Saturday, June 24, 2006

Did you hear he served in Vietnam?

An Investor's Business Daily editorial reminds us that Johm Kerry* may be a flip-flopper, but he is consistent in his support for America's enemies:

And This Guy Was Almost President?

Posted 6/23/2006

Politics: Sen. John Kerry has spent a career taking the side of America's enemies. His call last week for a pullout from Iraq was the latest evidence he is unfit to serve in the Senate — never mind the White House.

Kerry's proposal to withdraw us completely from Iraq by July of next year was resoundingly defeated in the Senate by a vote of 86 to 13. And just days before, he said the deadline should be the end of this year.

But Kerry's idea is the exact opposite of what he was calling for in late 2003 while running for president. Back then he was accusing President Bush of planning to prematurely withdraw from Iraq.

"I fear that in the run-up to the 2004 election the administration is considering what is tantamount to a cut-and-run strategy," Kerry told the Council on Foreign Relations. He said it would be "a disaster and a disgraceful betrayal of principle" to allow "a politically expedient withdrawal of American troops."

That's one of but many Kerry flip-flops, but he's been consistent over the years in siding against the U.S. in war. Things really got started for Kerry at Valley Forge, Pa., of all places, where he provided an encore to a Jane Fonda speech at an anti-war rally in 1970.

"Hanoi Jane" is remembered for traveling to North Vietnam to give backing and encouragement to its communist regime as it killed tens of thousands of American forces.

In a 2004 interview, Fonda said of Kerry, "I remember thinking, 'Wow, this is a real leader, a Lincolnesque kind of leader.' "

Fonda reportedly gave tens of thousands of dollars of proceeds from her anti-war speeches to Kerry's Vietnam Veterans Against the War organization so it could investigate purported atrocities by U.S. military personnel.

On "Meet the Press" in 1971, Kerry called "the men who ordered us" — namely the White House under Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon — "war criminals."

Bui Tin, the North Vietnam army colonel who accepted South Vietnam's surrender in 1975 and later left for exile as a dissident against the communist Hanoi government, called the anti-war movement Kerry and Fonda helped lead in the U.S. in the early 1970s "essential to our strategy."

Indeed, Kerry's photo was placed on display in Vietnam's "War Remnants Museum" (originally named "War Crimes Museum" when it was opened in 1975).

According to The Boston Globe's 2004 "complete biography" of Kerry, in the 1984 campaign that first landed him in the Senate — during the height of the Cold War against the Soviet Union — "Kerry supported cancellation of a host of weapons systems that have become the basis of U.S. military might — the high-tech munitions and delivery systems on display to the world as they leveled the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein in a matter of weeks in 2003."

They include the B-1 and B-2/Stealth bombers, the Apache helicopter, the Patriot missile, and the F-15, F-14A and F-14D jets. He also repeatedly voted against missile defense — more than 50 times, by our count.

During President Reagan's second term, Kerry urged Congress to trust "the good faith of the Sandinistas" and cut funding to Nicaragua's Contra freedom fighters. And he used the Senate's investigative powers to make sure no back-door funding was going to the Contras.

So when Kerry isn't flip-flopping for the sake of politics, he's serving the purposes of our adversaries — from Vietnam to the War on Terror. Whether it's poor judgment, or something more sinister that animates John Kerry, it's remarkable that someone so dangerous could have come so close to occupying the Oval Office.

* I'm not much for footnotes, sorry.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Arresting terrorists = disenfranchising blacks?!?

As I've noted before, anytime something good happens for or to the US, the fringe left loons get so depressed they start spewing irrational hate speech. And it's hard to get more irrational than this (via Confederate Yankee):

This raid sounds like b.s. and voter intimidation to me This is more of J.E.B.'s campaign to keep black people in Florida from voting. Bet on it.

Is it considered impolite to laugh at the insane?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


It's shooting fish in a barrel, but every once in a while I feel the need to remind everybody that NYT columnist Paul Krugman is a pathological liar. QandO finds one of those semi-regular instances where Krugman's lie is exposed by a trip to his own archives. Krugman symbolizes the Times' fall from great newspaper to Democrat party bully pulpit.

The important questions

Who is the hottest woman in US politics? This poll says it's Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).

Fortunately, I have not been affected

This can't be good news.

Monday, June 19, 2006

With friends like these...

Okay, Democrat Phil Angelides has some things going against him in his bid for governor of California. His opponent is not only an incumbent, not only as much of a Democrat as he is a Republican (a good thing in a heavily left-leaning state), he's Arnold Schwarzenegger for cryin' out loud! And Phil himself is apprently not the most exciting guy in the world. But at least he can count on the endorsement of one of the most beloved Democrats in the state, can't he? Well...

Former San Francisco mayor Willie Brown told a Sacramento reporter that he likes hanging with Arnold, and said "He's the best in the business when he gets out around regular people and just sells himself as Arnold."

And how does Brown feel about his party's candidate? "Phil is a smart guy. But he doesn't look good on TV and doesn't sound good on radio. They need to keep him in places like Dinuba and Chico, where they don't have modern communications with the rest of the state and no one can see or hear him."

Ouch! I'm not sure if the towns of Dinuba and Chico have phones or newspapers but they better have a lot of voters and an efficient public horse-drawn carriage system to get them all to the polls if they are the key to unseating the Governator (no word on how they plan to communicate the results to the rest of the state). WSJ's John Fund quips that Brown seems to be proposing a candidate protection program to hide him from the voters.

Let's hope that Angelides is good enough, and is smart enough, because doggonit, people sure don't seem to like him!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Josh Howard...

Meet Chris Webber.

Mental midgets of the sports world, unite!

UPDATE 6/19/06: After watching this in slow motion on the TiVo it looks to me like it was not just Howard. He signaled for time twice and began walking towards the bench as it was granted, and he is the guy to whom the offcial granted it, thus is the guy who deserves the most blame here.

But as he was first signaling for time and stepping forward, Erick Dampier is almost certainly also signaling for time and taking a step forward, although he quickly stepped back into his spot for the next free throw, obviously figuring out the mistake almost immediately. Damp was the inside guy on the free throw rebound formation and was thus probably not directly visible to the official, although he could have made a verbal call as well (I have heard no courtside mikes having picked up anything).

And near the three point line on the opposite side, Devin Harris also brings his hands up as if to signal time, but it is probably only 50-50 whether he ever actually did - he pulled them back away quickly, realizing it was not wanted.

The confusion came from coach Avery Johnson giving an exaggerated time out signal to the players, presumably while screaming that he meant to call it after the seocnd free throw, but which with the noise and confusion they thought that he meant he wanted one right then. Avery does bear some blame here, he has got to call somebody over and give them those directions verbally so there is no mistake, but that on no way exonerates the player(s). I'll cut a little slack to the two who realized immediately it was a mistake, but none can be given to Howard. Even if it is your coach's job to make things clear, you have to have some basic common sense knowledge of the situation and what is going on in the game.

Just as silly are some of the local talk radio callers and pundits who have tried to claim that the official should not have granted the TO, knowing the Mavs did not really want it. BS! When you see a guy about to go out of bounds and call time, that is often a strategic mistake - teams do not want to use their last 20 second timeout for a simple save of possession, particularly if the shot clock is down and it's close to dommed anyway. Should the offical deny the player a TO as he sees fit there? Of course not. If a player calls time, you must grant it, it is not your job as an offical to bail teams out of poor decisions.

So, bottom line, Howard made one of those high profile mental errors that deserves to live in sports infamy, especially if the Heat end up winning the title. And the offical absolutely did the right thing. This is a long winded way of saying that, no matter the circumstances, Josh is still a modern day Chris Webber - I was just adding some perspective.

News coverage of terrorism leads directly to more terrorism

This is so intuitive and unsurprising that I feel no need to add any comment:

More ink equals more blood, claim two economists who say that newspaper coverage of terrorist incidents leads directly to more attacks.

It's a macabre example of win-win in what economists call a "common-interest game," say Bruno S. Frey of the University of Zurich and Dominic Rohner of Cambridge University.

"Both the media and terrorists benefit from terrorist incidents," their study contends. Terrorists get free publicity for themselves and their cause. The media, meanwhile, make money "as reports of terror attacks increase newspaper sales and the number of television viewers."

The researchers counted direct references to terrorism between 1998 and 2005 in the New York Times and Neue Zuercher Zeitung, a respected Swiss newspaper. They also collected data on terrorist attacks around the world during that period. Using a statistical procedure called the Granger Causality Test, they attempted to determine whether more coverage directly led to more attacks.

The results, they said, were unequivocal: Coverage caused more attacks, and attacks caused more coverage -- a mutually beneficial spiral of death that they say has increased because of a heightened interest in terrorism since Sept. 11, 2001.

One partial solution: Deny groups publicity by not publicly naming the attackers, Frey said. But won't they become known anyway through informal channels such as the Internet?

Not necessarily, Frey said. "Many experiences show us that in virtually all cases several groups claimed responsibility for a particular terrorist act. I would like the same rule that obtains within a country: Nobody can be called a criminal -- in our case a terrorist -- if this has not been established by a court of law."

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Dept of Stupidity

Have you ever seen a team make as many monumentally stupid decisions and plays as the Miami Heat? They bring to mind what may be my favorite sports quote, from Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach John McKay as they were in the throes of an 0-26 beginning to their life as an NFL franchise:

Reporter: Coach, what do you think of your team's execution?

McKay: I'm in favor of it.

A little perspective

With most of big media having made it their mission to tell us how bad things are going in this country (because, you know, a Republican is in office) it's easy to lose track of the progress this country is making on so many fronts. Peter Wehner, writing in the Washington Post, dissents from the orthodoxy with this piece, excerpted without comment:

Social Indicators : We are witnessing a remarkable cultural renewal in America. Violent crime rates remain at the lowest levels in the history of the Bureau of Justice Statistics' survey (which started in 1973). We are experiencing the sharpest decline in teen crime in modern history. Property crimes are near the lowest levels in the history of the federal survey. Welfare caseloads have declined almost 60 percent since 1996. Both the abortion rate and ratio are at the lowest levels we have seen in the 30-year period these data have been tracked. African American and Hispanic fourth-graders posted the highest reading and math scores in the history of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test. The use of illegal drugs by teens has dropped 19 percent since 2001, while the use of hallucinogens such as LSD and ecstasy has declined by more than half.

The teen birth rate has fallen for a dozen consecutive years. The percentage of high school students who reported having had sex is significantly lower than in the early 1990s. The divorce rate has fallen steadily for over a decade. And teen smoking has dropped by almost 50 percent since the late '90s.

There are areas of concern, to be sure. Births to unmarried women are at an all-time high, and in many respects our popular culture remains a cesspool. But context is important. Between 1960 and the mid-'90s virtually every social indicator got worse -- and in many cases staggeringly worse. Then things began to turn around, almost as if a cultural virus created its own antibodies.

The Economy : The American economy is the strongest in the world and growing faster than that of any other major industrialized country. It grew at an annual rate of 5.3 percent in the first quarter -- the fastest growth in 2 1/2 years. It has added more than 5.3 million jobs since the summer of 2003, and employment is near an all-time high. The unemployment rate (4.6 percent) is well below the average for each of the past four decades. Mortgage rates remain near historical lows, homeownership remains near a record high, and sales of new and existing homes reached record levels in 2005. Real disposable personal income has risen almost 13 percent since President Bush took office; and core inflation rose just 2.3 percent over the past 12 months. The Dow Jones industrial average has risen from under 7300 in 2002 to above 11,000 for most of this year. Tax revenues are at an all-time high -- and so is total household net worth.

National Security : Perhaps no nation has ever been as dominant as the United States is today -- and we are using our military power to promote great purposes. As a reference point, it's worth recalling that the 1930s and early-'40s were regarded by many as the twilight of freedom. Democratic societies were threatened both internally (by a depression) and externally (by Nazism and fascism). There were only a dozen or so democracies on the planet.

Today we are witnessing one of the swiftest advances of freedom in history. In the past four years more than 110 million people have joined the ranks of the free -- and for the first time freedom is taking root in the Middle East. Once ruled by cruel dictatorships, the people of Afghanistan and Iraq are now governed by constitutions and are participating in national elections. The governments of the two countries once provided safe haven to terrorists; now they are engaged in a mortal struggle against them. This struggle is longer and harder than any of us would wish, but by any standard or precedent of history, Afghanistan and Iraq have made remarkable political progress.

Kuwait's parliament has granted full political rights to women. Arab intellectuals are pushing for a rapid acceleration of democratic reform. After almost 30 years, Syrian troops left Lebanon in response to the Cedar Revolution. And Libya has abandoned its program of weapons of mass destruction. The biggest nuclear-smuggling ring in history, run by Pakistan's A.Q. Khan, is being rolled up. The government of Pakistan has cast its lot with us against al-Qaeda.

Islamic terrorists have been denied sanctuaries, their networks are being broken up, their leaders are being incapacitated and they are on the run. Our homeland has not been attacked since Sept. 11, 2001. And we have set aside decades of mistrust to put relations with India, the world's most populous democracy, on a new and fruitful path.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

On second thought, maybe I'll never leave the house

A main ingredient in beer may help prevent prostate cancer and enlargement, according to a new study.

But researchers say don't rush out to stock the refrigerator because the ingredient is present in such small amounts that a person would have to drink more than 17 beers to benefit.

Hey, that's ok, beer comes in 24's! And what's with the advice not to stock the fridge, sounds to me like I need to buy a second one just to hold my beer.

Stevens says it possible for drug companies to develop pills containing concentrated doses of the flavonoid found in the hops used to brew beer.

It's possible to have phone sex instead of the real thing too, but what's the point?

Now that I'm safe from heart disease and prostate cancer, I think I just might live forever.

You can be the designated driver, baby

An alcoholic drink a day can significantly reduce the risk for heart disease in men, a new study finds, but women get almost the same benefit with only one drink a week.

The report, which appears online in the British medical journal BMJ, suggests that for women, alcohol intake is the primary protective factor, while for men, it is drinking frequency.


For men, the more they drank, the lower the risk. One drink a week lowered the risk by about 7 percent, two to four drinks by 22 percent and five or six drinks a week by 29 percent. Those who drank every day had a 41 percent lower risk of heart disease than those who did not drink at all. Even among men who had up to 35 drinks per week, the protection persisted.

With women, the trend was different. One drink a week lowered the risk by 36 percent, but daily drinking lowered it by 35 percent. In other words, for women, alcohol consumption had a significant protective effect, but the frequency of drinking had none.

Okay, so that's up to 35 neat single malts a week for me, one appletini a week for you, honey. Sound fair?

[...] Dr. Gronbaek said that drinking was not a substitute for exercise or good diet. "You shouldn't avoid exercise," he said, "and then try to compensate by drinking."

Damn, so much for that plan. But how do 12 ounce curls fit into all of this?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Another global warming disaster!

Photographic evidence that global warming is leading to increasingly catastrophic storms. We need to get right on that destruction of the world economy before it's too late!

But officer, it's only my personal stash!

Three teenagers from the Arab town of Qalansawe were arrested after 150,000 detonators were found in the house of one of them. The teenagers, age 15 and 16 were taken to a police station for questioning where they claimed that the detonators meant for their personal use.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Devaluaing "racist"

Jay Nordlinger makes a great point about the meaningless of the term "racist" as it is used currently:

I’ve spoken of weariness in this column, and here is a point I am very, very weary of making: Because racism is charged stupidly and unjustly—and promiscuously—power drains out of the charge. You hear that something, or someone, is racist, you can almost assume that it, or he, isn’t.

I thought of this when reading about Harry Reid, the Democratic leader of the Senate. He declared that recent amendment concerning English “racist.” And in modern America, “racist” means nothing except, “I don’t like it.” It has nothing to do with racism, of course. It just means—for example—“I, Harry Reid, don’t like it, or you. You and your thing are racist.”


When real racism rears its head—as it inevitably does—what do you call it? You can’t use “racist,” because the Harry Reids of the world have made the word a nothing.

This is right on the money. There is no issue for which taking a given side of the argument can be racist behavior or can make one a racist, and there has not been for four decades now. Nor can taking a position make one any other form of -ist or -phobe or any other silly label. The only bigotry present when these labels are recklessly tossed around comes from the speaker.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

The war criminal career path

AP's obituary of Zarqawi included this odd description:

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi rose from the life of a street thug in Jordan to become the symbol of "holy war" in Iraq, masterminding the bloodiest suicide bombings of the insurgency, beheading hostages and helping push Iraq into a spiral of sectarian violence with vicious attacks against Shiites.

Taranto asks if the AP really thinks that going from street thug to mass murderer is a rise. It seems self-evident that they do, but where would the aspiring young war criminal go from there? Saddam Hussein "rose" all the way to genocidal dictator of a brutal police state. Is that the pinnacle? Yasser Arafat led a few decades of the ongoing effort to eliminate the Jewish race and was, not coincidentally, awarded a Nobel Peace Prize. Does that trump Saddam?

How would one get started? Does Berkeley offer a degree in Terrorist Studies?

I'm really having a hard time getting a handle on this whole war criminal career path. I guess my own career will not include writing obits for the AP.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Reaction from the fringe

After something very good happens for or to the US, I like to check out reactions from some of those who have a visceral, irrational hatred of America. You know the type, those who find elaborate US government and/or corporate conspiracies to be the causes of any and all ills in the world. You always get the feeling you’re being put on when you read this kind of thing, but I’m going to give these the benefit of the doubt (or is it the other way around?) and assume that these are serious opinions. To that end, here are some of the more hilarious takes on the death of the prolific mass-murderer and terrorist icon Abu Musab al-Zarqawi:

Zarqawi's not really dead.

Zarqawi has been dead for years, this was just a photo op.

On the one hand, Zarqawi never existed. On the other, the same guy later says that Zarqawi was a CIA operative. And this guy says he is always happy when CIA operatives are killed.

Here is a guy who claims that Zarqawi never existed, and that he was a CIA agent, in back to back sentences.

It is claimed that even Iraqis say that Zarqawi did not exist. But why would they, when Zarqawi was just a Pentagon creation.

It is always popular in the conspiracy-based community to ascribe sinister motives to every US action. Here is another incoherent dichotomoy, that although Zarqawi did not exist he was killed because people were getting antsy about Haditha and the failure to pass a marriage amendment. Or perhaps he was killed as part of a plan to attack Iran, or becasue the economy is in trouble (!). Or maybe he was killed to combat Bush's sagging poll numbers or to hide that "they" were trying to cut the estate tax. No, it had to be because Karl Rove was going to be indicted on Friday (woops!).

Here it is claimed that Zarqawi was already dead, just "thawed out" in time for the elections. This is an odd claim in that his death came a week after the notable special election to fill Duke Cunningham's congressional seat, and four months before the elections that will decide who controls Congress leading into 2008. But hey, who said any of this was supposed to be logical?

Here it is claimed that everything ever written in the press about him has all been a huge PsyOps operation. No word on whether blogs count as press, but if so I'm happy to be doing my part.

Here is an odd idea - Zarqawi is dead, so bring the troops home! I guess the idea here is that Zarqawi was not killing Iraqi civilians fast enough, and with him out of the picture the carnage might slow even more, but if we could just pull out now the bad guys can get on with the business of slaughtering a million or three of them in short order. Those millions of Laotian, Cambodian and Vietnamese corpses that directly resulted from our troop and financial pullout of Saigon by 1975 are, after all, the legacy of the Vietnam antiwar movement. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it, and the antiwar folks have clearly not only failed to acknowledge the holocaust they precipitated, but are determined to recreate it.

The father of decapitated journalist Nicholas Berg chose moral equivalence: "I have no sense of relief, just sadness that another human being had to die.” He also made the odd claim that "George Bush destabilized the country to let Zarqawi in," obviously unaware that Zarqawi came to Iraq well before the coalition did.

But then this one claims that Berg was already dead when he was decapitated, but does not explain how it was that an already dead guy was still screaming for seven minutes. It may also claim that Berg was a CIA guy, but the incoherent rambling style is hard to decipher.

Finally, some related points:

Al Qaedais really the CIA. Of course it follows that Al Qaeda in Iraq/Mesopotamia is unrelated to Al Qaeda itself. And, for good measure, Osama bin Laden is a CIA guy.

Now I know most people will find it amazing that there are people out there who really think like this, but this kind of lunacy is more prevalent than you think. And, sadly, gaining increasing influence in the Democrat party. I think we need (at least) two responsible major political parties in this country, to give voters choices and to keep each other at least somewhat in line. If this kind of wackiness ever becomes associated with the Dems in the minds of the masses of regular voters, we would start to see Republicans with 70-80% majorities in elections and ultimately government, and that would not be good for anybody. So while I use this for comedic relief, don't lose sight of the underlying threat this stuff presents should it move from the fringe out into the open.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Hack-a-Shaq becomes Diop-Chop

The little Mavericks, inventors of the Hack-a-Shaq defense, have decided to get a bit more physical for the Finals:

In what the Dallas Mavericks hope will be an effective variation on the "Hack-A-Shaq" defense, the traditional method of stopping Shaquille O'Neal by committing repeated hard fouls against the Miami Heat's dominant 7'1", 325-pound center, the Mavericks will equip their players with custom-made, razor-sharp machetes for this year's NBA Finals.


"The X's and O's of it are pretty simple," [coach Avery] Johnson said, drawing up the play on his dry-erase board. "Once Dwayne Wade passes the ball to Shaq down low, [point guard] Jason [Terry] will drop down to double-team him and chop the backs of Shaq's legs, especially the femoral artery and the Achilles tendon, with his lighter machete. Dirk [Nowitzki], while he's doing that, you will curl off your man and go for O'Neal's collarbones with an overhand chopping motion of your Latin machete. By the third quarter, Shaq will have lost a significant amount of blood, and that's when Keith [Van Horn] and [Josh] Howard will be stabbing at O'Neal's kidneys and the sensitive insides of his elbows with their respective weapons—Van Horn with his Bolo Machete and Josh with his Double-Edge Machete. Meanwhile, [center] DeSagana [Diop], who I understand brought his own Panga Machete from home, will be carving O'Neal's ribs."


Dirk Nowitzki has said that, by Game 6, the most dominant player in the world should be reduced to nothing more than "300 pounds of hamburger in a Miami Heat jersey." And Mavericks third-string center and O'Neal practice stand-in Erick Dampier came out of his morphine-induced coma long enough to assure everyone that the defense works.

Of course, Dallas could have just traded for Bruce "Edward Scissorhands" Bowen...

Thursday, June 08, 2006

I tell ya I get no respect

I know Michael Dukakis was a lousy and utterly forgettable presidential candidate, but you would think he would at least be remembered in his home state:

"Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy, I knew Jack Kennedy, Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you are no Jack Kennedy."

That, of course, was the late Lloyd Bentsen, the vice presidential runningmate to Al Gore who ripped into Dan Quayle during the 1988 debates.

Quayle had drawn the Texas Democrat's ire when he referred to the former president.

Danny Boy got the last laugh, however, when his boss, Bush Sr., defeated Gore. The Kennedy quote, however, endures.


Wednesday, June 07, 2006

I'm more of a dog person

From an Associated Press story, since removed (via Taranto):

"A team of government scientists has voted to capture one of a handful of jaguars known to live in the United States [...] The decision still needs to be approved by game agencies in Arizona and New Mexico, meaning it could take until the end of the year before one is collard."