December 12, 2009

Damn It, I Don't Want to Talk About Politics

Here's a Facebook comment thread response I am posting for personal reasons that started with Iowahawk's fabulous Fables of the Reconstruction. You can look the thread up if you are so inclined at my Facebook site. And so, without further ado:

No [name redacted], I understand the role carbon dioxide has in the greenhouse effect, though extending this concept from a small lab closed environment to the closed environment of the entire earth is far from a simple exercise. I'm not terribly familiar with the literature, but I have a reasonable college level physics understanding of why CO2 and methane are especially powerful greenhouse gases. I also have some awareness of the feedback mechanisms the earth has, e.g., increasing its albedo with additional cloud cover from the increased wator vapor in the air. As usual this stuff is real complex and the feedback loops are still not fully understood, which is another problem I have with the models since the true believers have a demonstrated capacity to ignore or discount data which doesn't fit the narrative, but I digress. I did however notice that, as usual, you are defaulting to the debating tactics of trying to change the subject and attacking me by questioning my elementary understanding of the science rather than actually refuting the information provided. Gee, do you have a problem with basic statistics? You see, we can all play the game that way if you choose, but it really doesn't get us very far. I'm really trying to avoid the heat without light nature of these conversations. Perhaps you'd like to join me?

Anyway, if your model is going to claim that CO2 is the primary cause of GW, then you have to explain why previous CO2 increases in the atmosphere didn't generate temperature increases, as well what else caused GW in the past when CO2 concentrations were not as high. Mind you, I'm not saying GW isn't happening, nor am I saying that AGW caused primarily by CO2 isn't happening, nor that we shouldn't be trying to lower CO2 emissions for lots of reasons. In fact, as I have noted before, as soon as those who are most adamantly calling this a crisis start acting like it is a crisis by facilitating the immediate construction of another 200 nuclear reactors to allow for the retirement of coal fired power plants and the planned conversion to electric cars, I'll begin to take them a little more seriously rather than regarding the so-called crisis as the means to the end around to implement a significant element of the transnational progressive agenda, but I digress.

What I am saying is that the predictive power of the bien pensant models is highly questionable and still extremely debatable, and I was saying this long before the CRU leaks. FWIW, I believe that variations in the radiation from the sun that hits the earth -- whether it is due to the level of radiation emiited by the sun, varations in the earth's orbit, flucuations in the earth's magentic fields, and other factors and feedback loops we still don't fully understand -- is vastly more important to whatever GW is going on than the AGW caused by CO2 emissions. Can I back all this up with science that will satisfy you? Of course not, but that's why I used the word believe. For fun, note how often that word shows up in the writings of those who most advocate AGW and the one-world government solutions, and yet, for them the debate is over! But again, I digress.

Given the history of those who claim the sky is falling -- Malthus, Erlich, Holdren, et al -- you'll have to pardon me for asking for more than their Henny Penny like conjectures before turning my future over to their utopian schemes. I'm old enough to remember the first Earth Day when the sky was falling meme was that we were on the edge of a new Ice Age. And now many, if not most, of the very same people are now saying the sky is falling for a meme that is 180 degrees out of phase with what they were saying 30 years ago. Has the science really matured that much in 30 years that we can be so confident in our predictions now? How about we wait another 30 years and see what the sky is falling meme is then before acting?

Of course, YMMV.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:41 PM | Comments (1)

July 04, 2009

Austin Airs Doubts On Powell Agenda

Powell Airs Doubts on Obama Agenda

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:10 PM | Comments (0)

Sarah Palin

By now you know she is resigning as Governor of Alaska on July 26. The speculation I've read all over the place is bizarre and much of the commentary from her detractors has been truly despicable. I don't know what she is planning to do but I will note that she is less of a longshot for the presidency in 2012 that Barack Obama was four years ago today for 2008.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:02 PM | Comments (4)

June 27, 2009

Entrenched Agent of the Status Quo

The heat is on (at least until Waxman-Markey takes effect):

Hours after the House passed landmark legislation meant to curb greenhouse gas emissions and create an energy-efficient economy, President Barack Obama on Saturday urged senators to show courage and follow suit. The sharply debated bill's fate is unclear in the Senate, and Obama used his weekly radio and Internet address to ratchet up pressure on the 100-seat chamber. "My call to every senator, as well as to every American, is this," he said. "We cannot be afraid of the future. And we must not be prisoners of the past. Don't believe the misinformation out there that suggests there is somehow a contradiction between investing in clean energy and economic growth."

Rarely has so much dishonesty been packed into so few words. The man truly has a gift. Anyone opposed to his power grab and tax increases is afraid of the future and spreading disinformation by virtue of not accepting the ever growing empty promises of this increasingly empty suit. I will admit that I am afraid of his proposed future.

Obama said the bill would create jobs, make renewable energy profitable and decrease America's dependence on foreign oil.

This from a man who has never created a job or turned a profit. Of course one way to reduce our dependence on foreign oil is to force everyone to stop using oil altogether, regardless of the consequences. It's not the unintended consequences of this legislation I'm worried about as much as the intended consequences.

"It will spur the development of low-carbon sources of energy — everything from wind, solar and geothermal power to safer nuclear energy and cleaner coal," he said.

Really. We already have safer nuclear energy and could implement it without this legislation. Just curious, but any idea when any more of it might be coming on line? Or is this just a McGuffin to hide the true intent.

House Democratic leaders said the bill helped accomplish one of Obama's campaign promises and would make the U.S. a leader in international efforts to address climate change when negotiations take place in Copenhagen later this year.

A yes, another progressive solution in search of a problem. I've used Matt Stone's and Trey Parker's line about hating Republicans but really f%^ing hating Democrats many times. But when it comes to Progressives I'm resorting to Jules Winnfield, "Well, I'm a mushroom-cloud-layin' mo&^%$*&^%er, mo&^%$*&^%er!

As for this international leader nonsense, well, do you really think anyone is going to follow the United States lead once they see how this cripples our economy and drives down our standard of living -- for no appreciable "climate change" benefit since China and India aren't playing? Funny how the Left in this country insists on everyone playing by our labor and workplace rules in the interest of fariness so long as it disadvantages American consumers, but no so much when it comes to environmental rules that disadvantage foreign manufacturers. So much for not exporting jobs, eh? And speaking of climate change, or what we euphemistically used to call "the weather," I think they know the PR game is just about up after they abandoned the term Anthropomorphic Global Warming (AGW) as the evidence continues to mount that whatever warming there may be isn't being caused by mankind or increases in carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, but I digress.

"We passed transformational legislation, which will take us into the future," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., after the 219-212 vote. "For some it was a very difficult vote because the entrenched agents of the status quo were out there full force, jamming the lines in their districts and here, and they withstood that," Pelosi said.

Entrenched agent of the status quo, i.e., a conservative. I think I'll wear that sobriquet proudly in opposition to just about everything Madame Speaker stands for and advocates.

Success will be tougher in the Senate. Majority Leader Harry Reid says he wants to take up the legislation by the fall.

Well, at least the Senators will have a chance to read the legislation before voting on it. If Majority Leader Reid is going to wait until the fall to bring this up I wonder if he really wants to see this fail. Clearly the House rushed this through to avoid the hue and cry that is going to be inevitable once the public finds out what is in this monstrosity. Hmm..., what kind of game is Dingy Harry playing?

In the Republicans' weekly radio and Internet address, House GOP leader John Boehner of Ohio said, "By imposing a tax on every American who drives a car or flips on a light switch, this plan will drive up the prices for food, gasoline and electricity." But Obama said the measure would cost the average American about the price of a postage stamp per day.

Remember this lie in years to come. Engrave it in stone to as a warning to future generations of this postmodern Ozymandias.

In California alone, Obama said, 3,000 people will be employed to build a new solar plant that will create 1,000 permanent jobs.

And let the rent seeking begin.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:38 AM | Comments (3)

The Will to Power

Do you think anyone in Iran's government in Tehran right now is saying, “You don’t ever want a crisis to go to waste; it’s an opportunity to do important things that you would otherwise avoid.” Or is it possible the mullahs wouldn't sink as low morally and politically as Rahm Emanuel?

DOWNDATE: Quick! Somebody tell Rahm: Honduras Lurches Toward Crisis Over Election

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:31 AM | Comments (0)

June 26, 2009

SAT Question

Multiple choice entries in the comments below.

Smoot-Hawley is to Waxman-Markey as ...

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:15 PM | Comments (40)

Worst. Congress. Ever.

House passes climate-change prosperity destroying power grab bill

There, fixed that for you.

Every member of Congress that voted for this bill without reading it needs to lose their job -- on principle alone. I have no firm opinion on whether the tarring and feathering should happen before or after their sorry asses are thrown out of Congress.

The vote was extremely close – 219-212, with eight Republicans voting yes and 44 Democrats voting no.

Republicans, my ass. Hope you are enjoying your last term in office.

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:52 PM | Comments (0)

June 23, 2009

Now I Understand What They Mean by Green Cars

I recently saw this, which looked interesting:

Tesla delivers 500th Roadster to New Jersey man

Kind of cool for a fast little battery powered car. Then today I saw this:

The Energy Department is lending money to the Ford Motor Co. and two other automakers from a $25 billion fund to develop fuel-efficient vehicles, congressional officials say. [...snip...] Nissan has applied for an undisclosed amount of assistance, while Tesla has sought $450 million.

Really? $450M? And they have delivered 500 vehicles to date. At roughly $100,000 per unit, that's a grand total of $50M in revenue. Not income, but revenue. Makes me wonder if they are in the business of making green cars or seeking green from the federal government as their core business. Wouldn't you like to see the business plan that shows how this money is ever going to be paid back? I can imagine the looks I'd get down at the bank if I asked for $9 in loans for every $1 in revenue I'd taken in over the last three years.

Seriously, if it were that good of an idea and Tesla had a business plan that showed a reasonable expectation of a profit, don't you think they could find $450M in private capital, for a product that gets such positive press? But hey, why bother when being green can generate so much green? Even if it is all deficit spending that will probably never be paid back.

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

June 18, 2009

Freedom is Slavery

White House: Firing AmeriCorps IG an act of "political courage"

Kind of begs the question what they think an act of political cowardice might look like. Alberto Gonzalez could not be reached for comment.

Is there anything these little Masters of the Universe think they can't get away with?

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:41 PM | Comments (0)

Not That They Weren't Petty Enough Already

PETA becomes PETI:

Norfolk-based group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals wants the flyswatter-in-chief to try taking a more humane attitude the next time he's bedeviled by a fly in the White House.

PETA is sending President Barack Obama a Katcha Bug Humane Bug Catcher, a device that allows users to trap a house fly and then release it outside.

"We support compassion even for the most curious, smallest and least sympathetic animals," PETA spokesman Bruce Friedrich said Wednesday. "We believe that people, where they can be compassionate, should be, for all animals."

Insects are people animals too!

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:39 PM | Comments (1)

June 16, 2009

Makes You Wonder Why He Wanted the Job, Doesn't It?

Sometime, I'd really like someone to ask President Obama if there is any part of the private, free market America he can bring himself to say something good about:

"If we do not fix our healthcare system, America may go the way of GM; paying more, getting less, and going broke," Obama said, likening the healthcare system to struggling carmaker General Motors, which has filed for bankruptcy protection.

Fortunately, our healthcare system isn't a monolithic system that will all go broke at once.

Yet.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:26 PM | Comments (1)

This Is Not the Change You're Looking For

Obama Says U.S. Jobless Rate to Reach 10% This Year

What now? Double down on the debt bet and spend another $1,600,000,000,000 we don't have!

Senate health overhaul costs top $1.6T

And that's only to solve an estimatedone-third of the uninsured problem!

I can't wait for the next release of the Heritage Foundation chart with the Obama debt projections.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:20 PM | Comments (0)

The Most Transparent Administration Transparency Ever

Obama blocks list of visitors to White House

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:14 PM | Comments (0)

The Alinsky Broadcasting Company

ABC TURNS PROGRAMMING OVER TO OBAMA; NEWS TO BE ANCHORED FROM INSIDE WHITE HOUSE

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

What Does It Say That This Must Be Said?

CIA: Panetta doesn't believe Cheney rooting for terrorist attack

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:05 PM | Comments (1)

June 03, 2009

Captain Obvious Strikes Again

Aside from all the good specific arguments about why Government Motors is a bad idea, and there are many, fundamentally the problem is that it puts the government explicitly in the position of picking winners -- and the government's criteria for picking winners is usually much worse than the marketplace's and much, much more prone to corruption.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:56 PM | Comments (3)

May 11, 2009

I Blame Bush

Why not, everybody else does. Clearly his administration did not run deficits high enough to scare the crap out of everyone about deficit spending.

White House: Budget deficit to top $1.8 trillion

Setting aside the 40% annualized inflation rate of last month's White House deficit estimate, what this means is that for every one of the 31,536,000 seconds of the coming year the federal government will spend $57,077 it does not have.

So, I'll have to ask again, is it going to be debt repudiation or inflation?

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:29 PM | Comments (1)

May 07, 2009

Playing Roulette With the House's Money

Drudge says: OBAMA BETS IT ALL ON RED

Rather than ask about the other dominant color on the roulette wheel, I am more inclined to wonder whether all that green means this is Year 0 or Year 00.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:19 PM | Comments (0)

A Question for the Guys

Would your company's dress code frown upon you wearing a dress?

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:51 PM | Comments (2)

The Visible Hand

Henceforth, when federal tax dollars, or perhaps more correctly debtor obligations, are used to purchase vehicles for any federal agency or state or municipal agency using federal dollars, will there be a bias towards purchasing Chrysler and GM vehicles over Fords?

Will this be the end of the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor? Then again, it may have already been on the way out.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:53 PM | Comments (0)

Strike A Pose

Should Al Gore be statuated planting tobacco, counting his global warming millions, trying to selectively count votes, or something else? At least they should make it out of wood to be environmentally friendly, for the children, don't you think?

A resolution urging the creation of statues to be built on the Tennessee Capitol grounds of the state's two Nobel Peace Prize winners, Al Gore and Cordell Hull, is on its way to a full Senate vote.

Why don't we just go full Roman and start declaring our political masters gods and be done with it?

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:56 PM | Comments (0)

Chocolate Rations Increased to 20 Grams!

In a depressingly recurring scenario, the Obama administration announces a very negative fact as a great positive! And the great unwashed eat it up:

A White House official hit back at claims the administration was making only modest savings by shaving 17 billion dollars off a whopping 3.4 trillion dollar US budget due to be unveiled Thursday. "I'm going to come back and say, under any set of assumptions, finding the 17 billion dollars a year, I don't think, is a side show," White House budget chief Peter Orszag said on MSNBC.

I agree with Mr. Orszag, this isn't a sideshow. To qualify as a sideshow the savings should be at least 3-4%, not a paltry 0.5%. Unsurprisingly, half the 121 programs cut come from the defense department. Who could have guessed that? Here's an idea though for the future, strike anything that has Murtha, Byrd, or any other Congressperson's name in it. Why, I'll bet we can get to sideshow status in a New York minute!

But get this, straight from President Obama's lips:

Answering criticism that his cuts were but a drop in a multi-trillion-dollar spending bucket, Obama said: "Some of the cuts we're putting forward today are more painful than others. Some are larger than others. In fact a few of the programs we eliminate will produce less than a million dollars in savings. Outside of Washington, that's still a lot of money."

Gives you a lot of insight as to what he really thinks of all you rubes out there doesn't it?

DOWNDATE: E-mailed this to Instapundit in response to his using the same "news" reports about President Obama's budget knife: When all you've got experience with is a ladle, every problem looks like an empty soup bowl.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:43 PM | Comments (1)

May 05, 2009

Penny for Your Thoughts Stock

Well, that's one way to avoid delisting on the NYSE: GM plans 1-for-100 reverse stock split.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:13 PM | Comments (0)

Presidential Succession Question

Do you think Hillary Clinton accepted the position of Secretary of State because she realized that fifth in line to the presidency was as close as she was ever going to get?

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:02 PM | Comments (1)

May 03, 2009

Charles Erwin Wilson President Obama Says, "What's Good for General Motors Is Good for the Country"

Well, that's a bit of a scary thought isn't it? But when the current UAW contract expires do you think they'll pick GM, Chrysler or Ford as the lead or target company for bargaining? Strangely enough, I don't think the answer is as obvious as it seems at first blush, depending on just how devious you think President Obama and the UAW are.

DOWNDATE: According to Wikipedia, what Charles Erwin Wilson actually said during his confirmation hearings was:

"... because for years I thought what was good for the country was good for General Motors and vice versa".

A distinction without a difference or a subtly nuanced change that captures perfectly what has happened?

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:42 PM | Comments (1)

April 05, 2009

What Passes for Realism These Days

Offered without further comment:

Sounding a note of realism, Obama said he did not expect overnight success in efforts to rid the world of nuclear arms.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:17 AM | Comments (6)

March 23, 2009

To Paraphrase Senator Dirksen

"A trillion here, a trillion there, and pretty soon you're talking about unreal money."

DOWNDATE: Robin Roberts helpfully provided a link to this article from the Heritage Foundation which includes this image to help illustrate the surreality of President Obama's spending program:

wapoobamabudget1.jpg

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:23 PM | Comments (4)

January 07, 2009

Who's Your Buddy? Who's Your Pal?

I don't have the time to flesh this one out, but see if this makes sense. It is commonly assumed that the United States is Israel's only real friend and without the explicit support and assistance of the United States Israel would vanish. I think this may be true but misses an equally important point. The United States explicit support of Israel is the only thing keeping many Palestinians alive. If the United States starting acting towards Israel like, say, France, then Israel might feel its very existence and those of its citizens were quite legitimately at risk. I think their perspective might best be summarized as the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, Hezbollah, and a few other sordid groups would suddenly become, to use a cliche, a clear and present danger justifying some rather extreme acts.

I've heard people wonder out loud before what would have happened if every Jew in Warsaw had met the Nazis with a gun instead of allowing themselves to be herded into the ghettos and starved until they were beaten and bombed into submission. Somehow, I think those events are still far too close to forget and, to borrow another cliche, they are too deeply seared, seared into their memory to allow the Jews of Israel to sit back and wait for their mass slaughter.

Without the gaurantee of the United States to step in and help them deal with the forces arrayed against them, should that become necessary, do you really think the Israelis will passively wait to be ground down in a "proportional" war of attrition? I don't. I think they will act preemptively, as they did before in 1967, to eliminate the insane medieval mindset fanatics who sit on their doorstep threatening them and their children, figuratively and literally, every day. As their very survival becomes more threatened, the niceties of taking risks to spare the lives of those not in their tribe would go by the wayside. They would build a scorched earth moat if necessary to secure their survival. That's why I think the United States support of Israel is doing more to help the Palestinians than the Israelis.

Of course, I'm not saying that all Palestinians are insane or want to see all the Jews killed. But you are delusional if you think there isn't a substantial group of people, e.g. Hamas and Hezbollah, who quite explicitly call for this and would do it if they only could. Anyway, I'm sure I could find problems with this thesis but I wanted to get it down in the ether while I had a minute.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:44 PM | Comments (6)

November 13, 2008

Deflation, My Ass

For those unfamiliar with hyperinflation and the Wiemar Republic, the unending stream of entities lining up to get multi-billion dollar handouts, or the $5 trillion in bad debts our government has signed up to so far in just the past month, here's something to perhaps become familiar with:

1 Rentenmark = 1,000,000,000,000 Papiermark

Learn it. Live it.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:45 PM | Comments (2)

The Declaration of Dependence

As evidenced by the lack of a Civilian Security Force, Thomas Jefferson clearly wasn't attuned to the needs of today's society, lacking the requisite modicum of hope and desire for the right kind of change, so a revision to some of our founding documents has become necessary, to animate them in the same manner as our living constitution. And so it begins:

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people The One to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them him, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind the international community requires that they he should declare the causes which impel them him to the separation deliver hope and change.

We He holds these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created to be made equal, that they are endowed by their Creator President with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life tax rebates for those who the government favors, Liberty freedom to do what is permitted and the pursuit of Happiness goals the state deems appropriate.

More as time (and the government) permits... but I'll have to work on getting Michele Obama's words in there somewhere:

Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:08 PM | Comments (3)

November 11, 2008

I've Got a Dr. Fever and the Only Cure Is, No Wait, That's Not Right

When I saw this story today:

A behind-the-scenes battle to take the reins of the Republican National Committee is taking off between former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele.

I couldn't help but flash back to this paraphrased excerpt from WKRP in Cincinatti with Michael Steele and Newt Gingrich standing in for Loni Anderson's boy toy and Les Nessman, respectively:

Michael Steele: I believe a man's name should reflect his personality. My name's Steele. (Reaches out to shake hands) What's your name?
Newt Gingrich: Newt. Newt Gingrich.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:29 PM | Comments (0)

He Who Laughs Last...

I went here which took me here which took me here which ended with this:

Indeed. And the comments illustrate the lefty blogs' problems. Somewhere, Karl Rove is chortling over the left's ongoing self-destruction via self-parody.

I guess we can put Karl's laughter right up there with Nero's fiddling.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:20 AM | Comments (1)

November 06, 2008

The Good Fight

(A family e-mail thread started a day or two ago begining with Fouad Ajami's op-ed in the Wall Street Journal and working its way though some Obama well wishers by those who voted or him and against him. What follows is my contrbution to the thread.)

As Americans have collectively decided to trade their birthright of liberty for some ephemeral notion of equality of outcome, I too wish Obama wisdom, luck and safety. Success, not so much. I remain a member of the loyal opposition. I will oppose and work against policies that take away our liberties and sacrifice equality of opportunity for ever changing progressive ideas championing an equality of outcome. I will oppose and work against policies that sacrifice American sovereignty and integrity at the altar of transnational progressivism. I will oppose and work against a judiciary who substitute their empathy and international mores for the rule of law and the United States Constitution. I will oppose and work against the cult of personality that President-Elect Obama and those around him have built and actively encourage. The man is not more important than the office.

What I will not do is claim that President-Elect Obama is Stalin, that he wants to destroy America, or that his political decisions I disagree with are criminal. I will respect the office of the presidency and the man holding that office despite the fact that so many of my friends on the Left seemed unable to do so the last eight years. We must be able to agree to disagree about political ends and means while remaining civil and upholding the framework and ideals which made this republic great. We are all Americans and want America and Americans to be successful. We just have different ideas about how to define that success and how to achieve it. When we can no longer argue and work out our differences through elections and the legislatures, then America will be nothing more than a hollowed out shell not worthy of the sacrifice of so many in the past who knew that freedom isn’t free, that tyranny must always be resisted, and that it was respect for individuals and individualism that made our success possible.

Democrats like to tell people that Republicans are the party of the rich. The fact that more rich people are Democrats than Republicans is irrelevant to this demagoguery, but I digress. But if that were true then it only stands to reason that Republicans can only build their base by creating more rich people. Conversely, if Democrats are the party of the poor, then they can only build their base by creating more poor people. Yeah, I know it’s a cheap shot, but it has the added virtue of being true.

FWIW, I am not a Republican or a Democrat. I side with the protectors and advocates of freedom, whoever they may be. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “people willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both.” Or as Samuel Adams once said, “If you love wealth more than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, depart from us in peace. We ask not your counsel nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains rest lightly upon you and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.”

If my words trouble you, then I suggest you read some history. Start with Herodotus and work forward until you come to realize that there is little new under the sun when it come to mankind and human nature. Year Zero always holds a certain appeal for those who believe they can remake man and improve upon him, for his own good of course. As Yeats wrote in his poem, The Second Coming, “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” The coffee house commissars and petty wannabe tyrants have been and will always be there waiting for an opportunity to seize what is not theirs. There is no end state, but only an eternal battle of vigilance to defend the liberties we have been given.

Or take me off your e-mail lists, your choice.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:45 PM | Comments (2)

November 04, 2008

I Shall Return

Went to vote this morning. I haven't seen lines like that since I was at Disneyworld. I'll have to return later this afternoon when I've got a couple of hours I can spare.

DOWNDATE: By 2:00 PM, there was no line at all. Made voting a lot easier, but what does it mean?

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:59 AM | Comments (5)

November 03, 2008

Doomed

Even if Senator McCain wins tomorrow, I'm afraid my idealism is gone. Too few Americans seem to remember what is special about America, that limited government and individualism are what made this country great. Instead, far too many people want someone to take care of them instead of taking care of themselves. That we are collectively (pun intended) electing the most left-wing candidate in history to the presidency shows just how deep and thorough the rot has become. From Ronald Reagan to Barrack Obama in twenty years.

Rousseau is victorious as the Oprahfication of the masses is complete. Sadly, the Enlightenment is over and a new dark age is beginning. Too many people are now motivated by envy and jealousy, seemingly prefering that no one have a big house unless everyone can have one. Politicians always have to be kept on a short leash, but now we have much of the public and most of the press wanting to let them range free, for our own good of course.

I'm not sure what to do about it, but I do know that traditional methods of trying to stem the dismal tide of illiberal statism are no longer effective. It's what the people want and I sure as hell can't stop them from getting it. I can only hope that when they realize their error they can still do something about it. Perhaps it is best to gird my loins and lie low for a while.

If you've got any ideas, let me know.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:04 PM | Comments (2)

November 02, 2008

This Seems Fitting

An excerpt from Nob and Nobility:

Blackadder: "Now listen Frou Frou, would you like to earn some money?"

Comte de Frou Frou: "No - I wouldn't. I would like other people to earn it, and then give it to me."

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

A Really Futile and Stupid Gesture

Was it over when Bill Ayers bombed the Pentagon?

What the f*ck happened to the classic liberals I used to know? Where's the spirit? Where's the guts, huh? This could be the greatest night of our lives, but you're gonna let it be the worst. "Ooh, we're afraid to go against Obama, we might get in trouble." Well just kiss my ass from now on! Not me! I'm not gonna take this.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:19 PM | Comments (0)

November 01, 2008

On It Or Under It

Your choice, media:

"Come on guys, get back on the bus," he pleaded with journalists, many of whom had accompanied him from the airport to Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:09 PM | Comments (0)

Bias? What Bias?

Obama aunt leak raises questions

Of course, being the Politico, the questions it raises are about timing of a "leak" rather than how Senator Obama can know so little about his relatives living in the US illegally. But maybe there is something to this timing question. I mean, if the Politico had ever done much real investigative journalism concerning Senator Obama they would have learned this a long time ago.

Honestly, the Politico has become something of a disgrace.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:42 PM | Comments (1)

What If We're Kind of Happy With the World?

Obama: 'I Will Change The World'

Sometimes I wonder whether people who want to change the world do more harm than good.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:39 PM | Comments (1)

October 31, 2008

Too Bad the Wild Boars Report Was False

I hope it hurt:

The body of Saddam Hussein was stabbed six times after he was executed, according to the head guard at the former president’s tomb north of Baghdad, who was one of the people that helped bury the corpse.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:15 PM | Comments (0)

Be Careful What You Wish For

Erica Jong Tells Italians Obama Loss 'Will Spark the Second American Civil War. Blood Will Run in the Streets'

Think maybe she forgot who bitterly clung to their guns?

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

October 22, 2008

Do You Know What a Five Percenter Is?

Every time I hear that Senator Obama is going to give 95% of America a tax cut, I wonder if I have become a Five Percenter.

Hey, I'm as shocked as they are.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:22 PM | Comments (3)

But If C-SPAN Only Shows Congress, Won't That Be a Problem For Them?

Senator Jeff Bingaman (D- NM) likes the "Fairness Doctrine":

"I would want this station and all stations to have to present a balanced perspective and different points of view."

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:21 PM | Comments (0)

Ten Foot Polls

AP presidential poll: All even in the homestretch

Obama takes 10-point lead on McCain

"Two men say they're Jesus, one of 'em must be wrong." -- Mark Knopfler

DOWNDATE: Michael Barone asks: Are the Polls Accurate? In a word, no.

DOUBLE DOWNDATE: I swear I did not copy this post. Great minds, and all that.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:05 PM | Comments (0)

Pique Oil

Oil falls below $70 on US recession fears

Cui bono?

DOWNDATE: Oil falls below $68 on US recession fears Paul Krugman will now be able to claim that President Obama cured inflation as these prices ripple through the economy next year.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:44 AM | Comments (1)

October 15, 2008

John McCain Wins Debate!

Barrack Obama wins election anyway!

As Al Czervik said years ago, "Hey everybody, we're all gonna get laid screwed!"

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

October 09, 2008

The Most Important Election In Our Lifetime

Joe Biden is wrong (I know, I know, that is a tautology) because this ain't it.

The most important election in my lifetime is a tossup between 1980 and 2004, with 2000 following close behind. The election in 1980 removed Jimmy Carter from office and installed Ronald Reagan. Real tough to argue with that as the most important result in my lifetime except to note that had John Kerry been elected in 2004, there would have been ignominious surrender in Iraq, no surge, and goodness knows what after that. The election in 2000 only become a candidate for most important on 9/11. Before that it was just another ho hum election with little truly at stake beyond the nomination of Supreme Court justices. I actually doubt whether Al Gore would have wanted to spend as much as George Bush, though I have no doubt that Al would have immediately demanded a resolution be put before the UN Security Council on 9/12 to fight the terribly-misundertood-doers.

But here, in less than a month we get to choose between two men who could get into an argument about which one loathes Republicans more. In less than a month we get to choose betwene a man who wants a massive expansion of the government and a man who thinks a massive expansion of the government might not go far enough. In less than a month we get to choose between four more years of George Bush and four more years of Jimmy Carter. In less than a month we get to choose between a man who won't enforce the borders and a man who just doesn't recognize borders at all.

There are a few differences between the two candidates. One of them wants to fight and one can't wait to surrender in Iraq. Nominees to the Supreme Court might be substantially preferable under one of them, but honestly who knows after David Souter, though it is difficult to imagine a Democratic nominee unexpectedly turning out to be a strict constructionist after he/she is sworn in. And finally, one of them thinks Joe Biden is right when Joe imagines he's looking at presidential timber in the mirror each morning.

This post is just too depressing to continue.

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:39 PM | Comments (7)

October 07, 2008

Two Minutes

That's all the debate I could tolerate. When did Americans become such wusses that they need either one of these bastards to take care of all their problems. I said this to my wife and she said, "Some people can't take care of themselves." I replied, "if you listen to these two guys no one can take care of themselves."

I heard a question from the peanut gallery asking what the government will do to get people from taking bad credit? Jumpin' bejeebus, we are all so screwed.

Senator Obama says earmarks are only $18 billion between 535 Congressional ne'er-do-wells and aren't the problem, whereas somehow eliminating $350 million in tax breaks to Fortune 500 CEOs is how we solve something, everything, look there's George Bush! And what's more, what a bunch of media idiots who can't do the math and challenge him on it. Of course, neither can McCain.

I could go on, but what's the point. And that was just two minutes of nonsense. Welcome to Hell. Here's your handbasket for the chocolate rations.

DOWNDATE: My observation made Instapundit and The Corner, though attribution only came at the former.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:40 PM | Comments (4)

September 26, 2008

The Bailout

The economic holiday from history is just about over as some of the bills are coming due. Peter's pockets are empty so he can't be robbed to pay Paulson any more. The bills do have to be paid, so here's to making sure the problem is being correctly identified so that the solution selected does actually address the underlying causes and not just the symptoms. Otherwise, this solution will only make matters worse while guaranteeing that another round of trillion dollar bailouts is just over the horizon. If there's any silver lining at all here it might be forcing our government's hand on addressing the fiscal irresponsibility of Social Security and Medicare as well. Hey, I can dream can't I?

Whatever form the bailout bill eventually takes, I'll agree to it on one condition: that it include an amendment that every current member of Congress be prohibited from ever holding elected office again. I'm not asking for term limits, only that this current bunch of utterly detestable miscreants be thrown out of office in disgrace at the first opportunity. Normally, I'm opposed to term limits and the like since there are some good people it would be shame to lose but right now the balance is so out of whack on the side of bums and crooks that the only solution seems to be to throw out the babies with the bathwater. If the bailout bill includes another amendment requiring the tarring and feathering of Representative Frank and Senators Schumer and Dodd for their roles in creating this fiasco and standing firmly athwart reform yelling "Stop!" I promise not even to complain about the $70,000 or so of debt I will be asked to take on to pay for it. Feel free to throw in your additional suggestions for tarring and feathering.

I got the idea after seeing Glenn Reynolds ask if we could get a new Congress for $700 billion. Well, why not?

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:19 PM | Comments (0)

September 24, 2008

Al Gore: Coward

You young people should go get arrested or get your heads busted so my company can make more money selling carbon credits:

Nobel Peace Prize winner and environmental crusader Al Gore urged young people on Wednesday to engage in civil disobedience to stop the construction of coal plants without the ability to store carbon.

But not content with leading from the rear, Al wants to criminalize denialism:

I believe for a carbon company to spend money convincing the stock-buying public that the risk from the global climate crisis is not that great represents a form of stock fraud because they are misrepresenting a material fact," he said. "I hope these state attorney generals around the country will take some action on that."

Any thoughts about carbon companies that overhype AGW for their own selfish interests Al? Al? Al? Al? What an asshole. I can't believe anyone ever voted for this guy to be president.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:51 PM | Comments (0)

September 18, 2008

How To Make Enemies and Not Influence People

Senator Obama exhorts his followers:

"I need you to go out and talk to your friends and talk to your neighbors. I want you to talk to them whether they are independent or whether they are Republican. I want you to argue with them and get in their face," he said.

Ah, the new politics of hope and change.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:00 PM | Comments (1)

The Triumph of the Will Skill

L. David Alinksy's letter to the editor of the Boston Globe sends shivers up my spine:

ALL THE elements were present: the individual stories told by real people of their situations and hardships, the packed-to-the rafters crowd, the crowd's chanting of key phrases and names, the action on the spot of texting and phoning to show instant support and commitment to jump into the political battle, the rallying selections of music, the setting of the agenda by the power people. The Democratic National Convention had all the elements of the perfectly organized event, Saul Alinsky style.

Barack Obama's training in Chicago by the great community organizers is showing its effectiveness. It is an amazingly powerful format, and the method of my late father always works to get the message out and get the supporters on board. When executed meticulously and thoughtfully, it is a powerful strategy for initiating change and making it really happen. Obama learned his lesson well.

I am proud to see that my father's model for organizing is being applied successfully beyond local community organizing to affect the Democratic campaign in 2008. It is a fine tribute to Saul Alinsky as we approach his 100th birthday.

When's the last time you saw such an unvarnished worship of propaganda?

Link courtesy of RTBA via Protein Wisdom.

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:15 PM | Comments (0)

What's Good for the Goose...

Every four years we get a song and dance about candidates releasing their tax returns, medical records, military service records, etc. I propose something entirely different. Since Governor Sarah Palin's e-mail accounts have been surreptitiously opened to the world, it is only fair that Senator Barack Obama and Senator Joe Biden take the gallant step of releasing all their e-mails to the public as well to help elevate the discussion to a higher road and reestablish a sense of fairness and propriety to the election process. The Obama campaign merely saying this is bad and shouldn't be done doesn't go nearly far enough to rectify the situation, unless of course they want to admit that they while they enjoy running Governor Palin's dirty knickers up the flag pole they wouldn't dare air out their own boxers or briefs. Don't Senator Obama and Senator Biden wish to assure the public that just like Governor Palin:

... there was nothing there, nothing incriminating, nothing that would derail [their] campaign as I had hoped...

Besides, what would you rather do, read though Senator Obama'e e-mails or his tax returns?

Note: I left Senator McCain out of this request because, as we all know, he doesn't use e-mail.

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

The John McCain Making It As Hard As Possible For Me To Vote For Him National Tour, Stop 2

John McCain missed an opportunity to shut up:

John McCain ratcheted up his increasingly populist language today, using a campaign event in Iowa to say he would fire Christopher Cox, the former Republican congressman and Bush-appointed head of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

At least make an effort to appear as something other than a know-nothing populist. One of those running at the top of the ticket is enough.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:09 PM | Comments (1)

How Dare He Question My Patriotism

My opposition to higher taxes is apparently unpatriotic:

Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden said Thursday that paying more in taxes is the patriotic thing to do for wealthier Americans.

I think nothing better exemplifies what Dr. Johnson meant when he said, "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel."

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

September 12, 2008

Contrast and Compare

Senator John McCain: Computer Illiterate

Senator Barack Obama: Moral Illiterate

I think this is the first time I've taken a shot at Senator Obama directly, but he deserves it for this one.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:38 PM | Comments (3)

Everybody Hertz

The dark ages will soon be making a comeback over there:

The threat of global warming is so great that campaigners were justified in causing more than £35,000 worth of damage to a coal-fired power station, a jury decided yesterday. In a verdict that will have shocked ministers and energy companies the jury at Maidstone Crown Court cleared six Greenpeace activists of criminal damage.

Jurors accepted defence arguments that the six had a "lawful excuse" to damage property at Kingsnorth power station in Kent to prevent even greater damage caused by climate change. The defence of "lawful excuse" under the Criminal Damage Act 1971 allows damage to be caused to property to prevent even greater damage – such as breaking down the door of a burning house to tackle a fire.

The not-guilty verdict, delivered after two days and greeted with cheers in the courtroom, raises the stakes for the most pressing issue on Britain's green agenda and could encourage further direct action.

Direct action, luddite vandalism. Potato, potahto. Suffice it to say that the future will be a bad time to want electricity in the UK.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:56 PM | Comments (0)

Why Is Sarah Palin Kicking Barack Obama's Backside?

In a word, style. Our election campaigns have long been more about style than substance, and this is just the latest example. Of course, it's not the kind of style that is featured in the fashion section of the New York Times, and that is why Senator Obama's campaign is having so much trouble -- because that is the only kind of style they know, or at least the only one they think that matters.

Sarah Palin has a style that is recognizable throughout flyover country and even on the coasts outside the cocooned enclaves of the wealthy and powerful. She is confident, measured, and has a proper respect for others. There isn't a whiff of the elitism that positively radiates in the personas of Senators Obama and Biden. She has the practical wisdom and patient understanding of someone who actually deals with life in 21st century America the same way that 90% of America does. This is not the least bit true for any of the privileged members of the Senate, including Senators Obama, Biden and McCain.

The complete inability of the Obama camp to recognize and relate to Sarah Palin's style is why their attacks to date have seemed so rude, crude, and even lewd. Their biting wit (in their eyes, not mine) and sophisticated put downs aren't resonating outside the echo chamber. Heaven help Senator Obama if they suddenly decide he needs to be more folksy and start to connect with "average" people in jeans, flannel shirts and workboots. Sometimes I think they are just detached and isolated enough to actually say something like that out loud.

Frankly, at this point I'm not sure what the Democrats can do to counter her. All the little PC admonitions and identity politics they've used in the past are coming back to bite them in the ass now. Good. Paybacks are a bitch.

FWIW, I have no illusions that Sarah Palin is anything but a politician. What I will note is that her political education and environment is notably different than that of the other candidates on each ticket. If I had to choose between a product of Washington in long time Senators Biden and McCain, a product of the Chicago machine in Senator Obama, or a product of local and state government in Alaska, well, that's an easy choice for me. Which of those do you think Thomas Jefferson would have favored?

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:14 AM | Comments (1)

September 10, 2008

Watching the 'Rats Deserting the Ship

I was reading something over at Politico and scanning the comment thread quickly and I noticed the following comment from someone who goes by "anybody out there":

It's like McCain is putting Palin in front of him to take the fire because he is afraid to do it himself. Then she cries victim. They're both deceitful and pathetic.
I have a question. Where are the democrats (sic)? Is Obama running by himself here?

Leaving aside the observation about anyone crying victim as he/she/it does so himself/herself/itself, it occurred to immediately that the Democrats are cutting their losses and covering their asses. They can see the writing on the wall and like Governor William J. LePetomaine have their own phony baloney jobs to think about.

Surfing away, what do I see but this:

Democrats are beginning to worry about losing the presidential election.

After months of leading in voter enthusiasm, fundraising and most surveys, Barack Obama lost momentum to John McCain after the Republican convention last week. McCain has gotten a boost from his pick of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate and has surged ahead of Obama in some national polls, while running even in others.

Arizona Senator McCain, 72, is drawing larger crowds to his rallies than ever before. Illinois Senator Obama's campaign, meanwhile, may struggle to keep up the record fundraising pace it has maintained all year.

The campaign's "novelty has worn off," said Representative Bill Pascrell, a New Jersey Democrat. The Obama campaign "seems to have lost its speed, its response time."

When the press turns on him, it will all be over but the crying -- especially on MSNBC.

DOWNDATE: As I was saying:

Democratic jitters about the US presidential race have spread to Capitol Hill, where some members of Congress are worried that Barack Obama’s faltering campaign could hurt their chances of re-election.

Party leaders have been hoping to strengthen Democratic control of the House and Senate in November, but John McCain’s jump in the polls has stoked fears of a Republican resurgence.

A Democratic fundraiser for Congressional candidates said some planned to distance themselves from Mr Obama and not attack Mr McCain.

“If people are voting for McCain it could help Republicans all the way down the ticket, even in a year when the Democrats should be sweeping all before us,” said the fundraiser, a former Hillary Clinton supporter.

“There is a growing sense of doom among Democrats I have spoken to . . . People are going crazy, telling the campaign ‘you’ve got to do something’.”

People are going crazy. Going?

DOUBLE DOWNDATE: Uh huh, uh huh:

A potential shift in fortunes for the Republicans in Congress is seen in the latest USA Today/Gallup survey, with the Democrats now leading the Republicans by just 3 percentage points, 48% to 45%, in voters' "generic ballot" preferences for Congress. This is down from consistent double-digit Democratic leads seen on this measure over the past year.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:28 PM | Comments (0)

Brava!

This is why I read Camille Paglia:

Now that's the Sarah Palin brand of can-do, no-excuses, moose-hunting feminism -- a world away from the whining, sniping, wearily ironic mode of the establishment feminism represented by Gloria Steinem, a Hillary Clinton supporter whose shameless Democratic partisanship over the past four decades has severely limited American feminism and not allowed it to become the big tent it can and should be. Sarah Palin, if her reputation survives the punishing next two months, may be breaking down those barriers. Feminism, which should be about equal rights and equal opportunity, should not be a closed club requiring an ideological litmus test for membership.

[snip]

The witch-trial hysteria of the past two incendiary weeks unfortunately reveals a disturbing trend in the Democratic Party, which has worsened over the past decade. Democrats are quick to attack the religiosity of Republicans, but Democratic ideology itself seems to have become a secular substitute religion. Since when did Democrats become so judgmental and intolerant? Conservatives are demonized, with the universe polarized into a Manichaean battle of us versus them, good versus evil. Democrats are clinging to pat group opinions as if they were inflexible moral absolutes. The party is in peril if it cannot observe and listen and adapt to changing social circumstances.

[snip]

It is nonsensical and counterproductive for Democrats to imagine that pro-life values can be defeated by maliciously destroying their proponents. And it is equally foolish to expect that feminism must for all time be inextricably wed to the pro-choice agenda. There is plenty of room in modern thought for a pro-life feminism -- one in fact that would have far more appeal to third-world cultures where motherhood is still honored and where the Western model of the hard-driving, self-absorbed career woman is less admired.

But the one fundamental precept that Democrats must stand for is independent thought and speech. When they become baying bloodhounds of rigid dogma, Democrats have committed political suicide.

Gee, remember just weeks ago how Republicans were almost extinct and Democrats were triumphally ascendant? Now, not so much.

I have no illusions that Camille will be voting for Sarah Palin, but she sees and writes very clearly and honestly what is good and bad about those on her side and those not on her side.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:20 AM | Comments (0)

September 09, 2008

A Fine Line

So let me get this straight, Senator Obama is too smart to call Sarah Palin a pig but not smart enough to realize how bad this comment is going to sound to anyone not basking in the glow of his halo.

The schadenfreude is strong in this one.

DOWNDATE: An Instalanche! If there's anything worse than Senator Obama's words, it is the reaction of the crowd to them.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:30 PM | Comments (5)

September 04, 2008

It's Sarah Palin's World, I Just Blog In It

Been too busy with life to blog much lately...

Watched a little convention tonight, my first and only viewing of either convention. No reason to watch tomorrow since Senator McCain won't be able to top this. Peggy Noonan was right, they are going to hate Governor Palin and they have to kill her. Not literally, but the long knives are being honed tonight. I feel bad for what Sarah Palin and her family are going to have to endure. Any chance the angry Left would rather lose an election than their soul?

Mike Huckabee gave a great speech, but I still can't stand his politics. Rudy Guiliani was good, but a little out of control. Best line of the night, though not delivered well, was suggesting Joe Biden get that VP thing in writing. They are making the media the enemy as well. Good.

I read somewhere that Senator Obama has been calculating his moves since college planning to run for President someday. Does anyone think Sarah Palin joined the PTA thinking it was the first step on the road to being president of the United States? Does anyone think she ran for mayor of Wasilla, AK, thinking it was another step towards being president? Does anyone think she ran for governor of Alaska thinking it was a step towards being president? From Alaska? Are you kidding?

It's easy to get sentimental and nostalgic for the great old days of politics that never were, but Governor Palin is about as close as we are likely to get to someone who we need in Washington because getting there has never been her life's goal. I have few illusions about her being something other than a politician, but she does seem to be a lot more grounded and balanced than anyone else I've seen running for President or Vice President in a long, long time.

I think Senator Clinton's political life just flashed before her eyes, she loses now no matter which side wins. Maybe she can sincerely throw her support to Senator Obama now.

I still have reservations about voting for John McCain, but I'm ready to pull the lever for Sarah Palin right now. I will give McCain a lot of credit for picking her and I cannot believe how stupid the Democrats have been and are apparently going to be again tomorrow.

Go ahead, pick on the woman. You don't need the votes of women or the men who are protective of them.

Go ahead, pick on the woman with the four month-old baby with Down's syndrome. You don't need the votes of any families of children with sepcial needs.

Go ahead, pick on the woman who's oldest son is off to Iraq in one week. You don't need the votes of families with fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters in uniform.

Go ahead, pick on the woman who teenage daughter got pregnant out of wedlock. You don't need the votes of single parents or families dealing with teenage pregnancies.

Go ahead, pick on the woman who's husband is a union steelworker. You don't need those union votes.

Is this the beginning of a massive tectonic shift in our politics? Can the cabal of elite media and politicians really be so politically tone deaf as to think they can lay into Sarah Palin and her family with impunity? Their best bet would have been to ignore her or stick to a handful of focus group tested policy issues. Instead this effort to destroy her is going to backfire in a huge way.

I can't wait to see Monday's polls.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:09 AM | Comments (4)

August 10, 2008

Putin on the Blitz

Any chance that Russia being Russia can help bring down the UN?

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:37 PM | Comments (0)

August 04, 2008

Captive Audiences

They may sell them to someone perhaps, but not me:

US Airways will likely begin selling pillows and blankets to its customers by the end of the year, following closely behind discount carrier JetBlue Airways Corp., which said Monday it will start charging fliers $7 to use a pillow and blanket.

I fly quite a bit and always have, A few weeks ago I took a vacation with the family that required air travel. I have learned that the things I can tolerate and work around when traveling alone on business is somewhat greater than those that i can tolerate and work around when I have my wife and kids along. It was a miserable experience coming and going. Severely late flights coming and going, almost causing us to miss the boat on the way out, and leaving us completely up in the air (no pun intended) as to which day we would actually make it home, right up until we ran to get on a plane to our final destination that we only made since it was running late, no thanks to the friendly staff we put us at the back of the connecting flight so we would be virtually the last ones off that plane plane. And, of course, our luggage didn't make it. Did I mention that we weren't flying home but to Chicago so we could drop off my mother-in-law at my sister-in-laws house while we were away and had to pick her back up to bring her back with us afterwards? No? Well, our drive home was held hostage until late, and I do mean late the next day when our luggage was finally delivered. The extra expenses of kennels, missed appointments, and the almost literal draining of the reservoir of rejuvenation the vacation was supposed to provide was depressing and left me in a bad mood which lingers seemingly interminably. But I digress.

All in all, it really makes it difficult to consider flying as a practical method of transportation for another family vacation. If I have to set aside two days on each side of the trip for what should be a 4 hour flight each way, well, let's just say that the cruise lines should be pretty damned worried about the impact this is going to have on their business. Perhaps it's time to start driving to all the National Parks again.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:21 PM | Comments (1)

Peak Oil (Prices)

I am amused that so many coffeehouse commisars have their panties in a bunch about the worst inflation in the history of the publication of the USA Today even as the obvious causes of these inflationary pressures are easing:

Oil prices plunged to a three-month low Monday, briefly tumbling below $120 a barrel in another huge sell-off after Tropical Storm Edouard seemed less likely to disrupt oil and natural gas output in the Gulf of Mexico.

Crude's steep drop -- prices fell more than $5 at one point during the day -- dragged down other commodities from corn to copper and mimicked the big nosedives of the past three weeks, adding to growing beliefs that the oil bubble is at least temporarily deflating.

I am further amused about the size of the fonts announcing $120 oil on the way up compared to the size of the fonts used to announce $120 oil on the way down. Perhaps bad news itself in an election season exerts its own inflationary pressures and demands a government program! Not to worry though, any repreive from the latest crisis is probably only temporary. Alas, our public servants will no doubt once again come up with the right solution for the wrong problem soon enough.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:02 PM | Comments (0)

July 30, 2008

Inconceivable

U.S. reports drop in homeless population

I expected to read this, but not for another seven months or so. Perhaps the mere expectation of a President Obama works miracles.

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:54 PM | Comments (1)

Let Them Eat Cake Arugula

LA blocks new fast-food outlets from poor areas

Freedom is overrated. It's almost as though someone will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual.

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:46 PM | Comments (1)

July 04, 2008

United States of America

Happy 232nd birthday to the greatest country the world has ever seen.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:46 AM | Comments (2)

July 01, 2008

"Coal Makes Us Sick"

No doubt Senator Reid, but salicylic acid and paracetamol are derived from coal tar, so it makes us better too.

I would have linked a YouTube video, but oddly, all instances of Senator Reid beclowning himself seem to have vanished down the memory hole. It went from most popular video to vanished in less than a day. I have to laugh at all the people who thought Microsoft was the dark side of the force.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:56 PM | Comments (2)

The Oebama Factor

The boy wonder wanders in:

Former Vice President Dan Quayle said Tuesday he respects Democrat Barack Obama "because he beat the Clintons" and fears Republican John McCain has an "uphill battle" to defeat Obama in November's presidential election.

But hey, it's not like he's going to be taken seriously. Heck, he doesn't take himself seriously:

Quayle also acknowledged that he expected Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton and Republican Mitt Romney would meet in the general election.

Hey it could happen. In 2012.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:44 PM | Comments (2)

June 28, 2008

When Heller Freezes Over

What if Colt made a big show of offering Senator Obama a custom engraved 1911 to celebrate Heller? If he accepts it, his base is up in arms, no pun intended. If he declines it, well, let's just say that 5-4 vote will look a little more frightening to everyone not in his base. Seem like a win-win to me.

DOWNDATE: An Instalanche! Thank you, sir. One subsequent thought -- I know this is a cheap theatrical stunt, but isn't that basically what the presidential campaigns are made of these days?

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:33 PM | Comments (23)

June 26, 2008

So, Citizens Should Not Enjoy the Rights of Violent Criminals?

I've seen a couple of references to Colbert I. King's column today wherein he writes:

There's one group of District residents absolutely unfazed by today's U.S. Supreme Court ruling shooting down the District's strict handgun ban: the dudes who have been blowing away their fellow citizens with abandon since the law was put on the books 32 years ago.

Operating under the notion that it's better to beg forgiveness than to ask permission, our shooters long ago decided not to wait for the high court's thoughts on the matter. They simply arrogated to themselves the right to keep and bear arms and, with that right, license to shoot and kill, with impunity, whatever and whenever the evil spirits moved them.

Set fazers to stun. But wait, there's more:

If D.C. street thugs are pleased by anything, it's probably the fact that five of the justices -- a slim majority, but that's all it takes to win -- have come around to seeing things their way.

That's almost funny in a sad sort of way, though I missed his column last week about how terrorists around the world are pleased that five of the justices -- a slim majority, but that's all it takes to win -- have come around to seeing things their way.

Still not enough for you? Well, Billy Mays has nothing on Mr. King, he's not through by, pardon the pun, a long shot:

Scalia also wrote this hymn to the handgun: "The American people consider the handgun to be the quintessential self-defense weapon." He went on to argue: "There are many reasons that a citizen may prefer a handgun for home defense: it is easier to store in a location that is readily accessible in an emergency; it cannot easily be redirected or wrestled away by an attacker; it is easier to use for those without the upper-body strength to lift and aim a long rifle; it can be pointed at a burglar with one hand while the other hand dials the police. Whatever the reason, handguns are the most popular weapon chosen by Americans for self-defense in the home, and a complete prohibition of their use is invalid."

And if machine guns one day should become the weapon of choice for home protection -- what say ye then, Justice Scalia? With the exception of that reference to dialing the police, D.C. street thugs' response to Scalia's ode to the handgun was undoubtedly, "Hear, hear!"

See how easily Mr. King goes from Justice Scalia writing that a complete prohibition on handguns in the home is invalid to implying that Justice Scalia would be down with gang bangers having machine guns? What an ass.

Mr. King finishes with:

So now it has come to pass that D.C. residents can keep handguns, as well as rifles and shotguns, in their homes. A well armed, informal militia we shall be -- ready to fire back in self-defense at the shooters who believed they had the right to their guns all along.

Flush with victory, a giddy National Rifle Association has announced its intention to file lawsuits in other jurisdictions with tough handgun laws. For starters, the NRA has taken aim at San Francisco and Chicago. See what we have unleashed, D.C.?

America, more body bags, please.

If the body bags are for Mr. Colbert's precious thugs, I won't be shedding any tears. Maybe we can just use the body bags for them that have been used for citizens up to this point. Mr. King's apparent ignorance of actual crime statistics where guns are allowed and refusal to consider the deterrent factor of armed citizens speaks poorly of the Washington Post's decision to allow him to beclown himself on this issue with an op-ed as full of emotion as it is devoid of reason.

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:18 PM | Comments (0)

Utterly Depressing

That's how it feels to note that liberty wins 5-4. Until the next vote anyway, at which point no one will be able to be heard over the stare decisis cacaphony. Am I supposed to celebrate because liberty, not me or what I want, mind you, but liberty prevailed by the thinnest of margins? Imagine, just one more vote, or perhaps a little more growth by Justice Kennedy and Drudge's headline might have read "Second Amendment Dies" instead.

Note these headlines:

Supreme Court says Americans have right to guns

Weird, huh? I thought it was the US Constitution that said that. The Supreme Court's job is just to make sure that Congress doesn't usurp it.

Americans have right to guns under landmark ruling

Again, it's not the ruling that gives us the right, although I understand the confusion of people who believe in the living, breathing, ever-mutating constitution. But hey, don't get cocky, kids:

Pelosi Says D.C. Should Continue Gun Regulation
Mayors: Gun ruling won't stop prevention efforts

At least Tackleberry finally gets his wish.

DOWNDATE: While Heller has given the citizens of Washington, DC, the right to protect themselves with firearms once again, it has effectively killed The Volokh Conpiracy blog. Just an observation.

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:49 PM | Comments (1)

June 25, 2008

Fair DNCum

Pelosi Supports 'Fairness Doctrine'

Well, duh. And since she's in charge, guess who gets to decide what's fair?

Obama Does Not Support Return of Fairness Doctrine

Well, duh. Could you imagine if Big Media were forced to to postpone their adoration of Lord Hope, the Marquis of Change to give John McCain equal time? But who wouldn't pay money to hear Chris Matthews say, "We interrupt this funny feeling in my leg to bring you equal time for John McCain"?

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:10 PM | Comments (1)

Free At Last, Free At Last

Thank Mammon almighty, he's free at last!

U.S. Rep. Chris Cannon, a conservative Republican who lost his primary to an opponent who accused him of not being conservative enough, said Wednesday that his defeat frees him to move on to pursue other opportunities.

I know nothing about Representative Cannon, but it is hard to believe he will be missed.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:06 PM | Comments (0)

Rocky Mountain Sigh

RTWT. It's the only way to appreciate the lunacy of people who imagine reality is whatever they want it to be.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:37 PM | Comments (0)

If No Sitcoms Were Made In the Forest, How Would We Know?

The Film Actors Guild is not happy:

The Screen Actors Guild on Wednesday accused major Hollywood studios of offering a contract deal worth less than an agreement approved by the leaders of a smaller actors union.

SAG executive director Doug Allen told The Associated Press the offer to the guild was worth tens of millions of dollars less than the tentative contract reached with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

The deal with the federation was reached during a temporary halt in the talks between SAG and the studios.

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

Race As a Social Construction

Apparently Senator Obama should "talk black" like, um, Ralph Nader?

Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader accused Sen. Barack Obama, the presumed Democratic Party nominee, of downplaying poverty issues, trying to "talk white" and appealing to "white guilt" during his run for the White House.

You really can't make this stuff up.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:24 PM | Comments (0)

Because I Said So

Nope, it still doesn't sound good coming from an authority figure:

The Supreme Court declared Wednesday that executions are too severe a punishment for raping children, despite the "years of long anguish" for victims, in a ruling that restricts the death penalty to murder and crimes against the state.

The court's 5-4 decision struck down a Louisiana law that allows capital punishment for people convicted of raping children under 12. It spares the only people in the U.S. under sentence of death for that crime — two Louisiana men convicted of raping girls 5 and 8.

...

However devastating the crime to children, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in his majority opinion, "the death penalty is not a proportional punishment for the rape of a child." His four liberal colleagues joined him, while the four more conservative justices dissented.

I beg to differ on the law and the morality. The thing is, if these bastards don't deserve it who does? Oh, that's right, no one.

I hope they have comfortable beds at my reeducation camp.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:17 PM | Comments (1)

Up, Up With People Primates

There the best kind of folks we know...

Spain's parliament voiced its support on Wednesday for the rights of great apes to life and freedom in what will apparently be the first time any national legislature has called for such rights for non-humans.

Any guesses at what rights come next?

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:10 PM | Comments (2)

June 18, 2008

The Pendulum Has Stopped Moving

Which means it is headed back the other way:

The environmental movement, only recently poised for major advances on global warming and other issues, has suddenly found itself on the defensive as high gasoline prices shift the political climate nationwide and trigger defections by longtime supporters.

About time.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:39 PM | Comments (1)

Global Warming

Is there anything it can't do?

The tomato scare that has sickened 170 people and is the worst food scare since the E. coli/spinach outbreak is being blamed by some environmental activists on climate change and the need for more food grown with the help of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:31 PM | Comments (1)

Crypto-Racism

Republican Huckabee says don't denigrate Obama

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:28 PM | Comments (0)

Obey!

Al Gore endorses Obama! Well, duh, but considering the rather late nature of the endorsement, why is this news? All in all, a rather curious display of, ahem, leadership, wouldn't you say? But then leadership isn't Mr. Gore's strong suit when it comes to setting an example, is it?

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:25 PM | Comments (0)

Hugo Would Be Proud

It's the government's world, we just live in it:

Among other things, the Democrats called for the government to own refineries so it could better control the flow of the oil supply.

For control, one can only read constrict since they seem to be unwilling to do anything to increase it. Can you say rationing? Sure, I knew you could.

The race to the bottom is picking up speed.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:16 PM | Comments (0)

June 15, 2008

No Means No

Except when it doesn't:

The long campaign to forge a new dispensation for the European Union descended into panic and uncertainty yesterday when Ireland turned its back on its 26 EU partners and voted down the Lisbon Treaty.

EU leaders in Brussels and governments across the union, particularly Germany and France, were stunned by the Irish verdict, which amounted to a huge vote of no confidence in the way the EU is run.

The referendum in Ireland was the sole popular vote in the EU on the grand plan to give Europe a sitting president and foreign minister, and reconfigure the way the EU is governed. The result left the project severely wounded, perhaps fatally.

The Irish voted by a 7% margin, 53.6 to 46.4, against the treaty, which has already been ratified by 18 EU countries and is expected to be endorsed by the other eight.

Ratified in 18 EU countries without a vote. Funny how that works. One man, one vote, one time, once they get the right answer, of course.

Everything suggested that Europe's key leaders were urgently conferring on a scheme to steamroller their blueprint through despite the Irish rejection, a course likely to trigger protest from Eurosceptics and deepen Europe's democratic legitimacy problems.

The EU is lucky they aren't attending Oberlin as they won't take no for an answer as they keep trying to screw their people.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:54 AM | Comments (1)

Schismism

Say goodnight, grace:

Male priests marry in Anglican church's first gay 'wedding'

The Anglican church is done. Just ask Christopher.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:35 AM | Comments (2)

May 24, 2008

McCain's VP Choice

Two words: Boris Johnson.

Why? Ten reasons:

1. He's young and energetic.
2. He's demonstrably not of the left.
3. He just defeated Red Ken Livingstone for Mayor of London. Senator Obama should be a piece of cake.
4. The debates later this year would be the best and most brutal we have ever seen in America.
5. How better to strengthen the Anglospheric alliance?
6. Boris wants to be president, and he was born in New York.
7. A candidate named Boris should put an end to any xenophobia triggered by a candidate named Barack Hussein Obama.
8. New blood. He's not Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, or any of he other craptacular candidates bandied about for the position. I exlcude Bobby Jindal from this because he's still too young for the job and Louisiana needs him more than the Senate.
9. The proposed Question Time for the President before Congress might actually make sense.
10. It'll never happen.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:58 AM | Comments (2)

May 23, 2008

How To Make Mike Huckabee Look Good

It's not easy, but Hillary manages to outdo Goober's gaffe:

"My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. I don't understand it," she said, dismissing calls to drop out.

Jeez, is she worried that even then they might pick someone other than her?

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:54 PM | Comments (1)

May 17, 2008

Miss It, Noonan! Miss It!

Usually, it is right after the elections that we get the predictable glut of stories wondering whether the Democrats or Republicans can survive, depending on who just won. Peggy Noonan jumps a little ahead of the news cycle:

The Democrats aren't the ones falling apart, the Republicans are. The Democrats can see daylight ahead. For all their fractious fighting, they're finally resolving their central drama. Hillary Clinton will leave, and Barack Obama will deliver a stirring acceptance speech. Then hand-to-hand in the general, where they see their guy triumphing. You see it when you talk to them: They're busy being born. The Republicans? Busy dying.

Ms. Noonan has fallen into the all too frequently sprung trap of interpolating a trend forever based on the last couple of data points, not to mention that it is far from obvious that Hillary is going to be such a gracious team player. But, hey, that Maverick™ brooch you get to wear by criticizing your own does get you invitations to the best parties.

Not being a Republican, I only care to the extent that something has to balance the Democrats, if only to keep them moderately honest. In St. Louis, Chicago, and Washington, DC, I've seen enough of local governments utterly dominated by one party to know it isn't a good thing. Anyway, anybody who thinks the Republicans are doomed need to read the stories written about the Tories in Great Britain about five years ago. These would be the same Tories that just kicked Labour's butt and are threatening to make Gordon Brown their shortest serving Prime Minster since Harold Wison's second term, though a better reference might be to Alec Douglas-Home more than forty years ago since Harold Wilson resigned for health reasons, rather than losing an election. Interestingly enough, Harold Wilson's first term came at the expense of Alec Douglas-Home. But I digress.

There's plenty to despise when it comes to the current crop of elected Republicans and the Republican Party right now, but let's not get carried away. Is anybody really that excited about a triumvirate of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and President Barack Obama running the country? And do you really think they'll do such a bang up job that their future's won't be on the line in 2010 and 2012?

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:33 PM | Comments (0)

Monday, Monday

Can't trust that day:

U.N. racism investigator to visit U.S. from Monday

Help us Mr. U.N.!

A special U.N. human rights investigator will visit the United States this month to probe racism, an issue that has forced its way into the race to secure the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.

Presumably he will be limiting his investigation to Democrats then. No?

The United Nations said Doudou Diene would meet federal and local officials, as well as lawmakers and judicial authorities during the May 19-June 6 visit.

"The special rapporteur will...gather first-hand information on issues related to racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance," a U.N. statement said on Friday.

Notice the subtle way this is all just assumed to exist here in quantities to justify the visit?

Race has become a central issue in the U.S. election cycle because Sen. Barack Obama, the frontrunner in the battle for the Democratic nomination battle, stands to become the country's first African American president.

His campaign has increased turnout among black voters but has also turned off some white voters in a country with a history of slavery and racial segregation.

FWIW, we also have a history of eliminating slavery and spending untold billions to help rectify its legacy, eliminating segregation a long time ago, and generally rescuing all manner of folks all over the world. Again. And. Again. And. Again.

Diene, a Senegalese lawyer who has served in the independent post since 2002, will report his findings to the U.N. Human Rights Council next year.

Must take a long time to catalogue our sins. Well, at least there is one silver lining:

However, the United Nations has almost no clout when it comes to U.S. domestic affairs and is widely perceived by many as interfering. The United States is not among the 47 member states of the Geneva-based forum, but has observer status.

Of course, we should expect utopians to prefer the perfect over the good:

A U.N. panel which examined the U.S. record on racial discrimination last March urged the United States to halt racial profiling of Americans of Arab, Muslim and South Asian descent and to ensure immigrants and non-nationals are not mistreated.

It also said America should impose a moratorium on the death penalty and stop sentencing young offenders to life in prison until it can root out racial bias from its justice system.

Can we leave the UN now?

Please?

Pretty please?

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:55 PM | Comments (0)

An Observation

For the first time in several election cycles, all of the candidates for president are so flawed that perhaps we can actually discuss their pros and cons without having to proclaim "our" candidate as the best thing since sliced bread and the "other" candidate as capable of bringing down the republic in four short years. I expect the Republicans to start out a little more civil since they are fresh out of Kool-Aid when it comes to John McCain and George Bush. At least half minus one of the Democrats should be able to join the Republicans soon in elevating the dialogue somewhat. The other half plus one are still too busy hoping the supply of changy flavored Kool-Aid will last until November.

Yes, of course there will be a given number of die-hard partisans, foul-mouthed supporters, and people totally lacking in any graciousness or civility on both sides no matter what. But perhaps the other 80% that are paying attention can move forward in a battle of ideas rather than personalities and caricatures.

Yeah, I'm a dreamer.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:50 AM | Comments (1)

Aren't They Taking the Masks Off a Little Early?

Too late for the whole "don't get cocky" advice:

Republican presidential candidate John McCain's family background as the son and grandson of admirals has given him a worldview shaped by the military, "and he has a hard time thinking beyond that," Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Ia., said Friday.

"I think he's trapped in that," Harkin said in a conference call with Iowa reporters. "Everything is looked at from his life experiences, from always having been in the military, and I think that can be pretty dangerous."

Harkin said that "it's one thing to have been drafted and served, but another thing when you come from generations of military people and that's just how you're steeped, how you've learned, how you've grown up."

Perhaps Iowa Senator Tom Harkin is too corny.

Link via Instapundit.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:36 AM | Comments (0)

May 16, 2008

Living Overseas As a Child, Perhaps?

Senator Obama has national security credentials?

Barack Obama rebuked Republican rival John McCain and President Bush for "dishonest, divisive" attacks in hinting that the Democratic presidential candidate would appease terrorists, staunchly defending his national security credentials for the general election campaign.

Who new?

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:43 PM | Comments (0)

May 09, 2008

Beware!

Behold the undemocratic concentration of power in the hands of Big Offset!

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:41 PM | Comments (0)

May 08, 2008

Stuff White People Like

Not the website, it's Hillary!:

Hillary Rodham Clinton vowed Wednesday to continue her quest for the Democratic nomination, arguing she would be the stronger nominee because she appeals to a wider coalition of voters — including whites who have not supported Barack Obama in recent contests.

"I have a much broader base to build a winning coalition on," she said in an interview with USA TODAY. As evidence, Clinton cited an Associated Press article "that found how Sen. Obama's support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me."

Imagine the hue and cry if that last sentence had come out of the mouth of, oh, I don't know, Karl Rove? Regarding the Democrats' promotion of identity politics for so long, I am reminded of Macbeth's comment:

“We still have judgment here, that we but teach bloody instructions, which, being taught, return to plague th’ inventor.”

Anyway, Hillary! needs to listen to some Boz Scaggs:

Best of friends,
Never part,
Best of fools has loved forever
From the bottom of his heart.
So why pretend?
This is the end.
You'll have to find out for yourself,
Go on ask somebody else.
Why can't you just get it through your head?
It's over, it's over now.
Yes, you heard me clearly now I said,
"It's over, it's over now."
I'm not really over you,
You might say that,
"I can't take it, I can't take it,
Lord, I swear I just can't take it no more."

Now, who else can tie stuff that white people like, Macbeth and Boz Scaggs together all in the space of 30 seconds reading?

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:50 AM | Comments (0)

May 06, 2008

Huevos

Just when you think it can't get any weirder:

And James Carville, the Clintons' ubiquitous former aide, booster, and informal adviser made the point even more vividly, giving Clinton a two-gonad edge on her primary rival, Senator Barack Obama. "If she gave him one of her cojones, they'd both have two," Carville said.

So she has three now? Anyway, shouldn't Ol' Snakehead already know that every woman has two gonads? And I'm not referring to the ones Mary keep in a jar by the bed.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:54 PM | Comments (1)

Of Course He Did

Al Gore Calls Myanmar Cyclone a 'Consequence' of Global Warming

And here I thought it was the curse of the lepidoptera.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:33 PM | Comments (1)

Tulip Mania

Oil nears $123 on $200 oil prediction

My first thought is that somebody has trouble with simple math if this is even remotely close to being true. But then I started thinking... anybody want to take bets on when we'll be asked to respond to the crisis of falling oil prices and have to bail out all the speculators? I mean, the entire economic system might collapse if we don't rescue the financiers and commodity traders who were only trying to efficiently channel resources towards getting more oil, except when they weren't.

Of course, depending on the timing of the fall in crude and its proximity to the election, there'll be a significant clamor from some quarters to use taxation to keep the cost of gasoline where it is. For The Environment™, of course. And The Children™.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:25 PM | Comments (0)

An Emblem of Conformity and Hypocrisy

lapel-pin.jpg

According to Richard Cohen. Eek, wish I had time for a well-earned Scourge.

DOWNDATE: I picture Richard Cohen stammering and spitting like Niedermayer saying, "Is that a flag pin on your uniform?"

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:28 AM | Comments (1)

May 05, 2008

Evil!

Well, to some people:

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, announced Monday it would expand its discounted prescription drug program to offer 90-day supplies for $10 and add several women's medications at a discount. It also said it would lower the price of more than 1,000 over-the-counter drugs.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:21 PM | Comments (0)

April 30, 2008

In a Perfect World

Mugabe beaten

Would have been the complete headline instead of having this appended to it: ... in presidential vote, says government source

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:21 PM | Comments (0)

April 29, 2008

Brilliance

For the record, Antonin Scalia is so much smarter than most people it isn't funny. I can understand that people have different judicial philosophies and temperaments, but anyone who thinks he doesn't belong on the US Supreme Court is not to be taken seriously.

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:55 PM | Comments (0)

May? That's Still Two Days Away

Newt Gingrich has a vice like grip on the short and curlies of the bleeding obvious:

Gingrich: Wright May Be Deliberately Trying to Hurt Obama

A little OT, but I respect Senator Obama more now. He could have embraced Rev. Wright and written off the presidency but made a fortune and completely displaced Rev. Sharpton and Rev. Jackson, not to mention Rev. Wright, who's burnishing his image at the expense of tarnishing Senator Obama's. This is a shameful episode on Rev. Wright's part.

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:34 PM | Comments (0)

Grandstanding

Whenever Al Sharpton speaks of justice, remember Steven Pagones.

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:24 PM | Comments (0)

Three Wright Turns Equals One Left Turn

With apologies to Three Dog Night, here's a .., um ..., transcript of Senator Obama's press conference today:

Jeremiah's left my agog,
Was a good friend of mine.
I never understood a single word he said,
But I helped him a-think his whine.
And he always had some mighty fine whine.
Singing, joy to the world!
All the boys and girls, now,
Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea,
Joy to you and me!

If I were the King of the world,
Tell you what I'd do.
I'd throw away the cars, the dollars and the wars,
And demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. [I] will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.

Sorry, Michele Obama sort of took over at the end there.

I like Senator Obama, though I'll never vote for anyone quite as statist or as immersed and gullible concerning Marxist policy prescriptions as I believe him to be. While I remain convinced he is just another politician, especially one out of Chicago, he does seem less slimy and substantially more decent than most. I'd actually like having him as a neighbor, which isn't true of most politicians I've ever met.

Why Senator Obama needs to do anything with Rev. Wright other than disassociating himself from him is beyond me. "Disowning" Rev. Wright is a rather odd turn of phrase since he never owned him or his words before. But Senator Obama has kept some strange company and that must be a consideration in how he is judged when it comes to electing him as President.

While I'm on point, I heard Cult of Personality by Living Colour yesterday and Senator Obama was all I could think of as it played. The cult of personality being built up around Senator Obama ought to make everyone squirm just a little, given the rather sordid history of the those who haved formed the basis of cults of personality.

Enough rambling. Regardless, I'd rather see a President Obama than a President Clinton. The goodwill generated internationally by a President Obama, however unfair or misplaced, would have some value, whereas all we'd get from a President Clinton is four, or eight, more years of people like Paul Begala and James Carville in the halls of power. I can't say I'm happy to get a President McCain, but what are you gonna do?

Too bad the Democrat's convention isn't in Chicago this summer. We could all relive the Summer of Love one more time. After all, it's been literally a few days since someone has wanted to relive the 60's all over again, man.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:39 PM | Comments (1)

April 24, 2008

The Angostura-American

If I had been posting much a week ago I'm sure this would have been in a post somewhere. As it is, it's kind of old news, meaning that it is about as current as the last issue of Newsweek or Time, but I wanted to commit it to the ether before I forgot about it. I'm sure I'll be able to resurrect it if Obama doesn't win the Democrat's nomination. There'll be a lot of Angostura-Americans then.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:17 PM | Comments (2)

That's Why We Call Them ...

Leaders:

"They will do so at their own risk of damaging the Republican Party forever,'' he said, because "people are always ahead of leaders.''

Famous leader Doug Wilder talking about something or other.

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:36 PM | Comments (0)

Question: How Do I Get Declared Persona Non Grata?

Answer:

Sources with knowledge of the incident said the official, Rafael Quintero Curiel, served as the lead press advance person for the Mexican Delegation and was responsible for handling logistics and guiding the Mexican media around at the conference. He took six or seven of the handheld devices from a table outside a special room in the hotel where the Mexican delegation was meeting with President Bush earlier this week.

Everyone entering the room was required to leave his or her cell phone, BlackBerry and other such devices on the table, a common practice when high-level meetings are held. American officials discovered their missing belongings when they were leaving the session.

It didn't take long before Secret Service officials reviewed videotape taken by a surveillance camera and found footage showing Quintero Curiel absconding with the BlackBerries.

Sources said Quintero Curiel made it all the way to the airport before Secret Service officers caught up with him. He initially denied taking the devices, but after agents showed him the DVD, Quintero Curiel said it was purely accidental, gave them back, claimed diplomatic immunity and left New Orleans with the Mexican delegation.

You gotta love it. I didn't do it! I mean, it was an accident! Diplomatic Immunity! Obviously, the devil (i.e., Bush) made him do it.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:38 PM | Comments (0)

The John McCain Making It As Hard As Possible For Me To Vote For Him National Tour, Stop 1

Believe it or not, not everyone thinks the federal government should be responsible for replacing every bird that falls out of a tree:

John McCain toured still hurricane-damaged areas of New Orleans and declared that if the disaster had happened on his watch, he would have immediately landed his plane at the nearest Air Force base. The Republican presidential candidate is campaigning this week in what he calls forgotten areas of the country. He offered a pledge Thursday to New Orleans residents that their situation will not be forgotten and that such a botched disaster response will never happen again. McCain was unsparing in his criticism of the Bush administration. He said Congress must share some of the blame, too. Drawing a sharp contrast to President Bush, McCain said he would have landed his plane "at the nearest Air Force Base and come over personally."

Uh, ok. I understand using President Bush as a whipping boy and sucking up to the press, but wasn't somebody besides the President and the Congress responsible for, say, maintaining the levees and getting the people of New Orleans out? Even just a little? I'm curious as to when Senator McCain would have landed his plane at the nearest Air Force base. Is it worth the effort to remind Senator McCain and the lapdog press that Katrina wasn't Katrina until the day after Katrina when the levees gave way?

Senator McCain seems to be promoting the idea that the federal government can, and should, involve itself with every single aspect of American life. Sorry, I'd rather you leave this kind of village building to your opponents, but that's just me.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:44 PM | Comments (2)

That's Not An Image I Needed This Early

Susan Estrich: Clinton or Obama on Top?

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:42 AM | Comments (0)

Dispatch From the Echo Chamber

Enjoy as Anatole Kaletsky sets out to lecture Americans concerning our next presidential election:

The 2008 US election has all the makings of a Greek tragedy, in which noble heroes and heroines are forced to follow a course to catastrophe, divinely preordained as punishment for sins and blunders committed by their forefathers in the dim and distant past. In acting out their ineluctable doom, the eloquent protagonists do not just destroy themselves but also their cities, their nations and even their entire civilisations.

Speaking of Greek tragedies, the word hubris comes to mind. But it is nice to see that he agrees with many of us that the election of Senator Clinton or Senator Obama would lead to end of Western Civilization.

If this description sounds too grandiose, consider yesterday's results from the Pennsylvania primary.

If?

The outcome seemed to be precisely calibrated by the gods to maximise the agony of the Democrats. It gave Hillary Clinton just the support she needed to stay firmly in contention, but not quite enough to turn the tide in her favour.

She's no Cnut, that's for sure.

Worse still, this result underlined the fear that senior Democrats have long been aware of, but have never dared to express in public: America may not yet be ready to elect a black President.

Is Mr. Kaletsky aware that these are Democrat primaries? Heh, at least by inference we are over our sexism.

Worst of all, it has created conditions for the possible election victory of a militarily belligerent and economically unqualified Republican candidate who supports many of President Bush's worst policies. Given the Bush Administration's domestic and foreign failures, the disasters in Iraq and Afghanistan and, most recently, the slump in the economy, the possibility of a Republican victory in November would seem to overturn every principle of proper democracy - and also the hope of America and its system of government being rehabilitated in the eyes of the world after the Bush years.

Wow, the election of John McCain would seem to overturn every principle of democracy? Really? Every one?

The fact that Mr Obama and Mrs Clinton are both such impressive candidates, intelligent, sincere, articulate and in command of the issues, while John McCain does not qualify on any of these criteria only makes matters worse.

Too bad Mr. Kaletsky lacks the nous to name the forefathers whose misdeeds have led to the suffering of these two impressive candidates.

... The certainty of a no-holds-barred attacks by the Republicans brings us to the potentially most tragic aspect of this election. If ever there was an election the Democrats ought to win this is the one. Yet on the basis of the primary results so far, they are all too likely to lose it. Mr Obama may be marginally ahead of Mrs Clinton in the popular vote but the Democrats seem to have forgotten that all the votes cast so far have been by their own supporters. In the general election their candidate will have to win over Republicans and right-leaning floating voters. Most of the evidence so far suggests that the Repulicans will find it much easier to frighten voters about the prospect of a President Obama than a President Clinton.

Cue Cardinal Ximinez, "Our chief weapon is fear. Fear and November surprise. Two! Our two chief weapons are fear, November surprise and our flashy red states. Three! Our three chief weapons are..."

Professional Democratic politicians now have the casting vote in their party's nomination and could yet force the two candidates into a “dream ticket” led by Mrs Clinton with Mr Obama as Vice President which would sweep all before it and would probably make Mr Obama unbeatable as a presidential candidate in 2012 or 2016. Yet the Democratic superdelegates who could now secure years of hegemony for their party seem to consider it “unfair” to use their professional judgment to overturn the “democratic” verdict of primary voters.

Must be some of that good old fashioned Democrat compunction about not overturing every priniciple of "democracy." Hmm..., but isn't hegemony supposed to be bad?

The Republicans will have no such compunctions about the fairness of launching personal attacks against a potentially vulnerable Democratic candidate. In this respect this Presidential contest may again manifest the tragedy of left-wing politics through the ages. Parties which care more about fairness than about power, end up achieving neither.

Those poor, fair Democrats. If only they would value power more then they could get what they deserve. Or should that be what we deserve?

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:38 AM | Comments (0)

April 23, 2008

Crisis? What Crisis?

Via Instapundit, we get Roger Kimball, who asks:

Why do politicians of whatever party love a crisis?

If I may, I will embellish Professor Reynolds answer by quoting Governor William J. LePetomaine:

"We have to protect our phoney baloney jobs here, gentlemen! We must do something about this immediately! Immediately! Immediately! Hurumph! Hurumph! Hurumph!"

DOWNDATE: A concurrent e-mail yields a sort of Instalanche.

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

Global Warming Climate Change

Is there anything it can't do?

Climate change could cause global conflicts as large as the two world wars but lasting for centuries unless the problem is controlled, a leading defence think tank has warned.

Is there anything besides spending money on think tanks that can save us?

The Royal United Services Institute said a tenfold increase in research spending, comparable to the amount spent on the Apollo space programme, will be needed if the world is to avoid the worst effects of changing temperatures.

Guess not, but there appears to be more hot air in the think tanks than the atmosphere:

Disconcerting as it may be to true believers in global warming, the average temperature on Earth has remained steady or slowly declined during the past decade, despite the continued increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, and now the global temperature is falling precipitously.

All four agencies that track Earth's temperature (the Hadley Climate Research Unit in Britain, the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, the Christy group at the University of Alabama, and Remote Sensing Systems Inc in California) report that it cooled by about 0.7C in 2007. This is the fastest temperature change in the instrumental record and it puts us back where we were in 1930. If the temperature does not soon recover, we will have to conclude that global warming is over.

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:19 PM | Comments (1)

April 22, 2008

Can It Possibly Be True?

The fate of our nation was decided today by fans of the Philadelphia Eagles?

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:07 PM | Comments (0)

April 21, 2008

Fear the Subjectivity

Al Gore speaks:

He answers: “Yes. I have to confess that I’ve recently begun to fear that I’m losing my objectivity on President Bush."

You can stop laughing now.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:19 PM | Comments (0)

Man Bites Dog

The UN has apparently adopted supply side economics:

The U.N. chief warned Sunday that the world must urgently increase food production to ease skyrocketing prices and pledged to set up a task force on a crisis threatening to destabilize developing nations.

Maybe that explains the recent midwestern earthquakes.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:00 PM | Comments (0)

April 07, 2008

Sentence of the Week

Well, as long as they insist:

However, the World Meteorological Organisation insists that this year's cooling has nothing to do with global climate change.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:14 PM | Comments (0)

April 06, 2008

An Observation About Dangerous Old Men (and Women)

I'll bet that John McCain will be the last person ever nominated for president by either one of the major parties that will have served in Vietnam. In fact, he may be the last person who served we get to vote for in either party for president for the next four or five elections. I started thinking about this after reading this grim Grim post (via Instapundit). You will need to read that post for this to make much sense. Go ahead, I'll wait.

Of the Democrats who either ran this year, considered running this year, or might otherwise be considered, Al Gore, James Webb, John Kerry and Wesley Clark served in Vietnam. Of these, only James Webb can be taken seriously as a potential nominee, but I don't think his hawkish credentials will appeal to the Democrat's base and he's burned his bridges with Republicans. Amazingly, of all the remaining Democrats on the horizon I can think of only Mike Gravel has ever served in the military. This represents a major cultural shift from, say, the 1970's or 1980's. Oh, and claiming to have suddenly remembered that thirty years ago you maybe wanted to consider the possibility of perhaps examining the feasibility of joining the military doesn't help matters much.

Of the Republicans who either ran this year, considered running this year, or might otherwise be considered, aside from John McCain, Ron Paul and Duncan Hunter served in Vietnam but neither of them are ever going to be nominated for President. Even more amazingly, there are no other Republicans on the horizon I can think of who have ever served in the military. This represents a major cultural shift from, say, ever.

The only wild card exluded from this analysis is General David Petraeus. I don't know if he is a Republican or a Democrat. Hard to imagine the Democrats and their thousand little tribes of activists embracing him. Almost as hard to imagine the Republicans embracing him, though for entirely different reasons. The cultural shifts alluded to above are going to continue to make it more and more difficult for someone to come out of the armed services and get nominated or elected to the highest office in the land. Our politicians are as much a reflection of society as vice versa. Honestly, it makes me almost wish we would reinstitute the draft. Otherwise, the folks in uniform and the ethos they represent are going to continue to be further and further marginalized in the halls of power and Big Media.

I find this a little troubling. Not that a a president has to have served, but that no one running for the office for perhaps the next twenty years is likely to have served. "Speak softly and carry a big stick" may be kind of hard to understand, debate and articulate through policy when no one competing for the top job has ever bothered to pick up a stick.

DOWNDATE: Another Instalanche. Thank you sir.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:19 PM | Comments (8)

April 04, 2008

Do They Know Wolfowitz Isn't There Anymore?

Considering that you can find someone to say absolutely anything, I have come to despise the substitution of this kind of cheap advocacy for news:

Developing countries and environmental groups accused the World Bank on Friday of trying to seize control of the billions of dollars of aid that will be used to tackle climate change in the next four decades.

So the World Bank is being accused of seizing ..., wait for it ..., the World Bank's money?

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

Controlling the Narrative

Provided without further comment:

Congressional Democrats are warning U.S. Iraq commander General David Petraeus, and the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, not to attempt to minimize the seriousness of the situation in Iraq when they testify to Congress next week.

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:44 PM | Comments (0)

Public Service

Pays rather better than I remember:

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, have made $109 million since 2000.

Being a pro-free market libertarian I don't begrudge them the money, but I found the next part interesting:

The couple paid taxes of $33 million and gave more than $10 million to charity between 2000, their last year in the White House, and 2007, the records released by the campaign showed.

That's an effective tax rate of 30%. I'd bet the Clintons, like Warren Buffett, have employees with higher effective tax rates.

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:37 PM | Comments (0)

March 31, 2008

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Some Truckers Plan Strike Over Diesel Costs

The funny thing is nothing will reduce prices quite like a drop in demand.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:29 PM | Comments (0)

Babble On, Sister

More precious pretensions, purple prose™ as Alice Walker writes on ..., wait for it ..., Obama:

On any given day we, collectively, become the goddess of the three directions and can look back into the past, look at ourselves just where we are, and take a glance, as well, into the future.

This is the second sentence of her paean to the Senator Obama.

By the way, this my official entry into the Steely Dan lyric competition. I patiently await the Instalanche. Note, rejected alternate titles included "I Wanna Be Your Holy Man." That ought to answer this.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:16 PM | Comments (0)

March 30, 2008

A Senior Moment

Senior Democrats mull Al Gore's nomination

This is perhaps the most wretched development in American politics since I reached the age of majority. I don't mean Al Gore as a candidate, however detestable that may be, but the idea that he will ride to the rescue of the aristocrats like some postmodern Scarlet Pimpernel. Let us never hear again of stolen or miscounted votes from people whose sense of entitlement has become so ingrained they now deem votes (and apparently voters) unnecessary and too unreliable.

Speaking of le Pimpernel Scarlette, this situation reminds me of this excerpt from a great tome of British history, wherein Edmund Blackadder is interviewing the Comte de Frou Frou in Mrs. Miggin's pie shop. The Comte de Frou Frou is secretly the Scarlet Pimpernel, though this fact is unknown to Edmund at the time:

Edmund: "...Now, listen, Frou Frou, would you like to earn some money?"

Comte de Frou Frou: "No, I wouldn't. I would like other people to earn it and then give it to me..."

Dude, this applies on so many levels it is scary.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:51 AM | Comments (0)

March 28, 2008

Ban the Ban, Ban

Can we leave the UN now?

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday condemned as "offensively anti-Islamic" a Dutch lawmaker's film that accuses the Koran of inciting violence.

Ban acknowledged efforts by the government of the Netherlands to stop the broadcast of the film, which was launched by Islam critic Geert Wilders over the Internet, and appealed for calm to those "understandably offended by it."

"There is no justification for hate speech or incitement to violence," Ban said in a statement. "The right of free expression is not at stake here."

Uh ok, so what is at stake?

"Freedom must always be accompanied by social responsibility," Ban said.

Uh huh, and let me guess, the UN is going to define "social responsibility" for us?

DOWNDATE: Maybe The One can help:

"Part of what my role in my politics is to get people who don't normally listen to each other to talk to each other, who [say] crazy things, who are offended by each other, for me to understand them and to maybe help them understand each other."

I guess a groundbreaking speech to heal the rift between Islamists and the rest of the world will be forthcoming any day.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:38 PM | Comments (0)

Better Doesn't Mean Good

Chelsea Says Hillary Would Make ‘Better’ President Than Father

Although why her judgment means anything here is beyond me.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:32 PM | Comments (0)

The Force Is Strong in This One

Is it just me or does it seem to anyone else as though Senator Obama can stand before the representatives of Big Media, put on his best Alec Guinness voice and say, "these aren't the issues you're looking for." Dutiful representatives of Big Media stare at him for a couple of seconds and then say, "these aren't the issues we're looking for," before turning and suddenly discovering that Senator McCain is old and Senator Clinton is, well, Senator Clinton.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:26 PM | Comments (0)

... That'll Be the Day I Go Back to Annandale

I wish I could write like this:

Ever see one of those creepy Eastern European films where the inmates take over the asylum and make grotesque faces at the camera while a sinister oom-pah band plays in the background? No? Well, now you have.

By all means, do watch the videos. Link via Tim Blair.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:01 AM | Comments (0)

March 27, 2008

On Second Thought, Let's Not Go There, 'Tis A Silly Place

I found few things that better illutstrate what's wrong with the media when it comes to our national elections than this.

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:24 PM | Comments (0)

March 26, 2008

Counting Roosting Chickens at Home Before They Hatch, Or Something

With the nonsense going on with the Democrat's nominating process and the potential defection of a lot of sore losers if their candidate doesn't win, I'm beginning to wonder if the Democrat majority in Congress is as safe and secure as vrtually everyone assumes it to be. Of course there are a lot of retiring Republicans and a lot more secure Democrat seats, but a 5% swing in many races could be tsunamic in its effect on the balance of power. Pendulums swing both ways. Everyone remembers the swing to the left in 2006, but the swing to the right in 1994 that took down a sitting Speaker of the House, not so much.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:05 PM | Comments (0)

OK

Chavez says U.S. relations could worsen with McCain

To be fair though, what couldn't?

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

Was There a Doubt?

Hillary owns up to one of her fibs, by claiming she is human.

Hillary Rodham Clinton said Tuesday she made a mistake in claiming that she came under hostile fire in Bosnia 12 years ago, as rival Barack Obama's campaign continued to challenge her credibility.

In a recent speech and interviews, the New York senator described a harrowing scene in Tuzla, Bosnia, in which she and her daughter, Chelsea, had to run for cover as soon as they landed for a visit in But video footage of the day showed a peaceful reception in which a young girl greeted the first lady on the tarmac.

Clinton told reporters in Pennsylvania on Tuesday that she erred in describing the scene, which she now realizes after talking with aides and others.

"So I made a mistake," she said. "That happens. It proves I'm human, which you know, for some people, is a revelation."

Revelation? I'd be a little less hasty with the "end times" allusions if I were in her shoes.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:37 AM | Comments (0)

March 24, 2008

Mayeb Obama Can Ask Ahmadinejad About This

Gee, who knew?

The most senior US general in Iraq has said he has evidence that Iran was behind Sunday's bombardment of Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone.

Obviously part of Bush's march to war with Iran!

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:59 PM | Comments (0)

From the Garden of Hedonism...

The serpent's head speaks:

The reaction of some of Mr. Clinton’s allies suggests that might have been a wise decision. “An act of betrayal,” said James Carville, an adviser to Mrs. Clinton and a friend of Mr. Clinton.

“Mr. Richardson’s endorsement came right around the anniversary of the day when Judas sold out for 30 pieces of silver, so I think the timing is appropriate, if ironic,” Mr. Carville said, referring to Holy Week.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:46 PM | Comments (0)

China Gets An Abject Lesson In Getting What They Asked For

While we can shake our head at headlines like this:

Dalai Lama and his allies are out to destroy Olympics, says China

... it remains utterly unfunny that so many one party "states" with roughly the same mentality caused by a complete lack of political competition exist all over this country. Take St. Louis for instance, where there is no one alive who has ever been elected to public office as a Republican.

China's ascent is not going to be very smooth over the next twenty years. Any guesses as to who they will blame after the Dalai Lama assumes room temperature?

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:41 PM | Comments (0)

March 21, 2008

If You Can't Be Trusted With the Little Stuff, How Do We Trust With the Big Stuff?

When you get so used to lying that you can no longer tell the difference between a lie and the truth, maybe it's time to rethink a misspent life:

Hillary Clinton has been regaling supporters on the campaign trail with hair-raising tales of a trip she made to Bosnia in March 1996. In her retelling, she was sent to places that her husband, President Clinton, could not go because they were "too dangerous." When her account was challenged by one of her traveling companions, the comedian Sinbad, she upped the ante and injected even more drama into the story. In a speech earlier this week, she talked about "landing under sniper fire" and running for safety with "our heads down."

There are numerous problems with Clinton's version of events.

As a reporter who visited Bosnia soon after the December 1995 Dayton Peace agreement, I can attest that the physical risks were minimal during this period, particularly at a heavily fortified U.S. Air Force base, such as Tuzla. Contrary to the claims of Hillary Clinton and former Army secretary Togo West, Bosnia was not "too dangerous" a place for President Clinton to visit in early 1996. In fact, the first Clinton to visit the Tuzla Air Force base was not Hillary, but Bill, on January 13, 1996.

I only posted this for the response by Sinbad:

According to Sinbad, who provided entertainment on the trip along with the singer Sheryl Crow, the "scariest" part was deciding where to eat. As he told Mary Ann Akers of The Post, "I think the only 'red-phone' moment was: 'Do we eat here or at the next place.'" Sinbad questioned the premise behind the Clinton version of events. "What kind of president would say 'Hey man, I can't go 'cause I might get shot so I'm going to send my wife. Oh, and take a guitar player and a comedian with you."

In even a substantitally less-than-perfect world, Senator Clinton couldn't show her face in public, much less aspire to the highest elected office in the land.

Link via Instapundit.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:27 PM | Comments (0)

Gunga Galunga... Gunga, Gunga-Galunga

The Dalai Lama says:

"I will go to Beijing."

Say hi to Nixon's shade for me.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:55 AM | Comments (2)

Cui Bono?

Why some of us are suspicious of an ever-expanding government:

The State Department says it is trying to determine whether three contract workers had a political motive for looking at Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's passport file.

This is appalling, yet utterly predictable. My first thought was Hillary Clinton, what with the FBI files and whatnot, but then my mind works differently than others:

Bill Burton, a spokesman for Obama's presidential campaign, called for a complete investigation. "This is an outrageous breach of security and privacy, even from an administration that has shown little regard for either over the last eight years," Burton said. "Our government's duty is to protect the private information of the American people, not use it for political purposes."

Yeah, evil Bush! What, you think Karl Rove isn't still calling the shots? We need some changy hopiness that will give this paranoid freak more power.

DOWNDATE: Not wanting to be left out:

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has told Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton that her passport file was breached in 2007. In a statement from her Senate office, Clinton said she had been contacted by Rice. The State Department plans to brief Clinton's staff Friday about the unauthorized breach.

DOWNDATE: Bartender, a round of parity and bipartisanship for everybody:

The passport files of presidential candidates Sen. Hillary Clinton, a Democrat, and Sen. John McCain, a Republican, were improperly accessed by State Department workers, a U.S. official said on Friday.

Why anyone thinks this doesn't happen with any government records whenever someone with suction wants to find out something about somebody is what I can't figure out.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:46 AM | Comments (0)

Subtle?

Powerline's post on Senator Obama saying "typical white people" includes a video of his speech, but the freeze frame there looks awfully familiar:

obama.bmp

Where have I seen that before? Oh, yeah:

malcolm-x.jpg

Do you think this was done intentionally, subconciously, or is it merely sheer coincidence?

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:12 AM | Comments (0)

March 20, 2008

Believe It Or Not, Not All the News Out of Zimbabwe Is Bad

Instapundit writes:

ALEX SINGLETON: "People say that the market promotes selfishness, but it turns out that it is when things are owned collectively that greed thrives."

Before opening his hyperlink, this seems obvious as the tragedy of the commons writ large. After opening the link, well, this is a poor example to illustrate the point as the example offered suffers a bit from implying correlation equals causation.

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

March 19, 2008

Whatever You Do, Don't Mention the Warmening

No one has seen Al Gore lately. Perhaps he's been hiding in his underwater lair:

Some 3,000 scientific robots that are plying the ocean have sent home a puzzling message.

It's only puzzling if you think you already know the answer.

These diving instruments suggest that the oceans have not warmed up at all over the past four or five years.

And if the observable data doesn't fit the theory, well... blame the observers!

That could mean global warming has taken a breather. Or it could mean scientists aren't quite understanding what their robots are telling them.

Aw, to hell with it. Read the article if you like and see if you can find anywhere that the possibility that global warming isn't happening is even for the briefest moment considered. Note carefully how the authors and the experts start generating theories to explain the anomalies rather than questioning their assumptions. Ever heard of Occam's Razor?

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:53 PM | Comments (0)

Killin' Heller

After Kelo and McCain-Feingold, I no longer take anything involving the Supreme Court for granted. As I think more and more about Heller and SCOTUS, I worry that early media reports are all a setup and that individual rights advocates are going to be sorely disappointed in what comes forth, especially if Chief Justice Roberts compromises to get something better than a 5-4 result. Here's hoping Mr. Heller's plea to be able to have a firearm to defend himself and not just our public, ahem, servants gets a fair and equitable hearing and result. Justice should indeed be blind, but there's no reason for her to be deaf and dumb as well.

If my worst fears are realized, spoons (and spoonerisms) may be all we are left with to defend ourselves.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:38 PM | Comments (0)

The Ninth Circle of Heller

More on the SCOTUS review of the Second Amendment:

Justice Stephen Breyer appeared reluctant to second-guess local officials.

That's something to be filed away for future reference on something less, shall we say, progressive. But here's what you really gotta love about a progressive mindset:

Is it "unreasonable for a city with a very high crime rate ... to say no handguns here?" Breyer asked.

Does Justive Breyer really think that an executive edict actually got rid of all the handguns in the Disctrict? Of course, the fact that the handgun ban has been in place for thirty years in Washington, D.C., with crime steadily rising during all that time ought to plant a seed of doubt in an open-minded, thinking individual, unless, of course, you never actually worry about having to account for the results of your good intentions. Personally, I expect a little more penetrating thought and insight from someone wearing these robes. But I digress.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:26 PM | Comments (0)

March 18, 2008

Dekarmafication

His Zenness better be careful about incentivizing the Chinese government in ways other than he intended:

The Dalai Lama responded to charges from China that he orchestrated deadly riots in Lhasa to sabotage the Olympics with a pledge to resign as temporal leader of Tibet’s Buddhist people if the violence — on both sides — did not stop.

This sounds like he thinks he has Master of the Universe type power.

Technically, the Dalai Lama cannot resign because he is revered as the reincarnation of his predecessor but he has often suggested that he will not return again.

Gee, what will Carl Spackler do on his deathbed now?

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:41 PM | Comments (0)

The Wright Stuff

Good speech, good man. Not a great speech, not a great man. But this is all a sideshow to the fact that Senator Obama is an illiberal utopian statist. I'll never vote for him, but my choice has nothing to do with his relationship to Rev. Wright or how he spins it.

Not that anyone will listen to me, but, sadly, I believe it was a strategic error to try and get serious at this point in the campaign, regardless of the specific merits or demerits of what he said. Most of the country isn't paying attention to the election and for many of them this controversy will now be the first time they have paid more than a passing thought to Senator Obama. However good a politician Senator Obama may or may not be, he seems to lack the killer instinct you have to have to succeed on this particular field of battle. Though the analogy is a bit strained, Senator Clinton (and her enablers) just succeeded in convincing Senator Obama to fling her into the briar patch. He's going to have a hard time catching her again and even if he does it won't be without pain and loss.

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:13 PM | Comments (1)

Heller On Earth, Or the Road to Heller Is Paved With Good Intentions

The Supreme Court seems ready to validate the, in my humble opinion, rather clear language of the Second Amendment concerning an individual's right to bear arms. But hey, I thought the same thing about the right to free speech too, so what do I know? Anyway, the usual suspects are running scared.

Personally, I'd like everyone to have to sit and listen to the audio clip I heard over lunch of Justice Stevens saying there was no right to self defense in the US Constitution. Folks need to know just how far from common sense some of our betters have strayed.

For posterity, here is the actual text of the Second Amendment:

"A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:08 PM | Comments (0)

March 17, 2008

If You Give Into Them Every Time They Cry, They Will Become Little Tyrants But They Won't Remember Why

See if you can guess which one is from the news and which one is a lyric by Robyn Hitchcock:

"British police want to collect DNA samples from children as young as five who 'exhibit behavior indicating they may become criminals in later life'. A spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers argued that since some schools already take pupils' fingerprints, the collection and permanent storage of DNA samples was the logical next step. And of course, if anyone argues that branding naughty five-year-olds as lifelong criminals will stigmatize them, the proposed solution will be to take samples from all children."

... and ...

Uncorrected personality traits that seem whimsical in a child may prove to be ugly in a fully grown adult. Lack of involvement with the father, or over-involvement with the mother, can result in lack of ability to relate to sexual fears, and in homosexual leanings, narcissism, transexuality (girls from the waist up/men from the waist down), attempts to be your own love object. Reconcile your parents to you by becoming both at once! Even Marilyn Monroe was a man, but this tends to get overlooked by ourmother-fixated, overweight, sexist media. So, uncorrected personality traits that seem whimsical in a child may prove to be ugly in a fully grown adult. If you give in to them every time they cry, they will become little tyrants but they won't remember why. Then when they are thwarted by people in later life, they will become psychotic and they won't make an ideal husband or wife. The spoiled baby grows into the escapist teenager who's the adult alcoholic who's the middle-aged suicide. So, uncorrected personality traits that seem whimsical in a child may prove to be ugly in a fully grown adult.

Extra credit for determining whether Robyn's lyric is more applicable to the kids or the police. I admit it, I just love anything with the word "thwarted" in it. Aw heck, while I'm at it, here's more Robyn and still more. Sadly, I couldn't find My Wife and My Dead Wife.


Posted by Charles Austin at 11:46 PM | Comments (1)

Don't Sell Youself Short

As Ty once said, "you're a tremendous slouch":

The conventional narrative for 2008 is that the Democrats would have to try really hard not to win the White House.

Gotta give an A for effort.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:28 PM | Comments (0)

Isn't that Special?

Well, no:

The term "special relationship" is no longer in use at Britain's Washington Embassy. One British diplomat told Sunday Telegraph journalist Tim Shipman that the term wasn't much of a career enhancer.

The new British Ambassador to the USA "frowns on the phrase". Meanwhile Gordon Brown hasn't had dinner with America's Ambassador to Britain since becoming Prime Minister.

Gordon Brown (who hasn't spoken regularly to George W Bush) prefers to work with EU allies rather than focus on the transatlantic relationship.

Churchill must be rolling in his grave.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:20 PM | Comments (1)

Don't Tase Me Bro

Clintons Prod Dems on Delegate Strength

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:13 PM | Comments (0)

Free Tibet

Great bumper sticker, man. Really let's me know you care, you know, like, in theory, anyway. In real life, not so much.

Hundreds of Tibetans have died in unrest in Lhasa and elsewhere in the Chinese-ruled Himalayan region, the India-based Tibetan parliament-in-exile said in a statement Monday.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:05 PM | Comments (0)

His Money Isn't Fungible

Unlike his, well, you know:

Gov. Paterson denies using state or campaign money to pay for liaisons with another woman during a rocky patch in his marriage.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:00 PM | Comments (0)

March 16, 2008

Freedom Is Slavery, Yada, Yada, Yada

"There can be no freedom without limits." -- Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:19 PM | Comments (0)

Europreening

Via Drezner via Instapundit, notes from the 2008 Brussels Forum, specifically two items within item 7 of 10:

7) The most potent symbol of waning American power at this conference: the entire U.S. Congressional delegation didn't make it because their DC-9 had to make a fueling stop in Newfoundland, and failed to re-start.

Meanwhile, the dollar sunk to a new low against the euro, which means that the EU economy is now larger than the American economy.

With respect to the former, methinks this is reading a bit too much into one data point. I wonder what finished second in the America in deline metaphor competition? With respect to the latter, I look forward to the economically larger Europe paying for our defense for the next 60 years.

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:11 PM | Comments (0)

Change!

In his story with respect to Rezko and Wright, and Hope! you will buy it. Mostly though, he just seems sorry that people are noticing.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:57 PM | Comments (0)

March 15, 2008

What Would Muhammad Do?

Muhammad Ali, that is. Is Obama just laying against the ropes letting Hillary throw everything she can until she's exhausted, emotionally, mentally, and, most importantly, financially? We can call it the hope-a-dope strategery.

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:23 PM | Comments (0)

Roger Simons Asks, So I'll Answer

With Obama Wounded and Hillary Unappealing, Will Gore Finally Surface?

No.

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:15 PM | Comments (0)

Ends, Means and All That

Via Joe Gandleman via Instapundit, we get this gem from Daily Kos:

"Would Obama encourage that sort of anger, bullying, intimidation and hate from his followers toward another Democrat and her supporters? Do those followers of his help his cause at the end of the day?"

Because, of course, the cause permits anger, bullying, intimidation and hate if your opponents aren't Democrats.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:58 PM | Comments (0)

March 14, 2008

Words Fail Me

Gere sees Olympics boycott if China mishandles Tibet

Because, of course, they've handled it so well thus far.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:31 PM | Comments (0)

Obama

Barack Obama has always been a tabulas rosa on which people project their progressive fantasies. Now that the lights have been turned up a bit, it is unsurprising, to me at least, that people are finding the same sort of blemishes in the reflection they have admired that exist on their own selves.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:22 PM | Comments (0)

The Bastards Say, "Welcome"

I stole the title from Tracy Kidder's The Soul of a New Machine, but it fits my feelings for this piece by David Mamet. I suppose I should be more gracious and thankful that he's seen the light, but I struggle with this a bit since, until last week, he's obviously thought I was a moron from before I reached the age of maturity for thinking these very same things things.

To be honest though, there's a PhD thesis in responding to the lunatic comment thread his little piece generated.

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

Now, Even Investment Bankers Are Victims To Be Made Whole By the Gummint

Fed Races to Rescue Bear Stearns In Bid to Steady Financial System

Yeah that's it, to, um, steady the financial system. Do the people doing this or those reading this have any idea how utterly obscene this is? Big Media and Big Politics have been discouting risk for so long they've forgotten that it exists in all investments. Tell me again about how the government needs to be bigger. Especially since I've made all my mortgage payments on a house I bought for under $200K eight years ago, but will be taxed to pay for folks that can't make their $5,000 house payments. And I don't even get one of those "rebates" being offered up to he'p the economy.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:58 PM | Comments (0)

February 13, 2008

Another One Bites the Dust

The very definition of chutzpah:

The Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas joined Hezbollah on Wednesday in accusing Israel of murdering one of the top commanders of the Lebanese Shiite movement, saying it was a "new example of Zionist gangsterism."

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:39 PM | Comments (1)

September 24, 2007

Free Speech for Me But Not for Thee

Right, Mr. Bollinger?

Iran’s judiciary has sealed off the offices of a popular news Web site critical of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s policies after journalists continued to update it despite official filtering, the Web site said.

Meanwhile, ...

Sure we'd invite Hitler to speak, says Columbia dean

Because like Churchill said, "to jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war." Unless, of course, you grasp of reality is capable of advancing beyond such limited dichotomies to deal with, say, Hitler's policy of burn-burn the Jew-Jew, the Taliban's policy of kill-kill the little girls who want to learn to read, or al Qaeda's policy of boom-boom for anyone not sufficiently submissive to their will.

FYI, the quote from Churchill is inexact as it was taken from untranscibed conversations in 1954, and pretty clearly must have been taken out of context given Churchill's experiences in the 1930s. But I digress.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:55 PM | Comments (5)

Don't Do Drugs

Mmmkay?

U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton said Sunday she can appeal to Republicans as well as Democrats on the presidential trail.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:43 PM | Comments (0)

Permanently

This made sense until the very last word ...

The Bush administration said Monday the only way to permanently fix Social Security is through some combination of benefit cuts and tax increases.
That was one of the key findings in a new paper on Social Security released by the Treasury Department in an effort to achieve common ground on the politically explosive issue.

"Social Security can be made permanently solvent only by reducing the present value of scheduled benefits and/or increasing the present value of scheduled tax increases," the paper said. The Treasury paper said that while other changes to the giant benefit program might be desirable "only these changes can restore solvency permanently."

Meanwhile, Senator Obama has half a solution ...

Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., is considering a major tax hike on the rich to shore up the nation's Social Security system.

I'll begin to take Democratic proposals to fix Social Security seriously when they choose to address the spending problem as well, rather than just raising taxes.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:41 PM | Comments (0)

September 13, 2007

John Ashcroft for AG

Why not? Last time he was in the news, the Democrats loved him.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:53 PM | Comments (0)

September 10, 2007

Coffee

Coffee. Coffee. Coffee. Coffee. Coffee. Coffee. Coffee. Coffee. Coffee. Coffee. Coffee. Coffee. Coffee. Coffee.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:04 AM | Comments (2)

September 09, 2007

Push On the Poppies and Make 'Em Come Up

With apologies to Ween for the title, I haven't bothered to watch the video or read the transcript because I could care less what Osama bin Laden says, and nothing I might see or read is going to help lead to his capture..., but that assumes he is still alive. What if the fake beard is to help cover up the fact that it isn't really him?

DOWNDATE: Ok, maybe it's him but he's still dead.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:11 AM | Comments (1)

July 19, 2007

Down In Plames

Plame Lawsuit Dismissed in CIA Leak Case

Note to Joe and Valerie, your fifteen minutes are up.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:29 PM | Comments (1)

See What Happens When No One Around Dares To Challenge Or Contradict You

Wow, I'm impressed ...

The Pentagon told Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton that her questions about how the U.S. plans to eventually withdraw from Iraq boosts enemy propaganda.

In a stinging rebuke to a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Undersecretary of Defense Eric Edelman responded to questions Clinton raised in May in which she urged the Pentagon to start planning now for the withdrawal of American forces.

A copy of Edelman's response, dated July 16, was obtained Thursday by The Associated Press.

"Premature and public discussion of the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq reinforces enemy propaganda that the United States will abandon its allies in Iraq, much as we are perceived to have done in Vietnam, Lebanon and Somalia," Edelman wrote.

Unfortunately, I now expect this article to be updated soon to "former Undersecretary of Defense Eric Edelman ..."

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:11 PM | Comments (0)

"No, You Misunderstood Me, I Said There Was No Bathing in Blood"

And W is the dumb one ...

Kerry: No Bloodbath In Vietnam After US Redeployment

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:04 PM | Comments (2)

Yoda: "Do Or Do Not. There Is No Try."

'I DON'T THINK SHE'S TRYING TO BE A MAN'

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:57 PM | Comments (0)

Run, Forest Run

Gore: human species in a race for its life

(Original inspiration via Tim Blair)

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:52 PM | Comments (0)

July 16, 2007

That's the Chicago Way

He puts one of your men in the hospital, you put one of his in the morgue. He puts one of your men in the morgue, you expel four diplomats ...

The poisoned spy murder case has grown into a Cold War stand-off after Britain announced the expulsion of four Russian diplomats.

Britain also said it would suspend visa negotiations in retaliation for Moscow's refusal to extradite chief suspect and former KGB agent Andrei Lugovoy over Alexander Litvinenko's death.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said the UK's actions were "immoral" and would have serious consequences.

No word from the Russian Foreign Ministry regarding the morality or "unserious consequences" of simply ignoring the murder of Putin critics in London by polonium poisoning.

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:18 PM | Comments (0)

Poor You

Edwards' tour highlights poverty

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

July 13, 2007

Santayana Comes To Mind *

Some people are up in arms about this ...

Britain's World War II prime minister Winston Churchill has been cut from a list of key historical figures recommended for teaching in English secondary schools, a government agency says.

But it gets worse ...

The radical overhaul of the school curriculum for 11- to 14-year-olds is designed to bring secondary education up to date and allow teachers more flexibility in the subjects they teach, the Government said.

But although Adolf Hitler, Mahatma Gandhi, Joseph Stalin and Martin Luther King have also been dropped from the detailed guidance accompanying the curriculum, Sir Winston's exclusion is likely to leave traditionalists aghast.

Not knowing the heroes and villains of the past whose actions shaped the world we now live in is definitely not a good thing.

* "Those that do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

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

WWGWD

George Washington, that is ...

International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander, in a speech in Washington on Thursday, said while Britain stood beside the United States in fighting terrorism, isolationism did not work in an interdependent world.

"In the 20th century a country's might was too often measured in what they could destroy. In the 21st, strength should be measured by what we can build together," Alexander said, in comments interpreted by British media as signaling a change in the British government's relationship with Washington.

[...]

Alexander said in the speech at the Council of Foreign Relations that nations must form new alliances "not just to protect us from the world but ones which reach out to the world."

Because, heaven knows, we aren't yet entangled in a sufficient number of foreign alliances.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:45 PM | Comments (0)

All We Are Saying ....

Is Give Petraeus a Chance.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:38 PM | Comments (0)

July 12, 2007

Help Take a Byte Out of Crime

I wonder if the NHS will use the videos to track the patrons of donut shops so they can deny them service in the future ...

Police officers in the UK are to be given head-mouted video cameras to film incidents and arrests, the footage of which can then be used in evidence.

The Home Office is to give police £3 million to fund a national roll-out of head cameras after regional trials proved they were successful in fighting crime, the Government has announced.

I wonder if the Bobbies can turn them off, or if videos are accessible through a FOIA type request. Hmm..., do they even have FOIA type requests in ther UK? Or perhaps more importantly, the EU?

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

Cognitive Dissonance

In this corner ...

Nobel Peace Prize winner Betty Williams came from Ireland to Texas to declare that President Bush should be impeached.

In a keynote speech at the International Women's Peace Conference on Wednesday night, Ms. Williams told a crowd of about 1,000 that the Bush administration has been treacherous and wrong and acted unconstitutionally.

"Right now, I could kill George Bush," she said at the Adam's Mark Hotel and Conference Center in Dallas. "No, I don't mean that. How could you nonviolently kill somebody? I would love to be able to do that."

And in this corner ...

Still, even as Nixon's lieutenants explored every avenue for defeating Democrat George McGovern and nullifying critics of all stripes — "hit them" was a favorite phrase — the president brooded over his reputation as a hard man whose gentle side was not being seen by the public.

Nixon called that side of him "the whole warmth business."

In 1970, he wrote an 11-page, single-spaced memo detailing his acts of kindness to staff and strangers and expressing regret that he was getting no credit for being "nicey-nice."

I might be wrong, but generally speaking and this precedent notwithstanding, Ms. Williams comments could easily be construed as a threat to the President of the United States, especially given the enthusiastic reception her comments received, and, IIRC, that is a felony. Without bothering to respond to Ms. Williams silliness regarding Muslims and President Bush, it is substantially disconcerting to me that approximately half of a predominantly female audience at a conference held in the United States featuring female Nobel Peace Prize winners would applaud a statement about killing a sitting US president. Where were the boos or even a small number of people who walked out? Conference chairwoman, Carol Donovan, merely noting afterwards that Ms. Williams did not speak for the conference, but only for herself, seems like a rather weak response to me. If she had instead noted that Ms. Williams comments were remarkably disgraceful for someone whose notice, fame, and even appearance before this august body was because of her espousal and commitment to non-violence, as well as being ungracious to the country hosting the conference, not to mention being perhaps illegal, my ever increasing disillusionment with progressives of all stripes might have been lessened somewhat. Alas, it is not to be.

As for Richard Nixon, well, bleh.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:48 PM | Comments (0)

July 10, 2007

Not That There's Anything Wrong With That

Presidential Candidates In First Ever Gay Debate

Is it rude to ask what makes a debate gay?

For the first time the leading candidates for the presidency will hold a televised debate devoted solely to LGBT issues.

The one-hour event will be held on August 9 and broadcast on gay network LOGO at 9:00 pm ET (6:00 pm ET) and through live streaming video at LOGOonline.com.

Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards have confirmed they will participate. Several other Democratic candidates also may join the debate.

Ok, gay, lesbian, which one is transgendered? I see the thought, "What was I thinking?" crossing their minds when they see the campaign commercials and YouTube videos that will be generated from this. Whose idea was this?

The debate was put together by LOGO and HRC.

No, that's not Hillary Rodham Clinton, but Human Rights Campaign.

The panelists in a statement said they plan to cover a range of issues including relationship recognition, marriage equality, workplace fairness, the military, hate crimes, HIV/AIDS and other important issues.

Weird how stoning or knocking walls down on homosexuals didn't make the list.

The LGBT vote is considered a decisive electoral force and according to exit poll data make up approximately 4 percent of the voting population.

That would be 12,000,000 people in the US. Hey, that's more than watched Live Earth!

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:44 PM | Comments (0)

July 09, 2007

Pique Oil

Oil experts see supply crisis in five years

No doubt. Because large consultancy fees are difficult to maintain if you call press conferences to announce that everything is ok.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:22 PM | Comments (2)

Rocky Mountain Sigh

Several people in the blogosphere have already taken down Colin Powell for his shameful Bill Clintonesque historical revisionism and blame shifting in Aspen concerning the war in Iraq and his unsuccessful efforts to stop it. No doubt he worked harder on trying to educate and persuade Bush for two and one-half hours than he worked on anything in his life. Time precludes any decent fisking, though this article is a target rich environment. I'll just note one sentence from former Secretary of State Powell for posterity:

Powell believes that a reduction in US forces will have to be accompanied by talks with Syria and Iran. “You have to talk to the people you dislike most in this dangerous world.”

After all, talking with monomanical tyrants who are, by their own admission, so clearly and unambiguously enemies has such a fine pedigree. Seems like I've heard something like Secretary Powell's lament before:

"You can imagine what a bitter blow it is to me that all my long struggle to win peace has failed. Yet I cannot believe that there is anything more, or anything different, that I could have done, and that would have been more successful..."

Extra bonus points if you know who said that and when.

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:10 PM | Comments (0)

Johnny Turk He Was Ready, He Primed Himself Well

Despite the recent wishes of certain political opponents which passed for news and insightful (inciteful?) analysis in some circles regarding an imminent surrender withdrawal in Iraq, it just ain't so:

President Bush is not contemplating withdrawing forces from Iraq now despite an erosion of support among Republicans for his war policy, the White House said Monday.

Could this be why?

Turkey has massed 140,000 soldiers on its border with northern Iraq, Iraq's foreign minister said Monday, calling the neighboring country's fears of Kurdish rebels based there "legitimate" but better resolved through negotiation.

Or big pointed firesticks.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:13 PM | Comments (0)

Smarts Imitating Life

By now, everyone's seen this article (Headline: Hearts over minds, he tells Democrats) about the scientist who uses brain scans to convince activist Democrats that they need to focus on emotional, rather than rational, appeals and connections to win votes. This is news? They needed to wait for validating brain scans to know this?

Personally, my favorite part of the article dwells on the influence of media mogul wives who are pushing this. Ah, the non-idle rich.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:31 PM | Comments (0)

There's No Need to Fear, Underdog Is Here

Sometimes they walk right into it...

The Davenport, Iowa, campaign headquarters for presidential candidate Barack Obama was burglarized Friday evening.

Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor says two laptop computers and some campaign literature were taken. A campaign worker discovered the burglary this morning, and a report was filed with Davenport police.

Vietor says that it doesn't appear that it was anything sensitive or irreplaceable was taken.

Because there's nothing sensitive or irreplaceable in Barack Obama's campaign headquarters, including the candidate?

Thank you, I'll be here all week. Try the veal.

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

July 08, 2007

I'm Cuckoo for Co-Presidents

I'm always surprised, well, not really, that Mrs. Clinton gets a pass for the mistakes of her first two terms as co-president:

As Bill and Hillary Clinton were campaigning in Iowa last week to put themselves back in the White House, a Democratic strategist warned their two-for-one strategy had trouble written all over it.

Dropping any pretense she is seeking the presidency in her own right, Hillary and her husband, former president Bill Clinton, campaigned arm in arm together in a Fourth of July swing through the first caucus state. The New York senator "embraced the role of virtual incumbent ... promising to restore conditions -- in the economy and in the government -- to the way they were during her husband's administration," the Washington Post's Anne Kornblut reported last week.

Jeez, doesn't the 22nd amendment kick in here somewhere?

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:26 PM | Comments (3)

They Wouldn't Click It If It Wasn't True

By now, everyone must have heard about the latest TRUTHER, Mademoiselle Boutin:

Asked in an interview last November, before she became minister, whether she thought Bush might be behind the attacks, Boutin says: "I think it is possible. I think it is possible."

Boutin backs her assertion by pointing to the large number of people who visit websites that challenge the official line over the September 11 strikes against U.S. cities.

"I know that the websites that speak of this problem are websites that have the highest number of visits ... And I tell myself that this expression of the masses and of the people cannot be without any truth."

Honestly, it is difficult to believe that anyone this dim could manage bathing and dressing herself in the morning, much less being a minister in the French government.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:18 PM | Comments (0)

July 04, 2007

Giving Prime Minister Brown the Full Monty

Python, that is. Reading all the articles and commentary on PM Brown mandating the non-utterance of, well, of it which must not be named, I half expect to say something like this in a press conference:

Yes, the fanatics who did this are, well, it is spelled "M" "U" "S" "L" "I" "M", but it is pronounced "Throat Warbling Mangrove."

Winston Churchill and Eric Blair must be rolling over in their graves at the misuse of language and inability, or unwillingness, to identify the enemy clearly.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:00 PM | Comments (0)

Whatever You Do, Don't Mention the War

Basil Fawlty would feel right at home here:

Gordon Brown doesn't do charisma. In contrast to Tony Blair, the new British leader has offered no emotive sound bites, no promises of tough new laws and no talk of a "war on terror" since the failed attacks in London and Glasgow.

But I really like the headline:

Britons Cheer Brown for Attacks Response

Should that be non-response? Oh, and apparently, don't identify the enemy either:

Gordon Brown has banned ministers from using the word “Muslim” in ­connection with the ­terrorism crisis. The Prime Minister has also instructed his team – including new Home Secretary Jacqui Smith – that the phrase “war on ­terror” is to be dropped.

Ah, the love of death that dare not speak its name.

They had diverse backgrounds, coming from countries around the globe, but all shared youth and worked in medicine. They also had a common goal, authorities suspect: to bring havoc and death to the heart of Britain...

"To think that these guys were a sleeper cell and somehow were able to plan this operation from the different places they were, and then orchestrate being hired by the NHS so they could get to the UK, then get jobs in the same area — I think that's a planning impossibility," said Bob Ayres, a former U.S. intelligence officer now at London's Chatham House think tank.

"A much more likely scenario is they were here together, they discovered that they shared some common ideology, and then they decided to act on this while here in the UK," he said.

Presumably any attempt to identify and name this ideology is right out.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:45 AM | Comments (0)

Freedom of Religion

Or freedom from religion?

The American Civil Liberties Union sued the city of Slidell on Tuesday for displaying a painting of Jesus in a courthouse lobby, saying it violates the constitutional separation of church and state.

The city of Slidell resides in St. Tammany Parish in Louisiana. Presumably the ACLU will also be suing to have the name of the parish changed to something less Christianist and perhaps to have the whole concept of parishes replaced by secular counties in Louisiana.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:36 AM | Comments (1)

December 17, 2006

It's Scottish, and It's Crap

Strange, I would have thought that the citizens, or at least a subset of the victims of crimes would be their customers:

ACCUSED murderers, rapists, robbers and other criminals are being referred to as "customers" by Scottish court officials in a move last night condemned as "stupid" and "inappropriate".

The Scottish Court Service (SCS) has ordered staff to refer to all accused criminals awaiting trial as customers under a new strategy to make sure everyone's needs are taken into account. But victims' groups and politicians have condemned the move as an example of corporate-speak at its worst.

But, philosophically speaking, what this means for the term "civil servants" is somehwat unclear to me if we are now the government's customers instead of its masters.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:02 AM | Comments (0)

An Observation

Senator Obama has peaked way too early.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:57 AM | Comments (0)

Meet the New Boss, Same As the Old Boss

I wonder how many stars Ahmadinejad had from SAVAK back in the '70s?

University authorities in Iran have adopted a "star rating" system for politically-active students as part of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's crackdown on dissent within the academic elite.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:56 AM | Comments (0)

"Here's Johnny!"

John Edwards is running for President. Again.

johny.jpg

The resemblance to Jack Torrance is eerie.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:42 AM | Comments (1)

December 11, 2006

Gravitas

As I gaze in shock and awe at the Big Media lovefest surrounding Senator Obama:

Sen. Obama Encouraged to Seek Presidency

I recall that in 2000, according to many pundits, a Yale graduate, Harvard MBA, former fighter pilot and sitting governor of Texas lacked the gravitas to be President. So, what sort of gravitas does Senator Obama bring to the table? Or isn't that important any longer?

Folks, what we are witnessing is a textbook case of what psychologists call projection. I have a great respect for true leadership, but this fawning over someone whose primary qualifications are to have no qualifications to please take over and guide us poor souls to the promised land scares the bejeebus out of me.

The individual is dead! Long live the collective and our Dear Leader!

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:45 AM | Comments (0)

The Feeling Is Mutual

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the UN in all it's transnational progressive glory:

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in his farewell address, criticized the Bush administration, warning that America must not sacrifice its Democratic ideals while waging war against terrorism.

And what exactly does Mr. Annan know about Democratic ideals? Unless, of course, he's referring to Democratic National Committee ideals. Gee, and what does Mr. Annan think is important, aside from world class family graft?

Annan summed up five principles that he considers essential: collective responsibility, global solidarity, rule of law, mutual accountability and multilateralism.

Noticeably absent are any reference to freedom and individual liberties. Needless to say, our first principles don't have much in common. Here are a few stock phrases from our nation's founding Mr. Annan might want to familiarize himself with before lecturing Americans on Democracy: "the tyranny of the majority" and "consent of the governed."

Pardon my lack of diplomacy in responding to your fare not so well speech Mr. Annan, but go to hell.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:42 AM | Comments (1)

December 10, 2006

The Enemy

Gee, what would FDR think of this post Pearl Harbor Day commentary?

NYT RICH: 'WE HAVE LOST IN IRAQ'

Or so says our brave theater critic. But, no, Mr. Rich. We only lose if we dishonor our ideals, our integrity, and all those who have served and sacrificed and leave before we are done. But, of course, that's the "It's Vietnam, man" game plan, isn't it? I wonder what kind of war Mr. Rich and those who think like him could ever win -- ever.

It took Edward Gibbons ten years and six volumes to document the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. I fear our demise from the highpoint of the post World War II era will not take nearly as long to document. You can hear your chains rattling long before they make contact with your skin. Folks, our civilization is dying.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:09 AM | Comments (1)

November 22, 2006

Ku Ku Kachoo

Me: I want to say two words to you. Just two words.

Angry Leftists: Yes, sir.

Me: Are you listening?

Angry Leftists: Yes, I am.

Me: Plastic turkey.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:54 PM | Comments (0)

Is Our Children Learning?

Do you know what my favorite part of this story is?

A high school Spanish teacher has resigned because of an extra-credit assignment he gave that included anti-American phrases and defended the Palestinian group Hamas.

It was an extra-credit assignment.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:28 PM | Comments (0)

So, Pre-emptive Strikes Are OK?

Next thing you know, she'll be telling the members of her caucus that they are either with her or against her:

Pelosi readying a pre-emptive House agenda

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

"Very Harsh Words"

Well, to be fair, that is the only weapon in the UN's arsenal:

After leaving Sudan with some very harsh words, the U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator has issued a forceful call to action on the deplorable conditions in Darfur.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:22 PM | Comments (1)

She Says This Like It's a Bad Thing

Stupid seperation of powers:

Former attorney general Janet Reno has taken the unusual step of openly criticizing the Bush administration's anti-terrorism strategy -- joining seven other former Justice Department officials in warning that the indefinite detention of U.S. terrorism suspects could become commonplace unless the courts intervene.

How can anyone use the word "unusual" when it comes to former Clinton Administration members engagaing in criticism of the current administration, especially when there are legacies to be protected and indictments to be avoided?

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

All Your Childrens Are Belong to Us

Just a spoonful of good intentions helps the statism go down, the statism go down, the statism go down...

A team of "supernannies" is to be sent to some of Britain's most deprived areas to help parents control antisocial children, Tony Blair revealed today. The parenting experts will be sent to 77 areas with high levels of unruly behaviour, teenage pregnancies and truancy from school.

The £4m scheme will also force the parents of disruptive children to attend parenting courses.

Writing in the Sun newspaper, the prime minister claimed the initiative would tackle the root causes of crime and disorder.

Heaven help us when they discover that the real root cause of disuprive children is ..., wait for it ..., having children.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:12 PM | Comments (0)

Curtains?

Pelosi's Next Big Call

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

November 19, 2006

There Are Still A Few Bastions of Strength and Perseverence

John Howard:

PRIME Minister John Howard has hailed the "heroic" perseverance of Iraqis since the US-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein three years ago as proof that the military operation has not been disastrous.

Stepping up his defence of the coalition's presence in Iraq amid daily bombings, murders and kidnappings, Mr Howard rejected suggestions that the invasion had been a disaster.

Condoleezza Rice:

THE US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, has described as unacceptable a French proposal to tax the imports of countries that refuse to sign the Kyoto Protocol.

In the sharpest divide yet between the two main global approaches to dealing with climate change, Dr Rice said the idea would be "wildly unpopular" and predicted it would never be implemented.

John Bolton:

See below.

Joe Lieberman:

Connecticut voters who worried that Sen. Joe Lieberman might embrace calls by Democrats to withdraw from Iraq can rest easy — that option doesn't appear to be on his plate.

The Senate Armed Services Committee convened a hearing last week to discuss the situation in Iraq and Lieberman made it clear through his questioning that he does not favor a withdrawal.

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

Cymru am Byth

In other news, is it still appropriate to call it Great Britain?

A SPICY sausage known as the Welsh Dragon will have to be renamed after trading standards’ officers warned the manufacturers that they could face prosecution because it does not contain dragon.

I suppose there's no point in mentioning hot dogs or hamburgers at this point.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:19 AM | Comments (2)

Going Down Swinging

I hear that John Bolton will not be confirmed to the post of UN Ambassador. Well, there's little reason to hide his true feelings then, is there?

The U.S. Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, launched a scathing attack on the United Nations Friday.

Bolton was furious over the adoption by the General Assembly of a resolution which said the assembly regretted the deaths of 19 civilians in an attack by the Israeli military in the town of Beit Hanoun last week.

Despite the resolution being significantly watered down at the behest of the United States, and being passing by 156 votes to seven, Bolton launched a blistering attack on the UN, and many of its members.

"Many of the sponsors of that resolution are notorious abusers of human rights themselves, and were seeking to deflect criticism of their own policies," he said.

"This type of resolution serves only to exacerbate tensions by serving the interests of elements hostile to Israel's inalienable and recognized right to exist."

"This deepens suspicions about the United Nations that will lead many to conclude that the organization is incapable of playing a helpful role in the region," Bolton continued.

"In a larger sense, the United Nations must confront a more significant question, that of its relevance and utility in confronting the challenges of the 21st century. We believe that the United Nations is ill served when its members seek to transform the organization into a forum that is a little more than a self-serving and a polemical attack against Israel or the United States," he said.

"The Human Rights Council has quickly fallen into the same trap and de-legitimized itself by focusing attention exclusively on Israel. Meanwhile, it has failed to address real human rights abuses in Burma, Darfur, the DPRK, and other countries," Bolton charged.

"The problem of anti-Israel bias is not unique to the Human Rights Council. It is endemic to the culture of the United Nations. It is a decades-old, systematic problem that transcends the whole panoply of the UN organizations and agencies," he continued.

And this is the transnational progressivism Democrats want to yield our sovereignty to.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:11 AM | Comments (0)

Today's Non-News Story

There are Americans going to Iran?

Iran's conservative-dominated parliament, in a tit-for-tat measure, passed a bill on Sunday obliging the government to fingerprint U.S. citizens entering the Islamic Republic, state radio reported.

The proposal, backed by 135 votes to 26, also requires a complete security check on every American who enters Iran. The bill now goes to the hardline Guardian Council, a constitutional watchdog body, before becoming law.

This isn't exactly a new thing:

U.S. journalists are already fingerprinted on arrival in Iran but it has not been law until now.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:07 AM | Comments (0)

An Observation

After the last half dozen or so general elections, Big Media has usually started speculating on whether whichever party lost can survive. Strangely, there hasn't been as much of this kind of speculation after the recent election, even though everyone says the the Republicans took a thrashing. I attribute this to two five things:

1. This election was a referendum on George W. Bush more than anything else, and regardless of how it turned out, he will be gone in two years. The next boogeyman isn't yet obvious, and the candidates (Guiliani, Romney, McCain, Thompson?) are kind of tough to demonize, though all for different reasons.

2. The Democrats have sought to become the Know Nothing Party, or if they do know, they aren't telling. Nobody is really excited about what this portends.

3. Joe Lieberman. His election showed the the Democratic National Committee is not that strong or particularly relevant. It also shows, yet again, the relative irrelevance of the Kos Kids and their ilk. And if Joementum does a little Joe-jitsu, the Senate goes back to the Republicans.

4. Late at night as they review their thoughts just before they go to sleep, a number of powerful people think a lot about the fact the Al Gore and John Kerry have been selected as the Party's poster boys in the last two presidential elections. Nobody not drinking the kool-aid rests easily about this and what it means about their candidate selection processes.

5. Hillary Clinton can't win a national election and they know it, despite her apparent coronation for 2008.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:58 AM | Comments (0)

I Blame Bush!

Funny how we didn't hear much about this before the election:

Oil tumbles to lowest level since June 2005

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:40 AM | Comments (0)

Back to Basics

Next time you take some gruff from somebody who complains that Americans are so ignorant of the world, just keep in mind that some well educated Europeans haven't yet mastered the basics of our form of government, not that that will stop them from commenting on it:

Republican strategists plotting their party's comeback after it lost control of Congress have identified the "first lady" of Democrat politics as a key target in the 2008 White House campaign — even though she will not be running.

Senior party operatives told The Sunday Telegraph that they are already co-ordinating plans to attack Nancy Pelosi, the liberal Californian congresswoman and Speaker-in-waiting who suffered a damaging rebuff from her own party caucus last week.

Well Hans and Phillip, actually she will be running in 2008. Every member in the House of Representatives has to run for reelection every two years. What's funny is they even were told this:

"Two years of Pelosi gives a good idea of what four years of Hillary will be like," said Tom DeLay, the Republican powerbroker who ran his party in the House before he was caught up in a lobbyist corruption scandal.

But hey, don't confuse 'em with facts when there's venom to spew.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:39 AM | Comments (0)

November 17, 2006

George Allen, Call Your Office

Whoa! I didn't see this coming:

Santorum: No oval office run

Who knew that not winning your home state could doom a presidential bid. I mean, aside from Al Gore.

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:14 PM | Comments (0)

Ha Ha

Apparently, they've run out of mirrors in Brussels:

European Union lawmakers on Thursday denounced world powers for a failure to tackle the ongoing Middle East crisis, highlighting the inaction of the United States to push for peace in the Palestinian-Israel conflict.

For inaction, read instead actions we don't like.

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:12 PM | Comments (0)

Brent Musberger Knows All, Brent Musberger Sees All

Sure, like Georgetown against Villanova in 1985:

N Korea nuke 'a matter of time'

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:08 PM | Comments (0)

Hand Up Vice Handout

Sure, conservatives walk the walk better than liberals, but, no doubt, their hearts are purer:

Syracuse University professor Arthur C. Brooks is about to become the darling of the religious right in America -- and it's making him nervous.

The child of academics, raised in a liberal household and educated in the liberal arts, Brooks has written a book that concludes religious conservatives donate far more money than secular liberals to all sorts of charitable activities, irrespective of income.

In the book, he cites extensive data analysis to demonstrate that values advocated by conservatives -- from church attendance and two-parent families to the Protestant work ethic and a distaste for government-funded social services -- make conservatives more generous than liberals.

Personally, I believe that deep down everyone wants to help. It's just that some seem more anxious and comfortable offering to help with other people's money than with their own.

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:02 PM | Comments (1)

Hans Brix Can't Nix Prix Trix

Ah yes, the old effective verification measures trick:

Former U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix said Friday that North Korea would one day master nuclear weapons technology despite its apparently less-than-successful atomic test, and he warned that the world must avoid striking a quick disarmament deal that lacks effective verification measures.

Blix said verification would be the key to ensuring compliance in any nuclear accord with Pyongyang, as the country returns to six-nation talks on its weapons program.

"I have no illusion it will be easy," he said.

I have no illusions it will be, period.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:56 PM | Comments (0)

Sure, We're At War

Albeit one with apparently meaningless consequences for near treasonous activity:

Federal transportation officials and a private security firm at San Francisco International Airport worked together to undermine a federal investigation of passenger screening at security checkpoints, according to a report released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

For 16 months ending last year, Transportation Security Administration employees tipped off screeners from Covenant Aviation Security that undercover agents were on their way to the airport's checkpoints to test whether the screeners were properly inspecting passengers and their carry-on luggage, the report said.

Despite the charges, the private security firm was rehired two weeks ago with a $314 million, four-year contract at the airport to screen passengers and checked bags. Employees of the firm and the security agency were disciplined as a result of the investigation but none lost their jobs.

It is really hard for me to take airport security seriously if those responsible for it won't.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:38 PM | Comments (0)

As Elvis Costello Once Sang, "Tiny Steps, Almost Real, Tiny Fingers You Almost Feel"

Blah, blah, global warming, blah, blah:

The Kyoto Protocol is supposed to be a tiny, first step towards solving climate change -- the planet's top problem alongside conflict and poverty, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan told the Nairobi conference this week.

Oh? I though the planet's top problem was creeping iliberal utopian statism as personified by the transnational progressivism advocated by self serving bodies like the UN, but that's just my opinion. Meanwhile, here's what we get from these folks flying aournd the world and staying in high priced accomodations:

In a proposal seen irrelevant by some delegates, Russia seeks a decision on allowing developing countries, which have no targets at present, to volunteer to cut their emissions.

I was going to compliment the body for at least recognizing how silly this was, but then I read this:

Besides debating how to cut further the greenhouses gases blamed for global warming, the conference had meant to turn the spotlight on how to adapt to climate changes -- floods, droughts, desertification and rising sea levels. But the meeting has delayed until next year a decision on who should run funds to help poor countries adapt to climate change. "Rich countries should have achieved more at this conference and made more firm commitments to combat climate injustice," said Sharon Looremeta of environmental group Practical Action.

The eat the rich mentality dies hard.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:26 PM | Comments (0)

It's About Time Somebody Stepped Up to the Job

Frenchwoman May Be First to Lead France

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

Injustice

This bastard should have been executed by a firing squad for raping a 14-year-old girl, killing her and her family to cover it up, and just generally making life miserable for Iraqis and all of our troops there by committing these heinous acts and then lying about it. Instead he gets to plea bargain down to a maximum of up to 90 years and someday he will be eligible for parole.

It's enough to make you want to quit trying. This sentence is a disgrace to the honorable men and women of the U.S. Marines. Fixing Iraq is damned hard work and this doesn't make it any easier.

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

November 16, 2006

Laugh?

I thought I'd die:

Terrorists using comedy websites to lure recruits

George Carlin had something to say about this once. Come to think of it, so did I.

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:19 PM | Comments (0)

East End Boys, West End Girls... West End Girls

The body language on display here is fascinating:

steny.jpg

Democractic nominee for Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca), and Democratic House Majority Leader nominee Steny Hoyer (D-Md), (C) as Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa) applauds following the House Democratic Caucus Leadership elections on Capitol Hill, November 16, 2006. (Larry Downing/Reuters)

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:36 PM | Comments (0)

Not That There's Anything Wrong With That...

He forgot to add:

Nevada's senators _ both winning leadership posts in opposite parties _ pledged Wednesday to stay close on issues of mutual interest, but not too close.

"He and I just like each other, and I think we set a good example here in the Senate," Majority Leader-elect Harry Reid said of colleague John Ensign, who was chosen Wednesday by Senate Republicans to head their campaign fundraising operation.

"He's a Republican, I'm a Democrat, we work together on issues that are important to the state of Nevada. And I wish other people had the same nonaggression pact we have," Reid told reporters. "It's not a 'Brokeback Mountain' situation," he added, referring to last year's film about two gay cowboy lovers.

DOWNDATE: James Taranto channels from the same muse.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:32 PM | Comments (0)

Amateur

Everybody knows you use cauliflower rather than broccoli for this hex:

A renowned black magic practitioner performed a voodoo ritual Thursday to jinx President George W. Bush and his entourage while he was on a brief visit to Indonesia.

Ki Gendeng Pamungkas slit the throat of a goat, a small snake and stabbed a black crow in the chest, stirred their blood with spice and broccoli before drank the "potion" and smeared some on his face.

Or, at least that's what Howard Dean says.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:28 PM | Comments (0)

Down Goes Murtha, Down Goes Murtha

Speaker Pelosi strikes out in her first at bat:

Democrats picked Rep. Steny Hoyer to be House majority leader on Thursday, spurning Rep. Nancy Pelosi's handpicked choice moments after unanimously backing her election as speaker when Congress convenes in January.

Meanwhile, Democrats have to explain to Big Media that, "these aren't the internecine battles you're looking for":

Wisconsin Rep. Dave Obey, who will chair the Appropriations Committee, said the divisions exposed by the race doesn't pose a problem for Pelosi.

"There's such universal respect and affection for Nancy. She's gutsy as hell and she's willing to take a chance..., push the envelope. "It was bitter between the two candidates, I suppose, but it wasn't bitter among the members of the caucus. People get over this stuff."

The Democrats did Nancy Pelosi a huge favor today. This morning Drudge had a headline up with Murtha saying he had the votes, even though the final tally turned out to be 149-86. How effective was she going to be with a #2 that couldn't count, was self delusional, or both?

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:21 PM | Comments (0)

November 15, 2006

Global Warming

Hot air:

Automakers and manufacturers, beware: There's a new environmental policy boss in town, she scowls a lot, and two of her favorite phrases are "global warming" and "extensive hearings."

The Democrats' coming takeover of Congress is expected to feel pressure for policy change on a number of fronts, from Iraq to taxes, but the starkest change may come at the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, when Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., will surrender the gavel to Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. Her appointment was announced Tuesday, but won't take effect until January.

Inhofe rejects a wide scientific consensus that human use of fossil fuels is largely responsible for catastrophic climate change, calling it "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people." He's accused environmental activists of exploiting people's fears to raise money. And he's blocked legislation aimed at curbing global warming.

Boxer, in contrast, is a fiercely liberal environmental activist. She has railed against Inhofe, crusaded for cleaner drinking water and led wilderness protection efforts in her home state and for Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Her likely counterparts in the House of Representatives - Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., incoming chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., of the Resources Committee - are less sympathetic to environmentalists. Dingell's constituents include the auto industry, and Rahall's include the coal industry. Then too, of course, George W. Bush remains president, and he's not exactly a global-warming crusader, either.

But Boxer said Tuesday that starting in January, her priority will be to begin "a very long process of extensive hearings" on global warming.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:04 PM | Comments (0)

Cue Vera Lynn

We'll meet again:

Iran's president said on Wednesday his country would press on with its nuclear program "until the end" and would not be stopped by the West, which fears the Islamic Republic is trying to build atomic bombs.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was speaking a day after the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said in a report Iran was still stonewalling probes aimed at determining whether its plans are peaceful.

"The Iranian nation stands for its nuclear right and will go ahead until the end," Ahmadinejad said in a speech to a rally in western Iran, broadcast live on state television.

Time is on the Iranian nation's side. With each passing day, (the West) must retreat one step and acknowledge the rights of the Iranian nation and with each passing day the Iranian nation goes ahead toward the summits of victory," he said.

"By the grace of God, we will hold a great nuclear celebration before the end of this year, all over Iran," he said, without elaborating. The Iranian year ends in March 2007.

Oh boy! A nuclear celebration, "Mahdi, I can walk!"

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:02 PM | Comments (0)

But, But, I Thought There Weren't Any WMDS?

Climate change is as serious as WMD: Annan

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:53 AM | Comments (0)

If You Want More of Something...

Subsidize it:

Palestinian terror groups and security organizations in the Gaza Strip received $2 million from a U.S. source in exchange for the release of Fox News employees Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig, who were kidnapped here last summer, a senior leader of one of the groups suspected of the abductions told WND.

The terror leader, from the Gaza-based Popular Resistance Committees, said his organization's share of the money was used to purchase weapons, which he said would be utilized "to hit the Zionists."

He said he expects the payments for Centanni and Wiig's freedom will encourage Palestinian groups to carry out further kidnappings.

This is from the occasionally-batshit-crazy World Net News, but the implications remain spot on.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:52 AM | Comments (0)

Fight Back

Reading Ralph Peter's latest, there's one thing about Iraqis that I still can't understand:

YESTERDAY, 80 terrorists in police uniforms raided an Iraqi research institute in Baghdad, rounded up 100-plus male students, loaded them into vehicles in broad daylight and drove away.

They couldn't have pulled it off without the complicity of key elements within the Iraqi security services and the government: "our guys."

The students probably will be executed and dumped somewhere. Partly for the crime of wanting to study and build a future, but primarily just to step up the level of terror yet again.

There is more than enough evidence that if you are kidnapped in Iraq these days that you are going to end up dead, and probably tortured first. Given that, why are these folks so passive about their abduction and near certain death seemingly day after day? The closest analogy I can come up with here in the US is how the folks on Flight 97 took it upon themselves to fight back, and that lesson only took a couple of hours to sink in.

If Iraqi's are so going to be so damn passive in the face of people they know are going to kill them, then even I am beginning to think that we should leave. We cannot ultimately gaurantee their safety, only they can. I know they need a lot of help, but damn, have some pride, some courage, and enough gumption to give yourself a chance and if necessary go out fighting rather than with your hands and feet bound to make your killer's job as easy as possible.

Do one hundred young men facing a dozen or so men with guns stand much of a chance. Not really, but it is better than the chance they'll have once they have all been tied up and all their killers then will need is a large knife and a video camera. It may be a little hoary, but the oft cited question of what would have happened if every Jew in the Warsaw ghetto had fought back against the Nazis rather than calmly accepted their fate seems appropriate here.

A little Fabrizio Quattrocchi would go a long way against these lethal bullies.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:47 AM | Comments (0)

November 14, 2006

Just In Case You Had Any Illusions About What Is Coming V

It's back:

SOVEREIGNTY for Hawaiians appeared to have been shelved for a long duration in June when the Senate voted to block it from proceeding. The proposal has gained new life with the Democratic takeover of Congress, although questions remain about the sentiment of the House and whether President Bush would veto the measure. Those issues need to be put to the test.

Meanwhile, ground was broken yesterday for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial on the Mall. So much for Dr. King's dream for his children that they "... will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

(Fortunately, I resisted the little devil on my left shoulder suggesting I make a crude remark about M. Akaka vice macaca.)

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:25 PM | Comments (2)

The Stuff That Emerges After the Election

Wow, I thought that only Republicans were tainted by Jack Abramoff, but then I get my news from Big Media:

Sources close to the investigation say Abramoff has provided information on his dealings with and campaign contributions and gifts to "dozens of members of Congress and staff," including what Abramoff has reportedly described as "six to eight seriously corrupt Democratic senators."

Look, there's Elvis!

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:45 PM | Comments (0)

Perhaps the Role of Attack Kitty Is Still Available

Republican Party's Martinez: won't be "attack dog"

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:26 PM | Comments (0)

You Don't Know Jack

With apologies to Isaac Hayes, I offer this theme song for Jack Murtha as he tries to beat down Steny Hoyer for the Democrat Majority Leader position in the US House of Representatives...

Who's the Dem ex-Marine
That's a vote machine to all Kos Kidz?
Jack!
Ya damn right!

Who is the man that would risk his seat
For his brother Dem?
Jack!
Can you dig it?

Who's the "hawk" that wants to cop out
When there's danger all about?
Jack!
Right On!

They say this cat Jack is a bad Murtha...
Shut your mouth!
I'm talkin' 'bout Jack.
Then we can dig it!

He's a complicated man
But no one understands his cut and runnin'
Vote Jack!

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:22 PM | Comments (0)

Holmes or Clouseau?

Which sleuth comes to mind when you read this?

U.N. sleuths find plutonium at Iran atom site: IAEA

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:25 PM | Comments (0)

Kerry On My Wayward Son

What the Murtha is going on here?

House won't revote this week on Vietnam

Damnit, we're going to withdraw from somewhere right now!

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:22 PM | Comments (0)

The "New Spirit"

Bipartisanship for thee, but not for me:

A House Republican and Democrat, in the new spirit of bipartisanship, are urging President Bush to name defeated Republican Rep. Jim Leach to be the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

As one of my old bosses once told me, you can't call someone ugly all week and then ask them to the dance on Saturday night. If the Republicans fall for this "new spirit of bipartisanship" because they are now in the minority, my disgust with them will become complete. I'll also note that Big Media had little interest in the "old spirit of bipartisanship" when their friends where in the minority.

I'm not terribly familiar with former Representative Leach, but this description does not warm the cockles of my heart as he sounds like the Democrats' favorite kind of Republican, i.e., a moderate, a non-fighter, an opponent of the liberation of Iraq, and a loser:

"He is the most diplomatic politician I have ever met," Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., said of Leach, a moderate from Iowa known for his professorial sweaters, his low-key, nonpolitical approach to issues and his opposition to the war in Iraq. [snip...]

But Leach may not be helped by his record of being near the top of those Republicans who vote most often with Democrats. In 2002 he was one of six House Republicans to vote against the resolution authorizing the use of force in Iraq, and he was among the first Republicans to call for a military withdrawal from Iraq.

Yep, he'd be perfect for the UN.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:13 PM | Comments (0)

Weird

I thought that Diane Feinstein was a senator of California, not just San Francisco:

The Santa Clara Chips of the National Football League?

That was Sen. Dianne Feinstein's disparaging suggestion Tuesday as she ramped up her campaign to keep the San Francisco 49ers in San Francisco. And if they moved to Santa Clara, she said they should not take the ``49er brand name with them.''

Sounding very much like the former mayor of San Francisco she is, Feinstein even suggested looking at legislation to block a franchise from keeping a team name when it leaves a city.

``I have deep concern about taking the name of the team,'' she told a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on NFL broadcasting disputes. ``You can't move to Santa Clara and call yourself a 49er.''

Now, had Senator Feinstein inveighed against the rather ridiculous Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim last year, I could take her just a little more seriously. But, hey, at least all the really important issues have been resolved if the Senator has time for this.

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:08 PM | Comments (0)

So, Tell Me Again Why We Want to Be More Like the EU

In a bit of meanspiritedness infused with schadenfreude, I've been laughing at the Airbus A350 fiasco for a couple of years. You really can only go against reality for so long before your words can no longer support the weight of your fantasies.

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

But Won't A Nuclear Winter Solve Global Warming?

Not to mention reducing overpopulation:

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahamdinejad told a news conference today that Iran's long-term target should be to install 60,000 centrifuges to enrich uranium, saying the fuel was for civilian energy production only.

"That should be a cold jolt to the rest of the world,'' State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said.

"What that leads to is an Iranian nuclear weapon, which would be an incredibly destabilising event in the course of Middle East history,'' he said.

Iran has said it is looking to install 3000 centrifuges by March 2007 and ultimately run 60,000 centrifuges - compared to two cascades of 164 centrifuges each it has at its Natanz plant to enrich uranium on a research scale.

While Tehran says its goal is civilian energy production, experts say that 50,000 centrifuges could produce 20kg of weapons grade uranium in under a month.

And goodness knows, they are going to need peaceful nuclear power to generate all the electricity needed to run these centrifuges.

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:00 PM | Comments (0)

The Sky Is Falling, No Really, We Mean It This Time

What's amazing about the following announcement is that Paul Erlich's fingerprints can't be found anywhere on it:

LOSSES from extreme weather could top $US1 trillion ($1.3 trillion) in a single year by 2040, a UN climate conference was told today.

Perhaps he should sue them for stealing his copyrighted apocalyptic ideas.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:55 PM | Comments (0)

If You Don't Know Where You're Going, Any Path Will Get You There

Never again do I want to hear anyone say that no plan can't beat the current plan:

Poll: Most Doubt Dems Have Plan for Iraq

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:53 PM | Comments (0)

A Bridge Too Farsi

Well, to be fair, this is a defensive maneuver that has a long military pedigree:

EU burning its bridges to Iran: Khorram

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:50 PM | Comments (0)

Just In Case You Had Any Illusions About What Is Coming IV

Funny, it isn't unexplained to me;

International Atomic Energy experts have found unexplained plutonium and highly enriched uranium traces in a nuclear waste facility in Iran and have asked Tehran for an explanation, an IAEA report said Tuesday.

But, hey, don't worry because:

The first cracks in the united front over Iraq between Tony Blair and President Bush appeared last night as the Prime Minister offered Iran and Syria the prospect of dialogue over the future of Iraq and the Middle East.

I find it interesting that they've got enough plutonium to have some thrown away.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:46 PM | Comments (0)

In Other Moral Equivocation News...

Vatican Cardinal unable to distinguish between walls meant to imprison and walls meant to protect:

A senior Vatican cardinal on Tuesday condemned the building of walls between countries to keep out immigrants and said Washington's plan to build a fence on the U.S.-Mexican border was part of an "inhuman program".

Cardinal Renato Martino made his comments at a news conference presenting Pope Benedict's message for the Roman Catholic Church's World Day of Migrants and Refugees, in which the Pope called for more laws to help immigrants integrate.

"Speaking of borders, I must unfortunately say that in a world that greeted the fall of the Berlin Wall with joy, new walls are being built between neighborhood and neighborhood, city and city, nation and nation," said Martino, head of the Vatican's Council for Justice and Peace.

See, the US is just like East Germany. But, hey, he's got nothing to worry about anyway.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:41 PM | Comments (0)

The Worst Economy In the Last 50 Minutes

Good thing this news didn't come out last week:

Core Inflation Drops by Record Amount

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:39 PM | Comments (0)

Just In Case You Had Any Illusions About What Is Coming III

Voter's remorse?

The incoming U.S. Congress will review the law mandating 700 miles of fence along the U.S.-Mexico border, and may seek to scrap the plan altogether.

Anyone?

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:32 PM | Comments (0)

Global Smarming

If only Big Media applied the following logic to other matters:

"The skeptics who get vocal are vilified," said Marc Morano, director of communications for the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. The committee chairman, Republican Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, has enraged environmentalists by calling global warming alarmist and a hoax.

Morano was invited to be part of a panel discussion on how best to convey the issue of climate change in the media. His fellow panelists, including Jules Boykoff of Pacific University in Oregon, argued that skeptics actually get too much attention in the press.

Efforts by journalists to create "balanced" stories on global warming allow "a handful of skeptics . . . to be treated as equals to thousands of scientists," said Boykoff, an assistant professor in the department of politics and government.

Note the "science" credentials of Professor Boykoff. I agree that the journalistic technique here is ridiculous, but this doesn't in and of itself invalidate the criticism of global warming.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:30 PM | Comments (0)

Just In Case You Had Any Illusions About What Is Coming II

Don't say you weren't warned:

That was fast. A mere two days after Democrats capture Congress claiming they wouldn't raise taxes, former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin tells them they should do so anyway.

It's amazing what kind of mandate comes with a 1% victory.

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

Just In Case You Had Any Illusions About What Is Coming

No need to pretend any longer:

[Senator Clinton] also said Democrats would focus on improving the quality and affordability of health care _ a touchy matter for the former first lady, who in 1993 led her husband's calamitous attempt to overhaul the nation's health care system. The failure of that effort helped Republicans win control of both the Senate and House the following year.

"Health care is coming back," Clinton warned, adding, "It may be a bad dream for some."

And, she didn't say, a nightmare for everyone else.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:20 PM | Comments (0)

November 12, 2006

They Call It Worker's Paradise, Kiss It Goodbye

Cuba won't abandon socialism just yet

No? Ok. How about now?

No? Ok. How about now?

No? Ok. How about now?

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:56 PM | Comments (0)

The Mote in the Reality-Based Community's Eye

I know it may come as a surprise to the folks at the Center for Constitutional Rights who are suing Donald Rumsfeld in Germany over Abu Ghraib, but Camp X-Ray at Guantanamo isn't the only "political prison" in Cuba. Not by a longshot. Any chance they'll take a shot at suing Fidel Castro for his crimes against humanity before he dies?

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:44 PM | Comments (0)

Brass Knuckles

Speaking now as an independent observer, I think the Democrats are making a tactical mistake in talking up the bipartisan approach to politics. Their popularity is probably about as high as it is going to get while President Bush's continues to sink and the Republicans can't quite figure out what to do next. if the country is truly tired of Republicans and what they stand for then make the most of it. Now is the time to kick them while they are down and seize as much power as possible. The best defense remains a good offense. They should make the most of their 2% advantage in the Senate and 3% advantage in the House to keep driving the same messages home that won this time again and again leading up to 2008.

Not that they'll listen to me.

DOWNDATE: Then again, they do appear to be holding to their true colors:

Democrats say will push for Iraq withdrawal

Pelosi Puts Weight Behind Murtha in Leader Bid

All I was trying to say above was that these are the same people they were last week. Winning an election rather closely by a small margin isn't going to make them better people. They remind me a bit of Detective Sergeant Jack Vincennes in L.A. Confidential when Captain Dudley Smith advises him not to try and do the right thing, since he doesn't have the practice.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:26 AM | Comments (0)

November 10, 2006

Pop Quiz

The NCAA considers three of the following four collegiate nicknames hostile and abusive:

Fighting Illini
Fighting Sioux
Seminoles
Fighting Irish

Which is the odd man in?

Special credit if you can also name the one that the NCAA does consider hostile and abusive but is unwilling to substitute its judgment for the judgment of the named tribe, or, in other words, the NCAA will allow them to continue to be abused, but only because they survived the genocide of the 19th century and now suffer from a variant of the Stockholm Syndrome.

Of course, not everyone agrees.

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:05 PM | Comments (0)

A Serious Question

Now that Democrats have actually taken over Congress, what is to stop President George W. Bush from going ahead and rather aggresively dealing with the Axis of Evil over the next two years?

Leave your serious answers in the comment section. Unserious comments will be deleted -- you have been warned.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:22 PM | Comments (0)

Famous First Lines

"Call me Ishmael a Democrat." -- Joe Lieberman

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:51 PM | Comments (0)

It Just Comes Naturally

Way and means, baby:

A Democratic congressman from New York says he wasn't trying to insult Mississippi in published remarks Thursday, but a Republican colleague from Mississippi says Rep. Charles Rangel should apologize to the state.

Rangel, D-N.Y., was quoted in a Thursday article in The New York Times, saying: "Mississippi gets more than their fair share back in federal money, but who the hell wants to live in Mississippi?"

I'm sure he didn't mean it. Perhaps Charlie Rangel was too preoccupied with bringing back the draft!

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:57 AM | Comments (0)

Crude Title in Poor Taste Withdrawn

Iraqi president says Democrats told him they will not pull out quickly

Then again, perhaps President Maliki missed this:

George McGovern, the former senator and Democratic presidential candidate, said Thursday that he will meet with more than 60 members of Congress next week to recommend a strategy to remove U.S. troops from Iraq by June.

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

ET, Go Home

I guess this means that Ramsey Clark isn't sui generis:

'Aliens could attack at any time' warns former MoD chief

Maybe a general amnesty would help.

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

You Go, Earnest Young People

Please, just go:

Student leaders at a California college have touched off a furor by banning the Pledge of Allegiance at their meetings, saying they see no reason to publicly swear loyalty to God and the U.S. government.

The move by Orange Coast College student trustees, the latest clash over patriotism and religion in American schools, has infuriated some of their classmates...

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:47 AM | Comments (2)

Good Riddance

Lincoln Chaffee may bolt:

Two days after losing a bid for a second term, Sen. Lincoln Chafee said he was unsure whether he would remain a Republican.

Remain? But let's be honest, quitting after you've lost is about as lame as it gets.

Chafee said he waged a lonely campaign to bring the party to the middle. He described attending weekly lunches with fellow GOP senators and standing up to argue his point of view, often alone.

"There were times walking into my caucus room where it wasn't fun," he said, adding that he stayed with the GOP largely because it helped him bring federal dollars home to Rhode Island.

So, he only stayed a Republican for legal graft? Like I said, good riddance.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:41 AM | Comments (1)

Stay the Curse

Surely this is a reverse psychology ploy:

A purported audio recording by the leader of Iraq's al Qaeda wing gloated over the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as a top U.S. general said the military was preparing to recommend strategy changes.

Al Qaeda must really be worried about their prospects now that a redeployment to Okinawa is on order.

DOWNDATE: It gets better:

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Friday called U.S. President George W. Bush's defeat in congressional elections a victory for Iran.

And better:

Iran and Syria say that a Democrat-controlled Congress and the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld could relieve the pressure on them, officials from those countries said.

And better:

Half of America and the upper echelons of the US military may be cheering Donald Rumsfeld’s resignation from the post of Defence Secretary, but there was no rejoicing yesterday among those most directly affected by his decisions: the frontline soldiers in Iraq.

Troops expressed little pleasure at the departure of the man responsible for their protracted deployment to a hostile country where 2,839 of their comrades have died.

Indeed, some members of the 101st Airborne Division and other troops approached by The Times as they prepared to fly home from Baghdad airport yesterday expressed concern that Robert Gates, Mr Rumsfeld’s successor, and the Democrat-controlled Congress, might seek to wind down their mission before it was finished.

Meanwhile, word from North Korea is still pending.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:37 AM | Comments (0)

November 09, 2006

Operation Iraqi Freedom

Under New Management:

Nancy Pelosi just told Brit Hume that the war in Iraq is "not a war to be won but a situation to be solved."

Since wars don't end in ties, this may give new meaning to the phrase sudden death overtime.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:27 AM | Comments (2)

November 08, 2006

The Election

I celebrate once again our nation's ability to transfer political power peacefully while concurrently lamenting that "Let's Roll" has been replaced with "Let's Rollback," if not "Let's Rollover."

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:09 AM | Comments (0)

November 07, 2006

Micro, Perhaps. Soft, Without Question

Bill Gates says West not supplying enough IT talent

And here I thought the problem was that we weren't supplying enough unskilled talent, hence the need for a general amnesty for illegal immigrants and a guest worker program.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:11 PM | Comments (0)

Poisoning the Well

I have come to despise the repeated attempts by some to destroy the fragile democracy we have by undermining our collective faith in the electoral process. I heard Andrew Kohut of the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press on Diane Rehms' show this morning noting that while a few percent of Republicans think their vote will not be counted, almost a third of all Democrats worry that their vote will not be counted properly. Disregarding the absolute absurdity of this large a number for the moment, what exactly did Mr. Kohut expect to discover in such a poll? The leaders of the Democratic Party have been quite liberal (no pun intended) with their sleazy innuendo and outright lies concerning voter suppression for years now, while Democrat operatives continue to go to jail for actual vote fraud. What we have here is nothing more than a self fulfilling poll prophecy.

And now the fun begins. Hot on the heels of Nancy Pelosi's claim that either the Democrats win or the Republicans have committed fraud and/or vote suppression, the lawyers continue to try and perfect the technique first tried in 2000 to have carefully selected judges award them elections they cannot win fair and square on the hustings.

Tennessee: Dems will go to court this afternoon to ask for polls to stay open

Indiana: 1:15 p.m. - Voting extended in Delaware County

Manchester, England (?): Lawyers poised as US vote hit by technical glitches

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:59 PM | Comments (1)

I Voted

It took an hour, since the new electronic touch voting machines were already down when I arrived at the polling station just before 0800, but I persevered. And, of course, there are fewer booths now to process the paper ballots since the new, now unfunctioning, electronic touch voting machines took up so much space. And then we had to fill in the little dots with ink pens instead of magic markers, which makes the process take even longer. Hmm..., could there be a conspiracy to suppress votes in a decidedly Republican area? Enquiring minds want to know!

I wonder if I violated any laws by actually using a picture ID to identify myself?

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

November 06, 2006

Bumper Stickers for Tomorrow

Imagine World Government, Now Imagine a Boot Stomping On a Human Face -- Forever

With Great Power Comes Great Irresponsibility

Save the Wails

By Any Chad Necessary

Baseball, Hot Dogs, Applie Pie and John Mellencamp Commercials

Vote McCaskill -- Talent Is Overrated

Vote McCaskill -- Who Needs Talent?

Free to Bet (Vote Yes on Amendment 5)

I'd Rather Be Killing Terrorists

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:13 PM | Comments (0)

November 05, 2006

"Guilty! Guilty! Guilty!"

What are the odds that Garry Trudeau will now pen a Doonesbury comic with anyone gleefully shouting this about Saddam's verdict with as much enthusiasm as Mark the DJ had for the guilty verdicts after Watergate?

And, of course, how long will it be before someone on the Angry Left questions the timing of the verdict? (Well, that didn't take long.)

DOWNDATE: If you find yourself arguing for mercy for Saddam Hussein, as the EU reflexively does, may I suggest that perhaps it is time to go back and check your first principles.

DOUBLE DOWNDATE: I think I'll stay up late and watch this tonight.

TRIPLE DOWNDATE: Beating the dead horse...

Saddam Condemned!

EU Condemns Saddam's Condemnation!

I Condemn the EU's Condemnation of Saddam's Condemnation!

Your turn.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:13 AM | Comments (1)

August 01, 2006

If This Doesn't Seal His Fate...

Nothing will:

Democratic U.S. Senate contender Ned Lamont will get a campaign boost Wednesday from the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, who will campaign with him Wednesday and Thursday in four cities.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:16 PM | Comments (3)

Placing Blame Correctly

Megan McArdle, subbing for Professor Reynolds, writes:

I'M A HUGE FAN of clean, green nuclear power. And while I understand Senator Harry Reid's quixotic crusade against Yucca mountain, I haven't found it very convincing. But as Bruce Webster says, he does rather have a point when he says that we don't want Yucca mountain to be built by the same folks who brought you the Big Dig.

Does Mr. Webster mean, folks like Massachussetts Senator Kennedy, Massachussetts Senator Kerry, and Massachussetts Governor Michael Dukakis?

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:55 AM | Comments (0)

July 31, 2006

Mel Gibson Needs to Hire Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah's Press Agent

Mel Gibson is an ass, and an anti-semitic one at that. But can anyone tell me why Mel appears to be receiving more grief for his stated beliefs than, say, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, who doesn't limit himself to drunkenly ranting about the Jews doing this or doing that, but actively seeks to kill them, and not without a certain level of success.

Mel has apologized, and you can take that for whatever its worth. Meanwhile. Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has promised to kill more Jews as soon as he has the chance.

What is wrong with this picture?

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:36 PM | Comments (3)

New Flash

Money to grow on trees by presidential candidate fiat!

Sen. John Kerry on Monday will propose requiring all Americans to have health insurance by 2012, 'with the federal government guaranteeing they have the means to afford it.'

Kind of makes you miss the days of the "lock box", doesn't it?

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:29 PM | Comments (0)

The Sternly Worded Letter Is Just Around the Corner

Iran better stop it's nuclear enrichment program, or..., or..., the UN will threaten to consider sanctions!

The U.N. Security Council on Monday adopted a resolution demanding that Iran suspend its nuclear activities by the end of August or face possible sanctions. The resolution, approved by a vote of 14-1, with Qatar opposing, is the first on Iran to set out legally binding demands and a threat to consider sanctions.

Strangely enough, I believe the UN means exactly what is has said and has said exactly what it means in this instance, which is to say, "nothing to see here, carry on."

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:26 PM | Comments (0)

July 26, 2006

One Word, Are You Listening?

Smug.

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

Sometimes You Get the Bear, and Sometimes the Bear Gets You

Thinking about terrorists and Hizbollah, I found this item from Switzerland to be amusing:

The "Bear Strategy", published on Tuesday, maintains that bears and humans can co-exist peacefully but enables regional authorities to shoot-to-kill if public safety is threatened.

The strategy document was widely criticised by mountain communities, hunters and farmers when it was put out for consultation earlier this year.

They said the federal authorities needed to make it easier to shoot troublesome animals – and the government has now taken on board their concerns.

The new guidelines, which will be issued to cantons shortly, stress that "public safety is paramount".

Bears will now fall into three categories: "unobtrusive", "problematic" and "high-risk". A bear can be killed once it becomes "high-risk": if it is no longer scared of humans despite efforts to scare it off and if it has become aggressive towards them.

Too bad we expect more of bears than we do of some people.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:34 PM | Comments (0)

Freedom Is Slavery

'Hezbollah Freed Our Country'

Say, wasn't Lahoud the bad guy in Pale Rider?

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

Global Warming, Is There Anything It Can't Do?

I guess blaming it is easier than trying to find actual causes:

Bottom fish and crabs washing up dead on Oregon beaches are being killed by a recurring "dead zone" of low-oxygen water that appears to be triggered by global warming, scientists say.

I mean, this whole sun thing is like George Washington, it's coming, it's coming:

Sun kills 60,000 a year, WHO says

No word from Horton.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:06 PM | Comments (0)

In Other Words, He's Afraid They Are Losing

Ahmadinejad Calls for Lebanon Cease-Fire

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:14 PM | Comments (0)

Kofi Break

His transnationalness speaks:

The U.N. chief said Hezbollah must stop its "deliberate targeting of Israeli population centers" and that Israel must end all bombing, ground operations and blockades of Lebanese ports.

Let's review:

Hizbollah must stop its "deliberate targeting of Israeli population centers."

Israel must end all bombing, ground operations and blocking of Lebanese ports.

Which of these requirements seems more restrictive? Who would you think has behaved worse from these strictures?

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:39 PM | Comments (0)

Can We Start With the Troposphere?

Israel Wants to Set Hezbollah-Free Zone

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:34 PM | Comments (0)

June 28, 2006

What Happens If israel Takes Them at Their Word?

Here's to your short, but exciting life:

A spokesman for gunmen in the Gaza Strip said they had fired a rocket tipped with a chemical warhead at Israel early on Thursday.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:13 PM | Comments (1)

The Key Word Here is "Win"

Divide and lose, sure:

Howard Dean told the nation's oldest Hispanic rights group on Wednesday that Democrats will not use the issue of immigration to divide the country and win in the upcoming midterm elections.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:50 PM | Comments (0)

Alrighty, Then

Pentagon says homosexuality not a mental disorder

A Pentagon spokesman then said, "not that there's not anything wrong with that," since this statement has no impact on U.S. policy prohibiting openly gay people from serving in the military.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:44 PM | Comments (0)

The Old Chicken or Egg Problem

Generally, I am opposed to setting withdrawal dates in the place of mission complete statements, but since they won't be able to hold up their side of the bargain, maybe we should take them up on their offer:

Eleven Sunni insurgent groups have offered an immediate halt to all attacks — including those on American troops — if the United States agrees to withdraw foreign forces from Iraq in two years, insurgent and government officials told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The again, if all insurgent attacks really did stop, my guess is that it wouldn't take two years for US forces to be largely out of Iraq.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:41 PM | Comments (0)

June 27, 2006

"The Blog, It Just Be Callin' Me"

With apologies to Chris Rock's character Pookie in Mario Van Peeble's New Jack City, a greatly understimated work, IMHO, but I digress, over at The Corner, Tim Graham concludes a post with:

What’s really surprising is that Olbermann goes out in public and claims he doesn’t display a political POV.

I would have thought that "and claims he doesn't display a political POV" was redundant.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:41 PM | Comments (0)

May 22, 2006

Post Deleted

Huge post on Madeleine Albright deleted as it began to delve into thorny theological questions and my snarky frame of mind led to several ill-considered remarks which I believe it is better to delete.

So be it. But even with my poor knowledge of Christian theology, I believe Ms. Albright remains deeply confused when it comes to matters of faith.

DOWNDATE: I do wonder though, why aren't Democrats content with standing aside and letting Bush self destruct instead of re-energizing his base by saying incredibly stupid things like this:

"President Bush's certitude about what he believes in, and the division between good and evil, is, I think, different," said Albright, who has just published a book on religion and world affairs. "The absolute truth is what makes Bush so worrying to some of us."

Or this:

"Some of his language is really quite over the top," Albright told Reuters on Sunday during a trip to London to promote her book. "When he says 'God is on our side', it's very different from (former U.S. President Abraham) Lincoln saying 'We have to be on God's side.'"

Aside from President Lincoln's many, many references to God in his speeches and writings, from his appeal to the better angels of our nature in the first inaugural address to the second inuagural address', "... the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether", one wonders if Ms. Albright is decidedly unsure as to who God might support in the GWOT.

Stunning.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:05 PM | Comments (1)

Well, That's Good to Know

After all, I thought this was the prerogative of the voters:

DNC: WE DID NOT PICK LANDRIEU OVER NAGIN

Hmm..., would fake, but accurate apply in this case?

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:26 PM | Comments (0)

Keep This In Mind...

Whenever a politician reminds us that he or she is a servant of the people:

Saturday night’s FBI raid on the office of Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) surprised and angered House officials, who were not told that the Rayburn House Office Building search was to take place until one hour beforehand, offering the latest sign that federal prosecutors are using increasingly aggressive tactics in their pursuit of allegedly corrupt lawmakers.

Because all of us have the right to receive more than a few hours notice before the FBI executes a search warrant. Right?

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:26 AM | Comments (0)

May 19, 2006

US Out of Earth Now!

The ACLU has done the lamentably predictable thing and lauded a predictably lamentable report from the U.N. Committee against Torture:

“The message from the torture committee leaves no doubt that the U.S. policies and practices at home and abroad violated bedrock principles against torture and abuse,” said Jamil Dakwar, an attorney with the ACLU Human Rights Program who was in Geneva monitoring the session. “"If America is to regain its status as a beacon of freedom around the world, the U.S. government must take immediate steps to end its policies of abuse and to hold officials and perpetrators accountable."

No doubt our loss of status as a (Ed. note: a, not the) beacon of freedom around the world will surely take care of the pesky illegal imigration problem soon enough.

As a reminder, here are the members of this august body who stands in self-righteous condemnation of the beacon of freedom around the world:

Mr. Guibril Camara -- Senegal
Mr. Sayed Kassem El Masry -- Egypt
Ms. Felice Gaer -- United States of America
Mr. Claudio Grossman -- Chile
Mr. Fernando Marino Menendez -- Spain
Mr. Andreas Mavrommatis -- Cyprus
Mr. Julio Prado-Vallejo -- Ecuador
Mr. Ole Vedel Rasmussen -- Denmark
Mr. Alexander M. Yakovlev -- Russian Federation
Mr. Yu Mengjia -- China

Did I mention that the sooner we leave the U.N. the better?

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:49 PM | Comments (0)

A Word to the Wise

The New Orleans Mayoral election is rapidly approaching. If you should suddenly and unexpectedly find yourself between Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton or Michael Eric Dyson and a camera or microphone in the next few days, duck and cover.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:19 PM | Comments (0)

Nothing to See Here, Move Along

My least favorite part of the story featuring this headline:

Plot to down El Al jet in Geneva foiled

Is this sentence:

Swiss officials reported that no arrests were made following the discovery since the plan had yet to reach its final operational stages.

Nice to know the Swiss haven't subscribed to that evil preemption thing.

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:31 PM | Comments (0)

You Have to Laugh to Avoid Crying

Castro healthy enough to live till 140 years old: doctor

And I don't mean for Castro, but for all the poor bastards who are forced to live under a regime where lies like this can apparently be told with a straight face. On the other hand, imagine how angry some activists and States' Attorneys General might be if it turns out that rolling the tobacco leaves on the thighs of young Cuban girls has miraculous powers that negate the deleterious effects of smoking.

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:23 PM | Comments (0)

Crazy Like a Rabid Fox

One advantage to Holocaust denial is that you can pretend this has never been done before:

Iran's roughly 25,000 Jews would have to sew a yellow strip of cloth on the front of their clothes, while Christians would wear red badges and Zoroastrians would be forced to wear blue cloth.

It may be that this story is a hoax, but isn't it telling that it is so believable? Hey, maybe we should give them a nuke just to show how sorry we are.

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:17 PM | Comments (0)

No Doubt He's Doing It to Appease the Base, But Who's Base?

Bush opposes English as national language: Gonzales

I think he's wrong, but I do salute the courage he has in his convictions.

Meanwhile Senator Reid weighs in:

Reid calls language proposal racist

He keeps using that word, but I do not think it means what he thinks it means.

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:12 PM | Comments (0)

May 04, 2006

Viva La Revolucion!

It's good to be the dictator:

Cuban President Fidel Castro was furious when Forbes magazine estimated his fortune at $550 million last year. This year, the magazine upped its estimate of the communist leader's wealth to a cool $900 million.

Just out of curiosity, I wonder what Fulgencio Batista was worth when he was deposed.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:22 PM | Comments (0)

Like Father, Like Son

Marx was wrong, again. The repeat wasn't a farce:

Police labor union officials asked acting Chief Christopher McGaffin this afternoon to allow a Capitol Police officer to complete his investigation into an early-morning car crash involving Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.), son of Sen. Ted Kennedy.

ROLL CALL reports: According to a letter sent by Officer Greg Baird, acting chairman of the USCP FOP, the wreck took place at approximately 2:45 a.m. Thursday when Kennedy's car, operating with its running lights turned off, narrowly missed colliding with a Capitol Police cruiser and smashed into a security barricade at First and C streets Southeast.

“The driver exited the vehicle and he was observed to be staggering,” Baird’s letter states. Officers approached the driver, who “declared to them he was a Congressman and was late to a vote. The House had adjourned nearly three hours before this incident. It was Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy from Rhode Island.”

Baird wrote that Capitol Police Patrol Division units, who are trained in driving under the influence cases, were not allowed to perform basic field sobriety tests on the Congressman. Instead, two sergeants, who also responded to the accident, proceeded to confer with the Capitol Police watch commander on duty and then “ordered all of the Patrol Division Units to leave the scene and that they were taking over.”

A source tells the DRUDGE REPORT: "It was apparent that the driver was intoxicated (stumbling) and claimed he was in a hurry to make a vote.

"When it became apparent who it was, instead of processing a normal DWI, the watch commander had the Patrol units clear the scene. The commander allowed other building officials drive Kennedy home."

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:19 PM | Comments (1)

April 12, 2006

You Load 16 Megatons, Whaddaya Get?

Iran Could Produce Nuclear Bomb in 16 Days

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:55 PM | Comments (1)

April 07, 2006

Only Nixon Can Go to China

And only a government official in San Francisco can say about San Francisco:

"From all the data I have seen ... it's the gayest city in the world."

Ellipsis in orginal.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:30 PM | Comments (0)

Guns or Butter, In Another Context

So, getting money for not killing Jews constitutes blackmail:

The European Union said it would suspend direct funding to the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority Friday, upping the pressure on the militant group to renounce violence and recognize Israel.

But Hamas immediately rebuffed the move and vowed not to surrender to "blackmail" from the European bloc, the biggest donor of aid to the cash-strapped Palestinians.

And people put their faith in diplomacy with killers...

DOWNDATE: And from the Bearded Spock universe:

With the European Union (EU) temporarily halting aid to the Hamas-led Palestinian government, a new and dangerous signal is sent out: It is tantamount to interference in another country's affairs, while not accepting the democratic choice of the people.

That's funny, I thought that giving money to people in another country would have been tantamount to interference in another country's affairs, rather than not giving money. At least, that's what the Federal Election Commission says. But seriously, don't you wonder how grownups can say such obviously silly things?

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:02 PM | Comments (0)

Proof that John Kerry Is a Vampire

Because we all know that vampires cannot see their reflection:

A defiant Sen. John Kerry on Friday lashed out sharply against President Bush and his team of advisers, calling them "the Katrina Administration" and "the most incompetent people I've ever seen."

Yeah, and you lost to them. Man, does that inspire confidence.

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:55 PM | Comments (0)

Blame Bush!

Stupid tax cuts:

Employers, in a springtime hiring burst, boosted payrolls by a sizable 211,000 in March and pushed the nation's unemployment rate down to 4.7 percent.

All a full employment economy means is that service at fast food restaurants will continue to get worse.

DOWNDATE: But I knew if we looked hard enough we could find a dark lining to this silver cloud:

The jobless rate for storm victims who had not returned home hit 34.7 percent last month, compared with 22.6 percent in February, the Labor Department said. The unemployment rate for those who had returned home also rose a bit — from 4.8 percent in February to 5.3 percent in March.

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:50 PM | Comments (0)

Amusing

I find this headline amusing:

Gore urges moral crusade against global warming

And this, ahem, crusade, will be fought by reducing the amount of oil used -- oil, much of which is purchased from people who are going to be thrilled with the thought of helping a crusade. Right, Al? Or is language sensitivity a one-way street?

Forget I asked.

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

"A Man's Got to Know His Limitations" -- Harry Callahan

You know, big guy, you might be surprised to find out just how many people are perfectly comfortable with your ass sitting in a jail cell:

Mayor Gavin Newsom said Thursday that The City will not comply with any federal legislation that criminalizes efforts to help illegal immigrants.

Oh, and as a convicted felon you lose the right to vote as well. So, bring your friends! Most cities would probably function better without their current political leaders. Rest assured that your's is no different, Mr. Mayor.

FWIW, I'm on the record as favoring increased immigration, as long as it is controlled and the imigrants are on a path that leads towards citizenship and assimilation. And spare me the accusations levelled by La Raza, etc., unless you can convincingly argue that my own citizenship isn't already pretty tightly controlled by the federal, state, and local governments that claim jursidiction over my money, property, children's education, and any number of other inalienable (no pun intended) rights that apparently no amount of clarity and simple, straightforward language already in the U.S. Constitution can actually guarantee.

It's the old problem I go on about from time to time of disconnects between authority and responsibility that cause most of the problems on this issue, and I'm too busy to rehash that again now.

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:31 PM | Comments (0)

April 01, 2006

Luddites Unite!

One of the most pernicious aspects of the French labor laws, and even the relative relaxation in their rigidity that is causing so much grief there now is that it virtually condemns people into whatever job they take when they are relatively young. Perhaps I'm wrong, but it seems to me that the mindset of most people in France that whatever job they happen to land will be their first, last and only job until they retire. Given the pace of change in technology, economic globalization, or other factors that will not be obvious for years to come, having people mentally locked into thinking that they should settle for whatever job they take at a young age is a virtual guarantee of societal and economic obsolescence.

I'm 46 and I've changed employers three times and careers twice since leaving school. I'm now president and co-owner of a company. Would I be where I am now if I had went into my first job thinking that it was my right to be employed there until I retired?

I almost feel sorry for them.

Almost.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:28 PM | Comments (0)

April Fools

May fools, June fools, whatever:

As tensions increase between the United States and Iran, U.S. intelligence and terrorism experts say they believe Iran would respond to U.S. military strikes on its nuclear sites by deploying its intelligence operatives and Hezbollah teams to carry out terrorist attacks worldwide.

Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and The Plan notwithstanding, if these folks think that terrorism, even in response to US attacks, will cause the US to back down or relent, oh my, things are going to get ugly.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:12 PM | Comments (0)

March 31, 2006

Like Stan Once Said, "Dude, What the F*** Is Wrong With German People?"

I'm sure the German Defence Minister and every member of Germany's Higher Court are smarter and more educated than I. But here is a good example why, as I get older, I become ever less impressed with academic credentials:

Germany's defence minister said in remarks to be published Saturday he would only order the shooting down of an aircraft in a 9/11-style suicide attack if all the people on board were 'terrorists.'

Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung's statement comes after Germany's highest court this year overturned a law allowing hijacked airliners to be shot down to prevent them being used as in the 2001 attacks on the United States.

Judges said Germany's Basic Law did not allow the military to aid police in this manner and that passengers in plane being shot down would have their constitutionally guaranteed right-to-life violated.

Becuase, you know, this is only a police matter. Sometimes it seems as though the countries of the EU take the "Kick Me" signs off their backs only to correct the spelling to "Kill Me" and make sure it is properly aligned when reattached for maximum visibility.


Posted by Charles Austin at 05:28 PM | Comments (0)

Police Brutality

In response to the Capitol Police issuing an arrest warrant for Representative Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) after she person-handled one of its officers, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said:

"I would not make a big deal of this."

Representatives McKinney and Pelosi then launched into a duet with their unique interpretation of Jonathon Edwards' (Ed: Hmm.., where have I heard that name before?) Sunshine:

Sunshine go away today
I don't feel much like dancing
Some man's gone, he's tried to run my life
Don't know what he's asking

He tells me I'd better get in line
Can't hear what he's saying
When I grow up I'm going to make it mine
But these aren't dues I been paying

How much does it cost, I'll buy it
The time is all we've lost, I'll try it
But he can't even run his own life
I'll be damned if he'll run mine, Sunshine

Sunshine go away today
I don't feel much like dancing
Some man's gone he's tried to run my life
Don't know what he's asking

Working starts to make me wonder where
The fruits of what I do are going
He says in love and war all is fair
But he's got cards he ain't showing

Sunshine come on back another day
I promise you I'll be singing
This old world, she's gonna turn around
Brand new bells'll be ringing

DOWNDATE: The hits just keep on coming:

A lawyer for Rep. Cynthia McKinney, the Georgia congresswoman who had an altercation with a Capitol Police officer, says she was "just a victim of being in Congress while black."

And here I thought her crime was being in Congress while committing a felonious assault on a police. Everyone understands that she just accused the Capitol Police of institutionalized racism, right? If Democrats have any sense of decency remaining they will disown this woman immediately and throw her out of their party. Then maybe we'll talk about their talking points, er, I mean their plan for national security.

But wait, there's more:

Actor, Danny Glover was expected to appear at an early-evening news conference Friday with McKinney at Howard University.That gave Republicans material to keep the criticism flowing. "Rep. McKinney appearing with the star of 'Lethal Weapon'? Not exactly the message you want to be sending," said Ron Bonjean, spokesman for House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill.

Personally, I always think of Danny Glover as Albert in The Color Purple whenever he gets a little self-righteous and preachy.

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:15 PM | Comments (0)

Me Neither

Anyone else think this means that we won't have to listen to any more whinging from the Angry Left that this administration refuses to admit it has ever made a mistake?

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice accepted on Friday the United States had probably made thousands of errors in Iraq but defended the overall strategy of removing Saddam Hussein.

Some might regard thousands of errors as not too bad overall given the sheer number of decisions that have had to be made over the last three years, but those whose measuring sticks were forged in Utopia aren't going to start bowing to relative measures now. My guess is that this quote will be used in the articles of impeachment for President Bush drafted in January by the 110th Congress of the United States.

As in the universe itself, the farther one looks out on our body politic, the faster we appear to be receding from each other.

DOWNDATE: Surely some too clever by half pundit on the Angry Left has already remarked, "Yeah, exactly 2,327 mistakes so far."

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:06 PM | Comments (0)

March 30, 2006

Stockholm, Eurabia Syndrome

Jill Carroll is free. This is a good thing. On the other hand, her statements concerning her captors indicate that she needs some counselling:

"I was treated well, but I don't know why I was kidnapped,"

In the words of long past his broadcast by date Dick Enberg, oh my.

DOWNDATE: Apparently, Ms. Carroll has repudiated not just her statements in captivity, but those in the interview conducted just afterwards from which my excerpt was taken. I tried to be somewhat reserved in my criticism, and i hope it came across that way. Even if it were Stockholm Syndrome, this is a fairly well understood psychological phenomenon to which otherwise reasonable people can fall prey to. I wish her well.

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:46 PM | Comments (0)

Mohamed's Radio-active

With apologies to the shade of Warren Zevon for that title, Mohamed ElBaradei says:

"My message to Iran: the international community is getting impatient and you need to respond by arming me with information," he said.

Does anybody else think this is a remarkably poor choice of verbs for a diplomat trying to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons? Then again, perhaps Mohamed believes his job is to do battle on behalf of Iran? Further on, Mohamed ElBaradei says:

"There is no military solution to this situation. It's inconceivable."

He keeps using that word. But I do not think it means what he thinks it means. Meanwhile, on planet Earth:

In Berlin, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the international community still aimed to find a diplomatic solution to the stand-off.

Think about it, diplomacy is essentially only useful in negotiating terms of surrender at some level. Since Iran won't back down to this petty tomfoolery, I suppose the usual suspects are going to volunteer to maintain the illusion of process and progress in negotiations. Put yourself in Iran's shoes, what's the downside to prevaricating, obfuscating and carrying on with uranium enrichment at a double quick time pace?

Russia and China firmly oppose any sanctions, let alone force, and insisted on removing language in the U.N. statement that they feared could lead down that path.

Got that? No sanctions. Period. And for heavens sake, no force. The only tool left in the arsenal of, ahem, democracy, is the sternly worded warning.

Cardinal Biggles, fetch the comfy chair!

DOWNDATE: A deadline, er, I mean, a line in the ever shifting diplomatic sands has been drawn, however lightly, letting Iran know that the UN means, uh, business:

The U.N. Security Council gave Iran 30 days to clear up suspicions that it is seeking nuclear weapons, and key members turned their focus on what to do if Iran refuses to suspend uranium enrichment and allow more intrusive inspections.

As noted earlier, there's plenty of room on the table. It's certainly uncontaminated by what's been left on it.

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:22 PM | Comments (0)

March 24, 2006

Mani is the Mortal Foe of Nuance

Hard to believe this woman was actually Secretary of State:

THE BUSH administration's newly unveiled National Security Strategy might well be subtitled "The Irony of Iran." Three years after the invasion of Iraq and the invention of the phrase "axis of evil," the administration now highlights the threat posed by Iran — whose radical government has been vastly strengthened by the invasion of Iraq. This is more tragedy than strategy, and it reflects the Manichean approach this administration has taken to the world.

And then Ms. Albright shows just how much more superior nuance is to Manichean dichotomies:

For years, the president has acted as if Al Qaeda, Saddam Hussein's followers and Iran's mullahs were parts of the same problem. Yet, in the 1980s, Hussein's Iraq and Iran fought a brutal war. In the 1990s, Al Qaeda's allies murdered a group of Iranian diplomats. For years, Osama bin Laden ridiculed Hussein, who persecuted Sunni and Shiite religious leaders alike. When Al Qaeda struck the U.S. on 9/11, Iran condemned the attacks and later participated constructively in talks on Afghanistan. The top leaders in the new Iraq — chosen in elections that George W. Bush called "a magic moment in the history of liberty" — are friends of Iran. When the U.S. invaded Iraq, Bush may have thought he was striking a blow for good over evil, but the forces unleashed were considerably more complex.

The administration is now divided between those who understand this complexity and those who do not.

Never mind.

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:21 PM | Comments (2)

UNbelievable (Well, Not Really)

Just in case anyone was holding out hope that the UN would be able to effectively deal with Iran's desire to acquire nuclear weapons:

Russia provided intelligence to Iraq's government in the opening days of the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, including information that fed Iraqi suspicions that the main U.S. invasion force coming from Kuwait was actually a diversion, a Pentagon report released on Friday stated. The report said an April 2, 2003, document from the Iraqi minister of foreign affairs to President Saddam Hussein stated that Russian intelligence had reported information on American troops plans to the Iraqis through the Russian ambassador. The intelligence, the document stated, was that the American forces were moving to cut off Baghdad from the south, east and north, that U.S. bombing would concentrate on Baghdad and that the assault on Baghdad would not begin before around April 15.

Just for the record, Pootie-Poot suckie-sucks. But, good luck with that whole "we are the world" thing, Secretary Rice:

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice issued a veiled warning Thursday to holdouts in a diplomatic impasse at the United Nations over Iran's disputed nuclear program. "There can't be any stalling," Rice said in response to a question about U.S. efforts to get Russia and China to sign on to a strongly worded rebuke to Tehran. Russia and China have refused to back a U.N. Security Council statement proposed by Britain, France and the United States demanding Iran suspend uranium enrichment.

To abuse a tired aphorism, the friend of my enemy is not my friend.

DOWNDATE: It just occurred to me that if the Russians did give our battle plan to Saddam Hussein just before we liberated Iraq, it only makes our quick success in routing Saddam's forces there look all that more impressive.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:21 PM | Comments (0)

March 23, 2006

And In Really Important News...

Maybe they should have taken the opportunity to hold a quick vote to kick France out of the EU:

French President Jacques Chirac stormed out of the first session of a European summit today to snub a French businessman who switched into English to make an appeal for steps to boost economic competitiveness.

Chirac pulled France's foreign and finance ministers out of the session when French native Ernest-Antoine Seilliere, head of the European Union industry federation, launched into English, a French official told journalists in Brussels.

It really is tough to parody the absurd.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:12 PM | Comments (0)

No Further Comment Necessary

Muslim scholars in cartoon talks

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:52 PM | Comments (1)

She Learnt at the Master's Knee

I am a little depressed because I think that Hillary Clinton is probably going to be the 44th President of the United States. The only glimmer of relief I have is the schadenfreude I know will come when Democrats suddenly discover, too late, that she is willing to sacrifice them for her own success.

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:21 PM | Comments (1)

What's Good for the Goose

On the one hand, I do actually agree that this bill isn't law because it does not pass procedural muster:

House Democrats want President Bush to say whether he knew of what they call a "fundamental constitutional problem" with the $39 billion deficit reduction package he signed last month.

A letter to Bush, signed by House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Henry Waxman of California and released Thursday, is the latest challenge to a bill that was passed in slightly different forms by the House and Senate before it was sent to Bush.

"A bill is not law unless the same version is passed by both the House and the Senate and signed by the president," top Democrats wrote to Bush. He signed it on Feb. 8.

To believe otherwise is inconsistent with my previous statements and beliefs concerning the citizenry's ability to follow basic, simple voting rules and procedures if they want their votes to count. On the other hand(s):

1. I know that there isn't a single Congressman or Congresswoman who has even read every bill they have voted on, so it is kind of funny to me that this is one of the battles they choose to fight. But let's be honest, this isn't about a procedural slip up that they really want to rectify, it's about the federal government spending more money! Or at least the Democrat's ability to demagogue up the works again if they can.

2. FWIW, I would be more than a little surprised if this really is the first time such a procedural slip has occurred.

3. Knowing that Nancy Pelosi and Henry Waxman are on one side of the discussion is an extremely good inverted predictor of what is right.

4. It is just so like the current Democratic leadership (and previous ones who focused so much on controlling legal authorities) to insist on the letter of the law rather than the spirit of the law. though both remain critically important.

5. Finally, resorting to "What did the president know and when did he know it?", reflects such a desperate nostalgia for the good old days of Watergate as to, let's see, how did John Green put it ..., oh yes ..., make me puke.

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:15 PM | Comments (0)

"La La La La La La La La ..."

That sound you hear from the next cubicle is just a moonbat with his fingers stuck in his ears:

A newly released pre-war Iraqi document indicates that an official representative of Saddam Hussein's government met with Osama bin Laden in Sudan on February 19, 1995 after approval by Saddam Hussein. Bin Laden asked that Iraq broadcast the lectures of Suleiman al Ouda, a radical Saudi preacher, and suggested "carrying out joint operations against foreign forces" in Saudi Arabia. According to the document, Saddam's presidency was informed of the details of the meeting on March 4, 1995 and Saddam agreed to dedicate a program for them on the radio. The document states that further "development of the relationship and cooperation between the two parties to be left according to what's open (in the future) based on dialogue and agreement on other ways of cooperation." The Sudanese were informed about the agreement to dedicate the program on the radio.

The report then states that "Saudi opposition figure" bin Laden had to leave Sudan in July 1996 after it was accused of harboring terrorists. It says information indicated he was in Afghanistan. "The relationship with him is still through the Sudanese. We're currently working on activating this relationship through a new channel in light of his current location," it states.

(Editor's Note: This document is handwritten and has no official seal. Although contacts between bin Laden and the Iraqis have been reported in the 9/11 Commission report and elsewhere, (e.g. the 9/11 report states "Bin Ladn himself met with a senior Iraqi intelligence officer in Khartoum in late 1994 or early 1995) this document indicates the contacts were approved personally by Saddam Hussein.

It also indicates the discussions were substantive, in particular that bin Laden was proposing an operational relationship, and that the Iraqis were, at a minimum, interested in exploring a potential relationship and prepared to show good faith by broadcasting the speeches of al Ouda, the radical cleric who was also a bin Laden mentor.

The document does not establish that the two parties did in fact enter into an operational relationship. Given that the document claims bin Laden was proposing to the Iraqis that they conduct "joint operations against foreign forces" in Saudi Arabia, it is interesting to note that eight months after the meeting — on November 13, 1995 — terrorists attacked Saudi National Guard Headquarters in Riyadh, killing 5 U.S. military advisors. The militants later confessed on Saudi TV to having been trained by Osama bin Laden.)

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:35 PM | Comments (1)

March 22, 2006

Global Warming Landmarks

Tim Blair asked folks to name some of the new World Heritage sites the U.N. might designate The Day After Tomorrow. Alas, since I cannot leave a comment there, I'll leave them here:

The North Pool
Disneyisland or Key North (formerly known as Orlando)
The Appalachian Barrier Islands
Land's End (formerly known as Exeter)
Turtle Sea (formerly known as Turtle Bay)
The White Seamount of Dover
La Petite Tetons (La Petitons?)
Half Half Dome (Quarter Dome?)
The Hawaiian Island
Loch Arizona

And I can't wait for the film version of the the overly sensitive climatologist who fell asleep after climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and woke to find it only 998 feet above the new sea level : The Man Who Climbed Up a Mountain But Came Down a Hill.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:47 PM | Comments (0)

March 21, 2006

More Evidence That It Really Is Hard Out Here for a Pimp

Geico has committed the unforgiveable sin of noting that some people and professions are inherently more trustworthy than others:

A leading U.S. consumer group Monday accused Geico Corp. (BRK) of using consumers' education backgrounds and occupations as criteria in setting auto insurance rates, resulting in discrimination against minorities and lower-income people. The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) charged that the No. 4 U.S. auto insurer, has adopted rating methods and underwriting guidelines in 44 states that directly tie rates to education and occupation.

Of course, suggesting that you can shop at another insurance carrier is perhaps asking too much of someone who is already discrimated against because of the education and occupation.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:46 PM | Comments (0)

Never Say, "Never Again"

Even now, some people refuse to defend themselves:

Outside the kosher grocery shops and grey apartment blocks of Sarcelles, a northern Paris suburb, a softly spoken teacher at a local Jewish school was discussing whether Jews in France should carry guns to defend themselves. "Everyone is worried about anti-semitic attacks and people don't have faith in the police to protect them. Some have spoken to me about carrying arms. But what would I gain from carrying a pistol? Absolutely nothing," Michael Amer said.

Read the rest of the article for a long list of recent anti-Semitic crimes in France, and then marvel yet again at a culture that has conditioned men to be sheep led to the slaughter.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:05 PM | Comments (0)

Abraham Lincoln Once Said...

"At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it? Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years. At what point, then, is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide."

I bring this up because of Austria's suicidal march to the gallows:

Last week three Muslim conscripts of the Austrian army refused to salute the Austrian flag because this was incompatible with their faith. The Austrian paper Die Presse (18 March) reported that three soldiers of the Maria Theresia barracks, where most of the 1,000 Muslim soldiers serve, refused to salute the flag at a parade and instead turned their backs on it. The soldiers were not disciplined. However, an imam was summoned to issue a fatwa stating that Muslims are allowed to salute the Austrian flag.

Austrian Army officers have complained that Muslim conscripts – about 3,5% of the Austrian armed forces – are unable to do most jobs because they have permission to pray 5 times a day, no matter what job they are performing at the time. Some who attend Friday Prayers stay away for the rest of the day.

Following the incident the Austrian defense minister Günther Platter announced that the army will engage imams as permanent chaplains in order to mediate future conflicts. Die Presse suggests that it would be better to follow the example of the Austrian police and appoint Muslim officers to command Muslim recruits.

I would have thought Europe wouldn't goosestep their way so easily to institutionalized Balkanization. I can only imagine the Austrian Army recruiting posters: "An Army of Some of These, and Some of Those, and a Few of Them..."

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:56 PM | Comments (0)

What Happens On the Day Kim Jong-Il Wakes Up...

And suddenly discovers that we are taking him at his word?

North Korea suggested Tuesday it had the ability to launch a pre-emptive attack on the United States, according to the North's official news agency.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman said the North had built atomic weapons to counter the U.S. nuclear threat.

"As we declared, our strong revolutionary might put in place all measures to counter possible U.S. pre-emptive strike," the spokesman said, according to the Korean Central News Agency. "Pre-emptive strike is not the monopoly of the United States."

I really like this next part, though:

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman declined to comment on the reports.

It reminds me of something I read sometime back, though I cannot remember the specifics. France had just done something French in the colonies and an aide asked the British PM if he was going to send a message, and he replied, "No, I've sent the Marines," or something to that effect.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:47 PM | Comments (0)

In Answer to Those of You Not From the Greater St. Louis Area...

Yes, it is necessary to remind Democratic Party operatives that it is illegal to buy votes:

Democratic leaders in one Illinois county have begun making very clear what other politicians might consider obvious: Party money should not be used to buy votes.

The Democratic Party in St. Clair County has sent out reminders to precinct committeemen that party money can't be used to influence votes.

The refresher course on democracy follows the June convictions of five East St. Louis politicians for vote buying. Prosecutors said they had helped distribute more than $70,000 received by city Democratic precinct committeemen just before the 2004 election from the county Democratic organization.

The committeemen were recently sent a one-page letter from St. Clair County Democratic Central Committee Chairman Robert Sprague saying that money from the county committee should be used only to pay to help get the vote out.

Precinct leaders should "keep a record of all expenses" and "under no circumstances" use party money to pay for votes, the letter says.

Strangely enough, this AP story hasn't made it into the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. But I do like the headline the Arizona Republic put on this story:

Ill. Democrats promise not to buy votes

Because we all know how much faith we can put into promises by politicians.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:38 PM | Comments (0)

March 20, 2006

If Only He Were President...

Mr. Kerry said:

"This president has the worst job performance record in 50 years."

Right.

U.S. college graduates are facing the best job market since 2001, with business, computer, engineering, education and health care grads in highest demand, a report by an employment consulting firm showed on Monday. "We are approaching full employment and some employers are already dreaming up perks to attract the best talent," said John Challenger, chief executive of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

This kind of reminds me of the old story about when we were 25, how we looked at our parents and were amazed at how much they had learned in the last 7 years.

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:24 PM | Comments (0)

Going Down, Er, I Mean, Rejected

Perhaps they no longer need to see it to recognize it:

The Supreme Court turned back an appeal on Monday from a photographer who claimed a federal decency law violated her free-speech rights to post pictures of sadomasochistic sexual behavior on the Web.

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:00 PM | Comments (0)

You Want to Know Why the U.N. Isn't Doing Anything About the Genocide in Darfur?

Maybe it's because the U.N. thinks the human race can use a little culling:

Humans are responsible for the worst spate of extinctions since the dinosaurs and must make unprecedented extra efforts to reach a goal of slowing losses by 2010, a U.N. report said on Monday.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:53 PM | Comments (0)

March 14, 2006

Mama Always Said...

Stupid is as stupid does.

stabenow.jpg

Any politician who would put up a sign like this and allow themselves to be photographed with it probably is, well, dangerously incompetent.

DOWNDATE: Gratuitous bastardized Steely Dan lyric:

It's a special lack of grace,
I can see it in your face.
I can see by what you carry
That you come from Michigan.

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

February 23, 2006

... Or About Five Minutes If You Were Serious About It

Think about what you can accomplish in four years. Now think about what the UN can't:

Sexual abuse charges against U.N. peacekeepers remain unacceptably high due to a persistent "culture of dismissiveness" in field missions, a U.N. diplomat said on Thursday.

It could take three to four more years for a reform program to fully take hold, Jordan's U.N. ambassador, Prince Zeid Ra'ad Zeid al-Hussein, said in updating the U.N. Security Council on how the problem was being addressed.

Unbelievable, or should I say UN believable.

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

February 22, 2006

Religion of Peace

Do you ever wonder if Andrew Sullivan wakes up in the middle of the night and thinks to himself, "Wow, maybe Bush has made the best of a terrible situation."

Me, neither.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:03 PM | Comments (0)

So, Does This Mean the Bush Economy Isn't a Disaster?

I have difficulty believing that 1 in 12 American's goes hungry without food from soup kitchens:

To combat hunger, more in US turn to soup kitchens

As the economy has steadily grown over the past four years, so too has the number of Americans going hungry. America's Second Harvest, the nation's largest charitable food distribution network, is now providing help to more than 25 million people, an 8 percent increase over 2001, the last time the organization did a major survey of its more than 200 food banks in all 50 states.

Simple math folks. That's all it takes to spot nonsense these days. But imagine how bad things would be if the economy were as bad as Paul Krugman keeps telling us it is.

Incidentally, these numbers also mean that on average, each America's Second Harvest food bank is feeding 125,000 people. I think it is a great and noble thing the folks at America's Second Harvest are doing to help people out, but please, but wild, unsustainable claims do not help their cause.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:58 PM | Comments (3)

Pro-Choice or Pro-Life

The End is Nigh!

South Dakota passes abortion ban

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:08 PM | Comments (3)

I'm Curious

What might the press reaction have been if word had leaked out that, "Bush refuses to allow sale of British assets to UAE"? Wouldn't George Bush have been criticized for discriminating against Arabs and Muslims, being a hypocrite on free markets, and trying to instill paranoia and fear, or has Bush Derangement Syndrome become a thing of the past?

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:47 PM | Comments (0)

February 21, 2006

I'm Just a Soul Whose Intentions Are Bad...

Oh Lord, must be Ahmadinejad:

Iran's foreign minister denied on Monday that Tehran wanted to see Israel "wiped off the map," saying President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had been misunderstood.

This doesn't sound any more credible coming from diplomats than it does coming from spoiled athletes.

"Nobody can remove a country from the map."

Uh huh.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:22 AM | Comments (0)

February 20, 2006

If You Insist

Bin Laden Vows Never to Be Captured Alive

I must say that's rather petulant and selfish of you though, depriving Ramsey Clark of one last opportunity to play the old fool one more time in his dotage.

DOWNDATE: Gratuitious Steely Dan lyric abuse:

Got a case of dynamite, I could hold out here all night.
Well I crossed George Bush back in Afghanistan, don't take me alive.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:46 AM | Comments (1)

February 19, 2006

Dog Bites Man

That is, Mark Steyn is on fire.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:56 PM | Comments (0)

Cheney -- Trap or Skeet?

I still cannot fathom the lunacy that followed Vice President Dick Cheney's accidental shooting of his friend, Harry Whittington. Whether it is the conspiratorial nonsense of Alec Baldwin and friends or the foot-stomping childishness of the White House media, what exactly was the great threat to democracy caused by the media (not the public) not being informed for 24 hours? Watching the media's reaction, is it any wonder that the Vice President didn't immediately alert the media?

Most of the "humor" resulting from this is a little disturbing as well. Some of it has been funny, but I'm not sure making fun of somebody being shot is in good taste, unless, apparently, he is a rich white Republican.

FWIW, since Cheney pulled the trigger, I believe he is ultimately responsible no matter what Mr. Whittington did. You have to know what your shot (note to some members of the media, it was shot -- not bullets) is going to hit at all times. It should still be considered an accident, but I consider any attempt to blame Mr. Whiitington for being shot as ridiculous -- even if it Mr. Whittington blaming himself.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:02 PM | Comments (0)

February 12, 2006

Al Gore Decides to Give Ramsey Clark a Run for His Money

I don't think this is treasonous:

Former Vice President Al Gore told a mainly Saudi audience on Sunday that the U.S. government committed "terrible abuses" against Arabs after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and that most Americans did not support such treatment. Gore said Arabs had been "indiscriminately rounded up" and held in "unforgivable" conditions. The former vice president said the Bush administration was playing into al-Qaida's hands by routinely blocking Saudi visa applications.

But it is utterly disgraceful. Whatever else I think of Jimmy Carter, and it isn't much, in my mind he's always been the second worst living American who previously held a high office in this country. Ramsey Clark grabbed the top spot long ago and held it firmly with his incessant anti-American antics. Now I think Jimmy's risen to third and Ramsey's been elevated up one spot from the bottom of the hole. Al Gore has taken a jackhammer to deepen of the pit of anti-Americanism that so many Democrats are gleefully leaping into these days. Wouldn't you like to see a repeat of the 2000 plebiscite between Al Gore and George Bush now?

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:28 PM | Comments (0)

The Crips and Bloods are Pikers Compared to This Gang

Every time someone like the President says that it is only a small minority of Islamists that are the problem, I recall that there are an estimated 1,100,000,000 Muslims in the world. I believe that the President is correct when he says this but if this small minority is only 1% of all Muslims, that still leaves 11,000,000 nuts running around whose sole mission in life (and death) is to enlarge the Ummah and subjugate or kill the infidel by any means necesssary.

And some people want to deal with this as a criminal matter, that is, when they aren't also complaining about overcrowding in our jails.

DOWNDATE: Same math, different path: Google performs about 1,100,000,000 searches every four days. Google's founders assure us that less than 10% of these searches are for porn. If we assume a nominal number of searches, say, 5%, are for porn that equates to around 12,500,000 searches for porn each day -- on Google alone. But is porn really that difficult to find or is fetishism driving ever increasing specialization? Please, do not answer that question.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:18 PM | Comments (0)

Funny

This is painfully funny. The Orient continues to miscomprehend the Occident. When will they learn that the best way to get more of something from today's hip, post-ironic, pop culture is to condemn it and declare it beyond the bounds of decency. Speaking as the parent of a teenager, let me also assure them that the best way to make something go away is to say, "Hey, I like that too."

Link via Tim Blair.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:09 PM | Comments (0)

Today's Bad Deed

It seems to me that the Angry Progressive Left concept that anyone who disagrees with them is evil strikes entirely the wrong note when applied to the Boy Scouts:

A state senator wants the Boy Scouts kept out of the governor's mansion because of what he calls the anti-gay positions of the national scouting organization. State Senator Thomas Duane of Manhattan was invited by the Twin Rivers Council of the Boy Scouts to join them at the Albany mansion. The group is planning a reception Thursday on character-building programs.

If the session is about building character, I have to wonder why Mr. Duane got invited to begin with.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:41 AM | Comments (1)

Did I Miss Something?

My understanding was that we could no longer wait for a threat to become imminent:

Iran is prepared to launch attacks using long-range missiles, secret commando units, and terrorist allies planted around the globe in retaliation for any strike on the country's nuclear facilities, according to new US intelligence assessments and military specialists.

Let me make sure I understand this, we either allow Iran to get a nuclear weapon their president has shown a giddy desire to use to create havoc and kill many, many people, or they will create havoc and kill many, many people.

''When the Americans or Israelis are thinking about [military force], I hope they will sit down and think about everything the ayatollahs could do to make our lives miserable and what we will do to discourage them," said John Pike, director of the think tank GlobalSecurity.org, referring to Iran's religious leaders. ''There could be a cycle of escalation."

I gather a cycle of subjugation is preferrable then. Apparently, the old "you've got a nice country there, I'd hate to see anything bad happen to it" gambit still works.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:27 AM | Comments (0)

What Message?

Spot the problem here:

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid saddled up next to rancher-turned-politician Ken Salazar recently to discuss steps that could boost Democratic appeal in states like Colorado or his own Nevada. Democrats don't have to change their message, he said, they just need to don a good pair of boots and wade into the wheat fields of rural America to sell it.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:16 AM | Comments (0)

OK, Fine

I hope it hurts:

Saddam Hussein and the seven co-defendants in his trial are to start a hunger strike on Monday, the former Iraqi president's defense team said on Sunday, citing sources inside the detention center where they are being held.

Frankly, I still wonder about the long term viability of a civilization that requires what is best characterized as an alternate universe show trial for Saddam Hussein. Stalin's show trial victims where innocent but the verdict was never in doubt in his propaganda driven spectacles, whereas, in this case, Saddam's guilt is not seriously debatable, but sincere doubt as to whether he can be convicted is developing as we continue into what appears to be a multi-year procedural kabuki dance where the outcome becomes ever less clear, and Saddam and his supporters and enablers get the propaganda victory. The UN and Slobodan Milosevic have shown us the way.

Really, wouldn't it have been better if someone had just dropped a grenade down the spider hole? As when Caesar finally defeated Pompey at Pharsalus, the fact that Caesar had won wasn't enough. As long as Pompey was alive he would be a standard around which all of Caesar's enemies could rally. Had Saddam died in his spider hole, his shame would have been complete and eternal, perhaps the insurgency would not have been what it was having been robbed of its rallying point, and we would have been spared the embarrassing absurdity of this bearded Spock universe show trial.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:14 AM | Comments (0)

Essential Reading

Mark Steyn takes homonymic punnery to the next level while making some first rate points. So what else is new? Here's the first paragraph:

From Europe's biggest-selling newspaper, the Sun: ''Furious Muslims have blasted adult shop [i.e., sex shop] Ann Summers for selling a blowup male doll called Mustafa Shag."

Guess which part of this didn't cause offense. Hint: Michelangelo Antonioni could not be reached for comment.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:45 AM | Comments (0)

Karl Rove: Genius

Who else could get something like this published by the Associated Press:

"I'd be very pleased if Hillary Clinton would become the next American president," Schroeder said to applause from a largely Saudi audience at the Jeddah Economic Forum, which opened here Saturday.

Even former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder knew this was a mistake as soon as he said it.

"But don't quote me too loud. I hope I'm not harming her by saying that."

With friends like this, Senator Clinton is doomed to become nothing more than the matriarch of the Senate.

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

February 07, 2006

Perhaps Cuba, Venezuela and Syria Don't Suspect...

Perhaps they know:

On Saturday in Vienna, Cuba, Venezuela and Syria voted against a resolution of the International Atomic Energy Agency to refer Iran to the UN Security Council over a nuclear program the West suspects is weapons-oriented.

I suspect Fidel, Hugo and Bashir will be damn disappointed if they can't find WMDs in Iran a few months from now as well.

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

Laugh? I Thought I'd Die

This reminds me a lot of George Carlin's riff on comedy and death-related language:

Iran’s biggest-selling newspaper has waded into the Muhammad controversy by launching a competition to find the 12 "best" cartoons about the Holocaust.

But it gets better:

Farid Mortazavi, graphics editor for Tehran's Hamshahri newspaper, said that the deliberately inflammatory contest would test out how committed Europeans were to the concept freedom of expression.

And once this has been determined, what do you think he'll do with the information? Farid definitely does not have a better idea.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:43 PM | Comments (0)

The Important Thing to Remember...

Is that this warning comes from the ambassador of a nation that has fought three wars for its very survival since World War II:

Israel's Ambassador to the United States Danny Ayalon said on Tuesday morning that Iran is the biggest problem facing the world since World War II.

The loss of any one of the wars Israel fought in 1948-1949, 1967, or 1973 would have resulted in the total destruction of Israel and the death of most Israelis. I assume Iran starts the cheat and retreat game within three weeks, though in this case Iran will cheat and Western Civilization will retreat. I'd rather write that the Iranian government has three weeks to capitulate or face utter destruction, but I am a realist:

Ayalon, in an interview to Reuters, stated that he believed Iran's nuclear program would be blocked by diplomatic, not military means.

Because, I guess, history is chock full of situations where bullies are cowed by sternly-worded communiques.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:14 PM | Comments (0)

January 30, 2006

What If He's Right? About Bombing Iran, I Mean

Martin Samuel - racist:

THERE IS NO situation in the Middle East so dire, that we cannot get a white guy in to make it worse. Next on the agenda: let’s bomb Iran. Yeah. That’ll work.

You think I'm being too harsh? Substitute just about anything else "Middle East" and anyone else for "white man" and listen to the howling that would result.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:52 PM | Comments (1)

Psychologists Call It Projection

This is evil:

Senator Clinton told a largely friendly audience here Saturday night that the slow pace of government-sponsored reconstruction following Hurricane Katrina was the result of a deliberate decision by the Bush administration and may have been motivated by a desire to discourage Democratic voters from returning to the devastated region.

I'm still trying to figure out which is worse, that she believes this or that she doesn't and said it anyway.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:45 PM | Comments (0)

Ooooooo

No doubt stern warnings are being prepared:

The United States and other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council agreed Tuesday that Iran should be hauled before that powerful body over its disputed nuclear program.

If only we had a decade or more before it becomes necessary to act.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:29 PM | Comments (1)

Meanwhile, Andres Serrano and Chris Ofili Could Not Be Reached for Comment

Good to know that anti-semitism is a "historic" problem:

Former US president Bill Clinton warned of rising anti-Islamic prejudice, comparing it to historic anti-Semitism as he condemned the publishing of cartoons depicting Prophet Mohammed in a Danish newspaper.

"So now what are we going to do? ... Replace the anti-Semitic prejudice with anti-Islamic prejudice?" he said at an economic conference in the Qatari capital of Doha.

"In Europe, most of the struggles we've had in the past 50 years have been to fight prejudices against Jews, to fight against anti-Semitism," he said.

Clinton described as "appalling" the 12 cartoons published in a Danish newspaper in September depicting Prophet Mohammed and causing uproar in the Muslim world.

Am I to understand that Bill Clinton has now come out in favor of censorship? Remarkable. Before he's done I expect he'll surpass Jimmy Carter as history's greatest monster.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:13 PM | Comments (0)

January 29, 2006

Multiple Choice (But Not for Long)

When things are looking their darkest as failure upon failure is topped only by institutionalized corruption, what does the U.N. do?

A. Clean House
B. Disband
C. Double Down

And the answer is..., wait for it..., C!

The most potent threats to life on earth - global warming, health pandemics, poverty and armed conflict - could be ended by moves that would unlock $7 trillion - $7,000,000,000,000 (£3.9trn) - of previously untapped wealth, the United Nations claims today.

The price? An admission that the nation-state is an old-fashioned concept that has no role to play in a modern globalised world where financial markets have to be harnessed rather than simply condemned.

Then again, expecting central planners to do anything other than advocate central plans is yet another triumph of hope over experience. The proposals laid out in this article are so mind-boggling as to defy coherent fisking -- I especially love the absolutely immense, yet strangley phantom, sums of money that can be "released" if only we will irrevocably sacrifice our freedom to act in favor of the transnationalist utopian fantasy du jour. These people really do seem to believe they can be Masters of the Universe and manage all human affairs for the benefit of all, presumably becuase their hearts are so pure.

Enter at your own risk.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:28 PM | Comments (0)

January 28, 2006

Bring It On

Since I do want to see them lose, and lose badly, I hereby encourage the Kos Kids and all the members of the Angry Left to continue to insist that every battle be fought to the death -- especially the ones you know are already lost.

Feinstein's surprise: supporting filibuster

Hil's for filibuster

Kerry Defends Senate Filibuster on Alito as 'a Vote of History'

Thier swords have been drawn and they want blood. If it can't be their opponents, then damnit, they'll turn on each other and insist on martyrdom. Hmm... where have I seen this before?

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:18 PM | Comments (3)

Illiberte, Fratricide, Palestine

Borrowing and bowdlerizing the motto of France, is it fair to call Palestine a failed state?

Fatah activists marched to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas' compound, police briefly stormed the parliament building in Gaza and security forces clashed with Hamas gunmen on Saturday as the long-ruling party lashed out in anger for its devastating election loss.

Fears over the future of the security forces under a Hamas-led government added to the chaos.

Most of the 58,000 security officers are allied with Fatah and worry that they will lose their jobs. The Islamic militant group, which won a majority in Wednesday's parliamentary vote, has its own armed force of about 5,000 gunmen in the Gaza Strip.

"The security forces will stay. Hamas has no power meddling with the security forces," Jibril Rajoub, Abbas' national security adviser, told the hundreds of Fatah activists at Abbas' compound.

From Israel, that wall has got to be looking better and better every day. Oh yes:

Militants from Fatah and Hamas capped a tense and emotional day with violent clashes on Friday, while a Hamas leader said the group had no intention of recognizing Israel's right to exist or changing its charter, which calls for Israel's destruction.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:08 PM | Comments (0)

Patton's Shade Reminds Us that No One Ever Won a War by Dying for His Country

And Jimmy Malone is none too impressed either:

"I Would Die For Israel"

Well, how about America then? Oh, and check out this little self-serving snippet from Steven Spielberg:

I am now extremely happy that I had the courage to make "Munich".

Courage. Yeah, that's the ticket. Courage.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:59 PM | Comments (0)

Lie Down With Anti-Capitalist Running Dogs

Wake up with fleas.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:51 PM | Comments (0)

January 27, 2006

We're Gonna Need a Bigger Wall

Wow:

It's a perception of cowardice that's going to take a long time to shake.

Warned of two armed men approaching the Canadian border on Washington State's I5, dozens of B.C. border guards fled. The fugitives didn't make it to Canada, but only because a lone Whatcom County sherriff rammed their vehicle after a high-speed chase -- one metre south of the border.

So, the Canadian border is safe because an American police officer risked his life when 40 to 50 Canadian border guards wouldn't. God bless America.

Just, wow.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:31 PM | Comments (0)

Inside the Fantasies of Karl Rove

Ohmigod, you mean it's real?

Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan has threatened to run for Sen. Dianne Feinstein's (D-Calif.) seat unless Feinstein filibusters Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito.

Sheehan, who was in Caracas, Venezuela Friday attending the World Social Forum, heard that several Democrats planned to filibuster Alito but that Feinstein, who is up for re-election in November, announced that she will vote against Alito but would not filibuster the nomination.

"I'm appalled that Diane Feinstein wouldn't recognize how dangerous Alito's nomination is to upholding the values of our constitution and restricting the usurpation of presidential powers, for which I've already paid the ultimate price," Sheehan said in a statement.

Multiple Response Post:

1. Well, um, actually, your son paid the utimate price, not you Cindy.

2. The closer the cliff gets the faster they seem to run.

3. Are you sure Hugo can spare you, Cndy?

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:47 PM | Comments (0)

Kick the Can

Or in other typical UN leadership words, not on my watch:

U.N. nuclear chief Mohamed ElBaradei on Friday called on the United States to provide Iran with nuclear reactors and urged Tehran to declare a moratorium on enriching uranium for at least eight years.

ElBaradei said that amount of time would enable the country to earn the confidence of the international community that it was really interested in nuclear energy - not nuclear weapons.

I was going to add something about Danegeld, but the Imam's have already sworn off Danish.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:35 PM | Comments (0)

You Know What This Means

Don't you?

Imams Back Call for Danish Boycott in Cartoons Row

More danish for me!

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:29 PM | Comments (0)

But None Dare Call It...

Genocide:

Killings, rapes and indiscriminate attacks on civilians continue in Darfur, the United Nations said Friday, accusing Sudanese soldiers of apparently coordinating with armed militia in terrorizing the troubled region.

Please tell me again what the UN is good for aside from writing sternly worded resolutions, I mean.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:25 PM | Comments (0)

Untaxing Ourselves to Properity

Well, this won't be above the fold tomorrow:

On Thursday the Congressional Budget Office released its annual Budget and Economic Outlook, and buried in one of its nearly impenetrable tables of numbers is a remarkable story that has gone entirely unreported by the mainstream media: The 2003 tax cut on capital gains has entirely paid for itself. More than paid for itself. Way more.

Tax cuts are like abstinence, they work every time they are tried.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:22 PM | Comments (0)

A Nobel Peace Prize Nomination Cannot Be Far Behind

Democracy is a good thing, but people can still make bad choices:

Hamas and Fatah gunmen exchanged fire on Friday in political turmoil as the long-dominant Fatah faction was threatened with a violent backlash from within after its crushing election defeat by the Islamic militant group.

This should put to rest the tired Arab adage that the enemy of my enemy is my friend since Israel cannot look upon either of these adversaries as a friend.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:14 PM | Comments (0)

Be Careful What You Wish For

When Jack Murtha, Cindy Sheehan, the Kos Kids, Zarqawi, or others of their ill ilk wish for the U.S. out of Iraq, do you think this is what they have in mind?

57% Americans support military action in Iran

Ha ha.

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

January 16, 2006

"No Controlling Legal Authority"

That's a good phrase to keep in mind if you read the transcript of Al Gore lecturing the Bush administration on the rule of law.

Much more below the fold.

Congressman Barr and I have disagreed many times over the years, but we have joined together today with thousands of our fellow citizens-Democrats and Republicans alike-to express our shared concern that America's Constitution is in grave danger.

In spite of our differences over ideology and politics, we are in strong agreement that the American values we hold most dear have been placed at serious risk by the unprecedented claims of the Administration to a truly breathtaking expansion of executive power.

As we begin this new year, the Executive Branch of our government has been caught eavesdropping on huge numbers of American citizens and has brazenly declared that it has the unilateral right to continue without regard to the established law enacted by Congress to prevent such abuses.

It is imperative that respect for the rule of law be restored.

So, many of us have come here to Constitution Hall to sound an alarm and call upon our fellow citizens to put aside partisan differences and join with us in demanding that our Constitution be defended and preserved.

It is appropriate that we make this appeal on the day our nation has set aside to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who challenged America to breathe new life into our oldest values by extending its promise to all our people.

On this particular Martin Luther King Day, it is especially important to recall that for the last several years of his life, Dr. King was illegally wiretapped-one of hundreds of thousands of Americans whose private communications were intercepted by the U.S. government during this period.

The FBI privately called King the "most dangerous and effective negro leader in the country" and vowed to "take him off his pedestal." The government even attempted to destroy his marriage and blackmail him into committing suicide.

This campaign continued until Dr. King's murder. The discovery that the FBI conducted a long-running and extensive campaign of secret electronic surveillance designed to infiltrate the inner workings of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and to learn the most intimate details of Dr. King's life, helped to convince Congress to enact restrictions on wiretapping.

The result was the Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance Act (FISA), which was enacted expressly to ensure that foreign intelligence surveillance would be presented to an impartial judge to verify that there is a sufficient cause for the surveillance. I voted for that law during my first term in Congress and for almost thirty years the system has proven a workable and valued means of according a level of protection for private citizens, while permitting foreign surveillance to continue.

Yet, just one month ago, Americans awoke to the shocking news that in spite of this long settled law, the Executive Branch has been secretly spying on large numbers of Americans for the last four years and eavesdropping on "large volumes of telephone calls, e-mail messages, and other Internet traffic inside the United States." The New York Times reported that the President decided to launch this massive eavesdropping program "without search warrants or any new laws that would permit such domestic intelligence collection."

During the period when this eavesdropping was still secret, the President went out of his way to reassure the American people on more than one occasion that, of course, judicial permission is required for any government spying on American citizens and that, of course, these constitutional safeguards were still in place.

But surprisingly, the President's soothing statements turned out to be false. Moreover, as soon as this massive domestic spying program was uncovered by the press, the President not only confirmed that the story was true, but also declared that he has no intention of bringing these wholesale invasions of privacy to an end.

At present, we still have much to learn about the NSA's domestic surveillance. What we do know about this pervasive wiretapping virtually compels the conclusion that the President of the United States has been breaking the law repeatedly and persistently.

A president who breaks the law is a threat to the very structure of our government. Our Founding Fathers were adamant that they had established a government of laws and not men. Indeed, they recognized that the structure of government they had enshrined in our Constitution - our system of checks and balances - was designed with a central purpose of ensuring that it would govern through the rule of law. As John Adams said: "The executive shall never exercise the legislative and judicial powers, or either of them, to the end that it may be a government of laws and not of men."

An executive who arrogates to himself the power to ignore the legitimate legislative directives of the Congress or to act free of the check of the judiciary becomes the central threat that the Founders sought to nullify in the Constitution - an all-powerful executive too reminiscent of the King from whom they had broken free. In the words of James Madison, "the accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny."

Thomas Paine, whose pamphlet, "On Common Sense" ignited the American Revolution, succinctly described America's alternative. Here, he said, we intended to make certain that "the law is king."

Vigilant adherence to the rule of law strengthens our democracy and strengthens America. It ensures that those who govern us operate within our constitutional structure, which means that our democratic institutions play their indispensable role in shaping policy and determining the direction of our nation. It means that the people of this nation ultimately determine its course and not executive officials operating in secret without constraint.

The rule of law makes us stronger by ensuring that decisions will be tested, studied, reviewed and examined through the processes of government that are designed to improve policy. And the knowledge that they will be reviewed prevents over-reaching and checks the accretion of power.

A commitment to openness, truthfulness and accountability also helps our country avoid many serious mistakes. Recently, for example, we learned from recently classified declassified documents that the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which authorized the tragic Vietnam war, was actually based on false information. We now know that the decision by Congress to authorize the Iraq War, 38 years later, was also based on false information. America would have been better off knowing the truth and avoiding both of these colossal mistakes in our history. Following the rule of law makes us safer, not more vulnerable.

The President and I agree on one thing. The threat from terrorism is all too real. There is simply no question that we continue to face new challenges in the wake of the attack on September 11th and that we must be ever-vigilant in protecting our citizens from harm.

Where we disagree is that we have to break the law or sacrifice our system of government to protect Americans from terrorism. In fact, doing so makes us weaker and more vulnerable.

Once violated, the rule of law is in danger. Unless stopped, lawlessness grows. The greater the power of the executive grows, the more difficult it becomes for the other branches to perform their constitutional roles. As the executive acts outside its constitutionally prescribed role and is able to control access to information that would expose its actions, it becomes increasingly difficult for the other branches to police it. Once that ability is lost, democracy itself is threatened and we become a government of men and not laws.

The President's men have minced words about America's laws. The Attorney General openly conceded that the "kind of surveillance" we now know they have been conducting requires a court order unless authorized by statute. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act self-evidently does not authorize what the NSA has been doing, and no one inside or outside the Administration claims that it does. Incredibly, the Administration claims instead that the surveillance was implicitly authorized when Congress voted to use force against those who attacked us on September 11th.

This argument just does not hold any water. Without getting into the legal intricacies, it faces a number of embarrassing facts. First, another admission by the Attorney General: he concedes that the Administration knew that the NSA project was prohibited by existing law and that they consulted with some members of Congress about changing the statute. Gonzalez says that they were told this probably would not be possible. So how can they now argue that the Authorization for the Use of Military Force somehow implicitly authorized it all along? Second, when the Authorization was being debated, the Administration did in fact seek to have language inserted in it that would have authorized them to use military force domestically - and the Congress did not agree. Senator Ted Stevens and Representative Jim McGovern, among others, made statements during the Authorization debate clearly restating that that Authorization did not operate domestically.

When President Bush failed to convince Congress to give him all the power he wanted when they passed the AUMF, he secretly assumed that power anyway, as if congressional authorization was a useless bother. But as Justice Frankfurter once wrote: "To find authority so explicitly withheld is not merely to disregard in a particular instance the clear will of Congress. It is to disrespect the whole legislative process and the constitutional division of authority between President and Congress."

This is precisely the "disrespect" for the law that the Supreme Court struck down in the steel seizure case.

It is this same disrespect for America's Constitution which has now brought our republic to the brink of a dangerous breach in the fabric of the Constitution. And the disrespect embodied in these apparent mass violations of the law is part of a larger pattern of seeming indifference to the Constitution that is deeply troubling to millions of Americans in both political parties.

For example, the President has also declared that he has a heretofore unrecognized inherent power to seize and imprison any American citizen that he alone determines to be a threat to our nation, and that, notwithstanding his American citizenship, the person imprisoned has no right to talk with a lawyer-even to argue that the President or his appointees have made a mistake and imprisoned the wrong person.

The President claims that he can imprison American citizens indefinitely for the rest of their lives without an arrest warrant, without notifying them about what charges have been filed against them, and without informing their families that they have been imprisoned.

At the same time, the Executive Branch has claimed a previously unrecognized authority to mistreat prisoners in its custody in ways that plainly constitute torture in a pattern that has now been documented in U.S. facilities located in several countries around the world.

Over 100 of these captives have reportedly died while being tortured by Executive Branch interrogators and many more have been broken and humiliated. In the notorious Abu Ghraib prison, investigators who documented the pattern of torture estimated that more than 90 percent of the victims were innocent of any charges.

This shameful exercise of power overturns a set of principles that our nation has observed since General Washington first enunciated them during our Revolutionary War and has been observed by every president since then - until now. These practices violate the Geneva Conventions and the International Convention Against Torture, not to mention our own laws against torture.

The President has also claimed that he has the authority to kidnap individuals in foreign countries and deliver them for imprisonment and interrogation on our behalf by autocratic regimes in nations that are infamous for the cruelty of their techniques for torture.

Some of our traditional allies have been shocked by these new practices on the part of our nation. The British Ambassador to Uzbekistan - one of those nations with the worst reputations for torture in its prisons - registered a complaint to his home office about the senselessness and cruelty of the new U.S. practice: "This material is useless - we are selling our souls for dross. It is in fact positively harmful."

Can it be true that any president really has such powers under our Constitution? If the answer is "yes" then under the theory by which these acts are committed, are there any acts that can on their face be prohibited? If the President has the inherent authority to eavesdrop, imprison citizens on his own declaration, kidnap and torture, then what can't he do?

The Dean of Yale Law School, Harold Koh, said after analyzing the Executive Branch's claims of these previously unrecognized powers: "If the President has commander-in-chief power to commit torture, he has the power to commit genocide, to sanction slavery, to promote apartheid, to license summary execution."

The fact that our normal safeguards have thus far failed to contain this unprecedented expansion of executive power is deeply troubling. This failure is due in part to the fact that the Executive Branch has followed a determined strategy of obfuscating, delaying, withholding information, appearing to yield but then refusing to do so and dissembling in order to frustrate the efforts of the legislative and judicial branches to restore our constitutional balance.

For example, after appearing to support legislation sponsored by John McCain to stop the continuation of torture, the President declared in the act of signing the bill that he reserved the right not to comply with it.

Similarly, the Executive Branch claimed that it could unilaterally imprison American citizens without giving them access to review by any tribunal. The Supreme Court disagreed, but the President engaged in legal maneuvers designed to prevent the Court from providing meaningful content to the rights of its citizens.

A conservative jurist on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals wrote that the Executive Branch's handling of one such case seemed to involve the sudden abandonment of principle "at substantial cost to the government's credibility before the courts."

As a result of its unprecedented claim of new unilateral power, the Executive Branch has now put our constitutional design at grave risk. The stakes for America's representative democracy are far higher than has been generally recognized.

These claims must be rejected and a healthy balance of power restored to our Republic. Otherwise, the fundamental nature of our democracy may well undergo a radical transformation.

For more than two centuries, America's freedoms have been preserved in part by our founders' wise decision to separate the aggregate power of our government into three co-equal branches, each of which serves to check and balance the power of the other two.

On more than a few occasions, the dynamic interaction among all three branches has resulted in collisions and temporary impasses that create what are invariably labeled "constitutional crises." These crises have often been dangerous and uncertain times for our Republic. But in each such case so far, we have found a resolution of the crisis by renewing our common agreement to live under the rule of law.

The principle alternative to democracy throughout history has been the consolidation of virtually all state power in the hands of a single strongman or small group who together exercise that power without the informed consent of the governed.

It was in revolt against just such a regime, after all, that America was founded. When Lincoln declared at the time of our greatest crisis that the ultimate question being decided in the Civil War was "whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure," he was not only saving our union but also was recognizing the fact that democracies are rare in history. And when they fail, as did Athens and the Roman Republic upon whose designs our founders drew heavily, what emerges in their place is another strongman regime.

There have of course been other periods of American history when the Executive Branch claimed new powers that were later seen as excessive and mistaken. Our second president, John Adams, passed the infamous Alien and Sedition Acts and sought to silence and imprison critics and political opponents.

When his successor, Thomas Jefferson, eliminated the abuses he said: "[The essential principles of our Government] form the bright constellation which has gone before us and guided our steps through an age of revolution and reformation... [S]hould we wander from them in moments of error or of alarm, let us hasten to retrace our steps and to regain the road which alone leads to peace, liberty and safety."

Our greatest President, Abraham Lincoln, suspended habeas corpus during the Civil War. Some of the worst abuses prior to those of the current administration were committed by President Wilson during and after WWI with the notorious Red Scare and Palmer Raids. The internment of Japanese Americans during WWII marked a low point for the respect of individual rights at the hands of the executive. And, during the Vietnam War, the notorious COINTELPRO program was part and parcel of the abuses experienced by Dr. King and thousands of others.

But in each of these cases, when the conflict and turmoil subsided, the country recovered its equilibrium and absorbed the lessons learned in a recurring cycle of excess and regret.

There are reasons for concern this time around that conditions may be changing and that the cycle may not repeat itself. For one thing, we have for decades been witnessing the slow and steady accumulation of presidential power. In a global environment of nuclear weapons and cold war tensions, Congress and the American people accepted ever enlarging spheres of presidential initiative to conduct intelligence and counter intelligence activities and to allocate our military forces on the global stage. When military force has been used as an instrument of foreign policy or in response to humanitarian demands, it has almost always been as the result of presidential initiative and leadership. As Justice Frankfurter wrote in the Steel Seizure Case, "The accretion of dangerous power does not come in a day. It does come, however slowly, from the generative force of unchecked disregard of the restrictions that fence in even the most disinterested assertion of authority."

A second reason to believe we may be experiencing something new is that we are told by the Administration that the war footing upon which he has tried to place the country is going to "last for the rest of our lives." So we are told that the conditions of national threat that have been used by other Presidents to justify arrogations of power will persist in near perpetuity.

Third, we need to be aware of the advances in eavesdropping and surveillance technologies with their capacity to sweep up and analyze enormous quantities of information and to mine it for intelligence. This adds significant vulnerability to the privacy and freedom of enormous numbers of innocent people at the same time as the potential power of those technologies. These techologies have the potential for shifting the balance of power between the apparatus of the state and the freedom of the individual in ways both subtle and profound.

Don't misunderstand me: the threat of additional terror strikes is all too real and their concerted efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction does create a real imperative to exercise the powers of the Executive Branch with swiftness and agility. Moreover, there is in fact an inherent power that is conferred by the Constitution to the President to take unilateral action to protect the nation from a sudden and immediate threat, but it is simply not possible to precisely define in legalistic terms exactly when that power is appropriate and when it is not.

But the existence of that inherent power cannot be used to justify a gross and excessive power grab lasting for years that produces a serious imbalance in the relationship between the executive and the other two branches of government.

There is a final reason to worry that we may be experiencing something more than just another cycle of overreach and regret. This Administration has come to power in the thrall of a legal theory that aims to convince us that this excessive concentration of presidential authority is exactly what our Constitution intended.

This legal theory, which its proponents call the theory of the unitary executive but which is more accurately described as the unilateral executive, threatens to expand the president's powers until the contours of the constitution that the Framers actually gave us become obliterated beyond all recognition. Under this theory, the President's authority when acting as Commander-in-Chief or when making foreign policy cannot be reviewed by the judiciary or checked by Congress. President Bush has pushed the implications of this idea to its maximum by continually stressing his role as Commander-in-Chief, invoking it has frequently as he can, conflating it with his other roles, domestic and foreign. When added to the idea that we have entered a perpetual state of war, the implications of this theory stretch quite literally as far into the future as we can imagine.

This effort to rework America's carefully balanced constitutional design into a lopsided structure dominated by an all powerful Executive Branch with a subservient Congress and judiciary is-ironically-accompanied by an effort by the same administration to rework America's foreign policy from one that is based primarily on U.S. moral authority into one that is based on a misguided and self-defeating effort to establish dominance in the world.

The common denominator seems to be based on an instinct to intimidate and control.

This same pattern has characterized the effort to silence dissenting views within the Executive Branch, to censor information that may be inconsistent with its stated ideological goals, and to demand conformity from all Executive Branch employees.

For example, CIA analysts who strongly disagreed with the White House assertion that Osama bin Laden was linked to Saddam Hussein found themselves under pressure at work and became fearful of losing promotions and salary increases.

Ironically, that is exactly what happened to FBI officials in the 1960s who disagreed with J. Edgar Hoover's view that Dr. King was closely connected to Communists. The head of the FBI's domestic intelligence division said that his effort to tell the truth about King's innocence of the charge resulted in he and his colleagues becoming isolated and pressured. "It was evident that we had to change our ways or we would all be out on the street.... The men and I discussed how to get out of trouble. To be in trouble with Mr. Hoover was a serious matter. These men were trying to buy homes, mortgages on homes, children in school. They lived in fear of getting transferred, losing money on their homes, as they usually did. ... so they wanted another memorandum written to get us out of the trouble that we were in."

The Constitution's framers understood this dilemma as well, as Alexander Hamilton put it, "a power over a man's support is a power over his will." (Federalist No. 73)

Soon, there was no more difference of opinion within the FBI. The false accusation became the unanimous view. In exactly the same way, George Tenet's CIA eventually joined in endorsing a manifestly false view that there was a linkage between al Qaeda and the government of Iraq.

In the words of George Orwell: "We are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield."

Whenever power is unchecked and unaccountable it almost inevitably leads to mistakes and abuses. In the absence of rigorous accountability, incompetence flourishes. Dishonesty is encouraged and rewarded.

Last week, for example, Vice President Cheney attempted to defend the Administration's eavesdropping on American citizens by saying that if it had conducted this program prior to 9/11, they would have found out the names of some of the hijackers.

Tragically, he apparently still doesn't know that the Administration did in fact have the names of at least 2 of the hijackers well before 9/11 and had available to them information that could have easily led to the identification of most of the other hijackers. And yet, because of incompetence in the handling of this information, it was never used to protect the American people.

It is often the case that an Executive Branch beguiled by the pursuit of unchecked power responds to its own mistakes by reflexively proposing that it be given still more power. Often, the request itself it used to mask accountability for mistakes in the use of power it already has.

Moreover, if the pattern of practice begun by this Administration is not challenged, it may well become a permanent part of the American system. Many conservatives have pointed out that granting unchecked power to this President means that the next President will have unchecked power as well. And the next President may be someone whose values and belief you do not trust. And this is why Republicans as well as Democrats should be concerned with what this President has done. If this President's attempt to dramatically expand executive power goes unquestioned, our constitutional design of checks and balances will be lost. And the next President or some future President will be able, in the name of national security, to restrict our liberties in a way the framers never would have thought possible.

The same instinct to expand its power and to establish dominance characterizes the relationship between this Administration and the courts and the Congress.

In a properly functioning system, the Judicial Branch would serve as the constitutional umpire to ensure that the branches of government observed their proper spheres of authority, observed civil liberties and adhered to the rule of law. Unfortunately, the unilateral executive has tried hard to thwart the ability of the judiciary to call balls and strikes by keeping controversies out of its hands - notably those challenging its ability to detain individuals without legal process -- by appointing judges who will be deferential to its exercise of power and by its support of assaults on the independence of the third branch.

The President's decision to ignore FISA was a direct assault on the power of the judges who sit on that court. Congress established the FISA court precisely to be a check on executive power to wiretap. Yet, to ensure that the court could not function as a check on executive power, the President simply did not take matters to it and did not let the court know that it was being bypassed.

The President's judicial appointments are clearly designed to ensure that the courts will not serve as an effective check on executive power. As we have all learned, Judge Alito is a longtime supporter of a powerful executive - a supporter of the so-called unitary executive, which is more properly called the unilateral executive. Whether you support his confirmation or not - and I do not - we must all agree that he will not vote as an effective check on the expansion of executive power. Likewise, Chief Justice Roberts has made plain his deference to the expansion of executive power through his support of judicial deference to executive agency rulemaking.

And the Administration has supported the assault on judicial independence that has been conducted largely in Congress. That assault includes a threat by the Republican majority in the Senate to permanently change the rules to eliminate the right of the minority to engage in extended debate of the President's judicial nominees. The assault has extended to legislative efforts to curtail the jurisdiction of courts in matters ranging from habeas corpus to the pledge of allegiance. In short, the Administration has demonstrated its contempt for the judicial role and sought to evade judicial review of its actions at every turn.

But the most serious damage has been done to the legislative branch. The sharp decline of congressional power and autonomy in recent years has been almost as shocking as the efforts by the Executive Branch to attain a massive expansion of its power.

I was elected to Congress in 1976 and served eight years in the house, 8 years in the Senate and presided over the Senate for 8 years as Vice President. As a young man, I saw the Congress first hand as the son of a Senator. My father was elected to Congress in 1938, 10 years before I was born, and left the Senate in 1971.

The Congress we have today is unrecognizable compared to the one in which my father served. There are many distinguished Senators and Congressmen serving today. I am honored that some of them are here in this hall. But the legislative branch of government under its current leadership now operates as if it is entirely subservient to the Executive Branch.

Moreover, too many Members of the House and Senate now feel compelled to spend a majority of their time not in thoughtful debate of the issues, but raising money to purchase 30 second TV commercials.

There have now been two or three generations of congressmen who don't really know what an oversight hearing is. In the 70's and 80's, the oversight hearings in which my colleagues and I participated held the feet of the Executive Branch to the fire - no matter which party was in power. Yet oversight is almost unknown in the Congress today.

The role of authorization committees has declined into insignificance. The 13 annual appropriation bills are hardly ever actually passed anymore. Everything is lumped into a single giant measure that is not even available for Members of Congress to read before they vote on it.

Members of the minority party are now routinely excluded from conference committees, and amendments are routinely not allowed during floor consideration of legislation.

In the United States Senate, which used to pride itself on being the "greatest deliberative body in the world," meaningful debate is now a rarity. Even on the eve of the fateful vote to authorize the invasion of Iraq, Senator Robert Byrd famously asked: "Why is this chamber empty?"

In the House of Representatives, the number who face a genuinely competitive election contest every two years is typically less than a dozen out of 435.

And too many incumbents have come to believe that the key to continued access to the money for re-election is to stay on the good side of those who have the money to give; and, in the case of the majority party, the whole process is largely controlled by the incumbent president and his political organization.

So the willingness of Congress to challenge the Administration is further limited when the same party controls both Congress and the Executive Branch.

The Executive Branch, time and again, has co-opted Congress' role, and often Congress has been a willing accomplice in the surrender of its own power.

Look for example at the Congressional role in "overseeing" this massive four year eavesdropping campaign that on its face seemed so clearly to violate the Bill of Rights. The President says he informed Congress, but what he really means is that he talked with the chairman and ranking member of the House and Senate intelligence committees and the top leaders of the House and Senate. This small group, in turn, claimed that they were not given the full facts, though at least one of the intelligence committee leaders handwrote a letter of concern to VP Cheney and placed a copy in his own safe.

Though I sympathize with the awkward position in which these men and women were placed, I cannot disagree with the Liberty Coalition when it says that Democrats as well as Republicans in the Congress must share the blame for not taking action to protest and seek to prevent what they consider a grossly unconstitutional program.

Moreover, in the Congress as a whole-both House and Senate-the enhanced role of money in the re-election process, coupled with the sharply diminished role for reasoned deliberation and debate, has produced an atmosphere conducive to pervasive institutionalized corruption.

The Abramoff scandal is but the tip of a giant iceberg that threatens the integrity of the entire legislative branch of government.

It is the pitiful state of our legislative branch which primarily explains the failure of our vaunted checks and balances to prevent the dangerous overreach by our Executive Branch which now threatens a radical transformation of the American system.

I call upon Democratic and Republican members of Congress today to uphold your oath of office and defend the Constitution. Stop going along to get along. Start acting like the independent and co-equal branch of government you're supposed to be.

But there is yet another Constitutional player whose pulse must be taken and whose role must be examined in order to understand the dangerous imbalance that has emerged with the efforts by the Executive Branch to dominate our constitutional system.

We the people are-collectively-still the key to the survival of America's democracy. We-as Lincoln put it, "[e]ven we here"-must examine our own role as citizens in allowing and not preventing the shocking decay and degradation of our democracy.

Thomas Jefferson said: "An informed citizenry is the only true repository of the public will."

The revolutionary departure on which the idea of America was based was the audacious belief that people can govern themselves and responsibly exercise the ultimate authority in self-government. This insight proceeded inevitably from the bedrock principle articulated by the Enlightenment philosopher John Locke: "All just power is derived from the consent of the governed."

The intricate and carefully balanced constitutional system that is now in such danger was created with the full and widespread participation of the population as a whole. The Federalist Papers were, back in the day, widely-read newspaper essays, and they represented only one of twenty-four series of essays that crowded the vibrant marketplace of ideas in which farmers and shopkeepers recapitulated the debates that played out so fruitfully in Philadelphia.

Indeed, when the Convention had done its best, it was the people - in their various States - that refused to confirm the result until, at their insistence, the Bill of Rights was made integral to the document sent forward for ratification.

And it is "We the people" who must now find once again the ability we once had to play an integral role in saving our Constitution.

And here there is cause for both concern and great hope. The age of printed pamphlets and political essays has long since been replaced by television - a distracting and absorbing medium which sees determined to entertain and sell more than it informs and educates.

Lincoln's memorable call during the Civil War is applicable in a new way to our dilemma today: "We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country."

Forty years have passed since the majority of Americans adopted television as their principal source of information. Its dominance has become so extensive that virtually all significant political communication now takes place within the confines of flickering 30-second television advertisements.

And the political economy supported by these short but expensive television ads is as different from the vibrant politics of America's first century as those politics were different from the feudalism which thrived on the ignorance of the masses of people in the Dark Ages.

The constricted role of ideas in the American political system today has encouraged efforts by the Executive Branch to control the flow of information as a means of controlling the outcome of important decisions that still lie in the hands of the people.

The Administration vigorously asserts its power to maintain the secrecy of its operations. After all, the other branches can't check an abuse of power if they don't know it is happening.

For example, when the Administration was attempting to persuade Congress to enact the Medicare prescription drug benefit, many in the House and Senate raised concerns about the cost and design of the program. But, rather than engaging in open debate on the basis of factual data, the Administration withheld facts and prevented the Congress from hearing testimony that it sought from the principal administration expert who had compiled information showing in advance of the vote that indeed the true cost estimates were far higher than the numbers given to Congress by the President.

Deprived of that information, and believing the false numbers given to it instead, the Congress approved the program. Tragically, the entire initiative is now collapsing- all over the country- with the Administration making an appeal just this weekend to major insurance companies to volunteer to bail it out.

To take another example, scientific warnings about the catastrophic consequences of unchecked global warming were censored by a political appointee in the White House who had no scientific training. And today one of the leading scientific experts on global warming in NASA has been ordered not to talk to members of the press and to keep a careful log of everyone he meets with so that the Executive Branch can monitor and control his discussions of global warming.

One of the other ways the Administration has tried to control the flow of information is by consistently resorting to the language and politics of fear in order to short-circuit the debate and drive its agenda forward without regard to the evidence or the public interest. As President Eisenhower said, "Any who act as if freedom's defenses are to be found in suppression and suspicion and fear confess a doctrine that is alien to America."

Fear drives out reason. Fear suppresses the politics of discourse and opens the door to the politics of destruction. Justice Brandeis once wrote: "Men feared witches and burnt women."

The founders of our country faced dire threats. If they failed in their endeavors, they would have been hung as traitors. The very existence of our country was at risk.

Yet, in the teeth of those dangers, they insisted on establishing the Bill of Rights.

Is our Congress today in more danger than were their predecessors when the British army was marching on the Capitol? Is the world more dangerous than when we faced an ideological enemy with tens of thousands of missiles poised to be launched against us and annihilate our country at a moment's notice? Is America in more danger now than when we faced worldwide fascism on the march-when our fathers fought and won two World Wars simultaneously?

It is simply an insult to those who came before us and sacrificed so much on our behalf to imply that we have more to be fearful of than they. Yet they faithfully protected our freedoms and now it is up to us to do the same.

We have a duty as Americans to defend our citizens' right not only to life but also to liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is therefore vital in our current circumstances that immediate steps be taken to safeguard our Constitution against the present danger posed by the intrusive overreaching on the part of the Executive Branch and the President's apparent belief that he need not live under the rule of law.

I endorse the words of Bob Barr, when he said, "The President has dared the American people to do something about it. For the sake of the Constitution, I hope they will."

A special counsel should immediately be appointed by the Attorney General to remedy the obvious conflict of interest that prevents him from investigating what many believe are serious violations of law by the President. We have had a fresh demonstration of how an independent investigation by a special counsel with integrity can rebuild confidence in our system of justice. Patrick Fitzgerald has, by all accounts, shown neither fear nor favor in pursuing allegations that the Executive Branch has violated other laws.

Republican as well as Democratic members of Congress should support the bipartisan call of the Liberty Coalition for the appointment of a special counsel to pursue the criminal issues raised by warrantless wiretapping of Americans by the President.

Second, new whistleblower protections should immediately be established for members of the Executive Branch who report evidence of wrongdoing -- especially where it involves the abuse of Executive Branch authority in the sensitive areas of national security.

Third, both Houses of Congress should hold comprehensive-and not just superficial-hearings into these serious allegations of criminal behavior on the part of the President. And, they should follow the evidence wherever it leads.

Fourth, the extensive new powers requested by the Executive Branch in its proposal to extend and enlarge the Patriot Act should, under no circumstances be granted, unless and until there are adequate and enforceable safeguards to protect the Constitution and the rights of the American people against the kinds of abuses that have so recently been revealed.

Fifth, any telecommunications company that has provided the government with access to private information concerning the communications of Americans without a proper warrant should immediately cease and desist their complicity in this apparently illegal invasion of the privacy of American citizens.

Freedom of communication is an essential prerequisite for the restoration of the health of our democracy.

It is particularly important that the freedom of the Internet be protected against either the encroachment of government or the efforts at control by large media conglomerates. The future of our democracy depends on it.

I mentioned that along with cause for concern, there is reason for hope. As I stand here today, I am filled with optimism that America is on the eve of a golden age in which the vitality of our democracy will be re-established and will flourish more vibrantly than ever. Indeed I can feel it in this hall.

As Dr. King once said, "Perhaps a new spirit is rising among us. If it is, let us trace its movements and pray that our own inner being may be sensitive to its guidance, for we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us."

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:00 PM | Comments (3)

January 15, 2006

Charlie Manson Had a Similar Theory

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: The nuclear prophet

If anyone embodies the reason why the nuclear showdown with Iran sends shivers through Western capitals, let alone the country's Arab neighbours, it is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad...

More worrying for some is that Ahmadinejad is closely identified with the cult of the "hidden imam", the 12th and last of the line of imams revered by Shia Muslims. In a clear parallel with Jewish and Christian visions of Armageddon, Shias believe the imam zaman will return at a time of great turmoil to defeat the forces of evil; recently the president urged Iranians to work hard for this moment. As one commentator pointed out, this was like Tony Blair telling Britons to prepare for the Second Coming.

The most extreme zealots, a group called the Hojjatieh, say total chaos should be created to hasten the coming of the Mahdi, and there have been claims that Ahmadinejad, if not a member, sympathises with them. This explains his reckless attitude, say his critics. If the final triumph of Islam can be brought closer by provoking a nuclear war with Israel or America, why hold back?

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:47 PM | Comments (0)

You're Nothing But a Lap Dog Cat To a Slip of a Girl

catlap.jpg

And a git, for that matter.

Picture courtesy of Scott Burgess. Text courtesy of Richard Curtis and Ben Elton.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:35 PM | Comments (0)

Well Then, There's Only One Thing Left To Do

Get medieval on his ass:

He complained that "a few" Western countries were lobbying against Iran and said Tehran did not trust them. "They speak and behave as if they are living in the medieval age," the hard-line leader said. "I'm recommending these countries not isolate themselves more among the people of the world. Resorting to the language of coercion is over."

In related news:

A top commander in Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) said on Sunday that the Islamic Republic has more than 300 nuclear sites scattered across the country, Iran Focus has learnt.

Three hundred. For peaceful uses.

Speaking at a seminar in the northern city of Rasht, Brigadier General Mostafa Haji-Najjar, deputy director of the IRGC’s political bureau, also said that Iran had “an absolute right” to develop nuclear bombs.

Or not.

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:52 PM | Comments (0)

Peace Negotiations In Our Time

For tonight's performance, the part of Neville Chamberlain will be played by the EU:

French Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said Sunday talks should be pursued with Iran even though the country was resuming sensitive nuclear activities.

'In a situation like this, there are two options: either we will finally take steps that will isolate the country or we will try as hard as we can to talk to convince and make advances,' Alliot-Marie during an RTL-Le Figaro-LCI radio and television debate.

Oh, I can think of more than two options. Meanwhile, half of Congress is preoccupied with whether a Justice Alito will overturn Roe v. Wade and the other half with precisely how much graft is permissible as it selects a new leader in the House.

We are so screwed.

DOWNDATE: And if anything should happen to the EU, noted transnational deafeatist understudy Walter Cronkite has the lines well rehearsed:

Former CBS anchor Walter Cronkite, whose 1968 conclusion that the Vietnam War was unwinnable keenly influenced public opinion then, said Sunday he'd say the same thing today about Iraq.

DOUBLE DOWNDATE: Hey, thanks for the Instalanche!. Oh, it's Austin Bay. Never mind.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:16 PM | Comments (0)

January 14, 2006

Did I Mention That I Despise the U.N.?

I think I did:

The American ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, upped the ante in an escalating confrontation between America and Turtle Bay on the issue of Israel's place at the world body. In a sharply worded letter to Secretary-General Annan, Mr. Bolton threatened to cut funding to the United Nations if it continues to promote anti-Israel events.

Mr. Bolton's January 3 letter, which was seen yesterday by The New York Sun, is a response to a November 29 event celebrating an annual "International Day of Solidarity With the Palestinian People." At the event, which was attended by Mr. Annan and other top diplomats, a map that "erases the state of Israel," as Mr. Bolton wrote, was displayed.

"Given that we now have a world leader pursuing nuclear weapons who is calling for the state of Israel to be wiped off the map, the issue has even greater salience," Mr. Bolton wrote.

A photo of Mr. Annan standing below the map - several days after President Ahmadinejad of Iran made his statement - was carried last month on the Web site eyeontheun.org, creating a storm of criticism. The site also highlighted the seven-figure budget of U.N. bodies dedicated to promoting what Israel and America consider one-sided, anti-Israel propaganda in the guise of solidarity with Palestinian Arabs.

Yeah, I did.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:32 PM | Comments (0)

You Won't Hear This on 60 Minutes

Like, duh:

Global warming and nuclear energy are good and the way to save forests is to use more wood.

That was the message delivered to a biotechnology industry gathering yesterday in Waikiki. However, it wasn't the message that was unconventional, but the messenger — Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore. Moore said he broke with Greenpeace in the 1980s over the rise of what he called "environmental extremism," or stands by environmental groups against issues such as genetic crop research, genetically modified foods and nuclear energy that aren't supported by science or logic.

At least Bjorn Lomborg won't have to eat lunch by himself anymore.

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

Democratic Arithmetic

Damn Republicans probably cut the budget from the original $2.6 billion appropriation:

After more than a decade of navigating an ever-shifting pattern of detours and dead ends, Boston drivers finally had something to cheer about Friday as Big Dig officials opened what they said is the project's last major piece of roadway.

The opening of the Albany Street off-ramp from Interstate 93 south marks the moment when the $14.6 billion highway project's road pattern is substantially finished, according to Turnpike Authority chairman Matt Amorello.

Oh, and it only took 15 years, or approximately 4.25 years per mile. When you consider the expected lifespan, the cost of future repairs, and 15 years of traffic jams, I find it very, very hard to believe this was worth the effort or expense. Hey, maybe Senator Kennedy is right to be concerned about Samuel Alito seeming to favor the government.

Nah.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:05 PM | Comments (0)

26 Years Ago

I reead somewhere once that justice delayed is justice denied:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has denied clemency for death row inmate Clarence Ray Allen, who is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection next Tuesday for three murders 26 years ago.

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

Ooo, There's a Surprise

The friend of my enemy is my enemy:

BRITAIN'S threat of international sanctions against Iran over its controversial nuclear programme was yesterday undermined by China and France.

The Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, said yesterday that Iran could face UN Security Council sanctions for resuming nuclear activities, but added that military action was not being considered, a message backed by US president George Bush.

However, China's UN ambassador expressed concern that even referring Iran to the Security Council might "complicate the issue" and stiffen Tehran's resolve to carry on work to develop nuclear power, a plan that other countries fear is a cover for nuclear weapons.

And the French foreign ministry said the priority was to convene a special session of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to refer Iran to the UN Security Council, but added that talk of sanctions was premature.

God, how I despise the UN, even the very utopian concept of it.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:50 PM | Comments (0)

He's Right

Daniel Ellsberg is absolutely right:

Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers 35 years ago, said Friday that whistleblowers shouldn't be afraid to reveal government secrets in an effort to save people's lives, even if it means going to jail.

"Don't do what I did," Ellsberg said. "Don't wait until the bombs are falling in Iran. Don't wait until people are dying. Go to the press and reveal."

Of course, the lives probably saved will be those of our enemies. Can you say traitor? Sure, I knew you could.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:45 PM | Comments (2)

There Weren't Seven, Were There?

Although this particular geopolitical game of chess with a harbinger of death might well unleash the four horsemen of the apocalypse before it's over:

Iran has "broken the seals". The phrase refers to the seals placed by UN nuclear inspectors on equipment that, unsealed, enables uranium enrichment, making possible the development of a nuclear bomb.

To paraphrase Matt and Trey-- "What would Max Van Sydow do?"

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:36 PM | Comments (0)

Can You Hear Me Now?

Of course, we will still have to pick up the phone:

Canada is installing a hotline that will allow military brass and politicians to talk with their American counterparts during a time of war or in any other crisis.

About $20 million is being spent on what is called the Defence Red Switch Network. The communications system is already running in some locations, including the defence minister's office and other undisclosed sites for the military's senior leadership. The system will provide a link for the Canadian government to various U.S. military headquarters as well as the North American Aerospace Defence Command, the joint U.S.-Canada alliance that monitors air and space approaches to the continent.

So many smart-ass remarks, so little time.

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

I Blame Bush

And Michael Brown, of course:

Renovations in state Capitol offices used by Gov. Kathleen Blanco staffers jumped in cost by more than 50 percent partly because the state used a private company and expensive walnut trim and granite countertops, according to a published report.

The project, one part of larger renovations begun long before Hurricane Katrina, had originally been estimated to cost $111,000 but the price tag jumped to just under $300,000, according to a review of documents by The Advocate.

FWIW, this represents a growth rate of 270%, not 50%. But to be fair, math really isn't a strength for Big Media, unless it's simple addition of whole numbers to count dead soldiers.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:00 PM | Comments (0)

Embarrassing

What a sad, sordid spectacle the Alito confirmation hearings were. The world's greatest deliberative body indeed,

One observation: from the Robert's confirmation hearing and the Alito confirmation hearing, it is clear that the Democratic Party, the Left in general, and apparently even a few Republicans want judges to act in a political manner, rather than a judicious one. Despite the nominees stating over and over that they do not want to act in a manner that is dictated by popularity or the application of Solomonaic wisdom, most senators seem to want the justices on the Supreme Court to ignore the law in favor of the "the little guy," affirmative action-like outcome based judgments, or worst yet -- to just "do the right thing" according to the ever-changing mores of the day regardless of what the U.S. Constitution or the laws the Congress passed might actually say.

Are we still a nation of laws, or men, robed or otherwise?

P.S. Just out of curiousity, was anybody else waiting for Senator Kennedy to ask: "Are you now, or have you ever been a member of conservative/racist/sexist/sizist/lookist orgnanization?"

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:22 PM | Comments (0)

January 10, 2006

Or What?

Mexico Demands U.S. Allow More Immigration

You will take all your immigrants and go home?

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

Paging Dr. Moe, Paging Dr. Larry, Paging Dr. Schumer

Alito: No president above law

How bizzare have things become when this has to be said to appease some senators?

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:16 PM | Comments (0)

January 07, 2006

Somebody's Glass Is 4.9% Empty

An Anemic Jobs Recovery

In case you are wondering about the title of this post, the unemployment rate fell to 4.9% in December, though the New York Times couldn't find the space to mention this in it's editorial, much less that last month's unemployment numbers were adjusted upward (again) by 100,000.

Responding to yesterday's government report showing paltry job creation in December, Treasury Secretary John Snow urged Americans not to overreact to one month's snapshot, but to focus on the bigger picture. But that picture is not so pretty.

Don't worry America, the NY Times will overreact for you.

In 2005, the economy added about 2 million jobs. At this point in the last recovery, the yearly job-gain total was 3.5 million.

Perhaps because the recession we were recovering from was a little worse. Not to mention Hurrican Katrina and it's aftermath.

The longer view is even uglier. Job growth in the current period is the worst by far of the four comparable economic upturns since the 1960's: 2.7 percent versus the 7.8 percent tallied in the weakest of those earlier recoveries.

This is what is sometimes called lying with statistics. Notice how subtle the switch is from absolute to relative numbers? And why only the last four recoveries? Didn't the fifth and sixth previous recoveries fit the storyline? Exactly how low does the NY Times expect the unemployment rate to go?

It's little wonder, then, that President Bush cherry-picked his way through the latest economic figures in his speech yesterday before the Economic Club of Chicago, rattling off numbers without context. The president's prescription - more tax cuts - has failed in the past to create a robust job market and is still not the right answer.

And the NY Times' vast experience with cherry picking statistics makes them experts at spotting its use. Sour grapes seem to have been replaced with sour cherries. Tax cuts are like the war in Iraq. They both have to be abandoned now before their respective successes become irrefutable -- even to the reality-based community.

For the past two years, average hourly wages and weekly salaries have been flat or falling. Americans' borrowing binge has masked the decline in earning power, but good jobs and rising wages are essential for widespread prosperity. Without them, economic growth has become increasingly concentrated among corporations, shareholders and the top 20 percent or so of earners. The holiday shopping season illustrates this situation: retailers that cater to lower- and middle-income shoppers, like Wal-Mart, Sears and Kohl's had disappointing results, while higher-end chains, like Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom, thrived.

Shades of Fox Butterfield -- it couldn't be that ever more American's have ever more money in their pockets now, could it? And anyway, when did the NY Times suddenly decide that Wal-Mart's success was a good thing?

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:05 PM | Comments (0)

I Understand He Eats Babies Too

Enforcement of mine safety seen slipping under Bush

Can a leaf fall to earth prematurely without it being President Bush's fault?

Since the Bush administration took office in 2001, it has been more lenient toward mining companies facing serious safety violations, issuing fewer and smaller major fines and collecting less than half of the money that violators owed, a Knight Ridder Newspapers investigation has found.

At one point last year, the Mine Safety and Health Administration fined a coal company a scant $440 for a "significant and substantial" violation that ended in the death of a Kentucky man. The firm, International Coal Group Inc., is the same company that owns the Sago mine in West Virginia, where 12 workers died earlier this week.

The $440 fine remains unpaid.

Relaxed mine safety enforcement is widespread, according to a Knight Ridder analysis of federal records and interviews with former and current federal safety officials, even though deaths and injuries from mining accidents have hovered near record low levels in the past few years.

What, what, what? Deaths are at record low levels? You only have to read down another 23 paragraphs to find out that:

It doesn't have anything to do with who's the president because, actually, the people who are doing those fines are apolitical," Gooch said. "They're employees that are covered by the federal civil service, and their own union, by the way, so they compute the fines the way they come out."

Mining industry officials defended the Bush administration and pointed to recent years of record low deaths and injuries in mining as the most important numbers.

For coal mining, 2005 and 2002 were record low years for fatalities. Only 22 people were killed last year in coal mining deaths - down from 47 in 1995. The number of workers killed in all mines hit consecutive record lows of 56 and 55 in 2003 and 2004, respectively, but increased slightly to 57 in 2005.

But small fines are not being paid! Proper respect for the authority of government policy must be restored at all costs -- let's get some perspective here people. Those miners minors wouldn't be orphans if Bush had made that coal company pay it's fine.

Just to be clear, what happened in Sago was a terrible tragedy. The people in that community have my deepest sympathy. And the vultures trying to score political points with their deaths need to be thrown down the mine shafts. Bastards.

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

We Could Just Shoot Them

Uh, I mean let them commit suicide. Do you think that is what she has in mind?

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in an interview published days before her first visit to the United States, said Washington should close its Guantanamo Bay prison camp and find other ways of dealing with terror suspects.

I mean, that's what happened to Andreas Baader, Gudrun Ensslin, and Jan-Carl Raspe.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:20 PM | Comments (0)

Supervise?

We certainly want to ensure that Ahmadinejad and his little buddies can prepare their enriched uranium safely and efficiently:

U.N. atomic inspectors have arrived in Iran to supervise Tehran's resumption of nuclear fuel research, a senior Iranian official said on Saturday.

Am I the only one who wonders if the U.N. excludes Jews from the IAEA inspection teams as a matter of policy so as not to offend?

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:59 PM | Comments (0)

I'm Feeling Pretty Good About Iraq's Future

Would that our politicians could see things so clearly:

AN Iraqi who is one of the favourites to become the country’s next prime minister has said that Saddam Hussein should have been summarily executed and warned that his continuing trial is having a negative effect on the country.

And then have the balls to actually say it.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:40 PM | Comments (0)

Don't Just Do Something, Sit There!

Cindy speaks:

"You have to wash the blood off your hands and get off your apathetic butts and do something," she told several hundred people crowding a union hall to overflowing.

Cindy then speaks again:

"Anybody could do what we did in Crawford, Texas. We just went down and sat down," Sheehan said. "We have to get so freakin' fed up with what's going on that we all go and sit down."

So, all you progessive activists should do what Cindy says -- get off your apathetic butts and sit down!

Think globally, sit locally!

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:30 PM | Comments (0)

No, But Beating Them Down Well Might Be

Bullying Iran is not an option

That's wierd, from his rhetoric I thought Ahmadinejad was the one acting like a bully. But I am curious, does Ariel Sharon's condition make Israel more or less likely to do what must be done?

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:15 PM | Comments (0)

Pay No Attention to the Jihadi Behind the Curtain

Stephen F. Hayes writes:

THE FORMER IRAQI REGIME OF Saddam Hussein trained thousands of radical Islamic terrorists from the region at camps in Iraq over the four years immediately preceding the U.S. invasion, according to documents and photographs recovered by the U.S. military in postwar Iraq. The existence and character of these documents has been confirmed to THE WEEKLY STANDARD by eleven U.S. government officials.

Clearly, there needs to be a special prosecutor to look into the leaks by the these eleven government officials. Don't worry about the NY Times editorial that says these people have to be protected since the NY Times would have to publicize this story first.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:52 PM | Comments (0)

S.O.P.

DEMOCRATS PLAN TO DESTROY ALITO

Yawn.

Senate Democrats have put into place a plan that includes one last push to take down the nomination of Judge Samuel A. Alito as he heads into his confirmation hearing next week, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

Senate Democrats intend to zero in on Alito’s alleged enthusiastic membership to an organization, they will charge, that was sexist and racist!

Democrats hope to tie Alito to Concerned Alumni of Princeton (CAP).

Alito will testify that he joined CAP as a protest over Princeton policy that would not allow the ROTC on campus.

THE DRUDGE REPORT has obtained a Summer 1982 article from CAP’s PROSPECT magazine titled “Smearing The Class Of 1957” that key Senate Democrats believe could thwart his nomination!

In the article written by then PROSPECT editor Frederick Foote, Foote writes: “The facts show that, for whatever reasons, whites today are more intelligent than blacks.”

Senate Democrats expect excerpts like this written by other Princeton graduates will be enough to torpedo the Alito nomination.

One Democrat Hill staffer involved in their strategy declared, “Put a fork in Scalito. It doesn’t matter that Alito didn’t write it, it doesn’t matter that Alito wasn’t that active in the group, Foote wrote it in CAP’s magazine and we are going to make Alito own it.”

In apparently unrelated news, Congressperson Louise Slaughter (D-Safe Seat) assured America today that her party would:

"...uphold the highest standards of integrity."

Integrity must have alternate definitions of which I am unaware.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:38 PM | Comments (0)

Adventures in Headline Writing

Dems Charge GOP Has Corrupted Congress

Uh, no. I think it's actually the other way around.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:10 PM | Comments (1)

August 23, 2005

Gee, I Hope They Don't Acquire a "Laser"

Who knew?

THE al-Qaeda master plan to take over the world and turn it into an Islamic state has been revealed for the first time.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:38 PM | Comments (0)

Offered Without Comment

Canada flexes its muscles in dispute over Arctic wastes

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

Because They Can't?

Or because having at least two rival, heavily armed, paramilitary groups bent on the destruction of Jews might prove handy some day:

Hamas and Islamic Jihad announced on Monday that they have reached an agreement with the Palestinian Authority according to which the two groups would not be disarmed.

The agreement was reportedly achieved during talks in Damascus between PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei and leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:27 PM | Comments (0)

August 18, 2005

No Oil for Blood!

Hey, this is cool. An opinion piece in the Guardian that blames America for destoring Iraq. Not because of the more recent liberation of Iraq mind you, but because of the sanctions since 1990 and especially their maintenance after the liberation of Kuwait. But what's really cool is that Alain Gresh (of Le Monde diplomatique, don't you know) manages to completely avoid mentioing why the sanctions were never lifted, especially sionce we all now know that Saddam never had WMDs. Right?

But to top it all off, the whole point of the piece is couched around a complaint that we are spending too much time focusing on the oil for blood scandal. Yes, I know that most people call it the oil for foodscandal, but the way I see it, the money allowed Saddam to keep killing for 10 years, so it is really oil for blood. No oil for blood!

I strongly suggest that our leading physicists need to begin investigating the alternate parallel unverse that seems to have sprung up beside us. The black holes of this alternate, more, ahem, progressive universe seem to be spewing nonsense into ours at an alarming rate. Fortunately, the physicists should be able to get to the bottom of this new phenomenon quickly, since the evidence of this parallel universe where up is down, freedom is fascism, red light is shifted to blue wavelengths and vice versa, is all around us. Another intersting attribute seems to be that whereas in our universe space and time are relative, in this parallel universe it is facts which are relative -- apparently relative to the "moral standing" of whomever says them, in fact.

Wierd.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:25 PM | Comments (3)

The World's Greatest Deliberately Obnoxious Body

Nice to know that Democrat's are taking the high ground -- again:

Democrats struggle to find chinks in Roberts's armor

Say, isn't chink a little less than politically correct here? Would they have used it in this headline if the nominee was named Wu?

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:08 PM | Comments (0)

Can Subjectivity Be Analyzed Objectively?

What passes for science these days is enough to make me weep.

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:27 PM | Comments (0)

The Sweet Smell of Nostalgia

This next item reminds me of my high school chemistry class student teacher back in 1975 who assured us with the certainty of that little girl on The Kids in the Hall who always said, "It's a fact!", that we were going to run out of oil within 20 years:

The world could run out of time to develop cleaner alternatives to oil and other fossil fuels before depletion drives prices through the roof, a leading Dutch energy researcher said on Thursday.

Ton Hoff, manager of the Energy Research Center of the Netherlands, said it could take decades to make alternatives affordable to the point where they can be used widely, although high oil prices were already stimulating such research.

"If we run out of fossil fuels -- by the time the oil price hits 100 dollars or plus, people will be screaming for alternatives, but whether they will be available at that moment of time -- that's my biggest worry," Hoff said.

Just for fun, note the substantial confusion here. Mr. Hoff starts with a pretty big assumption that viable alternative energy sources are out there waiting to be developed in the next couple of decades, if only we will purify our hearts and pursue them. I read elsewhere in this article that oil prices remain "stubbornly high." Please. Oil prices have been "high" for a couple of months now, but why should that stop anyone from embarking on world-changing, multi-decade, taxpayer gouging plan based upon only a couple month's data? Trust me Tom, when we start to run out of oil, the price will be much, much higher than $100 a barrel. Of course, I assume he's talking about a barrel here rather than a gallon, but who knows? Then again, when you are convinced the sky is falling, why worry about such fine distinctions?

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:23 PM | Comments (0)

I Expect the DNC to Release the Dogs on the Mehlman Anytime Now

Sadly, Mehlman's right:

Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman told Republicans in Wheeling Wednesday that today's Democratic Party "isn't your grandfather's Democratic Party" of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the 1940s.

Democrats "used to tell people you have nothing to fear but fear itself," Mehlman said. "Now they have nothing to offer but fear itself."

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:11 PM | Comments (0)

The Torch Flames Out

Sometimes the courts are a little slower on the uptake:

Former U.S. Sen. Robert G. Torricelli lost his bid in a state appeals court Tuesday to undo his conviction for leaving the scene of a minor car mishap, in which the once-powerful lawmaker was viewed by the courts as a liar.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:04 PM | Comments (0)

I Don't Think Even Marlin Perkins Would Go For This One

Here in suburbia, homeowners are overrun with raccoons, possums, coyotes and other creatures that used to be shot as vermin. But now, Mutual of Omaha brings you the latest development in anti-development:

Lions in your back yard? Elephants in the driveway? Cheetahs on the terrace? Well, maybe, if a group of prominent ecologists gets to establish a "Pleistocene Park" on the Great Plains.

Authors of the plan -- which appears in today's issue of the journal Nature -- say their idea to transplant African wildlife to North America could save many of the animals from extinction.

Isn't it amazing how often huge progressive ideas are predicated on something that could happen?

Josh Donlan, a graduate student at Cornell University and one of the plan's co-authors, concedes that skeptics may worry more about the people on the Great Plains who could become extinct at the mercy of the lions.

Hey Josh, I have a better idea. Let's set the animals free around Ithaca, New York, instead and see how many folks there like the idea of huge, federally protected predators roaming their neighborhoods. Jeez, has a more obvious "the Midwest is just fly-over country" mentality ever been so bleeding obvious?

"Obviously, gaining public acceptance is going to be a huge issue, especially when you talk about reintroducing predators. There are going to have to be some major attitude shifts. That includes realizing predation is a natural role, and that people are going to have to take precautions."

Gee, ya think? Shifting gears for a moment, isn't it funny how some folks are unable to see that predation is just as natural within the human species? But back on topic, may I suggest that our first precaution is feeding people who propose harebrained schemes like this to the lions?

Nevertheless, the scientists say the relocated animals could restore biodiversity on this continent to a condition closer to what nature was like before humans overran the landscape.

Dirty, filthy, nasty humans. Mostly though, I cannot help thinking of all the unintended consequences that have occurred every time men have introduced exotic animals to a new locale, ussualy for all the best reasons imaginable. But why does it always go unchallenged that things were necessarily better before humans arrived? oh never mind, who needs all that wheat and corn anyway.

The idea of "rewilding" the Great Plains grew from a retreat at Ladder Ranch near Truth or Consequences, N.M., a 155,550-acre spread owned by media mogul and conservationist Ted Turner.

"Conservationist Ted Turner," now that's funny.

The ecologists suggest starting with zoo animals. The perimeters of newly created reserves would be fenced. "We aren't backing a truck up to some dump site in the dark and turning lose a bunch of elephants," says Cornell University ecologist Harry W. Greene, another of the plan's authors.

Don't you love the false dichotomies.

While most modern African species never lived on the American prairie, the scientists believe that today's animals could duplicate the natural roles played by their departed, even larger cousins -- mastodons, camels and saber-toothed cats -- that roamed for more than 1 million years alongside antelope and bison. Relocating large animals to vast ecological parks and private reserves over the next century would begin to restore the balance and offer new ecotourism opportunities.

Strange I thought these already existed in zoos and places like Busch Gardens, not to mention literally dozens of fenced in drive through parks around the country. Of course, progressive ideas know no boundaries, and respect for the lives and property of others can be swept away by fiat as the next omelette is prepared.

Some ecologists said it is important to try such a bold plan. Otherwise, they said, hundreds more species are likely to go extinct in coming decades and entire ecosystems -- such as grasslands -- will fundamentally change.

Yeah, and some bloggers say you're freakin' nuts.

"We're beginning to get backed into a corner," said Terry Chapin of the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. "It's something worth trying."

And if it fails? Who pays?

Some scientists and conservationists, however, hoot. "It is not restoration to introduce animals that were never here," says University of Washington anthropologist Donald K. Grayson. "Why introduce Old World camels and lions when there are North American species that could benefit from the same kind of effort?" Other conservationists say the plan would further damage the prospects of African species on their native turf, as well as that continent's hopes for sustainable economic development.

At least there are a few people with some common sense, though there objections must be tempered with the observation that if we could clone saber-tooth tigers and wooly mastadons, they'd probably think it was a good idea too.

Ecologists at Mr. Turner's Ladder Ranch intend to reintroduce the Bolson tortoise right away. These 100-pound burrowers were found across the Southwest, but now survive in a corner of northern Mexico's Chihuahuan Desert.

Key change! Let's go from turning the Midwest into a free range park for predators into placing a few tortoises loose. Such bld first steps.

The extent of Mr. Turner's interest in the larger rewilding plan is not clear.

Oh? Seems clear enough to me.

Mike Phillips, who directs the Turner Endangered Species Fund, was unavailable for comment.

Did someone check to see if he had perhaps been eaten by a lion?

The renewed presence of many large mammals might turn back the ecological clock in a variety of subtle ways.

Might? And these would all be good ways?

For example, elephants eat woody plants that have overtaken grasslands. Could they act as Rototillers to restore the prairie?

Or maybe they could act like avenging demons destroying tractors and irrigation equipment, driving farmers away, causing the cost of grains to rise rapidly, which could lead to the death of more humans, which could make it easier to expand the preserve. Brilliant!

Lions would be a harder sell, particularly to the elk herds that already live there.

How do you sell to an elk herd?

"Lions eat people," Mr. Donlan, the Cornell graduate student, says. "There has to be a pretty serious attitude shift on how you view predators."

And, pray tell, what attitude shift is going to change the nature of lions or people? Oh, and don't forget to confiscate everyone's guns unless you want your experiment to end rather quickly.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:53 PM | Comments (3)

August 12, 2005

May Be Armed and Dangerous

The ex-offender community grew by one today, and yet he doesn't need any special dispensation to vote, since his record has been wiped clean:

Dressed in camouflage fatigues, the two boys waited in the woods behind the school until the lunch hour, when one of them ran into the hallway and triggered a fire alarm. As classmates and teachers filed out of the buildings Mitchell Johnson, 13, and Andrew Golden, 11, opened fire with high-powered rifles stolen from Golden's grandfather. By the time the last shot was fired four girls and an English teacher, who had attempted to shield the children from the barrage, were dead.

What happened in Jonesboro that day in 1998 awakened America to the terror of school shootings and left an indelible mark on the northeast Arkansas town that was yesterday trying to come to terms with the fact that one of the convicted murderers, Johnson, is due to walk free from prison. Golden is scheduled to be freed in 2007.

A now-closed legal loophole means the killers can only be held until their 21st birthdays, and with Johnson's birthday falling yesterday his expected release from a federal penitentiary in Memphis has re-opened old wounds in the town, with many residents questioning whether justice has been served in the case.

It has also drawn a sharp reaction from gun control campaigners, who criticised the fact that because Johnson was convicted as a minor his criminal record will be wiped clean and he will be allowed to buy a gun.

Not all injustices are caused by wrongful imprisonment. If the sonofabitch ever touches a gun he ought to be considered to be a clear and present danger to those around him. But I see that not everyone requires that much provocation:

Jonesboro's sheriff, Jack McCann, told CNN yesterday that if Johnson returned to the town "we cannot guarantee his safety".

I'm ok with that. You will not be able to convince me that anybody who does what this young man did will ever be a normal human being who can be trusted out on his own in society.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:07 PM | Comments (0)

We Need More Cowbell

A lot more cowbell.

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:51 PM | Comments (1)

"I'm Just a Soul Whose Intentions Are Good..."

Oh Lord, please don't let me be all misconstrued:

After protests by conservatives, NARAL Pro-Choice America said Thursday night it would pull the ad that began running this week.

We regret that many people have misconstrued our recent advertisement about Mr. Roberts' record," NARAL President Nancy Keenan said.

"Unfortunately, the debate over that advertisement has become a distraction from the serious discussion we hoped to have with the American public," she said in a letter Thursday to Sen. Arlen Specter...

Yes, of course. NARAL wants to have serious discussion with the American people. Why would anyone have thought otherwise?

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:26 AM | Comments (0)

August 11, 2005

Fascist, Sneezing, Dipped in Chocolate -- It's All the Same Thing

But, but, I thought we already were:

"Thank God for the Internet, or we wouldn't know anything, and we would already be a fascist state."

Oh yes, the title. Well, words here mean whatever I want them to mean, whenever I want them to mean whichever meaning I choose, however I choose to interpret their meaning, which is no mean feat. Know what I mean, Vern?

But I do find her tacit admission that the Left didn't know anything before the Internet rather touching, or should I say touched? In all seriousness, the woman needs help and the vultures feeding on her need to start taking her welfare into account instead of devouring her soul to further their own goals. Jumping Jeebus, they really are acting like dementors.

DOWNDATE: And speaking of Gutfeld (see the comments)...

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:58 PM | Comments (4)

Whither Zinfandel

Do people really pay attention to this loon? I may have to give up my most favored wine to avoid lunacy by association.

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

More Hot Air

Oh dear:

Summer temperatures have risen sharply in most west European capital cities over the past 30 years, adding to evidence of the accelerating impact of climate change, the environmental group WWF said.

WWF International blamed most of the warming on pollution from power stations rather than road traffic and urged the European Union to set tougher targets for emissions of greenhouse gases, notably carbon dioxide.

Over the past 30 years huh?

Between 2000 and 2004, average temperatures in 13 of the 16 cities surveyed were at least one degree Celsius higher than during the first five years of the 1970s, the environmental organisation said.

Isn't AFP even marginally suspicious of such blatant data manipulation. Aside for cherry picking the years under review, there's the well known problem of cities being heat sinks that causes problems for the existing climate models that predict we should already be dead now when fed data from the past.

And then, of course, there's the obligatory call for a return to a more primitive pastoral time:

Environmentalists said the significant difference between the overall data and the WWF's more limited study on urban summers backed up evidence of an acceleration in warming in recent decades caused by pollution.

"The cities are reflecting this trend," said Imogen Zethoven of WWF. "There is a trend of increasing summer temperatures and that is due to global warming."

"There is a primary source and that is the power sector," she added.

"Scotty, we need less power." But they have a solution!

The data was released as part of a WWF campaign to get governments to replace "dirty antiquated" power stations with cleaner alternatives to generate electricity, such as hydrolectric stations, wind farms or natural gas plants.

What? Dam up the rivers even more? Have you ever been near a wind farm? The people who live near them in California seem to be growing quite weary of them, and how you'll ever get enough energy from the wind baffles even the unskeptical of environmentalists. As for the their last proposal, well, I guess natural gas must be a limitless resource that magically regenerates without the need to drill anywhere else.

I have a better, more practical solution for these impractical people who excuse their lies because their hearts are pure: nuclear reactors. But then, WWF International isn't really all that interested in supplying clean power to the people, are they?

Oh dear!

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:58 AM | Comments (0)

Close the Barn Door, All the Isotopes Are Getting Away!!

EU, allies demand Iran resume nuclear freeze

Better late than never I suppose, though the story sounds a little less forceful than the headline:

The European Union and its allies will ask the U.N. nuclear watchdog on Thursday to urge Iran to halt sensitive atomic work it resumed this week but Tehran rejected the demand as unacceptable and illegal.

Ask, urge, demand, whatever. I'm sure a harshly worded communique is being drafted right now! In fact, here it is:

A draft resolution submitted to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says Iran must resume a full suspension of all nuclear fuel related activities and asks the agency to verify Tehran's compliance.

The draft, drawn up by Britain, Germany and France, requests IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei "to provide a comprehensive report on the implementation of Iran's NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty) Safeguards Agreement and this resolution by 3 September 2005."

Submit or we will urge the UN to demand another report! The will to power displayed here is breathtaking. The EU keeps trying the carrot and carrot approach and stunningly finds it to be somewhat remarkably unsuccessful. I'd make another snide remark about strong horses and weak horses, but they all seemed to have left the barn.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:30 AM | Comments (1)

August 09, 2005

Tom Petty Was Wrong

Apparently, in Switzerland at least, you do have to live like a refugee:

The Swiss Refugee Council says the tightening of Switzerland’s asylum laws last year has had an adverse effect on human rights. The non-governmental organisation criticised the government’s move to stop welfare payments to rejected asylum seekers and its decision to drastically reduce the appeal period.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:37 PM | Comments (0)

Aren't These Funds Usually Called Taxes?

Or have the NEA and CPB dried up and blown away?

Scores of the US's richest people have pledged $1m (£560,000) or more towards a new attempt to reinvigorate the American left and counter the powerful Republican political machine.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:27 PM | Comments (0)

Findin An Empty Bottle Shouldn't Present Any Problems

Howard Dean says:

"We need a message."

And the message is, "Beware!" After all, "I care," has already been taken.

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

At Play in the Fields of the Bored

I'm sorry Cindy Sheehan lost her son in Iraq, but it seems to me that her grief has hobbled her ability to think clearly. President George W. Bush isn't the person exploiting her sons death for political reasons. No, the person acting reprehensibly here stares Cindy Sheehan in the face every morning when she brushes her teeth. Of course, I can sympathize with her grief and the challenges that presents, especially when there are so many enablers, like the good folks at Good Morning America, NPR, Air America, and seemingly every other Big Media outlet who will pick at the corpse of a fallen American so long as they think it makes Bush look bad.

I find it profoundly disturbing that so many otherwise responsible people are encouraging Cindy Sheehan to believe that the President should debase himself at her feet instead of helping her find ways to readjust to life without her son. But then, it has always been easy to destroy than to build -- especially when one's heart is pure.

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

August 08, 2005

The Road to Hell

Megan McArdle fulfills her duty as part of the triumvirate acting in Glenn Reynold's stead by noting:

Kevin Drum sums up the problem of hate speech laws: "I'm not convinced that content-based speech restrictions can be defined in a broad enough way to make them workable but a narrow enough way to keep them from being dangerous."

And here I thought the problem with hate speech laws were that they criminalized thought.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:43 PM | Comments (0)

August 07, 2005

Masters of the Universe

Just imagine if Judge Roberts were so, ahem, outspoken:

Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens issued an unusually stinging criticism of capital punishment Saturday evening, telling lawyers that he was disturbed by "serious flaws."

Nothing new there, or here:

Stevens' audience included his wife and Cecilia Marshall, widow of Justice Thurgood Marshall. Marshall, the Supreme Court's first black member before retiring in 1991, was a critic of the death penalty and argued that it was unconstitutional under any circumstances.

Because, presumably, we must entertain the notion that even a captured and convicted Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden might really be innocent, or perhaps they can still be rehabilitated with the proper professional attention and support to become contributors to society. I mean, who are we to judge?

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

I Beg to Differ

Saudi says ties with U.S. 'couldn't be better'

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:13 AM | Comments (0)

Meanwhile, Back in the Gutter

Bill Clinton comments on Cherie Blair:

“When he’s done and she wants a go, it would please me greatly. She is an enormously able person. I love her... I’d be happy to do it. I think she’s great,” says Clinton in an interview in today’s Sunday Times News Review. The former president — who describes himself as “healthy as a horse” and fully recovered from his heart surgery last year — calls Britain’s equivalent of the first lady “young and vigorous”.

I guess I should feel guilty about taking these words seriously out of context. But unlike, say, some Big Media outlets, I didn't put these words in Mr. Clinton's mouth.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:24 AM | Comments (0)

Thank You For Your Service Nanny, But We've Decided to Go a Different Way

Reading David Brook's column, The Virtues of Virtue, I wonder which caused more latte to be spilt this morning in New York, the fact that things are getting measurably and demonstrably better in George W. Bush's Amerikkka:

Violent crime over all is down by 55 percent since 1993 and violence by teenagers has dropped an astonishing 71 percent, according to the Department of Justice.

The number of drunken driving fatalities has declined by 38 percent since 1982, according to the Department of Transportation, even though the number of vehicle miles traveled is up 81 percent. The total consumption of hard liquor by Americans over that time has declined by over 30 percent.

Teenage pregnancy has declined by 28 percent since its peak in 1990. Teenage births are down significantly and, according to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, the number of abortions performed in the country has also been declining since the early 1990's.

Fewer children are living in poverty, even allowing for an uptick during the last recession. There's even evidence that divorce rates are declining, albeit at a much more gradual pace. People with college degrees are seeing a sharp decline in divorce, especially if they were born after 1955...

Teenage suicide is down. Elementary school test scores are rising (a sign than more kids are living in homes conducive to learning). Teenagers are losing their virginity later in life and having fewer sex partners.

Or the reasons why they are getting better:

We're in the middle of a moral revival now, and there has been very little of that. This revival has been a bottom-up, prosaic, un-self-conscious one, led by normal parents, normal neighbors and normal community activists.

The first thing that has happened is that people have stopped believing in stupid ideas: that the traditional family is obsolete, that drugs are liberating, that it is every adolescent's social duty to be a rebel.

The second thing that has happened is that many Americans have become better parents. Time diary studies reveal that parents now spend more time actively engaged with kids, even though both parents are more likely to work outside the home.

Third, many people in the younger generation, under age 30 or so, are reacting against the culture of divorce. They are trying to lead lives that are more stable than the ones their parents led. Post-boomers behave better than the baby boomers did.

Fourth, over the past few decades, neighborhood and charitable groups have emerged to help people lead more organized lives, even in the absence of cohesive families.

Did you happen to notice what's missing from all this causation?

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:05 AM | Comments (2)

We Can Only Hope

Isn't that what you mean Mr. Savage?

Judge John G. Roberts Jr.'s opposition to affirmative action, outlined in internal memos he wrote 24 years ago as an aide in the Reagan administration, could provide a decisive vote to end racial preference programs across the United States if he is confirmed to the Supreme Court, observers vetting his record say.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:47 AM | Comments (0)

August 06, 2005

Hiroshima, Anti-Historical Reviisionism III

(I must caveat this with the acknowledgement that I have just finished a bottle of Zinfandel, so my judgment and keyboard skill is necessarily somewhat suspect.)

I've just finished watching 2 shows that ran 2.5 hours on the History Channel concerning Hiroshima with my wife, who is, for those paying attention, half Japanese. I frequently caught myself muttering expletives under my breath. Of course, my opinions concerning the appropriateness of dropping the bomb haven't changed one jot. But it is painful to experience the true horror of having done so, even when it was the right thing to do.

Which brings me to where we find ourselves today. Iran. North Korea. Al Qaeda. These bastards have to be presented with the same option Japan was offered at Potsdam. Surrender or perish. Surrender. Or. Perish. Negotiated settlements, cheat and retreat, and MAD are no longer on the table. I don't claim that we -- America, Western Civilization -- are the be all and end all to the human condition, but I am quite comfortable in believing that we are the best humanity has offered up to date and I will be damned if I will lie down and allow them to conquer us just for no better reason than they have a louder megaphone, I have more useful idiots in my midst, or we are unable to muster the will to do the hard things that must be done for our survival.

For the second time today I will quote William Tecumsah Sherman, "War is all hell." And yet, like any Jacksonian, while I do not seek a fight I will not shy away from it.

The bomb dropped on Hiroshima had the equivalent of 20,000 tons of TNT. Most nuclear weapons today are measured in megatons of TNT. With the awesome power of these weapons today, we cannot wait and respond to an attack as John Kerry proposed last year. We must proactively seek out those who wish to harm us and take the fight to them. God help the Marines in western Iraq tonight.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:49 PM | Comments (1)

And Who, Pray Tell, Is the Palestinian Nelson Mandela? Or Desmond Tutu?

A long time ago, I said that Israel was turning into the new South Africa, at least for some:

A Presbyterian committee accused five companies Friday of contributing to "ongoing violence that plagues Israel and Palestine" and pledged to use the church's multimillion-dollar stock holdings in the businesses to pressure them to stop.

The move follows a vote last year by leaders of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to put economic pressure on companies that profit from Israeli policy in the West Bank and Gaza.

The vote had outraged Jewish groups, who said the strategy was biased and failed to recognize Israel's right to defend itself, and the tensions worsened after other Protestant bodies adopted similar tactics.

Jewish leaders are deeply disturbed that the campaigns threatening divestment essentially borrow from the 1980s movement against South African apartheid.

Is it myopia or blindness (self-inflicted) that is leading to such monumental stupidity?

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:28 PM | Comments (1)

Over Hair, Over Hair

Ah, Europe!

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has undergone a new hair transplant, one year after a successful first operation, Italian newspapers said.

Remember how Gerhard Schroeder sued someone for reporting about him dying his hair?

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:20 PM | Comments (0)

Hiroshima, Anti-Historical Revision Post II

For those whose anti-Americanism, anti-Western Civilization bias, know-nothing Leftism, or sheer historical ignorance leads them to condemn the use of atomic bombs to end WW II, I have two simple, yet related questions. The first is multiple choice, while the latter requires a definite answer.

1. Which is preferable?

These two images:

Hiroshima.jpg nagasaki.gif

Or 30,000 images like this:

arlington.jpg

2. How many orders of magnitude higher would the death toll have to have been in your mind before stopping the war at all costs became more important than a belated politically correct projection of postmodern sensibilities onto events that are scarcely imaginable today?

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:15 AM | Comments (0)

August 05, 2005

Non Sequitur Alert!

Logic is merely another of ElBaradei's weak points:

The carnage wrought by the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 60 years ago demonstrates the need to eliminate nuclear weapons for the sake of human survival, the head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog said on Friday.

Whereas literally more lethal saturation and fire-bombing of cities would still be ok, I guess. Not to mention the genocides carried out in Rwanda, Sudan, and Zimbabwe with little more than machetes and small arms fire. Of course, the dangers of nuclear proliferation have grown more acute of late, though not because of any inherent, human survival threatening attribute of nuclear weapons themselves, but because of a mindset and ideology that is willing to use them against the infidels to achieve a medieval pipe-dream of a restored caliphate.

But even so, I suppose I could stomach this comment a bit better if it came from someone who wasn't being led around the nuclear proliferation dance floor in a cheat and retreat tango by Iran.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:34 PM | Comments (1)

Hiroshima, It's Personal

Tomorrow is the 60th anniversary of the destruction of Hiroshima by an atomic weapon dropped by the Enola Gay. I suppose it should go without saying that I despise the historical revisionism that goes on these days, especially concerning the actions surrounding the use of the atomic bomb to end the conflict with Japan and bring WW II to a close. President Truman then believed it was the right thing to do and I've seen nothing that is even marginally convincing that he acted in anything other than the best interests of the American people and the Japanese people.

Yes, I said the Japanese people. Victor Davis Hanson touches on this today in response to those who feel President Truman acted rashly, or in a racist, militaristic, and vindictive manner in an excellent essay that helps provide some context that is sorely lacking in most revisionist histories:

For 60 years the United States has agonized over its unleashing of the world’s first nuclear weapon on Hiroshima on August 6, 2005. President Harry Truman’s decision to explode an atomic bomb over an ostensible military target — the headquarters of the crack Japanese 2nd Army — led to well over 100,000 fatalities, the vast majority of them civilians.

Critics immediately argued that we should have first targeted the bomb on an uninhabited area as a warning for the Japanese militarists to capitulate. Did a democratic America really wish to live with the burden of being the only state that had used nuclear weapons against another?

Later generals Hap Arnold, Dwight Eisenhower, Curtis LeMay, Douglas Macarthur, and Admirals William Leahy and William Halsey all reportedly felt the bomb was unnecessary, being either militarily redundant or unnecessarily punitive to an essentially defeated populace.

Yet such opponents of the decision shied away from providing a rough estimate of how many more would have died in the aggregate — Americans, British, Australians, Asians, Japanese, and Russians — through conventional bombing, continuous fighting in the Pacific, amphibious invasion of the mainland, or the ongoing onslaught of the Red Army had the conflict not come to an abrupt halt nine days later and only after a second nuclear drop on Nagasaki.

Truman’s supporters countered that, in fact, a blockade and negotiations had not forced the Japanese generals to surrender unconditionally. In their view, a million American casualties and countless Japanese dead were adverted by not storming the Japanese mainland over the next year in the planned two-pronged assault on the mainland, dubbed Operation Coronet and Olympic.

The key word in that excerpt is "countless." My mother-in-law was a teenager living in Tokyo in 1945. Who knows what would have happened to her and perhaps tens of millions of Japanese had we been forced to actually invade Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu and Hokkaido? Suffice it to say that the rules of engagement for our troops would have been noticeably harsher and less forgiving for the Japanese in 1945 than they are for the various nationalities they encounter in Iraq and Afghanistan today. The brutality experienced by both sides on Okinawa would only have intensified with an invasion of the main islands.

My mother-in-law lived through the fire-bombing of Tokyo in March of that year that killed 150,000 people, and she has some truly horrible, disturbing stories to tell about the war and its aftermath. As Sherman said, war is all hell. But would she have survived an American invasion? Who knows, buteven if she had, is it likely that she would have ended up marrying an American serviceman nine years later? As it was, she was castigated by her family for doing so. I can only imagine how much more unlikely all this might have been had the war not ended after the second atomic bomb fell on Nagasaki.

Is it too much of a stretch to imagine that my wife, her sister, our children, and her niece and nephew owe their lives to President Truman's decision to drop the bomb?

DOWNDATE: I see that others share my sentiments:

Sixty years later, Tomiko Morimoto West still remembers the low drone of the B-29 that flew over Hiroshima and changed her life forever. She was just 13. The horrific atomic blast on Aug. 6, 1945, all but wiped out her hometown in an instant. Her widowed mother was killed, and her grandparents would die later in agony.

"They left me all by myself," she said.

All alone, she suffered the effects of radiation sickness, which may have contributed to her inability to have children. But she is not bitter.

West, now 73 and a retired Vassar College lecturer, believes the atomic bomb that robbed her of her family and her innocence saved countless lives - Japanese and American.

"If it was not for the atomic bomb, we [Japanese] were in such a mental state, we would have fought until the last person," said West, who was taught as a little girl how to fight with a sharpened bamboo stick in the event of an invasion.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:58 AM | Comments (1)

August 04, 2005

Rummy Jones and the Last Crusade?

I'd rather he said, "They choose poorly":

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Thursday criticized Syria's leaders for "not behaving in a wise manner" by aiding Iraqi insurgents and warned that such conduct could come back to haunt them.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:41 PM | Comments (0)

Paying Off Dr. Evil?

At least he didn't use it to buy a "laser":

Saddam Hussein ordered Iraq's central bank to withdraw $1 billion for his youngest son the day before the invasion to stop it falling into foreign hands, according to a leaked letter apparently written by the former dictator.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:37 PM | Comments (0)

Well, That Takes Care of Step One

Only eleven more to go Senator Bayh:

Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh, a possible presidential candidate in 2008, said Thursday that his party lacks credibility on national security and needs to convince Americans that Democrats are willing to use force when necessary.

Until the party can persuade voters, it will be unable to move the debate to issues that work for Democrats, Bayh said in an interview with The Associated Press.

"Unless the American people know that we will be good stewards of the nation's security, they're unlikely to trust us with anything else," said the two-term Indiana senator. "That's a very important threshold we have to get over."

Maybe the Democrats will stop trying to limbo under that threshold if Senator Bayh is their candidate in 2008. Nah.

Bayh said his electoral success in heavily Republican Indiana and moderate views are a model for Democrats to end their recent electoral failures. Summing up those failures are polls that show voters overwhelmingly trusting Republicans on national security, he said.

"We've got a few voices out there who would be a little bit more on the fringe," Bayh said. "Unfortunately, too often they define the entire party."

Perhaps that's because the fringe (Dean, Reid, Pelosi, Kennedy) actually does lead your party. You've got your work cut out for you Senator. And the public does remember the last centrist thrust upon us by the DLC -- fool us once and all that.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:17 PM | Comments (0)

August 03, 2005

The Democrats Are Toast

Why? Because they've started celebrating moral victories:

Democrats on Wednesday celebrated a closer-than-expected loss in a special House of Representatives race in Ohio and called it a warning sign for Republicans entering the 2006 congressional elections.

Because nothing says you're ready for the next step like being happy you weren't blown out by the big boys. I learned that from many, many years watching Illinois football.

DOWNDATE: But the most silly and egregious logic error behind this kind of thinking by Democrats is taking a single data point and extrapolating from it, in any direction. Even if Hackett had won, projecting a Democratic landslide from this in the next general election, as I believe Rahm Emmanuel has, is just stupid. There's another saying from my engineering youth that is applicable here as well -- all thrust and no vector.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:34 PM | Comments (3)

July 28, 2005

I Blame the Extension of Daylight Savings Time

In New Hampshire, 2008 isn't that far off

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

July 27, 2005

My Two Cents

In a comment to this post at Daily Pundit I wrote:

The part of the Declaration of Independence that seems most apropos to me in this case is this:

... deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed ...

We do this by enacting and enforcing laws, rules, and regulations to govern those interactions that the people see fit through the election of their representatives. As part of that consent we have created and accepted a judiciary to act as the referee between contestants -- the defendant and the state for criminal purposes and between plaintiff(s) and defendant(s) in civil cases -- according to these laws, rules and regulations. If the referee suddenly decides to start rewriting the rule book for any reason whatsoever, no matter how good their intentions or how pure their hearts, then the link to the consent of the governed has been destroyed.

If as many have suggested, the law is an ass, well, we have well documented ways of addressing that problem within the framework of the consent of the governed. However, if the judiciary decides that the consent of the governed is overruled by their ability to discern the ass-ness of the law instead of the applicability of the law, well, the jig is up and we merely substitute a small number of robed oligarchs for our democracy. You think I'm kidding? Remember Florida in 2000?

Personally, this is just another argument for keeping government as small and unobtrusive as possible. Unintended consequences cannot be avoided just because someone cares. And I don't even want to get started on the more malicious and intentionally wicked aspects of government. But I digress.

The really funny thing to me is that people seem to keep forgetting that Judge Roberts came along well after the police made the little girl cry. Nothing he said or did was going to change the past, and by the time this case got to him the rules had already been changed because everyone involved had realized how stupid these rules were. If the little girl didn't cry but had instead coped an attitude and swore at the officers during her entire period of incarceration, would it have been ok then? Would we have ever heard about this case?

I'm far from believing that legal is equivalent to moral (thanks Mr. Clinton!), but the actions the police took when they took them were legitimate as they were enforcing the law of the land, without apparent prejudice or malice. Oh they may have acted with blind stupidity of the kind we see regularly with zero tolerance policies perhaps, but not with prejudice of malice. I believe that is all Judge Roberts said. To read anything else into his opinion is properly called projection, or worse.

I don't think Bill agrees with me though.

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:22 PM | Comments (2)

Senator Leahy Is A Partisan Asshat

But you already knew that:

Leahy said he's worried that Roberts might try to unravel matters that should be settled law.

Or in other words, what's mine is mine and what's your's remains negotiable. Mighty cocky to be in the minority, ain't he?

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:14 PM | Comments (0)

Dissent Is Patriotic!

Uh, except in Cuba:

Addressing an auditorium full of Communist Party leaders and handpicked supporters, Castro called the top U.S. diplomat in Havana a "grotesque character," and sternly warned that future protests planned by Cuba's dissidents will be thwarted "as many times as necessary."

No doubt Janeane Garafalo will be right on this, because of the flies.

"The supposed opposition in Cuba does not exist except in the feverish minds of the Cuban-American mafia and the bureaucrats of the White House and the State Department," Castro said a four-hour speech at Havana's Karl Marx Theater on Tuesday night. "They deceive themselves ... with their own lies."

Ok, it doesn't exist but it must be suppressed. But only a four hour speech Fidel? You must be slipping.

Responding to widespread discontent over the blackouts, Castro said the Cuban government has invested $282 million in equipment and material to improve outdated power plants. He predicted Cuba's electrical output would double by the end of the year.

Why stop at doubling it? Since you won't deliver on this promise anyway, why not say it will be 10 times higher? And chocolate rations have been increased by another -5 grams! Viva la revolucion! But on a serious note Cuba has been ht hard by hurricanes. Unfortunately, the people's revolution led by Fidel remains ill-equipped to deal with the restoration of power, even after 46 years.

"As president of the Council of State and government, I dedicate a significant amount of time to this problem," Castro said. "I am not exaggerating what I have said.

Whatever would give anyone that idea?

"All I ask is that you have a little confidence."

Or in other words, "I find your lack of faith in communism disturbing."

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:28 AM | Comments (0)

July 26, 2005

The Gassy Knoll

A strange echo comes from the gassy Knoll popping off:

After setting off a swirl of protest over her appearance at a slain Marine's funeral last week, Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll yesterday apologized profusely for unintentionally causing the Marine's family any additional pain or distress.

Key words: "last week." Anytime an apology takes a week, I usually infer that it is something less than sincere.

Her appearance, and an article about it in Saturday's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, generated an outpouring of letters, e-mail messages and Web log entries from around the country. Writers were angry about Knoll showing up at the funeral in Carnegie of Staff Sgt. Joseph Goodrich, who was killed in action in Iraq July 10. She handed out a business card, appeared to a relative of the soldier to be campaigning and made a puzzling remark that was interpreted as criticism of the U.S. military action in Iraq.

Knoll said, "I want you to know our government is against this war." What exactly is puzzling about that statement at the funeral of a Marine? I understand it completely, and I think everyone else does as well, hence the "outpouring of letters, e-mail messages and Web log entries from around the country."

Knoll yesterday wrote to Amy Goodrich, widow of Staff Sgt. Joseph Goodrich, saying she was "incredibly upset" after learning through press reports that the Goodrich family was offended by her actions.

The looks of shock and anger on the faces of the bereaved apparently had no effect. Or, at least, no effect that mattered.

"I wanted to assure you once again that my intention was not to add to what must be a tremendously heartbreaking, difficult period," Knoll wrote.

So, what exactly was the gassy Knoll's intention?

"I have attended dozens of funerals to offer my sympathy and condolences to the families of soldiers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice."

But, apparently, this one required that little something extra.

Gov. Ed Rendell, during appearances in Pittsburgh yesterday and throughout the weekend, came to Knoll's aid, saying he has confidence in her ability to perform her job.

Well, what with Big Labor starting to abandon the Democratic Party, the former chairman of the DNC realizes he can't afford to lose any more votes.

Knoll said she offered a business card to a Goodrich family member "as a sign of my willingness to help the family through this difficult time in any way I can. To do anything that was deemed insensitive was completely counter to my intent."

Her anti-war comments and media interviews afterwards were also no doubt done only for the benefit of the Goodrich family.

Knoll said that Sgt. Goodrich's military service "was beyond the call of duty. If my regard for his family's grief was seen another way, it is thoroughly regrettable. The fact that you have been offended deserves and receives my most profound apology."

So, the gassy Knoll apologizes for how others may have seen her actions, rather than for the actions themselves. So I gather she wouldn't have felt that she did anything wrong if the family hadn't taken offense.

The letter was released by Knoll's office in Harrisburg. She was said to be away from the Capitol and not available for comment.

Apologies issued by letter from your office while you are unavailable just ooze sincerity.

Meanwhile, in Pittsburgh, Rendell insisted Knoll was not campaigning when she gave out a business card at the funeral. Knoll wanted to give the soldier's family a way to contact her if they needed help, he said.

I'm from the government and I'm here to help. Yes, I've heard that somewhere before. I do really like the, "Meanwhile, in Pittsburgh," segue though.

Rendell, a Democrat who is expected to run for re-election next year as is Knoll, said, "Nobody can tell me Catherine Baker Knoll is not a caring and decent person. I know she apologizes for any misunderstanding that her actions caused."

Well, slap my ass and call me Nobody. Even Easy Ed acknowledges that all the gassy Knoll is sorry for is how people took her words and actions.

Rhonda Goodrich, sister-in-law of the slain Marine and the one who raised the issue of Knoll's conduct in a letter to the Post-Gazette, said yesterday she was still puzzled by Knoll's handing out her business card to a Goodrich family member and then doing television interviews outside the funeral home.

Because nothing says "Message: I care" like doing television interviews.

"If she wanted to offer the family help, why didn't she go talk to Joey's wife Amy or his parents?" Rhonda Goodrich said. "She handed a card and introduced herself just like a politician handing out fliers."

Perhaps because of the bad publicity that might result if they actually called for help and the gassy Knoll was out of her office and unavailable for comment.

Rhonda Goodrich said Knoll's action showed "a big lack of judgment" and said she should apologize to the Marines also.

Somehow, I think the Marines couldn't care less for a form letter apology from the gassy Knoll's office.

According to Rhonda Goodrich, Knoll told the family that "our government" is against the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The state of Pennsylvania has a foreign policy? Hey, why not? Berkely does.

Not so, Knoll insisted. "I will continue to support our troops in my role as lieutenant governor and support our president as an American," she wrote.

Ah yes, the old I support the troops but not their mission or commander canard. Lovely.

"That I somehow conveyed an impression that was interpreted as other than that will forever be saddening and upsetting to me."

I bloody well hope so, but we're still caught up in this whole interpretation thing, aren't we? Alas, it still seems as though the gassy Knoll thinks she did nothing wrong.

Rendell emphasized that his administration has no official position on the fighting, beyond showing support for U.S. troops.

You go Easy Ed! Although, I would think an official position of U.S. victory might be a good one, if you are going to have a foreign policy and all that.

"We join with every Pennsylvanian in supporting our young men and women who are fighting this global war on terrorism," he said.

So Easy Ed supports the troops fighting, but he is a little more obtuse when it comes to winning. Or am I being a little too harsh?

Rhonda Goodrich said she had no political motive in raising concerns about Democrat Knoll's appearance and statements at the funeral. Goodrich said she's a registered Republican but added, "If [Republican U.S. Sen.] Rick Santorum or President Bush had showed up, I would be all over them, too."

So Bush gets hit for not attending the funerals by Democrats and he would get hit for attending them by Republicans. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Goodrich, who lives in Indiana, Pa., was part of a protest in October about an appearance by liberal, anti-Bush filmmaker Michael Moore at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She said the program should have included a conservative spokesman to offset Moore, who had just released a film harshly critical of Bush. "I wanted balance in the IUP program," Goodrich said, but strongly denied she had raised complaints about Knoll for political reasons.

That last line is repeated, just in case you didn't get it in the lead of the previous paragraph. I guess those rascally Republicans will even exploit their relatives funerals to score political points. The gall. Oh, and I understand that Mitt Romney's being a Mormon isn't an issue either.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:12 PM | Comments (1)

The But Plug

I've grown weary of people who express some element of common sense or decency and then follow it immediately with a mitigating "but," whether the intent and words are explicit or implicit, courtesy of like-minded media. Future posts of this nature will only feature the quote itself to save time. You may infer my distaste and disgust without further commentary.

Cherie Blair, barrister wife of the British prime minister, lectured on the need to respect human rights in counter-terrorism on Tuesday, four days after UK police shot dead a man mistaken for a bomber. Blair, an expert in human rights law, said in a law lecture in Malaysia that she did not want to make light of this month's horrific bomb blasts in London, and the difficult and dangerous task carried out by British police and intelligence services. But she added: "At the same time, it is all too easy for us to respond to such terror in a way which undermines commitment to our most deeply held values and convictions and which cheapens our right to call ourselves a civilised nation.

Maybe I should start a whole new blog for this one.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:24 PM | Comments (1)

July 22, 2005

Oh Dear

After a potential bomber was shot today by London Police:

The Muslim Council of Britain said Muslims were concerned about a possible "shoot to kill" policy.

Of course, I prefer that to a shoot to wound policy if there is a good faith concern on the part of the police that the perp is a potential terrorist ready to turn the potential energy stored in his rucksack to kinetic energy in a heartbeat. Or should that be to stop heartbeats? Alas, the rules of engagement for the police when confronting potential terrorists and the inevitable complaints from the usual suspects who live in perpetual fear of potential abuse are going to continue so long as most Muslims feel less comfortable dealing with infidels than turning a blind eye to murderous thugs who get a nod and a wink because they are part of the Ummah.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:44 PM | Comments (2)

July 07, 2005

There Be Lions Here

In response to the terrorist acts today in London I return briefly from my hiatus and offer my condolences to the long suffering people of Great Britain who have lived through much worse. I would also like to offer two brief comments from Winston Churchill whose words in response to a different terror still seem entirely apropos now.

Excerpt one:

I say to the House as I said to ministers who have joined this government, I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many months of struggle and suffering.

You ask, what is our policy? I say it is to wage war by land, sea, and air. War with all our might and with all the strength God has given us, and to wage war against a monstrous tyranny never surpassed in the dark and lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy.

You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word. It is victory. Victory at all costs - Victory in spite of all terrors - Victory, however long and hard the road may be, for without victory there is no survival.

Excerpt Two:

We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God's good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:29 PM | Comments (0)

June 24, 2005

Separated at Birth? (Certainly Not at Conception!)

Some have claimed Kelo is the worst decision since Dred Scott. Well, I'm not a lawyer, so I have to depend on what my eyes see:

taney.jpg kennedy.jpg

taney.jpg souter.jpg

taney.jpg breyer.jpg

taney.jpg stevens.jpg

taney.jpg ginsburg.jpg

Do you see any resemblance to the spirit of Justice Taney?

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

Property Right End! Women, Minorities Hit Hardest?

The New York Times editorializes today in favor of the Kelo decision with The Limits of Property Rights. Henceforth, I suppose we shall not see any further discussion on the limits of property takings.

But I must comment upon one strawman the editorial page editors used in this editorial:

It also is a setback to the "property rights" movement, which is trying to block government from imposing reasonable zoning and environmental regulations.

Um, because this case was all about reasonable zoning and environmental regulations? Or have we come to expect gratuitious demonization of political opponents at every opportunity as a matter of course? And aren't the quotation marks around the words "property rights" just precious?

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:04 AM | Comments (1)

June 23, 2005

"By Your Leave"

And will this old phrase soon be a new requirement on every mortgage?

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:48 PM | Comments (0)

A Man's Home Is His Castle, Unless a Well Connected Developer Can Convince Four or Five Elected Souls With Pure Hearts that He Can Generate More Public Wealth From It Than You Can

English Common Law, the basis of our legal system, held that a man's home is his castle. Of course, in the intervening years of jurisprudence we have come to learn that one's moat is subject to taking as a wetlands area; the internal protection of one's keep may be severely hampered by the restriction of reliable means of self-defense; hanging out one's shingle or standing upon one's own variant of a Speaker's Corner soapbox may result in a fine from the FEC; and now, if the Duke of Sussex wants to add on to his estate by incorporating yours, all he has to do is make an argument to the local council that he can generate more jobs for the peasants and more tax revenue for the crown with your property than you can.

And thus the pursuit of happiness is supplanted by a theory of economic utilitarianism. But even I am shocked by the number of people in the blogosphere asking, "So what was that about watering the tree of liberty Mr. Jefferson?"

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:14 PM | Comments (0)

A Clever Wag...

Might write a post on the Kelo decision and title it: It Takes a Village Taking.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:53 PM | Comments (0)

Yet Another Reason to Not Give a Damn What the Rest of the World Thinks

Note to world: GROW UP:

The United States' image is so tattered overseas two years after the Iraq invasion that China, which is ruled by a communist dictatorship, is viewed more favorably than the U.S. in many countries, an international poll found.

And, of course, there are some here who long for nothing more than the approval of the kool kids:

Madeleine Albright, the secretary of state when Bill Clinton was president, said big majorities of the public in these countries are discontented with Bush "and say Bush's re-election has made them view the United States less favorably."

But hey, let's substitute their sense of propriety for the U.S. Constitution shall we?

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:45 PM | Comments (1)

Monday, 8:24 PM, CDT

I will be holding a wake for the U.S. Constitution Monday evening at 8:24 PM, CDT.

It took some time for us all to realize it, but it is clear that we no longer have an originalist, nor even a living constitution, as I have come to understand those terms. The U.S. Constitution is now dead and has been replaced by the pronouncements of an oligarchy bound by neither precedent nor specific pronouncements limiting the power of government over its citizens. The only driving philosophical principle evident today seems to be what the oligarchs believe to be just as seen from the viewpoint of a postmodern, transnationalist perspective. Clear, unambiguous language within the U.S. Constitution regarding free speech, the right to bear arms, and limiting the confiscation of private property by the government has come to mean nothing as each of these principles has now been cast aside by the Supreme Court.

Sadly, there appears to be no hope of resurrecting the U.S. Constitution since any new amendment would carry no more force than any of the existing amendments in the Bill of Rights. If language as straightforward as, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances", "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed", and "No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation", can be taken to mean that free speech (political speech no less!) may be abridged to protect incumbents, citizens may not possess firearms by local government edict, and private property can be taken by force for the private use of others, well, then words will mean what the oligarchs wish for them to mean on any given day. I'd go into the death of federalism, but what's the point. I, for one, do not welcome our new overlords.

It seems to me sadly ironic that freedom and democracy -- as defined by fealty to the U.S. Constitution -- is dying here just as it has been proclaimed to be universally succeeding throughout the world. How are our friends trying to write the new Iraqi Constitution supposed to interpret these actions by the US Supreme Court?

Please leave your condolences in the comments. Family members of the last, best hope of earth have asked that donations be made to the Constitution Society here.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:49 PM | Comments (0)

June 16, 2005

UNcredible

Good thing Mohamed Elbaradei got his third time to continue his fine work to prevent nuclear proliferation:

Board members of the U.N. atomic watchdog agency approved a deal Thursday that exempts Saudi Arabia from nuclear inspections, despite serious misgivings about the arrangement in an era of heightened proliferation fears.

Although the Saudis resisted Western pressure to compromise and allow some form of monitoring, the board of the International Atomic Energy Agency had no choice but to allow it to sign on to the agreement.

You see, they had no choice.

The Saudis insist they have no plans to develop nuclear arms - and no facilities or nuclear stocks that warrant inspection.

Where have we heard this before? Oh never mind, the Saudis are much more trustworthy than the Iranians, Libyans, and North Koreans. And besides, now that AQ Khan has been stopped, there is no further likelihood that some rogue element motivated by religion or Arab nationalism within the Saudi government would bypass official channels and spread nuclear material or knowledge to those whom Reuters likes to call freedom fighters.

Keep up the good work. Please let me know when you need another piece of my sovereignty.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:09 AM | Comments (0)

The Durbinator: He's Back

It's one thing to say something stupid. It's entirely another to ask for a jackhammer because the damn shovel handle broke when you encountered some resistance:

Illinois Senator Dick Durbin says he won't apologize for comments comparing American interrogators at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to Nazis and Soviet gulags.

I have asked this question before, but I will ask it again: What in the hell is wrong with the Democratic Party?

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:04 AM | Comments (0)

But We Can Trust Them Now

Shocking, in a satirical not really shocking way:

United Nations nuclear monitors say Iran has admitted to misleading them over its experiments with plutonium. The UN's nuclear watchdog is expected to confirm later that Iran continued experimenting with plutonium - a key component of atomic bombs - until 1998.

Iran had previously told the body it had ended its experiments in 1993.

Not to worry, suspicions have been raised. No doubt the the ghost of Hans Brix will be issuing more stern warnings of disappointment soon:

Correspondents say these latest inconsistencies in Iran's account will fuel suspicions about the real aims of its nuclear programme.

To paraphrase a Turtle Bay version of Bugs Bunny, "Of course, this means memos..."

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:58 AM | Comments (0)

June 14, 2005

You're Either With Us Or Against Us

Fair enough.

The American Civil Liberties Union does a lot of good. It has also, via its litigious campaign against the Boy Scouts of America, done a lot of harm.

The ACLU sued the BSA 14 times in 24 years. Those lawsuits denied boys across North America places to meet, camp out and develop life skills.

The ACLU's most recent threat of litigation on church-state grounds against public schools and other government agencies that charter Boy Scout groups forced the national BSA office to disassociate itself with those schools and government agencies. Many of them provided the places for troops, packs, units and their leaders to meet.

The effect is staggering.

BSA dropped 147 troops, packs and units in the 22-county North Alabama council alone. Membership declined 30 percent in the past year, including a 60 percent drop in Morgan, Limestone and Lawrence counties combined.

Membership reductions occur throughout the country.

ACLU -- I'm against you.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:20 PM | Comments (2)

Yes, and No

Thankfully, the adults are still in charge:

Suggesting that the Guantanamo Bay prison for suspected terrorists will operate for years, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Tuesday that such a detention center will be needed until the war on terror is over.

Comparisons of Guantanamo to the gulags or complaints about the abuse suffered by the men kept incarcerated there are ridiculous and display a complete ignorance of the history of warfare and POWs, not to mention an attitude that assumes we are not really at war. There is, though, one thing that does bother me:

He [Rumsfeld] said U.S. taxpayers have already spent $100 million to build the facility in Cuba, which he said is costing $90 million to $95 million a year to operate.

Now, I don't know if these numbers are right, but if they are, that means we are spending $200,000 each year to keep each one of these prisoners locked up. That bothers me. Maybe Sheriff Joe Arpaio could help with a few ways to cut expenses.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:15 PM | Comments (1)

So, The War Would Have Been OK If Your Son Hadn't Died?

I can understand grief and anger over having lost a son, but this throwaway line strikes me the wrong way:

Since her son's death, Sheehan has made opposition to the Bush administration a full-time job.

I am sorry for her loss and I mourn her lost son, Army Specialist Casey Austin Sheehan, with her by honoring his sacrifice. Alas, I fear Ms. Sheehan's exploitation of her son's death for political purposes serves only to dishonor his memory. Read the article if you want more details.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:07 PM | Comments (1)

The Big Sleazy

Imagine that the New Orleans Police Department hired David Duke to provide sensitivity training to its force. Well, of course they wouldn't do that, because they would never hire a racist to provide sensitivity training. Right?

The security chief for Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan has been hired to provide sensitivity training for the NOPD.

Naturally, not everyone thinks this is a good idea:

At the press conference announcing the training, a rabbi and priest expressed concern about Muhammad’s selection. Such concern is more than justified considering the history of Muhammad’s boss, Louis Farrakhan. Here are just a few of the Nation of Islam’s beliefs, as well as some of Farrakhan’s disturbing statements:

Whites are “blue eyed devils.” Jews are “bloodsuckers.” “Hitler was a very great man.” Jews controlled the slave trade and currently control the government. Nation of Islam founder Elijah Muhammad believed that whites were created by an evil Black scientist and that there will be “The Great Decisive Battle in the Sky” when a space ship will kill all white people by bombing the earth. Muhammad believed that white people should relocate to Europe and that racial integration was wrong.

In addition, Farrakhan has met with dictators in Sudan, Libya and Iraq, before the war, and praised their governments while denouncing the United States. Leaders in the Nation of Islam have also made very inflammatory anti-Catholic statements. In a November 1993 speech at Kean College in New Jersey, Farrakhan’s chief spokesman Khallid Muhammad said, “T]he old no-good Pope-you know that cracker, somebody need to raise that dress up and see what´s really under there. Jesus was right; you´re nothing but liars. The book of Revelations is right; you´re from the Synagogue of Satan.”

And when I say everyone, I mean everyone:

Farrakhan’s views have even been condemned by African American leaders such as Rev. Jesse Jackson and former Congressman Cynthia McKinney (D-Georgia). Even pop star Michael Jackson fired the members of the Nation of Islam who were part of his security detail.

Which would look worse on a resume, being hired by Michael Jackson or being fired by him?

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:56 PM | Comments (0)

And They Lived Wealthily Ever After

Eh:

The Clintons' long financial hangover from Whitewater and impeachment has finally ended, thanks to millions of dollars in post-White House payments for speaking appearances and book contracts.

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:46 PM | Comments (0)

June 10, 2005

The Downing Street Memo

What a load of rubbish. Further commentary is unwarranted for an impression of a feeling of a sense of what was transpiring, especially one so pregnant with misunderstanding of non-American English. Having led a deployment to England for a year, one of my biggest problems was explaining to management that we didn't exactly speak the same language.

Bugger all.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:14 PM | Comments (1)

Blah Blah Blah

I found this link to a post by Jay Rosen at Instapundit. It's a good post and I recommend you read it. For posterity, here's the comment I left after reading Oliver Willis' comments:

Your decision to interpret the problem as one of religion is interesting, especially considering that most of Big Media's problem isn't skepticism, which is understandable in any system of belief, but cynicism. Skepticism is expected within the church and much effort is expended to deal with it, but cynicism is hopelessly nihilistic. When it comes to belief, it's one thing to state, "I don't understand." It's entirely another to state, "What a load of crap you liars are peddling."

If I may, I'd like to trump Mr. Franken's (and many others) statement that they are a citizen of the world by noting that I am a citizen of the universe! I mean, why be limited by mere planetism or galaxyism? But seriously, the problem I have with such a statement is that it assumes one can divorce oneself entirely from one's historical and cultural context. I'll leave aside for the moment whether that is practical, but not the question of what form such a detached state of "enlightenment" might be. What exactly is a citizen of the world? And what is the basis of its morality?

There seems to be a serious epistemological question underlying Mr. Franken's desire to question the veracity of all sides equally. How does he know what he thinks he knows? I am profoundly skeptical of official sources, but I have come to learn that even official American sources can be trusted to a point on almost everything. What level of trust can we assign to anything the terrorists say? Does Mr. Franken truly believe they operate on the same plane?

I must admit that I find the hubris associated with being a self-proclaimed citizen of the world somewhat incongruent with the humility displayed in every news report that mentions the reporter's name at least three times. Such detachment!

On another point, I almost pity Oliver these days, thinking that yelling the loudest somehow equates to being right. Jeez, I guess might really does make right, huh? But, perhaps that is a good stance for a cynic who has abandoned all pretense to objectivity to take.

My apologies for rambling a bit.

I do most of my work in comments these days. Is it a good idea to post them here like this? Or am I unfairly abusing the goodwill of my betters?

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:50 PM | Comments (2)

June 08, 2005

Right Unilateral Bastards, Those Scandanavians

Bloody warmongering Norwegians:

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld signed a deal on Wednesday to keep siting U.S. weapons and equipment in Norway, formerly NATO's only European member bordering the Soviet Union.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:11 PM | Comments (0)

Boo!

Sid speaks:

The Bush presidency is the highest stage of Nixonism.

That's funny, I could have sworn the Nixon presdency has the highest stage of Nixonism. But it never hurts to drop Nixon's corpse at Sid's dos so everyone can kick it again.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:02 PM | Comments (0)

I Predict!

When Howard Dean steps down as the DNC chair (probably sometime later today), within 24 hours his demise will be attributed to the vast right wing conspiracy in one form or another.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:07 AM | Comments (1)

June 07, 2005

George Fools 'em Again

Like I said, do we really need a UN ambassador?

Senate Democrats back from a weeklong recess said on Tuesday they were holding firm against allowing a vote to confirm John Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations until the Bush administration turns over more information on him.

But don't call them obstructionists!

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:23 PM | Comments (0)

Uhhuhhuhhuhhuhh

lurch.jpg

Good thing he grew out of that whole looking like Lurch thing.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:14 PM | Comments (0)

Hillary!

The permanent campaign continues:

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton criticized the Bush administration's record on unemployment, women's rights and the environment, saying it is "intent upon consolidating and abusing power."

I guess we can look forward to "Hillary says..." every day from now until November 4, 2008.

"We are living in a time when the other side doesn't want us to see the facts. Facts are inconvenient _ facts about global warming, facts about mercury in the air, facts about people staying unemployed longer," said Clinton, considered a Democratic contender for the presidency in 2008.

Hey, she left out arsenic in the water! And more millinaires than ever! And home ownership at record levels! And, oh forget it.

The former first lady spoke Monday at a New York Women for Hillary breakfast, which raised $250,000 for her 2006 Senate re-election campaign. She leads potential GOP Senate opponents 2-to-1 in recent polls.

That's a lot of money to raise for a two-year term. Hey, what happens if Hillary wins the presidential election in 2008 and the Democrats pick up a couple of Senate seats, but then the Republicans retake the Senate when New York Governor Pataki appoints her replacement to fill out her remaining four year term in the Senate?

"There has never been an administration, I don't believe, in our history more intent upon consolidating and abusing power to further their own agenda," she said of President Bush.

Yes, consolidating and abusing power is what George Bush lives for. This is the kind of unchallenged tripe that is most depressing for me these days. Good thing Newt's no longer part of the problem:

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says he and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton teamed up at a May 11 press conference with one goal in mind - to get Congress to pass, and the president to sign, a health information technology bill.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:11 PM | Comments (0)

Howard! Duck!

According to Matt Drudge, Howard Dean continues his fabulously successful outreach to the faith-based community:

'They [the GOP] all behave the same. They all look the same. It's pretty much a white Christian party'...

I'll give Howard Dean another sixteen hours or so to enjoy his stay as DNC chair. I swear, it's as though he's trying to get kicked out.

DOWNDATE: Did I say sixteen hours?

Howard Dean is not the Democratic Party's spokesman, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, the latest party leader to distance himself from the outspoken chairman, said Tuesday. "I believe Governor Dean is a good chairman. He's doing a good job," Richardson, the head of the Democratic Governors' Association, told reporters at the start of a two-day visit to New Hampshire. "He's not the spokesman for the party. It's governors, it's senators, it's party leaders."

Under no circumstances should the chairman of the DNC be considered a spokesman for the party. (Incidentally, did Governor Richardson make a mistake by saying spokesman instead of spokesperson?)

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:00 PM | Comments (0)

HGM* Strikes Again

My favorite ex-president (emphasis on ex) weighs in:

Former President Carter on Tuesday called for the United States to shut down the Guantanamo Bay prison to demonstrate its commitment to human rights.

Hey, I have a better idea, let's leave the Guantanamo Bay prison open to demonstrate our commitment to human rights by continuing to keep the murderous bastards detained there locked up. On the other hand, perhaps we could close it down if there was no longer a reason to keep any terrorists detained there locked up. Hmm..., perhaps Jimmy ought to be more careful about what he asks for. But HGM isn't done yet:

Despite his criticism of Guantanamo Bay, Carter said Amnesty International should not have called the prison "the gulag of our time" in a report last month. President Bush has termed the report by the human-rights group "absurd." Carter said the alleged abuses at Guantanamo Bay could never compare with the forced labor camps operated by the former Soviet Union.

And of course, we all remember how much more forcefully Jimmy Carter denounced the Soviet Union while it still existed for their human rights violations, especially when compared to how often he denounces the US today for its human rights violations. Right?

* History's Greatest Monster

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:55 PM | Comments (0)

May 26, 2005

Do We Even Need a UN Ambassador?

John Danforth resigned as the United States' Ambassador to the United Nations on December 2, 2004. Almost six months later, Senator Barbara Boxer is asking that the vote to confirm John Bolton be put off for another month -- again.

If we can go six months without a United Nations Ambassador while North Korea threatens a nuclear weapon test; while Iran keeps moving closer to having nuclear weapon; while the genocide in the Sudan continues; while Zimbabwe is destroyed by Robert Mugabe; while Hugo Chavez exports revolution to his neighbors; while Canada abandons representative democracy; while massacres of demonstrators takes place in Uzbekistan; while the UN mishandles the massive tsunami aid contributions; while UN peacekeepers have to be reminded not to have sex with children; and, of course, while the coverup of high level corruption in the UN's Oil for Food Program scandal continues -- well, do we even need a UN Ambassador?

Come to think of it, do we even need a UN?

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:32 PM | Comments (0)

May 23, 2005

Cheap Trick

Surrender, surrender, but don't give yourself away... is all I can think of as I listen to the details of the "deal" that was reached tonight. And thank God we have have fine Democratic Senators like Robert Byrd to remind us that they and a handful of reasonable Republicans have saved the Republic tonight. After all, we all know that the secret Republican strategy has always been to destroy the Republic by eliminating the abuse of the threat of a filibuster by Democrats. What a piece of work this man is.

Harry Reid wins.

Unfrickin' believable.

Maybe this is John McCain's revenge, served rather cold.

I'll wait and reserve final judgment to see if Senator Frist or President Bush renounces this "deal" before issuing my most solemn codemnations of all involved.

The filibuster was originally intended to make sure that no senator had his speech cut off. It has evolved into a method to stop things from happening. Lately the mere threat of it has paralyzed the majority party and allowed the minority party to dictate terms. I don't recall too many instances where an entire party lined up behind the threat of a filibuster the way the Democrat's have today. Since Senator Byrd invoked Franklin's famous aphorism questioning whether we could hold on to the Republic, perhaps he also remembers that the Founding Fathers also considered requiring a super-majority to reject any of the president's nominations, instead of requiring a super-majority to achieve cloture just to get a vote.

Ha, and now there's a commercial on Fox News (obviously scheduled for this spot long before) by Harry Reid on the importance of him getting his way. Ha ha ha. What a bunch of liars and cads.

As I told another friend earlier today, I am losing my faith in the long term health and welfare of our Republic. If the Democrats can still run Congress after solidly losing control of it, then we already have a one party state.

And if you were wondering,"Whatever happened to all this season's losers of the year?" Well, we've located them and they are called Republican'ts.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:00 PM | Comments (3)

May 18, 2005

I'm Curious

As I listen to the unrelenting self-loathing from the fourth estate, read the truly mean-spirited commentary of the Angry Left, and suffer through what can be considered seditious, if not treasonous, conduct from people who believe their ends justify any means, I frequently wonder what it will take for our popular culture to reach a tipping point and realize that we really are engaged in a war that we can lose?

In the immortal words of Mars Blackmon, "do you know, do you know, do you know?"

DOWNDATE: What, you think I'm kidding?

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:11 PM | Comments (1)

May 16, 2005

Crazy, Like V. Fox

El Presidente makes with the stupid remark:

"There's no doubt that Mexican men and women full of dignity, willpower and a capacity for work are doing the work that not even blacks want to do in the United States."

Not even? Is this more insulting to black Americans or to Mexicans?

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:54 PM | Comments (0)

May 09, 2005

Labour's Love Lost

Blair faces growing chorus to quit

Compare and contrast the way Tony Blair's own party is treating him after an historic third consecutive win and how the Democrat Party treated Bill Clinton during his second term travails. Bill Clinton could lie, cheat, pardon criminals, abuse interns, obstruct justice, and make his own cabinet members look like fools with virtual impunity from within his own party -- even when he couldn't run again! Tony Blair is being brutally savaged by his friends over what I will graciously call principled disagreements.

Who exactly comes off looking worse here?

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

Isn't It Considered a Faux Pas When a Political "Economist" Accidentally Tells the Truth?

Jack Kemp says:

The left's latest misinformation campaign claims that if President Bush would just call off the tax cuts, there would be more than enough revenue to make Social Security solvent in perpetuity. As perpetually wrong economist Paul Krugman put it in Monday's New York Times, "Repealing Mr. Bush's tax cuts would yield enough revenue to call off his proposed (Social Security) benefit cuts, and still leave $8 trillion in change."

While Mr. Kemp is standing on firm ground criticizing Paul Krugman as perpetually wrong, he's missed the most important aspect of Mr. Krugman's comment here. Unless I am badly mistaken, if Mr. Krugman is to be believed here then it is an admission that there really is no such thing as the Social Security Trust Fund (and hence no need for any lock boxes), since he plans to pay for Social Security out of general fund revenues. Now, this is no big surprise to anyone paying attention, but it is nice to see someone on the knee-jerk left finally admit that Social Security is not a retirement plan at all, but merely a redistribution of income from the young to the old that can only be sustained with truly massive tax increases.

That is all.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:28 PM | Comments (0)

Was It Shaped Like a Pretzel?

Reid Offers Olive Branch on Bush Nominee

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:20 PM | Comments (0)

Remember Ellen, It Can Always Be Worse

Wait until the editorial page staff of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch find out about New Hampshire:

As states struggle to cut Medicaid costs, New Hampshire has proposed going further by making the poorest of the poor — even families with no income at all — contribute to their coverage.

Considering the advanced apoplexy caused by a mere reduction in the Medicare rolls here in Missouri, why this is akin to a Swiftian proposal to actually eat the poor!

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:34 PM | Comments (1)

Ah, the Permanent Campaign

Kerry adopting the rhetoric of a D.C. outsider:

Extended snark below the fold...


The Bruce Springsteen anthem, his theme song, was back -- ''No retreat, baby, no surrender" -- and people were on their feet before his speech began. Wading through the crowd as the music boomed, Senator John F. Kerry looked like a presidential candidate again: smiling, grasping for outstretched arms, and offering thumbs-up as he made his way to the stage.

Uh, don't fix what ain't broke?

But the attendance was a fraction of the mobs that the Massachusetts Democrat drew in his final campaign rallies last fall. Gone was his stump speech railing against President Bush's Iraq war policy, the sluggish economy, and the Republican agenda; even mentions of Kerry's Senate career and Vietnam War service had disappeared.

Lasting issues that resonated with ..., well ..., with Bob Shrum, I guess.

Instead, Kerry -- a veteran politician who has held office for 21 years -- took off his suit jacket and roamed a small stage in Louisiana's Old State Capitol to push a new message: Get angry at Washington.

Hey, he's like any other outsider who's been feeding at the Senatorial public trough in Washington for 21 years.

''Washington seems more and more out of touch with the difficulties the average family is facing," Kerry told the crowd of about 150 last week in Baton Rouge. ''Go out of here, take some anger and a little bit of outrage at the fact that Washington is not dealing with the real concerns of our country."

Senator Kerry then channelled the shade of Peter Finch and wowed the semi-massive "masses" with his common man vocabulary by saying, "I'm as mad as the domicile of Mephistopheles, and I'm not going to take this any more!"

Six months after his presidential bid ended in defeat, Kerry is on another cross-country campaign. This time, he is running against the political establishment.

He just woke up Tuesday morning and realized everything he thought was wrong. Imagine if he had been president now instead.

It is a striking transformation for someone who has been identified with that establishment for so long, but a change he and his aides insist is sincere.

Why would anyone suspect otherwise? Especially when we know that the stronger they insist upon it, the more true it must be.

And while Kerry has repeatedly pledged to remain relevant following his presidential campaign, the intensity of his efforts has been surprising, particularly because recent failed presidential nominees have entered reclusive periods after their campaigns ended.

Wasn't President Clinton the first to have to say, "I am too relevant"?

In essence, Kerry is trying to reignite a fire that never quite raged for his presidential bid on behalf of a domestic agenda he is pushing in Congress. He is shooting regular e-mail updates to his network of 3 million supporters. His new political action committee bought a large ad in tomorrow's USA Today that accuses Bush and GOP leaders of ignoring soaring gas prices, children without health insurance, and the lack of quality jobs with good wages.

Why, just imagine how many children without health insurance could have been provided for instead with this money? Or the money spent on Red Sox tickets, parking tickets, six SUVs, five houses, etc.

''They think it's all about them," the ad states above pictures of Bush, House majority leader Tom DeLay and Senate majority leader Bill Frist.

"When, natch, it is all about ME! When are you morons, uh, I mean, common people going to understand that?"

It may seem odd for a man who has been in the Senate for more than two decades -- and who has never been known for his common touch -- to rail against aloof politicians.

Odd? In what way?

Kerry insists that he simply wants to drum up support for his ''Kids First" bill, which would provide healthcare coverage to all children -- although Kerry acknowledges it is a long shot in the Republican-controlled Congress.

Maybe if he called it "Kids Frist" it would stand a better chance of passage. Or maybe it was a typo?

Just below the surface, though, Kerry is trying to rehabilitate his public image as an entrenched insider, in case another national campaign is in his future.

Just below the surface, where nuance festers and bides its time...

Donna Brazile, a Democratic consultant who was Vice President Al Gore's campaign manager when he ran for president in 2000, said it is a good move for Kerry to try to parlay his new profile as a former candidate for the White House into a signature issue.

When your losing, the house always suggests that you double your bets to try and make up for your losses.

He could bring more attention to an important policy issue, Brazile said, and expand the range of issues that voters identify with him.

Blah blah blah, tax cuts for the rich blah blah blah.

''He has enormous political capital with various groups and constituencies, and he's one of the most important leaders in our party," she said.

I guess we don't share a common definition for the word enormous.

''As John Kerry continues to reflect on 2004 -- and explore options for 2008 -- it's important that he understands that people didn't really know John Kerry in the last campaign."

And there's so much he'd have us know! Just as soon as he gets around to signing his SF 180 form.

But an image makeover figures to be difficult for a man who spent as much time in the public eye -- and in public office -- as Kerry has.

Not to mention someone who lacks a personality to begin with.

''He's the last politician that people are going to buy as an outsider. That dog won't hunt," said Jeffrey Berry, a political science professor at Tufts University.

Regional colloquialism frequently heard from the faculty at Tufts University, for those of you who are unfamiliar with such common man language.

''John Kerry ran for president, and he has a long record in politics. He just doesn't come across as an outsider."

Whoa, the endorsement of the Boston Globe might just be out of reach in 2008. Nah. Say, has Theresa stopped campaigning with John?

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:20 PM | Comments (0)

Well, I'm From Philadelphia...

The only interesting thing about this story is that the offender's party affiliation is mentioned, albeit in the third paragraph:

Philadelphia's former treasurer was convicted Monday of more than 20 counts for taking free trips, Super Bowl tickets and other lavish gifts from people seeking city contracts.

Jurors reached the verdicts on their 19th day of deliberations in the case, which stemmed from a wide-ranging federal probe of municipal corruption.

Corey Kemp, the former treasurer, was charged with corrupting his office by accepting thousands of dollars worth of gifts from a lawyer and prolific Democratic fundraiser named Ronald A. White.

At least we can trust that the elections there are safe and clean.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:40 PM | Comments (0)

Oh, and About Your Opposition to the Death Penalty...

The only argument I can come up with to oppose it is that it isn't harsh enough for the bastard that did this:

The bodies of two young girls were found in a wooded area Monday morning, the day after two 8-year-old schoolmates were reported missing, authorities said.

The Monster ad at the top of the page seems apropos.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:35 PM | Comments (0)

Freedom is Slavery

Winners are losers!

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:32 PM | Comments (0)

Damn Kirstie Alley Wannabees

Uh, I mean Commander In Chief. With cleavage!

geena.jpg

"I'm not really the President, I just play one on TV." Hmm..., so it's kind of like the US Senate then?

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:23 PM | Comments (1)

April 11, 2005

Rush Is Wrong

Driving to the airport today I heard about ten minutes of Rush Limbaugh's show, during which he wailed about the Left rewriting the US Constitution. Alas, Rush is 180 degrees out of phase here.

The process for amending the US Constitution is well documented and has been exercised repeatedly to bring about significant changes that have had wide support in the populace at the time they were passed. If there isn't a significant, broad consensus across the country to pass an amendment to the US Constitution, it is impossible to get enough votes in Congress and across the requisite number of state legislatures to make it a new basis for the law of the land. I desperately welcome the Left trying to rewrite the US Constitution, since the ideas they are currently promulgating have about as much a chance of making it into the US Constitution as an armadillo in Texas has of outsmarting Dan Rather, or something like that.

Now, if we can just get the judiciary to stick to the what's actually in the US Constitution...

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:50 PM | Comments (0)

Never Say Never Again

Whether it is pedagogically institutionalizing blood libel:

The new PA history books, among other things, present the infamous anti-Semitic forgery produced by Russian police The Protocols of the Elders of Zion as an accurate portrayal of the decision of the First Zionist Congress.

Or trying to dimiinish the supreme wickedness of it:

German prosecutors have provoked outrage by ruling that the 1945 RAF bombing of Dresden can legally be termed a "holocaust".

The next holocaust seems not quite so far away as "never again" would dictate.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:28 PM | Comments (0)

Let's Check In On the Man Who Would Be King, and His Little Buddy

Just about every time John Kerry opens his yap these days, I wonder if some people don't lie awake at night aghast and ashamed of their efforts to have him elected president:

"Last year too many people were denied their right to vote, too many who tried to vote were intimidated," the Massachusetts senator said at an event sponsored by the state League of Women Voters.

Please, name one. One real person. And while you're at it, would you care to address all the fraud perpetrated by Democrats in the last election which greatly exceeded whatever "intimidation" there might have been. You know, if you have any real evidence then turn it over to a prosecutor somewhere and let them go to work on it, you know like someone did for these Democrats in East St. Louis who have since been convicted of vote fraud in the 2004 election.
Kerry also cited examples Sunday of how people were duped into not voting.

"Leaflets are handed out saying Democrats vote on Wednesday, Republicans vote on Tuesday. People are told in telephone calls that if you've ever had a parking ticket, you're not allowed to vote," he said.

And memo's were handed out to Republican leaders to exploit Teri Schiavo's situation as well, right? Again, if you've got any real evidence, turn it over to the proper authorities and let them go to work. Come on, you're a former prosecutor, you know how this is supposed to work. But seriously, if you weren't paying attention in your high school civics class and are taken in by something like this, maybe, just maybe you shouldn't be voting.

Kerry has never disputed the outcome of election, saying voting irregularities did not involve enough votes to change the result.

Hence the necessity to still be going on and on about it five months later. Meanwhile, John Edwards is gasping for the little air left in the room:

Hillary Clinton may be all but declared the 2008 nominee here in New York, but don’t tell John Edwards that. “I think talking about a front-runner four years before an election is ridiculous,” he tells us.

Unless, of course, someone was talking about him being the front-runner. Oh, and speaking of that "memo":

“We saw the memo that went out to Republican leaders about how they could take political advantage of Terri Schiavo. That’s disgusting. They will pay a price for this in the 2006 and 2008 elections.”

Little John just can't help himself. Either he's badly informed or he's a shameless demagogue, or both. Even ABC News now admits this memo never went out to Republican leaders. As to Democrats taking back the House and Senate by 2008, well, keep dreaming. But we've heard this often enough now that it must be on the memo that went out to Democrat leaders.

The Democratic acquiescence to the appointments of Condoleezza Rice and Alberto Gonzales? “I would have voted against them.”

Thirty-five Democrats voted against confirming Alberto Gonzalez for Attorney General and only twelve Democrats voted against confirming Condoleeza Rice for Secretary of State. If you are serious about running for President, you might want to get out a little more often and stop spending so much time in the echo chamber pandering to the Move On folks.

Would you oppose John Bolton as U.N. ambassador? “I would.”

Yes I would, if I only could, I surely would. Did he also mention that he'd rather nail the Hammer?

The easy passage of tort reform? “People have attacked my [trial lawyer] career ever since I’ve been involved in politics. But the attacks never stick. I think people fundamentally believe that those who have been wronged by powerful interests should be able to hold them accountable.”

I'd never really thought of OB/GYNs as powerful interests. Silly me. But has anyone noticed the congnitive dissonance of someone who got rich railing against powerful interests wanting to assume the most powerful position on earth?

The reports that you told John Kerry you wouldn't run against him? “The conversations that John Kerry and I have had are personal and private.”

Thank goodness.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:51 PM | Comments (1)

April 10, 2005

Keep Your Friends Close, Keep Your Enemies Even Closer

I wonder if President Bush started his request with, "It's foreign policy, smart guy":

President Bush solicited foreign policy advice from former President Bill Clinton at CIA briefings this week...

Nothing works on an egomaniac like flattery. And then, while biting his lip to maintain his fabled poker face:

... and even told Mr. Clinton that he liked his approach to reforming Social Security.

At this point, I'm sure President Bush had a difficult time not snickering out loud:

'It was really a lot of fun, Mr. Bush told reporters yesterday after spending three days with Mr. Clinton and former President George Bush in Rome.

See, I told you. I wonder if it was George's idea or Karl's idea to have Bill Clinton go to Rome where he predictably made an ass of himself likening his failures to the Pope's and questioning the Pope's legacy, and where he was then used to help sell Social Security personal savings accounts, which must be good since Bill had proposed them earlier. You want to know why Jimmy Carter wasn't on the trip? While he might well have managed to make a spectacle of himself and distract from the reason for going to Rome in the first place, there remains nothing from Mr. Carter's term in office that can be considered a good idea.

But y'all go on believing George is dumb. I don't mind and I don't think he does either.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:38 AM | Comments (0)

April 08, 2005

A Non-Cohen Scourge

Richard Cohen is such an easy, lame target that I 've decided to go after bigger, more agile game in this Scourge. But be careful, this New York Times editorial may cause injury as the reflexive Bush Bad knee-jerk action takes effect:

When a president picks his administration officials, the opposing political party can't expect to be thrilled with the selections.

So naturally, whomever is selected must be opposed, demonized, and destroyed.

Right now, Democrats in the Senate are trying to block the nominations of three men chosen by George W. Bush for important posts: John Bolton for United Nations ambassador, Stephen Johnson for head of the Environmental Protection Agency and Dr. Lester Crawford for commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.

Obviously, the first problem with these men is that they are, ...wait for it ..., men! But I love the phrasing "trying to block." There is of course, no hope in actually defeating these nominees in a floor vote, so instead the tyranny of the minority will be substituted.

They have excellent reasons for opposition in each case, but some reasons are more excellent than others.

Conversely, and by definition, some reasons are much worse than others as well. But we won't read about that in these august pages.

Mr. Bolton stands out because he is not only bad in a policy sense, but also unqualified for the post to which he's been named.

In other words, we can't defeat your arguments, so we'll just declare victory and then engage in battle over his nomination. Mind you, as UN Ambassador, it will not be John Bolton's job to make policy, but to implement it. Hence the true nature of the battle is only peripherally about John Bolton. Except for a little snippet of dialogue I caught on NPR yesterday by someone from the Earnest Young Person Action League for Utopian Justice and Puppies, or some such organization, who happened to mention that John Bolton was being nominated for this post as a payoff for his role in stopping the vote recount in Florida in 2000. Ah yes, the gift that keeps on giving...

At a minimum, the United States representative to the United Nations should be a person who believes it is a good idea.

Define "it." A world body to have dialogue and work on world-wide problems in an open, free and democratic manner would seem to be a good thing. But, of course, that's not what the United Nations really is, now is it?

Mr. Bolton has never made secret his disdain for the United Nations, for multilateralism and for consensus-seeking diplomacy in general.

You say that like it's a bad thing. Anyone who doesn't hold the UN as it exists today in contempt has a serious inability to distinguish between a corrupted reality and utopian fantasy. And can we please dispense with the idea that one cannot be multilateral without the participation of, say, France?

When the Senate Foreign Relations Committee begins taking testimony on Mr. Bolton's nomination next week, it is also expected to hear other charges about his fitness, like allegations that when he was under secretary of state for arms control, he tried to distort intelligence reports by intimidating analysts who disagreed with him.

Why, I wouldn't be surprised if someone came forward and accused him of stealing classified documents in his pants and shredding them at home! Or so he may claim!

After the invasion of Iraq, complaints that top advisers to the president had attempted to make intelligence reports conform to a preconceived conclusion about Saddam Hussein's weapons programs were often aimed in Mr. Bolton's direction.

But John Bolton's opponents are belatedly discovering that attempts to mau-mau the flak throwers is a rather different game altogether.

All of this is very much to the point.

Oh my, there is a point to this after all.

When the country chooses an ambassador to the United Nations, it ought to avoid picking someone whose bullying style of leadership symbolizes everything that created the current estrangement between the United States and most of the world.

I do not accept the assumption underlying this statement. Unlike the esteemed, learned editorialists of the New York Times, I don't believe that the estrangement the United States is having with most of the world is the fault of the United States. In fact, it is the codependency problem the New York Times has with anti-American entities and their enabling of self-destructive regimes that is, dare I say it, the root cause of this estrangement. Acting like a responsible adult and not yielding to peer pressure to get along in the face of a determined enemy is exactly what I want in a UN Ambassador. Instead of asking, "Why do they hate us?", the New York Times should be asking them, "Why do you think the US ignores you?".

One of the goals of Mr. Bush's second term was supposed to be rapprochement with other nations, whose assistance the United States desperately needs to curb the proliferation of the real weapons of mass destruction.

My, my, the last time I checked the rapproachement (such a lovely French word) with the, ahem, French, was going swimmingly. Why Jacques Chirac and George Bush even agreed on Syria leaving Lebanon. Sacre bleu! Given the fact that any real enforcement of efforts to curb the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction are going to be paid for and carried out by the United States, once again, shouldn't these other nations be trying to make up with us at least as much as we are trying to make up with them?

Democrats on the Foreign Relations Committee are fighting to actually kill Mr. Bolton's nomination; all eyes are on Lincoln Chafee, the moderate Republican swing vote who has a record of being very supportive of the United Nations.

Once again, we can easily discern what the Democrats are opposed to, yet we still have no real idea of what they are for. Kill! Kill! And how about that Lincoln Chaffee? He is such a looker with all eyes on him.

In the case of Dr. Crawford and Mr. Johnson, a few senators are threatening to block what would be easy confirmations by putting a hold on each nomination before it goes to the Senate floor.

Ah yes, the tyranny of the minority again.

The right to block a nomination, like the right to filibuster a bill on the Senate floor, is one of the few tools the minority party has for affecting public policy.

And the Democrats desire to fight every battle with this weapon could in part be an explanation for why they find themselves in an ever shrinking minority in the Senate.

But it needs to be used with discretion.

Oh dear, the little Senator who cried Wolfowitz once too often is now finding himself ignored.

Mr. Johnson, in particular, seems like a bad choice for such a fight.

Don't you understand, it has nothing to do with him and everything to do with the fact that President Bush nominated him. Gee, I thought you people were really smart.

His main drawback is that he is unlikely to put up the slightest resistance to Mr. Bush's policies, which have not been helpful in protecting the nation's clean air and water.

Bullshit. The nation's air and water continue to get cleaner all the time. And despite your fervent wish that President Bush would appoint people who will constantly argue with him and fight him on everything every step of the way, well, that just isn't going to happen.

Unfortunately, that will be the case whether this particular nomination goes through or not, and the president clearly has the capacity to find a less qualified yes-man for the job.

And we all just know President Bush is only interested in yes-men. Jeez, you'd think in the interest of diversity he'd at least have the good sense to pick some yes-women. And right here and know I'd like to take the New York Times to task for its blatant sexism. The appropriate term is yes-person.

Senators Barbara Boxer of California and Bill Nelson of Florida are threatening to stall Mr. Johnson's confirmation unless he promises to end a suspended Florida study in which families would be paid to allow researchers to study the effects of pesticides on their children - a macabre investigation co-sponsored by the American Chemistry Council.

God, how I love publicity seeking, populist driven, Congressional micromanagement, don't you? And somebody better tell Senator Nelson that stupidity as dense as Barbara Boxer's is like a black hole that sucks the brains out of everything entering its stupidtational field. He better get as far away from her as fast as he can or he may disappear into her non-event horizon and never be seen again, which isn't exactly what potential presidential candidates are wont to do.

The idea that the E.P.A. would pay families to continue exposing their children to potentially dangerous chemicals is on its face outrageous - and made worse by the study's ghoulish acronym, Cheers, for Children's Environmental Exposure Research Study. But the study has already been stopped, pending a review. It would have been a good sign of independence if Mr. Johnson had called a complete halt, but there seems little likelihood that the study will ever be revived.

I have to believe that this is something less than a fair characterization of the study, otherwise the New York Times would have seen fit to hammer President Bush and his proxy, Mr. Johnson, with it ad nauseum.

This seems like a weak reason to stop a Senate vote.

Reason? Democrats don't need no stinkin' reasons to stop a Senate vote! At least, not any good reasons. It would seem even the New York Times is starting to be embarrassed a bit by the Democrat's behavior.

In the case of the F.D.A., Senators Hillary Clinton of New York and Patty Murray of Washington are threatening to keep the nomination from the floor unless Dr. Crawford prompts his agency to make a long-delayed decision on whether the so-called morning-after pill may be sold over the counter.

Even if it's an answer they don't like?

Their cause is righteous.

Damn, theology overruling science again! But I can't shake an image of half the table at the New York Times' editorial meeting at this point shouting, "Righteous! Righteous!", like Crush in Finding Nemo.

If taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex, the pills can end unwanted pregnancies - so making them readily available could drastically cut down on the number of abortions.

Of course, the fact that some consider this to be no different in substance than abortion is of no consequence. After all, people who think that way are Christianists, many of whom followed what the New York Times consider to be a flawed, conservative man.

Two committees of expert advisers voted overwhelmingly in favor of selling the medication over the counter, but the F.D.A. has failed to do anything.

Hey, at least they got to vote on the proposals, which is more than the Senate can do for these nominations. The irony is palpable.

Another proposal, which would limit its sale to women over 16, has also been pending.

I have a daughter who will turn fifteen this week. The fact that Senators Hillary Clinton and Patty Murray want her to be able to get this drug without her parent's consent, or even knowledge, makes my blood boil.

Dr. Crawford has been the deputy or acting commissioner during a very troubled period for the drug agency. He presided over fiascos involving cox-2 painkillers, antidepressants and other drugs.

Bad time for his turn in the barrel, but I don't equate the timing of a lot of publicity over these drugs with responsibility for having the problems occur in the first place.

He is clearly afraid to let his agency make a decision on the morning-after pill that will get him in hot water with social conservatives or with those who believe that the F.D.A. should be run on the basis of science, not theology.

Even if their cause is, ahem, righteous?

That timidity doesn't suggest that he would impose needed reform in other areas.

And after all, extrapolating from one or two data points is what the New York Times does best when it has a preconceived conclusion it is arguing in favor of.

The Senate should vote on Dr. Crawford and defeat his nomination on the merits.

Give him his vote and then run him out of town. They've got to make President Bush come back cowed with hat in hand.

If the Democratic senators are going to choose a disastrous Bush nomination to block, our choice is Mr. Bolton's.

But John Bolton doesn't even get a vote. No, no, no, defeat isn't enough for him. He must not only be opposed, but also demonized and humiliated. This is the only way to get at the true target -- President George W. Bush.

Correction: This editorial misidentified the senator working with Hillary Clinton to hold up a nomination by President Bush. He is Senator Bill Nelson of Florida, not Senator Ben Nelson. Senator Ben Nelson is from Nebraska and is not involved in this issue.

And what is most fascinating about this correction is that it is all wrong. Senator Bill Nelson is working with Senator Barbara Boxer to oppose Stephen Johnson's nomination, not with Senator Hillary Clinton. Senator Clinton is working with Senator Patty Murray to oppose Dr. Lester Crawford's nomination. If the New York Times can't even get it's corrections right on the more trivial aspects of their editorial opinions, how can I trust their judgment on the important matters?

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:03 PM | Comments (0)

Priceless

Ricky West found this statement from Cynthia Tucker, op-ed page editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

It’s clear that Republicans nationwide have become obsessed with wiping out voter fraud, but it’s not clear why.

Racism? Colonialism? Sexism? Carnivorous Captalism? Militarism? Strict Constituional Constructivism? Unilateralism? Personal Savings Accounts? Blood for Oil? Hey, I'm stumped.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:55 PM | Comments (0)

April 05, 2005

I Didn't Know They Made Barn Doors That Big

U.S. to Tighten Border Controls by 2008

I can only hope they mean 8:08 PM.

In related news:

Volunteers who have converged on the Mexican border to watch for illegal immigrants are disrupting U.S. Border Patrol operations...

Given how well U.S. Border Patrol operations have worked in the past, perhaps some disruption could be a good thing. To be fair, I understand the legitimate complaints about the minions of the Minutemen Project trippping sensors and whatnot, but at the same time it must be clear that the current modus operandi for border protection is unacceptable. Maybe it would be better to coordinate and enlist the help of citiznes on the borders as is done in our cities, rather than act in a hostile manner to folks who share the same goals. They do share the same goals, don't they?

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:03 PM | Comments (0)

Note to All Basketball Talking Heads

The game was tied at 70 with 1:32 left. I agree that Illinois couldn't stop Sean May and that he was the dominant player on the floor, but if North Carolina is such a great team, as that huge chip on Roy Williams' shoulder kept emphasizing after the game, then why did North Carolina need such an obviously dominant player to pull out the victory? And anyway, couldn't we have waited for Sean May to get to the NBA before he started to get NBA calls? If, if Illinois had pulled it out, wouldn't the story line have been what a great team Illinois is and that despite having great talent, North Carolina just couldn't jell as a team. I only bring this up to indicate how such a thin margin changes the story line. Considering how close the game turned out to be, it is clear that too much credit is given to the winners and too much, well, something other than credit, is dished out to the losers in these games. Gee, sometimes you'd think Big Media would like to even the playing field a little more. Nah.

Over on ESPN News, Bruce Weber is mentioning the calls going a little one-sided now as well.

Enough sour grapes.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:56 AM | Comments (10)

April 02, 2005

Oh Yeah

About that Presidential Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction, I mean, it's not like everyone else in the government was on the ball when it came to terrorism:

Tipped they may have missed evidence a decade ago, FBI agents searched the former home of convicted Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols and found blasting caps and other explosive materials apparently related to the 1995 attack, officials said Friday. FBI officials said the material was found buried in a crawl space of the house in Herington, Kan., which wasn't checked by agents during the numerous searches of the property during the original investigation of Nichols and Timothy McVeigh.

Agent Johnson 1 in 1995: "Hey Chet, whould we check out this crawlspace?"
Agent Johnson 2 in 1995: "Nah, they'd never hide anything down there. It looks kinda icky and full of spiders."

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:33 AM | Comments (3)

If I Had Done It When I Held a Security Clearance I Would Have Went to Jail

I guess it's good to be a friend of Bill:

Former national security adviser Sandy Berger, who once had unfettered access to the government's most sensitive secrets, pleaded guilty Friday to sneaking classified documents out of the National Archives, then using scissors to cut up some of them.

And it's only a stadium full of voters in Ohio that kept him from perhaps being Secretary of State. What the hell is this? France?

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:18 AM | Comments (3)

April 01, 2005

Obscure Thought

I think we'll see an Archbishop of Canterbury from Africa before we see another Polish Pope. Though given the great good John Paul II has done and the apparent need for greater reverence in the Anglican Communion -- I would welcome both, even if I'm neither Catholic nor Episcopalian.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:58 PM | Comments (0)

I Genuflect to Ronald Reagan for Bringing Down Communism in Europe

But Karol Wojtyla had a lot to do with it as well.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:48 PM | Comments (1)

March 20, 2005

Tin Ear

Dr. Dean tries to stay topical:

"Keep it simple" is the key to the White House, failed Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean told members of his party from around the world last night. One major reason his party lost the 2004 race to the "brain-dead" Republicans is that it has a "tendency to explain every issue in half an hour of detail," Dean told the semi-annual meeting of Democrats Abroad, which brought about 150 members from Canada and 30 other countries to the Toronto for two days.

And we all know what Democrats want to do to the brain-dead, now don't we?

But Mary Schindler pleaded for parents nationwide to call their congressional representatives and pressure them to vote for a bill to prolong her daughter's life. "There are some congressmen that are trying to stop this bill," she said outside her daughter's hospice. "Please don't use my daughter's suffering for your own personal agenda."

... Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Fla., issued a statement late Saturday saying he will make an objection that would stop the vote Sunday. Any member can demand that a majority of members be present to do business. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., said he was trying to gather enough votes to defeat the bill Monday.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:13 PM | Comments (0)

March 19, 2005

The Angry Left Just Can't Handle the Truth

If we can't be trusted to tell the truth on the meaningless little stuff:

Tens of thousands of anti-war protesters demonstrated across Europe on Saturday to mark the second anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, with 45,000 Britons marching from London's Hyde Park past the American Embassy to Trafalgar Square.

British elections expected in May lent an added charge to the largest protest, in London, where Prime Minister Tony Blair's staunch backing of the war has diminished his base of support.

Police said about 45,000 demonstrators participated in a march; organizers put the number at 100,000.

How can we trust you on the big things?

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:47 PM | Comments (2)

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Been Berry, Berry Good To Me

Wouldn't it be better to just put an end this little fiefdom?

Deeply in the red, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights voted yesterday to conduct an audit of how it has spent its $9 million annual budget over the past several years.

The meeting came a day after commission Staff Director Kenneth L. Marcus told a congressional subcommittee that the agency had failed to pay $75,000 in rent last year and that employees who won an equal opportunity complaint against the agency had not received the $188,000 partial payment owed them.

Marcus had more bad news yesterday, saying that the commission was more than likely underfunding its employee benefits package, and that budget shortfalls would force the board to consider a significant number of layoffs as it undertakes reforms recommended by the Government Accountability Office.

Commissioners said they had been kept in the dark on financial problems by former staff director Les Jin and the panel's former chairwoman, Mary Frances Berry. Two commissioners, Chairman Gerald A. Reynolds and Peter N. Kirsanow, asked Marcus whether he had uncovered any evidence of possible criminal wrongdoing. Marcus said he had not.

But commissioners were upset that the agency's acting budget director, George Harbison, had not seen its ledger of income and expenses for the past year. It was last known to be in Jin's possession, Harbison said.

"If a private company didn't have a ledger, then somebody goes to jail," Reynolds said.

Someone would go to jail. Ha, good one.

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:38 PM | Comments (0)

Maybe It Will Offset Global Warming

Poll shows French cooling on EU treaty

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:39 PM | Comments (0)

Dumb As a Boxer of Rocks

(Holding nose for effect) ... and coming around the third turn, Barbara Boxer noses ahead of Patty Murray for stupidest US Senator:

Why would we give lifetime appointments to people who earn up to $200,000 a year, with absolutely a great retirement system, and all the things all Americans wish for, with absolutely no check and balance except that one confirmation vote. So we're saying we think you ought to get nine votes over the 51 required. That isn't too much to ask for such a super important position. There ought to be a super vote. Don't you think so? It's the only check and balance on these people. They're in for life. They don't stand for election like we do, which is scary.

And when exactly does Ms. Boxer expect that the Democrats will once again have a 60-40 majority in the Senate? Or would a switch of six votes suddenly bring her back to reality?

Nah.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:25 PM | Comments (0)

Rehabilitation, My Ass

Tell me again why you are opposed to the death penalty:

The body of missing 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford was found early Saturday, a day after officials said a registered sex offender confessed to kidnapping and killing the girl. Citrus County Sheriff Jeff Dawsy said Jessica's body was found during an overnight search in a densely wooded area, only about 150 yards from the home the girl shared with her father and grandparents.

Jessica's father, Mark Lunsford, visited the search scene shortly after sunrise and later gave a brief, emotional statement to reporters. "Everyone heard me say, time after time, that she would be home," Lunsford said, his eyes hidden behind dark black sunglasses. "She's home now."

John Evander Couey, 46, confessed to kidnapping and killing Jessica after taking a lie-detector test Friday in Georgia, Dawsy said. She disappeared from her bedroom more than three weeks ago.

I still have trouble understanding why sex offenders are ever released back into society, instead of being thrown into a dank, dark hole until the arrival of their execution date.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:19 PM | Comments (1)

March 15, 2005

Ideological Purity

Buried towards the end of a long hagiographic article on Ken Burns' giving the Americans for the Arts annual Nancy Hanks Lecture, author Philip Kennicott includes this little gem:

The We posited by mainstream cultural voices, of course, doesn't include everybody (the PBS We isn't comfortable with gay people, if the "Postcards From Buster" incident is any evidence).

The mind reels at what it takes to imagine that PBS is not comfortable with gay people. Postmodern illiberalism is a very strange religion where a single sin can aparently get you condemned for all eternity. Heavan on earth is going to be a lonely place for the self-selected.

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:24 PM | Comments (0)

March 13, 2005

Another Painful Lesson About To Be Relearned In Britain

I present the following without further comment:

One of Britain's most senior police officers has admitted that his force is being overwhelmed by violent crime and cannot cope.

Steve Green, the Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire, said that among the principal causes of the crisis were Government reforms that compelled him to use officers for clerical tasks instead of front-line duties.

The situation was so bad that he was preparing to "farm out" murder investigations to other police forces because his own detectives did not have time to tackle them.

Nottingham has been one of the worst affected areas for gun crime, which hit record levels across England and Wales last year.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:46 AM | Comments (0)

Yasser Arafat Was a Crook? Who Knew?

I received this e-mail recently:

Assalamu alaikum,

MY NAME IS HASSAN AL MOHAMMED FROM PALESTINE. I WORKED WITH THE REGIME OF YASSER ARAFAT AS HIS SECRET PESONAL ASSISTANCE. WE HANDLE ALLHIS FINANCIAL PLANS AND OTHERS. SIR I KNOW THE IMPRESSION THE WORLD HAS ABOUT ANY BODY FROM MY COUNTRY PALESTINE,DURING MY TIME WITH THE FORMER REGIME,I WAS ABLE TO SECRETLY SECURE THE SUM OF$25.5 MILLION US DOLLARS. WHICH WAS KEPT SAFELY OUTSIDE PALESTINE VIA A SECRET DIPLOMATIC MEANS WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF YASSER ARAFAT TO A SECURITY FIRM IN EUROPE.

THE FACT THAT THE FUND IS OUTSIDE PALESTINE NOW THAT IS MY HAPPINESS, BUT I AM STILL HIDING IN PALESTINE TRYING TO SEE HOW I CAN GET OUT, SINCE MY BOSS YASSER ARAFAT IS DEAD. I NEED YOUR URGENT AND SINCERE ASSISTANCE TO HELP ME CLEAR THE MONEY FOR INVESTMENT PURPOSES TILL I COME OUT OF PALESTINE TO MEET WITH YOU IN YOUR COUNTRY. I WILL LET YOU KNOW THE LOCATION AS WELL AS THE DETAILED INFORMATION AS SOON AS YOU ASSURE ME THAT I CAN RELY ON YOU WITHOUT BEING BETRAYED. PLEASE FOR SAFETY PURPOSE, IT IS BETTER WE LIMIT OUT COMMUNICATION TO EMAIL, FOR NOW. YOU ARE GOING TO INVEST THE FUND FOR ME IN YOUR COUNTRY AND YOU WILL GET 35% OF WHATEVER INVESTMENT WE VENTURE INTO. I WILL APPRECIATE IF YOU REPLY ME AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

Wasalam,

HASSAN AL MOHAMMED

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

March 10, 2005

The "Reality"-Based Community

We've all had ample opportunity to snark and snicker at some people who have ratcheted their self-righteousness up another notch by proclaiming themselves part of the "reality-based community." In doing so, these same self-important people usually claim that those not wearing their tin-foil hats can't face or deal with reality. On occasion, they also set up a bizarre false dichotomy and lump the rest of us into what they like to derisively call the "faith-based community." Regardless of how they choose to characterize those not in knee-jerk lockstep, the embrace of the phrase "reality-based community" as an intellectual cudgel by the Angry Left is in fact a sad joke that they have played upon themselves.

Jonah Goldberg brings up Ron Susskind's insertion of the phrase "reality-based community" today, and suggests that what the unnamed Bush aide really meant was "status-quo community." Perhaps, but I think it is more likely that this aide who must not be named more likely used, and meant, the words "reality-based community" but as he pronounced the word "reality" he moved his arms, hands, and fingers in the same manner as Dr. Evil when he uses the word "laser." The point being that it isn't really reality that these people are dealing with but instead the carefully constructed fantasy world that for them constitutes what they believe reality to be. Could Mr. Susskind have consciously or subconsciously missed this important non-verbal qualifier that turns the meaning of the phrase "reality-based community" around 180 degrees while he was mentally composing his anti-Bush diatribe for the New York Times magazine?

For the self-delusional perception is reality. Their perception of the importance and solidity of the carefully constructed house of cards manifested by the UN, the ICC, the Kyoto Accords, and international law is their reality. Facts that don't fit their perception are discarded so as to preserve the reality they have so much invested in. Conversely, as every student of logic knows, from a false premise you can deduce anything. If a neo-conservative conspiracy to steal steal the world's oil can be perceived, it must be true! If they can imagine that President Bush knew about 9/11 but let it happen anyway, it must be true! The mere act of saying that Bush stole the election makes it true!

Once you appreciate its true meaning, the embrace of this phrase by the Angry Left is especially fitting. Who said irony is dead?

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:16 AM | Comments (5)

March 09, 2005

My Apologies for Not Thinking of It Earlier

I just thought of a good title for a post on the Supreme Court's latest decision involving the death penalty, turning one of the Angry Left's mottos back on itself: Stare decisis for thee, but not for me.

Sorry for the delay.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:15 PM | Comments (0)

March 08, 2005

I Can Be So Cruel

I suppose I could understand the Democrat's planned confirmation battle if President Bush had picked Michael Bolton to be our UN Ambassador, but John Bolton is going to hand them their asses on a plate. A very big plate.

But what is it about Boltons and hair? Just for "In the House" Ted (trust me, click on the link), one of these guys has the support of some sad people who think he should be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the other is our next UN Ambassador:

michaelbolton.jpg johnbolton.jpg

Hint, it's not the guy with the website.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:22 PM | Comments (2)

T4 - YEEEEAAAAARRRGGGGHHHH!!!!!! of the Democratic Machine

Dean's money machine to fight Schwarzenegger

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:13 PM | Comments (0)

I'm with Busey

Or maybe I am Busey...

imwithBusey.jpg

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

March 05, 2005

A Few Random Thoughts

Bal Harbor is a very nice place. You can do much worse than the Sheraton Bal Harbor or the Westin Diplomat a few miles north of Bal Harbor where my convention was beng held. But cruising south from there on A1A to Miami Beach, where in the hell do all those people eat? We couldn't find a restaurant Friday night until we got off of A1A onto 112 (Arthur Godfrey Drive!) and cruised over to US 1 where we ended up at a little place called Soyka's. I can heartily recommend it, maybe 2.5 stars out of four. Loud, but fascinating decor. Again, we only ended up there because we couldn't find anything cruising up and down A1A. Weird. In my time in Florida before, I've never had trouble finding a place to eat on the water.

All things considered with North Korea, Japan is probably the country most likely to be hit with the next atomic weapon. Why? I start with the assumption that North Korea is the country most likely to use an atomic weapon. This is arguable, but it is certainly within the realm of possibility. So who will it be used against? Certainly not China, snce China would have no qualms about making sure it didn't happen again. Probably not South Korea, since North Korea still seems to hope to eliminate the compass point adjective from it's name. Probably not the US -- see China. So who's left that is an enemy and within range? Well, there's the ancestral enemy, who just happens to be the ever closer friend of their great enemy. If things do happen this way, then Japan would still be the only country to have an atomic weapon used against it. This would, of course, be a very bad thing.

I was sorry to hear about the death of Mr. Calipari who was killed while after apparently rescuing Giuliana Sgrena. Unfortunately, much of the news now is confirming my darkest fears about so many people. The anti-American vultures are doing what vultures do best -- feeding upon the dead. I certainly hope that no American soldiers are hung out to dry for this to appease Italy. I can appreciate Silvio Berlusconi's problem here, but there's an awful lot we don't yet know, and I can only imagine that a car speeding through Baghdad and ignoring roadbloacks, checkpoints, or orders to stop is treated rather roughly. As I said, it is very sad, but it is far from an indictment of anything else that has happened in Iraq.

I read through the current issue of the Economist today while flying home. It's almost enough to make me wish I hadn't let my subscription lapse. Almost.

I left my first notebook of preliminary notes on Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose in my rental car. When I noticed I didn't have time to get back to the Avis, so I hope the gentlemen driving the courtesy bus is correct when he told me that they will mail it to me. If it arrives, I'll certainly send Avis a nice letter mentioning him by name. If it doesn't arrive, I bear no ill feelings toward Avis since it was my fault, but, man, there's a lot of lost work in there. This book really is going to to take me several years to finish.

I'm still rather annoyed at the Supreme Court's ruling that invalidated the death penalty for the wicked little murderers who committed their crimes before they turned 18. FWIW, I had already been in college for three months before I was 18, so, yeah, I think you be fully culpable before you turn 18. Like I wrote below, I'm still confused about why they limited the abolition of the death penalty to younger than 18, since all the cool kids already oppose it for everyone.

I guess I might have a comment about Bill Maher and Ward Churchill, except I quit watching Bill Maher a couple years ago. I really enjoyed Politically Incorrect, but by the second season of Real Time with Bill Maher he seemed to enjoy playing to the loony audience more than playing with the hypocrisy on the right and the left. So why is anyone surprised that he sides with Ward Churchill? Speaking of Ward Churchill, my great-great-grandfather was Cherokee. So maybe I should take even more offense at Ward Churchill than I do, if that's possible.

How 'bout those Illini? Here's an article that lists Derron Williams as the 2nd highest rated point guard in the country for the next NBA draft, though the ESPN headline blurb and link only mentions Chris Paul and Raymond Felton. But far be it from me to point out any particular ACC bias at ESPN. One question for ESPN's RPI though, how many games would Kansas have to lose for Illinois to pass them in the RPI? After all, Oklahoma State just lost to Kansas and that vaulted them ahead of Illinois. For some of you that know me personally, with my latest haircut "PERSECUTED" is becoming quit visible, even in broad daylight. Oh yeah, can anybody get me Final Four tickets? You'd think living in St. Louis would help, but apparently it doesn't.

So Sammy Sosa got tossed in the second inning of his second game in pres-season as an Oriole. I think the Cubs deserve a lot of credit for cutting this metaphorical cancer from their team.

I saw a clip of Kobe Bryant on ESPN the other day that caused me to lose a lot of respect for him. He pushed a player out of the way (no foul since this is the NBA) and then made a nice move to execute a reverse slam. Then he looked at his opponents and brushed his jersey as though he was knocking some loose ash of his jacket. Such class.

Is this format better than multiple posts? I apologize for any typos. I'm well into a nice Chianti Classico and I've noticed them popping up with a ridiculous frequency, but I'm not sure if I caught them all.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:51 PM | Comments (4)

March 01, 2005

The Rule of Man

The Supreme Court has used a Missouri case to eliminate the death penalty for those under 18 by a 5-4 vote:

The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the Constitution forbids the execution of killers who were under 18 when they committed their crimes, ending a practice used in 19 states.

The 5-4 decision throws out the death sentences of about 70 juvenile murderers and bars states from seeking to execute minors for future crimes.

The executions, the court said, were unconstitutionally cruel.

But why are these executions now "uncontitutionally cruel" if they weren't before? Especially considering that:

The four most liberal justices had already gone on record in 2002, calling it "shameful" to execute juvenile killers. Those four, joined by Kennedy, also agreed with Tuesday's decision: Justices John Paul Stevens, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer.

Shameful. Not illegal or unconstitutional, but shameful. Oh but that's right, it's only the Taliban wing of the Republican Party who want to legislate morality. Yes, I support the death penalty for murderers and child molesters. If you disagree with that, we can argue the merits of the death penalty and try to change minds, we can work on the hustings to elect people who share our beliefs, or we can let a small unelected group ignore the will of the people for the temporal whims of what they believe is right. As Julian Ku notes, Justice Kennedy's opinion, writing for the majority, seems to favor the last remedy by relying rather heavily on non-constitutional justifications by citing:

Brief for Human Rights Committee of the Bar of England and Wales et al.
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Art. 6(5), 999 U. N. T. S., at 175
United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Art. 37,
American Convention on Human Rights: Pact of San José, Costa Rica, Art. 4(5)
African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, Art. 5(3)

Since the US Supreme Court has once again decided to yield to the peer pressure of international jurisprudence, I can't help wondering why they decided to stop with juveniles? After all, the rest of really cool kids in the EU and the UN dislike the death penalty, period. It is only a matter of time, or until the next death penalty case is brought before the court, that this same rationale with perhaps different citations can be used to eliminate the death penalty under all circumstances. And not because we the people decided to change our laws, but because five judges seem to value the opinions of people who are not citizens of the United States of America, people who are not bound by our laws and customs, people who, it must be said, frankly want to see the United States of America humbled and occasionally hurt, more than the freedom to our citizens to administer their own government. I am appalled.

If the Supreme Court continues to extend its brief in this manner, it will have stopped being an arbiter of the law and instead it will become the law. In other words, this is merely a return to the rule of man. That is what I find most troubling. Gosh, I can't wait for the first Supreme Court ruling that cites the new EU Constitution for a rationale.

If you are interested here's more info on the sick bastard that Ronnie White (remember him?) and the rest of the Missouri Supreme Court chose to let live.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:19 PM | Comments (3)

February 22, 2005

Don't Just Do Something, Stand There!

Who'd have guessed the Left would be standing athwart history yelling, "Stop!"?

You don't have to look hard for suggested solutions to Social Security. President Bush proposes private accounts. Liberals want a number of minor tweaks. One common proposal is to raise the maximum level of wages subject to payroll tax from its current $90,000 to, say, $150,000.

Here's another solution to the alleged crisis: Do nothing.

Wow, I must have been dreaming when President Bill Clinton said, "Save Social Security first," as soon as he had a surplus (by counting Social Security taxes, incidentally). Or perhaps I was hallucinating about Vice President Al Gore's campaign mantra, "Lock Box." Gosh, maintaining a consistent position when political power shifts in Washington, D.C., is awfully hard.

But semi-seriously, how about taking the cap off FICA "contributions" with no upper limit, but eliminating the employer match for all FICA "contributions" above the cap and not counting these contributions towards increasing benefits for the "contributor"? This puts money into the program from those who can afford it (Ed. -- Yes, I know, this is heresy) without adding anything to a business' cost for employing people. It also adds nothing to the red ink on the ledger since no new benefits are being paid out. This is just a suggestion as part of a solution, not the whole solution, but I've never understood why a liberal program should be so regressive in its approach to taxation by only taxing people to a point and then letting all income above that to go untaxed. Of course, for intellectual consistency, this also requires seeing Social Security for what it really is, i.e., welfare for the aged, and not as a retirement program. But I digress.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:37 PM | Comments (1)

Shame Canada!

In todays variation on the theme of "Bloody wogs, what do you expect from them anyway," do you suppose three-quarters of Canadians live in a dreamworld where they want the glory of achieving this goal for themselves?

More than three-quarters of Canadians said they didn't think the United States should try to promote the creation of democratic governments in other countries, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll.

Before you get too worked up about this just remember what someone else once said, "They're not even a real country anyway." And besides, all the cool kids think the same way:

President Bush is calling on European leaders to support his campaign to spread democracy abroad at a time people in many of those countries have doubts whether that should be the U.S. role in the world, Associated Press polling found.

A majority of people in Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain said they thought it should not be the U.S. role to spread democracy, according to AP-Ipsos polls. A majority of those living in Canada, Mexico and South Korea also disagreed with that role.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:25 PM | Comments (1)

Why Should We Listen To You Brent Stormscowcroft?

Don't you just hate it when the world changes and some people refuse to notice?

As President Bush prepared for talks Thursday with Russian President Vladimir Putin, former U.S. national security adviser Brent Scowcroft faulted Bush for not paying enough attention to relations with Moscow.

"U.S. policy in the last few years has not reflected the importance of the relationship," said Scowcroft, who also was critical of the president's Iraq and Mideast policies.

Good thing Condoleezza Rice doesn't insist on seeing everything through Cold War glasses just because she is an expert on the former Soviet Union and speaks fluent Russian. Gee, if I wasn't married I could fantasize about Ms. Rice as Archie Leach speaking Russian to me as she undressed a la John Cleese in A Fish Called Wanda. Power is a very strong aphrodisiac. But I digress.

Slip sliding down this slippery slope of free word association, I can't wait for Ted Rall or someone similar to have Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice say something like, "I don't know nothin' about birthin' no countries," in one of his poorly drawn political cartoons as he tries to make a feeble point about the Bush administration's policy of spreading democracty and freedom to the oppressed peoples of the world.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:15 PM | Comments (0)

Mind The Gap ....

... between Red Ken's rhetoric and reality:

"A week ago I said it was not my intention to apologise to the journalist from Daily Mail group or his employers. Upon a further week of reflection in which I have read everything written in the press about this controversy and after considerable debate with many Londoners I have decided to stand by that position.

"There will therefore be no apology or expression of regret to the Daily Mail group.

"To the Daily Mail group journalist I say this. You are responsible for your own actions. That you are paid by Daily Mail group to do the job you do is not a defence for your behaviour.

"Pursuing me along the pavement thrusting your tape recorder at me whilst repeatedly barking the same question, when I had clearly indicated I did not wish to be interviewed by you, is not acceptable behaviour by you or any other journalist. Indeed a member of the public behaving in this way could find themselves arrested for a breach of peace.

"Many other journalists will confirm I have made similar comments to them over the last twenty-four years. You are the first to complain. If you feel that my comments are too harsh or robust then you are most probably in the wrong job and certainly working for the wrong newspaper group.

"Whilst this journalistic technique of door stepping may be appropriate when dealing with people who do not make themselves available to the media, this is not a complaint that can be levelled against myself. Every week my press conference is open to any journalist from Britain or abroad, and I have never yet left a press conference before I have answered every question journalists wish to put to me.

"For issues that arise urgently I am invariably able to accommodate requests for information with a quote and more often than not a radio or a television interview as required.

"To the Daily Mail group, I say that no-one in Britain is less qualified than they to complain about anti-Semitism. Their papers were not, as some have reported, guilty of 'a brief flirtation' with Adolf Hitler in the l930s. In truth these papers were the leading advocates of anti-Semitism in Britain for half a century.

"Beginning a hundred years ago with their campaign to stop Jewish refugees fleeing to Britain from Russia, they carried on right the way through the rise of Hitler, and even after the start of World War II still felt free to peddle the lie that Germany’s Jews had brought the Holocaust upon themselves. I have set out in detail the record of the Daily Mail group in my formal response to the London Assembly.

"Whilst it is true the Mail group no longer smears Jews as bringing crime and disease to the UK, it is only because they have moved on. After a decade of pandering to racism against our citizens of black and Irish origin, they have moved on, and now describe asylum seekers and Muslims in similar terms. For the Mail group, the victims may change but the intolerance, hatred and fear pervade every issue of the papers.

"What was the motive of the Mail group in whipping up this media fire storm? If insulted, why did the Daily Mail group journalist or the editor of the Evening Standard not get in touch and say they thought I had gone too far? If the Daily Mail group journalist had expressed regret for his behaviour on the street, I would have been happy to withdraw my comments and assure him I bore him no hard feelings.

"If the editor of the Evening Standard could have explained why, in five years of mayoral receptions, this was the first one at which they had chosen to photograph every guest as they left, I might have been persuaded by her answer.

"Instead, the editor held the story back from the Wednesday and Thursday editions. This is rather surprising in the light of the Evening Standard’s claim to be 'first with the news'. When the story finally appeared on Friday it was with a screaming headline claiming my words were 'a race slur'.

"In all the tens of thousands of words devoted to this story in the last two weeks no paper has been able to show that my words contravened any clause in any of the Acts of Parliament that deal with racism, or anti-Semitism or that they were anti-semitic or racist.

"Is it the case that whilst not racist or anti-semitic, my words were so offensive they should never have been uttered?

"Clearly the the leading Jewish newspaper the Jewish Chronicle does not think so. On February 7th 2003 they published a letter accusing Professors Hilary and Stephen Rose of being kapos (concentration camp inmates serving as guards). The Roses complained to the Jewish Chronicle and the Press Complaints Commission. The Press Complaints Commission rejected the Roses complaint on the grounds that the Jewish Chronicle had printed a letter of rebuttal on the Roses.

"Clearly, the Jewish Chronicle and the Press Complaints Commission did not feel that this term diminished the Holocaust.

"If we want to see an example of an inappropriate use of the term 'Holocaust' we need look no further than the Daily Mail writer Quentin Letts, who described Labour MP Andrew Dismore as "a Holocaust bore".

"I refer to the Holocaust because it is the most extreme example of evil in my own array of moral reference points. Over the last two weeks my main concern has been that many Jewish Londoners have been disturbed by this whipped-up row.

"I do not equate the actions of one reporter with the total abdication of responsibility shown by those who were complicit to whatever degree in the horrors of the Holocaust. But I do believe that abdicating responsibility for one’s actions by the excuse that "I am only doing my job" is the thin end of the immoral wedge that, at its other extreme, leads to the crimes and horrors of Auschwitz, Rwanda and Bosnia.

"I have been deeply affected by the concern of Jewish people, in particular that my comments downplayed the horror and magnitude of the Holocaust. I wish to say to those Londoners that my words were not intended to cause such offence, and that my view remains that the Holocaust against the Jews is the greatest racial crime of the 20th century.

"Something that has been disgraceful over these past two weeks has been the way in which the Daily Mail group have worked hand in glove with the chair of the London Assembly and his Conservative colleagues. Betraying his wider political agenda, Brian Coleman has in his many appearances tried to widen this issue to include my views about the policies of the Israeli government.

"Given Assembly member Coleman’s own record of disparaging Irish travellers, Somalis, foreign students and participants at the Notting Hill Carnival, his new found interest in the sensitivities of London’s minorities is impossible to believe.

"Now this issue has been referred to the Standards Board for England. Most Londoners will be surprised to discover that the person they chose to elect by a substantial majority last summer can be removed from office and banned from public life for five years for breaching the sub-section of The Local Authorities (Model Code of Conduct) (England) Order 2001 which says that councillors 'must treat others with respect'.

"It has always been my view that respect has to be earned.

"To quote Andrew Alexander writing in the Daily Mail last week 'Freedom of speech, if it means what it says, involves the right to irritate, annoy, dismay and shock anyone who listens. The only sensible limitations should be on speech which leads to violence, affray or disorder.'

"This code is a threat to freedom of speech.

"Clearly Londoners share my view. I have lost count of the number of times I have been approached by Londoners over the last two weeks, and have been urged very forcefully not to apologise. Since this row erupted we have received over 1,500 letters and emails from the public. 74 per cent have expressed their support for me, with 26 per cent against—a margin of support of three to one.

"Not for the first time in my years in public life the views of ordinary people on the street are overwhelmingly at odds with much of the media."

See, anti-semitism is ok because everybody's doing it!

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:20 PM | Comments (0)

Does This Mean Iran Is a Boggart?

Bush Says Talk of Attacking Iran 'Ridiculous'

Of course, if we were liberating Iran tomorrow, I expect he'd say the same thing.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:06 PM | Comments (0)

Apolitical Correctness

I'm opposed to gay marriage, but my opposition isn't nearly as strong as the Pope's:

Homosexual marriages are part of "a new ideology of evil" that is insidiously threatening society, Pope John Paul says in a new book published Tuesday.

My understanding of what I believe his first principles are allow me to understand why he says this without condemning him. The Pope is entitled to his beliefs too, even if I don't agree with him. Keep that in mind as you read the inevitable denunciations of the Pope over this.

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:56 PM | Comments (0)

Cave of Wonders, Aaarrrhhhkkk!

Shiites Pick Al-Jaafari As Iraq PM Nominee

jafar.jpg

"Excellent."

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:28 PM | Comments (3)

February 20, 2005

Of Course, This Ship Would Never Have Been Built If He Had Any Say In the Matter

Jimmy Carter's namesake has left the dock as the most heavily armed submarine ever built, making it in a sense the sixth most powerful military in the world. Fortunately, his misguided attempts to drag the entire US down to that level were foiled.

I wonder if the first meal served in the mess will be hasenpfeffer.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:53 AM | Comments (2)

February 17, 2005

There Will Always Be an England

But you may soon have trouble recognizing it as such:

Thousands of defiant fox-hunters have ridden out to enjoy their ancient pastime for one last time before the ancient pursuit was outlawed.

A ban on hunting with dogs in England and Wales came into force at midnight ending over 300 years of countryside tradition.

Or perhaps not:

For those unused to hunting, what happens after the ban is introduced will look, feel and smell like it does now," said a spokesman from the Countryside Alliance, the main pro-hunting lobby group, on Thursday.

"We see this as a temporary ban which is unenforceable."

The alliance estimates some 400,000 people will defy the ban by attending hunts on Saturday, dwarfing the traditional December 26 meets, normally the busiest in the calendar which attracted 275,000 people last year.

Release the hounds! It's in the trees, they're coming! I always like saying that, Kate Bush and all that, don't you know.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:44 PM | Comments (0)

Turnabout Is Fair Play

Anybody want to join me in raiding a Greenpeace office and setting up a trading floor?

This story has been all over the blogosphere, but does James Taranto have the faintest idea what "sod off" means? And if he does, would he be using it so freely? And while I'm on the subject of James Taranto, does anyone else think the WSJ's policy of only naming the authors of editorials if they are nominated for an award is more than a little unseemly?

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

February 16, 2005

Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha:

Sen. John F. Kerry's brash offer to meet privately with former foe President Bush to discuss foreign policy before Bush's meetings abroad next week with key European leaders has apparently fallen on deaf ears at the White House.

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:19 PM | Comments (2)

The Government Is Hiding the Truth In Area 9/11

This isn't new, but I'll post it again here for handy reference.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:15 PM | Comments (0)

Iran, Iran So Far Away

Doesn''t a threat like this indicate a clear inability to actually do it?

Iran's intelligence chief on Wednesday accused the United States of flying spy drones over its nuclear sites and threatened to shoot down the unmanned surveillance crafts.

Intelligence Minister Ali Yunesi comments backed a report in The Washington Post on Sunday that quoted unidentified U.S. officials as saying the drones have been flying over Iran for nearly a year to seek evidence of nuclear weapons programs.

Of course, it's tough to get anything over on Iran's Intelligence Minister, although his copy of the Washington Post must have taken two days to arrive.

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

You Go Girls

I'll give them this, they've got more balls than most of Europe when it comes to dealing with your opponents:

Iran and Syria, who both are facing pressure from the United States, said Wednesday they will form a "united front" to confront possible threats against them, state-run television reported.

"In view of the special conditions faced by Syria, Iran will transfer its experience, especially concerning sanctions, to Syria," Mohammad Reza Aref, Iran's first vice president, was quoted as saying after meeting Syrian Prime Minister Mohammad Naji Otari.

Too easy.

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

Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha:

Howard Dean, the new chairman of the Democratic National Committee, requested a media blackout of a debate with top Pentagon adviser Richard Perle, then quickly changed his mind Wednesday after news agencies complained.

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:01 PM | Comments (0)

Rule Number 1

Maybe they awere all named Bruce:

UN inspectors 'spent their days drinking'

Too obscure?

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:24 PM | Comments (2)

A Slow News Day

James Taranto likes to keep bringing up Mark Helprin's observation that the armies of the homeless will spring back to life for a President Bush. No doubt:

If you’re a homeless attorney in the city of Austin, Texas, ...

Just stop right there. I refuse to even bother with the rest of Howard Fineman's article given this rather silly beginning.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:18 PM | Comments (0)

Crisis? What Crisis?

Supertramp? No, Superman:

Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, delivering his semiannual assessment of the economy to the Senate Banking Committee, gave a cautious endorsement today to President Bush's plan to shift some Social Security funding to individual investment accounts.

Any solution to the problem created by the baby boom's impending retirement has to be solved by increased national wealth, he said, which in turn depends on increased savings or investment.

The individual investment accounts would contribute to national savings only if they could be financed by methods other than borrowing, and in order to slow the rate of borrowing by Social Security, benefits would have to be trimmed, Greenspan said.

"If we move to private accounts, which I approve of," the shift must be done cautiously, he said.

So either the Democrat's or full of it or Alan Greenspan is. Hmm ..., tough choice, huh?

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:14 PM | Comments (2)

Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha:

Howard Dean, the new chairman of the Democratic National Committee, called on the head of New York's Republican Party to apologize or resign Wednesday over remarks linking the Democrats to a civil rights lawyer convicted of aiding terrorists.

Dean called Stephen Minarik's comments offensive, and said, "The American people deserve better than this type of political character assassination."

On Monday, Minarik said that Dean's election shows that "the Democrats simply have refused to learn the lessons of the past two election cycles, and now they can be accurately called the party of Barbara Boxer, Lynne Stewart and Howard Dean."

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.

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

Come On

I saw this this morning at Instapundit:

"TEHRAN, Iran - An unknown aircraft fired a missile on Wednesday in a deserted area near the southern city of Dailam in the province of Bushehr where Iran has a nuclear power plant, Iranian state television said."

... and immediately thought the speculation about an attack on Bushehr was nonsense or perhaps just a ruse by the Iranian's. After all, if we or the Israeli's had decided to take out Bushehr, I don't think it would have been just one missile fired haphazardly into the desert. Maybe someone at MSNBC got confused with the US Navy's commissioning of SSN 23 and thought Jimmy Carter was still president.

Yep, it was just silly speculation.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:01 PM | Comments (0)

February 12, 2005

Red Ken's Seeing Red

Never again:

London's outspoken Mayor Ken Livingstone has refused to apologise for calling a Jewish newspaper reporter a war criminal and concentration camp guard, despite complaints from Britain's main Jewish group.

"Are you a German war criminal?" Livingstone was heard saying on a tape recording of the exchange with the Evening Standard journalist at a event to mark the 20th anniversary of former cabinet member Chris Smith announcing he is gay.

When the journalist said he was Jewish and was offended by the mayor's remarks, Livingstone replied: "Actually you are just like a concentration camp guard."

Yet again.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:52 AM | Comments (4)

Pity Zimbabwe

Imagine, for a moment, what might happen if we took a man like this at his word:

President Robert Mugabe on Friday sharply criticised US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, saying she was a "slave" to white masters in Washington who had branded Zimbabwe an outpost of tyranny.

Launching the election campaign of his ruling party, Mugabe referred to Rice as "that girl born out of the slave ancestry, who should know from the history of slavery in America, from the president (sic) situation of blacks in America that the white man is not a friend".

"The white man is the slave master to her," said Mugabe in a two-hour speech launching the campaign of his Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) party for the March 31 parliamentary elections.

I'm quite comfortable with my decision to pick this bastard for the Dead Pool.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:46 AM | Comments (4)

Good Thing She Wasn't Dutch

There's something to be said for respecting life:

A US woman who has spent the past 20 years in a coma-like state has inexplicably awoken and can now speak, news reports said.

Sarah Scantlin was 18 years old when, as a pedestrian, she was injured in a hit-and-run accident that left her in a semi-vegetative condition, aware of her surroundings but unable to speak or move.

Since that time, she has been in a care centre in the Midwest US state of Kansas.

Scantlin's parents unexpectedly received a phone call last week from the nursing home where their now 38-year-old daughter resides.

However, instead of the call being about Sarah, it was actually from Sarah.

"Hi mum," she said to her mother.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:34 AM | Comments (2)

Not Another Kennedy in the Senate

Oh, never mind:

In the picturesque town square of his hometown, with his family and a gaggle of fifth-graders and American legionnaires standing by, U.S. Rep. Mark Kennedy announced Friday that he will seek the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Mark Dayton.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:31 AM | Comments (0)

The Running Man

Damn, I may have to rethink my opposition to changing the US Constitution so that Arnold can run for president:

In a fiery speech to Republican faithful Friday evening, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger ridiculed Democrats as wasteful spending "addicts" who have been taking "sleeping pills," and he characterized California's problems as stemming from "evil."

I can only imagine how Harry Reid would cringe and whinge if Arnold starting laying into him.

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

And So It Begins

The new DNC chair starts out on the left foot:

"How can Republicans get to talk about moral values when they don't have any?"

Not much room for negotiation or bipartisanship there, is there?

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:16 AM | Comments (1)

February 10, 2005

Cutting Edge Super Journalism

You've got to get up early to catch a scoop on the NY Times, like maybe 11:30 AM. Last Friday.:

In the past week, I've received several e-mail notes from Democrats about the Iraq elections, or heard comments from various Democratic lawmakers - always along the following lines: "Remember, Vietnam also had an election, and you recall how that ended."

I only note this since it took the Vietnam election meme has been circulating around the blogosphere for a week now. Good work Mr. Friedman. And no, I don't give Mr. Friedman credit for being a Democrat with a least a grasp on reality if you read his op-ed. By the end he still wants it both ways, i.e., wanting out now, but not until we're successful. Nice pedestrian hedge there Mr. Friedman.

Yawn.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:47 PM | Comments (1)

Awwwwww

Such a deep bench you have:

Comedian and liberal talk show host Al Franken said he won't run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Mark Dayton next year, saying he was committed to his radio show.

Sure Al.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:27 PM | Comments (0)

Non Sequitur or OxyMoron?

Rice warns North Korea

As if there were any rice in North Korea.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:20 PM | Comments (0)

Wimps

Mommy (read Big Media), the Republicans are being mean to me!

U.S. Senate Democrats admitted on Thursday they did not do enough to protect their ousted leader, Tom Daschle, from Republican attacks and vowed to defend his successor, Harry Reid, who is now under fire.

Reid's 43 fellow Senate Democrats, along with a Democratic-leaning independent, wrote President Bush (news - web sites) to protest a partisan offensive.

No doubt another stern letter will follow the White House's non-response. Or perhaps the Democrat Party leadership believes that the floggings should continue until moral improves:

Rep. Paul Ryan (R.-Wis.) was asked at a CATO conference in Washington yesterday whether he had persuaded any Democrats to back his plan to rescue Social Security from its financial troubles. Under his legislation (HR 4851), no new taxes would be needed to pay for "transition costs," participation in the new system would be voluntary and individuals would be allowed to divert a portion of their payroll tax into a mutual fund.

A questioner from the audience, stressing his own Democratic credentials, said he believed Ryan's plan should attract members of his own party and wondered whether the Wisconsin lawmaker had secured any Democratic sponsors. Ryan said he had been working with friends on the "other side of the aisle" who were favorable toward his solution, but he faced an enormous problem: intense pressure on his colleagues from the minority leadership.

"We were in planning stages [with friendly Democrats]," said Ryan. But each essentially told him: "I like what you're doing. I like this bill. I think it's the right way to go. But my party leadership will break my back. The retribution that they are promising us is as great as I have ever seen. We can't do it."

If you can't win, I guess you'll just beat up on those with less power, eh Dirty Harry and Mistress Nancy?

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:14 PM | Comments (1)

This Is a Good Thing

Anybody think tort reform would have stood a chance with Vice President Edwards in da (White) House?

The Senate voted overwhelmingly today to shift many class-action lawsuits from state courts to federal courts, handing President Bush and his supporters in the business world a major legislative triumph.

The 72-to-26 vote sends the bill to the House of Representatives, where it will probably be quickly passed and sped on its way to the desk of the president, who is eager to sign it.

Passage in the House seems assured, since that chamber overwhelmingly endorsed similar legislation last year, before it stalled in the Senate. This time, though, the idea was backed by enough senators, Democrats as well as Republicans, that passage was not in doubt.

Please keep misunderestimating President Bush.

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:55 PM | Comments (0)

Haven't We Heard This Before?

Cross this line -- you die!

Iran, facing mounting U.S. pressure over its nuclear program, promised Thursday a "burning hell" for any aggressor as tens of thousands marched to mark the 26th anniversary of its Islamic revolution.

After all, it worked so well for Qaddafi. And Hussein.

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:49 PM | Comments (0)

February 07, 2005

This Will Be Fun

It ox-goring time on Capitol Hill:

President Bush sent Congress a $2.57 trillion budget plan Monday that seeks deep spending cuts across a wide swath of government from reducing subsidies paid to the nation's farmers, cutting health care payments for poor people and veterans and trimming spending on the environment and education.

The budget - the most austere of Bush's presidency - would eliminate or vastly scale back 150 government programs. It will spark months of contentious debate in Congress, where lawmakers will fight to protect their favored programs.

Is anyone else amused that a 12% increase from last year's budget is labelled austere? Funny how we can't cut a cent from the annual increases in government spending without the sky falling, isn't it? For those that care, here's what federal income and spending has been for the last fifteen years:

budget.PNG

For the record, it has taken 14 years for federal spending to double. That is a compounded annual growth rate of 5.08%. Surprisingly, this is only a little higher than the 4.90% compounded annual growth rate of GDP over the same time period (as computed from data available here). I wouldn't have expected that.

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

February 02, 2005

SOTU

What an unalloyed joy it is to have a President speak so often about freedom, elevating it above the laundry list of policy pronouncements we always get in a SOTU address. Hallelujah! Peace will flow from greater freedom, not the other way around.

The Democrat response is so poor as to beggar belief. Stunning. Absolutely stunning.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:26 PM | Comments (1)

SOTU, As If...

Things I'd like to hear tonight...

"Choose your next filibuster very carefully Mr. Reid, it may be your last."

"The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee."

"I know what you're thinking Kim Jong Il. You're thinking, did he commit six carrier groups or only five? And to tell you the truth I forgot myself in all this excitement. But being these are the US Armed Forces, the most powerful military in the world that will blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself a question. Do I feel lucky? Well do you, punk?"

"We live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Whose gonna do it? You? You, Howard Dean? I have more responsibility here than you could possibly fathom. You weep for terrorists, and you curse the marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That many Iraqi deaths, while tragic, probably saved lives. And that my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. I know deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it. I prefer you said thank you, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand to post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to."

"Freedom. There is no substitute."

"How 'bout those Illini?"

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:51 PM | Comments (1)

The Company You Keep

People For the Ethical Treatment of Stephen Pagones are not amused:

The Rev. Al Sharpton will not eat at KFC and he doesn't think you should either. Starting today, Mr. Sharpton is joining forces with the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to urge a boycott of KFC, which is owned by Yum Brands of Louisville, Ky. Mr. Sharpton and PETA want the fast food chain to require its chicken suppliers to put in place new standards for the treatment of the 750 million chickens they process for KFC every year in the United States. The rap mogul Russell Simmons is also joining the Sharpton campaign.

Great. Now every two-bit, Chicken Little campaign is going to want its own rap mogul.

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:13 PM | Comments (0)

January 31, 2005

All Vietnam, All the Time

The Guardian just can't get over it:

On September 4 1967 the New York Times published an upbeat story on presidential elections held by the South Vietnamese puppet regime at the height of the Vietnam war. Under the heading "US encouraged by Vietnam vote: Officials cite 83% turnout despite Vietcong terror", the paper reported that the Americans had been "surprised and heartened" by the size of the turnout "despite a Vietcong terrorist campaign to disrupt the voting". A successful election, it went on, "has long been seen as the keystone in President Johnson's policy of encouraging the growth of constitutional processes in South Vietnam". The echoes of this weekend's propaganda about Iraq's elections are so close as to be uncanny.

With the past few days' avalanche of spin, you could be forgiven for thinking that on January 30 2005 the US-led occupation of Iraq ended and the people won their freedom and democratic rights. This has been a multi-layered campaign, reminiscent of the pre-war WMD frenzy and fantasies about the flowers Iraqis were collecting to throw at the invasion forces. How you could square the words democracy, free and fair with the brutal reality of occupation, martial law, a US-appointed election commission and secret candidates has rarely been allowed to get in the way of the hype.

In related news, voting was down approximately 27% from the last Iraqi election which gave Saddam Hussein a resounding 99% majority. Clearly, this demonstrates that Iraq's short experiment with democracy is a miserable failure. Or is it a quagmire?

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:06 PM | Comments (0)

January 30, 2005

One Last Thought For Tonight

I don't want to hear any more about the US needing an exit strategy in Iraq. The only strategy I want to hear anything about is a strategy for victory. Oh, and carrying forward Ted Kennedy's quagmire language and everything's Vietnam lietmotif, I'm really enjoying the fact that the "insurgents'" "Tet" offensive has failed in Iraq now that the Democrat Party and Big Media no longer control the ability to broadcast news and opinion.

That is all.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:14 PM | Comments (0)

Watch Out for the DU Pigeons

There is certainly plenty of brass around for recasting:

The man replacing the mayor of Baghdad — who was assassinated for his pro-American loyalties — says he is not worried about his ties to Washington. In fact, he'd like to erect a monument to honor President Bush in the middle of the city.

"We will build a statue for Bush," said Ali Fadel, the former provincial council chairman. "He is the symbol of freedom."

I'll bet there's a statue of George W. Bush in Baghdad before there's one in Boston, New York or San Francisco. Any takers?

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:52 PM | Comments (0)

Taking Out the Eurotrash

As Stan Marsh once asked, "Dude, what the f*** is wrong with German people?"

A 25-year-old waitress who turned down a job providing "sexual services'' at a brothel in Berlin faces possible cuts to her unemployment benefit under laws introduced this year.

Prostitution was legalised in Germany just over two years ago and brothel owners – who must pay tax and employee health insurance – were granted access to official databases of jobseekers.

The waitress, an unemployed information technology professional, had said that she was willing to work in a bar at night and had worked in a cafe.

She received a letter from the job centre telling her that an employer was interested in her "profile'' and that she should ring them. Only on doing so did the woman, who has not been identified for legal reasons, realise that she was calling a brothel.

Under Germany's welfare reforms, any woman under 55 who has been out of work for more than a year can be forced to take an available job – including in the sex industry – or lose her unemployment benefit. Last month German unemployment rose for the 11th consecutive month to 4.5 million, taking the number out of work to its highest since reunification in 1990.

The government had considered making brothels an exception on moral grounds, but decided that it would be too difficult to distinguish them from bars. As a result, job centres must treat employers looking for a prostitute in the same way as those looking for a dental nurse.

Part of me keeps thinking this can't be real, but it certainly seems to be. Maybe it is all part of a plot to reduce the unemployment levels by getting women out of the job market and back to the three K's (Kirche, Kueche, Kinder). Or is it meant to encourage the Islamists currently in Germany to leave immediately? Or both? I mean, no one can propose something this preposterous without some colossally stupid reasons driving them.

How did Germany's society find itself suddenly in the ditch instead of cruising comfortably down the Autobahn?

Miss Garweg believes that pressure on job centres to meet employment targets will soon result in them using their powers to cut the benefits of women who refuse jobs providing sexual services.

"They are already prepared to push women into jobs related to sexual services, but which don't count as prostitution,'' she said.

"Now that prostitution is no longer considered by the law to be immoral, there is really nothing but the goodwill of the job centres to stop them from pushing women into jobs they don't want to do."

Unbelievable.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:47 PM | Comments (5)

Brilliant!

He's so much smarter than I:

Billionaire investor George Soros, the biggest financial contributor to the failed effort to defeat President George W. Bush in November's election, said Democratic challenger John Kerry was a flawed candidate.

Even if it did take Mr. Soros at least 12 months longer and an election to figure this out. Makes me wonder sometimes what I might accomplish if I applied myself.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:16 PM | Comments (0)

January 19, 2005

Promotion Night in Class A Ball

Does anyone else wonder what it says about Europe that all their leaders get together and celebrate as a major achievement the display of a new plane (whose development has cost $13B thus far) that still hasn't left the ground? Read this and marvel at the technological prowess that culminates in Europe's ability to turn on a floodlight!

Heads of state from the four traditional Airbus partner countries came together to help celebrate the unveiling of the first A380, paying tribute to the vision and dedication of Airbus and the spirit of co-operation that had made this day possible.

For French President Jacques Chirac, the unveiling of the A380 was a moment of pride and emotion.

He hailed the A380 as a great European success story and said the huge technological feat was matched by the environmental challenge, with the A380 being one of the cleanest aircraft in the world. President Chirac also thanked more than 200,000 workers in Europe and around the world whose efforts made the aircraft possible and the airlines for enabling the A380 to ‘spread its wings and fly’.

"Today is the culmination of a huge effort by all those involved in the programme," he said. "The A380 demonstrates the success of European industrial policy and embodies the vision of European integration. I hope this is the first in a long line of successes."

British Prime Minister Tony Blair said: "The A380 is the most exciting aircraft in the world and is a symbol of economic strength, technological innovation and a dedicated workforce."

He took the opportunity to pay tribute to the dedication and skills of workers in the UK and across Europe. "They deserve great praise for their contribution to this aircraft," he said.

"The A380 is the result of unprecedented co-operation between the four countries and today was the culmination of many years of hard work. This is a day of which we can all be truly proud."

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said the occasion was "a great day for Europe and the aviation industry and a triumph of engineering in the best traditions of our four countries".

"I still remember coming to Toulouse many years ago to discuss the A380 and how the project could be supported. And to those people who then said, ‘Lord knows when this project might happen’, we present this aircraft today," he said.

"You have written a piece of European history and I wish you all the best for the future."

Spanish Prime Minister José-Luis Rodriguez Zapatero described the A380 as a ‘monument of intelligence’ and a milestone in the capacity of human progress. Seeing the aircraft, he said people would reach the conclusion that ‘Europe can’t be stopped’.

He said the dream was made possible only because four countries came together under the single blue flag of the European Union, adding: "It’s the best example of civilised co-existence devised by man."

The four heads of state then joined Airbus President and CEO Noël Forgeard and the heads of airlines and Airbus shareholders in pressing the button which floodlit the A380 to a rapturous round of applause from the assembled guests and media.

I swear, when it comes to geoploitics and economics in the 21st century it's as though we are playing an altogether different game.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:53 PM | Comments (0)

Deja Vu

Tin soldiers and Terry's coming...

Dean Gaining Early Momentum in DNC Race

Or as CSN and sometimes Y once sang:

one two three four
If I had ever been here before
I would probably know just what to do.
Don't you?
If I had ever been here before on another time around the wheel
I would probably know just how to deal
With all of you.
And I feel like I've been here before,
Feel like I've been here before.
And you know it makes me wonder
What's going on under the ground, hmmm.
Do you know? Don't you wonder?
What's going on down under you
We have all been here before, we have all been here before
We have all been here before, we have all been here before
We have all been here before, we have all been here before

YEEEAAAARRRRRGGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:34 PM | Comments (0)

Anything You Can Do I Can Do Badder

John Kerry is going to show Al Gore how crazy, bitter loser is really done:

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted Wednesday to confirm Condoleezza Rice as secretary of state after two days of hearings in which she faced strenuous Democratic assaults on the Bush administration's handling of Iraq.

Pending approval by the full Senate, Rice would be the first black woman to hold the job. She was confirmed by a 16-2 vote with Democrats John Kerry of Massachusetts and Barbara Boxer of California voting no.

Nice company you've chosen to keep there Mr. Kerry. Remember how after 9/11 a lot of people that voted for Al Gore were really glad George W. Bush was president? John Kerry has shattered Al Gore's timeline for descent into moonbattery, not even waiting for the inauguration to make folks shake their head and contemplate the disaster that was once again narrowly averted,

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:17 PM | Comments (2)

January 05, 2005

Today in Sports

Congratulations to Ryne Sandberg for being elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame today. Ryne was one of my favorite players before I gave up on Major League Baseball -- about the same time he did. His attempt at a comeback mirrored mine as well. I wonder if I can still care if the Cubs ever make it back to the World Series? Oh and congratulations to Wade Boggs as well. But Peter Gammons hyping of Jim Rice for the HoF is a little too much East Coast bias for me. You Yankee fans will enjoy this though. In other baseball news, some lucky team is going to win the Carlos Beltran sweepstakes, thereby allowing him and his agent Scott Boras to destroy their team over the next three or four years.

Congratulations to USC! Good thing we've had the BCS or we wouldn't have had Oklahoma blown out in the national championship game in consecutive years. Can we finally admit that the BCS is a miserable failure and go back to the old bowl series now?

How 'bout those Illini! Meanwhile the unstoppable hype for the ACC continues. Nice game you had in Champaign there Mr. Paul.

The NHL is still dead. The NBA is not, though you couldn't prove it by my viewing habits.

Which Mike is going to lose more sleep this week, Martz or Holmgren?

The Tillman Rangers won the IF(F)FL Fantasy League Bowl last weekend. This is my second consecutive league championship in the keeper league that I've been in now for thirteen years. Every year I select a new location and "mascot" for my team. This year I chose to honor Pat Tillman and his sacrifice with the Rangers from Tillman, SC. I hope I can go back to more mundane team names next year. In my twelve other leagues I won two more championships and finished second in six others. I learned this year that thirteen is way too many fantasy leagues to try and keep up with.

But if you really want to be up to date on sports commentary, start here.

And in case it slipped by you above, even non-Yankee fans will enjoy this.

DOWNDATE: I received this in an e-mail from ESPN:

Dear Fantasy Football League Champion,

Congratulations on winning your league. Don't be a gracious winner. The great thing about Fantasy Football is you get to rub it in. No friendly cliches to the media and no respecting your opponent. Now reward yourself with a visible title.

You can purchase a trophy that is yours forever or go for the league trophy, which can be back up for grabs next year. Make sure to brand it first with your team name. How big of a sore winner are you?

Nice people there running the ABC/Disney empire.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:24 PM | Comments (3)

Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes

Good on ya, mates:

Prime Minister John Howard pledged $1 billion to help Indonesia get back on its feet from the ravages of the Boxing Day tsunami, stealing the lead on other world leaders who will gather in Jakarta on Thursday to discuss the aid program.

But "stealing the lead" seems a bit churlish and editorial in nature, doesn't it? But in another of the good news/bad news depending on your perspective:

North Korea has ordered its citizens to be ready for a protracted war against the United States, issuing guidelines on evacuating to underground bunkers with weapons, food and portraits of leader Kim Jong Il.

Yes, yes, yes, yes, I included this below in the No, No, No, No post, but maybe this is a sign that the end is near for the world's most foolishly wicked man and that the salvation of the long-suffering North Korean people is nigh. Well, I can hope. Just like I can hope that this more equal than others hypocrite is nailed for..., wait for it ..., fake turkey giving:

The director of a Detroit food bank wants to know what happened to 60 turkeys -- 720 pounds of frozen birds -- that his charity gave to members of U.S. Rep. John Conyers' local staff two days before Thanksgiving to give to needy people.

Conyers' Detroit office promised an accounting of any turkey distribution by Dec. 27, but the Gleaners Community Food Bank had received no paperwork as of Tuesday, said the charity's director, Agostinho Fernandes.

Fernandes said he became suspicious that the turkeys didn't get to poor people after hearing from a friend that a federal court worker had said he was offered free turkeys from a member of Conyers' staff.

Isn't it all rather typical that Congressman Conyer's office has promised an "accounting of any turkey distribution," but no actual turkeys for the poor? Maybe they can use some of the leftover sauce for this gander in Washington:

State House and Senate leaders who gather here next week will announce that, hearing no objection, the Legislature hereby ratifies the 2004 election.

But with the prospect that Republicans may contest the race that Gov.-elect Christine Gregoire won by 129 votes over Dino Rossi in a controversial hand recount, that tradition might become the first casualty of the Legislative session.

House Minority Leader Bruce Chandler, R-Granger, said yesterday that unless questions are answered about the election process -- specifically about how several counties counted thousands more votes than there were voters recorded -- Republicans plan to object.

Chandler said House Republicans plan to "work with whoever wins the race," but he added that with all the unanswered questions, "we don't know who won the election, and we never will."

Of course, now that they've "won" some people just want to, to borrow a phrase, move on:

Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, D-Spokane, said it's time to put the election behind and move forward to address the pressing issues of the state. She said election officials followed the rules. Brown said Republicans are upset because their candidate lost.

Takes one to know one, eh Lisa?

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:46 PM | Comments (1)

No, No, No, No

American Giggle-o:

Actor Richard Gere has recorded a TV commercial urging Palestinians to vote in their election Sunday. In a transcript obtained by The Associated Press, he said: "Hi, I'm Richard Gere, and I'm speaking for the entire world. We're with you during this election time. It's really important: Get out and vote."

Palestinian people: By all means vote, but please understand that I am not with you. And I certainly don't remember sigining any proxy for Richard Gere to speak for me. But perhaps I should be pleased that your culture hasn't yet been infected with the cult of celebrity as mine has:

The spot is apparently an attempt to use both glamour and religion to get Palestinians to the polls. It will air soon. It's unclear what kind of sway Gere may have with Palestinians. One man who appeared with him in the spot said he'd never heard of Gere.

Such ignorance is bliss. Meanwhile in fantasyland:

North Korea has ordered its citizens to be ready for a protracted war against the United States, issuing guidelines on evacuating to underground bunkers with weapons, food and portraits of leader Kim Jong Il.

Protracted? I don't think so. I sincerely hope this is just more silly bravado from North Korea. If not, the fourth largest army in the world is going to have a short, exciting life. But their fifteen minutes of fame will have significantly more existential meaning than Amber Frey's:

Amber Frey, the buck-toothed, baby-voiced massage therapist from Fresno who briefly loved Scott Peterson before she tried nailing him to the wall, will not be ignored.

The woman talented enough to have acquired faith in God, the services of a murderous lover, and a high-powered publisher has added her name to a memoir nearly as slim and shallow as she is.

As a public service, here's a cheat sheet to "Witness For the Prosecution of Scott Peterson." I'll skip over Amber's tedious whining about her life as a single mom and cut to the naughty bits, because this is an important book...

Amber's Dating Tip No. 1: A Mom has Needs, So Plan Ahead...

Dating Tip 2: You can't be too thin or too easy...

Dating Tip 3: After the Binge, Don't Forget the Purge...

Dating Tip 4: When Short on Ideas, Shed Clothes.

To be fair, we already knew Scott Peterson wasn't all that bright, but jeez. Meanwhile, something that reminds me of the saying that minor surgery is what happens to other people:

The International Space Station's main oxygen generator has failed, forcing astronauts to use an emergency back-up air supply, according to Local 6 News. NASA officials said Russian Cosmonaut Salizhan Sharipov and crewmate Leroy Chiao are not in any immediate danger and engineers are confident that some backup procedures and in-flight repairs can keep the two astronauts breathing easy, Local 6 News reported Wednesday morning. It is believed that there are enough reserves onboard the space station to last its crew at least another 60 days if there are no other mechanical failures.

Well, let's hope that NASA officials and engineers confidence is warranted and that there are no more mechanical failures then, shall we? But where the heck is Local 6 News located to report on this story?

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:40 PM | Comments (0)

January 03, 2005

Codswallop

Check out what these leading British liberal lights think about the world's reaction to the tsunami tragedy and whether ... 2005 might see a new determination to tackle global poverty:

THE RIGHT REV TIM STEVENS, Bishop of Leicester

I am hopeful, but we must see a real commitment to changing the economic relationships between the West and the poorer countries. As well as charitable giving, we need to tackle these fundamental issues.

I'd like to think he's advocating free trade, but sadly, I doubt it.

RORY BREMNER, Comedian

On an individual level, it is not just about what we are prepared to give, but what we are prepared to give up. Having left Afghanistan and Iraq in their wake, can our leaders be trusted to fight a war on poverty?

What we are prepared to give up? So one's commitment to progressivism is now measured by how regressive we need to be? Bloody freedom, overrated in Afghanistan and Iraq, in't it guvner? To paraphrase California's governor in Commando, "You're a funny man Rory, that's why I'm going to kill you last."

KANYA KING, Founder, Mobo awards

No longer can we exist in isolation when we see lives and livelihoods being destroyed. All of us need to be pro-active to change things, but we have shown that public opinion and the media can influence government.

No longer must tens of thousands of people die for this vise-like grasp on the short and curly hairs of the obvious to take hold in Kanya King's brain.

STEPHEN TINDALE, Executive director, Greenpeace

It seems churlish to say it, but while it's relatively easy for most of us to give £50, it would be much harder for us to make the changes in our modern lifestyles that are needed if we are to move to a fairer world.

Seems? No, I think you've got churlish spot on old boy.

DR GHAYASUDDIN SIDDIQUI, Leader of Muslim Parliament

Compassion, care and concern for mankind joins each of us - whatever our faith or ethnicity. The tragedy has shown there is a formula on which all mankind can be united to help each other. Mankind has moved forward.

Bloody hell, how'd that bit of common sense creep in here? But let's hope it doesn't always take a world class tragedy to get us to work together.

BILL BAILEY, Comedian

It was the same after 11 September. Everyone said it was a great opportunity to try to understand the world but it was used by the US as a reason to go on a rampaging adventure in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Note: Why the Independent keeps turning to "comedians" for serious geopolitical commentary is something I haven't figured out yet, though apparently liberating Afghanistan and Iraq seems to have taken the piss out of a number of them. Have they been deprived of a source of material or something?

MO MOWLAM, Former cabinet minister

I think most people will simply forget. Some charities say people will even forget how much they pledged to give. I wish it would change our attitudes to other people in other countries, but I'm afraid that it won't.

That's the spirit, bloody proles can't be bothered to remember how miserable their existences are. No Mo-mentum here, though Mo's got that whole Right Said Ed "other" thing down pat. What's the matter, did the Independent lose Clare Short's number?

SIR JONATHON PORRITT, Environmentalist

The response reveals a deep sense of empathy that could be of lasting value. If it is just a philanthropic flash, then we have seen those before, but if people gain a sense of their interdependence, we will be better off.

"We are the world, we are the children..." Uh huh.

DINOS CHAPMAN, Artist

Western capitalism demands that people must be impoverished. I cannot think that anything will change this year, because we are the ones who have made the world the way it is. I don't believe in altruism.

No, no, western capitalism only demands that small-minded, self-centered artists be impoverished. But Dinos' last comment indicates he's somewhat confused about this whole philosophy thing.

LORD HURD OF WESTWELL, Former foreign secretary

The danger is that resources which might have gone to Africa will go to this instead. While huge publicity continues to be given to the tsunami, human beings are killing each other in Iraq, and places like Darfur.

One of which is in fact in Africa! I am reminded of something Ian Hislop once said in reference to his Lordship on Have I Got News For You, "Rhyming slang, rhymes with turd." Of course, being a politician and having to prioritize your actions given limited resources is such a bitch.

SIR MAX HASTINGS, Journalist and historian

We have to bear in mind that we have been here before. There have been tragedies before, and many fine things have been said, a lot of them by the US. We just have to hope that in this case they will follow through.

We've been here before? And Sir Max is a historian? Sure, journalist I can understand, but an historian? I can think of three things in the last sixty years that killed more than one-hundred thousand people in as short a time, and the first two involved the use of atomic weapons and were not immediately followed by an outpouring of sympathy from the American people. One thing you should remember about the US though Sir Max -- when we decide to follow through, we can follow through.

J G BALLARD, Novelist

It would be one of the biggest breakthroughs mankind has ever experienced if we pooled our wealth in order to look after the poorer people of the world. Sadly, I don't think it will happen.

No, it won't. But sadly, I don't think J G has a clue as to why.

SUE MACGREGOR, Broadcaster

I hope politicians will take note of the public reaction. But it is difficult to tell whether it will do anything to change the way politicians see things, when our own Prime Minister chose not to break his holiday.

Nose to the grindstone Tony, never let up. Isn't it funny how poorly understood democracy seems to be, even amongst those who claim to be its protectors? Gosh I bet Sue's just the life of the party down at the pub.

TONY BENN, Former cabinet minister

It may make people realise that the UN needs to be well-equipped and funded. If people diverted money from weapons and war, we have the technology and money to be able to help - if we decide to do that.

Thank goodness his title starts with the word "former." How about we start with the IRA and Al Qaeda, eh Tony?

SIR RICHARD BRANSON, Entrepreneur

I think that politicians must realise that people do care about these issues and want them to do more. If 2005 could become the year when people make a real effort, then it could make a real difference.

Paraphrasing Homer Simpson: "Stupid fake efforts of the past." Suddenly, picking Sir Richard for the 2005 Dead Pool doesn't seem in quite such bad taste.

Listen, all of you. Get up off your collective asses and do something about the problems in the world around you instead of wringing your hands and expecting your government to do it all on your behalf. When you grasp this subtle nuance of how Americans approach problems, perhaps we'll all be able to work a little more closely together in the future. Until then, sod off.

Oh, and Rory, "I lied."

P.S. Note to Rory and Sir Richard, its a bloody joke. Ok? Feel the irony. Embrace the irony. Be the irony.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:28 PM | Comments (7)

December 22, 2004

Speaking of Advertising...

Or is it opening one's mouth and removing all doubt?

A portrait of President Bush using monkeys to form his image that was banished from a New York art show last week amid charges of censorship was projected on a giant billboard in Manhattan on Tuesday.

"Bush Monkeys," a small acrylic on canvas by Chris Savido, created the stir last week at the Chelsea Market public space, leading the market's managers to close down the 60-piece show.

Sixty pieces, why that's five times the number needed!

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:30 PM | Comments (0)

Not Content With Just Being a Loser?

Why not advertise!

Just a month before President Bush second inauguration, protesters on Tuesday offered plans for an anti-war rally, a counter-inaugural ball and a show of backs turned along Bush's parade route.

At least three groups of anti-Bush protesters are mobilizing around Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, when the theme of the $40 million official ceremony is "Celebrating Freedom, Honoring Service."

For some protesters, though, the unifying theme is, "Bush is illegitimate and corrupt," organizer Shahid Buttar said at a news conference.

This one works on so many levels it doesn't seem fair.

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:29 PM | Comments (0)

Sweet

George W. Bush: "Are you ready Karl?"
Karl Rove: "Aha."
George W. Bush: "Andy?"
Andy Card: "Yeah."
George W. Bush: "John?"
John Snow: "Ok."
George W. Bush: "Alright fellas, let's go!"

And the man in the back said everyone attack and it turned into a MSM blitz:

Bush Plans a Media Blitz on Social Security

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:21 PM | Comments (1)

Who is John Galt?

A European Union court ruled Wednesday that Microsoft Corp. must immediately divulge some trade secrets to competitors and produce a version of its flagship Windows operating system stripped of the program that plays music and video.

The EU needs to become less competitive, don't you think? Gosh, wouldn't it be great in an Ayn Rand sort of way if Microsoft just decided to tell the EU to take a flying leap and make do without Microsoft products instead?

Who do you think would blink first?

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:17 PM | Comments (2)

Can You Imagine a Headline Like This One Year Ago?

Oil Prices Plummet Below $44 a Barrel

But ..., but ..., how are all the Bushitler cronies going to make their blood money if oil prices are falling? Personally, I look forward to the impending oil price decline driven deflation for 2005.

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:06 PM | Comments (0)

Poisoning the Well

Cementing into place a policy started by Al Gore four years ago, perhaps the new Democrat Party motto is: One person, one vote, ... recounts until we win.

Gee, if Christine Gregoire wins on the third recount, I can't wait for the frothing spittle-flecked retorts from the Angry Left should Dino Rossi start questioning the process and motives of all those engaged, drop hints about illicit votes and illegal voters, accuse his opponents of stealing and suppressing votes, and..., wait for it..., demand his first recount!

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

December 10, 2004

Why I Haven't Been Blogging Much

Reason #1: Work, family, and the holidays seem more important.

Reason #2: (The latest variation on a theme) -- Calling humanity a threat to the planet, Kenyan environmentalist Wangari Maathai urged democratic reform and an end to corporate greed after becoming the first African woman to collect the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday. And if that's not enough, there's always her crackpot theories about AIDS that will receive even more positive attention now that she's a certified, bona fide, on the other side Nobel Peace Prize winner. Who knew that the Nobel Peace Prize could be further degraded than by previously awarding it Yasser Arafat and Jimmy Carter?

The fact that someone so ignorant of the basic tenets of reality and so chock full of nonsense is taken seriously and feted by the intelligentsia, Big Media, and politicians of all stripes is prfoundly distressing. When Maathai is ridiculed publicly by more than just a couple of bloggers for being an idiot, Cliff Notes Marxist, more deserving of being tarred and feathered for suggesting that "humanity" is a threat to the planet than being given a check for $1,400,000 to spread her particular brand of anti-human lunacy, then maybe I'll begin to believe once more that there is hope for mankind.

I'll be generous and give us a 50-50 chance right now. A good first step would be disestablishing the Nobel Peace Prize and awarding a Nobel Freedom Prize instead. I've always believed freedom is more important than peace and if you honestly seek out the root causes of so many of our most serious geopolitical problems today, valuing peace over freedom seems to be at the heart of them -- starting with Iraq.

See, I could rant like this every day about something, but what's the point?

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:36 PM | Comments (4)

December 02, 2004

Has Karl Rove Selected Rudy Guiliani for 2008?

Kerik Named to Lead Homeland Security

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:10 PM | Comments (3)

November 20, 2004

European Values

Consecutive headlines at The Drudge Report:

EU officials implore new immigrants to learn 'European values'...

[SPANISH] FANS HURL RACIST EPITHETS AT BLACK SOCCER STARS...

Popular politician wants Holland shut to non-Westerners...

Outraged Greeks say Alexander was not bisexual...

Who knew racism, xenophobia and homophobia were European values?

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:00 PM | Comments (1)

November 16, 2004

One Small Problem

Congratulations to Condi Rice as she is selected by the President for confirmation to be the next Secretary of State! This is a true milestone, and I certainly expect Ms. Rice to shine when compared to, say, Madeleine Albright. Dancing with dictators is undoubtedly off the agenda. Too bad the President didn't have a woman lined up to be Attorney General that would have compared favorably to Janet Reno. But, I digress.

Some have speculated about a 2008 matchup now between Ms. Rice and Senator Clinton in the race to be the 44th President of the United States. The biggest problem with this is the job that Ms. Rice will be taking on. As a practical matter, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to run for President, or Vice President for that matter, while acting as Secretary of State. On top of that, there is a long precedent for Secretaries of State to try and avoid domestic partisan politics as much as possible. So Ms. Rice taking the helm at Foggy Bottom and running in 2008 only makes sense if she expects to stay in her new job for less than two years.

Somehow, I don't think that this is what she or the President has in mind.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:37 AM | Comments (8)

November 15, 2004

It is the Season For Mulled Wine

The hits just a keep on comin':

Netherlands Mulling Anti-Terror Laws

Don't use too much cinnamon!

DOWNDATE: James Taranto adds:

Marwan Barghouti was mulling a run for the Palestinian Authority presidency

It warms the heart to see so many getting in the, ahem, Christmas spirit.

DOUBLE DOWNDATE: What is this, the word of the day?

Glenn Reynolds mulls cabinet moves

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:34 PM | Comments (0)

A Finger in the Dike

While we're on clichés:

Holland Prepares to Dam Up Jihad

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:30 PM | Comments (0)

The Yolks On You

Somebody had to do it. Although I haven't yet seen a reference to Mr. Carville's problem being one of counting his chickens before they hatched.

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:26 PM | Comments (0)

In the Immortal Words of Yoda...

"Do, or do not. There is no try."

An unidentified man tried to set himself on fire outside the White House fence midday Monday, witnesses said... A spokesman for the District of Columbia Fire Department said the man suffered burns over about 30 percent of his body.

Gee, are we going to see him now on Sorry Everybody! Or is this fellow another outcast from the Burning Man? Or was he merely trying to call forth Moses with his burning so close to Bush? At least we are pretty certain it wasn't a case of spontaneous combustion.

Oh, and let me guess, someone is now going to suggest we should listen to what this cripy critter has to say because he set himself on fire. Man, do I have a bad attitude or what?

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:22 PM | Comments (1)

Enquiring Minds and All That

Anybody want to wager on when John Kerry or John Edwards next tell us that Mary Cheney is a lesbian? As little as four years ago, who could've guessed that two Senators would make talking about lesbians a major point of their campaign -- I mean, aside from us redneck brownshirts in Jesusland?

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:15 PM | Comments (2)

May I Suggest, "Murderer's Row"

Uh, shouldn't that be "misgoverned"?

Several French municipalities governed by communist and left-wing majorities are considering naming a street or a square after Yasser Arafat.

Here are some other alternatives a la Francais:

Rue Terroriste
Assassin Avenue
Meurtier Cul-de-sac

Any more suggestions?

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:05 PM | Comments (1)

November 12, 2004

The Realignment is Real

The latest vote totals from the election are as follows:

election.bmp

This isn't exactly news, but after doing some analysis I discovered a couple of very interesting things that will greatly trouble the Angry Left. I looked at the difference in votes in each of the states and noticed two trends that would seem to indicate that the election wasn't close at all and, in fact, may not be close again any time soon.

First of all, look at the states either candidate won by at least 10%:

election9.bmp

Then look at the states where either candidate won by less than 5%:

election5.bmp

These numbers indicate that the red states are very, very red, and that there aren't many red states where great efforts will have to be extended to keep them red; whereas, the blue states are fewer in number and not secure at all. I have to admit that I expected this to be true before I started crunching the numbers, but I was surprised at the strength of the Republican's hold on the red states vice the Democrat's hold on the blue states.

Maybe this is why nobody is leaping forward to take on the hopeless task of Democrat Party Chairman.

(The spreadsheet that was used to generate the numbers above is too large to display here, but it is rather simple. I can probably mail it to anyone that is interested in it. Oh yeah, I bitched about Washington, D.C., being considered a state in an earlier post, but it is the easiest way to deal with it in this context.)

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:03 PM | Comments (0)

November 04, 2004

Is It Alright to Speak Ill of the Virtually Dead?

As others have noted, it is a great irony that Arafat died in a bed. Peacefully. In France. If he does get up, I'm going to have to go back and reread Revelations, what with living in, you know, Jesusland and all. But hey, maybe somebody can make a movie called Ocean's 13 about a madcap chase by a bunch of lowlifes to find Arafat's billions.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:12 PM | Comments (2)

Get Well Soon

Elizabeth Edwards has been diagnosed with breast cancer. There is never a good time for this, but right now has to be especially difficult. I wish Mrs. Edwards the best of luck with her treatments and hope she fully and quickly recovers. Best wishes to her and all her family as they all go through this ordeal. They've had more than their share of bad luck. If any of this was weighing on John Edwards' mind yesterday, then he gets a pass from me.

Here's one way to help and express support: Susan J. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:59 PM | Comments (0)

Hare-Brained

Hey, liberal America! You want to know what the problem you have connecting with red state America is? It's when I read something like this I can't tell whether he's serious or if it's a parody.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:14 PM | Comments (3)

But When I Became I Man, I Put Away Childish Things

This ought to put to rest the desire by some to see John Edwards in 2008:

When Cahill told him the numbers didn't add up, the candidate's reaction was immediate — he told her to put together a plan for a graceful concession.

Kerry's family was devastated. The legion of Democratic lawyers and operatives on the ground were eager to mount a challenge.

Kerry's running mate, the boyish John Edwards, said they shouldn't concede, the fight wasn't over.

But the more mature, 60-year-old Kerry would have none of it.

"He instantly made the decision that he didn't want to put the country through any lengthy litigation," Cahill said later. "To go forward [with a lawsuit] in a time of war — that was something he didn't want to do."

This helps to explain the petulant nature of John Edwards pre-concession speech yesterday. Little John has been drinking the Kool-Aid for far too long. Either that or he seems to think that suing is the answer to all problems. John Edwards is a little too old to be "immature" about such matters, especially if he wants to be president, don't you think?

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:47 AM | Comments (6)

November 03, 2004

When Your Answers Don't Add Up, Check Your Assumptions

Long, ad hoc, wandering post in the extended entry explaining why some really, really, smart people are missing something that should be crystal clear about the election results. Cripes, I need an editor.

Some nights when I work late, I catch a repeat of the Tavis Smiley show on the way home. Normally, I do this just to get myself riled up with a case of radio rage, but about once every four years I do it to gloat. Tavis and his guests didn't let me down tonight. Once again, I heard one of the oft-repeated memes from the "reality-based community" that Bush couldn't possibly have won more than 50% of the popular vote since more than 50% of America thought the country is headed in the wrong direction. The only thing more surprising than the "reality-based community's" confusion over this point is their shock and amazement that "morality" was the single most important issue to the largest number of people voting according to another poll (usual caveats apply), and that these voters broke overwhelmingly for Bush. What these really, really smart people -- and we know they are really, really smart because they keep telling us that they are really, really smart -- can't seem to grasp is that some of the people who think the country is headed in the wrong direction are the very same people who think morality is the most important criterion in deciding whom to vote for. Take my word for it that this particular demographic were not going to be voting for John Kerry and they do not blame President George W. Bush for all that ails America. The liberation of Iraq is not the only issue on the table, even if the shouting in the echo chamber tends to drown most everything else out. Heck, even Bob Kerrey said the people of Gallia, Ohio, didn't give a damn about the war in Iraq. Now I doubt that Mr. Kerrey was correct when he said that, and his condescension has been duly noted, but I don't doubt that some of the people in Gallia, Ohio, are very much opposed to say, gay marriage, partial birth abortion, or stem cell research that requires the destruction of human embryos.

Or, maybe, it's not so much that they are opposed to gay marriage as they are opposed to having gay marriage forced upon them by people who consider them stupid, extremist, fundamentalist bigots. Or, maybe, they take offense when what they consider as their sacred regard for human life is ridiculed. I'm certain that the moral plurality don't like to be treated with contempt by people whom they believe are motivated by a self interest that seems to make them a little too casual when it comes to what the ridiculed truly believe is the murder of the weakest and most defenseless amongst us.

The progressive forces who were behind the nationwide push this past year for gay marriage didn't stray outside their cozy little echo chambers long enough to realize how much they were alienating and energizing people who were very much opposed to them. The take no prisoners pro-choice crowd isn't exactly winning any friends or influencing any people either with their absolutist stand on partial birth abortion. No matter how noble the intentions of those advocating the most experimental stem cell research, in the eyes of the pro-life crowd, the most assertive voices are perceived as being a little too willing to take actual lives for nothing more than the potential to sustain other lives. These are profound moral issues, and yet, rather than try to educate and convince their opponents, progressive reactionaries lambast them as illiterate, retarded, or crazy. Most people are emotional mirrors. If you treat them with disdain, anger and condescension, you shouldn't be surprised when the hostility is returned, with interest.

I have no way of determining this, but I would wager that the number of people who think the country is headed in the wrong direction and believe that this is President George W. Bush's fault is probably only in the 40-45% range. If I'm right, then it resolves the apparent paradox of how President George W. Bush could get 51.5% of the popular vote even when more than 50% of the populace thinks the country is headed in the wrong direction. Is the us versus them mentality that is so prevalent today what causes so many to set up false dichotomies, such as imagining that everybody either believes President George Bush is 100% perfect or that he is 100% evil, and further that everyone must conveniently fit into one of these two pigeonholes? The need to demonize those not in their own pigeonhole is another tribal-based pathology that I'm even less qualified to pontificate on.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:31 PM | Comments (5)

Gloating

Sometimes, it is justified:

A post-election comment from George Soros

Obviously, I am distressed at the outcome of the election. I hope, but don't trust, that the second Bush administration will have learned something from the mistakes of the first. What is at stake is our ability to recognize our own fallibility.

Starting with "our" own, right George? As we look at the success of SpaceShipOne and anticipate the widespread availability of space travel, I wonder which wealthy celebrity will be the first to threaten to leave the planet if the proles don't bow down to their preferred electoral whims? Anybody interested in starting X-terra pool to bet on who will be first and when?

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:06 PM | Comments (4)

Did D.C. Become a State When I Wasn't Looking?

Yahoo seems to think so.

yahoo.JPG

* Just in case the inference isn't clear.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:03 PM | Comments (2)

Gracious and Good

Senator Kerry has conceded. This is a gracious act that reflects very well on his character and his future. It also happens to be very good for all of us. I believe this reflects the true nature of Senator Kerry now that he is unburdened by the seamier side of trying to win. Maybe he'll run for Senate Minority Leader now.

To paraphrase the Bard, for Al Gore and now John Kerry: Nothing in his campaign became him like the leaving it.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:07 PM | Comments (1)

The Morning After

Hey! Bush won! But the heaping wads of cash I wished for still haven’t shown up. I bet you thought I was wishing for a Bush victory yesterday when I blew out the candles -- and you would lose. I was wishing for great wads of cash to be dropped on my doorstep since I was quite confident that Bush was already going to win. No use wasting a birthday wish on something that will already happen.

As of this morning, President Bush has 51.55568% of the popular vote and Senator Kerry has 48.44431%. I can’t help but wonder that if the numbers were reversed Big Media would be rounding the larger number to 52% instead of truncating it to 51%. I predicted a 52% vote total to Bush. With rounding, which is normal in these instances, I declare that prediction a success.

Over at Ipse Dixit I also predicted that Bush would get 312 electoral votes, and that the GOP would pick up 3 Senate seats and 6 seats in the House. With respect to the electoral vote, the total now seems to be closer to 286. I was wrong about New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. With respect to the Senate, it looks like the GOP will pick up 6 seats (DeMint, Burr, Isakson, Martinez, Vitter, Thune ) while losing 2 seats (Obama, Salazar) for a net gain of 4. I expected Murkowski to lose. Unfortunately, with the rules of the Senate, not much will change. With respect to the House, it is still too early to tell, but I feel comfortable with my estimate of a GOP pickup of 6 seats. All told, this tells me that I was being fairly realistic in my outlook based upon my filters of all the news and polls.

Before 8:00 PM I thought that the exit polls were crap. Strangely enough, I didn’t know about the exit poll predictions until about 7:00 PM. I had been out of the house and not on the ‘net so I didn’t know about Drudge or anyone else posting the bogus exit polls. But it does explain the early evening depression on Fox, except, of course, for Juan Williams, who got a lot quieter as the evening wore on. As I predicted then, the exit polls will become another Big Media scandal in the coming days.

And yet another prediction I made last week came true. Every “heartland” state went for President Bush.

Transnational Progressivism’s victory party has been deferred, but the battle will rage on.

I predict blogosphere hits will drop precipitously in the coming weeks. But blogs are here to stay.

I saw Wonkette for the first time while flipping channels last night. She appear to be nothing more than a flippant poseur who wouldn’t get the time of day from Big Media (or Big Blogosphere) if she looked like Helen Thomas and didn’t talk about sex.

As a thought experiment, imagine how badly John Kerry would have lost without the 5% boost from Big Media that Evan Thomas suggested. You’d be a fool to imagine that this Big Media bonus will now go away.

Megan McArdle says:

THINGS ARE LOOKING BAD FOR TOM DASCHLE IN SOUTH DAKOTA. I confess I don't understand the obsession that led to pouring $25 million into the state to defeat a rather moderate minority leader, but this will be a big scalp for the Republicans.

Megan is very smart, but maybe the lack of sleep was clouding her judgment on this one. Aside from the obvious advantage of taking down the leader of the other party, the number of truly contested Senate seats is small in every election, so if you can flip one, that justifies the expense.

And while I’m commenting on Instapundit guest contributors, there's also this from Ann Althouse:

Here in Madison, I'm surrounded by overwhelming numbers of people who voted against the President and must be horrified at the prospect of four more years. I was just saying yesterday afternoon, as I was reading the exit polls that so favored Kerry, that it might be better for the national psyche, at least, if Kerry won, that it would be much harder for Kerry supporters to tolerate more Bush than for Bush supporters to accept giving the other party a chance for a while. But, despite some lingering denial among Kerry supporters (including some MSM outlets), that is not to be. Those of us who are happy with the outcome would do well to resist gloating. There is a lot of pain out there, and perhaps setting an example of graceful winning can help inspire some graceful acceptance of loss.

Oh please. I do agree that we should be graceful winners, but people that are horrified by the thought of four more years of Bush need to grow up or seek some professional help. Frankly, I don’t give a damn about their self esteem. I wouldn’t have liked it if Kerry had won, but I wasn’t promising to leave the country if he won. Whatever happened to the virtues of putting up the good fight and then accepting the outcome? The infantile behavior and underlying thought patterns of the Angry Left that drive them do not deserve kid gloves and sympathy. I’m happy about the outcome and I’m not gloating. Sure, there are some who positively revel in the schadenfreude today, but that’s nothing compared to what those of us who are happy today would have been subjected to had the result gone the other way. Oh, and I feel the same way about Europe.

Primary benefits of President Bush’s reelection:

1. The malignant malevolence of the political malefactor Terry McAuliffe should be become a thing of the past. If I were a Republican, I’d wish him to stay considering his track record. As it happens, I am not a Republican, so I’d rather the adults retake control of the Democrat Party. My support of President Bush had a lot more to do with a concern over the election of John Kerry than any strong belief that George W. Bush is a great president. Having said that, President Bush is much better on the War on Terrorism than he is generally given credit for. The negativity surrounding the reportage of Iraq is just ridiculous. Events on the ground are much better than anyone expected before we went in – and that’s a fact. Maybe now the saner heads in the Democrat Party can stop wishing for bad things to happen just to make President Bush look bad. Maybe Mr. McAuliffe can open up an You're Doomed! consultancy with Bob Shrum.

2. Chief Justice Rehnquist can safely retire now and relax for his remaining years. The same is true of Justice Stevens and Justice O’Conner.

3. The days are now numbered for the scum of Fallujah. Did anybody else see the live feed of our troops watching Fox News from Fallujah last night? Who knew we had troops who could sit and watch TV in Fallujah? Isn't Fallujah supposed to be a lawless encampment that we cannot enter?

4. North Korea and Iran (the remaining members of the Axis of Evil) just received their wake up call.

5. Maybe Andrew Sullivan will stop exhibiting the symptoms of bipolar punditry, with all its higher than high highs and lower than low lows. Andrew is bright, talented and perceptive, but his wild mood swings do not do him justice.

6. After his concession speech we may never have to hear Senator Kerry's monotone, sonorous platitudes again.

7. The silly, and I do mean silly, talk about dispensing with the electoral college will subside for a while. Anybody who thinks the electoral college is going away either hasn't read the U.S. Constitution or they didn't understand it when they did read it.

8. All the meaningless, nonsensical coincidences that are offered up as predictive correlations, if not causal agents, for presidential election results can be put to rest, e.g., the Washington Redskin's final home game result before the election.

9. Ron Reagan should retire from public life. Ron, trust me, your friends on the Left find your commentary as uninformed and your politics as juvenile as I do. Now that the warm glowing warming glow of having Ronald Reagan's son dis his political heirs has worn off, they'll be taking your microphone away because you are embarrassing even them.

10. Political polling has become almost hopelessly disreputable.

11. Sean Puffy P. Diddy Daddy Combs can go back to whatever he was doing before his Big Media hyped power grab to become the hip-hop political power broker. So, with the absence of the youth vote, how many people died Diddy Daddy?

And now, back to life...

DOWNDATE: I added a couple more benefits that slipped my mind earlier.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:09 AM | Comments (8)

November 02, 2004

1955 CST: I Remain Extremely Optimistic

As I've sat watching the returns for a little over an hour it has seemed as thought what the talking heads were saying were not matching the numbers that were rolling by the screen. I'm watching Fox primarily, and the folks there have been starting to worry about Bush's chances based upon the exit polls and the slowness in calling obvious Bush states like Virginia and Mississippi. But what I've seen, as the numbers roll by, has Bush steadily increasing his lead across the board.

And now, Bill Kristol just nailed it. He speculated for the first time about whether or not there might be a systematic error in the exit polls based upon what they are actually seeing in the returns from the precincts where the polling was done.

Nothing has changed. Big Media has been drinking their own bathwater for so long they no longer realize that that is what they are doing -- even the folks at Fox. It's still Bush with 52% of the popular vote and 312 electoral votes from where I sit. And by the end of the week, the problems with the exit polls and why they were so wrong will be the big story.

DOWNDATE: Michael Barone is offering evidence now as well from Florida that the actual returns are breaking much more strongly for Bush than the exit polls indicate.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:53 PM | Comments (0)

Da, Da, Da, Da, Da, Da, Da, Da, Da, They Say It's My Birthday!

I've mentioned it before, but today's my birthday. I've blown out the candles and made my wish. Now, all of you are going to give me a present and make my wish come true... aren't you?

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:34 AM | Comments (7)

November 01, 2004

America Is From Mars, Europe Is From Venus

I don't know, I just had to say it.

With Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery playing on the TV in the background, I am inspired to say something about where Senator Kerry's from, but good manners and decorum prevent me from doing so.

Say, maybe I can use the Austin Powers to great effect tomorrow...

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:17 PM | Comments (1)

October 31, 2004

Hope Is Not on the Way -- It's Here!

RealClear Politics offers perhaps the most comprehensive and hence, IMHO, the fairest summary of where the election stands. As of this morning, RealClear Politics' electoral count is:

Bush: 232
Kerry: 190

I assume Bush will also get one electoral vote from Maine which gives him 233 electoral votes by this count, while reducing Kerry to 189. The following states are listed as tossups, with their electoral votes in parenthesis:

Florida (27)
Iowa (7)
Michigan (17)
Minnesota (10)
New Hampshire (4)
Ohio (20)
Pennsylvania (21)
Wisconsin (10)

If Bush wins Florida, which is looking increasingly likely, he will have 260 electoral votes and will only need 10 more electoral votes -- actually, only 9 since he would win if the election is thrown to the House of Representatives. Of the remaining 7 states in play, any one of Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, or Wisconsin gives Bush the election. So much for Bush having to win Ohio or Pennsylvania to prevail. Bush can also win by taking only Iowa and New Hampshire. Therefore, the only way Kerry can win is to have almost everything break in his direction the last two days. I consider that unlikely given that in the changes tracked at RealClear Politics over the last two weeks, 9 have broken for Bush while only 5 have broken for Kerry:

10/31: MI - Leaning Kerry >> Toss Up (Bush 232 - Kerry 190)
10/28: NM - Toss Up >> Leaning Bush (Bush 232 - Kerry 207)
10/28: NC - Leaning Bush >> Solid Bush (Bush 227 - Kerry 207)
10/28: IA - Leaning Bush >> Toss Up (Bush 227 - Kerry 207)
10/28: PA - Leaning Kerry >> Toss Up (Bush 234 - Kerry 207)
10/26: MI - Toss Up >> Leaning Kerry (Bush 234 - Kerry 228)
10/23: HI - Solid Kerry >> Leaning Kerry (Bush 234 - Kerry 211)
10/22: PA - Toss Up >> Leaning Kerry (Bush 234 - Kerry 211)
10/22: ME/1 - Toss Up >> Leaning Kerry (Bush 234 - Kerry 190)
10/22: IA - Toss Up >> Leaning Bush (Bush 234 - Kerry 189)
10/21: MI - Leaning Kerry >> Toss Up (Bush 227 - Kerry 189)
10/20: NH - Leaning Kerry >> Toss Up (Bush 227 - Kerry 206)
10/19: MN - Leaning Kerry >> Toss Up (Bush 227 - Kerry 210)
10/18: FL - Leaning Bush >> Toss Up (Bush 227 - Kerry 220)

There are still 128 different ways for the other 7 states to break. If Bush wins Florida, only 3 of those 128 combinations favor Kerry (Kerry winning all the states, Bush winning only Iowa, or Bush winning only New Hampshire), whereas if Kerry wins Florida, 48 combinations still give Bush the 46 electoral votes he needs to win. It is obviously less likely that Bush will win if he loses Florida, but not ridiculously so, while Bush winning Florida pushes his chances up over 97%, assuming each of the other 7 states really are toss-ups.

While this is cause for confidence, it must not generate complacency. See you, in spirit, at the polls on Tuesday.

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

October 29, 2004

Burning Bush -- Heh

So does Tom Harkin talk to God?

Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin says John Kerry has been gaining in the polls every day since Oct. 21, and George Bush has been going down every day. "That's how God wants it to be," Harkin told a group of about 25 people at the Benton County Headquarters in Vinton on Thursday afternoon.

Nah, that can't be it. We all know that Chimpy McSmirk thinks that he talks to God, and only extremist fundamentalist whackos believe the voices in their heads are God. Maybe Tom Harkin tells God what to do! Yeah, that must be it. That's how the Great Liberal well deliver utopia, or heaven on earth, to us.

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:27 PM | Comments (2)

Brother, Can You Spare a Couple Ounces of HMX?

I've read that the US has destroyed 400,000 tons of high explosives thus far in Iraq. Just to get an idea of what that means, 400,000 tons is the equivalent of 31.53 pounds of high explosives for every man, woman and child in Iraq, assuming an Iraqi population of 25,374,691. Or only 31.40 pounds of high explosives if these people are to be believed.

But hey, check out this story from the BBC:

The explosives mostly consist of 195 metric tons of HMX and 141 metric tons of RDX - key components in plastic explosives, which have been widely used in car bombings in Iraq... The amounts apparently taken from the al-Qaqaa site could have filled three trucks.

There are trucks that can carry 112 metric tons of high explosives? Jeebus, I sure hope they don't have a flat tire.

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:38 PM | Comments (0)

An Omen?

I got the largest contract my company has renewed today for FOUR MORE YEARS.

No, really.

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:17 PM | Comments (1)

I'm Not Saying They're Crazy, But They Are Saying Crazy Things

If you're an avid reader of the blogosphere then you've undoubtedly read something by a serious person who has written something to the effect that they are voting for John Kerry, despite his past record of being wrong on every major foreign policy issue for the last thirty years, because this time he will do the right thing.

This reminds me of Albert Einstein's definition of insanity as, "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." And right on cue, John Kerry tells Tom Brokaw:

"That's what you have inspectors for. That's why I voted for the threat of force, because he only does things when you have a legitimate threat of force. It's irresponsible to suggest that if I were President, he wouldn't be gone. He [Saddam Hussein] might be gone, because if he hadn't complied, we might have had to go to war, but if we did, we would have gone with allies, so the American people weren't carrying the entire burden. And the entire world would understand why we did it."

I'm sure that a President John Kerry would have responded to an attack on America by Saddam Hussein, because he told us he would. It is just as obvious that preemption will never pass a global test. If you are looking for a reactionary response to terrorism and defending America, then John Kerry's your man, no doubt about it.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:13 PM | Comments (2)

October 27, 2004

Never Let 'Em See You Sweat

Hope Thumbsucking is on the way!

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And since John Kerry brought Goose into it this week: "John Edwards? (Sniff.) You stink."

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:09 PM | Comments (0)

The Heartland

There are fourteen states in the United States of America whose borders are only those of other states: Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Every single one of those states in what I'll call the Heartland, and all of their 91 electoral votes, are going to go to President George W. Bush according to the latest electoral college projection at RealClear Politics.

Maybe it's because I grew up here in the Heartland (well, Illinois, which I have not technically included in the Heartland because of its border with Lake Michigan; and, yes, Lake Michigan does butt up against Canada; but I digress), but for reasons far too numerous to list in a short blog post, I trust the Heartland of America more than anywhere else when it comes to these kind of big national decisions. I'm not saying that those people who live in states bordering huge bodies of water or foreign nations are untrustworthy, stupid, evil, or always wrong. It's just that the influences that cause poor decision making when it comes to electing politicians seems to be tempered, neutered, or negated to a greater degree by the lifestyles, climates, and mores of states in the Heartland than they are states where sun, surf, si, or c'est are more common.

Feel free to add your reason(s) in the comment section as to why you believe Middle America is more trustworthy, more grounded, or more clear-headed than the rest of America.

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:00 PM | Comments (0)

As In 2000 ...

The first party to appeal to the courts are the Democrats:

Democrats in Florida already are pursuing nine election-related lawsuits, accusing state election officials of conspiring to disenfranchise minority voters.

Led by the Florida Democratic Party, the People for the American Way, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the AFL-CIO, the lawsuits target, among others, Florida Secretary of State Glenda Hood, who was appointed by Republican Gov. Jeb Bush, President Bush's brother.

The suits say Republican officials refused to count provisional ballots, improperly disqualified incomplete voter registrations, established overly restrictive rules to disproportionately hurt minority voters and actively sought to disenfranchise blacks.

This is just the beginning. I've read in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Representative Lacy Clay is preparing to get his last minute suits filed to keep the polls open late in St. Louis again this year. It sure does seem as though the Democratic Party has decided to dispense with this troublesome democracy thing if they can't win. My God, I can only hope that the Democrats go down to such a cruching defeat on Tuesday that the adults in their party will clean house and present a viable alternative once again.

It now seems as though there are no rules when it comes to elections. No rules. Nothing, except a postmodern will to power where truth and justice will be whatever the strongest, cleverest, and those least constrained by ethics or morality decide. Gee, where have I heard that before.

DOWNDATE: I remain convinced that all of this is nothing but a ploy to prepare the country for a refusal to accept the results when they lose. Is the end nigh?

At the close of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia on September 18, 1787, a Mrs. Powel anxiously awaited the results, and as Benjamin Franklin emerged from the long task now finished, asked him directly: "Well Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?" "A republic if you can keep it" responded Franklin.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:16 AM | Comments (2)

October 25, 2004

We Know John Kerry Likes the UN...

... and now we know the UN likes John Kerry:

Several hundred tons of conventional explosives were looted from a former Iraqi military facility that once played a key role in Saddam Hussein’s efforts to build a nuclear bomb, the U.N. nuclear agency told the Security Council on Monday.

A “lack of security” resulted in the loss of 377 tons of high explosives from the sprawling Al-Qaqaa military installation about 30 miles south of Baghdad, said Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA.

The IAEA fears “that these explosives could have fallen into the wrong hands,” said Melissa Fleming, a spokeswoman for the agency.

ElBaradei told the council the IAEA had been trying to give the U.S.-led multinational force and Iraq’s interim government “an opportunity to attempt to recover the explosives before this matter was put into the public domain.”

And of course, John Kerry picks it up and, like, in a total coincidence, runs with it:

The disappearance of the explosives quickly became an issue in the presidential race, with the Democratic candidate, Sen. John Kerry, accusing President Bush of committing “one of the greatest blunders” of his administration in failing to secure the materials.

“George W. Bush, who talks tough ... and brags about making America safer, has once again failed to deliver,” Kerry told supporters in Dover, N.H. “After being warned about the danger of major stockpiles of explosives in Iraq, this president failed to guard those stockpiles.”

“This is one of the great blunders of Iraq, one of the greatest blunders of this administration, and the incredible incompetence of this president and this administration has put our troops at risk and this country at greater risk.”

But there's a fly in the ointment:

The 380 tons of powerful conventional explosives were already missing back in April 10, 2003 -- when U.S. troops arrived at the installation south of Baghdad!

An NBCNEWS crew embedded with troops moved in to secure the Al-Qaqaa weapons facility on April 10, 2003, one day after the liberation of Iraq.

According to NBCNEWS, the HMX and RDX explosives were already missing when the American troops arrived.

Oh, but you'll love this next bit:

It is not clear why the NYTIMES failed to report the cache had been missing for 18 months -- and was reportedly missing before troops even arrived.

Ha, ha, ha. We all know Big Media is trying to get John Kerry elected, but now even the UN is trying to get John Kerry elected. This is totally unacceptable. Folks, they are trying to steal our government from us right before our very eyes. But, fortunately for us, the UN is no better at this than they are at anything else. The US out of the UN now!

I was wrong yesterday when I said that John Kerry would cut and run because he has Vietnam seared -- seared -- into his memory. Oh, I was right about John Kerry having Vietnam seared -- seared -- into his memory, but my greater fear now is that, like LBJ, he will want to micromanage the War on Terrorism. Does John Kerry really think it is the President's job to decide which facilities to attack or protect in order? We know he'll listen to the generals if they ask for more men, but will he listen to them about anything else? (Well, technically, we don't know. I mean, he said that he would listen to the generals if they asked for more men, but then he has said a lot of things we can't believe, hasn't he?) Doesn't John Kerry realize that his criticisms of Bush on everything that happens in Iraq are fundamentally criticism of the Armed Forces carrying out the policy set by the President? Or is it that he doesn't care?

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:01 PM | Comments (0)

Maybe They Scare Miss Elizabeth Too

So ...:

Supporter: Kerry's going to take PA.
Liz Edwards: I know that.
Supporter: I'm just worried there's going to be riots afterwards.
Liz Edwards: Uh.....well...not if we win.

Is this an admission that those voting for Bush cherish civility, law, and order over winning? Or that the people she hangs out with are potentially unstable lunatics who will not accept the will of the people if it goes against them?

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:02 PM | Comments (0)

October 24, 2004

Why Kerry's Preoccupation With Vietnam Worries Me

John Kerry cannot stop talking about Vietnam. It is clear that Vietnam weighs heavily on his mind and that his experiences there and afterward have influenced him tremendously. There is nothing inherently bad about that, but, alas, like so many, I am afraid that John Kerry learned the wrong lessons from Vietnam. That John Kerry and the Democratic Party see the War in Iraq as another Vietnam is beyond dispute as he and his allies continue to call it a quagmire, a mistake, wrong war, wrong place, wrong time, etc. All of which leads to what really worries me. If Iraq is Vietnam all over again then I expect John Kerry to come up with the same solution to Iraq that we had in Vietnam, i.e., to declare victory and leave.

That, my friends, is one of the primary reasons why I try so hard to convince folks to vote for George W. Bush. The false hope I've seen so many invest in John Kerry that when elected he'll do the right thing is another perfect example of the triumph of hope over experience. Everything in John Kerry's past indicates that he will cut and run in Iraq since not only is America wrong, but in John Kerry's opinion America can never be right, unless, of course, we have the approval of the hopelessly corrupt UN.

It is profoundly disturbing to me that John Kerry, who has been more wrong, more often, on the foreign policy issues of the last thirty years than anyone is taken as a serious candidate for the presidency of the United States of America. And people banking on him suddenly changing course just because he becomes president are either naive fools or inveterate liars.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:47 PM | Comments (2)

October 23, 2004

Why Do I Think He's Probably Opposed to the Death Penalty?

Several people have noted the latest salvo from the Angry Left calling for the death of President George W. Bush as the ultimate test of the ends justifying the means.

Here's a slightly updated version of the comment I left over at Tim Blair's place:

Come on Tim, this is just some of the nuanced British irony that us Yanks and you Aussies are too simplistic to appreciate. When Charlie Brooker says, "John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr - where are you now that we need you?", he's making a sly reference to Republican attempts to suppress the black vote by keeping them away from the voting booths as John Wilkes wanted to do; he is merely expressing his support for John Kerry, as Lee Harvey Oswald killed another former senator from Massachusetts who had been elected president; and, um ..., well ..., I guess Hinckley must be rhyming slang for something related to a respectful approach to democratic elections and the will of the people. I mean, if he was talking about murdering US presidents, why is John Hinckley Jr in this list instead of Leon Czolgosz?

Either that or Mr. Brooker is a tendentious, mayhem-seeking lowlife who wishes the US to imitate what he must imagine is the highpoint of British democracy -- 18th century elections like those depicted in William Hogarth's prints.

hogarth.jpg

An Election Entertainment

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Chairing the Members

DOWNDATE: I've corrected Mr. Brooker's name above. I certainly don't want anyone to assume anyone named Charlie Booker or Charlie Parker wrote this. I am beginning to worry about my dyslexia though.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:12 PM | Comments (0)

My Version of Hell Has a Dance Floor and a Mirror Ball

The universe is stranger than we can imagine. Catch these highlights from CHER ISSUES BUSH WARNING AT DISCO:

"There were supposed to be thousands of people here tonight. I'm not sure why that didn't happen, obviously the people putting on this thing were just not very good at it," an embarrassed Cher explained to the crowd.

Oh, I've got a pretty good idea why very few people showed up, but you go ahead and blame other people. That technique has such a fine pedigree on the Angry Left.

"All the gay guys, all my friends, all my gay friends, you guys you have got to vote, alright? Because it would only be a matter of time before you guys would be so screwed, I cannot tell you."

Um, ok.

Because, you know, the people, like, in the very right wing of this party, of these Republicans, the very very right wing, the Jerry Falwell element, if they get any more power, you guys are going to be living in some state by yourselves."

I can either say nothing or go on for about 10,000 words on this one sentence. In the interest of time, I'll allow Cher's wisdom to speak for itself.

"So, I hate scare tactics, but I really believe that that's true."

Sure you hate to do it, but since hate seems to be your primary motivating factor these days, oh, go ahead.

"I think that as Bush will, if Bush gets elected, he will put in new Superior Court judges, and these guys are not going to want to see gay pride week."

Like, totally superior.

Cher declared that Abraham Lincoln "looks like Kerry on a crappy day."

Well, Abraham Lincoln has been dead for 140 years.

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:57 PM | Comments (4)

October 22, 2004

While We're on Movies...

N.Z. Bear is soliciting entries for his Heroes for Bush. Here are mine:

Magnum Force --
John Kerry: "I've served twenty years in the Senate without ever having to pass a meaningful peace of legislation."
Harry Callahan: "A man's got to know his limitations."

Election --
Tracy Flick: None of this would have happened if those Swiftboat Vets hadn't meddled the way they did. They should have just accepted things as they are instead of trying to interfere with destiny. You see, you can't interfere with destiny. That's why it's destiny. And if you try to interfere, the same thing's going to happen anyway, and you'll just suffer.

Die Hard (the European vs. John McCain, uh, I mean John McClane)--
Hans Gruber (as John Kerry) : "You know my name but who are you? Just another American who saw too many movies as a child? Another orphan of a bankrupt culture who thinks he's John Wayne? Rambo? Marshall Dillon?"
John McClane (as George W. Bush): "Was always kinda' partial to Roy Rogers actually. I really dig those sequined shirts."
Hans Gruber (as John Kerry): "Do you really think you have a chance against us, Mister Cowboy?"
John McClane (as George W. Bush): "Yippee-ki-yay, motherf****r."

Marathon Man --
Christian Szell (Big Media): "Is it safe?"
Babe (as John Kerry): "Yes, it's safe, it's very safe, it's so safe you wouldn't believe it."
Christian Szell (Big Media): "Is it safe?"
Babe (as John Kerry): "No. It's not safe, it's... very dangerous, be careful."

High Noon --
Helen Ramirez: "You're a good-looking boy, you've big, broad shoulders. But he's a man. And it takes more than big, broad shoulders to make a man."

Casablanca --
Rick (as John Kerry): "Don't you sometimes wonder if it's worth all this? I mean what you're fighting for."
Victor Laszlo (as George W. Bush): "You might as well question why we breathe. If we stop breathing, we'll die. If we stop fighting our enemies, the world will die."
Rick (as John Kerry): "Well, what of it? It'll be out of its misery."
Victor Laszlo (as George Bush): "You know how you sound, Mr. Blaine? Like a man who's trying to convince himself of something he doesn't believe in his heart."

But we won't leave Rick hanging there since he had a change of heart --
Rick (as George Bush): But I've got a job to do, too. Where I'm going, you can't follow. What I've got to do, you can't be any part of. Ilsa, I'm no good at being noble, but it doesn't take much to see that the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you'll understand that. Now, now... Here's looking at you kid.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:07 PM | Comments (0)

Bullies and Thugs Can Carry Briefcases Too

Everytime I read something like this:

Eyewitness News has learned the Democratic National Committee plans a legal offensive on the voting process in Nevada.

I start to wonder, are we about to substitute the rule of law with the rule of lawyers?

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:14 PM | Comments (0)

I've Got to Be A Macho Man

Everybody, sing along:

Clad in camouflage clothing, a 12-gauge double-barreled shotgun under his arm, Senator John Kerry and three fellow hunters emerged from an eastern Ohio cornfield Thursday morning with four dead geese and an image his aides hope will help shore up his macho bona fides among rural voters.

You really do have to aprpeciate the nuanced approach to winning over the rubes, dont you?

"Everybody got one, everybody got one," said Mr. Kerry, his hand stained with goose blood, though he was the only member of the hunting party not carrying a carcass.

No Blood for Photo-Ops!

An aide said later that two of the birds would soon be sent back to Mr. Kerry for consumption.

Later this week another aide says, ...

"Mr. Kerry, your goose is cooked."

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:07 PM | Comments (0)

"Damn the Proles, Full Speed Ahead" -- It's Not Just for Liberals Anymore

What strikes me most about these short snippets from "serious" people on who they are going to vote for is how profoundly unserious it reveals most of them to be. It is easy enough to skip over the glib answers by people like Drew Carey or Penn Gillette, but the disdain so many literati show for the necessity of compromise by a chief executive is indicative of a mindset that prefers a clean dictatorship to a messy democracy.

Jeez. Without question, I'm always going to be a small "l" libertarian.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:05 AM | Comments (5)

October 21, 2004

Frankly, I've Been Waiting for this Shoe to Drop For a While Now

Take it away, George Tenet, D-CIA:

Although he emphasized that the Central Intelligence Agency boasts "tremendously talented men and women," former CIA Director George Tenet said it "did not live up to our expectations as professionals" regarding the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the search for nonexistent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

"We had inconsistent information, and we did not inform others in the community of gaps in our intelligence," Tenet said. "The extraordinary men and women who do magnificent work in the CIA are held accountable every day for what they do, and as part of keeping our faith with the American people, we will tell you when we're right or wrong."

Tenet called the war on Iraq "wrong" in a speech Wednesday night to 2,000 members of The Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan at Lake Michigan College's Mendel Center.

I am still amazed at how incompetent the CIA became starting on January 21, 2001.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:39 PM | Comments (1)

Now They're Just Bein' Mean

Even ABC's taking old wooden Al to task:

Gore to Stump for Kerry in Florida

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:32 PM | Comments (0)

Israel's Getting in the Halloween Spirit a Little Early

You go, ghoulfriend:

Medics and witnesses said a missile from an Israeli drone slammed into a vehicle and killed Adnan al-Ghoul, a senior Hamas leader and master bombmaker for the Islamic militant group who has been on Israel's most wanted list since 1987.

Merriam-Webster defines a ghoul as:

A legendary evil being that robs graves and feeds on corpses.

This legendary evil focused on creating graves and fed on the generation of corpses. Good riddance, and say hello to Gulbuth the Rampant for me.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:16 PM | Comments (2)

Duck Season

Does this strike anyone else as, well, strange?

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry said he bagged a goose on his swing-state hunting trip Thursday, but his real target was the voters who may harbor doubts about him.

Holy crap, run for the hills!

Kerry returned after a two-hour hunting trip wearing a camouflage jacket and carrying a 12-gauge shotgun, but someone else carried the bird he said he shot.

"I'm too lazy," Kerry joked. "I'm still giddy over the Red Sox. It was hard to focus."

Yeah, his favorite home town team of the century of the week.

The Massachusetts senator was referring to Boston's American League championship Wednesday night. He stayed up late cheering his hometown team onto victory, then got up for a 7 a.m. hunting trip at a supporter's produce farm.

Kerry adviser Mike McCurry said it's important in the final days of the campaign that voters "get a better sense of John Kerry, the guy."

That means the Democratic senator is spending some of the dwindling time before Election Day hunting, talking about his faith and watching his beloved Red Sox.

It's all part of an effort to win over swing voters who may be open to voting against President Bush but aren't sure they feel any connection with Kerry.

But not everyone is fooled!

The National Rifle Association said it bought a full-page ad in Thursday's Youngstown newspaper that says Kerry is posing as a sportsman while opposing gun-owners' rights. Kerry has denied NRA claims that he wants to "take away" guns, but he supported the ban on assault-type weapons and requiring background checks at gun shows

"If John Kerry thinks the Second Amendment is about photo ops, he's Daffy," says the ad the NRA said would run in The Vindicator. It features a large photo of Kerry with his finger on a shotgun trigger but looking in another direction.

A rather fitting summary for the gang that couldn't shoot straight. Or maybe Jeff Goldstein has been right all along, if you have to choose between rabbits and ducks, go with the bunnies.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:34 PM | Comments (3)

Remember the Good Old Days When Candidates Would Slug It Out On the Hustings?

Now the battle will be in the courtrooms and Big Media studios after the election:

Six so-called "SWAT teams" of lawyers and political operatives will be situated around the country with fueled-up jets awaiting Kerry's orders to speed to a battleground state. The teams have been told to be ready to fly on the evening of the election to begin mounting legal and political fights. Every battleground state will have a SWAT team within an hour of its borders.

The Kerry campaign has recount office space in every battleground state, with plans so detailed they include the number of staplers and coffee machines needed to mount legal challenges.

"Right now, we have 10,000 lawyers out in the battleground states on Election Day, and that number is growing by the day," said Michael Whouley, a Kerry confidant who is running election operations at the Democratic National Committee.

While the lawyers litigate, political operatives will try to shape public perception. Their goal would be to persuade voters that Kerry has the best claim to the presidency and that Republicans are trying to steal it.

Democrats are already laying the public relations groundwork by pointing to every possible voting irregularity before the Nov. 2 election and accusing Republicans of wrongdoing.

Or as Terry McAuliffe might as well put it, paraphrasing Bluto Blutarsky, "This election isn't over until we say it's over." The Democrats faith in, and respect for, the will of the people has reached a new low as the DNC has apparently started to substitute its own bathwater for Kool-Aid. They've been repeating the tired lies about stolen elections, a hopelessly corrupt electoral process, and RNC efforts to disenfranchise voters for so long that they now are acting as though no election result, except one giving them a victory, will be valid.

Remember, though, that while 2000 was somewhat ad hoc on the part of everyone, this time the chaos and complete lack of goodwill is premeditated:

Gore didn't plan for the legal showdown, though few could have predicted it before Election Day. And he watched as Bush seized political advantage during the 36-day recount by publicly discussing a transition to the White House.

Not this time, promise Kerry's advisers. If there is doubt about the results, they will fight without delay.

"...as Bush seized political advantage ...," as usual, their language betrays their true feelings. But I'm curious what the criteria for "doubt" might be, and in whose mind must that "doubt" must reside. But why would there be any doubt about the results? I mean, aside from the Angry Left's blatant efforts to sow discord, contempt, and fear in the electorate. Prepare to reap the whirlwind.

"The first thing we will do is make sure everybody has an opportunity to vote and every vote is counted," said Kerry spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter.

Their respect for the process is touching. Or, rather, it would be if they weren't going out of their way to prevent the mailing of absentee ballots to those overseas, i.e., the United States Armed Forces, by waiting until the last moment to file their anti-Nader lawsuits.

But it's not as though they really accepted the results in 2000 either. In the next paragraph notice the rather smarmy neglect to note that every single announced result from 3 November 2000 on awarded Bush the election. Why wouldn't he act as though he won?

Amid the tumult of the 2000 recount, Bush sought to make his presidency appear inevitable time by leaking word of his national security team and bringing news cameras into his transition meetings. Gore and his staff were more reluctant to talk about the appointment process.

Folks, we really are on the verge of becoming a Banana Republic here.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:49 PM | Comments (0)

October 19, 2004

Yea, But Has he Mastered the Pinkie Thing Yet?

Somebody better let Dr. Evil know that Matt Damon is stealing his best lines:

Hometown hottie Matt Damon doesn't rest when it comes to politicking for his presidential pick John Kerry - even whilst in Germany! "I would pay $1 million to have Kerry in the White House," the actor said at the premiere of "The Bourne Supremacy" in Berlin the other night.

Gosh, I can't wait to see Team America: World Police.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:21 PM | Comments (3)

October 15, 2004

A Plea for Your Vote Based Upon What Is at Stake

In the final episode of his A History of Britain, titled The Two Winstons, Simon Schama provides an exposition on British history in the 20th Century focusing primarily on Winston Churchill and George Orwell. The title of the episode comes from the given names of the former and the protaganist of the latter's novel, 1984, Winston Smith.

Winston Churchill and George Orwell could hardly be more different in their political and social views, and yet, each independently and accurately recognized the growing menace of Nazism in the 1930's, realized the necessity of fighting and defeating fascism in WW II, and feared the growing menace of Stalinism after WW II. Simon Schama captured both the divergence of their political views and their convergence of thought on these matters, by playing an audio clip of Winston's famous blood, toil, tears, and sweat speech before the House of Commons three days after being named Prime Minister on May 10, 1940, and then saying the following:

This kind of indefatigible defiance was why George Orwell, for all his mistrust of Churchill's conservatism, was so relieved that at last Britain had a leader who realized, as he wrote, "that wars are won by fighting."

Although the socialist and the old aristocrat were so different, the one loved the empire and the other detested it, both understood that their differences were nothing compared to what seperated them both from the Nazis and the defeatists.

I mention this because there are some who are refusing to vote to re-elect President George W. Bush on November 2, for one reason or another, even though their political philosophies are generally much closer to President Bush's than to John Kerry's. I do not seek to address the issues they may have with President George W. Bush. They are entitled to be disgusted at any number of the sins of ommission and the sins of commission he has made, and I have no desire here to try and dissuade them of their beliefs or opinions. I share many, though probably not all, of the concerns they may have with President George W. Bush as well, yet I will be voting to re-elect him on November 2 because I believe we have to choose sides in this war.

Yes, I'm going to mention the war. Disregarding the fundamental differences in political views and the many more sins I believe John Kerry and his campaign have committed for the moment, I believe it is important to defeat John Kerry in his bid to become the forty-fourth President of the United States for one primary reason. We are at war, and I am certain that it is far from over and that we have not yet seen the worst of it. Unfortunately, John Kerry chooses to downplay the seriousness of the war, seemingly constricting the War on Terrorism to the hunt for Osama bin Laden, and I fear if elected he will pursue what appears to me to be a strategy of appeasement to gather the approval of erstwhile friends and foes, whether they will supply material support or not.

President George W. Bush has demonstrated forcefully that he is willing to fight this war to win it. He may not move as fast or on as broad a front as many of us would like, and he may not use the tactics or strategies we prefer, but he is fighting the war. I am a proponent of Michael Ledeen's "Faster, please" approach to the War on Terrorism, but I also understand that most of the American public is not yet ready for that. I believe it is shortsighted to claim that this is evidence of a lack of leadership, since we have already seen how small steps to do the right thing have been exploited by John Kerry to try and derail the entire War on Terrorism. It is more important that we win the war rather than every battle in that war, and especially every battle on an abbreviated timetable.

You must choose a side in this battle in the War on Terrorism, and as we have seen with the election in Spain and Australia, our general election on November 2 is another battle in that war. But keep in mind that there are three sides in this battle, rather than two. You can vote to allow President George W. Bush to continue to lead the fight in the War on Terrorism, you can vote to allow John Kerry to lead the fight in the War on Terrorism, or you can sit on your hands and accept the outcome dictated by the will of others -- including our enemies. I do not believe that a vote for John Kerry is a vote for our enemies though I believe it is a vote to fight the War on Terror in a way that I believe is misguided and likely to lead to more death and destruction in the short and long term.

A vote to re-elect President George W. Bush is not, and should not be taken to be a vote to endorse everything he advocates. It is useful to remember that he can only serve another four years and that he is likely to have, at best, only small majorities in Congress to work with. It is also useful to remember that even Winston Churchill was thrown out of office by the people of Great Britain in a resounding defeat in the elections of 1945. Their democracy survived and so shall ours, though I don't know if I would be able to write that had Lord Halifax become Prime Minister in 1940 and proceeded to broker a deal with Hitler as he desired rather than fight a protracted war with an uncertain outcome to defeat Germany unconditionally.

I like that word -- unconditionally. It is how we used to fight and win wars by demanding the unconditional surrender or destruction of our enemies on the battlefield. It sounds very harsh to our sensibilities today, yet it was only sixty years ago when we followed through with our demand for unconditional surrender by destroying our enemies in the Pacific when they would not surrender. I recently watched Hell in the Pacific, which documented in the clearest terms possible, and with shockingly graphic footage, what the destruction of our enemies on the field of battle meant and why it was necessary. It seems to me that it is only when we abandoned the idea of complete victory with the unconditional surrender or destruction of our enemies in Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War I, Bosnia, and again in Iraq that we have had left bleeding, festering wounds that will not heal rather than pursuing decisive, though undoubtedly painful, final results from which we can move forward.

Our enemies have a desired outcome for our election, though I will freely admit that I'm unsure of exactly what it may be. Whether we re-elect President George W. Bush or elect John Kerry as president on November 2, we may be giving our enemies what they want, but if you do not vote, you are making it easier for them to achieve their aims, whatever those aims may be. To that end, I suppose I am arguing that I'd rather you vote for John Kerry than not vote at all. If that is what you choose, then so be it, but at least choose or accept the consequences. At the very least it shows that you have not been intimidated into not voting out of fear or self-paralyzed into inaction by pathetic arguments that conclude with a pox upon both their houses, especially since a pox upon all of our houses is what might well result.

Whatever your reasons for disliking President George W. Bush and his policies, I feel comfortable stating that your political and policy differences with him cannot possibly be greater than those separating Winston Churchill and George Orwell. And yet, even the great, unrepentant socialist found common cause with virtually the last defender of the British Empire when it came to fighting a war of survival for Britain, however the political landscape might change after the war. But as Simon Schama also said:

Churchill wasn't fighting for the Vale of York or for some unreal dream of village England. He wasn't fighting for Britain at all understood just as a piece of geography. He was fighting for what he thought was the meaning of being British and that meaning was an idea. A precious idea we'd given to the world -- freedom and rule of law. Without it, having to endure an existence by permission of the Fuehrer, all we had was a mock Britain, not worthy of the name really, let alone of our long history. Better by far to die fighting than to live with the shame of being a slave state.

I leave it to the reader to connect the dots and draw the appropriate parallels from the world of 1940 and the challenges Britain faced then with Nazism to 2004 and the challenges the United States (and Britain, Australia, Poland and so many others!) face today with Islamofacism and the War on Terror. I pray your vision is as clear in this matter as I believe mine to be.

As I am no Bill Whittle, lacking the sufficient goodwill of readers to slog through an extended essay, I have tried to keep this plea to a manageable length to avoid readers skipping right past it. I could go on for many pages to try and address the thoughts, arguments, and objections that occured to me as I composed virtually each sentence, but I thought it better to limit the scope to something that serious readers can review within five minutes. Your thoughts and suggestions are appreciated.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:56 PM | Comments (76)

Happy With the Results of Your Rhetoric Senator Kerry?

Are you shocked that some soldiers are acting upon what they've heard from the man who wants to lead them?

The Army is investigating reports that several members of a reservist supply unit in Iraq refused to go on a convoy mission, the military said Friday. Relatives of the soldiers said the troops considered the mission too dangerous.

The reservists are from the 343rd Quartermaster Company, which is based in Rock Hill, S.C. The unit delivers food and water in combat zones.

According to The Clarion-Ledger newspaper in Jackson, Miss., a platoon of 17 soldiers refused to go on a fuel supply mission Wednesday because their vehicles were in poor shape and they did not have a capable armed escort.

The paper cited interviews with family members of some of the soldiers, who said the soldiers had been confined after their refusals.

Another source says:

"I got a call from an officer in another unit early (Thursday) morning who told me that my husband and his platoon had been arrested on a bogus charge because they refused to go on a suicide mission," said Jackie Butler of Jackson, wife of Sgt. Michael Butler, a 24-year reservist. "When my husband refuses to follow an order, it has to be something major."

..."They knew there was a 99 percent chance they were going to get ambushed or fired at," Hill said her daughter told her. "They would have had no way to fight back."

But as it happens:

The mission was carried out by other soldiers from the 343rd, which has at least 120 soldiers, the military said.

If I've learned anything after blogging for a while it is to treat items like this as data points and to wait a few days for the full story to come out. I don't know beyond what I've read here what motivated these men to disobey an order and make the lives of other soldiers more difficult and dangerous. I won't call them cowards and I certainly won't applaud them. I trust the authorities will investigate and do what is right in this instance whatever that is.

Maybe it's a cheap shot to lay this at the feet of Senator Kerry's rhetoric. Then again, maybe it isn't if you read the previous post.

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:52 PM | Comments (3)

I Promise

I promise to never, ever again believe that I have seen the worst from John Kerry:

There is a "great potential of a draft" to replenish U.S. forces in Iraq if President Bush wins a second term, Democratic challenger John Kerry said in an Iowa newspaper interview published Friday.

On one hand, this level of mendacity is heartening because it indicates how desperate he is becoming. The internal poll results must have become brutal. On the other hand, if he does win with disgracefully wicked lies like this, I expect the electoral process in our great country to only become further degraded until it has been destroyed. My God, I only hope there is someone other than Zell on the other side of the aisle to call him out on this.

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:41 PM | Comments (3)

October 14, 2004

There's Something About Mary

"Hey, I love lesbians, I mean, who doesn't? Teresa and Elizabeth love lesbians too, don't ya girls?"

marych.jpg

*

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:04 PM | Comments (0)

There Are Times When I Fear for Our Democracy

According to Drudge:

KERRY/EDWARDS ELECTION DIRECTIVE: CHARGE VOTER INTIMIDATION, EVEN IF NONE EXISTS

**World Exclusive**

The Kerry/Edwards campaign and the Democratic National Committee are advising election operatives to declare voter intimidation -- even if none exists, the DRUDGE REPORT can reveal.

A 66-page mobilization plan to be issued by the Kerry/Edwards campaign and the Democratic National Committee states: "If no signs of intimidation techniques have emerged yet, launch a 'pre-emptive strike.'"

The provocative Dem battle plan is to be distributed in dozens of states, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

One top DNC official confirmed the manual's authenticity, but claimed the notion of crying wolf on any voter intimidation is "absurd."

"We all know the Republicans are going to try to steal the election by scaring people and confusing people," the top DNC source explained.

Because we all know.

When I read something like this I wonder if perhaps the death penalty is too harsh for those that perpetrate vote fraud or otherwise try to abuse the election process. If we lose the ability to elect our representatives then we have lost self governance.

In the immortal words of Eric Cartman, "Democrats piss me off."

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

October 13, 2004

The Final Debate

Bush wins 3 falls to 2.

MSNBC's "young" voter reporter still doesn't know what's going to happen with the draft. Jeez.

Is there anything more useless than minutes 4 - 2004 of the post-debate commentary?

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:58 PM | Comments (0)

Pre-Debate Live Blogging

At some point this evening, probably right after the obligatory, "Thank you for having me," the debate will deteriorate into a variant of:

Rabbit Season!

Duck Season!

Rabbit Season!

Duck Season!

(Et cetera, ad infinitum.)

Why anyone is going to suddenly start believing either candidate tonight if they didn't already boggles the mind if you think on it too much. So you are on your own if you choose to watch. The only real reasons to watch tonight are to see if Bush will ask Bob Scheiffer whether Dan Rather put out a memo like Mark Halperin did for Charlie Gibson's network last week demanding that they keep it (un)fair; if Bob Scheiffer will ask Kerry if he favors using the government to limit free speech that doesn't favor him; if Bush will ask Kerry when he converted from Roman Catholicism to a laying-of-the-hands Christian fundamentalism; if Bush will ask Kerry to call off the burglaries and destruction of his campaign offices; or if Bob Scheiffer will ask Kerry whether he finds any of these questions a "nuisance." But, of course, none of this will happen.

In another highly irrelevant contest, I predict Big Media will declare Kerry the winner, as usual, on style over subtance. If this election were to be contested on subtance Kerry wouldn't even get 30% of the vote.

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:57 PM | Comments (2)

October 12, 2004

When the Going Gets Tough

The tough run away:

Sen. Mark Dayton said Tuesday he is closing his Washington office because of a classified intelligence report that made him fear for the safety of his staff.

Dayton, D-Minn., said the office will be closed while Congress is in recess through Election Day, with his staff working out of his Minnesota office and in Senate space off Capitol Hill.

"I take this step out of extreme, but necessary, precaution to protect the lives and safety of my Senate staff and my Minnesota constituents, who might otherwise be visiting my Senate office in the next three weeks," he said on a call with reporters.

"I feel compelled to do so because I will not be here in Washington to share what I consider to be an unacceptably greater risk to their safety," he said.

Of course, this is all predicated on the going getting tough:

CBS News Correspondent Bob Orr reports that federal officials said they knew of no new, specific intelligence information that would have prompted Dayton to close his office.

Brian Roehrkasse, a Homeland Security Department spokesman, said the department had no intelligence indicating al-Qaida intends to target any specific U.S. locations.

Added Capitol police spokesman Michael Lauer: "There's been no specific threats against the Capitol complex. We continue to be on guard now, all the way up to the election and all the way through
the inauguration."

Rather than leadership, this strikes me as cheap grandstanding bordering on cowardice. You asked for the tough job of being senator for the good people of Minnesota, Mr. Dayton. Even if your concern was legitimate, which doesn't seem to be the opinion of anyone else in Washington, if you want to take a position of leadership you must lead and demonstrate bravery and wisdom.

Maybe this is a DNC trial balloon to see how it plays out. If it goes over well, I expect the Democrats to leave Washington en masse to try and make Bush look bad. Of course, maybe some of them should clean out their offices now and save themselves the trip back to do it after the election.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:58 PM | Comments (0)

Smack 'Em on the Head and Shout, "Heal"

John Edwards says:

'When John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve are going to walk. Get up out of that wheelchair and walk again'...

The ellipsis cut off the important section of the Senator's remarks:

"Or I'm going to sue every last one of the doctors working on spinal cord research!"

Ya know, what Senator Edwards and his fellow ambulance chasers do illustrates the problem with eating the rich better than anything else I can think of. What do you do once they are gone? (Ed. Aside from identifying a new victim righteous cause.) Obstetricians and gynecologists are disappearing from Illinois in the metropolitan area around St. Louis and some of the hospitals here are shutting their maternity wards -- for one simple reason. The doctors here are closing up shop as the civil justice system in Illinois' Madison County is now owned by the plaintiff's bar. Insurance rates are skyrocketing and no doctor wants to have to compete with lawyers who can channel the thoughts of the unborn (after the fact) with a tear in his eye and a lump in his throat in front of a jury of people that has been fully Oprahfied. Naturally evidence that stem cell research can probably do little for those suffering from spinal cord injuries will be of little importance to Senator Edwards when there are demogogic points to be scored, as Christopher Reeve himself recently said:

I advocate it because I think scientists should be free to pursue every possible avenue. It appears though, at the moment, that embryonic stem cells are effective in treating acute injuries and are not able to do much about chronic injuries.

But I digress.

I expect a new commercial soon from Kerry, Edwards, Shrum, and Cahill, asking if you have recently suffered a chronic spinal injury and offering you the stem cell research money you deserve.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:29 PM | Comments (0)

October 07, 2004

My Lucky Number's One

I live in Kirkwood, Missouri, which is a "suburb" of St. Louis and not too far from Washington University, which possesses the third largest endowment in the United States, where tomorrow night President George W. Bush will once again face off in a Town Hall forum with Massachussetts' junior Senator John Kerry, or as I like to call him, the Mass. Debater.

Rabbit season, indeed.

----------------------------

Bad, tasteless commentary involving Oliver (hands of) Stone, Onan the Barbarian, Lene Lovich, debating the definition of the word "(rhymes with is)", Bambi and Thumper, and lyrics from Jethro Tull's Thick as a Brick, were all deleted in a fleeting, momentary spasm of prudence.

(Note: This has been cross-posted at Protein Wisdom if I can ever figure out how to get in.)

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:59 PM | Comments (0)

Unusually Suspect

Gwen Ifill: “Senator, when Vice President Cheney said the topiary bunnies were responsible for the Iraqi insurgency, how did you respond?”

Senator Edwards: "I corrected him."

bunny.bmp edjack.bmp bunny.bmp

Johnny looks like Jack Torrance in a Kevin Pollack as Jack Nicholson as William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk sort of way.

(Note: This has been cross-posted at Protein Wisdom if I can ever figure out how to get in.)

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:15 PM | Comments (0)

October 06, 2004

My View From Planet Earth

I realize I'm pretty far from the norm on this one, but for the life of me I can't figure out why people are crediting John Edwards as a serious player after his performance last night. What I saw was a well-rehearsed lawyer out of his controlled element whose substance started and ended with soundbites that could have been uttered by Huey Long. So the real enemies are Big Insurance and Big Pharmaceutical? (Ed., anything but Big Government.) Frankly, I saw little evidence that Senator Edwards could think on his feet as he had to keep falling back on his memorized talking points. Some call this staying on message, but that may be nothing more than convenient spin to polish the proverbial turd. Name one ad hoc comment you think Senator Edwards made last night that would display his spontaneous wit or the fact that he was even paying close attention to what was being said outside the voices in his head. His inability to follow Gwen Ifill's simple instructions to not mention Senator Kerry's name in his well-rehearsed response belies his ability to craft a response in real time, IMHO.

Personally, I believe half the bloggers listed in Instapundit's list of Pure Bloggers could whip Senator Edwards in a true debate of the facts on the ground and the strategies needed to win the War on Terrorism. But I also realize that none of the bloggers listed in Instapundit's list of Pure Bloggers are ever going to be in a position to run for vice president, much less debate Senator Edwards. Furthermore, after Senators Kerry and Edward lose this election, what is Senator Edwards going to do? Little John is being hyped as a future star on the Democratic ticket, but what better answer to "What qualifies you to be vice president?" is he going to have four years or eight years hence?

The willingness of so many to project their hopes and beliefs onto a pretty face is a profoundly troubling thought to me. And I'm talking about the supposedly well educated and well informed "elites" here as much as the great unwashed masses. Chris Kanis gives me something of a back-handed compliment over on his site for a related observation. Of course, I know that I'm not the target audience for either speaker in the debate, or the entire campaign for that matter, but I won't fall into the trap of perception being reality. The fact that there are polls indicating that some poorly informed or willfully deceptive people think Edwards won the debate doesn't change or invalidate my better informed perception of reality that Senator Edwards was terribly weak and dissembling when it came to the facts on the ground and the conclusions to draw from those facts.

What the hell is wrong with people?

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:14 PM | Comments (2)

October 05, 2004

Da Debate

I'm surprised at how unready to be president John Edwards revealed himself to be tonight. Scary stuff. Seriously. Cheney came out as the big, swinging Dick and took it right to the pretty boy who hadn't been hit yet.

Gwen Ifill did well, aside from her mistakes, of course. I only winced at the editorializing in her questions twice, which was a lot less than during Jim Lehrer's turn last week.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:16 PM | Comments (1)

Still More Great Moments in the 2000 Election Campaign -- Relived

"What about the Dingell-Norwood bill?"

Tonight, I suppose the moderator could ask what the candidates' position on the Kerry-Edwards bill might be, but, of course, that would have required Senators Kerry and Edwards to have actually sponsored any meaningful legislation at some point during their collective 26 years in the Senate.

According to the Daily Kos, here are some of the fifty most important pieces of legislation Senator Kerry sponsored that have been signed into law:

1. S.AMDT.112 to S.960 To express the sense of the Senate that Congress should encourage the revitalization of democracy in the Philippines.

2. S.AMDT.239 to S.1160 To establish a moratorium during the fiscal years 1985 and 1986 on the testing of anti-satellite weapons against objects in space.

3. S.AMDT.396 to H.R.2577 To provide that none of the monies appropriated in this Act can be used to fund directly, or indirectly, activities against the government of Nicaragua which have not been authorized by or pursuant to law, and for other purposes.

5. S.AMDT.1396 to H.J.RES.465 To prohibit the use of funds to conduct, in connection with the Strategic Defense Initiative program, development, test, or evaluation involving any explosive device which uses fissionable material.

10. S.AMDT.932 to S.1394 Urging the President to continue to make every effort to cooperate with the other nations of the United Nations to bring about an end to government-sponsored torture in Iranian prisons and to pressure Iran to permit inspection of Iranian prisons by an international delegation.

12. S.AMDT.2775 to H.R.4784 To provide funding for the farmers' market coupon demonstration project.

19. S.AMDT.3157 to H.R.3977 To strengthen environmental protection of Antarctica.

20. S.RES.144: A resolution to encourage the European Community to vote to ban driftnets for all European Community fishing fleets on July 8 and for other purposes.

25. S.RES.183: A resolution expressing the sense of the Senate that the action taken by the Government of France against United States seafood products is a totally unwarranted action that is having severe repercussions on United States seafood producers and, in general, the United States fishing industry.

26. S.AMDT.1354 to S.1281 Expressing the sense of the Senate that the President should not restrict the exchange of humanitarian activities between the United States and any other country.

29. S.AMDT.1153 to S.CON.RES.13 To maintain public funding for Presidential campaigns.

33. S.AMDT.2695 to H.R.1976 To prohibit the use of appropriated funds for providing assistance to the United States Mink Export Development Council or a mink industry trade association.

34. S.AMDT.2745 to H.R.1868 To express the sense of the Senate concerning the provision of spare parts and other military equipment to Peru.

37. S.AMDT.5046 to H.R.3540 To promote the establishment of a permanent multilateral regime to govern the transfer of conventional arms.

38. S.469: A bill to designate a portion of the Sudbury, Assabet, and Concord Rivers as a component of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.

39. S.AMDT.279 to Treaty 105-5 To require a compliance report on Armenia and other States Parties in the Caucasus region.

47. S.AMDT.1882 to S.1650 To express the sense of the Senate regarding comprehensive education reform.

49. S.RES.264: A resolution expressing the sense of the Senate that small business participation is vital to the defense of our Nation, and that Federal, State, and local governments should aggressively seek out and purchase innovative technologies and services from American small businesses to help in homeland defense and the fight against terrorism.

And remember, this is how Senator Kerry's friends defend his legislative record. No shortage of "Sense of the Senate" resolutions for baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and mom in there.

I'd list some of the important legislation Senator Edwards has sponsored that became law, but here are the search results from the Library of Congress for the 108th Congress when looking for any legislation sponsored by Senator Edwards that had actually been signed into law by the President:

No items were found for the search.

Here are the search results of the same query from the 107th Congress:

No items were found for the search.

And here are the search results of the same query from the 106th Congress:

No items were found for the search.

Of course, prior to the 106th Congress, John Edwards was just another rich trial lawyer channeling the thoughts of the unborn for money.

Gravitas.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:29 PM | Comments (0)

More Great Moments in the 2000 Election Campaign -- Relived

Lockbox.

Al has got a lockbox, an old oaken chest. At night when Tipper gets home, she never gets no rest, 'cause he's playin' all night...

Well there's a metaphor that merits more abuse, don't ya think? Of course, it's no gravitas, mind you, but it's still one of the lasting memories of the 2000 debates.

And now right on cue, Mr. Gravitas, his bad self, let's us all know that:

"I'd say if you live in the United States of America and you vote for George Bush, you've lost your mind."

Guess John-boy has found another use for all those leftover lockboxes Al had made up. And while this post should end with the last sentence, I can't help but quote further from Senator Edwards' interview with Judy Woodruff:

WOODRUFF: "There's been criticism that you have been too soft."

EDWARDS: "Do I seem soft to you?"

One word: Bunnies.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:38 PM | Comments (0)

Great Moments in the 2000 Election Campaign -- Relived

Gravitas.

Remember how important it was in 2000, before 9/11? Now, three years after 9/11, Big Media seems to have forgotten how important it was in a president and a vice president.

kerrysmile.jpg edwards.jpg

Yeah, gravitas. That's what I think of whenever I see their smiling faces.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:18 PM | Comments (2)

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)

Oops

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)

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:

'I HAVE ONE POSITION ON IRAQ'

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)

September 20, 2004

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)

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)

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)

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.

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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)

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)

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)

September 09, 2004

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

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

Fuhgeddaboutit

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)

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

What the ...?

kerrygun.jpg

Haven't we seen something like this before?


Don't these people have a clue?

saddamgun.jpg

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

August 24, 2004

Flawed Premise

Much of John Kerry's argument that he should be president seems to rest on the fact that he served in Vietnam for four months, was wounded three times, displayed courage and leadership under fire, and that, somehow, all of this establishes his bona fides to be the man to lead America for the next four (eight?) years. Even if we dismiss everything the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth are saying, grant that John Kerry was a war hero for his four months of service in Vietnam, that he actually did run clandestine missions into Cambodia, that he rescued Jim Rassman from the Mekong under fire, that he earned all his purple hearts and his bronze star, and that he has some consistent, coherent, finely nuanced explanation for his self-incriminating congressional testimony and other anti-American actions after returning from Vietnam -- how does this qualify him to be president?

In 1972 America rejected an authentic WW II hero, George McGovern, and instead elected a man for president who had no military experience, Richard Nixon. The elections of Jimmy Carter in 1976, Ronald Reagan in 1980 and 1984, and George H.W. Bush in 1988, had next to nothing to do with their respective military histories. In fact, I don't recall it coming up at all except in passing or in ridicule in the case of Ronald Reagan. In 1992 America rejected a true WW II hero, George H. W. Bush, for a documented Vietnam era draft dodger, Bill Clinton. America also rejected another man with impeccable military credentials, H. Ross Perot, in 1992 as well. When presented with an opportunity to rectify this error, America rejected another WW II hero with serious war wounds, Bob Dole, as well as H. Ross Perot again in favor of the same draft dodger, Bill Clinton. In 2000, the Republicans choose a National Guardsman, George W. Bush, over a true hero who endured years of torture in Vietnam, John McCain. Also in 2000, America elected this same George W. Bush over a man who had served in Vietnam, Al Gore.

If military service and heroism is the standard by which we are going to elect our presidents, then why aren't Colonel David H. Hackworth (most decorated man in Vietnam), General Norman Schwarzkopf (highly decorated Vietnam veteran and leader of the Gulf War), or General Tommy Franks (leader of the liberation of Afghanistan and Iraq, who was also wounded three times in Vietnam) at, or near, the top of the list of presidential contenders? Why haven't any of the 3400 men and women who have received the Congressional Medal of Honor, our nation's highest award for service, ever been elected to be president, or even nominated by the major parties? Interestingly enough, the Democrats had a chance to elect a senior military leader this year in the person of General Wesley Clark (who was shot four times and grievously wounded in Vietnam), and they demurred.

I can only conclude from all this that military service, heroism in the armed forces, and even life-long injuries and torture suffered on behalf of our nation, is of little or no importance when listing the criteria for electing a president. Or, perhaps, America's history with Vietnam is so tainted that no one gets any credit, or blame, for their actions in it, though that hardly explains the rejection of so many WW II veterans. Or maybe both of these reasons are applicable, though in different, convoluted ways. From the examples above, this cuts across party lines, so it is not a Republican vice Democrat thing.

So John Kerry's service in Vietnam is largely irrelevant to our decision this November, whether because military service is itself of little value in determining who should be president, or because any service in Vietnam should be excluded regardless. Either way, the rationale for making John Kerry's brief Vietnam service the centerpiece of his campaign seems to be an increasingly poor decision. Military service remains good and honorable and it should be respected, but it is probably not in the top ten qualifications for becoming president.

One other observation, as I thought through this it occured to me yet again that Korea really is the forgotten war.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:39 AM | Comments (1)

August 23, 2004

The Peter Principle

Based upon his 20 years in the Senate, it would seem that John Kerry should have been recognized as being a victim of the Peter Principle a long time ago. I suppose John Kerry's inability to manage his own campaign wouldn't worry me so much if he were an advocate of a laissez-faire approach to government. But given his proclivity for managing the economy, foreign affairs, intelligence, and well, almost everything through a highly nuanced tweaking of the knobs and levers of government, if the Peter Principle applies now, how bad might it be if he became president?

I also wonder sometimes about the value of nuance since its primary attibute when used by John Kerry seems to be to keep him from articulating exactly what it is he actually intends to do in any of these areas -- other than spouting platitudinous declarative statements promising to make anything and everything better, faster, cheaper, fairer, cleaner, lighter, greener, clearer, safer, cooler, simpler, hipper, easier, freer, happier, stronger, lower in carbs and saturated fat, less divisive, less unilateral, less dangerous, less fearful, more compassionate, more diverse, more inclusive, more tolerant, more secure, more sensible, more unified, more prosperous, more sensitive, more respected in the world, and, perhaps, most importantly, even more accesible to those who want to belly up to the plaintiff's bar.

The silver lining in any potential John Kerry presidency is that he probably will be about as effective as president as he was as candidate. Then again, I would have said the same thing about Al Gore through 9/10.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:22 PM | Comments (2)

August 20, 2004

"Help Me, Mr. Wizard"

STOP BRINGING IT ON:

... the Kerry campaign filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission that alleged the group behind the ad was illegally coordinating its efforts with the Bush-Cheney campaign.

The search for a controlling legal authority continues...

It cited "recent press reports" and the group's own statements.

How can you trust the statements of a group you just claimed you can't trust the statements of? I've heard that all Cretan's (cretins?) are liars, but jeez. And don't even get me started on the use of "recent press reports" as a reliable source.

tooter.gif

Drizzle, drazzle, dradle, drone, time for this one to come home.

(Enter Hillary, stage left.)

Heavens To Murgatroid... It's SNAGGLEPUSS!!!

snagglepuss2.JPG snagglepuss2X.JPG hillaryx.JPG hillary.jpg

Ok, that's a little mean and over the top. I feel so ashamed.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:09 PM | Comments (0)

A Girly Man With Broad Shoulders

There's only one thing that could lead to Mayor Richard M. Daley losing re-election as Mayor of Chicago on this plane of existence, and that is if he continues this fight he has going on with the Tribune Company and orders Wrigley Field shut down:

City officials ordered a new round of inspections at Wrigley Field on Thursday and threatened to block Monday night's game if the team can't prove the ballpark is safe.

Buildings Commissioner Stan Kaderbek said he ordered the review after a reporter noted during an interview Wednesday that some repairs at the ballpark were "shoddy."

"I said that certainly the reports we received from the Cubs don't indicate that," Kaderbek said, but he said he was concerned enough that he ordered new inspections.

Let's be very clear, this isn't about Wrigley Field being unsafe. The Mayor, a White Sox fan by the way, is gonna get his head handed to him if he screws around and causes the Cubs to miss out on the playoffs becuase he can't take a little criticism. It's not like he hasn't done something like this before, ever heard of Meigs Field?

In other news, Greg Maddox won number 301.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:04 AM | Comments (5)

August 19, 2004

Cash and Kerry

cashkerry.jpg

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:29 PM | Comments (0)

Note to Taranto

Feel free to use this as often as you like:

... John Kerry, the haughty, French-looking Senator from Massachussetts, who, by the way, served in Cambodia...

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:26 PM | Comments (0)

Respected Abroad -- By Any Means Necessary

What if President Bush told the press this afternoon that he changed his mind and was going to send an additional 150,000 troops to Germany?

And station them along the border in France.

Would that make everyone happy?

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:43 PM | Comments (0)

August 16, 2004

Paul Krendler, Call Your Office

Unfortunately, I think, the only image that comes to mind every time I read about John Kerry saying of his Christmas 1968 incursion into Cambodia:

"I have that memory, which is seared -- seared -- in me.

All I can picture is Anthony Hopkins, as Hannibal Lecter, pan frying thin strips of Ray Liotta's brain in a pan of virgin olive oil seasoned lightly with fresh garlic.

hannibal.jpg

Honestly, if there was ever a movie I wish I hadn't seen, this was it. Funny, though not in a ha ha manner, I feel the same way about the Kerry campaign.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:35 PM | Comments (0)

Who'da Thunk It?

"History's greatest monster" sides with left-wing dictator, or Springtime for Chavez:

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said on Monday international observers agreed that leftist President Hugo Chavez won an Aug. 15 recall referendum fairly despite opposition concerns over fraud in the vote.

I guess it's true that you can't teach on old dawg new tricks.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:15 PM | Comments (0)

There Have to Be Consequences

Commenting on how America is reacting to their words and deeds of late, Instapundit notes:

European politicians really don't understand the extent of the damage they have done.

As one of my former bosses in Alabama used to say, you can't call someone ugly all week and then ask them to the dance on Saturday night.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:21 AM | Comments (0)

August 13, 2004

Those Damn Republicans!

GOP Wants Governor to Step Down Now

They'll exploit any human tragedy to give the people a voice in deciding who will govern them.

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

Bring It On...

mcgreevey.jpg

... in three months.

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:21 PM | Comments (0)

Nothing to See Here, Move Along

DRUDGE EXCLUSIVE: Commission on Presidential Debates to announce Debate Moderators this afternoon.

First Presidential Debate: Jim Lehrer (PBS)
Second Presidential Debate: Charlie Gibson (ABC)
Third Presidential Debate: Bob Schieffer (CBS)
Vice Presidential Debate: Gwen Ifill (PBS)

Gee, so Paul Begala wasn't available?

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:17 PM | Comments (2)

New Math

Via Instapundit:

Hmm. 50 miles isn't that "near" -- it's about halfway to the coast.

If Cambodia is 100 miles from the coast of Vietnam where the Mekong Delta is and John Kerry estimated he was in Cambodia when he was in fact 50 miles away, then Mr. Kerry made a 100% math error in his recollection of where he "celebrated" Christmas in 1968. Gee, how many more things is John Kerry 100% wrong about?

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:13 PM | Comments (1)

August 09, 2004

Have It Your Way

Iraq Cleric Vows Fight to Death Vs. U.S.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:52 PM | Comments (2)

August 05, 2004

Like Mike?

Sometimes I dream that he is me
You got to know that's how I dream to be
I dream I move, I dream I groove
Like Mike
I can be like Mike
I wanna be like Mike
Like Mike
I can be like Mike

likemike.jpg

No worries mate, you're well on your way to being another Mike -- Mike Dukakis.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:42 AM | Comments (2)

August 04, 2004

Captions Aweigh

Woo Hoo! I won the Nuance And Courage Twin Awards at Captain's Quarters this week. I have had to seek alternate outlets for my creative sluices now that Dodd has folded up shop. And now on to this week's favorite moment of zen...

cornman.jpg

"Holding these ears of corn as I do now, and realizing the nutritional value of this fruit (sic) of the plains and the jobs that are generated by these golden kernels... reminds me that a was a lieutenant in Vietnam..."

"Teresa has asked that you make her a corn silk purse from these soused ears. Have it done by 5:00 this afternoon."

"Do you know who I am? Does this help jog your memory?"

"I am Cornholio!" the candidate yelled to the crowd at his daughter's urging, making a mental note to ask Vanessa again later who Cornholio is.

The corn, bread and circuses approach also failed to lift John Kerry in the polls.

"The one in my right hand kinda reminds me of John Edwards and his perfect hair."

"Aw, shucks. Shucks? Is that the right word?"

"Little people of Iowa, I love you a bushel and a peck, a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck."

Maybe John Kerry's trying to milk these ears of corn judging from the way he's holding them, although I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he's actually juggling three ears of corn and the picture has been cropped to eliminate the third ear. But on second thought my first impression was probably correct.

Well, at least President Bush knows what to with an ear of corn.

bushcorn.jpg

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:51 PM | Comments (8)

Yes, No, and Hell No!

There's an old aphorism that there are three possible answers to any yes/no question. The people of Missouri skipped past "yes" and "no" and said HELL NO! to gay marriage when they approved by over 70% a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as only between a man and a woman.

This is much worse than it looks for the progressives who, ahem, shot their wad a little early. The self-proclaimed progressives and the the Democratic Party fought like, well, like hell to get this on the August primary ballot instead of the general election ballot in November -- explicitly because a greater relative percentage of Democrats would be voting in August than November due to the race between Governor Bob Holden (goodbye and good riddance) and Claire McCaskill for the Democratic gubenatorial nomination. They got their wish and forced Missouri Secretary of State Matt Blount (who, incidentally, won the Republican gubenatorial nomination) to put it on the August ballot and they still got trounced, thrashed, and terminated. Not only do all the right-wing nutjob fundamentalist Republicans in Missouri oppose gay marriage, but perhaps a majority of the Democrats of Missouri do as well. Gosh, I almost expect John Kerry to come out forcefully against gay marriage now as a result of this measurement of the prevailing political winds.

Gay marriage is not an issue that plays well outside the echo chamber of blue state Big Media salons and coffee houses. FWIW, once again, I favor civil unions for gay and lesbian couples for a lot of reasons, but I continue to oppose gay marriage for even more reasons I lack the time and space to go into here.

In other local news, Propositions K & L both lost in Kirkwood (population 33,000), so our library gets neither the additional operating funds they requested ($0.09 tax increase) nor the bond issue ($16M -- or $500 per resident) to build a new library. After also losing the school bond issue ($100M for a school district with 5,000 students -- or $20,000 per student!) last year, I hope our city leaders will get more realistic in the requests they put before the public so they can get the additional funds they need for our civil and educational infrastructures.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:49 AM | Comments (0)

August 03, 2004

The Daily Ablution

I heard John Kerry in an especially monotone voice this morning complain that, "George Bush isn't moving fast enough to combat terrorism to make us safe." Didn't he also accuse George Bush of rushing to war? Whatever. And, of course, don't believe anyone who says they will make you safe vice safer. Such god-like powers are not available to us mere mortals. Hmm..., maybe that's the problem.

I also heard John Kerry say something along the lines of, "I will lead. We need leaders who lead with leadership, not followership. M'kay?" Well, that went over like a lead balloon. Ok, I added the m'kay, but it certainly seemed to fit. But who exactly was George Bush following in his unilateral rush to war?

Oh, and the Missouri primaries are today, so show me you care if you live in Missouri.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:47 AM | Comments (3)

August 02, 2004

The Manchurian Candidate

Love the 1962 film by John Frankenheimer. I'll wait to watch the remake on HBO or Showtime. But there is one thing I'm curious about. From the reviews I've read, why isn't this film called The Halliburton Candidate? What is the link to Manchuria in this remake other than an allegiance to the title of the original film, where a reference to Manchuria actually made sense? Or are the corporate evildoers in the remake Chinese food moguls or cheap plastic novelty magnates?

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:56 AM | Comments (5)

A Gift for Understatement

In this article from The Hill highlighting the tension within the Kerry campaign regarding the candidate's reluctance to be more vocal about gun control, we find this gem:

Asked if Kerry will highlight the issue in his campaign, Blaine Rummel, a spokesman for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence said, “There is some shiftiness,” said.

Shocking.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:50 AM | Comments (1)

President Gore-Kerry and 9/11

Something has long troubled me about John Kerry's assertion that President Bush has squandered the goodwill of "important" allies since 9/11. Is it safe to assume that he believes Al Gore would have nurtured and maintained this goodwill with our "important" allies after 9/11 had he been "selected" as president by the Florida Supreme Court? If so, how would a President Gore have accomplished this feat? I leave aside the question of whether this is what is really important for another time.

There are two ways that a President Gore might have been able to do this. First, perhaps our "important" allies would have granted a President Gore more leeway in acting decisively to protect America than they were ever willing to grant President Bush. I think this is true up to a point, but it is difficult to know exactly what that point is. I also do not think that you can blame President Bush for the intransigence of our "important" allies when it comes to fighting the War on Terror. What it reveals to me is the relative unseriousness of our "important" allies when it comes to assessing what is important to us, to them, and to all of us together.

Second, a President Gore might have curried favor by doing exactly what I believe most people suspect he would have done -- appeal to the transnational progressive institutions he respects and then abide by their decisions, regardless of the will of the American people. I suffer from no illusions about how the US is viewed by these institutions and wish to never sacrifice our sovereignty to them, at least until they have the same inherent respect for the individual that motivates and drives us. At best, I believe this approach would have only kicked the can down the road a bit, allowing our enemies to grow ever stronger, until a day of reckoning could no longer be avoided. As history has shown many times, waiting until the threat is demonstrably imminent generally leads to horrific tragedies than could have been dealt with much quicker and with less loss of life and materiel. It is perhaps worth noting that most of us are asleep when something has to absolutely, positively be delivered overnight, which is one way of defining imminent.

Unfortunately, I believe Mr. Kerry has been quite clear that he thinks much more like Mr. Gore than President Bush on these matters. Let us hope we do not find ourselves in the not too distant future saying, "I wish the adults were still in charge." Worse yet, let us fervently hope that we do not wake up one day sincerely asking the same question Michael Moore has asked rhetorically,
Dude, where's my country."

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:39 AM | Comments (0)

July 30, 2004

Its Like High School All Over Again

The real problem with John Kerry's requirement for a multilateralist approach to foreign policy isn't that the UN and France are corrupt, anti-American, and hostile to our ideas of freedom and individual responsibility. While they are both guilty of these sins these problems can, in theory at least, all be rectified. But should the UN and France accept transparency in their financial dealings with dictators, became respectful of America, and abandon statism for the rights of the individual, it would still be wrong for the United States to need their approval to act in its own interests. What John Kerry is saying is that the United States lacks the ability to decide what is right and the confidence to act on its own to see right done.

An America led by John Kerry would first want to see if all the cool kids in Europe and the self-appointed judges of what is fashionable in foreign policy at the UN approve before making any key decisions and acting to implement them -- and not just beyond our own borders! This may well be a consequence of John Kerry's apparent lack of bedrock principles. I do not believe that John Kerry hates America or that he blames America first for everything bad that happens in the world. But I do believe that he lacks confidence in the inherent goodness of America and the ability of America's elected leaders to make correct choices in foreign policy. Frankly, what I can't quite figure out is why he thinks France or the UN have any special ability in this regard, especially with respect to protecting the interests of the United States.

Because I have a daughter starting high school in three weeks I see examples of this kind of behavior all the time on a smaller, more localized scale. To torture this analogy just a little further I'd like to ask Mr. Kerry two questions:

1. If, as president, all the other nations of the world decide that the Jews and Zionism really are the impediment to peace in the Middle East, are you going to go along to get along?

2. If, as president, you learn that Iran plans to detonate a nuclear device in Israel, will it be necessary to get the approval of France and the UN before acting?

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:26 PM | Comments (2)

July 29, 2004

John F. Kerry

Running commentary...

Whoa, I was starting to feel like a bad dad for awhile there thinking I would have let the hamster just go on to hamster heaven, but then Alexandra reminded us that we exist only for the greater glory of the state. Fortunately, my children aren't being taught that. I love my country and I am thankful that I was born in America, but I do not exist merely to make America greater.

Watched the movie. Not bad, but something was missing in his career... being Lieutenant Governor for Michael Dukakis.

Honestly, who ever would have thought that being proud of Vietnam and Vietnam veterans would ever be featured at a DNC Convention? I hope those returning from Afghanistan and Iraq don't have to wait 30 years to be accepted by the rank and file of the Democratic Party.

Maybe it's just the placement of the microphones, but the crowd doesn't really seem up to snuff.

I respect Max Cleland and feel for him and the injuries he suffered in Vietnam. People who note that he was injured in an accident don't appreciate that many injuries and deaths in war do not result directly from enemy fire. Mr. Cleland deserves a lot of credit for moving forward -- it's probably more than I could have done in simliar circumstances. He's earned the right to say and do just about whatever he wants, including being a strong, wrong-headed partisan. But it is a lie for Mr. Rassman to say that he has always taken the high road.

John Kerry's starting smoother, more lively, and less monotone than usual. As they scan the crowd and I notice Leonardo DiCaprio, I am reminded of something Magic Johnson once said in the L.A. Lakers' locker room after a game as he scanned the crowd of celebrities all around him, "They want to be us and we want to be them."

Paraphrasing, "I want Europe to like us." Great, just great.

John marched for women. I know a lot of people who marched for women.

Paraphrasing, "Bush is a liar." Uh huh.

John McCain gets featured a lot, because, well, swing voters like John McCain. I look forward to John McCain reminding everyone who he supports.

Paraphrasing, "John Ashcroft does not uphold the U.S. Constitution." Puhleeze.

Not paraphrasing, "This is the most important election of our lifetime." Bullshit.

Paraphrasing, "Protectionism is on it's way." And I bet he wants to pick the winners too.

Non sequitur alert -- ...can't type fast enough...

I love it when Democrats take credit for all the things that I and 100 million other Americans did to make the economy grow in the 1990's.

He accepts.

Paraphrasing, "Son of a mill worker." Son of a mill manager, close enough.

Mother Teresa. Great.

Max is a patriot, so quit questioning his patriotism!

He's delivering a good speech very well. But the substance is lacking, IMHO.

Somehow, I think we are about to hear about "squandering goodwill."

Yep.

Facts were distorted by politics?

Bush wanted to go to war!

Bush squandered American lives.

Paraphrasing, "We will never go to war without a plan to win the peace." I.e., we will never go to war.

He will not preempt, but he will respond. The delegates may be willing to wait for the next attack. I am not.

The backdoor draft of the National Guard. Bullshit.

Hello Mr. Spielberg.

Mr. Kerry doesn't have a clue about inspecting container ships. He doesn't know what he is talking about.

And how dare Bush spend money in Iraq!

And how dare Bush question my patriotism!

Dissent is patriotism! Patriotism is dissent!

Uh, how many in the crowd wore a uniform again?

He's getting worked up about the flag, but who's he fighting?

Enron! (Halliburton!) Big Drug Companies! Bush! Chene