire was not involved in that or any other incident, according to the Military Order of the Purple Heart, no medal should be awarded.

But your humble blogger mentioned this back on the 18th.

Advantage Considerettes (and WorldNetDaily)!

That was John Kerry then...
"Well, if he wants to have a debate about our service in Vietnam, here is my answer: Bring it on."

This is John Kerry now...
The Kerry letter, signed by at least seven Democratic senators who have served in the military, calls on Bush to "recognize this blatant attempt at character assassination, and publicly condemn it."

"Call on this group to cease and desist," they wrote.

Again, it's not "character assassination" if it's true, as the Kerry campaign has had to admit on more than one occasion so far. Of course he wants Bush's condemnation of those ads; they're working because there's something to them.

(UPDATE: Speaking of the whole letter-delivery incident, the play-to-the-cameras bit done by Cleland really ticked marc off. You don't want to do that. Follow the link.)

One other note: In the second article there is a mention of a lawyer working for the Bush campaign doing some work for the Swifties. MSNBC has further details. But there's a problem with the Kerry campaign charge in this.
A top lawyer in President Bush's reelection campaign acknowledged Tuesday that he has been advising the veterans group seeking to discredit Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kerry's military record, an admission the Kerry campaign said is evidence the president's campaign is orchestrating a "smear" by the private group.

Fair enough, this certainly does have the appearance of bolstering the Kerry campaign's complaint to the FEC about unlawful collusion between the Bush camp and a 527 group. But read on.
Benjamin L. Ginsberg, the chief outside counsel to the Bush campaign who also has advised Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, said in an interview: "I've done some work for them. ... The law lets lawyers do that ... and does not include lawyers among the coordinated political activities" that are prohibited by federal election law. He said two prominent Democratic lawyers are doing the same thing.

Other election lawyers agreed that the fact that Ginsberg, who also was active in Bush's 2000 campaign, has been giving legal advice to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth does not necessarily violate campaign finance law prohibiting collusion between campaigns and independent groups.

Now remember, Kerry voted for these campaign finance laws, so it's extremely difficult now for his campaign to credibly try to stretch the truth so that what he was for he is now against. This was the bill you voted for, big guy. Can't handle the Swifties? Then call off, who's ads, by contrast, have generated way more heat than light. They haven't required the Bush campaign to shift into serious damage control mode because there has to be some semblance of truth for that to happen.

Welcome to the bed you made. Now lie in it.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Why does it take a comedy show to ask the hard questions?
As Kerry launched into one of his lengthy monologues about why President Bush avoids talking about issues like the economy, jobs and the environment, [Jon Stewart of the Daily Show] interrupted.

"I'm sorry," Stewart said. "Were you or were you not in Cambodia?"

Of course, it's a safe environment, especially with a sympathetic host.
Stewart and Kerry then lean in and stare each other down over the comedian's desk before Stewart asks about some of the other things Kerry's opponents are saying about him.

Thanks, Jon, for your contribution to the debate. The problem is, you can't decide whether or not you want to be taken seriously. While you are obviously a comedian (that is the main point of "The Daily Show" of course), you're also blatantly partisan. You can be serious.
When the conversation turned serious, Stewart asked Kerry how he would counter Bush's ability in debates to turn issues into a choice between his position and the opposition.

Kerry said the debates would be a challenge. "The president has won every debate he's ever had," Kerry said. "He beat Ann Richards. He beat Al Gore. So, he's a good debater."

But when you give your guy a free pass on a point on which his campaign has been unravelling, don't ever expect to be taken as any more than half-serious when you make any sort of commentary, which you do quite often.

P.S. Is the glass half serious or half silly?

UPDATE: David Limbaugh has more on the appearance.

Put a date on this group of quotes.
The Commission by its own action, or more precisely inaction, today has given the "green light" to all non-federal "527's" to forge full steam ahead in their efforts to affect the outcome of this year's Federal elections and, in particular, the presidential race.


As FEC Commissioner Michael Toner said, "Delaying a decision is making a decision-namely, that we are not going to issue any regulations for the 2004 elections. We are going to see a new 'soft money' arms race for the 2004 election."


Look at the blatant anti-President Bush and pro-Kerry activity by, The Media Fund, ACT and others.


The 2004 elections will now be a free-for-all. Thanks to the deliberate inaction by the Federal Election Commission, the battle of the 527's is likely to escalate to a full scale, two-sided war.

Nope, this isn't part of Bush's condemning of 527 group ads from yesterday. These quotes come from a Bush/Cheney press release on the use of "soft money" in 527 organizations by the Federal Election Commission. The press release was issues in May. This was way before the Swifties were a factor, and when MoveOn was doing far worse to Bush than the Swifties are to Kerry (and MoveOn's still getting better funding; thanks Uncle Soros).

And now Terry McAuliffe calls Bush's denouncement "too little, too late"? Folks, Bush has been against soft money for 527s for a lot longer than most Democrats remember (for McAuliffe, that means farther back than last week, apparently).

Drudge is reporting on a phone call Kerry made to one of the swift boat vets who are opposed to him. The conversation is instructive.
[Robert "Friar Tuck"] Brant [USN (RET)] received a call from Kerry at his home in Virginia while he was watching the Olympics on TV.

The call lasted 10 minutes, sources tell DRUDGE.

KERRY: "Why are all these swift boat guys opposed to me?"

BRANT: "You should know what you said when you came back, the impact it had on the young sailors and how it was disrespectful of our guys that were killed over there."

Is this really a mystery to Kerry? The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth certainly hasn't been quiet about why its members oppose him. And Kerry's own folks have been trying to silence them, so they must know what the issues are.

But watch how Kerry tries to smooth things over.
KERRY: "When we dedicated swift boat one in '92, I said to all the swift guys that I wasn't talking about the swifties, I was talking about all the rest of the veterans."

"But I meant everybody else, not you guys." Puleeeeze! This sounds like a child trying to smooth things over with his friends after a temper tantrum, and 20 years after the fact to boot.

This sounds desperate.

UPDATE: More at marcland. (But I beat you to the punch by 45 minutes, dude. >grin<) His admonition is correct: "This is on Drudge, so I take it with a grain of salt...."

Monday, August 23, 2004

Add one more problem with Kerry's "Christmas in Cambodia" story. Now, the Kerry campaign has said that maybe just the timing's wrong, but before he left in March of 1969 he was in Cambodia. But there's still another problem even being in Cambodia as late as that.
Kerry said his boat took fire from Khmer Rouge forces, the Communist army under the direction of Pol Pot.

The Khmer Rouge were unheard of in 1968 and 1969 and began their guerrilla campaigns to topple the Cambodia government in 1970, even then with only a handful of soldiers numbering perhaps 3,000, according to a variety of historians who have chronicled Pol Pot's eventual genocidal reign.

It was not until 1975, following the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Vietnam, that Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge army, consisting mainly of teen-age peasant guerrillas, marched into Phnom Penh April 17 and effectively seized control of Cambodia.

Kerry's speech from the floor of the Senate on March 27, 1986, specifically mentioned the Khmer Rouge. This is yet another embellishment of a supposedly "seared" memory that just keeps unravelling the closer you look at it.

The big question, of course, is how much of what he says can we believe? This story isn't just some tale he'd tell to war buddies over drinks; he's been making political points with these claims for 3 decades. And now he's handing us the ultimate embellishment. He's taking a war in which he was "ashamed of and hated", where the war there was a "mystical war against communism", where he didn't think America's national interests were involved, and now he's casting it as a war in defense of America so he can use applause lines like, "I defended this country as a young man and I will defend it as President."

He embellished then, and now he's telling tall tales that would make Baron Munchausen blush, and all surrounding an event that he's made the centerpiece of his campaign. Is this the kind of guy you want running the country: Senator John F. Munchausen (D-Moon)?

A Considerettes Public Service Announcement: I peruse my web server logs frequently, and I'm noticing a few folks coming to this site who are going directly to the archive page for this month. No doubt these are folks who felt this site worth bookmarking, having come from the Instapundit link of a week and a half ago. With the Blogger service, permalinks go to a specific point in the archive page, so there's just one page per month in the archives, not one per post. So while your bookmarked page seems to be continually updated properly, it'll come to a screeching halt come September 1st. To avoid the impression that this blog will have been abandoned at that time, check the URL you just came to. If it ends with:


then you've bookmarked the archive page. Just delete that portion of the URL and you'll get the main page, which shows post just from the last week (instead of the whole month of August). I'm honored that y'all thought this blog worth bookmarking, and I just want to make sure you are where you intend to be.

This has been a public service announcement. We now return you to the regularly scheduled blog, already in progress.

Last Friday, a "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" ad "prompted the Kerry campaign to file a complaint with the Federal Election Commission that alleged the group behind the ad was illegally coordinating its efforts with the Bush-Cheney campaign".

I wonder if those ties with 527 groups is as tight as the Kerry campaign's are, hmmm?

Friday, August 20, 2004

Double standards anyone?
The Bush campaign has suggested that Sen. John Kerry join President Bush in calling off the dogs -- those "shadowy" 527 groups that run ads for and against Bush and Kerry.

The liberal group and the anti-Kerry group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth are both 527s, named after a section of the tax code.

But on Friday, a spokeswoman for the Kerry campaign backed away from the suggestion. She said what is doing is perfectly fine, while what the Swift Boat Veterans are doing is "dishonest" and "dishonorable."

Debra Deshong of the Kerry campaign told Fox News there's a difference between and Swift Boat Veterans for Truth: " is an independent organization that existed well before the Kerry campaign," she said, whereas Swift Boat Veterans for Truth "is not an independent group."

Kerry wants the Swiftie book banned, but's Hitler ads are fair game? For the love of all that is political, how can you possibly defend this position? Let's parse a later paragraph:
"Again, we (the Kerry campaign) have nothing to do with these independent ads, like That is an independent organization that existed well before the Kerry campaign. They have every right to be running what they are under the campaign finance laws." According to Deshong, "This is about the Swift Boat Vets that are running dishonorable ads that Bush refuses to condemn."

The Kerry campaign has "nothing to do with these independent ads, like". Fair enough, but by their protestations the implication is that the Bush camp is fully involved with the Swifties. Strategically, Ms. Deshong doesn't actually say that, but heavily implies it.

And she says that has "every right to be running what they are under the campaign finance laws." The same could be said about the Swifties, but again she doesn't say that. Also by implication she's suggesting that the complaints about MoveOn have to do with their ads being supposedly illegal, but no one's saying that.

And finally, "This is about the Swift Boat Vets that are running dishonorable ads that Bush refuses to condemn." There's a host of news articles citing Kerry's challenge to Bush to condemn these ads, but what you've heard virtually nothing about is that the first ad and first chapter released of their book "Unfit for Command" hit the mark dead on, and caused Kerry to retreat from his "Christmas in Cambodia" story. What exactly is there to condemn? And is Ms. Deshong, by implication, calling the ads "honorable"? That would be overly kind.

The left is coming unhinged, and the press is doing their utmost to bury, spin and/or ignore the bad news unlike they ever have before. Well, let me qualify that. They might have done it this blatantly before, but they didn't have the blogosphere to contend with in the past as the do in this election cycle. "Freedom of the press belongs to those who own one", goes the old saying. But now, for a pittance, anyone can own a digital press.

John Gilmore, a founding member of the Electronic Freedom Foundation once said, "The Net treats censorship as damage and routes around it." Dean Esmay has updated this for the old media. "The Internet has detected the mainstream media as a form of censorship and simply routed around them." Indeed it has. Let's hope the word of this gets out to those who are still under the influence.

On a page describing the science of the technology from the Star Trek TV series, there's this comment about the Holodeck.
One thing I can't figure out is how they make the holodeck scroll. It is a small room, but when they go in, they walk for miles and never hit a wall. Neat idea, though.

Wonder no more.
Intelligent floor tiles that allow a person to walk through a virtual environment while remaining in one spot have been developed by Japanese researchers.

Hiroyuki Fukushima and colleagues from the University of Tsukuba, in Ibaraki, and ATR Media Information Research Labs, in Kyoto, came up with the smart tile system, dubbed CirculaFloor.

The system can be connected to a virtual reality headset to let a person move through a computer-generated world while remaining in the same space.

Existing virtual reality systems typically rely on a user navigating through a space using a joystick or some other controller. But this lacks realism and can even cause dizziness because visual stimulation will not be matched by a physical feeling of movement.

The new prototype consists of four square floor tiles, each incorporating several motors and wheels to enable the tiles to move in any direction. The tiles move to cancel out the motion of someone walking. They use magnetic sensors attached to the walker's feet to determine the direction they are walking.

As the user passes over one tile it repositions itself to create the illusion of a continuous floor. If someone is walking forwards, for example, the backmost tile will race to the front of the line to let them continue.

CirculaFloor has a website and a demo movie (22 meg MPEG).

Which would you rather experiment on to advance medical science; monkeys or babies? First note that many liberals want to push ahead with using embryonic stem cells in research, but also ally with PETA to keep animals from being used in research. Now, that's a generalization to be sure, but it's generally true. The Democrats put Ron Reagan on the stand to defend embryonic stem cell research, but I wonder what their position is on this:
A worldwide shortage of laboratory apes and monkeys could be holding back research into new drug treatments and genetics, it has been claimed.

The problem, highlighted in the first global audit of primate studies, is said to threaten advances aimed at tackling HIV and neurological diseases.

So if you believe that George W. Bush is personally holding back a cure for Parkinson's disease, do you also believe that PETA is keeping the world from a cure for AIDS?


OK, advertising is a hassle of everyday life that we put up with, since it generally brings down the cost of a lot of things (like free broadcast TV, for instance). But here's a concept in advertising that is truly cool.
Miami-based Royal Caribbean International said it will this week begin a series of ad photos the motion of the train will make run like a film on Boston's underground transit system, the "T."

The advertisement, to promote its Caribbean vacations, created by the line's agency of record Arnold Worldwide, runs frame by frame, laid out sequentially along the subway tunnel walls like a section of movie film.

Instead of moving film, passengers move past the images, the cruise line said.

"The motion of the train takes the place of a projector, bringing the still photos to life," Royal Caribbean elaborated.

The images show guests on a Royal Caribbean cruise at play in the Caribbean: cutting through the water on Wave Runners, scuba diving, racing in two-person inflatable boats and climbing a rock-climbing wall.

"The placement and lighting of the photos have been synchronized with the cruising speed of the train to tap into the scientific marvel of persistence of vision, a phenomenon in which the brain pieces together multiple images to form a single, fluid picture," Royal Caribbean said.

Do charter schools (independently run public schools) have lower-than-average test scores than regular public schools? Yes they do, but as Jay Greene (via Pejmanesque) notes:
Such a broad comparison between charter schools and regular public schools is sheer nonsense. Unlike regular public schools, many charter schools are specifically designed to serve students with low test scores. Denouncing charter schools for having lower-than-average test scores is like denouncing drug rehab clinics for having more drug users than regular hospitals. A recent Manhattan Institute study found that a large number of charter schools are specifically targeted to educate particular underperforming populations.Across the nation there are charter schools with the stated purpose of educating groups like pregnant teens, high school dropouts, delinquent youth, or even the broadly defined group of at-risk children. About 13% of New York's charter schools are targeted to such underperforming populations. So are about 41% of charter schools in Texas and 67% of charter schools in Illinois.

And, of course, this bit of junk science/polling made the NY Times front page on August 17th.
The findings, buried in mountains of data the Education Department released without public announcement, dealt a blow to supporters of the charter school movement, including the Bush administration.

It's very odd that the Times can find useless poll data to smear the Bush administration, but can't seem to find time to cover Kerry challenges from the Swifties. Or not.

The letters to the editor that came in on this (that were published) included one noting Greene's point, but also one citing another reason this is an apples and oranges comparison.
Many parents choose charter schools to escape the value placed on standardized tests in public schools, but we are using those same tests to judge how well these schools are faring. Since many charter schools offer alternative choices that veer away from the teach-to-the-test mentality of public schools, the children in those schools, and the schools themselves, should be assessed accordingly.

Lumping all charter schools together and declaring failure hurts more children than it helps.

Standardized tests pigeonhole students and schools. It is time to stop allowing them to control students, teachers and the system.

A better measure would be to see how the charter school students were faring in public school vs. how they are faring in charter schools. I'd be very interested in those results.

Can't stand the heat? Ban the book.
The Kerry campaign has told Salon that the publisher of "Unfit for Command," the book that is at the center of the attack on Kerry's military record by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, is retailing a hoax and should consider withdrawing it from bookstores. "No publisher should want to be selling books with proven falsehoods in them, especially falsehoods that are meant to smear the military service of an American veteran," said Kerry campaign spokesman Chad Clanton. "If I were them, I'd be ducking under my desk wondering what to do. This is a serious problem."

Ah, I see. And what is Mr. Kerry's position on a movie with "proven falsehoods" all through it, and who's writer got one of the best seats in the house at his party's convention?

Frankly, the Swifties have a better track record so far than Michael Moore does. That's a serious problem--for Kerry.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

A Considerettes Correction: Last Saturday I noted a post by Captain Ed that there was news that David Alston, a Swiftie who spoke at the Democratic National Convention in support of John Kerry, might not actually have served with him, which is how he was billed. However, on NRO, Byron York sets the record straight.
In the last few days, there's been a new accusation floating around the Internet about John Kerry's Vietnam record. It involves speculation that David Alston, one of the "band of brothers" who served on board Kerry's Swift Boat, did not actually serve with Kerry at all. If such a story were true, it would be sensational news, given that Alston has made extensive public statements, including a speech at the Democratic National Convention, about his time with Kerry. The only problem is, it's not true. Alston did indeed serve under Kerry.

But the attention the rumor brought to Alston and his service aboard Kerry's boat, PCF-94, has cast new light on the time the men were together. And it appears that while Alston was in fact on board PCF-94 when Kerry was in command, his total time of service under Kerry was quite brief — perhaps as little as seven days. According to records of Kerry's service posted on his campaign's website, it appears the two men were in actual combat together on two of those days.

Seven days out of 4 months is almost (tap tap tap) 6% of Kerry's total time in action. Not much, but nonetheless Alston did serve with Kerry. But there is more to the story. RTWT.

Global Warming update: Poo matters.
In science the little things really do count. Just ask Tasmanian researcher Dr Karin Beaumont, who is making it her life's work to discover how the microscopic poo of tiny ocean organisms is affecting global climate change.

The minuscule zooplankton feed on ocean algae which, like all plants, use carbon dioxide to photosynthesise.

The carbon absorbed by the zooplankton is released in its faeces and if it floats to the surface it can be reabsorbed into the atmosphere and contribute to the greenhouse gases that cause global warming.

If it sinks to the bottom of the ocean it is locked up in sedimentary rock for thousands, if not millions, of years, keeping down the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Now if you're still not convinced you care whether zooplankton drop sinkers or floaters you should know there are more than 1500 million tonnes of protozoa, a type of zooplankton, in the Southern Ocean alone.

All the penguins, seals, whales and other animals in the Southern Ocean make up only 16 million tonnes.

And the ocean algae they feed on absorb about 40 per cent of the carbon dioxide taken up by plants globally.

So, Dr Beaumont says, these tiny little poos matter.

I blame the internal combustion engine for this.

Then there's good ol' Sol:
The controversial idea that cosmic rays could be driving global warming by influencing cloud cover will get a boost at a conference next week. But some scientists dismiss the idea and are worried that it will detract from efforts to curb rising levels of greenhouse gases.

That last phrase should probably read, "worried that it will detract from their pet causes and make them look foolish."
At issue is whether cosmic rays, the high-energy particles spat out by exploding stars elsewhere in the galaxy, can affect the temperature on Earth. The suggestion is that cosmic rays crashing into the atmosphere ionise the molecules they collide with, triggering cloud formation.

If the flux of cosmic rays drops, fewer clouds will form and the planet will warm up. No one yet understands the mechanism, which was first described in the late 1990s. But what makes it controversial is that climate models used to predict the consequences of rising levels of greenhouse gases do not allow for the effect, and may be inaccurate.

The bottom line is that if man's not the major cause of global warming, these guys' funding will dry up, their activism will be shown for what it is, and they won't be taken seriously anymore.
Some proponents of the theory argue that changes in the number of cosmic rays reaching Earth can explain past climate change as well as global warming today. Nir Shaviv of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel, and Jan Veizer of the University of Ottawa in Ontario, Canada, claimed in 2003 that changes in cosmic-ray flux are the major reason for temperature changes over the past 500 million years (GSA Today, July 2003, p 4).

They argued that changes in carbon dioxide levels over the same period had a much smaller effect on temperature than previously assumed, suggesting that today's soaring levels of the greenhouse gas may have less impact than scientists anticipate. "It makes you think maybe it's a waste implementing the Kyoto Protocol and losing all those trillions of dollars," says Shaviv.

Bingo. The article has the details on the theory.

UPDATE: Added the actual link to the cosmic rays article. Doh!

Score one for the rule of law.
BOSTON — A Superior Court judge on Wednesday declined to halt enforcement of a 1913 state law barring out-of-state gay couples from marrying in Massachusetts, despite a concern that the statute violates the spirit of the state´s landmark same-sex marriage decision.

The law prohibits marriages that would not be legal in the couple´s home state. In what is likely to be the first of several phases in the case, Superior Court Judge Carol Ball denied a request by eight out-of-state gay couples for a preliminary injunction blocking the state from enforcing the residency requirement.

A few points:
  • The "spirit" of a new law does not invalidate an existing law. If you want to get rid of the old one, that's what the legislature is for. Here we have another case of liberal activists trying to do an end run around the proper process (mostly because they know they couldn't win there).
  • This is a good example of homosexuals trying to get special rights not afforded others. I don't recall any previous challenges to the 1913 law by anyone else, but when it's applied to same-sex marriage all of a sudden it's a travesty of justice.

But it ain't over yet.
"We think this is going to go up the ladder," said Michele Granda, an attorney with Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders. "We always knew this was really just round one and round two will be at the appellate court."

Yup, they're just going to work their way up to a court willing to ignore the law.
In her decision, Ball said she sympathized with the plaintiff couples and was "troubled" by the state´s decision to suddenly begin enforcing the law after the Goodridge decision.

But Ball said the 1913 law, as currently enforced, is being applied equally to all nonresidents. "Clerks were instructed to do so for all couples and all impediments, not just for same-sex couples," Ball wrote.

The law, enacted when some states had laws prohibiting interracial unions, had in the past been applied to couples that didn´t meet their states´ age requirement for marriage, and for weddings between blood relatives and couples of different races.

But Ball said the law was not discriminatory because the state has a rational reason to ensure that marriages approved in Massachusetts have validity in other states.

"Safeguarding the benefits, obligations and protections of the parties, including the children, of a marriage that the Commonwealth has helped create, is a legitimate governmental objective," Ball wrote.

Congratulations to Judge Ball for using reason and justice, in spite of her being "troubled' by the timing of things, to enforce the laws as written. I would try to ease her mind by noting that there were no real stark differences in different states' requirements for marriage licenses prior to the same-sex marriage issue (less so if you just look at the nearby states), so enforcement didn't need to be a priority. Now, with such a gulf between Massachusetts and the rest of the country, it must be more strenuously enforced. And if it's being applied equally, there shouldn't be an issue with that.

Well, except for that whole "special rights" thing.

Planned Parenthood is racist and anti-male? Say it isn't so!
Several black and Hispanic male employees of Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles have filed multiple complaints of racism against the organization, charging they were the subject of constant slurs in a hostile, anti-male environment controlled by white women.

The employees made the allegations in sworn affidavits filed with California's Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC, and Fair Employment & Housing Administration, or FEHA.

According to an EEOC affidavit filed by employee Nnamdi Nkwuda, a member of Planned Parenthood's management "used the word nigger directed to me."

"I am African and was shocked by her cultural insensitivity," Nkwuda stated. "I immediately placed my concerns in writing and requested disciplinary action with the human resources department at PPLA. Nothing ever happened to my complaint. In fact, I was later put on probation by a female supervisor and then terminated. ... There appeared to be a damaging anti-male bias in the organization."

PPLA spokeswoman Laura Morgan did not immediately respond to WND's request for a response to the charges.


A female PPLA contractor, responsible for ensuring the organization complies with regulations, said in a sworn statement a corporate officer "initiated an investigation on the occasion of one of his employees being called a 'nigger' and he was prevented from finishing this investigation. The perpetrator of this ethnic slur ... was never punished for this action."

Another sworn statement from the female PPLA contractor, whose name was withheld, said Planned Parenthood "posters showing males as irresponsible are prominently displayed throughout headquarters; one shows an African American leaving his child abandoned in the middle of an apartment; another shows all male US Supreme Court justices beating down on women's rights ... ."

She said the organization also had postings criticizing President Bush and denouncing Rev. Jerry Falwell even though Planned Parenthood is a nonprofit organization legally required to avoid political activity.

Another female employee, reacting to knowledge of racism at Planned Parenthood, said, under oath, "There was a sense that any employee who was not a white female was going to be carefully watched."

"I am an African-American who witnessed and experienced it," she said. " ... It upset me because if they allowed her to call him one, they were probably calling all of the African-American[s] nigger too."

The employee also corroborated the claim that Planned Parenthood prominently displayed anti-male propaganda throughout the office.

If corresponding attitudes & political propaganda was found in, say, a 501(3)(c) organization that was trying to prevent abortions, who do you think would be the first group to say they need to be investigated with regard to their tax exempt status, hmmm?

One of the Swifties challenging John Kerry is having a disconnect with his own records.
Newly obtained military records of one of Sen. John F. Kerry's most vocal critics, who has accused the Democratic presidential candidate of lying about his wartime record to win medals, contradict his own version of events.

In newspaper interviews and a best-selling book, Larry Thurlow, who commanded a Navy Swift boat alongside Kerry in Vietnam, has strongly disputed Kerry's claim that the Massachusetts Democrat's boat came under fire during a mission in Viet Cong-controlled territory on March 13, 1969. Kerry won a Bronze Star for his actions that day.

But Thurlow's military records, portions of which were released yesterday to The Washington Post under the Freedom of Information Act, contain several references to "enemy small arms and automatic weapons fire" directed at "all units" of the five-boat flotilla. Thurlow won his own Bronze Star that day, and the citation praises him for providing assistance to a damaged Swift boat "despite enemy bullets flying about him."

But Thurlow's sticking by his story.
Last month, Thurlow swore in an affidavit that Kerry was "not under fire" when he fished Lt. James Rassmann out of the water. He described Kerry's Bronze Star citation, which says that all units involved came under "small arms and automatic weapons fire," as "totally fabricated."

"I never heard a shot," Thurlow said in his affidavit, which was released by Swift Boats Veterans for Truth. The group claims the backing of more than 250 Vietnam veterans, including a majority of Kerry's fellow boat commanders.

A document recommending Thurlow for the Bronze Star noted that all his actions "took place under constant enemy small arms fire which LTJG THURLOW completely ignored in providing immediate assistance" to the disabled boat and its crew. The citation states that all other units in the flotilla also came under fire.

"It's like a Hollywood presentation here, which wasn't the case," Thurlow said last night after being read the full text of his Bronze Star citation. "My personal feeling was always that I got the award for coming to the rescue of the boat that was mined. This casts doubt on anybody's awards. It is sickening and disgusting."

Thurlow said he would consider his award "fraudulent" if coming under enemy fire was the basis for it. "I am here to state that we weren't under fire," he said. He speculated that Kerry could have been the source of at least some of the language used in the citation.

A few things to note:
  • The major media sat on the "Christmas in Cambodia" story, one that is damaging to Kerry, for over a week. But should one of those challengers have a problem and wild horses can't keep them away from it. Oh, that liberal media.
  • Thurlow is not attacking those who are challenging him. He's not suing to keep their information off the air. He's just responding.
  • He's not the only one telling his version of the events, while Kerry is the only one in his supportive "band of brothers" talking about going into Cambodia.

There's a vast difference between the way these two men, Kerry and Thurlow, respond to allegations, which doesn't speak well about Kerry. And it shows the vast difference between the ways the major media cover the candidates.

Maybe Hugh Hewitt had a point when he said that folks really are expanding their horizons on news sources. Instapundit links to an editorial cartoon in the Charlotte Observer (registration required) that mocks Kerry's "Christmas in Cambodia" problem, which is a story that the Observer hasn't covered. Reynolds notes, "I think this says something significant about how people get news nowadays."

Could be the word is getting out. I certainly hope so.

More proof that if you're getting your news just from the major media, you're not getting the whole story.
Back in February, the three broadcast networks were obsessed with the story of President Bush's National Guard service. But in May, when John Kerry's former Navy colleagues from Vietnam went to the National Press Club to charge that Kerry's tales of heroism as a Swift Boat commander were highly exaggerated, those same networks acted as if their job was to bury the news, not report it.

The Media Research Center has documented 75 stories that ABCCBSNBC reported on the Bush AWOL charges compared to only 9 for the Swift Boat Vets for Truth. A one-page PDF of their findings is here, with a full rundown of Kerry Vietnam coverage here.

Why is all this "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" stuff important? John Hawkins answers with an apt analogy. Consider that before dismissing them.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Hypersensitivity update: New legislation in California is moving ahead to get rid of American Indian mascot names.
The California State Senate has passed what may be the most sweeping anti-Indian mascot law in the country. The legislation still has to clear a few more hurdles before becoming law.

The bill, by Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg, D-Los Angeles, was approved 22-10 and returned to the State Assembly for a vote on additional amendments inserted in the Senate. The bill then goes to the desk of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for final approval.

The legislation bans the use of the word “Redskin.” If approved and signed, the Mascot Bill would make California the first state to put a ban on mascot names. The ban would affect all middle- and high schools in the state, and would take affect January 1, 2006, but schools could continue using old team uniforms with the Redskin name on them until they wore out if they selected a new team name and discontinued using Redskins as a name for any school publications or on any marquees or signs.

Would they add to that ban "the Fighting Irish" as well? Maybe it's instructive that Irish folks aren't up in arms about that, petitioning Notre Dame to remove it.

And let's not forget the mascot born out of a protest against insensitivity, but it didn't get the reaction the protestors planned on: The Fightin' Whites.

There's a new member of the group "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth". John Kerry.
A previously unnoticed passage in John Kerry's approved war biography, citing his own journals, appears to contradict the senator's claim he won his first Purple Heart as a result of an injury sustained under enemy fire.

Kerry, who served as commander of a Navy swift boat, has insisted he was wounded by enemy fire Dec. 2, 1968, when he and two other men took a smaller vessel, a Boston Whaler, on a patrol north of his base at Cam Ranh Bay.

But Douglas Brinkley's "Tour of Duty," for which Kerry supplied his journals and letters, indicates that as Kerry set out on a subsequent mission, he had not yet been under enemy fire.

The article cites Douglas Brinkley's biography of Kerry. Kerry won his first Purple Heart on Dec. 2, 1968, but later on, when Kerry was leaving for a mission on PCF-44, Brinkley writes:
They pulled away from the pier at Cat Lo with spirits high, feeling satisfied with the way things were going for them. They had no lust for battle, but they also were were not afraid. Kerry wrote in his notebook, 'A cocky feeling of invincibility accompanied us up the Long Tau shipping channel because we hadn't been shot at yet, and Americans at war who haven't been shot at are allowed to be cocky.'

The article goes more into the parsing of the words as well.
Could the "we" to which Kerry referred in his notebook entry have meant only that his crew, rather than Kerry in particular, had not encountered enemy fire?

At least one other PCF-44 crew member was with Kerry during the Boston Whaler incident, Zaldonis, according to the Boston Globe's account of the story.

RTWT. (Read the whole thing.)

Via marcland, who's title "Tone Deaf" is quite accurate, and via Insight Scoop, comes this news.
The director of religious outreach for the Democratic Party says she resigned this week because of criticism over her support for removing the words "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance.

The Democratic National Committee is seeking a replacement for the Rev. Brenda Bartella Peterson, who resigned Wednesday after serving less than two weeks in the newly created position. DNC spokesman Jano Cabrera said the party had nothing to add to her resignation statement.

An interesting poll question for Democrats would be to ask if they notice the oddity.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Instapundit has some analysis on the appearance (finally) of the "Kerry in Cambodia" story in the LA Times and the Houston Chronicle. Glenn's best quote comes with noting the LA Times article vs. its editorial item on the same subject.
It's an interesting commentary on the state of journalism, when partisan opeds provide less spin -- even on behalf of their own team -- than ostensible "news" stories do.

It's all opinion these days, sounds like.

Next, a 7-day waiting period to buy...machetes?
A Second Amendment group says recent press reports out of Boston prove the point that criminals, not guns, are the problem.

"For years, the gun rights community has insisted that even if there were no guns, criminals would resort to some other type of weapon. The Massachusetts situation proves that point," said Joe Waldron, executive director of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

On Monday, the Boston Globe reported on the growing use of machetes by Hispanic gang members. One police detective quoted by the newspaper said in the past few years, police have confiscated at least 50 machetes that were used in crimes.

How can this be happening when guns are so well controlled? Another imponderable.
Several Boston-area communities have passed ordinances restricting or banning long knives.

"When are politicians going to wake up and understand that it's not inanimate objects -- whether we're talking about guns, knives, clubs or rocks -- but criminals that are causing urban and suburban problems?" asked Waldron.

Criminals are, in the case of both kinds of crime, the common denominator. Anyone listening?
Waldron also scolded news agencies for continuing to focus on gun crime despite a series of machete attacks. He pointed to an Associated Press report noting that "the surge of machete attacks has gained less attention than recent gun-related homicides in Boston parks."

Waldron sees the AP's admission as "proof positive that the media is more interested in demonizing guns than in focusing on violent criminals." He said such news coverage reinforces "negative public emotion toward guns, while devoting much less attention to the harm that thugs can do with other weapons."

Well, folks can't be listening if no one's telling. Thank you, "fair and balanced" media.

Dennis Prager echoes my comments about Gov. McGreevey's smoke screen.
New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey's resignation statement was brilliant.

Threatened with a sexual harassment lawsuit by his alleged male lover, having appointed him, a thoroughly unqualified man, as homeland security adviser at a time when America – in particular, the New York metropolitan area – is threatened with horrific terror and with any number of other instances of corruption already revealed and more likely to come out, Gov. McGreevey saw the future and realized he had to resign from office.

But the way he did it was a masterstroke. He turned opprobrium into compassion.

He did it with one sentence: "I am a gay American."

On the face of it, it is irrelevant to whatever wrongs he may have committed against his state, his wife or his religion. But he did so because he knew it would immediately deflect attention from his actions to his sexual orientation.

And then he would receive at least as much understanding and compassion as condemnation.


Read on to find out why.

Good news watch:

WASHINGTON (AP) - Consumer prices fell by 0.1 percent in July as gasoline prices dropped while output at factories and housing construction posted healthy rebounds, offering hope the economy has escaped this summer's "soft patch."

The Labor Department said Tuesday that the decline in its closely watched Consumer Price Index was the first decrease since a 0.2 percent drop last November. The CPI had been up 0.3 percent in June and an even sharper 0.6 percent in May, reflecting big jumps in energy costs.

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve reported that output at the nation's factories, mines and utilities rose by 0.4 percent in July, nearly erasing a 0.5 percent plunge in June. The increase was led by a sharp 1.2 percent jump in mining activity, a category that includes oil production, and a 0.6 percent rise in manufacturing activity, the biggest increase in this category three months.

In other good economic news, the Commerce Department reported that construction of new homes and apartments rose by 8.3 percent in July. The bigger-than-expected gain pushed housing construction to an annual rate of 1.978 million units last month, making up lost ground from a 7.7 percent decline in housing starts in June.

Unfortunately, this is just ahead of the economic news headlined by hurricane Charley.
Florida’s $8bn-a-year citrus industry took a big hit from Hurricane Charley, according to industry officials. But central Florida's tourist industry, centred around Orlando, appears to have escaped with minimal damage.

Officials say it will be days before an accurate picture of the extent of damage to fruit on the trees, to the trees themselves and to industry infrastructure can be accurately assessed.

Three of the biggest citrus-growing counties - DeSoto, Hardee and Polk - were directly in the path of the storm, which hit land packing 145-mile per hour winds. In the town of Arcadia, a juice plant was reportedly destroyed, including the massive storage tanks that hold processed juice. One unconfirmed report placed the loss at $60m (€48.5m, £32.5m) for that plant alone.

In DeSoto County, trees were reported to be surrounded by mounds of unripe fruit blown off them. Elsewhere, many were reported uprooted or damaged.

The storm's path covered areas where about 35 per cent of the state's total citrus production is concentrated. Growers in the region were “devastated”, said Casey Pace of Florida Citrus Mutual, a trade association. Growers were in such despair that “they won't talk” about their losses, she added.

Some time next month, expect the Kerry/Edwards campaign to make a number of stops in Florida to blame the bad citrus economy on Bush, just like they've blamed him for the economic hit we took after 9/11.

Hypocrisy, thy name is European Union.
Just one month after the U.N. and EU launched a furious campaign against Israel's security fence, culminating in the International Court of Justice ruling that the fence is illegal, the EU announced it's planning to build a separation fence of its own, and invited Israel to participate in the construction.

The fence is being built to separate recently added EU members Poland and Hungary from their new neighbors – Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. The EU said the fence is necessary to "prevent the free movement of migrants seeking to enter" EU territory.

Keep out those immigrants, but hey, suicide bombers are people, too.

And now, shifting metaphors, the award for Best Supporting Actor in a Hypocritical Role goes to ... >rip< ... the ACLU!
The American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU, signed a promise saying it wouldn't hire anyone on terrorism watch lists – a requirement for receiving payroll donations from federal employees – and later admitted it had no intention of actually checking names on the rosters of those suspected of terror ties.

Since October, organizations benefiting from the Combined Federal Campaign have been required to certify that they would not hire people whose names appear on watch lists compiled by the federal government, the U.N. and the European Union. The ACLU signed the agreement in January, reports columnist John Leo today.

"Not hiring people who might want to blow up our cities would seem to be a modest step if you want the government to help in your fund-raising," writes Leo, "but inside the ACLU this was a wildly controversial idea. But the organization wanted the money, so it made a decision: Make the agreement, but don't live up to it."

ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero noted the agreement said an organization could not "knowingly" hire a person on the lists, so he simply decided intentionally not to refer to them.

Leo cites comments Romero made on National Public Radio: "I've printed them out [but] I've never consulted them."

Nadine Strossen, president of the ACLU board, said that the "knowingly" gambit was "a very reasonable, certainly clever interpretation."

That's right, these people are looking out for your rights. Or, at least they say they are.

Bumper music, a homework assignment, and a free plug for the blog surround the main point of blatant, undeniable partisanship on the part of the major media in today's edition of "Considerettes Radio". Yesterday, I talked to Hugh Hewitt about my prediction last Tuesday which came true almost to the letter this past weekend. As I noted before, in chronicling my previous attempt to call Hugh, I thought that the media may very well get away with it. But as before, Hugh remains optimistic on this point.

And now, off to rent "Last of the Mohicans". You'll get it when you hear the audio.

"Considerettes Radio" on The Hugh Hewitt Show (WGKA, Atlanta, GA) 8/16/2004 7:55pm EST (605K)

Monday, August 16, 2004

WMD update:
Saddam Hussein periodically removed guards on the Syrian border and replaced them with his own intelligence agents who supervised the movement of banned materials between the two countries, U.S. investigators have discovered.

The recent discovery by the Bush administration's Iraq Survey Group (ISG) is fueling speculation, but is not proof, that the Iraqi dictator moved prohibited weapons of mass destruction (WMD) into Syria before the March 2003 invasion by a U.S.-led coalition.


The ISG is a 1,400-member team organized by the Pentagon and CIA to hunt for Saddam's suspected stockpiles of WMD, such as chemical and biological agents. So far, the search has failed to find such stockpiles, which were the main reason for President Bush ordering the invasion of Iraq to remove Saddam.

But there is evidence of unusually heavy truck traffic into Syria in the days before the attack, and with it, speculation that some of the trucks contained the banned weapons.

The ISG report is due to Congress next month. Their findings might just quiet down the "Where are the WMDs?" rhetoric. That is, if the press covers it.

Just as I predicted last Tuesday, the major media waited until the weekend to mention the "Christmas in Cambodia" story, giving the Kerry campaign time to come up with their response, portray it as a simple challenge/rebuttal story, and report it when most folks weren't looking. How pathetically predictable.

Here's the Boston Globe's Sunday coverage of it. Note the lack of the word "seared" in the article, the word used by Kerry to denote how positive he's always said he was about the incident. They just quote his line about remembering it. So on top of all this, they blunt criticism by just suggesting it's one memory among thousands of others; nothing special about it.

PrestoPundit has a big rundown of the weekend coverage of the story. Also, New England Republican received a well-deserved Instalanche for his walk down memory lane, showing how tenacious the press was with the "Bush was AWOL" charge, when they had less (i.e. nothing) to prove it vs. how quiet they've been on the Kerry story with all the sworn affidavits backing it up.

Other than bloggers and others paying attention, where's the outrage? Well, I guess if there was any, it wouldn't be covered by a liberal media that wouldn't want to show itself in a bad light, let alone their chosen candidate.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Captain Ed certainly thinks this new revelation will kill the Kerry campaign. I'm not so sure myself, but it certainly is very damaging.
Thanks to reader Lori in Texas, I think we've just about pieced the record
together on David Alston and his supposed service under John Kerry's command.
Lori points out a sympathetic article on Dale Sandusky, one of the few Swift
boat veterans supporting Kerry and one that served on his boat, specifically gives
the timing
on Kerry's command of PCF-94.

The crux of the story is that Alston could never have served with Kerry on PCF-94 because:

On January 29th, Alston was medevaced out to a hospital with head wounds and no
records indicate that he ever returned to the unit. Kerry took command of PCF-94
the next day. Alston never served a day under Kerry's command. In fact, Kerry
received a replacement, Fred Short, on 28 February as a replacement for Alston.

Yet Alston spoke at the Democratic National Convention as someone who served on the same both with Kerry, not the same boat as Kerry. The good Captain (Ed, that is) enumerates all the ramifications of this new information (there are quite a few).

Ed brings it home saying, "I look forward to that Clintonian parsing used in Kerry's defense."

Friday, August 13, 2004

Instapundit has a graphic showing how much of Viet Nam is "within 50 miles" of Cambodia, which is where Kerry really was when he said he was "in" Cambodia. Just a slip of the tongue, or lie for political gain; you make the call.

But there are still folks who'll slam Bush day in and day out for saying "misunderestimated", and give Kerry a pass on this. You know who you are. >grin<

According to Oh, That Liberal Media, the Kerry-in-Cambodia story is finally gathering steam, albeit oh-so-slowly, and only on editorial pages on 2nd tier papers. Looks like my prediction will come true; the major media will hit it this weekend, and by Monday it'll be proclaimed "old news".

Europe is shocked--SHOCKED--that Iran is acting nutty.
Iranian officials, under pressure to freeze their nuclear program, have stunned European diplomats at crisis talks in Paris this month by demanding advanced nuclear technology, conventional weapons, and a security guarantee against a nuclear attack by Israel.

The diplomats – from Britain, France, and Germany – were meeting the Iranians in an attempt to defuse the escalating crisis over Teheran's nuclear program.

The Europeans were said to have been stunned by the move and, according to London's Daily Telegraph on Wednesday, the Iranians' demands had "gone down very badly" and had sharply raised the stakes.

The Iranians produced their letter as the European diplomats sought to convince them to honor an earlier agreement to suspend work on their controversial uranium enrichment program, which could be used to produce material for nuclear power stations – but also to make nuclear weapons.

According to the report, the Iranian officials refused point-blank to comply, saying they had every right under international law to pursue "peaceful" nuclear technology.

They then shocked the Europeans by turning the tables with their own set of demands, which were contained in the letter.

Wait'll someone tells them that Jimmy Carter's negotiations with North Korea didn't actually result in them abandoning a nuclear weapons program.

I wonder, I really wonder, if the resignation of Gov. McGreevey of New Jersey really is because of his homosexual affair, or if it's just an emotional smokescreen for why he's really leaving. The majority of this WNBC report covers how folks have reacted to his admission of this.
"It's a shame," said Jim Nerney, 48, of Middletown. "He brought a lot of passion to the governor's office, but the fact is that it's not accepted in today's society and he's paying the consequences."

"His sexual orientation doesn't matter to me. I feel he's done a good job, holding the line on taxes," said Donald Bowman, 52, of Kearny, a school district worker in Newark.

If there's more to it than the affair, and some people I heard on TV last night think there is, then resigning this way will keep most people fixated on this one factor. To Jim Nerney I would ask, "Is heterosexual adultery accepted in today's society?" If he's truly leaving solely because of the affair, his sexual orientation and others' views of it are not at all the issue. But because McGreevey framed it that way, Mr. Nerney and many others like him will only see it through that filter. Mr. Bowman looks like he, too, would be in that camp. He feels he needs to comment on the sexual orientation aspect, but not on the affair aspect. It's not worth mentioning.

The gay rights folks, of course, are doing all they can to play this up.
Gay rights groups expressed support and compassion for McGreevey, but their reactions were tinged with sorrow because McGreevey announced his resignation just as he became the nation's first openly gay governor.

"It is a very sad to thing to watch. It is kind of stunning, sad to me that in 2004 people are still having to struggle because of homophobia in society to come to terms with who they are," said Kevin Cathcart, executive director of Lambda Legal.

Is it stunning that in 2004 people are still having to struggle with marital faithfulness? Or does that aspect even matter to society anymore? Or at least not to gay activists?

Overly emphasizing the homosexual aspect of all this, going into his whole history of it in his speech, has given McGreevey and his supporters a straw argument to use anytime someone criticizes him in the future; they're just homophobic. Never mind the corruption during his administration (which you'll find at the very end of the article). He's now unassailable unless you want to be branded a "homophobe".

And that's the main reason I think there's much more to this than meets the eye.

UPDATE: The Media Research Center roundup of McGreevey coverage shows that this angle is being taken up by the press as well.
Some network reporters on Thursday night delivered a sympathetic take on New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey, portraying him as a victim as they focused on his declaration that he's a "gay American" and skipped over the very serious charges that he mis-used state funds to employ his lover. "In a moving and highly personal speech," CBS's Randall Pinkston trumpeted, "McGreevey, who's Catholic, described his efforts to suppress his sexuality." CNN anchor Miles O'Brien wondered on NewsNight whether "in this day and age if a 47-year-old married father of two who realizes he is gay could make such an announcement without being forced to leave political office?" O'Brien yearned: "And we wonder also will the day come, ever, when he could?"

And as usual, ScappleFace's satire gets to the heart of things.
(2004-08-12) -- Civil rights activists nationwide celebrated today's announcement by New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey that he is "a gay adulterous American."

Mr. McGreevey, standing next to his wife, told a packed news conference he had feelings even as a child that he was "different".

"I've been in the closet for many years," he said, "but I'm proud to finally come out and say that I was born a gay adulterer and I have finally embraced who I am."

The governor, who will resign November 15, said he plans to devote himself to lobbying for equal rights for men who cheat on their wives by having homosexual affairs with their subordinates at work.

"It's a civil rights issue," said Mr. McGreevey. "It's about granting freedom and justice to adulterous gay employers who just want to be themselves with their employees."

UPDATE 2: BoiFromTroi asks:
Why is it that when a straight politician is in an adulterous affair *ahem* Bill Clinton, for is is just "private matter"? If McGreevy thought plain old adultery (or even being sued for it) were grounds for resignation alone, he would have called for President Clinton's. Is Governor McGreevy trying to tell us that Gays are unfit to serve in public office? That is certainly the message he's sending!

My answers: Clinton's affair was more than just a private matter--blackmail against the President of the United States being extremely powerful--so the only person being inconsistent in this is McGreevey himself. I don't think he's trying to send a message that gays aren't fit, although that may be the unintended consequence of his actions. Michele at A Small Victory has it right.
So, let me get this straight.

The governor of a state announces that not only did he have an adulterous affair (and it matters not whether it was a gay or straight affair) with an employee of his office - an employee who was hired in a homeland security spot for 110k a year and who was not qualified for the job - and is facing other allegations ranging from corruption to mob ties and his major fundraiser is involved in some shady dealings, and this guy is allowed to announce his resignation but say it will not take place until November 15th, just long enough to ensure that a Democrat keep the office.

Wow, that stench is rotten. And it's not the Jersey swamps that stink this time.

The whole homosexual side of this issue is something to keep the press and Democrats busy so they won't notice the real issues.

(Thanks to Backcountry Conservative for a roundup of other blog reactions.)

Thursday, August 12, 2004

The Policeman of Greater Intelligence (aka The Smarter Cop) has compiled a list of quotes of major Democrats pledging their support for George W. Bush.

"How Appealing" has links galore on the latest ruling of the California Supreme Court on the same-sex marriages that were performed in San Francisco. Short answer: Mayor Newsom had no standing to unilaterally break the law by performing those ceremonies. Therefore, they are null and void.

In an AP article on the ruling, there's quite a bit to comment on.
The same-sex marriages had virtually no legal value, but powerful symbolism. Their nullification by the high court dismayed Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, the first same-sex couple to receive a marriage license in San Francisco.

"Del is 83 years old and I am 79," Lyon said. "After being together for more than 50 years, it is a terrible blow to have the rights and protections of marriage taken away from us. At our age, we do not have the luxury of time."

...but plenty of time for violating the law. Time is not the issue--the rule of law is.
The court did not resolve whether the California Constitution would permit a same-sex marriage, ruling instead on the narrow issue of whether local officials could bypass state judicial and legislative branches.

...which, you'd think, would have been patently obvious to a politician like the mayor of San Francisco. His blatant disregard for the law is not a characteristic you want in any sort of public servant. That's a lot of wasted time and money by someone who should (and most probably did) know better.
The California court sided with Lockyer's arguments, ruling that Newsom's actions would foment legal anarchy and sanction local officials to legislate state law from city halls or county government centers.

Is this the liberal way of affecting societal change; fomenting legal anarchy?
When the justices agreed in March to hear the case, they said they would decide only whether Newsom overstepped his mayoral powers for now, but would entertain a constitutional challenge - that gays should be treated the same as heterosexual couples under the California Constitution - if such a lawsuit worked its way to the justices through the lower courts.

Gay and lesbian couples immediately acted on that invitation, suing in San Francisco County Superior Court alleging laws barring them from marrying were discriminatory. Mayor Newsom filed a similar lawsuit.

...which is one way this should have been handled in the first place. A far more preferred way would be to work it through the legislature. Of course, that would mean letting the people have more of a say, and liberals know where the majority of the country stands on this. When the "will of the people" doesn't support them, all of a sudden it's not such a great ideal to them.
The now-consolidated cases are unlikely to reach the California Supreme Court for at least a year or more. California lawmakers have refused to take a position on the matter, and have left the politically volatile issue to its Supreme Court.

There's "leadership" for you.
The Arizona-based Christian law firm Alliance Defense Fund, a plaintiff in one of two cases the justices decided Thursday, had told the justices that Newsom's "act of disobedience" could lead other local officials to sanction "polygamists."

There hasn't been any reasonable explanation of why this expansion to polygamy wouldn't happen by those advocating for same-sex marriage among just 2 people. And don't forget that man and his horse.

This has been one set of legal proceedings that has shown liberal activists for what they are and how they operate. I will admit, though, to being very pleasantly surprised that the California Supreme Court hung in there for the rule of law, although this really isn't about same-sex marriage per se, but about whether a constitutional ban against discrimination trumps a state law forbidding same-sex marriage. The proper channel would have been to do what they're (finally) doing now; take the same-sex marriage ban to court. In handling it the way he did, Newsom made sure he fired up, in a big way, those who agreed with him first, no matter the cost to the taxpayers, and then follow the proper procedures. Totally dishonest, but not out of character in how this issue has been handled by the left.

ScrappleFace has the best commentary I can think of on this. >grin<

From Flappy Bird to Adorable Little Rodent in one week. This blogging-group thing has its advantages. >grin<

Still no major US media coverage on the Kerry-in-Cambodia story. Instapundit's been looking for it but nothing yet, although, he notes that, "The Post did find the time to condemn the Swift Boat vets, though, without admitting that one of their charges has already been borne out." At this stage of the game, you can't possibly believe that they don't know about this.

The London Telegraph is finally reporting it, but they had even less of an excuse not to. If they read their own paper, they'd have seen Mark Steyn's editorial about it, so they can't even feign ignorance. Glad to see that they're noticing. Still waiting for the US media to come clean, especially since the election in question is their backyard, not the Telegraph's.

One thing noted in the Telegraph that I'd not considered before is that Kerry's story takes place in a ficticious location. The Telegraph has an accompanying map.
The Kerry campaign responded, initially, that Mr Kerry had always said he was "near" Cambodia. Then a campaign aide said Mr Kerry had been in the Mekong Delta "between" Vietnam and next-door Cambodia - a geographical zone not found on maps, which show the Mekong river running from Cambodia to Vietnam.

But really, why is this important? Character counts (as we learned with President Clinton), but also it's an example of how far Kerry will go for political gain. This story wasn't just a quaint war story, it was the backing for a political philosophy.
In newspaper articles, interviews and at least one Senate speech, Mr Kerry has claimed that he spent Christmas 1968 inside Cambodia, at a time when even the US president was publicly denying that American forces were inside that country.

He has cited the missions as a psychological turning point, when he realised that American leaders were not telling the truth to the world about the war in south-east Asia.

Given this strange case of what in all likelihood is a made-up story, take any further Kerry anecdotes with a grain pillar of salt.

From yesterday's Instalanche on the media silence in the Kerry-in-Cambodia story came this E-mail:
Dwarfing the elite media you mentioned is the late night monologues. This issue would be heaven sent to Leno and Letterman if it were a Republican --- think Frank Burns on MASH writing himself up for purple hearts every other week, even for self-inflicted splinters in the backside.

Heh heh...exactly. See you 'round, Wayne.

The Free Republic folks are now commenting on the Pelosi flip-flop on Porter Goss, and linking to the NewsMax opinion piece. I like the last line: "But hey, if she can now endanger national security to try to score points for Kerry ... " Yup, that's exactly it; politicizing even the intelligence process for political gain.

And the major media are going right along with it, keeping her whiplash a secret. The Washington Post:
Aides had said six weeks ago that Bush was on the brink of naming Rep. Porter J. Goss of Florida to replace George J. Tenet, who left office a month ago today. Democratic senators, in unusually tough statements about a fellow lawmaker, warned that Goss would be an unacceptable choice because of what they described as his partisanship. Even some Republican senators said the confirmation battle would not be worth it.

Bush nominated him anyway.

Not a word about her sudden change of mind.

The NY Times:
In interviews, none of the Senate Democrats disputed that prediction. In fact, no Democratic senator declared an intention to oppose the nomination outright. Many said they were unhappy with what they perceived as Mr. Goss's excessive partisanship, but they said they would withhold judgment until the hearings.

The word "Pelosi" doesn't appear in the article at all, but concerns over "partisanship" are echoed by Sen. Clinton.

The only places to get the full story are places like NewsMax, Cybercast News Service, and Free Republic, which many folks would consider "right-wing", but not even Fox News mentioned it. The only news service I see covering this is CNS. Once again, the major media is dropping the ball on a story that would damage a Democrat, possibly waiting for those it may damage to come up with a rebuttal before running with the story.

Yes, that liberal media.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

A welcome to Power Line readers, coming over via their link to my notes about the Kerry-in-Cambodia story and how the media is underreporting it.

I don't have as much faith in the idea (as deacon does) that the media will take a big hit for this if they are seen as spinning it heavily for Kerry. I'd agree that this may be the case for the political/news junkie (e.g. poli-blog readers & writers), but for the vast majority of Americans who hear only what Dan Rather tells them, it won't make much difference. I agree with him that word-of-mouth is the best way to spread this, outside the major media channels, but as far as there being some discernible "hit" to their general credibility, I don't see that being noticeable before November. A slow erosion is what I called it, and way too slow for this election cycle. The network news viewer and the NY Times/WaPo readers are, I believe, pretty much unaware of the "substantial conversation going on outside of the major media". The major media is counting on this, and any lost credibility with these folks, such as it may be, can easily be recovered in the subsequent first term of a potential Kerry administration.

Pessimistic? Yeah, probably. But news organizations that are getting this story out give me hope that the tide can be turned. Slowly. Ever so slowly.

John Kerry says he would have implemented every last 9/11 Commission recommendation on the double. Well, probably not, since his buddies at the ACLU have a thing or two against some of them.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The Sept. 11 Commission wants the government to expand the no-fly list airlines now check to keep suspected terrorists off planes, consolidating as many as 12 secret lists maintained by different intelligence agencies.

That worries the American Civil Liberties Union, which has already sued the government, saying the airlines' effort to keep terror suspects and other dangerous people off planes ensnares innocent passengers and subjects them to unnecessary searches and delays. Also, the government provides no way for those wrongly named to get themselves removed.

I'm all for making it hard for the bad guys to get around, but the ACLU does appear to have some legitimate concerns. So isn't Kerry's remark, in addition to being an easy promise to make (because he doesn't have to deliver on it), point out a recklessness that we don't want in the Oval Office? Here's what he said, from his own web site:
“We must act on the commission's recommendations now, and keep working, without pause, until we have done everything possible to prevent another terrorist attack.

“That is why I support the 9-11 Commission's commitment to continue pushing for progress and make sure its recommendations are implemented without further delay.

What's Kerry's position now? "I was for the 9/11 Commission's 'no-fly' list before I was against it"?

Some sanity in a small corner of the Democrat Party:
An online petition drive has been launched by a group calling itself Democrats United Against Michael Moore.

According to organizer David Prince, the effort is to "implore the Democrat leadership to distance itself from Michael Moore and his practices."

Prince says the organization, based in North Hollywood, Calif., consists of 23 people who "actively promote the petition through a multitude of online channels and traditional media."

Their online petition is here, on their blog. It's just 23 folks, according to the news story, but its growth can only help Democrats.

Instalanche!!! >grin< Welcome, folks.

While you're here, take a peek at the new Homespun Bloggers crew that's been started (2nd blogroll to the left). Joining this wonderful bunch can be accomplished here.

The Carnival of the Vanities is up. (OK, yeah, I have an entry in it. Guilty as charged.)

That was then:
The [Chattanooga Times Free Press] reported Pelosi as saying whoever replaces CIA Director George Tenet "needs to be independent of political pressure" and [Rep. Peter] Goss, having worked for the CIA before being elected to the House of Representatives, has shown that ability as chairman of the House Intelligence panel.

(Emphasis mine.) This is now:
On Tuesday, Pelosi suggested Goss is too "political" to be named director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

"But I will say what I said before is that there shouldn't - a person should not be the director of central intelligence who's acted in a very political way when we're dealing with the safety of the American people," she told CNN.

"Intelligence has to be the gathering and analysis and dissemination of information, of intelligence, without any political, any politics involved at all," Pelosi added.

(Emphasis again mine.) These statements are just two months apart (June 5th and August 10th). Showing once again how driven by politics and party the Democrats are. It doesn't matter if it's a good idea; if Bush proposes it, it's automatically a bad one.

Please keep that in mind when you hear them bluster.

UPDATE: Looks like we're going to have plenty of time to hear that bluster.

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush's nomination of Rep. Porter Goss as the next CIA director could lead to tense confirmation hearings, with plenty of questions about the president's national security record and goals, just weeks before the Nov. 2 election.

Even as some Democrats praised the nomination of Goss, R-Fla., who gave up his role Tuesday as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, others criticized him as inappropriately partisan for a job that requires relaying objective advice to policy makers.

"You must keep the politics out of intelligence," said House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California. "I'm not sure that has been done here."

"The selection of a politician - any politician from either party - is a mistake," said Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee. "Having independent, objective intelligence going to the president and the Congress is fundamental to America's national security."

Pelosi's comments about him being independent? For goodness sake, that's so last month. This episode should also shine a bit of light on their real reasons for holding up some of Bush's judicial appointees.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Well, I almost called the Hugh Hewitt show this evening. (Finished my commute while I was still on hold, and I had to hang up.) So here's what I would have talked about, because I just had to get it out.

A previous caller said she'd heard that the Kerry campaign wasn't worried about the challenges to the Christmas-in-Cambodia story that John Kerry's been telling because they believe they have the press in their pocket. It's been all over the blogosphere (e.g. check Instapundit, and just keep searching for "cambodia"), and Hugh's been noting things since at least August 6th. (He also notes other sites that have been on this story since May.) Anyway, I believe that Hugh told the caller to get ready because the major media outlets were going to break it soon.

To bolster this opinion, Hugh noted that Mark Steyn has an article on it, that Carl Cameron has hit the story on Fox News Channel, as well as the NY Post. Now, all 3 would be considered by Democrats to be "right-wing" publications and/or writers and thus not easily tossed into Kerry's hip pocket. But my question is this: If the vast majority of the major media hasn't touched this story yet (and, according to Hugh's guests Captain Ed and Roger L. Simon, still won't touch it tomorrow), how can you not say that the press are generally trying to spin for Kerry?

Consider two options:

A - Damaging information about a candidate is put out by the media on day 1. On day 2, the candidate's campaign denies the allegations until they're shown physical evidence of them, then they obfuscate. On day 3, no response. On day 4, no response. On day 5 or later, the campaign cobbles together some explanation.

B - Damaging information about a candidate is not put out by the media until the candidate's campaign cobbles together their explanation. Day 5 above becomes, to the viewers of the majority of the mainstream media, day 1. An allegation and a rebuttal. Ho hum...zzzzz.

Which option puts the candidate in the best light vis-a-vis the largest viewing audience possible? Option B, of course. Which, I think, precisely proves the caller's point; the campaign can safely come up with some explanation in the midst of a news blackout, and then when the media pretends to play the "investigative reporter" role on day 5, they look nonpartisan, when in fact they're clearly in the candidate's camp.

It doesn't matter that the blogosphere has covered this like white on rice. It doesn't matter that (as Hugh notes) the big-time lefty bloggers are saying nothing about it (or brewing up non sequiters here and here, and Atrios can't even bear to mention why he's bringing the subject up). It doesn't even matter that Fox News Channel is hitting this, or even if CNN did, because all these news sources are dwarfed by the broadcast network viewership and readers of the NY Times, the Washington Post, et. al. Yeah, I know viewership and readership of the elite media is dropping, but this election is in November and we can't wait for this slow erosion. What matters is that the major media are hijacking the news for what can only be political purposes.

And no, FNC's coverage of this does not "prove" they're in the pocket of the Republicans. It just goes to show that they are fair and balanced, and if the rest of the big media were as objective (and, apparently, competent) as FNC is, this story would have broken on their pages days ago.

My prediction: Silence through Friday. Coverage in perhaps the Friday evening papers or during the weekend. By Monday morning, the liberal pundits will be proclaiming it "old news". Spin control at it's finest, courtesy of that liberal media.

Now please understand that John Kerry asked that we look at his record, right? He didn't say much at all about his 20 years in the Senate, but he spent loads o' time on his Vietnam service, so that's the record he's pushing, and he invites scrutiny of his record. With that in mind...
WASHINGTON – In a letter to television station managers they hope to convince to air their blistering 60-second commercial opposing John Kerry for president, the Swift Boat Vets for Truth reveal new details of their politically sizzling charges against the candidate who made his war experience the cornerstone of his convention acceptance speech.

Attempting to bolster their accusations that Kerry misrepresented slight injuries to win Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star, the vets cite a March 13, 1969, incident for which the young lieutenant was decorated.

Two injuries – a small bruise on his right arm and a minor injury to his buttocks – won Kerry his Third Purple Heart and a trip home. However, the vets say, the wound to his buttocks was self-inflicted and should never have received Purple Heart consideration.

Read on details and more revelations. No Democrat should be balking at this scrutiny, because, as I said, Kerry specifically asked for it. Most of us would rather concern ourselves with current issues, but Kerry didn't go there. If you set the terms of the debate, don't complain when your opponents meet you on your terms.

Robert Novak has read the book in full, and gives his opinion on the topics as well.

Monday, August 09, 2004

This week's "Best of Homespun Bloggers" is alive and well. A bunch o' good posts to be see (& heard).

Nature could be mankind's greatest threat.
Giant tsunamis, super volcanoes and earthquakes could pose a greater threat than terrorism, scientists claim.

Global Geophysical Events, or "Gee Gee's", as they are nick-named, are not being taken seriously enough, they say.

Equally unappreciated are their lesser cousins, the "Borderline Geophysical Events", or "Bee Gees".

(Sorry. I couldn't resist that bit of "jive talkin'".)

(Sorry. Couldn't resist that either.)

Poor Michael Moore can't buy a break. Bloggers have been showing his factual problems, and now even a member of the 9/11 commission (a source he loves to side with in his movie) calls him "less than honest".
Fueling the ``Fahrenheit 9/11'' controversy, members of the 9/11 Commission dispute filmmaker Michael Moore's claims that 26 members of Osama bin Laden's family were secretly shuttled out of the country while planes were grounded after the terror attacks.

``That's not what we found,'' commission member Jamie Gorelick said of Moore's assertion that the Saudis were snuck out on a charter flight on Sept. 13 in violation of airspace restrictions.

Gorelick told the Herald that restrictions had been lifted by the time the Saudi planes took off that day and that the FBI interviewed 22 of the 26 members. The others were cleared by the agency of any connection to the attacks, the commission found.

The commission's findings have been hotly debated, with Moore saying they confirm his claims and detractors saying they prove him wrong. In the film, Moore suggests that the flights occurred with White House help when air traffic was grounded.

To prove his point, Moore mockingly says, ``Even Ricky Martin couldn't fly,'' a reference to the singer being stranded at an airport.But Gorelick, a Washington, D.C., lawyer, said the filmmaker chose his words carefully and distorted the facts. ``If you listen closely, it never says (in the film) that the planes left while the airspace was restricted,'' Gorelick said.

The report finds ``no credible evidence'' that any chartered flights carrying Saudi nationals took off while restrictions were in place. The commission did confirm several of Moore's other points, however, including finding that ``most'' of the 160 Saudis who left the country between Sept. 14 and 24 were not interviewed.

Now, this comment appears to be slightly at odds with what he said to the commission (which was slightly at odds with what he'd said before). It sounded like he said he authorized the flight, but Gorelick now says that the flight left when airspace was not restricted.

The technically correct phrase is in there somewhere, but the point it that no matter who you listen to, Moore is shown to have fabricated all this. Of course, even if he got bad information from what he though were reliable sources and ran with it, then by the same standards folks use on Bush for going to war with Iraq, MOORE LIED!!!

Friday, August 06, 2004

  • Pardon My English asks, "So, why is it news when Bush fumbles a word, or what have you, but Kerry 'the intellectual' does the same thing and gets a slide?" I'd add, or when Barbara Boxer calls the Madrid bombings an "airline mishap"? (Via Marcland via Allah Is In The House.)
  • McQ from Q&O wonders if Bush will get a bounce or not at his convention. According to Zogby, this "history-defying year" will mean Bush won't get much either, but McQ doesn't quite agree.
  • The Smarter Cop asks, after 6 documentaries trying to discredit & humiliate Bush, "Why, then, are Democrats wetting their pants and foaming at the mouth about a single 60 second commercial?” The stifling of dissent in Terry McAuliffe’s America?
  • The US Government vs The First Amendment is detailed at Oh, That Liberal Media.
  • Moe over at Redstate is willing to hand one congressional seat, gratis, to the Democrats. Can’t say as I blame him.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Hypersensitivity Update:
The state of New York is the target of a federal lawsuit for rejecting a speciality license plate with the message "Choose Life."

The Department of Motor Vehicles dismissed an application for a design by the non-partisan Children First Foundation because it found the words "Choose Life" to be "patently offensive."

The plate has a crayon-type drawing of a boy and a girl, and "Choose Life" has the same crayon look.

"Patently offensive"? Versus what, "choose death"? Or perhaps the NY DMV could offer a plate that say, "Choose...something...whatever" so as not to wound the tender sensibilities of folks who can't stand the suggestion that babies deserve a shot at life. The same folks probably just love those "I had an abortion" T-shirts, eh?

A promotion! I'm now a Flappy Bird in the TTLB Ecosystem. (Thank you, Homespun Bloggers for the linkage.)

First, consider this poll:
Military veterans favor President Bush over John Kerry by a 58 to 35 percent margin, according to a new poll.

The Rasmussen Reports survey also showed those with no military service favor Kerry by ten percentage points, 51 to 41.

Of those Americans who say they know someone serving in Iraq or Afghanistan, 54 percent favor Bush, compared to 44 percent siding with Kerry.

On the question of who would make a better commander in chief, Bush edges Kerry, 47 to 45 percent.

Fifty-four percent of veterans give the president good or excellent ratings for handling the situation in Iraq, the poll showed.

Now consider this news story:
In what could be a repeat of the 2000 election, thousands of votes from U.S. troops overseas could go uncounted unless deadlines for their acceptance are extended.

That's the warning from a Chicago election official who wrote President Bush on the matter.

"Every election cycle, election authorities such as Chicago receive military absentee ballots days or even weeks after the deadline, thus disqualifying these votes from being included in the election tally," wrote Theresa Petrone, a Democrat on the city's three-person Board of Election Commissioners, according to the Associated Press.

"With hundreds of thousands of military personnel serving overseas, the voting bloc obviously could determine the outcome of our next presidential election."

Four years ago, some 30 percent of military voters who sought absentee ballots didn't receive them in time to vote.

At the time, one Maine resident – who asked WorldNetDaily that she not be identified – said her Navy daughter who was stationed in Tokyo received her absentee ballot for every election except 2000.

"No one at the base will be voting because all the absentee ballots are missing," she said.

The saga led WorldNetDaily to cover the issue of military voting in depth during the 2000 election cycle, and later to publish a special report on the controversy, titled "Election 2000: How the military vote was suppressed" by investigative reporter Jon Dougherty.

Petrone is now suggesting the president propose emergency legislation giving officials up to two weeks to collect and count ballots after Election Day.

If these military ballots don't get properly delivered, think Kerry (or, heh heh, Gore) will press for "counting every vote"? Hold not thy breath.

It's official; Alan Keyes now joins the ranks of carpetbaggers.
Illinois Republicans chose Alan Keyes as their candidate today to run against heavily favored Barack Obama, the up-and-coming Democratic Party star.


Keyes, a conservative commentator, ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate twice from his home state of Maryland and sought the Republican presidential nomination in 1996 and 2000. He has never lived in Illinois but under state law would only have to take up residence by election day, Nov. 2.

As much as I like Keyes and his policies, I gotta go the same way on this that I did on Hillary Clinton running for Senate in New York. Which is, it doesn't make sense. Obama, though a Democrat, has not taken a sip of the "two Americas" Kool-Aid that their presidential ticket is trying to sell.

Sorry Alan, can't get behind this one. Even though your policies would be better for the state, carpetbagging is carpetbagging. Do unto others, and all that, and I wouldn't want that done unto me.

UPDATE: The unofficial "voting" as to pro- or anti-carpetbagging over at Redstate in the comment section is running mostly anti for the same reason.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Global Warming Update:
this is an audio post - click to play

"Considerettes" on the road: I'm here in a Rhode Island pizza place eating my sub reading the Boston Herald and I come across this little brief article:
Acid rain, the pollutant blamed for killing fish and damaging forests, has a beneficial effect of reducing emissions of methane, thought to be responsible for about a fifth of today's enhanced global warming effect, researchers say.

"Quite rightly, most attention has been given to the negative aspects of pollution, but if we want to understand all of Earth's complexities, and make better predictions of future climate, we also need to understand the 'good side' to these problems," said lead researcher Dr. Vincent Gauci, of the Open University in Britian.

So it's not quite as simple as they like to make it sound. If we were to enact rules to get rid of acid rain, we would have more warming. But of course, it would be presented as though man is still producing more greenhouse gases, when in effect it's possible that some effect in one place is having a negative effect elsewhere. Push on one side, you get a change on the other side. It's not as simple, and we can't possibly be setting public policy, enacting radical changes to our economy, based on the current science. It just isn't responsible to do that. So just keep that in mind.

The original BBC article is here, with more details, including this quote:
The researchers used a computer model of their findings to estimate the global effect of sulphate depositions from 1960 to 2080.

They discovered that by 2030, levels of sulphur pollution may be sufficient to reduce methane emissions by 15% of the total amount of wetland emissions.

"The model shows that acid rain actually reduces emission to below pre-industrial levels," said Dr Gauci. "This shows that at low levels, acid rain is not harming the ecosystem.

"Inadvertently, it could in fact be quite good."

Remember, during the 2000 election, how the Democrats made "the will of the people" the highest ideal in government? Funny how things have changed so drastically these days, when they'd rather let unelected judges essentially pass new law from the bench. Well, when you do that, it raises the bar such that the will of the people has to be expressed in another way outside the normal legislative process. In Missouri, the people have spoken.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment Tuesday to ban gay marriage, the first such vote since the historic ruling in Massachusetts last year that legalized same-sex weddings there.

Although the ban was widely expected to pass in conservative Missouri, experts said the campaign served as a key barometer for which strategies work as the gay marriage battle spreads to ballot boxes around the nation. At least nine other states, and perhaps as many as 12, will vote on similar amendments this year.

The amendment had garnered 70 percent of the vote with 91 percent of precincts reporting.

Missouri and 37 other states already have laws defining marriage as only between a man and a woman. But amendment supporters fear a court could toss aside the state law, and they believe the state would be on firmer legal ground if an outright ban is part of the Constitution.

And this is why there needs to be a federal Constitutional amendment to the same effect; because Democrats have taken to circumventing the legislative process to impose same-sex marriage on a populace that sees the traditional family unit as foundational to civilization. It's that important.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Over at The Zoo, they're asking bloggers to take the Political Compass quiz and they're graphing the results. I've submitted mine (Economic 3.38, Social 1.44) which seems to be within the main cluster of blogs. Interesting, I thought I would be more right on the Economic scale, but some of the questions aren't what I would consider good survey questions, so who knows how things get interpreted. For example, there are some in the form "A is more important than B" to which you can agree or disagree. However, what if I think that one is of equal importance to the other? The survey doesn't let me say that.

Anyway, it's just a fun experiment. Enjoy!

Global warming update:
“The old rule is garbage in, garbage out,” said David H. Douglass, a professor of physics and astronomy. “I don't know what's wrong (with the models), but it must be that the basic physics has not been put in properly.”

The first paper looks at temperature readings at various heights in the Earth's atmosphere over the past 20 years against what the leading computer models predicted. According to the study, the computer models indicate that temperatures in the upper atmosphere should be rising; yet the opposite is happening.

The second study took various temperature readings from weather balloons and satellites — data provided by the National Center for Atmospheric Research — to try to rectify a longtime gap between temperatures recorded at ground level and temperatures recorded by other satellites. That gap amounts to about one degree.

According to the study, the new temperature readings seem to back up the other satellite readings and show an Earth about a degree cooler than ground-level readings had found. Both those sources indicate that the planet is getting warmer, but to a far less degree than noted by surface thermometers.

Douglass said the holes pointed to by his studies are fatal flaws in the notion that human activity — from industrial smokestacks to car exhaust — is causing global warming.

“There is a warming over the last 100 or so years,” he said. “(But) the change cannot be assigned to carbon dioxide. The stories you see about global warming all originate from predictions by models. If the models are wrong … then the conclusion is almost obvious. Why worry about global warming if it comes from a discredited theory?”

(Emphasis mine.) Yes, there are those that don't think this fully discredits those models, but their credibility is dropping as fast as the temps in the upper atmosphere.
“Even imperfect models can help us project things,” [associate dean of earth sciences at SUNY Brockport Jose] Maliekal said.

“Absent something better, we have to do the best we can.”

"The best we can" is living with models that are predicting the opposite of what is happening, and then trying to set international policy based on it. Thanks, guys.

Aww, poor Donny, can't stand the heat.
Singer Don Henley was booed at a concert in Orange County, Calif., after mentioning his friendship with Linda Ronstadt, who gained national attention after alienating much of her audience with a song dedication to leftist filmmaker Michael Moore.

At the Pacific Amphitheatre in Costa Mesa, Calif., on Thursday Henley made several political comments between songs, according to a report in the Orange County Register.

One comment began: "Given what my good friend Linda Ronstadt …" but was interrupted immediately with a chorus of boos from the audience.

According to the Register, Henley responded: "Whoops – Orange County," adding, "We used to be able to have civil debate in this country. Not anymore."

I supposed Don would rather "stifle dissent", at least dissent aimed at him.

Oh please oh please oh please...
In his upcoming book, "Speaker: Lessons from Forty Years in Coaching and Politics," Hastert says the bold move – sure to be immensely popular with voters – will be the centerpiece of President Bush's domestic agenda in a second term.

Hastert, for his part, says he will push for replacing the nation's current tax system with a national sales tax or a value added tax.

"People ask me if I'm really calling for the elimination of the IRS, and I say I think that's a great thing to do for future generations of Americans," he writes in "Speaker," set for release tomorrow.

You want a progressive tax, where the more you spend (instead of the more you make), then the more you're taxed? A national sales tax would fit that to a "T".

The only problem I see with it, is that people wouldn't see easily how much their taxed. With a 1040 form, at least there's a line on there that you can point to to find out how much tax you paid (or should pay) for the year. With a national sales tax, I'd like the government to give full disclosure, like sending out an annual statement showing how much tax you paid. Without that, it would be easy for the government to just inch up the rate without it making a big impact on a per-purchase basis. If it was time for another "tax revolt", it'd be hard to make the case.

(oh please oh please oh please)

Monday, August 02, 2004

The weekly Best of Homespun Bloggers is up. And the group keeps growing, too.

Amy Ridenour highlights a post on Notes & Musings and points out one section of it.
I want to highlight just one sentence from it: "President Bush's ban doesn't outlaw the research; it outlaws federal funding of the research." Yes, and even that's not a total ban. Still, how often do we hear about "Bush's ban on stem cell research" as if he had actually banned all stem cell research? How many Americans even realize that privately-funded embryonic stem cell research remains perfectly legal?

Many Democrat voters seem to think that if the feds don't underwrite it, it's not happening (like Barry, Puddle Wonderful, Allison, Jen, Gordon, and Steve, just to name a few...thank you BlogPulse). Embryonic stem cell research is not illegal folks. If you really enjoyed Ron Reagan's speech, you should have noticed that he was only talking about federal funding of that research.

If you're going to bash Bush, please at least get your facts straight.