Saturday, June 11, 2005

The Copenhagen Consensus: Throwing Good Money at The Poverty Problem, For A Change

The poor, underdeveloped nations of the world present a puzzle for those of us with a conservative bent: how can we balance our desire to spread democratic, free-market principles with our humanitarian instincts to ease suffering of people living on the fringe of survival?

Several possibilities present themselves: at one extreme is the argument that no foreign aid should be forthcoming when we are running a huge deficit and can't even solve poverty in America. A corollary to that argument would be the suggestion that poverty relief is properly the function of private charities and NGOs. Recently, the suggestion that we forgive the debt of developing nations has been very much in the news.

The International Monetary Fund has often stepped in to help failed nations with bailout packages, but there are many who feel their prescriptions of budget austerity and monetary discipline are too rigid for countries reeling from a crisis; yet straight-up forgiveness of debt would seem to be throwing good money after bad, in that the poor economic principles that resulted in such economic basket cases are unlikely to change (note that issues such as the tsunami disaster are in a different category altogether).

The Wall Street Journal highlights a possible solution called the Copenhagen Consensus, the brainchild of a group of economists (including three Nobel Prize recipients), that uses cost-benefit analysis to pinpoint the areas of development aid that result in the biggest bang for the buck. The result: President Bush was quite right to reject the Kyoto Agreement, as it ranks at the very bottom, costing $94 trillion dollars (in 1990 dollars) to reduce global temperatures by a mere 1.2 degrees over the next hundred years.

What is effective? The four programs that help the most people per dollar, according to the analysis, are:
  1. Control of HIV/AIDS
  2. Providing micronutrients (vitamin and mineral pills) to the malnourished
  3. Trade liberalization
  4. Control of malaria
Those who oppose CAFTA would do well to look at number three (and those who oppose providing condoms need to take a hard look at number one); if you really want to help Central America, remember: a rising tide lifts all boats...

UPDATE 06/12/05 12:59 p.m. central: It's safe to say that Six Meat Buffet is not a fan of the debt relief approach...

Has Frank Rich Ever Left New York?

Or even the Upper West Side of Manhattan? Can anyone truly be as out of touch as Rich is? And can there be any doubt that the editorial page of the New York Times is now as credible as Michael Jackson's defense team? Rich's latest tiresome screed is (what else? It's the only story he knows how to write) a criticism of the Bush Administration and its relationship to the press, all dressed up and pretending to be about Deep Throat.

My God, not what point will someone with authority at the Times tell Rich to can it already, you've done 73 retreads of this same column? Rich brings up the Downing Street Memo, is if that's some kind of equivalent to the Watergate smoking's not even close; next he pretends that the Pentagon has somehow vindicated Newsweek, completely ignoring the fact that it was the DETAINEES WHO TRIED TO FLUSH THE KORAN DOWN THE TOILET, already! (And of course, Rich and his ilk would never, ever think of criticizing those who quite literally urinate on our flag).

I have a question for Frank Rich, and I'm quite serious: in what way is the Bush Administration comparable to that of Nixon? Has Bush broken into any offices? Has he ordered retaliatory IRS audits against his enemies? Are there any charges that he has bugged the home telephones of journalists he doesn't care for? Has he obstructed federal investigations? I'm not joking, Frank...your whole column is an infuriating insinuation...put up or shut up, pal, 'cause your brand of garbage is starting to smell...

UPDATE 06/12/05 5:21 p.m central: The Minuteman has a much more thorough response to Rich, while Eric at Classical Values salutes Rich's journalistic acumen in uncovering the plot of the blogging lynch mob...

Was Iraq Worth It? Part XXVIII

Howard Fineman has yet another glum assessment of Iraq, wondering if we've got anything left to win and pointing to the parallels to - wait for it - Vietnam.

Just as the unveiling of Deep Throat brought forth echoes of the Vietnam Era, so does the bleak news about Iraq. The rhetorical parallels are becoming eerie, even suffocating. The White House issues upbeat assessments deemed absurd by critics; senators return from "fact-finding" tours full of glum and frightening tales. The president declares that we can't "cut and run" - not so subtly implying that anyone who suggests withdrawal is a traitorous weakling.

So far, so tedious, so wrong (we have, in fact, already won in Iraq...but that's a post for another time)...but wait: Fineman's not finished.

And the Democrats, facing a Republican president they regard as "imperial" (the word they used for Richard Nixon) grow increasingly hysterical. Howard Dean is unbound and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton - who began her political career as a staffer on an impeachment committee in 1974 - claims that "there has never been an administration...more intent upon consolidation and abusing power to further its own agenda." Al Franken, talk show host and likely Democratic Senate candidate, suggests that Bush should be impeached. Even Sen. John Kerry is said to be considering the possibility.

But Democrats shouldn't gloat. Voters are far - very far - from being convinced that candidate Clinton & Company possess the answers, on Iraq or anything else. The same Washington Post poll that contained gloomy Iraq numbers for Bush also showed that the Democrats had fallen to their lowest public approval rating ever.

The lowest public approval rating ever for the Democrats. Why, that can't be, can it? Why would that be so? I've got my suspicions. I'd love to hear yours (by the way, two buried treasures here - if Fineman is right, Kerry may be mulling over an impeachment effort after all, and Al Franken, likely Senate candidate? Life is rich)...

Is the Filibuster An Artifact of Racism?

That's the implication of this post by Captain Ed. The good Captain reviews the use of the filibuster to sabotage anti-lynching legislation and to stall civil rights legislation. So far, so good; we can all use a history lesson. Then he goes further:
What I would like to know is what lives the Senate saved through the filibuster? What overarching principle has the filibuster ever protected that would counter the cost of the innumerable victims of lynching that the filibuster allowed? The only principle the filibuster has ever protected, as far as I see, is naked partisanship and in the case of lynching, racial oppression and terror. And yet, these same modern-day Senators stood with a man who used the filibuster to keep blacks from voting and justified its use against confirming judges to the appellate court.
I'm afraid this argument just won't fly. The filibuster is a rule adopted by a legislative body, no more, no less. To imply that it enabled lynching is absurd; the racial attitudes, regrettably, of my native southland at the time led to the lynchings, not the the filibuster. Captain Ed seems to go one step further, though, and suggest that the filibuster's purpose is to foster 'racial oppression and terror' and provide for naked partisanship.

Is a gun responsible for a murder, or is a person? Gun rights advocates have said for decades that guns don't kill people, but rather criminals do. How does that differ from the filibuster's use for nefarious purposes in a certain instance? Taking the proposed principle to an absurd extreme, did college football kill Nicole Brown Simpson? After all, it provided a ladder to the NFL, giving O.J. the financial means to live in Brentwood and the lifestyle that Nicole was no doubt attracted to. The cause and the effect simply don't match.

Captain Ed is a fine, smart blogger, and he knows better. He even proves it in the same post:
The Senate has the right to set its own rules, including the filibuster for its internal processes, including legislation. That doesn't make the practice glorious or righteous.
No, it doesn't; but neither does a broad slander against the Gang of 14 prove that the judicial compromise was a bad deal. There are good arguments against the filibuster, and good arguments against the deal, and no doubt the Captain has made and will continue to make them. This, however, is not one of them...

UPDATE 3:25 p.m.: To say that the Commissar is not pleased would be a gross understatement: read his considerably harsher take here...and thanks to Captain Ed for the link; that shows a lot of class to link back to those who take issue with one of your posts. I salute you, Captain!...

UPDATE 2 7:17 p.m.: Beth is none too pleased, either, and makes an impassioned plea for rhetorical moderation, in her own inimitable fashion, lest we resemble the Kossacks. Music to my ears, needless to say. The Captain has again updated his post, and (1) is big enough to admit he was a little angry and perhaps excessive when he wrote it, and (2) he doesn't really take it back, since his point was that having former KKK member Robert Byrd crowing about saving the Republic while employing a tactic used to harm African Americans is more than a little hard to take. AJStrata summarizes the controversy here...

Quick Shots: Winning Ugly, But Winning All the Same

Fred Barnes is sounding very much like a Coalition member in the Weekly Standard as he lauds the success of the judicial deal. Quote:
Thanks to the Gang of 14 deal to save the filibuster, a parade of relatively young and attractive conservatives are now being confirmed for the federal appeals courts, putting them in position to be nominated later for vacancies on the Supreme Court.

When the agreement on judicial nominations was struck in May by seven Republican and seven Democratic senators, many conservatives agreed with Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid that it was a victory for Democrats. They were wrong. Since the agreement, the three prime targets of Democrats--Priscilla Owen, Janice Rogers Brown, William Pryor--have all been confirmed, plus two other less controversial nominees. And more conservatives are in the confirmation pipeline. So while Bush's chances of creating personal investment accounts have faded, his goal of shifting the ideological tilt of the federal judiciary is closer at hand.

Meanwhile, Mickey Kaus has a very thorough and frequently hilarious response to E. J. Dionne's ludicrous assertion that 'Kerry-bashing' is dangerous...

A Growing Chinese Threat?

AJStrata has been on the story of what he sees as a shocking lapse in security regarding the buildup of Chinese arms, specifically, a seemingly willful ignorance on the part of the Clinton Administration that makes him wonder what other areas we might have played dumb in. Now, Investor's Business Daily (hat tip to RealClearPolitics) is warning of some ominous signs. The key passage:

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, in previewing the annual report to Congress on Chinese military power, noted Beijing's increased military expenditures and weapons buys from Russia and others. "Since no nation threatens China," he said, "one must wonder: Why this growing investment? Why these continuing large and expanding arms purchases? Why these continuing robust deployments?"

China is the elephant in the room that some want to pretend isn't there. We forget the simple demographic reality that one in three people in the world could be Chinese by 2050. At its current rate of growth, China will surpass the U.S. as the world's largest economy in the next 30 years.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Weekly Jackass Number Twenty-Six: Irene Kahn

On May 25, 2005, Amnesty International's General Secretary Irene Kahn unleashed a firestorm (in some ways intentionally, to be sure - Amnesty certainly doesn't shy away from publicity) with the following comment made during a speech to the Foreign Press Assocation: "Guantanamo has become the gulag our times". The statement, incredibly, was even more inflammatory than the soundbite:

Guantanamo has become the gulag our times, entrenching the notion that people can be detained without any recourse to the law. If Guantanamo evokes images of Soviet repression, "ghost detainees" - or the incommunicado detention of unregistered detainees - bring back the practice of "disappearances" so popular with Latin American dictators in the past.

The comparison is not only slanderous, it shows a lack of historical understanding. The Gulag, or Main Directorate for Corrective Labor Camps, was a system of labor camps in Soviet Russia. It was defined by a complete lack of regard for the safety and well-being of the prisoners:
Conditions in the camps were extremely harsh. Prisoners received inadequate food rations and insufficient clothing, which made it difficult to endure the severe weather and the long working hours; sometimes the inmates were physically abused by camp guards. As a result, the death rate from exhaustion and disease in the camps was high.
Now, to be sure, Gitmo is a prison, and prisons are not summer camps, but there are no long working hours, unsufficient clothing, rampant disease, frequent abuse, and inadequate rations at Guantanamo Bay. Irene Kahn knows this; so do you; so does every thinking member of the human race.

Even the Kossacks (well, some of them) are pulling back from this inexcusable hyperbole that undermines the very credibility of the organization. Nick Cohen of the UK's Observer put it this way:
If they [AI] exclude the millions who died of starvation, disease and exhaustion, they will find that 776,098 prisoners were murdered in summary executions in the gulag between 1930 and 1953. At Guantanamo Bay, no one has died of starvation, disease or exhaustion and no prisoners have been executed. Not one. If Amnesty's American obsession prevents it from seeing the worst crimes of the 20th century for what they are, how will it sound the alarm about the worst of the 21st?
Three quarters of a million people over a period of 24 years, or roughly 30,000 a year. That's a staggering crime against humanity, and Gitmo in no way, shape, or form, even falls in the same category.

Irene isn't likely to care, though; in the same article, Cohen makes the argument that it is ideology rather than concern for human rights that marks Khan's public statements:
To Khan, the human-rights agenda is passe and maybe an example of cultural imperialism. 'Amnesty has a middle-class, Western, complacent, white image in many parts of the world,' she told the Financial Times magazine.
To see further examples of the crazed ideological bent Khan has bestowed upon a once-proud organization, consider some other, less publicized quotes from the May 25 speech:
There can be no sustainable security strategy without justice and respect for human rights. The continued violence in Israel and the Occupied Territories. Despite the building of the Wall - in defiance of international law, the most stringent restrictions on freedom of movement of Palestinians, and the biggest demolition of houses in recent years, the security situation remains precarious.
Well, yes...the situation remains precarious because Palestinian suicide bombers are in the habit of murdering Israeli citizens, but that apparently isn't any of Khan's concern. Note that there would be no wall had there been no Second Intifada.
In 2004, far from any sign of principled leadership, we saw a new and dangerous agenda in the making, rewriting the rules of human rights, discrediting the institutions of international cooperation and usurping the language of justice and freedom to promote policies that create fear and insecurity.
My goodness...who would put forth such a terrifying agenda? North Korea? Zimbabwe? Continues Khan:
The US is leading this agenda, with the UK, European states, Australia and other states following.
Well, that's a relief, it's only the U.S., Europe, U.K., Australia, and 'other states'; I might have been concerned if she had been talking about the civilized world, like, oh, Cuba.

Let's be clear (and there are many, many more examples, tedious mountains of them, that would take a week to go through), Khan is not pursuing a humanitarian agenda, but a political one. Those who are interested in truly solving problems do not engage in blatant propaganda of this magnitude. Demagoguery is seldom persuasive, nor is it intended to be. Instead, it is code to the progressive donors that 'I'm one of you. I'm not one of the evil capitalists. You can trust me.'

The shame of it is that the world needs an effective voice for those whose cries are but dimly heard, for those suffering under the tyranny of the North Korean nightmare, for the hundreds of thousands of dead and dying in Darfur, for the poor souls in China who suffer true political repression of the worst sort. That voice cannot be provided, at least not to thinking Americans, by Amnesty International; at least, that is, while it is under the leadership of our twenty-sixth Weekly Jackass, Irene Kahn.

UPDATE 06/10/05 10:52 a.m. central: Many thanks to Betsy Newmark for the link...hope everyone is enjoying their weekend...and welcome to readers of the first Carnival of the Clueless...


If I may trot out an old chestnut, ay caramba! Ay caramba, indeed...the long-rumored Simpsons movie is in preproduction at last! Trading has been heavy at the Hollywood Stock Exchange, and my 50,000 shares have tripled in value! But wait a minute...d'oh! The movie is still an estimated two years off! Yarrr...I hates the sea, and everything in it...but it least it's something to look forward to (and I'll be dead in the cold, cold ground before I recognize Missourah)! Excellent...

Washington Post: Warner Moving Towards 2008 Bid

No doubt inspired by the groundswell of enthusiasm surrounding Decision '08's candidate profile earlier this week, Virginia Governor Mark Warner is forming a PAC to raise funds and has hired a former top aid to Al Gore. Um, Mark, a former Gore consultant? If you really want to be taken seriously, that's not the best start...of course, the Post trots out this gem from the conventional wisdom:
Skeptics in the party say Warner is too moderate to capture the nomination of a party still dominated by powerful, liberal interest groups.
Interesting wording, that...if we take it at face value, high Democratic officials admit their party is still dominated by powerful, liberal interest groups. Indeed...

How Did I Miss This?

Jon Henke practically skewers Paul 'I'm Not a Partisan' Krugman in this absolutely wonderful post than debunks many of Krugman's wilder assertions over the years. Call it a midday must-read one week late (hat tip to the MinuteMan)...

Addressing the Downing Street Memo

The notion that the Downing Street Memo is cause for concern, or even grounds for impeachment, is laughable. Here's why...

The Allegation:

From the Downing Street Memo, dated July 23, 2002:

C [Richard Dearlove, Head of MI-6] reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.

The Facts:

  • The memo was published three years ago; at that time, July 23, 2002, regime change had been the stated policy of the United States since 1998, when Bill Clinton officially declared it.
  • As far as using the military goes, Bush began contingency planning for the Iraq War very soon after 9/11; this is common knowledge, and was well-known prior to the 2004 election (Bob Woodward covered the process extensively in Bush at War, a book that was actually recommended by the Bush/Cheney '04 website). The preeminent military historian of our times, John Keegan, notes in his excellent book The First World War how the necessity of long military buildups, military timetables, and the sheer enormity of moving mass quantities of men and material can, indeed, cause events to reach a point of no return, but that is less true today then it was under the older technology of WWI, and that point had certainly not been reached by the summer of 2002.
  • I concur with the critics of Bush (though I am not particularly troubled by it) that diplomacy was largely considered a remote possibility. This does not mean the United States has a policy of 'shoot first, ask questions later'. Instead, we must consider the totality of circumstances. Saddam Hussein was a proven serial liar, he repeatedly refused to cooperate with inspectors, and he was in defiance of several UN resolutions. It's not surprising that diplomacy was not given much weight.
  • The WMD information used largely as a rationale for war, though wrong, was widely believed, by those inside and outside of the Administration. Virtually every foreign intelligence agency and head of state concurred. The intelligence failure was indeed a fiasco, hurting our credibility and pointing to the need for reform, and quickly; but does it follow that the Bush Administration was insincere, or that they lied about it? That's not the conclusion of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which found: evidence that "administration officials attempted to coerce, influence or pressure analysts to change their judgments related to Iraq's weapons of mass destruction capabilities" or that "the Vice President's visits to the Central Intelligence Agency were attempts to pressure analysts, were perceived as intended to pressure analysts by those who participated in the briefings on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs, or did pressure analysts to change their assessments."

The biggest issue, of course, is whether intelligence was politicized in a rush to war. From the Weekly Standard:

...Just two months ago former Democratic Senator Charles Robb, co-chairman of the commission that assessed the intelligence failures related to Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, stated:

We looked very closely at that question. We--every member of the commission was sensitive to the number of questions that had been raised with respect to what we'll call politicization or however you want to describe it, and we examined every single instance that had been referred to in print or otherwise to see if there was any occasion where a member of the administration or anyone else had asked an analyst or anybody else associated with the intelligence community to change a position that they were taking, or whether they felt there was any undue influence. And we found absolutely no instance, and we ran to ground everything that we had on the table. . . . We got a fair amount of information that didn't provide us anything more in this area.

UPDATE 1:14 p.m. central: Unsurprisingly, Ryan James was ahead of the curve, and offered his own excellent analysis a week ago...

Today's Must-Read: The NY Times On Judicial Nominations

The true test of the compromise lies ahead, says the NY Times, but of course, that begs the point that critics of the deal were saying we would only get three nominees without a fight. Well, we've got five, and the Times article suggests the sixth will follow Monday. Remind me again what we lost? I'm having a hard time remembering. Ohio Republican Mike DeWine gets the last word:

"I'm not arrogant enough to come to the floor today and say that everything is going to work out perfectly," Mr. DeWine said Thursday evening. "I don't know that it will. I don't have a crystal ball. I just know that we have come a ways."

Quick Shots: More Coalition News

Coc SoS AJ Strata has a Carnival of the Chillin' that is absolutely excellent (have you sent it to the Instapundit, AJ? He often links carnivals)...[UPDATE 8:23 a.m. - Congrats to AJ, he got that Instalanche!]...

Info Theory contributes to the cause with a very clever Wine for Winners Challenge. You can read the details here...

Barbara Boxer is definitely not chillin'...

Jules Witcover sees further signs of Democratic discontent...

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Is the Coalition Vindicated?

It's always dangerous to gloat too soon, but the conventional wisdom is coming around to the Coalition view...I've been so caught up with the torture/Amnesty story that I haven't even noted that not just Pryor, but two more nominees went through today...

The latest:

James Taranto...

Viking Pundit...


Ryan James (and here, too)...

Alexander McClure


President Bush!...

UPDATE 6/10/05 4:01 pm central: Professor Bainbridge, one of the charter Coalition members, is convinced, more than ever, of the soundness of our view...

Milestone: Into the Six Digits

The Sitemeter rolled over 100,000 today (man, I need to do that site upgrade I keep talking about!). That's a nice feeling, and I appreciate the support and comments from all the regulars, and the attention and links from the bigger bloggers. On to 250,000!

In addition to all the folks I thank here, let me also give a big shout-out to the members of the Coalition of the Chillin'. They are:

Right Side of the Rainbow
Pros and Cons
The Radical Centrist
GOP and the City
John C. A. Bambenek
Decision '08 - Coalition Founder
My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy
Two Dogs
The Strata-Sphere
Right Hand of God
Tempus Fugit
Hector Vex
Loaded Mouth
Election Projection
WC Varones
Tinkerty Tonk
The Flag of the World
Little Miss Attila
The Big Tent Blog
The Bernoulli Effect
Professor Bainbridge
John Podhoretz @ NRO
The Hole Card
Semi-Random Ramblings
Viking Pundit
Info Theory
Argan Argar
INDC Journal
The Buzz Blog
Dangerous Dan
The Indepundit
doverspa @
State of Flux
Kinder Gentler Machinegun Hand
Lime Shurbet
Country Pundit
Wave Maker
The Politburo Diktat
Mistress Tootie Bell
The Bandwagon
The Anchoress
The American Mind
Navland Rumbling Politico
The Jade Monkey
Say Uncle
Mark Daniels
Vote for Judges
Cavalry Charge
Jim Miller on Politics
Obsidian Wings

And of course, I want to thank Martin Scorsese for having the vision that brought this project to life, and Selma Hayek for her magnificent performance as my imaginary girlfriend, and Ernest Hemingway for a simply marvelous script...

In all seriousness, I humbly thank you for coming to my site, each and every one of you.

Still Believe The Torture Narrative? You Shouldn't...

Looking at the torture question from a different perspective than we have in our debates so far today, a pertinent question is, to what extent are abuses widespread? Are they condoned? Approved? A part of policy? Equally important, what happens to American soldiers who DO abuse prisoners?

The Wall Street Journal, from the print copy of April 27, 2005, had an editorial entitled Abu Ghraib Accountability that I would like to quote from (wish I had a link):
The abuse reports went up the chain of command on January 13th last year; within a day an Army criminal probe had started. Two days after that, Central Command issued a press release notifying the world of that investigation; on March 20th it was announced in Baghdad that criminal charges had been brought against six of the soldiers involved. A month earlier...Major General Antonio Taguba had completed an internal investigation of what had happened. This is all before the infamous photos were leaked to the press one year ago this week [emphasis theirs].
Contrast that with the Butcher of Baghdad, who has yet to even be formally charged for his numerous crimes against humanity.

Well, it was a whitewash, you may say; they got the little guys and let the big guys go. The Journal quotes Specialist Jeremy Sivits, the first Abu Ghraib soldier to face a court martial, as follows: "Our command would have slammed us. They believe in doing the right thing. If they saw what was going on, there would be hell to pay." An independent investigation by former Carter Administration cabinet member James Schleshinger concluded last summer that the Abu Ghraib offenses weren't even related to interrogations. Mr. Schleshinger noted that by any statistical measure, the rate of incidents of abuse in the War on Terror has been quite small indeed (though we all agree one incident is one too many).

So we see a U.S. that punishes its own, that investigated Abu Ghraib and brought charges before the press ever got the photos, and that investigates thoroughly claims that the orders came from on high. Contrast that to our enemies, who behead innocents on videotape, and then tell me about abuse, Amnesty International...

On a related note, CoC SoS AJ Strata thinks Amnesty is basically playing to the moonbat crowd for fame and fortune, and Coalition member Minh Duc wonders if our definition of torture has become politically correct.

It's Not Easy To Chill...

...with the likes of Harry Reid about. Don't be fooled by those who would lay the blame for the obstructionist tactics over the Bolton nomination on the judicial deal. Still, this is not a hopeful sign. The Democrats would do well to remember that patience is wearing extremely thin with their gamesmanship...

Decision '08 Makes CNN Again - And Dem Blogger's Got It!

Dem Bloggers is a self-described group of Democratic and progressive activists, and I think you all know my general attitude toward progressives. I'm gonna make an exception here, though, and highly recommend their site, and it's not just because they have the video of Decision 08's second CNN mention of the week (it was for the Bipartisan Anti-Inflammatory Pledge of 2005, this time).

Now, it's great that they have my mention, and even greater to hear my blog's name from the lovely Abbi Tatton, (and I looked for the first one- dang it, it's not there!), but if you take a minute to look around the site, there is a plethora of great video. Like Trey Jackson on the right, Dem Bloggers will quickly become essential, I think, for offering the opportunity to view clips that you might otherwise miss, so give 'em a visit (be nice!), and thanks for the video clip!...

Three's a Crowd

It's so routine at this point, I wouldn't even mention it, except for its relation to the Coalition, but Pryor has now been confirmed. What does the future hold? Only the shadow knows (well, and Karl Rove, of course)...

UPDATE 9:06 p.m. central: CoC CoS Ryan James has some good posts up on the judicial votes. Just keep scrolling...

Amnesty International Calls for the Arrest of American 'War Criminals'

If there were any doubt about the political leanings of Amnesty International, they have been erased for good with their request that Donald Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzales, and a host of others be arrested by any and all foreign governments as war criminals. Forget for a minute that this is Bush, or that you have ever heard of the Iraq War; does Amnesty International determine who is a war criminal? Isn't that an awesome responsibility to hand an NGO?

Amnesty apologists will point to the organization's apparent disclaimer that they are only calling for an investigation, and arrest only if the investigation warrants prosecution. Bull - don't you buy it. The Amnesty officials don't even believe this; witness the following statements:

If the US government continues to shirk its responsibility, Amnesty International calls on foreign governments to uphold their obligations under international law by investigating all senior US officials involved in the torture scandal. And if those investigations support prosecution, the governments should arrest any official who enters their territory and begin legal proceedings against them. The apparent high-level architects of torture should think twice before planning their next vacation to places like Acapulco or the French Riviera because they may find themselves under arrest as Augusto Pinochet famously did in London in 1998. ..

Amnesty International's list of those who may be considered high-level torture architects includes Donald Rumsfeld, who approved a December 2002 memorandum that permitted such unlawful interrogation techniques as stress positions, prolonged isolation, stripping, and the use of dogs at Guantanamo Bay; William Haynes, the Defense Department General Counsel who wrote that memo, and Douglas Feith, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, who is cited in the memo as concurring with its recommendations.

Our list includes Major General Geoffrey Miller, Commander of the Joint Task Force Guantanamo, whose subordinates used some of the approved torture techniques and who was sent to Iraq where he recommended that prison guards "soften up" detainees for interrogations; former CIA Director George Tenet, whose agency kept so-called "ghost detainees" off registration logs and hidden during visits by the Red Cross and whose operatives reportedly used such techniques as water-boarding, feigning suffocation, stress positions, and incommunicado detention.

And it includes Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who called the Geneva Conventions "quaint" and "obsolete" in a January 2002 memo and who requested the memos that fueled the atrocities at Abu Ghraib; Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, former Commander of US Forces in Iraq, and Sanchez' deputy, Major General Walter Wojdakowsi, who failed to ensure proper staff oversight of detention and interrogation operations at Abu Ghraib, according to the military's Fay-Jones report, and Captain Carolyn Wood, who oversaw interrogation operations at Bagram Air Base and who permitted the use of dogs, stress positions and sensory deprivation.

No need for a trial, much less an investigation, we've already delivered the condemned (witness the statements I've put in bold type)!

This is truly a shameful disgrace, and it taints the credibility of Amnesty well past the breaking point. Astonishingly brazen, really (hat tip to the Instapundit)...

UPDATE 2:39 p.m. - Notice that Amnesty repeats the smear that Alberto Gonzales called the Geneva Conventions 'quaint' and 'obselete', leading the reader to think Gonzales thinks we should scrap them entirely. Gonzales said no such thing - here are his EXACT words:

"...this new paradigm [the war against terrorism] renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some its provisions requiring that captured enemy be afforded such things as commissary privileges, scrip (i.e., advances of monthly pay), athletic uniforms, and scientific instruments'.
Now, I suppose you could make the argument that the 'renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners' leaves the path wide open to torture, but it is not as clear cut as Amnesty makes it out to be, and it certainly doesn't fit their incredibly broad statement "...Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who called the Geneva Conventions "quaint" and "obsolete" in a January 2002 memo". More on this last point from Power Line...

Some Midday Coalition Business

Coalition member the Country Pundit has some further thoughts on the proper response to a McCain candidacy...

Meanwhile, I've decided to award a few cabinet posts for members of special distinction.

AJStrata has been a tireless advocate for the Coalition, making every effort to spread the word and recruit new members, and I am pleased to name him CoC SoS (Coalition of the Chillin' Secretary of State).

Ryan James has done amazing work keeping the Coalition informed and the blogroll up-to-date, so I think he would make a fine CoC CoS (Coalition of the Chillin' Chief of Staff).

And for those of you who are thinking of making a joke of the phonetic pronunciation of these acronyms, shame on you!...this is a family-friendly blog...

Any other suggestions or nominations are welcome...

Kerry's SF-180 Fiasco Continues

I haven't seen anyone putting their clocks back up, but it may just be a matter of time (no pun intended). PoliPundit links to this story by Thomas Lipscomb that shows how plausible it is that we STILL aren't seeing Kerry's full military records. Of course, Kerry could clear this up by simply making available a copy of the request form as he filled it out; look for a long convoluted explanation as to why this isn't possible, if the subject is even addressed by the Kerry camp. John Kerry has a fundamental character flaw that is glaringly evident by this time to all but his most partisan supporters; he simply cannot give a straight answer to anything inconvenient. This military research site throws more, er, light on the subject...

Today's Must-Read: Noonan on Hillary and Dean's Attacks

A really, really, really - really - good editorial today from Peggy Noonan regarding the recent statements of Hillary and Dean regarding the Republicans. In the following excerpt, she manages to castigate inflammatory rhetoric, sound like a Coalition member, and even uses my trademark putdown:
There is a tradition of political generosity that prevails among the normal people of America, a certain live-and-let-live-ness. That is why Little League games don't break out in fistfights, at least over politics. You don't shun people in the neighborhood because they're Democrats, and you don't inform the Republican in the next cubicle that he is evil, lazy and racist. That just doesn't play in America. There are breaches, exceptions, incidents. We are not angels. But by and large even though we disagree with each other, and even if we come to dislike each other, we maintain, for reasons both moral and practical, decorum. Civility. We keep a lid on it. We don't lower it to the level of invective. We don't by nature seek to divide.

When you have been in Washington long enough and have become consumed by your place in the political struggle, you can lose sight of the American arrangement. You can become harsh and shrill. You can become the sort of person who would start the fight at the Little League game. You can become--how might a columnist, as opposed to a political leader, put it?--a jackass. But not a funny one, a destructive one, the type that can knock down the barn it took the farmer years to build.

The comportment of Hillary Clinton and Howard Dean is actually not worthy of America. Their statements suggest they are in no way equal to the country they seek to lead. And something tells me that sooner or later America is going to tell them. But in a generous, mature and fair-minded way.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The Bipartisan Anti-Inflammation Pledge of 2005

Charles Rangel is a disgusting hack. That's old news, of course; what's new is his latest contribution to irresponsible rhetoric, and it's a doozy. First, Bush=Hitler, then Gitmo=Gulag, and the latest contribution to moonbat math is Iraq War=Holocaust. No, really...he actually said that.

As part of the ongoing campaign by the Coalition of the Chillin' to stamp out rhetorical excess, I propose a pledge for all politicians, journalists, and bloggers:

The Bipartisan Anti-Inflammation Pledge of 2005

Preamble: In the course of human events, there was this truly terrible war that took place and humanity saw deep down into the abyss. There were two outright lunatics who killed millions, and one of this monsters even tried to exterminate a whole race. Ever since then, when anyone wants to REALLY make a point, they bring up these slugs.

Therefore, I pledge for the length of my public career:
  1. to never compare a politician to Stalin, or a prison to the Gulag, unless millions of said politician's countrymen have been starved, murdered, worked to death, or otherwise killed, for the sole purpose of establishing a worldwide revolution or in the service of Communism.
  2. to never compare a politician to Hitler, unless said politician has dissolved Congress, usurped power totally, murdered political opponents, attempted to rule an entire continent through invasion, and instigated a war that has engulfed the entire world.
  3. to never compare any event whatsoever, anytime, anyplace, to the Holocaust, perhaps the most evil event in humanity's lifespan.
I pledge these things in memory of the untold millions who lost their lives in the bloodiest of all wars, that their memory may not be cheapened by momentary political theatrics.

Pledged this day of June 8, 2005, by Mark Coffey, Decision '08.

There; what's so hard about that? How about you? Will you take the pledge?...

UPDATE 9:52 p.m. central: Notice that number one above actually permits comparisons of North Korea's regime to Stalin and the gulag...Kim Jong-Il meets all the criteria! (Well, he does now, at least...I added a clause about Communism to the end of number one)...

...and I'm most beholden to the great Lorie Byrd of PoliPundit, who was all over this story hours ago, for the link, as well as the great Arthur Chrenkoff...and a big thank you to the lovely and talented Michelle Malkin, as well...

...and a belated thanks to the lovely and talented Abbi Tatton, and the, *cough*, ahem, esteemed Dr. Shackleford, as well...

A New Poll (and the McCain Results)

Well, sir, since it's been a subject of no small controversy around here, let's go to the polls on Hillary's moderation. As for the McCain poll (and I know some of you were annoyed that I didn't allow a vote enthusiastically option), here were the results:
  • wait and see the other nominees before deciding led with 145 votes or 32%;
  • hold my nose and vote for him was a close second, at 136 votes or 30%; and
  • exercise my right to stay home on Election Day was fourth, with 46 votes or 10%.
For those who would vote another party, Libertarian won the day, coming in third overall with 66 votes, or 14%. Very interesting...

Coalition Update: One To Go...And Our Newest Member!

So, now Brown is confirmed, and Pryor is moving forward. No surprises will be interesting to see what follows after Pryor. I don't think it means the Coalition was on the wrong side if the Dems immediately go filibuster...I think it will take a while to see, if they do go back to old tricks (I suspect they will), what the political fallout will be. For those who doubt our cause, though, I would simply ask - how many controversial judges were confirmed pre-deal? Let see - zero, was it?

And speaking of the Coalition, we have gained another member. Please join me in welcoming Pros and Cons to the fold. While you're at it, I encourage you, as always, to pay a visit to a couple of random Coalition members and keep the love going...

An Overdue Link

I've been having quite the debate with LPFabulous in the comments of the 'Hillary Takes Off Her Mask' post, and it occurs to me that I haven't linked his excellent work in a while, so I dropped by to see what was shaking. Ryan's a Coalition member and has been coming by and commenting for quite some time. To say that Ryan is no fan of the SCOTUS decision yesterday would be an understatement. I'm glad to see him singing the praises of Clarence Thomas, though, who for far too long has been stuck with the racist label of 'Uncle Tom' because he happens to be a black conservative.

What's my point? First of all, to highlight the work of a good blogger; second, to send a message, hopefully, that you won't hurt my feelings by disagreeing with me, nor will I stop linking to you; and third, to let everyone know that, although this is not an attempt to buy Ryan's agreement, if you wish to try the same tactic on me, please be aware that I prefer small, unmarked bills - and I don't have a problem with large, marked ones, either...

Candidate Profile Twenty: Mark Warner

Virginia Governor Mark Warner's probable campaign pitch is not difficult to predict; he will in all likelihood tout his credentials as a fiscally responsible Democrat who understands that capitalism is not the root of all evil, and try to win more moderates than the progressives he will alienate. Can it work? Maybe...

Mark Robert Warner - official bio page
Draft Mark Warner 2008 website

Resume: co-founder of Nextel; Governor of Virginia; Harvard Law grad; chairman of the National and Southern Governors Associations

Here's Wikipedia on Warner:
His business experience, Southern base, fundraising connections within high-tech and venture capital circles, and record of working with black leaders add up to an attractive political resume, though only having served one term as an elected official so far may be considered too little experience to move up to President - the same point was raised about John Edwards' one Senate term.
Now Howard Fineman:

Warner's theory (claim) is that he has cross-over appeal to what are, or have become GOP constituencies. He has some evidence to back him up, from his campaign, and from a major legislative victory in Richmond. He reached rural voters in 2001 by signaling his respect for cultural touchstones such as NASCAR, and by promising to bring broadband and the other engines of the digital economy to the countryside.

Faced with a big budget deficit, he enlisted corporate business types to support a tax increase -- and got the Republican-led legislative to approve it.

He has positioned himself as a centrist on social issues, which may be right where "country club Republicans" are: wary of too much emphasis on gay-rights or women's rights, but essentially tolerant people.

Certainly, it would be refreshing to see a Democratic candidate who eschewed phoney-baloney populism of the John Edwards/Jim Hightower sort, and acknowledged that capitalism is, in fact, a blessing rather than a curse. At this point, it is, of course, my solemn duty to inform you that a moderate of this type cannot make it past the primaries.

Is that conventional wisdom, repeated here as well as elsewhere, really valid, though? After all, John Kerry was the nominee, and not Howard Dean; and let's not forget George W. Bush was the 'compassionate conservative' in his 2000 bid. Then you had Clinton, and George 41. Maybe the moderates CAN and do make it out of the primaries.

Well, yes and no. The real problem with being a moderate is making it to at least New Hampshire, when moderation ceases to be such a vice (forget Iowa, with its 'caucus' malarkey; I'm talking about real primaries, where real people vote). Mark Warner won't make good copy in a race with Hillary in it; nor is he likely to inspire fervant followers in the mode of the Deaniacs. And it's also very true that a Senate race might be more winnable for a man of his age and relative (political) inexperience.

Still, I'm not prepared to write Warner off. He has big-money high-tech contacts, and of course, he is a Southern governor, the most electable of political animals (though he won't be in 2008, since Virginia's governors are limited to one term). As always, so much rides on Hillary - if she has a full head of steam, but starts making Dems nervous as 'unelectable', in the mode of Howard Dean, folks may well be casting about for an alternative, and in that scenario, why not Warner?


UPDATE 1:44 p.m. central:
Commonwealth Conservative, the source for Virginia political news as far as I am concerned, kindly links to this post and has an A.P. story that I missed from yesterday that has Warner blasting John Kerry for his rigid party orthodoxy...jeez, I'm starting to like the guy...if he keeps talking like that, I might even vote for him...

UPDATE 07/04/05 11:01 p.m. central: Warner is looking better to me all the time, and right now has the best shot at dethroning Hillary.


Discredited Darling Dean Disappoints Democratic Dreams

Jules Witcover has the scoop on Howard Dean's summer of discontent, as he is simultaneously castigated for being too hard and too soft and for proving weak in his supposedly strength, fundraising. Susan Estrich points out that the great Ken Mehlman is outraising Dean 3-1, and says the 'I Have A Scream'-er is clearly not ready for Prime Time (and if he isn't yet, will he ever be?). Don't tell any of that to former paid Dean shill 'Kos', though, who can apparently see no wrong in his former benefactor...

Quick Shots: Please Welcome Our Newest Member

The Coalition continues to gain adherents...the newest to join our party is ConservativeDemocratNews, proving once again our cross-party appeal. Welcome aboard (and everyone join me in once again thanking Ryan James for keeping up with the blogroll by paying him a visit)...

Coalition member AJStrata has more on the growing liberal discontent with 'the Deal'...

Fargus follows up on the SCOTUS Medi-Mari ruling with a well-researched, excellent post that allows me to stay fat and lazy by saying, "Read this!"...

As expected (at least in these parts), the John Kerry impeachment story has turned out to be false. Televised lunatic Keith Olbermann contacted Kerry's office, and the response was 'Where'd you hear that?'...

Today's Must-Read: Ground Zero Invaded

I'm actually a day late (but am I dollar short? You bet I am...) on this story. The Wall Street Journal has a most disturbing piece by the sister of the pilot of Flight 77 (the one that hit the Pentagon) on the startling background of the World Trade Memorial's primary tenant. Quote:
...the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. is handing over millions of federal dollars and the keys to that building to some of the very same people who consider the post-9/11 provisions of the Patriot Act more dangerous than the terrorists that they were enacted to apprehend -- people whose inflammatory claims of a deliberate torture policy at Guantanamo Bay are undermining this country's efforts to foster freedom elsewhere in the world.
Read the whole thing; it's quite appalling...

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Got Thirteen Channels of **** on the TV to Choose From

Yeah, it's a famous Pink Floyd lyric, but it's also how I feel as I survey the Huffington Post, looking for ideas. By the time you read this, maybe something interesting will be up, but this is a fact: at 11:46 p.m., June 7, 2005, there are 53 previewed stories or blog posts to choose from on Arianna's front page, and I kid you not, there is not a ONE of them that I could even muster up the enthusiasm to click on and read more.

That's amazing, really; the Daily Kos and the Democratic Underground can at least inspire a feeling, even if it is revulsion; but Arianna's vanity project just leaves me...well, to end like we started:

I have become comfortably numb...

Quick Shots: Dean A Republican Mole?

The Bernoulli Effect finds Howard Dean so unbelievably tone-deaf that he wonders whose side he's on, anyway...

From Little Green Footballs, we find an Amesty International page slamming America's human rights record, featuring...who else?...Noam Chomsky!...Hey, Chomster, why not spend a little of your time criticizing, oh, I don't know, North Korea, maybe?...

Coalition member the Jade Monkey has Senate predictions, as does Gulf Coast Bandit...

Also on the Coalition front, the great Viking Pundit quotes a Republican pollster who says the big story of the last month has been the implosion of the Democrats, and concludes, "Advantage, Coalition!"...

Our good friend Fargus sees signs of judicial activism in the SCOTUS decision to nix medi-mari...

Say, How's That Howard Dean Workin' Out?

Is Howard Dean feeling upstaged by the SF-180 attention? Not one to give up the crown of America's stupidest politician easily, Howard comes roaring back by calling the Republicans a 'white, Christian party'...with the hat tip to the always-on-the-spot Ryan James...Kerry, your move!...

Art, War, and The Coalition

Whether it's high medieval drama and the thrill of a good ol' challenge, or a gentle tweaking of our Form SF-180 obsession through the art of the poet, the Coalition never fails to inspire feverish creativity in friend and foe alike...I fear not those challenges, my fellow Coalitioners, as I know our day has dawned! Now on to glory! soon as I take a nap...

What Was That All About?

That's what I'm still saying to myself, after all this time, regarding Kerry's SF-180. Some folks think we're making too big a deal out of this - not so. The man obviously wants to be considered seriously for 2008, but if (a big if) he's so vain and pompous that he would withhold his military records just because his grades were terrible, God knows he didn't need to be in the Oval Office. RCP and PoliPundit think there must be more to it than that, and PoliPundit points to the admittedly mysterious recent comments that 'he had to clarify', 'get together', what have you...what's to clarify? Is PoliPundit right? Are we still missing info, specifically a hundred pages of material?

Then there's John O'Neill of Swift Boat Fame, who comments at Blogs for Bush:
We called for Kerry to execute a form which would permit anyone to examine his full and unexpulgated military records at the Navy Department and the National Personnel Records Center. Instead he executed a form permitting his hometown paper to obtain the records currently at the Navy Department. The Navy Department previously indicated its records did not include various materials. This is hardly what we called for.
Reading the above, one can certainly be forgiven for thinking 'Mr. Nuance' has struck again.

Then there are those who think he really is so arrogant that he held out for the grades, so to speak, including Mickey Kaus (who has e-mailed the Boston Globe about those missing 100 pages PoliPundit speaks of) and James Taranto. This is typical Kerry: he can't even sign a form without causing confusion. As many have noted today, it's not necessarily a sign of intelligence to be unintelligible.

And Then There Were Two...

The Senate today ended the two-year filibuster on Janice Rogers Brown. She now joins Priscilla Owen as the second judge to face an up - down vote since the controversial deal that spawned our beloved Coalition. The interesting part, of course, will be what happens after Pryor is confirmed, since the three make up the only nominees guaranteed a vote under the deal's terms. To be continued...

Senator Clinton Takes Off the Mask

Hillary has convinced a lot of people that she is a moderate, including, I confess, myself at times. Shame on me for falling for the hype...when push comes to shove, her true face shows. Consider the following from a 'Women for Hillary' fundraiser:

The senator said that left unchallenged, Republican leaders could ram through extremist judges, wreck Social Security, and make unacceptable concessions to China, Saudi Arabia and other nations that finance the United States budget deficit.

"There has never been an administration, I don't believe in our history, more intent upon consolidating and abusing power to further their own agenda," Mrs. Clinton told the gathering.

"I know it's frustrating for many of you, it's frustrating for me. Why can't the Democrats do more to stop them?" she continued to growing applause. "I can tell you this: It's very hard to stop people who have no shame about what they're doing. It is very hard to tell people that they are making decisions that will undermine our checks and balances and constitutional system of government who don't care. It is very hard to stop people who have never been acquainted with the truth."

The New York senator went on to say, speaking of the Republican leadership:
"Some honestly believe they are motivated by the truth, they are motivated by a higher calling, they are motivated by, I guess, a direct line to the heavens."
This is not the language of a moderate; it is not the language of a Democrat who wants to reach out to conservatives, religious or otherwise; instead, it's the same ol', same ol'...the more things change...well, you know the rest.

The WSJ on Amnesty International and the War On Terror

Good editorial in the WSJ today regarding Amnesty International, their recent 'gulag' comment, and the treatment of terrorists. Two quick points: it's not just that the gulag comparison is wrong factually; the use of the world gulag carries moral baggage. North Korea has a gulag, Stalinist Russia had one - but the very concept is antithetical to America as an entity. Instead, we have some regrettable, disgusting, isolated instances, not a nationwide policy as in the two communist regimes.

Second, the WSJ makes the point well that Amnesty and similar organizations have not changed their mindset properly to focus on terrorism; the prisoners held at Gitmo, Afghanistan, and Iraq are not political prisoners (at least the vast majority are not); they are terrorists. Good arguments can be made that we need to provide more legal options for these men; calling the prison system a 'gulag' does nothing to move the debate forward.

Quick Shots: Godspeed to the Troops

An offensive has been launched near the Syrian border. Send your best wishes and prayers the troops' way, today and everyday...

Add KeithB8 to the list of those who think Scalia got it right (pot as an interstate crop, federal law takes precedence)...

The Instapundit joins in the Kerry-mocking, and points out that Ann Althouse was on the case long ago...

Is John Kerry the Stupidest Politician Alive?

All signs point to yes. The Boston Globe is reporting that Kerry has released his full military records to them, and that there is no new information to speak of. Quote:

The lack of any substantive new material about Kerry's military career in the documents raises the question of why Kerry refused for so long to waive privacy restrictions. An earlier release of the full record might have helped his campaign because it contains a number of reports lauding his service. Indeed, one of the first actions of the group that came to be known as Swift Boat Veterans for Truth was to call on Kerry to sign a privacy waiver and release all of his military and medical records.

But Kerry refused, even though it turned out that the records included commendations from some of the same veterans who were criticizing him.

This raises the excellent question of why Kerry would be so stubborn and obstinate regarding the signing of Form SF-180. Why didn't he release the records during Campaign 2004, when it might have made a difference? I'll followup with other reactions later (hat tip to Ryan James - and it looks like the clock may have to go!)...

UPDATE 8:14 a.m. central: Thanks to the lovely and talented Michelle Malkin for the link, as well as the lovely and talented Lorie Byrd, and the - well, let's just say the talented Jon Henke and Erick Erickson. A lot of people are playing up the academic angle, and just take a look at the photos here!...

UPDATE 2 10:04 a.m. central: During the campaign, you may remember, there was a fuss about Bush having a higher IQ than JFK II; now we find out he had higher grades, too. If this is REALLY the reason Kerry didn't release the records, then he is even stupider than his grades would indicate. To lessen his chance of winning the presidency because he didn't want his bad grades to come out - what, was he afraid Tee-RAY-za wouldn't fund the Spring Break fling if she found out? Come on...

UPDATE 3 11:38 a.m. central: PoliPundit has taken down his clock, and I'm following suit. It's been a grand and glorious ride, but don't despair; with Kerry, the next fiasco is always a mere headline away...

UPDATE 4 12:38 p.m. central: Most typical MSM headline of the day: Bush, Kerry Had Similar Grades...guess it's too difficult to say Bush's grades were better for some folks...amazing!...

UPDATE 5 7:59 p.m. central: And thanks to Wizbang for the link, too...true story: last time I had a big hit day, my Blogger template screwed up and ate my Sitemeter, and I missed counting a ton of traffic. Today, my Blogger template screwed up and ate my Sitemeter, and I missed counting a ton of traffic. Number of non-high-traffic days my Blogger template has ate my Sitemeter: 0. Nonbloggers will shrug their shoulders; fellow bloggers will either say, wow, that sucks, or cry me a river, at least you have some high traffic days!...

Monday, June 06, 2005

Credit Where Credit Is Due: The Times Is Doing Something Right

No one loves to ride the New York Times more than I. It's editorial slant is increasingly transparent, and the contempt of its op-ed writers for Red State America is palpable. That said, the Times remains the most potent symbol of the MSM for a reason; often, its coverage sets the agenda that the rest of the press follows, for better or worse.

I have a case for you that's looking like for better. The Times has been running some very thorough coverage of the impending Saddam Hussein trials, including a look at the charges and the possible evidence. As evidence of the man's atrocities is shown in court for all the world to see, I'm hopeful that the criticism of our invasion of Iraq will become more muted. I'm not naive, I know some folks will never come around. The mass graves that Saddam left in his wake, though, cry for justice. Kudos to the Times for giving this story the play it deserves.

Miscellanea: Pot Blogging Edition

Lots of reactions to today's Supreme Court Decision...

Jeff at Protein Wisdom says so much for states' rights, and says today's decision is a prime example of federal overreach...

Ann Althouse says not so fast and defends Scalia on the grounds that pot is an interstate crop...

Suzanne Wood is blogging under a new name, and she likes the decision...

Still not satisfied? SCOTUSblog has enough on the subject to tide you over through the summer...

The funniest post of the day, proving that brevity in the defense of comedy is no vice...

Coalition member State of Flux is wondering what happened to the Barry Goldwater brand of fiscal conservatism, and don't go peddlin' the War on Terror, 'cause he's not buying...

Punditish has been getting e-mail from a certain 'incensed conservative' that's well-known around these parts...

Miriam answers the Movie Star Challenge...

Here's another PMGT 218 blog for ya: Kathie's PoliTech...

Awww, Man...!!!

I missed it - Punditish has informed me that Decision '08 was just featured on CNN's Inside the Blogs...anyone know if anyone posted that video / has a copy / or knows if they're gonna repeat it?...Info much appreciated!...

UPDATE 6:38 p.m.: The invaluable Ryan James, keeper of the sacred blogroll, has come through again!...Ryan has the details here...and join me, please, in welcoming a new Coalition member, Hector's never too late to get on this bandwagon!...

Today's Must-Read: Jay Rosen on Deep Throat and What He Means to Journalism

When Jay Rosen covers a story, you can bet your bottom dollar the story will get covered...his latest is no exception, as he takes us on a linkalicious, detailed, and wildly entertaining journey down Watergate way...highly recommended (hat tip to the Instapundit)....

Quick Shots: Debating Summers

In the comments, too many steves brought to my attention this debate between Steven Pinker and Elizabeth Spelke on the issues surrounding l'affaire Summers...

We've had a couple of visitors from the PMGT 218 class; join me in welcoming SEPARight, Big Block of Cheese, and Hegemon...

Smoke 'em if you got 'em...the High Court has allowed the federal prosecution of medical marijuana users (regardless of your stance on the issue, in terms of the law, it seems to me it was an easy call)...

Harvard Faculty Wants Summers to Stay On

Harvard faculty members, by a 62-38 margin, do not want embattled President Larry Summers to resign. The Faculty of the Arts and Sciences immediately passed a resolution stating that the poll had caused a 'hostile work environment', and suggested that Summers resign and submit to a public caning.

In a related story, MIT biologist Nancy Hopkins reportedly vomited repeatedly before blacking out upon hearing the results of the poll.

UPDATE 11:04 p.m.: Uhhh...d'oh! That's the Harvard alumni, not faculty...big difference. Yikes (thanks to Elephants In Academia for the catch)...

The Commissar's History Lesson

Begging the pardon of the great Comrade Commissar, my duties monitoring the foul perfidies of the bourgeosies kept me from noticing this essential history course when originally submitted to the party organ. Truly, judicial debates have altered the course of life as we know it...

Coalition Cartography

The Commissar, besides ruling the Politburo with an iron hand, is also a supreme mapmaker. He has taken on the extremely difficult task of mapping the locations of the member states of the Coalition of the Chillin', a feat many said could not be done. I beseech thee, brethren, to visit his environs immediately...

The New Rules of Criticism

First you make the accusation, then you (maybe) try to find out if it's true: a pair of stories illustrates the trend.

First, Mickey Kaus has a short bit following up on a Wall Street Journal claim that Newsweek's Arabic edition - that's right, the Arabic edition - did not contain the editor's note apologize for the Koran desecretion story. Well, it's not as if the issue had anything to do with the Arab world, right?

Equally troubling, if not more so, is this quote from the head of Amnesty International USA. Amazing...

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Blogging to Make the Grade

Like almost all bloggers, I border on the obsessed (okay, I'm full-blown flat-out crazily obsessed) with my site statistics (we're a vain bunch - most of us don't mind spending hours and hours for no pay, but by golly, we love the hits!). Maybe that fades with time...I'm not as stressed about it as I once was, having seen big traffic come and go and come and go, over and over again (and I've only been blogging since November!). I love looking in to see who is linking, though, and I've noticed some traffic coming from an intriguing source.

Press Control Shift is the home blog of PMGT 218: Politics and the New Media at the GWU Graduate School of Political Management. The reason it came to my attention is that I got some links from the registration page of the class. Seems Decision '08 is one of the 20 blogs offered to students of the class from the right-hand side of the blogosphere. I'm actually quite pleased with that; it also makes me wonder if any of my commenters have come from the class.

It's an interesting idea, and what makes it even more interesting is that the class is developing their own blogs as part of the assignment. Why not do your part for higher education and pay one or two a visit (you can find their blogroll at the Press Control Shift site mentioned above)? Here's a couple of links to get you started (but remember, be nice...and tell 'em Decision '08 sent ya!):

From the Left: The Femocrat
From the Center: Centrifugal Force
From the Right: A Schwartzenegger Republican

I'll check in with some others from time to time, hopefully. What will really be interesting will be seeing if any of the blogs keep alive after the class ends...let's hope so, bloggers love company! Have a great week, everyone...

Quick Shots: Happy Blogiversary, Nettie!

I want to take the opportunity to wish a very happy Blogiversary to one of the first real supporters of this blog, and a great gal, to boot! Way to go, Nettie - many happy returns...

Ryan James catches a CBS radio station stretching the truth (well, okay, lying). Click here for the details...

What better way to celebrate two very momentous anniversaries than to read Ronald Reagan's D-Day speech from 1984? More Reagan remembrances (with good video, of course!) at Trey Jackson's place...

Andrew Sullivan and Hillary, Sitting In A Tree

Andrew Sullivan pens a positive mash note to Hillary, and I find myself in agreement with his conclusion, but precious little of his reasoning. Sullivan looks over the world's easiest-to-read set of tea leaves and finds the following:

You can tell it [that Hillary is running] from what she's saying: supporting the Iraq war and touring military installations, reaching out to anti-abortion advocates, keeping a low profile on the filibuster kerfuffle, arguing that religious people should be able to "live out their faith in the public square".

And you can tell it from what she's not saying. Last week her advisers let The Washington Post know that if she is re-elected to the Senate next year, she will not pledge to serve a full term without running for president.

Well, yeah, we all know she's running. Here's Sullivan on why he thinks the lay of the land is beginning to favor her:
The second piece of good fortune [his first was that she has proven to be a capable senator] has been the behaviour of the Republican Congress. Its obsession with ideological issues - such as the Terri Schiavo case, stem cell research, or civil marriage for gay couples - has helped her own pragmatism to stand out.
Well, that's typical Sullivan - take your own pet issues, find someone in agreement, and pretend that's the conventional wisdom. Schiavo and stem cells, he may be right on, but poll after poll has found the majority of the country in broad agreement with the Republican stance on gay marriage.

Sullivan also assures us that she appeals to Republicans and Democrats. Oh, really? Is that so? Can you name a Republican, any Republican, ever, that has said, 'You know, that Hillary Clinton really appeals to me?' I can't...but plenty of Republican observers such as myself have noted that Hillary has been surprisingly effective in the Senate, that she has said the right things regarding religion and the military, and that she is a real threat in 2008. That's a far cry from saying she has Republican appeal, though...

I continue to find myself in the somewhat odd position of saying both that Hilllary is the front-runner, and that she faces almost insurmountable obstacles in gaining the nomination. Notice I said 'almost'...

Miscellanea - Weekend Coalition Edition

Let's throw the spotlight on some work done by a few Coalition members, shall we?

Bill at INDC Journal shares my skepticism regarding the John Kerry impeachment story, and also has the useful information that has no affiliation with, the English website of the notorious Arabic 'news' source...

The Strata-Shere has a category devoted to the 2006 elections for you political junkies...

The Bernoulli Effect bemoans the legacy of John Dewey...

Beth at My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy is, shall we say, unconcerned with the latest Koran desecration allegations and has a helpful suggestion for the detainees...

Best post title of the day: The Reclusive Joe Biden Speaks...

Chief Justice McConnell?, asks rumored short-lister Prof. Bainbridge...

If you have no plans this July, and you're an idiot, Brainster has a suggestion for you...

Punditish takes a closer look at that recent poll showing a majority of Americans at least somewhat likely to vote for Hillary...

An EU report is very critical of Jimmy Carter's role in 'undermining' the electoral process in Ethiopia...aah, sweet irony, the lodestone of the blogger!...