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Saturday, October 22, 2005
 
Romanticizing Piracy?

I happened to be looking up the story of a pirate captain named Sharpe and came across this little page. It gives a pretty interesting history of Sharpe that does indeed make him seem like a good character for a movie. But get this little bit of romanticism:

Rediker is one of a growing band of historians who believe buccaneers of the golden age of Anglo-American piracy in the 17th and 18th centuries - the period that furnishes many of our modern ideas about the sea robber - practised a kind of brutal egalitarianism and proto-democracy that posed a serious political challenge to the authoritarian establishment of their time. Researcher Peter Linebaugh, has called pirate ships "17th-century Soviets on water".

Ballads and pamphlets describing exotic pirate utopias in which the common seaman was given a vote and a fair share of the booty abounded in the popular press during the period and there is evidence that there was reality behind these claims. Some say they helped inspire the American revolution.


And:

Some researchers have claimed that pirates were also a model of sexual and racial tolerance, with homosexuality widespread and black people comprising a significant and influential part of many crews. There were black pirate quartermasters and captains and, although specifically banned by many ships' constitutions, some women were known to rise to the highest ranks.

Rediker compares this egalitarianism with the "quite horrific" inequality that was the reality on conventional merchant and naval ships. While a pirate captain is thought to have typically taken only one and a half times the bounty of a crew member, the pay ratios aboard a conventional ship were more likely to be 60:1. Discipline was vicious, hunger was the norm and to the men who suffered under this system, Rediker claims, piracy was a self-conscious act of rebellion.


You can tell why he compares it with the Soviet Union, right? Because the noble leaders of the worker's paradise didn't take much more than their grateful subject, right?
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Tuskegee Airmen Fly Again

Here's a nice little story:

Lt. Col. Herbert Carter is 86 years old and ready for deployment. More than 60 years after his World War II tour with the pioneering black pilots known as the Tuskegee Airmen, Carter's new mission will be shorter, though no less courageous.

Carter is one of seven aging Tuskegee Airmen traveling this weekend to Balad, Iraq _ a city ravaged by roadside bombs and insurgent activity _ to inspire a younger generation of airmen who carry on the traditions of the storied 332nd Fighter Group.
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Friday, October 21, 2005
 
From the Left End of the Bell Curve

Comes Anthony R. Roberts of Davie, FL.
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OJ Still Looking for Nicole's Killer

Obviously JP Losman is on the short list of his suspects.

"He was at the Miami game, and he was at the Jets game," said Scott Berchtold, the team's vice president for communications. "He's a fan. It had nothing to do with us."
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A Public Service for the Democrats

They're complaining about Tom Delay's mug shot not being suitable for "framing". Obviously they haven't thought yet about what a little Photoshop work can do:

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Cigar-Store Indian Speaks at DePaul

John Ruberry has the details on Ward Churchill's appearance at discredited DePaul University. Keep scrolling, there are several excellent posts. I loved the one professor who's never heard of Thomas Klocek, but had the nerve to claim John didn't know the facts of the case.
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The Plame Game

Boy the libs are certainly sure that this time there's a pony underneath all the horse crap. Here's an article from the AP that starts out ominously:

The evidence prosecutors have assembled in the CIA leak case suggests Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff sought out reporters in the weeks before an undercover operative's identity was compromised in the news media, casting doubt on one of the White House's main lines of defense.

But as you read on, it becomes less certain:

In light of all the disclosures, "it's going to be as difficult for the defense to prove the theory that the White House got the information from reporters as it is for Fitzgerald to prove that the White House leaked the information about Wilson's wife," said Washington-based white-collar defense attorney James D. Wareham.

The defense doesn't have to prove "the White House" innocent; the prosecutor has to prove them guilty.

And this is silly:

Prosecutors must determine whether it was part of an effort to undermine the credibility of Plame's husband who was criticizing the White House.

Undermining the credibility of Joe Wilson is not a crime; if it were, Joe Wilson would be in jail.
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Thursday, October 20, 2005
 
Survivor Wrap-Up

A very interesting episode despite the obvious letdown of not having a team immunity challenge. Probst announces that both tribes will be going to tribal council that night.

The reward challenge was for a barbecue with hot dogs, hamburgers and beer. Two-person subteams had to face each other in a contest to push a giant ball across a goal line. Not surprisingly, Danni won both of her bouts, as did Judd. Nukum wins immunity.

After the reward challenge, there is an immediate challenge for individual immunity. However, this was kind of banal, with the survivors having to untie bags and rearrange letters to spell out two words.

And here's where the episode gets really interesting and surprising. Judd makes a fairly careless effort at immunity, doesn't seem to be sweating it at all. Rather than working on his letters, he's looking at Rafe's and telling him, "Ancient ruin. Ancient ruin." Which of course turns out to be the solution to the puzzle.

Now, an arguable conclusion is that Judd was not trying for immunity because he wanted to give it to Rafe. And why did he want to give it to Rafe? Because that way Margaret couldn't have it.

But think about the logical conclusions if that's the case. First of all, Judd's a heck of a lot smarter than he lets on. To realize immediately that to get rid of Margaret it was smarter for him to help Rafe than it was to strive for immunity himself? And not only that, but to realize that the solution was "ancient ruin"? I'm sorry but that's totally out of character with Judd as we've known him. Gary might not be the only person pretending to be somebody he's not in reality.

The Nukum tribal council was one of the best ever, with lots of sparks flying between Judd and Margaret. The former is definitely back in character (and perhaps a little drunk). He's gotta be pretty annoying to live with but he probably is safe for now. He's been very successful in competitions, which means he has value to his teammates. He doesn't seem to be a threat mentally for the later individual, although as noted above, that may be an act. In the end, Margaret is voted off unanimously minus her own vote. She obviously suffered the most from the tribal rearrangement as the young men she had nursed back to health in the first few days were no longer in her group.

On the other hand, the Yaxha tribal council was noted for its friendliness. I had thought the vote might go against Amy, whose ankle has been injured since early in the game. She did perform gamely together with Danni to win a crucial game in the reward challenge.

In an interesting twist, Rafe, who won immunity, was allowed to both sit in and have a potential veto over the proceedings. He wrote down the name of one member to have immunity, then left. Oddly Probst did not announce then who had won immunity, but allowed the tribe to vote. Brian ended up getting five votes to his sole ballot for Bobby Jon. When Jeff opened up the veto envelope, Gary's name was written on it.

That was very curious. Why would Rafe assume that Gary was on the hot seat? IIRC, Rafe was in the original Yaxha with Gary, so they may have a deal going. If it had been me, I would have protected Amy, which in the end would have been as useless. It's obvious that everybody likes Gary; remember in an earlier episode, he got voted by his original tribe members to get a shower and then a picnic.

One conclusion. The notion that people are sticking with their old tribemates is obviously false.

Coming next week: Gary gets pressured on the NFL issue from Amy.
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The Hackett Brigade May Be Minus Hackett

So indicates this AP story:

Some of the heaviest hitters in the world of liberal blogging, including DailyKos.com's Markos Moulitsas Zuniga and MyDD.com's Jerome Armstrong, have urged Hackett to step aside. In addition, Armstrong and SwingStateProject.com's Tim Tagaris are on Brown's campaign payroll.

Interesting. Remember, many libs were bitter that Hackett didn't campaign hard down the stretch and even took the evening off before the election to attend a Bruce Springsteen concert. And despite his liberal blog-pleasing Bush-bashing, he was not a hardcore "progressive" (which actually probably helps him in red state Ohio).
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Narrow-Minded Parents Won't Let Eighth Graders "Read" Sex by Madonna

That's the way this column reads:

English teacher Carole Tauber had given the same assignment last year, without objection. But this time, a few parents pronounced themselves shocked by a list that includes such children's standards as Madeleine L'Engle's "A Wrinkle in Time," as well as titles such as "American Psycho" and "The New Joy of Gay Sex."

Some other titles:

But the list also contains titles that raised eyebrows even among the most accepting parents: "Sex," by Madonna, and "Heather Has Two Mommies," the subject of innumerable political battles.

But narrow-minded folks killed this wonderful idea:

But this was a creative assignment, tuned perfectly to eighth-graders' desire to be let in on adult topics, yet tempered by requiring parents to help kids pick the right point of entry.

"I had to tell the children it was out of my hands," says Tauber, who "agreed to disagree with the rationale" for axing the lesson. "We're talking about getting these kids ready to think."

"The parents flunked the assignment," says parent Chris Rigaux. "I don't blame Montgomery County for trying to avoid another court battle, but this was a chance to use books like [Hinton's] 'The Outsiders' to teach about very different lifestyles than we have here in Bethesda, Maryland."


Can we say the obvious here? If you want your kids to read those types of books, go ahead and let them read them. If you don't want your kids to read those types of books (and Madonna's Sex is certainly NOT age-appropriate, with hard-core photos) then the idiot school district has no business assigning them.
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The Hackett Brigade?

Joshua Zeitz sees promise in what Airhead America Calls "Fighting Dems"; Democrats running for office in 2006 who have served in Iraq. We might call them the Paul Hackett brigade.

I can't tell you how happy I am to see this development. These Democrat veterans are not going to win, but they will get a lot of attention and money, drawing it away from other candidates who might have a chance.

Proof? Well, Zeitz focuses on Bryan Lentz, who will be running next year against Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania. What are his chances of knocking off Weldon? Not very good. Weldon won reelection in 2004 by about 19 percentage points, a fairly comfortable margin.

While we're on the subject of next year's election, our buddy Chris at Lucky Dawg News is starting Blogs for Heather. Heather Wilson is the incumbent Republican representing District 1 in New Mexico. She holds one of the seats that smart Democrats (i.e., not Kos and Zeitz) will definitely be targeting next year. She won reelection last year by only eight percentage points, making her one of the more vulnerable Republican incumbents. She represents the central area of New Mexico, including the state capital of Santa Fe and the largest city, Albuquerque.

Heather's a solid Republican, a former Rhodes Scholar, and a graduate of the US Air Force Academy. She deserves our support and I'm happy to endorse her here at Brainster's. Those of you who remember the glorious days at Kerry Haters will recall that we only endorsed one other candidate than President Bush: John Thune, who kayoed Tom Daschle. So I've got my perfect record on the line here!



She'll be running against Patricia Madrid. In case you need additional incentive to support Heather, Madrid was widely rumored to be John Kerry's pick for Attorney General had he won the presidency last year.
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All Republicans Indicted in Texas

Mr Right has the scoop on this breaking news story.
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Congrats to the 'Stros!

Roy Oswalt was unhittable, the relief crew this time did not include Lidge, and Houston is headed to the World Series for the first time in their 44-year history, to face a team that hasn't gone to the World Series in 46 years. I did a little looking back through history, and it's never previously happened that both of the teams in the World Series had been waiting over 40 years for a WS appearance.

Play ball!
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Wednesday, October 19, 2005
 
Freddie "Beadle" Barnes

On the reasons for the conservative revolt:

One, a revolt was inevitable, sooner or later, simply because Bush is not a conventional conservative. He deviates on the role of the federal government, on domestic spending, on education, on the Medicare prescription-drug benefit, and on immigration. Given this kindling, it took only the spark of the Miers nomination to ignite a conservative backlash.

He's got that right, but I also feel that he misses one big thing. Hugh Hewitt and others have called it elitism, but the proper term is meritocracy. Harriet Miers is opposed because she is seen as someone who doesn't deserve this position. Boomers and Gen Xers have absorbed this concept of merit down in their bones. Glenn Reynolds is not opposing Miers as a proxy for the issues of domestic spending or immigration, or even the drug benefit.
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Happy Birthday Nintendo!

From Michele Catalano comes the word that the Nintendo Entertainment System turns 20 today. I wasted many hours playing games on that system. Some of my favorites : Dragon Warrior I-IV, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Legend of Zelda, Contra, Kid Icarus, Solstice and Ghosts & Goblins. Folks may forget it now, but video games suffered a severe downturn in 1984 or so. The Atari 2600, which many people started on, suffered from too many crummy titles. The NES rekindled the magic, with long, involving and entertaining games.
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Terrific Video

Our buddy John at My Take on Things has a wonderful video up about our soldiers in Iraq. You'll love this one, but keep the hankies ready!
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For A Second I Thought I Was Listening to National Review On The Radio

But no, it was Al Franken on Air America, making fun of Harriet Miers for a mistake she made in her responses to the Senate questionnaire. Discussing the lapse of her license to practice law in DC, she said it wasn't intentioned (instead of intentional, or intended). Franken noted that she was supposed to be a detail person. So now Franken concludes that she has no qualifications. And in that respect, he agrees with a lot of these people.
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The Media Matters Blog Empire About to Grow

We have Mrs Media Matters, Mr Media Matters, and now Baby Media Matters is on the way. Congrats to Mrs and Mr MM!
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Chomsky: Don't Tax Me, Don't Tax Thee....

Tax the man behind the tree. Turns out Uncle Noam, who blasts tax shelters and trusts, has a little trust of his own.

But trusts can't be all bad. After all, Chomsky, with a net worth north of $2,000,000, decided to create one for himself. A few years back he went to Boston's venerable white-shoe law firm, Palmer and Dodge, and with the help of a tax attorney specializing in "income-tax planning" set up an irrevocable trust to protect his assets from Uncle Sam. He named his tax attorney (every socialist radical needs one!) and a daughter as trustees. To the Diane Chomsky Irrevocable Trust (named for another daughter) he has assigned the copyright of several of his books, including multiple international editions.
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Separated at Birth? Or Joined in the '70s?






John Ruberry's doing a great job of covering tomorrow's Ward Churchill appearance at discredited DePaul University.
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The Spectre of Souter?

John Hawkins continues to take the high road among the opposition to Harriet Miers, while National Review Online continues to take the low road.

Hawkins notes that in many ways David Souter seemed like a solid conservative:

"As New Hampshire attorney general in 1977, Souter opposed the repeal of an 1848 state law that made abortion a crime even though Roe v. Wade had made it irrelevant, predicting that if the law were repealed, New Hampshire "would become the abortion mill of the United States."

NRO, on the other hand, publishes this risible piece from Adam Bellow (Saul's son):

Indeed, those who compare the Bushes to the Corleone family are not far off the mark. Through a tangled web of marriage, adoption, instrumental friendship, and godparenthood, the typical mafia don creates a series of concentric rings around his family that extends his power deep into the countryside. Likewise, the Bushes have created an enormous social network based on their family. Like other large successful clans they prefer their own company and that of their relatives, friends, and retainers. Such families typically have their own compounds where they gather apart from the rest of society, and when someone useful swims into their view they adopt him as part of the family. This was the way the Bushes dealt with Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia, whom they christened "Bandar Bush."

So now we've got conservative magazines comparing the Bush family to the mafia. What's next, columns about how stupid Bush is, and that he's really just Rove's puppet?

Hat Tip (On NRO article): Roger L. Simon.
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Tuesday, October 18, 2005
 
The Amazing Race Family Edition Wrapup, Part IV

(Brief mention that the show has scenes in Louisiana and Mississippi, and that tonight's episode was filmed before Hurricane Katrina).

Overall this episode was much better than last week's with some real emotion and drama. The teams started out looking for the World's Biggest Office Chair, a rather silly roadside attraction. More bickering between the Paolo family, with Mom smacking her son with a map. For some reason I find this family hilarious to watch.

Once they found that it was off to Talladega to a NASCAR Hall of Fame, followed by a trip to Talladega Speedway for a lap.

Of course, this part seemed rather cruel to the Weaver family, aka the Widow Family. The husband/father was killed at a motor speedway, as we learned earlier. The Shroeder family (which has gotten little attention thus far) seems to take particular delight in the fact that the Weavers are going to have to confront some personal demons.

However, the trip to the speedway turns out to be rather cathartic. Instead of taking a racecar around the track, teams are required to ride a bizarre contraption called a "party bike"



I'm something of a bicycle enthusiast (mountain bike) myself, but I had never seen one of these before; it looked like fun. The Weavers did not seem to mind it, and said that afterwards they felt more comfortable with the death of the father. Big episode for them, as they continue to get a lot of camera time.

Next they travel to Hattiesburg, where they have to locate the Southern Colonel. This turns out to be a mobile home sales place. I guess they couldn't resist reminding us that all Southerners live in double-wides. Surprisingly or not, everybody the families ask about the Southern Colonel immediately think of the mobile home place. Hmmm, maybe all Southerners do live in double-wides. It was along in here that one of the members of the Linz team (IIRC) decided to moon the Bransons.

Teams are required to search the mobile homes for starting times ranging from 7:20 AM to to 7:40 to 8:00 AM. Surprisingly, teams tend to grab the first time they see rather than wait. The daughter on the Louisiana family makes a big deal out of not grabbing the first time they see, and then her dad pulls an 8:00 sticker, causing her to start crying.

Things get worse for them the next morning when Dad navigates in the wrong direction. It turns out that he used to work within a mile of the park where they are headed (after a brief product placement for BP gasoline), but never visited there. The daughter is now wailing that a minute can make the difference.

After this comes the Detour, where teams choose between using a two-man saw or playing blackjack against the dealer. IIRC, two teams chose the saw initially, and that was clearly the better choice for those who had the ability to handle it. The blackjack game was a little tricky as all four family members had to beat the dealer on a single hand three times. Of course, there is a logical way to win this fairly quickly, and it is to simply hold on every hand, so that you never bust, and hope that the dealer busts. And of course with professional dealers, they could just say "hold-hold-hold-hold" and wait for him to handle his own cards. I just did a quick round with a deck of cards, and the dealer busted in that situation (hitting on 16, holding on 17) three times within 12 hands. But it doesn't look like anybody thinks of that, although one of the Godlewskis does say something similar. The Gaghans and the Linzes (IIRC) give up after a few hands of blackjack and decide to go back to the log-cutting contest. Unfortunately the Gaghan kids are useless at this task (although it struck me afterwards that perhaps the parents could have started a cut for the kids then let them take over once the blade was in the groove).

After that it's on to the Pit Stop at Preservation Hall in New Orleans. Kinda eerie to see them driving across that long bridge over Lake Ponchartrain and into NOLA. At this point it looks like the final team will be either the Gaghans, my personal favorites, or the Shroeders. Of course, the latter family reminds us that they are heading home to Louisiana, so they know the route best. Some spontaneous weeping from one of the women in the Blonde Family over whether she's going to take her backpack.

The Bransons finish first for the second week in a row. The Paolos, despite all their bickering manage to come in second. The Gaghans beat the Louisiana family, which gets Phil-liminated. Perhaps their glee at the Weavers' situation facing the racetrack was an omen, a clue that they weren't deserving? Certainly Phil seemed to draw this one out, as if he enjoyed keeping them on the edge. Big emotional scene as they bow out. A dad once again takes the blame; once again a teenager is proven right. I'm sure this show is keeping the younger set interested.

For the full wrap-up instead of my meandering, surf on over to Viking Pundit. Kris at Dummocrats has her take here.
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Not the Worst Best 100 Novels List

But not the best, either.

The usual boomer overrated crap: Slaughterhouse 5, On the Road, Naked Lunch, Gravity's Rainbow. I would guess if you analyzed the list you'd find a significant bulge centered around novels published from 1950-1975.

The usual overrated because the movie was a hit: Deliverance (snicker), One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (nowhere near the novel that Sometimes a Great Notion was), the Lord of the Rings. Brideshead Revisited marginally fits in this group; an adaptation was shown on Masterpiece Theatre about 23 years ago.

And the ridiculous and unjustifiable selections: Portnoy's Complaint, Beloved, the Painted Bird.

That said, the list does at least include some genre fiction, although I'd certainly quibble with a few of the choices. If you're going to include genre, how about a murder mystery? I'd suggest an Agatha Christie. And the ommission of anything by PG Wodehouse is indefensible.

But they deserve credit for mentioning some great novels that elites typically disdain, like Gone With the Wind and the graphic novel Watchmen.
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Oh When The Saints, Go Marching Out

Adding insult to injury, the New Orleans Saints may move permanently to San Antonio.

The Saints' contract with the Louisiana Stadium & Exposition District, which operates the Louisiana Superdome, runs through the 2010 season. But the Saints can opt out of the deal by invoking a destruction, or force majeure clause, before Nov. 29.

It is well-known that Benson has wanted to move the team for years. This certainly gives him the opportunity.
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Saving the RINO

This is a tough thing for a lot of us to accept, but it's important. Lincoln Chafee is up for reelection to the Senate next year, and a lot of people on our side are looking to throw him under the bus. And I can't blame them entirely; he's not a dependable vote for the Republican platform.

John Miller has a column today on Chafee, who's getting a primary challenger named Steve Laffey in 2006. Apparently the NRSC is already running ads against Laffey in the hopes of preserving Chafee. And I agree with Miller, that the party should be neutral in the primary process. But this part is absurd:

As a critic of Bush’s Social Security proposals, a foe of oil drilling in the Arctic, and an enthusiastic supporter of solar panels, Laffey wouldn’t be the most conservative member of the Senate. But it’s not as though Chafee, whose lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union is a pathetic 41, is competing for that honor.

Yes, Chafee is not the most conservative Senator out there. But if he were, he'd be a dead duck come the general election, because his state also falls rather short of being the most conservative as well.

Consider these percentages for the Democratic candidates for president in the last five elections, as compared to the famously liberal Massachusetts:

Year....Mass.....RI
2004....61.9%..59.4%
2000....59.8%..61.0%
1996....61.5%..59.7%
1992....47.5%..47.0% (Perot was running this year)
1988....53.2%..55.6%

So it's not hard to see that Rhode Island is not much more conservative than Massachusetts. Which is to say that it's quite liberal indeed.

And how bad is that 41 lifetime rating from the ACU? Well, let's take a look at some the Democrats from around there:

St....Senator.....ACU Rating
RI.....Reed..........8
MA.....Kennedy.......3
MA.....Kerry.........5
CT.....Dodd..........8
CT.....Lieberman....17
NY.....Schumer.......6
NY.....Clinton.......9
VT.....Leahy.........6
NJ.....Lautenberg....6
NJ.....Corzine.......5

Jumpin' Jim Jeffords gets a 25, but that's weighted with the years he was a Republican; since he went independent, he's gotten much more liberal, with a 4 rating in 2004 and a 10 in 2003.

Republicans? Well, in case you missed it, there aren't a lot in the Northeastern United States. Gregg and Sununu in New Hampshire are solid conservatives with 79 and 95 ratings respectively; they also represent the only conservative state in New England. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, from Maine check in at 57 and 51 respectively.

Don't get me wrong; maybe Laffey's electable, and I certainly wouldn't mind seeing some squishes like Mike DeWine or John McCain who are from more conservative states than Chafee, get knocked off. But we're not going to do a whole lot better than Lincoln in Rhode Island.
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Oh, That Liberal Media

I guess it's a good thing that CNN doesn't use the "Fair and Balanced" tagline. Get a load of what Jack Cafferty, CNN non-reporter had to say about Karl Rove:

Blitzer then cautioned the indictment might not come: "Yeah, but you know, it's still a big if. It's still a big if." A giddy Cafferty replied: "Oh, I understand. I'm, I'm just hoping you know. I love, I love to see those kinds of things happen. It does wonders for me."

Hat Tip: Allman's Stove
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Veterans' Day Cancelled in Berzerkley

Actually that sounds better than the alternative:

At issue was a proposal by the chairman, singer/songwriter Country Joe McDonald, to have Bill Mitchell, a co-founder of Cindy Sheehan's organization, Gold Star Families for Peace, as the keynote speaker.

Mitchell's and Sheehan's sons were killed in Iraq the same day.

Some committee members worried that Mitchell would inject an unwelcome note of partisanship into the event, which has been scrupulously non-political in years past.

"If you want to have an anti-war rally, count me in," said Linda Perry, an aide to City Councilman Laurie Capitelli. "But not on Veteran's Day. It's neither the time nor the place."

Edwin Harper, adjutant of the local Disabled American Veterans chapter, which has participated in past Berkeley Veterans Day observances, threatened that his group would pull out.

"They have the other 364 days and 23 hours to make their political point," he said. "This one hour should be reserved for honoring veterans, period."

McDonald, backed by other members of the committee, disagreed, saying that not permitting Mitchell to express his point of view would be tantamount to censoring free speech.


Sigh. I wish these folks would show some understanding of the meaning of "free speech". It does not mean that you get a microphone to spout off your nonsense.

And get this:

This would have been Berkeley's fourth annual Veterans' Day ceremony, but the event has its origins in a memorial ceremony nine years ago, when McDonald and then-Mayor Shirley Dean sponsored a visit of the traveling Vietnam Wall - aka "The Wall That Heals" - to Berkeley.

Fourth annual? Most cities are holding their 52nd annual Veterans' Day ceremony (prior to 1954 Veterans' Day was commonly known as Armistice Day, after the armistice that ended World War I).
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A Solid Smaller Blog

Go check out Mein Blogovault, a very intelligent blog that deserves more readers (don't we all?). I liked his post on Supreme Court precedents, but you should spend awhile over there checking out several posts to get a feel for The Good Lieutenant's work.

I came across him via a comment on one of my posts at Lifelike. Here's a clue to the smaller blogs trying to get an audience: Comment on the larger blogs that allow it.
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The Latest Objection to Miers?

John Podhoretz can't expect this to be taken seriously. Quoting one of her answers to the Senate questionnaire, he concludes:

I have no problems with any of this, but it is basic conservative boilerplate.

The horror!

Speaking of Miers, David Limbaugh has some very thoughtful observations on the Senate's proper role:

But Professor Bainbridge's disagreement with me goes beyond semantics. He rejects my contention that the Senate's role should be limited to vetting the nominee's qualifications and character. He cites a few constitutional scholars, like John McGinnis, who have argued that the Constitution empowers the Senate to confirm or reject nominees for any reason at all. "Nothing in the text of the clause appears to limit the kind of considerations the Senate can take up."

Bainbridge writes, "To be sure, as McGinnis notes, Alexander Hamilton thought the Senate could only reject a nominee for 'special and strong reasons,' but that qualification is nowhere in the Constitution."

But doesn't an "originalist" approach to constitutional interpretation oblige us to inquire what the Framers understood the meaning of "Advice and Consent" to be? Surely Hamilton's Federalist 76 cannot be dismissed so casually if it gives us some insight as to the Framers' original understanding.


He also makes Carol Platt Liebau's point:

If Republicans thought they could properly reject the president's judicial nominees for political reasons alone, or on the basis of judicial philosophy, they've certainly done their best to prove otherwise. How else do you explain their overwhelming affirmation of the radically liberal and activist Ruth Bader Ginsburg?

For the responsible contra opinion, check out John Hawkins of Right Wing News. John's doing a much more gracious and fair job of leading the attack against the Miers nomination than Rich Lowry and company, who think questioning the motives of Miers' supporters is a good approach. At the end of this process we're all going to have to get back on the Republican bus.

I should mention here that one of the major reasons I'm sticking with Miers is Hugh Hewitt. He earned a lot of credibility with his amazing performance on election day last year. When the Chicken Littles over at NRO's The Corner were running around saying "The sky is falling!", Hugh was on the air letting us know that we had to ignore the ridiculous poll numbers and that Bush was going to win.
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An Ill Wind

Terrific article about the Democrats' phony search for energy independence.

The deal reflects the false promise of renewable energy, one that as a side effect has contributed to the spiraling prices for gasoline and home heating and pretty soon electricity. Renewable energy is, for the most part, not ready for prime time. If it were, Green Mountain wouldn't have closed up its retail shop in the face of higher costs and prices for competing energy sources. It would be grabbing new customers instead.

Higher prices for oil, electricity and gasoline, after all, were what were supposed to give a boost to companies such as Green Mountain and technologies such as wind and solar power, and hybrid electric cars and SUVs.
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Monday, October 17, 2005
 
Lidge Versus Pujols

One of the most amazing moments in baseball history, right up there with Bobby Thompson or Kirk Gibson. Pujols just creamed that ball; I'm sure it's one of the longest homers ever at that ballpark.









Although it isn't commonly noted, the Astros appear to have a hex on them every bit as bad as the Red Sox had until last year. In 1980, the Astros seemed to have wrapped up the National League pennant with a 5-2 lead heading into the top of the eighth, when the roof caved in on them as the Phillies scored five times. The 'stros managed to put together two runs to send the ballgame into extra innings but the Phillies won it with a run in the tenth. If I recall correctly, the Astros should have gotten out of the eighth inning with a bizarre triple play that the umpires disallowed. The hitter hit the ball directly back at the pitcher. It caromed off his shoe without hitting the ground and the pitcher caught it, wheeled and caught the man off second. The ball was relayed to first, to apparently end the inning. But the umpires ruled that they had signaled no out on the catch by the pitcher, thereby convincing the runners that they were forced to advance.

In 1986 the Astros led Game Six of the NLCS 3-0 all the way to the top of the ninth, when the Mets came back to tie it. In the 14th both teams scored once and the game went on. In the 16th inning, the Mets scored three, then watched as the Astros notched two. But they got the final out, thereby preventing a Game Seven against the Astros' Mike Scott, who had been unhittable that year and had already beaten New York twice in the series. Here's a terrific description of that game, which Jerry Izenberg, a columnist for one of the New York tabloids, called The Greatest Game Ever Played in a book of the same name.

Prediction: Reporters will start asking the Astros if the Cardinals are a team of destiny. Answer: Only if they win six more games this year, which is hardly guaranteed.

Correction: After some digging around I was able to check on the (almost) triple play. It actually occured in the fourth game and didn't lead to any Philadelphia runs being scored. This is a pretty good example of a phenomenon that baseball writer Bill James has often noted: After a passage of some years, events that were memorable are often confused with events that are significant. A good example in contemporary politics: Ten years from now, people will think that Howard Dean's "Eeeeyyaaaahhh!" scream cost him the Iowa caucuses, although in fact it came after that defeat.
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The Case for Gore

Ryan Lizza makes some good points about Gore versus Hillary, but this drew a horselaugh:

The Hollywood liberals over at Huffington Post as well as the university-town activists at Daily Kos and Moveon.org love Gore. If he ran, he would instantly become the favored candidate of the "netroots," the antiwar, anti-Bush crowd that championed Howard Dean and that will be a significant source of money and buzz in the run-up to 2008. The activists in the liberal blogosphere, more than any other opinion-making constituency in Democratic politics, revere Gore. They still wave the bloody flag of the 2000 recount. They still pump out bitter posts about how the mainstream media trashed Gore in 2000 yet gave Bush a free pass. They remember that Gore endorsed Dean in 2004 and they burst with pride at the fact that he chose Moveon.org as the forum for his most important speeches.

One would think that the comparison to Dean might cause Lizza to pause for a moment and reflect on how powerless those "netroots" turned out to be once the adults in the Democratic party had the chance to vote. If Gore really decides to run, he will be nothing more than a speedbump to the Hillary steamroller.

And this is risible:

If he runs for president he would be the only candidate in either party who instantly passes the post-9/11 threshold on national security issues. Hillary's credible case that as first lady she engaged in diplomacy and was treated abroad like a world leader would be dwarfed by Gore's eight-year record as vice president sitting on the National Security Council.
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Ferrer on Why Not to Vote for Bloomberg

Because he donates too much money to charity.
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Frum Getting Whiplash from Changing His Mind?

As noted in a piece today by Howard Kurtz, David Frum has been leading the charge against the Harriet Miers nomination.

However, back in July, Frum was singing a different song:

JUL. 4, 2005: DARK HORSE ...

... in the Supreme Court sweepstakes: Keep an eye on Harriet Miers, White House counsel. Miers was the first woman president of the Texas Bar Association, a co-managing partner of a 400-lawyer firm in Texas, a one-time Dallas city councilor, and by the by, the personal lawyer to one George W. Bush. She joined his staff as governor, served as staff secretary (Richard Darman's old job) in the first administration, and now oversees the White House's legal work. She is quiet, discreet, intensely loyal to Bush personally, and - though not ideologically conservative - nonetheless firmly pro-life. Plus she's a woman. Double plus - she'd be a huge surprise, and the president loves springing surprises on Washington and those pundits who think they know it all.

There are minuses too of course, beginning with that same discretion that recommended Miers as counsel: Supreme Court justices are often expected to have achieved a certain public profile before their appointment, while Miers has gone out of her way to avoid it.

But if the nomination process bogs down - or if President Bush's first choice of nominee should somehow stall or fail - then Miers might well be his back-up nominee. Scoff if you like. But if it happens, please remember that you read it here first.


I don't get it. Back in July, Frum seemed to be encouraging the nomination. It's certainly hard to read this post as being negative. So what's changed?

And it's irrelevant, perhaps, but his wife, Danielle Crittenden, appears to be auditioning for the Mo Dowd slot in some newspaper with her snarky (and humor-free) posts on President Bush's IM conversations at the Huffblog.

Hat Tip: Aaron at Lifelike who credits a L-Dotter named MamaD.
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Breaking News

Karl Rove's garage is quite ordinary.

The inventory sounds sinister:

Some cardboard file boxes stacked one on top of the other, labeled "Box 6,""Box 4" and what appears to be "Box 7." No sign of boxes 1, 2, 3 and 5.

Obviously those missing boxes held the secrets to Rove's theft of Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004.

Just to let you know that the AP is covering the serious stuff.
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Operation Soldier Delivers

Our buddy John Bush continues to do great things.

Operation Soldier has put SSGT Cottle in touch with the California Secretary of Veterans Affairs who in turn was going to contact the Texas Secretary of Veterans of affairs to see if they could help expedite SSGT Cottle’s VA application. In addition, Operation Soldier contributed a small $1000 dollar contribution to SSGT Cottle and his family to help pay down some of his bills that are accumulating every month.

Please remember that our brave men and women of the United States Military are selflessly sacrificing their livelihood so that we may enjoy the fruits of America’s Freedom. The injuries that the Armed Forces Servicemen suffer are not always the traumatic injuries that are chronicled in the media, but some are suffering from serious injuries from bacterial and viral infections that are introduced to their
body, though everyday exposure to the elements, in Iraq and Afghanistan.


Operation Soldier is a worthy cause. Please consider contributing.
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Jean Shepard's Dad's Happy Somewhere

I don't recall if this came up at all in the movie The Christmas Story, but Shep's dad (aka The Old Man) was a big Chisox fan. Congrats to their long-suffering faithful, including Mr Right, Right Wing Nuthouse and Marathon Pundit. I'll root for them to win the World Series.
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Caption Time

Mr Right has his new caption contest up. You all know that I hate to toot my own horn, but guess who won last week's contest?
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Wonder Why American Car Manufacturers Aren't Competitive? Here's a Clue

Sheesh, this reminds me of the worst days of Great Britain.

Ken Pool is making good money. On weekdays, he shows up at 7 a.m. at Ford Motor Co.'s Michigan Truck Plant in Wayne, signs in, and then starts working -- on a crossword puzzle. Pool hates the monotony, but the pay is good: more than $31 an hour, plus benefits.

"We just go in and play crossword puzzles, watch videos that someone brings in or read the newspaper," he says. "Otherwise, I've just sat."

Pool is one of more than 12,000 American autoworkers who, instead of installing windshields or bending sheet metal, spend their days counting the hours in a jobs bank set up by Detroit automakers and Delphi Corp. as part of an extraordinary job security agreement with the United Auto Workers union.

The jobs bank programs were the price the industry paid in the 1980s to win UAW support for controversial efforts to boost productivity through increased automation and more flexible manufacturing.


There's a hilarious scene in the old movie I'm Alright Jack where the main character moves a pallet of material with a forklift, only to discover several men sitting behind it playing poker. It is explained that these men are "redundant"; their jobs were eliminated via automation, but they were not fired. They cannot be assigned to other tasks, as that would be depriving another man of a job.

The difference is that the movie took place during the golden age of socialism, when companies were thought to be the enemy of their employees. Hence every job had to be protected, even if it made the company unprofitable. Nowadays we recognize that companies have to be allowed to innovate and automate or they will be left behind in the dust of foreign firms. I'm somewhat startled to hear that this practice is still ongoing here in the US.
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Moron Toledo

The police chief doesn't seem too bright:

The reason the neo-Nazi group attempted to march in Toledo was still in dispute yesterday.

Chief Navarre told reporters that a resident of Bronson Avenue — John Szych or someone in his family — contacted the group.

The chief said there was a dispute over a fence between Mr. Szych’s son, a white man who also lives on Bronson, and a black woman. He added that the older Mr. Szych has made repeated calls to police about gang or drug activity in the neighborhood.

“Mr. Szych’s calls were highly exaggerated and found to be without merit,” the chief said.


Gee, you think Mr Szych might be in a little trouble with the riot crowd?

Mr. Szych said shots were fired at his house and a brick was thrown through his window, striking him in the back.

He responded by returning fire with his own gun.

Both Mr. Szych and his son said they stayed up all night with their firearms guarding their homes. “Yesterday I shot over their heads,” Mr. Szych said. “But today, I’m [upset]. If I see someone with a fire bomb or anything like that, I’ll shoot to kill.”

He threatened to sue the city and Chief Navarre for implicating him in the Nazi’s march.


A black neighbor, who declined to give his name, called Mr. Szych a racist who instigates violence with black residents.

Obviously I don't know the truth or falsity of the claim that Mr Szych contacted the neo-Nutballs. True or not, there's no doubt the police chief is stoking the flames, making it more likely there will be more trouble.

Also check out Cox & Forkum's editorial cartoon. Hat tip: North American Patriot, who has an excellent post on this topic, tying it into the "Millions More March" in DC.
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Ted Kennedy Tries Water Rescue

Thirty-six years too late.

Kennedy called the Hyannis Fire Department around 11 a.m. when he saw the fishermen on the breakwater as waves up to 5 feet high crashed over it and winds gusted to 35 mph. The 69-year-old senator took out his whaler and got within earshot of the fishermen, but headed back because it was too dangerous, Hyannis Fire Capt. Craig Farrenkopf said.

Nobody died this time. Can't help thinking that Mary Jo Kopechne would have appreciated it if Teddy had called the local fire department the last time he knew somebody was in danger of drowning.
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Sunday, October 16, 2005
 
NFL Week 6 Wrap-Up

Houston remains the league's only winless team; Indy will put their unbeaten mark on the line tomorrow night at home against the Rams. Pittsburgh and New England both lose; both teams have now lost more games in 2005 than they did in 2004. Eli Manning says hold off on that Hall of Fame bust for now.

Indy doesn't look that impressive offensively but consider this; they've so far given up 135 fewer points than the defending Super Bowl champs. They've given up fewer points on the season than Atlanta did today in a win.
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At Last, a Book the Liberals Want to Ban

I've got a hunch it won't be appearing on any list of suppressed literature from the ALA, however.
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From the Master Criminal File

Here's a story about a guy who hid out in the sewers and got stuck. The funniest part is the crime he thought the cops were after him for.
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Talk About Proving Their Point....

A bunch of goofball neo-Nazis planned a march to protest black-on-white crime, and what happened? You guessed it, a riot of black-on-white crime ensued.

Rioters set fire to 86-year-old Louis Ratajski's neighborhood pub, Jim & Lou's Bar, but he and his nephew escaped the flames.



ABC News attempts to whitewash the incident with this headline:

White Supremacists Riot in Toledo, Ohio

But reading the first article makes it clear that the neo-Nutballs had vacated the scene well before the riot:

The violence started around noon as police were getting ready to escort about 15 Nazis on a march that was supposed to start at Wilson Park and continue on Mulberry Street and Bronson and Dexter Avenues, ending up back at the park.

Because of the violence - which broke out along Stickney Avenue away from the Nazis gathered in the park - police cancelled the march and told the Nazis to leave, which they did.


So there's no confusion, I'd have cheered on the protesters if they had pelted the neo-Nazis with tomatoes and eggs. But using this protest as pretext to loot and burn? Un-uh. Congratulations, Toledo, you've helped make these idiots' case for them.

Michelle Malkin has more on ABC's attempted coverup of the actual rioters. See also Brutally Honest, who's got a good title for his post.
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