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Thursday, September 30, 2004

There will be live-blogging of the debate tonight over at If time permits, I'll participate, but regardless it'll be an interesting place to hang out.

Georgia same-sex marriage amendment update (free registration required):
A Fulton County judge on Wednesday declined to halt a Nov. 2 referendum on a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, a major victory for supporters of the measure.

Opponents of the amendment said they will appeal to the state Supreme Court.

Superior Court Judge Constance Russell ruled in a four-page order that the court has no authority to intervene before the legislative process is concluded. Until a constitutional amendment has been voted on by the electorate, she said, it is the equivalent of a bill that has not yet passed the General Assembly.

"The courts may not insert themselves into the legislative process prior to the enactment of laws any more than legislators may intervene in a jury's verdict or a judge's ruling in a specific case," Russell wrote.

The Georgia ACLU, Lambda Legal and the Atlanta law firm of Alston and Bird filed the lawsuit Sept. 16 seeking to stop the referendum on the grounds that the amendment violates the state constitution's single subject rule by addressing other issues, such as civil unions and the jurisdiction of Georgia courts.

They also contended that the question voters will see on the ballot is misleading because it asks only if the state should recognize as marriage the "union of man and woman."

Russell heard arguments from both sides Friday, with the attorney general's office representing the state. At the conclusion of the hearing, she hinted she would be unwilling to stop the referendum based on an 84-year-old court decision.

Russell cited the 1920 Georgia Supreme Court case of Gaskins v. Dorsey, which stemmed from a lawsuit in which several south Georgians tried to stop a vote on a proposed constitutional amendment to create a new county in their area, Lanier. The high court unanimously decided that the referendum should proceed, ruling that the legislative process was not complete until voters had cast their ballots.

Russell based her decision Wednesday largely on that case. In her order, the judge did not comment on the legal merits of the ACLU and Lambda Legal's case.

Since the case the judge based her ruling on was also the attempted block of a proposed constitutional amendment, it sounds to me like this lawsuit is destined for the scrap heap after the state Supreme Court hears it. After the vote, I'm sure they'll give it another shot, but for now, my (pretty safe) prediction is it's outta here.

(Cross posted at Comments welcome.)

Over at, there have been a few recent diary entries from others about Sen. Patty Murray and her quote about bin Laden building roads and hospitals, and how that quote is being used in ads for George Nethercutt. In the first one, a poster nicknamed "kevdawg" asked this question:
If those statements she made are false, please provide the evidence they are so. I have seen no one falsify the truth of those assertions.

If you can't do so, that implies you have a problem with politicians that tell the truth to their constituents. She was explaining why Osama bin Laden has such a large base of popular support in the middle east and pakistan. Which he does. And though I haven't seen proof that he used his financial stockpile to curry favors (and yes, make the lives of those who he gave money to, if he did), I also have yet to see anyone show that those facts are false.

I came late to that post, and another diary entry has appeared with a similar subject. So in the current one I posted this comment:
I'm going to pick this new Murray post to bring up something from the last one, and which is still germane to this diary entry. Kevdawg, I think, did have a point in his comment when he asked if the statements were false.

Before the knees jerk, take a look at my diary or my blog and you'll know I'm no liberal or moderate. However, being a conservative, I believe, means calling a spade a spade even if it makes my side look bad. (I'd argue that's why a more conservative influence at Fox News makes them more fair and balanced. But I digress.) Therefore, let's look at this honestly.

Murray gave her opinion as to why the people in the Middle East support bin Laden. She was not speaking for herself. That's pretty clear to me in a reading of the comment in context. So using this quote to make her look like a bin Laden supporter is dishonest. The irony is, there are other ways that it does speak badly of her that could be used instead. Examples:
  • Bin Laden's building roads and hospitals, etc., and we should do more of that? Sounds to me like Ms. Murray thinks the War on Terror will be won by whoever spends the most money on public works project in the Mideast. Imagine the first paragraph of a NY Time article the day we win the war:
    With cost overruns plaguing the recent construction of "Bin Laden High School" in suburban Baghdad, and al Qaeda's commitment to avoid deficit spending, Mr. bin Laden himself came out of his cave in Pakistan to turn himself in to authorities and stand trial for crimes against humanity. When asked what finally broke him, he replied, "Let's see you try to beat the evil Americans in charitable contributions! We're broke!" Bin Laden and the remaining al Qaeda members will be tried for, among other things, over 3,000 counts of first-degree murder and 32 counts of writing bad checks.

    Yeah, right.
  • A free and liberated Iraq will has already, and will continue to, bring to the Iraqis more (working) hospitals, more (usable) schools, and more private enterprise allowing more road-building. In short, instead of imposing better roads on the Iraqi people (in a manner of speaking), Bush is making it possible for the economy of Iraq to prosper, which will result in the very things Murray says we ought to be doing. Victory over terrorists first, followed by rebuilding, is the plan. She should be supporting Dubya in this endeavor if she really believes this is where bin Laden's support comes from. If she doesn't, her remarks are nothing but partisan blather against the President; something we don't need in wartime.

And there's probably more disconnects. Kevdawg, if you're reading this, you did have a point, but only to a point. Beyond that, I hope you'll reconsider your vote.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Fox News Channel is beating all rivals' combined stats:
For the first time in its history, Fox News Channel beat the combined competition in primetime during the third quarter of 2004, with major headlines of the summer including the national political conventions and a brutal string of hurricanes.

According to Nielsen Media Research, Fox News averaged 1.8 million viewers, while CNN, MSNBC, CNBC and Headline News averaged a combined total of 1.7 million. The quarter ended Sunday.

CNN came in a distant second, averaging 882,000 viewers, while MSNBC drew 421,000. Headline News averaged 226,000 in primetime, and CNBC attracted a paltry 133,000.

Yesterday McQ over at Q&O deconstructed a major media column by blogger Kos (Markos Moulitsas). Kos was trying to make the point that the mainstream media is dominated by conservative voices (please, hold your guffaws until after the posting is complete), but McQ points out how that's only true if you utterly ignore CBSNBCABCNPRMSNBCCNN, the NY Times the Washington Post and a host of other news sources. Coming up from behind, Fox news beats all challengers (and there are a lot of challengers), and all of a sudden it "proves" the media are conservative.

You have to go back to the Rush Limbaugh phenomenon of the late 80's to understand the real reason for the rise of more conservative voices in the media. Rush likes to say that he doesn't need to be balanced by equal time on the left because he is equal time; a balancing voice on the right for all the opinion (pure opinion and opinion posing as news) from the left. Fox News has more of a balance of opinions on it's shows (including panelists who are there to express opinions on news shows like "Special Report"), but it's news is also more balanced. The only reason they get charged with just reading Republican talking points is that you don't hear the Republican side of things on the other networks. If you did, and if you did get a balanced perspective from other outlets, Rush's show and FNC might not even exist.

They do exist because, in my opinion, they provide products that were lacking in the marketplace. Rush provides an outlet of opinion that people were not getting. Callers in the earlier years would talk about how they finally heard something on the air that they could agree with. Folks flocked to Limbaugh, not because he changed their minds, but because they already believed it and hadn't heard anyone else in the media saying it. FNC provides an outlet for getting both sides of the issue. Kitty Kelley got 3 days on the "Today" show when her book dishing dirt on the Bushs came out. How much time did John O'Neill of "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" get? FNC gives both sides of an issue more often than the others, and for that they're derided as "conservative". Well if by "conservative" they mean fair and balanced, I'll go with that.

(The Kelley/O'Neill thing is just one example. Get the Media Research Center's daily E-mail "CyberAlert" to find more. I think they get a little oversensitive sometimes, but there's still plenty of food for thought. My favorites are when they compare the same situation under a Republican vs. Democratic administration and see the differences in how it was covered.)

What I'd like to hear is Kos et. al. at least being intellectually honest about the slant in other media outlets instead of talking in vague generalities. Look at the trends that the MRC documents and either explain it or admit it. But that isn't going to happen. As McQ notes,
If the "Right Wing Noise Machine" exists it exists in reaction to a perceived left leaning media monopoly . It arose as an alternative to that monopoly on the news. What Kos wants badly is to return to the heady days of monopoly leftist spin.

And that's what Kos would consider "fair and balanced". Sorry, can't go with that.

(Cross-posted at Comments welcome.)

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Via Conservative Eyes (fellow Homespun Blogger) via WorldNetDaily comes this possible capture in the War on Terror.
Osama bin Laden's top deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, has been captured in Pakistan, according to a report quoted by Israel Radio today.

The Jerusalem Post says Pakistani forces operating against al Qaida strongholds in the country report capturing the Egyptian national, who was formerly the head of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, which operated in the past against the Cairo regime.

This would be good news if true. But of course, Democrats wouldn't like it, because it wouldn't help their guy, never mind that the beheadings might stop. They hated it when Hussein was captured, and that wasn't even during an election season.

If you know a die-hard Democrat, keep a concerned eye on him/her. >grin<

(Cross-posted at Comments welcome.)

I've often noted the intellectual disconnect in folks who think that Bush is both a dunce and an evil genius. In a post at NRO's "Kerry Spot", we find this quote from Tucker Carlson yesterday: "If you listen to the Democrats, George W. Bush is not only a moron who can barely tie his own shoes, but he's the most brilliant debater in the history of western civilization."

Now, some of this is raising the bar so that the expected outcome is below what you've set people up for; get them thinking he'll demolish Kerry and when he doesn't Kerry looks better. The Republicans did this before the Democratic National Convention when they predicted a double-digit bounce for Kerry. So this latest example is simple electioneering on the part of Democrats. No big deal in that regard.

However, I do find it amusing to see how many Democrats swallow this disconnect hook, line and sinker. How can Bush be both verbal bumbler yet master debater? How can he be both stupid and brilliant? How can he be both beholden to Saudi interests yet in bed with Israel? Odd.

Bryan Preston is putting his money where his mouth is. First the background:
In case you're wondering what all the fuss is about, it's about letting enemy propaganda influence our troops who are on the front lines protecting us from terrorists. Michael Moore's films and books outrageously charge that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are irrelevant to the war against jihad, and that both wars have only been undertaken to make President Bush and his friends rich. Moore's lies have found their way to Iraq thanks to a clever little game he played with file sharing: He permitted his fans to share bootlegged files of his Fahrenheit 9-11 film, burn them to cd or dvd and send them to US troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Military theatres, caught in a bind between a popular yet truthless film and a possible charge of censorship if they didn't run it, chose to run Fahrenheit 9-11. That has managed to give hack crockumentarian Michael Moore the imprimatur of the Pentagon's approval.

According to several reports, the results of all this have been devastating. Certainly not every unit has been effected, and certainly no majority of the troops have bought into Moore's lies, but in any group of 130,000 to 150,000 young individuals you will find enough people who will believe anything, and enough of them will become disgruntled or disillusioned enough to despise the very country and leadership that sent them to war. For commanders in the field, this can create a potential morale and discipline problem.

So what's Bryan going to do about it?
What Moore did in making that film was unconscionable, and what he did in making it available both via pirated files and even via the Army and Air Force Exchange Service--which operates theatres on bases around the world--is unforgivable. Michael Moore is trying to make sure we lose this war. His new book is just one more part of that effort. We are at war with the very same enemy that murdered in cold blood 3,000 innocents on 9-11, yet Moore chose to make President Bush the villian of his film. We are at war with the same enemy that is currently capturing and beheading civilians, including charity workers, and Moore insists that those killers are "the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen...and they will win."

Only if we let them. And part of letting them win is leaving Moore's shameless propaganda unchallenged. That's where Truth for Troops comes in. Truth for Troops is the counterattack to Moore's vicious lies. Truth for Troops gives you a chance to make a difference in this war where it will count the most--on the front lines, with the troops who are gallantly sacrificing so much to keep us safe. We can send DVDs of a movie that directly refutes Moore's lies, with a bipartisan cast. We owe it to the troops to make sure Michael Moore's insidious and evil manipulations don't stand as this generation's understanding of the war. We owe it to our troops to treat them better than Michael Moore has. He has lied to them about this war; we owe them the truth. That's what Truth for Troops is about.

The web site isn't up yet (see today's post on it for more details), but it will be soon, possibly tomorrow.

See, blogs aren't just for folks to talk, it can also produce a groundswell for action as well. Sure this kind of thing has been done on the net before, but I think with all the cross-talk among blogs the word can really get around. E-mail from a buddy asking for help in an endeavor has been the way it was done before, but the conversation in the blogosphere can be to a larger audience. (And you can't Google an E-mail making the rounds.)

Go get 'em, Bryan.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Now Kerry is asking for an end to the political ads.
Democratic presidential challenger John Kerry appealed for an end to the TV advertising war that has marked his election battle against President George W. Bush.

Bush called for an end to all 527 ads, looks like Kerry's finally on the bandwagon as well.

Kerry said the avalanche of negative television spots and attacks being shown on US screens was scaring off voters.

"Americans need a real conversation over our future," Kerry said in a speech at a school in Spring Green, Wisconsin.

I'd have to agree. I'm not in favor of banning negative advertising, but enough over a period of time can desensitize some folks to politics in general. We do need a conversation, a debate.
"I'm calling them 'misleadisments,'" Kerry said of the adverts. "It's all scare tactics ... because (Bush) has no record to run on."

Ah, so now we see what Kerry really means! He's only against Bush's negative ads, not his own. Gotta understand the code words he uses to find out what he really means by "conversation". What he really wants is a monologue; his monologue.

This just in...
Beyond the tired cliches and sperm-and-egg basics taught in grade school science class, researchers are discovering that men and women are even more different than anyone realized.


"Women are different than men, not only psychologically (but) physiologically, and I think we need to understand those differences," says Dr. Catherine DeAngelis, editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In next month's journal; new evidence showing that only women can have babies.

Promises vs. reality.
Mr Kerry, who has attacked President George W. Bush for failing to broaden the US-led alliance in Iraq, has pledged to improve relations with European allies and increase international military assistance in Iraq.

Except that...
French and German government officials say they will not significantly increase military assistance in Iraq even if John Kerry, the Democratic presidential challenger, is elected on November 2.

Listen to see if Kerry stops making promises for world leaders that those world leaders don't intend to keep.

(Hat tip to tankertodd at

I remember when I was a kid and Nixon and McGovern were running against each other for the presidency. One of the rumors that went around the school was that if McGovern was elected, he would make us go to school on Saturday. Well, that made us schoolkids dead set against him, of course, but it was just some rumor, an urban legend, probably started by someone who didn't like McGovern.

Today, the Internet is where those rumors really kick into high gear. Here's the latest:
One of those "come-out-of-nowhere" emails now circulating in cyberspace warns about a sneaky administration effort to begin a "mandatory draft for boys and girls (ages 18-26) starting June 15, 2005...just after the presidential election."

The email says the Bush administration "is quietly trying to get these bills passed now, while the public's attention is on the elections."

In fact, the bill in question - HR 163 - was introduced by liberal New York Democrat Rep. Charles Rangel on Jan. 7, 2003 - almost two years ago -- and it does not have administration backing.

The companion Senate bill is S. 89, was introduced by Democrat Ernest Hollings of South Carolina, also on Jan. 7, 2003.

The legislation was introduced by lawmakers who oppose the war in Iraq. The bill, according to Rep. Pete Stark, (D-Calif.), "will ensure all Americans share in the cost and sacrifice of war."

Anti-war Democrats introduced the legislation, knowing it would be unpopular. They wanted to make the point that the burden of fighting the war in Iraq would fall disproportionately to poor and minority populations unless a mandatory draft is imposed.

According to the alarmist, pre-election email now circulating, the mandatory draft bill "eliminates higher education as a shelter and includes women in the draft" It says "crossing into Canada" as a means of avoiding the draft has been "made very difficult."

Readers of the email are urged to send it to "all the parents and teachers you know, and all the aunts and uncles, grandparents, godparents. . . And let your children know -- it's their future, and they can be a powerful voice for change!"

You want to be a voice for change? Work to get rid of Rangel, Hollings and Stark. Then you'll be less likely to get drafted. And, of course, Kerry's going along with this hoax.
Last week, at a campaign stop in West Palm Beach, Sen. John F. Kerry said in response to a question:"If George Bush were to be re-elected, given the way he has gone about this war and given his avoidance of responsibility in North Korea and Iran and other places, it is possible" that he would support a mandatory draft.

The Bush campaign called Kerry's statement "irresponsible."

They could also call it "par for the course".

Georgia same-sex marriage amendment update:
ATLANTA - A Fulton County judge delayed a decision until next week on whether a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in Georgia could stay on the Nov. 2 ballot.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Constance Russell heard arguments from both sides Friday, but referred the Attorney General's Office and plaintiffs, including lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia, to a Georgia Supreme Court case that casts doubt on whether the court could intervene until after the election.

"I did some looking on my own … and neither one of you cited (the case) and frankly I'm concerned," Russell said.

Reading from the case decided in 1920, she said, "judicial power will not be exercised to stay the course of legislation while it is in the process" of being enacted.

She gave both sides until Monday to convince her why she does or does not have jurisdiction in the case.

The judge, rightly in my view, gave both sides a thwack for not noticing this. This could make the whole case moot if she's not convinced, which I'm sure scares the ACLU. The bigger the margin of victory on the amendment vote (and it's projected to be very big), the worse it would look for them to being up the lawsuit at that point ("the will of the people" and all that). It's good to hear there's a judge with a level head looking into this, and isn't playing favorites, whatever her predisposition might be.

(Cross-posted at Comments welcome.)

CBS President Les Moonves, speaking about the fake document fiasco.
"We are risk-taking," he told NEWSWEEK. "When you extend yourself, it sometimes becomes controversy.''

Ah, so chucking journalistic ethics out the window, all while strongly saying that you do have them, is just a "controversy".
He emphasized that the current "60 Minutes" crisis is profoundly different from other episodes. "Clearly errors were made,'' he says. "But that doesn't reflect the history or integrity of CBS News."

Well, what errors, exactly? The best Rather will say is that he can't be sure the documents are real, in spite of the preponderance of evidence against them.

Euphamism-mania has gripped a network news organization that supposedly calls 'em as they see 'em.

Fellow Homespunner Jeff Blanco has some casualty reports, not just from the Iraq war, but from the other wars fought by America for comparison. Compare Iraq (which Kerry/Edwards is now calling a "quagmire") to the other war where that description was used. We're a long way from that, in case you're wondering.

Friday, September 24, 2004

If Dan Rather doesn't get fired for using fake documents in his reporting, shouldn't there be some apology for Jayson Blair? Wouldn't reporting on events without having been there, but giving the impression that you were, rise (or fall) to CBS's "fake but accurate" standard? I discussed the question with Kim Peterson on today's installment of "Considerettes Radio".

"Considerettes Radio" on The Kim Peterson Show (WGST, Atlanta, GA) 9/24/2004 6:10pm EST (148K)

The proposed Georgia constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage is under fire before it gets on the ballot.
A lawsuit to remove a gay marriage amendment from the November ballot will go before a Fulton County judge Friday.

Authors of the amendment to ban gay marriage in Georgia thought the State Legislature had settled the issue earlier this year by leaving it to be decided by voters. Now, the American Civil Liberties Union is trying to halt what they call a loaded question that actually presents two questions, instead of one.

Beth Littrell, of the ACLU, said, “They didn’t mention civil union because they know that voters would not favor putting that into the [Georgia] Constitution.”

The ACLU is calling for the amendment to ban gay marriage to be removed from the November 2 ballot. Passed overwhelmingly by Georgia lawmakers during the previous legislative session, the amendment would affect only gay marriages.

In fact, though, what voters will see on the November ballot only asks them if Georgia should recognize marriage as the union of a man and a woman. But, there’s a second section omitted from the ballot that says no same-sex union shall be entitled to the benefits of marriage.

The ACLU claims that would also outlaw civil unions and, along with them, any chance of legally acquiring domestic benefits. The amendment’s authors deny that, saying the ACLU lawsuit simply reinforces the need to have what’s already Georgia law protected from being overturned by a state court.

Opponents of the ban point out that gay marriage is already against the law in Georgia, but as the last paragraph notes, they've taken the fight to the courts, so that's where they're being met. This is just further proof of that.

The "civil union" point that the ACLU is quibbling over is a bit of a smoke screen. From Ms. Littrell's description, one might think that the proposed amendment would also outlaw civil unions, but it doesn't. It just says that "civil unions" aren't "marriage" and shouldn't be treated as such by the state. So civil unions are still in play, but they'll just be civil unions, not marriage under a different name. Thus it's not one question being put to the Georgia voters. It's just one question clarified by two sentences.

Further, it doesn't prohibit employers from offering the same benefits to married couples and those joined by civil union. Private citizens/groups are free to treat them as they see fit

So this lawsuit is merely a desperate attempt at finding a "friendly" judge to get the amendment off the ballot. Kinda' the way the whole same-sex marriage thing has been playing out around the country. That's why we need a constitutional amendment. Hats off to the ACLU for proving the point.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Sometimes it's hard to keep the attack dogs at bay. When they're your attack dogs, then you've got a real problem.
High-level Democrats, including some inside the Kerry campaign, were appalled by this week's political sideshow. Just as John Kerry began finding his voice on Iraq, he was in danger of being drowned out by Democratic operatives Joe Lockhart and Terry McAuliffe. But the Democratic presidential candidate had only himself to blame.

Democratic critics can hardly comprehend that Lockhart, President Bill Clinton's spokesman who was recently taken aboard the campaign by Sen. Kerry, telephoned a notorious Bush-bashing eccentric who was CBS's source of the discredited documents. They also are unhappy that McAuliffe, the Clinton-selected Democratic National Committee chairman, has launched an advertising campaign attacking President Bush's National Guard record.

The complaints are not limited to specific cases. One party activist with a nationally familiar name calls Lockhart and McAuliffe ''attack dogs'' who go beyond the facts and get Kerry off message. But the nominee brought Lockhart into the campaign and could, with a single telephone call, suppress McAuliffe's Bush-bashing. This is Kerry's campaign, and he is responsible for these distractions from his new focus on Iraq.

McAuliffe is about the worst person you can have on your team. Look out, Mr. Kerry.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

I send out to a few friends and family E-mailings of news articles that I think they'd be interested in and that, as far as I can tell, don't get much press coverage but should. Sometimes it amounts to spam (I'll admit it) but for some it's their connection to news that they're interested in but not seeing (for various reasons, including being out of the country).

One of the people on that list sent out the question below to the group. He quotes from what appears to be a news story, although it looks like it was written by Sidney Blumenthal, who's not a news guy. I didn't have the opportunity to look up the quote myself.

I thought it would be worth posting (with names expunged) in case it might be edifying to others.
Would someone out there help me and please tell me what is going on in Iraq and what our goals are there? Christian perspective welcomed....what is it that I'm not seeing? I'm not looking for right wing rhetoric or ideology...just some reasons for it all. I just can't believe that this is what Christ would want.
'Retired general William Odom, former head of the National Security Agency [under the first President Bush], told me [Sydney Blumenthal]: "Bush hasn't found the WMD. Al Qaeda, it's worse, he's lost on that front. That he's going to achieve a democracy there? That goal is lost, too. It's lost." He adds: "Right now, the course we're on, we're achieving Bin Laden's ends." Retired general Joseph Hoare, the former marine commandant and head of US Central Command, told me: "The idea that this is going to go the way these guys planned is ludicrous. There are no good options. We're conducting a campaign as though it were being conducted in Iowa, no sense of the realities on the ground. It's so unrealistic for anyone who knows that part of the world. The priorities are just all wrong."

My response:

First of all, Sid Blumenthal was a Clinton advisor, and has been eager to pounce on any bad news or opinion that makes Bush look bad. On Sept. 9th, he got all worked up about how "finally" Bush was going to have to answer questions about his National Guard service because some new evidence had surfaced. The day that article appeared, that "new evidence"--the forged documents at CBS--was exposed. Sid is willing to take hook, line and sinker on any story against Dubya. He's not a newsman, he's an opinion guy. Regard anything with his by-line pretending to be news with the same suspicion you would a "news" story by Rush Limbaugh. (Difference is, Rush doesn't put himself forth as a news guy.)

With that in mind, it's not hard to understand how this story sounds scary. That's the angle Sid wanted, and he went out and found it. In fact, the media's coverage of Iraq has been mostly the bad news. That's partly because bad news is more sensational, and partly because (I believe) of their prevailing liberal slant. If you want good news from Iraq, you have to go elsewhere. Arthur Chrenkoff is a blogger who regularly puts out "Good News from Iraq" and "Good News from Afghanistan" on his blog. The most recent posts in his Iraq entries are here:

The only problem you face in reading these is that you need to set aside quite a bit of time to read these and follow the links. That's because there's so much good news to report.

The war in Iraq and its aftermath have been compared to World War II. One of the similarities is that the number of pundits back then, after the fall of Berlin, who worried that the US was "losing the peace". In the middle of things, yeah, it looked pretty bad. Not all of Germany welcomed the Allies with open arms. Rebuilding the country was going to take boatloads of cash and patience, and insurgents were a problem. But we committed to it, and it worked.

Was it worth it? I think we'd agree that it was, from a political as well as Christian perspective. Even with the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives, it was worth it. We removed a dictator with designs on dominating the region and exterminating a race; a race that as Christians, we have a connection with and owe something to.

Of course, the question of if the war in Iraq is worth it, in spite of any similarities to WWII, has to stand on its own. We removed a dictator with designs on dominating the region (he'd invaded 2 countries in the past, and only left 1 after we kicked him out). The latest reports say his WMD programs were dormant, but were waiting for inspectors to leave before starting them up again. An Iraq with WMDs would be a threat to American interests. Yes, this means oil (Hussein staying in Kuwait would've been a severe hit to our economy), but this includes Israel, who has little but us as an ally.

Do they want us there? Well, you can't blame folks for preferring not to have foreign soldiers all over, but at the same time they aren't marching in the streets en masse to get us out. Yes, there are some, but in a country of 250 million, the percentages are small.

And what of the lives lost? Every life is sacred, but consider the relative cost. Instead of hundreds of thousands, we only recently lost the 1000th soldier. If any war can be considered a success, this surely rates as one.

I think there are legitimate questions as to how to proceed in this rebuilding. Some say that we're forgetting the lessons of Vietnam; that half-measures and political correctness don't produce victory over those who want this fledgeling democracy to fail. If we cut and run, it surely will fail.

Germany didn't go from beaten Axis power to functioning democracy in less that a year. Even America took 3 years from the end of the Revolutionary War to a Constitution. Why should Iraq be any different? You will continue to hear bad news from the front lines. That's to be expected. But it's not the whole story.

A democratic republic is being attacked by those who wish it to fail. That sentence is just as true about Iraq today as it was about America on 9/11. This is the War on Terror, and I think that despite the bad news and hand-wringers, it's still worth fighting.

That was then:


DAN RATHER, CBS NEWS ANCHOR: I know that this story is true. I believe that the witnesses and the documents are authentic. We wouldn't have gone to air if they would not have been. There isn't going to be -- there's no -- what you're saying apology?

QUESTION: Apology or any kind of retraction or...

RATHER: Not even discussed, nor should it be. I want to make clear to you, I want to make clear to you if I have not made clear to you, that this story is true, and that more important questions than how we got the story, which is where those who don't like the story like to put the emphasis, the more important question is what are the answers to the questions raised in the story, which I just gave you earlier.

This is now:
But we did use the documents. We made a mistake in judgment, and for that I am sorry.

Dan's apology, however, brings up more questions.
  • Why did "60 Minutes" go with documents that they had not researched well enough, especially when some of their own experts advised them not to consider them authentic? Dan Rather personally reported the story, so what was gave him such confidence in their authenticity? The blogosphere blew the case wide open within 12 hours of the report, for goodness sake.
  • Who forged the documents? Who is the actual source, if not Burkett? And why isn't CBS News asking that question?
  • When do we get an apology? Rather's "apology" was just finger-pointing and backpedaling. "I find we have been misled on the key question of how our source for the documents came into possession of these papers. That, combined with some of the questions that have been raised in public and in the press, leads me to a point where-if I knew then what I know now-I would not have gone ahead with the story as it was aired, and I certainly would not have used the documents in question." So basically it's someone else's fault that you jumped to quickly on an anti-Bush story that, with minimal checking, fell apart hours after you reported it. That's an apology?

Sorry Dan, this doesn't cut it.
Please know that nothing is more important to us than people's trust in our ability and our commitment to report fairly and truthfully.

Of course that's important, though in your case the reason is that the more folks who swallow what you offer, hook, line and sinker, the more of this blatant partisanship you could have gotten away with. Welcome to the 21st century, Mr. Rather.

Monday, September 20, 2004

I'm teaching a class this week, so blogging will be very light (yes, even lunchtime breaks will be short).

One thing I want to pass along. Watching Fox news over the weekend, I heard a guest (and for the life of me I can't remember who) put this point of view forward:

Iraq is a fledgling democracy. There have already been some local elections of sorts, and the national one is coming in January. Their own national guard is beginning. "Insurgents" have been killing people to stop this. So how does this sound any different than guy blowing up building in our own democracy (OK, "democratic republic" but you get the idea)? The 9/11 guys were "terrorists", not insurgents, not activists and not militants. The guys doing this in Iraq are not all from Iraq--a substantial number are from Iran, for example--so it's not entirely an internal "civil war". These guys are "terrorists" trying to thwart a democratic republic that, among other things, allows for a measure of freedom of religion. They are "terrorists" in the exact same way the 9/11 guys were.

Shouldn't we be fighting alongside a new ally in the war on terror? Yes, the bombings are probably happening because of our presence there, but not entirely, since often the targets these days are Iraqis, in whole or in part. And our presence there is the only reason those reforms are happening. Should we have left a murderous dictator alone? Isn't democracy a Good Thing? Even if you don't think the war in Iraq was part of the war on terror, the reforms that are in place are giving terrorists fits and they're trying to stop it with all they have. This is the War on Terror.

So then, where would you rather it be fought; on the terrorists turf, or downtown Manhatten?

Friday, September 17, 2004

No stockpiles of WMDs in Iraq.
Fallen Iraqi President Saddam Hussein did not have stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, but left signs that he had idle programs he someday hoped to revive, the top U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq concludes in a draft report due out soon.

Yup, this is a black eye, but not just for Bush. Leaders and intelligence organizations all over the world thought he had them (especially since he'd used them). So as much as the lefties would like to lay the blame squarely on Bush for this, there's plenty of folks to spread the blame over, including John Kerry. But that's not stopping them from getting ready to blame just Dubya.
If the report is released publicly before the Nov. 2 elections, Democrats are likely to seize on the document as another opportunity to criticize the Bush administration's leading argument for war in Iraq and the deteriorating security situation there.

So was the war a mistake?
Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry has criticized the president's handling of the war, but also has said he still would have voted to authorize the invasion even if he had known no weapons of mass destruction would be found there.

So this should mute the criticism from the left, right?


One other thing to note: If Saddam was ready to kick the weapons programs back in once the inspectors left (and, on cue, the left would proclaim that inspections had "worked" and that Hussein was not a threat), then the threat would inevitably increase to a point where we would have needed to take him out anyway. And in the meantime, money and lives would be spent ensuring that Hussein didn't start killing Kurds, while on the ground torture and mass graves would continue to be the order of the day. And that is what the left would have considered a "victory".

No thanks.

Investigations have shown that the former Iraqi dictator grafted and smuggled more than $10 billion from the program that for seven years prior to Saddam's overthrow was meant to bring humanitarian aid to ordinary Iraqis. And the Sept. 11 Commission has shown a tracery of contacts between Saddam and Al Qaeda that continued after billions of Oil-for-Food dollars began pouring into Saddam's coffers and Usama bin Laden declared his infamous war on the U.S.

Now, buried in some of the United Nation's own confidential documents, clues can be seen that underscore the possibility of just such a Saddam-Al Qaeda link — clues leading to a locked door in this Swiss lakeside resort.

I realize that to some Democrats, a "tracery of contacts between Saddam and Al Qaeda" reported by the 9/11 Commission might come as a complete surprise, given how the news media and liberal pundits have redefined this to say "no connections at all". It might be worth it, then, to read the whole thing. Claudia Rosett has been all over the UNSCAM story from the beginning and has a history of good reporting on it.

Are Congressional investigations necessary to hold CBS's feet to the fire, or is the free market's response enough? On "Considerettes Radio" from a call yesterday, I note the free market issue and Hugh Hewitt give his reasons for wanting Congress to get involved. We report, you decide.

"Considerettes Radio" on The Hugh Hewitt Show (WGKA, Atlanta, GA) 9/16/2004 6:50pm EST (611K)

First it was Bob Schieffer exposing cracks in the CBS facade, now it Andy Rooney of all people.
CBS curmudgeon Andy Rooney indicated yesterday he believes the controversial documents on President Bush's National Guard service are fake and said it could cost Dan Rather down the road.

"I'm surprised at their reluctance to concede they're wrong," Rooney said, referring to CBS brass.

The cracks have become fissures. But really, Andy. This reluctance to admit to being wrong shouldn't come as a surprise to you. You, yourself, haven't apologized for your own double standards. When going after conservatives or the religious, journalistic standards typically go out the window. How exactly is this surprising?
Despite praising Rather as "a good, honest newsman," Rooney added, "I'm unsure if they're whistling in the dark instead of apologizing."

Do you mean "honest newsman" in the same way Dan Rather thought Bill Clinton could "lie about any number of things" and still be considered honest "at core"?
Rooney doesn't think the network would try to ease out Rather over the memo mess, but he added, "It might have an effect on him six months from now."

Ease him out then and hope that Rathergate doesn't mar his retirement. Could this be a hint that Dan may not last longer than that at anchor?
Rooney and other CBS staffers are still holding out hope that Rather will produce something to authenticate the supposed memos from the early 1970s that criticized Bush's record in the Texas Air National Guard.

...especially since this has put their ratings in the tank. It's interesting to hear that staffers at CBS itself don't take Dan's or the network's word for it that they stand behind the story. If they won't, certainly we shouldn't.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

The free market kicks in.


CBS executives on both coasts have become concerned in recent days that Dan Rather's EVENING NEWS broadcast has plunged in the ratings since the anchor presented questionable documents about Bush's National Guard service.

And that's how it's supposed to work when you do shoddy reporting.
NIELSEN numbers released this week show Rather fading and trailing his rivals in every Top 10 city, other than San Francisco,

...where many reflexively believe anything anti-Bush and have more in common with France than the United States...
with audience margins in some cities running more than 6 to 1 against CBS!

Executives fear many voters inclined to vote for Bush are now switching off Rather.

What they ought to fear is that many people who were inclined to believe CBS's claims of "objectivity" are switching off CBS in general. They may try to paint it as as some sort of "conservative flight", but I think it's deeper than that.
"The audience appears to [be] polarized," a top CBS source said from LOS ANGELES on Thursday. "Rightly or wrongly, we're being perceived as 'anti-Bush,' which I do not think is fair to Dan, who is a fine journalist... of course we do not like to see the ratings coming back the way they are this week."

Whenever they've reported polls during this election season, they've noted the polarization. Why should it be a surprise to them now?

And the misdirection is amazing. This isn't about being fair to Dan, it's about being fair, period. If you can't be fair with the facts, don't expect any leeway.
In Philadelphia, the nation's #4 market, Rather pulled a 2.6 rating/5 share on Tuesday night against ABC's 13.3 rating/23 share and NBC's 4.0/7.

In Chicago, Rather hit a 2.3/5 to ABC's 9.2/20.

CBS trailed ABC by more than 2 to 1 in Los Angeles.

Hugh Hewitt may want Congressional investigations, but I think the people have spoken louder than any Congressman can.
And in the nation's top market, New York, Rather finished not only behind NBC NIGHTLY NEWS and ABC WORLD NEWS TONIGHT -- but also pulled less audience than reruns of the SIMPSONS, WILL & GRACE and KING OF QUEENS.

Insult, meet injury.
Rather finished dead last in New York during the 6:30 pm timeslot among all broadcast channels tracked by NIELSEN on Tuesday.


Oh yeah, it most certainly is.

Hurricane Dan continues to swirl, with blusters reaching record speeds. One of the tornados spawned off from this has been the Abilene, TX Kinkos angle.
Documents allegedly written by a deceased officer that raised questions about President Bush's service with the Texas Air National Guard bore markings showing they had been faxed to CBS News from a Kinko's copy shop in Abilene, Tex., according to another former Guard officer who was shown the records by the network.


There is only one Kinko's in Abilene, and it is 21 miles from the Baird, Tex., home of retired Texas National Guard officer Bill Burkett, who has been named by several news outlets as a possible source for the documents.

Burkett has had an axe to grind with Bush for a good long time. This isn't a coincidence.

And now Dan himself is admitting to doubts about the memos.
CBS anchor Dan Rather acknowledged for the first time yesterday that there are serious questions about the authenticity of the documents he used to question President Bush's National Guard record last week on "60 Minutes."

"If the documents are not what we were led to believe, I'd like to break that story," Rather said in an interview last night. "Any time I'm wrong, I want to be right out front and say, 'Folks, this is what went wrong and how it went wrong.' "

Somebody get this man a laptop and an Internet connection before he tries to "break" a story that's been all over the blogosphere, and even in the MSM, for over a week. Is that the CBS definition of a "scoop"?
"This is not about me," Rather said before anchoring last night's newscast. "I recognize that those who didn't want the information out and tried to discredit the story are trying to make it about me, and I accept that."

Um, Dan. Since you presented these documents as real to the American public, and you personally vouched for them (for a time, anyway), then it most certainly is about you. Why are you blaming fact checkers for the false "facts" you tried to foist on us? This sounds like Clinton blaming Starr for discovering Clinton's lies; blame the investigator(s) for uncovering the truth. What arrogance!

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Backcountry Conservative's been doing a boatload of live-blogging of things like the delayed statement from CBS and the follow-up "60 Minutes II" segment on problems. A bunch of very interesting reads if you've missed some of the whirlwind going on today. (No, I'm not talking about hurricane Ivan.)

Just start with the report by Drudge that the faked memos were possibly faxed to CBS from a Kinkos, and keep on scrolling.

A poster at known only as "W" posted a diary entry noting that ABC has been ahead of the curve in the mainstream media on exposing the CBS forged memos incident. But read the last paragraph:
Many have marked this story as a seminal moment when the new media has eclipsed the old. But, without ABC, this story may have never made it beyond the ranks of the pajamahadeen.

The "Pajamahadeen"? Now that's funny. (Explanation here for those not getting the PJ reference.)

The 2nd anniversary of the Carnival of the Vanities is up at its home base, Silflay Hraka. Thanks to the dudes there for getting this thing going in the first place (and spawning a bunch of copycats, all good for the blogosphere).

(OK, yeah, and I have an entry on there myself. Pity me, the self-promoter. Thanks to the guys for putting up what I thought was my funniest portion as the excerpt.)

Cracks are appearing in the CBS News organization.
CBS News' Bob Schieffer said Tuesday he hopes the network does more reporting to definitively prove the authenticity of memos 60 Minutes II received about President Bush's service in the Air National Guard.

"I think we have to find some way to show our viewers they are not forgeries,'' Schieffer, CBS' chief Washington correspondent and host of the network's "Face the Nation,'' said at a news conference in Sioux City. "I don't know how we're going to do that without violating the confidentiality of sources.''

No, see, that's the whole problem. If you folks are so sure these are authentic, saying why doesn't require you to say who gave you that information. And frankly the only way to ensure authentication is to have the originals; no handwriting expert worth his pay would guarantee anything without the originals. Do you have the originals? If so, why not bring them out, instead of 10th generation copies? If not, how can you possibly be so sure of them?

But let's assume for the moment that saying why would give away who. Are handwriting experts really confidential sources? Someone leaking information from the White House; yes. Someone vouching for your reporting; no. If you revealed an inside source of information, you might not get their cooperation, or leaks from others, in the future. Are you worried that if you reveal the name(s) of your expert(s) that they'll no longer work for you? Now why would that be? Could it be that their reputation would take such a hit being associated with this, and they agreed up front to stay anonymous?

Or perhaps the sources you're referring to are actually the folks you got the documents from. Where they came from shouldn't matter more than the authentication, especially since many of the people who would known of Killian's personal files (his wife, his son, his secretary), are all shooting down their authenticity. What should matter most is expert testimony. If you think you can only prove they're good by exposing confidential sources, that doesn't speak well for your due diligence.
CBS has stood by its story, with Rather saying there is "no definitive evidence'' that has emeged [sic] to prove the documents are fake.

"He is very confident of his sources,'' said Schieffer, who has talked to Rather daily during the flap. "He says he is absolutely convinced these documents are real.''

Again, it's the sources that convince Rather of the validity of the memos. If they're experts, why won't they reveal themselves? If they're operatives,...well, we know why they wouldn't want to reveal themselves. Either way, it's bad for CBS.
CBS, which has declined to reveal the source of the memos, has pointed to its own experts who have verified that documents could have been produced on typewriters of the 1970s. But the Washington Post reported Tuesday that the lead expert CBS retained said he examined only Killian's signature and made no attempt to authenticate the documents themselves.

It again brings up that question; if the on-air experts are ambivalent, why not bring out those that stand, rock-solid, behind their conclusions? Hmmm.
"People ask me, 'Do I think somebody was trying to set up Dan Rather?' I say, "No that's completely out of the question,'' said Schieffer, who addressed the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce's annual dinner/meeting Tuesday night. "Would somebody do this in an effort to smear George Bush? That may be so. We're in the middle of a political campaign, and this would not be the first campaign where somebody on one side slipped something to a reporter because he feels it would hurt the guy on the other side.''

Schieffer is trying to patch up the cracks now. Everybody does it, it's no big deal. (Echoes of the Clinton administration, eh?) But he's conveniently sidestepping the real issue. Nobody's suggesting that political operatives try to make the opponent look bad. The current accusations are that CBS took poor forgeries, did minimal checking on them, ignored contrary evidence, and used them to buttress a report on their premier news magazine. And if Rather wasn't set up, then he was either foolish or complicit. None of those outcomes speaks well of him as a news anchor.

(Cross-posted at, where you can comment.)

Welcome, Dean's World readers. The Dean notes that Kerry supporters are starting to sound silly, even without the forged memos fiasco. Sid's editorial about this being Bush's turn in the hot seat was written before that blew up, adding insult to injury.


Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Sometime soon, I will be embarking on an adventure, full of danger, with many twists & turns. Hopefully, I will come out of this unscathed, but there are never any guarantees in this endeavor.

I refer, of course, to changing my web hosting service.

A buddy of mine has graciously let me "sub-let" a portion of his space, and even having given me fair warning that he planned on removing this account in early summer, it's still here. But it's time for me to launch out on my own. This means, for them what cares, getting a new space, moving everything over to it, and >gulp< get the name servers switched with minimal downtime.

Anyway, just fair warning. If, at some point in the next month you find that the web site has seemed to disappear, fear not. I'll be back.

For those of you concerned that Bush is trying to create some sort of theocracy because of the way he publicly refers to his religion, Paul Kengor has some news for you. After recounting a recent, very under-reported story about Clinton getting a church in New York mobilized to vote for Democrats, he puts the stats out.
Here’s the reality: Though clearly a devout Christian, Bush is no more outwardly religious than the vast majority of this nation’s presidents, including the most recent.

I researched the Presidential Documents — the official collection of every public presidential statement. An examination of the mentions of Jesus Christ by George W. Bush and Bill Clinton showed that through 2003, Bush cited Jesus, or Jesus Christ, or Christ in 14 separate statements, compared to 41 by Clinton during his eight years in office. On average, Clinton mentioned Christ in 5.1 statements per year, which exceeded Bush’s 4.7.

Bush’s biggest year was 2001, when he mentioned Christ in seven statements. This was the year of September 11; he was especially introspective, and often looked upward for strength. In 2002, he cited Christ in five statements.

Most interesting, in all of 2003, the Presidential Documents displayed only two statements in which Bush mentioned his Savior: the Easter and Christmas messages. It may be reasonable to conclude that the hostile press reaction to Bush’s mention of Jesus has pressured him into silence.

Such pressure was never placed on Bush’s Democratic predecessor. President Bill Clinton’s top year for Christ remarks was 1996 — the year of his re-election campaign — when he spoke of Christ in nine separate statements. Clinton mentioned Christ almost twice as much in election years.

In addition, the Presidential Documents list only three incidences of Bush speaking in a church through his first three years.

By contrast, Clinton spoke in churches 21 times, with over half in election years. And often what he said and did in these churches was blatantly partisan, from identifying New York’s Democratic Governor Mario Cuomo as a “prophet” to instructing worshippers to go vote.

The press is feeding the fire of those who think that only a Republican does these sorts of things. They ignore what doesn't fit the template. Liberals love it when Clinton or Jesse Jackson or any other Democrat get the faithful moving while at church, but if a Republican uses the J-word anywhere it's some sort of "separation of church and state" Constitutional crisis.

That liberal media, the one that feeds the red meat to the liberal faithful.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Atlanta Journal-Constitution, page 1:
Mindful of the political perils, the state Parole Board has begun talking about softening a get-tough-on-crime policy that has helped pack Georgia's prisons.

At a recent out-of-town retreat, parole board members discussed rules passed in 1998 that required felons convicted of one of 20 offenses to serve at least 90 percent of their sentence. They asked staffers to study the impact of the policy, expressing concerns about its fairness and its effect on a growing prison population.

"You know we have some problems with it," parole board member Eugene Walker told board attorney Tracy Masters. "Help validate the kinds of concerns we're raising and why we need to change it."

AJC, same issue, not on page 1:
The nation's crime rate last year held steady at the lowest levels since the government began surveying crime victims in 1973, the Justice Department reported Sunday.

The study was the latest contribution to a decade-long trend in which violent crime as measured by victim surveys has fallen by 55 percent and property crime by 49 percent. That has included a 14 percent drop in violent crime from 2000-2001 to 2002-2003.

"The rates are the lowest experienced in the last 30 years," Justice Department statistician Shannan Catalona said in the report. "Crime rates have stabilized."

Hmm, which would I rather have; more crime or crowded prisons? And do ya' think that the two stories are related somehow? Do we need to change a policy that is reducing crime?

Does anyone at the AJC notice this? Do they read their own paper?

Nameless, faceless charges from the Kerry campaign:
John Kerry suggested Saturday night that Republicans may try to keep black voters from casting their ballots to help President Bush win in November. "We are not going to stand by and allow another million African American votes to go uncounted in this election," the Democratic presidential nominee told the Congressional Black Caucus.

"We are not going to stand by and allow acts of voter suppression, and we're hearing those things again in this election."

Kerry has a team of lawyers to examine possible voting problems to try to prevent a repeat of the 2000 election disputes. He also has said he has thousands of lawyers around the country prepared to monitor the polls on election day.

"What they did in Florida in 2000, some say they may be planning to do this year in battleground states all across this country," Kerry said. "Well, we are here to let them know that we will fight tooth and nail to make sure that this time, every vote is counted and every vote counts."

"Some say"? Who says this, and who do they say is planning this? Is this just you saying this, Mr. Kerry? If not, why can't you reveal who it is that's claiming this? How is all this supposed to take place?

This is why Kerry won't sit down with a reporter or call a press conference. The questions left unanswered are all very damaging. But they make good content-free rhetoric, eh? is up, documenting (and pointing to others who are documenting) the case against Dan Rather and "60 Minutes" in the Bush Guard duty memos.

The press has been trying to draw a moral equivalence between the charges of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which elicited retractions from the Kerry campaign, and the Kitty Kelley and CBS "60 Minutes" charges, which are a combination of gossip and likely bogus sources. On "Considerettes Radio" today, I talked with Bill Bennett about this.

"Considerettes Radio" on Bill Bennett's Morning in America (WGKA, Atlanta, GA) 9/13/2004 8:10am EST (221K)

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Via Hugh Hewitt: For those of you who hold up the Canadian health care system as an example of what we need here, you need to read this:
Canada Looks for Ways to Fix Its Health Care System

Y'know how people say that our system benefits the rich who can pay for their own care, and that the Canadian system is so much more fair?
"If you are not bleeding all over the place, you are put on the back burner," Ms. Pacione said, "unless of course you have money or know somebody."

And of course, just like any government program, the government is loathe to relinquish the power.
The publicly financed health insurance system remains a prideful jewel for most Canadians, who see it as an expression of communal caring for the less fortunate and a striking contrast to an American health care system that leaves 45 million people uninsured. But polls indicate that public confidence in the system is eroding, although politicians remain reticent to urge increasing privatization of services.

And what are Canadian doctors doing in this system?
A 2002 report from the Canadian Senate said that the actual number of family doctors had decreased only slightly in recent years but that the demands of an aging population were growing. Meanwhile, several recent studies have shown that family doctors are working shorter hours.

Young doctors are more likely to seek the most lucrative work in cities or go to the United States rather than start more modest practices in small towns because of growing debts when they leave medical school. That has set off an increasing competition among small towns to attract doctors.

What gets me is this question:
"It's like winning the lottery to get in and see the doctor," Mayor Marcel Brunelle said. "This is a very wealthy country. What happened to bring the situation to this point?"

Oh come on, this is way too easy. What has happened to a big government program? It's become a money pit, as they all do. This doesn't take any Holmsian deduction; it's simply a matter of looking at history and predicting the trend will continue.

Greets to the folks coming here from the link at Chrenkoff's. Just one correction: I'm not a native Georgian, per se. I'm a transplant (as it seems most folks in metro Atlanta are) from up north, but I have been here for 19 years, so that may count for something. >grin<

Saturday, September 11, 2004

9/11, 3 years on:

I remember the first words I heard telling me that something unusual had just happened. I remember the voice mail I got at the office from my wife telling me to listen to the news. I remember hearing people relay news reported to them from spouses or friends over the phone (some of which turned out to be wrong). I remember thinking that when the towers came down the death toll could reach into 5 figures. (I remember being so grateful later on that it wasn't.) I remember my boss telling everyone to go home. I remember watching TV pretty much the rest of the day. I remember when my kids got home from school and we talked about what had happened.

My kids took it well. They asked questions, and I answered them the best that I could. I've always tried to instill a sense of history in them when interesting things happened (we talked a lot about the 2000 election debacle), but in this case there was history mixed with a sadness, even a reverence, for those who just went to work that day and never came home.

One of my daughters was studying the state of New York in school and had recently decided to do a diorama of New York City. When it came time to do the buildings, I was going to print out a picture of the skyline, which we'd cut up and give a 3-D look to. When we asked her whether she wanted the Twin Towers there or not, she thought for a second and decided that she wanted them to be in there. She and her sister had visited the Twin Towers a couple years earlier with their aunt from Queens, and they remember looking out from the top.

Some time after the clean-up at Ground Zero was finished, I took my 3 oldest kids there. I have some pictures of them there, as well as the perfectly-proportioned cross made of steel beams that was found in the wreckage, standing tall in the midst of what should have been two tall towers and thousands of people. My picture of the cross is part of my computer wallpaper rotation, to remember that day.

I have a lot of memories from 9/11, but not nearly as many as others. One of my brothers-in-law was stuck in downtown Manhatten for 3 straight days. He did maintenance work at a hospital, and for him to leave would have meant putting patients in peril, so he stayed. When he did come home, he ate, slept, and went right back. You want memories? He's got 'em, and they're far more emotional than mine. My wife read Lisa Beamer's book "Let's Roll". Lisa's husband, as you probably know, was one of those that is likely responsible for downing a plane in Pennsylvania instead of the Capitol or some other target that the terrorists had planned on. You want memories? Few of ours hold a candle to hers.

So 3 years on, we're remembering the day, each in our own way, based on our own memories. But we, as a nation, have a corporate memory as well; the sum total of all of our thoughts and experiences. This national memory sometimes fades, in and out, especially as the time passes. We were so patriotic in the days after 9/11, but where has that gone now? Some of us still are. My vehicles still have the decorations I bought for them soon after the attacks. But flag decals don't make you patriotic. I think standing up for your country when you believe your country is right is nothing to be ashamed of. I also think criticizing your country, in a honest manner, when you believe your country is wrong is nothing to be ashamed of, either.

So I believe that criticizing a war you think is wrong is patriotic, but I don't think that marching in the street complaining of a tyrannical government that is worse than al Qaeda is, because it's not honest. If they were tyrannical, if they were stifling dissent, you couldn't be marching in the street against them.

In one episode of "Star Trek: Deep Space 9", Captain Sisko noted the problem between how Earth was handling a situation and how he thought it should be handled. His complaint was that Earth itself was the problem. They had such a utopian society there--no hunger, no disease, full employment, no poor--that they couldn't understand the situation outside. In a similar fashion, I think we in the U.S. don't really understand how good we've got it. We've forgotten, as a nation, what it felt like that fall morning when 3,000 died and our notion of impenetrability was shattered.

When half the populace agrees with a guy who wants to make terrorism a "law enforcement" issue, being reactive instead of proactive, you know we're losing our national memory. When people consider the man going after terrorists to be the "real" terrorist, amnesia has set in.

Hopefully, today will remind some folks about what is really going on in the world. Seeing people who have more of an emotional attachment to their 9/11 memories might awaken in others the real reason we can't wait for the rest of the world to agree that our country needs defending. Today is not just a day to pause presidential campaigning. It's not just an occasion to light some candles. It's not just for comforting those who've lost loved ones. It is all those things, but it is also one thing above all.

This is a day to remember.


Friday, September 10, 2004

It's 3 years late, but it's very encouraging to hear.
Simply put, not only do Muslims need to join the war against terror, we need to take the lead in this war.

As to apologizing, we will no longer wait for our religious leaders and “intellectuals” to do the right thing. Instead, we will start by apologizing for 9-11.

We are so sorry that 3000 people were murdered in our name. We will never forget the sight of people jumping from two of the highest buildings in the world hoping against hope that if they moved their arms fast enough that they may fly and survive a certain death from burning.

We are sorry for blaming 9-11 on a Jewish or right wing conspiracy.

We are so sorry for the murder of more than three hundred school children and adults in Russia.

We are so sorry for the murder of train passengers in Spain.

We are so sorry for all the victims of suicide bombings. We are so sorry for the beheadings, abductions, rapes, violent Jihad and all the atrocities committed by Muslims around the world.

We are so sorry for a religious education that raised killers rather than train people to do good in the world. We are sorry that we did not take the time to teach our children tolerance and respect for other people.

We are so sorry for not rising up against the dictators who have ruled the Muslim world for decades.

We are so sorry for allowing corruption to spread so fast and so deep in the Muslim world that many of our youth lost hope.

We are so sorry for allowing our religious leaders to relegate women to the status of forth class citizens at best and sub-humans at worse.

We are so sorry.

The group that put this out gives their religious leaders a scolding for not doing this on their behalf sooner. I'd have to agree, but this is going to go a long way in healing the hurt many people have.

Tim Blair has his own mondo post on the allegedly fake documents touted by "60 Minutes" on Bush's National Guard duty, but he makes a link to my fisking of Blumenthal yesterday that, I'll have to admit, I should have seen myself. (OK, and he also gave me an actual web link on Spleenville, too. I'll have to admit that, too. >grin<)

Sid's big point was that the Guard service issue was going to make it Bush's turn to squirm, but Sid's new "evidence of the President's fudged war record" is, in large part, these potentially bogus documents. Blair refers to it as a modern classic in the tradition of "Dewey Defeats Truman". Too funny.

And Dan Rather's digging the trenches (some might say "graves") himself for CBS, putting his own credibility on the line. (Although most of the blogosphere was already doing that for him.) PowerLine believes that the only reason he'd do this is that Rather himself is the source of the documents (at least within CBS News itself; no telling if/where he got them outside of the organization), and that, as his last, big contribution to Kerry before retiring, he plans on getting the Democrat elected.

Truly amazing to watch.

I hate Clippy the paper clip, but it's possible he might be arrested for aiding & abetting a hoax.

Just a bit of an update on the previous post: While CNN was still running with the CBS documents as authentic and getting reaction from them, Fox News' "Special Report with Brit Hume", recorded earlier in the day, did note the questions about a forgery. Advantage: Fox News Channel.

And talk about your flashbacks! Sen. Tom Harkin called these documents evidence that "the president lied to the American people in the Oval Office". This is the same Tom Harkin that, before Starr had a chance to present his evidence of Clinton lying, pronounced the as-yet-unseen evidence a "dung heap". Today, it looks like he's been handed a heap of dung and pronounced it "evidence".

This is rich. The sound of Democrats doing 180s could really be interesting to listen to.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Yeah, it's late. I've been up reading all the blogs about this very possible forgery situation. As I passed by the TV, I flipped on the news channels to see if anyone was mentioning it. CNN was still reporting as though the documents were 100% authentic, complete with quotes from Democratic politicians blasting Bush over their content.

Advantage blogosphere. It's entirely possible that CNN and the Democrats [Redundancy Alert] may have to eat their words tomorrow. Should be an interesting news day.

Story of my life: While I was busy today writing up the previous post (during breaks from work, of course), the whole blogosphere erupted on another subject, doing the fact-checking on the "60 Minutes" likely-forged memo that the mainstream media prides itself on. The obligatory link to PowerLine is in order. They've been on this case all day, and it looks like CBS was just a bit too eager to jump on another anti-Bush story. I have to believe that if they were anywhere near as balanced as they claim to be, they'd be less likely to fall for this. In the rush that I think was going on to air this, bias reared its ugly head, and got bitten off at the neck.

That's what bias will do for you. I'll admit that I've had to retract things I wrote on here, because my bias kicked in and I accepted something too easily. Of course, I'm not a major news organization touting claims of balance; I'm a humble blogger wearing his opinionation on his sleeve. They have a higher bar to clear. That doesn't absolve me of being as accurate as I can, of course. But at least I'm honest about my bias.

Oh come on Sidney! Mr. Blumenthal thinks that the rehash of Bush's National Guard service is somehow akin to the questions about Kerry's Vietnam service.
Republicans marched out of their convention intoxicated with the sensation of victory. President Bush, the "war president", was the most honest, moral, decisive, and strongest leader in the world. (The unvarying encomiums eerily echoed those of the brainwashed soldiers about the sleeper agent in The Manchurian Candidate: "Raymond Shaw is the kindest, warmest, bravest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life

Apparently, Sidney doesn't think we're in a war, hence the scare quotes around the phrase "war president". And the comparison with "The Manchurian Candidate" is purely ficticious. He echoes the words of the movie, then projects that onto Republicans. Additionally, didn't the Democrats describe Kerry in glowing terms?
After Bush's defiant speech - "Nothing will hold us back!" - his lead was reported by Time magazine to have climbed to 11 points, which was inhaled like pure oxygen by the Republican cadres. (Both John Kerry's and Bush's internal polls gave Bush only a four-point lead.)

Don't forget Newsweek's poll also gave Bush a double-digit lead, so it's not like a single aberrant poll. I don't know what methodology the internal polls use, but there are a few different ways to look at things like polling samples. Look here for a comparison between two pollsters.

The point is that dismissing one poll while trumpeting another is self-serving, which Sid has already been guilty of in every paragraph so far, so he's batting 1000 at this point. Further, polls that only show a margin-of-error lead don't really say much, which is where the internal polls landed. Ones outside that speak louder. I'm not a big fan of polls-as-news, but as long as we're doing apples-to-apples comparisons (i.e. comparing Time's poll now to Time's poll then), I think it's reasonable to say that it does have some weight. Unless Sid can point to a time that he dismissed leads by Democrats in a Time or Newsweek poll simply because their internal ones didn't show as big a lead.
Kerry seemed to be reeling in retreat. His disciplined campaign management disciplined that many are out of a job now...
had suppressed criticism of Bush, supposedly on the basis that swing voters are attracted by vague swirls of optimism

Ever luvin'! Define "suppressed". The only things suppressed lately were
  • any sort of response to the "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" charges, and
  • any coverage of those charges by the major media.

Sid must have gone to be early the night Bush gave his acceptance speech at the convention, because a scant few hours later, John Kerry was preaching about Vietnam again, complaining about Cheney's deferments and Bush's Guard service. Ain't nothin' been suppressed.
But the effect was that voters remained confused about the contrast between the candidates and Kerry's commitments. Kerry had delayed defending himself against the torpedoes of falsehood fired at his heroic military record by the Orwellianly named Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

Perhaps the big bump in the polls would suggest that voters see that contrast more clearly. Confusion wouldn't do that.

One can hardly blame Kerry for delaying his response to the Swifties. First of all, the campaign was scrambling, after first denying that Kerry ever said he was in Cambodia (that Congressional Record can be a nuisance, eh?). Secondly, the press wouldn't, and hasn't, give any credence to this, so he could count on their complicity. (Contrast that with the 3 days on the "Today" show that Kitty Kelley is getting with her Bush-bashing book, as well as multiple stories on "60 Minutes" aimed at Bush with nary a Kerry hit.) Thirdly, don't forget that Kerry's "defense" wound up being a retraction. Even his own biographer isn't in Kerry's corner.

Oh and please, "Orwellian" name? Got any criticism of the name "Texans for Truth"?

>chirping crickets<
Perhaps his gravest self-inflicted wound was replying to Bush's challenge to answer whether he would still have voted for the war resolution on Iraq, knowing what he does today. Kerry said he would and tangled himself in a thicket of sticky nuance.

No, this wound was inflicted multiple times prior to this; for the war, against the funding (after being for the funding), scolding Dean on not being for the war, now calling it the "wrong war". This bit of shrapnel has been festering in the Kerry campaign for quite some time. This was just the latest symptom of a candidate playing to the crowd. At least, today's crowd. Tomorrow is a whole 'nother story.
Bush could hardly believe that Kerry had fallen for the gambit.

Gambit? Only to a Democrat could a direct question about an issue that the candidate has (supposedly) settled in his mind could be considered a "gambit".
This sucker would buy a bridge in Brooklyn. The triumphant Republicans felt unrestrained in delivering blows to the prone Kerry. Dick Cheney announced that a vote against Bush was tantamount to a vote for a terrorist attack: "If we make the wrong choice then the danger is that we'll get hit again."

Yeah, and here's another example of that kind of irresponsible campaigning:
Sen. John Kerry and his running mate, Sen. John Edwards, accuse the Bush administration of fanning the flames of terror by waging war in Iraq and promise to bring a lighter hand to the White House.

Oh...wait...that's the Kerry/Edwards ticket saying pretty much the same thing as Cheney. So much for Cheney's words being anything unusual.

We now rejoin Sid, already in mid-bluster, a few paragraphs later.
In fact, on the third day of the Republican convention, Kerry had given a penetrating and highly specific speech on the war on terrorism and Iraq, detailing how Bush's strategy amounted to a series of catastrophic blunders. "When it comes to Iraq," he said, "it's not that I would have done one thing differently, I would have done almost everything differently."

Of course, on the third day of the Republican convention, the media's main attention was directed on...the Republican convention. A Kerry speech at that point in time is not unlike whispering in a crowded stadium or Congress passing an unpopular bill after the 11pm news on Friday night; nobody's going to notice. You think Kerry knew that? Of course he did.

He would have done "everything" differently, eh? So, in going into Iraq, which he said he would have, he wouldn't have:
  • Asked for an got a UN resolution, Hussein's last, last, last, last chance
  • Captured Saddam Hussein
  • Freed the Iraq people and given them a republic

Oh, well, except for that stuff, yeah. He'd have bargained with France, Germany and Russia (who all had too much of an economic interest in Iraq to go to war against it), but good luck. Easier said on the campaign trail than done.
Kerry's speech was pointedly ignored by Bush who, with Cheney, rained a steady fire of ridicule down on Kerry.

...during their convention, remember. It's not their job to bring up the opposition's speeches during their convention.
Meanwhile, the report on Iraq by the Royal Institute of International Affairs was buried in the back pages. "Iraq could splinter into civil war and destabilise the whole region if the interim government, US forces and United Nations fail to hold the ring among factions struggling for power." Civil war, the institute said, was "the most likely outcome".

Basically, if all doesn't go well, then all will go bad--breaking news. But given Sid's predilection to slanting things here, I wouldn't be surprised if there were other groups predicting things can work out well for Iraq. Kerry would want to leave sooner rather than later, which would make this prophesy come true. Sid, your boy would contribute to an outcome you (and I) don't want. Is he worth your vote?
A report chronicling the undermining of the war against terrorism by James Fallows in The Atlantic, in which numerous military officials described how Afghanistan became a "sideshow" as resources were siphoned to Iraq, received almost no attention. "Our strategy is succeeding," Bush told his jubilant rallies.

In the meantime, let's not forget that terrorists have been and are still being captured or killed in Afghanistan and other parts of the world. Click here for columns where James Taranto has asked, "Who's Distracted". We certainly aren't. I'm sorry that certain military officials aren't happy with the troop deployment, but terrorists are first priority. Yes, we should help clean up the mess we made, but the more the people themselves are involved, the more they'll "own" what they build, which is also why more and more Iraqis are being involved in the policing of their own country. Sid, would you rather we be an occupying force or a liberating one?
Bush campaigns before the faithful; distressing facts are dismissed with sarcasm and ideology is implacable.

If this isn't the boldest kind of chutzpah there is, then I don't think that word means what I think it means.
Yet at this moment of disdain a discovery that cast light on Bush's character suddenly emerged, having the potential to alter the momentum of the campaign.

You mean, something's about to hit at the core of the Bush campaign? Something that he's used as a foundation of his campaign is about to develop cracks? Pray tell, what is it?
On Wednesday, the Boston Globe published documents proving that Bush, whose spotty record in the National Guard was always mysterious, "fell well short of meeting his military obligation".

Of course! That's it! Dubya can't go 2 minutes without bragging about how he used to fly Swift Planes around the Sabine River delta, how he spent Christmas Eve 5 miles across the Louisiana border getting shot at by the inhabitants of the bayou, and how he hung onto the hat of a CIA agent he dropped over the Sabine National Wildlife Refuge. And now all of that is going to come tumbling down. ("Well, Sabine Lake is such a big lake. There isn't any 'Welcome to Louisiana' sign on it, y'know.")

Translation: Bush doesn't trot out his service at every stop on the campaign trail. Who knows, perhaps he's got a good reason not to. But to call these charges, that have been hashed and rehashed since his days as governor of Texas, somehow "new" and that somehow they'll hit as hard as those that challenge Kerry on the centerpiece of his strategy, seem to be more driven by "implacable ideology" than anything else. And don't forget to add a dash of desperation. Sid's final words show that desperation.
Abruptly, the Republican marchers stumble as Kerry is galvanised. "His miscalculation was going to war without planning carefully and without the allies we should have had," he said yesterday. Meanwhile in the White House, aides anxiously wonder how to explain the president's haunted past and his long years of hiding it and who will have the task of facing the cameras.

These are more wishful words and old, tired words than those of fact or relevance. Kerry's been saying that for months, and Sid certainly doesn't know what's going on in the White House. Besides, since Bush has had these charges levelled at him for years (they certainly haven't been "hidden"), he's got plenty of experience dealing with them. Kerry, on the other hand, truly stumbled, having to retract his stories.

And note how quickly and in concert the major media have picked up the call of Kitty Kelley after patently ignoring the Swifties for as long as they could.

No, there's nothing at all similar in these two set of charges, Sid. You're dreaming. And your accomplices in the mainstream media seem like they'll try to keep that dream alive.

Until you wake up on November 3rd. Sweet dreams until then.

Listening to Bill Bennett's "Morning in America" this morning, a caller had a great point. If Kerry's so positive and upbeat and proud of his service in Vietnam, and if Democrats really agree with that, shouldn't we be seeing a stampede of Democrats to the Army recruiting office, eager to perform their patriotic duty? I mean, this is part of the War on Terror, is it not? Kerry himself said so. What American can't get behind going after terrorists would would like to make 9/11 look like a walk in the park?

Instead, from the left, we have "peace" activists, some who were even opposed to the war in Afghanistan, who dominate the Democrats (although they were certainly sidelined during the Boston convention). Perhaps the real blunder in overemphasizing Kerry's war record was that in order to try to appeal to those with a 9/11 mindset, he alienated his base; those still living in 9/10.

No, don't expect to see the left show up in droves at the recruiter's office. I'm certainly not saying that there aren't any Democrats in our armed forces; that makes no sense. What I am saying is that when Democrats these days talk about their pride in our soldiers and their defense of our country, they're just saying that they are happy there's an Army to give these men and women something to do for a few years--train, practice, march--and then leave, without ever having to put them in harm's way to defend the country's interests. When Democrats decry the way returning Vietnam vets were treated, all they're saying is that they realize that having all those Democrats spit on them back then turned out not to be a good political move. It's all political calculation, even, apparently, this new-found love of service in Vietnam, now that their candidate is sporting some on his resumé.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Not-so-fair and utterly unbalanced, CBS is again using its news arm to bash Bush. Tonight's "60 Minutes" features an interview with a guy who says he helped Bush get into the Texas Air National Guard. However, as the Media Research Center notes, CBS has been very busy with anti-Bush stories, but strangely quiet on the Kerry front (except for a few positive, puff pieces, of course).

(Adobe Acrobat Reader required for viewing the link.)

Y'know, with friends like these (and Kitty Kelley), who needs 527s?

Good to have you on board, comrade.
Russia is prepared to make pre-emptive strikes on "terrorist bases" anywhere in the world, the Interfax news agency cited the country's chief of staff as saying.

"Pre-emptive"? Gosh, that sounds familiar. I know I've heard that term recently.
"With regard to preventive strikes on terrorist bases, we will take any action to eliminate terrorist bases in any region of the world. But this does not mean we will carry out nuclear strikes," General Yuri Baluyevsky said Wednesday.

That, of course, is how the War on Terror needs to be fought, because that's how the terrorists fight it; on the offense, not the defense.
Baluyevsky added that Russia's choice of action "will be determined by the concrete situation where ever it may be in the world.

Notably, he didn't say, "will be determined by the United Nations".
"Military action is the last resort in the fight agaisnt [sic] terrorism."

Well, I'd beg to differ there. The fight against terrorism is a military action. Again, that's how they will fight it. Negotiations do not work.

It's just a TV show...or not.
Young people who watched a lot of television with sexual content were about twice as likely to start having intercourse during the subsequent year as those with little exposure to televised sex, researchers found.
High exposure to TV sexual content among those age 12 to 17 also was linked with a lower but still substantially increased risk of starting non-intercourse behavior, including passionate kissing and oral sex, the researchers found. Even shows that only refer to sex but don't depict it had the effect, they found.

"Exposure to TV that included only talk about sex was associated with the same risks as exposure to TV that depicted sexual behavior," said Rand Corp. behavioral scientist Rebecca Collins and colleagues.

From innuendoes to depictions of intercourse, sex is pervasive on TV, present in about two-thirds of all shows other than news and sports, and teens watch an average of three hours of television daily, previous research has shown.

TV thus "may create the illusion that sex is more central to daily life than it truly is and may promote sexual initiation as a result," the researchers said.

No, it never has been just a TV show. I noted 6 years ago that the effect TV had on people was real and measurable. I'm certainly no scientist in the field, but it doesn't take a expert to realize this. Although it does take a closed mind to ignore it.

Kerry would win in a landslide...if...
If the world could cast a vote in the United States presidential election, John Kerry would beat George W. Bush by a landslide, according to a poll released on Wednesday that is described as the largest sample of global opinion on the race.

As much as Democrats would rather have the popular vote determine the President, or votes from the rest of the world, it may come as news to some that we don't do it that way. Just an FYI.
"It is absolutely clear that John Kerry would win handily if the people of the world could vote," said Steve Kull, director of The Program on International Policy Attitudes of the University of Maryland, a co-sponsor of the survey. "It is rather striking that just one in five people surveyed around the world support the re-election of President Bush."

The poll of 34,330 people older than 15 from all regions of the world found that the majority or plurality of people from 32 countries prefer Kerry to Bush.

Fifteen and older, eh? Is that the voting age in all those regions of the world? Sorry, we don't do it that way, either.

Bush might win in a landslide if all you counted were Swift Boat veterans, but so what?

The blog marcland got coverage in his local paper! Congratulations, mon! You're now a full-fledged blog celebrity.

When you're done reading that, ask him about his dad.

On "Considerettes Radio" today, I talked with Bill Bennett about the Kerry quote about the Iraq war being "the wrong war at the wrong place at the wrong time". Kerry was paraphrasing Howard Dean from the primaries (who himself was paraphrasing Gen. Omar Bradley, as noted by alert participant jannelsen at Funny thing is, during those primaries, Kerry himself was critical of Dean's anti-war position, and Bill has the audio of Kerry accusing Dean of flip-flopping. (Imagine that.)

"Considerettes Radio" on Bill Bennett's Morning in America (WGKA, Atlanta, GA) 9/8/2004 8:13am EST (263K)

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Augustine over at highlights a William Kristol column that points out one Democratic candidate for President who was strongly in favor of the war to liberate Iraq. While John Kerry has called it "the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time", this candidate begged to differ.
I believe it was right to hold Saddam Hussein accountable for violating UN agreements. I believed then - and I believe now - authorizing force was the only way to get inspectors in, and the only way ultimately to enforce Saddam Hussein's compliance with the mandate he had agreed to, knowing that as a last resort war could become the ultimate weapons inspections enforcement mechanism.

And I also believe that those who doubted whether Iraq or the world would be better off without Saddam Hussein, and those who believe we are not safer with his capture don't have the judgment to be President - or the credibility to be elected President.

That candidate was...John Kerry. Augustine has more as well.

I'd pay to watch a Kerry-Kerry debate for the entertainment value alone.

Yup, that wily George Bush and Dick "Halliburton" Cheney have such a stranglehold on government that they can get Halliburton and their cronies all the sweetheart contracts. 'Cept doesn't work that way
The U.S. Army plans within months to break up Halliburton Co.'s contract to provide support services for U.S. troops in Iraq -- valued at up to $13 billion -- and open the work to competitive bids, The Wall Street Journal said on Tuesday, citing an internal Army memorandum.

Houston-based Halliburton, whose chief executive from 1995 to 2000 was Vice President Dick Cheney, has been buffeted for months by accusations of overcharging on the contract, under which its Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) unit provides services such as dining, housing, laundry and transportation.

Halliburton spokeswoman Wendy Hall told the newspaper the Army's move was expected and that KBR would consider bidding for parts of the work.

Does this mean that "Bushco" can't just dictate who the Army uses for these contracts? Contrary to the accusations of the "Bush = Hitler" crowd, no, he can't.

Also, what the story fails to mention is that the "accusations of overcharging" were actually revealed by a Halliburton internal audit in which at least one person lost their job. You'd think honesty by a government contractor would be something we all could support, but there's too much hate in the Democrats to give Halliburton a fair shake.

When your own biographer calls you on your claims and says you're not fully disclosing everything, maybe you ought to listen to him.
John Kerry's biographer today called on the presidential candidate to release his military records and warned a Navy investigation into his medals could prove to be the "death knell" of his campaign.

In the past, Kerry has said he could not release some documents because of contractual obligations to Douglas Brinkley, author of "Tour of Duty." Brinkley said he has no contractual claims to any of the papers.

Somebody here is either lying or misinformed. That doesn't bode well for the candidate-biographer relationship. What else is Kerry saying that isn't quite right?
"Clearly some of these military records should be made available to the press," he said on Steve Malzberg's WABC New York radio show today.

Hmm, that word "clearly" doesn't sound nuanced enough for a shades-of-gray guy like Kerry. But the real question here is, why just "some" records?
Brinkley also said that if the Navy investigation reveals deception in connection with Kerry's medals, it could be the "death knell" for Kerry's campaign. Professing uncertainty about what to make about the Swift Boat Vets' claims, Brinkley said: "Right now it's unclear. So we have to just wait to see what all this adds up to."

Just an FYI for those of you who are quick to handwave away the charges of the SBVT guys; Brinkley's at least on the fence and not just ignoring them. This alone speaks volumes.
"Is it sloppiness, is it purposeful intent, is there an easy explanation for it?" Brinkley wondered.

If it's sloppiness, it's a long record of it. If it's purposeful intent, that's not a quality I'd like to see in my President. (Well, I wouldn't like that kind of sloppiness, either.) If there's an easy explanation, you would think it would have already been easily explained. This doesn't leave Kerry with much wiggle room.

(I wonder if, when John Kerry said, "Bring it on" with respect to his Vietnam record, he thought his own biographer would do just that.)

Spent half of the 3-day weekend up in north Georgia. It was very relaxing (moreso because my T-Mobile cell phone doesn't get a signal where we stayed).

So now the presidential campaign gets back into full swing, with a new book by Kitty Kelley alleging, among other things, that Dubya has done drugs in the past, as recently as Camp David when his father was President. While I'd agree that this could be considered a character issue, Bush has never said he didn't "inhale" when he was young.
Bush has admitted being an alcoholic but, asked during the 1999 election if he did drugs, he said: "I've told the American people that years ago I made some mistakes.

"I've learned from my mistakes and should I be fortunate enough to become president I will bring dignity and honour to the office."

Later an aide clarified his remarks saying Bush hadn't taken illegal drugs in the past 25 years.

Here are a few points to consider in all of this that I'm sure will continue to appear over the coming weeks.
  • As I said, Bush didn't try the "but I didn't inhale" business, that even Clinton supporters had a hard time believing. He admits to unspecified "mistakes".
  • Assuming he did do cocaine during the first Bush presidency and the family covered it up, it'll be interesting to hear the Clinton apologists, who said that lying about an extra-marital affair was no big deal because anyone would do it, will react to a guy lying about drug use. In an apples-to-apples comparison, they'll come out looking bruised. (And again, the Clinton impeachment was not for lying about sex, but lying under oath to a court. Dubya's not done anything like that.)
  • I think it would be an interesting bit of irony for Bush to ask Kerry to publicly denounce this. I'd really like hear what Kerry would say to that (even though I'm sure Ms. Kelley isn't a 527 organization).

How do diehard Democrats react to the new of dirt on the Bushes dished up by a gossip? Ask Abe from the Daily Kos.
The Kitty Kelly Bush family book is coming in less then two weeks, and the rumors dem spreading. Wild, unsubstantiated rumors. Just the way I like them.

Guess she's a better source than 250 Vietnam vets? Hmmm....

Friday, September 03, 2004

Listen! Hear that sound? It's the sound of a double-digit bounce.
For the first time since the Presidential race became a two person contest last spring, there is a clear leader, the latest TIME poll shows. If the 2004 election for President were held today, 52% of likely voters surveyed would vote for President George W. Bush, 41% would vote for Democratic nominee John Kerry, and 3% would vote for Ralph Nader, according to a new TIME poll conducted from Aug. 31 to Sept. 2.

Nobody I have read or heard has predicted this size of a lead following the convention. There are a few reasons that may explain the size of this lead, including but not limited to...
  • Zell Miller's speech was (properly) perceived as a man angry at having been betrayed by his own party, rather than "vitriol" and "hate" that the Kerry campaign would like to characterize it as.
  • Bush's speech was (properly) perceived as an optimistic vision for the future, as opposed to Kerry's speech which was almost solely an appeal to valor of the past. Kerry's midnight madness speech Thursday night/Friday morning, where he appealed one more time >yawn< to his Vietnam record, probably did not earn him any points at all compared to Bush's proposals.
  • The undecided vote is a bigger percentage of the population than the polls suggest it is, and there may be many Kerry supporters who really aren't all that dedicated to him.

That last point--that past polls may have been wrong--obviously call this and every poll into question. But at least it's an apples-to-apples comparison to other polls like this, and whatever its faults, it at least shows a trend, outside or the margin of error, that Bush has the momentum. Big time.

Via "Musing", score one more for stem cell research--adult stem cell research.
Adult mouse skin contains stem cells that can generate skin and hair. Although the result has been hinted at before, the latest work is the first to prove that the cells are true stem cells, with the capacity to form new tissues. It's hoped the discovery will lead to treatments for baldness and burns.

Again, please note the first word in that paragraph; "adult".

For perspective, the score for embryonic stem cells is still 0.

When I wrote about Zell Miller earlier, I mentioned that he brought that regressive tax, the lottery, to Georgia. If you read that, then you know I don't think it's a good idea. One of the things that pro-lottery folks do to try to make the lottery more palatable is to say that money will be set aside for funding programs like Gambler's Anonymous and other self-help groups. In Oregon, they're finding out that they have more of a problem than they predicted.
PORTLAND (AP) - Record numbers of Oregonians are seeking help for gambling addictions, threatening to overflow the state's free treatment program, health officials say.

"For the first time, we don't have enough money to meet the growing demand," said Jeffrey Marotta, a clinical psychologist who manages problem gambling services for the state Department of Human Services. "We kind of hit a ceiling."

He said more than 1,500 gamblers - with debts averaging more than $19,000 - enrolled in the program in fiscal 2003 and that there are waiting lists in some areas.

And you can't just measure the cost in dollars.
Marotta said clients average 44 years of age, with a household income of more than $39,000. A majority work full time and 70 percent play video poker.

About one in four seeking treatment said gambling cost them a marriage or other significant relationship. An equal number said they committed illegal acts to pay for their habit.

Making it easier for addicts to ruin their lives and the lives of their families is somehow an equitable balance to folks who try to get the lottery into their state. Thanks, folks.

It's not a stampede, but the job market is still looking up.
America's payrolls picked up in August, with the economy adding 144,000 jobs, slightly less than economists were forecasting and highlighting the slow and uneven recovery in the labor market that jobseekers have braved.

The unemployment rate dipped to 5.4 percent last month from 5.5 percent in July. But the drop in the jobless rate in August came as people left the work force for any number of reasons, the Labor Department reported Friday. Economists were predicting the jobless rate to hold steady in August.

The gain in payrolls was short of the 150,000 net jobs that economists were calling for. However, it represented the biggest jobs gain since May and marked the 12th month in a row that payrolls grew.

Job gains for July were revised up to 73,000, still a lackluster number but an improvement from the 32,000 advance first estimated. Payrolls for June also were revised up to show a larger gain than first reported.

Revised up by more than double? Not bad, although those that were talking down the 32,000 number probably won't notice. It's not where we'd like to see it, but it's really hard to follow the spike in the first quarter. Also note that the job growth has been happening for 12 months now.

Maybe Kerry should have thrown this medal over the fence with a little more force.
The Department of Defense says it has informed Secretary of the Navy Gordon R. England of a formal request to investigate alleged military code violations in Sen. John Kerry's Silver Star award.

The request was made by the public interest group Judicial Watch after news reports revealed Kerry's campaign website displays a document listing a "Silver Star with combat 'V'" even though the combat "V" device is never given with the nation's third highest award for heroism.

Also, there are three citations for the award, with the third, issued more than a decade after the event, bearing the signature of former Navy Secretary John Lehman.

Lehman, however, says he had nothing to do with the citation.

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

Don't blame Larry Klayman for this one, John. You said, "Bring it on". Here it comes.

Fire in the hole!

The Kerry campaign is admitting that it was caught flat-footed.
"We did not calibrate the degree to which [the ads by "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" would become the entire focus of August, and really the entire focus of cable television and then jump into print," said Mary Beth Cahill, Kerry's campaign manager.

Well of course they couldn't predict it, because they didn't expect their syncophants in the mainstream media to get outflanked. They'd been so reliable in the past, you can't really blame them for expecting the story to stay buried.

In actuality, it wasn't cable TV that made the first end-run; it was the blogosphere's scoop for 10 days before Fox picked it up. The political campaign situation has changed (hopefully permanently) with the addition of this army of pundits, and no story can stay buried for long. The mainstream media is going to have to adapt or die.

My thoughts and prayers are with the Clintons as former President Bill Clinton has will be in surgery on Saturday for an emergency quadruple bypass operation.

If a protestor were to jump the fence of the White House, get inside, and get close to the President, wouldn't you understand it if he got arrested? Apparently Peter Jennings wouldn't understand that.
Oddest comment of the night: Explaining the removal from the convention hall of two protesters who heckled President Bush, ABC's Peter Jennings was befuddled: "What they could be charged with, other than political expression, I do not know."

In the Bias Dept., Joe Klein of Time magazine isn't letting objectivity get in the way of letting us know which party he prefers.
A night after Time magazine's Joe Klein declared on CNN, "I don't think I've seen anything as angry or as ugly as [Zell] Miller's speech," he heartily approved of John Kerry lashing out at Dick Cheney over draft deferments during Vietnam. "It's about time they did something real," Klein applauded on CNN minutes before Kerry began his midnight tirade in Ohio. Klein maintained that during their convention the "Democrats almost seemed lobotomized because they never made the case against George W. Bush." An anxious Klein urged: "Kerry has to make that case, starting now, he has to do it in the strongest possible terms."

Speaking of Kerry speech, that had to be the lamest attempt to strike back in this whole campaign. Shifting into an entirely different mode, Kerry came at the Bush/Cheney ticket from a bold, new direction; bringing up Vietnam.
Democrat John Kerry hit back at Dick Cheney on Thursday by raising the Republican's failure to serve in ((surprise, surprise)) the Vietnam War and asking voters to weigh his two tours of duty against the vice president's five deferments.

Kerry, a decorated Vietnam War veteran ((in case you didn't know)), bristled at Cheney's attack on his patriotism ((didn't happen)) during the Republican National Convention in New York and his ability to serve as U.S. commander-in-chief.

((Subliminal messages)) are mine. The Republicans specifically did not challenge his patriotism. Zell Miller specifically said that it was his judgement, not his patriotism, that was being questioned. Search Cheney's speech for the word "patriotism", and you won't find it. Instead you'll read this:
The President's opponent is an experienced senator. He speaks often of his service in Vietnam, and we honor him for it.

Were Kerry's barbs against Cheney written before he even heard the speech? Probably so. The rest of that paragraph and the following ones challenge Kerry on his record in the Senate and his words in the current campaign, which is what he asked to be judged on. If examination of that record points to problems with his ability to be commander-in-chief, he can't then turn around and complain about the results of that examination.

Then again, this is John Kerry we're talking about, so it's consistent in its inconsistency. Still, that's not a quality of someone I'd like to see sitting in the Oval Office.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Marc from marcland has a thought about Democrats decrying the "hate" coming from the Republican National Convention. And he's got the photos to prove his point.

What Democrats call "hate", the rest of the world calls simply "disagreement". Look at the picture, and you'll see an example of actual hate, and it's not coming from a Republican.

Also notice how well Marc fares as a media critic. MSNBC ought to hire him, although if they did, Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann would be pounding the pavement.

Little Red Blog asks, "Who's questioning who's patriotism?" Methinks they protesteth too much.

With regards to fiery political speeches delivered by Zell Miller, that was then:
MRC's Jessica Anderson tracked down our DVD recording of the July 14, 1992 Good Morning America. News reader Mike Schneider offered this summary during the 8am EDT news update: "This year's Democrats are trying to chart a new course for their party, a winning course. One of the keynote speakers, Barbara Jordan, summed it up best, perhaps, by saying, 'It's time for the Democrats to convince the American people to trust them to govern again.' But while that new message was being spun out, some of the other speakers engaged in the time-honored tradition of attacking the opposition."

...and this is now.
On Thursday morning's Good Morning America, ABC's Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos seemed the most offended by the Wednesday night convention speeches delivered by Vice President Dick Cheney and Democratic Senator Zell Miller. Gibson complained that "the Vice President and Senator Miller pounded and pounded and pounded. It may have been very effective politics; it was not subtle." Stephanopoulos characterized Miller as out of control: "The Vice President was very, very tough, but Zell Miller was on a tirade. I mean, he was red faced, red meat for the red states."

Attacks by Democrats are part of a "time-honored tradition" in politics, but from Republicans it's out of control. That's the "then and now" contrast that should be drawn, not the false one cobbled together by Georgia Democrats.

In line with the pre-convention bounce, now there's evidence of a mid-convention bounce. is reporting that both Rasmussen and Luntz have good news for the President.

Zell seemed a bit stiff last night, as though the only directions he would turn to look at the audience had to have a teleprompter directly in front of him. He also looked real angry. That could have used some softening, but can ya' blame him? He had one barnburner of a speech.
And like you, I ask which leader is it today that has the vision, the willpower and, yes, the backbone to best protect my family?

The clear answer to that question has placed me in this hall with you tonight. For my family is more important than my party.

There is but one man to whom I am willing to entrust their future and that man's name is George Bush.

As I mentioned yesterday, the unfair "then and now" comparison that Georgia Democrats are trying to impose on Miller could only pick up one quote from him to show he's "changed", and that quote had to do with homeland security. Well if Miller's "changed", they'll need a lot more quotes to explain all the Bush Democrats, or "9/11 Democrats" as Hugh Hewitt calls them.
Now, while young Americans are dying in the sands of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan, our nation is being torn apart and made weaker because of the Democrat's manic obsession to bring down our Commander in Chief.

Bush hatred has gone far beyond any 90s Clinton hatred. Further casualties in Iraq just feed it.
What has happened to the party I've spent my life working in?

I can remember when Democrats believed that it was the duty of America to fight for freedom over tyranny.

It was Democratic President Harry Truman who pushed the Red Army out of Iran, who came to the aid of Greece when Communists threatened to overthrow it, who stared down the Soviet blockade of West Berlin by flying in supplies and saving the city.

Was Iran or Greece or Berlin an "imminent threat" to our country? No. but I wonder how "peace" activists in today's Democratic Party would react to such pre-emption.
Motivated more by partisan politics than by national security, today's Democratic leaders see America as an occupier, not a liberator.

And nothing makes this Marine madder than someone calling American troops occupiers rather than liberators.

Tell that to the one-half of Europe that was freed because Franklin Roosevelt led an army of liberators, not occupiers.

Tell that to the lower half of the Korean Peninsula that is free because Dwight Eisenhower commanded an army of liberators, not occupiers.

Tell that to the half a billion men, women and children who are free today from the Baltics to the Crimea, from Poland to Siberia, because Ronald Reagan rebuilt a military of liberators, not occupiers.

Never in the history of the world has any soldier sacrificed more for the freedom and liberty of total strangers than the American soldier. And, our soldiers don't just give freedom abroad, they preserve it for us here at home.

As any military man (and clear-thinking president) will tell you; the better your preparation for war, the less likely you'll need to use it, thus preserving the peace.

This is another reason that the rhetoric of "peace" activists ring hollow. It's even more vacuous because of the way America has wielded it's great power in the world; not as an occupier, not in a war for oil, not to install puppet governments in a satellite state, but to liberate and to free. Protesting about our possession of WMDs is ridiculous for this very reason.

Exhibits A and B follow:
But don't waste your breath telling that to the leaders of my party today. In their warped way of thinking America is the problem, not the solution.

They don't believe there is any real danger in the world except that which America brings upon itself through our clumsy and misguided foreign policy.

It is not their patriotism — it is their judgment that has been so sorely lacking. They claimed Carter's pacifism would lead to peace.

They were wrong.

They claimed Reagan's defense buildup would lead to war.

They were wrong.

And it makes no sense to give a party so wrong on this issue the chair in the Oval Office.
The Apache helicopter, that Senator Kerry opposed, took out those Republican Guard tanks in Kuwait in the Gulf War. The F-15 Eagles, that Senator Kerry opposed, flew cover over our Nation's Capital and this very city after 9/11.

I could go on and on and on: against the Patriot Missile that shot down Saddam Hussein's scud missiles over Israel; against the Aegis air-defense cruiser; against the Strategic Defense Initiative; against the Trident missile; against, against, against.

I think the litany of weapons systems that Kerry opposed, and listing the accomplishments of those systems, was devastating. At the end of that last line, the crowd began to join in and chant "Against, against, against!". Zell blazed on, but my wife though he should have paused a bit more to let it ring. Ah well, time was short. Had to finish Cheney's speech before the 11:00 news.
This is the man who wants to be the Commander in Chief of our U.S. Armed Forces?

U.S. forces armed with what? Spitballs?

Great applause (and laugh) line. Again, devastating.
Kerry would let Paris decide when America needs defending.

I want Bush to decide.

John Kerry, who says he doesn't like outsourcing, wants to outsource our national security.

That's the most dangerous outsourcing of all. This politician wants to be leader of the free world.

Free for how long?

This was a great tie-in with the outsourcing issue Democrats keep talking about, and Zell's point rings true when you compare phone support call centers to national security. Do we really want Chirac to decide when it's OK to defend ourselves? I don't think so.
I first got to know George Bush when we served as governors together. I admire this man. I am moved by the respect he shows the first lady, his unabashed love for his parents and his daughters, and the fact that he is unashamed of his belief that God is not indifferent to America.

I can identify with someone who has lived that line in "Amazing Grace," "Was blind, but now I see," and I like the fact that he's the same man on Saturday night that he is on Sunday morning.

...and I can identify with a party that isn't afraid of mentioning religion at its national convention.
Right now the world just cannot afford an indecisive America. Fainthearted self-indulgence will put at risk all we care about in this world.

In this hour of danger our President has had the courage to stand up. And this Democrat is proud to stand up with him.

We can't wait for consensus on every move we make and cede our decision-making to the United ((oil for palaces)) Nations. And we need a president who understands this. John Kerry doesn't.

Thanks, Zell, for your words. Stand back, now, for the media spinning to begin.

UPDATE: The spinning has already started, as Dean Esmay notes.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Today's "Considerettes Radio" entry is basically a 1.5 minute version of the longer post from this morning on Zell Miller. The media will try to make this sound like a flip-flop on Miller's part, but don't let them fool you. (Just before I was on, the leader of the Young Republicans was on. You're no longer eligible to join that group once you're 40. Hence my "old Republican" greeting.)

"Considerettes Radio" on The Hugh Hewitt Show (WGKA, Atlanta, GA) 9/1/2004 7:50pm EST (271K)

The Media Research Center is noting how the media is treating Sen. Zell Miller.
Georgia Democratic Senator Zell Miller will speak before the Republican National Convention this evening. But in contrast to how excited reporters were at the notion this spring that John McCain might jump over and help John Kerry's Democratic campaign, and how then-Republican Senator Jim Jeffords' defection in 2001 was frequently cast as evidence that the Republican Party was inhospitable to moderates, the networks have not touted Miller's switch as any kind of evidence of a failure of John Kerry's campaign or proof that the national Democratic Party has become intolerant of non-liberals.

Are we detecting any sort of bias here? Matt Lauer was apoplectic over Miller's Senate record and his confidence in Bush. Don't be looking for too much balance from tonight's major media talking heads on that subject.


This might make one consider moving.
For about $10 million, city officials believe they can turn all 135 square miles of Philadelphia into the world's largest wireless Internet hot spot.

The ambitious plan, now in the works, would involve placing hundreds, or maybe thousands of small transmitters around the city — probably atop lampposts. Each would be capable of communicating with the wireless networking cards that now come standard with many computers.

Once complete, the network would deliver broadband Internet almost anywhere radio waves can travel — including poor neighborhoods where high-speed Internet access is now rare.

And the city would likely offer the service either for free, or at costs far lower than the $35 to $60 a month charged by commercial providers, said the city's chief information officer, Dianah Neff.

"If you're out on your front porch with a laptop, you could dial in, register at no charge, and be able to access a high speed connection," Neff said. "It's a technology whose time is here."

The Internet is fast becoming the next utility, like water and electricity. This would put it one step closer to that. The article notes other cities that have started doing something like this on a smaller scale.

My favorite lines from Ahnold's speech last night.
To think that a once scrawny boy from Austria could grow up to become Governor of California and stand in Madison Square Garden to speak on behalf of the President of the United States that is an immigrant's dream. It is the American dream.

To my fellow immigrants listening tonight, I want you to know how welcome you are in this party. We Republicans admire your ambition. We encourage your dreams. We believe in your future. One thing I learned about America is that if you work hard and play by the rules, this country is truly open to you. You can achieve anything.

It's often said that the Republican party stands for the greedy and the rich. What it actually stands for is the opportunity to work hard and become rich if that's what you want. And the party doesn't abandon you and demonize you once you get there.
My fellow immigrants, my fellow Americans, how do you know if you are a Republican? I'll tell you how.

If you believe that government should be accountable to the people, not the people to the government...then you are a Republican! If you believe a person should be treated as an individual, not as a member of an interest group... then you are a Republican! If you believe your family knows how to spend your money better than the government does... then you are a Republican! If you believe our educational system should be held accountable for the progress of our children ... then you are a Republican! If you believe this country, not the United Nations, is the best hope of democracy in the world ... then you are a Republican! And, ladies and gentlemen ...if you believe we must be fierce and relentless and terminate terrorism ... then you are a Republican!

That sounded like Ronald Reagan speaking from beyond the grave.

There is another way you can tell you're a Republican. You have faith in free enterprise, faith in the resourcefulness of the American people ... and faith in the U.S. economy. To those critics who are so pessimistic about our economy, I say: "Don't be economic girlie men!"

OK, not so Reagan-esque in word choice, but a great sentiment nonetheless
The President didn't go into Iraq because the polls told him it was popular. As a matter of fact, the polls said just the opposite. But leadership isn't about polls. It's about making decisions you think are right and then standing behind those decisions. That's why America is safer with George W. Bush as President.

He knows you don't reason with terrorists. You defeat them. He knows you can't reason with people blinded by hate. They hate the power of the individual. They hate the progress of women. They hate the religious freedom of others. They hate the liberating breeze of democracy. But ladies and gentlemen, their hate is no match for America's decency.

A succinct description of the difference between Bush's approach to the War on Terror and the law-enforcement approach Kerry prefers.
Ladies and gentlemen, America is back! Back from the attack on our homeland — back from the attack on our economy, back from the attack on our way of life. We're back because of the perseverance, character and leadership of the 43rd President of the United States, George W. Bush.

To many Democrats, this will come as breaking news; the economy was tanking when Dubya was inaugurated, and 9/11 hit it especially hard. Yes jobs have been lost in the totality of Bush's time in office, but you can't blame him for what he inherited and for the effects of the attack. But tax cuts have given folks the wherewithal to recover from it.
Our president, George W. Bush, has worked hard to protect and preserve the American dream for all of us. That's why I say ... send him back to Washington for four more years!

I live in Georgia, and was here during Zell Miller's time as governor of the state. At the time, I considered him to be a rather liberal Democrat. Miller is speaking tonight at the Republican National Convention, and I'm of two minds about him.

One of his legacies in this state was the Georgia Lottery. Conservatives saw as a tax on the poor, giving them a false hope with a get-rich-quick scheme that had a near 0 chance of helping any specific individual. Democrats saw an untapped income source that would ostensibly go towards education. At that time, I would call computer bulletin board systems (message boards that predated the explosion of Internet use by the general public), and my prediction to the guys in the Debate forum was that this would turn into a slush fund. I was asked how I could predict this before the Lottery even existed; was my crystal ball really showing me the future? I responded by saying that it took no precognition to know that politicians who had bunch of money coming in would find way to spend it on their pet projects.

Within a year or two of the start of the Georgia Lottery, heavy rains in north and central Georgia caused flooding in the southern part of the state. Gov. Miller said that relief for the towns and families there would come from "excess lottery money". I got back on the Debate forum and proclaimed that every student in Georgia had access to computers, that all the old books had been replaced with new ones, that the HOPE Scholarship was fully funded, and that teachers were getting generous and well-deserved raises. I said this had to be true because Gov. Miller had said himself that there was "excess" lottery money. My crystal ball was working perfectly. From the naysayers on the forum I got virtual silence. While the cause for the reallocation of funds was laudable, why weren't we told about this possible use for lottery proceeds up front, and what other uses were we not being told about? The Georgia Lottery had quickly become a slush fund.

And today, the HOPE Scholarship, funded solely by lottery proceeds, is having funding difficulties.
Though the Georgia Lottery is facing a record year with $1.33 billion in ticket sales during the last six months of 2003, $376 million of which will go to HOPE. Lawmakers are struggling to streamline the scholarship because of concerns that the program could run out of money within the decade.


For more than two decades, states have been using legalized gambling to help fill shrinking coffers. At least 41 states have lotteries that fund everything from senior citizen centers to prisons.

But it has been the promise of better public education that has caught the interest of most voters. Still, when money for other programs dries up, lawmakers have been known to dip into education reserves.

This paragraph of the story I found interesting.
While about two dozen states, including Illinois, New York, Michigan and Missouri, devote 100 percent of their proceeds to education, Georgia was among the first to include legislation that forbids lottery proceeds from going anywhere but to specific pre-kindergarten and post-secondary programs.

I don't know for sure, but I do wonder if we passed that law after "excess lottery money" was found lying around by Zell Miller. Nonetheless, the future for lotteries doesn't look good.
However, several states, including Illinois, have seen a drop in education funds in the last decade as lottery proceeds have declined.

"Supporters have been able to sell the lottery to voters with the idea that they will raise money and give students more opportunity for education. But you are gambling on education with gambling dollars, and that doesn't work," said Rodney Stanley, an assistant professor at the Institute of Government at Tennessee State University.

OK, I didn't originally intend for this to be an anti-lottery screed. The point is that this particular bit of liberal thinking came from Gov. Zell Miller, who is being touted as a conservative Democrat, and one who's been that way from the beginning. He's also voted to expand hate crime legislation, and was a big supporter of Bill Clinton for President.

On the other side of things, Miller has done quite a number of things that conservatives support. He got the nation's first two-strikes-and-you're-out law against violent felons, for example. While supporting the option of abortion, he still outlawed partial-birth abortion in Georgia and doesn't believe that public funds should pay for it. He cut taxes in Georgia and has voted to cut taxes in Washington. This web page summarizes his views on many issues, and you'll find that overall he's been quite conservative, with the lottery being perhaps his most egregious counter-example (in my view).

Last night, while I was channel-surfing looking for the best convention coverage, I hit a channel showing Zell Miller speaking to a political convention, but after a while it was obvious that this was not the 2004 Republican National Convention. It also had underneath the video a website, I went there this morning to see what was there, and it's a site accepting donations for the Democrat Party of Georgia. They feature 3 clips of Zell's speech to the 1992 Democratic National Convention. In it he blasts George Bush, who he says "just doesn't get it." Now, if you don't read the dim fine print, you might not realize he's talking about the first George Bush, especially when they make a "then and now" contrast. He's trying to make the case that health care and the failing economy are things the elder Bush doesn't understand and won't take care of as the "then" side. For the "now" side, they have one quote: "I am for President George W. Bush because he is the right man at the right place at the right time."

This is a very interesting non sequiter, on two levels no less. They're comparing Zell's response to two different presidents, and on different issues. Miller's quote is obviously referring to the point in history that George W. Bush found himself on 9/11, and on that point Miller is particularly harsh in criticism of liberal Democrats. That has little to do with standing with working families, as the web site claims Miller used to do (although protecting those working families from terrorism is certainly standing with them). Zell's change of heart vis-a-vis his party has pretty much hinged on the homeland security issue, although his voting record hasn't made him many friends in his party even before that. Because of all this, this attempt to challenge Zell is simply a smear. I'm all for negative campaigning and showing the other guy's record as long as you don't have to slice it and dice it in order to get him to appear the way you wish him to appear. If accurately portraying someone's views is "negative campaigning", I want to see more of it, but the Democrat Party of Georgia isn't doing that. They're throwing digital mud, plain and simple.

What it all comes down to, after this bit of rambling, is this: While I'm of two minds on Zell, and while I disagree with some of the things he's done, on balance the label "conservative Democrat" does fit him rather well. I'm certainly happy with his senate record and his support of President Bush. Additionally, if the Democrats have to stoop to smears to try to paint him in a bad light, that can only mean they're worried (and that they don't have much on him in the first place).

See you tonight Zell. Make us proud.