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September 30, 2004

The U.N. Did What The U.N. Does

David Brooks in The N.Y. Times on what went on when we "went the multilateral route", to the United Nations, on the matter of genocide in Darfur:

We had a discussion over whether the extermination of human beings in this instance is sufficiently concentrated to meet the technical definition of genocide. For if it is, then the "competent organs of the United Nations" may be called in to take appropriate action, and you know how fearsome the competent organs may be when they may indeed be called.

The United States said the killing in Darfur was indeed genocide, the Europeans weren't so sure, and the Arab League said definitely not, and hairs were split and legalisms were parsed, and the debate over how many corpses you can fit on the head of a pin proceeded in stentorian tones while the mass extermination of human beings continued at a pace that may or may not rise to the level of genocide.

For people are still starving and perishing in Darfur.

But the multilateral process moved along in its dignified way. The U.N. general secretary was making preparations to set up a commission. Preliminary U.N. resolutions were passed, and the mass murderers were told they should stop - often in frosty tones. The world community - well skilled in the art of expressing disapproval, having expressed fusillades of disapproval over Rwanda, the Congo, the Balkans, Iraq, etc. - expressed its disapproval.

And, meanwhile, 1.2 million were driven from their homes in Darfur.

Mays' Catch

Before there was The Drive, or The Fumble or The Shot in the rich history of Cleveland sports disappointment, there was The Catch. After all these years, could the importance of Willie Mays' catch in Game One of the 1954 World Series have been understated?

Consider that it was more than just a Series turning point -- it was a baseball history turning point.

Yankees GM George Weiss, right after the Giants' sweep: "I thought we would have a long, tough struggle to get back up there. Now, maybe not. I don't see how the Indians are going to recover from this."

Consider that the Indians didn't recover. The Tribe finished second to the Yankees in 1955, and wouldn't end a season in first place for another 41 years.

Freedom Struggle In Iran

There are multiple reports of widespread fighting in Iran between pro-democracy insurgents and the Revolutionary Guard of the theocracy. This post at a site called activistchat.com says that...

In the past week and recent days, many regional commanders and leaders of the regime's militias have been targeted and killed along with many of their militiamen.

So the democratic activists are armed and are carrying out assassinations of regime military leaders, apparently at great cost in lives. A contact of Michael Ledeen speaks of mass executions of young people by the regime in this Corner post. (read both posts by Ledeen, BTW)

I won't be the only one to note that the pro-democracy insurgents in Iran have drawn hope and inspiration from the words and actions of George W. Bush, just as the citizens of Eastern Europe did from Reagan through the long years before the Soviet Union died. God speed the democrats in Iran.

Oh, Really?

If John Kerry is going to make it his position that Iraq had nothing to do with terrorism, he needs to be confronted with some Inconvenient Facts at the debate tonight, and for the remainder of the campaign. From Stephen Hayes, who has been all over the Saddam - Al Qaeda links from the beginning:

...it's not difficult to understand why Kerry's campaign wants to separate Iraq and the war on terror. But to claim that Saddam had "nothing to do with al Qaeda?" That there was no terrorism in Iraq before the war? That Iraq has never been a threat to the United States? These are preposterous statements. They're not debatable, or a matter of interpretation. They are demonstrably false.

Here are some relevant facts about Iraqi support for terrorism:

* On March 28, 1992, the Iraqi Intelligence Service compiled a 20-page list of terrorists the regime considered intelligence assets. Atop each page was the designation "Top Secret." On page 14 of that list is Osama bin Laden. The Iraqi Intelligence document reports that bin Laden "is in good relationship with our section in Syria." The document has been vetted and authenticated by the Defense Intelligence Agency. The existence of the document was first reported on CBS's 60 Minutes. It has been widely ignored.

* Saddam Hussein hosted regular conferences for terrorists in Baghdad throughout the 1990s. Mark Fineman, a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, reported on one such gathering in an article published January 26, 1993. "There are delegates from the most committed Islamic organizations on Earth," he wrote. "Afghan mujahideen (holy warriors), Palestinian militants, Sudanese fundamentalists, the Islamic Brotherhood and Pakistan's Party of Islam." One speaker praised "the mujahid Saddam Hussein, who is leading this nation against the nonbelievers. Everyone has a task to do, which is to go against the American state."

* Abdul Rahman Yasin is an Iraqi who mixed the chemicals for the bomb used in the first World Trade Center attack on February 26, 1993. We know this because he has confessed--twice to the FBI and once on national television in the United States. He fled to Iraq on March 5,1993, with the help of an Iraqi Intelligence operative working under cover in the Iraqi Embassy in Amman, Jordan. A reporter for Newsweek interviewed Yasin's neighbors in Baghdad who reported that he was living freely and "working for the government." U.S. soldiers uncovered Iraqi government documents in postwar Iraq that confirm this. The documents show Yasin was given both safe haven and financing by the Iraqi regime until the eve of the war in Iraq.

* Later that same month--March 1993--Wali al Ghazali was approached by an Iraqi Intelligence officer named Abdel Hussein. Ghazali, a male nurse from Najaf, met another IIS agent named Abu Mrouwah who gave him an urgent mission: assassinate former President George H.W. Bush on his upcoming trip to Kuwait. On April 14, Kuwaiti police found Ghazali and other Iraqi Intelligence assets with two hundred pounds of explosives in a Toyota Landcruiser. Ghazali, the would-be assassin, told a Kuwait court that he had "been pushed by people who had no mercy." He said: "I fear the Iraqi regime, the Iraqi regime pushed me."

* According to numerous press reports, the deputy director of Iraqi Intelligence, Faruq Hijazi, met face-to-face with Osama bin Laden in 1994. Bin Laden asked for anti-ship mines and al Qaeda training camps in Iraq. There is no indication that Iraq made good on his requests.

Lots more.

UPDATE: Power Line has more on Kerry's squirming on Iraq.

September 29, 2004

"Seemingly Unstable"

There are now "concerns over lax security" at Norway's airports after an incident on a passenger flight caused by a passenger who had carried an axe on board...

Just minutes before the plane, a small Dornier 228, was scheduled to land in the northern Norwegian town of Bodoe at 10:50 a.m. (0850 GMT), one of the seven passengers onboard walked towards the cockpit, and suddenly attacked both the pilot and the co-pilot with an axe in an apparent bid to crash the aircraft.

"According to testimony from other passengers the man clearly intended to make the plane crash," deputy chief of police in Bodoe Tone Vangen told reporters.

"We should feel lucky that the outcome was not more serious," she added.

An Algerian, it turns out, who was not talking after he was subdued. I guess it was earlier then, when he was attacking the pilots with an axe, that he was determined to be "seemingly unstable" by the AFP newswriter. (via The Corner)

Misc. Sports Stuff

- I missed most of the Browns game due to a golf outing Sunday, and I wasn't even tempted to watch my Tivo recording later on that night. Today it was announced that Kellen Winslow will have a second surgery, and is out for the year. If we don't beat the Redskins this week, the long knives will be out for Butch Davis.

- Buckeye kicker Mike Nugent gets some national pub from ESPN.com.

- The Tribe is coming on a bit in the last two weeks of the season, and still has an outside shot at a .500 record. Cliff Lee looked great tonight and may get another start in the final game in Minnesota.

- Here's a nice profile of top Indians prospect Ryan Garko. This kid started the year at Class A Kinston where he tore up the league. He played 43 games in Class AA Akron, and made it all the way to AAA Buffalo for the I.L. Playoffs. The only problem is that he's a catcher, and Victor Martinez has that job locked up for now. Start hitting Garko fly balls right now. I could see him spelling regulars in the outfield and at DH, in addition to catcher next year.

- More thoughts on the 2005 Indians from CIR

September 28, 2004

The Myth of Voter Disenfranchisement

The most insidious of the several lies and distortions of the Kerry campaign is the attempt to perpetuate what the WSJ calls The Florida Myth. That is, the slander that Republicans systematically disenfranchised black Florida voters in the November 2000 election. This demogoguery isn't being dished up just by fringe elements sympathetic to the Kerry candidacy. This lie is being voiced by the candidate himself. Kerry has recently claimed on the campaign trail that a million black votes were stolen in the 2000 election. From the opinionjournal.com piece today:

In June 2001, following a six-month investigation that included subpoenas of Florida state officials from Governor Jeb Bush on down, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights issued a report that found no evidence of voter intimidation, no evidence of voter harassment, and no evidence of intentional or systematic disenfranchisement of black voters...

...The Justice Department's Civil Rights Division conducted a separate investigation of these charges and also came up empty. In a May 2002 letter to Democratic Senator Pat Leahy of Vermont, who at the time headed the Judiciary Committee, Assistant Attorney General Ralph Boyd wrote, "The Civil Rights Division found no credible evidence in our investigations that Floridians were intentionally denied their right to vote during the November 2000 election."

U.S. Commission on Civil Rights member Peter Kirsanow has written persuasively on the issue here, here, and here, and does so again today. From the second of those articles, (emphasis in original)...

Even before the last vote had been cast in the 2000 presidential election, activists had descended upon Florida, claiming a widespread conspiracy to disenfranchise black voters. Allegations that state troopers put up roadblocks and checkpoints to prevent blacks from voting were rampant. Dogs and hoses were allegedly used to drive black voters from the polls. Bull Connor's heirs had been unleashed — all at the direction of Governor Bush and his sidekick, Secretary of State Katherine Harris.

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights investigated over a six-month period beginning in January of 2001. Its 200-page majority report, "Voting Irregularities in Florida During the 2000 Presidential Election," excoriates Florida's election officials for various acts of misfeasance. But the conclusions drawn by the report often bore little relationship to the facts contained therein. And media descriptions of the report did little to dispel the widespread belief among the black electorate that blacks had been systematically targeted for harassment, intimidation and disenfranchisement.

Of course, very few actually read the report. But the handful that did (especially the incisive dissent authored by Commissioners Abigail Thernstrom and Russell Redenbaugh) discovered the astonishing mendacity underlying the myth.

There's absolutely no evidence that a single person was intimidated, harassed, or prevented from voting by Florida law enforcement. Despite claims of rampant police intimidation and harassment, the only evidence of law-enforcement "misconduct" consisted of just two witnesses who described their perceptions regarding the actions of the Florida Highway Patrol. One of these witnesses testified that he thought it was "unusual" to see an empty patrol car parked outside a polling place. There was no evidence that sight of the vehicle somehow intimidated the witness or any other voters from casting ballots. There was no evidence that the erstwhile occupant of the vehicle harassed voters. There was no evidence that the empty vehicle was there for the purpose of somehow disenfranchising anyone assigned to vote at that location.

The second witness had filed a highly publicized complaint with the NAACP regarding a police motor-vehicle checkpoint. In the hysterical recount period following the election the complaint took on a life of its own and apparently became part of the basis for the legend that legions of cops were harassing thousands of black voters throughout Florida.

And yet this nonsense is cited as gospel by media figures and Democrats whose aim can be nothing but the incitement of black voter anger, resulting in what they hope will be large black voter turnout for Democratic candidates. It appears that nothing, not even vicious race-baiting, is beneath these people.

It is of a piece with the two other big lies of the Kerry campaign. First, that Bush has instituted a ban on stem-cell research. And second, that Bush plans to institute a military draft in a second term. In fact there has been legislation introduced in Congress to reinstitute a military draft. It's sponsors have all been Democrats.

If "all politicians do it", where is the Bush-Cheney campaign counterpart to this disgraceful behavior?

Chrenkoff's Good News

Arthur Chrenkoff keeps on reporting the good stuff that's happening in Iraq. He continues to fight an uphill battle:

The past two weeks continued to be tumultuous in Iraq. More hostages taken, more hostages beheaded, more suicide bombings, more sabotage, more fighting, all unfolding against the background of an increasingly bitter U.S. presidential election campaign and a chorus of intelligence experts, politicians and pundits expressing grave doubts about the future of the country.

And then there was the media coverage. In the midst of all the carnage and chaos overflowing the front pages of our newspapers and the TV screens, Newsweek chose to run an overview of the current situation in Iraq, titled "It's Worse Than You Think." Having for quite some time closely followed the mainstream media's reporting from Iraq, it struck me that this is hardly possible.

Firefox - Just Do It

If you're not using Mozilla's Firefox browser yet, give it a try. New and improved!

September 27, 2004

Afghan Elections

This Oxblog post from their Afghan correspondent is a few days old, but well worth a look. It looks like nothing the insurgents can do will deter the Afghan people from holding their free elections in October.

25 Worst Draft Choices Ever

Remarkably, no Cleveland selections made this list from ESPN's Page 2. Had they picked the 26 worst draft picks ever, surely Mike Junkin, the fifth overall pick in the 1987 NFL Draft would have made it. Hey, Anthony Bell made their list. He was picked in the same spot a year earlier. And my Googling for the year the Browns took the "Mad Dog in a Meat Market" served up what could turn out to be a handy resource.

September 26, 2004

Act on Sudan

Here's one call for U.S. action on the genocide in Darfur.

Real Journalism

Matthew Continetti has the detailed story of CBS source Bill Burkett's connections to the Kerry campaign, and how closely the 60 Minutes story was orchestrated by and with the DNC and Kerry campaign people. Are any mainstream media outlets picking up on this yet? Will they ever?

September 24, 2004

Stem-Cell Sense

The Myth of the Stem-Cell Research Ban. It's one thing when your campaign rhetoric is shallow and intellectually lazy. It's another thing altogether when it is those things, and it is also a lie. Please read Edward Morrissey, also of Captain's Quarters, from his N.Y. Sun article. Careful, it's slightly more than a soundbite:

In a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed piece outlining his economic plan, Mr. Kerry writes that he will restore America's competitive edge by working to "end the ban on stem-cell research." In fact, it may be the most consistent policy stance of the entire Kerry campaign. The only problem for Mr. Kerry is that the ban doesn't exist - and he knows it.


Bill Kristol. "Must read" stuff:

"...Two days later Iraqi prime minister Ayad Allawi spoke to a joint meeting of Congress. Sen. Kerry could not be troubled to attend, as a gesture of solidarity and respect. Instead, Kerry said in Ohio that Allawi was here simply to put the "best face on the policy." So much for an impressive speech by perhaps America's single most important ally in the war on terror, the courageous and internationally recognized leader of a nation struggling to achieve democracy against terrorist opposition.

But Kerry's rudeness paled beside the comment of his senior adviser, Joe Lockhart, to the Los Angeles Times: "The last thing you want to be seen as is a puppet of the United States, and you can almost see the hand underneath the shirt today moving the lips."

Is Kerry proud that his senior adviser's derisive comment about the leader of free Iraq will now be quoted by terrorists and by enemies of the United States, in Iraq and throughout the Middle East? Is the concept of a loyalty to American interests that transcends partisan politics now beyond the imagination of the Kerry campaign?

Casual Friday

What does the bloggers' Pajama Brigade do for Casual Friday? (I saw this at dgci, via lucianne.com)


September 23, 2004

At The Jake

Saw my last home Tribe game of the year tonight, and went out with a nice win. Hard to imagine we'll beat Santana Friday night with Kyle Denney starting his third game ever, and the chances for W's are dwindling. With the last six games on the road, climbing back to .500 will be very tough. They'll need to go 6-3 to get there, but this team looked tonight like they have some spring back in their step. The kids from Buffalo like Peralta, Phillips and Sizemore are picking up some of the slightly fading regulars like Lawton, Belliard and Martinez. Coco Crisp, on the other hand, is peaking late.

Last night
it was Peralta with the big 2-run double, and tonight Sizemore and Bard hit homers to stretch out the lead later in the game. Brandon Phillips looks like a completely different hitter than the guy we saw struggling in '03. He is hitting the ball hard to all fields and seems stronger and more confident. Jason Davis hit 100 miles an hour on his last pitch of the 7th inning, and was at 98 several times. He could be real bullpen help.

The tough thing for Wedge and Shapiro is that they are trying to get older as a team, because nobody wins with a bunch of rookies. But the young talent is coming in waves, this time in the form of Peralta, Phillips and Sizemore, and it will be near impossible to keep any of those three kids off the field in Cleveland next season. That is, if they are still in the organization at that time. Sizemore is untouchable, but someone may go if Shapiro decides to resign Omar Vizquel.

I do hope that the Indians will make a big fuss over Omar, thank him and fete him and ask him to wear the Wahoo cap when he goes into Cooperstown, and then let him sign elsewhere for his two swan song years. He'll be an upgrade for some team. He's the greatest defensive shortstop I've ever seen, and I've seen Ozzie Smith. But we need to get on with the business of building a contending team with Phillips, Peralta, Blake, Boone, and Broussard around the infield. I think Phillips will eventually be the shortstop, so if someone has to go for Shapiro to keep Omar around, it may well be Peralta.

A guy at the game tonight made the point that we'll never contend in '05 with Phillips and Peralta as our middle infielders, and he's right. But playing a 38-year old Vizquel next year only extends the transition process, and we don't have a chance to win it all in '05 anyway. We have a chance to be another 8-10 games better, but we won't be playing with the elite teams yet. I say roll with the youth movement on the infield, and add your "veteran leadership" to the pitching staff or outfield.

So even if the Indians pick up a veteran or two, I'm betting the average age of the 25-man roster next year will be lower than this year's team, and in the short run at least, that means more bumps in the road.

By the way, it occurred to me that tonight's game was a showpiece of sorts for Mark Shapiro's haul in the trade of Bartolo Colon. Brandon Phillips had an RBI double and played a flawless 2nd base, Grady Sizemore had two hits including a two-run home run, and Cliff Lee started and won his 12th game of his first full big league year. Yes Bart's a good starter, but Phillips and Sizemore have a chance to be very special players, and Lee a solid starter. Shapiro had to be smiling tonight.

Oh, and if you're a Tribe fan, start reading CIR regularly. Now would be a fine time to start.

September 22, 2004

Rosett For Pulitzer

It takes some serious crust for Kofi Annan to call the U.S. led liberation of Iraq "illegal", having himself presided over the monumentally corrupt enterprise that was Oil-For-Food. Annan's statement seems meant as a political boost for Kerry, made I suppose on the assumption that some likely U.S. voters still think Kofi Annan has some moral authority or international legal standing. I'm afraid they may be right.

Annan's unaccountable U.N. bureaucracy ran an organization that processed roughly $60 billion in Iraqi oil revenues over six or seven years, legally skimming 2.2% for the U.N. all along the way, and building-in an institutional interest in keeping Saddam in power. Worse, he allowed the dictator that the system was designed to punish and contain to take billions for himself through illegal kickback business deals that were winked at by the U.N. "oversight" of the program.

All the while Saddam had free rein to do his thing, with the boys, the cutting out of tongues and such. Everybody was getting rich. It was by far the biggest U.N. cash cow ever. This blatantly self-interested organization, with its corrupted General Secretary, was the international authority whose support George Bush was supposed to enlist in the matter of granting him permission to kill their Golden Goose. That Kofi Annan had a deeply corrupt business enterprise, in bed with the murderous dictator he was chartered with sanctioning still has not caused him to be disgraced, much less ousted as he should be. And pardon me if I don't have a lot of faith in the U.N.'s investigation of itself doing much in the way of holding their officials accountable. They always seem to be just about to "retire", with the retirement fund no doubt brimming.

The other elephant in the living room is the obvious self-interest of France and Russia in the maintenance of the status quo under Saddam, the transparent reason for their opposition to regime change in Iraq. Both countries had multi-billion dollar deals done with Saddam, pending the lifting of U.N. sanctions. The brutal nature of their business partner mattered not a whit at the time to the countries that now strike a pose of principled opposition to our action. France alone stood to lose $100 billion in oil lease deals over the next 20 years if George Bush spoiled the party by enforcing the terms of U.N. Resolutions 687 and 1441, and removing Saddam from power. Those are some pretty large principals principles. Russian and French officials, diplomats, and politicians were prominent on the list of people who received oil lease deals from the Saddam government; bribes, nothing less. These were effectively cash payments, in the millions each, for many of Saddam's special friends...under Kofi's watchful eye.

Making the U.N.-facilitated theft of billions in relief funds even more despicable is that the money was earmarked to buy food and medicine for Iraqis that Saddam would have otherwise gladly starved (or gassed) to death, left to his own devices. Under the program, Iraqis stayed hungry and malnourished while Saddam and the bloated U.N. prospered quite nicely. The program from which Saddam was permitted to skim $10 billion was established because he could not be trusted to use his own oil revenues to feed his own people. Nice work, if you can get it.

And yet somehow the media, and world leaders including George W.Bush refuse to just come out and say that the emperor has no clothes. That Kofi Annan's U.N. and the governments of France and Russia among others, are hopelessly self-interested, conflicted and compromised as regards their opposition to the U.S. action in Iraq and to the will of seventeen U.N. Resolutions on the matter.

With the consistent exception of Claudia Rosett , that is. I think Ms. Rosett is more than a little galled that this arrogant kleptocrat Annan is still on his perch, preening and pronouncing on "legality". Dude, you're naked. Here's an excerpt from Rosett's WSJ piece today:

In late 2002, while Mr. Annan was lobbying against U.S.-led removal of Saddam, he was running a U.N. program in which money meant for baby formula, among other goods, was very likely flowing into the pockets of Saddam and his sons and cronies...

...what we know already is that Mr. Annan, whose Secretariat turned a blind eye to Saddam's food pricing scams, has never apologized for presiding over the biggest fraud in the history of relief. He has not used the word "illegal." The closest he's come has been to admit this past March, after much stonewalling, that there may have been quite a lot of "wrong-doing"--before turning over the whole mess over to a U.N. investigation that has since smothered all details with its own blanket of secrecy.

Mr. Annan is due to step down next year. If he wants to leave a legacy more auspicious than having presided over Oil-for-Fraud, he might want to devote his twilight time at the U.N. to mending a system in which a U.N. Secretary-General feels free to describe the overthrow of a murderous tyrant as "illegal," but no one at the top seems particularly bothered to have presided over that tyrant's theft of food from hungry children.

More from Rosett on the topic.

As to the legality of the U.S. action, I'm obviously no expert, but I think the case articulated briefly by Mark Goldblatt makes sense; that under U.N. Resolution 687, Saddam's violations of the terms of the 1991 ceasefire, which had resulted only in a in "cessation of hostilities" pending his compliance, make the ensuing enforcement of the resolutions legal. Others will of course disagree. But let's at least check their pockets for wads of illicit cash before we give them an audience.

September 21, 2004

Mr. Diplomacy

John Kerry's speech at NYU yesterday repeated his contention that George Bush has messed up in Iraq and that he, Kerry would do a better job marshalling support from our allies, and oh yeah, fighting the War on Terror too. Today in BOTW, Taranto says "Kerry's biggest argument seems to be that his overpowering charm would win over "allies" and thus allow him to shirk America's responsibility. Who is he kidding?"

It's ridiculous to suggest that if we could only add some (for example) French and German troops to replace some of our soldiers in Iraq, the war would then somehow have more legitimacy or "effectiveness" than it does under the current coalition. Maybe then it would become "the right war, at the right time"?

As Gerard Baker noted in an essay in TWS last week, Kerry has a track record of belittling our best allies, and even when Old Europe stood with us, Kerry voted his knee-jerk, anti-military tradition (ellipses mine):

Last year, during the early stages of the Democratic primary, Senator Kerry told supporters that the more than 30 nations in the international operation to remove Saddam Hussein represented a "trumped-up, so-called coalition of the bribed, the coerced, the bought, and the extorted."

...It is odd to hear a candidate who has made rebuilding relations with America's allies a central part of his campaign platform so casually dismiss the efforts of so many of those allies.

...somehow, Senator Kerry tells us he is going to be successful in getting more foreign troops into Iraq. His entire strategy, if it can be dignified with that name, for dealing with the war in Iraq is to get foreign troops in and U.S. troops out. Who does he think will agree to replace Americans, Brits, Poles, and Italians?

Does he really think there are tens of thousands of battle-ready French, German, and Belgian troops willing to go storming into Falluja at the first request from President Kerry? Maybe he's got bigger plans to bribe and coerce those countries.

...What's more, Kerry's grand promises to create a bigger and better coalition than the one created by President Bush rings a bit hollow when one remembers that his past is not exactly the picture of a master coalition-builder.

In 1991, even as British, French (yes, French), Italian, Syrian, Saudi, and other troops were moving to battle positions in the Gulf in Operation Desert Storm, Senator Kerry was voting against authorizing the first President Bush to assemble and lead that coalition.

In the 1980s, when America's allies in Europe, Britain's Margaret Thatcher, Germany's Helmut Kohl, and even France's François Mitterrand were urging Ronald Reagan to press ahead with the deployment of intermediate nuclear forces in Europe, Senator Kerry was calling for a nuclear freeze, aligning himself with the one-sided disarmers in Europe and around the world who would have tilted the balance on the old continent decisively the way of the Warsaw Pact.

Kerry has clearly decided to attack Bush on the issue of Iraq. At least that's what his advisors are telling him today. At least that's what the people who are his advisors today are telling him today. And it's probably a good strategy, if he can stay with it. There's plenty to criticize about Bush's conduct of the Iraq operation. It's just that he's counting on the America people and the media (no problem here) having short memories. More from the Baker piece:

...there's one more reason why it is so galling to hear Kerry besmirch the honor of those governments and their servicemen who are fighting in Iraq.

Kerry himself, last time I looked--and I'll admit this is a moving target--supported the war resolution in October 2002. He praised the conduct of the war as it unfolded in 2003, and just a few weeks ago he insisted that, even if he had known two years ago that no stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction would be found in Iraq, he would still have supported the use of force there.

In other words, he came to the very same conclusion that Tony Blair, Silvio Berlusconi, Australia's John Howard, and 40 other leaders came to--that Saddam had to be confronted and disarmed.

But there was one big difference--and it was not that those leaders were coerced or bribed.

Kerry supported the war when it was politically expedient for him to do so.

The French wouldn't be willing or able to give a President Kerry more than window dressing in the way of troop support, at least as long as the coalition is led by the U.S. But if we bug out early, whether it's under a Kerry or a Bush administration, you can bet your ass the French will be filling the vacuum faster than you can say "Oil-For-Food profits" or "TotalFinaElf".


The Browns lost six starters to injury on Sunday, and Terry Pluto thinks there might be something paranormal going on..

"...even by the standards of Cleveland pro sports -- where every break seems to be a compound fracture -- this is ridiculous.

The Browns lost three No. 1 draft choices in one day? In the second game of the season? And this came just a week after finally winning the first home opener in six years, beating the Baltimore Ravens, and giving the fans a reason to believe?

Do the football gods have something against Browns fans?

What is this, the Curse of Tim Couch?

September 19, 2004

Tribe Teams Win 4 Titles

From CIR:

The Buffalo Bisons are the 2004 International League champs after defeating Richmond last night 6-1 to win the Governors Cup series three games to one...

...The Governors Cup adds to the impressive collection of league titles the Indians farm system has collected this season. Along with Buffalo, Kinston, Mahoning Valley, and the DSL Indians all won their respective league crowns. Winning four of seven leagues is quite an accomplishment. I'm just guessing here but that has to be close to a single-season record for one farm system.

After the Bisons win, Grady Sizemore, Jhonny Peralta, Brandon Phillips, Fernando Cabrera, and Francisco Cruceta were all informed they were being promoted to Cleveland, according to the Buffalo News. No big surprise there as all five are already on the 40-man roster. Cruceta is expected to start for the Tribe on Tuesday.

The next wave of talent coming up through the system to the Indians just arrived. Sizemore and Phillips were in the lineup today for Kyle Denney's first major league win. And there's another wave of promising hitters (Garko, Aubrey, Gutierrez) that are still maybe a year away.

Congratulations to Mark Shapiro and his staff. They have assembled excellent talent, and they have them playing winning baseball while they're developing them as prospects. The Indians needs to go 8-5 down the stretch for them to hit my 80-win projection. Whether or not that happpens, the team has made a move into the ranks of possible contenders for 2005. That's what ownership and management promised three years ago. But Shapiro has also been true to his promise to do it the right way; by building a farm system that could keep the team stocked, financially healthy and competitive over the long haul.

September 18, 2004

Rathergate - The Documentary

Late last Friday night, when the story was barely 48 hours old, I stated in a post that "when the history of the blogosphere is written, there will have to be a chapter on the day Power Line took down Dan Rather." Well that history lesson is already being assembled. Meanwhile, Dan Rather is still investigating, hoping to "break the story" on the forgeries.

I'm calling it "Last Week" here at Wizblog. Here's Jonathan's essay What Blogs Have Wrought, on the scandal and the phenomenon that is the blogosphere. And Ernest Miller has a long chronology of the whole affair. If Miller doesn't give you all you need to know, you truly are insatiable. (via Instapundit)

September 17, 2004

Redefining The Enemy

Jay Bryant says referring to Islamist terrorists as nihilists, besides being accurate, serves another purpose:

...it offers a means of separating the terrorist from the decent Muslim. So long as al-Qaeda terrorists are seen by Muslims simply as practitioners of a radical version of the true religion, they will retain a measure of legitimacy, perhaps even the sort of wary admiration reserved in all religions for those whose faith is so strong as to permit them to abnegate their own comfort and well-being toward holy ends.

Moreover, as Muslims, the terrorists are heirs to a tradition that includes the wonderfully tolerant, learned and productive Umayyad dynasty in Spain, as well as their great rivals, the Abbasids, who founded Baghdad, made it their capital, and one of the great centers of scholarship and commerce of the medieval centuries. But if the terrorists are placed instead in the tradition of nihilism, there is no necessity to make allowances for anything like that. Nihilism can boast no worthy role models.

What Is Is

I scammed Jonathan Last's entire "Last Word" segment from the Weekly Standard newsletter I liked it so well. Hope he and they are okay with that. (So if you like it, subscribe already. And check out Galley Slaves, the new blog by Last, Skinner and Matus of the Standard.)

I knew there was some reason why the contorted logic of "fake but accurate" rang a bell. It's been less than four years, and we've already forgotten what really good White House spin looks like. Last remembers The Master....

CBS News is in a curious position right now. They have presented forged documents as truth. The public knows that these documents are forgeries. The rest of the media knows that these documents are forgeries. And the big wheels at CBS seem to know that they're forgeries, too.

The New York Daily News reports that 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."

What CBS has done is plasticize the truth. You have seen this before.

On August 14, 1998, the New York Times ran a remarkable story by Richard Berke. President Clinton was preparing to be deposed under oath by Ken Starr. The following are excerpts from Berke's story:
President Clinton has had extensive discussions with his inner circle about a strategy of acknowledging to a grand jury on Monday that he had intimate sexual encounters with Monica S. Lewinsky in the White House, senior advisers have said.

Although Mr. Clinton has not settled on this approach, discussions have centered on a plan that would allow him to acknowledge a specific type of sexual behavior while still maintaining he told the truth when he testified in January that he never had "sexual relations" with the former White House intern, the advisers said. . .

For months Mr. Clinton has publicly denied any sexual relationship with Ms. Lewinsky. So politically, an acknowledgment of some kind of sexual encounter poses considerable risk, particularly if it were linked to a legal argument that rests on a narrow definition of sex.

But Mr. Clinton's advisers have said it poses a greater risk to tell anything less than the truth to a grand jury about sex with Ms. Lewinsky. . . .

The advisers cautioned that preparations for the grand jury appearance were continuing and that the strategy could still change as the President continued to examine the legal and political implications of various courses. . . .

Even as the President's advisers review his options, some have prefaced their remarks by saying it is still possible that Mr. Clinton will say again, as he has publicly, that he never had sexual relations with Ms. Lewinsky. . . .

Elsewhere in his report Berke would note that "It could be that some of the President's advisers are discussing his possible approaches with reporters to gauge the political reaction." Which is, of course, exactly what the president's advisers were doing. The notion that, since the president was going to be testifying under oath, he simply had to admit the truth was totally pushed aside. The issue was what strategy he would pursue, not what the truth was.

I know, I know--it's ridiculous to always come back to Clinton. And it is. But it was Bill Clinton who moved us into this post-modern definition of truth, who taught America that if you're going to lie, you don't even need to pretend to believe your own lie anymore.

Dan Rather and CBS News have learned Bill Clinton's lesson well.

Memogate Scenario

From Daniel Weiner comes this fantasized, but plausible scenario of Bill Burkett and Ben Barnes' participation in the CBS document forgery caper. (Via Roger Simon)

UPDATE: More on Bill Burkett, also via Roger Simon. From the Houston Chronicle article:

If Burkett does prove to be the source of the documents, CBS got them from a man with a well-established history of Bush loathing.

In an article Burkett wrote for the Internet last year he compared Bush to Hitler and Napoleon as one of "the three small men" who sought to rule through tyranny. "Three small men who wanted to conquer and vanquish," Burkett wrote. Burkett confirmed authorship of that article in the February Chronicle interview.

Shut Up, They Explained

A morning radio talk show took calls today from numerous people who have had their cars "keyed" or otherwise vandalized, their houses egged, their yard signs stolen, or have been harrassed by road-raged loonies on the highways. All because they display support, by bumper sticker or other symbols, of the Bush-Cheney ticket.

But most of the time the thugs who think Bush supporters deserve to be accosted, screamed at, or suffer personal property damage are smart fortunate enough to commit these idiocies out of the range of cameras.

Well, the Kerry campaign ran out of such luck the other day, when some Kerry supporters ripped a Bush-Cheney sign out of the hands of a 3-year old girl who was with her father at the airport in Huntington, WV, understandably making her cry. All the key players were captured on film, and the photo has been plastered all over the Internet today. What a nightmare for the Kerry people. This is worth many times more than 1000 words.

Michelle Malkin has more examples of that famous liberal tolerance.

It's reminiscent of what a certain actor said about "a chill wind blowing in this nation." Bush supporters don't deserve to be opposed on principles or debated on issues. They deserve to be punished.

UPDATE: It seems that the man in the photo with the crying 3-year old has had experiences like this before, according to one prominent lefty blogger. While this doesn't mean the whole sign-ripping incident was staged, it sure raises eyebrows.

UPDATE II: This is smelling worse all the time, as Captain Ed notes. As much as Bush backers would like to believe the original story, the blogosphere has done what CBS didn't do. Within a few hours it has shown its ability to be self-correcting through a system of "checks and balances" that the major media claims we don't possess. Like Jonathan Last, I wonder what kind of weirdo uses his kids as props in a political stunt.

UPDATE III: Michelle Malkin follows up. Yes, Phil Parlock, the father of the little girl has appeared at many political events, and has been harrassed and had his signs taken away before, but he says the boy in the picture in the pro-Kerry shirt is not his son, and by no means was the incident "staged" in any way.

September 16, 2004

Bush In The Guard

This piece by Byron York has been out for a week, but I just got around to it. It's worth looking at to read what Bush really did in the Texas Air National Guard...just for some perspective.

Clearing It Up

I wonder how many Democrats or independents will feel like this emailer to Andrew Sullivan.

CBS Statement

If you haven't seen it yet, CBS has decided to dig in and defend the lie, for the time being at least. Turns out Dan Rather is a repeat offender.

Cleveland Blogs

I've been browsing some Cleveland blogs courtesy of a place called Brain Shavings that was kind enough to link to yours truly among his Cleveland Blogs.

I was knocked out by Cleveland Indians Report (CIR) which seems like a terrific resource for the nutso Tribe fan out there (know anybody like that?) who cares about what happened last night with the Class A Kinston Indians and is familiar with the names J.D. Martin, Ryan Garko and Kevin Kouzmanoff. Excellent minor league coverage and knowledgeable commentary. I can't believe this site has been in operation for two and a half years and I'm just finding it. Very cool blog, people. See this post about the "worst pitcher ever."

Both of these folks get added to the Blogroll immediately.

Here's a list of other Cleveland Blogs which I haven't checked out yet.

September 15, 2004

Not Holding His Breath

The other day Peter Kirsanow suggested twenty questions that reporters could possibly ask John Kerry, should he deign to answer media questions on camera before November. For example, make him accountable for this vile smear:

8. In several speeches before black audiences you've stated that a million African Americans were disenfranchised and had their votes stolen in the 2000 presidential election. There are no official or media investigations that support that statement. What evidence do you have to support the statement and if you believe a million blacks had their votes stolen, why haven't you called for criminal prosecutions and congressional investigations?

19. In a speech before Drake University Law School you characterized U.S. allies in the war in Iraq as "some trumped-up so-called Coalition of the bribed, the coerced, the bought and the extorted,..." Do you maintain that Great Britain has been bribed, coerced, bought, or extorted? What about Italy? Japan? Poland? Please specifically identify those members of the Coalition that have been either bribed, coerced, bought, and extorted and the officials who were bribed or bought.

That felt so good he thought up twenty more for today. They're all good...

11. You once entertained supporting charter schools but backed off after teachers' unions objected. You were once critical of affirmative action but backed off after some civil-rights organizations protested. In June you stated you might appoint some pro-life judges but backed off the next day after abortion-rights groups expressed alarm. Could you please take this opportunity to assure voters that you'll be able to handle North Korea, al Qaeda, and Iran more successfully than you're able to handle the NEA, NARAL, and other interest groups?

CBS Knew Before Broadcast

There is no serious debate any longer about the authenticity of the CBS/60 Minutes Killian documents. The only debate remaining is whether Dan Rather and CBS were duped, or were aware that their "evidence" was fraudulent and went ahead with it anyway in the service of their pro-Kerry agenda.

This report from ABC News (that bastion of right-wing propaganda) puts another nail in Dan Rather's coffin:

Emily Will, a veteran document examiner from North Carolina, told ABC News she saw problems right away with the one document CBS hired her to check the weekend before the broadcast.

"I found five significant differences in the questioned handwriting, and I found problems with the printing itself as to whether it could have been produced by a typewriter," she said.

Will says she sent the CBS producer an e-mail message about her concerns and strongly urged the network the night before the broadcast not to use the documents.

"I told them that all the questions I was asking them on Tuesday night, they were going to be asked by hundreds of other document examiners on Thursday if they ran that story," Will said.

But the documents became a key part of the 60 Minutes II broadcast questioning President Bush's National Guard service in 1972. CBS made no mention that any expert disputed the authenticity. (emphasis mine - ed.)

A couple of days ago, it might have been possible for CBS and Rather to save some degree of face by coming out and admitting that they were taken in by the fake documents and apologizing only for the sin of shoddy journalism. I suppose one reason why they didn't is that they knew the testimony of people like Emily Will would eventually come out. Now their agenda is on full display and their journalistic credibility is in tatters.

September 13, 2004

The Opener

Nobody really knew what to expect from the Cleveland Browns yesterday, least of all from their offense. They had a new quarterback starting, and although they had better athletes at the skill positions than the team has had since they were reborn in 1999, the O-line looked to be just decent, and not deep. And of the defense, the conventional wisdom was that the less said the better. We had a bunch of overpaid high draft choices on the line, and nobody behind those guys knew how to tackle. On paper it looked like another Ravens win.

But as Kenny Mayne of ESPN says, "everybody knows that the games aren't played on paper...they're played inside of television sets."

What we ended up seeing was an offense that had a tough time doing much of anything against the Ravens for more than half the game, and a defense that apparently was just sick and tired of hearing about the 500 yards that Ravens tailback Jamaal Lewis gained against them last year. So after the defense stuffed Lewis a few times, and punter Derrick Frost stuffed the Ravens in bad field position a few times, and Brian Billick made a few boneheaded calls on 3rd and short to stop Ravens' drives, Garcia and his mates finally manufactured enough big plays on offense to put the Ravens away.

In his Morning After column today, ESPN.com's Len Pasquarelli said that nobody needed a win more than Butch Davis:

The plummet to 5-11 in 2003, a year after making the playoffs as a wild-card entry, only heightened the talk that Davis wasn't a Mensa candidate when it came to X's and O's, nor the straightest shooter when it came to dealing with people. Owner Randy Lerner, who inherited the club from his late father and then bought out Policy's stock holdings, stated publicly (and rather ominously, one might suggest, for Davis) that the Browns would never again post a 5-11 record. And if they did, he noted, he might consider a more viable investment.

But, wow, what one opening-game victory can do, huh, toward altering perceptions?

In an interview after the game, Davis gave some of the credit for the team's performance to the presence of the NFL Champion Cleveland Browns of 1964, who were in town all week and were honored before the game. Whatever rift existed between the new Browns organization and the former Browns players during the first five seasons under Carmen Policy has been healed by owner Randy Lerner, with the encouragement of Davis. Jim Brown and Randy Lerner are joined at the hip these days, and Brown is clearly relishing his new roles as cheerleader, advisor, and player confidant.

The crowd showed up ready to go nuts, and the place was as loud as I can remember it being since '99. I have maligned my fellow Browns fans (the ones who buy tickets these days) as a group not nearly as passionate, loyal or knowledgeable as the old Cleveland Stadium group, and far more fickle and cynical, and I still feel that way. But everybody was jazzed for the opener, and getting off to a solid if unexplosive start fed the frenzy. And after all, it was Baltimore. The Baltimore of Modell and The Murderer. You know, easy to hate.

Random thoughts on the game and the NFL: (you thought that's what you had been reading up until now...well, it gets even more random..)

- Kennard Lang got the headlines by dominating Jonathan Ogden's replacement, but Courtney Brown also played extremely well at the other end, stringing out the wide running game and turning Lewis back inside.

- Warrick Holdman had a good game both on defense and on kick coverage. Leigh Bodden looked great covering kicks. Gerard "don't call me Big Money anymore" Warren pulled a pectoral muscle early, and sat this one out.

- Anthony Henry had an interception that made SportsCenter, and his play seemed solid throughout. With McCutcheon at the other corner we're at least respectable at that position.

- Kellen Winslow is still kicking himself for that one drop on a big 3rd down play. I'd predict we don't see another one like that from him for maybe a season or two. He had 40 yards of open field in front of him. He must have been checking it out.

- Garcia is a tough guy who seems just elusive enough to avoid getting crunched like Couch used to do with regularity. There were at least two plays yesterday on which Garcia squirted away from what would have been sacks of Couch or Holcomb in recent years.

- Willian Green earned his 65 yards by taking everything that Ray "The Murderer" Lewis could dish out. And fullback Terrell Smith and center Jeff Faine put their hats on Lewis enough times that I think he'll remember us until at least Thursday of this week. He wasn't barking and strutting and posing quite as much with the Ravens down by 10 or so.

- During the exhibition season Winslow had several near misses at blocking punts, lining up on the outside and coming around the corner. Sunday he lined up in the middle of the line on the early Ravens punts, and on one of them he completely juked the man supposed to block him and came clean with a real shot at the block. I have no idea how he missed it, but I'd bet his rookie season won't be half over before he blocks one.

- How are the Cowboys 4 1/2 point favorites over the Browns on Sunday after getting pasted by the Vikings yesterday?

- Won my first Fantasy Football matchup by the skin of my teeth tonight. Carolina kicker Kasay could have beaten me with a six point game. All he got was two extra points. Tom Brady (31) and Shaun Alexander (24) scored 55 of my 67 points. I need some receivers! Plaxico Burress and Reggie Wayne did diddly.

- The story of the week? Butch Davis returns to Dallas. Okay, slow week.

- Will this be the only game of the year in which Garcia will be the younger of the starters at QB? I haven't given this a whole lot of thought with the schedule in front of me.

- A couple of former Buckeyes were surprise rookie starters in the NFL this week. Alex Stepanovich has won the starting center position for the Arizona Cardinals, and 7th round pick Shane Olivea is starting at right tackle for the San Diego Chargers. As expected, Chris Gamble is a starter for Carolina at corner. QB Craig Krenzel made the Bears roster. I must admit I thought he'd be in med school by now.

September 12, 2004

Forgerygate Updates

A good summary of the facts in the CBS document forgery case, from Hugh Hewitt. And Wretchard at Belmont Club comments.

This Power Line post today says the damage is done, even if the story is successfully buried by the media. Because the media knows...

Very few Americans are news junkies. Most people will probably never know about the CBS scandal, or will never have enough information to form a judgment about it. For that matter, most don't care. But within the news business, and inside the relatively small slice of the American population where sophisticated consumers of the news dwell, everyone knows, already, that Dan Rather and CBS News tried to influence the November election by telling lies and publishing forged documents. CBS has been disgraced among its peers.

The fact that CBS was willing to barter away what remained of its reputation in exchange for an opportunity to help the John Kerry campaign requires us to re-examine our assumptions about the mainstream media, just as the emergence of the suicide bomber required us to re-examine certain assumptions about security. We never thought that a vast, powerful broadcast network would destroy its own reputation for political gain. Now we know that it can happen.

Read it all.

Moderate Islam Speaks

It seems like the voice of moderate Islam is getting louder. A Muslim group called The Free Muslim Coalition Against Terrorism apologizes for the 9/11 attacks for starters. Their founder seems to have a fairly high profile. May he remain healthy, and may his legions grow.

What will it take for Muslims to realize that those who commit mass murder in the name of Islam are not just a few fringe elements?

What will it take for Muslims to realize that we are facing a crisis that is more deadly than the Aids epidemic?

What will it take for Muslims to realize that there is a large evil movement that is turning what was a peaceful religion into a cult?

Will Muslims wake up before it is too late? Or will we continue blaming the Jews and an imaginary Jewish conspiracy? The blaming of all Muslim problems on Jews is a cancer that is destroying Muslim society from within and it must stop.

Muslims must look inward and put a stop to many of our religious leaders who spend most of their sermons teaching hatred, intolerance and violent jihad. We should not be afraid to admit that as Muslims we have a problem with violent extremism. We should not be afraid to admit that so many of our religious leaders belong behind bars and not behind a pulpit.

Only moderate Muslims can challenge and defeat extremist Muslims. We can no longer afford to be silent.

(via Lopsided Poopdeck)

September 11, 2004

Not Obsessing

I'm aware that I've blogged somewhat single-mindedly for the last couple of days on the story of the CBS document forgeries. The importance of the case to the presidential campaign can't be predicted, much less measured yet. What we do know though, is that when the history of the blogosphere is written, there will have to be a chapter on the day Power Line took down Dan Rather.

I promise to focus entirely on football for the next two days. Not here, mind you. In the crowd. I'll be in Columbus later today for Ohio State-Marshall, and in Cleveland Sunday for the Browns-Ravens. Life is good.


A year ago I posted an article from Esquire Magazine about a photograph called The Falling Man. I thought it would be worth a second look today.


Longtime Democratic strategist Pat Caddell said Friday that if documents aired by CBS newsman Dan Rather Wednesday night turn out to be forged, as alleged by experts, the presidential race "is over."

"It would be the end of the race," Caddell told Fox News Live. "It would be the end of the race," he repeated.

"[Democratic officials are] so involved in this," the former Carter pollster worried. "They have gotten themselves so involved in this issue [in] the last 24 hours that somebody's going to, if they're not authentic, they're going to be blamed for it. It's incredible to me that they've gotten in this."

Caddell said he wasn't trying to sensationalize the issue, explaining that instead "I'm trying to save my party, you know, by telling the truth."

He said that forfeiting the presidential race would be the least of his party's problems if Democrats are tied to any forgery scandal.

"The race is over – and we've got bigger problems than that," he warned.

In order for it to really be "over", some if not all of our mainstream media organs...I'm talking Time, Newsweek, CNN, The N.Y. Times... are going to have to summon the journalistic integrity to report the truth on the document forgeries, and dig into the possibility of any ties to the Kerry campaign, instead of burying the story on the back pages or trafficking in Karl Rove conspiracy theories.

Rival ABC News has been leading the way:

HODGES SAID HE WAS MISLED BY CBS: Retired Maj. General Hodges, Killian's supervisor at the Grd, tells ABC News that he feels CBS misled him about the documents they uncovered. According to Hodges, CBS told him the documents were "handwritten" and after CBS read him excerpts he said, "well if he wrote them that's what he felt."

# Hodges also said he did not see the documents in the 70's and he cannot authenticate the documents or the contents. His personal belief is that the documents have been "computer generated" and are a "fraud".

And the Democrats are trying to change the subject by trotting out Teddy Kennedy to spew bile at Bush. I often wonder these days what it is that the Democratic Party organization has on Teddy, that they can say "jump" whenever they need a rabid attack dog, and Kennedy dutifully heels and asks "how high?" (Other than the obvious thing, of course) In recent months and even years, since the first few months of the Bush administration in fact, he has seemed to be just going through the motions, reading as if totally scripted a brand of venom and hyperbole unworthy even of this hack. Sad too, that his is the face and the message that the Democrats choose to represent their party at a time of obvious trouble.

The Hoaxing of CBS

Posted in full, an editorial from The Weekly Standard:

The Hoaxing of CBS
Why were they so easily duped?
by Richard Starr
09/10/2004 12:00:00 PM

A number of experts have now weighed in on the inauthenticity of the documents CBS breathlessly revealed on 60 Minutes earlier this week--documents purportedly typed by the deceased commander of George W. Bush's Texas Air National Guard unit in 1972 and 1973, but actually produced on a personal computer using Microsoft Word. I predict--and here I'm going out on a limb 10-feet wide and only an inch off the ground--that it's only a matter of time before CBS admits it was deceived. If there's any honor and professional pride left in the CBS newsroom, they will then expose the party or parties who deceived them.

Why did the premier news show in what was once reputed to be the premier television newsroom fall for such transparent fakes? Anyone old enough to have used a typewriter can look at them for a few minutes and figure out that they weren't typed on a typewriter in the early 1970s. A poster on FreeRepublic.com whose screen name is "Buckhead" was, to my knowledge, the first to do so at midnight Wednesday, shortly after CBS's scoop had aired. "Every single one of these memos to file is in a proportionally spaced font, probably Palatino or Times New Roman," this person wrote. "In 1972 people used typewriters for this sort of thing, and typewriters used monospaced fonts. . . . I am saying these documents are forgeries, run through a copier for 15 generations to make them look old."

Indeed, some have speculated that a generation gap may
have contributed to the blunder, since only those of us over 40 can remember what it was like to try to type, say, "187th" with the "th" raised above the baseline. You had to turn the platen by hand. (Do you remember what a platen is?) And you couldn't have gotten a smaller "th" without changing the little type ball. Would you have gone to such trouble in typing a memo for your own files?

But the more important reason CBS was duped is that they wanted to believe the story. And the memos neatly fit the anti-Bush narrative that they believed to be true: Namely, Bush was a slacker at the end of his tour of duty and his superiors covered for him because they were under political pressure to do so.

Here's a revealing anecdote reported by Michael Dobbs and Mike Allen in this morning's Washington Post:

A senior CBS official . . . named one of the network's sources as retired Maj. Gen. Bobby W. Hodges, the immediate superior of the documents' alleged author, Lt. Col. Jerry B. Killian. He said that a CBS reporter read the documents to Hodges over the phone, and that Hodges replied that "these are the things that Killian had expressed to me at the time."

"These documents represent what Killian not only was putting in memoranda, but was telling other people," the CBS News official said. "Journalistically, we've gone several extra miles."

Obviously, you can't authenticate a document by reading it to someone over the phone. (CBS claims to have had other "experts" examine the documents but has been unwilling to name them.) What this reporting should have suggested to CBS is that whoever forged the documents was someone who knew what CBS's sources would be saying--someone well informed on the anti-Bush scuttlebutt about his National Guard service. The "documents" neatly reflect the reigning anti-Bush theories of the events of 1972 and 1973 and perfectly buttress the anti-Bush narrative because they were produced by someone who was obsessing over that narrative and understood that reporters would need "documentation" to advance the story.

Just as obviously, the journalists who went into overdrive for the National Guard story when the phony memos were released, with few exceptions, want to see Kerry win and Bush lose. This makes them suckers for a good anti-Bush story. It's conventional to call this media bias and be shocked by it. But really it's just human nature. That's why we have to be especially skeptical of the stories we fall in love with. And that's why CBS screwed up.

Richard Starr is a managing editor at The Weekly Standard.

UPDATE 9/11: The story has come completely unglued for CBS. See Glenn's post and follow some links.

September 10, 2004

Rather, CBS Can't Pretend To Objectivity

Ben Barnes was on the air with Dan Rather on 60 Minutes to assist with the CBS Kerry campaign rescue effort on Sunday, making the assertion that he got George Bush into the Texas Air National Guard at the request of the Bush family. It has been noted that this is not what he said five years ago under oath when asked about the same matter. The article Who Is Ben Barnes? from the GOP web site, explains why Ben Barnes might not be a terribly objective observer. But I guess it doesn't really matter now that any remaining pretense to objectivity has been stripped away from Rather, 60 Minutes, and CBS.

Now comes word that Barnes' daughter Amy, who differs with her father on matters political, called in to a Texas radio talk show on Thursday and reported that her father had told her he planned to lie about having helped Bush get into the Guard in order to help the Kerry campaign, and you guessed it...to help publicize a new book he has coming out.

Stay tuned. By the way, did you know that George Bush got a DUI many years ago? Look for the Today show to run with that one next week for three or four days.

September 9, 2004

Did 60 Minutes Use Forged Documents?

It sure looks that way now. In just one of the examples of what Power Line blog calls "the mainstream media's frantic effort to drag John Kerry over the finish line", the CBS "newsmagazine" show 60 Minutes used what now appear to have been forged documents that purported to show George W. Bush failing to meet certain National Guard duty requirements. Here is the Power Line post "The Sixty First Minute", which is long, link-filled, and self-explanatory. This post is also the hottest story in the alternative media, having an amazing 395 trackback links as of this writing.

The Associated Press (themselves the perpetrators of another outright lie in the service of the flagging and panicked Kerry campaign) has now noted the rapidly spreading consensus that the documents used by CBS are fraudulent:

News reports have said the memos, first obtained by CBS's "60 Minutes," were found in Jerry Killian's personal records. Gary Killian said his father wasn't in the habit of bringing his work home with him, and that the documents didn't come from the family.

The personnel chief in Killian's unit at the time also said he believes the documents are fake.

Independent document examiner Sandra Ramsey Lines said the memos looked like they had been produced on a computer using Microsoft Word software, which wasn't available when the documents were supposedly written in 1972 and 1973...

"I'm virtually certain these were computer-generated," Lines said after reviewing copies of the documents at her office in Paradise Valley, Ariz. She produced a nearly identical document using her computer's Microsoft Word software.

The guys at Power Line are to be commended for their work on this story and the AP "Crowd That Didn't Boo" hoax as well. The sobering fact is that before the blogosphere, they used to get away with this shit.

UPDATE 9/9: The stories are breaking fast and furious. Drudge is now reporting an internal investigation by CBS regarding use of the forgeries. Congratulations Power Line! To quote your last post..."CBS is toast."

UPDATE 9/10: Commentary from Power Line's Hindrocket on the obsolescence of the "dinosaur media":

Tomorrow morning, dinosaur media across the country will be headlining the 60 Minutes "scoop" as a blow to the Bush campaign. Before their newspapers are even printed, not only is the story obsolete, but CBS is in full retreat. As Stephen Hayes reported earlier today, Power Line "led the charge" against the 60 Minutes hoax today. But the credit really goes to the incredible power of the internet. We knew nothing; all of our information came from our readers. Many thousands of smart, well-informed people who only a few years ago would have had no recourse but perhaps to write a letter to their local newspaper, now can communicate and share their expertise in real time, through sites like this one. The power of the medium is incredible, as we've seen over the last fourteen hours.

Thanks to our readers; we were able to publish only a small fraction of the information we got on the fake documents. But it was more than enough.

UPDATE 9/10: Scott Ott of Scrappleface has a scoop: "1972 Email Casts Doubt on Bush Guard Service"

UPDATE 9/10: Stephen Hayes asks the experts.

UPDATE 9/10: Power Line updates their story:

A half hour ago, Dan Rather went on CNN and said that he knows the Jerry Killian documents to be authentic, and knows that they are not forgeries. Therefore, he said, there will be no retraction, no correction, and -- apparently -- no investigation...

...What does this mean? Last night, it was reported that senior executives at CBS News were promising an investigation. Today, Dan Rather is personally vouching for the documents' authenticity. This can only mean that Rather himself is the source of the documents. This makes sense; if a staffer on the 60 Minutes payroll had come up with the purported records, the story never would have run without the documents being authenticated. Who has the power to drive this story on to the air without an investigation that would include, for example, contacting Killian's widow, or his son? Dan Rather does.

Now I get it. The documents are not forgeries because CBS and Dan Rather say that they are not forgeries. Nothing to see here, people. Move along.

New Flash Stuff

An outfit called Electric Rain promotes some of the projects they're working on at a site called Flash Illuminations. For those of us who look at visually unstimulating text on our computers the majority of the time, it's fun once in a while to see what creative artists/programmers are doing to really grab the user by the eyeballs. (via flabber.nl)

September 8, 2004

Cult Of Death

David Brooks in The New York Times:

We should be used to this pathological mass movement by now. We should be able to talk about such things. Yet when you look at the Western reaction to the Beslan massacres, you see people quick to divert their attention away from the core horror of this act, as if to say: We don't want to stare into this abyss. We don't want to acknowledge those parts of human nature that were on display in Beslan. Something here, if thought about too deeply, undermines the categories we use to live our lives, undermines our faith in the essential goodness of human beings.

Three years after Sept. 11, too many people have become experts at averting their eyes. If you look at the editorials and public pronouncements made in response to Beslan, you see that they glide over the perpetrators of this act and search for more conventional, more easily comprehensible targets for their rage...

...The Dutch foreign minister, Bernard Bot, speaking on behalf of the European Union, declared: "All countries in the world need to work together to prevent tragedies like this. But we also would like to know from the Russian authorities how this tragedy could have happened."

It wasn't a tragedy. It was a carefully planned mass murder operation. And it wasn't Russian authorities who stuffed basketball nets with explosives and shot children in the back as they tried to run away.

Whatever horrors the Russians have perpetrated upon the Chechens, whatever their ineptitude in responding to the attack, the essential nature of this act was in the act itself. It was the fact that a team of human beings could go into a school, live with hundreds of children for a few days, look them in the eyes and hear their cries, and then blow them up.

Lots of other commentary on the Beslan massacre at RealClearPolitics.

Libyan Freedom Fighter

Claudia Rosett pleads the case for Libyan democracy advocate Fathi Eljahmi, who is reported to be near death in one of Moammar Gadhafi's prisons.

September 7, 2004

Mencken on Rascality

I stumbled on this 1926 H.L. Mencken essay tonight, and it's last paragraph contained a word characterizing democratic politics that struck a nerve with the cynic in me. "Rascality." Still apt nearly eighty years later, I suppose.

I confess, for my part, that it greatly delights me. I enjoy democracy immensely. It is incomparably idiotic, and hence incomparably amusing. Does it exalt dunderheads, cowards, trimmers, frauds, cads? Then the pain of seeing them go up is balanced and obliterated by the joy of seeing them come down. Is it inordinately wasteful, extravagant, dishonest? Then so is every other form of government: all alike are enemies to laborious and virtuous men. Is rascality at the very heart of it? Well, we have borne that rascality since 1776, and continue to survive. In the long run, it may turn out that rascality is necessary to human government, and even to civilization itself - that civilization, at bottom, is nothing but a colossal swindle. I do not know: I report only that when the suckers are running well the spectacle is infinitely exhilarating. But I am, it may be, a somewhat malicious man: my sympathies, when it comes to suckers, tend to be coy. What I can't make out is how any man can believe in democracy who feels for and with them, and is pained when they are debauched and made a show of. How can any man be a democrat who is sincerely a democrat?

I appreciate Mencken's amused scorn for the "dunderheads, cowards, trimmers, frauds, and cads" that are (still) drawn to politics. There is much on which we disagree, but his absolutism on free speech and his libertarian streak appeal to me. And how true it is that if we can't make fun of or criticize our politicians, we aren't really (small 'd') democrats at all. Both of our political parties, along with campaign finance "reformers", should keep that in mind.

Free Agents For 2005

Peter Gammons scopes out the MLB free agent marketplace for the coming offseason. As usual, he's the authority everyone listens to.

Baath Party Rebuilding in Iraq

A disturbing article from Knight-Ridder about the resurgence, reconstruction and clandestine operation of Saddam's Baath Party in Iraq. (Hat tip to Laurie Mylroie)

"There are two governments in Iraq," said Mithal al Alusi, director general of the Supreme National Commission for De-Baathification, a group overseen by Iraqi politician and former Pentagon favorite Ahmad Chalabi. "(The Baathists) are like thieves, stealing the power of the new government. Their work is organized and strong."

Ostensibly banned since Saddam's ouster, the Baath Party has rebuilt itself by sending top members of the former regime to safe houses in Jordan and Syria, Iraqi government officials said. The foot soldiers - mainly from the vast ranks of mid-level members - remain in Iraq, where they've started Web sites and formed independent cells and communicate outside the radar of U.S. forces through a word-of-mouth network known in Baathist parlance as "the thread."

September 6, 2004

Grassroots Organizing For GOP

I had heard that the Republicans were getting better at registration and Get-Out-The-Vote efforts in 2004 than they have been in previous elections. Just last week a friend of mine donated his office and phones and recruited 15 volunteers to make calls to register new voters on a weekday evening. Those 15 people were just a few of the three hundred or so callers involved in the project. And that was just in one county here in Ohio.

I've read accounts from people who are taking part in these activities in Wisconsin and Minnesota for example, and they are confident that GOP efforts will be noticeable this November. Here's some recognition of the lessons that Republicans have learned this time around.

(Note the gratuitous slap at Florida's "Congresswoman Elizabeth Harris" (sic) by the Boston Globe writer. Nice. Memo to Boston Globe: When you mock female Republican members of Congress for their selection of clothing, try getting their names right. It makes for a better laugh for your readers. By the way, that mental image you conjure: actual Republicans "working on phone banks, knocking on doors", you know, actually working to help elect their preferred candidate, in their good clothes...funny stuff.)

UPDATE 9/6: In Ohio, Kerry is finding he may not have support where he thinks he does.

Steyn on the Beslan Massacre

Mark Steyn

The reality is that the IRA and ETA and the ANC and any number of secessionist and nationalist movements all the way back to the American revolutionaries could have seized schoolhouses and shot all the children.

But they didn't. Because, if they had, there would have been widespread revulsion within the perpetrators' own communities. To put it at its most tactful, that doesn't seem to be an issue here.

Sometimes Outraged

Michelle Malkin skewers the N.Y. Times for their double standard on the practice of politics from the pulpit. Wonderfully, I might add.

The Race

It's a few days old, but I had not seen this ABC News pre-GOP Convention polling on Bush vs. Kerry, and related issues. (via IraqNow)

A Brave Man

It is encouraging to hear Muslims speaking out to condemn terrorism, and to acknowledge that it is mostly Muslims who are committing it. This from Abdel Rahman al-Rashed, general manager of Al-Arabiya news channel.

We can't call those who take schoolchildren as hostages our own.

We cannot tolerate in our midst those who abduct journalists, murder civilians, explode buses; we cannot accept them as related to us, whatever the sufferings they claim to justify their criminal deeds. These are the people who have smeared Islam and stained its image.

We cannot clear our names unless we own up to the shameful fact that terrorism has become an Islamic enterprise; an almost exclusive monopoly, implemented by Muslim men and women.

We cannot redeem our extremist youths, who commit all these heinous crimes, without confronting the Sheikhs who thought it ennobling to re-invent themselves as revolutionary ideologues, sending other people's sons and daughters to certain death, while sending their own children to European and American schools and colleges.

(via LGF)

UPDATE 9/6: On the other hand, there are still plenty of people like this.

September 5, 2004

Zwick Roasted Already

It's amazing. The Monday morning quarterbacking started in the Sunday paper for Buckeye quarterback Justin Zwick. Zwick had just led the Buckeyes to a 27-6 win over Cincinnati in his first-ever start at Ohio State. He was 14 of 26 passing for 213 yds and a touchdown. He threw two interceptions and fumbled three times, losing one. And already the doubters are out. Posters to the bucknuts.com boards are criticizing his mechanics, moaning about his fumbles, and crying that a couple of his spirals weren't quite tight enough to suit them.

As another example, Bud Shaw doesn't even try to conceal his favoritism toward Zwick's longtime rival for the starting quarterback job, Glenville High School's Troy Smith, in his PD column today. Whatever the reason for this bias, (rooting for the hometown Cleveland kid over the Massillon wonder boy, or whatever?) he's certainly entitled to it, as I am to mine, but this piece comes off as nasty. If the sophomore did anything right at all, one would never deduce it from reading Shaw's take. He documents Zwick's every misstep, failing to include details like Zwick's one stumble being caused by getting stepped on by an offensive lineman, or the fumble he lost being caused by a sack caused by a missed block. And here's Shaw minimizing one of Zwick's many first game successes:

Zwick's lone touchdown was a 17-yard can't-miss lob to tight end Ryan Hamby against a Cincinnati blitz that abdicated the middle of the field. Tea-leaf readers should hear Tressel complimenting Zwick for finding Hamby - his mouthpiece would have had to fly out and blind him not to find Hamby - and know Tressel is leaning Tower of Pisalike toward keeping Zwick No. 1.

No, I'd say he's leaning Saddam's-Statue-in-Baghdad-like toward keeping Zwick No. 1. But the evident folly of Tressel's decision is clear to Shaw, if nobody else. All he had was one "can't-miss" touchdown pass (that presumably Shaw could have "lobbed" himself) which I guess happened while the Cincinnati defense was taking a water break. I guess for Shaw, it's not about winning for the Buckeyes. He thinks that Smith should be the starter, whatever his reason for that view. As the theme of his petty, putdown piece, Shaw plays up Zwick's explanation that an ill-fitting mouthpiece caused some trouble calling signals at the line, as excuse-making by the quarterback. That's what I mean by nasty.

Zwick is a kid who has known, or at least dreamed for probably ten years or more that he would one day take the field as a Buckeye in Ohio Stadium. He won the state championship as a freshman QB at Orrville, before moving on to high school football's Mecca, Massillon, Ohio. The buildup has been over-the-top. The expectations are at best unreasonable. The pressure on the kid has been immense.

Do you think he might have been nervous?

I do think that Shaw and I watched two different games. Yes, Zwick was rushed, harassed, and rattled by Dantonio's defensive scheme at times, and he made several mistakes of inexperience. But he demonstrated control of the offense and good field vision. He demonstrated an ability to pass the ball down the field that we have not seen in a Buckeye quarterback in some time, and I might add, an ability that I have not yet seen demonstrated by Troy Smith in my admittedly limited exposure to him.

Zwick made throws yesterday that Craig Krenzel never made, and couldn't have made in two years as the Buckeye starter. He threw for over 200 yards in his debut, and had a 47 yard touchdown called back on a penalty away from the ball. The "out" patterns to Roy Hall and Ted Ginn were impressive for any college QB. The bomb to Bam Childress was a pass that any of the last three Buckeye quarterbacks would have underthrown with regularity. He showed the ability to roll out and had patience in the pocket.

The Buckeyes won handily, instead of squeaking another one out, largely because they were able to pass the ball successfully and gain yardage in large chunks. Smith, who played quite a bit less than Zwick, had really only one pass completion of consequence, a beautiful 23 yard fade for a touchdown to Santonio Holmes. Smith has great ability, as a passer as well as a runner, and may yet prove to be the better quarterback. But the coaches have worked with both guys for two full years, and have decided that Justin Zwick is their man. Until yesterday, I had seen the two young men compete only in two Spring Games, but I am inclined to agree with the coaches, and I was pretty impressed with what I saw of Justin Zwick yesterday.

Shaw apparently feels that Tressel must have chosen Zwick to start only because he "doesn't believe in a quarterback carousel", not because Tressel believes Zwick is just better for the job right now, and doesn't want to say anything negative about his backup QB. Shaw reminds us that Zwick was almost picked off two more times....

And so long as Zwick proves prone to mistakes - he could have been intercepted twice more - the reason for choosing him over Smith fades.

Yes, and he could have thrown two more touchdown passes, if we want to get into things that didn't happen. Shaw apparently wanted Zwick to have exactly one game before "the reason for choosing him over Smith" is determined to be somehow "fading". Shaw's position is reflected in the words he chooses; Smith is being "a good soldier", and Zwick is "slurring" his words. Smith is "no ordinary backup", while Zwick is out "collecting turnovers". I guess Shaw's agenda could be more transparent. I just don't know how.

Tressel has gone to great pains to avoid a QB controversy and the attitudes of both kids for the entire two year evaluation period have been exemplary. That's a credit to them and to Tressel. Maybe Bud Shaw wants to keep that pot stirred up. Maybe he expects perfection from a first-game sophomore. Maybe he's just not a Justin Zwick fan. That's cool. After yesterday, I am.

Good luck to Troy Smith and to Justin Zwick. And Go Bucks!

The Reactionary Left

David Gelernter

We have often been told that we face, today, a whole new kind of war. Only partly true. For more than half a century we have battled totalitarian regimes (the Soviets, North Vietnam, Cuba . . . ) and the terrorists they sponsored. Today we are battling totalitarian regimes (Baathist Iraq and the Taliban's Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea) and the terrorists they sponsor. What's changed? Since we became modern history's first monopower, our obligations and maneuvering room are both greater. But the basic nature of the struggle is the same.

Excerpting this any further is tough because Gelernter wades into deep water in trying to explain the irrational hatred of Bush and of conservatives by the reactionary Left. He cites the Orwellian inversion of reality characterizing their attacks on Bush, and the ways in which the Left has forfeited the mantle of progressivism to conservatives, led by the progressive, even radical presidency of George W. Bush. Gelernter says the hatred of Bush and of conservatives, especially white, religious ones, as a group, has all of the classic characteristics of other group hatreds...that is, racism. It's far from a blanket tarring of all Bush opponents, just an explanation for the unhinged, extreme wing.

Whether you agree or disagree, (and don't be turned off by the title) take a few minutes to read it all.

September 4, 2004

Bucks Open

Just a word or two about the Ohio State Buckeyes, opening Saturday against Cincinnati. I think that the Buckeyes have several defensive players who will have breakout years, and be household names for OSU fans before the Michigan game. Cornerback E.J. Underwood is one to watch, and Bobby Carpenter may give All-American A.J. Hawk a run for the team's best linebacker. Young defensive linemen Jay Richardson and Quinn Pitcock will make names for themselves in a hurry too. The defense is young, but deep and talented. They will have to dominate games until first year QB Justin Zwick gets comfortable leading the offense.

Cincinnati doesn't belong on the same field with us in terms of talent, so the story of the game will be how tight Tressel plays it, and how long he allows an inferior team to believe they can play with Ohio State. I think our defense or our special teams will score at least once, and the Bucks should win by 14, say 24-10? Go Bucks!

UPDATE 9/5: So it was 27-6. I'm moving to Vegas anyway.

Bad Football

The biggest racket in pro sports is demanding full ticket price for NFL exhibition games, especially the last one, when coaches don't even pretend they care about winning. Even though the Browns came on late to win the game tonight, both teams really mailed it in, not even playing several uninjured players on both sides. It was a long, ugly game. The fans deserve better.

The Bears best player, Brian Urlacher doesn't play, nor does starting running back Thomas Jones. The Browns excuse Lee Suggs, Courtney Brown, and William Green altogether, and allow cameo appearances for most of the other starters. No starter played after the five minute mark of the first quarter.

But for the short time they were in there, they managed to look lousy, with only a couple of exceptions. Garcia and the first string offense were on their third series before they managed a first down. Penalty, fumble, penalty were their first three offensive plays. Garcia did make a nice throw on the TD to Andre Davis and then put on the baseball cap.

The Browns continue to kill themselves with penalties. Offsides on a 4th and 4 field goal attempt, a stupid celebration foul on Quincy Morgan after Davis' touchdown. Dumb, inexcusable stuff like that. Constantly. Northcutt drops a pass, Dawson misses a chip shot field goal. This is not a very disciplined team.

I was impressed with the play of Chaun Thompson. He had been named a starter early in camp, but played tonight with the second teamers since he's seeing his first playing time of the year. Receiver Richard Alston looks like he's got the team made. He's got the look. He's returned punts and caught everything thrown at him.

Buckeye Craig Krenzel played most of the game at QB for the Bears and looked pretty good for a rookie 4th round choice who really should be in medical school. I must admit I'm surprised that he actually has a chance to stick in the NFL. He looked more like a veteran than a rookie tonight, driving the Bears to their only score, and just playing smart. He would have been MVP if not for the heroics of our own 4th round rookie QB, Luke McCown. Will Butch Davis' drafting reputation be upgraded if McCown turns out to be as big a steal as 2003 4th rounder Lee Suggs seems to have been?

I felt like they were conducting a scrimmage instead of a game though, when the Browns ran into the center of the line on a 3rd and goal from the 11 yard line, to center what would be a tying field goal. We're DOWN three points and we're not going for the end zone on 3rd and goal from the 11. In the 3rd quarter! My brain briefly contemplated the prospect of overtime and then just went numb.

We stayed till the end, and McCown threw two late scores to salvage a long evening and finish a 3-1 preseason. But unless this team can lose its annoying habit of sabotaging themselves with penalties, it's an 8-8 team at best. Baltimore is in town with the murderer and the record-setting running back on the 12th. We'll find out a lot about the Browns that day.

September 3, 2004

The Bush Speech

Here is the text of George W. Bush's acceptance speech.


Billed as "The Ultimate Party Toy" this machine converts liquor to a vapor that can be inhaled instead of imbibed. It speeds the alcohol directly to the bloodstream through the lungs, bypassing the time-consuming digestive system. Ah, science!

It's Alcohol Without Liquid.

The downside? If you're in a hurry, forget it. It takes 20 minutes to vaporize and inhale one shot of liquor. This kind of defeats the purpose of bypassing the stomach, don't you think? But it claims to reduce hangovers, (I guess so, if it takes 20 minutes to do one shot) and as you might deduce, "it's low calorie."

I'm going to hold off on suggesting this as an investment opportunity until we see how it takes off among the Junior High set. ("Mom found it, but I told her it was a Karaoke machine")

(Where else, Coolios)

And since we're engaging in silliness, here's a picture that was emailed to me by a friend today and entitled, "Why Women Live Longer Than Men"

September 2, 2004

Worn Out Stereotypes

Karl Zinsmeister rebuts those who trade on yesterday's assumptions to argue today's politics:

Democrats: the party of the little guy. Republicans: the party of the wealthy. Those images of America's two major political wings have been frozen for generations.

The stereotypes were always a little off, incomplete, exaggerated. (Can you say Adlai Stevenson?) But like most stereotypes, they reflected rough truths.

No more. Starting in the 1960s and '70s, whole blocs of "little guys" -- ethnics, rural residents, evangelicals, cops, construction workers, homemakers, military veterans -- began moving into the Republican column. And big chunks of America's rich elite -- financiers, academics, heiresses, media barons, software millionaires, entertainers -- drifted into the Democratic Party.

The extent to which the parties have flipped positions on the little-guy/rich-guy divide is illustrated by research from the Ipsos-Reid polling firm. Comparing counties that voted strongly for George W. Bush to those that voted strongly for Al Gore in the 2000 election, the study shows that in pro-Bush counties only 7% of voters earned at least $100,000, while 38% had household incomes below $30,000. In the pro-Gore counties, fully 14% pulled in $100,000 or more, while 29% earned less than $30,000.

There are some very revealing numbers and interesting insights here. It's well worth a look at "the whole thing."

McCain Love Affair Over

I have loved the writing of Noemie Emery since I discovered her in the pages of David Horowitz' Heterodoxy magazine. Lately she can be found mostly in The Weekly Standard, where she has a piece up this week on the official end of the liberals' love affair with John McCain. Here's a taste:

For years, liberals professed their love for John McCain. They loved him, they said, because he was independent, unpredictable, and told the truth as he saw it, but mainly because he managed to rile the president. They watched the bruising confrontation in the 2000 primaries as Bush and McCain locked antlers, and dreamed it would go on forever. They hoped from the end of the 2000 election that McCain would defect, that McCain would rebel, that McCain would launch a third-party run, like his hero, Theodore Roosevelt. Their fantasy was not that McCain would actually win such a race, but that he, like TR, would split his party and let a Democrat in. Then they hoped he would bolt completely and join Kerry on a "unity ticket," though no one explained what the unifying factor might be. Throughout, there were conspicuous swoons for his independence, his courage, his habit of speaking his mind. Then McCain spoke his mind here Monday night, saying George W. Bush ought to be reelected, and especially endorsing the Iraq invasion. This was not the straight talk they were expecting, and the love stopped.

Hewitt's Rove And McAuliffe Interviews

Here's the full text of Hugh Hewitt's interview with Karl Rove. Lots of good insights from Bush's top political advisor. And here's his conversation with Terry McAuliffe. I've also added hughhewitt.com to the blogroll.

The Emptiness of U.N. Rhetoric

Neil Uchitel is noting yet another example of the spinelessness and impotence of the United Nations:

By July 30th, the U.N. demanded that "Khartoum improve security, human rights and humanitarian assistance in Darfur." July 30th came and went and what was the U.N.’s response? More rhetoric. The August 30th deadline to disarm the militias in Darfur came and went, and what was the U.N.’s response? Just what I said it would be: More rhetoric...

...Shame on the U.N. for having the utter lack of spine to let a deadline go without inflicting any kind of punishment on the Sudanese government. Shame on the U.N. for having the gall to spew more rhetoric in the face of the suffering of millions, without lifting a single finger to help them.

Go read the whole post. I can't do it justice here.