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Saturday, April 15, 2006
Fran O'Brien's Story Hits The Media

I blogged about this yesterday afternoon. The WaPo does a good job of covering the story.

For the past 2 1/2 years, O'Brien and business partner Hal Koster have made their thick steak dinners and a night of bottomless drinks one of the rites of passage for the soldiers who are steeling themselves for their postwar lives in wheelchairs or with prosthetic limbs.

They come to the subterranean restaurant, at the corner of 16th and L streets NW in the basement of the Capital Hilton, in volunteer's vans and trucks. They're carefully wheeled down the stairs or slowly negotiate the steps on crutches. It has become a tradition so beloved among veterans that Garry Trudeau featured the dinners in his Doonesbury comic strip.

The Italians come out of the story looking pretty good:

O'Brien's intends to hold two more Friday night dinners. In the meantime, the Italian Embassy has called O'Brien, offering its digs for the dinners until he comes up with another plan.
Dumb Article of the Day

Ben Johnson, in the Seattle Times:

I disagree with the need for military recruitment altogether. If society deems that military action is the right decision, the society must commit to that vision and force conscription and draft people from all walks of life, not just target those who are poor and want to go to college.

But if government cannot commit this country to really go to war, then there should be no wars.

The government and the economy have created a situation for millions where the only way to get an opportunity for college is to join the service, or continue without higher education. While the GI Bill sounds like a good policy for people without resources, it's an indicator of the focus of our society that signing up for military service is one of the only ways millions of people are able to access the basic opportunity of higher education. This puts the commitment to war above the commitment to education.

Of course, Ben doesn't really want a draft. He wants a real anti-war movement.
The Nutbar Left

Here's an enjoyable article on the looney tunes crew in the Left-wing blogosphere.

She smokes a cigarette. Should it be about Bush, whom she considers "malevolent," a "sociopath" and "the Antichrist"? She smokes another cigarette. Should it be about Vice President Cheney, whom she thinks of as "Satan," or about Karl Rove, "the devil"? Should it be about the "evil" Republican Party, or the "weaselly, capitulating, self-aggrandizing, self-serving" Democrats, or the Catholic Church, for which she says "I have a special place in my heart . . . a burning, sizzling, putrescent place where the guilty suffer the tortures of the damned"?

The writer ventures into the real fever-swamp territory: the comments sections.

Hugh Hewitt:

The left has become disfigured because the excess that dominates the lefty blogs is absorbed by rank-and-file activists and encouraged by the Democratic Party leadership, which embraces, posts at and praises the blogs that are among the angriest and most vulgar/profane/hate-filled.
The Hunt for Heretics Will Continue Until Morale Improves

Joe Klein finds himself in the crosshairs. Now Klein is a liberal Democrat, but he recognizes the idiocy of the American Left. Here's what he says he said:

What I actually said was "the hate America tendency of the [Democratic Party's] left wing" had made it harder for Democrats to challenge Republicans on foreign policy.

Alterman had me castigating the "liberal wing" of the party, which I was careful not to do. There is a crucial difference between liberals and leftists, especially on foreign policy--even though Republicans (and leftist-wingers) have successfully conflated the two over the past few decades. The default position of leftists like, say, Michael Moore and many writers at The Nation, is that America is essentially a malignant, imperialistic force in the world and the use of American military power is almost always wrong. Liberals have a more benign, and correct, view of America's role in the world and tend to favor the use of military force if it is exercised judiciously, as a last resort, and in a multilateral contect--with U.N. approval or through NATO.

The Left is making a quite serious attempt to stifle all the voices of moderate liberalism, from Chris Matthews to Joe Klein to the New Republic. And while it's tempting to stand back like Flounder and say "Oh, boy, is this great?", the fact is that at some point the Republicans are going to lose--the economy will hit a bad patch at the wrong time as happened with Bush I--and these idiots on the loony left are liable to be in charge.
Friday, April 14, 2006
Out for Poker

I recommend you stop by Molten Thought this evening.
Impeachment Watch XII

Sheesh, lots of fish in this barrel! Note first of all how this story ties into Editor and Publisher's bailiwick: Because Neil Young's father was a journalist. That's sorta like Navy Times reporting on the Doors' latest greatest hits release on the basis that Jim Morrison's dad was an admiral.

But the funniest part of the article is this:

Last Friday, Morgan wrote on her LastLeftB4Hooterville blog that she had been “summoned” to a local studio to sing on the new record with 99 others. “I'm not going to give the whole thing away, but the first line of one of the songs was ‘Let's impeach the President for lyin'!’ Turns out the whole thing is a classic beautiful protest record. The session was like being at a 12-hour peace rally.

Oh, yeah, that sounds like my idea of heaven!

One of the lesser reported polling numbers in this Newsweek story was:

In today’s strongly polarized political climate, roughly one in four American adults (26 percent) say they think Congress should actually impeach President Bush and consider removing him from office. There is in fact no effort to do this on the Hill, and the public mood appears to be more a reflection of the passionate sentiment against Bush in some quarters rather than considered support for actual legislative action. (Some recent national polls show about 45 percent of adults strongly disapprove of the president’s performance.) The NEWSWEEK poll shows that only 5 percent of Republicans would support impeaching Bush, while 94 percent would not. Among Democrats, almost half (49 percent) support impeachment, while 48 percent oppose it. Overall, 69 percent do not think Congress should consider removing him from office.(Boldface added)

Newsweek is kind enough to put this into perspective for us:

By comparison, the level of public support for impeachment today is below the 32 percent support for Bill Clinton’s removal in October 1998, before he was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives. Support for the impeachment of Richard M. Nixon had reached 52 percent in a June 1974 Harris poll shortly before he left office.(Boldface added)
In Which I Agree With Cindy Sheehan

Cindy's demanding that a bunch of her fellow protesters be charged.

The group, which has plans to camp through the Easter weekend at “Camp Casey II” on private property, ventured to the courthouse to try to convince McLennan County District Attorney John Segrest to file misdemeanor charges against 12 protesters arrested in November.

The dozen, known as the “Prairie Dog 12,” were arrested on criminal trespass and obstructing a highway or other passageway charges, both Class B misdemeanors punishable by up to 180 days in jail and $2,000 fines.

I certainly think quite a few of these folks could benefit from a few days in the pokey. In fitting with the Snickers Commercial nature of these events:

After Sheehan, Daniel Ellsberg, the government analyst who leaked the Pentagon Papers to the media during the Vietnam War, and peace activist Ann Wright spoke, a guitar-strumming supporter sang a musical version of the First Amendment as the group cheered and sang along.

But all was not idiocy at this event:

The rally was interrupted by shouts from Laura Youngblood, of New York, who held a photo of her husband, Travis, a Navy corpsman killed in the war. She and Sheehan engaged in a brief shouting match.

“You are dishonoring all these men and all these women who are fighting and dying for our country,” Youngblood said. “Show them compassion. Show them this country cares about them. Please, just show them truth and show love for our country.”
Breaking News: White Democrats More Racist Than White Republicans?

That's not the way this story is played, but let's look at two little factoids:

In fact, white Republicans nationally are 25 percentage points more likely on average to vote for the Democratic senatorial candidate when the GOP hopeful is black, says economist Ebonya Washington of Yale University in a forthcoming article in the Quarterly Journal of Economics.


In House races, white Democrats are 38 percentage points less likely to vote Democratic if their candidate is black.

Not sure why the breakdown is provided only for the Senate for Republicans (how many black Republican Senate candidates have there been? I can only think of Brooke and Keyes) and the House for Democrats, but it's pretty clear that white Democrats are more racist than white Republicans.

Blue Crab Boulevard comes to the same conclusion.
Another Retired General Calls for Rumsfeld's Firing

(Mouse over)
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Not Finding Much to Blog About

Why don't you stop by and check out the Texas Songbird?
Hilton Screws the Wounded

Uh, no, not that Hilton:

This one:

Blue Crab Boulevard has the details. This one should get your blood boiling! I strongly suspect they are in violation of the ADA on this issue, but more than that, they are looking at a PR fiasco.
Newt On Iraq

His comments the other day caused a bit of a ruckus; Pat Hynes caught up with him in New Hampshire and asked for clarification.
The Return of the 50-State Strategy

This comes near the end of an article on how Howard Dean isn't doing the job with the high-dollar donors:

One way or another, Dean's moment of truth will come in March 2008, when a Democrat effectively locks up the presidential nomination. If the past is any indication, the nominee will insist on boring in on the 20 or so states most likely to clinch 270 electoral votes. But Dean, according to those who know him, will continue to insist on funding his 50-state strategy. "Any Democrat running for president needs to understand that ... Howard is not going to throw that over the side of the ship," says Steve Grossman, a Dean ally and former DNC chairman. And if they don't? "It's going to be a tough conversation."

The 50-state strategy is a recipe for failure. That's not to say that the Democrats shouldn't work on developing the party in all the states, but sooner or later you've gotta concentrate on where you can get the best bang for the buck. There is no sense in a Democratic presidential candidate campaigning in Massachusetts, or in Idaho. They have to focus their efforts on the swing states--Pennsylvania, Florida and Ohio for example.

Dean is the gift that keeps on giving. Thanks, netroots!

A Sensible Left?

A group of London bloggers issues "The Euston Manifesto", which might be described as the birthing of a sensible left. On Iraq:

The supporters of the Euston Manifesto took different views on the war in Iraq, both for and against. We recognise that it was possible reasonably to disagree about the justifications for the war and the manner in which it was carried through. We are, however, united in our judgement of the reactionary, murderous character of the Ba'athist regime in Iraq, and we recognise its overthrow as a liberation of the Iraqi people. We are also united in the view that, from the day this occurred, the proper concern of the liberal left should have been the battle to put in place in Iraq a democratic political order and to create, after decades of brutal oppres-sion, a life for Iraqis which those living in democratic countries take for granted - rather than endlessly rehearsing the arguments over intervention.

This puts us in opposition not only to those on the left who have actively spoken in support of the gangs of jihadist and Ba'athist thugs of the Iraqi "resistance", but also to others who manage to find a way of situating themselves between such forces and those trying to bring a new democratic life to the country, or who pay lip-service to this aim, while devoting most of their energy to criticism of their political opponents at home and observing a tactful silence about the ugly methods of the Iraqi "insurgency".

It certainly seems to me that most of the Left in the United States has lost its moorings. With some rare exceptions, they have decided to support a murderous band of thugs. Very few of them have any desire for success in Iraq; their notion appears to be that if Iraq works out well, it will help the neocons. So they'd rather see Iraq in flames.
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
The Amazing Race Update: What's a Grecian Urn?

Oh, about forty drachmas an hour.

The race starts out in Syracuse. Teams must travel by train and ferry (I suspect the order was reversed) to Rome. Once there they must make their way to the Trevi fountain. The train doesn't leave until 8:30 AM, so all the teams get bunched. There's some question as to whether to take a cab or the metro to the fountain; as usual the cabs are better than mass transit.

Product placement alert! The teams must put one piece of paper over another to assemble the Da Vinci Code, or some such nonsense. Next stop: Athens! So we get the second bunching of the evening, as everybody gets the same flight. In Athens they must visit the Agora, famed among crossword puzzle fans (and which features yet another bunching, since there is an opening time), where they get the option of the Fast Forward.

In this Fast Forward, teams must break plates and look for the one plate that has a TAR patch baked inside. Three teams choose it, but the frat boys score the winner and zip ahead to win the prize for the night--a chance to walk on the red carpet at the grand opening of The Da Vinci Code.

The other teams have to continue racing, this time to a town called Isthmus. But in a classic stupid move, the three teams that had the lead all get off at the wrong station, then compound their mistake by disobeying the clue, which required them to take the train by taking a bus the rest of the way. (Actually this may not have been a compounding since it's unlikely they would have caught another train within the 15 minute penalty).

The roadblock is a bungee jump. Fran's talking all along about how she can't handle it, but it's the usual drama before the commercial routine and when we come back she handles it fine.

Detour! Teams must choose between Hercules or, um, puzzle-solving. By appearances the puzzle-solving thing certainly seems easier, but several teams choose Herculean and do okay, so it's unclear what's best.

In Hercules the teams compete in three different Olympic events--discus, javelin and wrestling. In the first two events, the players are separated--Yolander does the discus while Ray does the javelin (badly). But in the final event the teams must wrestle a "professional wrestler" out of a 25-foot ring, which seems obviously extremely hard.

In the puzzle solving option, teams must find nine pieces of pottery with letters on them. Then they must present them to Greeks to obtain translations into English letters. There is an element of knowledge in this particular part of the game as Sigma is S and the delta triangle is D, so that if you knew that you could get an advantage. The final part of the task is to find a town with all the letters as translated on a map of Greece.

Amazingly, the Hippies, who had always seemed to be one step ahead of everybody, have totally spaced somehow and headed in the wrong direction. They seem to be completely out of it, arriving at the Detour after all the other teams have left. Can anything save them?

Well, yeah, Lake and Michelle. This was a really ugly episode, so bad that I would have sworn that they were safe. One of the other blogs (I forget which) called Lake Captain Redneck and he is that. Constantly berating your wife is no way to go through life, son.

They somehow get on the wrong road despite being apparently well out in front of the Hippies and are Phil-liminated at the mat to the relief of all. The only drama is provided by the 15-minute penalty assessed for the screwup at Isthmus but even there if you'd been paying attention you'd know that Lake and Michelle were going to get docked for that even if they'd come up those steps before the penalty for the Hippies elapsed.

Viking Pundit has his recap here.
More Proof The Netkooks Are Out of Touch

Dick Morris reports:

And on the national level, a revealing insight comes from the Marist Poll of Feb. 22. The survey reported that Hillary finished a far-ahead first among her rivals for the Democratic nomination, getting 40 percent of the Democratic primary vote to former vice-presidential nominee John Edwards’s 16 percent and Sen. John Kerry’s 15 percent.

Now, let's compare those results with the outcome of the latest straw poll at MyDD.

There, Hillary finishes sixth, behind Feingold, Clark, Warner, Other and Edwards, with a mere 2.3% of the vote. Kerry also does far worse there, with only 1% of the vote, finishing behind the above candidates and Richardson, Unsure, Bayh, Biden and Daschle.
Who Are the Students Against War?

Michelle Malkin covered the story of the students who disrupted a job fair at the University of California, Santa Cruz, forcing military recruiters to leave. The San Francisco Chronicle has more:

Students Against War members said they were pleased that their counter-recruiting effort forced the military personnel off campus, at least for the time being.

"We're saying it's not OK to recruit on high school campuses, it's not OK to recruit on university campuses,'' Marla Zubel, a UC Santa Cruz senior and member of Students Against War, said. "In order to stop the war, you have to make it more difficult to wage war."

The student organization has become a bit of a cause celebre of the national anti-war movement ever since it was discovered that the group's protest of the same job fair last April landed it in a Pentagon surveillance file, which listed the protest as a "credible threat" to military facilities or personnel.

So the question becomes, who are the Students Against War?

I did some digging. Here's the top website for a Google search of "Students Against War".

Welcome to the online home of Students Against War. SAW is a network of students and other young people opposed to U.S. military interventions. We are a coalition of groups and individuals based in the upper-Midwest that was founded on the evening of September 11, 2001.

Yep, that's right. They were founded on the day America was attacked. While others were mourning the dead and demanding retribution, the kooks on the left were already organizing an antiwar movement. Remember, most of the Left have conveniently forgotten that they opposed the war in Afghanistan, now claiming that was perfectly appropriate; that it was Iraq that was "a war too far".

Here are some handy chants:

Out of Afghanistan Out of Iraq
Out of Palestine And don't come back!

Although this one seems a tad dated:

No Attack Against Iraq, End the Sanction Now

Here's information on the UCSC Students Against War.

Their discussion of Counter-Military Recruitment:

The counter-recruitment campaign seeks to ban recruiters from both UCSC and Santa Cruz County high schools. The military is a racist, homophobic, and sexist institution. As an employer it violates the anti-discrimination policy of UCSC.

Here's a particularly stupid sign:

Here's the webpage of the UCSC Students Against War.

Here are another couple charming signs:

Comment Issue

For some reason, Haloscan isn't showing any comments on some posts again, although there are comments. Sorry if I haven't replied to some of you; just noticed it.
Step Right Up!

It's Carnival of the Clueless time!
Reconstructing the WaPo's Timeline

(Welcome, Pajamas Media and Protein

The Washington Post presents a story today that might be summed up as "Bush lied, thousands died." It's a long story and it's hard to keep track of the timelines, so I thought I'd rearrange the story in chronological order.


As early as the mid-1990s, weapons inspectors from the United Nations chased phantom mobile labs that were said to be mounted on trucks or rail cars, churning out tons of anthrax by night and moving to new locations each day. No such labs were found, but many officials believed the stories, thanks in large part to elaborate tales told by Iraqi defectors.


The CIA's star informant, an Iraqi with the code name Curveball, was a self-proclaimed chemical engineer who defected to Germany in 1999 and requested asylum. For four years, the Baghdad native passed secrets about alleged Iraqi banned weapons to the CIA indirectly, through Germany's intelligence service. Curveball provided descriptions of mobile labs and said he had supervised work in one of them. He even described a catastrophic 1998 accident in one lab that left 12 Iraqis dead.

February 5, 2003:

"We have firsthand descriptions of biological weapons factories on wheels and on rails," Powell said in the Feb. 5, 2003, speech. Thanks to those descriptions, he said, "We know what the fermenters look like. We know what the tanks, pumps, compressors and other parts look like."

April 2003:

The trailers discovered in the Iraqi desert resembled the drawings well enough, at least from a distance. One of them, a flatbed trailer covered by tarps, was found in April by Kurdish fighters near the northern city of Irbil. The second was captured by U.S. forces near Mosul. Both were painted military green and outfitted with a suspicious array of gear: large metal tanks, motors, compressors, pipes and valves.

May 25, 2003:

The technical team was assembled in Kuwait and then flown to Baghdad to begin their work early on May 25, 2003. By that date, the two trailers had been moved to a military base on the grounds of one of deposed president Saddam Hussein's Baghdad palaces. When members of the technical team arrived, they found the trailers parked in an open lot, covered with camouflage netting.

May 27,2003

Leaders of the Pentagon-sponsored mission transmitted their unanimous findings to Washington in a field report on May 27, 2003, two days before the president's statement.

May 28, 2003:

A day after the team's report was transmitted to Washington -- May 28, 2003 -- the CIA publicly released its first formal assessment of the trailers, reflecting the views of its Washington analysts. That white paper, which also bore the DIA seal, contended that U.S. officials were "confident" that the trailers were used for "mobile biological weapons production."

May 29,2003

On May 29, 2003, 50 days after the fall of Baghdad, President Bush proclaimed a fresh victory for his administration in Iraq: Two small trailers captured by U.S. and Kurdish troops had turned out to be long-sought mobile "biological laboratories." He declared, "We have found the weapons of mass destruction."

June 2003:

Kay, in an interview, said senior CIA officials had advised him upon accepting the survey group's leadership in June 2003 that some experts in the DIA were "backsliding" on whether the trailers were weapons labs.

Spring and Summer 2003:

Intelligence analysts involved in high-level discussions about the trailers noted that the technical team was among several groups that analyzed the suspected mobile labs throughout the spring and summer of 2003. Two teams of military experts who viewed the trailers soon after their discovery concluded that the facilities were weapons labs, a finding that strongly influenced views of intelligence officials in Washington, the analysts said. "It was hotly debated, and there were experts making arguments on both sides," said one former senior official who spoke on the condition that he not be identified.

Summer and Fall 2003

Throughout the summer and fall of 2003, the trailers became simply "mobile biological laboratories" in speeches and press statements by administration officials. In late June, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell declared that the "confidence level is increasing" that the trailers were intended for biowarfare. In September, Vice President Cheney pronounced the trailers to be "mobile biological facilities," and said they could have been used to produce anthrax or smallpox.

October 2, 2003:

David Kay, the group's first leader, told Congress on Oct. 2 that he had found no banned weapons in Iraq and was unable to verify the claim that the disputed trailers were weapons labs.

February 5, 2004:

Still, as late as February 2004, then-CIA Director George J. Tenet continued to assert that the mobile-labs theory remained plausible. Although there was "no consensus" among intelligence officials, the trailers "could be made to work" as weapons labs, he said in a speech Feb. 5.

September 2004:

The survey group's final report in September 2004 -- 15 months after the technical report was written -- said the trailers were "impractical" for biological weapons production and were "almost certainly intended" for manufacturing hydrogen for weather balloons.

If you look at this timeline, one thing jumps out. Bush's May 29, 2003 statement, which certainly appears to be wrong based on what we know now, was not clearly a lie or a mistake at the time. The fact that there was some dispute over whether the trailers were mobile bio-weapons labs does not alter the fact that the day before the President spoke, the CIA and DIA had issued a report concluding that:

U.S. officials were "confident" that the trailers were used for "mobile biological weapons production."

Let's remember as well, that this was post-invasion, not pre-invasion.


James Joyner:

These facts certainly seem to exonerate Bush’s May 29 statement. It is highly unlikely that he read the raw reports from the field; the CIA summary would indeed have been what he relied upon. As most of the bloggers mentioned above noted, they also belie the assertion in the opening paragraph that the findings were “unanimous.”

Captain Ed:

Sounds damning, and if that was the only report on the trailers, it certainly would be. What the Post neglects to mention in its sensationalist zeal is that this was one of several teams that investigated the trailers, and the totality of their evaluations came to a different conclusion that that of the leakers who supplied this story.

Blue Crab Boulevard:

If you read past the sensationalist first page (most won't) the article paints a damning picture of the CIA bureaucracy, making it pretty obvious where the problem really is. Hint, it's not Bush, folks.


No cigar, righties. The Administration didn’t say, we think these trailers might be mobile labs. It said they were, unequivocally. And the evidence that they weren’t was then suppressed. That was dishonest. And it’s part of the now-familiar pattern — the Bushies cherry-picked intelligence, believing what they wanted to believe, discarding anything that didn’t support their conclusions.

Martin's Musings:

If the administration was guilty of anything, it was for announcing the consensus opinion at the time--hardly ground for ignoring "powerful evidence that it was not true". As Captain's Quarters states, the findings of the inspection team highlighted by the Washington Post was the "minority report".

Also, check out this terrific post for skepticism on the "hydrogen-producing" issue.

I researched this at the time, and found it to be completely fraudulent. Why? Well because commercially available systems for hydrogen production did not look like these trailers one bit. Not only that, but as pictures of the trailers showed, many of the parts in the trailers were made long after 1987, as late as 2003! Further, an AMETS system does not contain a hydrogen generator. An AMETS is the system that is made up of the balloons, the radar, and the vehicle this is directed from. Hydrogen is provided by hydrogen tanks - not produced on-site.
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
For the Real Estate Nerds

The fifteen best skylines in the world. Shanghai to me is the most interesting.

Hat Tip: Neander News.
Smacking Around Richard Cohen

Our buddy at Blue Crab Boulevard gets angry at Richard Cohen, for a particularly stupid column even by Cohen's miserable standards.


In several ways -- some obvious, some not -- the war in Iraq has been likened to Vietnam. Certainly, it has opened the same credibility gap, has been funded by deficit spending and has turned into a quagmire. Maybe, though, this sense of deja vu is felt most keenly at the Pentagon. Within that building, it must be Vietnam all over again -- another asinine strategy, another duplicitous civilian leadership, more conformity and careerism, and, of course, more unnecessary loss of life.

Blue Crab Boulevard:

Let me clue you in to another forgotten lesson from Vietnam, Mr. Cohen. The North Vietnamese did not win the war. We Americans lost it. The media helped us lose it here at home. And they are trying to do so again.

I'd note too that Cohen's point about the Vietnam War and the Iraq War being funded by deficit spending is silly; almost all wars are funded by deficit spending--certainly World War I, II and the Civil War were.


Now, some have -- although from retirement. In recent days, three former senior officers have called for Rumsfeld to be sacked. The most recent is Marine Lt. Gen. Greg Newbold, who does not stop at faulting Rumsfeld but blames himself as well. "I now regret that I did not more openly challenge those who were determined to invade a country whose actions were peripheral to the real threat -- al-Qaeda," he writes in a Time magazine article this month. He joins Maj. Gen. Paul D. Eaton, who commanded the training of Iraqi security forces and who has also called on President Bush to fire Rumsfeld. "President Bush should accept the offer to resign that Mr. Rumsfeld says he has tendered more than once," Eaton wrote in a New York Times op-ed piece.

BCB goes on to point out another article by a military man who is in favor of the war.

The vast majority of Iraqi people are incredibly grateful to the United States for saving them from a bloody and brutal dictatorship. There are, granted, those who do not share this same gratitude, namely the former regime and those who benefited from it, as well as foreign militant Islamists who see Iraq as the battleground for their extremism. That's who we're fighting, not the majority of the people of Iraq.
The Flight 93 Movie

Time's review is pretty positive.

United 93 is a meticulous reconstruction of that morning. Greengrass worked closely with the victims' families, who had already heard the black-box recordings, and the actors, who were improvising. Few events, either on the plane or in the air-traffic control centers, are underlined for effect. As Bingham's mother Alice Hoagland notes, "What happened on board Flight 93 has so much drama and pace, it needs no embellishment."

I saw the A&E movie and I will certainly see this one.
The More Closely They Follow The Story....

The more likely they are to get it wrong. Check out this poll result from Gallup:

The latest USA Today/Gallup poll finds more than 6 in 10 Americans critical of President George W. Bush on the leak controversy. The more closely people are following the issue, the more likely they are to say he did something illegal rather than unethical.

Of course, that's silly. President Bush has the authority to "leak", and I don't know any of the major columnists who've claimed he did anything illegal. Yeah, you've got the Ben Afflecks of the world accusing him of treason, but he's a buffoon.

And this graph shows that it is the Democrats who are misinformed:

Yet Moron Duke Lacrosse Rape Story

La Shawn Barber has a terrific post up on the subject, including a link to this article which indicates that my take is probably right:

Attorney Bill Thomas, who declined to identify the player he represents, said photos taken by a student at the party the night in question prove the rape never happened. They show the woman, an exotic dancer hired to dance at the party, had extensive cuts and bruises on her body when she arrived to the house.

Other photos show the woman lying on the ground as if she were asleep or intoxicated; another photo shows the alleged victim smiling and trying to get inside the house, Thomas said. All of the photos are time-stamped before the rape reportedly occurred.

"All of these statements you've heard ... about this brutal assault, rape, kidnapping and robbery which occurred, I believe that the public will soon be able to learn the truth, and that these allegations are totally false and without merit," Thomas said.

Also check out this (unintentionally) hilarious article on lacrosse.

More than any other sport, lacrosse represents the marriage of athletic aggression and upper-class entitlement. While a squash player might consider himself upper-crust, he can't prove his superiority by checking you onto your ass the way a lacrosse defenseman can. And while lacrosse may share with football a love for contact, it is far more socioeconomically insulated than the grid game (except in odd places like Maryland, where it's managed to cross class lines). Some aficionados take pride in the fact that their sport was invented by Native Americans, but I don't imagine many members of the Onondaga Nation end up playing lax at Colgate.

Still, how could college lacrosse players be any more misogynous than your typical football-team steakhead? Perhaps it's because, unlike their football brethren, an unusually large proportion of college lacrosse players spend their high school years in sheltered, all-boys academies before heading off to liberal co-ed colleges. Most guys from single-sex schools are able to adjust. Others join the lacrosse team. The worst of this lot become creatures that are, in the words of a friend of mine, "half William Kennedy Smith, half Lawrence Phillips." In the warm enclave of the locker room, safe from the budding feminists and comp-lit majors, their identity becomes more cemented. How else to explain the report in a Duke school paper that, roughly two weeks after the alleged rape, members of the team were spotted drinking in a Durham bar, chanting, "Duke lacrosse!"
If I'd Known You Were Coming, I'd Have Baked a Yellowcake

Christopher Hitchens reports:

In February 1999, Zahawie left his Vatican office for a few days and paid an official visit to Niger, a country known for absolutely nothing except its vast deposits of uranium ore. It was from Niger that Iraq had originally acquired uranium in 1981, as confirmed in the Duelfer Report. In order to take the Joseph Wilson view of this Baathist ambassadorial initiative, you have to be able to believe that Saddam Hussein's long-term main man on nuclear issues was in Niger to talk about something other than the obvious. Italian intelligence (which first noticed the Zahawie trip from Rome) found it difficult to take this view and alerted French intelligence (which has better contacts in West Africa and a stronger interest in nuclear questions). In due time, the French tipped off the British, who in their cousinly way conveyed the suggestive information to Washington. As everyone now knows, the disclosure appeared in watered-down and secondhand form in the president's State of the Union address in January 2003.

On the fake document, Hitch comes to an interesting conclusion:

The upshot was—follow me closely here—that a phony paper alleging a deal was used to shoot down a genuine document suggesting a connection.
Lieberman Redux

Dig deep into this NY Times article:

For Senator Lieberman, whose campaign is supported by state party leaders, the Dean brothers are a sideshow. He says he is optimistic that he will win his party's nomination. And while he is being challenged by Mr. Lamont, no Republican candidate has emerged so far.

Wow, that's not quite what the lib blogs were telling us last night over the story that Lieberman had not ruled out an indy run, is it? Then they were saying Joe should run as a Republican.
Monday, April 10, 2006
Where I Stand 2006--Updated

I've done a couple similar posts in the past. You deserve to know where the blogger you're reading stands on the important issues of the time:

1. Taxes: Generally against them, but they are necessary. I'm not convinced there's a whole lot of economic growth we can get by cutting them much more. The national sales tax sounds interesting but I'm not convinced it's the best method.--Update: I agree with Kitty on the death/inheritance tax and taxation of Social Security; both should be abolished.

2. Abortion: Generally opposed morally, conflicted legally. I'd go with severe restrictions late term and general legality in the first trimester.

3. Culture: I'm receptive to the concept of ratings and restrictions. Janet Jackson's nipple was no accident, it was just another effort to push the boundaries.

4. Immigration: Not my hot button; about my only concern is that the border is porous not only for those who want to come to America but also to those who want to terrorize it.

5. Defense: The reason we have a federal government.

6. Federalism (as requested by commenter Paul): I am generally in favor of states' rights, and believe that the federal government has overreached in many areas. The federal government should primarily be concerned with world affairs, except where states are interfering with the rights guaranteed to all Americans.

Bias: I am a Republican. I will generally support Republicans over Democrats. I may make decisions based on that preference or opposed to that preference depending on individual candidates. You should definitely assume that I am presenting a Republican point of view on the news, and that I will tend to pick up more on stories that affirm my view than those that do not. But I will never lie to you. I'll never tell you things are good when I think they're bad.

Questions on specific issues welcomed; expect that I will reply in the post for the world to see.
A Particularly Fat-Headed Column

News item: Two-thirds of all students graduating high school are hoping to go on to college. Response by Dan K. Thomasson:

A startling figure cropped up the other day in news reports about college admissions. It was noted that of the nearly 3 million of those expected to graduate from high school this year, two-thirds would be looking for space in an institution of higher learning.

What that says about the national ability to produce a labor force capable of competing in today's world economy is downright scary.

And no doubt the Dan K. Thomassons of the past moaned when education became mandatory until age 16. If 12-year-olds couldn't get a good-paying job, obviously the country was going to hell in a handbasket.

We are now being told that there are so many applications for college that even a perfect score on an SAT won't assure one of a place in the Ivy League, where a decline in the percentage of acceptances is expected to continue for some time....Of course, if one gets a legitimate perfect score on the SAT and is still denied admission to the college of choice, the test is as worthless, as many have begun to think it is.

Of course the key word is "legitimate"; we all know that some perfect SATs are not as perfect as others. A double-800 in the 1970s is in all probability a higher percentage of correct answers than it was in the 1990s, following the "renorming" of the test.

My daughter recently inquired as to whether graduation with honors from Thomas Jefferson, a magnet high school of high national reputation in Fairfax County, Va., where merit scholars abound, would enhance her daughter's chances of cracking the Ivy League or other elite schools. Not necessarily, said a recent graduate who was turned down by her first choices despite outstanding grades. The young lady said a Harvard representative who had visited assessed Jefferson's reputation as not uniform among his school's officials.

Catch the little sleight of hand there? Thomasson slips from talking about perfect SAT scores to perfect grades, but we are not told about both regarding any student. A student with perfect SATs and a C average should not expect to be admitted to Harvard; nor should one with perfect grades and mediocre SATs. Those with the double-positives will get in at higher rates, and if they don't it will probably be because they don't belong to some protected minority.
DNA Tests Clear Duke Lacrosse Players?

That's what their attorneys are claiming, anyway.

Citing DNA test results delivered by the state crime lab to police and prosecutors a few hours earlier, the attorneys said the test results prove their clients did not sexually assault and beat a stripper hired to perform at a March 13 team party.

No charges have been filed in the case.

Same story here:

There are of course other possibilities, such as that they might have used condoms, but presumably the reason the DNA tests were ordered was because the stripper (at least they don't bother with the "exotic dancer" euphemism) said they hadn't.

This story continues to get weirder. I highlighted the email that one of the players wrote shortly after the party about wanting to kill the next stripper that performed for them. While I pointed out that it indicated a willingness to assault a stripper, it also could indicate that there were bad feelings on both sides of this dispute; that perhaps the girls were angry about rude treatment (short of rape and assault) and the lacrosse players were angry about perceived shortcomings of the stripper's performance.
An Interview With Mike Huckabee

John Hawkins gets up close and personal with the Governor of Arkansas.
Those Fun-Loving Liberals

Kristen Breitweiser sends out a call:

My thoughts? I think we should all come together and have our voices heard. If you are unhappy about healthcare, come join us. If you are unhappy about social security, come join us. If you are unhappy about education issues, come join us. If you are unhappy about foreign policy and national security, come join us. If you are unhappy about environmental issues and alternative energy issues, come join us. If you are unhappy about corruption, secrecy, and lack of accountability in government, come join us. If you are unhappy about campaign finance reform, come join us...

And if you're tired of hanging around with miserable, unhappy people, come join the Republicans!
Chirac Surrenders

This will surely end all the protesting, right?

French President Jacques Chirac has announced that the new youth employment law that sparked weeks of sometimes violent protests will be scrapped.

He said it would be replaced by other measures to tackle youth unemployment.

But some students appeared unwilling to abandon their protest.

Many had wanted the entire law to be revoked, not just the article introducing the employment contract.

"Our demands have not really been met," Lise Prunier, a student at the University of Paris-Jussieu told the Associated Press.
How Dare Joe Lieberman Talk of Running As An Independent!

After all the liberal blogs have done for him. CTBlogger reports that Lieberman is not ruling out an indy run if Ned Lamont wins the primary.

At this point, you have to ask the question: why should any Democrat in Connecticut support a candidate that threatens to leave the party if there is a primary challenge and/or he loses the Democratic primary? It apparent that Joe's strong feelings about himself are more important than the viewpoint of the Democrats in Connecticut who will vote in the primary. The main theme of Lamont's campaign is that Lieberman is out of touch with the viewpoint of the voters in Connecticut and it seems like they might be correct.

Swing State Project sees this as a bluff because independents have to file petitions with adequate signatures the day after the Democratic primary. Of course, there's nothing to say that Lieberman can't size up his prospects through polling a month or so before the primary and decide to go the signature-gathering route.

And get the sensible, measured response from the Lamont Blog (apparently not affiliated with Lamont's campaign):

Joe believes the Democratic party should be f*cking honored that he would grace it with his presence. He expects to be treated like f*cking royalty, and if he isn't, it is now beyond obvious he will cut and run from the party.

Gee, you mean there might be a downside to all the vituperation that the liberal blogs have heaped on Joe Lieberman in the last three years? I'm shocked, shocked I tell you!

Others: Dan Riehl says this may be an attempt to get Hillary and some of the other grownups in the party to step forward and squash Lamont. Blue Crab Boulevard does a little taunting of the liberal blogosphere.

Captain Ed draws an interesting comparison with the Lincoln Chafee situation:

The Rhode Island situation with Linc Chaffee has some similarities, but the difference is that Lieberman votes much more often in concert with his caucus than Chaffee does with the GOP. If Chaffee ran as an independent, it would not hurt the GOP nearly as much since Chaffee's vote hardly ever goes to support key party goals. Chaffee couldn't even bring himself to vote for George Bush in the last election, opting to write in Bush 41's name instead. Connecticut Democrats have much more to lose with Lieberman, even if they themselves don't realize it.

The biggest difference to me is that if Lieberman runs as an independent, it's not likely to change the mix in the Senate. The Republican in that race will still be a substantial underdog. If Chafee runs as an independent, it virtually guarantees the Democrats will pick up a seat.
Sunday, April 09, 2006
The Best Player Never to Win Four Majors?

I gotta hunch we're going to have to retire that phrase fairly soon:

Iraq Liberation Day Anniversary

Pat Hynes has a letter from a Gold Star Mother.
Not Hard To Predict the Reaction to This Editorial

The WaPo editorial board tells it like it is:

PRESIDENT BUSH was right to approve the declassification of parts of a National Intelligence Estimate about Iraq three years ago in order to make clear why he had believed that Saddam Hussein was seeking nuclear weapons. Presidents are authorized to declassify sensitive material, and the public benefits when they do. But the administration handled the release clumsily, exposing Mr. Bush to the hyperbolic charges of misconduct and hypocrisy that Democrats are leveling.

Let's see, Jane Hamsher will not doubt write one of the "Dear Jim" posts, for which she is so well known. Glenn Greenwald will say this proves why censure is necessary. And Oliver Willis will mutter something about the corporate media.

Dan Riehl foresees a full scale "China Syndrome" over this editorial.

Thank God we don't have to worry about the fallout. Most of the Libs are lightweights and are bound to be carried away on the wind by some other nonsense before tonight. Either that, or they'll go back to screaming about Bush's plans to nuke Iran.

Daily Kos features a pushback from Joe Wilson, using an article from the news section of the Post:

Here we have a two-fer in terms of self-debunking: (1) There was indeed total validation of Mr. Wilson's charges of persecution, despite what the editorial says; and (2) The news story confirms that there was "no support for charges that Iraq tried to buy uranium there" - in direct contradiction to the editorial's claim that Wilson's report supported the purchase effort.

What does the news article say? The poster at Kos highlights this:

Cheney, in a conversation with Libby in early July 2003, was said to describe Wilson's CIA-sponsored trip to Niger the previous year -- in which the envoy found no support for charges that Iraq tried to buy uranium there -- as "a junket set up by Mr. Wilson's wife," CIA case officer Valerie Plame. (Boldface added by Kos poster)

Except of course as we have covered extensively, Wilson did not find "no support" for those charges. As the Senate Intelligence Committee reported:

So it is plain that the news article has it wrong and the editorial has it right.

See also Rick Moran's take on this:

Why the sudden love note about the Post? I read this editorial this morning and remembered why the Post is still a fairly honest voice in our national debate. We might not like some of the news they write but that’s not their fault; events can be unwelcome and they are, after all, just the messengers.

I also like Blue Crab Boulevard's point:

This is, I think, enough for reasonable people to let this matter go. Though I rather doubt a lot of people will.

Nope, they sure won't. The key word there is "reasonable".

Hat Tip: Memeorandum

Update: Check out Bookburner Jane Hamsher's comment (first one) on Jeff Goldstein's post. Can you say clueless liberals have zero sense of humor?


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