Sunday, January 30, 2005

Important Notice

The post below will make a lot more sence when My review of Hugh Hewitt's Blog is published in a few weeks. They are intended to support claims that are too tangential or complex to fully address within the review itself.

Relevant Links for my review of Blog

These links support some of the claims I made in the April, 11 issue of The American Conservative:
The Boston Herald editorial
Jonah Goldberg linking to Boston Herald editorial.
Glenn Reynolds does the same.
Jesse Walker's Hit & Run post on the Herald editorial.
A search of Abu Ghraib mentions at Instapundit.
Hugh Hewitt's search results don't produce a unique link, but those interested can search his site here.
A Hewitt post on Armstrong Williams.
Jack Shafer at Slate on Michael Chrichton's Times prediction.

Friday, January 28, 2005

On the Dole

Every conservative journalist and his brother has a syndicated column, and now it seems that they are all on the take from the Bush administration.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Simon Sez

Roger L. Simon knows the real reason the Dems raised a stink about Condoleeza Rice. They are worried about 2008. "I have had another thought about why Condi became such a lightening rod. The Dems are afraid of her as a presidential candidate in '08 and wanted to take her down a peg as soon as possible. After all, according to Forbes anyway, she is the most powerful woman in the world -- and that was before she was Sec'y of State (No. 2 - Wu Yu of the Chinese Politburo; No. 5 - Hillary Rodham Clinton; No. 10 - Carlton Firoina of Hewlett-Packard)."
This puts Simon out in nutcase territory with Dick Morris, who has predicted a Hillary V. Condi race in 2008, but was predicting that Sen. Clinton would be Howard Dean's running mate about a year ago.
I think it's time that Simon replace that Fedora hat he wears with one made of tin foil.

UPDATE: His comment section is even better:
If Condi Rice runs as merely the VP candidate in 2008---she should pick up a minimum of 20% of the black vote. That figure is enough to give the Democratic Party nightmares. Please note that President Bush won in November with less than 15% of this voting block.Condi Rice virtually guarantees the Republicans an easy lock on a minimum of 270 electoral votes. Is there also anyway the Democrats might continue to keep Pennsylvania in their column?
Here is my boring, conventional prediction: both parties nominate two white guys and the Democrats get about 90% of the black vote.

Rummy's War

Even if I favored the war in Iraq, I would still be appalled by this. "The Army's Third Infantry Division has added scores of female soldiers to newly created 'forward support companies' that provide maintenance, food service, and other support services to infantry, armor, and Special Forces units that commonly engage in combat. Army officials acknowledge that the changes will increasingly place women, who make up about 15 percent of the armed forces, in combat situations, but believe they are following federal law, which prohibits female soldiers from serving in units that engage in direct combat."
It is, however, the logical outcome of Rumsfeld's management of the Pentagon. "The change made by the Third Infantry Division was prompted by a shortage of trained troops caused by the unexpected length of the Iraq war and has set off a quiet, but highly charged debate within the Army over the role of women in the military. As a practical matter, the guerrilla tactics used against US troops during the occupation have also blurred the traditional lines between combat and support functions and is expected to prompt a wholesale review of the definition of ground 'combat' within the Bush administration."
Fortunately, the president still has his bubble of unreality to exist in. "President Bush's policy on women in ground combat takes just four words to articulate: 'No women in combat.'"
Via the Corner.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

A Byrd in the Sheets

These guys continue to show how little they think of Condoleeza Rice. To them, she is nothing more than a racial/sexual category. Sen. Robert Byrd is taking note of Rice's behavior, not her race and sex. The New York Times states, "Senator Byrd asserted that Ms. Rice had helped to make the Bush administration's case for an unconstitutional, unwise and unprovoked war against Iraq -- and had done so, he said, on the basis of faulty intelligence that she represented before the war as far more conclusive than it was. 'Accountability is not a negotiable commodity,' Mr. Byrd said, arguing that to confirm Ms. Rice would be to approve policies that had isolated the United States, made it more vulnerable to terrorism and cost American lives under false pretexts."
Byrd's critics don't seem to be up to defending Rice on the merits, so they are resorting to the Race Card.
I tried to find evidence of Byrd's position on the confirmation of Colin Powell in 2001, but the Senate doesn't list a roll call vote on the matter, leading me to believe that it was passed on a voice vote without objection. I would think that a klansman would be much more threatened by a black man.

UPDATE: Roger L. Simon: "But then I can't imagine having joined anything as wretched as the Klan, so maybe I would have ended up a self-righteous bloviator in the US Sentate. " You are a self-righteous bloviator. And Byrd is criticizing Rice's performance as the quote above shows.

More Strange Bedfellows

I have noted before how the Bush years have lead to stranger than usual bedfellows. Now the positively loony left-wing Z magazine is carrying the columns of Paul Craig Roberts, who is usually more likely to be found at Chronicles or

Oscar time

Never mind that this lame blog is still called the "Kerry Spot." Why not just call it the "Clinton Spot" or even the "Carter Spot." Its owner, Jim Geraghty seems to think that its a big deal that Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 didn't get an Oscar Nomination. He even thinks it's a big deal that "the left" aren't up in arms over the alleged snub. "But here’s an interesting dog that isn’t barking… Michael Moore gets passed over for the big award he coveted… and the lefty bloggers aren’t up in arms. In fact, nobody on the left is talking about Moore today."
But why would they care? It would seem extremely rare to have a documentary nominated in this category. Roger L. Simon blogger, gasbag knows the real cause however:
Most who are thought of as "Hollywood" are not documentarians to begin with. They are fiction filmmakers, show people. They adopted Moore for a short while to make a point which is now fading even for them. Most people in Hollywood now see, although maybe they won't admit it, that democracy in Iraq is extremely important. For Moore, it's over.
I would have never got the connection between democracy in Iraq and Moore's Oscar hopes with out Roger Simon's help.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Johnny's Heavenly Guesthost tonight is . . .

Sadly, Johnny Carson died yesterday. In related stories, so did Bob Uecker, Joan Embry of the San Diego Zoo and Dr. Joyce Brothers.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Strange Bedfellows

Politics, in the Bush years, have made strange bedfellows. An example is found on James Bovard's underutilized blog. The libertarian who sometimes writes for The American Spectator praises the leftwing Democrat's tough questioning of Condoleeza Rice:
Condoleeza Rice was before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today for a rubber stamp confirmation hearing to be Secretary of State. Most of the senators kowtowed to her. Sen. Barbara Boxer, on the other hand, single-handedly at least temporarily redeemed the honor of the Democratic Party. Boxer hammered Rice with her false statements and contradictions on Iraq and on terrorism.

Rice looked indignant -- perhaps a bit shocked that Boxer had not been informed of Rice's pending coronation. Rice did what a Bush appointee caught in a bald-faced lie does best: get righteous. "We can have this discussion in any way that you would like, but I really hope that you will refrain from impugning my integrity," Rice told Boxer. "I really hope that you will not imply that I take the truth lightly."

Boxer was implying no such thing. Instead, Boxer was vigorously detailing how Rice stomped the hell out of the truth. And for Rice to act like some slandered virgin on the integrity front fails the laugh test.

Condi and the Klansman

When did wingers become so obsessed with race? "News"max reports: "A former Ku Klux Klansman who once vowed to keep the military segregated is single-handedly holding up the confirmation of Secretary of State-nominee Condoleezza Rice, the first African-American woman to be appointed to the office."
Michelle Malkin states: "Democratic Sen. Robert "Sheets" Byrd, past recruitment officer for the KKK and former advocate of racial segregation, has announced that he will obstruct the confirmation of the first African-American woman to be nominated to be Secretary of State."
Apparently conservatives have little faith in Condi's knowledge and skills, so they feel compelled to fall back on race and gender as her qualifications for office. "Sheets" Byrd, as Malkin so cleverly calls the West Virginia Democrat, actually treats Rice with more respect. He seems to have taken note of her performance in office, and wants her to be fully vetted by the U.S. Senate before she assumes the senior cabinet position.
Speaking of Byrd, he is the rare politician, who wrote a book worth reading.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Thoughts about Blog

Ironically, my blogging time has been seriously reduced because I am working on a review of Hugh Hewitt's Blog. The finished product will be published in an oldfashioned analog publication, but here are a couple of quick thoughts. It doesn't bolster you credibility in a book essentially announcing the death of the big media to brag on the cover that the author is a "New York Times Best-Selling Author." Also, when you pile claim upon claim upon claim about what the (right-wing) blogosphere has accomplished against the dread "MSM," one might want to provide footnotes documenting the claims.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Conspiracy theory

According to this guy the "elite media" broke the Armstrong Williams story when it did in order to distract attention from the release of the CBS investigation report.
Given the fact that the Freedom of Information Act had been invoked in relation to the Ketchum/Education Department contracts back in October, why did it take three months for the Armstrong Williams mess to come out? Because the elite media and their friends at the People for the American Way knew a storm was brewing over the CBS scandal. They held on to the Armstrong Williams story, sat on it, until it served a useful purpose for their associates in the established media at CBS. Through USA Today the story was disclosed a mere one business day before the CBS internal investigation was released, the timing for which media insiders surely knew quite well. By doing so they rationalized turning attention away from the CBS scandal.

This brings a couple of questions to mind. Wouldn't breaking the Williams story in October of last year have had the same effect when CBS could have used it more? And why would the liberal media sit on a story until January when releasing it in October of last year might have damaged the President's electoral prospects?
Bill Hobbs seems intrigued by the idea.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Hillary v. Condi

Who's the lamest pundit in America? My vote goes to Dick Morris. Morris is a political hack who worked both sides of the street until he deftly used his association with the Clintons in order to become a professional anti-Clinton fear-monger. I guess it would be tough to swallow being fired by Bill Clinton for sexual improprieties. In order to be effective, he must continually whip up fear of another Clinton presidency.
To that end, in late December 2003, he published a column in the New York Post (no longer online) stating that, "Howard Dean may turn to Hillary Rodham Clinton to be his vice presidential candidate. And, especially now that Al Gore has un-retired, Hillary might just accept. . . The Clintons have done everything they can to stop Dean's momentum. At the race's start, they sent their A Team - pollster Mark Penn and media guru Mandy Grumwald - to work for Sen. Joe Lieberman in hopes of putting one of their faithful in the winners circle."
Note his casual assumption that everyone (except himself) who ever worked for the Clintons are perpetual lackeys to be dispatched at their whim. Just a few months later, in David Horowitz's nutty Frontpage, Morris stated the following:
the demise of Howard Dean's candidacy opens the door to a Kerry/Clinton ticket in 2004. As long as Dean was favored to get the nomination, Hillary likely wasn't interested in the second slot on the ticket. With the Vermont governor almost certain to go down to a massive defeat, Hillary probably wanted no part in the ensuing carnage. But now that the Democrats have a real chance to win, it makes all kinds of sense to offer her the nomination and for her to accept it.

Of course, this flatly contradicts what he wrote the previous December. But hey, who checks these things anyway.
Now, he is talking up a 2008 matchup between Hillary Clinton and Condoleeza Rice, at Newsmax and, again at Frontpage. He cites a poll showing that many Americans believe the New York senator to be qualified to be president and winning match ups against some prominent Republicans. Big deal. A poll at this point measures little more than name recognition, but he goes on to say:
Ultimately, the only Republican who may be able to beat Hillary is Bush's nominee for secretary of state, Condeleezza Rice. Able to appeal to black and female voters without sacrificing support among whites and men, Condi could be the only figure who stands between Hillary and the White House.
And, unlike Rudy--and also unlike Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)--Condi can probably win the nomination. A social conservative who will elaborate her largely traditional views on important values issues as an inevitable part of her service as secretary of State, Rice can win primaries where Guiliani cannot and beat Hillary where neither Frist; nor Sen. George Allen, R-VA; nor Jeb Bush; nor Pataki can.
Will Condi run? It is very important that she does. But it is very important to end the Republican complaisance about a Hillary candidacy. The assumption that she is radioactive among moderates and will self-destruct is comforting but completely untrue. Hillary will be the strongest Democratic candidate since her husband ran.

This nonsense falters on several grounds. On what basis can he state that Rice will be able to appeal to black votes without alienating whites? Black conservative politicians, who are few and far between, have won by appealing to white voters in offices far below the presidency.
There is also the issue of gender. Maybe Morris hasn't noticed, but the U.S. has an unbroken record of electing men to the presidency; and usually men who have succeeded in executive/leadership positions such as governer or general. Clinton bombed as "co-president" early in her husband's first term, and salvaged a political career after public sympathy rose for her when she Stood By Her Man. Rice is an academic who has risen through appointments. On top of that, both have other handicaps. Clinton represents a region that hasn't elected a president since 1960. She would have been better off if she were a senator from either her adopted state of Arkansas or her home state of Illinois. She is also one of the most polarizing figures in American politics with a habit of making flip remarks that energize her enemies. Rice, on the other hand; is a brittle, unpleasant person who stoked bogus fears about being nuked by Saddam. The Iraq War would hang heavily on her head in 2008.
Of course, none of this matters to Dick Morris. Next month he might peddle Dan Quayle, or Rush Limbaugh or even himself as the only way to stop the Clinton Menace. When you are flexible enough to have worked for the Clintons as well as Jesse Helms and Trent Lott, I suppose it is easy to say almost anything.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Unqualified contempt

Michelle Malkin is one of the few on the right who seems to take the Armstrong Williams bribery business seriously, perhaps because people are always assuming that she is paid off as well".

Speaking of being in denial, some conservatives argue that the Pay to Pander
program is no big deal compared to the CBS scandal. The Clinton administration
did it, too, they point out. Other liberal journalists have failed to disclose
ethically suspicious payments, they steam. Excuses, excuses. I thought we on the
Right stood against such expedient moral equivalence.

There are no
shades of gray about this, friends: the Bush Education Department subsidized a
prominent minority conservative "journalist" with federal taxpayer dollars to
sell black parents on the Teddy Kennedy-inspired No Child Left Behind boondoggle
-- a program that represents the largest single expansion in federal education
spending since Jimmy Carter created the Education Department.

fiscally irresponsible, ethically challenged and possibly illegal arrangement
deserves only one thing from conservatives: unqualified contempt.

Pseudo-reality based

Sjrda Trifkovic looks at disturbing reports about the President's willingness to hear bad news, and has some good advice for a more effective U.S. foreign policy: "To deal with the terrorist threat effectively and on the basis of leadership willingly accepted by those who are led, the United States should discard the pernicious notion of its exceptionalism. But instead of realizing that the threat to America is enhanced by the policy of global hegemony, President Bush is turning that hegemony into a divinely-ordained, morally mandated, open-ended and self-justifying mission of this country for decades to come."

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

I hate "guys"

Seth Stevenson, writing in Slate analyzes the pornographic Hardee's commercials that feature young women cramming their fists or dozens of straws in their mouths to show that they are able to eat the new double thick burger. Hardee's, Mountain Dew and the various video game manufacturers; with their appeals to loutish, perpetually adolescent "guys" are only one of the reasons that I have almost abandoned commercial TV for the refuge of my favorite channel.
Real men don't eat hamburgers just to show how big their mouths are. And I don't think a director would say; "now, in this next scene, Lauren, I want you to cram your fist in your mouth."
I can only imagine what Hardee's will feature young women stuffing their in their mouths--their feet, a football, a VW Beetle--during the Superbowl.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Big hairy freakin' deal!

Is this the Tsunami that struck from Indonesia to Africa the day after Christmas a natural disaster and tragedy on a scale rarely seen, or just another chance to venilate your political prejudices? For Bill Hobbs and this guy, it seems to be just a chance to score off of their political enemies. The latter writes: "Charities controlled by billionaire ketchup heiress Teresa Heinz have pledged a relatively modest $450,000 to tsunami relief in recent days, with Mrs. Heinz explaining she prefers to keep her charitable contributions local." I don't know what she does with her money, but keeping it local seems like a good idea, especially when everyone else is rushing to give money to Tsunami victims. He adds to news that a Willie Nelson concert raised $75,000, "Big hairy freakin' deal!"
Hobbs writes:

"One of the weirder things in disaster-relief-fundraising is the
Hollwood/celebrity fundraiser or telethon. A network or a group of stars who
could individually or collectively donate millions and do it right now instead
take days or weeks to organize a concert that raises in many cases less than
they could give.
Willie Nelson raised a whopping $75,000. Big deal. He could
have quietly written a check. Or he could have called a press conference,
announced that in lieu of a concert/fundraiser, he was putting an Amazon
donations button on his website and would like for each of his fans to donate
that way, so that not one cent of their donations would go to pay the overhead
of a concert."

Now how does this guy know how much Nelson can write a check for? I know he had problems with the IRS a few years ago. Look for a hasty backtrack if Mel Gibson or Toby Keith participate in a benefit.
Steve Sailer takes Alberto Gonzales down in his column at VDare. He not only has a problem of a lax attitude towards torture, but his views on immigration are dubious. But there is also the far more serious issue of competence:

"The best you can say for Gonzales is that he's a tool. He's a classic
minion whose career over the last decade has
consisted of concocting legal rationalizations for whatever George W. Bush wants
to do."
"There is also the detail that Gonzales is flamingly inept. He recently
vetted and endorsed the now-withdrawn nomination of the gangsterish Bernie Kerik
to be Secretary of Homeland Security. But, Bush never fires anybody for
incompetence, just for independence. And that's the single sin you can be sure
Gonzales won't commit."

Of course, that seems to be what the President wants, and what he will get.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Up from poverty

No wonder, poor Armstrong Williams had to take money from the Education Dept., he only gets ten grand a speaking engagmement. Poor fella. I can't help noticing how little attention this story is drawing from people who would be outraged if the Gore adminstration was paying off, say, Al Franken. With the exceptions of Michelle Malkin and Jonah Goldberg, I haven't seen any criticsm of this on the right.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Armstrong Williams-Self Respect=$240,000

The USA Today revealed that radio and TV personality, Armstrong Williams accepted almost a quarter of a million dollars from the Bush administratio to shill, er, advocate for the No Child Left Behind act. The things they have to do to get their message past the liberal media.
Heck, for that amount of money, I would talk up the No Child Left Behind act, the Iraq War, the whole shebang.

UPDATE: How could I let someone else make the obvious Godfather parallel? Kevin Drum: "So what's the fuss, anyway? As I recall, that's sort of like how the Godfather worked too. 'We got newspaper guys on our payroll. They might like a story like that.' It's amazing how often the Bush administration reminds me of that movie.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Good News!

Thomas Sowell has a column about the media's reporting from Iraq. So far as it goes, he is right about the media's ghoulish anticipation of our 1,000th casualtie there. But most of it is the standard recitation of complaints about the failure to cover heroes (he fails to note Pat Tillman) from the war and the failure to report the "good news." I would be interested to know if this war has produced a Sgt. York or a Audie Murphy.
But the good news that Sowell recites is the usual: "Those who are busy 'honoring' the deaths of American troops in Iraq seldom have much to say about what those troops accomplished. The restoration of electricity, the re-opening of hospitals and schools, and all the other things being done to try to restore a war-devastated country get little attention, and everything that has gone wrong makes the front pages and TV news for weeks on end."
Actually, I am almost certain that I have seen mainstream media reports about such facts, but I can't say for sure since they are tangential to the real story in Iraq. I don't remember the president going before the American people 2002 and saying that we must invade Iraq inorder to update the country's crumbling infrastructure.
Part of what Sowell is engaging in is preselling the blame for defeat in Iraq. "This is the approach that gave the media their biggest triumph and ego boost - the discrediting of the war in Vietnam. More than 50,000 Americans died trying to save that country from Communist attacks. Their achievements included victories on the battlefield that were negated politically by the way the American press reported the war. In recent years, Vietnam's Communist leaders themselves have admitted that they lost that war on the ground but hung on because the American anti-war movement gave them hope that they could win it politically." Anytime I see conservatives/Republicans bringing up the media in Vietnam this way, I assume their confidence in the Bush administration's ability to prevail in Iraq is shaken, so the are finding somebody to hang the blame on: The Media, Michael Moore, the French, the Democrats, somebody.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005


I just updated my links to include several sites I have been meaning to put on, and some examples of my writing on the web, goingback to 1995. Ah, for the simple pleasures of the Clinton years.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Historical parallel

Hugh Hewitt: "The sub-head on the Los Angeles Times' front page story on the approaching Iraqi elections: "Workers and candidates risk their lives and limit their visibility." Sort of like every member of the Second Continental Congress from July of 1776 to Cornwallis' surrender at Yorktown on October 19, 1781."
Yeah, Hugh. It's exactly like that.

Still a good read.

My review of James Bovard's Terrism & Tyranny from the January, 2004 Chronicles is online. Bovard's The Bush Betrayal is worth reading also.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Good News!

The "blog of the year" proves its worth by announcing some good news from Iraq Some examples:

Over 400,000 kids have up-to-date immunizations.
School attendance is up 80% from levels before the war.
Over 4.5 million people have clean drinking water for the first time ever in Iraq.
Over 60,000 police are patrolling the streets.
Over 100,000 Iraqi civil defense police are securing the country.
Over 80,000 Iraqi soldiers are patrolling the streets side by side with US soldiers.
Over 400,000 people have telephones for the first time ever.
Girls are allowed to attend school.
The port of Uhm Qasar was renovated so grain can be off-loaded from ships faster.
The country had its first 2 billion barrel export of oil in August.

All in all, a pretty lame list. Nothing remotely balances the continuing failure to defeat the terrorist insurgency that is not only killing Americans, but Iraqi non combatants at an alarming pace. Also, since their source is some guy in the national guard, I would like see some documentation of the good news. I am especially skeptical of the claim that girls could not attend school before in Iraq, under one of the more secular regimes in the Islamic world, where, if I am not mistaken, some women have been involved in various weapons-progams under Saddam.