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Saturday, March 04, 2006
 
51 Candles

Thanks to Kitty for this hilarious surprise! That works on so many levels, I'm just sitting here with a big grin on my face.
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AP Acknowledges Breach Story Was Wrong

This of course won't get the play that the initial "Bush Warned of Breaches" story got.

An Associated Press story Thursday on this page incorrectly reported that federal disaster officials warned President Bush and his homeland security chief before Hurricane Katrina struck that the storm could breach levees in New Orleans, citing confidential video footage of an Aug. 28 briefing among U.S. officials.

The story should have made clear that Bush was warned about floodwaters overrunning the levees, rather than the levees breaching.


Run the story midweek; release the correction on Friday night. But as usual, stuff like this backfires on the media; the Washington Post, duped by the original, runs with an editorial today:

ON THE DAY before Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, federal emergency officials warned President Bush that the hurricane could be "the big one," the storm the region had long feared; that the Superdome, the shelter of last resort in New Orleans, was below sea level and might well lose its roof; that medical and mortuary teams might not be prepared; and that the levees might not hold back the floodwaters.

Without a doubt, the tape provides evidence that the White House received ample warning of the catastrophe. Yet within days of that videoconference, Mr. Bush would excuse the federal government's extraordinarily poor performance by telling an interviewer that "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees."


Everybody had heard that Katrina might be the big one, so it's not as if the White House's defense was that nobody told them a serious storm was coming. Remember, that every news source was reporting Monday afternoon and evening that New Orleans had been spared the worst of the storm. The Post goes on to note that:

Another tape recently released to the AP reveals that Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (D) reassured the president that the levees had held -- three hours after they had broken.

Well, you know how it is; you have to rely on people who are actually close to the scene to tell you what's going on. But that doesn't excuse Bush in the Post's eyes:

On the tape, the president doesn't ask any questions about preparedness, and there is no evidence in documents since released that he was any more engaged before or after the conference. Had anyone called the Defense Department? Was the National Guard en route? Were local Army bases prepared to help? Were emergency food and water supplies in place? The president, like everyone around him, appears to have assumed that everything would run like clockwork, just as it was supposed to on paper.

There's a bit of deception in that paragraph. See the part about, "...there is no evidence in documents since released that he was any more engaged before or after the conference..."? Brown himself has indicated that Bush was indeed engaged after the conference; indeed many of the stories on this series of videotapes and transcripts have indicated just that.

Previously:

Levee Story

Breach in Levees Not Anticipated--Multiple Updates!

Hat Tip: Power Line
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Tribute to Eric Hoffer

Here's a nice little backgrounder on one of the great thinkers of the 20th century.

Lucianne reports that Hoffer changed her life. As I commented on that post, assembling a coherent world view is like doing a jigsaw puzzle, piece by agonizing piece. Reading Hoffer's book The True Believer was like getting the entire outside edge of the puzzle filled in at once.
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Friday, March 03, 2006
 
Life Imitates Art



Bennish got in a little jam with his antiwar, Anti-Bush tirade. But does he remind you of anybody?

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Thanks, Mom & Dad!

And you thought a boy named Sue had a tough time growing up?
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Reporting From New York Rally In Support of Denmark

Pam Meister and The Man from GOP & the City were there and have original reporting. I like this comment from Pam:

One interesting quote came from a black woman. I don't have exactly what she said, but basically it was that thousands of people died so that she could be where she is today, and she was not about to miss a rally of such importance. That got a big round of applause!
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The Torture of the 20th Hijacker

Andrew Sullivan links to this interrogation log (PDF file) and invites us to judge for ourselves as to whether this constitutes torture.

This part certainly does:



I mean, they're trying to lower his self-esteem! You can tell, these interrogators and guards are just like a bunch of Nazis! How dare they tell him that he's disrespecting Sgt. A!

They try a little good-cop/bad-cop routine here:



Seriously, what I've read doesn't come close to torture. The interrogation actually seems somewhat comical, although of course that's ignoring the fact that this piece of crap was complicit in an attack that killed 3,000 people.

Update. Here's some torture:



Christina Aguilera? Oh, the humanity!
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Must Read!

Michael Totten visits one of Saddam's execution buildings, which has been converted into a museum:

When you enter the museum you will walk through a long and winding hallway. The walls are covered with mirror shards. Each represents one of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Kurds murdered in the genocidal Anfal campaign. A river of twinkling lights lines the ceiling. Each represents one of the five thousand villages destroyed by Saddam Hussein.

Hat Tip: Hugh Hewitt
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I Can't Drive 55

This is a cute little story about folks actually driving the speed limit and what happened to them.

I probably shouldn't admit this, but I routinely drive about nine miles over the speed limit here in Phoenix, and I have never (quite literally never) been ticketed for speeding. And yes, people zoom around me all the time (and I bet they get tickets).
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Moron Lewis Lapham

I covered his ridiculous call for impeachment yesterday. Today comes the word that the same issue containing the impeachment proposal also includes an absurd article claiming that HIV does not cause AIDS.

Any truth to the rumor that the next issue will include an article on the CIA's assassination of President Kennedy?
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Another Krugman Scalp for the Trophy Wall

Donald Luskin reports that the Krugster was forced to 'fess up about the error in his January 30 column:

On Jan. 30 I cited an article in The American Prospect that reported that Indian tribes who hired Jack Abramoff had reduced their contributions to Democrats by 9 percent. Dwight Morris, who prepared the study on which the article was based, says on The American Prospect's blog that "there is no statistically valid way to calculate this number given the way the data were compiled." The American Prospect was sloppy, and so was I for not checking its methodology.

However, Mr. Morris goes on to say this is a minor point because other calculations show "an undeniably Republican shift in giving."

Pre-Abramoff, the tribes gave slightly more money to Democrats than to Republicans; post-Abramoff, they gave 70 percent to Republicans, versus only 30 percent to Democrats. In other words, there's nothing bipartisan about the Abramoff scandal.


As Don points out, the last two paragraphs are an attempt to reclaim his original point. What Krugman avoids saying is that giving by the tribes Abramoff represented to Democrats soared under Abramoff's tenure. Yes, giving to Republicans increased by even more. But it's quite apparent that Abramoff was buying influence (which is not illegal by the way) on both sides of the aisle.

Kudos to Don, who pushed this story further (and more successfully) than I could have on my own. This is the second time he and I have forced a correction out of Krugman; the first time was the mythical 98.55% turnout in Miami County, Ohio, which turned out to be a 72.3% turnout.

My original post (which simply concerned the American Prospect article) is here.

My follow-up post getting substantially more detailed and bringing Krugman's column into the story is here. Updates here and here.
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Larry the Goofball Liberal Lawyer

A liberal lawyer who just happens to teach journalism, establishes his bona fides:

I happen to be a liberal, and proud of it. When I watch "Planet of the Apes" starring Charlton Heston, I root for the apes.

He roots for those damn, dirty apes?
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Thursday, March 02, 2006
 
Worst Sports Dad Ever

Drugged his kids' opponents.

Christophe Fauviau, whose 15-year-old daughter Valentine is one of France's brightest prospects, made his confession at the opening of his trial in the south-western town of Mont-de-Marsan.

In a case that has alarmed the tennis world, Fauviau is charged with the manslaughter of Alexandre Lagardère by unintentionally causing him to fall asleep at the wheel of his car. Mr Lagardere had earlier been overcome by drowsiness while playing Fauviau's son, Maxime, in the final of a local tennis tournament.

Fauviau, 46, a former helicopter pilot instructor with an exemplary military record, is also accused of administering toxic substances to 21 of Valentine's opponents and six of her brother's.
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Carnivals

Rick Moran's Carnival of the Clueless is up. Always a lot of excellent posts on that one; always recommended.

Our buddy the Man at GOP & the City has the first instalment of the Carnival of Bauer.
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Was the Tape Sent From the Abilene Kinko's?

Wizbang did some poking around and discovered that one of the writers on the AP piece is a former 60 Minutes II producer. Gee, no axes to grind there, right?

Margaret Ebrahim has also been published in Leftist outlets like the Nation and Mother Jones.
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Marine Combat Videographer Receives Medal

CentCom's done a nice job of improving their website lately, and they have a special "Heroes In Action" section that I'll be checking in with regularly.

Here's a good story about a combat videographer who dropped his camera when a fellow marine was in danger:

[Cpl. Neill A.] Sevelius noticed a wounded Marine on the rooftop, and ran to his aid after he realized the Marine was injured and not coming down on his own.

“It was almost like slow motion. I thought, ‘What is he doing? He needs to get off the roof.’ Then he crumpled,” he said.

The Marine on the rooftop was wounded by enemy small arms fire, according to Sevelius' award citation.

On his own accord, Sevelius assisted the Marine off the roof top and into a courtyard below the building, where the rest of the Marines helped him. Through it all, the Marines shouted words of encouragement to the wounded Marine: “You’ll be alright!”

Without a moment’s hesitation, Sevelius put down his camera and leapt to the adjoining rooftop to come to the aid of the fallen warrior. His quick actions are attributed to saving the Marine’s life.

“I didn’t see any bullet holes so I started feeling around for blood. I felt some dampness (on his upper thigh), so I picked up his leg a little bit,” he said.

Using trauma shears to expose the wound, Sevelius was relieved.

“It was basically a very deep grazing wound. I saw it and told (the Marine) that he was going to be fine, that he had nothing to worry about. I then basically applied pressure to the wound until the corpsman could take over,” he said.

After the ceremony, Sevelius downplayed his achievement.

“Marines do great stuff every day, I just happened to get noticed,” he said.


If there's a common thread about heroes, it's that none of them ever think they're one; they all just see it as doing their duty.
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I Don't Necessarily Agree With All of This

But this flash animation on the cartoon controversy is hilarious. NSFW!
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Impeachment Watch

Lewis Lapham, editor of Harper's, perhaps best known for his scathing review of the 2004 Republican Convention (before it happened!), surprises nobody with a call for impeachment. Of course, the idiots on the Left are claiming that this represents something significant, the first "mainstream" source to endorse the "I" word.

Lapham bases most of his case on the fact that Bush intended to invade Iraq and topple Saddam even before 9-11. Indeed, he expends a great deal of energy on this aspect of the "Case for Impeachment".

That President George W. Bush comes to power with the intention of invading Iraq is a fact not open to dispute. Pleased with the image of himself as a military hero, and having spoken, more than once, about seeking revenge on Saddam Hussein for the tyrant's alleged attempt to “kill my Dad,” he appoints to high office in his administration a cadre of warrior intellectuals, chief among them Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, known to be eager for the glories of imperial conquest.[2] At the first meeting of the new National Security Council on January 30, 2001, most of the people in the room discuss the possibility of preemptive blitzkrieg against Baghdad.[3] In March the Pentagon circulates a document entitled “Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oil Field Contracts”; the supporting maps indicate the properties of interest to various European governments and American corporations. Six months later, early in the afternoon of September 11, the smoke still rising from the Pentagon's western facade, Secretary Rumsfeld tells his staff to fetch intelligence briefings (the “best info fast...go massive; sweep it all up; things related and not”) that will justify an attack on Iraq. By chance the next day in the White House basement, Richard A. Clarke, national coordinator for security and counterterrorism, encounters President Bush, who tells him to “see if Saddam did this.” Nine days later, at a private dinner upstairs in the White House, the President informs his guest, the British prime minister, Tony Blair, that “when we have dealt with Afghanistan, we must come back to Iraq.”

Now the funny thing is, that most Republicans (and liberal/leftist war supporters) do accept that Bush intended to invade Iraq and topple Saddam. Indeed, only yesterday I linked to a piece by Christopher Hitchens which read in part:

The charge that used to be leveled against the neoconservatives was that they had wanted to get rid of Saddam Hussein (pause for significant lowering of voice) even before Sept. 11, 2001. And that "accusation," as Fukuyama well knows, was essentially true—and to their credit.

So, Lewis, we'll grant that point. But if Bush intended to invade Iraq prior to 9-11, there are two basic possible reasons. One, which Lapham embraces, is that Saddam tried to kill George Bush, Sr. The other, of course, is that Saddam had been continually in violation of UN Security Council Resolutions, and that he needed to be removed from power.

A big problem with the Harper's article is that it relies heavily on a report prepared by John Conyers. Conyers, of course, is very careless with the truth; it was another report of his on the 2004 election that contained the bogus claim that Miami County, Ohio, had a 98.55% turnout in that election. Of course, Conyers (and Paul Krugman, who repeated the claim) were wrong; it was one small precinct in Miami County that had that extraordinary turnout. The county as a whole only had 72.3% turnout, which was far from unusual.
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Levee Story

The AP tries to breathe new life into the levee story by claiming that a video shows Bush being briefed a few days before Katrina hit, on the possibility of the levees being breached.

Bush declared four days after the storm, "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees" that gushed deadly flood waters into New Orleans. He later clarified, saying officials believed, wrongly, after the storm passed that the levees had survived. But the transcripts and video show there was plenty of talk about that possibility even before the storm - and Bush was worried too.

But as usual with these stories, when you look into it, the real concern is not a breach, but the overtopping of the levees:

The National Hurricane Center's Mayfield told the final briefing before Katrina struck that storm models predicted minimal flooding inside New Orleans during the hurricane but he expressed concerns that counterclockwise winds and storm surges afterward could cause the levees at Lake Pontchartrain to be overrun.

"I don't think any model can tell you with any confidence right now whether the levees will be topped or not but that is obviously a very, very grave concern," Mayfield told the briefing.Other officials expressed concerns about the large number of New Orleans residents who had not evacuated.


I did a long post back in September on this subject.

Note that Byron Calame, Public Editor of the New York Times checked his paper's pre-Katrina coverage of the possibility of a major hurricane hitting New Orleans and concluded:

Levees obviously remain a central issue in the crisis. As experts expected, Katrina showed that a Category 4 or 5 hurricane would send water over the top of the city's levees and flood its below-sea-level "bowl." But the breaches in levees and canal walls made things dramatically worse and raised broader questions about the area's flood control system.

What had The Times's news columns provided over the past decade to help its readers understand the New Orleans levee system? One major article that focused on levees. The 2,100-word article on the front of the Science section in 2002 made clear that a Category 4 or 5 hurricane would send water over the top of the levees. While the public editor's focus is on news coverage, there was also an Editorial Observer commentary in 2002 that took a detailed look at the problem, based on reporting in New Orleans. But neither the news article nor the editorial commentary prepared readers for the possibility of breaches in the levees or canal walls.


Wizbang has some excellent coverage on this issue as well.

Also, check out the deception going on here at a fairly large liberal blog:

Rob, the man said after the Hurricane, "No one expected... yada yada..." And here he is ON FREAKIN' TAPE being TOLD what to expect?

The "yada yada" is of course intended to deceive readers of that blog (like the AP story) into believing that Bush was warned about what exactly happened. BTW, after I left my first comment there, noting that he was misleading his readers, I attempted to engage him in debate, but (not surprisingly) my comment was blocked. Try to counter a liberal blog with facts and you will quickly be banned.

Note as well this New York Times article:

In the videoconference held at noon on Monday, Aug. 29, Michael D. Brown, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, reported that he had spoken with President Bush twice in the morning and that the president was asking about reports that the levees had been breached.

But asked about the levees by Joe Hagin, the White House deputy chief of staff, Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco of Louisiana said, "We have not breached the levee at this point in time." She said "that could change" and noted that the floodwaters in some areas in and around New Orleans were 8 to 10 feet deep. Later that night, FEMA notified the White House that the levees had been breached.


That's a curious phrase: "We have not breached the levee...". I suspect what Blanco was talking about was the possibility that has been discussed many times, of breaching the levees intentionally so as to drain water out of the city.
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The Geography Teacher From Hell

Excellent post from Michelle Malkin.
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Praise for Cindy Sheehan

You won't see it here often, but she deserves a little applause for this stance:

Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan has apparently broken ranks with some of her fellow anti-war demonstrators by refusing to protest outside U.S. military hospitals. Although Sheehan last year personally participated in a protest outside the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., she is now urging her fellow activists to "leave our soldiers out of our protests."

Sheehan wrote an article called "Camp Casey and Germany," which was posted on Feb. 27 on the liberal website BuzzFlash.com. It announced that she was refusing to protest outside a U.S. military hospital in Germany and stated that no anti-war demonstrations should target wounded U.S. soldiers.
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The 25 Greatest Moments in US History

John Hawkins has compiled an impressive list.

The only thing I would change is that I'd add the D-Day landings at Normandy. Still in my mind the most impressive feat in human history, even tougher than landing on the moon.
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Wednesday, March 01, 2006
 
MilTracker Replacing Camp Katrina

Phil Van Treuren has all the positive news about the military that you can't find elsewhere. I'm removing the Camp Katrina link and replacing it with MilTracker.

Hat Tip: Pam Meister.
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More Anti-Intellectualism from the Left

I posted here a week or two ago about Richard Cohen's ridiculous column telling a young girl who'd flunked algebra not to worry about it, that she'd never need it in her life. It was an incredibly stupid and arrogant column; apparently Cohen feels good about closing off dozens of career choices for young people.

Here's another:

McCARTHY: Yes, absolutely. But did you go to a high school where they required you to go into an algebra course? Did you take algebra in high school?

DAVIDSON: Certainly.

McCARTHY: Yes. How often do you go home and talk with your husband about the latest algebraic insight you have had? Do you do that?

DAVIDSON: (Laughter) I can't help my high-school-aged daughter with her algebra!

McCARTHY: Exactly. So here it is irrelevant to our adulthood, but they make us take this nonsense. And geometry. If you like algebra, fine... pi r² x bachazoids, crackazoids, lunazoids, hemorrhoids... Who cares!! You ever see a help wanted ad for an algebraist? I haven't. But the world is crying out for peacemakers. We are not teaching the kids how to be the essential thing. We have conflicts all our lives.


Well, I personally have never seen a help wanted ad for a peacemaker, either. But there are plenty of fields where knowledge of algebra is critical--finance, accounting, computer programming, etc. I use algebra every single day at my job and there are many problems that I could not solve if I didn't.

Hat Tip: Best of the Web
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The Neverending Series

Here's an update on the Chronicles of Narnia:

Within days of the movie's release, Beltz and other members of Narnia team knew that they had a green light. At the beginning of this week (Feb.28), the global box office for first Narnia movie was nearing $664 million. And for fantasy fans that are keeping score, "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" has rung up $288,193,914 at the U.S. box office since its Dec. 9 release, while "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," which came out three weeks earlier, is a nose ahead at $288,733,970.

Director Adam Adamson of New Zealand will return for the next film, along with the young quartet of British actors at the heart of the first film _ Georgie Henley, 10, Skandar Keynes, 14, Anna Popplewell, 17, and William Moseley, 18. In "Prince Caspian," the four heroes return to the land of Narnia soon after their first adventure only to discover that centuries have passed in Narnian time. With the help of the great lion Aslan, the Christ figure in the series, the children fight to bring the young Prince Caspian, the rightful heir, to the throne of Narnia.

The clock is already ticking. With the interconnecting plots, the actors playing the Pevensie siblings cannot look radically different even though they will be two to three years older than they were while filming "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe." To further complicate matters, the two youngest children _ the characters Lucy and Edmund _ are featured in the next novel, "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader."


I'm looking forward to watching this series unfold.
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Abramoff Story Continued--American Prospect Issues Correction!

(Welcome, fellow Ankle-Biting Pundits and Pajamas Media readers!)

Will the New York Times be next?

Some in the right-wing blogosphere have seized on a single fact in “Dems Don’t Know Jack,” Greg Sargent’s January 27 article on political contributions made by Indian tribes represented by Jack Abramoff.

Those critics, in an effort to discredit the whole piece and its conclusions about Abramoff's strongly Republican influence on the political donations of the Indian tribes he advised, have argued that we were wrong when we asserted that the donations to Democrats from Abramoff's tribal clients fell 9 percent after he became their lobbyist.


Yes, indeed, we have argued that very point. And guess what? The guy the Prospect hired to do the analysis agrees with us:

In the interest of accuracy, the Prospect asked Dwight Morris, the professional analyst who did the original research for our article, to take another look at the data. His conclusion is that the 9 percent figure -- an overall average which was based on our reading of his numbers -- can't be validated statistically; indeed, he thinks it's statistically invalid to do any before-and-after comparisons in this fashion.

The Prospect goes on to bloviate that this "simple fact" shouldn't be allowed to obscure the overall evidence that donations to Republicans increased more than did donations to Democrats, a conclusion that I have no real quarrel with. I am not trying to argue that this isn't mostly a Republican scandal, just that some Democrats are implicated as well. At any rate, this should force Paul Krugman to make a correction to his January 30, column where he claimed:

But the tribes were already giving money to Democrats before Mr. Abramoff entered the picture; he persuaded them to reduce those Democratic donations, while giving much more money to Republicans. A study commissioned by The American Prospect shows that the tribes’ donations to Democrats fell by 9 percent after they hired Mr. Abramoff, while their contributions to Republicans more than doubled. So in any normal sense of the word “directed,” Mr. Abramoff directed funds away from Democrats, not toward them.

Kudos to Don Luskin, who has pushed this forward far more than I could; had just Brainster's Blog been hammering this story, I doubt very much that the Prospect would have issued a correction.
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More Stifling of Free Speech?

Personally, I blame John Ashcroft.
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Air America Phoenix Bites the Dust

The changeover must have happened around midnight; this morning there's no Charles Goyette on the radio.

Over the past 4 months I have tried to raise the money to buy a new station for Air America Phoenix. We made offers on 2 stations; one didn’t have an adequate signal to insure success and the other was laughably over priced. I have talked to more BS artists and rich guys who pretend they want to get “involved” and “progressive” venture firms that live in the world of “new media” and think that good old terrestrial radio, the kind that everyone has access to and is free 24/7, is so “over”! When I finally put together the right banker and the right investors, we were out of time! I’m mad at myself for wasting time with the charlatans, the BS artists and the dreamers. I’m also worn out and I have to publicly apologize to the love of my life, Jan, for being so damn grumpy and short since last fall. Baby, you have been just great, thank you!
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Hitch Slices and Dices

Francis Fukuyama, the neocon who came in from the cold, gets the ginsu treatment:

The first requirement of anyone engaging in an intellectual or academic debate is that he or she be able to give a proper account of the opposing position(s), and Fukuyama simply fails this test. The term "root causes" was always employed ironically (as the term "political correctness" used to be) as a weapon against those whose naive opinions about the sources of discontent were summarized in that phrase. It wasn't that the Middle East "lacked democracy" so much that one of its keystone states was dominated by an unstable and destabilizing dictatorship led by a psychopath. And it wasn't any illusion about the speed and ease of a transition so much as the conviction that any change would be an improvement. The charge that used to be leveled against the neoconservatives was that they had wanted to get rid of Saddam Hussein (pause for significant lowering of voice) even before Sept. 11, 2001. And that "accusation," as Fukuyama well knows, was essentially true—and to their credit.

Terrific read!
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Lieberman, Chafee Face Challengers

Pretty good article on the dangers of being a moderate in today's climate.

The primary challenges to the Senate's most liberal Republican and one of its more conservative Democrats are signs of the litmus tests that partisan voters on both sides are applying this year. They come as advocacy groups, including the conservative Club for Growth (backing Chafee's opponent) and the liberal MoveOn.org (which may support Lamont), are increasingly willing to help finance primary challenges to incumbents.

In Tuesday's primary in Texas, MoveOn.org is targeting Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar because of his coziness with President Bush. (While MoveOn is raising money for challenger Ciro Rodriguez, the Club for Growth is doing the same for Cuellar.)

And in Ohio, Sen. Mike DeWine (news, bio, voting record), up for re-election this year, is getting flak from fellow Republicans for joining the Gang of 14. A deal forged by the bipartisan group of senators thwarted Democrats from using a filibuster to block some controversial judicial nominations, but it also preserved the maneuver for "extraordinary" cases.


Texas' primary is next Tuesday; Lieberman and Chafee won't know their fate until the end of the summer.
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Tuesday, February 28, 2006
 
Looks Like Bush Won By Another Vote in Florida 2000

A Tulsa mayoral candidate voted twice, once in Florida and once in Oklahoma.

See also The Man at GOP & the City.
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This One Will Get the Left Angry--Updated

Here's a terrific piece in the American Thinker on the Left's hatred for the West and its institutions.

But things will come into focus when we apply our axiom which says that the real reason behind everything the Left does is to inflict harm upon the West (represented by the U.S. in this particular instance). If this should be so, then the motive behind its opposition would not really be to protect the environment but be to deprive the U.S. of some benefit. Judging by the amount of money and effort the Left has invested in this cause, this potential benefit would be immense in its eyes. It is not difficult to see why.

We all know that oil is the fuel of the American economy. Drilling in ANWAR would give us more of it at a lower price, which would inevitably contribute to our economic well-being and growth. Significant as this may be, it is only of secondary importance in this particular controversy. Much more importantly, opening up ANWAR would be a vital step toward reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil.

Foreign oil dependence is the greatest strategic weakness of this country, since it in a way holds America hostage to Middle Eastern regimes, many of which are our enemies. The problem is made worse by the fact that an appreciable portion of the vast amounts we pay for their oil is used to finance anti-American and anti-Western efforts. This produces a situation whereby our own money strengthens our enemies. Troubling as this is to most of us, it is precisely what the Left wants.

It is the Left’s desire to subvert the West that explains why in every conflict it invariably takes the side of our enemies. It sided with the Soviets during the Cold War, with the North Vietnamese during the Vietnam War. It regularly sides with hostile dictators world over, and, predictably enough, it takes the Islamists’ side in the present War on Terror. The only reason why it turned against fascism – a virulent anti-western force – was because Hitler attacked the Left’s great hope and friend the Soviet Union. Prior to the Soviet invasion, the Left viewed fascism as a friend.


Let me say that I agree with this piece whole-heartedly; the only caveat I would add is that "the Left" is not the same thing as "the Democrats", which I'm sure the writer would agree with. And regarding fascism being viewed as a friend, that's a bit of a stretch. The Left opposed Hitler right up to the point where the Soviets and the Nazis signed their mutual non-agression pact; it was only after that they started opposing any efforts against the Nazis.

Update: Our buddy the Educated Shoprat has further discussion of this article.
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The Libs' Big Win

Is the subject of my latest post over at Lifelike Pundits.
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Rove: It's Hillary

No surprise here for readers of this blog:

Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic candidate for the presidency in 2008 and anyone who believes otherwise is "kidding themselves", says President George W Bush's most senior adviser.

Karl Rove, who is sometimes known as "Bush's Brain", said Senator Clinton's rivals for the Democratic nomination were heading for defeat. "She is the dominant player on their side of the slate," he told Bill Sammon, a Washington Times journalist, in remarks published yesterday in his oddly-named book, Strategery.
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Monday, February 27, 2006
 
They Come Not To Praise Bush....

But to bury him. This is actually pretty funny. A goofball posting his event on the United for Peace and Justice Center is calling for the violent overthrow of the government on March 15 (Beware the Ides of March!), to be replaced with:

The Political Cooperative will put a new, temporary government in place that is comprised of people from Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and all the organizations that have finally made us aware of the truth of the savage practices and illegal policies of our government in assassinating our own officials as well as people throughout the world who oppose their criminal activity. We need all of you to save U.S. victims and global victims from their ongoing criminal activity. We are calling on the military, police, citizens and religious organizations to stand with us and help us to bring democracy back to the United States and by doing so, free the world from the wrath, occupation, theft, torture, blackmail and assassination by the Criminals in the United States Government. What they have done all over the world is much worse than what Saddam Hussein has done, so why are they not in jail too? They have admitted to international and national crimes, so why have they not been taken to Court too?

So of course, the question becomes, who is the Political Cooperative? Amusingly, they have the usual laundry list of useful idiots, fellow-travelers and communist sympathizers listed at the bottom of their web page, but if you read closely:

The following is a sample of the organizations that we wish to receive support from in the form of information and participation....

You might want to sign up now, if you want your vote to count when the Revolution comes, man.

Hat Tip: Michelle Malkin, via Captain Ed
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Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go

George Michael found nodding out in car.
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Confessions of an Economic Illiterate

Came across this interview with John Perkins, author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. He claims to have been employed by a private company while he secretly worked for the National Security Agency in a convoluted plot to get poor countries into debt so that our corporations could then go into those countries and rob them blind. Or something.

About the only evidence that Perkins offers is that he was the Chief Economist at a large firm in Boston. And if that's true, maybe he's got a case, because nobody who was legitimately a chief economist would say something as moronic as this:

And, so, we went to Saudi Arabia in the early seventies. We knew Saudi Arabia was the key to dropping our dependency, or to controlling the situation. And we worked out this deal whereby the Royal House of Saud agreed to send most of their petro-dollars back to the United States and invest them in U.S. government securities. The Treasury Department would use the interest from these securities to hire U.S. companies to build Saudi Arabia–new cities, new infrastructure–which we’ve done.

That's pretty silly stuff. "The Treasury Department would use the interest..." how? In fact, the Treasury Department was paying the interest to the Saudis. Yes, I am quite sure that the Saudis then turned around and used the money to build their modern cities and infrastructure, hiring many American companies to do so. That's just economic good sense (like investing a trade surplus in US government securities), because if you don't, the dollar will fall relative to Saudi currency, and then the Saudis don't make as much money selling their oil, as the oil is denominated in dollars.
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Continuing Lies About Halliburton/Cheney Connection--Updated!

RJ Eskow of the Huffington Post repeats the usual canard that what's good for Halliburton is good (financially) for Vice President Cheney.

Unnamed Pentagon officials (wonder who?) rode roughshod over Army auditors and paid Halliburton for charges that were initially rejected by auditors as gross overbilling and mismanagement. That's a great financial boon for Dick Cheney, and very possibly for Katherine Armstrong's family too.

This article from a few years back ran through Cheney's remaining ties to Halliburton.

Democrats pointed out that Cheney receives deferred compensation from Halliburton under an arrangement he made in 1998, and also retains stock options. He has pledged to give after-tax proceeds of the stock options to charity.

Cheney's aides defended the assertion on NBC, saying the financial arrangements do not constitute a tie to the company's business performance. They pointed out that Cheney took out a $15,000 insurance policy so he would collect the deferred payments over five years whether or not Halliburton remains in business.

Cathie Martin, Cheney's spokeswoman, said the question is whether Cheney has any possible conflict of interest with Halliburton, "and the answer to that is, no."


If Halliburton goes belly up tomorrow, Cheney loses not a penny. If Halliburton overtakes Microsoft in the stock market, Cheney makes not a penny.

Update: Eskow has retracted his claim that Cheney would benefit personally.
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Plus Ca Change....

For those of you who think illegal immigration from Mexico is a recent phenomenon, here's Plastic Man as Minuteman from 1952 (Click on picture 1-2 times to expand to readable size):

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Air America Update

Newsbusters speculates that the network may be violating campaign finance laws.

In the meantime, Air America Phoenix staggers to its final (apparently) couple of days; the one-month reprieve while the manager looked for another station is nearly over. The weekend shows were all teary-eyed over the possibility that Phoenix would lose its sole "progressive" outlet. Great schadenfreude.
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Bush In New Scandal?

Call it Bicycle-Gate:

The report, according to The Scotsman, describes a detachment of constables covering a road junction where the president would pass through. The report goes on: "[At] about 1800 hours the President approached the junction at speed on the bicycle. The road was damp at the time. As the President passed the junction at speed he raised his left arm from the handlebars to wave to the police officers present while shouting 'thanks, you guys, for comin.'

"As he did this he lost control of the cycle, falling to the ground, causing both himself and his bicycle to strike [the officer] on the lower legs. [The officer] fell to the ground, striking his head. The President continued along the ground for approximately five metres, causing himself a number of abrasions. The officers... then assisted both injured parties....

"At hospital, a doctor examined the constable and diagnosed damage to his ankle ligaments and issued him with crutches. The cause was officially recorded as: 'Hit by moving/falling object'."

At the time, the newspaper noted, Bush laughed off the incident, saying he should start "acting his age".

The Scotsman observed: "Details of precisely how the crash unfolded have until now been kept under wraps for fear of embarrassing both Bush and the injured constable. But the new disclosures are certain to raise eyebrows on Washington's Capitol Hill....

"In Scotland, an accident such as the one at Gleneagles could have led to police action. Earlier this year, Strathclyde Police issued three fixed penalty notices to errant cyclists as part of a crack-down on rogue riders. Legal experts also suggested lesser mortals could have ended up with a fixed penalty fine, prosecution, or at least a good ticking-off from officers."

John Scott, a human rights lawyer, said: "There's certainly enough in this account for a charge of careless driving. Anyone else would have been warned for dangerous driving.

"I have had clients who have been charged with assaulting a police officer for less than this. The issue of how long the police officer was out of action for is also important. He was away from work for 14 weeks, and that would normally be very significant in a case like this."


Leave it to Greg Mitchell to cover important stories like this over at E&P.
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Sunday, February 26, 2006
 
One Last (I Hope) Look at the Numbers on Abramoff

I did some more work on the Abramoff analysis this morning. As I noted yesterday, Byron Calame of the New York Times wrote Donald Luskin saying that Krugmans and TAP's analysis was unfair, but factually correct:

"Given that Mr. Krugman cited only one factor in classifying tribal donations -- whether they occurred before or after the tribe hired Mr. Abramoff -- I don't think his statement constitutes a factual error. Is it unfair? Yes. But the fairness of columnists is beyond the mandate of the public editor."

As I wrote Don, Krugman's analysis did contain factual errors. In fairness to Krugman, those errors were in the American Prospect's article, but as Don points out, Krugman's not some schlub columnist; he's supposed to be a world-class economist who knows how to properly analyze numbers and come to his own opinion. Surely before spreading falsehoods in "The Paper of Record" he could spend the time I spend this morning running down the numbers to determine the real truth.

Here's the crucial part of Krugman's column:

But the tribes were already giving money to Democrats before Mr. Abramoff entered the picture; he persuaded them to reduce those Democratic donations, while giving much more money to Republicans. A study commissioned by The American Prospect shows that the tribes’ donations to Democrats fell by 9 percent after they hired Mr. Abramoff, while their contributions to Republicans more than doubled. So in any normal sense of the word “directed,” Mr. Abramoff directed funds away from Democrats, not toward them.


Let's take a look at what really happened. I'm not going to go through the entire analysis because it's tedious (like a lot of economics). Here's what TAP reported for one tribe:

1) Tribe: Saginaw Chippewa (Michigan)
Pre-Abramoff contributions to Dems (1991 - 9/2000): $371,250
Post-Abramoff contributions to Dems (9/2000 - 2003): $191,960

Now, looking at that you would certainly be led to believe that from 1991-9/2000, the Saginaw Chippewa tribe donated $371,250 to the Democrats. But you would be wrong. In the spreadsheet attached to TAP's article (Excel file) showing the year by year donations to each party by each tribe, the totals given to the Democrats from the Saginaw Chippewa by election cycle are as follows:

1992 $-
1994 $1,000
1996 $1,000
1998 $222,000
2000 $57,000
2002 $68,980
2004 $213,230
2006 $-

(Note: Each election cycle is made up of two years. The 1992 cycle includes both 1992 and 1991, the 1994 includes 1994 and 1993, etc.)

First, let me point out that if you add up the total amount donated to the Democrats in the election cycle summary you come to a total of $563,210 and if you add the "pre-Abramoff" and "post-Abramoff" figures from TAP's article you come up the exact same amount. So we know the two spreadsheets are intended to balance somehow. Exactly how is a little complicated, but I'll illustrate.

The first thing we want to do is establish how much was really given to Democrats by the Saginaw Chippewa tribe prior to hiring Abramoff, and it is here that we begin to see where the problem lies (initially) with reconciling the two spreadsheets. The period prior to Abramoff runs from 1991-9/2002, but if we add the cycles from 1991-2002 up, it only adds up to $281,000. TAP's article claims that the total given from 1991-9/2002 is $371,250. That's a $90,250 difference. Worse yet, Abramoff represented the tribe for at least part of that 2002 election cycle, so any funds the Saginaw Chippewa donated after he was engaged would have to be removed from the pre-Abramoff 2002 money. We can find that amount out via Open Secrets/Center for Responsive Politcs' page on Abramoff's Clients.

Scrolling way down to the bottom we can see that the Saginaw Chippewa donated $5,000 to the Democratic Party of Michigan and $1,000 to Dale E. Kildee (D-Mich) in 2000, for a total of $6,000. This $6,000 must be subtracted from the pre-Abramoff estimate of $281,000 above, so that the total pre-Abramoff is actually $275,000. If we accept that their total contributions estimate is correct, and that their total contributions during Abramoff's tenure are correct, then we can pinpoint the real timing of the contributions of the Saginaw Chippewa as follows:

Donations Prior to Abramoff (1991-9/2002): $275,000
Donations During Abramoff's Tenure (9/02-2003): $191,960
Donations After Abramoff's Firing (2003-2004): $96,250

So we can see that the American Prospect made an error when they claimed:

Pre-Abramoff contributions to Dems (1991 - 9/2000): $371,250


In fact, they lumped the Donations After Abramoff's Firing of $96,250 with the Donations Prior to Abramoff of $275,000. If you look at the spreadsheet attached to the American Prospect article as "Abramoff Clients" (Excel file), you can see that the spreadsheet uses more precise language. The $371,250 is not just "pre-Abramoff" money; it's funds donated on "Dates Not Represented by Abramoff". I have confirmed with Dwight Morris, who prepared the study for TAP and the spreadsheet in question that the funds shown as donated on "Dates Not Represented by Abramoff" includes donations made after Abramoff was fired by the tribes, although I should note that I have not confirmed with him the exact calculations made here in this post or any other so far.

Once I figured that out, I was pretty quickly able to figure out how the numbers shown on the two spreadsheets correlated. I went through the above analysis for six of the seven tribes so that I could see exactly how much of the funds shown as "pre-Abramoff" were in fact donations made after Abramoff was fired. The Pueblo of Sandia poses some special problems; in that case I decided to go with TAP's numbers because some other donations have been discovered since the original report was prepared.

Recapping the complete numbers

Amount Donated to Democrats by Abramoff Tribes Prior to Hiring Abramoff: $494,420
Amount Donated to Democrats by Abramoff Tribes During Abramoff's Tenure: $794,483
Amount Donated to Democrats by Abramoff Tribes After Abramoff Fired: $374,470

Now, let's review what Krugman said, phrase by phrase:

But the tribes were already giving money to Democrats before Mr. Abramoff entered the picture;


True

he persuaded them to reduce those Democratic donations,

False

while giving much more money to Republicans.

True (not analyzed hard by me, but it certainly appears true)

A study commissioned by The American Prospect shows that the tribes’ donations to Democrats fell by 9 percent after they hired Mr. Abramoff

False

, while their contributions to Republicans more than doubled.

True

So in any normal sense of the word “directed,” Mr. Abramoff directed funds away from Democrats, not toward them.

False.

Well, he's half right half the time.

Thanks for the Link: Generation Why, who points out why this is important.
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A Brief History of 50 Years of Conservatism

George Will analyzes the rise of the Right. Interestingly, he appears to compare George Bush favorably to Ronald Reagan in this passage:

Bush — granted, his party controls Congress — is more of a tax cutter than was Reagan, who signed tax increases in 1982 (twice), 1983 (twice), 1984, 1985 (twice), 1986, 1987 (twice) and 1988. So Bartlett faults Bush for the wrong kind of cuts. Citing, among other things, the 2002 farm bill, Bartlett says Bush the spender is utterly unlike Reagan. He may not remember this: "Through target prices, support loans and other programs, our administration has provided more support to our nation's farmers this year than did the administrations of the last five presidents all put together. Because this year alone, we'll spend more on farm support programs . . . than the total amount the last administration provided in all its four years." The farmers hearing that 11-minute Reagan speech at the 1986 Illinois State Fair interrupted it with applause 15 times.
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A Plague On Both Their Houses

That's how I feel about this idiotic story.

Several hundred Irish Republican Army supporters attacked police in Dublin on Saturday to protest an unprecedented parade through the capital by Protestants from Northern Ireland.

Is there a good reason for the Protestants to have a parade in Dublin? And even if they do is that a good reason for a mob to start attacking police and marchers?
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