Saturday, February 26, 2005

Rather Excellent Tales: The White House Years

1964 - 1974: Rather serves as the White House Correspondent for CBS News (with brief layovers as the Chief of the CBS London Bureau and as a war correspondent in 1966 - I forget what war he was covering). Two of the most celebrated Rather moments occur during this period:
FUN FACT: Rather established his rock-solid reputation for journalistic integrity in the White House years:
The loose journalistic ethics that have characterized Rather�s entire career were soon evident. �Rather would go with an item even if he didn�t have it completely nailed down with verifiable facts,� wrote Timothy Crouse in his best-seller about presidential campaign coverage in the Nixon era The Boys on the Bus. �If a rumor sounded solid to him, if he believed in his gut or had gotten it from a man who struck him as honest, he would let it rip. The other White House reporters hated Rather for this. They knew exactly why he got away with it: being handsome as a cowboy, Rather was a star at CBS News, and that gave him the clout he needed. They could quote all his lapses from fact�
Rather Excellent Tales: Birth of a Legend
Rather Excellent Tales: The College Years
Rather Excellent Tales: Heading on Down to Houston Town
Rather Excellent Tales: A Star is Born
Rather Excellent Tales: On to CBS

Miscellanea: How Big a Sap Am I? Edition

This is how big a sap I am: I just watched the first Spiderman again, and got all choked up during that scene where Peter tells Mary Jane what's it like to look in her eyes...that's how big a sap I am!...

The Red Republic shares my cautious optimism about the changing Middle East...

Speaking of, Israel is blaming Syria for the latest suicide bombing...

Little Green Footballs notices a change in the Palestinian mood...

bebere has an excellent post on the Lawrence Summers kerfuffle...

More on Summers from the Bernoulli Effect...

Lorie Byrd takes Oliver 'Like Stupid to Kryptonite' Willis to task...

The Right Spot questions the sanity of a nation that would choose destruction over a perceived 'loss of sovereignty' to the U.S...

John Hawkins
has uncovered another imposter among the White House press corp...

If you ask me, those Florida judges are getting a little too big for their britches...

Andrew Sullivan detects some homophobia among the 'progressives' (hat tip to Instapundit)...

Ted Rall Update: The Challenge Has Been Met, Says Rall

Ted Rall has admitted that he has begun to get real examples of disgusting liberal hate speech, and cites my earlier post as one of the entries that has met the challenge (though he misspells my name - oh, well).

My earlier prediction (and I said it's a slam dunk, Mr. President - can you spot the irony?) has turned out to be wrong; since Rall has been gracious enough to acknowledge that I did, in fact, meet his challenge, I am sending him a gracious email acknowledging my appreciation.

There is a point to all this silliness: hate speech on both sides is out there, but (even though I *still* maintain it's far more prevalent on the left) it's up to those of us who wish to be reasonable to condemn those, even those on our side, who engage in verbal and physical intimidation.

So, unlikely as it may seem, I salute you, Mr. Rall, for surprising me this time.

UPDATE 05:15 p.m. - As I read this again, it sounds a bit 'braggy'; it wasn't me that met the challenge, I just happened to get mentioned; it was, of course, the blogging community (as Rall said, he's received hundreds of responses). So, hey, thanks again to all who link here and to those who read my little chicken-scratching..I'm having fun, and I hope you are, too.

The 'Hey, Maybe Rall is Right!' Meme

You know, I've posted a lot over the past two days about the Ted Rall Challenge. Sure, we've had some fun with it, but it's got me in an introspective mood. Maybe Rall is right; maybe it's the conservatives that are full of hate and loathing for their fellow Americans, who are unable to string together coherent doctrines, who are unable to acknowledge the original sin of being born in a democracy.

After all, we can learn a lot from the pacifists of the left...why, just consider Ward Churchill!...or these thoughtful, intelligent protestors in San Francisco...and of couse, the calm, reasoned rhetorical musings of Lawrence O'Donnell are an inspiration to us all.

I'm going to have to do some serious self-examination here. Time for another dose of therapy...

(hat tips to Little Green Footballs and Right Wing News)

More Historic Developments in the Middle East

Today, Israeli and Palestinian forces (that's right, both sides) arrested seven in response to yesterday's suicide bombing. And Egypt has announced some democratic reforms.

Oh, curse the day that lunatic George Bush and his neocon cabal took over the reins of this country in a coup d'etat! Oh, how we long for the days of the peacemaker Jimmy Carter, when hostages were held for over a year in the face of our impotence! Oh, woe, woe, woe is me!

Or maybe not...

The Rall Challenge: Another Gauntlet is Thrown

Ted Rall continues to define away any possible examples of lefty vitriol is his rightwing challenge. Apparently, in Rall's world, the only possible example of 'progressive' hatred is a threat so specific that the time, date, and location of the assault are sent to law enforcement via FedEx. Folks, spend five minutes cruising the comments at the Daily Kos or the Democratic Underground and tell me these guys aren't the most hateful bunch of miscreants on God's green earth. (Rall also gives us a new e-mail address, suggesting that perhaps we were too stupid to use the old one. D'uh, Mister Rall, I no can use this e-mail do-hickey - how I supposed to enter? Heh- heh- heh...).

I predict (and it's a slam-dunk, Mr. President!) that Rall will, at the conclusion of his challenge on Monday, ignore such outrageous examples as PoliPundit's latest and declare that while he finds dozens, hundreds, nay, thousands of daily examples of specific, violent threats from Republicans, we could only find a handful. Well, fantasy always trumps reality for a certain personality type, and if the shoe fits...

, in typically forward-thinking fashion, issues a counterchallenge: find examples of positive, uplifting statements about our country being unified in the goal of a better tomorrow. I'll take the opportunity to answer this latest challenge with this entry from one Saddam Hussein. It's enough to bring tears to your eyes. Really. Go on - read it!

Miscellanea - I Took the Ted Rall Challenge and All I Got Was This Lousy Bounceback Edition

Patterico's Pontifications wonders how we're supposed to send Rall our examples when his e-mail bounces, but he takes the challenge anyway (hey, a dishonest lefty? Naw, couldn't be)...

The excellent Jawa Report has an entry, too...hey, Ted, are you taking all this down?...

One of the CBS Three has thrown in the towel (hat tip to Instapundit)...

USA Today tries to get all snarky, but fails miserably...

Extremists are trying to wreck the progress being made on the Israeli-Palestinian front (surprise!), but so far, the good will seems to hold...

Iowahawk has the long-lost Scooby Doo episode featuring Hunter S. Thompson (hat tip to Q&O)...

I'm with PETA on this one - I'm shocked, SHOCKED I say, that this kind of abuse is going on...

Friday, February 25, 2005

Rall Changes the Rules, but the Challenge is Met

Ted Rall, no doubt overwhelmed with examples of left-wing moonbat ranting, now says only a violent threat to specific political or media personalities (Rall laughingly must consider himself one of the latter) counts towards his challenge (and then tries to cover up his Little Green Footballs snafu with the new rule that comments count). He then says (and I don't believe it for a minute) that the challenge has yet to be met.

No matter: if he continues to say it, you know he's lying, 'cause I got your quotes, Ted, plus links.
  1. Kelly Hagan, responding to a post entitled 'Bush Should Not Be Assassinated', responds that 'an event like this [the assassination of Bush] could be just what this country needs'.
  2. Fernando88: 'I want to kill George Bush...but that's an understatement.'
  3. smilingyoukia: 'OK, I believe George Bush should die...'

Oh, but that's fringe stuff, you say; you won't find anything like that on, say, the Daily Kos...oops!:

I dislike junior's stupid, arrogant, ugly chimp-like demeaner soooo much that I change the channel any time, I mean anytime, I have the misfortune on seeing him or hearing him on TV or radio. The word hate is to mild a word to define my dislike of the punk. I would gladly watch though to see him hurt and laugh as he stated[sic] crying. I'd like to see him in pain even though I'm an animal loving[sic], non violent[sic] atheist. Junior is a bad, bad, bad man.

Okay, okay, that's one on the Daily Kos, but surely there weren't anymore...oops:

Best thing about the "personal" hate you talk about is the day one of those people dies. Leaves the living. Never again to require any of your energy. Poof! Gone.
Memorable, memorable day.
The relief is scary enough to make you realize how terrible hate really is.
I work very hard to avoid it now.
Though I'm saving the red dress I was gonna wear around town after Kerry's victory for W's funeral week.

Then there's this gem aimed at Hindrocket of Power Line:
Reading Hindrocket's slanders and looking at his f***ing spoiled, preppy face, I had fantasies of meeting him on a public street and kicking the living s**t out of him until the only thing his face resembled was a raw pulp of bloody meat.
Peaceful bunch, these lefties...and Rall, you're not kidding know this stuff is out there already. And please, quit lying and saying the challenge has not been met. I just met it.

UPDATE: Thanks to the mighty Instapundit, most fair and judicious (and really, just plain handsome!) of beings, for the link, and you also should check out, if you haven't already, these responses from PoliPundit, RightWingNews, and Q&O, as the wise 'he-we-call-Glenn' has suggested. Oh, and it looks like Rall has had enough; the email address bounces and his blog has been knocked offline. Hot enough for ya, Ted? Don't look for any kind of concession, however.

Rall Slanders Little Green Footballs

Ted Rall, as part of his 'Rightwing Challenge', uses as an example comments left at the site Little Green Footballs as if they were posts by Charles, who, of course, is much too classy for these remarks. If this is the best Rall can do, the challenge is complete (see PoliPundit's entry here).

Are You Up To The Challenge?

Ted Rall is asking rightwing bloggers to prove the left is more hateful than the right by sending him the worst examples of lefty vitriol (with the link); he claims he will post them at his blog. I suggest we all take him up on it. (Send your entries to:

Friday Morning Quick Shots

At OpinionJournal, Europe as a whole joins the 'Hey, Maybe Bush Was Right' meme...

Nominees are in for The Week magazine's second annual Opinion Awards, and they have a category for single-issue advocacy; nominees include Michelle Malkin on immigration, Christopher Hitchens on Islamofascism, and Claudia Rosett on the United Nations oil-for-food scandal. Wow, hard to choose a favorite there; but sorry, Michelle, Hitch, I've got to pull for the great Claudia Rosett...

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Ward Churchill Advocates Terror on Tape

Michelle Malkin has the transcripts of four audio clips of Ward Churchill spewing his venom. I covered the Ted Rall opinion piece earlier today; Rall talks about all the hatred in the rightwing blogosphere, but 90% of the time, what the other side calls hate is merely the act of shining a light on the unbelievable statements made by 'progressives'. Listen to the clips, and read the transcripts, and ask yourself - what happened to this guy to make him so screwed up? And for crying out loud, how was he ever given tenure?

Rather Excellent Tales: On to CBS

1962 - Rather joins CBS as Chief of its Southwest Division in Dallas. In 1963, he becomes Chief of the Southern Bureau in New Orleans, where he becomes the first reporter to report the death of President Kennedy.

Hmm, Dallas, New Orleans - two areas where Lee Harvey Oswald lived. Rather is with the New Orleans Bureau, but the assassination is in Dallas, where Rather used to be the Chief, but Rather is the first to report the President's death, even though he's now the Chief in New Orleans - where's Oliver Stone when you need him?

FUN FACTS - Amazingly, the film version of To Kill a Mockingbird was released in 1962. Also in 1962, Dick Nixon lost the California governor's race, and famously declared we wouldn't have him around to kick anymore; much to Rather's delight, that was not the case. But wait a minute - Nixon, who later traded barbs with Rather, was also in Dallas on November 22, 1963...the plot thickens. (And how come you never saw Gregory Peck and Dan Rather in the same room at the same time? Huh? Can you answer that one, smartypants?)...

Rather Excellent Tales: Birth of a Legend
Rather Excellent Tales: The College Years
Rather Excellent Tales: Heading on Down to Houston Town
Rather Excellent Tales: A Star is Born

Miscellanea - More Good News from the Middle East Edition

The Iraqi democracy experiment has influenced the leader of Lebanon's Druze Muslims to break with Syria and push for freedom (while Syria makes a half-hearted commitment to pull out) (hat tip to RealClearPolitics)...

For more on Syria and Lebanon, here's Jim Geraghty with an excellent post...

Slate has started a Today's Blogs column...

In the 'give them credit for at least trying' department, the UN has a new blog (???!!!) (hat tip to Michelle Malkin)...

Condi may have to adopt Prince's "Baby, I'm a Star" as her theme song soon...

DJ Drummond doesn't need convincing; he's joined the Condi 2008 bandwagon...

Patrick Ruffini wins praise from the great Ken Mehlman...

A Virus in the Blogosphere : How a Thirty-Year-Old Idea Forced Out Eason Jordan

In his 1985 book Metamagical Themas: Questing for the Essence of Mind and Pattern, Douglas Hofstadter (best known as the author of Godel, Escher, and Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid) talks about ideas floating in what he half-jokingly refers to as the ideosphere, where they self-replicate by planting themselves in the brains of others, through song, the written word, story-telling, etc. Much as genetic material ingrains itself in the biosphere, if an idea provides psychological benefit to a great part of the population, the idea can spread as fast as it can travel.

In the age of the Internet, that's very fast indeed. Richard Dawkins, in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene, is credited by Hofstadter as planting the self-replicating idea that ideas self-replicate into the ideosphere, with the concept of the meme. Memes may or may not have a basis in fact; in some cases, it may suit a person's ideology (i.e., the other idea viruses, or memes, he has caught) to believe in something despite evidence to the contrary, much as an atheist sees the faith of believers (the atheist's belief itself forming a meme about the meme of religion - you see how this stuff can go on and on).

I submit that four memes, all of which suited a sizeable portion of the brains exposed to them, ultimately led to Eason Jordan's downfall. The first was the meme of WMDs. It was so logical that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction that most reasonable people took it as proven fact; when intelligence agencies received reports from dissidents that indicated their presence, it only served to reinforce the idea. Remember that precious few, regardless of their 20/20 hindsight on display now, doubted that Saddam had the weapons; the pre-war debate was mostly over what to do about it.

Despite my support of the war, and the resulting halting steps towards democracy the Iraqis are undertaking, it seems clear that without the WMD meme, the war could not have been carried out (is that also a meme? Oh, my head...). Meme number two was the meme that the U.S. is often guilty of the same human rights abuses we accuse others of (the most contagious carrier being one Noam Chomsky, who should probably be quarantined for safety reasons). Obviously, this meme had infected Eason Jordan.

Number three is the meme of liberal media bias (remember, a meme may or may not be true; by saying the idea infected large amounts of us we are not saying there isn't truth to the idea). This meme is the source of the alertness (the lefties would say overeagerness) the bloggers on the right display when evaluating the MSM (the very acronym a meme of its own - Ay, Caramba!).

Number four, the one that wrapped the other three up in a nice little wrapper, is the meme that Eason Jordan accused our troops in Iraq of cold-blooded murder. We should note that some memes counteract others, and often replace them - i.e., the geocentric galaxy model replaced by the heliocentric. Had the Davos tape been released, or an accurate transcript, perhaps this meme would have similarly been overthrown. In the absence of a countervailing idea, and with a swiftness rarely seen before, the virus-idea-meme spread throughout the world, and became accepted wisdom.

And that's the story of why Eason Jordan resigned.

Quick Shots - Bush On Tape = No Big Deal

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorializes on the Bush tapes and finds no surprises. Similarly, Mickey Kaus observes that a few more revelations like this and Bush's approval ratings will skyrocket. The taper himself is sorry he made such a ruckus and promises to be a good boy now...

Going Fisking with Ted Rall

Ted Rall is one of the meaner liberal cartoonists; in his work, he has ridiculed the families of 9/11 victims, parodied right-wing bloggers by showing us defending a President Bush who partakes in bestiality, compared the U.S. to a dictatorship, and taken shots at Pat Tillman, the former NFL star killed in defense of this country.

Now Rall, who also writes an equally mean-spirited column, is warning his readers (yep, that's right, all fifteen of them) of the dangers of blogs; in typical Rall fashion, he puts down Captain Ed because he's not part of the 'elite' and dares to have an opinion, and casually inserts the adjective 'gay' in front of Andrew Sullivan's name in a context that has nothing to do with homosexuality.

Rall is a prime candidate for a fisking, so let's just jump right in.
Upon hearing that I'd started writing a blog, a Luddite pal asked me to describe this latest new-media phenom. Political bloggers, I explained, link to articles in traditional media. Then they rant and/or rave about them. "Great piece in the Journal." "The usual crap at" Anyone can write one; you don't even have to use your real name. "Oh," he replied. "A blog is like a column without the responsibility."
Yeah, Ted, we don't have the level of 'responsibility' you show in your published work. And yes, we link to articles in traditional media at times, but more often, we link to posts at other blogs, finding them much more refreshing, candid, and truthful than the MSM.
Bloggers want you to know that there's a new sheriff in town. Edward Morrissey, writer of the right-wing blog Captain's Quarters, boasts to the New York Times:
"The media can't just cover up the truth and expect to get away with it--and journalists can't just toss around allegations without substantiation and expect people to believe them anymore." And what are Morrissey's qualifications to police the media? When he's not harassing old-school journos like Dan Rather and CNN's Eason Jordan out of their jobs, Morrissey manages a call center near Minneapolis.
Yes, there is a new sheriff in town - and he's us. Blogs are for and by the everyman; their appeal is that they give voice to people who formerly lacked an outlet. What qualifications does one need to realize that Dan Rather took fake documents and ran with them? Apparently, whatever those qualifications are, the fact-checkers at CBS lacked them.

At a time when simply having a conservative Democrat spar with a conservative Republican is enough to earn the tag "fair and balanced," the fact is that the political blogs are dominated by the hard right.

The hard right being the liberterian 'Instapundit', I suppose, or the Daily Kos, who just passed the 100 million mark on visitors.

...conservative blogs mirror their mainstream counterparts by applying a far angrier and more violent tone than that of their liberal foes.

This is laughable; just spend five minutes with the Kosians or at the Democratic Underground if you want to truly understand the meaning of the word 'hate'. (In fairness, Rall then lists some examples of things said about him by some bloggers that are, in fact, over the line.)

Surfing this cheesy world of flag-draped neo-McCarthyite HTML makes it impossible to deny Columbia Journalism Review writer Steve Lovelady's conclusion that most are "salivating morons" who form an ideological "lynch mob."

Oh, sorry, Ted, missed that last point; I was just wiping off my saliva as I put my lasso on the horse.

Eason Jordan...lost his job at CNN for claiming--off the air--that "he knew of 12 journalists who were killed by coalition forces in Iraq," as Congressman Barney Frank quoted him in the Washington Post. And, he claimed, some had been targeted by U.S. forces. In fact, more than 50 war correspondents have been killed in the Iraq war--of whom a portion were apparently shot intentionally by American troops. Two journalists for Al Jazeera were killed in 2003 by U.S. troops firing at Baghdad's Palestine Hotel, well known to CENTCOM as the main residence for foreign journalists. Two more Al Jazeera journalists reported being tortured by U.S. troops last year; another has been rotting in the Guant�namo concentration camp since 2001. Eason had the facts right, but the blogger lynch mob howled so loudly that CNN fired him anyway.

Where to begin with this paragraph? Eason Jordan may have been 'off the air', but he was in a quite public forum. Besides, his comments were indicative of the mindset he brought to the table as the Chief News Executive of one of the marquee names of cable news. Rall then repeats the slander agains the U.S. troops that got Eason canned (Rall's job is safe, though; nobody cares about him enough to get too worked up.)

The mainstream media let Bush steal an election and lie his way into two wars.

See? There's that journalistic responsibility the bloggers are lacking.

Bloggers are ordinary people, many of them uneducated and with nothing interesting to say. They're sitting in their rec rooms, regurgitating and spinning what real journalists have dug up through hard work. They don't have sources, they don't report, and no one holds them accountable when they make mistakes or flat out lie. Yeah, there's a new sheriff in town. Unfortunately he's drunk, he's mean, and he works for the bad guys.

Speaking of mean and works for the bad guys, pot - meet kettle. I plead guilty to being an ordinary guy, and my education is sadly lacking (former National Merit Scholar, with a B.A. in Economics, since you asked), but here's where your argument falls apart, Ted. I don't own a rec room.

We all know the real problem Ted has; it's that most of the world just doesn't turn the way he thinks it should, so he lashes out at the mean, bad ol' bloggers, who have ruined civilization as we know it. Cheer up, Ted, Bush will only be in office four more years, and then you'll have a brand new Republican administration to make fun of! Just think of the possibilities...

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Miscellanea : Two More Weeks Edition

Templar Pundit (talk about your vast right-wing conspiracies!) is counting down the days 'til we say goodbye to Dear Ol' Dan...

Courtesy of Chrenkoff, Der Spiegel joins the 'Hey, Maybe Bush Was Right' meme...

It's sure been quiet on the Michael Moore / Barbra Streisand front lately, hasn't it?...

In the 'credit where credit is due' department, the Daily Kos has celebrated visitor number One...Hundred...Million! I kid you not. Thank of how much wasted time that adds up to; why, with that much brainpower at work, you could fry an egg!...

And while we're on the subject, I'm sure you'll want the complete roundup (Kos was named 'Best Blog') of the Koufax Awards (because, you see, Koufax was a lefty, and these guys...oh, never mind)...

Weekly Jackass Number Twelve: Sheila Jackson Lee

Sheila Jackson Lee, for those who don't know, represents the Eighteenth Congressional District of Texas in the U.S. House. Lee is the consummate publicity seeker, ready to hype any perceived outrage, no matter how ridiculous, to the extreme, and never missing a chance to get in front of the cameras. Her official homepage is a salute to narcissism, consisting of Lee standing in front of various podiums and adopting the cause of the day. It's also a tribute to the decline of writing skills - read this and tell me if you have the slightest idea what it means:
...the Congresswoman has periodically enumerated the deficiencies of the State of Texas under the President�s leadership and can now share a detailed history of the weaknesses of the current federal Administration. Her current focus in the 108th Congress is to promote the characteristics of a prospective Administration necessary to serve the nation.
Or try this passage:
...she has distinguished herself as a staunch defender of the Constitution, civil rights and juvenile justice, protection of America's health needs, gun safety and responsibility, economic empowerment for low and middle income America. In addition, the Congresswoman has been out-spoken [sic] on human rights issues.
Narcissism and politics go somewhat hand in hand, though, so let's starting making the case for Jackass status.:
  • In 2003, Lee complained that the names of hurricanes were too "lily white" (how can a name be white? Is Lee stereotyping? Surely not...), and demanded that more 'black' names be used.
  • On a visit to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Lee, a member of the House Science Committee's space subcommittee, asked if the Mars Pathfinder had taken an image of the flag Neil Armstrong planted there in 1969!
  • Earlier this year, Lee attempted to explain away Nancy Pelosi's referral to the United States as an occupying force in Iraq:

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's use of the term "occupying force" to describe the U.S. military presence in Iraq was not a "harsh term," said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex.), who attempted to redefine the terminology.

    "I believe that we can, if you will, change "occupying's" definition to being collaborators -- collaborators with the Iraqi people and moving them toward their own self-government," Jackson Lee told Cybercast News Service on Wednesday night at the U.S. Capitol following President Bush's State of the Union address.

  • When Trent Lott uttered his ill-advised, but relatively mild, endorsement of Strom Thurmond, Lee reacted hysterically: it was a "...shocking, if you will piercing, voice through the fabric of black America".
The primary documentary evidence that Sheila Jackson Lee (who, by they way, is one of the 55 members of the Progressive Caucus - ye gads!) is, in fact, a most worthy Weekly Jackass recepient, is the remarkable speech she gave on December 8, 2004, on the subject of the voting 'irregularities' in Ohio. I say remarkable because rarely has a politician so callously thrown out accusation after accusation while offering no supporting evidence (remind you of anyone else in the news?) Some of the juicy bits:
Many of our guests today were on the scene in Florida to uncover the fraud and we are all fortunate to have him here in Ohio continuing to fight for justice. Many people have likely tried to discourage or obstruct these guests and other advocates on more than a few occasions, but they have proven that they will not flee and that they will not relent until all the votes are counted in the 88 counties of Ohio and for that I applaud them.

It�s unfortunate that more Americans are not appalled at the situation we see here in Ohio. It is plain to see that the Republican Party at the local, state and national level is doing everything it can to ensure that all the votes are not counted. They have tried to fool the public, they have ridiculed the opposition, and when that has failed they have tried to bully those who still stand in there way. Never have we seen a political party so afraid to do the most elemental of tasks which is the counting of each and every ballot��.sorry I take that back, never in the last four years have we seen the Republican Party so afraid for every vote to be counted. While many people will trot out the line that the Election Day results in Ohio have already been determined, the actual truth is that too many questions surround this election. On election night when the race in Ohio was called for Bush, there were still over a quarter million ballots that had yet to be counted, votes which we now know are in overwhelmingly Democratic precincts.

...the sad truth in all of this, the dark secret, which we know all too well, is that with the hundreds of thousands of votes that have gone uncounted or discarded, the great number of them are from African-American voters. Sadly, this is no coincidence; this is just business as usual for the Republican Party establishment. The Civil Rights movement was the culmination of the efforts of so many people in our history who had to endure cruelty and humiliation, but still never relented in their quest for equality. However, while we achieved great gains by the passage of the Civil Rights Act and we have made great strides since, the truth is that we have not yet achieved true equality. We saw it here again in Ohio when the Republican Party announced a plan to challenge "fraudulent" voters on a mass basis, its [sic] hardly surprising that the voters they planned to challenge were overwhelmingly African American.
Left unsaid by Lee is what 'fraud' was uncovered in Florida, other than the idiocy of the Democratic election officials who designed the notorious 'butterfly' ballots. She left little else unsaid, though, making it plain that she considers George Bush an illegitimate president and the Republican party to be a racist organization that wins elections by voter intimidation and massive fraud. Totally ignored by Lee is the fact that the party of Lincoln overwhelmingly supported the historic Civil Rights Act of 1964, ensuring its passage, the same Civil Rights Act that she uses to reproach the Republicans in her speech. Had it been up to the Democratic establishment of the time, particulary southern Democrats afraid of losing their seats, the Act would have never been signed. Lee also disingenously suggests the Ohio election was called before the polls closed, but a closer reading reveals her sleight of hand - she mentions the quarter of million votes yet to be counted, but how many people fell for the implication? (Not to mention the audacity, when it was in Florida that this very same problem actually did occur, to the detriment of the Republicans, in 2000).

Needless to say, if you've read this far, you won't be surprised to know that Lee is one of the most liberal members of Congress, nor will it shock you to know that she opposed the Iraqi War. I guess it stands to reason that she extended the hand of friendship to a nation that sponsors terrorism, as well. But, as Charles at Little Green Footballs says: See! He's a father! He has children! How can he be a terrorist?

Congrats to my fellow Texan and Weekly Jackass Number Twelve, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee.

The Virtue of a Short Memory

There are elements on both sides of the Israeli - Palestinian divide that are skeptical as to the meaning of recent events. This skepticism is hard-won and difficult to surmount. If there is ever to be (relative) peace in that troubled land, this skepticism must be overcome. There are times when it is helpful to remember, other times when it is best to forget. Sometimes, the same event must be remembered and forgotten, in different ways.

For example, the Holocaust must always be studied and taught, as the survivers are dying, and we musn't forget that evil, the better to prevent its recurrence. Yet for the Israelis to have relations with modern Germany, it was necessary to forget (or, at least on some level, forgive) the great wrong done to their people.

Such is the case in the Middle East. The present situation is as hopeful as it has been since the Oslo accords. Perhaps there is only a fool's hope, but it beats no hope at all. I greatly fear that the process will be derailed by the accumulation of ill will by both sides. This is a time when to forget is a blessing. Leaders must have a hard heart at times, to deal with matters such as terrorism and war; at other times, a soft heart is necessary, for reconciliation and reconstruction. My urgent hope is that Sharon and Abbas realize that the aspirations of generations fall upon their shoulders, and now is not the time to be hard of heart. A healthy dose of skepticism must always be present when dealing with one's enemies; however, if all one feels is skepticism, then that enemy is sure to remain so.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

A Weekly Jackass Teaser

If you're just absolutely unable to sleep from the anticipation of tomorrow's Weekly Jackass crowning, I'll throw you a hint; she (yes, she) can be found in this excellent list rating all the U.S. Congress members according to relative 'conservatism', or lack thereof. A second hint - she strongly lacks thereof - i.e., she's a card-carrying member of Moonbat Central. A final hint - this week's installment is sure to be a thriller - so do the right thing, and tune in tomorrow.

Rather Excellent Tales: A Star is Born

1959-1962: Rather makes the fateful move to television on KTRK-TV in Houston. His rise is swift; by 1962 he has become the news director at rival station KHOU-TV.

FUN FACT: Rather gained a lot of attention in 1961 covering Hurricane Carla in Galveston, where the wind speed reached 117 mph; Rather appeared on air 'drenched and clinging to a pole'. Generations of reporters forced by news directors and station managers to mimic the stunt will curse his name forevermore.

Rather Excellent Tales: Birth of a Legend
Rather Excellent Tales: The College Years
Rather Excellent Tales: Heading on Down to Houston Town

Miscellanea - What Did Lawrence Summers Really Say? Edition

If, like me, you're too busy solving the world's problems to read the Lawrence Summers transcipt, William Saletan has a good synopsis...

Similarly, Just One Minute has just what you need to get up to speed on the Guckert / Gannon kerfuffle...

If the Hinchey comments have got you fired up, Carpe Bonum stays on the beat...

Arthur Chrenkoff continues to make me feel ashamed of my pathetic chicken-scratching with this interview with Michael Ledeen...

Mike at Policy Post has a post up on the danger of substituting government regulation for personal responsiblity...

Congrats to Captain Ed on hitting the 5 million visitor mark!!!! Wow - I should catch up with him in 2063...

In case you missed it in the comments, Geoff at The Young Conservative shares many of my sentiments about Newt Gingrinch...

Quicks Shots - What Do Bill Parcells and John Kerry Have In Common?

For starters, I mentioned them in the same question (a little self-referential joke for you Godel fans). The real answer is they both have apparently worn out their welcome (okay, for most of us, Kerry wore his out a long time ago). Parcells is skewered in this piece by Jeffri Chadiha, and PoliPundit has started a form SF-180 countdown for John Kerry (today is day 23) (Mickey Kaus is among those waiting anxiously).

Also, I would be remiss (isn't that an odd phrase?) if I didn't refer you to one more piece on Hunter S. Thompson by the great Christopher Hitchens.

Stay tuned...

Remembering One of the Great Ones

A quick roundup of Hunter S. Thompson tributes:
(hat tip to RealClearPolitics for many of these links)...

Monday, February 21, 2005

What's Wrong with the Democrats? Look No Further Than The Nation

No magazine compares to The Nation when it comes to being jarringly wrong on every major issue. Christopher Hitchens used to file his Minority Report there (and you can find some of those columns in his new collection). The Hitch said goodbye to his old 'progressive' comrades when he rightly surmised that they would use the occasion of September 11th to criticize the 'imperialism' of the United States and play Chamberlain to Osama's Hitler.

Nothing has improved since the departure of Hitchens; if anything, things have gotten worse. Indeed, a single month's worth of The Nation exemplifies why the Democrats must jettison the 'progressive' infestation. Here are the top ten mistakes of the Left in a microcosm:
  • Shooting the Messenger, by Jeremy Scahill (who works for Democracy Now!, and yet we are to believe there is no left-wing bias at NPR) - Scahill examines the Eason Jordan affair and concludes, astonishingly, that Jordan was expressing a commonly held view among news organizations (i.e., that the U.S. military kills journalists in cold blood). To back up his claims, he quotes an executive from Reuters, the wire service that refuses to use the word 'terrorists' to describe suicide bombers. Problem number one: a troubling willingness to believe anti-American propaganda.
  • Now He Has the Power, by John Nichols - a love letter to Howard Dean upon his ascension to the DNC throne. Problem number two: the activists have taken over the leadership, exemplified by the belief that the Democrats lost in '04 because they weren't angry and shrill enough (please!).
  • Tort 'Reform' Triumphs, by Dan Zegart - an article lambasting the recent approval of reforms to class action lawsuits, illustrating Problem number three: a refusal to curb ridiculous excesses in 'feel good' legislation (i.e., no support for a partial-birth abortion ban), and Problem number four: the refusal to be candid about the tremendous power trial lawyers wield in the Democratic Party.
  • Help Defend Lynne Stewart (I'm not joking), by Peter Rothberg - in which the activist's decision to convey messages from terrorists in captivity to those on the loose is portrayed as 'an administrative infraction'. Problem number five: the refusal to acknowlege real security threats in the post-9/11 world, and the tendency to label any commonsense decisions in these areas as 'fascist'.
  • Getting the Purple Finger (unfortunately, this isn't a joke either), by Naomi Klein - in which the Iraqi elections are portrayed as a catastrophic defeat for America. Problem number six: being on the wrong side on Iraq, and refusing to give Bush any credit whatsoever for what is clearly becoming a transformed Middle East.
  • Our Godless Constitution, by Brooke Allen - a comprehensive attempt to write Christianity out of public discourse by taking the most extreme position on the seperation of church and state. Problem number seven: an undisguised hostility towards religion.
  • Summers of Our Discontent, by Katha Pollitt - a defense of Nancy Hopkins and a condemnation of Lawrence Summers, proving that academic freedom goes out the window when it collides with hardcore feminism. Problem number eight: the tendency to junk core principles when they collide with the Democratic political agenda.
  • Another World Turns, by Alisa Solomon - a love letter to socialism and a condemnation of the United States and Europe in favor of the 'Third World'. Problem number nine: the refusal to move past the failed policies of socialism.
  • Knowing What You're Talking About, by Liliana Segura - a diatribe by an anti-death penalty activist, spotlighting Problem number ten: Democrats don't want to kill criminals, yet they hold abortion as the foremost inalienable right.
Now, if you'll pardon me, I've got to go take a shower - the stench is getting unbearable.

Miscellanea: Secrets of the Daily Kos Edition

Markos Zuniga reveals all: "One of my dirty little secrets -- I read very few books." Stop the presses! - and yet you're such an astute observer of the political scene, Markos. I grudgingly concede that Markos has a point in labeling Hunter S. Thompson the 'first blogger', though no blogger, right or left, can write with the intensity of Mr. Thompson...

Speaking of the Kosians, watch the Left try to grapple with pointless, obviously false innuendo concerning Karl Rove (hat tip for both Kos tips to Little Green Footballs)...

Betsy's Page links to a Washington Post story about a homeless man in my hometown who's taken the Ten Commandments all the way to the Supreme Court (they don't say Keep Austin Weird for nothing)...

Pejmanesque on a Nobel Prize-winning economist making the case for Social Security reform...

Speaking of Nobel Prize-winning economists (and who isn't, these days?), don't miss this 'Annie Hall' moment in OpinionJournal...

Finally, good news on the international front: North Korea, having failed to blackmail us, is changing course; Israel has released 500 Palestinian prisoners after Sharon won approval for a Gaza pullout and Abbas won the backing of the Fatah movement; and that insane unilateralist leader of ours is overseas mending fences with the Europeans (curse you, George Bush, you warmonger, you!)...

Candidate Profile Eleven: Newt Gingrich

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is nothing if not smart. He has timed his will-he-or-won't-he-run press offensive to coincide nicely with the release of his new book, Winning the Future: a 21st Century Contract With America. The subtitle's reference, of course, is to Newt's famous Contract with America during the heyday of his congressional reign, about midway through Bill Clinton's First term. The first contract was remarkably successful in defining the terms of political debate and as a vehicle for moving legislation, and Gingrich deserves a lot of credit. His downfall was his criticism of Bill Clinton's family values while demonstrating his lack of same.

Newton Leroy Gingrich - Official Home Page

Gingrich 2008 website

Resume - former Speaker of the House of Representatives; former U. S. Representative from Georgia's Sixth District; Time's 1995 Man of the Year; fundraiser; entrepreneur; Fellow at numerous thinktanks

This one's all about publicity. Newt Gingrich has no more chance of winning the Republican nomination than my beagle (my beagle's current odds: 150 - 1). Newt is an intelligent man, but he's not appealing as a candidate. Vast amounts of the public revile him (perhaps unjustly), and his previously mentioned callous treatment of his wives is not in line with the image the Republican Party likes to maintain. I recently saw a Jim Hightower piece in which his drool practically flew off the page with the thought that Newt might be our candidate. Relax, Jim, it ain't gonna happen (oh, and Jim - the fact that someone announces that he's receptive to the idea of a candidacy doesn't make him a serious candidate - in fact, if I may, I'd like to take this opportunity to announce to the thousands of Decision '08 faithful that I, myself, am open to talk about a 2008 presidential run. I'm putting my own odds at 900-1, but then again, I'm a little biased).

Let me reiterate, the man has some good ideas. I'm not saying don't listen to him. Anyone who badmouths the U.N. gets some points in my book; and Gingrich does have some supporters (though most of them can only be found on his website - hmmm). There are numerous obstacles, too numerous, in fact, to overcome, to a Gingrich candidacy; I bet he sells a lot of books, though.

Current Odds: 150 - 1

UPDATE 07/24/2005 10:56 p.m.:

see here...

Miscellanea - Special President's Day Edition

Nancy Hopkins (the woman who got so woozy in the aftermath of the Lawrence Summers bombshell) responds to her critics at Gothamimage...

Speaking of women who are currently in the mountain-out-of-molehill-making business, the Bernoulli Effect comments on the Susan Estrich - Michael Kinsley dustup (I bet Estrich could take him in a fight)...

FOTB (Friend of This Blog) Carpe Bonum is celebrating not one, but two Instalanches on the same day!...

Benjamin at Dairy of an Anti-Chomskyite echoes my sentiments on the passing of Hunter S. Thompson...

Jay Rosen has the definitive Eason Jordan wrapup....

On the liberal side of the blogosphere, Sadly, No! has a series of hilarious Flash animations...

MTV's stupendously awful yet oddly addictive 'The Real World' is shooting in Austin, and Willie Style has the scoop...

Hunter S. Thompson, R.I.P.

The iconic writer and creator of 'gonzo' journalism is dead; he ended it all with a shot to his head. Thompson was an early hero of mine, believe it or not - I admired not so much his politics, but rather his stream-of-consciousness, say-or-do-anything, scattershot yet brilliant writing. 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas' and 'Fear and Loathing on the Campiagn Trail '72' will remain his lasting works, though I also immensely enjoyed 'Hell's Angels'.

Thompson was a relic of a different time, in some ways better, in many ways much worse; he belongs to that much-mythologized time when Vietnam and Nixon were the consuming passions of the Left, when drugs were celebrated openly and done in mass quantities, when Rolling Stone actually had credibility and great writing. I quit buying Hunter's works, as they became increasingly self-parodic; he ranted and raved against the Reagan and Bush administrations as much as he did against Nixon, but the old magic was gone, for his audience, and I suspect, for him as well.

Still, he was a giant in his time; God knows what demons haunted him; he had essentially walled himself up in his Aspen home these last years, continuing to binge on drugs and alcohol, and pretending he was a younger man. Now, I guess, those demons caught up with him. Well, it was a good ride, eh, Hunter? Hope you find more peace in the next life than you did in this one...

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Did Bush Smoke Pot? Who Knows? Who Cares?

If you haven't heard by now, an 'old friend' of G. W. Bush secretly taped conversations he had with Bush prior to his ascendancy to the presidency. The NY Times listened to a dozen such tapes. Sure to get the biggest play is Bush's tacit admission that he smoked marijuana. The relevant quote:
Mr. Bush said: "I wouldn't answer the marijuana questions. You know why? Because I don't want some little kid doing what I tried."
This is the old gotcha game all over again, and it's a stupid little ritual. George W. Bush has admitted to a colorful past; Barack Obama has admitted to cocaine use (the tapes also contain a non-denial denial on allegations of Bush's possible cocaine use). As Bush says on the tapes, it's part of his schtick; I've made mistakes, it's time to move one.

The interviews also contain ample evidence that it's more than political schtick, though; Bush's religious convictions come across as real and deeply held, and (listen up, progressives) Bush states his opposition to gay marriage in 1999, while refusing to bash homosexuals for politicial points.

Frankly, if Bush drank as much as he apparently once did, and given that a lot of that drinking took place in the sixties and seventies, the real shock would be if he hadn't tried drugs. I believe that if Bush had a serious drug problem, we would have surely heard of it by now. More importantly, Bush's strong leadership has trumped any shenanigans in his past. That's between him and his God, and apparently he feels they've worked it out.

Some on the left would see this as a hypocritical stance - why, they might ask, didn't you extend the same forgiveness to Bill Clinton's infidelities, or John Kerry's overblown 'Winter Soldier' testimony? In Kerry's case, he made Vietnam the issue, so his behavior thirty years ago became relevant once again at his own bidding; in the case of Clinton, the behavior was ongoing and apparently pathological. Bush has owned up to his past; he claims to have made amends with his maker; he doesn't owe me or any one else a detailed explanation; and as for me, that's the end of that. Finis...

CORRECTION 02/21/05 10:57 am central: In the post above, I state that Barack Obama admitted to cocaine use; I could have sworn I read or heard him say that, but the interview that I referred to has him admitting to only doing drugs, generically, in his younger days.

Rather Excellent Tales: Heading On Down to Houston Town

1953-1956: After graduation, Danny Boy hightails it to Houston, where he is hired by the Houston Chronicle (print) and KTRH (radio). Rather becomes the news director of KTRH in 1956.

FUN FACT: You may remember a little war in a place called Korea. It took place from 1950 - 1953. Dan didn't serve on the front lines - instead, he joined the reserves. Sound familiar?

Rather Excellent Tales: Birth of a Legend
Rather Excellent Tales: The College Years

The 'Hey, Maybe Bush Was Right' Meme

I'm certain I'm not alone in having long suspected that certain of our more leftish brethren would rather see us fail in Iraq than face the prospect of giving George W. Bush any credit for anything good. The fallout from the Iraqi elections has the 'progressives' facing just such a quandry. Here, for your amusement, is a collection of links:

Miscellanea: Condi is Hot, Hot, Hot! Edition

The Condi for President bandwagon is growing. Here's a new site that looks promising...

Carpe Bonum wonders why there's been so little attention to the tort reform bill just passed, then pulls a Lawrence Summers and backtracks. I say you were right the first time, Craig, it has slipped under the radar of most...

I recently added Abigail's Magic Garden to my Lefty Links...Abigail is WAAAYYY to my left, but she writes well, she's relatively new on the block, and she puts down the 'Iraq was for the oil companies' meme (unfortunately, while jumping on the 'Iraq is an imperialist adventure' bandwagon), so check her out, it's good to expose yourself to voices from the other side...

While the Middle East is being transformed, much of the Left is transfixed by a former gay escort (here we go again)...

Armando at the Daily Kos is taking shots at Power Line (hey, Armando, keeping reading them and being outraged; maybe you'll learn to string together a coherent sentence)...

World Exlusive: (Must Credit Decision '08) - Lawrence Summers is set to star in the new production of 'Much Ado About Nothing'...

Peggy Noonan, meet Rodger Morrow (oh, I see you're already acquainted...btw, if you're interested, Rodger came first)...

Towards the Abolition of Identity Politics

Al Franken has a piece in the Los Angeles Times ridiculing the GOP's publication of a calendar spotlighting its civil rights efforts over the last 150 years. In typical Franken fashion, it's a mean-spirited diatribe basically accusing the Republican Party of racism, though without crossing that threshold (meaning Al doesn't have the guts to state out loud the implications of his piece). However, while I applaud the sentiment behind the calendar, I must say that in my Republican Party, such a calendar wouldn't see the light of day.

In my Republican Party, we would not court the black vote. We would be unable to do so in good faith, because our principles would not allow us to group millions of diverse individuals together because of their race. Yes, we would hold community meetings, and visit churches, and some of these communities and churches would be predominantly or entirely black. Yet we would make no promises aimed at earning votes by playing the race card; we would be for affirmative action, but a new type of affirmative action that recognizes that poverty is an obstacle to equal opportunity, regardless of the sufferer's race.

My Party would be attractive to blacks, latinos, asians, and people of all races because it would be open to their ideas, contributions, and achievements. Where injustices were found, we would be swift to action, but our rhetoric would always affirm the individual, not an arbitrary group to which he was assigned. To be sure, there are issues of unique relevance to each of these communities, but a political party that aspires to represent all of a nation with the diversity of ours is not the forum to address those issues.

My Republican Party would not court senior citizens, or women, or upper-income Americans. We would affirm to all Americans, regardless of their age, income, or sex (or voting propensities) that our policies would be formed by core principles that are unchanging with the winds of any particular political season. If we took a stand that appeared to favor one group over another, we would be sure to articulate through our leadership the reasoning behind the stand, and why it's good for all Americans. If the policy could not stand this test, we would have no business advocating it.

My Republican Party would not court religious voters. A vast number of our rank-and-file would be quite religious, and this is proper. Americans with faith in God would admire our party's insistence that morality is a basis, indeed the only basis, for public policy, both foreign and domestic, and while the particulars of what constitutes a moral policy are open to vigorous debate, we will not pretend that actions, even by a government, do not have consequences. The religious would no doubt also admire our insistence that the seperation of Church and State enshrined in our heritage is aimed at precluding an 'official' state religion, not at excluding religion from our civic and political life. Atheists would also admire our party, for its openness and tolerance, and its dedication to the eternal ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

In short, my Republican Party would shape every decision around the pillars of freedom, democracy, security, and morality. We would never shirk from war, but never seek it; we would affirm the idea of American exceptionalism, not because we believe Americans themselves have any claim to superiority over the citizens of other nations, but because the idea of America itself is exceptional; and we would never require litmus tests or oaths of loyalty to any concept but these essentials. It's a dream, yes, but a damn good one, and America is full of dreamers.

UPDATE 2:13 pm central: Thanks to Betsy's Page for the link, and welcome to any strangers...take a look around, and if you need any assistance, just give a holler!...