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Saturday, June 03, 2006
 
Moron Goron

Here's a terrific review of the Gore movie, pointed out to me by my cousin:

He implies that no reputable scientists dispute anything he says - basically, that the ice caps are melting and people on the 50th floor of the Empire State Building had better learn to swim. But there is wide disagreement about whether humans are causing global warming (climate change preceded the invention of the Escalade) and about whether we should be worried about the trends. Look carefully at Gore's charts and you'll see that the worst horrors take place in the future of his imagination.

His implication that he is our only hope - every ticket bought for this movie amounts to a soft-money contribution to his 2008 campaign - is ridiculous. He and his friends were in charge for eight years. His charts say global warming got worse in that time. The environment doesn't seem to care whether the president is a Texas oilman or the Man from Hope.
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Excellent Debunking of RFK Jr

In Salon, no less!

If you do read Kennedy's article, be prepared to machete your way through numerous errors of interpretation and his deliberate omission of key bits of data. The first salient omission comes in paragraph 5, when Kennedy writes, "In what may be the single most astounding fact from the election, one in every four Ohio citizens who registered to vote in 2004 showed up at the polls only to discover that they were not listed on the rolls, thanks to GOP efforts to stem the unprecedented flood of Democrats eager to cast ballots." To back up that assertion, Kennedy cites "Democracy at Risk," the report the Democrats released last June.

He concludes that Kennedy brings nothing to the story but old warmed-over theories that have been debunked over and over again. Indeed, when I was looking around for information, I was rather startled to run across this Chris Hitchens' piece in Vanity Fair with much the same theme, but of course dated about 15 months ago.
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Canada's Homegrown Terrorists

A reminder to all that the southern border is not the only one we have to be watching.

According to sources close to the investigation, the suspects are teenagers and men in their 20s who had a relatively typical Canadian upbringing, but — allegedly spurred on by images of conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan and angered by what they saw as the mistreatment of Muslims at home — became increasingly violent.

Police say they acquired weapons, picked targets and made detailed plans.
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Friday, June 02, 2006
 
Funniest Picture of the Day

Kitty's got a hilarious post on the dumb things people do and say, but the picture is the topper.
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Michael Yon on Haditha

A discussion on the realities of war.

The people around know something, and it’s evidenced by the fact they were conveniently inside to avoid the explosion. However, they didn’t outwardly aggress on you, and you don’t have a clear target, so you can’t retaliate. Repeat this sequence of events a few times over the course of 6-7 months of combat. Perhaps you bury a few friends as a result. The same scene manifests itself in a myriad of locations and situations. Your friends keep dying, and you have never so much as seen the face of your enemy.
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Bill Roggio on Blog Week in Review

Counterterrorism expert Bill Roggio is on the podcast from Pajamas Media, reporting from Afghanistan. Austin Bay also reports on the continuing crisis with Iran's nuclear ambitions.
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Apology Not Accepted

Sometimes the headline is enough:

Official Apologizes For Saying Bush Should Be Shot Between Eyes

The turkey happens to be the NY State Comptroller.

I'd say that somebody should shoot this guy in the foot, but hey, he's already done that himself!
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Thursday, June 01, 2006
 
About Those 80,000 Votes

Kennedy's blowing it out his hindquarters. He says:

And that doesn?t even take into account the troubling evidence of outright fraud, which indicates that upwards of 80,000 votes for Kerry were counted instead for Bush. That alone is a swing of more than 160,000 votes -- enough to have put John Kerry in the White House.(15)

Blockbuster allegation, that is sourced to the same article, page 4:

VIII. Rural Counties
Despite the well-documented effort that prevented hundreds of thousands of voters in urban and minority precincts from casting ballots, the worst theft in Ohio may have quietly taken place in rural counties. An examination of election data suggests widespread fraud -- and even good old-fashioned stuffing of ballot boxes -- in twelve sparsely populated counties scattered across southern and western Ohio: Auglaize, Brown, Butler, Clermont, Darke, Highland, Mercer, Miami, Putnam, Shelby, Van Wert and Warren. (See The Twelve Suspect Counties) One key indicator of fraud is to look at counties where the presidential vote departs radically from other races on the ballot. By this measure, John Kerry's numbers were suspiciously low in each of the twelve counties -- and George Bush's were unusually high.


Cut to the chase:

If Kerry had maintained his statewide margin over Connally in the twelve suspect counties, as he almost assuredly would have done in a clean election, he would have bested her by 81,260 ballots. That's a swing of 162,520 votes from Kerry to Bush -- more than enough to alter the outcome. (183)

Let's take a look at the 12 "suspect" counties. First, in 2000, those counties voted for Bush by a large margin. Ignoring the third party candidates, Bush got 67.4% of the vote while Gore only managed 32.6%. In 2004, Bush upped that to 69.5% to Kerry's 30.5%. Very suspicious indeed. But looking at the big picture, what would it take to swing 80,000 votes to Kerry in those twelve "suspect" counties?

And that's where Kennedy's claim is exposed for the nonsense that it is. You see, these really are rural counties so the idea of shaking an 80,000 vote swing out of them is contrived. Bush got 382,000 votes in those counties, so we reduce that to 302,000. And we up Kerry's 168,000 to 248,000. So Bush got 54.9% in those twelve counties, as compared to his 67.4% the prior election a 12.5 percentage point decline in Bush's share of the major party vote in those twelve counties between 2000 and 2004. How does that stack up with the rest of Ohio? Well, actually Bush didn't lose 12.5 percentage points compared to 2000 in any other county. His worst performance was about a 5 percentage point drop.
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Yet Moron Bobby Kennedy, Jr.

I've been working on debunking the absolutely moronic 9-11 conspiracy video, Loose Change lately, and as a result, I've become a little more in tune with the world of conspiracy theorists. Here are what I see as several signs of a nutty conspiracy theory:

1. "Experts" working out of their field. In the 9-11 "Truth" movement there is a particularly insidious group known as "Scholars for 9-11 Truth". They like to flash their PhD's at folks , but when you look closely you realize it's mostly philosophy professors, mixed in English profs and theologians. They've got one physicist, but he's trying to lecture on structural engineering, a significantly different field.

So we find with Bobby Kennedy's conspiracy theory.

According to Steven F. Freeman, a visiting scholar at the University of Pennsylvania who specializes in research methodology....

In fact, he's in the "Organizational Dynamics" department at Penn, which is about "the art and science of the organization", and in fact if you look at his Penn page, that is the sort of stuff that is featured. There's no mention of his moonbat research in political science that has now earned him a scholarly citation in Rolling Stone--maybe they sense that's a little out of his area of expertise?

There is the inevitable griping that they're considered nuts for seeking the "truth". Bobby Kennedy:

Republicans derided anyone who expressed doubts about Bush's victory as nut cases in ''tinfoil hats,'' while the national media, with few exceptions, did little to question the validity of the election.

Yeah, the media is always in on the conspiracy:

The Washington Post immediately dismissed allegations of fraud as ''conspiracy theories,''(1) and The New York Times declared that ''there is no evidence of vote theft or errors on a large scale.''(2)

Mystification is always expressed that neither of the two political parties seems interested in the conspiracy (which, by definition makes it a fringe issue--as in lunatic fringe).

So it is with Kennedy (quoting Freeman):

"....All these are strong indicators of fraud -- and yet this supposition has been utterly ignored by the press and, oddly, by the Democratic Party."

Evidence presented is either innuendo:

In Warren County, GOP election officials even invented a nonexistent terrorist threat to bar the media from monitoring the official vote count.

Or poorly sourced. For example, consider this claim:

And that doesn?t even take into account the troubling evidence of outright fraud, which indicates that upwards of 80,000 votes for Kerry were counted instead for Bush. That alone is a swing of more than 160,000 votes -- enough to have put John Kerry in the White House.(15)

Well, I mean, that's a pretty troubling claim, so let's look at footnote 15:

15) See ''VIII. Rural Counties.''

Okay, so that foots to a later part of the article, where he goes on and on about the suspicious voting in 12 rural counties (I'll put up another post on that subject a little later), but fails to come anywhere near proving the 80,000 votes claim.

So it's just another conspiracy theory. Time to get out one of my favorite toys, the Screw Loose Change Nutbar-o-Meter. Bobby rings the bell:

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Moron Bobby Kennedy Jr.

Still griping about the 2004 election.

Like many Americans, I spent the evening of the 2004 election watching the returns on television and wondering how the exit polls, which predicted an overwhelming victory for John Kerry, had gotten it so wrong. By midnight, the official tallies showed a decisive lead for George Bush -- and the next day, lacking enough legal evidence to contest the results, Kerry conceded. Republicans derided anyone who expressed doubts about Bush's victory as nut cases in ''tinfoil hats,'' while the national media, with few exceptions, did little to question the validity of the election. The Washington Post immediately dismissed allegations of fraud as ''conspiracy theories,''(1) and The New York Times declared that ''there is no evidence of vote theft or errors on a large scale.''(2)

First things first. The idiots questioning the election always focus in on the Exit Polls. But even the Exit Pollsters admit they were flawed. Second, why is it that none of these electoral geniuses ever mentions that the Exit Polls were the outliers? Almost every poll taken before the election showed Bush leading by 1-5 percentage points nationally; he won by about 2.5 percentage points.

Ditto with Ohio, which comes in for the lions' share of the attention here, for obvious reasons. Three of the last five polls Gerry Daly used had Bush ahead, one had Kerry ahead, and the last one had it dead even. The one that Kerry led was from Zogby, who had two later polls that showed Bush leading by 1 and by 5. In the end, Bush won Ohio by about 2 percentage points.

There is the usual crappola about how perfect exit polling has become (cough, Florida 2000, cough!) And then there's this little bit of paranoia (shades of the 9-11 "Truth" movement):

But that same month, when exit polls revealed disturbing disparities in the U.S. election, the six media organizations that had commissioned the survey treated its very existence as an embarrassment. Instead of treating the discrepancies as a story meriting investigation, the networks scrubbed the offending results from their Web sites and substituted them with ''corrected'' numbers that had been weighted, retroactively, to match the official vote count. Rather than finding fault with the election results, the mainstream media preferred to dismiss the polls as flawed.(21)

There's the usual claim that some of the 2004 CTers aren't even Democrats:

Puzzled by the discrepancies, [Stephen F.] Freeman laboriously examined the raw polling data released by Edison/Mitofsky in January 2005. ''I'm not even political -- I despise the Democrats,'' he says. ''I'm a survey expert. I got into this because I was mystified about how the exit polls could have been so wrong.'' In his forthcoming book, Was the 2004 Presidential Election Stolen? Exit Polls, Election Fraud, and the Official Count, Freeman lays out a statistical analysis of the polls that is deeply troubling.

Let me guess, he hates the Democrats because they don't stand up to Bushitler?

Instead of welcoming the avalanche of citizen involvement sparked by the campaign, Blackwell permitted election officials in Cleveland, Cincinnati and Toledo to conduct a massive purge of their voter rolls, summarily expunging the names of more than 300,000 voters who had failed to cast ballots in the previous two national elections.

Now, you can guess the punchline, right? Are election officials in Cleveland, Cincinnati and Toledo likely to be Republicans? It's absurd on its face, and I suspect the reasons those elections officials purged their rolls was precisely to prevent electoral fraud.

And get this conclusion:

If only one in ten of the 300,000 purged [Ohio] voters showed up on Election Day -- a conservative estimate, according to election scholars -- that is 30,000 citizens who were unfairly denied the opportunity to cast ballots.

And if all of them had voted for Kerry he still would have lost Ohio by over 80,000 votes.

This is Sore Loserman all over again. Get over it, Democrats!

Update: Dan Riehl notes that NPR (!) debunked this effort a few days ago.

Confederate Yankee makes a good case that this article is really a smear job on Ken Blackwell, the black, Republican, Ohio gubernatorial candidate who was in charge of the Ohio elections process in 2004.

Update II: See also Mr Ugly American's post on this around which Moonbats are already circling.
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Pinch Me!

John Hawkins has compiled the quarterly list of his favorite 40 blogs, and I'm #17, above biggies like Power Line and Wizbang.

Let me say too that I know I've been pretty lax the last couple of weeks here--I have a lot on my plate right now with work and the Screw Loose Change blog which is getting (astonishing traffic 1600+/- per day), but requires a fair amount of research.
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Hitch: Proud to Be(come) an American

One of our favorite Brits is becoming a Yank:

Solidarity with what, exactly, in a country cleanly divided over war in Iraq and led by a president whose policy toward terrorism has dropped his poll numbers into the dustbin?

"It's fallen on the United States to be the country that resists the renewal of barbarism, of religious barbarism in the world," Mr. Hitchens answers. "It doesn't particularly want the job, it doesn't do it terribly well—and I think would have escaped it if it could—but there's something about the United States that makes it both hated and antagonistic to this barbarism." He adds, "If one wants to defend the deployment of forces of fellow citizens, one probably ought to be a fellow citizen."


I certainly don't agree with his comments on religion, but I'm happy to welcome him as a comrade-in-arms against the moonbats.
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Impeachment Watch XVII

The town of Brookline, Massachusetts votes to impeach the president. While the Boston Globe claims this is evidence of Bush's declining popularity, there is little evidence that he had any popularity in Brookline to begin with:

The vote is the latest reflection of Bush's declining popularity and of growing unease about the war, in which there have been more than 2,400 US deaths since it started in 2003.

While Brookline doesn't have the same ultraliberal reputation as places such as Cambridge, Bush has drawn less support there than in the state as a whole. In 2000, he won 17 percent of the vote in the town, compared to 32 percent statewide. In 2004, Bush won 19 percent, compared to 37 percent statewide.


Of course, some may wonder what a town is doing voting on impeachment. Not to worry, the man who brought the resolution has pondered that very carefully:

Margolis said he was motivated to draft the resolution and gather the 10 signatures required to get it before Town Meeting by reports late last year of the administration's domestic spying program.

Although he once struggled with the notion of whether the town should address national issues, he eventually decided that such advisory resolutions are appropriate.

``I finally decided that if Congress can express the feelings of Americans on issues around the world, like fighting AIDS or the slaughter in Darfur, or, years ago, the genocide in Bosnia, then why shouldn't Brookline's legislature, which is what Town Meeting is, do this?" he said.


You know how it is, when you wrestle with your conscience and your conscience loses, we've gotta wonder how hard a fight your conscience put up.
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Wednesday, May 31, 2006
 
Kerry Redux

It was fun discussing Kerry's misadventures in Vietnam. There still seems to be a treasure trove of material yet to discuss with regard to the International Man of Mystery. If the media want to sabotage him for Hillary's sake, they should have no trouble locating some interesting stories that the mainstream media showed no interest in pursuing, like:

The Vietnamese woman whom Kerry and his crew assisted in the delivery of a breech birth baby. The story appears in the introduction to the Boston Globe book on Kerry, but curiously, given the extraordinary drama and heroism of young Lieutenant (jg) Kerry, the story never appears in Tour of Duty.

Kerry's Rosie Ruiz run in the Boston Marathon. As broken by our buddy John Ruberry (an authentic marathoner) Kerry claimed to have run in the Boston Marathon, apparently unaware that records are kept of all runners.

Kerry's attendance at a VVAW meeting where the assassination of US Senators was proposed and discussed heatedly. While we're on the subject of meetings, what about the two meetings Kerry and other VVAW leaders had with the North Vietnamese in Paris?

Kerry's improbable stories. It's not hard to find several of these. What about VC the flying dog? Kerry claimed that when his boat was hit by a mine, the dog was catapulted through the air, only to miraculously land on the deck of a following boat. Or my personal favorite (since it seems obviously ripped off from a sit-com), the time that Kerry claimed to have been taking his car through a car wash and suddenly water started pouring into the vehicle from everywhere and he worried about drowning. (As I commented at the time, it was an experience that both senators from Massachusetts had in common).
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Brainster on the Radio--Updated!

(This post will be on top for the rest of the day, scroll down for newer posts.)

I will be on the radio today starting at about 4:05 Eastern time today, on the Constitutional Public Radio show, AM 1510, Brevard County, Florida. You can also listen to the live stream. Cohosts Andrea Shea King and Mark Vance and I will be discussing Christmas in Cambodia, which has now morphed into Abraham Lincoln day in Cambodia.

You can also join in the show by chatting here (upper right).

Thanks to longtime blogger buddy Third Wave Dave for setting this up! Dave also has his very kind thoughts on the interview here.

Update: Great experience talking to Andrea and Mark; they clearly know a lot about the Boston Fog Machine. I'm so jealous that they got to meet the Swiftees & POWs for Truth--Thurlow, O'Neill, Day, McManus, Galanti... those guys are the heroes of 2004.
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Moron Reparations

Not for slavery, but for a race riot:

It's time for North Carolina to make reparations for an 1898 Wilmington race riot that killed an unknown number of black residents and disenfranchised the city's black community for generations, a state commission said today.

The 13-member commission studied the events of November 1898, and their aftermath, for six years. The group released its final report today, saying that the riot was a conspiracy plotted by white supremacist Democrats -- and supported by newspapers, including The News & Observer -- to drive blacks out of power. The committee also made a host of recommendations that would help compensate black.

Members said that, if nothing else, they want the riot to become part of the state's history curriculum.


I don't see any reason why it shouldn't be part of the history lesson, but I am curious about what other reparations are proposed. Let's remember, it's unlikely that anybody alive today lived through this incident. Indeed, I suspect few grandchildren of those involved are even alive today.
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Times Pimps Harold Ford, Jr.

They're trying to sell him as perhaps representing the keystone to the Democrats' chance to retake the Senate, which is still a longshot at best. Most of the article is boilerplate, although this anecdote raised an eyebrow:

And Mr. Ford, a five-term congressman from Memphis, rouses his audiences, white and black, with little parables of political possibility: How he was driving back to Memphis one day on the campaign trail, fired up after a meeting at a church, and decided to stop and shake hands at a bar and grill called the Little Rebel. How he looked with some trepidation at the Confederate flag outside and the parking lot filled with pickup trucks, covered with bumper stickers for President Bush and the National Rifle Association.

And how he was greeted, when he walked through the door, by a woman at the bar who gave him a huge hug. "And she said, 'Baby, we've been waiting to see you.'"


Gee, you mean those folks with Confederate flags and Bush bumper stickers might not be a bunch of ignorant racists? Who would have dreamed we'd read this in the Times?

But they step over the line into outright boosterism here:

In the tradition of other Southern Democrats who prospered in conservative times, Mr. Ford presents himself as a pro-growth, centrist, fiscal hawk.

He voted for the resolution authorizing the use of force in Iraq (he has also called for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld), for a constitutional amendment outlawing same-sex marriage and for the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act. NARAL Pro-Choice America considers him "mixed choice" on abortion; the National Rifle Association gave him a grade of C in the 2004 election. He also backs a constitutional amendment to require a balanced budget.


One of those things is not like the other; one of those things just doesn't belong. In the middle of paragraph detailing Ford's "pro-growth, centrist fiscal hawk" positions, the writer (Robin Toner) throws in the bit about calling for the resignation of Rumsfeld. Why? Because she knows that Ford's vote in favor of the Iraq War is a huge turnoff for the paper's liberal readers. Sensing that she's perhaps gone too far in establishing his centrist credits, she tosses a bone to the partisans who are wondering why they should support somebody who voted for the war.
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More Euro-Rot?

Here's an article on three German women who wanted to become suicide bombers in Iraq.

SPIEGEL ONLINE has learned that German intelligence agencies have prevented three German women from travelling to Iraq in recent weeks. The women, who have close contacts to the Islamist scene in Germany and at least one whom has converted to Islam, came to the attention of intelligence agencies after one of them had announced on an Internet site that she intended to blow herself and her child up in Iraq.

This is just a symptom of the rot that has infested Euroland. Their culture has become so decadent that radical Islamists find it a fertile breeding ground for their hate. Can they right the ship in time? I tend to doubt it; for one thing their youth are increasingly Muslim; secular Germans are far less likely to breed.
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Tuesday, May 30, 2006
 
Gore No More?

This article certainly makes it sound like he's not running, no matter how much he seems to like Bush-bashing.

At the weekend, Time magazine reported that he was telling key fundraisers they should feel free to sign on with other potential candidates. The magazine quoted unnamed Democratic sources as saying that the former vice-president had also been asking the fundraisers to "tell everybody I'm not running".

Mr Gore would not find it difficult to raise millions of dollars, if he did decide to run. But while public denials might prove a wise campaign strategy - not least by prolonging the period of positive attention Mr Gore is now receiving - actively turning away fundraisers does suggest a firmer resolve not to re-enter electoral politics.


If Gore's not running, that certainly helps Russ Feingold and potentially John Fraude Kerry.
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Hawkins on the Senate Immigration Bill

John's compiled a list of 22 things wrong with the proposal.
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Haditha: A Soldier in Iraq Responds

Our buddy Gaius over at Blue Crab Boulevard's son writes:

My squad leader is sitting right beside me, and we just compared notes on how many IEDs we've been through. We counted six each. One of them hit my truck, one of them hit his. I can tell you from firsthand experience that after an IED goes off, every soldier's first instinct is to start shooting at everything in sight that's moving. Someone has just tried to kill you, and you can't kill him back. That said, we've never gone on a shooting rampage after an IED. On the other hand, all the roadside bombs we've encountered have only resulted in minor injuries. To play devil's advocate, I can't imagine how it feels to lose a friend and comrade to an unseen enemy. If the Marines in question are found guilty of committing a crime, I will partially understand their emotions even if I abhor their decision.

His son also writes about the potential backlash from the story:

More IEDs will be placed, more weapons will appear on the streets, and more soldiers are going to die. I'm a major supporter of the First Amendment, but I have a vested interest in this incident being kept low-profile. If it's true, it's an atrocity, and the men responsible from bottom to top should swing from the yardarm. If it turns out to be yet another case of the media attacking the Bush administration, an as-yet unknown number of U.S. servicemen will have been killed as a result of a media circus. If the latter is true, can we hang the reporters for negligent manslaughter?
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Great Point On Kerry

Confederate Yankee decided to look into Kerry's new claim on Cambodia and noticed that Kerry couldn't get there from where he was. Excellent point!

Another thing I noticed in rereading the NY Times article today:

Mr. Kerry's supporters have also frozen frames from his amateur films of his time in Vietnam and have retrieved letters and military citations for other sailors to support his version of how he won the Silver Star — rebutting the Swift boat group's most explosive charge, that he shot an unarmed teenager who was fleeing his fire.

Frozen frames from his amateur films? But it's well established that those films were recreations after the fact, not film shot in the heat of battle, as reported by the Boston Globe back in 1996. Note that in the linked article, Kerry claims that's a mistake, but he also lies about his intentions:

"It is so innocent," he said by way of introducing his youthful cinematic effort, adding a little defensively, "I have no intention of using it" for campaign purposes.

No doubt The Times got that part wrong, since Kerry did in fact use footage from those home movies in the pre-speech film of his life.
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Kerry Up a Creek

Here's a fun parody of the International Man of Mystery:

You see, many years ago, Mr. John Kerry was involved in a secret mission on a small fast watercraft northwards on the Connecticut River, which took him and a load of Boy Scouts many miles beyond the Massachusetts border, deep into the muddy mysterious shallows between Vermont and New Hampshire on a hunt for the illusive shad.

To prove his point and to lend further credence to his fabulous tales, he also carries his water stained log book in his brief bag as well, to illustrate his points and to serve as mental reminders to the high points he encountered, such as...

"23 May 61 0403Z Picked up six scouts at Vernon VT landing, running in full dark mode, heading upriver past the So Long Bridge. Gassed up. Cap fits well. Have maps."
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Moron the Dixie Chicks

Leonard Pitts applauds them for bravery:

For what it's worth, the Chicks' new single bombed on country radio, putting their careers further in question. It's a problem they wouldn't have had if they'd kept silent.

Thankfully, they didn't. There's already too much of that going around.


Yep, they may not make any money. But Leonard Pitts likes their politics.
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Monday, May 29, 2006
 
Happy Memorial Day

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Sunday, May 28, 2006
 
John F. Kerry Fan Fiction

It was a dark and stormy Christmas Eve on the Mekong. We had left Sa Dec a few hours earlier, and were still exhilarated over the adventure of the drawbridge. As we came out of the town we realized that even with the drawbridge up all the way, we'd have very little clearance. But we decided to gun it rather than wait for low tide and made it through with about an inch to spare. The villagers who had come to watch us smash up applauded politely.

We were in that nebulous area between Cambodia and South Vietnam. The CIA spook was applying lampblack to his face. The hat was lying on the table between us. It was big and floppy and camo and I lusted after it.

The CIA man grunted. He was featureless like all spooks; after 4-5 missions they all started to look the same. But his voice was pure Southern farmboy.

"Y'all want the hat?" Before he could withdraw the offer I snatched it up and put it on my head a jaunty angle. He smiled, but it was a cold smile. "Y'all gotta swap one of yours."

I hesitated. The only hat besides my regulation Navy equipment was my old Red Sox cap, autographed by Eddie Yost himself. I liked to think of it as my lucky cap. But it wasn't camo, and it wasn't the hat of a real CIA man. So I handed over the baseball cap.

This was one of those unofficial missions that I chafed at. "Surely Nixon can't be running the government already," I had complained to Elliot when receiving my orders. "He's not the President yet!"

Commander Elliot had winked. "This has been Nixon's war all along, you know that as well as I do."

Gardner poked his head in the door. "Couple PBJs--err, PBRs coming up, Skippy--err, Skipper." I could see him surpressing a grin and wondered why, then cursed and whipped off the camo hat. Later that night I would have to put it in the secret compartment of my attache case. Otherwise Gardner and the other guys would undoubtedly visit indignities on it, which would probably lead to mildew.

I groaned at the news of the PBRs. The f'ing Navy couldn't do anything right. Elliot had assured me this area would be clear. But as the craft approached us, a mortar whistled overhead. "What was that?" I yelled. The second one hit the water only a few yards away.

The PBRs took off and we darted into Cambodia. Again, but not for the last time.

(Note: This is a post from the Kerry Haters days, suddenly topical again thanks to Le Fraude's decision to reopen the Christmas in Cambodia story yet again.)
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