« January 2004 | March 2004 »

February 1, 2004

February Link Love

February, the month of love ... St. Valentine's Day, Cupid, and the like ... and so it's time to spread the link-love around the blogosphere a bit. The Commissar has discovered a new initiative from the Left: a deck of cards with the 52 most dangerous bloggers. Captain's Quarters has been assigned the ten of diamonds (I would have expected the two of clubs, myself). Every card is a clickable link to a dangerous right-wing blogger. I may ask the Commissar to send me over the graphic for my card, and I'll include it on my blogroll. Comrade Commissar continues to outdo himself ... Power Line has a great post on Churchill, one of my favorite historical figures as much for his failures as for his successes. Big Trunk notes the relationship between the BBC and Churchill and shows how the BBC has always taken the side of totalitarians in...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Super Bowl Prediction

... because I do so well at predictions -- here's mine: Carolina Panthers 27, New England Patriots 24. BBD&O, 2 Clio nominations. I think I will be live-blogging the Super Bowl, mostly to review the ads. We'll see if that works out ......

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Dean Sinking in South Carolina, Won't Get Delegates

The Post and Courier report that Edwards and Kerry are locked in a statistical dead heat -- and Dean has fallen far off the pace (free registration required): Edwards, a native of South Carolina and a senator in neighboring North Carolina, was at 21 percent. John Kerry was at 17 percent, Al Sharpton at 15 percent and Wesley Clark at 14 percent in an American Research Group poll. Howard Dean was at 9 percent, Joe Lieberman at 5 percent, Dennis Kucinich was at 1 percent and 18 percent were undecided. South Carolina will hold its primary Feb. 3, a week after New Hampshire's Tuesday primary. Edwards has come up from 12 points to take the thin lead, but the real story is Dean. He's tumbled from 16 percent and a contending position, or at least in a position to get some delegates. Now he's in fifth place, behind Al Sharpton,...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Super Bowl: First Half

5:40 - How could Vinatieri blow a 31-yard field goal attempt? It looked like the snap came to the wrong side of the holder, and the timing got thrown off. Speaking of being off, the commercials so far are not impressive. The "monkey on the back" car commercial was exceedingly lame, and the Bud Light commercial was only good for a slight grin. They spend $2 million a minute for these? 5:45 - The Panthers can't get any offense going so far, and the second set of commercials is just as lame as the first. 5:49 - The First Mate liked the Bud bikini-wax commercial. I was cringing. Go figure. 5:55 - The H&R Block commerical with the Willie Nelson advice doll was the first really good commercial so far. The Don Zimmer moment was classic. 5:59 - The Panther's Wil Witherspoon just blew up a reverse better than I've...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Super Bowl: Second Half

7:38 - King suggests that "Saving Silverman" was better than the first half of the game. Well, maybe he's right; you don't get to see Neil Diamond on screen too often, and I don't think you'll ever see R. Lee Ermey play a gay football coach again. 7:43 - Streaker on the field before the kickoff. Who said there's no action in this game? 7:58 - The Bud Light chimp commercial was worth a chuckle. The Panthers were lucky that the second-down pass play was ruled incomplete. It was obviously a catch, and the fumble would have resulted in a New England touchdown. Like the two teams, the officiating has been mediocre during this game. 8:06 - Scariest line of the night: "Erections lasting longer than four hours require medical attention." Owwww. That ought to keep you from trying Cialis. What's with all of the E.D. commercials, anyway? 8:11 -...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

February 2, 2004

Super Boob Halftime Show: A Mistake?

During my live-blogging of the Super Bowl, I mentioned the Janet Jackson-Justin Timberlake strip show that occurred at the end of the halftime show. Apparently, I was mistaken in my initial viewing of the scene, as the NFL, CBS, and MTV have apologized for an unplanned "wardrobe malfunction": CBS apologized on Sunday for an unexpectedly R-rated end to its Super Bowl halftime show, when singer Justin Timberlake tore off part of Janet Jackson's top, exposing her breast. ... The two singers were performing a flirtatious duet to end the halftime show, and at the song's finish, Timberlake reached across Jackson's leather gladiator outfit and pulled off the covering to her right breast. The network quickly cut away from the shot, and did not mention the incident on the air. But there was a sticker over the nipple, as I said during my live blog, and now that I've replayed it...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Blair, Bush Nominated for Nobel

Norwegian legislator Jan Simonsen has nominated George Bush and Tony Blair for the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to remove Saddam Hussein: Even though the five-member Norwegian awards committee keeps the nomination list secret, those making the nominations often announce their candidate. Norwegian lawmaker Jan Simonsen has nominated Bush and Blair several years in a row. Simonsen wrote that by removing Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, they lessened the chance of a war. Look for this nomination to fail. Two years ago, the Nobel committee gave the award to Jimmy Carter for his work on the treaty with North Korea ... the one that allowed the Kim Jung-Il regime to arm itself with nuclear weapons, thanks to the toothless agreement that Carter championed. They also famously gave one to Yasser Arafat, the godfather of terrorism, for showing up in Oslo and not agreeing to much and eventually reneging on the...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Ledeen: Iranian Appeasers and Dante's Inferno

Michael Ledeen at the National Review writes about the proposed trip to Iran by three US lawmakers, and wants to put a "Reserved" sign for them on the seventh level of Dante's Inferno: Sorry to say, I haven't reread Dante's "Inferno" for some years, but I still remember his description of a very low and extremely unpleasant level of hell that houses traitors. Surely abject appeasers of evil qualify for the same treatment, and we must note grimly that three prime candidates have recently come forward to swell the ranks of that overheated realm: Senator Joe Biden of Delaware (D.), Senator Arlen Specter (R.), of Pennsylvania, and Congressman Bob Ney of Nebraska (R.). All have undertaken to "improve relations" between the United States and the theocratic fascist regime of Iran. Specter announced over the weekend that congressional staffers would soon go to Tehran in the first stage of the appeasement...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Is Bush a Conservative?

Mitch Berg, my Northern Alliance comrade at A Shot in the Dark, asks us to blog on the question that may present George Bush his toughest political challenge in 2004 -- is Bush really a conservative, and if not, will the "true believers" bolt? While it's a time-worn principle for the media to call anyone to the right of Roger Moe a "Paleoconservative", Bush has clearly been no such thing at any point in his career. Oh, sure - he's a social conservative in all the ways that make the social conservative crowd happy; pro-death penalty, pro-life. There's nothing wrong with that - except the myopic notion that being socially conservative makes one conservative in any other way. He's also a conservative in the way that I expect any president to be; he favors a strong military (and acted on that belief even before September 11, thank God). But he,...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

One Tin Soldier Rides Back In

Tom Laughlin, the actor better known as Billy Jack, has thrown his snakeskin-banded hat into the ring for President: The 72-year-old actor, who lives in Camarillo, is one of 13 candidates running against President Bush in the Republican primary. Laughlin, who first ran for president as a Democrat in 1992, said he's campaigning to draw attention to a two-party system he deemed "so corrupt it can't function anymore." He described himself as a "messenger" candidate and said he wasn't disappointed by the New Hampshire primary, in which he earned 154 votes to Bush's nearly 34,000. For those of us who suffered through the terminally saccharine "Billy Jack", the thought of the New Age-ish Laughlin running as a Republican inspires chortles of incredulous glee. Why not run as a Democrat, like Laughlin did in 1992? I suppose the novelty wouldn't be noticed in a crowded Democratic primary, and he might have...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Germany Repents?

Germany, whose Chancellor acted as though he was married to French President Jacques Chirac, now regrets its diplomatic breach with Britain and the US and will start distancing itself from French foreign policy: Germany is seeking to distance itself from France's tight embrace and realign itself more closely to Britain and America, senior German officials signalled yesterday. They said the row with Washington over Iraq had been "catastrophic" for Berlin and Chancellor Gerhard Schröder had become "a prisoner" of President Jacques Chirac's campaign to oppose the war to topple Saddam Hussein last year. After two years of standing so close to France that the two leaders literally stood in for one another at EU conferences, the Germans have belatedly discovered the world doesn't love the French. Now that the Chirac administration is buried in scandal and especially since Germany found out that French opposition to the war in Iraq had...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

February 3, 2004

Feb 3: Super Tuesday 1

John Kerry is poised to take five of the seven states going to the polls today and finish a strong second in the other two: After back-to-back wins in Iowa and New Hampshire, Sen. John Kerry was hoping for a sweep in the biggest test yet for Democratic hopefuls, seven states holding primaries or caucuses. But the race's two Southerners were angling to slow the Massachusetts Democrat's gathering momentum. Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina was counting on a victory in South Carolina's first-in-the-South primary on Tuesday to keep his own campaign alive. And retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark of Arkansas hoped for a win in Oklahoma and a respectable showing in both Arizona and New Mexico to propel his campaign into the next round of contests. Howard Dean, of course, has already surrendered in these states, and has laid off even more campaign workers as his organization has burned...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Deadly Ricin Found: New Terrorist Attack

Just in case anyone thought that the war on terror had ended, reality intruded overnight as the deadly poison ricin was found in the Senate complex: Following the discovery of the deadly toxin ricin in the mailroom of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, much of the Senate complex will be shut down Tuesday, the Senate Web site said. "The Capitol will be open for essential personnel only. All tours will be canceled until further notice. Senate office buildings will be closed today. This includes the Hart, Dirksen, and Russell Senate Office Buildings," according to a statement on the Web page. Tests on a white powdery substance found in the mailroom indicate the presence of ricin, U.S. Capitol Police Chief Terrance Gainer and Frist said late Monday. Frist said he considers the incident a "terrorist activity." Of eight tests conducted throughout the day, six were positive for the toxin, with a...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

'Bare' With Us

I have learned an interesting lesson in cultural blogging today -- if you write about a really hot topic, especially involving sex, then you can expect to get a whole bunch of new readers via search engines. Captain's Quarters has recently been averaging between 50-70 page views an hour during prime time (around 40 unique visitors). Today, however, after writing about the Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake Boober Bowl halftime show, I have been receiving over 300 page views an hour from referrals from search engines. Don't get me wrong; I like getting new readers, and I hope that all of them take a longer look around the blog to see if they find any other interests here than a grainy picture of a 37-year-old's right breast (which is not posted on this site, but you can go here and tell them I said hello). I'd just hate to have...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Edwards Wins South Carolina, MS-NBC Suggests Kerry Withdraw

As expected, Senator John Edwards has won South Carolina, by a good 15-point margin, 45%-30% for Kerry. With 48% of the precincts reporting, Howard Dean only received 5% of the overall vote in South Carolina, finishing fifth behind Al Sharpton and Wesley Clark. Dean is now on TV explaining that he will not withdraw, although he acknowledges that his supporters are going to have a "tough night" tonight. Right at the moment, he's saying that in order to keep jobs in America, we have to stop giving tax breaks to companies that move offshore -- even though he himself set up a crucial tax break in Vermont for those very same corporations. The energy and enthusiasm of his supporters, is way down, and it sure seems that regardless of Dean's message, it will be very difficult to light the spark again. I just don't see the passion any more. I...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

OKlahoma 8%: Clark, Edwards, Kerry

With 8% of all precincts reporting, Clark is slightly edging Edwards 30%-29%, and Kerry is hanging in with 23%, leading to a situation where Oklahoma's thin delegate total will be almost evenly split between the three candidates. This will not be enough to keep Clark's supporters energized, especially since Clark isn't finishing in the money anywhere else so far (party rules require 15% of the vote before being assigned delegates). It's possible that Clark may finish better in Arizona, but that appears to be his only other hope, and he's unlikely to finish on top there. In Delaware, with 29% of the vote in, Kerry is the only one finishing above 15% (he's got 50% so far), meaning that he could capture all of Delaware's delegates. Lieberman actually is edging Edwards for second place at 11%, and Dean is just ahead of Clark for fourth place at 10%. Now Oklahoma...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Kerry Wins Arizona Without Any Precincts Reporting

CNN and Fox are both calling Arizona for John Kerry, even though neither have any precincts reporting at all. Fox is also reporting that Joe Lieberman is about to address his supporters, which means he's about to thank everyone before he joins Dick Gephardt in looking for an analyst position with one of the networks. Arizona was the other key state for Wes Clark. Normally conservative, you could have expected Arizonans to come out in support of the former four-star general. However, Clark's continuing gaffes and stumbles ripped the momentum away from his campaign and allowed Kerry and Edwards to marginalize Clark as a somewhat unstable and unwelcome presence in the race. Clark has pulled slightly ahead of Edwards in Oklahoma with 37% of all precincts reporting, but edging out a win by a few hundred votes simply isn't enough....

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Lieberman Withdraws

Senator Joe Lieberman, who had the most consistency between his policy statements and his record of any of the major candidates and who had the strongest credentials on foreign policy and national security in the Democratic candidates, announced his withdrawal from the primaries tonight. Chris Dodd spoke after Hadassah Lieberman's introduction, starting (oddly) with a chant of "Let's Go Joe!" Let's go where? Other than that, Dodd was an excellent speaker, staying optimistic while delivering a eulogy, no mean feat. Dodd seems pretty likable -- not his politics, certainly, but on the stump he's got charisma. Lieberman spoke next, graciously congratulating Edwards and Kerry on their victories, and then mentioning the rest of the candidates as well. He spoke about staying strong on defense and terror -- "we've been attacked by enemies who hate us more than they love life" -- an excellent line. He's standing by his centrism, and...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Oklahoma 66%: Edwards Edging Clark, Kerry Gaining

Oklahoma may be the Super Bowl of tonight's elections, with three candidates closing in on each other as more precincts come in. At the moment, 66% of the precincts have been counted, and Edwards is just ahead of Clark by 1200 votes. Kerry, who had been as much as 8% behind the two, has now closed to within 4% of the leaders. It's obvious that Clark did not get the big win he needed to continue, especially after almost emptying the magazines in New Hampshire. It certainly looks like the Democrats are about to nominate a Massachussets liberal to face off against the Texas centrist, although there's a lot more electoral battles left to fight, and Edwards may still carry some momentum if he wins Oklahoma; but if the margins remain the same, any win will only slightly change the delegate totals, and so Oklahoma may just be a wash....

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Carl Cameron: Ted Kennedy Fighting to Stop Dean

Carl Cameron reports on Fox that Ted Kennedy, John Kerry's fellow Senator from Massachussets, intends to rally the Democratic mainstream to force Howard Dean out of the race so that he doesn't "sap enthusiasm" away from the front-runner. Kennedy and others -- probably the Clintonistas -- are concerned that Dean may be gathering his resources for one last two-week blast at John Kerry (and perhaps John Edwards) that will damage his/their chances in November. Pardon me, but if this is true, this has to be the stupidest campaign strategy so far in a year that has seen some very strange campaigning. Kennedy proposes to do what the first round of primaries could not: energize Dean's base and reverse his flagging momentum. Tonight's results have delivered a body blow to Dean's campaign -- he didn't win a single delegate so far, although he looks like he'll get some in New Mexico...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Mountain Time: Arizona, NM Precincts Reporting

Arizona and New Mexico are finally reporting their first precincts, and so far they favor John Kerry. With 42% reporting, Kerry is leading Clark, 41%-26%, with Dean coming in at 17%, just above the threshold. New Mexico, with 15% reporting, Kerry is leading with 29% with Dean and Clark tied at 25%. CNN is also showing Kerry ahead in the North Dakota caucuses, at least on TV, although they haven't updated their website yet. Edwards is off the radar screen in these states, questioning his electoral stamina outside of the South (depending on how you define Oklahoma)....

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

North Dakota Goes Strong for Kerry

The North Dakota caucuses are over, and with all precincts reporting, Kerry has taken half of the vote. Clark came in 26 points behind at 24%, and Dean came in a distant third at 12% and out of the money. Edwards finished just behind Dean, and while I don't think Edwards did a lot of campaigning in North Dakota, these results don't build confidence in his ability to have anything more than regional appeal. So far, Edwards has only won one state in his own backyard, South Carolina, and is running neck-and-neck with Clark in Oklahoma. Kerry has won in the mid-Atlantic region (Delaware), Midwest (Missouri), Upper Midwest (North Dakota), and Southwest (Arizona, possibly New Mexico). Outside the two states I mentioned and Missouri, Edwards hasn't finished better than third and is running fourth in Arizona, New Mexico, and North Dakota. No one seems to be talking about Kerry's national...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

The General Wins A Pyrrhic Victory in Oklahoma

Wesley Clark finally did what Howard Dean has yet to do: he won a state primary. Clark just barely edged out Edwards in Oklahoma, Clark's so-called last stand, by less than 2,000 votes, and Kerry coming in three percentage points behind. Can we say recount? No need; the delegates will be split almost evenly between the three candidates, making Oklahoma a meaningless victory for Clark. The General needed to prove he could win a state outright after coming in third while focusing all his efforts in New Hampshire. He can point to this and claim victory, but in truth everyone knows that Clark cannot compete against Kerry nationally, or probably even Edwards regionally in the South. To emphasize this, he's coming in second in neighboring New Mexico, trailing Kerry 37%-23% and barely leading a dormant Dean by three percentage points. He's trailing Kerry in Arizona as well by a wider...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

But What Did It All Mean?

Now that the final speeches are over for the evening and the races are more or less decided, even if the eventual delegate splits may still be a bit murky, let's take stock of the results and try to make some sense of the numbers. The big winner: John Kerry, no matter what the fools at MS-NBC think. In the past two weeks, John Kerry has won in every contested area of the country except the South, unless you count Missouri as part of Dixie. Edwards won one state in his own backyard and came close to winning another thanks to the "Little Dixie" area of Oklahoma, as one pundit on CNN put it tonight. He had a distant second-place finish in Missouri, the biggest prize of the night. Otherwise, Edwards failed to resonate anywhere other than the South, and while we all know that the Democrats need some star...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

February 4, 2004

Chase-Related Crash Wasn't

My local police department has discovered that a state-patrol crash just before Christmas that supposedly resulted from a perp chase was actually caused by a speeding trooper giving another trooper a lift to a hockey game: A state trooper intent on getting an off-duty colleague to a hockey game allegedly used her squad car's lights and siren and reached speeds of up to 126 mph before crashing into a civilian car in Eagan in December. The trooper then told investigators she had been pursuing a violator when the accident took place, and told an Explorer Scout riding with her to lie about what happened, according to a criminal complaint filed Tuesday. ... According to the complaint: [Jennifer Lee] Schneider initially told a trooper investigating the accident that she was on her way to the Eagan Civic Arena to watch her husband — also a state trooper — play in a...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Massachussets Supreme Court: Gay-Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

The Massachussets Supreme Court has ruled that civil unions are not adequate substitutes for marriage and has ordered the Commonwealth to recognize marriage for same-sex couples: The Massachusetts high court ruled Wednesday that only full, equal marriage rights for gay couples -- rather than civil unions -- would be constitutional, erasing any doubts that the nation's first same-sex marriages could take place in the state beginning in mid-May. The court issued the opinion in response to a request from the state Senate about whether Vermont-style civil unions, which convey the state benefits of marriage -- but not the title -- would meet constitutional muster. ... The much-anticipated opinion sets the stage for next Wednesday's constitutional convention, where the Legislature will consider an amendment that would legally define marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Without the opinion, Senate President Robert Travaglini had said the vote would be...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Kerry -- Champion Against Special Interests?

The AP reports an "exclusive" on an apparent conflict of interest involving Senator John Kerry from four years ago, when he blocked legislation and later received cash from a beneficiary of his action: A Senate colleague was trying to close a loophole that allowed a major insurer to divert millions of federal dollars from the nation's most expensive construction project. John Kerry stepped in and blocked the legislation. Over the next two years, the insurer, American International Group, paid Kerry's way on a trip to Vermont and donated at least $30,000 to a tax-exempt group Kerry used to set up his presidential campaign. Company executives donated $18,000 to his Senate and presidential campaigns. The colleague was John McCain and the project involved was the Big Dig, a highway project often cited as an example of cost overruns and government inefficiency. McCain wanted some government funding of the Big Dig stopped...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

February 5, 2004

Master Of The Obvious

The Howard Dean campaign, in an e-mail to his dwindling supporters, proclaimed the obvious and stated that Dean had to win in Wisconsin or it's all over: Howard Dean told supporters Thursday he will be out of the race for the Democratic nomination for president if he fails to win the Wisconsin primary, declaring "all that you have worked for these past months is on the line on a single day, in a single state." ... In the e-mail distributed in the early hours of Thursday, Dean wrote: "The entire race has come down to this: we must win Wisconsin. ... We will get a boost this weekend in Washington, Michigan, and Maine, but our true test will be the Wisconsin primary. A win there will carry us to the big states of March 2 and narrow the field to two candidates. Anything less will put us out of this...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

February 6, 2004

Walk Right In, Sit Right Down

In the middle of a winter punctuated with flight cancellations and delays due to heightened fears of terrorist attacks, the LAX security detail allowed a known felon to stroll past security and lodge himself onto an airplane without a ticket: Airport cameras captured it all: On a busy morning at Los Angeles International Airport last month, a convicted felon wearing a sweatshirt, sunglasses and gloves strolled unnoticed past two security checkpoints in Terminal 5 and walked onto a jumbo jet without a ticket. Kareem Thomas, a 19-year-old Decatur, Ga., resident on probation for burglary, was discovered hiding in an airplane restroom by passengers and was apprehended by police before takeoff. Thomas was unarmed and passed through the airport's metal detectors along with other travelers. But the ease with which he boarded the Jan. 15 Delta Airlines Flight 1972 to Atlanta — particularly at a time of heightened security at the...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Sauce For The Goose

In the midst of the outrage du jour -- outsourcing -- India responds with a big "so what": Most jobs going to India are in the high-technology and professional-services sector. Data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show, however, that U.S. job losses are taking place mainly in manufacturing and retail services. In the professional and business sectors, U.S. employers added workers in the last quarter. Although jobs did shrink — for many reasons, including a burst stock market bubble — employment in computer and mathematical occupations has grown since June last year by more than 150,000. According to the Information Technologies Assn. of America, only about 2% of 10 million computer-related jobs have gone abroad. In U.S. manufacturing, jobs have been declining, but they have been gradually doing so over two decades. Investments by U.S. companies in India's manufacturing are still quite modest. In India's fast-growing automobile...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Reverberations From A Rack

Variety writes at length today about the continuing aftershocks in the entertainment industry from the Janet Jackson/Justin Timberlake breast-baring incident: The rehabilitation of Jackson has begun in earnest, and taking the lead is MTV sister network BET. The vehicle: a series of 10 30-second vignettes featuring a subdued, furrowed-brow Jackson, dressed almost dowdily in conservative black, speaking directly to cable viewers about dignified African-American personages ranging from Sidney Poitier and Harriet Tubman to Marion Anderson and Paul Robeson. Forget about what BET calls Jackson's "edgy and sexy persona," which exploded during the halftime of last week's Super Bowl game when Justin Timberlake ripped her costume, baring her right breast live before an estimated audience of 90 million people. In the BET spots, Jackson comes off like the mother superior of a nunnery. "Her tone is serious and focused," says a BET statement, and she takes on the "air and diction...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Blair May Be Headed For Trouble

Tony Blair, America's staunch ally in the war on terror, may be heading for some electoral problems according to a story in tomorrow's Independent: Our poll puts the Conservatives, with 36 per cent, one point ahead of Labour, on 35 per cent. This is the first non-internet poll to put the Conservatives ahead since Michael Howard became leader last November. When NOP themselves last polled at the end of September, the Tories were on 29 per cent, nine points behind Labour. In contrast to his two predecessors, William Hague and Iain Duncan Smith, the new leader has made a favourable first impression on the electorate. As many as 47 per cent say he is doing a good job; only 15 per cent think he is doing a bad job. Perhaps just as importantly, only 13 per cent do not have a view about him. Mr Howard is evidently no "quiet...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

February 7, 2004

The Dean Dot-Com Bubble

Howard Dean's backers are engaging in a bit of eulogism these days, looking back at the wreck his campaign has become and asking themselves what went wrong, or if it ever was right in the first place. The Los Angeles times writes on one possible cause of the grand self-delusion that the Dean campaign became -- their vaunted Internet backbone: The loose-knit group of academics, software writers and online commentators have identified a range of factors responsible for the campaign's stumble, from the actions of Dean himself and former campaign manager Joe Trippi to those of the media establishment. But some are also blaming their own habitat, what they now describe as an "echo chamber" of Web diaries and Internet message boards that lulled activists into thinking they were winning votes for Dean merely by typing messages to one another. "We may have been too glued to our monitors to...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Dean: VP A Possibility

Howard Dean, who has staked what's left of his presidential campaign on Feb 17th's Wisconsin's primary, has acknowledged that he would consider a VP nomination: During a campaign interview for the February 17 Wisconsin primary, Howard Dean left open the possibility he would accept a vice presidential nomination on a Democratic presidential ticket. The former Vermont governor's comments came in an interview with a Milwaukee radio station on Friday. Asked by radio station WMCS whether he would accept the vice presidential slot, Dean replied, "I would, to the extent, do anything I could to get rid of President Bush. I'll do whatever is best for the party. Obviously, I'm running for president, but whatever's best is what I'll do. Anything." Dean's problem has been that he will say and do anything to win, leading him to odd reversals of previous policy beliefs and unusual statements. In this case, Dean's not...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Washington Caucus 21%: Kerry Leads, Dean 2nd

With 21% of all precincts reporting, Washington caucusers are giving John Kerry a large lead but giving Howard Dean a small sliver of hope. Kerry leads Dean, 44%-28%, with Dennis Kucinich perhaps looking at his first pledged delegates in the race, coming in third with 15%. John Edwards is trailing at an embarassing fourth with 5%. Fox News reports Kerry at 52% and Kucinich and Edwards tied at 7%, with the same number of precincts. Assuming the numbers do not shift significantly, Washington demonstrates that Edwards still cannot carry anything outside of the South and in fact shows poorly in any state that doesn't drawl, as I said last Tuesday. Dean will get a significant number of delegates, but Kerry will continue to add to his lead as well as to the regions in the US where he has won. Michigan, which is extending its caucus hours in Detroit and...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Michigan 11%: Another Kerry Runaway

As expected, with 11% of the precincts reporting, Kerry has a large lead over his competitors, taking in 56% of the votes counted in Michigan thus far. John Edwards, at 15%, barely edges out Howard Dean at 14%, although it's possible neither of them will be guaranteed pledged delegates. In related news, Dean's campaign took another body blow today when union giant AFSCME withdrew its endorsement of Dean, according to Democratic Party officials: Howard Dean (news - web sites), shut out in the primary season to date, suffered a fresh blow when the head of a major union decided to withdraw his support. Democratic officials said Gerald McEntee, head of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees, delivered the news to the former front-runner during a meeting in Burlington, Vt. I'm not aware of any such withdrawal of an endorsement before; normally an endorsement of a losing candidate...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

America's "Victim" Enjoyed Guantanamo

The Telegraph will disappoint many America-haters in the UK and around the world tomorrow by publishing the account of a teenager who spent 14 months at the controversial detention center in Guantanamo, where critics accuse the US of cruel treatment of its inmates: An Afghan boy whose 14-month detention by US authorities as a terrorist suspect in Cuba prompted an outcry from human rights campaigners said yesterday that he enjoyed his time in the camp. Mohammed Ismail Agha, 15, who until last week was held at the US military base in Guantanamo Bay, said that he was treated very well and particularly enjoyed learning to speak English. Oh, the horror! But if your fragile psyche can handle it, Agha details the tortures he survived at Camp Delta: "At first I was unhappy . . . For two or three days [after I arrived in Cuba] I was confused but later...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

February 8, 2004

Bush on Meet The Press: C-

President Bush appeared on Meet the Press with Tim Russert this morning to discuss his decision to go to war in Iraq, intelligence failures, and the upcoming election. I had some qualms about Bush in an extemporaneous setting and at least in the first half of the show, my fears proved justified. The president appeared rattled during the entire span of Russert's questioning on the war and intelligence, stammering, leaning forward, repeating phrases time and again, and providing disjointed and borderline non-responsive responses. The inarticulate nature of George Bush is no campaign secret, although in prepared speeches he can often become inspiring. Even in press conferences, Bush usually presents a businesslike and efficient tone. In a one-on-one interview, however, he often has trouble forming complete sentences as he tries to organize his thoughts. You can almost see the wheels turning. He falls back on stock catchphrases, such as "Saddam was...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Saddam's Nest Egg

The US believes it has discovered the location of at least some of Saddam Hussein's cash -- but so far, neither the US nor the Iraqi Governing Council can get their hands on it: The United States believes it has found at least $300 million Saddam Hussein hid in banks, yet doesn't have enough evidence to get countries such as Syria and Switzerland to hand over the money, U.S. and European officials told The Associated Press. The funds at stake could go to the Iraq insurgency or the country's reconstruction — depending on who gets it first. What troubles investigators more is that much of Saddam's cash may already be gone. ... Much to the frustration of the Bush administration, countries that acted quickly on relatively weak evidence involving al-Qaida funds have been unwilling to do the same on Iraq, partly because of growing doubts about the quality of U.S....

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Can't Get Enough of Link Love, Babe

Continuing my Sunday tours through the blogosphere in honor of Valentine's Day (it's next Saturday -- start making those arrangements!), let's see what's happening on some of my blogroll friends ... Starting with the Northern Alliance, Saint Paul at Fraters Libertas notes the success of the two local dailies despite their lack of customer service, and draws the only logical conclusion: it's time to get more rude with readers. Hindrocket at Power Line gives some background on Herb Brooks now that the movie Miracle has been released; be sure to read it. King at SCSU Scholars reviews a piece by Mark Steyn and relates it to his own well-documented work in improving educational standards in Minnesota. The Warrior Monk at Spitbull rails against the suburban machine. And Mitch at Shot In The Dark notes his change of heart on capital punishment. Sailing further along the coasts of the blogosphere, Electric...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

We're American Airlines, Proselytizing As We Do Best

You know your flight is about to turn weird when the pilot asks you to raise your hand if you're sure ... that you're a Christian: American Airlines is investigating reports that a pilot asked passengers to identify themselves as Christians so non-Christians on board could talk to them about their faith, a spokesman said Sunday. ... Kincaid said the pilot, whose name was not released, reportedly asked Christian passengers to raise their hands before suggesting that the other passengers should discuss Christianity with those passengers. The pilot, who had just returned from a mission to Costa Rica, reportedly said he would be available at the end of the flight for further discussion, Kincaid said. You would think that a pilot might have other things on his mind than a religion check -- like actually flying the plane. Next, he'll be asking to change the boarding classes from first class,...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

February 9, 2004

Kerry Takes Maine, Edwards Trails Kucinich -- Again

In yesterday's Maine caucuses, John Kerry again led the Democratic hopefuls, this time winning 45%-26% over Howard Dean: With 50% of the statewide vote tabulated, Kerry had 45% of the vote. Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont, had 26%, and Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio, making his strongest showing to date, had 15%. Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina and retired Army Gen. Wesley K. Clark of Arkansas, neither of whom had focused on Maine, finished a distant fourth and fifth. ... His success in Maine pushed his total to 426, compared with Dean's 184, according to Associated Press. The votes of 2,161 delegates are needed to win the party's presidential nomination at the July convention in Boston. Dean, who didn't spend much time in Maine, scored his second runner-up finish of the weekend, while both John Edwards and Wes Clark finished out of the money in all...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

The Arab League Discovers Humor

The Arab League, of all things, issued a report this morning critical of the US-led coalition's administration of Iraq -- on human-rights grounds: Violations of human rights and international law by U.S.-led forces in Iraq have embittered the populace, an Arab League report obtained Monday said. ... "It (the treatment of Iraqis) is not in conformity with relevant international legal rules or with human rights documents in general," said the report obtained by Reuters. The report quoted some Iraqis who were critical of Arab indifference toward their plight under the brutal rule of former President Saddam Hussein and said a change in methods by U.S.-led occupation forces could ease tensions. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black! Perhaps our response should be, "When you can announce these reports filled with your concern over human-rights abuses from the door of synagogues and Christian churches, then we will listen to your...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Considering the Political Defensive

Since at this point we can consider John Kerry the Democratic nominee, absent a bimbo eruption or scandalous revelation (hint: his Senate record won't be good enough to derail him), it's time to also consider what attracts the Democrats to Kerry and to think about how to counteract it. Hugh Hewitt today takes Kerry to task over a number of issues, but mostly focuses on the larger war on terror. In his last two paragraphs, he wraps up the argument thusly: Kerry seems set on a strangely nostalgic course: An anti-war campaign by a Senator who voted for the war. Which is a bit like the war-hero who came back from war only to testify --falsely-- to the war crimes he and his colleagues committed. I get the sad sense that Kerry's going to be campaigning against himself for the next nine months, the sort of self-indulgent psycho-drama that the...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Still Northern Alliance to Me

The Elder at Fraters Libertas has immortalized the Northern Alliance in song ... the Billy Joel song "Piano Man," to be specific. An "homage" like this deserves a response -- and one will be coming soon, I'm sure. Now where did my Jim Croce songbook go? Hmmmm .......

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Best Damn War Analogy, Period

I have to hand it to Jon at QandO. In response to Joseph Wilson's tired assertion that Bush opened up an "unnecessary second front" on the war on terror by invading Iraq, Jon uses this analogy: You know, I once bought pesticide to deal with the fleas that had found my dog. I had two choices. 1: I could spray the entire can at the dog. or: 2: I could spray the dog...and other areas in which the fleas lived. I guess I should have chosen the first. Instead I opened an "unnecessary second front" on the fleas. Worked, too, but I'm sure that's just a coincidence. Joseph Wilson kills every last flea on his dog, every time he sprays him down. ......which is about once every two weeks, since all the fleas just go elsewhere for a while. Perhaps there's a parallel there, but let's not think about it...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

75,000 Visitors

Just a note thanking all of my readers who have pushed me past 75,000 visitors. Big thanks to all of you who've blogrolled me and linked back to me, and special thanks to my friends in the Northern Alliance. In celebration, I'm announcing that I will be moving Captain's Quarters to a new hosting service as soon as a new design is in place. The traffic on the site has increased to the point where upgrading to full hosting services makes economic sense, and the folks at Hosting Matters make it pretty attractive to do so. Hosting Matters already supports some of the most well-known blogs, such as Instapundit, Little Green Footballs, and Power Line, so I feel like CQ will be in good hands. I've already set up a new domain -- www.captainsquartersblog.com -- which you can start using immediately, as it's temporarily redirecting back to this site. I'm...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

February 10, 2004

First, They Came For The Smokers ...

The forces of those who know what's best for you are gathering again to strip more personal choice from you -- this time aiming at your diet: "Clearly, the obesity epidemic over the last 20 years is driven by something in our environment," says Robert Jeffery, professor and interim chairman of the division of epidemiology at the University of Minnesota. He also researches public policy for the Minnesota Obesity Center. "Our basic biology has not changed." ... "To get the most bang for your buck, if we want people to change, then we should change the price structure of food," Jeffery says. Higher costs for unhealthful foods are one way, as is done elsewhere through taxes on alcohol and cigarettes. But the public resists those costs, Jeffery notes. The Minneapolis Star Tribune has pushed this issue over the past year or so, quoting liberally from those who want to either...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Bush's Numbers Rise With New Efforts

In a demonstration of what campaigning will do for George Bush, a new CNN/Gallup poll shows the President's numbers rising as he began to take his case directly to the people: As President Bush defended his record last week, his approval rating and his strength against the leading Democratic presidential contenders improved, according to a new poll, but the numbers still point to a close election. ... Bush's approval rating in the poll, conducted Friday through Sunday, was 52 percent, compared with 44 percent who said they disapproved. The margin of error was plus or minus 3 percentage points. In a poll taken a week earlier, Bush's approval rating was at 49 percent -- the lowest of his presidency -- with 48 percent disapproving of Bush's performance. As I argued yesterday, Bush needs to start framing the debate in order to make sure it focuses on the appropriate and most...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

We're Winning, Part 178a

The "resistance" in Afghanistan is running out of steam, according to the commander of NATO forces in the country: The armed resistance against U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan is dwindling despite claims by the al-Qaida terror network that it has launched a renewed campaign in the country, NATO's military commander said. U.S. Marine Gen. James L. Jones said there are fewer than 1,000 fighters of the ousted Taliban regime and their al-Qaida allies in Afghanistan. "The level of the threat ... is quite a bit lower than I had thought," Jones said late Monday as he returned from a one-day visit to Afghanistan. ... Coalition commanders believe "the opposition is running out of energy," Jones said. This is despite the winter snows that hamper Coalition patrols. The approval of the new Afghani constitution has created a new political situation in Afghanistan, one that will exclude the Taliban as more and more...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Airheads

The Northern Alliance of Blogs has a very exciting announcement -- we will be starting our own radio talk show in the Twin Cities on March 6th! Thanks to our good friend and Lord High Commissioner, Hugh Hewitt, an opportunity arose for us to create a live show for our local Salem Communications Network affiliate, AM 1280 The Patriot. Up until recently, AM 1280 The Patriot had mostly repeats of their weekly shows airing all day Saturday and Sunday, but while Hugh was out here for The Patriot Forum, he suggested that we could create live programming in order to boost their audience. The station was delighted to meet with us, and today Mitch Berg (from Shot In The Dark) and I met with station management to finalize the arrangements. Starting on March 6th, we will have a three-hour live show aired in the Twin Cities. Eventually, if we don't...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

We'll Be Awaiting Your Abject Apologies

George Bush released his records of service from his tour of duty in the National Guard, and they prove indisputably that he fulfilled his obligations: The White House, facing election-year questions about President Bush's military service, released pay records and other information Tuesday that it said supports Bush's assertion that he fulfilled his duty as a member of the Air National Guard during the Vietnam war. The material included annual retirement point summaries and pay records that the White House said show that Bush served. ... The documents indicate that Bush received credit for nine days of active duty between May 1972 and May 1973, the period that has been cited by Democrats as evidence that Bush shirked his military responsibilities. A memo written by retired Lt. Col. Albert Lloyd Jr, at the request of the White House, said a review of Bush's records showed that he had "satisfactory years"...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

EIKIW: Calling All Democrats

I found this at a good local blog, Everything I Know Is Wrong, posting about being a lifelong Democrat until the mid-1990s. Sean's making a plea to Democrats everywhere to open their eyes and look at what his party has become: I started my life as part of a family of liberal Democrats. I grew up in the sixties with a decidedly liberal Democratic bent. I voted for Hubert Humphrey against Richard Nixon in my school's mock election (Humphrey narrowly beat Nixon - it was Minnesota after all). I watched the Watergate proceedings all through summer vacation one year. I had the feeling that history was happening right in front of my eyes. I was horrified by the way the Republicans rallied around such a corrupt president, though I was pleased, when the time came, that Nixon did the right thing and resigned. Their behavior cemented my feelings against them....

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

February 11, 2004

The Last Ride of the Strange Ranger? Maybe Not

After a losing effort in Tennessee and a disastrous showing in Virginia, General Wesley Clark has decided to bow to reality -- for possibly the first time in his campaign -- and withdraw from the race: Wesley Clark, battered by losses in his Southern base, was abandoning his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination and heading home to Arkansas to exit the race. ... Of the contests to date, Clark was only able to squeeze out a narrow victory in Oklahoma. The final blow came after third-place finishes Tuesday in primaries in Virginia and Tennessee, states that were part of the Southern strategy he thought would ride him to the nomination. Clark had hoped to emerge as a Southern challenger to the front-running Massachusetts senator, but Tuesday's outcome erased any hope of that happening. He got 23 percent of the vote in Tennessee, but only 9 percent in Virginia. Today's...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Just Because He's Paranoid ...

Howard Dean has spent the past few months insisting that the Democratic Washington establishment has been out to torpedo his campaign, which up to now has sounded a bit like Ross Perot's accusation that Republicans wanted to harass his daughter at her wedding. However, a strange group of donors did conspire in Iowa to run negative ads against the then-frontrunner, including some of his own donors: Labor unions, former Democratic Sen. Bob Torricelli and one of presidential hopeful Howard Dean's own donors were among big givers to a group that ran ads criticizing Dean in three early voting states. Americans for Jobs, Healthcare and Progressive Values raised $663,000 last year and spent $626,840 of it, a finance report provided to The Associated Press on Tuesday showed. ... It drew some big donors, including two giving $100,000 each. They are Slim-Fast Foods tycoon S. Daniel Abraham of Florida, who also contributed...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Maybe This Explains His Attraction to Saddam

Apparently, marrying oneself to a dead partner is something of a French pastime: Dressed in a demure black suit, a 35-year-old Frenchwoman has married her dead boyfriend, an exchange of vows that required authorization from President Jacques Chirac. ... Such marriages are legal if the living spouse can prove the couple had intended to marry before the other died. The French president must also authorize it. I don't know what's more disturbing (with apologies to Mme. Demichel) -- that a woman would pursue such a course of action when her "groom" has been dead for 17 months, or that approval of such unions is an official duty of the French President. I hadn't realized how ingrained the notion of useless marriage was to the French, but it does explain why they insist that we are still partners even after they've plunged the knife in our backs....

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Kerry Interview 1970: Give US Military Command to UN

John Kerry, when he first ran for elective office in 1970, told the Harvard Crimson that he was an "internationalist" who felt that the UN should retain command of the US military: “I’m an internationalist,” Kerry told The Crimson in 1970. “I’d like to see our troops dispersed through the world only at the directive of the United Nations.” Kerry said he wanted “to almost eliminate CIA activity. The CIA is fighting its own war in Laos and nobody seems to care.” The Kerry campaign, celebrating primary victories in Virginia and Tennessee last night, declined to comment on the senator’s remarks. As a candidate for president, Kerry has said he supports the autonomy of the U.S. military and has never called for a scale-back of CIA operations. When a candidate takes elective office, they swear to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. Nowhere in that document does...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Haddayr Copley-Woods: Throwaways

My good friend Haddayr Copley-Woods writes another excellent column today for the Minnesota Women's Press, this time on events in her neighborhood and the related murders of two young people: one an innocent bystander in a gang shooting, and the other the originally intended target who was murdered months later. Well, they finally did it. This time, the person aiming to kill Timothy Oliver, 18, got his man instead of a little girl doing homework in her living room. The paper didn’t say what many readers probably thought about the South Minneapolis shooting: “Oh—a gangster. Someone who doesn’t matter.”Certainly Brian Keith Edwards—the man who allegedly shot Oliver—believed he didn’t matter; so did Myon Burrell, the first man who tried to shoot him. In fact, Burrell thought both Oliver and Tyesha Edwards, the 11-year-old girl he shot and killed more than a year ago, were throwaway people. Even if he didn’t...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Kerry Senate Testimony Discovered

Hugh Hewitt dedicated tonight's program to the transcripts of John Kerry's Senate testimony on the Vietnam War in 1970. The document is fascinating as a historical snapshot of the times in which it occurred, but also a very disturbing insight into what drives John Kerry in politics. Hugh has covered some of the more ridiculous items, and Power Line goes over quite a few more, which I'll touch on in a moment. I'm more interested in Kerry's philosophy, not so much how wrong his analysis of the situation wound up being, although that's important, too. For instance, there's this nugget on page 195: I think that politically, historically, the one thing that people try to do, that society is structured on as a whole, is an attempt to satify their felt needs, and you can satisfy those felt needs with any kind of political structure, giving it one name or...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

February 12, 2004

Powell: "You Don't Know What You're Talking About"

The normally even-tempered Secretary of State, Colin Powell, became angry at a Congressional hearing and scolded a Congressman and a staffer: Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, a retired four-star general known for his even temperament, paused yesterday during a congressional hearing to berate a Hill staffer for shaking his head as Powell offered a defense of his prewar statements on Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction. The public scolding came after Powell had already endured a number of attacks by Democrats on the administration's Iraq policy during an appearance before the House International Relations Committee. He had just snapped at a member of Congress who had casually declared President Bush "AWOL" from the Vietnam War. The staffer, who sat behind the panel members, was shaking his head at Powell's testimony, a rude gesture by any stretch of the imagination, and after grinding his teeth throughout the angry and accusatory...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Osama's Navy?

The British believe that al-Qaeda has up to 15 ships that they will use for terror attacks, possibly against Parliament, just off the Thames in London (via Drudge): A private memo sent to police chiefs by the Met's marine unit is headlined: Next Terror Attack Waterborne? Ship insurer Lloyd's of London is said to be helping MI6 and the CIA trace vessels bought by al-Qaeda from a Greek shipping magnate with links to bin Laden. The memo states shipping agents have been asked to help in the search. The report by the Met - which says it obtained its intelligence from maritime agencies - states: "Al-Qaeda has reportedly taken possession of 15 ships, forming what could be described as the first terrorist navy. The ships fly the flags of Yemen and Somalia where they are registered - and are capable of carrying lethal cargoes of chemicals or a dirty bomb."...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Not This Again!

Matt Drudge reports this morning that a new bimbo eruption is coming, and that John Kerry is the target. I'm not bothering to excerpt this story; if you're interested, click the link. Unless this story involves harassment, I'm not interested at all. I feel that John Kerry is a terrible choice for President. I think that marital infidelity shows a lack of moral fiber. But I don't feel that the two are related, nor should they be. It's faux-scandals like this that make it difficult to find people to serve in the public arena. Marital infidelity without illegal behavior is an issue between the Senator, his wife, and God. If being without sin will be a minimum requirement for President, I'd like to see that slate of candidates. What, then, is the difference between John Kerry and Bill Clinton? Plenty. For one thing, Clinton and his supporters turned businesses into...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Clark to Endorse Kerry

Wesley Clark will endorse John Kerry for the Democratic nomination, according to unnamed Democratic party officials: Wesley Clark will endorse presidential contender John Kerry, a high-profile boost for the front-runner as he looks to wrap up the party's nomination, according to Democratic officials. With next week's Wisconsin primary looming, Clark plans to join Kerry at a campaign stop in Madison, Wis., Friday to make a formal endorsement, said officials, speaking on condition of anonymity. If it seems a little early for Clark to give an endorsement -- after all, he just withdrew from the race yesterday morning -- it makes sense if he's looking for consideration as Kerry's running mate. Given that the bimbo eruption just occurred, if Clark stands by Kerry and winds up being the bridge Kerry needs to get past whatever scandal results from the Drudge story, he'll have earned Kerry's gratitude. Oddly enough, Clark himself figured...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

February 13, 2004

Greenspan: Make Tax Cuts Permanent

Alan Greenspan yesterday testified before the Senate Budget Committee in favor of President Bush's plan to make the Bush tax cuts permanent: Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said Thursday that Congress should make President Bush's tax cuts permanent and cover the $1 trillion price by trimming future benefits in Social Security and other entitlement programs. Greenspan told the Senate Budget Committee that Congress, "as a first order of business," should restore budget rules that cap discretionary government spending and require increases in entitlement benefits or cuts in taxes to be offset by other program cuts or other tax increases. Greenspan was asked how he would come up with the decade-long cost of $1 trillion to pay for extending the 2001 and 2003 individual tax cuts. "I would argue strenuously that it should be taken out on the expenditure side," he answered. Greenspan delivered the traditionally conservative position of smaller government,...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Get-Tough Policy on Spending Starts With Roads

President Bush, stung by attacks on his spending from his base, drew a line in the sand yesterday when he threatened a veto for a highway-funding package that increased by half over the previous funding bill: States would get an additional $100 billion over the next six years to build roads, repair bridges and improve public transit under a Senate-passed bill that the White House says is extravagant in an age of record deficits. The Senate voted 76-21 Thursday to approve the $318 billion surface transportation bill, a winning margin that would be enough to override a presidential veto threatened by the administration. The current six-year highway spending bill, which expires at the end of this month, provided $218 billion. Bush wants no more than $258 billion spent, which is still a 20% increase from the previous version; spread over six years, that averages close to the rate of inflation....

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Globe: Bush AWOL Accusers Lied

The Boston Globe reports today that key witnesses contradict allegations made by a central source for the Bush AWOL-coverup story: Retired Lieutenant Colonel Bill Burkett, who has been pressing his charges in the national news media this week, says he even heard one high-ranking officer issue a 1997 order to sanitize the Bush file, and later saw another officer poring over the records and discovered that some had been discarded. But a key witness to some of the events described by Burkett has told the Globe that the central elements of his story are false. George O. Conn, a former chief warrant officer with the Guard and a friend of Burkett's, is the person whom Burkett says led him to the room where the Bush records were being vetted. But Conn says he never saw anyone combing through the Bush file or discarding records. "I have no recall of that,"...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Electric Venom's Letter[s] of the Day

I completely missed the opportunity to link back to Venomous Kate yesterday in the rush of work and visiting friends, but Electric Venom included me in yesterday's Word of the Day for my post on Osama'a Navy. Lots of other good stuff in there too, so be sure to check it out, and while you're at it you should go through today's collection as well. Don't forget to congratulate Kate on her link from uberblogger Andrew Sullivan, too!...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

The Presidential Dating Game

No, I'm not talking about John Kerry's supposed dalliance. Last night, Dennis Kucinich appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and played a celebrity version of The Dating Game: The Ohio congressman asked questions of a trio of unseen women in a "The Dating Game" takeoff Thursday on NBC's "Tonight Show with Jay Leno." Responses by Jennifer Tilly, actress Cybill Shepherd and Los Angeles radio talk show host Kim Serafin blended sexual innuendo with politics and references to Kucinich's environmental concerns. I don't recall this much attention being paid to Jerry Brown's bachelor status when he ran for President in the 80s, but due to his dating history (Linda Ronstadt, for one) and his good looks, people may have assumed he could get his own girlfriends. Kucinich has no such pedigree, but he does seem to have a good sense of humor about himself and has played along with...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Collapse, Continued

The Bush-AWOL story continues its collapse today, as more ex-Guardsmen come forward to not only acknowledge Bush's service with them, but also to note his volunteering for combat service: A retired officer with the Alabama Air National Guard says he witnessed President Bush serving his weekend duty in 1972 -- an account that could be significant given Democratic questions on whether Bush fulfilled his service obligations during the Vietnam War. Speaking on the phone Friday from Daytona Beach, Florida, John B. "Bill" Calhoun said he commanded Bush and that Bush attended four to six weekend drills at Dannelly Field in Montgomery. He said Bush was with the 187th Tactical Reconnaissance Group in Alabama in 1972. ... Joe LeFevers, a member of the 187th in 1972, said he remembers seeing Bush in unit offices and being told that Bush was in Montgomery to work on Blount's campaign. "I was going in...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

February 14, 2004

Dean Campaign Fading, Not Yet Ready to Die

The Boston Globe today paints a picture of a campaign that has lost all forward momentum and awaits one final, terrible blow to put it out of its misery: Though the former Vermont governor, who for months led polls in the race for the Democratic nomination, says he will continue campaigning regardless of the results of the Wisconsin primary -- which polls indicate he is likely to lose by a significant margin -- his actions are beginning to say otherwise. His calendar for next week is not booked beyond Wednesday, when he plans to return home to Burlington, Vt. ... Turning serious, he told a group of reporters who joined him on a dairy farm tour: "I'm going to go back to Burlington and kind of regroup and figure out how to tackle 10 of the biggest states in the country at the same time." Yet moments later, when asked...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Under Construction

Here's an update from the construction site at the new Captain's Quarters -- it's coming together really nicely, thanks to Mel at Skinny Dippin' Designs. We're not quite ready for visitors, but we're getting close. I think we may actually launch by Monday, if not earlier. Don't forget that the new URL will be http://www.captainsquartersblog.com. (If you click it and come back here, we're not under way yet.) If you want a creative and responsive designer for your MT blog, make sure you stop by Skinny-Dippin' Designs. Mel's been terrific so far and I think you will love the new layout....

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Mr. Bush Can Play Hard-to-Get Too, M. Chirac

Jacques Chirac, who reneged on promised support to George Bush and Colin Powell, now waits by the phone and can't understand why they don't call: The official invitation has been lying in his in-tray for several months, but President George W. Bush has failed to let the French know whether he will attend the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landings in June. France's president, Jacques Chirac, is expecting at least 15 heads of state to be present at the commemorations marking the decisive Allied offensive against the Germans in Normandy on June 5, 6 and 7. 15 heads of state will be on hand to celebrate, huh? Won't it be embarrassing for Chirac if the US president has something better to do the first week of June, even more so since this will be the first time a German Chancellor has been invited to attend. On the other hand, it's...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

February 15, 2004

Score One for the Iraqi Police

The new Iraqi police force have captured their first important fugitive, the Four of Spades in the US deck of cards: Mohammed Zimam Abdul-Razaq -- the four of spades in the military's "deck of cards" of 55 most-wanted Iraqis -- was arrested at one of his homes in western Baghdad, Deputy Interior Minister Ahmed Kadhum Ibrahim told journalists. Abdul-Razaq sat next to the Iraqi official wearing a traditional black robe. Ibrahim said he did not resist arrest. ... While presenting Abdul-Razaq to reporters, Ibrahim appealed to the top Iraqi fugitive, Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, to surrender, promising he would be treated with dignity. Al-Douri is the former vice chairman of the ruling Revolutionary Command Council. This couldn't come at a better time, as the Iraqi police have weathered a series of attacks, culiminating in yesterday's daring raid on an Iraqi police jail that freed dozens of insurgents and killed over 20...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Washington Post Hits The Nail On The Head

In the midst of running up big primary wins, John Kerry has managed to finesse his past policy contradictions and focus almost primarily on attacking George Bush. Today's Washington Post lead editorial pulls the string on Kerry and demands some explanations from the new front-runner: The most important confusion surrounds Mr. Kerry's position on Iraq. In 1991 he voted against the first Persian Gulf War, saying more support was needed from Americans for a war that he believed would prove costly. In 1998, when President Clinton was considering military steps against Iraq, he strenuously argued for action, with or without allies. Four years later he voted for a resolution authorizing invasion but criticized Mr. Bush for not recruiting allies. Last fall he voted against funding for Iraqi reconstruction, but argued that the United States must support the establishment of a democratic government. Mr. Kerry's attempts to weave a thread connecting...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Mark Steyn: A Tale of Two Tales

I missed this column from Mark Steyn last night, but fortunately The Big Trunk at Power Line didn't. Steyn notes the hypocrisy and blatant bias in American media in how they responded to two poorly-sourced scandal stories, and how only one of them actually pans out -- and that's the one they're not covering: Now let's consider the Kerry scandal: If you read the British newspapers, you'll know all about it. It's not about whether he was Absent Without Leave, but the more familiar political failing of being Absent Without Pants. It concerns a 24-year old woman - ie, 41 years younger than Mrs Kerry - and, with their usual efficiency, the Fleet Street lads have already interviewed her dad, who's called Kerry a "sleazeball". But if you read the US newspapers or watch the news shows there's not a word about the Senator's scandal. Though it seems to have...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

This Explains A Lot About My High-School Love Life

Just in time for Valentine's Day, CNN reports on an anthropological study that explains why Homo Erectus had such a thick skull: After studying fossils in a region called Dragon Bone Hill in China, anthropologist Russell Ciochon of the University of Iowa concluded males of the species were clubbing one another over the head, probably to win females. Those with thicker skulls who survived these bloody confrontations would pass that trait to offspring, Ciochon said. If you're male and you've been through high school, you should be very familiar with the mating-selection process that seems to favor aggressive, thick-skulled candidates who had no problem beating the others on the heads with clubs ... and books, and hoses, and rocks, and really almost anything else on hand, including the hand. The process is not limited to high school, either; you can observe the same results at nightclubs and other places where...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Welcome Aboard the New Captain's Quarters!

Welcome to the new Captain's Quarters, with a spiffy new layout from Skinny Dippin' Designs! After a little over four months on Typepad, we outgrew the traffic limitations and so I've set up shop at Hosting Matters. Now I'll be able to customize the site (with Mel's invaluable help) and allow you to do the same. In the next couple of days, Mel will have another "skin" available for you to use. I think you'll like what you'll see. In fact, if you need some web design done, you should give Mel a try ... you won't be disappointed. A few housekeeping notes: * The Now Hear This links still connect back to the old site. I will be updating those as we go, but eventually they will all link back to this site. * I won't be terminating my Typepad service for a while at least, so if...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

The WaPo Gives, The WaPo Takes Away

Earlier today, I blogged about an excellent editorial in today's Washington Post that demonstrated their intelligence and insight into the empty-suit phenomenon that is John Flip-Flop Kerry. Unfortunately, as Power Line notes, that intelligence doesn't extend much beyond its op-ed section. Dana Milbank, a consistently biased Bush detractor on their Politics desk, engages in an exercise of obtuseness regarding the new Bush campaign ad: The ad accurately points out that Kerry has raised $640,000 from lobbyists, "more special-interest money than any other senator." And it fairly questions whether Kerry is disingenuous to accept money from those he would vanquish. But the Center for Responsive Politics, which calculated the figure Bush cited about Kerry ($638,358 raised from lobbyists since 1989, to be exact), has some bad news for Bush, too. The president raised $842,262 from lobbyists in the current election cycle -- almost four times the $226,450 Kerry raised. And if...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Shot In The Ash

The widow of a gun enthusiast and hunter has come up with a novel way to honor her dead husband -- loading his ashes into shotgun cartridges and shooting pheasants: Joanna Booth organised the shoot for 20 close friends on an estate in Aberdeenshire after asking a cartridge company to mix the ashes of her husband James with traditional shot. A total of 275 12-bore cartridges were produced from the mix and were blessed by a minister before they were used to bag pheasants, partridges, ducks and a fox on Brucklay Estate. The cartridges had something going for them; a novice shooter brought down four partridges with them. Even so, I'm not an opponent of hunting, but it seems a little creepy to mourn a dead husband by killing anything and everything that moves. How would you be able to eat any of the kill knowing that the buckshot probably...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Who's Covering for Kerry?

Power Line notes late tonight that the Sun in Britain is reporting that a major US television network is suppressing an interview Kerry's alleged paramour gave detailing their relationship: The beauty said to have had a fling with presidential hopeful John Kerry has recorded a bombshell tell-all interview. Journalist Alex Polier taped a talk with a US TV network at Christmas. The former Washington intern, 27, told all about an alleged fling with the 60-year-old super-rich senator in spring 2001. The channel is sitting on the tape until it has enough evidence to back her story. If the sex claims are true, they would shatter his White House hopes. Kerry, a married dad of two, has denied the fling. But Alex told pals she fled to Kenya on his suggestion. One TV source said: "She wants to tell her story. She has talked at length about her relationship with Kerry....

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

February 16, 2004

Only the Captain Goes Down With the Ship, Dr. Dean

A key leader in the Dean campaign has publicly announced that he will defect to the Kerry campaign if Dean doesn't pull off a miracle in Wisconsin tomorrow: The chairman of Howard Dean's presidential campaign, Massachusetts Democrat Steve Grossman, said yesterday that he will switch allegiance to the campaign of fellow Bay Stater John F. Kerry if, as Grossman expects, Dean loses tomorrow's Wisconsin primary. ... "If Howard loses the Wisconsin primary on Tuesday night, I will either reach out to the Kerry organization, they will reach out to me, or there will be a simultaneous outreach effort by both sides. And I will make a public commitment to do anything and everything I can to help John Kerry become the next president of the United States, including, but not limited to, building bridges between the two organizations so John Kerry can benefit from the strength of the Dean organization,"...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Unnecessary Awards, Unnecessary Columns

Writing in today's LA Times, William Kowinski decries the existence of separate acting awards at the Oscars based on gender: After all, there is no award for the best screenplay by a woman. Sofia Coppola wasn't nominated as best female director. There's no award for a best picture by a woman producer. Why are there separate acting awards divided by gender? There doesn't appear to be anything about acting skill that is gender-specific. In fact, many women insist on being called actors and bristle at the designation of "actress" because they believe it to be demeaning, like the term "authoress." A writer is a writer, and an actor is an actor. Aren't these gender-designated categories just relics of a less-enlightened time? There are no separate categories based on race, ethnicity, religion, age, sexual preference or any other element of diversity. Why not best performance by a Latino in a leading...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Love to Link-Love Ya, Baby

It's a little late for Valentine's Day, but it's never too late for a little link-love ... The Cheese Stands Alone has a new caption contest. Just think of it as a public service for the election ... Evangelical Outpost would like to know what the Left's problem with the Day of Purity promoting abstinence among teenagers. Since when do we root for teenagers to go out and have sex? Read on for Joe's daed-on interpretation ... PoliBlogger's given his site an update for his one-year anniversary. Let him know what you think -- it's good, but I think I liked the old scheme a bit better ... DC at Brainstorming is a Monopoly -- er, Blogopoly -- game piece ... Fresh Bed Goodness plots her stalking strategies in advance of the new Northern Alliance radio show debut on March 6th. But unbeknownst to her, I know exactly where that...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Terry Waite: Still Crazy After All These Years

One of the early direct victims of Islamofascist terror, Terry Waite, has returned to Beirut, where he was kidnapped and held for five years before being released in 1992. Unfortunately, his experiences and the passage of time has not dimmed the almost legendary naivete that caused Waite to become a hostage in the first place: Self-knowledge has never been, even his friends acknowledge, his greatest virtue. He went to Lebanon in 1987, the year he was kidnapped, as the envoy of the Archbishop of Canterbury after successfully negotiating the release of British hostages in Iran and Libya. At the time he naively believed, to the alarm of some colleagues in Lambeth Palace, that his status as church representative would keep him safe. The article in the Independent goes on to blame his association with Oliver North for the kidnapping by Islamic "militants", as the paper calls them. I recall when...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Gibson Defends The Passion of the Christ

Mel Gibson appeared on a special Primetime Special Edition, interviewed by Diane Sawyer about his soon-to-be-released film, The Passion of the Christ, to both publicize the movie and to explain it. Gibson appeared along with panels of Christian and Jewish scholars to debate points of theology and intent in Gibson's vision of the last twelve hours of the temporal life of Jesus. I have not yet seen the film (which opens next week, on Ash Wednesday), but I do plan on seeing it as soon as I can, especially after seeing Sawyer's interview. Gibson, who looked uncomfortable throughout the show, still appeared to answer as honestly as he could, being charming perhaps even despite himself, especially when he claimed that he was thinking about pitching his tent next to the WMDs, so that "no one could find me". The only time he looked angry instead of uncomfortable was when the...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

February 17, 2004

Dodgers Hire New GM from A's

The Los Angeles Dodgers, a proud but chronically underachieving franchise, took steps to correct that in the first days of the Frank McCourt era by hiring Oakland A's assistant GM Paul DePodesta: DePodesta, Beane's top assistant since November 1998, faces a considerable challenge. A 1995 cum laude graduate of Harvard University with a degree in economics, he inherits one of baseball's largest budgets -- Los Angeles' $105 million payroll last year nearly doubled Oakland's -- but also one of the sport's most consistently underachieving teams. The Dodgers haven't won a postseason game since defeating Oakland in the 1988 World Series, last reached the playoffs in 1996 and finished 15 1/2 games behind the National League West-winning Giants a year ago despite recording the majors' best ERA. Los Angeles also ranked last in the majors in scoring and, despite the best efforts of previous G.M. Dan Evans, has failed to obtain...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Hoo-yah! EV Letter of the Day: H

Rammer takes Venomous Kate's duties over for a day and puts up the Letter of the Day. After horsing around with this post, I hastily hopped over and had a hoot with Rammer's picks. One of the selections today was my earlier post, Shot in the Ash, but there's plenty of other good stuff at Electric Venom -- go check it out!...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Arafat -- Keep The Graft Rolling

Yasser Arafat continues to defy efforts to reform the Palestinian Authority, now by blocking a basic reform intended on reducing the levels of corruption in Palestinian security forces: Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat is preventing his prime minister from carrying out a key financial reform, and the dispute is threatening to hold up much-needed foreign aid, Cabinet ministers said Tuesday. ... The argument between Arafat and Qureia broke out after the Palestinian Cabinet decided Saturday to pay members of the security forces through deposits to their bank accounts, Cabinet ministers said. Currently, security officers are given lump sums of cash and then distribute the money to their employees an invitation to corruption. Qureia needed the Cabinet decision ahead of a trip to European capitals this week, ministers said on condition of anonymity. Qureia knew European leaders would ask him about the issue and might condition further aid on the reform,...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

A Horse Is A Horse? Of Course!

This ... is not good news: Sherman Hemsley of "The Jeffersons" fame is lending his voice to the title character in Fox's updated version of "Mister Ed." Hemsley joins David Alan Basche, who was previously tapped to play Wilbur Post, and Sherilyn Fenn, tapped as Wilbur's wife. "Mister Ed" is a remake of the 1960s talking-horse sitcom. This time around, the equine title character has an urban sensibility. I have lived my entire life being compared to that friggin' talking horse, and now it's going to start all over again. But now, instead of Rocky Lane's sonorous baritone, I'll have Hemsley's snappy, screechy voice being parroted at me every time someone says my first name. It's Captain Ed, dammit ... Willll-burrrrrrr. [sigh]...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Hugh Hewitt: The Danger of John Kerry

Hugh Hewitt played an audio tape of John Kerry's testimony before Congress as a 27-year-old anti-war activist and failed Congressional candidate, in a show I regrettably missed. Fortunately, Hugh posted during his final hour of the show and recapped the reaction from his listeners and his own excellent insight into the relevance of Kerry's politics circa 1971: I played John Kerry's 1971 testimony on the radio program, and the response was intense. The first two hours brought scores of calls and e-mails which denounced Kerry for his slander of the military that served in Vietnam and for his understanding of the war. Kerry has thus far successfully dodged a discussion of the specifics of his testimony, and it was very hard to find the audio --it took my producer Duane considerable digging to find the tape. The impact of actually hearing Kerry slander the military--his accent is unbelieveable, and his...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Wisconsin 7%: Edwards Ahead?

With seven percent of precincts reporting, John Edwards is edging John Kerry for the lead, 38%-37% in a state where he trailed by as many as twenty points. Fox News exit pollings predicts a five-point Kerry win eventually, but the steamrolling Kerry campaign suddenly finds itself not quite stalling, but certainly losing some of that steam in regards to Edwards. Howard Dean, meanwhile, is trailing far behind the two principals with 19% in a state where as recently as two weeks ago he said he had to win to continue. Dean fired a senior campaign manager for acting on this statement earlier this week, and Dean must face the fact that not only is he not winning key primaries but he isn't even coming in second anymore. Now with 11% reporting, Edwards is still leading by a single percentage point. Edwards, who would be a tougher opponent in November, may...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Fox News Calls It For Kerry -- While He's Trailing

Fox News, depending strongly on its exit polling, has declared Wisconsin for John Kerry after getting 22% of precincts reporting -- and with Kerry trailing by several hundred votes. CNN also calls it for Kerry at 8:52 CST. Is it so necessary to "call" elections that are this close?...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Happy Anniversary, Patterico's Pontifications

Patterico's Pontifications, which has been at the forefront of the effort to hold the Los Angeles Times accountable for its dreadful editorial bias, celebrates its first anniversary today. Patterico always has something interesting to say, although I see that I forgot to include something in yesterday's link-love effort. Make sure you check it out and drop him a congratulations while you're there....

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Dean's Self-Eulogy Starts Off Gracious, Gets Arrogant

Howard Dean took to the podium first, trailing John Kerry and John Edwards badly, and congratulated them on running excellent campaigns, and thanking his supporters for their hard work. After that, Dean gave an increasingly strident speech taking credit for changing the nature of the debate, some of which may be true, and oddly kept decrying corporations moving to Bermuda, when he made it easier for those same corporations to avoid the tax consequences of such moves by setting up tax shelters in Vermont. In that manner, but not in temperament, it was vintage Dean. I thought I heard a hint of a withdrawal in Dean's speech, almost eulogistically reviewing what he sees as the accomplishments of his campaign. With key staffers defecting and a string of poor showings in the primaries, even Dean sees that the game is about over for his Presidential campaign. The latter part of Dean's...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

February 18, 2004

NBC: Kerry Unwittingly Assisted Chinese Spy

Yesterday afternoon, NBC reported that John Kerry provided material assistance to Liu Chaoying [spelled differently throughout the article], an arms dealer and espionage agent for China, in exchange for campaign contributions: In 1996, Senator John Kerry was locked in a hard-fought and close reelection campaign with Massachusetts Governor William Weld. Kerry was the policy wonk, noted for his expertise in international crime, arms and drug dealing, and intelligence. ... [Johnny] Chung gave $10,000 to Kerry's campaign -- most of it illegally -- hosted a fund-raising party in Beverly Hills, and threw in an extra $10,000 to honor Kerry at a Democratic Senate Campaign Committee event. Kerry eventually returned all the Chung money. In return, Kerry opened a door for a friend of Chung: Liu Chaoying. So the man who claims he opposes special interests and claims he can't be bought certainly seems available for rent when necessary. While helping contributors...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Dean Retiring From Campaign

Howard Dean, finally bowing to reality and 17 straight primary losses, will announce his withdrawal from the presidential campaign today or tomorrow: Howard Dean will end his campaign for the presidential nomination and launch a new "campaign for change" within the Democratic Party to keep his issues alive and his supporters organized, a key campaign aide said Wednesday. The former Vermont governor, who went winless in 17 caucuses and primaries after falling from leading contender early in the year, does not intend to endorse either John Kerry or John Edwards, the aide said on condition of anonymity. Dean has been impressed with Edwards and suggested on the campaign trail that he would make a better nominee, but Dean has decided to stay out of the Kerry-Edwards contest, the aide said. This makes sense of his remarks last night after losing badly in Wisconsin. At the time, I thought he sounded...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

I'm Always One Step Behind

Man, I tell you -- here I go to all the trouble to move off of Typepad, get direct hosting for Captain's Quarters, and have Mel at Skinny Dippin' Designs whip up this excellent look, and I find out that the premier blogger, Instapundit, has started his own Typepad blog. Glenn actually agreed to start this blog as a test of Typepad, and in his brief series of posts today comes to the same conclusion I did: it's a great service for personal and lower-traffic blogs and any kind of start-up, but if you exceed traffic limits for any significant period or you want a highly customized look, you're better off moving to direct hosting and a self-contained system like Movable Type. I loved my time there, but I'm glad to have a home of my own....

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Jealousy Is Such An Ugly Emotion

Jacques Chirac -- the jealous type? Apparently, Tony Blair has been makin' time with Jacques' main diplomatic squeeze, and he's not happy about it: Tony Blair put himself squarely at the heart of European decision-making last night by breaking into the Franco-German axis and persuading it to speed up economic reform. He brushed aside criticisms from Italy and other countries which have been left out in the cold by the decision of the EU's three most influential powers to join forces and give a lead to the rest. ... But he was publicly rebuked by Jacques Chirac, the French president, who showed his unease at Mr Blair's intrusion into what he said was the EU's most "intense" relationship. France fears that Germany is edging closer to Britain, a shift underlined by Joschka Fischer in an interview with The Telegraph three weeks ago. Chirac and Schroeder famously exchanged places at a...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Watcher's Council Nominates CQ Post

The Watcher's Council at the Watcher of Weasels blog has their weekly nominations posted for their Council vote, and my post on Mel Gibson's interview with Diane Sawyer is on the list of non-Council entries. Make sure you read the rest of the entries while you're there. UPDATE: As the Watcher himself points out in a comment, I've had two posts nominated, the second one being this post about Arafat and PA corruption. Wow! Quite an honor, and thank you. I guess I should have read the list a wee bit more carefully ... UPDATE II: The results are in -- and my review of Gibson's interview finished a very respectable second, thank you very much! The Council winner was Jihad on Frisco by Damnum Absque Injuria, and the non-Council winner who topped me was What to Write, What to Write by Inn of the Last Home....

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

February 19, 2004

Happy Anniversary To Us

I dont usually comment too much about my family life on this blog, mostly because my family deserves their privacy and sharing my personal stories differs ethically from sharing theirs. However, this is a special occasion, as today is our tenth wedding anniversary, and I thought Id take some space to tell you about the First Mate. Marcia and I met about fifteen years ago in a young-adult group at our church (when we both met the age requirement) because I gave her a regular ride to the meetings. Marcia went blind 24 years ago due to her diabetes and one of her few limitations is that she cant drive. She and I quickly became good friends, and after a year or so we began dating on and off. In fact, as Marcia loves to tell people, we had our first date in July and our second date in December...

Continue reading "Happy Anniversary To Us" »

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

After All That ...

After a highly-publicized effort to inject itself into the question of power transfer in Iraq, the UN has determined that the US was right all along and that direct elections will not be possible in the near future: U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan will endorse the U.S. position that direct elections cannot be held in Iraq before the United States hands over political power to Iraqis on June 30, senior U.N. officials said Wednesday. But Annan, scheduled to brief the Security Council and other U.N. members Thursday, will delay for at least another week his recommendations on the sensitive question of how to choose a provisional government, officials said. Annan's decision is a major boost for the Bush administration, which has struggled to address the demand of Iraq's leading cleric that direct elections be used to select an interim government, rather than the complex system of regional caucuses that the...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Kerry: A Man Who Just Can't Say No

For a man who claims not to be beholden to special interests, John Kerry certainly appears to enjoy thir fruits as often as possible. The Los Angeles Times -- not exactly big boosters of the Right -- reports today that Kerry wrote 28 letters on behalf of a defense firm that filled his coffers with illegal campaign contributions: Sen. John F. Kerry sent 28 letters in behalf of a San Diego defense contractor who pleaded guilty last week to illegally funneling campaign contributions to the Massachusetts senator and four other congressmen. ... Between 1996 and 1999, Kerry participated in a letter-writing campaign to free up federal funds for a guided missile system that defense contractor Parthasarathi "Bob" Majumder was trying to build for U.S. warplanes. ... Kerry's letters were sent to fellow members of Congress and to the Pentagon while Majumder and his employees were donating money to...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

With Marshall, It's All Personal

As I was driving to work this morning, I caught the replay of the last hour of Hugh Hewitt's show from last night, and the quality of the debate from Joshua Micah Marshall stunk, and that's been the rule rather than the exception. Both in tone and in content, Marshall constantly relies on personal attacks and hysterical approaches whenever Hugh challenges him on a political issue. Last night the topic was John Kerry's Senate testimony in 1971 that alleged that the US murdered 200,000 Vietnamese a year, but the topic is irrelevant. Here's the template for debates between Hugh and Marshall: H: So, Josh, have you read the report today that says the sky is blue? J: Oh, Hugh, that is so like you and your buddies on the right! What does color have to do with anything? You and your colorist friends never complained that the sky wasn't pink...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Economic Expansion Continues

The Bush economic plan continues to expand the economy and points to strong growth for the year: A key economic forecasting gauge advanced a strong 0.5 percent in January, suggesting that the nation's economy will expand further in coming months. The business-funded Conference Board said Thursday its Composite Index of Leading Economic Indicators rose to 115.0 last month following gains of 0.2 percent in December and 0.3 percent in November. Analysts had expected a rise of about 0.3 percent for January. Ken Goldstein, the business group's economist, noted that the index has been gaining since last spring. The rise points to "sustained economic growth, perhaps through the first half of this year," he said. And guess what's fueling the strong growth in the economy? Tax breaks, which are enabling increases in both exports and business infrastructure investment. Jobless claims dropped in the past week as well, demonstrating that job growth...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Kerry's Hypocrisy Defended on the Left

After a series of embarassing revelations about favors given by John Kerry to illegal contributors, Peter Beinart of The New Republic rides to his rescue -- sort of -- in today's TRB. Beinart argues that all these incidents demonstrate is politics as usual, but that to charge Kerry with hypocrisy is to charge everyone with hypocrisy. Beinart writes: Let's stipulate that Kerry has occasionally helped out his financial backers--sometimes at the public's expense. Brooks says this makes Kerry's attack on special interests "phony." But virtually every governor or member of Congress--which is to say, virtually every presidential candidate--has raised money from people with an interest in legislation and at some time or another has written a letter, or voted for a bill, on their behalf. In the 2000 GOP primary, Bush even argued that anti-special interest crusader John McCain was tainted by "all those fund-raisers with lobbyists" he had held...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

It's Nice to be Noticed

Thanks to a tip from Sean at Everything I Know Is Wrong, I found a nice compliment and a new blogroll addition. Amy Ridenour at the National Center for Public Policy Research -- whose newsletters I receive by e-mail, and you should as well -- has her personal blog on the site, and paid CQ a huge compliment: ... that's the most gorgeous blog I have ever seen. The articles are thought-provoking, too. Thanks, Amy! I'd love to take full credit (I will for the articles!), but if you want to know who's responsible for the design, check out Mel at Skinny-Dippin' Designs. In fact, Mel has a surprise for all of you coming very soon -- a new skin for Captain's Quarters will soon be available for your selection. This skin will be "War" and the new one will be "Peace". Let me know which one you like!...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

'I would live in America, no problem'

The Telegraph publishes this remarkable statement from an unnamed Iranian Republican Guard soldier stationed at the old American embassy in Teheran: "I would live in America, no problem," said one 22-year-old, who added that he associated the country with "love and freedom". Nearby, "Down with USA" was painted on the wall in garish red and yellow hues. Another guard, also in his 20s, added: "Our government has one view of America but the people have another. Our government tries to show the US as an enemy of our country and of our people. All of the young believe the US is good. Most of the people believe this." Why were these young men standing guard over our old embassy in Teheran? The Iranian government, controlled by radical mullahs since Ruhollah Khomeini since the Islamic Revolution began 25 years ago this month, had turned the building into a museum dedicated to...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

February 20, 2004

It's About Time

While I highly doubt that the Bush re-election campaign looks to this blog for advice, nonetheless they are acting as I urged yesterday, launching their advertising blitz against the presumptive nominee, John Kerry: President Bush's reelection campaign has decided to focus its coming advertising barrage not only on John F. Kerry's record as a senator but also on his days as an antiwar activist, a House candidate and Massachusetts's lieutenant governor. ... Campaign officials said in interviews that they plan substantial positive advertising about the president, focused on his proposals rather than accomplishments, when they begin spending tens of millions of dollars on the airwaves next month. But they made it clear that many of the ads will accuse the Democratic front-runner of "hypocrisy," in McKinnon's word, in part by reaching back into his early career. Quite frankly, I think they're a bit late. The Democrats have been using Bush...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

An Offer He Can't Refuse

Hugh Hewitt made an unprecedented offer to John Edwards on his radio show and his blog last night: My offer to Edwards to co-host my program any or all days from now until March 2 remains open. Given that I am on, among many palaces, in drive-time in L.A., San Francisco, San Diego, Sacramento, and in the early evening in Boston, Atlanta, Cleveland and Cinncy --all Super Tuesday markets-- I am certain he'd been tripling his exposure in those cities by coming into the studio, but I haven't heard from the campaign. Arnold, of course, used talk radio like a scalpel in the California recall. The talkers are probably the only way to communicate with the Golden State electorate especially, and candidates in radio studios bring television cameras with them. We'll see if Edwards has some cowboy in him. It would be hard to understand why Edwards wouldn't take Hugh...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

1,000 Posts -- And Another New Look

Just in time for my 1,000th post, Mel at Skinny Dippin' Design has the second skin ready for Captain's Quarters. If you look at the left sidebar just below my e-mail, you'll see a new link titled, "Skin the Site". If you click it, you will be given the option of choosing between two 'skins' for the site. The first, which is the one you're likely using right now, is called "War", and that's the one with the azure background and the stunning graphic of a ship sailing into battle. The second skin is called "Peace" and features a softer look, different fonts, and a completely new graphic. As long as your browser is cookie-enabled, you should be able to choose which skin you get whenever you come back to CQ -- which you should do often, of course. I have received a lot of great feedback on the site,...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Israelis to Evacuate More Settlements

Israel's deputy Foreign Minister, Ehud Olmert, said that Israel is not only preparing to evacuate all Gaza Strip settlements but also a number of West Bank settlements as well: Israel will seek to retain major settlement blocs in the West Bank, but will dismantle Jewish settlements close to Palestinian towns and villages "wherever possible," the deputy prime minister said Friday. ... Olmert said that as part of a West Bank withdrawal, "the major settlement blocs have to stay under our control." "The Americans understand this ... the argument is over all those areas where the Jewish settlements are mixed in with the Palestinian population in a way that causes confrontation and damage to both sides," he said. It's difficult to determine whether this represents a reluctant acknowledgement of a difficult, if not impossible, tactical and political situation or a unilateral surrender to terrorism. Yasser Arafat has waged a war of...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Time to Set the TiVo

Power Line's Hindrocket lets us know that he will be appearing on the Twin Cities' PBS program, "Face to Face", which is a Minnesota Nice version of Crossfire. The program airs this Sunday at 10:30 am and the panel reviews the credibility of politicians. [You can get a half-hour discussion out of that? Well, he is a lawyer ...] He's already taped the segment and notes: I think the show will be pretty good, although, in these half-hour formats, there's a limit to how much you can do. I tried to work in two or three facts that many people don't know--like the cyanide block found in the al Qaeda safe house in Baghdad, and President Bush's 1972 Air National Guard evaluation. I'll post a review of the show later on Sunday. If you're in the area, make sure you tune in. UPDATE: Apparently, Power Line's had a busy week...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

California Judiciary Punts

Another California judge has punted in the gay-marriage case, declining to issue a stay even though San Francisco clearly violates the state constitution by issuing licenses to same-sex couples: Gay and lesbian couples won another reprieve Friday when a judge declined to immediately stop San Francisco from granting them marriage licenses, saying conservative groups failed to prove the weddings would cause irreparable harm. No other details are available yet. However, it appears that the judge ruled that Frisco's prima facie flouting of the constitutional amendment passed recently by California voters doesn't require an immediate injunction. Imagine, if you will, if a schoolteacher required students to pray every day. Do you suppose a judge would find enough "irreperable harm" to issue an injunction? A California judge would break a finger signing that order to get it out as fast as possible. As I've stated before, I don't have a big problem...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Libya Able To Create Weapons-Grade Plutonium

Far from taking advantage of Bush's need for a PR win and surrendering a useless WMD program, the UN has discovered that Libya successfully manufactured small amounts of weapons-grade plutonium: Libya succeeded in making weapons-grade plutonium before announcing it would abandon its efforts to build a nuclear bomb, United Nations inspectors said yesterday. ... Libya's nuclear experiments included the separation of plutonium, albeit "in very small quantities", it said. Anyone doubting Libya's earlier intentions now? If we had not shown the fortitude necessary to chase Saddam into a hole in the ground -- and then drag him out of it -- Ghadafi would still deny the existence of his programs and wait the West out on sanctions. Only after we demonstrated that our passive security policy had passed unmourned into history did Ghadafi calculate his risk-to-benefit ratio and come clean with the West. Only after we showed that we finally...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

February 21, 2004

Iran Shrugs, Hard-Liners Control 'Parliament'

As expected after the Iranian Guardian Council -- the ruling band of mullahs who make all policy for the original Islamic Republic -- disqualified most of the reformist Parliamentary candidates, hard-liners dominated yesterday's elections. But Iranians, despite being told that voting was a religious requirement, stayed away in droves: It also would be a significant moral victory for reformers, who urged a boycott after more than 2,400 of their backers were barred from running, and would strengthen their drive for more openness and accountability from the all-powerful theocracy. It's not hard to understand why participation fell off by over a third. Imagine going to the polls and finding out that you have a choice between George Bush and Jeb Bush for President, John Kerry and Ted Kennedy for Senator, and Howard Dean and Ralph Nader for Governor. Sure, you could cast a vote, but for what purpose? Throw in the...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

The Bush Message to the Conservative Base

Yesterday, President Bush bypassed an onbstructionist Senate and used a recess appointment to place William Pryor, the Alabama Attorney General, to the federal appellate court: After three years of watching Senate Democrats block his judicial nominees, President Bush trumped them for the second time this year by installing Alabama Attorney General William Pryor on the federal appeals court. ... Bush on Friday gave Pryor an almost two-year stint on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, calling him a "leading American lawyer" and saying Democrats had used "unprecedented obstructionist tactics" last year to stop him and five other nominees. Democrats disliked Pryor for one reason and one reason only -- they felt his devout Catholocism would eventually mean that he would rule against abortion if given a chance, despite Pryor's record of upholding the rule of law. This ridiculous construct somehow allowed the Democrats in the Senate to...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

John Kerry's 1971 Testimony Audio On Line Now

Hugh Hewitt has been playing the totality of the audio of John Kerry's prepared statement preceding his Senate testimony in 1971. The audio is now available from the Democracy Now! website. (via Instapundit) The website also has a streaming-video presentation on John Kerry and his anti-war activities hosted by Amy Goodman, although the take on Kerry is that his recent record is a betrayal of his anti-war roots. It contains some interesting video of Winter Soldier press conferences and other information, as well as pictures and video of the war interspersed with pictures of Kerry, then and now. It's not pleasant, so consider yourself warned....

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Hmong Immigration Increasing in Twin Cities

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports today that a new influx of Hmong refugees will soon relocate to the Twin Cities, totalling over 14,000 in addition to the 42,000 that already live in the area: Anticipation of a new life abroad has gripped this village of about 14,400 -- some estimates run higher -- since the U.S. State Department announced two months ago that it had struck a resettlement deal with the Thai government. The Hmong who live on the grounds of this Buddhist temple north of Bangkok will start to arrive in the U.S. this summer. The arrivals are expected to continue for at least two years. The Hmong are a Laotian minority ethnic group that supported the United States during the Vietnam War and its incursion into Laos to drive out the North Vietnamese. Since then, as the Hmong Studies Internet Resource Center states, they have been a people without...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Sean Moves to Typepad, Blogosphere Cheers!

The fine Minnesota blog Everything I Know Is Wrong has moved up to a new Typepad site, and Sean has done a great job making it look good. He also has an excellent post challenging the Democrats to quit attacking Bush and start talking about their plans for prosecuting the war on terror. Make sure you update the blogrolls and take a look!...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Scott Ritter: Bribed?

Scott Ritter, the former weapons inspector who took on the Clinton Administration's lack of action against Iraq and then mysteriously started singing a different tune in 2002, may have had good reasons for his change of heart -- 400,000 of them, approximately, as Jon at QandO notes: MEMRI is reporting on the alleged documents revealing who was in the pay of Saddam Hussein. ... It's well-known that Iraq was actively subverting the Food-for-Oil sanctions by exporting oil to to tune of 200-400,000b/day to neighboring nations like Syria. However, if his end-arounds included political pay-offs, it will require diplomatic consequences....and possibly legal consequences. Case in point: Shaker Al-Khaffaji (7 million barrels) advanced $400,000 to Scott Ritter, former U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq. Ritter produced a documentary purporting to tell the true story of the weapons inspections, which in his telling were corrupted by sinister U.S. manipulation. [47] Again, let me state:...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Kerry: I Can't Handle Criticism

John Kerry once again cried foul because the Republicans actually have the audacity to campaign against Kerry's record in the Senate: "President Bush through his surrogates, specifically through Saxby Chambliss decided once again to take the low road of American politics," Kerry said in Georgia, one of 10 states choosing electoral delegates on March 2. ... "No one is going to question my commitment to the defense of our nation," Kerry said. Former Senator Max Cleland, a triple-amputee from his service in Vietnam, got even nastier when Senator Saxby Chambliss (who beat Cleland in 2002) spoke out against Kerry's voting record on defense in the Senate, where Kerry has not only repeatedly voted to reduce defense spending but twice introduced legislation to cut funding for the CIA. Instead of addressing the issues, Cleland called Chambliss a coward: "For Saxby Chambliss, who got out of going to Vietnam because...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Considering Nader

Ralph Nader once again has the political world in a tizzy trying to figure out whether he will run again for President, this time as an independent rather than a Green. Reporters are camped out for the announcement, Democrats are speaking out against one, and Republicans pray for one: Sunday on NBC's "Meet The Press," Nader, the Green Party's presidential candidate in 1996 and 2000, is expected to announce whether he will make another White House bid, this time as an independent. Democrats who fear he could siphon off enough votes to tip the election to President Bush have been trying to talk him out of it. "We can't afford to have Ralph Nader in the race," Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe told CNN on Friday. "This is about the future of our country. If you care about the environment, if you care about job growth, you've got to...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

February 22, 2004

Minnesota Finally Gets Tough With Sexual Predators

A bipartisan panel recommended a long-overdue get-tough policy for sexual predators in Minnesota on Friday, proposing a mandatory life sentence without parole for first-degree sexual assaults and a discretionary LWOP sentencing option for other sexual offenses: All other felony sex offenders could be imprisoned for life as well, at a review board's discretion, under the plan, the most sweeping response yet to the arrest last fall of a released convict in the disappearance of University of North Dakota student Dru Sjodin. Just to refresh everyone's memory about the Dru Sjodin case, Dru disappeared late last year after work at the mall. Alfonso Rodgriguez, Jr. was eventually arrested for her disappearance and a search of Rodriguez's car revealed Dru's blood inside. Rodriguez had been released from prison less than six months before Dru's disappearance after serving 23 years for kidnapping and sexual assault, and it turned out that it was the...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Meet the Press: Schwarzenegger and Nader, Together Again For The First Time

Tim Russert gave Meet the Press viewers a spectacular one-two punch this morning, interviewing both Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and potential independent Presidential candidate Ralph Nader. Shortly before air time, CNN anticipated Nader's decision and announced he was indeed throwing his hat into the ring. But first, Russert interviewed the Governator, who performed impressively in his segment. Despite Russert's attempts to put Arnold in the position of abandoning children and blind people for lower car taxes, Arnold turned it around and told Russert that the problem wasn't the car tax, it was that the legislature increased spending at a 43% clip over the last five years, far outstripping the 24% increase in tax revenues over the same period. He acknowledged that he would raise taxes in an emergency, but only then, and his implication was that he did not consider undisciplined legislators an emergency condition. Russert touched on the issuing of...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Hindrocket on Face to Face

Hindrocket of Power Line appeared this morning on Face to Face, a local PBS show that owes its format to CNN's Crossfire. Today's topic: credibility issues with politicians, focusing on Bush and Kerry. Joining Hindrocket was Buck Humphrey, a Kerry campaign activist. I may be biased -- hell, I am biased -- but Hindrocket came across extremely well, while Buck Humphrey couldn't look anyone in the eye during most of his answers, looking askance or downward almost the entire time. Hindrocket had excellent answers at the ready -- his answer to co-host David Lillehaug about the cyanide-salts find in Baghdad shut that thread down immediately. Hindrocket scored a direct hit on Kerry's hypocrisy, using the Majumder corruption case as an example, and Humphrey stumbled trying to change the subject to an irrelevant assertion that Kerry never took PAC money. (I'd like to think that John used the entry from my...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Nader Reaction On The Campaign Blogs

Ralph Nader may present his campaign as a populist attempt to wrest control of national politics from corporate control, but he seems to be an unpopular populist amongst the progressives in the Democratic campaigns. A review of their blogs shows the anger and resentment Nader provoked with his unusual go-it-alone Presidential campaign announcement this morning. From the Dean for America blog: "Parker": I really wish Nader was more vocal about the Democratic party. Because most people aren't going to put the pieces together that he is only running because Dean dropped out. "Kevin": Ralph Nader is the Ted Kazinski of the presidential candidates. He should grow a beard and go live in a shack in the woods. He is the Unibomber Candidate. "Candyce" [engaging in some oddball conspiracy theories]: and Bush... I am a nice person thinking bad thoughts about Bush. I dislike him so much, I at first thought...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

All You Need Is Link-Love

Another Sunday-night tour through the blogosphere, looking for link-love in all the right places ... The Mudville Gazette, who's sending lots of people over for my caption contest, also has a great post on a young man who styles himself a conscientious objector -- who volunteered for the regular Army, for Pete's sake! Greyhawk calls it desertion, and I agree ... Tim Blair notes that Islamic Jihad is griping about the evil Zionists who hacked into their web site. Of course, the Jihadists prefer an entirely different kind of hacking ... My friend and colleague-to-be, the Big Trunk at Power Line, recounts his experiences bringing Winston Churchill to life in front of an enthusiastic audience at St. Olaf. Since Churchill is perhaps my favorite historical figure, I'll have to buy Trunk a cafe latte when I bring one for Hindrocket and pick his brain during commercial breaks ... Michael Kantor...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

February 23, 2004

Inappropriate

Cathy Young, contributing editor to Reason magazine, writes an op-ed in today's Boston Globe about the stunning decision of Amherst Regional High School to stage The Vagina Monologues, a sexually explicit and controversial play that's gained recent status as a feminist icon: The idea of teenage girls performing Ensler's monologues -- complete with graphic sexual descriptions, in-your-face vulgar language, and reenactments of orgasmic moans -- in front of an adult audience is rather freaky. ... One particularly questionable monologue deals with a 16-year-old girl who learns to love her genitals and, by extension, herself after a sexual encounter with a 24-year-old woman. In the original version of the play, the girl was 13 and the monologue included the statement, "If it was rape, it was a good rape." This segment has repeatedly caused controversy, and Ensler has toned it down in response to criticism. Yet even with the changes, we...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Bear With Us

There appears to be a problem with Blogrolling.com this morning, which is keeping the blog from loading quickly. I assume that Blogrolling will get the problem solved quickly. Sorry for the inconvenience! UPDATE: The problem seems to be resolved now ......

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

BIA Officials Attempt to Cash In

The Washington Post reports that dozens of Bureau of Indian Affairs officials and their relatives have made themselves members of a tribe under their jurisdiction and now want to establish a casino on new land: A once-tiny, nearly destitute American Indian tribe is pushing hard to build a $100 million casino, but traditional tribal members are not the ones seeking the riches. Hundreds of people have been newly added to the Ione Band of Miwok Indians' membership rolls, which were opened by regional Bureau of Indian Affairs officials. Among the new members are several BIA employees and dozens of their relatives. ... Amy Dutschke, a member of another Indian group whose family has roots in the Ione area, was the BIA's acting regional director in June 2002 when she authorized the Ione Band's last leadership election, documents show. Now Dutschke and 68 of her relatives are on the tribe's official...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

CBS Decries Exploitation? Oh, Please!

CBS's Andy Rooney apparently doesn't like Mel Gibson or his latest movie, The Passion of the Christ. How Rooney has made up his mind without actually seeing the film may strike some as odd, but Rooney has it from a good source that it stinks -- God is Andy's stringer, you see: I heard from God just the other night. God always seems to call at night. "Andrew," God said to me. He always calls me "Andrew." I like that. ... As far as Mel Gibson goes, I haven't seen his movie, 'The Passion of the Christ,' because it hasn't opened up here yet. But I did catch Gibson being interviewed by Diane Sawyer. I did something right when I came up with her, didn't I, added God. Anyway, as I was saying, Mel is a real nut case. What in the world was I thinking when I created him?...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Washington Times and UK Telegraph: We're Closing In

The UK Telegraph and the Washington Times report that Task Force 121 is on its way to Afghanistan to hunt for "high-value targets": Telegraph: The top-secret US commando team that spearheaded the capture of Saddam Hussein is heading for Afghanistan in the latest sign that the hunt for Osama bin Laden is coming to a head. Battle-hardened units from Task Force 121 are being shifted as intelligence reports increase on the possible whereabouts of the terrorist leader, according to an article in the Washington Times by a reporter known for his access to the special forces. Most of the "high-value targets" from Saddam's regime have been caught or killed, Pentagon officials told the paper. "Iraq has become more of a policing problem than a hunt for high-value Iraqis. Afghanistan is the place where 121 can do more." Times: The new task force to hunt bin Laden in the Afghanistan area...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Ringham: Nader, Meet Kucinich

Star Tribune Commentary editor Eric Ringham writes another column denunciating Ralph Nader in tomorrow's edition, blaming Nader for George Bush -- again -- and insisting that Nader has overlooked Dennis Kucinich: To hear Ralph Nader dismiss the Democratic field, as he did in announcing his presidential candidacy Sunday, you'd think he'd never heard of Dennis Kucinich. The Kucinich camp would blame the media for that. Campaign workers accuse the major media of "censoring" Kucinich, and it's true enough that he doesn't get much coverage. Kucinich doesn't get much coverage because he doesn't attract that many votes, and the reason is readily apparent from Kucinich's website. Serious candidates don't post endorsements from fictional childrens-book characters. They also don't propose to create an Orwellian Department of Peace that would corrupt basic education and completely disarm the US. Besides, if Ringham's exercised about Kucinich's lack of coverage, why doesn't Ringham publish more about...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

February 24, 2004

Libya Backtracking on Lockerbie Responsibility

With all of the recent good news coming from Tripoli's cooperation in eliminating its WMD programs, it's a bit disappointing to see them retreating from the positions that allowed them entry to the West in the first place: Libya's prime minister, Shokri Ghanem, appeared to backtrack today over the country's admissions of responsibility for the murder of WPC Yvonne Fletcher and the Lockerbie bombing. In a switch from the more concilatory tone of the country's foreign minister earlier this month, Dr Ghanem said that the police officer's death was now "settled" and that Libya had paid compensation to the Lockerbie relatives to "buy peace" and an end to sanctions. "We thought it was easier for us to buy peace and this is why we agreed to compensation," he told the BBC Radio 4's Today programme. Last year, Libya had finally concluded a two-decade battle for compensation and justice for the...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Caption Contest!

Note: The winners can be found on this post! Here's something for a bit of fun -- take a look at the picture below of a soulful John Kerry singalong, and come up with your best caption. The prize? How about a tape of the Captain singing "Margaritaville"? Er, no ... better just be the fame and glory of winning this contest. Put your entries in the comments to this post. I'll announce the winner next Tuesday night. UPDATE: I'll bump this entry up each day to keep it near the top. There's been a terrific response -- I may have to bring in a guest judge to make the final decision here! Keep 'em coming ... UPDATE II: This contest has been wildly successful -- and instead of one winner, I'll be announcing two: one for best caption and another for best song lyrics, because you all have just...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Kerry About to Deliver Knockout Blow

The LA Times reports that their most recent poll shows John Kerry handily beating John Edwards, 56%-24%, in the upcoming California primary on Tuesday, March 2nd: A week before California's Democratic presidential primary, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry leads North Carolina Sen. John Edwards by a lopsided 56% to 24% among the state's likely voters in the race, according to a new Los Angeles Times poll. ... Following the pattern set in other states, Kerry's support in the primary cuts across a broad range of demographic groups. He wins majorities of men, women, liberals, moderates, Latinos, union members and senior citizens, among others. Even primary voters who cite the economy or jobs as their No. 1 issue a group that has tilted toward Edwards in other states prefer Kerry to his main rival, 69% to 26%, the poll found. These numbers spell doom for the Edwards campaign, unless he...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

No One to Blame But Themselves

As I have often predicted, the radical activism of the judiciary in imposing changes in the basic social unit in opposition to the will of the electorate has resulted in an equally radical reaction -- a full-fledged mainstream constitutional amendment process to permanently define marriage: President Bush said Tuesday that he supports a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage to "prevent the meaning of marriage from being changed forever." ... "On a matter of such importance, the voice of the people must be heard. Activist courts have left the people with one recourse. If we're to prevent the meaning of marriage from being changed forever, our nation must enact a constitutional amendment to protect marriage in America. Decisive and democratic action is needed because attempts to redefine marriage in a single state or city could have serious consequences throughout the country." He called on Congress to "promptly pass and send to...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Electric Venom: 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover

Venomous Kate is back at Electric Venom -- and a mere three weeks from her first blogiversary, too -- and she shares with her readers a poignant and pointed Dear John letter she has sent to her significant other: When we first got together, I adored the way you made me feel: giddy, energized. You thrilled me. The mere sight of you sent my pulse racing. When we were apart, I held just one thought: when could we be together again? There were times when I shrugged off sleep, lost interest in food, all because I only wanted more of you. But that was years ago. You've long since lost your ability to make me shiver. You no longer make me feel special or important. I don't remember what I ever saw in you. Go pay Kate a visit and give her your support ... believe me, once you read...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Caption Contest -- Special Captain's Award

The trouble with running a contest like this now-closed Caption Contest is that you just can't plan for the creativity of such an intelligent readership as I'm fortunate to have. Just before the comments closed on this contest, reader Jim Styczinski sent me the following separated-at-birth graphic. On the left is Pablo Picasso's "The Old Guitarist" and on the right ... well, Jim's title is below the graphic: The Old Guitarist and The Botox Guitarist This submission deserves a special Captain's Award! ... er, whatever the heck that would be. Thanks, Jim!...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

What If They Held a Primary and No One Came?

Did you know that three states hold primaries or caucuses today? Apparently, neither did the presidential candidates: In contests that largely have been overlooked by the candidates, voters in three states decide Tuesday who they want to see as the Democratic presidential nominee. ... Hawaii and Idaho are holding caucuses and Utah is holding a primary. A total of 61 delegates are at stake, just 3 percent of the total needed to win the nomination at the Democratic nominating convention in July. In a sign of how little attention these contests are getting, not one of the major Democratic presidential hopefuls were in any of those three states Tuesday. If these contests are so inconsequential, why did the Democrats schedule them so far up the calendar? Wouldn't it make more sense to put California and a couple of the other states from next week to this week? I'm sure that...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Caption Contest: The Winners!

After long consultations between the Captain and the Commissar, with liberal quantities of Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum and Stolichnaya to assist in deliberations, we're ready to announce the results of the CQ Caption Contest for this classic John Kerry pin-up (suitable for framing): We both were impressed by the number and quality of the entries, and we thank you all. But we had to narrow it down, and so ......

Continue reading "Caption Contest: The Winners!" »

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

February 25, 2004

Watchers Council Selections

Once again, I have been honored with a nomination in the weekly Watcher of Weasels' Watchers Council contest, this time for my post on the LA Times poll and its meaning for Kerry, Edwards, and Schwarzenegger. They've selected a lot of good posts this week. In fact, as I commented on their site, I look around and get an idea of what it's like to be Dennis Kucinich. [shudder] Oh, let's not do that again ......

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

No Sex Please, We're British

The Telegraph in the UK features an article on their web site about a "self-styled aristocrat" and glass-fortune heiress who will be doing time for entertaining the Lords and Squires in the hot tub: A self-styled aristocrat who was convicted of harassing her neighbours by having sex in her outdoor Jacuzzi has been jailed for refusing to wear overalls to do her community service. Julia Pilkington, 39, a member of the Pilkington glass family who calls herself "Lady", wore a miniskirt, low-cut top and gold flip-flops to carry out her community service clearing up litter from Forestry Commission land, a court heard. 'Lady' Pilkington claimed that the weather was too warm for overalls, although it's hard to imagine that any day in Britain would be too warm for a simple jumpsuit. I've seen a lot of people picking up roadside litter here in the States, but I don't think I've...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Kerry Sweeps 'Obscure Tuesday' States

John Kerry won all three Democratic contests last night in Hawaii, Idaho, and Utah, which together represent less than two percent of all delegates going to the Democratic Convention in July: Democratic front-runner Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts added three more wins to his victory column Tuesday, sweeping contests in Utah, Idaho and Hawaii over his remaining major rival, Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina. The trio of small-state contests, which have been largely overshadowed by next week's Super Tuesday delegate bonanza, were the first since the Democratic race narrowed to essentially a battle between Kerry and Edwards. Both Kerry and Edwards treated this as a bye week, but for Edwards, that may have proved a bit of a mistake; Dennis Kucinich outclassed Edwards in Hawaii, finishing second with 30% to Edwards' 13%. That momentum-killer is the last thing Edwards needs while he's getting stomped in California, New York, and...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Count TNR Among the Clueless

While I don't have a subscription to The New Republic, the short blurb on their headline article on gay marriage is enough to demonstrate TNR's complete cluelessness on the issues involved in the amendment proposal: Opponents of gay marriage have sought to frame the debate over their proposed constitutional amendment as a matter of shielding voters and their elected representatives--that is, state politicians and local officials--from the whims of allegedly activist judges. But by allowing city officials to issue wedding permits to same-sex couples, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has thrown a major wrench into this strategy. Newsom, after all, is an elected official, and he is therefore part of the very group gay marriage opponents have long claimed they are trying to protect. All Joseph Landau proves in this statement is that he has never read the Constitution and has no familiarity with the law-making process in the United...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

This Week's Carnival Is All Up Front

Da Goddess hosts this week's Carnival of the Vanities, and the blogosphere turned out in force! Goddess' Carnival definitely lifts and supports all of us who entered, including my entry on the jealousy of Jacques Chirac. Make sure you visit Joanie's artistic presentation -- and certainly it will keep you abreast of the best in the blogosphere ... Next week's host: American Digest....

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Howard Stern Goes Silent After Racist Caller

Howard Stern, long the bad boy of radio, lost all of his Clear Channel outlets today after a caller asked Stern on the air if he had ever slept with a "n****r chick": "Clear Channel drew a line in the sand today with regard to protecting our listeners from indecent content and Howard Stern's show blew right through it," said John Hogan, president and CEO of Clear Channel Radio. "It was vulgar, offensive, and insulting, not just to women and African Americans but to anyone with a sense of common decency. We will not air Howard Stern on Clear Channel stations until we are assured that his show will conform to acceptable standards of responsible broadcasting," Hogan said. The Drudge Report's blurb on this story reads as follows: The action comes after CC executives reviewed comment made on Stern's Tuesday broadcast, including an on-air caller's comments: 'Ever bang a famous...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Even Eating Organic Has Its Risks

Oh, the irony ... French researchers have found a link between oral sex and oral cancer: Although the risk is small and it is more likely to result from heavy drinking and smoking, scientists have uncovered evidence that oral sex can cause mouth cancer. Researchers had suspected that a sexually transmitted infection that is linked to cervical cancer could also be associated with tumors in the mouth. Now a study by researchers working for the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in Lyon, France seems to have confirmed it. The culprit appears to be the human papilloma virus (HPV), which is also suspected to be a factor in cervical cancer. The findings indicate no difference in risk between genders. Oral sex, though, represents a much smaller (but still significant) risk than tobacco and alcohol. Having information on health risks does empower us to make better choices with our lives....

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Blogopoly: Captain's Quarters, Literally!

Aaron's Rantblog has started a wildfire in the blogosphere with his Blogopoly game, and he's kind enough to cut Captain's Quarters in on the action. Any relation between the Captain and the rapper 50 Cent is strictly coincidental, of course ......

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

February 26, 2004

Probably Not Eligible For Early Release

The Telegraph has an exclusive interview with a female Palestinian terrorist, a wanna-be suicide bomber who got caught by Israeli security forces before she detonated her explosives. To say she's not remorseful is an understatement: "Yes, I will do it again if I can," said Obeida Khalil, 27. "When I put the suicide explosives belt on I felt very happy, very content. I was angry when they caught me because I was not able to be a martyr. I wanted to be the first female martyr and to kill as many Israeli soldiers as possible. I chose the bus station because my brother blew himself up there." Khalil claimed that she became a suicide bomber to avenge the death of her fiance, who was killed by an Israeli helicopter attack earlier. However, it's not as though his death put that thought into her head, as she says in the very...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Blast From The Past

Just when you thought it was safe to go to Orange County, he's back: Now, eight years out of office and with a stint as a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host under his belt, the 70-year-old [Robert] Dornan attempts a return to the political stage by seeking the GOP nomination in next week's primary for the 46th Congressional District, which stretches from Palos Verdes Estates to Newport Beach. His opponent: veteran incumbent Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach), a former friend whose views on defense, the economy and social issues are very similar to his own. B-1 Bob, as he once insisted on calling himself during his nine terms in the House, spent 18 years as an embarassment to Orange County Republicans. Dornan's schtick was wearing mortally thin when Loretta Sanchez challenged him in 1994. While it's true that his district had morphed demographically over the years, Dornan still could have...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Broadcast Channels, Government Monopolies, and Responsibility

After updating my original post on Howard Stern's suspension from Clear Channel stations this morning about a dozen times and staying abreast of the feedback from Jeff Jarvis' diatribe from yesterday, I want to restate my entire perspective on broadcast responsibilities, just to eliminate some gaps caused by what I thought were basic assumptions regarding their nature. In 1934, after commercial radio expanded rapidly as a medium, Congress passed the Telecommunications Act which created the FCC to control commercial broadcast stations. Control was necessary because up to then, radio stations could step on each others' signals, creating an environment where the most watts won. Instead, Congress gave the FCC the authority to require commercial broadcast licenses, which were government-granted local monopolies on the broadcast frequency and protection from any potential interference from nearby frequencies. In return for the monopoly and its enforcement from the FCC, private-enterprise broadcasters agreed to air...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Stern and Limbaugh, Together Again For The First Time

Howard Stern and Rush Limbaugh -- not exactly the Bobbsey Twins of radio -- have both blasted what they see as government infringement on free speech on their shows today. First, Stern said this: "They are so afraid of me and what this show represents ... I could blow my stack, but ... ," Stern said, trailing off. "A caller used the N word, and I hung up on him." "Janet Jackson is now forgotten and I'm on the front page of every newspaper," said Stern. The only thing surprising about Stern's reaction is how mild it appears to be. He's known for loudly proclaiming his victimization whenever he's disciplined for on-air stunts. His autobiographical movie, Private Parts, is about almost nothing else (and is rather funny, in its own way). Surprisingly, Rush Limbaugh supports Howard Stern and complains that the government intrudes too far into talk radio (all in...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

"You Only Lose People You Thought Were Friends"

That doesn't mitigate the pain of finding out that the friend you thought you had values his/her politics more than they do you. They value their undisturbed environment of outrage and victimization than they do your love and support. And that hurts.

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Kerry Flips and Flops In One Day

This has to be a record -- I don't think that even Howard Dean reversed himself this quickly. Here's John Kerry during tonight's debate: Democrats debating each other Thursday night accused President Bush of proposing a constitutional amendment against gay marriage to distract voters from more important issues such as the economy. "He's trying to divide America," said Sen. John Kerry . "This is a president who always tries to create a cultural war and seek the lowest common denominator of American politics because he can't come to America and talk about jobs, he can't talk to America about health care because he doesn't have a plan." Here's John Kerry yesterday in an interview with the Boston Globe: In his most explicit remarks on the subject yet, Kerry told the Globe that he would support a proposed amendment to the state Constitution that would prohibit gay marrriage so long as,...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

February 27, 2004

Eggs Benedict

John Kerry storms around the country with a populist message of righteous anger at those companies who incorporate offshore in order to take advantage of legal tax shelters. Continuing his theme of irrelevant patriotic qualifications, he's called the CEOs of such corporations "Benedict Arnolds", after the Revolutionary War general who tried to give West Point to the British. Yesterday, the Washington Post and MS-NBC reported that some of Kerry's biggest donors were the CEOs of such companies, leaving the candidate with some egg on his face: Executives and employees at such companies have contributed more than $140,000 to Kerry's presidential campaign, a review of his donor records show. Additionally, two of Kerry's biggest fundraisers, who together have raised more than $400,000 for the candidate, are top executives at investment firms that helped set up companies in the world's best-known offshore tax havens, federal records show. Kerry has raised nearly $30...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Edwards Refuses to Release Contributor List

At least John Kerry released the names and contribution levels of his biggest fundraisers; John Edwards refuses to do so, making the Los Angeles Times question where he gets his money: A campaign finance watchdog group on Thursday called on North Carolina Sen. John Edwards to release the names of his top presidential fundraisers before Super Tuesday a request the Edwards campaign said it would decline. ... "We're not releasing any names. That's our policy," said Edwards' campaign spokesperson Kim Rubey. Edwards' reluctance to disclose his contributor list stands in stark contrast to bot Kerry and President Bush, who have released the names and contribution levels of all those who have raised more than $50,000 for their campaigns. Early on, the Edwards campaign was rumored to be existing on a higher percentage of maxed-out contributors -- those who donated $2,000 dollars -- than any other candidate. Dean, for instance,...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Dean Flacks For The Party

Howard Dean, who built his doomed Presidential campaign on being a firebrand outsider to the Democratic establishment, went out on the road to make sure no one took him too seriously: In his first public appearance since dropping out of the presidential race last week, Howard Dean thanked his supporters Thursday night and urged them to stay with the Democratic Party and "not to be tempted by independent or third-party candidates." ... [H]e urged his supporters to back the eventual Democratic nominee and described his plans to continue influencing the race from the outside. Go inside while I go outside? It almost sounds like a covert operation; perhaps Dean is cooking up something for the convention? If anyone still cared about Dean, it might make an interesting story. How does this message go down with the True Believers? Overall, they accept reality at the official Dean blog, but they're not...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Hugh Hewitt Interviews Condoleezza Rice

If you didn't get a chance to listen to Hugh Hewitt's excellent interview with Dr. Condoleezza Rice on his show last night, Hugh thoughtfully has provided the transcript. I highly recommend reading it all the way through. It's short but informative. For me, here's the money quote: Dr. Rice: Yes, well we have had to rebuild the intelligence capabilities of the United States. They went through a very difficult period of time after the collapse of the Soviet Union where a number of people were not foresightful enough to see that we were going to continue to need really strong intelligence services, even if the Soviet Union had been defeated. There were important cuts in the infrastructure of the Central Intelligence Agency in their activities that they are still trying to rebuild. As I've said before, national security policy is the central issue of this campaign. Do we want to...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Kerry's Number One!

Drudge reports that the National Journal has ranked John Kerry's 2003 Senate voting record as the most liberal of all, outdistancing Hillary Clinton and even Ted Kennedy: The results of Senate vote ratings show that Kerry was the most liberal senator in 2003, with a composite liberal score of 96.5 -- far ahead of such Democrat stalwarts as Ted Kennedy and Hillary Clinton. NATIONAL JOURNAL's scores, which have been compiled each year since 1981, are based on lawmakers' votes in three areas: economic policy, social policy, and foreign policy. "To be sure, Kerry's ranking as the No. 1 Senate liberal in 2003 -- and his earning of similar honors three times during his first term, from 1985 to 1990 -- will probably have opposition researchers licking their chops," NATIONAL JOURNAL reports. For the fourth time in 19 years, Kerry's record reflected the most radical agenda in the Senate, in this...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Add Captain's Quarters to My Yahoo!

Via Buzz Machine and Hoder, Yahoo now offers an RSS reader for members to display the latest headlines on their My Yahoo page. All that is required is a Yahoo membership (free) and an RSS feed from your favorite blogs. Users can set up the function to display up to 10 posts as far back as a week, and it will display either the headlines or an excerpt of each post, along with the timestamp of the last update. How does this help you? For one thing, rather than loading up each blog individually, you can just check a single site to determine if anything has been updated. You can also check to see if you'd be interested in the new posts. If you're working with access restrictions, My Yahoo at least gives you an idea of what's going on with your favorite blogs. I've already set my Yahoo membership...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

February 28, 2004

Iranians: Great Candidates for MoveOn.Org

The new hard-line Iranian government apparently wants to play a role in the Presidential election by emulating the global-conspiracy nuts at MoveOn.org and International Answer. Iranian state radio claims that the US and Pakistan captured Osama bin Laden "a long time ago," and is holding him secretly until the right moment for the Bush campaign: Pentagon and Pakistani officials on Saturday denied an Iranian state radio report that Osama bin Laden was captured in Pakistan's border region with Afghanistan "a long time ago." ... The report was carried by Iran radio's external Pashtun service, which is designed for listeners in Afghanistan and Pakistan where the language is widely spoken. Iran state radio's main news channel the Farsi-language service for Iranian listeners did not carry the bin Laden report. Iran state television also did not carry the report. ... The director of Iran radio's Pashtun service, Asheq Hossein, said...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Remember This When Hollywood Speaks Out

In an election year -- and are we having any other kind of years lately? -- we regularly get a large dose of insufferable condescension and demagoguery from our entertainers in Hollywood about how we should think, vote, and live our lives. Luminaries such as Barbra Streisand, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, and Sean Penn instruct and scold us on issues such as foreign policy and law enforcement without a whit of common sense or personal experience. Sean Penn travels to Iraq as a guest of the genocidal government and wonders why we want to get rid of Saddam Hussein. For those still inclined to see Hollywood as a place where people go to become enlightened, a sort of Taos On The Sea, this article from today's Telegraph should disabuse you of any notion of intelligence among the power brokers and talent elite: Few seemed dulled by the alcohol they had...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

David Almasi: Even Family Shows Push The Envelope

In the furor over the FCC's decision to put more effort into enforcing its own regulations on decency, NCPPR exec David Almasi speaks out against a more subtle but pervasive issue, published in Amy Ridenour's excellent NCPPR blog: While listening to the radio on the way into work Friday morning, I heard a real concern that so far seems to be flying under the radar. Tonight's "George Lopez" on ABC (a Disney-owned company) features a guest starring role by socialite/heiress/amatuer porn actress Paris Hilton as "a beautiful tutor for [George's son] Max." The clip they played in the radio commercial had Max learning algebra, with Paris's character telling him he needs to "find her X." Max responds that he felt a chill when she said that, and laughter ensues. Upon reaching the office and cracking open the paper, I saw a photo of the same scene -- and Max appears...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Airheads, Continued

We are seven days away from the launch of the Northern Alliance Radio "Network" show here in Minnesota, and we're all gathering at the studio for a dry run today, as almost all of us have never worked in radio before. The folks at AM 1280 The Patriot have been very hospitable in allowing us to descend on them today and will be teaching us the equiment and the timing of hosting a talk show. Next Saturday, we will be going live on the air here in the Twin Cities (pray for their inhabitants, the poor souls) from noon to 3 PM. The group of us, who can be found in my blogroll on the left -- the only place you'll find them on the left, by the way -- are still ironing out format and scheduling. We hope to eventually have a live streaming Internet link through The Patriot's...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

Steyn: Good Thing Kerry's No Leader

Thanks to reader Cybrludite, I found this interesting article by Mark Steyn, telling stories about how soldiers, sailors, and airmen were kept secure and completed imported missions using the weapons systems John Kerry voted to kill. Make sure you read the whole thing....

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

February 29, 2004

Brilliant Stewards of Money

In yesterday's Los Angeles Times, David Pierson wrote about the re-election campaign of Assemblyman Ron Calderon, a first-term Democrat representing southeast Los Angeles County, including some of my old stomping grounds. Calderon apparently has interesting notions on how to spend his campaign money, something my fellow Angelenos should consider at the voting booth: California Assemblyman Ron Calderon has obliterated his campaign war chest months before he faces an opponent in November, spending the money on Las Vegas hotels, restaurants and cigars, according to campaign spending reports. Calderon, whose 58th Assembly District encompasses southeast Los Angeles County communities, including Whittier, Downey and East L.A., raised $342,600 last year in contributions and spent $427,300, according to financial records filed with the California secretary of state. Having been born, raised, and lived most of my life in that general area, I'm not too sure about how relevant Las Vegas hotels are to East...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

LA Times Endorses Schwarzenegger's Referenda

In an unusual twist, today's Los Angeles Times endorsed both Propositions 57 and 58, the twin budget-rescuing referenda pushed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Times still thinks that tax increases will be necessary, but at least agrees with Arnold that the road to fiscal sanity starts on the March ballot: Even with Proposition 57 and Schwarzenegger's proposed cuts, the state still faces a deficit of $6 billion or so in its next budget. Schwarzenegger, unlike most of the Legislature's Republicans, has never said "never" to taxes. His next campaign may be inside the Capitol, persuading members that more cuts and a modest temporary tax are unavoidable. But Proposition 57 and its companion, Proposition 58, must pass first to clear the decks. Schwarzenegger clearly said to Tim Russert on last week's Meet the Press that he would only consider new taxes in an emergency, and ticked off a few that the...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

When Blogs Attack!

No, this isn't a new Fox entertainment special, although the thought of, say, Lt. Smash pre-emptively striking Atrios does have its charms. [Would it look like the "Crimson Permanent Assurance" segment of Monty Python's Meaning of Life? Probably, except that Smash would have a younger crew and an armor-plated building with night scopes -- Ed.] Yesterday, I wrote a post about the Iranian Pashtun-service radio report that claimed Osama bin Laden had been captured by American troops "a long time ago" and that he was being held secretly until the election. To me, this ludicrous piece of propaganda -- even their one named source claimed he'd been misquoted -- was yet another example of a clumsy attempt by Iranian hard-liners to influence an American presidential election. They had tried in 1980 to claim that they would never negotiate with a Reagan administration, to no effect; and a couple of weeks...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

The Envelope for Pushing The Envelope Goes To ...

I will be live-blogging the Academy Awards tonight, and it appears that this will be a long, long night -- the Academy has removed speech restrictions for the Oscar winners for the first time in recent memory. Odd, don't you think, or perhaps the Presidential election has something to do with it? 7:25 - Catching the pre-awards show, and it's as lame as ever. I felt sorry for Nicole Kidman and Renee Zellweger, who were cursed to sit on either side of Billy Bush and forced to respond to his inane non-question commentary. As if that wasn't bad enough, he then re-enacted the "Uma-Oprah" debacle from several years back. I'm sure that the Academy appreciates that walk down Memory Lane ... 7:35 - The opening sequence rocked! Loved the elephant stepping on Michael Moore as he protested the Battle of Gondor, and Jack Nicholson made a great Gandalf. Seriously. Somehow,...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »

The Chieftains Visit The Twin Cities

The Chieftains, the most well-known traditional Irish music group, tours through the Twin Cities this week, and the Pioneer Press profiles the legendary band: Chalk up another one for Irish charm and musical diplomacy. But Moloney and his bandmates have long been known as Irish music's foremost ambassadors, hauling their jigs, reels and airs across every continent but Antarctica. Wednesday, the globetrotters will stop in the Twin Cities for a performance at Orchestra Hall that will show off some of the cross-cultural fusions they've fashioned but will mostly be an Irish folk showcase from its most famous purveyors. The Dublin-bred Moloney formed the group in 1963 with the idea of not only preserving his country's folk music traditions but also finding open ears elsewhere. "I wanted to be able to do a kind of music that brought in the tradition," he said, "but made it a little more exciting, particularly...

« January 2004 | March 2004 »