Saturday, December 04, 2004

Miscellanea 12/04/2004

Robert Novak reports that Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison has definitely decided to run for governor in 2006. That's o.k. by me, I like her and would most likely support her. I hope Novak's sources are wrong, however, about State Comptroller Carole Strayhorn running for lieutenant governor. To me, she has shamelessly turned every problem in Texas (and we've got plenty) into a photo-op to criticize current governor Rick Perry. That kind of grandstanding turns me off...

John Leo has an entertaining look at some recent over-the-top rhetoric (hat tip for this and the above to

A simply grand article on the beginnings of 'Fisking' by David Pryce-Jones (you've got to register first, but it's free) (hat tip to bebere)...

Everyone's all abuzz about this article by Peter Beinart in the New Republic that finally shows some sensible advice for Democrats (TNR has always struck me as the most reasonable of the lefty sites)...

A Quick Note on Commenting Etiquette

Hey, folks, you can disagree with anything I say and call me a pinhead and a moron, but I won't put up with profanity-laced rants. Blogesota, who has a charming little blog with a prominent photo of Bush in a Nazi pose, is banned. It's not censorship, use your four-letter words all you want, but not here. I will respect any and all disagreements that stay in the bounds of a minimum level of civility. This blog ain't gonna turn into the Democratic Underground.

John Kerry - Candidate Profile Three

I'll say something right up front - I really, truly don't care for this man. His arrogance is legendary; he chases rich widows; and his 'nuanced' positions are rightly famous. Apparently, a lot of people agreed with me; his voters didn't so much vote for Kerry as they did against Bush. Bush won't be running again, though (will his brother Jeb? Stay tuned...), so one wonders what could possibly convince Kerry supporters that he could win in 2008. Still, he's apparently considering it, so we'll add him to the list.

If there's an 'unofficial' Kerry 2008 site, I didn't find it (not a good sign in itself).

John Forbes Kerry - link to more than you ever wanted to know about 'JFK'

Resume: Former Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts; long-time junior Senator from Massachussetts; Democratic Presidential Candidate 2004

Hard to think of many pros, but there are tons of cons to another Kerry presidential bid. He turns off vast amounts of the electorate and he lost by a pretty good margin to a president many saw as vulnerable. Here are some other reasons I think he won't get a second chance.

1. The Hillary Factor - Hillary Clinton is possibly the only person who can inspire more simultaneous hatred and adoration than George W. Bush. A hero to many on the left, she is equally despised on the right. If she is nominated, it will prove to me that the Democrats have not learned any lessons from 2004; still, the Clintonistas remain strong.

2. Vietnam - James Taranto at Best of the Web had a hilarious habit of referring to Kerry as the haughty, French-looking Massachusetts Democrat, who by the way served in Vietnam. Vietnam is the perfect window into Kerry's flip-flopping persona. He wants to be recognized as a hero for serving (heroically - I'm not one of those who knocks his war record) in a war that he claimed was morally reprehensible. Kerry never understood that his opposition to the Vietnam War was not the problem, it was his over-the-top testimony about 'war crimes' culled from the bogus Winter Soldier Investigation. If Kerry's candidacy proved one thing, it is that Americans are sick of Vietnam.

3. The Opportunist Perception - Kerry just doesn't seem to stand for anything other than his conviction of his own superiority. The pattern seems to be: ride Vietnam opposition to a political career, marry a rich widow, and then hang out being a rich Senator.

Add it all up, and I don't see a serious bid in the cards.

(hat tips to BushBlog 2004, Free Republic, and Nurse Ratched)


UPDATE 01/03/05 6:49 pm central:
An article that appeared in Newsweek seems to indicate Kerry is seriously considering a run. I take issue with its assertion that Kerry is one of the favorites (with Hillary), and the contention that people aren't blaming Kerry (I've seen plenty of 'Progressives' who thought they had a dog candidate). More importantly, I don't see anything that changes the dynamics of my original post. I have bumped him only slightly.


UPDATE 01/12/05 2:08 pm central:
Yet another sign of Kerry's inclination to run again is the launching of (hat tip to Citizen Frank)...


UPDATE 02/06/05 11:51 pm central:
Yep, he's gonna try to run again - and I like his odds less than ever. After his embarrasing pessimism in the aftermath of the Iraqi elections, I'm knocking him down a bit.


UPDATE 03/10/05 9:15 pm central:
See this post for latest downward revision.


UPDATE 04/25/05 6:58 pm central: See here...


UPDATE 06/12/05 5:30 p.m central:
Be sure to check the comments to this post to learn of some unofficial Kerry 2008 sites that have gone up since I originally posted this. Also, in light of Kerry's continued buffoonery re: the Form SF-180 (can Kerry be upfront about ANYTHING?), I'm docking him again.


UPDATE 07/04/05 10:28 p.m. central:
Kerry gets the slightest of bumps more from inertia than anything tangible...


Some Thoughts On Structure

Okay, I've had this blog up and running for a bit now, so I've got some ideas on how I'm going to try to structure things from now on. There will be four regular features:
  • Candidate Profiles (after all, I've named this thing Decision '08) - and I've been a little remiss in this area, so I'm shooting for two this weekend;
  • In Praise Of...- where I'll rave like a lunatic about something I love (bookstores came first);
  • the Oil-For-Food Scandal, at least until Kofi Annan resigns
  • and Weekly Jackass, where I'll rave like a lunatic about someone or something I hate (such a harsh word - maybe just something that I really, really, really don't like).
These four features will have links on the right-hand side of the blog.

I'll also regularly post links to other pages and blogs under Miscellanea, mainly because I'm tired of trying to think up cute names and I'm REALLY tired of saying "blogosphere".

And finally, I'll post the occasional essay on topics that I feel have some relevance to the world of politics (or just to try to look smart).

In other words, I'll just keep doing what I have been - now what was my point? Oh, yeah, now I remember - how about that Dan Rather?

Fresh Links (Saturday Edition)

If you don't already know, future Weekly Jackass Barbra Streisand has a page of her, um, 'statements' (what can I say - she parodies herself...). Her most recent words of wisdom as of this writing refer to Condoleezza Rice as an example of failing upwards (along with John Ashcroft). So, speaking of failing, what exactly has Barbra Streisand accomplished in, oh, the last 20 years?...

Blogging, I've discovered, it not all fun and games. For example, it is my sad duty to report to you that Barney, the White House Dog (or is that the First Dog?), has replaced his Picture of the Day with the Picture of the Week due to an apparent contract dispute....

David Skinner at Galley Slaves disagrees with Jacob Weisberg on the subject of re-reading Tom Wolfe (confession: I recently re-read Bonfire of the Vanities)....

Finally, we move to yet another future Weekly Jackass - Bill Moyers. I missed this news in my glee over the departure of Dan Rather. Moyers is (was) the obscure host of an obscure show on obscure PBS called NOW with Bill Moyers. A typical show consisted of Moyers and some other pretentious blowhard talking about how businessmen were destroying the world with their religious beliefs and capitalistic ideas (not to mention their support for - GASP! - Republicans). You can imagine my grief, then, in finding out that Moyers is leaving to write a book on Lyndon Johnson, his former boss (ANOTHER book on Lyndon Johnson? Oooohhhh, I can't wait). If this doesn't strike you as big news, that's because it isn't. If you can name six people who regularly watch the show - well, then you're hanging out with the wrong people.

Friday, December 03, 2004

So Many Posts, So Little Time (Special New Criterion Edition)

The New Criterion (via Instapundit) reveals who calls the shots for the New York Times editorial board. Hint: it's the _____ Policy Committee, where the blank represents a major political party in the U.S. that doesn't start with an R and pretty much got their clock cleaned in the recent elections...

Also from the New Criterion's weblog Armavirumque (now why didn't I think of that name?), Roger Kimball is feeling a familiar queasy feeling....

Let's make it a hat trick...the New Criterion again with an article on my favorite whippin' boy, Dan Rather, and fellow lefty dinosaur Lewis Lapham (o.k., the article is from October, but I wasn't blogging then, and's Dan Rather!)...

In Praise of Bookstores

One of the great things about a blog is that you truly get visitors from all parts of the globe. I think I'm on safe ground in assuming, then, that many of you don't know how bad traffic in Austin truly sucks. On any given day, we have a three hour "rush hour" in the afternoons/evening, and Fridays are the worst, thanks to the fact that our main thoroughfare is the original 'Nafta Superhighway'. So I'm driving home tonight, totally stressed by the maniac in front of me who seems intent on causing an accident when there's literally nowhere to go. One of my pet peeves (ever wonder where that phrase came from? Well, wonder no more...) is the ease with which we grant driver's licenses in this country.

I could go on and on, but its not a great story, just one more frustrated driver. To jump to the point: I stopped on the way home at a bookstore to do some Christmas shopping, and it occurred to me (and not for the first time) how relaxing I find the thought of books to be. So many great books and interesting overheard conversations. Example - tonight, an older man was seated next to a teenage girl and they were earnestly talking about - I kid you not - principles, making a difference, and the meaning of life! Then I saw a book entitled "1,000 Places to See Before You Die", and, to do my best Andy Rooney imitation, it occurred to me that NO ONE is going to see all of these 1,000 places before they die, so what a depressing idea for a book (and who the hell's so morbid that they're buying it?). 10 places to see before you die, I could buy that...

So before you know it, I've forgotten all about the crappy traffic and have lost myself again in the world of words. I have hundreds of books that I'll probably never read (well, at least a hundred, anyway) and you know what? I don't care. The whole idea of books gives me a sense of security. I walked out of the store having purchased nothing and feeling wiser all the same.

A Mea Culpa of Sorts

My post entitled "Homophobia Among the 'Progressives'" is by far my most viewed, thanks to the magic of the Instapundit. I have added an update at the bottom of the post to reflect my view that I screwed up the title. The Instapundit suggested contempt was more appropriate, but I'll go with cynicism for a thousand, Alex. Read the whole update...I'm not giving ground on my argument, I just think the title wasn't worded as well as it should have been.

More Randomness


Rumsfield is staying...I'm not sure how I feel about that. I have the utmost respect for his intellect and abilities, and needless to say, his poetry. However, even as a staunch Iraq War supporter, I must say I think he bears a good share of the blame for the initially chaotic post-major combat period (although I don't agree that he is blame for Abu Ghraib). I also think the buck stops short of Bush, as a President has to have an expectation that his subordinates will handle the details - the job's just too big otherwise. Don't get me wrong, I'm an optimist on Iraq - the elections will happen and the lot of the Iraqi people will improve (in other words, we will 'win' the post-war, it's just too important not to), but conditions shouldn't have become so disorganized in the first place (hat tip to the Jawa Report)...

Another astonishingly poor Clinton pardon decision leads to a terrorist in academia (via RealClearPolitics)...

Just Browsing Around...

I've been pretty harsh on Kofi Annan, so I'm linking to his editorial today on the UN reform report - nothing to do with Oil-For-Food, and he needs to resign, but in fairness, the guy does have a job to do in the meantime...

Excellent article in Commentary by James Wilson on Islam and Freedom. He makes the distinction between democracy and liberalism and says Iraq has a better chance at the latter. Quote:
There are more Muslim nations�indeed, more nations of any stripe�that provide a
reasonable level of freedom than ones that provide democracy in anything like
the American or British versions.

Wilson's basic argument is that a liberal society that respects freedom is more important than a democratic one. It's an interesting subtlety; I frankly must admit that my American mindset equates freedom with democracy. I'm going to have to think about this one...

David Limbaugh tells the Democratic party to stop marginalizing itself by engaging in racial conspiracies and other tactics that undermine the small "d" democratic process...

John C. Fortier says Bush must use his limited window of opportunity to push for Social Security and tax reform (I couldn't agree more)...

Thursday, December 02, 2004

An Embarassment of Riches

Wow, there are a lot of good posts out there right now...say, this bloggin' thing just might catch on...

Right Wing News has two that caught my eye, one on the final count in Ohio (I won't spoil the suspense - oh, what the hell, Bush won!), and a very interesting quote from Anne Applebaum, who they say is a lefty (but she doesn't sound like one on her bio page...). I know Applebaum as the author of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize winner, Gulag: A History. Anyway, Anne has some harsh words for the "Freedom Haters" of the Radical Left....

bebere tugs on my heartstrings with some thoughts on men and jewelry...

The wrong guy resigns from the U.N. (hat tip to Instapundit)...

2004 Weblog Awards - Check It Out

I'm not nominated (but I will be next year - hint, hint) so I don't have a dog in this hunt - but you should check out the 2004 Weblog Awards, whether you're new to the Blogosphere or a veteran. There's a big wide world out there, could spend days following these links (but please come back, o.k.?).

Oil for Food, Part Four - Who Benefited?

Deborah Orin notes in the New York Post (hat tip to James Taranto's Best of the Web) that the exploding Oil-For-Food revelations don't exactly strengthen the Democratic 'multilateral' approach. Money quote:
"The idea that we need the U.N. to help us was certainly not a popular thing in focus groups that I watched this fall," dryly remarks senior Democratic strategist Anita Dunn.

"Democrats first and foremost need to make it clear that they have a commitment to protect this country's security regardless of what other countries say. We live in a dangerous world at a dangerous time � and I'm not sure our party communicated that."
And now President Bush is calling for a complete accounting.

Clinton's ol' pardon buddy Marc Rich has been added to the mix, with allegations that he served as a middleman in illegal Iraqi oil deals one month after Clinton pardoned him (good call, Bill!). I've dealt elsewhere with the $150,000 in payments to Kofi Annan's son Kojo by an Oil-For-Food contractor. And obviously, Saddam benefitted enormously while the UN looked the other way. Here is a partial list of other beneficiaries, just a sampling of the magnitude of the corruption involved:

This is really only scraping the surface. The more you find out about the UN, the greater the stench.

Update 8:52 pm central: One notable omission from the beneficiaries listed above, it occurs to me, is the Iraqi people.

Update 2 11:03 pm central: The amazing Claudia Rosett adds another to the list and it's a biggie - are you ready for this? - al Qaeda!

Update 3 11:55 am central: Reader Steve points out to me (thanks, I missed it!) that pro-Saddam British MP George Galloway won a 150,000 pound judgment against the Daily Telegraph concerning his alleged payments from Saddam. Steve also points me to this Christian Science Monitor investigation showing some documents used to back up these allegations were forgeries. I should have been aware of this controversy prior to posting. Therefore, although we can say with some certainty that Galloway is a Radical Leftie against our Iraq policy, it may not be true that he is paid for being an appeaser.

Update 4 4/14/05 12:42 pm central: Getting a lot of hits today based on searches for Bayoil, because of the indictment of David B. Chalmers. Here's the important stuff:

A Texas businessman, as well as a British and a Bulgarian citizen, have been indicted in New York for reportedly paying millions of dollars in secret kickbacks to Saddam Hussein's government in Iraq as part of the United Nations oil-for-food program.

The Texan, David B. Chalmers, a principal of Bay Oil (U.S.A.) Inc., and an associate of the oil trading company, Ludmil Dionissiev, a Bulgarian and permanent American resident, were arrested this morning at their homes in Houston.

Welcome to any new visitors; please look around and stay awhile...

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch...

Intriguing Marvin Olasky column on the "Most Influential Philosopher Alive" (if you don't know, Olasky is a fellow Austinite and coiner of 'compassionate conservatism', as well as a member of the most endangered species of all as a conservative college professor) (found via the essential RealClearPolitics)...

Peggy Noonan analyzes the career and fall of Dan Rather and finds it...(wait for it)...Nixon-like!...

Future Weekly Jackass Maureen Dowd goes on and on about how Tom Brokaw leaving means feminism is dead or something like that (yawn!)...

The UN gets at least one thing right, affirming the right of pre-emptive self-defense when an attack is imminent (of course, there's the sticky wicket, eh, what is 'imminent'?) (hat tip to my new best friend, the Instapundit - 6,500 visitors yesterday!)...

Some Honest-To-God 2008 Election News!

Ken Mehlman, brilliant Republican strategist and subject of vicious Leftist innuendo, has laid out eight possible candidates for the 2008 Republican nomination in an interview with the Washington Times editorial board: Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Virginia Sen. George Allen, Colorado Gov. Bill Owens, Arizona Sen. John McCain, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, George Pataki, Rudy Giuliani, and Jeb Bush (hat tip to Jayson at PoliPundit).

I've got some work to do this weekend on those candidate mention of Cheney (no surprise there), so I'm knocking his odds down to 50-1.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Our First Weekly Jackass Award

I am so excited to introduce to you a new feature, the Weekly Jackass, awarded every Wednesday (so keep checking back)...and our first winner is....ANDY ROONEY, come on down. Our favorite cranky, unfunny old guy who for some inexplicable reason is on TV every week has outdone himself this time with this brilliant analysis of the election (from the Tufts Daily):

Rooney said he thought Iraq was "an ignorant society, not to be critical of them," a remark which was questioned later in his speech. Rooney defended the comment, saying that it is difficult to sell democracy in a country where few have access to the media and illiteracy is high, but acknowledged that "my attitude of the Iraqis is typical of the America I am complaining about."

Rooney also attributed voters' reliance on religion in the recent election to ignorance. "I am an atheist," Rooney said. "I don't understand religion at all. I'm sure I'll offend a lot of people by saying this, but I think it's all nonsense."

He said Christian fundamentalism is a result of "a lack of education. They haven't been exposed to what the world has to offer."

Rooney said he also could not understand how "men who work with their hands voted for George Bush," and again attributing the phenomenon to a lack of education. "The labor force is conservative," he said. "How in the world did that happen?"

So Rooney insults both the American and the Iraqi electorate in one fell swoop - and apparently doesn't see the glaring contradiction when he chides Bush for failing to win the support of the Iraqis (if only we had thought of the amazing insult strategy!).

Earlier this year, Rooney had a mock conversation with God and asked Mel Gibson how much money he stood to make off the crucifixion of Christ - so again, you see the astonishing consistency of this pea brain...if he's an atheist, as he states he is, what does he care? Examples of the man's lack of intelligence are easy to find, but let's just note in passing that Rooney has also managed to insult Greek Americans, Black Americans, gay Americans, and native Americans. So stand tall, Andy, we salute you as our Weekly Jackass!

Bush Must Press For Social Security Reform

One of the funnier aspects of the post-election period has been watching the Left caution Bush against overreaching (i.e., pushing for the implementation of the agenda he was elected on). I submit to you that Bush has a chance to go down in history as a truly great President. He has taken the first step by deposing Saddam Hussein, a task that needed to be done for a long time, but no one (until Bush) had to nerve to do. If he wants to seal the deal, though, he will spend whatever capital it takes to reform Social Security. I believe that this is the right man and the right time, and if we miss this chance, another won't come soon. This blog will post on this issue from time to time as events warrant. We'll start soon with an overview of proposal(s) currently on the table.

Some Random Linkage

Some good stuff at PoliPundit today, including a look at how force-feeding gay marriage to Massachusetts actually set back the cause. Lorie Byrd deserves a hat tip for linking this post that pays homage to the 2nd Annual Ten Worst Quotes from the Democratic Underground...

Pajama Jihad has version 1.0 of A Blue State Conservative's Manifesto...

Random Numbers has a simply breathtaking photo taken from the Hubble, while the Register has a story on its replacement...

Kofi Annan: The Drumbeat Grows Stronger

Not one, but two, calls for the resignation of Kofi Annan in today's Wall Street Journal. First up is Sen. Norm Coleman, chairman of the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, and a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. His seven-month investigation of Oil-For-Food puts the price tag of the diverted funds at $21 billion. Coleman repeats the charge that the UN has our blood on its hands, since we were not only forced to act by a UN that had every incentive to keep the oil-for-food corruption going, but it may in fact be part of that very $21 billion that was diverted from the program that is funding the insurgents who have killed so many of our fine Americans. Coleman calls Oil-For-Food "the most extensive fraud in the UN's history".

Next up is (who else?) Claudia Rosett, who rehearses the timeline of Kofi's highly selective disclosures of his son's conflict of interest with the Oil-For-Food program. I, for one, hope Ms. Rosett uses her investigations as the basis of a book-length study of this fiasco.

Wictory Wednesday Revisited

Today is Wednesday, so check out the Wictory Wednesday Blogroll to the right. This week's suggested cause is a donation to Louisiana Congressional candidate Charles Boustany, who is facing a runoff on Saturday. Help the GOP increase its margins in Bayou Country!

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Homophobia Among the 'Progressives'

John Kerry "won" all three debates this year, according to opinion polls (I only gave him the first one myself, but hey, I'm biased), but he still managed to lose, because he made the only debate gaffe that people remembered. I'm talking, of course, of his inexplicable and unwarranted gay-baiting comment about Dick Cheney's daughter. Personally, I don't believe Kerry is anti-gay, but one of his advisors (probably the idiotic Mary Beth Cahill, to judge from her "fair game" comment) obviously thought there was a wedge that could be used here - there is just no way that Kerry and Edwards both bringing Mary Cheney up was a coincidence.

So, even giving Kerry the benefit of the doubt (I don't give Edwards the benefit of anything), there is a precedent for believing that at least a portion of the Radical Left only pays lip service to their gay-rights agenda. (By the way, this is a subject for another posting, but it is not homophobic to oppose gay marriage - I think Bush's position is exactly right on this issue: support some sort of legal arrangement but don't force Americans to change thousands of years of tradition because of Gavin Newsom and the Massachusetts Supreme Court).

The intolerance of the Radical Left comes into even sharper focus with their smear campaign against new RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman. You see, because, as Hindrocket at Power Line points out, Mehlman is 38, single, and likes to keep his personal life to himself, he must in fact be gay. This is part and parcel of the Left's parlor game of outing gay (or just rumoured to be gay) Republicans. Really, this is no different from the Democratic plantation view of black Americans. The identity politics of today's Democratic party mean that there is a "correct" viewpoint for blacks, for gays, for labor, for women - and if you don't hold that viewpoint, then you're a sellout and less than human. So I ask you - who's intolerant?

Update at 9:05 am central: Many thanks to Instapundit for linking me and welcome to any first time readers...please browse the rest of my postings if you get a chance. Happy Holidays!

Update 2 at 9:15 am central: comment on the comments - The World According to Nick has a longer post dealing with some of these issues that is worth your time. I agree with moptop's observation about Carroll O'Conner, and finally, Deoxy is exactly right - this post is not about what Republicans might or might not have done...the point is the supposedly tolerant progressives and their hatred of those with different viewpoints.

Yet another update (10:20 am central) : scarshapedstar says that oppressing gays is a cornerstone of Republican policy - sorry, that's just not the case. SOME Republicans are racist and homophobic, yes, as are some Democrats...this isn't about racism or homophobia per se, but the extension of tolerant feelings to only those who agree with you; i.e., being tolerant of people who mirror yourself - not much of a sacrifice, is it? The homophobe and racist, while wrong, are at least consistently wrong...tolerance doesn't truly exist with ideological conditions attached.

Final Update(?) (12/03 8:41 pm central): Several people who have linked to my page or left comments have made the argument that what I described was not homophobia so much as cynicism, and I'm inclined to agree after reflection. To try to rephrase my point...first of all, I'm not talking about all liberals and Democrats - I clearly said in my post " least a portion of the Radical Left..." (and by the way, I DO make a distinction between the Left and the Radical Left). Second, my accusation is this: certain elements of the Left, while in principle supportive of tolerance towards gays, minorities, etc., will throw those principles overboard in a heartbeat if there is an opportunity to score points against conservatives, so blind has their partisanship made them. Thanks to all those who left comments, whether you agreed with me or not.

More Calls For Kofi Annan (and the UN) To Go

Thomas Bray argues that Annan was pulling for a Kerry victory and used his influence to that end by declaring the Iraq war "illegal". Roger Simon calls for Annan's resignation and says the UN should post its books on the Internet for all to see. The Instapundit himself calls for Annan's replacement with Vaclav Havel in the Wall Street Journal (Havel's appointment would definitely make a statement) (hat tip to Tim Blair, who thinks Saddam would do a better job at this point).

On a related front, I recommend Joshua Muravchik's article in the November Commentary for "The Case Against the UN", unfortunately hidden behind a subscription wall on the website, William Rusher asks "Is the UN Worth Saving?", and Tony Parkinson says "The UN Faces Its Biggest Scandal".

Dan Rather, Pompous Blowhard

I'm gonna post some more links on Dan Rather because I think it's fun to dump on him. This is a great post from Matt Welch about the ridiculous arrogance Rather displays. He takes Dan to task for believing that the $7 million plus he gets annually for reading from a teleprompter makes him some sort of spokesperson for the press.

This post in the Daily Farce belongs in the "truth in all humor" category. Think I'm exaggerating? Then read this real quote. However, this has to be the all-time funniest Dan Rather post.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Oil-For-Food, Part Three: Kojo Annan

Kofi Annan pronounced himself disappointed with his son today after revelations that he was paid by a firm with an Oil-For-Food contract until this February, despite previous assurances that the payments from Swiss-based Cotecna had stopped in 1999. Let's rephrase that: Kofi Annan's son didn't tell his dad, in the midst of a huge international scandal, "Oh, by the way, seeing as you're the head of the U.N., you might want to know I received payments related to this for an additional four years". Astonishing! This thing just gets uglier and uglier.

There are apparently five Congressional panels now asking for UN internal documents related to the UN's own investigation, headed by former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker, according to Fox News. Also, the U.S. Attorney's Office in New York and the Manhattan District Attorney's Office are involved, according to William Safire, who thinks this is it for Annan. Safire thinks this marks the ending of the beginning of the scandal, and says the ending won't begin until Annan resigns.

Annan said "...I really don't want to get into this". Well, you're into it, baby, big time. And who do you think broke the story? Claudia Rosett, who brilliantly analyzes the importance of this story and the pattern of Kofi Annan's responses in the two short excerpts below:
The importance of this story involves not only undisclosed conflicts of interest, but the question of the role of the secretary-general himself, at a time when talk is starting to be heard around the U.N. that it is time for him to resign, and the staff labor union is in open rebellion against "senior management."
The pattern in this scandal has been that Secretary-General Annan, until confronted by the press, has either failed to spot or failed to disclose timely information about Cotecna's paychecks for his son.

Sampling the Blogosphere, Post-Holiday Edition

Jonathan Chait has a hilarious take on the Dems and Decision 2008 that is full of great lines and insights. The column is at its funniest when it takes a look at a possible Kerry re-run (Kerry will be the subject of my 3rd candidate profile very soon), comparing "Kerry's contribution to his own campaign to an anchor's contribution to a boat race". Hey, remember those great glory years of the Democratic party when Al Gore took the reigns of power following his close defeat to George W.? You don't? THAT'S BECAUSE IT DIDN'T HAPPEN...note to Kerry: the reason the Clintonistas remain so strong is the man WON TWO TERMS! Catch a clue, Johnny Boy...

My blog is still playing to a limited audience, seeing that it is all of a week or two old, but some day I hope to experience the joy of the Instalanche. This site has some interesting observations on how to make it happen. I've held off on submitting anything to the Instapundit yet, however; in the words of Mr. Burns, 'Patience, Monty, climb the ladder..."

UPDATE 12/04 11:00 a.m. central: I did get that Instalanche with my post "Homophobia Among the 'Progressives'". Over 6500 unique visitors the first day...I must say it was a lot of fun.

Oil-For-Food Update: Niles Lathem reports on growing congressional anger and refers to Oil-For-Food as "history's biggest financial scandal" (hat tip to the always valuable Friends of Saddam site for this story as well as a link to the remarkable Kurdish Regional Government page, a great resource for Oil-For-Food stories).

Strange Happenings in North Korea

By far the trickiest situation facing the administration at this time is diplomacy with North Korea. Some very strange reports have been coming out of that area lately. As you undoubtably know, North Korea is of a piece with Cuba when it comes to personality cults. Far more troublesome are the reports of the horrible conditions inside the country. However, it appears that Kim Jong Il's grip is slipping (although it would be premature to say he is dead or out of power). Other sources, however, indicate there is nothing to get excited about. Many have made the argument that Bush is a hypocrite for removing Saddam and negotiating with Kim Jong Il; I am of the opinion that the difficulty of diplomacy with a nuke-armed maniac was the best argument for going after Saddam. This story will be interesting to watch...

It's a Free Speech Thing, Revisited

It would appear that blogger Juan Cole, the subject of a lawsuit threat and a previous post here, has his own way with litigious threats (hat tip to Mickey Kaus). Still, I don't feel bad for defending his rights, even if he chooses to engage in the same sad behavior. Crying "Lawsuit!" when someone strikes a sore spot may bring some momentary happiness, but it's no way to run a free society. Speaking of lawyers, you may not realize how beholden the Democratic Party is to trial lawyers, but you should be. More on this topic later.

Vegas Was Great!

My Thanksgiving in Vegas is over now, and I've made my yearly contribution to the endangered casinos of North America. Special thanks to Harrah's for providing me with my second Royal Flush last night (the first was at Harrah's, too). Hope everyone had a safe and happy Thanksgiving. Going to Vegas is like visiting another planet, you get no news at all, so I will catch up on what I missed and post some more later today.