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Saturday, June 11, 2005
Captain Ed Takes Some Lumps

Over this post from Coalition of the Chillin' members. I think he's on solid ground when he blasts the filibuster's past as an instrument of lynching and segregation. But I disagree with this part:

ADDENDUM and BUMP: I'm putting this on top for the morning. The more I think about this story, the more incensed I become. The Gang of Fourteen stood in front of the American people and proclaimed that rescuing the filibuster amount to "saving the Republic", and the other thirteen stood there and endorsed that point of view from Robert Byrd, of all people.

The only principle the filibuster has ever protected, as far as I see, is naked partisanship and in the case of lynching, racial oppression and terror.

Well, the filibuster has a long, and not always honorable history, but not always dishonorable. In June 1968, the filibuster was used to prevent Justice Abe Fortas from ascending to the Chief Justice position. Lyndon Johnson was leaving office at the end of the year and Fortas had some financial irregularities that Republicans were concerned about.

Certainly a strong argument can be made that the filibuster should be abolished. I'm not convinced that's a conservative argument. However I'm also not saying that because I'm part of the Coalition of the Chillin' that I'm enamored of the practice, or of some of the mods who struck the deal.

Kudos to Ed for acknowledging that he went a little too far with his analogy and for including links to people who disagreed with him rather vocally.
On the Waterfront

Still as corrupt as ever in John Kerry's backyard:

Massachusetts authorities are investigating allegations that longshoremen's unions are placing children as young as 2½ years old on the payroll in a scheme to get them higher wages as adult dockworkers.

It's all about seniority. The clock starts running when a union member first receives a union card -- regardless of the number of hours worked.

So, union members who get their children enrolled are believed to have ensured their kids higher starting pay if and when they actually begin working at the Boston docks.

Brings a new meaning to the term seniority.
Was It Over When the Germans Bombed Pearl Harbor?

It's not over.
Eleanor Clift Thinks Abortion's A Winning Issue

She and her late husband wrote one of the savviest books on politics I've ever read, War Without Bloodshed, but her column today seems naive at best.

Clift notices that the Democrats are stepping gingerly away from the abortion issue.

The conventional wisdom in Washington right now is that choice is a loser. When the heads of several women’s groups met recently with Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean on the veranda outside his office at party headquarters, Dean exclaimed, “The debate is no longer about choice--it’s about who decides.” That wasn’t exactly a new insight, and when Dean appeared soon after on “Meet the Press” to say that he thought maybe it should be harder to get a third-trimester abortion, the women’s groups went ballistic. It’s already extremely difficult, and as a medical doctor, Dean should know that.

She goes on to point out the polling on the issue which can fairly be described as 50-50. However, she completely ignores intensity. People who are pro-choice tend to have a lot of other issues that are more important to them. People who are pro-life are much more likely to put abortion at the top of their issues.

She wanders around a bit in the column as well; there's a bit in there about how Conservative Christians are going to have to decide between the guy they want (George Allen) and the guy that can win (McCain). Then there's some stuff about how Hillary's got the message that can win on the abortion issue; "Safe, legal and rare."
Laughing Out Loud

Twenty Major has a solution to your problems with annoying people: Stare at them (strong language, but hilarious).
Will Geldof Agree to Call Off the Riot?

Captain Ed has a terrific piece this morning on the G8's agreement to slash the debt of some poor nations by $55 billion. He highlights this as a victory for Bob Geldof:

That's the vision for Live8, the effort pushed by Sir Bob Geldof. Debt relief was the first of the main pillars of their approach, tariff reform and increased aid being the other two.

He contrasts this with a Mark Steyn column, but there is absolutely no discussion about the demonstrations planned to coincide with the G8 summit on July 6th in Edinburgh. Is that still on? This has always struck me as the weak link in the conservative bloggers' embrace of Geldof; nobody wants to talk about what's going to happen next month. Rock concerts are fine, mobs demonstrating in the street are not. Geldof needs to make an announcement that the G8 have satisfied his demands and that anybody who believes in his cause should refrain from coming to Scotland.

Here's what Geldof says on the Live 8 website:

The G8 brings together the leaders of the worlds most powerful countries – the USA, Canada, Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia. This year they meet from 6th – 9th July in Gleneagles with Britain’s Prime Minister, Tony Blair hosting the summit.

Tony Blair has put the challenges faced in Africa on the top of the agenda – but the leaders need to know when they sit down that the world is watching them and waiting for them to deliver.

They have delivered, Sir Robert. Now call off the demonstrations. Call off the ridiculous flotilla, in which it is quite likely that novice sailors will get themselves killed trying to transport people across the English channel in rowboats:

Down With The Downing Street Memo

Tod Lindberg covers the small furor in the fever swamps over the "fixed language".

For smoking-gun enthusiasts, the key to the plot is that word "fixed," as in, the fix is in. As in, the intelligence and facts weren't what Bush needed, so he fixed them. The problem with this analysis, if you can call it that, is quite simple: If what is being described is chicanery and wrongdoing in the form of the Bush administration fabricating intelligence, how come nobody in the room with Blair when C drops this bombshell is sufficiently perturbed to do so much as ask a follow-up question? How come Blair's "sofa cabinet" just goes on earnestly discussing the military options?

Even I know what the goofballs would respond to that: Because Blair is Bush's poodle! Of course, exactly why Blair has agreed to this arrangement is never quite explained.

In fact, exactly how is it that the official note-taker at this meeting, Blair's thirtysomething private secretary for foreign affairs--far junior to all others in the room--decided to record this momentous revelation with a colloquialism worthy of a James Cagney gangster movie? The answer is that he is doing no such thing. "Fix" here is clearly meant in its traditional sense, in the sort of English spoken by Oxbridge dons and MI6 directors--to make fast, to set in order, to arrange.

It's striking that the [London] Times's story hyping the memo makes no mention of the "fixed" passage until roughly its 26th paragraph, where the term goes unremarked. Far be it from me to suggest that the Brits have done a better job as custodians of the English language than Americans. But the Brits do at least know how they speak it.

But that's okay, lefties. There's always another conspiracy out there. I hear there's a new rumor about Jeff Gannon having sex with Jenna Bush's boyfriend's uncle's landlord!

The sun'll come out, tomorrow,
Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow, come what may
Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you, tomorrow, you're always a day away!
Friday, June 10, 2005
New to the Blogroll

Say hi to Irish Pennants, the blog of former Marine and current conservative columnist Jack Kelly. Check out this post of his on a confirmed case of abuse by US military personnel, abuse that is, as a certain Senator would say, "not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command." Terrific blog, I've been reading it almost daily.
We Knew Her When

Look who's written a guest column for Townhall! And check out the roster of previous guest columnists over there, including:

Victor Davis Hanson
Michael Fumento
Dick Armey

:) Not too shabby, Lorie! Her solo blog is here and she also posts over at Polipundit.
Moron--Err, That Is, More On--Krugman's Slicing and Dicing--Updates!

I put up a post on Krugman's latest column over at Lifelike. I'd like to examine Krugman's central point a little:

Working families have seen little if any progress over the past 30 years. Adjusted for inflation, the income of the median family doubled between 1947 and 1973. But it rose only 22 percent from 1973 to 2003, and much of that gain was the result of wives' entering the paid labor force or working longer hours, not rising wages.

Now there are a lot of factors that have affected median household income, not just wives entering the workforce or working longer hours. How about the vast increase in the number of single-parent households since 1973? Clearly that also mitigates against rising household incomes as well.

But let's ignore those issues for now and focus on median household income. Here are some tables of historical figures from 1984-2003 from the Census Bureau. I'll summarize as follows:

1984 $22,415
1985 $23,618
1986 $24,897
1987 $25,986
1988 $27,225
1989 $28,906
1990 $29,943
1991 $30,126
1992 $30,636
1993 $31,241
1994 $32,264
1995 $34,076
1996 $35,492
1997 $37,005
1998 $38,885
1999 $40,696
2000 $41,990
2001 $42,228
2002 $42,409
2003 $43,318

Now of course, those are dollars unadjusted for inflation. Fortunately, the same tables also have the historical median household incomes in constant 2003 dollars a little lower:

1984 $37,767
1985 $38,510
1986 $39,868
1987 $40,241
1988 $40,678
1989 $41,411
1990 $40,865
1991 $39,679
1992 $39,364
1993 $39,165
1994 $39,613
1995 $40,845
1996 $41,431
1997 $42,294
1998 $43,825
1999 $44,922
2000 $44,853
2001 $43,882
2002 $43,381
2003 $43,318

You can already see something of a trend there, right? The median household income (MHI) rises and falls with general economic conditions, but over the long haul it rises. Here's a graphic look:

As you can see, the MHI rose from 1984-1989, declined from 1990-1993, then rose again from 1994-1999 when it started another decline. It's not hard to see where the next few data points are going, either, is it? Looks pretty obvious to me that we've bottomed out again and will see the MHI rising, just as it did in 1994.

Unfortunately I don't have the numbers going all the way back to 1973; if anybody has the data I'd love to see it. But it's not hard to fill in the starting point based on Krugman's column. If inflation-adjusted median household income only rose 22% between 1973 and 2003, then the 1973 figure must have been somewhere around $35,506 ($43,318/1.22). So if we break the 30 year span into roughly 10-year intervals from 1973-1984, 1984-1993, and 1993-2003, we find the following average (non-compounded) growth rates per annum:

1973-1984: 0.51%
1984-1993: 0.41%
1993-2003: 1.06%

Note: Before I get accused of slicing and dicing myself, I did adjust for the fact that 1973-1984 is 11 years, while 1984-1993 is 9 and 1993-2003 is 10 years. If I'd had 1983 MHI in 2003 constant dollars I'd make all three periods exactly equal. I suspect that the 1973-1983 period would be a little lower and the 1983-1993 period would be a little higher. But at any rate, it's not hard to see that MHI has grown faster in the last decade or so than it did for the 20 years prior to that. Of course, that doesn't help Professor Krugman's argument that the middle class is slipping, it demolishes it. Hence the focus on 1973-2003 versus 1947-1973.

Note as well that Krugman is choosing starting and stopping points very carefully. For example, suppose I took the 1989 and 1993 median household incomes and drew a line between them and then encouraged you to speculate as to future results. You'd probably forecast a continuing decline after 1993, right? But we can see that is not what happened. Similarly, if you drew a line between 1993 and 1999, you'd forecast rapidly rising incomes. But the best method of forecasting with a chart like this would be to draw a line between the peaks and another line between the troughs, extend them forward, and say that the future is somewhere between those lines. What Krugman has done is draw a line between a peak (a recession began in 1973) and a trough (2003 appears to be a cyclic low for MHI) and encouraged his readers to assume that the future will follow that line. I'll try to remember to keep an eye on this and see whose projections turn out to be more in line with reality.


Tom Maguire has more on this column.

Jim Glass at the Scrivener points out that Krugman's 1947-73 comparison takes a trough for median household income (caused by New Deal policies) and draws the line to a peak. So Krugman was dishonest on both ends of the comparison. I'm shocked, shocked I tell you!

Donald Luskin checks in on the shaping, slicing and selectively presenting data that drew the guffaws from me over at Lifelike.

Mark in Mexico has some thoughts on those glorious 1960s that Krugman remembers so fondly.

Tim Worstall hits on the same point from a different angle and notes that the median household size has declined quite a bit since the 1960s.

James at the Chief Brief looks into the longer hours claim by Krugman and concludes there is no evidence to support it. Of course, I've always told my employers that I refuse to work longer hours; 60 minutes an hour is plenty!

There's a fair amount of heat but not much light in the comments section at Brad DeLong's. One definite odd thing I found about Krugman's piece was how many lefty bloggers just posted either the whole piece or several paragraphs with virtually no remarks by the blogger himself, as DeLong himself does here.
A Letter from Ireland

Captain Ed gets mail from one of the McCartney sisters.
Why Are the Ankle-Biting Pundits Celebrating More Donations to the DNC?

Answer: Because the donations are from people trying to keep Howard Dean as DNC Chair. Now that's something we can all agree on!
Our Sympathies to Mrs G and the Rest of the Goldbergs

Kind, friendly, amusing, amused, thoughtful, loving, clever, dapper,
jaunty, principled, intellectually engaged, politically astute, wise.
Sid was the ultimate mensch.
I loved him, my wife loved him, our baby daughter loved him, everybody loved him,
and the world is a smaller and colder and meaner place today without him.

Thursday, June 09, 2005
Krugmanapalooza Over at Lifelike

I cover Donald Luskin's hilarious contest for the all-time worst mistakes by the worst pundit in America, then follow that up with a little body slam on the Princeton Dwarf's latest column. Read Krugman's early prediction on the internet (equivalent to the fax machine). Learn why the golden era for the middle class is always the final full year of the Nixon Administration. Watch Krugman, shape, slice and selectively cite statistics to provide ammunition to his critics.
The Wrongfooting Memo?

Some of the commenters over at Wizbang are abuzz about another memo that supposedly proves the Downing Street Memo which I blogged about here and here.

The new memo has a rather, um, interesting provenance:

The transcript that follows was transcribed by a member of the Democratic Underground forums from the PDF version posted online. Some of the typos are from the original. Emphasis has been added to key passages.

Here's the text of the "transcription" (I'll skip the italics since it's so long):


British Embassy Washington

From the Ambassador
Christopher Meyer KCMG

18 March 2002

Sir David Manning KCMG
No 10 Downing Street


1 Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, came to Sunday lunch on 17 March.

2 On Iraq I opened by sticking very closely to the script that you used with Condi Rice last week, We backed regime change, but the plan had to be clever and failure was not an option. It would be a tough sell for us domestically, and probably tougher elsewhere in Europe. The US could go it alone if it wanted to. But if it wanted to act with partners, there had to be a strategy for building support for military action against Saddam. I then went through the need to wrongfoot Saddam on the inspectors and the UN SCRs and the critical importance of the MEPP as an integral part of the anti-Saddam strategy. If all this could be accomplished skilfully, we were fairly confident that a number of countries would come on board.

3 I said that the UK was giving serious thought to publishing a paper that would make the case against Saddam. If the UK were to join with the US in any operation against Saddam, we would have to be able to take a critical mass of parliamentary and public opinion with us. It was extraordinary how people had forgotten how bad he was.

4 Wolfowitz said that he fully agreed. He took a slightly different position from others in the Administration, who were focussed on Saddam's capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction. The WMD danger was of course crucial to the public case against Saddam, particularly the potential linkage to terrorism. But Wolfowitz thought it indispensable to spell out in detail Saddam's barbarism. This was well documented from what he had done during the occupation of Kuwait, the incursion into Kurdish territory, the assault on the Marsh Arabs, and to his own people. A lot of work had been done on this towards the end of the first Bush administration. Wolfowitz thought that this would go a long way to destroying any notion of moral equivalence between Iraq and Israel. I said that I had been forcefully struck, when addressing university audiences in the US how ready students were to gloss over Saddam's crimes and to blame the US and the UK for the suffering of the Iraqi people.

5 Wolfowitz said that it was absurd to deny the link between terrorism and Saddam. There might be doubt about the alleged meeting in Prague between Mohammed Atta, the lead hijacker on 9/11, and Iraqi intelligence (did we, he asked, know anything more about this meeting?). But there were other substantiated cases of Saddam giving comfort to terrorists, including someone involved in the first attack on the World Trade Center (the latest New Yorker apparently has a story about links between Saddam and Al Qaeda operating in Kurdistan).

6 I asked for Wolfowitz's take on the stuggle inside the Administration between the pro- and anti- INC lobbies (well documented in Sy Hersh's recent New Yorker piece, which I gave you). He said that he found himself between the two sides (but as the conversation developed, it became clear that Wolfowitz was far more pro-INC than not). He said that he was strongly opposed to what some were advocating: a coalition including all outside factions except the INC (INA, KDP, PUK, SCIRI). This would not work. Hostility towards the INC was in reality hostility towards Chalabi. It was true that Chalabi was not the easiest person to work with. Bute had a good record in bringing high-grade defectors out of Iraq. The CIA stubbornly refused to recognise this. They unreasonably denigrated the INC because of their fixation with Chalabi. When I mentioned that the INC was penetraded by Iraqi intelligence, Wolfowitz commented that this was probably the case with all the opposition groups: it was something we would have to live with. As to the Kurds, it was true that they were living well (another point to be made in any public dossier on Saddam) and that they feared provoking an incursion by Baghdad, But there were good people among the Kurds, including in particular Salih (?) of the PUK. Wolfowitz brushed over my reference to the absence of SUnni in the INC: there was a big difference between Iraqi and Iranian Shia. The former just wanted to be rid of Saddam.

7 Wolvowitz was pretty dismissive of the desirability of a military coup and of the defector generals in the wings. The latter had blood on their hands. The important thing was to try to have Saddam replaced by something like a functioning democracy. Though imperfect, the Kurdish model was not bad. How to achieve this, I asked? Only through a coalition of all the parties was the answer (we did not get into military planning).

(Pat speaking again)

Okay, the part of that that seems to be getting the big play is in Bulletpoint #2, the part about "wrongfooting Saddam". Wrongfooting is a soccer term meaning getting the defender going the wrong way; we might call it deking, or catching the man flat-footed. Of course, how exactly this applies to Saddam is a little difficult for me to decipher. They wanted to get Saddam going in the wrong direction with regard to the weapons inspectors? I suppose the point is that they weren't being "fair" to Saddam. Or something.

Note that this is being suggested by the British to "Wolvowitz", so where the Left thinks the damage to President Bush exists in this memo is a little tough for me to decipher. No doubt Helen Thomas will clear it all up for us in the next few days.

Unfortunately, Technorati only returns one relevant blog with "Wrongfooting", but if you check out this thread at DU, you can see it's getting a lot of play.

I found this newspaper mention of the "wrongfooting memo" from September of last year; looks like our ace investigators on the Left have discovered something that the Guardian had nine months ago (and two months prior to the election).
Beware of Democrats Talking About Fiscal Responsibility

They'll say the purpose is to cut the deficit, but listen to them talk among themselves, and it pretty quickly becomes obvious that the tax increases are intended to fund new programs.

Ezra Klein: Yes, it sucks to be the grown-up after the Republicans have crayoned over the budget's walls and urinated on the fiscal sofa, but somebody has to do it if our revenues are to be brought in line with the sort of progressive role for government we envision....

Matt Yglesias: You aspire to spend a bit more on trade adjustment assistance, job training, and education. You'd like to see refundable tax credits for low income families made a bit more generous. You'd like to get health care for all America's kids.
Double-Hankie Alert!

Be prepared before you read this heartwarmer.

Hat Tip to Mrs Malkin
Moron Amnesty International

Captain's Quarters picks up on Amnesty International's call for the arrest of President Bush, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and Attorney General Gonzales, among others.

Lorie Byrd says, "Bring it on!"

Here's my addition to the mix: AI's statement mentions only one supposed torture victim by name:

Amnesty International took testimony, for example, from Mohammad al Dossari, who alleged that US soldiers subjected him to electric shocks, death threats, assault and humiliation in Kandahar.

I Googled Dossari's name, and came up with this AI page that has a little more details on the torture that Dossari claims he endured:

"Mr Al Dossari was arrested in Pakistan and held by Pakistani authorities for several weeks. Mr Al Dossari was transferred from Pakistan to Kandahar, Afghanistan via airplane by US authorities. On the plane, he was shackled by chains on his thighs, waist and shoulders, with his hands tied behind him. The chains were so tight around his shoulders that he was forced to lean forward at an extreme angle during the entire flight. This caused great pain to Mr Al Dossari’s stomach, where he had had an operation some years before. When Mr Al Dossari complained about the pain, he was hit and kicked in the stomach, causing him to vomit blood.

Upon arriving in Kandahar, Mr Al Dossari and other detainees were put on a row on the ground in a tent. US Marines urinated on the detainees and put cigarettes out on them (Mr Al Dossari has scars that are consistent with those that would be caused by cigarette burns). A US soldier pushed Mr Al Dossari’s head into the ground violently and other soldiers walked on him…"

Mohammad Al Dossari has alleged, among other things, that he was forced to walk barefoot over barbed wire and that his head was pushed to the ground on broken glass. He has alleged that US soldiers subjected him to electric shocks, death threats, assault and humiliation. He has alleged that in Guantánamo Bay, he was subjected to a violent cell extraction, possibly on 27 or 28 April 2002, in which his head was repeatedly struck against the floor by a military guard until he lost consciousness. The government of Bahrain is reported to have requested an investigation into this incident. Mohammaded Al Dossari has alleged that during interrogations he has been wrapped in Israeli and US flags, shackled to the floor ("short-shackled") for some 16 hours, and been threatened that his family in Bahrain would be killed.

No word on whether his scars were consistent with being urinated on. And you gotta love the detail about him being wrapped in Israeli and US flags; is there no end to the horror? This is right up there with Mamdouh Habib claiming that they showed him pictures of his wife naked with Osama Bin Laden. Interestingly Habib also claimed his head was hit against the floor at Gitmo.
Moron Victor Navasky

Turns out the former editor (and still publisher) of The Nation has been working at the Columbia Journalism Review for a lot longer than originally admitted.

Prior post on this story

Hat Tip: Andrew Sullivan
Surfing the Blogroll Ghetto

Jean Shepard (who wrote the tales that became the movie "The Christmas Story") used to talk about being stuck in the alphabet ghetto because his last name started with "S". He pointed out that Aileen Akers got called on in class a lot more than Wally Zerbiak. On the theory that the same might apply to blogs, I'll cruise down to the the last links on my blogroll:

Young Pundits notices the rash of freak injuries to sports figures and offers his services.

Ya Libnan has some pictures of the lovely and talented Miss Lebanon.

Tim Worstall does his best Yoda imitation here:

So, accurate and free of right wing lunacy this engine appears to be.

Weapons of Mass Discussion has a link to the President's speech on renewing the Patriot Act.
Iraq Rap?

Lucky Dawg has the info.
Ben Stein on Vietnamese Spy

Good article here. I previously blogged on the story Stein mentions.
With Friends Like These....

Amnesty International pledges support for the McCartney sisters.
Why They Call Me Brainster

Your IQ Is 130

Your Logical Intelligence is Genius
Your Verbal Intelligence is Genius
Your Mathematical Intelligence is Exceptional
Your General Knowledge is Exceptional

Test yourself here.

Hat Tip: Rachel

Not sure why I came out better on verbal than mathematical; it is a short test. Oh, and for the real reason they call me Brainster, click here.
It's a Major Award!

And the winner is... the usual gang of idiots.
Downing Street Memo: Wizbang Does Some Digging

It depends on what the meaning of the word, "fixed", is.

My prior post on this "too good by half" memo is here.

Hat Tip: Conservative Grapevine
NY Sun: Kerry Tries the Limited Hangout

Well, looks like our suspicions were correct:

A Navy spokesman, Lieutenant Commander Daniel Hernandez, said the waiver applied only to the Boston Globe and did not authorize release of Mr. Kerry's records to the public.

"Kerry controls the release of his records," Commander Hernandez said yesterday. "You have to talk to his office."

The senator also agreed to allow the Los Angeles Times to see his full record, Mr. Wade said yesterday. The spokesman did not respond to a question about why Mr. Kerry did not execute a broader release to all press organizations and the public. Asked whether the senator would permit release of the records to The New York Sun, Mr. Wade said, "The issue is over."

But there is some indication that some of our suspicions might not be right:

Mr. O'Neill said Mr. Kerry only requested the records from the Navy Personnel Command and not from a central repository of military personnel files maintained by the National Archives, the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis.

However, the Navy spokesman, Commander Hernandez, said the latest release does include the papers from St. Louis. "It's the whole record," he said.

Despite Wade's comment, this is not over.

Hat Tip: Lucianne

Former NY Sun reporter Tom Lipscomb has a take in the Chicago Sun-Times:

Washington Post reporter Michael Dobbs has already found a discrepancy confirmed by the Department of the Navy of "at least a hundred pages" missing from those already disclosed by Kerry.

"If you take a look at my SF 180," O'Neill said, "you will see I have authorized the total release of all my records to anyone requesting to see them. But without seeing how Kerry's SF 180 was filled out, everyone is only guessing about what was released."

So how an SF 180 is filled out is as important as signing it. But no one in the press has yet claimed to have seen a copy of Kerry's SF-180. When asked if she had a copy of Kerry's SF 180, the Globe's Managing Editor Mary Jane Wilkinson said, "I haven't seen it, and I don't know if anyone here has."

Hat Tip: Power Line
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
New To the Blogroll

John Ruberry points us to Regime Change Iran, an excellent blog whose focus is pretty apparent in the name. Here are some photos of the celebration as Iran qualifies for the World Cup. This article indicates that the celebration may have turned ugly (or the local law enforcement did).
The Real Indiana Jones Nearing the Ark of the Covnenant?

Michael Gallaugher has the story. If you're like me you'll click on the links and wonder if this could possibly be true. Fascinating stuff.
The Heroin Flows Like Water

In Chicago, where John Ruberry reports that a heroin ring was running inside the Water & Sewer Department.
Moron Kerry and the Form 180

Power Line has an interesting email.
New Blogger At Lifelike

Alpha Patriot has arrived, and shows us all up with a terrific first post. It's long and convoluted, but once you understand, it tells a story of skullduggery in the Tennessee legislature that resonates with events on the national scene. Democrats pulling extraordinary manuevers to maintain power despite a nominal minority? Where have we heard that before?

Alpha Patriot's regular blog is here, but you probably knew that already. I remember how thrilled Kitty and I were when we discovered that he had linked Kerry Haters last Spring.
A Match Made in Heaven?

Dangerus notices a certain similarity between two folks who've been in the news lately.
Like Trying to Slip a Cheeseburger Past Oliver Willis

The Washington Post doesn't get away with many bogus polls with Bulldog Pundit on guard.
Long Odds for the Long Face

I don't encourage gambling, but I do like to check the odds now and then. Here's a sports site that already has odds on the US Presidential nominees for 2008. You have to hit the button next to "Select a sport..." and scroll down to "Specials-Politics".

As you might expect, Hillary is leading the Democratic field at 2.25-1. John Edwards is 2.75-1, and boy, would I like to take some money from people who think he'll get the nomination at those odds. Anybody care to guess the only losing VP candidate to get the nomination of his party the next time around in the last 50 years?

Of course, he's not the wildest candidate on the board. That honor has to go to Tom Daschle, who's only a 7-1 dog. Barack Obama is 8-1. And Pinto is 9-1.

On the GOP side, Rudy Giuliani is at 3.75-1, while Bill Frist is at 4.5-1. Ridge is at 6-1 while Pataki is clearly overrated at 6.5-1. Hagel & McCain are 7-1. Not sure whether Chuck's odds are too low or John's are too high there; I certainly see McCain as far likelier than Hagel.
The Most PC Generation

As contrasted with the Greatest Generation, over at Lucky Dawg (scroll down to "How to Lose A War 101).
"Moral Retards" Sink Mental Retard--Updated!

The Timothy Shortall, the Brooklyn College professor whose appointment as Chairman of the Sociology Department caused controversy when it was revealed that he had written that religious people were "moral retards" has declined the chairmanship.

"On a personal level, religiosity is merely annoying - like bad taste," he wrote. "This immaturity represents a significant social problem, however, because religious adherents fail to recognize their limitations. So, in the name of their faith, these moral retards are running around pointing fingers and doing real harm to others. One only has to read the newspaper to see the results of their handiwork. They discriminate, exclude, and belittle. They make a virtue of closed-mindedness and virulent ignorance. They are an ugly, violent lot."

Talk about the pot and the kettle! The problem Shortall experienced is that he said what most liberals think. I'm always reminded when hearing statements like that of the amazing scene in the movie "The Contender" where Vice Presidential nominee Joan Allen tells a Senate panel that she's not religious because she doesn't believe in fairy tales. Naturally, this completely scotches her nomination. Oh, wait a minute, it doesn't; everybody acts as if it were nothing shocking.

Update: John Ruberry remembers (in the comments) that one of the characters in the Music Man refers to Brooklyn as the City of Churches. Apparently this was a common appelation for Brooklyn:

The public buildings of Brooklyn are numerous, and many of them are elegant and imposing structures. It numbers over seventy houses of Christian worship, which has given it the title of "The City of Churches."

Ironic, no?
Just to Remind You; $80 Billion is Only A Drop In the Bucket

That is, when it's spent on foreign aid. When it's spent on the military, it's a lot of money. The Times sounds just a bit like Bob Geldof here:

Not a penny more to buy treated mosquito nets to help save the thousands of children in Sierra Leone who die every year of preventable malaria. Nothing more to train and pay teachers so 11-year-old girls in Kenya may go to school. And not a cent more to help Ghana develop the programs it needs to get legions of young boys off the streets.

Can you guarantee that the money will be spent on mosquito nets and that those nets will be used to save the children? Or will it just be used to line the pockets of the existing kleptocracy?

John Hawkins was on the conference call with Geldof and has more on the subject. He hits on the issue which bugs me:

I detest the G8 protesters whom Geldof is encouraging, and come on -- it's a bunch of rock stars playing a concert.

Actually it's the first part of that formulation. Geldof has to be aware of the problems at Seattle and Genoa with riots. And yet he is encouraging schoolchildren to take a couple days off and head to Edinburgh for the protests? IMHO, he'll be responsible for any problems that arise.

That Giant Sucking Sound You Hear

Is a funnel cloud threatening to lift Kitty and transport her to Oz. Fortunately a young man who's good with his fists beat the funnel cloud into submission.
Morton Kondracke Was Right--Updated

I put him down as the first member of "The Republicans Won" on the compromise deal struck by Republican and Democratic mods. Looks like he'll have quite a bit of company pretty soon:

"Our problem with the compromise is the price that was paid," Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) said yesterday. She and other Congressional Black Caucus members plan to march into the Senate today to protest the impending confirmation of Janice Rogers Brown.

Eleanor Holmes Norton's problem is that a non-liberal black woman got ahead.

Update: This article highlights a "problem" with Judge Brown:

But the opinion, which she wrote, suggests otherwise, with its repeated use of the word "discrimination'' and similar terms to describe government programs favoring minorities or women.

Ah, I get it! She's too honest!
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
The Peanut Farmer Speaks

Pam Meister reminds us what a fatheaded dunce he is, while Lorie Byrd just wants the media to stop treating him like E.F. Hutton.
1960s Terrorist Regrets

Unfortunately what she regrets is that she wasn't there for her son:

Boudin, released in a controversial 2003 parole decision, told a panel on prison and post-prison life that feelings of guilt and loss are "palpable" among female inmates, particularly mothers, like herself, who leave children behind.

No mention (by Boudin) of the others whose children will never see their fathers again:

Her parole sparked protests from police and relatives of the slain men. Their deaths left nine children fatherless, and emotions in the local community remain raw.

Reuters tries to minimize her guilt:

Boudin, whose role in the 1981 robbery was to assist the getaway, was convicted of murder in 1984.

True enough, as far as it goes. What it doesn't tell you is that Boudin was directly responsible for the deaths of two cops.

Kathy Boudin, an occupant of the U-Haul, complained to the police that their guns made her nervous. Apparently, thinking they had the wrong U-Haul, the police stowed their weapons and shotgun. At that moment the rear of the U-Haul flew open and half a dozen heavily armed killers jumped out, each with military-style fully automatic weapons. Police Officer Waverly Brown was hit immediately and died at the scene. Detective Arthur Keenan was struck before he was able to take cover and return fire. Sgt. Edward O’Grady was shot numerous times and died ninety minutes later at Nyack Hospital. Officer Brian Lennon exchanged shots but was seriously outnumbered and under heavy fire.
Meathead Matters for America

Errr, that's Media Matters for America, reports on the Kerry Form 180 story. As you can imagine, they are not at all interested in Kerry's grade point average being lower than President Bush's. No, they are upset that the Boston Globe didn't run with this headline:

Kerry's Records Contain No New Information; Swift Boat Veterans Discredited

I'm not kidding:

While attacks on Kerry's service had already been largely discredited, the revelation that his full military records provide no new information about his service definitively proved the baselessness of smears by the anti-Kerry group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (now Swift Vets and POWs for Truth).

How does a lack of new information prove anything? Answer: It doesn't except in Cloud Cuckoo Land, where David Brock, Atrios and Oliver Willis ply their trade.
Dr Jekyll & Mr Geldof

Gee, this sounds a bit familiar:

THERE ARE TWO Bob Geldofs. One is an articulate and persuasive speaker, who commands the attention and respect of world leaders as well as experts in the field of global poverty. The other one is completely mad.

Sounds like what I was saying just last night:

Like I said, it could be different styles for different audiences; I respect Ed Morrissey, Charles Johnson and John Hinderacker, so when they say Geldof's not an idiot we have to listen.
No Jooz Need Apply--Updated!

Sheesh, is Howard Dean becoming a Saturday Night Live parody of himself or what?

Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean, unapologetic in the face of recent criticism that he has been too tough on his political opposition, said in San Francisco this week that Republicans are "a pretty monolithic party. They all behave the same. They all look the same. It's pretty much a white Christian party."

"The Republicans are not very friendly to different kinds of people," Dean said Monday, responding to a question about diversity during a forum with minority leaders and journalists. "We're more welcoming to different folks, because that's the type of people we are. But that's not enough. We do have to deliver on things: jobs and housing and business opportunities."

Update: Michael King didn't get the memo.

Update II: Mark In Mexico has some quotes from other famous people on the blight that is the Republican Party.
Lactose Intolerant?

Proving no cause is too minor for the New York Times.
Dumping Wachovia

Pam Meister explains why she's closing her accounts. More at Ramblings' Journal.
Kerry Nickname Roundup--Update

This was a feature we had a lot of fun with over at Kerry Haters, and since the Ankle-Biters came up with a new nickname for JFK II, I thought I'd dust it off:

Pinto, the Whining Windsurfer, Le Fraude, the International Man of Apology, the New-Wonk of Nuance, Lord of Louisburg Square, the Boston Fog Machine, Nuancy Boy, Botoxicated Brahmin, Lurch, Herman Munster, the International Man of Mystery, the Pandescenderer, Flipper, Mr Ed, Ol' Horseface, Flapjack, John Facade Kerry, John F'ing Kerry, John F Skerry (Scarey), Live Shot, The Againster, DYKWIA, Botox Boy, Ol' Sourpuss, Hanoi John, Hanoi Boi, Pterodactyl, Man from Mope, A Dressed-Up Abbie Hoffman, Scary Kerry Quite Contrary, the International Man of Science, Running Eagle, International Man of Farming, The Wizard of Wienieness, The Frenchurian Candidate, Senator Botox and the Boston Strangler. A total of 38!

Pinto, the new one suggested by Ankle-Biters works on two levels. First, obviously, Kerry's first semester grade-point average is quite similar to Larry Kroger's in Animal House, and second, the horse tie-in, which always works with Longface Deeds (Doh! 39!).

Update: Third Wave Dave (in the comments) suggests Nabob of the Northeast, while Danegerus comes up with Napoleon Kerry-O-Mite. The count is now at 41 nicknames.
Party-Approved Thought

The Communists have finally issued the truth on Deep Throat.

This is where Laika the Space Dog comes in. Space agent of communism in orbit since 1957, she coordinated progressive movements around the world, controlling the masses through their tin hats, via frequencies assigned to them by Comrade Kenneth (whose cover almost got blown in the 1986 Dan Rather incident). Laika was the most logical candidate for the Nixon assignment. The future of American presidency and the world revolution now lay in the small furry paws of a tiny mutt.

Hat Tip: Kitty (at Lifelike)
Hijacking at Ground Zero?

This article on how the forces of political correctness have taken over the World Trade Center Memorial is must reading.

The World Trade Center Memorial Cultural Complex will be an imposing edifice wedged in the place where the Twin Towers once stood. It will serve as the primary "gateway" to the underground area where the names of the lost are chiseled into concrete. The organizers of its principal tenant, the International Freedom Center (IFC), have stated that they intend to take us on "a journey through the history of freedom" -- but do not be fooled into thinking that their idea of freedom is the same as that of those Marines. To the IFC's organizers, it is not only history's triumphs that illuminate, but also its failures. The public will have come to see 9/11 but will be given a high-tech, multimedia tutorial about man's inhumanity to man, from Native American genocide to the lynchings and cross-burnings of the Jim Crow South, from the Third Reich's Final Solution to the Soviet gulags and beyond. This is a history all should know and learn, but dispensing it over the ashes of Ground Zero is like creating a Museum of Tolerance over the sunken graves of the USS Arizona.

Moron Kerry's Form 180--Updates

The AmSpec reports that Kerry's staff is still blowing smoke:

Only one problem: according to several sources who formerly worked on the Kerry campaign, the senator expects that little to nothing new will be in the files that are released. "He's fairly confident that there is nothing in there that would be considered embarrassing or controversial," says a former adviser of Kerry.

They report that the NY Sun covered the story from the standpoint of Kerry's application for admission to law school:

Mr. Kerry has said, "I applied to Harvard, Boston University, and Boston College. I was extremely late. Only BC would entertain a late application."

It is hard to see why Mr. Kerry had to file an "extremely late" application since he lost the congressional race in Lowell, Mass., the first week of November 1972 and was basically doing nothing until he entered law school the following September of 1973. A member of the Harvard Law School admissions committee recalled that the real reason Mr. Kerry was not admitted was because the committee was concerned that because Mr. Kerry had received a less than honorable discharge they were not sure he could be admitted to any state bar.

That's pretty interesting. I don't remember the Sun piece and I certainly followed the Kerry stories very closely. We'll see if Kerry has submitted the signed Form 180; the Globe story was published over two weeks ago.

Update: Via Polipundit we learn that the Globe now has Kerry's records.

The lack of any substantive new material about Kerry's military career in the documents raises the question of why Kerry refused for so long to waive privacy restrictions. An earlier release of the full record might have helped his campaign because it contains a number of reports lauding his service. Indeed, one of the first actions of the group that came to be known as Swift Boat Veterans for Truth was to call on Kerry to sign a privacy waiver and release all of his military and medical records.

But Kerry refused, even though it turned out that the records included commendations from some of the same veterans who were criticizing him.

Questions for Discussion:

1. Will the Globe now release the documents to the public?
2. Why was Kerry separated from the Navy in 1978 and not 1972?
3. If Kerry had been dishonorably discharged and subsequently got that changed, would his file have been scrubbed to remove any mention of the prior discharge?

USS Neverdock notes a critical portion of the discussion between Kerry and Tim Russert where Kerry made his promise to sign the Form 180:

"I'm going to sit down with them and make sure that they are clear and I am clear as to what is in the record and what isn't in the record and we'll put it out," he told "Meet the Press" host Tim Russert.

Sure sounds like some scrubbing was planned.

This story isn't over yet, as Mark in Mexico points out:

There is something there. There has to be. It has either been cleverly hidden or erased or expunged or redacted or camouflaged or modified beyond recognition, but it's there.

Michelle Malkin has more here. Also be sure to check Captain Ed, who notes some additional mysteries that have not been cleared up by the Globe column.

Columnist Jack Kelly says there are four possibilities. Number two will definitely get a horselaugh.

Tom Maguire notes that the explanation that no after action report could be found for Kerry's first Purple Heart incident does not jibe with what the Navy said last year.

In the Right Place rounds things up and points us to this post at Blogs for Bush where John O'Neill notes the problems:

We called for Kerry to execute a form which would permit anyone to examine his full and unexpulgated military records at the Navy Department and the National Personnel Records Center. Instead he executed a form permitting his hometown paper to obtain the records currently at the Navy Department. The Navy Department previously indicated its records did not include various materials.

Meanwhile, Ankle-Biting Pundits has a report on Kerry's grades at Yale:

We may have a new nickname for John "Crushed" Kerry. From here on in he'll be called "Pinto" a/k/a Larry Kroger from the movie Animal House. Especially if you recall the scene where Dean Wormer has all the Deltas in his office telling them their grades. He says to Pinto "Mr. Kroger, 2 Cs, 2 Ds and an F. That’s a 1.2 grade point average. Congratulations son, you’re at the top of Delta’s pledge class."

Howell Raines (remember him?) will be disappointed to learn this:

One highly imperfect but salient way to do so is at the level of campaign tactics. Does anyone in America doubt that Kerry has a higher IQ than Bush? I'm sure the candidates' SATs and college transcripts would put Kerry far ahead. Yet, at this point in the campaign, Bush deserves an A or a high B -- instead of a gentleman's C -- when it comes to neutralizing Kerry's knowledge advantage.

As I pointed out at the time:

It never fails. The Republican candidate is a dope, while the Democrat is a genius of staggering intellect. As it was with Eisenhower-Stevenson, Ford-Carter, Reagan-Carter, Reagan-Mondale, Bush-Dukakis, Dole-Clinton, and Bush-Gore, we again hear the refrain about Bush-Kerry being a matchup of intellectual unequals.
Silver Star Hero

John Hawkins has the details.
Monday, June 06, 2005
What if Today's Press Covered D-Day?

Here's a cute little idea. From one of the commenters:

Roosevelt Still Hasn't Invaded Japan (corrected)!

After the "Day of Infamy", Roosevelt still hasn't invaded Japan. While concentrating his forces against Germany (which has not attacked the US by the way) Roosevelt still misses the mark. After attacking Morroco, Tunisia and Algeria, Roosevelt and Marshall then attack Italy. Now they are attacking France. What's next, Belgium? Holland? The Netherlands? Well, eventually we suppose Roosevelt will finally find Germany. Lets just hope that at the last minute, out side of Berlin, that he doesn't go attack Czechoslovakia.

I'll stick to the headlines:

D-Day Invasion Begins; Women and Children to Suffer Disproportionately
D-Day Plus One Hour: Is It Too Early to Call Quagmire?
DeGaulle Blasts Botched Landings
US Soldiers Desecrate French Church by Killing Sniper in Tower
D-Day Protesters in New York: No Blood for Brie!
D-Day Plus Four Hours: It's Officially a Quagmire
Hitler, a Man of Peace, Decries Invasion
Sanctions Would Have Worked, Says League of Nations
Secret Memo Reveals Plot to Build "Atom" Bomb

Hat Tip: Instapundit
More D-Day

Third Wave Dave has a great picture and commentary.
Live 8 Swooning?

Bob Geldof had a conference call with some of the leading blogs of the Left and Right to petition support for his Live 8 rock concert and cause. To say that the Republican contingent was impressed would be putting it mildly:

Captain's Quarters:

It's exciting to see people reach out to the blogosphere on a nonpartisan basis to affect real change in the world. Keep your eyes out for more developments, here and at other blogs.

Little Green Footballs:

Despite my skepticism (rock stars with causes, oh boy), I was impressed with Geldof’s knowledge of the situation, and by his group’s ideas to make sure that whatever aid is generated will not simply be pocketed by corrupt African dictators. Ultimately, the vision seems to be to promote freedom and reform on the African continent. Geldof said, “Robert Mugabe will not be included.”

Power Line:

To say that I was impressed would be an understatement. Geldof is an extraordinarily knowledgable guy. Equally important, he is not soft-headed about Africa's problems. He emphasizes free markets and the need for political reform, which should be, and according to Geldof will be, a condition of the assistance that he advocates.

Now maybe it's just refining your message for different audiences, but I have a little bit of a tough time reconciling the Bob Geldof described in those posts with the twit described here:

Speaking about the nature of the Edinburgh event, Geldof told the BBC: "It's going be a party. I like parties, I'm quite good at organising them and this is going to be the biggest party ever held.

"If the principals who are in the middle of this party - the eight leaders who can control the world's economic destiny - don't want to come to the party, then don't show up in our country, you're not welcome to the party.

"If they don't want to change the world just that little bit - so that a continent eight miles from Europe, the poor people of that continent don't have to die, live on our television screens every night for ever - if they don't want to stop that, if they don't want to do what they've always promised, don't come."

His partner in the endeavor seems even less sophisticated:

Geldof's Band Aid partner Midge Ure is co-ordinating the protest. He said plans were being made for a convoy of planes, cars, trucks, ferries and private boats to take people to Scotland.

"We don't care how you get there. But you have got to get to Edinburgh and let them know what we think," he declared.

"Give up home and school for a week. It will be just like the Ban the Bomb protests in the sixties - something special."

Like I said, it could be different styles for different audiences; I respect Ed Morrissey, Charles Johnson and John Hinderacker, so when they say Geldof's not an idiot we have to listen.

But "getting rid of poverty" is a fool's errand. There are lots of things that can be done to help people--provide clean drinking water, reduce blindness by making sure that kids get proper vitamins, etc. That's what we should be doing, and on an individual basis, not on a governmental basis.

BTW, anybody who thinks we right-wingers have to wait to be told what to think should check out the comments on Captain Ed's post. Pretty vigorous debate, and just by my personal estimate, little agreement with the bloggers. I'll take a Coalition of the Chillin' approach to this one as well; let's wait and see what happens.

Ed Driscoll has some thoughts on the concert as a circular firing squad. Be sure to check the link to his Weekly Standard piece on the original Live Aid in 1985.

Here's another excellent piece from a blogger who did some digging.

Smash has another positive post. One detail he adds that I hadn't read elsewhere:

Here’s the clincher: Geldof wasn’t asking for donations. He admits that food aid and even debt cancellation, while helpful, are of limited utility in the long run. Instead, he’s asking us to start a conversation about how to stimulate long-term development in Sub-Saharan Africa. “This isn’t Live Aid 2,” the website reads, “LIVE 8 is about justice not charity.”

Here's a very negative piece on Live 8 in the Telegraph.
Amnesty International--More Fake But Accurate

USS Neverdock catches them backing down on the Gitmo=Gulag claims.

"It would be fascinating to find out. I have no idea," Schulz told "Fox News Sunday."

Reading that bit, I'm struck by the similarity to Howard Dean's formulation on the Diane Rehm show about two years ago:

Dean: There is a report which the president is suppressing evidence for which is a thorough investigation of 9/11.

Diane Rehm, WAMU (public) radio: Why do you think he's suppressing that report?

Dean: I don't know. There are many theories about it. The most interesting theory that I've heard so far, which is nothing more than a theory, I can't—think it can't be proved, is that he was warned ahead of time by the Saudis.
Kurtz: Was Watergate Bad for Journalism?

Interesting article.

But the media's reputation since then has sunk like a stone, and one reason is that some in the next generation of reporters pumped up many modest flaps into scandals ending in "gate," sometimes using anonymous sources who turned out to be less than reliable. Journalism became a more confrontational, even prosecutorial business, with some of its practitioners automatically assuming that politicians in the post-Nixon era must be lying, dissembling or covering up.

Yep. Everybody imagined getting rich off their book deals while trying to figure out if Dustin Hoffman or Robert Redford should play them in the inevitable movie.
Monkey Hookers?

Tom Maguire has the details.
Brainster's: The Switzerland of the Coalition of the Chillin'--Updated!

The Commissar has put up his map of Chillin' Land. If you haven't checked out the Politburo Diktat yet, you've missed one of the great blogs. The Commissar has always been one of the savvier bloggers out there, and last year his humorous posts and the Soviet schtick with which they were presented were greatly appreciated. He seems to have dropped much of the latter (check the 2004 archives for examples), but his blog is still one of the most unique, varied and intelligent out there.

Update: The Commissar (in the comments on this post) estimates that I'm more like the Province of Burgundy. I'll drink to that! Of course, then maybe we should call it the Coalition of the Swillin'?
A Four-Legged Hero

Excellent post here by Neo-neocon. Read both the links. Any doubt that the boy in the first linked story was in mortal danger? Read this.
God? It's Tom Harkin on Line Two

Lorie Byrd points out that Tom Harkin doesn't hesitate to make common cause with the religious when it suits him. But of course it doesn't suit him when he's on Air America.
Why the Rich Support Democrats

A little below I highlighted Richard Branson's plan to provide free trains and a special flight to Edinburgh for protestors of the G8 summit. Third Wave Dave asked a good question in the comments that I thought might deserve some elaboration:

"My God, is everyone with money turning into a wingnut?"

In Branson's case I think it's just insurance; by providing the trains he shows his solidarity with the movement ergo the wacko fringe leaves him alone. But I thought it would be interesting to take a look at why so many wealthy people seem to be from the far left.

A lot of it has to do with celebrity. We all know that there are plenty of people who make as much as the biggest movie stars; Captains of Industry, sports players, real estate tycoons, etc., yet about the only people we hear from politically are the movie stars and the others who court celebrity (like Branson, obviously).

If you think about it, the liberalism of wealthy celebrities makes a lot of sense. You're guaranteed to get invited to the best parties, cast in the best movies and get lots of glowing press.

That last part may be the most important. We all know that the press ignores dog bites man in favor of man bites dog; the offbeat sells. Rich people saying "take more of my money" are intriguing. And of course, celebrities are in the business of trying to get as much press as possible.

As Hugh Hewitt points out frequently on his show, courts tend to take admissions against one's own interest as far more likely to be true than self-serving statements. This is just human nature. If the runner says he was safe, that's one thing; if the fielder says the runner was safe, that's quite another.

But not only are they more likely to be true, the people making those admissions are seen as nobler. Just as we all naturally respect more the person who admits his serve was long, or that he fouled the man on the way to the basket, we respect more the person who says "I have enough, take some of my money and give it to the needy."

And again, we find that celebrities and those in business who've become celebrities are also in the business of wanting to be seen as noble, because it's great for your "Q" rating.

There's only a limited downside to supporting the left's agenda. They're effectively impotent. Say the Democrats were to get power back again. What would they push for? Even John Kerry was forced to state last year that he was not a "redistributionist" Democrat, so there wouldn't be massive tax increases on the wealthy.

The worst case would probably be an increase in marginal tax rates by maybe 5%, from a 38% top marginal rate to 43%. If you're a Hollywood actor grossing, say $20 million a year, it's the difference beween taking home $12,400,000 and taking home $11,400,000 (before considering other taxes).
D-Day Plus 61 Years

Today is the anniversary of the feat that I consider to be the greatest logistical achievement in the history of mankind, the D-Day invasion of Normandy.

Michelle Malkin points us to a few good posts. Rick Moran (aka our old buddy Superhawk) has a terrific post on the day history balanced on the knife-edge. W. Thomas Smith (in an article published last year on this date) discusses why the Marines (mostly) were not involved in the D-Day invasion. (No permalinks on that article; you may have to scroll down to "Hitting the Beach!")

Scott Johnson links to this terrific article by David Gelernter which highlights a point I've thought about but not discussed here.

My political credo is simple and many people share it: I am against phonies. A cultural establishment that (on the whole) doesn't give a damn about World War II or its veterans thinks it can undo a half-century of indifference verging on contempt by repeating a silly phrase ("the greatest generation") like a magic spell while deploying fulsome praise like carpet bombing.

The campaign is especially intense among members of the 1960s generation who once chose to treat all present and former soldiers like dirt and are willing at long last to risk some friendly words about World War II veterans, now that most are safely underground and guaranteed not to talk back, enjoy their celebrity or start acting like they own the joint. A quick glance at the famous Hemingway B.S. detector shows the needle pegged at Maximum, where it's been all week, from Memorial Day through the D-Day anniversary run-up.

Back in my left-wing, anti-war (Vietnam) days, people would often ask if there were any war worth fighting. I quickly latched on to WWII. Of course, it's literally true that it was a war worth fighting, but from the Left's standpoint, fighting Hitler was a good thing. He opposed communism, attacked the Soviet Union, and he discriminated (and worse) against minorities.

But as always with the Left, you praise something in order to bash something else. World War II was a club with which to bash Vietnam. If the big one was a good war, then Vietnam and Korea were bad wars.

Of course, as the Left got more sophisticated, they still managed to find things about WWII to despise America for; reading from right to left, Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Moaning about those "atrocities" was muted during the Vietnam era but picked up quickly once the war had ended, for the simple reason that the Left no longer needed a good war with which to bash Vietnam.

We can see a similar effect today. Suddenly the first Persian Gulf War and Afghanistan have become the "good wars" which are used to bash the Iraq War. Never mind that the American Left did not support either of these "good wars" when they were first proposed.
Lunchtime Read

John Hawkins has a long and wide-ranging interview with ex-Marine and newspaper columnist Jack Kelly.

John Hawkins: You're a former Marine, a former Green Beret. What do you think about the whole chickenhawk argument? That you should only be able to support war if you're willing to join up?

Jack Kelly: Well, I think that’s pretty ridiculous. I mean, you could just reverse it. Could you only oppose the war if you’d never served? The argument makes no sense at all. The policy can be sound whether or not you participate in it...

Definitely something to consider printing out and reading over lunchtime. Fascinating stuff.
Aidan Delgado Update

From the HuffPo, we learn Delgado's latest plans:

Mr. Delgado is only 23 years old and soon will share Mr. Kovic’s mantle. He plans to lead a large march across the country to Washington D.C. Support him when you get a chance and join Office of the America’s (sic), too.

A march across the country? This will be fun to watch.
Sunday, June 05, 2005
Is Hillary Running?

Decision '08 finds agreement with Andrew Sullivan on that particular question, and little else.
Mad About Madagascar

Lorie Byrd saw the movie with her family, and all enjoyed it.

They also really enjoyed the music. I had one reminder of just how old I am when Marty left the zoo and started strutting down the streets of NYC to the tune Stayin' Alive. My eight year old turned to my four year old and said, "that is the song from Baby Geniuses!" They are obviously too young to see Saturday Night Fever even if it were not an antique they had never heard of, but it still made me feel really old.

:) That song has become a shorthand way of expressing a swaggering, cocky style. It's something that everybody immediately recognizes.
NY Times Does Snobbery

Despite all its faux support for the little guy on the editorial pages, the NY Times still represents old money as compared to new. This article might charitably be summarized as "old rich good, new rich bad".

Nina Chandler Murray, an 85-year-old relative of the Poor family from Standard & Poor's, the investment credit rating firm, is convinced that the world of the elite was more genteel in the old days.

"Coming from a New England background, you had a honed discipline of what was expected," Dr. Murray, a psychologist, said over iced tea and chocolate chip cookies on the porch of her hillside home above the harbor. "Showing off money was a sin. It was not that status was not important, but marriage was very closely controlled and predetermined, and everyone knew where everyone else fit."

Over time, some say, the new money will not prove much different. "Ultimately, the new money becomes as insular as the old money because it gains the power to exclude," said Michael Thomas, a novelist who, like his father, was a partner at Lehman Brothers and whose mother came from an old New England family. "Once you have the power to exclude, you have what people have been seeking in old money."

Of course, if the Times really prefers old money to new, there's a simple way they could show it--by supporting the elimination of the estate tax, so that all this new money floating around gets a little older.

Oh, and check out this proposed solution to the high prices on the island:

To try to stem the outflow of workers the Nantucket Housing Office, a private nonprofit group, has proposed a one-time "McMansion" tax of $8 per square foot on any construction space exceeding 3,000 square feet.

The bill has several more hurdles, but if it is approved, the proceeds would be used to build housing for families making $120,825 a year or less.

Only on Nantucket could families making 120 thou qualify for affordable housing.
June 4, 1942

Yesterday was the anniversary of the Battle of Midway, the turning point in the Pacific Theatre. David Gelernter remembers.

The first waves of U.S. warplanes attacked, disastrously. Navy Lt. Cmdr. John C. Waldron led a squadron of 15 torpedo bombers; all were shot down, and the Japanese ships remained untouched. Two more squadrons followed, one under Lt. Cmdr. Eugene E. Lindsey, one led by Lt. Cmdr. Lance E. Massey. They too suffered heavy losses and failed to scratch the Japanese.

Silence. It looked like America had shot its wad and lost everything. "For about one hundred seconds" at the heart of the battle, Morison writes, "the Japanese were certain they had won the Battle of Midway, and the war."

Then, one more group of U.S. warplanes suddenly appeared — dive bombers led by Lt. Cmdr. Clarence W. McClusky. In countering the previous attacks, Japanese fighter planes had been drawn downward — leaving American bombers unmolested at 14,000 feet, free to dive on the Japanese ships. Two carriers were sunk. Soon afterward a third was destroyed, later a fourth. The U.S. went on to win the battle — and the war.

There's a great movie from the mid-1970s called Midway; well worth checking out.
This Just In: Ward Churchill is a Liar

The Rocky Mountain News did some digging:

University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill fabricated historical facts, published the work of others as his own and repeatedly made false claims about two federal Indian laws, a Rocky Mountain News investigation has found.

The two-month News investigation, carried out at the same time Churchill and his work are being carefully examined by the university, also unearthed fresh genealogical information that casts new doubts on the professor's long-held assertion that he is of American Indian ancestry.
What All The Best Idiots Will Be Doing This July

Protesting globalization in Edinburgh.

But The Independent on Sunday can reveal that anarchist groups that have rioted at previous G8 gatherings are planning similar disruptions in Scotland and plan to hijack Geldof's "long march to freedom" on 6 July and the Make Poverty History rally on 2 July. Anarchist groups will encourage protesters to "Make Capitalism History" instead.

Travel to Scotland, however, may be tricky. Ironically, many anti-capitalists may be able to get there thanks only to the generosity of Sir Richard Branson. The Virgin tycoon has agreed to provide free trains and a special Virgin flight to Edinburgh in the week leading up to the march.

Something to remember the next time you're looking for a computer game or music CD; don't support Virgin.


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