September 29, 2004

In Other News...

Bill Dodson, one of the co-founders and co-owners of the little business I work for, passed away this morning.

See y'all next week.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:44 PM | Comments (4)

September 27, 2004

It's Only a Matter of Time

The immortal words of Brent Musberger seem apropos here:

President Bush leads Sen. John Kerry by 8 points among likely voters, the USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll shows, a narrower advantage than Bush held in mid-September and one that puts him at the edge of the survey's margin of error.

At this rate, John Kerry will be ahead of President George W. Bush and can win the election -- so long as it's held at the end of January 2005. Of course, using the same logic, Bush's lead amongst registered voters will have risen to 19% by that time:

Among all registered voters, the president's lead widened a bit to a statistically significant 11 percentage points.

(I thought the post title above was better than "Shrinkage.")

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:59 PM | Comments (0)

October Minus Four Surprise

I guess that whole Bush has dropped the ball on Al Qaeda meme just got taken off the debate list:

Top Bin Laden deputy Ayman al-Zawahri has been caught in Pakistan, according to a report from the region quoted on Israel Radio Monday.

Then again, knowing Kerry, why let reality start interfering now? And boy, is Teresa going to be pissed. I wonder how she'll treat the servants once she realizes she'll never be sleeping in the White House after all.

In other news, maybe al-Zawahri can tell us which cave we should be searching for Osama Bin Laden's DNA samples. Then again, President Musharraf thinks otherwise:

Intelligence indicates Osama bin Laden is alive, Pakistan's president says, and the top U.S. military official in Afghanistan believes the al Qaeda leader is probably in Pakistan.

Then again, if Osama's dead, that would only leave Mullah Omar on the lam before we turned our attention back somewhat towards Pakistan. Unless, of course, we get serious about Syria and Iran first.

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:43 PM | Comments (0)


It's time for another MidWest Blog Bash. Numbering is somewhat arbitrary, i.e., fake, but undoubtedly authoritative, i.e., accurate.

He Who I'm Not Sure If I Have Permission To Use His Real Name over at Diogenes Corner has made the arrangements for us all to meet on Saturday, October 2, at 6:00 at the usual place, TNG's in Kirkwood. Be there or be square.

Say, shouldn't that be Diogenes' Corner?

DOWNDATE: Event cancelled. To be rescheduled at a later date.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:45 PM | Comments (5)


How dare the French and the Germans try to influence our election:

French and German government officials say they will not significantly increase military assistance in Iraq even if John Kerry, the Democratic presidential challenger, is elected on November 2.

But at least they'll think better of us, and that's gotta be good for something.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:09 PM | Comments (1)

Mutual Assured Distraction

I guess the analogy of "going nuclear" as the ultimate step in the escalation of any competition or conflict needs to be retired from the lexicon:

The Bush administration's failure to shut down al-Qaida and rebuild Iraq have fueled the insurgency and made the United States more vulnerable to a nuclear attack by terrorists, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy said Sunday.

And next week, when the polls haven't improved, I suppose the naval hero of Chappaquiddick will find it necessary to ratchet the rhetoric up another notch by noting that the Bush administration's failure to will result in, um ..., an asteroid destroying the earth! Yea, that's it!

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:06 PM | Comments (2)

Hurricane Jimmuh's Winds Are Picking Up To Devastate Florida

I thought "J" was taken by Hurricane Jeanne, but I guess I was wrong. History's greatest monster is at it again:

Voting arrangements in Florida do not meet "basic international requirements" and could undermine the US election, former US President Jimmy Carter says.

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, the Bush junta just can't be trusted can it? Been to St. Louis lately Jimmuh? I heard a piece on NPR over the weekend concerning the presence of international observers of the election here in St Louis because of problems in the past. Throughout an extended discussion, there was no mention of the fact that 100% of all elected officials in the City of St. Louis are Democrats and have been for a long time, that voters in the City of St. Louis are overwhelmingly Democrats, and that the judge in the City of St. Louis who issued the order to keep polls open late in St. Louis is a Democrat.

Part of the problem in understanding the issues here lies with what is meant by "St. Louis." Those of you not from anywhere around the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers may think of St. Louis as a large metropolitan area with a population of about 2,500,000 people. But the City of St. Louis is a small, and shrinking, conclave of about 350,000 people run by a hopelessly corrupt city government surrounded by growing, successful suburbs that are increasingly trending Republican. All of the problems you heard about in the 2000 election occurred in the City of St. Louis where Democrats ended up screwing Democrats because their level of corruption is exceeded only by the level of their incompetence when it comes to conducting an election. Even now, after promises to fix the problems in 2000:

Sloppy paperwork and bad math were blamed for St. Louis being the last jurisdiction to report its final results to the state in Tuesday’s primary election.

Final results from the city weren’t reported until 3:30 a.m. yesterday, more than four hours after St. Louis County reported its results.

The St. Louis Board of Elections said workers made counting errors at individual precincts.

"The issue is not voter fraud," said Gary Stoff, the board’s Republican director. "The issue, if you will, is sloppiness and not doing the paperwork properly."

Derio Gambaro, chairman of the election board, said the entire process would be reviewed before the general election in November.

"We are not going to be there until 3:30 in the morning in November," Gambaro said.

Gambaro said the city announced preliminary results at 7 p.m. Tuesday and updated them a few hours later. Close to midnight, somebody noticed problems.

Election officials discovered that in about 15 percent of the city’s roughly 200 precincts, there were discrepancies between the number of ballots tabulated by voting machines and the number counted by election judges.

Election officials discovered adding and subtracting errors by poll workers. Stoff said some workers did not properly account for spoiled ballots. Other times they counted a packet as containing 50 ballots when it held 100.

I guess we should be thankful that all the known dogs registered in 2000 have been purged from the voter lists. No word about the large number of voters registered for the 2000 election with vacant lots as their residence of record. But back to history's greatest monster -- I remember the good old days when ex-presidents stayed out of the fray and accepted that their time was past. In a way that may be too obscure for some readers, this reminds me of what my brother-in-law told his parents once when they complained about his child-rearing practices:

"My children are my responsibility. You had your chance with me. If you raised me right, then you shouldn't be complaining. If you raised me wrong, what makes you think I want to give you another chance?"

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:44 PM | Comments (1)

Comparing 2000 to 2004, Electorally Speaking

President George W. Bush says to Senator John Kerry, "What's mine is mine, what's yours is negotiable."

RCP says: Bush 291 - Kerry 221 (26 up for grabs)

EP says: Bush 295 - Kerry 243

EV says: Bush 280 - Kerry 234 (24 up for grabs)

Sabato says: Bush 284 - Kerry 254

Rasmussen says: Bush 213 - Kerry 211 (114 up for grabs)

MyDD says: Bush 291 - Kerry 247

VP says: Bush 302 - Kerry 236

CNN says: Bush 274 - Kerry 264

PBS says: Bush 278 - Kerry 260

I say: Bush 312 - Kerry 226

DOWNDATE: Post links and I'll update accordingly.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:47 AM | Comments (2)

September 24, 2004

Kicking It Up A Notch

Interesting, and dangerous news:

In the first step toward erecting a multi-billion-dollar shield to protect the United States from foreign missiles, the U.S. Navy will begin deploying state-of-the-art destroyers to patrol the waters off North Korea as early as next week.

But shouldn't we have allies in this?

Because of the North Korean threat, Japan has become the first country to agree to work with Washington on the missile defense project. It is upgrading its own destroyers and acquiring better U.S.-made interceptors -- the ship-launched Standard Missile-3 and the ground-based Patriot Advanced Capability-3.

Nothing like a shot across the bow to get your attention, is there?

"The Japanese are very interested in developing a missile defense," Greenert said.

No kidding.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:42 PM | Comments (0)

Oh Yeah, That'll Work

Alex, I'll buy a clue for $500:

One-time pop sensation Sinead O'Connor was back in the news Friday -- by taking out a full-page ad pleading for people to stop making fun of her.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:31 PM | Comments (4)

Thus Sprach the Dauphin

Therefore, I say 'tis meet we all go forth
To view the sick and feeble parts of France:
And let us do it with no show of fear;
No, with no more than if we heard that England
Were busied with a Whitsun morris-dance:
For, my good liege, she is so idly king'd,
Her sceptre so fantastically borne
By a vain, giddy, shallow, humorous youth,
That fear attends her not.

I offer this excerpt to greet the news that Prince Hal to join the army is released one month and a day before the anniversary of St. Crispian's Day.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:25 PM | Comments (0)

Gee, They Say That Like It's a Bad Thing

According to Drudge (bad link though):

Report: OPEC has lost control over oil prices...

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:05 PM | Comments (0)

The Chico Esquela Foreign Policy

Over lunch I heard John Kerry on the radio saying that when it comes to fighting terrorism he is going to always keep his eye on the ball. No word as to whether he would always use both hands and move his feet; or how very, very good foreign policy had been to him; or whether he would soon be incorporating a Ty Webb "Be the Ball" strategy into his campaign. Not that, "thank you very little," probably isn't already part of his vocabulary, or that he won't suggest in the debates that we judge presidential candidates by height. Of course, we do know that Danny put the last one in the lumberyard.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:04 PM | Comments (1)

September 22, 2004

The C Words

To be honest, I certainly wasn't going to vote for John Kerry anyway, but watching how he is handling the stress of being behind in the polls certainly cannott give anyone confidence in how well he might hold up under the stress of another 9/11. John Kerry, and his candidacy, are failing miserably with the copious, caustic, cacophonous cavalcade of corrosive calumny Kerry constantly casts about carelessly to criticize President Bush.

Senator Kerry is being measured for the highest office in the land and found wanting when it comes to character, composure, confidence, consistency, clarity, candor, class, custom, and control.

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:16 PM | Comments (4)

September 21, 2004

Assume the Position

According to Drudge, John Kerry said the following today:


This reminds me of Dr. Phillip Barbay in Back to School quizing Thornton Melon for his degree:

"I have only one question for Mr. Melon, in 43 parts."

Oh, and get well soon Rodney.

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:43 PM | Comments (3)

Look! There's Elvis!

Has "What Liberal Media?" been replaced with "What Democratic Media?":

A top adviser to John Kerry says he talked to a central figure in the controversy over President Bush's National Guard service at the suggestion of a CBS News producer shortly before disputed documents were released by the network.

But Joe Lockhart denied any connection between the Kerry campaign and the papers supplied to the network by the Bill Burkett, the former Texas Army National Guard official he telephoned at CBS' suggestion.

"He had some advice on how to deal with the Vietnam issue and the Swift boat" allegations, Lockhart said late Monday, referring to GOP-fueled accusations that Kerry exaggerated his Vietnam War record. "He said these guys play tough and we have to put the Vietnam experience into context and have Kerry talk about it more."

Lockhart, the second Kerry ally to confirm contact with Burkett, said he made the call at the suggestion of CBS producer Mary Mapes.

The most revealing indicator of how skewed things have become is how little attention active collusion between CBS News and the Democratic Party six weeks before an election seems to be getting. I wonder if John McCain is having second thoughts these days. If he isn't, he should be.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:49 AM | Comments (3)

September 20, 2004


Sick bastards:

Police in Toronto closed nearly 100 beach volleyball courts on Sunday after players about to begin an end-of-summer tournament found razor-blade booby traps hidden in the sand.

Searches of the courts turned up 12 of the traps, blades embedded in blocks of wood and buried in the sand, sometime between Saturday evening and Sunday morning.


Posted by Charles Austin at 07:37 PM | Comments (0)

Say Goodnight, Gracie

John Kerry throws in the towel:

Staking out new ground on Iraq, Sen. John Kerry suggested Monday that he would not have overthrown Saddam Hussein had he known what he knows now, and accused President Bush of "stubborn incompetence," dishonesty and colossal failures of judgment.

The sun is setting rapidly on Planet Kerry.

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:33 PM | Comments (0)

Fake But Accurate

Isn't that a fair assessment of the sincerity of CBS News' mea culpa?

Remember this from last week:

"If the documents are not what we were led to believe, I'd like to break that story," Rather said in an interview last night. "Any time I'm wrong, I want to be right out front and say, 'Folks, this is what went wrong and how it went wrong.' "

So, are milquetoast press releases and pabulum web posts the way CBS News breaks big stories now? Personally, I'm still looking forward to Dan Rather telling all of us what went wrong and how it went wrong.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:05 PM | Comments (0)

Ya Know...

If Dan Rather was half as smart as he thinks he is he would have waited until around 28 October to bring this story out. By the time Big Media picked up on it the election would have been over. Of course, this makes me wonder even more what kind of October surprises they still have in store for us.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:01 PM | Comments (1)

What Did Dan Rather Know and When Did He Know It?

From the CBS News statement today:

"Based on what we now know, CBS News cannot prove that the documents are authentic, which is the only acceptable journalistic standard to justify using them in the report," said the statement by CBS News President Andrew Heyward.

Oh? What has CBS News learned in the last 24 or 48 hours that everyone not drinking the Kool-Aid didn't already know over a week ago? How exactly was CBS News able to "prove" the documents were genuine before going to air? Shouldn't CBS News share this new knowledge with everyone since this seems to be an admission that they have some additional information that the rest of the public does not yet have? Either that, or CBS News is admitting that they are a week slow on the uptake if all they have now is what the blogosphere had last week.

Shameful, and incompetent.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:37 PM | Comments (0)

Too Little, Too Late

First, CBS News:

CBS News on Monday said it regretted broadcasting a story about President Bush's military service based on documents whose authenticity is in doubt, saying the source of the material had misled the network.

CBS News Anchor Dan Rather, the reporter of the original story, apologized.

In a statement, CBS said former Texas Guard official Bill Burkett "has acknowledged that he provided the now-disputed documents" and "admits that he deliberately misled the CBS News producer working on the report, giving her a false account of the documents' origins to protect a promise of confidentiality to the actual source."

The network did not say the memoranda — purportedly written by one of Mr. Bush's National Guard commanders — were forgeries. But the network did say it could not authenticate the documents and that it should not have reported them.

"Based on what we now know, CBS News cannot prove that the documents are authentic, which is the only acceptable journalistic standard to justify using them in the report," said the statement by CBS News President Andrew Heyward. "We should not have used them. That was a mistake, which we deeply regret.

"Nothing is more important to us than our credibility and keeping faith with the millions of people who count on us for fair, accurate, reliable, and independent reporting," Heyward continued. "We will continue to work tirelessly to be worthy of that trust."

Additional reporting on the documents will air on Monday's CBS Evening News, including the interview of Burkett by Rather. CBS News pledged "an independent review of the process by which the report was prepared and broadcast to help determine what actions need to be taken."

And then, Dan Rather:

In a separate statement, Rather said that "after extensive additional interviews, I no longer have the confidence in these documents that would allow us to continue vouching for them journalistically."

"I find we have been misled on the key question of how our source for the documents came into possession of these papers," he said.

"We made a mistake in judgment, and for that I am sorry," Rather added.

Where's the apology to the people who's motives you questioned Mr. Rather? I don't detect anything but being sorry you got caught in trying to peddle a lie that was obvious to anyone not drinking the Kool-Aid. The Alan Parson's Project had this latest fiasco with CBS News nailed over twenty years ago with Eye in the Sky, just think of CBS News as the chorus in response to what the rest of the blogosphere has been singing for a while:

Don't think sorry's easily said.
Don't try turning tables instead.
You've taken lots of chances before,
But I'm not gonna give anymore.
Don't ask me.
That's how it goes,
'Cause part of me knows what you're thinkin'.

Don't say words you're gonna regret.
Don't let the fire rush to your head.
I've heard the accusation before,
And I ain't gonna take any more.
Believe me.
The sun in your eyes,
Made some of the lies worth believing.

I am the eye in the sky,
Looking at you,
I can read your mind.
I am the maker of rules,
Dealing with fools,
I can cheat you blind.
And I don't need to see any more
To know that,
I can read your mind, I can read your mind.

Don't leave false illusions behind.
Don't cry, cause I ain't changing my mind.
So find another fool like before.
'Cause I ain't gonna live anymore believing,
Some of the lies, while all of the signs are deceiving.

I am the eye in the sky,
Looking at you,
I can read your mind.
I am the maker of rules,
Dealing with fools,
I can cheat you blind.
And I don't need to see any more
To know that,
I can read your mind, I can read your mind.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:48 PM | Comments (0)

September 19, 2004

A Better Mousetrap?

I find it ironic that in the commenting and reporting throughout the blogosphere on Dan Rather's fundamental comprehension problems concerning superscripts that most of the popular blog software products do not handle superscripts in html correctly, at least with respect to line spacing. Oh, they make the "th" as a superscript alright, but in doing so they shift the whole line down so as not to have the superscript write over the characters in the line above. Unfortunately, the net effect is to screw up the spacing between the line with the superscript and the line below it.

Here are some examples: Movable Type at Michelle Malkin and Instapundit, and Typepad at Professor and BeldarBlog. Strangely enough, this blog uses Movable Type and while the problem shows up clearly while editing the post, it seems to come out alright when viewing the final post in IE. Immediately following the text is a screenshot of my Movable Type editing page.

abcdefghijklmmnopqrstuvwxyz abcdefghijklmmnopqrstuvwxyz abcdefghijklmmnopqrstuvwxyz
And here is a line with Rathergate in Movable Type to illustrate the problem.
abcdefghijklmmnopqrstuvwxyz abcdefghijklmmnopqrstuvwxyz abcdefghijklmmnopqrstuvwxyz


Posted by Charles Austin at 11:02 AM | Comments (2)

September 18, 2004

Separated at Birth?

birth1.jpg birth2.jpg

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:03 AM | Comments (3)

September 16, 2004

Compare and Contrast

Big Media (in the person of CBS):

CBS anchor Dan Rather acknowledged for the first time yesterday that there are serious questions about the authenticity of the documents he used to question President Bush's National Guard record last week on "60 Minutes."

"If the documents are not what we were led to believe, I'd like to break that story," Rather said in an interview last night. "Any time I'm wrong, I want to be right out front and say, 'Folks, this is what went wrong and how it went wrong.' "

The Blogosphere (in the person of Allah):

UPDATE: Here's a great catch from reader "SAS" about the dispute over abbreviations. A 1970 memo from Killian praising Lieutenant George W. Bush (the authenticity of which appears not to be in dispute) reads "Lt. Colonel" in the signature block. This contradicts what the reader who works in the tri-service shop told me. Note, however, where the signature block is placed: On the left-hand side, where it's supposed to be, not on the right-hand side as it is in the newly discovered memos.

Good job fact-checking me. Keep it coming.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:42 PM | Comments (0)

September 15, 2004

1984 (Reagan, Not Orwell)

What if conventional wisdom was correct and there just weren't many undecided swing voters left out there. But that would mean the significant changes in the polls lately can come only from Democrats switching allegiances from John Kerry to President George W. Bush after the two conventions.

Now the fear and utter desperation that might drive someone to do something that could take CBS down start to make sense.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:32 PM | Comments (1)

Guess Those Dinner Invitations Must've Started Getting Scarce

Hey, come on, lighten up,Jay's gotta work in this town:

Jay Leno says, “I’m not conservative. I’ve never voted that way in my life.” He “really worries” what a Dubya victory in November will do to the makeup of the Supreme Court. He believes “the wool was pulled over our eyes” with the Iraq war. He thinks the White House began using terrorism “as a crutch” after 9/11. He feels that during the campaign Kerry should “make Bush look as stupid as possible.” He believes “the media is in the pocket of the government, and they don’t do their job” so “you have people like Michael Moore who do it for them.” He has on his joke-writing staff a number of former professional speechwriters for Democratic candidates. “No Republicans.” When it comes to Bush, he doesn’t think his politics are much different from Letterman’s. “Does he show his dislike maybe a little more than I do? Probably.” Leno used to read Mother Jones magazine.

I can only hope that Nikki Finke was putting a lot of words into Jay's mouth. Otherwise, I'm not sure I can laugh with a man who really believes that, “the media is in the pocket of the government, and they don’t do their job” so “you have people like Michael Moore who do it for them.” Then again, the terrible job the government does on so many things could explain the whole CBS fiasco.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:06 PM | Comments (1)

Line of the Year

Go ahead, tell me you've got a better one than this:

CBS anchor Dan Rather acknowledged for the first time yesterday that there are serious questions about the authenticity of the documents he used to question President Bush's National Guard record last week on "60 Minutes." "If the documents are not what we were led to believe, I'd like to break that story," Rather said in an interview last night.

You go, Dan!

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:59 PM | Comments (1)

I Never Thought I'd Write This

As CBS tosses the shovels aside and brings in the heavy equipment to keep digging, their window for plausible deniability is disappearing rapidly. What could have been considered mistakes can now only be considered to constitute fraud and a coverup. If a lot of heads do not roll for this and we don't find out soon who is behind the forged memos, then ladies and gentlemen, professional journalism will have jumped the shark.

Who's going to want to have CBS News on their CVs in five years?

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:43 PM | Comments (0)

Edward R. Murrow Would Be So Proud (cont.)

CBS News: The facts be damned, we're after the truth!


The editorial content of the report was not based solely on the physical documents, but also on numerous credible sources who supported what the documents said.

Through all of the frenzied debate of the past week, the basic content of the 60 MINUTES Wednesday report - that President Bush received preferential treatment to gain entrance to the Texas Air National Guard and that he may not have fulfilled all of the requirements -- has not been substantially challenged.

CBS News will make every effort to resolve the contradictions and answer the unanswered questions about the documents and will continue to report on all aspects of the story.

In other news, chocolate rations have been raised from four grams to three grams.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:10 PM | Comments (2)

So I'm a Bastard, Eh Juan?

On Fox News, Juan Williams just said (paraphrasing), "the difference between Big Media and Interent sites is that Big Media has their credibility at stake." Instead of Big Media, Juan listed four or five Big Media vendors. Otherwise the statement is correct. I'd give you the exact statement, but I can't type that fast. And, yes, I intentionally used the word vendors. This seems to be a frequently forgotten fact when it comes to Big Media, but one which we bloggers who still live in a free market never forget. We have to sell what we write, but the currency is readership rather than cash (for most of us anyway). If any of us are whacked out and unreliable, we're going to lose in the free marketplace of ideas.

Mr. Williams is also still trying to push the "issues raised" by the memos meme being what's really important. And, oh yeah, if the memos are fake, then CBS must answer for them. This is sad.

Now CBS has released its take using a little old lady on 60 Minutes tonight, (surely this will be just between us, right?) and it is saying that the memos may be fake but the contents are valid. Can you imagine trying this in a court of law, which is sometimes less strict than the court of opinion? Unbelieveable, unless you're Juan Williams, I guess.

"The President still hasn't said he took the physical." -- You go Mr. Williams. Just go.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:56 PM | Comments (2)

I Think We're In the Banging the Table Stage

Remember the old saying, when the facts are on your side, pound the facts, if the facts aren't on your side, pound the law, if the law isn't on your side, pound the table. Sometimes, we complain when lawyers attempt to try a case in the media rather than in the courtroom. Gee, since CBS is losing the PR battle, who or what can they turn to? Can we expect CBS to start suing people to distract everyone from their problems?

FWIW, I think Congress investigating CBS is wrong in so many, many ways. Better to let the market sort it out.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:15 PM | Comments (0)

T - 12 Minutes

Rumors are circulating that CBS will "admit" that the documents may not be genuine but that the story is correct.

Uh huh, that would explain why they kept trying to convince us the documents were genuine. Gosh, it's like this is personal or something.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:51 PM | Comments (0)

The Scourge of Richard Cohen, Vol. CVII

(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.)

Wow, it’s been almost four months since I’ve done this, but perhaps it’s something about coming down slowly from Versed that has me in the mood to take on another column by Richard Cohen. I don’t know how long this feeling will last, so I better get to my pedagogical attack on Ted Kennedy's Lesson for Kerry:

At an event in New York some months ago, I went over to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and told him precisely how I felt about him: Sorry.

What a coincidence, sorry is how I feel about Senator Edward M. Kennedy too!

I was sorry that I had not listened to him about George W. Bush and even sorrier that I had not listened to him about the war in Iraq, which he had opposed.

Well, I’ll give Ted that at least he’s consistent. Ted opposed the first Gulf War led by President George H.W. Bush, predicting massive casualties. But I suppose being wrong about massive casualties is somehow better than being wrong about WMDs, if in fact, President Bush was wrong about them.

If it is not too late, I recommend that John Kerry do what I am now doing: Pay attention to Teddy Kennedy and what he has to say.

Please Senator Kerry. Please do what Richard Cohen is advocating. It is the only plausible way the Republicans can get a filibuster-proof Senate.

On Friday Kennedy delivered a Senate speech that's worth a gaggle of campaign consultants of the sort Kerry has been hiring in lieu of plumbing his own gut.

Plumbing his own gut? Is that anything like what I’ve been through the last day preparing for a colonoscopy?

Kennedy accused the Bush administration of "arrogant ideological incompetence."

And if anyone would know about arrogance, ideology, and incompetence, and all the combinations and permutations thereof, it would be Ted Kennedy.

It's hard to be either more succinct or more on target.

Unless, of course, you actually make an effort to be more succinct or more on target.

The little phrase sums up all that ails both Bush and his administration -- everything from a misguided crusade to liberate Iraq (and the Middle East) from despotism to the strut of the president himself.

I could be wrong, but I’m quite certain that Richard Cohen was all for the liberation of Iraq, up until the point it actually happened, of course. Is Mr. Cohen now saying that we should abandon Iraq (and the Middle East) to despotism? As for the strutting, well, I thought the President handled that complaint in his Republican National Convention nomination acceptance speech.

It fingers the reason why Bush and his boys ...

M u s t ... r e s i s t ... o b v i o u s ... c o m e b a c k ...

... went to war in Iraq, expecting what Kennedy called "a cakewalk."

“Bush and his boys,” ol’ Dick’s got his limp epithets down pat. But please note that it was Senator Kennedy who called it a “cakewalk,” not President George W. Bush.

This was the triumph of ideology over common sense, a belief propounded by neoconservatives within and without the administration that beneath every Iraqi lurked the Music Man, and U.S. troops would be greeted by, at a minimum, 76 trombones.

Uh, Dick, in the musical The Music Man, the Music Man was a con man who comes to a Midwestern town with a scam using a boy's marching band program, but things don't go according to plan. Is this really what you meant? If so, I doubt that the dreaded illiberal boogie-man neo-conservatives would have been so quick to strike up the band. Then again, there are efforts afoot in liberated Iraq by Jim Hake, the Spirit of America, and the Armed Forces of the United States that would make John Philip Sousa proud.

A predisposition to believe your own fantasies makes a very sweet sound indeed.

Their playing your tune, Dick.

In his speech, Kennedy several times mentioned Bush's "mission accomplished" mentality, which "left our armed forces in Iraq underprepared, understaffed and underled for the mission that was only just beginning."

Nonsense, and what a tremendous slander against the men and women America has in uniform. Name another war in history that was as large, as significant, and over as quickly with so few casualties for our forces.

Kennedy quotes Don Rumsfeld, who, with his characteristic bluntness, refused to say precisely how long the war might last.

Well, politicians predicting the length of wars in the past have generally been wrong by orders of magnitude. Thank goodness Secretary Rumsfeld refuses to fall into this trap.

But it would not, he assured us, be more than "six months."

Seems to me it was three weeks. The aftermath is a different issue.

As for Vice President Cheney, Kennedy has him on the record, too. American troops would "be greeted as liberators," Cheney said.

And they were. Naturally, they are some who preferred the old despotism and you shouldn’t expect them to welcome us. You really need to check out Arthur Chrenkoff and his weekly roundup of good news in Iraq. It does help provide some perspective that you are unlikely to get by listening to Senator Kennedy. But if some professional journalist pajama-phobia prevents you from visiting any URL with “blog” in the name, you can also find him each week at the Wall Street Journal’s website.

This is the man Bush took on his ticket for his wisdom.

Good call, IMHO.

The virtue of Kennedy's speech is that it makes clear that all the missteps leading up to the war and all the blunders afterward were not mere mistakes but the product of an ideology that had seized the administration and rendered it inept.

I don’t normally expect to see virtue and Kennedy in the same sentence, but somehow I seriously doubt that Senator Kennedy was actually able to connect the dots to clearly show any such thing. Sometimes I think I go a little too far and leave out too much in explaining the connections between events, but I can’t hold a candle to these guys.

The Bushies operated on an expectation of how things should be and not, as governments should, on empirical knowledge seasoned by strong cynicism.

Governments should be based on empirical knowledge and strong cynicism? Jeez, no wonder I don’t see eye to eye with Mr. Cohen. It is strange to see such a clear admission of what can only be considered a seriously warped motivation for a basis of governance combined with an abdication of the worldview I normally expect from illiberal utopian statists.

They so much believed that things would be as they wanted them to be that they embarked on a latter-day Children's Crusade.

This is so patently ridiculous and intentionally offensive to almost everyone that it beggars belief. Do you know anything at all about the history of the Children’s Crusade, Dick? Or do you just enjoy trying to claim that Bush is on a crusade to piss off the Arab-American demographic? Did you hit a water main down there in the hole your digging?

Where, oh where, were the adults?

Certainly nowhere near Senator Kennedy.

Liberals, too, can be blind practitioners of "arrogant ideological incompetence."

Like, duh. (I’ve documented, oh, I don’t know, CVI instances of these instances previously.)

The dreamy belief in the hidden virtues of all the poor or in the idea that money makes the difference between good and bad schools are examples of ideology smothering common sense.

Why stop there?

I suppose, too, you can throw in the Vietnam War, which started with arrogance, proceeded to incompetence, and managed to straddle both liberal and conservative ideologies.

Unlike Dick, I’m not interested in fighting the Vietnam War again, and again, and again.

The Bush administration, though, proceeded in spite of the lessons of Vietnam, so certain was it of its course.

Maybe it wasn’t that they were certain of their course so much as it was that they realized it wasn’t another Vietnam. It's not in spite of the lessons of Vietnam, it's because of the lessons of Vietnam. Jeez Dick, usually you can be accused of fighting the last war, but now you’re stuck about three wars back.

For it -- and, yes, for those of us who supported it -- that was indeed arrogance.

Whatever, Dick.

Once I wrote a column disparaging Sen. Chuck Robb.

His turn in the barrel, I guess.

Later he stood in the Senate and delivered a gutsy speech against gay-bashing and I gladly had to eat my words.

You’re such a great guy, Dick.

Years later, I ridiculed Sen. Bob Graham for the diaries he kept.

Ok, but there are much better reasons to ridicule Senator Graham than the fact that he keeps meticulous diaries.

Now he has written a worthy book damning the Bush administration for its many intelligence blunders, and again I bow in regret.

Non sequitur alert! What has that got to do with Senator Graham’s diaries? I’m never going to waste my time reading Senator Graham’s book, but I have seen him on Meet the Press and I’m damn glad that nut is never going to be president.

Finally, I long ago stopped paying hard attention to Ted Kennedy, …

Too little, too late to get on my good side now.

… but now I find him a typhoon of common sense and intelligent indignation.

I wouldn’t think now is the best time to use metaphors involving typhoons and hurricanes. Then again, I’m not sure when common sense and intelligence would have ever been appropriate adjectives for Senator Kennedy.

He has not lost the gift of outrage.

The gift that keeps on giving, and taking in his case.

Kennedy did not vote to authorize George W. Bush's war.

Listen Dick, it’s America’s War. And Senator Kennedy’s vote is still wrong, though, again, I’ll give him credit for remaining consistent, which is more than Senator Kerry can do.

Kerry's problem is that, whatever else he intended, he did.

Before he didn’t.

Had he Kennedy's zest for boldness, he would have admitted a mistake and moved on.

Kennedy admitted a mistake? Like leaving the scene of an fatal accident?

But he chose a supposedly safe and overly nuanced route that has left him tongue-tied.

If opposing the war had been the right political choice for the Democrats, it would have been Howard Dean losing badly to President George W. Bush right now, not John Kerry.

Kennedy, who was right from the start,…

Kennedy was right? From the start?

… is not similarly burdened, but his formulation of "arrogant ideological incompetence" can be used by Kerry anyway.

Why stop making shit up now? Keep flinging it against the wall, maybe something will stick.

In three words,…

The last time Kerry used three words it was, “Bring it on!”

… it answers the question of why we are -- still and in coming years -- in Iraq.

I’m sure Dick believes that John Kerry’s Secret Plan™ will solve everything in less than one election cycle, but I’m not buying.

All the rest is commentary.

And commentary on commentary. Here endeth the lesson.

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:00 PM | Comments (0)

Enemies No More

Do you ever have to interact with someone who thinks the world has always been as it is or that it isn't going to be radically different twenty years from now? If so, then patiently explain how the Soviet Union broke off diplomatic relations with Israel in 1953, for many years afterward supported the Arab states in their wars with Israel, refused to allow Jews to emigrate until 1990, and trained the PLO and other terrorists who attacked Israel throughout the Cold War. Then show them this:

Russian officials said the government in Moscow has agreed to increase security cooperation with Israel and focus on counter-insurgency. The officials said the cooperation would include Israeli training and instruction on a range of issues, including aviation security and civil defense. "We are being helped by your expertise in the field of aviation security," Vladimir Vasilyev, chairman of the Security Committee of Russia's parliament, told Israeli reporters.

The War on Terrorism makes for strange bedfellows. My children have no real conception conception of what the Berlin Wall was and what it meant when it come down. I can only imagine what we still take for granted now that my grandchildren will never know much about. Frankly, if I could pick one thing, it would be the UN. Something like the UN can prove useful, but the current UN needs to go the way of the league of nations, and the sooner the better.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:08 PM | Comments (0)

Equal Time?

Once everything has come out, CBS News' reputation is destroyed, and Dan Rather has resigned in disgrace, will the FCC weigh in and demand equal time for the Bush campaign? Especially if the memos end up being tied to someone from the Kerry campaign?

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:44 PM | Comments (0)

This Ain't Beanbag, Nor Hong Kong for that Matter

Chris Patten, EU Militant:

The European Union's outgoing External Relations Commissioner, Chris Patten, launched a withering attack on United States policy in Iraq Wednesday, saying the world deserved better than American "testosterone."

Perhaps less testosterone would be a good thing, but not if we substitute it with an EU hormone that makes one nuanced, verbally aggresive, and full of oneself, but still leaves one without the balls, muscles, or intestinal fortitude to back it up.

Renowned for his blunt speaking, ...

Though not, apparently, for the depth or quality of his thoughts...

...Patten used his parting speech to the European Parliament to deliver a stinging rejection of what he depicted as the Bush administration's go-it-alone approach and contempt for allies.

My goodness, here I thought Mr. Patten was a British national. He really does have the EU disease.

The U.S.-led invasion to overthrow Saddam Hussein, which split the western alliance, had failed to bring peace to Iraq, Israel or the Palestinians, he said.

I guess being blunt precludes the use of logic to exclude non sequiturs.

"Liberation rapidly turned into a brutally resisted occupation.

In some areas, yes, but not in most. And we won't mention the foreigners streaming in to resist the "occupation," shan't we? Perhaps the flypaper strategy is too simplisme for a nuanced EU approach. Funny though, that there's no mention of the satisfied commitment to hand sovereignty back over to Iraq on 28 June of this year.

"Democracy failed to roll out like an oriental carpet across the thankless deserts of the Middle East," Patten said.

I think this should have read: "'Democracy failed to roll out like an oriental carpet across the thankless deserts of the Middle East in 18 months,' Patten said." I lived in England in 1994 and some of the older gentlemen I worked with spoke of how it took decades for Great Britain to recover from WW II. Give it time, Mr. Patten.

"Above all, peace in Jerusalem and Palestine was not accomplished by victory in Baghdad," he said.

Again, while not allowing for sufficient time for such an event to occur, I have to admit that I don't recall that being near the top of the reasons for deposing Saddam Hussein. But while you're at it Mr. Patten, you failed to note that the victory in Baghdad failed to stop Iran and North Korea from continuing to develop nuclear weapons, as well as preventing the genocide in Darfur. As long as you plan to make unreasonable demands, you might as well go for the whole enchilada. Still, I often wonder how not liberating Iraq would have contributed to peace in Jerusalem and Palestine, though I will note Mr. Patten's phrasing leaves Israel out altogether from his concerns about peace.

Patten, a former chairman of Britain's Conservative party and the last colonial governor of Hong Kong, leaves office at the end of next month and will be returning to private life as non-executive chancellor of Oxford University.

I gather that the political divide in Great Britain is between the blue shires and the reddish-blue shires, as there seems to be nothing that in Great Britain these days that would qualify as anything other than a wing of the Democratic Party here in the US.

Without mentioning President Bush by name, he said "neo-conservative unilateralism" had clearly failed to establish peace, liberty and democracy, forcing Washington to bring allies and international institutions back into fashion.

He who must not be named by EU High Commissioners tried desperately to bring as many allies and international institutions along as possible. The fact that not everyone came is more of a reflection on them than us, IMHO. It still rankles though for Mr. Patten to ignore Great Britain's and the other nations of the Commonwealth's participation in the liberation of Iraq, repeating the tired, lame "unilateral", nay, "neo-conservative unilateral" accusation yet again.

"Can we now look forward to the restoration of that old-fashioned notion that allies have to be led, not bossed, and that multilateral institutions have their important uses even for the world's only superpower?" Patten asked.

My God, I hope not. Unless, of course, you want to drop the knee-jerk anti-Americanism and actually try to work together.

But he concluded that multilateralism was not yet accepted on either side of the political divide in Washington, saying the rhetoric of the U.S. presidential election campaign was "pretty unsettling" -- although he insisted he was not taking sides.

Yes, well I might have taken "neo-conservative unilateralism" to have come from either Senator Kerry or President Bush too -- if only I had as little grasp of American electoral politics as Mr. Patten seems to have.

"If you want to get a cheap cheer from certain quarters in America it seems that all you have to do is to bash the U.N., or the French, or the very idea that allies are entitled to have their own opinions," Patten said.

Yes, and if you want to get a cheap cheer from certain other quarters in America, or the UN, the EU, or most of the world for that matter, all you have to do is bash the US, or it's allies in liberating Iraq, or the very idea that America is led by a neoconservative unilateralist Chimpy McSmirk who doesn't care about anybody else's opinions. Right, Mr. Patten?

"Multilateralists, we are told, want to out-source American foreign and security policy to a bunch of garlic chewing, cheese eating wimps," he said.

And your point is...?

Patten stressed that a joint approach to world problems was in the best interests of the United States, as well as of Europe, which was otherwise in danger of believing that sniping at Washington was in itself a policy.

Wow, there's a glimmer of hope here as even Mr. Patten understands that it takes two to tango.

"What I most worry about is that on either side of the Atlantic, we will bring out the worst in our traditional partners," he said. "The world deserves better than testosterone on one side and superciliousness on the other."

Sometimes testosterone is needed Mr. Patten, though superciliousness never is. Unless and until you understand and accept that, we probably don't have a lot more to talk about. And to paraphrase your opening statement, the world certainly deserves better than that.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:27 PM | Comments (0)

"Cut Me Mick, Cut Me"

No mercy, no quarter,
No place to hide for me and the man.
Lefts and rights never came in harder.
No mercy, take it while you can - now!
No mercy take it while you can.


With apologies to Nils Lofgren, even if he is a little confused these days hanging out with Bruce and Little Steven.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:36 AM | Comments (0)

What a Great Time to Be Alive

Just got back from my quintennial colonoscopy. As I have no desire to compete with Katie Couric I'll spare you the pictures, but it's another clean bill of health. I have to do this every five years since my father had colon cancer and my younger sister has a history of polyps in her large intestine. I assume none of you need to be reminded that colorectal cancer is perhaps the most preventable and survivable form of cancer around if it is caught early, and that about one in twenty people will have it at some point in their lives. More info here, here, and here.

It is amazing how much has changed in five years in the process. The day before prep, while still not exactly a stroll in the park, was much easier than I remember from the last time. The polyethelene glycol is vastly superior to whatever thick saltwater sludge prescribed last time. The anesthetics they now use get you back on your feet much faster and reduce the recovery time substantially. Of course, you still can't drive or sign any legal documents until the next day as a precaution. Finally, the imaging and printing technology is more advanced than it was five years ago, but that's kind of a given for anybody reading this. No superscipts on the printouts, for what it's worth.

I've got most of a day that I can't do anything substantial with, so blogging may be heavy. Typos may be a little more frequent than usual, so bear with me.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:27 AM | Comments (1)

September 13, 2004

The Scorched Earth Campaign

This makes me angry:

John Kerry suggested Saturday night that Republicans may try to keep black voters from casting their ballots to help President Bush win in November. "We are not going to stand by and allow another million African American votes to go uncounted in this election," the Democratic presidential nominee told the Congressional Black Caucus.

"We are not going to stand by and allow acts of voter suppression, and we're hearing those things again in this election."

Kerry has a team of lawyers to examine possible voting problems to try to prevent a repeat of the 2000 election disputes. He also has said he has thousands of lawyers around the country prepared to monitor the polls on election day.

"What they did in Florida in 2000, some say they may be planning to do this year in battleground states all across this country," Kerry said. "Well, we are here to let them know that we will fight tooth and nail to make sure that this time, every vote is counted and every vote counts."

You gotta love that "some say" as a way to spread the slander, hatred and fear while being able to maintain a plausible deniability for negative campaigning. So, now we better elect John Kerry or live with the consequences of the fear and distrust in our political process he seeks to sow in the populace? Aside from the usual nonsense, numerical illiteracy, and other unsupportable declarative statements he is making here, it angers me that he is doing his best to encourage the idea that Republicans are acting in bad faith and want to suppress the black vote because, well, because they are racists, I guess.

Senator Kerry's words and deeds on this issue are reprehensible. Remember that it was Al Gore who brought the judiciary into the 2000 election process, and I predict it will be John Kerry who does so in 2004. Gosh, what about all the African American's in uniform Senator Kerry? Will your crack team of lawyers be doing everything they can to make sure that every one of their votes are counted and every one of their votes count? Or will they be acting as Al Gore's lawyers did in 2000 and trying to get their ballots disqualified for various and sundry reasons?

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:20 AM | Comments (0)

The Original Copy?

Martin Devon raises an interesting point about the forged Bush bashing memos. What if the forgers had been a little more clever, sought out an old IBM Selectric, and had the language, style, references, acronyms, and signature blocks more or less correct, all the while expressing the same sentiments about President George W. Bush and his alleged failures to fulfill his Texas Air National Guard responsibilities?

Thinking this one through makes it crystal clear, at least to me, how deep in the tank Big Media has gone for John Kerry. They so desperately wanted to believe that these memos were true, or, like an audience viewing a play, they were at least willing to suspend disbelief, because it just fits, you know? I believe it is because Big Media has become so cynical about their role in the process that they have abandoned their normal skepticism when it comes to Bush bashing. Now they will pick up just about anything (come here, Kitty, Kitty) and run with it if it fits their preconceived, jaundiced, myopic worldview. The only thing more predictable is the self-righteous anger they radiate when challenged by the hoi polloi.

But suppose for a moment that there were some genuine, damaging memos from that time period that suddenly came to light. Would they be believed? Could they be believed? How long will it be now before some enterprising eager young person manufactures some memos using the right equipment, language, style, references, acronyms, and structure? Regardless, the most important question is why any of this is more important than what has happened the last twenty years, or even the last four years. Are people not allowed to grow and mature any longer or must the transgressions of their youth haunt them forever?

This whole fiasco also reminds me of something Umberto Eco wrote in Foucault's Pendulum:

"Gentlemen, I will now show you this text. Forgive me for using a photocopy. It's not distrust. I don't want to subject the original to further wear."

"But Ingolf's copy wasn't the original," I said. "The parchment was the original."

"Casaubon, when originals no longer exist, the last copy is the original."

Hmm..., makes one wonder what Dan Rather is holding on to now.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:05 AM | Comments (2)

September 11, 2004

Go Ahead, Make My Day

A volunteer canvassing my neighborhood with a detailed list of addresses came to my door today, handed me a pamphlet and told me he lived in Kirkwood -- as do I. He then asked me to vote for someone, can't remember who, because today was the one year anniversary of the vote State Senator Gibbons made to allow concealed carry in Missouri. I told him that I have a concealed carry license. (As it happens, I don't -- yet.)

His look was priceless.

I handed him his pamphlet back, he spun on his heels and walked away. Oh, and I will, of course, be voting to re-elect State Senator Gibbons on November 2.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:40 PM | Comments (2)

Haute, Or Should I Say, Haughty Couture

This is funny:

JUST CAUGHT Jonathan Klein debating Stephen Hayes about the CBS forgery scandal. Klein says that "Bloggers have no checks and balances . . . [it's] a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas."

Better pajamas than no clothes at all. (At least for most of us.) But jeez, this is worse than relying on the authority of the speaker or author to confer truth or relevance. Now you have to be wearing the right clothes to be taken seriously?

Are you sure you want to go down this path?


Posted by Charles Austin at 01:20 PM | Comments (1)

Never Again

But you should only say it if you mean it and are willing to act on your convictions.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:18 PM | Comments (0)

September 10, 2004

Sad, Very Sad

I almost feel sorry for Dan Rather. He's shuttled back and forth between a sheltered cocoon and an echo chamber for so long that perhaps he doesn't realize how big a fool this is making him out to be. Forget bias or partisanship, this episode is destroying his reputation completely and undermining whatever good he may have done in the past. What causes this kind of blindness or stubborness in the face of overwhelming evidence? How can someone so intelligent, cultured, and experienced lose his perspective so badly and engage in such wanton self-destruction? Can Dan Rather's particular form of illiberalism really make one so unable or unwilling to face reality if it becomes inconvenient? Can you picture Peter Jennings, Tom Brokaw, Aaron Brown, or Jim Lehrer acting like Dan Rather is acting now?

Now watch how quickly Mr. Rather's friends abandon him as the first cracks in the dam become apparent. At this point, I still think he won't make it through the weekend.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:18 PM | Comments (1)


Pride goeth before a fall:

In addition, the documents are backed up not only by independent handwriting and forensic document experts but by sources familiar with their content. Contrary to some rumors, no internal investigation is underway at CBS News nor is one planned. We have complete confidence in our reporting and will continue to pursue the story.

Doesn't this sound an awful lot like:

I don't fall down. That sonofabitch ran into me.

Amazing, really. Not even a "we're looking into it" or "we will prove our sources our good" but mostly a "we don't make mistakes."

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:42 PM | Comments (1)

Tonight on CNN!

Anchors Gone Wild!

DAN RATHER, CBS NEWS ANCHOR: I know that this story is true. I believe that the witnesses and the documents are authentic. We wouldn't have gone to air if they would not have been. There isn't going to be -- there's no -- what you're saying apology?

QUESTION: Apology or any kind of retraction or...

RATHER: Not even discussed, nor should it be. I want to make clear to you, I want to make clear to you if I have not made clear to you, that this story is true, and that more important questions than how we got the story, which is where those who don't like the story like to put the emphasis, the more important question is what are the answers to the questions raised in the story, which I just gave you earlier.

So Dan Rather believes it is the seriousness of the accusations rather (no pun intended) than the facts themselves that are important. And how dare I question Dan Rather's faith tradition or what he believes! Maybe someone needs to explain the difference between truth and fact to Mr. Rather, as well as the difference between reason and faith. But boy oh boy, those authoritarian impulses do die hard, don't they?

Some of us are overly fond of calling out athletes who have been coddled for a long time and pampered to the point that they really think they are better than everyone else and not subject to the same rules. Well, that particular pathology isn't limited to those with a jump shot or 4.3 40 speed. That whole "speaking truth to power" thing looks a lot different when you're on the "power" side, doesn't it Mr. Rather?

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:16 PM | Comments (2)

And We'll Believe Them, Because...?


CBS Internal Investigator: "Mr. Rather, are these documents authentic?"
Mr. Rather: "Yes. We vetted them through experts."
CBS Internal Investigator: "Experts?"
Mr. Rather: "Yes. Experts."
CBS Internal Investigator: "Which experts?"
Mr. Rather: "Top experts."
CBS Internal Investigator: "Please reveal the names of these experts."
Mr. Rather: "A journalist never reveals his sources."
CBS Internal Investigator: "But these aren't sources, they are experts."
Mr. Rather: "These experts are the source for my claim that these documents were, I mean, are authentic."
CBS Internal Investigator: "Thank you for clearing that up."


CBS Internal Investigator: Prepare the press release absolving Mr. Rather and CBS from any wrongdoing. And get a copy of President Bush's honorable discharge papers to Mr. Rather's experts. I've got a hunch...

DOWNDATE: Not a CBS Internal Investigator: "Strike that investigation!"

"This report was not based solely on recovered documents, but rather on a preponderance of evidence, including documents that were provided by unimpeachable sources, interviews with former Texas National Guard officials and individuals who worked closely back in the early 1970s with Colonel Jerry Killian and were well acquainted with his procedures, his character and his thinking," the statement read.

"In addition, the documents are backed up not only by independent handwriting and forensic document experts but by sources familiar with their content," the statement continued. "Contrary to some rumors, no internal investigation is underway at CBS News nor is one planned."

Not a CBS Internal Investigator: "Just issue the press release. And keep digging."

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:42 PM | Comments (2)

They Harder They Come, The Harder They Fall

As many have noted, the greatest damage of the apparent forged memos concerning President Bush's time in the National Guard will be to Big Media. John Kerry was already, as I have been stating here for some time, going to lose badly, though this may help accelerate the process somewhat. But it is telling to look at how Big Media grabbed the story yesterday and ran with it, and how, even today, NPR was repeating it as though they were oblivious to the probability that these documents are forgeries.

This reveals an important aspect of media bias that isn't necessarily right-wing or left-wing, but insidious nonetheless -- the loss of skepticism and its replacement with a pervasive cynicism. The apparent absence of even a shred of skepticism about these documents by major news organizations is matched only by their cynicism that, of course, Bush lied, cheated, stole, was AWOL, or whatever else we want to accuse him of because, well, he's Bush and we know he's guilty of much, much worse. How else to explain why the NY Times, NPR, the AP, and others jumped out of the blocks and kept sprinting with this story towards the finish line even after it was clear that CBS had committed a false start?

Compare and contrast the treatment these accusations against President Bush received with the accusations made against Kerry by Swiftboat Veterans for Truth. Where was the skepticism about Kerry's frequently changing stories, or was it all used up on the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth? The cynicism and contempt for the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth is glaring as they were ignored by Big Media unless they could be maligned, usually with nothing more damning than an assertion from a partisan hack with an axe to grind that the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth were nothing more than partisan hacks with axes to grind. And yet, when Ben Barnes shows up with a shaky story that cannot withstand even one day of questioning in the blogosphere, he's featured and quoted and requoted along with some memos from unnamed individuals whose authenticity has been validated by unnamed experts. Nothing like building a house of cards on shifting sands in the face of a hurricane.

The blogosphere has become the ombudsman for Big Media, whether they like it or not. This has only become possible because the skepticism they value has been metamorphisized by market pressures, heat from new media, and world-weariness in the age of irony into a hardened cynicism. Hey Big Media, your protector of liberties crown wasn't stolen, you abdicated for a prominent seat at court. As for the great unwashed masses of the blogosphere, well...

We're here. We're fact checking your asses. Get used to it.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:13 PM | Comments (0)

The Informal "Edward R. Murrow Would Be So Proud" Poll

Dan Rather will resign from CBS News because:

A. He admits that he has become nothing more than a shell of an objective journalist and a shill for the DNC, and that neither of these are compatible with professional standards for journalism.

B. The folks that run CBS see this as the opportunity to put an inflated, over-priced ego out to pasture. After all, they have never forgiven him for walking off the set in 1987.

C. The folks that work on the lower rungs at CBS News still have some pride and scruples and demand a restoration of objectivity to journalism at CBS or they will walk out en masse.

D. The folks who run ABC and NBC enter into a bidding war for Dan's services since they don't want to be seen as being second to CBS in the desire to have John Kerry elected.

E. The folks who run NPR have become concerned about the extremist right-wing slant of Daniel Schorr and ask Dan to join them to provide balance.

F. The folks who run CNN hire Dan to help make Larry King look like a tough and objective interviewer by comparison.

G. The folks who run Fox News want to hire Dan just to point and laugh at him from time to time.

H. The Bush administration finally yields to a Russian request to extradite Dan Rather to face charges of murder from his time as Gunga Dan in Afghanistan in 1980.

I. "Courage" just doesn't cut it any more.

Please leave your choices in the comment section.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:46 AM | Comments (3)

I Can't Wait to Not Pledge This Year

Mara Liasson on Morning Edition this morning did her usual story on the Bush and Kerry campaigns, mentioning the new documents questioning President Bush's service in the National Guard. Strange, but she didn't seem to be aware that they are probably forgeries. Or perhaps like CBS, NPR decided that:

This was too hot not to push.

The Fourth Estate is crumbling and in dire need of repair.

"CBS" link courtesy of Instapundit.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:50 AM | Comments (0)

September 09, 2004

I Predict

Gunga Dan is gunga gone.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:48 PM | Comments (0)

Smell the Desperation

As something of a partisan when it comes to the presidential election, I welcome all the attacks on President George W. Bush's time in the National Guard. The problem the Kerry suporters have is that even if they are absolutely correct in everything they are complaining about (which they aren't), it just doesn't matter. George W. Bush has been president and commander in chief now for almost four years. That trumps whatever rather trivial offences might, or might not, have happened over thirty years ago. Just because John Kerry wants to focus exclusively on what happened thirty years ago, it doesn't mean anybody else does, no matter how often, or how loudly, you keep bringing it up.

But please, keep wasting your time. It keeps you from doing anything substantial that might actually help John Kerry defeat President George W. Bush this November.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:38 PM | Comments (1)

The Bribed and Coerced Are People Too

That's the problem every time you try to list everyone that helped:

South Korean officials were shocked when U.S. President George W. Bush, in his acceptance speech at the Republican convention, failed to mention South Korea in expressing appreciation to U.S. allies in the war against terror.

South Korea has pledged 3,600 troops to help U.S. operations in Iraq, the largest number of foreign soldiers following the United States and Britain.

In his acceptance speech, Bush named eight countries according to the number of troops deployed in Iraq. They included Britain, Poland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Denmark, El Salvador and Australia. El Salvador and Australia had only sent 380 and 300 troops to Iraq, respectively.

I suppose that John Kerry could make some hay on this issue as a better diplomatist than President George W. Bush if he hadn't already dissed the South Koreans' motives for helping the US in Iraq to begin with.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:30 PM | Comments (3)

September 08, 2004

Sui Generis

Yesterday, I wrote:

Or with respect to his presidential campaign, felo-de-se?

Today, James Taranto writes:

Every Felo-de-Se Has His Day

Coincidence? Or has this Latin phrase for suicide become de rigueur?

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:50 PM | Comments (2)

Who You Calling Unilateral?

Russia adopts the Bush doctrine:

Russia is prepared to make pre-emptive strikes on "terrorist bases" anywhere in the world, the Interfax news agency cited the country's chief of staff as saying.

Well this ought to get interesting. With Putin playing the part of Bush, I wonder who in Russia will be playing the part of Kerry; you know, demanding that allies be consulted, etc. Gee, I wonder how many UN Resolutions Russia will seek before acting to defend herself?

"With regard to preventive strikes on terrorist bases, we will take any action to eliminate terrorist bases in any region of the world. But this does not mean we will carry out nuclear strikes," General Yuri Baluyevsky said Wednesday.

Jumpin' Jeebus, nothing subtle here since General Baluyevsky didn't exactly rule out nuclear strikes either. "Respected abroad" doesn't seem to matter as much when the bastards start targeting your children, I guess. Imagine the uproar if Bush or Cheney even mentioned the word nuclear, or nukular, for that matter.

"Military action is the last resort in the fight against terrorism."

Ah, but here's the problem. I can appreciate that the military is like a sledgehammer, highly effective, but blunt and capable of doing a lot of unintentional damage when used for the wrong job. But fighting terrorism is the right job for the military. Calling military action the first resort or the last resort, or anywhere in the ordinal list of resorts is the wrong way to characterize the problem. Terrorism must be defeated through all means available, whether they be military, diplomatic, financial, covert, overt, judicial, etc. That means identifying the culprits and killing them; not negotiating with them, understanding them, sympathizing with them, empathizing with them, coddling them, playing realpolitik with them, bribing them, or worrying about being accused of being politically incorrect.

Any form of compromise with terrorism doesn't necessarily mean they are going to win (because they won't in the long run), but it does mean they aren't going to lose, and they are going to keep playing until they lose. Unfortunately, we are going to continue to pay an ever increasing price as long as the game goes on. This is something less than a zero sum game since it is so much easier to destroy than to build, so any strategy (or strategery) that doesn't result in their total destruction just makes our eventual losses that much worse. We must not misunderestimate terrorism and imagine that there are utopian solutions out there somewhere, if only we can get enough allies to agree with us or craft exquisitely worded condemnations. Things are almost certainly going to continue to get worse until we have won unconditionally. The only question is how bad are we going to let them make it before we fully comprehend that only an unconditional victory will suffice and act accordingly.

Oh, and if there's anything that would encourage me to push harder to get the US out of the UN, this is it:

A majority of people in 30 of 35 countries want Democratic party flagbearer John Kerry in the White House, according to a survey released showing US President George W. Bush rebuffed by all of America's traditional allies.

How nice. And how completely unsurprising that people in other countries prefer to have America run by someone who has made it clear that he will defer to them. And once the statists are in complete control, who will speak up for liberty?

Americans have demanded unconditional surrender in every war I can think of except Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War I, and the liberation of Iraq, all of which, not coincidentally IMHO, have come in the age of transnational progressivism. I fear that it may take someone like Russia, where political correctness and self-esteem haven't neutered their sense of self preservation, to remind us all what unconditional surrender means and what it takes to achieve it. I say that not out of fear of Russia or to encourage them to act rashly, but out of fear that we have become too soft and seek to rationalize away what must be done because we think too much of ourselves (and too much of our enemies!) to take the admittedly harsh steps that must be taken.

As Keysor Soze said:

"They realized that to be in power, you didn't need guns or money or even numbers. You just needed the will to do what the other guy wouldn't."

We know what the terrorists are willing to do. Now, as Officer Jim Malone said, as he lay dying:

"What are you prepared to do it about it?"

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:59 PM | Comments (0)

September 07, 2004


So, according to John F. Kerry, "W stands for Wrong."

Ok, what does F stand for? Fluid? Farouche? Fiasco? Feckless? Facile? Frivilous? Fulminating? Funky? Feigned? Forlorn? Fracted? Figment? Fickle? Frazzled? Flake? Flighty? Frantic? Fetid? Faint-hearted? Faisandé? Fitful? Frothy? Flappable? Flaccid? Fodder? Faux-pas? Froideur? Farsical? Fatuous? Fuliginous? Feeble? Frustrating? Fictitious? Fudged? Flinch? Flibbertigibbet? Fakir? Fantaisiste? Flotsam? Flustered? Fogbound? Fool? Freakish? Fussbudget? Fop? Francophile? Fraud? Fretful? Frigid? Or with respect to his presidential campaign, felo-de-se?

Have I missed any, aside from the profane and gratuitously offensive?

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:26 PM | Comments (8)

Inside Blogball

Now, if we can just get a link for Andrea over at Instapundit today, it will be a comprehensive trifecta for Spleenville in its quest for world domination! Bwaaahaaahaaahaaa!

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:22 AM | Comments (1)

The Hunt for a Clue Goes On

John Kerry's attempts to show he's a gun-man only show how much he apparently doesn't know about how to safely handle guns.

moreguns2.jpg moreguns.jpg

Can you guess what the problems are? Look again at the second picture.

Where is his eye protection? And his ear protection? These are strict requirements on every range I've ever been on. It takes a special brand of cluelessness to alienate the pro-gun ownership crowd with such a foolish disregard for fundamental safety procedures and at the same time aggravating your anti-gun backers for wielding a gun to begin with.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:01 AM | Comments (47)

Showing Up to a Battle of Wits Unarmed

Where some see a sinister implication, I see nothing more than an old dog who can't learn a new trick:

In West Virginia, Cecil Roberts, president of the United Mine Workers of America, gave Kerry a rifle as a gift. Kerry, a self-described gun-owner and hunter, quipped: "I thank you for the gift, but I can't take it to the debate with me."

John Kerry has long been in the habit of bringing a pseudo-intellectual knife (or a sharpened quill --which can be used to write the most exquisite condemnations) to a rhetorical gunfight. I do wonder though if the UMWA gave Kerry the gun and suggested he take it to the debate prompting his comment. Otherwise, is Kerry merely revealing a deap-seated hostility and a barely suppressed desire to act upon it? Doesn't the Secret Service jump into action with a lot less provocation than this?

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:52 AM | Comments (0)

September 06, 2004

Meet the Depressed

Anybody watch Meet the Press yesterday? Here's what I took away from it:

Tim Russert continues to be overrated as an interviewer.

Bob Graham seemed to be giving out information better left unsaid, as well as having some rather unusual ideas about intelligence and its uses. Thank God he won't ever be president.

Pat Buchanan couldn't get the time of day from Tim Russert, unless, of course, he wants to bash President George W. Bush. See, we cover both sides of the issue here at Meet the Press, people who hate President George W. Bush from the right and people who hate President George W. Bush from the left.

Can there possibly be anything more indicative of the utter worthlessness of political flacks getting airtime than seeing Mary Matalin and James Carville each making faces while the other gave rote responses to every question?

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:28 PM | Comments (2)

Unhappy New Year

I found this interesting and timely:

For me, now, the year ends on September 11th and begins the next day. That is the date from which I count my years these days. Running up to it comes all the tension, memory and reflection of the year and years past, then comes the release of hope for living, victory and a some day end to the threat.

And I hate this. I hate that the willful murder of nearly 3,000, with every death intended, with desire for 10s of thousands more to have been killed, marks the years. The world did not change that day, but it was revealed in its rawness. That date stripped away the artifice that diplomats, politicians and bureaucrats want to believe in and want us to believe. Everything became new, then, because the vacation from history ended.

I know someday this part, at least, will fade. Some other date will take over, God willing not from another attack. But for now I remain angry. For now it defines my time. And I know I will never forget.

Others are taking a somewhat different view:

The London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat reported that the extremist Islamic movement Al-Muhajiroun had announced a convention in London, titled "The Choice is in Your Hands: Either You're with the Muslims or with the Infidels," to mark the third anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:09 PM | Comments (0)


Another hit on the Kerry as Dukakis meme..., remember Governor Dukakis' nomination acceptance speech?

Because this election isn’t about ideology. It’s about competence.

I suppose Kerry might have to claim to be competent first, but wait, there's more in his next sentence!

It’s not about overthrowing governments in Central America. It’s about creating good jobs in middle America.

Substitute regimes sponsoring terrorism or harboring terrorists and the campaign themes from 1988 are eerily reminiscent. Brutal, just brutal.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:56 PM | Comments (1)

Blaming the Victim

How does this make you feel?

France has expressed solidarity with Russia but wants all "necessary information" about Moscow's handling of the Beslan school seizure, French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said on Monday.

In comments similar to remarks by the European Union's Dutch presidency which triggered a diplomatic row with Moscow at the weekend, Raffarin said France constantly reminded Russia of the need to respect human rights.

Responding to a call from Socialist party leader Francois Hollande for French authorities to demand an "explanation" from Moscow, Raffarin said in a live debate on RTL radio: "We have already done so."

"Indeed, we want to express both our solidarity over this act of terrorism against Russia but also we want to have all the necessary information and we remind Russia every time we meet of the need to respect human rights," Raffarin said.

How would this make you feel if you were a Russian? To paraphrase Sergei from The Wire, "A but. Why is there always a but?"

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:45 PM | Comments (0)

One Out of Three is Bad

From the New York Times:

Russian Rebels Had Precise Plan


The carefully planned slaughter of hundreds of children, a massacre of innocents mown down inside their school by zealots who bayoneted one when he asked for water and who blew others up or shot them in cold blood, is a monstrosity which has had a profound effect upon those who watched in horror as the tragedy unfolded.

The hellish images — of murder, of screaming terror, of naked and starving children forced to eat the flowers they had brought to school or drink their own urine — will surely serve to define our terrorised age. It is impossible to comprehend how human beings can behave like this to anyone, let alone to children.


Russian officials said authorities have determined that 10 of the 32 suicide attackers who took over a high school in Beslan in North Ossetia last week were nationals from several Arab countries. Most of the attackers were Chechens and Ingush who had been trained at Al Qaida camps in Afghanistan.

The 10 Arab nationals came from Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Syria, officials said. They said security forces seized notebooks in Arabic in the school taken over by insurgents. Officials said survivors told authorities that some of the captors spoke Arabic during the three-day hostage ordeal.

Well, they did have a plan. The New York Times if no Meatloaf.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:34 PM | Comments (0)

Why Charlie Gibson Gets the Big Bucks

In a special post-operative report on Bill Clinton's heart surgery:

A quadruple bypass, so that is more complicated than... a triple?

I have to admit, that particular question would never have occured to me.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:21 PM | Comments (0)

Washington Post Suggests Sticking to What Was Actually Said, At Least In Some Cases

Here's what the Washington Post's ombudsman has to say about the Post's page one headline the other day:

"Cheney Calls Kerry Unfit," read the big, front-page headline over a story in Thursday's Post about attacks on the Democratic challenger at the Republican convention in speeches by Vice President Cheney and Democratic Sen. Zell Miller of Georgia.

"Unfit" is a powerful, personally damning word; it has become even more explosive in the past several weeks because it is in the title of a best-selling book, "Unfit For Command" by John E. O'Neill and Jerome R. Corsi. The book is the cornerstone of a nationwide effort by a group called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth to challenge Sen. John F. Kerry's war record.

The problem is that Cheney never used the word "unfit." Yet the headline can be seen as reinforcing the Swift boat challengers' attack. The headline writer no doubt drew inspiration from the first paragraph of the story by reporter John F. Harris, who wrote that Cheney "reached back decades" into Kerry's life, "arguing in taunting language that the Democratic presidential nominee has demonstrated through his public statements and votes that he is unfit to be commander in chief in an age of terrorism."

You could draw that conclusion from listening to what Cheney did say. But that, in my view and those of some readers, was a poor choice of words and headline. The headline went beyond what Cheney said and then spread the characterization across the front page.

But lest you think that a new leaf has been turned over at the Washington Post:

In a campaign as volatile as this, it seems to me to be best to stick with what was said and leave the interpretation for readers.

Something to keep in mind for everything other than volatile campaigns, I guess.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:18 PM | Comments (0)

What the ...?


Haven't we seen something like this before?

Don't these people have a clue?


Posted by Charles Austin at 04:07 PM | Comments (1)

September 05, 2004

I Quit Quitting

Or, "My name is Charles, and I'm a blogaholic."

Ok, I'm back.

I do so with some trepidation since, as Kevin Murphy noted, I've quit twice already, and my obsessive compulsive tendencies will almost certainly return with posting. Thanks to all who left kind, encouraging comments below and in e-mail. It means a lot to me and is the primary reason for returning so soon.

While I was away...

The Republicans held their quadrennial party in New York with a number of rousing speeches, successfully painting a stark contrast between their guy and the other guy. My jaw, as with so many others, dropped during Zell's speech. You rarely see such passion backed with reason these days. Oh, passion is everywhere in politics these days, but it does tend to be rather hollow upon close examination. Wouldn't you like to be a fly on the wall when Senator Miller and Senator Kerry happen to encounter each other in the Capitol? Of course, Senator Kerry would have to actually show up to work for that to happen.

Steven Den Beste retired, and if anybody in the blogosphere has earned a break he certainly has. Andrew Sullivan returned from vacation. Alas, Andrew's focus like a laser beam on one issue continues to give him myopia on so many other big picture issues. It's sad, really, but not nearly as sad as the total breakdown of civility on the part of the Angry Left. Whether it Susan Estrich advocating dirty tricks or Matthew Yglesias' foul-mouthed ad hominem attacks on Glenn Reynolds, or Matt Welch and Ken Layne losing control over at Reason's convention blog, the immense investment they have in defeating Bush coupled with their own self-righteousness has left them psychologically poorly prepared to deal with this hard, rude encounter with reality. Alas, it is probably only going to get worse for a while.

And what is this endless fascination politicians have with "fighting" to get something accomplished. In these days of zero tolerance for violence in our schools, wouldn't they set a better example by working for a solution, engineering a new approach, or even negotiating a compromise for a win-win outcome? Is this a byproduct of a view that politics is necessarily a zero-sum game which can only be won by making someone else lose? Come on guys, clean up your act and your language. Do it for The Children™.

President Bill Clinton apparently had a heart attack. Get well soon, sir. Why do so many on the right generally qualify this by saying something like, "we may not agree on much, but..." Politics is ugly enough these days without introducing it into a good-hearted wish for health and recovery. "Best wishes" shouldn't be burdened with a qualifier of any type. But I will note that Senator Hillary Clinton took the opportunity to lobby for universal health care, thereby turning the intensely personal into the political.

Some bastards that need (needed?) killing took over a school and murdered over 300 people, most of them children, in Russia. Will Arundhati Roy now loudly start asking, "Russian shoolchildren, why are you so hated?" The responses to this heinous act around the world have been quite telling, and not always in a good way. I expect things to get very bloody and brutal there soon as President Putin makes a point. And then another point. And another. And still another.

Speaking of bastards that need killing:

An extremist Islamic cleric based in Britain said yesterday that he would support hostage-taking at British schools if carried out by terrorists with a just cause. Omar Bakri Mohammed, the spiritual leader of the extremist sect al-Muhajiroun, said that holding women and children hostage would be a reasonable course of action for a Muslim who has suffered under British rule.

No further comment necessary on that one, is there?

President Bush has jumped out to a significant lead in the polls. It won't last though, will it?

There, that wasn't so hard. I almost feel normal. At least I can stop e-mailing my fellow bloggers with ideas I had while I wasn't blogging. Now, back to work.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:35 PM | Comments (6)