February 28, 2006
Weblog Post of the Year
If there was an award for best weblog post of the year Tom McMahon's would be on the short list. As a matter of fact, I'm declaring it already. It's touching, timeless, moving, and full of wisdom.
"What I Have Learned In 15 Years"
Reynolds' Bad Politics
It's important not to make the perfect the enemy of the good. Unfortunately on the school choice compromise that's what State Senator Tom Reynolds is doing. Tonight, on Jessica McBride's show on WTMJ he said he wouldn't support the compromise unless it included some indexing that would help Milwaukee property taxpayers. I wasn't sure what he meant, and even he admitted it was hard to explain.
It's good to be on the constant defense for taxpayers. Madison has too few representatives who do that, but the school choice bill isn't the time or the place. It's a toss-up on whether the State Senate will pass the bill. Governor Doyle has done nothing to get Democrats on board. The only Democrat who has said he'll vote for the bill is Jeff Plale.
Last night, McBride wrote,
He might be right on it in principle. But adding bells and whistles into the choice compromise could doom it. Other Republicans are telling me that this amendment is highly unlikely to pass the Senate (as indicated by the vote today in committee), and that it would likely doom the choice compromise in the Assembly, where rural Republicans feel they can't risk being seen as funneling more money to Milwaukee.
If this bill fails to pass and get signed by Doyle because of Reynolds he can kiss goodbye any chance of examining his school funding concerns. Politics involves compromise (especially when margins are this slim). Politics also involves payback. If Reynolds kills lifting the caps there will be a price he'll have to pay.
I'll echo McBride, "Get this compromise through first."
TPA Public Hearing Tomorrow
Tomorrow there is an important public meeting in Pewaukee on the Taxpayer Protection Amendment. Here are the details provided to me by Americans for Prosperity:
Who: Senate Select Committee on Taxpayer Protection Amendmentand Assembly Committee on Ways and Means
Expect public employee unions, teacher unions, and those that refuse to believe local government can restrain its spending. Defenders of taxpayers' pocketbooks need to come out in force.
Owen Robinson will be there. I won't, but I'll be there in spirit.
The MSM, the Olympics, and the War
Robert Byers at Watchman's Words compares the Winter Olympics coverage to that of the Iraq War. Here's a portion:
The Olympics coverage didn't have the same knee-jerk opposition that the war does, but it did display the same lack of historical perspective and sense of balance that have marked the media's coverage of the War on Terror, and the war in Iraq in particular.
"Media Disconnect: The Winter Olympics and the War on Terror"
More on Cheney Resignation
James Joyner doubts the Cheney rumor because
if the rationale for dumping Cheney is that he is a political liability, then why wait until after the only remaining election that directly impacts this president? The GOP could certainly use a boost to help ensure that it retains a majority in both Houses of Congress. Whatever buzz a new vice president would generate--and even a historic double like Condi Rice would generate only limited buzz--would long have dissipated by November 2008.
"Cheney to Resign after Midterm Elections?"
Waste of Time
White House correspondents like David Gregory think they're being made foolish by right wing spinners and an administration that considers the media as another special interest:
David Gregory, the NBC correspondent who has been among the most ardent questioners in the briefing room, apologized for yelling at Mr. McClellan over the Cheney incident but said the situation had become particularly frustrating.
One-time Clinton press secretary Mike McCurry wishes he never made the daily White House briefing a televised event, but current press secretary Scott McClellan has no desire to end the
Porn Star's Wine is Good...Really
Natalie Oliveros, AKA porn star Savanna Samson, made a wine so good it impressed wine critic Robert M. Parker.
"It's a very fine wine — awfully good," Mr. Parker said by telephone. "It was really opulent and luscious and it had a personality."
I don't think Savanna serviced Parker to get that review.
I'd make another joke, but I'll leave that to someone much more more qualified.
Savanna is also an author as well as a winemaker. If she wrote the book that is.
Charlie's Show Prep #54
February 27, 2006
Lying about an Unprovable Crime
Here's more evidence Scooter Libby is being Martha Stewart'ed: he's being prosecuted for lying about a crime the prosecution can't prove. This from Byron York:
CIA leak prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald argued at a hearing Friday that, as far as the perjury charges against former Cheney chief of staff Lewis Libby are concerned, it does not matter whether or not Valerie Wilson was a covert CIA agent when she was mentioned in the famous Robert Novak column of July 14, 2003. "We're trying a perjury case," Fitzgerald told Judge Reggie Walton. Even if Plame had never worked for the CIA at all, Fitzgerald continued — even if she had been simply mistaken for a CIA agent — the charges against Libby would still stand. In addition, Fitzgerald said, he does not intend to offer "any proof of actual damage" caused by the disclosure of Wilson's identity.
Michael Joyce: a Tribute
When National Review's John Miller wrote A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America it gave him the opportunity to talk at length with Michael Joyce who ran the Olin Foundation before moving to the Bradley Foundation. Miller briefly collects a few of Joyce's accomplishments.
To have a glimpse into Joyce's influential mind I found this essay "On Self-Government" which attacks the progressive liberal project of the 20th Century. He concludes:
And so today, when progressivism says to us that there is no nature’s God, and so no divinely inscribed "self-evident truths" in the human soul, let us reply that without such truths, there is no sure foundation for human freedom and self-government. When progressivism insists that the human being is utterly free to create or express himself without limits, let us reply that "there can be no moral freedom without moral responsibility and accountability," and no political freedom without civic virtue. When progressivism insists that family, neighborhood, church, and voluntary association are parochial and repressive constraints on our self-expression, let us reply that only through such institutions can we as free people "exist, develop, and seek the higheer purposes of life in concert with others," and come to a proper understanding and practice of self-government.
Still a Snob
The JB Van Hollen campaign just "informed" me JB has a weblog. Obviously my e-mail address is on one of their media/weblogger lists and no one checked to see I already commented on the weblog. Nothing like an impersonal e-mail to make a weblogger feel special.
To be an equal-opportunity snob (since I have no horse in the state Attorney General race) Paul Bucher's weblog doesn't have permalinks to individual posts and no post authors listed. If I were interested in a post I'd like to directly link to it. And I'd like to know who wrote the post. If it was Paul, great. If it was a staffer, fine. I just want to put a name to the words. Another negative is many posts are squeezed together. The design reminds me of the first version of TAM when I hand coded it and uploaded it to Angelfire every night.
Bucher makes up for the weblog with CatchandReleaseKate.com. The concept is well thought out and it's substantial enough to be more than an online cheap shot.
Charlie's Show Prep #53
Late Night Munchies
My late night hunger pangs kicked in. It's time for a tuna fish sandwich. My standard recipe is tuna fish and Miracle Whip. I raided the pantry and fridge tonight. The sweet pickle relish has an unnatural green color (probably irradiated with gamma rays), but it's sweet and crunchy, the reason it's in there. The cayanne and Tobasco give it a nice kick. What this sandwich needs is white bread. The wheat bread I'm using doesn't have the unhealthy, soft comfort food goodness that would make it perfect. It can't be too bad. I've swallowed two sandwiches before I finished this post.
February 26, 2006
Somebody Better Check Their Bot
Adding this humble weblog to this list of "The Best Global Sites XXX" will help my traffic but not do a thing for those in need of a little carnal stimulation.
Wicked yet funny.
"Michael Jackson’s Favorite Comic?"
February 25, 2006
Call me a weblog snob. When someone like J.B. Van Hollen is running for statewide office and their weblog is on BlogSpot I think a few things: 1) they haven't thought much about weblogs and wanted to get something up to make it appear they "get it;" 2) they're too cheap to integrate the weblog with the rest of their website which means they either have money problems or care more about tv and radio ads than an online strategy.
There are a few big-time webloggers who have used BlogSpot for a long time. With my experience using it as a member of the Badger Blog Alliance I have to think Google has set it up so they don't have the same problems as ordinary, peon webloggers. Free places like BlogSpot are good ways to get your feet wet in the wild world of weblogging but serious people should move far away from it as fast as possible.
Getting Fit the Leonardo Way
Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code jumped the shark when so many people thought much of what's inside the book to be true that the Vatican had to assign an archbishop to rebut the book. In a few months the book finally comes out in paperback and the movie starring Tom Hanks will be in theaters.
In his desparate attempt at a marketing hook Joseph Mullen put out The Da Vinci Fitness Code. With it you will have "the exact fitness and exercise guidance to get into your best shape, and to achieve maximum fitness and health in minimum time." And it can be done by working out once every four days. Going through Mullen's life story of how a "skinny and self-conscious" boy became contest judge handing out titles like "New England's Strongest Man," "East Coast's Strongest Man," and "New England Arm Wrestling Champion" I felt I was missing something. Oh yeah, Leonardo da Vinci. He got left out of the story. No mention of the artist, Jesus, the Holy Grail, or a Catholic conspiracy to keep Americans flabby. Hell, I would have given Mullen a pass had he at least mentioned Dan Brown or Opus Dei. Such a let down.
The sole Amazon.com review of the book is a doozy:
Has no value whatsoever Tells you little to nothing, no charts, programs, a rambling collections of useless information. save your money, I would like mine back.
He gets to the point and without all that proper punctuation getting in the way.
February 24, 2006
BlackBerry Addicts Safe for Now
A judge hasn't forced RIM to shut down its BlackBerry service yet. Darn, I wanted to see what effects it would have on crackberry addicts. I'm envisioning shortness of breath, indigestion, headaches, nausea, and a wave of Treo and Sidekick thefts.
"Judge Declines to Shut Down BlackBerry"
Althouse at Rehnquist Conference
I was so tempted to take yesterday off and hear Justice Scalia, but I really need to be able to afford my trips to D.C. and Arizona (less than two weeks away!). Ann Althouse was there, took notes, and let us know that someday speeches from the program will shown on C-SPAN.
"At the Rehnquist Conference"
A Sense of Calm in Iraq
Curfews in Baghdad have kept people off the streets and have tapped down violence. Friday is often a day when Iraqis go to their mosques then protest after being rallied by imams. Not today. That doesn't mean the threat of religious violence (or "tribal anarchy" to use Lee Harris' chilling words) has passed. It is probably still simmering below the surface. Mohammed @ Iraq the Model is cautiously opptimistic. It's a "good thing is that the Sunni have not returned the attacks and I hope the Shia have satisfied their vengeance by now because I don't want to even think of what can happen if this situation lasts longer than this."
For now, we wait. We wait for the curfews to be lifted and for people to come out of their homes and publically gather. Now is the time to pray for Iraq and our troops in their midst.
"Iraqi Religious Leaders Call for Peace"
Charlie's Show Prep #52
February 23, 2006
A Pet Peeve
It's bugged me when I go to a weblog linked by Glenn Reynolds only to find "Welcome Instapundit readers." I thought, "Act like you've done it before." Kevin Aylward had the guts to say it. I'm just the tag-along.
"Our Baby Is Growing Up..."
When Wackos Strike
Some anti-war protesters didn't think Sen. Herb Kohl is pure enough:
The activists asked Kohl to endorse a timetable for troops to withdraw from Iraq as fellow Democratic Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold has done. They also called on Kohl to vote against a supplemental spending bill that includes about $72 billion more for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"The Extreme Left vs. The Left"
#1 Difference Between Walker & Green
Scott Walker correctly points out the biggest difference between Rep. Mark Green and himself is on ethanol:
The biggest philosophical difference between the two of us is on the ethanol mandate. While I support farmers (I grew up in a rural town and my mother was born and raised on a farm), I don't support mandates. Incentives are great, but don't mandate the type of gas that we must use in Wisconsin.
Especially in Southeast Wisconsin this issue will hurt Green. With his strange understanding of monopoly I worry if the Congressman will be able to effectively advocate sound, pro-growth, conservative economic policy. On ethanol Walker beats him hands down. Let's see if he can turn that into a real advantage.
Owen Robinson checked the State Senate calendar and saw "no Ethanol on it."
"WTMJ AM 620 Success"
Senators Bloviate on Ports Deal
Senators got their first chance to grill Bush administration officials about the Dubai Ports World deal. If Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) is any indication demogoguery was the name of the game:
Brushing aside Bush's assurances, Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, the panel's ranking Democrat, said the UAE backed the Taliban and allowed financial support for al-Qaida. Levin also charged that the UAE has an "uneven history" as "one of only a handful of countries in the world to recognize the Taliban regime in Afghanistan." He added that millions of dollars in al-Qaida funds went through UAE financial institutions.
Lots of work on the Sep. 11 attacks took place in Germany. Levin's not calling for ending economic relations with them. Terrorists learned how to fly airplanes in Florida and California. There's no call to boot those two states out of the union for being soft on terrorism.
If doing business with the United Arab Emirates is such a threat to national security then why didn't anyone make a stink when the administration began free trade talks with the nation? Do opponents actually think the UAE would go along with an agreement that would open their markets but bar their companies from operating in the U.S.?
Thomas Barnett thinks opponents of the deal should be embarassed:
After lecturing the Europeans over the cartoon flap, it's awfully weird to watch the paranoia, racism, and pure political nonsense at work on the proposed purchase of a British port-managing firm by a Dubai corporation.
On the GOP's tough talk, Chris Nolan adds:
But what do you expect from a Republican party that welcomes a woman who calls Arabs "rag heads" and justifies her "joke" as retaliation for the World Trade Center bombings?
I'm cringing because she's right.
To get a good sense that the UAE is ok listen to the latest Glenn and Helen podcast featuring Austin Bay and Jim Dunnigan.
"Senators Say Ports Deal Raises Risks"
Iraqi Sectarian Violence
Pulling people out of cars and shooting them mark a low point in my hopes for a free Iraq.
Muqtada al-Sadr has raised his ugly head by blaming the government for his powerlessness. "If the government had real sovereignty, then nothing like this would have happened. Brothers in the Mahdi Army must protect all Shiite shrines and mosques, especially in Samara." His lack of support in backing the government has a lot to do with it. Mohammed at Iraq the Model reports, "In our neighborhood the Sadr militias seized the local mosque and broadcast Shia religious mourning songs from the mosques loudspeakers."
Omar at ItM thinks "foreign terror groups" were behind the attack on the Samarra mosque. UK Foreign Minister Jack Straw said, "al-Zarqawi and al-Qaida have been linked as it has the hallmarks of their nihilism."
"Dozens Slain in Iraq Sectarian Violence"
"Iraq Sunni Clerics Blame Shi'ite Clerics for Unrest"
Charlie's Show Prep #51
February 22, 2006
Conservatives in Favor of the Ports Deal
At On Tap Marshall Manson wants us to "stop being paranoid and start acting like Americans." There's plenty of good discussion there.
Little Miss Attila agrees with me (I always like that) that opponents of the deal haven't made their case yet. However, a commenter offers a pretty good hypothetical problem. It sure beats the "Arab=bad" meme that's infected too many webloggers.
I'm solidly in the "convince me" camp. Give me some instances of Dubai Ports World helping terrorists or having major security problems. I want evidence to demonstrate the deal is bad for the nation.
UPDATE: Add John Cross to the list. He was in the UAE at one time. What I'm finding is those with experience with that nation have a positive view. That's telling. The lesson might be some people need to get out more before going all knee-jerk.
McBride and Ports Issue
Jessica McBride refuses to look at the Dubai Ports World deal on its face. She imposes a politics template on it:
HUH? I just don't get it. Reminds me of the Harriet Miers' nomination. I didn't get that one either. How can Bush be so tone deaf on this. Worse, he's allowing the likes of Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton to move to the right of him on a terrorism issue. He's actually allowing the Dems to look tougher than he is on national security (something they've been unable to do in issue after issue), because the average person doesn't get this.
She offers nothing as to why DPW would be a security threat. Maybe if she offers some information the "average person" might "get" it and support it. Maybe if opponents offer something of substance I will join their opposition. All I'm seeing are people scared of an Arab [GASP!] company doing business in the U.S.
"Bush and Port Issue"
Walker vs. Green I
Charlie Sykes did very well by hosting the first on-air debate between Rep. Mark Green and Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker. Through much of the debate/discussion I couldn't see glaring differences between the two. Both are conservatives, generally, want to lower taxes and get government off our backs. For conservatives and Republicans trying to figure out who to support the ability to win is the most important criteria. Walker can tell us all he wants that he's been attacked by Doyle flunkies for years the ad put out by the Greater Wisconsin Committee means Green is the front-runner. Polls give him the lead and his support is more state-wide.
Still, there is one big difference between the two: ethanol. Walker won't mandate that gasoline contain 10% ethanol while Green would consider it as long as it didn't burden business. But that's exactly what mandates do. Green worries about our gasoline dollars funding terrorists. If consumers are so concerned about that then they'll consider that at the gas pump. A state mandate rips away that ability to choose. It takes away people's self-govenance. Ironically Green later said he opposed smoking bans in bars and resturants because people have free will. So he thinks they can make decisions about second-hand smoke but can't for what they put in their cars.
I harp on ethanol because Walker and Green are very similar. They both want to cut taxes, control spending, and improve Wisconsin's business climate. Either man will be a much, much better governor than Jim Doyle.
Gov. Doyle, being a wimp, didn't bother to accept Sykes' invitation. I guess he didn't want to be on the same stage as the man who will replace him.
Charlie's Show Prep #50
UPDATE: Silly me. Charlie Sykes has been a little busy today.
February 21, 2006
Bush Standing Firm on Ports Deal
I "misunderestimated" my President. He won't cave on letting Dubai Ports World run six U.S. ports. He even threatened to veto Congress' attempt to stop it. That would be his first veto ever. He told reporters it isn't about politics, it's about policy. More telling is his concern about "mixed messages:"
And the message is, it's okay for a British company, but a Middle Eastern company -- maybe we ought not to deal the same way. It's a mixed message.
At the White House Bush said,
[Dubai Ports World] is a company that has played by the rules, has been cooperative with the United States, from a country that's an ally on the war on terror, and it would send a terrible signal to friends and allies not to let this transaction go through.
Bush pretty much called opponents anti-Arab. And since I've seen nothing substantial from opponents I think the President is right. The best New Jersey Governor John Corzine could offer was a "deep, deep feeling this is the wrong direction for our nation to take."
Let's step away from all the posturing. This is a payoff to the United Arab Emirates for being an ally in the Islamist War. In the Middle East we need as many friends as we can get. Plus, connecting the region into the Core is vital for U.S. security. Hopefully the administration will be watching Dubai Ports World closely just to assuage concerns. Opponents of the ports deal will have to find something of substance, a pattern of security lapses for example, to kill the deal.
"Bush Shrugs Off Objections to Port Deal"
UPDATE II: Kevin @ Lakeshore Laments isn't troubled by the deal. He bases it on real-world experience, something most bloviators have little of. Both he and Bryan Preston @ JunkYardBlog are freaked Jimmy Carter came out for it.
Speak #2 Show Notes
Speak #2, 02.21.2006
This show is made up of interviews I took from the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C. Politics and books were the themes.
Leave comments or e-mails on the sound/content quality. I'm impressed that all I used was an iRiver iFP-780 and a cheap PC mic. Like I said in the podcast I'm looking for easier software to make podcasts, but maybe I just have to get more comfortable using Audacity.
UPDATE: With the Instapundit link (thanks, Glenn) I'll have to get moving on the next show. Well, the teaser is it will be featuring a former Speaker of the House. Expect it sometime next week.
Charlie's Show Prep #49
Carnival of the Capitalists
Lots of capitalist goodness at The Stalwart.
February 20, 2006
Eight is Enough
Because of legal struggles and the loud, consistent outcry that users don't have enough choice in their operating systems Microsoft will release eight different versions of Windows Vista.
Victor Agreda, Jr. at Download Squad writes,
It is true that Windows offers choice for the consumer. You aren't locked into a music player like iTunes, and you now have 8 flavors of Vista goodness to choose from. But perhaps there is a such a thing as too much choice?
I thought "choice" was inherently good. The more choice the better. That's why the ultra-configurable Linux is crushing all opponents in the OS market.
Oh, wait. It isn't.
That's because "choice" in and of itself isn't what many computer users want in an OS. What users want is software that lets them do what they want to do as easily as possible. When looking at the combination of interoperablilty and ease of use Windows wins for many people. It's not perfect, and for many uses it's quite inferior, but it gets the job done for millions.
What Microsoft did with Windows was put together a software package that offered a lot of compatibility and features. More importantly they built a platform for third-parties to write software.
All the talk about Microsoft being an evil monopolists was fluff anyway. No one, not Bill Gates or Steve Balmer put a gun to anyone's head and made them use Windows. It was mainly griping from fallen competitors and users who crave the Platonic ideal of operating systems.
With Apple revitalized and drawing excitement with their Intel-powered computers (I'm waiting for $1000 iBook) and Linux geeks continuing to make that OS more user friendly we have a thriving, innovative OS market.
"The 8 Faces of Windows Vista"
Iraq in Nato
Big strategic news from Iraq:
The senior advisor in the Iraqi defense ministry Mohammed al-Askari told the press today that the ministry is looking forward to seeing Iraq become a member of the NATO and that the minister Sa'doun al-Dulaimi, the chief of staff and the higher commanders are planning to propose this plan to the new government once it's seated.
I say the more the merrier.
How would anti-war Democrats react?
Charlie's Show Prep #48
I knew that stalker sneaking around my house looked familiar.
February 19, 2006
Ann Coulter Syndrome
In response to a report that a Dubai company will help run a number of ports in New York a few webloggers went goofy about how there will be a huge hole in homeland security and how we shouldn't trust anything having to do with "those Arabs." It's sad when smart people get into knee-jerk mode. Then end up looking a little like Ann Coulter who treats Muslims as one big, monolithic, think-alike, act-alike group.
Captain Ed calls Dubai Ports World getting permission to help operate "the cruise-ship terminal on the West Side of Manhattan, one of the biggest cargo terminals in New York Harbor, and terminals in Philadelphia, Baltimore and other big ports" "surrender of port management to Arab-based firms." He then picks out some passages from the Sep. 11 Commission's report (the same report he has justly bashed for not including anything about Able Danger) that mentions the United Arab Emirates. Well, a few of the Sep. 11 terrorists used Frankfurt, Germany to organize their attacks, yet we still allow German firms to do business in the U.S. Could it be Captain Ed is afraid simply because Dubai Ports World is run by Arabs? I would hope that isn't the case. He needs to clarify what his concerns are.
Along with the "evil Arab" argument I reject Sen. Barbara Boxer's belief that "We have to have American companies running our own ports." I guess that means we should be dumping Canadian wood products, Sony televisions, Norwegian cell phones, Hong Kong textiles, British and German financial services, Indian tech support, and a host of foreign goods and services. Yes, economic nationalism will lead to national security. It sure worked in the span between the two World Wars.
My claim isn't that the Dubai World Ports deal is a good idea. It's that opponents' arguments have been flimsy.
Judith Apter Klinghoffer makes a far better case of the problem:
All companies should not be treated alike. State owned or controlled companies must be treated differently. Pretending that private companies located in tyrannies are independent, is bad enough. Treating a government controlled Chinese oil company or Port service company owned by Dubai as mere businesses is absurd. Profits motivate businesses. Geopolitical strategy motivates governments and, ultimately, the businesses they control.
UPDATE: For what it's worth I predict the deal will go down. Congress will investigate, and both Democrats and Republicans will have something to agree on for once. There will be plenty of bloviating and the administration will change its mind.
"Stop the Port Sellout"
"Despite Fears, a Dubai Company Will Help Run Ports in New York"
February 18, 2006
A $600-700 PlayStation 3 is dead on arrival. If that's Sony's starting price kiss their video game console kingdom goodbye. About the only way I'd consider forking over that much money for a game machine is if there was a way to shunt it directly into my brain. If you own Sony shares sell, sell, sell then sell short.
Pick Your Poison
I'll take -20 weather over massive mudslides anytime. My prayers are with the Philippino victims.
"Philippine Rescue Crews Hope for Miracle"
Smaller Local Government in Name Only
On shrinking local government Jessica McBride worries:
If we can't get government officials to adhere to the conservative principle of smaller government in the most conservative county [Waukesha] in this state, we are in big trouble.
It's not just her neck of the woods. Washington County, arguably as conservative as Waukesha, won't ditch a sales tax.
"The Bloated Waukesha County Board: It Takes a Lot to Support those 35 Supervisors"
February 17, 2006
Game Show Nightmare
Ken Jennings this guy ain't.
Reading the incident report on Vice President Dick Cheney's hunting accident reinforces my belief that some nefarious plot took place last Saturday night.
The delay in Cheney talking to local police is due to Kenedy County Sheriff Ramon Salinas realizing the accident was just that and ordered a deputy to the Armstrong Ranch the next morning. If there was a cover-up why did the Secret Service call Sheriff Salinas again asking if a deputy would be coming out Saturday night?
In the incident report Vice President Cheney told a deputy he thought Harry Whittington was "approximately 30 yards" from him. After watching this video that probably wasn't the case. Call me a schill for the Bushies but a reasonable explanation is Cheney's bad at estimating distance. I'm bad at it. I know I could call 30 feet 30 yards.
Ultimately the biggest problem of any conspiracy and cover-up is too many people have to keep quiet. In this case the hunting party, the ranch owners, the Secret Service, the local sheriff, and hospitals where Whittington was treated all have to be on it.
"Debunking Cheneygate Myths"
Beware of the Red Marching Hordes
New Bond Girl
I approve (even though she is French).
"French Actress Eva Green Is New Bond Girl"
Charlie's Show Prep #47
February 16, 2006
Kofi: Close Your Hole
I agree with Kofi Annan. We should close down Gitmo. Pack all the prisoners and personel, load them onto planes, and move them into the U.N building along the East River in New York. They can turn Annan's office into the main interrogation room. Then I'd like to see how Annan feels.
"Annan Says U.S. Should Close Gitmo Prison"
Got Your Mojo?
A Fort Meyers, FL newspaper employs "mobile journalists" or "mojos" to teach readers how to gather hyper-local news for the paper's website.
It's a great idea that is boosting online traffic. But what happens when the two mobile journalists are sick on the same day? How can the News-Press survive without its mojo?
[You may begin the groaning now.]
Someone call Austin Powers.
"The Multimedia Reporter"
Secret Earmark Meeting
American for Prosperity sources say a secret meeting of the Appropriations Committee Task Force on Earmark Reform may be happening even as we speak. Why are they hiding? What are they doing behind our backs to "reform" earmarks that bloat an already huge federal budget? The GOP better get its act together. Pissing off the base is the path to defeat in November.
Ann Althouse's snow pictures make mine look like those made by a six-year old given his first Polaroid camera.
The idea that Vice President Cheney would resign or be booted from the administration over a hunting accident is crazy. I don't care if a smart person like Virginia Postrel thinks that way. So I'm going to pretty much ignore the talk even though I'm amazed at how the story moved from "Cheney accidentally shoots a man" to "Cheney must go."
Still there is something interesting. Jim Geraghty wonders who would replace Cheney if he were to resign. With that decision President Bush could immediately sort out who had the inside track to the GOP nomination in 2004. It would also give a strong hint of what he wants his legacy to be. If Bush picked Rudy Giuliani it would mean fighting the Islamists and terrorism. If Sen. Sam Brownback were picked it would mean social conservatism would be what he'd want to be remembered for.
Here are some interesting choices:
"Peggy Noonan's Fun Thought Exercise: Who Would Replace Cheney?"
Congress Gets Free Porn
Larry Flynt is a very weird man.
"How Representative Can They Be If They All Turn Down Free Porn?"
Blast from the Past
Dana Milbank's hunter gear is just part of a MSM tradition.
Don't worry about me being trapped in my home during the storm. I've got some food to keep me alive.
There'll be no version of Alive here.
Don't forget to
Imagine Chavez with the Bomb
Iran and Venezuela signed a document that read in part:
We condemn the making, development and accumulation of nuclear arms, (and) we ratify the right of all countries to make peaceful use of nuclear energy.
Of course we should believe them because they have such stable leaders running their free nations.
The only thing worse than Iranian president Ahmadinejad having a nuke is Hugo Chavez with one.
"Iran Open to Helping Venezuela Nuclear Program"
Now I Know How NYC Felt
What was I thinking?
Theoretically I was to work this morning. I went through my normal preparations, brushed off my car, and got on the highway. From my house it looked like traffic was moving fine. Only when I started zooming south did I notice visibility was less than one-quarter of a mile with snow blowing all around me. After pulling over at the first exit I called it to let the boss know I wouldn't be coming in. He told me everything was fine down there (30 miles away), just rain.
So I turned around and came back home, slip sliding all the way. A little shoveling was done when I heard of all things thunder. Thunder during a snow storm. I've lived in Wisconsin's winter wonderland almost my entire life, and I've never heard thunder during a snowstorm. Snow is now coming down at about one inch per minute. Our wimpy winter has gone the way of the dodo.
Mother Nature has giving me a free day. Hmm... what to do? My only real priority is to move some snow around. The rest is up to me. One thing I can do is get a good start into Glenn Reynolds' new book An Army of Davids.
UPDATE: It's 52 degrees in New York City! Get some of that over here.
There are more pictures below the fold.
One of the most dramatic moments in the 12 hours of recordings comes when Saddam predicts — during a meeting in the mid 1990s — a terrorist attack on the United States. "Terrorism is coming. I told the Americans a long time before August 2 and told the British as well … that in the future there will be terrorism with weapons of mass destruction." Saddam goes on to say such attacks would be difficult to stop. "In the future, what would prevent a booby-trapped car causing a nuclear explosion in Washington or a germ or a chemical one?" But he adds that Iraq would never do such a thing. "This is coming, this story is coming but not from Iraq."Those chilling words came from a man who used chemical weapons on defenseless Kurds. The monster had a track record joking addition aside. Saddam with WMD in a post-Sep. 11 world was unacceptable. Whether he had them or not, he certainly acted like he did.
"EXCLUSIVE: The Secret Tapes -- Inside Saddam's Palace"
Featured on Insta-Podcast
The latest Glenn & Helen Show includes an interview with yours truly. I probably burned some bridges by not being pure enough on the immigration issue. Too bad. Other CPAC webloggers as well as some guy named Bill Frist is also on the show.
Charlie's Show Prep #46
February 15, 2006
The "Raghead" Saga Continues
Talking about Ann "Raghead" Coulter is almost boring, but reaction is still coming in:
Offical Talks of Saddam's Terrorist Connections and WMD
Ali Ibrahim al-Tikriti was a regional commander in Saddam's Iraq in the late 1980s. In an interview he claims Saddam gave "logistical and some material support" to Palestinian terrorist groups, "provided Al-Qaeda with intelligence support and whatever money or munitions they could provide," and had a plan to hid his WMD in Syria to "embarrass the West."
We know Saddam supported Palestinian bombers. Stephen Hayes' work has made a good case Saddam's Iraq was knee-deep with lots of terrorists. I'm skeptical of the claim Saddam's WMD are in Syria. It's too pat. Plus, I don't buy Ibrahim al-Tikriti's claim that the plan was around since the 1980s. Saddam had no fear of invasion by the West until he invaded Kuwait in 1991. Simpler explanations are Saddam made himself appear tougher by acting like he had WMD, or he was fooled by his underlings into believing he possessed them.
Sherman Goes to Houston
Ex-Packers coach Mike Sherman didn't get another head coaching gig but will be an assistant to Houston Texans head coach Gary Kubiak.
The Packers still have to pay the rest of his two-year $6.4 million extension they have him last year minus anything anything the Texans pay him.
"Sherman Takes Job with Texans"
Charlie's Show Prep #45
February 14, 2006
With the Wonkettes at a Watering Hole
Another CPAC means another TAM mention on Wonkette. There was no reference to me and a**f**king. (Although it is mentioned in the post.) One-half of Wonkette, Alex Pareene probably thinks I'm a bible thumper. At the
At least this time Wonkette didn't call me a "nerd."
"CPAC-ing Heat: Wonkette Gets Drunk With Right-Wingers"
Someone Tell PETA
Work on a Kos commercial is underway:
We need people for the commercial, people who look like the Democratic Party -- workers in hard hats, moms with kids, men and women in business suits, hippies, young and old, all colors, enviro types, college professors, young women, someone in a wheelchair, etc.
Ok, so the donkey's safe. It's the cast that's being exploited:
You'd get paid $1. [Will it be a shiny, politically correct Sacagawea coin?] But I'll get a personalized signed book to everyone who is in the commercial. You'll also get fed. And I suspect it'll be fun hanging out and chatting. I'll be there most of the day.
You'd have to pay me a lot to endure listening to Markos "Screw Them" Moulitsas.
Markos better be in the commercial. I've never seen an ass pull (or kick) another ass before. I wonder how much CGI they'll use to pull that trick? It should give Lord of the Rings a run for its money.
"Let Me Get this Straight - Your Book Ad features Someone Kicking a Donkey?"
The Brady's Poor Sense of Humor
Here's supposedly what James and Sarah Brady (of Brady Bill fame) said about the "Cheney's Got a Gun" incident:
James and Sarah Brady made comments today related to Vice President Cheney's reportedly accidental shooting yesterday in Texas.
I say "supposedly" because it has to be a joke. What person with a modicum of P.R. sense would let such insulting drivel be released? In no way does it advance the (incorrect) agenda of gun control and only serves to inflame your opponents.
But it's not a joke:
Sarah and Jim Brady, founders of a leading gun control group, had sharp comments for Vice President Dick Cheney as news of his weekend hunting mishap spread.
Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms executive director Joe Waldron said, "[The Bradys] have raised dancing in blood to a fine art."
Charlie's Show Prep #44
That's what Mary Jo Kopechne would think.
Get your's now.
February 13, 2006
More Ann Coulter Reaction
Here are two more reactions to Ann Coulter's "raghead" remark:
The Pioneers. Lakeshore Laments (http://www.lakeshorelaments.com/), the American Mind (http://www.theamericanmind. com/), Tom McMahon (http://www.tommcmahon.net/wisconsin/ index.html), Badger Blogger (http://badgerblogger.com/), and Jiblog (http://jiblog.blogspot.com/) were doing this a heck of a lot longer than the rest of us. They’re thought provoking. They are the true pioneers.
"Blog on for Fresh Insights"
Charlie's Show Prep #43
Back in Wisconsin means it's back to the grind. No offense, Charlie.
February 12, 2006
TAM on The Corner
TAM gets Jonah Goldberg's attention, and he comments on Ann Coulter's big mouth.
Beware of Cheney with a Gun
A long-time Texas Republican got between Vice President Dick Cheney and some quail.
Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot and wounded a companion during a weekend quail hunting trip in Texas, spraying the fellow hunter in the face and chest with shotgun pellets.
The only more dangerous place to be is between Sen. Russ Feingold and a microphone.
"Cheney Accidentally Shoots Fellow Hunter"
Shaking the Cob Webs Out of My Head
Three pitchers of margaritas and good talk makes for a really slow time getting out of bed. One thing to remember about CPAC: there may be plenty of conservatives but not all of them are conservative.
I'm heading back to Wisconsin this afternoon.
February 11, 2006
Reaction to Ann
Staff breaking down the exhibition hall kicked me out. Then they proceded to take a break. Gotta love those unions.
Anyway, here are some replies to the blizzard of comments people left on my post "ragging" on Ann Coulter:
To sum it up: I don't resort to the same rhetoric of my uncivilized opponents... and Islamist terrorists.
One funny, funny (yes, I do have a sense of humor) response came from Robert McClelland:
Ah, dear Ann Coulter. She reminds me of an aging porn star who, as her beauty fades, must resort to increasingly depraved sexual acts in order to turn a buck.
I finally show up for the final day of CPAC and everyone is leaving:
But the webloggers are still toiling away:
As is Cam Edwards and NRANews.com:
The Perfect Storm
It's amazing who will link to you when you point out Ann Coulter's ridiculous remarks. Lucianne.com, Instapundit, PoliPundit.com, Hit & Run, even Total Fark are some who linked to this post. My stats are going through the roof, and it's a Saturday.
I hope the web storm goes better than the snow storm almost on top of me in D.C. No driving for me so that's a relief.
February 10, 2006
Killer Mom Gets 2 1/2 Years in Jail
What a downer:
A woman whose newborn daughter died after a home birth into a toilet has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison.
Should we be shocked? It's legal to kill a child in the womb. It's legal to partially give birth to a child and then kill him. So it's not a surprise this
Ann, Thanks for Nothing
With Ann Coulter you should only expect a bad stand-up comedian with a conservative schtick. That's what CPAC attendees got today. My expectations were low, yet she proceded to go below them. She referred to Muslims as "ragheads." She went farther than calling for Justice John Paul Stevens to be poisoned. Muhammad is depicted as a historic law-giver on one of the court's frieses. Coulter wanted Muslims informed so they would burn down the Supreme Court. But just before that happened someone would call Justices Roberts, Scalia, Alito, Thomas, and Kennedy. She's right when she said, "Our ideas ought to win." Too bad for Ann she doesn't offer any. Bad jokes sell books (unfortunately); they don't persuade voters.
UPDATE: The reaction to Coulter from CPAC webloggers has been negative. Tom Bridge is "going to go be ill." Her words don't help the conservative movement at all. Ryan Sager posted the entire "raghead" quote.
UPDATE II: Jeff Harrell wrote a letter to Ann. Add my name to the bottom.
I wish I wrote satire because Wayne Gretzky being wiretapped by the NSA could make a funny piece.
"Wayne Gretzky Mum About Wiretap Talks"
No Bills No Pay
Sen. George Allen wants Congressmen not to get paid if they can't get spending bills passed on time. Ed Frank of Americans for Prosperity writes,
I'm an Allen fan, but it seems to me that the problem isn't that spending bills aren't getting passed quickly enough - it's that they're too large. And the threat of not getting paid seems like it would lead to LESS discipline - not more. I'd rather have Senators fight it out for spending restraint rather than vote for a bad bill so they can get paid.
"Sen. Allen: Withhold Congressional Pay?"
Actions Not Words
Gov. Jim Doyle would sacrifice unborn humans for Wisconsin jobs.
Wisconsin, Doyle said, is a leader in research on the medical benefits of stem cells, which carries strong potential for commercial application in the pharmaceutical industry.
Last year, Doyle vetoed a bill banning human cloning. It would hurt Wisconsin's economy he argued. He said, "Screw you," to everyone who doesn't think economic growth should come from an ethical morass.
While the promise of a stem cell industry in Wisconsin is far in the state's economic future the governor ignores recent events that will have an economic impact much sooner. An Alcoa executive spelled some of them out:
But Wisconsin also carries some disadvantages in competing with other Midwestern states for business investment, said Wilkinson, who is vice president of Alcoa North America's public strategies group.
Doyle had the ability to improve both the product liability and medical malpractice laws. He vetoed both of them. On the economy his talk is cheap.
"Wisconsin Must Stay at Forefront of Stem Cell Research, Doyle Says"
February 09, 2006
Students for Allen
The Students for Allen campaign is in full effect. The representative told me Sen. George Allen (R-VA) wouldn't need his arm twisted much to be drafted.
Condi Rice has her fans too.
Cindy Let Us Down
Cindy Sheehan won't run for Senate:
Cindy Sheehan, the anti-Iraq war activist whose son was killed in the conflict there, put an end to speculation on Thursday that she would launch a long-shot bid to become a U.S. senator from California.
Lots of Daily Show writers' work just got tossed into the trash. Thanks, Cindy.
Those at Bloggers' Corner
Here's a partial list. There are a lot more webloggers here than last year.
Immigration is a thread I thought would run through CPAC. It was noticable at last year's conference and with the Minuteman Project its shadow on conservatism has grown bigger.
There are conservatives like the Minuteman Project's Chris Simcox and Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ) who passionately call for sealing the border to illegal immigrants. Hayworth wants "enforcement first." Simcox is "tired of waiting for Mexico to solve its [economic] problem." His goal is to "force an orderly queue into our country."
Then we have the long-time conservative warrior Phyllis Schlafly worrying that a guest worker program will "build[s] a subserviant underclass who won't assimilate." Think the Muslim suburbs surounding French cities. She rejects the notion that immigrant labor is really needed. "There is no job American's won't do." Highly skilled workers like engineers aren't needed because "there is no labor shortage." Employers just want cheap labor.
What company wouldn't want to keep their labors costs as low as they can? What Schlafly fails to mention is low labor costs get passed along to consumers. We'll pay a lot more for produce with a reduced labor pool. Wal-Mart can't offer consumers low prices if they have to pay workers more in wages.
The strident "seal the borders" advocates fail to say how many immigrants they want. Does sealing the borders mean an America closed off to immigrants? Listening to Schlafly she only wants immigrants who want to be "100% American." What does that mean? Would someone be rejected if they don't learn english fast enough or well enough? Would someone fail the Schlafly standard if they continue to dress in the same manner they did in their previous country?
Let me be clear, illegal immigrants flout the law. That cannot be accepted. Guest worker programs may not benefit the nation economically or socially. Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies made some good points. The tone of those like Schlafly borders on nativist, yet they don't stand out and say it. That's a complete rejection of America's history and harmful to her future.
UPDATE: Ryan Sager covered Rep. Tom Tancredo's (R-CO) speech. Sager challenges the political as well as the economic effects of Tancredo's "seal the borders" ideas.
Ollie's Fan Base
I don't the point of Oliver North's fame. You can argue that he was a patriot in the Iran-Contra scandal, but other than hosting War Stories what has he done for conservatives?
With black candidate Lynn Swan and Ken Blackwell having legitimate shots in governor's races Charlie Sykes asks the Journal Sentinel editorial board, "If they win, will they be African-American 'leaders'.... or asterisks?"
Arrived at CPAC
I'm now at the Omni Shoreham Hotel. Checking into CPAC, finding "Bloggers' Corner," and plugging in (ethernet not wireless) were all smooth sailing.
The blogosphere has grown since there's about eight other webloggers here and I recognize no one.
G. Gordon Liddy just walked by. The webloggers are right next to the talk radio yappers.
Islam's PR Problem
Jim Geraghty has a downer post on Muslims opposing the cartoon violence. He worries they're not being heard over the shouting in the street and the sound of embassies being torched. The insight Jim offers is global Islam has had a bad image for some time:
It seems likely that the first time the American public really paid close attention to the Muslim world was the 1980 Iranian hostage crisis. Since then we’ve seen the hostage-taking in Lebanon, the bombing of the Marine barracks, the death threats against Salman Rushdie, the embassy bombings, the U.S.S. Cole... and then the day the world changed, 9/11. Since then, we’ve seen those who celebrated the attacks, Saudi Princes who offer checks to terrorism victims but demand changes to our Middle East policy, the murder of Daniel Pearl, the attacks in Bali, Riyadh, Istanbul, Madrid, Beslan, Jeddah, London, Sharm al-Sheikh, Amman… suicide bombers in Israel, the Moscow theater hostage-taking, and a seeming thousand “yes, but” comments on terrorism, ultimately blaming Western “provocations.”
The U.S. is spending millions to improve the nation's image overseas. Maybe the Saudis should use their petrodollars to pump up Islam's image instead of spreading virulent Wahhabism.
A man I work with of moderate temperment (libertarian politically) sensing that we are now seeing a clash of civilizations. I hope he's wrong and this is just another outburst of Islamic insecurity.
"Who Speaks for Islam?"
February 08, 2006
Same Name, New Address
Leaning Blue now has its own domain name. Please change links accordingly.
Nerve Gas Scare in Senate Building
I pity some Senate workers. A nerve gas scare kept 200 people working at the Russell Senate Office building tucked away in a parking garage Wednesday. They included Senators Chris Dodd (D-CT), Chuck Hagel (R-NE), and Jeff Sessions (R-AL). The quarantine method appears to have worked. Since it was a nerve gas scare it's not as important. If there really were nerve gas in the building people would have gotten sick and maybe dropped dead. Now, if it was a biological attack then the quarantine would (hopefully) keep victims from passing on the bio-agent.
The scare came from a false positive from a sensor in the Russell building's attic:
Sen. Bill Frist, Senate Majority Leader, said: "It was a false positive. That means an alarm went off, with an indication it was initially positive but with further testing there was no agent of danger found."
Somebody should look into some better sensors.
"Security Scare Forces US Capitol Evacuation"
That's what walking around Washington's mall does to you. I don't know if I have the energy to get my interview with Rep. Green up tonight. Let's see if I catch my second (or third or fourth) wind. But then again, I have a big, long day tomorrow at CPAC. Let's just say I'll get it up as soon as possible.
Mark Green on Doyle Scandals and Ethanol
My flight to Washington, D.C. had two passengers many of my readers will be familiar with. Scott Jensen, who's trying to stay out of jail, was on my flight as well as Rep. Mark Green who is running for governor. I didn't get a chance to speak with Jensen, but I did get to ask Rep. Green a couple questions while walking through the airport.
On the Rich Judge remaining on Gov. Jim Doyle's campaign staff while admitting to have broken the law by campaigning as a staff member in the legislature Green said, "It's obviously a judgment Gov. Doyle has to make. We all have to be accountable for our actions." He continued, "We have a stain on state government right now." Green wants to talk about issues. Instead, he's having to listen to people's concern about corruption in state government. "Everywhere I go people express their anxiety" about Doyle's scandals.
I then wanted him to clarify if he supported mandating ethanol in gasoline. Green said, "I wouldn't support any ethanol requirement if it adds to the regulatory burden on business." The reason he's sympathetic to ethanol is he thinks petroleum has a monopoly. "98% of all the gasoline in America is totally petroleum-based. There is no choice right now.... I want to see people have real choices." His idea of what monopoly is is far from conventional thinking. When econonmists think of monopolies they mean a sole producer of a good or service. In the early 20th Century many feared John Rockefeller building a monopoly through his Standard Oil. Today, there are multiple companies selling gas. There may be collusion but there's no monopoly. Also, no one is stopping gas stations from selling ethanol-blended gas. With the bad experiences Southeast Wisconsin has had with reformulated gas the only way consumers in the rest of the state will buy the inferior fuel is to be forced by the government. Rep. Green is wrong. There is choice, and the choice being made is not to buy ethanol.
Another odd element to Green's answer was he doesn't want to add further "regulatory burden on business." Any kind of government mandate would do so. So conceivably any ethanol bill that came before him as governor would be vetoed. This sounds like Green's way of supporting the ethanol industry while trying to improve Wisconsin's business climate.
I'll make the recording of my brief interview with Rep. Green available as the next episode of my podcast Speak later tonight. For now, it's time to do a little sightseeing.
Mr. Sean Goes Back to Washington
Your's truly is safe and sound in the nation's capital. Lucky for me my room was ready upon my arrival at the hotel. There's no view (just the other side of the hotel), but the internet access is humming (and free!).
Yeah, I know, nice view.
Wires! And I thought we were in the 21st Century.
The room's nice enough.
And if I'm really, really hungry (and too cheap for room service) I can eat the soap.
Monday Night Football Crew Named
Joe Theismann, Mike Tirico, and Tony Kornheiser will be the Monday Night Football announcers when it moves to ESPN next season. Tirico will be fine. He's been doing a solid job as the straight man covering a number of sports. Theismann is too much like the Bill Walton of football in that he tries to dominate the talk with his football knowledge. When he's wrong it's incredibly irritating. But on Sunday Night Football there was Paul Maguire to put him in his place. Next season, Kornheiser steps in. He looks to be the Dennis Miller of the group. He'll make quips but without viewers having to search through encyclopedias or Google to figure out what he meant. I could do without him.
It appeared that Al Michaels was going to team up with Theismann as the MNF team. Now, Michaels is free to join his partner John Madden on NBC for Sunday night games. Michaels must have told ESPN he preferred working with Madden than continuing his MNF gig.
Here's an interesting note: Next season, John Madden will have worked for every major network that broadcasts NFL games.
"ESPN Names Crew for Monday Night Football"
"'MNF' Gets 33 Percent More Bald"
Charlie's Show Prep #42
Call this the "I'm on my way to Washington, D.C." edition:
Paul Craig Roberts Has Lost It
Former Reagan official Paul Craig Roberts has gone over the deep end and dove head first into a pool of Bush-bashing kool-aid. He thinks (without a shread of evidence) that the NSA terrorist spying was on media and Democrats. That information is now being used to blackmail both. He writes,
The years of illegal spying have given the Bush administration power over the media and the opposition. Journalists and Democratic politicians don't want to have their adulterous affairs broadcast over television or to see their favorite online porn sites revealed in headlines in the local press with their names attached. Only people willing to risk such disclosures can stand up for the country.
It gets better. Roberts even thinks the no-fly list is a political weapon:
How long before members of the opposition party, should there be one, find that they cannot return to Washington for important votes, because they have been placed on the no-fly list? What oversight does Congress or a panel of federal judges exercise over the list to make sure there are valid reasons for placing people on the list?
I think I just witnessed a mental breakdown in written form. Someone get Mr. Roberts his slippers and a teddy bear.
February 07, 2006
Torch the Met
Shh! Don't tell anybody, but there's images of Muhammad in museums across the globe. Expect the Metropolitan Museum of Art to be set ablaze in a few days.
Feel the Burn
Peakah's Provocations... hosts this week's Bonfire of the Vanities. I don't think he's completely sane.
Charlie's Show Prep #41
February 06, 2006
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Vision of War
Iran's location along with its vast energy supply make it an ever-growing power in its region. With India's and China's economies showing no end to their growth they will look more and more to Iran's oil and natural gas supplies. Simply because of that it will remain an important world player. Part of the reason Iran wants the nuclear bomb is to counter Israel's known but not admitted arsenal. That would seem reasonable except that Iran has a history of supporting terrorism to advance its national interests. Even worse they have a man in President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who thinks he has the power to bring about the Shia version of the Apocolypse. Arnaud de Borchgrave writes,
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Shi'ite creed has convinced him lesser mortals can not only influence but hasten the awaited return of the 12th Imam, known as the Mahdi. Iran's dominant "Twelver" sect holds this will be Muhammad ibn Hasan, the righteous descendant of the Prophet Muhammad. He is said to have gone into "occlusion" in the 9th century, at age 5. His return will be preceded by cosmic chaos, war, bloodshed and pestilence. After this cataclysmic confrontation between the forces of good and evil, the Mahdi will lead the world to an era of universal peace.
The question is how to address this problem. Sanctions are the path being taken, but on the energy front they will be ignored by hungary Indians and Chinese. Militarily I don't see how the U.S. could mount an invasion. They could do it by moving all the troops currently in Iraq (which would perversly go along with the anti-war, "get our troops out of Iraq" crowd. Also, Iranians are a very, very proud people. They've set themselves off from the rest of Islam with their language and their past of being a former empire. They would take even less kindly to an American invasion/liberation. Airstrikes could slow their bomb-making a little, but they've learned from the Iraqis that nuclear testing should be hidden in fortified shelters. The best chance is to hope there's an internal revolution. Unfortunately that involves time, a luxury we don't have.
"Later than We Think"
Post-Super Bowl Contrast
A tale of two cities:
No team had ever won three playoff games on the road and then won a Super Bowl, but the Steelers last night completed a magical ride with a 21-10 victory over the Seahawks, igniting celebrations throughout the far-flung Steeler Nation.
The Seahawks will wake up out of a sound sleep in a cold sweat and remember the dropped passes, the missed field goals, the punt that rolled dead on their 2-yard line, the penalties.
Charlie's Show Prep #40
February 05, 2006
Super Bowl XL Prediction
I could be knee-jerk and just root for the NFC, Seattle. But they're not really an NFC team. Most of their history is in the AFC. I could also root for Mike Holmgren and Matt Hasselbeck both former Packers.
I could do all that and think with my heart, but I want to have a correct prediction. Pittsburgh will win. Their defense is better, their offense has come out of no where with its unpredictability, and Ben Rothlisberger is on fire. It should be a good game since both teams are fairly even. Final score: Pittsburgh 31, Seattle 24.
Violence Spreads to Lebanon
Islamic anger over the Muhammad cartoons isn't easing up; it's spreading:
Thousands of angry Muslim protesters torched the Danish consulate in Beirut on Sunday and damaged property in a Christian area in riots over cartoons of Prophet Mohammad.
It has the potential to make the Lebanese government fall...which may be the ulterior motive for instigators.
A bit of Darwin Award flavor was noticed:
One demonstrator, among those who set the consulate building on fire, was encircled by flames and died after jumping from the third floor, a senior security official told Reuters.
In past history wars have started with attacking a country's embassies. Lucky for the protesters they're challenging militarily-limited Denmark.
At least there are some Muslims who know these violent reactions do no good:
Several Sunni Muslim clerics were on the streets urging restraint and asking protesters, who came from across the country, to leave the scene, a Reuters witness said.
The Arab European League reacted to the Muhammad cartoons by displaying some bigotry of their own in the form of an anti-semitic cartoon. Notice the AEL didn't publish a cartoon insulting the Pope or Jesus (also an Islamic holy figure). They leaped into Jew-bashing.
Stephen Bainbridge found a Christian comparison to Muslim outrage. It doesn't involve burning down a television network's headquarters. Muslims know their history contains stories of empire and dominance. Today, they're just trying to integrate into the global economy. The rage we are witnessing is one of insecurity. Muslims know they can't successfully build an army to crush the infidel. So they resort to riots. In a way this is progress. The cartoons can never be hidden. They'll float through cyberspace until the end of the internet. At some point protesters will realize their violence won't change a thing, just like Iran's death threat never stopped Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses from being published. This is a messy, ugly process.
"Lebanese Torch Danish Consulate over Cartoons"
UPDATE: Turkey is a Muslim nation farthest down the globalization path. Their reaction has been much different than that in Syria and Lebanon.
February 04, 2006
After hours of Blogger technical issues the Badger Blog Alliance is up and running. Definitely check out Chris' post on making every state legislature race a state-wide one.
Burning Embassies Over Insulting Cartoons
The Danish and Norweigan embassies in Syria were set on fire by angry Muslims reacting to the publication of Muhammad cartoons. The cartoons were an insult to Islam. Depictions of the prophet are forbidden. Those cartoons are as insulting to Muslims as Piss Christ is to Christians. I don't deny the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten the right to publish them. A free press means insulting, hurtful things can be allowed to be published. The reaction from many Muslims has been over the top. It's one thing to be angry, it's another to burn flags, call out death sentences, and to torch buildings. When Piss Christ was publicized you didn't see Christians burning art and museums. They engaged in political speech by writing letters to the editor and contacting their representatives. This violent Muslim reaction is an example of the faith's insecurity. They fear their faith is endangerd merely from cartoons. Their focus on the infidel distracts them from examining the failings of their own civilization that has put them in the historic position they are in.
Erick Erickson writes, "Had it been Christ or the Virgin Mary instead of Muhammad, I guess we would also be supporting the Danish media against the protests of Christians." Dean Esmay is more pronounced: "Oh yeah, and I can utterly condemn this without losing my bearings about who our allies are. You can too."
"Syrians Torch Embassies Over Caricatures"
Google would be one of the few work places where someone could photograph their meals and not get any strange looks.
Listen to Peggy Noonan in First TAM Podcast
Behold! I give you the first episode of Speak, TAM's podcast. I got comfortable using Audacity and even added ID3 tags to the mp3 file. It's a long show, 1:23, but that's because I didn't edit any of Noonan's remarks and didn't play with the bit rate enough. The sound quality is pretty good even though I only used an iRiver iFP-780 to record it.
The real bear was hosting. I tried uploading the big file (33 mb) to OurMedia with no success. It would be simpler if I could just FTP to my account. Instead, I'm taking a bandwidth risk and putting the first show on my web server. I should be safe since only a handful of people will download the show.
Here's the RSS feed: http://www.theamericanmind.com/podcast/rss.xml
Here's the URL for the mp3 if you just want to download it: http://www.theamericanmind.com/podcast/speak001_02_03_2006.mp3
I went to all this trouble because I want to podcast from CPAC next week, and for once I'm preparing ahead of time. The RSS feed should stay the same while I look into some podcast hosting solutions like Libsyn. Of course with links in the RRS feed you shouldn't care where episodes of Speak are located.
Please leave feedback. Tell me if you had trouble downloading the show or hearing the show. (It worked for me using iTunes.) I also want to know if you liked listening to the talk and respond to what Noonan said. I may hunt for future speeches to record. Leave a comment in this post or e-mail me at sean--at--theamericanmind--dot--com.
February 03, 2006
Hackers Fave Super Bowl Ad
Geeks and hackers will probably love the Mastercard
"MacGyver to the Super Bowl!"
Peggy Noonan at Ripon
Despite the return of winter to Wisconsin Peggy Noonan did speak at Ripon College's "Ethics in Media" conference. I'm working on the write up as we speak, and hope to have a special treat for you.
For those attending tomorrow besides Fred Barnes speaking Charlie Sykes will be part of a panel discussing "The Role of the Public."
The "Long War"
The administration has found a better name for our current conflict than that mouthful "Global War on Terror."
With its formal embrace this week of the term "long war," the Bush administration has turned a simple descriptive phrase into an official name for the war on terrorism, and possibly catapulted it into the ranks of such other era names as "Cold War" and "World War."
The "Long War" suggests patience and determination. Looking in dark places for evil Islamists will take time. It will also take time to extend connectivity to the Gap, undeveloped areas of the world that are havens to terrorists.
"Abizaid Credited With Popularizing the Term 'Long War'"
"Microsoft-Powered Fiats to Debut in Geneva"
Charlie's Show Prep #39
February 02, 2006
Brokeback to the Future
After watching this mock trailer give me your best Marty McFly jokes.
Disgusting Death Threats
It's one thing to take your state representative to task to being a flip-flopper. It's another to scare his wife with death threats:
Democratic Rep. John Steinbrink said that his wife received two threatening calls to their home late Tuesday afternoon after he voted to sustain Gov. Jim Doyle's veto of the concealed carry bill.
To whoever called in that threat you obviously aren't civilized enough to carry a concealed weapon let alone advocate for it. Go back under that rock you crawled out of.
Spotted Horse has raised its formerly dead head. [No, I don't think Chris is a Dead Head. He kills animals for sport. Dead Heads just kill their own brain cells. --ed]
Boehner New Majority Leader
Rep. John Boehner became the new House Majority Leader on the second ballot. Rep. Roy Blunt, who claimed he had enough votes to get the job, couldn't get majority on the first ballot. That allowed supporters of Rep. John Shadegg to back Boehner instead of DeLay Lite.
Boehner now must get serious reforms passed through the House. Part of it should be some lobby reform. But nothing will squelch the desire of special interests to get tax perks or government benefits than reducing the size and scope of the federal government. If she weren't involved with everything from supporting milk prices, to tariffs, to funding pet projects, to how much water you toilet can use Washington, D.C.'s lobbying industry wouldn't be so active. A Missoula Missoulian editorial put it:
Congress wields immense power through its ability to tax and appropriate money, redistribute wealth and to impose regulation on every aspect of commerce and life. This power corrupts. Obtaining money from the government is worth a lot to various interests. So is obtaining exemptions to taxes or regulations, or to have regulations put in place benefiting one's interests. It's worth so much that individuals, businesses, industries and associations are willing to invest huge sums obtaining beneficial treatment from the government. There is more money and more power involved in this equation to overwhelm the integrity of most mere mortals.
Boehner must have the strength and political skill to re-kindle the shrink government fire that blazed inside the 1994 Republicans. Conservatives will be watching. Conservative webloggers will talking.
James Joyner is loaded to the max with links and blogosphere reaction.
"Rep. Boehner Elected House Majority Leader"
Charlie's Show Prep #38
Couric Gives Kerry a Pass
Before I accuse Sen. John Kerry of lying about the percentage of kids who graduate from high school I want someone to give him a chance to explain himself. I've backed a President who isn't known for his outstanding use of words. The least I can do is give Senator "I lost in 2004 but am sounding like I'm running again" a break. That someone can't be Katie Couric because she blew her opportunity.
"Katie Turns Off BS Detector as Kerry Trumpets Bogus Stats"
February 01, 2006
New Orleans Whiners
CNN found some New Orleans residents who thought the President didn't talk enough about Katrina relief. They consider it a "slap in the face." Since Bush didn't declare he'd veto any bill that didn't have basis in the constitution should we constitutionalists consider it a "slap in the face?"
"CNN's Soledad O'Brien: New Orleans Shortchanged"
State of the Union 2006
Reading a State of the Union speech feels more productive than actually watching it. Rarely do these speeches lay out a big idea. Most of the time they're lists of items put together by policy wonks and politicos then massaged into respectible prose by speechwriters. Most of the items don't even become laws or policy. Some are immediately ignored as soon as they pass through the President's mouth. And the best part is I can ignore all the applause.
President Bush's second State of the Union speech had nothing startling. There was no new philosophy put forward. Bush attempted to advance many of the same ideas from previous years: entitlement reform; tax cuts; and staying the course in the Islamist War. One thing that was different from last year's speech was Bush went back to donning a blue tie.
On controversial NSA eavesdropping that included American citizens President Bush did move away from the defense he uttered when the NY Times broke the story:
So to prevent another attack -- based on authority given to me by the Constitution and by statute -- I have authorized a terrorist surveillance program to aggressively pursue the international communications of suspected al Qaeda operatives and affiliates to and from America. Previous Presidents have used the same constitutional authority I have, and federal courts have approved the use of that authority. Appropriate members of Congress have been kept informed. The terrorist surveillance program has helped prevent terrorist attacks. It remains essential to the security of America. If there are people inside our country who are talking with al Qaeda, we want to know about it, because we will not sit back and wait to be hit again.
After failing last year to get anything done on Social Security reform the President again talked about entitlements:
So tonight, I ask you to join me in creating a commission to examine the full impact of baby boom retirements on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. This commission should include members of Congress of both parties, and offer bipartisan solutions. We need to put aside partisan politics and work together and get this problem solved.
Great, another commission that will publish a report no one will read and will only be discussed on News Hour.
Democrats showed a lack of class when they applauded not acting on any proposal to salvage Social Security. David J. at ResurrectionSong wrote,
Here’s the fact: Social Security (and all of our big, scary entitlement programs) are a serious growing threat to the long-term well being of our country. There should be no celebrating the fact that we couldn’t find the right solution to the problem, there should be a renewed interest in finding the right solution and a disappointment that we couldn’t create the right framework for attacking the problem. Seriously, folks, our growing entitlement spending is as big a problem (and, arguably, it qualifies as a national security issue) as radical Islamic terrorists. It doesn’t have the immediate sense of threat, I admit, but the problem grows more and more difficult to handle with each passing year.
Illegal immigration concerns much of the populace. The President delivered an entire paragraph on the subject:
Keeping America competitive requires an immigration system that upholds our laws, reflects our values, and serves the interests of our economy. Our nation needs orderly and secure borders. To meet this goal, we must have stronger immigration enforcement and border protection. And we must have a rational, humane guest worker program that rejects amnesty, allows temporary jobs for people who seek them legally, and reduces smuggling and crime at the border.
Like the botched Miers nomination Bush is listening to his conservative base--not always a good thing. We now see the full effect of the Minutemen Project.
On energy the President spat out conventional wisdom. He said, "America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world. The best way to break this addiction is through technology." Actually, the best way to change people's behavior is to change their incentives. Gas at over $2 a gallon is driving buyers to look for more fuel-efficent vehicles and encouraging car manufactuers to develop gas-electric hybrids and hydrogen-powered products. Prices in a free market will do more to ease America's "addiction" than Bush's Advanced Energy Initiative. At least he mentioned nukes. The time has come to drive out the nation's irrational fear of that cleaner, bountiful energy source.
On taxes, the President called Congress to make his tax cuts permanent. If it doesn't taxpayers will be hit hard with big tax increases. On the flipside unless this President is willing to veto bloated spending bills than go beyond the government's constitutional authority then we'll sink into more and more debt.
In his laundry list there was only one item of significence to pro-lifers. President Bush wants Congress to "to pass legislation to prohibit the most egregious abuses of medical research: human cloning in all its forms, creating or implanting embryos for experiments, creating human-animal hybrids, and buying, selling, or patenting human embryos." Despite his truth when he declared, "Human life is a gift from our Creator -- and that gift should never be discarded, devalued or put up for sale," the feds should only regulate the interstate commerce aspects of human cloning. Like abortion, these decisions should be left to the individual states.
No mention of China. Interesting. Beijing mustn't have been pleased.
Someone needs to shake up the State of the Union speech. The laundry list is cliche, the applause are cliche, and the required mention of someone in the gallery is cliche. Given the audience watching the State of the Union Presidents should either advance a grand vision or flesh out new ideas; or else just do like President Jefferson did and send a written statement to Congress and let the talking heads save their breath.
"President Bush Delivers State of the Union Address"
"There's a Lot of Grumbling from Guys at All Ranks about it"
Troops in Iraq noticed the overreaction to Bob Woodruff's and Doug Vogt's injuries:
"Why do you think this is such a huge story?" wrote an officer stationed in Baqubah, Iraq, Monday via e-mail. "It's a bit stunning to us over here how absolutely dominant the story is on every network and front page. I mean, you'd think we lost the entire 1st Marine Division or something.
Even with reporters embedded with military units the MSM still feels little connection to those on the front lines. This colors all stories coming out of Iraq.
Charlie's Show Prep #37