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Saturday, October 01, 2005
The Change of the Seasons

Kitty has a lovely idea; taking a photo of the same view every day this month to show the trees changing colors.
Freakanomics on Bennett

Interesting post here.

2) Race is not an important part of the abortion-crime argument that John Donohue and I have made in academic papers and that Dubner and I discuss in Freakonomics. It is true that, on average, crime involvement in the U.S. is higher among blacks than whites. Importantly, however, once you control for income, the likelihood of growing up in a female-headed household, having a teenage mother, and how urban the environment is, the importance of race disappears for all crimes except homicide. (The homicide gap is partly explained by crack markets). In other words, for most crimes a white person and a black person who grow up next door to each other with similar incomes and the same family structure would be predicted to have the same crime involvement. Empirically, what matters is the fact that abortions are disproportionately used on unwanted pregnancies, and disproportionately by teenage women and single women.

As I commented elsewhere, would Bennett's comments have been controversial if he had noted that aborting baby boys would lower the crime rate?
Friday, September 30, 2005
About OJ

1. Obviously guilty.
2. Obviously an amazingly talented football player.
3. If he got to the corner, he was gone.
4. I saw him set the then-NFL record for yards rushing on a cold and windy day at Shea Stadium in 1973.
5. Should be shunned, but if anyplace seems appropriate for him to appear it's the NecroComicon.
Happy Ending?

We all know that Hollywood loves one. Is that what happened to Tom Delay?
Carnival of the Clueless Up

Rick Moran's got the hot links!

I Usually Like Front Page Mag, But...--Updated!

This is pretty weird. They have a symposium today on an article written by a white racist about blacks in New Orleans, repeating all the horror stories about the Superdome, but none of the symposium participants seems to know about the articles in both the NO T-P and LA Times, saying that these stories were untrue:

Preparation for refugees was pitifully inadequate. By day, as many as 25,000 people sweltered in temperatures that rose into the 100s. Whatever order had been established soon melted away, and the stadium reverted to the jungle. Young men robbed and raped with impunity. Occasional gunshots panicked the crowd.

You can get a sense of the racism there with "the jungle" comment. Apparently in the jungle rape and robbery and occasional gunshots are common.

And what of the reporting by the LA and New Orleans papers that indicates that none of the horror stories happened? That there were no rapes, no children with their throats slit?

The panelists completely forget to mention it! Indeed, the Leftist panelist Marc Cooper essentially endorses the worst stories (while decrying the racist presentation) here:

Indeed, I find NO original reporting in Mr. Taylor's rant whatsoever. A simple Nexis search reveals that all of the eyewitness quotes he offers were merely lifted from mainstream media sources i.e from stories that we had, in fact, already read or could have read. That would make Taylor more of a skilled copier than the messenger of any substantial observation. His only contribution, if you wish to call it that, was to re-assemble already existing reports in a way to most disfavorably portray blacks.

I, for one, certainly knew about similar outrages from other and much more reliable and mainstream journalists and commentators very early on. Indeed, on September 1, I wrote on my own blog that "gangs of looters" were roaming the city and noted that this said "something very ugly about our species." I learned of the looting and shooting from Reuters and AP among many other immediately available and far more legitimate news sources. Stories of rape and murder were also carried day after day by all of the major networks. What's new in Taylor's assemblage, other than unsourced superlatives?

I don't get it. Maybe the LA Times and NO T-P aren't considered reputable sources? Given their history that may be valid, but their apparent debunking of much of Taylor's account deserves at least a mention. If we throw out the stories of rape and murder at the Superdome, and most of the reports of shooting at rescuers, then what are we left with? The looting stories, which are pretty minor by comparison. I hear a lot of that goes on in the jungle. (sarcasm)

Update: Marc Cooper responds to my question on his blog:

Brainster... Good point. the reason is simple. The symposium took place by email and was concluded about a week before the Times-Picayune piece came out.

So the blame is really with Horowitz for posting stale opinion.
He Coulda Been A Contenda

Here's an amusing review of the documentary of the Kerry campaign, Inside The Bubble. It's amusing because it's obviously written by a Kerry supporter. Who else would write this:

And while The War Room ends with tears of victory, Mr. Kerry lost, despite those deceptive early exit polls, which produced the film’s most painful line, as a Kerry supporter passes on the good news on Election Day: “I hear they’re crying in the White House.”

:) Although those early exit polls caused me some heartburn on election day (as well as roiling the markets over at TradeSports and the IEM), one of the recompenses for that dark-appearing afternoon to me is the fact that the Democrats had to go from the thrill of victory to the agony of defeat. It doesn't matter who's winning late in the game, it matters who's winning when the clock reads 0:00.

More schadenfraude here:

Inside the Bubble itself opens with a painful Election Day scene: Outside Boston’s Faneuil Hall, [Kerry Advance Man] Mr. Loftus and another man embrace and Mr. Loftus passes on the early numbers: “They have a word for that and they usually write it in big black print on the front of newspapers and they call it a f*cking landslide.”

Heh. This is the part that always amused me about the Kerry campaign swallowing those numbers. One reporter mentioned getting an email saying that Kerry was up 17 in New Hampshire. But you had to know that was not a possible result, nor was a landslide for Kerry. In the end Kerry did take New Hamster (anybody remember the old hamster that Kerry rescued?), but by 1.4 percentage points.

I'll see if I can find a theatre showing Inside the Bubble and let you know whether it's worth seeing. I've seen the trailer and it has some amusing bits, and one jump up and cheer moment when somebody mentions the Swiftees and says something like "The problem was that what the Swift Boat Vets said was largely true."
Thursday, September 29, 2005
I Usually Agree with Dr. Z

But this is rather silly:

When the shoulder injuries to Pennington and his back up, Jay Fiedler, occurred Sunday, the Jets were prime victims for the vultures. You know, the teams that get on the phone, offering marginal quarterbacks for outrageous prices. Writers, myself included, love to masquerade as personnel men in those situations, and play the game of "who's available?"

The first two names that popped into my head were Patrick Ramsey and Billy Volek. Ramsey is the Redskins' QB who wound up on the bench. Joe Gibbs, who isn't exactly stupid, felt that he just couldn't do it. Weeb Ewbank used to have an expression for picking up guys like that. He called it, "Taking on other people's problems." But, you know, sometimes these things come through. I mean the Packers did get 22-year old Brett Favre from Atlanta for a first-round draft choice.

For the record, though, you'd have to be blind not to notice that Brett had a cannon for an arm way back then. I've always said that Sonny Jurgensen had the best arm I've ever seen but Favre may just have a better (and slightly better training habits, too). Suffice to say that Patrick Ramsey has done nothing to indicate that he's anything more than a backup.

Favre was 22 when he came to the Packers. Ramsey is 26. Ramsey has thrown 836 passes in his career; Favre, had thrown five passes.

Volek's a decent player, but the Jets won't get him cheaply after the way he played last season when Steve McNair was injured. McNair has also talked retirement, so the Titans may want to hold onto him. And long-term the fit isn't good; Volek's older than Pennington. He'd actually work better for Washington.
Couple Cool Heroism Stories

Here's one about a guy who saved a woman from a mugger, only to get shot in the chest by her assailant. Still, it turns out good in the end, especially when you hear about his background.

Here's a sadder story of heroism, about a man who drowned saving four children (unfortunately a fifth child also drowned).
Survivor Update

Random notes:

Yaxha continues their losing streak; they are now 1-5 in challenges, with only the first week's immunity challenge to their credit.

I'd like to believe that I'd have an advantage in 114 degree heat, being used to it, but we don't get the humidity.

Danni kicked major league butt in Mayan basketball, scoring three of Nakum's five goals. Not surprising given her Survivor bio:

Having grown up with seven brothers, she developed a keen competitive edge. Boatwright was a high school athlete who competed in basketball, volleyball, cross country and track where, as a freshman, she help set a record in the two mile relay that still stands today.

This week the immunity challenge had some relationship to the Mayans, but the reward challenge was building a tent after first gathering the material blindfolded. Both Gary and the gal from the other team (as usual, the winning tribe doesn't get as much focus) did well guiding their teammates but Yaxha seemed to have a huge lead as they started construction of the tent. But Nakum caught up quickly and in the end they slipped on their final rope.

Probst made a clear warning that the next few challenges may not be physical, although it's hard to say whether that would have changed the vote. Brianna did perform poorly in the immunity challenge. The only drama was whether Amy's ankle sprain was bad enough to convince the others to vote her off, but it didn't happen. Still, you know the next day she definitely will not be moving around much.

Oh, yeah, here's a clue for next week, Nakum. If it's a puzzle, don't play Bobby Jon!
The Last Word on the Protests

Good article here (requires registration)

Yes, as I traverse the Mall on Saturday, I cannot escape 13- and 14-year-old girls with peace signs (and the occasional Mercedes logo) painted on their cheeks. This odd demographic probably has something to do with the overrepresentation of a second group: demonstrators in their forties, too young to have protested the war in Vietnam but too old to be wearing their children's face paint, which many of them do anyway. But there are also veterans of the Vietnam-era protest movement here, legions of whom turn out to hold banners aloft and to listen to Joan Baez warble, "Where have all the flowers gone?" In fact, the only group visibly underrepresented at the march seems to be the very group that once upon a time dominated such events: college-age demonstrators.
Brady for MVP?

I wholeheartedly agree with this article. I'm a longtime Joe Montana fan; in my opinion he's the greatest ever to play the game. But Brady is pushing his case forward at a quite remarkable clip.
Hugh Hewitt Sticks It

Terrific column in the Weekly Standard about the media's Katrina coverage. He correctly nails Brian Thevenot of the New Orleans Times-Picayune for reporting the worst stories as I covered here on September 6. Thevenot has since co-written an article noting the erroneous coverage without acknowledging that he himself wrote one of the most inflammatory pieces, one that convinced me that the stories must be true if one of New Orleans's own reporters was saying it. I criticized (on the basis of Thevenot's earlier article) Matt Welch for being overly quick to say that the horror stories were untrue; in retrospect, of course Welch deserves kudos.

Along the same lines is Jeff Goldstein's post today.

Instead, I suspect the majority of people who believed the very worst stories did so because they believed that, as politicized and shaded as news stories sometimes are in terms of framing facts, they at least get the facts themselves largely correct.
(Italics in original)
Rats Deserting the Sinking Ship?

Michelle Malkin points us to the news that Katherine Lanpher, Al Franken's cohost, is leaving Air America. Lanpher has always struck me as the sensible person, perhaps not difficult considering the competition. The stated reason strikes me as a little odd:

Katherine has received a book deal from a new imprint at Time Warner to write a memoir of her move to New York.

She moved to New York to take the job with Air Enron. It's been well-reported that Franken intends to run against Norm Coleman in 2008, which means the show would be moving back to Lanpher's old stomping grounds in Minneapolis. And the two-week timeframe sure makes it seem more like a firing, probably (as Michelle hints) as a money-saving measure.

John at My Take on Things has a hilarious and appropriate photoshop. And Political Calculations applies the ten most common reasons businesses fail to Air America.
Could This Problem Be Self-Correcting?

The Ankle-Biters point us to this post by NY Times Public Editor Byron Calame on the Times' policy on correcting errors by their columnists. But I found this part amusing:

Ms. Collins' existing written policy calls for uniformly publishing corrections at the bottom of opinion columns, which leads to their being appended to the original article in and various electronic databases. The approach taken by Mr. Rich means that users of who find themselves reading the Sept. 18 column--something they now must pay to do--get no warning that it contains any error at all. As I've said before, I think a crucial function of a correction these days is to get the right information appended to the increasingly referenced digital versions of articles as soon as possible.

Need I point out that the digital versions of Frank Rich's columns are being decreasingly referenced, thanks to the Times deciding to charge $50 a year for on-line access?
Guardian Columnist: Why Does America Celebrate Heroes?

(Crossposted at Lifelike)

We don't have any newspapers quite like the Guardian in the US. It's kind of an amalgam of the Nation and the New York Times; mostly far left but with an occasional dollop of sense. This column, by Timothy Garton Ash, unfortunately lacks that latter quality.

This was the enactment of a dream, of course. The statistical reality of social mobility in today's United States is rather different. But a dream in which enough people believe is itself a kind of reality, and that has long been the case of the American dream. It's a remarkable fact that, in surveys, many poorer Americans oppose high taxes on the rich - presumably because they believe they might one day be rich themselves. There are just enough success stories of outstanding individuals from poor and immigrant backgrounds to keep the dream alive.

That is not entirely the reason why sensible people oppose high taxes on the rich. In fact, we had those high taxes right up until Ronald Reagan. The reason why we oppose high taxes on the rich is that the rich have the capital stock of the country. If they are taxed highly on their investments, they will tend not to invest. And then the rest of us suffer the ill-effects. Perhaps the classic case of this was when the Clinton Administration decided to raise taxes on the purchase of luxury goods, like yachts. Inevitably what happened was that rich people decided not to buy yachts. Who suffered? The folks who made their living building them.

Two months later we saw America at its worst, as members of the black underclass in the ninth ward of New Orleans drowned, grew sick and were preyed upon by violent gangs, while government failed to help or protect them. There are even reports (unconfirmed, and perhaps apocryphal) of American women changing their name from Katrina, since Hurricane Katrina has become a synonym not just for natural disaster but for human and political failure. How could the richest and most powerful country in the world, capable of hitting a flea in Afghanistan with a precision laser-guided missile, fail its own poor so miserably?

Sigh. Perhaps Mr Garton Ash is unaware that the number of dead in Katrina was vastly overstated, that the reports of violent gangs appear to have been completely made up. I don't know anybody named Katrina myself, but I doubt if many women so named would change it just because of the hurricane.

Then he diverges onto another path which I found interesting:

It would be interesting to do a word count for mentions of the word "hero" in American public life, as compared with Britain, France or Germany. A hundred years ago, conservative nationalist Germans used to characterise the "true" Germans as heroes and the Jews as wheeler-dealers: Helden against Händler. Today, we have a different stereotype: true Americans as Helden and limp-wristed Europeans as Händler. Yet in practice, of course, you had the same mix of true bravery and, as one journalist on the spot noted, "real raw panic" in the response to Rita and Katrina as you would in most societies.

I have no doubt that the word "hero" is used more commonly in the United States than in Europe and for a simple reason: Leftists hate heroes. Indeed, I suspect Mr Garton Ash is not a big fan himself. Note his immediate (and inane) evocation of the Germans and the Jews; the implication is clearly that if you like heroes you must have loved the Holocaust.

Why does the Left denigrate heroes? Because when we celebrate heroes, we are elevating an individual over the common man. We are saying that this person is better than average, that he or she is deserving of admiration and emulation. The Left realizes that heroic individuals undercut their argument that people on their own cannot succeed, that a collective, community effort is needed. It takes a village, remember?

Think about the reaction of "cartoonist" Ted Rall to the death of Pat Tillman. Tillman, a multimillionnaire athlete, had quit professional football after 9-11 to enlist in the army, where he became a Ranger. He was tragically killed in Afghanistan in a friendly fire incident. Rall created a cartoon depicting Tillman as bloodthirsty to kill Arabs. In the final panel, two newspaper reporters are talking with their editor about what they think of Tillman. "Uh--Idiot?" says the first reporter. "Sap?" suggests the second. "Hero!" says the editor.

That's why the continuing theme of Brainster's is the hero, the individual who rises above the moment to achieve greatness. It is to celebrate people like Marine Captain Brian Chontosh, or Phillip Bullard, or Sgt Paul Smith.

Yes, I blog on a lot of topics. But the word "hero" definitely pops up more often in my blog than most. It appears in 17 different posts in September alone, according to a quick search.

Ayn Rand recognized the hero-destroying tendency of the Left. In her book, The Fountainhead,

Ellsworth Toohey, an architectural critic and socialist, slowly prepares to rise to power. He seeks to prevent men from excelling by teaching that talent and ability are of no great consequence, and that the greatest virtue is humility.

Steve Ditko, creator of Spider-man and Dr Strange, was a Rand disciple and created one of the most unusual superhero comic books of all time, Blue Beetle #5, from Charlton Comics Group, in November 1968. The comic is an unabashed tribute to heroes and clearly inspired by The Fountainhead. While strolling through a museum, Ted and Tracy come across an art critic explaining to a bunch of hippies a particularly crappy piece of modern art as representing man as he really is. Disgusted, they quickly turn into another wing of the museum.

(Click on picture to enlarge to readable size. Clicking a second time will enlarge it still more)

Of course, Ditko was swimming against the tide with this effort in 1968.
"Hunting Terrorists" is Offensive?

It is according to Bucknell University.

On August 29th, the Bucknell University Conservatives Club sent out a campus-wide e-mail announcing an upcoming speaker: Major John Krenson, who had been in Afghanistan "hunting terrorists." Those two words--"hunting terrorists"--resulted in three students being called to Bucknell's Office of the President by Kathy Owens, the Executive Assistant to the President.

According to the students, when they arrived at the President's Office for the meeting, Ms. Owens held up a print-out of the offending e-mail and said "we have a problem here," telling the students that the words "hunting terrorists" were offensive. For the next half-hour, the three students were given a lecture on inappropriate phrasing.

You know what the saddest part of this is? If the Bucknell University Liberals Club had sent out an email suggesting a rally to protest the speaker because he had been in Afghanistan, "slaughtering innocent women and children for the Bushitler Empire", Ms Owens would have had no problem with it.
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
PETA Exposed

Our buddy Chris at Lucky Dawg News came up with a terrific video featuring Penn & Teller exposing what really goes on at PETA (scroll down to Video of the Day). The video has a lot of swearing, but it's excellent and hilarious.
Hate America Museum Removed from WTC Plans

Except of course that you'd never know what the debate was about from reading this article by the New York Times. Let's read the facts about the controversy that the Times gives its readers:

The decision followed months of acrimony over the International Freedom Center, with Sept. 11 families and politicians saying that the museum would overshadow and take space from a separate memorial devoted to the 2,749 World Trade Center dead and would dishonor them by fostering debate about the attacks and other world events.

In addition to the terrorist attacks, the Freedom Center planned exhibits on such topics as Abraham Lincoln, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the fall of the Berlin Wall, the civil rights movement, the Declaration of Independence and the South African constitution.

The museum would also include a section on the world's response to Sept. 11 and a film that links the victims' backgrounds to periods in history.

Some families have opposed the museum as much for its location as its content; they say it would sit in a prominent part of ground zero that would obscure the memorial museum.

Isn't that hilarious? It makes the folks who oppose the IFC sound like a bunch of yahoos, who probably hate Abe Lincoln for freeing the slaves and disapprove of the South African constitution for similar (racist) reasons.

Let's go back to the article that spawned the controversy and find out what was really planned:

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.

Hat Tip: Ankle-Biting Pundits

See also Joust the Facts
Air Enron: Danny Goldberg Speaks

(Welcome fellow Michelle Malkin readers!)

This is pretty funny. In an effort to assure the folks over at the HuffPo that Air America is in great shape, Goldberg writes:

Air America is in strong financial shape. Last week we started broadcasting from our new multi-million dollar studios.

Several weeks earlier the Board of Directors of Air America’s parent company accelerated re-payment of a loan from the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club of $875,000 two years in advance of a previously agreed upon re-payment plan. In the last several months, Air America has expanded its executive team to augment our efforts on the internet and in affiliate relations.

Get it? He's trying to insinuate that the repayment of the Gloria Wise loan was just another indicator of the financial health of Airhead America.

Our buddy Buckley F. Williams is reminded of the advice Dean Wormer offered to young Flounder.
Poor Deluded Girl

Mary Mapes has the first chapter of her book up on Amazon. It's typical of the Rathergate defense: Loaded with errors, some so obvious that it seems clear that she's trying obfuscation:

All these Web sites had extensive write-ups on the documents: on typeface, font style, and peripheral spacing, material that seemed to spring up overnight. It was phenomenal. It had taken our analysts hours of careful work to make comparisons. It seemed that these analysts or commentators---or whatever they were---were coming up with long treatises in minutes. They were all linking to one another, creating an echo chamber of outraged agreement.

The rapidity issue (which Moron Marvin Kalb raised in his interview with Rather) is hilarious. If we accept that there were "long treatises in minutes" (which is of course ridiculous), then there are two possibilities here:

1. The blogs were able to do this quickly because the people behind them are really smart and quick.

2. The blogs were able to do this quickly because the documents were phony and the bloggers were behind it and had their "treatises" all ready to go.

Take your pick, Ms Mapes.

And the "peripheral spacing" bit... how could she possibly get "proportional spacing" wrong? One would think that even if she hadn't known the term beforehand, she'd know about it after it caused her firing.

My heart started to pound. There is nothing more frightening for a reporter than the possibility of being wrong, seriously wrong. That is the reason that we checked and rechecked, argued about wording, took care to be certain that the video that accompanied the words didn’t create a new and unintended nuance. Being right, being sure, was everything.

You are so, so careful about being right, Ms Mapes, but somehow you call it "peripheral spacing"?

Also, note this little circumlocution:

I was told that the first posting claiming the documents were fakes had gone up on Free Republic before our broadcast was even off the air! How had the Web site even gotten copies of the documents? We hadn’t put them online until later. That first entry, posted by a longtime Republican political activist lawyer who used the name “Buckhead,” set the tone for what was to come.

Note the "I was told" beginning to the first sentence. In fact, Buckhead, who lives in Atlanta, put up his post a few hours after the show ended. Ms Mapes obviously knows this, so she writes "I was told" at the front to make a false statement true. "I was told the moon is made of green cheese" is a true statement, but "the moon is made of green cheese" is false. That's far too cleverly written to be unintentional.

There was no analysis of what the documents actually said, no work done to look at the content, no comparison with the official record, no phone calls made to check the facts of the story, nothing beyond a cursory and politically motivated examination of the typeface. That was all they had to attack, but that was enough.

Yes, indeed, it was enough.
Jest for Grins

This is hilarious:

The pink visitors' locker room at the University of Iowa's stadium is making some people see red.

Several professors and students joined the call Tuesday for the athletic department to do away with the pink showers, carpeting and lockers, a decades-long Hawkeye football tradition.

Critics say the use of pink demeans women, perpetuates offensive stereotypes about women and homosexuality, and puts the university in the uncomfortable position of tacitly supporting those messages.
DeLay Indicted

Associated Press article here. The Smoking Gun has the actual indictment. Michelle Malkin has more. Ankle-Biting Pundits says there's no good way to spin it.
Ode To Cindy

Pam Meister's been doing a little songwriting on the side.

John McCain ought to be singing a bit after his meeting with Mother Sheehan:

"He is a warmonger, and I'm not," Sheehan said after meeting with McCain. "I believe this war is not keeping America safer."

That should help McCain move up a bit in the minds of Republicans.
Around the Horn

The Chief Brief examines Grover Norquist's famed quote about drowning the federal government in a bathtub, and concludes that death is not imminent.

Jamie Allman notes that the media didn't just get the story wrong on Katrina:

Helping spread false reports of rapes and killings and not verifying the stories before airing them was more than a violation of basic news standards. The media frenzy of lies could have resulted in riots and deaths and anyone who reported them without verification or without mention they were unverified reports should be fired.

Ironically, the media got high marks from the public for their coverage of Katrina (at least, as reported by the self-congratulatory media).

On the same topic, our longtime buddy Gayle Miller notes what you'd believe if you only paid attention to the media on Katrina.

Kitty has an very amusing story about what to do when the phone solicitors call during dinner.

CrosSwords looks at the conversation that would happen if President Bush were to meet with Cindy Sheehan for a second time.
Coalition of the Chillin' Wins?

Thirteen members of the "Gang of 14" have announced their support for Judge Roberts, with only Daniel Inouye still uncommitted.

For a different take, looking at the next nominee, check out Captain Ed.
Louisiana Swampland

The AmSpec details a bit more of the corruption that lies just beneath the surface:

Take a look at who was browbeating ousted FEMA head Michael Brown during yesterday's Congressional hearing on government relief-effort failures -- William Jefferson, the New Orleans congressman who, underscoring that the city is run by a political class not much different from the criminal class they overlook, is under federal investigation for graft. After Brown rightly called the Louisiana government "dysfunctional," Jefferson exploded, "I find it absolutely stunning that this hearing would start out with you, Mr. Brown, laying the blame for FEMA's failings at the feet of the governor of Louisiana and the Mayor of New Orleans."

How many media outlets when they report this exchange will also report that Jefferson is under FBI investigation, that the FBI has found money hidden in his freezer, and that he is a loan-defaulting ex-slum lord? Jefferson's lawyer, before the flood, was playing the race card, decrying the federal government's decision to pursue its case in "white" Northern Virginia. Now Jefferson will place himself among the "victims" of alleged indifference by the federal government during the flood: the same federal government that didn't care about you, he will in effect say to his constituents, is persecuting me.
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
The Amazing Race Family Edition

Early thoughts--like the Gaghan family; their running ability will stand them well. Also liked the southern family (Rogers?), as the only ones who mentioned religion (at first; later on everybody seemed to be praying) and because the dad said he was the ruler of the family. Not necessarily because I agree, but because it helps to have one boss.

Okay, after watching the whole episode, here are my observations:

1. That Gaghan family is going to be very tough. I just wonder if they revealed the strength of their kids a little early. Loved the bit with them singing "We'll Be Comin' 'Round the Mountain," as they passed the other family in the buggy; that was priceless.

2. The widow and her daughters did very well despite the near disaster; Mom was smart enough to duck under the wagon and avoid being hit.

3. I liked the Black family's heart, but did anybody get the foreshadowing of doom from the way the two boys didn't give it their all on two separate occasions? First when they were rowing the boat across the Delaware, and then again when the boy fell down while getting the water.

4. Loved that they started in New York then crossed all the way over New Jersey. Had to laugh at the one woman wondering if they meant Pennsylvania as in a state. I grew up in NJ, so I don't think I'd have any trouble navigating that part of the trek.

5. The other part that had me laughing was the Paolo family; talk about typical Italian sons complaining that their parents are embarrassing them, while their mother practically has the vapors. Of course, those families are actually fairly rare these days (not many Italian first generation families) but they were still common when I was growing up (back in the Johnson Administration, son--Andrew Johnson, that is).

6. Some interesting challenges, particularly the imitation of Washington crossing the Delaware. It seems pretty obvious that at the detour, those who chose to build it rather than buggy it made the right choice. The widow and her daughters actually went back to building it after crashing the buggy and still left there first.

7. Viking Pundit's race summary is here. He reveals something I had not known; the two hot dog vendors early in the race on 91st Street were former Amazing Race contestants. I did notice that they seemed a little unusual for clue handers in that they made observations about the folks as they ran off.

8. Lorie Byrd enjoyed an exchange between two siblings (I think this was the Linz family, which finished ninth).

9. Oddly the Gadlewski family made little impression on me although they won the evening. I'm pretty sure this is the family of four blonde sisters. BTW, when did the stereotype about blondes being dumb (which one of them mentioned) start? I don't remember it at all when I was growing up.

10. Virtual Pus finds some racism in the choice of families. He makes some reasonable points about how editing gives us the the “crazy black bitch” and the “lazy black male.” I think one cast of 10 families is too small to make any real analysis on though--how about examining a bunch of seasons to see if a pattern emerges? He does note that two of the seven seasons of TAR have been won by a black team.
Kraken Spotted

Some pretty cool photos of a giant (25 foot) squid.
Nice Tribute to a Hero

Hankies ready!
Howard Dean Supporting More Losers

Just got an email from Democracy for America. Their "first DFA Grassroots All Star" is John Courage. Great name; Dan Rather used to endorse the guy at the end of every broadcast. But unfortunately for Mr C, he's running for Congress in Texas District 21, which appears to stretch from Austin to San Antonio. The current incumbent is Republican Lamar Smith, who won election in 2004 by a 61.5-35.5 margin over his Democrat opponent. With a 26 percentage point margin, Congressman Smith appears to have a reasonaby safe seat. As is typical of the DFA-types, they are more interested in finding candidates who are compatible with their left-wing agenda than candidates who actually have a chance of winning.
Who's Next?

Ankle-Biting Pundits notes that New Orleans Police Superintendent Eddie (can't find my way to the Superdome without a) Compass has resigned. They want your suggestions for a replacement.

The obvious pick is a man with minority cred, with extensive experience in law enforcement, and hipper than Axel Foley:

Solid, man.
The Geena Davis Thing

They've been advertising the heck out of Commander In Chief on Monday Night Football, apparently in the belief that football fans are just itching for a woman president. Here's an amusing little article on how this show could help Hillary.

Already, the show has made for real-life buzz. The White House Project, which works to elevate women in politics, is hosting house parties nationwide and offering screenings in Manhattan; Washington, D.C.; and Denver. Says Donna Good, who's planning a 200-strong gathering in Boston, "It's the first time popular culture has said a woman can be in the Oval Office."

Uh, you know, you should probably check on that. Kisses for My President, a rather silly comedy starring Polly Bergen and Fred MacMurray came out in 1964, and I suspect that it was hardly the first bit of pop culture to explore this theme.

"Hillary must have friends at ABC," says Bob Kunst, of, a grassroots effort to "draft" Clinton to be the next president. "This is just too much of a coincidence."

Actually, Clinton does have friends on the show. Writer Steve Cohen used to work for her in the 1990s, serving as the then first lady's deputy communications director. "I have no doubt she is capable, qualified, and ready to be the president of the United States should she choose to run," he tells the Voice, in all candor.

But Cohen isn't the show's creator. And that man, Rod Lurie, though a Clinton supporter, has said he modeled his female president not on Hillary, but on Susan Lyne, the former head of ABC who now runs the Martha Stewart empire. Besides, the program works in any woman's favor, Democrat or Republican. For Mac is an independent in a post-G.W. administration. "We support the notion of a female president from either side of the aisle," Cohen says.

Sure he does. And get this (no doubt apocryphal) story about the groundswell for Hillary in red states:

Even folks in red states are warming up to Clinton. In June, Kunst pulled his truck, plastered with posters, into a small town in Tennessee. People flocked to him, pressing money into his hand and buying up all 700 of his $2 stickers. He always runs into what he calls "the hysterical, 'I hate her' stuff," yet lately he's encountered more people wondering about Clinton as a leader. Commander in Chief can help "tremendously," he says, so long as it doesn't trivialize the issue.

Considering that the first episode is supposed to include an invasion of Nigeria over women's rights, I suspect that trivializing is bound to happen.

Kitty says that she can't think of Geena Davis without thinking of Thelma & Louise. Fortunately I skipped that piece of man-bashing. I may watch tonight's episode, depending on whether it conflicts with The Amazing Race.

Chris suggests in the comments that we all mention our favorite fictional presidents. I hope nobody mentions Dave, or Michael Douglas, or Martin Sheen. My picks? How about Max Frost from Wild in the Streets? The Jeff Daniels' character from The Contender was rather amusingly absurd. For a serious pick, how about Kevin Pollak in Deterrence, a 1999 movie about the president who has the cojones to nuke Baghdad?
Moron Marvin Kalb

I take a seven-iron to his latest column over at Lifelike. Dan Rather's recent interview on C-Span is getting a lot of attention--especially for his fatheaded comments that the documents he presented on 60 Minutes II have not been proven bogus--but how many realize it was Moron Marv who did that interview?

KALB: Every now and then it even looks as if the new media is at war with the old media. I want to go back to the National Guard story of last year. It was the blogger, the internet blogger who instantly went after you and CBS with an effect that was very damaging all the way around. And played an impact, indeed, on the presidential campaign.

I have always been astonished that even before the program ended, it was still on. A blog site called run by an active air force officer blasted the program. Four hours later, another website called Buckhead ran a detailed critique of the document that you used in the report.

You get the feeling that Moron Marv really doesn't understand the blogs, and doesn't have a clue about Rathergate? Buckhead made his comment on Free Republic, he didn't do a detailed critique, just noted that the memos seemed suspicious. And the damaging part was not the criticism of Rather's report, but the fact that Rather had run with documents that were fraudulent in a clear and partisan attempt to sabotage the president.

Now, I have always wondered to myself. That's an amazingly swift bit of research. You watch something on air, four hours later, you are prepared to run pages and pages of detailed criticism of the document. How does somebody do that that quickly?

Uh, maybe because they didn't run pages and pages of detailed criticism four hours later?

Here's Buckhead's post as it appeared in its entirety:

To: Howlin

Howlin, every single one of these memos to file is in a proportionally spaced font, probably Palatino or Times New Roman.

In 1972 people used typewriters for this sort of thing, and typewriters used monospaced fonts.

The use of proportionally spaced fonts did not come into common use for office memos until the introduction of laser printers, word processing software, and personal computers. They were not widespread until the mid to late 90's. Before then, you needed typesetting equipment, and that wasn't used for personal memos to file. Even the Wang systems that were dominant in the mid 80's used monospaced fonts.

I am saying these documents are forgeries, run through a copier for 15 generations to make them look old.

This should be pursued aggressively.
47 posted on 09/08/2004 11:59:43 PM EDT by Buckhead

Terrific post, no doubt about it, and the one that started the ball rolling. But as you can see, it hardly constitutes "pages and pages of detailed criticism of the document".
Cindy Busts a Move--And Gets Busted

Young Nationalist has the video of Cindy Sheehan's arrest, and her horrific attempt at dancing.
Men of Straw

Patrick Ruffini's September straw poll of Republican candidates is up. Go over there and participate in the monthly gauge of where the candidates are, and, perhaps more interesting, where the readers of the different blogs are. Most startling result? John McCain has gotten one of the 64 voters from Arizona to select him. Some of his staffers need to tell him his chance has passed.
Lorie Byrd on Giuliani

Our longtime buddy Lorie has a guest column in Townhall on her affection for Rudy G.

An admirer of Giuliani and a believer that he had a good shot at the presidency long before Hurricane Katrina, I now find myself becoming a full-fledged fan of the prospect. I will likely get some grief from some of my fellow pro-life, social conservatives, but I hope they will consider not only what an attractive candidate Rudy would be in the post-Katrina political climate, but also to consider the attributes Giuliani would bring to the presidency.

Rudy is probably the only social liberal who could win the Republican nomination. As I've said before, I'm more of a Republican than I am a conservative, so I certainly would not be overly disappointed if Giuliani manages to get the nod.

Giuliani achieved giant stature in my eyes, and those of most other Americans, with his actions following 9/11. Because he is already known as a uniter and a strong leader, he will be resistant to attempts to portray him otherwise. He can also claim to have received a large number of votes from Democrats in past elections. Not many, if any, of the other potential Republican presidential candidates can say that.

This is perhaps the key point. Rudy is a winner. We all sense that. Unlike John McCain, who would also be likely to win if he got the nomination, Giuliani has smartly refrained from criticizing other Republicans (at least not since the days when he notoriously endorsed Mario Cuomo over George Pataki). What it will boil down to in the end is whether Republicans are feeling confident in 2008, or if they sense the possibility of defeat. If it's the former, a reliable conservative like (say) George Allen will probably get the nod. If it's the latter though....
This Will Work

The German media unite to tell people they're better off than they think.

Entitled "You are Germany", the campaign took up two pages in Monday's national newspapers with a moody colour photograph of the German Olympic skating champion Claudia Pechstein tearing across an icebound lake "There is no name that you can't cheer about" said the accompanying slogan.

Katarina Witt, another Olympic skating champion, told Germans in a television advertisement: "Don't ask what others can do for you. You are the others. You are Germany!"

Let's see if we can help the effort. Hey, Germans, you are far better off than you think! Your unemployment rate is about 1/3rd lower than America's was during the Great Depression!
Monday, September 26, 2005
But We're Just Trying to Boost Their Self-Esteem

Cooing at babies banned at British hospital.

Debbie Lawson, neo-natal manager at the hospital's special care baby unit, said: "Cooing should be a thing of the past because these are little people with the same rights as you or me.

And in another stupid story coming out of Britain, godless societies do better than religious ones. Tell it to the Russians.

Oh, and Roger Waters (formerly of Pink Floyd) is something of a twit.

Waters initially resisted trying to draw parallels between late 18th-century France and current social conditions. "But then I thought: 'Well, in France back then, you had this rigid, hierarchical structure where the king was considered divinely instructed by God and had absolute power. Then you had the nobility and the clergy, but the majority of people had nothing.'

"That's very much like the situation we have now with some Western civilized nations. I think George (W.) Bush believes that he's operating on a license from the Almighty. And you have a very, very small number of people who control 99% of all the stuff in the world, whereas the rest are like the French peasantry were."

You know, Rog, you control a heck of a lot of the "stuff" yourself, including "the vast, elegantly appointed den of his lakefront Hamptons home, where Louis would have felt quite comfortable...."
NFL Week 3

Best game of the week had to be the rematch of last year's AFC Championship, with the Steelers tying the game late in regulation, only to watch Brady drive his team down the field to set up the game-winning field goal. Ben Roethlisberger loses his first regular season game.

Brady's this generation's Joe Montana; the guy who can be depended on never to lose his cool no matter what the pressure.

Worst game: Tonight's Monday Night matchup turned out to be a real dud. The KC Chiefs played conservatively, punting twice from inside the Bronco's 40-yard-line. Jake looked like the superstar we all thought he was going to be early in his career, throwing and running like a champ. It's a little late to expect the old dog to learn new tricks, and I fully expect him to throw some more of those terrible passes out in the flat that get returned. But for a moment you could see the talent the guy has.

The Jets' season certainly looks over with Pennington and Fiedler both injured against Jacksonville. The Cardinals start out 0-3 for what seems like the 10th time since they moved to Arizona. The Packers look pretty bad; rumor is that Sherman is on the hot seat.

Best Team in the league so far: The Cincinnati Bengals look ready to end a long period of frustration. Indianapolis and Tampa Bay, the other two 3-0 teams, have each had close games, while the Bengals have won their games easily. Peyton Manning has now thrown 11 touchdowns in his last 8 games (including playoffs) and only 2 this season. In his first 8 games last year he threw 32.
It's Like if a Communist Wanted to Join the Club for Growth...

The Man tells us what happens when a white politician tries to join the Tennessee Black Caucus.
Hugh Hewitt On Heroes

His whole show today is dedicated to Medal of Honor recipients. Excellent stuff!
Don't Get Stuck on Stupid!

Like Hillary is.
The Difficulty With Parodying the Left

As I have mentioned in the past, is that parody depends on taking something to an extreme. Mr Right does an excellent job as always, but can't get out in front of the idiots, as this picture shows:

Photo taken from EU Rota. Hat Tip: Michelle Malkin
Oh Canada!

Captain Ed has another Canadian scandal brewing, this time the result of Canada's controversial gun registration program. Ed focuses on the fact that this program is apparently draining resources from the RCMP to investigate government corruption. But I almost swallowed my gum when I read this factoid:

Originally expected to be self-financing by 1999-2000, Fraser and her auditors discovered the target for the firearms program to break even was pushed to 2013 -- an assumption that the program collect $419 million in fees in 2002-03 and about $828 million by 2007-08.

Work it out--they estimate that the collections will almost exactly double in 5 years which implies compounded annual growth of 14%. If we assume that will continue going forward, the estimate is an incredible $1.65 billion in fees in 2012-2013. I'm not sure if that's intended to be a two year total, but let's assume that it is, so that the estimate is roughly $825 million per annum. That's $26 per person in Canada, every year. Just to maintain a registration list! Looked at another way, suppose that we hired people at $50,000 per year to maintain the registry. That would be enough to hire 16,500 people!

No wonder the article Captain Ed points to says that this will prove to be a bigger fraud than Adscam.
The Wannabees

Described as Vietnam War Vet Lennie Vucci of Long Beach, he must surely be the last Vietnam vet with no white or grey in his beard. He certainly appears younger than I (50) and I am just barely too young to have served in Vietnam.

There is a Leonard Vucci of Long Beach in the white pages; couldn't find anything out about him by Googling.

For comparison purposes, here's somebody that we know is a Vietnam Vet: Ron Kovic, whose life was the subject of the Tom Cruise movie, Born on the 4th of July. Kovic was born in 1946. The protester at the top was purportedly born in 1947. I ask you, does it seem reasonable or likely that these two men are one year apart in age?

Here's another man who looks a trifle young for what he claims. Work it out; suppose he was 16 in 1945 but managed to get into the war. He'd be 76 today; this guy looks more like his mid-60s at the oldest to me.
Who's Responsible for the Lies?

(Welcome, fellow Politburo Dictat readers!)

This New Orleans Times-Picayune article makes it clear that the stories of rape and murder at the Superdome and the New Orleans Convention Center were largely a fiction. But who is responsible?

"I had the impression that at least 40 or 50 murders had occurred at the two sites," he said. "It's unfortunate we saw these kinds of stories saying crime had taken place on a massive scale when that wasn't the case. And they (national media outlets) have done nothing to follow up on any of these cases, they just accepted what people (on the street) told them. ... It's not consistent with the highest standards of journalism."

Ah, so it's the media? But they were reporting what people supposedly in the know told them:

Police, according to their chief, Eddie Compass, found themselves in multiple shootouts inside both shelters, and were forced to race toward muzzle flashes through the dark to disarm the criminals; snipers supposedly fired at doctors and soldiers from downtown high-rises.

In interviews with Oprah Winfrey, Compass reported rapes of "babies," and Mayor Ray Nagin spoke of "hundreds of armed gang members" killing and raping people inside the Dome. Unidentified evacuees told of children stepping over so many bodies, "we couldn't count."

Now, I'm not a big defender of the media, but it seems to me that if you are relying on the folks who supposedly are in the know--the mayor and the chief of police--it's a bit hard to blame it on the newspapers and TV stations for passing that information along. Remember, the Times-Picayune itself reported some of the most outrageous stories. That said, the media passed along the stories uncritically because they suited their agenda at the time, which was to claim that people were being killed because of the supposedly sluggish response of the Bush Administration.

Note as well that this fits nicely with the Aaron Broussard story. Now we've got three local New Orleans officials who quite obviously lied to make it seem like people were dying because the feds didn't step in fast enough.

The Commissar ties it into a Frank Rich column. I vaguely remember the name Frank Rich; wasn't he the backup QB for the Buffalo Bills?

See also Michelle Malkin
Byron York Visits the Moonbats

I'm beginning to wonder if half the crowd was mad up of conservatives documenting the nuttiness of the demonstrators.

Indeed, if anything, the weekend showed that the antiwar movement remains constitutionally unable to focus its protests sharply — and exclusively — on the war, and not personally on the president or on all the sideshow causes. There seems little question that the aggressive anti-Bushism, along with the side causes — which were often not on the side at all, but center-stage — diminish the credibility of the antiwar movement and alienate moderate Americans who might have serious misgivings about the war but would never align themselves with the likes of International ANSWER. Yet the protests continue.
Barone's Snapshot

The Dean of American politics takes a gander at the current situation.

But even if things are going well, isn't America hated around the world? By the elites and chattering classes of many countries, yes, and by much of the American elite and chattering class as well. But we are not competing in a popularity contest. In a unipolar world, the single superpower will always arouse envy and dislike. The relevant question is if we can live safely in the world; the French may dislike us, but we can live comfortably with France. The recent Pew Trust polls showing diminishing support for Islamist terrorism in Muslim countries indicate things are moving in the right direction. The increasing interweaving of China into the international economy suggests China may not be a military threat. A world spinning out of control? No, it is more like a world moving, with some backward steps, in the direction we want.

Hat Tip: Lucianne
Sunday, September 25, 2005
This is Supposed to Be 100,000 People

My guess is closer to 25,000.
Michelle Visits the Moonbats

I hope that she took some pains to disguise herself; she was definitely in enemy territory.
Not Dead Yet

But not quite alive either.


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