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Saturday, October 29, 2005
 
Ward Churchill Wronged?

Hmmm, I dislike the cigar-store Indian's views as much as anybody, but let's castigate him for his real offenses and not imagined ones.

A tape recording of a speech University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill gave in Chicago on Oct. 20 shows he did not make remarks about the Holocaust that were attributed to him in two articles in a pro-Israeli publication.

The pro-Israeli publication is the American Thinker, and while I'm sure it is pro-Israeli, it would probably be more correct to refer to it as a center-right publication. I don't know anybody on the center right whom I'd call anti-Israeli.
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I'm Probably the Last to Notice

But the Iraq Pictures blog is terrific.
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NY Times Slimes Hero's Memory

Michelle Malkin has the details, which should get your blood boiling.
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Friday, October 28, 2005
 
Carnival of the Clueless is Up

Rick Moran's got more links than the Legend of Zelda series.
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Former Bulldog Prosecutor's Take on the Indictment

Our buddy the Bulldog Pundit takes on the indictment of Scooter Libby.
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Iran Amok

Looks like Iran's president isn't backing down, but...

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stood fast behind his assertion that Israel should be wiped off the map and repeated the call during the nationwide protests Friday, the Muslim day of prayer.

But in an apparent attempt to blunt international outrage over Ahmadinejad's comments, the Iranian Embassy in Moscow issued a statement saying the Iranian leader did not want to "engage in a conflict."


No, he just wants to wipe Israel off the map.

Smackdown is coming.
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Humor from the L-Dotters

Check out this thread on Mr Sulu's announcement that he's gay.

Reply 9 - Posted by: Ka Ching, 10/28/2005 8:40:58 AM

He always seemed a little too interested in the captain's log.


:)

Here's one I came up with in a chatroom:

What's Sulu's favorite command when he controls the Enterprise?
Thrusters Aft!
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Merry Fitzmas!

In case you're not aware, that's the name that liberals came up with for the day Fitzpatrick announced the indictments in the Plame Name Blame Game. Of course, that was assuming that Karl Rove was included; now that it's just Scooter Libby, they're going to be acting like spoiled children, saying "Is that all?"

Laura Lee Donoho says it's Fitzween. Terrific photo gag.
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Ohmigod, They Got Libby! How Will the Conservative Movement Survive?

Just putting the probable indictment in its proper perspective.
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Honest, But Not PC--Updated

Reggie Rivers chides the Air Force Academy's football coach for being honest:

While discussing his team's 48-10 loss to Texas Christian University last weekend, he said: "It's very obvious that they had a lot more Afro-American players than we did and they ran a lot faster than we did. It just seems to me to be that way, that Afro-American players can run very, very well. That doesn't mean that Caucasian kids and other descents can't run, but it's very obvious to me that they run extremely well."

No fooling. Anybody who looks at the field in an NCAA 100-meter dash, or the wide receivers and running backs in the NFL will immediately notice that almost all of them are black.

Criticism of the coach (Fisher DeBerry) has mostly foundered on the racial issue. It's so obvious that even Reggie Rivers admits that he's right. Some others have focused on the "Afro-American" term, which is certainly outmoded, but at least at one point in time was the height of PC. So Rivers tries a different tack:

If the question is, "Coach, why did your team lose 48-10?" and the response is, "Well, they had a lot more Afro-American players than we did, and they ran a lot faster than we did," then that implies that the TCU players didn't work harder than the Air Force players. They didn't practice harder, or get into better shape or execute better. They were just naturally faster.

Nice try. But of course, Rivers has no idea about the training habits of the TCU players versus those of the Air Force players and whether that was the difference in the ballgame. And given the fact that Rivers admits that the top black athletes are faster than the top white athletes, it seems somewhat irrelevant.

Bill James, the baseball writer and statistician, did a study a number of years ago that showed not only are black players faster, but they lose their speed at a much slower rate than white guys.

The real reason DeBerry's comments are controversial is that once you acknowledge racial differences in physical ability, it becomes harder to avoid discussing racial differences in mental ability. And before I get accused of racism, let me frankly admit here that it certainly appears that whites are not the top of the brain chain either. Asians do much better on standardized tests.

Let me add here that Rivers' focus may be understandable. The image of the talented but lazy black athlete versus the hard-working, but less-skilled white athlete has been a fixture of sports announcers, reporters and fans for decades. But once we acknowledge that both white and black athletes are hard-working, what are we left with to explain the vast differential in success rates at sports?
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Thursday, October 27, 2005
 
Times Publishes Hewitt

On what the Right lost with Miers:

The right's embrace in the Miers nomination of tactics previously exclusive to the left - exaggeration, invective, anonymous sources, an unbroken stream of new charges, television advertisements paid for by secret sources - will make it immeasurably harder to denounce and deflect such assaults when the Democrats make them the next time around. Given the overemphasis on admittedly ambiguous speeches Miers made more than a decade ago, conservative activists will find it difficult to take on liberals in their parallel efforts to destroy some future Robert Bork.

As for who's reponsible, Hugh has no trouble identifying the culprits:

The center of the Miers opposition was National Review's blog, The Corner, and the blog ConfirmThem.com, both with sharp-tongued, witty and relentless writers. They unleashed every argument they could find, and the pack that followed them could not be stopped. Even if a senator had a mind to urge hearings and a vote, he had to feel that it would call down on him the verbal wrath of the anti-Miers zealots.

Hugh's show today was on the need to "get the band back together". A lot of Miers' critics conducted themselves well; the geniuses at the Corner are a notable exception. Sometime when you feel mean, take a gander at their posts last year on election day. They were doing the chicken little routine. So much for their political instincts.
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Survivor Guatemala Update

Continuing off last week's episode, Judd can't stop talking and getting on people's nerves.

The reward challenge is rather interesting. The teams wrap themselves in straps, starting out with one person, then two people, then three and four. Once they are completely wrapped, they can reverse the process, unwrapping themselves one by one. Nukum has the lead at the halfway point, but they get tangled and eventually fall down. Yaxha stays calm and wins reward.

Which turns out to be a pretty good one. They get to glide down a wire atop the jungle. Looks like a terrific view. At the bottom is a chocolate feast, which would not exactly thrill me personally, but it's obviously a delight to the women.

Afterwards comes something of a surprise. The Yaxha tribe paddles across the lake and invites the Nukum members to a pool party. At first it seems unanimous that the Nukum members will not go, but when the mention of leftover chocolate comes up, the Nukum tribe hops into their own outrigger.

Jamie gets some of his first notice in this episode, but it's because he keeps quiet during the pool party to see what's going on with the other tribe. Foreshadowing by Burnett?

The Immunity Challenge is to dig pieces of a puzzle out of a pile of sand, then assemble the puzzle. Of course, I was yelling "Don't let Bobby Jon put the puzzle together!" and for once, they seem to have heard me. Unfortunately that was not enough to help them win, as Brandon spent a long time looking for the 11th (of 12) pieces and they never seemed to catch up after that.

The next segment is the usual misdirection. Of course Amy's going home, but they give us a hint that maybe it's Bobby Jon because he doesn't deserve it; he's had his chance. And in the end the person we thought was going home did.

One thing I am definitely getting tired of is the constant repetition by Probst. Every time there's a reward challenge, he has to ask the contestants, "Wanna know what you're playing for?" Couldn't they vary that just a teeny bit? When the teams come in for the reward, he says, "Nukum, getting their first look at the new Yaxha. Amy voted out at the last tribal council." And to whichever tribe loses the reward challenge, "I got nothing for you, head on back to camp." What's the story, Burnett? Can't you hire a few writers to liven Jeff's material up a bit?
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Goodnight Iran, Goodnight Iran

I'll see you (glowing) in my dreams.



Europe condemned Iran's president on Thursday for saying Israel should be "wiped off the map," and said the call raised concerns about the aims of a country the West suspects is planning to build an atomic bomb.

Raised concerns? Gee, ya think so?
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Here's Some Pretty Fatheaded Analysis of the Miers' Withdrawal

This guy writes for The New Republic?

It's obvious to pretty much everyone in America other than employees of the Alliance for Justice, NARAL, Planned Parenthood et al that the right bases its assessment of someone's conservatism partly on the left's reaction to them. Had these groups commenced freaking out about, say, the winks and nods given to James Dobson by the White House, or Miers's support for a constitutional amendment banning abortion, this whole story might have shaken out a little differently, and the liberal interest groups might have gotten someone far better on their issues than they had any right to expect.

I suppose in some ways it's an improvement over the old "They all get their talking points from Rush Limbaugh who gets them from Rove." But the idea that we sit around waiting for the Left to provide us with a reverse barometer is inane. If anything, the liberals waited to see the conservative reaction.
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Another Reason I Won't Be Running for Office

Handsome men have the edge in elections.
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Congrats to Pat Hynes!

Our buddy H-Bomb at Ankle-Biters is under contract to write a book! Move over, Ann Coulter!
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What We Have To Do After Miers

Is get ready for the real battle. Assuming Bush nominates a solid conservative this time around, expect the assault to be withering from the Left. All of us were disappointed at how personal the criticism was among the Right as Miers was debated in the blogs and opinion columns. Many in the anti-Miers crowd (especially George Will) openly questioned the motives of Miers' backers and many in the pro-Miers camp questioned the loyalty of the antis.

That's nothing compared to what's going to happen. The media have set this up very well for the Democrats, playing the endgame while we concentrated on Harriet. What's the story the media concocted about opposition to Miers? That it was orchestrated by the Christian Conservatives.

As I have discussed in the past, that doesn't seem to be the case. Christian Conservative leaders largely supported Miers and it was mostly the secular commentariat that opposed her nomination. But this myth puts the Democrats in good position to oppose the next nominee to come down the pike as representing the fundamentalist wing of the party.

On the way into work this morning, I heard Dennis Prager playing some clips from Teddy Kennedy about how he'd never seen a candidate under assault like this from "the extremist wing" of the Republican party. That's their story and they're sticking to it.
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Miers Takes One for the Team

Okay, glad that's over.

Harriet Miers withdrew her nomination to be a Supreme Court justice Thursday in the face of stiff opposition and mounting criticism about her qualifications.

President Bush said he reluctantly accepted her decision to withdraw, after weeks of insisting that he did not want her to step down. He blamed her withdrawal on calls in the Senate for the release of internal White House documents that the administration has insisted were protected by executive privilege.

"It is clear that senators would not be satisfied until they gained access to internal documents concerning advice provided during her tenure at the White House _ disclosures that would undermine a president's ability to receive candid counsel," Bush said. "Harriet Miers' decision demonstrates her deep respect for this essential aspect of the constitutional separation of powers _ and confirms my deep respect and admiration for her."


Let's hope we get a Luttig or McConnell this time, and that we can muster the votes to win.

GOP & the City has discovered the secret reason Harriet Miers withdrew.

Buckley F. Williams finds out that Harriet Miers declined another White House offer.
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Wednesday, October 26, 2005
 
Oil for Greed

More and more, it seems evident that despite the claims of the "No blood for oil" crowd, that only one side on this war profited from Iraq's war. It is the side of the supposedly noble anti-war countries, Russia and France:

U.N. to Detail Kickbacks Paid for Iraq's Oil
By WARREN HOGE

UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 26 - More than 4,500 companies took part in the United Nations oil-for-food program and more than half of them paid illegal surcharges and kickbacks to Saddam Hussein, according to the independent committee investigating the program.

The country with the most companies involved in the program was Russia, followed by France, the committee says in a report to be released Thursday. The inquiry was led by Paul A. Volcker, former chairman of the Federal Reserve Board.


The report, or at least this summary from the Times is startlingly blunt about the effect of this on the Security Council:

Another investigator noted that in the years immediately preceding the program, smuggling of Iraqi oil in much larger amounts had been going on for years to the benefit of the economies of American allies, including Jordan and Turkey. In his last report, Mr. Volcker said this smuggling amounted to $10.99 billion.

This investigator suggested that this had a compromising effect on the Security Council's willingness to step in and stop the practice. "Three years, four years already, letting the oil flow into Jordan and Turkey, so now you're going to be very strict about this smaller volume of oil?" he asked. "Unlikely."


Saddam's rigorous bookkeeping may be the undoing of all these people:

The committee said some companies had complained that the evidence against them was gathered in Iraq and was therefore not trustworthy. But a lead investigator said that in those cases where corroborating evidence was available, the Iraqi information turned out to be sound.

"Everybody down the line kept very meticulous records because Saddam told them, 'You get the surcharge from everybody,' " he said. "So they all wanted to document how they got the surcharge."


Hat Tip: The Astute Blogger

The Washington Post's coverage is here:

The inquiry committee has also faulted Secretary General Kofi Annan, saying his son took advantage of his father's position to profit from the program, and it has criticized the U.N. Security Council for mismanaging the program.

That's pretty mild. In fact, it's basically implied that the Security Council was corrupted.
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These Are Pretty Bad Speeches But

I'm willing to give Miers the benefit of the doubt pending her hearings. Both of the speeches are to women's groups and the transcripts (pdf files) that are up at the WaPo are pretty bad. Keep in mind when reading them that a) they're transcripts, not her prepared speech and thus spelling and grammar errors are the fault of the transcriber and not Miers herself and b) she's composing a speech for a feminist audience.

Now I gotta admit, those are pretty lousy speeches to read. But I don't see them at all as radical feminist, just celebrating women. It seems likely that she just worked from notes, not from a set speech, hitting on the bullet points, so that the speeches comes off reading disjointed. And yes, you have to wince at her mention of Ann Richards as a potential Presidential candidate, but she does hasten to add Kay Bailey Hutchison, so it was at least bipartisan.

If those were the actual speeches word for word as written I'd be appalled. If she had a set of bullet points in front of her and extemporaneously delivered this speech I'd say she did a pretty good job. Some of the thinking is mushy, but she's not there to deliver a policy lecture and she is speaking to an audience that is probably pretty hostile to conservative sentiments.

I still say let's hear what she has to say at the committee hearings.

Hat Tip: Polipundit
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Congrats to the Chicago White Sox Fans

The curse of Shoeless Joe is finally over.
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If I Were the Evil Overlord

Inspired by this terrific list:

None of my Doomsday devices could be defeated by reversing the polarity.

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The Art Was Getting Paid for It

Heck, I'd do it for free.
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Mother Moonbat Speaks

Over at the HuffPo.

A few dozen of us held vigil at the White House yesterday. At 6 PM about 15 or 20 of us "died" to symbolize the unnecessary deaths in Iraq.

We all represented one soldier and 50 Iraqis. We are hoping that 2000 Americans come out in support of us during the next 3 days and "die" with us to show our misleaders and media what 2000 dead Americans looks like.




You want to know what 3000 dead Americans looks like?



And no particular interest in showing us what 100,000 dead Iraqis (2000 times 50) looks like? Oh, that's right, we can just look at one of Saddam's mass graves to see that! If Mother Sheehan gets her way, we'll get to see another 100,000 dead Iraqis.
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Franken Furter

Jamie Allman pointed me to this video of Al Franken on the Today Show. The clip is getting a lot of attention because of Franken's semi-joking reference to the execution of Karl Rove and Scooter Libby--and isn't it refreshing to see liberals suddenly interesting in prosecuting treason and supporting the death penalty?--but there are several other remarkable moments in this video.

At about 2:40 in the clip, Lauer actually asks a good question:

Lauer: In Iraq last week, there was a referendum on a new constitution and about 60% of Iraqis turned out to vote. We've got a milestone coming up, almost 2000 US troops killed in Iraq. Does that progress though on the political side--this freedom to vote and this turnout by the Iraqi people--does it justify in some ways the loss of US lives?

Not surprisingly, Al would prefer not to answer that question, so he doesn't:

Franken: Boy I don't know. We--we have blown--first of all we shouldn't have gone in, we went in, and I was--I supported it at the time, because I believed Colin Powell and I believed, uh, Judy Miller [smirk], and I believed the administration for some reason. Uh, we've bungled it, going in. We have had political--you know when we turned over the interim government, gave them sovereignty, things were supposed to get better, they got worse. When, uh, we had the elections, uh the first set of elections, very inspiring, things have gotten worse since then. There needs to be two fronts here, and one front ain't going so good.

First, I'm rather surprised to hear that Franken supported the war in Iraq (at the time). Of course he quickly gets onto another topic. Note too that Lauer goes on to point out that Franken admits in the book that he doesn't have all the answers (actually he doesn't have any of them, nor does he have the right questions). Franken comes back with a comment about how it's all a terrible mess, and all Bush's fault. But wait a minute! Didn't Franken say that he supported the war? So is it Al Franken's fault too? And what in the world is he talking about with the "two fronts" part?

And later, Lauer doesn't catch Franken lying:

Franken: This was about trying to smear a guy, who was saying, they didn't try to buy nuclear material from Niger. You're lying. They lied.

In fact, no matter how many times liberals try to bring this up, they're wrong. The only person lying about what Joe Wilson found in Niger was Joe Wilson.
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Condi Photoshopped?--Updated!

Michelle Malkin has the details.

For some reason this brings to mind this very foolish post over at the HuffPo.

Hat Tip: Aaron at Lifelike

Update: John Ruberry catches another incident of photoshopping involving our favorite cigar-store Indian.
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This Blog Is Insensitive



Fortunately our buddy The Man at GOP in the City is a metrosexual, and has some suggestions on other insensitive items that need to be removed from the culture, post-haste!
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Is This a Parody?

Or is Eugene Robinson just this foolish?

Like a lot of African Americans, I've long wondered what the deal was with Condoleezza Rice and the issue of race. How does she work so loyally for George W. Bush, whose approval rating among blacks was measured in a recent poll at a negligible 2 percent? How did she come to a worldview so radically different from that of most black Americans? Is she blind, is she in denial, is she confused -- or what?

Or could it be that she's just a heck of a lot smarter than most black Americans? Not to put too fine a point on it, but let's remember that a majority of black Americans think OJ was innocent. Are they blind, are they in denial, are they confused -- or what?

When she reminisces, she talks of piano lessons and her brief attempt at ballet -- not of Connor setting his dogs loose on brave men, women and children marching for freedom, which is the Birmingham that other residents I met still remember. A friend of Rice's, Denise McNair, was one of the four girls killed in the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. That would have left a deep scar on me, but Rice can speak of that atrocity without visible emotion.

Well, Eugene, just because you get all doe-eyed over something that happened 42 years ago, doesn't mean that everybody does. And perhaps what Ms Rice remembers is that Bull Connor was a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat?

But then why are the top echelons of her State Department almost entirely white? "That's an artifact of foreign policy," she said in the interview. "It's not been a very diverse profession." In other words, there aren't enough qualified minority candidates. I wondered how many times those words have been used as a lame excuse.

One of the things she somehow missed was that in Titusville and other black middle-class enclaves, a guiding principle was that as you climbed, you were obliged to reach back and bring others along. Rice has been a foreign policy heavyweight for nearly two decades; she spent four years in the White House as the president's national security adviser. In the interview, she mentioned just one black professional she has brought with her from the National Security Council to State.


I hate to be the one to point this out, but the Secretary of State before Rice was black as well. Indeed, blacks have held far more power in the Bush Administration than they ever did in the Clinton Administration. While decrying racism, Robinson seems to be saying that Rice should have promoted people solely because of their race (as long as that race was black).

Of course, this just points out something that I've hammered over and over again: To liberals, it's not racism if it's anti-white, it's not sexism if it's anti-male, and it's not discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation if it's anti-straight.

As we were flying to Alabama, Rice said an interesting thing. She was talking about the history of the civil rights movement, and she said, "If you read Frederick Douglass, he was not petitioning from outside of the institutions but rather demanding that the institutions live up to what they said they were. If you read Martin Luther King, he was not petitioning from outside, he was petitioning from inside the principles and the institutions, and challenging America to be what America said that it was."

The civil rights movement came from the inside? I always thought the Edmund Pettus Bridge was outside.


Gawd, even his jokes are lame.

When Rice was growing up, her father stood guard at the entrance of her neighborhood with a rifle to keep the Klan's nightriders away. But that was outside the bubble. Inside the bubble, Rice was sitting at the piano in pretty dresses to play Bach fugues. It sounds like a wonderful childhood, but one that left her able to see the impact that race has in America -- able to examine it and analyze it -- but not to feel it.

He doesn't have a clue as to what Rice meant by inside.
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Tuesday, October 25, 2005
 
Amazing Race Update

DOH! I was watching the World Series and completely spaced on TAR! Fortunately Viking Pundit's wife and Kris at Dummocrats were more diligent.
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Gorgeous George Galloway On the Ropes

Via Roger L. Simon, here's a terrific post that lays out the substance of the charges against Galloway.



Moron Galloway from Christopher Hitchens. Killer ending:

Yet this is the man who received wall-to-wall good press for insulting the Senate subcommittee in May, and who was later the subject of a fawning puff piece in the New York Times, and who was lionized by the anti-war movement when he came on a mendacious and demagogic tour of the country last month. I wonder if any of those who furnished him a platform will now have the grace to admit that they were hosting a man who is not just a pimp for fascism but one of its prostitutes as well.
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Operation Soldier Continues Their Support of the Troops

Won't you consider supporting Operation Soldier? Here's an example of where your money goes:

While assigned to a security detail, SSGT Walker and his crew were enroute back to the Forwarding Operating Base, in Ramadi, Iraq. As he and his crew drove back, their Humvee ran over a pressure sensitive Improvised Explosive Device. SSGT Walker took the brunt of the blast, suffering compound fractures to his tibia and fibula of his right leg, major tissue and muscle damage to his left leg, a fractured jaw and displaced chin, and a pierced ear drum.

SSGT Walker has undergone several surgeries to repair his injuries and is on the road to recovery. However, like many of the brave men and women of the United States Military, financial sacrifices are unfortunately too common of an occurrence.

His loving fiancé, Jewel Jackson, has left her job, so that she can be by SSGT Walker’s side, to do everything she possibly can to help SSGT Walker’s recovery. Needless to say, this has put a financial strain in their household.

It is without a doubt an extreme honor for Operation Soldier to assist Army SSGT Walker and his fiancé, Jewel Jackson, with a small contribution of $1000.00 dollars. SSGT Walker and his fiancée are truly remarkable individuals and we here at Operation Soldier, will keep SSGT Walker and his fiancée in our thoughts and prayers, for a rapid recovery.
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Newer Blogger to Introduce

Go check out the Educated Shoprat, the blog of a college graduate working on a factory floor. I noticed that he had made a few comments on posts over here, surfed on over to his blog and discovered that he's got the habit down--regular posts, interesting links and solid commentary drawing on his own experiences. It's a promising beginning. I particularly appreciated his post on executions in China, although you might not want to click on the links because the photos are indeed quite shocking.
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J-Pod Has a Good Point

Talking about the Miller mess, he notes:

The outraged prose on this matter from writers outside the Times — like Greg Mitchell of Editor and Publisher and the just-out-of-the-nuthouse cases populating the Huffington Post on the Web — suggests that if only the Times had published nothing articles more skeptical of the WMD claims, it could have kept the war from happening.

Indeed, that's one of the more amusing aspects of the "Bush Lied, 2000 Died" crowd. They all insist that he duped us into supporting the war. Of course, I don't think he lied to me, and they weren't supporting the war, so the question is who was duped?

Mitchell's an odious blister whom I've lanced a few times in the past.

And along the same lines, check out Michael Barone's rather pithy summary of the situation:

Karl Rove and Scooter Libby are apparently in trouble because they told the truth about somebody who was telling lies.

Also, note his prediction:

Well, I don't believe there should be indictments this week, so I'll go out on a limb and I will predict there will not be indictments this week.
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Roast Taliban

Chris at Lucky Dawg has the video of the dead Taliban being burned for hygiene reasons, which got some attention from the hand-wringers in the last few days (shown here on German--err, Dutch TV). This may take awhile to load, and you need to scroll down to video of the week. The clip includes the explanation by the cameraman that the burning was not done as a provocation, although the psy ops people then taunted the living Taliban in the area in the hopes of drawing them out.
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Franken Future

Al Franken's new book comes out today (I know, I know, I should have been camping outside Borders' if I wanted to get a copy before the book sells out). In it, he does a little gazing into his crystal ball:

Franken writes a letter to his grandchildren, dated 2015, reviewing how Democrats “took our country back.”

The unnamed president is a Democrat. President Bush has been impeached, convicted and “began drinking again, all in the space of a single afternoon.” And a Democratic senator from Minnesota is Al Franken.


Of course, there are some potential problems with his future plans:

At 54, he says his political future depends, in part, on Air America Radio, the fledgling liberal talk-show network he helped start last year. But he is laying the political groundwork.

Early next year, he plans to move from New York back to Minnesota. (He left when he was 22.) He and his wife, Franni, have bought what she calls “a city home” in Minneapolis and what he calls a “town house.” He concedes: “I'm not clear on the distinction.”

He also is planning to transplant his daily three-hour radio program, The Al Franken Show, to Minneapolis. And he plans to devote a lot of time in 2006 to campaigning and fundraising for Democratic candidates in Minnesota.


It all hinges on Air America? Rotsa ruck, Al!
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Whom Would You Choose to Rule the World?

John Hawkins polled a bunch of center-right bloggers after seeing an article where the BBC polled 15,000 people worldwide on that question. The BBC's poll came up with some real idiots like Bill Clinton, Kofi Annan, and Noam Chomsky. John's poll came up with a more sensible list although there are certainly some surprises as well.
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Is This What Dean Means by a Culture of Corruption?

The Ballance scandal?

Former U.S. Rep. Frank Ballance, a North Carolina Democrat, was sentenced to four years in prison on Oct. 12 for conspiring to divert taxpayer money to his friends and family through the charitable organization he founded in 1985.

But almost two weeks later, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee still has not returned the thousands of dollars in "dirty money" that Ballance contributed to the DCCC, the National Republican Congressional Committee wants everyone to know.

The NRCC said based on press reports, it appears that the DCCC has no plans to return the $29,500 that Ballance contributed to its coffers.

And Ballance isn't the DCCC's only "dirty money" contributor. The NRCC noted that third-quarter Federal Election Commission reports show the DCCC has not yet returned $5,000 donated by a Chicago attorney who pled guilty to attempted extortion.


Could it be the credit report scandal, where two aides to Chuckie Schumer obtained the credit report of a man planning to run for the Republican nomination to the Senate from Maryland?

Could it be Jon Corzine's peculiar new investments in the form of loans and grants to black churches in New Jersey while he runs for governor?

Could it be the New Mexico Treasurer's Office scandal?

Gov. Bill Richardson and other Democrats are confronting their own hurricane, a political storm from the corruption scandal engulfing state Treasurer Robert Vigil and his predecessor, Michael Montoya.

Vigil and Montoya -- both Democrats -- have pleaded not guilty to federal felony charges alleging they extorted kickbacks from financial advisers in exchange for steering state investment business to them.


Hat Tip: Chris at Lucky Dawg reminded us (in the comments) of the New Mexico flap.
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Monday, October 24, 2005
 
Why I Support Harriet Miers

It's really quite simple. I cast a vote on November 2, 2004 for George W. Bush for President of the United States of America. I did not cast a vote for the conservative movement (although I support most of its goals), I did not cast a vote for conservative bloggers (although I agree with them most of the time), I did not cast a vote for David Frum or George Will (dittos).

How many times did we hear in the last year or so (particularly during the discussion of the nuclear option) that Bush had been elected president and deserved to be able to nominate his choice of judges? I'd guess that every conservative blog made that point at one time or another.

But what some of us meant was that only the liberals couldn't object to the president's choices. Apparently every conservative blog forgot to mention that they reserved the right to exercise a veto in the event that Bush nominated someone insufficiently acceptable to the commentariat.

Bush has been terrific on judges; any objective ranking of his appointments to the federal bench would conclude that he has done an excellent job. The only clunkers were a couple holdovers from Clinton that he renominated in an effort to change the tone. Once it became obvious that would not satisfy the scorched earth partisans like Tom Daschle, he's been rock solid.

He's done a terrific job as well for the party. It's well-known that the 2002 election was a solid mid-term for Republicans, and 2004 wasn't too bad either. For the first time since the 1920s the Republicans have held control of the House, Senate and Presidency for two consecutive elections (three if you ignore the Jumpin' Jim Jeffords incident which thwarted the will of the voters in 2000); not even Eisenhower was able to accomplish that feat.

More than that, I see danger signs ahead. If the conservative blogs, which I'll admit are largely against the Miers nomination, win this round, then who gains power and who loses power? President Bush loses, and that power won't flow down to the blogosphere. It will go to Congress. Which will mean Denny Hastert and Bill Frist (and Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi) benefit. They have one thing in common with George Will; I didn't vote for them.

And it fits in with the larger media story of the collapsing Bush presidency, which we all know is mostly a bogus concoction, but a least it gives the Democrats and their fans in the scribbling class something to crow about.

It's easy for a party to fracture like this during the second term of a presidency; the Democrats only avoided it in 1998 because they had the specter of an impeachment and conviction of the president facing them. But second-termers are called Lame Ducks for a reason, and if the Republicans succeed in laming their own early on despite majorities in both houses they just might deserve the butt-whipping that the Left is increasingly convinced is coming in the 2006 elections.

Despite the furor in the punditocracy over the Miers nomination, the rank and file of the party is largely behind President Bush and not the talking heads. This was brought home to me by reading the comments in this recent post on Polipundit.

You probably are aware that the conservative blogosphere is largely hostile to Miers. What you may forget is that some of the major bloggers opposed to Miers (Instapundit, Michelle Malkin) do not allow comments. Check out the comments from some of these folks responding to Polipundit, who does:

#1

Why don’t you make a sign - and stand in front of the White House until they give in to your demands?

Maybe you can share a tent with Cindy Sheehan?

Comment by Von Aras | Email | Homepage | 10/24/2005 - 4:38 pm


Ouch! That's gotta hurt.

#4

When the anti Miers crowd depends on Time Magazine, Chuck Schumer, New York Times, and all the rest of the liberal news media for their information, it is a sad day. For 5 whole years, we have all agreed that these organizations have been so biased against us and our policies. They have produced lie after lie about us. Yet, you anti Miers guys are now making them your bible as you try to further your points and agenda. You are becoming the Moveon.org of the right.

Comment by n.c. voter | 10/24/2005 - 4:45 pm

#5

again with miers.

Comment by j.foster | Email | 10/24/2005 - 4:46 pm


My point is not that these people necessarily raise terrific arguments, just that even major blogs like Polipundit (which is a group blog much like Lifelike where there is disagreement between the bloggers on the nomination) are encountering significant resistance from their readers on throwing Miers under the bus.

#11

these constant anti miers post are really annoying, I’d go to du/kos if really wanted to be annoyed.

Comment by JPNiner | 10/24/2005 - 5:02 pm


After that the comments diverge into various debates, but any notion that the large bloggers or pundits are really swaying or even representing public opinion within the party seems overblown.

What I would like is an agreement on a bet with the folks who are opposing Miers. I'll bet you a public apology in the blogosphere than if confirmed as I expect, in two years Harriet Miers will have a closer voting record to Justice Thomas and Justice Scalia than will Chief Justice Roberts.

Let me specify here as well, that I am trying to distinguish between the arguments raised against Miers and those who are raising them. One of the more dismaying aspects to George Will's rant the other day was his adamant refusal to acknowledge that honest Republicans can disagree on this nomination. I'm glad that most conservative bloggers are willing to accept the integrity of both sides' arguments.

For the contra opinion, read the Fatman's post on why he opposes the Miers nomination. And Paul Deignan analyzes Harriet Miers' life choices and why they indicate to him that she should be rejected. Paul makes some good arguments, but this strikes me as unfair:

Miers’ fifth life decision was to idolize George Bush, a man whose philosophy on Roe is that it will only be overturned when “hearts are changed”. Since Bush has not spoken out against Roe, it is fair to assume that his heart is also among those that must be changed. Indeed, his wife Laura attests to the correctness of this observation.

Actually, IIRC, Bush's comment about changing hearts was about ending abortion in general, and not about Roe. Because Roe has been the focus for decades, many forget that when Roe is overturned (as it will be), the number of abortions in this country will not decline significantly. At that point, it will be up to the individual states to decide whether to ban abortion. My read is that very few states will do so. In Arizona we had a ballot proposition about 10 years ago to ban abortion with exceptions for rape and incest. It was understood that this would be a potential test case to send up to the Supreme Court.

The measure failed by a 2-1 margin. In Arizona, where the population has voted for the Republican candidate for President in every election since 1952 save one. And guess what? Abortion, which had been a constant issue down at the state house, has disappeared as a local issue. This is what President Bush meant by changing hearts on the issue. Overturning Roe may give a brief surge of energy to the pro-life movement. But it is unlikely to result in the significant reduction in abortions that they desire.
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Frank N. Steyn

Here's a pretty scary column on the bird flu from the best in the business.

Her son Tse Chi Kwai went to Scarborough Grace Hospital and, as is traditional in Canada, was left on a trolley in Emergency for 12 hours, exposed to hundreds of people. Despite all the memos warning them to be on the look-out for this new and highly contagious disease, after discovering that his patient's mother had recently died after returning from Hong Kong, the doctor concluded that, even if Tse was infectious, it was only with TB.

So Tse died, but not before infecting the man lying next to him on that ER trolley hour after hour: Joe Pollack, who was being treated for an irregular heartbeat. He was eventually isolated with symptoms of Sars, but apparently it never occurred to the hospital also to isolate Mrs Pollack. So she wandered around the wards and infected an 82-year-old man from a Catholic charismatic group. Mr Pollack, Mrs Pollack, the octogenarian charismatic and his wife all died, and their sons infected at least 30 other members of their religious group, plus a Filipina nurse, who flew back to Manila and before her death introduced Sars to a whole new country.
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Hackett's In For Ohio Senate Run

Damn the liberal bloggers, full speed ahead!

Hackett's strong showing in a state that was a pivotal presidential battleground solidified the attorney as a likely 2006 candidate for Congress or statewide office.

After Hackett decided to oppose DeWine, Hackett was irked when Brown, with three decades of elective politics behind him, decided he also would run.

Brown, a former state legislator and Ohio secretary of state, is in his seventh congressional term, representing northeastern Ohio's 13th District. He's expected to officially launch his Senate race in early November.


I kinda hope that Brown beats Hackett; I'd rather we face a liberal Democrat (lifetime ACU Rating: 9) than Hackett, who's got some good moderate credentials/positions. I'd also like to see a primary challenge to incumbent Republican Mike DeWine.
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Why The Levees Broke

Investigators are now focusing on engineering mistakes:

Investigators in recent days have assembled evidence implicating design flaws in the failures of two floodwalls near Lake Pontchartrain that collapsed when weakened soils beneath them became saturated and began to slide. They also have confirmed that a little-used navigation canal helped amplify and intensify Katrina's initial surge, contributing to a third floodwall collapse on the east side of town. The walls and navigation canal were built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the agency responsible for defending the city against hurricane-related flooding.

Katrina's storm surge put the floodwalls to the ultimate test. Hours after the storm hit, water poured into the canals from Lake Pontchartrain and added enormous strain to the walls and levees. According to a scenario developed by Bea and other investigators, the already-saturated peat was the path of least resistance, allowing the water to burst through the wall from underneath. At the 17th Street Canal, truck-size chunks of the old earthen levee were heaved 35 feet on a carpet of sliding soil.

Corps officials are not yet convinced. "It is important not to jump to conclusions," said John Grieshaber, chief of the engineering division in the Corps' New Orleans district office. "It's hard to look at the aftereffects and say with a high level of certainty, 'This is what happened.' "

The Corps' actions since the storm, however, suggest that at least some officials are worried about weaknesses in the floodwalls' design. A proposal for rebuilding the floodwalls has set far tougher standards than existed 15 years ago. And the steel pilings, which formerly reached a depth of 20 feet, must now be driven through the peat layer to 40 feet, twice as deep as before.
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Statement of Support for Harriet Miers

I support the Miers nomination. Per this post at NZ Bear's.
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Moving On Up!

Pam Meister advises us that she's moving off blogger and into the Minuvian community. Update your blogrolls and favorites/bookmarks lists.
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John Hawkins Reviews Noam Chomsky

You can imagine how Uncle Noam fares.
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Not-So-Smart Alec

Posting over at the HuffPo, he notes:

In today's NY Times, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Republican of Texas, in reference to the Fitzgerald/CIA leak investigation, is quoted as saying that she hoped "that if there is going to be an indictment that says something happened, that it is an indictment on a crime and not some perjury technicality where they couldn't indict on the crime and so they go to something just to show that their two years of investigation was not a waste of time and taxpayer dollars."

If you check the online record you will see that this is the same Kay Bailey Hutchison that voted in favor of both counts of impeachment against Bill Clinton. More disturbingly, she writes in the Congressional record dated February 17th, 1999....


Typical HuffPoer, he sees the mote in Kay's eyes and doesn't notice the beam in his own. Senator Hutchison is a hypocrite because she voted in favor of impeaching Bill Clinton for perjury, but now she's decrying the possibility that perjury will be the only basis for indictments of White House staffers.

Of course, it's not too hard to turn this hypocrisy argument around on not-so-smart Alec. He obviously supports the indictment of Republican White House staffers for perjury. So did he support the impeachment of Bill Clinton? It's hardly necessary to ask, right?
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Where are the Heroes?

This column touches on the key subject of this blog.

The other day, as I watched my 8-year-old nephew play with a Star Wars action figure, I asked him, "Is Luke your hero?"

With youthful disdain, he corrected me. "This is Anakin Skywalker," he said. "He's a bad guy." Moments later he returned the question: "Who's your hero?"

Oddly, it caught me off guard. I looked into his hopeful eyes, struggling for a meaningful answer, but nothing came. Truth is, I still can't think of an answer.


As the writer notes, some of this is simply due to aging. But at the same time, it's also an effect of our culture no longer celebrating the hero, the way the World War II generation celebrated an Audie Murphy, or the WWI generation with Sergeant York.

Here's another writer (I'll tell you who in a moment):

Very early in life, I learned from comics the difference between good and evil, honor and integrity, rational and irrational behavior. Thesse are things I picked up from comics and I think my entire generation experienced that as well, which is something you do not find in comics today. It's impossible to derive any sense of moral or ethical center from the comics today's kids are being exposed to.

That is a perfect summary of my own thoughts, from somebody I never thought I would hear saying it. The writer is Harlan Ellison, best known as the enfant terrible of science fiction in the 1960s, and perhaps the most ruthless demythologizer of heroes in the last 50 years. Even Ellison realizes that something strange has happened in our society when we no longer celebrate the hero.

The pushing forward of heroes into the public eye is one of my major objectives with this blog.

Note: This post is a work in progress. I will add a great deal to it in the future, as the subject matter covered is very important.
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Sunday, October 23, 2005
 
NFL Week Seven Wrapup

Some wild endings to the games today. San Diego was set to kick a field goal to go up by a full seven points; instead it was blocked and the Eagles ended up winning by three. Dallas was driving for the winning field goal when Drew Bledsoe was picked off, setting up Seattle for the game-ender.

The lone winless team hosted the one lossless team; predictably the teams maintained their relative uniqueness.
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Just Guessing Here--Updated

But this guy doesn't seem to like my buddies Allman and Smash in the morning.

It's hard to say precisely what was the worst moment of Monday night's Right Wing Wingding at the Family Arena in St. Charles.

It might have been listening to Jamie Allman, the former TV-reporter-turned- archdiocesan-flack-turned-right-wing radio host, sing an Allman Brothers song. Even stone-cold stoned, Gregg Allman sounded better than Jamie Allman. Heck, even the late Duane Allman would sound better than Jamie Allman.

It might have been hearing Allman's radio sidekick, Asher (Smash) Benrubi, tell gynecologist jokes to an audience of 2,500 deeply conservative family value-sters. On the other hand, Smash has a great band, and vocalist Rhonda Cathey is terrific. Counting Rhonda, I spotted a total of one black person at the Wingding.


But his targets aren't limited to Allman & Smash. He also bashes Sean Hannity, who apparently was the headliner at the Wingding, comparing him unfavorably to a "straight" journalist:

Oh, sure. Straight journalists do the talking-for-dollars routine, but usually at stuffy symposiums or for trade associations: Ladies and gentlemen of the American Rocket Sled Association, please give a warm welcome to George Stephanopoulos.

Now, calling George Steponallofus a "straight" journalist is something of a gag on both parts of the definition. But the fact of the matter is radio talk show hosts are in fact something like rock stars today. They draw crowds and command fees.

Or should I amend that a bit? Conservative radio talk show hosts are the rock stars. This reviewer is of course a little jealous, because while some columnists manage to make the jump to behind the mike, it's mostly the center-right columnists.

He then goes on to criticize the affair for not showing intellectual depth or thoughtful discussions of issues, which in his view would turn into a non-stop Bush bash.

This is the central flaw with liberal radio, as represented by Air America. Liberals look at conservative talk radio and see propaganda. So what do they do, but come up with a propaganda network. What they don't realize is that conservatives turn to talk radio to be entertained. Yeah, we want to hear the issues discussed but we want it to be fun.

Update: The column is worse than I thought; turns out that this columnist does work for a competing radio station. Clear conflict of interest here; surely he should at least have made a disclosure of that fact?
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Contact Me: pcurley (at) cdwebs (dot) com

Brainster in the Media

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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

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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)

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