Saturday, July 09, 2005

Republican Insiders: Go With Gonzales

From Mark Kilmer at Red State, here's a most interesting poll and a timely reminder that it's not the activists or the base that will ultimately make the SCOTUS decision. When asked whether Bush should nominate Alberto Gonzales, or a more conservative judge, to replace Sandra Day O'Connor, 29 of 54 Republican insiders went with Gonzales. Furthermore, of 54 insider Democrats, 37 say the Democrats cannot afford to try to block Gonzales. Gonzales may not be the nominee, but those who think he's out of the picture are fooling themselves.

The Worst Piece of Poetry...EVER

Why do I always come across this garbage right after I name my Weekly Jackass? From Karen Finley at Huff'n'Puff:
I feel a deep regret
A guilty sunken pit inside
For our American led war
Our government's lies given to you
The weapons of mass destruction
We have exploited your loyalty
Like some psychotic dysfunctional alcoholic slipping a mickey on his mate
Like some addict Bush seeking assistance from the enabler Blair.
Some God awful codependent process that has gotten out of hand
Take the bottle away from our president. Take the keys away before he drives us home drunk.
Get out of Iraq. Pack up. Your friendship is enabling our wrong ways.

Oh, London town we have tried to stop a war done in our name
Oh, London Town we have tried to end this occupation, this war
The bombings of civilians
100,000 Iraqis dead
1,800 Americans dead
And your dead
How many more?
We are told we cannot leave now
Our Quantanamo Bay, Our Patriot's Act [sic]
Our War
Rumsfield says until 2012
Please beware
Be aware
Take notice
Citizens of World Peace

Somewhere here is a message
Somewhere here is a metaphor
somewhere here is a cosmic web that makes sense of a terrible time
I stay up nights contemplating this.
But nothing ever comes of it.
Our Unbearable Sorrow
Our Unbearble[sic] Grief
London Town
Oh, London Town

Wow - that, I almost lost consciousness there; I'm a little woozy. That just plain stinks...

UPDATE 07/12/05 8:23 a.m. - Welcome to all clueless carnivalians...and to all you Jawaheads...

Weekly Jackass Number Thirty-Four: Eve Ensler

Eve Ensler, feminist/lesbian hero and author of the Vagina Monologues, has just participated as a juror in the World Tribunal on Iraq held in Istanbul, Turkey. You're forgiven if the preceding sentence seems to have no meaning. Let's reword it, and maybe it will make more sense: a playwright best known for writing a play about the female anatomy has taken it upon herself to participate in some sort of show trial in Instanbul condemning the Iraq War. Nope, didn't work - it's still nonsensical.

Where could such an earnest do-gooder find an outlet for her prattling? Why, at Huff'n'Puff's site, naturally, and sure enough, there we find a post that defies parody by the aforementioned expert in global legality. Keep in mind that this is not an April Fool's joke as we examine Ms. Ensler's handiwork:

Dear America: I am longing to reach you -- crossing this river of indifference and consumption and denial. I am trying to find you, reaching out through the desperate limitations of words and descriptions, swimming through the rhetoric of terror and God.

Apparently, denial ain't just a river of consumption (ouch!). Right away, we see this is going to be gold-plated crap. Wow, what an opening...

I need you to wake up. The house is on fire and you are still sleeping, lulled by the intoxication of smoke and mirrors. I need you to wake up and I know that shaking you, scaring you will only make you cling to your sleep and sleep more.

How then do I tell you what's going on? How do I tell you about the one hundred thousand dead Iraqi people that you and I are responsible for murdering. [sic] Each one of them valued their life, longed for their morning, cherished their first cup of milk or coffee or tea. In what way shall I deliver what I learned?...

Let's see, what way shall you deliver it? How about blowing it out your...ahem. Once again, the discredited Lancet study rears its ugly head. The U.N. itself, hardly an organization known for its support of the war, puts the Iraqi civilian casualty figure at a fourth of that. Before you start putting the deaths of Iraqi civilians on me, though, Eve, whether they be 24,000 or 100,000, tell me how many died at the hands of the Butcher of Baghdad? How many would have died had no action been taken to remove him? You got an estimate on that?

How do I tell you about the strategic planning of such atrocities in the boardrooms, the backrooms, the back seats of limos, the organized take over and looting of Iraq right out from under the terrorized, hungry, thirsty Iraqi people. [sic] How do I get you to listen to the stories of our soldiers who are trying to kill themselves now, longing to escape the madness of murdering and maiming for no reason. [sic]

Unbelievable. I'm speechless...remember that Iraqi government spokesman that everyone had so much fun with, the one that assured us the Iraqis were driving back our forces even as we swept into Baghdad? He also broke the news that our soldiers were killing themselves in droves. He had about as much credibility as Ensler.

Please don't go back to sleep. I know how hard it is to hear of the massive black holes, [sic] called prisons we have dug to hold thousands without charging them, without trials or the torture, the meanness, the cruelty we are inflicting upon them.

America, those who now control our country have changed and ended law. I do not believe you are so calloused or selfish that you do not care. Your sleep is induced. You are distracted and derailed. The corporations have concocted and perfected these sleeping potions for years, developing ingredients to make you despise every bit of yourself, to feel ugly and fat and stupid and poor and not enough. And so you spend your time and every bit of the money you do not have buying products that will make you better, skinnier, lighter, whiter, tighter. And as you consume and consume, the corporations consume you. They take your money and your time and your voice and your instincts and your outrage and your sorrow and your anger and your grief. They consume your courage and leave fear in its place. They devour your conscience and your memory and your compassion.

Well, that's quite the Marxist rant (are you sure you make a living writing, for God's sake?), but tell me, Eve, what's your net worth? How much did your corporate-owned publisher pay you for your little screeds? Are you trying to consume me, Eve? ARE YOU???!!!

And how do I speak when they are sure to tie my tongue? When they will say I do not love my country or support the troops or honor the dead or believe in their God? How do I break through your sealed wrapping, your self-obsession, your TVheadphonedDVDcell pod?

America I am getting desperate and I know this will not get me published or heard. Those who control the information will say I'm extreme, that I've gone mad. But I have heard the cries of children in the exploding houses of Falluja. I have seen the agonized faces of the sleepless Iraqi women who still clutch the outline of their charred dead babies in their arms. I have watched as we as a nation grow more isolated, despised and alone.

America, there is not much time left. The fire is spreading, consuming the world. We are the arsonists. We will need each other to find our way out through the lies and haze. It will take our greatest imagination, courage and skill to subdue these flames.

I don't really think I have to say any more...congratulations, Ms. Ensler, you can put your Weekly Jackass award on the mantle right next to that Obie...

UPDATE 07/11/05 11:10 a.m. central: Thanks to the esteemed Dr. Shackleford for the link, delivered in a most amusing fashion...

UPDATE 07/12/05 8:16 a.m. central: Thanks also go out to the great Arthur Chrenkoff...

Candidate Profile Twenty-Three: John Edwards

I can still clearly recall, in the summer of 2002, a conversation I had with a very liberal friend. Surveying the political landscape on the Democratic side, I told him the nominee would be either Kerry or Edwards. I didn't know much about Edwards at the time, but he was a young, good-looking son of the South, and he concerned me somewhat as a serious obstacle to Bush's 2004 bid. That was the high point of my opinion of the man.

Johnny Reid Edwards - UNC faculty profile

Resume: former Senator from North Carolina; Democratic Vice Presidential Candidate, 2004; successful trial attorney; People's sexiest politician, 2000; currently director of the Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity

Edwards has an outer veneer of 'aw, shucks' all-American boy-next-door made good, but he's showed a bit of a vicious streak since losing in 2004 that hints to me that he ultimately can't take the heat (probably as a result of his immense wealth - he certainly doesn't need politics). His non-concession on the eve of the election was angry and bitter (I agree with Tim Blair's characterization here), and he recently set tongues wagging when he took a quite public shot at Kerry campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill in her presence (actually, that's probably a net positive for me).

John Edwards is a prettier Jim Hightower; his public persona is that of the populist, as characterized by his current employment. The populist message has never been a winner, though; just ask 8-time loser and Democratic strategist Bob Shrum. Edwards trotted out his 'Two Americas' schtick at every opportunity in 2004, and it was tiresome the first time, much less the 400th. Americans like a person with a positive vision; Edwards wanted us to feel bad about ourselves.

Edwards certainly didn't add anything of value to the 2004 ticket; I think it's pretty safe to say that the number of voters who went Kerry's way because of Edwards was exceedingly small. Perhaps that's an unfair criticism; I'm not a big believer in vice presidential candidates as vote-winners. I believe people vote for the top of the ticket, pretty much exclusively. Still, I can't see that Edwards helped his prospects any during the campaign.

As is quite obvious by now, I don't really see Edwards as a serious candidate; he's not a huge long shot, but only because he has name recognition, and that means a lot this far out. His unpopular populism, canned stump personality, trial lawyer connections, and sharp temper will ultimately undo his candidacy.


A Quiet Victory For the Bush Administration

North Korea has agreed to rejoin the six-party nuclear talks it abandoned more than year ago. That's very good news indeed, and a victory for Bush, who insisted that bilateral talks were out of the question, and stayed firm with that resolve. You may recall this became a campaign issue in 2004, as Kerry endorsed the bilateral approach wrongheadedly, apparently not realizing that this would only reward Kim Jong-il's belligerence and saber rattling. It's been said many times before, but it bears repeating: John Kerry was the wrong man for the job, then, now, and always...

The Constant Cry of The Sensitive Man

What can I do, you ask yourself? After all, I'm only one can I break the neocon links between the capitalist pigs of the West and the regressive theocrats of the Middle East that shackle the poor of the world in chains of cultural hegemony, and still make it to the next Burning Man on time? Well, if these are the questions you're asking (and of course, they must be!), Tim Blair has a suggestion for you...

Today's Must-Read: The WSJ on the Dems and Cafta

The Wall Street Journal tackles a subject near and dear to my heart, CAFTA, in an editorial on the large number of Democrats who seem to think free trade is a loser for them, politically. The Journal posits several possibilities (I note with interest honest opposition is not one of them). The two most likely are: partisan posturing to spite Bush, never mind the economy, and the promise by radical, internet-based activists of the Kossack and MoveOn ilk who promise primary challenges for any who dare move to the right of socialism and anarchy. A prediction: the first Democrat to publicly and repeatedly condemn the far-left drift of much of the base will instantly be vilified, of course, but when the dust settles, will in fact move to the front of the pack. Wait...did I just write that? I think I've gone nuts...

Friday, July 08, 2005

Has Arianna Huffington Ever Been Right About Anything?

You couldn't prove it by me...Arianna has jumped on the bandwagon of those who think the lesson of London is that it has disproved the 'flypaper' theory. Well, color me unconvinced, but first things first.

I've never found the thought that we are fighting the terrorists over there so we don't have to fight them here to be the best argument (nor the best-worded) to justify our presence in Iraq. I much prefer the formulation, 'We are fighting the terrorists over there to provide a safe, secure Iraq, in the hopes that this will increase the security of ourselves and our allies by removing one of the hot spots of discontent in the Middle East'. It's not catchy, but it's accurate...but back to Arianna:
Not only was this flypaper theory empirically disproved by the London carnage, it directly contradicts the president's other most often used justification for the war - that we invaded to liberate the Iraqi people. So let me get this straight: we invaded them to liberate them...and to use them as bait to attract terrorists who we could fight on the streets of Baghdad rather than the streets of London and New York?

Of course, it didn't take the London bombings to reveal this premise as a sham. The presence of American forces in Iraq didn't keep the enemies of western culture from attacking Madrid. And it didn't keep them from planting explosives in London's tubes. And it won't, in and of itself, keep them from striking here. Indeed, it's helping terrorists recruit new followers - and hone their deadly skills.

How pathetic is it to keep arguing that fighting Baathist Sunni insurgents in Iraq is keeping us safe from Al Qaeda terrorists and their offshoots on our soil? It's still not clear who was responsible for the London bombings, but let's assume for a moment that the initial reports turn out to be true, and that it was an offshoot of Al Qaeda. No one can seriously argue that if the U.S. and Britain had spent the last 46 months - and over $200 billion - focusing on Al Qaeda rather than Iraq these attacks would not have happened. But we can say without a doubt that spending that time and money in Iraq did not prevent them.
Oh, my, but that's bad stuff...where to begin? How about here: what can Arianna possibly mean when she says the London attacks have 'empirically disproved' the flypaper theory? Does she have a concept of the meaning of the words she strings together? How is a terrorist attack 'empirical proof'? It's proof that in a world of 6 billion souls, there are suicidal, homicidal maniacs...but then, we didn't need proof of that, did we?

Let's be lawyer-like here and stipulate that we cannot win the War on Terror if we define victory as 'the complete eradication of terroristic attacks resulting in loss of life'. The focus of Arianna and the 'progressives' on Osama is baffling, though; yes, I want to see the sorry S.O.B. dead, and I don't give one damn about his 'due process'. Osama, though, is clearly a man on the run, and in hiding...his role now is as a figurehead to inspire other Islamic fanatics in their struggles against the infidel.

The notion that we are recruiting more terrorists through our actions in Iraq is counterintuitive: how so? By attempting to protect the populace? By removing a ruthless dictator? By trying to maintain security and restore essential services? By giving the Iraqis a chance to govern themselves? No, these people would have been terrorists, anyway.

Who comprises the insurgency? Remnants of Saddam's corrupt Bathist regime, yes, but mostly foreign fighters coming over the border from Syria, I wager. And this is, I think, what is meant by the flypaper strategy, as badly articulated as it has been: in a very real way, we have flushed many of these people out of hiding, away from sleeper cells and into the open. The results have been lethal: despressingly so. That lethality was always there, though, and a trained soldier in a war zone has a better chance of withstanding its force than an unsuspecting civilian.

Alas, my theory is far from perfect; there is the matter of the deadly toll on the Iraqi civilians, and it is large and heartbreaking. That we have failed to provide a safer, more secure environment this far into the war is indeed a failure, and the Iraqis and the Americans deserve better. But let's seperate the London attacks from this, and turn Arianna's thought upside down...there is no reason to think that in the absence of the Iraq War, these attacks would not have happened. The attacks are not an argument against the mission in Iraq; they are a reminder that we need to redouble our efforts to succeed, there and elsewhere.

Note to the Uninformed: Don't Argue With Hitchens

Alas, it's too late for Ron Reagan, as he made the ridiculous assertion that there were not terrorists in Iraq prior to the invasion in 2003:

CH: Do you know nothing about the subject at all? Do you wonder how Mr. Zarqawi got there under the rule of Saddam Hussein? Have you ever heard of Abu Nidal?

RR: Well, I'm following the lead of the 9/11 Commission, which...

CH: Have you ever heard of Abu Nidal, the most wanted man in the world, who was sheltered in Baghdad? The man who pushed Leon Klinghoffer off the boat, was sheltered by Saddam Hussein. The man who blew up the World Trade Center in 1993 was sheltered by Saddam Hussein, and you have the nerve to say that terrorism is caused by resisting it? And by deposing governments that endorse it? ... At this stage, after what happened in London yesterday?...

RR: Zarqawi is not an envoy of Saddam Hussein, either.

CH: Excuse me. When I went to interview Abu Nidal, then the most wanted terrorist in the world, in Baghdad, he was operating out of an Iraqi government office. He was an arm of the Iraqi State, while being the most wanted man in the world. The same is true of the shelter and safe house offered by the Iraqi government, to the murderers of Leon Klinghoffer, and to Mr. Yassin, who mixed the chemicals for the World Trade Center bombing in 1993. How can you know so little about this, and be occupying a chair at the time that you do?

Read the whole piece by Leon H. at Red State, it has a couple of other good Hitchens excerpts. I do have one quibble, however; whether Hitchens still wears the liberal mantle is debatable. Sure, he won't be mistaken for a mainstream Republican with his atheist fetish and his complete contempt for Ronald Reagan, but he despised Clinton (Bill, that is...), too, and indeed called out Clinton bud Sydney Blumenthal's lies during the impeachment hearings. Then there has been his undying devotion to the cause of fighting 'Islamofascism', as he calls it. Hitch may in fact be caught in a neverland of 'man without a party', right now...but I suspect that would suit his contrarian nature just fine.

Unconfirmed Reports: Rehnquist Has Resigned

Erick-Woods Erickson, who must be feeling like a yo-yo with all the conflicting rumors he is juggling, is now reporting that a very good source has said Rehnquist has confirmation as of yet...stay tuned...

Kos Does the Right Thing...

...or does he? Via Leon H. at RedState we learn that Kos has banned a large number of Kossacks who have been perpetuating bizarre conspiracy theories in the aftermath of the London bombings...if so, this is by far the best move he could possibly make to restore the credibility of his admittedly massive and hugely successful online community.

Only thing is, the site is down now...but I don't want to engage in bizarre conspiracy theories of my own. If it holds, I applaud you, Markos...

UPDATE 8:40 p.m. central: The post is back up, and the language was even better than I thought:
I have a high tolerance level for material I deem appropriate for this site, but one thing I REFUSE to allow is bullsh** conspiracy theories. You know the ones -- Bush and Blair conspired to bomb London in order to take the heat off their respective political problems. I can't imagine what f***ing world these people live in, but it sure ain't the Reality Based Community.
Unfortunately, but unsurprisingly, it didn't stick:
I've been reinstating some of the banned accounts as they email me. Some people wondered why there wasn't any warning. There have been warnings from others -- repeated pleadings for people to ground themselves in reality.

It's telling that I have NEVER done something like this before. Because this has been an extreme situation. This isn't about disagreeing with what people are saying. If that was the case, everyone would've been banned by now. The myth of the "echo chamber" is just that. A myth.

But as for warnings, well, this has been my warning. I wanted it clear that I was serious, and I think that has come through. I am reinstating those who ask to be reinstated. But the message has been sent.

Markos, that was one quick cave...just when I was thinking there was hope for you yet...oh, well, life goes on (and the moonbat money's pretty good, eh?)...

Just to prove his initial insticts were correct, this is in the same thread about Markos's 'serious warning'...

Do we have any proof the [sic] Osama Bin A**hole orchestrated the 911 attacks? NO! We have all chosen to believe our governments account of the events, because to think otherwise would be too difficult to comprehend. And why shouldn't we believe our government? It's not like they are the most corrupt administration since the dawn of the republic who have lied to us every f***ing step of the way.

I think it's a real shame when Kos feels the need to ban people for not thinking in LOCK-STEP with the party line.
Guess the message didn't get through after all...

UPDATE 07/09/05 9:52 a.m.: Many, many thanks to the great Tim Blair for the link...and my thanks to Jon Henke, as well...

Another SCOTUS Friday Surprise?

Erick-Woods Erickson informs us that the always-busy Robert Novak is now reporting that Rehnquist will indeed retire today, when Bush returns from the G8 meeting this afternoon...Erickson has also been reporting the rumors that Justice Stevens is on the way out, too (holy cow, can you imagine how the Kossacks are quaking?). Erickson's conclusion:
If O'Connor is gone and Rehnquist is gone, it makes sense for Stevens to go too as it would give the Democrats a much better rallying cry to prevent the President from stocking the Supreme Court with conservatives. Say hello to Justice Gonzales.

Friedman Nails It

Truly excellent Thomas Friedman editorial today that crystalizes many of the sentiments I've been trying to express in the aftermath of the London terror attacks. Simply put, if the moderate Muslims don't start taking a bigger stand in this matter, then the outcome isn't going to be pretty.

I only speak for myself, but I grow frustrated with calls to attempt to understand a culture that apparently is unmoved by beheadings, untroubled by suicide bombers and terrorists, yet riots over reports that a book has been mishandled in a prison holding these terrorists (true or not). I feel little sympathy, that is, for a culture that apparently feels my life has no worth, and it's not putting me in a tolerant mood.

Here's Friedman:

Because there is no obvious target to retaliate against, and because there are not enough police to police every opening in an open society, either the Muslim world begins to really restrain, inhibit and denounce its own extremists - if it turns out that they are behind the London bombings - or the West is going to do it for them. And the West will do it in a rough, crude way - by simply shutting them out, denying them visas and making every Muslim in its midst guilty until proven innocent.

And because I think that would be a disaster, it is essential that the Muslim world wake up to the fact that it has a jihadist death cult in its midst. If it does not fight that death cult, that cancer, within its own body politic, it is going to infect Muslim-Western relations everywhere. Only the Muslim world can root out that death cult. It takes a village.

What do I mean? I mean that the greatest restraint on human behavior is never a policeman or a border guard. The greatest restraint on human behavior is what a culture and a religion deem shameful. It is what the village and its religious and political elders say is wrong or not allowed...

...The Muslim village has been derelict in condemning the madness of jihadist attacks. When Salman Rushdie wrote a controversial novel involving the prophet Muhammad, he was sentenced to death by the leader of Iran. To this day - to this day - no major Muslim cleric or religious body has ever issued a fatwa condemning Osama bin Laden.
The emphasis is mine - and I'll repeat it: no major or Muslim cleric or religious body has ever issued a fatwa condemning Osama bin Laden (maybe Friedman's wrong here: I've learned to be suspicious of blanket declarations, but I'll take him at his word until I see or hear otherwise).

The progressive response to these attacks is exactly backwards: there is a need for more tolerance and understanding; it is the Muslim world that had better learn a little bit more about the Western world's aversion to being killed on the way to work, and just why that might be a bit of a problem, or as Friedman says, this will end quite badly, indeed. I'm not a racist, not a bigot, and God knows I don't intend to condemn an entire group for the actions of a few...but the many had better start joining the chorus of condemnation, or I and many others will only offer a deaf ear to their greivances; I don't intend to listen until murder is taken off the table...

The Plame Affair: Novak's Turn To Feel Some Heat

Lots of folks are none too happy that Bob Novak, who essentially set the Plame leak story in motion, is sitting nice and pretty while Judy Miller is in jail. The obvious implication is that Novak cooperated with the prosecution, although he has, shall we say, been less than forthcoming about his role. Jay Rosen, who continues to astonish with the sheer volume of information and links he can put into a single post, is fed up and recommends what I would like to call the 'Tom Cruise strategy'. In another context, I suggested the best way to punish the big-mouth Operating Thetan is for other Hollywood types to cease professional and social contacts with him.

Rosen suggest that Novak be given the same cold shoulder treatment...but the always vigilant Tom Maguire says, "What about Walter Pincus?". Read more here...

Will Rehnquist Announce His Retirement?

Erick-Woods Erickson has heard rumors that will be the case, at 10:00 a.m. eastern...however, my source tells me he will wait until Monday (of course, Erickson's sources are, in all probability, better informed than my source)...

Death Toll at 50 and Rising

That's the bad news we start our weekend on; unfortunately, there are still a number of bodies that haven't been recovered, so that's not the end of it. If one searches for silver linings from such a horrible event, perhaps we can make the inference, as others wiser than me have, that the small size of the explosives and the relatively (though still gruesomely high) smaller casualty count in comparison to Madrid and 9/11 mean that Al Quada's 'spectaculars' are getting harder and harder to pull off.

Iranian commentator Amir Taheri puts it well in the Times of London:
...You are dealing with an enemy that does not want anything specific, and cannot be talked back into reason through anger management or round-table discussions. Or, rather, this enemy does want something specific: to take full control of your lives, dictate every single move you make round the clock and, if you dare resist, he will feel it his divine duty to kill you.
No quarter, then; no attempts at 'understanding'; and for God's sake, no compromise; victory is all we can or should settle for. You cannot eliminate terror any more than you can eliminate poverty; but you can adopt the policies and military strategies that will make it rare, and punish severely those states who look the other way. This war is not some abstract electoral strategy meant to keep the 'neocons' in power; it is very real, and it is a ways yet from being won.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Parse Goes the Weasel...

...and out comes Rove. That's the conclusion of Tom Maguire, and it's good enough for me. The question remains, though, has a crime been committed? It would seem we're getting to, if not the end, the beginning of the end of the Valarie Plame leak case (of course, since lawyers are involved, it may be a long endgame indeed). On whom does the bottle stop spinning? We should know soon enough...

Quicks Shots: In Other News...

Of course, the world doesn't stop turning just because Al Queda wants to reverse its direction...there's a lot of other stuff going on....

Our good friend Minh-Duc at State of Flux argues passionately against tax cuts during a time of war and deficits...

Speculation is rampant that Rehnquist may retire as early as tomorrow (wouldn't that be kind of bad timing, considering the events of today? I mean, at least wait until after the weekend). Our man Erick-Woods Erickson has the latest, including speculation that no way, no how is Gonzales on 'the list'. Novak is hearing the Rehnquist rumors, too, but he's still convinced Gonzales may have a shot, much to his snarky dismay...

George Will talks up the 2008 prospects of another George, this one from Virginia...

At Americans for Freedom, some good thoughts on African aid and corruption...

Two Unexploded Bombs, Timers Recovered

That's the story from ABC News (hat tip to Real Clear Politics), and that's good news indeed. Nice to have some physical evidence, as well as the avoided mayhem, death and destruction the additional devices would have surely caused. Meanwhile, if you think my post earlier highlighting some of the more ridiculous Kossack reactions was a cheap shot, here's a Democrat, democracy guy (hat tip to the Instapundit), thanking God Kos wasn't around during 9/11:
As a Democrat, I'm very happy that the lefty blogosphere wasn't around much on September 11. Because if they were, and they uncorked the response they are uncorking to the London bombings, Democrats might never be electable again in my lifetime.
You said's an example of the crap democracy guy is talking about, from a Kossack who's finding it hard to give a damn about dead white people (never mind that the victims were multi-racial):

Every godd*** day is a day for mourning -- do we hear all these words when 25 or so civilians are killed by bombs in Iraq? Or let alone the 100,000s of children who die each year from preventable infectious disease -- which could be cured for say $5 billion (contrast with $80 billion plus spent each year in Iraq).

All these governments who sow violence will reap violence. Think of those American and British bombs over Iraq and elsewhere.

Only when every day is a time for mourning and reflection perhaps things will change.

No matter how poor the logic is (i.e., the last sentence contradicts the first, and it's terrorists killing the Iraqis, as well, and yes, we do hear about it, and we do mourn, and we do get angry), the heart of this sort of response is moral equivalence, and this is the disease that is eating at the Democrats through their 'progressive' outgrowth. This sort of mushy-headed inability to distinguish the important facts relating to a particular issue without confusing them with totally unrelated items is ludicrously infantile. This is not a game we can afford to play.

Here are the three areas where people are routinely (don't give me Timothy McVeigh, that's isolated) and currently (yes, there have been similar tactics used in the past by groups as diverse as ETA, the IRA, and the Black Panthers) faced with the deplorable tactics of terror on a large enough scale to cause global concern:
  1. Islamic fundamentalist terrorists (al Qaeda and offshoots) striking unpredictably (today, Madrid, 9/11);
  2. Palestinian militants randomly but more predictably striking Israelis; and
  3. Islamic fundamentalist terrorists killing Iraqis and Coalition forces in Iraq.
Now, I look at that list, and I see something that jumps out at me real quickly. The Radical Left would like you to think it makes me a racist or a bigot that I focus on the fact that all of these killers are Muslims, and that I'm so stupid that I would make the unwarranted assumption that ALL Muslims are killers, or that an American or British life is worth more than an Iraqi one. That's a fallacy that few would fall for.

Equally stupid, though, would be to deny that we are in a struggle with an enemy that has both an identity and a stated purpose: the enemy is Islamic fundamentalism, and its stated goal is to kill the infidel, and the infidel is Western culture. If there is a doubt in your mind that this is the case, you aren't paying attention. Now, we are not at war with Muslims, or Arabs, or Palestinians, as a whole...but we are at war with certain radical elements inside these groups, and it's a war that we simply cannot lose, not Europe, not the United States, and not the Middle East.

The 'progressives' get annoyed that we mention 9/11 so much, and think it's because we want to wrap ourselves in the flag. It's not that: 9/11 was a horrible tragedy, and the worst day for our nation in my lifetime, but it was also a wake-up call; it clarified the situation for those who have the will to see it, and that's why it is our rallying point. It was on that day that we clearly saw our enemy, his intentions, and his surprising reach. Sadly, today we see that face again. Now is not the time to get wobbly is the time to fight harder than ever.

Hitchens: Don't Blame Iraq, There's A Civil War Going On

The great Christopher Hitchens places the terrorist bombings in London today in some much-needed context as part of the ongoing struggle in the Islamic world between the modern and the ancient:
Europe is steadily becoming a part of the civil war that is roiling the Islamic world, and it will require all our cultural ingenuity to ensure that the criminals who shattered London's peace at rush hour this morning are not the ones who dictate the pace and rhythm of events from now on.
Hitchens also condemns George Galloway, who of course has wasted no time trying to score political points off of the tragedy.

Here's the key phrase, though...
This latest challenge is far more insidious, however, because the ambitions of the killers are non-negotiable, and because their methods so exactly match their aims.
The killing of the infidel for the Islamofascist is not a means to an end, in other words; it is the end.

No Words Necessary

Hat tip to INDC Journal...

This stays up top all day...look for new posts below...

Kossacks: Now Is the Time For Tolerance and Understanding...

...of those who brutally murder Iraqi, British, and American civilians. I knew it wouldn't take long for the 'Progressives' to ratchet up the anti-U.S., anti-British rhetoric.

Here's LondonYank:
If there are Middle East extremists behind these London bombs, I hope Britain turns again to its better self and reacts with tolerance and forebearance, rather than becoming more like its enemies.

I'm sure Bush would call it weakness to negotiate with groups in the Middle East that oppose US policies there. I would think it shows good sense if Britain now reached out and showed leadership in actually recognising and addressing the many legitimate reasons for Arab world dissatisfaction with the current state of global affairs and US/UK influence in the region.

The problem with this touchy-feely, warm and fuzzy sentiment is that the terrorists aren't asking for negotiations; they are fighting to the death. If that isn't obvious to everyone by now, it never will be.

Here's semiot, just under LondonYank on the same link:
I hope the British have the good sense to sack Blair...
Idiotic...say, semiot, let's reward the terrorists, shall we?

However, from the same thread, we see at least some people retaining their good sense. Here's gradtom:
There seems to be a theme running through many of the posts here that the US/UK somehow "caused" the events of 9/11, the current terrorist attacks in Iraq, or the London attacks of earlier today. This is nonsensical and akin to a schoolchild convinced that the class bully would stop stealing his lunch money if he only walked to school a different way, or acted in a different manner. The point is the bully will keep stealing lunch money, and the terrorists will keep slaughtering innocent civilians, until they get what they desire and then some.
You got it...that's exactly right.

Meanwhile, there's this clown who's blaming the bombing on Dick Cheny for outing Valarie Plame (I'm not joking), and of course, we couldn't get by without the moral equivalency crap, could we?

Here's the best of the batch:
  • Was it the CIA? It's one way to prop up your poll numbers, and wouldn't be the first time the CIA has killed many innocents to promote U.S. foreign policy.

  • Flypaper strategy didn't work.

  • Blair is unable to keep his country safe. Time to elect a new leader.

  • All the 'experts' on tv are claiming that "failed states produce terrrorists", despite the 9/11 hijackers being middle-class/rich Saudis.

  • One sports commentator on tv is all hysterical, claiming that "I skipped out on the last 3 or 4 winter and summer Olympics because, I'll be honest, I just don't feel safe anywhere".

  • God must be angry that London won the Olympics.

  • Cue 'liberals' everywhere comdemning 'horrific, evil terrorists' as if they haven't been responsible for electing U.S. presidents for decades.

  • This attack certainly has a 9/11 air about it - a certain 'unbelievable' factor. Could some low-rent terrorists carry out massive, coordinated attacks in downtown London under the heaviest surveillance the British people have ever known? Not a chance. Who benefits? Who had opportunity?
Enough with these idiots...this is a serious matter for serious people...

UPDATE 11:45 a.m. central: Thanks to Tim Blair for the link...if you're wondering why I even wasted time with this, on such a sad day, let's just say I was in close proximity to something very similar, and it infuriated me...thanks also to Michelle Malkin for linking, and don't miss her excellent coverage (just keep scrolling)...and a thank you to California Conservative, as well...

More On The Terror Attacks

Apparently the terror alert level in the U.S. has been raised, at least on trains and subways...meanwhile, world leaders have declared their outrage and the G8 has pushed back their 'agreement announcements' until tomorrow...

Terror Attacks in London

Well, the big story of the morning, unfortunately, is terror...thank God the attacks appear to have been relatively non-lethal (small comfort to the families of the two dead). Of course, no nation deserves this, but it's a safe bet Great Britain was targeted because of its support of the Iraq war. Once again, a dismal reminder of the evil in this world; we must show no mercy in this fight, for none will be shown to us: what if those explosives had been laced with chemical, biological, or God forbid, nuclear agents? Next time they very well may be if we lessen our vigilance...

The Instapundit has a good roundup...

UPDATE 8:02 a.m.: Gerry of Daly Thoughts makes the excellent point in the comments that it is safer and probably more accurate to say Great Britain was targeted for its support in the War Against Terror, particularly as it relates to Al Qaeda, rather than specifically Iraq. I totally agree and stand corrected.

Also, our good friend Fargus gives us this link to a story about an Islamic group claiming doubt more news on this story will trickle in throughout the day...

UPDATE 8:30 a.m.: Sadly, the toll rises, breaking news alerts have over 40 dead now...let's pray it doesn't continue to rise further. Needless to say, our hearts go out to our British allies...

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Man, I Love Those Aussies!

One thing I did in the early days of my blog that I have largely, but not totally, abandoned, was the 'in praise of' idea, where I would basically pay tribute to things that didn't necessarily fit into the news flow. I'm going to have to bring it back soon for the folks down under: really cool accents, great allies, Tim Blair, Arthur Chrenkoff, and newspapers that publish editorials like this one in the Melbourne Herald Sun.

Now, I defended Live8, somewhat, though I agree with the principle that far more important than monetary aid is the reformation of Africa's economic models and the elimination of corruption (even Bono says that's far and away the biggest problem in Africa, even bigger than AIDS!). God knows I have no use for Kyoto...Bush is being pressed on both issues, of course, as the G8 meetings progress, and Terry McCrann has nothing but praise for our President:
US PRESIDENT George W. Bush has brilliantly nailed the feel-good politically correct worthlessness of both the Kyoto global 'warming' treaty and Live 8's make poverty 'history' in a stunning double play.

He has done so not by attacking them directly, easy enough as that would be to do. Like a relative asked to comment on kindergarten artwork, he's too polite to so embarrass British PM Tony Blair, who's embraced them both.

But by offering alternatives that would actually work. And especially in helping Africa work, immediately and dramatically.

That finger-clicking stunt of the various celebrities -- every three-second click, a child dies -- captures the contrast with exquisite inadvertence.

They want to embrace continued global finger-clicking as the policy solution. Bush in contrast has demanded the one thing that has worked for everyone else: trade and economic growth.

The key to why the developed Western world is not still mired in the Middle Ages; why most of Asia is now following fast. Why China is no Congo and Malaysia no Mali.

Further and most exquisitely, Bush has done so by striking at the very heart of European hypocrisy and failure...

Bush has just as devastatingly skewered European failure and hypocrisy on Kyoto. He's also done so in a way consistent with how to best help Africa, and by suggesting something that would actually work...

Highly recommended...

Has-Beens Moves In

Bruce Reed, president of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council, has a new blog up at Slate called, appropriately enough, Has-Beens. He defines his mission statement thusly:
Some men look at things as they are and ask why. Some dream of things that never were and ask why not. Has-Beens look at things as they were and ask why not do that again?...
I've argued in this space before that, although I take as much joy as anyone out of mocking the 'progressive', Kossack wing of the Democratic Party, we actually are much stronger as Republicans when we have a responsible, well-organized opposition party to play off of; one reason we're so fractured right now (if indeed we really are - but that's a subject for another post) is that we frankly don't have much to worry about from the Democrats - well, that's not exactly true. The Dems can still throw up plenty of opposition to our policies; right now, though, they're offering precious few ideas of their own.

To the extent that this blog gives visibility to the only organ of the Democratic Party to win a Presidential election since 1976(!!!), I welcome it. We'll be keeping an eye on it; God knows, it's gotta be better than Huff'n'Puff. Speaking of which, Byron York has an excellent question for Lawrence 'I'M THE GREATEST JOURNALIST EVER!!!!' O'Donnell: umm, how do you know the contents of internal Time e-mails, and has the prosecutor contacted your sorry butt yet?...

Reid Says Gonzales is Qualified For SCOTUS

When Harry Reid praises (well, declines to pan, anyway) a potential Bush nominee, what's the story? If we take it as a given (as I think we can and should) that no politican says anything publicly that doesn't have some manuevering motive behind it, what message does this send? Does it mean Reid is scared that Bush will nominate someone to the right of Gonzales, and he's signaling acceptance (with the appropriate amount of posing and preening in opposition, of course), or does it mean he's dead set against Gonzales, and feels the best way to torpedo his candidacy is to give him a sort of endorsement from the other side, as the kiss of death?

Meanwhile, Mike Krempasky looks at the potential impact of a Gonzales candidacy on the base (it ain't good, says he), but Ruben Navarrette, Jr., says the base doesn't like Gonzales because he's not a reactionary. His advice? Bring Gonzales on, this ain't your daddy's Republican party anymore...

Miller Jailed, Cooper to Cooperate in Wilson-Plame Affair

Rather dramatic goings-on today as Judith Miller of the New York Times was ordered to jail for her refusal to divulge her source on the identity of Valerie Plame; Matthew Cooper of Time says he is now cooperating after being given a last-minute go-ahead from his source. Who is Miller protecting? Tom Maguire, the go-to guy on this story, says it's Lewis Libby, Dick Cheney's chief of staff, but then asks who else? Is there another source unknown to the prosecution? Still more questions then answers at this point...

Quick Shots: Lawrence O'Donnell is the KING OF THE WORLD!

This is good stuff...

The latest Rove allegations can be found here...quite troubling...

Meanwhile, Ted Kennedy has unveiled his plan for Iraq...

An Important Reminder

Amber at Prettier than Napoleon is on a crusade to establish International Kissing Day in the US of A (hat tip to the Instapundit). Since the only lady in my life currently is my beagle, I plan on giving her a big fat wet one later; but then, that's every day: who could resist this face?

Catch a Clue(less) Carnival

Don't miss the spectactular 4th installment of the Carnival of the Clueless at Right Wing Nut House...I mean it, now, don't make me come over there!...

A Pair of Morning Must-Reads

Jules Witcover at the Baltimore Sun (registration may be required) say the filibuster deal defended so often in these parts has the Dems in a bind:

Having given up their option of opposing three conservative appointments to federal appellate courts that were distasteful to them in exchange for reserving the filibuster in "extraordinary circumstances," the Democrats can wonder what they have really gained.

If the president now nominates another conservative to the Supreme Court who is equally distasteful to most Senate Democrats, the chances are they will try to reject that nominee on grounds that the "extraordinary circumstances" exist this time around.

And if that happens, all or most of the seven Republicans who joined an equal number of Democrats in the "Gang of 14" who entered the deal are likely to say the deal is off, and most of the Republicans will back the president's selection.

The Democrats, therefore, are already reduced to wishfully thinking that this conservative president will somehow back down on his promise to pick someone in the extreme right-wing mold of Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.

His conclusion:

The seven Democrats had better hope the president names a chicken thief or a corporate extortionist. It may take someone of that ilk to enable them to slip from the straitjacket they so willingly strapped on in agreeing to the terms negotiated by the Gang of 14.

Meanwhile, in news that won't give comfort to many conservatives, the Times notes Bush's call for an end to the attacks on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales:

A senior White House official who spoke on condition of anonymity because most staff members are not authorized to speak about the vacancy, said the push against Mr. Gonzales would not influence Mr. Bush's thinking. "He has talked at some considerable length about his view on who he thinks would be qualified to be a Supreme Court justice," the official said. "And he's going to make his decision in a deliberate manner."

The official added, "At the end of the day, the president is going to decide this based on those principles, not from any pressure from the groups."

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Is Lawrence O'Donnell An Idiot?

Or just an opportunistic rage-aholic? He's sure milking his 'contribution' to the Rove-Plame story for everything it's worth. Since he 'broke' the story that Rove was one of Matt Cooper's sources about 5 milliseconds before the world would have found out anyway, O'Donnell has been strutting around like the cock of the walk (hey, get your mind out of the gutter!).

It's fun to play journalist, isn't it, Lawrence? And the rest of you never, ever forget - Lawrence O'Donnell has singlehandedly saved the Republic, and (oh, it's too delicious!):
I have a call in to Bob Luskin, Karl Rove's lawyer, but I'm not holding my breath for a call back. He knows I know too much...
Oh, yeah, Lawrence, you've got Rove on the run...ooohhh, you're a big man now, aren't you? Jeez...I thought bloggers were supposed to be the navel-gazers!...

UPDATE 11:45 p.m. - I'm not the only one disgusted by O'Donnell's giant ego trip...

Why Me?

Why must I bear this tragic be forced to recommend another David Corn piece, and from The Nation, no less? Corn must save his really bad stuff for the posts at Huff'n'Puff, because it was only a few days ago that I remarked on how on the money he was on fili-deal, and that piece was also from his Nation gig. This time Corn takes a look at the Karl Rove-Valarie Plame 'did-he-or-didn't-he?' story, and find there's not much there to get excited about, it's all still rumors and suggestions at this point. Of course, I knew that already, since I read the excellent work of Tom Maguire, but doggone it, does Corn have to agree? It sure makes it harder for folks like me when a 'progressive' voice goes and gets all reasonable all of a sudden...

Ahh, The Reasonableness of 'Progressives'

When you look at the crap routinely bandied about by 'progressives', you have two choices, really; get hopping mad or laugh hysterically...indifference wouldn't seem to be an option. Take for instance, the latest garbage spewed by Ted Rall (who I, with the help of others, once forced to admit that the liberal side of the blogosphere was full of venom). Rall couldn't stay civil for more than ten minutes, of course, and now he says Karl Rove is worse than Osama bin Laden. Really. See for yourself...

The above link is taken from an amusing post at Little Green Footballs detailing the 'outrage' of the despicable Armando of Daily Kos fame at what is clearly a parody at Iowahawk (and a damn good one, I might add). That the Radical Left is humorless has long been known...fortunately, we 'uptight' conservatives still appreciate a good chuckle, so don't miss Iowahawk's sequel, either.

Insider Trading in Predictive Markets: The Good Professor Weighs In

Not for nothing is Stephen Bainbridge a corporate law professor...after a lot of talk back and forth over the relative efficacy of a small, predictive market as it relates to something like the SCOTUS nomination, I found myself somewhat perplexed. Well, along comes Bainbridge with a well-reasoned and well-sourced discussion of the issues involved, particularly with regard to insider training (i.e., someone trading on SCOTUS futures who is in a position to know).

Prof. Bainbridge found no rules banning insider trading at TradeSports, interestingly enough, but concludes that, if insider knowledge is only likely, and not certain, the predictive nature of the market will be vastly improved, with enough degree of uncertainty to attract new money. But what am I doing trying to explain this to you? Just go see Bainbridge and see for yourself...

A New Look For An Old Friend

Amazingly, there are a few people from the left side of the aisle who read my blog without running away in horror (though they often take me to task when they think I am mistaken, which is how it should be). One of our hippie liberal buddies (as Eric Cartman might say), Fargus, has a new look at his place, so drop and by and check out his new digs, but don't tell him I sent you unless you plan on being nice!...

At The End of the Day, It's Just a Book

It's easy to forget, sometimes, that hype surrounds our daily existence. Many things purport to be life-changing, but really, how many valid 'paradigm shifts' can there be? If we're honest with ourselves, only a handful of events qualify from the last century: relativity, quantum mechanics, the Manhattan Project, the Holocaust, Sputnik, and 9/11 are the only ones I can think of. Yet the world of advertising demands that each purchase made be more sensational than the last. I don't necessarily have a problem with that; I'm a good capitalist, but we must remember, in the words of Public Enemy, 'Don't believe the hype'.

Two stories today put me in this frame of mind, one relating to another of Edward Jay Epstein's excellent articles in the Hollywood Economist series, the other a pan of Freakonomics from Tech Central Station (hat tip to the Instapundit). Both deal, in one way or another, with manufactured hype. In Hollywood's case, it's the new business model where huge advertising budgets build up blockbuster opening weekends (hopefully), followed by a complete tailspin brought on largely by our love of staying home. In the case of Freakonomics (a book I am currently reading), it's the hype of a publisher and author who want to convince the world there's a new way of looking at economics. Do I have a point?

Not much of one...just an acknowledgement that things can seldom live up to all the pomp and circumstance. I picked up God's Debris recently, by Dilbert's Scott Adams, and to read the cover blurbs you would have thought it was the most miraculous gift to man since central air conditioning. Instead, it was a fairly ordinary, kinda sophomoric trip through what essentially has to be seen as a vanity publishing effort. Disappointed? You bet...but the beauty of capitalism is that the NEXT big thing is always just around the corner...

The Latest SCOTUS News

The well-sourced Erick-Woods Erickson tells us that it is still expected that Rehnquist will retire before the next term begins, although it certainly sounds as if he will wait until the firestorm over the O'Connor retirement abates...meanwhile, Erick informs us that the star of John Roberts is currently rising as a possibility among certain White House staffers. To be continued...

Indignant? Be Thankful You Can Afford To Be

That's the message in this piece from the great Thomas Sowell, who notes:
..many leftists were born with a silver spoon in their mouths and, instead of being grateful, are venomous against American society. Conversely, there are people like yours truly who were born on the other end of the economic scale and think this is a great country. No one has really explained either phenomenon. Maybe a painful early confrontation with the facts of life makes it harder in later years to get all worked up over abstract issues that seem to preoccupy the left.

Once you have ever had to go hungry, it is hard to get worked up over the fact some people can afford only pizza while others can afford caviar. Once you have had to walk to work from Harlem to a factory south of the Brooklyn Bridge, the difference between driving a Honda and driving a Lexus seems kind of petty, too.

Would a poverty-stricken peasant in Bangladesh find the difference between the average American's standard of living and that of a millionaire something to get excited about? If he had a choice between a certainty of getting the first and a 1-in-2 chance of getting the second, would he take the risk to go for a million bucks? I doubt it.
Indeed, poverty is a heartbreaking thing...and it's relatively rare in our society (true poverty, I mean, in Sowell's sense). So we have the luxury of getting up in arms about who Bush's Supreme Court nominee will be. That wouldn't be the case if we were wondering where the next meal was coming from...

And speaking of relative prosperity, even among industrial nations, care of the Instapundit, here's Tony Blair on abandoning the 'European social model':
"Some have suggested I want to abandon Europe's social model," Blair told the European Parliament last month. "But tell me: what type of social model is it that has 20 million unemployed in Europe, productivity rates falling behind those of the United States; that is allowing more science graduates to be produced by India than by Europe; and that, on any relative index of a modern economy -- skills, R&D, patents, IT -- is going down not up."
I tell you, this Tony Blair, he's alright with me...

RINO Sightings: A Latecomer Postscript

Politechnical had an entry that I missed in the Star-Spangled Second Edition of RINO Sightings, as I didn't have access to the email account it was sent to, so here's a bonus look at what has to be a whopper of a scoop, if true...I'd also be interested in knowing more about this one! Sorry for the delay, and thanks to everyone who came by, it was lots of fun...

Romney vs. Obama? Stranger Things Have Happened

Godfrey Sperling of the Christian Science Monitor surveys the scene for 2008 and concludes that Romney-Obama might be the matchup, if people go looking for more 'electable' candidates than the front-runners. Look for a candidate profile on Romney sometime in July...

Monday, July 04, 2005

Rethinking the Democrats

Okay, I didn't get to a candidate profile this weekend...I think the next one will be John Edwards. I have, however, put some thought into my odds for the Democratic nomination, and I think I'm leaving too much on the table. Granted, there are some holes to fill in my candidate profiles, but as it stands right now, Hillary is looking more and more unstoppable just by virtue of her lack of serious competition. Of the current crop of candidates, I would say only Warner or Bayh has a decent chance of toppling her. Of course, we're a long way from the party yet...but I'm resetting my current Democratic candidates as follows (remember, this is to win the nomination, not the election):
  • Hillary Clinton - Current Odds: 4-1
  • Al Gore - Current Odds: 30 -1
  • John Kerry - Current Odds: 25-1
  • Joe Lieberman - Current Odds: 50-1
  • Barack Obama - Current Odds: 30-1
  • Harry Reid - Current Odds: 50-1
  • Evan Bayh - Current Odds: 12-1
  • Joe Biden - Current Odds: 18-1
  • Bill Richardson - Current Odds: 25-1
  • Mark Warner - Current Odds: 10-1
Sure, I'm missing Feingold, Edwards, Boxer, and some others...but even with these adjustments, the ten Democrats I've already profiled only account for about two-thirds of the 100% the odds should add to, so I've still got a lot of room to play with...the biggest mover, probably, is Biden...surprisingly, people are taking his candidacy fairly seriously. I still don't think he's a player, but I'm bowing somewhat to the conventional wisdom.

Do The Markets Know Something We Don't?

The Alberto Gonzales contract at TradeSports just went through the roof...this would be the same TradeSports that has done so well in picking political outcomes, including the 2004 election. Very interesting...

In any event, the price of the Gonzales contract has essentially doubled on heavy volume...when the choice is between random talking heads and people who are putting money where their mouth is, always follow the money...

UPDATE 10:44 p.m. central: Thanks to that Political Junkie Erick-Woods Erickson of Red State for the link (he's been outstanding on this story, so keep up with what he's got to say), and also to the still-chillin' Prof. Bainbridge, who's curious as to whether there are any West Wing accounts currently active...

UPDATE 2 07/05/05 6:56 a.m. central: Thanks also to Todd Zywicki at the Volokh Conspiracy for the link...I believe it's my first from that excellent group blog...for what it's worth, the contract is up again this morning...the TradeSports market now predicts there is a 1 in 3 chance it will be Gonzales...

UPDATE 3 07/05/05 8:28 a.m. central: Yay, Instalanche! Many thanks to the wise, glorious, and incandescent Glenn Reynolds, most noble of beings...or am I being obsequious?...seriously, thanks for the link. Note also, on the Gonzales front, Bush's praise of Gonzales, and his warning to both sides to cool down a little (certainly doesn't rule Gonzales out, to say the least)...

The Art of the Comment

I'm very fortunate that my online only web publishing venture has very smart readers, excellent commenters, and mercifully few trolls. However, that may be a function of my, umm, selective popularity. Any long-established online only web publisher that allows comments will, undoubtably, be subject at one time or another to the peculiar logic of the lurker.

Thus, in the midst of my celebration of our nation's birthday, I'm also thankful to the long-suffering Bill of INDC Journal, for this two-part guide to the art of the comment. Thanks, Bill...and a happy 4th to you!...

Is Viking Pundit Still Chillin'?

Does a bear - ummm - 'poop' in the woods? Eric finds yet another high-profile article indicating that the filibuster deal has been totally lopsided; all the advantages, and I mean all, have accrued to the Republican side, and now, with the SCOTUS debate on the table, the path to victory is wide open. Say what you want about the Gang of 14; hindsight is treating the Republican members very well, indeed...

July 4th, 1826

What a remarkable thing it is that Thomas Jefferson, the author of so much of what we call America, in word and spirit, should have died on the 4th of July, 1826, on the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. How unbelievably amazing that John Adams should die on that very same day. Two presidents, two founding fathers - it certainly leads one to believe that they loved this country enough to hang on until its birthday to leave this earth behind.

Last words are notoriously open to revisionism, but popular legend, at least, if not historical fact, leads us to believe that Jefferson awoke on the night of the 3rd, and asked 'This is the 4th?', and was assured that it was, to comfort him. He died around noon on Independence Day. A few hours later, not realizing the great man had passed, John Adams was heard to say, 'Thomas Jefferson still survives', before leaving this mortal coil.

Of course, Adams was right...Jefferson did survive, and he does so even yet, as long as we keep his words in our hearts. We are well and truly blessed to have been guided by the wisdom of so many great men in the days when the durability of our national experiment was very much in doubt. My urgent hope and prayer this Independence Day is that our troops will fight well, live long, and rest easy in the assurance that they have the undying gratitude of a grateful nation. God bless each and every one of our men and women in uniform, as they struggle to bring Jefferson's vision of liberty to life in a land far from our own shores. American exceptionalism? You better believe it; now, forever, and always...but the American vision is a universal one, open to all who would dedicate themselves to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness...

Maguire on The Rove Connection: Not Worried - Yet

Tom Maguire has been all over the Valerie Plame - Joe Wilson 'outing' story from the very beginning, so I anticipated he would weigh in with a lengthy analysis of the latest, and I wasn't disappointed. Tom parses the various denials given by Rove's attorney, and finds there is some wiggle room, but ultimately concludes it's more likely than not that Rove is innocent of the charge of revealing the identity of a CIA undercover operative, based on the information before us.

However, he notes (and frankly, this is more of a concern to me than the bigger charge) that it's still possible that Rove is being pursued for giving false testimony to a grand jury (it's the coverup, stupid!). Read this post, yes, but keep on eye on JustOneMinute for further news and analysis as this thing goes along (with the hat tip going to the just-returned Michelle Malkin)...

The Post of the - Day? Year? All Time?

T. Jefferson has some thoughts on the colonies that are just essential. In typical Jefferson style, the phrasing is simply impeccable, but it is the ideas that are breathtaking. Some highlights:
...We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness...

...We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
Highest recommendation...

RINO Sightings: The Star-Spangled July 4th Spectacular!

Please note: This post will stay up top all day as a 4th of July tribute to my fellow RINOs...please scroll down for the regular dose of chocolatey goodness...

When you think of July 4th, several images spring immediately to mind. There's this:

And this:

But if you're like most Americans, you mostly think of this:

Yes, that's right, the 4th and there a more quintessentially American combo?

This July 4th, it is my privilege to present to you the musings of our fellow Raging RINOs, as we struggle to fight the good fight without having a conniption doing so.

Of course, it's hard NOT to lose your cool in this wacky world of ours...Tinkerty Tonk gives us a sordid tale of 'nuance' in the face of terror (John Kerry, is that you?) from (where else?) Hollywood...

Dr. Shackleford is doing his best
to keep the 'Did Saddam Hussein have a hand in 9/11?" debate on the up-and-up; the good doctor concludes, quite reasonably, that Hussein, while not directly involved in the 9/11 attacks, was nonetheless a terrorist supporter and a clear and present danger (not to mention a sorry S.O.B., to boot)...

Speaking of 9/11, AJ Strata has some very strong memories of those times, and sends a wake-up call to the fantasy-land dwellers...

Dave Justus sees the campaign against the terrorists in Iraq as an opportunity to innoculate the Arab regimes against the poison of the jihadists...

Now, we all know guns don't kill people, and neither does James Walcott, but he comes very close to boring SayUncle to death with his tired anti-gun 'arguments'...

Put your thinking caps on, as phin's blog takes us down the path of liberal powers of deduction. Sounds like a journey from which you may not return...

Searchlight Crusade has had enough, and says it's time to hold Bush and Rumsfeld accountable (a sentiment I share 100%)...

For a look at some of the issues at stake in the SCOTUS nominee scramble, I am happy to refer you to John Cole's excellent commentary; as he says, elections matter, and this decision is not for the Democrats to make...

Jane at Armies of Liberation has a terrifyingly poignant reminder of the horrors facing too many in this world; as you celebrate your 4th, be thankful for your liberty, and remember those who aren't so fortunate...

Also to remind us of what we're fighting for, here's a helpful (and much-linked-to) quiz from Environmental Republican...

Roaring Tiger at Big Cat Chronicles is such a helpful RINO (Tiger? Cat? RINO? Hey, we're halfway to a zoo here!) that she supplies her own blurb:
Roaring Tiger, a former oil piglet, comments on Congress' resolution to prohibit the sale of Unocal to CNOOC. She explores why the sale may have a number of attached issues - but national security isn't one of them.
Now, no one likes to make fun of John Kerry more than I do, but upon seeing a headline at (this isn't even the real Arab News Network, just a phony website trying to lure the unexpecting) that claimed Kerry was going to call for Bush's impeachment, I was immediately suspicious (particularly given that nothing in the article would justify the headline). Bill at INDC Journal was also quite rightly skeptical, and he's wondering, with justification, when we might see a clarification from those who were so quick to jump on this baloney...

Any celebration of the 4th that doesn't acknowledge the wonderful contributions of our military is woefully incomplete; thanks to you men and women for defending our liberty. BloodSpite at Techography has a thoughtful post on Milbloggers, technology, and censorship, and whether a compromise can be found between protecting operational security and free speech...

RINOs, in addition to being the best lovers, have a great sense of humor: for proof, I give you the Countertop Chronicles...

Head RINO the Commissar reminds us why evolution is science and Intelligent Design is not. To believe in a higher power is a personal decision that has nothing to do with the scientific method. Teaching Intelligent Design is perfectly a philosophy or religion course, not in a science classroom...

Another RINO has been baffled by the, er, breathtaking logic behind some ID arguments. Take it away, Pigilito...

The best insolence is Respectful Insolence, on that we can all agree. Orac, another member of the ID-Busters, is none-too-pleased with the anti-vaccine paranoia on display at the ol' Huff'n'Puff (note to RFK, Jr.: autism existed BEFORE the vaccine)...

Larry Bernard (who will be hosting a RINO Sightings soon) throws in references to the Usual Suspects, hippies, Nixon, metaphysics, and mythology, and comes out with a distinct lack of concern about the Hildabeast...

What would a RINO Sighting carnival be without a little Bad Attitude? The Kelo decision is a job for the A-Team, in the World According to Nick...

My own contribution to the madness is a look at an 'independent' group of folks who are going to save us from the bias of the 'corporate' media...

I hope you've enjoyed the second edition of RINO Sightings as much as I have, and I ask that you please let me know if I mistakenly left your post out (unfortunately, I'm not able to get one of my email accounts working right now, but it's not my main one - and some of you guys I can't trackback - disabled, perhaps?); I will happily update the post (you can email it to me at mark-dot-coffey-at-gmail-dot-com, or just let me know in the comments, either way).

Most of all, though, I wish you and your loved ones a safe, happy, and beautiful 4th of July! Happy birthday, America!

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Some Good News, As We Near the Fourth

I've previously written about the reason my support for John Bolton went from half-hearted at best to completely apathetic, or even hostile: the stories that his bullheadedness prevented agreement on the securing of 4,000 nuclear warheads from the former U.S.S.R. I've also noted, as many others have, that nuclear terrorism as the greatest threat facing our nation was one of the rare points of agreement between Bush and Kerry in Election 2004.

Thankfully, there is some good news on this front, as Graham Allison tells it in the Boston Globe (hat tip to RealClearPolitics):
At Gleneagles, the two presidents [Bush and Putin] will be able to announce that they agreed on a list of specific Russian nuclear sites that need upgrades, are improving their countries' emergency response capabilities to track down missing nuclear material, are conducting a series of workshops in Russia to address nuclear security culture, and are steadily cleaning out research reactors that use high-enriched uranium.
It's easy to forget the nuclear threat, as it has been hanging over our heads for so many years without incident. Simply put, though, almost any nightmare scenario pales in significance next to the thought of the return of the mushroom cloud.

In The Land of the Blind...

...David Corn's nearly-six-year-old is queen. I don't really mind if grown men want to throw their lives away believing hysterical conspiracy theories about the fascists ruling America, but how sad is it when they feel a need to use their children to make their pathetic points? Here's Corn, direct from the Loony Bin:

...the older girl wanted to send America a birthday card. But she immediately recognized a problem: where to send it?

"Well," I said to her, "if you're looking for the person who is in charge of America, I guess that would be the president."

Now, George W. Bush is not too popular in our house. I did write a best-selling book with the demure title, The Lies of George W. Bush. I don't indoctrinate my kids. (Really, really, I don't.) But apples don't bounce far. More than once when I have challenged them on a statement and suggested that they have not been truthful, I've received the reply: "Daddy, I'm not a liar. George W. Bush is a liar. I'm not." So it goes. And they were both very upset when Bush won reelection in November. "But everyone I know was voting for John Kerry," my nearly-six-year-old said at the time. "Everyone, like Zoe and Cali."

Zoe and Cali were two girls who lived up the street. They were, respectively, four and two-years-old. Yes, my daughter had conducted a focus group of her peers. But, alas, the sampling was too small and slightly biased.

I wasn't surprised, then, when my daughter responded to me by saying, "But I don't want to give the card to George W. Bush. It's for America. Not for him."

For America. Not for him. Here was something to be proud of. She had already learned on her own -- and she wasn't taught this -- that there is a difference between America and the person in charge of America. Many scoundrels who wave the flag of patriotism try to deny this distinction. In recent days, I've noticed that more and more Bush-backers have accused critics of Bush's handling of the war of undermining the national interest -- that is, being unpatriotic -- and, worse, undercutting the troops in Iraq. But speaking the truth about Bush's misguided war is in the national interest. Had the patriots of the antiwar movement of the 1960s won the day in 1968, 25,000 or so Americans (and untold numbers of Vietnamese) would not have lost their lives in the subsequent six years of fighting that accomplished absolutely nothing. If a citizen believes that Bush is misleading the nation (or "disassembling") on the war, how can it not be that citizen's duty to point this out and agitate accordingly?

My God, but they have some real fun at the Corn house, don't they? Excuse me, I have to go retch uncontrollably for an hour or so. Man, I feel dirty just reading that...

Another RINO Preview: Was There Anything Good About Hitler?

Well, as Roaring Tiger reminds us, he was a heckuva salesman...

A RINO Sightings Preview: Watch Out For the ROPRINOs

I'm about 80% through with the RINO Sightings 4th of July Spectacular, and I think it will be quite enjoyable. Many RINOs are so gung-ho in their RINOness that more than one post was offered; in the interests of fairness, I decided to not include mulitiple posts by the same person in the RINO Sightings.

However, since this is my blo - er, online only web magazine, and I'll do what I want to, by gum!, I've decided to include some of the extra posts as I see fit (it's good to be the king)...

In that spirit, here's one of said references.

First, though, let's be clear: one mustn't confuse RINOs with ROPRINOs (Respecters of Property Rights In Name Only). Searchlight Crusade has been putting some deep thought into solving the crisis brought on by the reprehensible Kelo decision...

Independent, My A- Er, Eye...

From the great Arthur Chrenkoff comes news of Independent World Television, whose self-defined mission is given here:
We need a news and current affairs network that defends the public interest and the highest standards of journalism. Independent World Television will be such a network, a non-profit broadcast service financed by viewers across the globe -- independent of corporate or government funding and commercial advertising.
Well, that sounds like a great idea...I'm all for that. Of course, Independent World Television is nothing of the sort - its name is positively Orwellian. Consider:
...The web allows millions to band together and raise capital to compete with corporate media outlets. Think of the 15 million people who demonstrated against war in Iraq on one day in 2003. Think of the internet fundraising successes of and the Howard Dean presidential campaign. Members of the Dean fundraising operation are already on board.
Uh-oh - Markos, is that you? Of course, when I think independent, I think of, Howard Dean, and Iraq war protestors, don't you?
IWTnews will hire journalists for their experience, political acumen and understanding of history.
Mmmm-hmmm...yes, their political acumen and understanding of history. I'll bet a strong familiarity with the works of Noam Chomsky would be nice, as well...

Here's the kicker, though...the Founding Committee includes the following illustrious, well-known voices of independence and moderation:
  • Jeff Cohen, founder of FAIR
  • Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Code Pink
  • Bob Fertik, president of (can't get much more independent than that!)
  • Linda Foley (!!!) - 'nuff said
  • former Weekly Jackass Janeane Garofalo
  • Lila Garrett - former campaign worker for Dennis Kucinich (it's all about the independence!)
  • Amy Goodman, famous Democracy Now! hack
  • Janine Jackson, cohost of FAIR's Counterspin
  • Mark Karlin, founder and publisher of far-left
  • Noami (gag!) Klein
  • Radical left dinosaur Lewis Lapham
  • Paul Maslin, former Dean campaign 'strategist' (snicker!)
  • Nicco Mele, former Dean campaign webmaster
  • John Nichols of far left rag The Nation
  • Chellie Pingree, president of Common Cause
  • Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch
  • Jonathan Schell, also from radical house organ The Nation
  • Stephanie Schriock, National Finance Director for the Howard Dean campaign
  • Gore Vidal, former Weekly Jackass and certified lunatic
  • Celia Wexler, Vice Presidency of Advocacy for Common Cause
  • Bill Zimmerman, political consultant and advertising producer
  • Howard Zinn, former Weekly Jackass and 'revisionist' historian
For those of you keeping score, 9% of my Weekly Jackasses to date are involved with this project. It would be hard to imagine a less 'independent' lineup than the one given above. Having long ago discredited the word 'liberal', and having made 'progressive' synonymous with Marxist, the Radical Left now uses the phrases 'democracy' and 'independence' as NewSpeak equivalents of anti-capitalist and anti-American.

Of course, there is no real cause for concern here; this sounds like an even more extreme version of NPR and Air America, and we all know how influential THOSE efforts have been...