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Friday, April 13, 2007
Klocek Case to Go To Trial On Six of Eight Counts

Our buddy John Ruberry has been covering this story for a long time (you might say it's been a marathon). I am pleased to hear that Professor Klocek will finally get his day in court. DePaul University, the defendant in this case, is also considering tenure for a Holocaust Denier.

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American Research Group: Giuliani 27%, McCain 23%

Obviously the polls are not significant right now, but any notion that McCain is melting down seems quite a bit premature.

Building on yesterday's post about Romney's support for a "secret" timetable, there's some pretty bad news for him in this poll:

89% of likely Republican primary voters voting for John McCain, 63% of those voting for Rudy Giuliani, and 62% of those voting for Mitt Romney say they oppose setting a deadline for the withdrawal of all US troops from Iraq.

Even Romney's own supporters don't agree with him!

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Brave New World

Sheesh, here's a creepy prospect:

Women might soon be able to produce sperm in a development that could allow lesbian couples to have their own biological daughters, according to a pioneering study published today.

Scientists are seeking ethical permission to produce synthetic sperm cells from a woman's bone marrow tissue after showing that it possible to produce rudimentary sperm cells from male bone-marrow tissue.

Rudimentary? Would you want your child to be conceived with rudimentary sperm cells? And this part positively gives me the chills:

But the results also raise the prospect of being able to take bone-marrow tissue from women and coaxing the stem cells within the female tissue to develop into sperm cells, said Professor Karim Nayernia of the University of Newcastle upon Tyne.

Creating sperm from women would mean they would only be able to produce daughters because the Y chromosome of male sperm would still be needed to produce sons. The latest research brings the prospect of female-only conception a step closer.

Amazonia, here we come!

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Thursday, April 12, 2007
Mitt Romney Supports Secret Timetable for Withdrawal?

ABC News didn't miss this little scoop and tied it to a Democratic proposal:

Gov. Mitt Romney's, R-Mass., call this morning for a set of timetables for withdrawal from Iraq -- private timetables unknown to the public -- bears some striking similarities to an idea hatched and endorsed by Democratic Senator Mark Pryor, D-Arkansas.

Pryor has been alone in his calls for a classified timetable and has drawn skepticism from the reporters who wrote about them, as well as his Democratic and Republican colleagues who would not support them.

Congressman Duncan Hunter promptly denounced the secret timetable plan:

"Romney is absolutely wrong in recommending a secret timetable," Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., tells ABC News in a telephone interview while campaigning in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. "Secret timetables are bad because in the end they all become public and the enemy uses them to estimate the limit on America’s endurance."

Let me suggest a not-so-secret timetable for withdrawal of my own: When the job is done.

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Kurt Vonnegut Dead at 84

Famed for writing novels with very short and pithy sentences.

So it goes.


Brainster On the Radio (Twice!)

I will be on the radio today with my good friend Andrea Shea-King for her eponymous show on the Space Coast of Florida. The show starts at 3:00 PM Eastern time and my segment will be on at about 3:30. We will be talking about the blogger conference call with Senator John McCain that I participated in yesterday morning. Andrea's a great interviewer and I highly recommend tuning in over the internet at the link. Her show also features a chatroom (fill in your name and city/state and click submit query at the upper right) to participate in the show.

I will also be on the radio Friday morning with MANCOW to discuss Rosie O'Donnell and her recent "Joe Friday" routine regarding 9-11 and WTC-7. MANCOW is a nationally syndicated morning drive time show that airs in Chicago and 30 other markets around the country. My segment is scheduled to begin at 8:05 Central Time, but it may appear at different times elsewhere due to tape delay. Click here for details on the show; I am not sure if you can listen live over the internet, but I will check on this. Note: I am expecting only a 5-10 minute segment, and we will not be taking calls.

MANCOW had a memorable smackdown with Alex Jones, Dylan Avery and others. This guy goes on Alex Jones and spanks him like a red-headed stepchild.

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John McCain at VMI

I am pleased to hear that fellow former POW Paul Galanti is supporting Senator McCain. Galanti was front and center in the movie Stolen Honor.

Best line: "For my part, I would rather lose a campaign than a war."

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Blogger Conference Call

I participated in the blogger conference call with John McCain this morning. I won't try to describe the entire conference call, but it was extremely interesting. Senator McCain was on top of the facts, sharp and detailed and not vague. I definitely got the impression that he was engaged and determined. Anybody concerned that he's too old for the job would have their fears alleviated.

The main topic of course was the speech he gave this morning at VMI.

"On my trip, I traveled to Baghdad, Ramadi, and Tikrit, met with Iraqi cabinet officers, our top military leadership, including Generals Petraeus and Odierno, and with embassy officials, including our new ambassador, Ryan Crocker. I also had the privilege of spending time with our soldiers, from generals to privates. Their courage and resolve in this frustrating war is an inspiration, and serves as a reminder of our obligations to avoid the expediency of easy, but empty answers or the allure of political advantage to choose the path in Iraq that best honors their sacrifices.

"We're going to need their courage more than ever. The divisions in Iraqi society are deep, and the need for greater security critical. Innocent Iraqis are still being murdered, and our soldiers are braving dangers no less threatening than in the past. Every day we read about or watch on television the latest car bombing, IED explosion or sniper attack. But something else is happening, too. There are the first glimmers of progress under General Petraeus' political-military strategy. While these glimmers are no guarantee of success, and though they come early in the implementation of the new strategy, I believe they are cause for very cautious optimism.

This caution was something that Senator McCain stressed in his responses to questions from bloggers like Captain Ed and Powerline's John Hinderaker, and he did not flinch from criticizing the president over premature optimism.

Update: Our longtime blogger buddy BDP writes:

All in all a great conference call by McCain. You can tell he really believes that success in Iraq is necessary but is under no delusions about how hard it will be.

One other thing also struck me - McCain is very comfortable with bloggers. None of the questions are pre-screened, and McCain is definitely a straight-shooter whether you agree with him or not.

Even those on the right who may not agree with him on everything certainly have to respect him - at least the mature people will for doing things like this and not talking in “sound bites”. This kind of thing will pay off for him should he win the nomination, especially with right-wing bloggers who may have supported someone else.

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Maryland Agrees to End Run Around the Constitution

Jeez, I have despised this proposal for a long time, but it looks like it's liable to happen:

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley signed into law yesterday a measure that would circumvent the Electoral College by awarding the state's electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the most votes nationwide.

The bill, one of 105 signed by the Democratic governor the day after the General Assembly adjourned, makes Maryland the first in the nation to agree to let the national popular vote trump statewide preference. It would not take effect until states that cumulatively hold 270 electoral votes -- the number needed to win a presidential election -- agree to do the same.

Will it be constitutional? That's a very tricky question. There's no doubt that the plan is, at its essence, an attempt to amend the constitution without actually jumping over the hurdles required to accomplish that. At the same time, it's true that the constitution does not say how states must allocate their electoral college votes.

My distaste for the proposal stems from the fact that a small number of states could enact this change by themselves. For example, if California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Georgia, New Jersey and North Carolina all pass this change, then the other 38 states effectively have no say in the matter. Worse still, it's in the interests of those big states listed to do so. If South Dakota's three electoral college votes don't matter (and they wouldn't under this proposal), then why would presidential candidates campaign there? Answer: They wouldn't. So what is the result? More power to the big states, more TV ads for the stations in the big states.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Goldberg on McCain

Jonah sounds the voice of reason:

It's an annoying habit, but conservatives should consider their other options. By any measure, Rudy Giuliani is the more liberal candidate — indeed, the most liberal serious candidate Republicans have fielded in decades. But because Giuliani made the right enemies — chief among them those vexatious New York Times editors — conservatives respect him, even though they disagree with him on almost everything. And they give the cold shoulder to McCain, who agrees with them on most of the important things.

McCain's been a consistent pro-lifer (which distinguishes him from pretty much everyone else in the race so far). Until recently, Giuliani argued passionately for partial-birth abortion as a constitutional right. McCain has voted to confirm every conservative Supreme Court nominee, including Robert Bork. He voted "guilty" in Bill Clinton's impeachment trial. He campaigned for George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004, even after Bush beat him. Giuliani says he was ideologically simpatico with Clinton, and he endorsed Democrat Mario Cuomo for governor of New York.

My point isn't merely to make invidious comparisons between McCain and Giuliani (heck, to liberals they're not invidious at all). I'm actually a fan of Giuliani, and I think the GOP and the country could do worse in a president and Republican standard-bearer. But the double standard on the right seems more than a little self-indulgent.

Giuliani's chief selling point seems to be that he'll have "what it takes" to be tough in the war on terror. That may well be the case. But Giuliani's foreign policy experience is, at best, limited. Meanwhile, McCain's experience is deeper than the rest of the field's combined. There's no evidence that Giuliani is more of a hawk than McCain, who has spent the last four years arguing that Bush needs to be more aggressive in Iraq and who argued for a troop "surge" years before anyone used the word.

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Monday, April 09, 2007
McCain on the War You're Missing

John McCain in the Washington Post:

I observed that our delegation "stopped at a local market, where we spent well over an hour, shopping and talking with the local people, getting their views and ideas about different issues of the day." Markets in Baghdad have faced devastating terrorist attacks. A car bombing at Shorja in February, for example, killed 137 people. Today the market still faces occasional sniper attacks, but it is safer than it used to be. One innovation of the new strategy is closing markets to vehicles, thereby precluding car bombs that kill so many and garner so much media attention. Petraeus understandably wanted us to see this development.

I went to Iraq to gain a firsthand view of the progress in this difficult war, not to celebrate any victories. No one has been more critical of sunny progress reports that defied realities in Iraq. In 2003, after my first visit, I argued for more troops to provide the security necessary for political development. I disagreed with statements characterizing the insurgency as a "few dead-enders" or being in its "last throes." I repeatedly criticized the previous search-and-destroy strategy and argued for a counterinsurgency approach: separating the reconcilable population from the irreconcilable and creating enough security to facilitate the political and economic solutions that are the only way to defeat insurgents. This is exactly the course that Petraeus and the brave men and women of the American military are pursuing.

McCain took a lot of flak for wearing body armor during his visit to the market, but let's face it; his visit was not going to be typical for many reasons. He's a high-value target to the insurgents: a famed war supporter, longtime Senator and candidate for the presidency. Of course they're going to protect him more than an average person walking around in a market!

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Sunday, April 08, 2007
The Amazing Race: Lumps in Lumpur

Teams are required to fly to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Charla and Mirna get on some hotel computers and refuse to give one of them up for Eric and Danielle. The latter grumble, but really there was no reason for them to cede. Uchenna & Joyce decide to risk a flight that gives them only an hour layover in Franfurt; since there is a 45-minutes ahead of time requirement this leaves them with only 15 minutes to play with.

One and a Half Women get by far the best flight, arriving several hours ahead of the other teams. Uchenna and Joyce get hosed, as they just miss their connection in Frankfurt and must wait until the following day. This is effectively the last we see of them in this episode.

The teams must go to the Batu Caves, where the cluebox sends them to a mosque. Caution, Yield Ahead! One and a Half Women decide not to yield anybody, but the Beauty Queens yield Eric and Danielle. Eric, furious, calls them "dirty hookers".

The cluebox contains a Detour: Artistic Expression or Cookie Confection. In the first, they must make a batik print; in the second they must bite into cookies in 600 boxes to find the one cookie which has a licorice center.

Now, I'm thinking right off the bat that's a heck of a lot of cookies, but several teams choose that option. The batik print does not look difficult, and sure enough the Beauty Queens zip through it while Charla & Mirna are chomping away. Finally One and a Half Women decide to bail on the task.

Young Gay has an argument. Is the task to find the one box with cookies with licorice centers, or to find just one single cookie? It certainly appears to me from the way the clue reads that it's the latter and at about 50 cookies per box, that's 30,000 cookies.

After much back and forth, they decide to bail on that option as well. But they screw up their first effort at the batik, by making 16 horizontal prints instead of 15 and they must start all over again. Meanwhile, Eric and Danielle, after waiting out their yield, have gotten lucky and found the lone cookie.

Next up: Roadblock! One player must cycle around a neighborhood looking for old newspapers to recycle. You know I love the bicycle challenges and bicycles and newspapers are old hat for me. Like Miss California, I had a paper route as my first job.

The BQs finish up and the clue is to head to the Pit Stop. By this time, much of the drama has gone out of the evening despite the best efforts to make us forget that Joyce & Uchenna are still in Germany. The blondes arrive first, followed by One and a Half Women, Eric and Danielle and Young Gay. When Joyce & Uchenna finally arrive in Kuala Lumpur the producers don't even make them face the challenges; instead they are instructed to head to the Pit Stop, where they are Phil-Liminated.

Be sure to check out Viking Pundit's wrap-up of the day's events as well!




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Brainster in the Media

Howard Kurtz's Media Notes: May 27, 2005

Slate Today's Blogs:

March 16, 2005

May 9, 2005

June 3, 2005

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

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

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

The Weekly Standard

Les Kinsolving

Greatest Hits

What If the Rest of the Fantastic Four Were Peaceniks?

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

Kitty Myers Breaks Christmas in Cambodia

Brainster Shows Brinkley Says No Christmas in Cambodia

Explanation of the Blog's Name

Power Ratings Explained

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