Knight Of The Mind

I'll do my best to present a philosophical and generally conservative look at current events and life, the universe and everything. Readers are invited to take all that's posted herein with a grain of salt. or if they prefer, a grain of salt, a slice of lime and a shot of tequila.

Name:
Location: Alexandria, Virginia, United States

Greetings and welcome. My name is Steve, I'm 35 years old and I work for the US Army as an Operations Research Analyst. Hence my blog title Knight Of The Mind.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

The Dress Rehearsal

The Ukranian election has become a crisis that could have resonance this Winter in Iraq. The contest proved close and its results dubious. This has led to a crisis in the streets of Kiev and a test case for what might happen if the election results in Iraq don't wind up being crystal clear.

Ukraine's Central Election Commission declared Viktor Yanukovych the winner by a tally of 49-46. This result suggests a tight election, but a discernable majority. However, 4 out of the 15 people in charge of certifying Ukainian elections have thrown the red challange flag and announced they believed the results illigitimate.

According to CNN, the four dissenting election commissioners were not the only people unconvinced that the election was fair and valid. According to Ted Turner's info sources,

protests from Viktor Yushchenko and his supporters -- and international election observers -- began before the final results were announced.

Ukrain's Parliament has taken an extremely courageous step. They have passed a resolution declaring the election invalid. The measure lacks legal teeth, because the Ukranian Constitution doesn't task the Ukranian Parliament with election oversight. However, again according to CNN, the parliament studies its options.

Meanwhile, the followers of Yushenko protest and shut down government buildings over what they precieve as a gross injustice. The Parliament has asked the demonstrators to stand down in return for which the legislatures would set up a new election and reform the election commission.

The crisis has received intense international attention. US Secretary of State Colin Powell totally denounced the election. President Bush was actually less hawkish than Secretary Powell. However, he reinforced the incredulity Powell initially expressed with the results in the following statement.

"There's just a lot of allegations of vote fraud that place their elections, the validity of their elections, in doubt," Bush said. "The international community is watching very carefully. People are paying very close attention to this, and hopefully it'll be resolved in a way that brings credit and confidence to the Ukrainian government." -CNN

People outside the international community and the US Government are also watching. Iraqi PM Iyad Allawi watches and wonders just what the international community will do when an election gets stolen right in front of their observers. He hopes that Ukranians behaving like Hugo Chavez won't find a patsy Jimmy Carter to bail their boats.

Another intrested party, Abu-Masab al-Zarqawi, will watch events unfold for a different reason. The Ukranian election scandal is a test for the US. The results that occur in Kiev will effect the results that occur in Baghdad.

The crisis in The Ukraine has to get resolved in a way that upholds the will of their electorate. The outcome in this election resonates throughout the world.

Update I: Wizbang wonders why the challenger in The Ukranian election has such a sudden, mysterious illness. This looks more and more scary as more information emerges.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Kenneth Knows The Frequency Now

CBS Uber-Anchor Dan Rather has elected to step down. The time has come and he's recognized fate when it struck him soundly between the eyes. He also claims that the hoohah over the Bush Memo Story had nothing to do with his decision, which is totally ludicrous.

Unlike King Lear who stayed well past his prime, Dan Rather has added up the score. Rather has forced himself to admit the truth and accept that the game has passed him by. With that stunning admission, from a man who expected to dominate the media world for another ten years, an era of media dominance has ended.

The king stepped down when the world he claimed to rule changed. His efforts to pawn Bill Burkett's false National Guard memo off as legitimate were rebuffed by a hornet's nest of angry bloggers. The media world had changed.

Dan Rather had no answer for it. It was time for him to go. He did what remained his last option. He stepped down and walked away. His departure will have repurcussions. Democratic Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez gives us a surprisingly honest appraisal of those repurcussions below.

SANCHEZ: I agree with Jesse. I agree with my colleague. I believe that we made mistakes. The media certainly is not in our hands any longer, and, in particular, radio talk shows where that is completely in the opposition's hands, and they use it effectively against us.

BLITZER: But, Loretta, when you say the media -- when you say the media is not in your hands, are you saying that ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN are hostile to Democrats?


SANCHEZ: No, that's not what I said. I'm saying that -- if you would let me finish -- that the majority of people are now receiving a lot of their information out of radio. And the radio isn't in the hands of the Democrats anymore.

Hat Tip - Wizbang

Update I - Varifrank channels Rudyard Kippling in his very fitting epitaph for the anchormanship of Gunga Dan.



Monday, November 22, 2004

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Meanwhile In The Ivory Coast

The video has a sort of Blair Witch Project quality to it and the audio is worse than what you'd get at a Whitesnake Concert. However, you can obviously see what goes on when The French Army makes nice and condescends to the poor Africans by keeping peace.

The Africans rallied against the French, and chanted slogans. The French responded with automatic weapon fire. They mowed them down like they were not even human. The videotape is heart-breaking. It makes anything Kevin Sites ever photographed look pathetic.

Maybe it's a good thing the French aren't helping us by "pacifying" Iraq in the same way they operate in The Ivory Coast. So many of the people the French shot were women. They have no dignity, no chivalry, no class. It's sad that barbarians such as The French are allowed to keep their armies.

Update I: Sue Bob's Diary runs a self-congratulatory self-defense from Kevin Sites. I invite Kevin to go cover The French Army in Africa. I wonder how Jacques CHirac would like inbeds.

Update II: Wizbang asks for comments on The Kevin Sites affair. I offer the Ivory COast massacre as an exercise in compare and contrast.

Update III: Rusty Shackleford doesn't ask for comments, Biotch. He tells you your opinion on Kevin Sites. He is, afterall, Blogfather of The Blog Pimp Alliance.

Update IV: Dean offers his sardonic take on the morally superior French. Mon Dieu, Monseur Chirac!

Update V: Captain's Quarters asks us to see the larger context in which the Fallujah shooting occurred. I do my best to help him by sharing the film clip. He runs an excellent blog.

Pork And Circuses

According to Taxpayers For Common Sense, all 50 US states are going to be red states next year. Unfortunately for us, this has nothing to do with elections. It has more to do with the most recent spending bill passed by Congress.


The $388 billion spending bill that cleared Congress on Saturday and will head to President Bush for his signature has 11,772 earmarked special projects totaling $15.8 billion, according to the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense. Among them:

  • $25,000 for the study of mariachi music in Nevada's Clark County School District.
  • $225,000 for the National Wild Turkey Federation in South Carolina.
  • $1 million for the Missouri Pork Producers Federation to convert animal waste into energy.
  • $75,000 for renovating the Merry Go Round Playhouse in Auburn, N.Y.
  • $100,000 for a weather museum in Punxsutawney, Pa.
  • $800,000 for "soybean rust research" in Ames, Iowa.
  • $75,000 for "hides and leather research" in Wyndmoor, Pa.
  • $1,593 for potato storage in Madison, Wis.
  • $1 million for a world birding center, Texas.
  • $150,000 to pay for beaver management and damage in Wisconsin.
  • $200,000 for the American Cotton Museum in Greenville, Texas.
  • $100,000 for a swimming pool in Ottawa, Kan.
  • $70,000 for a "Paper Industry International Hall of Fame" in Appleton, Wis.
  • $1.5 million for the Rep. Richard Gephardt Archive at the Missouri Historical Society.
  • $2 million for the government to buy back the presidential yacht USS Sequoia, sold in 1977 by President Jimmy Carter to demonstrate frugality.

-Hat Tip USA Today.

Tom Delay may try to pass this budget off as an improvement, but that doesn't even remotely pass the smell test. The Line-Item Veto needs to be rewritten to proclude lawsuits and brought back from the political abyss.

Budgets like this are an outrage. Thievery is poor government. Delay needs to stop campaigning like Robin Hood and then governing like the Sheriff of Nottingham.

The Fog Of Dishonest Scholarship

Environmental Science has frequently proven itself to be oxymoronic. It's one of those phrases like Military Intelligence that requires a certain level of ridicule for its audacious dishonesty. Since the halcyon days of disco and The Club Of Rome, environmental scientists have been generating gloom and doom scenarios that have been has collossaly wrong as they've been depressing.

This continual overexaggeration on the part of these researchers is nothing accidental or innocent. It's how they pay the bills. A lot of success in science depends on the ability to attract attention and research money. No one in the field of environmental science ever got payed for predicting a nice day.

An article in the Nov. 17 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association continues the distressing trend.

The researchers compared the non-injury-related death rates and smog measurements for 95 urban areas for the period 1987-2000. They reported a one-half percent (0.5 percent) increase in premature death (mortality) per 10-part per billion increase in ground-level ozone (smog) in the urban areas. Reducing smog levels by 35 percent, they claim, could save about 4,000 lives per year.

However, the methodology employed in the study is badly suspect.

First, if smog is deadly in New York City, then it should be deadly everywhere. But even granting the researchers every benefit of the doubt with respect to the validity of their analysis, among the 95 urban areas included in the study, the correlation between smog and mortality is only statistically meaningful in five of those 95 urban areas (New York City, Newark, Philadelphia, Dallas-Ft. Worth and Chicago).
That means in 95 percent of the urban areas studied, there was no meaningful correlation between smog and mortality.


The only conclusion I can come to in all of this is that the researchers believe that their goal of a clean environment justifies their means. They've decided that lying and overhyping a risk has value if it makes the public take action and assuage the potential negative cause they are hyping.

This may actually work in the short term. However, the day will come when the environmentalists will actually be right and nobody will bother listening because they lied so badly and so often. Then, where will you be the day after tommorrow?

Saturday, November 20, 2004

A Good Half Of Ball At Lansdowne Road

USA Eagles coach Tom Billups wants his team to match up against the best in the world. They've done so twice now, but unfortunately, in each case, Team USA has only managed this for one half. The USA vs. Ireland match Saturday, like the previous USA match against France, was truly a tale of two halfs.

In the First Half, The Eagles played a slow, scrum-oriented match and managed to grind things out enough to keep it close match. Matt Hercus matched boots against The Great David Humpries. The only margin of difference was a try for the Home Team by Tommy Bowe, who was playing his first international match. The Irish went in ahead only 13-6.

The Second Half saw the demise of Tom Billups and The USA scrum. Once Ireland got control of the scrummage, their back line became unstoppable and every mistake the Eagles made was another penalty kick for the aforementioned Humphries. He finished with 20 points in an exceptional performance for the man with a kicking foot like a sniper rifle.

The game turned into an unfortunate rout for The USA Eagles, Ireland won 55-6, as the last twenty minutes of the match became an Irish Pub Party of scoring. RugbyRubgy.com writes the autopsy.

Man of the match: Left wing Tommy Bowe for his debut try that helped to ignite the Irish Backs for a second-half assault on the Americans line.

Moment of the match: The start of the second-half when Ireland came out firing after a poor first-half that was dull and lacked imagination.

Villain of the match: US flanker Brian Surgener for his yellow card in the 27th minute for persistent off-sides that was killing the game at rucks and mauls.

The scorers:

For Ireland: Tries: Sheahan, Bowe, Miller, Murphy 2, Horan, Stringer Cons: Humphreys 7 Pens: Humphreys 2

For USA: Pens: Hercus 2

The teams:

Ireland: 15 Geordan Murphy, 14 Shane Horgan, 13 Brian O'Driscoll (captain), 12 Kevin Maggs, 11 Tommy Bowe, 10 David Humphreys, 9 Guy Easterby, 8 Eric Miller, 7 Denis Leamy, 6 Simon Easterby, 5 Paul O'Connell, 4 Donccha O'Callaghan, 3 John Hayes, 2 Frankie Sheahan, 1 Marcus Horan.

Replacements: 16 Shane Byrne, 17 Simon Best, 18 Leo Cullen, 19 Anthony Foley, 20 Peter Stringer, 21 Ronan O'Gara, 22 Girvan Dempsey.

USA: 15 Francois Viljoen, 14 Al Lakomskis, 13 Paul Emerick, 12 Salesi Sika, 11 David Fee, 10 Mike Hercus, 9 Mose Timoteo, 8 Kort Schubert (captain), 7 Tony Petruzzella, 6 Brian Surgener, 5 Gerhard Klerck, 4 Alec Parker, 3 Jacob Waasdorp, 2 Matt Wyatt, 1 Mike MacDonald.

Replacements: 16 Mike Hobson, 17 Chris Osentowski, 18 Jurie Gouws, 19 Fifita Mo'unga, 20 David Williams, 21 Matt Sherman, 22 Albert Tuipulotu.

Referee: Rob Dickson (Scotland)

Tom Billups goes back to the drawing board. His next big match is against Italy. It might be his chance to fight for his job as US Head Coach.

Ruck'd - Don't Cry For The Pumas, Argentina

The International Rugby world has become a predictable place. The Big Three of The Southern Hemisphere and the original 5 Nations of Europe pretty much call all the shots. New Zealand, South Africa, Australia, England, France, Scotland, Ireland and Wales can generally walk on to a pitch against any national team not on the above list and expect an automatic win. Ok, well maybe there's an exception or two. HEHEHEHEH!

Just when France-bashing had begun to go a wee bit stale, The Argentina Pumas remind us all of why Great French Moments of Courage is a very short history book indeed. The Pumas polished the Mighty Blues of France today. The 24-14 scoreline was a result of the Pumas not putting the cane to the French as hard as they could have. Rugbyrugby.com has the vital statistics.

Man of the match: The Argentina forwards were just immense, deconstructing the same unit that bullied the Wallabies into submission last week - namely, the cultured French pack. Our award goes to that man who always managed to coerce the best out of the bid Argentines - the irrepressible Agustín Pichot, surely still one of the finest exponents of scrum-half play to have ever graced a rugby field.

Moment of the match: With France creeping back into the game, Argentina opted for two line-outs when attempts at the sticks would have been the more pragmatic approach. It's could have pure machismo, or pure masochism - but when you can out-gall the Gallic, you know the day will be yours!

Villain of the match: Despite the furious clash of forwards, it was all good, clean fun. No villains.

The scorers:

For France: Try: Marsh Pens: Elissade, Michalak 2

For Argentina: Tries: Durand, Hasan Con: Contepomi Pens: Contepomi 4

The teams:

France: 15 Nicolas Brusque, 14 Aurelien Rougerie, 13 Tony Marsh, 12 Yannick Jauzion, 11 Cedric Heymans, 10 Frederic Michalak, 9 Jean-Baptiste Elissalde, 8 Imanol Harinordoquy, 7 Olivier Magne, 6 Serge Betsen, 5 Jerome Thion, 4 Fabien Pelous (captain), 3 Sylvain Marconnet, 2 William Servat, 1 Olivier Milloud.

Replacements: 16 Sebastien Bruno, 17 Nicolas Mas, 18 Pascal Pape, 19 Julien Bonnaire, 20 Julien Peyrelongue, 21 Clement Poitrenaud, 22 Jimmy Marlu.

Argentina: 15 Juan Martín Hernández, 14 Lucas Borges, 13 Federico Martín Aramburu, 12 Manuel Contepomi, 11 Hernán Senillosa, 10 Felipe Contepomi, 9 Agustín Pichot (captain), 8 Gonzalo Longo, 7 Lucas Ostiglia, 6 Martín Durand, 5 Rimas Álvarez, 4 Patricio Albacete, 3 Omar Hasan, 2 Mario Ledesma, 1 Rodrigo Roncero.

Replacements: 16 Federico Méndez, 17 Daniel Rodríguez, 18 Pablo Bouza, 19 Martín Schusterman, 20 Nicolás Fernández Miranda, 21 Juan de la Cruz Fernández Miranda, 22 Gonzalo Tiesi.

Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)

So Much for the famed French Pack. So much for the superior scrum-half and fly-half. The French came out flat and took one too lightly, and The Pumas ate Les Blues for lunch.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Meatwad Needs A One-Way TIcket To Fallujah

During the recent Fallujah fighting a US Marine found himself on the horns of an ethical dilemma. He and his squad came upon a group of enemy soldiers who were lying as if dead or wounded in a religious shrine that they had previously been using as a defensive fighting position.

This enemy force, consisting of ununiformed guerilla fighters who had booby-trapped the bodies of their fallen comrades, had also faked death to shoot at Marines. The soldier saw them, made a probabilistic decision that at least one of the enemy was really laying an ambush, and pumped rounds into a wounded Iraqi.

The Marine Corps is currently investigating the matter and may or may not charge the soldier as a war criminal. This has happened before. The US Military is unique among fighting forces in that it enforces the law on its own service members. This is why no Fallujian insurgents have been hung from an overpass in retaliation as of this blog entry.

Regretably, Chris "Meatwad" Matthews doesn't seem to understand this vital and important distinction. He seems intent on fondling the pain of the poor Iraqi insurgents. Matthews had this to share with his audience regarding the actions of the US Marine.

"Well, let me ask you this," Matthews says. "If this were the other side, and we were watching an enemy soldier, a rival — I mean, they're not bad guys, especially, just people who disagree with us, they are in fact insurgents, fighting in their country — if we saw them do what we saw our guy do to that guy, would we consider that worthy of a war crimes charge?" - NRO

So Meatwad doesn't think they're bad people. They just cut people's heads off over a simple disagreement. They were found with Ricin gas, bomb-making factories, torture chambers, and rooms used to stack the bodies after the torture was over. There was more going on in Fallujah than just a heated discussion or two.

Meatwad seems so intent on undermining our war efforts, he doesn't willingly admit the obvious truth about what the US Marines saw and encountered in Fallujah. Some people have to have their nose rubbed in the dog pile before they are willing to believe the manure actually stinks. Chris "Meatwad" Matthews needs a one-way ticket to Fallujah.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Cartoons By Cretins

Cartoonist/Sick Boy Ted Rall has finally reaped the rewards of his own profound stupidity. It seems the Washington Polemnic has shown him the door. It wasn't for mocking the recently killed Pat Tillman. It wasn't for offering the theological insight that Ronald Reagan was in hell 24 hours after President Reagan expired.

Finally, Ted Rall had to go after the poor disabled students. He shows them taking over a classroom as a metaphor for what he believes happened in the last election. The Meatmen never really made it big with their song Crippled Children Suck from their less than talented album We're The Meatmen and You Suck. Ted Rall has descended to their level and finally generated the contempt he richly deserves.

Update I: Michelle Malkin introduces us to the work of Rall's fellow traveler in tasteless wastes, Pat Oliphant.

Update II: Captain's Quarters joins the celebration of Ted Rall's discomfiture. He also links to the revolting piece of 'art' that got Ted Rall relieved of his duties.

In The Child's Best Intrest

There is obviously no requirement that a judge actually show good judgement. The recent decision made by a judge in Saint Paul, Minnesota wins him a KOTM Dumb-Ass Medal. Bravo Judge Joseph T. Carter! You've just awarded a convicted and registered sex offender custody of a ten year old girl.

The people in the judge's circuit were also less than impressed with the decision.

"It's outrageous they didn't do more in terms of investigating," said Gail Chang Bohr, executive director of the Children's Law Center of Minnesota. "It's very tragic. It's not what we should be doing for kids. The question is, did anyone try to find out from the child if she felt happy and safe?"

An elegant understatement if there ever was one. But it seemed necessary, given the mental capacity displayed by the Judge Carter.

In May, Carter awarded Farnsworth custody of his biological daughters, concluding that Farnsworth provided a "stable, satisfactory environment for the children."

This seems earily reminiscent of what Sean Penn said about Saddam Hussein. Maybe Joseph Carter could go help Dhimmi Carter certify Hugo Chavez's next reelection as fair and democratic.

Thankfully, the reprobate father is now finding out what his fellow inmates think of pedophiles. Maybe Judge Carter should make him a prison trustee. Or maybe not. Maybe Judge Carter should resign instead.


The Nuts Among Us!

I taught High School Math for a while. It's hard to get the kids locked in and paying attention. A good teacher always offers a gimmick or two to spice a dull classroom session.

A teacher in Manchester, England has taken it a step too far. She predicted the emminent demise of her students. Some would call this the sort of wishful thinking a fly on the wall may overhear in the faculty lounges. Instead, it was a rather dorky profecy that the world was ending. Her rather infamous lecture went as follows:

Saying she had bad news, the teacher announced that a meteor would strike the Earth in 10 days' time, and that they should return home and say their "final farewells" to their parents.

After the crowd of 13- and 14-year-olds looked on in horror, and many burst into tears, the teacher swiftly explained that she was only trying to encourage them to "seize the day".

Perhaps the school should show a sense of humor and terminate her contract 10 days from today. After all, she sure had some of students convinced.

"Some of the children were 100 percent convinced they were going to die," the father of one child told the paper.

"God only knows what this teacher thought she was doing."

Monday, November 15, 2004

Premature Speculation - GOP Edition

Election 2004 went as well as the GOP could have hoped for. GWB won reelection, the GOP gained 4 Senators and they took down a small number of newly gerrymandered Congressional Districts. Should GOP darkhorse Dino Rossi take Washington State's Governor's Race, the GOP will have even gained a governorship in a state where this was no likely probability.

Election 2006 promises to be dull, but generally pleasant for GOP party leaders. Barring a catastophic two years for President Bush, the Senate map will feature 18 Democrat incumbants to 15 Republicans. There is also no Census until 2010. Thus, the House should thus stay status quo antibellum.

This makes Election 2008 the next major battleground election. The Senate math will probably turn pro-Democrat. The House will be harder for the GOP to hang on to as a result of the Presidential Election heading both party's tickets. Thus 2008 will involve trepidation for the Post-GWB Republican Party.

This begs the question of who the GOP is likely to nominate in defence of President Bush and Newt Gingrich's gains. There are several possible choices for the GOP nomination. Here are some possibilities.

Highly Likely -

  • John McCain - Senator McCain rebuffed John Kerry's Veep Offer and went heavily for George Bush during Election 2004. He doesn't support all of President Bush's agenda, but he does believe in his party's aparatus. He wants that aparatus to support him in 2008 and will not go quietly if it doesn't.
  • Bill Frist - Senator Frist wins the mantle of most electable conservative. He will be judged by his ability to make Senator Specter and other more liberal Republicans loyally back the GOP agenda between now and 2008.

Somewhat Probable -

  • Rudy Guliani - The 9/11 Factor works highly in Rudy's favor. However, he's held no elected office higher than mayor. Also, a lot of conservatives thinks he's too far to the left.
  • Arnold Schwarzenagger - He's banned from The Presidency, for now. He's working to change it and he'll call you a gurlymon if you try and stop him. I think he's too leftward leaning not to be terminated as a ticket head, but could make a good strategic Veep choice.
  • Bill Owens - Some consevatives like the man. No one else has heard of him.
  • Colin Powell - Getting too old, but a perenial talking point.
  • Haley Barbour - Interesting dark horse. He beat a tough challenge from Robert Musgrave to become governor of Mississippi. He also has worked for the GOP on a national level and knows where all the bodies are hidden. Hmmm....

Longshots -

  • Mitt Romney - The wants the job for some strange reason. He has won statewide office in Massachussettes where the natives believe the road to perdition is MacAdamized with dead Republicans. This will either help him or make the conservative base call him a sellout.
  • Alan Keyes/Pat Robertson/Gary Bauer - One of these three jerks will run. If the evangelist de jour does well, he can emulate Howard Dean. If he lands squarely on his can during a pancake breakfast, he's the GOP Dennis Kucinich.

McCain would probably want Colin Powell or Rudy Gulianni with Mitt Romney having an outside shot at joining this basically Rockefeller Republican ticket. Frist would go with Powell, Rudy Haley or Ahnold.

These are my premature speculations for Election 2008.

Update I: QandO reports that Gallup already has polls out on preferences for both Democratic and GOP Presidential candidates. I guess President Bush can get an early start on feeling like a lame duck...

Should The Media Be 'Impartial'?

The most recent Michael Barone column takes a few well-aimed whacks at the 'old' media for their assistance to John Kerry during the recently completed US Presidential Election. He points out their bias in no uncertain terms.

More than in any other election in the last half-century, Old Media -- The New York Times and CBS News, joined often but not always by The Washington Post, other major newspapers, ABC News and NBC News -- was an active protagonist in this election, working hard to prevent the re-election of George W. Bush and doing what it could for John Kerry.

If we assume that media outlets are suppossed to be impartial arbitrars of current events and should always strive to be fair. Barone makes an excellent point. The vast majority of the established print and television media favored the Democrats to the point that they lost any valid claim to being objective.

The fake documents caper pulled by CBS anchor Dan Rather only typified an overall anti-Bush media effort. Even events such as Abu Gahraib, where the US Government deserved a certain amount of negative media attention, were handled in a way to maximize their impact on the coming election.

Seymour Hersch had his prison abuse story for two months, but would not release it until he had the footage he wanted. The commentators covering the Abu Gahraib scandal routinely downplayed or failed to mention that the US Army had discovered the prisoner abuses during an internal investigation in response to complaints from soldiers in Iraq. The entire story was treated like a full-blown cover-up and media outlets kept wanting to know how high it went and would not accept any answer that defrayed their preconceived notions.

Another way to look at this is to ask why media sources continue to be asked to do the impossible. I think media members should publically advertise their bias. It should fly on their mastheads and lead off their news broadcasts. "We distort, you decide" or "We'd Rather Kerry won." would be perfectly acceptable themes for a news broadcast as long as they were made public from the outset.

Media consumers could quickly understand whose axes were being ground if media participants were forced to make their political and philosophical biases a
public disclosure. To me, this is how media should report events. In a scientific experiment, you report any limitations that may cause the information gleaned to be unrealistic. I think a required statement of bias would have the same salutory effect on what we read as news.



Sunday, November 14, 2004

Mavaricks, Malcontents and Malicious Back-Knifers

The GOP currently holds the majority in the US Senate under Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist from Tennessee. This gives Senator Frist and his compatriots the ability to set the committee chairs and push much of the Senate's agenda. This does not, however, give the GOP full control of the US Senate.

The most obvious obstacle to the senate pursuing a more conservative tack would be the ability of the 44 Democrats to filibuster any piece of legislation they do not like. As long as they can maintain 40 votes or more behind a filibuster, the Senate will not be able to vote on the nomination or piece of legislation being filibustered.

In a more contested Senate, former Senator Tom Daschele made this tactic his legacy. He lost his bid for reelction to John Thune and perhaps his many filibusters may be viewed as part and parcel to his decline and eventual dicomfiture. Thus the Democrats will have to turn to a source of power outside of their own ranks to hold parity against Senator Frist.

The vote of liberal lackey Jim Jeffords brings the party of Jackson and Jefferson within 10 votes of an even footing. This forces them to find Republican accomplices to their legislative goals. Unfortunately, this goal is not entirely a fool's errand for Democrats remaining in the ranks of the US Senate.

Several GOP Senators are ripe for inclusion in the ranks of the Democrats on certain issues. Senators Snowe, Chafee, and Hagel have been occaisional thorns in the side of George W. Bush. Lincoln Chafee made a particularly odious threat of switching parties. When The Red Sea failed to part and Senator Chafee wasn't offered any bribe by President Bush or Senator Frist, he quickly subsided.

Senator McCain has often opposed conservative aims while taking for granted the support of many loyal Republicans. His Campaign Finance Reform Act gave George Soros leverage over US elections which we may rue in future electoral contests. His coauthorship of The Climate Stewardship Act with Senator Liebermann suggests that he may be willing to give international agencies sovereignty over parts of our economy.

However, when the chips went down and the Election of 2004 was in the balance, McCain came squarely to the aid of the GOP. He roasted Michael Moore as a 'disingenuous filmmaker' at the GOP Convention and worked the stump hard for his former primary opponent George W. Bush. This suggests that he may disagree with the GOP on some issues, but remains a loyal member of the family.

The same can not necessarily be said of Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter. Senator Specter relied heavily on the endorsement of a sitting president to hold of Pat Toomey's primary challenge for his seat. Toomey derived an avalanche of conservative support from groups Club For Growth as a result of Senator Specter's previous record as a liberal. George W. Bush's generous support did not prevent the appearance of Kerry/Specter signs all over Philadelphia prior to the 2004 election.

Specter has clashed with Republican Presidents and party leaders throughout his tenure in the US Senate. He personally deep-sixed Robert Bork's hopes of a Supreme Court seat. He rallied briefly by defending Clarance Thomas against the scurillous charges of Anita Hill.

However, Senator Specter has long associated himself with the Pro-Choice Movement and let it be known that this would direct how he voted on the Senate Judiciary Committee. He declared Roe-v-Wade inviolate as Constitutional Law. His financial support from George Soros is conspicuous among GOP party members.

If there were one Senator that actually does more damage to the GOP as a Republican than a Democrat, Arlen Specter would be that man. I expect he will keep his chairmanship and temporarily make nice with the rest of the Republican Party. However, Arlen Specter is a snake who bears his own party niether love nor loyalty. He is a less couragious version of Aaron Burr.

McCain Vs. The CIA

Senator McCain has decided to make CIA reform his visible issue in the coming year. Rather than settling for just saying he thinks the CIA needs to be fixed, he called them a rogue agency. Perhaps Valerie Plame could be described as a rouge agent moonlighting as a political smear merchant, but McCain has hyperbolized to keep his name in the headlines.

The occasion for this ruckus involved the Washington Polemic's efforts to smear Porter Goss. George W. Bush's new director of the CIA. It seems Goss intends to change how the CIA operates and the CIA doesn't feel like changing. Goss has offered eviscerating criticisms of the agency.

The CIA's loss of prestige stems from what many critics, McCain included, see as institutional failures to gather accurate information prior to the Iraq War. The games played by Joe Wilson and Agent Plame only reinforce this image of institutional chicanery. The CIA becomes a handy scapegoat for anyone who needs to explain why we haven't found Saddam's WMDs yet.

A more accurate target for national ire would be the congressional leaders who have 'reformed' the CIA into flaccid, embarassing impotence. Senator Frank Church accused them of being assassins and waghalters. He detailed what he believed to be American plots to assassinate Fidel Castro and other foreign despots. The CIA was also accused of serving as Boogeymen for the Nixonian purge of dissident groups.

Robert Toricelli also worried about the investigative practices of the CIA. As a congressman, he impressed his girlfriend Bianca Jagger by outing an alleged CIA recruiter in Guatamala. He also accused the CIA of being responsible for the deaths of two left-wing Guatamalan dissidents.

As a result of Torricelli's meddling, President Clinton issued an executive order forbidding the CIA from deling with criminal or terrorist informants. In other words, if an informant hangs around with bad guys, the CIA could not use their information. Torricelli than could not understand why the CIA didn't prevent 9/11.

Senator McCain may be voicing needed support for Porter Goss at the CIA. His motives may be good rather than jaded. However, when Senators tell the CIA how to collect intelligence, the US government seems to have a very hard time buying a clue. I can only hope John McCain will restrain himself to blasting media critics of Porter Goss and appoint himself to perform Mr. Goss' duties.

Feel The Love (Another Tolerant Liberal)

Howard Dean must have hired this guy as a speechwriter. He's lost it! What a crack baby! I wouldn't follow someone like this to the water fountain, much less ask them who should be President. So much for liberal tolerance.

Fuck the South. Fuck 'em. We should have let them go when they wanted to leave. But no, we had to kill half a million people so they'd stay part of our special Union. Fighting for the right to keep slaves - yeah, those are states we want to keep. And now what do we get? We're the fucking Arrogant Northeast Liberal Elite? How about this for arrogant: the South is the Real America? The Authentic America. Really? Cause we fucking founded this country, assholes. Those Founding Fathers you keep going on and on about? All that bullshit about what you think they meant by the Second Amendment giving you the right to keep your assault weapons in the glove compartment because you didn't bother to read the first half of the fucking sentence?

Who do you think those wig-wearing lacy-shirt sporting revolutionaries were? They were fucking blue-staters, dickhead. Boston? Philadelphia? New York? Hello? Think there might be a reason all the fucking monuments are up here in our backyard?No, No. Get the fuck out. We're not letting you visit the Liberty Bell and fucking Plymouth Rock anymore until you get over your real American selves and start respecting those other nine amendments. Who do you think those fucking stripes on the flag are for? Nine are for fucking blue states. And it would be 10 if those Vermonters had gotten their fucking Subarus together and broken off from New York a little earlier.

Get it? We started this shit, so don't get all uppity about how real you are you Johnny-come-lately "Oooooh I've been a state for almost a hundred years" dickheads. Fuck off.Arrogant? You wanna talk about us Northeasterners being fucking arrogant? What's more American than arrogance? Hmmm? Maybe horsies? I don't think so. Arrogance is the fucking cornerstone of what it means to be American. And I wouldn't be so fucking arrogant if I wasn't paying for your fucking bridges, bitch.All those Federal taxes you love to hate?

It all comes from us and goes to you, so shut up and enjoy your fucking Tennessee Valley Authority electricity and your fancy highways that we paid for. And the next time Florida gets hit by a hurricane you can come crying to us if you want to, but you're the ones who built on a fucking swamp. "Let the Spanish keep it, it’s a shithole," we said, but you had to have your fucking orange juice.The next dickwad who says, "It’s your money, not the government's money" is gonna get their ass kicked. Nine of the ten states that get the most federal fucking dollars and pay the least... can you guess? Go on, guess. That’s right, motherfucker, they're red states. And eight of the ten states that receive the least and pay the most? It’s too easy, asshole, they’re blue states. It’s not your money, assholes, it’s fucking our money.

What was that Real American Value you were spouting a minute ago? Self reliance? Try this for self reliance: buy your own fucking stop signs, assholes.Let’s talk about those values for a fucking minute. You and your Southern values can bite my ass because the blue states got the values over you fucking Real Americans every day of the goddamn week. Which state do you think has the lowest divorce rate you marriage-hyping dickwads? Well? Can you guess? It’s fucking Massachusetts, the fucking center of the gay marriage universe. Yes, that’s right, the state you love to tie around the neck of anyone to the left of Strom Thurmond has the lowest divorce rate in the fucking nation. Think that’s just some aberration?

How about this: 9 of the 10 lowest divorce rates are fucking blue states, asshole, and most are in the Northeast, where our values suck so bad. And where are the highest divorce rates? Care to fucking guess? 10 of the top 10 are fucking red-ass we're-so-fucking-moral states. And while Nevada is the worst, the Bible Belt is doing its fucking part.But two guys making out is going to fucking ruin marriage for you? Yeah? Seems like you're ruining it pretty well on your own, you little bastards. Oh, but that's ok because you go to church, right? I mean you do, right? Cause we fucking get to hear about it every goddamn year at election time. Yes, we're fascinated by how you get up every Sunday morning and sing, and then you're fucking towers of moral superiority. Yeah, that's a workable formula.

Maybe us fucking Northerners don't talk about religion as much as you because we're not so busy sinning, hmmm? Ever think of that, you self-righteous assholes? No, you're too busy erecting giant stone tablets of the Ten Commandments in buildings paid for by the fucking Northeast Liberal Elite. And who has the highest murder rates in the nation? It ain't us up here in the North, assholes.Well this gravy train is fucking over. Take your liberal-bashing, federal-tax-leaching, confederate-flag-waving, holier-than-thou, hypocritical bullshit and shove it up your ass.And no, you can't have your fucking convention in New York next time. Fuck off.

Update I - TAM gives links to the gloaters, whiners and uber-jerks of Election 2004.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Real Time With Bill Maher

The Smoking Gun dishes on HBO's house lefty, Bill Maher. The former host of Politically Incorrect has gone beyond being incorrect. His former girlfriend, Coco Johnsen accuses him of being a malicious, small cad. Imagine that?

The complaint involves the following actionable torts:

  • Breach of Contract
  • Promissary Estoppel (Heaven Forbid!)
  • Promissary Fraud (Before or after the estoppel?)
  • Battery
  • Assault

Plus he called her racial derogatory names. perhaps he really is a lot more politically incorrect than he portrays himself while sucking up to the Hollywaste left.

Dhimmi Carter Can't Be Worthless Enough!

Retirement should provide a hard-working and successful person an opportunity to rest. That individual should appreciate their leisure and realize that it's someone else's turn to carry the burdens and sweat under the limelight. Lacking anymore euphemistic ways to say this, I'll just unload. "Dhimmi Carter! shut your obnoxious pie-hole."

Today Dhimmi Carter eulogized deceased killer, thug and malefactor of the worst description Yassir Arafat as follows:

Former US President Jimmy Carter called Yasser Arafat “a powerful human symbol and forceful advocate” who united Palestinians in their pursuit of a homeland.

“Yasser Arafat’s death marks the end of an era and will no doubt be painfully felt by Palestinians throughout the Middle East and elsewhere in the world,” Carter said.

“He was the father of the modern Palestinian nationalist movement. A powerful human symbol and forceful advocate, Palestinians united behind him in their pursuit of a homeland,” he said in a statement distributed by his Atlanta, Georgia-based Carter Center.

If Ghaddafi and Zaraquawi are fortunate, Carter will remain on the eulogy circuit when they kick the bucket as well. Maybe he can praise "The Big Z" for decorating the freeway overpasses leading into downtown Fallujah.

If Arafat were allowed to rot in peace, I would feel no reason to mention his name. His spirit will certainly inhabit the Land of Mordor where the shadows lie. No rational human being will mourn his passing. That leaves Dhimmi Carter out there talking about what a swell lad Yassir Arafat was towards everyone who knew him. He identifies Arafat's endearing qualities with the same sharp eye he used to certify Hugo Chavez's election victory in Venezuela.

As Jimmy gets on towards life's distant finish line and the sun sets at last over the final horizon of his days, he should look homeward and return to Plains, Georgia. The place has been missing it's village idiot ever since Dhimmi set sail for Annapolis, Maryland.

Update I - Captain's Quarters views a variety of speeches on Arafat's death. He sees the passing of Yassir as a Rorshach Test.

Update II - Yes, according Spoons Experience, Dhimmi really praised Yassir Arafat for 'providing indespensible leadership to a revolutionary movement.'

Premature Speculation - Dem Edition

Hyperbolic exageration aside, the Dems lost this last election, but did not get wiped out. They lost most of these races in the margins, by 3 to 5 points this time. The Senatorial races were mathematically inclined against the Democratic Party and this caused the results from 2004 to sting just a little bit more.

Now we'll fast forward to 2008 and speculate on what the Dems will do to get back in the power game. It won't be easy. In 2006, the mathematics of the Senatorial races will again favor the GOP. The senate could be 56 or 57 percent Republican by 2008.

Also, there will not have been another census yet, thus the House of Representatives will remain in pro-GOP gerrymander. Therefore, the likelihood of the Dems picking up either house of congress will come close to zero unless George W. Bush has a disasterous 2nd term.

So that brings us to the presdential race, which will probably be the only opportunity the Democrats have for a good election night in 2008. Speculation now centers on who the Dems will run and where that person will take the party. Here are a few of the possibilities, and what I think would happen if they ran.

Highly likely:

Hillary Rodham Clinton - I have a personnal theory that no one in the Democratic Party really wants Hillary! to win this nomination. At least no one that wants to win the 2008 race. She would meet with condemnation from every corner of the GOP coalition.

However, Hillary would also bring out everyone who cares at all about core Democratic Party issues. It would be Armageddon. It's also a highly likely scenario. I'd have to rate Hillary as the early leader for the Dem nomination.

John F. Kerry - A lot of people are counting him out as a discarded loser. A lot of people counted him out against Howard Dean about 10 months ago. He got within 3 points of being inaugurated and had a great time winning the big debate against George W. Bush. Never count Kerry out.

Al Gore - No, he hasn't gracefully gone away. After reading some of his speeches to MoveOn.Org, he hasn't even really conceded the 2000 election. He can do nothing positive for the Democratic Party and would lose Hawaii and almost all points East in a Presidential Race. This, however, doesn't make him stop and doesn't make an Al Gore candidacy impossible.

Could Happen.

Tom Daschele - He's got connections and lots and lots of time on his hands.

John Edwards - I think he lost respect for trying to jump to the White House after only one term. Only people named Clinton can do that and be taken seriously.

Howard Dean - He really could grow up a bit in the next four years. Would his fans adore him if he acted like a rational man?

Dark Horses

Barak Obama - It would be way too early for him to run. However, he does have the star power.

Gray Davis - Seriously? Yep, he's ambitious enough to ignore the fact that people detest him.

Evan Bayh - This would be a disaster. I like Evan Bayh enough that I'd actually have to consider voting for a Democrat. The Horror! Good thing the Dems would NEVER be smart enough to nominate this guy.

My prediction for a 2008 ticket: Clinton - Daschele is my most likely. Kerry - Obama or Kerry - Davis are, in my opinion, the next most probable combinations. In the unfortunate event that he were nominated, I'm quite sure Al Gore would select Howard Dean.

Update I - Sean Hackbarth is not so sure Hillary! has the nomination in the bag just yet.

Friday, November 05, 2004

KOTM's Best and Worst of Election 2K4

In honor of a close and exciting Election 2K4 I'm handing out my inaugural edition KOTM Best and Worst Awards.

Best GOP Performance: GWB! He won a tough fight and his coattails were long and abundant. He broke Ronald W. Reagan's record for highest vote total ever received by a GOP candidate. There couldn't have been a better way to memorialize Reagan's passing.

Honorable Mention: John Thune, South Dakota Senate. He took down Terrible Tom Daschele. America became a better-governed nation when Senator Daschele conceeded defeat.

Best Dem Performance: Ken Salazar, Colorado Senate. He was the second highest profile victory for the Dems, but unlike Barak Obama, he went out and won against the varsity.

Honorable Mention: Dr. Dan Mongiardo, Kentucky Senate. Senator Jim Bunning should never have compared this man to one Saddam Hussein's sons. Even if he meant to compare him to the one who was smarter and better looking. Bunning conduct was pathetic, and by making a shoe-string race go down to the wire, Mongiardo hopefully cured Jim Bunning's delusional behavior.

Worst GOP Performance: Alan Keyes, Illinois Senate. He's been Buchannanized. Unfortunately, the Libertarians are probably more competitive in Illinois now than the GOP. I'll bet you all those lesbian jokes he told about Mary Cheney are no longer funny right now.

Honorable Mention: Colorado GOP, Colorado Senate. Pete Coors did his utmost to hang on to Ben Nighthorse Campbell's old seat. The fault here lies with the state party. They (a) relied heavily on evangelical christians to turn out to the polls, and (b) hired a guy who brews beer for a living to be there candidates. Maybe Madison Avenue liberals aren't the only ones who are somewhat out of touch with Middle America.

Worst Democratic Performance: John Edwards, VEEP and Litigator. At 10am John F. Kerry sat down, sipped his coffee and looked at what had happened. He decided he had done his utmost, Bush had one, and it was time to rejoin the US Senate. John Edwards argued against this course of action until Senator kerry, the adult portion of the ticket, gave the Yup-Start from the Tarheel State a lesson in basic civics.

When John Kerry looked at the numbers and saw a 95% chance that he had lost, he felt honor bound to concede and let the country get back to business. When John Edwards saw the numbers, he saw a 5% that he could successfully litigate. That, right there, is the difference between old and new Democrats.

Honorable Mention: Lousiana Democratic Party, Louisiana Senate. Every time the Dems force a Senate race into a run-off, they win it. The last two iterations of this were big-time Democratic wins. By allowing John Vitter to escape with 51%, they sabotaged their opportunity to put Moon Landrieu's machine to work. They blew it. They can now congratulate Senator Vitter.

So there they are, my humble attempt at a best and worst of election 2K4. Enjoy.

Monday, November 01, 2004

A Divided Nation? No Way!

Jen Nelson of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote an exceptional article that I believe deserves further commentary (see link in post title). While the article contains a strong and compelling endorsement of George W. Bush for President, it does also make a highly valid point that everyone, regardless of political inclination, should take to heart regarding Election 2004. A bunch of us may not agree on who to vote for tommorrow, but in no way is the United States a divided nation.

I'll cite myself as an example. I long ago mailed in my absentee ballot for my list preferences in the November election. I consider this particular part of my civil duty taken care of. I'm not shy as to which candidate for president I happened to vote for. I voted for Bush.

Some of my coworkers have also taken the opportunity to exercise their rights as well. I garruntee everyone that if we passed around a sheet of paper and took a poll, our office would not be unanimous in who we preferred in The White House. However, that constitutes a difference of political opinion to me, not a division of good versus evil.

As someone who works around people who disagree with me by 180 degrees on politics, I feel very lucky to have known and worked with some of these individuals. In fact, aside from the political differences, I tend to find myself having a great deal in common with most of them. When it comes to the politics, we all just pay our nickle and make our choice as well as we possibly can.

As Jen Nelson put it,

Though it would be nice to return to a day when our political culture -- and our society in general -- was less antagonistic and more genteel, we shouldn't sugarcoat history. Voters have always felt strongly about the candidate of their choice, and this country has survived bitter divisions in the past. The question is, Are we willing to put the negativity behind us after the election is over -- no matter which candidate is the victor? - SFGATE

I would hope very much that most of us could answer yes to the question above. If most of us actually can, we are not a devided nation. We are a highly advanced and civilized nation that settles things in a decent way. We vote, we don't shoot one another. No politboro selects our next leader, we do.

Our fundamental debate that reccurs every four years is not a sign of division. Almost without exception, we settle this like mature adults. We can disagree and still walk away a unified whole.

That, my friends, is not division. That is enlightment. That is America. Go out there tommorrow and celebrate your right to vote your conscience. Regardless of who wins tommorrow we remain forever the bright and shining city on the hill.


"Reciprocals"

As you may or may not already be aware, members of the Watcher's Council hold a vote every week on what they consider to be the most link-worthy pieces of writing around... per the Watcher's instructions, I am submitting one of my own posts for consideration in the upcoming nominations process.
Here is the most recent winning council post, here is the most recent winning non-council post, here is the list of results for the latest vote, and here is the initial posting of all the nominees that were voted on.

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