Thursday, December 29, 2005

Racism we're supposed to ignore

Looks like racism is still alive and well in Mississippi. Sure, it's the kind of racism that the PC crowd would prefer not to discuss or even acknowledge. But I'm one who believes that racism is racism, I see no need to ask what color the victim is before deciding how I feel about it.

Using the 1965 Voting Rights Act, the government has alleged that [Noxubee County, Miss. Democratic Party Chairman Ike] Brown and local elections officials discriminated against whites. It is the first time the Justice Department has ever claimed that whites suffered discrimination in voting because of race.


The Justice Department says Brown and local elections officials disenfranchised whites — challenging their voting status, rejecting their absentee ballots and telling voters to choose candidates according to race.

Brown says he has merely tried to keep white Republicans from voting in Democratic primaries.

Fair enough, Brown's side of the story is plausible. But the article makes it pretty clear that Brown is an unabashed racist, making his claim suspicious at best.

The Justice Department would not comment, but county prosecutor Ricky Walker is a potential witness for the government. Walker was surprised when Brown recruited a black candidate who didn't even live in the county to run against him. Walker, after all, is a Democrat.

"Mr. Brown seems to favor black candidates," Walker said. "He's always encouraged blacks to vote strictly for the black candidates."


He says some local white Democrats aren't "true" Democrats.

"We support the black candidates because we're sure they're going to vote in the liberal interest," Brown said.

Ah yes, the last refuge of bigots: [insert name of individual or subgroup] is not a "real" or "authentic" [insert name of group] because they don't agree with the speaker's idea of how members of that group should think or act. It's hard to imagine anything more racist/sexist/etc. than the notion that there is some "correct" or required position for an individual to take on any issue. The intended effect of that kind of hard bigotry is to deny freedom of thought to whole segments of the population. Pointing out the moral bankruptcy of such arguments will be a consistent theme of mine.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Do as I say...

Ann Coulter is, much like Paul Krugman on the opposite end, a pundit at the edge of the political spectrum and thus usually best ignored except for humor value. And make no mistake, there is high humor value in their writing, even if it is unintentianl in the case of Krugman. But every once in a while we find, buried in the partisan/ideological bluster, a useful nugget. So it was with Coulter's column last week busting the New York Times for using the same kinds of tactics that the paper finds to be unacceptable when it comes to fighting terrorism, be they NSA interceptions of terrorist communications or using the Patriot Act to connect formerly invisible dots:

[December 19]'s Times carried a major expose on child molesters who use the Internet to lure their adolescent prey into performing sex acts for Webcams. In the course of investigating the story, reporter Kurt Eichenwald broke open a massive network of pedophiles, rescued a young man who had been abused for years, and led the Department of Justice to hundreds of child molesters.

I kept waiting for the catch, but apparently the Times does not yet believe pedophilia is covered by the "privacy right." They should stop covering politics and start covering more stories like this.

In order to report the story, the Times said it obtained:

copies of online conversations and e-mail messages between minors and the creepy adults;

records of payments to the minors;

membership lists for Webcam sites;

defunct sites stored in online archives;

files retained on a victim's computer over several years;

financial records, credit card processing data and other information;

The Neverland Ranch's mailing list. (OK, I made that last one up.)

Would that the Times allowed the Bush administration similar investigative powers for Islamofacists in America!

This kind of hypocrisy is hardly new for the Old Gray Lady; witness their contortions in trying to find a coherent way to protect themselves while still attacking the president in the Plame kerfuffle. They are nothing if not consistent.

Another debunking

The Chicago Tribune, certainly no friend of the administration, evaluates the case for war and finds that Bush did not lie/mislead/etc. us into war:

On Nov. 20, the Tribune began an inquest: We set out to assess the Bush administration's arguments for war in Iraq. We have weighed each of those nine arguments against the findings of subsequent official investigations by the 9/11 Commission, the Senate Intelligence Committee and others. [...] After reassessing the administration's nine arguments for war, we do not see the conspiracy to mislead that many critics allege.

Time to let out a collective yawn, we all (except for the hopelessly uninformed and impressionable) knew this already, although some choose to keep the ruse going and pretend otherwise.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

I for one am shocked

The headline, not to mention the sub-head, says it all.

When power is all that matters

Benjamin Wallace-Wells' Washington Monthly profile of far left blogger Markos Moulitsas (Daily Kos) highlights the growing problem the Democrat Party has with extremists gaining influence:

The younger-than-35 liberal professionals who account for most of his audience seem an ideologically satisfied group, with no fundamental paradigm-changing demands to make of the Democratic Party. They don't believe strongly, as successive generations of progressives have, that the Democratic Party must develop more government programs to help the poor, or that racial and ethnic minorities are wildly underrepresented, or that the party is in need of a fundamental reform towards the pragmatic center--or at least they don't believe so in any kind of consistent or organized manner.

As this generation begins to move into positions of power within the progressive movement and the Democratic Party, they don't pose much of a challenge on issues or substance. So the tactical critique takes center stage. Moulitsas's sensibility suits his generation perfectly. But it also comes with a built-in cost. Moulitsas is just basically uninterested in the intellectual and philosophical debates that lie behind the daily political trench warfare. By his own admission, he just doesn't care about policy.

It's here that the correlation between sports and politics breaks down. In sports, as Vince Lombardi is said to have put it, "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing." When the season is over, you hang up your cleats and wait for the next season. But in politics, that's not the case--you have to govern, and if you don't govern well, you won't get reelected. So while tactics and message are crucial, most voters will ultimately demand from politicians ideas that give them a sense of what a party is going to do once in power. Wanting to win very badly is an admirable and necessary quality in politics, and Moulitsas is right that Democrats have needed it in greater quantity. But it is not really a political philosophy.

I think Wallace-Wells has hit on the fundamental problem: the new guard really doesn't stand for anything, they just want power for power's sake and are willing to do anything to get it. This helps bring an understanding of the lack of honesty and the irrationality that characterizes so much of the anti-Bush and anti-war rhetoric. If you really don't care what happens to the country, only who's in power, the "Bush lied" and "let's pull out of Iraq" mindset starts to make a little bit of sense.

And it helps explain the differences between this group and those of us who do care about what happens to our nation, our concerns and goals are so different that we end up talking past each other. It sheds some light on how a faction can be so outraged that we dare to spy on terrorist communications while most Americans would be outraged if we didn't. It really comes down to what is more important to you, your party or your country. For those like me who really don't have a party (neither stands for much of what I care about, that one gets the big issue right is far from sufficient to earn my loyalty) or for whom party politics is but a means to a philosophical end, it doesn't even seem like there is a serious choice to make. But for some power is itself the end, and nothing else matters.

The worthiest of causes

I had not planned to use this space for promotion, but I have to make an exception for the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. They are raising money to design, construct and maintain an international memorial to the well over 100 million people who lost their lives to the evil of communism. Nazism is more recognized for its genocidal attack on mankind than is communism due to the tragically misguided efforts of so many in journalism and acadaemia over the years. This persistent whitewashing of history underscores the need for this memorial to honor the dead and remind this future generations what was and continues to be the greatest of modern evils. Contributions are, of course, tax-deductable and it's not too late to get one in for the 2005 tax year. Thank you in advance.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

When loons attack!

As you may know, some of the goofier collections of moonbats have started calling (or modified their reason for calling) for impeachment. Since it's not really a serious position and thus will not be advanced by any serious politician, they have a need to try to to get it into the public consciousness somehow in order to build some momentum for the idea. They decided to try, via the wacky web site form letter, carpet bombing pollsters to try to get them to include the question of impeachment in some future poll. The result would not be important, simply getting it in a poll would lend an air of legitimacy to what is really just a rallying cry for extremists.

Unfortunately, pollsters aren't quite so gullible or detached from reality, as we see in this hilarious excerpt of a chat with Washington Post poll editor Richard Morin (ellipses in original):

Naperville, Ill.: Why haven't you polled on public support for the impeachment of George W. Bush?

Richard Morin: This question makes me mad . . .

Seattle, Wash.: How come ABC News/Post poll has not yet polled on impeachment?

Richard Morin: Getting madder . . .

Haymarket, Va.: With all the recent scandals and illegal/unconstitutional actions of the President, why hasn't ABC News/Washington Post polled whether the President should be impeached?

Richard Morin: Madder still . . .

Dublin, Ireland: In a statement on Sunday, John Dean, former White House counsel during Watergate, stated that President Bush is "the first President to admit to an impeachable offense." Will The Washington Post be polling about impeachment of the President in the near future, now that this topic has taken on national significance?

Richard Morin: An impeachment demand from Ireland? Oh my gawd. Now I'm furious.

Let me explain.

For the past eight months or so, the major media pollsters have been the target of a campaign organized by a Democratic Web site demanding that we ask a question about impeaching Bush in our polls.

The Web site lists the e-mail addresses of every media pollster, reporters as well as others. The Post's ombudsman is even on their hit list.

The Web site helpfully provides draft language that can be cut-and-pasted into a blanket e-mail.

The net result is that every few months, when this Web site fires up the faithful with another call for e-mails, my mailbox is filled with dozens and dozens of messages that all read exactly the same (often from the same people, again and again). Most recently, a psychology professor from Arizona State University sent me the copy-and-paste e-mail, not a word or comma was changed. I only hope his scholarship is more original.

We first laughed about it. Now, four waves into this campaign,we are annoyed. Really, really annoyed.

Some free advice: You do your cause no service by organizing or participating in such a campaign. It is viewed by me and others with the same scorn reserved for junk mail. Perhaps a bit more.

That said. we [sic] do not ask about impeachment because it is not a serious option or a topic of considered discussion--witness the fact that no member of congressional Democratic leadership or any of the serious Democratic presidential candidates in '08 are calling for Bush's impeachment. When it is or they are, we will ask about it in our polls.

Enough, already.

[Hat tip: James Taranto]

Mary Jo Kopechne could not be reached for comment

The always entertaining Ted Kennedy wrote on op-ed for Thursday's Boston Globe that includes this bit of silliness:

Just this past week there were public reports that a college student in Massachusetts had two government agents show up at his house because he had gone to the library and asked for the official Chinese version of Mao Tse-tung's Communist Manifesto. Following his professor's instructions to use original source material, this young man discovered that he, too, was on the government's watch list.

Think of the chilling effect on free speech and academic freedom when a government agent shows up at your home--after you request a book from the library.

Of course Marx and Engels, not Mao, authored the Communist Manifesto, but that doesn't even raise an eyebrow compared to the ridiculous claim in this passage. To even the most casual of readers such a claim looks pretty suspicious, given that in the ongoing public debate over the merits of the Patriot Act it has been repeatedly pointed out that the controversial "library clause" has been used exactly zero times. One would think that a US Senator would know what is common knowledge for your average Iowa farmer.

Indeed, to the surprise of nobody except those whose America-hatred is so deep that they are easily duped into believing anything that paints the US as evil, the story is a hoax, as explained in the American Library Association's official statement:

A senior at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth says he was visited at his parents’ home by two agents of the Department of Homeland Security who were investigating why he had requested a book by former Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong through interlibrary loan. The student, who has asked university officials to shield his identity, told two UMD history professors that the incident took place in late October or early November after he attempted to obtain a copy of the first English edition of the Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung, published in Beijing in 1966 and popularly known in China as the “Little Red Book,” for a class on communism.

The story broke in the December 17 New Bedford Standard-Times as the result of an interview with UMD faculty members Brian Glyn Williams and Robert Pontbriand, who mentioned the incident as an example of government monitoring of academic research. Williams told American Libraries, “The student told me that the book was on a watch list, and that the books on this list had changing status. Mao was on the list at the time, hence the visit, which was also related to his time abroad.”

UMD Library Dean Ann Montgomery Smith told AL that the student had requested the book by phone from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, not through the UMD interlibrary services as originally reported.

The UMD chancellor’s office released a statement December 19 that said, “At this point, it is difficult to ascertain how Homeland Security obtained the information about the student’s borrowing of the book. The UMass Dartmouth Library has not been visited by agents of any type seeking information about the borrowing patterns or habits of any of its patrons.” Chancellor Jean F. MacCormack stated, “It is important that our students and our faculty be unfettered in their pursuit of knowledge about other cultures and political systems if their education and research is to be meaningful.”

Kirk Whitworth, a spokesman for the DHS—the U.S. cabinet department that oversees the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, the Secret Service, and Citizenship and Immigration Services, among others—said in the December 21 Standard-Times that the story seemed unlikely. “We’re aware of the claims,” he said. “However, the scenario sounds unlikely because investigations are based on violation of law, not on the books and individual[s who] might check [them] out from the library.”

An earlier report that the incident occurred at the University of California at Santa Cruz has proven false.

First off, I have to tip my hat to the student in question, whatever his motivation might have been he pulled off the hoax with what looks like minimal effort and was able to fool at the very least two UMD profs, a small town newspaper, a US Senator and the editor of the Boston Globe. The disturbing question is how that US Senator was so easy to dupe with a story that a man in his position should have clearly recognized as fake. Is he so ignorant of the Patriot Act and DHS that he believes this kind of thing could happen? If so, one would hope he would recuse himself from any future votes regarding this important law. Was he not fooled but instead willing to slander his country in order to try to score a cheap political point? One would certainly hope not, although his past (cf his irresponsible smear of the US military in the Abu Ghraib affair) suggests otherwise. Whatever the case, it would be hard to find anything sleazier than a US Senator spreading anti-American urban legend in yet another attempt to smear the country he is sworn to govern.

UPDATE 12/27/05 10:42am:
As I'm sure you've seen by now if you had been following this story, the student finally admitted the obvious, that it was indeed a hoax. I only add this for completeness in case any diehards are still holding on to this fantasy.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Absolute moral authority

Maureen Dowd told us during Cindy Sheehan's 15 minutes that a parent of a KIA soldier has "absolute moral authority," so I'm sure she will agree with this moving letter from the father of SGT Michael "Mike" James Stokely. Read the whole thing. Money quote:

"No pity for me is needed, for as a friend said to me, I am lucky to have a son who has brought such honor to his father and the entire family."

Monday, December 19, 2005

I hate to keep harping on this...

...but dammit, I want us to have two responsible major parties again, to keep each other in line and give voters serious choices. The New Hampshire Union Leader nails it in this editorial snippet:

"To this day, Democrats have yet to offer a coherent strategy for winning the war in Iraq, and it is clear that they have none. Their attacks on Bush's 'failed' strategy have rung hollow all these years because they never had anything better to offer. And now their top leaders have revealed that their real goal all along was not to win, but to cut and run. They only waited this long to announce it because they have concluded that the poll numbers finally are in their favor. While Americans disapprove of the Bush administration's execution of the Iraq war effort, will they really embrace surrender as the alternative? Howard Dean and Nancy Pelosi think so. We don't. The American people, rightly disturbed by serious administration mistakes, still want America to win this war. Unfortunately, the Democrats are quickly removing themselves as a serious foreign policy alternative to the Republicans, and that is damaging not only to them, but to the republic."

Suspending disbelief - "Bush lied"

One of the things that has continued to fascinate me is the far left's doggedly sticking to the "Bush lied" silliness even though it has repeatedly been proven false by bipartisan reports here and by other governments, and even though it is completely illogical. I've never quite understood the strategy there. The speaker must either be ignorant of the Senate Intelligence Report and the like, or simply be lying to try to fool the ignorant. He must believe the listener is completely misinformed and incapable of walking through the basic logical implications of the matter. When you read or hear some form of the "Bush lied" argument (using that term loosely) you always expect the speaker to wink or the writer to throw in a smiley, but they usually pretend that they're serious. It's a modern Flat Earth argument.

One gaping hole in the logic, repeated ad nauseum, is that the President in lying us into war would have done so fully knowing that it would be shown to be false once we got in there and combed through the country. In short, he would be purposefully making himself look bad. This doesn't even pass the laugh test, but I suppose if you're targeting the stupid you're hoping they won't get the joke.

Another required leap of logic in this argument is supplied by Peggy Noonan:

"[T]here seems to me a thing that is blindingly obvious, and yet I've never seen it remarked upon. It is that an administration that would coldly lie us into Iraq is an administration that would lie about what was found there. And yet the soldiers, searchers and investigators who looked high and low throughout Iraq made it clear they had found nothing, an outcome the administration did not dispute and came to admit. But an administration that would lie about reasons would lie about results, wouldn't it? Or try to? Yet they were candid."

Indeed. I'm really interested to see how this works out for Democrats in the 2006 midterms. Maybe the traditional exit-polling by sex, income, education and the like can give us a breakdown of the clueless vote. It's certainly a target demographic.

Race is genetic, not social

One of the sillier requirements of political correctness is the notion that race is not real, it is only a social construct. The scientist that dares to question this orthodoxy risks losing funding if not his career, at least in North America and Europe. Fortunately there are still some scientists continue to be, well, scoentists. Thus the body of evidence showing that race is genetic continues to grow, much as any open-minded person would expect. The abstract of one study is presented below and a link to the complete work is here.

It's scary to think how much science is being crushed or altered in the name of political correctness these days, and how much damage is being done to the advancement of human knowledge, not to mention human welfare if this mindset creeps into medical research (has it already?).

"We have analyzed genetic data for 326 microsatellite markers that were typed uniformly in a large multiethnic population-based sample of individuals as part of a study of the genetics of hypertension (Family Blood Pressure Program). Subjects identified themselves as belonging to one of four major racial/ethnic groups (white, African American, East Asian, and Hispanic) and were recruited from 15 different geographic locales within the United States and Taiwan. Genetic cluster analysis of the microsatellite markers produced four major clusters, which showed near-perfect correspondence with the four self-reported race/ethnicity categories. Of 3,636 subjects of varying race/ ethnicity, only 5 (0.14%) showed genetic cluster membership different from their self-identified race/ethnicity. On the other hand, we detected only modest genetic differentiation between different current geographic locales within each race/ethnicity group. Thus, ancient geographic ancestry, which is highly correlated with self-identified race/ ethnicity-as opposed to current residence-is the major determinant of genetic structure in the U.S. population. Implications of this genetic structure for case-control association studies are discussed".

Hat tip: John Ray.

Friday, December 16, 2005

What's taking so long?

Chris Muir via his Day by Day cartoon has a theory on why the Democrats have been slow to respond to the election.

How far we've come

From whom would you expect to hear this passage?

"It was the voice of the Iraqi people that was being heard yesterday, not the bomb blasts of the terrorists. What little violence there was as millions crowded toward their local polling stations only served to demonstrate how incoherent and pointless are the efforts of the men of violence to change the country through further bloodshed."

President Bush? Rush Limbaugh? Fox News or other alternative media? The right blogosphere?

All would be good guesses, but it was actually an editorial in The Arab News. Nah, we haven't made any progress at all, this thing is a disaster.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

They're still not serious

Power Line’s Paul Mirengoff has a new column that nails the continuing fecklessness of the Democrats’ Iraq strategy, available from The Weekly Standard:

THE DEMOCRATS' 2006 election strategy regarding the war in Iraq has begun to emerge. According to the Washington Post, key Democratic operatives and legislators "are slowly coalescing around a political plan [that] would involve setting a broad time frame for drawing down U.S. troops and blaming Bush for misleading the country into a war without a victory plan." Their aim is to "provide the party enough maneuvering room to allow Democrats to adjust their position as conditions in Iraq change." This strategy, the Post explains, is the product of fear that advocating a prompt withdrawal from Iraq would jeopardize the party's chances of succeeding in 2006. Thus, for the third straight election, mainstream Democrats intend to craft their position on matters of war and peace based on political calculation, not their view of the national interest.


With their latest Iraq policy gyration, and with public support for the war waning, Democrats finally have the potential to affect policy. In 2002, many Democrats manifested their opportunism by voting for a war they didn't want--a loathsome act, but one that did not threaten to drive policy. In 2004, when the Democrat standard-bearer flip-flopped on the war, he merely provided comic relief. But with the formulation of their "quit later" plan, the Democrats' opportunistic split-the-baby impulse has spawned a distinctive policy alternative.

And what a policy alternative it is. Only Democratic legislators and liberal think tank denizens could rally around the concept of announcing to our enemies that we will fight until a certain date (or year) and then quit. Even strident anti-war Democrat Bob Graham has recognized the absurdity of advising our enemy of the time frame in which we intend to cut-and-run. Surely no country in history has ever embraced such an approach to warfare. War is not a government program that can be managed according to a fixed schedule. Rather, it is a struggle in which one's next move must always be contingent on current reality, not pre-established timetables.

DEMOCRATS UNDERSTAND this logic as clearly as the Bush administration does. Indeed, their political strategy has been designed, in the Washington Post's words, "to provide the party enough maneuvering room to allow Democrats to adjust their position as conditions in Iraq change." Yet when it comes to the nation's military strategy, the Democrats propose to withhold such maneuvering room from the commander-in-chief and our armed forces.


[T]hose who favor waiting before pulling out clearly understand that the terrorist insurgency would become more potent in relation to the forces arrayed against it if we were to leave--otherwise they would advocate that we pull out now. But unless Iraqis are capable in, say, two years of providing the level of security that exists now (something we cannot know at this time), leaving in two years would also likely increase the potency of the insurgency.


The terrorist insurgency consists of three main elements--al Qaeda, Baathists, and "rejectionists." The stated objective of al Qaeda is to establish a base of operations in the heart of the Middle East, like the one it once had in Afghanistan. If the United States announces its intent to withdraw, al Qaeda's incentive to establish that base will not vanish--all that will disappear is the sense of any long-term obstacle to its achievement.

The goal of the Baathists is to reestablish an authoritarian, Saddam-style regime in the Sunni triangle and as much of the rest of the country as possible. As with al Qaeda, that goal will endure if the United States says it intends to leave Iraq. Similarly the rejectionists--those (mostly) Sunnis whose fear and loathing of Shiites causes them to reject coexistence--will have no incentive to lay down their arms if the United States says it plans to leave. On the contrary, the realization that the United States will no longer be around to push for the accommodation of Sunnis within an Iraqi state would likely increase the intensity of rejectionist sentiment.


Thus, the discussion returns to the crucial question of when Iraqi security forces will be able to defeat or nullify the terrorist insurgency more or less on their own. Because we cannot answer that question today, it makes no sense as a matter of policy to set a timetable for withdrawal. But mainstream Democratic positions about Iraq have always been about political calculation, not policy considerations.

I wonder when the Democrats will become a serious political party again? We need two legitimate parties to keep each other in check, but what we have now is one that has lost its mind and another that has lost its nerve. And that's bad for all of us.


A Baltimore Sun article on lieutenant governor candidate Anthony Brown and governor candidate Martin O'Malley contains this howler:

He chose a partner who reflects some of the diversity of Maryland. Brown is the product of the marriage between a Cuban father raised in Jamaica and a Swiss mother.

"It does not hurt that he is an African-American," [Rep. Elijah] Cummings said. "African-Americans in the Democratic Party want to see somebody on that level representing them, coming from that community."

As James Taranto helpfully notes, neither Cuba, Jamaica or Switzerland are in Africa. It reminds me of the somewhat common practice of American journalists to refer to black Brits as African-Americans. It turns out you don't really need any connection to Africa or America to be an African-American!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

What say you, Iraqis?

The 2005 National Survey of Iraq is out, and it should come as no surprise that the average Iraqi is more optimistic about his own situation than is the average American. After all, few Iraqis watch CNN or read the New York Times, so they have no idea how bad things are going over there. Some highlights, concentrating on the "now vs then" and forward-looking questions:

* Compared to before the war, 51.5% say things are better in their lives now, 29.3% worse, and 18.6% about the same

* 64.2% say things will be better in their lives one year from now, 12.5% worse, and 13.7% about the same

* Compared to before the war, 45.9% say things are better in Iraq now, 38.7% worse, and 13.4% about the same

* 68.6% say things will be better in Iraq one year from now, 10.8% worse, and 11.3% about the same

* 5.7% think that American forces leaving would be the best thing that can happen to Iraq in the next 12 months

* 8.9% think that American forces not leaving would be the worst thing that can happen to Iraq in the next 12 months

* 2.5% trust Saddam the most of a group of national leaders, 6.1% the least (Alawi was most trusted, Jaaferi least)

* 57.2% think that democracy is the best political system for Iraq now, 25.8% a strong single leader for life, 13.8% an Islamic State. For five years from now the numbers are 64.0%, 17.6% and 11.8% respectively

* 76.2% have confidence that the December 15 election will produce a stable Iraqi government, 18.8% do not

* 1.1% say they plan to vote for the Al-Baath Party in the December 15 election, 9.4% (the highest of any party) say they would never vote for them

* 70.2% approve of the new Iraqi constitution, 19.3% disapprove

* 43.8% think that the Iraqi government controls the country, 23.6% think the US government does, 17.4% think somebody else does (?)

* 61.0% think the current Iraqi government is doing a good job, 32.2% bad

* 36.2% think the coalition forces have done a good job since the war, 58.6% bad

* 25.5% think that coalition forces should leave now, 19.4% think they should leave after the December 15 elected government is in place, and 51.0% think they should remain longer

* 63.2% feel very safe in their neighborhood, 35.9% do not

* 41.4% think that security has improved since the end of the CPA, 31.1% that it has deteriorated, 17.8% that it is unchanged

* 70.1% think that security will improve in the next year, 12.3% that it will worsen, and 10.6% that it will remain the same

There are some questions that break down in detail questions on individual aspects of Iraqi life, the constitution, safety and women's rights. I urge those interested to check them out.

Monday, December 12, 2005

You mean it was all just a temper tantrum?

Antiwar symbol du jour Rep. Jack Murtha (D,PA) has gone from relative obscurity to mainstream media and left wing (yes, that's redundant) hero rapidly following his recent call for an immediate pullout of US troops from Iraq. Now we find out in this week's Newsweek cover story that the whole thing was just a temper tantrum:

[W]hen Murtha tried to write George W. Bush with some suggestions for fighting the Iraq war, the congressman's letter was ignored by the White House (after waiting for seven months, Murtha received a polite kiss-off from a deputy under secretary of Defense). Murtha, who has always preferred to operate behind the scenes, finally went public, calling for an orderly withdrawal from Iraq.

In the furor that followed, a White House spokesman compared the Vietnam War hero to "Michael Moore and the extreme liberal wing of the Democratic Party." When that approach backfired, President Bush called Murtha a "fine man . . . who served our country with honor." The White House has made no attempt to reach out to Murtha since then. "None. None. Zero. Not one call," a baffled Murtha told Newsweek. "I don't know who the hell they're talking to. If they talked to people, they wouldn't get these outbursts. If they'd talked to me, it wouldn't have happened."

No word on whether he cried, stomped his feet or let out a Howard Dean scream at any point during the process.

And he dated Anna Kournikova

You hear from so many Americans who either can't or can barely contain their dislike of this country that it needs to be remembered how many are willing to do almost anything to get to this, the greatest country in the world. A telling example is hockey superstar Sergei Fedorov, who defected from Soviet tyranny in a real-life cloak-and-dagger operation in 1990. You have to love hearing this:

"I sacrificed a lot, like my connection with my family," Fedorov said. "But I had been on my own since 13 playing hockey and living in different cities. And I wanted something better. I'm just lucky America exists and the NHL exists."

If only more Americans realized how lucky they are that America exists. You can bet that most of the countless millions who owe their freedom to US military and political maneuvering over the last century damned well realize it.

The war against Christmas

I have not commented on the culture war between those who celebrate Christmas and those anti-Christian (and in some cases generally anti-religion) bigots who are endeavoring to remove it from American life one small step at a time. But if I had done so, I'm not sure I could have said it any better than Jeff Jacoby:

"[S]uppressing the language, symbols, or customs of Christians in a predominantly Christian society is not inclusive. It's insulting. It's discriminatory, too. Hanukkah menorahs are never referred to as 'holiday lamps' — not even the giant menorahs erected in Boston Common and many other public venues each year by Chabad, the Hasidic Jewish outreach movement. No one worries that calling the Muslim holy month of Ramadan by its name — or even celebrating it officially, as the White House does with an annual 'iftaar' dinner—might be insensitive to non-Muslims. In this tolerant and open-hearted nation, religious minorities are not expected to keep their beliefs out of sight or to squelch their traditions lest someone, somewhere, take offense. Surely the religious majority shouldn't be expected to either."

Move on, nothing to see here

The mainstream media and leftist drumbeat is that no progress is being made in Iraq. Meanwhile, in the real world, here is news (which will be buried or ignored here) of the situation as we approach Thursday's elections:

Saddam Hussein loyalists who violently opposed January elections have made an about-face as Thursday's polls near, urging fellow Sunni Arabs to vote and warning al Qaeda militants not to attack.

In a move unthinkable in the bloody run-up to the last election, guerrillas in the western insurgent heartland of Anbar province say they are even prepared to protect voting stations from fighters loyal to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leader of al Qaeda in

Graffiti calling for holy war is now hard to find.

Instead, election campaign posters dominate buildings in the rebel strongholds of Ramadi and nearby Falluja, where Sunnis staged a boycott or were too scared to vote last time around.

"We want to see a nationalist government that will have a balance of interests. So our Sunni brothers will be safe when they vote," said Falluja resident Ali Mahmoud, a former army officer and rocket specialist under Saddam's Baath party.

"Sunnis should vote to make political gains. We have sent leaflets telling al Qaeda that they will face us if they attack voters."

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Kos takes on affirmative action

As you may know, Markos of Daily Kos rotates in a fresh set of front page bloggers every year, and he has been making a list and checking it twice to figure out makes the cut. However you feel about his site in general, you have to admire his courage in going against the leftist orthodoxy and taking a stand against the affirmative action/diversity mongers and in favor of good old fashioned qualifications:

“I made my decisions, like I have in the past, based on two factors -- the first is merit. I don't concern myself with sex, race, ethnicity, or any of that stuff. This is a site about politics, and I wanted the best commenters on politics…That's how I like it, no matter how controversial that might be.” (note: he never identified the second factor).

I always admire those who will stick to their convictions even if it might draw some fire, and to that end I have to give kudos to Markos for stading against the soft bigotry of affirmative action, bravo!

Hat tip: Soxblog.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

I can see how they would be confused

Via John Ray, this is priceless:

Fun! A conservative New Zealand blogger started up a fake-Leftist site called Progressive Essays. The amusing part was that the content on the blog in fact consisted of recycled speeches by Hitler and various other Nazis and Fascists of history. Apparently no one spotted the difference. It was routinely linked as just another Leftist blog!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Our noble cause

Harvard Law prof William Stuntz argues in The New Republic for the nobility of our cause in Iraq by comparing it to the Civil War, a comparison I had made but which makes a lot of sense.

His thesis is that while the cause for a war might change over its course, the new cause may be bigger, better, and nobler, and further that quick wars rarely produce lasting or desirable results, but long ones often do.

In the case of the Civil War:

In 1861 Abraham Lincoln led what was left of his country to war to restore "the Union as it was," to use the popular phrase of the time. Free navigation of the Mississippi River, the right to collect customs duties in Southern ports, the status of a pair of coastal forts in South Carolina and Florida--these were the issues over which young American men got down to the business of killing one another that sad summer.

It was all a pipe dream. […]

But there was a much bigger, much better, and above all much nobler dream waiting in the wings: "that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom" (to use Lincoln's own words)--that the chains of four million slaves might be shattered forever, that freedom and democracy might prevail against tyranny and aristocracy in a world still full of tyrants and aristocrats.

[…] World War I was senseless, both because it was fought over territory and because it settled nothing. The Civil War that Lincoln and Jefferson Davis set out to fight would have been no different. If control of America's rivers had remained the war's object, then whoever won the day in the early 1860s would have had to defend that object again a generation later, just as World War II saw a generation of British and American men fight for the same territory their fathers won a generation after their fathers won it.

Freedom and democracy, justice and the equality of all men before God and before the law--those causes were very different. Shedding an ocean of blood for them was terribly sad but not tragic: The essence of tragedy is waste, and the blood shed on the Civil War's battlefields was not wasted. Horrible as its killing fields were, those young men accomplished something profoundly good: Their deaths ensured that (to use Lincoln's words again) "government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." […]

In 1861 neither Lincoln nor Davis could have won a fair vote for the war they wound up fighting. Lincoln nearly lost his office, and hence the war, over his decision to issue the Emancipation Proclamation. In 1861 the North could not imagine the suffering of the next four years--and had Northern voters done so, they would have bid the South go in peace and left slavery's chains intact. Thankfully, no one guessed the future (well, almost no one--Sherman came close), and the future was better because of it.

What does this history teach us? Three things: First, that Victor Davis Hanson is right--wars often change purposes after they begin. Second, that sometimes the new purpose is vastly better than the one it replaces. Few nations choose up front to sacrifice their sons for the sake of others' freedom. When such sacrifices are made, they usually flow not from design but from accident and error--just as the North's military blunders prolonged the Civil War, and thereby made it a struggle to bring that new birth of freedom to the war-torn land over which the soldiers fought.

The third lesson is the most important. Brief wars rarely produce permanent results, but long wars often do. Had McClellan's army taken Richmond and ended the war early in 1862, slavery and secessionism would have survived, and "the South shall rise again" would have been a prediction rather than a slogan.

Compare this to the course and consequences of the current Iraq War (yes, in reality it is a continuation of the 1991 Gulf War, I’m not going to get bogged down in that discussion here):

What would have happened had the second Iraq war turned out like the first, as the White House apparently expected? Saddam would have been toppled, the Iraqi people would have celebrated, order would have been restored quickly, followed by a speedy exit for British and American troops. Then what? Maybe the rule of Iran-style Shia mullahs, perhaps another brutal Sunni autocrat to take the place of the last one, possibly an endless civil war between the two. Today, there is a real chance of a vastly better result--precisely because the insurgency survived, because it wasn't quickly defeated. Sunni intransigence needed to be crushed slowly; a quick in-and-out war was not enough to kill the dream of forever tyrannizing Iraqi Kurds and Shia. More important, thousands of senseless murders over the past 32 months have taught Iraqis--Sunni, Shia, and Kurd alike--just how vicious Zarqawi and his allies are. That lesson will have very useful consequences for the long-term health of the region.

Today's fighting in Iraq bears little resemblance to Pickett's charge or the Union assault on Marye's Heights in Fredericksburg. For one thing, the Civil War was infinitely bloodier: Its worst battles killed more American soldiers in a day than have died in two-and-a-half years of fighting in Iraq. And the purpose for which our current war was begun--capturing Saddam Hussein's supposed stash of WMDs--seems nobler than the fight over who held Fort Sumter. Still, some key parallels remain. Toppling Saddam and seizing his chemical and biological weapons probably wasn't worth the sacrifice of 2,000-plus American lives (as long as nuclear weapons weren't in the picture). Similarly, control over the Mississippi wasn't worth the bloodletting across the length of the Confederacy's border that took place in Lincoln's first term.

Thankfully, Lincoln saw to it that the war's purpose changed. George W. Bush has changed the purpose of his war too, though the change seems more the product of our enemies' choices than of Bush's design. By prolonging the war, Zarqawi and his Baathist allies have drawn thousands of terrorist wannabes into the fight--against both our soldiers and Muslim civilians. When terrorists fight American civilians, as on September 11, they can leverage their own deaths to kill a great many of us. But when terrorists fight American soldiers, the odds tilt towards our side. Equally important, by bringing the fight to a Muslim land, by making that land the central front of the war on Islamic terrorism, the United States has effectively forced Muslim terrorists to kill Muslim civilians. That is why the so-called Arab street is rising--not against us but against the terrorists, as we saw in Jordan after Zarqawi's disastrous hotel bombing. The population of the Islamic world is choosing sides not between jihadists and Westerners, but between jihadists and people just like themselves. We are, slowly but surely, converting bin Laden's war into a civil war--and that is a war bin Laden and his followers cannot hope to win.

We see the fruits of that dynamic across the Middle East. Democracy is rising, fitfully to be sure, but still rising: in Lebanon, in Palestine, in Egypt, in Iran, even in Saudi Arabia--not just because it is also rising in Iraq, but because its enemies are the same as our enemies. That is a war very much worth fighting.

Okay, the effort is noble and worthwhile, much as was the Civil War, but what of the contemporary antiwar movement - surely the comparison breaks down there? No:

Today our forces and Iraqis are fighting together and, slowly, winning a good and noble war that holds the hope of bringing to millions a measure of freedom they never knew before. And yet today, America seems ready, even eager, to concede defeat and withdraw: a sad twist on the famous George Aiken formula for extricating American soldiers from Vietnam. It sounds bizarre--why would anyone want to throw away the chance of such a great victory, when victory seems within reach? But it isn't bizarre. On the contrary, it has happened before.

Again, consider the politics of the Civil War. In 1863 the Northern street--the term didn't exist then, but the concept did--rose, and New York saw the worst rioting in our nation's history. The rioters' cause was ending the draft on which Lincoln's war depended. A year later Lincoln seemed headed for electoral defeat, even as Grant's and Sherman's armies seemed headed for decisive military victories. Victory often seems most elusive to civilians when it is most nearly within soldiers' grasp. And noble causes often do not sound noble to the nation whose sons must fight for them. (Those who do the fighting understand: Lincoln had the overwhelming support of soldiers in the field, and I would bet my next paycheck that today's soldiers overwhelmingly support fighting through to victory in Iraq.) In many American towns and cities, then as now, the cause of freedom for others did not seem a cause worth fighting and dying for.

But it is, partly because--as Lincoln saw better than anyone--others' freedom helps to guarantee our own. A world where Southern planters ruled their slaves with the lash was a world where Northerners' rights could never be secure; if birth and privilege and caste reigned supreme in the South, those things would more easily reign elsewhere, closer to Northern homes. Lincoln had it right: Either democracy and freedom would go on to new heights or they might well "perish from the earth." So too today. A world full of Islamic autocrats is a world full of little bin Ladens eager to give their lives to kill Americans. A world full of Islamic democracies gives young Muslim men different outlets for their passions. That obviously means better lives for them. But it also means better and safer lives for us.

None of this excuses the bungling and bad management that have plagued the Iraq war. The administration has made some terrible mistakes that have cost precious lives, both among our soldiers and among Iraqi civilians. But bungling and bad management were far more evident in Lincoln's war than they have been in Bush's. Most wars are bungled; battle plans routinely go awry. Sometimes, error gives rise to larger truths; nations can stumble unawares onto great opportunities. So it was in the 1860s. So it is today in the Middle East.

In conclusion, let’s hope we learn from the past:

Two-and-a-half years ago, our armed forces set out to fight a small war with a small objective. Today we find ourselves in a larger war with a larger and vastly better purpose. It would be one of history's sadder ironies were we to turn away because that better purpose is not the one we set out to achieve. Either we fight the fight our enemies have chosen until they are defeated or (better still) dead, or millions of Muslim men and women may lose their "last, best hope"--and we may face a mushroom cloud over Manhattan, the work of one of the many Mohammed Attas that Middle Eastern autocracies have bred over the last generation. The choice belongs not to the president alone, but to all of us. Here's hoping we choose as wisely as Lincoln's generation did.

Stuntz’s comparison is a new and useful one because it provides some much-needed historical perspective. The cut and run crowd would prefer to ignore that there always were and still are compelling humanitarian reasons for liberating Iraqis from the bloody tyranny of Saddam, and to make sure that their freedom is not fleeting. They don’t want to acknowledge the regional transformation that has begun and which needs to continue to make life better for the people who live there, as well as for the people of the West. They would gladly sacrifice hundreds of thousands (at least) of Iraqi lives and the interests of the US for short term political gain, much as they (mostly the same group) were willing to sacrifice a few million Indochinese in the 1970’s. Don’t let them get away with this deception and with their immoral and potentially disastrous quest, the effects of which will be felt, one way or the other, for decades after any elections these next three years are long forgotten.

The 2008 war room

Cartoonist Chris Muir looks at the Democrats' strategy for using Iraq to their advantage in 2008.

How to debate on the net

The Dilbert Blog gives a primer on debating, Internet style:

If you are new to the Internet, allow me to explain how to debate in this medium. When one person makes any kind of statement, all you need to do is apply one of these methods to make it sound stupid. Then go on the offensive.

1. Turn someone’s generality into an absolute. For example, if someone makes a general statement that Americans celebrate Christmas, point out that some people are Jewish and so anyone who thinks that ALL Americans celebrate Christmas is stupid. (Bonus points for accusing the person of being anti-Semitic.)

2. Turn someone’s factual statements into implied preferences. For example, if someone mentions that not all Catholic priests are pedophiles, accuse the person who said it of siding with pedophiles.

3. Turn factual statements into implied equivalents. For example, if someone says that Ghandi didn’t eat cows, accuse the person of stupidly implying that cows deserve equal billing with Gandhi.

4. Omit key words. For example, if someone says that people can’t eat rocks, accuse the person of being stupid for suggesting that people can’t eat. Bonus points for arguing that some people CAN eat pebbles if they try hard enough.

5. Assume the dumbest interpretation. For example, if someone says that he can run a mile in 12 minutes, assume he means it happens underwater and argue that no one can hold his breath that long.

6. Hallucinate entirely different points. For example, if someone says apples grow on trees, accuse him of saying snakes have arms and then point out how stupid that is.

7. Use the intellectual laziness card. For example, if someone says that ice is cold, recommend that he take graduate courses in chemistry and meteorology before jumping to stupid conclusions that display a complete ignorance of the complexity of ice.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

I tell ya I get no respect

I'm sure this has happened before, but I had never seen it:

Delaware State did not attempt a free throw in its 56-37 loss to UCLA on Nov. 19.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

When a blowout is not really a blowout

Seattle's 42-0 win over Philly on Monday looks like a lopsided game at first glance, and certainly did to those of use who turned it on every half hour or so to check the score, but in fact it was a record setting misleading final of sorts. The 42 point margin was the largest in NFL history for a team gaining fewer than 200 yards, in this case 194. It broke the record set by the Football Giants in a 36-0 defeat of a Redskins team quarterbacked by Sammy Baugh and in their second year in Washington after a move from Boston, the New Yorkers only gaining 160 yards in that December 4, 1938 game. Of Seattle's 6 touchdowns, 3 were scored on defense and another on a 2 yard "drive" after another turnover. The game was even everywhere except where it counted, on the scoreboard.

Start them young

If you are going to brainwash your child into being a vicious hate-monger, it's apparently best to get an early start.

Practicing what they preach

At least on radical antiwar group can't be accused of hypocrisy, having themselves cut and run from their own protest in San Diego.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Your tax dollars at work

Yeah, we need to raise taxes (or as proponents like to say "roll back tax cuts for the rich") because the government spends our money so well. After all, if that top marginal rate stays below 40% Congress might not be able to afford to investigate the BCS system.

Friday, December 02, 2005

The great Thomas Sowell

Fox News aired a rare interview with Thomas Sowell, in my opinion America's greatest public intellectual and one of my personal heroes, over the Thanksgiving weekend. I cannot find a transcript but want to hit some of the highlights, as he has a unique talent for breaking issues down so logically and making so much sense you wonder why he is not the voice of modern black America instead of the motley collection of race-baiters that unfortunately fill the role. The following are his quotes or paraphrases from the interview.

One of the reasons government programs do not work is that they cannot create good parents.

As a young man, he was a Marxist. What changed him? He took a job in the government, and it only took him one summer to figure things out: “I realized that the government was nowhere close to being capable of doing what people on the left wanted the government to do, and that in fact we would be lucky if they didn’t make things worse.” Working in the Department of Labor, he wondered whether the minimum wage law made poor people better off or worse off. But since the law provided 1/3 of their budget, he found no enthusiasm for, as an example, looking at how much unemployment the law caused.

Anybody can graduate from Princeton (or similar elite university) and be “an ignoramus” because the course requirements have been relaxed. Elementary and secondary education are a disaster because the people who go into teaching (education majors) are the lowest level of college students, and have been for half a century. What would help the state of education? First, break the NEA and make teaching non-union. Second, abolish all education schools – the best way one could spend money to improve education would be to pay all education professors to retire.

“The effect of disaster relief is that people locate in dangerous places that they wouldn’t locate in if they had to pay for it themselves.” If people bore the high cost of high-risk insurance, they would locate in safer places and there would be less property damage and fewer people killed. “I think that’s desirable.” When it was noted that he lives on an earthquake fault: “[I]f the earthquake comes, I don’t think I have a right to ask somebody living in the Rocky Mountains to pay for rebuilding my house.”

“[Oil] prices are symptoms. […] People think that if you can control the prices that’s going to do something. All that’s going to do is cut off the supply, it’s going to reduce the supply so that you’re going to be worse off than before.” What to do? Drill for more oil, build more refineries – “What the high price tells you is that there isn’t enough gasoline.” In the short term, as prices rise people will find ways to drive less.

“Democrats are the only reason to vote for Republicans.”

On the Patriot Act: “There’s no such thing as benefits without costs.” We’ve gone more than four years with no attacks, that’s a good track record, and “I don’t think it’s because the terrorists have gotten nicer.” Asked about loosening it, he cites the “polio fallacy”: when people started to get vaccinated for polio, instances of the disease dropped drastically, to the point that people thought they didn’t need to get vaccinated because nobody had it anymore, leading to a resurgence of polio. “You can’t just assume that things got better on their own.”

“I try to think back to any war that had an exit strategy.” There has never been one, it’s about holding this war to an impossible standard.

On why he’s an independent: “Nothing I’ve seen about either political party makes me confident.”

On the self-anointed: “They are people who seriously believe that they are wiser and nobler than others, and that the way to improve society is to have the government force people to follow what the anointed want rather than have that people do what they themselves want to do.” All kinds of fiascos follow from this line of thinking. “What could be more stupid than a system where young men don’t have to work because the government is taking care of them, their mothers or their sweethearts, and who therefore have nothing but time on their hands to get into mischief.” This is a recipe for disaster.

“To say that you’re going to have social justice means that you are going to have to concentrate power in some small group of people to override rules and standards and so forth. And people do not see that that’s more dangerous than the injustices they’re trying to wipe out.”

On protests over Wal-Mart’s pay: “Hey, I want more money for myself, but that doesn’t mean that someone else has an obligation to pay it.”

Liberals want to help people while they’re poor. Conservatives want to stop people from being poor, and liberals have no interest in that, a fundamental difference between the ideologies. Liberals believe that the problems in the world are caused by the institutions being wrong, and if you just could fix them everybody would be happy. Conservatives believe that “there are no solutions, there are only tradeoffs, and whatever you do to deal with one of man’s flaws it creates another problem, but that you hope to get the best tradeoff you can get and that’s all you can hope for.” There are three questions that would destroy most of the arguments of the left: 1) “Compared to what?”; 2) “At what cost?”; 3) “What hard evidence do you have?”

The black urban underclass has a redneck culture that was inherited from southern blacks who in turn inherited it from whites from England and Scotland, and that culture has never worked for any group. How to end it? Stop making it sacred. If a child makes a mistake, correct him; it’s better to hurt his self-esteem than to let him fall permanently behind.

Why do black leaders dislike him? “Why does the mafia dislike policemen? They’re making their racket harder.” Blacks were rising faster before the civil rights movement than they have since, getting more and better quality education and not being dragged down by affirmative action.

Affirmative action has given benefits to a group of people who were already more fortunate. If you’re a black millionaire, affirmative action is great, it can help you buy a business or get contracts. But there is no evidence that people who are poor have benefited from affirmative action at all. It is a heavy burden to bear: “How will they know if they were hired because they were the best person or because they were black?”

What should the civil rights movement do? Declare victory and pour their efforts into something else like education or entrepreneurship.

“Businesses have done more to reduce poverty than all of the intellectuals combined. […] The only thing that will reduce poverty is wealth, and the people who produce the wealth reduce the poverty.”

What irritates him most?
1) Environmentalism: “I just wish there was some way to add up the incredible costs that are run up in order to appease a small group of noisy, self-righteous people.” Their efforts are causing havoc to low-income people by driving up prices, especially of housing.
2) “The people who are playing the race card at every turn, because the people who are hurt most by them are the blacks themselves.” There is twice as much hope for young black people as there was for their parents, and ten times what there was for their grandparents, but they become convinced by propaganda that they can’t make it, which is just not true at all.
3) The education establishment: “People think that they’re doing black kids a favor when they pass them along without holding them to the same standards; that kid is going to pay the rest of his life fro your apparent generosity.”

If he ran the country:
“You would have the 14th Amendment applied as it is written, namely that everybody is to be treated alike. You would not have huge numbers of government programs to insulate people to the consequences of their own decisions.”

He is pessimistic about the future. Why? “The decline of values, because that’s what’s inside people and if that’s not there the rest of it is not going to matter.” Particularly honesty. And the attitude that you are entitled: “Why are other people bound to do something for you that you are not going to do for yourself?”

[Me again, wrapping up]
You can see why I call him our greatest public intellectual – this one of the most clear and logical thinkers I have ever encountered. His wisdom enriches not just his fellow blacks but all of us, he is truly a national treasure. If you ever read any of his books or even his columns, I guarantee you it will make you think and improve your mind.

The AP division of the DNC

I had somehow missed this but have to admit that I'm stunned. This is purportedly an AP "news" article but reads like a DNC response press release. Read the whole thing, but here's how it starts to give you an idea how over the top this article is (this is NOT a parady, this is real):

President Bush's depiction of Iraqi security forces as "helping to turn the tide" is difficult to square with persistent setbacks in handing control of the country back to its own people.

His suggestion that Americans are solidly behind the mission also understates opposition at home, and his hard sell on the rising quality of Iraqi forces overlooks complexities on the ground.

Bush on Wednesday declared the Iraqi army and police forces are "increasingly taking the lead in the fight against the terrorists," even as recruits patrol Iraq's most violent cities barely three months after learning how to use weapons and police forces struggle to get officers to come to work.

10 things In football that sound dirty

1. The hole closed on him before he could penetrate it.
2. He's off to the sidelines for a quick blow.
3. It's a game of inches.
4. When you get down in this area, you just gotta start pounding.
5. He's gonna feel that one tomorrow.
6. He found his tight end.
7. He had to stretch to get it in.
8. He could go all the way.
9. He goes deep.
10. He found a hole and slid through it.

An equal opportunity crook

You wouldn't know it from the mainstream coverage, but crooked lobbyist Jack Abramoff drew a whole range of political figures from both parties into his web of corruption. A helpful diagram of some you may not have heard about is here.

Your brain on the New York Times

Mickey Kaus has some fun with the NYT's editorial rule that all economic news is bad news when a Republican president is in office:

"It's indeed deeply disturbing to learn that higher gas prices have held down demand, causing those prices to fall back to a level at which demand begins to rise again! It's almost as if some insidious law was at work--as prices rise, demand declines! As supply increases, prices fall! You can't win!"

Racism? Nah, bad engineering

Turns out that Katrina levee failure happened because of the costliest engineering mistake in American history. I'm sure we we'll be seeing all of those wack jobs who claimed that the levees were bombed or other racist drivel rushing to retract their previous idiocy, right?

The floodwall on the 17th Street Canal levee was destined to fail long before it reached its maximum design load of 14 feet of water because the Army Corps of Engineers underestimated the weak soil layers 10 to 25 feet below the levee, the state's forensic levee investigation team concluded in a report to be released this week.

That miscalculation was so obvious and fundamental, investigators said, they "could not fathom" how the design team of engineers from the corps, local firm Eustis Engineering and the national firm Modjeski and Masters could have missed what is being termed the costliest engineering mistake in American history. . . .

"It's simply beyond me," said Billy Prochaska, a consulting engineer in the forensic group known as Team Louisiana. "This wasn't a complicated problem. This is something the corps, Eustis, and Modjeski and Masters do all the time. Yet everyone missed it -- everyone from the local offices all the way up to Washington."

Always the last to know

Mike Adams on those who ignore history and continue to embrace a proven failure:

"Our college campuses have become the last safe haven of Marxists, largely because its adherents have never had to survive in the real world, much less in a communist dictatorship. Indeed, there are more communists teaching in the State of North Carolina than there are in the former Soviet Union."

For an example of this pathology, check out the rantings of Noam Chomsky, but make sure you swallow your drink first or you'll trash your monitor.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Academia imitates the Onion

One would think (and hope) that somebody is just having some fun with this story about intramural water polo at Pomona (CA) College, but sadly it is true:

Sports Commissioner Alex Wakeman ’06 asked the Senate for advice about an inner-tube water polo scoring system concern. Currently, female participants are awarded two points per goal and male participants are awarded one point per goal. One student was concerned about where transgendered students fit in this system. Wakeman understands the concern, but she is reluctant to change the scoring system because she feels it encourages more women to participate. DesRochers pointed out that the Senate needs to learn more about transgender issues because they do not have the vocabulary and background to provide the best solutions for these problems.


So what happens at a liberal arts college when a policy that benefits one favored identity group (women) is suddenly deemed politically incorrect by another favored identity group (transgender students)?

If the answer is one and a half points I have a feeling that a lot of men on campus will suddenly "identify as" transgender.

I'm speechless, but feel free to add your own punchline.