Kerry Hypocrisy Writ Petty

The Boston Globe has an unintentionally hilarious piece on John Kerry this morning, which covers his efforts to wring as much political juice as he can by continued griping about Bush’s National Guard service and the “Mission Accomplished” banner anniversary yesterday. Raja Mishra starts his report by noting the Senator’s scattershot thinking:

John F. Kerry walked into a diner here yesterday morning for a breakfast with fellow veterans, old soldiers gathered for a quiet discussion of war, death, and suffering on a day charged with political significance.
He sought a low profile, but in a rare, unscripted conversation with those gathered, the Massachusetts senator questioned President Bush’s wartime moral authority, suggested that Vice President Dick Cheney would face harsher scrutiny for potential war-profiteering if Democrats were in control of Congress, and vented about the tone of the presidential race [emph mine – Ed].
And all that was before he finished his pancakes.

Let’s see … he implied that President Bush lacked morality, called Dick Cheney a war profiteer, and then complained about the tone of the campaign?
Is he running for President, or America’s Funniest Home Politician?
UPDATE: The official Bush re-election campaign blog picks up this post. Welcome, all Bushblog readers, and I hope you bookmark and/or blogroll Captain’s Quarters!

NY Times Lauds Americans’ Efforts In Iraq, But It’s Not News

After unrelenting negative coverage, especially over the past month while spot insurgencies flared up and the discovery of distasteful mistreatment of prisoners came to light, the New York Times attempted to give a more balanced look at American efforts in Iraq today. George Vecsey reports on American efforts to rebuild Iraq and to provide safety, security, education, and childhood back to Iraqi children:

You rarely see smiles like these on the 6 o’clock news or on the front page.
Alex Fyfe gets to see Iraqi children with a happy look on their faces, as they kick soccer balls on the dust and rocks. He thinks of the green soccer fields of Long Island and the lacrosse fields at the United States Military Academy. … As the civil affairs officer for his battalion, based near Mosul, Fyfe’s job is to improve conditions in one small corner of Iraq. With the help of many friends back home, Fyfe was able to take soccer equipment to the children. …
Although there are disagreements over the United States’ role in Iraq, a civilian back home can make this positive perception via the news media’s “embedded” access: With a few odious exceptions, the troops over there are a fair representation of the best and the brightest, of what we like to think we are.

Vecsey does a fine job of profiling the efforts of Fyfe in encouraging contributions from home and in squeezing the most out of what he gets in order to build schools, playgrounds — and relationships — in Iraq. He notes that the children named their new school after Fyfe’s unit, the Striker Brigade, indicating that Fyfe is making a difference in Iraq. He even tells a story about Fyfe’s lacrosse teammate, John Fernandez, who lost two legs in Iraq during the initial military invasion, and who won’t be playing lacrosse any more, giving a poignant twist to Fyfe’s heartfelt efforts.
Only one problem: the New York Times buried this article in its Sports section, apparently thinking that an American helping Iraqi children and rebuilding Iraqi infrastructure wasn’t News-worthy. It’s not even headlining the Sports section — it’s stuck in the Other Sports subsection, just above the story “United States Edges Russia at Hockey Worlds”.
UPDATE: I hope Glenn Reynolds is right and more people read the Times’ Sports section … it certainly has the best journalism at the paper, although I realize I’m damning Vecsey with faint praise.
UPDATE II: I forgot to mention that I’ve crossposted this at the media watchblog, Oh, That Liberal Media, which has several fine bloggers contributing to it. If you don’t already have this blogrolled/bookmarked, be sure to do so soon.

Hamill Escapes

The American contractor held hostage by Iraqi insurgents escaped from captivity, found an American convoy, and led them back to his captors, according to the AP:

American hostage Thomas Hamill, kidnapped three weeks ago in an insurgent attack on his convoy, was found by U.S. forces Sunday south of Tikrit after he apparently escaped from his captors, the U.S. military said. An official said he was in good health.
Hamill, 43, of Macon, Miss., was discovered when he approached a U.S. patrol from the 2nd Battalion 108th Infantry, part of the New York National Guard, in the town of Balad, 35 miles south of Tikrit, a spokesman for U.S. troops in Tikrit said. … Hamill identified himself to the troops, then led the patrol to the house where he had been held captive. The unit surrounded the house and captured two Iraqis with an automatic weapon, said the military spokesman, Maj. Neal O’Brien.
Hamill, a truck driver working for a subsidiary of the contractor Halliburton, had a gunshot wound to his left arm that appeared to be infected, and was flown by helicopter to Bagdad, O’Brien said. Video images of Hamill released by his captors a day after his abduction showed his left arm in a sling, suggesting he was wounded during the attack on his convoy.

Hamill will receive treatment for his infected gunshot wound, and then it isn’t clear what he will do. General Kimmit said that he’s ready to “get back to work,” but he’s a private contractor, not an enlisted man or officer in the military. I hope that Halliburton, his employer, has the good sense to send the man home to his family for an extended vacation. I’d say the man has some serious comp time coming to him.
Sometimes, prayers are answered.

Imagine No John Kerry, It’s What They’d Like To Do

John Tierney reports in tomorrow’s New York Times, while waxing lyrical, that political scientists have confirmed that the Democrats shot themselves in the foot by front-loading their primaries to coalesce support early in the race behind one candidate. An experiment shows that their process selected the wrong one:

IMAGINE there’s no Iowa. No New Hampshire, too. Imagine the Democratic Party, instead of relying on a few unrepresentative voters to quickly anoint John Kerry, had allowed people across America to vet the candidates and contemplate the issues.
Then Mr. Kerry might well not be the nominee, and the Democrats would stand a better chance of reaching the White House, at least according to the results of a novel experiment during the primary season.

The experiment involved allowing a group of 700 people to take a longer time to get to know all of the candidates, meet to discuss their relative strengths and weaknesses, and make a stronger and more informed decision on the selection of the nominee. The result? John Edwards wins the nomination, which would have been one of two candidates that could have seriously threatened Bush in November (Lieberman being the other as a hawk on the war).
Tierney uses the John Lennon reference at the end as well, in describing the motivation behind the experiment:

“What would happen if people across the country were really engaged and informed and had a chance to think about the issues?” [James Fishkin asked.]
You may call him a dreamer. But there must be at least one former presidential candidate who shares his sentiments.

Not to mention many Democrats these days.

Religion of Peace, Part 37b

The governor of Nigerian province Zamfara State has implemented Shari’a law, and in the continuing rollout of the strict Islamic practice, has ordered all churches to be demolished in accordance with the Qu’ran:

Speaking at the launch in Gusau, the state capital, Governor Sani disclosed that time was ripe for full implementation of the programme as enshrined in the Holy Quran.
He added that his government would soon embark on demolition of all places of worship of unbelievers in the state, in line with Islamic injunction to fight them wherever they are found.

With respect to being a religion of peace, it would appear that Islam offers only the peace of dhimmitude for those who don’t convert. As Islamofascism spreads, this is the attitude towards human rights and freedom we can expect to encounter. (via The Corner)

Shhh! I’m Channeling My Inner GOODLE

At the end of yesterday’s Bleat, James Lileks posted a link to a site he’d found when he misspelled Google during a search. I decided to follow his link, wherever his link may take me, and I wound up at the L & J Corporation, apparently based in South Korea. James’ link allowed me the choice between a Korean-language site or an English-language site … and I’m sure you can guess which one I chose.
However, once I began reading the page, I was less certain that I had chosen wisely. Being a student of a foreign language (Irish, because it is so applicable in the Upper Midwest of the US!), I understand that translating text on a word-for-word basis without accounting for idioms and contextual shifts generate results that can be unintelligible, annoying, and/or hilarious. You tell me which you think apply:

We produce and dispose of inner GOODLE. We realized Korean traditional heating system Ondol into the product inner GOODLE by succeeding merits and supplementing problems within its system. To realize the system we introduced a revolutionary fabricated construction system.

If they both produce and dispose inner GOODLE, how do they make money? If they’re supplementing problems in the systems, though, I can see why they need to dispose of the product at the end.

Although it is regarded as the best heating system which has excellent functions and needful merits in it, panel heating system with Ondol has not been sufficiently studied in comparison with research accomplishment in other systems. There needed to develop a new construction method to modernize and to introduce dry process in construction Ondol.

I’m still not certain what L & J actually manufactures, but the person who wrote the text for the website has to be the same one who wrote the user’s manual for my digital camera. Check out the entire site for a laugh, before L & J finds someone who knows how to write in English.

We’re From Eyewitness News, and Your Son’s Dead. How Do You Feel About It?

Romanesko passes along a story regarding a Chicago ABC affiliate who not only could not get a news story correct, but then in its rush to get a hot story on the air, informed a mother her son was dead after asking for an interview. The problem, besides the soulless, heartless TV news crew? They had the wrong family:

After she had arrived, the crew returned to her front door.
According to [Doris] Glenn, one staffer asked her for an interview, but she was reluctant.
“I said, ‘What is this about?’ and (the staffer) said she just wanted to interview me,” said Glenn. “I said I wouldn’t do an interview unless I first knew what it was about.
“And then she said, ‘I’m sorry to inform you that your son is deceased,’ ” Glenn said.

The crew showed up at Glenn’s house earlier in the day without explaining why, and Glenn assumed that her son, who competes in track at high school, must have done exceptionally well that day. After the staffer told Glenn her son had died, Glenn declined the interview and called the school, determining that he was taking state achievement tests. The deceased man was a college student in Florida who had come from Chicago.
In other words, Doris Glenn out-researched the so-called professionals at WLS-TV.
But beyond the incompetence, the sheer heartlessness of asking Doris Glenn for an interview when she obviously hadn’t been told of her son’s death, if it really had been her son, is unbelievable. When were they planning on letting her know her son had died — while she was on camera? “This is Lucrezia Borgia from Eyewitless News, and I’m here with Doris Glenn, who has no clue that her son was killed earlier today. Tell me, Doris, how does that news make you feel?”
And people wonder why the news media’s reputation hovers around the same approval ratings as personal-injury lawyers and used-car salemen.

Northern Alliance Radio Debates Bad Music

It’s Saturday and time for another installment of the Northern Alliance Radio Network, from noon to 3 pm CT. In the third hour today, we will be debating which pop songs represent the worst of pop music, an argument that started with Blender Magazine’s 50 Worst Songs of All Time (complete list here). Blender, however, demonstrated its complete ineptitude by including such songs as “Sounds of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel and “Longer” by Dan Fogelberg. Even if you don’t particularly like those songs, you can’t argue that they’re the 42nd and 30th worst songs of all time!
Here’s my list of songs which I will be taking to the AM 1280 The Patriot studio in a few minutes, in no particular order except at #1, which is the worst song of all time, bar none:
1. I’ve Never Been To Me – Charlene
2. 99 Luftballoons – Nena
3. The Night Chicago Died – Paper Lace
4. Chick a Boom (Don’t Ya Jes’ Love It)
5. Me & You & A Dog Named Boo – Lobo
6. Mickey – Toni Basil
7. Bonnie and Clyde – Georgie Fame & The Flames
8. Billy Don’t Be A Hero – Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods
9. Don’t Give Up On Us Baaaaaay-Beh – David Soul
I’ve also thrown in “Afternoon Delight” by the Starland Vocal Band, as JB Doubtless and I will defend the savage attacks on this sparkling example of four-part harmony from the rest of the Alliance. “Midnight At The Oasis” may also make an appearance, although I suspect I may find myself alone in Maria Muldaur’s defense on that one.
Later on today, I’ll blog on why I think “Billy Don’t Be A Hero” is John Kerry’s campaign theme song …

Iraqi Official Claims List of Bribes in Baghdad

A member of the Iraqi Governing Council claimed yesterday that the IGC has a list of people who were bribed by Saddam Hussein’s regime in a development that threatens to expand the corruption scandal past the United Nations and the Oil-For-Food Program (via Friends of Saddam):

An Iraqi official said today there was a list of cash bribes made by Saddam Hussein’s government to journalists, politicians and groups in connection with the US$67 billion ($108.92 billion) UN-run oil-for-food programme.
Jalal Talabani, a Kurdish member of the Iraqi Governing Council, said Iraqi officials combing Saddam’s files had not decided whether to release the list as part of a burgeoning scandal over the defunct programme.
“We have a list of cash paid to journalists, personalities, groups and parties,” Talabani told a news conference after conferring with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan over an Iraqi interim government.

Reuters, through The New Zealand News, reports that this list contains different names than the previously-disclosed list of 270 people and organizations that received options on oil sales. The list purportedly contains at least one “senior UN official,” and the inclusion of journalists presents the interesting possibility of explaining some of the relentless and biased media approach to the liberation of Iraq.
At the moment, Talabani is reluctant to release the list to any of the several investigations under way, and for good reason: some of these efforts represent a vehicle to protect the guilty rather than expose them. My suggestion would be to make the list public as quickly as possible so that those who would shield people from embarassment don’t have the opportunity to bury it. Hopefully, Paul Volcker will come to that conclusion when he has access to Talabani’s data.

Kerry Foreign Policy: A Distinction Without A Difference

John Kerry continued his attempt to differentiate himself from George Bush on Iraq policy yesterday in a speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, following Dick Cheney’s widely-criticized political speech last week at the same venue. The Los Angeles Times reports that Kerry continues to expound on “international cooperation” without explaining how that differs from what the US is doing now:

Sen. John F. Kerry challenged President Bush on Friday to engage in personal diplomacy to try to repair relationships with other influential nations and gain their support for an international mission in Iraq.
During a 30-minute address at Westminster College here, the presumed Democratic presidential nominee pledged to support his rival’s policy in Iraq if Bush pursued that effort. … He urged the president to form a political coalition with the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and other nations to endorse the effort to stabilize Iraq and back the plan for an interim Iraqi government proposed by U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.

In other words, Kerry wants a new United Nations Security Council resolution, but he now takes care not to mention the UN. After all, a “political coalition” between the US, UK, France, Russia, and China comprises all of the veto-holding members of the UNSC. Kerry’s campaign must realize now that the electorate won’t buy any more rhetoric about coughing up control to the war on terror to the UN or even the UNSC, given the elaborate scam into which the UN Oil-For-Food program dissolved. And the primary beneficiaries of the OFF Program happened to be French, Russian, and Chinese to a smaller extent.
On the question of international participation, though, the Coalition comprises more than 30 nations already, although not the three that Kerry likes best:

The Bush campaign dismissed the speech as a rehash of steps the administration was already taking, arguing that many U.N. and NATO members were already involved in the stabilization and reconstruction of Iraq.
“Sen. Kerry has constantly disparaged the coalition of over 30 nations that are making the contribution and sharing the sacrifice in Iraq,” said Bush spokesman Steve Schmidt. “The president is constantly in communication with those nations, so Kerry’s criticism has no basis in fact.”

Kerry says, repeatedly, that he will use “personal diplomacy” in order to bring the Recalcitrant Three into a new, broader coalition that will “end the sense of American occupation” in Iraq. However, he does not address exactly what he will give up in order to buy their participation; France and Russia in particular are not suddenly going to send troops to Iraq just because Kerry has a lucky face. Both countries made billions off of Saddam’s monopoly grip on oil production in Iraq before the war, both legitimately and illegitimately. The Iraqis have not shown an inclination to do preferential business with Saddam’s enablers of their oppression, post-liberation. Since their commercial interests in Iraq have been seriously curtailed, they don’t have much to gain by risking the ire of the electorate that they have deliberately kept against Iraq’s liberation, to the extent in France that people were openly rooting for Saddam to win.
Kerry’s proposal, such as it is, means one of two things. Either Kerry intends on forcing the new Iraqi government to honor contractual agreements that existed under the Saddam regime with France and Russia, thus undermining their sovereignty while forcing them to do business with the same people who cheerfully called for their continuing oppression, or he simply wants meaningless statements of support in order to claim France, Russia, and China for partners in Iraq. Either way, will this change the number of American troops in Iraq? No, since none of these countries will send significant numbers of troops either way. What it will do will be to remove Anglo-American control on the effort and instead turn Iraq into the Balkans all over again, where we have been for nine years with no end in sight.
Kerry may have dialed down the political rhetoric at Westminster, but he continues to keep substance even lower. Twenty years ago, Walter Mondale tormented Gary Hart (and everyone else) by asking him, “Where’s the beef?” every time the Senator tried to get by on mere platitudes. It seems that question has only become more applicable to this Democratic campaign.