« February 2004 | April 2004 »

March 1, 2004

Better Late Than Never

The Iraqi Governing Council has finally agreed on a transitional constitution, two days past an American deadline but with broad agreement on its contents: Besides a comprehensive bill of rights, including protections for free speech, religious expression, assembly and due process, it also spells out the executive branch. Under the terms of the document, Iraq will have a president with two deputies, a prime minister and a cabinet. ... The document "strikes a balance between the role of Islam and the bill of individual rights and democratic principles," the official said. It also contains a "goal" of having the Iraqi Parliament consist of at least 25% women, although this is not a quota. The documents attempts to establish individual rights as the basis of government, including freedom of religion, and aspires to be not only historic for Iraq but for the entire region, one official said. The new constitution still...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

US, Pakistan Agree on Osama Hunt

Reports have surfaced claiming that Pakistan has finally agreed to allow US troops to operate on Pakistani soil in the upcoming Special Ops spring offensive on al Qaeda (via Drudge): Thousands of U.S. troops will be deployed in a tribal area of northwest Pakistan in return for Washington's support of President Pervez Musharraf's pardon of the Pakistani scientist who this month admitted leaking nuclear arms secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea, investigative reporter Seymour Hersh wrote in the issue [of the New Yorker] that goes on sale on Monday. Musharraf came under fire earlier for his breathtaking pardon of the man responsible for nuclear proliferation to the "Axis of Evil" and seemingly everyone else. The Bush administration leveraged that into a sweeping deal which Musharraf publicly claimed he'd never allow. And without being able to freely operate on both sides of the border, we wouldn't be likely to get...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Dean Campaign a Civil War: Post

The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz wrote an extensive article on the Howard Dean campaign, revealing deep divisions within the ranks and a candidate afraid to win: In different conversations and in different ways, according to several people who worked with him, Dean said at the peak of his popularity late last year that he never expected to rise so high, that he didn't like the intense scrutiny, that he had just wanted to make a difference. "I don't care about being president," he said. Months earlier, as his candidacy was taking off, he told a colleague: "The problem is, I'm now afraid I might win." As Dean was swallowed by the bubble that envelops every major candidate, he allowed his campaign to sink into a nasty civil war that crippled decision-making and devastated morale. In the end, say some of those who uprooted their lives for him, these tensions hastened...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Economy Continues to Improve

The Commerce Department reports today that consumer spending continues to increase, growing at a rate of 0.4% in January, in line with investor expectations and continuing to demonstrate the strength of the economic recovery: The over-the-month increase reported by the Commerce Department on Monday matched analysts' expectations. The advance came after a bigger 0.5 percent rise in December, which was slightly stronger than first estimated a month ago. Disposable incomes what's left after taxes rose by 0.8 percent in January, up from a 0.3 percent increase the month before. January's sizable increase was helped out by a number of factors, including a reduction in federal incomes taxes and pay raises for government workers and those in the military. The news gets even better when you look at non-durable spending, like food and clothing, and services, both of which grew faster than the overall rate. Personal savings is up...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

The Strib Endorses Blackmail

The Star Tribune predictably shrieks with hysteria today about the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Firearms Act, which the Senate is about to pass after the House has already done so. For those not in the know, the PLCFA protects gun manufacturers from the same sort of tort extortion that the tobacco industry has endured over the past several years. Trial lawyers love these class-action lawsuits because they have the potential of nine-figure legal fees; Micheal Ceresi's firm received over $400 million from the eventual multi-billion settlement for Minnesota in the tobacco lawsuits. However, unlike true liability cases where a defective product was knowingly sold to consumers, causing injury, these lawsuits are intended on extorting huge sums of money from gun manufacturers for producing their legal products at all. The lawyers intend on banning guns by bankrupting their manufacturers -- while stuffing their own pockets -- and they're not even...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Now This Is a First Amendment Issue

I wonder if the same people who screamed about government intrusion on First Amendment rights when Clear Channel Communications dropped Howard Stern's radio show will demonstrate any level of outrage over this: A Roman Catholic charitable organization must include birth control coverage in its health care plan for workers even though it is morally opposed to contraception, the California Supreme Court ruled Monday. ... The high court said Catholic Charities is no different from other businesses in California, which is one of 20 states that require company-provided health plans to include contraception coverage if the plans have prescription drug benefits. In California, "religious employers" such as churches are exempt from the requirement. ... The Supreme Court ruled that the charity is not a religious employer because it offers such secular services as counseling, low-income housing and immigration services to the public without directly preaching about Catholic values. The court also...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Why I Oppose Kerry and Support Bush

Mark asked me a direct question yesterday in response to my post about the laughably transparent Iranian attempt to influence the election Friday: And what do you have against Kerry? Or has Bush really fought to improve your way of life? I wrote later that his question was valid, and rather than point to a collection of earlier posts on various incidents, I think it would be more honest for me to put together a comprehensive argument for my position on this election. I will address this in two parts, just as Mark asked: why I oppose John Kerry, and why I support George Bush. Primarily, I don't trust John Kerry, and I never have. He's spent most of his Senate career carrying Ted Kennedy's water and regularly competes with Kennedy for the most liberal voting record -- a contest he won last year, according to the National Journal. He...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

March 2, 2004

Definition of 'Is', Part II

Senator John Edwards, whose presidential run will likely run onto the shoals tonight, has made a lot of noise about refusing money from lobbyists, especially in the wake of a number of scandals involving frontrunner John Kerry. However, it turns out that Edwards and Kerry have more in common than first thought: While Democrat John Edwards boasts that he hasn't taken a dime from Washington lobbyists for his presidential campaign, he has accepted thousands of dollars from people in the capital's lobbying profession or their spouses and children. ... Even if donors lobby at the state level or run firms or organizations that lobby Congress, their money is accepted by Edwards as long as they are not personally registered. For instance, Edwards, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, received a $500 donation from National Education Association executive director John Wilson. Wilson himself isn't a registered...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

News Flash: Barry Bonds Took Steroids!! (Yawn)

Sometimes a post is difficult to categorize; this one could go under Sports or Science, I suppose. The San Francisco Chronicle reported on its website late last night that San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds took steroids and human-growth hormone from a lab in the center of a federal investigation, according to information provided to the feds: Investigators also were told that New York Yankees stars Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield, as well as three other major leaguers and one NFL player, were given steroids, the newspaper reported. Bonds' personal trainer, Greg Anderson, gave the players the drugs from the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, according to information given to the government and shared with the newspaper. ... The Chronicle reported that two of Bonds' former teammates Marvin Benard of the Chicago White Sox (news) and Kansas City catcher Benito Santiago and former Oakland infielder Randy Velarde also received...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

The Kidney Chronicles

For those of you who have been kind enough to ask about the First Mate, I just wanted to give you an update on her status. The collection of doctors we've gathered have decided that her kidney function has dropped off too much for her to wait for the transplant for treatment, and so she will be starting dialysis tomorrow. She'll go in to have a shunt installed in the morning, have a dialysis treatment, stay overnight for observation, have another treatment in the morning, and hopefully will be ready for release in the afternoon. While it sounds like a setback, this actually will help relieve the symptoms of kidney failure that trouble her the most, and should be a marked improvement in her quality of life. We're both optimistic. One of our friends from Twin Cities Marriage Encounter (where we volunteer as board officers) has volunteered to donate her...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Someone's Confused

Warren Grantham, executive director of the Minnesota Education League, has resigned his position from both the MEL and apparently the Taxpayers' League due to an inflammatory e-mail he sent to various state legislators: The executive director of the Minnesota Education League and an advocate of the No Child Left Behind law, resigned last Friday in a dispute over an e-mail he wrote that attacked several legislators for their opposition to the law. ... Grantham said the e-mail to legislators, which he characterized as "very, very critical, using some inflammatory images," led to a disagreement between him and his boss, Taxpayers League of Minnesota president David Strom. That led to Grantham's resignation. The basics of this story are fairly straightforward so far -- Grantham wrote an e-mail that somehow offended its recipients, among them current Minnesota legislators opposed to the No Child Left Behind federal law, including some Republicans. His boss...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Friday Photo Caption Contest

Maybe we'll make these a regular Friday night feature at Captain's Quarters -- check out this photo below and give us your best caption! But be careful, because it looks like we may have hurt John Kerry's feelings the last time out ... The contest will be open until Tuesday at 6 PM CST. Enter as often as you like, no purchase necessary to win, rules at selected Captain's Quarters locations near you ... UPDATE: Bumping it up for the weekend ... UPDATE: Don't forget that the caption contest ends tonight! Get your entries in! UPDATE: I'm closing entries now, and thanks to all of you who entered. I'll have the winners posted by late tonight. Next Friday, we'll be doing this again, and The Patriette will guest judge the entries with me (I hope!) ......

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

No Kerry Sweep; Edwards to Withdraw

It appears that the ghost of Howard Dean has appeared in Vermont to spoil John Kerry's dreams of Super Tuesday sweeps, according to CNN: Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean -- who dropped out of the race two weeks ago -- won his home state, CNN projected based on the exit polls. It appears that Kerry will easily beat Edwards in most of the other contests. So far, Edwards leads in Georgia, but that's all. The only other state that Edwards had any momentum at all, Maryland, looks like it will go solidly for the Yankee rather than the Southerner. Breaking news has John Edwards withdrawing from the race tomorrow. Finally, we get the two-man race we always wanted: John Kerry vs Dennis Kucinich....

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

You're All Winners, But Some More So Than Others

Thanks to everyone who entered Friday's caption contest! I had a lot of great responses, which everyone can see in the comments section of the original post. I'd tell you that every one of you is already a winner, but the Captain doesn't want to clean up after the massive bout of seasickness that would surely follow ... Here are the winners: Captain's Favorite: Bryan If I pretend to be napping, maybe I won't have to speak to that commoner. You Have The Conn #1: Dorkafork John Kerry tries to pry open his eyelids as rigor mortis sets in...again. You Have The Conn #2: Linda Presidential candidate, John Kerry, is suddenly struck by the fact that he is not drawing better looking volunteers. You Have The Conn #3: Dean Esmay Sen. Kerry wistfully remembers his days portraying Lurch on The Addams Family. Don't forget to check back again on Friday,...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Politburo Diktat: The AWOL Media

The Commissar notes a story that has escaped attention from the ever-vigiliant mainstream media: Comrades, February has ended, and evil Amerikan forces lost 23 soldiers in Iraq. To date, MiniTruth has employed appropriate full media blackout on this development. ... As far as Commissar has been able to Google, there are no reports of February casualties in this context. Therefore, Commissar will award new dacha, Hero of Soviet Union medal, and bolshoi linkage to any comrade identifying traitorous, counter-revolutionary mention of low February casualties in any mainstream MiniTruth media. Full blackout, comrades; enemy bombers overhead! Jay Reding also notes that this has received no media coverage whatsoever. Why not? When we sustained a (relatively) high rate of casualties in November, it's all we heard about from the mainstream news media. Gee ... you don't suppose they've got an agenda, do you?? Try Googling it yourself, or use the search engines...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Cheney: I'm Not Going Anywhere

Speculation has swirled about the status of Dick Cheney in this election, with some suggesting that the Vice President may be an albatross in the general election. Cheney has been a lightningrod for controversy in the run-up to the war in Iraq, with the lunatic fringe -- and others -- charging that the war only served to inflate Cheney's Halliburton holdings. (Way out on the lunatic fringe of the lunatic fringe, Ted Rall thinks that Cheney went to war in Afghanistan so his buddies could build an oil pipeline.) But today in Washington, Cheney told MS-NBC that Bush has asked him to run again: "He's asked me to serve with him on the ticket again for the next 4 years,'' Cheney told Fox News in one of a series of cable television interviews. "I'm happy to do that as long as I can be of assistance and he wants me...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

March 3, 2004

KSTP Drowning, Uses Ed Asner as Life Preserver?

I noticed during the Oscar broadcast that our local ABC affiliate, KSTP, began running a new commercial for its news shows. Ed Asner, reprising his Lou Grant role but without using the name, stands in front of the KSTP newsroom and gruffly tells them that the nonsense stops now, and if they're looking for dancing bears, they need to work somewhere else. I remember thinking at the time that the whole concept was pathetic; it's been twenty-two years since the Lou Grant character was last performed. Today, the Star Tribune explains it all -- the desperation, the dropping revenue, and the tortured explanation of how KSTP News sold its brain, if not its soul, in order to attract viewers: KSTP-TV, Channel 5, has launched an image-building campaign featuring actor Ed Asner, who reprises his signature role of Lou Grant, the gruff, no-nonsense news director beloved by Minnesota audiences since his...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Speaking Truth to Power

When people ask me to identify a hero, sometimes I have difficulty answering. Sir Thomas More? General Anthony McAuliffe, who famously replied "Nuts!" to a German demand for surrender at Bastogne? The Canadian diplomats who risked their lives to smuggle Americans out of Teheran in 1979? All good answers, of course, but now one man can take his rightful place with these other people of courage: Saint Paul of Fraters Libertas. JB Doubtless writes today about how SP spoke truth about an evil, in the middle of the lion's den (er, Giants den) itself. Here is an excerpt of this inspiring display of righteous bravery: Something sent SP off (a Bonds dinger? the memory fails) and he yelled "HE'S JUICED". Embarassed, but laughing, TRAH and I continued watching the game. But he wasn't done. In what could only be described as drunken, maniacal boorishness SP launched into a ten minute...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Hospiblogging

Today is the First Mate's surgery to install a dialysis shunt, and the didn't start off too well. Her blood sugars were too low and her blood pressure too high, and so the hospital delayed her procedure for a while. Eventually she got settled down and they've taken her in for the surgery, which fortunately only requires sedation and a local anaesthetic. In the meantime, I'm waiting in the hospital lobby with a restaurant pager for them to tell me when the doctor is ready to talk with me. (You can't have a cell phone on, but you'll know when your table is ready, monsieur.) After asking about a dozen people if the hospital had Internet access, someone told me about a few workstations they have just off of the lobby. None of them had an access port, but a table nearby has a computer for job applicants. Above the...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Kerry Strong Among Base, Not Holding Independents

In what could portend disaster for the Democrats in November, John Kerry -- the most liberal Senator in 2003 -- seems to fall short in attracting independent voters: Yet even in California, Kerry did not run nearly as well with independents who were eligible to vote in the Democratic primary as he did among party members. This trend was more pronounced in Tuesday's voting in Ohio and Georgia, according to exit polls conducted by Edison Media Research/Mitofsky International. In that way, the results underscored Kerry's ability to mobilize Democrats and the challenge he may face with independents as the campaign's focus shifts to the battle against Bush. The LA Times exit polling showed the same trend throughout most of the contests yesterday and points out the folly of nominating a candidate from the extremes. John Kerry's record of attacking military and intelligence spending plays well in San Francisco...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Watchers Council Nominations

Once again, I have been honored with a nomination in the weekly Watchers Council contest for this week. The Council has nominated my extensive post on my opposition of John Kerry and support for George Bush, which makes me feel pretty good; normally, I write posts quickly, but I struggled for hours over that one. As always, the Council has gathered a serious collection of excellent posts from around the blogosphere. Be sure to check them all out....

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Six Digits

For those of you who are inclined to notice such things, Captain's Quarters passed 100,000 visitors this afternoon. Thank you to all of you who visit, who comment, and who blogroll me. I certainly appreciate your presence, and I'll prove it by finishing this post and blogging on something more substantial now ......

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Same-Sex Solutions That Make Sense

In the middle of all the heat and noise about same-sex marriage, the Bush administration is quietly pushing a same-sex solution for education that may wind up enraging some on the Left, but will make educating our daughters more effective: The Education Department plans to change its enforcement of Title IX, the landmark anti-discrimination law, to make it easier for districts to create single-sex classes and schools. The move would give local school leaders discretion to expand choices for parents, whether that means a math class, a grade level or an entire school designed for one gender. U.S. research on single-sex schooling is limited, but advocates say it shows better student achievement and attendance and fewer discipline problems. Critics say there is no clear evidence, and that single-sex learning doesn't get students ready for an integrated world. At least 91 of 91,000 public schools offer a form of same-sex education...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Kerry'd Away

Hey, I know John Kerry has to say something to convince people to vote for him, and so far, all he's had to say was that he hates George Bush, Bush is evil, Bush is inept -- well, things like this: "This president has in fact created terrorists where they didn't exist," he said. "And I believe this president has run the most arrogant, inept, reckless and ideological foreign policy in the modern history of our country. And we need to hold him accountable." Hugh Hewitt notes tonight that Kerry apologist Joshua Micah Marshall insists on validating that ridiculous notion on Hugh's show, so apparently this will be the catchphrase up through the convention, and perhaps beyond. Let's test this by looking at highlights of the past 40 or so years, which I assume would satisfy Kerry's "modern" qualifier. 1961 - President John F. Kennedy implements a leftover plan from...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

March 4, 2004

Nighthorse Won't Run

Colorado Republican Ben Nighthorse Campbell, one of the more colorful members of the Senate and a strong favorite for re-election this year, has abruptly left the race, citing health concerns: Campbell, 70, made the surprise announcement Wednesday, citing declining health. He was treated for prostate cancer last year. His Washington office also faces allegations that a longtime aide had taken kickbacks. Campbell's decision gave Democrats another open Senate seat to target in November and threw the Colorado Senate race wide open. Pollsters suggested heavyweights like GOP Gov. Bill Owens and former Democratic Sen. Gary Hart might get into the race, but there was no immediate word from them. Hart earlier declined to seek the seat. Obviously, this sets back Republican hopes of expanding its control of the upper chamber. This creates a vacuum and a relatively short campaign where name recognition may be the deciding factor. Pollsters are already looking...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Indecency Fines May Get Much Tougher

The FCC will have the ability to levy much larger fines for indecent broadcasts if a bill approved by a Congressional subcommittee passes: A House committee voted Wednesday to increase from $27,500 to $500,000 the fines that could be imposed on broadcasters for airing indecent material. A House Energy and Commerce Committee subcommittee had approved a tenfold increase, to $275,000, in fines the Federal Communications Commission could impose for each indecency violation. But the full committee voted 49-1 Wednesday to nearly double that. The Super Bowl broadcast exposed CBS to fines that potentially reached $5.5 million -- or less than the revenue it received for three minutes of advertising during the event. Under the new rules, if adopted, CBS could have faced upwards of $100 million in FCC fines. Faced with growing anger in Congress over the perceived rapid degradation of broadcast material, perhaps especially in radio, the industry lobbying...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

New Group Blog: Oh, That Liberal Media

The Captain has been invited to participate in a new group blog that launched this week: Oh, That Liberal Media. Organized by Stefan Sharansky and including contributors such as Ombudsgod and Patterico -- who's been brilliant at holding the LA Times accountable for its egregious bias -- the aim is to create a clearinghouse of items that will not only demonstrate the leftist bias in today's mass media but encourage their readers and viewers to demand more balance. My first contribution to the effort is a cross-post of my earlier item on the Minneapolis Star-Tribune's editorial against the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Firearms Act. I hope you get a chance to keep up with this exciting new project....

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

How The Left Lost Younger Voters

Glenn Reynolds notes an article from Reason which reviews the new book from Danny Goldberg, Dispatches from the Culture Wars: How the Left Lost Teen Spirit. In the Reason review, David Weigel rightly skewers Goldberg's analysis that the problem is one of marketing instead of policy and Goldberg's insistence that musical tastes are particularly revealing of political philosophy: Convinced of the righteousness and appeal of Democratic policies, Goldberg skips over whether those policies might be the problem. Instead, for him, its all about effective advertising. He believes that a majority, especially a majority of young people, will rally around, say, abortion rights, affirmative action, and soak-the-rich taxes as long as theyre slickly packaged via pop culture. Thus, Goldbergs Big Idea is a progressive reconquista of pop culture. Embrace Bill Clintons "boxers or briefs" MTV interview, and be irreverent. Join forces with the hip-hop stars whom Al Sharpton is taking for...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Protective Custody

Since I work in the security industry, stupid criminal stories like this never fail to amuse me. In this case, the police did this guy a favor by arresting him before he killed someone -- namely, himself: A Brazilian crook shot himself in the foot while trying to burglarize a bar, then left a trail of blood that led police straight to his home, police said Thursday. ... Police said Auad had broken into the bar several days earlier and had stolen a television set. He broke into the bar through the roof again on Tuesday night, but fell down and accidentally shot himself in the right foot, police said. Not only does crime not pay, sometimes it hurts like hell....

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

The Myth of 3 Million Jobs

Sean's excellent blog, Everything I Know Is Wrong, explodes the myth of the three-million-job loss during the Bush administration in a funny and well-sourced post from last night. Apparently, Sean did what John Kerry's entire staff was unable to do and check out the data at the Bureau of Labor Statistics: It took about as long to do it as it took you to read about it. Take a look at the left side of the table; the column marked Jan. Now look down to the rows marked 2001, 2003 and 2004. The Jan 2001 figure is 137,790,000 (the numbers are all in thousands) and the Jan 2004 figure is 138,566,000. That means that there are 776,000 more jobs now than there were in the first month of George Bushs administration. Look at the Jan 2003 number, 137,477,000, which means there are 1,119,000 more jobs than this time last year....

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

At Least the North Koreans Are More Honest About It

Last weekend, I incurred the ire of Pandagon readers by suggesting that the Iranians were attempting to influence the presidential election by claiming John Kerry sent them e-mail and then putting out a phony report that Bush had Osama locked up but was waiting until the fall for the maximum political impact. Readers on the Left interpreted my post as an attack on John Kerry's patriotism, for some reason, instead of an attack on the Iranian leadership's intelligence. Now another member of the Axis of Evil has publicly made its choice for the American President known, and surprise, surprise, it ain't W (via Hugh Hewitt): North Korea's state-controlled media are well known for reverential reporting about Kim Jong-il, the country's dictatorial leader. But the Dear Leader is not the only one getting deferential treatment from the communist state's propaganda machine: John Kerry, the presumptive Democratic candidate, is also getting good...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Watcher's Council Has Spoken

The Watcher's Council has made their selections for the week's best entries. My post on my opposition to Kerry came in an honorable second place in the non-Council entries, behind Kim du Toit's great post, Never Again. Congrats to Spiced Sass and King of Fools, who provided the one-two punch for the Council entries. Big thanks to the Council for the nomination and the votes!...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

March 5, 2004

Wrong on Many Levels

The Washington Post tells about a teacher in the DC area who somehow got a copy of The Passion of the Christ and showed it to his students in class -- at an elementary school: As a teacher showed sixth-graders at the District's Malcolm X Elementary School parts of the movie "The Passion of the Christ," 11-year-old Cutairra Ransom was growing upset by the violence unfolding in front of her. ... After about 15 minutes of watching the R-rated film about the final hours of Jesus's life, Cutairra said she walked out of the room. She was one of the 16 to 20 students who were shown the movie Tuesday at the public school, which is in the Congress Park neighborhood of Southeast Washington. D.C. school officials, who said sixth-graders should not be shown R-rated movies at school, have placed the teacher, Ronald Anthony, on leave with pay pending an...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

California In Play?

While President Bush still regularly polls below John Kerry in the Golden State, the LA Times publishes an op-ed today by Robert Grady that analyzes the state ballot results from this week and sees red flags for Kerry's campaign: The state Democratic establishment, which backed and advises Kerry, also put its full weight behind Proposition 56, which would have reduced the vote required for the Legislature to pass the budget and taxes from two-thirds to 55%. ... The voters were not fooled. Proposition 56 was crushed 65% to 35%. It lost by well over a million votes. The message is clear, both for Kerry and George W. Bush: California voters like voters nationwide are overwhelmingly against tax increases. If Kerry thinks this is a fluke, he might consider the results of California's recall election last year. ... Republicans Arnold Schwarzenegger and Tom McClintock captured 49% and 13% of...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Libya: 44,000 Pounds of Mustard Gas

George Bush's alliance with Tony Blair in using force to unseat Saddam Hussein continued to bear fruit as Libya revealed the extent of their chemical weapons programs at the Hague earlier today: Libya acknowledged stockpiling 44,000 pounds of mustard gas and disclosed the location of a production plant in a declaration submitted Friday to the world's chemical weapons watchdog. Libyan Col. Mohamed Abu Al Huda handed over 14 file cartons disclosing Libya's chemical weapons programs to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, said general director Rogelio Pfirter. ... Libya also declared thousands of tons of precursors that could be used to make sarin nerve gas, and two storage facilities, Pfirter said. The production and storage facilities were near Tripoli and in the south of the country, Pfirter said. Even Moammar Gaddafi acknowledges that the military action by the Anglo-American Coalition, which included support from over thirty other nations,...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Airheads Poised On The Brink

We're almost exactly 24 hours away from the debut of the Northern Alliance radio show on AM 1280 The Patriot here in the Twin Cities. Mitch Berg will play center and moderate the three-hour talkathon; I'll be on in the first hour tomorrow, discussing events from the past week and interacting with callers. I'll join Saint Paul of Fraters Libertas and Hindrocket from Power Line. Mitch has the rest of the schedule on this post, and I may duck back in for a segment during the last hour, depending on availability (and whether I have anything intelligent to say). If you're in the broadcast area, make sure you tune in to The Patriot for the launch, and call in. For those outside of the Twin Cities, we're hoping to get a streaming service for the show very soon. Keep checking at the Northern Alliance site for more news and information....

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Independent: Kerry More Popular Where People Can't Vote

The Commissar at the Politburo Diktat links to an insipid article in yesterday's Independent that begins with this statement: If the human race as a whole, rather than 50 states plus the District of Colombia, could cast a ballot this coming November, John Kerry would surely win the presidency by a landslide. Unfortunately for President Bush-haters around the world, only the 200 million United States citizens of voting age will have that right - and the outcome is anything but sure. As I responded in the Commissar's comments, if the human race as a whole could cast a vote, we wouldn't need George Bush in the White House. Until that time, we can't afford John Kerry....

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

First Mate Back on Board

Thank you to all who kept the First Mate in your thoughts and prayers -- she's back home, tired but feeling much better, and significantly lighter, too, after three dialysis treatments. We've made the arrangements for her continuing dialysis treatments, so she should do fine right through to the transplant. However, we got the list of what the First Mate can't have as grub any longer -- and I'm scratching my head as to what the heck she'll be living on. She can have as much protein as she wants, but not prepared or preserved meat (too much sodium). She can't eat bran, beans, or nuts and only a half cup of dairy a day (too much phosphorus). You'd think that fruits and vegetables would be a good idea, but there's half a page of veggies that are off-limits (too high in potassium). Geeeeeez. I thought diabetes was difficult....

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Of Course, I'm Biased, But ...

With all of the health issues at the home port lately, this story from the St. Paul Pioneer Press jumped out at me today: If a bill to give a tax break to living organ donors had been a football, its supporters would have scored a quick touchdown Thursday during a House Tax Committee hearing. ... Under the proposal, Minnesotans who donate a kidney, lung, bone marrow or part of their liver, pancreas or intestine would be able to deduct up to $10,000 on their taxes for out-of-pocket expenses, including travel, lodging, time off from work and extra baby-sitting fees. "People should not suffer financially for giving the gift of life to others,'' said Rep. Erik Paulsen, R-Eden Prairie, the bill's author. Najarian said the tax break would not entice people into becoming organ donors but it would remove the financial disincentives that prevent some from making the commitment. We...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Why We Can't Trust the French

The Italians are learning how trustworthy the French are as allies against terrorism: The Left-wing intelligentsia of Paris have manned the barricades to defend an Italian terrorist turned novelist who is fighting extradition to serve a sentence for political killings in the late 1970s. Cesare Battisti, 49, was convicted by a Milan court in absentia in 1988 of four murders, several attempted murders and robberies while leader of a group called the Armed Proletarians for Communism. ... The terrorist's lawyers claim that the refusal is a legal precedent which still protects their client. The government's lawyers say the decision was political rather than legal and is therefore reversible. Just as when the French decided to block the extradition of Ira Einhorn, the hippie murderer, the French literati are more interested in giving aid and comfort to a murder and a terrorist than in cooperating with their Italian neighbors and supposed...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

March 6, 2004

Someone Issued An Opinion! AAAAGH!

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune once again gives new meaning to the term thin-skinned in its headline article on the recent bus strike, skewing the reporting with a bias so obvious it's laughable: The bus strike was quiet on all fronts Friday -- until the Minnesota Taxpayers League lobbed a grenade into the battlefield. "Transit just isn't that important to the smooth functioning of the Twin Cities transportation system," said league President David Strom. "That's the obvious conclusion to be drawn from the lack of chaos engendered by the bus-system strike." If indeed any strike could be called "quiet", the Strib's coverage of it certainly doesn't give that impression. Today, for instance, the Strib has two articles on the strike, including this one, and has headlined the strike since before it began. Yesterday the Strib ran seven stories on the impasse. Besides, while the Taxpayers League has been an active and influential...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Kerry Goes Cajun

From the LA Times, an amusing portrait of the presumptive Democratic nominee trying desperately to make inroads in the South: Friday, Kerry accused the president of ducking his record, saying Bush's new television commercials featuring images of the destroyed World Trade Center were an attempt to avoid domestic issues. "As you know, George Bush wants this whole deal just to be about war," Kerry said. "His first advertisements have pictures of ground zero." The crowd booed. Yes, and since Kerry has been all over the map on the war on terror, it's the last issue the Democrats want to debate. Lieberman was consistent, and Dean was at least consistent throughout the primaries. But Kerry has tried to have his cake and eat it too all along, trying to explain how a vote authorizing military action actually demonstrated his opposition to it and a vote denying funding for the deployed troops...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Elementary, My Dear Watson

The LA Times reports today that the current popular theory for the extinction of the dinosaurs may not hold water after all: Scientists investigating a vast crater off Mexico's Yucatan peninsula are questioning a popular theory about dinosaurs, saying the collision that formed the crater happened too far back in time to have caused their extinction by itself. ... "Since the early 1990s the Chicxulub crater on Yucatan, Mexico, has been hailed as the smoking gun that proves the hypothesis that an asteroid killed the dinosaurs and caused the mass extinction of many other organisms at the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary 65 million years ago," the researchers write in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. But they said a core drilled out of the middle of the crater suggests it dates back more than 300,000 years before the K-T boundary and "thus did not cause...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Barbra Streisand, Deadbeat

Barbra Streisand's $10 million lawsuit against software developer and environmentalist Kenneth Adelman backfired on her recently, with a judgment against her for over $200,000 in legal fees and court costs to be paid to Adelman. So far, the reclusive entertainer has yet to comply with the court order: A man sued by singer Barbra Streisand for posting photos of her Malibu mansion on the Internet claims she is refusing to pay his $220,000 legal bill after he won the case. A judge in December dismissed Streisand's $10 million invasion of privacy suit against retired software entrepreneur Kenneth Adelman, his Internet service provider and a photo agency that distributes his work. The singer was ordered to pay his legal fees and costs. Adelman filed papers Thursday in Superior Court seeking another court order that Streisand pay an estimated $204,000 in legal fees from the original case, along with $15,000 in fees...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Northern Alliance Radio: Live Blogging!

We're a little over an hour from the start of the Northern Alliance Radio show here in the Twin Cities, and as I said earlier, I will be live-blogging during the second and third hours, complete with digital photographs of the gang. Keep checking back on this post! 12:01 - We're all getting settled into the booth. First segment: Mitch, Hindrocket, Saint Paul, and myself ... 12:07 - Our first topic was graffiti in public restrooms -- yeah, we're rolling, baby! ... 12:16 - Out to our first break, after discussing John Kerry and the "inept" accusation. When we come out of our break, we'll have our first caller on the line ... 12:26 - James Lileks is our first caller, and talks about Kerry's assertion of starving the troops of equipment -- he reminds us of Black Hawk Down ... 12:46 - We've taken three callers, and the last...

Continue reading "Northern Alliance Radio: Live Blogging!" »

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

A Few Notes From The First Show

I've just returned home from the first Northern Alliance Radio show's wrap party at the Rocket Man's house, and I wanted to make sure I closed the loop on some of your comments and questions, as well as thank a few people. First, thank you for your comments on the post. When we get a little better at this, we'll take the e-mails on the air just like callers, like Hugh and Michael Medved do. Right now it's all we can do to chew gum and walk at the same time. (Talk radio with Gerald Ford -- now there's a concept.) A couple of people asked about live internet streaming, and I can tell you that we all want that, including the station, but it will likely be an expensive proposition and they'll want to sell some advertising first. I think we proved today that we have a product, and...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Ships That Pass In The Night

The Commissar at the Politburo Diktat posts today about a new Internet gizmo that you might find interesting. The link below will let you see the nearest bloggers to me, or at least those who have signed into this service. Just click the link below: Sign yourself up for this free, fun service, and find out who's closest to you!...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

March 7, 2004

Kerry Not So Eager to Volunteer After All

John Kerry, who has made his volunteer service in Vietnam the centerpiece of his Presidental campaign 35 years later, apparently was not so eager to serve as he has led people to believe, the UK Telegraph reports: Senator John Kerry, the presumed Democratic presidential candidate who is trading on his Vietnam war record to campaign against President George W Bush, tried to defer his military service for a year, according to a newly rediscovered article in a Harvard University newspaper. He wrote to his local recruitment board seeking permission to spend a further 12 months studying in Paris, after completing his degree course at Yale University in the mid-1960s. The revelation appears to undercut Sen Kerry's carefully-cultivated image as a man who willingly served his country in a dangerous war - in supposed contrast to President Bush, who served in the Texas National Guard and thus avoided being sent to...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Hosting Matters Maintenance Today

If you had troubles reaching Captain's Quarters this morning, it's because my excellent hosting service, Hosting Matters, performed planned maintenance -- moving their equipment into more secure facilities. This affected both web and e-mail service, so if you sent me something and it bounced back, that's why. Everything seems good now -- the site is back up and my e-mail service is working. Instapundit, Power Line, Little Green Footballs, and others were similarly affected. I posted a notice at my backup site of the maintenance as soon as it began. If you don't have that bookmarked, you may want to add it now. I plan on using the old site for extended down times if they occur....

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Telegraph: John Flip-Flop Kerry

In another article on the presidential race, the UK Telegraph has an excellent review of John Kerry's flip-flops -- the kind of research that the US media seems reluctant to do: Forget the occasional about-face on defence policy and the Iraq war, in the mawkish world of American politics one of the most fundamental questions a candidate can face is: Do they have any Irish blood? ... In a speech to the Senate in 1986 he even said: "For those of us who are fortunate to share an Irish ancestry, we take great pride in the contributions [of] Irish-Americans." When presented with proof that Mr Kerry's grandfather was the Jewish-born Fritz Kohn, the senator's aides reversed their position without a backward glance. "He has never indicated to anyone that he was Irish and corrected people over the years who assumed he was," said Kelly Benander, a Democrat spokeswoman. While this...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Hybrid Cars Still More Expensive, Less Reliable

The Los Angeles Times takes a look at the so-far unfulfilled promise of electric-gasoline hybrid cars like the Toyota Prius, the darling of the Hollywood set, and determines that hybrids may not be the answer: But consumer advocates say the marketing glosses over a few things, including the true operating cost of the cars, despite their fabled fuel economy. "If you're looking at this purely as a pocketbook decision, the hybrid won't work," says Gabriel Shenhar, senior auto test engineer for Consumer Reports magazine, although he has no quarrel with the hybrids' environmental credentials. ... Although the Prius and Honda's Civic and Insight hybrids do get terrific gas mileage, in real-world use they rarely match the extraordinary fuel economy the Environmental Protection Agency gets on its test circuit. The federal government is gradually rolling back the tax deduction hybrid buyers can claim it was $2,000 last year...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Passion of the Christ: Brutal, Brilliant Art

After two weeks of release, I finally went to see Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ this afternoon. Until now, all I had done was read some of the reviews, both professional and in the blogosphere, as well as the various interviews from some of the principals like Gibson and Jim Caviezel, who plays Jesus. I have also kept up with some of the attacks on the movie, Gibson, and his motivations, such as Andy Rooney's late last month. Now that I have seen the film, I understand the passion about the Passion. Either a viewer will love this film or hate it; there is little room for middle ground, and that's precisely the point. One of the images in the film that stuck with me the most -- one that is present in most of the advertising as well -- is a slow-motion shot of Jesus drawing a...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

March 8, 2004

Better Late Than Never

Iraq took another step in its long journey to freedom with the signing of its new, interim constitution -- a signing delayed by a demonstration of power by a leading Shi'ite cleric: Members of Iraq's Governing Council signed a landmark interim constitution Monday after resolving a political impasse sparked by objections from the country's most powerful cleric. The signing was a key step in U.S. plans to hand over power to the Iraqis by July 1. ... The charter which includes a 13-article bill of rights, enshrines Islam as one of the bases of law and outlines the shape of a parliament and presidency as well as a federal structure for the country. It will remain in effect until a permanent constitution is approved by a national referendum planned for late 2005. Originally scheduled to be signed last Friday, the Shi'ite members of Iraq's Governing Council suddenly boycotted at...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Sea Change in Europe?

The Greeks have resoundingly endorsed their conservatives and have sent Socialists to defeat, reversing twenty-three years of governing: With nearly 98 percent of votes counted, the New Democracy party led the Socialists 45.4 percent to 40.6 percent in Sunday's vote as part of a deep reshuffling of Greece's political order. Papandreou conceded defeat after exit polls showed New Democracy with a strong lead. New Democracy was poised to take an overwhelming majority in the 300-seat parliament. Under the Greek system, the winning party takes the lion's share of seats for a four-year term. Although the Greek economy is expanding at a rate of 4.7% -- the best in the EU -- most of that production involves the upcoming Athens Olympics, which played a large role in the election, especially regarding security. Even with that robust growth, unemployment has remained at 9%. The New Democracy movement promises to cut taxes and...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Here's A Novel Idea!

Who says an old Democrat can't learn new tricks? Not the LA Times, who reports that the party strategy in California has changed somewhat after their pet proposition to make raising taxes easier got stomped 2-1 last week: Democrats recognize that tactics of the past simply advocating tax increases to protect the needy won't work, and they are trying to take a page out of Schwarzenegger's playbook, embracing a strategy that looks for waste first and relies heavily on economic arguments. "We're not saying tax first," said Senate Budget Committee Chairman Wes Chesbro (D-Arcata). "We have an obligation before we ask people for taxes or cut any services to people to reduce state government spending in every way we can." What a novel concept -- rather than running the tab up further on California taxpayers, the Democrats propose to actually look at the budget first to get rid...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Bush Goes On Offense, Hits Kerry on Proposed Intelligence Cuts

As expected, President Bush went to offense now that John Kerry has cleared the field in the Democratic primaries, and points out Kerry's record of antagonism towards intelligence services: Bush, during a fund-raiser in Dallas, called attention to a 1995 bill that Kerry sponsored to trim intelligence spending by $1.5 billion over five years. The cut was part of what Kerry called a "budget-buster bill" to strip $90 billion from the budget and end 40 programs that he said were "pointless, wasteful, antiquated or just plain silly." Kerry's proposal, following the collapse of the Soviet Union and calls for a peace dividend after decades of spending to thwart the Cold War opponent, never came up for a vote. "This bill was so deeply irresponsible that it didn't have a single co-sponsor in the United States Senate," Bush said. "Once again, Senator Kerry is trying to have it both ways," Bush...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

News From The Manhunt

Here's a hot news flash from the front lines of O.J. Simpson's quest to find the one-armed man -- er, killer of wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman: DirecTV is accusing O.J. Simpson of pirating its satellite television signal. In a lawsuit filed Wednesday in federal court in Miami, the company demanded the former football star pay DirecTV $20,000. Federal agents removed satellite TV equipment from Simpson's house in the Miami neighborhood of Kendall during a search in 2001. DirecTV alleges the devices were "bootloaders," for unscrambling the company's signals. Simpson could not be reached for comment, as he currently is undercover, posing as a dissolute and psychotic ex-celebrity in order to lure the real killer out into the open....

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Labor Fading?

Tomorrow's New York Times looks at the decline of the modern labor movement and its associated political power, especially focusing on a few recent events: As the nation's labor leaders gathered at a luxury seaside hotel here, they were struggling on Monday to find ways to keep the union movement from sinking further after it suffered several recent setbacks. In the biggest confrontation in years, a 138-day dispute involving 59,000 California supermarket workers, the companies trounced the union, obtaining a two-tier contract that means lower wages and fewer health benefits for new employees. Organized labor also appeared badly disorganized as unions split over endorsing Representative Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri or Howard Dean, the former Vermont governor, for the Democratic presidential nomination and then appeared woefully ineffective when both of the preferred candidates flopped. And labor was embarrassed by a January government report showing that union membership fell by nearly...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

John Kerry: Not A Black Man After All

A few days ago, John Kerry tried on the Bill Clinton approach to civil rights, noting that Clinton had sometimes been called the nation's "first black President" for his humble Southern beginnings as well as his affinity to African-American leadership, and said that he wouldn't mind being known as the second black President. Oddly enough, having a rich, white, power-born politician describe himself as black didn't sit to well with those who actually are black -- and they're not just giving Kerry disapproving glances: The head of a civil rights and legal services advocacy group wants Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry to apologize for saying he wouldn't be upset if he could be known as the second black president. "John Kerry is not a black man he is a privileged white man who has no idea what it is in this country to be a poor white in this...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

March 9, 2004

Kerry Flip-Flops on Arafat

In an interview with the Associates Press, John Kerry backpedaled away from his 1997 assertion that Yasser Arafat was a "statesman" who was a role model for aspiring leaders of oppressed people: In a 1997 book, Kerry described "Arafat's transformation from outlaw to statesman." But in an interview with The Associated Press on Monday he said he no longer views Arafat favorably. "Obviously, Yasser Arafat has been an impediment to the peace process," said Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee-in-waiting. "He missed a historic opportunity and he's proved himself to be irrelevant." ... Referring to the Palestinian leader as a statesman would be potentially damaging in Florida, which has a heavy Jewish population and a Democratic primary Tuesday. Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas also hold primaries Tuesday. "He was (a statesman) in 1995," Kerry said, recalling frequent White House meetings between Israeli and Palestinian leaders in search of peace in the Middle...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Friday Photo Caption Contest!

It's time for the weekly Photo Caption Contest, and The Patriette has found a doozy for you. Put your crafty minds to this picture: Put your best quip in the comments, but beware; our previous winner, Bryan, later complained of painful swelling of the ego and difficulty getting his head to fit through doorways! Comments will close on Tuesday, March 9th, at 6 pm CT, when The Patriette and I will carefully select the winner. UPDATE: Time to get your entries in, if you haven't already done so! I'll keep the comments open until 8 PM CST, as I'm not likely to have Internet access at 6 pm anyway ... UPDATE II: Comments closed! Going to the judges' scorecards ......

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Avast, Ye Maties! CQ Has New Buccaneer Skin!

Mel at Skinny Dippin' Designs has finished the third and final (for now) skin for Captain's Quarters, and we're calling it Buccaneer. It's a new, two-column look for the blog, and uses a more basic color scheme of black-on-white text, for those of you who were having a difficult time using the color schemes of the first two skins. I asked the lovely and talented Mel to come up with a more basic look after getting some feedback along those lines, and she's done that while still maintaining an artistic flair. It's another reason that you should be checking with Mel if you need any website design done! I'll be adding a poll later on so that everyone can vote on their favorite skin. In the meantime, be sure to try them all out. Even the Captain can't make up his own mind about which one he'll be usin'! Arrrr......

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Is John Kerry Trying to Torpedo US Foreign Policy?

John Kerry, according to a Reuters story that got a lot of attention yesterday, claims that foreign leaders are telling him that he's their preferred candidate: Kerry opened another front against Bush on Monday when he said foreign leaders have told him privately that they are eager for him to win. "They look at you and say, 'You've got to win this, you've got to beat this guy, we need a new policy,' things like that," he said in Florida, Reuters reported. Kerry declined to name those leaders. That's because, as Hugh Hewitt notes, no one has been able to substantiate a recent meeting between John Kerry and any foreign leader. Since Kerry isn't elaborating, we can assume one of two things: either Kerry is lying, or Kerry is telling the truth. Option 1: Kerry Lied -- If Kerry lied, then this is an egregious lie. It would be a...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Dialyblogging

The First Mate is getting her first outpatient dialysis this afternoon at what appears to be an excellent facility here in the Twin Cities (in one of the South Metro suburbs, actually). She seems to be in good hands -- she's relaxing in a comfortable recliner while the dialyzer is running. Thanks to the conveniences provided by the clinic, I have network access to the Internet with my laptop, and I'm listening to Hugh Hewitt while blogging and keeping an eye on my wife. So far, her labs look pretty good and she's tolerating the treatment very well. Her nephrologist just came by to check on her and a couple of his other patients, and he's optimistic that after a couple of weeks her energy levels will be back to normal. One of the side benefits is that they will be able to draw blood regularly to check her labs,...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Domestic Terrorist Arrested

The FBI captured an alleged domestic terrorist this afternoon in Southern California, a Caltech student suspected of torching dozens of SUVs in attacks on car dealerships last year: A Caltech graduate student allegedly affiliated with an eco-terrorist group was arrested today in connection with last summer's arson attacks aimed at Hummers and other sports utility vehicles at four dealerships in the San Gabriel Valley. Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested William Jensen Cottrell, 23, on federal charges of arson and vandalism, said FBI Assistant Director Richard T. Garcia. ... Cottrell, using the alias Tony Marsden, sent several e-mails to the Los Angeles Times claiming responsibility for the arson attacks and confirming his affiliation with the Earth Liberation Front, according to the FBI. In the messages, which were sent one month after the fire bombings, Cottrell gave specific details of the attacks to prove his involvement. The Earth Liberation...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Tenet Explains It Again, Uses Smaller Words This Time

George Tenet appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee to explain to them -- again -- that the intelligence on Iraq was the same that the Senate had seen when they voted for an official policy of regime change in 1998, and that Bush just happened to have the stones that the previous administration and the nation lacked before 9/11. I'd go into detail, but Jon at QandO deals with it succinctly and humorously. Make sure you read everything Jon and McQ are writing at QandO while you're there -- definitely one of the outstanding blogs, especially for those with libertarian views or leanings....

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Steelers Draw a Duce

The Pittsburgh Steelers, who underperformed their way to an out-of-the-playoffs finish last season, made a huge step forward in kick-starting their moribund offense by signing former Eagles running back Duce Staley this afternoon: Free-agent running back Duce Staley will continue to play his football in the state of Pennsylvania, but to do so, he's going to have to take the turnpike west to Pittsburgh. Staley, the former Eagle, has agreed to a five-year, $14 million contract with the Steelers, agent Leigh Steinberg said Tuesday night. One of the most sought-after rushers in the free-agent marketplace, Staley will receive a $4 million signing bonus as part of the deal. The Steelers plan on releasing last season's feature running back, Amos Zereoue, who has talent but for some reason could never catch fire in Pittsburgh. They intend on teaming up the Duce with the Bus, Jerome Bettis, who will continue his amazing...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

March 10, 2004

Caption Contest: By The Dawn's Early Light

The results are in for the weekly Photo Caption Contest! The Patriette, at the twilight's last gleaming, began the laborious process of weeding through the 62 outstanding entries in the comments section. These, then, are the winning entries that the rockets' red glare and bombs bursting in air give proof are still there: Patriette Missile Award -- Cassandra: Edwards: "Well... if you're sure this will win over the Log Cabin Republicans..." The Patriette's Star-Spangled Banter Award (for the most creative dialogue used as a caption) -- Don: (for those who remember the old Saturday morning 'Justice League' superhero cartoon): Both: "Wonder twin powers activated!" Kerry: "Form of: A Presidential Candidate" Edwards: "Wait! I wanted to be the Presidential Candidate!" 1st Runner-Up -- Bryan: The attached-at-the-brain Democratic candidates were separated after a long, grueling procedure that led to one's demise and the other suffering from schizophrenia and delusions of grandeur. 2nd...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

The Folly of Campaign Finance 'Reform'

This year, we all will have front-row seats to watch the folly of campaign-finance reform in a nation whose first ideal is freedom of speech. Round One kicked off this week, as the New York Times reports: Three advertising campaigns by political groups harshly critical of President Bush are getting under way in 17 states, in an effort to counter Republican commercials that began showing last week. The largest campaign opens on Wednesday, paid with $5 million in unlimited donations that political parties can no longer collect. Republicans say the tactic is an illegal way to support Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, contending that it violates campaign finance laws. Stepping in to help Mr. Kerry's campaign offset what has been Mr. Bush's 10-to-1 fund-raising advantage, these groups are part of a handful of committees that some critics call a "shadow" political party. Since Congress passed McCain-Feingold as the latest act...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Dump the MPAA Ratings Systems, Please

In a statement that has gathered way too much attention already, an anti-smoking activist has challenged Hollywood to consider tobacco use when assigning MPAA ratings: If Nicolas Cage lights a cigarette in a movie, Hollywood's ratings board should respond as if he used a profanity, according to authors of a new study that criticizes glamorous images of smoking in movies rated for children under 17. Nearly 80 percent of movies rated PG-13 feature some form of tobacco use, while 50 percent of G and PG rated films depict smoking, said Stanton Glantz, co-author of the study, which examined 775 U.S. movies over the past five years. "No one is saying there should never be any smoking in the movies," Glantz, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, said Tuesday at a press conference at Hollywood High School. "What we're simply asking for is that smoking be...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

John McCain: Smoking the Drapes?

What in the world is John McCain thinking? "John Kerry (news - web sites) is a close friend of mine. We have been friends for years," McCain said Wednesday when pressed to squelch speculation about a Kerry-McCain ticket. "Obviously I would entertain it." But McCain emphasized how unlikely the whole idea was. "It's impossible to imagine the Democratic Party seeking a pro-life, free-trading, non-protectionist, deficit hawk," the Arizona senator told ABC's "Good Morning America" during an interview about illegal steroid use. "They'd have to be taking some steroids, I think, in order to let that happen." Senator McCain must be taking something himself to even start such a rumor. I supported McCain in 2000, but now I'm wondering if he's in full command of his faculties. If he wants to be considered for the Democratic presidential ticket, I would assume the first step would be to change party affiliation. Even...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

John Kerry: Bush/Cheney "Most Crooked...Lying Group"

Senator John Kerry revealed an ugly and poorly controlled side of himself when he thought he was off-mike this afternoon while speaking with AFL-CIO union workers in Chicago: Sen. John Kerry, all but officially the Democratic presidential nominee, called Republicans he is battling "crooked" Wednesday. ... "Keep smiling," one man said to him. Kerry responded, "Oh yeah, don't worry man. We're going to keep pounding, let me tell you -- we're just beginning to fight here. These guys are the most crooked, you know, lying group of people I've ever seen." Simply appalling. In the picture above, you can see a Kerry aide hurriedly trying to disconnect the microphone, to no avail, which leads me to wonder what else John Kerry says when he thinks the mikes are off. Does he speculate on Roswell? Discussing alien abductions? Kerry's campaign immediately retreated into damage control, saying that Kerry was referring to...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

The AP Uncovers Liberal Media Bias -- at the AP!

John Kerry today stuck his foot squarely in the warm messy stuff today when he made an aside to a group of union workers while he thought he was off-mike: "Let me tell you, we've just begun to fight," Kerry said. "We're going to keep pounding. These guys are the most crooked, you know, lying group I've ever seen. It's scary." The AP's Mike Glover, who originally covered this remark, wrote this about the incident: Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry on Wednesday called for deeper tax cuts for the middle class than proposed by President Bush and described his Republican critics as "the most crooked ... lying group I've ever seen." Contrast that passage with this passage in an article on the Kerry smear: Earlier Wednesday in Chicago, Kerry toughened his comments about his GOP critics after a supporter urged him to take on Bush [emph. mine]. "Let me tell...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

And the Oscar for Hypocrisy Goes To ...

In attempting to spin John Kerry's ugly, sotto voce smear earlier in the day, Kerry campaign spokesman David Wade blamed unnamed Republicans instead: Afterward, Kerry campaign official David Wade told reporters that Kerry did know his microphone had been on when he was speaking. ... Wade also pointed to a doctored photograph that placed Kerry alongside Jane Fonda during protests of the Vietnam war. That doctored photograph surfaced after an authentic photograph surfaced that showed Kerry sitting several rows behind Fonda at an anti-war rally. Wade blamed all such incidents on a GOP attack "machine." Of course, this must be the work of the "machine" on John Kerry's official campaign web site: Not only does it appear that the Kerry campaign does most of the Photoshopping, but they've also stolen the image of the Oscar -- something to which the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences doesn't take kindly:...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Imagine The Star-Tribune With A Brain

In tomorrow's Star Tribune, the editorial staff sees fit to spread Iranian disinformation in the op-ed section by reprinting this story from the UK's leftist broadsheet, the Guardian: In order to save time, the following article is being printed several months ahead of schedule as a service to readers and nascent conspiracy theorists. The capture of Osama bin Laden, while warmly welcomed around the world, raises several questions about the interface between the war on terror and the U.S. election cycle. The most worrying of these is the suspicion that Bin Laden had already been in custody for a considerable period. George Bush's official spokesman has vehemently denied charges that the Al-Qaida leader was actually apprehended in December 2001. But there is more than a hint of a "nondenial denial" about the White House's rejection of claims that news of Bin Laden's capture was timed to coincide with the climax...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Hello to My Friends in the US Armed Forces

One last quick note before I head out for the night -- I notice that I get a lot of traffic from military servers, especially from a central access server called NIPR. I just want to tell you how much I appreciate your readership and your service in keeping our nation and my family safe. I hope you remain safe and well, and keep coming back to Captain's Quarters. And if anyone else wants to chime in, feel free to leave a message for our men and women in uniform in the comments section of this post....

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

March 11, 2004

Broder: Bush Ads, Campaign Mild Compared to FDR

David Broder, writing in today's Washington Post, takes apart the notion that the Bush campaign is out of line for mentioning 9/11 in its advertising, and takes us back to the campaign of the last president that experienced a massive foreign attack on American soil to compare: I went back, with help from Washington Post researcher Brian Faler, to 1944, when Franklin D. Roosevelt, almost three years after Pearl Harbor, was running for reelection. What you learn from such an exercise is that Bush is a piker compared with FDR when it comes to wrapping himself in the mantle of commander in chief. ... Keynoter Robert Kerr, then governor of Oklahoma, declared that "the Republican Party . . . had no program, in the dangerous years preceding Pearl Harbor, to prevent war or to meet it if it came. Most of the Republican members of the national Congress fought every...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

To Boldly Go Where Grandma Goes Every Weekend

Somehow, this story gives little hope to this one-time Star Trek fan: The Borg is about to attempt to assimilate Las Vegas -- and if the invasion is a success, the alien collective may not only breathe new life into one of that city's tourist attractions but also could help to rescue the fading "Star Trek" franchise. On March 18 at the Las Vegas Hilton, Paramount Parks will open "Star Trek: Borg Invasion 4D," a state-of-the-art attraction replaces the six-year-old "Star Trek: The Experience." Like the Borg itself -- part machine and part living organism -- the new attraction is a hybrid, part ride and part movie. As the attraction's visitors tour a futuristic research facility, the drones of the Borg collective will try to capture them using 24th century technology. In the movie portion, the Borg queen, played by "Star Trek: First Contact's" Alice Krige, attempts to assimilate the...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Mitch Berg on Liberal Talk Radio

No, Mitch is not defecting: the much-ballyhooed liberal talk-radio network has announced its schedule and on-air talent. (Thank goodness we got our show on when we did!) Rather than tear this group to pieces, I'll direct you to the Northern Alliance's own Mitch Berg from Shot In The Dark, who does a great job of it this morning. Mitch even makes predictions on how long the hosts will last. I think he gives Janeane Garofalo too much credit -- she'll be gone in 90 days. She'll be lucky to fill an hour; she'd better hope for a lot of in-studio guests and phone calls. I notice that Al Franken had to rip off Bill O'Reilly's show name instead of coming up with one of his own ("The O'Franken Factor"?). That level of creativity doesn't bode well for a show that bills itself as three hours of relentless "satire"....

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

New Media Blog Gets Results

For those who say that political and cultural blogging only preaches to the choir and doesn't really change anything, I refer you to this post at Oh, That Liberal Media and also cross-posted on his own blog, where my friend and colleague on the group blog details how he got the Los Angeles Times to balance its coverage: The other day, when the Times ran a story about Justice Scalia's having spoken before an advocacy group, I told you here that Justice Ginsburg had done substantially the same thing in January. I explained that the experts' criticisms of Justice Scalia's speech applied equally to Justice Ginsburg's speech. I noted the fact that the group before which she had spoken had filed an amicus brief in a case on which she had ruled just 15 days before the speech. I also told you that I had sent an e-mail to the...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Glenn Reynolds on John Kerry

Glenn Reynolds, the Instapundit, also writes a regular column for MS-NBC/Slate and in this installment, he discusses yesterday's Kerry outburst: Kerry's bluster is disturbing, but the media treatment is revealing: It's been largely ignored. Imagine the reaction if Bush had said these sorts of things. He'd be savaged for viciousness, and people would wonder if that sort of macho posturing suggested a temperament unfit for the White House. Glenn then goes on to link back to my post from yesterday: John Kerry needs to put up or abjectly apologize. If Kerry has evidence of corruption or lying, then put it out for all to see. Then we can all be enlightened and investigate it, and determine if Kerry is right or a full-fledged member of the Tinfoil Hat brigade. If he refuses to do so, then he is a coward and a sneak, a mumbler who won't take responsibility for...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

California Supreme Court Enforces the Law -- Finally

This afternoon, the California Supreme Court finally called a halt to the flouting of state law going on in San Francisco, ruling that same-gender couples cannot be married pending review of a court challenge to the applicable law approved 2-1 by referendum: The California Supreme Court today ordered San Francisco officials to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples until the court can hold a hearing on gay marriages. The hearing would be held later this spring. The question of whether same-sex couples can legally marry exploded into Americans' consciousness in the month since San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom ordered gender-neutral marriage licenses to be issued. He argued that to prohibit same-sex marriages violated the equal protection clause of the state Constitution. ... More than 3,800 licenses have been issued to same-sex couples in San Francisco. And from city halls to the streets to the capitols in several states, there...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Pray for Spain

The Spaniards were brutally attacked this afternoon by terrorists, using coordinated bombings that occurred almost simultaneously, that has left almost 200 people dead and more than 1,400 injured: Spanish government officials pinned the blame on the Basque separatist group ETA for Thursday's blasts in Madrid that killed at least 192 people, but investigators were also exploring a lead with Arabic and Islamic links. The brazen morning rush-hour terror strikes at city train stations also wounded at least 1,400. It's far too early to know who committed these cowardly attacks and why, but thus far ETA has denied responsibility when it normally claims credit, and an al-Qaeda-affiliated group has announced that they committed the bombings: A U.S. official cautioned it was "still too early to say" whether the bombings were the work of ETA or other terror groups, including al Qaeda. Referring to a statement claiming responsibility and attributed to a...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Reviewing al-Qaeda's Claim of Responsibility

While we don't know for sure whether the claim of responsibility from al-Qaeda for today's bombing in Spain is genuine or a sick attempt at PR, the statement itself is useful for focusing us on the true nature of our enemies: The five-page e-mail claim, signed by the shadowy Brigade of Abu Hafs al-Masri, was received at the paper's London offices. It said the brigade's "death squad" had penetrated "one of the pillars of the crusade alliance, Spain," and carried out what it called Operation Death Trains. "This is part of settling old accounts with Spain, the crusader, and America's ally in its war against Islam," the claim said. ... "When we attacked the Italian troops in Nasiriyah and sent you and America's agents an ultimatum to withdraw from the anti-Islam alliance, you did not understand the the message. Now we have made it clear and hope that this time...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

March 12, 2004

The Folly of Minimum-Wage Increases

The Minnesota Senate will begin consideration of a series of increases to the state's minimum wage, currently set at the federal level of $5.15 per hour, the Star-Tribune reports: Minnesota's minimum wage, frozen at the federal rate of $5.15 an hour for the past seven years, would rise to $6.65 over the next 16 months under a bill sent to the Senate floor Wednesday. A party-line vote of eight DFLers in favor and six Republicans opposed in the Jobs, Energy and Community Development Committee produced one of the rare legislative movements on the state's wage floor since it was increased from $4.75 per hour in 1997. Proposals to increase minimum wage provide an opportunity for Democrats to throw some red meat to their base and normally appear, as this bill does, in election years. The Strib takes its normally biased approach, accepting the statements of the bill's proponents without rebuttal...

Continue reading "The Folly of Minimum-Wage Increases" »

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Krauthammer Pounds Le Monde Editor

In today's Washington Post, Charles Krauthammer fisks a Wall Street Journal editorial by Jean-Marie Colombani, the editor of the French magazine Le Monde: Colombani glories in Europe's post-Sept. 11 "solidarity" with America: "Let us remember here the involvement of French and German soldiers, among other European nationalities, in the operations launched in Afghanistan to . . . free the Afghans." Come again? The French arrived in Mazar-e Sharif after it fell, or as military analyst Jay Leno put it, "to serve as advisers to the Taliban on how to surrender properly." Afghanistan was liberated by America acting practically unilaterally, with an even smaller coalition than it had in Iraq -- Britain and Australia, with the rest of the world holding America's coat. But then came Iraq. "The problem was not so much the war itself, but the fact that it was launched without U.N. approval," Colombani explains. Rubbish. The Kosovo...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Bush Attends 9/11 Memorial, Families Don't Object

In a stunning development, the families attending a 9/11 memorial didn't protest when George Bush arrived, and even supported his right to talk about it during the upcoming campaign: Ernest Strada, the mayor of Westbury, N.Y., was waiting in line to attend the groundbreaking with his wife, Mary Anne. Their son, Thomas Strada, was on the 104th floor of the World Trade Center North Tower during the attacks. He was 41 years old when he died. Ernest Strada said he had no problems with Bush using Sept. 11 imagery in his campaign ads or coming to East Meadow for the groundbreaking. "It's important that everybody in the country, led by the president, continue to remember what happened 2 1/2 years ago," Strada said. "I think the memory of that has waned since it occurred." Rosemary Cain of Massapequa was waiting in line with a large poster of her son, George...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

The Nobility of the Insurgency

Somewhat lost in the shuffle of the news from Spain is this story from the New York Times, which demonstrates the depravity of the former Ba'athists who terrorize the new Iraq: A day after two American civilians and their Iraqi translator were killed in a roadside ambush, two Iraqi washerwomen working for American forces were attacked by masked gunmen and shot to death, police officials said Thursday. Maj. Riyadh Kadhem Jawad of the Iraqi police said the women, who cleaned and ironed clothes for American soldiers in the southern city of Basra, were driving home Wednesday night in a taxi when four gunmen surrounded their car, ordered the taxi driver out and then shot the women. The Ba'athists deliberately targeted the women, eschewing the car that the driver offered to the gunmen thinking they were robbing him. Each woman was shot five times, or as the driver put it, "five...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Minnesota Manufacturing Sector '03 Q4 Strong, '04 Stronger

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, usually a Chicken Little on economics during Republican administrations, contradicts the Democratic party line on jobs and manufacturing -- at least in Minnesota: Minnesota's factories are starting to hum, and so are some of the people who run them. Two state government reports released Friday showed the sector finishing 2003 with a crescendo, and expecting 2004 to start out strong, too. The state said manufacturing export growth hit a record pace in the last three months of 2003, showing a gain of 17.3 percent compared with the same period of 2002 -- more than double the comparable 8.6 percent rise in U.S. exports. Separately, a survey of Minnesota manufacturers showed a surge in optimism about this year, with a rising number expecting more sales and hiring against a background of improving economic conditions. Both reports come on the heels of recent declines in initial unemployment claims and...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

March 13, 2004

NY Sun: Kerry Quit VVAW After Assassination Proposal

Yesterday's New York Sun published a front-page article on a little-known chapter in the history of Vietnam Veterans Against the War -- a proposal to assassinate conservative politicians who supported the war or who opposed anti-war activities. These plans were drafted by Scott Camil and debated at the November 1971 VVAW meeting in Kansas City, which John Kerry denies attending. However, at least two people who were there -- one of which heads Kerry's veteran support in Missouri -- claim that Kerry was there for the debate: The anti-war group that John Kerry was the principal spokesman for debated and voted on a plot to assassinate politicians who supported the Vietnam War. Mr. Kerry denies being present at the November 12-15, 1971, meeting in Kansas City of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, and says he quit the group before the meeting. But according to the current head of Missouri Veterans...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Post: Kerry Won't Disclose Big Fundraisers

Today's lead editorial in the Washington Post demonstrates again the hypocrisy of the John Kerry campaign. After publicly referring to George Bush and Republicans as the "most crooked ... lying group," Kerry still stonewalls on the people who collect money for him -- unlike President Bush, who regularly updates his list of donors: Facing the Bush campaign's outsize war chest, the Kerry campaign is planning a 20-state, $15 million fundraising blitz; overall, it is aiming to raise another $80 million by July. To get there, Mr. Kerry will have to rely heavily on both his own big financiers and those of his Democratic rivals. Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) -- who repeatedly rebuffed our requests for a list of his top fundraisers -- introduced Mr. Kerry to about 100 of them at a meeting on Thursday. Likewise, Rep. Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.), who was similarly unforthcoming with a list of big...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Following the Money

After George Bush's use of 1.5 seconds of 9/11 footage in his initial campaign ads, several families of 9/11 victims protested loudly, receiving a great deal of publicity from their accusations that the Bush campaign was acting inappropriately in mentioning 9/11 during the campaign. Only after some digging did the press mention that these same families had long since formed the "September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows" -- an antiwar campaign funded by George Soros, the main MoveOn.org financier and a man who has pledged to buy the presidency for the Democrats. As the March 9th New York Post puts it: Leading the rhetorical charge has been an outfit called September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows - which, the group admits, has only a few dozen members and represents relatives of no more than 1 percent of the 9/11 victims. More to the point, the group was formed specifically to...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Wrong Numbers

From the blog Two Cents comes this amusing tale of a New York City girl who got a bit more than she bargained for when she changed her cell service. Her new number turned out to be the old number ... of comedian Chris Rock: I picked up the phone, flipped open the top and questioned, "Uh, hell-o?" "Is Chris Rock there?" Chris Rock?! Of course not! That's ridiculous. "No," I replied. I figured his asking for "Chris Rock" must have been some sort of inside joke with a friend, but he'd dialed my number instead of his friend's by mistake. I continued, "This is my cell phone number -- so you've got the wrong number." "Oh," the caller replied, "I must have dialed wrong." We hung up, and I didn't think anything more of it. Two days later, I was upstate, cruising around a Wal-Mart parking lot looking for...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Northern Alliance Radio: Live Blogging!

Once again, we gasbags bloggers of the Northern Alliance march bravely down to AM 1280 The Patriot to do our weekly radio show. We're trying to find a streaming service that won't charge us an arm and a leg for a three-hour stint once a week (most of them charge a flat monthly rate based on 24-hour-a-day usage), so that you can tune in, turn on, and drop in. With any luck, in a couple of weeks, we'll be live on the Internet. Until then, I'll be live-blogging again today, where we'll be discussing topics such as John Kerry's accusations against Bush and the Republicans, the Madrid bombing and what it might mean for the war on terror, the launch of the liberal radio network AirAmerica, our weekly Hack Columnist of the Week in the Twin Cities, and JB Doubtless and I will debate the artistic merits of Mel Gibson's...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Network News Biased Against Bush

A study released today by Mediachannel.org demonstrates the media bias of the national broadcast news networks -- and the disparity of treatment of George Bush and John Kerry isn't subtle in the least: The report reveals a strong negative cast to ABC, CBS and NBC news coverage of the president thus far in 2004. Meanwhile, Senator John Kerry, Bush's certain opponent for November, has received more positive coverage by the same three networks. According to data compiled for MediaChannel.org by international media monitoring firm Media Tenor, network news broadcasts in January and February contained on average nearly three times more negative news statements about President Bush than about Senator John Kerry. This trend is demonstrated on all three major network news broadcasts, but none so pronounced as on CBS, where 35% of statements about Bush were negative, as opposed to 8% positive. In contrast, CBS was positive about John Kerry...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Al-Qaeda Claims Responsibility for Madrid Bombings

Reuters reports that Spanish authorities have found a videotape of a Moroccan spokesman for al-Qaeda, taking responsibility for the Madrid rail bombings, according to the Spanish Interior Minister: "It's a claim made by a man in Arabic with a Moroccan accent. He makes the declaration in the name of someone who says he is the military spokesman of al-Qaida in Europe," he told reporters. This story is breaking just now, but it seems to confirm what we suspected all along....

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Kerry's War Record Under Fire

Tomorrow's Telegraph runs a story that puts John Kerry's war narrative of a highly-decorated combat veteran at odds with the recollection of one of his crew, who charges that Kerry displayed cowardice under fire: The testimony of Steven Gardner, a gunner's mate on the first patrol boat commanded by Mr Kerry in the Mekong delta, contradicts accounts of the senator's military career that depict him as a brave and aggressive lieutenant who won three Purple Hearts and which are a key element of his campaign against George Bush. "He absolutely did not want to engage the enemy when I was with him," Mr Gardner said in an interview with the Boston Globe, which contacted him about the presidential candidate. "He wouldn't go in there and search. That is why I have a negative viewpoint of John Kerry. "His initial patterns of behaviour when I met him and served under him...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

March 14, 2004

UN Acknowledges Oil-For-Food Scandal, Finally

The UN has belatedly acknowledged the rampant corruption and abject failure of its administration of the Iraq oil-for-food program, finally agreeing to investigate more than six weeks after the list of payoffs from Saddam Hussein was published: The United Nations has bowed to international pressure to investigate allegations of corruption surrounding its oil-for-food programme, under which Iraqi oil was sold on behalf of Saddam Hussein's regime. The move follows claims that UN officials were caught up in a reward system set up by Saddam, which apparently granted proceeds from the sale of million of barrels of oil to friendly politicians, officials and businessmen around the world. And why this sudden desire to set things straight? The new Iraqi government seems intent on finding where the money went, and have hired some big guns to hunt it down -- which may wind up embarassing more than the people currently on the...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Doug Grow Saves the Day

Just when you think there's nothing to write about the local news media, Doug Grow's column appears ... and the sun shines again. Grow performs the impressive feat of starting a biased and hack-worthy column, fisking himself in the middle, and still failing to grasp the situation by the end. In this case, we have the situation of three families who made the mistake of leasing land from the state on what is now valuable property, if it was converted to private ownership. In fact, 1800 other leaseholders on Horseshoe Bay were allowed to do just that twenty years ago; they bought their leased parcels from Minnesota. Only six lots were held in reserve, and the families allowed to continue their leases, three of which eventually left. Now the DNR wants that land -- even though they don't have a plan for its use -- and the Legislature is about...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Hospiblogging Again

Unfortunately, the First Mate is a bit under the weather again -- her dialysis shunt site has gotten infected and she's back in the hospital again. We're hoping she won't have to be admitted, but mostly we're hoping that she's feeling better soon. I'll have an update later on today when I can get back home. UPDATE: Thanks for the e-mails and the comments on this post. The First Mate's taking a bit of a nap, so I thought I'd sneak downstairs to post an update. The doctors admitted her to the hospital, so she'll be staying at least overnight. (I tried to convince her that this was just like a first-class B&B, but she's tasted the food and knows better.) She definitely has a serious infection around her shunt, but they're giving her antibiotics and the doctors are hopeful she won't have to have it replaced. The pain has...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Powell: Don't Poke The Bear, Kerry

Today, on Fox News Sunday, Secretary of State Colin Powell fired a warning shot across the bow of John Kerry and his campaign, ridiculing the gossip and mumbling that has become the hallmark of the most classless campaign in modern American history: [John] Kerry, the all-but-certain Democratic presidential nominee, said at a fund-raiser last week in Florida that he's heard from some world leaders who quietly back his candidacy and hope he defeats President Bush in November. [Colin] Powell expressed skepticism on "Fox News Sunday" when asked about Kerry's assertion. "I don't know what foreign leaders Senator Kerry is talking about. It's an easy charge, an easy assertion to make. But if he feels it is that important an assertion to make, he ought to list some names," Powell said. "If he can't list names, then perhaps he should find something else to talk about." Later in the same interview,...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Power Line Says It All ...

... in two posts this afternoon. Rather than doing an analysis on my own and elliptically winding up at the same place, I'll just refer you to these two excellent pieces by the Rocket Man First, my colleague dissects the news from Spain that shows the Socialists making enormous gains in today's elections, possibly winning a majority over the Conservatives, probably as a result of the Madrid bombings. Rocket Man expresses his disappointment in the Spaniard's failure to rise to the occasion, instead allowing al-Qaeda the victory they intended -- and wonders whether Americans may wind up doing the exact same thing: News reports are conflicting; some exit polls show the Socialists winning, others show Aznar's Popular Party suffering major losses, but clinging to a slight majority. Whatever the result turns out to be, it seems that al Qaeda's goal of influencing the Spanish election in favor of the Socialist...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Kerry: None of Our Business

John Kerry found out tonight that town meetings can be fraught with danger, a danger about which his newest bestest buddy Howard Dean should have warned him: The town meeting was contentious at times, with 52-year-old Cedric Brown repeatedly pressing the candidate to name the foreign leaders whom Kerry has said are backing his campaign. "I'm not going to betray a private conversation with anybody," Kerry said. As the crowd of several hundred people began to mutter and boo, Kerry said, "That's none of your business." Well, if it was none of our business, why did he bring it up in the first place? Kerry seems to open his mouth without thinking about things first; he's shot himself in the foot about half a dozen times this month already. At least he didn't yell at the guy, but scolding him about MYOB on an issue Kerry himself brought up looks...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

New Afghan Offensive Gets Results

The Telegraph reports in tomorrow's edition that the new US offensive on al-Qaeda and Taliban holdouts in Afghanistan has already reaped rewards -- three top Taliban commanders have been taken out of the action as well as a dozen Taliban fighters, the latter in the most permanent way possible: Three Taliban commanders have been arrested and 12 of the movement's fighters killed as the American military launched an operation in southern Afghanistan aimed at capturing militants, including Osama bin Laden. The leaders were captured in Zabul, a lawless province in the south where remnants of the ousted regime are fighting for control by bribing and intimidating the local population. Spring is coming to the mountains of Afghanistan -- and so are the US armed forces....

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

March 15, 2004

Spain Bugs Out

In what can very accurately be termed the first surrender in the war on terror, the new Spanish government has explicitly stated that Spain will withdraw from the anti-terror Coalition and will immediately withdraw its troops from Iraq as soon as it takes office: Pulling a major ally from the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq, Spain's prime minister-elect will withdraw Spanish troops from Iraq in the coming months, a Socialist Party spokesman said. ... "Today, the Spanish people have spoken, and they said they want a government of change," he said in a victory speech. The surprise victor in national elections vowed that fighting terrorism would be his first priority as he sets about creating an administration "that will work for peace." As if al-Qaeda is interested in "peace", unless by peace you mean the reconquest of Andalusia. Looks like they're off to a great start. It's not too far off...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Mel Gibson Discovers Hollywood's Religion: Money

After the incredible success of Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, it's not a big surprise that the same Hollywood Establishment that has shunned Gibson and his movie are considering how to cash in on the audience he's discovered: The movie's box-office success has been chewed over in studio staff meetings and at pricey watering holes all over Hollywood, echoed in interviews with numerous executives in the last week. In marketing departments the film is regarded as pure genius; its director, Mel Gibson, is credited with stoking a controversy that yanked the film from the margins of the culture to center stage, presenting it as a must-see. There is little doubt at the studios that the movie will affect decision making in the short and the long term. Some predict, as one result, a wave of New Testament-themed movies or more religious films in general. Actually, I think that...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Goodbye To Love

Yesterday, while the First Mate and I relaxed in her hospital room, we watched a portion of a show on The Carpenters, the teenage sibling duo that turned into an entertainment phenomenon. The show took a look back at the extraordinary career of Richard and Karen Carpenter, two young artists that could easily have been mistaken for the kids next door -- and growing up about a decade behind the two, not far from their Downey, CA home, that connection was easy to make. The Carpenters first broke onto the music scene in 1969 at the apex of the counterculture and seemed to represent everything that the radicals resented: sweet melodies, understated arrangements, and an almost relentless optimism in the face of widespread cynicism and hatred. While their music was wildly popular almost from the outset of their careers (although Richard Carpenter emphatically states that they were decidedly not an...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Andy Rooney Gets Letters

CBS's Andy Rooney stirred up quite a response from his critique of Mel Gibson, both as a person and as a filmmaker, without making the effort to see The Passion of the Christ: The "60 Minutes" curmudgeon said Sunday he got 30,000 pieces of mail and e-mail in response to his February 22 commentary, in which he called "The Passion of the Christ" filmmaker Mel Gibson a "wacko." ... "I think the mail was a good indication of how bitterly divided our country is right now," Rooney said on his Sunday "60 Minutes" commentary. "I hope I'm not contributing to that -- even though I'm right and everyone else is wrong." Rooney, simply put, is a lousy writer and commentator; talking about how "bitterly divided our country is" is a cliche that rapidly has become one of the tritest and least informative phrases in punditry. Paying any attention to what...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Violets Are Blue, Roses Are Red, You Were A Monster and Now You're Dead

US officials announced the death of senior al-Qaeda leader Kahlid Ali Hajj, also known as "The Poet", in a shootout in Saudi Arabia: A senior al Qaeda leader -- described as the group's "chief of operations in the Arabian Peninsula" -- was killed in a shootout in Saudi Arabia, U.S. officials told CNN on Monday. A U.S. counterterrorism official called the death "very significant, and a major blow to al Qaeda." The man was identified as Abu Hazim al-Sha'ir, also known as Kahlid Ali Hajj. He was also nicknamed "the poet," officials said. "This was a very significant senior al Qaeda figure in Saudi Arabia," the counterterrorism official said. So much of this war goes on behind the scenes, it often appears that nothing is happening, leading to charges of complacency or distraction, especially in regard to Iraq. People tend to forget that the fighting continues on many fronts, some...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Ripples of Madrid Felt Down Under

The impact of the Madrid bombings are being felt all throughout the Coalition. Now Australia has gotten a case of the jitters, and the Aussie leftists are questioning John Howard's support of the US in the war on terror following an intelligence report stating that Australia is at risk because of their foreign policy: A senior FBI counter-terrorism expert today confirmed that a terrorist attack on Australia was inevitable, and the nation was clearly more of a target because of its alliance to the US. The assessment of the FBI's executive assistant director of counter terrorism John Pistole backs comments by Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty that, if Islamic extremists were behind the Madrid bombings, it was likely because of Spain's pro-US position on Iraq. Howard stirred up a hornet's nest by denying the specific attraction of al-Qaeda to US allies in response to Keelty's initial assertion of terrorist...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

March 16, 2004

A Tale of Two Editorials

This morning, I read two editorials, one from the local Star-Tribune and the other from the Washington Post, the former demonstrating the Left's lack of coherence, logic, and vision on the war on terror, and the latter which gets it right. The Strib manages to encapsulate the effort on the Left that I predicted last night -- to use the Madrid bombing as an excuse to retreat from the war and to blame the Bush administration for the bombing by insinuation: But the Spanish -- along with most other peoples of the world -- never did believe that invading Iraq was a necessary or constructive action. Only 1 in 10 supported their government's decision to join with the United States and Britain in carrying out the invasion. Al-Qaida or someone operating in its name has now driven a large wedge into that seam of dissension. Full of rage, bitterness and...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Pawlenty Helps Poor, Unions and NGOs Thwart Attempt

Love him or hate him, you have to tip your hat to the political skills and nerve of Minnesota's first-term Governor, Tim Pawlenty. During the first ten days of the bus strike, all of the media coverage has focused on the poor, the homeless, and the handicapped who have been left in the cold -- literally, with pictures -- by the lack of bus service. Yesterday, Pawlenty turned the tables on the unions by offering to use the $200K per day that the Transit District is saving during the strike to fund non-profit groups that offer ride services in assisting these poor unfortunates -- and the unions and Council of Nonprofits have had to take the position of opposing relief for them: Gov. Tim Pawlenty's plan to provide rides for poor people stranded by the bus strike turned into a political hot potato that some social service agencies found too...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

The Invisible Poll

A new CBS/New York Times poll shows George Bush suddenly ahead of John Kerry by eight percentage points in a three-way race, although it must be the quietest poll ever announced. In fact, the headline on the NY Times' story this morning sounds a lot bleaker than the final numbers indicate -- "Nation's Direction Prompts Voters' Concern, Poll Finds": With Mr. Nader in the race, Mr. Bush leads Mr. Kerry by 46 percent to 38 percent, with Mr. Nader drawing 7 percent of the votes. In a sign of the polarized electorate Mr. Bush and Mr. Kerry are facing, three-quarters of supporters of each candidate asserted they would not change their mind before the election. The nationwide telephone poll of 1,206 adults, including 984 registered voters, was taken from last Wednesday through Sunday. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points. The questioning was...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Captain's Caption Contest #3!

Despite what you read about him in the papers, John Kerry is rumored to be quite a sport -- in fact, Captain's Quarters has a picture of Kerry in his element, obviously a master at the game: Yes, Kerry is a true New England Patriot ... make sure you note that the Captain put that in writing, too. Why don't you put your caption on this photograph in the comments section? The contest is open until Tuesday at 6 pm CT, and enter as often as you like. This week, we actually have a prize besides the admiration of your friends and the envy of your enemies! My best friend, Steve Filippini, has recently self-published a memoir of his days in the field as an alarm technician (which I informally helped edit), Fix It Or Pull It, which is now in the On My Desk section. (It's also available at...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

AP Votes For Law-Enforcement Approach

I was skimming the AP news wire when I saw this headline: "Pakistan Kills Two Dozen Terror Suspects" Thinking that the Pakistanis had summarily executed captured prisoners, which would give the war effort a black eye internationally, I naturally clicked onto the story. What I discovered demonstrated the bias of the headline writers at the AP, at least: Paramilitary troops stormed a fortress-like compound with mortars and machine-gun fire Tuesday, killing 24 suspects in a fierce crackdown on al-Qaida and Taliban fugitives in the rugged tribal regions bordering Afghanistan, the army spokesman said. The operation which left at least eight Pakistani troops dead and 15 wounded was a stunning message delivered just one day after the military president promised to rid the territory of foreign terrorists. There have been several anti-terror operations in the semiautonomous tribal belt in recent months, but none so bloody. The Pakistani Army had...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

March 17, 2004

Dean Acknowledges Al-Qaeda/Iraq Connection

... or at least that's what can be taken from Howard Dean's comments during a conference call defending his former adversary in the primaries, John Kerry. Dean made these remarks: "The president was the one who dragged our troops to Iraq, which apparently has been a factor in the death of 200 Spaniards over the weekend." After thinking about the implications of blaming George Bush for a bombing that killed 200 people, the ever-classy Dean later issued a "clarification", a uniquely Democratic mechanism in which a candidate retracts their stupidity while trying to make it sound like genius: "Let me be clear, there is no justification for terrorism. Today I was simply repeating what those who have claimed responsibility for the bombings in Spain said was the reason they carried out that despicable act." Dean also offered the excuse that he was merely repeating what was said on al-Qaeda's tape,...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Watcher's Council List Posted! (And Contest Update)

The weekly Watcher's Council list of outstanding blog entries has been posted -- and once again, Captain's Quarters has been selected as one of the entries, this time for The Invisible Poll. Be sure to read some of the other oustanding entries on the list as well. The Watcher of Weasels, the permanent host of the contest, is also an outstanding blog; be sure to read some of Watcher's own fine posts while you're there. The judging in the Caption Contest has been going slow -- too many great entries, and just one guy to go through all of them! We'll have an announcement this morning on the winner....

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Clintons Climb Aboard the Bandwagon

For those who still insist that the Kerry campaign is nothing more than a Trojan horse for a Hillary Clinton rescue in July, this news shows that Kerry is consolidating his support, even with the Clintons: Former President Bill Clinton and a cast of other Democratic heavyweights began an Internet-based drive on Tuesday to raise $10 million for Senator John Kerry in the next 10 days. ... "We're not going to yield an inch to the Republican attack machine when it comes to defining what this campaign is all about," Mr. Clinton wrote on Tuesday in his e-mail message to supporters. "It's our chance to give John Kerry the kind of immediate, dramatic support he needs to stand toe to toe with the president." And it's not just Bill: Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, Senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota and the strategist...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Caption Contest Winners!

The replay officials have consulted and have determined the winner, after a long game delay! Humorist and author Steve Filippini has picked the winner of this week's contest, who will receive a copy of Steve's new book, Fix It Or Pull It, a memoir of Steve's experiences as an alarm technician in the field. Captain's Award (Super Bowl) -- Jim S: "Senator Kerry uses a football to demonstrate for reporters the Vulcan Mind Meld technique he used on several foreign leaders to determine that they supported him over President Bush." Congratulations, Jim! You Have The Conn #1 (AFC Champ) -- spd rdr: "Tick..tick.. tick.. tick.." You Have The Conn #2 (NFC Champ) -- Pile On: "Ok, Gephardt, you run toward Iowa street then fade south and stay there, Dean go hard left and then off deep, Kucinich you go short, very short, Edwards, you aren't going anywhere, just stay in...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

The First Mate Update

Just got back from visiting the First Mate at the hospital -- a shame she's inside, as today was one of the nicest days we've had in a while -- and she's doing a bit better than before. Her fever is almost completely gone and the infection looks like it's slowly going away. However, the doctors had to remove the dialysis shunt, which means they have to install a new one tomorrow. If that goes well, and her dialysis afterwards works properly, she may go home tomorrow afternoon or evening. She's tired and bored and still not feeling very well, but she's champing at the bit to come home. If you eat the food at the hospital, like I have the past few nights, you'd be anxious to be elsewhere, too. Thanks to everyone who's sent thoughtful and encouraging notes. I've been sharing them with the First Mate and she...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Teens Get Too Much Sex and Violence

Two stories from today's Star Tribune give the impression that all of America is slowly turning into Sodom and Gomorrah, or even worse, Los Angeles. The one comfort we oldsters can take is that the more things change, the more they stay the same. In this week's installments of Teenagers Gone Wild, we have our first story, where school authorities had to end a Sadie Hawkins dance a wee bit early. From Bend, OR: Administrators at Bend High School sent students home when the dancing became too dirty at a school event. The Sadie Hawkins dance was cut off at 10 p.m. after students persisted in dirty dancing after repeated warnings from administrators. ... "There's no other way to dance besides being up against the other person,'' said Mat Baker, 17, a senior. "It's just the way people dance these days.'' McDermott said the school had heard complaints from parents...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

The Balkan Quagmire Arises Again

While MoveOn.org and its political mouthpieces like Howard Dean have been loudly proclaiming the Bush-led liberation of Iraq a quagmire, the real quagmire in the Balkans may be exploding yet again, as it has a number of times over the last ten or twelve years: Ethnic Albanians rose against the Serb minority across Kosovo yesterday in co-ordinated attacks on them in the worst bloodletting in the province since the 1999 war. A French peacekeeper was one of at least 11 people killed in grenade attacks and gun battles. About 250 were injured as the five-year peace in Kosovo was shattered. The trouble started in the ethnically divided town of Kosovska Mitrovica, in northern Kosovo, where thousands of Albanians armed with heavy automatic weapons and hand grenades clashed with Serbs. The explosion of ethnic violence apparently was provoked by reports that two ethnic Albanian children had drowned in the Ibar River...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

March 18, 2004

Minnesota DFL Reeks of Desperation -- And Stupidity

In all of my running around yesterday, I managed to miss this story, but it shouldn't go without comment. Yesterday, Minnesota Democrats (called DFL up here) unveiled an ad attacking Governor Tim Pawlenty over the issue of sex offenders, accusing him of doing nothing to stop their release from prison. They got the ads on the air just in time, too -- considering that the gubernatorial election is only 32 months away: Accompanied by menacing music, the 30-second spot zeroes in on Pawlenty's face as a narrator says, "These eyes just watched as administrative bungling and the wrong budget priorities let rapists and sexual predators back on our streets." It goes on to accuse the Republican governor of distracting the public from that issue by "playing death penalty politics" in his proposal to restore capital punishment for particularly heinous murders. Pawlenty lashed back at several public appearances Tuesday, calling the...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Cheney Gets Serious, Shows Kerry Isn't

In dueling campaign appearances, John Kerry experienced his first blast of Dick Cheney, as the eloquent and wry Vice President made his first foray into this year's re-election effort. Cheney wasted no time going after Kerry, painting him as a waffler who would prove dangerous as President: "At least this much is clear: Had the decision belonged to Senator Kerry, Saddam Hussein would still be in power today in Iraq," Cheney said, in an aggressive defense of Bush's record as a war president. "In fact, Saddam Hussein would almost certainly still be in Kuwait." ... In a rejoinder that began a half-hour after Kerry finished, Cheney mocked the Massachusetts senator's disparaging comments about nations that have joined the United States. By calling the Iraq alliance "window dressing" and a "coalition of the coerced and the bribed," as Kerry has done, Cheney said the Democrat was "ungrateful to nations that have...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

McCain Torpedos Bush Again

The degradation of Senator John McCain continues, as earlier today he spoke out to defend John Kerry's record on national security and scolded both candidates for running a "bitter, partisan campaign": Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said Thursday he did not believe Democratic candidate John Kerry, a friend and Senate colleague, was weak on defense or would compromise national security if elected president. ... Asked on NBC's "Today" if he thought Kerry was weak on defense, McCain said: "No, I do not believe that he is, quote, weak on defense. He's responsible for his voting record, as we are all responsible for our records, and he'll have to explain it. But, no, I do not believe that he is necessarily weak on defense. I don't agree with him on some issues, clearly. But I decry this negativism that's going on on both sides. The American people don't need it." Later on...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Justice Kennedy Endorses Judicial Disregard of Congress

In an era where a sitting state Supreme Court justice had to be impeached from office because he refused to remove a three-ton monument to the Ten Commandments -- a decision with which I heartily agreed -- SCOTUS Justice Anthony Kennedy's remarks yesterday seem jarringly at odds with respect for the law: Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy yesterday praised federal judges who are willing to buck sentencing rules that were enacted for what the justice suggested were political motives. ... "I do think federal judges who depart downward are courageous," Kennedy told the House Appropriations Committee during a hearing on the court's budget. Judges should not have to "follow, blindly, these unjust guidelines," he said. ... "The mandatory minimums enacted by the Congress are in my view unfair, unjust, unwise," Kennedy said. When determining sentencing guidelines, "there are two different philosophies. One was the tough-on-crime argument, the other was...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Pakistanis Have "High-Value" AQ Target Surrounded

CNN reports that the Pakistani Army has surrounded a "high-value" al-Qaeda target being protected by 200 or more AQ fighters, and quotes sources that the target may be #2 man Ayman al-Zawahiri: Pakistani forces have surrounded what may be a "high-value" al Qaeda target in Pakistan near the border with Afghanistan, President Pervez Musharraf told CNN. "We feel that there may be a high-value target," Musharraf told CNN. "I can't say who." Two Pakistani government sources told CNN that intelligence indicates the surrounded figure is Ayman al-Zawahiri, al Qaeda's number two leader. This is the second significant engagement for the Pakistanis this week; Monday's action resulted in 24 AQ fighters dead and another 18 captured. Presumably, the interrogation of those prisoners had some influence on today's battle. More later ... (via Citizen Smash)...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

March 19, 2004

Assassination Attempt on Taiwan President, VP

CNN reports that the president and VP of Taiwan were both wounded in an assassination attempt during a motorcade campaign appearance just before midnight CT: Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian and Vice President Annette Lu have been rushed to hospital after an assassination attempt while campaigning for Saturday's election. Chen was shot in the stomach at 1:45 p.m. (0545 GMT) Friday but his condition was not critical, the Presidential Office said. Lu's leg was grazed by a bullet. The office said both Chen and Lu were in a stable condition and that the president had urged calm. So far, there is no word on suspects, and the Taiwan authorities have made no arrests. Initially, no one knew Chen had been shot; the Chinese traditionally celebrate with firecrackers, and the sounds of the gunshots must have been lost in all the other noise. (Taiwan's security forces should reconsider the wisdom of allowing...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

A Severe Case of Cluelessness

You can lead a horse's ass to enlightenment, but you can't make him think. [Who said that? I did! -- Ed] A couple who had just gone to see Mel Gibson's powerful and controversial film, The Passion of the Christ, felt so moved by their experience that they debated the nature of God and the Trinity on the way home from the cinema. So far, so good. Unfortunately, when they decided to re-enact a couple of the scenes from the movie in order to resolve their debate, the police were called in: Davidson, 34, and her husband, Sean Davidson, 33, were charged with simple battery on March 11 after the two called police on each other. They were released on $1,000 bail. According to a police report, Melissa Davidson suffered injuries on her arm and face, while her husband had a scissors stab wound on his hand and his shirt...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Even DFL Standardbearer Hates New Ads

Yesterday, I posted about the new DFL ads targeting Tim Pawlenty on the early release of sexual offenders, a problem that has been decades in the making and on which the DFL has proposed no solutions on their own. The new ads are so stupid, even uberliberal Doug Grow initially thought that they were satires of political advertisement before DFL officials said, "No, we're serious." Now, former DFL gubernatorial candidate and current state Senator John Marty has called for the ads to be pulled from the air and an apology issued to Minnesotans, invoking a bogeyman from the Democrats' past: "I am ashamed to see my party produce a mean-spirited attack ad that is no better than the infamous Willie Horton ad," Sen. John Marty, Roseville, wrote to state DFL Chair Mike Erlandson. "Political consultants may think such an ad is clever. I think it is sick." ... "It cheapens...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Arabs Blame Powell for Arab Terrorism

In a surreal moment earlier today, Arab journalists walked out of a Baghdad press conference with Secretary of State Colin Powell to protest the death of two Iraqi reporters and the lack of security in Iraq: One Arab journalist stood up as soon as Powell walked into the room at the Baghdad convention center and read a statement saying that after one year of "U.S. occupation," Americans cannot provide security in Iraq. "We demand an open investigation in front of the mass media," the Arab journalist said. "We also demand that security be guaranteed to journalists" working in Iraq, he said. Seconds later, more than 20 journalists walked out of the room. Thus continueth the process by which those who try to provide security are continually blamed for the actions of those who defy it. Does it strike anyone else as ridiculous to blame the policeman for the burglar, especially...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Kerry: Sourpuss?

John Kerry can't even vacation without making an ass out of himself, according to the New York Times and ABC's The Note. While playing on the slopes and chatting with members of the media, Kerry got knocked off his feet snowboarding after getting tangled up with a member of his Secret Service security detail. While most people would choose to make a joke out of such an incident, Kerry reminded the nation that he's never the one at fault for anything: His next trip down, a reporter and a camera crew were allowed to follow along on skis just in time to see Mr. Kerry taken out by one of the Secret Service men, who had inadvertently moved into his path, sending him into the snow. When asked about the mishap a moment later, he said sharply, "I don't fall down," then used an expletive to describe the agent...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Kerry Waters Down Denial, Acknowledges Presence at "Assassination" Meeting

John Kerry's campaign has backed off their earlier denials that Kerry was not present for the VVAW meeting in Kansas City, November 1971, where the "Phoenix Project" was brought to debate and a vote: Senator Kerry of Massachusetts yesterday retreated from his earlier steadfast denials that he attended a meeting of Vietnam Veterans Against the War at which a plan to assassinate U.S. Senators was debated. The reversal came as new evidence, including reports from FBI informants, emerged that contradicted Mr. Kerrys previous statements about the gathering, which was held in Kansas City, Mo. in November 1971. John Kerry had no personal recollection of this meeting 33 years ago, a Kerry campaign spokesman, David Wade, said in a statement e-mailed last night from Idaho, where Mr. Kerry is on vacation. The historian Gerald Nicosia, who happens to be a Kerry supporter, released the minutes of the VVAW meeting, as well...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Mickey Kaus Discerns a Kerry "Crumple"

Mickey Kaus, in his kausfiles entry for today, also notes the descent of Kerry's numbers, now even in the Rasmussen poll which shows Bush ahead of Kerry head-to-head outside of the margin of error: ... it's different when the drop is comes at the same time as a) a candidate whom no large group is enthusiastic about and b) whom Democratic voters in a truncated and unconstitutionally inhibited* primary process haven't bothered to find out much about c) is first exposed to the general electorate. Then the voters may simply be discovering they don't like him! By July 26 it could be clear to everyone except about 3,000 delegates to the Democratic convention that Kerry is not cutting it against Bush ... Mickey earlier (3/16) linked back to my post on the CBS/NYT poll and how it showed that the numbers had slid precipitously for Kerry; against Bush and Nader,...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

AP Attacks Kerry on Defense Spending, Temperature in Hell Reportedly Dropping

The John Kerry Week From Hell continues this afternoon with an additional slam from an unlikely source. The AP's John Solomon analyzes Kerry's proposed $43B defense-spending cuts from 1994 and opens another wound in Kerry's flank: When John Kerry offered a surprise plan to trim $43 billion in spending a decade ago, he encountered some harsh resistance: The cuts would threaten national security. U.S. fighter pilots would be endangered. And the battle against terrorism would be hampered, opponents charged. And that's just what Kerry's fellow Democrats had to say. Solomon details the response from prominent Democrats in the Senate at the time, and they were hardly complimentary to the future Presidential candidate: "We are putting blindfolds over our pilots' eyes," Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, a decorated World War II veteran, said of the impact of Kerry's proposed intelligence cuts... "The amendment offered by the senator from Massachusetts would reduce the...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

First Mate Update

Just to keep you all up to date, the First Mate came home from the hospital this afternoon, and is resting comfortably ... in fact, she's asleep right now, which makes me happy. I'm working from home this afternoon (while doing some posting as well, as you can see) so that I can keep an eye on her. Thanks to everyone who sent their kind regards!...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Kerry's Theme Song: Call Me Irresponsible

Call me irresponsible, Call me unreliable, Throw in undependable too ... Do my foolish alibis bore you? John Kerry may have to adopt this as his new campaign theme song, now that ABC News has captured yet another John Kerry flip-flop on videotape: In an interview several weeks before he voted against $87 billion in funding for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., seemed to argue that such a vote would be reckless, irresponsible, and tantamount to abandoning U.S. troops. ... Asked if he would vote against the $87 billion if his amendment did not pass, Kerry said, "I don't think any United States senator is going to abandon our troops and recklessly leave Iraq to whatever follows as a result of simply cutting and running. That's irresponsible." Kerry argued that his amendment offered a way to do it properly, "but...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Tarzana Joe: Poet Laureate for the Presidential Election

As is customary, Hugh Hewitt had Tarzana Joe close out his Friday show with a poem, and what a poem it was. Both the First Mate and I were laughing out loud during the entire poem, as we thought it perfectly captured the Kerry mystique. Here is the Tarzana Joe original: Meet the Candidate I'm an average man with a master plan I'm a warrior, like Attila And I'll lead the songs of the cheering throngs From my humble Tuscan villa. I'm the People's Choice with a noble voice That will never stam-- or stutter I don't like to boast but if I eat toast Well, you know, it won't melt butter. Yes, I stand tall and will never fall And can never be defeated Unless (boo, hoo) I get run into By some "expletive deleted". Any fool can see my philosophy Is transparent as a tissue I stand by...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

March 20, 2004

AP, Broadsheets Spin Battles Into "Arrests"

The AP is at it again, this time with more than one American broadsheet as enablers. While Pakistani soldiers are fighting and dying to capture or kill the hundreds of al-Qaeda soldiers protecting a high-value target in Waziristan, the AP treats the entire operation like a drug raid in Minneapolis (bold type is my emphasis): Pakistan's military has arrested more than 100 suspects in a five-day assault on militants holed up in mud fortresses along the border where al-Qaida No. 2 Ayman al Zawahri is believed trapped, a commander said today. Those detained included foreigners and the local Pashtun tribesmen who have been sheltering them, said Lt. Gen. Safdar Hussain, who is in charge of the sweep. Hussain said 400 to 500 militants are believed to still be fighting from within the heavily fortified compounds in the tribal South Waziristan region, using mortars, AK-47s, rockets and hand-grenades in a face-off...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Tory Leader Strongly Supports Blair on Terror

Today's Telegraph notes the strong bipartisan support for the UK's approach on the war on terror. Michael Howard, the Conservative Party leader, had been suspected of trying to exploit Tony Blair's vulnerability on Iraq for political gain, but in a speech to News Corporation executives in Cancun, Howard not only fully supported Blair but also blasted the Spanish Socialists for "moral cowardice": Michael Howard accused the new Spanish government of "moral cowardice" in the face of Islamist terrorism last night as he vowed to match Tony Blair's tough line against the threat of al-Qa'eda. ... "Countries cannot insulate themselves from terrorist attack by opting out of the war on terror," he said. "We cannot buy ourselves immunity by changing our foreign policy. Apart from the moral cowardice of that position, it can never work in practice." In a speech to executives of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation in Cancun, Mr Howard...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Can the Dems Dump Kerry?

With the very bad month that John Kerry has had so far, some people are questioning whether Kerry can actually survive to the the convention to be nominated. It's a question we were asked on our radio show last week, and one which we summarily dismissed. I still think it to be extremely unlikely, as it would be very damaging to the Democrats to dump someone who received a majority of primary votes. But is it possible? To answer this, I spent some time this morning going through the controlling documents of the Democratic convention and nominating process (Acrobat reader and No-Doz required). It's not as unequivocal as I had previously thought, at least not in the regulations. I had believed that there was a hard first-ballot requirement for pledged delegates to cast their vote for their candidate, in the same manner as the Electoral College, but the language in...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Jack Straw to Spain: No Guts, No Glory

In another article in today's London Telegraph, Jack Straw lays a smackdown on Spain equal to that of Michael Howard, noting that the Brits are "made of sterner stuff": Mr Straw said the reason why many Spaniards changed their vote to the anti-war Socialists in last weekend's election was unclear. Were there to be a terrorist attack here, he said, the British electorate would not be "blackmailed" by al-Qa'eda. "They are made of sterner stuff than that." Translation, as provided by the ever-excellent Strange Women Lying in Ponds: "Mr. Straw says that the Brits have more cojones than you." Mr. Straw, Britain's Foreign Secretary, also had some harsh words for the previous American administration, noting that intelligence had been gathered at the time of the first World Trade Center attack that al-Qaeda had been involved and were planning on continuing their campaign against America and the West. Straw insists that...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Nabokov Plagiarized 'Lolita'

According to new German scholarship, Vladimir Nabokov plagiarized the most famous -- and notorious -- of his works, the controversial novel Lolita: A novella, published in 1916 by Heinz von Eschwege, describes a girl called Lolita who obsesses and then seduces the narrator. The narrator, who is lodging in her house while on holiday, is distraught when the girl dies at the end of the story - astoundingly similar to Nabokov's book, published in 1956, claims Michael Maar, a literary scholar. "The name is the same, the title, the fact that it is written in the first person," he told the Telegraph. "There is a close description of first seeing Lolita, looking into her eyes and seeing she was more than a girl, more than a child. The narrators are lodgers and both have passionate affairs and then Lolita dies." Furthermore, both Nabokov and von Eschwege lived in the same...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Gun Control Still Failing in UK - Murder Rates Skyrocketing

The London Telegraph runs a story in its Sunday edition that reports murder rates skyrocketing in London, primarily fueled by firearms, even though guns have been banned in the UK: The murder rate in London has doubled in 12 months to reach one of its highest levels ever, according to the most recent Home Office statistics, which have been leaked to the Telegraph. In the final three months of last year there were 61 murders in the capital, compared with just 31 in the same quarter, the previous year. The figure is the highest total for the last three months of any year, according to the Metropolitan Police's published figures. In the final three months of 2000, for example, there were only 40 murders, while in the same period of 2001 and 2002 there were 43 and 31 respectively. Police blame drive-by shootings between gangs fighting turf wars over drug...

Continue reading "Gun Control Still Failing in UK - Murder Rates Skyrocketing" »

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

March 21, 2004

Kerry: Flip-Flop Partisan Hack All The Way

Glenn Kessler writes a fairly balanced piece on John Kerry's foreign policy experience and philosophy in today's Washington Post. At least, Kessler's article provides more balance than those I've read before on Kerry and his election run, especially in the East Coast media. The general tone can be summed up in this excerpt: Throughout his career, Kerry generally had been rated among the left-of-center members of the Democratic caucus on foreign policy issues, according to organizations such as the National Journal that rank lawmakers based on key votes. Kerry displayed skepticism about costly weapons systems, such as the B-2 bomber and President Ronald Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative (though he supported a 1999 bill to deploy a national missile defense). He supported measures promoting human rights in China and questioned U.S. support for the contras in Nicaragua in the 1980s. At the same time, he also embraced free trade pacts, such...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Liberal Radio Launch

Today's Washington Post takes a revealing look at Air America, the new liberal radio network that will launch soon in four cities: New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Spearheaded by Al Franken and funded in the multimillions by people like George Soros and the Hollywood left, they intend on providing another choice in talk radio. Mitch Berg and the guys at Fraters Libertas have written extensively on this topic and have much more familiarity with the personalities involved than I do. In fact, we spent the final hour of our own radio show yesterday discussing the upcoming launch. I don't quite see the market for Air America, although we won't know for sure until they go on the air. After all, no one's arguing that NPR is fair and balanced, and it has much more intellectual heft than Al Franken, Chuck D, and Janeane Garofalo will provide Air...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Why The Law-Enforcement Approach Doesn't Work

The AP reports on the legal front of the war on terror -- and the news is not looking good: The post-Sept. 11 war against terrorism is suffering as much in the courts as in the streets with several legal setbacks involving suspected 20 members and other groups around the world. The biggest reversal came in Germany when a court threw out the only conviction of a Sept. 11 suspect. But other cases have been hindered, too, including against a militant Indonesian cleric and Zacarias Moussaoui, the only alleged Sept. 11 conspirator charged in the United States. The U.S. reluctance to let witnesses in custody testify and the sheer complexity of cross-border investigations are mostly to blame. The article goes on to define the lunacy of treating al-Qaeda terrorists as defendants in civilian courts. In order to defeat al-Qaeda, Western nations need to stop the terrorists before they strike --...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

The High-Water Mark for Islamists?

Islamists suffered an unexpected setback in Malaysia, where they wound up on the wrong end of an electoral landslide that put moderates firmly in control of the world's largest Muslim nation: Malaysia's ruling moderates have won an unexpected landslide victory over the fundamentalist Islamic opposition in Sunday's elections. The results are being seen as a personal endorsement for Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and a setback for Islamic hardliners. Voters were choosing 219 members of paliament and 505 state assembly members. Abdullah's National Party has so far taken almost 90 percent of parliament's seats giving the prime minister a mandate for change. Abdullah, who took over from longtime leader Mahathir Mohamad in October, was always expected to win, but the margin was a surprise. While we hear the worries on the left that George Bush is radicalizing Muslims around the world, we're seeing the opposite: Iran negotiating compliance on non-proliferation,...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Sheik Yassin Killed in Gaza

Israeli military forces killed Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the "spiritual leader" of the Hamas terrorist group, in a raid on his Gaza City neighborhood: Witnesses said Israeli helicopters fired three missiles at Yassin and two bodyguards as they left the mosque, killing them instantly. Hamas officials confirmed that he had been killed. Yussef Haddad, 35, a taxi driver, said he saw the missiles hit and kill Yassin and the bodyguards. "Their bodies were shattered," he said. Yassin was by far the most senior Palestinian militant killed in more than three years of Israeli-Palestinian fighting. Predictably, hundreds of Palestinians called for revenge. But here's the problem -- over 75% already support the indiscriminate killing of Israeli citizens that this "spiritual" leader directed, so calling for revenge is nothing but a redundancy. The Israelis literally have nothing to lose anymore by targeting senior terrorist leadership, since none of them have ever given any...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

March 22, 2004

The Left Tastes MoveOn's Meddling

MoveOn.org, a thorn in the side to Republicans and the Bush Administration and the group most involved in the rise of Howard Dean, has branched out from presidential politics to involve itself in environmentalism. However, not all of the environmentalists are happy about this turn of events at the Sierra Club -- and MoveOn isn't the only outside group agitating there: The Southern Poverty Law Center is known for fighting hate groups but is not usually a player in environmental politics. Neither is the neo-Nazi group White Politics Inc. But in the Sierra Club's current board elections, they are just two of a potpourri of groups seeking to influence the outcome of a contest that could radically reshape the 112-year-old organization. ... The controversy centers on three insurgent candidates, including former Colorado governor Richard Lamm (D), who are intent on curbing immigration to the United States in the name of...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Iraqi Militias to Disband

The Anglo-American led Coalition administration in Baghdad is close to reaching a deal to disarm two of the largest Iraq militias, absorbing them into a centrally-controlled security apparatus and defusing one of the biggest obstacles to domestic stability: Leaders of Iraq's two largest militias have provisionally agreed to dissolve their forces, according to senior U.S. and Iraqi officials. The move is a major boost to a U.S. campaign to prevent civil war by eliminating armed groups before sovereignty is handed over to an interim Iraqi government on June 30, the officials said. Members of the two forces -- the Shiite Muslim Badr Organization and the Kurdish pesh merga -- will be offered a chance to work in Iraq's new security services or claim substantial retirement benefits as incentives to disarm and disband. Members of smaller militias will also be allowed to apply for positions with the new security services, but...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Power Line on Richard Clarke

I wanted to write a detailed debunking of Richard Clarke, but I found Power Line's Hindrocket has already written the best one I've seen -- much better than I could have written. Here's a taste of Rocket Man's in-depth expose: But let's pursue a little further the question, who exactly is Richard Clarke? What do we know about him? First, we know that before September 11, he was professionally committed to the idea that al Qaeda represented a new form of "stateless terrorism" that could never cooperate with a country like Iraq: Prior to 9/11, the dominant view within the IC was that al Qaida represented a new form of stateless terrorism. That was also the view promoted by the Clinton White House, above all terrorism czar, Richard Clarke. To acknowledge that Iraqi intelligence worked with al Qaida is tantamount to acknowledging that all these people made a tremendous blunder--and...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

LA Times, Star Tribune Spin Kerry Participation in VVAW Assassination Meeting

As I posted late last week, John Kerry's campaign has backed off its earlier assertion that Kerry hadn't attended the November 1971 Vietnam Veterans Against the War meeting, where the Phoenix Project was debated and put up for a vote. The Phoenix Project was a plan by Scott Camil to assassinate several pro-war elected officials, including Senators John Stennis, John Tower, and Strom Thurmond. Their recantation sprang from the discovery of FBI informant reports -- at least five of them -- of the meetings, which put Kerry firmly in the debate in Kansas City, unearthed by pro-Kerry historian Gerald Nicosia. This was reported earlier in the month by Thomas Lipscomb at the New York Sun, in an excellent piece of journalism. So what does the Los Angeles Times and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune (who reprinted the article) highlight on this episode? The trampling of John Kerry's rights by J. Edgar Hoover,...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

CBS Fails to Disclose Financial Ties to Richard Clarke

While CBS gave Richard Clarke the star treatment in a rare double-segment interview on CBS's 60 Minutes and promoted the appearance for several days prior to airing the segment last night, CBS hid the fact that Viacom -- the network's parent company -- published Clarke's book, through Viacom's Simon & Schuster under their Free Press imprint (via Drudge and Instapundit): 60 MINUTES aired a double-segment investigative report on the new book "Against All Enemies" -- but did not disclose how CBSNEWS parent VIACOM is publishing the book and will profit from any and all sales! ... 60 MINUTES pro Lesley Stahl is said to have been aware of the conflict before the program aired. CBSNEWS.COM did add a disclaimer to its Internet coverage of the book over the weekend: "Against All Enemies," which is being published Monday by FREE PRESS, a subsidiary of SIMON & SCHUSTER. Both CBSNews.com and SIMON...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Bummer of a Birthmark, Yasser

Now that Israel has signaled to the Palestinians that it's tired of negotiating with people who want nothing less than their extermination by executing the leader of Hamas, another leader in the Palestinian Authority has realized that he might be next: The missile strike that killed Yassin may have shaken Arafat in more ways than one. The killing sparked huge demonstrations throughout the West Bank and Gaza, showing just how formidable a rival Hamas has become to Arafat's Palestinian Authority. ... After Yassin's killing, Arafat expressed concern he, too, might be targeted. "Arafat feels he is threatened, and we feel he's threatened because when they target Sheik Yassin, they are not far from Arafat," said Palestinian Communications Minister Azzam Ahmed. Well, the reason he may be targeted is that Ahmed is more correct than I suspect he wants to be: Arafat is little different from Yassin in his terrorist tactics....

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

March 23, 2004

Russian Nuclear Fleet Collapsing?

A Russian admiral ordered a nuclear cruiser back to port today, warning that the Northern Fleet was on the verge of collapse and that this cruiser might suffer a nuclear explosion: The flagship of Russia's northern fleet has been ordered back to port as it is too dangerous to be at sea, says Russia's naval commander-in-chief. Admiral Vladimir Kuroyedov said the nuclear cruiser Peter the Great "could go sky high at any minute". ... "In those places on board where the admirals actually go, everything's fine, but where they don't go, everything's in such a state it could go sky high at any minute," he said. "And by that I also mean the state of the nuclear reactor. "It is this attitude to the upkeep of their ships on the part of commanders that is leading to the collapse of the fleet." While the BBC speculates that this could just...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Kerry, The FBI, and The Phoenix Project: The Whitewash Continues

After the Los Angeles Times ran their story on the FBI surveillance of John Kerry in yesterday's paper (reprinted dutifully by the Star Tribune, of course), it was inevitable that other outlets would pick it up. One would hope that the larger news organizations -- ones that write their own content rather than reprint what comes across the wires -- would investigate the issues on their own and provide better context. Unfortunately, that proved not to be the case. For instance, the Washington Post put two reporters on this story, and came up with essentially the exact same article that the Times ran. The New York Times' David Halbfinger -- the same city as the paper where Thomas Lipscomb first revealed the Phoenix Project, a VVAW assassination plot against American politicians -- actually managed to come up with less than the LAT. As the story was carried worldwide, even less...

Continue reading "Kerry, The FBI, and The Phoenix Project: The Whitewash Continues" »

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Israel Signals The End of One-Sided Negotiations

Israel has clearly signaled its refusal to take part in any more meaningless negotiations, announcing that it intends to kill the leadership of any organization that targets its citizens, including the Palestinian Authority: With tension between Israelis and Palestinians at intense levels following the assassination of Hamas founder Sheik Ahmed Yassin (search), an Israeli security official on Tuesday said they will continue the targeted killings of the entire Hamas leadership without waiting for the terror group to strike again. ... Israel's army chief also suggested Tuesday that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah could eventually be assassinated by Israel. "I think that their (Arafat's and Nasrallah's) responses yesterday show that they understand that it is nearing them," Yaalon said. "In the long term, I hope that this will be a sign to all those who choose to hurt us that this will be their end," Yaalon said....

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Five-Year-Old Boy Brings Marijuana to School

The AP reports on a new low in child care -- Miami police report that a kindergartener brought a bag of marijuana to school and sprinkled some over another student's lasagna at lunchtime: A 5-year-old boy took a bag of marijuana to school and was sprinkling it over a friend's lasagna like oregano when a monitor intervened, police said. The lasagna was confiscated before the other boy had a chance to eat it Monday in the cafeteria at Gratigny Elementary School. ... Police and child welfare authorities were investigating the boy's family. "The focus is on the child's environment and what issues could have led to a child having a bag of marijuana in school,'' Villafana said. Police also were looking into whether an older friend may have asked the boy to hold the bag. Also on Monday, authorities in Indianapolis said a 4-year-old boy took crack cocaine that police...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Telegraph Can't See Past the Wheelchair

A foolish and ignorant editorial in the normally sensible London Telegraph had me seeing red, and led to a sharp exchange at NRO's The Corner, where they're having trouble analogizing Sheik Yassin. The Corner's Andrew Stuttaford posted this quote with the admonition that the US needed to be saying the same thing: Whatever Yassin's death was meant to achieve, its symbolism is disastrous for Israel. Did Mr Sharon and his advisers consider how the spectacle of helicopter gunships rocketing an old man in a wheelchair outside his mosque would appear to the world? Did they intend to turn this merchant of death into a victim - the Palestinian equivalent of Leon Klinghoffer? Of course, this equation of Yassin with Klinghoffer is nothing less than repulsive. Just to remind everyone, Leon Klinghoffer was executed by Palestinian terrorists (aligned with Yassin, if not working directly with him) in the 1980s while taking...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Captain's Caption Contest #4!

They say that behind every great man is a great woman. I don't know what to say about this picture, then: Maybe I don't know what to say about this picture, but I'll bet that you all do! Join our weekly Captain's Caption Contest and win the respect of your peers, the envy of your enemies, and the glory of concocting the perfect quip! Our guest judge this week will be Linda from the terrific blog, Auterrific. She's sharp and discerning, like all CQ readers (except possibly the Captain himself), so wind up your wits and start posting your comments. The contest closes at 6 PM CT on Tuesday, March 23rd. Good luck! And thanks for the link, Hugh! BUMP 3/20: Good entries so far -- Linda's got her work cut out for her! BUMP 3/21: Keeping it on top ... BUMP 3/22: Keep going! ... BUMP 3/23: Only a...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

John Kerry Strongarms Witnesses to 1971 VVAW Meeting?

Yesterday's New York Sun ran a story by Thomas Lipscomb following up on the attendance and participation of John Kerry at the November 1971 Vietnam Veterans Against the War debate on whether to assassinate several pro-war politicians, including Senators John Stennis, John Tower, and Strom Thurmond. Unfortunately, it requires a registration -- but Lipscomb kindly authorized my Northern Alliance colleague, Big Trunk at Power Line, to post it in its entirety today. One witness to Kerry's participation tells Lipscomb that the Kerry campaign may be engaging in a bit of witness tampering: A Vietnam veteran who said he remembers John Kerry participating in a 1971 Kansas City meeting at which an assassination plot was discussed says an official with the Kerry presidential campaign called him this month and pressured him to change his story. The veteran, John Musgrave, says he was called twice by the head of Veterans for Kerry,...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Just For The Record

I know that this has been commented on in the blogosphere, but I feel the need to make it clear here as well. There seems to be a lot of blather from the Left about how Bush somehow didn't do enough in eight months to eliminate al-Qaeda; Richard Clarke claims that Bush should have attacked al-Qaeda in Afghanistan prior to 9/11 to prevent AQ terrorism from reaching American soil. However, when Bush took action against Saddam's Iraq -- who, after all, tried to assassinate a former President, was involved in the first World Trade Center bombing, had been shooting at our aircraft in the no-fly zone, and was harboring Abu Abbas, among others -- in order to make sure Saddam couldn't perpetrate an act of terrorism against the US, the Left has done nothing but scream at him ever since. Hmmm. Also, as a somewhat related note, do you notice...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

How We Will Win in the Middle East

Tomorrow's New York Times analyzes the Kurdish uprising in Syria that has spread over the past few weeks, and determines that the cause of the unrest originates with the Iraqi Kurds -- and their newfound freedoms in a liberated Iraq: Kurdish Syrians, 2 million of Syria's 17 million people, say that watching rights for Kurds being enshrined in a new if temporary constitution next door in Iraq finally pushed them to take to the streets to demand greater recognition. In their wake is a toll of blackened government buildings, schools, grain silos and vehicles across a remote swath of the north. "What happened did not come out of a void," says Bishar Ahmed, a 30-year-old Kurd whose cramped stationery shop sits right next to a cluster of blackened buildings in Malikiya. "The pressure has been building for nearly 50 years. They consider us foreigners; we have no rights as citizens."...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

March 24, 2004

Captain's Caption Contest #4 Winners

If you all have "Stand By Your Man" by Tammy Wynette playing in the background, we can announce the Caption Contest winners, as selected by Linda from Auterrific -- a great blog, and one you should definitely visit, by the way. Here's the picture: And the winners -- Captain's Award: Senator Kerry comforted an unidentified patient at the Central Vermont Medical Center where he unveiled his Mental Health Initiative. Posted by Jim at March 21, 2004 10:57 PM You Have The Conn #1: Don't worry Howard I learned this in a teamwork seminar. Fall back and I promise I will catch you. Trust me! Posted by N.E. Republican at March 20, 2004 03:30 PM You Have The Conn #2: That's right, Howie, hold that position. Steady....steady... Now, on the count of three say "Welcome to WalMart!" Posted by spd rdr at March 22, 2004 06:54 AM You Have The Conn...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Surprise! The Appeasers Aren't Safe, Either

Germany learned a lesson last night about the fate of all appeasers, and fortunately for them may have learned it the easy way -- this time: German President Johannes Rau canceled a trip to Djibouti Tuesday after receiving threats that Islamic terrorists were planning to try and assassinate him, his office said. Rau had planned on wrapping up a three-nation African tour in the tiny country on the Horn of Africa on Wednesday, where he was to meet with German naval troops patrolling the Indian Ocean coast as part of the U.S.-led war on terror. Germany, of course, offered up a very public Nein! when asked to support the Anglo-American proposal to topple Saddam Hussein for its twelve-year nose-thumbing of UNSC demands for compliance to 1991 cease-fire terms. Gerhard Schroeder hitched his wagon to Jacques Chirac and Dominique de Villepin in joining the Axis of Weasels, although Germany never went...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Bush Clarifies Position on Yassin, Israel

George Bush clarified his position on Israel after a press release from the White House left some doubt as to the administration's position on the fate of terrorists: President Bush yesterday defended Israel's "right to defend herself from terror," one day after a spokesman said the administration was "deeply troubled" by the assassination of Sheik Ahmed Yassin and concerned it could derail efforts to jump-start the peace process. Bush made his remarks to reporters shortly before the U.N. Security Council began a debate on the Israeli action and as a group of Israeli officials met with White House officials to discuss Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan to unilaterally separate from the Palestinians. Bush announced that next week a team of senior U.S. officials will likely make their third trip to Israel in two months to continue discussions on the Sharon plan. What peace process? You cannot have a peace...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Scientologists Get Special Tax Breaks?

A lawsuit resulting from an IRS audit has revealed that the IRS reached a secret agreement with the Church of Scientology to allow tax breaks for religious education that it denies to all other religions, the New York Times reports in today's paper: A trial is to begin here on Wednesday morning to determine whether a Jewish couple can deduct the cost of religious education for their five children, a tax benefit they say the federal government has granted to members of just one religion, the Church of Scientology. The potential ramifications are huge, for a ruling in favor of the couple could affect the millions of Americans who send their children to religious schools of all types. At stake is whether people of all religions can deduct the cost of religious education as a charitable gift, as Scientologists are allowed to do under an officially secret 1993 agreement with...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

It's Literally Rocket Science, You Know

Does the overuse of pet phrases annoy the hell out of you? When someone tells you that they literally died, do you feel like asking them what God looked like? Do you want to strangle someone when they talk about prioritization and half-full glasses? Take heart; the Guardian feels your pain. (Uh, sorry about that.) After running an article on cliche overload, the Guardian 'translates' one of the most well-known British speeches of the last century into current English patois. Here, then, is Winston Churchill in a less-than-stirring rendition of "We Shall Literally Fight Them On The Beaches": Basically, we shall literally prove ourselves once again able to defend our island home, to ride out the awesome storm of war and, at the end of the day, outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone. Because, with all due respect, it's not exactly rocket science. At...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Reason: Administration Critics On Iraq Missing The Point

Michael Young, the opinion editor of the Daily Star in Lebanon, published a thoughtful column on the debate over Iraq in Reason today, reminding his readers about the overall strategy of Bush's approach to terror and why Iraq is central to its success: The last pillar, however, was the most interesting, and went to the heart of the strategy adopted by Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Cheney, and, ultimately, Bush. By intervening in the relationship between the brutish Iraqi regime and its long-suffering subjects, the US adopted a policy of enforced democratization. As far as the Bush administration was concerned, a democratic Iraq at the heart of the Arab world could become a liberal beacon in the region, prompting demands for openness and real reform inside neighboring states. Ridiculous you say? The Syrian regime, faced in the past two weeks with protests by individuals seeking greater freedom and a revolt by disgruntled Kurds,...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Bad Fiction, Worse Reality

If someone wrote this as a detective novel, it would never sell -- but unfortunately, this one's a true story: A French policewoman who led a double life as a prostitute appears in court tomorrow as police investigate suspicions that she conspired to murder her rich elderly husband. ... Since arresting Mlle Louis, the police have found that before her marriage, while she worked as a police officer, she led a second life as a call girl under the name of Maud, specialising in rich old men. Mlle Louis, who denies the conspiracy accusations and will apply for bail tomorrow, says she heard a strange noise in a wheel of their car as they drove in Spain. Her husband got out to investigate and was run over by a white 4 x 4, which then sped off. I suppose if a woman wanted to make a living as a call...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Georgia Sinking Towards Civil War

No, I'm not talking about Zell Miller's endorsement of George Bush and his leadership of Democrats for Bush, although he's certainly making news today. The other Georgia -- the former Soviet 'republic' -- may be on the verge of civil war, after a breakaway region's leader had his passport revoked in response for barring Georgia's president from entering: Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili has annulled the diplomatic passports of the leader of the breakaway region of Ajaria and 500 other officials. He also accused Ajaria's authorities of planning to bring in mercenaries to fight in a possible conflict. The latest move is part of a continuing war of words between Tbilisi and Ajaria's leader, Aslan Abashidze. The two sides stood on the brink of war after Mr Saakashvili was denied entry into the region earlier this month. Ajaria borders Turkey to its north, sharing the Black Sea shoreline, and not too...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Howard Dean Erratic, Undisciplined, Self-Defeating: Aide

The Washington Post will publish a story in tomorrow's edition that gives a sobering, behind-the-scenes look at former Democratic front-runner Howard Dean, whose phenomenal rise stunned everyone, not least Dean himself: Paul Maslin [Dean's pollster] also reveals that Dean was so adamant about keeping his Vermont gubernatorial records sealed that he told his staff in December: "I'd rather end the campaign than have the world see everything." Although Dean maintained he was acting to preserve the principle of confidentiality, the real reason, Maslin says, is that the candidate was sure he had insulted important Democrats and liberal interest groups in the documents. ... Dean's "erratic judgment, loose tongue and overall stubbornness wore our spirits down," Maslin writes. "He refused to be scripted, to be disciplined or to discipline himself." In a twist eerily reminiscent to us in Minnesota, Maslin reveals that Dean never believed he would win the nomination and...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

March 25, 2004

Maybe The Wrong Kerr(e)y Is Running For President

The 9/11 Commission has been mostly a dog-and-pony show for venting a lot of rage and frustration and for generating a lot of partisan blame-throwing for supposed security lapses that led to the deaths of 3,000 Americans in the worst attack on American soil ever. It's one of those political exercises that you know is obligatory, under the circumstances of its time, but the public aspect of it will only serve to reward grandstanding and the press that covers it. A great example of this is the griping by members of the commission and the press about NSA Director Condoleezza Rice's insistence on testifying in private. If the point of this process is for the panel to make a determination of how we can avoid another 9/11, then private testimony from someone who is actively pursuing terrorists shouldn't keep the commission from doing its job. But when commissioners like former...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Kerry's Phoenix Project Connections Debated on MS-NBC

The work that Thomas Lipscomb has done at the New York Sun exposing John Kerry's participation in a debate on whether to assassinate several US politicians in 1971 may be gaining some traction. Last night on Joe Scarborough's show, Lipscomb himself appeared with Pat Buchanon and Lawrence O'Donnell, who apparently couldn't keep from going into hysterics over the questioning, according to Tim Graham at The Corner: "Scarborough Country" was a little wild on MSNBC last night, since usually calm liberal Lawrence O'Donnell was yelling and refusing to shut up. The topic? Whether young John F. Kerry was present at a meeting of Vietnam Veterans Against the War when they debated assassinating pro-war politicians. O'Donnell was loudly protesting that no one can remember what they were doing 33 years ago, so why would anyone focus on what Kerry did in 1971? Youthful indiscretion! Youthful indiscretion! It would have been nice if...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Now the Carrot

Tony Blair has taken the lead in working the diplomacy front of the war on terror by taking a politically risky trip to Libya and welcoming Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi back into the international fold: Tony Blair has shaken hands and is the middle of his controversial meeting with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. Thursday's Tripoli talks follows Libya's decision last December to renounce weapons of mass destruction. Mr Blair's visit has been criticised by some politicians and received a mixed response from relatives of the victims of the Lockerbie bombing. No doubt, many issues separate Libya from the West, both specific (the Fletcher murder case) and general (Libya's human-rights record). However, if we are to convince rogue states like Libya to cough up their WMDs and to fight terrorism, the West has to provide some positive incentives for that transition. Libya also demonstrates that the West doesn't have imperial ambitions...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Rich Lowry Dissects Richard Clarke

Rich Lowry, in today's New York Post, takes apart Richard Clarke and outlines why Clarke has sacrificed his credibility for thirty pieces of silver (via Instapundit): DEAN Acheson famously titled his memoir of his years as secretary of state after World War II "Present at the Creation." Anyone close to Richard Clarke these last few days could write a memoir called "Present at the Self-Immolation." Rarely has a former public servant with such a sterling reputation shot it all away so quickly. ... For evidence of this, look no further than Clarke's August 2002 briefing for reporters while he was still at the National Security Council. ... In his 2002 briefing, Clarke said that the Bush administration decided in "mid-January" 2001 to continue with existing Clinton policy while deciding whether or not to pursue more aggressive ideas that had been rejected throughout the Clinton administration. Nowhere does this appear in...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Ukrainian Missiles Missing?

The BBC has a disturbing report from the Ukraine about their inability to account for several hundred ballistic missiles that were decommissioned after the collapse of the Soviet Union: Ukrainian Defence Minister Yevhen Marchuk has said that several hundred of his country's missiles are unaccounted for. The weapons were supposed to have been decommissioned in the years that followed the break-up of the USSR. But it is now being claimed that there is no record of them being destroyed. ... "Each of the missiles contained gold, silver, platinum. But where are the results of their recycling?" he asked. Call me a worry-wart if you will, but I hardly think that the most pressing issue of losing several hundred ballistic missiles is their potential recycling revenue. I'm a bit more concerned about the warheads and the fuel that those missiles carried, either or both of which may have wound up in...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Minnesota Soft Money Goes to Democrats

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune notes that the amount of "soft" money spent in 2002 put Minnesota fourth nationwide, coming in behind only Florida, New Jersey, and California, despite being ranked 21st in population in the US: The Minnesota DFL and Republican parties and affiliated organizations pulled in just under $40 million, the Washington-based Center for Public Integrity found. Only Florida, New Jersey and California state parties pulled in more. The report's author, Derek Willis, noted that Minnesota had two prominent statewide races in 2002 - for governor and the U.S. Senate. ... The study found that DFL and affiliated groups raised $22.7 million in the 2001-02 election cycle, while the state Republican Party and affiliated groups pulled in $17 million. The money went toward things like voter registration efforts and advertisements. Most of the state party money came from national parties in the form of ``soft money,'' the large, unregulated contributions...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Watcher's Council: New List

I'm late posting this -- at least a day late, in fact -- but the Watcher's Council has posted its list of nominations for the best in the blogosphere over the past week ... and Captain's Quarters has been nominated again, this time for my post on the failure of gun control in Commonwealth countries. As always, the Council has chosen two lists, one for Council members and one for non-members. Make sure you take some time to review all of the excellent entries on this week's list. And next time, the Captain will make sure his ship stays on schedule ......

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Minn. Supreme Court Rules For CLE Bias Courses

The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled, as expected, to uphold the state Continuing Legal Education requirement for anti-bias classes. Eliot Rothenberg had refused to comply with this requirement, as the state had certified a number of unusual courses for the CLE requirement, including a panel on the merits of Islam and a rally for Lynne Stewart, an attorney currently under indictment for supporting terrorist activities. The high court noted, however, that there were a number of other courses that would satisfy the requirement, bypassing altogether the issues of the flawed study that initiated the CLE for bias in the first place. Power Line has blogged extensively on this issue. Start here and work your way forward through their excellent series....

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

We Keep Them Running

US and Afghan officials told the press today that the new spring offensive in the mountainous border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan -- which isn't even fully underway yet -- has impacted al-Qaeda's ability to mount their own offensive and has forced them into spending their time on the run: Al-Qaida and Taliban fighters, increasingly pursued by American and Pakistani forces, are on the run or hunkering down rather than mounting a threatened spring offensive of their own, U.S. and Afghan officials say. ... "We're doing a great deal to disrupt operations," the spokesman, Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty, said in Kabul. "The absence of violence against the Afghan people generally shows how well we're doing." With spring "we would expect stepped-up activities against the Afghan people and aid agencies and that's one of the things Mountain Storm is designed to prevent," Hilferty said. Spokesmen for the Taliban militia, the...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Congress Passes Organ-Donation Funding

In a rare moment of bipartisanship, the Senate passed a funding bill for live organ donors on a voice vote, after the House passed it 414-2: The legislation would authorize the Department of Health and Human Services to spend $5 million a year, beginning October 1, to reimburse qualified donors. It authorizes an additional $15 million in 2005 for grants to states, public awareness efforts and studies on how to increase recovery and donation rates. It also would finance new programs at hospitals and organ procurement organizations to coordinate organ donations. The Minnesota Legislature is considering a similar bill, but using tax deductions rather than direct reimbursement for donors. Either way, it represents an important and substantive support for people who selflessly give of themselves -- quite literally -- to save lives. Typically, a live donor has to undergo rigorous medical testing before surgery, and then the surgery and recovery...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

March 26, 2004

Kerry Embraces Tax Cuts?

John Kerry, trying to tack back to economic issues, issued a promise to create 10 million new jobs over the next four years, using corporate "tax incentives" to promote job growth: "Today, I'm announcing a new economic plan for America that will put jobs first. We will renew American competitiveness, make tough budget choices, and invest in our future. My pledge -- and my plan -- is for 10 million new jobs in the next four years." Kerry's Jobs First plan will call for the "most sweeping international tax law reform in forty years" that would give tax incentives to companies that create jobs in the United States. Kerry has spent most of the past year railing against the Bush tax cuts, which have put money back in people's pockets, and has already committed to rolling back a portion of them, especially those he's decried as "corporate welfare". Now he...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

My Nominee for the PC Awards

Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, will likely be excoriated by the lords of politically correctness for a speech he gave yesterday in Rome -- but more voices need to be added to Lord Carey's if we are to prevail in the war on terror: Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, launched a trenchant attack on Islamic culture last night, saying it was authoritarian, inflexible and under-achieving. In a speech that will upset sensitive relations between the faiths, he denounced moderate Muslims for failing unequivocally to condemn the "evil" of suicide bombers. He attacked the "glaring absence" of democracy in Muslim countries, suggested that they had contributed little of major significance to world culture for centuries and criticised the Islamic faith. Carey only says what is objectively true on its face: the Muslim world, with the notable exception of Turkey and perhaps Indonesia, has not progressed and in...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Clarke's Story Contines to Crumble

Richard Clarke's testimony to the 9/11 Commission and his new book continues to be contradicted by stubborn facts, this time in today's Boston Globe: FBI officials vehemently denied yesterday recent assertions by former White House terrorism czar Richard A. Clarke that the FBI learned in December 1999 that terrorists had been slipping into Boston on liquefied natural gas tankers from Algeria, yet failed to notify local authorities. We did thoroughly investigate that LNG tanker situation and came to the conclusion they were not being used to transport terrorists into our country, said Kenneth Kaiser, the special agentin-charge of the FBIs Boston office. We didnt brief the mayor that there was an Al Qaeda cell here, because there wasnt one. According to Kaiser, the FBI was investigating the thwarted 1999 millennium plot to blow up Los Angeles International Airport when it learned that several people being questioned in Boston had entered...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Why The Weird Kid In Kindergarten Will Outlive You

Courtesy of the Drudge Report, Ananova reports today on a new scientific study that gives us a breakthrough on bolstering our immune systems. One caveat -- you have to be willing to be a social pariah in order to receive its benefits: Picking your nose and eating it is one of the best ways to stay healthy, according to a top Austrian doctor. Innsbruck-based lung specialist Prof Dr Friedrich Bischinger said people who pick their noses with their fingers were healthy, happier and probably better in tune with their bodies. ... Dr Bischinger said: "With the finger you can get to places you just can't reach with a handkerchief, keeping your nose far cleaner. And eating the dry remains of what you pull out is a great way of strengthening the body's immune system." The good doctor recommends that we allow our kids to pick their noses and remove the...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Kerry's Excuse Makers

The Washington Post's John Harris writes an article that seems more interested in making excuses for John Kerry's rhetorical stumbles than in genuine reporting or analysis: Some Democrats are worried that their presumptive nominee's campaign is suffering from the candidate's inability to put a period in his sentences. They say an arguably trivial trait -- Kerry's penchant to wander off into the rhetorical woods -- has already proved damaging. His explanation about a vote on funding for Iraq -- "I actually did vote for the $87 billion, before I voted against it" -- was mocked by Vice President Cheney the next day, and was on the air in a commercial for President Bush the day after that. In context, Kerry's comment to West Virginia veterans was clear: He backed the spending request only if Bush agreed to pay for it by increasing taxes on the rich, instead of adding to...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Saddam Betrayed By Bodyguard

The BBC program Panorama asserts that the Americans captured Saddam by first capturing a loyal bodyguard, getting him to crack under interrogation and having him lead the Americans right to Saddam's spider hole: Saddam Hussein was finally betrayed by a relative who was one of his closest bodyguards, a BBC programme reveals. Panorama reports that after eight months on the run, the hiding place of the ousted Iraqi leader was given away by an aide known as "the fat man". ... After his arrest, Mr Musslit was flown to Tikrit where he was interrogated. He was then made to point out the remote farm where Saddam Hussein was hiding. The 600 American soldiers there found nothing in the farm buildings, but discovered Saddam Hussein hiding in an underground passage. The bodyguard and Hussein relative will not share in the $25 million reward, however. Since he was captured and did not...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

March 27, 2004

The Brewing War Over Judicial Nominations

In two articles today, one in the New York Times and the other from the Wall Street Journal, the battle lines over judicial nominations are being drawn in ever-starker terms. In the NYT, Democrats threaten to completly hijack the judicial confirmation process if President Bush doesn't swear to forego the recess appointment process: "We will be clear," the Democratic leader, Senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota, told his colleagues Friday morning in a pointed speech on the Senate floor. "We will continue to cooperate in the confirmation of federal judges, but only if the White House gives the assurance that it will no longer abuse the process." ... The breakdown, members of both parties said, came after Mr. Daschle met with the Senate majority leader, Bill Frist, Republican of Tennessee, this week to warn him that Democrats would block all future nominees unless they received assurances from the White House...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Quelle Surprise!

The BBC reports that Saddam's hired a mouthpiece. Anyone want to guess where he found one? A French lawyer who made his reputation defending some of the world's most notorious figures says he will take on Saddam Hussein as his latest client. In his long career, Jacques Verges defended Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie, Carlos the Jackal and former Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic. Mr Verges says the request came in a letter from Saddam Hussein's nephew, Ali Barzan al-Takriti. ... Mr Tikriti sent the following message to Mr Verges: "In my capacity as nephew of President Saddam Hussein, I commission you officially via this letter to assure the defence of my uncle". So the French stand ready to defend Saddam once again, in a truly touching continuation of the long-term Franco-Iraqi alliance. With such a client list, Saddam certainly picked the right ambulance-chaser, and Jacques Verges shows that he's moving...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Watcher's Council Winners

The Watcher's Council has spoken ... and Captain's Quarters has come in at #2 for the week, on my post about the failure of gun control in Commonwealth countries. As part of my duties as runner-up, I promise to be available if the winner is unable or unwilling to fulfill her duties ... or poses naked in a men's magazine. That sort of thing reflects poorly on all of us, you know. The winners were Citizen Smash for Down the Rabbit Hole (non-Council) and the SmarterCop for 20 Questions I'd Like To Ask John F*** Kerry (Council). Keep an eye out for the Watcher's next Council vote!...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Northern Alliance Radio: Big-Time Guests Today!

It's Saturday, so it must be time for another installment of the Northern Alliance Radio Network! Today we have two fascinating guests: Kenneth R. Timmerman and Thomas Lipsomb. Timmerman wrote the fascinating book, The French Betrayal of America, which I have just started -- my Reagan book will have to wait, I'm afraid. Lipscomb has reported on John Kerry's involvement in the Phoenix Project, an assassination plot that targeted pro-war American politicians in a 1971 meeting, which Kerry at first categorically denied and then was forced to recant after contemporaneous FBI reports placed him there. If you're in our listening area, make sure you tune into AM 1280 The Patriot from noon to 3 PM today!...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Aim Low, Sweet Star-Tribune

I am often -- which is to say, almost never -- asked, what constitutes a hack column? Why do some columns merely display mediocrity, and how do you distinguish them from the chosen few that sink to the execrable? Sometimes that question is difficult to answer, although thanks to my local newspaper, the Star Tribune, I can offer one objective criteria. If you keep inserting verses from a union picket-line version of an old spiritual, you have officially entered hackdom, as did Terry Collins today: They spoke out and sang their hardships, hoping that two people in particular would hear them. "Sit down! Stop wasting time, settle the strike today," a crowd of about 40 people, many with disabilities, sang to the tune of "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot." They gathered Friday across the street from Metropolitan Council Chairman Peter Bell's office in downtown St. Paul. At least it wasn't the...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

March 28, 2004

Kerry VVAW Files Stolen From Historian

After having spent eleven years collecting documentation on the Vietnam Veterans Against the War, historian Gerald Nicosia lost a chunk of it in one night: FBI documents about FBI surveillance of John Kerry in the early 1970s have been stolen, according to their owner, a historian who lives near San Francisco, California. Gerald Nicosia, who spent more than a decade collecting the information, said three of 14 boxes of documents plus a number of loose folders containing hundreds of pages were stolen from his home Thursday afternoon. ... "It was a very clean burglary. They didn't break any glass. They didn't take anything like cameras sitting by. It was a very professional job," Nicosia said. "Was it a thrill-seeker who wanted a piece of history? It could be," Nicosia said. "You'd think there was a very strong political motivation for taking those files. The odds are in favor of that."...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Syria May Be Getting the Message Now

The Australian reports today that Syria, long a haven for Islamic terrorists and a sister dictatorship to Saddam's own Ba'ath regime in Iraq, has approached the Australian government to intercede on its behalf to improve its relations with the US (via Instapundit): SYRIA has appealed to Australia to use its close ties with Washington to help the Arab nation shake off its reputation as a terrorist haven and repair its relations with the US. Secret talks between the two nations have been under way for months but have become more urgent as rogue nations reconsider their role in allowing terrorists to thrive, in light of the US determination to take pre-emptive military action. ... Syria's Melbourne-based honorary consul, Antonios Zyrabi, confirmed to The Weekend Australian last night that Syria wanted Australia to help it come in from the diplomatic cold. As I noted earlier, Syria has been rocked in recent...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

French Voters Rejecting EU?

French voters sent a message to the center-right government of Jacques Chirac, who tried to rein in government spending in order to comply with EU budget restrictions. The electorate doesn't approve of Chirac's cutbacks in social spending, and the Socialists are poised to take control: President Jacques Chirac's government suffered humiliating defeats Sunday in the second round of regional elections in what was seen as a backlash against his painful economic reforms. The results, which breathed life back into France's left-wing opposition, will increase pressure on Chirac to reshuffle his conservative government and perhaps even ditch his prime minister, the unpopular Jean-Pierre Raffarin. The French, who already had reneged on their EU obligations for debt reduction, now wants to continue adding to their budget deficits by either maintaining or expanding their social services as their population continues to skew older. Chirac once had designs on controlling the EU by partnering...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

March 29, 2004

Iran Blinks -- Again

Iran has backed down again in its confrontation with the IAEA -- and the West -- over its nuclear program: Iran has stopped building centrifuges to win the world's trust over its nuclear program, the head of its Atomic Energy Organization said Monday. Gholamreza Aghazadeh said the suspension of the construction of centrifuges had been ordered by the country's Supreme National Security Coucil, Iran's top decision-making body. Iran suspended uranium enrichment last year under strong international pressure over the aims and dimensions of its nuclear program. But it continued to build centrifuges, which are used in enrichment, despite criticism that this violated the spirit of its pledge to cease enrichment. Iran had long been defiant about its nuclear program, which it insists is limited to power generation and has no application towards weapon development. Last year, after the invasion of Iraq made it clear that certain members of the UN...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

How To Win Friends and Influence People

Imagine that a group of people would like to win your support for their cause, or at least try to convince you to listen to their side of an issue. Do you think that this is the most effective way to make the case? Several hundred people stormed the small yard of President Bush's chief political strategist, Karl Rove, yesterday afternoon, pounding on his windows, shoving signs at others and challenging Rove to talk to them about a bill that deals with educational opportunities for immigrants. Protesters poured out of one school bus after another, piercing an otherwise quiet, peaceful Sunday in Rove's Palisades neighborhood in Northwest, chanting, "Karl, Karl, come on out! See what the DREAM Act is all about!" ... The protest was organized by National People's Action, a coalition of neighborhood advocacy groups based in Chicago. Leaders said they want Bush to advocate for the Development, Relief...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

WSJ: Kerry/Phoenix Project Connection Being Ignored

John Fund writes an excellent column in today's Wall Street Journal op-ed site, OpinionJournal.com, where he notices a double standard between the coverage of the public-service records of Bush and Kerry, and how the national news media speak volumes in their silence on the Phoenix Project: Reporters spent days hounding White House spokesmen for records on the subject. In the end, it became clear that Mr. Bush chose to serve stateside during the war, was lax in attending guard duty during his last year, and had to feverishly make it up before he was honorably discharged. It's clear President Bush doesn't want to talk about his service, but reporters pressed for answers anyway. It's time they do the same for Mr. Kerry, who has laid down his actions in the Vietnam era as a marker for his character and, according to the Boston Globe, has refused to release his military...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Pickering, Revisited

60 Minutes reviewed the recess appointment of Charles Pickering, the Mississippi federal judge that ran into the partisan buzzsaw of the Senate Democrats, and strangely enough came up with a much different picture of Pickering than that painted by Daschle, Kennedy, and Company. Needless to say, this has disappointed the Commissar at the Politburo Diktat, who counted on CBS to stick to the party line: Comrades, get out hatchets. Hack away at Ms. Gambrell. Give her the full "Justice Thomas, Colin Powell, Condi Rice" job. Maybe she is Pickering's lover, da? Maybe she is lesbian. ... No, need 21st Century slur ... Maybe she "accused someone else of being lesbian." Is more up-to-date smear, da? Perhaps she opposes gay marriage. Comrades, if you find nothing, do not worry. Follow Comrade Schumer's example: Just make it up. Be sure to read the Commissar's revealing look at the interview with Deborah Gambrell,...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

UN Shifts Blame on Baghdad Bombing in August

The UN finally released its official report on the August bombing of the Baghdad UN headquarters, and Kofi Annan has cashiered the chief security specialist and reprimanded two others: The UN secretary general has asked for security coordinator Tun Myat to quit after a scathing report on last year's bomb attack on the UN's HQ in Baghdad. But Kofi Annan refused an offer to resign from his deputy Louise Frechette, his spokesman Fred Eckhard told reporters at the United Nations. ... The report suggests that UN officials failed to ask searching questions before deciding to return UN staff to Baghdad, under heavy international pressure. The report was particularly critical of two UN officials in Baghdad, accusing them of "a dereliction of duty" and "a lethargy that is bordering on gross negligence" for failing to shield the office windows with blast-resistant film. The report also blamed the deceased special envoy Sergio...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Al-Qaeda Intelligence Chief Dead?

Pakistan's recent military offensive may have been more successful than first thought -- according to radio intercepts, their intelligence chief, a mysterious man known only as Abdullah, may have been killed: The radio transmissions disclosed that a man named Abdullah had been killed and that the death caused a great deal of distress among the al-Qaida forces, a Pakistani intelligence official said on condition of anonymity. "He was a very important person for al-Qaida," the official said. He added that interrogations of suspected al-Qaida members led the Pakistanis to believe that Abdullah was the group's top intelligence official. US intelligence officials confirmed that an Abdullah was indeed considered to be the top intelligence official, but they are careful to remain noncommittal on whether the Abdullah reportedly killed is the same man. If so, the death combined with the dispersal of what remained of the AQ brigade that the Pakistanis attacked...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

March 30, 2004

Kerry Continues to Slide: Poll

After a week in which former national security and counterterrorism apparatchik Richard Clarke helped the Democrats beat up on George Bush by claiming he was uninterested in terrorism prior to 9/11, a new poll by CNN/Gallup/USA Today shows that someone's being hurt by it -- but it's not George Bush: Among likely voters surveyed, 51 percent said they would choose Bush for president, while 47 percent said they would vote for Kerry, within the margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. (Full story) Three weeks ago, as Kerry was cinching the Democratic nomination with a string of primary victories, he led the president by 8 points in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup among likely voters, 52 percent to 44 percent. While that's technically within the outer reaches of the margin of error, it is the first time that Bush has polled over 50% since John Kerry won the...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Brits, Filipinos Score Victories Against Terrorism

Twelve terrorists are in custody in the UK and the Phillipines today as major terrorist operations have been disrupted. In the Phillipines, four Abu Sayyaf Islamic terrorists were arrested and eighty pounds of explosives confiscated: The Philippine president, Gloria Arroyo, today said that a terrorist attack on the scale of the Madrid bombings had been averted with the arrest of four Abu Sayyaf members and the seizure of 36kg (80lb) of explosives. The suspects, who allegedly trained with Jemaah Islamiyah, south-east Asia's al-Qaida-linked terrorist network, had planned to bomb trains and shopping malls in Manila, Ms Arroyo said. ... One of the arrested men, Redendo Cain Dellosa, had claimed responsibility for a February 27 explosion on a passenger ferry in which more than 100 people were killed, Ms Arroyo added, although no official conclusion about the cause of the blast had yet been reached. Dellosa is said to have trained...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Did Clarke's Team Keep the FBI In The Dark?

Dueling statements by members of former counterterrorism "czar" Richard Clarke's team andthe FBI leave the impression that they didn't tell the FBI everything that they needed to know about terrorist activities in the US, calling into question Clarke's contention that the FBI failed to aggressively pursue terrorism: The nation's former deputy counterterrorism czar said yesterday that Al Qaeda operatives trained in Afghanistan came through Boston Harbor on liquid natural gas tankers from Algeria and that officials considered Boston a "logistical hub" for the terror network's activities in New England before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. "The LNG tanker was an underground railroad for these guys to come into the country illegally," he said. "Were a majority just looking to come to the US and start over again? I think that's a safe bet. What we don't know is what percentage had other motives." Cressey's description of what counterterrorism officials...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

QandO Review of 9/11 Commission

My laptop has gone in for repairs, so I'm not able to comment too much on the news this morning -- or even receive e-mail, for that matter. While I'm working on that issue, please make sure you take a look at QandO today on the 9/11 Commission and its reports. McQ is all over the data contained in the reports, pointing out the fallacy of Clintonian prioritization of terrorism, especially in regards Osama and the Taliban. He's done some eye-opening work. Don't forget that the Captain's Caption Contest finishes up at 6 pm CT today, and Jon from QandO will be our guest judge. In the meantime, if you've sent me e-mail, I will eventually get it ... but it may take a bit, so your patience is very much appreciated!...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Captain's Caption Contest #5!

Last week, I mentioned that behind every good man was a good woman -- but this week, it looks like John Kerry may have the proverb reversed: Sharpen your wits, maximize your Internet speed, and put your creative talents to use, and tell us what caption you think belongs with this picture (courtesy of DC from Brainstorming)! This week's guest judge: Jon from QandO, an excellent libertarian/economics blog that is on my daily-read list. The contest will remain open until Tuesday, March 30, at 6 pm CT, so be sure to enter early and enter often! BUMP 3/27 -- Lots of creative entries so far ... BUMP 3/29 -- After a day (mostly) off, I'm putting this back to the top ... CLOSING 3/30 6:10 PM: It's going to the scorecards -- thanks for all your great entries!...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Shot In The Dark Back From The Darkness

Just a quick note to let everyone know that Mitch Berg's fine site, Shot In The Dark, had its ISP disappear out from underneath him yesterday -- and it took his domain name with it, at least temporarily. His site can be accessed at http://www.shotinthedark.info ... be sure to update your blogrolls and bookmarks!...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

The Uzbek-Guantanamo Connection Keeping The Lid On Terrorism: BBC

US detainment at the Guantanamo military camp has received more than its share of abuse, especially from the BBC, as an affront to "international law". However, deep within a story about the latest violence in Uzbekistan, the BBC itself shows that the Guantanamo policy has kept terrorism from spreading in Central Asia. First, the report shows that the Uzbek secular dictatorship gets results in its battle with terrorism: Uzbekistan says 20 suspected militants have blown themselves up during a fierce gun battle with special forces in the capital, Tashkent. ... Witnesses said four armed militants entered a house, which was then surrounded by the security forces. An interior ministry statement read out on television said 20 militants blew themselves up with home-made explosives after being surrounded. Three policemen were killed and five were injured. Uzbek authorities blame a long-standing Islamic group, Hizb ut-Tahrir, for the violence, but its London representatives...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Caption Contest Winners!

Guest judge Jon from QandO -- a smart and informative blog that should be on your daily reading list (like you need me to tell you that) -- has made the final decisions in this week's Captain's Caption Contest. Just to refresh your memory, in case you can't scroll down three posts, here's the picture: Here's Jon's picks, in his own format ... After a lengthy review, we have a 44 way tie for "You Sick Bastard". My god, people, go call your mother and apologize. Immediately. However, only one of your mothers will be talking to a winner. The results are: ---------- Runner-up #3 (or: The "topical, pithy, amusing....you're Jay Leno!" award) "Actually, I pulled her away from the bus before I pushed her under it." Posted by Pat Curley March 27, 2004 08:23 AM ---------- Runner-up #2 (or, The "ewww....I never thought I'd miss the relatively discreet days...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Politburo Diktat: New Map, with Party Lines!

Comrade Commissar at the Politburo Diktat has crafted another of his ingenious maps of Bloggahland. With accuracy guaranteed (all disputes will be settled by the Party, so Trotskyites be warned!), the Commissar shows how the alliance of the Vast Right Warlike Confederation has the Moonbat Colony of Leftieland surrounded. The map itself provides links to many different bloggers, arranged as only the Commissar can do. Definitely a must-see!...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

No WMDs -- Semicolon

For the past few months, the American public has accepted as established fact that Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction, thanks in part to the David Kay report, which held out little hope of finding any WMD caches in Iraq. However, the finality of the WMD status may not be as cut-and-dried as Americans imagine, as the current weapons inspector keeps finding more references to them in his ongoing investigation: In prepared testimony, the CIA's new chief Iraq weapons inspector said he does not rule out finding weapons of mass destruction, adding "we regularly receive reports, some quite intriguing and credible, about concealed caches" of weapons. ... Duelfer is testifying Tuesday behind closed doors before the Senate Armed Services and Intelligence committees. His comments contrast with those of his predecessor, David Kay, who has said he does not expect that any weapons of mass destruction will be found in...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

March 31, 2004

World Court Not Political?

President Bush received a storm of criticism when he withdrew the US from the International Criminal Court, claiming that its mandate was much too broad and checks on its power too few, which would lead it to pursuing political ends through bogus criminal prosecutions. Well, if it the World Court is any guideline, it looks like Bush's critics may owe him an apology: The International Court of Justice on Wednesday ruled that the United States violated the rights of 47 Mexicans on death row and ordered their cases be reviewed. The United Nations' highest judiciary, also known as the world court, was considering whether 52 convicted murderers had received their right to assistance from their government in a case filed by Mexico. ... In hearings in December, lawyers for Mexico argued that any U.S. citizen accused of a serious crime abroad would want the same right, and the only fair...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Kerry Flip-Flops On Gas Prices, Campaign Tone

We may have the most gymnastic presidential candidate ever fielded in modern American history. John Kerry has mastered the art of the flip-flop, changing positions with blinding speed on such issues as the war in Iraq, funding the troops, gay marriage, and corporate taxation. Now Kerry has changed positions on the gas tax in a desperate bid to find an issue on which to recapture any momentum possible to reverse his free-falling poll numbers: Seeking to drive down crude oil prices, the Massachusetts Democrat called for a policy in which the United States applies greater pressure on oil-producing nations to increase production and said U.S. officials should temporarily suspend filling U.S. oil reserves. ... Kerry argued that diverting oil intended for U.S. reserves directly to the market will help depress gas prices, although analysts say that probably would have a negligible effect. ... The political ad released today by the...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Don't Run

In an effort to invoke the ghosts of Somalia, Iraq' "insurgents" have mutilated the bodies of five Americans and dragged them through the streets of Fallujah, dismembering them and hanging them from a bridge in the heart of the Sunni Triangle: Jubilant residents dragged the charred corpses of four foreign contractors including at least one American through the streets Wednesday and hanged them from the bridge spanning the Euphrates River. Five American soldiers died in a roadside bombing nearby. ... Associated Press Television News pictures showed one man beating a charred corpse with a metal pole. Others tied a yellow rope to a body, hooked it to a car and dragged it down the main street of town. Two blackened and mangled corpses were hung from a green iron bridge across the Euphrates. "The people of Fallujah hanged some of the bodies on the old bridge like slaughtered...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Kerry Losing Ground In Key Swing State

In a state that George Bush would love to win and Kerry can't afford to lose, Kerry has dropped seven points in the past five weeks: John Kerry's numbers have slipped in Pennsylvania, a statewide poll released Tuesday shows. The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee lost ground to President Bush in the latest poll conducted for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The Keystone poll by Franklin & Marshall College showed Bush leading Kerry 46 percent to 40 percent among 565 registered voters. Kerry lost 7 percentage points since the last Keystone poll in February. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points. The drop mirrors the free-fall that Kerry has experienced nationwide over the same period of time. Kerry dropped from 47% to 40% while Bush's numbers held firm at 46%, and Kerry's disapproval numbers went up the same amount. Nader's entry has pulled 3% of voters...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

Paul Hornung to Notre Dame: Sell Out

Paul Hornung, who had an illustrious, Heisman Award career at Notre Dame and a brilliant Hall of Fame NFL career, may have had his Al Campanis moment last night in a radio interview when he stated that Notre Dame needed to lower its academic standards in order to attract black athletes: Football great Paul Hornung said in a radio interview that his alma mater, Notre Dame, needs to lower its academic standards to "get the black athlete." "As far as Notre Dame is concerned, we're going to have to ease it up a little bit," Hornung told Detroit's WXYT-AM in an interview before the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame banquet Tuesday. ... "We can't stay as strict as we are as far as the academic structure is concerned because we've got to get the black athlete," Hornung said in the interview. "We must get the black athlete if we're going...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »

The EU's Slow Surrender to Islamic Anti-Semitism

The European Union, faced with a growing and increasingly restive Muslim population from centuries of colonialism and proximity to the Middle East, consistently refuses to face the problems caused by this community. In its latest report on anti-Semitism, the EU has rewritten its conclusions to avoid offending Islamist groups: A study released by the EU's racism and xenophobia monitoring centre astounded experts by concluding that the wave of anti-Jewish persecution over the last two years stemmed from neo-Nazi or other racist groups. "The largest group of the perpetrators of anti-Semitic activities appears to be young, disaffected white Europeans," said a summary released to the European Parliament . "A further source of anti-Semitism in some countries was young Muslims of North African or Asian extraction. "Traditionally, anti-Semitic groups on the extreme Right played a part in stirring opinion," it added. The headline findings contradict the body of the report. This says...

« February 2004 | April 2004 »