« May 2004 | July 2004 »

June 1, 2004

The Little Admiral Turns 2

Busy morning today, but I wanted to show you a couple of pictures from the Little Admiral's 2nd birthday party, which unfortunately the First Mate and I had to miss. Thankfully, Sean from Everything I Know Is Wrong took a few snaps for me to enjoy. (Sean and I are related through my son's marriage, and he's a terrific guy with a terrific blog -- check it out.) I heard that she had been showing everyone a microscopic "owie" on her knee and demanding that everyone kiss it. In the first picture, you'll see the only one who refused, Sean's son Connor, who apparently won't indulge such nonsense! The pictures are in the extended entry. I'll be back to regular blogging a little later on....

Continue reading "The Little Admiral Turns 2" »

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Trouble Brewing In New Jersey For Kerry

The Washington Post's Evelyn Nieves analyzes John Kerry's poor polling in New Jersey, a traditional Democratic bastion of support that Al Gore carried by sixteen points in 2000. Recent polls indicate Kerry's support drifting downwards, to the point where the Quinnipiac poll of 5/10-16 shows Bush within the margin of error in a three-way race. Democratic activists proclaim their confidence in the safety of New Jersey, but as Nieves reports, privately they express concern over the lack of momentum in the Kerry campaign: Democratic Party officials here and nationally dismissed the poll as a fluke. They pointed to the fundraising records that Kerry is breaking, to the polls that keep looking better for him as they get worse for Bush, and to the attention that Kerry will receive when the news focuses more on the campaign. One poll in New Jersey, they added, will not stand up when the state's...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Why This Is War And Not Crime

The Justice Department released documentation on the Jose Padilla case, the only US citizen seized outside the battlefield being held as an enemy combatant, showing the scope of the al-Qaeda contacts and plans with which Padilla was involved: Jose Padilla, a former Chicago gang member held as a terrorism suspect for two years, sought to blow up hotels and apartment buildings in the United States in addition to planning an attack with a "dirty bomb" radiological device, the government said Tuesday. The Justice Department, under pressure to explain its indefinite detention of a U.S. citizen as an "enemy combatant," detailed Padilla's alleged al-Qaida training in Afghanistan and contacts with the most senior members of the terrorist network, his travel back into the United States and preparations to rent apartments and set off explosives. The DoJ shows how Padilla signed an application to join al-Qaeda and worked with known AQ leaders...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Cautiously Optimistic

Iraq took large steps towards independence and representative government with the formal creation of an interim Iraqi executive and cabinet, which will replace the US-formed Iraqi Governing Council. The IGC, which suffered from its association with the occupation, used its considerable political heft to install its own choices in key positions despite some opposition from both the US and the UN representative Lakhdar Brahimi. The BBC reports that President Bush waxed ebullient about these developments and the people chosen by the Iraqis: US President Bush has welcomed Iraq's interim government saying it represents a broad cross-section of society and has the "talent" to guide the nation. He said that the first priority for the new leadership will be to pave the way to nationwide elections by January. Mr Bush insisted the US had played no role in selecting the new cabinet, and instead praised the UN for their input. The...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Al Gore Diagnosed

In today's NRO, Dr. Henry Miller diagnoses Gore's major malfunction: Narcissistic Personality Disorder. According to the good doctor, the diagnostic criteria for this malady is "a pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts." Among Gores symptoms are: - "a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)." Most dramatically represented by his claim to have invented the internet. - preoccupation "with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love; believes that he or she is 'special' and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)." Constantly portrays himself as the man with all the answers to the worlds problems both political and environmental, enough said. - "requires excessive admiration."...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Captain's Caption Contest #12 - Global Warming Edition!

It's Friday, and so it must be time for the next Captain's Caption Contest! In honor of the new Roland Emmerich film, The Day After Tomorrow, Captain's Quarters has adjusted its normal contest material in order to highlight the terrible global warming problem that faces our planet. In an exclusive (yeah, sure), CQ has identified a major source of hot, noxious gas -- and all we need is your description of the image: It looks like John Kerry can breathe a sigh of relief this week! The contest stays open until 6 PM CT on Tuesday, June 1, at which time our guest judge will decide which of your entries wins out. Enter as often as you like, no purchase necessary, winner need not be present to win, bribes freely accepted ... you know the drill. Make sure you put your entry into the comments section -- e-mail will be...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Iran: You Caught Us, We're Innocent

Iran reversed itself today and finally admitted that it had imported parts for nuclear centrifuges designed to create weapons-grade fissile material, but still claims that the US falsely accuses it of pursuing a nuclear-weapons program, according to the AP and CNN. The AP covers the Iranian reversal: In a reversal, Iran has acknowledged importing parts for advanced centrifuges that can be used to enrich uranium, the U.N. atomic watchdog agency said Tuesday in a confidential report obtained by The Associated Press. ... In an interview with The Associated Press before the report was leaked, U.S. Undersecretary of State John R. Bolton accused Tehran of engaging in "denial and deception. ... We are convinced that they are pursuing a clandestine program to acquire nuclear weapons," he said. ... Iran has rejected the U.S. allegations, saying its nuclear program is geared only toward generating electricity. CNN, meanwhile, covers another aspect of the...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Can We Just Stick To The Debate?

The ever-reliable NewsMax (hah!) ran a story today that my friends on the right just can't resist -- that John Kerry, in the middle of a presidential campaign, with every major media outlet haunting each step, on a day honoring fallen American soldiers, flipped the bird to a protesting veteran: Democratic senator - and certain presidential nominee - John F. Kerry gave the middle finger to a Vietnam veteran at the Vietnam Memorial Wall on Memorial Day morning, NewsMax.com has learned. ... Just then Kerry - in front of the school children, other visitors and Secret Service agents - brazenly 'flashed the bird' at Sampley and then yelled out to everyone, "Sampley is a felon!" Look, as anyone who reads my blog knows, I am no fan of the most liberal Massachussetts Senator. I think he's dangerously vacillating, pompous, and narcissistic. But he's no idiot, and the last thing John...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Raines Rants, Advises Kerry To Lie Better

Howell Raines writes an editorial in tomorrow's London Guardian expressing serious concerns about John Kerry as a candidate, and in the process exposes the obvious bias he inculcated into the New York Times as editor-in-chief before his ignominious fall from the Jayson Blair affair. Raines' Bush-hatred comes through, loud and clear, even while he argues persuasively that John Kerry hasn't demonstrated any of the requisite skills to beat the incumbent. First off, though, Raines displays an amazing lack of historical knowledge that explains why the New York Times only discovers homelessness during Republican administrations: As America's first war-hero candidate since John F Kennedy, he ought to be leading the national discussion on what went wrong in Iraq. Raines either forgets or never knew that the first President Bush flew fighter missions in World War II, was shot down in the Pacific, and didn't come back to the US afterwards to...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

First Mate Back Home

Just an update for everyone -- the First Mate has returned home, with her blood pressure stabilized for the moment and all symptoms cleared up. Even better, I spoke with the transplant center this afternoon, and while they still need to review all of the records and doctors' notes from this incident, they believe she can stay on schedule for the transplant. They'll make a final determination later this week. Thank you, thank you, thank you all for your thoughts and prayers this week. They have been more of a blessing than you know. We're both blessed to have the support of such a wonderful group of people on all points of the political spectrum....

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

June 2, 2004

Herseth Wins In South Dakota

In a special election that both parties maintain holds special significance for the November contests, Democrat Stephanie Herseth narrowly held off Republican Larry Diedrich to take over the remainder of Bill Janklow's term in Congress. Herseth's narrow margin, however, means the two will meet again in November: With 96 percent of precincts reporting, Herseth had 124,647 votes, or 51 percent, to Larry Diedrich's 121,719 votes, or 49 percent. ... Her victory gave the Democrats two straight triumphs this year in special elections waged for GOP-held seats, and coincided with Democratic claims that a national tide is running their way ahead of the fall campaign. Jay Reding live-blogged the election, which shows you what a dedicated blogger Jay is; would anyone else in the blogosphere live-blog an election in South Dakota? His conclusion: At the same time, it's a Pyrrhic victory for the Democrats. Stephanie Herseth may give the Democrats a...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Want To Feel Old?

How's this for a slap in the face? Jessica McClure, who held the attention of the nation as a toddler when she fell into an abandoned well 17 years ago, is now a high school graduate. In October 1987, when she was 18 months old, Jessica slipped into an uncovered eight-inch-wide pipe in her aunt's yard. Crews struggled for two and a half days to rescue her, digging a deep parallel shaft and then a 63-inch horizontal tunnel through bedrock to join the two shafts. They finally brought her to the surface in a moment covered on live television. For those of us old enough to remember, the Baby Jessica story riveted the nation, one of the first moment-to-moment crisis not involving war or an assassination attempt that kept people glued to the 24-hour news sources for constant updates. And it sure doesn't seem like 17 years have gone by,...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Minnesota Makes Sure Drivers Don't Gouge Oil Companies

In this period of rapidly rising gasoline prices, you may feel relieved to hear that the state of Minnesota has focused on the pump prices to make sure that there are no shenanigans going on. However, that feeling might be fleeting when you find out that they're keeping prices up: With gasoline prices painfully high, it may be surprising for some to learn that state regulators are penalizing retailers for, well, for not charging Minnesota motorists enough for gasoline. The Commerce Department snagged its first offenders last week under a 2001 law that aims to prevent predatory pricing by requiring gas merchants to charge 8 cents more per gallon than they pay for fuel. Arkansas-based Murphy Oil was penalized $70,000 for violating the law prohibiting below-cost sales. The company operates 10 service stations in Minnesota on property it leases from retail giant Wal-Mart. If the oil companies got together and...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Caption Contest #12 Winners!

The judges have returned with the winners of the special Global Warming edition of the weekly Captain's Caption Contest! Edward Yee did the honors this week, and did he have his work cut out for him. We received a near-record 107 entries this week from the blogosphere's most creative readership. In fact, Al Gore was so stunned by the response that he had the breath knocked out of him: Here are the winners: Captain's Award (Most Original) -- Donald S. Crankshaw: Fighting to contain a violent yawn at his own words, Al Gore is mistaken for a raving lunatic. You Have The Conn #1 (Great Minds Think Alike) -- Wacky Hermit: "wh- wh- heeeeee-- wh- wh- heeeeee..." "We can see the head! Now push! That's it, push with the contractions!" You Have The Conn #2 (Where One Man Had Gone Before) -- Scotty: In a certain epiphany for the ex-vice...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

More Perspective On The Gray Lady

Thanks to reader Bipin Pathak, who read my post from last night discussing the ludicrous Howell Raines article in today's London Guardian, and to which Glenn Reynolds and Neal Boortz kindly linked. Bipin brought a letter from Albert Einstein to my attention which notes that Raines may indeed have followed a long and storied tradition in his stewardship of the New York Times. This letter currently stands for auction at Christie's, but an excerpt is posted on line: "You see that I have retained my black humor despite Palestine, corrupt American politics and daily reading of the N.Y. Times which doesn't even lie honestly but distorts the truth with malicious intent." So, as my intrepid reader points out, I keep pretty good company. (Mom will be proud of me!) The more things change, unfortunately, the more they stay the same -- which Einstein's work might also address ......

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

A Memorial Series You Should See

I think all of us in the blogosphere wanted to do something special for the veterans, both living and those who gave the last, full measure, for this Memorial Day. Quite a few posted touching stories, and of course I put the story of Captain Ben Salomon on my site, who died saving dozens of wounded Americans on Saipan. However, I think one of the best I've seen are at INDC Journal, where Bill went out with his digital camera and got wonderful pictures and stories from the veterans themselves. Bill's post turned out to be so large that he had to break it into two parts. Make sure you read them both. Bill has a personal story to tell in the second part, so make sure you read it all the way through. I dare you to do it without tears....

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

LA Coliseum? You Have To Be Kidding Me

Mayor James Hahn announced today that he now supports using the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum as the venue to attract a new NFL team to the nation's #2 market. LA has been without any pro football team since the early 1990s, when the Rams left for Saint Louis, leaving La-La land in the lurch. However, Hahn's proposal will likely wind up chasing off the NFL rather than attracting them back, regardless of the TV revenues: Mayor James Hahn said he now thinks a modified Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum would be the appropriate home for the possible return of an NFL team to the city. Hahn had previously backed a proposal to build a new stadium, but said the progress the Coliseum has made in preparing environmental impact documents has given it the edge over other possible sites. ... A $400 million renovation to prepare it for a pro team would...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Telegraph: Fallujah Nightmare

The London Telegraph, normally pro-American and somewhat supportive of the war in Iraq, writes a tough article on the result of the Fallujah truce, where it appears that we will eventually need to face an undiminished insurgency in the heart of the Sunni Triangle: The town is currently a no-go area for US troops, and by extension, any westerner. Despite lucrative rebuilding contracts, none has entered the city since four contractors were killed and their bodies mutilated in March, prompting the American incursion. ... My escort, a member of the Iraqi Islamic Party, which negotiated the peace deal with the marines, warned me that he would not be able to guarantee my safety if I set foot outside the car. The reason for such caution was obvious. Brown-shirted members of the Fallujah Brigade, most of them former resistance fighters, manned checkpoints across the city. The few residents who agreed to...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Young Girls: We Don't Need No Exploitation

In a society gone skin-mad, voices of reason seem few and far between. Surprisingly, though, retailers and designers have started to heed calls for more modest choices in clothing aimed at young girls -- from the target market itself: During a recent shopping trip to Nordstrom, 11-year-old Ella Gunderson became frustrated with all the low-cut hip-huggers and skintight tops. So she wrote to the Seattle-based chain's executives to complain. The industry has been getting the message: A more modest look is in, fashion experts say. ... The Web sites ModestApparelUSA.com and ModestByDesign.com where the slogan is "Clothing your father would be proud of" report that sales have skyrocketed over the past 18 months. Many youngsters are frustrated by the profusion of racy teenage clothing, according to Buzz Marketing, a New Jersey-based firm that compiles feedback from teen advisers. "There is just sensory overload. Kids are going to say...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

June 3, 2004

Karpinski Dodges Responsibility

Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, the commanding officer of the Abu Ghraib unit where American soldiers abused Iraqi prisoners, has decided that the best defense is a good offense and actively courts the media to respond to their allegations and questions. Today's Los Angeles Times has a profile of Karpinski in which the general takes the decidedly un-military position of refusing responsibility for the actions of her unit: The woman who commanded the Army Reserve's 800th Military Police Brigade and supervised the guards at Iraq's infamous Abu Ghraib prison has become one of the most recognizable and relentlessly pursued players in an erupting international scandal over prisoner abuse. In part, that's because Karpinski has not followed the route of the traditional commander who stoically accepts responsibility for failure on her watch and quietly retires. Instead, Karpinski has actively cooperated and sometimes sought out the media in a one-woman campaign to defend...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

This Sounds Depressingly Familiar

When I lived in California, the Democrat-controlled Legislature could never produce a budget on time. The situation got so bad that Californians debated referenda cutting off salaries and per-diem payments to the state Assembly and Senate from the start of the new fiscal year (July 1) until a bugget was passed and signed into law. Their continuing failure to pass budgets brought the state Democratic party much-deserved scorn, inasmuch as they controlled both houses of the Legislature. Now, however, the shoe resides firmly on the other foot at the federal level, and Republicans not only don't think they can pass a budget on time, they're debating on whether to pass one at all: They have tried sweet-talk and dire warnings, insults and bluffing tactics. None of it has worked, which is why a growing number of Republicans are beginning to despair about agreeing on a budget plan for next year....

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Tenet Exits

CIA Director George Tenet resigned today, according to President George Bush and reported by USA Today (via Instapundit): George Tenet has resigned as CIA director, President Bush announced Thursday, ending the increasingly stormy tenure of a man under fire for the department's intelligence before the Iraq war. In a brief appearance before leaving for Europe, Bush told reporters he had met Wednesday night at the White House with Tenet. "He told he me was resigning for personal reasons. I told him I was sorry he was leaving," Bush said. Tenet will serve until mid-July and will be temporarily replaced by Deputy Director John McLaughlin, Bush said. Glenn Reynolds says, "It's about time," and it's difficult to argue with that assessment. Whatever the reasons, our intelligence services failed to gather a comprehensive look at the gathering threat of Islamofascism. It would be terribly unfair to lay the blame entirely at Tenet's...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Sistani Signs Off On New Iraqi Gov't

The Coalition garnered a qualified endorsement from Ayatollah Ali Sistani today, the most influential Shi'ite cleric in Iraq, for the new transitional government. Sistani issued a rare written statement indicating his modest, if unenthusiastic, approval: Iraq's new interim government Thursday won crucial recognition Thursday from Iraq's most revered cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the Iraqi Shiites' supreme religious leader. Sistani, in a written statement issued by his office in the holy city of Najaf, shied away from a formal endorsement of the new government. But he said it could make itself worthy by improving life for Iraqis and by erasing "the consequences" of the U.S. occupation. ... Sistani's rare comments were considered highly significant. He holds considerable sway among Iraq's majority Shiite population, so much so that he was able to force the United States to significantly modify its timetable for Iraqi self-government earlier this year. While his words were...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Brits Demand Internet Ban For Pedophiles

The London Guardian reports today on a demand from British telecommunications giant BT for law enforcement to notify ISPs of convictions for sex offenders so that they can be denied internet services: The courts should bar everyone convicted of sexual offences against children which involve the internet from using the technology, said Nick Truman, head of security at the online arm of British Telecom, BT Openworld. Mr Truman, a member of the Home Office internet taskforce for child protection, also called on the police to inform ISPs of convictions so that the offender's internet account could be cancelled. ... The police do have powers to pass on information about registered sex offenders to third parties, such as the head teacher of a local school, but this does not cover commercial organisations such as ISPs. It sounds like a great idea, and it wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing to try,...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Kerry Campaign Violated Copyright, Paper Says

The presidential campaign of John Kerry, who earlier this week got flack from the Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth over the use of members' images in Kerry commercials, ran into a similar issue today when a Texas newspaper accused the campaign of stealing copyrighted photographs and demanded an apology: Corpus Christi Caller-Times is asking Democrat John Kerry to apologize for what it says was the unauthorized use in a Kerry campaign commercial of photos copyrighted by the newspaper. Editor Libby Averyt said Thursday that the ad, which is not running in Texas, appeared to use photos from "South Texas Heroes," a book on veterans published by the newspaper. "No request was made to the Caller-Times for any of the photos," Averyt said. ... The newspaper's attorney, Jorge C. Rangel, on Thursday asked Kerry in a letter to stop using the ads and to apologize to the soldiers' families as...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

June 4, 2004

So How Badly Do We Want To Win?

The London Telegraph reports on Republican efforts to increase their support in the African-American community, and notes that Ed Gillespie has won an endorsement from a well-known celebrity. He's a man who has been in the public eye for decades, known for his glib manner of speaking and his hairstyle. Oh, yeah, he's been convicted of manslaughter and indicted for fraud, too: This week found Mr Gillespie, a former lobbyist, on the stage of a Philadelphia jazz club, addressing the city's black business elite. He was flanked on one side by last year's Miss America, Erika Harold, statuesque in a brocade suit. On the other stood the boxing promoter, Don King, his trademark silver quiff combed a good six inches above his head. Mr King held an American flag in one hand, and wore a Stars and Stripes tie round his neck, set off by a large crown-shaped pendant, set...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Captain Daniel Eggers, American Hero

Bill at INDC Journal posted about the tragic death of Captain Daniel Eggers this past weekend in Afghanistan. Captain Eggers served in Afghanistan with the Green Berets and died when his HUMVEE ran over a mine. Bill relates Eggers' personal history, interspersed with an NBC report of his death -- because Dan Eggers was a school friend of Bill's: His uncompromising character pushed him to speak critically of the school he loved in 1997, recalled Craig Belsole, Eggers' best friend at The Citadel. Eggers was a senior in 1997, during the first school year women were admitted after The Citadel dropped its all-male admissions policy. Eggers and Belsole appeared on "60 Minutes" that year and suggested top school officials covered up incidents of hazing against two female cadets. Eggers and Belsole said they reported their concerns to an officer at the school but were told to keep quiet or lose...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

AP : Abu Ghraib-ing The Greatest Generation

As D-Day approaches, news media have focused on the macro and micro stories surrounding what remains the largest single military maneuver in history and its impact on geopolitics and the people involved. Most of these stories report on the tremendous losses of the liberating Allies or the pain and degradation of those who lived under the brutal Nazi occupation. The AP, however, feels it necessary to smear the memory of those who served in France's liberation by reporting at length on an upcoming book -- one that hasn't even been released at this time -- that paints American GIs as rapists and worse after most of them have died and can no longer defend themselves. Call it the Abu Ghraib-ing of the Greatest Generation: President Bush and other leaders gathering on the beaches of Normandy this weekend will celebrate the heroism and ingenuity of June 6, 1944. But some scholars...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Hosting Matters Has Problems, Woh-Oh

If you had problems accessing the site this morning, you weren't the only ones -- it looks like all of Hosting Matters' sites went down for about a half-hour or so. No word yet on the cause. Unfortunately, I'm out of time for blogging the rest of the morning, so I will catch up at lunchtime if I get the chance....

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

The Jobful Recovery

After much hew and cry regarding the so-called "jobless recovery" -- as if job growth had ever been anything but a lagging indicator in the past -- the economy has created almost a million jobs in the past three months, as 248,000 were added last month and the April estimate was revised sharply upward: The Labor Department report showed 248,000 new jobs in May, compared with the revised 346,000 increase reported in April. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com forecast the May report would show a 225,000-job gain. The April job gain was revised up from a previous reading of 288,000 new jobs. The March jobs gain was also revised higher to 353,000 from a previous reading of 337,000 additional jobs. That puts the three-month job increase at 947,000, the best gain since 1.03 million jobs were added during the same three months of 2000. The job increase was broad-based, with only...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

A Muslim Calls For Rational Thought In Islam

Captain's Quarters reader Roger Crossland pointed me to an article in today's Arab News by Suraya al-Shehry, a Saudi woman, who argues for intellectual curiosity and openness to individual interpretations of Islam. Because of the decentralized nature of Islam, al-Shehry's essay doesn't equate to Martin Luther's theses nailed to the church door, but it does infer that the Saudi government may be rethinking radical Wahhabi philosophy in light of its targeting by radical Islamists. Regarding the closed-mindedness of current Islamic scholarship, al-Shehry protests: The Quran, in fact, censures those who merely unthinkingly follow others. And they would say: Our Lord! We obeyed our chiefs and our great ones, and they misled us as to the (right) Path. Reflection in Islam is an essential requirement. Without it the very basis of Islamic thought will begin to crumble. It is that painful reality that is behind our backwardness. The Prophet (peace be...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

New Iraqi PM Hails US Troops

Far from being hostile to the US or its security, the new Iraqi Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi, has gone on national television to both praise the work of Americans and their allies in Iraq and call for an end to attacks on them: Iraq's new interim leader has praised the US-led coalition, saying it will guarantee security after the country regains its sovereignty on 30 June. In his first televised address to the nation, Iyad Allawi also urged an end to attacks on coalition forces who, he said, were making sacrifices for Iraq. Anti-coalition militants brought Iraqis "nothing but evil", he said. The speech follows an announcement by Iraq's new government endorsing a UN draft on the transfer of power. It's great to see the new interim Iraqi government take the time to both praise and defend the American forces trying so hard to give them their first real chance...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Family Night at CQ

Captain's Quarters will probably see light blogging this evening, as we are babysitting the Little Admiral tonight. She's getting pretty good at make-believe stuff; she pulls me down to the floor and makes me pretend I'm going night-night, covering me with a blanket and giving me a doll for company. Then she slaps me on the head and laaaaaughs. In the meantime, I'll move the Caption Contest to the top and see how many great entries we can get. We had 107 in the last contest overall, and I think we're over 50 already today, including our first-ever Photoshopped entry. Whiskey may return from vacation tonight, but in the meantime check through today's other posts. I'll be reading The Connection by Stephen Hayes in anticipation of our Northern Alliance radio show tomorrow, when we'll interview Mr. Hayes on the connections between Al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. Think that they don't exist?...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Open Thread: John Kerry Says US Military Backs Him

Earlier today, John Kerry told an audience in Minneapolis that he could carry the military vote in November, despite conventional wisdom: "You'd be amazed at the number of active duty personnel who are coming up at events around the country, greeting me in ropelines or coming to rallies and telling me how important it is for us to stand up and fight for those who are not able to speak out for themselves right now for obvious reasons," Kerry said. The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee added: "But the numbers of active duty people quietly coming and saying we need a change, we need to build a modern military, we need to do the things necessary to protect our troops, we need to have all our allies on the ground in Iraq ... that's what this race is about." I'm not qualified to comment on this (like that's ever stopped me)...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

June 5, 2004

Kegger At Dean's, BYOB

The two major political parties have reached an agreement on opening a special legislative bacchanalia session to complete the work they left on the table when time ran out, or when the booze ran out, whichever came first. Governor Tim Pawlenty, Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson, and House Speaker Steve Sviggum met over some barbecuing brats at the Governor's mansion to reach an agreement on the agenda: After a two-hour meeting featuring gubernatorially grilled brats and beans on the patio of the governor's residence on Friday, Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson, DFL-Willmar, said he will report by noon Tuesday on whether he can agree to some broad framework that would set the stage for a one- or two-day legislative session, possibly before the end of June. The Legislature adjourned May 16, leaving unfinished its work on a major bonding bill for state borrowing and budget adjustments that would balance the...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

FBI, DoJ Clear Police In Porter Case

The FBI and the Department of Justice have closed the case of alleged police brutality brought by Stephen Porter, a drug dealer and sometime informant of the Minneapolis PD: Two Minneapolis police officers named in an explosive allegation that a man was sexually assaulted with a toilet plunger handle during a drug raid won't face federal criminal charges, Chief Bill McManus announced Friday. Stephen Porter said that he was assaulted in a north Minneapolis apartment nearly eight months ago. McManus said the U.S. Justice Department investigation found no evidence of a "prosecutable violation" of federal criminal civil rights laws by officers Jeff Jindra and Todd Babekuhl. When this case hit the media, it was front-page news, especially since it echoed the notorious Abner Louima case in New York. However, the Stephen Porter case seemed wrong from the start. First off, the alleged abuse took place not in a police station...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Farewell, Ronald Reagan

Only minutes after our radio show ended, I found out that President Ronald Reagan had passed away after a long struggle with Alzheimer's disease. While not unexpected, the news of his passing stunned me in a way I had not thought possible. For me and millions of other conservatives, Ronald Reagan was our touchstone, even after his debilitating disease struck, and I found myself thinking about all of the ways in which Reagan influenced and molded my own philosophy. Although Reagan had been the governor of California for two terms, I was too young to remember much about him in that role. I first recall his political impact in 1976, when I was 13, as he ran against the incumbent President, Gerald Ford, in an election Jimmy Carter eventually won. He challenged Ford that year as a representative of the so-called Goldwater wing of the GOP, preaching a strong defense,...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Where Were You When Reagan Was Shot? When He Changed The World?

Every generation has one or two seminal events that sear into our memories, so much that we can always recall exactly where we were and what we were doing at the moment we heard or saw it. Ronald Reagan's death reminds me of the assassination attempt on March 30, 1981, that almost killed him just as he started his term in office. A 17-year-old college student at the time, I worked as a clerk for the local Sears store in the Los Cerritos Mall, and decided to come in to work on my day off to work as a floater. Normally I worked in the men's clothing department, but instead the office assigned me to the toy department, a choice assignment for a weekday, since the kids would all be in school and I could spend most of my time watching the televisions in the adjacent department. When I first...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Northern Alliance Radio Network Updates

The Northern Alliance Radio Network logo contest is almost closed now -- we're picking the finalists right now, and shortly will post the five logos we like best. We'd like our readers to cast their vote for the best logo to represent the Northern Alliance. We'll post them up at our radio-show site in the next few days, so keep checking in to get a look at the fantastic graphics that we've received. Quite frankly, we're stunned at the quantity and the quality of the submissions! Big thanks to everyone who participated. Also, on today's show, we were fortunate enough to have Stephen Hayes, the author of The Connection: How al Qaeda's Collaboration with Saddam Hussein Has Endangered America. Stephen gave our listeners terrific insight into the breadth of connections into Saddam's involvement with AQ and terrorism in general, which the media used to report as gospel but changed their...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

The Brilliance Of Anti-War Thought

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune notes that anti-war activists protested the Iraq War in front of the Walker Community Library this afternoon, despite a lack of evidence that the library had any overt involvement in the conflict. Nevertheless, the protestors demanded an end to a war that has already ended with the typically deep philosophical thought that goes into these demonstrations: Demonstrators carried banners, flags and signs that read "War sucks" and "Starve the war" as they used chalk to draw peace symbols and footprints on the sidewalk, listened to passionate speakers and passed out fliers announcing upcoming local anti-war events ... Several motorists honked their horns in approval as they drove by on Hennepin Avenue. War sucks? How come no one told me that before? Well, that's an entirely different kettle of fish. And you have to love the news that "several people" honked their horns during the 90-minute demonstration. It's...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

June 6, 2004

The Kerry Response: Classy, And Something More?

John Kerry responded to the passing of Ronald Reagan with class and restraint yesterday, even deciding to allow for a pause in his campaign schedule to attend a Reagan memorial today and possibly for a few days more. Kerry, speaking about the opposition's greatest inspiration for generations, said this in a press release shortly after the news of Reagan's death went public: Even when he was breaking Democrats hearts, he did so with a smile and in the spirit of honest and open debate," Kerry said in a statement. "The differences were real, but because of the way President Reagan led, he taught us that there is a big difference between strong beliefs and bitter partisanship. Another quote in the same release, however, has Kerry's political fingerprints all over it, and points towards a possible strategy for Kerry to use to attract swing voters with lasting affection for the 40th...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

D-Day Memories at NRO

National Review Online reprints an article written by William McGurn 10 years ago for the 50th anniversary of D-Day, a remembrance sparked by his visit to the first town liberated by the Allies, St. Mere-Eglise. I found it to be oddly satisfying in that it not only honors the memories of all those who died to free Western Europe, as well as those who lived through it, but points out that political cluelessness may always surround D-Day anniversaries: Smack-dab in the middle of the little town that bears its name stands the thirteenth-century church of Ste-Me`re-Eglise, as proud and sturdy as the people who built it. As such there is little to distinguish it from the many other stone churches that crowd the Norman landscape. Except for this: a special, stained-glass Madonna and Child that I have always found more engaging than all the glories of Chartres. For the Madonna...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Reason: He Was Right

In honor of Ronald Reagan's passing, Reason made available Glenn Garvin's review of Peter Schweizer's book, Reagan's War, which takes a narrow look at Reagan's career as an anti-communist. I have not read the book, but the review is outstanding. It explains what I wrote earlier about Reagan -- how he used defense spending as a weapon in the Cold War, and in fact as the ultimate weapon he knew would end it: As early as 1963, Reagan argued that the arms race should be not reined in but accelerated. "If we truly believe that our way of life is best, arent the Russians more likely to recognize that fact and modify their stand if we let their economy come unhinged, so the contrast is apparent?" he asked in a speech that year. "In an all-out race our system is strong," said Reagan, "and eventually the enemy gives up the...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Steyn: Why Was Tenet Still Around?

Mark Steyn writes a powerful indictment against the CIA and Congressional Democrats in his latest column on the resignation of George Tenet. Writing for the London Telegraph, the always-acerbic Steyn wonders why Tenet held off resigning so long after the debacle of 9/11 and even after it was made clear that the CIA had failed miserably to provide adequate intelligence to George Bush. Steyn focuses on the PDB for which the 9/11 Commission demanded declassification as his prime evidence: Everything that is wrong with the agency was made plain a few weeks ago with the much-anticipated release of a classified CIA "Presidential Daily Brief" from August 6 2001. This was supposed to be the smoking gun which would reveal that Bush knew 9/11 was coming. It turned out to be far more damaging than that. It revealed somewhat carelessly that the CIA - the most sinister acronym in the world,...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Bush: June 11 To Be Day Of Mourning

Below is President George Bush's proclamation of Friday, June 11 as a national day of mourning for the death of President Ronald Reagan. TO THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES: It is my sad duty to announce officially the death of Ronald Reagan, the fortieth President of the United States, on June 5, 2004. We are blessed to live in a Nation, and a world, that have been shaped by the will, the leadership, and the vision of Ronald Reagan. With an unshakable faith in the values of our country and the character of our people, Ronald Reagan renewed America's confidence and restored our Nation. His optimism, strength, and humility epitomized the American spirit. He always told us that for America the best was yet to come. Ronald Reagan believed that God takes the side of justice and that America has a special calling to oppose tyranny and defend freedom....

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Gore Continues His Self-Immolation

Al Gore lashed out at a fellow Democrat earlier today for not enthusiastically supporting his attempt to steal the Florida election. Gore, campaigning for Senate candidate and current Congressman Peter Deutsch in Florida, told the Miami Herald that Deutsch's opponent in the primary was the "single most treacherous and dishonest person" involved in the 2000 campaign: Al Gore harshly criticized U.S. Senate candidate Alex Penelas, saying his fellow Democrat was "the single most treacherous and dishonest person" he dealt with during the disputed 2000 presidential campaign. ... "One of the other candidates in this race became in 2000 the single most treacherous and dishonest person I dealt with during the campaign anywhere in America," Gore told the newspaper after praising Penelas' opponent, U.S. Rep. Peter Deutsch. Penelas is not mentioned by name in the statement. But a Gore aide confirmed Sunday he was not referring to former state education commissioner...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

June 7, 2004

Burning Down The House

Moqtada al-Sadr's militia, which had claimed to protect the sacred mosques of Shi'ite Islam, instead may have seriously damaged one of them this morning. The al-Mahdi army used a mosque in the "holy city" of Kufa to store ammunition which caught fire, causing an unknown number of injuries and damage: Explosions rocked the compound surrounding the Kufa mosque on Monday after ammunition used by fighters loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr apparently caught fire, witnesses and Shiite militia members said. At least nine people were hurt. Flames and smoke rose above the building. Firefighters and ambulances raced to the site, where fighters in al-Sadr's al-Madhi army had been holed up. One of the terrorists holed up in the mosque told reporters that he heard a "whooshing" noise and blamed Americans for shooting a missile at the compound. US forces deny they were anywhere near the mosque and note that Iraqi police called...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

More Success For Interim Iraqi Gov't, CPA

Iyad Allawi, the new Iraqi Prime Minister, announced this morning that the new interim government has reached agreement with most of the organized insurgencies to disband and return to civilian life: Nine of Iraq's major militias have agreed to disband, the country's interim prime minister said Monday, but the deal does not cover radical Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's militia. "I am happy to announce today the successful completion of negotiations on the nationwide transition and reintegration of militias and other armed forces previously outside of state control," Iyad Allawi said in a statement. Well, it's amazing how unsuccessful this transition has been, isn't it? And doesn't it seem that democracy has a lot more attraction for Iraqis than it does to certain elements of the American political scene? As CNN put it yesterday, the Iraqis took control of their government and since then good things keep happening. All that the...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Republican National Convention Is On Line

The Republican National Convention has a new web site for those of us who want to keep close tabs on the events in New York this summer -- for whatever reason. I received an e-mail from the GOP this morning announcing its launch: While the convention will take place inside Madison Square Garden, people all over the nation will take part in the events through our Web site. Leading up to the first day of the convention on August 30, the site will be your source for convention news; web chats with special guests, convention staff, and New York City officials; delegate information and profiles; as well as logistical information for media covering the convention. When the gavel drops, the site will host live webcasts, broadcast video web chats, and provide programming between convention sessions. Our web team is also planning to launch interactive content that will break new ground...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Arafat Rolls Dice, Blinks On Purpose

Yasser Arafat has made his calculations and decided not to call Egypt's bluff but Israel's instead, agreeing to Egyptian demands that he reform the structure of Palestinian security forces throughout the occupied territories. Arafat decided not to buck his Arab neighbor and guarantor any longer, shifting the onus to the Sharon government to fully evacuate Gaza: Yasser Arafat told Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak he accepted his demand for Palestinian security reforms as a condition for Egypt to help stabilize Gaza if Israelis withdraw, officials said Monday. The Palestinian president was responding by letter to Egypt's mid-June deadline to agree to security overhauls or risk losing Cairo's offer to promote order in Gaza after a pullout, which the Israeli cabinet approved in principle Sunday. "Arafat has accepted the Egyptian ideas and is now awaiting the Israeli response. This will help the Egyptians take steps to retrain our police force and send...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Rumsfeld, Filtered

Donald Rumsfeld gave a speech to a security conference in Singapore yesterday which was reported by the Chicago Sun-Times as critical of the US stance on the war on terror. The headline of the Sun-Times reads, "Rumsfeld fears U.S. losing long-term fight against terror," and the text of the article by Robert Burns supports the header: The United States and its allies are winning some battles in the terrorism war but may be losing the broader struggle against Islamic extremism that is terrorism's source, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Saturday. The troubling unknown, he said, is whether the extremists -- whom he termed ''zealots and despots'' bent on destroying the global system of nation-states -- are turning out newly trained terrorists faster than the United States can capture or kill them. ''It's quite clear to me that we do not have a coherent approach to this,'' Rumsfeld said at an...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

INDC Journal Interviews Michael Berg

Bill from INDC Journal took an afternoon to attend an International ANSWER rally this weekend and has posted excerpts from a speech given there by Michael Berg. Bill had an opportunity to participate in an interview with Berg after the speech -- actually, Bill pushed the envelope on blogging vs journalism by getting himself in the middle of the traditional media representatives for the Q & A. Berg's incoherence comes through during his speech and his press conference, which Bill captures in words and photographs: INDC Journal: "Well, you think that we need to pull troops out now, correct?" Michael Berg: "Yes." INDC Journal: "Without providing some sort of alternate security?" Michael Berg: "No, I think we need to I think we need to trade our troops for a truly international " INDC Journal: "And how should they go about doing that?" Michael Berg: (Becoming animated) "I dont know...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Shields Learned Nothing From History, Lectures Bush

Mark Shields takes George Bush to task in his regular CNN column for not being sufficiently respectful of his father. Shields notes that Bush 43 considers the ending of the 1991 Gulf War to be a mistake, and one he doesn't intend to repeat now: If the foregoing was simply insensitive, George W. Bush's comparison of the first U.S. war against Iraq, when his dad was commander in chief, and the current U.S. war against Iraq is damning. In "Misunderestimated: The President Battles Terrorism, John Kerry and the Bush Haters" by Bill Sammon of The Washington Times, George W. Bush states: "I think freedom will prevail, so long as the U.S. and its allies don't ... do what many Iraqis still suspect might happen, and that is cut and run early, like what happened in '91." That is nothing less than a slur on George H.W. Bush by his own...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Hours To Go

Today is the day prior to the First Mate's transplant, and we are spending most of the day at the Fairview University Medical Center's Transplant Unit, talking with the surgeons and nurses who will be involved in the surgery tomorrow. Once again your intrepid Captain has found a way to hijack a network connection in order to maintain a little bit of sanity during the waiting periods between conferences. The First Mate's tests all check out good, as did the donor's; she's on her way home now, but we still have a few tests to go. We've met with the primary surgeon, nephrologists, nurses, and we're waiting on the anaesthesiologists now. The FM and I will head home about mid-afternoon, it appears, and show up at 5:30 AM tomorrow morning to prep for the surgery itself. I'll be posting more as the day goes on, but right now it all...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

The Gore Fire Spreads

Al Gore's comments over the weekend, calling the Florida Democratic candidate for Senate Alex Panelas "the single most treacherous and dishonest person I dealt with" during the 2000 election, has resulted in a strong riposte from current Florida Senators Bill Nelson and Bob Graham. Both Democrats scold Gore for injecting "slash-and-burn" politics, possibly damaging the candidate Gore endorsed: Sen. Bill Nelson questioned Gore's decision to inject himself into the race, saying it hurts the party's ability to keep retiring Sen. Bob Graham's seat and threatens a key state for presidential candidate John Kerry. Graham called Penelas, the mayor of Miami-Dade County, "a good Democrat." Both Graham and Nelson have said they will not endorse a candidate in the Democratic primary but that they felt compelled to come to Penelas' defense in light of Gore's remarks. "This slash-and-burn politics has gotten us to the point that it is causing gridlock in...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Bush About To Score Another Diplomatic Victory At UN?

The much-maligned foreign policy of the Bush Administration may be about to score another foreign-policy coup, according to the AP and the BBC. Edith Lederer (AP) reports that the UN Security Council, according to German and French sources, may wind up passing a US resolution on Iraq on legitimizing the interim government -- unanimously: The United States and Britain made a last-minute addition Monday to their Iraq resolution that appeared to satisfy French and German demands to spell out Iraq's "security partnership" with U.S.-led forces. U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte said he expects the Security Council to approve the resolution on Tuesday afternoon, and council diplomats said the vote could be unanimous. The French and German delegations had demanded that explicit language be included in the resolution giving Iraq command over any security forces in the country. However, American negotiators apparently have overcome that obstacle: The text now welcomes the exchange...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

June 8, 2004

First Mate Update -- Great News!

Okay, I know some of you have been waiting for this, and I'm ecstatic to deliver -- the First Mate has her new kidney and it's functioning already! I spoke to the surgeon in charge about a half-hour ago, and he was very pleased. No complications, she was stable throughout surgery, and while she was still getting closed up, he thought the whole thing went very well. She'll stay in recovery for a couple of hours, and assuming she has no reaction to the anaesthesia (she usually gets sick), she won't even need to go to ICU. Our friend who donated the kidney, Mary, is already in her room and looking great. She says she doesn't feel much pain, but she's still got the surgical medication in her, so that may change. She's perky, thrilled for the success, and she and her husband Roger are making the phone calls. Let...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Captain's Caption Contest #13!

It's Friday, and what time is it? No, dammit, it's not lunchtime -- it's time for another Captain's Caption Contest! Or ... maybe it is lunchtime ... At the very least, it's time for a break from all of your hustle and bustle and enjoy some good fellowship. Just take a cue from John Kerry's dining buddy there on the right, and relax -- or else! Give us your best caption for this picture and win the hearts and minds of the American electorate -- or at least of longtime reader Peyton Randolph, who doesn't blog but posts lots of great comments on CQ. You have until Tuesday, June 8 at 6 PM CDT to enter your best captions in the Comments section of this post. (NO e-mail -- e-mailed entries will be shredded, toasted, tossed over a plate of escargot, and swallowed by Michael Moore in one smooth motion.)...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Bush Wins At The UN

As I predicted yesterday, the Bush administration scored another foreign-policy victory in an arena where they are supposedly "inept" -- at the UN: The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a resolution on the June 30 transfer of power in Iraq. The U.S.- and British-backed resolution gives additional international support to the new interim Iraqi government and adds more international support for the U.S.-led coalition force. All 15 members of the council voted for the resolution. Not only did Bush avoid a veto, not only did he avoid a single No, he didn't even get an abstention -- even Syria voted for the resolution. He didn't bend to French and German demands to allow Iraq to have a veto on American command of the CPA, although he pledged to work with the interim government on missions, which we would undoubtedly do anyway. (After all, the last thing we...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Catch The Reagan 'Biography' on A&E

I just finished watching Biography's review of Ronald Reagan on A&E, and I would highly recommend watching it on its later showing if you missed it on the 9 PM EDT slot. A&E treats the subject with respect even when reviewing the more controversial aspects of Reagan's presidency. For a one-hour show, I found it comprehensive and actually quite touching....

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

June 9, 2004

Kurds May Pull Defeat From The Jaws Of Victory

Winston Churchill once said that one of his great regrets after World War I was the failure of the Great Powers to establish an independent Kurdistan out of the remnants of the Ottoman Empire. In the 80 years since the settlements from the Great War, the Kurds have been instead relegated into minority status in a number of countries, including Iraq, and most of them dictatorships (Turkey is the only exception). As a result, Kurds rarely achieve any political power, partly due to their fierce independence and unwillingness to assimilate, but mostly due to the attitudes of the dominant cultures in each of these countries. In Iraq, the Kurds have enjoyed a level of self-government the past twelve years never experienced in their history. Due to the cease-fire arrangements, the US and UK kept Saddam from exercising any authority in Northern Iraq, where Iraqi Kurds instead established an autonomous representative...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Japanese Hostage Sues Own Government For Abduction

Perhaps legal idiocy doesn't exclusively occur within the United States after all. One of the Japanese hostages taken in Iraq by Islamofascist and/or Fedayeen remnants has sued the government of Japan for making the bad men angry at him, and he wants $46,000 for his mental anguish: A Japanese activist who was briefly held captive in Iraq has sued his own government, saying its decision to send troops to the region angered his kidnappers and was to blame for his ordeal. Nobutaka Watanabe, 35, is seeking the equivalent of $46,000 for mental and physical hardship he suffered during his four days as a hostage, his lawyer Masatoshi Uchida told The Associated Press Wednesday. "Mr. Watanabe believes his kidnapping was the result of Japan's military presence," said Uchida. "His captors told him that he had been taken because he was from a country that had sent troops to Iraq." I suppose...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Captain's Caption Contest Winners!

We have the winners from this week's Captain's Caption Contests! Many were entered, but in the end, few were chosen, and they were chosen by Peyton and Debbie Randolph, two long-time readers of Captain's Quarters! Just to give you another look at the menu, here's the picture: You all hit almost every theme imaginable for this -- the only one I thought got missed was, "You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant." Thank goodness, too -- that was pretty damned lame. (Now you know why I host these instead of enter them.) Without further ado, I'll serve up the winners: Captain's Award! (First among several with a great idea. Kerry is so not John Candy) -- MDatek: Who wants an orange whip? Orange whip? Orange whip? Three orange whips! Report to sick bay, on the double! (No lawsuit about the bill?) -- Paul B: So me and Teddy...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Classic CQ: The Midnight Blog-Court

While the First Mate recovers from her surgery, posting may be a bit light, depending on how much Internet access and time I have. In the meantime, I thought I'd repost a few older items from my blog that some of you may have missed. This post was written on orders from Hugh Hewitt in order to join the Society of the Master of the Horse ... and I had a blast with it. Hope you do, too! As part of my trial for acceptance into the Society of the Minnesota Master of the Horse, the second task given by Hugh Hewitt was to write an epic poem, mentioning at least ten blogs, including that of the Lord High Commissioner himself, as well as taking swipes at FratersLibertas and the Elder, and one at James Lileks, too. I decided to proceed, despite the inherent dangers of taking on so many...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

9/11 Commission Members Still Looking To Blame People

The AP reports this morning that while the 9/11 commission wants to avoid pinning blame on individuals in either the Bush or Clinton administrations, some commission members still hold out hope of inserting finger-pointing language in editorial notes: Hoping to avoid partisan attacks, the Sept. 11 commission has drafted a final report that avoids placing blame on individuals in the Bush or Clinton administrations but sharply criticizes the FBI and intelligence agencies for missteps prior to the catastrophe. ... Democratic commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste said members remain hopeful they can produce a unanimous report, although some are holding out the option of inserting editorial notes if commissioners disagree on certain points or want to flag a particular individual as blameworthy. "The failure to thwart the 9/11 catastrophe was in part the result of the failure to communicate both internally and externally about information collected by our intelligence agencies," he said. "Had...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

First Mate: Healing Up Slowly

I just got home from the hospital and wanted to let you know that the First Mate continues to improve. I spent the entire day at the hospital today; I had originally planned on stopping there in the morning and going to work for a few hours midday, but instead I just hung around. Her doctors discussed her progress and went over her labs with us. For those of you who know about kidney function, her creatinine level is down to 1.9, which is closer to normal than she's seen in years (normal is ~1.0). She got up and walked a few steps twice today, although it made her nauseous both times. Right now, she's still feeling very sore and very tired. The massive steroids that she's taking for the next few days have swollen some of the soft tissue in her face, giving her a look sometimes called "moon-face",...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Stupidity In Marketing

Let's say you want to promote a new film -- or, more accurately, a new remake of a classic sci-fi thriller that probably should have been left alone. Seeing as how the film stars top-drawer talent, including the beautiful Nicole Kidman in a lead role as well as Bette Midler and Glenn Close, how would you go about attracting people to the box office? Would you try to show us a sexy Nicole, or some scenes with Close, Midler, or perhaps Christopher Walken or Matthew Broderick? I'd bet you wouldn't strip Condoleezza Rice to the waist and put Hillary Clinton in a swimsuit holding a plate of cookies: Some people are saying the way Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice are portrayed in an ad for the new "Stepford Wives" film is distasteful, even outrageous. The spot shows an image of Rice made to look nude from the waist up, and...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

June 10, 2004

Another Good Reason For Saudi Cooperation

The Saudi royal family has presided over their Wahhabist kingdom for eighty-plus years now, spreading their firebrand fundamentalism throughout Southeast Asia and beyond. While they've cooperated and done business with the West, their mosques also inspired terrorist groups by spreading hatred, somewhat schizophrenically, against their business partners. Over the past year their chickens have come home to roost as the terrorists led by a scion of a wealthy Saudi family have increasingly attacked royal assets and foreigners. Now the New York Times reports that Libyan strongman Muammar Qaddafi also wanted to decapitate Saudi leadership: While the Libyan leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, was renouncing terrorism and negotiating the lifting of sanctions last year, his intelligence chiefs ordered a covert operation to assassinate the ruler of Saudi Arabia and destabilize the oil-rich kingdom, according to statements by two participants in the conspiracy. Those participants, Abdurahman Alamoudi, an American Muslim leader now in...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

UK To Throw Out Viable Transplant Organs?

With the First Mate receiving her new kidney this week, organ-transplantation stories catch my eye rather easily. Unfortunately, this disturbing story from today's London Telegraph clashes with the buoyant joy we've all felt from the FM's success: Shortages of consultants are threatening a crisis in transplant surgery with the possibility of donated organs having to be discarded. Senior consultants met officials from the Department of Health and the NHS yesterday to call for changes to working conditions to encourage more young doctors to go into transplantation. The problem is particularly acute in renal medicine, and there are fears that it is only a matter of time before viable donated kidneys have to be discarded because no-one can be found to perform an operation. While to Americans the notion of throwing away life-saving organs seems utterly ludricrous, especially after years of public-service announcements supporting organ donation, the crisis in the UK...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Hospitals: A Great Place To Smoke

I few weeks ago, I weighed in on a St. Paul proposal to ban smoking in bars and restaurants, pointing out that regardless of whether such a ban was good public policy, the city and state had the authority to regulate behavior in public places -- and then half-heartedly endorsed the proposed ban. The hue and cry that post brought rivalled anything I'd written before, and I received some especially fierce (but good-natured) ribbing from the gang at Fraters Libertas. I hadn't realized that they were part of the tobacco cabal, although the Elder does remind me of the Marlboro Man at times, sans horse. Today, then, even as Atomizer weighs in on the difficulty of being a smoker and a bird lover, the Star Tribune reports on a major victory in their battle to keep the environment friendly to nicotine addicts: Irwin Kester, a patient committed to the psychiatric...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

No War For Oil

The No War for Oil crowd should be very pleased -- it turns out that we didn't go to war for oil after all, according to the BBC: Iraq's new Oil Minister Thamir Ghadhban has reportedly said that all coalition advisers will leave Iraqi ministries after the 30 June handover. Quoted by the UK's Financial Times, he said that the ministry would reassert full control over the country's lucrative oil industry. ... "When sovereignty is regained it means that there will be no more US advisers, not only in the ministry of oil, but in every ministry in Iraq," he was quoted as saying in Thursday's edition of the FT. Of course, the whole "war for oil" meme never had any intellectual heft, anyway. Economists and oil-industry analysts repeatedly told anyone who would listen that we could easily have secured lucrative contracts with Saddam had we allowed him to shrug...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

John Kerry's Depression

The only possible explanation for John Kerry's continued talking about the Great Depression is that he's discussing his own state of mind. The new unemployment numbers came out today, and instead of affirming Kerry's charge that this is the worst jobs market since the FDR presidency, the Labor Department that the number of people receiving unemployment benefits has dropped to its lowest level since May 2001: Even though the Labor Department reported a slight rise in first-time jobless claims, the market wasn't alarmed, given that claims are still far lower than a year ago, and the number of people currently receiving unemployment insurance is at a three-year low. ... The Labor Department said there were 352,000 first-time unemployment claims last week, up 12,000 from the week before but down from 424,000 in the same week a year ago. In addition, the number of people drawing unemployment insurance fell by 106,000...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Consider The Source

Yes, I read all about how the Los Angeles Times shows Kerry leading by seven points in the national race. Their poll also reports that adding Nader to the mix actually increases Kerry's lead by one point. Does that make sense to you? It should -- if you read the LA Times on a regular basis. Here's the LA Times poll less than four weeks before the California recall election last October: California voters are almost evenly split on whether to recall Gov. Gray Davis, and Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante retains a narrow lead over Arnold Schwarzenegger in the tightening race for a successor, according to a new Los Angeles Times poll. Likely voters in the Oct. 7 election support the ouster of Davis by 50% to 47%, with just 3% undecided, the poll found. The result, a statistical tossup, is virtually unchanged from an August Times poll. ... More...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

IAEA Discovers Orders For Thousands Of Centrifuges: Reuters

Reuters reports this evening that the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN watchdog for nuclear non-proliferation, has discovered evidence that Iran intended on building thousands of centrifuges for weapons-grade nuclear fuel: The U.N. nuclear watchdog has found indications Iran wanted to equip thousands of uranium enrichment centrifuges, enough to produce bomb-grade material for several warheads per year, diplomats say. ... At a closed-door meeting on Iran, a senior inspector from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) told the agency's governing board a private Iranian company had expressed interest in "tens of thousands" of magnets for advanced P-2 centrifuges from a European intermediary, said a diplomat who attended. The IAEA said last week in its latest report on Iran that the company had expressed interest in 4,000 magnets from a European intermediary -- enough for 2,000 centrifuges -- and had added it might buy in "higher numbers" to get a lower...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

First Mate Update: Big Improvements

The First Mate's doing a lot better today -- sitting up and doing a little walking, feeling much less pain, and the kidney continues to improve its function. Her creatinine (for you kidney wonks out there) has dropped to 1.5, and the kidney's output has continued increasing. Tomorrow the donor will go home, but the FM will probably stay until at least Sunday and most likely Monday....

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

A Big NoKo Hello To Juneau

You can file this under the 'Well, this can't be good' category -- the London Telegraph reports that the North Koreans have testing a new ICBM with a range that includes Alaska: North Korea has tested an intercontinental ballistic missile engine capable of hitting the United States, according to a South Korean report. The potential range of the missile was established by American intelligence from scorch marks and other traces of the engine test, the newspaper Joongang Ilbo said, citing diplomatic sources. It could reach up to 3,700 miles, enough to hit Alaska. The Telegraph concludes their report with the laughable notion that the US had ignored the Korean Peninsula because of the war in Iraq -- as if Washington DC consists of a few guys hanging around a fax machine who can only work on one problem at a time. Not only that, but missiles don't just get designed...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

June 11, 2004

New York Continues Slide Towards Autocracy

A judge in New York has dismissed charges against a mayor who performed same-sex marriages, ruling that the state didn't show that the underlying law he violated was constitutional: A judge dismissed criminal charges Thursday against a small-town mayor for marrying gay couples, saying the state failed to show it has a legitimate interest in banning same-sex weddings. New Paltz Town Court Justice Jonathan Katz also ruled that prosecutors failed to prove the law New Paltz Mayor Jason West was charged with violating was constitutional. While I tend to take a more libertarian point of view of gay marriage -- I don't think it will cause the collapse of civilization that my friends do -- I am adamantly opposed to the rise of autocratic rule that this issue has promoted. Gavin Newsom also took the law into his own hands in San Francisco, overruling the state Legislature and effectively passing...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Reagan Remembered: Antidotes For Saccharine Gloss

While I have always been interested in politics and current affairs -- I avidly read newspapers even in grade school -- I came of political age during the Reagan Administration. I remember how thrilled I was when he decisively beat Jimmy Carter and had the opportunity to put his philosophy of limited government to work. I also remember the bruising political wars that Reagan's election inspired, and while I think that the bitter partisanship that erupted ultimately finds its roots in Watergate, there is no doubt that the Reagan Era gave us a battle of philosophies unmatched since FDR. In that regard, most of the eulogies presented in the media this week at the passing of Ronald Reagan have been unsatisfying. They recall a Reagan transcendent who somehow won his triumphs without much battle at all. Daniel Henninger today writes more of an effective remembrance of the Reagan Era rather...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Lech Walesa: Two Kinds Of Politicians

Lech Walesa, the former President of Poland and most famously the leader of Solidarity, an underground movement that helped free Poland, eulogizes Ronald Reagan in today's OpinionJournal.com. While his essay highlights the best of Ronald Reagan's fight for freedom, Walesa makes a stunning point in the middle of the article that describes not only Reagan in the 1980s but highlights a crucial difference in today's politics: I distinguish between two kinds of politicians. There are those who view politics as a tactical game, a game in which they do not reveal any individuality, in which they lose their own face. There are, however, leaders for whom politics is a means of defending and furthering values. For them, it is a moral pursuit. They do so because the values they cherish are endangered. They're convinced that there are values worth living for, and even values worth dying for. Otherwise they would...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Putin: I Scoff At Your Moral Outrage

Russian President Vladimir Putin dipped his toes into American politics yesterday after being asked about Russia's presence at the G-8 summit. Obviously, Putin has no qualms about swimming in deep waters, as he used the question to dive into Democratic objections to the Iraq War, revealing barely-submerged resentment over a previous Democratic administration's decision to go to war without UN approval: Russian President Vladimir Putin stepped into the U.S. political campaign on Thursday, saying the Democrats had "no moral right" to criticize President Bush over Iraq. The Kremlin leader, answering a reporter's question in Sea Island, Georgia, suggested that the Democrats were two-faced in criticizing Bush on Iraq since it had been the Clinton administration that authorized the 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia by U.S. and NATO forces. ... He went on: "I am deeply convinced that President Bush's political adversaries have no moral right to attack him over Iraq because...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Nick Coleman Eulogizes ... Corporate Logos

I normally don't read Nick Coleman, either for elucidation or for unintentional humor, until I see him get fisked by the guys at Fraters Libertas, especially St. Paul's terrific pieces. However, for some reason, I decided to take a look at Coleman's piece today, entitled "It'll always be Dayton's to us." Unbelievably, the man of the little people spent his column space shedding tears for the demise of a corporate image! We're still not over Dayton's. Dayton's dropped its century-old name in 2001, switching to Marshall Field's after parent company Target Corp. bought Chicago-based Field's. The new owner, May Department Stores Co., says it'll keep the Marshall Field's name, but who cares? It's still Dayton's to us. See, this is the problem with people who want to imbue business concerns with all sorts of emotional baggage. They never understand that business has little to do with emotions; they either succeed...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

First Mate Update -- Back To School?

Today the First Mate and I went to Transplant School -- two hours of instruction on medications, aftercare, and follow-up. Since this is our second transplant, most of the information we already knew, but it was very helpful to have it presented to us in a coherent manner. The UM transplant program insists on a much more organized approach for transplant patients; we're expected to keep log books of lab results, and so on. The First Mate, long acquainted with both my organizational skills as well as my legendary capacity for procrastination, kept shooting cynical looks at me during the classes. If I had feelings, they'd be hurt. The U does have another great feature, though. One of the big headaches of a transplant is keeping up with the myriad prescriptions necessary to stay healthy. Transplant patients have to take anti-rejection medication for life in order to keep the organs...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Al-Sadr Blinks?

Moqtada al-Sadr surprised followers and opponents alike today when he used his Friday sermon to endorse the American plan to hand sovereignty to the Iraqi interim government: Radical Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr has reportedly backed for the first time US moves to gradually hand powers over to an interim Iraqi government. The change of heart came in a sermon at Friday prayers in the town of Kufa, two weeks after the government was formed. Mr Sadr, a firebrand whose militia has fought US forces since March, called for a new start and an end to conflict, according to witnesses. ... Mr Sadr called upon the interim government to work to end the occupation according to a timetable set by Iraqi officials, reported a correspondent for Voice of Mujahidin radio present at the sermon. Mr Sadr added that the formation of the government was a good opportunity to bury past differences...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

June 12, 2004

Perhaps The Gray Lady Will Be Reincarnated As Compost

You really have to hand it to the New York Times -- they have a talent for bias that other newspapers only hope to achieve. Whether a reporter writes about sports, the weather, or certainly this week the obituaries, the Times will find a way to editorialize about the election or the war. Today's example can be found in an otherwise innocuous article about a reincarnated Buddhist saint who currently serves on a mission in Russia at the Dalai Lama's behest. While interviewing Erdne Ombadykow, believed to be the latest reincarnation of Telo Rinpoche, about his efforts to restore Buddhism in the predominantly Mongol enclave of Kalmykia, the Times managed to sneak this into the story above the jump (on the web site): "We are all reincarnations," said Mr. Ombadykow, who has been Mr. Ombadykow for 32 years. "As I see it, every human being and every animal is a...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Michael Soussan: UNSCAM "Deal With The Devil"

Today's London Telegraph runs a fascinating interview with Michael Soussan, a Dane and the former coordinator for the UN Oil For Food program. Soussan recently testified before Congress regarding the scandal and made clear that the rampant fraud found at the end of the war had been well-known during most of the program's operation (thanks to CQ reader Diana Sebben, a British ex-pat living in Texas): During his years at the United Nations, monitoring sanctions imposed on Saddam Hussein after the first Gulf war, critics called Michael Soussan a baby killer. One said the oil-for-food programme administered by the UN amounted to "overseeing genocide". To Mr Soussan's dismay, the most vocal critics worked alongside him at the UN. The genocide charge was levelled by an assistant secretary general in charge of humanitarian work in Iraq. His colleagues blamed the Security Council - especially the United States and Britain - for...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

No Means No, Even For Senators (Sometimes)

John Kerry continues to embarrass himself by making passes at John McCain, fellow Senator and Vietnam veterran, trying through intermediaries to seduce him into joining the Democratic ticket as a VP choice. The AP reports this afternoon that McCain has now categorically told Kerry that he won't consider running on Kerry's ticket, no matter how much the Democrats beg: Republican Sen. John McCain has personally rejected John Kerry's overtures to join the Democratic presidential ticket and forge a bipartisan alliance against President Bush, The Associated Press has learned. Kerry has asked McCain as recently as late last month to consider becoming his running mate, but the Arizona senator said he's not interested, said a Democratic official who spoke on condition of anonymity because Kerry has insisted that his deliberations be kept private. A second official familiar with the conversations confirmed the account, and said the Arizona senator made it clear...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Northern Alliance Radio Network Logo Contest!

We've finally boiled down the many outstanding submissions for our new Northern Alliance logo to six finalists! We'd like your feedback on the finalists -- your votes will count along with our own to determine the selection of our new logo. Make sure you get your votes in before Friday, June 18!...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go

One of the undying memes of this election cycle has been the supposedly Trojan-horse Democratic campaign for John Kerry, which is designed to lose so that Hillary Clinton can run in 2008 without running against an incumbent in either party. Such a notion is ludicrous, not the least because neither national party would consider passing up a chance for the White House. No doubt, though, Senator Clinton would normally make a formidable opponent in any national campaign, especially with all of the energy she brings to her public life, and her husband's legendary motivation: On second thought, perhaps she's just too tired to run for national office. I doubt this picture of her and her husband at Reagan's funeral will convince too many centrists to support her. (via Michelle Malkin's new blog and Power Line)...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

June 13, 2004

Maybe He Doesn't Know The Law

Ralph Nader, who gained fame as a consumer-advocate lawyer, appears to need a brush-up course on electoral and tax law. The Washington Post reports that Nader has housed his campaign headquarters in the offices of his tax-exempt charity Citizen Works since October: Tax law explicitly forbids public charities from aiding political campaigns. Violations can result in a charity losing its tax-exempt status. In addition, campaign law requires candidates to account for all contributions -- including shared office space and resources, down to the use of copying machines, receptionists and telephones. Records show many links between Nader's campaign and the charity Citizen Works. For example, the charity's listed president, Theresa Amato, is also Nader's campaign manager. The campaign said in an e-mail to The Washington Post that Amato resigned from the charity in 2003. But in the charity's most recent corporate filing with the District, in January, Amato listed herself as...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

First Mate Back Home

I just got back from bringing the First Mate home from the hospital. Her kidney function is excellent -- so far, the creatinine level is still 1.5, and her BUN has dropped to 32. Neither are in the normal range but they're closer than anything she's seen in years. Her bladder is still pokey, so they sent her home with a Foley catheter, which irritates her but still is better than staying in the hospital another night. She'll have to wait until Thursday to have it removed, by which time we're hoping that her bladder will have "woken up". Fortunately, my father and his wife will be coming out to lend a hand for the next week, allowing me to go back to work, and my sister will come out for a week after that. (Posting may be a bit light during that time.) By that point in time, the...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

European Union A Flop?

The European Union held an election this weekend, the first since ten former Eastern Bloc nations have been added to the confederation. However, Europeans sent a message to the EU, as even those in the new countries could hardly be bothered to vote: Europe's voters have delivered a massive vote of no confidence in their governments in European Parliament elections, both by hammering ruling parties and by staying away in record numbers. The biggest transnational election in history, staged just six weeks after the European Union expanded from 15 to 25 states with 450 million citizens, highlighted public indifference toward remote EU institutions. ... Only the recently elected Spanish and Greek governments escaped the voters' wrath, amplifying their national victories. A mere 44.2 percent of nearly 350 million eligible voters bothered to cast ballots in the four-day exercise, the lowest turnout since direct elections for the Strasbourg-based assembly began in...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

June 14, 2004

Pakistan Nails One

Pakistan announced that its latest offensive against al-Qaeda terrorists has already been more productive than its last one: Pakistani officials said Sunday that the government had arrested the nephew of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Al Qaeda's former head of operations. Separately, the government detained nine people said to be part of a newly uncovered Qaeda-linked group responsible for a series of terror attacks. The interior and information ministers announced that Mr. Mohammed's nephew, Mosabir Aroochi, was arrested this weekend in the port city of Karachi. Sheik Rashid Ahmed, the information minister, said a $1 million reward had been posted for Mr. Aroochi's arrest. The Pakistanis seem to be getting better at this. Let's hope they continue to push the battle in Waziristan, or at least push the terrorists into Afghanistan where we can get our hands on them....

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Common Sense Prevails, For Now

The Supreme Court has given a narrow and temporary victory to the advocates of common sense over shrill absolutism by turning back an attempt by Michael Newdow to strip "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance: The Supreme Court at least temporarily preserved the phrase "one nation, under God," in the Pledge of Allegiance, ruling Monday that a California atheist could not challenge the patriotic oath while sidestepping the broader question of separation of church and state. The decision leaves untouched the practice in which millions of schoolchildren around the country begin the day by reciting the pledge. The court said the atheist could not sue to ban the pledge from his daughter's school and others because he did not have legal authority to speak for her. The justices have left the door open for further challenges to the Pledge, making it clear that the majority rested its decision on...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Another Plot Thwarted?

Attorney General John Ashcroft announced a new criminal indictment against a Somali immigrant, whom a grand jury has accused of conspiring as part of an al-Qaeda plot to blow up an Ohio shopping mall: According to an indictment unsealed in Columbus, Ohio, on Monday, Nuradin Abdi, 32, attended a camp in Ethiopia for military-style training in "preparation for violent jihad." Ashcroft said after receiving his training in Africa, Abdi returned to the United States and he and others "initiated a plot" to blow up a Columbus area shopping mall. ... In the indictment handed up by a grand jury in Columbus, Abdi was charged with conspiracy to provide material support to al Qaeda and with obtaining and using fraudulent travel documents. Ashcroft would give no details on how far along the planning was for the planned attack on the mall. But he said Abdi had connections to Iyman Faris, an...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

OIC Officer: Islamic "Backwardness" Causes Extremism

The Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), which consists of 57 member states, blasted members in an opening speech for creating the conditions for Islamic extremism, the BBC reports: A top Muslim official has denounced what he called the extensive backwardness of the Islamic world. Abdelwahed Belkeziz - Secretary General of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) - made the stinging attack at meeting in Turkey. He blamed the rise of Muslim extremism on the feeling of "powerlessness" felt by members of the Islamic world. ... Mr Belkeziz told the foreign ministers from the 57-member states that their countries had a poor record on issues ranging from education and health to economic development. "The aggregate gross domestic product of all our member states remains lower than that of one single advanced country such as France or Britain," he said. Mr. Belkeziz brought the meeting to the...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Gephardt? He Could Do Worse

US News and World Report have a cryptic, two-sentence, anonymously sourced report that John Kerry has decided to pick Dick Gephardt, the retired House Minority Leader, as his VP nominee: Labor leaders believe union friend Rep. Dick Gephardt has the inside track to be Sen. John Kerry 's vice president. We hear that AFL-CIO execs say it's a done deal. Gephardt makes an interesting choice for Kerry, and in some ways a very sensible one. Gephardt has decades of experience and more political heft than Kerry outside of New England, especially (as noted) with labor. Gephardt also ran towards the center on the war on terror; only he and Joe Lieberman actually gave wholehearted support to the removal of Saddam Hussein, although both felt the aftermath was planned poorly and made numerous suggestions for changes. Gephardt also could carry Missouri, which went for Bush in 2000 by four points and...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

June 15, 2004

Don't Feed The Spammers

Over the past few days, I've had the distinct displeasure of getting buried under a swarm of virus-laden spam. Somehow I ended up on someone's broadcast list and whoever built the list has been infected by an e-mail virus. Fortunately, Hosting Matters has a built-in virus detection program that strips infected attachments before I download the mail, and changes the subject line to alert me. However, the source has been nothing if not persistent, and I have received at least a dozen such e-mails. However, that's nothing compared to the other members of the list. I have been inundated with reply-alls from the mouthbreathers on the distribution, asking the source to quit sending the e-mails, as if they've never heard of address spoofing before. Once the first round of reply-alls went out asking for people to stop, another round of reply-alls quickly followed telling the first-rounders that they weren't sending...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Malkin: Krugman Senility, Part 37b

Michelle Malkin -- who recently added Captain's Quarters to her blogroll, thank you very much -- rips the New York Times' Paul Krugman, who scoffs at John Ashcroft's announcement yesterday: First, there's the absence of any major successful prosecutions. The one set of convictions that seemed fairly significant that of the "Detroit 3" appears to be collapsing over accusations of prosecutorial misconduct. It sounds a bit like Krugman hedged his bets there, especially (as Malkin also notes) as Krugman tripped up a month ago by claiming that no one had been successfully prosecuted for terror. Malkin gives a short but devastating response: Oh? What about shoebomber Richard Reid? What about Taliban solider John Walker Lindh? What about Yahya Goba, Shafal Mosed, Yasein Taher, Taysal Galab, Mukhtar al-Bakri and Sahim Alwan of Lackawanna, New York? What about Jeffrey Battle, Patrice Ford, Ahmed Bilal, Muhammad Bilal, and October Lewis of...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Islamic Conference Recognizes Iraqi Interim Government

The American-supported Iraqi government received a huge boost as the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), which consists of 57 primarily Islamic member-states, formally voted to recognize the new interim government, the AP reports: The new Iraqi interim government received a key boost Tuesday when the country's neighbors endorsed the U.S.-backed leadership, a move that could help stem an increasingly violent insurgency. Hours later, the political committee of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the world's largest Islamic organization, unanimously approved a resolution backing Iraq's interim government and calling for help in rebuilding the war-shattered nation, a delegate who attended the discussions said. The resolution is expected to be formally declared at the closing of the three-day meeting on Wednesday, the delegate added, speaking on customary condition of anonymity. Formal recognition from the OIC will allow moderates within neighboring Islamic states to work directly and openly with the Iraqi government...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Captain's Caption Contest #14!

It's Friday, so it must be time for another Captain's Caption Contest! This week's entry comes from Ann's Fuse Box, which delved deep into the Kerry web site to come up with this winner: It recalls to mind the famous poem of Clarke Van Ness: 'Twas an evening in October, I'll confess I wasn't sober, I was carting home a load with manly pride, When my feet began to stutter and I fell into the gutter, And a pig came up and lay down by my side. Then I lay there in the gutter and my heart was all a-flutter, Till a lady, passing by, did chance to say: "You can tell a man that boozes by the company he chooses," Then the pig got up and slowly walked away. But that seems rather long for a caption, so why don't you all just come up with something better? You...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

June 16, 2004

WaPo Shills For Kerry, Supports Forced Abortion In China

Today's Washington Post editorializes against President Bush's decision to withhold federal funding to organizations promoting abortion overseas, one of Bush's original election promises. The Post claims that Bush's position violates his 2000 election "moderate stance on social issues": IN THE 2000 campaign, George W. Bush maintained a studiously moderate stance on social issues. Once he assumed office in January 2001, he betrayed that position and delighted his right-wing base by attaching antiabortion conditions to foreign assistance. These conditions laid down that family planning groups accepting federal money must not perform abortions, or even provide information about them to their patients. As we said at the time, forcing an organization to censor its views as a condition of receiving government money would be unconstitutional on free-speech grounds in this country. Really? Perhaps, although I rather doubt they'd be claiming that if a university failed to support equal-opportunity practices. Besides, the Post...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Joel Steinberg: From Prison To TV

Joel Steinberg started a nationwide focus on child abuse when he beat his 6-year-old live-in ward, Lisa, to death for staring at him. His wife Hedda claimed at the time to have been chronically abused herself, and pictures backed up her story. Outraged New Yorkers gladly saw Steinberg off to prison for 8 to 25 years and blocked efforts for early parole. Steinberg remains a nationwide symbol of unchecked child abusers and the inevitable result of failing to intervene on behalf of children in those circumstances. Now, since Steinberg has served two-thirds of his maximum sentence, New York must release him rather than parole him, and the only condition of his release is that he has to have a place to live. No word on whether he's managed to find new digs, but New Yorkers may be pleased to know he's found gainful employment (also at this link): It has...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Sadr Retreats

Moqtada al-Sadr has ordered his forces to leave the holy city of Najaf unless individuals live there, according to the BBC and Reuters: Radical Iraqi cleric Moqtada Sadr has told his militia to leave the southern city of Najaf, the scene of frequent clashes with US-led forces in the past. Mr Sadr issued a statement calling on his men who are not from Najaf to "do their duty" and go home. He agreed a truce earlier - although isolated outbreaks of fighting between militia and police continued in Najaf. Last week the cleric announced he would set up a political party to contest elections next year. Unlike the outcome in Fallujah, the US-led CPA seems to have done an excellent job in isolating Sadr, turning other Shi'ite clerics against him and stripping him of any political cover he enjoyed. At the same time, the CPA has enabled the Iraqi government...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Caption Contest #14 Winners!

Ann from Ann's Fuse Box has finished judging the entries for the Captain's Caption Contest, and let me tell you, it was tough picking the best from a selection of great entries! Even John Kerry acknowledged it to Bill Clinton: "Just between you and me ... these entries are among the most lying, crooked captions ..." Here are the winners: Captain's Award (and Report to Sick Bay!) -- Aaron's Rantblog: "Look at THAT hot little humidor!" You Have The Conn #1 (Closest to reality) -- CCWBass: "Made you look. Man, Kerry, you're just too easy." You Have The Conn #2 (Who's the nominee again?) -- Dennis Swanson: "Oh, your posters??? Well we had to move them to the back to make room for my book promotion banners. They're back over there. But hey, to make it up to you, buy a book on the way out and I'll autograph it...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Forget-Me-Nots For The Commissar

The Commissar at the Politburo Diktat just received a bit of bad news from his hosting service -- they apparently dislike the Movable Type system and now want to hike his rates to keep his sites going: The Commissar has become embroiled in Revolutionary Struggle with his hosting company, Lunarpages. Greedy Capitalist Lunarpages host now want to charge $40 per month. In a sudden, emergency action yesterday, they moved me from one server to another and seem to have lost several hours worth of updates and Comments. (In response to Comments, I had done some nifty updates to the 'Forget the Swoosh' piece. Gone for now.) The Commissar is looking into a new hosting service, including CQ's provider Hosting Matters. He's keeping the domain name but may have the site down for short periods of time while deciding and/or moving, so don't get discouraged if you see a 404 once...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Boston's 3-Ring Circus Over Budget

Washington's WTOP website carries an AP report that the Democratic National Convention is a whopping $5M over budget, with six weeks to go before the festivities begin: The Democratic National Convention will be more than $5 million over budget due to increased construction costs and unexpected production expenses. Construction on the FleetCenter sports arena, site of the event, began last week after a delay due to union protests and is slated to cost $13.9 million, up from an original estimate of $10.7 million, according to Democratic National Convention Committee spokeswoman Peggy Wilhide. ... Convention organizers also approved a $9.1 million production budget this week, up from a projected cost of $6 million. Much of the increase stems from higher-than-expected labor costs, Wilhide said, and other additional expenses that were not anticipated two years ago when the budget was planned. Labor costs are 50 percent higher in Boston than Los Angeles,...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Still Missing His Rabies Shot

Alert reader and fellow blogger Marc from Cranial Cavity forwarded me this link to a Union-Leader article from Sunday, which reports on Al Gore's screech speech to a Manchester, NH Democratic fundraiser. It looks like what James Taranto calls the "erstwhile veep" has not yet stopped foaming at the mouth regarding his nemesis from 2000, George Bush: Al Gore last night charged President Bush has endangered Americas position in the world with a mistaken invasion of Iraq and by flaunting international convention. This was done in our name. This changes for many in the world the meaning of America, the image of America, Gore told 300 Democrat powerbrokers at a fundraiser for the city party. In a fiery 40 minute speech, the former vice president knocked the Bush administration for using wrong information to justify the invasion, in particular for relying on Iraqi dissident Ahmed Chalabi, who has since been...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

June 17, 2004

AP: Vilsack VP Chances Muy Malo

The AP, analyzing the heightening suspense as John Kerry decides on his running mate, reports that Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack's prospects look poor after a review of his record shows that Vilsack signed a measure making English the state's official language: Iowa's English-only measure and dozens like it nationwide draw virtually unanimous and vehement opposition from Hispanics, an important Democratic constituency, who view them as thinly veiled racism. Hispanics, the nation's largest and fastest-growing minority group, are being eagerly courted by Democrat John Kerry and President Bush. ... The English-only bill was hotly debated for two years before it passed the Republican-controlled Legislature in February 2002. Liberal and labor groups urged Vilsack to veto it and staged vigils at his home and the Statehouse. Backers cited polls showing overwhelming support for the bill and said they were hardly surprised that he signed it. The law makes English the state's official...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

George and John, Together Again For The First Time

The Washington Post, having done almost everything imaginable to feed the rumors of a John Kerry-John McCain Democratic ticket until McCain finally scotched the rumor for at least the third time, now wants to backtrack and bring their meme into reality. Today's report by Dan Balz and Mike Allen now say that Bush and McCain have reached out to each other in the personages of Karl Rove and John Weaver: After being courted by John F. Kerry to consider joining the Democratic presidential ticket, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) will join President Bush on Air Force One on Friday and introduce him at a campaign event in Reno, Nev., campaign officials said yesterday. Bush and McCain have had a frosty relationship ever since competing for the Republican nomination in 2000, and Bush aides have fumed at McCain's occasional barbs in televised interviews during which he was asked repeatedly about the vice...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

A Slip Of The Tongue

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports this morning on a St. Paul kiss that went way, way out of control: Passion turned to agony early Wednesday morning when a 43-year-old St. Paul woman locked in a kiss with her boyfriend bit off an inch and a half of the man's tongue, according to police. The woman, who told police that she has been victimized by men in the past, said she became frightened when her 47-year-old boyfriend squeezed her too tightly as they were kissing at her home in St. Paul. "I guess I bit down too hard," police said the woman told them after the incident. The boyfriend told police that the couple had been arguing and were making up when he was bitten. The Strib declined to identify the assailant, even though they routinely identify male assault suspects. I assume the reluctance springs from the woman's apparent defense strategy of...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

PETA Adds Indictment To Injury

PETA has escalated its war on the Ringling Brothers circus, using the death of a high-wire artist to attack it even though the fall had nothing to do with the use of animals: The animal-rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has asked the city of St. Paul to take legal action against Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in the case of an acrobat who fell to her death during a performance last month at Xcel Energy Center. Dessi Espana, 32, was performing an aerial ballet move near the top of a 30-foot-long piece of silk chiffon hanging from a frame when the equipment securing the top of the fabric failed. She landed head first on the arena's concrete floor and later died. Lisa Wathne, PETA's captive exotic specialist, sent a letter to City Attorney Manuel Cervantes on Wednesday, calling on him to investigate the...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

"The Weenie Caucus" Tees Off On Bush

I had little to say initially about the statement signed by the group Diplomats and Military Commanders for Change blasting the Bush administration's handling of the war on terror, mostly because they seem to comprise the worst of the teams that kept us blinded to the fact that Islamofascists declared war on us far before we returned the favor. Reading the Post article, I was struck by the tone set in their press conference, where popularity seems to be a greater concern than security: The former officials said the administration "adopted an overbearing approach to America's role in the world, relying on military might and righteousness, insensitive to the concerns of traditional friends and allies, and disdainful of the United Nations. . . . Motivated more by ideology than by reasoned analysis, it struck out on its own." Charles W. Freeman Jr., former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, cited a...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

But Don't Question Their Credibility

The Chicago Sun-Times took a unique and creative approach to boosting circulation, as well as energizing recycling efforts, the rival Chicago Tribune reports. In fact, they falsified their circulation numbers by trashing large amounts of its daily run -- by some reports, as much as 25%: A program to significantly overstate weekday circulation numbers at the Chicago Sun-Times accelerated between 2002 and 2003 as sales slipped and the newspaper's marketing budget was slashed, company sources said Wednesday. "There was tremendous pressure to keep the numbers high," said a source with knowledge of an internal investigation into the matter. ... Hollinger International executives wouldn't say how much the figures were inflated, but Sun-Times Publisher John Cruickshank denied a Chicago Tribune report that it was as high as 25 percent of newsstand sales. ... Though details as to how the programs worked are sketchy, a source with knowledge of the investigation said...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Pew Poll Demonstrates Bush Hatred Subsiding

Hugh Hewitt directs his readers to the latest results of the Pew Research Center poll, released today for the polling period of 6/3-9. Far from the common perception that Bush has faded, the Pew poll shows resurgent numbers for Bush in most categories, especially in war support: Americans are paying markedly less attention to Iraq than in the last two months. At the same time, their opinions about the war have become more positive. The number of Americans who think the U.S. military effort is going well has jumped from 46% in May to 57%, despite ongoing violence in Iraq and the widening prison abuse scandal. And the percentage of the public who believes it was right to go to war inched up to 55%, from 51% in May. The new Pew survey indicates that many Americans are becoming less connected to the news about Iraq and possibly more hardened...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

9/11 Commission Report: Seriously Flawed

By now, you have read that the 9/11 Commission report that found "no credible evidence" that al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein's Iraq collaborated on any level, despite the 1998 indictment by the Clinton administration -- pursued by Commissioner Jamie Gorelick during her tenure in the DoJ -- alleging exactly that connection: Al Qaeda reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the Government of Iraq. I have more about the connections between Iraq and al-Qaeda in this post reviewing the Stephen Hayes book, The Connection. This excellent book makes hash out of any notion that Iraq and al-Qaeda had no connections, and also shows that the media and the Clinton administration had no qualms about trumpeting those connections until 2001. However, to get a good grip on...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

June 18, 2004

More Rampant Unilateralism

Two items from this morning's AP wire demonstrate the rampant unilateralism of the Bush administration. First, South Korea has increased its troop commitment to the security forces in Iraq: South Korea will send 3,000 soldiers to northern Iraq beginning in early August to assist the U.S.-led coalition, the Defense Ministry said Friday. Once the deployment is complete, South Korea will be the largest coalition partner after the United States and Britain. South Korea plans to send 900 troops to Kurdish-controlled Irbil in early August, followed by about 1,100 troops between late August and early September, Defense Ministry spokesman Nam Dai-yeon said. Another 1,000 soldiers will travel to Iraq later. South Korea already has 600 military medics and engineers in the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriyah. They are expected to head to northern Iraq beginning in mid-July to prepare facilities ahead of the arrival of the main force, South Korea's Yonhap...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

BBC: Pakistan Scores Victory Against AQ

The BBC reports this morning that the new Pakistan offensive against al-Qaeda and its supporters in its frontier regions with Afghanistan has produced another big victory, in this case the death of an opposition tribal leader who openly supported the Taliban and sheltered AQ operatives in South Waziristan: Nek Mohammed, who is accused of sheltering al-Qaeda militants, had led several deadly attacks against Pakistani forces in South Waziristan. "We were tracking him down and he was killed [Thursday] night by our hand," military spokesman Major General Shaukat Sultan said from Islamabad. ... If the reports of Mohammed's death are borne out, a big obstacle in the army's path to bringing to the rebellious tribes under its control will have been removed, says the BBC's Paul Anderson in Islamabad. Mohammed had been one of the most openly defiant leaders in South Waziristan, whose intransigence led to the breakdown of negotiations between...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Putin: Saddam Planned Terrorism In US

Russian President Vladimir Putin told reporters this morning that Russia had learned of terrorist attacks planned by Saddam Hussein and had passed the warnings on to the Bush administration following 9/11: Russia warned the United States on several occasions that Iraq's Saddam Hussein planned "terrorist attacks" on its soil, President Vladimir Putin said Friday. "After the events of September 11, 2001, and before the start of the military operation in Iraq, Russian special services several times received such information and passed it on to their American colleagues," he told reporters. The Kremlin leader, who was speaking in the Kazakh capital, said Russian intelligence services had many times received information that Saddam's special forces were preparing terrorist attacks in the United States "and beyond its borders on American military and civilian targets." "This information was conveyed to our American colleagues," he said. He added that Russian intelligence had no proof that...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

The Left Covers Their Eyes And Ears

After the revelation this morning that Russia had repeatedly warned the US between 9/11 and the kickoff to the Iraq War about Saddam Hussein planning terror attacks inside the US, I expected the left to either ignore it or to create conspiracy theories on its meaning. Fortunately, they've managed to do both at the same time. For instance, over at ABC News, their web site has not one single mention of the statement by Vladimir Putin, more than five hours after wire services broke the story. At CBS, the breaking story about pregnant Aussies postponing births to get a cash bonus seems to have driven it off the radar screen at the Tiffany Network. CNN carries the story on their main web site -- below the urgent story that Clinton slept on the couch after admitting his affair with Monica Lewinsky. MS-NBC runs the story in a similar position, but...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Kofi's Kangaroo Court

The U.S. has moved to renew a Security Council resolution that would exempt military and civilian personnel "related to a UN-authorized operation." from the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. According to Reuters, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan scolded the U.S for its move and called on the Security Council to block the measure. He claims, "The blanket exemption is wrong. It is of dubious judicial value and I don't think it should be encouraged by the council." Of course, Mr. Annan finds the Abu Ghraib incidents a convenient justification for his argument and claims, "I think it would be unfortunate for one to press for such an exemption, given the prisoner abuse in Iraq. I think in this circumstance it would be unwise to press for an exemption, and it would be even more unwise on the part of the Security Council to grant it." The only thing of dubious...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

June 19, 2004

9/11 Commission Report on AQ/Iraq Connections Misleadingly Vague: Hayes

Stephen Hayes, author of The Connection, responds to the 9/11 Commission's assertion that no credible evidence exists of collaboration between al-Qaeda and Iraq in the Weekly Standard. He also takes the media to task for misinterpreting the already misleadingly vague staff report: IT'S SETTLED, APPARENTLY. Saddam Hussein's regime never supported al Qaeda in its "attacks on America," and meetings between representatives of Iraq and al Qaeda did not result in a "collaborative relationship." That, we're told, is the conclusion of two staff reports the September 11 Commission released last Wednesday. But the contents of the documents have been widely misreported. Together the new reports total 32 pages; one contains a paragraph on the broad question of a Saddam-al Qaeda relationship, the other a paragraph on an alleged meeting between the lead hijacker and an Iraqi agent. Nowhere in the documents is the "Al Qaeda-Hussein Link...Dismissed," as Washington Post headline writers...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

WaPo Extends The Meme, Kerry's Error

As I predicted earlier this week, now that Senator John McCain has forcefully told the Democrats to find someone else for the VP slot, the media which took a Democratic fantasy and blew it all out of proportion has now scrambled to rewrite the meta-story. Mike Allen reports today for the Post that McCain and George Bush have "put aside their animosity" to campaign together for Bush's re-election, continuing the new story line of bringing two old foes back together for one last hurrah: Bush and McCain, whose relations had been at best businesslike since they faced off in the GOP primaries of 2000, praised each other effusively as they appeared on the same podium for the first time in more than four years. Bush, waving repeatedly to the crowd as he strode onto the stage amid applause, walked straight toward McCain and put his arms around him. The Arizonan...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Putin's Statement: One Story, Wildly Different Treatments In Broadsheets

Yesterday's blockbuster statement by Vladimir Putin that the Russian intelligence services warned Washington on several occasions that Saddam Hussein planned terror strikes within the US has prompted predictably divergent responses from the American media. Yesterday, even after several hours, major news organizations kept all mention of the warnings from their viewers. This morning it appears that all major media outlets have at least covered the statements in detail, although some outlets insist on treating the statement with a skepticism that one expects from the editorial pages. For instance, the New York Times puts its skepticism right into the second paragraph, reporting that Putin's allegation surprised the State Department: President Vladimir V. Putin said Friday that Russia gave intelligence reports to the Bush administration suggesting that Saddam Hussein's government was preparing terrorist attacks in the United States or against American targets overseas. But officials at the State Department expressed surprise, saying...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

U.S. strikes al-Zarqawi hideout

Finally, some good news out of Fallujah. The U.S. fired a missiles into the suspected hideout of al-Zarqawi, and the AP reports 16 individuals were killed. According to Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, intelligence sources indicated "a significant number of people in the Zarqawi network" were in the house at the time of the attack. True to form, Fallujah residents accused the United States of striking twice by firing a second missile after rescuers moved into the site to help victims. But according to Gen Kimmitt, the attack set off ammunition and weapons stored in the house, triggering "multiple secondary explosions." So the terrorists were first attacked by the US, and then others were killed by their own weapons. Perfect....

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

New York Times Slams Clinton's biography

Yes, that's right. The dependable left-wing spin machine, the New York Times, actually gave Mr. Clinton's memoir a devastating critique. According to reviewer Michiko Kakutani, the tome "is sloppy, self-indulgent and often eye-crossingly dull the sound of one man prattling away, not for the reader, but for himself and some distant recording angel of history." Kakutani describes My Life as "a hodgepodge of jottings: part policy primer, part 12-step confessional, part stump speech and part presidential archive, all, it seems, hurriedly written and even more hurriedly edited." Though Mr. Clinton acknowledges some responsibility for the affair with Monica Lewinsky, "he spends far more space excoriating his nemesis, independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr, and the press." Ditto for the terrorist threat; he stated it was growing on his watch but expresses no regret over his sporadic and failed attempts to address it. The reviewer nails the ex-president for his obvious...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Clinton: Bush Had No Choice On Iraq

First, Vladimir Putin tells people that Saddam Hussein planned terror attacks in the US, and the Left scoffed. Now, Bill Clinton says that George Bush had no choice but to remove Saddam Hussein after 9/11, based on the intelligence reports both men saw as President: Clinton, who was interviewed Thursday, said he did not believe that Bush went to war in Iraq over oil or for imperialist reasons but out of a genuine belief that large quantities of weapons of mass destruction remained unaccounted for. Noting that Bush had to be "reeling" in the wake of the attacks of September 11, 2001, Clinton said Bush's first priority was to keep al Qaeda and other terrorist networks from obtaining "chemical and biological weapons or small amounts of fissile material." "That's why I supported the Iraq thing. There was a lot of stuff unaccounted for," Clinton said in reference to Iraq and...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

June 20, 2004

Al-Qaeda Under Fire

So far, June has been the worst of months for the terrorist association al-Qaeda. First the Pakistanis kill a tribal leader, one of their allies in Waziristan. Now over this weekend, two more AQ leaders have gone on to their 72 virgins (or white raisins of wisdom, take your pick). Saudi terrorist chief Abdel Aziz al-Muqrin's death after the beheading of American Paul Johnson is considered a "major blow" to AQ's network in the Saudi kingdom, according to CNN: "A major blow" has been dealt to al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia with the killing of four of its top leaders in the kingdom, Saudi foreign policy adviser Adel al-Jubeir said Saturday. Among the dead is Abdel Aziz al-Muqrin, the nation's most-wanted militant and the self-proclaimed leader of al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia. Al-Muqrin claimed responsibility for the beheading of U.S. hostage Paul Johnson Jr. CNN also reports that al-Qaeda has...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Northwest Airlines: We Get You There ... Eventually

As a resident of the Twin Cities, I have flown Northwest Airlines for many years. While I don't necessarily agree with the local nickname for the pride of Eagan -- Northworst -- after hearing about their navigational talent, I'm not so sure: Robert Morrell wondered what was up after his Northwest Airlines flight touched down. Nobody from the flight crew got on the intercom to welcome passengers to Rapid City, S.D. He looked out the window and saw barracks-like structures and military officials. And then the crew told passengers to pull down their window shades. Turns out it wasn't Rapid City Regional Airport. It was Ellsworth Air Force Base. The Northwest pilots landed at the wrong airport! Ellsworth is a few miles short of the Rapid City Regional Airport, and apparently the crew mistook one for the other. Passengers who expected to disembark on landing were instead told to shut...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Happy Father's Day!

Now that the kidney transplant is over, we decided to celebrate the Little Admiral's birthday this weekend. We had my father (Admiral Emeritus? First Lord of the Admiralty? Queeg?) and his wife out here this past week to help the First Mate out with her recovery, and my sister also flew out on Friday to help out this coming week. This meant that we could all celebrate Father's Day together for the first time since 2001, when we celebrated it in a pub in central Dublin. After the Northern Alliance Radio Show on Saturday afternoon, we all got together for my granddaughter's second birthday, which we delayed because of my wife's sudden hospitalization. As you can see, the Little Admiral did pretty well! She got a new Minnie Mouse dress with matching purse and suitcase, which you can see in this picture, and two new bubble machines, videos, and lots...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Captain's Caption Contest #15!

It's Friday, so it must be time for another Caption Contest! Whiskey selected the picture this week from reader Cameron Wood, who will be our guest judge this week. Whiskey and I make a great team -- better than this one, judging by one of the people pictured: You have until Tuesday, June 22 at 6 PM CDT to enter your best captions in the Comments section of this post for Cameron to guest-judge this week. (NO e-mail -- e-mailed entries will be shredded, toasted, tossed over a plate of escargot, and swallowed by Michael Moore in one smooth motion.) Enter as often as you like, no purchase necessary, tax and title belong to CQ, winners need not be present, and as always, bribes are most welcome ... and don't forget to check out Cameron's blog! BUMP 6/20 ... COMMENTS CLOSED: A little late, since Cameron has already selected his...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

9/11 Commission Wakes Up, Smells Coffee

The Washington Post reports in tomorrow's edition that the 9/11 Commission has just heard about new evidence supporting the Bush administration's contention that the Saddam Hussein regime had serious connections to al-Qaeda: The commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks has been told "a very prominent member" of al Qaeda served as an officer in Saddam Hussein's militia, a panel member said yesterday. Republican commissioner John Lehman told NBC's "Meet the Press" that the new intelligence, if proved true, buttresses claims by the Bush administration of ties between Iraq and the militant network believed responsible for the attacks on the United States. ... "Some of these documents indicate that [there was] at least one officer of Saddam's Fedayeen, a lieutenant colonel, who was a very prominent member of al Qaeda," Lehman said. "That still has to be confirmed, but the vice president was right when he said that he may...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

June 21, 2004

Safire: 9/11 Commission "Manipulated" By Runaway Staff

In his column today, William Safire excoriates the 9/11 Commission (well, who isn't?) for allowing its staff to issue an incendiary interim report without any of the commissioners' signatures or, for that matter, supporting evidence. Safire points out the enthusiasm demonstrated by the broadsheets -- including his own -- in trumpeting the fallacious conclusions reached by staff partisans such as Philip Zelikow: "Panel Finds No Qaeda-Iraq Tie" went the Times headline. "Al Qaeda-Hussein Link Is Dismissed" front-paged The Washington Post. The A.P. led with the thrilling words "Bluntly contradicting the Bush Administration, the commission. . . ." This understandably caused my editorial-page colleagues to draw the conclusion that "there was never any evidence of a link between Iraq and Al Qaeda. . . ." All wrong. The basis for the hoo-ha was not a judgment of the panel of commissioners appointed to investigate the 9/11 attacks. As reporters noted below...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

AQ Accuses Saudis Of Assisting Johnson Abduction

According to an al-Qaeda website, sympathizers within the Saudi security forces assisted the AQ abduction of Paul Johnson, both materially and tactically, CNN reports: Islamic militants who abducted and beheaded American engineer Paul Johnson say sympathetic Saudi security forces aided their kidnapping operation with police uniforms and vehicles -- an allegation a top Saudi official denied. ... In a lengthy narrative about the kidnapping that was posted Sunday on the Islamist Web site Voice of Jihad, Johnson's kidnappers said they stopped his car at a fake checkpoint, transferred him to another car and took him to another location. The VoJ site claimed that security forces supplied the terrorists with uniforms and vehicles as well as some operational security for the abduction in a scenario that some had already hypothesized. The Saudis, predictably, refuted the notion: But Adel al-Jubeir, the foreign policy adviser to Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, told CNN the...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: We Were Wrong

Jack Kelly at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette makes an extraordinary claim in today's edition -- that they bungled the coverage of the interim staff report from the 9/11 Commission. What's even more interesting is their review of the media coverage surrounding the report: On Thursday, the lead headline in the Post-Gazette was "Saddam, al-Qaida Not Linked. Sept. 11 Panel's Conclusion at Odds with Administration." In the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that day, the banner headline read: "9/11 Panel Debunks Saddam Link. Report: No Evidence of al-Qaida Ties." This was false, as the chair and vice chair of the 9/11 commission hastened to make clear. ... The Post-Gazette and Tribune-Review were by no means alone in getting the story wrong. The erroneous PG story Thursday was from The Washington Post. The story we ran Friday, headlined "Bush, Cheney Defend Linking Iraq, al-Qaida" -- which avoided mentioning that both the chairman and co-chairman of the...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

The Failure Of European Socialism

If anyone in the United States points out the relative stagnation of the European economy in relation to ours, that person would be castigated as a closed-minded Americacentric demagogue. Fortunately, as yesterday's OpinionJournal article informs us, the Europeans have reached much the same conclusion. A new study by Sweden -- a bastion of cradle-to-grave nanny-statism -- shows that the European standard of living has fallen far off the pace of American life: The study, "The EU vs. USA," was done by a pair of economists--Fredrik Bergstrom and Robert Gidehag--for the Swedish think tank Timbro. It found that if Europe were part of the U.S., only tiny Luxembourg could rival the richest of the 50 American states in gross domestic product per capita. Most European countries would rank below the U.S. average, as the chart below shows. ... U.S. GDP per capita was a whopping 32% higher than the EU average...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Kerry Takes Tainted Money, Returns It

Howard Kurtz (scroll way down) thinks this will be a problem for John Kerry: John Kerry's campaign collected a maximum $2,000 check from the recently arrested son of South Korea's disgraced former president, and some of its fund-raisers met several times with a South Korean government official who was trying to organize a Korean-American political group. The Kerry campaign said it did not know about the $2,000 donation from Chun Jae-yong or his background until informed by The Associated Press and has decided to return the money to avoid any appearance of impropriety. "We are sending the check back," spokesman Michael Meehan said. Eh. I don't share Kurtz's interest in this story. For one thing, according to the story, the Kerry campaign attempted to vet this donation as good as could be expected, especially in the heat of a fundraising hurricane. Now that they've discovered the problem, they're returning the...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

June 22, 2004

WaPo/ABC Poll: Skip It

The new Washington Post/ABC Poll released yesterday is yet another poorly sampled poll in a season full of pretenders. In this case, the WaPo/ABC sample was not the most reliable type, likely voters, or even registered voters; it was the least reliable indicator of elections, "randomly selected adults": Public anxiety over mounting casualties in Iraq and doubts about long-term consequences of the war continue to rise and have helped to erase President Bush's once-formidable advantage over Sen. John F. Kerry concerning who is best able to deal with terrorist threats, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Exactly half the country now approves of the way Bush is managing the U.S. war on terrorism, down 13 percentage points since April, according to the poll. Barely two months ago, Bush comfortably led Kerry, the presumptive Democratic nominee, by 21 points when voters were asked which man they trusted to deal...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Nader Picks Running Mate From California

Independent candidate and potential spoiler Ralph Nader made two major announcements yesterday, selecting his running mate and announcing his openness to the Green Party endorsement in the fall. For his dance partner in November, Nader selected Peter Camejo, a man who once ran for President with the Socialists and who was last seen vying for Gray Davis' job in the California recall: Nader's selection of Camejo gives further shape to a left-leaning, antiwar campaign many Democrats fear will spoil their effort to unseat President Bush. It bolstered Nader's quest to win an endorsement from the Greens at their national convention, which begins Wednesday in Milwaukee. If Nader succeeds, he could win ballot access in 22 states including California and the District of Columbia. Camejo also improves Nader's access to an important constituency. A fluent Spanish speaker of Venezuelan descent, Camejo plans to campaign vigorously for Latino votes coveted...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Republican Senate Candidate Aims For Libertarian Vote

GOP hopeful Jack Ryan, currently slated to run against Democrat Barack Obama for the Senate seat being vacated by retiring Republican Peter Fiztgerald, has seen his candidacy blow up with the unsealing of his divorce records from TV star Jeri Lynn Ryan of "Star Trek: Voyager" and "Boston Public". Jack Ryan apparently did not sufficiently prepare GOP party leaders for the revelations contained in his ex-wife's filings: Before Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jack Ryan finished a news conference in which he discussed allegations by his former wife that he pressured her to have sex in clubs while others watched, calls for him to get out of the race began. ... Jeri Lynn Ryan charged during a custody hearing that Ryan took her on surprise trips to New Orleans, New York and Paris in 1998, and that he insisted she go to sex clubs with him on each trip. She said...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Have They Gone Mad?

Reuters reports that the Iranian mullahs apparently intend to inflame tensions even further in the Gulf region. Yesterday they captured three British patrol boats and held eight British sailors prisoner. Diplomatic scuttlebutt implied that the Iranians just wanted to make sure everyone knew that they had an eye on the CPA in Iraq and that the sailors would be shortly released. Now, however, the Iranians have decided to try the soldiers for violating Iranian waters: Iran will prosecute eight British naval personnel seized in its waters, state television said on Tuesday, turning what seemed a minor border incident into a serious diplomatic spat. ... The eight were arrested on Monday on the Shatt al-Arab waterway which marks the southern stretch of Iraq's border with Iran. Britain said the group were training Iraqi police and were delivering a boat to an Iraqi river patrol. Quoting unnamed Iranian military sources, Iran's Arabic...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Memos: Rumsfeld Disapproved "Waterboarding", Other Coercive Techniques

CNN reports that internal memos about to be released by the Pentagon regarding interrogation methods will show that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld specifically denied approval to such techniques as "waterboarding" and other strongly coercive physical measures, and in fact only approved light, noninjurious physical contact: The White House and Pentagon are expected to release a series of memos Tuesday related to U.S. military policy on prisoner interrogation and the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal. The release of the Pentagon memos will show that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld never approved a controversial interrogation technique called "water boarding," according to a source who had told CNN the opposite on Monday. The senior defense official who provided the original information to CNN now says Rumsfeld only approved "mild, noninjurious physical contact" with a high-level al Qaeda detainee at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and specifically did not approve a request to use water boarding. CNN's...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

A Young Protestor's Story

Many people, especially in the media, comment that this generation lacks either courage or convictions. However, as we can see in our men and women in the armed forces, that certainly cannot be true; too many of them have voluntarily put their lives on the line in defense of freedom and their country. Ah, but that's a small percentage, naysayers will tell you. Universities and colleges abound with apathy or worse, as activists seem to fade from sight. Perhaps they're fading because people don't want to hear the message they support. Longtime reader Brian Scott e-mailed me today with the story of Bryan Henderson, a high-school conservative who decided to risk the wrath of his classmates and his teachers to protest the leftist indoctrination he received at school: At the end of the day, my fellow PW chapter members and I felt it was time to fight back and strike...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Pvt. Dwayne Turner: "No One's Going To Die On My Watch"

Reader Peyton Randolph sent me a link to this story. It again demonstrates the courage and excellence of the men and women serving this grateful nation. FORT CAMPBELL, Ky., Feb. 11, 2004 - A 101st Airborne Division soldier who, despite being critically wounded himself, repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire to treat wounded comrades in Iraq received the Silver Star here Feb. 5. Pvt. Dwayne Turner, a combat medic assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, provided life-saving medical care to 16 fellow soldiers April 13 when his unit came under a grenade and small-arms attack 30 miles south of Baghdad. Turner and two other medics from Company A of that battalion were part of a work detail that came under attack as they unloaded supplies in a makeshift operations center. "I moved to (my vehicle) just before the first grenade came over the wall," Turner...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Caption Contest #15 Winners!

The judge has made the selections for this week's Captain's Caption Contest! Cameron Wood, the writer of the fine blog Way Off Bass, has had to wade through a number of excellent entries (and some non-judge voting, for that matter!) in order to come up with these great winners. Just to refresh everyone's memory first, here's the picture: Captain's Award (Goin' Large) -- Thief: "This is John. John recently talked to his doctor about Enzyte, the once a day pill for natural male enhancement. Now John has a fresh burst of confidence, rising poll numbers, and a very happy missus on the campaign trail." You Have The Conn #1 (People's Choice Award) - Wacky Hermit: "In an effort to show his multilateralism through solidarity with the Iraqi insurgents, John Kerry demonstrates the technique of using women as human shields." (a special good luck to the very-much-ready-to-give-birth Wacky Hermit!) You Have...

Continue reading "Caption Contest #15 Winners!" »

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Wanted: Fawning Strangers, No Experience Necessary

Glenn Reynolds points out a want ad in the New York Times Job Market section that may explain the enthusiastic crowds lining up to buy My Life, the new autobiography by Bill Clinton: Job title: Part Time/Temporary Employer: Confidential Date Posted: 06-20-2004 Description: P/T CLINTON BOOK TOUR People needed immed Tu 6/22 & Wed 6/ 23, to work at book signing. Cash paid. No word in the ad as to how many positions were open, but it certainly appears to be a very short job. Do you suppose the job paid a "living wage," or do you think they cheaped out and paid minimum?...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

No Ties?

Either this qualifies as a link between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden or, as Glenn Reynolds says, it demonstrates a lot more foresight and media savvy than Bush's critics may be willing to credit him (also via reader Soybomb): February 13, 1999 Web posted at: 10:55 a.m. EST (1547 GMT) ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) -- Osama bin Laden, the Saudi millionaire accused by the United States of plotting bomb attacks on two U.S. embassies in Africa, has left Afghanistan, Afghan sources said Saturday. Bin Laden's whereabouts were not known, said the sources who declined to be identified. ... Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has offered asylum to bin Laden, who openly supports Iraq against the Western powers. [emph. mine -- C.E.] Glenn also points out this Guardian article from the week before that: By Julian Borger in Washington Saturday February 6, 1999 The Guardian Saddam Hussein's regime has opened talks with...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Blogenheit 551?

My Northern Alliance colleague and all-around great guy, John "Rocket Man" Hinderaker, has agreed to appear in a new documentary on Minnesota bloggers, along with Scott "Big Trunk" Johnson. The documentarian is a blogger himself at the left-wing site Blogumentary, and he has already announced the interview on his site, sounding a bit nervous: I reassured him that I'm no Michael Moore, and I'm not out to make anyone look bad. Conservative blogs represent a huge chunk of the blogosphere, and I would be remiss not to include them and their perspective. I'm fortunate (err, as a blog filmmaker) to live in a state chock full of prominent right-wing blogs: The Northern Alliance of Blogs. Wish me luck. Come on, man, we don't bite! (They're lawyers. They sue. It's worse.) I suspect he may be more nervous about the response from his regular readers, though. I noticed that this was...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

June 23, 2004

AP Indulging In Moral Relativism

The AP reports today that the US has retaliated against Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in an airstrike earlier today for the beheading of Kim Sun-Il. Zarqawi's Monotheism and Jihad terror cell also threatened to continue assassination attempts against Iyad Allawi, the interim Iraqi PM: U.S. forces launched an airstrike targeting militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi after his group beheaded a South Korean who had pleaded "I don't want to die" in a heart-wrenching videotape. Another audio recording purportedly made by al-Zarqawi and found online Wednesday threatened to kill Iraq's interim prime minister. ... Al-Zarqawi's Monotheism and Jihad movement is believed to be behind Tuesday's slaying of Kim Sun-il, the third foreign hostage decapitated in the Middle East in little over a month. So how does the AP describe the murder of Kim? By describing how he was dressed, in a somewhat subtle attempt to draw parallels between the treatment of hostages by...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Iran: Second Thoughts Or Point Made?

Bowing to international pressure -- or simply having made its point -- the Iranian government announced it would release eight British sailors and Marines captured in the waterway shared by Iran and Iraq: Iran says it has released eight British sailors detained for illegally entering Iranian waters, according to The Associated Press news agency. Three British boats were stopped and the eight British service members -- two sailors and six marines -- were detained Monday after Iran said they crossed into its territorial waters in the Shatt al-Arab waterway. "The eight British sailors, including six soldiers and two ranking military officials, have been released," a Iranian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman told AP. After making threats yesterday to put the eight on trial for illegal incursions into Iranian territory, it appeared that the Islamic Republic had deliberately attempted to start a diplomatic row with the UK, and by association the US. However,...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

In 'My Life', They Love Him Less

Bill Clinton's new autobiography, My Life, should have had a ready-made audience, at least among the left-leaning intelligentsia. After all, his presidency still remains the gold standard for the left, eight years of supposed peace and prosperity that turned out to be an illusion, one revealed to us all on 9/11 as the culmination of a series of attacks in a war we refused to recognize being waged against us during his presidency. At any rate, his personal popularity remains high among the literati, which one would expect to receive his new book with heightened sympathy. If this was ever so, then it speaks even more ill of Clinton's efforts. The New York Times, which still spends prodigious amounts of ink defending his presidency, savaged My Life earlier this week: The book, which weighs in at more than 950 pages, is sloppy, self-indulgent and often eye-crossingly dull the sound...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

INDC Journal Goes Undercover

If you haven't yet read INDC Journal's new post, Moonbats In The Mist, you have to check it out now. Bill does an anthropological study of anti-war protesters, bringing along a couple of (virtual) partners, and the results are hilarious: Reminder: This INDC Science Series is best appreciated if my portions of the narration are read aloud with an Australian or Queen's English accent. Thank you. Good day, my fellow moonbat watchers and amateur scientists! The Spring and Summer moonbat season has really got into full swing here in Washington, DC, and I recently had an opportunity to witness a significant gathering of countercultural species in Lafayette Park, a popular moonbat greenspace located directly across from the White House. Like any good anthropologist, Bill took plenty of pictures, so you can understand the narrative that much better. Be sure to check out this excellent, National-Geographic level analysis of tribal life;...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Who Asked You?

Senator Joe Biden really knows how to wear out a welcome, according to Reliable Source, the quasi-gossip column for politics edited by Richard Leiber in the Washington Post. Leiber notes the following report from the upcoming issue of Rolling Stone: Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) might not be invited back to the Oval Office anytime soon to do his Donald Trump imitation. In May he dispensed blunt advice to President Bush on whom he would fire. As Biden recounts in the new Rolling Stone: "I turned to Vice President Cheney, who was there, and I said, 'Mr. Vice President, I wouldn't keep you if it weren't constitutionally required.' I turned back to the president and said, 'Mr. President, Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld are bright guys, really patriotic, but they've been dead wrong on every major piece of advice they've given you. That's why I'd get rid of them, Mr. President...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Finally, A Newspaper With Guts

Today's Pittsburgh Tribune-Review contains an apologia from the editor, Frank Craig, regarding his decision to carry photographs of the decapitated body of American Pual Johnson, a hostage of al-Qaeda who was brutally murdered earlier. Not many news outlets carried the photographs of Johnson, but just about every broadsheet and media Internet site carried photo after photo of the abuses at Abu Ghraib, and Craig won't tolerate the hypocrisy any longer: Like many newspapers and magazines, we previously published a photo of a smiling Pennsylvania soldier leaning over a corpse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison. I felt that image was important to see, because it inarguably conveyed the cruelty that occurred there. ... I decided to publish the letter and its photos on an inside page, in black-and-white rather than in color and in a scale far reduced from the original size, to somewhat minimize its gruesome impact. I added a...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Washington Post's Crystal Ball A Little Cloudy

Thanks to alert reader Paul Escalona from Trenton, NJ, the Washington Post has been caught in another instance of allowing its editorial bias creep into its news reporting. In today's story about the brutal beheading of a South Korean interpreter by al-Qaeda terrorists, the Post makes this odd statement: But Kim's death appeared almost certain to broaden opposition in South Korea to the country's already unpopular involvement in Iraq. Public opinion polls show that more than 56 percent of the population opposes the troop deployment. More than a thousand South Koreans took to the streets for a second day on Tuesday, demanding a withdrawal from Iraq, while hundreds more took part in candlelight vigils for Kim. That passage precedes quotes from two South Koreans, who apparently agree with Jackie Spinner and Anthony Faiola's assertion that the killing should spark renewed calls for appeasement. However, the Post does not give any...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Kerry's Dukakis Moment?

The Kerry campaign will scramble this afternoon with this AP report that one of their critical support groups has hired convicted felons -- in some cases, sex offenders -- to conduct door-to-door voter registration drives: A Democratic group crucial to John Kerry's presidential campaign has paid felons some convicted of sex offenses, assault and burglary to conduct door-to-door voter registration drives in at least three election swing states. America Coming Together, contending that convicted criminals deserve a second chance in society, employs felons as voter canvassers in major metropolitan areas in Missouri, Florida, Ohio and perhaps in other states among the 17 it is targeting in its drive. Some of the felons lived in halfway houses, and at least four returned to prison. ... Although it works against the re-election of President Bush, ACT is an independent group not affiliated with the Kerry campaign federal law forbids...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

A Poor Response

The AP has updated its story on the use of convicted felons in door-to-door canvassing for Democratic voter registration drives by Americans Coming Together. The story now includes a response from the Kerry campaign, which figures to be the beneficiary of ACT's $100 million effort this election cycle, a response that certainly does nothing to bolster confidence in Kerry's concern for public safety: Although it works against the re-election of President Bush, ACT is an independent group not affiliated with Kerry's campaign federal law forbids such coordination. Yet ACT is stocked with veteran Democratic political operatives, many with past ties to Kerry and his advisers. Allison Dobson, a spokeswoman with the Kerry campaign, said there is no coordination with ACT, and of the policy: "We're unaware of it and have nothing to do with it." The Kerry campaign site's press-release page doesn't mention it at all. Instead, today's entries...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

June 24, 2004

McCain-Feingold's First (Really) Big Victim?

The DC newspaper The Hill reports that the FEC may decide that Michael Moore's new film, Fahrenheit 9/11, qualifies as a political advertisement on behalf of John Kerry and is therefore subject to the same restrictions on advertising as any political commercial (via Drudge): In a draft advisory opinion placed on the FECs agenda for todays meeting, the agencys general counsel states that political documentary filmmakers may not air television or radio ads referring to federal candidates within 30 days of a primary election or 60 days of a general election. The opinion is generated under the new McCain-Feingold campaign-finance law, which prohibits corporate-funded ads that identify a federal candidate before a primary or general election. The proscription is broadly defined. Section 100.29 of the federal election regulations defines restricted corporate-funded ads as those that identify a candidate by his name, nickname, photograph or drawing or make it otherwise apparent...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Iraqi Terrorists Stage Desparate Attacks

Iraqi terrorists staged a wave of coordinated attacks across Iraq today, six days before the CPA transfers sovereignty to an interim Iraqi government that intends on establishing a representative democracy in the heart of the Middle East: Rebels bent on disrupting a handover to Iraqi rule bloodied five cities Thursday with coordinated assaults on local security forces in which about 75 people, including three U.S. soldiers, were killed. The violence in Baquba, Falluja, Ramadi, Mosul and Baghdad intensified a sustained campaign by Iraqi insurgents and foreign militants to sabotage Iraq's formal transition from U.S.-led occupation to an interim government in six days' time. Scores of black-clad gunmen, some claiming loyalty to Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, attacked a police station and other government buildings in Baquba, 60 km (40 miles) northwest of Baghdad, in a dawn assault. A U.S. military spokesman said two American soldiers had been killed in an...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

An Angry Tenet Fires Back

After the release of a scathing report by the House Intelligence Committee calling the CIA "dysfunctional" and on the verge of incompetence, outgoing DCI George Tenet fired back in an angry letter to the committee's chairman, Porter Goss: Outgoing CIA Director George Tenet has fired off an angry letter to the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, after the committee issued a scathing report criticizing the agency's human intelligence gathering as "dysfunctional" and averse to risk. "Dysfunctional organizations do not perform the way the Directorate of Operations performed in Afghanistan and in support of the military in Iraq before and after the conflict," Tenet wrote to Rep. Porter Goss. "Dysfunctional organizations do not take down or eliminate the most dangerous proliferators in the world ... nor do they aid in the disarmament of a country like Libya. To suggest that the organization that was key to all these victories, not...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Florida To Tax Home Networks

Wired carries a report this morning from Michelle Delio that the state of Florida, in order to recover lost revenues from businesses that use their own networking architecture rather than the local phone companies (and the tax they carry), enacted a law taxing the do-it-yourselfers. Now the state is considering applying that law to homeowners who string wires between their PCs: Florida state officials are considering taxing home networks that have more than one computer, under a modified 1985 state law that was intended to tax the few businesses that used internal communication networks instead of the local telephone company. Officials from Florida's Department of Revenue held a meeting on Tuesday to see whether the law would apply to wired households, and exactly who would be taxed. About 200 people attended, including community and business representatives. ... The law is so broad that it would apply to networked computers, wireless...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Somehow, I Feel Dirty

I'm not really following the Laci Peterson trial, since (a) I'm not a relative of the victim, (b) I don't live in her community, and (c) the media has spent so much time blowing it out of all proportion that I'm getting flashback nightmares of the OJ trial. However, I do follow the media, and Romanesko links to a story at SFGate regarding the juror who just got the boot from the judge -- and the media maelstrom that ensued: The same media people who maligned Juror No. 5 a few days ago, threw themselves at him Wednesday. News producers grabbed at him, television bookers blocked his path and reporters stuck cell phones to his ears with famous talk-show hosts murmuring sweet nothings on the other end. He was wooed with promises of limo rides, hotel rooms and round-trip fares to New York with his whole family. He was even...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

AP: SCOTUS Divided Into Conservatives And "Moderates"

In an otherwise dry report on an esoteric Supreme Court ruling, the AP injects a little bit of bias into the story. In describing the split court on the 5-4 decision to deny the appeal of death-row prisoners sentenced to death by judges rather than jurors prior to the SCOTUS ruling against such processes, reporter Gina Holland notes: Chief Justice H. Rehnquist and Justices Sandra Day O'Connor, Anthony M. Kennedy and Clarence Thomas agreed with Scalia. On the other side were four of the court's more moderate justices [emph. mine -- CE]: John Paul Stevens, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer. In fact, only Souter among these could reasonably be described as a moderate, and most observers consider O'Connor and Kennedy the moderates at the Supreme Court. Stevens and Ginsburg have always been unabashed liberal activists on the bench, and Breyer only somewhat less so. As we...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

I'm Not Bragging Or Anything, But ...

My sister just bought my son a physics textbook off of his Amazon wish list, and we've all had a pretty good laugh reading one of the reviews. First, you have to understand that my son considers this his pleasure reading for the summer ... and you'll understand why we're all laughing. Proudly laughing, my sister adds ... but laughing just the same. The first few chapters (homotopy, homology) are rather dry, but the text picks up after that. The manifold chapter is really good, particularly the Lie groups section which gives a geometric viewpoint of the objects which get very little attention in a typical particle physics course. Unfortunately, nothing is said on representation theory, but that can be found in Georgi's book. The cohomology chapter is wonderfully quick and to the point. I found myself having to tell myself to slow down because of the excitement I had...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

La Fonda: The No-Lose Scenario

When I moved out to Minnesota seven years ago from California, one thing I knew I would miss is the great Mexican cuisine readily available throughout my home state. You can't hardly drive a mile in the LA area without passing a Mexican restaurant of at least moderate adequacy. Here in the Great White North, however, finding anything worthwhile is well-nigh impossible. For one thing, beef dishes rarely feature anything other than ground beef instead of the far-superior shredded beef, and in some places, the ground beef is left unseasoned. Most of the suburban restaurants use the store-bought hard shells for their tacos, even the Don Pablos chain, at least until recently. By far the worst experience I had occurred before I'd even moved out here. Well-meaning friends took me to a local eatery called La Fonda's, which (as luck would have it) is located around the corner from the...

Continue reading "La Fonda: The No-Lose Scenario" »

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

June 25, 2004

Even The NY Times Finds Collaboration, But Hides It From Its Readers

The New York Times, less than a week after demanding apologies from George Bush and Dick Cheney for supposedly misleading Americans on ties between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda, publishes a report detailing even more ties and evidence of collaboration between Saddam and bin Laden (via Power Line): Contacts between Iraqi intelligence agents and Osama bin Laden when he was in Sudan in the mid-1990's were part of a broad effort by Baghdad to work with organizations opposing the Saudi ruling family, according to a newly disclosed document obtained by the Americans in Iraq. American officials described the document as an internal report by the Iraqi intelligence service detailing efforts to seek cooperation with several Saudi opposition groups, including Mr. bin Laden's organization, before Al Qaeda had become a full-fledged terrorist organization. He was based in Sudan from 1992 to 1996, when that country forced him to leave and he took...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Iran Thumbs Its Nose

The Islamic mullahcracy of Iran has thumbed its nose at the international community, announcing it will resume enriching uranium in defiance of its agreement to comply with IAEA requirements for non-proliferation: Iran has announced a "substantial resumption" of its uranium enrichment program and may have already stockpiled chemical weapons, a State Department official said Thursday. In testimony before the House International Relations Committee, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control John Bolton said Iran had reneged "on the commitment it made to the United Kingdom, Germany and France" to stop enriching uranium. Bolton said Iran told the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations' nuclear watchdog, that beginning next week the country will restart "the production of uranium centrifuge parts assembly and testing." Once again, the titans of Europe have taken us on a rollercoaster ride on WMD, and once again, the trip has been as pointless as an amusement-park ride:...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

What WMD Scientists? And Where Did That WMD Come From?

Via the excellent compendium Memeorandum, I found that Fox News has reported that terrorist groups in the Middle East are wooing Iraqi WMD scientists for assistance in developing their own weapons: Al Qaeda-connected terror chief Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (search) and other terrorists are apparently trying to recruit Iraqi weapons of mass destruction experts and resources for possible future attacks against the U.S.-led coalition, the head of the Iraq Survey Group (search) told FOX News Thursday. In an exclusive interview with FOX News Brit Hume, Charles Duelfer (search) whose ISG is leading the hunt for weapons of mass destruction said terrorists in Iraq are trying to tap into the Iraqi WMD intellectual capital. When we have investigated certain labs and contacted certain former experts in the WMD program, we have found that they are being recruited by anti-coalition groups, Duelfer told FOX News. They are being paid by anti-coalition...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Fox Poll Shows Bush Pulling Ahead

A new Fox poll of registered voters -- still not as reliable as likely voters, but better than the sampling done by the recent Washington Post/ABC poll -- shows Bush pulling ahead of Kerry by six points, gaining strength from the booming economy and the approaching transfer of sovereignty to Iraq: Even as insurgents increase their attacks in the days leading up to the June 30 handover, the publics belief that going to war with Iraq was the right thing to do is holding steady. Majorities believe there was a partnership between Saddam and Al Qaeda, and that military action abroad is necessary to protect from having to fight terrorists on U.S. soil. In addition, brightening impressions on the condition of the economy helped President Bush improve his standing against Democrat John Kerry this week, according to a Fox News poll released Thursday. President Bush currently has an advantage over...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Democrat To Address Republican Nominating Convention

Every Republican's favorite Democrat, Georgia Senator Zell Miller, will speak to the Republican Nominating Convention in order to formally endorse George Bush's candidacy. Miller, who's hardly been shy about his disenchantment with his own party's direction, provides the "unity" campaign that John Kerry tried to build with John McCain, and failed: According to the aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity, Miller will give his address on Wednesday night of the four-day convention in New York that begins Aug. 30. The Bush-Cheney campaign was expected to make an official announcement later in the day. The speech by Miller, a former two-term governor, comes 12 years after he delivered the keynote address for Bill Clinton at the 1992 Democratic National Convention, also held in New York. Miller, who is retiring in January, has voted with Republicans more often than his own party and has been a key sponsor of many of...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

You're The Vice-President. Act Like It. That Is All.

Dick Cheney attempted to dress down Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy on the floor of the Senate Tuesday by suggesting a new form of entertainment and self-actualization for the partisan hack: On Tuesday, Cheney, serving in his role as president of the Senate, appeared in the chamber for a photo session. A chance meeting with Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (Vt.), the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, became an argument about Cheney's ties to Halliburton Co., an international energy services corporation, and President Bush's judicial nominees. The exchange ended when Cheney offered some crass advice. "Fuck yourself," said the man who is a heartbeat from the presidency. Forget, for the moment, the breathless reporting from the Washington Post. Forget the fact that just about everyone I know says this word from time to time. We are talking about one of our nation's leaders speaking to a representative from Vermont on the...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

June 26, 2004

Labor Down Under Puts Target On Australia

Leaders of the Australian Labor Party have already forgotten the lesson of Madrid and have pledged to unilaterally withdraw from Iraq if given a majority in their upcoming elections: An Australian Labor Party opposition pledge to withdraw troops from Iraq will present a major challenge to US ties if his party wins office in elections later this year, a senior party figure has warned. ... The policy has become a key issue in the election, with the government accusing Labor leader Mark Latham of anti-Americanism and reiterating its policy of remaining in the US-led campaign "until the job is done". Spanish Socialists made essentially the same argument and were trailing in the polls until helpful terrorists killed 191 Spaniards and changed the outcome of the election. One has to wonder if that thought has even occurred to the Australian Labor's leadership. After all, scores of Aussies lost their lives in...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Iraqis Discover A Sense Of National Mission?

The decision by the American-led CPA to remain steadfast in its decision to transfer sovereignty to the interim Iraqi government has, predictably, resulted in more desperate measures by Islamofascist terrorists in Iraq, with a wave of coordinated attacks this week resulting in over 100 dead Iraqis. Now even the more radical native elements within Iraq have come out in support of the new government, decrying the hijacking of Islam by the foreigners and calling for their expulsion from the new nation of Iraq: The objections -- from anti-U.S. Shiite and Sunni Muslim leaders, including rebellious cleric Moqtada Sadr, and even from militia fighters in the embattled city of Fallujah -- arose in part from revulsion at the fact that victims of the car bombings and guerrilla assaults in six cities and towns Thursday were overwhelmingly Iraqis. But they also betrayed Iraqi nationalist concerns that the fight against U.S. occupation forces...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

The Minneapolis Hotbed Of AQ

For some reason, the Twin Cities keeps coming up as a critical location for al-Qaeda operations. This dynamic first appeared shortly before the 9/11 attacks with the arrest of Zacarias Moussaoui in the Captain's home port of Eagan, and now Power Line reports that the latest instance occurred yesterday with the arrest of an associate of Abu al-Zarqawi: A Lebanese national who allegedly told Minneapolis FBI agents he trained with Al-Qaida and knew three of its leaders, including one of the most wanted terrorists in Iraq, has been charged in connection with an international terrorism inquiry. On Friday, a federal judge in New York ordered the suspect, Mohamad Kamal Elzahabi, who has lived in Minneapolis, transported to Minnesota without bail on charges of lying to federal agents. During a series of voluntary interviews in April, Elzahabi told Minneapolis FBI agents that while in Afghanistan in the late 1980s and 1990s,...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

More Unilateralism On Display

George Bush demonstrated more of his notorious "go-it-alone" cowboy unilateralism today in Ireland as he negotiated an agreement with the EU to back an Iraqi request for NATO military support: The United States and the European Union offered strong support for Iraq's urgent request for NATO military help Saturday. "NATO has the capability and I believe the responsibility to help the Iraqi people defeat the terrorist threat that's facing their country," President Bush said. ... The United States and the European Union agreed in a joint statement to back Iraq's request for NATO military and support the training of Iraqi security forces, and to reduce Iraq's international debt, estimated to be $120 billion. So that's what unilateralism looks like? Seems to me that the unilateralism about which the left complains so much appears awfully crowded at news conferences....

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Oh, And You're Fat, Too

Speaking of Ralph Nader, he sent a message to Michael Moore on his campaign blog accusing him of selling out his progressive credentials to the Establishment, in the form of the Democrats (via Instapundit): Once upon a time, there was Michael Moore the First. He never forgot his friends. Come time for the Washington, DC premiere of Bowling for Columbine a while back, he invited his old buddies in Washingtongave them good seats and spent the rest of the evening with them. During his other movie's premiere, he affectionately recognized how much those old friends helped him and supported him after he was mistreated and let go by Mother Jones. He was generous with his words and time. Now there is Michael Moore the Second. Last night he hosted the Washington, DC premiere of Fahrenheit 9/11, and who was there? The Democratic political establishment, the same people whom he took...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Greens Give Red Light To Nader

Ralph Nader recently reversed himself and publicly campaigned for an "endorsement" from the Green Party, the third-party outsiders who nominated Nader in 2000 and the candidate rejected last December. The Greens gave their answer today by blowing a raspberry at the consumer advocate and instead nominating David Cobb, a longtime party activist: The Green Party on Saturday refused to back Ralph Nader in his independent run for the White House, a move that could reduce his chances of being a factor in this year's election. Delegates to the half-million-member party's presidential convention voted to nominate party activist David Cobb, a California lawyer who led the delegate count going into the meeting. Nader had announced his selection of Green Party stalwart Peter Camejo as his running mate earlier this week in order to convince the Green's nominating convention to fall in with his proposed consolidation of various third-party movements. The Reform...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

June 27, 2004

Cross Your Fingers And Rub The Rabbit's Foot ...

... because I'll be upgrading the blog to Movable Type 3.0 today. Longtime CQ readers know what a Captain Ed-quartebacked upgrade means ... usually, a blog that resembles Picasso on peyote. UPDATE: Upgrade successful! However, there are a few changes, which I will write in another post....

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

The New Upgrade: Why I Did It & How It Affects You

As I mentioned in my previous post, I upgraded Captain's Quarters underlying program, Movable Type, from its original version (2.661) to the new 3.0 version. Most of the changes will be transparent to you, thanks to the outstanding programming of CQ's designer, Mel from Moxie Design Studios. Unlike 2.661, 3.0 actually costs money, although I got a discount thanks to a donation I had made earlier to MT. So why do it? The main reason is that the author interface is more elegant, and especially that the folks at MT improved the Java scripts to work within Mozilla. Until now, I've used IE to do most of my authoring, and while I have no particular problem with Microsoft -- I love their Office applications -- the security holes in IE and their mail clients drive me batty. The other reason, and the one that affects you the most, is that...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Captain's Caption Contest #16!

It's Friday, so it must be time for the Captain's Caption Contest! Out here in Minnesoooooota, the weather is terrific, the weekend's coming up, and the Northern Alliance Radio Network will be on the air tomorrow -- it's enough to make you dance in the aisles ... Well, maybe that's the Safety Dance. Anyway, put your best caption entries in the comments section -- NO e-mail, please! (E-mailed entries will be sealed in an empty French wine bottle and placed under the rear tires of Barbra Streisand's hybrid limousine.) The contest will remain open until 8 pm Sunday, June 27th*, at which point the comments will be closed and longtime reader MDatek will pick the winners. Remember, enter as often as you want, no purchase necessary, winners need not be present to win, and bribes are freely accepted. Let the games begin! * - Note that the contests will finish...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Taking The Afternoon Off

I'll be taking some time off this afternoon and early evening; the family has all returned to California and the First Mate and I will take a drive in the country. She's doing pretty well right now, although she has had some complications with her bladder and a hematoma at her dialysis shunt site since its removal. I want to get her out of the house and give her some relaxation time. I'll return to blogging later tonight. In the meantime, I'll direct you to two very different but excellent blogs. Check out Highly Moody, a terrific, fun, and well-designed blog by my friend Mel, who is currently trying to unknot some of the Comments problems I'm having with the new MT 3.0 installation. After that, check out INDC Journal, another great blog whose proprietor, Bill, is currently raising funds for the family of a soldier killed in action in...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Brownshirts?

The echoes of Al Gore's comments have barely faded when he seems to have been proved right by the wrong side, according to Las Vegas' KLAS-TV. Chris Saldana reports that a moviegoer attending Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 was assaulted when he expressed a differing opinion (via Drudge): The highly anticipated film, Fahrenheit 9/11, came with more than just controversy at one Las Vegas movie theatre. Moviegoer, Richard Streeter, was one of the many who made his way to a theatre to see what the hype was about. After viewing the film, he was greeted outside the theatre by members of the Las Vegas MoveOn.org. The group was handing out leaflets on the importance of the film. Streeter voiced his view on the movie, "I made the comment, apples and oranges -- Kerry, Bush -- one's no better than the other. You really ain't got much of a choice. This guy...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

June 28, 2004

Iraq Now Sovereign After Early Handover

The Coalition Provisional Authority turned over sovereignty to Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi and the interim Iraqi government two days earlier than expected, in what the Washington Post describes as a "hastily arranged ceremony" at 10:26 Baghdad time this morning: The United States transferred political authority to an interim Iraqi government in a high-security but low-key surprise ceremony on Monday morning that was held inside the U.S.-controlled Green Zone two days before the planned June 30 handover date because of fears of insurgent attacks. At the hastily arranged ceremony, U.S. administrator L. Paul Bremer handed over a signed document in a blue portfolio conveying political authority to the chief judge of Iraq's highest court. The transfer of power occurred in the office of Iraq's interim prime minister, Ayad Allawi, at 10:26 a.m. local time (2:26 a.m. EDT) before a handful of Iraqi and U.S. officials and journalists. "You are ready...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Zarqawi Captured?

The US military is investigating reports that the chief terrorist in Iraq, the al-Qaeda connected Abu al-Zarqawi, may already be in custody, according to Reuters: The U.S. military said on Monday it was checking unconfirmed reports that al Qaeda ally Abu Musab al-Zarqawi had been captured in Iraq. The Jordanian-born Zarqawi, who Washington says is its number one enemy in Iraq, is accused of masterminding a string of suicide bombings and of the execution of an American and a South Korean hostage. The reports suggested that Zarqawi had been captured near the town of Hilla, south of Baghdad and in the Polish military area of responsibility. "We are working on that issue," a U.S. military official said. A Polish spokesman added: "I cannot confirm that information... When the operation is ongoing at the moment I cannot make any comment." Wouldn't that be a red-letter day? Capturing Zarqawi and a successful...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Kerry: The Failed Diplomat

John Kerry has made George Bush's supposedly failed diplomacy his major campaign theme this election cycle. Kerry's has trumpeted his long involvement in foreign relations as his main qualification for the Presidency. Now comes word that Kerry's personal diplomacy couldn't resolve a simple contract dispute between two of his own supporters, forcing him to cancel a campaign appearance: Caught in a labor dispute between his hometown mayor and the city's police and firefighters' unions, Senator John Kerry sided Sunday with the unions. Mr. Kerry had planned to give a speech here on Monday morning to the United States Conference of Mayors. But members of the city's largest police union, who have been working without a contract for two years, along with the firefighters, who are also in contract talks, have been picketing Mayor Thomas M. Menino, the host of the conference, wherever he goes, and were set to do so...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Oh, Those Tunnels, And That Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade

The London Telegraph reports that Israeli security forces found several Palestinian terrorist leaders in a tunnel last night and killed them when they refused to surrender, during an operation launched after an attack on a military post earlier: Israel's most wanted man and six other Palestinian militants have been killed in a raid by paratroopers who found the men huddled in a secret tunnel beneath a house in the old city of Nablus. Among the dead was Nayef Abu Sharkh, 40, the commander of the militant group the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in the West Bank. Local leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad and four other gunmen were also killed. They found the militants' hideout on Saturday after seeing a fugitive from an earlier encounter in Nablus slip into the house, military officials said. After the men in the tunnel ignored orders to surrender, the paratroopers lobbed hand grenades and fired...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Caption Contest Winners!

The entries have been judged ... the names have been selected ... and John Kerry has begun his happy dance ... It must mean that MDatek, this week's guest judge, has readied the winner's list for this week's Captain's Caption Contest! And apparently MDatek is a big Minnesota Vikings fan, which means he's unstable and unpredictable -- so let's see how that plays out, shall we? Captain's Award (Randy Moss Lateral to Moe Williams - Touchdown!) -- Scotty: The presumptive democratic nominee, who suspects himself of having a hernia, distracts the audience with his right hand while self-admisitering himself a quick turn-and-cough exam with his left. You Have The Conn #1 (Brad Johnson touchdown pass to.... Brad Johnson?) -- Jon Henke: So, what you're telling me is...you put your right hand in...and then you put your right hand out? And that's what it's all about? My god, now there's a...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Saudis Bolster Security, Move To Protect Foreign Workers

The London Telegraph notes that the Saudis have changed their tune on security concerns, especially as Western civilians have begun to leave due to a lack of confidence in Saudi security: Saudi Arabia has agreed to improve security and to accept help from foreign troops in checkpoint controls after an unprecedented meeting between alarmed expatriates, western ambassadors and the Saudi foreign minister. The four-hour meeting, originally suggested by British Ambassador Sherard Cowper-Cole, assembled 40 expatriate employees and the ambassadors of the G8 countries plus 11 other nations in an ornate conference hall overlooking the Red Sea in the hope of stemming the flow of foreign workers fleeing attacks by extreme Islamists. James Oberwetter, the American ambassador, said Saudi Arabia had agreed to accept foreign assistance in improving the training of security forces at checkpoints, whose often lax appearance has seriously undermined the confidence of expatriates in the police. Checkpoints set...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

More Good News In South Asia

Despite predictions of a continent-wide conflagration sparked by the war on Islamofascist terror, prospects for peace in the region have become strengthened with renewed vigor in Pakistani-Indian diplomatic efforts. Today, both countries announced new agreements on missile testing and expansion of diplomatic ties: India and Pakistan made progress toward ending five decades of enmity by agreeing Monday to notify each other before missile tests, open new consulates and try to end a deadly dispute over the Himalayan enclave of Kashmir. "Both sides are committed, both sides are determined, both sides have the goodwill," Pakistani Foreign Secretary Riaz Khokhar told New Delhi TV after six hours of talks with his Indian counterpart, Foreign Secretary Shashank, who uses only one name. ... The agreements by Khokhar and Shashank were part of a process begun last year with the goal of a summit this year by the leaders of India and Pakistan to...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Iraqis Rejoice

After the surprise handover of sovereignty to the interim Iraqi government took place today two days ahead of schedule, a move some Americans stretched into an expression of desperation, Iraqis would not countenance such cynicism. The AP reports that callers flooded the first independent talk-radio station in Iraq with expressions of joy and pride in their first opportunity for legitimate self-government in 35 years: The callers clogged Radio Dijla's telephone lines to congratulate interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, urging him to be strong, while warning insurgents against continued violence. "I send my congratulations to all Iraqis and every Iraqi home," a woman who identified herself as Um Yassin gushed, her voice choked with emotion. "I want to tell Dr. Allawi to be bold, to be strong. We need him to build up the army because we need them at a time like this." Her message was echoed by dozens on...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

C'est Un Jerk, N'est-Ce Pas?

The Telegraph notes that Jacques Chirac went out of his way to antagonize George Bush at the NATO summit yesterday, lashing out in personal terms after hearing that Bush endorsed Turkey's application to join the EU: President Jacques Chirac shattered the carefully contrived show of transatlantic amity at the Nato summit yesterday when he made an unprecedented attack on President George W Bush for meddling in the European Union's business by supporting Turkey's membership. ... yesterday the French president lost any such reserve when he told Mr Bush that EU affairs were none of his business. Stung by Mr Bush's call for the EU to give Turkey a firm date for accession, Mr Chirac responded: "He not only went too far but he has gone into a domain which is not his own. He has nothing to say on this subject. It is as if I were to tell the...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Two Tales Of One Poll

The CBS/New York Times poll results have been reported on the web sites of both news organizations, but from the divergent treatment given on each, a reader could be forgiven for thinking that they're discussing two completely different stories. First, the CBS article focuses on the main story, which is that even CBS/NYT's flawed polling shows a sharp increase in support for George Bush from a month ago: Despite concerns about his handling of Iraq, and an overall approval rating of 42%, George W. Bush is still running neck and neck with Democrat John Kerry as the choice of registered voters. Growing public optimism about the nations economy has helped lift support for the President. Kerry is the choice of 45% of registered voters, Bush the choice of 44%. This is a sharp turnaround for the Bush campaign in the span of just one month; in May, Kerry had opened...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

June 29, 2004

Voting Themselves Into Irrelevancy

Extending the debate into the monochromatic nature of the John Kerry campaign, today's Washington Post again details complaints from the African-American community about the lack of access to the Democratic nominee and the paucity of its representation within his organization. At the same time, the Post inadvertently notes the reasons why Kerry feels little pressure to change: Although the Massachusetts senator has many black supporters, civil rights leaders and academics are grumbling about his absence from black communities and a lack of top black officials in his campaign. "You pick up the paper . . . and you see a picture where he's surrounded by all whites," Ronald Walters, a University of Maryland political scientist who helped run two presidential campaigns, said of Kerry. "That's sensitive to black Democrats. It raises questions about the lack of blacks and Hispanics in his inner circle." Nine out of 10 black Americans voted...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Romney Steps In Where Kerry Fears To Tread

In a misstep that may demonstrate a critical lack of courage in the face of adversity, John Kerry left his political support twisting in the wind yesterday when he abandoned Boston Mayor Thomas Menino due to the presence of police pickets. While not technically on strike, Kerry nonetheless opted -- after failing to reach a diplomatic solution to the impasse -- to snub the Mayors' Conference led by his campaign co-chair Menino. Massachussetts Governor Mitt Romney took the opportunity to speak in his absence, demonstrating an executive persona that Romney hinted Kerry lacks: First, John Kerry, the putative Democratic presidential nominee, decided Sunday not to attend the annual meeting of the nation's mayors here, refusing to cross a picket line of police union members feuding with Boston's mayor. Then, on Monday, Boston's mayor, Thomas M. Menino, who is not only a Democrat but also the host of the Democratic National...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Comment Moderation Enabled

As I wrote this weekend, I have upgraded to Movable Type 3.0 for a number of reasons, but one of the main reasons was to enable comment moderation to combat spam. A significant amount of my blog time has been spent in updating my MT-Blacklist profile and in deleting comment spam attacks as they come in different forms. I'd much rather spend my time writing and responding to real comments and e-mails from CQ's readers. In order to accomplish this, I need your help in maintaining some semblance of order around here. Movable Type 3.0 integrates with Typekey, a validation service that allows blogs to identify commenters and allow them automatic, immediate posting of comments. It's free and only requires a username and a valid e-mail address, and you can even specify that the e-mail address does not get passed to the blog when you comment. I get no other...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Iranians: Maybe They Just Dig Photography

CNN reports that the US has expelled two members of the Iranian security detail at the UN for suspected espionage, and their activities certainly call into question the Islamic Republic's intentions towards the West: The United States has expelled two Iranian security guards at the Iranian Mission to the United Nations for conduct unbecoming to their status, according to a U.S. official. The two were seen taking pictures of New York City and transportation systems, the official said. It was the third occasion that they were spotted videotaping and taking photographs, the official said. The pair was expelled over the weekend, but one assumes that after three sightseeing tours, they have the film they need to further their mission, whatever that may be. The official who sourced the story refused to name the landmarks involved, and in New York, the possibilities are almost unlimited. It recalls the information gathered after...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Is Quid Pro Quo Latin For Gephardt's Out?

The other shoe dropped in the kerfuffle over John Kerry's refusal to cross the ersatz picket line outside of the Mayors' Conference Sunday. Today, the police union announced that it has dropped plans to picket the Democratic National Convention next month due to Kerry's sop to the union this weekend: Boston's main police union abandoned yesterday their threat to picket at the site of next month's Democratic National Convention, handing Senator John F. Kerry a major victory on the day he honored the union's picket line by not making a speech before a US Conference of Mayors meeting in Boston. ... The shift in the Boston Police Patrolmen's Association's picketing strategy would allow Kerry and thousands of convention delegates and members of the media to enter the FleetCenter unimpeded, despite the city's ongoing labor woes. But Kerry's cancellation drew sharp criticism from both Democratic and Republican mayors, who angrily accused...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Speaking Of Irrelevancy, How 'Bout That Dead Guy For President?

Nominating conventions for political parties usually include a certain level of regional silliness; delegates wear outrageous outfits and cover themselves with buttons, shirts, and hats that represent their home state as much as their favored candidate. Delegate counts usually are coupled with sloganeering such as, "The great state of Texas, home of the Alamo and the world's largest spitoon, casts its 78 votes for John Doe!" It's all in fun, and the relentlessly upbeat messages contribute to the carnival atmosphere in which everyone wants to participate. Given all of that, the Greens certainly know how to take the party out of the Party: Major-party convention halls usually ring with unabashed pride and self-promotion as vote announcers remind everyone that "the great state of [fill-in-the-blank]" is home to this sainted man or that unparalleled mountain range. At the Greens' convention, though, the spin was a little different. Delegates were told, for...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Kerry Crosses Picket Line In Chicago

In what appears to be yet another flip-flop, John Kerry reportedly crossed a picket line in Chicago to speak at a Rainbow-PUSH meeting, Instapundit reports this evening: Northwestern Univ. Law Professor James Lindgren sends this email: As the New York Times reported yesterday, John Kerry refused to cross a picket line on Monday in Boston to speak to the National Conference of Mayors. He was quoted as saying on Sunday night: "'I don't cross picket lines,' he said. 'I never have.'" Yet this morning (Tuesday) in Chicago Kerry spoke at the annual meeting of Jesse Jackson's Rainbow-PUSH Coalition, which was being very actively picketed by a labor group, Voices of Morality (VOM). VOM is leading a labor discrimination protest against Daimler-Chrysler (the signs that the picketers were holding looked very much like ones in pictures on the VOM website). Jackson and the PUSH conference were being targeted because, according to...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Hillary, The Truth-Teller

It appears that the Clintons have worked their magic once again -- bringing the fractious Right together with just a few unusually honest words from Senator Hillary Clinton while appearing in California, promoting Bill's new book: Headlining an appearance with other Democratic women senators on behalf of Sen. Barbara Boxer, who is up for re-election this year, Hillary Clinton told several hundred supporters some of whom had ponied up as much as $10,000 to attend to expect to lose some of the tax cuts passed by President Bush if Democrats win the White House and control of Congress. "Many of you are well enough off that ... the tax cuts may have helped you," Sen. Clinton said. "We're saying that for America to get back on track, we're probably going to cut that short and not give it to you. We're going to take things away from you...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Brazilian Berserkers

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that Brazilian protestors assaulted Minnesota lawmakers visiting Rio de Janeiro last week to discuss and debate the upcoming American presidential election: Anti-American protesters throwing eggs, water and flour chased Minnesota House Majority Leader Erik Paulsen and another U.S. legislator from a Rio de Janeiro university campus last week, according to the two lawmakers and Brazilian news accounts. ... An account in the Brazilian newspaper, O Dia, reported that a crowd of 100 surrounded the two U.S. dignitaries in a school auditorium, chanted anti-American slogans and pelted them as they tried to leave. According to O Dia, some of the protesters threatened to hold the two legislators hostage and decapitate them in the manner of prisoners in Iraq. Mendoza said Monday that she and Paulsen also were threatened with envelopes addressed to them and marked "anthrax." I propose a boycott of all Brazilian imports until their government...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

NYT: Captured Muslim Marine A Deserter

The New York Times reports tonight that Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun, captured by Islamofascist terrorists in Iraq, had deserted his post and naively trusted his captors to sneak him out of the country and into Lebanon: The American marine who is being threatened by his kidnappers with beheading had deserted the military because he was emotionally traumatized, and was abducted by his captors while trying to make his way home to his native Lebanon, a Marine officer said Tuesday. The officer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said he believed that Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun was betrayed by Iraqis he befriended on his base and ended up in the hands of Islamic extremists. The officer said Corporal Hassoun, a 24-year-old Marine linguist who was born in Lebanon, was shaken up after he saw one of his sergeants blown apart by a mortar shell. "It was very disturbing to him,"...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Republican "Outsourcing" A Scam: RNC Complaint

The Republican National Committe has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, claiming that a Texas non-profit falsely represented itself as a Republican organization in order to embarrass the GOP with its use of a call center in India for contribution collections: The Republican National Committee filed a complaint Tuesday accusing a Texas group of posing as a GOP organization to raise money by phone using an Indian telemarketing firm and through fund-raising mailings. The fund-raising telephone calls prompted false, widespread rumors that the RNC was outsourcing its donor phone calls to India, the committee's complaint to the Federal Election Commission says. The complaint accuses The Republican Victory Committee, based in Irving, Texas, of impersonating the Republican Party and fraudulently raising money by telling prospective donors it was being solicited by the GOP for use by Republican candidates. Jody Novacek, whom the GOP accuses of running this scam, insists...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

June 30, 2004

Philly Corruption Investigation Nets Mayor's Crony

A Philadelphia federal grand jury delivered an indictment yesterday from an ongoing investigation into corruption in city government, charging Philly's former treasurer, a powerful attorney allied with Mayor John Street, and ten others with graft: A federal grand jury in Philadelphia on Tuesday indicted the city's former treasurer and a powerful lawyer with close connections to Mayor John Street as part of a wide-ranging investigation into municipal corruption. The indictment, which names 12 defendants, charges the former treasurer, Corey Kemp, with accepting payments, gifts and other benefits from the lawyer, Ronald A. White, in exchange for directing city business worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to Mr. White's law firm and other companies linked to him. ... Mr. Street, who was elected to a second term in November, was not charged. But the indictment asserts that he instructed his staff to award city business to Mr. White or any firms...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

CQ Prediction: Kerry Gains In Polling This Week

The AP notes that the John Kerry campaign will return to its most successful campaign strategy this week, although only briefly: Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry is taking a two-day break from campaigning and will spend the time at his wife's country estate preparing for his party's national convention next month. Kidding aside, the AP also notes that Kerry met with "potential running mate" Gov. Janet Napolitano from Arizona, who introduced him to the National Council of La Raza, a mainstream Latino interest group. I confess I haven't heard much about Napolitano as a running mate, but that choice makes more sense, at least superficially, than John Edwards and could be far more damaging to the Republicans. NCLR shows no information on Napolitano -- one would presume a Latino governor would get at least a mention on their website, so I'd presume Napolitano is Italian rather than Hispanic. Napolitano has...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Grateful Iraqis Say "Thank You, America"

Fifteen new Iraqi and Iraqi-American civilian groups have banded together to take out a full-page advertisement in USA Today thanking America and Americans for freeing Iraq from its bloodthirsty tyrant: Following the formal handover of sovereignty to Baghdad, 15 Iraqi and Iraqi-American groups have issued an open letter to the American people, thanking them for the sacrifices they endured to liberate their country. The letter will be delivered to President Bush at the White House today and published in a full page ad in USA Today. "Just as we mourn for the victims of Saddam's regime, we also grieve for the Americans and Iraqis who were killed or injured during the liberation or by terrorists determined to hold us back," the letter reads. "We will honor those who have sacrificed for our freedom by building a new Iraq that lives in peace with the nations of the world, without fear...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

AQ Suspect Licensed To Haul Hazardous Materials

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports this morning that Mohamad Elzahabi, arrested for suspected connections to al-Qaeda and terrorist-related activities, received licenses to drive school buses and transport hazardous materials: The FBI identified Mohamad Elzahabi as a suspected terrorist well before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and more than 2 years before his arrest last week, law enforcement officials said Tuesday. Yet officials of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety said they had no clue that Elzahabi was suspected of having Al-Qaida connections when he applied for, and in early 2002 received, a commercial driver's license to drive a school bus and to haul hazardous materials. Before the Minneapolis man got final approval for the commercial license, the FBI ran Elzahabi's name through a database and cleared him on Jan. 18, 2002, said Pat McCormack, interim director of the department's Division of Driver and Vehicle Licensing. This demonstrates that mush work needs...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Allawi: Saddam "Natural Partner" of Al-Qaeda, Terrorism

New Iraqi prime minister Iyad Allawi told a skeptical Tom Brokaw in an interview yesterday that Saddam Hussein maintained connections to al-Qaeda that began in the Sudan, and more broadly, that Saddam's reign provided a "natural partner" to terrorism: Brokaw: I know that you and others like you are grateful for the liberation of Iraq. But cant you understand why many Americans feel that so many young men and women have died here for purposes other than protecting the United States? Allawi: We know that this is an extension to what has happened in New York. And the war have been taken out to Iraq by the same terrorists. Saddam was a potential friend and partner and natural ally of terrorism. Brokaw: Prime minister, Im surprised that you would make the connection between 9/11 and the war in Iraq. The 9/11 commission in America says there is no evidence...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Kerry Campaign "Incompetent": Boston Mayor

The Boston Herald got an exclusive interview with a hopping-mad Mayor Thomas Menino after a series of provocations from the John Kerry campaign left him questioning the competency of Kerry and his staff. Menino launched several attacks during his interview with David Guarino and Noelle Straub: Mayor Thomas M. Menino unloaded a searing attack on fellow Democrat John F. Kerry yesterday, calling his presidential campaign ``small-minded'' and ``incompetent'' - laying bare a years-old rift weeks before the city plays host to Kerry's FleetCenter coronation. Menino, in an exclusive Herald interview, let loose on the hometown senator two days after Kerry snubbed him by siding with union picketers outside a U.S. Conference of Mayors event. ... Menino said he was enraged to see a local newspaper item saying he hung up on Kerry Sunday. The mayor yesterday said Kerry's campaign floated the story, which he called untrue. "I wasn't angry with...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Kosovo, The True Quagmire

While the Left continues to carp about the supposed "quagmire" of Iraq, where the US toppled a dictator and then set up the framework for an independent and representative government in less than 15 months, Alissa Rubin writes in today's Los Angeles Times that Kosovo continues to exist in limbo after five years of UN administration: Svinjare was one of 30 towns and villages in Kosovo swept by violence March 17 and 18. Mobs, some armed with heavy weapons, damaged 730 houses in Kosovo the vast majority owned by Serbs and 35 religious sites, mostly Serbian Orthodox churches. It was the worst violence since 1999, when hundreds of thousands of ethnic Albanians were displaced by Serbian security forces. Kosovo has been under United Nations control since North Atlantic Treaty Organization airstrikes drove out the Serbian forces. But the province remains part of Serbia and Montenegro, the successor state...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

2Pac Or Not 2Pac? That's The Quizzle. Word.

Michelle Malkin, one of my favorite writers, notes the summer reading list from a Worcester school district now includes the poetry of hate incitement: Have you checked your child's summer reading list? Beware: Some lame-brained school officials have decided to ditch the sonnets of Shakespeare for the tripe of Tupac. That's slain gangsta rapper Tupac Shakur -- the drug-dealing, baseball bat-wielding, cop-hating, Black Panthers-worshiping, convicted sexual abuser who made a fortune extolling the "thug life" before he was gunned down in Las Vegas eight years ago. ... Frances Arena, manager of curriculum and professional development of the Worcester Public Schools, told me this week that Shakur's book will remain on the list for the foreseeable future because it "heightens awareness of character education" and, more importantly, because it's "popular with the kids." If that's the standard, why not just drop the pretense of academic instruction and assign them comic books...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

They Just Keep Rolling In

In a boost for the Bush administration and the President's re-election bid, Reuters reports that economists estimate that the US has added another quarter-million jobs in June, pushing the total for the year past 1.4 million: U.S. employment likely surged again in June, taking gains this year to some 1.4 million jobs and bolstering President George W. Bush's economic record ahead of the November election, analysts said onWednesday. Economists believe 250,000 jobs were created this month, virtually matching May's jump of 248,000, though the unemployment rate probably will not budge from 5.6 percent because newly hopeful job-seekers are returning to the job market. Not only is the economy producing new jobs at a fast clip, the newer jobs tend to be higher-paying as well, as they were in April and May according to analysts. The new jobs have also bolstered consumer confidence as the news seems to have finally sunk...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Nader: It's The Yahoods, I Tell You

Ralph Nader took a stroll from gadfly status to full-blown moonbat in a speech given at a conference titled, "The Muslim Vote in 2004". In pandering to the Muslims, Nader asserted that all of the ills of Washington could be traced to one source: "What has been happening over the years is a predictable routine of foreign visitation from the head of the Israeli government. The Israeli puppeteer travels to Washington. The Israeli puppeteer meets with the puppet in the White House, and then moves down Pennsylvania Avenue, and meets with the puppets in Congress. And then takes back billions of taxpayer dollars. It is time for the Washington puppet show to be replaced by the Washington peace show." I could almost see Nader delivering this speech. "The [cough cough] Israeli puppeteer ..." The Democrats should love this. After making a number of bogus allegations of Nazihood towards the Bush...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »

Even His Supporters Agree: Michael Moore Lies

Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball, Newsweek reporters who regularly pen the magazine's Terror Watch column, reviews the major distortions of Michael Moore's new "documentary" Fahrenheit-9/11. Even though Isikoff and Hosenball express sympathy for Moore's efforts in building criticism of the Bush administration, they acknowledge that most of Moore's major criticisms are nothing but a tissue of lies. In a moment of journalistic understatement, the subtitle of their Newsweek article is "Some of the main points in Fahrenheit 9/11 really arent very fair at all". To start, F-9/11 makes the extraordinary claim that the Saudis have given the Bush family over $1.4 billion since the early 1990s, effectively buying them off in a sweetheart deal with the Carlyle Group and defense contractor BDM. Moore took the information from a book written by Craig Unger that is often referenced (incompletely) by conspiracy theorists on the Left, and Moore obviously did little research...

« May 2004 | July 2004 »