« December 2004 | February 2005 »

January 1, 2005

Yanukovych Vows To Fight On Despite Resignation

Viktor Yanukovych vowed to fight on for the Ukrainian presidency despite his resignation as Prime Minister this week, claiming that although he doesn't have much hope of reversing the election, he won't stop trying: Viktor Yanukovych vowed to fight on for Ukraine's presidency, despite handing the opposition of this ex-Soviet Republic a begrudging victory by announcing his resignation as prime minister. ... The pro-Russian Yanukovych announced his resignation as prime minister on Friday in a televised address, his first significant concession since losing Sunday's vote, but said he will maintain his claim to the presidency. "I have made the decision to submit my formal resignation," Yanukovych told the nation. "We are still fighting, but I don't have much hope," he said. "I will act as an independent politician, as the rightful winner of the legitimate Nov. 21 election." Some speculate that the real reason Yanukovych resigned now is to avoid...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

How Convenient

The United States has long opposed a second term as IAEA chief for Mohammed ElBaradei. The BBC now reports that the nomination period has completed, and only one candidate qualified for the post. Guess who? The head of the UN nuclear watchdog, Mohammed ElBaradei has emerged as the only candidate for the post of the agency's next director general. Mr ElBaradei hopes to be re-elected for a third term, but the US does not want his mandate to be renewed. Privately, some US officials have complained that Mr ElBaradei - who has held the post since 1997 - has been too soft on both Iran and Iraq. The IAEA had inspectors in Iraq for years and yet did not ever resolve the issue of WMDs. For instance, Saddam managed to keep hidden all of the core research of his nuclear-weapons program from the IAEA and UN inspectors in the yard...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Welcome To Idiotland

A Washington judge has denied a woman a divorce from the husband who beat her after she disclosed her pregnancy to the court. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the AP report that Judge Paul Bastine took the unusual step in order to, er, preserve the family unit for the unborn child: A Spokane woman trying to divorce her estranged husband two years after he was jailed for beating her has been told by a judge she can't get out of the marriage while she's pregnant. The case pits a first-year attorney who argues that state law allows any couple to divorce if neither spouse challenges it against a longtime family law judge who asserts that the rights of the unborn child in this type of case trump a woman's right to divorce. "There's a lot of case law that says it is important in this state that children not be illegitamized,"...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Northern Alliance Radio Today

Don't forget that the Northern Alliance returns from its Christmas hiatus with a live show today, from noon to 3 pm CT. We plan on talking about the week and the year in review -- and if Nick Coleman doesn't figure in somewhere, pigs will fly over The Patriot today. Be sure to catch us on air or over the Internet, and call in to chat with us at 651-289-4488. If you have a cell phone, you probably have free calling on weekends. We'll look forward to talking with you!...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Anti-Tobacco Efforts Get A Little Weird

I normally support efforts to remove tobacco influences from minors, especially as a former smoker myself. However, the lawsuits that plagued the tobacco industry for several years bothered me tremendously, as did the capitulation of the growers to what I felt was legal blackmail. After all, tobacco products have carried warnings about their deadly effects for over four decades -- and anyone foolish enough to start smoking (or not to stop) should be understood to have willing borne the health risks. The settlement proscribed the advertising that tobacco companies could use to promote their products, ostensibly to avoid the aforementioned influence on minors. Again, some of the restrictions made sense. However, the Ohio Supreme Court has managed to push the settlement into another expression of foolishness: Matchbooks given out at bars and stores cannot bear advertising for cigarettes or other tobacco products under the 1998 settlement involving 46 states and...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Iraqis Get Enthusiastic For Elections

Over the past three months, all we've heard about elections in Iraq is a steady drumbeat of pessimism -- that the violence of the so-called insurgency will keep Iraqis away from the polls, and even that the Iraqis don't truly want democracy. Despite our men and women in Iraq telling everyone they can that this meme doesn't apply in their experience, the mainstream media in America insists on reinforcing this dreadful analysis with every terrorist bombing, making the Islamist strategy pay off in spades. Tomorrow's Washington Post takes a surprising point of view instead: The number of Iraqis making sure they are properly registered to vote has surged dramatically, officials said Saturday, calling the rise evidence of enthusiasm for the Jan. 30 elections despite continuing security concerns that have blocked the process in two provinces. After a slow start to the six-week registration process that began Nov. 1, the number...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

January 2, 2005

Bush's Core Allows India To Flex Her Muscles

In a sign that George Bush had more in mind than just humbling the UN, Reuters analyzes the role India is playing in relief efforts for the massive tsunami damage and how that may transform India-US relations: Within hours of the tsunami, India geared up for its biggest-ever relief operation, but not just with its own devastated coasts in its sights. As New Delhi launched a relief effort along the eastern coast, ten warships -- backed by helicopters and transport aircraft and loaded with relief supplies -- also headed for Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Maldives, three neighbours badly hit in one of world's worst natural disasters. A country campaigning for a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council, India refused to portray itself as a helpless victim. "India has been trying to convey the image that it is a regional power, and a credible power in terms of having the...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Still Clueless After All These Weeks

Two articles on the Internet this afternoon show that the Democrats and their candidate still have no clue why they lost the presidential election, even after eight weeks of soul-searching. Adam Nagourney reports on the analyses promulgated by party leaders about their loss and what it means for their future: With exception of a few Democratic outliers in Ohio, few people dispute that the election for president is done and decided: President Bush won and John Kerry lost. But as the new year begins, no such consensus exists among Democrats about why Mr. Kerry was defeated, and the party is locked in a battle of interpretation over just what went wrong. Was it values? Terrorism and Iraq? A better Republican get-out-the-vote operation or a rush of Hispanics to President Bush? A gawky candidate with little to say? Presidential elections often produce a clear story line, a lesson for winners and...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Two Playoff Teams Going In Opposite Directions

The First Mate and I both are fighting off colds, and so we cut short a shopping day after a few stops to spend the rest of the day in bed. I decided to keep tabs on my two NFL teams, both of which played early games, televised in the Twin Cities. My favorite team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, had little to gain from this road game in Buffalo. Their tremendous rookie quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had been injured in the last game and the Steelers listed him only as the emergency QB for the game. In fact, most of the Steelers sat out this game, allowing the Buffalo Bills to hope that they could squeak into the playoffs against the second- and third-string Pittsburgh lineup they faced. However, even with the replacements, the Steelers dominated the Bills while rolling to a 29-24 win. With future Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis sitting...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Heartless Media Morons

Sometimes Western journalists really make us all look so callous that Third World resentment becomes much more understandable. Case in point: London Times columnist Matthew Parris, who asks us to enjoy the tsunami and its aftermath, as natural disasters keep the world from being too boring. No, I'm not kidding: If it were our choice to trigger this seizure, our hand upon the lever of human fortune, would we have pulled the lever? Of course not. So why the thrill? I have hesitated before using that word thrill. It is easily misunderstood. It might seem to make light of the blackest few days ever experienced in the lives of millions. But all the reciting in the world of the scale of these miseries, all the acknowledgement we can make of the sympathy which they evoke, cannot hide a small, uncomfortable thought which (I am pretty confident) has occurred to you...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Can The UN Be Saved?

The New York Times reports on what can only be called an intervention for Kofi Annan in a Manhattan apartment that recently took place. Former US diplomat Richard Holbrooke hosted a conference that told an impassive Annan that he needed to clean up his act and that of his staff in order to quit poking the American bear: At the gathering, Secretary General Kofi Annan listened quietly to three and a half hours of bluntly worded counsel from a group united in its personal regard for him and support for the United Nations. The group's concern was that lapses in his leadership during the past two years had eclipsed the accomplishments of his first four-year term in office and were threatening to undermine the two years remaining in his final term. They began by arguing that Mr. Annan had to refresh his top management team, and on Monday he will...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Syria Injects Itself Into Iraqi Elections

Syria has started an initiative to facilitate voting amongst its Iraqi expatriate community in the upcoming elections, according to the AP: Iraqi expatriates in Syria will have the opportunity to vote in this month's Iraqi elections under an agreement signed Sunday between the Syrian government and the Geneva-based International Organization for Migration. More than 250,000 Iraqis are believed to be living in Syria. Many of them fled here to escape worsening security conditions since the onset of the U.S.-led war that ousted former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein last year. The agreement says Iraqis wishing to cast their votes in Syria must prove their eligibility and register at a Damascus election center from Jan. 17 to 23. Polling will take place over three days, from Jan. 28 to 30. Does anyone in the State Department think this is a bad idea? The Iraqis in Syria likely will be the Saddam loyalists...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

The Morrissey Method?

Joe Carter at Evangelical Outpost has long been one of my favorite blogs on ... well, a whole range of topics, especially matters of faith. Joe and I started blogging within a couple of weeks of each other and we've occasionally corresponded on our progress in our avocation. Tonight Joe provides his readers with a primer on successful blogging that is much too kind to me: Not being a member of this elite circle of bloggers, I cant provide advice from my own personal experience. But just as a biographer can glean insights from a study of great presidents, I think a study of the A-list can provide a few clues into what makes them successful. After giving the subject a considerable amount of thought and attention, Ive noticed three specific ways for breaking into the top tier of bloggers: A. Possess the attributes of the top ten bloggers (e.g.,...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

January 3, 2005

South Korea Sells Out

The New York Times reports today on the sudden distaste for asylum-seekers from North Korea with the Russians, but James Brooke's report talks more about South Korea than the Russian Federation. Defections from Kim Jong-Il's workers paradise has always neen an issue for the Russians (as well as the Chinese), but one that the Russians had tolerated until now. The change appears driven by North Korea and, surprisingly, South Korea as well: In a new twist, diplomats from South Korea now work to discourage defectors from North Korea. Under new rules, South Korea is reducing resettlement payments to North Koreans by two-thirds. Defectors are to be scrupulously investigated. South Korea says that will help weed out criminals, spies and ethnic Koreans from China. Human rights advocates say South Korea's stricter policy is intended to curry favor with China and North Korea, and to slow a rising influx of refugees, which...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

US Helicopters Bring Hope, But Children Increasingly At Risk

US helicopters flew missions into Aceh yesterday, airlifting the badly wounded they found and distributing crucial water and food supplies to the survivors they found in the tsunami-devastated region: U.S. helicopters shuttled the injured and the homeless, many of them children, out of some of the worst-hit parts of tsunami-devastated Aceh province on Monday, as reports surfaced of trafficking in orphans from the disaster. Pilots skimmed low over flattened villages and jungles on the west coast of Sumatra island looking for signs of life, touching down briefly to collect the badly injured and fling out packages of food and water. "They were ecstatic as we flew in. They were blowing us kisses. I think they were really amazed to see us, although some of the children seemed a bit spooked," U.S. Seahawk pilot Lt. Cmdr. Joel Moss told Reuters after his second mission. "Yesterday was the best day of flying...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Good Luck On That Sale

Drudge links to a Broadcasting & Cable item that reports on a meeting between beleaguered CBS News president Andrew Heyward and the White House. Heyward, rumored to be on the chopping block when the long-awaited internal investigation of the Rathergate fiasco is released, may need a truce with the White House to save his job: Let the fence-mending begin. According to a Broadcasting & Cable source in Washington, D.C., CBS News president Andrew Heyward, along with Washington bureau chief Janet Leissner, recently met with White House communications director Dan Bartlett, in part to repair chilly relations with the Bush administration. ... Heyward was working overtime to convince Bartlett that neither CBS News nor Rather had a vendetta against the White House, our source says, and from here on out would do everything it could to be fair and balanced. CBS declined to comment. On its face, Heyward's mission appears doomed....

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Ankle-Biting My Christianity

Mitch at Shot In The Dark drew my attention to a piece by local crank Mark Giselson on his blog that calls into question the Christianity of the Northern Alliance bloggers. (No, I'm not kidding.) He manages to figure out a search engine well enough to find how many times we've all mentioned Jesus on our blogs and from there discerns that we have little faith in our Christianity. Mitch explodes this drivel in great detail. I won't go that far, although anyone who presumes Power Line is some crypto reference to Christianity clearly needs the enema of a really good fisking. (Missing the fact that at least one of the three Power Line bloggers is Jewish also demonstrates Giselson's idiocy.) Here's what Giselson has to say about me: Despite higher hopes for Captains Quarters, I got an immediate negatory noise when I searched for Jesus on their front page....

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Osama's Nightmare

Claude Salhani at the Washington Times presents an analysis of Osama bin Laden's reaction to the two outbreaks of democracy in Southwest Asia this month, and talks about how desperate the terror chief is to stop them: Osama bin Laden, the man who since 9/11 brought fear into the hearts of millions, is now running scared. The master terrorist is afraid; he is very afraid. What frightens bin Laden today are not American B-2 super-stealth bombers capable of dropping tons of high explosives on him from unseen heights, nor the tens of thousands of troops and legions of intelligence officers looking for him since September 2001. He knows how to cope with them. What frightens bin Laden today is the ballot box. The leader of al-Qaida appears particularly concerned over the prospects of pending elections in two Arab countries -- the Palestinian Authority and Iraq -- both scheduled for later...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

CQ On Hugh Hewitt Tonight

I'll be on Hugh Hewitt's show at 5:30 PM CT tonight to discuss World Relief Day. Be sure to tune in!...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

January 4, 2005

Sick Day

Off to a slow start today, obviously -- fighting a cold and fever. I'll be posting this afternoon as soon as I go through some e-mail. The World Relief Day has skyrocketed, thanks to all of you!...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

The Best Television Since The Chevy Chase Show

Al Gore's new TV "network", dubbed INdTV for now, recently sent out a prospectus for potential partners that outlined the type of original programming the former VP plans to air. Richard Leiby reports in today's Washington Post that INdTV hardly appears ready to raise the level of politics in the US: An insider cautioned us yesterday that the e-mail represents just a sliver of the conceptual pie, but the potential must-see lineup includes: "That's F*&#ed Up: Is there something unfathomable going on around the corner or down the street? Some state of affairs that just doesn't make sense? You can rant all you want -- it just better be good TV." It looks like Gore aims at what he and his backers see as the hip-hop audience, complete with expletives -- even if they don't have the cojones to spell it out. In fact, the rest of the lineup...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Clintons Losing Grip On Democrats?

In a move that calls into question Hillary Clinton's expected run for the presidency in 2008, Harold Ickes has pulled out of the race for chair of the Democratic National Committee: Former Clinton aide Harold Ickes and former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk let top Democrats know Tuesday that they won't be running for chairman of the Democratic National Committee. ... Ickes, a longtime Democratic activist, also let party members know he would not be running. "I just decided I probably did not have enough of the attributes (a chairman needs) to do the party justice," Ickes said in an interview. Ickes has strong ties to the Clintons. He served for years as Bill Clinton's deputy chief of staff and has been a big money man for both Bill and Hillary. While the DNC chair may have been more high-profile than usual for Ickes' comfort zone, having him ensconced at the...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Mystery Voters Grow In Washington

The uncertainty surrounding the gubernatorial election in Washington continues to grow, as even the Seattle Post-Intelligencer now reports wide discrepancies between ballot counts and voter rolls: Thousands of "mystery voters" in the counties of King, Pierce, Snohomish, Clark and Kitsap appear to be Republican Dino Rossi's best prospect for challenging the legitimacy of the closest and most contentious gubernatorial election in the state's history. The state Republican Party yesterday called on county election officials to explain what the GOP says is a nearly 8,500-vote discrepancy between county vote tallies and the number of people credited with actually voting in the election. Democrats claim that the GOP used preliminary lists and that the discrepancies will narrow once counties update their voter rolls. However, no one now disputes that the election will have little credibility if the margin does not significantly decrease. The difference gives the appearance that several thousand more ballots...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Sheriff Trump

Power goes to a person's head, sometimes more quickly than others. The new sheriff of Clayton County, Georgia seems to be one of the former. Victor Hill celebrated his first day in office by firing 27 people, stationing snipers around the office and driving the fired officers home in prisoner transports: The sheriff, Victor Hill, 39, defended the firings and said he had the right to shake up the department in whatever way he felt necessary. Sheriff Hill also said it was necessary to fire the workers the way he did, including taking some deputies home in vans normally used to transport prisoners because the deputies were barred from using county cars. A Georgia judge disagreed with Sheriff Hill, ordering the 27 officers to be reinstated. Hill tried to use the murder of Derwin Brown in nearby DeKalb County as an excuse to not just fire the 27 officers but...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

January 5, 2005

Kristof: Yes, We're Stingy -- And Full Of Ourselves

The New York Times' Nicholas Kristof channels his inner Jan Egeland and scolds us for being stingy in our assistance to poorer nations. Using both public and private aid, he lambastes the US as a "Land of Penny Pinchers": The 150,000 or so fatalities from the tsunami are well within the margin of error for estimates of the number of deaths every year from malaria. Probably two million people die annually of malaria, most of them children and most in Africa, or maybe it's three million - we don't even know. But the bottom line is that this month and every month, more people will die of malaria (165,000 or more) and AIDS (240,000) than died in the tsunamis, and almost as many will die because of diarrhea (140,000). And that's where we're stingy. Kristof points out that America spends 15 cents per day per person on official development aid...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

North Korean Civil Defense Plans: Protect The Portraits!

North Korea issued civil-defense guidelines to its people in anticipation of attack by the United States, with preparations ranging from the mundane to the ridiculous: North Korea has ordered its people to be ready for a protracted war against the United States, issuing guidelines on evacuating to underground bunkers with weapons, food and portraits of leader Kim Jong Il. ... The manual urged the military to build restaurants, wells, restrooms and air purifiers in underground bunkers where government offices and military units will move in if war breaks out. When North Koreans evacuate to underground facilities, they should make sure that they take the portraits, plaster busts and bronze statues of Kim and his parents so that they can "protect" them in a special room. Kim signed the order himself as the chairman of the Central Military Committee, a position that had not been publicly associated with anyone after the...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Staples Folds, Will Join Sinclair News Boycott

The attack on Sinclair Broadcasting by Media Matters for America has claimed its first scalp. Staples, the huge office-supplies retailer, has pulled its advertising for all Sinclair news programming, effective January 10th: Office-supply retailer Staples Inc. is pulling its advertising from news programming on Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. television stations, saying the decision was fueled in part by e-mails from customers angry at what they consider to be the broadcaster's right-wing bias in news and commentary. ... Staples, which has 1,400 stores, will continue to buy advertising during other programs on Sinclair's 62 stations but, as of Jan. 10, no longer will advertise during news programs, which include "The Point," a daily conservative commentary by Sinclair Vice President Mark E. Hyman. MMA claims a "partial" victory, stating that all they want is to raise the issue of fairness in regards to the Sinclair commentary rather than a boycott. However, listing...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Did Conyers' Staff Steal Food From The Hungry?

Drudge carried a report from the Detroit Free Press that the staff of Rep. John Conyers took turkeys from a Detroit food bank and passed them to their cronies, rather than to the poor people in Conyers' district. The Grinches at Conyers' office has thus far refused to provide an accounting of the food: The director of a Detroit food bank wants to know what happened to 60 turkeys -- 720 pounds of frozen birds -- that his charity gave to members of U.S. Rep. John Conyers' local staff two days before Thanksgiving to give to needy people. Conyers' Detroit office promised an accounting of any turkey distribution by Dec. 27, but the Gleaners Community Food Bank had received no paperwork as of Tuesday, said the charity's director, Agostinho Fernandes. Fernandes said he became suspicious that the turkeys didn't get to poor people after hearing from a friend that a...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

UN To Visit Iranian Military Site

The IAEA announced that the UN will inspect an Iranian military site that the US believes was used for nuclear weaponization activities: The inspection will be part of the U.N. investigation into allegations Iran has carried out work linked to nuclear 'weaponization,' the process of testing or assembling a warhead and attaching it to a delivery system. ... According to globalsecurity.org, a Web Site run by a private Washington-based research group, the massive Parchin complex, around 30 km (19 miles) south of Tehran, is the center of Iran's munitions industry. Officials from the United States and several other countries said in September that Parchin may be a site where Iran was testing explosives that would be appropriate for an atom bomb. Although ElBaradei played down the U.S. allegations at the time, agency inspectors asked Tehran to visit the site. They want to take environmental samples to rule out the possibility...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Technical Difficulties Today At Hosting Matters

We have been experiencing a number of technical difficulties today with Hosting Matters, which they have diligently worked to correct. If you have had problems loading the page, just keep trying back. The problem affects everything, including the comments programming and my access to the system. Please be patient and keep checking on our status. In the meantime, don't forget to check our progress on World Relief Day! NOTE: Unfortunately, the system ate my gracious and generous post congratulating USC for winning the national championship last night in the Orange Bowl. I know this will disappoint James from Folsom, but I just can't recall what I wrote. Darn. UPDATE 5:45 PM: Still more problems this afternoon. Sorry for the down time; this second outage appears to have affected all Hosting Matters servers....

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

As If Things Weren't Bad Enough

Human nature dictates a particular need for order in the midst of chaos. It's one of the driving forces behind our capacity to believe in conspiracy theories to explain random, tragic events. That being said, this still surprises me: Just 11 days after Asia's tsunami catastrophe, conspiracy theorists are out in force, accusing governments of a cover-up, blaming the military for testing top-secret eco-weapons or aliens trying to correct the Earth's "wobbly" rotation. In bars and Internet chatrooms around the world questions are being asked, with knowing nods and winks, about who caused the submarine earthquake off Sumatra on December 26, and why governments were so slow to act in the minutes and hours before tsunamis slammed into their shores, killing almost 150,000. "There's a lot more to this. Why is the US sending a warship? Why is a senior commander who was in Iraq going there?" whispered designer Mark...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Conyers Launches Challenge To Ohio Electors

In a sign that the Democrats are determined to pursue their scorched-earth policy on elections to its bitter conclusion, the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee has filed an objection to Ohio's presidential electors. John Conyers of Detroit published a report that claims irregularities in Ohio's election accounts for more than the 118,599 votes that George Bush won over John Kerry: The 102-page report titled "Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio?" lists such problems as unusually long lines, a shortage of voting machines in Democratic-leaning areas, confusion over provisional ballot rules and computer problems. The report also contends there were widespread instances of intimidation and misinformation, improper purging of voter registration lists, a lack of inspection for about 93,000 ballots where no vote was cast for president, and vote totals not matching registration numbers or exit poll data. "In many cases these irregularities were caused by intentional misconduct...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

January 6, 2005

We Made Our Point (Update: Maybe Not Enough)

Colin Powell announced today that the tsunami relief "core group" of India, Japan, Australia, and the US would disband and fold itself into the UN effort -- now that the world body finally met to organize its relief efforts: "The core group helped to catalyze the international response," Powell told a tsunami relief conference in Jakarta according to a prepared text released by the State Department. "Having served its purpose, it will ... now fold itself into the broader coordination efforts of the United Nations." The analysis by Reuters' Arshad Mohammed credits formation of the group to criticism that George Bush and the US were slow to respond. However, the four nations formed the core group and began distributing aid before the UN even called its meeting to discuss it -- which, coincidentally, occurred today. The UN proved itself to be little more than a lumbering roadblock. Had we waited...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Don't Get Your Hopes Up

USA Today and the AP have two different analyses of the reception US aid to tsunami victims has received from Muslims in the Middle East. Barbara Slavin and Kathy Kiely take a rosier view of the effect on the Islamic world that our efforts may bring: U.S. relations with Indonesia have been strained in recent years. Though most Indonesians practice a moderate form of Islam, the country is home to a number of extremist groups that have advocated violence against Christians and other non-Muslims. The U.S.-led war in Iraq prompted protests in some Indonesian cities; a group known as the Islamic Defenders Front claimed to have signed up 400 volunteers in "jihad registrations." But in Aceh, the province where Islam first took root in Indonesia and where a less tolerant, more conservative form of the faith is practiced than elsewhere in the country, residents this week were showering praise on...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Boxer Signs Onto Ignominy

Barbara Boxer signed onto John Conyers' challenge of the Ohio electors this morning, setting up a useless two-hour debate in both chambers on the election won by George Bush two months ago: Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., signed a challenge mounted by House Democrats to Ohio's 20 electoral votes, which put Bush over the top. By law, a challenge signed by members of the House and Senate requires both chambers to meet separately for up to two hours to consider it. Lawmakers are allowed to speak for no more than five minutes each. While Bush's victory is not in jeopardy, the Democratic challenge will force Congress to interrupt tallying the Electoral College vote, which is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. EST Thursday. It would be only the second time since 1877 that the House and Senate were forced into separate meetings to consider electoral votes. "I have concluded that objecting...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Will Virginia Become The Next Washington?

Not according to blogger James Behan, self-proclaimed as the first elected blogger. He predicts a healthy margin of victory for the GOP nominee for Virginia's governor in 2005, and he's picking James Kilgore to be that standardbearer. Behan gives a great look at Virginia state politics. Don't miss it....

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Another Strikeout For Yanukovych

Ukrainian presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovych keeps swinging and missing on his appeals to overturn the results of the last run-off election. The Ukrainian Supreme Court turned back another challenge by Yanukovych today, one considered an "intermediate" challenge while Ukraine certifies the results of the December 26th balloting: Ukraine's Supreme Court on Thursday rejected losing presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovych's appeal of last month's repeat election, bringing the former Soviet republic a step closer to resolving its political crisis. Yanukovych has not exhausted all of his options, however. His campaign has said that his main appeal would be filed with the court only after the Central Election Commission announces the final results of the Dec. 26 vote. Preliminary results of the balloting showed opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko winning by a decisive margin. Yanukovych has only one last at-bat left. Apparently, he's determined to go down swinging -- and go down he will....

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Bostonian Proposes New Voting Process

Pennywit draws my attention to a comment on an earlier CQ post by Bostonian, which suggests a new way to vote with safeguards built in for each voter to ensure their vote was counted. In addition to making sure that every ballot is legal (for which many proposals have been floated), we need two things: 1) Independent verificiation of the totals 2) Certainty that every vote was counted For 1, when a voter submits his ballot, he provides one copy to a Republican and one copy to a Democrat. There's a unique ballot number on the ballot, which can be used to verify that the identical ballot was included in both totals. Both parties tally up the votes separately, compare the results, and if the error is too large, nail down every last discrepancy. For 2), the voter takes home a paper stub with the same ballot number, and he...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Hugh Hewitt & Kevin McCullough Support CQ's World Relief Day

I've been fortunate to have received tremendous support from many friends in the blogosphere for World Relief Day, our January 12 fundraiser for World Vision and tsunami victims in the Indian Ocean region. Hugh Hewitt has put the link at the top of his blog every day, and Kevin McCullough has even created a Blogad for his site, which he's donated to promote the cause. I can't thank both men enough for their friendship and support. Kevin says that other bloggers can add this to their sites as well: I created a powerful blog ad - I had even had my in house test marketers run the phraseology through a demo. It came back with high marks. I have linked to your WORLD VISION PAGE. If people want to place this ad they can copy from my web-site or send me passcodes for free blog ads and I will go...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

January 7, 2005

Islamists Begin Infiltrating Tsunami Relief Efforts

As predicted, Islamists have begun their own relief efforts in Indonesia in an attempt to establish their credentials in the Muslim nation. In Banda Aceh, the Washington Times reports that Western military units providing humanitarian assistance have been warned about the potential security risks: An extremist Islamic group with links to al Qaeda has set up relief operations in Aceh province on Sumatra island, raising concerns that international relief workers will become terrorist targets as in Iraq. Amid hundreds of aid workers near the airport in Banda Aceh, Laskar Mujahidin posted an English-language sign that reads "Islamic Law Enforcement." The group, known for hunting down and killing Christians during a long-running sectarian conflict in another part of Indonesia, said yesterday it is collecting corpses, distributing food and spreading Islamic teachings among refugees. U.S., Australian and South Korean government officials said they were aware of security threats in the region and...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Accountability At The CIA?

The inspector-general of the CIA has completed his investigation into the agency's performance prior to 9/11 and has readied his report to Congress, according to the New York Times. Douglas Jehl reports that the conclusion reached by John Helgerson points to George Tenet and Director of Operations James L. Pavitt for poor performance and providing inadequate counterterrorism resources: An internal investigation by the Central Intelligence Agency has concluded that officials who served at the highest levels of the agency should be held accountable for failing to allocate adequate resources to combating terrorism before the Sept. 11 attacks, according to current and former intelligence officials. The conclusion is spelled out in a near-final version of a report by John Helgerson, the agency's inspector general, who reports to Congress as well as to the C.I.A. Among those most sharply criticized in the report, the officials said, are George J. Tenet, the former...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Rumsfeld Wants Another Set Of Eyes On Iraq

One of the recent memes abounding on the Left these days is that George Bush and his administration surrounds itself with "yes-men", people who agree so closely with Bush's policies that Bush gets no dissenting information. (They also claim he's a puppet, which seems a bit contradictory to me.) The biggest issue for this meme is the war on terror and specifically in the Iraq theater, where Democrats claim the administration has lost touch with reality. Those people should delight in the presence of Donald Rumsfeld if that is what they believe. The Defense Secretary has selected a retired four-star general, Gary E. Luck, to take a team of analysts into Iraq and perform an open-ended review of the situation and progress there: The Pentagon is sending a retired four-star Army general to Iraq next week to conduct an unusual "open-ended" review of the military's entire Iraq policy, including troop...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Yanukovych -- The Ukrainian Barbara Boxer?

Ukrainians celebrated Orthodox Christmas today, hopeful that the Presidential Election That Wouldn't Die has finally been laid to rest. The Central Election Commission is now expected to officially declare the election for Viktor Yushchenko, giving Viktor Yanukovych one last appeal to the Supreme Court. However, that avenue looks rather bleak: The ruling cleared the way for the central election commission to publish the final, official results of their historic December 26 rematch election and officially declare Western-leaning Yushchenko the winner -- a declaration that the pro-Moscow Yanukovich has vowed to challenge. But the speed with which the court handed its ruling -- it deliberated for about an hour after a four-hour hearing -- has led to speculation that it may not even accept for consideration a second appeal from Yanukovich. That means that Yushchenko could be inaugurated as the third president of an independent Ukraine as early as next week,...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Kerry's Baghdad Disgrace

A time existed in American politics when politicians kept foreign-policy disputes at the shoreline. In a time of war, criticizing US policy from foreign locales used to be considered a craven and disreputable act. But having a sitting US Senator and a failed presidential candidate go to the theater of war to stage a protest against the current administration goes far beyond the pale: Baghdad -- Sen. John Kerry, whose seemingly shifting positions on the U.S. war in Iraq plagued him throughout his presidential campaign, came to this war- torn capital Wednesday to see for himself whether the country was moving toward stability or deeper into chaos. ... The senator said he was more interested in asking questions of soldiers, U.S. officials, Iraqis and even the journalists themselves instead of rehashing the political battles of the past campaign season. But in several instances, Kerry attacked what he called the "horrendous...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Vote For Hugh's Blog Poster!

Radioblogger (aka Generalissimo Duane) has the finalists ready for your vote in his Blog poster contest. Photoshopped entries from around the globe have been submitted -- 325 in all -- an Duane has whittled it down to 10 deserving finalists. Make sure you take a look at all of them, but don't forget to vote for your favorite. If you're from Seattle, you can vote for dead relatives as well. (And don't forget to demand recount after recount until your candidate wins, either.) For those looking for a little guidance, I'm trying to stay neutral ... but longtime CQ reader/commenter Peyton Randolph has made it into the finals. I'm not going to tell y'all which one is his, but let's just wish that the Force is with him on Sunday evening! UPDATE: I should also have noticed that another CQ reader, Derek Brigham, is in the lead right now with...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Digging Up The Vote In King County

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports today that Christine Gregoire can credit her disputed victory in Washington's gubernatorial election to an aggresive get-out-the-vote campaign. In fact, Democrats succeeded so well at motivating their base that they managed a few resurrections: At least eight people who died well before the November general election were credited with voting in King County, raising new questions about the integrity of the vote total in the narrow governor's race, a Seattle Post-Intelligencer review has found. The evidence of votes from dead people is the latest example of flaws in an election already rocked by misplaced votes and allegations that there were thousands more votes counted than actual voters. County officials say they are investigating the cases pointed out by the P-I. "These are not indications of fraud," said Bill Huennekens, King County's elections supervisor. "Fraud is a concerted effort to change an election." Who is Huennekens kidding?...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Paying It Forward

Thirteen years ago, a natural disaster in the South Pacific killed hundreds and left thousands more homeless. The eruption of Mount Pinatubo created an emergency for Filipinos and the American dependents of the servicemen and servicewomen station in the Philippines. George Bush (41) sent the US Navy to provide disaster relief and to evacuate Americans from the area, in a manner similar to what we are doing with tsunami relief today. One of the people sailing to the relief of the tsunami victims understands exactly what they have experienced -- because she was rescued from Pinatubo by the same ship she serves now: Standing in the hangar bay of this mammoth aircraft carrier, Seaman Joviena Kay looks across the waves toward the devastated coast of Sumatra, remembering a time 13 years ago when she huddled on the same deck with evacuees from another great Asian disaster. Joviena was 6 years...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Five Embeds Kicked Out Of Iraq

Editor and Publisher reports today that five embedded reporters working with Coalition forces in Iraq have been booted from their privileged positions for transmitting information that endangered the security of the troops: As Iraq moves closer to its first democratic elections later this month, the number of news organizations requesting embedded slots with military units there is on the rise, according to officials. But those new embeds better watch their step. E&P has learned that five journalists have been kicked out of embed slots in the past three months for reporting secure information. "They were all for operational security reasons, (revealing) something that would have been of use to the enemy," Maj. Kris Meyle, who runs the embed program, told E&P from Baghdad this morning. "Generally, it gets done very quickly. Usually it was something that was not done intentionally by the reporter." Meyle did not disclose the identities of...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Staples Reverses Course? (Updated!)

After a day of capitulation to Media Matters for America, Staples must have read its e-mail this afternoon. Reversing course from its statement published in yesterday's Washington Post, Staples now claims it never intended to stop advertising on Sinclair news broadcasts: To clarify that Staples does not have a policy against advertising on Sinclair Broadcasting news, Staples has the following statement: Our media buying process with Sinclair Broadcasting stations has recently been misrepresented by an organization with no affiliation to Staples. Staples regularly drops and adds specific programs from our media buying schedule, as we evaluate and adjust how to best reach our customers. We do not let political agendas drive our media buying decisions. Staples does not support any political party. We advertise with a variety of media outlets, but do not necessarily share the same views of these organizations or what they report. As we have done for...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Hillary's Bagman Gets Invite To Club Fed

In a blow to her presidential aspirations and possibly her re-election run for the Senate, Hillary Clinton's money man from her first Senate run has been indicted on election-fraud charges stemming from one of her fundraisers. Her fundraiser failed to disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars in in-kind contributions, allowing Clinton to spend more hard cash in her campaign: The indictment of David Rosen, unsealed in Los Angeles, focuses on his fund-raising for an Aug. 12, 2000, gala for Clinton in Los Angeles. The New York Democrat was still first lady at the time. While the event allegedly cost more than $1.2 million, the indictment said, Rosen reported contributions of about $400,000, knowing the figure to be false. The indictment charged that Rosen provided some documents to the an FEC compliance officer but withheld the true costs of the event and provided false documents to substantiate the lower figure. The...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

January 8, 2005

DDOS Attack On Hosting Matters

For those of you who have experienced some difficulties in accessing CQ, Power Line, Instapundit, or other blogs over the past eight hours, you were not alone. I intended to post last night on one or two more topics, but I could not access my site either. It turns out that our service provider, Hosting Matters, had to turn back two DDOS attacks overnight. These malicious attacks take some time to identify and counter, and the good folks at Hosting Matters worked as quickly and diligently as they could. It appears the attacks are over and access should be no problem. Thanks for your patience....

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Paying Journalists For Coverage Stinks

The blogosphere buzzed yesterday with the revelation that pundit Armstrong Williams received $241,000 from the Department of Education to promote the No Child Left Behind Act and push other commentators to do the same. Williams did not disclose the payment while pushing NCLB in several columns and on his television appearances; instead, he represented his opinions as his own independent views. Howard Kurtz writes in today's Washington Post: In taking the money, funneled through the Ketchum Inc. public relations firm, Williams produced and aired a commercial on his syndicated television and radio shows featuring Education Secretary Roderick R. Paige, touted Bush's education policy, and urged other programs to interview Paige. He did not disclose the contract when talking about the law during cable television appearances or writing about it in his newspaper column. ... Alex Jones, director of Harvard's Shorenstein media center, said he is "disgusted" by what he called...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Nabbing Another Terrorist Leader In Mosul

Carrying out terrorist operations contains a certain amount of risk, as operatives get exposed during planning and rehearsals and witnesses watch as action unfolds. These risks usually get minimized by using "cells" to shield higher leadership in the organization. So it is surprising that the US has captured its second major leader of the Zarqawi organization within hours of each other, this time the chief of operations in the Mosul area: A statement identified the man as Abdul Aziz Sa'dun Ahmed Hamduni, also known as Abu Ahmed, and said he had assumed command of "terrorist operations" in the northern city of Mosul. He had served as the deputy of the top Mosul militant leader identified as Abu Talha, the statement said. "Abu Ahmed admitted to receiving money and weapons from Abu Talha as well as coordinating and conducting terrorist attacks in Mosul, the statement said. It said Hamduni was detained...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Does Nicholas Kristof Read Captain's Quarters?

Earlier this week, Nicholas Kristof wrote a column on Western -- and particularly American -- stinginess when it comes to helping poor nations and their struggles. He gave full marks to the US when responding to emergent tragedies like the tsunami and its victims, but claimed that on more chronic and devastating issues like the rampant malaria that claims as many victims monthly as the tsunami did (so far), we pitch in little money for assistance: The 150,000 or so fatalities from the tsunami are well within the margin of error for estimates of the number of deaths every year from malaria. Probably two million people die annually of malaria, most of them children and most in Africa, or maybe it's three million - we don't even know. But the bottom line is that this month and every month, more people will die of malaria (165,000 or more) and AIDS...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Northern Alliance Radio Today

Don't miss our Northern Alliance Radio Network show today -- we'll have Charles from Little Green Footballs in our second hour, and we'll be talking about the issues of the day, including tsunami updates, Armstrong Williams, Washington state governor's race, and much more. We're on from noon to 3 pm CT! Addendum: Don't forget to call in and chat with us at 651-289-4488! UPDATE: That's 1-4 pm Eastern, for the time-challenged ... in other words, now!...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Absentee Shenanigans In Florida Exposed

Florida has granted immunity to a well-traveled political consultant that has implicated politicians of both parties in illegal absentee brokering: A campaign consultant said he was hired by several Florida politicians over the past seven years to gather absentee ballots during their elections, a violation of state law. Ezzie Thomas, who has been granted immunity, told prosecutors that he was paid numerous times since 1998 to gather absentee ballots, most recently by Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer's campaign last year, his attorney said Friday. Thomas told prosecutors four months ago that he was hired to do similar work for U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez when he ran for Orange County chairman in 1998, Florida Secretary of State Glenda Hood's 2000 campaign for Orlando mayor, and two other minor campaigns. Florida made it illegal in 1998 to pay or accept money "for distributing, ordering, requesting, collecting, delivering or otherwise physically possessing absentee ballots."...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

30 Days Hath September, April, June, And November

That little mnemonic could have saved the United Nations a few million dollars in contractor fees, according to UN audits demonstrating outright incompetence and relatively minor corruption. Among other issues, the UN completely missed the repeated billing for 31 days of work in June over several years: Internal audits conducted by the United Nations of its oil-for-food program revealed lapses in U.N. oversight that allowed contractors to overcharge by hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to copies obtained by The Associated Press. Two of the audits examined irregularities including overcharging by two companies who were hired to monitor oil sales and the import of humanitarian goods under the program. Another detailed financial mismanagement by a U.N. agency administering humanitarian aid under the program. ... But the panel distributed the documents to congressional investigators two days early. A congressional aide provided the AP with copies of three of the 56 audits,...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Kabbalah Cult Leader Blames Jews For Holocaust

In a shocking development that may put a quick end to Hollywood's infatuation with their latest spiritual fad, a leader of the modern Kabbalah discipline blamed Jews for the Nazi Holocaust, claiming that they disdained the "Light" and brought the genocide onto themselves: Eliyahu Yardeni, of the London Kabbalah Centre, made the astonishing claim to an undercover reporter investigating high-pressure sales techniques employed by the group, which promotes its own brand of beliefs, part ancient Jewish mysticism and part pseudo-science. The probe also revealed how Kabbalah Centre representatives claimed bottles of "healing" spring water sold by the group could help cure cancer - and how they sold a batch to a sufferer for hundreds of pounds. Talking about the wartime massacre of the Jews, Mr Yardeni said: "Just to tell you another thing about the six million Jews that were killed in the Holocaust: the question was that the Light...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

January 9, 2005

Bush To Get Serious On Curbing Federal Growth

The New York Times and other news outlets report this morning that George Bush has finally heard the outcry from traditional budget hawks in the GOP and will focus on curbing the growth of federal government. Bush plans on building enforceable caps into the next budget, putting a leash on Congress to prevent additions to entitlement spending: In his budget request to Congress, President Bush will try to impose firm, enforceable limits on the growth of federal benefit programs, and the chairmen of the Senate and House Budget Committees say they strongly supported that effort. Administration officials and Congressional aides said Mr. Bush would also seek cuts in housing assistance for low-income families, freezes or slight increases in most domestic programs, and larger increases for domestic security. The spending plan for 2006, like the appropriations enacted for this year, would give priority to military operations and domestic security over social...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

California Democrats On The Ropes?

The New York Times reports on the travails of Kevin Shelley, one of the most prominent Democratic officeholders in California, who now faces numerous investigations for corruption and malfeasance. Nor is Shelley the only Democratic leader that finds himself on the defensive on the legal front: Six months ago, Kevin Shelley, the California secretary of state, was generating national attention for his efforts to ensure the integrity of the voting process and was considered a promising candidate for governor or the Senate. Now Mr. Shelley, from a well-known San Francisco Democratic family, finds his political career in tatters because of scandals involving fund-raising and the way he has spent tens of millions of dollars of federal election money to carry out the voting overhaul he trumpeted. He is facing investigations by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and a federal grand jury, a state personnel board, the California Legislature and the...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

My Own ... My Verrrrry Long ... My Precious

Today our family will put aside our labors for a long-planned event, one that has my daughter-in-law, her sister and her sister's boyfriend and I giddy with anticipation. Now that we have all three Lord of the Rings director's cut releases, we plan on watching all three in a row today, starting at 10 am today. We think that the day should last around 12 hours of hobbits, Elves, Nazgul, and the One Ring that binds them all. I plan on live-blogging from time to time to let you know the effects of intense Tolkien on an otherwise sane mind. Keep checking back in! Oh, by the way -- the First Mate disputes the "already sane mind" part of that last statement, and insists that the Rings marathon provides prima facie proof. I report, you decide ......

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Live-Blogging The Lord Of The Rings Marathon

11:23 - We're deep into the Fellowship of the Ring now, and the Fellowship of the Marathon are all in rapt attention. One of our number decided to take a pass (my naturally sensible daughter-in-law), but the three true fans still hang in there. Right now we're hearing about the Hobbit habits of second breakfasts and "elevensies", while Frodo makes his way to Weathertop. The First Mate has wisely avoided coming downstairs to the home theater since the beginning... 11:57 - Intermission, which means that Arwen and Aragorn are speaking Elvish to each other with choruses of sopranos in the background. It's a good thing, too, because I'm noticing some hair growing on the top of my bare feet. Andy just pointed out that all of the good guys in the movies -- at least the main ones -- have blue eyes. Some of that was accomplished digitally by director...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

A Notable Lack Of Enthusiasm

The long-awaited elections in the West Bank and Gaza seem to have come a bit of a cropper. Despite the high hopes of many involved in the peace process, the Palestinians themselves have demonstrated a curious and disappointing lack of enthusiasm, with turnout so low that the polls were left open an additional two hours to get more votes: Mahmoud Abbas, the candidate of Arafat's ruling Fatah movement, was expected to win easily. But he was struggling to capture a clear mandate to push forward with his agenda of resuming peace talks with Israel and reforming the corruption-riddled Palestinian Authority. Palestinians initially said polls were being kept open another two hours because of heavy turnout. Subsequently, however, officials said the polls were being kept open to encourage turnout, which was only about 30 percent of 1.8 million eligible voters by noon local time (5 a.m. EST). The poll extension came...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

January 10, 2005

UN Report Shows Indifference To Auditors

The New York Times reports on the release of the preliminary Volcker Report on the morass of the UN's Oil-For-Food program. While the Times laughingly describes the Volcker Commission as "independent" when they reported and answered to Kofi Annan, the report makes clear the arrogance of UN management on following accepted standards of management and accounting. Out of 179 key recommendations made by auditors during the life of OFF, only 22 ever got implemented: The release of the confidential documents shows with new depth the loose financial controls over the sprawling program, which has become a major scandal at the United Nations. While neither the audits nor the accompanying briefing paper from the commission contain allegations of bribery or corruption by United Nations officials, the audits make clear that many of the deficiencies were known in the late 1990's, at a time when indications of corruption of the program by...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

The "Landslide" Of Abbas

The election victory of Mahmoud Abbas gets the "landslide" treatment in the world press this morning, despite low turnout and an election commission that changed the voting rules halfway through the day. At least the British newspaper Guardian acknowledges the problems with the election in its coverage: Mahmoud Abbas last night won a landslide victory in the Palestinian presidential election and was today expected to outline his vision of a post-Yasser Arafat future. ... Mr Barghouti praised the process as a victory for Palestinian democracy, although earlier he had complained that thousands had been unable to vote. The central election commission changed voting procedures midway through the election, keeping polling stations open an additional two hours and allowing voters to cast their ballots at any location, not just in their hometowns, One election official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the changes came after heavy pressure from Mr Abbas's Fatah...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

The Apex Of Orange

The Orange Revolution reaches its climax today when Ukraine's Central Election Commission certifies Viktor Yushchenko as its new president. The re-run Ukrainian election has survived all challenges from the outgoing "establishment" candidate and PM, Viktor Yanukovych, and the electorate impatiently awaits the transition to true democracy: The final certification would end more than two weeks of political limbo during which Yushchenko's Moscow-backed opponent, former Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich, stalled with repeated, unsuccessful challenges to the outcome. Yushchenko said the challenges were "torturing the nation" and his supporters accused allies of outgoing President Leonid Kuchma of spinning out the transition to buy time to cover the tracks of shady deals. ... A tent city set up to protest against the election rigging has yet to be dismantled. Those living in it say they will stay until Yushchenko is inaugurated. Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators have been replaced by throngs of young...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Teaching Standards

Today's lesson in upholding standards comes from Principal Jim Bennett of Lemoore Union High School in California, who followed through on a warning to his students to stop simulating sex during school-sponsored dances. When students ignored their principal, he responded by canceling the rest of the school dances for the entire year: Principal Jim Bennett of Lemoore Union High School said he warned students at a winter formal dance last month to either quit dirty dancing or face the possibility of not dancing at all. But he said the students continued "freak dancing," a form of sexually suggestive dancing that involves grinding the hips and pelvic area. The ban on dances includes the school's Sadie Hawkins dance in February and the junior and senior proms in the spring, but Bennett said they could be rescheduled if students modify their behavior. "It's really up to the kids at this point. They...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

CBS Coughs Up The Report

CBS has produced its long-awaited report on the TANG/Killian documents fiasco it started in September last year, when its news program 60 Minutes Wednesday published four memos purporting to document preferential treatment for George Bush. The hammer fell on four CBS employees as well -- three executives and producer Mary Mapes: Four CBS News employees, including three executives, have been ousted for their role in preparing and reporting a disputed story about President Bushs National Guard service. The action was prompted by the report of an independent panel that concluded that CBS News failed to follow basic journalistic principles in the preparation and reporting of the piece. The panel also said CBS News had compounded that failure with rigid and blind defense of the 60 Minutes Wednesday report. Asked to resign were Senior Vice President Betsy West, who supervised CBS News primetime programs; 60 Minutes Wednesday Executive Producer Josh Howard;...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

More On The CBS Report (Updated)

I would encourage everyone to make sure they read the entire report coming from the Thornburgh-Boccardi panel on the Killian memos. I have read a number of comments on my earlier post, and most of you see the report as a whitewash. I agree in part with this analysis, mostly on the question of motivation. The report gives way too much credence to the notion that the only motivating factor involved in Mapes' and CBS' decision to run a story without ever checking its central "evidence" was competitive pressure to air their expos first. CBS and Thornburgh-Boccardi never discuss in any detail Mapes' five-year quest on Bush's National Guard service, nor does competitive pressure explain how so many safeguards and direct orders from management were ignored, both before and after the segment aired. (See also this excellent piece of reporting by Michelle Malkin.) However, on the question of authentication, the...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

The Buck Stops ... Back There

One last thought on the CBS response to the Killian memo debacle, prompted by CQ reader Jim in Chicago. After seeing its storied news division humiliated and its credibility destroyed from its false reporting and the subsequent lies and stonewalling that its team produced, what did CBS do to correct the situation? They fired the producer of the segment, demanded the resignations of a senior VP and two executive producers of the news show. Last I looked, Andrew Heyward runs CBS News and Dan Rather is its managing editor. Neither one took any positive action to contain the damage or to uncover the fraud. Yet Les Moonves left both men employed with CBS News -- Rather in a new, prominent position and Heyward in place as its president. Are we to conclude that both men are empty suits with no real function, and therefore no responsibility? Or is CBS just...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

The Perils Of Advocacy Journalism And The Case For CBS' Bias

The Thornburgh-Boccardi report on the CBS debacle avoided casting the Killian memo story as definitively caused by political bias in its conclusions. Some of their reluctance, I think, has resulted from a legalistic mindset that pushed the panel to only state what they felt could be proven in a lawsuit. However, if one reads the entire report, the actions of Mary Mapes leaves little room for any other conclusion, and that CBS tolerated or even encouraged it also seems beyond any doubt. Mapes denies it, but she quite obviously used her position as a CBS News producer to pursue stories which interested her. No one at CBS assigned Mapes to pursue "intermittently" the TexANG story. As far back as 1999, Mapes was opining on internal e-mails to CBS management and Dan Rather that in his military career, Bush was truly born on third base. She believed that Bush had received...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

January 11, 2005

Funk? What Funk?

One of the questions asked by many of my friends and relatives, and not just a few from the blogging clique, concerned blog traffic after the presidential election. Everyone expected traffic to cool off, but no one knew how much it would drop, and in the age of blogads, that question was not merely academic or ego-driven. At CQ, I told people that I expected unique visits to drop to about half of what they were in October, and given that such a number would be a dramatic improvement over what we had earlier in the year, I would be thrilled. As it turns out, my guess wound up being fairly accurate, but no one I know has done much more to analyze post-election blog traffic. Now N.Z. Bear of the TTLB Ecosystem (where I'm currently ranked 12th for links and 23rd for traffic) has written his own detailed analysis...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Heyward Not Out Of The Woods Yet: NYT

The fallout from the Thornburgh-Boccardi report continues today with a moderately critical analysis from the New York Times' Bill Carter. Carter notes that the once-glorious CBS News division now suffers from a badly-damaged morale, with people questioning why division president Andrew Heyward avoided any disciplinary action whatsoever. Carter notes that staff discontent has caused other executives to make unplanned departures and wonders what the future has in store for Heyward: What exactly that will mean is still uncertain, though several staff members reported the morale in the department to be devastatingly low. "We are all sad and miserable," said one CBS production staff member, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect against criticism from superiors at the network. One lingering question is how much accountability should be laid at the feet of Andrew Heyward, the president of the division. In several of the prominent journalism scandals that have...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

NY Sun: How Did Heyward And Rather Escape?

While the New York Times writes its moderate critique of CBS News' response to the Thornburgh-Boccardi report, another New York paper presents a devastating look at the network's decision to keep and protect the two people who should have taken responsibility for allowing the Killian memo segment to air. David Blum writes in the New York Sun that both men should have resigned in the wake of the scandal, and specifically their responses to it: [W]e are supposed to accept Mr. Moonves's contention, in his statement that accompanied the report's release yesterday, that Mr. Heyward deserves to keep his job because "he issued direct instructions to investigate the sourcing of the story" and "pressed for his staff to come up with new and substantive information." But the report itself makes clear that Mr. Heyward (who personally screened the piece in advance of air) wrote his first significant questioning e-mail after...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

WaPo: Thornburgh-Boccardi Findings A Blow To MSM

Howard Kurtz and Dana Milbank collaborate on an analysis of the CBS debacle for the Washington Post, determining that the damage done by Mapes & Co. goes far beyond the gates of Black Rock. They surmise, correctly, that the overall credibility of American mainstream media has taken a body blow, and that their audiences may never give them the authority they once had. Unfortunately, and for Milbank unsurprisingly, the two couch that analysis within a deeply partisan slant: President Bush was reelected, and Dan Rather wasn't. That, in a nutshell, is the outcome of a bitter four-month struggle between the White House, which insisted there was no basis for the "60 Minutes" report casting doubt on the president's National Guard service, and a major network whose controversial anchor chose to give up his job before the release of the outside panel's report that sharply criticized him yesterday. Many Republicans couldn't...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Weekly Standard: Whitewash

Jonathan Last writes an excellent (and blessedly brief, if you've been reading my posts) on the CBS report. I highly recommend that everyone read "Whitewash", even though it isn't exactly complimentary to my initial analysis. I still think that the CBS report does a lot more damage than Last and Hugh Hewitt think, but they are absolutely correct that the result whitewashes the political-bias angle at CBS. Keep scrolling down here at CQ for much more detailed analysis on that score. NOTE: For those of you who think we're still taking this too easily, I did do a rather extensive analysis of the bias evident in the report. It had to wait until I could get home from work and read the panel report in detail. It's very long (4200 words), but I think it captures the pre-publication decision points that clearly demonstrate a political bias from Mapes and from...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

The Mainstream Media Whitewash

Twenty-four hours after the other shoe dropped at CBS and their long-awaited independent report was released, the mainstream media and their cousins in the blogosphere have analyzed and debated its meaning. Some bloggers see some small victories in the otherwise tepid and timid conclusions reached by the Thornburgh-Boccardi panel. Others, especially Hugh Hewitt and Jonathan Last, understandably call the entire exercise a whitewash for failing to reach the obvious conclusion that producer Mary Mapes and CBS allowed Memogate to occur because of their deep political biases. Some, oddly, have hardly bothered to comment at all. The mainstream media has analyzed and opined on the report all morning. Every major news outlet has its own take on the situation, although as Hugh notes, they mostly want to declare the war over and look towards a new era of accountability with a jaundiced eye. Given their proximity to the same pressures and...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

More Inconsistencies On Rather

The survival of Dan Rather and Andrew Heyward has become one of the more puzzling and infuriating developments to come out of CBS' response to its internal investigation into the Killian memo scandal. In a USA Today report, CBS staffers also question how four medium-level people got kicked out of Black Rock but the division president and its managing editor kept their jobs. One of the more prominent names at CBS spoke for the record: "It's a sad day" is all Wallace would say of the fallout from the 60 Minutes "Memogate" story that questioned President Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard. So it was left to Andy Rooney, the 85-year-old 60 Minutes commentator, to weigh in. "The people on the front lines got fired while the people most instrumental in getting the broadcast on escaped," Rooney said He was referring to the firing of producer Mary Mapes...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

World Relief Day Tomorrow!

Tomorrow is the day we picked for the blogosphere to donate one day's take-home pay for World Vision's relief fund for tsunami survivors. I originally set a goal of $5,000. You broke that in about two days. I reset the goal for tomorrow's fundraiser to $25,000. Y'all broke that yesterday, and the total is now $27,145! So now, thanks to my friend King, we have a new goal for tomorrow: Our many donors have already raised $25,000; I am hopeful that a concerted push tomorrow can double that number. Sounds absurd? Let's prove 'em wrong, shall we? That may be quite a stretch, but it's a goal worth shooting for! One of the many who have signed on to help is Chris Lynch from A Large Regular, who writes: I want to help make your World Relief Day tomorrow a success in my own small way. I have already donated...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

January 12, 2005

Rule #1: Don't Blog About Work Unless You Own The Place

Today's Guardian (UK) reports on the first apparent British blogger to lose his job over his online journal. Joe Gordon worked for Waterstone's, a bookstore in Edinburgh, for eleven years and by all accounts was a valued employee -- or at least he was until he nicknamed his manager "Evil Boss" and called the store Bastardstones on his blog: A bookseller has become the first blogger in Britain to be sacked from his job because he kept an online diary in which he occasionally mentioned bad days at work and satirised his "sandal-wearing" boss. ... "This wasn't a sustained attack," Mr Gordon told the Guardian. "I was not deliberately trying to harm the company. I was venting my spleen. This was moaning about not getting your birthday off or not getting on with your boss. I wasn't libelling anyone or giving away trade secrets." ... Named after Monty Python's fictional...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

The Paranoia At The Top Of CBS News

Howard Kurtz continues his reporting on the CBS scandal and Thornburgh-Boccardi aftermath this morning, to his credit; most of his industry colleagues have busied themselves with other work and pretending that the controversy has passed. In today's lengthy look at the post-report reaction, Kurtz addresses the inconclusiveness of the report on the question of bias: If there is one line in the 224-page report on CBS News that has set critics aflame, it is that there is no "basis" for concluding that Dan Rather and his colleagues had a "political bias" in pursuing their badly botched story about President Bush's National Guard service. What, they say? No evidence? "In any fair-minded assessment of how CBS performed and why they so badly butchered their own standards, that has to be part of the explanation," said former New York Times reporter Steve Roberts, now a professor at George Washington University. "It's not...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Kristof Gets Obscene

Rarely does my jaw hit the table with such force as it did today when I read Nicholas Kristof's latest column in the New York Times on infant mortality. Kristof compares a rise in infant mortality rates in the US for 2002 and uses it to compare us to Cuba and, shockingly, China: In every year since 1958, America's infant mortality rate improved, or at least held steady. But in 2002, it got worse: 7 babies died for each thousand live births, while that rate was 6.8 deaths the year before. Those numbers, buried in a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, didn't get much attention. But they are part of a pattern of recent statistics dribbling out of the federal government suggesting that for those on the bottom in America, life in our new Gilded Age is getting crueler. Apparently, it got better before it...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

How Thornburgh-Boccardi Shirked Their Responsibility

In a column appropriately titled "It's Worse Than You Thought," Jonathan Last at the Weekly Standard takes a close look at Appendix 4 of the CBS panel report. The Thornburgh-Boccardi investigation declined to make any firm conclusion on the authenticity of the Killian memos at the heart of the scandal, allowing Mary Mapes and Dan Rather enough cover to claim that their story still had not been repudiated. As Last points out, however, their own expert definitively concluded otherwise: On September 12, 2004, Newcomer, one of the fathers of modern electronic typesetting, published a 7,000 word essay about the fraudulent documents used by CBS. Newcomer's conclusion was simple and unequivocal. "These documents," he said after much explanation, "are modern forgeries." So why did the Thornburgh-Boccardi panel turn their back on Newcomer and the rest of the body of expert opinion? What caused them to suspect that the documents might indeed...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Like They Need A Hole In The Head

After a three-cycle losing streak for Democrats, one would think that the party might take a look at the more extreme elements of their platform in order to broaden their appeal. However, longtime Senator Ted Kennedy -- from that incubator of political moderation known as Massachusetts -- urged Democrats to go farther in their progressivism: Democrats must do a better job speaking about the principles they believe in and that have guided the party, said Kennedy, D-Mass., in a speech to the National Press Club. "We cannot move our party or our nation forward under pale colors and timid voices," said Kennedy, who has served 42 years in the Senate. "We cannot become Republican clones. If we do, we will lose again, and deserve to lose." With his proteg John Kerry taking the opposite tack on abortion, Kennedy insisted that the path to winning elections lies not in regrouping towards...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

I'll Never Complain About My E-Mail Again (Updated)

I wanted to thank Michelle Malkin for another kind link to World Relief Day when I read her other posts today. I guess I'm just spoiled by the wonderful CQ community, but I cannot believe the vile nature of the hate-mail Michelle receives. Now that Armstrong Williams has been exposed as a sell-out, she expects to see even more of this coming her way: As a result of the Williams/Department of Education payoff, the rhetoric against the rest of us will get even nastier. In the name of "minority outreach," the Republican education bureaucrats who cooked up their pathetic scheme with Williams have done more damage to our credibility than all the unhinged liberal cartoonists and race-baiters and grievance-mongers could ever hope to do. Thanks for nothing. If you get a chance and you like Michelle and the work she does, why don't you drop her a note and tell...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

CQ's World Relief Day Set For January 12 (Today!!)

Today's the day, folks! You've all done a wonderful job getting funds to tsunami survivors and their communities, and we've already blown past the $25,000 goal we set earlier. Let's see if we can't push that past $50,000 by the end of today. Thank you all so much! CQ readers, fellow bloggers, and friends, We have before us one of the world's greatest natural disasters in terms of lost human life. Over 120,000 now (12/31) have perished, and unless we get immediate and effective assistance to the survivors, many more will die. (1/2: CNN now reports 141,000 dead, and tens of thousands missing.) Our friends around the world have given of themselves through their governments, and the US has also risen to the challenge. Our government has pledged $35 million to date, as well as ordering thousands of our military personnel and two US Navy task forces to the Indian...

Continue reading "CQ's World Relief Day Set For January 12 (Today!!)" »

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

CQ And World Relief Day On The Air Today

I will appear on Kevin McCullough's radio program today at 1:20 CT to promote World Relief Day. Kevin is giving me his prime spot, the one he usually uses for his most prominent guests. Kevin has been tremendously supportive of CQ and World Relief Day. Be sure to tune him in or listen live on the Internet! UPDATE 12:42 - We're up over $30,000 already! UPDATE II, 1:22 CT: On the air now! And this will re-stream several times over the next day from Kevin's site, so if you missed me, you can easily catch me again ......

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

A Big Thank You From Your Captain

I'm about to pack it up for tonight, and my latest look at the World Relief Day fund shows that we have had a tremendously successful day. CQ readers raised over $6,000 in a single day, and we have raised $33,000 overall for tsunami victims. We are the top individual fund-raising effort at justgiving.com as well, something I didn't realize until I happened to click the wrong link earlier today. Thanks to the multitude of bloggers who pitched in with their links to get the word out. Huge thanks to Hugh Hewitt and Kevin McCullough, both of whom plugged this daily on their blogs and on their radio shows -- this couldn't have been anywhere near the success it was without them. Michelle Malkin also has my deep gratitude, and tonight she's pointing out that some weather-related catastrophe victims closer to home could use our assistance, too. Mostly, I want...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

January 13, 2005

Baseball To Squeeze The Juice Out?

The Los Angeles Times reports that major-league baseball will announce a new steroid-testing regime that promises to take a much tougher stance than their previous agreement with the players union. Stung by a federal investigation that has cast doubt on historic performances by its marquee players, it appears that MLB and the players finally agree that public confidence must be restored in the game: Baseball has hardened its policy against steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs in an agreement reached between the players' union and owners that will be announced today, sources familiar with the negotiations said Wednesday. The amendment to the Collective Bargaining Agreement will mandate more frequent testing, random off-season testing and suspensions for first-time offenders, baseball sources said. ... In light of growing concerns about steroids because of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative scandal, and fearing an erosion of the public's trust in the game, [MLB commissioner Bud]...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

The Courage Of Iraqi Election Workers

Today's New York Times takes a fair look at the men and women most at risk in Iraq's upcoming elections -- the workers themselves. Christine Hauser paints a portrait of a group literally under fire for trying to bring their dream of self-government to the Iraqi people: Threatened, attacked, kidnapped and killed, Iraq's election workers are finding that being at the forefront of the electoral process means surviving the frontlines of an insurgency determined to stop it. Things are so bad that one of the officials from the Independent Electoral Commission, Adil al-Lami, compared the workers to a clandestine political movement. "They function like an underground," he said in an interview. This particular worker says he does it to serve his country. "There are a lot of people around the world who also would fight for what I do," he said after finishing his day recently at the election commission....

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Living In Denial On The River Jordan

With the election of Mahmoud Abbas, all sides expect the Israelis and Palestinians to return to the negotiating table with new motivation to reach a deal ending the 37-year-old occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The last such serious negotiations occurred in 2000, when a recalcitrant Yasser Arafat refused to back down from any of his demands, touching off a second intifada and forcing Israel to finally get serious about eliminating terrorist leaders. Now, with a peaceful transition of leadership accomplished by the Palestinian Authority, Abbas can finally become a legitimate -- and hopefully serious -- negotiating partner with Ariel Sharon. However, Abbas fanned the flames of the most radical planks in the Palestinian platform and raised hopes beyond reason that he would deliver Jerusalem and the so-called "right of return" to Israel. The New York Times reports on the effect Abbas' campaign has had on Palestinian refugees...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

The Mystery Summons Of The Mullahcracy

In a move that raises fears for her safety, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi has been ordered to appear before Iranian judges without any explanation of cause: Ms Ebadi, a lawyer and human rights activist, told the AFP news agency that she had no idea what the specific reason for the summons was. She said she has not yet decided how to respond to the summons, which she has until Sunday to answer. The 57-year-old Ms Ebadi received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 for her work on women's and children's rights. "In the summons, it simply says that I must present myself to the court within three days to provide some explanations and that I will be arrested if I refuse," she added. No one misunderstands the intent of that summons. Ebadi won her Nobel for criticism of the Iranian regime and its oppressive rule. The BBC reports...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

News Flash To Terrorists: Saving Lives Is More Attractive Than Blood-Drinking Murder

Australian News reports this morning that the massive tsunami-relief staged by the "stingy" Western nations has had a profound effect on victims. Many in the heavily-Muslim Indonesian areas most affected by the killer waves now see the US, Australia, and other Western nations in a much more positive light. This has caused dismay in predictable circles: THE spiritual head of Jemaah Islamiah says he is losing the battle for the hearts and minds of Aceh's tsunami survivors because of the humanitarian assistance from Australian and US military forces. A spokesman for Abu Bakar Bashir said the Indonesian cleric, who is on trial for terrorism, regarded the relief operations by Australian and US military personnel as a dangerous development, overshadowing the role of the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI). "We are suspicious of the presence of foreign soldiers and their show of force and the minimum publicity given to assistance from Arab...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Panera Blogging

I have a full work schedule today, mostly on the road (locally) and sitting in meetings, so I haven't had much chance to take a look at my e-mail or the news. I decided to stop by Panera for lunch, as all of their Twin Cities outlets offer free wi-fi service. I know that chain locations like Panera are the epitome of corporate evil and all that, but it's really hard to beat for good food at a low price. They offer a pick-two combo of soup, salads, and sandwiches that allow me to eat healthy food at fast-food prices, or just a few cents more. (Lunch cost me $8.29, and I had a special bottled soft drink instead of the less-expensive fountain drinks, which have free refills.) Combine that with comfortable surroundings and the free wi-fi and Panera has an almost unbeatable combination. Too bad I have to go...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Journalists Can't Be Bloggers?

Wired runs a provocative article today which argues that journalists find it increasingly difficult to maintain blogs along with their reporting. Media outlets have started to actively discourage even their free-lancers from blogging, and analysts question the effect on credibility when reporters opine on line: For all the press that bloggers have received for revolutionizing journalism by bringing Gutenberg's printing press to the digital masses, when push comes to shove, journalists who operate personal weblogs face an inherent conflict of interest. In the end, it's the blogs that usually get short shrift. And according to some, that's the way it ought to be. As Jason Calacanis, founder of Weblogs and publisher of the defunct Silicon Alley Reporter, put it in an e-mail: "Blogger + reporter = big problem. I wouldn't do that, and I'm sure it will end in tears. I know as an editor of a magazine or newspaper...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

CBS Legend Decries Its Lefty Bias

A familiar voice weighs in on the bias that Richard Thornburgh and Louis Boccardi couldn't find at CBS News. Van Gordon Sauter, the onetime chief of the Tiffany Network's news division, writes in today's Los Angeles Times that an "unremitting liberal orientation" at the Unblinking Eye has made its news programs unwatchable: What's the big problem at CBS News? Well, for one thing, it has no credibility. And no audience, no morale, no long-term emblematic anchorperson and no cohesive management structure. Outside of those annoyances, it shouldn't be that hard to fix. Personally, I have a great affection for CBS News, even though I was unceremoniously shown to the door there nearly 20 years ago in a tumultuous change of corporate management. But I stopped watching it some time ago. The unremitting liberal orientation finally became too much for me. I still check in, but less and less frequently. I...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

The History Of The CBS Memogate Scandal

I created a new category for the CBS Memogate scandal and re-categorized by posts on the subject in order to allow readers to easily read through CQ archives. Most of the commentary comes from the first couple of weeks after the September 8 airdate (the rest over this week), and has details which I'd forgotten. I hope you find it helpful. UPDATE: Charles at LGF and Instapundit note that CBS and the Thornburgh-Boccardi site at Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham LLP have modified the CBS report file to keep bloggers from copying and pasting from the report. I just tested it myself and found the same thing. All I know is that I copied the first edition, which is how I was able to excerpt so much of it and use it in my blog posts. Now you can too....

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

January 14, 2005

Moonves Tips His Hand

Dan Rather escaped punishment for the Killian memo fraud he helped foist on CBS' viewing public, as well as his part in the cover-up afterwards -- or at least we thought he did. Now CBS chairman Les Moonves, the man who supposedly saved Rather, reveals that Rather's next safe haven might wind up being nothing more than the exit door: As much as he would like to recover from the blows his reputation has suffered recently, Dan Rather may not have a chance to work very long on the program that he expected would be his next professional address. The future of CBS's "60 Minutes Wednesday" - the program that broadcast Mr. Rather's report, now discredited, about President Bush's National Guard record - is in doubt, both the top CBS executive and the program's new executive producer acknowledged yesterday. Leslie Moonves, the chairman of CBS and co-president of the network's...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

God And The ACLU Forbid Any Mention On The Ministry, However

The San Francisco Chronicle reports on a middle-school Career Day where a guest speaker started extolling the economic benefits of dancing naked in front of strangers to young teen girls. Ryan Kim reports that between the fighter pilot, heart surgeon, and concert pianist, salesman William Fried was allowed to extemporaneously broaden 13-year-old horizons with financial details about bust sizes (via Michelle Malkin): The hubbub began Tuesday at Jane Lathrop Stanford Middle School's third annual career day when a student asked Foster City salesman William Fried to explain why he listed "exotic dancer" and "stripper" on a handout of potential careers. Fried, who spoke to about 45 eighth-grade students during two separate 55-minute sessions, spent about a minute explaining that the profession is viable and potentially lucrative for those blessed with the physique and talent for the job. According to Fried and students who attended the talk, Fried told one group...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Fallout For CBS Continues

In a sure sign that the Thornburgh-Boccardi report and Les Moonves' following announcement has backfired, a groundswell of criticism continues to grow against CBS News and Moonves for its half-hearted corrective actions and its refusal to admit to the bias at the heart of the scandal. Yesterday, Van Gordon Sauter slammed CBS for its "unremitting liberal orientation" that makes its news shows "unwatchable." Today, two new front-line essays reject the whitewash. Al Neuharth, founder of USA Today, calls out CBS for its inaction: Rather absented himself from the newscast Monday evening, the day the independent investigators' report and Moonves' response were made public. Then on Tuesday he was back in his usual role, after issuing a statement to CBS News colleagues that concluded: "I have seen us overcome adversity before. I am convinced we can do it again." No apology. No acknowledgement that the buck stopped with him. Rather has...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

President Bush Decries Armstrong Williams Arrangements

In a surprising but welcome slap at the rationalization provided by his own Cabinet officer, President Bush scolded the Department of Education for its surreptitious arrangement with conservative commentator Armstrong Williams. Bush not only denounced the payola, but called for all levels of government to learn from this mistake: President Bush expressed disapproval Thursday of the Education Department's decision to pay conservative commentator Armstrong Williams to promote the government's education policy. Bush said he wants his Cabinet to prevent a recurrence. There needs to be a clear distinction between journalism and advocacy, Bush said in an interview with USA TODAY, which reported last week that Williams had been paid $240,000 to advocate for the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law. ... In the interview, Bush said, I appreciate the way Armstrong Williams has handled this, because he has made it very clear that he made a mistake. All of us,...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Ever The Gentleman

Hugh Hewitt talks about the first book-signing appearance for his new book, Blog: Understanding the Information Reformation That's Changing Your World, held in the Barnes & Noble bookstore in Orange, CA last night. I alerted my mother, who occasionally posts comments here as Vayapaso, about Hugh's appearance and told her to get a signed copy of the book. Hugh himself talks about meeting the bloggers at the event: A couple of blogger/authors dropped by my book signing tonight which made it great fun: Bill Whittle of Eject, Eject, Eject (and author of the critically acclaimed Silent America --which may be the first entirely blog-derived book, and which proves, I think, that publishers have a huge gold mine in front of them packaging the best of the blogopshere between covers for easy transport. MarkDRoberts also stopped by to wish Blog well. As did einvolved's Stacey Harp, Kicking Over My Traces, and...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Bring It On ... But Don't

CNN reports that George Bush expressed "regret" over his July 2003 response to assertions that terrorists would attempt to drive American troops out of Iraq: President Bush says he now sees that tough talk can have an "unintended consequence." During a round-table interview with reporters from 14 newspapers, the president, who not long ago declined to identify any mistakes he'd made during his first term, expressed misgivings for two of his most famous expressions: "Bring 'em on," in reference to Iraqis attacking U.S. troops, and his vow to get Osama bin Laden "dead or alive." "Sometimes, words have consequences you don't intend them to mean," Bush said Thursday. "'Bring 'em on' is the classic example, when I was really trying to rally the troops and make it clear to them that I fully understood, you know, what a great job they were doing. And those words had an unintended consequence....

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Does This Sound Like It Was Ordered From On High?

The more that one hears of the testimony in Spc. Charles Graner's court-martial over the Abu Ghraib abuses, the less supportable that a high-level conspiracy to commit war crimes were at the heart of them. The New York Times manages to bury the relevant portions of the testimony near the bottom of their report: Megan Ambuhl, who has been discharged from the military for taking part in the events seen in the photographs, said interrogators had ordered her to humiliate male detainees by pointing and laughing at them as they showered. Interrogators, she said, "encouraged us all the time." "We were all going to save the lives of the soldiers who were outside the wires," she testified. "The detainees had information that the interrogators had to find out." Questioned by the prosecution, Ms. Ambuhl acknowledged that she had been sexually involved with Specialist Graner for a month before the investigation...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Did Thornburgh-Boccardi Cave In To Bill Burkett?

CQ reader Ken Stepanek sent a link to a message board for the Yahoo group Texas Democrats with a message purportedly from Bill Burkett's wife Nicki. The message alerted Texas Democrats to the Cory Pein article from the Columbia Journalism Review that turned out to be incorrect on most of the points the panel's report addressed. According to this January 3rd message, the Burketts believed they had frightened the CBS panel into a change of course: This past week, we may have scared the Devil out of senior folks at CBS and throughout the journalistic World. We are now negotiating with the VIACOM panel for an in-depth interview to explore the facts and documentation of the story; the roles of CBS, ABC, the Associated Press, New York TImes, USA Today and numerous others who actively sought Bill out as a source on the story and their backlash after the story...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Graner Convicted

Spc. Charles Graner was convicted in his court martial on all specifications against him, putting him at risk of 15 1/2 years in prison: Army Spc. Charles Graner Jr., the reputed ringleader of a band of rogue guards at the Abu Ghraib prison, was convicted Friday of abusing Iraqi detainees in a case that sparked international outrage when photographs were released that showed reservists gleefully abusing prisoners. ... The jury of four Army officers and six senior enlisted men rejected the defense argument that Graner and other guards were merely following orders from intelligence agents at Abu Ghraib when they roughed up the detainees. The so-called "following orders" defense extended its long and failed history from Nuremberg forward to today. It appears that the jury rejected the idea that Graner operateed under any orders when he sexually abused and physically beat Iraqi prisoners, along with other members of his unit...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

January 15, 2005

Kos, Teachout, Williams, Lauck, Van Beek

Earlier this week, Zephyr Teachout wrote a post for her blog Zonkette, which eventually made it to the Wall Street Journal, disclosing the Howard Dean campaign's payments to the Daily Kos and MyDD bloggers Markos Zuniga and Jerome Armstrong. The accusations of conflicted interest have risen to fever levels in the blogosphere, along with yet another argument about what what ethical standards bloggers owe their readers. I have received e-mails asking why I've remained silent on this issue. Well, I haven't remained silent. Five weeks ago, when the shoe was on the right foot, I wrote that bloggers accepting payments from political campaigns outside the transparency of fully-displayed advertisements -- which don't even have to be exclusive! -- risk their credibility and reputation. I wrote that after the revelation that the John Thune campaign paid two bloggers several thousand dollars to join the campaign, and neither disclosed their relationship despite...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

The California Earthquake On Rice

The AP reports this morning that the nomination of Condoleezza Rice for Secretary of State has caused a faultline between California's two Democratic senators, Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer. While Feinstein accepted an invitation to introduce Rice to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for her nomination hearing, Barbara Boxer intends on using character assassination to push her anti-war views: Rice, Bush's national security adviser, lists California as her residence after having served for six years as provost of Stanford University, Feinstein's alma mater. It's customary for nominees to ask home-state senators to introduce them at confirmation hearings. Feinstein accepted Rice's invitation to introduce her to the committee, and praised her in a statement Friday as "the natural choice to be our country's next secretary of state." Boxer gave a hint Friday on how she is expected to greet Rice at the Tuesday hearing. "I personally believe that your loyalty to...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Palestinian Elections Rigged: Workers

In a further confirmation of the corruption and machinations behind the Palestinian elections last weekend, dozens of election workers walked off their jobs protesting Mahmoud Abbas' victory: Forty-six members of the Palestinian election commission, including top managers, resigned Saturday, saying they were pressured by Mahmoud Abbas' campaign and intelligence officials to abruptly change voting procedures during the Jan. 9 presidential poll. Two senior members of the commission, Ammar Dwaik and Baha al-Bakri, resigned early Saturday, and officials later said 44 more members resigned. Six top election officials were among those who resigned. The resignations raised questions about Sunday's vote giving Abbas an overwhelming victory with 62.3 percent, though the officials who quit said the alleged irregularities did not fundamentally affect the final vote tally. The resignations didn't raise the questions, or at least the questions shouldn't have waited for them to be raised. Last week, newspapers and broadcasters around the...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Northern Alliance Radio Today

Don't forget to tune in for the Northern Alliance Radio Network this afternoon from noon to 3 pm CT. We'll be discussing lots of different topics, but I think you can be assured that we will focus on the CBS panel and its report on Memogate. Later on, try giving a listen to another group of bloggers doing their own radio show. Homespun Bloggers may be the next step in the democratization of free speech....

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

St. Paul Firefighter Union Chief: We're Uncontrollable Drunks

The firefighters in the IAFF Local 21 of St. Paul might want to check the coffee in the firehouse where Pat Flanagan serves. In what was meant as a stinging rebuke to Mayor Randy Kelly, Flanagan specifically e-mailed a warning to Kelly not to attend their annual installation bash, warning Kelly that "alcohol will be served" and implying that would make the party dangerous for the mayor: Reasons for the snub, Flanagan wrote, are the mayor's budget cuts, his decision to decommission an engine company, and growing tensions at the bargaining table. Flanagan ended his three-paragraph missive, dated Jan. 10, with this salvo: "Alcohol will be served at this event, so we write this letter in the best interest of all parties involved." On Thursday, Kelly fired back with an e-mail of his own. He defended his record and said he was "perplexed" by the reference to alcohol. Was that...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Why Is This Man Smiling?

Maybe it's because the Pittsburgh Steelers did everything they could to give away the divisional playoff game to the New York Jets -- but in the end, the New York Jets could not take advantage when it counted. The Steelers beat the Jets, 20-17, in overtime: Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger overcame two huge mistakes an interception for a touchdown and another that appeared to doom the Steelers late in the fourth quarter to lead a decisive drive that began at the Jets 13 and sent Pittsburgh to next Sunday's AFC championship game against New England or Indianapolis. The loss will go down as one of the most excruciating in the Jets' star-crossed history, with kicker Doug Brien missing not one but two makable field-goal tries in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter. The misses were doubly stunning disappointments for a gutty team on the verge of...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Grade Inflation, British Style

Grade inflation has caused concern in the United States, where the issue of giving marginal performances passing grades has had tremendous impact on higher education. However, the British appear to lead the world in grade inflation, with the London Telegraph reporting that scoring as low as 17% on math exams could net British students a B: Pupils have been awarded a B grade in a maths GCSE exam despite scoring only 17 per cent, The Telegraph can reveal. The pass marks for the new exam, which was taken last summer by 7,500 children from 65 schools and is due to be introduced nationwide next year, were an all-time low. Pupils sitting GCSE maths last year had to achieve about 40 per cent to get a B grade. But with the new exam, designed by the Cambridge-based exam board OCR, those who got as little as 17 per cent were given...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

January 16, 2005

Gangs Go Hollywood

Street gangs have become much more brazen and organized in their campaigns to intimidate and eliminate witnesses, reports the New York Times today. Not only have they adopted the "Godfather"-style of Sicilian omerta in demanding utter silence from their members and neighbors as well, they've actually started producing their own terror shows on DVD to emphasize their point: In Boston, a witness to a shooting by a member of a street gang recently found copies of his grand jury testimony taped to all the doors in the housing project where he lives. In Baltimore, Rickey Prince, a 17-year-old who witnessed a gang murder and agreed to testify against the killer, was shot in the back of the head a few days after a prosecutor read Mr. Prince's name aloud in a packed courtroom. And in each city, CD's and DVD's titled "Stop Snitching" have surfaced, naming some people street gangs...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

About That Poll

Time Magazine publishes a new opinion poll today that shows President Bush picking up more support in overall job approval ahead of the inaugural: President Bushs approval rating has risen to 53%, according to the latest TIME poll conducted January 12 and 13. His approval rating is up 4 points from his Dec. 13-14 approval rating of 49%. The Presidents approval numbers have improved across a variety of issues, including his handling of the economy (51% approve, up from 40% approve in September), his handling of the situation in Iraq (45% approve, up from 41% approval in September), and his handling of the war on terrorism (56% approve, up from 49% in September). I think some of these gains may result from the toned-down partisan environment that naturally occurs between the election and the opening of the new session of Congress. The major issue on Bush's plate continues to be...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Rue The Day?

Senator Harry Reid told ABC's This Week that any attempt to push through a rule change would cause the GOP heartache down the road: The Senate's Democratic leader said Sunday that Republicans "would rue the day" if they try to make it harder for Democrats to stall judicial nominees who could not get a vote last year. ... Reid compared Bush's talk of crisis in judicial nominations to the president's rhetoric on Social Security. "He's trying to create crisis with judges and with Social Security. They don't exist," Reid told ABC's "This Week." "We have approved for the president of the United States 204 judges the last four years," he said. "We've turned down 10. Even in modern math, that's a pretty good deal." He said the 10 who did not get a vote in 2004 "were rightfully turned down." The White House announced last month that Bush would renominate...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

January 17, 2005

Inaugural Sneak Peek: An End To The "Compensation Culture"

The London Telegraph reports that a key element in George Bush's inaugural speech this week will be a call for an end to the "compensation culture" that has hijacked medicine and other business in America. The message comprises a part of an entire domestic reform package that includes income taxes and the entitlement bureaucracy: Mr Bush wants to clamp down on the "tort" system of civil damages - intended to compensate victims of negligence and accidents - which costs the US economy $230 billion (123 billion), or two per cent of gross domestic product. Mr Bush plans to cap non-economic damages at $250,000 (133,500) per case, far less than the multi-million dollar awards that have become commonplace. Medical cases are the most visible examples, but soaring damages in class actions across the commercial sector would also be restricted. Reform would be popular with the public, who believe that lawyers are...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

The Palestinian Three-Step

Mahmoud Abbas has called for an end to attacks on Israeli citizens in a move that will either prove his control over the regions or present the world with yet another Palestinian three-step: Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has ordered his security forces to try to prevent militant attacks on Israelis, a Palestinian cabinet minister has said. Qadoura Fares said Mr Abbas gave orders for all violence to be stopped, "including attacks against Israel". ... Reports say Mr Abbas is due to travel to Gaza on Monday to try to persuade militant groups to agree to a ceasefire. If Abbas can end the violence against Israeli citizens, then I find this a promising development. However, I remain deeply skeptical of both his desire and his power to do so. The Palestinians have played this game for decades now between the three power centers of Palestinian politics: the PA (Fatah), Hamas, and...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

More Polling Shows Bush Gaining Support

Fresh on the heels of a six-point gain in the latest Time Magazine poll, AP-Ipsos shows George Bush making similar inroads among adults in general. The new polling shows George Bush gaining two-thirds support for his personal attributes, including intelligence: A majority of Americans say they feel hopeful about President Bush's second term and have a generally positive view of him personally, but they also express continued doubts about Iraq. ... Ahead of Bush's inauguration on Thursday, six in 10 people said they felt hopeful about his second term and in response to a separate question 47 percent said they were worried. Most said they were neither angry nor excited about his final four years in office. Considering the partisan atmosphere that has prevailed since the Democrats went crazy in the aftermath of the 2000 election -- and continued after this past election in Ohio -- a 60% "hopeful" rating...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Baghdadis Want To Vote: Reuters

Despite the doom-and-gloom predictions of the Western media and the American left about the upcoming Iraqi elections, Baghdad voters intend on turning out in numbers that would embarrass Americans: Two-thirds of registered voters in the Iraqi capital say they will cast their ballots in the Jan. 30 election despite the threat of violence, an independent Iraqi newspaper survey found Monday. A high turnout in Baghdad, a city of 5-6 million people, could raise the credibility of polls which are expected to be marred by suicide bombings by insurgents bent on sabotaging the vote in the country of 27 million. ... The survey in the al-Mada newspaper, one of Iraq's most respected dailies, was conducted last week in eight main districts of Baghdad, one of the cities where insurgents are expected to launch attacks. Based on a sample of 300 people, it found 67 percent of Baghdadis planned to vote. Twenty-five...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Oliver Willis Just Can't Be Honest

I'm turning over this post to Hubris, who writes: This is from Oliver Willis' latest post: I'm sure the right will come up with another b.s. explanation. Can anyone tell me whatever happened to the "smoking gun" memos "unearthed" by Brent Bozell's CNSNews and conspiracy pariah Laurie Mylorie (Captain Ed: "a blockbuster find", Little Green Nazis: "the story is true", Powerline: "a great deal of detail")? Yeah, I thought so. Cash those checks, guys, but at least make sure you're getting more than Armstrong. http://www.oliverwillis.com/node/view/1675 I clicked through to each archived story, and found the following: ----------------------------------------------------- Captain Ed: "In a blockbuster article if their sources pan out... "If the translations and the authentications hold up, this is a blockbuster find." [emphasis mine] LGF: "It needs to be independently confirmed before we can fully trust the story..." [Willis actually quotes a commenter who said "the story is true] Powerline: "The...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Movie Review: The Aviator

The First Mate and I took my sister to see the new Martin Scorsese film, The Aviator, which wangled a couple of Golden Globes last night. (Actually, in the interest of full disclosure, my sister took us.) The long-anticipated film looks at the life of Howard Hughes, the aviation pioneer and noted eccentric whose life cast a long shadow in the movie, aviation, defense, and financial industries. While I have a lot of admiration for the attempt, I think The Aviator is fundamentally flawed, if still entertaining. First, the film only looks at a 20-year period of Hughes' life, from 1927 when he began work on Hell's Angels to 1947, when he flew the Spruce Goose across the water in Los Angeles. He never even mentions RKO, the studio owned by Hughes from 1948 to 1955. That narrow focus disappointed me, as it shortchanged the impact that Hughes had on...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Dissent In North Korea: AP

The AP reports that they have video of unprecedented demonstrations against the Kim regime in North Korea, one of the most repressive dictatorships in the world. The demonstration calls for the removal of Kim Jong-Il and follows several signs over the past few months that Kim's grip may be slipping: A human rights group claimed Tuesday that it has obtained video footage showing dissident activities in North Korea, with demands for freedom and democracy written over a poster of North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Il. If authentic, it would be the first time images of dissent in the highly secretive North have come to light. But there was no way to independently confirm the validity of the footage. The 35-minute videotape, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press, shows written statements posted on a wall, urging North Koreans to fight to retrieve freedom and democracy. A man...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

January 18, 2005

The Silence Of The Cheese

Can you still hear the cheese screaming, Clar-iiiiiice? Michelle Malkin points out a story that I had missed in neighboring Wisconsin, one that calls into question the veracity of its presidential-election results. Wisconsin wound up going for John Kerry by 11,300 votes in what came as a mild surprise to most observers in the Upper Midwest (via Stranded On Blue Islands). Al Gore had carried the state by a shade over 5,000 votes in 2000, and most pollsters had the race a dead heat or George Bush pulling slightly ahead in 2004. Instead, Kerry took Wisconsin by doubling Gore's margin. How did that happen? Well, in one county -- Milwaukee, a traditional Democratic stronghold -- turnout increased by just under 49,000 votes, or about 10%, outstripping the nationwide increase of 6.4%. The new votes broke about 60/40 Kerry, about the trend of the county in both elections, adding a 9,000-vote...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Still Whining After All His Tears

John Kerry stood up on Martin Luther King Day and blasted the United States for the "disenfranchisement" of thousands of voters, a reference to the Ohio election which he lost by 118,000 votes. Kerry implied heavily that the GOP engineered voter fraud in his loss to George Bush: The Massachusetts Democrat, Bush's challenger in November, spoke at Boston's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Breakfast. He reiterated that he decided not to challenge the election results, but said "thousands of people were suppressed in the effort to vote." "Voting machines were distributed in uneven ways. In Democratic districts, it took people four, five, 11 hours to vote, while Republicans [went] through in 10 minutes -- same voting machines, same process, our America," he said. The complaints center on Cuyahoga County, of course, where Cleveland voters complained of standing in line for hours due to the lack of voting machines, a...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

More Milwaukee County Demographics

Part of the continuing look at voter fraud in Wisconsin and the lack of media attention, which I called The Silence Of The Cheese ... For a bit more analysis on Milwaukee County's presidential election results, let's take a look at the population dynamics over the past 13 years. As these articles make clear, Milwaukee County has seen a continuing flight of residents; the county decreased by 19,000 people between the 1990 and 2000 census, and the US Census Bureau estimates that the drop has steepened since. They now estimate that 32,000 fewer people live in Milwaukee County, including 29,000 voting-age adults. From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel of March 8, 2001: Meanwhile, Milwaukee County Executive F. Thomas Ament was relieved to hear that his county didn't lose more people. Milwaukee County dropped 2%, from 959,275 to 940,164. "Obviously, I'm not pleased with losing population," he said, but this drop is "not...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

The New York Times Responds (Finally)

On December 27th, I posted about an op-ed column in the New York Times written by Brent Staples, decrying the Census Bureau practice of counting prisoners as residents of the county in which the prison is located. This column followed an editorial by the Gray Lady with the same assertions in a foreshadowing of what I expect to be blitz coverage of the 2010 census -- think Masters Gold Tournament. Mr. Staples used some odd statistics in his opinion piece about the nature of disenfranchisement (emphasis mine): The mandatory sentencing fad that swept the United States beginning in the 1970's has had dramatic consequences - most of them bad. The prison population was driven up tenfold, creating a large and growing felon class - now 13 million strong - that remains locked out of the mainstream and prone to recidivism. Trailing behind the legions of felons are children who grow...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

CBS: The Chicago Cubs Of Network News

CBS chief Les Moonves told reporters today that he's leaning towards using a rotating series of talking heads, reading news reports from various cities, as a replacement plan for Dan Rather's position as anchorman. He inadvertently nails the problem that CBS News created while essentially surrendering to its effects: CBS will probably replace Dan Rather on the evening news with a multi-anchor, perhaps multi-city format that changes the "antiquated" way of reporting the day's top stories, CBS chief Leslie Moonves said Tuesday. Moonves, who will ultimately select Rather's replacement, said he believes many young viewers are turned off by a single "voice of God" anchor in the Internet age. ... "Those days are over when you have that guy sitting behind the desk who everyone believes to the `nth' degree," Moonves told reporters. "It's sort of an antiquated way of news telling and maybe there's a new way of doing...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

A Mighty Big Coincidence

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel continues to cover the questions swirling around the Wisconsin presidential election results, even if the national media yawns at the prospect. Greg Borokowski reports that the 84,000 election-day registrants in the city of Milwaukee just about matches the same number as 2000 (hat tip: CQ reader JB): Lisa Artison, executive director of the city Election Commission, said the number of cards that could not be sent out this time was comparable to the number after the 2000 presidential election. ... At issue is a gap between the city's estimate of 84,000 election-day registrants and 73,079 verification cards that were sent, as required by law. ... If the 84,000 estimate of election-day registrants is accurate, 13% of the cards could not be processed. The 84,000 number, about 30% of the 277,535 people who voted in the November election, includes regular voters who may have moved, as well as...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Broadcasting & Cable: 5 Questions The CBS Report Raises

Mark Lasswell at Broadcasting & Cable got no satisfaction from the Thornburgh-Boccardi report regarding Memogate at CBS News. He asks five questions of CBS that their panel report creates rather than answers: Last week, the tortured saga of the bogus documents came to a close. Or at least the major issues were settled of how CBS News came to rely onand then adamantly defenddubious records of President Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard in the early 1970s. As the investigative panel chosen by CBS, former Associated Press CEO Louis Boccardi and former U.S. attorney general Dick Thornburgh, reported in exhaustive detail, 60 Minutes Wednesday aired a segment on Sept. 8 that was tainted in almost every regard. But the report doesn't resolve all the questions that spring from the story of how producer Mary Mapes, with a barely engaged Dan Rather as her correspondent, rushed the story onto...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

January 19, 2005

Where Have We Heard This Before?

The AP reports on the ascendancy of Howard Dean for the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee with a headline that smacks of deja vu -- "Dean Gaining Early Momentum in DNC Race": On Tuesday, the former Vermont governor announced he had the unanimous backing of the Florida delegation to the DNC and also the support of Democratic chairs in Mississippi, Utah, Oklahoma, Washington state and Vermont. He plans house parties around the nation later this week, like the ones he used while trying to gain the Democratic presidential nomination. Dean dominated the Democrats' presidential race through 2003, raising more than $40 million and recruiting thousands of supporters through the Internet. But when the voting started in Iowa, Dean stumbled as Democrats rallied around a candidate they thought was more electable Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry. I find the DNC raise mildly amusing but strategically negligible. The Democrats seem ready...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

We Want Blood, Dammit!

I read the RSS summary for the New York Times editorial this morning and took some hope that they may have decided to take a more measured look at the news, rather than stoke partisan idiocy: With a few exceptions, Condoleezza Rice's confirmation hearing was an exercise in political theater. Unfortunately, the Gray Lady meant that not as an endorsement of the more professional and less histrionic Foreign Relations Committee members, but as a scolding for them to be more like Barbara Boxer: President Bush is entitled to choose his cabinet, and there was never much chance of opposition to Ms. Rice, a trusted member of his inner circle. But confirmation hearings should critically examine the nominee. Another unfortunate choice for a top job, Alberto Gonzales, at least had to endure a few hours' grilling on the torture of prisoners on his way to becoming attorney general. Yesterday, Democratic senators,...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Oh, That Crisis!

I've wanted to write on this for some time, but Jon Henke at the must-read QandO beat me to it. The Democrats have accused the Bush Administration of crisis-mongering on Social Security, which they claim remains strong and solvent. However, that's a far cry -- almost literally -- from the rhetoric used by the last Democratic administration in Washington: * Gene Sperling - Clinton Economic Advisor: "this is a chance for both parties to actually show ... that we are saving more to meet the Social Security crisis in the future. If we don't do this, then we are just putting those burdens on a future generation." ... * Senator Kohl - Democrat: Wisconsin [March 22, 2000]: "Comprehensive Social Security Reform is still necessary. Today's changes will do nothing to hold off the coming crisis that will begin when we start drawing down the Social Security Trust fund in 2014....

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Calling On The Times To Correct Themselves

On the suggestion from CQ reader Zuke, I decided to e-mail my objections about today's editorial from the New York Times on the Condi Rice confirmation hearings. Below is the complete text from my message, with a few formatting changes for better effect on the blog. Dear Mr. Okrent, In keeping with your effort to ensure that the editorial pages of the New York Times goes through proper fact-checking, I wish to direct your attention to today's unsigned editorial on the confirmation hearings for Dr. Condoleezza Rice. Your editorial board appears to compound a serious misstatement of fact by Senator Joseph Biden in yesterday's hearing regarding the level of trained Iraqi security forces: Senator Joseph Biden, Democrat of Delaware, asked Ms. Rice how big an Iraqi security force had actually been trained. When Ms. Rice, the national security adviser, offered an absurdly inflated 120,000, Mr. Biden said the people doing...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Exit Polling Flawed, Skewed To Kerry

In a development that should embarrass Jesse Jackson and shame Barbara Boxer -- but won't -- the AP reports that both firms conducting media exit polling for the presidential election found flaws that overreported support for John Kerry: Two firms that conducted Election Day exit polls for major news organizations reported Wednesday that they found a number of problems with the way the polls were carried out last year, resulting in estimates that overstated John Kerry's share of the vote. Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International found that the Democratic challenger's supporters were more likely than President Bush's supporters to participate in exit polls interviews. They also found that more errors occurred in exit polls conducted by younger interviewers, and about half of the interviewers were 34 or under. ... They noted that in a number of precincts, interviewers were kept 50 feet or more away from polling places, potentially...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Showing Their Class

Condoleezza Rice received her confirmation endorsement from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this afternoon on a vote of 16-2. The two voting against? Pending approval by the full Senate, Rice would be the first black woman to hold the job. She was confirmed by a 16-2 vote with Democrats John Kerry of Massachusetts and Barbara Boxer of California voting no. Other Democrats, including ranking member Joseph Biden of Delaware, had said they were reluctantly voting to elevate Rice to the nation's top diplomatic job. A vote by the full Senate was expected by Thursday. My first reaction is shock -- that John Kerry actually attended Senate business. After missing most of the last two-year session of Congress, he's now up to one in a row. No one should be terribly surprised at either vote, or by either Senator. After an incredibly condescending introduction where Kerry expressed gooey admiration for Rice's...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Opening Her Mouth And Removing All Doubt (Updated!!)

Sometimes I wonder if Barbara Boxer ever listens to herself and cringes. If so, yesterday certainly provided opportunities for winces galore as the senator from California kept providing evidence of her status as one of the least intelligent members of the upper chamber. In just her opening statement for her portion of Condoleezza Rice's confirmation hearing, she managed to embarrass herself and her constituents multiple times: Dr. Rice, before I get to my formal remarks, you no doubt will be confirmed -- that's at least what we think. We think there's no doubt? And her favorite color is plaid, too. And if you're going to become the voice of diplomacy -- this is just a helpful point -- when Senator Voinovich mentioned the issue of tsunami relief, you said -- your first words were, "The tsunami was a wonderful opportunity for us." Now, the tsunami was one of the worst...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

ABC News: Too Lazy To Hide The Bias

Hindrocket at Power Line found a new ABC initiative to bring balance to its news broadcasts, or at least those they intend to provide on Inauguration Day tomorrow. Obviously, the Halperin Memo is still in effect even past Election Day: For a possible Inauguration Day story on ABC News, we are trying to find out if there any military funerals for Iraq war casualties scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 20. If you know of a funeral and whether the family might be willing to talk to ABC News, please fill out the form below[.] So here we have a public broadcaster who explicitly intends on using the death of at least one American serviceperson -- specifically in Iraq, so dead American soldiers or Marines in Kosovo or Afghanistan need not apply -- as a means to make a political statement about Bush's inauguration. If your son or daughter, sister or brother,...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

How Does CBS Recover Its Crediblity?

Hugh Hewitt has a great show tonight, discussing Les Moonves' oddball ideas about revolutionizing CBS News with measures that appear to do nothing but throw a bit more window dressing on the disgrace. He's asking his listeners to call in with their ideas, just as if Les Moonves was sitting in Hugh's booth and taking notes. After a calling in and losing my cell signal, and getting locked out of the full bank of calls Hugh draws, I sent Hugh an e-mail instead: My suggestion for CBS was going to be to quit rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. I don't care if you have one anchor or fifteen. CBS News needs to clean house and hire people who didn't grow up kissing Dan Rather's rear end. Fire Heyward and everyone who thinks like him, and retire the fossils across the board. Get a managing editor who actually knows...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Vayapaso's Dream Date?

When my mother, who comments here as Vayapaso, went to Hugh Hewitt's book signing for Blog, she got so excited by their enthusiastic welcome that she referred to me as "Eddie." Hugh and Duane didn't miss this and have mulled this tidbit over for a week now. Tonight, they decided that I must have been named after Eddie Haskell, the smarmy and phony-polite troublemaker from Leave It To Beaver. Eddie Haskell? When I called in to talk to Hugh, Duane even played the Leave It To Beaver theme in the background. I foresee a long run of classic-TV jokes in my future with these guys. But why Eddie Haskell? Why not this guy: The American Ace of Aces, Eddie Rickenbacker, was a successful race car driver, fighter pilot, airline executive, wartime advisor, and elder statesman. Few aces achieved so much in so many different lifetime roles. His twenty-six aerial victories...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

January 20, 2005

The Overkill Of Attacking A Sponge

David Kirkpatrick reports in today's New York Times that conservative activist Dr. James Dobson has attacked a cartoon character for alleged homosexual subtext as well as its alleged involvement in a gay-rights promotional video. It appears that Dr. Dobson has not only overreacted, but has gotten some key facts wrong: Now, Dr. Dobson said, SpongeBob's creators had enlisted him in a "pro-homosexual video," in which he appeared alongside children's television colleagues like Barney and Jimmy Neutron, among many others. The makers of the video, he said, planned to mail it to thousands of elementary schools to promote a "tolerance pledge" that includes tolerance for differences of "sexual identity." The video's creator, Nile Rodgers, who wrote the disco hit "We Are Family," said Mr. Dobson's objection stemmed from a misunderstanding. Mr. Rodgers said he founded the We Are Family Foundation after the Sept. 11 attacks to create a music video to...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Maybe He Bought It At A Bank (Updated)

Guess who's suddenly into guns, despite his documentary slamming the supposed gun culture of America? And unlicensed guns at that? Why, it's no one but our own cuddly teddy-bear friend, Michael Moore, and his bodyguard (via Drudge): Filmmaker Michael Moore's bodyguard was arrested for carrying an unlicensed weapon in New York's JFK airport Wednesday night. Police took Patrick Burke, who says Moore employs him, into custody after he declared he was carrying a firearm at a ticket counter. Burke is licensed to carry a firearm in Florida and California, but not in New York. Burke was taken to Queens central booking and could potentially be charged with a felony for the incident. Moore's 2003 Oscar-winning film "Bowling for Columbine" criticizes what Moore calls America's "culture of fear" and its obsession with guns. So while Moore wants to deny the right of ordinary Americans to defend themselves with firearms, he has...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Washington Times Notices Wisconsin Voter Fraud, CQ

Large Bill alerted me to a Washington Times editorial from yesterday which shows that the Silence Of The Cheese may start to break out in the national media. The Times reacted to John Kerry's whining about supposed disenfranchisement in Ohio, where he lost by almost 120,000 votes, and his silence on the shenanigans in Milwaukee: At the same time, it's curious that Mr. Kerry should use Ohio as an example to trumpet his forthcoming legislation. Apparently, Mr. Kerry sees no evil in Wisconsin, where his margin of victory was 11,000 votes, and where the watchful bloggers at Captainsquartersblog.com have noticed some disturbing irregularities. Milwaukee County, which broke for Mr. Kerry 62 percent to 37 percent, saw voter turnout increase by just under 49,000 votes, or 10 percent, from 2000. For comparison, the national voter increase was 6.4 percent. A portion of that increase can be attributed to the 83,000 people...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Wisconsin Doesn't Follow Its Own Electoral Law

Greg Borokowski continues his dogged pursuit of the Wisconsin voting irregularities in 2004 for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, even though no one in the national media appears to notice, outside of the Washington Times. In today's paper, Borokowski reveals that despite having one of the most liberal and fraud-susceptible voter-registration systems in the country, the elections boards rarely refer invalid registrations to the district attorney's office: In the wake of Milwaukee's inability to send confirmation cards to some 10,000 newly registered voters, a Journal Sentinel review suggests that a little-discussed - but key - safeguard in election law is not routinely followed. The provision requires that any confirmation cards that the U.S. Postal Service cannot deliver be sent to the local district attorney's office for investigation for possible fraud. District attorneys from around the state said Wednesday, however, that they receive few such referrals - and some did not know it...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Inaugural Address: Brilliant And Historic

Unfortunately, I am buried in meetings today and could not listen to President Bush's inaugural speech, so I have to be satisfied with reading it from the White House site. I have not yet read any other reviews or commentary, so I have not yet been influenced by friends or opponents; nor have I heard the delivery, so I cannot know how well the words came across. But from reading the speech, I can only say that Bush's words will ring out as a clarion call for America to rise up and accept its mission of freedom for the world once again, for ourselves and the sake of humanity. One element of this speech that sets it apart from other such events is the lack of any mention of programs, bills, or specific ideological issues. The upcoming State of the Union speech will contain all that and more, I'm certain....

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

More Great Moments In British Education

As any parent can tell you, getting their child to do their homework amounts to a low-level war with a new battle every day. We have to hear about how "stupid" they find homework, while we try to both help them complete it and instill a work ethic children need to achieve success later on. While we may sometimes lose a battle or two, most parents know that they still have to win the overall war in order to ensure that their children get educated and have an opportunity to move on to college. Unfortunately, one British school has run the white flag up on maintaining standards in schooling: All 12-year-olds at a comprehensive will be told today that homework is being scrapped because teachers have better things to do than mark it. Dr Patrick Hazlewood, the head teacher of St John's in Marlborough, Wilts, who has already scrapped subject...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

ACLU Silences Its Internal Critics

In a move that normally would have the ACLU filing lawsuits on behalf of whistleblowers in any other organization, the whistleblowers find themselves at war with the ACLU's Board of Directors, according to the New York Times: The American Civil Liberties Union, which since its inception has fought to protect free speech rights, is scheduled to begin a debate today over whether to discipline - or potentially move to oust - two board members for speaking to reporters. The executive committee of the A.C.L.U. board will discuss whether Wendy Kaminer and Michael Meyers have acted inappropriately as board members. The two have criticized some actions by the executive director, Anthony D. Romero, and the executive committee for what they said was a failure to provide proper oversight. Nadine Strossen, president of the A.C.L.U., wrote in an e-mail message responding to a reporter's questions that the subject was added to the...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

January 21, 2005

Racine Election Officials Broke The Law: State Rep

While most of the focus of election fraud in Wisconsin has been on Milwaukee and its 30% same-day registration in two succeeding presidential elections, the smaller city of Racine also had its own problems. State representative Robin Vos accused Racine officials of ignoring electoral law by failing to even attempt the verification of same-day registrants as required by Wisconsin law: State Rep. Robin Vos accused the city of Racine on Wednesday of violating state law by failing to send out voter verification cards to people who registered to vote on the same day as the Nov. 2 election. "Racine County residents deserve fair and proper elections," Vos, R-Caledonia, said. "I'm disappointed to see that the city of Racine isn't doing everything possible to ensure this happens, especially when Wisconsin law requires it." Racine City Clerk Carolyn Moskonas, who was recently appointed to the position, confirmed Wednesday that the city doesn't...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Get Ready For The Cheesewash

Milwaukee city officials, under pressure for their handling of the flood of same-day voter registrations in the last two presidential elections, have now formed a panel to investigate the issue. However, Greg Borokowski reports that the independence of the city panel leaves a lot to be desired: Amid new questions about the Nov. 2 election in Milwaukee, a task force appointed by Mayor Tom Barrett to review problems and procedures will launch its efforts today. Members will dig into an election that featured heavy turnout, huge demand for early voting, a GOP challenge to thousands of addresses and, based on a Journal Sentinel review of election-day "incident logs," a general frenzy of activity across the city. But the committee - consisting entirely of city officials - faces critics who question whether it will be able to conduct an impartial review. As well they should; until the last moment, the panel...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Air Marshals Snow-Blindness Leaves America Unprotected

First we have the Federal Air Marshals making themselves obvious to anyone flying by wearing professional clothing on board flights, a highly visible target for any terrorists who want to commandeer a commercial flight. After we complained that the air marshals should blend in, we find out that they in fact disappear entirely when it snows: Hundreds of federal air marshals were grounded and unable to access critical information to pinpoint potential terrorist activity for eight hours on the eve of President Bush's inauguration after snow paralyzed the Mission Operations Center in Washington, said several air marshals and a supervisor. The marshals said they could not reach the Mission Operations Center (MOC) by telephone to be placed on other flights after hundreds of flights were rerouted because of the snow, and marshals seeking information on reports of a dirty bomb in Boston were unsuccessful. "They were flying blind," said the...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Get The Nuclear Option Ready

The Democrats in the Senate have signaled their intent on turning up the obstructionism that cost them their party leader last election, and the New York Times reports that the signal did not go unrecognized by Republicans: Republicans in Congress seethed Thursday over Democrats' refusal to allow a quick vote on Condoleezza Rice's confirmation as secretary of state, a dispute that provided a quick reality check about the partisan divide on Capitol Hill just hours after President Bush was sworn in. "If this is the kind of comity we can expect for the rest of the session, we are not getting off to a good start," said Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona, a member of the Republican leadership. "It is churlish." Senator John W. Warner, Republican of Virginia, said, "You want continuity in this country, and this is a senior cabinet minister." He added, "This didn't win them any merit...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

WaPo Buries Iraqi Enthusiasm

Despite the steady drumbeat of mainstream media analysts, the Iraqi people actually look forward to the opportunity to vote in the upcoming elections. A poll conducted by the International Republican Institute, part of Congress' National Endowment for Democracy, shows that over 80% of Iraqis plan on voting: The poll, conducted in late December and early January for the International Republican Institute, found 80 percent of respondents saying they were likely to vote, a rate that has held roughly steady for months. The 64 percent who said they were "very likely" to vote represented a dip of about 7 percentage points from a November survey, while those "somewhat likely" to vote increased 5 points. Western specialists involved with election preparations said they were struck by the determination and resilience of ordinary Iraqis as they anticipate their country's first free election in half a century. "Despite the efforts of the terrorists, Iraqis...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

The View From On High

A quick note: I see today that CQ has entered the TTLB Ecosystem's highest ranking today, with a new ranking of #9 now qualifying this blog as a Higher Being. I'm expecting that to change as links expire and other bloggers get hot stories, but I wanted to thank everyone in the CQ community and the bloggers who continually link back to us. What a rush!...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

ABC Gets Its Pound Of Corpse For Inauguration Coverage

Two days ago I posted about ABC's effort to find a military funeral taking place on Inauguration Day for a casualty from Iraq, presumably to "balance" the coverage of George Bush and his speech. Their web site invited anyone who knew of such a funeral to send the information to ABC News -- they even provided a web form for submission (and Doc Weasel has it better here) -- so that they could exploit the death in order to somehow shame Bush on his inauguration. After Power Line and I wrote about this and the blogosphere erupted into protest, the page quickly disappeared -- and we presumed that wiser heads at ABC News had prevailed. Unfortunately, it appears that we overestimated ABC's capacity for shame and embarrassment. Several CQ readers have written to me this morning (and The Corner also reports this) telling me that at the 6:12 break, World...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

The Spectre Of Specter Rises Again

Arlen Specter may find himself back on the hotseat again, according to The American Spectator (hat tip: CQ reader Caleb). Specter gained the chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee only after a brief but intense controversy stirred up by Specter's warning on judicial nominees to President Bush. Now his own hiring practices have come under attack after selecting a senior aide that has strong ties to the same groups that attacked Bush's nominees in the past: Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Arlen Specter went back on his word to Republican caucus members and conservative groups alike when he recently hired Hannibal G. Williams II Kemerer, who until recently was the NAACP's assistant general counsel. Specter hired Kemerer against the wishes of his senior Judiciary Committee staff. "We warned him this was going to cause trouble, but Specter said it was his committee, we are his staff, and he's going to do...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Snow Day

Minneapolis is getting five or more inches of snow as we speak, and I'm stuck at work across the city from home. If I wanted to go home, I'd have about a 3-hour drive ahead of me for an 18-mile trip. Right now the freeways out here are bumper to bumper parking lots. It's an unbelievable mess. My best friend North Star Steve, who also works in my office, is joining me for dinner instead of driving home (we both live in the same neighborhood as well). This is what the commute looks like at the moment: Normally it looks about the same, except all the cars are moving. These are basically parked. More later when I finally get home ... UPDATE: Yes, I finally made it! Of course, it was 9:15 when I finally got here, after spending an hour driving home. Let me tell you, if I knew...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Predicting A Win From The Bottom Of The Ninth

The recent surprise announcement of Spanish bishops of the Catholic Church in support of condom use to halt the spread of AIDS caused an uproar amongst the faithful around the world. Most have treated the debate with earnestness and thoughtfulness. Some have resorted to the absurd: Debate in Spain on the use of condoms to prevent the spread of Aids turned to farce yesterday when an 82-year-old Vatican loyalist vowed to die without ever using one. Manuel Fraga, the regional premier of Galicia and a former minister under Franco, backed the Vatican's stance against condoms. "I have spent my life telling the truth without condoms and I plan to die without ever having worn one,'' he said. How tough do you suppose that will be?...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

January 22, 2005

The Cheesewash Continues

One day after Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett announced the formation of an investigative panel to look into the potential fraud surrounding same-day registrations in the last presidential election, one of the commissioners he named demonstrated her open mind by ridiculing critics of her management of the vote: A week after questions arose over 10,000 voters who registered on election day but whose identity couldn't be confirmed with verification cards, Milwaukee's top election official declared Friday that the number is inaccurate because it is based on an estimate. Nonetheless, she could not provide an accurate count of how many people registered Nov. 2. "We didn't have 5,000 people who voted twice," Lisa Artison, executive director of the city Election Commission, told an elections task force. "We did not have 10,000 people who voted who shouldn't have voted." ... At the task force meeting, which Stone attended, Artison stressed that the 84,000...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Dr. Dobson Explains It A Little Better The Second Time Around

After a rash of criticism following his statements to a political gathering of Congressional heavyweights, Dr. James Dobson and Focus on the Family clarified their objections to the music video produced by the We Are Family Foundation. Instead of focusing on SpongeBob Squarepants, Dr. Dobson clearly states that his objection comes from the use of the video and its accompanying teaching material being presented in the schools outside of the control of parents: We applaud the ideal of championing to children the value and dignity of every human life as well as respect for our differences. What we vehemently object to is using these beloved characters to help advance an agenda that's beyond the comprehension of 6 and 7 year-old children, not to mention morally offensive to millions of moms and dads. The video in question is slated to be distributed to 61,000 public and private elementary schools throughout the...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Bush To Submit "Tough Budget"

President Bush, fresh off his re-election and spectacular inaugural address, plans on pushing his leanest budget yet for next year, according to the Washington Times: President Bush will propose a virtual freeze on overall non-defense discretionary spending in next year's budget and will abolish or consolidate wasteful, duplicative programs, according to administration budget officials. Deep spending cuts are slated for housing and community development block grants, scientific research, agriculture and veterans programs, among other departments and agencies that, along with higher tax revenue from a growing economy, could shrink last year's $400 billion deficit by more than $150 billion, said budget officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The officials said the budget will essentially freeze aggregate discretionary spending at this year's levels. Last year, Congress kept the rise in discretionary appropriations, excluding defense and homeland security, to less than 1 percent as Mr. Bush requested. But overall non-emergency...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Northern Alliance Radio Today

Don't forget to tune in the Northern Alliance Radio Network today at noon CT. If you're in the Twin Cities, you can hear us on AM 1280 The Patriot. Tonight, of course, is the Minnesota Organization of Bloggers event at Keegan's Pub in downtown Minneapolis, one of our sponsors. We'll be meeting people from 5 pm until whenever. If you're a blogger, a blog fan, or just want to get a drink tonight, come on down and meet the Northern Alliance gang! I'll be there, along with Mitch, The Elder, Saint Paul, King Banaian, and all of the MOB. Bring an appetite for Keegan's excellent Irish fare as well!...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Zarqawi Arrested?

The Jerusalem Post reports that Iraq's Interior Minister has suddenly gone coy about the latest rumors of an arrest of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the al-Qaeda terror chief in Iraq: Iraq's interior minister on Saturday refused to comment on rumors that the top terror leader in the country had been taken into custody. "I wouldn't like to comment for the time being," Interior Minister Falah al-Naqib said when asked about rumors that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi had been arrested. "Let's see. Maybe in the next few days we will make a comment about it." Pressing him, a reporter asked, "Does that mean he is in custody?" "No comment," the minister repeated. Keep your eyes peeled; I'll try to track more down on this story. Bear in mind that we've been down this road before and found nothing. The curious response of the Interior Minister -- the non-response response -- certainly sounds encouraging....

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

More Evidence Of Iraqi Enthusiasm

After the International Republican Institute released the results of a poll that showed a likely turnout of over 80% in the upcoming Iraqi elections, many news outlets responded with a yawn. The Washington Post covered the news but ran their story on page A13; many didn't bother to cover it at all. So I expect even less coverage of a Department of Defense statement that reports an Iraqi poll verifies the IRI data (via Kokonut Pundits): According to a public opinion survey in Iraq taken in early January, more than 90 percent of Iraqis believe it is important to vote in the election. A total of 82.9 percent said it was "very important," and 9.4 percent said it was "somewhat important." And what of the theological difference between the Shi'a and the Sunni? Apparently that has been exaggerated, according to the Iraqi pollsters: The breakdown along religious lines shows 70.1...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Another Great Way To Read Blog

You say you don't have time to read Blog: Understanding the Information Reformation That's Changing Your World by Hugh Hewitt, soon to be a best-seller? I'd tell you that even though the book is a brilliant look into the transformation of information markets, it's also incredibly accessible and very quick-paced, laced with the erudition and wit of its author that is evident in his radio show. But if you really mean that you simply cannot stop and read books the traditional way, readers can now order the upcoming audio CD of Hugh's book. Now you can get the skinny on how blogs have changed the dynamics of the media marketplace, decentralizing the flow of information from a small group of decisionmakers to the wide and diverse realm of the bloggers. For the first time since Guttenburg, technology has unleashed the consumers of information and put them in charge of its...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

The Anniversary Of Judicial Dictatorship

Today is the 32nd anniversary of the seminal Supreme Court decision Roe v Wade that raised abortion to the status of a "right" and paved the way for the destruction of 43 million fetuses. Thirty years later, this piece of judicial activism appears to hang in the balance of a re-elected conservative president with a Senate majority, but in truth abortion faces less danger than presumed: Coming just two days after George W. Bush's inauguration, Saturday's anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion is dominated by the hopes of one side and fears of the other that the president will try to overturn Roe v. Wade through appointments to fill expected high court vacancies. ... Anti-abortion lawmakers in Congress and several states, meanwhile, are introducing the latest in a wave of measures aimed at making it more daunting to obtain an abortion. The bills would require...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

January 23, 2005

Milwaukee Democrats To Face Felony Charges In Election-Day Conspiracy

Two sons of prominent Democratic polticians and three paid party activists will face felony charges as a result of a widely-publicized attempt to keep Republicans from voting on Election Day in Milwaukee. The charges will be filed on Monday, highlighting the other unrelated issues of voter fraud in Wisconsin's largest city and Democratic stronghold: The investigation into the Great Tire-Slashing Caper will end Monday with felony charges against the adult sons of two prominent Milwaukee politicians - U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore and former Acting Mayor Marvin Pratt. Sources close to the 83-day-old probe said Sowande Omokunde, Michael Pratt and three other paid Democratic activists will each be charged with a single felony count of criminal damage to property, legalese for vandalism. Omokunde, also known as Supreme Solar Allah, is the 25-year-old son of the rookie congresswoman. Pratt, 32, worked on Kerry's local campaign, which was chaired by his father. Pratt,...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Exhibit A Of Bush's Inaugural Address

In what should be seen as the first example of the new policies articulated in Bush's inaugural speech, Viktor Yushchenko assumed office as President of Ukraine today. As Yushchenko noted on his own inauguration, his presidency would not exist had it not been for countries like the United States dumping realpolitik to stand fast for democracy: Viktor Yushchenko became Ukraine's president Sunday and vowed to seek a full place in Europe for the people he led in a peaceful revolt against a rigged national election and pressure from Russia. Watched by Secretary of State Colin Powell, seven presidents of ex-communist states and relatively minor dignitaries from Moscow, Yushchenko took the oath of office in parliament to cap his two-month "Orange Revolution." ... "I want to assure you that you will continue to enjoy the full support of the American government and the American people as you move forward to undertake...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

First We're Stingy, And Now We Cause Corruption Through Generosity

I wish the United Nations would make up its mind. In the aftermath of the tsunami and its resultant devastation, UN undersecretary for disaster relief Jan Egeland called Western nations "stingy" in their assistance to poorer nations. Today, however, the UN released a report which blames the corruption endemic in their assistance programs on the money given them by the same group of wealthy nations: The ravages of modern warfare are too often compounded by ill-conceived and expensive post-war reconstruction projects that fuel a "feeding frenzy" of corruption and profiteering, according to a U.N.-funded report. The report, citing graft from Liberia and Bosnia-Herzegovina to Lebanon and Afghanistan, said the overwhelming international response after wars was simply to pump large amounts of money into rebuilding programs without proper control. "What is difficult enough to try to manage in times of peace becomes even more problematic in post-war situations where the sheer...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Dems Run GOP's Anti-Dean Playbook

How desperate are the Democrats to prevent Howard Dean from becoming chair of the Democratic National Committee? Desperate enough to validate practically every argument made by Republicans and conservative commentators during the early primary season in 2003-4, according to Howard Fineman in Newsweek today: Last week the search for a surefire Dean-stopper (if there is one) reached new levels, NEWSWEEK has learned, with several governorsamong them Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania and Bill Richardson of New Mexicotrying to gin up a last-ditch plan: let Dean be chairman, but confine his role to pure nuts-and-bolts duties by layering him with a new "general chairman" spokesman for the party. They abandoned the idea after realizing that they didn't have the votes to change the rulesand because the person they wanted to take the new role, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, told them she had no interest. That left the anti-Dean forces with only one...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Steelers Vs. Patriots: Live Blog

I'll be live-blogging the Steelers-Patriots game, a last-minute decision since I've not had particularly good nights when I've live-blogged my teams. (See Notre Dame vs USC, and talk to Folsom James, who's still laughing.) 5:45 - Patriots up 3-0 after a Ben Roethlisberger interception. The defense held the Pats to a single first down, but it was still good enough for the FG. 5:47 - Yeah, let's stick to the Bus for a while. 5:51 - Fourth and 1? Go for it! 5:52 - Dammit, quit listening to me. 5:53 - I should mention that the Philadelphia Eagles finally beat the hex and the Atlanta Falcons today, 27-10, finally advancing to the Super Bowl. I'm hoping for an all-Pennsylvania Super Bowl. Any Penn bloggers out there hoping for the same thing? 5:56 - 10-0 Pats after a pretty pass play down the middle. Yikes. 6:01 - Fourth and two? Don't...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Goodbye, Johnny

I found out earlier today that Johnny Carson passed away at 79 from emphysema. I haven't blogged about it as I couldn't immediately articulate my thoughts about Carson and his impact on our culture, or at least not in any way that hadn't already been written elsewhere. Like Mitch Berg, I came late to the Carson fan club, and at first his utter domination of late-night television appeared to me to spring from a lack of competition than anything Carson did. Sure, he could make me laugh, but lots of people make me laugh. I kept expecting someone to knock Carson from his perch, and I watched luminaries like Pat Sajak, Joan Rivers, Alan Thicke, and the execrable Chevy Chase (after Carson's retirement) try and fail miserably. Only Arsenio Hall managed to carve a niche against Carson, but only among an urban demographic Carson didn't reach anyway. During the 80s,...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

CNN: WaPo Report On Military Spy Unit Incorrect On Key Details

The Washington Post dropped a bombshell this morning with a report that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had formed a special intelligence unit in the armed forces that operated outside of CIA and Congressional oversight and reported directly to Rumsfeld. CNN now has a report confirming the existence of the intelligence unit, but contradicts the Post in several critical areas: He confirmed the SSB was formed after the September 11, 2001, attacks "to have as much flexibility as possible" and in response to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's ongoing concerns expressed at the highest levels of the department that the Pentagon did not have the capability to gather intelligence in the field on its own. The official confirmed that the SSB reports to Vice Admiral Lowell Jacoby, director of the DIA, but that policies are set by Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Stephen Cambone, one of Rumsfeld's most senior aides. ... When...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Abbas Gets Hamas And Islamic Jihad On Board: Guardian

New Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has reached an agreement with all three major terrorist organizations in the West Bank and Gaza to commit to a cease-fire if Israel halts counterterrorist activity in Palestinian areas, according to the Guardian (UK). Abbas warns that the agreement will not hold long if Israel does not agree to its terms: Hamas and Islamic Jihad have agreed to suspend attacks on Israel in order to give the new Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, time to secure international guarantees for a comprehensive ceasefire that would end more than four years of intifada. Mr Abbas told Palestinian television yesterday that it was "essential" that Israel reciprocate by ending its targeting of armed Islamist groups. He said he had made "significant" progress in talks with Hamas and Islamic Jihad and expected to reach a comprehensive agreement with them soon on an array of political and security issues that would...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

AQ Branches Out To Insurance Scams For Funding

In a sign that the global effort to dry up terrorist funding has had an impact, the Germans arrested two al-Qaeda operatives allegedly planning an attack in Iraq. Before the attack, however, one planned to fake his death in order to use insurance money to fund AQ operations: German police arrested two suspected al-Qaida members Sunday believed to have plotted a suicide attack in Iraq with a side venture in insurance fraud, taking out a policy on the suicide bomber to use the money to fund the terror organization. The chief suspect, 29-year-old Iraqi Ibrahim Mohamed K., is also believed to have tried to obtain nearly two ounces of uranium in Luxembourg. He also "played a not unimportant role in al-Qaida, because he showed signs of contact with Osama bin Laden and met with Ramzi Binalshibh," one of the plotters of the Sept. 11 terror attacks in the United...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

In The Face Of Evil: Reagan Retrospective Coming To DVD

Stacy Harp at Media Soul has launched a new initiative to market the upcoming DVD release of In The Face Of Evil, a 2004 documentary on Ronald Reagan. She's gathering a network of bloggers to publicize and sell the DVD to its readership. I have yet to see the documentary (full disclosure: I'm getting a complimentary copy), but I do look forward to it. I think that the mainstream media has ignored the Reagan legacy, and independent conservative documentarians will probably be the only way Reagan and his presidency gets any kind of realistic overview. Keep checking in at Media Soul. I'll let you know about the documentary when I get a chance to watch it....

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

January 24, 2005

Iraqis: No Shi'ite Clerics In Government

The New York Times reports today that another argument from the Left against the Bush Administration's efforts to spread democracy throughout Southwest Asia has collapsed. Before and after the Iraqi invasion, the media and the Left screeched warnings that free Iraqi elections would result in an Iranian-style mullahcracy seizing power. However, the largest umbrella Shi'ite political party in Iraq has now rejected theocratic rule: The senior leaders of the United Iraqi Alliance, the coalition of mostly Shiite groups that is poised to capture the most votes in the election next Sunday, have agreed that the Iraqi whom they nominate to be the country's next prime minister would be a lay person, not an Islamic cleric. The Shiite leaders say there is a similar but less formal agreement that clerics will also be excluded from running the government ministries. "There will be no turbans in the government," said Adnan Ali, a...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Babsy's Crying (Again)

Barbara Boxer must run through cases of Kleenex every week, crying her eyes out over the oddest issues. The tears this week come from her claims of victimhood at the hands of Condoleezza Rice after last week's confirmation hearings. Boxer claims that Rice "attacked" her when all Babs wanted was a nice, friendly little chat: Sen. Barbara Boxer says she is the real victim of last week's confirmation hearing for Secretary of State-designate Condoleezza Rice, yet continued yesterday to question the national security adviser's honesty. "She turned and attacked me," the California Democrat told CNN's "Late Edition" in describing the confrontation during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing. "I gave Dr. Rice many opportunities to address specific issues. Instead, she said I was impugning her integrity," Mrs. Boxer said. Did Rice beat up on poor, sensitive Babs in an unkind manner? Let's go to the transcripts, shall we, and see...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Hillary Can't Find Leadership Under Her Upturned Nose

Hillary Clinton told a Florida audience that America's leaders lack vision, scant days after one of the most inspiring and visionary inaugural speeches in decades. Laughably, she turned to her husband as an example of what America needs: "I don't see that thoughtful, visionary direction that got us where we are today," she told the crowd of hundreds. "The history of America is... to make sacrifices today for a better tomorrow. The progress that then occurred moved everyone forward. "That progress is at risk today," she said. President Dwight D. Eisenhower left a legacy of highways, John F. Kennedy the excitement over space exploration, and Lyndon B. Johnson created the legal framework for civil rights, Clinton said. "What are we investing in today?" "I believe that on both political and substantive grounds, my husband did it just right," she said, referring to former President Clinton. "The deficit reduction act didn't...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

No Explanation For Weeping Madonna: Panel

Despite my status as a practicing Catholic (definition of practicing: one who struggles to get it right), I do not usually put much stock in the more mystical aspects of my religion. The Age of Miracles seems to me a distant set of events from which we are meant to draw meaning, comfort, and inspiration. I tend to emulate Doubting Thomas when told of modern-day events. That approach, on rare occasions, gets jolted by events that defy explanation. The AP reports on one such potential development in Italy, where scientists and theologians alike can provide no explanation of a statue of Mary that appeared to cry human blood for tears: A review of the probe into a statue of the Madonna said to have shed tears of blood a decade ago concluded that the phenomenon has no human explanation, a newspaper reported Sunday. The Civitavecchia diocese ordered theologians, historians and...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Two More Zarqawi Lieutenants Captured

The Iraqi government announced today that they captured a key lieutenant of terrorist mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi last month -- a man responsible for dozens of car-bombings in the Sunni Triangle: Iraqi forces have captured one of al Qaeda ally Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's top bomb-makers in Iraq, the prime minister's spokesman said Monday. Sami Mohammed al-Jafi, known as Abu Omar al-Kurdi, is accused of being behind some 32 car bombings since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, it said. ... Iraqi forces said they also captured another insurgent earlier this month, Nayef Abbas al-Zubaydi, who heads the Abu Talha group linked to the Jordanian militant Zarqawi in the lawless northern city of Mosul, Naqib said. Zubaydi, known as Abu Moawiya, was captured barely two weeks after the arrest of the previous leader of the group, Zain Abdallah Salah Khalaf al-Jib, or Abu Karam. The rate of captures in Iraq continues to...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

University Of Oregon: No Support For Troops On Campus

One of the most tepid and meaningless phrases that has sprung up during the war on terror has been "Support The Troops". Both sides of the partisan divide claim to "support the troops," even while some on one side continually denigrate their mission and demand a retreat. The phrase itself has enough generality to be imbued with almost any meaning desired. Now, however, even that thin cheer for our men and women on the front has come under attack at the University of Oregon. After a single complaint, the university's administration ordered all school vehicles freed of the magnetic "Support The Troops" ribbons that have enjoyed popularity among a wide swath of the public (via Kevin McCullough, ellipses in original): A yellow ribbon sticker that says "Support The Troops" has created a big stir at the University of Oregon. A day after a campus employee was told to remove the...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Shawcross Calls Out The West

William Shawcross launches an attack on so-called democrats who remain AWOL on the upcoming Iraqi elections in today's Guardian (UK). Shawcross goes directly to the heart of the issue -- which side are these people on? Just look at who is trying to stop Iraqis voting and by what methods. That alone shows how important this week's elections are to Iraq. The horrific war against the Iraqi people is being run by the same people who oppressed and tortured them for decades - Saddam's henchmen and gaolers. They are more than ably abetted by the Islamofascist jihadists led by Osama bin Laden's Heydrich in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Elections really do matter to people - especially to people who have been denied them. We saw that in 1993 when millions of Cambodians braved threats from the Khmer Rouge. We saw it in Algeria in 1995, when the government, almost overcome...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Dems Wooing Popular Candidate For Run Against Santorum

Democratic heavyweights have apparently settled on their first choice to run against Senator Rick Santorum in 2006, probably the most vulnerable of the GOP caucus up for re-election in the midterms. Yesterday's Tribune-Review reported that Senators Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer have encouraged Pennsylvania stats treasurer Robert Casey, Jr. to toss his hat into the ring: Based largely on the fact that Casey received 3.35 million votes in the treasurer election in November -- the largest vote total for any candidate running for any office in state history -- Casey is being wooed to run by some heavyweight Dems. The Philadelphia Daily News reported last week that Casey has been contacted by U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee head Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York. Casey also is slated to discuss a possible Senate campaign this week with [Governor Ed] Rendell. Santorum may...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Me! Me! I'm Unintelligible! No, I Am!

Hugh Hewitt traveled to New York, braving hours of delay, to make two short appearances on national TV this morning. He first appeared on Fox and Friends, which I think I TiVo'd for later viewing. Hugh went from there to CNN and an appearance on American Morning. Unfortunately, his appearance there was all too brief: HEWITT: Well, I've been a broadcast journalists for 15 years. I've worked in print and television and radio. And the blogosphere is by far the most accurate and the most objective in terms of accountability. Because the moment you make a mistake, you get jumped on by your colleagues and your adversaries in the blogosphere. Dan Rather got brought down by bloggers. O'BRIEN: I was going to ask you about that. HEWITT: Yes. Powerline found it. A number of us jumped on to the story, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and others. All right -- who wants to take...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Did Andy Rooney Confirm Rather Bias?

Howard Kurtz reports in his Media Notes column that veteran CBS correspondent Tom Fenton pulls few punches in his upcoming book Bad News, including shots across the bow of Dan Rather himself: The book's instant headlines will probably come from "60 Minutes" commentator Andy Rooney, who tells Fenton there is "no question" the media are liberal and takes a swipe at Rather: "I think Dan has been -- I don't know why; he may not be as smart as they think -- but he has been so blatantly one-sided. . . . He uses little words that are absolute clues, giveaways to his political opinions. Like saying 'Bush,' instead of 'President Bush' or 'Mr. Bush.' . . . A couple of years ago I heard him refer to 'Bush's cronies.' Well, Jesus, 'cronies' -- oh dear!" That's more than the CBS investigative panel ever said about Memogate's root cause. I...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Mussolini Willingly Assisted The Holocaust: Book

A new book by Italian historian Michael Sarfatti may change the conventional wisdom that Benito Mussolini only grudgingly assisted Hitler in his genocide against the Jews. The London Telegraph reports that newly-discovered correspondence between Il Duce and the Fascisti of Salo shows that Mussolini understood exactly what would happen to the Jews he sent there, and enthusiastically continued to do so: Rather than being a reluctant participant in the Holocaust, The Shoah of Italy argues that "Il Duce" forged a secret deal with Hitler to hand Jews to the SS and was far more anti-semitic than once thought. Mussolini was voicing anti-semitic views as early as 1936 and his Racial Laws of 1938 reflected the regime's "biological racism", the book's author, Michele Sarfatti, claims. Until now, the passing of the laws that made Jews second-class citizens has been written off as an attempt to curry favour with the Fhrer. ......

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

American Medical Advances Causes Infant Mortality Rate Hiccup

Two weeks ago, Nicholas Kristof wrote a column on the first increase in the American infant-mortality rate in decades, taking the opportunity to excoriate Americans and the Bush administration as uncaring and unresponsive to the deaths of children. He compared the US unfavorably with Cuba and China, conveniently forgetting that the former hardly has a track record in reliability and the latter routinely kills babies as part of a forcible one-child policy. At the time, I posted a harsh critique of Kristof's use of statistics and his overall argument. Some commenters postulated that the aggressive nature of American perinatal care created more opportunity for infants to survive just long enough to be counted as neonatal fatalities when they die just after birth. Now Steve at Secure Liberty notes that the Center for Disease Control has come to that same conclusion: Overall, there were 27,970 infant deaths in 2002 compared with...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

January 25, 2005

Invalid Addresses Add To Milwaukee's Voter Irregularities

Greg Borowski at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has conducted a review of votes cast in the last presidential election and found that over 1,200 of them came from voters at non-existent addresses. These votes add to the total of the same-day registrants whom the city cannot verify, raising even more questions about the competency of city election officials: A review of Milwaukee voting records from the Nov. 2 presidential election has found more than 1,200 ballots cast from invalid addresses in the city, including many cases in which the voter could not be located at all. ... The newspapers review, the most extensive analysis done so far of the election, revealed 1,242 votes coming from a total of 1,135 invalid addresses. That is, in some cases more than one person is listed as voting from the address. Of the 1,242 voters with invalid addresses, 75% registered on site on election day,...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Senate Democrats Extend Obstructionism To Cabinet Appointments

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid apparently learned nothing from his predecessor's defeat in last year's elections. The Democratic minority has decided to express its frustration at the marginalization they inflicted upon themselves by imbibing in the hair of the dog that bit them: Trying to show that they remain a force despite their reduced numbers, Senate Democrats on Monday threatened new hurdles for President Bush's cabinet choices and expressed deep misgivings about the planned Social Security changes at the heart of this year's Republican agenda. Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota said he was mulling whether to try to stall consideration of Michael O. Leavitt, Mr. Bush's choice for health secretary, unless Mr. Dorgan was guaranteed a vote on allowing importation of cheaper prescription drugs. In addition, a growing number of Democrats are raising issues about the selection of Alberto R. Gonzales as attorney general, a nomination initially headed for...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Truly Tasteless Tsunami Tackiness

The FCC should investigate the use of public airwaves to air racist and just plain tasteless material by New York City's HOT 97, which repeatedly aired a disgusting parody of tsunami victims to outraged audiences (via Drudge): A New York radio station apologized on Monday for repeatedly airing a joke song that ridiculed victims of the recent tsunami in South Asia and used racial slurs, saying the piece was in poor taste. New York FM radio station WQHT, or HOT 97, ran the segment on its "Miss Jones in the Morning" show. The piece used racial slurs to describe people swept away in the disaster, made jokes about child slavery and people watching their mothers die. "You can hear God laughing, 'Swim you bitches swim,'" was one line in the song. Or maybe we should just cut them a break. After all, it isn't like a quarter of a million...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Fundraising Effort Behind Oregon U's Sticker Ban?

Kevin McCullough remains on the story from the University of Oregon, where school administrators forced an employee to remove a "Support the Troops" sticker from his campus truck, claiming it violated their ban on political speech. That assertion fell apart yesterday and the question of Oregon's motivation remained open. Now, Kevin sees that Oregon has embarked on an ambitious fun-raising drive, and thinks that the university known as the Berkely of the North wants to establish its leftist credentials in order to boost donations: On Sunday - the University of Oregon went public on its goal of seeking donations in record form - 600 million. The univeristy's own press release calls it "the most ambitious in state history": "The University of Oregon has a long and proud tradition of competing with the best, but competing is not enough -- we must excel," said Frohnmayer, who made the announcement at news...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Senate GOP Agenda Missing Illegal Immigration And Gay Marriage

The conservative wing of the GOP will not delight in the Senate's agenda for this session of Congress. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist left illegal immigration and gay marriage of of the list of top Republican issues: Senate Republican leaders outlined their 10 top legislative priorities yesterday, focusing mainly on cutting taxes and restructuring Social Security. But two notable omissions -- changes to immigration laws and a ban on same-sex marriage -- underscored tensions with their conservative wing. ... The Senate Republicans' top 10 list calls for adding private accounts to Social Security, extending President Bush's tax cuts, limiting personal-injury lawsuits and expanding domestic oil exploration. But GOP Senate leaders moved cautiously on more contentious issues, including abortion, same-sex marriage and immigration. This will be news to conservatives like Rep. James Sensenbrenner, who eventually signed onto the 9/11 Commission "reforms" even though they included nothing about illegal immigration. The Bush...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Who Knew The Oscars Were More Balanced Than The Media?

The AMPAS announced the Oscar nominations this morning, and ironically enough, neither film championed by the right and left got nominated for Best Picture. The Passion of the Christ wound up with three nominations, for best score, cinematography, and make-up. Fahrenheit 9/11 got nada, spurned by the Academy after Michael Moore deliberately held the film out of the feature-length documentary category. Who knew the Academy was so balanced in their approach?...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

A Preview Of The Insurgency's Plan To Disrupt Elections

A friend of CQ forwarded an e-mail from a family member serving in Iraq and working on the elections slated for Sunday. In his e-mail, he alerted his friends and family to these instructions on the Arabic forum "Lion's Den" frequented by terrorists and their sympathizers, giving instructions on how to disrupt polling on January 30. None of the following is terribly surprising, but it shows how sophisticated and detailed their plans have become. "Mudad Iluj" instructed the Iraqi dead-enders last January 1 on specific tasks to wreak havoc: My brothers the mujahidin in the Land of the Two Rivers. This is how you should participate in the upcoming elections on 30 January. A practical and clear plan to disrupt and distort [the results of] the Iraqi elections. I know that the mujahidin brothers in Iraq know what they are doing but since they have not witnessed the elections process...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Temper Tantrum Continues In Full Senate

As hard as I tried, I just couldn't get worked up about the day-long temper tantrum staged by the Senate Democrats in today's debate for the confirmation of Condoleezza Rice. Yes, the debate wasted time and money that could have been put to better use -- but probably wouldn't have been. The Democrats called Rice a liar and a Bush stooge, but that's been their level of rhetoric for two years now, and continually pointing it out grows wearisome. After a while, I have to start finding humor in the fact that the Democratic leadership has become so clueless as to completely miss the fact that they just staged a day-long parody of their last presidential campaign. It confirms for the American public that the Democrats have learned nothing from three successive electoral-cycle defeats and are likely to learn nothing after the next one, either. So, let's move on to...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Ready To Vote In The Sunni Triangle

CNN reports on a town that most other mainstream journalists seem to have missed in their reporting from Iraq. Nine miles from the former heart of the insurgency, the town ironically named Karma intends to prove that Iraqis are ready for democracy: The concept of democracy appears to have taken root in the dusty town of Karma, a predominantly Sunni community of 75,000 people about nine miles (15 kilometers) northeast of Falluja. ... Although most say they don't know who the candidates are or where to go to vote, they say they will vote come January 30. Shakir Jiyad Aswad, father of 10, said Karma residents want to elect a nationalist, someone to preserve religion and defend holy places. "We want one Iraq," he said. "I'll probably vote for [Iraq's interim President Ghazi] al-Yawar." ... Farther down the road, Iraqis are also preoccupied with what's lacking. They tell Col. Tucker...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Gallagher: Not Another Williams

Drudge reported earlier tonight that conservative columnist Maggie Gallagher took money from the Department of Health and Human Services to promote George Bush's marriage initiatives, mirroring the Armstrong Williams scandal. Drudge got a head start on the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz and tried to scoop him. Unfortunately, Drudge screwed up the report by excerpting passages out of context, and in doing so, created an unfortunate backlash against Maggie Gallagher. The real Kurtz report makes the differences between Gallagher and Williams clear: Gallagher failed to mention that she had a $21,500 contract with the Department of Health and Human Services to help promote the president's proposal. Her work under the contract, which ran from January through October 2002, included drafting a magazine article for the HHS official overseeing the initiative, writing brochures for the program and conducting a briefing for department officials. ... Gallagher received an additional $20,000 from the Bush...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

January 26, 2005

Milwaukee Election Office Reneged On False-Address Agreement

Milwaukee's Elections Commission reneged on a settlement with the Wisconsin GOP to block voting from scores of non-existent city addresses, Greg Borowski reports in today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Lisa Artison finds herself in the middle of another controversy about the mishandling of the presidential election with the revelation: The votes came from addresses that were among 5,619 the state Republican Party challenged less than a week before the election as non-existent. The city Election Commission rejected the claim, saying the party hadn't met the high legal standard for removing names from poll lists. That led GOP officials to question Tuesday whether the city complied with its later agreement to have poll workers seek identification from anyone who attempted to vote from those addresses. "I don't think there should have been anyone voting from the 5,600 addresses," state GOP chairman Rick Graber said. "We had an understanding. We had an agreement. For...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Islamist Terrorists Start Their Election Playbook

The Zarqawi-led terrorist insurgency started running its game plan today as outlined in a missive from an Arabic Internet forum, attacking polling stations in areas where they hope to suppress the Sunni vote especially and discredit the election results: Insurgents staged attacks against U.S. forces, schools to be used as polling stations and political party offices on Wednesday, as they pressed a bloody campaign to undermine Iraq's weekend elections. A U.S. Marine transport helicopter crashed in western Iraq. Three car bombs exploded Wednesday in Riyadh, a tense town north of Baghdad, killing at least five people, including three policemen. One of the car bombs targeted a U.S. convoy but there was no report of casualties, police said. ... U.S. troops found at least six bombs at different locations around Baghdad, the military said. Iraqi police discovered two more bombs in the Shiite holy city of Najaf, where turnout in the...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

CBS Documents Expert Outraged At "Defamation"

Expect to see this potential explosion of embarrassment settled out of court. Marcel Matley, the documents examiner that CBS dragged in front of them as a human shield in the days following the Memogate report, claims that the Thornburgh-Boccardi panel report defames him and has caused him professional damage: Marcel Matley, one of four document experts consulted by CBS News while reporting its Sept. 8, 2004, report on Bush, is demanding a slew of corrections in the report, which was issued earlier this month. In an interview with E&P, he referred to the report's treatment of him as "defamation." ... In an e-mail to Thornburgh's office on Jan. 13, obtained by E&P, Matley criticized the report as containing "certain incorrect statements affecting me and which are derogatory and/or damaging to me professionally." He also asks that the panel issue corrections for each of the errors he contends are in the...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Saudis Funding Iraqi Media For Propaganda?

The Guardian (UK) reports on documents filed as part of a slander case in London which show millions of pounds transferred from the Saudi royal family to the "Rupert Murdoch of Iraq," the first independent Iraqi media mogul. At question is the motives of Saad Al-Bazzaz in publishing untrue stories about the wife of a Qatar emir in 2001: Iraq's first independent media mogul has been running his empire with millions of pounds secretly provided by the Saudi regime, according to allegations made in the high court in London. Based on documents lodged with the court, Saad Al-Bazzaz - dubbed the Rupert Murdoch of Iraq - was alleged to have received the money for the launch of his newspaper Azzaman, which is now the most widely read daily in Iraq. Mr Bazzaz also controls Iraq's first private satellite TV channel. The papers emerged during a libel action in which Mr...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

McCain: Democrats "Sore Losers"

As Condoleezza Rice finally won her confirmation for Secretary of State despite the hijacking of the process for Democrats to extend their failed 2004 presidential campaign on the Senate floor, John McCain delivered the scolding that perhaps only he had the stature and the spine to dole out: On the Senate floor Wednesday, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., suggested Democrats are sore losers. Rice had enough votes to win confirmation, as even her Democratic critics acknowledge, McCain said. "So I wonder why we are starting this new Congress with a protracted debate about a foregone conclusion," McCain said. Since Rice is qualified for the job, he said, "I can only conclude that we are doing this for no other reason than because of lingering bitterness over the outcome of the election." Rice eventually received 85 votes to confirm, with 13 votes against, the highest number ever for a Secretary of State....

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

New Evangelical Blog Awards!

Reverend Eric at the Evangelical Underground informs me this afternoon that he will be hosting the 1st Annual Evangelical Blog Awards. Fans of evangelical blogs should definitely put in their nominations in the 10 categories. Nominations will remain open until February 14th, and voting on finalists will go from February 16-18. Be sure to check out the site often -- and also those blogs you may not have read before!...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

The New York Times Responds On Biden, Rice

Last week, the New York Times published an editorial cheering the treatment given to Condoleezza Rice by Senator Barbara Boxer and to a lesser extent Senator Joe Biden during her confirmation hearings. While most of the editorial stayed in the safe zone of opinion, albeit a rather childish one, one passage in which the Times quoted Biden in order to accuse Rice of dishonesty was so inaccurate that I wrote public editor Daniel Okrent requesting a correction. This was what the Times wrote: Senator Joseph Biden, Democrat of Delaware, asked Ms. Rice how big an Iraqi security force had actually been trained. When Ms. Rice, the national security adviser, offered an absurdly inflated 120,000, Mr. Biden said the people doing the training put the total at 4,000. He then suggested that Ms. Rice "pick up the phone or go see these folks," as if that has not been her job...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

To Be Or Not, Homey

Andrew Lloyd Webber, the creator of a string of hit musicals that have delighted audiences around the globe, reportedly wants to sell his four West End theaters, and one of the people interested in buying them is American Sean "Puffy" Combs. Rumor has it that Combs wants to convert the theaters into hip-hop nightclubs. However, in the best traditions of British satire, Alexis Petridis writes a howler of a parody about what P. Diddy might do with the jewels of West End theater in The Guardian: The season, entitled We Invented the Theatre, contains what Combs describes as "classic drama, adapted by one of the all-time great hip-hop lyricists, producers and performers - I mention no names - to reflect the hustle and the game in 2005. We got 'Tis Pity She's a Ho. We got Hamlet, but we kind of moved the action from Denmark to NYC, and shifted...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

The Cheese Is Not Silent Now

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has a flash announcement on their website that local, state, and federal resources will combine to investigate voter fraud in Milwaukee in November 2004: Local and federal law enforcement authorities are finalizing a task force that is to look into potential fraud in Milwaukee in the Nov. 2 election, sources confirmed today. The details are being worked out between Milwaukee County District Attorney E. Michael McCann, U.S. Attorney Steve Biskupic, Milwaukee Police Chief Nannette Hegerty and the local office of the FBI. The task force comes in the wake of Journal Sentinel revelations that more than 1,200 votes came from invalid addresses and that there were other problems with how the election was run in the city. Greg Borowski promises more in tomorrow's edition. I suspect that Lisa Artison may have a sleepless night tonight. (via Power Line) UPDATE: The story has been updated at the link...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

January 27, 2005

Friedman: Listen -- To The Same Old Song

Thomas Friedman advises George Bush to make a silent tour of Europe when he meets with leaders on the Continent in February. Friedman believes that the only way for Bush to get people to like him is for the President of the United States to do his Marcel Marceau impression: Let me put this as bluntly as I can: There is nothing that the Europeans want to hear from George Bush, there is nothing that they will listen to from George Bush that will change their minds about him or the Iraq war or U.S. foreign policy. Mr. Bush is more widely and deeply disliked in Europe than any U.S. president in history. Some people here must have a good thing to say about him, but I haven't met them yet. In such an environment, the only thing that Mr. Bush could do to change people's minds about him would...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

WaPo Playing Petty Games With Inaugural Speech

Rarely will readers experience the level of intellectual dishonesty that Glenn Kessler and Scott Wilson reach in their report today on a jailed Jordanian dissenter and President Bush's reaction to a question about him. During his press conference, a reporter asked the president about Ali Hattar, currently jailed on slander charges in Jordan: President Bush was stumped yesterday when he was asked at his news conference about the plight of a Jordanian man who faces a two-year prison term for slander after giving a lecture last month calling for a boycott of American goods and companies. "I'm unaware of the case," he said. The circumstances are somewhat murky, but in many ways the case signifies the difficult choices and trade-offs inherent in Bush's call in his inaugural address for the right to dissent and protest around the world. ... "Freedom has to include the freedom to criticize the United States,"...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Sensenbrenner Pushes Border Security

In response to the omission of border security from the Senate GOP's agenda, James Sensenbrenner has taken up the slack in the House. The Los Angeles Times reports that Sensenbrenner will force the White House to honor its pledge to him over the compromise in last year's intelligence reorganization by supporting border-security improvements in this session: In a move that could put him at odds with President Bush, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee introduced legislation Wednesday that would effectively deny driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants, tighten requirements for political asylum and complete the border fence between California and Mexico. Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.) said the measures would help secure the nation from attacks like those carried out by Al Qaeda on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. He unveiled his legislation shortly after Bush, at a White House news conference, reaffirmed that immigration reform was...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

DHS Dumps Civil Service For Performance-Based System

The Department of Homeland Security will jettison its civil-service pay system in favor of a performance-based compensation and evaluation system, starting next January, according to the Washington Post. The move comes two years after the issue caused former Senator Max Cleland to hold up passage of the bill creating DHS in a futile attempt to block such a move, eventually costing Cleland his Senate seat: The Bush administration unveiled a new personnel system for the Department of Homeland Security yesterday that will dramatically change the way workers are paid, promoted, deployed and disciplined -- and soon the White House will ask Congress to grant all federal agencies similar authority to rewrite civil service rules governing their employees. The new system will replace the half-century-old General Schedule, with its familiar 15 pay grades and raises based on time in a job, and install a system that more directly bases pay on...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Shafer Misses The Revolution

Jack Shafer writes today at Slate that blogs have received too much attention as a revolutionary device in communications. He argues that similar technological advances have occurred in communications before, hyped as the One True Change that would topple media empires, only to find that they had little effect at all: A long, long time agoOK, it was 33 years agoMichael Shamberg and a clutch of other video visionaries from the Raindance Corporation visited my college campus to preach their gospel of the coming media apocalypse. Waving a copy his book Guerrilla Television, Shamberg prophesied that the Sony Porta-Pakan ungainly video camera wired to a luggage-size tape deck carried over the shoulderwould herald a media revolution greater than the one fomented by Gutenberg's moveable type. Once the People got their hands on the video power and started making decentralized, alternative media, the network news programs would collapse under the weight...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

When Corporations Go Insane, Government Will Follow

Normally I don't have a tremendous amount of sympathy for smokers. I used to smoke cigarettes for several years and gave it up when I got engaged to the First Mate (although I wasn't much of a nicotine addict -- I'd go through one or two packs a month on average). I still smoke an occasional cigar. Even when I smoked, I considered it a silly, self-destructive habit. However, it remains a fully legal self-destructive habit, and as long as people smoke in their own space and don't toss their refuse all over the place, I have no issue with silly choices. The BBC reports that a Michigan health-care company feels otherwise and wants to not only ban smoking from its premises, but require that its employees do not smoke anywhere else either: Four workers in the United States have been sacked after refusing to take a test to determine...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Memogate Three Still At CBS

The New York Post notes that the three people asked to resign in the wake of the Thornburgh-Boccardi investigation into Memogate still have yet to comply: THE three CBS News execs asked to resign earlier this month over the embarrassing Memogate scandal still haven't quit. Instead, they've hired lawyers. Unlike veteran producer Mary Mapes who was fired outright for using bogus documents in a George Bush-bashing Dan Rather report on "60 Minutes" the three were asked for their resignations. CBS is still waiting. According to the Post's blurb, their lawyers are still negotiating their exit from the network or laying the groundwork for wrongful-termination lawsuits -- probably both. CBS cannot afford to go to court over Memogate and have their internal probe and documents fully revealed, and so we can expect that either the request for resignations gets withdrawn or the three will have the means to live...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Gaza Going For Hamas Instead Of Abbas

The BBC reports that in early exit polling, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have elected Hamas majorities in local councils. These results would appear to offer a surprising repudiation to the newly-elected president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas: The Palestinian militant group Hamas is reported to have done well in local elections in the Gaza Strip. One exit poll indicates that it is likely to take three out of the four biggest districts in territory. ... Opinions polls suggest that Hamas - which also runs charities and is regarded by many Palestinians as untainted by corruption - has about 25% support. Just over a third of Gaza's councils are being contested, and turnout is reported to have been high. The government will release official results tomorrow, although the Abbas administration already disputes the exit polling. A Hamas victory in Gaza on the scope that the BBC describes will communicate...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

January 28, 2005

Milwaukee Can't Account For Gap

Lisa Artison keeps digging the hole deeper in Milwaukee. The Milwaukee election commission announced yesterday that they have determined that 1,305 same-day voter registrations from the November 2 election could not be verified, instead of the 10,000 estimate Artison reported earlier. However, as the Journal-Sentinel's Greg Borowski reports, that leaves over 7,000 more votes than registered voters in Milwaukee: Milwaukee officials said Thursday that 1,305 same-day voter registration cards from the Nov. 2 election could not be processed, including more than 500 cases where voters listed no address and dozens more where no name was written on the card. But the revelation of the actual number of cards that couldn't be processed, far lower than previous estimates of 8,300 or more, raised new concerns, because it leaves a clear gap of more than 7,000 people who voted on Nov. 2 and cannot be accounted for in city records. An audit...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

More Evidence Of Iraqi Enthusiasm, Part II

The news of Iraqi enthusiasm in advance of their first free elections after decades of oppression keep leaking through the indifference of the mainstream media. In this case, the Times of London sent their correspondent, Richard Beeston, to Baghdad in order to gauge public sentiment. Surprisingly, he reports a palpable sense of historical change: FOR decades, voting in Iraq meant taking part in a national exercise of state-enforced adulation, as 99 per cent of the electorate would dutifully turn out to tick the box beside the name Saddam Hussein. Yesterday the contrast could not have been starker, as the campaign for Sundays elections picked up pace and voters were presented with a dizzying selection of dozens of candidates and parties. Notwithstanding insurgent terror aimed at wrecking the polls, there is finally a palpable sense in Baghdad, and other Iraqi cities, that the country is entering a new era. ... I...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Zarqawi Network Collapse Continuing

The Iraqi government announced the capture of two more lieutenants of terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi today as the Coalition continues to roll up Zarqawi's networks. The Iraqis say one of the men was Zarqawi's chief operational officer for Baghdad: The government on Friday announced the arrests of two close associates of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, including the chief of the terror mastermind's Baghdad operation. The announcement came two days before historic elections that extremists have vowed to subvert. ... Qassim Dawoud, a top security adviser, told reporters that the arrests of the al-Zarqawi lieutenants occurred in mid-January but gave few details. Dawoud said one of the men, Salah Suleiman al-Loheibi, headed al-Zarqawi's Baghdad operation and had met with the Jordanian-born terror leader more than 40 times over three months. The other was identified as Ali Hamad Yassin al-Issawi. The announcement brings to three the number of purported al-Zarqawi lieutenants arrested...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

I Didn't Know Al Gore Was British

The inventor of the World Wide Web received an award for outstanding achievement in science and technology for Britons, the London Telegraph reports this morning. Imagine my surprise to find out that Al Gore is British! Actually, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who first engineered the architecture of HTML and created the first browser that launched the commercial Internet, received the first annual honor that promotes British achievement: Sir Tim, 49, who now lives and works in America, where he heads the World Wide Web Consortium, accepted his accolade by video link. In an interview with The Telegraph, he said he was "chuffed to bits'' to win the first of what is intended to be an annual award. The internet had already been in existence for 20 years when Sir Tim, a physicist then working in Geneva, developed the web in 1991 as a way of enabling people to share information. Despite...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Just How Much Juice Has Abbas Got?

Gaza held its local council elections, the first elections ever that included the terrorist group Hamas as a political organization. After boycotting the presidential election earlier this month, these council elections promised to give a better look at the internal politics of the Palestinians. As I reported last night, the Hamas candidate appeared poised to win big, and the BBC confirms that Hamas took over two-thirds of the seats it contested: Palestinian militant group Hamas has won a huge victory in local polls in Gaza, unofficial results indicate. Seen in Israel as a terrorist group, Hamas appears to have won roughly two-thirds of the seats it contested. ... In elections held in 10 districts of Gaza this week, Hamas appears to have won 77 out of 118 seats. The ruling Fatah faction of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas won 26 seats. The BBC is quick to caution that these elections were...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Oregon U's Sticker-Ban Update

Kevin McCullough has a fresh column out on WND updating his readers on the University of Oregon decision to ban "Support Our Troops" magnetic stickers on university vehicles. Apparently, the outcry has had quite an impact on the administration: The university also admitted the situation had created a public-relations problem (as was cited in the New York Times) but believed it to be based on less-than-factual accounts being reported by said talk-radio shows and blogs. (This was complete nonsense as even a minimal reading of the blog coverage proves.) Additionally, the university said "someone" had "yellow ribboned" the trees encircling the administration building. And when asked what would happen to the ribbons on those trees the university said plainly that they did not break the rules so they would be allowed to remain up. On Wednesday afternoon, "William the brave" as he is now called, turned whistleblower on the university....

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Smoking Something At The UN

In yet another example of moral obtuseness, the UN's "special rapporteur" of human rights in Southwest Asia has accused Israel of war crimes, apartheid, and insists that Israel will remain an occupying power in Gaza even after Israel pulls out: International law will continue to view Israel as an occupying force in Gaza, even after its planned withdrawal, says a United Nations human-rights envoy. John Dugard said Israel would remain responsible for Palestinian civilians in the territory, as it planned to retain control of Gaza's borders. Dugard, a South African law professor, claims that Israel wants to retain its "grip" on Gaza even after the pullout, although the BBC doesn't explain how a retreat equates to an occupation. As far as the moronic notion that guarding an international border equates to occupying one's neighbor, the entire world would exist in a state of mutual occupation if Dougard's advice carried the...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Why Afghanistan Fell Off The Map

A curious phenomenon happened after the fall of the Taliban and the initial preparation for the Iraq invasion -- Afghanistan disappeared. Oh, not physically, perhaps, although judging from the paucity of news coverage from the newest democracy in Southwest Asia, one could be tempted to reach that conclusion. Now American Journalism Review reports on the vanishing Afghanis and the reason why we hear nothing of their progress: Once a journalism hot spot, Afghanistan was all but left behind when the media's spotlight turned to the conflict in Iraq. In June/July 2003, AJR reported that only a handful of reporters remained in the struggling country on a full-time basis, while other news organizations floated correspondents in and out when time and resources permitted. A year and a half later, Afghanistan has become even more of an afterthought. Only two news organizations--Newsweek and the Washington Post--have full-time reporters stationed in Kabul, the...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Need Prayers

We just got a heads-up from the transplant center that they may have a good match on a pancreas for the First Mate. I'll let you know what happens. I may be hospiblogging this weekend ... Keep us in your prayers! UPDATE: We don't know if we're a go quite yet, and it looks like we'll know early tomorrow morning. The pancreas is at least a three-antigen match, about what one would expect from a sibling, so the match is very good. What isn't known is the general condition of the pancreas, and that can't be determined until it's been removed from the donor. Like I said, I'll know more in the morning. Which reminds me -- we're not the only ones who need prayer tonight. The family of the donor needs your prayers more than we do. Of course, we don't know anything about them, but just ask God...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

January 29, 2005

New Pancreas A No Go

Thanks to all who kept my wife in prayer last night -- we certainly appreciate your efforts and the comments and e-mails we received. Unfortunately, this situation didn't turn out to be the right fit. We found out early this morning, and we spent the intervening time catching up on our sleep. Pancreas transplants are more problematic than kidney transplants. For the most part, as long as the donor is or was healthy, the kidney will make a good transplant. Pancreases are more sensitive, both in condition and age, and the donor was just at the outer edge of the age band anyway. Not only that, but the surgery for the recipient is more extensive and tougher to ensure that rejection doesn't occur. When the organ was removed, the doctors decided that the health of the organ would not be worth the risk to use for a transplant, for the...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Power Line Back

I got a couple of e-mails this morning about Power Line being hacked. I started to post a confirmation on this -- the site redirected to a weird whois page -- but I checked again and it appears to be back up. I don't know what caused the problem, if it was a hack or just a glitch in a DNS server somewhere. Hopefully it won't happen again....

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Milwaukee Election Fraud May Still Not Convince Dem Governor On Reform

Wisconsin voters who have reacted with alarm and outrage over the incompetence and probable fraud in the Milwaukee election. State legislators also want to ensure that this fiasco doesn't repeat itself, and plan on introducing a new requirement for a state-issued photo ID to cast a ballot. Unfortunately for the real voters, the Democratic governor apparently wants to keep the system just the way it is: The mounting evidence this week of irregularities in Milwaukee has caused concern around Wisconsin that will result in new pressure for reform, said Rep. Jeff Stone (R-Greendale), one of the authors of the photo ID bill, which is to be introduced Monday. State residents may worry about their votes being, in effect, negated because of questions surrounding thousands of votes in Milwaukee, he said. Lawmakers tried tightening the security on elections in 2003, but Governor Jim Doyle vetoed the bill. The Assembly did not...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Iraqis In Saddam Home Area Looking Forward To Vote

The AP reports that Iraqis in Alam, near Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit, can't wait to vote in tomorrow's elections. They understand that a free Iraqi government provides the only method of seeing the American troops leave: Many Iraqis living near Saddam Hussein's hometown said they will vote Sunday because the ballot not violence will end Iraq's occupation by U.S.-led coalition troops. ... The local leader of one of Iraq's largest clans here is bidding for a seats in the 275-member National Assembly that will govern the country and draft a permanent constitution. Mashaan al-Jbouri, who heads the 37-member Liberation and Reconciliation Front, has said the country can be freed from occupation only through peaceful means. Hasan Mohammed Khazaal, a 24-year-old university student, backed that notion. "We will have a new constitution and I can get rid of the occupiers through elections. This is the only way to...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

German Government Transforms Itself Into Pimps

The German government has told an unemployed woman that unless she agrees to take a job offer from a licensed Berlin whorehouse as a prostitute, her unemployment benefits will be cut off: A 25-year-old waitress who turned down a job providing "sexual services'' at a brothel in Berlin faces possible cuts to her unemployment benefit under laws introduced this year. ... The waitress, an unemployed information technology professional, had said that she was willing to work in a bar at night and had worked in a cafe. She received a letter from the job centre telling her that an employer was interested in her "profile'' and that she should ring them. Only on doing so did the woman, who has not been identified for legal reasons, realise that she was calling a brothel. Under Germany's welfare reforms, any woman under 55 who has been out of work for more than...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

First Hour -- Looks Light But Clear

I'm watching Fox News while keeping an eye on the news wires for updates on the Iraqi elections, and so far the news looks pretty good. While the Fox cameras show light traffic at the Green Zone polling station, the first hour of the election has passed without any major attacks: Voters trickled into polling stations under tight security Sunday in Iraq, casting ballots despite promises by insurgents to sabotage the country's first free election in a half-century. Iraqi President Ghazi al-Yawer was one of the first to vote at election headquarters in the heavily fortified Green Zone, calling the action his country's first step "toward joining the free world." Across the nation, the nearly 5,200 polling stations opened on schedule, with workers checking voter identifications and police standing guard. Turnout was expected to be slow in the early hours. Most attacks occur in the morning, and many Iraqis were...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

NYT Promotes Terrorist Threats, Buries Iraqi Defiance

While we wait for more updates on the Iraqi elections, a look at coverage in the mainstream American media could shed some light as to what we can expect for post-election spin. The New York Times runs a typical story for its morning edition, telling us for the umpteenth time this week about how the terrorists plan on creating a bloodbath but virtually burying the defiance of Iraqis in the face of those threats: Anticipating a wave of violence on election day, Iraqi soldiers and the police, backed up in places by American troops, erected checkpoints across the major cities of northern, southern and central Iraq. American attack helicopters and jets circled overhead, and election workers wrapped voting sites, many of them schools, in barbed wire. The streets of Baghdad and Mosul were mostly deserted. Iraqi officials predicted that 8 million of the country's 14 million eligible voters would cast...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Car Bombing In Western Baghdad

The first reports of an attack have come in at the 90-minute mark. Fox News reports on its televised coverage that a polling station in western Baghdad has suffered a suicide car bombing. They're crediting Reuters for the report, which says that it resulted in one casualty, an Iraqi policeman. More when I get a wire report. UPDATE: Fox News reports "multiple blasts" in central Baghdad. UPDATE II: The first explosion appears to have come from the Monsour area, which according to the Fox News expert houses some ambassadors and VIPs. The attack apparently occurred at the checkpoint and not the polling station itself -- which tends to give confidence that the security arrangements have made the elections safer. UPDATE III: Some link love. Slant Point's Scott Sala is up late and writing with his usual panache. Brant at SWLiP weighs in on the Andrew Sullivan-Mickey Kaus feud with a...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Did Ted Turner Buy Fox News?

I'm watching Fox News and in the middle of an interview with former hostage Tommy Hamill, when suddenly they just brought in Jesse Jackson who wants to equate the Iraqi elections with the Civil Rights Act of 1965. Laughably, he says that democracy can't be conducted under occupation. Just how did he think that the 1965 CRA got enforced, anyway? How did the public schools in Arkansas and the university in Mississippi get integrated? It seems to me that having the National Guard federalized and providing security had more than a little to do with the initial success of desegregation in the South. Why did Fox think that Jesse had anything germane to add to the Iraqi election story? Good Lord....

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

January 30, 2005

"Election Is What I Am Need"

Geraldo Rivera has been reporting from an undisclosed town that has a mixed Shi'a-Sunni population, and now he's saying that the polling station is "packed" with men and women. He's talking about how the scene -- which I'm watching as he speaks on video -- inspires him, taking Jesse Jackson's civil-rights reference and putting in proper context. Geraldo is interviewing an Iraqi voter, who told him: "I am very happy, because I am not afraid of terrorists. ... I'm not afraid, because election is what I am need." Geraldo's emotions have overcome him, and he's not alone. UPDATE: Better video now (12:24 AM CT), and you can see the crowd of smiling Iraqi voters, not minding the cameras one bit. If they're afraid, you sure as hell can't see it in their delighted faces. One man even gave the cameras two thumbs up....

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Mosul Elections Build A Crowd

Fox News now reports that Mosul voters have gotten over their initial trepidation and have built to a crowd at the polling station they are televising through a videophone. Fox also reports a few mortar attacks that hasn't seemed to dampen the enthusiasm. The polling station in Mosul bustled with activity behind the reporter (didn't catch his name), who reports that after the Iraqi soldiers broke the ice by casting their own votes, the neighborhoods have begun to join them. I don't know why, but the wire services have been rather quiet so far. Or perhaps I do know why....

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

More Details On Election Attacks

The AP has updated its earlier story to provide more details on the election-day attacks on Iraqi polling stations: The suicide attack in western Baghdad claimed the life of one policeman and wounded several other people, while mortar attacks in Khan al-Mahawil, 40 miles south of Baghdad, killed another policeman at a polling station. Witnesses said three other people were wounded when a rocket or mortar landed near a polling station in Sadr City, the heart of Baghdad's Shiite Muslim community. Heavy explosions and dozens of mortar attacks broke out across Baghdad, and in several other cities, including Baquoba, Basra and Mosul. Two mortars hit near the Ministry of Interior on the city's eastern edge, one witness said. And there were exchanges of gunfire in the New Baghdad area in the eastern part of the city. Explosions also were heard in Baquoba northeast of Baghdad, and in the southern city...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Susan Estrich Is An Idiot

I had transcribed Susan Estrich's first appearance on Fox News for a lengthy post as to her inappropriate and stupid partisanship in what looks more and more like an Iraqi triumph. Unfortunately, my computer unexpectedly shut down in the middle of the post, and I didn't save any of it. Grrr. I had no idea that my computer had a BS threshold. Hopefully, I can grab a transcript later, but trust me -- when she started griping about how American soldiers weren't allowed inside Iraqi polling stations, I wanted to scream. Last week, all we heard from Joe Biden and the NY Times was how the Iraqis only had 4,000 trained security troops. Now Estrich complains that they're too good. Fox must employ her and Jesse Jackson just to validate their "fair and balanced" tagline. Hopefully they find better talent, and soon....

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

BBC Reports High Turnout Except In Former Terror Strongholds

The BBC now reports that turnout for the Iraqi elections has been surprisingly high, except in the Sunni cities that once hosted Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's terrorist network: Voting officially started at 0700 local time (0400 GMT), though some polling stations opened even earlier. The BBC's Ben Brown in Basra says electoral officials have been surprised by the high turnout there, and some polling stations had to open early. But correspondents in central Sunni cities, such as Falluja, Samarra and Ramadi, have seen virtually no voting activity. The BBC never even mentions that these three cities had to be cleared of terrorists with major military actions in the past three months, and that they have always been considered too sympathetic to Zarqawi to cooperate with the elections. We know, however, that Baghdad has seen significant turnout despite a number of suicide bombers on the west side of town. Fox News reports...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

The 21K Walk To Freedom

Thousands of people are now walking a 13-mile stretch between Abu Ghraib and Gazaliyah to cast votes in the elections, military sources tell Fox News. The mass march has been caught by unmanned drones, and Fox says they will soon have pictures of the subtle demonstration of the Iraqi desire for liberty. More as it develops. Fox also reports long lines in most polling stations, with some even calling for more ballot materials as they run out of ballots faster than they anticipated....

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

The Seventy-Two Percent Solution

"Election is what I am need!" An election is what Iraq needed, as the country's election commission estimates that 72% of eligible voters stormed the polls in today's elections, with the figure approaching 90% in areas such as Basra. Here's what the BBC says, and check out how they buried the lead: Suicide attacks and explosions have killed 22 people - mainly in Baghdad - as voters take part in Iraq's first multi-party elections for 50 years. Correspondents said there were crowds and smiles in the south and north as voters made their choices for a 275-member national assembly. But few voters turned out in Sunni areas around the capital, reports said. Iraq's electoral commission says up to 72% of voters cast ballots but the UN offered a more cautious assessment. Before discussing the remarkable turnout in the face of widely-reported terrorist warnings of bloodbaths, the BBC discusses each and...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Even Reuters Acknowledges Victory

Reuters appears to have outperformed the BBC in reporting the historical turnout in Iraq's first multiparty elections in over fifty years. Luke Baker writes about the "festive voting" and the enthusiasm of Iraqis for democracy: Some came on crutches, others walked for miles then struggled to read the ballot, but across Iraq, millions turned out to vote Sunday, defying insurgents who threatened a bloodbath. Suicide bombs and mortars killed at least 27 people, but voters still came out in force for the first multi-party poll in 50 years. In some places they cheered with joy at their first chance to cast a free vote, in others they shared chocolates. Even in Falluja, the Sunni city west of Baghdad that was a militant stronghold until a U.S. assault in November, a steady stream of people turned out, confounding expectations. Lines of veiled women clutching their papers waited to vote. "We want...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Turnout Numbers By Region

Fox News reports on the Iraqi voter turnout by region, using figures from the Iraqi election commission. I've frozen the graphic on my TiVo to make sure I get this right: Nationwide: 72% Baghdad: 80% South: 92% Najaf: 80% Karbala: 90% Hell, you can't find numbers like that in America -- except in certain precincts in King County, WA and Milwaukee....

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Gray Lady Acknowledges Victory

The New York Times gives an unequivocal look at the astounding victory for democracy won by the defiant Iraqi people and steadfast Coalition partners. Dexter Filkens filed a surprisingly blunt assessment of the complete defeat of terrorism and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in attempting to drag the Iraqis into a second darkness: After a slow start, voters turned out in very large numbers in Baghdad today, packing polling places and creating a party atmosphere in the streets as Iraqis here and nationwide turned out to cast ballots in the country's first free elections in more than 50 years. ... The voting in Baghdad streets of Baghdad were closed to traffic, but full of children playing soccer, and men and women walking, some carrying babies. Everyone, it seemed, was going to vote. They dropped their ballots into boxes even as continuous mortar shells started exploding at about noon. Thirty-six civilians and three...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Seeing Is Believing

I wrote earlier about watching how the Iraqis openly defied the terrorists by walking so casually and forcefully to the polls inspired me. Rich at the excellent milblog Beef Always Wins had a chance to take some pictures while circling Baghdad in his helicopter, and he tells me that those prove the point. Here's one that I've hosted, but I encourage you to check out the rest at Rich's: Take a look at Kevin McCullough's montages of Iraqi and expatriate voting, too. Very moving. UPDATE: You should definitely read this Radioblogger entry about Iraqis voting in Lake Forest, CA, at the old El Toro MCAS. Hugh Hewitt broadcast live there on Friday and Duane has some terrific pictures posted, along with some great stories....

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

John Kerry's Tone Deafness Continues

It's beginning to be apparent that John Kerry plans to follow the bitter-loser strategy that unhinged Al Gore after the 2000 election. In his appearance on Meet the Press this morning, Kerry did everything but actually pour ice water on the set to douse the enthusiasm for the tremendous success of the Iraqi election: SEN. KERRY: ... it is significant that there is a vote in Iraq. But no one in the United States or in the world-- and I'm confident of what the world response will be. No one in the United States should try to overhype this election. This election is a sort of demarcation point, and what really counts now is the effort to have a legitimate political reconciliation, and it's going to take a massive diplomatic effort and a much more significant outreach to the international community than this administration has been willing to engage in....

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Chris Muir Says It All

Day By Day: If you're not reading Chris every day, you're missing out the most intelligent political satire....

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

A Peek Inside The Head Of A Moral Coward

On the day that Iraqis celebrate the end of decades of brutal oppression, one man managed to sound a sour note. Ramsey Clark does his cover version of the Rolling Stones' "Sympathy For The Devil" in the op-ed pages of the Houston Chronicle (via Michelle Malkin): The United States, and the Bush administration in particular, engineered the demonization of Saddam, and it has a clear political interest in his conviction. How hard is it to demonize someone who murdered hundreds of thousands of his own population? Does Clark really think that "demonization" is necessary for a man who gassed Kurdish women and children to death as a test of his WMD arsenal? Obviously, a fair trial of Saddam will be difficult to ensure and critically important to the future of democracy in Iraq. This trial will write history, affect the course of violence around the world and have an...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Kojo Brokered Oil For UNSCAM After All

Amid the cheering of the Iraqis over their first taste of true freedom, the Times of London reports that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's sone Kojo had more involvement in brokering oil for the corrupt program that stole their money than first revealed: THE son of the United Nations secretary-general has admitted he was involved in negotiations to sell millions of barrels of Iraqi oil under the auspices of Saddam Hussein. Kojo Annan has told a close friend he became involved in negotiations to sell 2m barrels of Iraqi oil to a Moroccan company in 2001. He is understood to be co-operating with UN investigators probing the discredited oil for food programme. The alleged admission will increase pressure on Kofi Annan, the UN secretary general, who is already facing calls for his resignation over the management of the humanitarian programme. ... Potentially more serious is his connections with Hani Yamani, the...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Idiots On Parade

Part of the amusement of watching the coverage of the historic Iraqi elections comes from seeing certain Democrats making asses of themselves on national TV. I'm watching MS-NBC, where former Undersecretary of Defense Jed Babbin just dismantled Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) on a military pull-out from Iraq. Babbin couldn't contain himself when Woolsey tried using a page from the Left's new post-election playbook: WOOLSEY: ... We also would like to see, ah, the United States military take a step back and the multinational, ah, humanitarian groups step forward so we can help the Iraqis now with their, ah, rebuilding their infrastructure, rebuilding their economy, and helping take the military presence, ah, to help them instead to train their, ah, their security. HOST: Congresswoman, are you calling for an immediate phased withdrawal along the lines of what Senator Kennedy suggested last week? W: Well, I'm calling for immediate planning for withdrawal,...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Turnout Numbers Settle In At 60%

The London Telegraph reports in its morning edition that the estimated turnout in the Iraqi election has settled to 60% as more data has come in from the polling. The number is still spectacular, considering that it equals our best election turnout over the past 40 years while under the threat of murder and terror: On foot, on crutches and in wheelchairs Iraqis defied the death threats of extremists and voted in their millions yesterday in their country's first free election in half a century. After decades of oppression under Saddam Hussein, three major wars and almost two years of occupation, chaos and insurgency, the people turned their election day into a festival of democracy. Election officials estimated that about 60 per cent of eligible voters cast their ballots despite a wave of suicide bombings, mortar and gun attacks. The turnout was highest in Shia and Kurdish regions, but even...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Reuters Playing Headline Games Again

In an attempt to underscore the notion that violence wrecked the Iraqi elections -- which anyone watching the live coverage and aware of the high turnout knows is false -- Reuters uses the following headline to characterize the historic developments: Violence-Weary Iraqis Await Poll Results How do they support the headline in the story? They show these examples of "violence-weary" first-time voters: Up to 8 million Iraqis, some ululating with joy, others hiding their faces in fear, cast ballots across the country on Sunday as guerrilla attacks proved less ferocious than anticipated in the face of a massive security crackdown. ... Samir Hassan, 32, who lost his leg in a car bomb blast last year, said as he waited to vote in Baghdad: "I would have crawled here if I had to. I don't want terrorists to kill other Iraqis like they tried to kill me." ... Voters created an...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

All Democrats Can Talk About Is Running Away

I had no idea how influential our Democratic Senator from Minnesota, Brave Sir Mark Dayton, had become on his party's leadership. On a day when the force of American power and will allowed a long-oppressed people to defy Islamofascists and choose their own representative government, Democrats could only discuss bugging out. That continued with prepared remarks by Senate minority leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who demanded a timetable for retreat on the occasion of our tremendous victory: In a pre-State of the Union challenge to President Bush, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid intends to call Monday for the administration to outline an exit strategy for Iraq. ... "The president needs to spell out a real and understandable plan for the unfinished work ahead: defeat the growing insurgency, rebuild Iraq, increase political participation by all parties, especially moderates, and increase international involvement," Reid will say, according to his prepared remarks. "Most of...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Note To Democrats: You Should Have Said This

In the aftermath of the historic Iraqi election, the Democrats had the opportunity to get aboard the democracy bandwagon, or at least have the sense not to get run over by it. However, their leadership felt that a far better strategy for today was to denigrate the accomplishment of the brave Iraqis who defied terrorists to cast their votes in their first free elections in fifty years and demand a withdrawal. They would have been better off to follow the example of the European leaders whose approval they seem to crave so much. The BBC reports that those politicians have a much better sense of tone in handling the American victory: World leaders have praised the conduct of Iraq's first multi-party elections for more than 50 years. ... French President Jacques Chirac described them as a "great success for the international community", while a spokesman for German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

January 31, 2005

Dayton's Numbers Sink Rapidly

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune notes that approval ratings for both Minnesota senators has dropped over the past year. Both Norm Coleman and Mark Dayton have dropped below the 50% mark in the latest Minnesota Poll. But while the former attracts about the same level of support as President Bush received in the last election, Brave Sir Dayton has seen his popularity crash 15 points, winding up far below John Kerry's final numbers: Dayton, a Democrat who's up for reelection next year, took the heaviest blow: His approval rating declined by 15 points in a year, from 58 percent to 43 percent. The approval rating for Coleman, who just began his third year in office, fell by 7 points, from 54 to 47 percent. Dayton's job approval decreased among all categories of Minnesotans, grouped by age, education, income, party and ideology, with the largest drop among men -- down 27 points --...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

OK, OK, Now We'll Help You

The Europeans have decided that Iraq might just like the idea of democracy after all, and have now pledged to support Iraq in its efforts to build the pillars of a representative government: European Union foreign affairs chief Javier Solana said Monday the Iraqi authorities can count on the support of the 25-nation EU after this weekend's elections highlighted the willingness to move toward a democratic Iraq. The Iraqi people "are going to find the support of the European Union no doubt about that in order to see this process move on in the right direction," Solana said in an interview with The Associated Press. ... The EU's head office said on Friday that it wants to funnel $260 million more in aid to Iraq this year to help with the country's reconstruction and increasing democracy. Europe's support will receive a gracious response from the Iraqis, I'm sure,...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

The Tale Of Two Times

Two of the more aggressively anti-Bush newspapers had repeatedly question the timetable for the Iraqi elections in its editorials over the past few weeks. Now that the elections have been proven a spectacular success, I thought a visit to the editorial pages of New York's and Los Angeles' leading papers would be revealing. The LAT appears more ready to concede that the elections were a resounding success and give credit for Bush's tenacity for holding to the promised schedule for voting: It takes courage to vote with the sound of mortars and gunfire still ringing and memories of terrorist beheadings still fresh. Whatever the final tally of the turnout Sunday in Iraq, the willingness of millions to defy suicide bombers and killers who threatened havoc at the polls provided some unequivocal good news. Not least, the world could honestly see American troops making it possible for a long-oppressed people to...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Inside Black Rock: A Look At The Memogate Fiasco From Within

New York Magazine has a fascinating look at the Memogate fiasco from people on the inside at CBS News. David Blum reports from CBS sources about the inside manuevering that led to the dismissal of four underlings while Andrew Heyward managed to hold onto his job, and sheds a bit more light on the involvement of Dan Rather before and after the story aired: [After her dismissal, Betsy] West went back to her Upper West Side apartment after her session with Heyward. But [Josh] Howard chose instead to dodge the traffic on West 57th Street and return to the nondescript office building across the street that has housed 60 Minutes since the seventies. At 10:30 a.m., once the public announcement had been made, Howard addressed the 60 Minutes Wednesday staff outside his ninth-floor office. Heyward agreed to cross West 57th Street himself to join Howard; and so, after Howards brief,...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Burns Provides Balance On Pages Of NYT

Despite my dislike for the New Yorks Times' editorial policies and the way it appears to infect its news reporting, one of the bright spots of the mainstream news media is John Burns, the veteran Times correspondent for the Middle East. His work cannot usually be characterized as biased, and he regularly provides balanced coverage. His report today on the Iraqi election is no exception. Burns notes that while the Iraqis still remain skeptical about American motives, they clearly delighted in the ability to select their own leadership, and that the religious differences that has frightened the Left into hysteria is overblown: Nobody among the hundreds of voters thronging one Baghdad polling station on Sunday could remember anything remotely like it, not even those old enough to have taken part in Iraq's last partly free elections more than 50 years ago, before the assassination of King Faisal II began a...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

So Many Names, So Little Capacity For Thought

I have received e-mail today asking why I'm not making a bigger deal of this portion of the Meet the Press transcript from yesterday, in which John Kerry appears to accuse American intelligence service of running weapons to the Communists during Viet Nam: MR. RUSSERT: And you have a hat that the CIA agent gave you? SEN. KERRY: I still have the hat that he gave me, and I hope the guy would come out of the woodwork and say, "I'm the guy who went up with John Kerry. We delivered weapons to the Khmer Rouge on the coastline of Cambodia [emphasis mine]." We went out of Ha Tien, which is right in Vietnam. We went north up into the border. And I have some photographs of that, and that's what we did. So, you know, the two were jumbled together, but we were on the Cambodian border on Christmas...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Educational Death Penalty For Supporting Corporal Punishment?

CQ reader Dave Mendoza points me to an article that appeared in last week's Daily Orange, the campus newspaper of Syracuse University, regarding the expulsion of Scott McConnell from nearby LeMoyne College. McConnell, a graduate student in education, does not fit LeMoyne's atmosphere of political correctness. He believes in corporal punishment and rejects the focus on multiculturalism in the classroom: While students are guaranteed the freedom of speech, LeMoyne College's recent actions against a student have raised questions of whether or not academic papers are the place to exercise this right. LeMoyne College expelled Scott McConnell, a student from its Masters of Education program, for writing a paper in which he advocated the use of corporal punishment in schools, he said. The paper, written for a class on classroom management, originally earned McConnell an A-. However, when he attempted to enroll in classes for the spring semester, he found he...

« December 2004 | February 2005 »

Another Who Could Use Prayer

Hugh Hewitt just interviewed a 6-year-old girl who has a new website, Megan's Home. Megan has a rare autoimmune disease known as Microscopic Polyangiitis (MPA). The disease has seriously damaged her kidneys, and she will need a transplant soon. She's quite a little artist, and her dad has put plenty of her drawings of flowers on the website, along with an explanation of her disease and Megan's prognosis. You all were so kind with your prayers and thoughts for the First Mate, and the strength we took from that was tremendous. I'd feel remiss if I didn't ask you to visit Megan's website and sign her guestbook, drop her an e-mail, say a prayer, or all three....

« December 2004 | February 2005 »