Wednesday, April 28, 2004

HOW IS MORALE?

I found this via Andrew Sullivan:
I have spoken to a lot [of Marines] who have been engaged in some of these firefights. In fact, I was in one of the combat surgical rooms where they were working on a couple of these guys.

Two of them had been ambushed, not where the main fight is going on tonight, but their unit had been ambushed east of Fallujah. And seven people rolled in. There were two that had gunshot wounds. And they pulled a huge slug, a bullet, out of the leg of one of the Marines. And another one had a bullet wound right through the back.

And, amazingly, they were trying to convince their commanders that they were ready to go and go back out. I have been really surprised at ... the high degree of morale that these Marines have shown. Remember, they have only been here for a month and a half. Many of these units that are here now engaged in the initial invasion last year and were in Iraq for several months.

It speaks for itself.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

FORMER STARS THAT CAN'T RETIRE

If Larry King isn't self parody already, Nellie Olsen (or whatever the actress is named) of "Little House on the Prarie" fame is on his show now explaining about how she was molested as a child. Have we not yet exhausted the celebrity molestation stories? As she began talking about how her confession is supposed to help millions of other victims, I began to wonder if the other celebrity confessions haven't been helping enough. Maybe one more washed up actress is going to make sick perverts think twice. Or maybe some poor kid watches Larry King Live and will now ask for help. What nonsense. These outpourings are nothing but attention-starved has-beens wanting the limelight one final time. It's particularly true of this actress who was on the talk show circuit a few years ago because her TV husband died of AIDS. I'm waiting for the confession of how her entire family stepped on landmines when she was growing up. Why can't she settle for directing sitcoms like Bill Bixby and Ivan Dixon?
IT TAKES THE VILLAGE

The Village Voice thinks John Kerry is as dead as Bob Dole was this time in the 1996 election.
With growing issues over his wealth (which makes fellow plutocrat Bush seem a charity case by comparison), the miasma over his medals and ribbons (or ribbons and medals), his uninspiring record in the Senate (yes war, no war), and wishy-washy efforts to mimic Bill Clinton's triangulation gimmickry (the protractor factor), Kerry sinks day by day. The pros all know that the candidate who starts each morning by having to explain himself is a goner.
A PRIMARY

Arlen Spector is fighting in Today's Senate Primary. Ann Coulter takes sides:
Thanks to Arlen Specter:

States can't prohibit partial-birth abortion;

Voluntary prayer is banned at high-school football games;

Flag-burning is a constitutional right;

The government is allowed to engage in race discrimination in college admissions;

The nation has been forced into a public debate about gay marriage;

We have to worry about whether the Supreme Court will allow "under God" to be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance.

Coulter goes on about how Spector has allowed the Supreme Court too much power.
In a democratic process, liberals could never persuade Americans to vote for their insane ideas – abortion on demand, gay marriage and adoption, handgun confiscation, cross-district busing, abolishing the death penalty and affirmative action quotas. So issues are simply taken out of the voters' hands by the Supreme Court. Vitally important cultural issues are now decided for us by a handful of unelected elites, who, coincidentally, share the ideology of Janeane Garofalo. It's a lot easier to get a majority out of nine votes than it is to get a majority of 280 million votes.

Choice.

Monday, April 26, 2004

THE PASSION OF THE NEW YORK TIMES

Drudge linked an interesting article by Peter Bart (The Guy from American Movie Classics) about the New York Times attack on Mel Gibson and how wrong they were every step of the way.
As predictions go, the Times' entire litany could stand major "correction." Despite the fact that Frank Rich compared it to "a porn movie," by the end of its run "The Passion" could rank second only to "Titanic" as the highest-grossing movie ever made. Further, there have been no signs of anti-Semitic outbreaks tied to the film's release -- not even in places like France and Argentina.

As for Gibson, there's no indication that his viability as an actor or filmmaker has been compromised. Indeed, Hollywood reveres success, and Gibson's personal take from his film -- somewhere north of $400 million -- will surely be history's biggest. That makes Gibson not an outlaw, but a Hollywood folk hero.

Eric Alternman's suggests in his book "What Liberal Media" that the New York Times is without political bent. But it's obvious that the Times had a political axe to grind about Gibson and his nerve. That they've yet to eat humble pie in their error is a great sign of their own arrogance and ideology.

Friday, April 23, 2004

PHONY STORIES
Any appraisal of how Jack Kelley got away with years of fraudulent news reporting at USA TODAY, despite numerous, well-grounded warnings that he was fabricating stories, exaggerating facts and plagiarizing other publications, must begin with this question:

Why did newsroom managers at every level of the paper ignore, rebuff and reject years of multiple serious and valid complaints about Kelley's work?

The way the print media gets away with being a partisan organ while crying objectivity is that they find the news they want to cover. What these ambitious men did to get ahead was invent the kinds of news stories that fit an editor's prejudice. They weren't questioned because the stories either seemed right or were convenient to the overall message.

To believe that any media outlet is objective is to believe that a media outlet is oblivious to the power they hold in society at large. Promos for local news in Orlando are usually about how restaurants are poisoning us or how our wheels are just miles from flying off the axel. Their prejudice isn't even political, but it's hardly objective.

The New York Times, The New Republic and USA Today not only share the distinction of hiring fiction reporters, they also shared the belief that a President who lies under oath is fit to remain in office. A respect for the truth must begin at the highest level. Because it is always easier to lie than to be truthful, any leader who shows no outrage at liars will be lied to. That's why the people who were caught lying weren't ashamed. Their bosses didn't value the truth until the heat was on.

The truth isn't just some relic that is to be dusted off for convenience. It's either respected as a universal good by the culture or it becomes irrelevant to whatever the current ambition is.

There is no situational virtue either. Parents who defended Clinton’s behavior and his denial that oral sex was sex will have no moral authority when their own 12 year old daughter and the quarterback go down south. It will be a happy day for many a quarterback but not quite the harvest that progressive parents were expecting at the time.

It would be trite to say that one reaps what they sew, wouldn't it?

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

WAPO catches Kerry's flip flop

In December Mr. Kerry's Iraq policy differed with that of President Bush not in its goals but in its tactics. Mr. Kerry rightly insisted, and still does, that the United States cannot succeed without greater international collaboration and reliance on the United Nations. Now he differs with Mr. Bush on the crucial issue of what the United States must achieve in Iraq before it can safely end its mission. "Iraq," Mr. Bush said at his news conference last week, "will either be a peaceful democratic country or it will again be a source of violence, a haven for terrorists, and a threat to America and to the world."

Mr. Kerry now argues that there is a third option. But what would that be? "I can't tell you what it's going to be," he said to reporters covering his campaign. "That stability can take several forms." True; in the Middle East, there is the stability of Islamic dictatorship, the stability of military dictatorship and the stability of monarchical dictatorship. In Lebanon, there is the stability of permanent foreign occupation and de facto ethnic partition. None is in the interest of the United States; all have helped create the extremism and terrorism against which this nation is now at war.

Politics is the essence selling people to your ideas or keeping yourself viable by climbing on popular proposals. Kerry’s campaign has always had the problem of being simply anti-Bush. His ideas are the ideas of opposition. If Bush is for it, it must be bad. The very posture only highlights that Bush is the focus. It didn’t work when Republicans tried to make Clinton the focus. It just made Clinton look important. Even after Watergate the Republicans nearly pulled out a victory in the 1976 election against this same strategy. There isn’t a Watergate around Bush.

If Kerry wants to win he’s not going to inspire the public that the United Nations involvement in the war on terror is the missing ingredient. Kerry needs to know who he is and what he stands for. That’s something that Bush doesn’t lack.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

THE WILL TO WIN

Eric linked an interesting article in the comments section about Rick Peters and his view on the war. These are the kinds of things that make my liberal friends uneasy.

Here is my favorite passage:
America fights for abstract values. Increasingly, our enemies fight for God and revenge. If we want to tamp down terrorism to the smallest level, we have to make a brutal example of Al Qaeda, everybody in it, and every network related to it. We have to be ready to tear down one or more governments that support terrorism. If we aren't willing to make a severe example of the guilty, we will only encourage them.

You can read the entire article here.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

SCOTT RITTER IN THE MAN'S POCKET
Mr Ritter has admitted accepting $400,000 from Shakir al-Khafaji, an Iraqi-born Detroit businessman, in order to finance a documentary film titled In Shifting Sands. The film's principal theme - highly controversial when it was released in 2001 - was that UN weapons inspectors had "defanged" Iraq.

There is no evidence Mr Ritter did receive any money from oil allocations. Mr Khafaji told the FT/Il Sole that he never mentioned the allocations to Mr Ritter. But, by his own admission, Mr Khafaji or his family did profit from the sale of oil allocations awarded at the same time that he was financing Mr Ritter's film. Without Mr Khafaji's money Mr Ritter's film would never have been made.

A copy of a handwritten fax dated July 10 2000, the same month that Mr Khafaji began funding Mr Ritter's film, shows Mr Giangrandi passing on Mr Khafaji's contact details to Mr Chalmers.

The note says: "Dear David. This is the partner of S. R. with whom I am negotiating now the 5M B-L. He is a very influential person here, and we can do many things in the future with him. Regards, A. G."

Mr Giangrandi confirmed that "S. R." referred to Mr Ritter.

A payoff is consistent with Ritter's flip flop on Iraq weapons.

Monday, April 12, 2004

HOWARD DEAN NOT VOTING FOR NADER

I don't believe that the best way to do justice to Ralph Nader's legacy is to vote for him for president. Re-electing George Bush would undo everything Ralph Nader has worked for through his entire career and, in fact, could lead to the dismantling of many of his accomplishments.

If Dean's logic is correct, Bush would have already undone Nader's accomplishments (What are they again?). Maybe Bush forgot to ruin Nader's legacy with the war raging. Howard Dean, Shhhhhh. Now Bush will certainly undo them in his second term.
THE EXTENT OF IRAN'S INVOLVEMENT

ON Saturday, Iranian agents ambushed an American convoy on the road between Mosul and Akre in Iraq. The attack did not go as planned: Our troops responded sharply, killing two Iranians, wounding a third and capturing two more.

They were carrying their identity documents.

And you haven't heard a word about it. The administration doesn't want to admit how much American blood Teheran has on its hands.

This is a great article about the reality of the war. Will we press on to beat the enemy or settle for half measures?

Friday, April 09, 2004

THE TV HEARINGS

I wasn’t near a TV for Dr. Rice’s appearance before the 9-11 commission, but hearing excerpts on the radio was a good indicator that the event was geared towards the November election. I had thought that these were hearings to discover the facts of what led to the attack so that we could fix the bureaucratic mess that kept the proper information from flowing from intelligence agent to intelligence agent. 60 minutes had a great story in 2003 about the FBI woman who was mistreated for trying to cut through the weeds with her intelligence. Government agencies are about procedure not results. That wisdom alone can go a long way to explaining the result of any government snafu.

But why end the discussion there when these hearing would be a wonderful John Kerry campaign stop? There was no doubt that the timing of this theatre was staged to make Bush look like a weak leader. What’s funny is that they aren’t even trying to hide it. Why else would you allow an audience in the chambers to applaud at questions and statements by the panel? In a serious hearing, guests are made to mind their manners. You can’t applaud in traffic court.

The American Left wants pre-emptive action on all tragedies retroactive to their occurrence, but won’t support pre-emptive action otherwise. It’s a great political tool to insist that every calamity can be prevented while demagoging the opposition’s action as ineffective or potentially more dangerous.

The American Right is made to fight fellow citizens for the defense of this nation, but let anything slip through and it is also their fault. The American Left can therefore make useless treaties and sign worthless peace agreements in the Rose Garden and get credit for “trying.” No one expects them to think North Korea or Yassar Arrafat can’t be trusted. No judgment is required. They got their name on the dotted line, didn’t they? Who could have foreseen that terrorists and despots would break their word?

Bush, on the other hand, is supposed to foresee everything.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

SPEEDING TICKETS

Public Safety or Hidden Taxes?

I wrote an entry last year about how police in Kissimmee were posing as homeless people to catch motorists running red lights. I'm convinced that moving violations are just a revenue source. Glenn Reynolds found a good article about how police extend a courtesy to law enforcement officers and their familes. They don't get tickets.

Police Benevolent Association president Jeff Frayler said Thursday it has been union policy to discourage Suffolk police officers from issuing tickets to fellow officers, regardless of where they work.

"Police officers have discretion whenever they stop anyone, but they should particularly extend that courtesy in the case of other police officers and their families," Frayler said in a brief telephone interview Thursday. "It is a professional courtesy."

If it's a public safety issue then the courtesy isn't a courtesy. Right? Isn't the reason they pull us over to save us from ourselves and others? By entending the courtesy, they are making the roads more dangerous.

Of course, it's always been a revenue stream disguised as protection. Coming home from a baseball game a few weeks ago I was stopped in a speed zone doing 47 in a 35. My Dad happened to know this cop's training officer and he let me go with a lecture. I thought the name-dropping would mean a ticket for sure. In the movies, boy-scout type officers are always following the letter of the law.

In the real world, it's all about whom you know. Get in the know or be prepared to pay the speed tax that isn't deductible, by the way.
SOME SAY HE DID
SADDAM Hussein had the ability to unleash biological and chemical weapons "at short notice" on foreign nations, according to a potentially explosive new report by inspectors.

The leaked document, written by Charles Duelfer, the new director of the Iraq Survey group, concludes that hard evidence does exist that Saddam had the ability to wreak terror with the weaponry.

Furthermore, there was evidence that he was plotting to expand his facilities last year, prior to the invasion of British and American troops.

This is only an issue because we’re having an election and one side needs to discredit the other side to win. Time will prove that he had malicious intent and more ability than is known now. Those who call W’s actions unilateral and fool-hardly will one day cite their own 1998 insistence that Saddam was a big threat and had the WMD. The question is how many reports like this will come in before the election.

Friday, April 02, 2004

DID THEY KILL UNDVELOPED PROTOPLASM OR YOUR FUTURE PAL?

I don’t tend to like legislation that is born from the headlines. Hardly is a random case a good microcosm of wide spread social problems. The school shootings are a good example of how the media tries to make local isolated incidents into a national crisis in order to push an agenda. It should be no surprise that the storied Laci Peterson case would inspire another federal law.

How often do courts ignore babies in these kinds of double murders? Whether this was a big problem that demanded a Federal law, I don’t know. It may have been just a few isolated cases, but neither the politicians nor the media spend any time discussing this part of it. Instead the opposition complains that it will change abortion law; back to the women with coat hangers in the alley speech. Feminists worry that any sort of fetus protection will remind judges and juries that these are people and not globs of mucus.

Now if politicians are cynical for designing more federal laws to remedy every tragedy, abortions rights advocates have to undermine their entire choice argument to oppose the idea of this protection. Of course, the argument, as they make it, has never been about personal liberty. They never use their voice to support any other kind of political choice. They want abortion as unrestricted as possible and will climb on the liberty wagon if it suits their goals.

In this case they aren't even talking about "states rights" as they have with homosexual marriage, they are out front saying that this will be a chink in Roe v. Wade. What they are really saying is that the baby and mother are at war. You can only protect one at the expense of the other.

If the ardent feminists really did care about “choice” they would be appalled that a baby that the mother was “choosing” to deliver was murdered. To oppose protecting a fetus, especially one as viable as Connor Peterson, is to say that the mother doesn’t have a choice at all. To them, the default action in pregnancy is termination. If the mother is very careful and doesn't piss anyone off, she might give birth to a new baby, but feminists won't lose any sleep if she doesn’t.

Why doesn’t the media ask the opponents of protecting the unborn how they can consistently support choice if they won’t protect the choice of these mothers? Why doesn't the media lay out the ineffectiveness or effectiveness of the current laws? Why must it be only another fight in the abortion war? -- because it is easier to cover the fight than the real issues.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

MORE OF NPR'S SOBERLY SPOKEN NONSENSE

In the left's continual pursuit to explain why things are horrible despite the low unemployment rate, NPR had a story of how workers 16-24 are having a tough time entering the job market. The theory is that these workers stop looking for work and it makes the unemployment rate drop. Can people just do that? Is there a segment of the workforce that doesn't need to pay their bills? "This doggone job market. I'll start eating again in the summer."

More interesting is the group portrayed in the story is the age group that free market economists have always argued are hurt most by minimum wage laws. Many Younger workers lack the skill set to be productive at the wage rates government demands, therefore they aren't welcomed into the work force.

What always gets me about NPR is that they don't dig back into their stories about minimum wage laws and cite this current example as the result of government policy.

The other funny story this morning was about private companies doing $100 million worth of work that was once done by the military. The usual critic thought it was a terrible idea because there wouldn't be any government accountability. What a laugh. At least a private company can lose their contract for screwing up. When a government agency misplaced over $1,000,000,000 in the 1990s, not one person was punished or held "accountable".

And Eric Alterman is sure that NPR isn’t liberal.