Friday, January 30, 2004

Dr. Kay and WMD's

A succinct review of Dr. Kay's testimony before the Senate from The Federalist:

Dr. David Kay, the CIA's chief weapons inspector in Iraq (until his relief arrived last week), summarized his findings in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday, saying that Iraq did not have "large stockpiles of newly produced weapons of mass destruction." In other words, Saddam had not likely produced significant quantities of chemical or biological weapons since 2001.

That notwithstanding, we do know Iraq had significant stockpiles of chemical WMD (like Saddam used on Kurdish men, women and children in 1988) and biological WMD (weaponized anthrax) as confirmed in 1998. Further, he refused to provide documentation of his regime's claims to have destroyed its WMD -- leading even the UN Special Commission to conclude in 2002 that Saddam still had large, unaccounted for WMD stores.

Dr. Kay went on to say that Saddam was not successful in his attempts to reconstitute his nuclear-arms program in 2000 and 2001 -- leaving Iraq's research programs short of the progress made by other terrorist states like Iran and Libya (as recently discovered). This tells us that Saddam's formal nuclear-WMD research programs were in disarray, but it doesn't tell us how much material and technological capability Iraq imported to support its programs prior to 2002. To this matter, our sources suggest that Saddam had the capability to construct as many as three crude portable nuclear devices prior to 2003.

Significantly, Dr. Kay does not conclude that Saddam was any less a threat to U.S. national security than originally estimated by President George Bush, noting, "I actually think this may be one of those cases where it was even more dangerous than we thought. I think when we have the complete record, you're going to discover that after 1998 it became a regime that was totally corrupt. Individuals were out for their own protection. And in a world where we know others are seeking WMD, the likelihood...of a seller and a buyer meeting up would have made that a far more dangerous country than even we anticipated...."

Of course, it was precisely the prospect of Saddam and his minions brokering biological or nuclear WMD to surrogate factions like al-Qa'ida that led to the liberation of Iraq by the U.S.-led coalition last year. "We know that terrorists were passing through Iraq," Dr. Kay said. "And now we know that there was little control over Iraq's weapons capabilities. ... Iraq was a very dangerous place."

Asked by Sen. John McCain if he agreed "with the fundamental principle here that what we did was justified and enhanced the security of the United States and the world by removing Saddam Hussein from power," Dr. Kay responded, "Absolutely. ... If you read the total body of intelligence in the last 12 to 15 years that flowed on Iraq, I quite frankly think it would be hard to come to a conclusion other than that Iraq was a gathering, serious threat to the world with regard to WMD."

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, referring to preliminary findings from a committee report into the accuracy and completeness of pre-war intelligence, noted that the political finger-pointing directed toward President Bush is misguided: "Anyone who believes otherwise has not done their homework and certainly was not listening to Dr. Kay."

. . .

After reviewing Kay's preliminary report with The Federalist's well-placed military and intelligence sources, our analysts remain convinced that while Saddam's chemical WMD may have been destroyed, unknown quantities of his biological WMD, and components of his nuclear WMD, were spirited out of Iraq well in advance of the anticipated U.S. invasion. This is consistent with our analysis in October, 2002, that the UN Security Council's foot-dragging provided a large window for Saddam to export some of his biological and nuclear WMD.

At that time, we reported Allied Forces would be unlikely to discover Iraq's WMD stores in Iraq, noting, "There are substantial intelligence estimates that Iraq shipped some or all of its biological stockpiles and nuclear WMD components through Syria to southern Lebanon's heavily fortified Bekaa Valley." In December of 2002, our senior-level intelligence sources re-confirmed estimates that some of Iraq's biological and nuclear WMD had, in fact, been moved into Syria. (Coincidentally -- or perhaps not -- our military sources tell us this week that the U.S. is preparing to assault Hezbollah bases in the aforementioned Bekaa Valley.)

Indeed, Dr. Kay reiterated, "We know from some of the interrogations of former Iraqi officials that a lot of material went to Syria before the war, including some components of Saddam's WMD program." Kay added, ominously, "Precisely what went to Syria, and what has happened to it, is a major issue that needs to be resolved."

It should be noted that among the great exodus of Iraqi vehicles into Syria prior to 2003, Saddam's most critical nuclear WMD components could have been transported across the border concealed in the back of a pickup truck, and the bulk of his weaponized anthrax could have been hidden in a single tractor truck saddle tank. That WMD could just at easily be transported across our Canadian or Mexican border.


While the timing of Dr. Kay's report dilutes Democrats' campaign-season claims that our actions in Iraq and Afghanistan were not justified, it should be noted that a great many of our fellow Americans have notoriously short attention spans. It is these, the most malleable among us -- those who lack the grim resolve to take the fight directly to Jihadistan by undertaking pre-emptive strikes such as those in Iraq and Afghanistan -- that the Left will seek to distract. Sadly, our collective resolve is not as easily nourished as in the days just after 9/11, when the ghoulish aftermath of Jihadi terror was fresh in our minds. Sadder still, this resolve will continue to weaken under the Left's relentless assault on the Bush doctrine.

That weakness notwithstanding, on the Iraqi front with Jihadistan, our Armed Forces remain vigilant. Hassan Ghul, a top Jihadi out of Osama bin Laden's terror network, was captured attempting to cross the country's northern border this week. Said Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez of the apprehension of this senior recruiter and facilitator for al-Qa'ida, a man who once reported directly to Khalid Shaikh Mohammed: "The capture of Ghul is pretty strong proof that al-Qa'ida is trying to gain a foothold here to continue their murderous campaigns." In other words, our National Defenders are keeping the warfront on Jihadi turf rather than our own.

Full text is found here: The Federalist

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19th Century Sugar No More

Gothamist: No More Sugar: "The Domino Sugar Plant in Williamsburg closes today. The American Sugar Refining Co. bought the plant in 2001, but not says the Brooklyn plant 'was not equipped to compete with its plants in Baltimore, Yonkers, N.Y., and outside New Orleans.' Two hundred people will lose their jobs.

Domino started its Brooklyn operations in 1856, a time when New York was the country's leading sugar producer. In the recent past, sugar has lost market share high-fructose corn syrup and beet sugar.

Many believe that the real value in the plant is converting it into residential lofts."

Just think.... the mill operated before the Brooklyn Bridge was built!!

Sad, but true: it's time has passed. Link to Jen Chung's site to see a photo of this magnificent structure.

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On aging

Some time ago, I had a discussion with a friend who was seemingly fretting her next birthday, in that she was becomming old. I told her she wasn't and provided her proof to that end. That was over 3 years ago, and a month ago I resurrected the proof for another who was also dreading the passage of time.

This week there was an interesting thread that dealt with whether someone was old' or not, and it's time I shared this 'proof' with the blogosphere.

Old starts around 65 or so. That's part of my definition of age for females.

lets see here.... my lexicon... ah, here we are: page 4,326:
terms for persons not male:

girl: any female child.

female child: any non-male person under the age of 15

gal: any non-male person somewhere between the age 15 and 55. Gals also need to have a fun spirit and enjoy laughing and smiling. Otherwise, the inescapable conclusion is the non-male person is a woman.

generic: any non-male above age 15
specific: most non-male persons over the age of 55, except for those who act as if they are under 55 (and can pass it off). Also included in this category are non-male persons who are no fun whatsoever, regardless of age.

old: (f) any non-male person (woman) who has reached 70. No matter how much fun you may be, 'gal' just does not seem to fit.

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Thursday, January 29, 2004

Dean cuts TV Spots, Trippi

My Way News: "Howard Dean will not air ads in any of the seven states holding elections next week, officials said Thursday, a risky strategy that puts him at a distinct disadvantage with high-spending rivals for the Democratic nomination.

With his money and momentum depleted, Dean decided to save his ad money for the Feb. 7 elections in Michigan and Washington state and, 10 days later, the primary in Wisconsin, said officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Dean runs the risk of falling off the political map with seven defeats Tuesday, the officials acknowledged. Dean is gambling that he can pick up delegates with second- and third-place finishes while rivals John Edwards and Wesley Clark spend themselves out of the race.

Officials hope that Dean emerges later in February as an alternative to front-runner John Kerry and engages in 'guerrilla warfare' until he wins the nomination or is mathematically eliminated."

Indeed I am surprised! For weeks on end we heard of the war chest amassed by Gov. Dean's campaign that I thought he would have the upper-hand in the primaries held in multiple-states. Since no one candidate can be in more than one state at a time (not even the General himself, Gen. Clark), Dean's money could buy TV time in every primary state.

Perhaps the media reports were presenting things rosier than they were.

On another note: Joe Trippi has been removed as head of the Dean Campaign. A casual look at BlogForAmerica (now no longer accepting comments from unregistered users) shows a mixture of posts that range from "thanks for getting us this far, Joe" to "Wait, you can't go; we can't win without you!" to "WHAT?? An Al Gore insider?? What about how we were going to change America??".

One has to wonder what is going on inside that campaign.

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Hateful speech and 'hate speech'

PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Hateful speech and 'hate speech':

In recent weeks, debate about anger on the left has centered on two incidents: the now-infamous post-Iowa speech of Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean and ads posted on comparing President Bush to Adolf Hitler. However, while Dean's speech was undeniably emotional, he was smiling, not angry. And the MoveOn ads, while abhorrent, were produced by individual citizens and only viewed by a few hundred visitors to the organization's Web site.

A focus on these incidents obscures a more important recent development for those concerned about the state of American political debate - the increasing amount of vitriolic rhetoric directed at the Bush administration from the Democratic presidential candidates.

For instance, Dean recently accused the President of going to war in Iraq because of a "psychological situation" with his father, former President George H.W. Bush. "This President is not interested in being a good president," the former Vermont governor said in an interview with Rolling Stone. "He's interested in some complicated psychological situation that he has with his father."

In a subsequent interview on Boston talk radio station WRKO, Dean denied he thinks Bush is mentally ill, but then speculated further about how Bush's relationship with his father may have led to war. "So the question is: Why did he really (invade Iraq)?" Dean stated. "I don't know the answer. But I know Saddam Hussein tried to assassinate the President's father. Maybe this was revenge. I don't know the answer."

Suggesting that the President went to war because of his father is a cheap shot. Dean is continuing a disturbing pattern in which commentators offer unfair speculation about politicians' motives and attribute their actions to psychological problems.

That, however, is hardly the only unfair rhetoric Dean has directed at the Bush administration. He also suggested that Bush's advisors are unpatriotic, stating in an interview with the New Yorker that the President is surrounded by a group of people "whose main allegiance is to each other and their ideology rather than to the United States." Similarly, Dean said last year that Attorney General John Ashcroft "is not a patriot."

Another Democratic candidate, former Gen. Wesley Clark, has also been making some nasty emotional attacks on the President, equating Bush's policies with the so-called "axis of evil."

"We've got a new axis of evil, and it's one our President himself created," Clark said in New Hampshire. "It's an axis of fiscal policy that threatens our future, foreign policy that threatens our security, and domestic policy that puts families dead last."

Of course, Clark has every right to oppose the President's policies as vehemently as he chooses. But the "axis of evil" phrase is an attempt to associate the President and his policies with North Korea, Iran and Saddam Hussein's former regime in Iraq. This is a classic political tactic: creating a negative association between one's opponents and universally despised enemies.

Clark's statement is similar to a call last year by fellow Democratic presidential contender Sen. John Kerry (D., Mass.) for "regime change" in the United States, an ironic reference to previous U.S. policy toward Hussein's regime. Kerry has also compared Bush's administration to the Taliban, as did Dean in a joke last year.

Passionate disagreement is to be expected in a presidential election. But the Democratic candidates should avoid these unfounded speculations and emotional associations.

Unfortunately, the Republican National Committee has chosen to respond to these claims with a catchphrase of its own: "political hate speech." RNC chairman Ed Gillespie originally defined the term by lumping together comparisons of Bush to the Taliban and Saddam Hussein with harsh but hardly unprecedented charges that Bush is a phony, a liar and a failure. In this way, the RNC trades on the negative connotations of hate speech and associated laws against hate crimes to stigmatize virtually all harsh criticism of Bush as hateful and illegitimate.

In recent months, the RNC's usage of the term has become increasingly vague in an attempt to turn it into an ill-defined emotional catchphrase. Gillespie has urged his party to denounce Democrats as "the party of political hate speech" and recently dismissed an entire speech by former Vice President Al Gore as - you guessed it! - "political hate speech" without addressing a word of what Gore said.

"Psychological situations" and "political hate speech": Welcome to Election 2004.

While there is evidence the RNC has begun using such "political hate speech", an argument can be made that they are late comers to this party. Recall the repeated (and unanswered!) claims in 1995 by the DNC and members along the lines of:

  • The Republicans want to poison your drinking water

  • The Republicans want to starve your children

  • The Republicans want to kick old people out of nursing homes

  • or more recently:

  • I heard a theory that President Bush knew about the 9/11 attacks ahead of time -- Howard Dean

  • Et cetera. It is not that I believe the RNC ought to stoop to the DNC levels, but after the rhetoric used in recent election cycles, is it any wonder that they have?

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    Wednesday, January 28, 2004

    Reality Hammer: The "sensible center" flexes its muscle

    John Kerry wins in New Hampshire, and he did it by carrying the "sensible center".

    This continues a trend that should worry the Bush camp. The more centrist the Democrat candidate appears, the more easily the Democrats can siphon away moderates and independents who fall for the liberal myths of a "jobless" recovery and "illegal" war in Iraq.

    As I predicted, though, Howard Dean carried a strong minority of liberal/hate Bush voters who will push the Democrats to the left at every opportunity. At this point it appears that Dean may simply be planning on carrying enough delegates to push through extremist planks for the party platform. He will not be campaiging seriously in either South Carolina or Missouri and will instead focus on two smaller states: Arizona and New Mexico.

    There isn't much point for Lieberman to carry on past today. He will probably drop out before the week ends. Clark will apparently hope for a miracle in the southern state primaries. He failed badly in New Hampshire, after neglecting Iowa in the hopes of placing first or second today.

    John Edwards was disappointing, but is pointing to lowered expectations as a reason to be upbeat. His real tests come in the south, which are supposed to be "his" territory.

    What is interesting in this pespective is Brett Kottmann's take on the winning strategy to be 'sensible center'. In my mind, that has been the domain of Sen. Joseph Lieberman all along. Gov. Dean has been so far to the Left he's miles from the center (despite the NRA votes he claims to count on). That meant Sen. John Kerry had to swing further to the Left than he had been all along (and thus his sudden realization he was against the war, despite his impassioned speech on the floor in October '02).

    Gen. Clark is still reminding folks he was the general, and Sen. Kerry was only a lieutenant. Sen Edwards is happy to be in 4th place in NH... he's still alive, but there are plenty of other northern states to go.

    The rest of the pack is so far out of the race it doesn't matter how far Left they lean.

    Sen. Lieberman has dared to address teacher union groups on the benefits of school vouchers, and of all the presidential challengers, his view on the tax cuts is the most centrist (even if it is still a myopic view).

    So in my view, Mr. Kottmann's assessment of Sen. Kerry's success was based on his 'centrist' views misses the mark. After all, isn't the time honored chestnut still valid: "Run toward the {Right|LEft} to win the nomination, run toward the Center to get elected"?

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    Tuesday, January 27, 2004


    SHOCKER! Bush Wins NH Rep. Primary
    … with 94% of the vote.

    Reported widely, but especially on CommandPost .

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    The Golden Globes

    So the Golden Globes of course features Joan Rivers asking everyone attending "What are you wearing?" "And what are you wearing??"

    That's supposed to be the in thing, trendy.

    Meanwhile when I call women on the phone and ask "what are you wearing?", I'm the pervert??

    Heard on The Tonight Show, as told by Jay Leno

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    Interesting ads

    OK, so there may be a few readers who disagree with my opinion on the Presidential race...

    (ok, maybe more than a few)

    But does Ads By Google have to put up links to the Clark and Dean campaigns on MY blog???

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    Winter is here

    Big surprise, right? Anyone on the east coast knows well it is winter.

    And Murphy's Law being what it is, this evening my coal stove decided it was time to go out!

    Coal burns well, heats great. A pain the neck to start, however...

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    Did you ever notice??

    Did you ever notice that all the stories involving UFO's and 'Close Encounters' occur to people driving through remote areas, late at night, and always far from any crowds?

    Did you ever notice that strange 'buttocks burns' generally occur on the other side of the world, far from waht would be called modern, Western cities?? Cell Phone Explosion Burns Man's Buttocks: "Cell Phone Explosion Burns Man's Buttocks

    By Associated Press

    January 27, 2004, 8:54 AM EST

    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- A Malaysian man was shaken and scalded Tuesday after his mobile phone exploded beside him while he was sleeping, the national news agency reported. "

    Linked from The Drudge Report

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    Monday, January 26, 2004

    Seperated at Birth: Vol. 1

    Check it out... there's a resemblence....

    The Command Post - 2004 US Presidential Election - Seperated at Birth: Vol. 1

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    So, who will be asked to step aside?

    Think back to October of '03: California (Kali-Forn-ee-a), the Gubentorial Recall.

    From the time the wheels of the process were formerly put into motion, there were three principle candidates: on the Left, Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante versus the two candidates on the right: Tom McClintock and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

    And from day 2 of this process, the media hounded Mr. McClintock daily, asking when he was going to step aside to unitfy the party. He didn't stand a chance, they said, so why not get behind Arnold now?

    Asking that question is the right of the media, no doubt. And history shows that Mr. McClintock did not win -- it was not even close. Fine.

    The ninedwarfs are down to seven now, and evenutally ought to be done to one (I said evnetually, for there may be a Convention nominee before we're through, and who knows if one of these gents becomes a psedo-Independent?).

    Regardless, no one in the media is peppering any of these candidates with the question "When are you going to step aside?"

    Wouldn't in be in the Party's interest if these candidates started to step away, allowing the stronger candidates more time to get their message across? Why aren't any of them endorsing the stronger 'Men who would be's"??

    What's the hesitation??

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    What David Kay really believes

    From Reality Hammer

    The anti-war crowd has been trying to twist David Kay's resignation and "exit interviews" with the media into a refutation of President Bush's decision to invade Iraq.

    David Kay's actual beliefs, however, do not support that allegation.

    Kay stated in a January 19, 2003 article in the Washington Post:

    When it comes to the U.N. weapons inspection in Iraq, looking for a smoking gun is a fool's mission. That was true 11 years ago when I led the inspections there. It is no less true today—even after the seemingly important discovery on Thursday of a dozen empty short-range missile warheads left over from the 1980s.

    The only job the inspectors can expect to accomplish is confirming whether Iraq has voluntarily disarmed. That is not a task that need take months more. And last week's cache is irrelevant in answering that question, regardless of the U.N.'s final determination. That's because the answer is already clear: Iraqi is in breach of U.N. demands that it dismantle its weapons of mass destruction.

    And from his interim report late last year:

    * We have discovered dozens of WMD-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations during the inspections that began in late 2002.
    * A prison laboratory complex, possibly used in human testing of BW agents, that Iraqi officials working to prepare for UN inspections were explicitly ordered not to declare to the UN.
    * In addition to the discovery of extensive concealment efforts, we have been faced with a systematic sanitization of documentary and computer evidence in a wide range of offices, laboratories, and companies suspected of WMD work. The pattern of these efforts to erase evidence -- hard drives destroyed, specific files burned, equipment cleaned of all traces of use -- are ones of deliberate, rather than random, acts.

    In October, the month he presented his interim report, Kay said on Fox News Sunday (October 5th):

    Well, we have found right now—and we're still finding them—over two dozen laboratories that were hidden in the Iraqi intelligence service, the Mukhabarat, were not declared to the U.N., had prohibited equipment, and carried on activities that should have been declared.

    Now, at the minimum, they kept alive Iraq's capability to produce both biological and chemical weapons. We found assassination tools. So we know that, in fact, they had a prohibited intent to them.

    And recently in an article from Associated Press:

    Since Kay's resignation Friday as the top U.S. weapons investigator in Iraq, Kay has said Iraq had no large-scale weapons production program during the 1990s, after it lost the 1991 Persian Gulf War, and no large numbers of mass destruction weapons were available for "imminent action."

    Still, "that is not the same thing as saying it was not a serious, imminent threat," he said Sunday. "That is a political judgment," he said, "not a technical judgment."
    "I must say I actually think Iraq - what we learned during the inspections - made Iraq a more dangerous place potentially than in fact we thought it was even before the war," Kay added.

    From an article in The Telegraph Kay was quoted as saying this about WMD possibly being shipped to Syria:

    We are not talking about a large stockpile of weapons," he said. "But we know from some of the interrogations of former Iraqi officials that a lot of material went to Syria before the war, including some components of Saddam's WMD programme. Precisely what went to Syria, and what has happened to it, is a major issue that needs to be resolved.

    So there you have it, what Kay actually believes instead of what the anti-war crowd wants to think he believes.

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    The Chris Matthews Show: Fair and Balanced??

    The Chris Matthews Show: What's on this weekend

    Weekend of Jan. 24-25, 2004

    Campbell Brown —NBC News, co-anchor Weekend Today
    Kelly Wallace —CNN national correspondent
    Dave Barry —Miami Herald columnist
    Joe Klein —Time Magazine columnist

    POP QUIZ: Who in this roundtable represents the Right?

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    Comments are broken


    Over the weekend there was a message placed in the COMMENTS box stating the script needed revision. I performed said revision, and now the comments are unusable.

    I've contacted the tech support, but this script is free, and as such, I'm not anticipating rapid repsonse.

    Stay tuned....

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    Response to The Status Quo

    The Status Quo

    It’s kind of unreal to me how people can continue to support the current President.
    …Political parties aside, how can you look at the record of the current administration, save being an ultra-rich fat cat in the top tax brackets that are helped out by Bush’s tax cuts, and think, ”Hell ya! Sign me up for another four years of this shit.”

    I do not count myself as beingl in the ultra-rich tax bracket, not by a long shot. I live in a rural part of Pennsylvania, but I commute to the greater Philadelphia area (in New Jersey) in order to make the most of my salary. By comparison to my peers, I scrape by on one salary, which is about half of their combined (his & her) incomes.

    Hell yeah!! Sign me up for another fours years of this shit, especially if maintains the tax cuts that have benefited everyone, including me. Many people talk about the $300/$600 checks as if that was the only part of the tax cut. Those checks represented a refund of the taxes collected that year that were owed to the taxpayers because the cuts were retroactive to the first of the year. My net salary continues to be greater under the tax cuts (adjusted for my annual raise, of course).

    Despite the rhetoric, everyone who pays federal income taxes received a tax cut. If I made $35,000 the tax cut was in line with the taxes I paid in that bracket. If I made $200,000 the tax cut was in line with that bracket. Granted, the $200K salary got more of dollar cut than the $35K salary, but not more of a percentage cut. On the flip side, the rich already pay more in percentage of taxes than do the rest.

    Despite being overly religious themselves, our forefathers provided for the separation of church and state, yet this President continues to try to wrap the two together in a neat little incestuous blanket.

    Growing up in NYC I witnessed a simple example of how state/religious can work together for social services. The unflappable Mayor Edward I. Koch (a noted Democrat who happens to endorse President Bush’s reelection) signed an order that any institution that received city funds could not discriminate against openly gay employees. The Dioceses of NYC was aghast at this (and despite the problems the Church has weathered – between the sinful acts themselves and the foolish cover-ups, the overall organization remains a vital and necessary entity). Mayor Koch was unwavering in his order, despite the Church stating that while they wouldn’t be surprised gays worked for them, they could not/would not ask people if they were gay or not.

    So one day Archbishop John Cardinal O’Connor announced that the Church – who had received some funding from the city for their soup kitchens, hospitals, day cares, senior centers and the like – could either comply with the Mayor or close those programs. Citing the churches principles, the Cardinal announced he would be forced to close those hospitals, those soup kitchens, and all the rest.

    In less than 36 hours, the mayor blinked, and the order was rescinded. Some called it blackmail; others called it standing on principles. Take your pick. Note the Church never said they would root out gays in their hospitals and centers, but that they would not knowingly hire them; this is not unlike a Mosque not knowingly hire an Orthodox Jew.

    Up until the 1950’s, there was mandatory prayer in public schools. Despite possibly being patently unfair to those students who weren’t religious, or who weren’t of Judeo-Christian beliefs, there was little fear of the Government controlling religion. Yet, this was ruled unconstitutional. If the prayer existed in the public schools throughout the nation’s history -- up until the 1950’s -- and this nation did not become a theocracy, what possible fear of such fate do we have when public/religious relationship regarding social services?

    More importantly, you should look back at the nation four years ago and at it now and say, “Are we better off now then we were then?” Now, this isn’t the place for petty discussions about how you personally felt about the last President and his, um, personal indiscretions. (The biggest kicker of all is that President’s throughout history have, notoriously, been morally shady people, but we just never had the same access to it via the bloodhound media that we do now.

    While I’ll take it as written that there have been morally challenged presidents throughout history, I know of no other who lied under oath. That much said, I’d agree to set aside that thread for another day.

    Since Baby Bush took over, environmental protections are down.
    Drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Preserve is an ever increasing near reality.

    Your first link Google’s pages on the Kyoto treaty. Last time I checked, few modern, industrial nations have signed it (many have token signatures, but lack their ‘congressional’ or parliamentary backing, in which case the signatures are cosmetic at best).

    Further, the US Senate rejected the Kyoto treaty 99-0 during President Clinton’s term (and without Congress, there’s no treaty for the president to sign). I do not hear of any campaigns to oust Senators of either party because of that vote. Yet Mr. Bush gets all the heat for not going along with it. Is that fair?

    As for ANWAR, the video CNN always shows depicts a tranquil, snow-covered, tree lined stream with deer in the foreground. Were that the place the drilling was proposed, I would be against it as well. Yet the actual proposed drilling site is desolate tundra. Why isn’t that being shown?

    And considering the opponents say there isn’t much oil there, why is it okay to possibly endanger an environment that isn’t ours, but not ok to possibly endanger one that is (especially if for only the short-term of its supply)?

    Where are we going to get oil? Or do you subscribe to the idea put forth by Vice President Gore that the internal combustion engine is a bigger threat to our nation?

    Mr. Bush has endorsed research into alternative fuels, but this research ought to come primarily from the private sector, not the public.

    As is relaxing legislation that regulates tourism via cruise ships in Alaska’s Inside Passage. If you knew what was allowed to be dumped within the Inside Passage, your stomach would churn (solid waste is allowed a mere three miles from shore).

    Fair enough: if existing laws were being ignored, then I would agree this must stop. Where are the Alaskan Senators and House members? Where is the Alaskan statehouse? Where are the Alaskan voters?

    Funding for the arts is down significantly - to almost non-existent amounts.

    I have a hard time defending arts funding. Granted, there is plenty of pork in every modern-administration’s budgets, and I would submit a lot of needless appropriations could be curtailed long before arts funding. However, I also find it a contradiction that every major city has art galleries and museums that are privately funded and open to the public. Same for music, etc.

    A woman’s right to choose is slowly but surely being taken away from her.

    I’ll need some input on this one. In recent years, the only challenges to abortion I’ve read about involve the partial-birth procedures -- which according to pro-choice advocates occur so infrequently they are almost negligible – and teenagers being able to get abortions on demand, without parental/court oversight. Neither of these seems to break the foundations of the Roe v. Wade decision.

    We isolated a significant portion of the world by thumbing our nose at the United Nations and taking to war in Iraq, a war we later learned was not prompted by the tragedy of September 11th. That national disaster gave Baby Bush an “excuse” to carry out a war he had longed planned. And, while it is great that the troops finally found Saddam Hussein, Osama Bin Laden, the actual figure head responsible for said national tragedy, is still roaming free. He marched us in to an ill-conceived war and an ever further ill conceived “occupation” (let’s be honest, that’s what it is). Gee, perhaps if we had waited for the further international backing the UN would’ve afforded us… Vicious little circle, no? What exactly is the proper way to prepare crow for eating? Does Martha have a recipe for that?

    First and foremost: I must correct you in your use of the words ‘national disaster’ in describing September 11, 2001. A hurricane is a disaster, as are earthquakes, accidental train wrecks and forest fires. The word ‘disaster’ diminishes what happened. The proper description of September 11th is “an act of war” or “atrocity”.

    You are right; perhaps we should have waited for the UN. After all, what reason did we have?

    There was the cease-fire accord signed by Saddam Hussein that called for specific concessions to be made or we would instead enter Iraq. Nearly all of them were ignored (and lets not forget the almost daily surface-to-air firing upon coalition aircraft that patrolled the no-fly-zones), so you could say we merely resumed hostilities in the wake of the treaty violation.

    However, there was 12-year delay and 16 Security Council resolutions, all of which threatened severe penalties if Iraq did not comply. Secy. Powell went to the UN with our intelligence and Hans Blix’s reports, that detailed the WMD’s Iraq had (not to mention the reports detailing the WMD’s Hussain personally attested to having).

    (Now everyone is crowing this weekend about David Kay’s reported assertion that there were no WMD in Iraq; what the headlines fail to widely acknowledge is Mr. Kay’s own evidence of ‘a lot of material’ having been moved to Syria in the days before the US invasion. Hmmmm… and people are going to suggest that delaying the action had no effect. I’ll be happy to discuss MR. Kay’s interview in another thread; this posting – now 3 days late – was in regards to Kathleen’s Friday post.)

    And where did going to the UN get us? China, Russia, France and Germany opposed our actions. China almost never approves of our actions (remember, they still claim our turbo-prop plane rammed their fighter jet), the rest have been reported to have expensive contracts with the old regime, in the billions, which were all in defiance of prior UN resolutions (a lot of good those resolutions are worth!).

    So yes, we did what the UN Security Council had the cojones to vote for but not to carry out. For taking a stand, for gambling the lives of our soldiers and (not to mention his Presidency) the critics of the President criticize him?

    As for your statement that a significant portion of the world is mad at us, what about the significant portions that have provided troops, intel and other support? Do they not count?

    As for Mr. Bush having long planned such an action: in 1998 the Senate vote for the Iraqi Liberation Act (including but not limited Sens. Kerry & Lieberman), this was in response to President Clinton’s own description of the WMD threat. As then-Gov. Bush said in a 1999 debate, of course he planned the action, as he had hoped President Clinton at least had plans to do already.

    So where are the WMDs? I don’t know. But if the US intel said they were there, if the UN’s own Hans Blix says there were there (and neither he nor the UN has recanted their reports), if our allies’ intel said they were there, and if President Clinton said they were there, who am I to suggest they’re all liars?

    And while there are continued reports of links between Hussain and Al Qaeda, I fail to find any references made by Mr. Bush that specifically said this was the case. In fact I can find several to the contrary. I can find many references to Iraq funding other terrorist organizations, however, and that would fall squarely into President Bush’s ‘Bush Doctrine’ for anti-terrorism.

    The budget deficit has grown to proportions of global implications.
    Social programs have been slashed to unrecognizable levels.

    Students continue to suffer in overcrowded and under funded, dilapidated schools. Teachers continue to be overworked and underpaid.

    On the first point, the deficit, I cannot but agree completely! And in fact, I am aghast at the following:

  • The president allowed Sen. Edward Kennedy to all but write the education budget bill, which funding levels were raised by the Bush Admin. to levels above what was asked for by Sen. Kennedy (yet the esteemed gentlemen from Massachusetts still finds time to criticize the bill).

  • The president has endorsed and lobbied for the biggest increase in social spending since the New Deal with this ludicrous Medicare Prescription bill.

  • There are other domestic spending bills that are contrary to the Conservative principles he ran under in 2000. The point is, instead of holding the line on spending (allowing, of course, for an increase due to inflation), the President has done a lot to inflate social spending, and yet he doesn’t get any credit for it.

    Regarding teacher salaries and overcrowding:

  • In NYC school system, there is an average of 1 teacher supervisor for EACH teacher (I said average because there are those intrepid managers who handle 2 or 3). I know in private business a decent manager can oversee more than 3 people at a time.
  • In my local school district, there was tax increase to fund the new football/athletic stadium, to replace the 20-year-old structure. Sure the old one was old, but it was functional and could have been modernized. Still the school board elected to vote the new stadium. Meanwhile, on a grassy patch next to the main building, 20 trailers house ‘temporary classrooms’.

  • While these examples do not necessarily represent the greater school system nationwide, they are two examples taken from urban and rural school districts.

    If teachers are over-worked (9 month per year job), then the trend to make schools the baby-sitters for neglecting parents is more to blame than any one administration. After all, if teachers today are so over-worked, what good did the prior Administration do for them?

    How can this – and a million other things I’m not even touching on – be considered progress? How can you look at the shambles of our nation and say, ”This guy is doing a great job.” You can’t. There is not one single thing that can be held up as exemplary - or above and beyond. I shutter to think of what would happen to the US under another four years with this man.

    And from knowing the foreign policy and homeland security examples set by Messrs Clinton and Gore in their term, I shutter to think what would have happened in a post-9/11 world had Mr. Gore been elected president (and in my mind, that day of the attack and the days/months afterwards can be held to your exemplary standard).

    Judging by the unwavering desire to turn over our sovereignty to the United Nations – an organization that has been all but hostile to democratic republics the world over – I shutter to think what will become of us if any of the challengers become president (with the exception of Sen. Lieberman, who demonstrates a grasp on modern Foreign Policy).

    Some people just don’t have “it” – “it” being the power to lead the supposedly grandest nation in the world.

    Right of the bat here, I must insist upon a simple answer: if we are only ‘supposedly’ the grandest nation, what nation really is?

    His daddy didn’t have it. He doesn’t have it.
    And, you’ll notice I didn’t even touch on the easily preyed upon traits he could easily change to make himself look like less of a jackass - the mispronunciations, the shit eating grin, the talking out of his ass, the hanging his own staff members out to dry, the leaking of the name of a CIA agent as retribution…

    Oh this is grand, I am sorry to say! Former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neil repeatedly went against the proposals President Bush wanted implemented – that’s fine, I mean after all, Mr. O’Neil stood by his convictions, as did Mr. Bush, and as such there was a parting of ways (yes, he was fired). Mr. O’Neil then went on record stating he had no plans to be, as he called it, a sharpshooter against the Administration. Now in light of the publicity surrounding Mr. O’Neil’s book, who hung whose ass out to dry??

    Rather than rehash it here, refer to the following posts on my humble blog: here, and here for points regarding the alleged leak of Ms. Plaine’s name.

    As for the claims of the President looking foolish, consider these points:
  • Eeaaaagggghhhh!” Enough said.
  • Sen. Kerry and his pancake flipping flop, his poor decisions regarding his Philadelphia Cheese Steak, his claim that he voted for the Iraq resolution but didn’t mean to mean it, and his own fat-cat bank accounts.
  • The ever-changing positions of Gen. Wesley Clark (I would have voted for the resolution, I may have voted for it, I don’t know if I would have voted for it….), his endorsement of Bush Administration foreign policy (when he was a Republican), etc.

  • I'll avoid the foibles and misstatements of Messrs Clinton & Gore, and focus on the here and now.

    How are any of these traits of an admirable leader? Or like he can’t believe his own dumb luck (and, let’s face it, his even being in that office is dumb luck).

    Dumb luck? Assuming for a moment the alleged law breaking occurred to get him into this office did occur, Mr. Bush and Mr. Gore arguably got approximately 50% of the vote, each. Is that dumb luck? Hardly.

    These aren’t anything a good media adviser couldn’t cure him of, yet he has never hired anyone to take care of his classic "Bushisms". Why not? It could only serve to aide any credibility he hoped to ever have someday.

    OK, so if his media advisers did deal with “Bushisms”, wouldn’t you accuse the Administration of spinning to make the President look good? If so, he can’t possibly win on this point, can he?

    A leader that's a laughing stock... how appealing.

    Laughing stock? Now, now, I thought we were discussing the current president, not the last. ;)

    Even if you’re not a Democrat, you should want someone, anyone else to give it a shot. Couldn't hurt, might help.

    I am not a Democrat, and while I have more than a couple problems with some of the domestic and border decisions put forth by this President, I do not see any other candidate who has the desire and the message that would trump the good this President has done.

    Blind faith in anyone – especially an ill-advised, ill-prepared leader – is a dangerous precipice for us to stand on the edge of as a nation trying to recarve its niche in the world theatre.

    In my mind, blind faith would be saying things like ‘I would be willing put on a pair of kneepads in order to keep abortion legal’, as if nothing else matters. Blind faith is saying ‘who cares so long as the economy is good’ (which, given the turn in the economy in the last 2 years, I would submit some Democrats may have to eat their words). Blind faith is saying ‘anyone but {incumbent x}’ which would imply the local dogcatcher could run a country.

    These blind-faith descriptions I offer apply to any candidate of any party, as do all of my criticisms. I don’t present the actions of previous office holders as a free pass for President Bush, but only to make the reader ask if they would criticize a member of the opposition party for the same offence.

    I’ve never pretended to support every decision by the President, yet on matters of National Defense and overall Foreign Policy, there has yet to be any better. On matters Domestic Policy, while there are warts in his agenda (in my humble opinion), the good still outweigh the bad by a long shot.

    Our niche as a super power has been well-carved, or rather, re-carved in the last 2 years, since time and the elements have eroded its depth.

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    Sunday, January 25, 2004

    Coming soon: a debate experiement

    Over the last week or two, I've been engaged with the witty and talented Kathleen of ~ unsettled ~, wherein we would each add comments to other's postings. This seems to be interesting and engaging (well, to each of us anyway) as we are pretty much on opposite ends of the political spectrum in our views.

    That much said, Kathleen posted a well written piece on Friday and I asked her if she would mind if I began a debate thread with her. She agreed, and now it's up to me to make the next posting. My personal schedule has kept me from finishing my response to her, but now that I am adding this post I am certainly giving myself a 'nag' to get it done today.

    Stay tuned... and read her Status Quo to get a feel of where she stands before reading my next post (which, I realize had better come soon before it is OBE).

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    Saturday, January 24, 2004

    Happy Birthday!!


    I remember seeing the commercial that changed the nature of Super Bowl commericals for ever!!

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    Friday, January 23, 2004

    Moby vs. Drudge

    New York Daily News - Home - Lloyd Grove's L: "Among [Margaret Cho's] saltier observations, during ['s] celeb-studded gala to honor political ads attacking President Bush: 'Despite all of this stupid bull-- that the Republican National Committee, or whatever the f-- they call them, that they were saying that they're all angry about how two of these ads were comparing Bush to Hitler? I mean, out of thousands of submissions, they find two. They're like f-- looking for Hitler in a haystack. ...George Bush is not Hitler. He would be, if he f-- applied himself.'

    After Drudge's account was linked by the right-leaning, Cho received dozens of ugly E-mails, most of them unprintable in a family newspaper. (A typical message advised the California-born Korean-American: 'Go back to Asia you slanted eye whore.')

    On her own Web site this week, Cho wrote to a concerned fan: 'I know that I have not pulled punches with the way that I beat the s-- out of Dumya, I mean Dubya.'

    Moby told me: 'The only good to come of this is that the extreme right has shown their true colors. ...Bush is masquerading as a 'compassionate conservative,' but they've now exposed their extremely right-wing, misogynistic, racist agenda.'

    OK, so Margaret Cho is free to associate President Bush and his supporters as Nazi's (undeniably extremist position, and also wrong), but extemists on the other side are misognyistic and racists (and, in this Blog's view, equally wrong).

    Sound like the pot calling the kettle.... oh wait, that may be an extremist's expression.

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    DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati FavesFacebook - Captain Kangaroo Dies at 76 - Foxlife - Captain Kangaroo Dies at 76: "Bob Keeshan, star of television's 'Captain Kangaroo,' has died, his family said Friday."

    Sad, sad news, on par with the passing for Fred Rodgers.

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    Thursday, January 22, 2004

    Reaction to claim against "Evasions, Half-Truths, and the State of the Union"

    Fred Kaplan wrote a piece for Slate (War Stories: Evasions, Half-Truths, and the State of the Union) wherein he discusses the 'blatant lies' in the State Of the Union addresses for this year and last.

    I find the use of 'blatant lies' amusing, because I've yet to be shown where this has happened.

    >>"We must continue to give our homeland security and law enforcement personnel every tool they need to defend us."

    Yet this is precisely what President Bush has failed to do. His homeland security budget for fiscal year 2004 was smaller than the budget for FY 2003. He has yet to order a serious effort to develop or procure WMD-detecting sensors.<<

    Right off the bat. here we'll agree that the focus of Homeland Security is not nearly as sharp as it ought to be. Many of the funding issues Mr. Kaplan describes are lacking, and I've long said the military ought to be patrolling our borders; so on this point I'll criticize the President. This point may be considered an evasion, but it is certainly not a lie.

    >> "Nearly two-thirds of [al-Qaida's] known leaders have now been captured or killed."

    Good. But the remaining one-third constitutes a distressingly large number still at large-not least Osama Bin Laden<<

    Good point, but is this an evasion or half-truth? Granted, omitting Bin Laden's reference this year is hard to ignore (probable evasion), but everyone knows Bin Laden is still a threat, and that the military is still on the hunt. I've also said that the time we ceased hostilities for Ramadan was the biggest mistake we made in the Afghanistan operations, and that was probably when Bin Laden made it across the border.

    Still, I am waiting for a lie.

    >>First, that happened because the Bush administration decided the war was over <<

    Um, we did? when did we say it was over? Please, do not use the hackneyed 'mission accomplished' banner that the ship ordered at the competition of their mission. Give me something concrete. The President said 'major combat operations are over', and then described how the conflict will continue. For Mr. Kaplan to suggest what is happening with our troops in Iraq today is the same as it was in mid-May '03 is ludicrous.

    >>"Our forces are on the offensive, leading over 1,600 patrols a day and conducting an average of 180 raids a week."

    It's a puzzle why Bush's staff wrote this sentence or, having done so, kept it in the speech. It inexorably brings to mind related, but less assuring, statistics-the weekly rate of Iraqi attacks and U.S. casualties.<<

    Mr. Kaplan finds the President giving light to the kind of work our military is engaged in 'puzzling'; would he have preferred no mention of their daily activities? Perhaps he would have wondered why the President didn't speak of their missions.

    >>"We're working with Iraqis and the United Nations to prepare for a transition to full Iraqi sovereignty by the end of June."

    Again, now we are, sort of. Until very recently, when the realities on the ground finally pressed too hard to ignore, the Bush administration did everything it could to keep the United Nations out of such preparations, to deny that any outside powers were necessary.<<

    Not quite. We repeatedly asked the UN for its assistance (in carrying out the UN's own repeated mandate), and we were ignored. Now they want to join in; to suggest the US 'denied' outside powers were necessary is a falsehood. The US rightfully wanted control of our troops, not subjugate them to the UN.

    >>Bush didn't say much about, at best, uneven attempts to dash the nuclear ambitions of Iran or North Korea-a failing that, in North Korea's case, can be placed squarely on Bush's refusal to negotiate.<<

    Hold the phone!! Iran was placed on notice when we rolled into Iraq, and there has been dialog on their nuclear ambitions, where earlier there was complete denial from them. And as for North Korea, the kind of negotiating the writer is talking about is the kind employed by the Clinton Administration, who detracted from every previous administration. We're now back on track for what was the standard rule.

    >>"Some in this chamber, and in our country, did not support the liberation of Iraq."

    This is a low blow. In last year's address, the war was sold only peripherally as a campaign of liberation; its main pitch was to chop off the world's most dangerous possessor of biological, chemical, and-any day now-nuclear weapons.<<

    So does Mr. Kaplan then believe the Iraqi Liberation Resolution, voted for by Congress, was insignificant?? He must, because if the House and Senate ratified the resolution, and then ignored it, it must have been insignificant in the first place.

    >>"The Kay Report identified dozens of weapons of mass destruction-related program activities…"

    Here is where the speechwriters most fastidiously avoid last year's dread "16 words" syndrome. Note that the sentence mentions not "weapons of mass destruction" but "weapons of mass destruction-related," and not even "programs" but "program activities." This careful phrasing is in keeping with David Kay's report, which is replete with phrases that, skimmed swiftly, suggest much danger but, read closely, indicate next to nothing.<<

    Now who is spinning??? I challenge Mr. Kay or ANYone to show me what in those famed 16 words was untrue! To this day, the UK intelligence backs the main point of the Niger connection. Was it bad form for the President to site UK intel and not corroborate it with US intel? Yes. Was what he said a lie?? Hardly!

    >>More to the point [force deployments], Bush's critics on this point are concerned not just with spreading the costs and the burdens but also with legitimizing the transition to Iraqi sovereignty. The issue isn't so much which countries send troops as who's making the decisions.<<

    Perhaps Mr. Kaplan has a point; however, in the basis of his piece, that the Bush Administration is lying, evading, etc., where does this fit it?

    >>"There is a difference, however, between leading a coalition of many nations and submitting to the objections of a few. America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our people."

    This is a textbook definition of a red herring. Even the U.N. Charter explicitly allows the right to unilateral self-defense. The question, of course, is whether Saddam Hussein constituted a threat to the security of the United States. Last year's address spent much time contending that he did, citing the tons of anthrax, warehouse loads of bioweapons, and secret laboratories full of nuclear gear that Saddam had at his disposal-and the links between Iraq and al-Qaida that could bring these dangers to our shores. This year, the speechwriters might have contemplated reminding the American people of the case. But, to their credit and their caution, they decided not to give it a single word's credence.<<<

    Ahhh here we go....

    The US stated its own intelligence AND the Hans Blix report detailing the toxins and weapons. The fact that these points were left out was wrong in my opinion, contrary to Mr. Kaplan's view. And since there were 16 resolutions promising 'consequences' to Iraq if there was compliance failures, the US action was as much acting on the behest of the UN Security Council as it was self-defense.

    This piece was just an excuse to slam President Bush. When these points are held up to the light, they are shown to be transparent.

    An oversight earlier in the day caused me to omit acknowledging that Kathleen brought this article to my attention. I really need to get more sleep (or coffee!)

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    Wednesday, January 21, 2004

    Nugent, Osbourne File Class Action After Dean Scream

    ScrappleFace: Nugent, Osbourne File Class Action After Dean Scream:

    "Nugent, Osbourne File Class Action After Dean Scream
    (2004-01-21) -- Ted Nugent, Ozzy Osbourne, David Lee Roth and dozens of other rock musicians have filed a class-action lawsuit against Democrat presidential candidate Howard Dean, claiming the former Vermont governor violated union rules when he let out a bone-chilling scream during his Iowa caucus concession speech Monday night...."

    This is almost better than the strangled Muppet line!

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    Love the NY Post summary

    Howard Dean's bizarre rant in the face of his Iowa defeat was the talk of the nation yesterday - with political pros saying it could doom his presidential bid and voters asking if he's fit for the White House.
    "I used to be on the Dean bandwagon but now I feel as if he's imploding," said medical student Eliza Shulman, 29.

    "I was really scared when I saw him on TV. I can't believe I used to be for that guy. It's embarrassing."

    Strategists for Democratic rivals said they were stunned by Dean's primal screams after the Iowa caucus vote put rivals John Kerry first and John Edwards second, respectively.

    "I don't know how he'll ever be able to convince voters that he has the gravitas, temperament and judgment to be president," said one.

    In the tirade, a raging Dean swung his fists as he vowed to fight on - then hoarsely screamed out upcoming primary states one by one in a building crescendo, before letting out a banshee shriek that sounded like a Muppet being strangled - "AAARGH!!!"

    In case you missed it, see DrudgeReport for the MP3 of the scream.

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    Tuesday, January 20, 2004


    DRUDGEREPORT: "McAuliffe Says Democrats Are In The Best Shape They've Ever Been
    Tue Jan 20 2004 10:39:37 ET

    DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe asked on CNN if the direction of the Democratic Party will determine the direction of the party.

    McAuliffe said: 'Clearly, whoever the nominee of the Democratic Party will -- and I am -- no one in America wants a nominee more than I do. We're in the best shape we've ever been in. Millions in the bank, new headquarters, new voter files. I need a nominee, no question about it. But that nominee will then have one message. He will become the messenger, and it's his message that won the primaries.

    'And that will become the message as we head forth March 10 all the way to November 2. That will give us six months. My job is to make sure that we're unified, we have money in the bank like we've never had before. And come the morning of March 10, we're off as one organized, energized and ready to go.'"

    Isn't this the same man who said the DNC was in "good shape" after the disasterous mid-term elections??

    Furthermore, as I've stated in the Comments of other Blogs, the nominee is the defacto head of the Party (in modern history). So that begs a few questions:

    1) what happened to VP Al Gore these last few years?
    2) If Gen. Clark -- a hand-picked candidate of Presidnet Clinton (who has served as defacto head of the DNC these last years) -- doesn't secure the nomination, what will become of Mr. McAuliffe (also hand-picked by Mr. Clinton)??

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    A Small Victory: People Powered Meltdown

    I've posted comments to a number of Blogs this morning, but none sums up the Dean campaign better than A

    People Powered Meltdown:
    "Kerry wins, Edwards gains ground and everyone is talking about Dean.

    Let's clear one thing up first. Don't listen to cries of Deanophiles. The media did not make Dean lose. The media did not conjure up the Angry Young Man image (Angry Middle-Aged Man?). It's not the media's fault that every time I would see a photo of Dean, this Billy Joel song popped in my head:

    There's a place in the world for the angry young man
    With his working class ties and his radical plans
    He refuses to bend, he refuses to crawl,
    He's always at home with his back to the wall.
    And he's proud of his scars and the battles he's lost,
    And he struggles and bleeds as he hangs on the cross-
    And he likes to be known as the angry young man.

    Dean created his own image. The press only played on it. And the more the press played on it, the more animated Dean became and the more groupie-like his fans became." ... more, and worth the read.

    I would only add the following -- the next set of lyrics:

    I believe I’ve passed the age of consciousness and righteous rage
    I found that just surviving was a noble fight.
    I once believed in causes too,
    I had my pointless point of view,
    And life went on no matter who was wrong or right.

    A lot of that describes Team Dean, in my mind.

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    PoliBlog: Mrs. Heinz-Kerry: Not too Happy?

    PoliBlog: Mrs. Heinz-Kerry: Not too Happy?: "Kaus asks:
    Am I crazy or did Mrs. Kerry look decidedly unhappy during her husband's Iowa victory speech? ...

    Answer: no, Mickey, you aren't crazy. She looked unhappy, and indeed, it looked like she wanted to slowly drift away from the podium, and it appeared that a few times she started to do so and then thought better of it."

    By way of Poliblog, who also credits Steve Bainbridge

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    Gephardt's Graceful Exit

    Matthew Stinson points out the true class in Rep. Gephardt's speech last evening. I've never supported the man, but I do give props when they are due.
    Matthew J. Stinson | weblog: Gephardt's Graceful Exit

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    Monday, January 19, 2004

    'Am I blue?' will be what Democrats will be asking...

    Now we all know the volitile nature of polling. And in recent weeks I have become less certain in my personal belief of President Bush's reelection being a landslide (not unlike Presidnet Reagan's) due to the foolish domestic spending plans advocated by the president. However, that much said...

    Election Projection

    All I can say is WOW! (for those uncertain, this map alleges to predict the electoral college votes that go to the President (red) and those that go to Democratic Party challenger (blue). Oddly enough, these collective polls indicate Mr. Bush winning Vermont, which (to me) is a stretch considering Gov. Dean's popularity.

    Naturally, this is before the primaries and campaigning, but it is sure a good indication of what things may possibly become!

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    Who's Decadent?

    Last week’s speculation about the motives of Hamas’ first female suicide-bomber turned out not to be so speculative after all. According to the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot, Reem Al-Reyashi was forced to detonate herself by her family after her husband discovered her in an extramarital affair. In an especially gruesome detail, the job of handing al-Reyashi the dynamite belt was assigned to her former lover.

    Can we please, please, please now retire the often-heard line that Western societies have something to learn from the simple, heartfelt faith of the Islamic extremists? I’m not sure whether Hamas reminds me more of the blood cult of the ancient Aztecs or the cruelest subsections of the American Mafia, but I am sure that the United States with all its fads, follies, and vices is in every way a more moral and godly society than the one that Hamas seeks to realize. And if the choice really is between a society that produces a Reem al-Reyashi or one that produces Britney Spears … then hand me the channel changer: I want my MTV!

    David Frum's Diary on National Review Online

    Given those two choices, I'm reaching for my remote, too!

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    It's time to put on make-up...

    Thanks to Jen ... the ultimate collection of Muppet Characters

    Statler and Waldorf were always my favorite!

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    Friday, January 16, 2004

    Light a candle: Today is this Blog's birthday

    Way back in 2002, on this day, this Blog was born. It's been hosted in a few different locations, but still survives. I'd like to acknowledge the thousands of viewers who have encouraged me, but the truth is there's none but a few who have, so they get all of my thanks.

    Read all you want; I'll blog some more!

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    Thursday, January 15, 2004


    "It's like having nail guns applied to your hands and feet while you're being dunked in a vat of boiling water. "

    What Michael Kanellos is talking about is being hit by a Taser. Now I've done quite a lot in the name of 'job performance', and I have been curious what the effect of one of these devices is, but after reading this piece I doubt I would ever consent to such a demonstration in the name of a job.

    The (painful) body electric | CNET

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    292 Days... and counting!

    292 days left, and the Nine Dwarfs are now Eight.

    Many have written volumes on the Democratic primary; I've posted links and excerpts from other sites, and in a few cases give a brief opinion here or there. Here then is a summary of my thoughts on the candidates.

    Sen. John Edwards thinks the best way to protect America is to begin my sacrificing our sovereignty. Not a big selling point to most Americans. I don't see his campaign lasting beyond New Hampshire.

    Rep. Dick Gephardt is my second in my choice for preferred Presidents (behind Mr. Bush). While he is hopelessly hooked to the Teachers Union, has fairly sharp tongue when speaking about the president (see the famed Google-bomb for instance) , and his past excitement at the loss of jobs in America translating into House seats for the Democrats, he at least acknowledges the need for the US to go to Iraq. Unfortunately, he (like so many of the other candidates) seem to be unable to count, at least very high, as they continue to portray the US as being in Iraq unilaterally, ignoring the some 50 other nations.

    [5] Right-to-Choose, Privacy, and Civil Rights
    [6] Balance Between Workers and Corporations
    [7] Guaranteed Quality Education, Pre-K through College
    [8] A Renewed Commitment to Peace and Diplomacy
    [9] Restored Rural Communities and Family Farms
    [10] Environmental Renewal and Clean Energy

    All of these proposals, taken from his website, are nothing but a move towards a bigger government and a less-safe country. Don't believe me? Read each one of the proposals. Oh, and lets not forget paying the people Iraq for our 'war crimes'. Sen. Kucinich will be finished sometime after NH, but not very long after.

    Sen John Kerry This is a campaign run as bad as any since Sen Bob Dole tried to unseat President Clinton (let me rephrase that: Sen. Dole
    SAID he wanted to unseat President Clinton, though I doubt he ever really tried to campaign much at all!). I can't say much in favor of Sen. Kerry, beyond noting his years of service to the Senate and his years as a soldier. His rhetoric is always personal, always negative. He has yet to explain why he would vote for a war but not *really* think there would be one. And other than turning things over to UN control (much like they were before the President took his stand), he has no plan to make the world safe. The big question is how much of a disgrace his losing will be.

    General Wesley Clark Wow. That's all I can say. How anyone can go from relative political obscurity to where he is today in such a short time is amazing. Almost as amazing as his constant flip-flops. Almost amazing as his stance on the Iraqi war (which would put a Jackie Mason routine to shame! - I would have voted for the war, I wouldn't have voted for it, I would have voted against it if I knew I could have not voted for it). The little being said by his military contemporaries speaks volumes to his character; military people either speak glowingly of the comrades or say nothing at all. To date, far too many have strayed from this point.

    It could well be a three-way race: Clark, Dean and Gephardt. A lot can and will change in the next two weeks, and I'll likely have something to say it the race develops. Right now, I see Dean as the likely nominee. We'll see if I am right in a few weeks.

    Regardless, unless something major happens here or in Iraq, I do not see any worry that President Bush will be re-elected.

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    The Democrats' Idea Of A General

    The Democrats' Idea Of A General: "Yugoslavia posed absolutely no threat to the United States -- not imminent, not latent, not burgeoning, not now, not then, not ever. (Unless you count all the U.S. highway deaths caused by Yugos.) The president of Yugoslavia, Slobodan Milosevic, never tried to assassinate a U.S. president. He never shook his fist at the Great Satan. He didn't shelter and fund Muslim terrorists -- though the people we were fighting for did.

    In humanitarian terms, Milosevic didn't hold a candle to Saddam Hussein. Milosevic killed a few thousand Albanians in a ground war. Hussein killed well over a million Iranians, Kurds, Kuwaitis and Shias, among others. Milosevic had no rape rooms, no torture rooms, no Odai or Qusai. He didn't even use a wood chipper to dispose of his enemies, the piker.

    And yet NATO, led by Gen. Wesley Clark, staged a pre-emptive attack on Yugoslavia.

    Under Clark's command, the U.S. bombed the Chinese embassy by mistake, killing three Chinese journalists. Other NATO air strikes under Clark mistakenly damaged the Swiss, Spanish, Swedish, Norwegian and Hungarian ambassadors' residences. Despite the absence of ground troops, Yugoslavia took three American POWs, whose release was eventually brokered by Jesse Jackson. America was standing tall."

    Makes you wonder when you hear Gen. Clark questioning President Bush's foreign policies.

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    Cho on Bush in 30 Seconds

    Eye On The Left - Archives: "Cho on Bush in 30 Seconds
    We had a mission, to educate and to bring together disparate elements of our society that have much more in common than anyone realized. I hope that the contributions made by the major politicos and the monied liberals helps us to get that fucking shithead out of office.

    Bush in 30 Seconds was a brilliant concept and the night was devoted to all the people who made ads on their computers, using their own money, their own hearts and minds, and most importantly, their right to free speech. It was the first time in a long while where I felt proud to be an American. Margaret Cho @ Margaret Cho Blog"

    Excuse me, I am confused... who are the mean-spirited ones again, the Conservatives or the Liberals??

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    Wednesday, January 14, 2004

    Marginalizing the Mac and Its Users

    Dan Gillmore describes the troubles he's had with his Mac and websites. Some notably popular sites are Mac unfriendly.

    This begs the question: while I am not a Mac user, I have used them in the past. While I do not profess to be an incredibly savy web designer, I've done a few for profit. That much said: is Blogspot and others Mac compatible?

    There are a few readers who have infinitly more Mac experience than I do; I look forward to your comments and suggestions.

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    I wonder who leaked this?

    The Honorable William J. Clinton
    President of the United States
    The White House
    Washington, D.C. 20500

    Dear Mr. President:

    After long and careful thought, and after several years of watching the gross atrocities committed by the Bosnian Serbs, I have reluctantly concluded that the efforts of the United Nations and NATO in Bosnia are a complete failure.
    I think your policy up to this date has been absolutely correct. We must give, and have given, this policy with our allies and with the United Nations every opportunity to work. It is evident, however, that the cost in human lives in allowing this policy to continue is too great. In addition, and perhaps more importantly for the United States, we are now in a position of ignoring, as many did in the 1940s, one of the worst crimes committed in history. If we ignore these behaviors, no matter where they occur, our moral fiber as a people becomes weakened. As the Catholic Church and others lost credibility during the Holocaust for not speaking out, so will the United States lose credibility and our people lose confidence in themselves as moral beings if the United States does not take action.

    Since it is clearly no longer possible to take action in conjunction with NATO and the United Nations, I have reluctantly concluded that we must take unilateral action. "

    Maybe this is why Gov. Dean wants his records sealed??? And I wonder who possibly leaked this letter? Perhaps the man to whom it was addressed??

    As seen in - Howard Dean letter to President Clinton and other sources.

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    Barista Beating

    Gothamist: Barista Beating: "They don't teach this in the Starbucks training manual: How to deal with unruly middle schoolers who may beat you outside the store. Three students from Robert F. Wagner school beat up a Starbucks employee after getting into an argument with him outside a Starbucks at Second Avenue and 76th Street. Other students cheered the attackers on, but all kids ran back to school when the police came. No arrests were made. This comes on the heels of Mayor Bloomberg's aggressive school safety effort, doubling the amount of police officers in schools and arresting a dozen students last week. While the school safety crackdown is important, there also seems to be a need for society to crackdown on itself. "

    I've been calling for such a crackdown on society for years!

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    Have it your way, sans bun

    Burger King Corp. is joining the low-carbohydrate parade by offering bunless Whopper hamburgers and, soon, salads featuring steak, chicken and shrimp. The bunless sandwiches, which will be available nationwide beginning Tuesday, will come in plastic salad bowls, with knife and fork.

    This reminds me of an old Bloom County strip from about 20 years ago; one of the child characters wanted a special order at McDonalds; the teen-age clerk objected, a shouting match ensued, and the final frame had the line "One Big Mac, sans bun." If memory serves me, the point of the strip was a metaphor for the call from Republicans to the Congress to let President Reagan have his agenda. "Let Reagan be Reagan" cried the boy. (If anyone can point this Blog to where I can find this strip, be it in book form or on the web, please do! I've praised Bloom County in another post here).

    Anyway, I heard this story about Burger King on my commute last evening, an instantly thought of the strip I mentioned. However, NBC Radio news reported the story (5:00PM ET) with an interesting tag line:

    "Health officials worry that American's diets may sacrifice good nutrition."

    With all due respect to Burger King and their competitors (of whom I frequent), do any of these so-called 'health officials' really think frequent dining at fast-food outlets is healthy to begin with??

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    Got a call from Gov. Dean's office

    Got a phone call from Gov. Dean's campaign tonight; what a surprise!

    The caller asked if I had been following ther debates (yes) and if I was aware of the planned endorsement from President Jimmy Carter (no, but not terribly surprised).

    As expected, I was asked for a financial contribution; I pointed out that I have seen and click on 'the bat' on the Blog for America; the caller (male) seemed quite pleased and hoped that the governor could count on future contributions. I answered in the affirmative that the Governor could expect more contributions in the near future; that I didn't persoanlly commit to making them was lost on the caller.

    Not sure how/why they think I am a financial supporter, but what the hey! However, with the governor promising to take away President Bush's tax cut, with his ardent head-in-the-sand attitude on national security and foreign policy, with his general mean-spiritedness, I think it is very unlikely he will defeat the President in November (assuming he wins the nomination).

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    Tuesday, January 13, 2004

    Paul O'Neill: no surprise

    Evidence that Paul O'Neill's alleged bombshell -- that Bush wanted to get rid of Saddam before 9/11 -- isn't exactly news:

    MR. LEHRER: With Saddam Hussein, you mean?
    GOV. BUSH: Yes, and --
    MR. LEHRER: You could get him out of there?
    GOV. BUSH: I'd like to, of course, and I presume this administration would as well.

    That's how to keep a secret -- say it out loud during the Presidential debates, and nobody will notice!

    I clipped this from another's Blog this afternoon, planning on adding it here. In my haste I neglected to note who had this tip first; my apologies.

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    I'll drink to that!!! BeerLog - Pint Of View: "A German brewery will cater to consumers who hope to find beer in the fountain of youth. The brewery has developed a beer containing vitamins and minerals it says are designed to slow the aging process."

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    Up for grabs "[Gov.] Dean reminds me of the groundhog in the film Groundhog Day with Bill Murray. The groundhog is driving a truck and Murray says, 'Don't drive angry, don't drive angry!' The groundhog then proceeds to drive the truck off a cliff. "

    Not only is this an appropriate quote, but it reminded me of a genuinely funny movie, one of my favs. Mr. Schmidt has been dead-on in his analysis of the campaign so far; always worth a read.

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    Answer me these questions three...

    Estimating the Airspeed Velocity of an Unladen Swallow: "Estimating the Airspeed Velocity of an Unladen Swallow
    Hashing out the classic question with Strouhal numbers and simplified flight waveforms."

    The classic question has been researched!!! Thanks to Jen

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    Double standards on Civil Unions

    Governor signs N.J. same-sex measure
    An emotional Gov. McGreevey yesterday signed into law new civil-rights protections and financial benefits for same-sex couples in New Jersey.

    What Gov. McGreevey and many others are missing here is the double-standard. Why is it that only homoesexual couples are entitled to the financial benefits of civil unions? Why not heterosexual couples? Why aren't adult siblings, cousins or friends (think Felix and Oscar) who have no sexual involvement entitled to these same protections?

    Why are we singling out same-sex couples and putting them above all others??

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    You light up my ZIP!

    Caught this on LockerGnome's Technology News:

    Enter a USA zip code and see it slowly light up like a Christmas tree (or a Menorrah, if you please) going out as you enter each digit. Just type in the number.

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    Is it the news or Weekend Update??

    Here now a news report from our ace reported, Donald Luskin:

    The Conspiracy to Keep You Poor and Stupid: "NO JOKE A new study from the Pew Charitable Trust finds perceptions of right-wing media bias on the increase (especially among Democrats, of course). But then again the study also says that one in five young people say they get their political news primarily from comedy shows. "

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    Monday, January 12, 2004

    Is Joe Trippi(ng) on Paula??

    Perhaps a supporter of Dr. Dean can help me here; where exactly is Mr. Trippi going when he ignores Ms. Zahn's question and he speaks of black-box voting machines??

    For the record, I have read the transcript, and both sides have a point (Ms. Zahn should have read the portion where Gov. Dean shed doubt on the accusation, but the good doctor was being childish for making such a claim in the first place!). However, how does Mr. Trippi account for the divergence to the black-box?

    And this portion of the interview came from Blog For America!

    (Emphasis in bold made by me for clarity)

    PAULA ZAHN: Final question for you, sir. Your candidate, governor dean, has made several references to -- about president bush having alleged advance knowledge of the 9/11 attacks from the saudis. Should someone who wants to be president be trading on rumors?

    JOE TRIPPI: That's not what the governor said at all. In fact, you're trading on rumors when you keep saying that.

    PAULA ZAHN: I haven't said it yet. I'm just repeating --

    JOE TRIPPI: Yeah, you're repeating the rumor. Yeah, what happened was the governor said that when the president and the administration mislead people and the war, the American people start asking questions, there's these rumors out there, and we need to talk about them to shut them down because he didn't believe it. And he said that on the air in the interview.

    PAULA ZAHN: But there was another interview on npr that has gotten a lot of attention. He basically said, you know, whether this can be proven or not, he suggested that the president had had advance knowledge of what might have fallen on 9/11.

    JOE TRIPPI: No. The governor said he didn't believe that, and it was part of the problem. We have this right now with black box voting. You'll find across the country that there are people all over this nation who believe these paperless computer voting machines are a way that the bush administration will steal the election. Okay, what's not important here is whether that's a rumor or not. What's important here is that we shut that down, that we prove to people that there's no way that anybody -- that these paperless machines are going to rob people of their vote. Repeating that is not repeating that you believe it. I don't necessarily believe that those machines do that or not. But if we're going to have a democracy, we have to say so and air it out.

    PAULA ZAHN: Let me just repeat exactly what came off the transcript of the npr radio show, and this is governor dean's remark, "the most interesting theory that i have heard so far, he responded, "is that he was warned ahead of time by the saudis."

    JOE TRIPPI: And then can you keep reading, please?

    PAULA ZAHN: Well, could go on for the next five minutes from the interview. And you're saying he didn't say that, I got it right here.

    JOE TRIPPI: No, no, no, I said if you keep reading, he'll say he didn't believe that.

    PAULA ZAHN: There is a point at which, but you were denying what he suggested.

    JOE TRIPPI: You're forgetting that part, paula.

    PAULA ZAHN: I'm not forgetting it. I just wanted to clarify that he had, in fact, repeated something and he did say later on...

    JOE TRIPPI: Keep reading the interview, and we'll get to the part where he says he did not believe it.

    PAULA ZAHN: No, I am not denying that, but i wanted to challenge your point...

    JOE TRIPPI: That's not how you started the interview.

    PAULA ZAHN: I think our audience has a pretty good sense now of what was said and what wasn't said. Joe trippi, thank you for your time.

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    Of Mustard Gas and Iraqui Shells

    Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit comments on a piece I've been meaning to do myself: "EVERYBODY KEEPS EMAILING ME this story about mustard gas being found in Iraq. It appears to be genuine, but it's hardly news: Saddam gassed people, after all, so we know he had WMD. (Just ask Bill Clinton!) And I don't intend to make a big deal out of this discovery, because I never regarded WMD as the main reason to go to war. The real reason to go to war was (1) to establish a military and democratic presence in the Arab world (which we've done); (2) to make an example of Saddam to intimidate other Arab leaders (which we've done); and (3) to cut off Saddam as a source of support -- both existing and potential -- for terrorists, which we've also done. The WMD was a nontrivial issue, and required for playing the UN game (which I always regarded as a mistake) but not, to me, the most important issue.
    The WMD was an alligator, but the point of the exercise is to drain the swamp.
    UPDATE: Reader Dan Cassaro emails:

    That sound you hear is the left ripping up the 'Saddam never had WMD' 
    goalposts and moving them back to 'Saddam wasn't a threat the US with
    36 old rusty shells'. No matter what we find in Iraq, it won't be 'enough
    to justify the war.'

    Not to people who were unalterably opposed to it from day one."

    Quite right!

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    This blog had a busy weekend

    I had promised a few folks I would share my predictions for things political and celebrity (court cases and the like), and that I would do so this weekend. Well I shared a bit about Leif Garrett, but that was about all the time I had (even I sleep sometimes!)

    Stay tuned... this is the week I catch up!

    295 days 'till election... and counting!

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    Sunday, January 11, 2004

    What ever happened to Leif Garrett?

    While flipping through around TV this evening, I came across a favorite: The Odd Couple (thank heavens for NY's WB-11). Even after 30 years, it never fails to make me laugh.

    Featured tonight was Felix's son, Leonard, played by Leif Garrett, who was then a child star on the rise.

    Naturally, seeing him begged the question "What ever happened to Leif Garrett?" My charming and so-much-better half said she last saw him as druggie someplace. Apparently, he survives as a rocker, playing on the former child star status.

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    Wednesday, January 07, 2004

    Bush and Illegal Immigrants

    Zogby Blog: Bush and Immigrants: "In case all those liberals who read us, (who?) think that we're not about to bash Bush on any policy, I'd say that political candidates are like church. You find one you like and mostly agree with and accept that there might be a few disagreements through the years. Joel Mowbray and Michelle Malkin have taken Bush to task over his newfound love of illegal immigrants. And I agree."

    I've been meaning to catch up on my commentary, and obviously have failed at that task. In the meantime, ZogbyBlog (et al) has captured my overall opinion of this foolish immigration policy.

    More to come... stay tuned.

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    Monday, January 05, 2004

    Britney & Jason's Wedding Photos

    The Wedding Photos

    The Happy Couple!

    Thanks to The Gothamist for the entry pointing to Low Culture

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    Blame the Bush Tax Cut!

    "Bush Boom to Fuel World Economic Growth The Bush economic boom is lifting the world economy, according to the International Monetary Fund. From U.S. News:

    True to the old adage about rising tides, the U.S. recovery appears to be lifting economic boats worldwide. Indeed, stateside success, according to the International Monetary Fund, should spur the planet to enjoy over 4 percent growth in 2004, a rate not seen since before the 2001 recession.

    Also don't miss the magazine's story on how the economy is now 'on a roll' and firing on all cylinders.

    I blame the Bush tax cuts.

    Thanks to Blogs for Bush

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    Friday, January 02, 2004

    New to this Blog

    Speak your mind; now you can add your pithy comments to mine.

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