Alan K. Henderson's Weblog


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Saturday, July 31, 2004

One More Observation

John Kerry doesn't want US companies to outsource to Mexico and India, yet he wants the Departments of State, Defense, and Homeland Security to outsource to Kofi Annan, Jacques Chiraq, and Gerhard Schroeder.

Friday, July 30, 2004

Today's Guest Blog At Sasha's

A little Democratic convention round-up.

Kerrycalypse Now!

The candidate speaks:

I will be a commander in chief who will never mislead us into war.

Don't mislead us into thinking that wars end in peace when they didn't. (See remarks in previous post)

And here at home, wages are falling...

FALLING? Sure, most people don't make as much as they want. But who other than Martha Stewart is seeing their paychecks go down?

So tonight, in the city where America's freedom began, only a few blocks from where the sons and daughters of liberty gave birth to our nation...

I wonder what those sons and daughters would think of the tax rates and the authoritarian public education system (which was pioneered in Massachusetts).

I am proud that at my side will be a running mate whose life is the story of the American dream and who's worked every day to make that dream real for all Americans...

Who prey on their fellow countrymen through excessive litigation.

And what can I say about Teresa? She has the strongest moral compass of anyone I know.

But she drives an SUV!

And in this journey, I am accompanied by an extraordinary band of brothers led by that American hero, a patriot named Max Cleland.

Al Maviva has a highly informative post on Cleland's "heroism" over at Sasha's.

And on my first day in office, I will send a message to every man and woman in our armed forces: You will never be asked to fight a war without a plan to win the peace.

Remember Kosovo.

I know what we have to do in Iraq. We need a president who has the credibility to bring our allies to our side and share the burden, reduce the cost to American taxpayers, and reduce the risk to American soldiers.

How you gonna convince Chiraq and Schroeder and the leaders of Spain and the Philippines that they're a bunch of Islamofascist-appeasing weenies? How you gonna make the war cost less while at the same time proceeding to kill and apprehend all the insurgents? And how you gonna stop all the outside-of-Iraq support for the insurgents?

Here is the reality: that won't happen until we have a president who restores America's respect and leadership ? so we don't have to go it alone in the world.

Go over to the Rottweiler. Scroll down to the heading "THANK YOU, TO OUR "UNILATERAL" FRIENDS!" and look up at the flags of those 31 nations (not counting the Philippine flag, which Misha hasn't removed yet) participating in the war. Add the provisional governments of Iraq and Afghanistan to that list.

I'm not even going to bother quoting the abundance of social-spending quotes. Here's the translation: "We must care about families by bleeding their pockets dry to pay for social programs, the majority of whose budgets pay for overhead, and lie to the public that only Cheney-hugging corporations will be footing the bill."

So here is our economic plan to build a stronger America:

First, new incentives to revitalize manufacturing.

But not defense contractors manufacturing, right?

Second, investment in technology and innovation that will create the good-paying jobs of the future.

Government isn't good at capital "investment" and research and design. The private sector must make the investment and technology decisions.

Third, close the tax loopholes that reward companies for shipping our jobs overseas. Instead, we will reward companies that create and keep good paying jobs where they belong ? in the good old U.S.A.

Let the customers decide whether to do business with a completely domestic operation or one with overseas (or over-river, in the case of Mexico) operations.

Next, we will trade and compete in the world.

People won't be happy to trade with a nation whose government is paranoid about outsourcing jobs.

And we're going to return to fiscal responsibility because it is the foundation of our economic strength. Our plan will cut the deficit in half in four years by ending tax giveaways that are nothing more than corporate welfare - and will make government live by the rule that every family has to follow: pay as you go.

Are you going to end genuine corporate welfare such as agricultural subsidies, the Export-Import Bank, and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation? Or is ending "giveaways" code language for restoring the skyrocketing progressive taxation that killed our economy in the '70s?

Our education plan for a stronger America...

Will be business as usual - continuing control by elitists who regard parents as mere breeding stock to supply serfs for the educrats to make in their own image.

And we value health care that's affordable and accessible for all Americans.

So do I, and your plans to further insulate health care from market forces will further drive up costs.

I want an America that relies on its own ingenuity and innovation ? not the Saudi royal family.

Actually, we get very little oil from the Saudis. (I think they account for 13%. They should account for even less when Iraq gets stable and Eskimos are able to access their oil wealth in that desolate patch of tundra within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

And our energy plan for a stronger America will invest in new technologies and alternative fuels and the cars of the future...

See previous comment on government R&D. Oh, and hybrid cars suck.

Two young bicycle mechanics from Dayton asked what if this airplane could take off at Kitty Hawk? It did that and changed the world forever. A young president asked what if we could go to the moon in ten years? And now we're exploring the solar system and the stars themselves. A young generation of entrepreneurs asked, what if we could take all the information in a library and put it on a little chip the size of a fingernail? We did and that too changed the world forever.

Which of these three technologies stands out. Airplanes and microchips have an enormous range of applications. Space-related commerce is very small, limited to satellite applications. Which one was so heavily micromanaged by the government?

Sound Bites IV

General Wesley Clark said:

"Great Democrats like Woodrow Wilson, who led us to victory in World War 1. Great Democrats like Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman, who turned back the tide of fascism to win World War II. Great Democrats like John Kennedy, who stood firm and steered us safely through the Cuban Missile Crisis. And great Democrats like Bill Clinton, who confronted ethnic cleansing in Yugoslavia, and with diplomacy - backed by force - brought peace to a shattered land."

To be nitpicky, Wilson didn't lead us to victory. He led us to armistice, a time-out. (Note the absence of wartime leader LBJ from the list.) Clark's reference to the Kosovo War is second only to Jimmy Carter's among the convention's grievously stupid remarks. WBAP talkmeister Gary McNamara likes to remind listeners that the Dems supported the idea of a war to end genocide in the case of then-Yugoslavia, but not in the case of Iraq, where the body count was in the hundreds of thousands. But there's another problem with Clark's statement: The Kosovo War didn't bring peace. Clinton destabilized the region; the aftermath empowered the Islamist terrorism of the Kosovo Liberation Army and other factions who today are ethnically cleansing Serbs.

Joe Lieberman said:

"On Sept. 11, 2001, we were brutally attacked by Islamist terrorists who hate us more than they love their own lives; fanatics who are as great a threat to our security and freedom as the Nazis and Communists we defeated in the last century."

Did you ever imagine that a Democratic convention would feature a speaker who come right out and say that the COMMUNISTS were "a threat to our security and freedom?"

He also said:

"We must support our brave and brilliant troops — the new greatest generation - who have liberated Afghanistan and Iraq from murderous tyrannies, and who are fighting tonight in both nations to defeat terrorists and allow free and stable governments to grow there."

Viewers and listeners (I heard his and Clark's speeches on radio station WBAP) will recall the tepid applause this received, contrasted to the wild applause following Clark's mention of the illusory peace in Kosovo. The GOP should make commercials out of this segment.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Francis Crick (1916-2004)

Rand Simberg briefly notes the passing of the co-discoverer of the structure of the DNA molecule. His Wikipedia entry is here.

Today In History

John Kerry will be making his acceptance speech on a day filled with anniversaries (most links to Wikipedia entries):

1588 English defeat Spanish Armada at Gravellines, France

1805 Alexis de Toqueville is born

1833 William Wilberforce, campaigner against slavery, dies

1871 Grigori Rasputin is born

1883 Benito Mussolini is born

1907 Sir Robert Baden-Powell founds the Boy Scouts movement

1938 Peter Jennings (D-Ontario) is born

1953 Geddy Lee of Rush is born

1958 NASA is born (cue the bunny-suit photo-op...)

1981 Fifteen-year marriage of Lady Diana Spencer and Charles, Prince of Wales, begins

An Open Letter To Janeane Garofalo

Yesterday during your interview with Sean Hannity, you stated that pro-lifers, to be consistent, should oppose capital punishment and "pre-emptive war." You are working under a false assumption regarding the root presumptions of the movement. Do not let the label fool you: "pro-life" is no more a thorough explanation of opposition to abortion (and euthanasia) than "pro-choice" is a thorough explanation of support of legalized abortion. (Everybody believes that the government should restrict private choices of one kind or another.)

The abortion plank of the right-to-life movement is this: the unborn are human persons and should therefore be protected by the same rights to due process as those already born. Pro-lifers speak of life being precious. But they also speak of liberty and property being precious. (If property is precious, does that make taxation or civil lawsuit awards wrong?) The debate over capital punishment revolves around what due process should be. Criminal conviction marks a debt owed by offending party, and that party must surrender something precious to balance the books. Support for the death penalty is rooted in the belief that punishment must be reciprocal; the only sacrifice equal to a life is a life.

For the record, I oppose capital punishment. I explained my position in a previous post:

Amnesty International cites three reasons for its stance on the issue: "It violates the right to life. It is irrevocable and can be inflicted on the innocent. It has never been shown to deter crime more effectively than other punishments." The first is a statement of faith. The second is statistically true, although the size of that risk is hotly contested. The third statement is a hotly-contested claim itself. Both libertarians and liberals, who make up the majority of death penalty opponents, tend to agree with Amnesty on those points. The latter, relying on dishonest statistics, often claim that executions disproportionately involve minorities and the poor. They will offer as evidence of "discrimination" that of the 100 people executed for a certain crime that 25 come from Group A and 75 come from Group B; if Group B is committing 75% of all instances of that crime, there is no evidence of discrimination.

My position on capital punishment falls in line with that of Amnesty International, with an added feature that seems pretty close to an opinion stated here. The use of lethal force should be used in emergency situations to combat murderous crimes in progress. The military wages war against criminal armies and overthrows criminal governments. Law enforcement uses deadly force to confront immediate deadly threats to the public at large, and armed citizens do so when such threats come right in their faces.

The courts are far too easily politicized and is far too arbitrary to be trusted with such power. Granted, that arbitrariness tends to favor defendants. The political left's worry about discriminatory abuses of the death penalty really is justified, even though it may be deluded as to where such abuses are occurring now. If a court is willing to dumb down the definition of capital murder for the benefit of some people, what will stop it from broadening its definition in order to "catch" others who would ordinarily face a lesser charge?

Oh, and nobody who supports the toppling of Saddam believes it was a pre-emptive action. Saddam violated the ceasefire agreement; the state of war that began in 1990 was thus reinstated. (Iraqis shooting at the American and British planes enforcing the no-fly zones was sufficient to nullify the ceasefire.) Even so, the issue of pre-emption is an issue of what defines due process, and even less related to the pro-life position than is capital punishment. Without the example of a genuine call for pre-emptive military action, the subject is moot.

Sound Bites III

Al Sharpton said:

"As I ran for president, I hoped that one child would come out of the ghetto like I did, could look at me walk across the stage with governors and senators and know they didn't have to be a drug dealer, they didn't have to be a hoodlum, they didn't have to be a gangster."

Let's hope the ghetto kid isn't inspired by this.

John Edwards said:

Between now and November - you, the American people - you can reject the tired, old, hateful, negative, politics of the past.

You mean no more James Byrd ads? Will you be distancing yourselves from Michael Moore?

Edwards also said (emphasis added):

We can build one America where we no longer have two healthcare systems...We have a plan that will offer everyone the same health care your Senator has.

We shouldn't have two public school systems in this country: one for the most affluent communities, and one for everybody else...We can build one public school system that works for all our children.

Dude, that sounds like monopoly.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Sound Bites II

Teresa Heinz-Kerry said:
"And my only hope is that one day soon, My only hope is that, one day soon, women, who have all earned their right to their opinions, instead of being labeled opinionated will be called smart and well informed, just like men."
Yeah, some of y'all are thinking of Ann Coulter. She has no right to be published by anybody. The real scandal about Ann is that newspapers print worse invective than hers. (Her column was way over the top.) I predict that Michael Moore will write something worse during the GOP convention, and it will get printed.

The real scandal about Teresa is that she's making these statements in the wrong country. She should be telling that to the Saudis and the Iranian mullahs, where women "don't even have the right to show their face" (quoting from Rush Limbaugh's broadcast today). She should be telling the Chinese, Vietnamese, Laotians, North Koreans, and Cubans that all people have the rights to opinions not sanctioned by a Communist totalitarian state.

(Update: In context, Rush was referring to Afghanistan, the one burqa-enforcing nation we liberated. Headscarves meet the minimal requirements of the women's dress code is Iran. Needless to say, women's rights in the Islamic Middle East aren't quite what they are in the West.)

Howard Dean said:

We can not be a national party unless we are willing to take our case to Mississippi and Utah and Alabama and Texas.
Your party already tried and failed. There is no intellectual case for socialized medicine, socialized education, abolition of right-to-work laws, gun control, or trusting a UN that allows membership to tyrannies to clamp down on those very tyrannies.

Barack Obama said:

Go into the collar counties around Chicago, and people will tell you they don't want their tax money wasted by a welfare agency or the Pentagon. Go into any inner city neighborhood, and folks will tell you that government alone can't teach kids to learn. They know that parents have to parent, that children can't achieve unless we raise their expectations and turn off the television sets and eradicate the slander that says a black youth with a book is acting white.
You're at the wrong convention, pal.

He also said:

Yet even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes.
Two points. First, whatever sense of unity exists, America is deeply divided ideologically, and politicians can't change that. Second, "spin masters and negative ad peddlers" belong to both parties. Don't forget that the NAACP ran the ugliest campaign ad in modern times. (I cannot find documentation of Obama's reaction to the ad.) Negative ads have a proper place. When done right, they tell us what the opponent is doing wrong from the candidate's perspective.


Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Why War?

Spatula City BBS has a list of quotes supporting the argument for war against Iraq - all spoken/written by Democrats.

Democratic Convention Sound Bites

Al Gore said:

"In our democracy, every vote has power. And never forget: that power is yours. Don’t let anyone take it away or talk you into throwing it away. And let’s make sure that this time every vote is counted. Let’s make sure not only that the Supreme Court does not pick the next president, but also that this president is not the one who picks the next Supreme Court."

Didn't the networks talk Panhandle Floridians into throwing away their votes by calling the state for Gore before the Central Time Zone polls were closed?

Jimmy Carter said:

"The Middle East peace process has come to a screeching halt for the first time since Israel became a nation. All former presidents, Democratic and Republican, have attempted to secure a comprehensive peace for Israel with hope and justice for the Palestinians. The achievements of Camp David a quarter century ago and the more recent progress made by President Bill Clinton are now in peril."

This has got to be the idiotic statement of the year. How many times during and after 1948 did the "peace process" come to a halt and ESCALATE INTO WAR? The most recent time was not the 1973 Yom Kippur War, but the 1990s-2000s Oslo Accord War. The agreement saturated Israel in terror attacks. Oh, and Camp David didn't do a damn thing to put a stop to Arafat, Fatah, the PLO, Hamas, Hezbollah, PFLP, and Islamic Jihad - THE CAUSES OF WAR IN ISRAEL. You want peace? Kill and/or conquer the enemy. You were once a naval officer. Didn't they teach you that?

Hillary Clinton said:

"We need to secure our borders."

Against Elián Gonzalez?

Bill Clinton said:

[Americans] all honor the service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform, in Iraq, Afghanistan and throughout the world.

All Americans? Including Portland Indymedia? San Francisco antiwar activists?

Monday, July 26, 2004

Today's Guest Blog At Sasha's

Cat blogging, sort of.

Triomphe Pour l'Amérique!

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Lance Armstrong a gagné son sixième Tour de France. Fox News et Le Monde ont tous les détails.


Saturday, July 24, 2004

Two Years Ago Today

 photo BeamTraficant.jpg

The US House of Representatives voted 420-1, with nine voting present, to beam James Traficant out of Congress.

See my original post on the story for list of representatives voting "nay" or "present," and for brief mention of other representatives who have faced expulsion in the past.

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Friday, July 23, 2004

Questions Rephrased

People finding my blog for the first time know nothing about my opinion of the Council on Foreign Relations or Jimmy Carter's presidency (especially since I've never posted on those topics) or even the Iranian protest movement (which has been expressed here). Therefore readers lack the context of two sets of questions posed in a July 15 post. I'll start with the second:

Second, how much harm can Zbignew Brzezinski do as a private citizen pontificating about US-Iranian dialogue via the Council of Foreign Relations, America's top foreign policy lobby?

This is a question not for Iranian dissidents but for people savvy to the influence of CFR lectures. Does anyone with pull in the Bush administration pay attention to Zbigniew Brzezinski and Robert Gates? Is there any likelihood that the lecture would inspire a private citizen to go to Iran and try to schmooze with the mullahs?

The CFR press briefing took place yesterday. Bob Dreyfuss of was there, and he is not thrilled that Zbig and the gang want to try once again "to see if the Iranian 'moderates' might welcome an olive branch from Washington - a policy that has never worked. The Washington Times reports Robert Gates' suggestion that Europe and Russia "try to persuade Iran to bring its nuclear program back within the international inspections regime of the United Nations" under the threat of UN sanctions. Oh, right. Like it worked with Iraq? Like we can trust the same UN that apparently sold out to the enemy? Appeaseniks plied, people died.

Now for the first:

First, is Free Iran! representative of the attitudes of Iranian pro-democracy forces, in a) the blame it places on the Carter Administration for Iran's current state of political affairs, and b) its demand that foreigners attempt no dialogue wit the mullahcracy?

Conservatives largely blame Jimmy Carter for the rise of the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeni. Wikipedia notes: "Many have since connected the Shah's dwindling U.S. support as a leading cause of his quick overthrow." (This raises an additional question, for both Western and Iranian critics of Carter: how did his diplomatic ventures in Iran strengthen Khomeni's growing insurgency?)

Do most Iranian dissidents place such blame on Carter? I believe so. They, more than anyone else, would have seen the effects of Carter's Iranian policy, after all. Maybe there's a few who think the coup would have happened no matter what Carter did. Maybe there are some other opinions on the causes of the rise of Khomeni. These factions probably aren't large, but what do I know? The closest I've been to Iran is (ahem) Plains, Georgia. People a lot closer to Iranian dissident culture would know.

I have two more questions. Free Iran! opposes any dialogue whatsoever between the West and the Iranian regime, and I'm curious as to how prominent this attitude is among the dissidents at large. This raises another question: how should the United States government respond to the Iranian regime? We can't ignore Iran. Every Islamic terror group is a declared enemy of the US. Iran funds or has funded Hamas, Hezbollah (which was responsible for bombing the Khobar Towers), and Islamic Jihad, and evidence is surfacing of ties to al-Qaeda (See also this PejmanPost - from last October.) FrontPage Magazine contributor Kenneth R. Timmerman reports allegations that "Iran 'supplied the explosives' for the 1998 al-Qaeda bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa." The Iraqi government has evidence that Iran is aiding some Iraqi insurgent groups. And then there's Iran's nuclear program and the justified fears that it will supply nuclear technology - or weapons - to other US enemies.

Last but not least. Free Iran! also calls for "backing" for the protest movement. Other dissidents have expressed similar sentiments. What kind of backing does the protest movement want from the US?

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Music To Blog By

(Original lyrics linked in song titles. First song inspired by a suggestion from Jay Manifold.)


Blog that fisk
Slap the Arafish
"No war in Iraq"
Say Kofi and Chiraq

When idiotarians come along
You must fisk it
Before the film's been out too long
You must fisk it
When politics is going wrong
You must fisk it

Now fisk it
On screen!
Blog it up
Get the ClueBat
Permalink it
Heh, indeed
Try to debunk it
It's not too late
To fisk it
Fisk it good

When the Guardian comes around
You must fisk it
The blogosphere won't live it down
Unless you fisk it
The New York Times will get their way
Until you fisk it

I say fisk it
Fisk it good
I say fisk it
Fisk it good

Now fisk it
On screen!
Blog it up
Get the ClueBat
Permalink it
Heh, indeed
Try to debunk it
It's not too late
To fisk it
Fisk it good



Well, they'll fisk you when you dis President Bush
They'll fisk you when you kiss Osama's tush
They'll fisk you when you condemn Israeili attack
Then they'll fisk you when you say get out of Iraq
But I don't go for none of this
Everybody must get fisked

Well, they'll fisk you when you whitewash the Arab street
They'll fisk you when you say Arafat's real neat
They'll fisk you when you're ranting on the House floor
They'll fisk you when you show Judge Owen the door
But I don't go for none of this
Everybody must get fisked

They'll fisk you when you say Kyoto shouldn't be tabled
They'll fisk you when you want Guantanamo disabled
They'll fisk you when you say Jews caused 9/11
They'll fisk you when you say Ronnie ain't in heaven
Tell you what, I don't go for none of this
Everybody must get fisked

Well, they'll fisk you when you put down Americans
Then they'll fisk you whe you say Commies, come back again
They'll fisk you when you're riding in your SUV
They'll fisk you when you tell lies in your movie
Yes, but I don't go for none of this
Everybody must get fisked

Well, they'll fisk you when you say leave Whoopi alone
They'll fisk you when you say send Cheney home
They'll fisk you when you say Dixie Chicks are brave
They'll fisk you when you spit on Tillman's grave
But I don't go for none of this
Everybody must get fisked

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Mister McAuliffe, Tear Down This Wall!

A wall is being built in Berlin Boston to separate East and West Germans protesters and Democrat convention delegates.

(Link via InstaPundit)

McCain-Feingold, Canada Style

A FrontPage Magazine column written by Halifax freelance journalist Tyler Kustra reports the American film propagandist's current legal problems in Canada:

While promoting Fahrenheit 9/11 last month in Toronto, Moore said, "I really need you to make sure that [Conservative Party leader Stephen] Harper does not take over the Prime Ministership. Why would you like to be like us? … We're trying to get rid of our conservative, you know. We're going one way, you guys shouldn't be going the other."

Ordinarily, this wouldn't have prompted a reaction. But Moore made his comments during a hotly-contested federal election just a month after the Supreme Court had upheld an election gag law barring citizens from spending more $3,000 in a local election or $150,000 nationally to express their views.

The law also makes it a crime for foreigners to "during an election period, in any way induce electors to vote or refrain from voting… for a particular candidate." That's where Kasra Nejatian, president of the Ontario Campus Conservatives, saw his opening.

Nejatian collected over 2,000 signatures on a petition to have Moore charged with violating the Elections Act (Lest he be accused of hypocrisy, he ensured they were all Canadians). Yesterday, he filed a complaint with Elections Canada.

Nejatian actually opposes the law, but insists that as long as it exists it should be enforced consistently. And he looks forward to whatever outcome:

"For me it's a win-win situation. Either we succeed with the charges and we shut Michael Moore's loud mouth for a little bit or the law is declared unconstitutional and the government will have to repeal it."

That's the spirit.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

One Small Blog For Man

This is the blog's 1000th post - and the 35th anniversary of one of the most remarkable moments in human history.

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Monday, July 19, 2004

More Unequal Than Others

The Feminist Majority Foundation is upset that Slim-Fast dumped Whoopi Goldberg as a spokeswoman:

Slim-Fast announced yesterday that it was dropping feminist comedian Whoopi Goldberg from its advertisements after she made jokes about President Bush at a fundraiser for John Kerry last week. The jokes included double entendres using Bush's name. "I have used portions of the material I did at the fund-raiser in shows, speeches, and even on national television and it seems now that people from the other side are using this to further their agenda," said Goldberg in a press statement, according to CNN. "I only wish the Republican re-election committee would spend as much time working on the economy as they seem to be spending trying to harm my pocketbook."

Though Unilever, the parent company of Slim-Fast, claimed they were pulling the ads because Goldberg's remarks "offended some of [their] consumers, a company spokesperson refused to say whether there was a decrease in sales because of the remarks, Bloomberg News reports. Unilever executives have donated $3,000 to President Bush and $1,250 to Kerry for the 2004 election so far, USA Today reports.

Goldberg was a featured speaker at the massively successful March for Women's Lives on April 25, which brought more than one million women and men to Washington, DC in support of reproductive rights.

TAKE ACTION Tell Slim-Fast what you think about their decision to cave to right-wing pressure

But FMF had no problem with left-wing pressure to shape company advertising decisions:

The efforts of gay and lesbian activist groups are paying off in the fight to put Dr. Laura Schlessinger's television show out of business and off the air. Protestors of the "Dr. Laura" show pressured marketers and sponsors of the show to pull out their support because of Dr. Laura's anti-gay remarks during her radio program. In addition to fleeing sponsors, the "Dr. Laura" show can't seem to hold an audience. The show's ratings are extremely low, 15 to 28 percent lower than the shows that air just before "Dr. Laura," and 12 to 28 percent lower than shows that aired in the same time slot in previous seasons. Conservative political commentator Rush Limbaugh experienced a similarly weak response from viewers during his short-lived transition from radio to television.

Speaking of Rush, anybody remember when several organizations, including National Education Association (scroll to bottom of page), staged a boycott of Florida Orange Juice because it ran commercials on Limbaugh's show?

Elton John is now bemoaning the fate of some outspoken American celebrities. Hey Elton, this ain't stifling dissent. This is freedom of choice. Dieters, NEA hacks, country music fans, and leftist activists tell companies they're taking their business elsewhere because they don't like what Whoopi, Rush, Natalie Maines, and Dr. Laura, respectively, are saying. Companies decide how to respond to the complaints. And the government isn't behind any of this protest - any more than it was behind gay activists' protests of your onstage appearance with Eminem.

Update: So Elton John is concerned about the lack of diversity of opinion? Hey, at least our country doesn't have a state broadcasting monopoly. Or hate speech laws.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

For All Those Pundits Predicting A Kerry/Clinton Ticket In 2004

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Kim duToit has the original pic, and a PhotoShopped version by the Mrs.

Movie reference is here.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

They'll Be There For You

 photo CarterAdminFriends.jpg

There's an outfit called Project: FREE IRAN! that sends emails to unsuspecting people like me, with links to various Iran-related websites (including its forum at and news sources. One of yesterday's emails had attached the above image and linked to this chatroom thread. The man on the left of the image is Zbignew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter's National Security Advisor. He and former CIA director Robert Gates are spearheading this:

 photo BrzezinskiLetter.jpg

(Carter has nothing to do with Zbig's task force, but FREE IRAN! regards his administration as having much to do with the mullahs' rise to power.)

FREE IRAN! opposes all dialogue between non-Iranians and the Iranian theocracy. As stated by Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi:

Iran's future cannot be decided by anyone but Iranians and any further attempts to undermine our efforts for secularism and democracy in Iran is not only unacceptable but will be met with protests that will go into the annals of history. ANY NON-IRANIAN attempting dialogue with the "Mollah Monarchs" will be considered an accomplice to criminals against humanity. The only way is by backing the movement of the Iranian people against these Islamist terrorism financers.

I have two questions. First, is Free Iran! representative of the attitudes of Iranian pro-democracy forces, in a) the blame it places on the Carter Administration for Iran's current state of political affairs, and b) its demand that foreigners attempt no dialogue wit the mullahcracy? Second, how much harm can Zbignew Brzezinski do as a private citizen pontificating about US-Iranian dialogue via the Council of Foreign Relations, America's top foreign policy lobby?

Update: See followup post.

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Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Women In Congress

Are there really no centrist or conservative Democrat women in Congress, as I said earlier? The American Conservative Union has been rating the voting records of members of Congress since 1971. Below is a list of the 2003 and lifetime scores for every woman in Congress; Democrats are listed first.




Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin)



Shelley Berkley (D-Nevada)



Corrine Brown (D-Florida)



Lois Capps (D-California)



Julia Carson (D-Indiana)



Susan Davis (D-California)



Diana DeGette (D-Colorado)



Rosa DeLauro (D-Connecticut)



Anna Eshoo (D-California)



Darlene Hooley (D-Oregon)



Jane Harman (D-California)



Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Texas)



Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas)



Stephanie Jones (D-Ohio)



Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio)



Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-Michigan)



Barbara Lee (D-California)



Zoe Lofgren (D-California)



Nita Lowey (D-New York)



Denise Majette (D-Georgia)



Carolyn Maloney (D-New York)



Carolyn McCarthy (D-New York)



Karen McCarthy (D-Missouri)



Betty McCollum (D-Minnesota)



Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-CA)



Grace Napolitano (D-California)



Nancy Pelosi (D-California)



Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-California)



Linda Sanchez (D-California)



Loretta Sanchez (D-California)



Janice Schakowsky (D-Illinois)



Louise Slaughter (D-New York)



Hilda Solis (D-California)



Ellen Tauscher (D-California)



Nydia Velazquez (D-New York)



Maxine Waters (D-California)



Diane Watson (D-California)



Lynn Woolsey (D-California)



Judy Biggert (R-Illinois)



Mary Bono (R-California)



Ginny Brown-Waite (R-Florida)



Shelley Capito (R-West Virginia)



Barbara Cubin (R-Wyoming)



Jo Ann Davis (R-Virginia)



Jennifer Dunn (R-Washington)



Jo Ann Emerson (R-Missouri)



Kay Granger (R-Texas)



Katherine Harris (R-Florida)



Melissa Hart (R-Pennsylvania)



Nancy Johnson (R-Connecticut)



Sue Kelly (R-New York)



Candice Miller (R-Michigan)



Marilyn Musgrave (R-Colorado)



Sue Myrick (R-North Carolina)



Anne Northup (R-Kentucky)



Deborah Pryce (R-Ohio)



Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Florida)



Heather Wilson (R-New Mexico)









Barbara Boxer (D-California)



Maria Cantwell (D-Washington)



Hillary Clinton (D-New York)



Dianne Feinstein (D-California)



Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana)



Blanche Lincoln (D-Arkansas)



Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland)



Patty Murray (D-Washington)



Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan)



Susan Collins (R-Maine)



Elizabeth Dole (R-North Carolina)



Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas)



Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)



Olympia Snowe (R-Maine)



Jane Harman of California is the closest thing to a moderate that the Democrats have, but with a lifetime score of 38 she's well to the left of the GOP's leftmost member of Congress, Maine's Olympia Snowe Connecticut's Nancy Johnson.

Update: Two corrections have been made. First, in the original post I forgot to include the qualifier "Democrat" in the first sentence. Second, Nancy Johnson (R-Connecticut) is a wee bit to the left of Olympia Snowe. (To pass off Harman as a centrist the Dems would have to convince the public that Snowe and Johnson are conservatives.) Never update your blog within a half hour of when it's time to leave for work.

Carnival of the Vanities #95

Josh Cohen of is hosting the Carnival this week. In honor of Bastille Day, he's running a Rush album theme. Leading the list is this blog's own Odes to Liberty post. Check it out.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

From The Home Office In Washington DC

Former blogger Brink Lindsey (his last post was June 12, 2003) has written an article for Reason titled 10 Truths About Trade. Here are the ten truths:

  1. The Number of Jobs Grows With the Population
  2. Jobs Churn Constantly
  3. Challenging, High-Paying Jobs Are Becoming More Plentiful, Not Less
  4. "Deindustrialization" Is a Myth
  5. Imports Have Not Been a Major Cause of Recent Manufacturing Job Losses
  6. "Offshoring" Is Not a Threat to High-Tech Employment
  7. Globalization of Services Creates Enormous Opportunity for American Industry
  8. Offshoring Creates New Jobs and Boosts Economic Growth
  9. The Digital Revolution Has Been Eliminating White-Collar Jobs for Many Years
  10. Fears That the U.S. Economy Is Running Out of Jobs Are Nothing New

Read the article for details.

I Am Woman, Hear Me Whine

Yesterday was the 20th anniversary of Mondale's formal pick of Geraldine Ferraro to be the first woman to run for Vice-President (and lose in a colossal landslide). A few days ago, Ellen Goodman ponders the reasons that the Dems didn't pick a woman to be on the ticket this year:

There is the woman equals liberal theory. Picking any woman is automatically seen as going to the left even if she's in the center.

There ARE no centrist (or conservative, for that matter) elected female Democrats in the House or Senate. (The GOP has lefties of both genders, but all the Dem conservatives are male. Hmmm...)

Then there is the vice commander in chief theory. Women still have a tougher time in tough times. Terrorism is not a pink alert.

During wartime, the need for a commanding force in the Vice Presidency becomes all-too-apparent, and few women in this world meet such qualifications. There are no Jeane Kirkpatricks and Margaret Thatchers in the Democratic Party. The time for the Dems to field a female veep candidate is when the sitting veep is a Dan Quayle (or a Walter Mondale) and not a Dick Cheney.

Next, there is the trickle in the pipeline theory. Not only are there fewer women senators and governors to pick from than men, but the overwhelming majority of all political candidates under 35 are still male.

Maybe the Dems should launch a "Stop staying home and baking cookies" campaign to attract female candidates.

There is also the suck it up theory. For Democrats this year, winning is everything. The folks who most want a woman have nowhere else to go anyway.

Tell that to the Democrats who voted for Nader in 2000.

And finally there is the Hillary theory. Those who care most about women candidates and are sucking it up this year (see above) are putting their eggs in the Hillary for President basket for 2008 or 2012.

I never thought Hillary wanted to run for veep this year. Failed veep candidates don't often become President. And some would say that she's already been veep in a de facto sense...

Teach Your Children Well

Sky News reports on a Palestinian training camp for boys, some as young as 10, "where the only lesson taught is how to kill Israelis."

Monday, July 12, 2004

Today's Guest Blog At Sasha's

Why Bush shouldn't meet with the NAACP.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Future Article

A draft of an article scheduled to be posted on the 24th (on a two-year anniversary of a newsworthy event) was mistakenly published. Stay tuned and it will reappear at the proper time.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Seen At The Irving Mall Barnes & Noble

Bill Clinton's My Life (its retail price already discounted 30%) has a huge display in the front and is included among other current events books on another table. A copy is also shelved in the African American Studies section.

Is Toni Morrison a stockholder?

Film Review: The Poseidon Adventure

The elements of the modern disaster film are big-budget special effects, a plot centering around a catastrophe that brings a multitude of strangers together to fight for survival, and (usually) an ensemble cast. The Poseidon Adventure was, I believe, the first of this genre. The ocean liner SS Poseidon, making its final voyage before a scheduled decommissioning (perhaps a sly reference to the maiden-voyage sinking of the real-life RMS Titanic), encounters a tidal wave triggered by an underwater earthquake in the Mediterranean, and is flipped upside down.

Why didn't the captain turn the ship perpendicular to the tidal wave as soon as it first showed up on sonar?

After the ship has been overturned, Reverend Scott (Gene Hackman) tries to rally the people in the ballroom to go up to what would normally be the lowest deck, arguing that rescuers would not be able to get to what is not the lowest art of the ship. The ship's purser doesn't have the common sense to figure out that the ballroom's air pocket is not likely to last forever, and that going up is the only reasonable choice of action.

Scott is joined by seven others: Susan and Robin Shelby (Pamela Sue Martin, Eric Shea), a teenage girl and her kid brother; the Rosens (Jack Albertson, Shelly Winters), an elderly Jewish couple on their way to see a grandson in Israel for the first time; the Rogos (Ernest Borgnine, Stella Stevens), a police detective and his wife; James Martin (Red Buttons), a middle-aged lifelong bachelor; Nonnie Parry (Carol Lynley), a young songstress. Acres (Roddy McDowell), a crewman who is already on one of the higher decks, helps the gang up and serves as their guide.

The film has two running themes. The first is self-reliance. Reverend Scott's sermon on the topic (more on that later) is brought home by the ballroom scene. Those who stayed behind in the ballroom to wait for rescuers to make the first move perished; those who fought to gain higher ground had a chance to survive.

The second is incompetent authority. The ship's captain (Leslie Nielson) wanted to slow the top-heavy ship and take ballast, but was overruled by the corporate executive. (This appears to be another Titanic reference; there is an urban legend that White Star Lines CEO J. Bruce Ismay ordered Captain Smith to maintain a dangerously high speed despite the iceberg warnings. See this article for details.) Scott, a mere passenger, leads people to survival, while both the ship's purser and doctor lead people to doom. The kid knows more about the ship than the grownups.

In the film we're informed that Scott has been severely disciplined by the church hierarchy. In an early conversation with the ship's chaplain he derides praying to God:

Get down on your knees and pray to God for help? And then maybe everything will work out fine? Garbage. Not where I come from...if you're freezing to death you burn the furniture, you set fire to the building, but you get up off your knees."

And in the sermon he says this:

So what resolution should we make for the new year? It's to let God know that you have the guts and the will to do it alone. Resolve to fight for yourselves, and for others, for those you love. And that part of God within you will be fighting with you all the way.

Scott makes three critical errors. First he sees only the asking-for-stuff aspect of prayer. Prayer is the totality of communication with God. It's about expressing feelings and asking God what He wants from you. Second, he views prayer and human initiative as mutually incompatible. Initiative does not preclude the need for advisors (divine or human) or that God can be sought to provide greater discernment, courage, willpower, even-temperedness, etc. in order to make one's rise to action more productive. Third, he implies that humanity is the initiator and God is the follower. Scott promises that "God will be fighting with you all the way" without adding any qualifiers. In the engine room he finds to his horror that God doesn't always give us what we strive for, and rather than consider that he places false expectations in God he accuses God of actively working against the escape attempt.

Some of the acting is a bit melodramatic, particularly the arguing between Scott and Rogo, and Scott's oratory style as illustrated by his sermon and his pleas to the survivors-for-the-time-being in the ballroom. Linda Rogo is too cranky. Nonnie has the personality of a marshmallow, and her trauma at times seems a bit over-the-top; also, she has no background story beyond the like the other major characters. Director Ronald Neame seems overly eager to fill a quota of cuss words to make the film "sophisticated;" in real life a hard-boiled New York City cop wouldn't swear in front of a little kid (at least not in 1972).

Despite these flaws, the characters are believable and mostly likeable. The best moments were the captain's lecture to the corporate executive and Belle Rosen's swim to the rescue.

And for you Joe Bob Briggs fans...

Zero breasts. Tsunami fu. Christmas tree fu. Smokestack ladder fu. Explosions fu. Steam fu. Fire hose fu. Swimming fu. And plenty of water fu. The Wrong Way Feldman Award goes to the ship's doctor, whose guides a bunch of passengers down a corridor that is slanting downward and expects to get to safety. Worst Rendition of a Bland '70s Song goes to the ship's band, for twice performing a rendition of "The Morning After" that makes Maureen McGovern's backup musicians sound like Deep Purple. Joe Bob says check it out.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Today's Guest Blog At Sasha's

Ladies and gentlemen, the candidates for Vice President of the United States.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Odes To Liberty

(Reprinted from July 4, 2002. Original image of WTC replaced with mini-collage in 2003 reprint.)

Update: This year's posting includes a familiar image of a girl celebrating the liberation Iraq.

Update: A new quote (from LOTR) has been added. I placed it after the C. S. Lewis passage. I think the Iraqi girl pic looks better if it's framed by two lengthy quotes - and both are especially applicable to our current relatioship with Iraq.


 photo UnitedWeStand.jpgThrough these fields of destruction
Baptisms of fire
I've watched all your suffering
As the battle raged higher
And though they did hurt me so bad
In the fear and alarm
You did not desert me
My brothers in arms

Dire Straits, "Brothers in Arms"

"Then I will live in Montana, and I will marry a round American woman and raise rabbits and she will cook them for me. And I will have a pickup truck, or possibly even a recreational vehicle, and drive from state to state. Do they let you do that?"

Vasili Borodin (played by Sam Neill), The Hunt for Red October

"With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood."

Martin Luther King

Iraqi Girl - small photo IraqiGirlSmall.jpg"The State exists simply to promote and to protect the ordinary happiness of human beings in this life. A husband and wife chatting over a fire, a couple of friends having a game of darts in a pub, a man reading a book in his own room or digging in his own garden - that is what the State is there for. And unless they are helping to increase and prolong and protect such moments, all the laws, parliaments, armies, courts, police, economics, etc., are simply a waste of time."

C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

"It's all wrong. By rights we shouldn't even be here. But we are. It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened. But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something. Even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back only they didn't. Because they were holding on to something...That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it's worth fighting for."

Sam Gamgee (played by Sean Astin), Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers

"[W]e recognize that we are living in the middle of the most overwhelmingly successful experiment in human history. Not perfect. Just the best place in the world to live in, that's all."

Jay Manifold

"I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered! My life is my own."

Number Six (played by Patrick McGoohan, "The Prisoner" TV series)

"Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the President or any other public official save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country."

Theodore Roosevelt

"So this Jefferson dude was like, 'Look, the reason we left this England place is 'cause it was so bogus. So if we don't get some primo rules ourselves - pronto - then we're just gonna be bogus, too."

Jeff Spiccoli (played by Sean Penn), Fast Times at Ridgemont High

"Democracy extends the sphere of individual freedom, socialism restricts it. Democracy attaches all possible value to each man; socialism makes each man a mere agent, a mere number. Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word: equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude."

Alexis deTocqueville, Democracy in America Vol. 2

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Thursday, July 01, 2004

The Charges Against Saddam

This is the complete list, from Yahoo News:

  • Killing of religious figures in 1974
  • Gassing of Kurds in Halabja in 1988
  • Killing the Kurdish Barzani clan in 1983
  • Killing members of political parties over the last 30 years
  • The 1986-1988 "Anfal" campaign of displacing Kurds
  • The suppression of the 1991 uprisings by Kurds and Shiites
  • The 1990 invasion of Kuwait

Fox News has a transcript of Saddam's arraignment.

Saddam and al-Qaeda

At FrontPage Magazine, Stephen F. Hayes explores the apparent connection between the two. After posting that exchange between Tom Brokaw and Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi that's been making the blog rounds, Hayes says this of Allawi:

Allawi's claims of an Iraq-al Qaeda link have not always been credible. Earlier in December, he provided journalists with a document claiming that lead hijacker Mohammed Atta had trained in Baghdad the summer before the 9/11 attacks. The three-page report, which also claimed Iraq had sought uranium from Niger, was quickly rejected as a forgery.


(That last claim, however, received a boost yesterday with an article in the Financial Times that laid out intelligence suggesting that despite the fact that a key document relating to the Iraq-Niger uranium story had been forged, the broader contention was likely true.)

Another Iraqi official, deputy prime minister Barham Salih, says there's a connection between Saddam and al-Qaeda's Ansar al-Islam branch (emphasis added):

Salih's Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, has interrogated several captive Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) officials who claim firsthand knowledge of the relationship between the IIS and Ansar al-Islam, the al Qaeda affiliate that operated northern Iraq before the war. One detainee, Abdul Rahman al Shamari, described his duties as an IIS operative to terrorism expert Jonathan Schanzer. Al Shamari, who says he served the IIS from 1997 to 2002, told Schanzer of his role as a conduit for arms and funding between Iraqi Intelligence and the Islamic radicals working in a part of Iraq not controlled by Saddam. Al Shamari says that the IIS provided weapons--"mostly mortar rounds"--to Ansar. He recalled providing one payment of approximately $700,000 to Ansar and told Schanzer that such assistance came "every month or two months."

The National Security Agency has the goods on IIS funding of Ansar, too:

According to a summary in a memo from Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas J. Feith to the Senate Intelligence Committee, the report "claimed that an Iraqi intelligence official, praising Ansar al Islam, provided it with $100,000 and agreed to continue to give assistance."

Today's Guest Blog At Sasha's

German opera will never be the same.

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