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Saturday, August 27, 2005
Some Fun from the Past

One of the things I enjoyed the most about Kerry Haters last year was doing quick humor posts on Kerry's ridiculous attempts to look like an athlete:

As you can see, he could never quite look like he understood how to throw a football. So they tried him at wide out, but that was even worse:

Then finally they discovered his natural position:

Kerry also liked to pedal his famously expensive Serotta bike. I called this photo, "The Old Man and the Seat".

The efforts to make him seem like a baseballer were even less succesful. I dubbed this picture "Kerry's a Reg'lar Feller--Just Not Bob Feller"

This image could serve as a metaphor for the entire campaign:

This post was inspired by Kitty in a post over at Lifelike.
Bye-Bye Rio

Their line of MP3 players has been shuttered for good, squeezed out of the business by the success of the Ipod. I have a five-year-old Rio Lyra; terrific little piece of equipment. About four years ago I took a spill on my mountain bike and landed hard on my left hip, where the Lyra was playing. I thought, "There goes that $250," but when I hit the play button the music came on. Try that with your Ipod!
Friday, August 26, 2005
Shattering Cherished Beliefs, or If I'd Known You Were Coming I Would Have Baked a Yellowcake

I've been engaged in a rather spirited debate with liberal commenters over at Lee Goldberg's blog. I thought I'd post a piece here about the Yellowcake story so we can put this to bed. Then I can move on to the next piece of nonsense; the supposed effort by President Bush to tie Saddam to 9-11.

The "lie" about yellowcake is a cherished belief on the left largely because they don't expose themselves to a wider range of opinion and news.

The yellowcake (a form of uranium) story concerns sixteen words that were included in President Bush's 2003 State of the Union Address:

The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.

There was some controversy over this intelligence well before the State of the Union Address, and as a result Joe Wilson, a former ambassador, was sent to Niger. He reported in the New York Times after the State of the Union that he'd investigated the yellowcake story between sips of mint tea and determined that there was nothing to it.

This created something of a media sensation, as Wilson appeared on 60 Minutes and immediately became lionized by the Democrats. This article, pointed out by Writergurl, gives a fairly good account of the controversy as it existed in 2003, and I suspect this is the part she'd want me to hone in on:

Bush said the CIA's doubts about the charge -- that Iraq sought to buy "yellowcake" uranium ore in Africa -- were "subsequent" to the Jan. 28 State of the Union speech in which Bush made the allegation. Defending the broader decision to go to war with Iraq, the president said the decision was made after he gave Saddam Hussein "a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in."

Bush's position was at odds with those of his own aides, who acknowledged over the weekend that the CIA raised doubts that Iraq sought to buy uranium from Niger more than four months before Bush's speech.

And she specifically points to this part:

A four-star general, who was asked to go to Niger last year to inquire about the security of Niger's uranium, told The Washington Post yesterday that he came away convinced the country's stocks were secure. The findings of Marine Gen. Carlton W. Fulford Jr. were passed up to Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff -- though it was unclear whether they reached officials in the White House.

A spokesman for Myers said last night that the general has "no recollection of the information" but did not doubt that it had been forwarded to him. "Given the time frame of 16 months ago, information concerning Iraq not obtaining uranium from Niger would not have been as pressing as other subjects," said Capt. Frank Thorp, the chairman's spokesman.

Okay, so we have several charges implied here:

1. Wilson's charge that his trip to Niger had disproved the yellowcake story.
2. That Bush lied when he said that the CIA's objections to the story were subsequent to the State of the Union Speech.
3. Arguably, that Bush was notified by Myers of Marine General Fulford's doubts.

Fortunately we do not have to search hard for the answers to these allegations. The Senate Committee on Intelligence conducted hearings (PDF file) to answer these and more questions. Their report on the Niger story takes up pages 36-83 of the report (which corresponds to pages 46-93 of the PDF file)

On Wilson's trip, the evidence did not support Joe Wilson's version of events as related in several newspaper stories. Indeed, the Committee seems quite unimpressed with Ambassador Wilson's veracity as these key paragraphs indicate:

(Note: You can click on the pictures here to make them larger)

However, interestingly, the CIA liked Wilson's report, mainly because it proved for them something exactly opposite to what Wilson later claimed:

So I think we can dispense with allegation #1, that Joe Wilson's trip to Niger had disproved the yellowcake story.

What about when the CIA changed its assessment of the yellowcake story? It's pretty obvious that it was not before the State of the Union Address from this bit:

And in fact, the first time the CIA changed its position was sometime in the spring of 2003, but even then the President was not notified according to this:

So I think we can drop allegation #2, which is that the CIA had indicated objections to the uranium allegations prior to the State of the Union Address.

Which leaves us with #3, the doubts of Marine General Fulford. That is mentioned only briefly in the Intelligence Committee report:

There is no indication at any point that this information was shared with the White House, and even Fulford's account in the Washington Post piece acknowledged that his superior, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers could not remember reading it. So there is zero evidence for allegation #3.

And that's about it, folks. I know that the liberals reading this will not be pleased and no doubt will start in with the Valerie Plame stuff, which I'm not interested in. There are plenty of bloggers covering that; Tom Maguire's made himself the expert on the conservative side.
Beware of Stories that Match Your Bias

Liberals and conservatives alike are pretty good at spotting phony stories that are put out by the other side; where we are in danger of being duped is with stories that fit our pre-existing biases. The Commissar came out pretty good on the American Center for Voting Rights story; he was the first center-right blogger to catch onto the fact that the ACVR was just a Republican front group trying to steal a few headlines.

The reason I bring this up is the embarrassing story of Kodee Kennings, the little girl whose poignant letters to her dad serving in Iraq turned out to be a complete fiction.

The Daily Egyptian, Southern Illinois University's student-run newspaper, today will admit to its readers that the saga - of a little girl's published letters to her father serving in Iraq - was apparently an elaborate hoax perpetrated by a woman who claimed to be the girl's aunt.

In fact, the newspaper will report today, the man identified as the girl's father was never in Iraq, and it was the woman who apparently wrote the letters and regular columns that were published under the little girl's name - and even impersonated the girl in telephone interviews.

Here's the "suits the bias" part:

Over the months, columns written by Kodee started to become a regular feature on the paper's editorial page. The columns, titled "Kenningsology," talked about her childhood, her newfound friends at the Daily Egyptian, her father, and even President Bush:

"I'm rily mad at you and you make my hart hurt,"' she purportedly wrote in one published letter to the president. "I don't think your doing a very good job. You keep sending soldiers to Iraq and it's not fair. Do you have a soldier of your own in Irak?"

That was why the New Republic got stung a few years ago with the Stephen Glass incident; because the stories Glass wrote, as wild as they were, suited the biases of the editors who published them. Ditto Julie Amparano of the Arizona Republic.

Update: I like this guy's take on the story.

Marathon Pundit has run some stories about moonbattery at Southern Illinois University in the past.
Better Late Than Never

Hugh Hewitt raved about this terrific post at Michael Yon's yesterday on my drive home, but I forgot about checking it until I surfed over to his blog this afternoon. Absolutely mesmerizing!
Heterodoxy Online

Peter Collier and David Horowitz are making their 1990s magazine Heterodoxy available online. The first issue's ready for downloading (PDF file). Although the material is now 13 years old, the perspectives haven't changed a great deal. Interesting reading.
Are You Ready for Some Football?

I took a quick look at the NFL quarterbacks and came up with a fairly simple method of rating them. I just took their 2004 stats, multiplied them by two, and added them to their 2003 stats. Then I looked at the ratio of touchdowns to interceptions:

Peyton Manning 4.23
Daunte Culpepper 3.12
Donovan McNabb 2.89
Drew Brees 2.24
Tom Brady 1.98
Trent Green 1.70
Jake Delhomme 1.67
Brett Favre 1.67
Aaron Brooks 1.65
Matt Hasselbeck 1.56
Chad Pennington 1.50
Jake Plummer 1.47
Marc Bulger 1.28
Jeff Garcia 1.23
Byron Leftwich 1.22
Joey Harrington 1.20
Drew Bledsoe 1.16
Patrick Ramsey 1.10
David Carr 1.00
Kerry Collins 0.98

A couple of points: I only included QBs who qualified for the NFL passer rating title in both 2003 and 2004. Unfortunately, this leaves out two of the more interesting quarterbacks in the league, Michael Vick (who was injured for most of 2003) and Ben Roethlisberger (who was a rookie last year). Vick would slot in between Bledsoe and Harrington, near the bottom of the list at 1.18. Roethlisberger would rate a 1.55, putting him right about middle of the pack. Obviously, with his relative youth (23), he seems on the verge of being one of the very best players in the league.

If I were to adjust this, I'd put Brady at the top of the list (three Super Bowl wins and a 9-0 record in the postseason) and bump Favre up a couple spots for similar reasons (while recognizing that he's gotta be close to the end of his career).
Just Being Nominated Was The Honor

The Watcher's Council has voted, and Alpha Patriot's terrific post on Israeli Pride, Israeli Angst has been named the most link-worthy piece of writing for the last week. I was thrilled to get nominated for my "What If the Rest of the Fantastic Four Were Peaceniks" post and very pleased to get votes against such excellent competition.
August Straw Poll Results

Patrick Ruffini has the numbers for the potential 2008 Republican nominees, along with his usual superb analysis. Fascinating read.
Little Busy Right Now

I'll have some time for new posts later this afternoon. In the meantime, why not check out Pam Meister's blog? She's got very similar tastes in blogging to mine.
Crawford Peace House Gets a Whitewash from AP

Hmmm, what's missing from this story about the Crawford Peace House and the sudden improvement in its financial condition?

The Peace House, just across the railroad tracks from downtown Crawford, was established as a place for activists to gather in Bush's adopted hometown. Jawad and John Wolf, affiliated with the Dallas Peace Center, bought the white-clapboard house for $65,000. They made the down payment with proceeds from selling anti-war buttons for $1 apiece at peace rallies.

Oh, I know! Maybe some discussion of the Crawford Peace House's support for getting Israel out of Palestine?
Thursday, August 25, 2005
Stop the Presses! Krugman Acknowledges Miami County Mistake!

At the end of Friday's column, which I fisked over at Lifelike comes this startling announcement:

Corrections: In my column last Friday, I cited an inaccurate number (given by the Conyers report) for turnout in Ohio's Miami County last year: 98.5 percent. I should have checked the official state site, which reports a reasonable 72.2 percent. Also, the public editor says, rightly, that I should acknowledge initially misstating the results of the 2000 Florida election study by a media consortium led by The Miami Herald. Unlike a more definitive study by a larger consortium that included The New York Times, an analysis that showed Al Gore winning all statewide manual recounts, the earlier study showed him winning two out of three.

I can actually imagine Krugman deciding that the 98.55% figure, which I fisked here and here, had to be revised, but the notion that he actually fessed up about Florida is quite stunning, especially since he wasted his Monday column trying to row back on that claim.

Still, he's not coming clean, according to Donald Luskin and the Chief Brief. But congrats are in order all around.

Michelle Malkin has a great post on this subject.

Hat Tip: Marathon Pundit
Pat Hynes Nails It

Our buddy from Ankle-Biters is back with another excellent column in the AmSpec on those always wacky libs and their ever-shifting rationales for hating Bush:

The Democratic National Committee similarly attacked the president for spending too much time exercising and not enough on public policy.

On every other page of every other newspaper, meanwhile, you will read about our nation's "obesity epidemic," followed by calls for emergency remedies ranging from class action lawsuits against fast food companies to crackdowns on vending machines in public schools. Some might think a physically fit president would serve as a good role model for America's youth, especially in light of the rapid decline in the quality of our heroes from the world of professional sports.

Paradoxically, while Chait and others ridicule the president for being too active, other liberals have attacked him for relaxing too much. President Bush's vacation habits have become another bizarre obsession among the political Left. Speaking as a guest on the Imus in the Morning show earlier in the week, for example, Howard Fineman railed against the president's "almost religious devotion to his vacation time."

The old joke applies here: if President Bush were to walk on water tomorrow, the headlines would read: Bush Can't Swim!
Meet Col. James H. Coffman Jr., Hero

Story here:

Coffman, 51, is a senior adviser to Iraqi Special Police Commandos with the Multi-National Security Transition Command- Iraq's Civilian Police Assistance Training Team. He accompanied a commando Quick Reaction Force with the 3rd Battalion, 1st Iraqi Special Police Commando Brigade on Nov. 14, 2004 to help a commando platoon under attack in a Mosul, Iraq police station.

As the QRF approached the station, it was besieged with rocket-propelled grenades, small arms fire and mortar rounds. Coffman and the commandos fought the insurgents for four hours before help arrived. When the initial firefight killed or seriously wounded all but one of the commando officers, Coffman rallied the remaining commandos while trying to radio for assistance, according to his award citation.

"Under heavy fire, he moved from commando to commando, looking each in the eye and using hand and arm signals to demonstrate what he wanted done," the citation said.

When an enemy round shattered his left shooting hand, damaging his M4 rifle in the process, Coffman bandaged it and continued fighting with AK-47 rifles he collected from commando casualties until each ran out of ammunition. He also passed out ammunition to the uninjured commandos with the help of the remaining commando officer; when all that remained were loose rounds, Coffman held magazines between his legs and loaded the rounds with his good hand.

For his heroism Col. Coffman received the Distinguished Service Cross, the army's second highest award.

Hat Tip: Polipundit
Lorie Byrd Update

Glad to report that things seem to have gone well:

Her surgery was long, but was a great success. The cholesteatoma had not recurred – something that surprised us and the doctor, since it was so pervasive in the past two surgeries. That allowed the doctor to replace the hearing bone (I don’t remember the name of which one) with a prosthesis. There was some scar tissue present, but other than that this was the best outcome we could have imagined.

After the ear has healed from surgery, she should have regained much of her hearing and will be able to splash and swim with the other kids for the first time in two years.

Thanks to everyone for your prayers and well wishes. It was very comforting to know that so many prayers were being offered on her behalf. I should be back Friday. Thanks again.

This sounds silly, but I'm a big believer in anticipating horrific outcomes, so that most of the time I'm pleasantly surprised. Of course, it means I'm pretty depressed before I know the outcome. It's just a superstition I suppose, but it seems to work for me.
Cindy Puts on the Rose-Colored Glasses--Updated

Here's her speech on returning to Crawfordapalooza:

CINDY SHEEHAN: The hardest thing for me to hear -- I don't care about them talking about me being a “crackpot” or a “media whore” or a “tool of the left,” you know? I’m like, if I truly was a media whore, do you think I would like maybe get myself fixed up a little bit before I went on? That doesn't bother me at all, though. What bothers me so much is when they say I'm dishonoring my son's memory by what I'm doing, that my son would be ashamed of me or that what they really like to say is I'm [bleep] or spitting on his grave.

And look what Casey -- look what Casey has started. You know, I'm here because of Casey. We're all here because of Casey. And, you know, literally there's over 2,000 of our brave young people and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis, and I know they're behind us, and I see them all, all their faces on your faces.

But Casey was such a gentle, kind, loving person. He never even got in one fistfight his whole life. Nobody even hated him enough to punch him, let alone kill him. And that's what George Bush did. He put our kids in another person's country, and Casey was killed by insurgents. He wasn't killed by terrorists. He was killed by Shiite militia who wanted -- they wanted him out of the country. When Casey was told that he was going to be welcomed with chocolates and flowers as a liberator, well, the people of Iraq saw it differently. They saw him as an occupier.

First, I doubt very much that Casey never got into a fistfight in his entire life; there's not a kid in the world that doesn't slug it out with somebody. And note how she's buying into the notion that the Shiite militia members represent the people of Iraq.

Update: Let me specify here that Casey does seem to have been an exceptionally honorable young man, so maybe I should cut Cindy some slack on this (admittedly minor) point.
Great Raid Getting Noticed

Hugh Hewitt's flogging the blogs to publicize this movie. I haven't seen it myself but will try to make time for it over the weekend, based on this terrific article.

By late 1944, Japan's defeat was imminent and Prince was tasting combat in the Philippines. In January 1945, with word of the massacre of Allied POWs at Palawan, Mucci was ordered to hand-pick a team to rescue prisoners at Cabanatuan.

Mucci, who embarrassed Prince by calling him "my wonderful captain," was to get the rescuers to the camp; Prince's job was to get in and out.

What made the "Great Raid" so tactically incredible was that there was no time to rehearse. "Some have months to rehearse, we only had hours," Prince says. "We were successful because we had all trained together and knew each other" and had the support of Filipino people, he says.

Sounds like a thrilling movie. I always enjoyed POW movies; there were a slew of excellent ones in the late 1950s and early 1960s: The Bridge on the River Kwai, Stalag 17, The Great Escape, King Rat, Escape from Mindanao, etc.
A Hero's Welcome

Terrific post by Gateway Pundit. Get your hankies ready.

Snifter Clink to Mrs G.
The Blogroll Giveth...

I've taken some blogs out of the blogroll, solely on the basis of non-posting activity, including (sob!) Kerry Haters. I had so much fun with that blog because Kerry was seemingly the Blooming Onion at Outback Steakhouse; you'd pull a piece away and suddenly there'd be something new to examine. And of course Kitty, Aaron and I quickly grew that blog to the point where we were close to the top 100 in traffic, without ever once having an Instalanche.

You can't imagine how liberating it is to know your topic to blog on every day, especially when your topic is getting more media attention than Natalee Holloway. Kerry was an endless topic of fascination, seemingly a bottomless pit of experiences and fantasies.

As to my other former blogroll buddies, look me up if you start posting again. I linked you because I liked your writing and delinked because I dislike the lack of it. ;)
If You're Not Reading Tinkerty Tonk....

I envy you because you've got one more treat left in the world than I do.
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Don't Make Errors in Articles About IQ

Couldn't resist poking fun at this one:

HALF the population will dismiss this story, but a study claims that the cleverest people are much more likely to be men than women.

Men are more intelligent than women by about five IQ points on average, making them better suited for “tasks of high complexity”, according to the authors of a paper due to be published in the British Journal of Psychology.

The first sentence is true, but the second contains one falsehood and one truth. The very smartest people on earth are men, in general. Nobody seriously disputes this. That's not to say that there aren't women among the smartest people in the world, just that there are fewer of them.

But there are also fewer of them in Special Ed programs, and fewer of them that drop out of high school, so that overall there is no significant difference "on average". What this means is that in terms of the bell curve, there are fewer women several standard deviations below the median and above the median:

They showed that men outnumbered women in increasing numbers as intelligence levels rise. There were twice as many with IQ scores of 125, a level typical for people with first-class degrees.

When scores rose to 155, a level associated with genius, there were 5.5 men for every woman.

What is amusing is the obvious reluctance of the authors to go against PC notions of gender equality:

Dr Irwing, a senior lecturer in organisational psychology at Manchester University, said that he was uncomfortable with the findings. But he added that the evidence was clear despite the insistence of many academics that there were “no meaningful sex differences” in levels of intelligence.

“For personal reasons I would like to believe that men and women are equal, and broadly that’s true. But over a period of time the evidence in favour of biological factors has become stronger and stronger,” he said.

“I have been dragged in a direction that I don’t particularly like, but it would be sensible if the debate was based on what we pretty much know to be the case.”
I'm Not a Lawyer

I just play one over at GOP & the City. :)
Pregnancy High

Most of you have heard of the high school in Canton, Ohio, where something like 1/7th of the girls are pregnant. But how many know the nickname of the school? Mr Right checked it out, and it's rather appropriate.

Partisan Pundit has more on the same topic, as does the Chief Brief.
Hagel the Bagel to Run Independent Race in 2008?--Updated!

That's the scoop from our buddies over at Ankle-Biting Pundits. Interestingly, after I got the email from them on this story, I was driving around at lunch and flipped over to Airhead America during a commercial break for Rush. Ed Schultz, who has the noontime show here, mentioned this story and even credited the Ankle-Biters(!). Schultz's take was that if Hagel did run, that the Democrats "would have a chance".

ABP does point out that if McCain wins, Hagel would probably endorse him, since there's not a whole lot of difference between the two.

Update: It didn't occur to me at the time, but a third-party candidate has a terribly hard time getting qualified for the ballot in anywhere near 50 states. Perot did it and Nader has done it, but Perot had surprisingly strong support and a compelling life story, and Nader piggybacked on the Greens (remember them?).

So it becomes pretty obvious that Hagel's run is not intended as a serious run for the White House, but instead a petty attempt to deny the Oval Office to the next Republican candidate.
Prayers for Lorie Byrd

Her daughter is in for another ear surgery today. Lorie's one of the nicest people in the blogosphere and we certainly send along our best wishes for her little girl.
There's No Business Like Show Business!

Buckley F. Williams uncovers the real Cindy Sheehan.
The Free Speech Thing

Sigh. This seems to be a regular weapon in the Left's arsenal. Cindy Sheehan speaks out against the war. Republicans criticize her. Idiot columnist writes "Doesn't she have freedom of speech?"

The central question is not whether Cindy Sheehan is right or wrong, or even if the war is right or wrong; the central question is, does she have a right to free speech, or not?

Even Bush, commander-in-chief of the armed forces and the object of Sheehan’s increasingly caustic wrath, defends her right to have an opinion.

Cindy Sheehan is being lambasted as anti-American, but what’s more American than speaking your mind?

I dunno, saying that somebody's anti-American? This is such an idiotic argument, but it gets repeated every time somebody comes out against the war. The Dixie Chicks get panned for their comments, and the immediate reaction from the left is "What about their freedom of speech?"

As if freedom of speech means that you can't be criticized for what you say. Freedom of speech simply means that you cannot be arrested for what you say, with minor exceptions (yelling fire in a crowded theatre, for example). And indeed, I have not noticed President Bush having Cindy hauled away for violations of the Sedition Acts.

Note as well, that the columnist feels free to bash Bill O'Reilly and Michelle Malkin for exercising their free speech rights:

Among those leading the charge are Bill O’Reilly, who labeled Sheehan’s behavior “treasonous,” and Michelle Malkin, who once suggested that John Kerry may have earned his Purple Hearts by wounding himself.

And notice as well, that nobody on the right is trying the "free speech" diversion when it comes to Pat Robertson's latest blatherings. There are some that might defend his comments (although I haven't read many), but nobody, nobody, nobody is throwing up that smokescreen, because unlike the left, we understand that free speech does not amount to a "get out of criticism free" card.
Echoes of Vietnam

Pat Buchanan compares the situation to the Vietnam era politically, and surprisingly I agree with him.

The reason Democrats must worry today is that the anti-war movement taking shape is virulently anti-Bush; it is lodged, by and large, inside their party; it is passionate and intolerant; it has given new life to the Howard Deaniacs who went missing after the Iowa caucuses; and it will turn on any leader who does not voice its convictions.

Consider Hillary's predicament. She is saying she supports the war and the troops, but the war has been mismanaged and America needs new leadership. No risk there.

Hillary's problem is she is three years away from 2008, the anti-war movement increasingly looks on her as a collaborator in "Bush's War," and Democrats like Feingold are going to give anti-war militants the rhetoric and stances they demand. Hillary's most rabid followers will depart if she does not leave Bush's side -- to lead them.

Brian Preston has a good post on Iraq as Vietnam over at Michelle Malkin's.

Meanwhile, Clarence Page suggests that the Democrats run out in front of the parade and pretend to be leading it.

Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.) last week became the first senator to call for a specific pullout deadline, defying the Democratic leadership. He later clarified on NBC's "Meet the Press" that his date, Dec. 31, 2006, for all troops to be withdrawn from Iraq is only a "target," not a "deadline," and can be pushed back if circumstances require it.

With that, Feingold, who also may run for president in 2008, gave voice to his party's increasingly impatient left-progressive wing, which wants leading Democrats to get tougher in pushing for a troop withdrawal. Call them the "Cindy Sheehan" wing, after the protesting mother of a soldier killed in Iraq. Sheehan's camp near Bush's Crawford, Texas, ranch has invigorated the anti-war movement and put new pressure on Democratic moderates.

Speaking of Cindy, she's due back in Crawford. Unfortunately for her, the president is not.
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Yes, I Stole This From Lucianne

Thanks, Mrs G!
Ashlee Simpson Will Not Be Performing In Turkmenistan

Not after this story.

Niyazov has ordered a ban on lip synching performances across the tightly controlled Central Asian nation, citing "a negative effect on the development of singing and musical art," the president's office said Tuesday.

No word on whether Niyazov has any plans to ban air guitars.
Here's to Debbie Peevyhouse!

This is another nice story about somebody honoring our heroes:

Thanks to persistence, passion and a bit of verbal strong-arming, Debbie Peevyhouse of San Jose -- an amateur genealogist and avid military historian -- has collected enough money and convinced enough of the right people to place a small bronze emblem on the crypt of a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient who died in 1946.

The ceremony to honor Marine Sgt. Edward Alexander Walker is scheduled for Sept. 10 at Oak Hill Memorial Park.

Walker won the prestigious medal for his bravery in China fighting in the Boxer Rebellion of 1900-01. Other than his name, though, his crypt is bare. And aside from some short, fading newspaper clippings about his activities in veterans' groups in San Jose, little else is known about him.

Here's some more discussion of Edward Alexander Walker, hero.
Moonbats in Crawford

Maybe they could start a new show: Queer Eye for the Cross-Dressing Guy? Not that there's anything wrong with that!

And they're all waiting for the "New Face of Protest" to return from LA.

How Voter Fraud Works at the Precinct Level

Interesting article.

What we first need to know is that the Democrat operatives who are central to this fraud are known as “block captains” and “apartment captains.” Deep Vote tells us that a captain is a GOTV (Get out the vote) term for a campaign volunteer who knows the territory and is given a list of voters on his block or in his building who are believed to be sympathetic to his candidate. He is then charged with the task of driving these partisans to the polls.

Deep Vote then explains that since captains are usually “local/neighborhood leaders” or in the least have “been there for a while,” they “would know who has moved out.” It is then that the captains examine the voter rolls and “vote those people.”
Napolitano Proposes New National Spending Program

As part of the effort to identify what Democrats stand for:

Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano today will unveil a national plan for education reform that includes universal preschool for children across the country, a standardized curriculum for all 50 states, full-day kindergarten and year-round schools.

Napolitano is co-chairwoman of a task force with ties to the Democratic Party that researched new approaches for education in the 21st century. The group concluded that American students need substantially more time in the classroom to compete with children in other countries.

The goal of the presentation is to start a debate on the ambitious recommendations. The implication is that national leaders eventually will buy into them. The estimated price tag for the makeover is $325 billion in federal money over the next 10 years.

The proposal calls for the money to come from the federal government but does not specify a source. However, the task force suggested that money for the programs could be generated by avoiding tax cuts proposed by Republican leaders, such as the elimination of the nation's estate tax.
Monday, August 22, 2005
Brainster's Makes the Radio!

Our longtime blogging buddy Joel Gaines mentioned us this weekend on Tucson radio station KVOI. I'll put up the link to the audio archives when they have the program available. Thanks, Joel!
The Man in the Mirror

There's a classic scene in the movie Duck Soup, where Harpo and a look-alike confront each other through a doorway, or is it a mirror? Every time one of the Harpos does something, the other does the exact same thing. Eventually they circle around each other so that each is now on the opposite side of the doorway.

It has been said that this dance sometimes happens in American politics, and an argument can be made. After all, the Republicans made their name as the party of the Union, but 100 years later they were supporters of states' rights.

Nicholas von Hoffman, longtime bombthrower of the left has been circling around the neocons for awhile now, and finds himself suddenly espousing the principle (commonly associated with Republicans only 20 years ago) that "Yeah, he's a thug, but at least he's our thug."

The first thing we gotta do is get that statue of Saddam, the one we pulled down for the TV cameras, and haul it back on its feet. Next we have to jerk the tyrant himself out of his hole in the ground, give him a haircut, a shave, a shampoo, a fresh set of underwear and a new suit.

Then we march him over to the Green Zone, tell him, ”It’s all yours, boy."

Here's the kicker: I don't think he's joking.
Protesting the Protesters Who Are Protesting the Protesters....

Third Wave Dave has the scoop.
She Turned Me Into a Newt!

George W. Bush and the Holy Grail:

ROVE: Let me take care of this, Mr. President!

(Daschardt and Rove clash in a furious sword battle for several minutes, then, with a keen stroke, Rove lops off Daschardt's left arm at the shoulder.)

ROVE: You fought well, brave adversary, now stand aside!

DASCHARDT: 'Tis but a scratch!

ROVE: A scratch? We've taken the House of Representatives from you!

DASCHARDT: No, you haven't!

ROVE: Actually, we took it back in 1994, but for the purposes of this sketch, it is represented by the symbolically severed arm on the ground over there!

DASCHARDT: My party's had worse!

ROVE: Liar!

DASCHARDT: Have at you!

(The battle begins anew. Rove severs Daschardt's right arm in short order.)

ROVE: Victory is ours! We have now taken back the Senate, which you had stolen from us without the benefit of an election! Now that we have lopped off both Houses of Congress, you have no arms left, stand aside!
Yes, Hillary's Running

It seems safe to say there's no other explanation for this.

Speaking of Summer Smackdowns, Bulldog Pundit over at ABP has the scoop on the brewing war between the Kos Kidz and the centrist Democratic Leadership Council. As I mentioned in the comments on that post, it seems that the Democrats' activists, because they are young and determined not to learn from the past, are doomed to repeat the same mistakes every couple of decades. I personally would love to see an all-out war between the Lefty bloggers and the DLC; it will just drive more Democrat-leaning moderates away from the party.
Krugman Forced to Waste A Column

Explaining what he meant in the last column.

This reaction seems to confuse three questions. One is what would have happened if the U.S. Supreme Court hadn't intervened; the answer is that unless the judge overseeing the recount had revised his order (which is a possibility), George W. Bush would still have been declared the winner.

Can you imagine how angry our side would have been if the recount had gone President Bush's way, and then the judge revised his order and the result was a Gore victory?

The third is what would have happened if the intentions of the voters hadn't been frustrated by butterfly ballots, felon purges and more; the answer is that Mr. Gore would have won by a much larger margin.

And the fourth is what would have happened if the media had not declared Gore the winner in Florida before the polls closed in the panhandle of the state; some analysts estimate that the announcement cost Bush 10,000 net votes. Tons of ink have been spilled on why the media declared Bush the winner in Florida early in the morning; very little investigation went on as to why the earlier call was made.

More broadly, the story of the 2000 election remains deeply disturbing - not just the fact that a man the voters tried to reject ended up as president, but the ugliness of the fight itself. There was an understandable urge to put the story behind us.

One suspects that had Kerry eked out a victory over Bush in Ohio, Paul Krugman would never have written a word about how a man the voters tried to reject ended up as president.

Moron Krugman at Ankle-Biting Pundits, the Chief Brief and Donald Luskin. Also Marathon Pundit.
Riding the Tiger is Easy

It's getting off that's a little tricky. The New York Times writes on the Democrats dilemma on Roberts:

The party's liberal base, whose contributions during judicial confirmation fights earlier this year have helped the Senate Democratic campaign fund amass twice as much as its Republican rival, is pressing for another vigorous fight against Judge Roberts as documents from the Reagan administration clarify his conservative credentials.

The Lefty bloggers seem to want a fight no matter what the cost. Over at the Daily Kos, we can see why with this post on a litmus test for candidates:

Does candidate 'distance himself' from the party and/or its leaders, or is he proud to be a Democrat?

Does he talk like a bureaucrat or like a regular person?

Does she make it clear that she opposes Bush and the Republicans?

Does she back down when the corporate press/media or Republican pundits attack him, or does she stand by her words?

Does he sleepwalk through the campaign, or does he act like he wants to win?

Note particularly that there are no issue litmus tests for Kos; instead it's all stylistic. One suspects that the key test is the middle one, the one about opposing Bush and the Republicans. Note particularly that Paul Hackett, the darling of the Left, violated two of the other tests: He avoided identifying himself as a Democrat, and in the last few days campaigned rather listlessly.

Captain Ed has more on this theme:

The centrists have tried mightily to maintain some distance from the radicals but cannot afford to lose them or their fundraising abilities, regardless of how the Republicans fare in the polls. This has led to a complete abandonment of message, as the two cannot agree on strategies for a single, coherent Party stance on issues.
Sunday, August 21, 2005
Hunter Thompson Gets Blasted One Last Time

And like the last one, this didn't involve intoxicating beverages:

Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson's ashes rained down on his Owl Farm property Saturday night as actor Johnny Depp, who paid for the $2.5 million ceremony, raised his champagne glass toward the night sky.

A star-studded crowd included 2004 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and his 1972 counterpart, George McGovern.

Sigh. Just like old times. And, uh, how in the world did Depp manage to blow $2.5 million?

"It's a fantastic crowd," said Thompson's longtime friend and neighbor Don Dixon. "Half of the people here look like Keith Richards."

That's not exactly a compliment.
What If... The Rest of the Fantastic Four Were Peaceniks?

(Welcome, Conservative Grapevine, Molten Thought, Garm Howling, Insolublog, Milblog, In the Right Place, Tinkerty Tonk, Ghost of a Flea, Rhymes with Right and Watcher's Council readers!)

Box #9, Chadha Decision

The contents of this box have to do with a 1983 Supreme Court decision commonly known as the Chadha decision. This eliminated what was known as the "legislative veto":

Throughout our history, we have approached matters of restructuring government in two different ways, one with Congress taking the lead and the other with the president.

Congress can reorganize the executive branch through the regular legislative process—holding hearings, fashioning a bill, and allowing floor debate and amendments. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, major government restructuring was accomplished through this process. Even newer departments such as the Education Department were created in this way.

This approach has several benefits. A restructuring plan receives a full public hearing, and the deliberateness of the process can lead to a better outcome. But the normal legislative process can be slow, and it may not adequately reflect the interests of the executive branch or the particular president who will ultimately preside over the new arrangements.

In much of the 20th century, however, Congress has allowed the president to take a leading role in reorganization. Through a series of reorganization acts, presidents from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Ronald Reagan were given authority to propose a government reorganization plan, which would go into effect unless either house of Congress vetoed it. These reorganization acts differed slightly with respect to the scope of the reorganization or the timeframe, but the basic idea was the same: The president crafts a restructuring plan and Congress rejects it or tacitly accepts it.

In the 1983 INS vs. Chadha decision, the Supreme Court ruled against legislative vetoes, so the reorganization act had to be revisited by Congress. Shortly thereafter, in 1984, the act expired and no reorganization acts have been enacted since. We have reverted to restructuring government by the legislative process.

It's a fairly complex case, but basically Chadha was an East Indian who lived in the US for about six years legally on a student visa, but overstayed an extra year. The US attempted to deport him, but the Immigration judge ruled that as he had been in the country for seven years and seemed to be of good character and that deportation would be a hardship for him, that he should be allowed to stay.

Congress had the right, however, to veto this decision, and they did. The Supreme Court eventually held this veto unconstitutional.

The decision obviously caused a lot of problems because much of Washington DC's municipal operations were handled under threat of a legislative veto. The box contains (at Page 4) a Washington Times' article on a judge refusing to try sex offense cases until some clarification of the decision.

There was a bill being worked on to comply with the Chadha decision. Roberts recommended that the White House stay as far away as possible from the drafting of the bill, and let the Department of Justice handle it instead. This also appears to have touched off a bit of a turf battle, with then-DC Mayor Marion Berry trying to argue for greater home rule powers.

I can see nothing in here that would be embarrassing to Judge Roberts.
Fluffy Tiger Syndrome

A Kansas girl was killed by a tiger while posing with the animal for a senior class picture.

Let's hope this is the nail in the coffin for this proposal:

If a group of US researchers have their way, lions, cheetahs, elephants and camels could soon roam parts of North America, Nature magazine reports.

Dr Donlan said that large tracts of private land are probably the most promising place to start, with each step carefully guided by the fossil record and the involvement of experts and research.

"We are not advocating backing up a van and letting elephants and cheetah out into the landscape," he said. "All of this would be science driven."

You know, there was a time when that would have made me feel confident. The "scientists" pursuing this plan are trying to convince people that we need a large-scale predator at the top of the food chain. Of course, we already have one; it's called man. Yes, deer and mustang populations are getting out of hand; the answer is to allow more hunting. But that gets in the way of the fluffy deer agenda, so the answer is to import some lions, heh?

The other side of the argument is that this will preserve the animals in the wild. That's nice, but nowadays the ability to preserve animals outside the wild is much better than it used to be.

Glenn Reynolds talked about this awhile ago. The problem with reintroducing large predators is that they will lose their fear of man pretty quickly, as have cougars in the Denver area.

Tim Worstall has more.

John Hawkins has a terrific idea for a new reality series.
Why It Took The Antiwar Movement So Long to Get Started--Updated!

(Welcome Michelle Malkin Readers! Thanks, Lorie!)

Because Cindy Sheehan is about the most sane person on that side. You think I'm kidding?

The first group to attempt to lead the antiwar movement was ANSWER, Act Now to Stop War and Racism. Unfortunately for the peaceniks they turned out to be a Stalinist front group of the Worker's World Party.

The WWPers in control of ANSWER are socialists who call for the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism, who support Slobodan Milosevic and Kim Jong Il, who oppose UN inspections in Iraq (claiming they are part of the planning for an invasion aimed at gaining control of Iraq's oil fields), and who urge smashing Zionism.

Remember the human shields?

They got to Baghdad only to find their Iraqi "co-ordinators" wanted to deploy them not at "humanitarian" facilities but at military bases. One British teacher said he was used to working with young children and would have preferred to be deployed at an orphanage. Pity the poor Iraqi official who had to explain to the guy that the orphanage has already got all the human shields it needs: they're called "orphans."

The bewildered Brit seemed to find this hard to follow: Here's a man who's convinced that Bush and Rumsfeld are slavering to drop a bunch of daisycutters on Iraqi moppets, but thinks they'll cease and desist just because some droning Welsh leftist is sitting amongst all those inviting underage targets.

Then you had Michael Moore. 'Nuff said. Compared to those losers, Cindy actually looks quite normal.

You might also enjoy my post on what would have happened if Reed Richards was a neocon and the rest of the Fantastic Four were peaceniks.

Update: Princeton Progressive Review says I'm being unfair in saying that the ANSWER folks ever had a shred of credibility among the progressive antiwar community. That may be (he links to a David Corn piece in LA Weekly, while I linked to a David Corn piece in the Nation). But that's not my argument. My argument is that ANSWER tried to lead the antiwar movement but were too radical.


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Brainster in the Media

Howard Kurtz's Media Notes: May 27, 2005

Slate Today's Blogs:

March 16, 2005

May 9, 2005

June 3, 2005

Cited for Breaking the Christmas in Cambodia story (at Kerry Haters):

Hugh Hewitt: KerryHaters was on this story a long time ago. How could the elite media not have asked these questions before now?

Ankle-Biting Pundits: Our friends Pat and Kitty at Kerry Haters deserve the blog equivalent of a Pulitzer for their coverage of Kerry's intricate web of lies regarding Vietnam.

The Weekly Standard

Les Kinsolving

Greatest Hits

What If the Rest of the Fantastic Four Were Peaceniks?

Lefty Bloggers on Gay Witchhunt (linked by 16 blogs including Instapundit)

Kitty Myers Breaks Christmas in Cambodia

Brainster Shows Brinkley Says No Christmas in Cambodia

Explanation of the Blog's Name

Power Ratings Explained

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