Monday, January 31, 2005

Freedom has a Price

The Senescent Man raises an interesting point in his commentary on “The end of the beginning” below. Eight million Iraqis voted on Sunday, even as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi called democracy an “evil principle”, and threatened to “wash the streets” in blood if Iraqis went to the polls. This equaled or exceeded the percentage turnout in the last U.S. Presidential election, where voter turnout takes a dive if it is raining outside. It is unfathomable to think what would happen if we had to risk being machine-gunned or exploded while waiting in line to cast our ballots. Defeated democratic U.S. Presidential candidate John Kerry whined yesterday that it was hard to call the Iraqi election legitimate “when whole portions of the country can’t vote and didn’t vote”. He was referring to the Sunni triangle population, where, to no-ones surprise turnout was only half that of the rest of the country due to an elevated terrorist presence and threat in that area, along with the threat from ordinary Iraqi citizens who clearly remember the recent past when Saddam Hussein and the Sunni party were in power. Of course, Senator Kerry and the democrats make the same observation about Florida or Ohio when their side loses there, too.

We should be reminded that freedom does not come easy, it has a price, sometimes a great one. Even the birth of the U.S. was very rocky, with a violent war and many differing opinions on what type of government we should have. There were even calls to crown George Washington King. There were many ways we could have done it wrong, but we didn’t, and two hundred and eighteen years later it is hard to imagine that the success of our current system was ever in doubt. Of course, if some of the MSM pundits or notable Democrats were around at the time, they would have blamed the entire operation on passionate desire to control the tea trade rather than on a burning desire for freedom. It is always right to pursue the path that your heart tells you is correct, as President Bush did. And any misgivings about Mr. Bush’s vision for Iraq can be cured by the words and actions of those who oppose it.

The Revolution Hadn't Been Televised

Do you remember the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham in 1963, where four innocent, young black girls were killed in a bombing by racist terrorists? Denise McNair was one of the four. Did you know that she was a "friend and playmate" of the newly confirmed Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice?

Power Line's Scott Johnson (aka: The Big Trunk) writes a piece for the Weekly Standard about Birmingham's New Legacy. In it, he reminds us that in 1963, Professor Rice was only eight years old when, on September 15 of that year, during its annual Youth Day celebration, a bomb exploded in the basement of the church which killed Denise McNair and her three friends.

This is what Secretary Rice had to say about it in a commencement speech she gave on May 17, 2004, at Vanderbilt University:
I grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, before the Civil Rights movement--a place that was once described, with no exaggeration, as the most thoroughly segregated city in the country. I know what it means to hold dreams and aspirations when half your neighbors think you are incapable of, or uninterested in, anything better.

I know what it's like to live with segregation in an atmosphere of hostility, and contempt, and cold stares, and the ever-present threat of violence, a threat that sometimes erupted into the real thing.

I remembered the bombing of that Sunday school at 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham in 1963. I did not see it happen, but I heard it happen and I felt it happen, just a few blocks away at my father's church. It is a sound that I will never forget, that will forever reverberate in my ears. That bomb took the lives of four young girls, including my friend and playmate Denise McNair. The crime was calculated, not random. It was meant to suck the hope out of young lives, bury their aspirations, and ensure that old fears would be propelled forward into the next generation.
Referring, appropriately, to the monster segregationists as "terrorists," Rice added that "those fears were not propelled forward. Those terrorists failed."

I recommend that you catch the whole piece if you can.

Hugh Hewitt mentions that Galley Slaves blogger Jonathan Last, an editor at the Weekly Standard, is cleverly channeling excellent bloggers like Johnson into the magazine. I say, "bring it on." This is a great way for the blogosphere to influence the MSM, though I really don't consider the Standard as "mainstream" per se.

Recently, RI Blogger Justine Katz of Anchor Rising was featured in a recent issue of National Review. These are good changes to the way things go in the industry. The blogosphere has been at the root of this kind of change. Let's hope it continues.

The End of the Beginning

I do not wish in any way to downplay the 40 plus deaths that took place during the Iraqi election this weekend, but one must really ask oneself: where were the "spectacular" events?

Does anyone recall the warnings we heard before the election? The MSM was wringing their respective knuckles about the prospects of massive attacks.

Dan Darling from
Brigadier General Erv Lessel was talking about a spectacular terrorist attack on the elections just 6 days ago, he was talking about 9/11 or equivalent level attacks.
Dan goes on to say that the satanic terrorist Zarqawi was the big loser, having gambled and lost on the election and aftermath. He was banking on a US delay which never happened, underscoring the breath of the victory for President Bush.

In essence, Zarqawi blinked. The results of this overwhelming turnout will mean a self confidence in the Iraqi people that will one day, and soon, undermine the terror cells of Zarqawi. This was indeed a major victory over terrorism. We have achieved a key objective in the war on terror. No one is saying the fight is over, far from it, but as Winston Churchill would have said: "It is not the end, or even the beginning of the end, but it is the end of the beginning."

Sunday, January 30, 2005

A Clear Victory for Iraq and Over Terrorism

Just got through watching ABC and NBC Nightly News with talking heads Peter Jennings and Brian Williams, respectively. They kept wanting to say how there is nothing but a long dark slog ahead, but they had to admit that people wanted to and did come out to vote in droves today in Iraq.

Jennings went so far as to say that he "couldn't rain on their parade" no doubt like he had wanted to, but still mustered up some bluster about how things will be ugly even after they've voted.

But the lines and the amazing stories of courage. Women coming to the polls dressed in party dresses out of respect for the occasion. A 79 year old man from a northern city walked in microsteps over a mile to the polls. Polling lines everywhere as far as the eye could see. People waggling their fingers stained with indelible ink, signifying that they had proudly cast a ballot.

NBC said they came out in Basra, but "reports indicated few" had come out in Fallujah; however, ABC contradicted that news and said that Fallujah had a surprisingly robust number show up.

Don't let anyone tell you otherwise, this was a clear defeat for terrorism and for those who acquiesce in its powers, including those in the media who have been duped into badgering those opposing terrorism. And it is a clear victory for the Iraqi people and for President Bush's policy there.

The Iraqi people could not be more happy. They KNEW that the price for this privilege was blood - American and Iraqi blood - a high price. Are we ever that grateful to our military for the privilege we have every couple of years? Do we understand the meaning of this important event? Doesn't the MSM understand the meaning of this key event today? An event they refused to believe would be as successful as it turned out to be?

Oh, what power there is in freedom, and what courage found in liberty.

The MSM was Wrong Again on Voter Turnout in Iraq

I had heard numbers as low as 25% expected turnout for today's vote in Iraq from the MSM prior to today, election day, where the news now is that turnout appears to have "exceeded the 57% that had been predicted." Some are saying closer to 75%.

Whatever. The MSM just got it wrong again. They wanted badly for the turnout to be so low that they could rant that it has all been NOT worth it, and the concept of injecting freedom hither and yon is a stupid and crazy idea, the maniacal concept emanating from the withering brain of one President George W. Bush.

I know this is wishful thinking, but you would think that such a stultifying mistake would close their mouths. I'm dreaming; someone wake me. Expect more ranting from the MSM kookballs. Starting with Newsweek, who now predicts that despite the election, doom continues its relentless march. So embarrassing is this idiocy from Newsweek that they removed the promo from the cover page of MSNBC as results began to unfold Sunday night.

"There are Christians here, but they keep their heads down."

Former National Review contributor David Klinghoffer wrote a piece for the Wall Street Journal, Friday Issue Personal Journal "Taste" Section regarding Intelligent Design.

Paid Subscribers to the WSJ OnLine can find the piece here . Those of us who like reading the free stuff through Opinion Journal, the piece can be found here. But since it is an important piece, I have taken the liberty to place the entire article on Oblogatory Reading.

An Excerpt to whet your appetites:
Richard Sternberg [is] a research associate at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington. The holder of two Ph.D.s in biology, Mr. Sternberg was until recently the managing editor of a nominally independent journal published at the museum, Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, where he exercised final editorial authority. The August issue included typical articles on taxonomical topics -- e.g., on a new species of hermit crab. It also included an atypical article, "The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories." Here was trouble. The piece happened to be the first peer-reviewed article to appear in a technical biology journal laying out the evidential case for Intelligent Design....

...Whatever the article's ultimate merits -- beyond the judgment of a layman -- it was indeed subject to peer review, the gold standard of academic science. Not that such review saved Mr. Sternberg from infamy. Soon after the article appeared, Hans Sues -- the museum's No. 2 senior scientist -- denounced it to colleagues and then sent a widely forwarded e-mail calling it "unscientific garbage."

Meanwhile, the chairman of the Zoology Department, Jonathan Coddington, called Mr. Sternberg's supervisor. According to Mr. Sternberg's OSC complaint: "First, he asked whether Sternberg was a religious fundamentalist. She told him no. Coddington then asked if Sternberg was affiliated with or belonged to any religious organization....He then asked where Sternberg stood politically; ...he asked, 'Is he a right-winger? What is his political affiliation?'" The supervisor (who did not return my phone messages) recounted the conversation to Mr. Sternberg, who also quotes her observing: "There are Christians here, but they keep their heads down."

But check out the whole thing.

Why They Will Vote Today in Iraq

From The Corner at National Review:
Ali: "I'm going to vote and I don't care if it means risking my life and I don't even care that much how the end results are going to be, not now!"

Husayn: "There is only one day left until the momentus day of Iraqi history that will always be remembered, celebrated, and looked upon with happiness by future generations."

Sam (Hammorabi): "Any prosperity, democracy, freedom, and civilised things in the new Iraq can NOT be seen without clearly pointing out to the help of the good American people and their leadership represented by George W Bush and Tony Blair of the UK to Iraq the Iraqis."

Firas: "Election is a fact and is going to take place on the 30th of January no matter what, and may be some of us are not going to see the day after that day and loose their lives electing the right people or at least who we think right people, but it will be the price for our freedom, may be we didn’t pay enough to remove Saddam, so it is the price we are going to pay that day, the 30th of January 2005 to overcome our fears and be free people who did pay for their freedom."

Ferid: "Tomorrow will be for sure a historical day in the life of Iraqis, and for sure a challenging day for all of us… "

There are four days and the democracy will win; it will be a real war against the terrorists.

Millions of Iraqi people ready to vote, the women, men, old women and old men very happy with democracy even the children they are happy too because they will get wonderful future; the election is a democracy birthday in the new Iraq.

The woman and men says we will vote for our children future and our homeland.

All of Iraqi says we will vote for Iraq.

Do you know what I will do?

I will buy new clothes and I will put the flowers around my neck to meet the democracy it is like my missing sweetheart whom I looking for her in my dreams.

Please I invite all people to litany to the God just for save the world, love, democracy and the New Iraq, with your help we got the freedom and with your help and love we will get the democracy.

Please say with me long live the democracy long live the love long live Iraq.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

He-ey, its the Tax Man

French comedian, er... leader, Jacques Chirac has called for a global tax to raise money for ameliorating global problems. At first, I just shrugged this off, but on second thought it now seems like a good idea to try out. Maybe do a pilot test to see how things go.

So here's the proposal: we tax everything French, everywhere in the world - French wine, French cheese, French colonies, French words, French fries, French weapons sales, French ideas .... You get the idea. The U.N. can administer the program. After a year we'll count up the revenue and start fixing everything wrong in the world. From there we can expand it to other countries in favor of high cost, needless, and counter-productive redistribution schemes.

So Jacques, get back to me on this and we can launch as soon as you want.

The Strong Case for "Repairing and Improving" Social Security

The Providence Journal has published an excellent piece by Professor George Borts, a Brown University professor of economics and the former managing editor of the American Economic Review. In the printed paper, the editors saw fit to include an Olifant cartoon depicting a robust and seated former President Roosevelt signing the original social security act while saying something to the effect that "I hope some idiot doesn't screw this up in 70 years." The editors also decided to title the piece: "The Strong Case Against Social Security." It is not a case against social security, but rather a case for how to gently segue into something more solvent as a safety net for people reaching retirement. The very first sentence tells you that the purpose of the piece is to "suggest ways to repair and improve social security." That very nuance by the Projo editors gives away the fact that inciteful thinking on how to do the sane thing in managing a system out of control is anathama to liberalism.

I would liken it to a ship at sea in a storm that is in serious need of repair. The boat will sink if the people decide to do nothing at all. The first step is to begin bailing out the water leaking into the boat, then to prepare and man the lifeboats. Liberals are telling us that even contemplating a water pale is a direct criticism of the architect of the ship. In the meantime, we await our doom as we are constricted on the decks.

Excerpts from the Borts piece in today's (Saturday's) Projo:
Public debate on the future of Social Security has begun, and it has been presented by both sides in heated ideological and political terms. There is, in addition, an economic case against Social Security that recognizes its strengths and weaknesses and suggests ways to repair and improve it....

Criticism of the present system is directed at the pension benefit and at the level of Social Security taxes.

[Today's Social Security system] pension is not owned by the worker. It is not part of the worker's estate, and cannot be left to the worker's heirs at death. If the worker dies before retirement, accumulated contributions cannot be claimed by the worker's heirs. Both of my parents worked all of their lives and paid Social Security taxes. Both died before they reached the age of retirement. Had those funds been saved in a private retirement account, ownership could have passed to their children and grandchildren. As it was, the system retained the funds.

A[n improved] Social Security pension [would be] a great boon to those who live long beyond the age of retirement.

Can privatization save Social Security? Not by itself. Privatization would permit workers to reduce their Social Security taxes by a small fraction and divert the funds into the security markets. This would reduce the money that the Trust Fund has available to support existing retirees. The Trust Fund would therefore run dry faster than the 45 years currently projected, and there would be a more immediate need to raise taxes or reduce future benefits.

Countering that, there would ultimately be a reduction in the future pension liabilities of the Trust Fund. Corresponding to the taxes diverted today would be a reduction in the Trust Fund's obligation to the workers who had taken advantage of privatization.

What privatization does is give the worker a wider range of choice for investment of his or her savings. At the moment, those savings are for the most part paid as Social Security pensions to current retirees. Under privatization, workers would have investment choices currently enjoyed by government employees but now denied to the mass of workers. Their retirement savings would automatically become part of their estate, and not be subject to double taxation.

Note, moreover, that privatization would not be compulsory. Nor would it force any worker who privatized to give up the other benefits of the Social Security system. Indeed, the worker who privatized would retain the right to claim a Social Security pension at retirement, suitably reduced to correspond to his reduced level of contributions.

Those workers who fear placing their funds in common stock would have opportunities to invest in corporate as well as government bonds. Moreover,the management structure of the Federal Employees Retirement System shows that such funds can be managed conservatively and efficiently, at low cost.

Privatization would not save Social Security by itself. It is a lifeboat to those who wish to leave the system in case the political parties are too deadlocked to agree on lower benefits or higher taxes. Even if agreement is reached, privatization would benefit substantial numbers of workers now getting a bad deal from the system.

But I recomment that you read the whole thing here.

To our readers: Postings by The Senescent Man will pick up beginning this week. Our apologies for about 2 weeks of low output due to business travel and personal issues.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Al Qaeda Getting Kicked in Iraq

More good news from Iraq (courtesy of Power Line Blog):

Another arrest of a key al Qaeda leader has been announced in Iraq:

A top lieutenant of al-Zarqawi's terror group, Sami Mohammed Ali Said al-Jaaf, also known as Abu Omar al-Kurdi, was arrested during a raid in Baghdad on Jan. 15, a government statement said Monday.

Al-Jaaf was responsible for 32 car bombings that killed hundreds of Iraqis and was linked to the August 2003 bombing of U.N. headquarters in Baghdad that killed the top U.N. envoy in Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello, and 21 others, the statement said.

The suspect "confessed to building approximately 75 percent of the car bombs used in attacks in Baghdad since March 2003," Allawi spokesman Thaer al-Naqib said in the statement.

Al-Jaaf was "the most lethal of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's lieutenants" and "claims responsibility for some of the most ruthless attacks on Iraqi police forces and police stations," the statement said.

Two other militants linked to al-Zarqawi's terror group also have been arrested, authorities said a man described as the chief of al-Zarqawi's propaganda operations and one of the group's weapons suppliers.

So Zarqawi's chief weapons manufacturer and director of propaganda are now in custody. And note that the Mad Bomber was arrested nine days ago. The Iraqi authorities (and, of course, the US armed forces) are getting very close, at a minimum, to Zarqawi himself. These reports add considerable credibility to reports that Zarqawi himself has been captured.

Mark Helprin on "Our Blindness" in Today's WSJ:
A hundred years ago, Republican presidential incumbent Theodore Roosevelt had just defeated the now obscure Judge Alton B. Parker, the army had long been fighting Muslim insurrectionists in the Philippines and was recasting itself to fight insurgencies, reformers were concerned with the environment and money politics, and the country's meat supply was viewed with suspicion.

Those absorbing passions would nonetheless prove completely irrelevant to the influenza pandemic that little more than a decade later would kill 50 million people, including half a million Americans; to the rise of Germany, Japan, and Russia; and to the century's three great wars.

Our own absorbing passions, which are remarkably similar, have blinded us in the same way. We have yet to find a serviceable framework for the application of our military power in the war on terrorism; in view of potential catastrophes of which we have a great deal of forewarning, we have yet to provide adequately for what used to be called civil defense; and we have no policy in regard to China's steady cultivation of power that soon will vie with our own. Though any one of these things is capable of dominating the coming century, not one has been properly addressed.

Mark Helprin is one of my favorite writers. He is very thoughtful and forward thinking. He challenges conservatives with probing and difficult questions. This piece falls into that category, and I recommend it highly. Read the whole thing here.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Former Ku Klux Klan Kleagle "Stands in the Doorway and Blocks Up the Hall"

Both Power Line Blog and Little Green Footballs make reference, today (Sunday) to this Mark Steyn column in the Chicago Sun Times. An excerpt:

I picked up the Village Voice for the first time in years this week. Couldn't resist the cover story: ''The Eve Of Destruction: George W. Bush's Four-Year Plan To Wreck The World.''

Oh, dear. It's so easy to raise expectations at the beginning of a new presidential term. But at least he's got a four-year plan. Over on the Democratic bench, worldwise they don't seem to have given things much thought. The differences were especially stark in the last seven days: In the first half of the week, Senate Dems badgered the incoming secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice -- culminating in the decision of West Virginia porkmeister Robert C. Byrd to delay the incoming thereof. Don't ask me why. Byrd, the former Klu Klux Klan Kleagle, is taking a stand over states' rights, or his rights over State, or some such. Whatever the reason, the sight of an old Klansman blocking a little colored girl from Birmingham from getting into her office contributed to the general retro vibe that hangs around the Democratic Party these days. Even "Eve Of Destruction," one notes, is a 40-year-old hippie dirge.

The Democrats' big phrase is "exit strategy." Time and again, their senators demanded that Rice tell 'em what the "exit strategy" for Iraq was. The correct answer is: There isn't one, and there shouldn't be one, and it's a dumb expression. The more polite response came in the president's inaugural address: ''The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands.'' Next week's election in Iraq will go not perfectly but well enough, and in time the number of U.S. troops needed there will be reduced, and in some more time they'll be reduced more dramatically, and one day there'll be none at all, just a small diplomatic presence that functions a bit like the old British ministers did in the Gulf emirates for centuries: They know everyone and everything, and they keep the Iraqi-American relationship running smoothly enough that Baghdad doesn't start looking for other foreign patrons. In other words: no exit.

The LA Times, to their credit, as initiated a regular column called "Outside the Tent." I think what they really mean is "outside of the world of hyperliberalism." In any event, the column's purpose is to allow those who have been critical of the Times to have at them. Indeed, they invited the uninhibitable Hugh Hewitt, who obliged them with a column on asking the Times to cover the war on Terror as (hint, hint) a war:
Defenders of The Times might point out that in the last four years more than 10,000 stories in this paper have used the words "terror" or "terrorism." But my complaint is not about quantity. My complaint is that The Times has chosen to cover the global war on terrorism mainly through stories it treats as distinct, even though they are interconnected in profound ways with immediate consequences for every American. Readers need to be told in more detail and more repeatedly how the Islamist bombs that killed almost 200 civilians in Madrid are related to Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab Zarqawi's Al Qaeda-linked thugs, who continue to butcher pro-democracy Iraqis, for example. They need to be told over and over that members of this network, however loosely linked, continue to see the U.S. as their most tempting target.
Indeed. But catch the whole thing in the LA Times online (free online subscription required).

Storm Contemplations

As I look out onto the vast expanse, and consider what the Blizzard of 2005 has done to my home, my neighborhood, and my region, I have asked myself this one, simple question:

Who said:

"To believe in traditional Christianity is something else,...For the son of God to be born of a virgin? I mean, really. To believe that he rose from the dead and bodily ascended into heaven? How utterly ridiculous. To believe in miracles? Or that those who obey God will rise from the dead and those who do not will burn in hell?"


"God assumed from the beginning that the wise of the world would view Christians as fools ... and he has not been disappointed."

Was it:

Charles H. Spurgeon?

J. I. Packer?

C. S. Lewis?

Antonin Scalia?

If you guessed Scalia, you were right (HT: Free Republic).

I nominate him for Chief Justice.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

And Now, A Word from Our Sponsor...

And Now, A Word from Our Sponsor

Friday, January 21, 2005

Today's Must Read... an exclusive interview with Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby by RI blogger Justin Katz at Anchor Rising. You may remember that Justin was headlined in a recent issue of National Review. RI is developing it's own little conservative corner. At long last.

I want to thank my colleagues Gary Boden and Steve Graham for filling in a bit while I've been traveling on business -- have to make a living, you know. The Senescent Man will catchup on the weekend.

More on the Family Slaying in NJ

More on the brutal murder of an entire NJ family by radical Islamists (HT: Instapundit).

Hey, Hey, Ho, Hum....

In the brief clips I saw of the inaugural protests, the participants they interviewed seemed kind of lame. The kids and old folks just didn't have it together. Their sound bites were kind of off-pitch and dull. What's up with that?

Maybe it was too cold or maybe the veteran negativists were huddling at Starbucks planning something, but the MSM should have been able to find somebody with a little fight in them. What gets me most thought is the lame chanting we alway hear: "Hey Hey, Ho Ho, [insert name here] has got to go!" Please, can we get the national poet laureate to infuse some life into this thing? There is something to be said for having a simple message, but this has become protest scene Muzak. We need novelty and brilliance to attract our attention. Unless this gets interesting real fast, nobody will pay any attention anymore out of sheer and utter boredom. Let's get going you slackers!

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Who says Senescence isn't good for you?

Jane Roe, of Roe V. Wade fame, has asked the courts to re-evaluate the historic and controversial decision on abortion it rendered over 30 years ago.

"Now we know so much more, and I plead with the court to listen for witnesses and re-evaluate Roe v. Wade ", said Norma McCorvey, her real name, as she petitioned the Supreme Court to overturn the decision.

In the light of new medical evidence, this could result in a very different outcome this time.

Will the Supreme Court have the courage to take on this highly charged and controversial issue?

Read about it Here.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Live, from New York, it's....Dan Rather

SNL skit on Dan Rather here from Ratherbiased, courtesy of Instapundit hot tip.


Entire New Jersey Family of 4 - Slain by Islamo-fascists

Michelle Malkin brings our attention to this grisly murder of an entire New Jersey family:

Have you read about that Egyptian Christian family of four murdered in Jersey City Heights two days ago?

The New York Post reports today that the father was an outspoken critic of Islamists on a Web site hosted at Paltalk:

Hossam Armanious, 47, who along with his wife and two daughters was found stabbed to death in his Jersey City home early Friday, would regularly debate religion in a Middle Eastern chat room, one source said.

Armanious, an Egyptian Christian, was well known for expressing his Coptic beliefs and engaging in fiery back-and-forth with Muslims on the Web site

He "had the reputation for being one of the most outspoken Egyptian Christians," said the source, who had close ties to the family.

The source, who had knowledge of the investigation, refused to specify the anti-Muslim statement. But he said cops told him they were looking into the exchanges as a possible motive.

The married father of two had recently been threatened by Muslim members of the Web site, said a fellow Copt and store clerk who uses the chat room.

"You'd better stop this bull---- or we are going to track you down like a chicken and kill you," was the threat, said the clerk, who was online at the time and saw the exchange...

Check out the whole story, and bloggers critical of Islamo-fascism, beware.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Hewitt Interview with O'Reilly.

Interview between Bill O'Reilly and Hugh Hewitt regarding the subject of Blogs on the take (HT: Roger L. Simon, Instapundit, Power Line, and all the usual suspects).

A Legal Precedent Favoring Rossi in Washington State

From Tim Goddard of The Flag of the World Blog (HT: Sound Politics):
There is only one good example of precedent for a revote based on a court challenge in the State of Washington. In the 1975 case Foulkes v. Hayes, a revote was ordered in a race for County Commissioner in Adams County. The decision in that case, ordering a revote, is available here. I used Foulkes in my rebuttals to various Democrat arguments earlier. But since first reading the decision, I’ve been turning it over in my mind quite a bit and have reread it a few times, attempting to determine how it best fits with the current situation. Today, I’ve arrived at a conclusion: the two cases are startlingly similar, and if the law is applied consistent with Foulkes, Rossi will get the revote he deserves.
Read the rest here.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Krauthammer Expressing a Rather Biased View

Charles Krauthammer on Rathergate (HT: Instapundit):
CBS had been pursuing the story for five years. Five years! The Manhattan Project took three. Five years for a minor episode in a 30-year-old byway in the life of the president? This story had been vetted not only in two Texas gubernatorial races but twice more by the national media, once in 2000 and then yet again earlier in 2004 when Michael Moore's "deserter" charge and Terry McAuliffe's "AWOL" charge touched off a media frenzy that culminated in a Newsweek cover.

Thursday, January 13, 2005


From Peggy Noonan in today's (Thursday's) WSJ on the demise of the MSM after Rathergate - an excerpt below, but check out the whole thing here:
The Rathergate Report is a watershed event in American journalism not because it changes things on its own but because it makes unavoidably clear a change that has already occurred. And that is that the mainstream media's monopoly on information is over.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Footnote 16, Page 7, Appendix 4

As our fellow Bloggers dig deeper into the Thornburgh-Boccardi Report on CBS and Rathergate, we are learning more and more about how Thornburgh-Boccardi let CBS, Rather, Mapes and cohorts off the hook. Blogger Jonathan Last (Galley Slaves and The Weekly Standard) exclaims: It is Worse than We Thought:
The panel reports, "[Typewriter expert, Peter] Tytell concluded that the Killian documents were generated on a computer [not a typewriter]."

So how did Thornburgh and Boccardi manage to walk away from their own expert's decisive verdict? The answer is hidden in footnote 16 on page 7 of Appendix 4:

Although his reasoning seems credible and persuasive, the Panel does not know for certain whether Tytell has accounted for all alternative typestyles that might have been available on typewriters during that era.

Leave aside the "no political bias" finding; leave aside the kid-glove treatment of Dan Rather and Andrew Heyward. This abdication of responsibility by the panel in the face of their own expert's conclusions is so startling that it legitimately calls into question--by itself--everything else in the report.

Check it out here.

Rathergate Continues to Unravel

More on Rathergate Unraveling (HT: Free Republic):
CBS News executives know the identity of the person who gave "60 Minutes II" producer Mary Mapes forged documents on President Bush's National Guard record, but are refusing to identify the source publicly.

That's the claim from NBC Washington bureau chief Tim Russert, who leveled the bombshell allegation Wednesday morning. "I think the interesting thing is the documents - where did they come from?" Russert told radio host Don Imus. "Somebody at CBS knows where the documents came from - and the credibility of that person, and the agenda of that person," he said.

Sometimes it's Hard to Save People

From today's (Wednesday's) WSJ:

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia -- Indonesia on Wednesday ordered aid workers and journalists to officially declare travel plans in the country's tsunami-devastated Aceh province, as authorities moved to reassert control of an area long troubled by separatism.

The hundreds of foreigners racing into the country to assist victims of the Dec. 26 disaster have made Indonesian authorities uneasy, worried that their sovereignty was in jeopardy. And authorities predicted that foreign militaries assisting the aid effort would leave by the end of March.

And also (from yesterday's WSJ):

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia – Indonesian authorities warned aid workers Tuesday that many parts of tsunami-battered Aceh province weren't safe for foreigners, as the military claimed that rebels were trying to rob aid convoys.

I commend those attempting to help and rescue these reluctant recipients. There is a New Testament analogy in there somewhere.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Planet of the Mapes

Mary Mapes, in her press release excoriating CBS for firing her over Rathergate insists that it was not her liberal bias against George W. Bush that incited her actions, rather (no pun intended) she was merely seeking the truth through normal, but aggressive, journalistic methods.

Here is an excerpt from Captains Quarters (HT: Galley Slaves) that I think debunks that point of view:
Why did Mapes, who had been hot on the story for weeks and under tremendous "competitive pressure" to beat the other news outlets, let a free-lancer get Burkett first? The Thornburgh-Boccardi panel apparently never asked her, but the best conclusion is that Mapes wanted some distance between herself and [the nut-ball] Burkett initially. She obviously knew Burkett's reputation, and didn't want to get stung by the unstable and unreliable source.

On page 61 [of the Thornburgh-Boccardi Report], we get the answer with this exchange of e-mail between Smith and Mapes. Smith outlines a "hypothetical" deal for Burkett (emphasis mine):

Today I am going to send the following hypothetical scenario to a reliable, trustable editor friend of mine . . .

What if there was a person who might have some information that could possibly change the momentum of an election but we needed to get an ASAP book deal to help get us the information? What kinds of turnaround payment schedules are possible, keeping in mind the book probably could not make it out until after the election . . . . What I am asking is in this best case hypothetical scenario, can we get a decent sized advance payment, and get it turned around quickly.

Mapes' reply? "[T]hat looks good, hypothetically speaking of course."

Thus Mapes agreed to pursue financial rewards with a source that could influence the outcome of the election -- not because that person had evidence of wrongdoing by George Bush or even that he had benefitted from the wrongdoing of others, but simply because Burkett could supply them documents that would influence the election, regardless of their reliability. Mapes knew that [CBS Anchor, John] Roberts already considered Burkett a crank after working with him, and she didn't care.

How can that not be positive and convincing evidence of bias?


Read the whole thing here.

An Echo Not a Voice

It seems that the blogosphere picks up on news 1 to 2 days in advance of the MSM. Hence the MSM is more an echo than a real voice.

That being said, it is time to gauge the reaction to the old Blogosphere / new MSM news on Rathergate.

LGF (HT: Powerpundit) has a full blown response from Mary Mapes and it reveals an overt bias against Bush and for Kerry.

Power Line points to "the best commentary on the Rathergate report" which is from Jonathan Last from the Weekly Standard.

Read it all.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Gregoire Faces a Public Blogging in Washington State

Excerpts from John Fund's column in today's (Monday's) WSJ:
In Washington state, the errors by election officials have been compared to the antics of Inspector Clouseau, only clumsier. At least 1,200 more votes were counted in Seattle's King County than the number of individual voters who can be accounted for. Other counties saw similar, albeit smaller, excess vote totals. More than 300 military personnel who were sent their absentee ballots too late to return them have signed affidavits saying they intended to vote for Mr. Rossi. Some 1 out of 20 ballots in King County that officials felt were marked unclearly were "enhanced" with Wite-Out or pens so that some had their original markings obliterated.

Most disturbing is the revelation last week by King County officials that at least 348 unverified provisional ballots were fed directly into vote-counting machines. "Did it happen? Yes. Unfortunately, that's part of the process in King County," elections superintendent Bill Huennekens told the Seattle Times. "It's a very human process, and in some cases that did happen."

King County elections director Dean Logan, Mr. Huennekens' boss, also concedes the discrepancy between the number of ballots cast and the list of people who are recorded as voting. Even though the gap is 1,200 votes, he says, "that does not clearly indicate that the election would have turned out differently." Are voters supposed to trust an election merely because it can't "clearly" be shown to be hopelessly tainted? Mr. Logan is certainly singing a different tune now than he was on Nov. 18, when he responded to charges of voting irregularities in an e-mail to colleagues, which read in part: "Unfortunately, I have come to expect this kind of unsubstantiated crap. It's all too convenient, if not now fashionable, to stoop to this level when there is a close race...."

...Much of the evidence uncovered on King County's flouting of election laws first appeared on, a blog run by computer consultant Stefan Sharkansky. A former liberal who worked for Michael Dukakis in 1988, Mr. Sharkansky calls himself a "9/11 conservative mugged by reality." He uses his knowledge of statistics and probability to illustrate how unlikely some of the reported vote count changes are. He also uncovered the fact that in Precinct 1823 in downtown Seattle, 527, or 70%, of the 763 registered voters used 500 Fourth Avenue--the King County administration building--as their residential address. A full 61% of the precinct's voters only registered in the last year, and nearly all of them "live" at 500 Fourth Avenue. By contrast, only 13% of all of King County voters registered in 2004.

Not all of the voters at the county building are homeless or hard to find. A noted local judge and her husband have been registered at the county building for years. When I called her to ask why, she became flustered and said it was because of security concerns, specifically because "the Mexican mafia are out to get me." When I pointed out that her home address and phone number were easily found on the Internet and in property records, she ended the conversation by refusing to answer a question about whether she had improperly voted for state legislative candidates who would represent the county building but not her residence....

...In his new book, "Blog: Understanding the Information Reformation," radio host and law professor Hugh Hewitt calls the new media a form of "open-source journalism" in which gatekeepers can no longer control what reaches the public. Readers and listeners interact with bloggers and talk show hosts so that a free market of ideas and information can emerge. "Blogs analyzed the Washington state election shenanigans in a more sophisticated and comprehensive way than the mainstream media," he told me. "When a swarm of blogs and new media focus on a story it can fundamentally alter the general public's understanding of an event or person. Ask John Kerry, Trent Lott, Tom Daschle and soon-to-retire CBS anchor Dan Rather if they think the new media changed people's perceptions of them."

Similarly, when Christine Gregoire takes the oath of office as governor on Wednesday, she will still face a threat to her seat of power should the new media keep up the pressure and more evidence of a tainted vote count emerges in court.

She would do well to recall what happened in Minnesota after the 1962 election for governor there. Republican Elmer Anderson won a squeaker and was sworn in, but a recount of disputed ballots ground on. A hundred days into Mr. Anderson's term, a panel of three state judges ruled that Democrat Karl Rolvaag had actually won by 91 votes. To end the legal wrangling, Mr. Anderson dropped any appeals and calmly left office, allowing Mr. Rolvaag to move into the governor's mansion.

You can expect the new media to talk up that historical example a lot as they seek to instill in the public's mind the belief that Washington state's election for governor isn't over just because after Wednesday someone occupies the office.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

The Verve of the West

Mark Steyn on Tsunami Relief (HT: Powerpundit, Instapundit & Hugh Hewitt):

...[T]he most striking photograph of this disaster, [is from] AFP's Jimin Lai. I haven't seen it in any of the papers, oddly enough. It shows a tsunami-devastated village in Galle on the southwestern coast of Sri Lanka: a couple of rescuers are carrying away a body while, behind them, smack dab in the centre of the picture, a young man looks on. He's wearing an Osama bin Laden T-shirt.

I gave up worrying "Why do they hate us?" on the evening of September 11, 2001. But, if I were that Osodden bin Loser guy watching the infidels truck in water, food, medical supplies and emergency clothing for villagers whose jihad-chic T-shirt collection was washed out to sea, I might ask myself a more pertinent question: "Why do they like us?"

The path of the tsunamis tracked the arc of the Muslim world, from Sumatra to Somalia; the most devastated country is the world's most populous Muslim nation, and the most devastated part of that country is the one province living under the strictures of sharia.

But, as usual, when disaster strikes it's the Great Satan and his various Little Satans who leap to respond. In the decade before September 11, the US military functioned, more or less exclusively, as a Muslim rapid reaction force – coming to the aid of Kuwaiti Muslims, Bosnian Muslims, Somali Muslims and Albanian Muslims. Since then, with the help of its Anglo-Australian allies, it's liberated 50 million Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq.

That's not how the West's anti-war movements see it. I found myself behind a car the other day bearing the bumper sticker, "War Is Costly. Peace Is Priceless" – which is standard progressive generic autopilot boilerplate, that somehow waging war and doing good are mutually exclusive. But you can't help noticing that when disaster strikes, it's the warmongers who are also the compassion-mongers. Of the top six donor nations to tsunami relief, four are members of George W. Bush's reviled "coalition of the willing".

What was it the Romans said? "If you seek peace, prepare for war." It's truer than they know. It's because Australia's prepared for war that it can do all the feelgood humanitarian stuff – such as landing 10 army engineers in Banda Aceh to attach a mobile filtration system to the decrepit mains pipes and thereby not merely restore the water supply but improve it....

Indeed. But read the whole thing.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

The Whitehouse has Kid Rocks in their Head

Michelle Malkin has an excellent post on the Kid Rock controversy. I am on record as siding with her.

The Conscience of a Conservative Democrat

Last month, (Give 'em) Zell Miller spoke before Hillsdale College about the rise and fall of his Party. The Dems may not have lost the Presidential election by much, but we are living in an era where there are more US Senators, US Congressman and Governors who are Republican than ever - not to mention the fact that with the exception of Clinton, we've lived in about a quarter century of Republican Presidents up today.

Here is an excerpt from his speech. The rest can be found here.

Many of us can remember when this view [the post-Vietnam Democrat mindset] arrived: It was the 1972 election when the Democratic Party of FDR, Harry Truman and JFK was taken over by the anti-war Democratic Party of George McGovern. From that point on, a post-Vietnam mindset dominated the Democratic Party. We never got over it. And it grew into the view that America was always the problem. Our enemies – never called Communists – were considered excessive reformers whose motives were noble. Meanwhile America’s motives, and those of our allies, were always suspect.

Those who adopted this post-Vietnam mindset considered the primary output of capitalism to be poverty, and argued that poverty – not any lust for power in the Kremlin or Cuba – was the cause of Communist revolts around the world. They preached that military force never solved anything – and that if it did, it shouldn’t. It was almost as if they wanted to protect the world from America.

These Democratic radicals opposed our funding of the Contras in Nicaragua. They opposed our support for El Salvador against Marxist guerillas and, generally, our support for freedom fighters anywhere in the world. They opposed our weapons systems as the main threat to world peace. They attacked, resisted, tried to cancel or cut just about every weapons system that President Reagan proposed to win the Cold War. The list is long: the B-1 Bomber, the MX missile, the Pershing missile, the Abrams tank, the Bradley fighting vehicle, the Trident submarine, and many other fighters and carriers. All were condemned as militaristic and unnecessary.

In place of a strong national defense, they proposed the nuclear freeze, the ban on nuclear testing, more U.N. funding, unlimited foreign aid and unending negotiations. These, they told us, were the paths to a safe world.

Some dared to call these Democrats the “Blame America First” crowd, and rightly so. For when the Berlin Wall fell and a half billion people from the Urals to the Baltic, from Siberia to the Crimea, became free, those who had been giving America all the blame now failed to give America any of the credit. The Cold War was the greatest victory for freedom in the history of the world. But those of the post-Vietnam mindset praised it not.

So America entered the post-Cold War era still conflicted. But the divisions were latent – until 9/11, when we learned new lessons of freedom in a grassy field in Pennsylvania, the halls of the Pentagon and the skyscrapers of lower Manhattan. On that unforgettable day – the day historian David McCullough has called the worst in U.S. history – the scales of the American worldview tipped back toward reality. Americans rediscovered that the world is a dangerous place, that freedom is fragile, and that America cannot ignore its role as leader of the free world.

But while 9/11 woke up many to these cold hard facts of life, it also stirred the dormant but un-diminished ghost of Vietnam. The same stroke that unleashed the war in Iraq let loose a host of demons from the past. For the “Blame America First” crowd, it was as if the question of what is in the best interest of our nation during a time of war was never asked, or its answer never heeded.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Breaking News: Rossi Will Contest Election in Washington State

Just moments ago, Brian Crouch from Sound Politics was blogging directly from the Rossi Campaign Press Room announcing a challenge Rossi is initiating (at last) for the governorship of Washington state (HT Powerpundit).

Here is the blow by blow:

Governor-elect Dino Rossi, standing before a sign reading "Every vote should have a voter," just announced that his campaign will be contesting the election results.

He said that this state must have a re-vote, under any circumstances, even if the illegitimate ballots are thrown out by the courts, and overturn the election results. He would not want to accept office with a "cloud over his head." Thus, a re-vote is the only way to be sure of a legitimate victory--the only "remedy."

This will be filed under the RCW 29.8.68 statute that allows the Courts to set aside an election when the number of votes in question exceeds the margin of victory.

As I write this, Harry Corel, attorney for the Rossi campaign, is speaking on the specific categories of the ballots in question: felons voting, dead people voting, people voting more than once, and unregistered voters. (I am in the Campaign press room).

UPDATE: Slade Gorton is speaking now. He says this is an invalid election: a court might negate the ballots in question, and award Rossi the win. However this will not remove the mess. A revote is not without precedent: it happened in Adams County in WA, and happened this year in North Carolina.

I'm going to listen to the reporters groan and ask questions: stand by.

UPDATE 2: Got back to the room in time to hear Martha Modine from the New Tribune ask, "Dino, some of these felons and dead votes have been in fact votes for you. Are votes for you not part of this problem?" He replied that he was concerned about every vote, and whether some of these were for him was not relevant to whether the process was flawed. Her follo-up: "Will you be showing up at the governor's ball after the inauguration?"

UPDATE 3: I think Rossi hit all the right points in this conference. "We've found that some people have remained politically active even after they died."

He's not contesting a true "victory," he's contesting an erroneous certification of Gregoire.

UPDATE 4: Perusing the news sites, I see a consistent error. Rossi et al are not alleging any systemic fraud, or any concerted deliberate plan to steal the election by King County, they are citing evidence of illegitimate and unaccountable votes, errors, and individual fraudulent activity. The media, in general are saying, "they allege no fraud," which is something quite different.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Bush Examines Hewitt

I have to admit that I stole this Hugh Hewitt blog flog from Powerpundit, but I couldn't help it!

Posted by The Senescent Man

Al Qaeda to Aceh, Indonesia: "Help is On the Way"

Aceh is getting help from a little know charitable agency called Laskar Mujahidin only Laskar Mujahidin is a full blown Al Qaeda backed terrorist group (HT: LGF):
JAKARTA, Indonesia—An extremist Islamic group with alleged links to Al Qaeda has set up a relief camp in the tsunami-stricken Aceh province on Sumatra island, raising concerns its fiercely anti-American members could stir up sentiment against U.S. and Australian troops helping to distribute aid.

The group, Laskar Mujahidin, posted an English-language sign at the camp that reads, “Islamic Law Enforcement.” Its members said Thursday they have been collecting corpses, distributing food and spreading Islamic teachings among refugees.

The presence of the group, known for killing Christians during a long-running sectarian conflict in another part of Indonesia, generated fears that U.S. military personnel and others involved in relief work could become a terror target. ...

21st Century Slave Trade

Evangelical Outpost reports that Tsunami victims are now facing a new and greater threat. Orphans are being scooped up and sold into slavery, and quite often for the child sex trade industry that has been prevalent in the region, but now has become a greater and burgeoning industry because of the tragedy. If this doesn't prove that the heart of a man is desperately evil, I don't know what does. Here is a portion of the post, but you can read the whole thing here.

The Tsunami and the Child Sex Trade "I don't think you could have a more vulnerable child on earth than a child in this situation," says Unicef spokesman John Budd. "A young child who has gone through what they have witnessed will be barely surviving in terms of psychological health." Unfortunately, predatory adults are already using the recent disaster to exploit these imperiled children. Indonesian authorities have even posted police guards at refugee camps in order to protect orphaned children from child traffickers. The UN confirmed two attempts to snatch children in Indonesia's devastated Aceh and that a text message was being sent around Malaysia offering three hundred orphans aged three to ten for illegal adoption. Such horrofic actions are all too common in the hidden world of slavery.

The number of children left parentless after the tsunami has once again brought the slave trade to the attention of the general public. Most people are unaware that there are more slaves today than were seized from Africa in four centuries of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Before the focus shifts to other news events, we should call attention to this pervasive, dehumanizing practice. In the 18th and 19th centuries, British and American evangelicals were the leaders of the abolition movement. It’s time that 21st century evangelicals follow our forefathers example and take our place in the struggle against modern slavery.

Let It Go, Already.

Fox News is reporting that denizens of the loony left fever swamps (LLFS) aren't likely to be taking Peggy Noonan's advice (see the following Scenescent blog post) any time soon:

WASHINGTON — Sen. Barbara Boxer (search), D-Calif., will contest the results of the Electoral College that will give President Bush a second term. A joint session of Congress is set to meet on the matter at 1 p.m. EST Thursday.

Boxer sent a letter to Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, one of the House Democrats set to challenge the results, saying that she was "moved" by Jones' concerns about reported election irregularities in Ohio.

"I have concluded that objecting to the electoral votes from Ohio is the only immediate way to bring these issues to light by allowing you to have a two-hour debate to let the American people know the facts surrounding Ohio's election," Boxer said in the letter.

Even John Kerry isn't willing to trudge this far into the swamps and has refused to join the challenge. Granted there are 'irregularities' with the Ohio vote, just at there are with most elections. What isn't the case is that they are Ukranian in nature or stature. Normal people get it and say this election is more certain than the 2000 cycle so let's get over it. While there may be value to symbolic protest, this looks more like pandering to the LLFS base than an attempt to generate real reform where there are proven defects in the system -- out-of-date voter lists, slipshod record keeping, bizarre rules for provisional voting, etc. Unlike the Washington state governor's race that really is hair-splittingly close with very strong evidence of fraud or gross incompetance, this race has been over for months.

Advice from Peggy Noonan

Peggy Noonan tries to empathize with Democrats. Here's a brief excerpt:
The Groups--all the left-wing outfits from the abortion people to the enviros--didn't deliver in the last election, and not because they didn't try. They worked their hearts out. But they had no one to deliver. They had only money. The secret: Nobody likes them. Nobody! No matter how you feel about abortion, no one likes pro-abortion fanatics; no one likes mad scientists who cook environmental data. Or rather only rich and creepy people like them. Stand up to the Groups--make your policies more moderate, more nuanced, less knee-jerk.
Yeah! Stand up to them! Let's see the Dems take this advice.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

NPR and the Politics of Tort Reform

On the way home from work this evening I found myself in full blown battlefield debate with my radio as I listened to NPR's Julie Rovner describe why President Bush supports tort reform.

Rovner explained that Bush is merely fulfilling a campaign promise. Rovner says that doctors who are paying too much for medical malpractice insurance are "Republican allies." And that, in the process of supporting his allies, the president "demonizes trial lawyers" who are among "Democrats' major contributors." She referred to this as a "two-fer."

So if I got this straight, President Bush is supporting tort reform not because of any principaled reason, but because he has to pay back his friends and frustrate his poltical enemies.

She goes on to say that this is purely political posturing by Bush, but it is quite savvy because it involves a "health care issue," which has been, up to now, "a Democrat issue."

Rovner droned on that, though the President sees malpratice insurance and related tort reform as a mandate from the election, that voters who really care about health care, "voted for the other guy." Really?

But what Bush is proposing to do is based upon a successful California model which appears to be working to keep costs down. The law places a cap only on the "pain and suffering" component of such law suits, and it attempts to cut down on the frivolous suits discouraging ballooning awards by juries which mainly benefit trial lawyers anyway, and not the victims.

But Rovner reminds us that this is not a new reform (i.e., Bush has no imagination). The House voted for such reform eight times, but in Rovner's world of a true democracy, "you need 60 votes in the Senate to overcome a filabuster." I see, we need 5 more than the majority we have in the Senate. I see. The fact that there are more Republicans in the Senate from the election of 2004, Rovner assures us, "won't help enough. They would only have 52" out of the current Senate, but "that's fewer than the 60 they will need." And I'm listening to this?

Such reforms, she assures us, "won't really save us much money....President Bush talks about $40, $50, $60 Billion, but we spend $1.4 Trillion every year on health care."

Maybe the reason we spend $1.4 trillion on health care has a little to do with the out-of-control costs to cover medical malpractice insurance which gets flowed down to the patients, and to the insurance companies.

Do they really believe this stuff? And do they really expect the listening audience to buy it too? It is amazing how easy it is to guess which way people like Rovner voted last November. My guess is that it was "for the other guy."

Washington Election Watch

Continuing our series of monitoring what's going on in the close race in Washington State, it appears that more evidence is mounting that question the 129 vote advantage purportedly held by Democrat and so-called governor elect Christine Gregoire.

In way of reminder, Gregoire lost the election to Republican Dino Rossi on election night 2004 by a small margin, then remained the loser after a recount, then emerged the victor after a less accurate "manual" recount which included the fraudulent resultant of one county, King County, where it was determined that more than 3,500 votes were cast than there are registered voters in that county.

Now we learn that at least one dead person has been discovered voting, and at least 57 convicted felons voted illegally in Pierce County, Washington.

So far as we know, no official has yet proffered the move to do a re-vote, which really seems to be the only fair action to take in light of all the mess of fraud and cheating, particularly in King County which Sound Politics likes to refer to as "Ukraine County'" an apt name. At any moment I suppose we could expect to see Dino Rossi, his face green and rippled from the effects of a toxic poisoning. It must be the latitude.

In any event, His Senescence will continue to monitor the situation to keep you informed.

"I, George W. Bush, Do Solemnly Swear..."

Can't you just picture it? George W. Bush being sworn in by a newly minted Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Clarence Thomas!

Let's face it. The President could appoint Thomas, and wouldn't that just drive the liberals absolutely bonkers?

But then there are some, including conservatives, including Thomas / Scalia conservatives no less, who feel that that would not be a good move. AEI's John Woo explains.

A Blow for Blogs

You may want to just stop right here and run over to Power Line to read the whole thing, but I just want to point out this exquisite and elegant defense of Scott W. Johnson (The Big Trunk) of Power Line by his employer. Herewith an excerpt of his letter to the Star Tribune:
Bill Cooper is one of my [Scort Johnson's] heroes. He put himself through school while working as a beat cop in Detroit. He has become a recognized leader in the financial services industry. Though he defies every stereotype of Republican privilege and self-absorption, he served one critical term as chairman of the Minnesota Republican Party. He is one of the most genuinely charitable people I know, giving of both his time and his money.

In his day job he is also the chairman and chief executive officer of TCF Financial Corporation, the Minneapolis-based bank holding company for which I have the good fortune to work. Yesterday he called me to assure me that my job was not in jeopardy because of what Coleman had written. He also read me the letter that he was about to send to the publisher of the Star Tribune on a point of which we had lost sight:

While I have disagreed with the Star Tribune on many issues, I respect with all my heart your right of freedom of the press and free speech. Apparently Nick Coleman does not share these values.

To suggest that customers of TCF Bank should move their money because of a TCF employee's blogging activities (an exercise of free speech) is just wrong. To suggest that an employer of an individual who exercises free speech rights should be punished is, I am sure, a violation of journalistic ethics and perhaps a legal issue.

Just for the record, the first time I ever heard of Power Line (which I have never read) was when I read about it in Time Magazine. To suggest that TCF or I am somehow the creator or supporter of Power Line is simply not true. Incidentally, Mr. Coleman never contacted me to ask if I was behind it (another example of great journalism!).

One thing I can assure you of is that if your columnists can suggest that people stop banking at TCF because of the political activities of one of its employees, TCF will never spend another dollar on advertising in the Star Tribune as long as I am Chairman.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Le Sabot Post-Moderne

Via Instapundit, this new (to me) blog is worth a look.

Iraqi Child Reveals Weapons Cache

LGF has tipped us to the news that a serious weapons cache was discovered with the aid of a little child:
MOSUL, Iraq -- Multi-National Forces from 1st Brigade (Stryker Brigade Combat Team), 25th Infantry Division (Light), discovered a large cache of weapons and munitions based on a child’s tip during operations on Jan. 3 in northern Iraq.

An Iraqi child led Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, to a large cache of weapons in an abandoned building during a patrol in western Mosul that consisted of 30 60 mm mortars, 21 rocket propelled grenade rounds, dynamite, various roadside bombs and components, five RPG launchers, more than 100 mortar fuses, grenades, ammunition and intelligence documents.

Soldiers also discovered a stolen fuel truck in the configuration stages of a truck bomb. The discovery of the truck bomb possibly saved the lives of hundreds of people.

An explosive ordnance disposal team destroyed both the truck and munitions with no injuries reported during the operation.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Blogging is Dominating the Internet and Will Ultimately Eclipse the MSM

Some interesting statistics on Blogging, hot off the press, and courtesy of the Pew Internet and American Life Project (HT: Instapundit and Power Line):
Blog readership shoots up 58% in 2004

6 million Americans get news and information fed to them through RSS aggregators

But 62% of online Americans do not know what a blog is

By the end of 2004 blogs had established themselves as a key part of online culture. Two surveys by the Pew Internet & American Life Project in November established new contours for the blogosphere and its popularity:

• 7% of the 120 million U.S. adults who use the internet say they have created a blog or web-based diary. That represents more than 8 million people.

• 27% of internet users say they read blogs, a 58% jump from the 17% who told us they were blog readers in February. This means that by the end of 2004 32 million Americans were blog readers. Much of the attention to blogs focused on those that covered the recent political campaign and the media. And at least some of the overall growth in blog readership is attributable to political blogs. Some 9% of internet users said they read political blogs “frequently” or “sometimes” during the campaign.

• 5% of internet users say they use RSS aggregators or XML readers to get the news and other information delivered from blogs and content-rich Web sites as it is posted online. This is a first-time measurement from our surveys and is an indicator that this application is gaining an impressive foothold.

• The interactive features of many blogs are also catching on: 12% of internet users have posted comments or other material on blogs.

• At the same time, for all the excitement about blogs and the media coverage of them, blogs have not yet become recognized by a majority of internet users. Only 38% of all internet users know what a blog is. The rest are not sure what the term “blog” means.

These results come from two nationwide telephone surveys conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project: One was in the field between November 4 and November 22 and involved interviews 1,324 internet users. It has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points. The other was conducted between November 23 and November 30 and involved interviews with 537 internet users. That has a margin of error of plus or minus five percentage points.

Why Home Schooling is Better than What We're Used to

Jay Ambrose has a piece on the virtues of Home Schooling:

It's not the sort of news that many major news outlets would emphasize. But the outcome of a preholiday moot court debate in England has implications for America infinitely larger than the outcome of many contests attracting far more attention. Even the Super Bowl.

The victors were two home-schooled students at Patrick Henry College, a 4-year-old, Christian-based, conservative institution in Purcellville, Va., with just 277 students. Their opponents were students at Oxford University, so pre-eminent in producing intellectually gigantic debaters that a gasp is obligatory whenever anyone at all is so brazen, so dedicated and so smart as to defeat them.

The accomplishment, for starters, would seem further evidence that home-schooling is hardly the mind-diminishing experience some in the education establishment would have you believe.

The rest is in Oblogatory Reading

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Good News in Iraq you Won't See on the Today Show or in Tomorrow's Newspaper

From Power Line, news you most likely won't hear from the lips of Matt Lauer or Katie Couric or see in the WaPo, NYT or the Trib:

Haider Ajina sent us this translation of an article that appeared today in the Iraqi Arabic newspaper Nahrain:

A press release by the Iraqi ministry of defense.

1. At 1 am Iraqi National Guard (ING), the Mahmudih division, arrested 217 individuals suspected of being terrorists and confiscated a large cache of light and heavy caliber weapons and ammunition.

2. At 2 am the same ING division arrested Hatem Alzobaae, a suspected terrorist cell leader.

3. At 2:30 am ING in Hillah arrested the terrorist Ali Mehsan Ghnajar. In his possession were 19 grenades, three 28mm mortars.

4. At 4 am, based on a tip that he had returned from Syria, the criminal Ali Latief was arrested by the ING. Four men who are part of his cell were also arrested.

5. At 4 am 10 terrorists were arrested after returning from Mosul by the ING Mahmudiah division.

6. At 4 am ING raided the Hai Alaskari area based on a tip. As a result of the raid the ING arrested 10 terrorists one of which resisted and was wounded and arrested.

7. At 4 am terrorists attacked the Hadbaa police station and were repelled with 2 terrorists killed and their weapons confiscated.

8. At 5 am ING started a security clean sweep of Bab Shams. They confiscated a large number of hand grenades and mortar weapons and rounds.

Haider adds these comments:

I keep seeing more and more of this type of terrorist cleansing activity. What is more interesting is that the Iraqi National Guard is more and more active in these arrests. I have also noticed that more and more actions based on tips are being reported.

Check your local newspaper tomorrow morning and see whether these successes by the Iraqi National Guard have been reported. Then ask yourself whether any successful terrorist attack, whether via car bomb, attack on a police station, kidnapping, or whatever, has ever gone unreported in your local paper. Then ask your local paper why half of the story is missing.

The Plot Thickens in Washington State

From Sound Politics:
Seattle's Precinct 1823 counted 343 ballots, which is 71 more ballots than the 272 voters who cast them. This is the single largest discrepancy between ballots and voters in all of King County. Nearly all of the discrepancy is due to "provisional ballots".

I earlier reported on the notorious Precinct 1823, where hundreds of voters are registered with a residence address of 500 4th Ave, the King County Administration Building, Some of these are homeless individuals, who are entitled by statute to register at government buildings. But other "residents" of the county office building are listed on the property tax rolls as owning homes elsewhere in King County, and therefore illegally registered. Dozens of other "residents" of 500 4th Ave voted absentee from overseas mailing addresses. Hundreds of other Precinct 1823 voters give as "permanent addresses" temporary homeless shelters. This is all questionable enough and an obvious potential source of vote fraud. But it gets worse.
There is also a movement afoot for a revote. A new web site: is a privately funded web site has been established to promote a re-vote in Washington. Read more about all of this here.

Hassan Awarded Peace Prize

Powerpundit has cued us to the news that Margaret Hassan, who devoted decades of her life to charitible causes in Iraq and who was kidnapped then brutally murdered in Iraq by barbarian terrorists this past November, was postumously awarded the prestigious Tipperary Peace Prize from her native Ireland.

Read about the whole thing.

Posted by The Senescent Man

Saturday, January 01, 2005

The UN is a Sham

The Diplomad, a Blogroll Blog mentioned in our sidebar, is comprised primarily of career US Foreign Service officers, and today The Diplomad reports that the UN is doing a lot of talking but not much else relative to needed humanitarian aid for the region around the South Asia tsunami:
Well, we're heading into Day 7 of the Asian quake/tsunami crisis. And the UN relief effort? Nowhere to be seen except at some meetings and on CNN and BBC as talking heads. In this corner of the Far Abroad, it's Yanks and Aussies doing the hard, sweaty work of saving lives.

Check out this interview (on the UN's official website) with SecGen Annan and Under SecGen Egeland shows,
Mr. Egeland: Our main problems now are in northern Sumatra and Aceh.
<...> In Aceh, today 50 trucks of relief supplies are arriving. <...> Tomorrow, we will have eight full airplanes arriving. I discussed today with Washington whether we can draw on some assets on their side, after consultations with the Indonesian Government, to set up what we call an “air-freight handling centre” in Aceh.

Tomorrow, we will have to set up a camp for relief workers – 90 of them – which is fully self-contained, with kitchen, food, lodging, everything, because they have nowhere to stay and we don't want them to be an additional burden on the people there.
I provided this to some USAID colleagues working in Indonesia and their heads nearly exploded.
And they say that the US has been slow and stingy. Yeah. (HT: Power Line).

A Call for a New Election for Governor in Washington State

Sound Politics has reported (HT: Instapundit and Power Line) that there were over 3,500 ballots than the number of legal voters in King County Washington. It was heavily Democrat King County that turned the tide against Republican Dino Rossi who had been ahead by a small margin in all previous counts and recounts. The last - more subject to error - manual count put Rossi's opponent Christine Gregoire ahead by 129 votes, sufficient for the Secretary of State to declare her the winner.

Now it is evident that there is a huge question mark on this election. Thanks to Sound Politics blog, and the blogosphere in general, this news is getting out (no thanks yet MSM).

The Washington Attorney General's office has criticized Rossi for calling for a new election, but with this kind of overt election fraud, what else could you do? Stefan Sharkansky of Sound Politics had been sarcastically referring to King County as "Ukraine County." It appears his sarcasm was more prescient than met the eye.

A new election appears to be called for.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]