« November 2003 | January 2004 »

December 1, 2003

Players Are Haters

According to Matt Drudge, a group of Hollywood elite will be meeting tomorrow night in an event titled "Hate Bush": Top Hollywood activists and intellectuals are planning to gather this week in Beverly Hills for an event billed as 'Hate Bush,' the DRUDGE REPORT has learned! Laurie David [wife of SEINFELD creator Larry David] has sent out invites to the planned Tuesday evening meeting at the Hilton with the bold heading: 'Hate Bush 12/2 - Event' The event is being chaired by Harold Ickes, a former Clinton chief of staff, and Ellen Malcolm, who founded Emily's List. Among the intellectual luminaries invited are: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, whose career stalled out after "Seinfeld" went off the air; Lyn Lear, Norman's wife; actor Daniel Stern; Marge Tabankin, described by Drudge as "Barbara Streisand's philanthropic and political guru"; and Heather Thomas, best known as a pin-up model in the 1980s. Also on the list...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

We Told You So, Part 47-B

Glenn at Instapundit directed readers to this extremely interesting story at the New York Times: For two years before the American invasion of Iraq, Mr. Hussein's sons, generals and front companies were engaged in lengthy negotiations with North Korea, according to computer files discovered by international inspectors and the accounts of Bush administration officials. The officials now say they believe that those negotiations — mostly conducted in neighboring Syria, apparently with the knowledge of the Syrian government — were not merely to buy a few North Korean missiles. Instead, the goal was to obtain a full production line to manufacture, under an Iraqi flag, the North Korean missile system, which would be capable of hitting American allies and bases around the region, according to the Bush administration officials. So much for Saddam not being a threat to America and its interests! And would we have found out about this without...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

2003 Weblog Awards at Wizbang

Wizbang has announced the nomination process for the 2003 Weblog Awards, which I found via Power Line this morning. Wizbang has done a nice job in setting up categories and processing nominations. Take a look and add those blogs you think deserve some recognition. In my case, I've nominated Power Line for both Best Overall Blog and Best Group Blog. Not only does Power Line consistently deliver thoughtful and timely commentary (even on rare occasions where I disagree), but they also maintain a unified voice, which is difficult to do when group blogging. Also, for complete disclosure, Power Line has linked to CQ on a number of occasions, even if I have been a bit of an e-mail pest from time to time, and have been very encouraging to me as I've started blogging. I also took the initiative to nominate myself in the Best New Blog category. I don't...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Dru Sjodin Breaking News

This wasn't the kind of news we were hoping was coming when the media announced a break in the Dru Sjodin case: A Crookston, Minn., man has been arrested and is facing a kidnapping charge in the disappearance of Dru Sjodin, police said. Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., 50, was arrested on Monday at 7:20 p.m. in Crookston, Grand Forks police said. What's most disturbing is the last paragraph in the necessarily terse statement: Police said a search for Sjodin is ongoing. Police said no further information will be released until a press briefing on Tuesday morning. Unfortunately for the Sjodin family, an arrest without recovering Dru alive looks like we're not going to get good news in tomorrow's briefing. I'm trying to keep my hopes up, but this is tough to hear. I'm not sure why this case resonates with me so much. I suppose it could be that Dru is...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Why Is This Man Smiling?

Every time this idiot involves himself in international politics, I thank God he only served as President for four years. While appearing in Geneva, Jimmy Carter managed to blame Bush for Mideast violence, blame Jews for their own destruction, and argue for rewarding terrorism with territory, all in one speech (from the Jerusalem Post, via Power Line): Former US President Jimmy Carter unleashed a fierce attack against the Israeli and American governments in his speech at the Geneva Initiative's ceremony in Switzerland. ... In Geneva, Carter said Israel's settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and the security fence are the main obstacles to peace. He called repeatedly for the return of Palestinian refugees to the territories, beyond what is called for in the Geneva Initiative. ... Carter said that is of equal importance that Palestinians renounce violence against Israeli citizens, but he said this must happen in exchange...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

USS Clueless Captures the Philosophy of America at War

Steven den Beste at USS Clueless captures my thinking exactly, in explaining to an Iranian about why and how America goes to war: It's not a question of my nation making a decision whether people will die. Islamic militants made that decision. America's only decision now is who will die, and where and when. If we stand by idly and passively, then it will be Americans who die, whenever and wherever the Islamic extremists choose to kill them, probably in huge numbers. We don't consider that acceptable. That's surrender. That's not going to happen. Instead, we're attempting to take control of events, in hopes that we can minimize the total number of deaths caused by this war. That's why we've embarked on the highly risky and unprecedented strategy we're following. If we were only concerned with minimizing American casualties and if we didn't care about anyone else, then every major...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

December 2, 2003

When Ideology Trumps Common Sense

You can file this one under "What Are These People Smoking?" In fact, that would make a good category here: Fired for walking into his office drunk, toting a loaded, sawed-off shotgun and saying he was looking for his bosses, a Canadian man wants his union to help him get his job back. ... The city of Moncton dismissed him, but a week later Pavlovsky went to his union to protest the firing and members agreed the union should help him try to get his job back once he finishes his prison term [emphasis mine]. Someone tell me this is satire, because this is something I'd expect in a fevered-nightmare hypothetical from the fringe right wing. The union is going to fight to get this guy back in the office, after showing up for work with a loaded illegal weapon, intending to kill people? Cases like these are why non-idiotarians...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Gun Control: A Consistent Failure

According to the Fraser Institute, restrictive firearms laws and gun confiscation programs have been expensive failures in various Commonwealth countries (via Instapundit). In England and Wales: Both Conservative and Labour governments have introduced restrictive firearms laws over the past 20 years; all handguns were banned in 1997. Yet in the 1990s alone, the homicide rate jumped 50 percent, going from 10 per million in 1990 to 15 per million in 2000. While not yet as high as the US, in 2002 gun crime in England and Wales increased by 35 percent. This is the fourth consecutive year that gun crime has increased. In Australia: While violent crime is decreasing in the United States, it is increasing in Australia. Over the past six years, the overall rate of violent crime in Australia has been on the rise – for example, armed robberies have jumped 166 percent nationwide. The confiscation and destruction...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Howard Dean: All Hat, No Cattle

You have to love Chris Matthews; even though his loud and brash approach can wear on me after a while, it's that attitude that really exposes pretenders such as Howard Dean. Matt Drudge has posted an excerpt from the Hardball installment with Dean, where Dean announced that he would "break up giant media enterprises" out of a concern "how deeply media companies can penetrate every single community" in America. Not surprisingly, since Matthews works for one of those "giant media enterprises" (GE), Matthews attempted to pin Dean down on specifics: MATTHEWS: Well, would you break up GE? DEAN: I can`t -- you... MATTHEWS: GE just buys Universal. Would you do something there about that? Would you stop that from happening? DEAN: You can`t say -- you can`t ask me right now and get an answer, would I break up X corp... MATTHEWS: We`ve got to do it now, because now...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Howard Dean: All Hat, No Cattle, Take 2

After visiting Hugh Hewitt, Mickey Kaus and Best of the Web, I've discovered that the Hardball interview had a lot more landmines for Howard Dean than I first saw. First off, he seems to be flunking post-Cold War geography: The key, I believe, to Iran, is pressure through the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union is supplying much of the equipment that Iran I believe mostly likely is using to set itself along the path of developing nuclear weapons. We need to use that leverage with the Soviet Union, and it may require us buying the equipment the Soviet Union was ultimately going to sell to Iran, to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. The Soviet Union, you may recall, disappeared in the early 90s. Dr. Dean may have been in surgery that day -- who knows? -- but if George Bush had made a reference to "East Germany" in the...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

10,000 Visitors -- Thank You!

I noticed that I've crossed the 10,000-visit threshold today on the Sitemeter, thanks to a big assist from Power Line and Steven den Beste. A big thank you to everyone who's stopped by Captain's Quarters over the past two months!...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Marching Orders

I had the audacity to ask Hugh Hewitt, the Lord High Commissioner of the Blogosphere, to induct me into the Society of the Minnesota Master of the Horse (seeing as I'm in Minnesota, and I've been compared to at least one end of the horse on many occasions). Hugh kindly wrote me back and explained that there are three tests a blogger must pass in order to be inducted into Society, the first of which is to denounce the folks at FratersLibertas in a particularly shameful way. The first step I could take in that regard would be to blogroll them here. I should have done it earlier, of course, but I've been hitting their site through Power Line, being the lazy Captain that I am. But now I've added them to the Northern Fleet, and you can almost hear the lustre fading away from them. Besides, as Tim Robbins'...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Jeff Jarvis and Hugh Hewitt React to Dean's Hardball Interview

Jeff Jarvis isn't pleased with Howard Dean, by any stretch of the imagination: Howard Dean says he'd "break up" media companies. This is the worst of political pandering: Big media companies have been made into the boogeymen du jour and so he announces he'll go after them. No legal basis. No constitutional justification. Just because they're there. Jarvis quotes the same part of the transcript that I posted earlier, and reaches much the same conclusion I did, although he puts it more directly: Translation: He's going to meddle in news. He's going to decree who can and can't own media outlets. He's going to break up companies for sport and political pandering. He's not concerned with the First Amendment. He's not concerned with the realities of the media business today (if you don't allow some level of consolidation, then weak outlets will die). Yes, I work in big media. But...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

December 3, 2003

LA Faces An Election Scandal

The LA Times breaks a story today about alleged election fraud in mayoral and City Council elections: [John] Archibald and 13 of the Casden firm's subcontractors were indicted last month on charges of conspiring to illegally funnel more than $200,000 in campaign contributions during 2000 and 2001 to Los Angeles City Council members Jack Weiss and Wendy Greuel, City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo and Kathleen Connell, who was a candidate for mayor. Archibald and the subcontractors have pleaded not guilty to the felony charges and are free on their own recognizance. Prosecutors said the Casden firm, which has a $100-million Westwood development pending before the city, had sought to buy influence with the contributions. Larry J. Higgins, owner of a Sun Valley termite-control company, testified that he had the impression that he needed to make the political donations as a condition for getting a contract from the Casden firm. He has...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Hoagland Crystallizes the Iraqi 'Insurgency'

Jim Hoagland, in today's Washington Post, deflates the myth of popular insurgency in Iraq with the reality of the motives of this gang of thugs, using an entertaining metaphor: Think of the worst divorce case you have ever heard about, and then imagine the embittered ex-spouses armed with Kalashnikovs and bombs instead of legal motions over alimony and property, and you get some sense of what Iraq's Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds are going through right now. Other motives are also involved. Those so inclined can emphasize the religious fanaticism of the jihadists who have taken the battlefield in Iraq or the Arab fervor stirred by foreign occupation. I grant that both exist, and come back to the fundamental force of this counterrevolution: The warring Arab Sunnis of Iraq want the money. And they want to regain the privilege of dominating the country's other population groups. Hoagland underscores the mercenary/power motivation...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

The Midnight Blog Court: An Epic Poem

As part of my trial for acceptance into the Society of the Minnesota Master of the Horse, the second task given by Hugh Hewitt was to write an epic poem, mentioning at least ten blogs, including that of the Lord High Commissioner himself, as well as taking swipes at FratersLibertas and the Elder, and one at James Lileks, too. I decided to proceed, despite the inherent dangers of taking on so many veteran bloggers, by writing an epic poem based on the Gaelic poem Cúirt an Mheán-Oíche (The Midnight Court). This poem can be found in both English and Irish here, for those who want to see how poorly I satirize fine literature. The poem is a great example of an aisling, a dream-vision poem, and in fact is one of the classics in Irish literature. For my purposes here, I took out most of the 1000 lines or so,...

Continue reading "The Midnight Blog Court: An Epic Poem" »

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

QandO Firing on All Cylinders

I don't have a Blog of the Day type of category, but if I did, Jon at QandO would get the prize today. Check out his takes on the following: * Washington, DC government offices are now installing dispensers for free condoms * Jon gives the best explanation of rational libertarianism I've heard. * The economy is expanding even faster than we thought -- it's looking like a boom. * Jon doesn't believe that Hillary will run for president in '04. I'm not sure I agree, but he makes a good argument about her strategy of late. If you haven't blogrolled QandO, be sure to do so now!...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Mac Eye for the Windows Guy

I got this link from a friend of mine who apparently has heard one too many Mac jokes. She sent this to me today. I wonder if she's trying to tell me something. I feel the need a latté and a manicure now, for some odd reason ......

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

That Valerie Plame -- She Sure Knows How to Stay Concealed

This has been going around the blogosphere all day, but I figured I'd throw in my two cents, and then post a few links to other reactions. Here, from the original Washington Post story by Howard Kurtz, is the covert agent's current top-secret project: Former ambassador Joseph Wilson has been quite protective of his wife, Valerie Plame, in the weeks since her cover as a CIA operative was blown. "My wife has made it very clear that -- she has authorized me to say this -- she would rather chop off her right arm than say anything to the press and she will not allow herself to be photographed," he declared in October on "Meet the Press." Here's the woman who will not allow herself to be photographed in the Vanity Fair issue that went on sale today: It's not that Plame has dropped out of sight. In October, as...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

And The Winner Is ... Me?

Hey, I won a contest! The Sophorist announced a little while ago that I won his latest photo-caption contest. Yay!! You can see the photo here, and the winning caption was: "I'm NOT doing a Ross Perot imitation, dammit! You and you -- boost me up!" The Sophorist was even kind enough to link back to my "epic" poem; aficianados of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series may detect a strong resemblance to Vogon poetry here ......

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

New Diabetic Testing Technology Eliminates Blood Draws

This is outstanding news -- a new diabetes meter will be introduced in January which will eliminate the need for finger sticks and test strips, eliminated a major quality-of-life issue for diabetics. My wife, who has been diabetic for 40 years, told me about this a few minutes ago, and I found this incomplete site on the Internet: The first TRULY Non-invasive Glucose Monitor. * Pain Free * Blood Free * Strip Free Easy to use, SugarTrac IX3000 is a glucose monitoring system that, with no discomfort and no sensation, uses light waves to measure glucose levels. A one step process involves using a small, lightweight earpiece attached by a cord to a monitor. When the earpiece is simply placed on the earlobe, and the "TEST" button is pushed, the monitor screen displays the glucose result in 30 seconds or less... without blood or fluid of any kind. Here's a...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

December 4, 2003

Gephardt Campaign Gets A Little Desperate

I've heard of playing hardball, but Gephardt's staff seems to be trying to win an award for it: A top aide to Rep. Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri threatened political retaliation this week against union leaders in the home state of the Democratic presidential candidate if they aided Howard Dean, underscoring growing tensions in the 2004 race. It's assumed that those groups who back the losing horse will lose some clout with the eventual winner; that much is true in any election, primary or general, presidential or local alderman race. Explicitly stating it is considered poor form. In this case, though, Gephardt's staff went even further, threatening to take specific legislative action to punish those who stray from the flock: The letter said [Joyce] Aboussie also told the local union officials not to campaign for Dean in Missouri, which holds its primary on Feb. 3 and which Gephardt, as native...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

We're So Desperate We Make Stuff Up

Mike Allen at the Washington Post wrote an article questioning Bush's integrity, but wound up damaging his own (via Instapundit): In the most widely published image from his Thanksgiving day trip to Baghdad, the beaming president is wearing an Army workout jacket and surrounded by soldiers as he cradles a huge platter laden with a golden-brown turkey. ... But as a small sign of the many ways the White House maximized the impact of the 21/2-hour stop at the Baghdad airport, administration officials said yesterday that Bush picked up a decoration, not a serving plate. ... Some of the reporters left behind at Crawford Middle School, where they work when Bush is staying at his Texas ranch, felt they had been deceived by White House accounts of what Bush would be doing on Thanksgiving. Correspondent Mark Knoller said Sunday on "CBS Evening News" that the misleading information and deception were...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Fraters Libertas Weighs In on the "Liberal Radio Network"

Now that the Al Gore/Al Franken Liberal Radio Network has new investors with some experience in the entertainment world, the buzz has increased on a possible launch, including the news that the consortium may purchase five radio stations for their programming. The guys over at Fraters Libertas do an excellent job of deconstructing the various reports, referencing a Byron York column at NRO, but applying some local knowledge of the people involved: Liberal radio hasn't been entertaining for a non partisan audience. But it's hard to appreciate Walsh's insight through his condescension. Notice how he's subtly blaming the listeners for not appreciating the substance of the “progressive side,” because it has an “air of education to it.” And in their minds that doesn't work with the talk radio crowd. (Which is why all I want for Christmas is a drool cup, for when I'm listening to the education-free mumblings of...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Lileks Wonders About Dean

Okay, okay, I know that James Lileks isn't taking December off, no matter how much I libel him in verse. He doesn't have to keep proving it with excellent essays like this one on Howard Dean: So it was an interesting moment on MSNBC's "Hardball" when Chris Matthews asked Gov. Dean whether Osama bin Laden should be tried in the United States or by the World Court. For a presidential candidate, this is not a difficult question. It requires no long cogitation, no disquisitions about the role of international law from the Wilsonian perspective. It doesn't require any second-guessing. You say that bin Laden attacked America, and he deserves to be tried there by Americans. That's what you say if you want to be president of the United States, anyway. But as we all know, that's not what Governor Dean said, in his interview that included his contention that he...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

I Am Angry

I look at my beautiful 18-month-old granddaughter, who has so much spirit and joy at life, and I am saddened to think that soon, I will have to say to her, Sweetheart, let me explain something to you. You are developing into God's most beautiful creation: a young woman. That means you will need to live the rest of your life in fear. Stop smiling, honey. Don't make eye contact with anyone. Stop walking through parks and admiring the flowers and the trees, or someone will grab you by your beautiful strawberry-blonde hair and do things to you that are unspeakable. And if you're lucky enough to survive, we'll all tell you what you did wrong to deserve it.

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

December 5, 2003

More Bad News about Dru

Evidence of Alfonso Rodriguez' involvement in the Dru Sjodin case has, unfortunately, taken a grim turn: Bloodstains matching Dru Sjodin's blood type were found in the car of Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., the repeat sex offender charged with abducting her outside a Grand Forks mall, sources close to the investigation said Thursday. That evidence is perhaps the most revealing detail in the case that North Dakota authorities are building against the 50-year-old Rodriguez, who has been charged with kidnapping in the University of North Dakota student's disappearance two weeks ago. Detectives have remained tight-lipped about their investigation, even having many of the facts in court records sealed from public view. A blood type match is not the same as a DNA analysis; that will take much longer to determine. However, this explains why the police were eager to arrest Rodriguez....

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Power Line's Favorite Democrat

Don't put off reading this, if only to remember that there are patriots to be found in both parties, and that courage in defense of freedom and liberty is not dead, no matter how passé it may be thought in certain circles. Go through Power Line's archives and read more about Zell Miller. I'm thinking about writing him this weekend and asking him not to retire, but to run for one more term, even as a Democrat. He'd be one I would be delighted to support, although he represents another state.

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Christopher Hitchens Scolds the Anti-War Left

Christopher Hitchens, a liberal in the classic sense, has been a supporter of the war on terror and the Iraq war all along. As he has done during the run-up and aftermath of the war, Hitchens takes the left to task for its obtuseness: The truly annoying thing that I find when I am arguing with opponents of the regime-change policy in Iraq is their dogged literal-mindedness. "Your side said that coalition troops would be greeted with 'sweets and flowers!' " Well, I have seen them with my own eyes being ecstatically welcomed in several places. "But were there actual sweets and flowers?" Literal interpretations of predictions seem to be a one-way street, as Hitchens notes in his closing: There were predictions made by the peaceniks, too, that haven't come literally true, or true at all. There has been no refugee exodus, for example, of the kind they promised. No...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Zero Tolerance = Zero Sense

Another bit of zero-tolerance nonsense, this time at a Louisiana high school: A student expelled from Parkway High for a year for having Advil, an over-the-counter pain reliever, will not be allowed to return to the school. Kelly Herpin and daughter Amanda Stiles, a sophomore, appealed the one-year expulsion to a Bossier Parish School Board committee Thursday night, spending about 10 minutes with the board's administrative committee behind closed doors. The committee and the full board voted unanimously to uphold an administrative decision that Stiles be expelled to the alternative school. I understand the necessity of rules regarding medications for students on school grounds. The schools want to dispense the medications themselves so that they are not passed around. This makes perfect sense for prescription medication; it makes less sense for over-the-counter medication like Advil, which do not easily lend themselves to abuse. Even so, rules are rules, and Ms....

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

It Must Be Official: Even the Strib Printed It

A new AP-Ipsos poll has Bush's numbers rebounding, significantly enough that even the Minneapolis Star-Tribune is carrying the report: People are increasingly comfortable about job security for themselves and for those they know -- 44 percent now, compared with 35 percent in early October. And more approve of the way Bush is handling the economy -- 50 percent compared with 45 percent earlier, according to the poll conducted for the AP by Ipsos-Public Affairs. Support for his handling of other domestic issues such as education, health care and the economy, at 47 percent, has not shifted significantly. However, the Strib being the Strib, it just can't print this story without this editorializing in the middle of it: The economy is showing mixed signs of recovery: rapid growth that surprised most economists last quarter, indications the job market could be turning around, a rebound in the stock market over the past...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

December 6, 2003

Mutual Admiration Societies

I got a nice e-mail from the California Yankee for adding him to the blogroll, an act of politeness that I haven't yet seen, or even actually performed myself (blush blush). He even posted a nice comment on his blog today. Make sure you get a chance to take a good look at the California Yankee. (Maybe I should call myself the Minnesota Dodger ... yeah, I know, that's not the reference, but I sure do miss Dodger Stadium.)...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Another Argument for School Vouchers

I am not much of a fan of lawsuits. I tend to think that civil litigation has morphed into a version of Legal Lottery in too many cases, where people wildly exaggerate their damages in order to redistribute wealth, rather than recover reasonable damages. News stories about lawsuits raise my suspicion, for two reasons. First, I look at whether the alleged action actually caused damage and to what extent; second, why does a particular lawsuit get press coverage? In this case, the suit itself has some legal curiousity, but I suspect that the depth of reporting is intended to cast doubt on the idea of school vouchers. Otherwise, I'm not sure why this educational malpractice lawsuit, which has dubious odds of succeeding, would get so much attention from the Star Tribune: But when one mom discovered a couple of years ago that her fifth-grade daughter at the school was doing...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Hello Kitty Communism

Oh, the Commissar will be most displeased with this display of decadence from CPUSA (via QandO). For instance, want to show your support for the proletariat? How about a Karl Marx Lunchbox? Karl Marx wrote much food for thought. Here's a box to put your lunch in. Hungry for more? Click image. No? A bit too childish? You could always buy a Commie Bear for your appropriately socialistic sweetheart: Commie bear! It's the Communist Party USA logo on a teddy bear. Click image to shop for a variety of items sporting the CPUSA gear - hammer - sickle logo. Have they figured out that they've lost the war, and now they're just cashing in on the wreckage of 90 years? Or are they so benighted that they have no idea how baldly ironic Communist merchandising rights are? (Note: I would have posted the images of the merchandise here, but even...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Yo, Al -- Ed & Pete Wanna Have a Word Wit' Ya

I heard about this editorial in yesterday's New York Post and it certainly tells a different story about the Patriot Act than our erstwhile Democratic presidential candidates, and a certain ex-Vice President as well. Ed Koch, former Democratic mayor of New York City, and Rep. Peter King (R) of New York wrote: THE brutal attacks of 9/11 brought home to the American people what should have been clear to our nation's leaders years before that fateful day: We are at war with Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda and their radical Islamic terrorist allies throughout the world and within our borders. It is a war that threatens our national survival. Yet, listening to an increasingly shrill chorus of political voices, Americans could almost conclude that the real threat to our country comes not from bin Laden and al Qaeda but John Ashcroft and the Patriot Act. It seems like a wide...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Patterico's Pontifications

I received a nice e-mail from Patterico's Pontifications, a fellow Marauding Marsupial, letting me know that he enjoys Captain's Quarters and has blogrolled me, so I'm returning the favor. Make sure you take a look at Patterico's Pomtifications!...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Just A Spoonful of Cinnamon Helps The Sugar Go Away

A big thank you to reader Tom Scott of Anchorage, who referred me to an article in New Scientist magazine that explains newly-discovered benefits of cinnamon for diabetics: Just half a teaspoon of cinnamon a day significantly reduces blood sugar levels in diabetics, a new study has found. The effect, which can be produced even by soaking a cinnamon stick your tea, could also benefit millions of non-diabetics who have blood sugar problem but are unaware of it. Like a lot of interesting scientific discoveries, this one was found by accident, originally by the Human Nutrition Research Center, a project in the US Dept. of Agriculture. They even know the molecular mechanism involved: The active ingredient in cinnamon turned out to be a water-soluble polyphenol compound called MHCP. In test tube experiments, MHCP mimics insulin, activates its receptor, and works synergistically with insulin in cells. My wife was surprised to...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Kerry Gets Really F***ing Desperate

I don't have "virgin ears", but I expect presidential candidates to behave publicly with decorum and respect. I don't need to hear them talking as though they were in a locker room or hanging out at the bar. If that's what John Kerry thinks will make voters support him, then we know something about his contempt for the electorate.

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Last Chance at Weblog Awards

Kevin at Wizbang has relented to the hue and cry from all of us who have been left off of the lists of finalists in the 2003 Weblog Awards (can you imagine? Four million blogs and I didn't make the cut?)-- he will create a new category, Most Egregious Omission. I would hardly describe overlooking CQ as egregious; there's a lot of really good blogs on Kevin's list. But if you feel like arguing my case, you can leave a comment on Kevin's post and see if it makes a difference. If not, just tell your friends about Captain's Quarters. I tooted my own horn -- sort of -- but I also put in a good word for QandO and Twilight Cafe, who has a subtle holiday change to her logo, if you can spot it. In other awards news, Kevin's dealing with some people who just can't handle an...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

December 7, 2003

A Day That Might Live in Infamy

Today is the 62nd anniversary of Pearl Harbor, and I was curious to see how it would be addressed by the media, especially now that we're a couple of years past 9/11, this generation's Day of Infamy. So far, it's pretty difficult to find anything without using site search engines. Not many papers are featuring Pearl Harbor stories on their main web pages. In our area, we have two major dailies. The Star Tribune has four paragraphs -- four! -- on the anniversary. (Don't strain yourselves, folks.) They also reprint a superficial AP article by Matt Sedensky . This is the Sunday edition; there's plenty of room for more insight than this. The Pioneer Press does a better job; they have a few articles on Pearl Harbor. Unfortunately, one of them is an opinion piece by David Broder that uses Pearl Harbor to excoriate President Bush for not getting an...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Breaking the Microsoft Jones

Yesterday I decided to take a radical step: I downloaded Mozilla and installed its browser and e-mail client. I've used Microsoft Internet Explorer and Outlook for years now, and I've been pretty happy with both overall. Lately, though, I've been frustrated with the security holes in Outlook and its mail interface, and pop-up ads in IE have been driving me nuts. I'd heard that Mozilla addressed both of these problems, so I'm giving it a try. So far, I'm impressed. The mail client isn't as feature rich as full-blown Outlook, but it matches up well with Outlook Express. I wish it managed signatures; right now you have an option to assign just one to an account, rather than being able to insert from a selection of signatures. It alerts you when new e-mail is on the server but it doesn't automatically download it for you. That may be an option,...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Joe Candidate: The New Series from DNC-TV

It looks like Dennis Kucinich is going to get lucky. Cleveland.com is reporting that a 33-year-old stalwart Democrat beat out 79 other hopefuls to land a date with the long-shot Presidential candidate: After weeks of suspense, Don Juan presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich snagged a date yesterday with Gina Marie Santore, a 33-year-old Democratic party loyalist who currently works for the sheriff of Camden County, N.J. Santore used Internet politicking skills to defeat 79 others who tried to win a date with Kucinich through the Politicsnh.com Web site. She said she was drawn to Kucinich's "attractive platform," more than anything else. His "attractive platform"? Well, I've seen his picture, so I'd have to think it was his platform she found attractive, although Lord knows, this bald 40-year-old doesn't have much room to talk. The article details that the two are considering Indian food when they get together. Power Line gets a...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Opus: A Bad Idea?

A while back, I posted about the return of Berke Breathed to the comics page with Opus, an extension of the popular character from the seminal and brilliant Bloom County comic strip of the 80s and early 90s. So far, I haven't had a chance to see any of the new stuff from Breathed, but if you read this review from uBlog, I haven't been missing much: The bad news: it's terrible. Somebody said "witty" and Breathed heard "brittle." They beamed "This is a landmark opportunity" and Breathed came away with "Make it ham-handed flummery." I keep thinking about the Sex Pistols' late-90s "reunification" tour, the first of several nostalgia-reapings: Q. Mr. Lydon, why are you and the other sexagenarian Pistols on the stage again, performing full-throated anthems about fatalist nihilism to fans one-third your age? A. Eh, what's this about rebellion? We're here to nick the last bob out...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Hewitt: Dean Lacks Seriousness

Hugh Hewitt doesn't think much of Howard Dean or his campaign, but then again, that's no surprise. Hugh writes extensively today on his blog about the false sense of singularity amongst the Deanies: The Dean people are too young to know what a rel "movement" looks like. This is a nice campaign, one likely to capture the nomination and get swept aside in a landslide for an incumbent President backed by a booming economy, significant legislative achievements, and a serious commitment to national security. At the close of business in November, these warriors of December '03 will look at each other with blank or dazed expressions. They never saw it coming. Because they never read a book on campaigns past. Just read the whole thing and remember this when you keep hearing about the "historic" nature of the Dean campaign....

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

December 8, 2003

A Few Thanks to Friends

I just took a quick peek at the comments Wizbang's new awards category, Most Egregious Omission, and I see that Patterrico and DC have put in a good word for me! Thanks to both -- I think the category goes on line tonight, so we'll see if I'm included. If not, I'm sure that we'll get a chance to see a number of good blogs who got left out the last time. (Jon at QandO should be among them!) Thanks again! Hmmm .... maybe I should buy a Karl Marx lunchbox for both of them ......

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Dean's Fiscal Conservatism: Fiction?

Jon at QandO has an excellent post deflating -- a bit -- the idea that Howard Dean is a tax-cutting conservative. He quotes from this Boston Globe article: On the campaign's website, Dean is even more specific, saying that his two cuts reduced the state's top income tax rate from 13.5 percent to 9.5 percent. But an examination of Dean's record as Vermont's governor has found that the bigger tax cut was in fact signed into law by his Republican predecessor, Richard Snelling. In 1991, Snelling signed legislation authorizing higher tax rates that would "sunset" two years later. Dean, then lieutenant governor, took over after Snelling died, and the rates dropped automatically at the end of 1993. While the section of Dean's website on his fiscal record highlights his role in eliminating the sales tax on clothing items, it omits the fact that the overall sales tax was raised from...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

The Death of Hope, on the Shores of Lake Pepin

Another dead baby has been found abandoned in Minnesota. I don't need to post the details of this poor child's short life and tragic death, only to say that the baby only lived between one and five days and was abandoned on the shore of Lake Pepin. I don't need to do so because the details, such as are known, are depressingly familiar: the corpse of the baby is found by strangers, abandoned as garbage, with the usual call from authorities for information about the mother so that the child can be identified and the mother treated by professionals. When the mother is found, probably a frightened teenager, she will have a heartbreaking story of fear and hopelessness that will mitigate the barbaric abandonment of her infant child. The litany has become a complete process of its own. Impending childbirth may be the most hopeful event of our human existence....

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Recognition -- of Sorts -- at Fraters Libertas

Hey, I'm a jack-booted thug! Thank God, I found out ... my feet were killing me, and now I know why. Apparently my Vogon poetry touched a nerve over at Fraters Libertas, and now they've built another coalition to stop Hugh Hewitt from ... doing something. What do I know? I'm just waiting for the mysterious third task, like any other good jack-booted thug. So far, their alliance consists of such luminaries as Mr. Cranky, Infinite Monkeys, and Puzzlestud. Ed Asner is apparently standing by to act as a mascot, albeit a surly, egotistical one that reeks of Hai Karate. It's enough to make this thug nervous, uff da. While you're checking out their nefarious schemes, check out this post on their site as well. If you can think of anything sillier than a Catholic school using the beautiful but nihilistic song "Imagine" in a memorial service -- Imagine there's...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Top 10 Howard Dean Flip-Flops

I got into a big debate the other day with a Howard Dean fan about the merits of his presidential campaign. I think because he saw that I'm a white, tech-savvy, moderate-to-liberal east-coaster, he assumed I'm a Dean supporter. Once he became aware of my skepticism about the good doctor, he asked me to give him one good reason Dean shouldn't get the nomination.

The first thing that came to mind was Dean's incessant flip-flopping on a variety of issues. (This is not to say there aren't other reasons; it's just the first thing I thought of.)

Dean's fan acknowledged that a few of his candidate's policy positions have "evolved" over time, but rejected the notion that Dean is a serial flip-flopper. At a minimum, he said, Dean is no worse than any of the other Dem candidates.

My challenger had a point, at least about Dean's rivals. All presidential candidates waffle and flip-flop sometimes. It's been this way for as long as we've had presidential campaigns as candidates need to make the adjustment from representing a state or a district to appealing to an entire nation.

The current field of Dems has some candidates who've offered a few doozies. When Dick Gephardt first came to Congress, for example, he said that "life begins at conception" and proposed a constitutional amendment to ban all abortions. Now Gephardt is ardently pro-choice.

John Kerry said in 1992 that affirmative action "has kept America thinking in racial terms," and lamented "the costs" the policy has had on the country. Today, however, Kerry considers himself as a champion of affirmative action.

Carol Mosley Braun said in 1998 that she'd never run for public office again, yet she's a presidential candidate now.

Dennis Kucinich had a dramatic conversation before entering the presidential race on the issue of reproductive rights. As Common Dreams reported, "Twice in the past three years, NARAL gave him a rating of 'zero.'" As recently as 2001, Kucinich agreed with a Bush proposal to withhold international family-planning funds from international organizations that even discuss abortions. In 1999 and 2000, Kucinich agreed with the Right to Life Committee on 19 of 20 votes. Now Kucinich, perhaps the campaign's most liberal candidate, says that he is definitely "pro-choice."

(And don't even get me started of George W. Bush, whose entire presidency has been one huge flip-flop. Remember the candidate in 2000 who bragged about a foreign policy driven by "humility," who emphasized "compassion," who boasted of bringing Democrats and Republicans together, and ran on a platform of a balanced the budget and a robust job market?)

Yet, despite these examples, I would argue that Howard Dean has flip-flopped more times, on more issues, than any of the Dems running for president. It's a continuing problem that may ultimately come back to haunt his campaign. In fact, it's so bad I decided to make a list.

I'm not talking about Dean's mistakes or apologies. I don't care that Dean mysteriously called Latin America "the most important hemisphere in American history" last week. It's easy to overlook the fact that Dean, when asked last month if he supported gay marriage, said, "I never thought about that very much." It may not matter that Dean said Saddam Hussein's fall from power is "probably a good thing" earlier this summer. No one will remember that he falsely accused John Edwards of avoiding talk of his support of the Iraq war before an anti-war Dem audience in California.

I mean straight up, direct examples of Dean holding one position and then deciding he believes the opposite shortly thereafter. It's happened often enough the last couple of months for me to create...The Carpetbagger Report's Top 10 Howard Dean flip-flops (in no particular order).

1. North Korea

In January, Dean said on CBS' Face the Nation that he approved of Bush's policy towards North Korea and agreed with the president that the approach will be successful.

"I concur with most of the president's policy on North Korea," Dean said, to the surprise of many Democrats and supporters who had criticized Bush's approach. "We have substantial differences on Iraq, but I like the idea and I believe in the idea of multilaterals. And the president's pursuing a policy in cooperation with the Chinese, the Russians, the South Koreans and the Japanese, which we ought to see bear fruition."

Just one month later, Dean flip-flopped without explanation, describing Bush's North Korea policy as "incoherent, inconsistent and dangerously disengaged."

2. Social Security retirement age

At a candidate forum hosted by the AFL-CIO in August, Dean faced criticism from Kucinich for considering moving the Social Security retirement age. Dean responded forcefully that he wanted to "tell everybody that I have never favored Social Security retirement at the age of 70, nor do I favor one of 68."

In 1995, Dean praised then-Sen. Bob Packwood (R-Ore.) for recommending changing the retirement age to 70. At the time, Dean said, "I believe that Sen. Packwood is on exactly the right track." A month later, Dean said "moving the retirement age to 70" was a way to help reduce the deficit and balance the budget.

Far more recently, in June 2003, Dean said on Meet the Press, "I would also entertain taking the retirement age up to 68."

3. Public Financing and Campaign Spending Limits

In March, Dean promised to raise a fuss if any of the other candidates decided to abandon spending limits and skip public financing.

"It will be a huge issue," Dean said in March. "I think most Democrats believe in campaign finance reform.... [I've] always been committed to this. Campaign finance reform is just something I believe in." As recently as June 7, Dean wrote to the Federal Election Commission that he will abide by spending limits in the primaries.

Last month, Dean said his campaign was "exploring" the possibility of opting out of the public financing system because of his success in raising money and his desire to spend more in the primaries than his opponents. He said he "didn't remember" making earlier promises to the contrary and said his campaign was free to "change our mind."

(Actually, Dean's flip-flopped on this issue twice. In addition to the recent conversion as a presidential candidate, Dean also did a reverse on spending limits while governor of Vermont. In 1997, Dean helped create a system whereby statewide candidates would agree to a spending cap and participate in public financing. At the time, Dean vowed that the bill would "change the way campaigns are run" in Vermont. When it came time for Dean to run for re-election in 2000 under the campaign finance system he helped create, Dean rejected public financing and exceeded the spending cap by 300 percent.)

4. U.S. trade standards

In August, Dean told the Washington Post that China and other countries could get trade deals with the United States only if they adopted "the same labor laws and labor standards and environmental standards" as the United States. When a reporter from Slate asked if he meant just general "standards" or "American standards," Dean insisted that he would demand that other countries adopt the exact same labor, environmental, health, and safety standards as the United States.

Last week in the DNC debate in Albuquerque, Dean shifted gears and said he doesn't believe that our trading partners have to adopt "American labor standards," saying that international standards would work.

5. U.S. policy on the Cuban trade embargo

Dean, up until fairly recently, was one of many politicians from both parties open to easing trade restrictions with Castro's Cuba. He admitted as much in response to a question from a reporter last month, saying, "If you would have asked me six months ago, I would have said we should begin to ease the embargo in return for human-rights concessions."

According to an Aug. 26 article in the Miami Herald, Dean has "shifted his views" on Cuban trade now that he has "surged to the top of the race" for the Dem nomination. Dean said he believes the U.S. can't ease Cuban embargo restrictions "right now" because "Castro has just locked up a huge number of human-rights activists and put them in prison and [held] show trials."

6. "Regime change" in Iraq

In March, before the U.S. invaded Iraq, Dean sounded a lot like Bush on the possible war, suggesting that disarming Saddam Hussein, with or without the United Nations, should be America's priority.

According to an interview with Salon's Jake Tapper, when Dean was asked to clarify his Iraq position, Dean said that Saddam must be disarmed, but with a multilateral force under the auspices of the United Nations. If the U.N. in the end chooses not to enforce its own resolutions, then the U.S. should give Saddam 30 to 60 days to disarm, and if he doesn't, unilateral action is a regrettable, but unavoidable, choice.

When the U.N. chose not to enforce its resolutions, Bush followed Dean's position and launched a unilateral action against Iraq.

Since then, Dean has held himself out as someone who has opposed the war all along.

7. Death penalty

In 1992, Dean said, "I don't support the death penalty for two reasons. One, you might have the wrong guy, and two, the state is like a parent. Parents who smoke cigarettes can't really tell their children not to smoke and be taken seriously. If a state tells you not to murder people, a state shouldn't be in the business of taking people's lives."

In 1997, his position was beginning to "evolve," but he insisted, "I truly don't believe it's a deterrent."

In June 2003, however, Dean had abandoned his earlier beliefs. He said, "As governor, I came to believe that the death penalty would be a just punishment for certain, especially heinous crimes, such as the murder of a child or the murder of a police officer."

8. Repealing Bush's tax cuts

A year ago, Dean started out saying he'd repeal all of Bush's tax cuts. Asked about how he'd pay for increased spending in health care and education, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported, Dean "doesn't hem or haw" when answering the question. "'By getting rid of the President's tax cut,' Dean says. Not freezing it, mind you -- getting rid of it. All $1.7 trillion worth."

Then Dean began to equivocate. In July 2002, Dean said on Meet the Press, "[T]here's a few little things I wouldn't repeal. There are some retirement investment pieces I wouldn't repeal, although I would have to add some so that lower-income workers could help pay for their retirement, not just people like me."

Dean's position changed a little more in March, saying his tax policy would be to "repeal the president's tax cuts for people that make more than $300,000, with a few exceptions."

In May, Dean came full circle, saying that he's back to wanting to repeal "all" of the Bush tax cuts.

9. Troop deployment in Iraq

In June, Dean said on Meet the Press, "We need more troops in Afghanistan. We need more troops in Iraq now."

In August, Dean said U.S. troops need to stay in Iraq. "It's a matter of national security," Dean said. "If we leave and we don't get a democracy in Iraq, the result is very significant danger to the United States."

In last week's debate in Albuquerque, Dean completely reversed course, saying, "We need more troops. They're going to be foreign troops, not more American troops, as they should have been in the first place. Ours need to come home."

10. Civil liberties in a post-9/11 America

Shortly after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, while Dean was still governor of Vermont, he suggested a "reevaluation" of civil liberties in America.

Specifically, Dean said he believed that the attacks and their aftermath would "require a reevaluation of the importance of some of our specific civil liberties. I think there are going to be debates about what can be said where, what can be printed where, what kind of freedom of movement people have and whether it's OK for a policeman to ask for your ID just because you're walking down the street."

More importantly, Dean said he didn't have a position on whether these steps would be good or bad. When asked if the Bill of Rights would have to be trimmed, Dean said, "I haven't gotten that far yet."

In March 2003, Dean told The Nation's David Cord that he believes "portions" of the USA Patriot Act "overreach," but added, "I haven't condemned Congress for passing" the legislation.

On August 19, however, Dean accused Ashcroft of taking advantage "of the climate of fear and adopted a series of anti-terror tactics that go far beyond protecting our country and erode the rights of average Americans." He added that the U.S. should "roll back" the USA Patriot Act.

I'm not reporting all of this to help Karl Rove and the Republicans, so spare me your emails. The truth is the bad guys already know all of this. I'd hazard a guess that Rove has dozens of college students locked up in the basement of the OEOB, sleeping on cots, and spending their waking hours chronicling every word every Dem candidate utters. Rove and the RNC don't need The Carpetbagger Report; they have an extensive research operation that blows my little blog away.

The point, rather, is for those of us who want a new president in 2005. Rove may know all about Dean's flip-flops -- he's probably already started crafting the TV ads -- but it's Dem voters who seem unaware of the good doctor's policy problems. We need to consider whether this is a problem before we vote for our nominee. Do Dean's flip-flops mean that he lacks conviction? A problem with discipline? These are questions that Dems should consider before we settle on our choice as a party.

Just as importantly, should Dean get the nomination, we need to know what the GOP will be using against our presidential pick once the election season heats up next year. Hiding public truths in the hopes that the GOP won't notice isn't an effective plan for success.

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Howard Fineman Rips the Other Howard

I swear to you that this will not be the Anti-Dean blog, but the man just gives so much material that it's hard to keep up with it all. On MS-NBC, Howard Fineman writes a splendid and pointed article on Dean's adventures in truthtelling, in this example regarding the closed files of his governorship (via Instapundit): Dean’s public reaction to the mini-furor was revealing. When Matthews asked about the records, Dean—with a straight face—came up with this defiant howler: He had had the records sealed not to protect himself, God forbid, but to protect the privacy of HIV-AIDS patients. I think Chris was too stunned to laugh. As it turns out, the identity of such patients is automatically shielded; and, of course, Dean had long since gone on record with the refreshingly candid admission that the advent of the presidential campaign was the real reason. Politicians never seem to get...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Somewhere in Washington, Karl Rove is Delighted

Former VP Al Gore has decided to endorse Governor Howard Dean: Former Vice President Al Gore (news - web sites) will endorse Howard Dean (news - web sites) for the Democratic presidential nomination Tuesday, a dramatic move that could tighten Dean's grip on the front-runner's position and usher more support from wary party elite. As stated several times in the article, this all but assures Dean of the nomination. While I highly doubt that Al Gore is anywhere near as popular with his party as the writer would have you believe -- let's not forget that this was the man who couldn't carry his home state when he was running on eight years of prosperity and relative peace -- he's correct about the effect of this announcement on the media, which inexplicably still thinks he's a man of political substance. He's not a man who stands by his friends, even...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

DNA Evidence in Dru Sjodin Case: PD Sources

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports in tomorrow's edition that the police have matched the DNA of the blood in the suspect's car to Dru Sjodin: A preliminary DNA analysis of blood found in Alfonso Rodriguez's car matches DNA taken from a toothbrush belonging to missing North Dakota college student Dru Sjodin, two sources close to the investigation told the Star Tribune on Monday. They and a third source close to the investigation confirmed Monday that investigators had found a knife in Rodriguez's car in a search conducted on Nov. 28, the day after Thanksgiving. Someone close to the investigation wants to let people know that they have the right man, although the evidence is sealed at the moment. That may change later this week after a judge reviews a motion to vacate the seal order. The leaks may complicate efforts to bring Rodriguez to trial, but that's not what everyone is...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

December 9, 2003

Wizbang Weblog Awards: My Ballot

Wizbang has the 2003 Weblog Awards polls open, and now's the time to get in (while the lines are short!). I'm not amongst the finalists, is mór an trua é, but I've only been blogging for two months now, too. I'm using the awards to take a look at some blogs I haven't yet seen yet, and so far I'm pretty impressed. What was it that Groucho said about not belonging to a club that would have him as a member? I think I'm understanding that now. I'll post my selections for each of the categories below. As not all polls are yet open on the Wizbang site, I'll probably do a few at a time, and then update this one post as I go along. I'll move it to the top of the blog every time I update. Feel free to leave me comments about my selections, especially about...

Continue reading "Wizbang Weblog Awards: My Ballot" »

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Weblog Awards Recognize CQ, Friends

Patterico's Pontifications alerted me overnight that the 2003 Awards at Wizbang have added Captain's Quarters to their newest and last category, Most Egregious Blogs -- er, no, sorry, that's Most Egregious Omission! This category recognizes those blogs that were overlooked in the initial nomination process. Nor does the good news end there. The nominees include a number of CQ friends, including QandO, Twilight Cafe, Molotov Cocktail Frank, Jennifer's History and Stuff, and a bunch of other good blogs as well. A big thanks to those who put in a good word, especially DC at Brainstorming. Vote early, vote often!...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Bad Medicine at NIH?

The Los Angeles Times reported on Sunday that several key people at the National Institutes of Health have received consultatation payments from pharmaceutical companies that call their impartiality and integrity into question: "Subject No. 4" died at 1:44 a.m. on June 14, 1999, in the immense federal research clinic of the National Institutes of Health. The cause of death was clear: a complication from an experimental treatment for kidney inflammation using a drug made by a German company, Schering AG. Among the first to be notified was Dr. Stephen I. Katz, the senior NIH official whose institute conducted the study. Unbeknown to the participants, Katz also was a paid consultant to Schering AG. Katz and his institute staff could have responded to the death by stopping the study immediately. They also could have moved swiftly to warn doctors outside the NIH who were prescribing the drug for similar disorders. Either...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Around the Blogs in 80 Seconds

Another of those linkfests for when I only have a few minutes at lunchtime .... First off, I've blogrolled Fresh Bed Goodness, another fine Minnesota blog. She recently linked over to my post abound abandoned infants, and she also has some thoughts on the same subject. Check her out. Hugh Hewitt sent me an e-mail earlier informing me that my third task is to have my picture taken while giving a Hummel to James Lileks. Hmmm. I'm thinking that James is probably already on red alert, looking for lunatics holding Hummels. This will take some thought and cunning, which is difficult for a jack-booted thug. (I'm sure you understand.) More on this later, but on his blog, Hugh wonders if the Democrats will make Dean apologize for his outrageous accusation that Bush had advance knowledge about 9/11 and failed to act. I somehow doubt that such a request would come...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Grand Forks Sheriff: Dru Sjodin Not Likely Alive

Following the release of the affadavit unsealed by the court in the disappearence of Dru Sjodin and the arrest of Alfonso Rodriguez, the sheriff's office appeared to have given up hope of finding the young woman alive: Hopes of finding a missing college student alive faded Tuesday, as authorities confirmed a finding of her blood in a suspect's car and revealed that they had found one of her shoes near the Red Lake River. .... Grand Forks County Sheriff Dan Hill said he thinks it unlikely that she is alive. "I certainly hate to be discouraging to the family or anyone, but it looks to me now that it's more of a recovery mission than a rescue,'' Hill said, in an interview with The Associated Press. Sjodin's mother, Linda Walker, said family members were "outraged'' by Hill's assessment. Maybe it's just me, but I hardly think it helpful to tell...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Grover Norquist and Frank Gaffney, Grudge Match?

Hugh Hewitt moderated a debate this evening that was a lot more illuminating than that of the Democrats. Hewitt hosted Frank Gaffney and Grover Norquist, the latter of which was one of the subjects of the former's article in FrontPage.com's new article, A Troubling Influence. The article delineates in great detail the extent of the influence that radical Islamists have had on conservative circles, including but not exclusive to Grover Norquist. I haven't read the article in detail -- I plan to do so over the next day or so -- but I had read stories about the article and I was familiar with the general themes. The accusations are deeply disturbing. As Power Line capsulizes it: The thesis of Gaffney's article is that Norquist has worked on behalf of, and together with, an American fifth column of Islamists and Islamist organizations. According to Gaffney, Norquist has successfully sought to...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

December 10, 2003

Al-Qaeda Suspect Arrested in Minneapolis

A suspected associate of Zacharias Moussaoui, and apparently he's talking: Authorities in Minneapolis on Tuesday arrested and jailed a man suspected of associating with the Al-Qaida terrorist network and having knowledge of some of the activities of Zacarias Moussaoui, a law enforcement official said. The official said the detainee has confirmed some of investigators' suspicions about Moussaoui, who was arrested while learning to fly a Boeing 747 jet at an Eagan flight school two years ago and now is the subject of the only U.S. prosecution related to the Sept. 11 terror attacks. The jailed man, whose name was withheld, has described Moussaoui's activities at an Al-Qaida training camp in Afghanistan several years ago, the official said. So far, the arrest has been kept pretty lo-profile. The suspect's name does not appear on the list of prisoners being held at the Minneapolis jail, and his arraignment proceedings were sealed. We...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Axis of Weasels Aren't Preferred Providers

Surprise, surprise! The Defense Department doesn't want to contract with French, German, or Russian companies in the rebuilding of Iraq: France, Germany, Russia and China -- countries that strongly opposed the U.S.-led war in Iraq -- are not on a Defense Department list of countries eligible to compete for $18.6 billion worth of contracts for the reconstruction of Iraq. Countries that either participated in the Coalition effort in the war or supported it -- including Britain, Australia, Spain, Italy, Poland, Turkey and Japan -- are on the list, which was in a memo posted on the Pentagon Web site Tuesday. Be prepared to hear a whole lot of blathering from leading Democrats on this issue for the next few weeks, demanding that the Bush administration quit insulting our "friends" and to quit making the list unilateral. However, if they do, the Bush administration can point out that 63 countries are...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Fresh Buggy, er, Bloggy Goodness

The new Carnival of the Vanities is up at Signal + Noise, and this time I remembered to send something in! The host blogger usually comes up with a new way of organizing the entries, and Chris is no exception. He has creatively used the insect world to assign categories to posts. My post, I Am Angry, is listed under the "pugnacious North American hornet" category ... cooooool! I'll post more about the various entries and link back to them later on ......

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

The Northern Alliance

I'm honored and somewhat stunned to note that Captain's Quarters has been added to Hugh Hewitt's Northern Alliance blogroll in his latest reorganization. As you probably know, I am a long-time fan of Hugh's columns and his radio show, especially when I get caught in scenic drives on the way home from work, like I did last night. I don't listen to a lot of talk radio because I find that a great deal of it is shrill and annoying, and even when people don't make a habit of screaming into a microphone, they still tend to get childish and demeaning. Hugh keeps his focus on facts, which is no surprise if you read him in the Weekly Standard, and at the same time makes his show very entertaining. Hugh has a great sense of humor, which is more than people can say about so-called comedians on the left these...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Captain's Quarters On the Air Tonight

Hugh Hewitt has invited me to comment on last night's Gaffney-Norquist debate tonight on his show. I'll be joining other noteworthy bloggers giving commentary and perspective on this issue. Make sure you tune in to hear what I sound like (and try not to be too disappointed when I don't sound like Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean, OK?). If you don't know where to find Hugh's show, here's a roster of stations nationwide that carry it. UPDATE: I had a blast on Hugh's show. If you didn't get a chance to hear me, the show may be replayed later, but I can't find anything on that so far. (If you're in the LA area, KRLA will replay at 8 PM PST.) My impressions of my first time on the air as a featured guest ... My experience started with Scott Johnson, the Big Trunk at Power Line, e-mailed...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Burn All the Flags You Want -- Just Don't Speak

Conservatives profess a love for literal interpretation of the Constitution; liberals call for a conceptual interpretation; but I don't know who came up with the idea that the Constitution means everything except what it explicitly says. However, the Supreme Court has upheld major provisions of the McCain-Feingold Campaign Reform act: A divided Supreme Court upheld the broadest restrictions on campaign donations in nearly 30 years Wednesday, ruling the nation is better off with limits on the financial influence of deep-pocket donors even if money never can be divorced from politics. Rooting out corruption, or even the appearance of it, justifies limitations on the free speech and free spending of contributors, candidates and political parties, the court said in a 5-4 decision. After decades of unusual behavior being recognized as "speech" and freed of all reasonable restrictions -- like nude dancing or burning flags, for example -- the Supreme Court has...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

You Wouldn't Read This in the Strib

Joe Soucheray writes an excellent article about the odd way we handle sexual predators, both specifically in Minnesota and in general: Ever since Rodriguez was arrested for his possible involvement in Sjodin's disappearance, we have all learned a great deal about Level 3 sex offenders. That's what Rodriguez is. When you reach his level, it means you are likely to commit another sex crime. Imagine that. No other criminals get their own levels. There are no Level 1 ticket scalpers as opposed to Level 3 ticket scalpers. There are no Level 3 bank robbers, or Level 1 purse snatchers. And yet, when it comes to sex offenders, we give them levels. We do attach levels to criminal actions; there are different classes of felonies, for example, although I couldn't tell you what the thresholds are. Felons themselves are not given levels, as Soucheray states, except sex offenders. Why do we...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Leaving The Kids With Dad Is An Improvement?

When I first heard this story, I thought that the police had handled it properly, but then I read it a bit closer: Four young children and the teenage baby sitters who reportedly took them were found safe inside a South Minneapolis apartment building Tuesday afternoon. Police returned the children to their joyous father around 10:45 p.m. The teenagers, however, faced possible kidnap charges, police said. The children were returned to their father, and the teenagers have been arrested. A happy ending, you say? Ah, but then you missed this, like I did at first: Addison had last seen his children Sunday morning as he headed off to church. He left them in the care of longtime baby sitter Benetta Daidii and her friend, Elisha Harris, both 13. The girls lived doors apart in their South Minneapolis neighborhood. He maintains he made the right decision to leave his children with...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

December 11, 2003

Volokh Conspiracy Posts on SCOTUS Campaign Reform Decision

The Volokh Conspiracy, one of the best lawblogs in the blogosphere, has a series of interesting posts about yesterday's decision to uphold major sections of the McCain-Feingold reform laws. Eugene Volokh supported the restrictions on soft-money contributions, but not the free-speech restrictions on corporations and labor unions: Rehnquist and O'Connor switching sides: I tentatively think the Court's decision on soft money contributions was probably correct, or at least quite plausible. As I've argued before, I do think that contributions (as opposed to independent expenditures), should be more subject to restriction. I think the Court was wrong, though, to uphold restrictions on business corporations' (and some nonprofit corporations') and labor unions' right to express their support or opposition to candidates. There's a precedent for this -- Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce (1990) -- but I think that it was mistaken, largely for the reasons Justice Scalia mentioned in that case,...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Let's Play "Spot the Media Bias"

Steve Gigl at Helloooo Chapter Two! alerts his readers to the following story from the AP, reprinted in the Star Tribune with the following headline: Driver hit while talking on radio call-in show in SUV Steve Gigl adds: Does "in SUV" tacked on the end there supply any useful information? To say it differently: do you lose anything by just reporting "Driver hit while talking on radio call-in show?" No, it doesn't, but note that it does associate four "evils" of the Left in one story: * driving, instead of using public transportation * SUVs, the new epitome of conspicuous consumption * using cell phones while driving * talk radio When this came across the wire, the news desk at the Strib must have tripped over themselves rushing this to print with the superfluous mention of the SUV. Only when you read the article do you read that she had...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Lá Breithe Sona Duit a Mitch!

Go wish Mitch Berg at A Shot in the Dark a happy birthday. He's apparently four months older than me, which means he's ancient....

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Wireless City, USA

Every Captain has a home port, and this Captain's hometown has decided to be the first wireless city in the nation: CERRITOS, Calif. - Browsing the Web from this Southern California city may soon become an outdoor sport. The first phase of a project to establish citywide wireless Internet access is slated to begin next month. Ultimately, anyone with a laptop or wireless device will be able to surf the Web from virtually anywhere in the city's 8.6-square-mile area. When my family moved to Cerritos in 1970, it was a small town on the fringe of LA that consisted in large part of dairies ... with lots of cows ... that you could smell from everywhere, it seemed. During the real-estate boom in the 70s, the dairies all sold out for development and Cerritos is now a thriving, upscale neighborhood where I couldn't afford to live if I cloned myself...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

France Settles Executive Life Claims - Again

France has agreed in principle to yet another settlement in the Executive Life criminal lawsuit, one sore point among many between France and the US: Negotiators from France and the United States have reached a $760 million settlement in principle with United States prosecutors over charges related to the failed California insurer Executive Life, French officials and lawyers involved in the negotiations said today. The settlement, which both sides hope to complete by Monday, involves both a federal criminal investigation as well as a civil lawsuit filed by the California insurance commissioner, who is seeking damages to compensate policyholders of Executive Life. As I posted earlier on this topic, I lost a small sum of money in the Executive Life collapse. At the time, Honeywell (my employer) had invested a significant amount of its retirement and 401k accounts in this company, and when it went under, we all felt the...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Dodgers to Ship Brown to Yanks

Imagine my surprise when I found out -- via Hugh Hewitt -- that the Dodgers were about to close a deal with the Yankees to trade ace starting pitcher Kevin Brown: The Dodgers agreed to trade pitcher Kevin Brown and his $15-million salary for next season to the New York Yankees for pitcher Jeff Weaver, two minor leaguers and $3 million in cash, major league baseball sources said today. ... The deal would give the Dodgers the financial flexibility they lacked the last few seasons. Hamstrung by Brown's salary, the Dodgers were unable to upgrade a punchless offense last season and failed to make the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season. Fox made Kevin Brown baseball's first $100 million man, a label he never really lived down in five seasons with the Dodgers. When he was healthy, Brown was brilliant in his surly, intense way. However, he only stayed healthy...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Would You Buy a Used Car from This Man? Or This One Either?

Yasser Arafat hinted at recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, according to a transcription of an interview with Henry Siegman, which this article describes as an "American Jewish activist": Israel would receive sovereignty over the Western Wall — a remnant of the Second Temple compound — and the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, "because we recognize and respect the Jewish religion and the Jewish historical attachment to Palestine," according to the transcript. Asked about Israel as a Jewish state, Arafat said that it was up to Israel to define itself, as long as it was democratic and guaranteed the rights of minorities. Arafat included the reference to democracy and the rights of minorities to appeal to American and EU audiences, but left unspoken the tripping point of refugee return, through which Arafat hopes to establish a Palestinian primacy in Israel. Dore Gold, a Sharon adviser, makes this...

Continue reading "Would You Buy a Used Car from This Man? Or This One Either?" »

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Politburo Diktat: Thomas Friedman, Arafat Mouthpiece?

The Commissar writes an open letter to Ariel Sharon, warning of the same tactic that Yasser Arafat is pushing by stealth, but that Thomas Friedman appears to espouse openly -- the "one-state" solution: To start, watch out for a certain reporter/worldbeater, friend of Saudi royals, ... da, the anti-zhid himself, Thomas Friedman. ... He and that Palestinian hottie, Diana Butto, are chatting, oh-so-earnestly, about "one state solution." Da! What if Palestinians say, "No problem. Israel exists. From Jordan to Mediterranean. All of historical Palestine. Is good country. We fly Star of David flag over our homes. NOW GIVE US VOTE." What will happen then? Do you think America would allow the Palestinians to exist within a Greater Israel without a vote? Of course not, and we shouldn't. But what will that lead to? It leads to the overthrow of Israel as we know it, replaced by yet another Arab thugocracy...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Allah Has Got the Pictures

Allahpundit has pictures of Howard Dean and Carly Simon at a fundraiser, along with a transcript of the conversation associated with each one. What, you don't believe him? Would Allah lie? Of course not. But maybe Allah would reciprocate a blogroll link ... UPDATE: Who says prayer doesn't work? Allah has been kind enough to bestow a link upon this blog....

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

December 12, 2003

Kinsley: Democrats Between Iraq and A Hard Place

Michael Kinsley describes the Democrats' dilemma in the coming year regarding Iraq in today's Washington Post. It's vintage Kinsley, sneering and mocking towards the Bush administration, but saves it real venom for the incoherence coming from the Democratic presidential candidates: Among the Democrats, Howard Dean's position is almost coherent. He opposed the war before it started, and he believes it has not turned out well. There is a tiny question of why Dean bothers to have a "seven-point plan" for Iraq instead of just one point: Bring the troops home. After all, Iraq is less of a threat to international order and its own citizens than when Saddam Hussein was in power. If it wasn't worth American lives to improve the situation then, why is it worth more lives now? It's downhill from Dean. Joe Lieberman probably comes next. He was a strong supporter of removing Hussein by force --...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Times Follow-Up on Siegman Disappointing

As I predicted in my post last night, the story regarding the meeting between Henry Siegman and Yasser Arafat continues today in the New York Times with very little clarification about Henry Siegman, his motivations, or his past history as an Arafat supporter and associate: Yasir Arafat, the Palestinian leader, has released a statement saying that he recognizes and respects "the Jewish religion and the Jewish historical attachment to Palestine," in a bid to restore his standing as an advocate of peace after more than three years of conflict. ... Mr. Arafat was said to have made his comments in a meeting last Wednesday in the West Bank city of Ramallah with Henry Siegman, the director of the United States/Middle East Project of the Council on Foreign Relations. Mr. Siegman provided The New York Times with a summary of the meeting prepared immediately afterward and then translated into English. Mr....

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Like Lemmings Over The Cliff

The New York Post has polling results from New Hampshire, and even though the Republican re-election machine has not turned a single gear there, the results are staggering: Bush gets 57 percent to Dean's 30 percent among registered voters in the American Research Group poll. In fact, Dean, from neighboring Vermont, does worse in the Granite State than a generic "Democratic Party nominee" who loses to Bush by 51 to 34 percent. Another ARG poll this month showed Dean with a 30-point lead over Sen. John Kerry (Mass.) for the Jan. 27 New Hampshire primary, the second test after the Jan. 19 Iowa caucuses. The new poll seems sure to fuel claims by rivals that Dean would be another George McGovern debacle for Democrats in the general election. New Hampshire tells the story about the difference between primary voters, who tend to be the true believers, and general election voters,...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Now the UN is Bugging Out of Afghanistan

During this entire political campaign, we have been told over and over by the Democratic presidential candidates that Bush's failure to allow the UN to control the reconstruction of Iraq dooms the post-war to failure. The US does not have enough legitimacy, according to the Democrats, to implement a peaceful and successful rebuilding of a nation. However, the UN has proven yet again that they are not capable of doing the job -- now they want to abandon Afghanistan, where they are in charge: The United Nations may be forced to abandon its two-year effort to stabilize Afghanistan because of rising violence blamed on the resurgent Taliban, its top official here warned Friday in an interview with The Associated Press. ... "Countries that are committed to supporting Afghanistan cannot kid themselves and cannot go on expecting us to work in unacceptable security conditions," Brahimi said. "They seem to think that...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

The Definition of Insanity, Part II

This community still has learned nothing about violent repeat offenders: A 25-year-old Anoka man was sentenced to 27 years in prison this morning for murdering a Minneapolis cab driver last August. Salvador Anthony Pacheco had pleaded guilty to second-degree intentional murder for shooting Mohamed Ahmed Salah in his Red & White cab early in the morning of Aug. 8. 27 years for shooting Salah in the back of the head while Salah was driving his cab. Even if Pacheco serves his entire sentence behind bars, he will get out at age 52, shockingly similar to another violent offender who just reoffended: Alfonso Rodriguez. And if you think I'm stretching the point, what do you think Pacheco was doing a couple of months before blowing Salah's brains out? Two months prior to the shooting, Pacheco was released from prison after completing a sentence for a gun-related offense in Washington County. Why...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Saudis Scold the Axis of Weasels

President Bush got support for his Iraqi rebuilding contract policy from an unusual source earlier today: Countries that opposed the U.S. decision to invade Iraq (news - web sites) have no right to protest U.S. initiatives restricting reconstruction contracts to allies, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the ambassador of Saudi Arabia to the United States, said Friday. Bandar said he thought it was "amazing" that war opponents now "feel they have a right to share in the pie" of reconstruction contracts. He said even more dangerous than terrorists themselves are those who say they condemn terrorism but don't actively fight it. There is a well-known saying in diplomatic circles that states, "Those who wish to join the feast must help to set the table." Had the Axis merely sat on the sidelines and not gotten involved -- like Canada -- that would be bad enough. But France, Germany, and Russia actively...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

December 13, 2003

Underwhelming Irony

Walter Mondale and Zbigniew Brezinski, Vice President and national security advisor during the Carter administration, appeared in the Twin Cities yesterday to speak at Macalaster College, along with William Perry, Secretary of Defense in the Clinton administration. With this line-up, you wouldn't expect a Bush love-in, and you'd be correct: Former Vice President Walter Mondale accused President Bush on Friday of forcing democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan "at bayonet point" — an approach creating more enemies for the United States than friends and doing little to prevent terrorism. The administration's policies are at odds with six decades of foreign policy through Democratic and Republican administrations aimed at forming international coalitions to address national security problems, Mondale said. ... "I cannot understand why the current administration believes that throwing all this out the window — to be replaced by what I see to be their radical, unilateral, go-it-alone, in-your-face approach —...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Chickens Coming Home to Roost?

Dick Gephardt, who may be the only Democrat now running for President with a shot at stopping Howard Dean, takes aim at the Vermont governor and his secret files: Democratic presidential candidate Dick Gephardt demanded Saturday that front-runner Howard Dean release records of meetings and phone calls about tax breaks given to corporate villain Enron, which Dean denies he did. Visiting with local Democrats in this town near the North Carolina border, Gephardt alleged that Dean, while Vermont's governor, "met regularly with the corporate chiefs who benefited from the tax windfall he created for them. A chief beneficiary of his tax cuts for corporate special interests was Enron." Enron is synonymous with evil for the fringe-left, and Gephardt's attack does two things, if successful: it puts a wedge between Dean and his most ardent tinfoil-hat supporters, and it highlights the unusually long seal on his records as governor, which will...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Deep Thoughts Around The Blogosphere

Tonight I'm having trouble blogging on anything specific, but a number of good bloggers don't seem to be having my problem. Here are a few blogs you should read tonight if you want something significant to ponder ... For instance, Strange Women Lying in Ponds discusses an article by Leonard Pitts that decries the current generation gap amongst African-Americans. Pitts notes that the current generation of African-American young adults seem to have "no tether to the sacrifices that made their lives possible," and Brant goes Pitts one further, arguing that this applies to this entire generation: The irony is that because America has essentially achieved nearly every goal of human history -- generations free from want, free from disease, but also FREE FROM STRUGGLE -- young people have been alienated from the very things that make up the stuff of life itself. People have an inherent need to struggle, to...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

The Countdown Begins

Folks, we are at T-minus 83 hours and counting until the official release of Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, the final installment in the trilogy directed by Peter Jackson and already considered by many to be the finest epic ever filmed. In honor of such an achievement, I am planning on sacrificing an entire day off at work on the 17th so that I can get in early and see it on the first day of release. Yes, I am willing to eat up a personal day (which I would otherwise lose in exactly two weeks from that date anyway) just for the ability to get in ahead of 95% of the general public -- and also to avoid the crowds of children that may be at the later shows. So far as I know, school is still in on the 17th. If any of my...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

December 14, 2003


Saddam Hussein was captured by US forces; according to Fox News, with $750,000 in US cash, hiding in a hole like the rat that he is: U.S. forces have captured Saddam Hussein in a late night raid near his hometown of Tikrit, according to the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority. ... Sanchez said the former leader was not injured and has been "talkative and cooperative," after 4th Infantry Division and special operations forces nabbed him at a "rural farmhouse." "Today is a great day for the Iraqi people and the coalition," Sanchez said. Not a single shot was fired in "Operation Red Dawn," carried out based on intelligence gathered over several months, Sanchez said. The Iraqis immediately broke out into spontaneous celebrations, firing guns into the air and chanting, "Death to Saddam!" Even the Iraqi reporters started screaming and celebrating at the press conference when video of him in...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

The Biggest Story Before the Capture

Before I flipped on the news and found out about Saddam Hussein's capture, I was preparing to write a post about a new article in the Telegraph regarding a hard connection between Iraq and 9/11: Iraq's coalition government claims that it has uncovered documentary proof that Mohammed Atta, the al-Qaeda mastermind of the September 11 attacks against the US, was trained in Baghdad by Abu Nidal, the notorious Palestinian terrorist. Details of Atta's visit to the Iraqi capital in the summer of 2001, just weeks before he launched the most devastating terrorist attack in US history, are contained in a top secret memo written to Saddam Hussein, the then Iraqi president, by Tahir Jalil Habbush al-Tikriti, the former head of the Iraqi Intelligence Service. ... In the memo, Habbush reports that Atta "displayed extraordinary effort" and demonstrated his ability to lead the team that would be "responsible for attacking the...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

The Leftists Are Squirming

Want a peek at how leftist Americans think about Saddam's capture? Take a look at a couple of these sites: Eschaton - Check out the comments on this post by Atrios. Guess Atrios hadn't seen this article before posting. Metafilter - They're not too happy over there. There's one hilarious comment that complains about the "humiliating and degrading" treatment Saddam is receiving by having his examination videotaped. Someone has also started a caption contest with the Saddam picture, and some of the responses are pretty funny. Democratic Underground - Yes, these "patriotic" folks are celebrating the capture of Saddam by spawning discussion groups with titles like "No one in "Saddam Captured" press conf metioned 9-11 or terra?" and "CNN Reporting that this was a Tip from an Iraqi. Not good analysts". Not one story or post or discussion group about how good it is to have Saddam in custody. So...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

The Face of the Dean Campaign

You would think that the capture of a known enemy of the United States would be good news for Americans of all mainstream political stripes, but apparently that does not include the Dean campaign supporters, if his weblog is any indication. Here are just a few comments from Dean's site, Blog for America (via Tim Blair): HEY GUYS WAKE UP!!! THERE IS NO SUCCESS EXISTS IN THE UNJUSTIFIED WAR WHOEVER WAS CAPTURED!!! IT IS ONLY A DANGEROUS ILLUSION OF SUCCESS WHICH MAY LEAD ONLY TO THE NEXT WRONG JUGMENT AND NEXT WRONG DECISION SUCH AS A NEXT WAR!!! Term “success” in this war should be applied only in the light of bringing international community IN and USA OUT. ... I can't believe this. I'm crying here. I feel that we now don't have a chance in this election. ... I am feeling pretty upset as well. I think our chances...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Al-Jazeera: Fair and Balanced

It's a sad day for American politics when al-Jazeera sounds more intelligent, coherent, and fair than the campaign supporters of a major American presidential candidate. The Arab news agency presents four views on the meaning of Saddam's capture: Leading analysts and political commentators agree the capture of Saddam Hussein represents a coup for the US but questions remain about its repercussions. ... Toby Dodge, analyst at Warwick University and International Institute for Strategic Studies, UK: "His capture gives the United States a window of opportunity. If they redouble their efforts and increase their troop commitment, they could contain or even roll back the insurgency. But the temptation of Bush, facing a re-election campaign, will be to call this victory and cut and run. That would be a disaster for Iraq, for the Middle East and for the strategic interests of the United States in the region and beyond." Dodge makes...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

The All-American Way to Commemorate the Day

What better way, and what more American way, can you commemorate V-S day (Victory over Saddam)? I love the picture -- looks like Saddam's been without a Ba'ath for a while now ... [yes, I stole the joke from someone in the blogosphere, but I can't remember which site now!] I've already ordered mine....

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

NZ Bear Wants an Answer

The Truth Laid Bear asks a question for those who continually argued that the war in Iraq was illegitimate and a violation of international law: Now that he has been found to be alive, I'd ask this to those who considered this an illegitimate war: will you now stand up and demand that Hussein be placed back in power? He was, after all, the "legal" ruler of Iraq. And if not, why not? Bear -- and I -- will be waiting for an answer and an explanation. UPDATE: Well, I got my answer from a member of the left, and while I don't agree with a lot of it, it is certainly a beautifully written, honest, and even patriotic response. See Kynn's take at Shock and Awe, and I'm also adding her to the blogroll....

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Perpetually On The Wrong Side

Guess who's crying in their coffee today? Disbelief and gloom seized many Palestinians Sunday at news of Saddam Hussein's capture ... "It's a black day in history," said Sadiq Husam, 33, a taxi driver in Ramallah, West Bank seat of the Palestinian Authority. "I am saying so not because Saddam is an Arab, but because he is the only man who said no to American injustice in the Middle East," he said. ... Some did not believe news of Saddam's capture even when images of the bearded figure flashed across television screens. "Maybe they captured someone who looks like him," said Laila Abusharigh, 55, in the Gaza Strip. "Saddam is a real man and all of us are with him." Fifteen youngsters from Arafat's Fatah (news - web sites) movement tagged onto a rally in Gaza for the Islamic group Hamas, holding up posters of Saddam. ... "The war will...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

A Silly Lord of the Rings Analogy for Today

Today's capture reminded me of a scene from Tolkien, although it's not the Lord of the Rings, it's from The Silmarillion. I suppose it may be a bit silly to use this as a reference to Saddam Hussein, but it sounds oddly familiar to his capture. This passage comes from the chapter titled Of The Voyage of Earendil and describes the capture of Morgoth, who was Sauron's leader during the First Age of Middle Earth: ... and all of the pits of Morgoth were broken and unroofed, and the might of the Valar descended into the deeps of the earth. There Morgoth stood at last at bay, and yet unvaliant. He fled into the deepest of his mines, and sued for peace and pardon; but his feet were hewn from under him, and he was hurled upon his face. Then he was bound with the chain Angainor which he had...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

The Post Buries Saddam-9/11 Connection

Power Line has an important post on the Telegraph story regarding the training of Mohammed Atta by the Iraqi Intelligence Service, and why the story is not getting any attention from major US media outlets. In order to understand why the Washington Post, for example, does not appear anxious to look into this claim, Hindrocket notes the following exchange during an on-line chat this morning: Annapolis, Md.: Will the Post be looking into the story reported by the Telegraph about connections between Abu Nidal, Mohammad Atta and Saddam Hussein? Very likely to be untrue, but would be immensely significant if true. And there's no mention on the Post's Web site about it yet. Robert G. Kaiser: If we put every rumor and story in the British press (not to mention many others around the world) on the Web site, you'd be dizzy--and no wiser. The Post does not print other...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

A Rat In The Dirt

Iraqi and Arab supporters of Saddam Hussein are dismayed to find out that Saddam surrendered like the rat that they now know he is: But for some, his capture was a blow to hopes for Saddam's triumphant return, and his peaceful surrender was seen as a stain on Arab honor. "He swore before the war that Iraqis would fight America, and then he didn't fire a single shot," said Kassem Shelshul, a 28-year-old chauffeur living in Baghdad. "We expected him to commit suicide or resist," he said after watching video of the captured dictator. Excuse my incredulity, but it amazes me to see that people actually bought into the heroic persona this evil weasel created for himself. Heroic men do not gas defenseless women and children, nor do they scurry out of their capitol when an army approaches it. Haven't these people been paying any attention at all? At Baghdad's...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Saddam's Interrogation: Time Magazine

Time Magazine has published an exclusive story on its web site on the capture and initial interrogation of Saddam Hussein: After his capture, Saddam was taken to a holding cell at the Baghdad Airport. He didn’t answer any of the initial questions directly, the official said, and at times seemed less than fully coherent. The transcript was full of “Saddam rhetoric type stuff,” said the official who paraphrased Saddam’s answers to some of the questions. When asked “How are you?” said the official, Saddam responded, “I am sad because my people are in bondage.” When offered a glass of water by his interrogators, Saddam replied, “If I drink water I will have to go to the bathroom and how can I use the bathroom when my people are in bondage?” Later, the questions become more serious: The interrogators also asked Saddam if he knew about the location of Captain Scott...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Unbelievable Irony

Human Rights Watch, based in New York, is now putting itself in the position of being an agent of one of the worst human-rights violators in the last 30 years: Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the Council must not mount a political show trial. "Saddam Hussein's capture is a welcome development and it's important that the Iraqi people feel ownership of his trial," Kenneth Roth, the executive director of the rights watchdog, said in a statement. "But it's equally important that the trial not be perceived as vengeful justice," Roth said. "For that reason, international jurists must be involved in the process." Within hours of Saddam's capture, HRW has made the arrogant and bigoted assumption that the Iraqis are incapable of conducting a fair trial before they've even had a chance to make the first preparations. Instead of supporting Iraqi sovereignty, they are already undermining it with statements that have...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Was Saddam A Captive?

The provocative blog DEBKAFile has an interesting assessment of Saddam's status prior to his capture by American forces: According to DEBKAfile analysts, these seven anomalies point to one conclusion: Saddam Hussein was not in hiding; he was a prisoner. After his last audiotaped message was delivered and aired over al Arabiya TV on Sunday November 16, on the occasion of Ramadan, Saddam was seized, possibly with the connivance of his own men, and held in that hole in Adwar for three weeks or more, which would have accounted for his appearance and condition. Meanwhile, his captors bargained for the $25 m prize the Americans promised for information leading to his capture alive or dead. The negotiations were mediated by Jalal Talabani’s Kurdish PUK militia. DEBKAfile analysts surmise that the American military decided to bypass the negotiators to ensure that Saddam's captors didn't kill him and demand the payment for the...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

I Suppose I'll Let Him Have the Last Word

I've pasted the transcript of President Bush's speech on the capture of Saddam Hussein. Here's a link to the White House site, where there are links to the video. Happy V-S Day, and good night....

Continue reading "I Suppose I'll Let Him Have the Last Word" »

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

December 15, 2003

Afghans Start Constitutional Convention

Afghans today took a dramatic step towards building a peaceful, modern democratic society by starting a consitutional convention: A landmark constitutional convention began in Afghanistan on Sunday with solemn prayers, the songs of children and a stirring speech by the nation's former king, who echoed the aspirations of his war-weary countrymen with a call for unity and peace. Some 500 delegates -- from village mullahs to Western-educated exiles -- were gathered at a huge tent in Afghanistan's battle-scarred capital, Kabul, to hammer out a new constitution in a traditional loya jirga, or grand council. The meeting, which is expected to take several weeks, is being conducted under tight security, as Taliban terrorists are still a threat. Even the delegates are being searched prior to entry. One of the interesting issues the loya jirga must confront is womens' rights in a new Afghanistan. Women under Taliban rule were notoriously oppressed, unable...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

The Education of Saddam Hussein

Jim Hoagland has a good column in today's Washington Post about Saddam Hussein, including some of his own experiences with the former tyrant as interesting background to recent events. Hoagland interviewed him in 1975, prior to him grabbing all power in Iraq: The dictator flashed his tailored cuffs and diamond-encrusted jewelry at me in an encounter in 1975 as he described in minute detail his commitment to Arab socialism. He went on to deny that the atrocities I had seen in Kurdistan a few weeks earlier could have happened. When I reported both atrocities and atmospherics, Hussein sent word that he was outraged -- that I had mentioned the cuff links. Vanity and megalomania always constituted a large part of Saddam Hussein, it seems, which makes his apprehension in a rathole all the more compelling. Hoagland gleefully wonders whether those cufflinks were pawned to finance his flight, but with $750,000...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Power Line Rebuts Mondale

Power Line's essay is a grim reminder of the dark days in modern American history when defeatists held power and America was in full retreat in global politics. While the post-office careers of both Mondale and Carter demonstrate the forgiveness that makes America great, it also demonstrates the historical amnesia that constantly puts America in danger.

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Dominoes Fall

Saddam Hussein's capture appears to be working out even better than anticipated. The man who surrendered to US forces by declaring, "I want to negotiate!" may be responsible for the following: Since Saddam's capture on Saturday, U.S. Army teams from the 1st Armored Division have captured one high-ranking former regime figure — who has yet to be named — and that prisoner has given up a few others, Hertling said. All the men are currently being interrogated and more raids are expected, Hertling said. The intelligence that led the military to the men came from the first transcript of Saddam's initial interrogation, and a briefcase of documents Saddam carried with him at the time of his arrest, Hertling said. The Lion of Arabia turns out to be the Weasel of the Middle East. "We've already gleaned intelligence value from his capture," Hertling said. "We've already been able to capture a...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

"We're Not About Anger," He Replied Furiously

Today's Washington Post takes a look at the Dean campaign, which more than ever seems to be all about tapping into anti-Bush fervor instead of actual political thought: But even though he has emerged as the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination -- and his one-sedan campaign entourage has morphed into a full-scale motorcade, complete with press bus -- the Dean campaign is still running primarily on the tonic that fueled his rise: Democratic loathing of President Bush. All over Iowa, Dean encounters Democrats who get a "searing pain" from the president. "What we think of Bush can't be printed in a family newspaper," said John Kaiser, a veteran Iowa Democrat who decided to support Dean only after long, personal talks with four other contenders. "And Dean is the guy who has tapped that outrage." I recall a time not too long ago when Democrats accused Republicans of irrational hate...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Meryl Yourish Scoops Time Magazine

As I posted earlier, Time Magazine has published an account of the preliminary interrogation of Saddam "Peace! Peace!" Hussein. However, as we often see in the blogosphere, one of our peers has gotten the rest of the story. Meryl Yourish has the transcript: U.S.: How are you? S.H.: I am sad because my people are in bondage. U.S.: Would you like a glass of water? S.H.: If I drink water I will have to go to the bathroom and how can I use the bathroom when my people are in bondage? U.S.: Well, how 'bout a beer, then? S.H.: Okay, but only if it isn't that Zionist beer. I will drink, but I will still be sad because my people are in bondage. U.S.: So tell us where you're hiding the weapons of mass destruction. S.H.: Weapons of mass destruction? We have no weapons of mass destruction. Iraqis are too...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Return Of The King Wins NY Award

As we continue to count down to the wide release of The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King on Wednesday, the film has been selected for a prestigious award more commonly given to indies: Normally a champion of arty, independent fare, the New York Film Critics Circle on Monday chose "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" as the top film of 2003. The three-hour-plus epic, which is the final part of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy based on J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy novels, is a sweeping spectacle of computer-generated imagery — and it couldn't be more different from the rest of the films the group honored. Ever since the release of the first installment, The Fellowship of the Ring, speculation has abounded that Peter Jackson and his trilogy would get no serious Oscar consideration until all of the films were released and could be...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Alterman: Dazed and Confused

Eric Alterman seems to have a lot of trouble with reality these days. Over at Altercation, he speculates on the "real" cause of the war in Iraq: I wonder if we went to war in part the way we did because Powell was too sick to mount a fight and did not have the courage to resign. It’s just a hypothesis, but you know, the course of the early Cold War had a great deal to do with FDR’s various secret maladies. Just a thought…. Well, yes, it's just a thought, but it's a stupid, malicious thought, and not terribly well-connected, either. FDR was President, and so the "secret malady" theory at least has some sense to it. (If you're not familiar with this quasi-conspiracy meme, FDR was dying while he negotiated with Churchill and Stalin regarding postwar Europe and seriously dropped the ball due to failing stamina and intellect....

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Lileks Detects a French Influence

I caught a little bit of the James Lileks interview on the Hugh Hewitt show this afternoon, and he revealed compelling evidence for French involvement in Saddam's months on the lam. I'll quote this as accurately as possible: "Obviously the French had been advising Saddam while he was in hiding. When they found him, he had a loaded pistol but surrendered without firing a shot." Today, Lileks broke out of his semi-hiatus to post a brilliant Bleat regarding the capture of Saddam Hussein: What struck me was his expression when the doctor poked around in his maw for a suicide pill – he had the standard reflex familiar to anyone who’s been in a dentist’s chair. The intimacy of the act makes you look away. You look up; you endure; you disengage until it’s over. Saddam humiliated himself. A big bald Yank stuck a stick in his mouth and he...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

National Pool: Swingin' Saddam?

Hugh Hewitt announced today that the guys over at Fraters Libertas will be hosting a national office pool for the date of Saddam Hussein's actual execution. While I don't normally support the death penalty for religious reasons, this may be a special case; besides, I don't have a problem joining in the pool. I never win these things anyway. As for their announced prize ... be afraid. Be very afraid. UPDATE: As the post at Fraters Libertas states, I'm throwing in three DVDs as a prize in this contest: Red Dawn - Patrick Swayze saves America by peeing into a radiator. No, really. After seeing this movie, try to explain, without the liberal use of alcohol, why they named the Saddam-capture mission after it. Judgment at Nuremberg - Actually, the classic Spencer Tracy/Marlene Dietrich film is not out on DVD -- how the hell did they forget this one? By...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

NYT: Wong's Wrong

You would think that a reporter on the Baghdad beat would understand the Geneva Convention and the rules of war, especially if he's arrogating to himself the position of expert in one of the nation's most prestigious broadsheets, but it appears that knowledge isn't a necessary prerequisite for reporters at the Gray Lady.

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

December 16, 2003

A Class Act All The Way

Singer Lauryn Hill, after being invited to perform at a Christmas concert at the Vatican, paid back their hospitality by insulting her hosts and their religion: American singer Lauryn Hill, from a stage used by the Pope, shocked Catholic officials at a concert by telling them to "repent" and alluding to sexual abuse of children by U.S. priests. The broadside came during the recording Saturday night of a Christmas concert attended by top Vatican (news - web sites) cardinals, bishops and many elite of Italian society, witnesses said. Pardon me, but having a hip-hop artist telling anyone to repent is somewhat akin to having a drunk lecture you on the evils of cocaine. While I am aware that the Amrican Catholic Church has a big problem with sexual-abuse scandals -- and should be a lot more cooperative with investigators, especially in Los Angeles -- what Lauryn Hill said and did...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

A Visit to Srebrenica

Tim Pawlenty, Governor of Minnesota, and his wife Mary are in Srebrenica visiting Minnesota National Guard troops standing guard as part of the NATO effort to keep Muslims safe in Bosnia: The weather turned suddenly ominous on Monday as Gov. Tim Pawlenty and First Lady Mary Pawlenty were finishing their tour of the memorial site of the worst massacre in Europe since World War II, walking somberly past gravesite after gravesite of newly buried victims. Gray clouds enveloped the small valley where 7,000 Muslim men and boys were rounded up to be executed later by Serb forces in July 1995. Thunder rumbled in the distance as the Pawlentys, finishing the second day of a two-day tour of Bosnia, looked at photographs in a small basement museum. Governor Pawlenty's trip has been chronicled for the past few days, as he performs the happy task of visiting Minnesota reservists and reviewing their...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Mark Steyn: Put Nihilism to Good Use

Mark Steyn, in another brilliant column, serves up a damning indictment of the creaky and increasingly sclerotic United Nations: For months the naysayers have demanded the Americans turn over more power to the Iraqis. Okay, let's start by turning Saddam over to the Iraqis. Whoa, not so fast. The same folks who insisted there was no evidence Saddam was a threat to any countries other than his own and the invasion was an unwarranted interference in Iraqi internal affairs are now saying that Saddam can't be left to the Iraqi people, he has to be turned over to an international tribunal. You can forget about that. The one consistent feature of the post-9/11 era is the comprehensive failure of the international order. The French use their Security Council veto to protect Saddam. The EU subsidises Palestinian terrorism. The International Atomic Energy Agency provides cover for Iran's nuclear ambitions. The UN...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Still Falling ...

Perhaps coincidentally -- or perhaps not -- US forces rouded up 78 "insurgents" in an extended raid Monday night and Tuesday morning: American soldiers arrested a rebel leader and 78 other people during a raid north of Baghdad, the U.S. military said Tuesday. ... At 4:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, troops from the U.S. Army's 4th Infantry Division arrested Qais Hattam, described as the No. 5 fugitive on the division's list of "high value targets," said Capt. Gaven Gregory of the 4th Infantry's 3rd Brigade. I suspect that as Saddam's interrogation continues and the materials found on him are evaluated, we will see more and more of these operations. During that period, the "insurgents" will be forced to speed up missions, making more and more mistakes and allowing us to either kill or capture them in greater numbers. Keep your eyes open....

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

But What Does Lauryn Hill Think About It?

More nonsense from the See, this time in regards to the capture and treatment of Saddam Hussein: [Cardinal Renato] Martino said he felt "compassion" for Saddam, even if he was a dictator, after seeing the video of the ousted leader having his mouth probed by a U.S. military medic. The tapes showed "this destroyed man" being "treated like a cow, having his teeth checked," Martino said, using the Italian word "vacca." And if we hadn't bothered to give him medical attention, what would the Vatican have to say about that, Cardinal? [sigh] All this fuss and bother over a tongue depressor. I guess the Vatican is concerned that a routine dental and oral examination is somehow equivalent to this: Punishments short of death were meted out according to a clear hierarchy, he said. Those who stole had their fingers or hands cut off. Those who lied had 18-pound concrete blocks...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Getting Tough Works with Both Friends and Enemies

Despite his would-be Presidential opponents' dire warnings, Bush's get-tough policy with the Axis of Weasels appears to be bearing fruit for the Iraqi people: U.S. special envoy James A. Baker III won German and French agreement Tuesday to work for Iraqi debt relief, but Washington did not say whether it would lift the ban on firms from those nations bidding for lucrative reconstruction projects in Iraq ... "Germany and the United States, like France, are ready not only for debt restructuring but also for substantial debt forgiveness toward Iraq," German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's spokesman Bela Anda said in a statement after talks with Baker. The German statement indicated that the United States also was prepared to relieve debt, and that levels would be decided by the Paris Club of creditor nations. ... France, keen to carve a role in aiding Iraq, said Monday the Paris Club could strike a debt...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Howard Dean: Iraq-Proof?

Hugh Hewitt and Power Line have written interesting posts regarding Howard Dean's tin-eared declaration yesterday that Saddam's capture didn't make America any safer. Despite the objective falsity of the comment -- we have lived with the possibility of Saddam's retaliation for so long, it seemed inevitable until Sunday morning -- it's unlikely to dislodge the vast majority of Dean supporters, nor is it likely to dissuade Democrats from supporting Dean in a general election, if he makes it that far. It's not that Dean himself is Iraq-proof as much as it is that Bush will always be a bigger bogeyman than Saddam or anyone else, in the eyes of the passionate left. Why should this be? It is a symptom of a polarized electorate; quite simply, more and more people associate with political movements on a tribal basis rather than a rational basis, and this is true on the right...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

I Am Not This Bad

On the final evening of the countdown to the release of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, I looked around the Internet for a good tie-in to wind it all up. I found out that the producers of the film are into scientific research, specifically regarding bladder capacity: For would-be Hobbits, Elves and wizards, it was a can't-miss opportunity. Die-hard "Lord of the Rings" fans enjoyed "Trilogy Tuesday," a back-to-back-to-back marathon of all three films, including the first public screenings of the third and final movie, "The Return of the King." ... Ordinary moviegoers, though, may feel daunted by the New Line Cinema trilogy, directed by Peter Jackson and starring Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen and Sean Astin. It began with the "extended edition" of "The Fellowship of the Ring" from noon to 3:30 p.m. "The Two Towers," also in extended form, was to follow...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

December 17, 2003

Some People Have a Lot of Nerve

The story of how MoveOn.org attempted to infuse its operation with foreign cash has gotten a lot of press the last couple of days [second item]. For Americans to knowingly sell out our electoral process to people from other countries is hardly an act of patriotism, and such an underhanded and even traitorous action -- we are at war -- should reflect on its preferred candidates, Howard Dean and Wesley Clark, just as badly as it does on the organization itself. That aspect of this scandal has already been covered by other bloggers. What irks me is the unmitigated gall that these Swedes have in attempting to interfere with our political process. These same people would be screaming bloody murder if so much as an editorial about Swedish politics were published in the New York Times, screeching about cultural imperialism and other varieties of crap that the Europeans are oh...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Saddam Tied to Multiple Insurgency Networks

Documents found on Saddam Hussein, and further intelligence gathered from them, links Saddam to at least fourteen clandestine terrorist cells within Iraq, senior military officials are reporting today: "I think this network that sits over the cells was clearly responsible for financing of the cells, and we think we're into that network," said Army Brig. Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, commander of the 1st Armored Division. Acting quickly after realizing the significance of the document, which Dempsey likened to minutes of a meeting, troops of the 1st Armored Division conducted raids Sunday and Monday that netted three former Iraqi generals suspected of financing and guiding insurgent operations in the Baghdad area. But Howard Dean says the capture of Saddam has not made America safer. Never mind that the soldiers in Iraq are now facing fewer insurgents, and those that are there are operating under a damaged leadership structure. Dean says that...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Light Blogging Today

I'm taking today off to spend a little bit of time with my granddaughter, the Little Admiral, before I go off to see The Return of the King with a couple of other goldbricking friends of mine. I may not get too much opportunity to blog today, especially during the day. In the meantime, may I suggest the following excellent sites for debate and entertainment? Power Line - Big Trunk writes about a shameful event in recent American history, and Hindrocket writes an addendum to the post with which I absolutely agree. Strange Women Lying in Ponds - Brant writes about the twin religions of environmentalism and internationalism and how both have been removed from rational thought. QandO - You can pick almost anything Jon writes, but take a look at today's post on Howard Dean. Fraters Libertas - I meant to link to this yesterday and write some of...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

20 Good Ways to Get Beat Up Today

Spacekickers has a list of 20 things you can do to amuse yourself and embarrass your friends when you see The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King today when it opens. Go read the whole thing, but these are the two that made me laugh my tucchus off: 15. In TTT when the Ents decide to march to war, stand up and shout "RUN FOREST, RUN!" 20. Come to the premiere dressed as Frankenfurter and wander around looking terribly confused. See you at the early show! (via Hugh Hewitt)...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Haddayr's New Column: Tantrums and Politics

My friend Haddayr Copley-Woods has a new column out at the Minnesota Women's Press, and while I strongly disagree with her politically this time, she is a brilliant writer and her column will instantly resonate with anyone who has a child ... or grandchild ... who has reached the tantrum stage: “Look,” I said. “No more mittens. See?” I hung the mittens around my own neck. This gesture undid Arie completely. He arched his back and began banging his head on the sidewalk. I scooped up Arie, receiving bruise #1 in the shins; I headed homeward at a brisk pace. Arie flung himself backwards, shrieking. He then began, somehow, to cartwheel through the air while remaining in my arms. How he did this is difficult to describe, but it was definitely painful and caused bruises 2-5. Read the whole thing, and she's right about both parties throwing tantrums, as I...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Review: The Return of the King

For those who have not read the books, this review may contain spoilers; read at your caution. After taking the day off from work, and from blogging for the most part, I went to the first showing (in daylight hours) of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Peter Jackson's final installment of the trilogy. And all I can say is ... Brilliant. Brilliant. And brilliant. Jackson moves at three speeds interchangeably throughout the movie: slow and pensive, normal and tense, and breackneck action. Tolkien's books are full of action -- enormous battles, hand-to-hand combat, desperate rides at great speed ... and you could probably make a two-hour movie of the last book if you just concentrated on that, and never would have to worry about pacing at all. But LotR is more than just a book about war; it's about philosophy, about fear, about love, about...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Chirac: Let's Blame the Victims

France's Jacques Chirac, under pressure to respond to exploding religious violence, has come up with the novel approach of blaming the victims for the assaults: Despite protests from Muslim leaders, France must outlaw Islamic head coverings, Jewish skullcaps and other obvious religious signs in schools and regulate them in the workplace, President Jacques Chirac announced Wednesday. Such action (news - web sites), the French president said in a televised national address, is needed to reaffirm France's secular foundations. "It is not negotiable," he asserted. Islamic head scarves, Jewish yarmulkes or outsized Christian crosses "have no place" in public schools, Chirac said, and called on parliament, where his conservative government has a majority, to pass a law banning them ahead of the school year that starts in September 2004. So rather than doing something to stop the thugs that beat, rob, and rape people based on their religion, Chirac and France...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

South Park Rules!

Oh. My. Lord. If you saw tonight's new season-ending episode, then you know what I mean. Matt and Trey rock. That's all there is to it. I haven't laughed this hard at a sitcom in ... well, ever. If you missed it, catch it on repeats during the weekend. Suffice it to say that Parker and Stone keep up with current events. Good night!...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

December 18, 2003

Minnesota Legislature Finally Addresses Sex-Offender Sentencing

Republicans in the Minnesota Legislature next year will address the woeful sex-offender sentencing failures that led to Dru Sjodin's disappearance last month. Democrats offered an intial willingness to consider the proposal: Minnesota House Republicans on Tuesday proposed legislation to ensure the worst sex offenders would never get out of jail. Under the plan, "convicted violent sexual predators and sex offenders who target children and vulnerable adults" would be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of release. Currently, that's a sentence reserved for the worst murders. ... Senate Majority Leader John Hottinger and House Minority Leader Matt Entenza, both DFLers, said they could support something similar to the GOP proposal. Sen. Don Betzold, DFL-Fridley, chairman of the Senate's Judiciary Committee, said new sex offender sentences would have be put in the perspective of all criminal sentences. Life sentences without parole will protect society from these violent sexual predators, who...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Does a Presidential Candidate Require Foreign Policy "Experience"?

Howard Dean’s odd contention that the capture of Saddam Hussein has not made America safer has generated a lot of heated discussion about foreign policy experience and its status as a prerequisite for the Presidency. John Kerry, Joe Lieberman, and Dick Gephardt have all made statements this week asserting that Dean is unqualified for the Presidency because of his complete lack of experience in this arena. But is it really a prerequisite at all, and will this argument really help derail Dean? The Constitution sets few legal prerequisites to the Presidency. Any candidate must be 35 years of age or older and a native-born US citizen. It wisely leaves all other qualifications to the individual voter to decide and judge. Historically, looking at the pattern of not only Presidents, but mainstream presidential candidates, there are a few other “prerequisites” as well: * Male * White * Between 50 and 65...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

No Joke: Fraters Libertas Sponsoring Worthy Charity

The Northern Alliance likes to have a lot of fun, teasing each other and writing really bad and insulting poetry -- oh, wait, that's just me -- but the Elder has a serious project for us this Christmas: Last year a coworker and I organized a drive at work to collect toys and winter clothes (Chihuahua is in the Sierra Madres) for an orphanage just outside the city. We were able to collect four very large boxes of goods which were eventually shipped to the orphanage. But it was a logistical nightmare. This year we contacted the orphanage and asked what their most pressing needs were. Basic medical supplies were among the items high on the list. In order to make the process easier, more efficient, and most importantly get the supplies to the orphanage in the shortest amount of time, we decided to raise money here at our two...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Kofi Annan Wants More Substantial Role for MIA UN

Kofi Annan today demanded a larger and more specifically delineated role in the reconstruction of Iraq, and requested a meeting with both the Iraqi Governing Council and the Coalition: Annan, clearly frustrated that Iraqi Governing Council or the U.S.-led coalition running the country have not given him specific answers, said it was time to sit down with representatives from both bodies. "It has to be a three-way conversation," the secretary-general said. "Once we have that, I will make a judgment." Make a judgment on what? Annan won't even allow a UN presence in Iraq because he claims that the Baghdad area is too dangerous for UN personnel. Before anyone takes the UN seriously, they will have to demonstrate some backbone in dealing with security issues in Iraq. The last thing the Iraqis and the Coalition needs is to hand over authority to the UN and then watch them bug out...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

December 19, 2003

Strib Catches Dean Madness

Today's editorial in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune asserts that, as Dean says, America is no safer after the capture of Saddam Hussein: We don't have a dog in the Democratic presidential fight, but we do know that front-runner Howard Dean, like him or not, is getting beaten up unfairly for telling an unpleasant truth: The capture of Saddam Hussein hasn't made America safer. It was an excellent piece of work, it may make Iraqis safer, and it may help protect American forces in Iraq. But the capture does nothing directly to secure the United States from the danger posed by terrorism. That's because the war on terrorism has nothing to do with Iraq. Saddam was an ogre who can legitimately be charged with crimes against humanity, genocide and assorted other nasty behaviors. But there's no evidence he was an international terrorist, and that's not likely to change no matter how many...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Howard Dean's Hypocrisy on Corporate Tax Breaks

As part of a continuing series on Howard Dean's association with the offshore "captives" tax shelter he set up in Vermont, the Boston Globe reports today that under his leadership, Vermont actively and aggressively set up tax shelter front companies for offshore corporations to enable them to avoid paying tax penalties for not being headquartered in the United States: As part of Howard Dean's effort to attract companies to set up so-called "captive" insurance businesses in Vermont, he signed legislation that enabled a Bermuda-based company to establish a Vermont branch, which industry analysts said at the time could provide a tax break for the parent firm. ... In May 1999, Dean signed a bill designed to help self-owned, or "captive," insurance companies that intended to remain offshore. The legislation, for example, allowed an offshore-based captive insurance company to set up a "branch" in Vermont as a way of complying with...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Hugh Hewitt on Dean's Retreat: Too Little, Too Late

Hugh Hewitt notes that Howard Dean has modified his stance on Saddam's capture a few increments: Yesterday Dean responds with this:"The capture of one very bad man does not mean this president and the Washington Democrats can declare victory in the war on terror." But of course, that is not what the President claimed, at any time. In fact, Bush made it very clear on several occasions that Saddam's capture was only one good step towards our mission to eliminate the international reach of terrorism, and the tyrannies that spawn it: I also have a message for all Americans: The capture of Saddam Hussein does not mean the end of violence in Iraq [emphasis mine]. We still face terrorists who would rather go on killing the innocent than accept the rise of liberty in the heart of the Middle East. Such men are a direct threat to the American people,...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

We? We??

Strange women lying in ponds may be no basis for a system of government, but Strange Women Lying In Ponds is a great basis for blogging. Brant takes on the inimitable (we hope) Robert Fisk, in his strangest column on the war to date: We have captured Saddam. We have destroyed the beast. The nightmare years are over. If only we could have got rid of this man 15 years ago -- 20 years ago -- how warm would be our welcome in Iraq today. But we didn't. In large part, Fisk can thank himself for that. 15 years ago, would Fisk have supported American military action against Saddam? If you have read his dispatches on this war, writing constantly about the supposed military setbacks the Coalition kept suffering in that three-week sacking of Iraq, how the bombs kept killing children in the streets of Baghdad (without even considering the...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Saddam's Capture Didn't Make US Safer?

In yet another breakthrough based on materials found with Saddam Hussein, ABC News reports that Coalition intelligence services have identified moles working for Saddam within the Coalition Provisional Authority: Among the documents found in Saddam's briefcase when he was captured last weekend was a list of names of Iraqis who have been working with the United States — either in the Iraqi security forces or the Coalition Provisional Authority — and are feeding information to the insurgents, a U.S. official told ABCNEWS. "We were badly infiltrated," said the official, adding that finding the list of names is a "gold mine." Would someone at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune like to send a reporter to cover this and inform their editorial board of this development? (via Politburo Diktat)...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Headline That Defies Explanation

I won't have to explain to most of you why this caused me to do a spit-take when I read: Paris Hilton Beats Bush in TV Ratings It must have been one hell of a show ... can they do that on TV?...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

This Is Why Saddam's Capture Makes Us Safer

Despite the blatherings of our local broadsheet, the Iraq war and the capture of Saddam Hussein paid off in a spectacular way today: Libya has tried to develop weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles in the past, but has agreed to dismantle the programs, President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Friday in simultaneous televised speeches. Bush said Libya's leader, Col. Moammar Gadhafi, had "agreed to immediately and unconditionally allow inspectors from international organizations to enter Libya. "These inspectors will render an accounting of all nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and will help oversee their elimination," Bush said. Gadhafi approached US and British officials in March to discuss the disarmament of Libya. Does anyone remember what was going on in March? And does anyone want to hazard a guess as to why Libya approached Bush and Blair, rather than the UN? It's because with the Anglo-American...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Confidential to Mr. Cranky

Because I have no life, that's why. If you haven't seen Mr. Cranky's blog, take a long look! Or he gets ... well, cranky....

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

December 20, 2003

Ambulance Chaser To The Genocidal Stars

Looks like Saddam Hussein's found himself an American mouthpiece: Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark said Friday that he would be willing to provide legal counsel to Saddam Hussein if the ousted Iraqi leader requested Clark's assistance. "I would seek to help him protect his rights if he needed my help and I felt that there was no one who's willing who could do it better,'' Clark said in an interview with The Associated Press. "I would have no hesitation. That's my work. That's my chosen pursuit - to protect rights. His rights need protecting.'' His rights need protecting, and of course Ramsey Clark needs the publicity. Clark, who has made a career out of associating with such organizations as International ANSWER -- a Stalinist group that organized rabidly anti-American protests over the past year -- manages to get himself interviewed on a regular basis despite his connections to lunatic-fringe...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Former Saddam Officials Targeted by Vigilantes

It was just a matter of time before this started happening: Iraqi sources with contacts among former and current security officials estimate that about 50 senior figures in Hussein's intelligence, military intelligence and internal security organizations have been gunned down in recent months. There has been an even larger toll among neighborhood party officials, such as Taee, who are blamed for having informed on the local community during Hussein's rule, these sources said. Neither the morgue nor officers in Iraq's new police force -- who concede they have little interest in probing these deaths -- have tallied the figures. But the phenomenon is citywide, according to a survey of police stations, with numbers varying widely from one district to another. It is difficult to blame the victims of Saddam's regime for taking matters into their own hands after 35 years of brutal oppression. After all, one way to make sure...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Recognition Comes Slowly but Surely

Media recognition of the stunning diplomatic victory of Bush and Blair -- and even Gadhafi -- in Libya's trilateral disarmament agreement yesterday comes slow. Most of the major newspapers covered it as a news story, although both local Twin Cities newspapers buried it. Editorial boards mostly ignored it, with a couple of major exceptions. For instance, the Daily Telegraph in the UK had no problem proclaiming it as a major vindication of the Bush/Blair global strategy in the War on Terror: The stick has been applied, now a carrot must be offered as an incentive to other rogue nations, like Iraq. As for Mr Bush and Mr Blair, with Saddam captured and Libya tamed, it cannot be denied they have had brilliant end to a difficult year. The world is gradually becoming a safer place. Both their approval ratings should reflect that. The title of this piece is "A Safer...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »


Hindrocket at Power Line has a good post on the type of faux-inclusiveness that will plague the entire election cycle; for the moment, it's limited to the Dean campaign, but it will spread like the common cold and in the end be just about as dangerous. For those who know a bit about the history and ideals of Kwanzaa, seeing the Dean campaign making fools out of themselves by associating their candidate with this Marxist-inspired celebration provides ironic amusement, if nothing else. Kwanzaa itself is harmless enough, although contrived. It does remind me of our first Christmas season in Minnesota six years ago. My son went to a local middle school, along with the kids of my best friend, who had moved out here a few years before. The two families attended the holiday musical celebration at the school, where the student bands and choirs performed for their families and...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Power Line Editorial in Star Tribune

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune puts its paper "to bed" in the late evening prior to publication, so if one is inclined to be surfing the Internet (read: addicted to it) at that time, getting a sneak peak at the next day's edition is easy. While I was doing that today, I noticed a familiar name in the Op-Ed section -- Scott W. Johnson, the Big Trunk at Power Line. Big Trunk's post on Walter Mondale will be published in tomorrow's edition: Those of us who lived as adults through the four years of the Carter administration in which Walter Mondale last served as an important public official may find Mondale's statements especially strange. We recall how President Jimmy Carter proudly announced that the United States had overcome its "inordinate fear of communism," famously planted a kiss on the cheek of Leonid Brezhnev, and then reacted with shock when the Soviet Union...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Howard Dean: Comedian

I had just about given up on posting for tonight after a long day of finalizing my Christmas shopping, but I read this little gem off the AP wire and couldn't stay silent: Howard Dean appealed to fellow Democratic presidential candidates Saturday to stop the bitter attack politics that have come to dominate the race for the party's nomination. The race needs "a little character transplant," he said. "It's not necessary to tear down the other opponents," said Dean, whose front-running campaign has come increasingly under fire from Democratic rivals. Dean's entire campaign has been one attack after another, not only on President Bush but also on Democratic candidates like John Edwards, who he accused at one debate of waffling on Iraq numerous times when in fact Edwards has been consistent -- wrong, but consistent. It's Governor Dean whose notoriety springs from his red-faced harangues on the campaign trail. "This...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

December 21, 2003

Washington Post Gets It

Gaddafi chose Bush and Blair not because he has some love for the Anglo-American alliance, but because he understood that defying them put him in mortal danger. And while it is true that Gaddafi has been trying to rehabilitate his image since Lockerbie, the development of his WMD program -- in conjunction with Iran and North Korea -- demonstrates his intentions of wielding doomsday power over North Africa and the Middle East. Iraq and Saddam Hussein's downfall changed all the equations, and while Gaddafi may be the first to understand it, he will not be the last.

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

I'm Who?

I never take these tests, and now I remember why ... EowynIf I were a character in The Lord of the Rings, I would be Eowyn, Woman of Rohan, niece of King Theoden and sister of Eomer.In the movie, I am played by Miranda Otto.Who would you be?Zovakware Lord of the Rings Test with Perseus Web Survey Software Which Lord of the Rings character are you? (via Dean Esmay)...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Dominoes Continue Falling

The capture of Saddam Hussein continues to accrue benefits to the Coalition: Acting on intelligence gleaned from the capture of Saddam Hussein (news - web sites), U.S. troops rounded up dozens of suspected rebels during two days of raids in towns where loyalty to the deposed president remains strong, officials said Sunday. Two Iraqis were killed. Smashing down doors, troops went house to house in Fallujah, a center of resistance west of Baghdad, early Sunday. Troops of the Army's 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment blockaded Rawah, near the western border with Syria, for a sweep dubbed Operation Santa Claws, the U.S. Army told Associated Press Television News. The continuing nature of these operations indicates a snowball effect from intelligence gleaned from the documents captured along with Saddam, if not directly from Saddam himself. His documents clearly gave the Coalition a good idea of the insurgency leadership structure and identification of these...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Christmas Hustle & Bustle

In case you couldn't guess, blogging was light today while I did some Christmas shopping and decorating. We went to see our families for Thanksgiving this year, and so the holiday season hasn't had much impact on us; the First Mate and I have both been feeling a lack of Christmas spirit, and so we haven't decorated or shopped at all before now. Due to the expense of traveling to California with our son, daughter-in-law, and the Little Admiral, we had warned our family not to expect too much this year. (And then we promptly spent more than we planned, of course.) Anyway, we're still working on our house and the gifts, mostly for the Little Admiral, but due to an unexpected Christmas bonus, I was able to purchase a long-desired digital camera. I bought the Canon A70, mostly due to the higher quality and the fact that it uses...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Another One Bites the -- er, Congratulations!

Fraters Libertas has a stunning announcement: Atomizer has become engaged to his lovely girlfriend (now fiancee) Atomizerette! You'll have to read his announcement to get the low-down on Atmoizer's devastating technique, but you could say that he displayed a certain amount of horse sense in making hay while the sun shines. However, Atomizer obviously never played trumpet in a marching band, or at least never had to follow the local 4-H in a parade, or else he'd have anticipated the inevitable result of his creativity. In honor of Atomizer's big announcement, I'd like to relate a story from a while back, when I threw a bachelor party for a friend of mine. The men started discussing the economics of being a married man -- meaning you never ever had cash in your wallet -- and my friend and I both scoffed (I was a single Captain at that time). We...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

December 22, 2003

Now, Now, Gentlemen, We're Mostly Democrats Here

Apparently, there's been a miscommunication between Howard Dean and General Wesley Clark regarding the potential VP slot on the Democratic ticket: Speaking in a taped interview on ABC's "This Week," Clark said Dean had asked him to be his running mate should Dean win the Democratic nomination in a conversation before Clark entered the race. Unfortunately for Clark, Dean's campaign doesn't recall ever having that conversation, and spokesman Joe Trippi said so shortly after Clark's comments were made. This prompted a testy retort from Clark's campaign: "Joe Trippi may want to check in with his candidate before talking," Matt Bennett said in a statement from Clark headquarters in Little Rock, Arkansas. "Howard Dean did in fact offer Wes Clark a place on the ticket in a one-on-one meeting that Trippi did not attend." This offer supposedly took place in a meeting over three months ago, when Dean's campaign still looked...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Northern Alliance Charity Project Reminder

Just a reminder to all of you about the Northern Alliance charity project at Fraters Libertas, which I posted about last week. The Elder will respond to e-mail inquiries from those who do not have a PayPal account for the donation, so don't let that stop you from participating! Let's do our best to make some children happy at Christmas this year....

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Clark: We'll Give Up Our Sovereignty If I'm Elected

I got this from Blogs for Bush, who got it from Andrew Sullivan -- but it is still so shocking that I had to consult the source to see if this was taken out of context. Unfortunately, it's not. General Wesley Clark stated on Hardball two weeks ago that if he were elected President, he would offer Europe a veto over our national security policies: CLARK: Well, if I were president right now, I would be doing things that George Bush can’t do right now, because he’s already compromised those international bridges. I would go to Europe and I would build a new Atlantic charter. I would say to the Europeans, you know, we’ve had our differences over the years, but we need you. The real foundation for peace and stability in the world is the transatlantic alliance. And I would say to the Europeans, I pledge to you as...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

December 23, 2003

California Earthquake Kills Two

As many of you already know, California earthquakes are rarely deadly; construction standards have been so successful that only the strongest earthquakes cause much damage at all. Unfortunately, throughout Central California there are a number of picturesque older communities that have structures that were built well before the newer standards (mostly implemented after the devastating 1933 Long Beach earthquake) were put into place. One of the most quaint of these is Paso Robles, a small town where my mother lived for a short period of time, and where she still has friends, and a community where at least two people have died from yesterday's quake: A deadly magnitude 6.5 earthquake shuddered through California's Central Coast on Monday morning, crumpling a historic building here and killing two people. The temblor — the strongest in the region's modern history — smashed shop windows, set off house fires and interrupted power service through...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Right of First Refusal: Meaning?

Either Clark's stance on Iraq and the process that led to it is incoherent, a sort of "I'll be Bush without Bush" -- the most likely explanation -- or he really believes that we should subordinate our foreign-policy and national-security concerns to a European consensus that will never be achieved. Neither reflects well on his character nor on his qualifications as president.

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Le Spin, C'est Nous

The French have discovered that looking in from the outside on the Libya deal makes them appear less than dominant in foreign affairs: Dominique de Villepin, the foreign minister, took his hat off to London and Washington's "exemplary" diplomatic efforts over the past few months that led to the Libyan leader Col Gaddafi's surprise announcement on Friday, calling it a victory for "the entire international community". But he was forced to admit in Le Figaro that France knew nothing of the nine months of secret negotiations. "We were not kept informed," M de Villepin said. His disclosure underlined the continuing mistrust in relations between the English-speaking powers and France, which made much of its opposition to war in Iraq. It seems that even the French are starting to see that its obstinacy in opposing all things American may have cost it an inordinate amount of influence on world affairs: Even...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Dominoes Continue Falling

US forces continued apprehending Iraqi insurgents by the dozens after Saddam Hussein's capture today, including several leadership figures: U.S. soldiers arrested dozens of rebel suspects Tuesday, including several associates of a former aide to Saddam Hussein who is believed to have a leading role in Iraq's insurgency. A U.S. task force in Baqouba, 30 miles northwest of Baghdad, arrested five Iraqis, including one suspected of recruiting guerrillas, said Maj. Josselyn Aberle of the 4th Infantry Division. ... In an earlier raid in Baqouba, U.S. troops detained a former Iraqi army colonel suspected of recruiting ex-Iraqi soldiers to fight the U.S. military. ... Near Fallujah, to the west of Baghdad, a military statement said troops captured "26 enemy personnel including two former Iraqi generals and an Iraqi Special Forces colonel." More evidence, I suppose, of how Saddam's capture has not made America any safer....

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Nader Rules Out Green Party Run in '04

Ralph Nader made a curious announcement today on his intentions for next year's Presidential race: Ralph Nader, the third-party candidate viewed by many Democrats as the spoiler of the 2000 election for taking votes away from Al Gore, has decided not to run on the Green Party ticket next year, a party spokesman said Tuesday. Nader, who garnered nearly 3 percent of the national vote in the last presidential election, has not ruled out running for president as an independent and plans to make a decision by January. Which begs the question: would he run under an independent banner, or that of another party? Apparently it's not off the table, but something must have happened to disenchant him with the Greens. The Greens, according to the article, are disappointed in this decision. I suspect that Nader may not have wanted to spend money on a primary campaign, and other Greens...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Life Imitates Art

It looks like the Seinfeld DVD project has hit some snags -- three of them, in fact: Three of the four leading cast members of the hit television comedy "Seinfeld" are declining to participate in the making of a DVD series of the show because they are unhappy with the related financial deals they have had over the years, people close to the actors and the show said on Monday. These people said that the three actors — Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who played Elaine; Michael Richards, who played Kramer; and Jason Alexander, who played George — made the joint decision not to give on-camera interviews for the DVD or otherwise participate in it. First, let me make it clear that I am a believer in free-market capitalism. However, it seems to me that the show made everyone a lot of money, not just the owners, although they have raked in the...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Code Orange: Translation by Zygote Design

Many people express their confusion over the meanings of the Homeland Security Alerts. Like any good blogger, Zygote-Design is here to help with a handy translation of Tom Ridge's text: Your awareness and vigilance can help tremendously, so please use your common sense and report suspicious packages, vehicles, or activities to local law enforcement. Normal person translation: Enjoy your Christmas holiday but everything you encounter could kill you. Packages of death, vehicles of death and even activities of death. Merry Christmas from all of us here at the Department of Homeland Security who will be whisked away to an impenetrable mountain fortress at the slightest hint of trouble while you die en masse in the streets of your concrete graveyards. Being in the government is cool. Sheesh ... for a man who just found out that his wife is having a boy, Zygote sure can be cynical! Be sure to...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Russo-American Mission Retrieves Stranded Nuclear Fuel

Remember how a few of the Democrats complained recently about Bush's lack of attention to nuclear material that had not been tracked after the fall of the Soviet Union? Somehow, this story won't make them very happy: A Russo-American team of nuclear specialists backed by armed security units swooped into a shuttered Bulgarian reactor and seized 37 pounds of highly enriched uranium, in a secret operation intended to forestall nuclear terrorism, U.S. officials said Tuesday. ... It was the third time since last year that U.S. and Russian authorities have teamed up to retrieve highly enriched uranium from Soviet-era facilities. U.S. authorities have begun stepping up such joint operations with the Russians. In August 2002, a team from the two countries retrieved 100 pounds of weapons-grade uranium from an aging reactor in Yugoslavia. The second uranium seizure took place three months ago, when 30 pounds was removed from Romania. It...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

I'm Ready For My Close-Up Now

What Classic Movie Are You? (via The Cheese Stands Alone, whose results I find vaguely frightening)...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Ed Koch: I'm Voting Bush

Former New York Mayor and lifelong Democrat Ed Koch recently gave an impromptu speech regarding his support for George Bush for President. Koch apparently wasn't satisfied with the report printed in the Sun about his speech (although he blames himself for the confusion) and wants to set the record straight with this column in NewsMax: After 9/11, the President announced the Bush Doctrine, which in my opinion rivals in importance the Monroe Doctrine, which barred foreign imperialism in the Western Hemisphere, and the Truman Doctrine, which sought to contain Communism around the world. The Bush Doctrine, simply stated by the President before a joint session of Congress, is “We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.” The President has applied that doctrine in Afghanistan and Iraq and has put other countries on notice that he will do so elsewhere, if necessary....

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

December 24, 2003

Oh, Well, As Long As It's Her First Time

Here's a disturbing story from Indiana -- a 13-year-old girl has been arrested for a DUI (via Drudge Report). She managed to hit a utility pole and knock out power to a few hundred houses: The driver also had a blood-alcohol level of .089, slightly above the legal limit, police said. The girl's older sister said she had never driven before. It's her first time driving? Well, that's certainly a relief....

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

A Warning We Also Should Heed

Jonathan Chait, in his TNR blog, wrote on Monday regarding the Dean bubble. Chait, who is no fan of the governor, diagnoses why the Dean campaign will remain parochial and detached from all but the true believers: One of the most disturbing things about Dean and his hard-core supporters is that they give the impression that they know nothing at all of why President Bush is successful, and therefore what it takes to beat him. Read the pro-Dean blogs, and the you come away with the view that Bush is strong because he's ruthless and has lots of money, and therefore if the Democrats are also ruthless and raise lots of money, they can beat him. This ignorance is compounded by the fact that many Deanies seem to exist in a isolated cultural milieu in which everybody is secular, socially liberal, and antiwar. They can't fathom why those things might...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Libyan Agreement vs The Carter Deal in North Korea

I wanted to write a brilliant column rebutting the buzz that Libya's deal was in essence no better than we had with North Korea in 1994 and would wind up being as large a failure as Carter's "trust us" capitulation proved. Even Frank Gaffney seemed pretty skeptical last night on Hugh Hewitt's show. However, before I had a chance to do my research [IOW, open up a can of Diet Rite Red Raspberry and opine madly], I found this brilliant post by Jon at QandO: Needless to say, the Agreed Framework was not the success we'd hoped it would be. In the end, it amounted to a deal whereby our side agreed to provide North Korea with sizable concessions, while North Korea agreed to pretend they weren't working on a nuclear weapons program. Fortunately, we appear to have learned from the Agreed Framework. The deal with Libya succeeds in exactly...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Support American Servicepeople!

Tom Bevan at RealClearPolitics has asked the Northern Alliance to promote several ways in which our readers can support American fighting men and women this holiday season. I'll ask you all to read his post, which contains a number of links to sites designed to do just that. If you have any others that RCP left out, please feel free to post them in the Comments section (it's HTML-enabled!), and that way we can spread the joy as widely as possible. Remember, folks, regardless of your political views, these fine young men and women are putting their lives on the line for us. Let's remind them why....

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Sailing Into Oblivion

According to MS-NBC, our proud ex-Governor will not be returning from his, er, "hiatus": "I've decided to focus the majority of our resources on Monday-Friday primetime in 2004," the cable news channel's president, Erik Sorenson. said in a memo to his staff Tuesday night. "Consequently, the holiday hiatus for 'Jesse Ventura's America' will continue indefinitely." ... Sorenson said that Ventura will continue to serve as a political commentator for MSNBC during the 2004 campaign season. Sorenson finally came to the same conclusion that Minnesotans discovered shortly after Jesse took office: he's not terribly bright, nor is he terribly interesting. The combination makes a deadly dull recipe for a talk-show host, as I posted when it first launched. Among the disasters the show visited upon hapless viewers was a recurring segment called "Dork of the Week", which would have been a more apt title for the entire show. As I related...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Why Not Just Improve Your Food?

Silly lawsuits with astronomical asking figures seem to be more and more the norm than the exception. This, then, should come as no surprise: The owners of Lucky Cheng's, a cabaret-restaurant with cross-dressing male waiters and entertainers, have filed a $10 million lawsuit accusing the Zagat Survey of libel for giving the restaurant a low rating for its food. The suit said Lucky Cheng's has lost about $30,000 a week since Oct. 14, 2003, when the 2004 Zagat guide was published with the low food rating — 9 out of a possible 30. Zagat's calculates its ratings by compiling feedback from patrons of the restaurant, and then publishes the results in a popular guide. Low ratings means bad business, no matter how many cross-dressing entertainers and waitstaff you hire, as Lucky Cheng's has found out. Normally, when businesses get low ratings from its patrons, they work to improve the product...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Someone Heard Something

In France, there are travelers who are likely highly annoyed to be kept from being home at Christmas -- but may be lucky to be alive: The French government has canceled three Air France flights to Los Angeles, California, because of fears of a possible terrorist attack, the French Interior Ministry said Wednesday. Air France flights 68 and 70 from Paris to Los Angeles and Flight 382 to Los Angeles via Cincinnati, Ohio, were listed as canceled Wednesday afternoon. The decision came after consultation between U.S. and French authorities, a senior U.S. official said. News of the cancellations came as U.S. officials said a high volume of good-quality intelligence indicated that the al Qaeda terrorist network wants to attack the United States during the Christmas holiday. No one will know for sure if these flights had been compromised by terrorists unless authorities were lucky or well-informed enough to capture specific...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Twas The Night Before Christmas ...

I've had trouble getting in the Christmas spirit. It's been a busy month at work, and since we flew out to visit family in California over Thanksgiving, the First Mate and I kind of feel like we've already had our Christmas. We finally got our shopping done, mostly for the Little Admiral, this past weekend. (Nothing like last-minute shopping to kill any Christmas spirit that might be struggling to grow anyway.) I worked today in order to make sure that the office will be okay over the four-day weekend -- my department is a 7x24x365 group -- and when I left, I hoped to get a bit more spirited. Since my son and daughter-in-law celebrate Christmas Eve with her family (we've always been a Christmas Day family anyway), the First Mate and I always try to go to Mass on Christmas Eve. She's been baking all day long, so I...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

December 25, 2003

Merry Christmas to All My Friends

I'll be doing very little blogging today; maybe this evening I will post a couple of thoughts, but I'm going to concentrate on family and friends until then. Speaking of which, I'd like to send out a very Merry Christmas to all of my blogosphere friends. I'm going to mention a few who made my first few blog-months special (if I don't mention you, it's because I'm under the evil influence of Christmas carols): * Alicia at Twilight Café started blogging at the same time as I did, left the first comment and linked to me first, and designed my logo. She's a special blog friend, and I hope you all take the time to check out her blog over the holidays. * Hugh Hewitt gave me a tremendous boost in readership and in confidence in what I've been doing, and I can't express how much I appreciate it. Appearing...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Dean's Reversal on Tort Reform

Andrew Sullivan and Overlawyered (a great site) discover another Howard Dean flip-flop, this time on tort reform. In 1988, then-Lt. Governor Dean wrote the following letter to the New York Times: To the Editor: Randall Bezanson and Gilbert Cranberg detailed a situation that I hope will get far worse. As a physician, I have been frustrated for years by the reluctance of state legislatures and the United States Congress to deal with liability problems of all kinds. I have long maintained that until the legal profession and the news media are also afflicted with the increasingly severe consequences of a tort system that benefits few people outside the legal profession, there will be no return to a fair and reasonable system of justice. The trends toward lawyers suing one another for malpractice and toward outrageous-size punitive damages in libel cases give me hope that the crisis in our tort system...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Ho, Ho, No

Only in New York, or possibly Philadelphia, could a collection of 1,000 Santas spark a partisan riot. Not surprisingly, both cities figure into this story about a hockey promotion gone bad: The promotion invited fans to dress up as Santa Claus for [the NY Islanders] Tuesday night's game against the Philadelphia Flyers and be admitted to the Nassau Coliseum for free. What's more, they were permitted to parade across the ice between periods. About 1,000 Santa Clauses showed up and as promised, they were invited on the ice after the first period. This turned out to be not such a good idea. As the Santas milled around, two of them removed their red jackets to reveal jerseys of the rival Rangers — not a good thing to do in the home of the Islanders. Ignoring the holiday spirit, some of the other St. Nicks turned into Bad Santas, jumping the...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

How I Got My Christmas Spirit Back

If you can't get Christmas spirit when your granddaughter is playing on a toy you just put together for her, then you are either dead or your last name is Scrooge: We had our son, daughter-in-law, and the Little Admiral over here from about 3 pm to 9 pm, and the First Mate cooked up a great prime rib dinner for all of us. After we opened gifts and ate, we watched the DVD of our Thanksgiving trip that I made as one of the Christmas gifts I gave to family members. We talked to all of our (immediate) family out West, and we did a video conference with my Dad and his wife. Was Santa good to you all? Santa was definitely good to me. I got two tickets to a Notre Dame football game next October, when Stanford comes to town. I've always been a huge Fighting Irish...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

December 26, 2003

David Fromkin: Be Careful What You Wish For

David Fromkin, who wrote a terrific book on Middle Eastern history over the past century titled "A Peace to End All Peace" (on my book list on the left, and you should buy it), wrote an article for today's Los Angeles Times which intends to warn the US about repeating Britain's mistakes in Iraq: When the war ended, in 1918, the victorious British found themselves in possession, among other things, of the three Ottoman provinces that were later merged to form a single unitary state that was to be called Iraq. In 1918 and 1919, its hour of triumph, the British Empire garrisoned the Middle East with an army of a million men. No other significant military force in the region could dispute Britain's mastery. Iraq's future seemingly was for Britain to determine. It is from Britain's experience in that respect that Americans entering the year 2004 have so much...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Harold Ickes, The Consummate Insider

Hugh Hewitt points out an intriguing profile of the Democrats' Karl Rove, former Clinton Chief of Staff Harold Ickes. Colorful, profane, and driven, Ickes promises to deliver cash -- loads of it -- to the Democratic effort to unseat George Bush through 527 committees. Now he has emerged as a major power in the Democratic Party, a broker whose media money could make the difference in the 2004 election. When the Supreme Court gave its blessing to the McCain-Feingold law that bans "soft money" — unlimited contributions from corporations, individuals and labor unions — to political parties, Ickes became a player, right up there with his father and namesake, Harold L. Ickes, who served as Franklin D. Roosevelt's Interior secretary — and troubleshooter. "The Supreme Court just made him one of the 10 most important people in the Democratic Party," said Mike McCurry, Clinton's former press secretary. Don't miss this...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Why the Dominoes Fall

The Washington Post explains in more detail why the capture of Saddam Hussein has started to cripple the insurgency, and how American strategy had already impacted the insurgency even before that: Senior U.S. officers said they were surprised to discover -- clue by clue over six months -- that the upper and middle ranks of the resistance were filled by members of five extended families from a few villages within a 12-mile radius of the volatile city of Tikrit along the Tigris River. Top operatives drawn from these families organized the resistance network, dispatching information to individual cells and supervising financial channels, the officers said. They also protected Hussein and passed information to and from the former president while he was on the run. At the heart of this tightly woven network is Auja, Hussein's birthplace, which U.S. commanders say is the intelligence and communications hub of the insurgency. The...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

US Among International Donors to Iran Aid

Iran suffered a devastating earthquake yesterday, and the death toll is expected to rise above 10,000: Most of the historic Iranian city of Bam was destroyed in an early morning earthquake Friday, and government sources said more than 20,000 people were killed. Iran's official Islamic Republic News Agency put the death toll at 5,000-6,000, and officials said they were worried that the number could climb. News service reports quoted government officials as saying more than 20,000 died. Several blogs have demanded US involvement in emergency aid to Iran in order to support the pro-US younger generation in Iran as well as for humanitarian reasons. Hugh Hewitt and Blog Iran are two amongst many who point out that our assistance will underscore our insistence that we are at war with terrorists and not Muslims. I doubt that our assistance will convince anyone who already thinks that we are at war with...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Dean Switches Positions in the Same Day?

The master of flip-flops impresses everyone this week by issuing conflicting statements in the same day: Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean will not pronounce Osama bin Laden guilty before a trial, he said in an interview published Friday. New Hampshire's Concord Monitor reported that Dean said he would not state his preference on a punishment for bin Laden before the al Qaeda leader was captured and put before a jury. "I've resisted pronouncing a sentence before guilt is found," Dean said in the interview. "I will have this old-fashioned notion that even with people like Osama, who is very likely to be found guilty, we should do our best not to, in positions of executive power, not to prejudge jury trials." ... Later, Dean released a statement clarifying, "I share the outrage of all Americans. Osama bin Laden has admitted that he is responsible for killing 3,000 Americans as well...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

December 27, 2003

LA Times: Applaud the Non-Event

The Los Angeles Times published an editorial today which reminds us that good intelligence and pre-emption can keep terrorist strikes from appearing, and that the lack of hard evidence of a terrorist mission does not mean one did not exist: Most national security intelligence is elusive, a connecting of dots — intercepted telephone calls, overheard conversations, confessions by people who know fragments of a plan. The result may be an unprovable negative: an event that does not occur. Thus it was when U.S. officials warned French counterparts about hints that an Air France plane would be used to attack Los Angeles on or around Christmas. The French heeded American requests and canceled six flights, and Los Angeles celebrated a peaceful holiday. Some inconvenience resulted, but how could security personnel have failed to act? The use of commercial airliners as bombs to kill thousands of people on 9/11 demands that credible...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Was The Vatican Al-Qaeda's Target?

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi told reporters that al-Qaeda's Christmas Eve target was not Los Angeles, but the Vatican: Terrorists planned to attack the Vatican with a hijacked plane on Christmas Day, Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi said in a newspaper interview published Saturday. ... "A hijacked plane into the Vatican," Berlusconi is quoted as saying. "An attack from the sky, is that clear? The threat of terrorism is very high in this instant. I passed Christmas Eve in Rome to deal with the situation. Now I feel calm. It will pass." He added, "It isn't fatalism, but the knowledge of having our guard up. If they organized this, they will not pull it off." Of course, Islamofascists could consider the Vatican as the center of the Crusader world, but if so, it shows a stubborn defiance of history and common sense. The Vatican's direct influence on warmaking has declined considerably...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Pots and Kettles

John Kerry published a statement today that shows both a stunning grasp of the obvious and a remarkable lack of self-analysis: With a month to go before the New Hampshire primary, John Kerry says voters must choose between Democratic front-runner Howard Dean or a more centrist candidate like himself. The Massachusetts senator said he would fare better than Dean against President Bush in November. ... Aides to Kerry note that Dean fares poorly against Bush in head-to-head matchups. While they're looking, have aides to Kerry noticed that the difference in Bush's lead over both Dean and Kerry falls within the margin of error? Neither of them stand a chance against Bush because neither of them are getting any traction on him now, when Bush isn't even campaigning. Why? Because both men have demonstrated that they will say anything to anybody to get elected. Kerry has spent his entire campaign running...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Stiffing the Poles

Poland has long had my admiration. Before France threw in with the colonies, Polish lovers of freedom allied itself with our Founding Fathers -- names like Kosciusko should be as much a part of our national lexicon as Lafayette -- and despite being overrun and torn apart for centuries, Poland has always retained a burning love of freedom and self-determination. Earlier this week, Ralph Peters wrote an excellent column about this aspect of Polish history, and the unfortunate treatment they are receiving from the US after giving us the best of their support: But the Poles never gave up their belief in their country - or in freedom. During our own revolution, our first allies were Polish freedom fighters such as Casimir Pulaski and Tadeusz Kosciusko. (Paris only joined the fight when it looked like we might win. And France intervened to spite Britain, not to help us.) Throughout the...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Dean Explained In A Nutshell

Sunday's Washington Post contains a somewhat brief article titled "Dean Tries to Summon Spirit of the 1960s: Candidate's Recollections Differ From Historians' Views of a Turbulent Decade" that explains a lot about the attraction of Dean's campaign amongst the aging hippie set, academia, and wannabes that make up the most passionate of his following: Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean has a vision of where he'd like to take the nation. It turns out to be the 1960s. ... His references to the '60s, Dean makes clear in an interview, are something personal. "We felt the possibilities were unlimited then," he said last week. "We were making such enormous progress. It resonates with a lot of people my age. People my age really felt that way." As history, however, Dean's memories of the era are selective. Rather than the time of great national unity and purpose he describes, the 1960s were...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

December 28, 2003

Danish, Anyone?

The Danes, descendants of the mighty Vikings, are trying to conquer the world again ... only in a slightly different manner than their first-millenium strategy: Danes are spreading their genes around the world faster than ever aided by exports from local firm Cryos International, the world's biggest sperm bank. Each year Danish men donate sperm that contributes to around 1,000 pregnancies, and with increasing demand from Americans, Cryos has opened its first New York office -- on Broadway. ... Cryos, which has currently accepts only Danish donators, exports to 40 countries. Well, it's certainly one way to achieve world domination with as little exertion as possible. Don't need those uncomfortable long boats, either....

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Rushing Towards Disaster?

The insurgency in Iraq and global pressure to end the civil occupation are forcing the Coalition to abandon key goals in order to meet a summer deadline to transfer sovereignty back to the Iraqis, according to the Washington Post: The United States has backed away from several of its more ambitious initiatives to transform Iraq's economy, political system and security forces as attacks on U.S. troops have escalated and the timetable for ending the civil occupation has accelerated. Plans to privatize state-owned businesses -- a key part of a larger Bush administration goal to replace the socialist economy of deposed president Saddam Hussein with a free-market system -- have been dropped over the past few months. So too has a demand that Iraqis write a constitution before a transfer of sovereignty. With the administration's plans tempered by time and threat, the U.S. administrator of Iraq, L. Paul Bremer, and his...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Your Lips Say No ...

Senator John Edwards of South Carolina insists that he is not interested in the lower half of the Democratic ticket in 2004: Asked if he would agree to run in the second slot with one of eight candidates to be the Democrats' presidential nominee, Edwards said: "I'm absolutely not interested in being vice president. No, the answer to that question is no." Uh-huh. Let me explain two things to you that make this statement an absolute farce: 1. John Edwards won't be in elective office after 2004, only having served one term in the Senate. 2. John Edwards is from the South. It's hardly a secret that Democrats are stumbling badly in the South as the electorate there seems to have finally recognized that the socialist, isolationist leftists have grabbed control of the party. A Northerner will take the top spot, and it's likely to be Howard Dean or possibly...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

December 29, 2003

Another Moment of Hypocrisy from Dean

Howard Dean has excoriated the Bush administration, and specifically Dick Cheney, for keeping secret its deliberations while developing its energy policy. This meme has been beaten to death over the past couple of years. Ultimately, what's important is the policy itself, and that's not secret at all. However, the advice given to the executive is just that -- advice -- and there is no need to disclose the internal debate that helped develop the policy. In fact, that is the essence of executive privelege, the entire reason for its existence. How nice, then, to discover that Howard Dean agrees -- at least when he's the executive: Democratic presidential hopeful Howard Dean, who has criticized the Bush administration for refusing to release the deliberations of its energy policy task force, as governor of Vermont convened a similar panel that met in secret and angered state lawmakers. ... In 1999, he offered...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Saddam Talking?

A report from two Arab newspapers states that Saddam Hussein has acknowledged siphoning billions of dollars to a network of personal bank accounts and is telling American interrogators the names of his collaborators: Saddam Hussein has acknowledged depositing billions of dollars abroad before his ouster and has given interrogators the names of people who know where the money is, a member of the Iraqi Governing Council said in remarks published Monday. The U.S.-appointed council estimates that the Iraqi dictator seized $40 billion while in power and is now searching for that amount deposited in Switzerland, Japan, Germany and other countries, Iyad Allawi told the London-based Arab newspapers Al-Hayat and Asharq al-Awsat. Other members of the IGC dispute the report: In Baghdad, Ahmed al-Bayak, anouther member of the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council, said he was informed by council members that Saddam had started to talk about names of people inside Iraq...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Minneapolis: The Naked City

Neither rain, nor snow, nor gloom of night shall keep a naked Minnesota burglar from making his rounds ... A naked man got stuck in the chimney of a bookstore early Christmas morning. Don't worry, it wasn't Santa Claus. The 34-year-old man was treated Thursday for bruises and abrasions at Hennepin County Medical Center after being found naked and lodged in the furnace flue at Uncle Hugo's Bookstore. He was expected to be charged with attempted burglary on Friday. His excuse? He left his keys in the store and just wanted to go back and get them, even though the store had been closed on Christmas Day. The police said he was probably drunk. Gee -- ya think?...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Speaking of the Vikings ...

... will likely get you assaulted today in Minnesota, after watching the 'Queens blow a 6-0 record into a 9-7 finish, complete with four losses to teams that wound up with 4-12 records, including the Cardinals yesterday. Water cooler talk mostly centers on coach Mike Tice's future with the Vikings (consensus: not coming back) and the stadium initiative, which seems a lot more remote than it did on Saturday. I was prepared to discuss how frustrating this season was, and how bitterly disappointing it was yesterday to watch the Vikings fail to cover the end zone properly on the last play when that was the only part of the field in question -- next time, get behind the receivers! -- but then I found out that the guys at Fraters Libertas have it covered here. And here. And here, and here, and here and here. We take our football seriously...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

I'm So ... Embarrassed

Power Line turned out to be Saddam Hussein. Mitch Berg turned out to be John Kennedy. And I turned out to be ... What Famous Leader Are You? AAAAAAUGH! The horror! The horror! (But, hey Hindrocket, at least Mitch and I get the girls ...)...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

It's Hard to be Humble

Howard Dean warns that he discovered "legions" of new voters who will not vote at all if he isn't the Democratic nominee for President in 2004: Howard Dean said Sunday that the hundreds of thousands of people drawn to politics by his campaign may stay home if he doesn’t win the Democratic presidential nomination, dooming the Democratic Party in the fall campaign against President Bush. “If I don’t win the nomination, where do you think those million and a half people, half a million on the Internet, where do you think they’re going to go?” he said during a meeting with reporters. “I don’t know where they’re going to go. They’re certainly not going to vote for a conventional Washington politician.” Words fail me at this pronouncement. While every campaign finds a handful of voters who have never voted before or who have never crossed party lines before, Dean claims...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Brainstorming is Back!

Just got a ping from DC over at Brainstorming, which means she is back on line and blogging away. In fact, she tells us that she misses us, which means she didn't improve her taste any on her sabbatical. Anyway, check out the new layout at Brainstorming (of which I am a tad bit jealous!) and her new tag line from Einstein. Mostly, read through her posts; DC always is a great read. And for the record, we missed you too. Welcome back!...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Society of the Master of the Horse

It took some time, some detective work, and a lot of patience, but I have defied the predictions of the gang over at Fraters Libertas and fulfilled Hugh Hewitt's final task for my entry into the Society of the Master of the Horse. As you may recall, I had to pass three arduous tasks: 1. Write a post that denounced the guys at Fraters Libertas in a particularly shameful way. 2. Create an epic poem that mentioned at least ten blogs ... and also denounced Fraters Libertas and James Lileks. 3. Lastly, get a picture of me giving James Lileks a Hummel. The third task has taken me almost four weeks to strategize. After all, James Lileks is a world-renowned figure, a man who would not be surprised easily, especially after being tipped off to my plans. However, I finally managed to catch up with James at an event I...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

December 30, 2003

LA Times: Syria Undermined Iraq Sanctions, Armed Saddam

The Los Angeles Times translated reams of documents seized after the fall of Saddam Hussein and reports that Syria ran extensive smuggling operations on behalf of the Iraqi dictator's regime, designed to undermine UN sanctions: A Syrian trading company with close ties to the ruling regime smuggled weapons and military hardware to Saddam Hussein between 2000 and 2003, helping Syria become the main channel for illicit arms transfers to Iraq despite a stringent U.N. embargo, documents recovered in Iraq show. The private company, called SES International Corp., is headed by a cousin of Syria's autocratic leader, Bashar Assad, and is controlled by other members of Assad's Baath Party and Alawite clan. Syria's government assisted SES in importing at least one shipment destined for Iraq's military, the Iraqi documents indicate, and Western intelligence reports allege that senior Syrian officials were involved in other illicit transfers. Iraqi records show that SES signed...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Democrats Unimpressed with Dean's Complaints

Howard Dean's complaints about the tenor of the campaign over the past month fell on mostly deaf ears this wek, the LA Times reports: Democratic Party National Chairman Terry McAuliffe has no plans to play referee to what has become a vitriolic presidential primary, saying through a spokeswoman Monday that voters would decide whether the negative campaigning was good politics. A number of other Presidential hopefuls had some pointed barbs for Dean after his suggestion that McAuliffe force them to tone down their attacks. For instance, Joe Lieberman pointed out that if Dean was quailing at this primary campaign, then perhaps he's not ready for the championship round next fall. "If Howard Dean can't stand the heat in the Democratic kitchen, he's going to melt in a minute once the Republicans start going after him." John Kerry pointed out yet another Dean hypocrisy, which seem to appear on an almost...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Hugh Hewitt's Predictions for 2004

National Review Online asked several of its contributors for their predictions of 2004, and the Commish, Hugh Hewitt, has a few provocative choices. There are a couple I disagree with: * Evan Bayh as Dean's VP candidate: I can't see Bayh jumping onto a rolling train wreck, even for the sake of the party. Edwards has less to lose and more to gain, and a stronger connection to the South. That change gives Bush Indiana and Maryland, loses him at least South Carolina, but overall makes no difference in Bush's landslide victory. * I don't think Cheney stays on the ticket in 2004. I think Bush thanks Cheney for his service, but Cheney bows out due to "health issues", and Bush picks either Rudy Giuliani or possibly Condoleeza Rice or Olympia Snowe to round out the ticket. Bush likes bold, historical moves, and any of these three could help him...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

So Long, Wilson, We'll Miss You

Fans of "Home Improvement" never saw his face, but no one can deny that Earl Hindman, the actor that played Wilson on Tim Allen's hit television show for nine seasons, provided a large measure of the show's heart and soul. Unfortunately for all of us, Earl Hindman has passed away at the too-young age of 61, of lung cancer. CNN provides a brief obituary for Hindman but neglects his role in Silverado, Lawrence Kasdan's Western from the 80s, which features Hindman in a small supporting role. Fans of the movie may remember that he played the brother-in-law of Scott Glenn's and Kevin Costner's characters and his face was fully visible during his fine performance. My wife and I, big fans of Home Improvement, send out our prayers to Earl Hindman's family, and our gratitude for the wonderful entertainment he helped provide our family....

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

The Embarrassment of Minnesota

No, I am not referring to the Minnesota Vikings. The title belongs to the state's "leading" broadsheet, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, which constantly goes out of its way to demonstrate its parochialism and its condescending foolishness. Tomorrow's education in Strib madness comes from this article -- if you can call it that -- from Bill McAuliffe, a "rap" retrospective of 2003. In this case, "rap" replaces the more accurate "atrociously bad poetry", as even a quick read demonstrates: Prince Roger Nelson's in the Rock Hall of Fame. Purple is his color and music's his game. And the orchestra's one hundred, it's a real grand dame. With a brand new conductor, Osmo Vanska by name! Jesse Ventura got his portrait on the wall. Got a chokehold on "The Thinker" and he's lookin' real bald. He's smoking a stogie, lookin' like he's got it all. So why'd they have to put him in...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

December 31, 2003

Brazilian Judge: Fingerprinting = Genocide

A Brazilian judge, angry at the new US policy of photographing and fingerprinting incoming immigrants and visitors with visas, retaliated yesterday by requiring US visitors to Brazil to be photographed and fingerprinted as well. It's the kind of tit-for-tat petty revenge that often occurs in diplmatic relations, although rarely does the judiciary figure into it. However, the judge's comments were shocking: "I consider the act absolutely brutal, threatening human rights, violating human dignity, xenophobic and worthy of the worst horrors committed by the Nazis," said Federal Judge Julier Sebastiao da Silva in the court order released on Tuesday. Photographing and fingerprinting are "worthy" of gassing millions of people to death? "Worthy" of cruel and medical experiments on helpless prisoners, including and especially children? I guess the Brazilians should know, seeing as they harbored the Nazis for decades after the end of World War II, especially the Angel of Death himself,...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

LA Times: Part 2 of Iraq's Violations of Arms Embargo

The Los Angeles Times concludes its two-part series on documents discovered in Baghdad which clearly delineate how the international community assisted Saddam Hussein in avoiding the effects of the UN-imposed arms embargo. Today's installment focuses on Polish arms dealers and how they evaded their own government to sell military hardware to Iraq, via (as in yesterday's article) Syria: Desperate for missile technology in the summer of 2001, Iraq's arms brokers and spies homed in on the military scrap yards of this former Soviet Bloc nation. They operated out of this town, scavenging and assembling decades-old parts that were shipped to Syria, then trucked across deserts and mountains toward Baghdad. Documents were forged and lies were told in an elaborate network built to evade United Nations sanctions. The shipment of up to 380 missile engines from Poland was critical to Saddam Hussein's covert program to extend the range of his new...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Where's the Beef?

The Washington Post issued a smackdown to a couple of Presidential candidates this morning with an editorial chastising them for grandstanding on "mad cow disease", or BSE: Democratic front-runner Howard Dean announced that the discovery of an infected cow in Washington state "raises serious concerns about the ability of this administration to protect the safety of our nation's food supply." Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) helpfully urged President Bush "for once not to listen to the demands of corporate America and act on behalf of the health and economic needs of all Americans." All of this may be good politics for candidates who have to campaign in farm states such as Iowa. The trouble is that, at least at this stage, there is no particular reason to think that the regulatory systems designed to prevent an outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in this country didn't function as intended. So far,...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Power Line Deconstructs Dionne

While I had intended to write on this topic yesterday, Power Line beat me to it, asking for an answer as to why someone so benighted is still afforded column space in a major broadsheet.

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

Poetry Corner with Mr. Know-It-All

After the guys at Fraters Libertas got a chance to look at my post on the nauseatingly bad rap-poem the Strib published today, they assigned me the task of reviewing Bill McAuliffe's year-end poetry in 2000 and 2002. Up until that point, I had no idea that this was a running feature of the Star Tribune. My first impression is that what McAuliffe writes is only poetry in the sense that it rhymes. In fact, I can't spot a whole lot of metric or structural difference between any of the three, including this year's entry; it's almost as if McAuliffe has a MS Word Poetry Template into which he stuffs whatever comes into his head. For instance, these couplets don't show a lot of coherence or any sense of meter: Enter the Wild -- they're among hockey's best -- with jerseys so cool they're also best-dressed. Will St. Paul be...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »

The Question of the Bottom of the Ticket

Due to my exchange with Eric at Nuts and Dolts regarding the 2004 election, I've been reconsidering the issue of the Republican ticket in 2004. After reading Peter Schramm's post on No Left Turns (via Powerline), I've decided that this issue is much more critical than it looked earlier. First, Schramm is correct in asserting that Dean is remaking the Democratic Party into a radical-left political organization. As Hugh Hewitt predicted in his NRO column and blog today, Dean has energized this subset of the left so much that disengaging them by trying to drag them to the center probably isn't an option, and probably isn't where he wants to go anyway. Schramm predicts that if Dean can coast to the nomination, he will stay left and bring on another McGovern-style catastrophe. Hillary will stand on the sidelines and allow the debacle to unfold, establishing herself as a Churchill-in-the-wilderness figure...

« November 2003 | January 2004 »