Tuesday, August 31, 2004

RNC AFTER TWO NIGHTS

A lot has been made in the media that the Republicans are trying to portray themselves as moderates with McCain, Giuliani and Arnold. I think what the media is missing is that many moderates support Bush despite the differences. And if the media wants to call these men moderates and not conservatives then they had better start asking themselves what Kerry and Edwards are. The "objective" media has refused to label Kerry and Edwards as liberals despite their voting records which indicate same. Now if McCain, Giuliani, and Arnold are moderates and Kerry and Edwards are moderates then the media should be very interested in why they oppose one another. If Bush is way off alone by himself on the Rightwing of American thought why is it that he garners the support of people that the media likens to his opponents? Something is amiss.

John McCain

The line that will be remembered was his jab at Michael Moore. I saw him trying to downplay it later that night on HARDBALL. The crowd was so reactive that he couldn't continue his speech. He kept begging them to settle, but between boos of Moore and chants of 4 MORE YEARS, McCain was helpless.

Otherwise McCain made a pretty safe speech that must have been a setup for the 2008 race. He showed strong conviction in the war on terror and support of Bush. It's nice to have him especially after he's spent most of the campaign reminding us that he's friends with Kerry. What's interesting is that he's more conservative than his moderate label. It's just that he's in opposition with the President often enough that the media has painted him as a centrist. One of his most articulate criticisms of Bush policy was the reckless expansion of Medicare.

I don't like Campaign Finance Reform, his opposition to tax cuts, or his courting of Democrats generally, but he's actually the war hero that Kerry longs to be and yet he's not the one always bringing it up. His speech did plenty of convince centrists that Bush needs 4 more years.


RUDY GIULIANI


A knockout. Giuliani is probably the most liberal of the mainstream Republicans and yet this speech was so red meat that you'd think that Barry Goldwater was back from the dead. Rudy's explanation of the methods of terrorism was the best description I have ever heard. He reminded the crowd that terrorists have been rewarded in the past for attacks. How else do you explain Arafat getting the Nobel Peace Prize? Rudy told America that Bush's tactic in beating terrorists may be controversial to some, but that it's paying dividends in ways that 1990s era policy didn't.

If he wants to run in 2008, he would be a tough opponent. He's pro-choice so he'd probably have to come out against partial birth abortion, if he hasn't already and promote civil unions over homosexual marriage. He might be a tough sell for consetrvatives, but I think he's still more palatable than McCain for many.

ARNOLD

It was nice to see him. He had a lot to say about being an immigrant American. From an historical point it was fun to hear how he wanted Nixon over Humphrey in 1968 and then by assumption Nixon over McGovern in 1972 which was the year his future wife's father was running on the McGovern ticket. Needless to say, there was a lot of hand-sitting by Maria during the speech. His memory of living close to Soviet occupied Austria was vivid as well. I hadn't realized he was so close to Communism.

He gave Bush a decent boost, but all in all it wasn't nearly as strong or moving as the speech from Giuliani.

BILL FRIST


All the talk of Bill Frist in 2008 took a big step backward with his speech tonight. He's probably a sincere and effective conservative in the Senate, but his speech lacked any passion or fire.

Lt. Gov. Michael Steele


I hadn't really heard of this guy, but he can speak and from a diversity angle he's got a future if he wants it. He wasn't given the same amount of time, but he's as significant as the Democrat, Obama.

WHERE IS GOV. BILL OWENS?


National Review has been touting the Colorado Governor as a possible President in 2008. His economic policy in Colorado was rated #1 in the country by the CATO institute and one of only two governors (with Jeb Bush in FLA) that was given an "A" rating by that organization. I don't know if Owens didn't show or if he's been relegated to one of those 5 minute speeches of no consequence that I either missed or might miss tomorrow.

PRIMARY

What a political day. I made it to the polls in the last hour of voting and opted for Mel Martinez over Bill McCollum and Mel won handily. McCollum was my congressmen when I moved to Orlando, but his Senate run in 2000 was full of the worst kind of pandering and he lost handily to Bill Nelson. Martinez was county chairman in Orange county before moving to HUD and he always seemed like an up front guy.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

PROTESTS IN NY

I've been watching the protests all afternoon and they are great theatre. There's something fun about watching a bunch of people carry political signs through New York City when they could be home on the couch. The signs go from clever to infantile. The only American Flags I saw were draped over protest coffins. A few Kerry-Edwards signs could be seen, but many more were promoting Ralph Nader or the International Socialists Party. One sign said Bush+Kerry=War. There was a lot of International sentiment in the crowd. These were people interested in world government and socialism more so than America.

C-SPAN had their cameras right next to a Fox News billboard. The passing crowd chanted "Fox News sucks" as they walked by. Some protesters got out the old Vietnam signs. I saw one that protested a military draft.

There were a lot of degenerates in the crowd for sure, but also some people you could imagine playing racquetball with. It was interesting that so many Americans would turn out to protest America doing something about world terrorism. We're just so far removed from the hardships of two generations ago that there are people who think that smoking weed and chilling will solve the world's conflicts.

While they march with "Asses of Evil" and "Bush is a Weapon of Mass Destruction" signs, we are reminded that Bush isn't Hussein. The crowd wasn't gassed. We have no death camps. We live in a great free country that allows the misfits of society to march against the policies of our defense.
CARL LEWIS NO STRANGER TO POLITICS

America's biggest Olympic hero yesterday accused George Bush of exploiting the Athens Games for his own political advantage in the run-up to the presidential election.

Carl Lewis, who won nine Olympic gold medals in athletics in a record-breaking career, condemned Bush for using the presence of Iraqi and Afghan teams in Athens in a television advertisement to boost his chances of re-election.

Criticising Bush for linking his foreign policy with the two countries being allowed to compete here, Lewis said: 'I felt that was disingenuous. It is funny that we boycotted the 1980 Games [in Moscow] in support of Afghanistan, and now we're bombing Afghanistan,' he told the Athens News yesterday.

Do you remember Carl Lewis in the 1996 games? He was a legend then and the U.S. decided to include him on one of the relay events despite the fact that he didn't qualify like everyone else. Gold Medal winner Michael Johnson was pretty angry at the decision and said that Carl Lews "finished butt naked last at the qualifiers." Lewis wound up winning the longjump event further adding to his legend. He then let the Clinton administration politicize him by parading around with Clinton a few days later. In short, he's a Democrat.

Bush can be proud that the Iraqis and the Afghans are sporting teams. Afterall, it wasn't Lewis' prized Clinton Administration that won them the opportunity. As far as the comparisons of our boycotting in 1980, Lewis forgets the context in which Afghanistan was invaded in 1980 and then again in 2001. In fact, our bombing of Afghanistan this time has ensured that they have a team.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Thursday, August 26, 2004

QUESTIONS FOR KERRY

Peter Kirsanow wonders when the John Kerry will allow himself to be interviewed somewhere other than Comedy Central. He's tried of hearing the same softball questions leveled at the man so he writes his own list and dares the media to quit fawning. This is a long list, but pretty inclusive. I think these are well done, but if you tire of reading all 20. I think the most interesting ones are #'s 2,6,7,9,10,12, and 16-17 which build on one another.

1. The Bush campaign maintains that you spent 20 years in the Senate with no signature legislative achievements. What do you consider to be the five most important pieces of legislation that you've authored?

a. What's the most important piece of legislation regarding intelligence you've authored?

b. What's the most important piece of antiterrorism legislation you've authored?

c. What's the most important piece of health-care legislation you've authored?

d. What's the most important piece of education legislation you've authored?

2. You'd agree that on paper, Dick Cheney's experience and qualifications dwarf those of your running mate. Why would John Edwards make a better president during the war on terror than Dick Cheney?

a. It's been widely reported that John McCain was your first choice as running mate. If true, why did you prefer Senator McCain to Senator Edwards?

3. Earlier this year you told Tim Russert that you'd release all of your military records, yet you've failed to do so and you refuse to release your Vietnam journal. Why shouldn't the public infer that the contents of these documents would undermine your credibility or otherwise damage your candidacy?

a. When will you release the documents?

4. You've stated that you believe that life begins at conception yet you voted against the ban on partial-birth abortions. At precisely what point is a life worth protecting?

a. Is there any limitation on abortion (waiting periods, parental notification) for which you'd vote? If so, what?

5. You've promised to repeal much of the Bush tax cut and while in the Senate you voted to raise taxes an average of five times per year. If current economic trends remain largely unchanged during a Kerry presidency, would you seek additional tax increases?

a. How would you raise taxes and what are the highest marginal tax rates that you'd support?

6. You opposed the 1991 Gulf War even though Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, had invaded another country, and France and Germany had supported the war. In the current conflict no WMDs have been found, France and Germany oppose the action, and Saddam hadn't invaded another country. Yet you recently stated that knowing what you know now, you'd nonetheless authorize the use of force — even though you voted against funding it. Could you please reconcile these positions?

7. You acknowledge meeting with representatives of North Vietnam and the Viet Cong in Paris in 1970. Afterward you urged Congress to accept the North Vietnamese proposals. Please explain how this wasn't a violation of the Logan Act and, if you were still in the Naval Reserves at that time, how it wasn't a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice prohibiting unauthorized communications with the enemy.

8. In several speeches before black audiences you've stated that a million African Americans were disenfranchised and had their votes stolen in the 2000 presidential election. There are no official or media investigations that support that statement. What evidence do you have to support the statement and if you believe a million blacks had their votes stolen, why haven't you called for criminal prosecutions and congressional investigations?

9. Do you dispute the National Journal's assessment that you're the nation's most liberal senator? If you do, which senators do you consider to be more liberal and why?

10. Why did you propose cutting the intelligence budget by $6 billion in 1994?

11. As president, would you nominate anyone to be either an attorney general, FBI director, or CIA director who had been a leader and chief spokesman for a group that had discussed and voted upon a plan to assassinate U.S. senators (even if the proposed nominee had opposed such plan)?

12. You have consistently stated that you "never, never" attended the November 1971 Kansas City meeting of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War at which a plan to assassinate six pro-military U.S. senators was discussed. Several newspapers reported that when confronted with FBI surveillance reports, your campaign "all but conceded" that you were in attendance , but claimed that this was a mere "footnote in history."

a. Were you there?

b. Did you discuss the assassination of U.S. senators? What did you say?

c. Did you vote upon such a plan? How did you vote? Were any similar plans discussed by your group at any time? What were they?

d. If the plan was voted down, what steps did you take to insure that supporters of the plan didn't carry it out anyway?

e. Especially considering that this took place in an era of political assassinations and assassination attempts (Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., George Wallace, etc.), did you report the discussion to any law-enforcement authorities? If not, why not?

f. When did you resign from the organization?

g. Do you dispute reports that you continued as a spokesman for the organization for more than a year after the Kansas City meeting?

h. If this was a mere footnote in history why have you repeatedly and vehemently denied you were there?

i. Did your campaign, as alleged in several newspaper accounts, attempt to get a witness to change his story about your attendance?

13. You have criticized the Patriot Act. What portions would you repeal or amend and why? What evidence do you have of any abuses of the Patriot Act?

14. As president, what would you do about Iran's emerging nuclear capability?

15. During your eight-year tenure on the Senate Intelligence Committee you missed more than thee fourths of all public meetings. It's also been reported that you have skipped or delayed receiving intelligence briefings during the campaign. Why should the public believe that you're serious about this issue?

16. What do you think is appropriate punishment for guards (and their superiors) found guilty of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib? Do you believe they should be stripped of command and receive dishonorable discharges and prison time?

17. On May 6, 2001, on Meet the Press, you stated that you had committed "the same kind of atrocities as thousands of other soldiers" in violation of the Geneva Convention. Specifically, you said you burned villages and "used 50-calibre machine guns, which [you] were granted and ordered to use, which were our only weapon against people."

a. Who ordered you to use 50-caliber machine guns on people?

b. How many people did you shoot with the 50s and how many of them were killed or wounded?

c. When and where did these shootings occur?

d. What other atrocities did you commit and when?

e. Which village(s) did you burn down and when?

f. Were any of your crewmembers present during the commission of any of these atrocities?

g. Did you order them to participate in the atrocities? Did they follow your orders?

h. Why were there no reports of these atrocities? Did you order your crew not to report them?

i. Are any of these incidents described in your Vietnam journal? If not, why not?

j. Did you observe thousands of (or any) other troops committing atrocities? When, where and what kind? Did you report them? If not, why not?

k. In light of your admitted atrocities, if Abu Ghraib guards found guilty of abuse should receive prison time and be stripped of command, why do you believe you should be considered for commander-in-chief?

18. Who among the justices currently sitting on the Supreme Court would be a model for your nominees to the federal bench? Why?

19. In a speech before Drake University Law School you characterized U.S. allies in the war in Iraq as "some trumped-up so-called Coalition of the bribed, the coerced, the bought and the extorted,..." Do you maintain that Great Britain has been bribed, coerced, bought, or extorted? What about Italy? Japan? Poland? Please specifically identify those members of the Coalition that have been either bribed, coerced, bought, and extorted and the officials who were bribed or bought.

20. You told George Stephanopoulos that you had a plan to get out of Iraq but refused to provide details. Would you consent to having your secret plan privately evaluated by an independent, bi-partisan panel of military experts who could report the plan's merits to the electorate without divulging the details?

a. Would you also consent to privately revealing to an independent panel the names of the foreign leaders who secretly support you so that the panel can confirm your story to the electorate?

b. Ditto regarding the leaders whom you say have secretly told Senators Biden and Levin that you must win?

Monday, August 23, 2004

CAN OF WORMS

"Reporting for Duty!" said John Kerry when he gave his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention. Understanding Bush's perceived skill as a war-time leader, Kerry decided to overplay his service in Vietnam. Kerry has used his service front and center thorough his political career.

He was the one that said that Cinton's non-service should not be an issue in the 1992 presidential campaigns. in 1985, he complained of being sent illegally into Cambodia during Christmas 1968 as a part of President Nixon's war strategy. It would have been a stronger point if OOPS Nixon had been President (He wasn't inaugurated until Jan 20, 1969). Now it looks like Kerry never made the trip. Yesterday on Meet the Press, his campaign manager said that Kerry was near the border around that time. Now they weren’t really sure where they were. That's a new way of putting it.

Last week, a caller on the Rush Limbaugh program defended John Kerry because the government sanctioned every one of those medals so they must be legitimate. Rush asked what the caller knew how many medals Bob Dole or George HW Bush had. The caller said that he respected the service of both men.

"But do you know how many medals each of them earned?" asked Rush.
"No" said the caller.
"The only reason you know about Kerry's is that he keeps telling us." Rush concluded.

And that's his problem. He wants this election to be about his service in Vietnam, not his record in the U.S. Senate of weakening defense and intelligence. Anything other than a salute to his valor is dirty politics. Had he repudiated the people who were going after Bush for his National Guard service, he could have all but insured the same treatment in return. He would have elevated the campaign and Bush would have had to play along or look mean. By allowing Bush to be attacked, he opened himself up to that style of campaign.

Since he insists it be about his service he's going to have to defend that record fairly or unfairly. The Swiftboat Veterans for truth have angered Kerry and the New York Times, but they aren't the only critics. Bob Dole has recently questioned Kerry's wounds. Steve Gilbert puts together a pretty good case that Kerry violated the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Kerry's problem is one of firmness. He's so locked into his Vietnam era behavior and so proud of it that he has offered himself very little wiggle room. For instance, Kerry has not once said that he learned from his youthful exuberances and is a wiser man for it. This alone would allow moderates to think that maybe Kerry believes that his anti-war activity was a bit much. He has not publicly repudiated his book 1971 THE NEW SOLDIER, though he has kept it from being re-published. It gives one the idea he is very proud of it, but isn't so sure that voters will be.

Bush wasn't in Vietnam with Kerry and doesn't know what happened. But thanks to Kerry making Vietnam an issue, there are plenty of people who disagree with him about Vietnam that will raise their own money to do so.

At some point this campaign will have to get back to what Kerry did in the Senate and it will be interesting to see how he handles that. For now, he has opened a can of worms and only has himself to blame.

Friday, August 20, 2004

JOHN KERRY UNNERVED

The Swifties must be causing Kerry more pain than I would have thought. Kerry keeps asking the White House and step in and denounce these guys. I didn't hear Bush whining to Kerry about Moveon.org. Kerry shouldn't need the White House to fight his battle if he has the truth on his side.

You wouldn't know that such a group existed if you read the New York Times until today when they did a front page story trying to discredit them. The big ammunition seems to be vague and indirect ties to the Bush family. Maybe the Times has forgotten that John O'Neill has been a Kerry critic for 30 years. The Times uses the guilty by association technique all through the article. As if mere funding made something untrue. Buried at the end of the article is the controversy of whether Kerry was in Cambodia during Christmas. Although Kerry has changed his story a number of times on this point, you get the impression from the Times that he's being put upon.

Kerry's problem is that he's used his war experience for years to win certain political points. It seems now that he embellished in parts and doesn't have the strength to set the record straight. Until he comes clean about the exaggerations it's going to be hard to believe the true parts.

UPDATE:
After reading the Times this morning, Kerry files action with the FEC. That's the closest thing to believing your own press without technically doing so.
MALKIN ON MATHEWS

Michelle Malkin has a great entry on her blog about her experiences appearing on the Chris Mathews HARDBALL show. She explains how she came to be on the show, what the producers told her and how she was immediately mischaracterized when the cameras came on. Her purpose on the show was to promote her own book. They wanted her to debate on UNFIT FOR COMMAND first. The whole appearance was a mess and Malkin is hilarious re-telling it.
As the show broke for commercials, Matthews scrambled for his producers to see if what he said was true. And I'm irresponsible? One staffer ran to the office where I had left my copy of the book, and handed it to Matthews, who--for the first time, apparently--started flipping through it. I asked for my book back and politely said thank you. After I left, he trashed me again on the air and his scurrilous charges were repeated by his MSNBC colleague Keith Olbermann, who called me an "idiot."

I am used to playing hardball. I expect it. I am used to ad hominem attacks. I get more in a day than most of these wussies have received in their lifetimes. But what happened last night was pure slimeball and the unfair, unbalanced, and unhinged purveyors of journalism, or whatever it is they call what they do at MSNBC, should be ashamed.

What I take away from all this is that the Democrat Party waterboys in the media are in full desperation mode. I have now witnessed firsthand and up close (Matthews' spittle nearly hit me in the face) how the pressure from alternative media sources--the blogosphere, conservative Internet forums, talk radio, Regnery Publishing, FOX News, etc. --is driving these people absolutely batty.

I enjoy the Mathews show, but this exchange does his reputation no good.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

THE ARGUMENTS AGAINST BUSH

From the AMERICAN THINKER. . .
The thing is, the various self-contradictory arguments are made by the same people.

• You shouldn’t tolerate dictators in other countries AND you shouldn’t try to export democracy and impose your values on the rest of the world AND you shouldn’t withdraw from the world. All of those. So there.

• Why did you rely on widely accepted and seemingly overwhelming intelligence to invade Iraq, and why didn’t you act on little unconnected scraps of information to DO SOMETHING to prevent 9/11? (We would have been right behind you on aggressive pre-emptive action then, you can be sure of that.)

• Why don’t you have a handle on what’s going on? And why did you pass a law that allows the FBI and CIA to talk to each other, and actually INVESTIGATE terrorism, as if it were Medicare fraud or something? Why are you arresting all those people? What’s happening to this country? And why aren’t we safe?

• And while we’re on the subject, why are you scaring us with these stupid color alert warnings whenever you find something out? And why do you keep everything secret and never tell us what’s happening?

• Why don’t we have any allies? No, not all those allies that support us, I mean the other ones, the ones that don’t? Why aren’t those allies supporting us, instead of the ones who are?

I'm sure President Kerry can solve this quandary.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

NEW MEXICO GOVERNOR ASKS, "WHAT HAPPENED AT ROSWELL?"

Food for Dude
Ten years after the U.S. Air Force closed its books on the claim that a UFO crashed in Roswell, N.M., in 1947, a top Democratic Party figure wants to reopen the investigation into the cosmic legend.

Despite denials by federal officials, many UFO buffs cherish the notion that in early summer of 1947, a flying saucer crashed in rural Roswell, scattering alien bodies and saucer debris.

Now Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, who chaired the recent Democratic convention in Boston, says in his foreword to a new book, The Roswell Dig Diaries, that ''the mystery surrounding this crash has never been adequately explained -- not by independent investigators, and not by the U.S. government."

To the Air Force, though, there is no mystery -- and there hasn't been for a long time. In 1994, the Air Force published ''Roswell Report: Case Closed," which asserted that so-called saucer debris was, in fact, the ruins of an unusual type of military research balloon.

HITCHENS REVIEWS KERRY BOOKS FOR THE NY TIMES

Here's my favorite part.
If Kerry is dogged and haunted by the accusation of wanting everything twice over, he has come by the charge honestly. In Vietnam, he was either a member of a ''band of brothers'' or of a gang of war criminals, and has testified with great emotion to both convictions. In the Senate, he has either voted for armament and vigilance or he has not, and either regrets his antiwar vote on the Kuwait war, or his initial pro-war stance on the Iraq war, or his negative vote on the financing of the latter, or has not. The Boston Globe writers capture a moment of sheer, abject incoherence, at a Democratic candidates' debate in Baltimore last September:

''If we hadn't voted the way we voted, we would not have been able to have a chance of going to the United Nations and stopping the president, in effect, who already had the votes and who was obviously asking serious questions about whether or not the Congress was going to be there to enforce the effort to create a threat.''

And all smart people know how to laugh at President Bush for having problems with articulation.

Actually, when Kerry sneered at ''the coalition of the willing'' as ''a coalition of the coerced and the bribed,'' at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, no less, he was much more direct and intelligible. Yet I somehow doubt that he would repeat those clear, unmistakable words if confronted by the prime ministers of Britain, Poland or Australia. And how such an expression is likely to help restore America's standing is beyond this reviewer.

One thing that is never made clear to me is which leaders in the world that weren't profiting from Iraqi oil deals are angry at us. Since far more countries supported our actions than opposed them, doesn't Kerry's task of rebuilding those bridges with our opponents threaten to anger our actual allies?

Maybe even more important is why having the world on our side is such a benefit. Being friendly gets us into situations like Bosnia and Haiti. It seems to me that we did ourselves a favor with this war by identifying who are real allies are. Next time the world clamors for our aid we can go down the list and see what they've done for us. Negative two points for countries that were illegally feathering Saddam's nest before the war.

Monday, August 16, 2004

HURRICANE CHARLEY

I was mostly surprised that it hit us as hard as it did considering how far inland we were. The winds reached 100MPH and a lot of trees fell and shingles came off roofs. I lost power for only 24 hours. It seemed like we lost power in Pensacola for 3 or 4 days when we got hit by Erin and Opal in 1995. I drove downtown Saturday morning and I saw a bunch of power lines down. Big trees crashed into yards and houses.

Mom and Dad lost the screen part of their pool inclosure. Tricia's parents lost a great big tree that luckily didn't hit the house. Trish was worried about the dead tree in her backyard, but it hardly budged.

It was only this morning that I got phone and internet service back. Even with the cellphone I couldn't get my parents on the phone so I went over there on Sunday to see their damage. John said a tree landed on the car next to his.

We were pretty lucky considering what happened to the poor people on the coast.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

ANNIE JACOBSEN'S TERROR IN THE SKIES REVISITED

Remember the story about the passenger on a plane full of Middle Eastern Men? Annie has since interviewed another passenger on that flight who felt the same as she did. She has also talked to the Air Marshalls again.
A few days ago, I put a call in to Dave Adams, the Federal Air Marshal Services (FAM) Head of Public Affairs. Some of you may remember that Adams and I spoke on July 9, several days before my first article was published. He and I did not speak again until a few days ago, on August 9 and August 10, when we had two rather heated phone conversations. During one of them, I asked Adams the question that Billie Jo Rodriguez had asked me: "Exactly how many other passengers on flight 327 have the FAM and/or the FBI been in contact with during the past month?"

Adams said that they had interviewed the Air Marshals on my flight as well as all the flight attendants from flight 327 -- several times.

I told Adams that wasn't my question. I specifically wanted to know how many other passengers the FAM and/or the FBI had been in contact with during the past month.

Adams said my husband and I were the only two to come forward.

I told him that wasn't true, that I now had the corroborative accounts of seven passengers in addition to my husband and myself.

This has all the earmarkings of an uncomfortable situation that the government is trying to downplay. It cuts to the heart of their flawed security policy and the danger therein.
And then, in the midst of arguing with Adams, I had an epiphany. I realized that Dave Adams is not the guy I should be focusing on. He's not the person I need to hear from. Adams' main concern is that the Air Marshals he represents are cleared of any wrong doing. All the information Adams has is second hand. He wasn't on the flight and he wasn't at the airport when the flight landed. Adams, I realized, is just a guy in an office somewhere in Virginia, whose job requires him to push forth a whole host of second-hand party lines.

It dawned on me that I need to hear from the FBI. So I asked Adams why the FBI has been silent about flight 327.

He said the FBI considered flight 327 an ongoing investigation.

If it is an ongoing investigation then the government downplayed the real danger on that flight for public relations. Now if Haliburton were in charge of the security of the United States and knew they would be run out of business if they failed, don't you think they'd be doing a better job than the justice and transportaion departments?

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

ARE THERE NO LIBERALS IN AMERICA?

John Kerry’s lifetime voting record registers 92%liberal (according to the Liberal rating group ADA), but this somehow makes him a moderate according to every media outlet and his own campaign. This is a derivative of Eric Alterman’s 2003 book, What Liberal Media, where Alterman claims that even The New York Times is moderate.

We know there is such a thing as liberals because candidates to the right of John Kerry like Lyndon Johnson and Walter Mondale called themselves liberals. I grew up in Indiana and I remember when Dan Quayle was running against incumbent Birch Bayh for the U.S. Sentate. Bayh’s campaign ad trumpeted the fact that he was a liberal. This was when Conservative was a scary word and Reagan had no chance to win the election. Reagan won and Quayle won. In 1984, Mondale called himself a liberal because it had never hurt in the past. He was roundly defeated. Michael Dukakis was a card-carrying member of the ACLU. Forget it. Bill Clinton was a member of the somewhat less liberal Democratic Leadership Council and rode that to victory shying away from the “L” word.

The lesson learned by Liberals was that they’d better give themselves a fresh coat of paint and start using the word “moderate.”

There are a few moderates in the Democrat Party. Joe Lieberman, John Breaux, Ben Nelson are among them. John Kerry is not one. To be a moderate you have to do something moderate, and hopefully in a non-election year.

Since calling John Kerry a liberal or citing his voting record is considered negative campaigning, conservatives are somehow supposed to ignore the philosophy that is contrary to their own.

The media complains that these campaigns lack substance and become beauty contests, but until they are willing to identify leftist beliefs as well as rightwing beliefs, reporters will have nothing to contrast except the amount of tears each candidate can conjure up talking about their humble upbringings or the plight of the uninsured.

Since any ready voting block will find a candidate to take their cause, you would have to assume there are no liberal voters, because there are no liberal candidates. Or maybe liberal voters aren’t fooled by the media and the candidates.
KEYES AND OBAMA

The most famous Senate race in history was the 1858 contest between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas in Illinois. The debates between those two men were legendary and they centered on race and slavery. So how interesting that the same state will hold the first Senate race between two Harvard educated blacks.

Obama is the future star of the Democrats and the politics in Illinois is such that I think Keyes is a big underdog. Still, Keyes is the best conservative debater in the country and this battle will be watched by the entire country. The uniqueness of the race will bring language and positions that candidates have been afraid to touch in the past.
Republican Alan Keyes ripped into Democratic rival Barack Obama's views on abortion Monday, calling them "the slaveholder's position," as the U.S. Senate race roared back to life in Illinois.

"I would still be picking cotton if the country's moral principles had not been shaped by the Declaration of Independence," Keyes said. He said Obama "has broken and rejected those principles-- he has taken the slaveholder's position."

Obama, who has been basking in national celebrity since delivering the keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention, suggested Keyes is outside the moderate mainstream of state Republicans.

Asked specifically about the phrase "slaveholder's position," Obama said Keyes "should look to members of his own party to see if that's appropriate if he's going to use that kind of language."

Keyes bold statement is what makes him an interesting candidate to watch. He's not shy.

But I think Obama's calm reaction is even more interesting. Obama's call for Keyes to "look to members of his own party" is eerily like asking Keyes to check with his masters for permission to be himself.

Obama would have enjoyed facing Ryan where the race subject was in his hip pocket to be used by him and him alone. Now he's got to remind Keyes that Republicans are not allowed to use slavery allusions too. So much good that will do him.

OTHER THOUGHTS - Jonah Goldberg has a different take on Keyes attempt in Illinois.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Interesting News Items

Ebay Criminals get smarter

Steinbrenner creates ingenius plan to have MLB fund his new stadium.

Does Al Qaeda have an election terrorist plot?

The President's Christmas gift list.

I didn't see the CNBC Russert show, but Donald Luskin said that Bill O'Reilly harpooned Paul Krugman.

KING KONG'S screaming babe, Fay Wray, dies at age 96. Who knew she was alive?
McCAIN GROWS IN THE OFFICE

E Head's theory that McCain is vying for the middle ground to capture the 2008 Nomination is bolstered by this revelation from NEWSMAX. McCain may be disgusted with the Swiftboat Veterans allegations versus Kerry, but McCain wrote a piece in 1973 for U.S. News & World Report saying that the anti-war movement did a great deal of harm to the POWs still overseas.
In piece he wrote for the May 14, 1973, issue of U.S. News & World Report, the POW-turned-senator charged that testimony by Kerry and others before J. William Fulbright's Senate Foreign Relations Committee was "the most effective propaganda [my North Vietnamese captors] had to use against us."


The Reconcilliation
McCain biographer Paul Alexander chronicled the Arizona Republican's anger toward Kerry during their early careers in the Senate together.

"For many years McCain held Kerry's actions against him because, while McCain was a POW in the Hanoi Hilton, Kerry was organizing veterans back home in the U.S. to protest the war."

In his 2002 book, "Man of the People: The Life of John McCain," Alexander says that the two Vietnam vets finally reconciled in the early 1990s after having "a long - and at times emotional - conversation about Vietnam" during a mutual trip to Kuwait.

The swiftboat veterans didn't get that touchy feely moment flying to Kuwait. Maybe McCain could sponsor a group hug between Kerry and John O'Neill.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

THE CULT OF LEBOWSKI

As a fan of the Coen Brothers, it was interesting to read this article.
Joel and Ethan Coen's 1998 hyperintellectual stoner noir bowling comedy "The Big Lebowski," starring Jeff Bridges as Jeff (The Dude) Lebowski, has the requisite exclusivity of a cult classic: it bombed at the box office; it was met with shrugs by many critics who had arguably overpraised the Coen brothers' Academy Award-winning "Fargo" (1996); and it has amassed an obsessive following on cable and video and by word of mouth. Nowadays, quoting its intricate, absurdist, often riotously profane dialogue earns you coolness points in widely disparate circles. Some would even say that the cult of "The Big Lebowski" is going mainstream.

It has a rolling national convention, for starters: the Lebowski Fest, which in June attracted 4,000 followers in Louisville, Ky., and on Friday arrives in New York City. For two days, Lebowski fans (referred to as Achievers) will dress up as their favorite character (or prop, like a severed toe), dig some far-out rock bands at the Knitting Factory, bowl in far-out Queens, imbibe White Russians (and maybe less licit substances) and spend a lot of time shouting lines at one another like:
"This aggression will not stand, man."

"You're entering a world of pain."

"You want a toe? I can get you a toe. Believe me, there are ways, Dude. You don't want to know about it, believe me. Hell, I can get you a toe by 3 o'clock this afternoon, with nail polish."

And, of course, the Zen-like sign-off, "The Dude abides."

Friday, August 06, 2004

SWIFT BOAT VETERANS

Most of the guys on Kerry's boat like him. Most of his contemporaries on other boats do not. Add them together and a larger group disapproves of him.

John McCain cries foul and asks that Bush do the same thing. But nobody was so very upset when people were speculating that Bush was AWOL in the National Guard, least of all McCain.

Political campaigns are about distinguishing yourself from your opponent. Since Kerry had a war record compared to Bush's National Guard record, Kerry has made that a very big issue in this campaign.

Kerry has removed Vietnam from an air tight container and used it all through his life in order to achieve certain goals. In the early 1970s, he used the experience to prove that he was a peacenik and that the horrors of war were far worse than the American people knew. In 1992, he used his Vietnam experience to say loudly that Bill Clinton's draft dodging record was unimportant. He's also used his Vietnam experience to be a leader in the normalization of relations with Vietnam and to give the Vietnamese a pass on the number of POWs that they never released.
Kerry's Vietnam experience before this election was used to attack fellow soldiers, go soft on cowards and play nice to the enemy.

Now, Vietnam leaves the airtight container to tell us that Kerry is a warrior. Kerry told us at the Democrat Convention that he was a better warrior than Bush. It's our job as voters to decide if he’s indeed the better warrior. We don't know what happened in Vietnam and Americans were more than willing to ignore his service there, especially since he begged us to ignore Clinton's past service. But since he decided to make Vietnam the centerpiece, it's perfectly fair that some people tell a different story. We've gone through the politicizing of the 911 commission hearings. Michael Moore has made 100 million dollars calling Bush a war criminal. Kerry wanted Vietnam to be an issue not Bush.

I once heard that the inventor of the Guillotine was later executed with it during the harshest period of the French Revolution. Kerry was a leading spokesman for Vietnam atrocities, and the fact that he is now accused of the same atrocities is interesting. The American people will get to decide if the Swift Boat Veterans are more or less trustworthy than Michael Moore.

I think it will matter little to people whether he torched huts and did those other things. Conservatives already don't trust him and Liberals will look the other way. The important thing that transpired here is a reminder that Kerry is anti-military. He did serve when his country called, but he has never stood up for the thousands of veterans that served with him nor the military personnel who came after him. He can't expect those people to pat him on the back now.

BLANKLEY READS THE BOOK.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

FOOTBALL

I haven’t been much inspired to write about politics since the Dem Convention and I’ve been busy writing stuff for work. We did our annual Bucs coverage again this year. I’ll share a few thoughts.

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This is the third year the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have held their training camp here. They lost some pretty good players last year and in the offseason. Keyshawn Johnson split mid year and Mike Alstott missed most of the season with a scary neck injury. John Lynch bolted for Broncos and Warren Sapp went to Oakland.

I still can’t figure out why they let John Lynch go. Lynch might have been the smartest guy on the team. He graduated from Stanford and he answers questions so well you’d think he wrote them himself. Lynch was the first player I interviewed when they came in 2002. I asked him some half-ass questioned about the facilities and he answered me with the same seriousness I heard him use with Dan Patrick a few months later. Lynch could retire tomorrow and get a booth job. I wouldn’t think he’d have much trouble becoming a GM either.

Keenan McCardell is still holding out and it was a shame, because he was always good for a soundbyte. I wasn’t sure what angle I was going to take with the story back in 2002 and he went on and on about how much he liked Celebration and wanted to eat at the pizza joint there, only he couldn’t remember the name and stumbled over it on several tries. It added some levity to a piece that needed it.

Keyshawn Johnson never did talk to us. We did see him walking to the bus as the Bucs PR guy was imploring him to turn around and meet us.

Warren Sapp is plain full of himself. I’d been doing the sports pieces for the show, but last summer Dan asked if he could have the 2002 Bucs piece. He interviewed Jervicious and Lynch and McCardell and despite early butterflies was doing pretty well. When Warren Sapp walked by Dan called him “Warren” and asked if he would talk to us. Sapp said, “I didn’t know we were on a first name basis, Cuz,” and walked away. It was much ruder than it sounded and I was immediately sour on Sapp.

This was the first year we tried the morning practice and we were more successful with interviews than in the past. We got Brad Johnson right off the bat. He’s really a classy guy. Martine Gramatica hopped off the field as we were talking to Brad and we missed him.

So I asked the new punter, Josh Bidwell if he had a moment. Bidwell had been punting in Green Bay and he was a college teammate of Joey Harrington and since I follow the hapless Lions I asked him if he still kept in touch with old teammates. Bidwell was so happy to talk about Oregon. He said that it was a small school and that the guys who made it to the NFL keep in touch and watch each other’s games. Then as coincidence would have it, Bidwell lets out that he lives in Eugene, Oregon which is where Grandpa’s brother Uncle Jim lives. I told him that Uncle Jim retired to fish there and Josh started in with the fly fishing stories. It ended with Josh suggesting we go fishing if I were ever out visiting Uncle Jim. It was reminiscent of Ernie Banks from last summer.

Chris Simms was next and he’s worked with a personal trainer since last year. He looked every bit the college kid last summer and is now fitting in with the pro team. The most surprising thing about pro quarterbacks is how lanky many of them are. Brad Johnson and Simms look more like tennis players than quarterbacks, the former backup QB Rob Johnson even more so. Brian Griese looked the part better than any Buc I’ve seen. Still, when you think of football players you picture these gargantuan linemen, and since everyone wears pads it gives you a false impression of how big they are. Derrick Brooks was the last guy I talked to and he wasn’t tremendously bigger than I am – just enough bigger to earn millions.

We talked to Michael Pittman and Mike Alstott and they both surprised me. Pittman had that domestic trouble last year that resulted in the cops, so I was expecting attitude. Instead, he was very gracious and jovial. Alstott was very nice, but he had nothing whatsoever to say. When I asked whether he was happy to see that his former Boilermakers beat Georgia on New Year’s Day, he simply answered that he didn’t have a chance to go to the game. He did say a couple of things about how it was an important year coming off the injury and that his favorite rides are the kiddy ones with his family. But all in all I can see why he isn’t interviewed much. He just isn’t that introspective.

Derrick Brooks went to Washington High School in Pensacola so I asked him if he hangs out at McGuires when he visits, but he doesn’t seem to. It’s a shame that Sean wasn’t around. He went to Washington. They may have had a better conversation.

This was the first year that we got to talk to Gruden, and we were only given one question so I sneaked in two questions in one sentence about how he likes training here and his favorite attraction.

That’s the bulk of what these stories wind up becoming. We always talk about the team’s chances and hopes but we always try to get the company angle in there somewhere. It’s a nice mix and it promotes the training camp to employees. There’s plenty of free fruit and water and even the occasional bagel.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Interesting Reading

Bobby Fischer is stewing in a Japanese jail.

A technicality might cost Michael Moore an Oscar.

Greg Easterbrook writes an interesting piece about private planes. He takes on egotistical politicians and celebrity environmentalists.

Democrat Congressman Jim McDermot blames Bush for his legislation.

Media Research Center tackles the question of how the media is handling the recent terror warnings compared to the media's handling of Clinton's 1998 bombings around the impeachment vote. They think the media may lean to the Left on this one.