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Saturday, May 07, 2005
 
In Defense of Candidate Kerry

Captain Ed has noticed that Kerry is giving out strong signals that he will be running in 2008. Ed's a little scornful:

The truth is that Kerry is a dreadful candidate -- no record to speak of, a pretentious speaker, with clumsy political skills that would have killed his career anywhere else but in Massachusetts.

It's fairly safe to say that the Left feels the same way. Of course, they'd cut to the heart of the matter in their minds: Kerry was running against Chimpy Shrub McHitler and he lost, therefore he's a terrible candidate.

It seems to me that if those of us on the Right want to accept the Left's conclusion, we are going to have a very tough time avoiding their premise. Consider: If we agree that Kerry was a terrible candidate, then what would have happened if Kerry had been a better candidate? Suppose he hadn't ordered up that ridiculous hagiography Tour of Duty. Suppose he'd made a clean break with his Vietnam protesting past by admitting to Tim Russert that he'd made a mistake in trusting the people who testified at the Winter Soldier hearings, that he no longer believed that Vietnam veterans had been guilty of all those war crimes he accused them of committing?

The answer is that Kerry would have been elected President of the United States on November 2, 2004. The Swift Boat Vets would never have been heard. Admiral Hoffman started the group because of comments Kerry made about him in Tour of Duty; as recently as 1996 Hoffman had supported Kerry in his political campaigns. Kerry's not spending Christmas in Cambodia would have been a lot harder sell to the media without the quite obvious fact that Tour of Duty never mentioned his boat crossing the border, and that was the one thing that gave the Swift Boat Vets credibility right off the bat, that one of their first charges stuck to Kerry and could not be explained away.

But if we buy that Kerry would have been elected President by just avoiding a few simple mistakes, what does that say about our guy? What does that say about our side? Most Republicans think President Bush ran a solid campaign. Certainly the convention was a masterpiece. About the only stumble I can remember along the way is when the staff gave him quaaludes before the first debate.

If we accept that Kerry was a lousy candidate who ran a lousy campaign, then our candidate is, as Harry Reid put it, a loser. A loser who got lucky and won, but would have been beaten like a bongo by a more nimble opponent.

Now we can mutter "What about the mainstream media throwing in the towel on objectivity and balance?" Well, the obvious question there is do we believe that they're going to stop, or that they just started? No, so it's just part of the landscape, something we have to factor into our calculations.

I may get drummed out of the Legion of Kerry Haters for this, but I think Kerry was a solid candidate who ran a very good campaign. He did make some mistakes, but in retrospect they may not have been that harmful, and some may have been calculated mistakes.

Let's remember what Kerry was facing after he finished off the field in the Democratic primaries: An incumbent, wartime President who was presiding over a period of low unemployment, low inflation and low interest rates. He was a sitting Senator, and those guys almost never succeed in making the leap. He was from Massachusetts and had a ridiculously liberal voting record. He had managed to piss off a large segment of Vietnam veterans.

So with all that he was facing, how is it that going into the Democratic convention in late July he was dead even or slightly ahead in the polls? How is it that at the end, a switch of about 60,000 votes in Ohio would have won him the big job?

The answer is that he got every single vote from his base. He didn't turn his back on his anti-Vietnam War buddies when he had the chance with Russert because he knew that much like Jane Fonda, he wasn't going to win back supporters among the Vietnam vet community with an apology 32 years later.

He did of course lots of things that did not appeal to the center or center-right, which encouraged Kerry Haters like me to say he was running a lousy campaign. But at the end of the day he nearly triumphed against tough odds, so he did not run a bad campaign after all. It seems to me that our side has to accept that, or accept that we don't really have a mandate to govern. I'll take the first choice.
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Suddenly a Liberal Gets It On PBS

Jonathan Chait on PBS:

The irony is that, if Gingrich had succeeded, PBS wouldn't be in these straits today. The only reason PBS has to have GOP partisans scrubbing it of any faint signs of residual liberalism is that it has to answer to the federal government. That made sense in the 1960s, when PBS was founded. There were only three broadcast networks, which forced them to cater to the broadest possible public taste. PBS needed taxpayer support in order to provide programming for a smaller, highbrow audience.

In a world of cable television, however, it's far easier to satisfy a narrow audience and still make money. As Jack Shafer of the online magazine Slate has pointed out, the CPB controls a large share of the radio and television broadcast spectrum, which it could sell for a huge endowment and still broadcast on cable.


Of course, the only reason Chait wants to cut the strings is because he sees PBS suddenly becoming more balanced. He wants to maintain the liberal bias.
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Friday, May 06, 2005
 
The Reality-Based Community?

Hoo-boy this one is getting a lot of chuckles from my fellow L-Dotters:

In one of the dreams that former President Bill Clinton hopes to make a reality with his upcoming world forum in New York City, Palestinians would make solar panels for energy and it would "work like hot cakes."

Or a group would "adopt" 100 tiny villages in Latin America and send out solar generators hauled on an animal-drawn cart to power educational television.


Heh, as one of the commenters pointed out, the second option is a "three-fer" liberal pipe dream--solar power, animal drawn cart (can't use one of those smoke-belching trucks), and educational TV. Maybe they could even watch the Gore channel.
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Smoking Memo?

I tuned in Airhead America this afternoon during a commercial break on my regular station, and Randi Rhodes was waxing rhapsodic about a memo supposedly prepared for Tony Blair in July of 2002 that supposedly proves that the Bush Administration lied about its reasons for going to war with Iraq. Today Power Line provides a link to the London Times transcript of the memo. I don't have time this evening to go into the whole thing but Power Line does a good job of rebutting Juan Cole's fevered imaginings.

What gets me about the memo is that it's too good by half. Listen to this:

John Scarlett summarised the intelligence and latest JIC assessment. Saddam's regime was tough and based on extreme fear. The only way to overthrow it was likely to be by massive military action. Saddam was worried and expected an attack, probably by air and land, but he was not convinced that it would be immediate or overwhelming. His regime expected their neighbours to line up with the US. Saddam knew that regular army morale was poor. Real support for Saddam among the public was probably narrowly based.

C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.


First reactions: Why the past tense? Remember this memo was created in July of 2002, before the invastion. "Real support for Saddam... was probably narrowly based". Shouldn't it be "Real support for Saddam is probably narrowly based?" Maybe it's a style point, maybe it's one of those idiosynchracies between US grammar and British. But it's striking.

Doesn't the whole part quoted have the sound of something written well after the fact? Especially the last sentence, which sounds far too perfect. Remember at this point in the memo, the participants haven't discussed the war yet; that comes next on the agenda. But the memo writer is already noting that the Americans have no plan for after the war? I don't buy it for a second.

Of course, the lefties are seizing on the line about "But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy." It certainly fits the lefties' talking points to a "T", but the problem as Power Line lays out:

But we know that isn't true. The consensus estimate of the U.S. intelligence community has been made public, and it clearly says that, with a high degree of confidence, Iraq possesses chemical and biological weapons. The Senate Intelligence Committee's report has confirmed that this is what the intelligence community believed and reported to the President, and that there is no evidence that the administration improperly influenced the gathering or reporting of intelligence ("The Committee did not find any evidence that Administration officials attempted to coerce, influence or pressure analysts to change their judgments related to Iraq's weapons of mass destruction capabilities.")

I suspect that the memo has received some degree of vetting; the London Times is not CBS News. Unfortunately, the Times has only the transcript and not a copy so it can't be verified in any other way (e.g., initials, signatures, etc.). But I'd be very surprised if this is a completely original memorandum prepared shortly after a meeting on July 23, 2002 as it is purported to be.
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Benny Peiser Update

I wrote about this earlier in the week. Tim Lambert followed up on the story and asked Benny Peiser to send him the abstracts for the papers in question which he has done. The abstracts do not appear to me to be conclusive either way on this issue; obviously the commenters over there do not agree. Make up your own mind, but remember, for Peiser to be right, only one of the abstracts has to skeptical of man-caused global warming. (There are a couple of other issues with regards to both studies, but that seems to be the crux). Lambert strikes me as a believer in GW, but not a true believer--i.e., his belief is based on his interpretation of the science, not on lefty faith that we're destroying the planet (which is where most of the non-scientific GW apostles start).
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Over at Silver Age Comics

I look at one difference between Krypton and Tennessee.
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The Epitome of Bleeding Heart Liberalism

Sheesh, read this article.

That person — authorities don't know who — found an entry about Claxton's molestation of a young girl 15 years ago, printed it out on bright yellow paper and blanketed the neighborhood with dozens of fliers.

The poster didn't mention that the 5-foot-9, 135-pound Claxton relied on a wheelchair, that police no longer considered him a serious threat and that he had no further sex offenses. But the flier's creator saw fit to add something incendiary. At the bottom of the page, in bold block letters, were the words "CHILD RAPIST."

Four days after the fliers appeared, 38-year-old Chuckie Claxton was found dead, an empty bottle of scotch, a bag of pills and one of the posters beside him.


Now the article goes out of its way to convince us that it was a suicide by an otherwise okay guy who just made one mistake, and after all, he was in a wheelchair. Except....

1. Chuckie was in the wheelchair when he molested the girl:

A flu vaccination at age 10 led to a viral infection that put the avid Cub Scout into a coma. He awoke to a world of wheelchairs and leg braces, of seizures and epilepsy and no bladder control — a world, Jane and Chuck Claxton say, in which mentally he would be forever a boy.

In 1991, prosecutors in Tacoma, Wash., charged the then-24-year-old Claxton with two counts of first-degree child rape. Police say Claxton took his caretaker's 6-year-old daughter up to the attic on several occasions, had oral sex with her and forced her to perform oral sex on him.


2. The "suicide" part is undercut by this:

In January, he overdosed on alcohol, pills and cocaine. He was in a coma for a week.

The posters didn't appear in the neighborhood until April 18th. So what was the reason for his "suicide" attempt back then? The obvious answer is that there was none, he just drank and did coke and pills. So why the assumption that he committed suicide this time?

And absurdly there's this little tidbit:

They ripped it down. But the following day, Claxton saw another flier while riding his scooter down the road — this one with the "CHILD RAPIST" warning.

"That's not true, Mom," Jane Claxton recalls him shouting.


To review:

In 1991, prosecutors in Tacoma, Wash., charged the then-24-year-old Claxton with two counts of first-degree child rape.

Sheesh!
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Our Lebanese Friends

At Ya Libnan have a bold new look, with continuing coverage of the Cedar Revolution, along with arts & culture, travel & leisure and even humor. As their masthead says, a new Lebanon deserves a new Ya Libnan! If you want the inside story on Lebanon, Ya Libnan is the place to go.
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Terrific Interview with Author of "South Park Conservatives"

I haven't been paying too much attention to the book "South Park Conservatives", probably because I've seen only a couple episodes of South Park. But this is a tremendous interview, and Brian Anderson, the author, clearly knows his politics.

Do you think that in 10-20 years the GOP is going to look more like Tom DeLay's party, or Arnold Schwarzenegger's party? Why?

Evangelical Protestants are the most rapidly expanding religious demographic in the U.S.—they make up almost a third of the adult population now—and the most religiously committed among them describe themselves as politically conservative. Evangelicals gave George W. Bush roughly four out of every ten votes he received in 2000, and white Evangelicals now make up nearly a third of registered voters. So the GOP will look more like DeLay’s party than Schwarzenegger’s, I’d say. Yet you’ll need both kinds of people in the GOP if it is to remain a governing party.


Wonderful, intelligent stuff.
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Yeah, He's Running

Check out this headline:

Kerry Criticizes Mass. Democrats For Gay Marriage Support

U.S. Sen. John Kerry, visiting Louisiana for a forum on children's health care, criticized the Massachusetts Democratic Party for its expected approval of a statement in the party platform in support of same-sex marriage.

"I think it's a mistake," Kerry said. "I think it's the wrong thing, and I'm not sure it reflects the broad view of the Democratic Party in our state."


No comments on this hate speech yet from Andrew Sullivan.
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There Has to Be Two Sides to Every Issue

But this is a tad ridiculous. Talking about phony SEALs and other wannabes, the WSJ reports:

Challenges to the authenticity of a medal -- or to the event that led to the award -- can have devastating consequences. Adm. Jeremy Boorda committed suicide in 1996 after Newsweek magazine inquired about two combat decorations that were allegedly unearned.

For that reason, among others, some civilians find the zeal to unmask fake honorees disquieting; these critics compare the Web-site operators to vigilantes and wonder what all the fuss is about.

Even Pam Roach, a Washington state senator who in March 2004 spearheaded a new law that makes it a crime to profit by falsely claiming to be a military veteran, has some reservations about the Web sites. "Determining if someone served in the military is easy, but what's in the middle -- the medals and the honors -- is tough to prove," she says.


Actually, they are not all that tough to prove, as we learned during the presidential campaign last year. With all the controversy over Kerry's Purple Hearts, and Silver and Bronze Star, nobody questioned the fact that he had received the awards.

Boorda's case is not even close to what most of the article is about--people who falsely claim to have been stud military types, like Rangers, or SEALs or even worse, people who pretend to have been POWs. Many of these types use their supposed credibility as elite soldiers to talk against the US military. Ward Churchill and Micah Wright are just the most recent examples.
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Thursday, May 05, 2005
 
Survivor Recap

For the second time this year one of the women was left with her mouth agape at the end of tribal council, and I suspect that just as the last time, she'll be the next to go.

The Reward Challenge really did a great job of breaking apart the alliance of five. Obviously Ian took it quite personally when Katie doused his lantern and then Gregg made the critical mistake of taking the two women away with him. He really should have taken Ian or Tom as his third person to keep those two apart--probably Ian because of his closer pairing with Katie.

I was definitely amused at the part where Katie admitted that she doesn't want to be in the final two with Ian. That seemed stupid at first blush, but it may be smart. Isn't she subtly saying to Ian, "Take me, because you'll win that way?"

Next week the plotting should get interesting. Jenn should be pissed, and Caryn & Katie may be up for resurrecting the all-girl alliance. None of those women want to go up against the men in the last couple challenges. It makes a lot of sense, but as one of my ICQ buddies reminds me, the people in these games rarely do what seems like the sensible thing.
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Left of Center Bloggers Pick Their Favorite Columnists

John Hawkins has the lefty counterpart to his prior right-of-center favorites. Christopher Hitchens was selected on both lists; otherwise there was no overlap. I was a little surprised to see how weak the field was. Joe Conason #2? And no mention of Nicholas Kristof; indeed, few moderates at all (Broder's the closest thing to a centrist).
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Before & After Photos

Don't mess with the USA! Very amusing set of pictures, especially the last one. :)
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Blair Wins, Tories Move Up

And the anti-war Liberal Democrats do worse than expected.

The BBC and ITV projections, based on a survey of 13,000 or more voters in 115 closely contested districts, suggested Labour would win 356 seats, ahead of the Conservatives with 209. The Liberal Democrats, the only major party to oppose the Iraq war, were projected to win 53 seats — for them a disappointing gain of two seats.
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She Blinded Me With Science

Pamela Winnick finds some textbook errors:

A study commissioned by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation in 2001 found 500 pages of scientific error in 12 middle-school textbooks used by 85 percent of the students in the country. One misstates Newton's first law of motion. Another says humans can't hear elephants. Another confuses "gravity" with "gravitational acceleration." Another shows the equator running through the United States. Individual scientists draft segments of these books, but reviewing the final product is sometimes left to multicultural committees who have no expertise in science.
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The Beer Liberation Army

Chris at Maryland Observer has a post about how the US Army saved beer. We appreciated their service before, but now we know they made life worth living!
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British Elections

Check out Slugger O'Toole's terrific coverage from the Irish (especially Northern Irish) perspective. Tim Worstall's got Merry Olde under control. These two blogs are terrific, as is Richard Delevan from Dublin (although he doesn't have much up on the election right now).
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Bob Herbert's Latest Turd

The Aidan Delgado saga continues.
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Winning the War

Carlton Sherwood, who produced and narrated the terrific documentary, Stolen Honor, is back with an article in Front Page Magazine that should have John Kerry and Jane Fonda apoplectic. Some of the POWs and their wives who were featured in the documentary, are now forming a new group to educate Americans on what really happened in Vietnam.

For example, contrary to the assertions of Cronkite and others in the mainstream press, the American military had nothing to do with the fall of Saigon, much less losing the war. The last American combat unit left Vietnam in August 1972, nearly three years before the 1975 Communist invasion. The U.S. military remained undefeated in battle throughout the Vietnam War.

Instead, it was Congress or, more specifically, the nearly two to one Democrat majority in the Senate (61 to 37) and the House (291 to 144) in 1975 that voted to cut off all military funding to the Saigon government that was directly responsible for the defeat of South Vietnam. Congressional Democrats literally abandoned our South Vietnamese allies and it was they, not the U.S. military, who were responsible for the carnage that followed, the slaughter, imprisonment and forced "reeducation" of millions of innocent civilians throughout Southeast Asia by an avenging North Vietnamese Army.


They have a decent chance of turning opinion around. There was a lot of talk about John Kerry's 2004 campaign opening old wounds, but I think they needed to be reopened, because infection had set in. For a lot of us, including myself, it was necessary to be confronted one more time with the memories of the Vietnam era, to take a second look at that John Kerry/John O'Neill debate on the Dick Cavett show with the benefit of hindsight and decide once and for all who was really right. Did those of us who were anti-war back in the 1960s and 1970s still want to align ourselves with the Jane Fondas and Walter Cronkites? Or had we finally grown up and realized that the truly admirable people were men like Bud Day and Paul Galanti?

There are cracks appearing the wall of disinformation about Vietnam. Amazingly, on the 30th anniversary of the fall of Saigon, the New York Times published this article on "The War We Could Have Won".

Precisely because Vietnam has changed for the better, we need to recognize what a profoundly ideological and aggressive totalitarian regime we faced three, four and five decades ago. And out of respect for the evidence of history, we need to recognize what happened in the 1970's and why.

In 1974-75, the United States snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Hundreds of thousands of our Vietnamese allies were incarcerated, and more than a million driven into exile. The awesome image of the United States was diminished, and its enemies were thereby emboldened, drawing the United States into new conflicts by proxy in Afghanistan, Africa and Latin America. And the bitterness of so many American war veterans, who saw their sacrifices so casually demeaned and unnecessarily squandered, haunts American society and political life to this day.
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Wednesday, May 04, 2005
 
Another Aidan Delgado/John Kerry Similarity

Welcome Polipundit readers! Please look around and if you like what you see, consider bookmarking this blog's home page.

Happened across this superb post by Neo-neocon while reading at Roger L. Simon's blog. Neo-neo makes a great point about Kerry never living up to his promise on the Dick Cavett Show to produce depositions from the soldiers quoted in the Winter Soldier Investigation. Which of course means that his promise to sign the Form 180 is a comparatively recent pledge on national TV that he's failed to fulfill.

But the thing that caught my eye was this:

Kerry: But what we're saying is – and the reason that some of these men have not signed depositions is very, very simple, and it's up to each individual. One reason is that specifically they are not looking to implicate other people.

Aidan Delgado in an interview a few months ago:

I'm not really interested in naming names or getting culprits caught; I'm just interested in letting people know that what happened in Abu Ghraib was not an anomaly. It was virtually standard operating procedure.

What are both Kerry and Delgado saying? They're not interested in naming names. They don't want the people who committed these supposed war crimes to be blamed "specifically". They want the military blamed in general. They want supposed specific incidents inflated into thousands of similar or worse incidents everywhere. Which of course smears all their fellow soldiers.

Update: Delgado returns in Herbert's column today with a direct statement which confirms this objective:

His goal, he said, is to convince his listeners that the abuse of innocent Iraqis by the American military is not limited to "a few bad apples," as the military would like the public to believe. "At what point," he asked, "does a series of 'isolated incidents' become a pattern of intolerable behavior?"

As I said a long time ago, most people don't see where John Kerry really smeared the military. It was not when he said, "They told the stories at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, tape wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan...."

It was this, much less often quoted passage from his testimony to the Senate:

"...many very highly decorated veterans testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia, not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command."
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Bolton's Latest Problem

Rumor is that one of his childhood friends is going to announce that this was John Bolton's favorite comic book:


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The Okay Kind of Child Sexual Abuse

Bill Maher lays it out for you in regard to the Michael Jackson incident:

Bill Maher: "I think that there is no perspective. People have no perspective, especially about crime. You know, zero tolerance. You know, of course, nobody ever wants to see a child, you know, diddled. That’s just plain wrong. But even the people who are testifying against him, they’re saying that he serviced them. They didn’t service him."

Craig Ferguson: "You don’t have kids, do you, Bill?"

Maher: "No."

Ferguson: "No. I have a son. It makes me crazy, this thing, this Michael Jackson thing. It drives me, the idea of someone touching my kid, I would go, I nearly swore there. I’d go crazy."

Maher: "Very wrong. But, you know, I remember when I was a kid. I was savagely beaten once by bullies in the schoolyard. Savagely beaten. If I had a choice between being savagely beaten and being gently masturbated by a pop star. It’s just me."


Hat Tip: Hugh Hewitt
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Kerry Spent $3000 To Humiliate Himself?

Everybody else is focusing on the fact that Kerry's campaign paid for parking tickets, but note this:

Kerry, meanwhile, used presidential campaign funds for a $3,150 tab for Boston Red Sox tickets in July when he threw out the first pitch at Fenway Park before the Democratic National Convention.

Heh, we had a LOT of fun with that opening pitch, which Kerry, after spending a good part of the Spring and Summer tossing a ball around on the tarmac and pretending to be a stud athlete, managed to bounce about five feet in front of home plate. President Bush's campaign certainly didn't miss it and in a hilarious inside joke during the RNC, they showed his grooved strike at the 2001 World Series as a contrast to Kerry's miss.

I can't tell you how glad I am that Kerry spent $3,000 on those tickets.

Hat Tip: Political Capital
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Moron Delgado's Evolving Story:

As told to Lip Magazine:

Another provision of the Conventions is that prisoners have to be protected. We were taking constant mortar and artillery bombardment [at Abu Ghraib] from the insurgents outside the prison. Of course, [the prisoners] weren't protected; they were in open tents, and over 50 of them were killed because they were out in the open, they couldn't flee, and they had no cover.

Bob Herbert in the NY Times Monday:

The G.I.'s at Abu Ghraib lived in cells while most of the detainees were housed in large overcrowded tents set up in outdoor compounds that were vulnerable to mortars fired by insurgents. The Army acknowledges that at least 32 Abu Ghraib detainees were killed by mortar fire.

Thirty-two is not the same as "over 50".

It's also interesting that with all the talk about Abu Ghraib, this is the first I've heard that the insurgents killed far more prisoners there than US soldiers did.
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Click & Clack, Political Genuises

How to annoy a large segment of your audience in one easy lesson:

The guys who host "Car Talk" on National Public Radio -- brothers Tom and Ray Magliozzi -- were in Washington yesterday to visit with some of the powerful government officials whose support for public radio is so vital. They also sat for a rare interview.

"George Bush is a [unprintable vulgarity]," Tom Magliozzi says, about three minutes into the interview.


Dope!
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Environmental Hypocrisy

Greenpeace breaks environmental laws.

Hat Tip: Polipundit
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Aidan Delgado Links

Michelle Malkin checks in here.

Rich Lowry notes that Delgado's story is evolving.

Jason van Steenwyk's suspicious as well. Hat Tip: Media Lies

Here's a Leftist who agrees with Ted Rall on not supporting the troops. More on that theme from somebody who calls himself the Sorest Loser.

If anybody wants to look for some more of Delgado's claims to be disproven, here's a good starting point.
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Amazing Race--Update on Meredith & Gretchen!

Our buddy Chris of Lucky Dawg News found out why Meredith & Gretchen did so well in the contest. Meredith's official bio stresses his experience as a business executive, but before that he was a sentinel at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Note this:

Most Memorable Moment at Tomb:
Each time I stepped upon the mat!


So his appearance in the Amazing Race (which ends each leg with the players stepping onto a mat) is especially appropriate. Chris also noted that it explains his giving money to the POW and the Beauty Queen to help them out.

Here's some discussion of how difficult it is to become one of those sentinels. We'll assume that Meredith was a top physical specimen then, and according to his official bio he holds several masters swimming records as well.

Mr Smith, we tip our hats to you!

Correction: Sorry, it was Chris from this blog who provided the info on Meredith Smith.
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Aidan Delgado Story Getting Blogswarmed

Power Line checks in here. Apparently the issue of bottles versus cans has been resolved; bottles did indeed exist according to commenters at Mudville Gazette. One of Hinderaker's emailers notes the similarity to Kerry:

Recall that John Kerry gave sworn testimony before Congress that he and other troops “routinely” committed atrocities and war crimes in Viet Nam. Kerry’s exaggerations, hearsay statements, and outright lies were celebrated by the press, and launched a career seeking the presidency. Some things never change.

That's why I called him the John Kerry of his generation two days ago.

One interesting thing about Delgado that I haven't seen elsewhere. Although Delgado (as Power Line suggests) has been a fixture on the anti-war lecture circuit and appears on over 3400 web pages per Google, there are only 4 news sites on Google that mention his name (one of which is Power Line). The New York Times had never mentioned his name prior to Herbert's column. Since we assume his charges could not have been unknown to journalists, this suggests to me that the media had looked into his story and found it less than credible. And this makes sense, for if you look at where Delgado is mentioned on the web, included in the top ten are goofball lefty sites like Alternet, Information Clearing House, Democracy Now, Indy Media, etc.

Hat Tip: Grendel's Dragon, who has a good recap of the story so far.
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And That's No Baloney

Nice story about a pair of brothers showing their support for the troops by sending 23,000 salamis to Iraq.
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Tuesday, May 03, 2005
 
The Amazing Race Update

Brief glimpse of the Hagia Sophia from the taxis. Here's what it looks like:




Years ago my mother sent me a postcard from Istanbul with a spectacular picture of this amazing building. What you can't get a feel for in the picture above is the scale; it's an immense structure. Constructed almost 1500 years ago, it served for 900 years as a Byzantine church, and 500 years after that as a Mosque.

Quick bit of the whirling dervishes (Rob and Ambuh are obviously unimpressed) and then it's off to London. Rob & Ambuh and Ron & Kelly make up for missing the earlier flight to Istanbul last week by flying through Frankfurt and then to Jolly Olde. Uchenna & Joyce make the classic reality-game mistake of assuming they've done good enough. How ironic is it that the team that got ahead by digging harder last week settles back this week?

As a result the singles get almost a 90-minute head start on the married couples. The first task was to find the zebra crossing where the photo for the cover of Abbey Road was taken. From there they have to go to a giant Ferris wheel on the Thames, and locate a flag from up in the air. This part was a little repetitive as no couple took more than one rotation of the wheel to locate the flag.

Next comes the detour. I would have been absolutely furious had I missed out on doing the Sherlock Holmes task (but of course I would take brains over brawn any day). Notice as well that neither of the single couples knew about 221b Baker Street. DOH! That should cost them more than just a few seconds to ask a passerby; where's the "brains" in that?

Uchenna & Joyce showed their class during the boat task when Uchenna offered to help Meredith & Gretchen. Of course, this was against the rules, but it was a nice gesture.

Next comes the roadblock, but first Rob & Ambuh force the POW & the Beauty Queen to yield. We learn afterwards that Ron used to fly a $30 million helicopter, but for some reason Kelly opts to do the roadblock task, which is to guide a London Double-Decker bus through an obstacle course. Rob has already completed his run by the time they get there. Nobody gets through it the first few times and for a brief while all the teams except the Survivor duo are on the course. Uchenna also bizarrely elects to allow Joyce to drive, but at least the retirees are sensible and have Meredith take the wheel. After all what would the producers do without the shots of Gretchen shaking her head in disgust and disappointment?

We'll find out next week, as Team Auldephart finally bit the dust tonight. Rob & Ambuh won and sickeningly, there was a reward for winning the race. Arrgghhhh! Those two are the best argument for the Death Tax yet; talk about undeserved wealth!

Next Week: Grand Finale!

Viking Pundit has his recap prepared, as has Kris of Dummocrats. One of the commenters at Kris' blog makes an interesting point. Ambuh wanted to Yield Uchenna and Joyce, which probably would have been smarter. Rob & she ended up completing the rest of the tasks just a little faster than Ron & Kelly, so they really didn't gain their first-place finish tonight because of the Yield. And inevitably there will be a transportation bottleneck next week that results in all the teams being effectively tied, so they gained nothing by Yielding the POW & the Beauty Queen. Had they forced Team Africa to yield for an hour it would probably have meant that the old couple would have finished third, making Team Survivor's competition in the final that much weaker.
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British Election Update

Tim Worstall has his recommended picks:

This leaves the Tories as the only viable alternative. Clothes pegs on noses perhaps, but yes, Vote Tory!

Like many American conservatives my sympathies lie with Tony Blair, but I don't have to live with the consequences of a Labour government.
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Who Is Aidan Delgado and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Our Military?

My latest post over at Lifelike Pundits.
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Microbe Mining

Last year at Kerry Haters, I did a little feature called Microbe of the Day, where I tried to find a deserving small blog that had not yet found its audience. Several of those blogs blossomed nicely. So I thought I might take a look the small blogs again.

First observation: Good Lord, there are a lot more of them than there were last summer! The TTLB ecosystem now goes to over 22,500 blogs! And we all know that's just the tip of the iceberg; Blogger reports over 10 million on its site alone. Of course, eight million of those are run by teenage girls angry at their boyfriends, but still!

I came across Grendel's Dragon originally through a Technorati search to see who else had covered John Tierney's latest column (as I did over at Lifelike). Looks like Mike got his start after reading the Mudville Gazette primer on blogging that attracted some attention a couple days ago. Only four posts so far, but two of them are on topics I've blogged as well.

Homo Insapiens is a very funny blog. Faced with the outbreak of democracy around the world, HI notes:

Tyranny might not have been fun but at least the false promises were consistent and the neighbourhood wasn’t littered with posters. But for some reason, democracy keeps coming back like a nasty rash. The US is, of course, partly to blame. Holding elections is about the only American export product that the Chinese have not copied and under priced.

And check out his comments on the EU Constitution:

The French appear to be favouring a no vote on the basis that the constitution does not reduce the working week to 20 minutes. The Irish are favouring a yes vote, hoping for European funding to build a new 18 lane motorway from Dublin airport to Cafferty’s saloon in Malahide. But even if the yeas carry the day in every referendum in 2005, there remains that troublesome island directly to the west of Europe; and a no vote in any one country will scupper the whole idea.

I'll try to do some more Microbe Mining in the next couple of days.
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Fat Man Walking

Here's an interesting story about a man trying to exorcise (or exercise) his demons by a walk across America. Check out his website and especially the journal. I would tend to echo the comment made by one person who said he's not going to make it, except for the fact that he's a former Marine. We know he can handle the punishment.

Good Luck, Steve!
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Humorless Liberals (And Some Conservatives)

Here's the joke Laura Bush told at the White House Correspondents Association dinner:

But I'm proud of George. He's learned a lot about ranching, since that first year when he tried to milk the horse. What's worse, it was a male horse.

Well, some people completely lost it. Never mind that milking the wrong animal or the wrong gender of animal is a staple of country humor.

Moonbatty (there's truth in labeling for you) laments the hypocrisy.

Actually, it played right into my notion of Laura and George. I never mistook them for prim and proper. Bush is quoted as having said that he talks to his dad about “Pussy”, and he’s videotaped flipping off a camera.

They’re exactly what I thought they were. Vulgar. Disgusting. And hypocritical.


Of course, the "Pussy" comment is completely misattributed here, as a moment's reflection would reveal. Who in the world talks to their father about "Pussy" (Ted Kennedy's kids aside)? Actually the person who made that comment was Vernon Jordan, when asked by Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes what Bill Clinton and he talk about on the golf course.

"Jordan said, quote `We talk pussy,'" Wallace reported. Actually he said, "We talk pu____," because the network bleeped half the word "pussy." But pussy is one of those words that you don't have to be a professional lip reader to know when someone is saying, so Wallace and Cutler and CBS News all knew that all we viewers knew that pussy is very much what grandfatherly Mike Wallace had said.

One suspects that Moonbatty will not revise this post to talk about how vulgar and disgusting Bill Clinton and Vernon Jordan are.

A couple of Harvard students are equally appalled:

Tierney wants us to believe that there's nothing but liberal spin and demonization propelling this 'cognitive dissonance' that Democrats feel when Laura jokes to a national audience about going to strip clubs because she's not sexually satisfied by her husband, who apparently masturbated a male horse when he started 'ranching'...

Uh, the part about masturbating a horse is all in your mind, Alex. As usual, it's all about the hypocrisy:

Anyway, the issue, despite how Tierney tries to spin it, is not that Democrats can't imagine Republicans laughing at dirty jokes, but that the same people who espouse 'moral values' and cast an especially prudish shadow on what ought to be appropriate in public seem perfectly at ease making an exception for themselves.

Meanwhile over at the AmSpec, Wlady Pleszczynski has a cow.

(And I won't begin to analyze the Bush milking the male horse joke and what it says about the Bushes' cynical use of the religious right.)

As a commenter at Lucianne put it, Wlighten up, Wlady!

Michelle Malkin has much the same take, although she leavens it a bit:

Most of Mrs. Bush's humor at the correspondents' dinner was just right: Edgy but not over the edge. But I think the stripper and horse jokes were totally beneath her.

She makes the same interpretation of the horse joke:

"Lighten up?" How about cleaning up? The First Lady resorting to cheap horse masturbation jokes is not much better than Whoopi Goldberg trafficking in dumb puns on the Bush family name.

Again, the horse masturbation bit is all in the eye of the beholder. I guarantee you, tell the same joke to a bunch of ten-year-old kids and they'll laugh themselves silly without ever putting that interpretation on the joke.
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Then Why Doesn't She Suggest Assassination?

The Hitler comparisons continue, only this time it's Rudy Giuliani getting the mustache treatment.

The rest of the episode goes like this: Ben Gore, a senior Middlebury student from Maryland, wrote an opinion piece, "Giuliani Is a Punk, Un-invite Him," that assailed the former mayor's legacy and referred to him as a "racist," which many students find "morally reprehensible." Though Mr. Gore wrote that Mr. Giuliani was "coming to be considered a fascist," before Sept. 11, he did not take the leap of comparing Mr. Giuliani to Hitler. That was left to the retouched photo that ran next to the column, which depicted Mr. Giuliani with a Hitler-style haircut and mustache giving a Nazi salute.

This gets back to what I talked about yesterday, about the spitting on the troops. If the Left really believes what they say they do about our troops, why shouldn't they spit on them? And if the Left really believes that Rudy Giuliani is another Hitler, then why in the world aren't they organizing an assassination attempt?

They ask us to take them seriously, but they don't take their own words and images seriously. In fact, they don't really consider Giuliani to be another Hitler, or that our troops are a bunch of baby-killers. It's just rhetoric intended for short-term political gain. They know they will garner a little attention; if they're lucky they might win an art award.

By the way, just to engage in some equal opportunity bashing of people who don't really mean what they say, here are some thoughts about Pat Robertson's recent comments that I heartily endorse.
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Democrats By Other Names

That was my impression of this article.

But in the past few years, a handful of organizations have begun to forge what's called "The 21st Century Mothers Movement."

Forget getting husbands to do more housework. They want sweeping social change, a pro-mother political agenda that would eliminate policies and practices that unfairly affect women as caregivers.

They advocate for affordable day care, tax breaks for corporations that allow mothers to work part time, and laws that provide health-care benefits.
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Monday, May 02, 2005
 
Something Different

It occured to me that my musings on the political scene might cast doubt on my credibility as a comic book fan, so I have started Silver Age Comics, a blog that is dedicated to the comics published from 1955-1970. I'll still have occasional comic-related posts here, but over there I'll feel free to do more extensive analysis. I've posted a reasonably exhaustive look at the Martian Manhunter's 102-issue run in Detective, and have a doozy of a post upcoming on the rise of scientofascism in DC Comics.
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Why Shouldn't They Spit on the Soldiers?

John Hawkins picked up on this article that I highlighted last week.

Now I have to wonder about the desire by some on the left who are trying to deny that soldiers were ever spat upon. Jerry Lembcke's motivation appears obvious:

It [The Spitting "Myth"] disparages the reputation of those who opposed that war and intimidates a new generation of activists now finding the courage to resist Vietnam-type ventures in the 21st century.

But think about the image of the US military men back in the early 1970s? They were, we were assured by a deep thinker of the time, men who had:

"...raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, tape wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the country side of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country."


Now I ask you in all seriousness: If you believed that US soldiers had done that, and done it routinely:

"...several months ago in Detroit, we had an investigation at which over 150 honorably discharged and many very highly decorated veterans testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia, not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command."

Then why in the world would you not spit on the soldiers?

For once, Ted Rall gets it right. Supporting the troops while opposing the war is like saying that a building is butt-ugly, but I support the architect.

So why do they deny that they spat on the troops? Because they know it's politically smart, even if it's intellectually dishonest.
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Smacking Around the 50 Most Beautiful

Teflon at Molten Thought puts up some musings on People's list. Have to concur with this thought:

Elizabeth Smart, Utah teen - Umm, all things considered, wouldn't it be better NOT to call attention to her beauty?
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Favorite Columnists of Center-Right Bloggers

John Hawkins polled a group of center-right blogs (including Brainster's) for their picks for favorite columnists. The list is not terribly surprising, with Mark Steyn out in front by a large margin, getting more first-place votes than the rest of the columnists combined. Still, it's an interesting list. Hugh Hewitt once remarked about John's quarterly list of favorite blogs that it was a list of those influencing the influential. The columnists are those influencing those influencing the influential.
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Have a Nice Penis Day!

This is pretty funny.
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Scientific Journals Creating "Consensus" on Global Warming?

This sounds a tad suspicious:

The controversy follows the publication by Science in December of a paper which claimed to have demonstrated complete agreement among climate experts, not only that global warming is a genuine phenomenon, but also that mankind is to blame.

The author of the research, Dr Naomi Oreskes, of the University of California, analysed almost 1,000 papers on the subject published since the early 1990s, and concluded that 75 per cent of them either explicitly or implicitly backed the consensus view, while none directly dissented from it.

Dr Oreskes's study is now routinely cited by those demanding action on climate change, including the Royal Society and Prof Sir David King, the Government's chief scientific adviser.

However, her unequivocal conclusions immediately raised suspicions among other academics, who knew of many papers that dissented from the pro-global warming line.

They included Dr Benny Peiser, a senior lecturer in the science faculty at Liverpool John Moores University, who decided to conduct his own analysis of the same set of 1,000 documents - and concluded that only one third backed the consensus view, while only one per cent did so explicitly.

Dr Peiser submitted his findings to Science in January, and was asked to edit his paper for publication - but has now been told that his results have been rejected on the grounds that the points he make had been "widely dispersed on the internet".


There are two ways to create a consensus of opinion. One is to sponsor open and vigorous debate, allowing the best ideas to percolate to the top. The other is to shut off debate on a controversial topic, or allow only one side to speak.
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Sunday, May 01, 2005
 
If Only We Were Norway!

One suspects that's the message of this New York Times story.

Gasoline, of course, is not the only expensive commodity in Norway, a traditionally frugal and highly taxed nation. At a pub in Oslo, for instance, a pint of beer might cost the equivalent of $12 and an individual frozen pizza $16. But expensive gasoline is rare among large oil-producing countries that often subsidize fuel for their citizens. Gasoline prices in Norway - with a currency, the krone, strong in comparison with the dollar - have climbed 30 percent since 1998, outpacing a 15 percent increase in the consumer price index in that period, the national statistics bureau said.
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Brainster in the Media

Howard Kurtz's Media Notes: May 27, 2005

Slate Today's Blogs:

March 16, 2005

May 9, 2005

June 3, 2005

Cited for Breaking the Christmas in Cambodia story (at Kerry Haters):

Hugh Hewitt: KerryHaters was on this story a long time ago. How could the elite media not have asked these questions before now?

Ankle-Biting Pundits: Our friends Pat and Kitty at Kerry Haters deserve the blog equivalent of a Pulitzer for their coverage of Kerry's intricate web of lies regarding Vietnam.

The Weekly Standard

Les Kinsolving

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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

Brainster Shows Brinkley Says No Christmas in Cambodia

Explanation of the Blog's Name

Power Ratings Explained



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