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Saturday, February 26, 2005
 
Ten Things I Like About Comics: #4--Blackhawk




Blackhawk was one of the more durable comics features, making it through the 1950s unlike so many other characters. The original series was published by Quality Comics until the mid-1950s when it changed over to DC Comics for the remainder of its run.

Blackhawk was both a character and the leader of a group called the Blackhawks. Originally a Polish youth orphaned in the early days of WWII, he started a flying group with six others that battled Hitler. After the war, the Blackhawks pretty quickly switched to fighting the communists, which may account for their surviving the end of the world war, unlike the Boy Commandoes, for example.

The Blackhawks featured Blackhawk himself, Chuck (an American), Andre (French) Stanislaus (Polish) Olaf (Swedish), Hendrikson (Dutch), and most importantly, Chop-Chop (Chinese).

The last was intended as a humorous sidekick, and like Ebony in the Spirit, it worked. Yes, by today's standards Chop-Chop was a horrifically racist caricature as you can see from this picture:




But he was mostly played straight in the Blackhawk stories (his solo features were another matter) and was quite capable of heroic action:




One cool thing about the Blackhawks is that they often sung a little ditty at the end of an adventure. The lyrics usually concerned how much they liked kicking tyrant butt.








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Democracy Can't Work in Arab Countries?

Hoo-boy, that little meme is taking a battering these days. The Globalization Institute blog points out that the next country to vote may be Egypt.
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More Ward Churchill Art

Etherhouse has a look at some more Ward Churchill originals.
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Hitler's Babies, Huntz Hall, and J. Edgar Hoover

Professor Shade connects some unusual dots.
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Friday, February 25, 2005
 
Final RPI Ratings Up

We linked to the original version of this superb rating of the US Congress a couple days ago. The update rates each member of both houses. Note that Hillary rates with the left-most members of the Senate despite her much-reported moderate positions.
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Newest Blog Superstar Proves Lefty Hypocrisy on Gannon/Talon News

The Nashua Advocate started blogging after the election of 2004, and is now #39 on the TTLB traffic rating at over 10,000 visitors a day.

But the funny part is that they're all over the Jeff Gannon story (which is why they've risen so high in the traffic ratings), which one of the key elements to is the question of how did a news service with no noticeable means of making money ever got accredited as "real".

Yet the Nashua Advocate describes its history as follows:

11/30/04: The Advocate Publishes Its First Article. Election reform opponents the nation over experience sudden, inexplicable bouts of bed-wetting.

1/18/05: The Advocate Joins the Mainstream Media. The Advocate becomes one of the few online-only news outlets listed by Google News.

Imagine that! 59 days of publishing a blog (on blogspot with a pretty basic template) and he's a Google News outlet! Maybe we do need to explore how the new media are getting credentialed? We could call him the new Jeff Gannon!
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Gannon Story? What Gannon Story?

One of the sillier memes running around the lefty blogs is that somehow the Jeff Gannon saga is getting swept under the rug by the mainstream media. Salon, which is hardly mainstream (more like gasping for air at the bottom of the stream), picks up this notion and runs with it.

Yet most mainstream reporters have opted not to cover the story. Two of the television networks, as well as scores of major metropolitan newspapers around the country, have completely ignored it.

Yet Yahoo News shows 405 articles mentioning "Jeff Gannon" in their news section. Google shows 807 but that includes some "news" sources that make Talon News look like a professional operation.

NBC News has covered it. The New York Times has covered it. The Washington Post has covered it (with twice as many stories as Eason Jordan). Instapundit, who has been accused of ignoring this humongous story has had ten posts on it.

If this story's being ignored by the media, how would these folks describe the coverage of "Christmas in Cambodia"?

Andrew Sullivan has pretty much the same take as I've had on this story all along:

The substantive case against Gannon is trivial; the irrelevant case against him (the one that's fueled this story) is that he's gay, has allegedly been (or still may be) a prostitute, and may not agree with everything the gay left believes (although I agree with David Corn that the evidence that Gannon has written anything even remotely "anti-gay" is laughable). The real scandal is the blatant use of homophobic rhetoric by the self-appointed Savonarolas of homo-left-wingery. It's an Animal Farm moment: the difference between a fanatic on the gay left and a fanatic on the religious right is harder and harder to discern.
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Darlin' Arlen Back in the Hotseat

Ankle-Biting Pundits has the details.
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This Just In: Socialism Doesn't Work

France's unemployment rate is back to 10%.

The good news? Finance Minister Gaymard believes that no sacrifice is too great for his people.

It will also add to pressure on Gaymard, who took office less than three months ago but is already caught up in a scandal over his publicly funded 14,000-euros-a-month ($18,500-a-month) apartment, which could yet force him to resign.

Hey, that's pretty cheap by Parisian standards; I hear he turned down a $20,000 a month apartment.

Update: Gaymard has resigned.

The 600-square-square-meter (6,500 square-foot) apartment just off the Champs-Elysees in an upmarket Paris neighborhood undermined Gaymard, who was calling for the government to rein in spending to meet the European Union's deficit limit.
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Ward Churchill: The Fraud Continues

Add art fraud to the list of Churchill's problems. The first picture is by famed artist Thomas E. Mails; the second is a mirror image of an autographed print by the distinguished professor of ethnic studies.






Michelle Malkin found another one.
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Thursday, February 24, 2005
 
Where's My Ten Grand?

From Ace via My Pet Jawa, comes the word that a wealthy Washington socialite is offering a $10,000 reward "for proof that Jeff Gannon (pictured), an allegedly gay kinky-sex prostitute / escort / white house reporter / GOP operative, has had sexual relations with top-ranking government officials."

Well, I don't know if a junior senator from Massachusetts quite qualifies, but here's my evidence:


Kerry & Gannon: Just Good Friends?

Could this be why Dean said "Eeeeeyyyyyyaaarrrrgggghhhhh!"
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A Sensible Leftist on Gannon

(Welcome, Just One Minute and Croooow Blog Readers!)

The lefty bloggers are still spinning like tops on the Gannon story, but David Corn, writing in the Nation (!) looks into it and is unimpressed.

Talon News was a fly-by-night (or phony) news operation with a political agenda. But White House daily briefings should be open to as diverse a group as possible. There is a need for professional accreditation; space is limited. Yet there is nothing inherently wrong with allowing journalists with identifiable biases to pose questions to the White House press secretary and even the president. And if such a reporter asks a dumb question--as did Gannon/Guckert (which triggered this scandal)--the best response is scorn and further debate. Bloggers should think hard when they complain about standards for passes for White House press briefings. Last year, political bloggers--many of whom have their own biases and sometimes function as activists--sought credentials to the Democratic and Republican conventions. That was a good thing. Why shouldn't Josh Marshall, Glenn Reynolds, John Aravosis, or Markos Moulitsas (DailyKos) be allowed to question Scott McClellan or George W. Bush? Do we want only the MSMers to have this privilege?

Corn looks into the gay-baiting/hypocrisy charge and yawns:

Bloggers have made much of his apparent effort to earn a buck as a prostitute for men. This is not gay-baiting, they say, it's hypocrisy. The question is, hypocrisy on whose part? On Gannon/Guckert's? He's been accused of being a gay-baiter. But how true is that? As part of my investigation, I had my assistant, Alexa Steinberg, search through a collection of Gannon/Guckert's articles for pieces on gay-related themes. She found eight pieces. Most were straightforward accounts of political tussles over gay marriage.

He comes to the same conclusion I did about the "Kerry First Gay President" article that Aravosis and others have cited as gay-baiting:

Gannon/Guckert clearly was writing for a conservative audience. But he was hardly a flame-thrower on gay issues. His observation about Kerry was clumsy but not homophobic. Sure, he worked for an organization that supported an administration and party opposed to gay rights, and he was a Bush-backer. But does that automatically qualify him for outing?

The Plame Affair? Corn looks into it and finds the same thing that Tom Maguire pointed out:

To ask the question Gannon/Guckert posed to Wilson, he did not need to possess that memo. He only needed to have read the Journal. It's possible he was leaked the same document. But the simpler explanation appears to be he saw it in the Journal.
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Death of a Heroine

I post tributes to heroes now and then; almost all of them have been men. But here's the story of Uli Derickson, a woman who certainly qualifies:


Uli Derickson

At one point they asked Ms. Derickson to sort through the passengers' passports to single out people with Jewish-sounding names. Although various news organizations initially reported that she had followed their orders, she in fact hid the passports, her son said. "Everybody looked to her for courage and guidance," Tom Cullins, an architect in Burlington, Vt., who was a hostage on the plane, said in an interview yesterday. "She was clearly in control. She even made demands of the hijackers."

Uli Derickson passed away last Friday at the age of 60.
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The Dollar is Falling! The Dollar is Falling!

I hear this one often enough, especially from my liberal friends. Thomas Friedman goes on about it in today's column:

"When people ask what we are doing about these twin vulnerabilities, they have a hard time coming up with an answer," noted Robert Hormats, the vice chairman of Goldman Sachs International. "There is no energy policy and no real effort to reduce our voracious demand of foreign capital. The U.S. pulled in 80 percent of total world savings last year [largely to finance our consumption]." That's a big reason why some "43 percent of all U.S. Treasury bills, notes and bonds are now held by foreigners," Mr. Hormats said.

And the foreign holders of all those bonds are listening to our debate. They are listening to a country that is refusing to raise taxes, and an administration talking about borrowing an additional $2 trillion so Americans can invest some of their Social Security money in stocks. If that happened, it would almost certainly weaken the dollar, further depreciating the U.S. Treasury bonds held by all those foreigners.

On Monday, the Bank of Korea said it planned to diversify more of its reserves into nondollar assets, after years of holding too many low-yielding and depreciating U.S. government securities. The fear that this could become a trend sparked a major sell-off in U.S. equity markets on Tuesday. To calm the markets, the Koreans said the next day that they had no intention of selling their dollars.


Look, this is pretty simple. The dollar rises and falls with interest rates. When interest rates are low, (especially relative to inflation), the dollar will decline. When interest rates are high, the dollar will rise. This is not all that surprising when you think about it. Foreigners are looking for two things when they invest their money. Safety (and US Treasuries are the safest investments in the world) and return.

Those who disagree usually point to the Euro/Dollar exchange rate. The advantage to this from their standpoint is that the Euro has only been around for a few years (it started trading in late 1998). The dollar has shown a rather precipitous plunge in value against the Euro. Where one Euro used to be worth as little as 84 cents, it is now worth $1.32. Sounds horrifying, but in fact the dollar bounces around against other major currencies as well.

Consider the British pound. It has been around for quite awhile longer than the Euro, with the result that we can watch the ups and downs for several cycles of the economy. Exchange rates for any period in history can be calculated here. The pound is currently worth about $1.91, while as recently as June of 2001, it was worth $1.38. You can see that's a pretty sharp increase in the value of the pound compared to the dollar in just 3-1/2 years. Is the sky falling?

Hardly. Let's go back further in time. In September of 1992, the pound was worth a shade over $2.00. This represented a substantial rise in value for the pound (and loss in value for the dollar), which had been worth as little as $1.05 in March 1985. But in 1980, the pound had been worth as high as $2.44, much higher than today. This had been a substantial loss in value for the dollar, since the pound was worth only $1.64 in late 1976. But before that, the dollar had been worth quite a bit less, with the pound worth over $2.60 in early 1972.

Beginning to see the picture? The dollar rises and falls against the pound, sometimes quite sharply, but always staying within a range. The current fall is not that significant in historical terms, as the dollar was lower in 1992 and much lower in 1980 and the early 1970s.

So don't worry about the chicken littles out there. Thomas Friedman has an impressive grasp of foreign policy, but he has little understanding of basic economics.
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Wednesday, February 23, 2005
 
Is Our Teachers Teaching?

Lorie Byrd points out that the sixth grade class who wrote letters to a serviceman in South Korea was wrong on several levels, starting with the idiot teacher who sent the letters.
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Kitty Does Some Laundry

She's come up with a new blog called "Briefs and Other Unmentionables" where she's posting some of her short fiction. I loved the short story about how they slid the dead man down the stairs; very vivid scene.
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AARP Lying Down With Dogs?

Ankle-Biting Pundits has the story.
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The Significance of the Miracle On Ice

Superhawk of Right Wing Nuthouse has a superb retrospective on the situation in the United States when the US hockey team stunned the world by defeating the mighty Soviet Union.
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New to the Blogroll: No Pundit Intended

Joel Gaines is not new to me, however. Over at Kerry Haters we had a brief feature optimistically called "Microbe of the Day", where we tried to locate a small blog that deserved a wider audience. We found some excellent blogs that way, including Red Line Rants (where have you gone, Tyler?) and the Nudnik File (which I will add to the blogroll shortly). The third Microbe of the Day was No Pundit Intended. Joel's a fine blogger with that eye for the good story, the willingness to riff on the subject, and the talent to do it well.

Here he links to an article that appears to confirm the NY Times' shoddy work on a story regarding an infant found alive after the tsunami whom seven parents were reportedly fighting over. The article indicates that the Times' reporter was wrong on the story, that only one couple was claiming the baby, and that the story had delayed the baby's return to the parents while DNA tests confirmed the paternity.

The interesting thing about this story is that it sparked a minor bit of infighting among two conservative blogs. One is Wizbang, the top 20 blog, and the other is Carnivorous Conservative, which, while not nearly as well-known is certainly not an insignificant blog. CC won our Phony John Kerry Magazine Story Contest at KH with an absolutely hilarious post about John Kerry's own Miracle on Ice. However, I confess I don't get what Dan's driving at with his crusade against Wizbang over this story, which seems relatively straightforward.

At any rate, stop in and say hello to Joel at No Pundit Intended. Great blogger, going places.
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Tuesday, February 22, 2005
 
The Immigration Issue

I don't blog on this much, but our buddy Grant from Australia has a very intelligent post on the matter.

So what has any of this got to do with Australia's immigration policies? At a time when Australia is coming under fire internally and externally for its treatment of migrants we can look to these developments in Scandinavia as evidence of the consequences of tolerant open-border policies. Second we can also look at some of the responses these countries have made to the problems.

Grant's post is certainly relevant to the debate in the US on immigration.
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This is Very Interesting

In the Right Place comes up with a new method for rating Senators and Congressmen, and then ranks the entire Congress. An impressive amount of work went into this project.
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Hinchey Ignores First Rule of Holes

I've kind of ignored the story about a congressman who thinks Karl Rove was behind Rathergate. I mean, when you consider that the leader of the DNC speculated that the Saudis told President Bush about 9-11 in advance, it's a little hard to get exercised over this laughable conspiracy theory. But Danegerus has kept up with it, and notes that Hinchey is still digging.
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The Signal That the Cynical 1970s Was Over




I don't know whether the event was historic in the sense that it changed the world, but the Miracle on Ice is something of a dividing line in my life. I was still a bitter and angry young leftist when the USA hockey team took to their skates that night in Lake Placid; by the time they celebrated I was cheering "USA, USA!" It wasn't the end of my personal cynicism, but it was a major crack in the wall.

Nine months later Ronald Wilson Reagan was elected to his first term, and the US, which had been flat on its back for much of the 1970s (and would endure a sharp and painful recession in 1981-82) had finally gotten on the right track. By the time the decade was over, communism was thoroughly defeated, the Dow had begun its dizzying spiral upwards, and I was a registered Republican.
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'Free Mojtaba and Arash Day'

Story here.
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Wolfe on Gonzo

In the Wall Street today:

When we reached the tent, the flap-keepers refused to let him enter with the whiskey. A loud argument broke out. I whispered to Hunter. "Just give me the glass and I'll hold under my jacket and give it back to you inside." That didn't interest him in the slightest. What I failed to realize was that it was not about getting into the tent or drinking whiskey. It was the grand finale of an event, a happening aimed at turning the conventional order of things upside down. By and by we were all ejected from the premises, and Hunter couldn't have been happier. The curtain came down for the evening.
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Monday, February 21, 2005
 
The Problem With the Lefty Blogs

It's that there's no attempt to correct bits of the story that turn out to be untrue. I mean, here we are nearing Week Three of the Humongous Jeff Gannon Experience, and there are still lefty bloggers spreading disinformation. A tiny blog called Minnesota Politics got into an email exchange with the guys at Power Line.

Here's what the guy wrote:

Your recent post on the JD Guckert/Jeff Gannon story has to be one of the saddest examples of conservative head-in-sand syndrome I have ever seen. You claim that there are three issues being brought up by liberals: 1) He isn't a "real" journalist, 2) He was a Bush administration plant, and 3) He had something--(God knows what)--to do with the Valerie Plame story. Of course, you blatantly ignore the most important issue, the one that is easily found on hundreds of blogs covering the story: how did a person using a fake name get access to the White House? If I applied for a pass to the White House using the name "Max Power", I would not get in unless I had some friends high up at the top. A closely-related issue is exactly what the links are between GOPUSA and Talon News. Now, you may think it perfectly acceptable for the President and press secretary to consistently call on a reporter who is working for what is essentially an arm of the Republican Party. If so, it would be nice if you would admit it. That doesn't mean that others aren't allowed to have a problem with that arrangement, however.

Now, of course, if you've been paying attention that "most important issue" has been debunked thoroughly. Gannon, when applying for his press passes gave both his real and working name, along with his real Social Security #.

"I requested clearance each day via an e-mail to the White House Press office the night before. I gave them my professional name, my legal name, my social security number, my address and phone number, and the news service where I worked," he said. "I assumed that there was some kind of cursory check that they do, but did not know what. They never asked me for more information." He said he usually went to press briefings there “at least once a week," or more.

What gave this post legs, of course, was Hindrocket's rather intemperate and profanity-laced response, for which he has apologized.

But to me the more important thing is that the lefty bloggers can't apparently keep up with their own story. The E&P article linked above came out 10 days ago, for chrissakes! This story is getting wall-to-wall coverage and this yo-yo still doesn't understand that the "most important issue" has been debunked a week and a half ago? Why is that?

I'll tell you why. Because the lefty bloggers are not interested in getting at the truth, they are only interested in getting ammunition. They are pathetic.
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Left Wing Hypocrisy

Michael Gallaugher has a quote that would have the liberals steaming, if only Dr. Dobson had said it. Unfortunately, it was Bill Maher.
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Pinball Memories II

This is Gottlieb's Troubador, the first pinball game that I can remember playing regularly. It came out in 1967, when I was in seventh grade. There was a new pool hall in the next town over, which advertised itself as family-friendly. In addition to the pool tables they had this little pinball machine.



Troubador was a fairly simple game to understand. Light up the numbers 1-4 in any of four different colors to light the specials, which were located in the kickout holes in the center. The odd thing about the kickout holes was that they passed the ball to the next kickout hole on the right, with the exception of the green one, which passed the ball down to the flippers. If you got the ball in the white hole, it would pass it to the red hole, and then the yellow and finally the green. The game was not particularly difficult and I still remember the first time I got all four specials in a row.

Previous entry in this series.
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Hunter Thompson, RIP

His Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas was one of the funniest books ever written. He was a long-time Democrat; one of the odder stories we picked up at Kerry Haters was Kerry picking him up and driving with him around Aspen during the campaign. It was as if Kerry was doing a salute to the 1960s cultural icons (although Thompson was more famous in the 1970s.

Here's a really interesting tidbit: According to the site staff at Lucianne.com, Thompson was an L-Dotter! Scroll down to reply #37.

We never reveal who our posters are while they are alive but we don't think Hunter would be offended if now, in death, we let you know that he posted here for years. His site ID was 'Catalina.' He had some interesting things to say.

If that surprises, you'd REALLY be surprised at who else is here right now.
We're smiling.
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Sunday, February 20, 2005
 
Ten Things I Like About Comics--#3

Given that comics are mostly drawn by men, it is only natural that the artists would occasionally give free rein to their appreciation for the female form. And given that most comics of the 1940s to the 1970s were bought by adolescent boys, it is not surprising that editors would encourage this tendency. Indeed, one publishing company of the 1940s, Fiction House, seemed to survive on nothing but cheesecake. They published 167 issues of Jungle Comics, virtually every one of which featured a nearly naked woman about to be ravaged by an animal as Ka'a'nga swooped in to the rescue.




Of all the voluptuous ladies of comicdom, one stands out: Bill Ward's Torchy. Ward's women were always amazingly beautiful, leggy gals in varying states of undress (always integral to the plot, however! ;) Torchy is a classic example, with a body that would make Barbie feel inadequate. Her legs seemingly stretch to the sky, and her breasts... well, judge for yourself:







For the prior entry in this series, click here.
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Superb Fisking

By Ms Falconer's Cabana Boy of an LA Times column on Easongate.
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Republicans and Blacks

Teflon makes some excellent points on which party is responsible for the end of segregation in the South.
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The Peaches Story

Sgt. Russ Vaughn became known as the poet laureate of the 2004 campaign with his great poems about John Fraude Kerry. But he can also write some gripping prose.
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What If the Rest of the Fantastic Four Were Peaceniks?

Lefty Bloggers on Gay Witchhunt (linked by 16 blogs including Instapundit)

Kitty Myers Breaks Christmas in Cambodia

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