September 29, 2003

"You're a Very Strange Man"

"You have no idea."

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:50 PM | Comments (1)

Just Be Glad He Stayed Out of Government

Ted Turner is living proof that money is neither generated by nor confers wisdom nor intelligence:

"If I had to predict, the way things are going, I'd say the chances are about 50-50 that humanity will be extinct or nearly extinct within 50 years," Turner said. "Weapons of mass destruction, disease, I mean this global warming is scaring the living daylights out of me."

As we all know (even Ted), Ted's track record hasn't been all that good when it comes to predictions:

"I said 20 years ago newspapers wouldn't be around in 10 years, and I was wrong," Turner said.

Of course, Ted has his opinion about the liberation of Iraq:

"We spent $87 billion to blow Iraq up and then we spent another $87 billion to put it back together, and all to get one man and we still haven't got him," Turner said. "Talk about a failure."

But then again, Ted knows all about failures, being the latest punch line to the joke, "How do you build a small fortune?":

Turner's wealth had been estimated at more than $7 billion before the Time Warner stock dropped sharply following its merger with AOL. Earlier this month, Forbes Magazine estimated Turner's wealth at $2.3 billion, good for a tie for the No. 78 position on the magazine's list of the 400 richest Americans.

Start with a large one.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:46 PM | Comments (1)

Cubs Win! Cubs Win!

I should be celebrating the Cubs ascent into the rarefied air of the playoffs. Instead, I am cursing the powers that were that ruined my love of Major League Baseball ten years ago.

Sorry, this isn't enough to bring me back, and you never will have my kid's love. Branding can be negative as well as positive.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:38 AM | Comments (6)

September 28, 2003

Friday's Blast From the Past

There used to be a bar in Arlington, VA, called Amdo's. A very strange place where you could get Tibetan Bigfoot on tap, as well as a large number of other beers before Microbrews became mainstream. One of my favorite late night haunts back in the days I lived in Huntsville, AL, but when every Tuesday found me in Reston.

Amdo's had the best stocked CD jukebox I have ever seen. Every time I was there I would play this song by the Jim Carroll Band.

(Sorry for the FBFtP getting later and later each week. I've been on the road and sick lately.)

People Who Died (Jim Carroll)

Teddy sniffing glue he was 12 years old
Fell from the roof on East Two-nine
Cathy was 11 when she pulled the plug
On 26 reds and a bottle of wine
Bobby got leukemia, 14 years old
He looked like 65 when he died
He was a friend of mine

Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
They were all my friends, and they died

G-berg and Georgie let their gimmicks go rotten
So they died of hepatitis in upper Manhattan
Sly in Vietnam took a bullet in the head
Bobby OD'd on Drano on the night that he was wed
They were two more friends of mine
Two more friends that died / I miss 'em--they died

Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
They were all my friends, and they died

Mary took a dry dive from a hotel room
Bobby hung himself from a cell in the tombs
Judy jumped in front of a subway train
Eddie got slit in the jugular vein
And Eddie, I miss you more than all the others,
And I salute you brother/ This song is for you my brother

Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
They were all my friends, and they died

Herbie pushed Tony from the Boys' Club roof
Tony thought that his rage was just some goof
But Herbie sure gave Tony some bitchen proof
"Hey," Herbie said, "Tony, can you fly?"
But Tony couldn't fly . . . Tony died

Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
They were all my friends, and they died

Brian got busted on a narco rap
He beat the rap by rattin' on some bikers
He said, hey, I know it's dangerous,
but it sure beats Riker's
But the next day he got offed
by the very same bikers

Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
They were all my friends, and they died

Mary took a dry dive from a hotel room
Bobby hung himself from a cell in the tombs
Judy jumped in front of a subway train
Eddie got slit in the jugular vein
And Eddie, I miss you more than all the others,
And I salute you brother/ This song is for you my brother

Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
They were all my friends, and they died

Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
They were all my friends, and they died

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:56 AM | Comments (0)

Oh Susanna!

Oh don't you cry for me...

Yea, she lost the bet.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:49 AM | Comments (0)

One Man's Ceiling...

Nick Kristof writes:

Mention the words "evangelical missionary," and many Americans conjure up an image of redneck zealots' forcing starving children to be baptized before they get a few crusts of bread.

Read the whole thing.

Actually, this is something of a mirror of the Professor's entry on Nick's column titled "God on Their Side." I read Nick's column in the airport yesterday and thought about fisking it when I got home, then I read Glenn Reynold's post this morning that would seem to be approving of Nick's thesis, which offers, at best, a backhanded compliment for people doing things we all hold up as exemplars of humanity.

You tell me, if you read the first paragraph of Nick's column offered above, do you then approach the rest of what Nick has to write with something of a different attitude than if you read the last paragraph first as Glenn Reynold's post did?

I'm certainly not an evangelical Christian, though I know several people who are. I'm quite certain that Nick knows none well or he wouldn't pander to his illiberal readers with such stereotypes. While there may well be some remnants of the 19th century archtype that Nick and his ilk refuse to moderate their thinking about, all the evangelical Christians I know are amongst the most decent, altruistic people I know. One of my evangelical Christian friends uses all his spare time to set up a mission in the inner city to help those that most New York Times editorial page readers wouldn't deign to help except through government programs using other people's money. They certainly aren't going to put themselves at risk as he does. Another of my evangelical Christian friends has a daughter who just graduated from college. She is a brilliant mathemetician who could do just about anything, but she has decided to go to Africa as a missionary for her life's work.

Oh, did I mention that both of these friends are well educated and quite conservative? But, then again, to acknowledge that intelligent, conservative, evangelical Christians might be something other than "redneck zealots' forcing starving children to be baptized before they get a few crusts of bread" doesn't fit the worldview of the paper which publishes "All the opinions fit to print."

You'll have to pardon me if the mere mention of the words "New York Times columnist" conjures up an image of a detached elitist who would prefer that children starve rather than be fed if there is any proselytizing going on. Unless, of course, it is on behalf of his own statist agenda.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:47 AM | Comments (1)

September 24, 2003

The First Step Is To Admit You Have a Problem

If Jonathan Chait thinks this is reasonable discourse, then the Angry Left really is doomed.

Apparently "hate" is always bad, unless -- predictably -- it is directed against a Republican or a conservative; in this case, President George W. Bush. I realize that TNR already has us pegged as not being a "serious" people since we didn't elect Al Gore, but to list your complaints and use them to rationalize "hatred" is closer to being a sign of mental illness than civilized partisan argument.

Honestly, what is wrong with these people?

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:52 PM | Comments (2)

Capt. Renault Rolls Over In His Grave

I'm shocked! Shocked that there EU slush funds!

THE European Commission has been accused of being asleep at the wheel as top executives diverted millions of euros into secret bank accounts, according to official findings that prompted angry calls for heads to roll in the EU executive.

Three reports presented damning evidence of fictitious contracts and missing money at Eurostat, a Luxembourg-based agency of the European Union in charge of compiling highly sensitive financial data.

This was all cleaned up years ago!

Commission president Romano Prodi faces a grilling from leaders of the European Parliament's political groups in Strasbourg tomorrow, having come to office in 1999 promising "zero tolerance" of corruption after the spectacular implosion of the previous Commission.

I blame President's Bush's unilateralism.

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:42 PM | Comments (0)

September 23, 2003

Join the Party Babs

I have nothing to add to this:

Barbra Streisand says she finds listening to her own songs is so boring that it was one of the reasons she gave up public performing three years ago.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:44 PM | Comments (3)

Then Again...

Maybe there's hope after all!

Poll Says Iraqis Believe Hussein's Ouster Was Worth Trouble

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:40 PM | Comments (0)

But Wait, There's More!

I can't stomach repeating most of this story from the Giardian:

Iraq: the reality and rhetoric

Rory McCarthy reports from al-Jisr, scene of the killing of three farmers at hands of US troops

Let me just give you the last paragraph:

"I swear we don't have any weapons in our homes and we don't have any intention to fight the Americans. But the Americans have become a heavy weight on our shoulders. They don't respect human beings, they humiliate the Iraqi people. They promised freedom and democracy. Is it freedom to kill people, make bloodshed and destroy our house? Is that what they mean by freedom?"

I don't know what happened there. But somehow, I don't think Rory McCarthy knows either. But he's quite sure that the Americans have committed yet another atrocity. Seriously, go read this article to get the full context for these other great excerpts from Rory's story:

... The US military has chosen not to count the civilian casualties of the war in Iraq...

... The US military likes to advertise its achievements: how their patrols in the troubled town of Falluja, a few minutes drive from Ali Khalaf's farmhouse, hand out colouring books and repaint schools and how elsewhere they repair broken water mains and sewage plants. Most of the time it matters little...

...Eventually the shooting stopped, the soldiers pulled back and then they called in the air strike...

I've been trying lately to pull back emotionally and keep an open mind, but it is getting harder and harder to not regard reports like this as enemy propoganda. I don't doubt that most of the factual statements are true, but the way the information is presented and what is so casually not reported can leave little doubt as to who Rory McCarthy thinks the bad guys -- no, the war criminals --are.

I have previosuly estimated that about 5,000 Iraqis died each and every month for the 30 years that Saddam Hussein was in charge. Just considering the deaths alone, haven't we passed a threshhold yet that we can agree the Iraqi people are now better off now than they were before May? Maybe we could start a counter for how many more Iraqis are alive now compared to how many would have continued to perish had Saddam Hussein been left in place We can call it the Iraqi Life Count instead of the Iraqi Death Count. And that's not even considering the torture chambers and the many other foul aspects of Saddam's regime.


Posted by Charles Austin at 11:39 PM | Comments (0)


There's nothing like the Giardian to get my blood up:

George Bush was increasingly isolated on the global stage yesterday as he defied intense criticism from a litany of world leaders at the United Nations over the war on Iraq. Showing no contrition for defying the world body in March or the declining security situation in Iraq, the US president called for the world to set aside past differences and help rebuild the country: "Now the nation of Iraq needs and deserves our aid - and all nations of goodwill should step forward and provide that support," he said.

But the French president, Jacques Chirac, who spoke after Mr Bush, blamed the US-led war for sparking one of the most severe crises in the history of the UN and argued that Mr Bush's unilateral actions could lead to anarchy. "No one can act alone in the name of all and no one can accept the anarchy of a society without rules," he said. "The war, launched without the authorisation of the security council, shook the multilateral system. The UN has just been through one of the most grave crises in its history."

Earlier the UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, condemned the doctrine of preemptive military intervention, arguing that it could lead to the unjustified "lawless use of force" and posed a "fundamental challenge" to world peace and stability. "My concern is that, if it were to be adopted, it could set precedents that resulted in a proliferation of the unilateral and lawless use of force, with or without credible justification," said Mr Annan. "This logic represents a fundamental challenge to the principles on which, however imperfectly, world peace and stability have rested for the last 58 years."

The Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who also spoke before Mr Bush, said: "A war can perhaps be won single-handedly. But peace - lasting peace - cannot be secured without the support of all."

Mr Bush's speech was received with polite applause from the 191-member states, while his critics were given a far warmer reception.

This whole charade reminds me more and more of the scene in The Godfather where all the bosses are gathered around a table to work out a peace settlement between the families where they effectively all agree to get along at the expense of the Corleone family -- almost exclusively at the expense of the Corleone family. I'm not trying to draw any allusions to President Bush or the USA being the Corleones, but noting that the behavior of everyone else at the UN is almost exactly like that of the Barzini, Tattaglia, and the other bosses.

I wish President Bush had said, "I want the UN to be successful. I'd also like to think that the UN wants the US to be successful on behalf of the people of Iraq."


Posted by Charles Austin at 11:25 PM | Comments (0)

A Pack, Not a Herd

When Glenn Reynolds says "A pack, not a herd," is he verbalizing a Freudian view of the populace as Jacksonian/Republican/elephants rather than Jeffersonian/Democrat/donkeys? Even though donkeys and elephants each travel in herds, rather than packs, the homophonic relationship of pack to pachyderm can't be sheer coincidence. Can it?

While the Jacksonian and Jeffersonian traditions led to what we now know as the Democratic Party, the leadership and "activist" membership of the Democratic Party now tends to view its Jacksonian legacy with distaste. The populist primacy of honor, self-reliance, and a willingness (and ability) to defend one's self and one's property are increasingly rejected in favor of an authoritarian elitism whose values seem increasingly at odds with the championing of the individual. When people speak of not leaving the Democratic Party, but having the Democratic Party leave them -- I think this is what they mean. And when someone asked when the War on Terrorism became a Republican issue is when the term Jacksonian suddenly resonated more closely with Republicans than Democrats.

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:55 PM | Comments (1)

Disenfranchised Voters

Maybe Professor Tribe and the ACLU would like to speak to some voters who may be truly disenfranchised:

“It’s going to be very hard to start late,” he [Dean] says, “and think you’re going to do well in Iowa and New Hampshire. It’s going to be incredibly hard. I mean, we’ve already got 39,000 people working for us all around the country . . . I really do believe — and I think about this — I want to get this nomination, and if I don’t . . . these kids are not transferrable. I can’t just go out and say, ‘Okay, so I didn’t win the nomination, so go ahead and vote for the Democrats.’ They’re not going to suddenly just go away. That’s not gonna happen.”

Good to know that Howard loves the Party as much as they love him.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:58 PM | Comments (0)

No Bias Here, Move Along

Just in case anyone will still under the illusion that the word "conservative" does not carry negative connotation in Big Media, during the Morning Edition report on the California Recall hearing by the Ninth Circuit (paraphrasing from memory due to traffic):

"The group of eleven judges are more conservative than the three judge panel."

This particular panel of eleven judges is overwhelmingly dominated by Carter and Clinton appointees, so while it wasn't possible to call them "conservative" by any stretch of the imagination, it is still possible to truthfully call them "more conservative" than the gang of three headed by Judge Pregerson. "More conservative" doesn't mean "conservative," though it will help the Angry Left assume the correct state of mind as they exit their echo chamber when the ruling comes down.

I take this all as evidence that Big Media firmly believes the recall is a go.

DOWNDATE: I was right.

A federal appeals court Tuesday unanimously reinstated California's Oct. 7 gubernatorial recall election, swiftly rejecting a three-judge panel's decision to put it off for months.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:27 AM | Comments (0)

September 21, 2003

What If There Was No 22nd Amendment?

John Kass has a perceptive column on what a politician might have done...

Just before war started in Iraq, a talking head was on one of those TV panel shows where they yell at each other, but this one wasn't yelling, and what he said made sense.

He said that President Bush would be making a serious political mistake, threatening his bid for re-election, if he waged war on Saddam Hussein.

It was understood even before the war that an attack on Iraq would cost billions during a lousy economy. Americans would die there. Rebuilding Iraq would be difficult. Terrorists would drift in across the borders and--with Hussein loyalists--work to destabilize Iraq while sniping at American soldiers.

After the first blush of unquestioning patriotism faded, when his wartime approval rating would naturally begin to come back to earth, the president's critics would pick at him. They'd draw parallels to Vietnam and invoke the magic word: quagmire.

Critics would condition Americans to expect and demand immediate success in the rebuilding, perhaps with Iraqi chambers of commerce and Iraqi Elks and Rotary Clubs, parades down main street, baseball, Iraq as Iowa.

Every American casualty would serve as an indictment. Every failure would be pumped up by Democrats seeking to regain power--even by presidential candidates who voted for the war, such as Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass). Conservative Republican deficit hawks would oppose it, as would liberal Democrats, Libertarians and so on.

So the best thing the president could have done, politically, would have been to leave it all to the United Nations, to walk away while loudly declaring victory. That would have been the shrewd move.

Hmmm..., I wonder who Mr. Kass might be thinking of?

If Bush had been politically astute and declared victory and had not given the order to fire, the Germans and the French would have praised him for his "commitment to peace" and for his "restraint." Critics might have discussed his newfound "gravitas." He could have stalled and postured and rattled his saber loudly while avoiding the fact of Hussein there in Iraq. Perhaps the president could have dropped a few bombs safely from above.

There is precedent for fighting what we call painless wars, meaning wars in which we drop bombs and the only ones feeling pain are those killed by them, wars without much risk on the ground to Americans. The most recent was in Serbia, to save the Muslim Albanians being slaughtered by former communist thugs.

That war was led by Clinton and retired Gen. Wesley Clark, whom Democrats are counting on to rescue them from Howard Dean. Recently, the Albanians we saved from the Serbs have begun the nasty habit of spilling blood farther south in Europe, and are now fighting with the Macedonians. But apparently, Americans aren't interested in such news at this time. There's no presidential political angle to it.

So it's clear to me that Bush did not make the smart political move by getting rid of Hussein. Politicians don't like taking responsibility--it leaves them open to criticism. And Democrats, naturally, are at full throttle, legitimately critical but also highly political, so many voices framing the debate their way.

Bush is a politician, too. And if he were smart, he could have given himself cover by avoiding responsibility. If he'd only acted like a politician.

I not going to fully sign on to this. After all, President George W. Bush is still a politician. But it may well be true that doing the right thing will cost him a second term.

As a total aside, I was watching Young Mr. Lincoln, directed by John Ford and starring a young Henry Fonda, last night. At one point there is a character named John Palmer Kass, being questioned by Abraham Lincoln. Mr. Lincoln gives Mr. Kass a pretty hard time and after some verbal jousting about his name, announces that he will just call him Jack Kass. Do not read anything into this.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:33 AM | Comments (1)

Duty, Honor, Country


For the first time, soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery were given permission to leave their post at the Tomb of the Unknowns - if Hurricane Isabel became too dangerous.

None left.

"We made the decision we were going to stand where we were," said Army Sgt. 1st Class Fredrick Geary, 37, who is sergeant of the guard at the tomb.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:17 AM | Comments (0)

That's Two

I have nothing to add to this story except that I'm sure the military will bend over backwards to insure he will get a fair trial.

An Army Islamic chaplain, who counseled al Qaeda prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, naval base, has been charged with espionage, aiding the enemy and spying, The Washington Times has learned.

Capt. James J. Yee, a 1990 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., was arrested earlier this month by the FBI in Jacksonville, Fla., as he arrived on a military charter flight from Guantanamo, according to a law-enforcement source.

Agents confiscated several classified documents in his possession and interrogated him. He was held for two days in Jacksonville and transferred to a Navy brig in Charleston, S.C., where two Army lawyers have been assigned to his defense.

The Army has charged Capt. Yee with five offenses: sedition, aiding the enemy, spying, espionage and failure to obey a general order. The Army may also charge him later with the more serious charge of treason, which under the Uniform Code of Military Justice could be punished by a maximum sentence of life.

Donald Sensing owns this one.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:12 AM | Comments (0)

Whom the Gods Would Destroy, They First Make Mad

Driven to madness by his mad-ness, Congressman Charlie is the perfect angry Democrat:

"He can save this goddam nation from self-destruction," declares New York Congressman Charles Rangel, who is arranging a meeting for Clark with the Congressional Black Caucus, possibly as early as this week. But Rangel acknowledges that he has never met Clark in person (they have talked on the phone) and didn't know a thing about Clark until he started catching the general's criticism of the Iraq war on cnn.

What's worse, Charlie's view of his country or his willingness to look to a savior about whom he admittedly knows nothing? Alas, as we all know, Charlie is far from alone.

The same was true of Sylvia Gillis, 57, an insurance broker who was among the 50 or so people who gathered to toast Clark's candidacy last Wednesday night at Frankie Z's Clark Bar in Chicago. "My mouth dropped open—a military man taking this antiwar position," she said. "He seemed honest, trustworthy, well versed and intellectual. My dream come true."

Wow, it's like there's never been another man who wore a uniform who's been opposed to war before. Are Democrats as a rule so completely ignorant of history? Or did they take that "end of history" thing a little too literally?.

It's just a bit afield, and yet, there is so much in Hamlet's soliloquy that seems apropos:

To be, or not to be- that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them. To die- to sleep-
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to. 'Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die- to sleep.
To sleep- perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub!
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
Th' oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despis'd love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of th' unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? Who would these fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death-
The undiscover'd country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns- puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry
And lose the name of action.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:51 AM | Comments (1)

September 20, 2003

Friday's Blast From the Past

Short and suite.

Suite Judy Blue Eyes (Stephen Stills)

It's getting to the point
Where I'm no fun any more
I am sorry
Sometimes it hurts
So badly I must cry out loud
I am lonely

I am yours
You are mine
You are what you are
You make it hard

Remember what we've said, and done
And felt about each other
Yet wait, have mercy
Don't let the past remind us
Of what we are not now
I am not dreaming

I am yours
You are mine
You are what you are
You make it hard

Tearing yourself
Away from me now, you are free
And I am crying
This does not mean
I don't love you, I do, that's forever
Yes, and for always

I am yours
You are mine
You are what you are
You make it hard

Something inside
Is telling me that I've got your secret
Are you still listening?
Fear is the lock
And laughter the key to your heart
And I love you

I am yours
You are mine
You are what you are
You make it hard
And you make it hard
And you make it hard
And you make it hard

Friday evening
Sunday in the afternoon
What have you got to lose?
Tuesday morning
Please be gone, I'm tired of you
What have you got to lose?

Can I tell it like it is
(Catch me I'm falling)
Listen to me baby
It's my heart that's suffering
(Catch me I'm dying)
It's dyin' and that's what I have to lose

I've got an answer
I'm going to fly away
What have I got to lose?
Will you come see me
Thursdays and Saturdays
What have you got to lose?

Chestnut brown canary
Ruby throated sparrow
Sing a song, don't be long
Thrill me to the marrow!

Voices of the angels
Ring around the moonlight
Asking me, said she so free
How can you catch the sparrow?

Lacy lilting lyric
Losing love lamenting
Change my life, make it right
Be my lady!

Que alegria me traiga Cuba
La reina de la Mar Caribe
Que cielo sol que lo tengan alli
Y que triste que no puedo vaya
Oh va, oh va, va.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:50 PM | Comments (0)

September 19, 2003

So Much For the Uniform Making the Man

Tell me again how General Clark is supposed to assure the uncommitted middle of the electorate that he's serious about national defense. I don't care whether Wesley Clark flip-flops already in a 24 hour period:

Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark backtracked from a day-old statement that he probably would have voted for the congressional resolution authorizing the use of force in Iraq, saying Friday he "would never have voted for this war."

Let's face it, we've come to expect that sort of thing from all politicians, some just do it better than others. And don't believe for a minute that Wesley Clark is not a politician. You don't reach that high in the military without being an effective politician.

The retired Army general, an opponent of the conflict, surprised supporters when he indicated in an interview with reporters Thursday that he likely would have supported the resolution. On Friday, Clark sought to clarify his comments in an interview with The Associated Press.

"Let's make one thing real clear, I would never have voted for this war," Clark said before a speech at the University of Iowa. "I've gotten a very consistent record on this. There was no imminent threat. This was not a case of pre-emptive war. I would have voted for the right kind of leverage to get a diplomatic solution, an international solution to the challenge of Saddam Hussein."

But I do care that someone who really ought to know better has already made it impossible for me to even consider voting for him. I had been prepared to try and be open-minded and listen to him for a while, but it's now clear there's no point. I'm certain there are a few principled reasons for opposing the liberation of Iraq -- none of which I agree with -- but this is not one of them. I can't see any daylight between Howard Dean's position on the liberation of Iraq and Wesley Clark's as he expresses it here, except that Howard Dean has been more consistent in his opposition.

Let's recap:

"I would have voted for the right kind of leverage to get a diplomatic solution, an international solution to the challenge of Saddam Hussein."

Funny, no one who advocates this myopic vision can specify exactly what "the right kind of leverage is" to achieve their transnational progressive utopia, though they all have no doubt that it can be done easily by anyone but President George W. Bush. Dick Gephardt was particularly inept in his attempts to dodge a specific answer to this question when questioned by Tony Snow last week. I also can't help but wonder what the magical combination of words must be that somehow eluded Bill Clinton for eight years and the best minds of all the professional diplomats of the UN for eleven. I'm actually quite shocked, and a little disappointed, at how quickly Wesley Clark, who is so accomplished and who has achieved so much, became an empty suit.

It's now official: Wesley Clark -- all asshat, no cattle.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:01 PM | Comments (1)

Cognitive Dissonance

Bill Hobbs is running a poll that asks:

Why Won't You Participate in Online Polls?

Bill offers the following choices:

I don't want to.
You aren't paying me to.
I don't want you to know what I think.
I'm not sure what I think.
I'm afraid. Very afraid.
Howard Dean
I don't vote in polls about why I won't vote in polls. (The Sundseth Conundrum)

Now far be it from me to complain about anything on Bill's superb site, but pedant that I am, from a purely logical perspective one can only infer that this poll must, by definition, have no respondents. Alas, Google had no useful links to help explain what the Sundseth Conundrum might be, but to select this choice still requires participation in an online poll -- to wit, this one.

DOWNDATE: I have discovered the source of the Sundseth Conundrum (comment 1). Alas, it does not address the paradox I have raised.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:27 PM | Comments (0)

"Nobody Move, Or the Terrorist Gets It"

Does Blazing Saddles come to mind when you read this:

Arafat threatens suicide over expulsion

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:16 AM | Comments (1)

September 18, 2003

The Scourge of Richard Cohen, Vol. XCII

(Ed. -- The following is a bit of mean spiritedness that will be an on-going feature of this blog. Normally the author will endeavor to be reasonably fair, but this is an exception.)

Right on cue, Richard Cohen jumps into the fray with the DNC flavor du jour, proving once again that Dicks dig a man in uniform. But which Wesley Clark are we to learn about today? The unreal Wesley Clark? The surreal Wesley Clark? The Israel Wesley Clark? (Sometimes these free-word association stream-of-consciousness homophones take us to strange places.) No, feet of clay planted firmly in the phenomenologically knowable universe, Richard gives us The Real Wesley Clark:

All around Washington last week -- and before and after on the phone -- I've been busy asking people about Wesley Clark.

That is a strange sentence from a strange man. Oh, you don’t think Richard’s strange? Well, how about this?

I talked with people who worked with him, some of them very closely, asking over and over again a variation of the same question: Is Wesley Clark too weird for prime time?

And, presumably, getting the same puzzled expression from everyone whose next call was to General Clark to inform him that some strange man was asking the same strange question about him over and over.

Let me first tell you why I asked the question:

Lack of imagination?

It's because Clark in effect got fired from the Pentagon.

That was my second guess. Hmm, would that mean that Linda Tripp, former Secretary of the Army Thomas White, and Admiral John Poindexter are also too weird for prime time?

Not to put too fine a point on it, ...

Say I'm the only bee in your bonnet. Sorry.

... then-Defense Secretary Bill Cohen, joined by many of Clark's colleagues, came to just plain dislike him.

Tickers to Evers to Chance they weren’t.

Some of this had to do with policy -- the Kosovo campaign -- and some with their suspicion that Clark went over their heads to the White House. But some of it was deeply personal.

The Clinton White House, the complete embodiment of the personal being the political.

Clark is sometimes compared to Eisenhower, another general who went into politics.

Only by people that know nothing about Eisenhower. Most other generals that entered politics at this level didn’t fare too well.

But Ike was beloved.

For good reason.

That's a word that never comes up when Clark is discussed.

For good reason?

He is undoubtedly brilliant -- a Rhodes scholar and first in his class at West Point. He is a fine athlete and a Vietnam combat veteran who was decorated for bravery. He won the respect, even the awe, of his colleagues, but too much of the time he did not win their friendship.

There’s undoubtedly a lot to respect in the accomplishments and success of General Clark. Anybody who knows any 3- or 4-star generals knows that they are people of enormous capability and drive.

The rap on Clark is that he lacks precisely those qualities that define a politician, particularly warmth and affability.

That could be a problem when our commander-in-chief must also be our empathizer-in-chief.

David Halberstam, in his book "War in a Time of Peace," writes of Clark that even his most steadfast champion in the army, Gen. John Shalikashvili, recognized that Clark was too brash, too cocky, too driven, too self-absorbed, too hard on subordinates, too dismissive of critics and criticism -- but also too brilliant and talented to be overlooked. Shali promoted him.

Shali? A little more respect here might be in order for General Shalikashvili.

Shalikashvili's bottom line is precisely what I kept finding in the people I talked to. To a person, they acknowledged Clark's flaws but said they were minor compared with his assets. One former Clinton administration official described Clark as "a little arrogant ... not beloved by his colleagues ... self-centered ... high-maintenance" but said he would support him in a heartbeat.

Those don’t exactly sound like the qualities that get someone to that rank.

Clearly, some of the palpable excitement about Clark in Democratic circles comes from an equally palpable yawn about the rest of the Democratic field.

Come on Dick, you can say it… he towers over the dwarves.

The only candidate who has so far generated any excitement is Howard Dean.

But now that the minstrels have been eaten, what are they to do for sustenance?

But if the Bush team could digitally create the perfect patsy candidate it would be Dean. He's gaffe-prone, defensive when criticized and, fairly or not (mostly not), will be characterized as an elitist liberal. Besides, he is the governor of a virtual quilt -- a state (Vermont) with 114 covered bridges and fewer minorities than the DAR.

Dick is still firmly in the Clinton camp, and the knives are out for Howard.

Clark is a different story altogether. Like Dean, he opposed the war in Iraq -- but it's hard to hang a peacenik label on someone with a Silver Star.

No it isn’t. That’s like saying it’s hard to hang a lunatic label on former Attorneys General, though Ramsey Clark would be Exhibit A. Say, they aren’t related are they? Anyway, there is another General currently serving as the Secretary of State who has been famously reluctant for not wanting to engage, though to his credit, when the decision has been made he executes it to the best of his ability.

His "state," the Army, is far bigger than Dean's and far more diversified. Still, it's a reach to say Clark has any experience with domestic issues -- schools, welfare or, in Iowa, ethanol.

Ethanol in Iowa. Hmm, that might explain the strange pronouncements from Senator Harkin’s steak fry last week. At the very least, it might explain why they were frying steaks.

That is bound to matter. What will matter more is whether the American people feel at ease with Clark. In a television era, sheer likability is essential. This is why the spectacularly qualified Al Gore lost to (or tied) George Bush, who was ill prepared for the job and has since repudiated just about everything he said during the campaign about foreign affairs.

Spectacularly qualified. Snort.

People liked Bush.

I like Bush.

The rest is commentary.

And Scourge.

Much about Clark is both intriguing and exciting.

Uh oh, here comes the hagiography.

On paper he is almost a perfect general election candidate for the Democrats -- a southerner (Arkansas), moderate, pro-choice, smart as a whip and inoculated against talk-radio demagoguery that equates thought with treason.

The word “treason” gets thrown around casually an awful lot these days by the Angry Left. I guess John Ashcroft’s Jack-Booted Dissent Crushing Brigades™ aren’t doing their job thoroughly enough.

The man, as it happens, has taken a bullet.

General Clark’s service to his country merits nothing but admiration and respect. But it has nothing to do with his fitness to be President.

Nonetheless, Clark warrants special scrutiny. It's not that I don't trust those who know him best -- although some boost his candidacy out of self-interest -- but rather that the personal qualities that bothered his critics would be intolerable in a president.

Why? Sounds like he treated his subordinates the same way Clinton did and we all know what a great president he was.

We like our presidents as we like our morning TV hosts -- comfy.

What’s the “we” stuff Kemosabe? Comfy is not what I’m looking for in a president when we are at war.

"He can run, but he can't hide," Joe Louis once said about an upcoming opponent -- and a bit of that is true about a presidential campaign as well.

I wasn’t aware that General Clark is trying to hide from anyone. What the hell is Dick talking about?

The wearying nature of the slog to the White House, the quaint intimacy of campaign events in New Hampshire and Iowa and especially the omnipresence of television will ultimately tell the American people what they want to know about Wes Clark.

Boxers or briefs?

It will not be, as some would have it, whether he knows much about domestic policy but whether he knows much about himself.

I hope for General Clark’s sake that his suit isn’t as empty as this column.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:32 PM | Comments (0)

Things That Make Me Go Hmm...

Has anyone else noticed that Jack Skelington from The Nightmare Before Christmas looks an awful lot like the underwater pirate captain in James and the Giant Peach?

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:59 PM | Comments (1)

I'm Too Sexed-Up For Milan

If Andrew Gilligan and the BBC "sexed-up" their coverage of the WMD debate to make the government look bad, would that mean that Big Media is "castrating" their coverage of the news in Iraq since its liberation to keep the government from looking good?

And can this act of "castration" be considered partisan and require equal time (the fairness doctrine cuts both ways!) since it so clearly benefits one side of the political debate? If you don't like the word "castrate" in this context, perhaps "burkhing" makes more sense. Pronunciation similar to "borking", but the etymology derives from the intent to hide information from public view like a burkha, so as not to inspire impure thoughts like "the liberation of Iraq was a good thing."

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:38 PM | Comments (0)

Senator Clinton Announces Her Intention to Not Reveal Her Intentions Concerning Her Presidential Candidacy

Like Beetlejuice, I've seen this exorcism of the Democratic hopefuls now about 167 times, and it just keeps getting funnier every time I see it. What a farce.

Now, I'll admit that I haven't a clue whether or not General Clark will be a good candidate or not, or whether he can beat the Bushes (George and Jeb) to be the next President. But, I will say the effusive gushing over his announced candidacy seems like another triumph of style over substance. The vocal Democrats seem to believe that since he wore a uniform, that's all that matters to offset the self-inflicted untouchable status they seem to have when it comes to national security issues during a time of war. What General Clark actually seems to think and believe aren't at all clear, so they must be irrelevant. To the extent we know much of anything about General Clark from his time in Kosovo and his talking head appearances during the liberation of Iraq, his track record is something less than sterling. But as I have already written, I believe he is running for VP, not P. He hopes to be able to help a candidate from the Northeast illiberal establishment with some votes in the South, and let's face it, it probably won't take a lot of votes to pull it off. Hasn't everyone else noticed that all the "serious" candidates except for Gephardt (who has no chance in my opinion) are from New England -- again. New England and California do not an electoral majority make, and without some help, it will be a worse electoral result for the Democrats than in 2000.

So who's going to lead the ticket? Well, Maple-powered Howard is out in front and still seems to be the likely candidate, but Howard screwed up when he made it clear that he was not going to pay homage at the alter of Clinton. I think Hillary would have been willing to wait until 2008, or even 2012 assuming Howard could pull it off, but when Howard indicated he was going to clean house at the DNC, well, he's talking about eroding their power base and removing the complete control that the Clinton's currently have over the Democrat Party, and that cannot be allowed to go unchallenged.

So now, we have the rumors starting that Hillary may run after all. Now, I cannot see Hillary sublimating her imperial ambitions (she is the junior Senator from the Empire State, after all) and offering to take a step backward from co-President to Vice President (it is strange to think that she was probably more powerful than the Vice President during the Clinton administrations), so I expect to see Hillary step forward sometime in the next month or so to take the top of the ticket. General Clark will clearly help her more in the general election than any of the other nine declared Democratic candidates. It is also amusing to watch news reports of the good citizens of New York offering to release Hillary from her promise to serve out her term in the Senate. After all, like Bill, I'm sure Hillary has always planned to keep all the promises she meant to keep.

Hillary can bide her time, because the moment she enters the race she'll be the Democratic frontrunner -- no doubt about it. I wonder if she and Bill are waiting to see if perhaps no one will accumulate enough delegates so that she could be offered up as a compromise candidate at the Democratic National Convention. This would allow her to save her campaign money and avoid another 6-8 months of bad publicity concerning her strong negatives. It's a risky strategy, but then again, if Howard starts off too strong all she has to do is declare she's a candidate and it's all over but the balloon drop anyway.

So there you have it, its Bush-Cheney against Clinton-Clark in 2004. You may not have heard it here first, but who knows. Personally, I look forward to Dick Cheney eating General Clark alive in a debate if he gets the chance.

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:28 PM | Comments (0)

Massachusetts Must Be So Proud

I've read a few times where pundits have asked, "When did the War on Terrorism become a Republican issue?" Well, I don't know exactly, but rest assured that it surely is:

The case for going to war against Iraq was a fraud ''made up in Texas'' to give Republicans a political boost, Sen. Edward Kennedy said Thursday.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Kennedy also said the Bush administration has failed to account for nearly half of the $4 billion the war is costing each month. He said he believes much of the unaccounted-for money is being used to bribe foreign leaders to send in troops.


The Massachusetts Democrat also expressed doubts about how serious a threat Saddam Hussein posed to the United States in its battle against terrorism. He said administration officials relied on ''distortion, misrepresentation, a selection of intelligence'' to justify their case for war.

''There was no imminent threat. This was made up in Texas, announced in January to the Republican leadership that war was going to take place and was going to be good politically. This whole thing was a fraud,'' Kennedy said.

I'm not a Republican, prefering to stay an Independent so as to avoid the distasteful nonsense that party politics occasionally demands, but how can a Republican not take great offense at this? Even as an Independent, I take great offense at Senator Kennedy's self-serving foolishness.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:52 PM | Comments (3)

I'm Confused

Richard Grasso has resigned from the NYSE after accepting a $140M in deferred income and bonuses. Now, like most everyone else, I doubt that the size of this bonus can objectively be justified, but I do not challenge the authority of the NYSE to give it to Mr. Grasso if they choose to do so.

But what I'm confused about is why Mr. Grasso has effectively been forced out for acting rationally in accepting this money, whereas the true malfeasance, if that's what it is, was on the part of the Board of the NYSE who offered these renumerations to Mr. Grasso. Last time I checked, they were all still there.

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:49 PM | Comments (0)

Oh, Puhleeze

Laurence Tribe opines today in the WSJ:

It's wrong to hold an election if some voters will be disfranchised.

There you have the perspective from the Left when they don't get their way: If we can't have Utopia, then damnitalltohell, we'll have nothing -- and like it! Damn proles!

I'll leave it to the lawyers to debate the law in this case, but even for a layman, the arguments presented here and elsewhere to stop the recall do not pass the smell test. Just remember who it is that is going to court to interefere with elections over (Gore in 2000), over (Torricelli in 2002), and over (Davis in 2003), when it looks like the results aren't going to please them. And that's not even considering not showing up to work (Texas 2003) or abusing the conventions of the institutions (U.S. Senate fillibusters for judicial nominations) when they are going to lose.

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:35 PM | Comments (0)

I Take Requests

Judith Weiss sent this little nugget of tin-foil wrapped creamy goodness via an e-mail asking if anyone wanted to fisk it:

Dear MoveOn member

The US occupation in Iraq has left American soldiers unprepared and vulnerable, the country degenerating into chaos, and the Iraqi people embittered and hostile. Now the President is asking Congress for a staggering $87 billion blank check to fund more of the same. Until he takes strong steps to correct this failure, Congress shouldn't give him a cent. President Bush needs to fire the team responsible -- starting with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld -- and transfer authority to the United Nations.

Please join us in telling Congress to hold on to our money until President Bush changes his team and changes his course in Iraq. You can send an email to your Member of Congress and sign our petition at:

Then please pass this message along to your friends and colleagues.

She don't know me very well, do she? Or maybe, she knows me far, far too well.

I'll have to accept Judith's word that this is what is seems to be. I have no reason to doubt her, but I'm not venturing into the Move On quagmire to verify it. I suppose if I were a real "journalist" I might be tempted to validate it, but then again, fact checking is something for the little people to trouble themselves with. Maybe someone is spoofing Judith's e-mail address to get me to say something stupid. Too late, but I don't think Judith's e-mail is being spoofed either. Anyway, without further ado, let's wade into the doo-doo.

Dear MoveOn member

Heh heh, you said member. But seriously, I hope Judith isn't really a MoveOn member.

The US occupation in Iraq has left American soldiers unprepared and vulnerable, ...

Some would argue that it was eight years of the Clinton administration that left American soldiers unprepared and vulnerable, and that the liberation (important precursor of occupation generally ignored by MoveOn aficianados) of Iraq merely exposed the state of weakness to which our forces have been reduced. Nonetheless, I think our troops have demonstrated an ability to take care of themselves, and the vast majority of Iraq (and Afghanistan, and the DMZ between South Korea and North Korea), quite well.

... the country degenerating into chaos, ...

Mussolini made the trains run on time, Stalin kept the streets of Moscow safe, and Hussein kept Iraq well ordered. Pre-liberation Iraq was degenerate, but not chaotic. There was method to the madness. It's not easy to murder thousands of people month after month after month. Really, it's not.

... and the Iraqi people embittered and hostile.

Unlike the pristine, well-ordered Utopia that was Iraq before May 2003. I guess the folks at MoveOn somehow think that "subjected and terrified" is somehow preferable to "embittered and hostile." Or perhaps "embittered and hostile" is just a projection of their feelings onto the people of Iraq who are letting them down by not revolting more forcefully against their liberation.

Now the President is asking Congress for a staggering $87 billion blank check to fund more of the same.

I hate to be pedantic (heh heh), but a blank check doesn't have a dollar value on it. That's what "blank" means in this context. What do you think this is, a prescription drug benefit or something? But the adjective "staggering" is a little out of place here, considering the economic toll likely to be incurred in the future if we now just walk away. And as for funding more of the same, does that mean we are on to liberate someone else, like say, Iran?

Until he takes strong steps to correct this failure, Congress shouldn't give him a cent.

Much less 8,700,000,000,000 cents -- one cent every seventeen minutes from every man, woman, and child in this country for the next year. Well, I don't see the failure here yet, but I will give this MoveOn member extra credit for at least acknowledging that it is the Congress that authorizes expenditures and not the President. This is a substantial improvement from the usual rhetorical excess of the Left when it comes to spending by the Executive branch of government.

President Bush needs to fire the team responsible -- starting with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld --

Maybe. I don't think so, but that is the President's prerogative if he believes it is the best thing to do. But, some actual evidence of failure would seem to be a prerequisite before undertaking such a drastic action. And, of course, this presupposes that whomever President Bush might replace his team with would be an improvement in the eyes of MoveOn. Be careful what you ask for, you might get it.

... and transfer authority to the United Nations.

Bzz! Wrong answer. There's no reason to spend any effort documenting why this is a bad idea to someone who really thinks the UN can solve this problem, or indeed any problem better than the US.

Please join us in telling Congress to hold on to our money...

Our money? I'll bet there's a lot more of my money than the MoveOn author's money in the federal treasury.

... until President Bush changes his team and changes his course in Iraq.

Just a little to the East perhaps?

You can send an email to your Member of Congress and sign our petition at:

Or not.

Then please pass this message along to your friends and colleagues.

Dude, I've blogged it. I've even done you the courtesy of leaving the link to your misguided missive intact, twice. Please note that while I have challenged the ideas presented and criticized them in what might be construed as a harsh, sarcastic manner, at no time did I call anyone any names. Now let's see if the folks at MoveOn will deign to offer me and Judith the same courtesy.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:58 PM | Comments (2)

September 17, 2003

General Clark Announces His Candidacy for President

Woo hoo.

It's minstrel-eating time.

DOWNDATE: But the important question, that the folks at CNN are apparently too intimidated to ask, is what is General Clark's position on the Dingle-Norwood bill?

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:53 PM | Comments (3)

September 16, 2003

Senator Edwards Announces His Presidential Candidacy

And people flee his home state of North Carolina!

It could just be Isabel though.


Posted by Charles Austin at 07:08 PM | Comments (0)

September 14, 2003

True Lies, and the Truly Lying Liars Who Tell Them

A have a friend from Iowa who tells me that I-O-W-A stands for Idiots Out Walking Around. I don't wish to slander the populace of an entire state, but their does seem to be something attracting the loony left to their great state:

Former President Clinton touted a field of Democratic contenders he said was the strongest in decade, and launched a spirited assault on a Bush administration he said governs through "ideology, enemies and attacks."

Ex-presidents used to honor a decorum that proscribed attacking and criticizing their successors. The great shame isn't that Bill Clinton casts aside tradition and civility so easily, after all we've learned to expect that from him, but that there is a vast crowd of people that eat it up and beg for more.

"The last election was tight as a tick," Clinton told a party rally Saturday. "That election was not a mandate for radical change, but that was what we got."

Actually, the last election produced a net gain for the Republican Party in Congress. That result is highly unusual for a president's party in an off-term election, so maybe that was something of a mandate. Certainly a better argument can be made for that being a mandate than getting a solid 43% of the vote. Twice. And as far as ticks go, well, that sucking sound is ... no, I'm not going there.

Clinton brought thousands of activists huddled on a rain-soaked field to life, repeatedly by assaulting Bush.

Ohmigod! He is the Antichrist!

He ripped into Bush's tax cut and handling of foreign policy and joked he was now the beneficiary of tax cuts for the wealthy.

Gosh, that's a hoot!

"Don't tell me about class warfare," Clinton said.

Since Bill wrote the book, I doubt there is anything I could tell him about class warfare.

"I'm all for wealth and business. I just think we all ought to go up together."

Well, as Reagan said, a rising tide lifts all boats. But given all the heated rhetoric about the richest 1%, this one is a little tough to swallow.

The former president told activists that he has become rich since leaving the White House, largely based on a big book contract: "I never had a nickel until I left the White House.

A nickel, what is that? Slang for five interns at once?

"What's the sacrifice that's being asked of people who make more than $1 million a year?" Clinton asked. "It's the energy they have to expend opening the envelopes containing their tax cuts."

Eat the rich!

Clinton spoke after seven of the Democratic presidential contenders on hand praised him.

Well, at least we know why he bothered to go to Iowa.

He said Bush was given great opportunities but has largely fumbled them. "Instead of uniting the world, we alienated it," he said. "Instead of uniting the country, he alienated it."

Don't mention the war! Bill royally screwed the pooch on this one, but he thinks he got way with it.

While some have warned that the field of nine Democratic candidates will have a tough time ousting Bush, Clinton dismissed those worries. "I like this field, and I'm tired of people saying that this field can't beat an incumbent president," he said. "This is the best field of candidates we have had in decades."

No comment.

"The American people, not 5 percent of them know they gave me a tax cut and then kicked children out of after-school programs," said Clinton. "They are not putting those things together. All we have to do is make it clear what our differences are."

Maybe Bill got a tax cut since by his own admission, he never had a nickel until two years ago. But can we please dispense with this meme of Republicans wanting to hurt children?

The exchanges came at Sen. Tom Harkin annual steak fry Saturday at Indianola, 20 miles south of Des Moines.

Steak fry?

The campaign's early, and surprise, front-runner, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean said he would welcome Clinton's help in campaigning should he win the nomination. Clinton is "a larger-than-life figure," Dean said. When you look at what's happened to the country economically since then, Clinton looks pretty good."

And I thought it was Republicans who were only concerned about money.

At the rally, Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt decided not to make a speech but mingled briefly with activists. "Bill Clinton was a great president for the economy," said Gephardt, who said he would eagerly campaign with Clinton if he gets the nomination. "Absolutely, he's going to help me beat George Bush," said Gephardt.

Bill fiddled, or is that diddled, will the flames of terrorism burned.

Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina said Clinton campaigned for him in 1998 when he entered the Senate. "I stood with Clinton, and it worked," he said. "He led the greatest period of economic expansion in history and we ought to be proud of him."

Are you catching the theme here yet? Unfortunately, I found it profoundly depressing that anybody still believes the President controls the eceonomy, or worse, that we should want them to.

Another candidate, Sen. Bob Graham of Florida, praised Clinton's political intuition and skills, which he said he would welcome as part of his campaign. "Aren't we proud to have Bill Clinton as an American and a Democrat," said Graham.

To paraphrase Howard Dean, I guess his being a Democrat is a good thing.

Former Illinois Sen. Carol Moseley Braun made a gender-based pitch. "We are all in the same boat and a woman can guide this ship of state," she said.

Non sequitur of the week.

Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich made the case for his single-payer health insurance plan, saying: "We are paying for universal health care, we're just not getting it."

I thought Dennis the Menace had left the Democrat Party and joined the Monster Raving Loony Party.

In Saturday's opening speech, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry compared the 1990s Clinton economy with today's and said he is looking to restore Clintonian ideas, which he said still resonate with the voters.

I think the proper word here should have been oscillate rather than resonate.

Kerry said middle-class taxpayers benefited by Clinton's focus on working Americans. "With George Bush in the White House, the middle class has been forgotten all over again," Kerry said.

Isn't there a particular psychosis or neurosis named for people who deperately want to be lied to too?

I don't think I'm going to respond to articles like this much longer. It's just too painful to contemplate how much energy so many people put into remaining ignorant and how willfully stupid they choose to be.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:23 AM | Comments (4)

September 12, 2003

Oh, and One More Thing...

For all those just wanting to move on and get over 9/11, remember that there is no statute of limitations on murder. And the WoT will go on until every co-conspirator is dead or brought to book.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:09 PM | Comments (0)

Big Wheel, Keep On Turnin'...

The Axil of Evil is revving into the red zone:

Iran threatened yesterday to end co-operation with the United Nations nuclear watchdog after it gave Teheran a seven-week ultimatum to prove that it was not secretly trying to build an atomic bomb.

To be fair, it is tough to prove a negative, but I think we know what they mean. But hey, it has worked for North Korea. So far.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:06 PM | Comments (0)

... In Palestine, In Berkeley ...

I guess everything is just fine in Berkeley, since the City Council is spending all its time on solving the problems of the Middle East:

Middle Eastern politics dominated Tuesday’s Berkeley City Council meeting as audience and Council polarized over two competing resolutions calling for Congressional investigations of deaths in the Israeli-Palestinean conflict. When the dust settled four hours later, the council had narrowly passed one of the motions, with the second back on the agenda for the elected officials’ next session on the Sept. 16.

The failed “all American deaths inquiry” resolution was the competing measure to the successful “Rachel Corrie death Congressional inquiry” resolution recommended to Council by the Council’s Peace and Justice Commission and adopted by the council on a 5-4 vote.

The results of the two votes divided the audience as much as it did the Council, leaving half walking out in angry disappointment and the other half cheering and waving signs.

This report comes to us from the Berkeley Daily Planet. Well, I guess we all already knew they were living in a different world than we are.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:00 PM | Comments (2)

Yellow Dog Days of the Campaign

Fellow Democrats Pile on Howard Dean

Democratic presidential contenders have unleashed a sudden “swarm offense” on frontrunner Howard Dean. After attacks on Dean by Sen. Joe Lieberman, Sen. John Kerry and Sen. John Edwards earlier in the week, Rep. Dick Gephardt on Friday accused Dean of supporting Medicare cuts in 1995. And then, adding insult to obloquy, Gephardt compared Dean to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, one of the Republicans most-despised by Democrats.

Despised? My, that sounds awfully judgmental and mean spirited, doesn't it? But I've often wondered what made them dogs yellow. There's an old rule of thumb that advises against engaging in pissing matches -- even if you win you still need a shower.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:55 PM | Comments (0)

Dead Man Walking

Don't you have to die to be a martyr? What is this, Pirates of the Carribean?

Yasser Arafat emerged from his office for a second straight night Friday, telling hundreds of supporters they will go to Jerusalem as martyrs.

They should have all lined up behind him and said in unison, "you first."

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:42 PM | Comments (0)

Friday's Blast From the Past

This has been a bad week for FBFtP. Johnny Cash passed away earlier today at the age of 71, so how can today's entry be anyone else? Except that Warren Zevon passed away on Sunday at the age of 56. So you get two blasts today. I have a terrible feeling that I've reached the age where FBFtP will be celebrating the music of those recently deceased much more frequently than I ever could have imagined before.

Don't you want to hear Johnny say "Hello, I'm Johnny Cash" one more time? Johnny Cash managed to be a rebel and an iconoclastic outsider without being an ass, unlike so many who seem to believe that being an ass is a prerequisite to being rebellious. It seems hard for some people to remember that Johnny was considered more Rock 'n' Roll than Country back in the '50s. Johnny can now drop his cares and worries and join his wife June Carter Cash, who passed away on May 15 of this year, in angelic white.

There's already been so much written about Warren this week by people that knew him much better than I ever did, so I don't think I should try to add anything to this. And, naturally, you can find a whole lot more out about Warren and Johnny over at BlogCritics.

Here's my favorite song from the man in black's beginning at Sun Records, and my favorite Warren Zevon song.

I Walk The Line (Johnny R. Cash)

I keep a close watch on this heart of mine.
I keep my eyes wide open all the time.
I keep the ends out for the tie that binds.
Because you're mine,
I walk the line.

I find it very, very easy to be true.
I find myself alone when each day is through.
Yes, I'll admit I'm a fool for you.
Because you're mine,
I walk the line.

As sure as night is dark and day is light,
I keep you on my mind both day and night.
And happiness I've known proves that it's right.
Because you're mine,
I walk the line.

You've got a way to keep me on your side.
You give me cause for love that I can't hide.
For you I know I'd even try to turn the tide.
Because you're mine,
I walk the line.

Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner (Warren Zevon)

Roland was a warrior from the Land of the Midnight Sun
With a Thompson gun for hire, fighting to be done
The deal was made in Denmark on a dark and stormy day
So he set out for Biafra to join the bloody fray

Through sixty-six and seven they fought the Congo war
Fingers on their triggers, knee-deep in gore
For days and nights they battled the Bantu to their knees
They killed to earn their living and to help out the Congolese

Roland the Thompson gunner...

His comrades fought beside him - Van Owen and the rest
But of all the Thompson gunners Roland was the best
So the CIA decided they wanted Roland dead
That son-of-a-bitch Van Owen blew off Roland's head

Roland the headless Thompson gunner (Time, time, time
For another peaceful war
Norway's bravest son But time stands still for Roland
'Til he evens up the score)
They can still see his headless body stalking through the night
In the muzzle flash of Roland's Thompson gun
In the muzzle flash of Roland's Thompson gun

Roland searched the continent for the man who'd done him in
He found him in Mombassa in a barroom drinking gin
Roland aimed his Thompson gun - he didn't say a word
But he blew Van Owen's body from there to Johannesburg

Roland the headless Thompson gunner...

The eternal Thompson gunner, still wandering through the night
Now it's ten years later but he still keeps up the fight
In Ireland, in Lebanon, in Palestine and Berkeley
Patty Hearst heard the burst of Roland's Thompson gun
And bought it

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:05 PM | Comments (1)

September 11, 2003

Attack, Attack, Attack

Like General Grant said when chastising his timid officers after taking over command of the Army of the Potomac (paraphrasing), "You need to quit worrying that General Lee is going to do a backflip and end up in our rear and start worrying about what we are going to do to him." Another variant on this theme was Jack Dempsey's famous aphorism, "The best defense is a good offense." Is there anything more true in the age of asymmetrical warfare?

That's how I feel about the WoT. "America, why are you so hated?" is a pathetic example of passively worrying about what will happen to us next. The self-serving carping by the political opponents of the President concerning the conduct of the WoT are too. As others have noted, the slow suicide of the Democrat Party is not in our long term interests. Hopefully, an electoral sweep by the Republicans in 2004 will be the necessary purgative required for them to become a helathy, vigorous, intellectualy vital organization once again.

There was a bad movie called Twilight's Last Gleaming with Charles Durning as the President of the US that posited the Vietnam War as a big conspiracy just to show the Soviet Union that the US was prepared to sacrifice it's young men foolishly to defend itself if necessary. Of course, that was a merely a precursor of the loony conpiracy theories we hear today, and no doubt some of the current "quagmire" crowd eats this stuff up with both hands. Perhaps today's corollary might be that the liberation of Iraq is a big conspiracy to put everyone on notice that there really is a New World Order that begins with, "Do what America wants or we will lay waste to your country," and ends with, "Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated."

Of course, not everyone sees things as I do. Reuters (one man's "news" service is another man's urinary tract infection), likes to keep telling everyone that it is all the US' fault:

The attacks on the U.S. did indeed rouse the 'mighty giant' Mr. Bush spoke of at the time," said Hong Kong's South China Morning Post in an editorial. "But the world's only remaining superpower must realize that the 'with us, or against us' approach, and in particular the further use of aggression, will only fuel the hatred which motivated the attacks in the first place."

And might I suggest that any further attacks against the US or our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq will fuel our hatred as well. This rhetorical sword cuts both ways. Or as a six-hundred morons currently residing at Guantanamo have found out, our pen is mightier than their sword.

But there are some people that agree with me, Australian Prime Minister John Howard, for instance. But I wonder if the pure anti-establishmentariainism of Big Media forces them to respond to wisdom like this:

Australian Prime Minister John Howard told television: "This war against terrorism is likely to go on for years and nobody can regard themselves as beyond the reach of terrorism."

With the predictable automatic gainsaying of said wisdom like this:

Howard's views were questioned by newspapers across Asia.

In Malaysia, a mostly Muslim nation that quickly allied with Washington in the war on terror, more recent attitudes were reflected in an opinion column in the New Straits Times.

"No bells toll for the victims of unbelievable Israeli savagery," wrote Shad S. Faruqi.

Yogo Nomoto, a 37-year-old local government worker in Tokyo, summed up the feelings of many as he stood at the U.S. embassy.

"When the terrorism occurred, I think people all over the world sympathized with the United States. But I think the United States has lost its power with its acts over the following two years," he said.

Funny, it seemed to me that the "Why are you so hated" meme materialized before we did much of anything in response to 9/11, so those that hate us now hated us long before any acts we took over the last two years. Of course our enemies prefer that we cower and beg for forgiveness for whatever sin they imagine us guilty of. Whatever might have brought them to think this way?

Editorials were more outspoken about the fallout from the response by the United States that has drawn its army into quagmires in Iraq and Afghanistan and yet has failed to net bin Laden, the suspected September 11 mastermind.

Jeez, Reuters doesn't even give us the courtesy of enclosing quagmires in quotation marks.

"Two years after September 11...America instead goes toward a path of self-isolation and being unilateral in action," said an editorial in Vietnam's People's Army newspaper.

I suppose if you're going to declare Afghanistan and Iraq quagmires, you might as well go straight to the source. And what a source the Vietnam People's Army newspaper must be!

Australia's Sydney Morning Herald was more outspoken. "The goodwill of America's allies has been squandered," it wrote. "The threat represented by the terrible attacks of two years ago remains."

Ok, so the threat remains, but we are damned well not supposed to do anything about it. Is that right? I do agree that whatever goodwill America had because of the attacks on 9/11 was squandered. But I think it was squandered by Jacque Chirac and Gerhard Schroeder, amongst others. I've heard some people express the opinion that Al Gore would have done the same things as President Bush had he been "selected" as President by the Florida State Supreme Court, though I doubt it. But if Al Gore would have eliminated the Taliban and liberated Iraq, is the Sydney Morning Herald suggesting that it's not really the actions that matter at all to America's allies, but whether a Democrat or Republican President is doing it that matters when it comes to their support?

In Indonesia, site of the world's worst post-September 11 attacks when bombs killed 202 in Bali nightclubs last October, the Jakarta Post took a similar tone. "There is also the fear that, unless it is carefully managed, the war against terrorism is likely to be perceived in the Islamic world as a crusade against them," it said.

This isn't a war against Islam. But I often wonder if the adherents of Islam aren't trying to turn it into one. While I believe that most adherents of Islam would never do anything like the attacks on 9/11 themselves, it just doesn't seem as though enough are sorry it happened either. Be careful what you wish for. You might get it.

France's Le Monde ran a headline after September 11, 2001, saying everyone felt American. Thursday, its editorial on Washington ran: "Compassion has given way to the fear that ill-considered actions are aggravating the problems and that the fight against terrorism is a pretext to extend U.S. hegemony."

Is that Thursday's Le Monde or a copy of a ChiCom press release from 1972? "Extending US hegemony?" Who still talks like that? Outside of unrepentant communists, I mean.

In conclusion, this article started with this paragraph:

On the second anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, Australians remembered loved ones and U.S. embassies across Asia lit candles but regional media highlighted waning sympathy for the United States.

Well, I for one am not interested in the waxing or waning sympathy of any of the people who espouse the opinions endorsed by this article from Reuters. And rest assured that these same people may never count on sympathy from me in the future no matter how bad things turn out for them. But if smallpox is released upon the world again, I'm sure that the US will be shipping immense quantities of life-saving drugs around the world as quickly as we can make them to people who cheered the news of a smallpox outbreak in the US, until a week later it showed up on their shores, because that's the kind of people we are. And that's why I'm more than willing to err on the side of protecting America at all costs. The terrorists, and those that harbor them, can talk to Mr. Hand Grenade, because I'm not listening any more.

Remember 1940? France and the Low Countries (amongst others) had all been defeated and occupied by Germany. England stoood alone against the Nazi onslaught for two years with nothing but passive assistance from the United States. Sure we provided supplies, but generally speaking the US was not going to enter into yet another European war. England held on, though its prospects became progressively worse and victory was far from assured. Then, to abuse and paraphrase Martin Niemoller, they came for us on December 7, 1941 -- but fortunately we weren't so weak that we needed anyone to speak up for us. The special relationship shared by those of the Anglosphere found its roots in a shared common burden, and a sense of gratefulness on the part of the US for the price the British paid holding off the Nazis. "There will always be an England," might not have been true were it not for the US, and the British never forget that as well. Unfortunately, what could have been, and should have been, stopped a lot earlier now took another four years and tens of millions more lives before the danger was eliminated.

Remember 2001? France and the Low Countries and Germany (amongst others) now would rather pander to the Arab world than stand up for freedom, human rights, the wronged US, or even themselves. Fortunately for us, the Anglosphere and a number of other countries are willing to stand with us and take the fight to the enemy before the enemy can bring it to us again. Unfortunately for us, there are still many here and elsewhere that cannot see the danger clearly in front of them. If we do not remain resolute and continue to take the fight to them, we could easily find ourselves again wondering why it again costed tens of millions of lives, when we could have stopped the nihilist menace so very much sooner.

"Never again" sounds a little too optimistic for me right now.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:27 PM | Comments (1)


I woke up this morning in the same hotel in Northern Virginia I woke up in two years ago today. Other than that, everything has changed. Well, perhaps not everything, but just about everything that matters.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:23 AM | Comments (0)

September 10, 2003

It's Later Than We Think

Considering what passes for hard science on global warming these days, I don't find this very surprising:

The world is in danger of running out of scientists because too many young people are opting to study "easier" subjects in school and university, the British Association science festival will be told today.

But then again, what do we need scientists for anyway?

"Everything that can be invented has been invented." - Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:33 PM | Comments (0)

The Debate

I only caught a few minutes of the debate last night, and needless to say, I found it appalling. I caught most of the summations, and strangely enough, the Rev. Al Sharpton seemed to be the most lucid. I don't agree with him, but at least I can understand what motivates him and I don't doubt that he believes it. Even stranger, I respected Congressman Dennis Kucinich almost as much, because he is earnest -- deluded and dangerous, but earnest. I couldn't say that about any of the other candidates. Period.

And perhaps someone needs to make an issue of Senator Joe Lieberman's health. He seemed, by his own admission, to be very ill.

But nothing scared me more than Congressmen Dick Gephardt's statement that:

I will be a president every day in that Oval Office who's trying to figure out how every person in this country fulfills their God-given potential, nobody left out, nobody left behind.

Ol' Dick would have made a good replacement for Stalin, but he'd already told us this before with his previously stated willingness to bypass Supreme Court rulings with Executive Orders if they displeased him. As David Byrne once sang:

What good is freedom, God laughs at people like us.

Karl Rove must be ecstatic.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:20 PM | Comments (1)

What If?

I've occasionally wondered what might have happened if only one of the two towers had been hit. Unfortunately, with no one anticipating the collapse, the death toll might have been much, much worse. If only one tower had been hit, would it have done irreparable damage to the whole site when it collapsed? Is it possible that in the bastards overzealousness that they may have not killed as many people as they otherwise might have?

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:04 PM | Comments (0)

September 09, 2003

Let's Recap, Shall We?

Inspired by a few moments of listening to the The Nine's "Debate" on the radio leaving the airport, I thought I'd list some of the items that they, and their friends and fellow travelers, have emphasized in the last two years:

1. Brutal Afghan Winters
2. Impossible Terrain
3. Language and Cultural Difficulties
4. Afghanistan's Long History of Repelling Invaders
5. Halfway Around the World
6. No Bases Nearby
7. "No" Allies
8. Landlocked Country Negating Our Seapower
9. Arab Street Rising Up
10. Muslim's Worldwide Rallying To The Cause Against Us
11. Thousands Upon Thousands of Bodybags
12. Thousands Upon Thousands of Civilian Casualties
13. Brutal Iraqi Summers
14. Elite Republican Guard Defending Their Homeland
15. "No" Allies, Again
16. Baghdad Becomes "The Siege of Stalingrad II"
17. Door to Door Fighting
18. Environmental Disaster
19. Oil Wells Sabotaged Like Kuwait
20. Saddam Will Use His Chemical Weapons if Backed Into a Corner
21. Thousands Upon Thousands of Bodybags, Again
22. Thousands Upon Thousands of Civilian Casualties, Again
23. Depleted Uranium Killing Children
24. Looted Antiquities
25. Iraqi's Will Hate Us Forever
26. The Interim Government Will Never Be Accepted
27. We've Lost Focus on the War on Terrorism
28. Dissent Crushed

Ok, that's just off the top of my head. Anything anyone wants to add to this litany of wrongheadedness, defeatism, anti-Americanism, and Democratic Presidential Candidate's campaign slogans?

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:38 PM | Comments (1)

Bring The Troops Home!

While I welcome the Left's sudden fascination with, and deep concern for, the welfare of all our men and women in uniform I can't help but notice that their concern for the warfighters and defenders of America became evident only when it became possible to use it as a cudgel against President George W. Bush. Alas, I fear their newly learned words of support and encouragement for those they called "baby killers" in the not too distant past will dissipate as rapidly as they materialized should Howard Dean or Hillary Clinton be sworn in as our next President on January 20, 2005.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:24 PM | Comments (1)

September 08, 2003

Steve Goodman

Acidman took one of the comments I left him in his post about John Prine and made a little tribute to Steve Goodman out of it. Rob's pH factor just went up a couple points.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:12 PM | Comments (1)

Global Cooling or Global Warming?

Today's most overused adjective from the Giardian:

Al-Qaida issues a chilling warning

Oooo, ooo, ooo, chilling. I think this calls for some serious preemption delivered with hot lead and cold steel to deal with this fungus among us. But ..., but ..., scientists now think that fungi are more likely to cause global warming than global cooling:

Scientists probing the frozen soil beneath Colorado's Rocky Mountain snowpack have found a world of microbes no one knew existed -- a world dominated by microscopic fungi unlike any others previously found on Earth.

So numerous and diverse are these newly discovered organisms that scientists are having to rewrite the book on the ecological importance of fungi -- life forms that are neither animals nor plants but which, as nature's premier recyclers, do a big share of the work of keeping Earth in biological and chemical balance.

Indeed, scientists said, if other regions of the world have similar fungal communities thriving under their winter snows, as now seems likely, climatologists will have to revise their models of global warming to accommodate fungi's surprisingly massive role in the winter production of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide.

Who to disbelieve more, Big Media on the War on Terror or Big Environmentalism on global warming? Decisions, decisions, decisions...

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:19 PM | Comments (2)

Fat, Dumb, and Neurotic

Bad news from the decadent society front:

Overweight Americans and Europeans are overfeeding their pets, too -- and putting their health at risk, according to a report issued on Monday.

Gee, I hope we are able to remedy this before the terrorists kill us. No wonder they hate us.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:03 PM | Comments (0)

The Lady Doth Protest Too Much, Methinks

Reading Michele's lamentations concerning the loss of her bet, I got to wondering about whether Cub fans or Red Sox fans have it worse. I mean, is it better to have played a World Series and lost than never to have played at all?

Based upon their past success and the law of averages, if there were any justice, the Yankee's wouldn't make it back to the World Series for about 120 years. And if we were basing it on the standard the Cubs have established, then the Yankess wouldn't get back to the World Series for about 2,000 years.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:01 PM | Comments (0)

Don't Mention The War

I mentioned it once or twice, but I think I got away with it. But now, we need to let the healing begin and just move on:

The second anniversary of the September 11 attacks this week looks set to be a low-key affair, reflecting a partial healing of wounds inflicted by the trauma and a switch in focus caused by the war in Iraq.

Short-term thinking and subzero sum partisanship are endemic to our culture, hence headlines like this:

For 7 Days in Iraq, No U.S. Combat Deaths

But where are the headlines that read like this:

For 129 Days in Iraq, No Iraqi's Tortured for Reasons Known Only to Uday Hussein

For 129 Days in Iraq, No Daughters and Wives Raped for Iraqi's Political Beliefs

For 129 Days in Iraq, No Entire Iraqi Families Murdered Because Someone Opposed Saddam Hussein

For 129 Days in Iraq, No More Children's Prisons

For 129 Days In Iraq, No More Mass Graves

Of course, some Iraqis have been killed and wounded in countless small engagements and actions as well in the larger scale terrorist attacks at the Imam Ali Mosque and at the UN Headquarters in Iraq. But these terrorist attacks were a desperate, smaller scale, more generic kind of terror than the personal brand of terrorism inflicted on the people of Iraq by Saddam, Uday, and Qusay on a regular basis. And that, my friends, has come to a complete stop. But that's not front page news, I guess.

As a kid, I can remember being taught that December 7, 1941, was a day that would live in infamy -- and that was some 30 years after the event. Now, only two years after 9/11, some want us to just get over it already. Sorry, but I'm still in the mood for remembrance and righteous anger. The therapeutic approach proffered by Big Media and Big Education to the acts of war committed against the US have me wondering what my grandkids will be taught in school in another 30 years about 9/11, and about December 7, 1941, for that matter.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:42 PM | Comments (1)

Current Events

Saturday night, I took Daughter #1 and one of her friends out into the country to meet up with four other gentlemen who had set their telescopes up for some moon, star, and planet gazing. The telescopes were all 8" to 10" Schmidt-Cassegrains and the weather was about as perfect as it could get, except for a very heavy dew and an extremely bright moon. As they were setting up, they predicted that the girls would provide the "Oh, Wow!" moment each first-time stargazer makes once they got a chance to see the moon and Mars -- and they were absolutely right. One of the gentlemen had a binocular lenspiece that made viewing Mars much, much easier. Their must be substantial global warming on Mars (it must be difficult -- though not impossible -- to blame this on President Bush) because the polar ice cap was awfully small. We also got to see a number of star clusters, a few unique star patterns and a ring nebula. I look forward to going back out on another clear night with a new moon or no moon, and prefereably much farther away from St. Louis.

I missed the President's speech on Sunday night since the family (and three of Daughter #1's friends) went to see The Lion King at the Fabulous Fox Theatre here in St. Louis. It was a wonderful show, with excellent music (not entrirely the same as the movie), fascinating costumes, marvelously creative set designs and superb performances. The young Simba and Nala were outstanding. I can heartily recommend it if you have the chance to see it. And if you have the chance to see anything at the Fabulous Fox Theatre, take the chance to do so. It is an amazing palace built in 1929 and renovated a few years ago in a style that has been called Siamese Byzantine. You just have to see it to believe it.

And then there is football, and fantasy football. It looks like I'll be 2-6 in week 1, due primarily to the bad luck of playing the top score or nearly the top score in the league in each of my losses, though the non-performance of my "stars" (Tomlinson, Manning, Harrison, Favre, and Brady) certainly contributed. Oh, and note to Mike Martz: Kurt Warner may be a better QB than Marc Bulger, but not if he's trying to play with a concussion. Nice to know that Mike cares about his players' health so much.

It's early.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:31 PM | Comments (0)

September 06, 2003

Arafat Signs His Death Warrant

I mean, he accepts the resignation of Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas.

Same thing.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:33 PM | Comments (2)

Can Long-term Exposure to Peanuts Cause Dementia?

Everyone's favorite ex-president opens his mouth and once again removes all doubt:

Former President Jimmy Carter said Friday a "combined commitment" by the United States and other nations to guarantee North Korea security could help defuse the crisis over the communist nation's nuclear weapons program.

Uh, Jimmuh, I think the President is a little more focused on guaranteeing the security of the United States.

Carter blamed Washington and the communist state for the unraveling of a landmark U.S.-North Korean agreement that he helped mediate in 1994 but said he believed the current crisis could be resolved diplomatically with concessions on both sides.

Hmm, exactly what did "Washington" do to unravel the "landmark" agreement this goober came up with? And sorry Jimmuh, but I for one am glad that the we are no longer willing to pay Danegeld to keep them from attacking us or Japan or South Korea. If they want to attack China, well, we'll just sit back and watch the fireworks.

"There has to be some not yet apparent flexibility on both sides and the full support of other countries," he told reporters in Tokyo after meeting with Japanese officials to discuss humanitarian projects by his Georgia-based Carter Center. "I don't see it as an impossibility."

Sure Jimmuh, nothing's impossible -- especially with the full support of other countries. And monkeys might fly out of his ... oh, never mind.

The 76-year-old former U.S. president said Friday that North Korea's leaders would never trust a unilateral nonaggression pledge by Washington.

Do you ever get the feeling that Jimmuh is much, much more concerned with North Korea than with the United States? Anyway, who's going to be party to a mutli-lateral nonagression pledge by Washington. Maybe Kim Jong-Il remembers the statement by Clinton's press secretary that he kept all the promises he meant to keep, and therefore remains a bit worried. Either that, or he is more than a little worried about his inclusion as a charter member of the Axis of Evil.

"How do the other nations — primarily the United States — give North Korea absolute assurance that they will not be attacked or pressed further economically or efforts made to overthrow the regime?" he said. "This can come from a combined commitment from the United States and other countries involved in Beijing." In return, Pyongyang must abandon its nuclear weapons program, give the United Nations unimpeded access to its nuclear facilities and offer its own "unequivocal assurances" not to threaten its neighbors, he said.

Gosh, a unilateral nonaggression pledge by Pyongyang. It's funny who Jimmuh decides can be trusted and who can't, ain't it?

He described the North Korean leadership as isolated and fearful of outside threats.

He left out belligerent, insane, and desirous of nuclear weapons.

"This paranoid nation and the United States are facing what I believe to be the greatest threat in the world to regional and global peace," he said.

It's not easy to find moral equivalence stated so succinctly. But, uh..., what about freedom Jimmuh?

The former president said he had no plans to act as a mediator.

Perhaps Jimmuh's too embarrassed to try again after the fiasco from 1994.

"If haven't been called on," he said. "If I were called on — which I don't conceive to be possible — I would be glad to help."

Guess not. But Jimmuh is right about one thing, I don't conceive it to be possible either.

Carter.jpg Kim.jpg

Maybe we should put these two nuts back in their shell.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:30 PM | Comments (4)

The Liberation of Iraq Was a Good Thing, Pass It On

The blogosphere is positively brimming with stories from returning troops and others about how much better the situation in Iraq is than what we hear from Big Media and Big Politics every day. Of course, Big Media will focus on controversy and bad news under any and all conditions because it is their nature. And since Big Media has so much invested in declaring Iraq a disaster, it is unlikely that they will willingly cross over the line in the sand they have drawn with such gusto. And we must always discount the self-serving pronouncements from Big Politics as well, since they must always do their best to convince us that the current ogre responsible for every bad thing that has happened in living memory needs to be slain and replaced with the latest self-proclaimed knight in shining armor who cares only for us and will see to our welfare and security like no one else can, because they have good hair or a clever slogan, or something.

If things are going as well in Iraq as may of us believe, then two things should happen. First, the current administration needs to be very forceful in the denunciations of the fear-mongers, worry-warts, and Chicken Littles of Big Politics and their enablers and start doing a better job of publicizing the good things that have been done. Maybe tonight's speech is the start of this effort. As Judy Tenuta used to say, "it could happen." How about recording 1-minute video testimonials from people on the street in Iraq who are willing to give their names and making these tapes available to the media, or better yet, posting them unfiltered on a web-site. This wouldn't be technically difficult, nor should it be hard to find people to do this. As more and more testimonials are recorded, any potential fear factor would go down in Iraq and it would provide incontrovertable evidence to offset the deluge of woe we are subjected to now.

Second, someone in Big Media needs to step back and truly assess Big Media's performance and start asking why Big Media, like the BBC, finds it necessary to "sex up" the coverage of Iraq to make it unequivocally appear worse than it is. Isn't this a major journalism with a capital "J" story? Fox News seems to be the only likley candidate to do this, but who knows? Maybe like Nixon and China, it will take someone with courage and a conscience (and a bigger profile than Bernard Goldberg) from the illiberal bastions of Big Media to do it and make it stick.

Well? How about it?

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:04 AM | Comments (4)

September 05, 2003

Friday's Blast From the Past

To borrow a phrase from Claire, here on FBFtP we like both kinds of music: Country and Western. As I've grown older, I've developed a taste for true Western music. I usually have to rely on something like Prairie Home Companion to get a fix, but I find it in the strangest places sometimes. If you have recommendations for good Western music, please leave them in the comments.

But for now, you'll have to settle for this little ditty I first heard on Dr. Demento's show late, late one night a long time ago (they sure don't write 'em like this anymore -- where else are you going to find a reference to a .32?):

Wahoo (Cliff Friend)

Way out west where men are men and women are very sweet,
That's where I wanna be...
That's where I'm gonna be.
Way out west just once again where happiness is complete,
There's just one thing I miss...
And it is this:

OH! gimme a horse, a great big horse, and gimme a buckaroo
And let me Wah-Hoo! Wah-Hoo! WAH-HOO!
OH! gimme a ranch, a big pair of pants, and gimme a stetson too,
And let me Wah-Hoo! Wah-Hoo! WAH-HOO!
Give me the wide o-pen spaces...
For I'm just like a prairie flower,
Growing wilder by the hour.
OH! gimme a moon, a prairie moon, and gimme a gal what's true,
And let me Wah-Hoo! Wah-Hoo! WAH-HOO!

OH! I never could sing a high class thing, good music I never knew,
But I can Wah-Hoo! Wah-Hoo! WAH-HOO!
OH! I never could dance, 'cause when I dance I ruin the lady's shoe,
But I can Wah-Hoo! Wah-Hoo! WAH-HOO!
It's just a gift from the prairie...
You shout it when a bad man jigs,
And it's very good for calling pigs.
I never could speak a word of Greek, I never could poop-poop-a-do,
But I can Wah-Hoo! Wah-Hoo! WAH-HOO!

OH! you open your mouth two feet wide, and take a big breath or two,
And then you Wah-Hoo! Wah-Hoo! WAH-HOO!
OH! you wiggle your toes and grit your teeth
Like Dangerous Dan McGrew
And then you Wah-Hoo! Wah-Hoo! WAH-HOO!
Be careful not to sing soprano;
And never Hi-de-hi-de-ho,
'Cause that don't go out in Idaho.
OH! buckle your belt and fix your hat,
And spit her out (noise) ka-chew!
And then you Wah-Hoo! Wah-Hoo! WAH-HOO!

Oh, what did Miss Cleopatra say to Antony when they met?
She hollered Wah-Hoo! Wah-Hoo! WAH-HOO!
Oh, what did that roaming Romeo yell to Miss Juliet?
He hollered Wah-Hoo! Wah-Hoo! WAH-HOO!
It started way back in Eden
And Eve was the cause, and it's no fib,
She wahooed Adam for a rib.
Oh, what did Miss Pocahontas yell the minute she saw John Smith?
She hollered Wah-Hoo! Wah-Hoo! WAH-HOO!

Oh, gimme the plains, the western plains, and a bottle of apple jack
And let me Wah-Hoo! Wah-Hoo! WAH-HOO!
Oh gimme a saloon, an old spittoon, and a package of chaw tobacc
And let me Wah-Hoo! Wah-Hoo! WAH-HOO!
Give me a gal from dear old Dallas,
And play a Texas Tommy dance
And I'll cut loose with a wild romance;
Oh, gimme a gat, a cowboy hat, a handkerchief red and blue,
And let me Wah-Hoo! Wah-Hoo! WAH-HOO!

Oh, gimme the plains, a pair of reins, and my boots and saddle too,
And let me Wah-Hoo! Wah-Hoo! WAH-HOO!
Oh, lemme get at...a lariat, as a steer comes into view,
And let me Wah-Hoo! Wah-Hoo! WAH-HOO!
Give me the wide open spaces,
Each time I see a sawdust bar,
I wanna be away out thar...
Oh, show me the pal who'll steal my gal, and hand me my .32
And let me Wah-Hoo! Wah-Hoo! WAH-HOO!

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:21 PM | Comments (0)

September 04, 2003


Jake was a bad tabby cat. We got Jake just about 5 years ago as a kitten, rescuing him and one of his sisters (Maddie). They both got their shots, id chips, collars, and neutered and spayed respectively. It's funny how much my "free" pets have cost. Anyway, Jake had a sweet disposition and was really good with kids, but he was loud when we wanted to be quiet, often annoying, and frequently destructive. We had him declawed, which worked for a while, but after a couple of years he started spraying in the house. By now, I was ready to get rid of Jake. So, as a compromise Jake became predominantly an outdoor cat. He became a permanent outdoor cat about two months ago when he came into our bed while we were sleeping in it and urinated on it between my wife and I. Jake was rapidly using up all his lives as far as I was concerned. Then Jake nipped a little girl a couple of blocks away who had been petting him. We never learned all the details, but that seemed out of character for Jake. The animal control folks came by and took Jake away and after a mandatory quarantine period he was free again. Well, you know what I think we should have done, but we didn't. Then two weeks ago, one of our neighbors informed us that Jake was coming into their house at night through their cat flap and fighting with their cats. What made it stranger is that they have a full grown Labrador, but then again, Jake was always brave and elusive. So Jake started spending his evenings in a large outdoor cage. My wife is definitely a cat person, but even she had become fed up with Jake and his antics.

About 6:30 tonight, Jake got hit by a car and killed. Daughter #1 is devastated. Fortunately, while daughter #2 is a little sad she doesn't seem to care that much. My wife is a little relieved since she no longer has to deal with the problems Jake has been causing. I honestly will not miss Jake, but I do feel for my daughter and what she's going through. This might be the first death of a pet she was emotionally attached to that she's had to deal with. Maddie, Buddy (our dog), Pujenkins (her lizard), and her fish are helping console her a bit, but tomorrow or the next day, I expect we'll be looking for a new kitty to rescue.


Posted by Charles Austin at 10:58 PM | Comments (5)

When Networks Attack!

Matt Drudge listed the two stories next to each other today:

Fox attacks girl in her bedroom

Fox News gains, other news networks fall

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:24 PM | Comments (1)

A Gray Davis Commercial Suggestion

Why doesn't Gray Davis enlist Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton to make an ad for him. I'm sure they'd have no problem putting together a 5-minute tape montage of each of them saying:

"I don't recall."

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:18 PM | Comments (0)

Victim? Not Me, Brother!

I've read in several places about how our therapeutic society is trying to make all of us victims of the attacks on 9/11. Well, we -- the United States and each individual citizen -- were victimized, but that doesn't make us -- the United States and each individual citizen -- victims, unless we let it. Did we consider ourselves victims after the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941? Hell no! Victimized? Sure. Victims? Sorry, no self pity to wallow in here. We've got work to do.

Adopting a psychology of victimization requires that there is some sort of an ombudsman to deliver justice if it is to "work." This ombudsman may be motivated by guilt, or a drive for justice, or something else entirely, but whatever the motivation, the ombudsman must have the power to effect some change to deliver what is perceived as justice. Otherwise, dwelling on being a victim is nothing but an exercise in futility. People on the frontier, or any society that values freedom and self-dependency, may have been victimized by natural disasters or man-made calamities, but they picked themselves up and and moved forward.

In our nanny-state today, the government typically is expected to play the role of the ombudsman to stamp out perceived injustices. But in the War on Terrorism, who is going to be ombudsman if we start acting like a victim? The United Nations? Puhleeze. NATO? Ha! Our European allies? They can't even protect themselves. The Anglosphere? Well, maybe. But if we won't stand up for ourselves, I don't think we should expect them to carry us as dead weight.

No, we will stand up and fight for ourselves and make the necessary sacrifices for what we believe in and what we hold dear, or we might as well roll over and die. We will certainly value true friends who throw their lots in with us. And we will just as certainly remember those who, through sins of ommission or sins of commission, work against us.

As the second anniversary of 9/11 comes around in a week, its time once again to remember and to rededicate ourselves to the tasks ahead. We are a good people who have every right to defend what we have. We are a noble people with an obligation to help others shed the yoke of oppression where we can. I am proud of what I know we have done in Afghanistan and Iraq. I am also thankful for the many things that have been done on our behalf, that I know nothing about, by people whose only connection to me is that they too believe that this country is worth defending and the ideals for which it stands are worth giving to others.

We are at war. The alarm went off and woke us all from our pleasant slumber on 9/11/2001. Everyone heard the alarm and responded at first, but as time goes by and folks settle back into their usual routines, it's as though a lot of people now just want to reach over and hit the snooze button until the alarm goes off again. I am disgusted that, with the general exception of Senator Lieberman, all those who have a vested interest in hurting the President politically are encouraging this behavior. Let's just hope it doesn't take the loss of Houston to a nuclear weapon or 1/3 of the population to a biological attack to get everyone to finally wake up.

Unlike some in the blogosphere, I won't be taking 9/11/2003 off to read and remember. I'm not criticizing those who are, I just have a different approach. I'm going to work. In fact, I'm going to Washington, D.C., on business, and I'll be flying home on 9/11/2003. I'm not afraid, and I'm not going to wallow or weep. I'm angry and ready to fight. I'm too old to put on a uniform but I am going to fight back in the best way I know how, by going on with my life, earning a living, paying my taxes, spreading good ideas as best I can, and helping my customers become more proficient in finding and killing those who would kill my family, my friends and my country.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:54 PM | Comments (1)


It's so close I can smell it.

DOWNDATE: Smell's good.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:49 PM | Comments (4)

If I Were A Rich Man...

John Kerry sheds a tear, but there's nothing in the following story about shedding a few sheckels to help this poor woman out:

Kerry, a senator from Massachusetts and a Vietnam combat veteran with a reputation for aloofness, lost his composure when Barbara Woodman of Concord told him how she was battling to educate her children after being laid off from a publishing company. "I don't care how many jobs I have to work, those kids are going to college," she said. "And if I can, I'll do whatever it takes to make this country stronger." Kerry, sitting beside her in Mary Ann's Diner, a popular small-town New Hampshire stop for 2004 presidential candidates, choked up and his eyes watered. "That's very moving. It really is," he said, wiping away a tear. "No, it's tough."

How would he know? After all, he and Teresa only have about $400M to play with. Does anybody else wonder if John Kerry sleeps well with John Heinz's money? Maybe he could use some of it to buy a clue.

Kerry, who officially kicked off his campaign against eight Democratic rivals on Tuesday in South Carolina, another early primary state, started the day with extra bounce in his step and a sharper message. His wife, Teresa Heinz, the outspoken ketchup heiress and philanthropist, said she had made her husband ginger tea on Tuesday night and baked brownies in Nantucket before his "American Courage" announcement tour began.

"American Courage" announcement tour? What the hell is wrong with these people? Gee, I wonder if Ms. Woodman gets ginger tea and brownies very often.

"There's something about September," he said. "The sky's bluer, the air's clearer ... and this campaign has plenty of gas."

Oh yes, plenty of gas. Time to rev up the old "American Courage" SUV and start burning some of that gas.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:03 AM | Comments (1)