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Saturday, October 30, 2004

Why do I not trust polling? Because pollsters have reduced the science of polling to no more than a gut feeling. Read this posting on about how Zogby thought one of his polls was wrong so he changed the assumptions.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Via a diary entry for "jmikec" comes information about where much of the explosives cache at Al QaQaa went. Looks like the 101st Airborne was tasked with destroying weapons there, and they took out quite a bit. Further information here.

There's still a lot of conflicting stories going around on this, but the biggest issue I see is that CBS had hoped to bring this up on the Sunday before Election Day. It's taken us 5 days to get to this point, but CBS seems to have wanted to ensure the truth wouldn't have time to come out before Nov. 2. Thank goodness for competition, although even still it appears that the NY Times really stepped in the Al QaQaa here.

Also note McQ's analysis over at Q&O as to the charges being levelled and the perspective he lends to them.

One of the funniest Shockwave presentations of the season is here. It's a bipartisan knock on both their houses, and totally hilarious. If you're old enough to remember "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen, you'll understand it better, but it's funny anyway.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

An article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (free registration required) sheds some light on how homosexuals really view the difference between 'gay marriage" and "civil unions".
Another group, Straights in Solidarity with Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights, held a rally Wednesday afternoon on the steps of the state Capitol to get out their message on Amendment One. Organizer Avrum Geurin Weiss said he sees the battle as a civil rights issue.

Anthony Ricciardi, 36, of Atlanta was one of about 200 people who attended the rally. "I think the amendment is shameful because it's taking away my right to marry who I choose," Ricciardi said. "It's also very deceptive. You can be against gay marriage and still be for civil unions."

First of all, the proposed constitutional amendment doesn't change anything with regards to Georgia law; "gay marriage" is already against the law in the state. Carping about having something taken away is intellectually dishonest. So this will not change anything, unless, of course, Mr. Ricciardi was really hoping the Georgia state courts would pull a rabbit out of the hat like the Massachusetts Supreme Court did.

Which brings me to point number two. That is the whole purpose of the proposed amendment; to prevent the courts from doing an end-run around the legislature. Folks like Mr. Ricciardi apparently believe that this sort of judicial legislation is a good thing. I happen to think that the will of the people is best represented by those they elect to office.

And this statement appears to really connect marriage with civil unions, thus showing that homosexuals believe that civil unions will give them everything marriage would, just under another name. One more reason to vote for the amendment if you're against "gay marriage". Civil unions will just continue to be defined up until it's no different from marriage, so while you could be against "gay marriage" and still be for civil unions, that position too is intellectually dishonest.

John Kerry: He's on your side, whatever side that may be.

My blog buddy Marc made the big time; the Detroit Free Press.
Meanwhile, in another corner of the Internet, Marc Vander Maas, who lives just outside of Grand Rapids, has a similar opinion of the Net, even though he comes from the opposite end of the political spectrum.

"I think it's the great leveler for information," said Vander Maas, 28. "You can find whatever perspective you want on an issue. And the more you read the different sites with their different views, the more it sharpens you and clarifies the issues."

Vander Maas, who is married and a new father, writes a conservative pro-Bush blog ( that pokes fun at Kerry. "I do this as a hobby," he says. "What surprises me is that I have attracted a small little cadre of regulars who actually pay attention."

Congratulations, guy!

Bryan Preston has been working for months on a post about John Kerry's book The New Soldier, written after he returned from Vietnam. It's well worth the read. From the middle of the post, here's the main reason to understand the book.
When we are young, most of us hold to ideals that do not stand up well to our first contact with adult reality. The key to dealing with that is to learn, to grow, and to discard those silly notions and adopt better ones. In The New Soldier, one could see in the young John Kerry merely a misguided young man who did not mind meeting with representatives of the Communist factions in North and South Vietnam and using their talking points, and who did not mind marching with others who flew the flag of the enemy on the National Mall, because his ideals had not yet slammed against the bloody Khmer Rouge and his worldview had not yet been shaped by the realities of Communism or the fall of the Berlin Wall. But a problem remains, and that is that the young Kerry of 1971 is still very much in evidence in Candidate Kerry of 2004.

And that is why The New Soldier is so fascinating. Through it we see that John Forbes Kerry has changed very little since 1971. His default position then, and through his Senate career and now, has been to mistrust American power and resist its use in the world, no matter the cause. Young John Kerry opposed Vietnam; Senator John Kerry opposed the first Gulf War and the Reagan approach that won the Cold War; Candidate John Kerry first voted for the current Iraq war, then denounced it, then voted for funding it before voting against the same. He has said at various times that it was the right thing to do and that it was the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time, mostly because the United Nations did not sanction it. In that, we can hear the echo of a young John Kerry who wanted to put the US military under permanent UN dictate. That same John Kerry showed up in the presidential debates this year, advocating some kind of “global test” that must be passed before the US should engage in any military action.

Read it. The whole thing. Read it. Now.

Brent Bozell hit the nail on the head yesterday. He summed up one of the big lessons of this particular political season.
If anyone is still being sold the civics-book baloney that our national press corps is just the referee of our democracy, the disinterested moderator of our national debate, the media’s performance in this election year has just blown that concept to smithereens in their collective and transparent desire to deny George W. Bush another four years.

To the uncommitted voter, let us state directly: The media are partisan players. They see their role as journalists as not to inform, but to persuade. They aim to make society better, and believe the great society is a society drained of its poisonous vestiges of conservatism. They aim to elect liberal Democrats to office, pretending all the while that these liberals are really moderates, and even – don’t laugh – fierce warriors for our national defense.

Further protestations from the MSM should really just be met with rolled eyes. Yes, there are still stories that liberals think the press should have pressed harder on, but it's not like they really have much to complain about. Bozell shows the stats as well as the anecdotals.
The national media aim to set the agenda, and set it in a way that perpetually puts right-leaning, wrong-thinking Republicans at a disadvantage. Just look at the network story counts.

This year, ABC, CBS, and NBC have combined for more than 75 stories on George W. Bush's National Guard Service, with virtually nothing to say about Kerry’s scandalous anti-war behavior. They’ve done more than 50 stories on "skyrocketing" or "record high" gasoline prices, rarely admitting prices are lower today than they were under St. Jimmy Carter. They’ve aired hundreds on prison abuse at Abu Ghraib, while the mass graves of Saddam are a yawner.

Do some authors have an anti-Bush agenda? If so, the networks welcome them in. Bush-hating Kitty Kelley just makes stuff up about the Bushes, and she gets three days in a row on NBC. Bush-hating Seymour Hersh and Al Franken were all over NBC, as well as the other networks. Bush-despising Michael Moore is everywhere. "60 Minutes" spotlighted a pile of anti-Bush authors: Paul O’Neill, Richard Clarke, Bob Woodward, Anthony Zinni. Liberals at the top of the best-seller list? The networks deserve a thank-you card.

Stories that might embarrass John Kerry? Never mind. The U.N. Oil for Food scandal certainly would hurt Kerry, since he wants the U.N. to run Iraq, and he wants France to be a major partner. Arms inspector Charles Duelfer found the U.N. Oil for Food czar was taking oil-voucher bribes from Saddam Hussein, as were officials close to French President Jacques Chirac. How many stories did the networks do? Four. NBC was the best – with a piddly three. ABC aired one. CBS, working on a perfect record of partisanship, aired nothing.

Teresa Heinz Kerry, after six months of delay, released a tiny fraction of her tax return covering her huge estate. No one at these networks cared to ask about them during the entire delay. They yawned when the returns, which showed Mrs. Heinz Kerry paying less as a percentage of taxes than the usual middle-class family, were released. Kerry’s been railing all year about the tax advantages of the rich, but CBS and NBC had nothing on this whopping hypocrisy. An ABC anchorman made a joke about it.

What's truly comical is that, after all this obviously partisan behavior, media types will wrinkle their collective noses at the likes of Fox News and tut-tut them for covering stories the liberal media won't touch for fear of hurting their candidates.

CBS was so eager to nail Dubya that they refused to listen to any exculpatory evidence. Bloggers the world over did the fact checking that CBS "News" should have done. The New York Times just couldn't wait to blame Bush for missing munitions that they stepped in a load of Al QaQaa. Newly obtained docs from the UN's IAEA suggest that only 3 (not 377) tons are missing, and there's evidence that it was the Russians who, in attempting to cover up their involvement with Saddam, got the stuff out of there. But like CBS, the Gray Lady just couldn't wait for the truth to come out, and while they blasted the initial charges on the front page, further developments wind up buried.

Pay attention, folks. The mainstream media is not objective. I have a feeling that they haven't been for a very long time. It's just that there are so many more sources of information these days that they can't get away with it as well anymore. And that's a good thing.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Got the green light for the vote on Georgia's same-sex marriage amendment to proceed..
ATLANTA (BP)--Georgia's Supreme Court refused Oct. 26 to take a constitutional marriage amendment off the ballot, giving pro-family groups in that state a significant victory in the debate over same-sex "marriage."

In a 5-2 ruling the justices said they lacked the authority to interfere with the process until the amendment passes. Court action, therefore, is still possible, but only after the Nov. 2 election.

"The sole question raised by this case is whether the judiciary is authorized to interfere in the constitutional amendment process, and prevent the voters from expressing their approval or disapproval of the proposal which their elected representatives, by a two-thirds vote of each house of the General Assembly, have determined should be submitted to them," the majority opinion read.

As would be expected, it ain't over.
In a statement Lambda Legal indicated it would file suit after the election -- assuming the amendment passes.

"Today's ruling doesn't say whether the proposed amendment is constitutional. We believe the amendment clearly violates the Constitution, and the court did not disagree. All the court said today is that this should stay on the ballot and face a constitutional test if it passes," Jack Senterfitt, senior staff attorney with Lambda Legal's southern regional office, said in a statement.

(Cross-posted at Comments welcome.)

Who are the terrorists rooting for? Let them tell you.
BAGHDAD — Leaders and supporters of the anti-U.S. insurgency say their attacks in recent weeks have a clear objective: The greater the violence, the greater the chances that President Bush will be defeated on Tuesday and the Americans will go home.

If the U.S. Army suffered numerous humiliating losses, [Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John] Kerry would emerge as the superman of the American people," said Mohammad Amin Bashar, a leader of the Muslim Scholars Association, a hard-line clerical group that vocally supports the resistance.

Anyone who thinks that Bush has been playing into the terrorists hands have only this to read. They'd love a global test rather than pre-emption. That way, they just have to bribe a few key countries and stymie the whole world. Bush wouldn't put up with it and he wouldn't be bribed and he won't allow the bribing of other countries to stop him; that's the kind of American leader they fear.
Mowafaq Al-Tai, a London-educated architect and intellectual, said different types of resistance fighters have different views of the U.S. election.

The most pro-Kerry, he said, are the former Saddam Hussein loyalists — Ba'ath Party members and others who think Washington might scale back its ambitions for Iraq if Mr. Kerry wins, allowing them to re-enter civic life.

The most pro-Bush, he said, are the foreign extremists. "They prefer Bush, because he's a provocative figure, and the more they can push people to the extreme, the better for their case."

Truly instructive. Saddam loyalists see Kerry on their side (which, based on his record of Senate votes, he pretty much was). The "foreign extremists" want Bush mostly because Bush's attacks on terrorists give them something to grasp onto when trying to whip people into a frenzy. Fine. I prefer that to terrorists who feel they can attack America with impunity because the American President is weak. A strong President, while it might be a good emotional recruiting tool, is also their worst nightmare, but they won't admit that in their recruitment talks.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

According to Drudge, CBS and the NY Times were just beside themselves trying to get out the latest anti-Bush story. CBS wanted to schedule a surprise attack 2 nights before the election, but the NY Times just couldn't wait that long.
News of missing explosives in Iraq -- first reported in April 2003 -- was being resurrected for a 60 MINUTES election eve broadcast designed to knock the Bush administration into a crises mode.

Jeff Fager, executive producer of the Sunday edition of 60 MINUTES, said in a statement that "our plan was to run the story on October 31, but it became clear that it wouldn't hold..."

Elizabeth Jensen at the LOS ANGELES TIMES details on Tuesday how CBS NEWS and 60 MINUTES lost the story [which repackaged previously reported information on a large cache of explosives missing in Iraq, first published and broadcast in 2003].

The story instead debuted in the NYT. The paper slugged the story about missing explosives from April 2003 as "exclusive."

NBC, however, had an embedded reporter on the scene when the coalition showed up initially, so they couldn't participate in the feeding frenzy.
An NBCNEWS crew embedded with troops moved in to secure the Al-Qaqaa weapons facility on April 10, 2003, one day after the liberation of Iraq.

According to NBCNEWS, the explosives were already missing when the American troops arrived.

Good for them for the willingness to point this out, although, from a competitive standpoint, it makes good business sense, too.

The big question will be this: Who was trying to launch this?
It is not clear who exactly shopped an election eve repackaging of the missing explosives story.

The LA TIMES claims: The source on the story first went to 60 MINUTES but also expressed interest in working with the NY TIMES... "The tip was received last Wednesday."

The Kerry campaign was certainly quick on the draw to blame this on Bush. It's rather funny how quick that came. Or not.
CBSNEWS' plan to unleash the story just 24 hours before election day had one senior Bush official outraged.

"Darn, I wanted to see the forged documents to show how this was somehow covered up," the Bush source, who asked not to be named, mocked, recalling last months CBS airing of fraudulent Bush national guard letters.

Too funny, except for the fact that CBS was fully intending to hold the news until the worst possible moment. Is Dan Rather really that desperate to give the gift of an election to John Kerry?

Monday, October 25, 2004

If implementing a particular program in the public schools brought the graduation rate from 36 percent to 64 percent, would you want it implemented in your district? Then get ready for school vouchers. And if you're still unsure about them, ask Milwaukee.
When Milwaukee's voucher program began, opponents prophesied disaster for the district. But it seems in fact to be doing better, according to a report last year from the American Education Reform Council. Though 12,900 students used vouchers last year (the program is capped at 15 percent of district enrollment) total enrollment increased 5.7 percent from 1990 to 2003. Test results improved. The dropout rate _ the official dropout rate, that is _ fell from 16 percent to 9 percent. And real spending per student, adjusted for inflation, rose from $8,520 to $11,772.

Two years ago, Andrekopoulos wrote to U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige, "I think you will find Milwaukee Public Schools an especially interesting urban school district because our highly competitive market for school enrollment has made us very eager to give parents and children information and options in the neighborhoods where they live."

Vouchers created the competition. They work.

I wrote an essay a few years ago knocking the Clinton administration's view of school vouchers, that comes to precisely the same conclusion for precisely the same reason. What would be even better, instead of filtering school money through the federal system--where bureaucrats still skim their portion off and where religious schools give "separation of church and state" folks heartburn--would be to just let me keep my own money to pay for the school of my choice.

This appears to be the breaking news I mentioned over the weekend. John Kerry, on numerous occasions dating back to at least October 2002, and as recent as the second Presidential debate, has defended his "record" on national security by noting that he met with all the members of the UN Security Council prior to his vote on the Iraq war, to find out how seriously they took their commitment to remove enforce the UN resolutions. He did this so that when it came time to vote to authorize force against Hussein, he'd carefully considered how serious the UN was. He said he "valued" his vote and wanted to understand the willingness of the world to take on Saddam Hussein.

Except that he didn't.

The article linked above starts out this way:
U.N. ambassadors from several nations are disputing assertions by Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry that he met for hours with all members of the U.N. Security Council just a week before voting in October 2002 to authorize the use of force in Iraq.

An investigation by The Washington Times reveals that while the candidate did talk for an unspecified period to at least a few members of the panel, no such meeting, as described by Mr. Kerry on a number of occasions over the past year, ever occurred.

He used this ficticious meeting to try to show that he could do what he accused he Bush administration of not doing; bringing world leaders to his side (never mind the approximately 30 nations involved in the Iraq war). Kerry has said over and over that he would have prosecuted the war "better" than Bush, and this story is what he's used, in part, to buttress that claim.

The walls have come tumblin' down. The global test is just a smoke screen. Kerry wants to cede responsibility for our security to the UN so he doesn't have to take the political fall. Is this the guy you want as a war president? I certainly hope not.

Right Wing News asked a bunch of conservative bloggers, including me, 4 questions over the weekend, and the results are on his site this morning. Here were my answers:

1. Who will win the election? In a big show of confidence, the conservative bloggers picked Bush by a margin of 93% to 7%. I said Bush would win, but in a squeaker. I know a lot of other conservative pundits are predicting a bigger margin (Hugh Hewitt says, for instance, that the President will win 40 states), but as far as I can see, Kerry still has room to keep it close. If the historical rule about undecided voters breaking for the challenger is still true, Kerry could even win this. However, historical rules have been thrown out the window lately.

2. Do you think we'll know who the winner is by the end of the day on November 3rd? Yes or no? That was a tough one to answer, and only 72% of the bloggers could say Yes. That's still a clear majority, but it shows that the pre-emption that the DNC has advocated is causing uncertainty on this question. I said we would know, aside from the usual after-election legal wrangling that happens after every election. I don't think that wrangling will rise to the level of 2000.

3 & 4. Will the GOP retain control of the House? Will the GOP retain control of the Senate? With a vote of 98% and 93% respectively, the conservative bloggers said the Republicans would hold both sides of Congress. I haven't seen anything to make me think that control will change.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Don't know what this is, but according to Mike Krempasky at, something's brewing, to be released on Monday, and the Kerry campaign will have to respond to it. Apparently, the Daily Kos folks already have some ideas of what this might be. Though to quote 'trevino', "And what does it tell us that even the man's partisans are so well versed in the catalog of malfeasances?" Good point.

Stay tuned.

Friday, October 22, 2004

"This is rich" part deux.
The Guardian yesterday ran up the white flag and called a halt to "Operation Clark County", the newspaper's ambitious scheme to recruit thousands of readers to persuade American voters in a swing state to kick out President George W Bush in next month's election.

The cancellation of the project came 24 hours after the first of some 14,000 letters from Guardian readers began arriving in Clark County. The missives led to widespread complaints about foreign interference in a US election.

It also prompted a surge of indignant local voters calling the county's Republican party offering to volunteer for Mr Bush.

Ah, the poor British libs. They just know so much better than the hicks of Clark County. Pity the Ohioans are such independent thinkers.
The paper said it had closed the website where readers collected an address to write to and had abandoned plans to take four "winners" to visit voters in Clark County. Instead, the group would be taken to the "more tranquil" area of Washington.

(Wouldn't want to scare the "winners" (why the quotes?) with living, breathing conservatives.)
Albert Scardino, the paper's executive editor for news, simultaneously denied and conceded that an early halt had been called to the project. "It is roaringly, successfully completed. It has been an overwhelming triumph," he said.

He then acknowledged that no more addresses were being distributed, blaming attacks on The Guardian website by Right-wing hackers.

Ah yes, blame those who Al Gore called "digital brown-shirts". So much easier that admitting you were both wrong and foolish.
The scheme seemed to backfired from the start as the reactions of the first recipients varied from indifference to anger and even alarm.

The surrender was announced in a lengthy "mea culpa" by Ian Katz, the G2 editor at The Guardian, who dreamed up the scheme.

He began with a lengthy denunciation of the American Right for over-reacting to his scheme, and painted his project as the victim of its own success, after many thousands of readers wrote to Clark County voters.

Further down the piece it became clear that Mr Katz was calling it quits. "Somewhere along the line, though, the good-humoured spirit of the enterprise got lost in translation," he wrote.

Yes, Guardian readers do get a good chuckle out of demeaning conservatives and sticking their collective noses where they don't belong. Truly a high humor more elevated that the "American Right" knows what to do with.

This is (or rather "was") pathetic. It really serves these people right and I'm glad the lesson was learned quickly. (Well, I hope a lesson learned was the reason rather than just the bad PR. I'll hold not my breath on that one.)

And this doesn't speak well for the Guardian, either.
Yet there is one last Guardian letter Mrs Rosicka would still like to see - one containing a cheque for $25 (about £13), which the newspaper still owes her for its purchase of the county's electoral roll.

"I was nice and made the file available, because their reporter said he was right on deadline," she said. "They said the cheque is in the mail. As of this morning, it still hasn't arrived, and it's been more than a week."

Did I mention "pathetic"?

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Oh, Mr. Jennings, about that annoying "objectivity" thing, here's another reason why we're a little more concerned about it than you appear to be.
When Bill Clinton ran for re-election in 1996, the unemployment rate was 5.2 percent, inflation was three percent and economic growth was 2.2 percent. Sound good? The economy is just as good, if not better, right now: the unemployment rate is 5.4 percent, inflation is 2.7 percent, and economists' consensus forecast for economic growth this quarter is 3.7 percent.

So, objectively speaking, economically, things are pretty much the way they were in '96. Well, except that all these "objective" reporters don't seem to think so.
Yet a new study by Dan Gainor, Director of the MRC's Free Market Project, found that while the national media mainly cheered the Clinton economy in 1996 (85 percent positive), reporters have mostly jeered the Bush economy in 2004 (77 percent negative). Two 2004 stories were judged as neutral.

The article goes on to detail the huge lopsided treatment of two equivalent economic situations. Is this the "objectivity" that journalists are trained for? Then once again I ask, why bother with the pretense of it?

The study also reports something I keep bringing up as well. The effect of 9/11 on the economy has been virtually ignored by Democrats and the press (proving again that the two terms are rather redundant).
No story in the FMP study quantified the job losses caused by 9/11, one million jobs lost in the 100 days after the attacks. Only six stories made any mention of terrorism or 9/11 at all. On October 8, in 11 stories on the new jobs data, only one mentioned 9/11. Just after the second debate in St. Louis that night, CNN’s John King previewed the third debate: “Mr. Bush will say recession, September 11, the shortest — one of the shortest recessions in history because of his tax cuts.”

I'm a little concerned that Peter Jennings is a little concerned about everybody wanting him to be objective. This study shows that there's a long way to go before there's anything close to objectivity in the MSM.

The good guys are winning.
KABUL (AP) - Fugitive Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar has fallen out with some of his lieutenants, who blame him for the rebels' failure to disrupt the landmark Afghan presidential election, the U.S. military said Wednesday.

Election officials, meanwhile, said U.S.-backed interim President Hamid Karzai could all but seal a victory Thursday as vote counting proceeds from an Oct. 9 ballot that came off largely peacefully.

A U.S. military spokesman, Maj. Scott Nelson, said intelligence reports from Afghanistan and neighbouring Pakistan indicated the Taliban's failure to mount major attacks during the election had demoralized the rebels.

"There's been serious disagreements between Mullah Omar and some of his lower commanders on the strategy for the follow-up after the election," Nelson said. "There's a lot of frustration with his lack of effectiveness in disrupting the election."

The Global War on Terror is working, and the bad guys are having a tough time working up a head of steam in Afghanistan.

This is rich.
Dan Harkins, a political activist in the vital swing state of Ohio, was excited when he first heard that the Guardian newspaper was recruiting readers to write to voters in his state in the hopes of giving foreigners a voice in the American election.

Yesterday, the first of about 14,000 Guardian readers' letters started arriving in the mailboxes of Clark County, Mr Harkins's home region - chosen by the British paper as a pivotal election district where President George W Bush and Senator John Kerry are neck and neck.

The first letters to be made public all urged Clark County voters to reject Mr Bush. As he watched the reaction of friends and neighbours, Mr Harkins was delighted.

He is the chairman of the Clark County Republican Party, and his neighbours' reaction was outrage. "It's hysterical," laughed Mr Harkins, showing off sheaves of incensed e-mails and notes from local voters.

The Republicans' delight compares with the gloom among local Democrats, who fear that "foreign interference" is hurting Mr Kerry.

Sorry folks, no "global test" on our elections. I hope people realize that if they don't want foreign intervention in our affairs, Kerry is not their man.

To expand on my post yesterday regarding the reaction from the Democrats to the showing of "Stolen Honor" in a theater, WorldNetDaily has an article enumerating the things that Democrat politicians--not just the "man on the street" but the party itself--are trying to do to keep this film away from the public.
The challenges to Sinclair [Broadcast Group] include:
  • The Democratic National Committee filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission charging that the broadcast would amount to an illegal campaign contribution.
  • A group of 18 Democratic senators asked Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell to probe whether the program would violate regulations on the use of public airwaves.
  • The Kerry campaign wrote a legal brief to the president of Sinclair, insisting the Democratic presidential nominee should be given equal time and allowed to run his own program.

And there are more listed from people & groups not directly related to the Democrat party. Again, was there anything remotely approaching this suppression of free speech for "Fahrenheit 9/11"? And where was all this righteous indignation when Moore was working on getting that movie (with well-documented lies) on broadcast TV?

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Could we just drop the facade of news objectivity? Peter Jennings almost sounds like he's leaning that way.
Jennings said the media is now under the hot lights.

"I'm a little concerned about this notion everybody wants us to be objective," Jennings said.

Yeah, such a nuisance.
Jennings said that everyone -- even journalists -- have points of view through which they filter their perception of the news. It could be race, sex or income. But, he said, reporters are ideally trained to be as objective as possible.

And when 80%+ of journalists are liberals, seems to me that this bias can't help but show itself. Jennings comment strongly suggests that, but he'd never admit it.

I'm just asking: Did anything like this happen in front of theaters showing "Fahrenheit 9/11"? I don't think so. Kinda puts the lie to Democrats who profess to be "free thinkers" and "tolerant".

Via marcland: If you still think Hussein had no ties to terror, this site, with copious pictures & document scans, may change your mind. While you're reading it, remember that this is the Global War on Terror, not just the Global War on Al Qaeda.

As I've noted before, my sister and her husband have a new blog, The Rooftop Blog. Her latest post starts like this:
The polls show that most of us who are people of faith will be voting for George W. Bush, and we are indeed praying that he will prevail. If he does, the next thing we should work for is the elimination of the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives.

What?! Take away the government gravy train headed for religious institutions? Let me explain why the OFBI is a bad idea.

This is an evangelical Christian writing, mind you. There's a whole lot of good argument between that start and this end:
Because whoever pays the bills rightly gets to make the rules.

Matt Damon says he would pay $1 million if he could impose his will on the voters of America. The quote is, "I would pay $1 million to have Kerry in the White House", but the meaning's the same.

Matt, if Kerry's not our next President, will you (please) move to some other country where it's easier to buy the election? I'm sure you'll be happier there. That is, until someone with more money than you comes along to impose their will. There's always someone with more money.

I'll stick with the election process, if you don't mind.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

If the Iraq elections fail to take place in January, or if there are excessive problems with them, it may partly be blamed on >gasp< the United Nations.
The United Nations has failed to fully staff its operation in Iraq, imperiling the timing and quality of the elections there and forcing inexperienced Iraqis to take the lead in preparing for the country's first democratic balloting, due in January, U.S. officials and election experts said.

Of the 35 U.N. officials in Iraq, only four or five are election experts, U.N. officials said. In Afghanistan, which has a similar-size population, the U.N. had 600 international staff, including 266 election experts, for the first democratic poll this month. A major increase in Iraq is unlikely soon because of deteriorating security and the U.S. failure to quickly mobilize Georgian and Fijian troops for a protection force or provide an acceptable alternative, U.S. and U.N. officials said.

U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan is trying to lower expectations that the United Nations will play a central role in the voting, telling reporters in Ireland on Friday that the world body "is not going to Iraq to monitor the elections in January."

"Our role is to support and advise the Iraqi authorities as they organize the elections," he said. "They are responsible for the elections, and they have ownership of those elections."

Guess Kofi's trying to hold back some folks just in case the Democrats convince the State Department to ask them to monitor our elections.

Back on the 6th of this month, I noted that the Royal Bank of Canada was taking "tolerance" to the next level, requiring acceptance of homosexuality, suggesting that those who don't promote it are "unsafe" to gays. They've since been the target of a successful boycott.
Canada's largest bank has canceled its promotion of homosexuality with its employees after a pro-family organization sponsored a national boycott of the institution.


But after a boycott was launched by the Canada Family Action Coalition, the bank backed down, saying the rainbow promotion had "unintentionally created divisiveness."

David Moorcroft, Royal Bank's senior vice president announced the course reversal in a letter dated Oct. 14.

"Effective today, the sticker component of the program is being eliminated," wrote Moorcroft.

The Canada Family Action Coalition hailed the move, saying bank executives heard from thousands of Canadians and "did the right thing."

Said Dr. Charles McVety, president of CFAC: "The bank realized 'based on the feedback received' that the Rainbow Triangle Sticker program 'has unintentionally created divisiveness'. Without such feedback, the Royal Bank would have continued its practice of marginalizing those who do not support homosexuality."

Only folks who really have no clue about the ramifications of their own actions would call the results "unintentional". I guess it's another case of liberals supposing that everyone thinks like they do, and being totally unaware of the world outside themselves.

So then, do boycotts really work?
The bank says the boycott was not the reason it changed its policy.

"Any time someone boycotts us, it's a concern," Moorcroft is quoted by as saying. "But that's not the reason we made the decision."

The real reason they changed was due to the bruise that the "Clue Bat" left on them. I'll bet that no one who instituted this policy considered for one nanosecond the parallel of doing this for any other random group (as in my original example of putting up cross stickers to show you're "safe" for Christians). That's the tunnel-vision of the left.

I'd call it "Grassroots Pandering"--coddling of a special group, not by a politician but by citizens--except that "pandering" implies some sort of thoughtful intent. I honestly don't think that there was any real thought put into this, just emotion. Hopefully, they won't hit the snooze alarm on their wake-up call.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Global Warming Update:
Industry has dramatically cut its emissions of pollutants, called volatile organic compounds.

That first sentence would probably shock Kyoto-proponents. The second sentence will give them a heart attack.
But those cuts have been more than offset by the amount of VOCs churned out by trees.

You heard it right. Trees are putting out pollution faster than industry can (dramatically) cut it.
The revelation challenges the notion that planting trees is a good way to clean up the atmosphere.

...and is likely to cause mass hysteria among environmentalist radicals.
When fossil fuels used in industry and automobiles fail to combust completely, they generate VOCs, which react with nitrogen oxides and sunlight to form poisonous ozone in the lower atmosphere. In the past few decades, the introduction of more efficient engines and catalytic converters has dramatically reduced these emissions.

But trees also produce VOCs, which tend to be ignored by scientists modelling the effects of ozone on pollution. So a team led by Drew Purves at Princeton University investigated the impact of newly planted forests on VOC levels in the US.

Translation: They tend to be ignored by scientists who have the rather unscientific idea of a "pre-conceived notion". As I've said many times before, beware of setting public policy based on computer models. You may become the victim of someone's prejudices.


\Dis`en*fran"chise\, v. t. To disfranchise; to deprive of the rights of a citizen. -- Dis`en*fran\"chise*ment, n.

Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.

OK, that's just for reference as we read this article.
People who cast a provisional ballot at the wrong precinct aren't entitled to have their votes counted, the state Supreme Court unanimously ruled Monday, rejecting an argument by labor unions that the rule wrongly disenfranchises voters.

Remember now, to be "disenfranchised" is to have lost your citizen's right, in this case to vote. So what labor unions were trying to say is that if you vote in the wrong precinct, that should be OK. Otherwise, you've been deprived of your right to vote.
The court said that the law clearly states that provisional ballots must be counted only if the person was entitled to vote "at the precinct," and that the constitution gives the Legislature the authority to dictate voting rules.

And it's not just who gets to make the election rules that is an issue, but the labor unions seem to want to decide which rules they'd like to follow and which are a nuisance.
Under Florida law, if a voter shows up at a polling place but officials there have no record of them being registered, they are given a provisional ballot. That ballot is then held until officials determine if the person was entitled to vote at that precinct and hadn't already voted.

If they should have been allowed to vote, the ballot counts; if not, it's thrown out.

But a group of labor unions sued over the ballot law, saying that it unconstitutionally disenfranchised voters who may not know their polling place. They argued that many people have new polling places because of redistricting, may have moved, or may have been displaced by a hurricane.

Part of being an informed voter, in addition to understanding the issues, is knowing where to do the voting. As they say, ignorance is no excuse. (Are labor unions suggesting that their memberships are more ignorant than other voters? If not, why is it that labor unions specifically are fighting this?) "Gee, I didn't think crossing the border to vote in Alabama would matter" doesn't cut it for a voter who lives in Georgia.
The court disagreed, saying that requiring provisional voters vote at the correct precinct is no more unreasonable than requiring that everyone else vote at the right polling place.

If anyone has to get it right, everyone has to get it right. That's fair, no? And if you get it wrong, you were not denied your right to vote; you just screwed up. That's not the government's fault, and it's not disenfranchisement.

I think that word has been far to liberally used in cases where it makes no sense (but some people love the chance to use a $3 word, even if they don't really know what it means). In fact, a "USA Today" opinion column from Sept. 19th made this claim in it's opening paragraph:
In 2000, more than 4.5 million Californians voted for George W. Bush. Yet none of their votes counted. Ditto for the 2.4 million Texans who voted for Al Gore.

How did this happen? How did all these people who, as the editorial says, successfully voted for the candidate of their choice, get their right to vote taken away?
The reason: the winner-take-all system for awarding a state's Electoral College votes. Though Gore carried California easily, he still would have won all 54 of the state's electoral votes had he defeated Bush by 1,300 votes instead of 1.3 million. Likewise, Bush would have won Texas' 32 electoral votes had his home-state landslide been a squeaker.

OK, let's consider an election where electoral votes are proportionally handed out based on the popular vote as the editorial suggests, or even if the President is elected by a direct popular vote. If Candidate A wins, does that mean that everyone who voted for Candidate B was disenfranchised? That's what this editorial is suggesting happened on a state-by-state basis. How would this be any different on a national level?

Quick civics refresher: When you step into the voting booth, you are not casting your vote for President. You are casting your vote for your state's electors to give your state's electoral votes to the candidate of your choice. We do not have a national election for President; we have 51 state (and D.C) elections for the handing out of electoral votes. You are voting in a state-wide election to determine which candidate gets your state's electoral votes.

(Maine and Nebraska, the rules are slightly different for you. Depending on how the popular vote goes, the electoral votes are split up. This means that the candidate with more popular votes in a close election is likely to get a piddling electoral vote gain as a result, making you about as, or less, significant as Rhode Island (no offense to Rhode Island). Colorado voters would do well to realize this come Nov. 2.)

Thems the rules and, like 'em or not, they are in effect for this election. Now read this carefully: Not getting your way in an election does not mean you were "disenfranchised". I know this may come as a shock to Democrats, "USA Today" editors, and people who get all their news from the mainstream media, but that's the cruel truth. The right to vote presupposes a modicum of intelligence and responsibility on the part of the voter. If you don't follow the instructions, that's your fault, not the governments. Or Karl Rove's.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

There was some wrong communication last night. I'm not talking about the debate, I'm talking about whether the Atlanta Journal-Constitution was going to be at the Debate Party last night. We did have a reporter from a county paper, and if her story makes it onto the Gwinnett Daily Post, I'll post a link. They had a photographer there as well, so there may also be pictures. (UPDATE: Article is here.)

My sister has a number of friends in county & state Republican party circles, so the dozen folks that were there were all friends of hers from that group. (Apparently, a similar group of Democrats was being covered by another reporter.) So this was an obviously partisan group of folks, and thus the jokes at Kerry's expense, and the enjoyment of Bush's answers (and his better demeanor during Kerry's answers) were plentiful. The consensus was that Bush won handily on the issues, but again we were a bunch of partisans who agree with most of Bush's positions and we've been paying attention for the whole political season; no undecided voters in this bunch.

One of the reasons for that was that, in many ways John Kerry told us that he doesn't trust us. Putting just a portion of your own Social Security money in investment that will probably bring a greater return? Sorry, the pyramid scheme doesn't work that way, and we're not interested in reforming it. As to same-sex marriage, he'd rather judges legislate from the bench instead of reigning them in and letting the people decide, either via the elected legislature, or via the now necessary constitutional amendments. John Kerry doesn't even trust us as a nation with nuclear weapons or taking action without certain countries going along with us (even if those countries are being bribed to stay away). He simply doesn't trust us.

George Bush's answers, in general, promoted the ownership society. We get control of our own lives. John Kerry's answers, in general, promoted more big government programs to strip you of the decision-making and letting bureaucrats in Washington make broad decisions for the whole country. He simply doesn't trust us.

After all of each man's positives and negatives, the second biggest question to ask in this election (the first being "Who will keep us safer, on our own terms?") is "who trusts you?" John Kerry doesn't. George W. Bush does. It's pretty much that simple.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Sorry for the non-blogging today, but really haven't had the time. The debate tonight should provide plenty of fodder.

I may be attending a Debate Party tonight with a bunch of Republicans at my sister's place. Reporters from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and a local paper will be there, as will a couple of reporters at a Democrat Debate Party elsewhere. I'll give a full rundown if I make it. (Household duties call.)

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Praise the Lord, and pass the crystal ball. John Edwards said in a speech, "When John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve are going to walk. Get up out of that wheelchair and walk again."

Now compare this to the brouhaha over Cheney's comments that a Kerry presidency would make us more susceptible to terrorism. Democrats were livid over this, even though Cheney couched his comment in an examination of Kerry's record and what can be gleaned from his stump speeches about when he plans to do regarding terrorism. Based on that, and what Bush & Cheney have done and plan to do, Mr. Cheney was well within his rights to render his opinion on the subject.

However, he was accused by Democrats of trying to scare people into voting for him. But while his opinion was buttressed by Kerry's record, this pronouncement by Edwards is pure fantasy and is, in my mind, worse than anything Cheney has said. Edwards is both trying to add an irrational euphoria to his own campaign, based on nothing but his say-so, while scaring folks that, by implication, Bush wants to keep disabled people in their wheelchairs.

While doing this, he has no record whatsoever to point to in order to support his argument. Adult stem cell research has been showing a lot of promise (see posts here and here for just a couple of examples). Embryonic stem cell research, in spite of continued funding (and it is being funded) hasn't given us anything yet, and 4 years is way too short to go from a standing start to a cure for spinal injuries. But that, of course, doesn't stop Edwards from messianic promises like this.

UPDATE: Google News just added a link to the comment in context. It doesn't look any better. It starts out, "We will do stem cell research". We are doing stem cell research! Is this another triumph of "fake but accurate" campaign promises?

Monday, October 11, 2004

John Howard, a big Bush ally in the War on Terror, has won big in the Australian elections. Tim Blair is thrilled. John O'Sullivan notes why we've note heard much about this in the U.S. media, and "Oh, That Liberal Media" examines the bias at the WaPo, when the Spanish election (unfavorable to Bush) gets front-page treatment, but the Aussie one (favorable to Bush) is buried on page A-34.

Doug Powers isn't thrilled with "undecided voters", a term he considers an oxymoron.
Fortunately, in the mid to late 1700s, the neutral, ignorant or undecided were left alone to ride along on whatever path was chosen for them, as they deserved. Now, undecideds are rounded up and put in a room to question presidential candidates, where they play a pivotal role each election year. When we're trying to figure out which way to go, for some reason, more and more often, we're seeing our direction chosen by the mapless. In addition, this confused bloc of potential voters has, for some reason, had a label of nobility attached to it by the media. This just can't go well.

As my brother mentioned here, putting the fate of our country in the hands of the "mood-swing voter" isn't a recipe for success. Powers wonders what's going through their minds. To still be "undecided", you have to have...
faced fierce internal debate over whether taxes should be cut, or a fiscal course should be set by a person who makes Ted Kennedy look like a Supply-Sider.

...among other things.

Can you be a Christian and a journalist and maintain an objective outlook? Was a highly respected "NY Times" reporter really an evangelical Christian? These and other questions are answered by Rooftop Blog.

This week's "Best of Homespun Bloggers" is up. Take a peek at some of my fellow Homespunners.

Georgia same-sex marriage amendment update:
The Georgia Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear oral arguments Oct. 19 in the lawsuit seeking to stop the Nov. 2 referendum on a state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

The Georgia American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal and Atlanta law firm Alston & Bird filed their appeal of a lower court ruling Wednesday. The office of the attorney general has until Tuesday to file legal briefs.

The appeal uses arguments similar to the lawsuit, filed Sept. 16. It argues that the proposed amendment violates the "single-subject rule" of the state constitution because it addresses three issues besides gay marriage: civil unions, the ability of Georgia courts to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, and the jurisdiction of Georgia courts to rule on disputes arising from same-sex relationships. The lawsuit also contends that the ballot question voters will see at the polls is misleading because it asks them only about marriage.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Over at, 'brightwinger' asks:
If I ran for student body president on a "Uranium for Iran" platform, what would my prospects be? The answer ought to be fairly self evident. The only votes I'd get would be from crack-smoking winos.

So how is it possible that we have a candidate running for President of the United States on that platform? And why hasn't the US media fried Kerry for this third-grade proposal until he is past burnt orange in color?

And how is it possible that the US has sunk so low in its critical thinking that "Uranium for Iran" won't produce a 95% to 5% defeat for Kerry?

Good point. I added a few more platforms that Kerry is running on as well:
  • The "Undermine multilateral N. Korea talks with bilateral ones" platform
  • The "Make bunkers un-bustable" platform
  • The "Make new allies by demeaning current allies" platform
  • The "'Oil-for-Food' as template for foreign aid" platform

I'm sure there are plenty of others like this, all of which ought to make a Kerry presidential run a sure loser.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

In case you still believe that ex-homosexuals don't exist, here's a film that you may want to consider:
A documentary featuring stories of people who have left the homosexual lifestyle will debut this month in response to the annual "National Coming Out Day."

Occurring each year on Oct. 11, National Coming Out Day is an event sponsored by the homosexual-advocacy group Human Rights Campaign. This year's theme is "Come Out. Speak Out. Vote." HRC is encouraging homosexuals to talk to their family and friends about their orientation.

The film, entitled "I Do Exist," features people whose stories are not often heard, said the documentary's producer, Warren Throckmorton Ph.D.

"Many in our country are skeptical that people who once identified as homosexual can make profound transformations," Throckmorton said in a statement. "This 52-minute film introduces the audience to five such people along with expert commentary."

Those behind the film hope it will raise the public's awareness of ex-homosexuals and provide an alternative to HRC's message of celebrating homosexuality.

"For too long, former homosexuals have been told they do not exist," Throckmorton said. "Ex-gays are using this event to make a positive statement in contrast to the view that such change in sexual identity is not possible."

It'll never win an Academy Award (too un-PC), but it may be worth a look.

Via Instapundit comes word from many sources of the bribery behind the scenes as Saddam tried to avoid war.
SADDAM HUSSEIN believed he could avoid the Iraq war with a bribery strategy targeting Jacques Chirac, the President of France, according to devastating documents released last night.

I wonder how much bribery Kerry, had he been President, would have had to provide to one-up Saddam. What's more likely is that France could not be (re)bought and we still wouldn't have had them on our side. Honestly, are these an actions of a US ally? With friends like these, who needs Yemenis?
Memos from Iraqi intelligence officials, recovered by American and British inspectors, show the dictator was told as early as May 2002 that France - having been granted oil contracts - would veto any American plans for war.

And even now they won't send troops, regardless of who wins the White House. Yet still the Kerry camp complains that French companies were frozen out of bidding for contracts in the rebuilding of Iraq. Are our dollars being spent and our men & women being killed so that bribed French companies and a cowardly French government can get enriched by our sacrifices? I don't think so.
Although they found no evidence that Saddam had made any WMD since 1992, they found documents which showed the "guiding theme" of his regime was to be able to start making them again with as short a lead time as possible."

Saddam was convinced that the UN sanctions - which stopped him acquiring weapons - were on the brink of collapse and he bankrolled several foreign activists who were campaigning for their abolition. He personally approved every one.

All Saddam had to do was convince "peace" activists that sanctions had "worked". As soon as that happened, the "useful idiots" would have served their purpose. That's what you'd get for taking a murderous dictator at his word.
To keep America at bay, he focusing on Russia, France and China - three of the five UN Security Council members with the power to veto war. Politicians, journalists and diplomats were all given lavish gifts and oil-for-food vouchers.

Tariq Aziz, the former Iraqi deputy prime minister, told the ISG that the "primary motive for French co-operation" was to secure lucrative oil deals when UN sanctions were lifted. Total, the French oil giant, had been promised exploration rights.

Iraqi intelligence officials then "targeted a number of French individuals that Iraq thought had a close relationship to French President Chirac," it said, including two of his "counsellors" and spokesman for his re-election campaign.

They even assessed the chances for "supporting one of the candidates in an upcoming French presidential election." Chirac is not mentioned by name.

And Kerry thinks it makes sense to trust France...why, exactly? The definition of "ally" really becomes strained to the point of breaking at this point.

The question is now...well, it's best expressed by Tony Blair.
Speaking during his trip to Ethiopia last night, the Prime Minister referred to his speech last week where he admitted being "wrong" in the main part of his case for war but right to see a gathering threat in Iraq.

"Just as I have had to accept that the evidence now is that there were not stockpiles of actual weapons ready to be deployed, I hope others have the honesty to accept that the report also shows that sanctions weren't working," he said.

Honesty? From the world body that brought us Oil-for-Palaces&Terrorists? Hold not thy breath.

Again via Instapundit comes this article that adds more details.
"He [Saddam] targeted friendly companies and foreign political parties that possessed either extensive business ties to Iraq, or held pro-Iraq policies," said the report.

It named hundreds of entities who allegedly benefited from contracts to sell Iraqi oil. Among them was "one UK citizen".

Although the list included many legitimate oil traders, it also contained the names of politicians, political parties and other groups with little obvious connection to the oil industry.

Among those named were Benon Sevan, the former head of the UN's humanitarian programme; President Megawati Sukarnoputri of Indonesia; the former French interior minister Charles Pasqua; and Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the founder of Russia's Liberal Democratic Party.

How can we possibly submit our foreign policy to a "global test" if the voting is rigged? (Answer: We shouldn't.)

This is slightly disturbing...
The CIA's internet list appeared to have been edited to protect the identities of several firms and individuals from the US and other countries that supported the war.

...although it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. Why would Saddam target people who supported the war, something he was plainly trying to avoid? Perhaps these are folks who turned down the bribes, which I'd say is a Good Thing. Redacting their names may simply be for privacy's sake and to avoid guilt-by-association.
Iraq's security services "flagged two groups influential to France's policy in the UN Security Council - government officials and influential citizens", the report said.

It disclosed that a $12 billion deal to build economic relations with Iraq was discussed with Russia's energy minister.

A staggering 32 per cent of oil-for-food contracts went to Russia in the form of oil vouchers and gifts in which the new oligarchs, officials and political parties were principal beneficiaries.

"The lion's share of Iraq's undeveloped oil fields went to Russia," said the report. In 2002, Russian firms negotiated 10-year contracts to begin exploring Iraqi oil fields.

An American official said: "There are a lot of active members of the Security Council who were violating the resolutions that they passed."

Color me shocked. Or not. The UN is about as illegitimate a body as you can get. Why should we ever care what they think from this point on?

(Cross-posted on Comments welcome.)

UPDATE: Saddam was working the other side as well. He was waiting for inspections to stop so his WMD programs could kick back in, but he was also hurrying up the inspectors.
Iraqi oil officials have accused a United Nations inspector of taking almost £60,000 in bribes from Saddam Hussein's regime as his henchmen and foreign business partners siphoned millions from the UN's oil-for-food programme, it was reported yesterday.

An inquiry by officials in the State Oil Marketing Organisation - a body which, under Saddam, was a key player in schemes that allegedly diverted billions in oil revenues from the UN-run programme - accused an inspector contracted through the Dutch company Saybolt of falsifying documents in return for bribes, the Wall Street Journal reported.

After inspections by bribed people, "peace" activists would have considered this state of affairs "working". Naivete can be deadly, eh?

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

On "Considerettes Radio" today, I bring up a subject with Hugh Hewitt similar to the post of earlier today about swing voters. Are these debates just playing to the "mood swing" voter (and thus style plays better than substance) or do they really make a difference?

"Considerettes Radio" on The Hugh Hewitt Show (WGKA, Atlanta, GA) 10/6/2004 6:20pm EST (280K)

Georgia same-sex marriage amendment update:
Gay rights group appeals amendment ruling

ATLANTA, GA (AP) -- Gay rights supporters appealed to the Georgia Supreme Court today to block a same-sex marriage amendment from state ballots.

The appeal comes after a lower judge refused to prevent the ballot question on whether marriage should be only between a man and a woman. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Constance Russell ruled against the request last week.

The gay rights supporters -- including two state legislators -- had argued that the amendment should be tossed because voters will NOT be able to read the full language of what could be changed in the state constitution.

The measure going to voters on November second stipulates that Georgia will NOT recognize same-sex marriages performed by other states. It declares that the state's judges will have NO jurisdiction to resolve property disputes arising from same-sex relationships.

Gay rights groups claim the amendment is legally flawed because voters are asked only about marriage -- NOT the jurisdiction question.

The amendment opponents have requested a speedy decision by the state's highest court. Gay marriage already is illegal in Georgia, but the constitution does NOT address the matter.

(Annoying ALL CAPS words in the original.)

Being liberal means never having to're liberal.
Two years after Sen. Tom Daschle sent out a fund- raising letter for the National Abortion Rights Action League saying he had "stood up for a woman's right to choose," Daschle refuses to say whether he is pro-choice on abortion.

This is the guy who, while obstructing everything Bush wants to do, runs ads all over his state showing him hugging Dubya. As with many liberals, he's trying to run as a conservative.
The South Dakota Democrat avoided making a direct response to the question several times Monday during a telephone interview from Washington, D.C. Rather than address the pro-choice question directly, Daschle stated his long-standing personal view that each abortion is a tragedy but that the solution lies in finding better options rather than criminalizing the act itself.

Many people would consider that a pro-choice position, if pro-choice means leaving the decision of whether to have an abortion, in most instances, up to the pregnant woman and her doctor. But Daschle firmly avoided saying those words.

"I am opposed to abortion. And I'm very strongly in favor of finding alternatives to abortion," Daschle said. "I believe that sending a young woman and her doctor to jail is the wrong remedy."

When reminded that he had said in the Oct. 29, 2002 letter, that the "Senate's pro-choice leadership" was being threatened by "anti-choice force," he still refused to say whether he considered himself pro-choice.

Daschle also questioned the appropriateness of the question.

What's inappropriate about stating your position on a subject you'll be legislating on? And why can't Daschle admit to his position?
[Republican challenger John] Thune maintains that Daschle has increasingly slid away from his stated opposition to abortion in earlier campaigns, in large part because his job as Senate leader has made him beholden to liberal Democrats there.

"The NARAL letter, I think, removes all doubt about where his position is," Thune said. "I'm just shocked that he doesn't own up to his position. How can a guy call himself a leader when he can't decide his position on an issue like this that is so clear cut.

"He wants to be pro-choice for the people who are pro-choice, then he describes himself to the voters as anti-abortion. That's the disturbing pattern with Daschle."

But par for the course. Say whatever you have to (or avoid saying anything concrete) in order to get elected. Thanks for showing your true colors, Tom.

As part of an E-mail exchange about the first Presidential debate, my brother wrote about swing voters. I liked his response so much I asked if I could post it here. He agreed, and he's fleshed it out a bit more, so here it is. (Cross-posted at for comments.)

Swing voters are among the top five things of greatest threat to this country.

The existence of swing voters has lead to the political strategist industry. Without them the candidates would NOT need to kiss babies; quote Scripture in the Bible belt; wear blue flannel shirts in Detroit; or worry about sighing during a debate. Swing voters take whole campaigns off the issues to focus more on looking 'presidential', being articulate, or generating emotional high political-religious experiences.

Without swing voters political advertising would almost die out completely. Issues of significance can't be communicated in 30 seconds, but an image can. And swing voters LOVE image. The vote of a swing-voter hangs in the balance as they watch that 30-second spot. They wait on the edge of their seat to see if a candidate will step on a rake at the last minute. Swing voters voted against Gore because they were ganged seeing him kiss his wife at the convention. Swing voters voted against Bush because he seemed cocky and over-confident the day before the election.

There are three types of swing voters:

First there are those who simply love the drama of the campaigns. It's like a sport to them. “Oh what fun it is to ride in a foaming-mouth campaign; HEY!” These people have very itching ears. Tickle them right, and their vote is YOURS; for today.

Secondly, there are swing voters that whine, "There's really no difference between the two candidates." Those are political morons. Giving them a vote is like giving a child a steak knife; you never know where that thing's going to end up. These swing voters vote with their hearts more than their heads; mood-voters. Honestly, they really care little who gets elected.

Thirdly, there are those who sincerely find themselves caught between priorities and feel split down the middle. Seeing issues on both sides that they value leaves them tormented as to which way to vote. The election is important to them. Their struggle is real. This is no sport.

In my admittedly limited experience, I seem to remember the swing voters of the worst order the most. I see an on-the-street reporter push a microphone into someone’s face and ask who would they vote for if the election was held today. I listen for an answer. “I’m not sure yet. They both have interesting points. Let’s see who wins the debates!” My blood boils. Will the fate of our nation really hang in the balance while swing voters like this listen for mystical signs in the commentator’s voice telling them who ‘won’ the debate. Is this a Dr. Smooth contest or a presidential election?

At best most of these swing voters see themselves as shoppers looking for the best bargain. At worst they see themselves as morally superior. They are not bound by the ridged doctrines of parties. They float in the anchorless boat of situational ethics/politics and think themselves so clever that they wait to the very last minute to decide.

Presidential debates, as we see them today, are designed ONLY for the swing voter. Anyone with a clear sense of priorities made their choice months ago and no brilliant masterstroke nor colossal blunder in a debate will change their foundational belief system (hence, their vote). The undecided now are mostly those who are waiting for goose-bumps to come at the right time.

The Electoral College was invented so that swing voters would not need to exist. The Electoral College was to consist of wealthy men of high ethical standards so that they could resist bribery. They would not simply vote for a candidate who was most in favor of ‘farmers issues’ even if many of their constituents were farmers. They would be men of enough intellect to be able to represent the concerns of their people yet also see the bigger picture that perhaps those farmers could not appreciate. They were also supposed to have the wisdom to vote for what they saw was in the highest interests of the nation even if that meant disappointing a few (or a great many more) folks at home.

We’ve come a very long way from that original plan. The one-man-one-vote system of today makes swing voters inevitable. So when I see a low voter turnout I’m torn between being disappointed at an apathetic populace and knowing that many people who would have brought a nickel with them to flip in the voting booth stayed home.

Tolerance is now being taken to the next level; acceptance.
The largest bank in Canada has directed its employees to "be supportive" of "gay, lesbian and bisexual issues" and to show that support by displaying the homosexual movement's rainbow triangle symbol in the workplace.

The Royal Bank of Canada made the statements in the first edition of a new newsletter called "Rainbow Space." [.pdf version] The publication is meant to highlight "the importance of sexual preference as one of RBC's primary diversity elements." In making the appeal to its employees, the bank urged them to display a rainbow-colored triangle sticker on their "desk, cubicle or office."

"Voluntarily displaying this sticker shows gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered co-workers that they can feel safe with you, and shows unsupportive co-workers that you won't tolerate homophobia," states the newsletter.

It's not good enough just to tolerate anymore, now you must accept. If you don't accept, you're "unsupportive", by this definition. The newsletter talks about creating "Safe Spaces" for homosexuals, as though if you're not fully supportive of their behavior and their politics you are therefore "unsafe". This is the extreme that conservatives have been saying would come sooner or later. Looks like "sooner" is here.

For those who may not think this is really that big a deal, consider this rewriting of the quoted portion of the article:
The largest bank in Canada has directed its employees to "be supportive" of "Christian issues" and to show that support by displaying the Christian cross symbol in the workplace.

The Royal Bank of Canada made the statements in the first edition of a new newsletter called "Christ's Space." The publication is meant to highlight "the importance of religious preference as one of RBC's primary diversity elements." In making the appeal to its employees, the bank urged them to display a wooden cross sticker on their "desk, cubicle or office."

"Voluntarily displaying this sticker shows Christian co-workers that they can feel safe with you, and shows unsupportive co-workers that you won't tolerate Christophobia," states the newsletter.

How would you react to that? Given how speaking out against homosexuality may soon become hate speech, it may be soon Christians will need to know who their friends are. Will you participate, hmm?

(Cross-posted at Comments welcome.)

For those paying attention to Internet spam E-mails rather than the news:
House Republicans sought to quash a persistent Internet rumor that President Bush wants to reinstate the draft if he is re-elected, engineering an overwhelming vote Tuesday killing legislation that would do just that.

Republicans accused Democrats of feeding the rumor mill to scare young voters and their parents into voting against Bush.

"This campaign is a baseless, malevolent concoction of the Democratic Party and everyone in this chamber knows it," said House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas.

The House voted 402-2 to defeat the draft bill offered last year by Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y.

Even he urged Democrats to vote against the bill, and charged Republicans were cynically trying to use the measure to escape election-season questions about the war in Iraq.

Just two lawmaker, Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., and Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif., struck off on their own and voted for the measure.

"We are in a war, and not only a small segment of the population should fight in that war," said Murtha.

To summarize: A Democrat sponsored the bill and only Democrats voted for it. Granted that it was "protest legislation" and the votes could also be considered "protest votes", but this should still show which party is more likely to institute one, and why they would do it. If you insist on making this your make-or-break election issue, consider this.

Just before the 3rd anniversary of 9/11, a group of Muslims apologized for the attacks, and for a number of other things (e.g. for blaming Jews, for other terrorism done by Muslims, and apologizing for the lack of outrage from their religious leaders). Today, fellow Homespunner Bunker Mulligan notes that in his town of Corpus Christi the Muslim's there are doing the same thing. He's accepting comments for forwarding on to them.

Encourage and affirm this.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Same-sex marriage update:
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - A state judge Tuesday threw out a Louisiana constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

Judge William Morvant said the amendment - overwhelmingly approved by the voters on Sept. 18 - was flawed as drawn up by the Legislature because it had more than one purpose: banning not only gay marriage but also civil unions.

Georgia also has a similar rule about constitutional amendments; that they must address only one question. However, Georgia's amendment doesn't ban civil unions. It just states that it wouldn't treat out-of-state same-sex unions of any sort legally as marriage, since they don't meet the amendment's definition of marriage. It sounds like a simple case of saying "This is what marriage is, and the state won't recognize anything that isn't this."

But then, I'm not a lawyer. We'll have to see. The vote on November 2nd probably isn't the end of it.

Can all world religions really just point to the same God? On Rooftop Blog, my sister reviews a book by Steve Russo that takes on that question.

Kofi lied, people died.
A secret Syrian and Iraqi smuggling network that made billions of dollars busting U.N. sanctions during Saddam Hussein's regime is now involved in organizing and financing violent anti-U.S. guerrillas in Iraq, The Post has learned.

According to U.S. intelligence officials and Syrian exiles, the network, once involved in oil and arms smuggling as well as scamming the U.N. oil-for-food program before the war, has morphed into an increasingly organized command and control structure to coordinate much of the terrorist campaign in Iraq.

The officials said the shadowy structure, with bases of operation in Syria, is made up of Saddam's cousins, clansmen and ex-aides who are actively supported by some family members of Syria's ruling elite and at least two powerful Syrian generals.

"It is part of a pattern of relationships that started in the 1990s for strategic and commercial purposes. It involved a lot of very powerful families from both countries who made millions of dollars together," said Farid Jhadry of the Reform Party of Syria, an exile group with close contacts at the Pentagon and State Department.

So the UN financed the insurgency we're now having to deal with. No wonder they don't want to get involved in this; they know how much money these guys have at their disposal.

Just remember this when folks say we're "losing the peace". This insurgency was bought and paid for by this supposed paragon of world peace, and they have the gall to blame it on us. This is really too much.

(Cross-posted at Comments welcome.)

Monday, October 04, 2004

What Saddam-al-Qaeda links? What WMDs? These:
Iraqi intelligence documents, confiscated by U.S. forces and obtained by, show numerous efforts by Saddam Hussein's regime to work with some of the world's most notorious terror organizations, including al Qaeda, to target Americans. They demonstrate that Saddam's government possessed mustard gas and anthrax, both considered weapons of mass destruction, in the summer of 2000, during the period in which United Nations weapons inspectors were not present in Iraq. And the papers show that Iraq trained dozens of terrorists inside its borders.

One of the Iraqi memos contains an order from Saddam for his intelligence service to support terrorist attacks against Americans in Somalia. The memo was written nine months before U.S. Army Rangers were ambushed in Mogadishu by forces loyal to a warlord with alleged ties to al Qaeda.

Other memos provide a list of terrorist groups with whom Iraq had relationships and considered available for terror operations against the United States.

Among the organizations mentioned are those affiliated with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and Ayman al-Zawahiri, two of the world's most wanted terrorists. Zarqawi is believed responsible for the kidnapping and beheading of several American civilians in Iraq and claimed responsibility for a series of deadly bombings in Iraq Sept. 30. Al-Zawahiri is the top lieutenant of al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, allegedly helped plan the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist strikes on the U.S., and is believed to be the voice on an audio tape broadcast by Al-Jazeera television Oct. 1, calling for attacks on U.S. and British interests everywhere.

But I'm sorry; there's still no video of the press conference between the Ba'athists and bin Laden announcing to the world their formal alliance. That's apparently the only proof the MSM will take.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Protecting marriage is not bigotry.
At one point, when a letter sent by an African-American pastor in support of the [federal Defense of Marriage] amendment was read into the Congressional Record, Georgia Congressman John Lewis, who was active in the civil rights movement, took to the floor to respond. He said, "Some of these so-called black ministers and so-called civil rights leaders never supported civil rights. They never marched for one day. They never put their bodies on the line for the cause of civil rights."

Congressman Lewis was wrong. The Marriage Protection Amendment, which I supported, is not about civil rights. And his indictment that true civil rights leaders do not support the amendment is wrong.

"So-called black ministers"? Well Rep. Lewis, are they not really black or not really ministers?

There's lots more, including actual civil rights leaders who are for the amendment. Read the full article by Congressman Joe Pitts.

My sister & her husband have started a new blog called "Rooftop Blog". Their purpose is "Exploring the news and interplay of the Four Estates--family, church, government, and the media--and the moral imagination of a culture informed by the Judeo-Christian tradition."

We've been talking about blogging a bit back and forth and they've decided to give it a whirl. Stop by and take a peek.

Friday, October 01, 2004

My 2 cents on the debates: Overall, I think Kerry did a better job of presenting his views. Bush too often fell back to talking points (he repeated "wrong war, wrong place, wrong time" and "mixed messages" too many times for my taste).

Specifically, I think Bush got some good points in about Kerry wanting to cede our right to defend ourselves to some "global test'. Kerry says he would be pre-emptive if necessary, but only if the boys at the UN let him. What kind of foreign policy is that? He believes he could have done better in Iraq by getting France, Germany and Russia on board, but France has already said it won't commit troops even with Kerry in the Oval Office. And with all the sweetheart, under-the-table deals with Iraq these countries had with Iraq, do you really think they'd scrap them?

Doesn't Kerry trust his own country with the big guns? Why shouldn't we have bunker-busting bombs to go after terrorists in bunkers? If he doesn't trust himself with the big guns, why should we?

I've been spending a lot of time at these days, so here are some links related to the debate from over there: the live blogging (yours truly was there as 'dpayton'), and commentary by Erick, Pejman Yousefzadeh, trevino, and ConfigSysboy. Enjoy

The hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica has shrunk by 20% in the past year. Good thing the Kyoto treaty is in full force, because...

...oh, um. Never mind.

Didn't happen.
The U.S. House of Representatives failed on Thursday to muster the two-thirds majority needed to pass a proposed constitutional amendment backed by President Bush to ban gay marriage.

The largely party-line vote in the Republican-led House was 227-186, 49 votes short of what was required for approval.

In July, Democratic-led foes blocked a similar measure in the 100-member Senate where proponents failed to get even a simple majority against a procedural hurdle.

Backers of the proposed amendment predicted the twin setbacks would help showcase the issue in the Nov. 2 congressional elections.

"This is going to be huge," said House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, a Texas Republican, promising to bring the proposal back up for a vote next year. "The American people need to know where their representatives stand."

That's an important thing to know going into an election, is it not? This is a very relevant issue in the current political climate, and voters should know how their representatives in Congress stand. Except that Democrats apparently didn't want you to know.
"This is a partisan exercise to distract the American people from the (congressional) Republicans' record of failure," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat.

Polls show most Americans oppose gay marriage but are split on whether a constitutional amendment is needed. Surveys also find voters consider many other issues far more important.

First of all, as I said, given the current political climate, and how soon this issue is going to be decided among the states, knowing how the politicians feel on this issue is very relevant. It's not just some "partisan exercise".

Secondly, the idea that "voters consider many other issues far more important" has never stopped Congress from giving itself a raise, for example, but I think that voters consider this issue far more important than that. That line is nothing but editorializing in a news story.