Ed Morrissey has blogged at Captain's Quarters since 2003, and has a daily radio show at BlogTalkRadio, where he serves as Political Director. Called "Captain Ed" by his readers, Ed is a father and grandfather living in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota, a native Californian who moved to the North Star State because of the weather.
Newsweek: Kerry/Edwards Gets Smallest Bounce Ever
Newsweek did some polling late this week to determine the effect of the convention for John Kerry's candidacy. They report that even using the loosest possible polling for Democrats -- adults, rather than registered voters or likely voters -- that Kerry received the smallest bounce in the history of the Newsweek poll:
Kerry’s four-point “bounce” is the smallest in the history of the NEWSWEEK poll. There are several factors that may have contributed to the limited surge, including the timing of the poll. On Thursday, Kerry had just a two-point lead over Bush (47 percent to 45 percent), suggesting that his Friday night speech had a significant impact. Additionally, Kerry’s decision to announce his vice-presidential choice of John Edwards three weeks before the convention may have blunted the gathering’s impact. And limited coverage by the three major networks also may have hurt Kerry.
Kerry made one of his better speeches of the campaign Thursday night, which may well have provided the lift described by Newsweek. However, the poll shows that the convention essentially fired up Kerry's base, which may have earlier been less enthusiastic and more inclined to consider Nader or no vote at all. The minibounce has to be a major disappointment for the Democrats, who predicted a swing of double or more what Newsweek shows they got. Moreoever, the Newsweek poll uses a sample which traditionally skews leftward. Had they restricted their sample to likely voters, I think that the bounce may have been smaller yet or entirely nonexistent.
I'd wait for Pew polling or perhaps another Gallup poll to determine the drift, if any, the convention provided Kerry. Even at that, I would guess that he's already negated much of it with his two stumbles out of the gate on putting Osama on a trial tour and buttonholing the Marines at Wendy's. Now that his campaign will officially "go dark" and stop its advertising, whatever momentum he has will slip away until after the RNC -- when it will be far too late to regain it.
UPDATE: Power Line points its readers to the Rassmussen daily tracking poll, which surveys voters and not the broader "adults" sample. Today's result shows Kerry leading Bush by one point, having actually lost ground from earlier in the week. Hindrocket points out:
The candidates have been more or less tied for a long time, with the lead going back and forth within three points either way. For the last three days, Rasmussen has shown Kerry with a three-point lead, which could be considered a slight bounce, since the candidates were tied going in. On the other hand, you could say that it wasn't really a bounce at all, since Kerry also recorded a three-point lead shortly before the convention started. Or you could say it wasn't really a lead at all, since the poll's margin of error is, I believe, 3%.
In any event, Rasmussen uses a three-day rolling total, and today was the first day that would reflect (albeit only in part) any reaction to Kerry's acceptance speech and the wrap-up of the convention. The result: Kerry's lead dropped to one point. Which means, I guess, that yesterday's polling had to be pretty bad for him.
UPDATE II: Gerry at Daly Thoughts has more on the Newsweek sampling. I think we'll see this more and more as we get closer to the election; it's the same thing the LA Times did with its sampling in the recall polling, and wound up a huge embarrassment to the Tribune Co.
Franks: Even Muslim Nations Warned Of WMD Attacks
Matt Drudge reports on an interview which will appear tomorrow in Parade Magazine with General Tommy Franks, who led the effort in Afghanistan and Iraq. Franks talked with Parade to promote his new book, American Soldier, and has a few surprises for readers:
* The biggest surprise for him was that they've found no weapons of mass destruction (WMD), the "reason we went to war." He says multiple Middle Eastern leaders, including Jordan's King Abdullah and Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, told Franks that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. In January 2003, Mubarak said point blank to Franks, "Saddam has WMD - biologicals, actually-and he will use them on your troops."
* Franks singles out White House Counter-terrorism Czar Richard Clarke as never providing him with "a single page of actionable intelligence" and of engaging in mostly wishful thinking. Franks also believes the U.S. invested too much in electronic spy surveillance and not enough in spies. "We can't send a Princeton-educated New York lawyer to infiltrate al-Qaeda. To get information, we have to marry the devil or at least employ him. You have to deal."
Franks also thinks that the world is "far safer" with Saddam in custody and out of power, and he believes that the US should stick it out in Iraq for at least five years. It may not play well during a presidential election, but the Iraqis will not be able to provide effective security for quite some time to come, and we cannot afford to leave Iraq to return to chaos. Franks claims "disappointment" with the Iraqi response to the fall of the Ba'athists. He though Iraqis would seize the moment and rise to the occasion, taking it upon themselves to secure vital functions. Instead, they chose to loot and pillage in the aftermath of Saddam's fall, and Franks understandably does not much trust them now.
The charge against Richard Clarke is intriguing, because it's the second time in two weeks that the long-term counterterrorism apparatchik has come under fire for his job performance. The 9/11 Commission noted that Clarke blew the cover on an operation in the late 1990s that might have allowed the CIA to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, by warning the United Arab Emirates to get its diplomat out of the camp where Osama held court. Now Franks, who was in the best position to know, says that Clarke couldn't come up with anything actionable, a damning statement of his effectiveness across two wars.
It's certainly a much different portrait of Clarke than we got in March, especially from Viacom, the parent of CBS, when both were shilling his book shamelessly. I doubt they'll be as interested in Franks at 60 Minutes, unless HarperCollins happens to be another Viacom subsidiary.
Northern Alliance -- Live Streaming To The World!
Yes, for the first time, people around the world will be able to hear the Northern Alliance show live. We've promised it for months, and thanks to the Minnesota Taxpayer's League, it's finally here. We'll be appearing live at The Estates At Diamond Bluff, which has sponsored the First Annual Patriot Picnic, where we'll hopefully get lots of audience participation. I know the Fraters guys have something special cooked up for the third hour, especially, so if you're in the area, come on by! The food and soft drinks are free. If you're elsewhere, be sure to tune in!
UPDATE: Hey, a time would be nice, wouldn't it? Sorry -- it's noon to 3 PM, Central Time.
BUMP: It's today at noon, CT -- be sure to tune in using the link on this post!
UPDATE II: I got a number of messages saying that the stream kept cutting out. I'm not sure why. We were doing our first remote and the problem may have been in the studio, or perhaps we had too many people trying to access the feed. We'll pass it along to the streaming service and ask them to check it out on their end. In the meantime, we had a great time at the Estates of Diamond Bluff, and what a gorgeous view we had on the Mississippi! We even saw a trio of golden eagles flying overhead late in the day, and I've never even seen one before. The Fraters Libertas gang did a great job in Hour 3 with the Name The Newsmaker game, and finally, the crowd was outstanding. I can't wait for the rebroadcast on the stream, which starts Monday at 3 pm and cycles every six hours.
UPDATE III: Chumley Wonderbar has pictures of the event at Plastic Hallway! None of me. Hmmph. The Little Admiral made it into one, though ...
Marines Left Unimpressed By Kerry Reporting For Duty
John Kerry and John Edwards dropped by a Wendy's to celebrate the Edwards' 27th wedding anniversary, campaign reporters in tow, and happened upon a group of Marines having lunch at the same time. Ever the pol, Kerry took the opportunity to chat up the Marines and get a couple of pictures taken with the young men. Unfortunately for Kerry, he left them unimpressed -- and willing to say so:
Kerry was treating running mate Sen. John Edwards and his wife, Elizabeth, to a Wendy's lunch in Newburgh, N.Y., for their 27th wedding anniversary — an Edwards family tradition — when the candidate approached four Marines and asked them questions.
The Marines — two in uniform and two off-duty — were polite but curt while chatting with Kerry, answering most of his questions with a "yes, sir" or "no, sir."
But they turned downright nasty after the Massachusetts senator thanked them "for their service" and left.
"He imposed on us and I disagree with him coming over here shaking our hands," one Marine said, adding, "I'm 100 percent against [him]."
A sergeant with 10 years of service under his belt said, "I speak for all of us. We think that we are doing the right thing in Iraq," before saying he is to be deployed there in a few weeks and is "eager" to go and serve.
Not exactly an auspicious start to the post-convention Kerry campaign. First he endorses the Johnnie Cochran approach to fighting terror, and now he antagonizes Marines who just wanted to have a bite to eat. The quartet of servicemen all opposed Kerry and resented his using them as a campaign prop, which just underscores his already-tarnished reputation among the vast majority of the people who have served in the military. While Kerry can make a mocking salute and report to duty to a group of people who are largely hostile to the military and get a cheer from that base, other bases around the world remember that Kerry stabbed his "band of brothers" in the back when he returned from his tour of duty and helped force the US to abandon its allies in Southeast Asia.
One of the more humorous assertions made at the Democratic convention was that Kerry could win a majority of votes from veterans and active-duty military. This episode belies that notion and shows that sticking one's hand to one's forehead and mouthing words that these men and women live every day does not give Kerry the credibility he lacks. (Via Marc from Cranial Cavity, and Bill at INDC Journal has a picture and more comments.)
Bipartisan Opposition To Key 9/11 Proposal
The 9/11 Commission recommendations took a surprise hit from bipartisan criticism of a key component -- a centralized intelligence center under the control of the White House. Not only has the Bush Administration quietly opposed it, but now key senators from both parties have voiced their concerns. Even the ACLU appears to back Bush:
The White House and senators from both parties raised objections yesterday to one of the key reforms recommended by the Sept. 11 commission, even as the panel's leaders warned that the nation would remain at greater risk of terrorist attack unless the changes are enacted quickly.
The criticisms from Capitol Hill and the Bush administration represent the first significant challenge to a central recommendation of the Sept. 11 commission, which argues in its 567-page final report that a single intelligence director should work out of the president's office to coordinate the war on terrorism.
During the first congressional hearing on the issue yesterday, several GOP and Democratic lawmakers raised concerns about that idea, saying that placing an intelligence director and a national counterterrorism center inside the Executive Office of the President could increase the potential for misuse of information and could threaten the independence of U.S. intelligence analysts.
At the White House, where officials are formulating their own package of reform proposals, a senior official, speaking on background to reporters, indicated that the administration will oppose any such arrangement. The official said Bush "wants to protect intelligence agencies from any undue influence" and "ensure that intelligence analysts maintain their autonomy."
One of the criticisms of the Bush administration's handling of the intelligence from Iraq was the pressure supposedly put on analysts to overstate the threat from Saddam Hussein. That turned out to be false, as the SSCI report explicitly stated. However, pushing all of the nation's intelligence services under one person reporting directly to the President does seem to make such an occurrence more possible, if not more likely. In this regard, competition between the agencies may benefit the President as it forces more opinions to the table.
Several lawmakers suggested that the location of the center, at least, be changed from inside the White House to somewhere more neutral, a middle ground between Congress and the Executive, but so far the commission insists that its recommendations be accepted in total. Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton have both expressed concern that any delay in implementing the changes formulated by the commission will unnecessarily leave America vulnerable to a new attack. However, the panel's mandate was to review the data and make recommendations to Congress and the White House, not a complete bypass of the legislative process. No one elected them to pass laws, and it's entirely appropriate for lawmakers to debate the wisdom of the panel's product, especially when Congress has expressed so much concern in the past over the autonomy of intelligence analysts.
Oddly, the Bush administration has led the opposition to the expansion of executive influence. Although they have done so quietly, the White House has repeatedly both praised the work of the commission and stated that its recommendations would be carefully considered. The Kerry campaign has attempted to leap in front of the commission's bandwagon, criticizing Bush for not submitting the recommendations without thinking. It's a strange position for a Democrat to criticize a Republican for attempting to limit executive control, and it's made even stranger by support for Bush coming from partisans like the ACLU and Carl Levin:
While many of the panel's proposals have proved popular, its call to place the war on terrorism more firmly under presidential control has produced an odd alliance of detractors inside and outside the intelligence community. In addition to spurring opposition from the Bush White House -- which has zealously guarded executive power during its tenure -- the idea has prompted criticism from some Democrats and from the American Civil Liberties Union.
"If we act hastily to appease partisan pressures, we could create a surveillance society with an intelligence czar in the hip pocket of the president," Anthony D. Romero, the ACLU's executive director, said in a statement yesterday.
Some of the sharpest questioning about the intelligence-director proposal came from Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.), who sits on the governmental affairs, intelligence and armed services committees, all of which will play major roles in crafting reform legislation in the Senate. Levin told Kean and Hamilton that "a top priority of reform must be greater independence and objectivity of intelligence analysis" that is "not tainted by the policies of whatever administration is in power."
"How does putting the director even closer to the policymaker do anything other than to make this problem even more difficult?" Levin asked at one point.
One point should be crystal clear to the American public: the commission's recommendations are not the Word of God handed down from Mount Sinai. They reflect a good effort by a group of people who had some expertise, and a few with axes to grind. Their recommendations are worthy of serious review and contemplation, but not all of them will work the way the commission intended, and some are completely counterproductive -- such as adding two layers of bureaucracy between the President and the intelligence analysts. Congress and the Bush administration should not be pressured into blindly giving the commission a carte blanche, and candidates who want to be viewed as serious thinkers should not propose to abdicate their responsibility to investigate the long-term effects of the panel's recommendations.
Maybe John Edwards Could Represent Him
John Kerry followed up a fairly successful acceptance speech at the nominating convention with a stupendously silly statement on Friday that again reveals the nature of the Democrat's thinking on terrorism. Rather than calculating the value of interrogating Osama bin Laden or the security requirements that would necessitate a military tribunal for his disposition, Kerry instead proposes to put Osama on public trial -- several times:
John Kerry said Friday he would put Osama bin Laden on trial in U.S. courts rather than an international tribunal to ensure the "fastest, surest route" to a murder conviction if the terrorist mastermind is captured while he is president.
"I want him tried for murder in New York City, and in Virginia and in Pennsylvania," where planes hijacked by al-Qaida operatives crashed Sept. 11, 2001, Kerry said in his first interview as the Democratic presidential nominee.
So Kerry wants to create the traveling Osama Bin Laden Road Show and Legal Circus, complete with Johnnie Cochran for the defense and Judge Lance Ito expressing his pain at anyone who impugns his wife's integrity. We all want to see intelligence and military officials forced into revealing surveillance techniques and covert operatives in order to assure bin Laden's right to a fair trial. Kerry wants to do this three times, maybe more, plus then have the appeals process grind on for several years afterward, all giving bin Laden himself a perfect platform from which to preach his murderous homilies to an enraptured world. Geraldo can have the first exclusive interview, and Fox will have Greta van Susteren prattle on ad nauseum regarding proper court procedures.
Is Kerry on another planet? Unfortunately, no. Statements like these clearly demonstrate that Kerry wishes to hearken back to the failed policies of the past, when presidents treated terrorists like criminals and agonized over legal strategies to incarcerate them, having first abandoned the death penalty in order to have suspects extradited. Suggesting that Osama get tried in criminal court shows Kerry to be a 9/10 candidate.
The Captain Sails Into San Diego
For CQ readers in Southern California, you get a sneak peek (or soundbite) of Captain Ed ahead of tomorrow's Northern Alliance launch of its live Internet stream tonight at 6:30 PM. I have been asked to appear on Stacy Taylor's radio program on KOGO. Stacy wants to talk about bloggers, the Democratic convention, and John Kerry's acceptance speech.
This call surprised me somewhat -- I haven't met Stacy Taylor or spoken with him before, and I'm not sure where they found me. I'm happy they did, and I hope San Diego gets its money's worth from my segment. If you get a chance to listen, drop a comment on this post and let me know what you thought of it.
UPDATE: It was fun, and Stacy was a gracious host to both myself and TalkLeft's Jeralynn Merritt, who talked over both of us. I'd have been more combative, but frankly, I'm too tired to start sniping at people. Jeralynn certainly had an interesting point of view, but it would have been nice if she had let me finish answering the questions I was asked before disagreeing.
The Arabian Rumor Mill: US Got Zarqawi
We've been down this road before, but what the hell -- Arab newsline Al-Bawaba reports that Abu Musab Zarqawi has been captured along the Syrian-Iraqi border:
Reports in Kuwait on Friday said a man assumed to be Al Qaeda leader in Iraq, Abu Musab Zarqawi has been captured near the Syrian border.
Zarqawi, whose Tawhid and Jihad group has claimed responsibility for numerous attacks in Iraq, was captured during a joint operation by US forces and Iraqi police, Al Siyasah newspaper, quoting informed Iraqi sources, said Friday.
The US and Iraqi investigators are trying to identify the captive and has sent his DNA sample for testing, the unconfirmed report indicated.
So far, that's all we have on the capture, but I suspect that an announcement one way or the other will be made within a few hours. If it turns out to be correct, you can expect to hear a lot more about "July surprises", as if we just started looking for these guys after the Independence Day parades.
On Second Thought, Maybe They're All Cheap
After the largest party that Boston's seen in decades, the Los Angeles Times reports that the hangover may be arriving -- and unfortunately for the Democrats and Mayor Thomas Menino, it will be much larger than first anticipated:
In a full-page ad in the city's two major newspapers, Mayor Thomas M. Menino offered residents a weekend of free parking, free concerts, discounted shopping — even reduced rates on Boston's quirky duck tours, amphibious vessels that are a quintessential tourist attraction. ...
The goodwill gesture came in response to bitter complaints about disappointing revenue and angry questions about the benefits of bringing 35,000 people to town for the Democratic National Convention. Officials Thursday stood by predictions that the first national nominating convention in the city's history would bring $154 million to Boston in a year's time. Experts on urban economics also said political conventions could be windfalls to the cities that hold them.
But the rosy long-range forecast and the mayor's appreciative missive felt hollow to restaurateurs whose convention-week business plummeted by 70% or more, hoteliers who had more empty rooms than they bargained for and residents who fled rather than endure transportation and security headaches.
When bargaining to hold events like this in cities, local politicians like to impress voters by promising them millions in revenue from the multitudes that travel to be part of them. However, with political conventions, the only throngs one sees are delegates (who have long days inside the arena), media (who have to cover all of the events), and protestors (who don't exactly toss money around anyway). The nature of a convention requires vast amounts of security, which impacts local budgets as well as state and federal. In this case, it will continue to impact Beantown as the timing forced the city to arbitrate its labor dispute with police and fire personnel in order to avoid security gaps as well as embarrassment.
Throw in the traffic nightmares that an influx of 35,000 people create, and you have a recipe for disaster, as locals go elsewhere for entertainment and visitors go to the Fleet Center. Boston merchants certainly understand it now:
Gretchen Chauncey, general manager of the Chandler Inn in Boston's South End, said that in daily calls to fellow innkeepers, he found that hotels were averaging about 70% occupancy despite the crush of visitors. Usually at this time of year, she said, "you would expect to be running in the 80% to 85% range."
On Newbury Street, the most fashionable address in the city's chic Back Bay, Don Cannon was so enthusiastic about the convention that he hung a giant sign that read "Art is Democratic" in front of his gallery, the Copley Society of Art. But "even the normal flow of traffic" failed to materialize, Cannon said, as local customers bolted to avoid crowds, closed roads and a law enforcement presence that gave Boston the air of a police state.
The empty parking spaces on Newbury Street "tell you everything you need to know about the effect of the DNC," he said.
New York has to look at this with some concern. If anything, local security will be even costlier. The Big Apple has to hope that traffic woes don't keep the locals from their shops and that Republicans spend a bit more freely than their Democratic counterparts.
I plan on helping in any way I can ...
Minnesota DFL Upholds Midwestern Values
Well, you can't say that the Minnesota delegation to the Democratic convention did anything to hurt the reputation of Midwesterners, although they may have reinforced a couple of stereotypes while in Beantown. The Star-Tribune's Kevin Duchschere reports that the Party apparatchiks were hardly party animals:
Boston is one of the nation's most historic cities -- and it's apparently gone largely unseen by members of the Minnesota delegation.
Unlike at other recent national conventions, it seems that most of them spent their time attending campaign training workshops, interest-group caucuses and forums, DFL spokesman Bill Amberg said.
"The stakes are sky-high and people are amazingly focused," he said. "Half the delegates come back to the hotel, have a beer and go to bed."
Probably at 8 pm, because Lord knows, those cows ain't gonna milk themselves.
Transgendering: No Evidence It Works
The London Guardian, normally a booster of liberal thought, reports this morning that British scientists warn that transgendering -- the act of surgically changing the sex of a person -- has no evidence of efficacy and that up to one-fifth of all sex-change patients commit suicide:
There is no conclusive evidence that sex change operations improve the lives of transsexuals, with many people remaining severely distressed and even suicidal after the operation, according to a medical review conducted exclusively for the Guardian.
The review of more than 100 international medical studies of post-operative transsexuals by the University of Birmingham's aggressive research intelligence facility (Arif) found no robust scientific evidence that gender reassignment surgery is clinically effective.
It found no evaluation of whether other options, such as long-term counselling, might help transsexual patients or whether their gender confusion might lessen over time without treatment. The potential complications of taking sex changing hormones and undergoing genital surgery, which include deep vein thrombosis and incontinence respectively, were not thoroughly investigated either.
One physician disputed the report by saying that one-fifth of untreated transsexuals commit suicide anyway. However, all that demonstrates, according to the data uncovered by this review, is that the surgical option has no overall benefit on psychological states. If one-fifth commit suicide without surgery, and one-fifth commit suicide after surgery, and all of the available information shows that patients still remain deeply unhappy after the operation even if they're not suicidal, any reasonable scientist would conclude that the procedure was ineffective.
Ah, but that's the real issue: reason has little to do with transgendering issues. For the last 40-odd years, the psychiatric and medical communities have dispensed with reason and embraced political correctness, as our guest on the Northern Alliance Radio Network, Steven Rhoades, detailed in his book on gender politics, Taking Sex Differences Seriously. In other words, the Arif review determined that politics has trumped science in transgendering, and that research has been carefully tailored to meet predetermined results. It's so bad that some call proper research models "unethical," which would only be true if they withheld proven medical treatment from a control group:
Urological surgeon James Bellringer, who has performed more than 200 sex changes over the past four years, claimed that trying to carry out research that involves studying a control group of transsexual patients who were denied hormones and surgery would be unethical.
Mr Bellringer, who works at the main NHS gender identity clinic at Charing Cross hospital in west London, said: "I don't think that any research that denied transsexual patients treatment would get past an ethics committee. There's no other treatment that works. You either have an operation or suffer a miserable life. A fifth of those who don't get treatment commit suicide."
Why the problem in allowing the scientific method to determine the efficacy of transgendering? The GLBT lobby has become poweful beyond its numbers in terms of media and academic influence, and any notion that transsexualism is anything other than a plumbing problem begs the conclusion that the problem has a significant psychological component, rather than physiological. Apparently, the possibility of that conclusion has kept researchers from doing an honest job of evaluating these procedures. It's time to insist on proper studies based on science and not political correctness.
The Main Event
OK, I may be taking most of the evening off, but I'm not going to miss a chance to live-blog this. Kerry just hugged a bunch of guys who look like they prefer handshakes, and now he's thanking the crowd. Here we go (all times CT):
9:12 - I'm reporting for duty? With a salute? Out of uniform? That was lame ...
9:14 - So far, he's no Barack Obama. He's home. We get it.
9:15 - Cute joke about the West Wing. Made me smile.
9:15 - "Trees as the cathedral of nature". Hug a cathedral today.
9:18 - Those of you who had the 6-minute square in the Jack Kennedy reference pool just won the kitty. So far, not too bad. He's got some energy and a bit of humor, although he just hit the trust and credibility meme.
9:21 - Now he's going senatorial ... "I will have a [blah blah blah]" ... that style may work in the Senate, but it sounds like a haughty lecture. He learned nothing from Obama or even Edwards. He's not talking with people, or even to people, but at people ...
9:23 - A bit better now, especially when he talked about the 90's and balancing the budget. Oh, and for all of you conspiracy theorists, Kerry just accepted the nomination, so no fake-out for bigger bucks forthcoming ...
9:25 - "This son of a millworker is ready to succeed" ... as opposed to "That son of a bitch knocked me down." Well, he's nuanced ...
9:28 - Not bad, really, so far. Long on theme, short on anything specific, other than the reflexive Bush hatred. Now he's evoking 9/11, something that his party will scream at when Bush does it...
9:29 - He wishes that there were no Democrats and Republicans? Fighting a war on the cheap?? This, from the guy who voted against the funding for the troops? Oh, please. Take two steps backwards...
9:30 - "We only go to war because we have to." After twelve years of failed containment, I suppose this means Kerry would have waited until the sanctions utterly collapsed, Saddam re-armed, and actually did catastrophic damage before doing anything about him ...
9:33 - "Conduct terrorist operations ... er, anti-terrorist operations." Paging Dr. Freud to lingerie ...
9:35 - "Strength is more than just tough words." Something we learned the hard way while we tried to ignore the terrorist attacks on American assets all during the 1990s, mostly with the foreign-policy team Kerry uses for his campaign ...
9:36 - Sounds like Kerry has a good plan for homeland security. Too bad he wasn't in the Senate where he could have introduced legislation to push that plan ahead. Oh, wait ...
9:40 - Enron made its way into Kerry's speech, followed by drug companies.
9:42 - "Help is on the way" - now it's help? Last night it was "hope." No wonder they have trouble staying on message.
9:44 - He's getting better at his delivery as he goes along. He's talking a bit faster, but still mostly delivers in a stentorian monotone...
9:50 - Wow, we're going to fit all the moonbat theories in tonight, throwing in the Saudi royal family. Once again, great, let's not rely on them. Why did you oppose broader drilling in the US, then?
9:52 - Kerry's got a nerve -- implying that Bush sells out to the Saudis and then, one minute later, urging him to take the high road! Now he talks about eliminating division! You gotta be kidding me!
9:54 - And now he makes a point of saying that he doesn't wear his religion on his sleeve. Way to be a uniter and keep that positive message going, pal. Bush hatred keeps him going and going and going ...
9:57 - Wound up his speech by getting wound up. Obviously the crowd loved it; he pretty much fed them the red meat they wanted and managed to get shots in at Bush despite the Kerry/Edwards insistence on maintaining a positive tone. Most of where Kerry defined himself relied on comparing himself to Bush, a sure sign that Kerry fears his ideas only stand up in opposition, not in leadership.
So endeth the convention. It remains to be seen whether Kerry did anything except excite the base with the four days that made up his fourth introduction to the US. I predict that in seven days, he'll still be tracking even at best with Bush.
I'm Still Here, But ....
I apologize for the significant downtime today. Big issues, hardware changes, and other things (not health related). May do some blogging later, but am definitely watching the convention on C-SPAN.
Be sure to keep up with Power Line tonight for great convention coverage. Hope to be back with you later.
Sticks And Stones Will Break My Bones, But Names Will Be Reported
In a genuinely silly piece on supposed discrimination against our beleagured Muslim population, the Washington Post reports on the results of a survey among American Muslims which indicate that their feelings have been hurt at slightly higher than the national average:
Fifteen percent of Arab Americans in the Detroit area said they have experienced harassment or intimidation since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and a significant number wish other Americans understood them better, according to a University of Michigan report to be released today.
Derogatory comments -- "Go back where you came from!" or "Ooh, are you a member of al Qaeda?" -- were the most common form of abuse. Others alleged job discrimination and a small number reported physical assaults, researchers said. Forty-two percent of Muslim Arabs interviewed for the survey in Detroit -- an area with one of the largest concentrations of Arab Americans in the nation -- feel their religion is not respected by mainstream society. Nearly 60 percent said they worry more about their families' future than before the attacks.
Well, excuse me, but no s**t, Sherlock! I guarantee you that 60% of all Americans worry about the future of their families since 9/11. I worry about it every time I see my granddaughter, the Little Admiral. In terms of respect for their religion, it would help if groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and other such organizations would worry less about namecalling and more about urging American Muslims to cooperate with law enforcement. Instead, we mostly hear how our foreign policy led to 9/11 and our need to listen to the terrorists rather than hunt them down and kill them.
And now we have this ridiculous study that claims 15% have received serious harrassment, only to find out that tasteless jokes count in the survey. Gee, can I start a survey among Irish-Americans that count every alcohol-related wisecrack I ever heard? How about having the Italian-American Anti-Defamation League ask their members if they've ever been asked, "What do you hear from the mob these days?" (On second thought, let's not. They'd actually take that suggestion seriously.)
You want our respect? Suck it up, buttercup, and quit whining when people dislike you. Idiots existed before 9/11, and they'll be around after we beat the Islamofascists, too. You're alive and overwhelmingly unharmed, which is more than I can say for 3,000 people in New York who made the mistake of going to work on 9/11.
The survey actually demonstrates how remarkably level-headed Americans have been in separating Islamofascist lunatics and their activities from the Muslims who live amongst us, despite the fact that some of the lunatics hid rather successfully within those communities prior to the attacks. That, however, does not qualify as news to the Washington Post or the University of Michigan, who conducted the study, and it doesn't fit within the "Americans are closed off loners" meme that the press has pushed during this electoral cycle, hoping that voters conclude that John Kerry is the cure for the disease.
Conason, Teresa's Waterboy
Joe Conason has always believed the best defense is a good offense, and so this morning Conason goes on the attack against the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, a newspaper owned by (cue Toccata in D-Minor) Richard Mellon Scaife in defense of Teresa Heinz Kerry. This follows the "shove it" kerfuffle that Conason twists into a feminist manifesto, rather than her crude attempt to bully her way out of a lie:
In the case of Teresa Heinz Kerry, many in the media determined that she was trouble long before they even had a glimpse of her. Smart and dedicated, wealthy and opinionated, globally conscious and foreign-born, Ms. Heinz Kerry isn’t the typical political spouse our parochial press is accustomed to covering. So they were waiting for her to say something like what she said on July 25, after a reception for Democratic delegates from her home state of Pennsylvania.
That was when she told an editorial writer for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review to "shove it."
Now the use of such direct language by a politician’s wife is no doubt shocking to the sensibilities of most journalists, especially the older male contingent. It’s one thing for the Republican Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates to berate a reporter as an "asshole" when they think nobody is listening, as George W. Bush and Dick Cheney did four years ago, or for the Vice President to growl "Go fuck yourself" on the Senate floor, as Mr. Cheney did a few weeks ago. Boys will be boys, even into late middle age, but girls must ever remain passive and demure.
Conason then goes off into the deep weeds by rehashing a laundry list of supposed Scaife excesses, as if that had any bearing on the issue at hand. It's a dodge that Conason and the left routinely use when Democrats do something embarrassing, like, say, take highly classified documents home in their pants and socks and then say that the dog must have eaten them. Instead of defending the act, they attack the messenger with dark conspiracies of media owners and the "timing" of news leaks. Conason uses the feminism card here as well, which allows him to resonate with an important special-interest group and energize them to Teresa's defense as well.
But the problem isn't that Heinz Kerry told someone to get stuffed, it's that she lied about her speech, lied again, and then rudely shut down a reporter trying to determine why she inferred that the Bush administration was un-American. Conason never bothers to give his readers that context in his article. CNN, in a contemporaneous news story, gives its readers what Conason tries to hide:
Heinz Kerry's comment came Sunday after she told a group of voters, "We need to turn back some of the creeping, un-Pennsylvanian and sometimes un-American traits that are coming into some of our politics."
As she was leaving, Colin McNickle, the Tribune-Review's editorial page editor, asked her what she had meant by, in his words, "un-American activity."
According to an exchange posted on the paper's Web site, she denied having said "activity" and also denied saying "un-American."
After stepping away and speaking briefly with Democratic organizers of the event, she returned and asked the reporter whether he worked for the Tribune-Review. He said he did.
"Understandable. You said something I didn't say, now shove it," she told him.
I've heard the tape, and she called her opponents out for using "creeping, un-Pennsylvanian and sometimes un-American traits," something that even CBS confirms. She deviated from her prepared speech, obviously, and just as obviously knew she blew it when Colin McNickle caught her at it. Rather than answer the question, however, she attack McNickle for actually covering her speech rather than giving her a pass just because she's a woman, and a well-known crank on top of that.
So which reporter treated Heinz Kerry like an equal, and which one treated her like a shrinking violet in need of the protection of men?
Conason aptly demonstrates the hypocrisy of the left when it comes to feminisim and free speech. They're all for free speech as long as only the Republicans are criticized or even questioned about their content. Conason would have no problem with the New York Times insinuating over and over again that Republican criticism on Max Cleland's voting record in the Senate equates to an attack on his patriotism instead of legitimate concern during a re-election bid, but heaven forbid someone ask the delicate Teresa what she means when she calls her opponents "un-American".
Don't fall for Conason's sleight of hand. If Conason wants Teresa on a pedestal, he shouldn't use feminism as an argument for the heavy lifting required.
Captain's Quarters features an authoritative blogroll, listing many websites that feature the top political thinking on the Internet. In order to make the list easier to navigate, it has been divided into a number of sections.
Click on the section title to expand the list.