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Saturday, January 28, 2006
 
Flub-Bluster?

Looks like we're more likely to get that than a filibuster.
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While I'm Out for a Couple Hours

Check out some of the blogs on the left hand sidebar. The Chief Brief is a solid blog on politics and economics if you can get over the Seahawk cheerleading.

The Educated Shoprat blogs on politics with an emphasis on Michigan.

Camp Katrina is the blog of Army National Guard SPC Phil Van Treuren, and is dedicated to spreading good news about the US military.
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Ellis: 9-11 Not That Important in the Grand Scheme of Things

There is an argument to be made here, but it's certainly made poorly by Joseph J. Ellis in the New York Times.

My first question: where does Sept. 11 rank in the grand sweep of American history as a threat to national security? By my calculations it does not make the top tier of the list, which requires the threat to pose a serious challenge to the survival of the American republic.

Here is my version of the top tier: the War for Independence, where defeat meant no United States of America; the War of 1812, when the national capital was burned to the ground; the Civil War, which threatened the survival of the Union; World War II, which represented a totalitarian threat to democracy and capitalism; the cold war, most specifically the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, which made nuclear annihilation a distinct possibility.

Sept. 11 does not rise to that level of threat because, while it places lives and lifestyles at risk, it does not threaten the survival of the American republic, even though the terrorists would like us to believe so.


First, let's stop calling it "Sept. 11". That's one incident. Where does Pearl Harbor rate on his scale? Answer: It doesn't; it's a part of a larger conflict called World War II. Obviously 9-11 wasn't as big a threat to the United States as World War II. But is Islamic terrorism as big a threat as Hitler and the Japanese? Maybe not, but the scale is not as dramatically off kilter. How many American civilians were killed by our enemies in World War II? I don't know the answer, but I suspect it was not as many as died on 9-11.

And then, hilariously, he compares the wiretapping of Al Qaeda agents in the United States to the worst excesses of these other threats against America:

My list of precedents for the Patriot Act and government wiretapping of American citizens would include the Alien and Sedition Acts in 1798, which allowed the federal government to close newspapers and deport foreigners during the "quasi-war" with France; the denial of habeas corpus during the Civil War, which permitted the pre-emptive arrest of suspected Southern sympathizers; the Red Scare of 1919, which emboldened the attorney general to round up leftist critics in the wake of the Russian Revolution; the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, which was justified on the grounds that their ancestry made them potential threats to national security; the McCarthy scare of the early 1950's, which used cold war anxieties to pursue a witch hunt against putative Communists in government, universities and the film industry.

Well, of course you see the flaw in the logic here? Wiretapping and the Patriot Act are nowhere near the Alien and Sedition Acts, the suspension of habeas corpus, internment of the Japanese, etc. If you look at the rights that we have as a bundle of sticks, what rights were given up in the Patriot Act? Arguably the right to not have the government checking out what books you had borrowed from the public library. With the wiretapping, you have lost the right to not have your calls monitored if you have previously received calls from members of Al Qaeda, a circumstance that apparently affects all of about 1000 people in the United States, not all of whom are citizens, by the way.

Now, the Alien and Sedition acts, on the other hand, took away some pretty significant sticks.

The last of the laws, the Sedition Act, passed on July 14 declared that any treasonable activity, including the publication of "any false, scandalous and malicious writing," was a high misdemeanor, punishable by fine and imprisonment. By virtue of this legislation twenty-five men, most of them editors of Republican newspapers, were arrested and their newspapers forced to shut down.

Suspending the writ of habeas corpus effectively means that the government can imprison you for any reason whatsoever; indeed it actually means they don't have to present a reason.

Both these actions were obviously far greater threats to our civil liberties than the Patriot Act, as were the Japanese internment camps.

So the logic Ellis uses here amounts to this: We've faced more serious threats to our survival as a nation, and we've responded by giving up more of our civil liberties (which were restored when the crisis passed), and therefore we should not give up even the comparatively smaller civil liberties encompassed in the Patriot Act or the wiretapping cases.

See also our buddy Rick Moran's post on this. Rick's more concerned about civil liberties than I am, but he agrees that Ellis laid an egg with this column.
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Loser Lefty Blogs--Updated!

Are dragging the Democrats kicking and screaming to defeat says Jim VandeHei of the WaPo.

First, liberal Web logs went after Democrats for selecting Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine to deliver the response to Bush's speech next Tuesday. Kaine's political sins: He was too willing to drape his candidacy in references to religion and too unwilling to speak out aggressively against Bush on the Iraq war. Kaine has been lauded by party officials for finding a victory formula in Bush country by running on faith, values and fiscal discipline.

Many Web commentators wanted Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.), a leading critic of the Iraq war who advocates a speedy withdrawal, to be the opposition voice on the State of the Union night. Most Democratic lawmakers have distanced themselves from the Murtha position. "What the hell are they thinking?" was the title of liberal blogger Arianna Huffington's column blasting the Kaine selection.


There is some sense that the bloggers are dragging the party over the cliff:

"The bloggers and online donors represent an important resource for the party, but they are not representative of the majority you need to win elections," said Steve Elmendorf, a Democratic lobbyist who advised Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign. "The trick will be to harness their energy and their money without looking like you are a captive of the activist left."

The blogs-vs.-establishment fight represents the latest version of a familiar Democratic dispute. It boils down to how much national candidates should compromise on what are considered core Democratic values -- such as abortion rights, gun control and opposition to conservative judges -- to win national elections.


Where VandeHei goes off the rails is when he compares lefty bloggers to the talk radio phenomenon of the "early 1980s", which he claims pulled the Republicans to the right on tax cuts and social issues. First, Rush didn't even go national until 1988. But more important, he misses the real dynamic at work here. Rush didn't pull the Republicans to the right; he pulled the entire country to the right.

Bulldog Pundit is a lot less impressed with this article than I was. I think VandeHei gets the problem with the left-wing blogs; he's just clueless when it comes to conservatives.

Update: Right on cue, Byron York points out that the criticism offered by Elmendorff of the moonbats has resulted in a fatwa by Kos.

Here's notice, any Democrat associated with Elmendorf will be outed. The netroots can then decide for itself whether it wants to provide some of that energy and money to that candidate.
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Friday, January 27, 2006
 
Movie Review: The Stranger (1946)

(Many spoilers)

I was over at my dad's this evening and we decided to watch this film. Edward G. Robinson plays a detective working for the War Crimes Tribunal in the immediate post-WWII environment. He is hunting for the architect of Hitler's Final Solution, played by Orson Welles (also the director). Welles has escaped to a small university town in Connecticut, where he has not only found employment as a professor, but is engaged to be married to Lana Turner.

Robinson allows Meinike, one of Welles' former minions, to escape and follows him to the small town in Connecticut. Meinike, sensing he is being followed, ambushes Robinson and knocks him out, apparently by swinging a pair of gymnast's rings at his head.

Meinike then approaches Welles, who agrees to meet him in a nearby woods. Once there, one of the oddball moments of the movie takes place. Meinike reveals that he has converted to Christianity, and that he wants Welles to confess his sins and join him in prayer. Welles instead strangles his former assistant, quickly covers up the body, then rushes off to his wedding.

(This was the first obvious plot hole in the movie. Meinike savagely attacks Robinson, and yet he's embraced Jesus?)

Welles sneaks out after the wedding to finish the job of burying Meinike. Lana is concerned when she can't find him, but of course he arrives back with a change of clothes; it is time for them to catch the train for their honeymoon.

Robinson recovers consciousness and wanders into town, where he makes the acquaintance of the drug store operator (terrific character acting by Billy House). He quickly learns that the only newcomer in town is Welles, and that he's getting married that night.

A few days later, Robinson is pretending to be an antiques dealer writing a monograph on Paul Revere's silver. Welles and Turner have returned from their honeymoon and they meet him as he is interviewing her father about his silver collection. In an interesting sequence, Robinson asks the family their opinion about whether the postwar occupation of Germany will be successful. Welles doubts that democracy will work with the Germans (echoes of today, with postwar Iraq). Robinson makes some comment about Karl Marx being a Democrat (!) and Welles says that Marx was not a German but a Jew. But he appears to convince Robinson that he must not be a Nazi, because he suggests that the Germans must be exterminated.

Later that night, Robinson calls into his boss and suggests that Welles must be clean. (Second major plot hole: Wouldn't they first check the guy's background out and sort of discover that he was nowhere before 1945?) Then, it suddenly occurs to Robinson: Only a Nazi would say that Marx was a Jew, not a German.

The rest of the story has an interesting psychological flavor to it. Welles knows that Robinson must be the man who was trailing Meinike. Turner gradually comes to understand that her new husband is a monster, as he admits killing her dog (who was digging at the gravesite). He also acknowledges killing Meinike, (whom Lana briefly met) although he claims that his victim was actually blackmailing him for a crime that he had not committed.

Meanwhile, Robinson enlists the help of Lana Turner's family. He finds that her younger brother (a teenish Richard Long of The Big Valley and Nanny and the Professor), and her father are already distrustful of Welles, and eventually confides in them the truth.

This leads to some of the most unrealistic parts of the movie. At one point, Robinson tells Lana Turner's father that he assumes Welles will try to kill his daughter, but he sure hopes to get there before she dies. And Dad just nods his head.

They do a confrontation with Lana, telling her about Welles' crimes and showing some brief images of concentration camp horrors. She refuses to believe them at this point, but Robinson is confident she will have a breakdown sooner or later. Her brother seems unaffected by this prognosis.

You get the picture? Welles by this point is just moving pieces around the stage without any real concern as to whether their motivations make any sense. Much attention centers around the broken town clock, which Welles has resolved to fix (apparently he always had a mania with clocks during his Nazi era).

At one point, Turner yells at Welles to kill her and tosses him a poker. The next moment the door is being burst in. Welles has taken off, and Lana's still fine, although she faints. The manhunt is on!

The ending sequence is entertaining but wildly, zanily improbable. Apparently the manhunt failed to look in the most obvious place in town, the place where Welles had been spending much of his free time, the clock tower. And of course, Lana Turner realizes this and runs there. Hearing that she's disappeared, Edward G. brilliantly deduces that she must have gone to the clock tower.

Thrill a minute scene at the clock tower, where Welles is done in by the clock that he fixed. And then comes the most bizarre, farcical ending you can imagine. Both Edward G and Lana have survived. Lana makes it down the ladder, but Robinson, who has been injured in the fight with Welles, decides to wait for a sturdier ladder.

As she disappears down the steps, he says, "Pleasant dreams!"

Pleasant dreams? Her husband has just been killed after trying to kill her, and you say pleasant dreams?
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This is Hilarious

The American Prospect takes a run at the numbers in an attempt to exculpate the Democrats in the Abramoff scandal. But their analysis is incredibly shoddy. Consider this:

2) Tribe: Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana
Pre-Abramoff contributions to Dems (1991 - 9/2000): $61,320
Pre-Abramoff contributions to GOP (1991 - 9/2000): $48,560
Post-Abramoff contributions to Dems (9/2000 - 2003): $64,000
Post-Abramoff contributions to GOP(9/2000 - 2003): $162,590


(snip)

At the same time, two of those four tribes -- Saginaw and Chitimacha -- saw their giving to Democrats drop or remain static.

Well, let's examine that claim. The Chitimacha made contributions to Democrats over nine years of $61,000, so that's about $6,800 per year before Abramoff, and they made contributions after signing with Abramoff of $64,000 over three years, or $21,000 a year. So the notion that the last few years have seen "their giving to Democrats drop or remain static," is obviously false. It's the same with the Saginaw tribe, who went from giving $40,000 a year to the Democrats before Abramoff to $60,000 a year after Abramoff.

Yes, as the article states, giving increased tremendously to Republicans as compared to Democrats. But most of the tribes took Abramoff on as their lobbyist after or shortly before the Republicans took control of the White House, Senate and House. Of course, lobbyists are going to give more to incumbents, and of course, they are going to give more to the party in control.
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The Circular Firing Squad Forms to the Left

And the best part is that the targets are Katie Couric, Tim Russert and Chris Matthews. Their crime? Daring to mention that the Abramoff scandal involves a few Democrats.
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Impeachment Watch VIII

Bob Fertik, perhaps best known for his wackadoodle page on Bush-Nazi links has started a PAC to funnel money to Democrats favoring impeachment of President Bush. He's got a list of the candidates who've come out in support of impeachment. Let's go through them to show just how futile this effort is going to be:

CA-52 Karen Marie Otter
FL-25 Miles Lawrence
IL-05 Johnny Haptonstall
IL-08 Bill Scheurer
IL-11 John Laesch
LA-01 Stacey Tallitsch
Mi-11 Tony Trupiano

WA-Senate Mark Wilson

Otter is running in a California district that is solid Republican; her opponent won by 41 percentage points in 2004. Lawrence's opponent for Florida's District #25 ran unopposed in 2004. The good news for Haptonstall and Scheurer is that they are running in Democratic districts; the bad news is that they are running against Democratic incumbents (Rahm Emanuel and Melissa Bean). The incumbent Republican in John Laesch's district won by 18 points in 2004, while Trupiano's foe won by 16 that year. Tallitsch is running against Republican rising star Bobby Jindal, who got 77% of the vote the last time around. And Mark Wilson, the one Senate candidate who's supporting impeachment is also running against a Democratic incumbent; Maria Cantwell.

So in other words, five of the pro-impeachment candidates are running in safe Republican districts where they have no chance of winning, and the three others are challenging incumbent Democrats.
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This Just In

Supply-side economics still works.
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Why Hugh Hewitt Should Root for the Steelers in the Super Bowl

This is very funny.

By the way, if you haven't been listening to Hugh this week, you've really missed an amazing set of broadcasts. On Tuesday he had Joel Stein, the nutjob LA Times columnist who wrote about how he refused to "Support the Troops". Wednesday it was Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. And yesterday he interviewed Karl Rove. That's on top of his weekly chats with James Lileks, Mark Steyn, John Podhoretz and others. Oh, and Mitt Romney was on too.
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Kerry Filibuster Bound to Fail

Democrat Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota has indicated his inclination to vote for Alito.

Kos sounded the retreat last night.

We have two Democrats in North Dakota, one in South Dakota, and one in Montana. In the South, we have two in Arkansas, two in West Virginia, and one in Louisiana.

That's nine Democrats who, like it or not, we are blessed to have in the Senate. Sh*t on them if you want, but would you rather the count be 43 or 34? But fact is, we're not going to get these guys 100 or even 80 percent of the time. That is, if we want any chance at remaining competitive in the Senate.

So Reid had to hold three of these nine Red-state-Dems plus Jeffords. He got Baucus to declare a "no" vote, which was a minor miracle in its own right. Jeffords will also vote "no". But a filibuster? Much tougher. Can he get three of those ten to not just vote "no", but take the much more explosive step of engaging in a filibuster?


That's a savvier bit of analysis than I expect out of Kos.

See also Texas Songbird's excellent and amusing post on the Kerry Filibuster.

Okay, the final nail in the coffin for the filibuster: Cenk Uygur's going to do a live, on the "air" filibuster until he gets 41 senators to agree with him.

BTW, for those on the "Let's get rid of Lincoln Chafee" bandwagon you might want to take a look at his approval/disapproval ratings. Although he ranks tied for 74th in net approval, remember that he's in a very blue state and he's at 53% approval, which usually indicates a good chance at reelection.
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For Liberals, It's Always 1968

Here's an interesting little article which hits on a theme that I've certainly explored often. A big part of the problem is that those who learned the lessons of the intervening years (like me) left liberalism, so by definition there are no elders in the movement who acknowledge the failures since then. And anyway young liberals especially are disinclined to learn the lessons of the past.

See also The Glittering Eye, which makes some valid points about the article. I'd quibble here:

I never once heard any liberal say that conservatives were stupid. Contrariwise, over the years I’ve heard all too many Democrats refer to Republicans as “evil” but never “stupid”.

Never? Liberals divide the conservative movement into two segments: the leaders and the followers. The leaders are evil, the followers are stupid or rich.

Hat Tip: Memeorandum
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Bad News for Mayor Nagin

According to a study, New Orleans is likely to change from majority black to majority white. The good news is that it can still be a chocolate city:

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Thursday, January 26, 2006
 
Quick Links

Richard Posner asks the important question that you might not expect from a judge about the NSA wiretaps: Were they effective?

Neo-Neocon has another instalment in the story of her transformation from liberal Democrat to, well, a neo-neocon. Terrific stuff and highly recommended. As an aside, her experience is very much like mine; just substitute "Ronald Reagan" for "George Bush". As I have commented many times, Reagan started to win me over when he was shot and joked with the doctors attending him that he hoped they were all Republicans.

Molten Thought is a great blog that I wish I remembered to link to more often. Ditto with Pam Meister. Go check them out so you can say you knew them when they weren't famous.
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Google And China

A lot of people have expressed outrage at this news:

Google today caved in to pressure from the Chinese Government by launching a localised version of its website that self-censors information deemed "subversive" by the Communist authorities.

The company, whose motto is "Don’t be evil", has engineered its search facilities to restrict 110 million online users from searching for information on Tibetan independence or the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.


Roger suggests a program of disinvestment, especially by universities which were so active in disinvestment campaigns against companies doing business with the old government of South Africa. Of course, I suspect that Roger was less pleased (and so was I) when the target was Israel.

As I mentioned on Roger's post, there is a case to be made that if a business wants to operate in a country, it has to abide by the laws of that country. Clearly the choice Google was offered was do it our way or else we won't allow our citizens access to your site. Would the Chinese citizens be any better off if Google had stuck by their motto? I suspect not; they'd have to use other search engines which of course would be censored as well.

In addition, it seems to me that this effort is a stop-gap measure that is doomed to failure. Okay, so searching for "Tiananmen Square Massacre" comes up blank. What about "man stopping tank"? Or Chinese Statue of Liberty?

Also check out Michelle Malkin's very funny photoshop gallery of Google Logos. Here's one that I whipped up in a couple of minutes:



See also the Lawhawk's post for the implications for Blogger.
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Nuclear Option May Be Triggered on Alito--Updated!

I'm going by a liberal blog, which is always risky, but John Kerry is supposedly trying to lead a filibuster of the Samuel Alito nomination.

In other news on the Alito front, Senators Robert Byrd and Tim Johnson announced they will vote in favor of confirmation. When added to Ben Nelson of Nebraska, who is voting for the nominee, and Mary Landrieu and Ken Salazar, who have not announced but have ruled out filibuster, it becomes apparent that the only way Kerry will get to "lead" a filibuster is if one of the Republicans caves.

Update: Bob Casey, a pro-choice Democrat from Pennsylvania who is challenging for Rick Santorum's seat, announced that if he were a senator today, he would vote for Alito. Predictably this is causing much gnashing of teeth among the liberal blogs.

And it turns out that Kerry's leading the filibuster against Alito from... Davos, Switzerland! Jimmy Stewart would be very disappointed.
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Attention Must Be Paid

To Al Gore, at least according to this soft-focus review of his new film on Global Warming.

Gore argues -- with scientific evidence projected on big screens at his back -- that global warming may soon lead to catastrophic sea level rises, which could inundate cities such as New York (flooding the former site of the World Trade Center), producing scary nonlinear runaway spasms of extreme weather (bigger, badder hurricanes and typhoons), global pandemics and, depending on where you live, torrential rains or decade-long drought. It is not a pretty picture.

But the film's director, Davis Guggenheim (husband of actress Elisabeth Shue), captures another side of Gore, showing the former veep hitting the road, part Cassandra, part Willy Loman, working out of dreary hotel rooms, pecking away on his Apple laptop, crisscrossing the continents to tell his story over and over.


Is it just me, or does Gore look like a vampire in this shot?

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Reuters Tries to Rescue Sacco and Vanzetti (and Upton Sinclair)--Updated!

(Welcome fellow readers of The Corner)

This article seem more like an opinion piece than it does a news article. As I discussed early this month, a letter written by Upton Sinclair disclosed that he had been told by Sacco and Vanzetti's lawyer that the pair of anarchists were guilty of the payroll theft and murder counts for which they were executed. Reuters adds this:

In the month since the Los Angeles Times article and other articles on the letter appeared, conservatives have seized on the letter as proof of liberal perfidy. Columnist Jonah Goldberg called Sinclair a liar and said telling the truth would have cost him too many readers.

Actually, it was Sinclair himself who worried about losing readers.

"It is much better copy as a naïve defense of Sacco and Vanzetti because this is what all my foreign readers expect, and they are 90% of my public," he wrote to Minor.

The writer, Arthur Spiegelman (presumably not the creator of Maus) goes on to lecture a bit:

But Goldberg might have been better served if he had read the entire letter instead of the excerpts printed in the Times or if he had access to a soon-to-be published biography by Anthony Arthur called "Radical Innocent: Upton Sinclair."

In a copy of the full letter made available to Reuters, Sinclair says that soon after he talked to Moore he began to have doubts about him. "I realized certain facts about Fred Moore. I had heard that he was using drugs. I knew that he had parted from the defense committee after the bitterest of quarrels. … Moore admitted to me that the men themselves, had never admitted their guilt to him; and I began to wonder whether his present attitude and conclusions might not be the result of his brooding on his wrongs."

Okay, so that introduces a little more doubt into the case. But doesn't that part about "In a copy of the full letter made available to Reuters" bring up an obvious question? If Spiegelman chides Jonah for not reading the entire letter, then why doesn't he provide the entire letter for the rest of us to read? I checked the Reuters version of the article as well, no link to a document we can examine for ourselves.

Update: Here's a transcript of an interview with Howard Zinn on the Sacco & Vanzetti case. Zinn repeats the nonsensical theme that many on the Left have adopted about the case:

ZINN: Well, I think they rallied to them because they could see that they were not getting a fair trial. That is, even if they could not conclusively decide that they were innocent, because all of these cases are complicated, and in all of these cases in order to decide definitively that somebody is guilty or innocent, you would have to be an expert in ballistic evidence, you would have to go into a very thorough examination of the facts of the case and even then you might not be sure. And so, what brought these important figures, literary figures, people in the arts, law professors like Felix Frankfurter - a law professor at Harvard law school who wrote a brief on behalf of Sacco and Vanzetti - what brought all of them to this was their understanding that whether guilty or innocent, Sacco and Vanzetti were being tried, not because they had or had not committed a robbery and a murder in South Braintree, Massachusetts, but because they were trouble makers, because they were radicals...

Of course, if they were guilty of crimes like robbery and murder, it's hard to argue with a straight face that they were being tried for other reasons.
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A Column About Nothing

Nothing that is, except George Costanza's support of terrorist groups.

BTW, Hamas won in the Palestinian elections yesterday. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Dangerus has a terrific (and terrifying) photo comparison.

Update: Karl Maher has an interesting and savvy take on the Hamas story.
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Wednesday, January 25, 2006
 
Disagreeing With Honest People

Is always a more pleasant task than disagreeing with dishonest ones. So I'm a little less fearful of disagreeing publicly with Rick Moran. Rick's a very intelligent and well-spoken individual, but we all throw up a brick every now and then on the basketball court of blogging.

You have to read his entire post. I can wait.

Okay, where does Rick go off the rails? In my opinion it's on this line:

And in this respect, there are very troubling indications that the President has gone too far in trying to secure the nation from a terrorist attack.

To which I reply, that he can only think that because there hasn't been another one. Suppose there had been 200 killed in a March 2004 train bombing in Chicago, not Madrid. Suppose there had been 55 killed in subway and bus bombings in New York City in July of last year, not in London.

This brings up something I was thinking about in another context earlier today. A lot of people claim that Ross Perot was the reason Bill Clinton won the presidency in 1992. I don't know about that; there are after all quite a few variables in the equation. One big reason for Ronald Reagan's victory in 1980, was that the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan had convinced a great deal of people that communism was a serious threat. The Republicans were tough on communism, while the Democrats were perceived as (and were, after the 1960s) soft on communism.

But in 1989 and 1990 the Soviet empire crumbled, and while the Chinese communists managed to stay in power the perceived inevitable onslaught of communism evaporated overnight. And while it was a great victory for the Republicans (and the Democrats before about 1968), it also took the tough on communism argument largely off the board.

And that's about where Bush is on terrorism. The irony of there not being any terrorist attacks on American soil in about 52 months is that being tough on terrorism moves a little more to the back burner. And civil rights may move more to the front; remember that some of the holdouts on the Patriot Act renewal were libertarian-oriented.

I disagree with Rick strongly on this, and ask him to consider where his personal freedoms have been abridged. He does cite a couple of cases, but I'm running late on something else and will have to look them up later.
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Somebody Get Cindy a Calculator

This article got a little attention because of Cindy Sheehan's claim that Bill Clinton has killed more Iraqis than President Bush, but she's also wrong here:

Cindy: Well, he got to Iraq on March 31, 2004, he was stationed in Sadr City, Baghdad, and he was killed April 4, 2004, so he was barely in the country for five days. He was killed on Palm Sunday, and it was also the same day Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated 35 years before.

Uh, Cin, MLK died on April 4, 1968, so it's 36 years.
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Courtesy of the Red White And Blue

Our buddy Chris at Lucky Dawg has another one of his multimedia efforts highlighting the Predator Drone. Definite volume check at work!
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Working on Roger's Farm

Well, the codes for the Pajamas Media ads arrived today, and I hope that I have inserted them properly. This is still the same old blog you know and love (or hate), just getting paid for it now. :)
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Air America Paid Franken $1.7 Million?--Updated

That's what Brian Maloney claims, and he's been proven right many times before.

While we're on the subject of Airhead America, here's a brave MSNBC report on the continuing efforts to find another home for the Phoenix AA affiliate, which is switching to Christian programming in another few days.

The employees are hanging on because they hope Christy can get a deal done to buy a new station to keep Air America alive in the Valley.

"I'm working on putting together a deal for a new home for Air America," said Christy, who was behind the launch of the programming in Phoenix. "It's been consuming a lot of my time, and there's been wonderful support from clients. I'm doing this on my own. I'm putting my own personal finances on the line."


Translation: Say goodnight.

Update: Along the same lines, The Real Ugly American has a post on the radio network that's even wackier left-wing than Air America.
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Oddball Political Story of the Day

Maryland Democrats are scrambling to limit the damage from a decision by a state court that a ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional. But get this part:

Maryland Democrats concerned about the political fallout from last week's court ruling on same-sex marriage are considering a plan to block any final court ruling from taking effect until after the November elections.

The proposal would be offered in legislation by Del. Luiz R.S. Simmons (D-Montgomery) that would freeze any decision from the state's highest court until the General Assembly has time to evaluate it.

"What we're trying to do is see if we can craft a bill allowing the legislature to seek an injunction, at least until 2007, when we'll have the opportunity to consider a constitutional amendment" banning same-sex marriage, Simmons said.


Okay, so Simmons is saying, "Just give us a chance to take care of it, and we'll ban it by constitutional amendment," right?

Uh, no.

Although many Democrats, including Simmons, said they support the rights of gays and lesbians to marry, they also said they recognize that the ruling could hurt the party during key elections this year -- the governor's office and a U.S. Senate seat are at stake.

Translation: "Just let us kick it down the road aways until it won't hurt us politically."

Hat Tip: Memeorandum

See also Stop the ACLU's excellent post on this matter.
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The Walter Johnson Awards

Some of you may be aware of the Koufax awards given out by lefty bloggers to other lefty bloggers (since Sandy Koufax was a left-handed pitcher). Enlighten New Jersey has come up with the brilliant idea of the Walter Johnson Awards (Johnson was the winningest pitcher of the 20th Century). For now, Enlighten NJ is just looking for nominations for blogs deserving of wider recognition. Be sure to check out some of the blogs mentioned in the comments; while I obviously like the nominees I came up with, Fausta's suggestion of this blog is seconded here.

Hat Tip: Ankle-Biters
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Dem Challengers Would Vote Against Alito

This is somewhat interesting, in that it would be natural for challengers of Republicans in Red States to be a little cautious, but of course, they've still got to get the nomination:

Todd Gaziano, director for the Center for Legal and Judiciary Studies at the Heritage Foundation, said the lack of Democratic support for Alito is a function of candidates’ securing campaign contributions from liberal donors as “Howard Dean candidates.”

This puts them at a disadvantage, because most states which have a Republican incumbent up for reelection this year are Red:

Tennessee (Open)
Indiana
Mississippi
Utah
Texas
Ohio
Virginia
Maine
Missouri
Pennsylvania
Montana
Rhode Island
Arizona
Nevada
Wyoming
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Some Thoughts On Joel Stein

Okay, now that we've had a chance to digest Joel's silly column, and read Hugh's interview with the nitwit, let's take a step back.

I can understand those who say, "At least he's being honest". That was a part of my reaction too, but that's giving him too much credit. Would anybody say "At least Jane Fonda was being honest when she posed for the pictures in the anti-aircraft gunner's seat?" Of course not. Now obviously what Fonda did was an order of magnitude worse than Stein; after all, he did not write a column about how much he enjoyed hearing that Americans had been killed in Iraq. But it's just a difference of degree in my mind.

Stein clearly has not learned the lesson of the Vietnam protests, which is that you protest the war, not the warriors. This is not surprising. One of the singular problems with liberalism is that since it is based on the principle that the established order needs to be changed, liberals are generally unwilling to learn the lessons of the past.

This is why the Democratic party is having the argument about turning to the left again and pursuing a explicit policy of economic populism instead of moderating their positions and angling to capture the center. It's as if none of these people lived through the elections of 1980, 1984 and 1988 (and many of them didn't or weren't paying attention). The lesson of 1992 was that the Democrats could win if they had the wind at their backs and they nominated a guy who could at least talk the talk (if not quite walk the walk) of moderation.

I am sure that Stein has mentioned his opinion on supporting the troops to fellow lefties, but probably not to ones outside his age group. But even if he had, he would not be impressed by a Vietnam war "protest veteran" who carefully explained that failing to honor the troops for their involvement in a war you disagree with just turns off the undecided middle. Pursuing the center is not a strategy that the Left ever agrees with, and listening to the wisdom of your elders is antithetical to the notion that the world has to be remade along the lines of your personal vision.

Moron Joel Stein at The Real Ugly American and Mark In Mexico. And for without a doubt the oddest take on this story, check out Joel Stein, Bush Apologist.
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Tuesday, January 24, 2006
 
Another Phony Memoir, Another Wooden Indian

Jeez, this is getting ridiculous.

While such a review could easily be dismissed on its own, a Yahoo search of the name attached to it offers up a comprehensive genealogical site. And when the reviewer’s name is searched in conjunction with the name of Nasdijj’s daughter, Kree, one name comes up: Timothy Patrick Barrus.

Barrus, the site says, was born in 1950 (the same year as Nasdijj), is married to Tina Giovanni (also the name of Nasdijj’s wife), and has a daughter named Kree. The site then charts his family lineage back several generations to the 1700s, and, indeed, as the review states, to the McCormick family.

Evidence compiled from other searches seems to corroborate the site.


Moron Nasdijj at John Ruberry's site.
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Like A Bug On a Hot Plate

That's how Joel Stein comes off in this interview with Hugh Hewitt. I only caught the tail end of it on the drive home today, but listened to the MP3 download and read the transcript. Hugh did a terrific job of giving the guy enough rope to hang himself, and Joel tied the noose and jumped off the chair.

HH: I know that. But I'm asking you, did you support them when they invaded Afghanistan?

JS: I've had really complicated emotions about Afghanistan. Obviously, I wanted to get Osama bin Laden and take out al Qaeda. I didn't know if that was the best method of doing it at the time.

HH: So, you didn't support them then?

JS: I did not support the invasion of Afghanistan, no.

HH: Did you support the troops when they were in the Pentagon on the morning of 9/11, when the terrorists hit it?

JS: Sure.

HH: And so, what's the difference between supporting them there and not supporting them in Afghanistan or Iraq?

JS: Well, I think I said it clear in the column, too. I don't have a...if you are for the war in Iraq, I think obviously, then you should support the troops. My problem is the people who are against the war and support the troops anyway, I think that's kind of an excuse. I think that's a way of making you feel better about your guilt, and I think that's kind of a lazy form of pacifism.

HH: Did you support the troops when they delivered, say, tsunami relief off of aircraft carriers and via supply ships?

JS: Yeah, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to imply in the column that I don't think we should have a military.


What strikes me more than anything else is Stein's inability to understand the nature of the military. It's not as if it can be run on a "Who wants to go to Iraq?" basis. These guys get their orders and they go. You can't say, "Oh, no, I signed up for tsunami relief only."

Michelle Malkin concurs, as does John Podhoretez over at the Corner. Hat Tip: Memeorandum
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Carnival of the Clueless Is Up

If you like reading my posts about clueless liberals, check out Rick Moran's Carnival, which contains links to plenty of terrific posts exposing the Left.
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Ted Rall Gets Some Company

Sheesh, this is a dumb editorial from one Joel Stein:

I DON'T SUPPORT our troops. This is a particularly difficult opinion to have, especially if you are the kind of person who likes to put bumper stickers on his car. Supporting the troops is a position that even Calvin is unwilling to urinate on.

(snip)

But I'm not for the war. And being against the war and saying you support the troops is one of the wussiest positions the pacifists have ever taken — and they're wussy by definition. It's as if the one lesson they took away from Vietnam wasn't to avoid foreign conflicts with no pressing national interest but to remember to throw a parade afterward.

He betrays some appalling ignorance with this bit:

But blaming the president is a little too easy. The truth is that people who pull triggers are ultimately responsible, whether they're following orders or not. An army of people making individual moral choices may be inefficient, but an army of people ignoring their morality is horrifying.

Here's an easy prediction: That this part of the column gets the most anger and denial on the liberal blogs:

I'm not advocating that we spit on returning veterans like they did after the Vietnam War, but we shouldn't be celebrating people for doing something we don't think was a good idea. All I'm asking is that we give our returning soldiers what they need: hospitals, pensions, mental health and a safe, immediate return. But, please, no parades.

Of course, the liberal bloggers will all be reciting the mantra that nobody spat on returning veterans; that's just an urban myth.

Stein's bio (linked on that page) may give us some idea as to why he's writing this:

Joel Stein is desperate for attention.

Michelle Malkin nominates Stein for one of the most loathsome people in America. I certainly agree with that assessment.

See also California Mafia for a full-on fisking of the column.

After giving it some thought, I've come to the conclusion that this was intended as a humor column. It's poorly executed, to be sure, and I suspect that it's not far from the writer's true feelings.

Here's a right-winger who disagrees with the column but enjoyed it and found it funny.
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The Dems' Platform for 2006

As we have discussed many times, the Democrats are having a tough time coming up with a platform that's easy to explain and fits on a bumper sticker. As this guy notes, the Republican platform is relatively simple:

The 2006 GOP/Rove platform can easily be put on an index card, if not a Post-it note. It reads something like this: we are at war against foreign terrorists who want to kill you and your society and we'll do what it takes to stop it and the Democrats won't; we will cut your taxes and give you money and Democrats won't. Every Republican candidate in the country can spit that one out.

Today I received an email from a liberal friend demanding that the US shut down Camp X-Ray at Guantanamo, and it struck me that the Democrats have a perfect platform. Republicans pledge to protect us from the terrorists, while the Democrats are:



Our buddy Mark In Mexico has some further thoughts on this topic.
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Kerry & Kos: Together At Last

In a way, it's a natural. Kos hates former US troops who've become military contractors; Kerry hates almost all Vietnam veterans. He has some topic suggestions for Chris Mathews:

So what's the truth? There's a question that the full force of cable television should demand be answered. Press accounts over the last month have raised new concerns about the reliance on Afghan forces at Tora Bora in 2001. One account cited a Department of Defense document said to summarize the case against a suspected al Qaeda militant. The militant was believed to have helped Osama bin Laden escape from Tora Bora. More recently, August Hanning, the head of German intelligence, has said bin Laden bribed Afghan forces at Tora Bora to make his escape.
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Monday, January 23, 2006
 
Impeachment Watch VI

John Nichols lies about the recent poll on impeachment; this is not particularly surprising since most of the bloggers writing about the subject have also lied.

That is a serious choice. But, surely, the issues that are at stake demand such seriousness -- as the American people have clearly indicated. A new Zogby Poll shows that 52 percent of Americas believe that, if George Bush violated the law when he ordered security agencies to engage in warrantless wiretaps on the communications of U.S. citizens who were accused of no crimes, the president should be impeached.

Of course, the real poll question, as the Mystery Pollster discusses here, was more nuanced.

If President Bush wiretapped American citizens without the approval of a judge, do you agree or disagree that Congress should consider holding him accountable through impeachment.
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Center-Right Bloggers Pick Their Most and Least Desired 2008 Republican Candidates

I'm ashamed to admit that I failed to fill in my picks, but John Hawkins polled a bunch of center-right bloggers to find out their most and least desired Republican presidential nominees for 2008. The results are mostly not surprising, but John McCain clearly has a lot of work to do.
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Barack's a Non-Starter--Update

I'm amused over the fascination many people have for Barack Obama as a potential vice presidential running mate. Most of these folks have not thought things through.

First, let's stipulate that Hillary's going to be the nominee. Oh, I know many on the left despise her; they also adored Howard Dean, and we saw how much that mattered. She's the obvious nominee because when it comes to the most important issue to the Democrats right now, electability, she's got the killer argument: Same last name as the only Democrat to win the presidency since 1976.

So you're Hillary and you're totting up all the positives and negatives with Barak Obama. What does he add to your win? Oh, sure, there will be the inevitable glowing coverage of the nomination; Barak will be an historic choice for an historic ticket.

But then comes the question. Whom does Barak attract to the Democratic ticket? Blacks, obviously, but they already vote for Democrats in such huge percentages that there's not much of a vote swing available there. Folks from Illinois, certainly, but that's also a reasonably safe Blue State.

Democrats have been losing the "Solid South" for decades now; it's hard to remember that the term originally referred to the fact that the GOP couldn't win a race against a yellow dog in Dixie. As a result, the Democrats have been careful to include at least one Southerner in every presidential ticket since 1960, with the exception of 1984, when Walter Mondale also decided to make an historic choice with Geraldine Ferraro. And we all remember how well that turned out.

Even if Hillary's not the nominee, it's hard to see a scenario where Obama helps the ticket.

Update: John McIntyre is a lot less convinced of Hillary's inevitability.
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Times Covers WaPo Comments Mess

Actually it's reasonably fair.

The blowback is hardly without precedent, but it is worth noting that much of it came from the left. Flaming and invective know no ideology, but there is a tendency toward seeing a growing conspiracy behind every ill-chosen word - something once thought to be the province mainly of conservatives.

Last June, Michael Kinsley found himself at the wrong end of the fire hose after he wrote that the so-called Downing Street memo, which suggested to some that prewar intelligence had been manipulated to support the invasion of Iraq, amounted to not much. He said the overwhelming online response was "an encouraging sign" for the left. "Developing a paranoid theory and promoting it to the very edge of national respectability takes a certain amount of ideological self-confidence," he later wrote.


Michelle Malkin checks in on the topic with an entertaining and wide-ranging post.
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Sunday, January 22, 2006
 
Congrats to Seahawks, Steelers

Okay, Hasselbeck proved me wrong with a superb outing. Roethlisberger did about what I expected; which is show that he must be considered among the league's elite quarterbacks. If, as Tradesports is now projecting, Pittsburgh wins the Super Bowl, Roethlisberger will pick up another important marker in his potential quest to be considered the greatest quarterback of all time. That's not to say he'll get there; Dan Marino was at this spot or better at a comparable point in his career.

But the Roethlisberger-Brady duel for Joe Montana's crown is probably going to be the story of the NFL for the next few years.

Trivia Answers:

1. Craig Morton is the only quarterback to start and win both an NFC Championship Game (1970 for the Cowboys) and an AFC Championship Game (1977 for the Denver Broncos).

2. Little-remembered Tobin Rote won an NFL Championship game for the 1957 Detroit Lions and an AFL Championship game for the 1963 San Diego Chargers.

3. Both Johnny Unitas and Earl Morrall were starting quarterbacks for teams that won an NFL Championship and an AFC title.

4. The only quarterback in NFL history to win three consective road playoff games en route to the Super Bowl was Tony Eason of the 1985 New England Patriots. Ironically, Eason was yanked in the Super Bowl after throwing just six passes, all of which were incomplete.
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Conference Championship Sunday

Let's start off with a little trivia quiz:

1. Who is the only quarterback to start and win both an NFC and an AFC Conference Championship in the Super Bowl era?
2. Before there was a Super Bowl, the NFL and AFL both had their separate championships. Can you name the only quarterback to start and win an NFL and an AFL championship in the pre-Super Bowl era?
3. Two quarterbacks were the starters and winners of an NFL Championship and an AFC Championship. Can you name them?
4. Both Ben Roethlisberger and Jake Delhomme have a chance to accomplish something rare today; they could make it to the Super Bowl by winning three consecutive postseason games on the road. Can you name the only quarterback in history who's accomplished that feat? Hint: He didn't play much in the Super Bowl.

Of course, the toughest question to answer is who's going to win today. If Denver and Carolina win, we'd have the Jake Bowl, featuring Jake Plummer against Jake Delhomme. In both games we have conflicting signals. Home teams tend to win postseason games, but not necessarily in the Conference Championships. Since 1997 the home teams are actually 7-9 in the penultimate games.

Looking at the coaching matchup, there is a clear edge to Denver over the Steelers. Shanahan has won Conference Championships before, while Cowher, memorably, has lost three straight since winning the 1995 AFC title tilt. In the other game it's hard to pick a coach; both Holmgren and Fox have won conference championships before; slight edge to Holmgren.

Among the QBs, Jake Delhomme has had by far the most success. Ben Roethlisberger has now won three postseason games as a starting QB, while Jake Plummer has two, and Matt Hasselbeck one.

I'm going with the upset special today: I say Pittsburgh and Carolina advance to the big game. But take the points!
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