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Saturday, December 10, 2005
Saddam's Connections to Al Qaeda Documented

Our buddy Mr Ugly American does a marvelous job of gathering together an impressive amount of data on the Saddam-Al Qaeda connection that the antiwar crowd constantly denies exists.
Gene McCarthy Dies

At age 89.

My first involvement in presidential politics came with the Gene McCarthy campaign in 1968. My parents were active in the antiwar movement and they volunteered early enough to become county coordinators. We had a fundraising party at our house at which the celebrities were Richard Benjamin and Paula Prentiss. I remember wondering if anybody was going to show up in our very Republican area; as it turned out there were cars parked up and down the block for a quarter mile.

I remember being a little disappointed when McCarthy didn't win New Hampshire, but my parents were elated that he came close. Shortly afterwards, President Johnson stunned the nation by dropping out of the race. Bobby Kennedy got in, as did Hubert Humphrey. I watched the Chicago convention and became radicalized at the sight of the cops beating kids. And in the end, Richard Nixon won the White House.

I stayed pretty leftist until about 1982 when I began reading the Wall Street Journal on a daily basis and debating with one of the guys in the office. He always seemed to have a good answer for me, and I was still somewhat lazy about learning Democratic talking points.

Reagan was a big part of the difference. His sunny optimism was refreshing after Carter, and he delivered a strong economy, something that the country hadn't seen for almost a decade. I remember when he was shot, hearing that he'd joked with the doctors that he hoped they were Republicans. That impressed the heck out of me. And so when it came time to vote in 1984, I gave the Republicans a chance.
Globaloney Roundup

Here's an article on the the extension of the Kyoto accords.

Environment activists cheered, hugged and some even cried after the delegates passed what they saw as historic decisions tackling climate change.

"There were many potential points at this meeting when the world could have given up due to the tactics of the Bush administration and others but it did not," said Jennifer Morgan, climate change expert at WWF.

Bill Clinton is lying again:

"...If we had a serious disciplined effort to apply on a large-scale, existing clean energy and energy conservation technologies -- we could meet and surpass the Kyoto targets easily in a way that would strengthen, not weaken, our economy," said Clinton to applause from the delegates.

If these Clinton whoppers weren't enough he then took a swipe at George W. Bush. It's interesting that only Jimmy Carter, the worst president in recent history, and Bill Clinton, a president who did nothing but campaign for eight years, feel emboldened to routinely criticize a sitting president in foreign countries, usually playing to the left-wing socialists who welcome their comments.

I suspect that the recent gas price spike and the current heating oil costs will do a lot to convince people to conserve, but there is a limit. Suppose I decided to replace all my windows with double-panes, and throw down another layer of insulation in the attic. That might save me some money, but what do I do the next time? My costs will undoubtedly be higher and the net savings smaller. It's the principle of diminishing returns.

And the idea of reducing energy consumption, while it sounds noble, is going to be difficult to achieve. Why? Because we all have far more electonic devices than we used to back in 1990--DVD players, computers, larger-screen TVs, etc.

Meanwhile, I couldn't help being amused at this article on corn stoves:

Once relegated to farmhouses and cabins, corn-burning and more common wood-burning stoves began growing in popularity four years ago among environmentally-minded consumers interested in cheaper and renewable energy sources.

But wait a minute! Aren't those stoves burning corn, which releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere? How can people burning stuff be considered "environmentally-minded"?
I Don't Usually Side With Soccer Hooligans

But this strikes me as a bit too PC.
Friday, December 09, 2005
Winter Soldier Gets Adoring Review in WaPo

By a critic who is apparently unaware that the film has largely been debunked.

Several of the film's subjects, chief among them a Florida native named Scott Camil, are seen grappling not only with their experiences overseas but also with the very definition of manhood, whether as constructed by cultural mores or one's own inner code.

Camil, of course, received a little bit of notoriety last year when it was revealed that he had made a proposal to the VVAW executive leadership (including John Kerry) that they engage in a program of assassinating US Senators, a story that transfixed the right-wing blogosphere last March.

Hat Tip: Wizbang.
Conservative Blogz Rool!

That's apparently the conclusion of a Sunday New York Times article on the blogosphere that this article (by lowlife Greg Mitchell) in E&P attempts to debunk preemptively.

In fact, Crowley admits that his argument for conservative blog supremacy may seem “counterintuitive,” noting the Howard Dean phenomenon in early 2004 and heavy Web traffic numbers for liberal blogs such as DailyKos. (He does not mention that studies of online traffic show that, overall, there are more highly-popular liberal blogs than conservative ones.) But he explains that “Democrats say there’s a key difference between liberals and conservatives online. Liberals use the Web to air ideas and vent grievances with one another, often ripping into Democratic leaders. Conservatives, by contrast, skillfully use the Web to provide maximum benefit for their issues and candidates.”

Crowley then comments that what really makes the conservative blogs allegedly more effective is the infrastructure provided by Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and others--"all of which are quick to pass on the latest tidbit from the blogosphere."

It always makes me laugh when somebody brings up the Howard Dean phenomenon as an example of the liberal blogosphere's mojo. Yes, the liberal blogs were successful in raising $40 million and an army of volunteers. For a candidate who didn't win a single primary. And I don't believe for a moment that there are more highly popular liberal blogs than conservative ones. TTLB's down right now, but I'd bet that if you checked the top 20 or the top 50 or the top 100 that there would be more conservative than liberal blogs. Yes, Kos is way above everybody in traffic, but some of that is due to definitions. I suspect that if Lucianne's site were considered a blog (which it is) it would dwarf Kos. Ditto for the Drudge Report, which has about as much traffic in an hour as Kos has in a day.
Superman to Fight Crime

Shaquille O'Neill, who puts the Superman symbol on just about everything he owns, is sworn in as a Miami reserve police officer.
Oddball Story of the Day

The Man at GOP & the City has a tale about a dumb cop taking a rather bizarre souvenir from an accident scene. Somehow he came up with a perfect illustration for the post from the Simpsons.
Retreat and Defeat Is Not An Option

The much-anticipated white flag video is up at the RNC.

I like it but it needs a "wham" sound effect when it puts up the last line.

Hat Tip: Ankle-Biters.

Crazy Politico has some thoughts on the ad as well.
Ted Rall's Latest Outrage

John Hawkins has the details. Rall's going to roast over a slow flame after he dies.

Rick Moran does a full-on fisking of Rall. As I commented over at Rick's, I read somewhere that Rall's dad abandoned the family when he was young, which goes a long way towards explaining why he's still a punk, and why he does these ridiculous "look at me" cartoons and columns.
Survivor Update: The Alliance Eats Its Own

Coming back from tribal council, Cindy notes what I commented on last week, that whoever gets caught by surprise is the next one off--happened to Jamie, happened to Judd, is Cindy next?

Reward is for an SUV--a Pontiac Torrent. Weird name for a car. The challenge involves parts of earlier challenges. First up is to balance on a beam while untying knots. Second is to throw paddles through a tile. Third is to assemble a puzzle, then hop in a cart, cut the rope holding it back with a machete, and roll down the hill.

Cindy and Steph make it to the final task, but Cindy does the jigsaw puzzle routine of finishing the outside before working on the inside and gets the victory ride.

Then comes the twist. Cindy can take her SUV, or she can give it up, and everybody else will get an SUV. Jeff points out that nobody who's gotten a car has ever won Survivor. She could take the whammy off herself and put it on everybody else. They play it for drama, and I couldn't help thinking that the greatest good for the greatest number, but Cindy is a capitalist at heart and she took the car.

This is why Survivor is so compelling compared to most of the other reality shows--they always push the chips in and force the person to make a tough decision. The next one is obvious--she can take one person along with her for a ride. Of course it is only one. Like everybody, she invites Steph along, which is a huge, glaring mistake. Cindy needed to go for the home run at that point, which means she had to get Lydia or Danni off to the side.

Cindy and Steph drive off to a barbecue at an archaeological site. They enjoy quite a bit of food, and get the benefit of a lecture and discussion of the history of the Mayans from the archaeologist. That night they sleep under mosquito netting.

Meanwhile Rafe and Danni are back at the campsite talking about how noble they would have been, giving up the SUV for their friends. Lydia manages to be non-committal while saying that Cindy made the right choice for her. When you combine that with the fact that everybody else was thinking "SUV for me" while Lydia was thinking "SUV for my son", I couldn't help noticing that Lydia's in a fine position. With all the paranoia around the tribe, she's the person who nobody sees as a threat. And yet she's scary in the final against anybody but (arguably) Danni.

The immunity challenge is something similar to what we've seen before. The survivors are hooked into a rope and they must navigate a course, complete with handcuffs and leg-cuffs. Buncha keys, so by luck Steph gets ahead. And pretty much stays ahead, despite Jeff's enthusiastic calling. She does have to go back to untie a few knots, that finally get her to the end, which seems, shall we say, just a tad extra-dramatic?

One thing is for sure, she and Cindy are not resting on their laurels and assuming they're in the alliance.

Steph wins immunity and does a little sobbing at her individual win. We go back to camp and the plotting begins in earnest. But it's basically Rafe or Cindy who's in trouble here. Rafe has spent the time cultivating Danni, and so Cindy seems hosed, and so she is when the votes are finally counted.

Finale prediction. It all depends on the immunity, as usual. Rafe and Steph are now suddenly the vulnerable ones. If Danni and Lydia hold, then whoever gets immunity will go along with them. Which sets up a final three of Danni, Lydia and Rafe/Steph. The last immunity is always a contest of endurance, and I suspect that here we will finally see Lydia shine. Steph and Danni are athletes, but they are sprinters; Lydia looks like a marathoner. Rafe? He's hard to judge, but I don't see him as an endurance guy.

I'd see Steph as the most likely to be voted off first next week, unless she wins immunity, in which case Rafe loses. I think Lydia's going to take the endurance contest somehow--perhaps even by doing the early jump-off ala Richard Hatch. It might be a weird finale with Steph holding on for dear life and knowing she'll probably lose to whomever she picks to join her in the final tribal council.

Surprises? I suspect that they are going to spring a few at least on us at the finale. I still don't believe that Judd is just a doorman at a building in New York City. Not only did he get "Ancient ruins" but he was smart enough to give it to Rafe. Is Lydia somehow a Guatemalan/Mayan?
Thursday, December 08, 2005
A Recurring Theme

I've remarked on this tendency of the Left often:

As I listen to the opinions and arguments expressed here, I am struck by the lack of interest in exactly how much (or should I say, how little?) the currently proposed policies are going to stave off any future warming trends. Instead, what seems to be the most important are the good intentions of the policy pushers-consequences be damned.

Exactly. Although in this case, the topic is global warming, you can transfer this to almost any issue that the Left is pushing. Will a "living wage" end up making some people's skills uncompetitive? Will it tend to increase the number of youngsters dropping out of high school? That doesn't matter--the intent was to lift some families out of poverty.

Back in the days before neocon meant "Republicans who support the war in Iraq", this was the chief difference between neoconservatives and liberals. Neocons wanted to look at the effects of policies, not just their intentions. The guiding tenet of neoconservatism was the Principle of Unintended Consequences, which states that the unintended consequences of government programs are frequently equal to and opposite from the intended consequences. To take a simple example, welfare, intended to alleviate poverty, ended up trapping them in poverty.
The 16th Minute of Fame

Teri Schiavo's husband is starting up a PAC.

Michael Schiavo said in a news release that the group, TerriPAC, would raise money to campaign against members of Congress, mostly Republicans, who drafted and voted for legislation to intervene in the case.

Among Republicans it is targeting are Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee, Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Rep. Tom DeLay of Texas.

Politically savvy, he's not. For one thing, Frist isn't running for reelection.
More Bad News on the Economy

Bad news for the Democrats, that is:

Economists have raised their forecasts for U.S. growth in the first half of 2006 to 3.6 percent, according to a survey conducted by the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank.

That compares with a forecast of 3.1 percent growth when the previous survey was taken six months ago, the Fed said.

Forecasts for the second half of this year edged up to 3.7 percent from 3.6 percent.
Barack Obama A Bit Too Honest?

Check out these quotes from Osama Obama (as Ted Kennedy likes to call him).

This is a classic case of a politician talking about political calculations out of school. Stupid, stupid, stupid!

Hat Tip: Jamie Allman
How the ACLU Stole Christmas

Mr. Right's latest piece of satire.

The sad thing is that I could actually see the ACLU making this argument.
Update on Mirecki

I noted my skepticism on the claim by an anti-religion professor in Kansas that he was attacked over an email he'd sent decrying the religious as "fundies". Michelle Malkin did some further digging on the story and has obtained the police report of the incident. Mirecki can't recall exactly where it was he was attacked, and there are conflicting reports of the extent of his injuries from colleagues and students who saw him on the day of the alleged attack.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
The Wonders of State-Paid Medicine

This is sad, but typical. As I've often remarked in the past, if you make something free, you will sooner or later have to ration it:

One of the most decorated British fighter pilots of the Second World War has sold his medals, diaries and other memorabilia partly to pay for a hip replacement operation for his wife who faced at least a six-month wait on the National Health Service.

Sqn Ldr Neville Duke, 83, the Royal Air Force's top-scoring ace in the Mediterranean theatre who set a world air speed record of 728 mph in 1953, put the collection up for auction rather than subject his wife Gwen to months of pain and discomfort while she waited for an operation.

The standard waiting time for hip replacements in the orthopaedic department at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital, one of the nearest facilities to the Dukes' home, is six months.

Mrs Duke, who has been in pain with her hip for eight months, was told by her chiropractor that the wait might be 15 months.
Barbra Writes the LA Times--Updated

Barely coherently:

I'm almost embarrassed for you in seeing the LA Times being referred to as the "Chicago LA Times" on the myriad of internet sites I've visited in the last few days. It seems, however, an aptly designated epithet, representing the feeling among many of your readers that your new leadership, especially that of Jeff Johnson, is entirely out of touch with them and their desire to be exposed to views that stretch them beyond their own paradigms. So although the number of contributors to your op-ed pages may have increased, in firing Robert Sheer and putting Jonah Goldberg in his place, the gamut of voices has undeniably been diluted, and I suspect this may ultimately decrease the number of readers of those same pages.

In light of the obvious step away from the principals of journalistic integrity, which would dictate that journalists be journalists, editors be editors and accountants be accountants, I am now forced to carefully reconsider which sources can be trusted to provide me with accurate, unbiased news and forthright opinions. Your new columnist, Jonah Goldberg, will not be one of those sources.

The "gamut of voices has been diluted"? And it's "principles" of journalistic integrity.

Update: The Argument Clinic has a very funny take on La Streisand's letter.
Did Iran Cease Its Nuclear Weapons Program?

This is rather interesting.

London - The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has found no "smoking gun" in Iran that would indicate a nuclear weapons programme, the Jerusalem Post on Wednesday quoted IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei as telling the daily.

But ElBaradei admitted that Teheran maintained an undeclared nuclear programme for 18 years until three years ago, which the IAEA failed to detect.

Until three years ago? Hmmm, that's a rather interesting detail. What was going on three years ago? Wasn't there something about a country near Iran that was about to be invaded for pursuing weapons of mass destruction in violation of UN mandates?

I'm sure it's just a coincidence. Note as well that many liberals cite ElBaradei as their chief witness that Iraq was not pursuing nuclear weapons. He was wrong about Iran, why should we trust him about Iraq?

There is no good news for liberals in this report. Here's the original Jerusalem Post report on this story.
Yet More Globaloney

The people of the Arctic are suing the United States for causing global warming.

The people of the Arctic filed a landmark human rights complaint against the United States, blaming the world's No. 1 carbon polluter for stoking the global warming that is destroying their habitat. The Inuit Circumpolar Conference (ICC), representing native people in the vast, sparsely-populated region girdling the Earth's far north, said they had petitioned an inter-American panel to seek relief for Canadian and US Inuit.

"For Inuit, warming is likely to disrupt or even destroy their hunting and food-sharing culture as reduced sea ice causes the animals on which they depend to decline, become less accessible, and possibly become extinct," said Robert Corell, who spearheaded an Arctic climate impact assessment.

Global warming has caused the northern ice cover to retreat, making it more dangerous for the Inuit to hunt food animals such as polar bears, seals and caribou, their investigation found.

No mention of the bumps on fish story which so fascinated Hillary Clinton.
A Date That Will Live in Infamy...

I'm hoping to put up some interesting radio reports of that day, but audioblogger appears to be having problems right now.

Update: Here's the first news of the Pearl Harbor attack, coming as an interruption to WOR's broadcast of an NFL game between the New York Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers (yes, Brooklyn had an NFL team back then).

this is an audio post - click to play

Here's FDR's speech to Congress on December 8, 1941. It's about five minutes long, but it's highly recommended that you listen through to the end to hear a Democrat who wasn't one of the cut and run crowd.

this is an audio post - click to play
Is Our College Students Learning?

Not much if they're listening to liar Joe Wilson:

Speaking to an audience at CSU-Monterey Bay Tuesday, Wilson said he wrote the now famous editorial, titled "What I Didn't Find in Africa," not as an act of great moral courage but as an act of civic responsibility.

And then in 2002, he said, he accepted a request from the CIA to travel to Africa to investigate claims that Saddam's regime had ordered up large supplies of uranium from Niger. Despite what critics have said, Wilson said, he wasn't chosen for the unpaid assignment on Plame's coattails, but because of his experiences in Africa.

Bush, in his State of the Union speech in January 2003, made the Nigerian-uranium case to the American people to bolster support for the Iraq War.

Documents related to those alleged uranium sales were later alleged to be fabricated and Wilson said he found no evidence to substantiate the claims upon his visit to Niger.

And no one questioned him on that? Here's what the Senate Intelligence Committee said about Wilson's trip to Africa:

Betcha Hillary's Mad at Howie Now

From the Daily News comes the word that Code Pinko, the antiwar group, is going to start dogging Hillary for her refusal to join the nutcases supporting an immediate withdrawal of US forces from Iraq.

"We're calling it Bird-Dog Hillary," said Medea Benjamin of the peace group Codepink.

"I'm so mad at her," said Nancy Kricorian, Codepink's New York City coordinator. "We will dog her wherever she goes."

Kricorian's group and several others plan to show up tonight at Crobar in Manhattan, where former President Bill Clinton is the top draw at a fund-raiser for his wife.

Why does this make her mad at Howie? Because he gave Code Pinko a little help and publicity this week:

What a maroon!
The Amazing Race Update

Always check out Viking Pundit's summary first.

First task is to drive to Turtle Creek Ranch. Brief bit of Weavers bickering over whether to get gas while they are stopped at a service station. Can you say foreshadowing? Teams arrive in the same order as they started, but there is an overnight ahead, before they are transported in SUVs they must dash across a prairie to catch.

The task is a detour, where teams must choose between building a teepee or a buckboard wagon. The Bransons and Linzes choose the wagon, while the other two teams pick the teepee challenge. The Linzes finish first and take the lead, followed shortly by the Bransons. The Weavers manage to finish before the Godlewskis.

Next job is to drive to Cody, Wyoming and get their picture taken at Buffalo Bill's daughter's hotel/bar. Teams of course leave here in the same order they started, but it is clear that the Godlewski family is behind because after the Linzes finish first, the Bransons and then the Weavers have to watch the team in front of them pose for the cameras. But by the time the Desperate Housewives arrive the Weavers have already left.

Teams then drive to a golf course, and my pulse quickens again. Last season they had a golfing challenge, another area where I feel I could generally compete. But it turns out in this case that the challenge is to check the back nine of a golf course for balls of a certain color and collect four of them.

Good old Wally again proves his worth as he insists that they check the cup on every hole (although one suspects that the minute they saw one of another color in an earlier hole, they knew to keep looking). As a result, the Bransons pull ahead of the Linzes, who have to go back to find their final ball.

The Weavers finish apparently well ahead of the Godlewskis, and the only drama now is if they can find the final ranch they need to visit, and whether the gas will hold out. But it's not quite as dramatic as it sounds and the Weavers finish ahead.

Prediction for the last episode: It's the Weavers. I know a lot of people don't like them, but they're a highlight reel with all the obstacles they've overcome. There was a wonderful little bit today with them driving along and passing up a Pizza Hut and the girls exclaim about getting the buffet, and it struck me--they're real Americans. Devout yet somewhat coarse and unsophisticated.

Plus it would be great to see the past defeated teams have to applaud them as they jog the last couple of yard to the victory mat.
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
More Globaloney

The headline:

Global warming 'claims first village'

The caveat, buried in the next to last paragraph:

It was unknown if the coral base of the island, about 31sq km, might be subsiding. Most villagers rely on yams, beans and other crops grown on higher ground.
How to Tell the Democrats from the Terrorists

It's a little tricky.
Color Me Skeptical

(Welcome, fellow Michelle Malkin readers!)

This story has the ring of phony all over it:

A college professor whose planned course on creationism and intelligent design was canceled after he derided Christian conservatives said he was beaten by two men along a rural road early Monday.

University of Kansas religious studies professor Paul Mirecki said the men referred to the class when they beat him on the head, shoulders and back with their fists, and possibly a metal object, the Lawrence Journal-World reported.

This sounds more than a little like this earlier hoax.

If it is a hoax, and certainly there is reason to be suspicious, it's an awfully stupid hoax. Is there a guidebook for college professors that says if you get in trouble, fake a hate crime against yourself to garner sympathy?
Incredibly Poor Article on Arizona

This is hilarious:

So Tucson, a city of about 750,000, is expected to reach the 1 million mark in the next few years, a pretty city of wide streets and low adobe houses. And just beyond the houses, there's the Sonoran Desert and the distant bare and brooding Dragoon Mountains.

We are in Republican country, the home of the late Barry Goldwater, beaten in a landslide by Lyndon Johnson in the 1964 presidential election, but the godfather of the new conservatism that was to sweep Ronald Reagan to power in 1980 and to which President George Bush swore allegiance.

Mr Bush carried Arizona easily in 2000 and again in 2004, though out here in the south-west Republican ideology is based on a deep distrust of Washington, a commitment to small government (which means cutting most government programs), tax cuts and the free market. But throughout the state, there is now an almost universal dislike and distrust of George Bush. There is a sense that America is not what it used to be, that Mr Bush has become just another Washington big spender and that Iraq has become his Vietnam.

Where to begin? First, Tucson is not Republican country (nor the home of Barry Goldwater). Tucson's a typical liberal college town. Second, the notion that throughout the state, there's universal dislike and distrust of George Bush, is nonsense. Jon Kyl, who's in a fairly tough reelection battle, had the president out here a week or two ago for a fund-raiser.

Wishful thinking from a liberal stringer in Tucson.
British Versus American Conservatism

Here's an excellent interview with a famed British conservative author, Roger Scruton.

MG: You are often described as a "paleoconservative," a term that Russell Kirk, who was described the same way, was uncomfortable with. Do you accept this designation?

Scruton: I am not hostile to American neo-conservatism, which seems to me to show a commendable desire to think things through and to develop an active alternative to liberalism in both national and international politics. But I suppose I am more of a paleo than a neo-conservative, since I believe that the conservative position is rooted in cultural rather than economic factors, and that the single-minded pursuit of competitive markets is just as much a threat to social order as the single-minded pursuit of equality.

MG: The sort of conservatism you espouse is not easily expressed in slogans, nor do the arguments for it seem as easily mastered as those advanced in behalf of more populist varieties. What hope, if any, does your vision of conservatism have for gaining ascendancy?

Scruton: Of course it is not easy to put my kind of conservatism into slogans. That is a defect in slogans, and not in my conservatism. You cannot put Hayek's theory of the common law, Kant's theory of republican government, or Hegel's theory of civil society into slogans. But they are true, for all that. A philosophy is nothing if it does not aim at truth. (That is why Jacques Derrida and Giles Deleuze are not philosophers.)

Terrific reading. This is part two of the interview; click on the link at Right Reason for part one.
Here's Some Good News

That the media, predictably, think is awful.

Current and former CIA officers speaking to ABC News on the condition of confidentiality say the United States scrambled to get all the suspects off European soil before Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived there today. The officers say 11 top al Qaeda suspects have now been moved to a new CIA facility in the North African desert.

Of course, this is just more of the CIA's anti-Bush effort. But I suspect that if you reveal that 11 top al Qaeda suspects are in secret prisons, subject to "enhanced interrogation techniques", the American public are likely to respond positively.
Earth Warms; Women and Minorities to Suffer Disproportionately

Everything but the kitchen sink is being thrown at the global warming debate.
Kerry Lying Again

Britt Hume catches him with his pants on fire:

Senator John Kerry has repeatedly said that the president is ignoring the advice of his own commanders by not withdrawing troops from Iraq most recently telling CBS’ “Face the Nation,” "General Casey, the commander of our forces...has said the large presence of American forces in Iraq feeds the notion of occupation." In fact, Casey told the Senate Armed Services committee in September that he had a sufficient number of troops, saying, "increased coalition presence feeds the notion of occupation."

That's why Kitty dubbed him Le Fraude last year.
Monday, December 05, 2005
Brad DeLong, Gutless Punk

Well, I had a new experience--a blog comment that I posted that was serious in nature was deleted from Brad DeLong's blog. As you can see on this post at Brad's page, my comment has been deleted, but its ghost remains in a subsequent comment (Click to Expand):

As you can see, somebody named Anne apparently showed me what goes for, but Brad's also either amended her post, or Howard is a slightly biased debating judge, because here are Anne's two responses:

Through the Clinton Presidency 236,000 jobs a month were created.

Posted by: anne | December 05, 2005 at 05:24 PM

Paul Krugman:

"I could point out that the economic numbers, especially the job numbers, aren't as good as the Bush people imagine. President Bush made an appearance in the Rose Garden to hail the latest jobs report, yet a gain of 215,000 jobs would have been considered nothing special - in fact, a bit subpar - during the Clinton years. And because the average workweek shrank a bit, the total number of hours worked actually fell last month."


Posted by: anne | December 05, 2005 at 05:30 PM

I mean, that's not exactly a brilliant riposte, but given that my original comment is gone, it stands alone in the field of debate on DeLong's blog.

My point was that 215,000 jobs created was a little better than average for the Clinton years. Now maybe Krugman's got different numbers than I have, or he's engaging in some dishonesty. Given his past, either's possible. The BLS shows tables for civilian employment here. You have to click on the Total Civilian Employment (Seasonally Adjusted) check box, and then send the form. Here's what I got:

From there it's a pretty trivial calculation. Clinton left office in January 2001 with 137.8 million civilian jobs, he entered office in 1993 with 119.1 million civilian jobs, the different is 18.7 million jobs, divided by 96 months (eight years) is about 187,000 jobs per month.

Brad DeLong doesn't want people hearing this on his blog. He's one of those goofy liberals who puts up Krugman posts with no commentary of his own, almost like he's erecting a shrine to his master. He's an economics professor at Cal Berkeley, but he's a gutless punk. And he can't erase the facts on my blog.
In Which I Agree with Al Franken

And it's in a chapter of his book entitled "How Bush Won: Smear".

Franken writes about our heroes, the Swift Boat Vets, and how the LA Times, Washington Post, and New York Times "debunked" the Swift Boat Vets' charges. Of course, I don't agree with him on that; he's just smoking dope. But I do agree with this part:

It was nice. But it was late. And that's not just my opinion. That's what a hissing Tom Oliphant said in that day in our studio:

I don't really care what the New York Times did last Friday or the Post did the day before, or Sunday. It was late.

Jeez, you don't say, Al (and Tom). We over at Kerry Haters were absolutely livid over the way the New York Times tried to ignore the fact that Kerry had been caught red-handed in a bald-faced lie. We wondered how long they would continue to ignore it (the answer was almost two weeks).

Franken then tries to get away with something that I don't agree with at all:

Long before the mainstream press had debunked each and every charge made by John O'Neill and his swarm of psychotic, lying vermin....

Heh. Debunked Christmas in Cambodia? Debunked "Where Was Rassmann?" Nope, the mainstream media, even the Swift Boat hating New York Times, was forced to admit that Kerry had lied about his excellent Cambodia adventure. They never really looked into the "Where Was Rassmann" story, but it was a good one.
Polly Toynbee Gets Ill

Polly's one of those weird British writers who can be wonderful at time and exasperating at others. Anybody who doubts that the American Left and Right are synonymous with the British versions should read her for a month.

Today she's exasperating. Talking about the religious symbolism in the new movie, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, she opines:

Does any of this matter? Not really. Most children will never notice. But adults who wince at the worst elements of Christian belief may need a sickbag handy for the most religiose scenes. The Guardian film critic Peter Bradshaw gives the film five stars and says, "There is no need for anyone to get into a PC huff about its Christian allegory." Well, here's my huff.

Why? Because here in Narnia is the perfect Republican, muscular Christianity for America - that warped, distorted neo-fascist strain that thinks might is proof of right. I once heard the famous preacher Norman Vincent Peel in New York expound a sermon that reassured his wealthy congregation that they were made rich by God because they deserved it. The godly will reap earthly reward because God is on the side of the strong.
Presidential Home Field Advantage

Just thought I'd take a look at how presidential candidates have done in their home state as compared to how they did nationally. Criteria: I looked only at the elections since 1980, and I ignored third party candidates. Here are the results:

Year. Cand......State... HS......Nat..... Adv.
2004 Bush......Texas... 61.1% 50.7% 10.4%
2004 Kerry......Mass.... 61.9% 48.3% 13.7%
2000 Bush......Texas... 59.3% 47.9% 11.4%
2000 Gore......Tenn.... 47.3% 48.4% -1.1%
1996 Clinton.. Ark....... 53.7% 49.2% 4.5%
1996 Dole...... Kansas. 54.3% 40.7% 13.6%
1992 Clinton.. Ark....... 53.2% 43.0% 10.2%
1992 Bush..... Texas... 40.6% 37.5% 3.1%
1988 Bush..... Texas... 56.0% 53.4% 2.6%
1988 Dukakis. Mass.... 53.2% 45.7% 7.6%
1984 Reagan. Calif..... 57.5% 58.8% -1.3%
1984 Mondale Minn.... 49.7% 40.6% 9.2%
1980 Reagan. Calif..... 52.7% 50.8% 1.9%
1980 Carter... Georgia 55.8% 41.0% 14.8%

Average..........................54.0% 46.8% 7.2%

In 2004, President Bush got 61.1% of the vote of his home state of Texas, and 50.7% of the national vote, so his home field advantage is 10.4%. Overall, the candidates averaged 7.2 percentage points better in their home states than they did nationally.

It will come as no surprise to anybody paying attention that Al Gore did worse in his home state of Tennessee than he did nationally, but how many would have guessed that the only other recent, major party presidential candidate to underperform with his home staters was Ronald Reagan in 1984?

Problems with the study? Well, there is the issue of whether the margin shown represents a home state advantage, or if it just represents the propensity for Democratic candidates to come from liberal states, and Republican candidates to come from conservative ones. Kerry and Dukakis didn't solely do better in Massachusetts than elsewhere because they were Bay Staters; Al Gore got 59.8% of the Massachusetts voters without a home field advantage. Ditto with Bob Dole. His 54.3% in Kansas in 1996 compares unfavorably with President Bush's 58.0% in 2000 and 62.0% in 2004. But of course, there were many other changes between the 1996 and 2000/2004 elections.

Overall I'd suspect that the true home state advantage is not a lot less than 7.2%; 5% seems like a reasonable estimate.
Criticizing Our Own

Why does Dodo David oppose the reelection of a sitting Republican Senator in 2008? Read his post, and you'll agree with him, as I do. Terrific post.
What Does It Take to Make the Playoffs?

This topic came up during some of the pregame shows last weekend. There was speculation that the San Diego Chargers might not make the playoffs even with 11 wins. One of our good buddies of the blog even mentioned that in an email to me.

My response was that I could only think of one instance where a team with 11 wins had not made the postseason in the Super Bowl era, and it's a doozy. The Baltimore Colts in 1967 had 11 wins, one loss and two ties, and were beaten out for a playoff spot by the Los Angeles Rams, who had an identical record but had beaten the Colts in the final game of the regular season.

So I took a look at the last 14 years. How many teams had finished with eight wins and made the playoffs (not many). What about nine, ten and eleven wins?

Here's the chart:

# Wins..#Teams..#PS.....PS%
8 48 3 6.3%
9 50 28 56.0%
10 43 40 93.0%
11 30 30 100.0%

As you can see, most teams with even nine victories made it to the Super Bowl Tournament. Almost all teams with ten wins made it, and every team with eleven wins has been dancing.
Where Did the Audience for the Network News Go?

Tim Goodman has a sugggestion:

To news execs worrying about the drop-off of viewers from last year to this year and wondering where they went, start with the obituaries.

Will Katie Couric save CBS?

This isn't about Couric. Hiring her just shoots fireworks over a graveyard.
Best Warbloggers Selected

John Hawkins has his fourth annual listing up. I'm embarrassed to admit that I was polled for these awards and completely spaced out on filling in my form. DOH!

Although all the nominees and winners are deserving, I think the most interesting category was for Most Annoying Right of Center Blogger. The winner was Andrew Sullivan; how the mighty have fallen! But the runners up were Hugh Hewitt, InDC Journal, and Stop the ACLU. WRT Hugh, apparently the Harriet Miers thing still rankles with some of the bloggers polled. And InDC Journal and Stop the ACLU indicate the continuing battle inside the right-wing blogosphere between the libertarians (InDC) and conservatives (Stop the ACLU).
Clueless Liberal of the Week

Lydia Cornell, guest blogger at Bradblog and apparently an actress:

"But Coulter talks fippantly, jokingly – about 'killing liberals and democrats'," I continued. "Talking about killing people is just not that funny." Unless she's moving her Adam's apple at the same time, as a sideshow, I thought. "And the sarcasm she uses is dehumanizing. She uses double-think, saying ‘liberals and traitors and terrorists; different stages of the same disease.’ She advocates killing us!" Harman nervously laughed my comment off. And she is paid $30,000 to speak to impressionable young minds who have no sense of history or nuance.

Now, you know how it is; when Ann talks about killing liberals and democrats it's not funny, but when Al Franken breaks a bottle over the head of a conservative and savagely beats him in an ad for his new book, why, that's hilarious. I also love the Adam's apple comment; apparently the liberals think Coulter's a man.

Confronted with this, Ms Cornell responds:

So I wrote an e-mail back to Stafford Jones with this: "If you claim that her call to repress the speech of Democrats was 'satire' then demonstrate it by letting us see what she said. Al Franken in an obvious hoax commercial by no means excuses what Coulter said as being 'satire'. If that's what it was, let's see it. Please send me a copy of the video or audio."

Of course, Franken was making an obvious hoax commercial, while Coulter's calls for ending free speech for liberals is serious. You see how it is? As someone commented a few months ago, why is it that folks don't laugh at comedians making fun of their worldview? Because that's not funny!
Teen Killer In Trouble Again

You may recall the case of Lionel Tate from a few years back. At age 12, he beat a 6-year-old girl to death, claiming that he had just been playing around with some wrestling moves he'd seen on TV. Originally sentenced to life, he got a break when the courts overturned the conviction. On retrial he pled guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to time served.

Now he's in trouble for holding up a pizza delivery man. No particular surprise there, but get the way it plays in this AP report:

Now, despite that fresh start, he could be going back behind bars for life for allegedly robbing a delivery man at gunpoint of four pizzas worth $33.60.

Gun possession is enough to revoke probation, and the judge hearing the case set to begin Monday, Broward County Circuit Judge Joel T. Lazarus, can put Tate back behind bars whether or not he is actually convicted of the new allegations.

Florida and dozens of other states have laws permitting children who commit serious crimes to be tried and punished as adults, rather than seeking to rehabilitate them.

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International reported in October that at least 2,225 people are serving life sentences without parole in U.S. prisons for crimes they committed under age 18. Six of them were 13 when their crimes were committed; none were 12 as Tate was.

"We don't seem capable of recognizing that our traditional approach to crime and justice often fails with adolescents," said Jeffrey A. Butts, a research fellow at the University of Chicago's Chapin Hall Center for Children. "Prison by itself doesn't do a lot to change behavior or improve someone's chances of success."

No, it doesn't. What it does do is get thugs and murderers away from us, improving society's chances of success.
Sunday, December 04, 2005
Steyn in Top Form

On those who don't get it (like Murtha) and those who do (like Joe Lieberman):

The Egyptians get it, so do the Iraqis, the Lebanese, the Jordanians and the Syrians. The choice is never between a risky action and the status quo -- i.e., leaving Saddam in power, U.N. sanctions, U.S. forces sitting on his borders. The stability fetishists in the State Department and the European Union fail to understand that there is no status quo: things are always moving in some direction and, if you leave a dictator and his psychotic sons in business, and his Oil-for-Food scam up and running, and his nuclear R&D teams in places, chances are they're moving in his direction.


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