Environmentalists See Trouble Ahead. Kind of like Chicken Little.
So, do I understand the conundrum, the catch 22? It's vital that we be more independent of foreign oil, but actually drilling for that oil in areas where we can is verboten. Umm....
Environmentalists See Trouble Ahead. Kind of like Chicken Little.
So, do I understand the conundrum, the catch 22? It's vital that we be more independent of foreign oil, but actually drilling for that oil in areas where we can is verboten. Umm....
...but I was wrong. It turns out to be the other guys. Ken Mehlman's sexual orientation is apparently being questioned by the Dems and liberals. Hindrocket, on Powerline notes that there is chatter that (horrors!) he might be gay. Apparently the same people who thought that it was a good idea to use Mary Cheney's sexual orientation against Bush (that worked out well for them, didn't it?) have decided to have a whispering campaign against Ken Mehlman. His sin: he is 38, single, doesn't talk about his personal life, and (oh no!) a conservative.
I've got news for them. In the first place, there are single men near (or over) 40 who are unmarried and are not gay. My brother, for instance. Try and insinuate he's gay and you'll have yourself a fight with a 6 foot 2 inch, 230 pound lifelong athlete and martial arts black belt.
Second, why exactly does it matter? Even if it's true, and I have no idea myself (nor do I care), it apparently doesn't matter to Bush and the Republicans. Not only does it not matter to them, they are not making an issue of it themselves, if it's true, to "reach out" to gays. Is it because Dems and liberals like to divide people into groups and pit them against each other to gain their loyalty in exchange for government goodies? And gee, maybe we can alienate some conservative Christians from the Republican Party by pointing this out.
Note to Dems: drop it now before you have another Mary Cheney moment.
Remember the fuss over the flu vaccine supply? Do you recall that there used to be any number of vaccine manufacturers in the U.S., but in part due to legal liability and in part due to lack of profitability (since the government is a monopoly purchaser) there were only two for flu vaccine, and they were overseas? Do you remember how the Democrats, who were in the process of pinning blame for the shortage on Bush, insisted that it wasn't the legal system, and it wasn't the low reimbursements that chased away the vaccine makers?
Well, there's a story in today's LA times discussing the disposition of vaccine compensation cases. It seems that the compensation court, which was created to reduce injury claims and limit liability by the manufacturers, still has to wade through a large number of claims to identify only those that merit compensation.
Over the years, about $1.5 billion has been paid out in compensation and legal fees for more than 1,800 families, most of which would have had little chance of winning a civil trial, the officials said. They insisted that the vaccine court was less adversarial than civil courts, but said they were obliged to fight claims that weren't based on good science. (my emphasis)
This was "never intended to serve as compensation source for … conditions that are not vaccine-related (my emphasis)," said Joyce Somsak, the program's acting director.
But in trying to weed out undeserving claims, critics say, the government has insisted on a level of proof of injury that is almost impossible to meet.
And a Times analysis of claims data shows that the court has become more unyielding over time: Officials are much less likely than in earlier years to concede that a vaccine was responsible for an injury or death. The percentage of people getting awards also has declined.
Just because the percentage of claims which merit awards is down does not mean that meritorious claims are getting stiffed. It may mean that there are more claims without merit.
And for the officials to certify a claim would, to me, indicate that a level of reasonable medical justification is necessary. I am, unfortunately, all too familiar with lay people (including patients) and lawyers concocting cause and effect scenarios regarding perceived injuries that have absolutely no basis in fact. The fact that some "expert" is willing to testify to this ridiculous scenario does not change the fact that it's ridiculous. That's not to make any judgement at all on the cases presented in this article, however.
The point, if there is one, is that this is even occurring with a special compensation system set up to shield vaccine makers. Just imagine how difficult it would be for the same vaccine makers to operate in a fixed reimbursement climate without that legal shield. Kind of like the rest of us in medicine.
I'm referring to the Old Gray Lady, the NY Times. Patterico slices like Ron Popeil wielding a ginsu through a Times editorial, on judicial filibusters, that parrots DNC talking points without even checking their relevance.
Actually, he cuts holes in a number of the arguments presented by the times, such as this line from the Times:
Republicans control the White House, both houses of Congress and the Supreme Court.
Republicans "control" the Supreme Court? How is that exactly? Does the NYT have proof? Patterico:
Do they mean that most of the Justices were appointed by Republicans? That's true, as far as it goes -- but I think John Paul Stevens, arguably the Court's most liberal Justice, would laugh long and hard if you told him Republicans "control" him, just because he was appointed by a Republican.
Via Instapundit - and in his words, please, read the whole thing.
Jacques Chirac may have difficulty getting a third term in office. "Chirac faces threat from the young pretender" is the headline in The Scotsman this morning. Nicolas Sarkozy is now the head of the "ruling conservative UMP", giving him a leg up to challenge Chirac.
In a pointed jibe at the aging president yesterday, Mr Sarkozy announced his intention to use his position at the head of the UMP "to rejuvenate French politics".
"It needs it," he continued to the cheers of supporters. "We are going to show tonight that we can bring fresh blood, new ideas, a bit of joy," he concluded. The crowd went wild.
Mr Chirac, who is reported to detest his younger rival with an almost visceral hatred, has failed to block his former protege’s relentless rise.
Could Chirac be french toast?
Ace of Spades has a very perceptive post today, discussing the report of a link between 9/11 and the Spanish 9/11, the Madrid train attack on 3/11.
There are two theories regarding why Al Qaeda hates us. Bush's version is that they hate us "for our freedom," or, more loosely, they simply hate us for what we are and what we represent, including, as Osama bin Ladin so frequently lectures us, 1000 years of Muslim "humiliation."
The other theory is that they hate us for our foreign policy, or, more loosely, for what we do. And if we just change what we do, we can appease them.
The left attacks Bush for what they believe is his childish refusal to accept that if we just sold out Israel, Al Qaeda might be appeased.
But the truth is that both theories are true; they hate us for both what we are and what we do. And this makes Bush's formulation more true, and it makes the liberals' and Europeans' attempts to appease futile. Yes, you can change what you do, but you can never -- short of accepting Islamofascist rule -- change what you are.
Ah, that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?
Specifically, the future of confusion and stolen elections if the race in Washington for Governor is any indication. John Fund in the Wall Street Journal Online has a discussion of the shenanigans that have narrowed Republican Dino Rossi's lead to 42 votes, and the likelihood of that election dragging on until mid to late January. You thought Florida was bad, at 537 votes?
To our Congress: please do your duty and reform our election system now, as I have indicated here, in 'Third World Voting'. This is not a game. It is our chance to express ourselves democratically.
When Rather took over, CBS had the No. 1 evening news program in America. Its anchor, Walter Cronkite, was nicknamed “Uncle Walt” and was called “the most trusted man in America.” After being chained to Dan Rather for nearly a quarter-century, the CBS Evening News has become the lowest-rated evening news show offered by the three major networks.
Americans abandoned this sinking ship for good reason. Rather was more than an inept interviewer, lobbing ridiculous softball questions to the likes of Fidel Castro. He was the most blatantly partisan and politically biased anchor of them all, and that is saying a lot...
Rather will retire the most controversial, least liked, and least watched broadcast news anchor. And after he’s gone, he will have plenty of time to dream up reasons why this was the fault of his critics and not himself.
Ouch. That'll leave a mark.
One study of 1,000 professors finds that Democrats outnumber Republicans at least seven to one in the humanities and social sciences. That imbalance, more than double what it was three decades ago, is intensifying because younger professors are more uniformly liberal than the older cohort that is retiring. Another study, of voter registrations records, including those of professors in engineering and the hard sciences, found nine Democrats for every Republican at Berkeley and Stanford. Among younger professors, there were 183 Democrats, six Republicans.
But we essentially knew this even before The American Enterprise magazine reported in 2002 of examinations of voting records in various college communities. Some findings about professors registered with the two major parties or with liberal or conservative minor parties:
Cornell: 166 liberals, 6 conservatives.
Stanford: 151 liberals, 17 conservatives.
Colorado: 116 liberals, 5 conservatives.
UCLA: 141 liberals, 9 conservatives.
But it's not just their party registration or their political leanings. There is action also.
The nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics reports that in 2004, of the top five institutions in terms of employee per capita contributions to presidential candidates, the third, fourth and fifth were Time Warner, Goldman Sachs and Microsoft. The top two were the University of California system and Harvard, both of which gave about 19 times more money to John Kerry than to George Bush.
He cites an essay by Professor Mark Bauerlein of Emory University in The Chronicle of Higher Education which discusses the reasons behind this slant, and what he calls the "false consensus effect", where "people think that the collective opinion of their own group matches that of the larger population.” And:
There also is what Cass Sunstein, professor of political science and jurisprudence at the University of Chicago, calls “the law of group polarization.” Bauerlein explains: “When like-minded people deliberate as an organized group, the general opinion shifts toward extreme versions of their common beliefs.” They become tone-deaf to the way they sound to others outside their closed circle of belief.
He concludes with this piercing insight:
American campuses have more insistently proclaimed their commitment to diversity as they have become more intellectually monochrome. They do indeed cultivate diversity — in race, skin color, ethnicity, sexual preference. In everything but thought.
I find this story quite relevant, in that a good friend (and one of the few readers of this blog I might add) holds a PhD in History from Harvard but had difficulty finding a teaching position despite excellent work at three different institutions. It almost certainly doesn't help that she's a conservative.
Frank Devine in The Australian writes on the real reasoning behind the war in Iraq. Hint: It's not as much as you think about WMD's.
"From a purely military view," Friedman adds, "Iraq is the most strategic single country in the Middle East, [bordering] six other countries: Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Turkey and Iran."
Jonathan Chait, in the LA Times, has a warning to Democrats that, to me, makes sense. He begs of the party to avoid nominating Dean, Hillary, or Kerry. His reasoning is fairly sound.
This week's topic is Candidates Who Obviously Covet the 2008 Democratic Nomination and Who Must Be Stopped at All Costs From Obtaining It.
That's quite a statement from a fellow Democrat.
Let's begin with Howard Dean. Most of us thought that Dean's spectacular defeat in the Iowa caucuses last January meant the end of him and his movement. Instead, it was more like the ending to "Terminator 2," where the evil robot is blasted to smithereens and presumed dead, then the fragments slowly regroup and come to life.
Why not Dean?
What [the Dean people thought] they really needed to do was mobilize the base by nominating a candidate like Dean who'd fire up liberals. This turned out to be doubly wrong...they didn't need a Howard Dean to inspire them to unprecedented enthusiasm. And a fired-up Democratic base...was not enough to win...
The presidential election showed pretty decisively that Democrats can't get a hearing on their more popular economic platform if voters don't think their values are in the right place. A secular Yankee like Dean is about the worst possible candidate.
Which pretty much sums up Kerry also, but Chait has more on him later in the editorial.
Probably the only worse option than Dean or Clinton, short of nominating Paris Hilton, would be to renominate John Kerry, who, reports have suggested, inexplicably harbors ambitions of running again in 2008. In a previous column I compared Kerry's contribution to his own campaign to an anchor's contribution to a boat race. In retrospect, I seem to have given him far too much credit.
Ouch. That'll leave a mark. Chait faults Kerry for the 16 million in unspent campaign funds left in his account, "failing to spend it on what he called 'the most important election of our lifetimes'."
And then there's Hillary Clinton.
But she surely would go down in flames if she won the nomination in 2008. President Bush owed his victory in large part to cultural division. If there's anybody who incites cultural divisions, it's Hillary Clinton.
Her advisors point out that she's religious and speaks the language of Scripture. That's nice, but nobody seemed to notice it during her eight years in the national spotlight. She's painfully uncharismatic. Her only political accomplishment is that she won a Senate seat in an extremely Democratic state, where she ran six percentage points behind Al Gore. Clinton's supporters like to note that she's not as liberal as people think. That's exactly the problem. I can see the logic behind nominating a liberal whom voters see as moderate. Nominating a moderate whom voters see as liberal is kind of backward, isn't it?
I would argue that her presentation is that of a liberal, who's actually more liberal than most, but tries to camouflage herself with some moderate positions at times when she needs to woo the center. Put her in power, with no higher office to seek, and you'll see the real Hillary. She won't just be a robin redbreast, but a full-fledged redbird, a cardinal if ever there was one. She did, after all, try to nationalize one seventh of the U.S. economy via a secret task force. And remember this quote discussing taxes, from a speech in San Francisco on June 28 this year (when her party was allegedly trying to win): "We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good." Thanks, but what in the Constitution leads her to think it's the government's job to be Robin Hood?
I agree that all of these choices for the Democrats would lose to a reasonable Republican choice. And I think Ken Mehlman will do just as good a job getting out Republican votes, now that they know how to do it. But I also think the Democrats really want one of these three far-left liberals to win.
Gary Hill is co-editor of The Ayn Rand Reader and is a senior writer for the Ayn Rand Institute in Irvine, Calif. The Institute promotes the philosophy of Ayn Rand. He has an interesting Thanksgiving column, promoting the idea that Americans should not feel guilt over the bounty for which we are thankful.
The liberal tells us that the food on our Thanksgiving plate is the result of mindless, meaningless labor. The conservative tells us that it is the result of supernatural grace. Neither believes that it represents an individual’s achievement.
But wealth is not generated by sheer muscle; India, for example, has far more manual laborers than does the United States. Nor is it generated by praying for God’s blessing; Iran, for example, is far more religious. If the liberal and conservative views of wealth are correct, why aren’t those countries awash in riches?
Wealth is the result of individual thought and effort. And each individual is morally entitled to keep, and enjoy, the consequences of such thought and effort. He should not feel guilty for his own success, or for the failures of others.
There is a spiritual need fed by the elaborate meal, fine china and crystal, and the presence of cherished guests. It is the self-esteem that a productive person feels at the realization that his thinking and energy have made consumption possible.
Today, when some success-hating commentator condemns America for being the world’s leading consumer, tell him that he is evading the underlying fact: that this country is the world’s leading producer. And then, as you sit down to dinner, celebrate the spiritual significance of the holiday by raising a toast to the virtue of your own productive ability and to America’s productive giants, past and present.
Interesting, though I don't think it recognizes the entire picture. I think an appreciation of the blessings that God has bestowed that allow the productivity and wealth creation are certainly in order, but this does add a third option to the question of who to be thankful to postulated here by Hindrocket on Powerline, where he asks "to whom are we giving thanks, if not to God? I think the real answer, although always unspoken, is that instead of being thankful to God for our blessings, some would have us be thankful to the government."
We can thank our government for the freedom to be productive and creative (and watch them carefully to be sure they don't take it away), we can thank ourselves and our efforts for the wealth that stems from it, and we can certainly thank God for the abilities and blessings that only He can bestow to allow this productivity.
In the Boston Globe Online this morning I was greeted with this bold enlarged headline, linking to a Reuters story:
A couple lines below that link was this, in much smaller type:
Now, I may not be a journalist, but if WMD production facilities have been found in Iraq, and the lack of those same facilities has been used to bludgeon the Bush Administration repeatedly for the last year, and the increased death toll can be directly attributed to our own offensive in crushing the terrorist stronghold in which this lab was found, shouldn't the emphasis on the stories be reversed? Or is the Globe still fighting the lost election for Kerry?
This day, when Americans give thanks for their individual and collective blessings, in this houshold will be punctuated by the arrival of roughly 25 family members in celebration. While such a throng does create a modicum of angst, it is truly wonderful to have as much of the extended family as possible together to celebrate. The bird is in the oven.
Each has things for which they are thankful. I am thankful for the arrival this year of the now 7 month old latest addition to the horde, a healthy happy (although not necessarily sleepy) little girl, our third. My other two daughters are too precious for words, though like most children occasionally stimulate slightly harsher thoughts. Gwendolyn is my partner in all things; she makes it possible for me to be who I can be, and hopefully I do that for her. I love you all very much.
Both sides of our family are special - I wouldn't trade a single one of them, and yet each adds a certain spice to the mix. And we always carry the wonderful memories of those family members no longer with us in our hearts. I love you all as well.
And I'm thankful to the freedom that America gives to follow your dreams and be yourself to the greatest degree possible. And to the soldiers at work now ensuring those freedoms, once again I say 'Thanks'. Your efforts and sacrifices are both noticed and appreciated deeply.
To all a healthy and happy Thanksgiving. May God bless you all as He has us.
Previously I discussed briefly the current impasse over reform of the intelligence agencies, referencing the post A Rush to Bad Judgement over on Powerline. Now they have A Rush to Bad Judgement II, again from deacon. He writes:
What strikes me, though, is the absence of such debate. I've yet to hear any substantive response to Hunter's views (or those of Rep. Sensenbrenner) from the 9/11 victims community, the 9/11 Commission, or the Democrats and MSM members who are feigning outrage that the reform bill has not sailed through Congress.
My point exactly. Exactly where is the detail, logic, reason and explanation of just exactly why Mr. Hunter's concerns are invalid? It's difficult to win the argument if you refuse to present your side, and merely complain that your opponent declines to concede.
I'm going to pilfer all of this bit from James Taranto's "Best of the Web" today on OpinionJournal.com. It is simply too comical, and I couldn't do it justice without the entire thing. So read and enjoy:
That Old College Try
In a post titled "Glimpse into the mind of a young ohio [sic] bush [sic] voter," a DemocraticUnderground user called "RawMaterials" illustrates the intellectual superiority of Democrats (quoting verbatim):
Yesterday i was out with some old college acquaintance's, the election came up(very easy with me) and i asked whom they voted for here are there response's, age, and vague reasoning. This should help us understand what is needed to get this kind of voter next time. there ages range between 21-23 male, smart, athletic, but not "into" politics or news.
note, this was in a car ride home i didn't have time to relay get into a discussion and set them straight or open up there minds to reality.
but this is still good info to work with.
The first male, said he was undecided all the way up to election day, and went with bush. here were the reasons, first "I knew what bush track record was and what to expect, but not with Kerry." "Kerry could have gotten elected and just removed all the troops from Iraq, and then one week later we would be getting bombed".
The second male, said he didn't watch any debates(thats when i chimed in so you voted for bush, because there would have been no way if you watch the debates you could have voted for him, he laft)his main reason for voting for bush is that he never relay new what Kerry stood for, and didn't want to vote for the "anybody but bush logic".
I started to get into economic things and how bush is running up deficits, and the second male stated that most of the recession was Clinton's fault. i just about died, i quickly chimed in about greenspan and interest rates and how Clinton did his job as a president and that was to create a surplus and control spending that the other market factors were out of his control (mostly). this enlightened him.
so how do the democrats fix this, I think they need to start to get dirty they need to relay attack the Republicans. they also need to make sure they have a candidate that people can understand and identify with.
granted these guys didn't know allot about whats going on but it looks like there the norm. I also feel that they might have been heavily influenced by there parents, and are not quite ready to be informed and make critical decisions on their own. There is hope for voters like this because they are very bright. (my emphasis)
Well, they may be very bright. I'm not so sure about the author, though. Not to dwell upon the grammar, but "relay" for really (several times), "there" for their, "allot", "laft", and of course several missing apostrophes and others that should be. Please see my previous post on "Budgetary Restraint" for a response to the economic theory presented. I hope this is not indicative of the essential college-educated Kerry voter.
I had an interesting conversation not too long ago, before the recent election, with a Kerry supporter who was jumping all over Bush for the "huge" budget deficit. I had several arrows in my quiver to use against this line of reasoning. In the first place, the deficit as a percentage of GDP was not historically all that large even if the absolute amount was. Second, the deficits were coming back in actual dollars less than projected, evidence of better tax receipts from a growing economy. Third, the necessary war on terror produced a large portion of the deficit, as did the drop in the economy from both the Clinton recession that Bush inherited and the attacks on 9-11.
I chose, however, a different tack. I pointed out that there are three ways that government can choose to reduce a deficit. The least effective and potentially most damaging, in terms of suppressing economic growth, is a tax increase. Taking more money out of the hands of consumers and investors may make the government's books look better in the short term, but in the long run is a foolish bet. One additional way to do this is to stimulate economic growth via tax cuts, which Bush has done as evidenced by the historically large growth numbers over the last 2 years since the tax cut took effect.
The final way to reduce the deficit is the most obvious, but the least likely to be mentioned in any discussion of deficits. It is to reduce or at least restrain government spending. Milton Friedman has pointed out that reduced tax rates benefit the economy in both areas, by keeping more money in the private sector and by convincing government that there is less to spend.
Today in the Wall Street Journal Joshua Bolten, the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) reviews the recent budget passed, and indicates that it does indeed restrain spending to reasonable levels.
When the president released his Fiscal 2005 Budget in February calling for a disciplined budget, some politicians and pundits dismissed it as "dead on arrival." They warned that its spending limits could not be met or would require devastating reductions in key priorities. They were wrong.
To the credit of key leaders, the Congress stayed within budget limits and met key priorities. While the appropriations bills are not perfect, they honor the goals President Bush set last February: overall discretionary spending in Fiscal 2005 will rise only 4%, the same as the average increase in American family income. The budget also provides substantial increases in funding for essential defense and homeland security needs.
Just as the president proposed, discretionary spending for non-security programs will rise only about 1%, which is half the rate of inflation and the lowest rate of growth since the Republicans first took control of Congress in the mid-1990s.
And he points out this little tidbit, relating to prior levels of spending.
This is the fourth consecutive year that growth in such spending has declined, down from 15% growth in the last budget year of the previous Administration.
Might that have had something to do with the recession Bush inherited? All of the issues I pointed out above are discussed in this paragraph.
Does the success in passing disciplined spending bills this year mean that we can stop worrying about deficits? Definitely not. The deficit remains too large. But a stronger economy has created greater-than-expected tax revenues that have helped bring down the 2004 federal budget deficit from an earlier estimate of $521 billion, or 4.5% of GDP, to $413 billion, or 3.6% (my emphasis - see above). And if we can extend the budget progress made this week while sustaining pro-growth economic policies, we will remain ahead of pace to accomplish the president's goal of cutting the Federal budget deficit in half within five years. That would bring the deficit well below its 40-year historical average of 2.3% of GDP. Importantly, the Congress is showing that it can achieve this goal without resorting to tax increases, which would harm our economy.
Take that, Keynsians!
Over on Powerline is a sensible and coherent look by Deacon at the current political posturing over the Intelligence Reform bill bottled up in Congress for the moment. Brendan Miniter on OpinionJournal.com discusses it as well.
Let's lay it out, then. The point of intelligence reform is to get it right, to create a situation where our agencies and the N.I.D. operate with optimum efficiency and respond rapidly to changing situations and new threats. To pretend otherwise is contemptible. Simply put, the idea is not to go along, but to succeed for the American People. In Washington there really is only one chance to get this right.
Therefore, I would prefer for those who want the current version of the bill to address the concerns of Reps. Hunter and Sensenbrenner, rather than just complaining that they won't go along. And stop postulating it as a turf war if there isn't evidence that that's the case. Miniter discusses the nuts and bolts of the dispute, and it's enlightening.
When Kofi Annan sent investigators in the spring to look into rumors that U.N. officials and peacekeepers were sexually abusing girls in this war-riven nation, he got back some bad news.
Not only were there more than 150 cases of alleged rape and exploitation — one involving a senior official in charge of security — there also were pictures and videos of some incidents. And one of the investigators sent here was caught soliciting a prostitute.
Last week, the United Nations secretary-general publicly acknowledged the misconduct, and vowed to halt it and punish those involved.
He'll probably issue sanctions.
Tom Brady and the New England Patriots won in Kansas City on Monday Night Football yesterday, for their 24th in 25 games. It's looking like the Pats, the Steelers and the Colts are the teams to beat in the AFC. On the NFC side Philly and lately Green Bay have been strong. Denver, San Diego and Atlanta have the records, but are a little hard to figure at this point. For the Packers Brett Favre starts for the 200th consecutive game next Monday night, which is remarkable.
Both of the games on Turkey Day are snoozers, though there should be a fair amount of scoring in Detroit. I'll be watching the nascent UConn Husky football program try to get themselves a decent bowl game.
John Kerry repeatedly emphasized the importation of low-cost prescription drugs from Canada as a solution to the cost of healthcare in the U.S. Any thinking individual can see that that may be a short-term solution, but to suggest it's a long-term solution is both unrealistic and dishonest. Well, the time frame of the short-term solution is over, and it's still November. We could see it coming.
But I'm sure he understands that it is, in fact, time. Dan Rather has announced he will be stepping down as the anchor of the CBS Evening News in March. After 24 years of left-slanted reporting spiced with disrespect for leaders of the "opposition" party (Republicans) he will go the way of Walter Cronkite and begin postulating ridiculous conspiracy theories away from the news desk.
I think this portion of the CNN story on him tells you everything you need to know about his journalism:
The triumvirate of Rather, Brokaw and ABC's Peter Jennings has ruled network news for more than two decades. Rather dominated ratings after taking over for Cronkite during the 1980s, but he was eclipsed first by Jennings and then by Brokaw. His evening news broadcast generally runs a distant third in the ratings each week (my emphasis).
Cronkite passed him the baton with the lead, and he couldn't hold it. In fact, he was nearly passed by Fox News in the recent election coverage, despite Fox's being available in far fewer homes.
In fact, there already is. Jim Geraghty at KerrySpot on NRO believes it's a part of an effort by CBS to avoid admitting wrongdoing in the fake memo affair, and to avoid apologizing and taking other corrective measures.
Bill at INDC Journal posts on the battle in Fallujah, noting through a report in Time magazine the incredible bravery, effort and professionalism of the men who took back the city. He advises to read the entire Time article. If you can't do that, at least read the excerpt he quotes. Via Ace of Spades.
And don't miss the photo essay linked from the INDC post, from USA Today.
Seattle P-I columnist Mark Trahant has an opinion piece in yesterdays paper that discusses the conservative-liberal split in America and the current "inconsequential" status of the left and the MSM. He writes:
Since I write opinion, I'll band with the "famous" MSM -- along with those who would consider themselves progressive, liberal or Democrat (not the same things) and recognize that we live in a nation governed by conservatives and Republicans.
This conservative, Republican alliance virtually controls all three branches of the U.S. government and has for the past four years. More important, the nation has been drifting more or less on a conservative course for some two decades.
There has not been much introspection among liberals as to exactly why they perceive the country as "drifting toward a more conservative course in the last two decades." Think of a see-saw. If there is weight balance then the sides can pretty much stay where they are, and sometimes one side is up and the other down. When one side moves further from the fulcrum, the other is forced to move further to maintain the balance. The left keeps moving away from the fulcrum, but becomes annoyed if there is any movement on the other side away to balance it.
The left pushed further from the center in the late 60's, probably earlier, and has been pushing steadily in that direction since. Remember that liberal icon JFK was a tax cutter who stood down the Soviets over missiles in Cuba. Opposition to the Vietnam War, at times by communist front groups, nationalizing abortion in Roe v. Wade, feebleness in the face of hostage taking in Iran, support for communist governments in Nicaragua and Cuba, attempts to socialize medicine via a secret task force (Hillarycare), and opposition to our aggressive response against all supporters of terrorism in response to the worst attack on American soil ever, an attack not on our military but on our citizenry, to name several positions. Surprisingly some of the more discredited positions continue to be prevalent in liberal thought, such as support for Fidel Castro's oppressive regime.
This see-saw, however, does not fully describe what I believe has been occurring. The general consensus among liberals is that movement to the left is both inevitable and desirable, and resisting any facet of this movement indicates that you are an intolerant moronic boor, as no decent intelligent person should resist at all. This explains the blue state disdain for the decisions made in the red states.
Even Michael Tomasky in Will of the People? in The American Prospect online admits "[t]he criticism -- to which there is a lot of validity -- is that getting too far ahead of the popular will, as these and other decisions did, created backlash." I would argue that the backlash is not reactionary thought but obstinacy - a refusal to move rapidly to the left rather than a hard move to the right. Clearly something is moving, but the perception of the direction, and who is doing the moving, is dependent on your perspective.
He uses the example of racial equality and the court decisions that helped to establish it as proof.
School desegregation... and less well-remembered anti-miscegenation laws, struck down by the Warren Court in its Loving vs. Virginia decision of 1967, were all judicial triumphs for liberalism, not legislative ones.
He included abortion law - I've taken it out for simplicity. He also conveniently ignores the role of the Fourteenth amendment and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as the fact that courts rule based on law written by legislatures. That aside, however, the question at this time is not whether equal rights are appropriate, but whether affirmative action and reparations for slavery are appropriate. The conceit and false logic of the left is that since racial equality is good, and they were correct about that (as were a number of those on the right), then affirmative action and slavery reparations as additional remedies must also be good since the same group benefits; opposing those remedies, even if you support the original concept of equality, makes you a racist.
But this is moving too far and fast to the left. Opposing those remedies does not make you a racist, any more than opposing infanticide makes you anti-woman. This argument can be successfully applied to the debate over abortion, gay marriage, and other so-called "moral" issues, and also to economic issues such as income redistribution through tax policy and health care. It's not that the right is returning to extreme ideas, it's that they're refusing to embrace the left's most extreme ideas. Thus, in the see-saw analogy, the liberals have moved far and fast to the left. Rather than the conservatives moving hard to the far right I believe they have stayed put on the right, and been joined by greater numbers. The evidence for this is in the voting booth.
First this, now this. Scott Peterson awaits sentencing, and now Ron Artest, who really needed a lesson in civility even before this, is suspended for the year. Gwendolyn heard about the brawl and saw the video and felt he should have been banned for life. That's a little rough when you can punch your coach and be welcomed back to the league with open arms. Gosh, that would be expecting NBA players to act like, well, people.
There will be a lot of people writing on this who discuss the brawl and suspensions on the basis of the messages each send to the kids who idolize the NBA stars. I know I'm going to sound like I don't care about that, but what I do care about is properly identifying the culprits, both on and off the court, and making them feel the consequences of their actions. That punishments for unacceptable behavior help to send a message to kids about civility, sportsmanship and justice is, to me, merely a side benefit.
Of course, now he'll retain an attorney, sue the league, go to arbitration, and be back in time for the playoffs, rested and ready. And I'll have egg on my face for thinking that a punishment that fits the crime should stand.
My questions are a little more abstract. I'd like to know if the illegal fundraising from Chinese nationals gets fully vetted; or the transfer of high technology to China; or the failure of the Oslo Peace Accords; or the failure of the pact with North Korea on nuclear weapons; or the final justification for Billy Dale and the Travel Office staff ("we need our people in there"); or for that matter the "get the criminals" approach to the threat of terror after the first WTC bombing in 1993.
There are far too many questions, and I'm sure there is very little of the 80 million pieces of Presidential memorabilia and notes that will answer them to my satisfaction. I would only note what Bob Kerrey, every liberal's favorite member of the 9/11 commission, said of Mr. Clinton, back in the day: "He is an unusually good liar. Unusually good."
And remember, there is at this point "no controlling legal authority." In Mr. Clinton's case, there never was.
This is literally unbelievable. The death penalty is absolutely necessary to deal with a case like this. Such unimaginable cruelty and dysfunction. Occasionally in the course of my job I encounter cases of abuse, but none even within the same galaxy of neglect as this.
This post on Powerline this morning caught my eye. It describes the terrible split-second life or death decisions made by U.S. Marines battling the insurgents in Fallujah everyday. It is an email from a Marine describing the story you hear, and the one you don't - please read his email fully. It is clear from this that the story you hear occurs because of the one you don't. In addition remember that the room with the insurgents and weapons is in a mosque, and shouldn't be.
This story struck me because of the death of Lance Cpl. Travis Desiato in Fallujah on Nov. 16. Read his story in the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald. He is the son of a doctor with whom I work, and his death is devastating and tragic. It's clear from reading the Globe and Herald stories that he was special, and his loss leaves a painful and enormous vacuum. His attitude is incredible, however, and I'm sure represents the attitude of every soldier, whatever branch he or she represents.
The family noted that upon leaving boot camp, Desiato had performed so well he was offered presidential duty. He chose instead to join a combat unit.
``If he did not return from Iraq, he stated to tell everyone who asked that he did his job. Ladies and gentlemen, he did his job,'' the family said.
I can't help but wonder if Lance Cpl. Desiato was the Marine in the first scenario. Ladies and gentlemen, he did his job. Consequently, so did the Marine in the second scenario.
Lance Cpl Desiato is one of two local sons of physicians that I know have enlisted in the Marines to serve the United States in the war on terror. Do Michael Moore, Charlie Rangel and the other demagogues who insist it's only the poor and disadvantaged who enlist wish to change their minds, or do they wish to continue ignoring the noble efforts and sacrifice of these young men and women? And when will the same people who are ready to condemn the Marine in the second scenario more aggressively condemn the foreign terrorists who fight from mosqes and feign surrender when defeated?
UPDATE: More here, with a lot more detail than I could provide, from Donald Sensing. His fascinating biography is here. Via Instapundit.
However, it must be recognized by all that the protections afforded by the Conventions confer certain obligations upon the protected parties in order to retain the protected status. Mosques, for example (and churches and synagogues, etc) are not be damaged or destroyed, but neither may they be militarized by using them as armories or fortresses. If so - and there have been plenty examples of this in Iraq - they lose their treaty protections. Nota bene:
The definition of wounded and sick for the purpose of the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol 1) is "…persons, whether military or civilians, who, because of trauma, disease or other physical or mental disorder or disability, are in need of medical assistance or care and who refrain from any act of hostility ." [italics added]
I don't know whether the shot Iraqi made any gesture that could reasonably have been interpreted as hostile in intent; I suspect not, for what I know at the moment. But if the investigation shows that the insurgents made a habit of continuing to fight when wounded - which wounded fighters may do if they wish - or if they made a habit of booby-trapping their dead, then they have effectively surrendered protection under the Convention. That will weigh heavily in favor of the Marine.
UPDATE: This, from the Wall Street Journal editorial page, is the kind of depravity these Marines are up against.
The highway's jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive
Everybody's out on the run tonight
but there's no place left to hide
Together Wendy we'll live with the sadness
I'll love you with all the madness in my soul
Someday girl I don't know when
we're gonna get to that place
Where we really want to go
and we'll walk in the sun
But till then tramps like us
baby we were born to run
Steven Vincent on NRO has a fascinating story describing the radical left art inhabiting the galleries in Manhattan. No wonder NY is blue. The nature of the presentations is apalling, clearly far left, and unbalanced by alternative viewpoints. For instance:
the George Adams Gallery is offering "Bush-wacked" — which is, as its title suggests, a self-indulgent mess of anti-Bush propaganda: images of Bush 41 drowning in oil, Bush 43 shot Kennedy-like in the head, fortune cookies that contain Bush malapropisms. There are also oddly racist works, such as Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge, a large drawing of Bush 43 seated next to Condoleezza Rice as he plays piano scales, as well as cartoonish pictures that include Bush urinating on Colin Powell. Subtle this ain't. It's not even mature. Instead of the hoary comment about modern art — "My kid could do that" — one feels like shouting at these gallery owners, "My kid thinks like that."
The bias is clearly demonstrated at a museum called the International Center for Photography, by a display of Abu Ghraib photography:
"We wanted to do an exhibition based around the pictures from Abu Ghraib," ICP curator Brian Wallis explained to me. "The idea was to show how these images do an end run around the Bush administration's expertly managed propaganda war involving Iraq." What about showing the beheading videos, or photographs of burning bodies falling out of the World Trade Center — and do an "end run" around the mainstream media's suppression of terrorist barbarism? "The ICP is a museum," Wallis answered evasively, "we're not a forum for dealing with abstract political issues."
Or, rather, they're a forum for only one side of abstract political issues. Some of the other presentations in other galleries are astonishing. Vincent surmises this is a result of "uninformed opinion", which "tends to be emotional, based on personal prejudice and reliant on the legitimizing power of consensus." He concludes sensibly, that the artists should "(to paraphrase Laura Ingraham), Shut up and paint."
So it's sort of social. Demented and sad, but social. Actually understanding the physics of collisions helps quite a bit in my field, sports medicine.
Weekdays, Dr. Gay is an experimental atomic physicist at the university who spends most of his time smashing electrons in a basement laboratory, studying the way they scatter as a means of understanding what might go on in the plasma of a fusion reactor or a star.
On fall weekends, when the Huskers play, he makes the short walk across campus to Memorial Stadium, to pursue his avocation - football physics.
To watch a football game with Dr. Gay is to view the sport through a different lens, one where talk of fly patterns, blitzes and muffed punts is supplemented by discussions of vector analysis, conservation of momentum and strange forces that can affect the flight of the ball.
From a NY Times story today:
The new chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Mahmoud Abbas, met here Monday night with militant leaders as he began trying to solve the intricate political puzzle that Yasir Arafat left at his death...
In a sign of the delicacy of the discussions, Mr. Abbas did not even raise one central question, whether Palestinians should stop attacks against Israelis, participants in the meeting said.
Instead, they said, Mr. Abbas urged the militant groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad to join in elections in the governing Palestinian Authority, while leaders from those groups demanded that Mr. Arafat's dominant faction, Al Fatah, share more power.
Here's a troubling development for Mr. Abbas, even if they weren't shooting at him:
The meeting came a day after Mr. Abbas escaped unharmed when two Palestinian security officers were killed in a burst of gunfire at a memorial service for Mr. Arafat here.
Mr. Abbas does not appear to have been a target of the shooting.
I'm guessing that they're not serving chilled wine and hors d'oerves at these meetings. And I'll bet most of the participants are armed.
Recently CBS saw fit to apologize for a news division action. They cut away from the end of CSI: New York to go to a live report on the death of Yasir Arafat. The producer who made this decision has been let go, and the network apologized and re-broadcast CSI: New York to make up for their error.
Rathergate.com has continued posting on and following the story of the forged memos from this summer, and has a series of questions that will need to be answered through the internal investigation now underway, an examination of liberal bias at CBS, and ideas on how to clear the air. A number of these questions are quite cutting.
Meanwhile, Dan Rather and Mary Mapes continue their employment. I think it's likely that both will remain until the storm clouds part, with a lot of stonewalling of calls for termination, then leave under what CBS considers sunny skies.
Steven Malanga writes in City Journal of The Myth of the Working Poor. He discusses in detail the portrayal of the American capitalist economy in three popular books, and finds each lacking in economic literacy. It's a lengthy piece, but worth the effort to read. The conclusions drawn by social scientists about behavior and poverty mirror advice I'm sure many parents gave their children before the 1960's, when children discovered that they really knew better.
To stay out of poverty in America, it's necessary to do three simple things, social scientists have found: finish high school, don't have kids until you marry, and wait until you are at least 20 to marry. Do those three things, and the odds against your becoming impoverished are less than one in ten. Nearly 80 percent of everyone who fails to do those three things winds up poor.
That's a crucial truth that left-wing social thinkers have tried to deny from the earliest days of the welfare-rights movement. And as these books show, even after the conclusive failure of the War on Poverty and the resounding success of welfare reform, they are still at it.
James Taranto's Best of the Web today contains this gem, culled from the pages of the Washington Blade, a newspaper for gays.
Here are some quotes from voters explaining their presidential choice:
- "When 9/11 happened, I thought President Bush was so wonderful because he brought the country together. He began the war on terrorism, which I strongly support."--Michael Winn, 62, of Deerfield Beach, Fla.
- "Right now, the No. 1 issue is terrorism. I watched John Kerry waffle on that issue. I'm not comfortable with that."--James Warren, 41, of Overland Park, Fla.
- "I look at gay marriage as a way for attorneys to make money. That's why this has gotten into the media."--Warren
- "I don't agree with gay marriage. I think a marriage should be between a man and a woman. I do feel civil unions should be approved."--Winn
- "I base my vote mostly on national defense and economic issues, like taxes and free trade. Basically, I'm a small government kind of guy. The only area I want government to be strong is national defense and law enforcement."--Chris Taylor, 42, of New York
- "I believe in the flat tax. You can't overtax someone for being successful. I support privatizing Social Security for people 40 years old and older. I'm for school vouchers."--Ben Barkai, 24, of Washington
- "It is totally wrong for liberal judges to change the definition of marriage. . . . It was the liberal judges and the radical, liberal gay community that created the push for the marriage amendment. Nobody is disagreeing that homosexuals should have their civil rights."--Maurice Bonamigo, 44, of Palm Beach, Fla.
These men have two things in common: They voted for Bush. And they are gay. The quotes come from the Washington Blade, a gay newspaper.
To me the most interesting comment is the last, by Mr. Bonamigo. I have added emphasis. Although he represents obviously only one member of the 23% of gays who voted for Bush, his view is quite similar to the vast majority of those in even the bluest states.
CNN reports on the Oil-for-Bribery investigation, headed by Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Government affairs. Original estimates were for as much as $11 billion in graft; now it looks at least double that amount.
Saddam Hussein's regime made more than $21.3 billion in illegal revenue by subverting the U.N. oil-for-food program -- more than double previous estimates, according to congressional investigators.
"This is like an onion -- we just keep uncovering more layers and more layers," said Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minnesota...
The new figures on Iraq's alleged surcharges, kickbacks and oil-smuggling are based on troves of new documents obtained by the committee's investigative panel.
Funny, I would have thought the UN would be able to uncover this information a lot quicker.
[Coleman] said he is angry that the United Nations has not provided documents and access to officials that investigators need to move ahead.
Oops, guess I was wrong about that. Apparently some of the groups included in the payoff scheme were terrorist groups, such as the PFLP. So Saddam was supporting and working with terrorists? Who knew?
The Manchester (NH) Union-Leader on Yasir Arafat's legacy.
FUTURE HISTORIANS, their view unclouded by contemporary politics, will rank Yasser Arafat in the same column as Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Chairman Mao, and Pol Pot. They will record for posterity his deliberate misdeeds that today remain shrouded by political passions, and they will note those who assisted, covered up and apologized for Arafat’s only accomplishment: the delivery of misery to millions...
The ever-foolish Jimmy Carter, an abject apologist for any mass murderer smart enough to hide behind a left-wing political cause, said Arafat “provided indispensable leadership to a revolutionary movement and was instrumental in forging a peace agreement with Israel in 1993. . .”
That “peace agreement” won Arafat a Nobel Peace Prize, which he immediately soiled by refusing to implement the peace plan, blaming Israel for its failure, then encouraging Palestinians to murder Israeli civilians in retaliation.
Read the entire thing. It has been rare that Arafat has been so accurately portrayed in the media.
Bill Steigerwald, in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review explains to Keith Olbermann the basics of investigative journalism. Alas, there is a comparison to Dan Rather.
On Tuesday I checked out some of Olbermann's claims. Using a high-tech personal communication device professional journalists refer to as a "telephone," I called an elections bureau person.
That'll leave a mark.
In today's Boston Globe, printed in the letters section (but not posted on the website) is a letter from Ed Shoucair of Gloucester, MA. He lists his lessons from the 2004 election regarding the "difference between good morals and bad morals." Here is his unfortunate interpretation:
Lie and invade a country
Nothing about the lead in to war in Iraq was a lie, defined as knowingly presenting false information. On top of which he gives no context for the invasion. We were attacked on 9/11 by terrorists intent on the death of as many Americans as possible, and that even though there isn't current evidence of direct involvement of Saddam in the 9/11 plot he was clearly in support of the overall effort.
Cause thousands of men, women and children to die.
He must be referring to Saddam's mass executions, right? Or possibly to the actual attack on 9/11?
Avoid fighting in a war yourself.
So flying jets in the National Guard and during that time volunteering to go to Vietnam is an act of avoidance. Considered, I'm sure, similar to avoidance by going to England as a Rhodes Scholar and protesting Vietnam while there.
Lie about that too.
Evidence? None. And Bush has released all his records, unlike Kerry.
Get religion to get you votes.
He must be referring to holding campaign rallies in black churches every Sunday before the election, I guess.
Sack the environment.
Appeal to ignorance and fear.
This time he must be referring to scaring young voters about re-instituting the draft, or seniors about removal of Social Security benefits.
I'll give you that one. But in this case it also goes along with acting tough. Unlike Kerry and his "global test."
Drop the name of "God" a lot.
He must be an atheist. God's name need not be in scare quotes.
Here are Mr. Shoucair's "bad morals".
Oppose an unfounded war.
The Iraq war was well founded as noted above. It was pre-emptive, which of necessity means Iraq didn't attack us first, unless you consider shooting at our planes monitoring the UN sanctioned no-fly zones an attack.
Volunteer and risk your life when your country needs you.
I'll give him that, unless you want to deduct points for leaving after 4.5 months accumulating three minimal injuries.
Support a woman's right to choose.
Ah, the sacrament of abortion. I guess support for the future living being within the woman is amoral.
Believe two people in a committed relationship should have the same rights as any other couple.
Rights, fine. But not by degrading the centuries old meaning of traditional marriage, no.
Take from the rich and give to the poor.
Where exactly is this found in the Constitution? I mean ours, not the old Soviet Union.
Believe in science.
Read Bjorn Lomborg, The Skeptical Environmentalist.
Look out for the planet.
That's what Bush is doing by fighting the islamofascist terrorists.
Cooperate with others.
You mean, as Tom Lehrer referred to them in 1964, as our "current friends, like France or our traditional friends, like Germany"?
Appeal to peoples higher selves.
I'm sure he means this in a different context, but in my opinion this is why Bush is trying to establish beachheads of Democracy in the Middle East. And why he doesn't coddle terrorists.
This is as good an example as I've found of the muddled thinking of the left, ignoring all evidence that contradicts their Kool Aid-based rantings. If you want an example of why we're a divided country this is it.
There are lots of examples of this on the Globe letters page each week. The media, especially entities like the Globe and the NY Times, CBS news, etc. feed this by giving biased news propagating lies to the lemmings of the left. Lies about the economy, lies about the War on Terror, lies about the environment, lies about Angry White Men, as Charles Krauthammer has pointed out. And so many more.