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Saturday, May 06, 2006
Le Fraude on L'Intolerance

Sigh. Kerry does "Are you questioning my patriotism?" yet again.

"Although no one is being jailed today for speaking out against the war in Iraq, the spirit of intolerance for dissent has risen steadily, and the habit of labeling dissenters as unpatriotic has become the common currency of the politicians currently running our country," he said.

I will defend to the death my right to call you unpatriotic if I want to, Nuancy Boy!
Dems Blowing Chance in Ohio?

That's the undercurrent of this article.

In one welcome turn for Democrats, two Republican members of Congress are vulnerable, victims of the curdled political environment, analysts said. But Democratic hopes of knocking out a third Republican, Representative Bob Ney, who has been linked to the Jack Abramoff corruption investigation, were set back when the Democrats' favored candidate, Mayor Joe Sulzer of Chillicothe, lost to a lesser-known and politically inexperienced challenger, Zack Space.

Zack Space? Sounds like a "netroots" candidate to me. Here's his "issues" page, which contains a grand total of four issues: Jobs & the Economy, The War In Iraq, Health Care, and Stem Cell Research.

Note this bit of wishful analysis:

In many ways, the political environment here mirrors the national one, with its brew of economic anxiety, corruption and voter weariness with one-party dominance. Beyond corruption and worry about Iraq, the contests in Ohio are shaping up as a face-off between two powerful forces in American politics: economic issues, lead by job loss, trade and health care worries; and social issues, notably abortion, same-sex marriage and gun control.

Where is there weariness with one party dominance nationally? I'm sure it exists in the New York Times newsroom, but you'd have a hard time finding it elsewhere.
Moron Patrick Kennedy

Dan Riehl has a terrific post on his own comeback from addiction, which tells him that Patrick is unlikely to be successful.

As an aside here, there's one thing that I find rather curious. Kennedy, despite being completely out of it (he claims not even to remember the incident), still remembered enough to claim that he was on the way to a vote, thus giving him immunity from prosecution. Is there a general understanding among congressional drinkers that this is a get out of DUI free card? Did Poppa Ted point him to the relevant section in the Constitution?
Friday, May 05, 2006
This Is Silly

Michael Silver has a pretty good column on Kurt Warner and Matt Leinart, the starter and the heir apparent for the Arizona Cardinals. But check this part out:

Also, Warner believes, as do I, that what's about to go down in the Cardinals' new stadium will bear a much closer resemblance to Drew Brees-Philip Rivers than to Warner-Manning.

"It's similar to what I would call the Drew Brees situation," Warner says. "I'm the starter, and there are no questions about it -- it's not a competition here. I can go out there and play well and not have to look over my shoulder, and if I do that, it's all going to be great."

Drew Brees and Kurt Warner have virtually nothing in common. Brees was 25 years old when his team drafted a #1 pick; Warner will be 35 when the Cardinals kick off their season. When you have a 25-year-old player who's showing signs of developing into a top-flight quarterback, you let him play, even if the team is losing and even if that means keeping a top draft pick on the bench. With Warner, if the team is not doing well, it seems more likely there will be pressure to let Leinart play.

On the other hand, if Warner plays well and the team wins, he's a two-time MVP and they'll probably just give Leinart some occasional mop-ups, which would effectively work out the same. At any rate, if I were Leinart, I would not be terribly happy with Philip Rivers' career to date.
Moron Loose Change

I've put up a couple new posts on Screw Loose Change.
The Problem With Being A Bleeding Heart

Is that eventually your heart bleeds for the wrong people.

Last night, I caught most of To Catch a Predator on MSNBC. If you're not familiar with the show, basically it's feeding into the current "internet predator" boogeyman mindset: Men soliciting sex with minors online. The show is in "Gotcha" format; a "sting" is set up, men solicit sex with a minor in an online chat, not knowing that they're actually speaking to a cop. When they show up at the agreed-upon location, suddenly they're confronted by Chris Hansen, Dateline "Correspondent."

He goes on to talk about other such sting operations on TV, and how they made him feel sympathetic to the focus of the sting because the purpose seemed to be to humiliate the person.

I got this same feeling while watching Dateline last night. Now, pedophiles and predators of children are the lowest of the low. But the attitude of Chris Hansen was so melodramatic and sneering, I almost found myself feeling sorry for them. And I was pissed, because I felt like I was being manipulated into feeling that way. I didn't really feel "sorry" for them in the slightest... but because the show was trying to manipulate me into the "shoot him now!" mindset, it backfired.

You know how it goes. Because he's not willing to be lured into the lynch mob mentality, he feels sorry for these pedophiles. Why? Because he doesn't like to see them humiliated.

A typical exchange would go like this: The predator would show up at the "home" of the minor he had solicited (a house with hidden cameras set up all over the place), and would enter upon being called in by a female voice in another room. "I'm just getting changed!" They would walk in, and suddenly CHRIS HANSEN would burst into the room, saying something ridiculously overdone like "I'm afraid you won't be keeping your DATE tonight!" Bewildered, they would allow themselves to be seated with Hansen, who would sneeringly badger them with questions taken directly from the chat sessions they had with their "dates." They all went a little like this (You can read actual transcripts at the MSNBC story.):

"You were here to have sex with her, weren't you?"

I don't see anything wrong with humiliating these guys. Maybe the next guy who gets into an IM conversation with a real 15-year-old girl will think twice before he tries to arrange a "date" because he's nervous about another sting operation like this.
The Zarqawi Blooper Reel

Chris at Lucky Dawg reminds us whom the Democrats want to cut and run from.
The Climate Change Thing

Mark Steyn remarked a few weeks ago that the Global Warming crowd had done away with GW and was now focusing on "climate change". And sure enough, this headline in the Washington Post shows that:

Climate Change Drives Disease To New Territory

Note as well, that the negative aspects of climate change are always highlighted, not the positive effects. We won't see a story entitled "Climate Change Reduces Heating Oil Bill for Seniors".

As for this:

Scientists have warned for more than a decade that climate change would broaden the range of many diseases. But the warnings were couched in the future, and qualified. The spread of disease is affected by many uncertainties, including unforeseen resistance to antibiotics, failures of public health systems, population movement and yearly climate swings. For that reason, some scientists have been cautious about the link between disease and global warming.

But Paul Epstein, a physician who worked in Africa and is now on the faculty of Harvard Medical School, said that, if anything, scientists weren't worried enough about the problem.

"Things we projected to occur in 2080 are happening in 2006. What we didn't get is how fast and how big it is, and the degree to which the biological systems would respond," Epstein said in an interview in Boston. "Our mistake was in underestimation."

Now remember that about half the temperature rise that has been recorded occured during World War II, that the rest came before 1998, and that the planet has been cooling slightly since then. So why does this result in a spread of disease? In fact, it probably doesn't. Disease spreads normally; remember there were very few AIDS cases in North America before 1980.
The Kennedy Story--Updated!

Teddy's congressman son was out drinking and driving in the middle of the night?

I'm shocked, shocked I tell you.

Riehl World View has much more, including discussion of two other recent "accidents involving Patrick Kennedy. I was able to find more on the other car crash in the New York Daily News summary.

The early morning crash comes just a couple of weeks after Kennedy wrecked another car in Portsmouth, R.I., on April 15. The congressman, driving a 2003 Crown Victoria, reportedly collided with a Nissan Maxima outside a drug store. No charges were filed.

Update: Kennedy says he was hopped up on goofballs:

Earlier in the evening, Kennedy issued a statement through his office blaming the accident and strange behavior surrounding it on prescription drugs.

He said he returned to his Capitol Hill home on Wednesday evening after House votes and took “prescribed” amounts of Phenergan and Ambien.

Phenergan is for gastroenteritis, he said. Ambien is a popular sleep medication.

“Sometime around 2:45 a.m., I drove the few blocks to the Capitol Complex believing I needed to vote,” his second statement said. “Apparently, I was disoriented from the medication.”

Update II: Kennedy to check into hospital for treatment for addiction to pain medication. Let me predict here that there will be no gales of laughter from the Left about "hillbilly heroin" or calls for prosecution the way there was in the Rush Limbaugh case.
Thursday, May 04, 2006
Howeird Dean Strikes Again

You just gotta shake your head at this:

Dean took a swipe at the Republican Party, saying the Democratic Party is one of inclusion and religious freedom.

"I was recently asked about the difference between the Democratic and Republican parties," Dean said. "When it comes right down to it, the essential difference is that the Democrats fundamentally believe it is important to make sure that American Jews feel comfortable being American Jews."

More Nuttiness from Democracy for America

Jim Dean (Howie's brother) sends news that there are three more competitive seats this election, thanks to me!

He points to California's 50th Congressional District, where Francine Busby fell short of 50% in the primary and will go to a runoff on June 6; New Jersey's 7th District; and New York's 20th District.

How competitive are those seats? John Sweeney, the incumbent Republican, took his NY 20th District by a 67%-33% margin in 2004. New Jersey's 7th District went to Mike Ferguson, the Republican, by 57%-41%. California's 50th is a special case, in that Duke Cunningham, the incumbent, is retiring to spend some time as the guest of the federal government. He beat Busby in 2004 by 59% to 37%. Busby got the most votes in a crowded non-partisan primary, but now she will be up against one Republican in the run-off election.
Check Out Screw Loose Change

James and I have been busy over there. James points out an obvious physics mistake in Loose Change, while I debunk the notion that the Coroner in Shanksville found no human remains where Flight 93 crashed.
Proof It's Getting Hotter Out There

Pam Meister has the evidence.

Also, global warming on Jupiter? Those Jovians have got to stop using RUVs!

And the Plutonians.

And the Martians.

Or could it be the sun?

Hat Tip: My cousin Brendan (via email).
Random Thought About Moussaoui

Isn't it at least arguable that the decision of the jury in the Moussaoui case, while rejecting the death penalty for him, at least validates the concept of the death penalty in general?

After all, if the jury in that case, the first prosecution of anybody involved with 9-11, declined to put this admitted co-conspirator to death, can it really be argued that juries impose capital punishment lightly?

I'm of two minds on the death penalty. On an intellectual level, my left brain does not like giving the state the power of life and death. But to my right brain, there are some crimes for which no other punishment seems adequate. Timothy McVeigh and Tookie Williams both amply deserved their fate.

Update: Allah links to the filled-in juror questionairre (PDF warning) which raises some serious questions in my mind:

How in the world do you find Moussaoui's actions responsible for causing maiming, disfigurement and permanent disability to folks who survived the offense, but not responsible for the deaths of 3000 people? Unless there is a quibble here over the exact death toll, that is just a bizarre conclusion.

Eric Boehlert has a new book out claiming--don't laugh--that the press has been too deferential to President Bush. Today Salon publishes an exerpt from that book.

Thirteen days before he announced United States-led coalition forces had begun the war to "disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger," President Bush on the evening of March 6, 2003, strolled into the East Room of the White House at 8:02 p.m. for a rare press conference -- just his eighth since taking office. With war looming, the evening was clouded in a strange dynamic. Perhaps trying to shake off allegations of being a cowboy charging towards war, Bush appeared oddly sedate throughout the prime-time appearance, talking slowly and in a pronounced hush. His low-key approach was mirrored by the ninety-four equally somnambulant reporters assembled that night in the East Room who meekly walked through the motions with Bush.

If anxious viewers at home were hoping for some last-minute insight from Bush to help ease their doubts about the imminent war, why it had to be fought now, and why so many of the United States' longtime allies around the world refused to support it, those viewers were likely disappointed as the president stuck to his well-worn talking points ("Saddam Hussein has had twelve years to disarm. He is deceiving people"). And for any viewers who held out hope that members of the assembled mainstream media (hereafter, "MSM") would firmly, yet respectfully, press Bush for answers to tough questions about the pending invasion, they could have turned their TVs off at 8:05 p.m.

The press corps's barely-there performance that night, as reporters quietly melted into the scenery, coming at such a crucial moment in time remains an industry-wide embarrassment. Laying out the reasons for war, Bush that night mentioned al-Qaida and the terrorist attacks of September 11 thirteen times in less than an hour, yet not a single journalist challenged the presumed connection Bush was making between al-Qaida and Iraq, despite the fact that intelligence sources had publicly questioned any such association. And during the Q&A session, nobody bothered to ask Bush about the elusive Osama bin Laden, the terrorist mastermind whom Bush had vowed to capture. Follow-up questions were nonexistent, which only encouraged Bush to give answers to questions he was not asked.

Yes, and they also forgot to ask him about his service in the Texas Air National Guard as well. But what about the 13 mentions of Al Qaeda and 9-11? Let's count them and see if there's some presumed connection between Al Qaeda and Irag:

1. This has been an important week on two fronts on our war against terror. First, thanks to the hard work of American and Pakistani officials, we captured the mastermind of the September the 11th attacks against our nation. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed conceived and planned the hijackings and directed the actions of the hijackers. We believe his capture will further disrupt the terror network and their planning for additional attacks.

No connection to Iraq alleged.

2. If the world fails to confront the threat posed by the Iraqi regime, refusing to use force, even as a last resort, free nations would assume immense and unacceptable risks. The attacks of September the 11th, 2001 showed what the enemies of America did with four airplanes. We will not wait to see what terrorists or terrorist states could do with weapons of mass destruction.

No particular connection drawn between Iraq and Al Qaeda. They are certainly compared.

3. Iraq is a part of the war on terror. Iraq is a country that has got terrorist ties. It's a country with wealth. It's a country that trains terrorists, a country that could arm terrorists. And our fellow Americans must understand in this new war against terror, that we not only must chase down al Qaeda terrorists, we must deal with weapons of mass destruction, as well.

Here's where Boehlert undoubtedly shouted "Jackpot!" Of course the last sentence draws a distinction between Iraq and Al Qaeda.

4 & 5. Saddam Hussein is a threat to our nation. September the 11th changed the strategic thinking, at least, as far as I was concerned, for how to protect our country. My job is to protect the American people. It used to be that we could think that you could contain a person like Saddam Hussein, that oceans would protect us from his type of terror. September the 11th should say to the American people that we're now a battlefield, that weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a terrorist organization could be deployed here at home.

Saddam, 9-11, Saddam, 9-11. You could see how a particularly gullible person would draw the connection. Boehlert, who obviously feels the American people are ignorant rubes (he's trying to sell them snake oil), undoubtedly would say this proves his point.

6. We do communicate a lot, and we will continue to communicate a lot. We must communicate. We must share intelligence; we must share -- we must cut off money together; we must smoke these al Qaeda types out one at a time. It's in our national interest, as well, that we deal with Saddam Hussein.

He mentioned Al Qaeda and Saddam in the same paragraph. Clearly he's drawing connections. Yes, the "as well" part indicates that they are two separate matters, but Bush lied! Thousands died!

7. I believe Saddam Hussein is a threat to the American people. I believe he's a threat to the neighborhood in which he lives. And I've got a good evidence to believe that. He has weapons of mass destruction, and he has used weapons of mass destruction, in his neighborhood and on his own people. He's invaded countries in his neighborhood. He tortures his own people. He's a murderer. He has trained and financed al Qaeda-type organizations before, al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations.

We know this is true; for one thing Saddam offered $25,000 to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers in Israel.

8 & 9. And we live in a dangerous world. We live in new circumstances in our country. And I hope people remember the -- I know they remember the tragedy of September the 11th, but I hope they understand the lesson of September the 11th. The lesson is, is that we're vulnerable to attack, wherever it may occur, and we must take threats which gather overseas very seriously. We don't have to deal with them all militarily. But we must deal with them. And in the case of Iraq, it is now time for him to disarm. For the sake of peace, if we have to use our troops, we will.

No particular link drawn other than the obvious; that Saddam could fund another 9-11.

10 & 11. Hutch, I think, first of all, it's hard to envision more terror on America than September the 11th, 2001. We did nothing to provoke that terrorist attack. It came upon us because there's an enemy which hates America. They hate what we stand for. We love freedom and we're not changing. And, therefore, so long as there's a terrorist network like al Qaeda, and others willing to fund them, finance them, equip them -- we're at war.

And so I -- you know, obviously, I've thought long and hard about the use of troops. I think about it all the time. It is my responsibility to commit the troops. I believe we'll prevail -- I know we'll prevail. And out of that disarmament of Saddam will come a better world, particularly for the people who live in Iraq.

No linkage drawn or implied.

12. But I want to remind -- remind you what I said before. There is a huge cost when we get attacked. There is a significant cost to our society -- first of all, there is the cost of lives. It's an immeasurable cost -- 3,000 people died. This is a significant cost to our economy. Opportunity loss is an immeasurable cost, besides the cost of repairing buildings, and cost to our airlines. And so, the cost of an attack is significant.

13. I couldn't find #13, although there are a couple places where I could see Boehlert arguing the connection was made.

More important, just how deferential are the questions? I see a lot of questions where the reporters seem to be begging the president to give Saddam more time.

Ron Fournier: And what harm would it do to give Saddam a final ultimatum? A two- or three-day deadline to disarm or face force?

Dick (no last name given): And in relation to that, today, the British Foreign Minister, Jack Straw, suggested at the U.N. that it might be time to look at amending the resolution, perhaps with an eye towards a timetable like that proposed by the Canadians some two weeks ago, that would set a firm deadline to give Saddam Hussein a little bit of time to come clean. And also, obviously, that would give you a little bit of a chance to build more support within the members of the Security Council. Is that something that the governments should be pursuing at the U.N. right now?

Others focus endlessly on the opposition to the war, both by foreign governments and antiwar activists.

Jim Angle: And if I may, during the recent demonstrations, many of the protestors suggested that the U.S. was a threat to peace, which prompted you to wonder out loud why they didn't see Saddam Hussein as a threat to peace. I wonder why you think so many people around the world take a different view of the threat that Saddam Hussein poses than you and your allies.

Terry Moran: In the past several weeks, your policy on Iraq has generated opposition from the governments of France, Russia, China, Germany, Turkey, the Arab League and many other countries, opened a rift at NATO and at the U.N., and drawn millions of ordinary citizens around the world into the streets in anti-war protests. May I ask, what went wrong that so many governments and people around the world now not only disagree with you very strongly, but see the U.S. under your leadership as an arrogant power?

Bill Plante: And if war is inevitable, there are a lot of people in this country -- as much as half, by polling standards -- who agree that he should be disarmed, who listen to you say that you have the evidence, but who feel they haven't seen it, and who still wonder why blood has to be shed if he hasn't attacked us.

Mark Knoller: Mr. President, are you worried that the United States might be viewed as defiant of the United Nations if you went ahead with military action without specific and explicit authorization from the U.N.?

April (No last name given): Mr. President, as the nation is at odds over war, with many organizations like the Congressional Black Caucus pushing for continued diplomacy through the U.N., how is your faith guiding you? And what should you tell America -- well, what should America do, collectively, as you instructed before 9/11? Should it be "pray?" Because you're saying, let's continue the war on terror.

Somebody named Hutch: Thank you, Mr. President. As you know, not everyone shares your optimistic vision of how this might play out. Do you ever worry, maybe in the wee, small hours, that you might be wrong and they might be right in thinking that this could lead to more terrorism, more anti-American sentiment, more instability in the Middle East?

So the notion that the press were a bunch of lapdogs just eager to be petted here seems a bit far-fetched.
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
The Amazing Race: Thunder Down Under

Terrific drama tonight, with two mad dashes and loads of intrigue.

The teams start out having to visit the Swan Bells tower in Perth:

Almost needless to say, the tower doesn't open till morning, so there's nothing much going on until just before the opening, when the teams all get the idea of calling and asking for taxicabs. But the Frat Boys go one further, calling the cab company to cancel the cabs for the Hippies (and probably the other teams as well, although this is unclear).

However, as it works out, Mojo gets their cab (which BJ and Tyler had tried to liberate), and the other three teams are stuck looking in the middle of rushhour traffic. It appears that the Frat Boys have the toughest luck, and they remark on their bad karma coming back to bite them.

The next task is to fly to Darwin, Australia. Mojo tries to wheedle the Quantas representative into not helping the other teams by offering a kiss from Monica; suffice to say that the guy does not look thrilled. She's an attractive gal, but as an old friend of mine used to say, no matter how good-looking she is, there's a guy somewhere who's sick to death of her.

It turns out that all four teams get the same flight, so the only real drama is the dash to the parking lot, where Mercedes SUVs are waiting. They must visit a crocodile farm, and wade through a pool with lots of young crocs to get the next clue. The camera tries to emphasize the crocs snapping, but nothing really happens. Next stop airfield: Caution--Yield ahead! BJ & Tyler take the lead, but Mojo passes them, apparently by speeding.

BJ & Tyler explain that they had threatened to yield Mojo if they didn't give them some money at the beginning of the segment where they started out with no cash. The two teams pull into the parking lot virtually simultanously, and there is a mad dash to the Cluebox. The Hippies win the race and fulfill their threat by Yielding Mojo.

And Monica reacts like a ten-year-old. She starts crying and getting angry and inconsolable as the other teams pass them by. Joseph and Monica are so caught up in their anger that they don't even notice at first that the hourglass is empty.

The Roadblock is for the teams to be flown up into the sky and then tandem parachute down. Nothing much to it. BJ and Tyler head towards the next Cluebox, at the magnetic termite mounds.

The next task is the Detour: Wet or Dry? In Wet, the teams must make their way down a brook for a mile. In dry they have to drive six miles offroad to a place where they will learn to play a note on a diggery doo. A friend of mine had one of those a few years ago, but I only tried it once.

The Hippies and the Frat Boys opt for the run a mile, while the other two teams decide to learn to play a new instrument. It turns out quite obvious that the latter chore was the way to go, because Ray and Yolanda, who were third coming into the Detour leave first and coast tothe pit stop (and a one-year lease on a Mercedes SUV), while Mojo use the time they save to catch up.

At about this time, I noticed that gee, we hadn't had any of the usual "cliffhanger" touches that have punctuated the series as long as I've been watching it. You know, the moment when somebody says "I can't do this" while the partner shakes his head in disgust, and then we break to a commercial and when we come back they ace the challenge.

And shortly it becomes obvious why they didn't feel any extra flourishes were necessary. Incredibly, all three teams are within sight of each other as they barrel towards the pit stop.

What follows is the maddest dash of all time, with all three teams trying to make it to the mat. At first it appears that Monica won't make it, but BJ tries a short cut to the side that turns out to take longer, and the Hippies are the last team to arrive.

However... it should be obvious to anybody watching that this will have to be a non-elimination leg. There are always two during the race, and they clearly will not have it during the three-team segment to close out the season, so sure enough Phil just takes their money and possessions other than the clothes on their back. I remember that last season there was a non-elimination leg on the same episode as the second Yield, so the value of it really isn't as much as it might seem.

Be sure to check out the Viking Pundit's always excellent recap. Also Kris from Dummocrats summarizes the race in verse!
Mousse Escapes the Noose--Updated

I am not a huge fan of the death penalty, but if there was ever a case that cried out for it, it's this one.

A federal jury decided today that Sept. 11, 2001, conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui should be sentenced to life in prison, rejecting government arguments that he should be executed for his role in the deadliest terrorist strike on American soil.

"America, you lost. I won!" Moussaoui yelled as he was escorted from the U.S. District courtroom in Alexandria after the verdict was read. He clapped his hands as he left.

Others have noted that he will not be in the general prison population, so he's unlikely to end up as somebody's girlfriend or get a shiv between the ribs. Of course, Father Geoghan was probably not in the general population when he was killed, either.

Update: Rick Moran goes against the grain.
Some Where, Over the Flash Animated Rainbow...

This little animation is pretty funny; both sides will find something to like and something to hate about it.
About That Culture of Corruption

It's on both sides of the aisle:

The head of a technology company at the center of a federal investigation into Rep. William Jefferson, D-New Orleans, is expected to plead guilty today to aiding and abetting the solicitation of bribes and has agreed to cooperate with the investigation, according to court documents and sources familiar with the case.

Vernon Jackson, CEO of iGate Inc. in Kentucky, has signed a 13-page statement in which he says Jefferson helped get his telecommunications firm listed with the General Services Administration so it could get government contracts, one of the sources said.

The statement also says Jefferson, an eight-term congressman and a senior Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, later demanded payments to a company that included the congressman's wife and children in return for his help in gaining lucrative Internet and cable TV contracts in Africa.

The source said the government has obtained a copy of payment transactions from Jackson to the business it says is directly tied to Jefferson's family.
Will The Gang of 14 Hold Together?

And more important, how do you write an article about judicial nominations speculating on a potential filibuster without interviewing a single member?

Democratic leaders said they certainly would filibuster one of the nominees, Terrence W. Boyle, and might filibuster the second, Brett Kavanaugh, if Republicans refuse to call him back for a second hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The partisan rhetoric was the strongest signal yet that the Senate might revisit the brinkmanship that brought the chamber to the edge of crisis a year ago, when a bipartisan group of 14 members crafted a temporary cease-fire.

There's a lot of talk about Frist and Schumer, but not a quote from one of the members of the Gang of 14. The important ones in this regard are the Democrats:

* Joseph I. Lieberman, Connecticut
* Robert C. Byrd, West Virginia
* E. Benjamin Nelson, Nebraska
* Mary Landrieu, Louisiana
* Daniel Inouye, Hawaii
* Mark Pryor, Arkansas
* Ken Salazar, Colorado

Byrd and Nelson are unlikely to support the filibuster as they are in tough reelection fights in states that are more conservative than they are. Lieberman of course has the opposite problem; he's under attack from his own party and may see this as an opportunity to tack left and regain some support from the base. Then again he may see that as hopeless.
Juan Stupid Response--Updated!

Christopher Hitchens writes in Slate about Juan Cole's denial that Iran's president wants to wipe Israel off the map.

Cole continues to present himself as an expert on Shiism and on the Persian, Arabic, and Urdu tongues. Let us see how his claim vindicates itself in practice. Here is what he wrote on the "Gulf 2000" e-mail chat-list on April 22:

It bears repeating as long as the accusation is made. Ahmadinejad did not "threaten" to "wipe Israel off the map." I'm not sure there is even such an idiom in Persian. He quoted Khomeini to the effect that "the Occupation regime must end" (ehtelal bayad az bayn berad). And, no, it is not the same thing. It is about what sort of regime people live under, not whether they exist at all. Ariel Sharon, after all, made the Occupation regime in Gaza end.

Hitchens does a pretty good job of demonstrating that Ahmadinejad did indeed make the threat and that it's pretty noncontroversial in Iran, since the Ayatollah himself called for the destruction of Israel.

Now, Cole could have responded substantively. Instead he whines:

I belong to a private email discussion group called Gulf2000. It has academics, journalists and policy makers on it. It has a strict rule that messages appearing there will not be forwarded off the list....Hitchens somehow hacked into the site, or joined and lurked, or had a crony pass him things.

He hacked into an email list? That's a buffoonish claim, revealing Cole's ignorance of what "hacking" is. Perhaps realizing that this is a thin reed, Cole gets personal:

Well, I don't think it is any secret that Hitchens has for some time had a very serious and debilitating drinking problem. He once showed up drunk to a talk I gave and heckled me. I can only imagine that he was deep in his cups when he wrote, or had some far Rightwing think tank write, his current piece of yellow journalism. I am sorry to witness the ruin of a once-fine journalistic mind.

Yeah, we can tell you're all choked up about it.

Note particularly that Hitchens cites Cole on April 22:

I'm not sure there is even such an idiom in Persian.

However, in today's response, Cole is positive:

I was arguing that there is no Persian idiom to wipe something off the map, and that Ahmadinejad has been misquoted.

Update: Andrew Sullivan reports he was at Hitchens' when the piece was filed and that Hitch was stone cold sober.

Update II: Hugh Hewitt interviews Hitchens:

CH: Well, I've always thought that attacks of that kind, wherever they come from, were invariably a sign of weakness. I mean, if Juan Cole wrote a piece attacking me, and all I could think of in reply was to say well, he seems like a dope fiend, or a closet case, or a pederast, I would feel that I wasn't really meeting his argument, I mean, that I hadn't replied to the points he'd made against me. The ad hominem is widely and rightly denounced, because it shows a collapse on the part of the person who uses it. They won't reply to your point, they won't reply to your case. And Cole, who is the embodiment of the mediocre, this would not surprise me in the least. I mean, he writes as if he's drunk, because you have to, the sentences are made up of syntactical train wrecks. But I don't think it's alcohol in his case. I think it's illiteracy, simply.

Hat Tip: TC
DA In Duke Lacrosse Case Wins Primary

He's extremely likely to win reelection now because there are no Republicans running.

With all precincts reporting, Mike Nifong had 45 percent of the vote, with challenger Freda Black close behind with about 42 percent. There are no Republicans running in the general election, and Nifong needed only 40 percent plus one vote to avoid a primary runoff.
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
How Many Screws Loose?

James and I are dissecting the movie Loose Change over at Screw Loose Change. Suffice to say that the gentlemen who put that "mockumentary" together are a few bezels short of a defuser case.
Iraqi Kids Love Our Troops

Here's a terrific little video that our buddy at Blue Crab Boulevard found linked at Texas Rainmaker's blog. This one will put a smile on your face.
Of a Purge on the Left

Todd Gitlin sticks up for an unlikely group: Liberal boomers.

At a time when liberals hold next to no sway in any leading institution of national government, when the prime liberal institution of the last centuryorganized labor wobbles helplessly, when most national media tilt so far to the right as to parody themselves, the guardians of purity rise to a high pitch of sanctimoniousness aimed at ... heretics. Liberals, that is.

Liberals, they argue, are a powerful force of accommodation — baby-boomer liberals particularly, baby-boomer liberals in the humanities even more particularly. These heretics are not a generation preparing to shuffle into retirement counting their 401(k)'s but a cunningly if undeservedly potent clique standing astride the culture, betraying the masses and fending off bright alternatives to ideological darkness. Only their treason could possibly explain the triumph of the barbarians' reign of error.

Indeed. As we have often remarked here, the Left seems to reserve its greatest ire for liberal Democrats. Yes, they hate Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld, but they really despise Christopher Mathews, Joe Lieberman and Rahm Emanuel.

As at many junctures when revolutionaries suffer defeat — as in the early 1970s, when the New Left unraveled in fratricide — they conclude they must have been stabbed in the back. Shrinking in real-world significance toward the vanishing point, they go hunting for enemies within.

I don't ordinarily agree with Gitlin, but he hits the mark with this essay.
We Won't Settle Until 100% of Americans Are In the Top 5% of Incomes

Get this ridiculous article:

The likelihood that a child born into a poor family will make it into the top five percent is just one percent, according to "Understanding Mobility in America", a study by economist Tom Hertz from American University.

By contrast, a child born rich had a 22 percent chance of being rich as an adult, he said.

"In other words, the chances of getting rich are about 20 times higher if you are born rich than if you are born in a low-income family," he told an audience at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think-tank sponsoring the work.

I would bet a lot of money that you'll find that the chances of getting rich increase dramatically with several factors: Being raised by both parents instead of one and getting a college education are the two most obvious. Also this defines the American Dream as getting rich; I always thought that the American Dream was getting ahead. What percentage of the folks who start out poor make it to the median household income?
Black Panthers Demonstrate in Durham

The Duke lacrosse rape case now starts to take on aspects of a sideshow. Perhaps we could call it Dukapalooza?

The Panthers announced eight demands, as general as stopping rape and as particular as converting the Duke-owned house where the crimes allegedly occurred into a rape crisis center.

They also included that defendants Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann be found guilty. Shabazz, an attorney, was asked repeatedly how that demand squared with the law's presumption of innocence. It would be the only just outcome, he replied.

"How do you find the two defendants in this case?" Shabazz shouted.

"Guilty," the crowd shouted back.

Also, the defense presented more evidence of Reade Seligmann's possible innocence.

Defense attorneys say Reade Seligmann, one of the Duke University lacrosse players accused of an alleged rape at a team party, had several affidavits filed on his behalf in court, including a series of 12 photographs captured on an ATM camera as he withdrew money at 12:24 a.m. on the night of the alleged rape, CBS News corrrespondent Trish Regan reports.
Mona Charen on United 93

She critiques the criticism:

What, then, are the critics talking about when they describe this film as "controversial"? The Washington Post ran a front-page story called "When Hollywood Makes History: Invented Details in 'United 93' Raise Real Questions." What were these "invented details"? In the film, the terrorist piloting United 93 places a photo of the Capitol on the plane's console. This is incorrect, the Post intones, since the 9/11 Commission said investigators could not determine whether the White House or the Capitol was the actual target. Is that it? No, the film also shows the terrorists killing the pilot and co-pilot, whereas we don't know if they really did that. Finally, the passengers are depicted as breaching the cockpit, whereas the tapes leave that issue unresolved.

She also points out the curious matter of the film's "R" rating.

I wonder, did that sentiment also infect the people who rate movies? "United 93" is rated R. In theory, no one under 17 can be admitted without a parent (though these rules are widely flouted). Yet the same people gave "Scary Movie 4" a PG-13 rating. According to, an Internet movie guide for parents, "Scary Movie 4" contains crude depictions of homosexual sex, oral sex between a man and a woman, a woman using the bathroom in full view of a room full of people, etc, etc.
Monday, May 01, 2006
Screw Loose Change

After thinking about it for awhile, I decided that Loose Change is getting enough attention in the blogosphere to warrant a special blog dedicated to debunking the fruitcake conspiracy theories that it's been responsible for promoting. Our buddy James at the Chief Brief and I named the blog Screw Loose Change, because it combines "Screw Loose" and "Loose Change" which is the connection required for most people believing in this extremely weird fantasy.

So I sat down to watch the beginning of the movie and caught the filmmaker in an embarrassing mistake. Yes, an even more embarrassing mistake than his mispronunciation of Robert McNamara's last name as Micknamara.

We are looking for people who are willing to put a small amount of time into help debunking this film. If you've seen United 93 and Loose Change, you'll know why it's important. From what I've already seen, this looks to be a very target-rich environment. Contact me or James if you'd like to be involved.
America Held Hostage Day 3: Media Continue to Ignore Colbert

Here's an important story you can only get from the liberal blogosphere: The media's silence about Steve Colbert. Christopher Durang explains it all for you:

Stephen Colbert was the star attraction at the White House Correspondents Dinner Saturday night, and his performance was thrilling or insulting or uncomfortable, depending on your point of view. Apparently, according to Editor and, President and Mrs. Bush looked very uncomfortable, and quickly left right afterward.

But the mainstream media is apparently ignoring this part of the evening, and instead is covering the early entertainment where Bush and a look-alike imitator do a "he says this, he's really thinking this" routine. Moderately amusing, but very mild.

60 Minutes did its part to make sure that nobody knows about Stephen Colbert by profiling him last night. Of course, they failed to mention his appearance at the White House Correspondents dinner the night before.

And Time Magazine helps to keep him anonymous by including him on their list of the 100 most influential people that you never heard of.

Peter Daou ties it into his neverending right wing media conspiracy:

This is the power of the media to choose the news, to decide when and how to shield Bush from negative publicity. Sins of omission can be just as bad as sins of commission. And speaking of a sycophantic media establishment bending over backwards to accommodate this White House and to regurgitate pro-GOP and anti-Dem spin, I urge readers to pick up a copy of Eric Boehlert's new book, Lapdogs. It's a powerful indictment of the media's timidity during the Bush presidency. Boehlert rips away the facade of a "liberal media" and exposes the invertebrates masquerading as journalists who have allowed and enabled the Bush administration's many transgressions to go unchecked, under-reported, or unquestioned.

Blue Crab Boulevard says that Colbert's humor reminded him of a comedian from the 1960s.
Best Solution to Sit In Dark and Try Not to Breathe

That seems to be the only way to stop global warming:

Scientists have warned the world needs to make large cuts in greenhouse gas emissions now to avoid further big changes to weather patterns.

But coal-fired power plants could not be replaced fast enough with nuclear plants to make any real difference, said the research principal at the Institute for Sustainable Futures, Chris Riedy.

"It would take 10 years to get one nuclear power plant up even if there was no public protest," Dr Riedy said. "And all of the evidence from where they have been built [overseas] shows they have had to have massive [government] subsidies to keep them going.

So... how long would it take if we wait for more fuel efficient vehicles?
Don't Give a Hoot

I noticed the trailer for the upcoming film Hoot while watching United 93. It certainly looked like a "message" movie in support of eco-terrorism.

Three middle school children band together, sabotage a construction site, gag a land developer and take him hostage. But their criminal conduct, aimed at saving the habitat of burrowing owls from "greedy land developers" isn't reality-based.

The message seems to be reaching the intended (younsters and adolescents) market:

"If it's a really, really good cause and you aren't like really hurting someone, it's sort of like it works out okay," responded 12-year old Alex Kacher, when asked by Cybercast News Service whether he was troubled by the kids' criminal behavior in the movie.

A seven-year-old girl who identified herself as Dillon noted that "it was a fun movie" and said she learned that "it's not good to kill animals."

Hiaasen's environmentally themed novels have drawn critical praise and earned him fans like former Vice President Al Gore. Many members of the extremist group Earth First are also fans of Hiaasen's novels, according to the Palm Beach Post. Hiaasen's 2005 novel "Flush" sympathetically portrays a man who sinks a casino boat that is illegally dumping sewage into the ocean.

The good news is that kids hate "message" movies even more than adults do, so expect them to avoid this movie like the plague.
Airiheadda Makes Time's 100 Most Influential People

Of course, that says more about Time than it does about Arianna Huffington. The celebrity section of that article is notable for the number of folks I said "Who?" while reading their names. Indeed, the ones that you recognize are mostly has beens, like the Dixie Chicks, Ellen Degeneres, Will Smith, and Howard Stern. And if the Celebrity section seems a little light, it may be because Time promoted some other celebs. "Heroes & Pioneers" includes Bono, Michelle Wie, Angelina Jolie, Steve Nash and Paul Simon, while "Leaders & Revolutionaries" encompasses Oprah Winfrey.
Moron Loose Change

Our buddy James at the Chief Brief has started a blog dedicated to exposing the lies and nonsense of Loose Change. There's certainly plenty of work to do over there!
Sunday, April 30, 2006
New Detail In Duke Lacrosse Accuser's Prior Rape Case

It doesn't get highlighted, but listen to this:

The police report, obtained by The Associated Press, was filed by the alleged victim when she was 18, and she cited an incident that had taken place when she was 14. The police report lists the alleged crime as "statutory rape." The three men she accused in the report were never arrested or charged.

Police in Creedmoor, N.C., say they have no records showing that the alleged victim pursued the case against the three men, all of whom she knew prior to the alleged attack.

Statutory rape of course is consensual sex with someone below the age of consent, so describing it as "an attack" may be a stretch. A crime of course, but not forced sex as she is accusing in the Duke case.
Kerry's Speeches Reveal Depression

According to a professor:

Mr. Kerry's style was more like someone suffering from depression, Mr. Slatcher says, because of his high use of first-person singular words, physical words like "ache" and negative-emotion words like "hate," along with low use of positive-emotion words, like "happy."

It was Peggy Noonan who, back in March 2004 wrote:

I didn't think a man with a face that anguished would make it this far. I mean without other qualities that overwhelm and even counter the message of the face, which is: I suffer from mild clinical depression, do you?

Kerry also gets slapped around a bit by Mark Steyn for his bogus Jefferson quote:

Actually, no. He got it from Thomas Jefferson. "This is not the first time in American history when patriotism has been distorted to deflect criticism and mislead the nation," warned Sen. Kerry, placing his courage in the broader historical context. "No wonder Thomas Jefferson himself said: 'Dissent is the greatest form of patriotism.' "

Close enough. According to the Jefferson Library: "There are a number of quotes that we do not find in Thomas Jefferson's correspondence or other writings; in such cases, Jefferson should not be cited as the source. Among the most common of these spurious Jefferson quotes are: 'Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.'"

It's truer to say that these days patriotism is the highest form of dissent -- against a culture where the media award each other Pulitzers for damaging national security, and the only way a soldier's mom can become a household name is if she's a Bush-is-the-real-terrorist kook like Cindy Sheehan, and our grade schools' claims to teach our children about America, "warts and all," has dwindled down into teaching them all the warts and nothing else.


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