Thursday, July 29, 2004

Convention Thoughts on the Night of Kerry

The Democratic convention is well choreographed save for the audience. Remember those Bugs Bunny cartoons in which they would simulate total silence not by silence but by the presence of crickets? That's what I was reminded by tonight anytime a speaker mentioned Kerry's commitment to strong military. If the topic was Bill Clinton they were on their feet. If the topic was another giveaway program they were dancing. If the topic was the war on terrorism they were as interested as Michael Moore would be with a diet book.

These guys can talk the talk tonight, but their base of supporters are speaking even louder that they won't support military action. The Democrats aren't going to risk alienating their base to prosecute this war. If the Dems strategy is to get centrists then someone should be telling the audience to play along by hooting and hollering at these lines too, otherwise we might get the idea that they have no stomach for it.


Did they actually make a short film about John Kerry attending a funeral?


After accusing Bush of getting us into a fraudulent war and accusing Cheney of making secret deals with polluters, John Kerry asked that President Bush join him to make this a positive campaign. It reminds me of a guy who hits someone in the nose and then implores the victim that their conflict can be worked out through a peaceful dialogue.

Otherwise the usual apple pie and motherhood were paraded out. Kerry mentioned God a couple of times and the crickets came back. He's got a great plan for protecting us before another attack without an ugly pre-emptive strike. A neat trick what details will be released in his memoirs, maybe.

I learned that 4 months in Vietnam over 3 decades ago trumps voting against military and intelligence spending. Hillary can forget about running in the year 2008. Democrats just don't have faith in a candidate that hasn't served in the military.

Kerry said maybe the most honest thing in this campaign. He said that John Edwards is the embodiment of the American Dream. It's true, Edwards has proved that anyone can get rich in this country if they can find a deep pocketed defendant.

John Kerry is an optimist who believes in America although he has his hands full with rich people, corporations, HMOs, homophobes, racists and pro-lifers.

And if it weren’t for this campaign I would have never learned about the miraculous healing power of stem cells. Once they work the kinks out, stem cells will cure Alzheimers , stop jobs from being exported overseas, and make your mother-in-law call before coming over.

John Kerry’s America is Popeye with a case of spinach. John Kerry’s America is Mariano Rivera pitching and Haliburton batting. John Kerry’s America is Microsoft Internet Explorer without the cookies. In short, John Kerry’s America is finally the heaven that FDR, Johnson and Clinton only dreamed of.

Last night I heard John Edwards promise that they had a plan to solve all of our worldly problems. He's going to reform health care and bring down the costs, although his kind of lawyering is what caused high malpractice premiums and high costs to begin with.
Edwards promised that he and Kerry would create more jobs, stop tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas, raise the minimum wage, expand access to health care, lower health insurance premiums and reorient the tax code to help working Americans. "We're going to reward work, not just wealth," he said.

Private companies create jobs and the reason they are going overseas is because they're tired of government regulations and strangulations. Clinton promised in 1992 that he was going to give the people a middle class tax cut. He had 8 years to do so and 6 years with a Congress that was all for the idea. Even when the budget deficit became a surplus, Clinton couldn't bring himself to lower taxes. On the other hand, John Edwars has proved by his actions that rich people can and will get out of the taxes regardless of tax rates. We're better off with lower marginal rates for everyone than the fiction that we're soaking the rich.

I found his proposal to raise minimum wage interesting when he complains that a family cannot sustain itself on minimum wage. Even if we doubled minimum wage, Democrats could make the same points about people barely sustaining themselves, so why even bother to raise it? The better question that Democrats never ask is, "Why are people choosing to start families when they do not have the skills in order to provide for them?" Many of my friends that make a decent living are childless or started having kids later once they began earning enough money to pay for them. Should people who are sacrificing in their own lives feel sorry for people who won't?

The biggest laugh of the night came when John Edwards says we should ask the people who served with John Kerry whether or not they trust him. Of course, he has a small core of people he parades around verifying his heroism. What's not given attention is the much bigger group that doesn't like him. Now his fellow commanders have come out against his campaign.
Republicans "are doing all they can to take this campaign for the highest office in the land down the lowest possible road," he said. "This is where you come in. Between now and November, you -- the American people -- you can reject the tired, old, hateful, negative politics of the past. And instead you can embrace the politics of hope, the politics of what's possible, because this is America, where everything is possible."
Democrats have had a field day bashing Bush for months and now they tell us they want to unite America. Let's get something cleared up right now. America is going to remain divided regardless of who wins the election. The two Americas will continue because no election is going to change how people think.

Some people think that we have to go to war to fight terrorism and the other side cannot abide by the casualties that result from it. It doesn’t' matter that we've uncovered Sarin Gas or Mustard Gas, half the country clings to the idea that there were no WMD. It's been said enough times now that no amount of actual evidence will change anyone's mind -- not even the media's. The Left needed a way to oppose Bush and when the evidence of WMD didn't immediately turn up it became their reason to stamp the war as illegitimate. When they couldn't find a letter from Saddam Hussein wishing Osama Bin Laden Godspeed in his plans to hit the World Trade Center the Left's conclusion was that there were no links between the two powers despite a preponderance of evidence to the contrary. This also became a black mark on Bush although he was less worried about direct connections and more focused on the fact that both powers were supporting terrorists. Discoveries of suicide bomber vests in Baghdad after the fall never got the kind of attention from the media that it deserved.

Neither of these politicians can unite these two sides. If Bush wins, half the country will be convinced he’s leading us to peril. If Kerry wins, half the country will be convinced that he isn’t serious about fighting the war. The Two Americas will continue.

Monday, July 26, 2004


Drudge has been running this all day. Coulter's column was her usual go for the jugular sarcastic look at the left. I wasn't going to link it until Drudge posted the actual line by line criticism from the USA Today editors. These are funny.
Coulter: A speaker at the Democratic National Convention this year, Al Sharpton, accused white police officers of raping and defacing Tawana Brawley in 1987, lunatic charges that eventually led to a defamation lawsuit against Sharpton and even more eventually, to Sharpton paying a jury award to the defamed plaintiff Steve Pagones. So it’s a real mystery why cops wouldn’t like Democrats.


COULTER: As for the pretty girls, I can only guess that it’s because liberal boys never try to make a move on you without the UN Security Council's approval. Plus, it’s no fun riding around in those dinky little hybrid cars. My pretty-girl allies stick out like a sore thumb amongst the corn-fed, no make-up, natural fiber, no-bra needing, sandal-wearing, hirsute, somewhat fragrant hippie chick pie wagons they call "women" at the Democratic National Convention.


Coulter: Looking at the line-up of speakers at the Convention, I have developed the 7-11 challenge: I will quit making fun of, for example, Dennis Kucinich, if he can prove he can run a 7-11 properly for 8 hours. We’ll even let him have an hour or so of preparation before we open up. Within 8 hours, the money will be gone, the store will be empty, and he’ll be explaining how three 11-year olds came in and asked for the money and he gave it to them.


Coulter: I’d say I love all these Democrats in Boston so much I want them to go home, but I don’t. I want Americans to get a good long look at the French Party and keep the 7-11 challenge in mind.

Michael Moore is going to write a similar commentary for the Republican convention. Coulter says, "My guess is they will ‘get’ his humor."

Follow-up on earlier Annie Jacobsen article. Maybe there was nothing to it, but the article raises some questions about overall security.
The passenger, later identified as Annie Jacobsen, was in danger of panicking other passengers and creating a larger problem on the plane, according to a source close to the secretive federal protective service.

“Initially it was brought to [the air marshals] attention by a passenger,” Adams said, adding the agents had been watching the men and chose to stay undercover.

Jacobsen and her husband had a number of conversations with the flight attendants and gestured towards the men several times, the source said.

“In concert with the flight crew, the decision was made to keep [the men] under surveillance since no terrorist or criminal acts were being perpetrated aboard the aircraft; they didn’t interfere with the flight crew,” Adams said.

The air marshals did, however, check the bathrooms after the middle-eastern men had spent time inside, Adams said.

“We have to take all calls seriously, but the passenger was worried, not the flight crew or the federal air marshals,” she said. “The complaint did not stem from the flight crew.”

1. Jacobsen said the flight attendant she talked to was worried. This report makes it sound like only Jacobsen was worried.  This helps to marginalize her experience.

2. Why did the flight crew allow the men to huddle around the laboratories when the fasten seatbelt signs were on and the plane was clearing to land? In my experience, just starting to get out of your seat at that point will bring pouncing crewmembers.

3. How did the Air Marshals know that no terrorist or criminal acts were being perpetrated? If they were so sure they wouldn't have needed to check the laboratories.
The source said the air marshals on the flight were partially concerned Jacobsen’s actions could have been an effort by terrorists or attackers to create a disturbance on the plane to force the agents to identify themselves.

Air marshals’ only tactical advantage on a flight is their anonymity, the source said, and Jacobsen could have put the entire flight in danger.

“They have to be very cognizant of their surroundings,” spokesman Adams confirmed, “to make sure it isn’t a ruse to try and pull them out of their cover.”

I don't see how the flight attendants would have ignored the bathroom huddle without getting orders from the air marshals. The passenger not only saw weird behavior from the men, but also noticed that the flight crew wasn't behaving according to the usual rules. If the air marshals were worried about having their covers blown they should have let the flight crews usher the men back to their seats. The rule bending gave passengers a feeling that something wasn't right. Therefore, the Air Marshals were trading the possibility of blown covers for more surveillance of the men.

Another thing that isn't mentioned is the government's failure to search these men at the gates. The lack of search was the beginning of this lady's worry throughout the flight.

They took a chance not searching them. They took a chance letting them huddle around the bathroom. Somehow passengers are to feel perfectly secure with this kind of risk-taking. If they become alarmed they are blowing the poor man’s cover.

Instead of blaming this passenger, the government should take her example as a reason to reform the current procedures. Otherwise, they should prepare for more of the same behavior.

Friday, July 23, 2004


Gene Hackman was on Larry King Live last weekend. Larry went on and on about all of Gene's great movies and I forgot he was in so many. He's the kind of actor that can star or plays great secondary roles in movies starring other people. It's easy to forget how pivotal he was in movies like BIRDCAGE or THE FIRM. And who can imagine anyone but Hackman in UNFORGIVEN? He didn't want to do Unforgiven according to Time film Critic, and Eastwood biographer, Richard Schickel. Schickel explained that Gene fashions himself a liberal and didn't want to be in a shootem up western. When Eastwood explained that the movie was really about the horrors of gun fighting, Hackman signed on.

So it came as a surprise when Larry King asked Gene Hackman about Ronald Reagan and Hackman was nothing but praise. Hackman, of course, qualified it by saying the he personally was a Democrat, but that he loved the way Reagan loved this country. That qualification should be enough to keep the cocktail party invitations coming.
KING: But you loved President Reagan.

HACKMAN: I did, yes. I'm a Democrat but I also loved the idea of that man. He was so committed to America. A beautiful American.

KING: You never worked with him, right?

HACKMAN: I didn't. But I met him. It's funny. We have an occasion to meet a lot of famous people, being in this profession. And I was sitting outside the Oval Office thinking, well, I'll get this over with and go to lunch, or whatever. When I got in the Oval Office, I was like, hey, this is really something. I was very affected by it and by him.

KING: It hits you.

HACKMAN: It does.

I haven't been able to forget that all week. I kept thinking that it had some sort of significance and that I wasn't putting it together. Yesterday I figured out what it was. Liberals love their patriotism to be safely in the past. That's why liberals can write books like THE GREATEST GENERATION that celebrate some past American glory, but treat current patriotism as jingoism.

During Reagan's Presidency the term was usually jingoism, but now even this early the first Hollywood liberals are embracing yesterday's jingoism as today's patriotism. It's probably true that Hackman has always felt this way about Reagan and had to conceal it until it was benign.

Clint Eastwood, who is still a registered Republican, had a falling out with Reagan that was the beginning of his resurgence as a "serious artist." You'll remember that Eastwood made FIREFOX and HEARTBREAK RIDGE in the 1980s, both typical 1980s pro U.S. action films.

Eastwood said he became angry with Reagan because he spoke at the World War II cemetery at Bitburg to mark the 40th anniversary to the end of the war. The West German Chancellor was a big ally of the United States and asked Reagan to make this speech and Reagan agreed before he realized that members of the SS were buried there. John Kerry can go and handshake the North Vietnamese, but Reagan shouldn't be anywhere near dead SS. Anyway, Reagan felt that he had already promised and West Germany was too big of an ally to not make good on the deal. Afterall, We had military bases in that country and nuclear missiles aimed at the USSR. Reagan met with several holocaust survivors before he made the trip and there were some protestors and it made the news, but it was pretty much forgotten a short time later.

I read a late 1990s interview with Eastwood and he was still rankled over this Bitburg trip and he said that it made him sever ties with Reagan. It just grabs me as a silly reason to not like Reagan anymore and if you combine that with Hackman's sudden admission that Reagan was a great guy you can only conclude that these Hollywood people need cover for their own patriotic feelings.

Now that I read Eastwood is directing the Spielberg (Clinton buddy) produced FLAG OF OUR FATHERS about Iwo Jima. Tom Hanks (another Clinton buddy) was everywhere raising money for the World War II memorial. Hackman admires Reagan. All of this leads me to conclude that liberals need their patriotism safely in the past.

Thursday, July 22, 2004


The New Republic is a traditional Liberal magazine that was a must-read in the Clinton White House. Owner-Editor Marty Peretz has always hired good writers regardless of their politics. Conservatives, Andrew Sullivan and Michael Kelly are were Editors and Fred Barnes was a longtime columnist. Peretz himself is pretty liberal. He was a former college proffesor of Al Gore and big supporter of Al Gore in 2000. But Peretz supports the war on terror, and thus must shriek every time he hears Gore speak at one of his functions.

There are two liberal mythologies currently in vogue. The first is Joe Wilson's honesty and the second is Sandy Berger's. Peretz takes them both down.

He inadvertently took home documents and notes about documents that he was not permitted to take from the archives; secondly, he inadvertently didn't notice the papers in his possession when he got home and actually looked at them; and, thirdly, he inadvertently discarded some of these same files so that they are now missing. Gone, in fact. One of his lawyers attributes this behavior to "sloppiness," which may better explain his career as Bill Clinton's National Security Adviser and certainly describes his presentation of self in everyday life.

What was contained in the papers that Berger snatched? The answer to that question might answer another. Maybe Clinton's top national security aide didn't want others to see what they documented.

he tale spun by former Ambassador Joseph Wilson that Iraq did not ever try to buy uranium yellowcake from Niger is now in the process of unraveling. And, of course, the phalanx of anti-war journalists is desperately trying to stop the bust-up. But it can't be done. The flying apart began with two stories in the Financial Times (London), one on June 28, the other on July 4. Relying on information ultimately sourced to three European intelligence services--none of them British and one of them that had monitored clandestine uranium smuggling to Iraq over three years--Mark Huband reported that the network also serviced or was to service Libya, Iran, China, and North Korea. A tell-tale element of the story is that the mines in Niger from which several thousand tons of uranium had been extracted and sold were owned by French companies. Apparently, after a time, they had abandoned the mines as economically unviable. But, as a counter-proliferation expert told Huband, this does not mean that extraction stopped. In any case, Lord Butler's altogether independent panel in the United Kingdom concluded that Tony Blair's claim about Hussein being in the market for uranium was "well-founded." These are the same claims made by George W. Moreover, the U.S. Senate report undercuts Wilson's very believability. I myself had wondered why the CIA had been so dumb--such dumbness is something to which we should have long ago become accustomed!--as to send a low-level diplomat to check on yellowcake sales from Niger to Iraq when it should have dispatched a real spook. Well, it turns out that a "real spook" had recommended him to her boss, that spook being Valerie Plame, who happens also to be Wilson's wife. He has long denied that she had anything to do with his going to Niger and that, alas, was a lie.

As Brent Bozell has shown the Networks are still propping up Berger, while major newspapers have ignored the Senate's report on Wilson.

What liberal Media?

Wednesday, July 21, 2004


Abortion has always made me uncomfortable, but I've grown weary of the debate every four years when a presidential election rolls around. When Justice Harry Blackmun convinced Justice Anthony Kennedy to switch his vote in the 1992 Casey decision, the last chance for states to decide for themselves went up in flames. It would have been the perfect compromise and it would have taken the issue out of Federal elections. Instead, Roe v. Wade is here to stay.

Since Roe is a fact of life, I favor outlawing late-term abortions and I favor parental notification and waiting periods. It's one thing for an adult to have an early term abortion, but it's quite another to allow it willy nilly regardless of the harm it does. It seems that most Americans have some sort of squeamishness when it comes to the act of abortions. Even Bill Clinton said he wanted them to be safe but rare. His sentiments were tapping into the American psyche of abortions being unfortunate realities that allow disadvantaged women an opportunity to not be trapped in single motherhood.

What Americans don't want to hear about are social climbers that abort babies for convenience. Birth control isn't exactly a new fangled idea. And yet here is some lady in The New York Times Magazine that was tired of taking the pill and figured she might just have a kid if she got pregnant.

I found out I was having triplets when I went to my obstetrician.

My immediate response was, I cannot have triplets. I was not married; I lived in a five-story walk-up in the East Village; I worked freelance; and I would have to go on bed rest in March. I lecture at colleges, and my biggest months are March and April. I would have to give up my main income for the rest of the year. There was a part of me that was sure I could work around that. But it was a matter of, Do I want to?

I looked at Peter and asked the doctor: ''Is it possible to get rid of one of them? Or two of them?'' The obstetrician wasn't an expert in selective reduction, but she knew that with a shot of potassium chloride you could eliminate one or more.

On the subway, Peter asked, ''Shouldn't we consider having triplets?'' And I had this adverse reaction: ''This is why they say it's the woman's choice, because you think I could just carry triplets. That's easy for you to say, but I'd have to give up my life.'' Not only would I have to be on bed rest at 20 weeks, I wouldn't be able to fly after 15. I was already at eight weeks. When I found out about the triplets, I felt like: It's not the back of a pickup at 16, but now I'm going to have to move to Staten Island. I'll never leave my house because I'll have to care for these children. I'll have to start shopping only at Costco and buying big jars of mayonnaise.

When we saw the specialist, we found out that I was carrying identical twins and a stand alone. My doctors thought the stand alone was three days older. There was something psychologically comforting about that, since I wanted to have just one. Before the procedure, I was focused on relaxing. But Peter was staring at the sonogram screen thinking: Oh, my gosh, there are three heartbeats. I can't believe we're about to make two disappear. The doctor came in, and then Peter was asked to leave. I said, ''Can Peter stay?'' The doctor said no. I know Peter was offended by that.

I went on to have a pretty seamless pregnancy. But I had a recurring feeling that this was going to come back and haunt me. Was I going to have a stillbirth or miscarry late in my pregnancy?

I had a boy, and everything is fine. But thinking about becoming pregnant again is terrifying. Am I going to have quintuplets? I would do the same thing if I had triplets again, but if I had twins, I would probably have twins. Then again, I don't know.

The article may be the worst example of nihilism I've ever read. What's haunting about the story is the detachment this lady has from her own children. All she can think about is how she'll have to live on Staten Island and shop at a Wholesale Club. What would it do to the surviving kid psychologically to learn that two-thirds of the litter were tied up in a bag and thrown into the river? The last paragraph about how she'd abort the triplets again in the same situation but maybe keep the twins is just batty.

This is just one weirdo, but the people who celebrate this kind of choice fight against the myriad of other personal choices they’d rather see the government control. Where are people's priorities?
WALL STREET JOURNAL: Release the documents

We'll grant that visions of a former National Security Adviser stuffing classified documents down his trousers or socks makes for good copy. But count us more interested in learning what's in the documents themselves than in where on his person Sandy Berger may have put them when he was sneaking them out of the National Archives.

For the evidence suggests that the missing material cuts to the heart of the choice offered in this election: Whether America treats terrorism as a problem of law enforcement or an act of war.

Mr. Berger admits to having deliberately taken handwritten notes he'd made out of the Archives reading room. On the more serious charges involving the removal (and subsequent discarding) of highly classified documents--including drafts of a key, after-action memo Mr. Berger had himself ordered on the U.S. response to al Qaeda threats in the run-up to the Millennium--he maintains he did so "inadvertently."

There's only one way to clear away the political smoke: Release all the drafts of the review Mr. Berger took from the room.

If it's all as innocent as Mr. Berger's friends are saying, there's no reason not to make them public. But there are good reasons for questioning Mr. Berger's dog-ate-my-homework explanation. To begin with, he was not simply preparing for his testimony before the 9/11 Commission. He was the point man for the Clinton Administration, reviewing and selecting the documents to be turned over to the Commission.

Written by Richard Clarke for the NSC, the key document was called the Millennium After-Action Review because it dealt with al Qaeda attacks timed for the eve of the Millennium celebrations. In his own 9/11 testimony, Mr. Berger described these al Qaeda plans as "the most serious threat spike of our time in government." He went on to say that they provoked "sustained attention and rigorous actions" from the Administration that ended up saving lives.

But Attorney General John Ashcroft, who has the advantage of having read the document in question, had a different take. In his own 9/11 testimony in April, Mr. Ashcroft recommended that the Commission "study carefully" the after-action memo. He described it as laying out vulnerabilities and calling for aggressive remedies of the type he and the Bush Administration have been criticized for. Mr. Ashcroft further noted that when he took office, this "highly classified review" was "not among" the items he was briefed on during the transition.

That's a decent theory as to what was in the documents. And, of course, it can be partially cleared up by the release of those documents. What can never be cleared up is the identity and worth of the documents that Berger "lost." Whatever Berger took must have been a lot more damning than the heat Berger would feel if he were caught.

I'm glad that Bill Clinton can laugh it off. If Sandy Berger was the kind of fool who could casually lose top-secret documents then it says a lot about the kind of Administration Clinton ran. It also says a lot about the troubles and perils that George W. Bush inherited from these nuts.

Voters will get a chance in a few months to elect a President that will take us back to the 1990s era of terrorist figthing. It's not ironic that Berger is/was an adviser to John Kerry. The old team is ready to move back in to talk big and do nothing.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004


Clinton's former National Security Advisor removes classified documents.
Former President Clinton's national security adviser is under criminal investigation for taking highly classified terrorism documents that should have been turned over to the independent commission probing the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, FOX News has confirmed.

Sandy Berger is under scrutiny by the Justice Department following the disappearance of documents he was reviewing at the National Archives.

Berger and his lawyer said Monday night he knowingly removed the handwritten notes by placing them in his jacket, pants and socks, and also inadvertently took copies of actual classified documents in a leather portfolio.

"I deeply regret the sloppiness involved, but I had no intention of withholding documents from the commission, and to the contrary, to my knowledge, every document requested by the commission from the Clinton administration was produced," Berger said in a statement.

What's sloppy about putting the documents in his pants and socks. Is that something that people do half thinking? It sounds like he got away with whatever he wanted to get away with and will now play the fool who is so sorry.


Saturday, July 17, 2004


I just read the most disturbing article on about new terrorist threats on the airlines.  The writer relates her own experiences on a recent flight from Detroit to Los Angeles where more than a dozen Middle Eastern men were acting suspicious all through the flight.  Passengers were getting scared and her husband learned from the flight attendant that Air Marshals were on board monitoring the situation but took no action. 

Finally, the captain announced that the plane was cleared for landing. It had been four hours since we left Detroit. The fasten seat belt light came on and I could see downtown Los Angeles. The flight attendants made one final sweep of the cabin and strapped themselves in for landing. I began to relax. Home was in sight.
Suddenly, seven of the men stood up -- in unison -- and walked to the front and back lavatories. One by one, they went into the two lavatories, each spending about four minutes inside. Right in front of us, two men stood up against the emergency exit door, waiting for the lavatory to become available. The men spoke in Arabic among themselves and to the man in the yellow shirt sitting nearby. One of the men took his camera into the lavatory. Another took his cell phone. Again, no one approached the men. Not one of the flight attendants asked them to sit down.  I watched as the man in the yellow shirt, still in his seat, reached inside his shirt and pulled out a small red book. He read a few pages, then put the book back inside his shirt.  He pulled the book out again, read a page or two more, and put it back.  He continued to do this several more times.

I looked around to see if any other passengers were watching. I immediately spotted a distraught couple seated two rows back. The woman was crying into the man's shoulder.  He was holding her hand.  I heard him say to her, "You've got to calm down." Behind them sat the once pleasant-smiling, goatee-wearing man.

This passage was just the end of a suspicious flight.  The whole article is worth reading.  She talks about how their actions mimic those of other "dry runs" that British intelligence has spotted.
She ends by saying that Transportation Secretary, Norman Minetta has fined airlines for screening suspicious Arab men and it explains why the airlines did nothing.  The air marshals told the author a few weeks later that their policy is to observe unless a disturbance occurs.  It seems to me that it's up to the passengers that aren't confined to politically correct action to do something in these situations. 
If a passenger would have stood up near the end of the flight and told the Arab men to sit down then it would have forced a conflict that the air marshals would have had to settle.  I'm surprised that a whole flight of people would just sit quietly as this went on.   Why is everyone afraid these days?  The government is afraid of being "racist."  Airlines are afraid of being sued.  Passengers are afraid of speaking up. 
The only fear we should have is these people succeeding and it looks like it's up to the passengers to do something about it.  The government is more interested in whether the air marshals have union bargaining rights than protecting us.

UPDATE: Annie Jacobsen pens a follow-up


Friday, July 16, 2004

Liar Joe Wilson has an interesting endorsement of John Kerry on his website entitled -- ha ha -- RESTORE HONESTY. At the bottom of the page is a disclaimer that the whole message is being paid for by John Kerry. Maybe Al "Lies and lying liers that tell them" Franken should have Joe Wilson on that radio program to explain.

Thursday, July 15, 2004


The Wall Street Jounral has a great article about how Edwards and Kerry find a way to dodge all those tax cuts aimed at the rich.

In embracing John Edwards, John Kerry has also endorsed his populist "two Americas" rhetoric and has put tax increases at the center of the election campaign. So it's fair to ask the two Democrats: How much of those tax increases will actually hit the super-rich like yourselves, and how much will end up on the backs of upper middle-class wage earners?

For an answer, let's look at what the two Senators have themselves been paying in taxes. It turns out that the Kerrys and Edwards have exploited plenty of tax loopholes over the years. Of course, nobody is obligated to pay more than what the letter of the law requires. But the complex tax code benefits the wealthy, who can afford tax attorneys and complicated schemes to skirt the law. And high marginal rates give them plenty of incentive to do so.

Senator Edwards talks about the need to provide health care for all, but that didn't stop him from using a clever tax dodge to avoid paying $591,000 into the Medicare system. While making his fortune as a trial lawyer in 1995, he formed what is known as a "subchapter S" corporation, with himself as the sole shareholder.

Instead of taking his $26.9 million in earnings directly in the following four years, he paid himself a salary of $360,000 a year and took the rest as corporate dividends. Since salary is subject to 2.9% Medicare tax but dividends aren't, that meant he shielded more than 90% of his income. That's not necessarily illegal, but dodging such a large chunk of employment tax skates perilously close to the line.

It's funny how these guys are always acting so egalitarian about how they don't need Bush's tax cut.  Now I know why.   
Rich people can hire the best attorneys to avoid taxes.  Us middle class people have to rely on lower marginal rates.  Democrats have been playing an interesting game with the electorate.   They make middle class people feel envious of the rich all the while collecting middle class money in order to buy votes from the lower class. 
These programs that they believe in so whole-heartedly are to be paid for by people who actually work for a living and not them.   I would call that suspicious.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004


Watch this - courtesy of E HEAD

George Bush took a lot of heat for visiitng Bob Jones University in 2000. Though he did nothing in his performance that he could be embarassed about, his mere presence was enough to make it a big news story.

In 2004, the Bush team wants to put the same heat on John Kerry for his fundraiser at Radio City Music Hall. Kerry called these millionaire egalitarian peaceniks the heart and soul of America. Thus, Bush's campaign has asked Kerry's campaign to release the performance so Americans can judge for themselves. The Kerry camp has been looking for reasons not to. The Corner prints the request letter today:
July 12, 2004

Mary Beth Cahill
Campaign Manager
John Kerry for President
P.O. Box 34640
Washington, DC 20043

Dear Ms. Cahill:

On Thursday your campaign hosted a fundraiser at Radio City Music Hall at which Sen. Kerry said, "Every performer tonight in their own way either verbally through their music through their lyrics have conveyed to you the heart and soul of our country."

I called on your campaign to release the performance that Sen. Kerry said represented the "heart and soul" of America so that all Americans could see for themselves what John Kerry thinks represents the "heart and soul" of our country.

Do most Americans in their hearts, think that calling the President a "thug" and a "killer" represents the "heart and soul" of our nation? We don't think so, but we think voters should decide for themselves by watching the celebrities John Kerry said captured the "heart and soul" of America.

Your Senior Advisor Tad Devine said that you believed that releasing musical performances "might violate copyrights and licensing agreements for the entertainers who performed and allow the Bush campaign to use the tape in commercials against Kerry and Edwards"

I have been assured that "fair use" rules of copyright would allow you to release the tapes of these musical performances to the news media under 2 U.S.C. § 107. To allay the other concern you relayed to the news media, Bush-Cheney '04 pledges to refrain from using audio, video or transcripts of the event for any television, cable, satellite or radio advertising. We look forward to seeing this spirited display.


Ken Mehlman
Campaign Manager

I don’t think Kerry tried that “life begins with conception” argument backstage.

Monday, July 12, 2004


Remember Ron Karkovice the longtime backup catcher for the Chicago White Sox? I read last week in the paper that he was an Orlando native who went to Boone High School with Joe Oliver, another MLB catcher with a long career. The article was touting how Karkovice has opened a new restaurant called Ronnie’s Big League Deli. It really gives him a boost. When I read about the location I realized that it was biking distance from Tricia’s house and thought I would take her there at first opportunity. We went Saturday.

The place was decent sized, but most of it seemed under construction. There were only a few tables in the part that was open. One was occupied by a group of 5. No one else was present except for the girl behind the counter. She was nice and gave me a regular size cup for my water. They didn’t have bottled water or unsweetend Ice Tea. They didn’t really seem ready to open. The floor was bare cement and there wasn’t as much baseball memorabilia as the article led you to think.

I had a roast beef sandwich that was mostly tasteless white sub roll, but Trish did like her Turkey Bacon wrap. The beer was priced well enough if we had been in the mood for it.

After we started eating Karkovice sat down at a table behind us. He was engulfed in a replay of the Florida/Florida State game from a few years back. Later he chomped down on some wings. He wasn’t the gregarious guy welcoming everyone or trying to get chummy with the new, if scant, clientele.

I started thinking that Karkovice started this restaurant because he has nothing to do. He was tired of sitting home everyday watching sports so he opened a restaurant so that he could hang around strangers and watch sports. There didn’t seem to be much attempt to lure customers through d├ęcor or good food or a great atmosphere. But it did allow him to eat some wings and watch old football games.

He’s got the reverse problem that most of us have. We’re struggling in order to provide a better life for ourselves. Ronnie’s work is over. He doesn’t need money. He needs an outlet for his time. Like a lot of athletes that get drafted into sports he has no fall back plan in life. Some leave sports and have no money and have to struggle with the rest of us. Karkovice must have plenty of money, what with 11 big league seasons, but his life is only half over and he lacks a purpose for the rest of it.

He’s like a lottery winner that has plenty of money, but no connection to the things that were once important in life. The restaurant seems to be a way to reconnect. I only say this because he didn’t seem to put a lot of attention into the things that are necessary to make money and keep people coming back.

I left feeling bad for him. I felt like he either didn’t want to succeed or didn’t know how too. Maybe I read too much into the small scene I witnessed, but he’ll need to put a lot of work into this place if he wants it to be self-sustained. I suggested to Trish that we should come back in a month or two and see if he was making any progress. Maybe he just opened before the place was ready.

Another old Chicago Ballplayer tries something else.

The trouble with what to do with old politicians is even more difficult.

Friday, July 09, 2004


Thomas Sowell finds it curious that Bush is blamed for insisting on the WMD when it was once a bipartisan belief.
Saddam Hussein not only had, but used, chemical and biological weapons against his enemies, foreign and domestic. With the help of the French, he was rebuilding nuclear facilities, ostensibly for civilian energy purposes, but oil-rich countries do not need nuclear power plants to generate electricity.

Who said so? The Russians said so. The British said so. Bill Clinton said so. Leaders of both political parties said so. George W. Bush was one of the last to say so. Yet he alone is accused of lying.

I had been worried that we have squandered the capital of going to war. Sowell agrees.
Iran and North Korea -- the other nations identified as part of the "axis of evil" -- are now playing the same cat-and-mouse game, and North Korea is openly threatening to produce nuclear bombs. Either or both these countries are potential suppliers of such weapons to international terrorists.

Libya backed out of the nuclear weapons game after Qadaffi saw what happened to Saddam Hussein in Iraq. What would have emboldened Iran and North Korea? Only a disunited America, full of loud irresponsible election-year talk about "lies" on weapons of mass destruction, making it unlikely that the United States can muster the political will to strike Iran or North Korea.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Kerry was acknowledged by the Vietnam government in 1983, when he was Lt. Governor of Massachusetts. Kerry's record of activism benefiting the communists was also lauded by the military commander of the North Vietnamese forces, General Vo Nguyen Giap, in his 1985 memoir of the war. Giap wrote that

“…if it were not for the disunity created by...stateside protests, Hanoi would have ultimately surrendered.”

Thus, Kerry¹s efforts aided and abetted the enemy, prolonged the war, and probably resulted in greater American casualties.

This is the real debate about Vietnam. Sure Kerry and the hippies had the right to disagree with the war, but that doesn't absolve them from the consequences. Speech is free, but it comes with a responsibility.

This election may ultimately decide whether the United States has the will to defeat its enemies. The Michael Moore movie has brought about an interesting debate in this country. People who pay no attention to world events are suddenly convinced that we're making a big mistake in Iraq. Talk to any of them and they don't know which of Moore's statements are true or false. When you point out the falsehoods they slip into moral relativism. "You just disagree with him." They say.

Sure I disagree with his conclusions, but whether his documentary is a factual isn't debatable. Many people who read and study world events have pointed out its flaws. The nonpartisan 911 commission denounced it. Only film critics who know nothing about the world, people easily influeced by whatever they see, and liberals love his conclusions. There is probably a decent documentary to be made by the opposition of the war using facts, but this isn't it.

But since Kerry hates war and his party hates war, you have to make the conclusion that a Kerry victory will end any American attempt to stand up for itself. A Kerry victory is simply a capitulation and return to the 1990s response to attacks on America. Was anything substantial done during the first attack of the World Trade Center? Does anyone remember our response to the embassy bombings? What did we do when our Navy ship was bombed in Yemen? ANSWER: We did nothing substantial enough for anyone to remember.

Will we ever forget what Bush did in Afghanistan and Iraq as a result of 911 -- least of all the terrorists? The main reason for spending the money and risking those lives was to show the world we were serious about our safety. The world may not like our actions or like us, but they have a greater respect for us.

The Democrats complain that the Afghanistan invasion was justified but not the Iraq invasion (though some Democrats go back and forth depending on whether they have to answer to voters). If Afghanistan was such an automatic, why didn't Democrats push for such an invasion after Yemen, the embassies or World Trade Center I? As soon as 911 happened, Clinton was told reporters that he thought it was Bin Laden. Why didn’t Clinton take care of this problem in the 1990s? He couldn’t do anything, because the majority of Democrats don't have the stomach for any kind of war. They're not going to come out against a successful and popular campaign. They'll praise it to the heavens. They would have done the same in Iraq had it went more smoothly.

Democrats have the easy task of never making the tough decision. Republicans will fight the wars. Democrats will praise the ones that are easy and attack the ones that are hard, leaving the impression that they only would have conducted the easy ones themselves. But Democrats have been in the white house 12 of the 29 years post Vietnam. Can anyone remember a decisive military action for American interests? I don't mean dropping bombs on Serbia, but an actual military action that benefited their own country. You can't and you won't. Not then, not now and not in the future. It's not who they are. It's not in them. They refuse to be Lyndon Johnson and get themselves into a conflict with their own voters. They'd rather have two terms of dolling out goodies to voters. It doesn't matter what they personally think unless they are willing to be ran out on a rail.

The election of John Kerry tells the world that we are no longer serious about our safety. We're too squeamish to do the tough work to win. We'd rather return to the 1990s and consider each attack just the cost of being America. We'll hope that our non-action will make them like us and maybe, if we're lucky, another disaster won't occur. Should we leave it to luck?

Monday, July 05, 2004

But even as he tried to avoid making news Sunday, Kerry broke new ground in an interview that ran in the Dubuque, Iowa, daily, the Telegraph Herald. A Catholic who supports abortion rights and has taken heat recently from some in the church hierarchy for his stance, Kerry told the paper, "I oppose abortion, personally. I don't like abortion. I believe life does begin at conception."

"I can't take my Catholic belief, my article of faith, and legislate it on a Protestant or a Jew or an atheist," he continued in the interview. "We have separation of church and state in the United States of America." The comments came on the final day of a three-state Midwest swing, during which Kerry has repeatedly sought to dispel stereotypes that could play negatively among voters in the Heartland.

When life begins isn't strictly a religious question. You can have an opinion based on science or philosophy. It doesn't matter how or why you formed an opinion, the question is whether you have the guts to stand up for your convictions. What Kerry is saying here is that he doesn't have the ability to fight for what he believes in. Yes, says Kerry, it is a human being, and though I pain when it dies in the womb, I am but a helpless Senator shackled by the rigors of the constitution.

Put another way, the Catholic Church believes in feeding the poor and offering charity. Is that a religious question? By Kerry's reasoning he cannot support welfare, public housing, food stamps or any government aid the Catholic Church supports, because it would conflict with his views of church and state.

Any opinion can be derived from any number of ways and many opinions are based or supported by more than one set of values. For some people it may take the scientific fact and a religious belief to change a behavior or form an opinion. You might not smoke because it's a sin and science says it might kill you. In the case of abortion a person could philosophically believe that abortion cheapens life which leads to more murder. Scientifically, abortion causes harm to the mother. Economically, the loss of these future humans will be a hardship on the economy. However your opinions are derived is unimportant compared to whether you are willing to fight for the ones you have. When Kerry casts a vote, the Supreme Court isn't going to disallow it because it coincides with the belief of his church.

Some leaders are driven by their beliefs and other leaders nod at the beliefs of voters to get elected. Does anyone think the latter is more honorable than the former? Is it better to lulled into sleep by a panderer or led by a believer?

I would much rather hear a candidate say that the abortion debate at the national level is really just emotionalism. What with the court and filibusters of judges, abortion is here to stay. So can we talk about something realistic that can improve America?

But if Kerry wants to tell us that life begins at conception then his voting record would remind one of the Nazis who ran the trains to Poland. They didn't gas one single Jew themselves in a concentration camp. They were just doing their job according to German law set forth by de Fuhrer, regardless of any personal beliefs. They were personally against this genocide, but it would have been wrong of them to get mixed up in their religious beliefs when they had a job to do. Thank goodness professionals can look past their own view of morality and keep the engines of government running as the law dictates.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

VEEP ODDS (found via Drudge)

Sen. John Edwards, N.C.

Odds: 3-1 (Chance for the ticket: 25 percent)

Pro: Caught the fancy of Democrats during the primary seasons, starting with a close second place to Kerry in the Jan. 19 Iowa caucuses. Polling around the country demonstrates an appeal to independent voters that Kerry lacks. Con: A one-term senator with no other political experience, he will be dogged by questions about whether he could take charge in the Oval Office in an emergency. And picking him is so widely expected, Kerry would barely make news with this choice.

Rep. Richard A. Gephardt, Mo.

Odds: 5-1 (Chance for the ticket: 20 percent)

Pro: Delivers Big Labor. Could be a slam dunk if Kerry rests his bid on a Midwest play, and might cinch Missouri’s 11 electoral votes. Of all the contenders, he is the most akin to Kerry’s low-key style and liberal ideology. Con: Widely perceived as an unexciting captive of Washington politics with limited appeal to swing voters.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, N.Y.

Odds: 9-1 (Chance for the ticket: 10 percent)

Pro: Like a bunker-busting bomb, picking her would remake this race and provoke a news media frenzy. No one could do more to excite the Democratic base. Her background in health care politics might be an asset as Kerry struggles to spotlight the issue. Con: She turns off some swing voters. And Bill Clinton’s book tour is highlighting his scandalous past more than his supporters had hoped.

Sen. Bob Graham, Fla. Odds: 12-1 (Chance for the ticket: 8 percent)

Gov. Tom Vilsack, Iowa Odds: 12-1 (Chance for the ticket: 8 percent)

Retired Army Gen. Wesley K. Clark Odds: 17-1 (Chance for the ticket: 6 percent)

Gov. Mark Warner, Va. Odds: 19-1 (Chance for the ticket: 5 percent)

Gov. Mark Warner, Va. Odds: 19-1 (Chance for the ticket: 5 percent)

Sen. Bill Nelson, Fla. Odds: 24-1 (Chance for the ticket: 4 percent)

Former Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin Odds: 24-1 (Chance for the ticket: 4 percent)

Gov. Bill Richardson, N.M. Odds: 30-1 (Chance for the ticket: 3 percent)

Gov. Janet Napolitano, Ariz. Odds: 30-1 (Chance for the ticket: 3 percent)

Wild Cards: Democratic buzz puts these men on the Veepstakes entrants at the last minute, and with 50-1 odds: Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware and former Sen. Sam Nunn of Georgia (1972-97).

He'd be a fool to choose anyone but Edwards. He needs likability before he can worry about carrying Florida. Edwards may be an ambulance chasing lawyer, but he comes off much more personable than the patrician Kerry.

Friday, July 02, 2004


I haven't been watching Jeopardy, but this article makes me wish that I had. Ken Jennings has won 22 straight Jeopardy episodes so far.
Jennings's run was made possible by the show's decision last fall to drop the rule that forced champions to retire after five victories. But no one expected this. Prior to Jennings's current streak of 22, the record was seven. Prior to his current cash total of $737,760; the record was $184,900. He's just in a different league. He seems to have no gaps in his knowledge. History. Geography. Science. Literature. Sports. Movies. Music. Languages. He not only knows, he recalls. Under pressure, in the form of a question. He buzzes in to respond while his rivals are still deciphering what's being asked. He wagers aggressively, but never recklessly. It's spooky — in the way that genuine greatness is always spooky. But it's riveting.

Clinton's speech with Jesse Jackson begins by lamenting that people's taxes are lower and that wealthy people should be feeding school kids. I wonder how much of the President Clinton's income is donated to charities that do that work?
They are coming to my town now for their convention, and it's in early September, and there is going to be so many flags you going to get slapped to death. Everybody is going to be patriotic and that's wonderful. But I'll tell you one thing they won't do before they get there -- they will not pass this [current federal] budget, because this budget that they've got on the [Congressional] floor now -- to protect my tax cut -- kicks the rest of -- listen to this, 1.3 million children out of their after-school programs," Clinton said.

I think some Vienna scientists have proven that Bill Clinton body will turn to dust if he accidently touches an American flag. At the least, no one has ever seen him touch one.
"If you kick another million kids out of their after-school program just to protect my tax cut, it's wrong, and the American people know it," he added.

Why doesn't Bill Clinton ponder the question of why people are having and raising kids they cannot feed? It seems like a bigger issue. Do parents forget that these kids are born mouths and digestive systems? Ah, there are so many rich Republicans we need not sweat the details.

Clinton can't go a whole speech without contradicting himself. Here he says that we shouldn't demonize the other side.
Clinton said he would not engage in any attempts to characterize his opponents as "bad people."

"I believe that we spend too much time in American politics and in the media trying to convince people that those who don't agree with us are bad people. I prefer to think we should argue who is right and who is wrong, not who's good and bad, he said to an approving audience.

Then he calls Pat Buchanan anti-Semetic.
Clinton called the controversial "butterfly" ballots used in some Florida counties so confusing that they resulted in "Jewish Americans" unintentionally casting ballots for Reform Party presidential candidate Pat Buchanan's "openly anti-Semitic campaign."

Maybe he means it as a compliment. After all, Clinton was the one who invited Yasser Arrafat to the White House.

It's not on Drudge yet, but a Phoenix TV station is reporting it.


The Good Choices:

JULIUS CAESAR (1953) - It would seem a strange choice for Brando, but I immediately liked the whole production and Brando is better than Robin Williams impersonation in Dead Poet's Society would have you believe.

ON THE WATERFRONT (1954) - Easily one of the ten best film performances of all time. If you haven't seen it, you should pull up a chair.

GUYS AND DOLLS (1955) Another strange choice for Brando? He does such a good job and it's such a fun movie you forget that he made his reputation with dramas.

THE GODFATHER (1972) - Can't say enough!

The Overrated Ones

THE WILD ONE (1954) - The classic biker picture doesn't really hold up and seems to have little point. If you've seen Brando in that black leather and Fonzie white t-shirt then you've seen a picture from this film.

STRRETCAR NAMED DESIRE (1951) - Brando seemed a bit much to me here. This is supposed to be a breakthrough in modern acting and a tour de force. It may have been for its time, but I had trouble getting through it.

VIVA ZAPATA (1952) - Brando as revolutionary leader Zapata left me cold. The story seemed uninspired and Anthony Quinn is more interesting in the film.

A COUNTESS FROM HONG KONG (1967) - The last film direct by Charlie Chaplin. It's just plain silly in an old fashioned way with no point.

APOCALYPSE NOW (1979) - I liked Robert Duvall as the mad Colonel, but once they hit the river I feel myself drifting. Brando's part is incomprehensible. It's the essence of indulging an actor's nonsense.

Not Sure

THE YOUNG LIONS (1958) - Brando joined by Monty Clift and Dean Martin. Brando plays a sympathetic Nazi. Dean and Clift plays Americans. I liked it enough, but I don't remember much about it.

LAST TANGO IN PARIS (1972) - Brando gives a great performance, but the movie is a bit too odd in that early 1970s way when American films were trying to be more like European films (see Altman's 3 Women). Well, Bertolucci directed the thing so I guess it isn't that American after all. Pauline Kael said movies were changed forever when this was released. Roger Ebert said a couple of years ago that Kael had been wrong. This was a just an interesting blip.

Saddam Hussein scoffed at charges of war crimes and mass killings Thursday, making a defiant first public appearance since being hunted down seven months ago. The deposed dictator fixed the judge with a penetrating stare and declared: "This is all a theater by Bush, the criminal."

That defense would play pretty well in the Northeast and parts of California, but it doesn't always fool Iraqis.

Thursday, July 01, 2004


Much to the chagrin of Tom Brokaw. . .
Brokaw: I know you and others like you are grateful for the liberation of Iraq. But can't you understand why many Americans feel that so many young men and women have died here for purposes other than protecting the United States?

Allawi: We know that this is an extension to what happened in New York. And the war have been taken out to Iraq by the same terrorists. Saddam was a potential friend and partner and natural ally of terrorism.

Brokaw: Prime minister, I'm surprised that you would make the connection between 9/11 and the war in Iraq. The 9/11 commission in America says there is no evidence of a collaborative relationship between Saddam Hussein and those terrorists of al Qaeda.

Allawi: No, I believe very strongly that Saddam had relations with al Qaeda. And these relations started in Sudan. We know Saddam had relationships with a lot of terrorists and international terrorism. Now, whether he is directly connected to the September atrocities or not, I can't vouch for this. But definitely I know that he has connections with extremism and terrorists.

But, wait Mr. Prime Minister in my country the real connection between Al Qaeda and Saddam isn't to be exposed until after the Kerry inaguration. Let's instead talk about the effect Kurt Warner will have on making Eli Manning an NFL quarterback.

A ferocious pen she wields. . .
The New York Times ran a front-page news story on Sunday about how life was better for Iraqi girls under Saddam Hussein -- living under Saddam, that is, not the girls who were literally under Saddam, Odai and Qusai while they were being raped. The article was titled "For Iraqi Girls, Changing Land Narrows Lives." True, they don't have to run from Odai's rape rooms anymore. But apparently not a single Iraqi female has been admitted to Augusta National Golf Club since the liberation! -- The Democrats want Saddam back.

Is any modern day writer better with marrying an anology with hard data than Thomas Sowell? He'll write down little keen observations and every few months dedicate a column to them. Here are four of my favorites from the most recent RANDOM THOUGHTS.
A recently reprinted memoir by Frederick Douglass has footnotes explaining what words like "arraigned," "curried" and "exculpate" meant, and explaining who Job was. In other words, this man who was born a slave and never went to school educated himself to the point where his words now have to be explained to today's expensively under-educated generation.

The same people who were urging us to "get over it" and "move on" during the Clinton scandals have themselves still not gotten over the presidential election four years ago. They are still bitter that the U.S. Supreme Court would not allow the Florida Supreme Court to illegally interfere with the election process.

Why can't anyone get the University of California system or the University of Texas system to reveal the graduation rates of black students, now that affirmative action has been ended in these institutions? Are they afraid the statistics would show an increased rate of graduation, as critics of affirmative action have long predicted?

I have always been offended by the song that says, "Everything is beautiful in its own way." If everything is beautiful, then the word "beautiful" has no meaning. If everything were purple, there would be no word "purple" in the language because it would not distinguish one thing from another.