Thursday, February 26, 2004

What About Equal Protection?

Steven Taylor at PoliBlogger takes two diverse items and brilliantly links them together!

Isn't the prevailing mood on the same-sex marriage issue that we all shoud be treated exactly the same under the law regardless of beleifs? If so, where's the outcry on this ruling: Court Says States Need Not Finance Divinity Studies

Quite honestly I don't see the problem here insofar as if the scholarship is awarded in a fashion that is blind as to what the student will studty, what does it matter what he/she studies? I would agree that a program that specifically funded the training of pastors would be highly problematic, to put it milidly, but ultimately what is the different between the student in question studying theology or getting a degree in philosophy in which he decided to heavily study Marxism, an avowedly atheistic set of theories?


Posted by Steven Taylor

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On Amending the Constitution

Outside the Beltway:

"If we're going to amend the Constitution so regularly, I'd much prefer that we do it in the manner actually prescribed in the Constitution, with a supermajority of the representatives of the people in Congress and three quarters of the states having their say, rather than have it done by unelected judges. Indeed, I find this whole discussion ironic, since George W. Bush has infinitely less power to amend the Constitution than does Sandra Day O'Connor."

Well said, James.

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you say you want an evolution

Michele Catalano has written a thoughtful piece on why she is voting for President Bush's re-election. What makes this unsual to many is that she clearly indicates that she isn't a Republican.

you say you want an evolution
A Small Victory: The Gentle Art of Making Enemies: "We've all used the phrase 'the lesser of two evils' and many of us have used it when pulling the lever in a voting booth. While the word evil may be hyperbole, the hell that having to make a choice puts us through is not.

So now the issue faces me and millions of other disenfranchised voters who feel they are not fully represented by one particular political party: who do we vote for in good conscience?

I really can't make any case for voting for Kerry, myself. He's my ideological opposite in nearly every way. And I won't vote for Nader again; he's not only an egostical party crasher, he really has nothing to offer me besides a chance to once more throw away a vote.

So, Bush. We already know that my main voting issue is terrorism. While I think Bush is the best person to continue fighting the war on terror, I'm still unhappy with his dealings with the Saudis, the continued silence on Iran and Pakistan and the indifference towards North Korea. The world is a bombshell, kids, and if a strong, decisive leader doesn't step up to the plate soon, they'll be practicing air raid drills in schools again. Can Bush be that guy? Well, I think he has more of a chance of being that guy than Kerry or Nader.

Am I selfish to make homeland security my number one priority in this election? Damn straight. And why shouldn't I be? My family is my number one priority in life, so I need to make decisions based on what's right for them. What is right for my children, for their future and their potential families down the road? What's right - for now - is freedom and safety. What's right is making sure that they don't live through another September 11th again. What's right is protecting them from the people who want to hurt them just because they are American and they are free.

If I took into account every person in the United States when I went into the polling booth, if I took into mind the needs of every gender, race, religion and group with special needs, I would never come out. I'd stare at all the choices and never be able to make the right one for everyone. So, selfish as it may seem, I have to make the right choice for me and what I think is the right choice for the country.

Right now I'm down to this: Kerry has nothing for me. Nader is not even a choice. I agree with Bush on several issues though I strongly disagree with him on others. It just so happens that my number one voting issue is one that I trust Bush with.

So I don't understand those who chastise me for being self-centered in my means of making a presidential choice. And I certainly don't understand when someone says I am supporting a fear over what I know and that fear is irrational."

Read the rest of her piece here, and then I invite those voters who disagree with her (and this Blog) to take a stand and explain why they aren't voting for Mr. Bush.

But please, avoid ad hominem attacks! This Blog defends his points of view with facts, and asks that you do the same!




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Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Sen. Kerry's votes speak for themselves



I've been proising to document Sen, Kerry's voting record, and I just haven't the time necessary to assemble it all. Here then is an excerpt from the AP who has both the time and resources:


Kerry's Senate Record Mixed on Defense

February 24, 2004, 12:39 PM CST

WASHINGTON -- John Kerry talks at length about his military service and his strong commitment to the nation's defense, but his Senate voting record on Pentagon spending is a combination of billion-dollar budgets approved and multimillion-dollar weapons opposed.

While the four-term Massachusetts senator has voted for nearly all of the Defense Department's spending and authorization bills since 1990 -- as the overall total has crept closer to $400 billion -- he has a long record of backing cuts to a number of military aircraft and missile-defense programs, an Associated Press analysis shows.

Leading Republicans, including party chairman Ed Gillespie, have seized on those votes to challenge Kerry, questioning the Democratic front-runner's record on national security.

Kerry, a decorated Vietnam War veteran, argued Monday that the criticism of his votes amounts to an attack on his patriotism, questioning Republicans "who never fought in a war."

"They're somehow stronger on defense because they embrace every (weapons) system that was ever proposed," Kerry said. "That's not the measure of whether you're strong on defense."

House Majority Leader Tom Delay, R-Texas, said Tuesday that Kerry has voted to cut funding for intelligence gathering and "every meaningful weapons system," and the Bush campaign will lay all that out for the public.

"He seems to think that because he's a war hero that he gets a free pass on national security issues," Delay said. "He's got a lot of red flags in his record and his refusal to acknowledge them is an arrogant insult to the American people and we will not rest until he answers those questions.

The Bush-Cheney campaign said it is not questioning Kerry's patriotism or military service but rather his 19-year voting record in the Senate on military issues.

...

In the early 1990s, he voted to limit funding for the B-2 stealth bomber, which for years was plagued by cost overruns and had an eye-popping pricetag of $2 billion per plane. Under the direction of then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, the Pentagon decided to buy fewer planes.

Kerry also voted to trim $3 billion to $4 billion from the defense bill in 1991-92. And in 1995 and 1996, he voted against both major defense spending and authorization bills.

"In the early stages of his (Senate career) he looked to squeeze the fat out of some of the big defense budgets," said Michael Meehan, senior Kerry campaign adviser. "We had enormous deficits and he would oppose big ticket weapons systems that were very expensive."

Kerry, a longtime member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, at times argued for spending restraint and on other occasions was at odds with the first Bush administration, the Clinton White House and even some Democrats on the Senate Armed Services Committee, which is responsible for the annual defense authorization bills.

...

In other instances, Kerry:

* Voted to eliminate the B-2 bomber program in 1992.

* Voted on several occasions to reduce funding for long-range missile defense programs. Derisively referred to as President Reagan's "Star Wars" program by some in Congress, missile defense was a constant source of controversy in the 1990s as lawmakers questioned the feasibility of a missile shield, especially after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War.

Christine Iverson, spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, said Kerry voted against spending on weapons systems that have proven valuable in the Persian Gulf, including the F-16 and F-15 fighter aircraft.

"There is a canyon of difference between his voting record in the Senate and his rhetoric on the campaign trail," Iverson said.


No one questions your patriotism, Sen. Kerry. Only your judgement.

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The Reagan-Bush Doctrine

Excerpted from The Reagan-Bush Doctrine Why W. must be reelected.
Mark Levin

President Bush has done more in three short years to liberate and defend Muslims the world over than any former president, any foreign leader, or any Muslim leader. He set in motion events that freed 50 million Afghans and Iraqis. In so doing, he badly damaged the terrorist networks that had been funded, encouraged, and embraced by the oppressive Taliban and Saddam Hussein regimes. We can react forever to Democratic demands for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction — weapons Democrats themselves have argued existed for more than a decade. But their main concern is hardly WMDs; their purpose now is to downplay or dismiss the remarkable accomplishments of the Bush presidency in a part of the world where America has suffered repeated setbacks under both Democratic and Republican presidents.

...

Call it preemption. Call it self-defense. Call it liberation. In truth, President Bush is advancing the Reagan Doctrine, or what should now be called the Reagan-Bush Doctrine. Ronald Reagan rejected the Iron Curtain, he rejected Communism, and he rejected the status quo. He came to office when the Soviet Union was extending its tentacles over several continents, including South America. He believed that, for humanitarian and national-security reasons, the Soviets had to be defeated, not tolerated. And against all conventional wisdom, and severe criticism from many of the same Democrats who now disparage George Bush, Reagan did just that. Hundreds of millions were freed, and the Russians are no longer the threat they once were. Who would have thought it? Certainly not the Democrats.

...

John Kerry and the other Democratic leaders are on the wrong side of history, as they were during the Reagan presidency. If they had won the day, and Reagan had failed, the Soviet Union would still exist, as would all the harm and suffering it unleashed, and American security would be far weaker as a result. And if they win this election thanks to a promise to undo the Reagan-Bush Doctrine, those cheering loudest will be the most evil-loving among us.


— Mark Levin is host of a nightly radio show on WABC 770.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Honesty about inflamed rhetoric


Education Secretary Rod Paige should indeed apologize for his choice of words. Being in such a high position, it is beneath him and unbecomming of his office to use the phrase 'terrorist organization' in describing the NEA. No person of such stature should be allowed to use such hurtful and caustic language.

Naturally, I hold the candidates for president to the same standards; lets us not hear or read the phrase 'regime' used to describe the Bush Administration again. Let us never again hear the phrase 'legislative terrorists' applied to an opposing party, ever again.

It's all about being intellectually honest, isn't it?

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The 'F' is for 'Flip'

Outside the Beltway: The 'F' is for 'Flip'

“If consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds, John F. Kerry’s mind must be freaking enormous.” - Tim Blair

Via Dodd Harris


via Outside the Beltway


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Happy Fasnacht Day!!

Penn Dutch Folklore: Easter: "'Fasnacht Day,' more properly called 'Fastnacht,' is Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. This was the established beginning of the 40 days of fasting during Lent. It is a folk tradition dating to the Middle Ages, a Catholic custom that has survived in Protestant Pennsylvania."

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Iraq, WMDs and the UN, part II


More food for thought...

As China Wednesday hosts the first talks in six months on North Korea's nuclear bid, Beijing's new, younger leaders are backing a significant policy change on the development of weapons of mass destruction.
The new doctrine, which has come into sharp relief between these two rounds of talks, creates implicit pressure on North Korea to reverse its nuclear program. It also brings China closer to a traditional Western "arms control" position and closer to those in the Bush administration who want to prohibit "rogue" states from acquiring nuclear weapons.
...
Other factors involved in China's new "arms control" focus have to do with the atmosphere created by Libya's renunciation of a nuclear threat, the US invasion of Iraq following UN weapons inspections, and the revelations in Pakistan of a network of nuclear exports by Abdul Qadeer Khan, father of the Pakistani bomb. Some Chinese strategists worry about nuclear terrorism, with the potential of an Al Qaeda-like cell showing up, for example, in the far west Xinjiang region.

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Monday, February 23, 2004

Iraq, WMDs and the UN

A lot has been said of President Bush and his decision to move against Iraq. Much of the attention focuses around the WMD's that have not yet been recovered, so naturally critics will allege these weapons never existed at all.

I can point to the Central Intelligence Agency reports of their existence, but in an election year, the natural tendency is to suggest the Administration pushed and prodded its own spies into spinning their own reports. Others point to a breakdown in the CIA operations, and there is certainly truth in that (see later post, re:Sen. John Kerry's voting record), but even if that were true, there is the combined resources of the intelligence agencies of the UK, Germany, Italy and France, all of whom said Iraq had WMD. But naysayers even disregard those.

No, they say, we shouldn't have acted at all, or at the very least we should have acted in accordance to the United Nations.

So lets review the UN's position. Drawing on a very fine piece written by Andrew Apostolou in National Review Online, we see that the UN Security Council Resoultion 687 of 1991 stated clearly that Iraq was to "unconditionally accept the destruction, removal, or rendering harmless, under international supervision" of its WMD stocs and programs. So in 1991, the UN (and the world, based on Security Council votes) agreed Iraq had WMD.

Now the process of inspections went on -- sporadically -- for over 11 years. You'll remember the US recalled the inspectors ahead of a missle strike against Iraq in 1998, which President Clinton said was to punnish Iraq for the WMD systems it had still operated.

Mr. Apostolou goes on to write that in 2003 the Chief UN Arms Inspector, Hans Blix, maintained Iraq was engaged in a game fo "hide and seek" and further went on to state "Iraq appears not to have come to a genuine acceptance-not even today-of the disarmament which was demanded of it and which it needs to carry out to win the confidence of the world and to live in peace." Mr. Blix certainly knew the gravity of his words, and Iraq had to know what he meant when he said "live in peace."

Mr. Apostolou correctly states

"If international law is just paper, then regimes like Saddam's will casually ignore it. Iraq first used checmical weapons in 1983. Twenty years later, and despite twelve years of international sanction and over seven years of UN instpections, US arms inspector David Kay found what Blix could not: that Iraq still maintained banned programs in violation of UN resolutions.

An addendum I will add to Mr. Apostolou's statement: During in the dozen or so years of international sanctions, we know now that they were also casually ignored by France and Russia, both sitting members of the Security Council, who engaged in trade with Iraq that was specifically banned. This is very telling when these members complain about our efforts to enforce the Security Council resolutions, the same ones they voted in favor of passing.

Already the results of the US action can be seen; Libya is opening its books on its own WMD programs, North Korea has been brought back to the negotiating table on the US's multilateral terms, and not North Korea's unilateral terms, and captured Al Quaeda evidence last week shows communiques that the terror group is having trouble with recruitment in the face of the US failure to "cut and run" as we had done previously in Somalia and Viet Nam.

In the end, a question must be asked by the American voting public: who do you think the world's terrorists want to be our President, one who does what he says he would do, or one who votes one way and says another? One who challenges the UN to stand up to its own commitements, or one who says 'lets do what the UN says', even if the UN isn't doing anything really productive at all?

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Now this is closer to the mark!


Charlie Brown
You are Charlie Brown!


Which Peanuts Character are You?
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Even forgetting the name we share, this is closer to the mark to me (although I miss the alleged cynicisim in either of us)

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(About) Facing the Nation: Terry McAuliffe

On Face The Nation Terry McAuliffe said Ralph Nader was the reason George Bush was elected president.


Mr. TERRY McAULIFFE (Chairman, Democratic National Committee): Yeah, it's very unfortunate that Ralph decided to run. You know, he's had a whole distinguished career fighting for working families, and I would hate to see, you know, part of his legacy being that he got us eight years of George Bush. So I'm disappointed. But you know what? A lot of progressives across this country have been talking to him for the last year. Bernard Sanders, an Independent from Congress, one of his top supporters, just sent out a release saying he shouldn't have done it. There are people all over the country wishing he hadn't done it. They remember the 2000 election, they remember New Hampshire, they remember Florida and the margin of victory there.


Gee... For the last 3-1/2 years, hasn't Mr. McAuliffe been telling us Mr. Gore was the winner of the election?

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Outsourcing


This Blog did a little digging late last night, in search of the original quote that spurred a lot chatter about the Administration being out of touch with jobs and outsourcing. I sought the passage because in another discussion on ~ unsettled ~ (yes, Kathleen's again. Can I help it if I enjoy a challenge? ) I questioned the veracity of the quote. Too often, players on all sides of political discourse distort quotes in order to spin the truth in their direction (yes, extremists on the Left and Right both spin, as do extremists everywhere).

In the debate, a quote attributed to from N. Gregory Mankiw, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, endorsed outsourcing jobs overseas as a good thing. At the time I stated I wanted to know the whole quote, in context, so I could judge for myself. I even went so far as to say:


If this is indeed the view of the Chairman of the Economic Policy, I will state categorically that view is wrong (as I have on a number of policies put forth by the Bush Administration). If he sees the continued loss of jobs as a good thing, he'd be better off in another line of work.

Well I found the source of the quote, and to my critics I can say: I was wrong. But then again, so are they.

Mr. Mankiw did say outsourcing was a good thing, and keeping in line with the laws of supply and demand, he is correct!

Declan McCullagh took on the critics of Mr. Mankiw, and the points he raises are absolutely correct.

Mr. McCullagh writes:

Mankiw was restating for the 21st century the economic law of comparative advantage, which essentially says that nations should play to their strengths. No serious economist would disagree. But Mankiw soon learned a lesson: Better to cloak what you say in fuddy-duddy academic argot than to be clear and controversial.

Soon a typical Washington tempest began swirling. Democrats seized on Mankiw's remarks as a way to paint Bush's advisers as out of touch, especially when jobs in America's information technology industry are seen as vulnerable to offshore outsourcing in China and India.

Last week, presidential candidate John Kerry railed against "Benedict Arnold CEOs" who are "shipping American jobs overseas." Fellow contender John Edwards is even more hostile to free trade.

Remarks likening CEOs to traitors may play well in the primaries, but how close are they to the realities of technology companies that must compete globally?

This position reinforces my statements that Boards of Directors would be out of a job themselves if they didn't position their companies in the best possible position for their shareholders. And since the 401(k), the vast majority of Americans are shareholders.

McCullagh also correctly notes:

Just as candlemakers and farriers lost their jobs a century ago, free trade results in temporary disruptions. But in the long run, free trade is vital to a society's overall health. In the 1990s, developing countries hostile to foreign trade experienced average growth rates of negative 1.1 percent per year, while developing countries that embraced freer trade enjoyed growth of positive 5 percent annually.

An interesting point I did not know -- even being in the IT sector myself -- was that not all IT jobs are hurt by outsourcing:

And let's not forget that U.S. workers in the information technology industry often benefit from outsourcing. The German company Siemens, which makes electronic and electrical products, employs 65,000 people in this country. Sony Electronics employs 2,000 people in just New Jersey, while Belgium's Agfa-Gevaert Group, one of the world's leading imaging companies, writes paychecks to over 5,000 people in the United States. Spain's Terra Lycos employs 418 people in the United States to run Web sites such as Lycos.com, Hotbot.com, Gamesville.com, Tripod.com, RagingBull.com and Wired.com. And those are only a few examples.


McCullough (using Mankiw's words) concludes with the central theme that has been repeated time and time again: This or any Administration cannot make jobs appear. Rather, the Administration can remove roadblocks to investors and entrepreneurs so they can create jobs.

Mankiw put it not so gracefully albeit succinctly: "It is natural to ask what new jobs will be created in the future. Policy makers should create an environment in which businesses will expand and jobs will be created. But they should not try to determine precisely which jobs are created or which industries will grow. If government bureaucrats were capable of such foresight, the Soviet Union would have succeeded as a centrally planned economy."

So how does the government get out of the way of business? For starters, by ending punitive corporate taxing, destructive legislation, and overlapping environmental legislation that puts our industries at a competitive disadvantage. Reducing capital gains taxes increases the benefits to investors to invest. Making the Bush tax-cuts permanent ensures tax payers keep more of what they earn, and help ensure family farms/homes and the like aren't sold simply to pay inheritance taxes.

I still have a few problems with what I would consider 'a few too many issues' with President Bush's administration to date, and I've mentioned them before and will again as the cases arise. However none of that compares to the agendas being laid out by his political opponents.

As I depart from some of the presidents points, I also disagree with Mr. McCullough's closing:

The next act in this political drama will take place Wednesday {2/25/04}, when Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan is set to testify before the House Budget Committee. Look to him to recite unemployment figures and discuss offshore outsourcing, but not to be snared in embarrassing missteps. Unlike Mankiw, Greenspan has been around town long enough to appreciate the difference between political reality and the truth.


I've been a fan of Chairman Greenspan for years, and while he knows the difference between political reality and the truth, he often speaks in anything remotely considered to be 'sound bite friendly', and that may not play well on the evening news.

Stay tuned.


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Amazing! No news on this yet!!


Well it's been a few days, and the media hasn't picked up on Rep. Lynne Woolsey's outrageous endorsement of a rapist! Nor has there been any mention of it by Speaker Hastert yet, but quite frankly I've seen glaciers mover faster than he on important issues.

Where, oh where is Left and their outrage now?? By this time, Sen. Packwood was getting hit-pieces in the OpEd section.


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Where do you stand politically?

A Satirical Political Beliefs Assessment Test


A humorous test to discover if you're a conservative, liberal, libertarian, or a communist.


This just in from Don Hagen -- a test of your political leanings. Don's test is a must for all followers of politics!!




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How will you die?

*Slosh*
You will sink in a mire. You like to think you're
normal, but deep down you really just want to
strip off your clothes and roll around in
chicken fat.


What horrible Edward Gorey Death will you die?
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Chicken fat, eh? Well, the test is a little faulty; good intentions, no doubt, but faulty (at least in my case). I neither wear hats nor did I think any of the choices of 'how I feel' even came close -- I would have selected ;none of the above' or left it blank if I could.

Suffice to say, this meme is now left for the masses. Much too early for quizzes, though...




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Song on my mind at 5:00 AM

Mississippi in the middle of a dry spell
Jimmy Rogers on the Victrola up high
Mama's dancin' with baby on her shoulder
The sun is settin' like molasses in the sky
The boy could sing, knew how to move, everything
Always wanting more, he'd leave you longing for

Black velvet and that little boy's smile
Black velvet with that slow southern style
A new religion that'll bring ya to your knees
Black velvet if you please

Up in Memphis the music's like a heatwave
White lightening, bound to drive you wild
Mama's baby's in the heart of every school girl
"Love me tender" leaves 'em cryin' in the aisle
The way he moved, it was a sin, so sweet and true
Always wanting more, he'd leave you longing for

Black velvet and that little boy's smile
Black velvet with that slow southern style
A new religion that'll bring ya to your knees
Black velvet if you please

Every word of every song that he sang was for you
In a flash he was gone, it happened so soon, what could you do?

Black velvet and that little boy's smile
Black velvet with that slow southern style
A new religion that'll bring ya to your knees
Black velvet if you please
If you please, if you please, if you please..


-- Alannah Myles

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Friday, February 20, 2004

Nader to Jump in Presidential Race


Never mind waiting for Meet The Press on Sunday...

FOXNews.com - You Decide 2004 - Nader to Jump in Presidential Race: "Ralph Nader, the consumer advocate who ran for president in 2000 as a Green Party candidate, will enter the 2004 race for the White House as an independent candidate, advisers told Fox News on Friday."

Do you understand NOW why I love the sport of politics??

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Thursday, February 19, 2004

Wired News: Great Taste, Less Privacy

Wired News: Great Taste, Less Privacy: "A patron walks into a bar and orders a drink. The bartender asks to see some ID. Without asking permission, the barkeep swipes the driver's license through a card reader and the device flashes a green light approving the order.
The bartender is just verifying the card isn't a fake, right? Yes, and perhaps more. "

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Perils of driving with children


So this Blog was driving to the store for milk... harmless enough.

This Blog took his 8 year old son with him... harmless enough.

The supermarket is near a strip mall (perhaps a bad pun) which features an adult club. The establishment is pretty well reserved, and you'd not recognize it for what it was unless you paid more than a little attention. Harmless enough.

So my son asked: "Dad, what is spaghetti wrestling???" (not recommended as work-safe)

Gotta love those moments!!




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New Comments under way


This Blog has finally settled on HALO for comments. Presently you will see two comment fields... until I cross-post the old comments into the new, the old links will remain. Hoping for final upgrade by Monday, until then, use the second link (from the left) to leave comments.

Thanks for reading, and for commenting (those that have), and for your e-mails.


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E-mail virus

E-mail virus

How is it that even users in a IT company fall prey to e-mail attachments? I realize not everyone can tell the diffrence between e-mail, sapm, and virus mail, but come on!! I work for a bleeding Defense Contractor... the name of the company has the word 'Computer' in it!

I received an e-mail from a corporate executive I did not know, with a subject line 'you won't like this and the body simply saying 'what was found on the web about you'.

A quick look at the attachment properties -- no, not by reading the mail but by reading the envelope of the mail -- showed the file extension was .doc.exe, which is an exploitation of a Windows short-coming.

I spent the next hour making calls to people at the Help Desk, trying to find SOMEone who would listen and understand I had a virus that slipped through their mail server. No good. The next thing I know, I got 6 more of these rouge messages, and THEN someone from IT sent an all-hands warning of the virus.

Even when you try to give them warning, sometimes it's like spitting into the wind.

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Outside the Beltway: Assessing Jimmy Carter

Outside the Beltway: Assessing Jimmy Carter

Clearly, the Iran Hostage Crisis was a major part of his defeat. But the economy was in the tank, too. While I have long maintained that presidents get far too much credit and blame for the economy, the fact is Carter got elected, in part, for pointing out what he dubbed the “Misery Index“—the combination of inflation and unemployment—was at record highs under Gerald Ford. They were much worse four years later.


James Joyner does very well in assessing a review of the Jimmy Carter years on OTB, and how Mr. Carter's unwillingness to confront assaults upon America and its intrests hurt the country. Food for thought in this upcoming election, indeed!

Additionally, where I had credited the coined term of "Misery Index" to the Reagan campaign, Mr. Joyner reminds me that it was in fact coined by Mr. Carter in his campaign against President Ford's reelection.

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Car Bowling

Dave Barry's Blog: "The item posted below by the Stealth Bloggerette ('LOOK, UP IN THE SKY') about guys dropping bowling balls from airplanes reminds me of a column I wrote in 1994 about... well, about guys dropping bowling balls from airplanes. Except that the guys I wrote about weren't doing this for Scientific Reasons. They had invented a sport called Car Bowling:"


Dave Barry. Need I say more?

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President Bush, legitimately elected


In the comments section of another Blog, it was suggested that President Bush was illegitimately elected. While this whole story has been rehashed over and over again, it appears it needs to be done so again.

In December I laid out the facts for all, in anticipation of the topic coming to a head in the upcoming election cycle.

Read it there, or just jump to the punch line: the LA Times story written a year later that found Mr. Bush was the winner of Florida, and thus legitimately elected as President.



Thanks to Kim, I have been told I neglected to identify the 'other Blog' in question. I was typing in haste this morning (not to mention being down more than 2 cups of coffee!), and the oversight was unintentional.

The 'other Blog' is, once again, Kathleen's ~ unsettled ~, which has become a favorite of mine in recent weeks. She and I had sort of an agreement where we would engage in a debate, and perhaps I have used her comment field for what was not its intended purpose. I've recieved a few e-mails "asking me" not to be so long-winded in her comments section, and upon reflection I can see they have a point. So I may enter what I believe is a pithy comment or two in her Comment section, and leave the multi-paragraph statements for my own Blog.

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Liberal bias in the media, yet again

From Michelle Malkin's latest piece:


If Calif. Rep. Lynn Woolsey were a Republican white male, feminists would be picketing his office, Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe would be calling for his immediate resignation, and the New York Times would be in full editorial lynch mode.

But luckily for Lynn Woolsey, she is a card-carrying member of the untouchable ultraliberal women's brigade. This prominent Democrat's reprehensible behavior in a recent rape case has been buried by the national press and National Organization for Women elites. Here's what they won't tell you:

Last July, a 20-year-old thug named Stewart Pearson soaked a rag in toilet bowl cleanser and Ajax and used it to smother 17-year-old Tina Phan while she was sleeping in her Terra Linda, Calif., home. Tina gasped, trying to fend off Pearson, but he wielded a knife and overpowered her. Pearson raped and brutalized her. According to Phan, Pearson told her he had committed the same crime before and planned to do it again. Phan bravely persisted in pressing charges against Pearson. He initially denied raping Phan, but admitted guilt last fall.

Enter Rep. Woolsey. As first reported by the Marin Independent Journal, the outspoken feminist and anti-violence-preaching Democrat attempted to intervene in the case. She used her official stationery to send a letter to the local presiding judge in support of . . . the convicted rapist.

In a bleeding-heart plea for leniency, Woolsey wrote: "Stewart Pearson is a young man from a supportive family. I believe he has a promising life ahead of him, and I urge you to consider these factors when deciding on a suitable sentence." Woolsey noted further that Pearson had volunteered for her campaign, as if stuffing envelopes for Woolsey somehow mitigated the violence he committed against Tina Phan -- whose promising life Woolsey didn't bother to show an ounce of concern for at all.



One has to wonder what kind of media coverage this story would have gotten had the Congressperson's name had been Gingrich or Lott, yet hardly any reporting of this 'endorsement' has been made. This shameful behavior deserves ridicule, and I call upon Dennis Hastert to convene and ethics panel over this outrageous behavior.

For the rest of this piece by Michelle Malkin, click here.


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Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Inside the Numbers

PoliBlog: Inside the Numbers: "Ok, using CNN's delegate counts, here's where we really are after last night: Kerry remains the frontrunner and Edwards, momentum or not, is mathematically not any better off than Dean."


People ask why I love politics so much, and this is a prime example. Even when people say its over for Gov. Dean.... is it really?? Stay tuned!

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A Question for the "Bush Lied" Crowd

PoliBlog: A Question for the "Bush Lied" Crowd

A question for those who think that Bush was hell-bent on a war in Iraq and consciously and calculatedly lied about the WMDs in Iraq: If Bush has such an inappropriate relationship with the truth, and is skilled enough to thoroughly manipulate the security and intelligence apparatus of the United States so as to accomplish his imperialistic goals in Iraq, why hasn’t he managed to plant WMDs in Iraq so as to fulfill his prophecy?

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Besides, I don't even like Pepsi!

Silicon Valley - Dan Gillmor's eJournal - Analog Hack Tells Which Pepsi Bottles Offer Free Songs: "The Apple-Pepsi iTunes song promotion -- buy a soda, and the underside of the cap says whether you won (more likely) didn't win a song -- just lost its sense of surprise. The people in the community are smarter than the geniuses who designed the bottles.

All it took was one person to figure out how to read the thing without opening the bottle. He/she told someone else, the word spread and, wham, the Internet did the rest."

Dan Gillmore didn't invent this trick, he just helped distribute it!

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Memo to President Bush: Please take this to heart!

OpinionJournal: The Bush Paradox: "... Yes, a lot of Mr. Bush's spending is for the war and domestic security, but the increase in nondefense discretionary spending--spending on things that the Congress and the president do not have to do but have chosen do anyhow--has exploded: 9% a year in the Bush administration, the fastest such spending growth of any president in the lifetime of the majority of Americans. "

Note well... run-away spending is what is causing the deficit to climb!

"And therein lies the Bush Paradox. On the one hand, his administration is committed to expanding the freedom and resources of individuals to make their own choices. The president believes that parents should have the power to select the best schools for their children, and that workers should be able to manage their own Social Security retirement accounts and health savings accounts.

On the other hand, Mr. Bush is rapidly growing the size and reach of the federal government. The Medicare expansion will add $8 trillion to a program that is already $38 trillion in debt, as the government begins paying for senior citizens' (probably price-controlled) prescription drugs. The Bush administration and Congress decided in 2001 that although farmers get one-third of their income from government subsidies they need more, and so enacted an $85 billion increase in the farm subsidy program. Cotton, soybeans, livestock, apples, mohair, wool and honey all get increased subsidies, and a monster new national dairy price-regulation and subsidy scheme was created. And an additional $500 million sugar subsidy while the administration continues to protect producers from less expensive imported sugar.

Granted, the Democratic Party wants to spend even more. Mr. Bush proposed a $400 billion Medicare bill; the Democrats wanted $800 billion. Mr. Bush may have increased federal education spending by 70%, but John Kerry says it should be $11 billion higher. Mr. Kerry also wants to send $50 billion to the states to help them with their budget deficits, something they--not the federal government--created and are responsible for. The Democratic Party is not the party of spending reductions; it is the party of tax increases to expand the spending, power, scope and reach of centralized Washington government.

Yet being slightly less reckless with the taxpayer's money isn't a responsible strategy for the GOP. The president must resolve the Bush Paradox by beginning the fight against growing government and making a passionate case for an ownership society..."

Read the rest at OpinionJournal.com

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What the WaPo readers think

~Unsettled~: "I Hear The Washington Post and Its Readers
If the 2004 presidential election were being held today, would you vote for George W. Bush, the Republican, or for John Kerry, the Democrat?"

Interesting poll results! Considering the weeks of media attention to the Democratic primary process - as is justified -

considering the press coverage to the baseless accusation of desertion and AWOL of the President,

considering the President has hardly yet begun to campaign, certainly not actively,

an 8 point lead by Sen. Kerry is surprisingly small!

Regardless, web polls are notoriously unreliable. Add to that there will be more than a few polls showing Sen. Kerry with a 20 point lead (most likely after the DNC convention, from the predictable bounce) and then President Bush with an equally high bounce following the RNC convention. The only polls that matter to me (outside of election day, of course) are the ones that track consistent trends, and are based on reputable methods.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Allow me to say this about that

After several complaints about the comment feature of this Blog, I have located an alternative system.
Once I ascertain how to preserve or transfer the existing comments I'll make the switch.

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This just in....

From ScrappleFace (and yes, it is a joke!)


Dean Hires Ex-Iraqi Info Minister 'Baghdad Bob'
(2004-02-17) -- Embattled Democrat presidential candidate Howard Dean today hired former Iraqi Information Minister Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf to replace campaign chairman Steve Grossman who left the Dean team yesterday.

Mr. al-Sahaf is best known to Americans as 'Baghdad Bob', the Ba'ath Party spokesman whose contagious optimism delighted TV viewers worldwide even as Coalition troops rapidly overthrew the regime of his boss, Saddam Hussein.

"I will open my first news conference," said Mr. al-Sahaf, "by simply repeating exactly what Howard Dean told NBC today. 'I think it’s possible for us to do well even if we don’t win [in Wisconsin today]. Our campaign is not in turmoil at all. We're moving forward, and we're going to go to Super Tuesday and on beyond that. We have an enormous base of grassroots support."

In introducing his new campaign chairman, Mr. Dean said, "I have finally found a loyal man who stays positive even in challenging circumstances. I don't need Steve Grossman or any of the other pathetic rats who are jumping ship at the first sign of trouble. And I'll try to be gracious when they all come crawling up to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue looking for a job in January 2005."



Ahhh... it's been so long since I've visited Bob's web site...




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28 Questions for Sen. John F. Kerry


Poliblogger, by way of the Washinton Post, lists a piece by the esteemed George Will:


The irrepressible George Will has 28 Questions For Kerry and notes, ominiously, “There are 28 more questions where these 28 came from.”

Among the original set:


  • All Americans affected by laws you pass — that is, all Americans — refuse to pipe down and mind their own business so that you can mind their business for them. Often they hire lobbyists to exercise their First Amendment right to “petition the government for a redress of grievances.” Can you despise lobbyists without disparaging that right?

  • You say the rich do not pay enough taxes. In 1979 the top 1 percent of earners paid 19.75 percent of income taxes. Today they pay 36.3 percent. How much is enough?

  • You say the federal government is not spending enough on education. President Bush has increased education spending 48 percent. How much is enough?

  • In January 1991, after Iraq extinguished Kuwait’s sovereignty, you opposed responding with force rather than economic sanctions. Have such sanctions ever undone such aggression?

  • On Jan. 11, 1991, you said that going to war was abandoning “the theory of deterrence.” Was it not a tad late to deter Iraqi aggression?

    The next day you said, “I do not believe our nation is prepared for war.” How did unpreparedness subsequently manifest itself?

  • You oppose immediate termination of U.S. involvement in Iraq, and you opposed the $87 billion to pay for involvement. Come again?

  • In 1994, the year after the first attack on the World Trade Center, you voted to cut $1 billion from counterterrorism activities. In 1995 you proposed a $1.5 billion cut in intelligence funding. Are you now glad that both proposals were defeated?


  • Heh.


    In Mr. Will's last question, that of Sen. Kerry's vote to cut of intelligence funding, I've long wanted someone to bring up the Senator's voting record; it's about time he defends what HE would do, as opposed to his somply calling for a 'regime change'. Senator, the people need to know what it is that you bring to the table that deserves our vote for you; merely calling for the firing of President Bush isn't enough.

    Now I am sure there will be pundits offering their 28 questions for President Bush. Can't wait to read them, too!

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    Unconscious Mutterings

    1. Dragon:: Slayer
    2. Molecule:: atom
    3. Tire:: iron
    4. Mighty:: Mouse
    5. Octane:: Gas
    6. Troll:: bridge
    7. Atmosphere:: air
    8. Guide:: book
    9. Leash:: dog
    10. Dustmite:: vaccum





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    Monday, February 16, 2004

    Holiday musing


    As we come to the close of this federal holiday weekend, I stop to ponder:

    why is it we have a single federal holiday that is devoted to all US presidents - past, present and future - and not a day devoted to any particularly special one, say George Washington, but we have another federal holiday that celebrates the work of one man; a man who did extrodinary deeds, no doubt, but he earned a special day in his name. I do not suggest he doesn't deserve recognition, but does he deserve extra special recognition, in comparision to our founding fathers?

    In a world stuggling to find equality, how is this fair?



    I STAND CORRECTED (and thankfully so!)

    From The Federalist:


    As Heritage Foundation scholar Matthew Spaulding reminds: "Although it was celebrated as early as 1778, and by the early 18th century was second only to the Fourth of July as a patriotic holiday, Congress did not officially recognize Washington's Birthday as a national holiday until 1870. The Monday Holiday Law in 1968 -- applied to executive branch departments and agencies by Richard Nixon's Executive Order 11582 in 1971--moved the holiday from February 22 to the third Monday in February. Section 6103 of Title 5, United States Code, currently designates that legal federal holiday as 'Washington's Birthday.' Contrary to popular opinion, no action by Congress or order by any President has changed 'Washington's Birthday' to 'President's Day'."

    In honor and due respect to the most notable of our nation's Founders, our first President, and, arguably, one of history's greatest Patriots, we include two quotes from George Washington which best embody his dedication to God and liberty -- the first from his First Inaugural Address, April 30, 1789, and the second from his Farewell Address, September 19, 1796:

    "The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the republican model of government, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American People."

    "Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness -- these firmest props of the duties of Men and citizens."

    These quotes aptly sum up The Federalist's ongoing mission and purpose.


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    Saturday, February 14, 2004

    Curse that purple box.


    I know I'm committed to buying Girl Scout cookies from assorted nieces, neighbors & co-workers. But as soon as the lass asked if I would like to buy any, the 3 bucks shot out of my wallet.

    Dann those Caramel de Lites ...

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    Friday, February 13, 2004

    The dashboard thermometer shows 45? F -- a nice taste of spring ahead of the big chill arriving Sunday.

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    Speaking of Friday the 13th

    Speaking of Friday the 13th ... I was born on a Friday the 13th, so you can decide if that's good or bad luck.

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    Wednesday, February 11, 2004

    Putting the claims of AWOL to rest


    A lot has been said and written concerning President Bush's service to the National Guard 30 years ago. Much of my views appear either in this Blog or in the Comments area of Kathleen's ~unsettled~ (a very worthy blog to read). After a few go-a-rounds, she wrote:


    and, all this could be easily swept under the rug if they could trot out one, just *one* person who had ever served even *one* day in the guard with gw. ever.


    To that this Blog presents the following from The Washington Times, 11-February. As I wrote on Kathleen's comment area, prepare to sweep:



    George Bush and I were lieutenants and pilots in the 111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron (FIS), Texas Air National Guard (ANG) from 1970 to 1971. We had the same flight and squadron commanders (Maj. William Harris and Lt. Col. Jerry Killian, both now deceased). While we were not part of the same social circle outside the base, we were in the same fraternity of fighter pilots, and proudly wore the same squadron patch.

    It is quite frustrating to hear the daily cacophony from the left and Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, et al., about Lt. Bush escaping his military responsibilities by hiding in the Texas ANG. In the Air Guard during the Vietnam War, you were always subject to call-up, as many Air National Guardsmen are finding out today. If the 111th FIS and Lt. Bush did not go to Vietnam, blame President Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara, not lowly Lt. Bush. They deliberately avoided use of the Guard and Reserves for domestic political calculations, knowing that a draftee only stirred up the concerns of one family, while a call-up got a whole community's attention.

    The mission of the 147th Fighter Group and its subordinate 111th FIS, Texas ANG, and the airplane it possessed, the F-102, was air defense. It was focused on defending the continental United States from Soviet nuclear bombers. The F-102 could not drop bombs and would have been useless in Vietnam. A pilot program using ANG volunteer pilots in F-102s (called Palace Alert) was scrapped quickly after the airplane proved to be unsuitable to the war effort. Ironically, Lt. Bush did inquire about this program but was advised by an ANG supervisor (Maj. Maurice Udell, retired) that he did not have the desired experience (500 hours) at the time and that the program was winding down and not accepting more volunteers.

    If you check the 111th FIS records of 1970-72 and any other ANG squadron, you will find other pilots excused for career obligations and conflicts. The Bush excusal in 1972 was further facilitated by a change in the unit's mission, from an operational fighter squadron to a training squadron with a new airplane, the F-101, which required that more pilots be available for full-time instructor duty rather than part-time traditional reservists with outside employment.

    The winding down of the Vietnam War in 1971 provided a flood of exiting active-duty pilots for these instructor jobs, making part-timers like Lt. Bush and me somewhat superfluous. There was a huge glut of pilots in the Air Force in 1972, and with no cockpits available to put them in, many were shoved into nonflying desk jobs. Any pilot could have left the Air Force or the Air Guard with ease after 1972 before his commitment was up because there just wasn't room for all of them anymore.

    Sadly, few of today's partisan pundits know anything about the environment of service in the Reserves in the 1970s. The image of a reservist at that time is of one who joined, went off for six months' basic training, then came back and drilled weekly or monthly at home, with two weeks of "summer camp." With the knowledge that Mr. Johnson and Mr. McNamara were not going to call out the Reserves, it did become a place of refuge for many wanting to avoid Vietnam.

    There was one big exception to this abusive use of the Guard to avoid the draft, and that was for those who wanted to fly, as pilots or crew members. Because of the training required, signing up for this duty meant up to 2½ years of active duty for training alone, plus a high probability of mobilization. A fighter-pilot candidate selected by the Guard (such as Lt. Bush and me) would be spending the next two years on active duty going through basic training (six weeks), flight training (one year), survival training (two weeks) and combat crew training for his aircraft (six to nine months), followed by local checkout (up to three more months) before he was even deemed combat-ready. Because the draft was just two years, you sure weren't getting out of duty being an Air Guard pilot. If the unit to which you were going back was an F-100, you were mobilized for Vietnam. Avoiding service? Yeah, tell that to those guys.

    The Bush critics do not comprehend the dangers of fighter aviation at any time or place, in Vietnam or at home, when they say other such pilots were risking their lives or even dying while Lt. Bush was in Texas. Our Texas ANG unit lost several planes right there in Houston during Lt. Bush's tenure, with fatalities. Just strapping on one of those obsolescing F-102s was risking one's life.

    Critics such as Mr. Kerry (who served in Vietnam, you know), Terry McAuliffe and Michael Moore (neither of whom served anywhere) say Lt. Bush abandoned his assignment as a jet fighter pilot without explanation or authorization and was AWOL from the Alabama Air Guard.

    Well, as for abandoning his assignment, this is untrue. Lt. Bush was excused for a period to take employment in Florida for a congressman and later in Alabama for a Senate campaign.

    Excusals for employment were common then and are now in the Air Guard, as pilots frequently are in career transitions, and most commanders (as I later was) are flexible in letting their charges take care of career affairs until they return or transfer to another unit near their new employment. Sometimes they will transfer temporarily to another unit to keep them on the active list until they can return home. The receiving unit often has little use for a transitory member, especially in a high-skills category like a pilot, because those slots usually are filled and, if not filled, would require extensive conversion training of up to six months, an unlikely option for a temporary hire.

    As a commander, I would put such "visitors" in some minor administrative post until they went back home. There even were a few instances when I was unaware that they were on my roster because the paperwork often lagged. Today, I can't even recall their names. If a Lt. Bush came into my unit to "pull drills" for a couple of months, I wouldn't be too involved with him because I would have a lot more important things on my table keeping the unit combat ready.

    Another frequent charge is that, as a member of the Texas ANG, Lt. Bush twice ignored or disobeyed lawful orders, first by refusing to report for a required physical in the year when drug testing first became part of the exam, and second by failing to report for duty at the disciplinary unit in Colorado to which he had been ordered. Well, here are the facts:

    First, there is no instance of Lt. Bush disobeying lawful orders in reporting for a physical, as none would be given. Pilots are scheduled for their annual flight physicals in their birth month during that month's weekend drill assembly — the only time the clinic is open. In the Reserves, it is not uncommon to miss this deadline by a month or so for a variety of reasons: The clinic is closed that month for special training; the individual is out of town on civilian business; etc.

    If so, the pilot is grounded temporarily until he completes the physical. Also, the formal drug testing program was not instituted by the Air Force until the 1980s and is done randomly by lot, not as a special part of a flight physical, when one easily could abstain from drug use because of its date certain. Blood work is done, but to ensure a healthy pilot, not confront a drug user.

    Second, there was no such thing as a "disciplinary unit in Colorado" to which Lt. Bush had been ordered. The Air Reserve Personnel Center in Denver is a repository of the paperwork for those no longer assigned to a specific unit, such as retirees and transferees. Mine is there now, so I guess I'm "being disciplined." These "disciplinary units" just don't exist. Any discipline, if required, is handled within the local squadron, group or wing, administratively or judicially. Had there been such an infraction or court-martial action, there would be a record and a reflection in Lt. Bush's performance review and personnel folder. None exists, as was confirmed in The Washington Post in 2000.

    Finally, the Kerrys, Moores and McAuliffes are casting a terrible slander on those who served in the Guard, then and now. My Guard career parallels Lt. Bush's, except that I stayed on for 33 years. As a guardsman, I even got to serve in two campaigns. In the Cold War, the air defense of the United States was borne primarily by the Air National Guard, by such people as Lt. Bush and me and a lot of others. Six of those with whom I served in those years never made their 30th birthdays because they died in crashes flying air-defense missions.

    While most of America was sleeping and Mr. Kerry was playing antiwar games with Hanoi Jane Fonda, we were answering 3 a.m. scrambles for who knows what inbound threat over the Canadian subarctic, the cold North Atlantic and the shark-filled Gulf of Mexico. We were the pathfinders in showing that the Guard and Reserves could become reliable members of the first team in the total force, so proudly evidenced today in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    It didn't happen by accident. It happened because back at the nadir of Guard fortunes in the early '70s, a lot of volunteer guardsman showed they were ready and able to accept the responsibilities of soldier and citizen — then and now. Lt. Bush was a kid whose congressman father encouraged him to serve in the Air National Guard. We served proudly in the Guard. Would that Mr. Kerry encourage his children and the children of his colleague senators and congressmen to serve now in the Guard.

    In the fighter-pilot world, we have a phrase we use when things are starting to get out of hand and it's time to stop and reset before disaster strikes. We say, "Knock it off." So, Mr. Kerry and your friends who want to slander the Guard: Knock it off.

    COL. WILLIAM CAMPENNI (retired)
    U.S. Air Force/Air National Guard
    Herndon, Va.5


    So in review we have the following:
  • Outrageous accusations about the unfounded crime of AWOL, many of which voiced by those who have never served in the military

  • Evidence of an honorable discharge

  • Payroll evidence of service

  • Claims that a general never saw Lt. Bush, which have recently been retracted

  • And now eyewitness testimony to the service performed by Lt. Bush


  • If you ask me, any more attention paid to this matter is merely fuel for an otherwise floundering campaign against President Bush. The challenge was made, the challenge was met, the paper work provided, and a witness backs it all up. It's time to put it to rest.


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    The myth and math of Kerry's electability.

    Kerried Away - The myth and math of Kerry's electability. By William Saletan:

    "By media consensus, the race for the Democratic presidential nomination is over. Why? Because John Kerry has won 12 of the 14 primaries and caucuses held so far. And why has Kerry won these contests? Not because voters agree with him on the issues. The reason, according to exit polls, is that voters think he's the candidate most likely to beat President Bush. There's just one problem: The same polls suggest this may not be true."


    Excellent read on Slate.com ... or is it Slate.MSN.com? All I know I was reading it way back before the MSN moniker...

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    Happy Birthday, Ginger Grant!

    The Movie Star of TV's Gilligan's Island, Tina Louise, turns 70 today.

    Which leads this Blog to ask: how the hell old is Fish??


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    Is he still alive??

    Very Big Blog: "Is he still alive? This page will keep you up to date on Abe Vigoda's current status"

    Thank you, Jen... I am happy someone is keeping tabs on 'Fish'!!

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    And then there was.... what? Two, three? Four??


    As this Blog was getting into the office, the influential Don Imus at 6:06 ET had suddenly announced he was starting to like Gov. Dean.

    Fans of Dr. Dean, who may not know Imus, must keep in mind that the I-Man changes his favorites about as often as this Blog changes motor oil. This goes for races, such as elections and sporting events; the I-Man renewed his support for President Bush -- back in '00 Imus wanted the Mr. Bush to be elected because, in his words, he would provide infinite material for his show. Since September 11th, however, the I-Man has backed Mr. Bush on much of his agenda, and is standing behind him for re-election... well, for now anyway...

    Personally, I was hopeful that Sen. Edwards would have won at least one of this weeks primaries; that would at least give him a shot at the big prize; while the game isn't over yet, it isn't looking especially well for Mr. Edwards to get the top spot.

    Gov. Dean is banking on Wisconsin, or so he said last week. There's scuttlebutt about his possible third-party run for the White House, or perhaps he'd consider the Veep slot (if anyone would offer). With the method of 'declared' and 'undeclared' delegates being what it is, don't count him out totally yet, although with his latest primary returns coming in behind Rep. Kuccinich, it certainly isn't looking very good.

    General Wesley Clark gave his troops a rousing speech in the face of defeat, and a few hours later his campaign aide announced he was dropping out of the race. Early on, this Blog complained Gen. Clark wasn't exactly sure whether he would have backed the Iraqi liberation; having seen this major reversal in a few hours last night, this Blog takes credit for getting it right on General Clark.

    What this Blog missed, clearly, was his impression that Sen. Kerry ought to drop out early, in light of early polling showing him trailing Rev. Al Sharpton. While this Blog always advocated taking polls with a grain a sand, a reader pointed out that overstatement made weeks ago, and this Blog is owning up to the foolish statement. A link to said failed prediction will be provided shortly.

    On the other hand, however, Sen. Kerry's public statements, both past and present, will come back to haunt him, no doubt. Especially on the subjects of military service and the Viet Nam war conflict. Stay tuned.

    This Blog has tackled President Bush's alleged 'absence' during his National Guard service, both here and on other Blogs. If more needs to be said, it will; your comments on this topic will drive the debate forward, if any of you still think it is necessary.


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    Tuesday, February 10, 2004

    Who said what, and when

    "One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom line."
    - President William Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998

    "If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program."
    - President Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998

    "Iraq is a long way from [the USA], but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face."
    - Madeline Albright, Feb 18, 1998

    "He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983."
    - Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb, 18, 1998

    "[W]e urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction
    programs."
    - Letter to President Clinton, signed by Sens. Carl Levin, Tom Daschle, John Kerry, and others
    Oct. 9, 1998

    "Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process."
    - Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA), Dec. 16, 1998

    "Hussein has ... chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass destruction and palaces for his cronies."
    - Madeline Albright, Clinton Secretary of State, Nov. 10, 1999

    "There is no doubt that ... Saddam Hussein has invigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status. In addition, Saddam continues to redefine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies."
    - Letter to President Bush, Signed by Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL,) and others,
    December 5, 2001

    "We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandated of the United Nations and is building weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them."
    - Sen. Carl Levin (D, MI), Sept. 19, 2002

    "We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country."
    - Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

    "Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power."
    - Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

    "We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction."
    - Sen. Ted Kennedy (D, MA), Sept. 27, 2002

    "The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities. Intelligence
    reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons..."
    - Sen. Robert Byrd (D, WV), Oct. 3, 2002

    "I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force-- if necessary-- to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security."
    - Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Oct. 9, 2002

    "There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years ... We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction."
    - Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D, WV), Oct 10, 2002

    "He has systematically violated, over the course of the past 11 years, every significant UN resolution that has demanded that he disarm and destroy his chemical and biological weapons, and any nuclear capacity. This he has refused to do"
    - Rep. Henry Waxman (D, CA), Oct. 10, 2002

    "In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members ... It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons."
    - Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, NY), Oct 10, 2002

    "We are in possession of what I think to be compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein has, and has had for a number of years, a developing capacity for the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction."
    - Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL), Dec. 8, 2002

    "Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime . He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to
    miscalculation ... And now he is miscalculating America's response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction ... So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real ..."
    - Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Jan. 23. 2003

    Still think President Bush lied? Still think there were never any WMDs? Our intel said there were, UK intel, French, German -- all allies -- all their intel said they were there. And even President Bush's political opponents said they were there (based on our intel, of course!)

    This blog begs: Tell me again they weren't there!

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    It's official... again


    Despite the repeated investigations, once again President Bush's National Guard record has been validated.

    A pity, though, what was once considered an admirable act -- to serve in the National Guard -- has been reduced to being equivilent to being an CO or having fled to Canada during the Viet Nam war.

    That's not this Blog's opinion, mind you! That's the opinion of Sen. John F. Kerry.



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    The Note That Shocked Washington


    The Note That Shocked Washington

    ABC News' The Note published the following shocking statement in today's edition. This statement, coming from ABC News, is out of character from a network news division that we reprint here in its entirety.


    Like every other institution, the Washington and political press corps operate with a good number of biases and predilections. They include, but are not limited to, a near-universal shared sense that liberal political positions on social issues like gun control, homosexuality, abortion, and religion are the default, while more conservative positions are 'conservative positions.' They include a belief that government is a mechanism to solve the nation's problems; that more taxes on corporations and the wealthy are good ways to cut the deficit and raise money for social spending and don't have a negative affect on economic growth; and that emotional examples of suffering (provided by unions or consumer groups) are good ways to illustrate economic statistic stories.

    More systematically, the press believes that fluid narratives in coverage are better than static storylines; that new things are more interesting than old things; that close races are preferable to loose ones; and that incumbents are destined for dethroning, somehow. The press, by and large, does not accept President Bush's justifications for the Iraq war -- in any of its WMD, imminent threat, or evil-doer formulations. It does not understand how educated, sensible people could possibly be wary of multilateral institutions or friendly, sophisticated European allies. It does not accept the proposition that the Bush tax cuts helped the economy by stimulating summer spending. It remains fixated on the unemployment rate. It believes President Bush is "walking a fine line" with regards to the gay marriage issue, choosing between "tolerance" and his "right-wing base." It still has a hard time understanding how, despite the drumbeat of conservative grass-top complaints about overspending and deficits, President Bush's base remains extremely and loyally devoted to him -- and it looks for every opportunity to find cracks in that base.

    Of course, the swirling Joe Wilson and National Guard stories play right to the press's scandal bias -- not to mention the bias towards process stories (grand juries produce ENDLESS process!).

    The worldview of the dominant media can be seen in every frame of video and every print word choice that is currently being produced about the presidential race.

    That means the President's communications advisers have a choice: Try to change the storyline and the press' attitude, or try to win this election without changing them.

    So we ask again: What's it going to be, Ken, Karen, Mary, Terry, Nicole, and Dan?

    Wow!

    WOW, indeed! Taking this from The National Debate as being true (and I haven't known them to be otherwise), it is indeed earth-shattering to read that a major media outlet considers itself (and some of its peers, it would seem) to be biased!

    I will seek out a second source of this report, just to make certain that Nat'l Debate wasn't fooled as well!

    UPDATE: It's official: I read the piece on ABC NEWS' own site. When the current page goes to archive, I'll post the link. For now, go here.

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    Lies and the liars that tell them...

    The National Debate: Where Policy, Politics and the Media Meet: "Al Franken told his buddy Lloyd Grove that the New York Post lied about his role in removing a heckler at a Dean rally in New Hampshire and that Post reporter Vincent Morris has a history of lying about him. Franken has yet to explain Tim Russert's comments on Imus that same week which corroborated the Post's account."

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    Yes, I am still here


    Some have written asking if this Blog is still there. Yes, it is, albeit busy at work. I apportion part of my work day for such activities as Blogging to coincide with the time spent by my co-workers smoking.

    Seems like a plan to me!



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    Boy Scouts Battle City for Camp Activities

    Please, someone tell this Blog again that religion and traditional vlaues are not under assault!


    Boy Scouts Battle City for Camp Activities

    Tuesday, February 10, 2004

    SAN DIEGO — Boy Scouts (search) have been camping, swimming and earning badges at Camp Balboa (search) in San Diego since 1957. But civil liberties activists hope they'll soon be scouting out a new home.

    Last year, a judge ruled that the scouts' $1-a-year lease with the city of San Diego was unconstitutional, citing a violation of church and state, and terminated the lease. As a religious organization, the scouts ask members to affirm their faith in God and reject homosexuality.

    "The Boy Scouts have been kicked out because the Boy Scouts are a group that believe in God and we believe that's an infringement of the constitutional rights of the scouts and its membership," said Boy Scouts attorney George Davidson.

    The plaintiffs argued that the city was illegally helping a discriminatory organization.

    "What the scouts do is pick and choose which of the citizens of San Diego can use that property based on whether they are religious and based on that person's sexual orientation," said plaintiff attorney Mark Danis (search). "That's wrong. It's public land, it's for everybody."

    On Friday, the scouts filed a federal suit against the city and the six City Council members who approved the settlement. Both sides agree this fight is likely headed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (search) and maybe even the Supreme Court.

    The Bush administration also may be joining the scouts' legal cause.

    Justice Department attorneys say they're investigating this and other cases where the Boy Scouts have been singled out and denied access to public facilities.

    Click here to watch a fair and balanced report by Fox News Channel's Anita Vogel.

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    Friday, February 06, 2004

    Do Reporters Care About the Facts?


    Steven at PoliBlog gets it right!


    "Do Reporters Care About the Facts?

    The lead paragraph of this AP story (CIA Boss: Iraq Never an Imminent Threat) via Yahoo News is amazing:

    In his first public defense in the growing controversy over intelligence, CIA Director George Tenet said Thursday that U.S. analysts never claimed before the war that Iraq was an imminent threat. The urgency of such a threat was the main argument used by President Bush for going to war.


    But that wasn't the main argument for going to war with Iraq. As James Joyner reminded us a few weeks back, the President said the following in his 2003 SOTU address:

    Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option.


    The story itself gives us the following Bush quotes

    In the months before the war, Bush and his top aides repeatedly stressed the urgency of stopping Saddam Hussein. In a Sept. 12 speech to the United Nations, the president called Saddam's regime 'a grave and gathering danger.' The next day, he told reporters that Saddam was 'a threat that we must deal with as quickly as possible.'

    In an Oct. 7, 2002, speech in Ohio, Bush said "the danger is already significant and it only grows worse with time."


    None of which contradicts the President's SOTU statements. Clearly we thought that Iraq was dangerous, and clearly the assumption was that the longer he stays in the power the more dangerous he would become, but this argument that the President said that Saddam was an "imminent threat" is tiresome. Gee whiz, obviously the President thought that Iraq was a threat: after all, he proposed we invade the country and destroy the existing regime.

    It is fair to criticize about the lack of WMDs, but it is disingenuous to keep harping on this "imminent threat" misrepresentation.


    I have a problem with Steven's assertion that it is fair to criticze the lack of WMD's, but overall I agree with his position.

    As for the not-yet-foudn WMDs: Early on, the Bush Administration was constantly delayed, by the UN and by members of the Senate, in staging the Iraqi operation. Our own satellites showed trucks heading for the Syrian border... I wonder what was loaded on them....???

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    Happy birthday President Reagan


    President Ronald W. Reagan turns 93 today. The joy of the day is marred by his debilitating illness.

    I am proud to have wittnessed the administration of the greatest president of the 20th century.

    More later...


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    Thursday, February 05, 2004

    National Wear Red Day!!!


    Thanks to Kathleen for this important post!

    Tomorrow - Friday, February 6th - is National Wear Red Day.

    National Wear Red Day supports the Red Dress, the centerpiece of The Heart Truth. The Red Dress is the national symbol for women and heart disease awareness, allowing women and men across the country to participate in this life-saving awareness movement. By showing off a favorite red dress, shirt, or tie, Americans will unite in the national movement to give women a personal and urgent wake-up call about their risk of heart disease.

    So whip out your red gear and show your support tomorrow.



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    Despite the cold in the north-east, cheer up

    Pitchers and catchers report next Friday.

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    Humanity update: sensing imminent danger, maintenance reconnected the brewer. The find line between productivity and fatigue has been redrawn.

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    AUUUGHHHH!!!

    OH THE HUMANITY!!!


    Just because the company has decided to gut one end of the floor to accomodate new cubcicle space, someone had the brain fart to disable the coffee maker!! What the hell am I supposed to do??? Wawa is close but not close enough to make my hourly caffeine hits.

    Oh this is simply WONDERFUL!!!!!

    What I wouldn't give for one of these!

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    Wednesday, February 04, 2004

    Signs of Apocalypse?

    In an MSNBC story, Spike Lee is sounding like Bill O’Reilly:
    NEW YORK - Film director Spike Lee criticized Janet Jackson’s surprise breast-baring during the Super Bowl halftime show last weekend as a “new low” of attention-getting antics by entertainers. There has been a decline in artistry, Lee said while speaking at Kent State University’s regional campus in Stark County, Ohio, on Tuesday night.

    Lee said it’s not enough to be a good singer, and that entertainers “have to do something extra” — such as the openmouthed kiss Madonna gave Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera during the MTV Video Music Awards in August.

    “What’s gonna be next? It’s getting crazy, and it’s all down to money. Money and fame,” said Lee, the director of “Malcolm X” and “Do the Right Thing.” “Somehow the whole value system has been upended.”


    The streaming video of Janet apologizing for her boob flashing, which accompanies the MSNBC story, has a kind of hostage video feel, as if the MTV execs are standing off to the side with loaded guns while making sure Janet sticks to the script.

    Hat tip to Matthew Stinson

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    Yo, Democrats still in denial about Bush's claims over WMD in Iraq!

    Reality Hammer - Yo, Democrats still in denial about Bush's claims over WMD in Iraq!


    In a January story that went virtually unnoticed, former president Bill Clinton was reported to have confided something similar and noteworthy to Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Manuel Durao Barroso. "When Clinton was here recently," Barroso told a Portuguese news service, "he told me he was absolutely convinced, given his years in the White House and the access to privileged information which he had, that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction until the end of the Saddam regime."

    USA Today


    Any questions?

    Thanks to Reality Hammer

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    Would you consider...


    Senator Edwards has more than shown my predictions were not 100% accurate, by any one's measure. The impression I received from him on his campaign came directly from his website, and while I was wrong in predicting he would not last beyond New Hampshire, I still maintain his message would be rejected by the nation as whole.

    That much being said, I heard a clip of him this morning on the Steve Malzberg show (he really ought to update his website; he's even falling behind on his NewsMax writings, but I suppose his schedule on WABC keeps him busy).

    The conversation was between Fox News' Brit Hume and the Senator, and dealt with a very open-ended question from Mr. Hume. I am seeking out the transcript, but until then please allow my recital from memory:

    Hume: Senator, would you consider running on a ticket with Sen. Kerry?
    Edwards: Well, what do you mean? Is he interested in being Vice President? Well that sounds pretty good...
    Hume: I phrased that as an open-ended question intentionally.
    (crosstalk)
    Edwards: Well, no I don't have any plans on running for Vice President.


    Naturally, at this stage of the game, Sen. Edwards doesn't want to entertain VP status (Hell, last I checked Rep. Dennis Kucinch is still in the game). But I admire the way he handled the Kerry question. Very deft, very confident without sound cocky. I still do not like his platform, but that's another story entirely.




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    Sorry to see you go, Joe.

    Regrettably, Sen. Lieberman had no choice but to withdraw for the race. Of all the candidates, he was the most presidential in my mind.

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    Tuesday, February 03, 2004

    Testing The return of blogging via cell phone.

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    "Client-focused" activities have negative impacts

    World Tribune.com--Front Page

    I've heard it called a lot of things, but never 'client-focused'!!!



    U.S. military blames lap dances for declining military discipline


    Special to World Tribune.com
    EAST-ASIA-INTEL.COM
    Tuesday, February 3, 2004

    SEOUL – The U.S. military has asked South Korea to ban lap dancing and other lewd acts at local nightclubs near its bases, saying they negatively impact military discipline.

    The officials said the military was taking similar steps at other bases in the United States and overseas against lap dancing.

    The U.S. Army's 2nd Infantry Division, which has 15,000 troops near the border with North Korea, recently sent letters to the South Korean Special Tourist Association and local mayors urging a crack down on lap dancing clubs near barracks.

    Describing "client-focused exotic dancing" as the principal cause of worsening military discipline, the military letter called for local club owners to "prohibit any physical contact between dancers and (U.S.) customers." South Korean lap dancing clubs are totally dependent on American customers because they are not allowed to take local clients.

    U.S. officials declined to specify what they meant by worsening military discipline.

    "We are following trends in the United States," Lt. Col. Chris Bailey, the 2nd Infantry Division's assistant chief of staff, told the Stars & Stripes newspaper. The U.S. Forces Korea has consulted mainland laws banning lap dancing, he said.

    The more than 90 American installations throughout South Korea have long been a source of friction between residents living near the U.S. facilities, who complain of pollution, noise and traffic from the U.S. bases and occasional crimes by American troops.

    Many crimes committed by U.S. servicemen involve nightclubs near their barracks. Amid an increasing number of American troops accused of crimes, their legal protection has become a sensitive issues for the two governments.

    "The USFK will root out any practices that go contrary to a positive environment for U.S. soldiers, Korean residents and people of all nationalities," said Chae Yang-To, a spokesman for the 2nd Infantry Division.

    The United States maintains 37,000 troops in South Korea to help defend it from a potential conflict with North Korea under a bilateral defense treaty signed after the 1950-1953 Korean War.

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    Wired News: Net Politics Down but Not Out

    Wired News: Net Politics Down but Not Out: "Joe Trippi, whom many hailed as an 'Internet guru' for creating an insurgent online campaign that led Howard Dean to early front-runner status in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, resigned from the Dean campaign Wednesday. Trippi stepped down after Dean replaced him as campaign manager with Roy Neel, a former lobbyist and adviser to Al Gore. "

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    Phone Etiquette


    Gotta phone call yesterday... initially I heard a voice say 'someone wants to speak to you'.

    Not 'hello', not 'hi this is....'... just 'someone wants to speak to you', then the sound of my 9 year old niece asking if I wanted to buy Girl Scout cookies.

    Fine and dandy; that is, the young girl and the cookies. Anyone whose known me any length of time knows I am a sucker for Do-Si-Does, and the fact that it's my niece makes the sale doubly easy. The order was taken, the amount of the check determined, and she said good-bye. Not bad for a 9 year old.

    But her mom -- my brother's wife -- can't even say 'hi', inquire about my family, say something??




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    ShardsO'Glass



    One of the memorable SuperBowl comemricals:


    ShardsO'Glass: "Shards O' Glass Freeze Pops are for adults only."

    OK, so it's an anti-tobacco ad. How would I go about finding out if the his 501(c)(3) organization paid the going rate for a SuperBowl spot, or did CBS offer them a discount.

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    Monday, February 02, 2004

    The Command Post - 2004 US Presidential Election - Dems Want Loyalty Oath in S.C.

    The Command Post - 2004 US Presidential Election - Dems Want Loyalty Oath in S.C.


    Voters who appear at their polling places will be asked to sign an oath swearing that “I consider myself to be a Democrat” before casting their ballots.
    The purpose is to deter Republicans from voting in the contest to create mischief.


    Asked to sign, as in “state Democratic Party’s decision to require voters to declare they are Democrats if they want to participate in Tuesday’s presidential primary.” [emphasis added]

    The general consensus in SC?

    “It sounds like one of the stupidest ideas I’ve heard in a long time,” said Rice University political scientist Earl Black.”


    So what am I reading here? The S.C. state Democratic party is suggesting that Republicans -- who apparently would have no guilt about misrepresenting their party affiliation (in effect: lie) -- would have a problem about about making a false oath?

    Yeah, well I suppose that could happen. The assumption is that Republicans wouldn't lie under oath; am I too assume that's a common issue with Democrats??

    HEY! I didn't raise the issue! the S.C. Democratic Club did! But I agree with Mr. Black's assessment.

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