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"Losing my faith in humanity ... one neocon at a time."

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Logistical Nightmare

posted by Jazz at 10/09/2004 06:01:00 PM

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More travel and some computer problems in progress. I apologize to regular readers for the gap, but Running Scared will be back tomorrow, Sunday, Oct. 10th during the morning news talk shows. If I can post from the road earlier, I will do so. Enjoy your Saturday!

Day Two: The Aftermath

posted by Jazz at 10/09/2004 08:17:00 AM

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Not even twelve hours have passed since the second presidential debate, the MSM and the blogosphere are, predictably, burning up over the outcome. If you were expecting the reviews to fall primarily along partisan lines again, you won't be disappointed. I may be the exception to the rule, as I posted last night, being one of the only Kerry supporters I see calling the debate a win for Bush. I still stand by that. In the cold light of morning, however, I think that my reaction may have been influenced by expectation. After the dismal showing Bush had in the first meeting with Kerry, any signs of self control and on message answers would likely have seemed like a vast improvement.

A look at where everyone is falling on this:

The NYT isn't calling a winner at this point, but is complementing Kerry heavily. The wapo is effectively calling it a draw and saying both men were "at the top of their game" last night. The Washington Times similarly fails to call a winner, but lavishes praise on Bush and lists a number of conservative blogs that credit him with a win. The New York Post has it as a draw leaning towards Bush, and polls from ABC and CNN are showing a tie within the margin of error with Kerry leading 44-41 and 47-45 respectively.

Amongst the blogging pundits, yours truly aside, you'll find mostly what you would expect with a couple of surprises tossed in. The Left Coaster, as you might expect is trumpeting Kerry and pointing out some gaffes and missed opportunities by Bush. Dan Drezner is saying Kerry won, but "not by as much as last time." JustOneMinute doesn't seem to think there was a winner, but that neither candidate talked enough about Israel. No More Mister Nice Blog also called it as a tie or a very slight win for Kerry. Kevin Drum at Washington Monthly blogs that it was a narrow Kerry win which will give him a couple more points in the polls. Daily KOS, of course, gives it to Kerry and proclaims that "Bush was angry!." Rarrr. Oliver Willis thinks Kerry walked away with it. Jeralyn Merritt at TalkLeft doesn't make the call herself, but rather posts a suitably damning piece from the AP indicating that Bush was trounced on style and substance.


Jan Haughland calls it a tie, but says that a tie is a win for Bush. Pejmanesque calls it a "solid win" for Bush. Ken Masugi doesn't call it one way or the other, but seems to focus slip-ups by Kerry and his Supreme Court Justice comments. I can't tell for sure, but I think that Michelle Malkin would have said Kerry won, were she to make a call. Instead she only did a short piece on whether or not Kerry could tell how much money people earned by looking at them. (Huh?) Electablog doesn't call a winner, but declares that this debate probably "stopped the bleeding" in the Bush camp. Dean's World has a couple of posts on it either giving Bush the victory or calling it a tie. Surprisingly, Political Wire seems to give the nod to Bush, giving him the "comeback award." Power Line logs in with three entries, all of which say Bush won to one degree or another.

From one of the true bipartisans, Joe Gandelman calls it a tie with both improvements and missed opportunities by both candidates.

There you have it. I'm guessing that most of America saw last night's debate as being much closer than I did, and are now spinning it down predictably partisan lines.

For My Critics on the Friday Debate

posted by Jazz at 10/09/2004 01:17:00 AM

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A brief note:

No, I have not suddenly decided to vote for Bush. I watched the debate with an open mind, hoping for Kerry to do well. It seemed that Bush was far superior to his last performance and left Kerry stumbling on a number of points. I am not happy about this, and I'm glad that many of you see it otherwise. I hope the majority of the nation does as well. But when I open my e-mail and see it locked from people telling me I'm crazy, I assure you... I am not bashing Kerry. I apparently saw the debate performance differently than you did. FYI... I gave the first debate to Kerry by a landslide and saw the VP debate as nearly a tie, with Cheney possibly a nose ahead.


Friday, October 08, 2004

The Presidential Heavyweight Championship Bout (Round 2)

posted by Jazz at 10/08/2004 10:45:00 PM

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I was prepared for the second presidential debate to be the linguistic equivalent of the "Thrilla' in Manila." John Kerry had, only a week before, faced down Bush in a David vs. Goliath slugfest and come out surging in the polls to regain a virtual dead heat. The recent CIA reports on Iraq and today's economic numbers didn't bode well for the champ, but his corner man, Karl "da Killer" Rove was never to be counted out early.

In this fight the presumed David (Bush) suddenly emerged as the Goliath we were warned to expect. Bush's down home charm began to work its magic and Kerry was quickly forced into a defensive position. While the recent news on both the Iraq and domestic fronts seemed to bode ill for Bush, he transformed talking points into pulse pounding messages that carried a lot of impact. Kerry was pushed back into the role of the flip-flopping hopeful waiting for a chance at the big time, but he failed to deliver. On domestic fronts, Bush came out as the friendly guy who wanted everyone to be happy.

Bottom line? I'll tell you that I support Kerry and don't want Bush to win this election. But the fact is, Bush slaughtered Kerry. Kerry was pushed into a position of saying "here's why I'm not wishy-washy." Kerry looked desperate early on, as if he feared suddenly to be portrayed as a flip-flop pancake candidate.

On foreign policy, while I may not agree, Bush suddenly stood up and said, "I know we have made people angry, but I did the right thing." And he delivered the line.

Kerry, when questioned about Iraq and the UN sanctions, said "I don't think you can rely just on UN sanctions." At that moment, I had a Homer Simpson moment and said, "DOH!" Kerry was pushing for the UN all along, and this was a HUGE mistake.

After that, Kerry began to fidget. He was asked about the draft and simply started to stutter. He had a very valid answer, but Bush swore that there would be no draft and Kerry had no answer. In response to the draft question, Kerry completely changed the answer. He failed on that question.

Bush was asked some softball questions on the environment. This should have been some of the easiest questions for Kerry to jump all over Bush. He shut down completely. They followed that up with questions about the Kyoto treaty. Kerry froze. Bush had no good answer, but Kerry totally failed to rise to the moment.

I want Kerry to win. My analysis of this second debate? Bush won by a landslide.

EDIT: I've gotten a lot of negative feedback on this already. Please see here for a brief answer.


Other Parts of the Duelfer Report?

posted by Jazz at 10/08/2004 04:34:00 PM

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I saw this at Red Hair Black Leather. What would you think if the reports of other countries being involved in Saddam and food-for-oil scandals had been edited to exclude American companies? There are links to wapo, etc. so I can't write it off as total spin. Take a look. Click through to the full articles. At this point I'm not sure what to think.

Your Quote of the Day

posted by Jazz at 10/08/2004 04:25:00 PM

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... since, in the flurry of news on debate day, I failed to get to one earlier.

"I am conservative only in the sense that I'm afraid to jump off of tall things."
- The One True Tami

If You Can't Criticize Iraq or the Economy...

posted by Jazz at 10/08/2004 04:00:00 PM

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... then hours before the second debate you need to find something to accuse John Kerry of. How about accusing him of lying about running in the Boston Marathon? No, I'm serious. I couldn't make this up if I tried. Michelle Malkin has an entire post dedicated to whether or not Kerry lied about having run the Boston Marathon once, back about 25 years ago. (Not that she offers any proof, of course. Just the usual speculation.) Really, go take a look. This is the same woman who once wrote an entry about Democrats entitled "desperate for a scandal."

The 2004 Irony Awards

posted by Jazz at 10/08/2004 02:49:00 PM

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From thousands of entries, Power Line wins this year's Irony Award for a post entitled "Beyond the Spin." Granted, it's a very short post, but it leads off linking to.... (drum roll, please) The Heritage Foundation. I realize many readers felt that Bill O'Reilly was a dead lock for this award, once again, for naming his column "The No Spin Zone", but I'm afraid a late entry has cut him off at the final turn.

Yes, it seems that on the eve of the second presidential debate, an economic report has been released by the Heritage Foundation saying that the economic numbers aren't all that bad and actually speak in Bush's favor. They also speak in positive terms about the jobs report released today, showing that 96,000 new jobs were created in September. From this report:

"Moving on, by the numbers, the economy added 96,000 payroll jobs in September, a welcome showing, and unemployment held steady at the low rate of 5.4 percent."

Well, that doesn't look too shabby, does it? That might play well for Bush tonight. Two problems crop up with this report, though. First of all, these are the "payroll" report numbers. For those of you not keeping score, the payroll report is the same one that the Bush team scoffed at many times earlier this year because it showed horrible figures. They preferred, they said, to go with the Household Survey Number, which was "the right figure" to use. Why the switch? The Household Survey number for September shows a loss of 200,000 jobs. Ooops.

Imagine that. If you do a web search on "The Heritage Foundation" and can find more than a handful of instances where is isn't referred to as "The conservative think tank..." or "right wing biased" or even "owned by Karl Rove", then you have a lot of time on your hands. But leave that aside for a moment. (Remember... PowerLine called this article "Beyond the Spin.")

Let's take a quick, snapshot look at the Heritage Foundations web site, shall we? On their front page we find such inspirational articles as, "Christianity's Southern Flank" and "Our Oldest Enemy: A History of America's Disastrous Relationship With France." That might not be good enough for you, though. Let's take a peek at the "About Us" page for this fine, unbiased economic bastion of authority. Why, there seems to be a quote here!

"Some of the finest conservative minds in America do their work in the Heritage Foundation." - Rush Limbaugh

Bias? What bias? Does anyone see some bias? You must be a communist.

And speaking of communists, in the very next entry on Power Line, they take to task one of the most horrible threats to America today... literature. Yes, those bastards at the Nobel foundation had the unmitigated gall to award the Nobel Prize for Literature to.... a communist. And one who opposes the war in Iraq, at that. So, of course, Hindrocket tears her apart. Imagine that.. writing a book. Somebody should shoot her.

You have to dig awfully deep to find a silver lining in the tornado infested dark clouds of these economic numbers. Particularly on the eve of a presidential debate, props to The Big Trunk for burrowing deep enough to find one.

More on this from Obsidian Wings.

A Unique Idea

posted by Jazz at 10/08/2004 01:23:00 PM

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I don't know how practical this is, in terms of the legalities, but Ken Layne today proposes a radical concept. Many people, including yours truly, have bemoaned the fact that, as unrest and revolt continue to grip Afghanistan, warlords have turned their country into one of the nations largest producers of opiates. (Poppies.) This brings in massive amounts of money which may go to terrorist activities and revolt against UN peacekeeping forces. Here's Ken's suggestion:

"what is so wrong about opium poppies being grown in Afghanistan? Nothing. "Legal" opiates have to come from somewhere. Why isn't a big opiate pharm company buying up all that production right now?"

At first it sounds wacky. But on second glance, is it really so crazy? Making friends with farmers is surely a better path to peace than burning their farms down and killing them. And as he points out, we must be buying the product somewhere. Why not?

Our Image From the Left

posted by Jazz at 10/08/2004 11:39:00 AM

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I realize that a lot of Republicans don't read Atrios, but he makes a sobering observation today which everyone should consider. In particular, we moderate, progressive Republicans who are working frantically to get Bush out of office could learn something from this grim assessment. The comment from Atrios comes in response to this LA Times article which, in part, reads:

"First of all, domestically, GOP moderates and deficit hawks have finally begun to wake up and realize that they have to rein in Bush's reckless fiscal policies."

At first glance, that sounds like a very hopeful statement. Unfortunately, Atrios responds with a comment which I fear describes the overall mood of the Democrats in this country. Quoth Atrios:

"Um, no. No they haven't. They don't exist any longer in sufficient numbers. Sane Republicans are not going to save us. They don't have the power."

(Emphasis mine.) As small of a group as we may be, we know that we are out there. The Log Cabin Republicans, the Republican Youth Majority, Republicans for Choice... these are all active groups. However, we are not facing a problem that is defined by different, competing messages - this is a crisis of perception. The voices of moderates are so fully drowned out by the cacophony of shrill, ultraconservative rhetoric that we go virtually unheard and unseen among our more moderate counterparts from the Democrats, and are certainly invisible and irrelevant to the hard core liberals.

If John Kerry wins this election, we have an unprecedented opportunity to move the party back towards its Eisenhower era, moderate roots and sound principles. A Bush loss must be seized as the slap in the face that the GOP needs to wake up and understand that the majority of Americans will not tolerate such a radical, bigoted, homophobic, exclusionist platform as the one we were served this year. That quote from Atrios should not serve to depress us, but rather as an alarm and a call to action. There are still a good number of moderate Republicans up for office either now or in the next two election cycles. They need our full and very vocal support. And while you may think this sounds poisonous, I would urge you to support moderate Democrats in their election battles against the worst of the hard core right wing group. Tom DeLay is an excellent example.

Krauthammer Plays the "T" Card

posted by Jazz at 10/08/2004 09:50:00 AM

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In today's wapo editorial section, Charles Krauthammer manages, nearly in one breath, to decry people who "unfairly" criticize the Bush administration for passively linking Kerry to terrorists, while managing to do exactly that himself. His primary complaint is a valid one, but by failing to deliver the other half of the story he imparts the same message himself. Is this an oversight by the columnist, or simply a partisan slam against a perceived liberal enemy during a tight race?

"Do the bad guys -- the terrorists in their Afghan caves and Iraqi redoubts -- want George Bush defeated in this election? Bush critics, among them the editors of the New York Times, have worked themselves into a lather over the mere suggestion that this might be so... Of course the terrorists want Bush defeated. How can anyone pretend otherwise?"

On the surface, no matter how much you might want to support Kerry, this fact seems to be absolutely true. Krauthammer provides clear examples of strikes in Spain and Jakarta, among others, in which terrorists have clearly tried to isolate America by scaring off what few allies we have in Iraq. In some of these cases they have succeeded beyond their wildest expectations. To think that they don't have a vested interest in elections around the world, and how those elections will subsequently affect American foreign policy, certainly seems naive at best.

It is also patently obvious that bin Laden or any other terrorist leader would prefer to see Bush out of office. To his credit, Krauthammer points out that this is not, by any means, because they like Kerry and think he's a swell guy who would make a fine president.

"Does this mean that the bad guys want Kerry to win? Michael Kinsley with his usual drollery ridicules the idea by conjuring up the image of Osama bin Laden, "as he sits in his cave studying materials from the League of Women Voters," deciding to cast his absentee ballot for the Democrats. The point, of course, is that the terrorists have no particular interest in Kerry. What they care about is Bush. He could be running against a moose, and bin Laden and Abu Musab Zarqawi would be for the moose."

Bush has clearly identified himself to the world as a person who is so single-minded in his pursuit of perceived threats that he will invade and overthrow a country which never launched an attack against us and was not involved in the events of 9/11. His clear disregard for what UN and NATO allies have to say regarding his actions must send a ringing message to terrorists that diplomatic pressure in the international community will not change his mind. Obviously, as the author says, they would gladly take a moose rather than Bush.

If that were all there was to this question, I would have found no fault with this column. The problem is that the writer "complains about the complainers" if you will, without ever really addressing the meat of their complaint. It is one thing to acknowledge that terrorists don't like Bush. It is another matter entirely for Bush, Cheney, and all of their scurrilous media weasels to continually make public statements which clearly put forth the idea that "a vote for John Kerry is a vote with or for the terrorists." This is the message which they continue to feed out at every public event, and it is one of the lowest tactics to which they have sunk. By failing to point this blatantly obvious fact out, Krauthammer stops talking about the problem and becomes part of it.

More blogging on this column from both sides of the aisle can be found at: Power Line, The Moderate Voice, and Vodkapundit.

Friday Pet Blogging (Early Edition)

posted by Jazz at 10/08/2004 06:24:00 AM

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This is our dog Kenya. She's out on the back porch and desperately wants to come in. Can't say as I blame her since it looks like there's a storm coming. Sadly, I'm too busy blogging to go open the door. Will none of you help her, you heartless bastards?



Thursday, October 07, 2004

And Then, Depression Set In

posted by Jazz at 10/07/2004 07:48:00 PM

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This post at the Opinion Mill was one of the sadder things I've seen in a while. I will give fair warning that:

a.) It links through to Salon which I don't normally read. (A bit left for me.)
b.) It involves death both in Iraq and at home.

I'll confess I was moved, though.

EDIT: That blog is set up so that individually linked posts only appear by themselves in a box with no uplink. The main site is here if you care to look.



What if Kerry Wins

posted by Jazz at 10/07/2004 04:07:00 PM

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Today, via James Wolcott, I was introduced to a blogger who is the first "must read" that I have met in some time. Al Giordano blogs at Big, Left, Outside and greets us by posing a question that seems equally valid for both liberal Democrats and moderate Republicans - should John Kerry win, what comes next? First, he offers his prediction of what must first happen for Kerry in this election, and he does so powerfully.

"It's show time for Kerry: the hour when, in his past campaigns, he has come from behind to slash the tires of his opponent, squeak past him, and cross the finish line first. (Against as dirty a fighter as Bush, Kerry should feel no moral hesitation at all in playing even dirtier to win.) I'm betting - as I did last December and January in the Democratic primaries - that Kerry takes the November election decisively."

Al then goes on to predict what will happen, and more to the point what needs to happen.

"But if you find yourself on the Capitol steps, raising your right hand, taking an oath ?-- well, then you will learn just how powerless even presidents and kings have become in the shadow of the global empire of money and media."

The responsibility, as Giordano puts it, is less on Kerry himself and more on America. Rather than sighing in relief that the wicked Bush of the West has had a house dropped on him at last and dozing off in complacency, he insists that Americans need to continue to exert pressure from below, moving the country in a different direction. Whether you are a moderate or a liberal, I think these words ring true.

"A Kerry victory must not become another national sleeping pill, but, rather, a turning up of the volume on the American alarm clock so that it rings daily at the hours set from every home, farm, workplace, school and neighborhood: may the horns of revelry blow, and may we wake each day into battle to reclaim our country and, with our fellow and sister humans abroad, our world. Kerry, presuming he will take his oath of office on January 20, 2005, will be - from my perspective as one who knows him - an essentially good man in an essentially bad situation. Not even from the official apex of the Empire can he, alone, change the course of history or pull back from wars. The task will not be only his, but also ours, not merely to push him according to traditional political tactics (lobbying, letter-writing, petitions, forming organizations, and the rest of those ineffective choices offered by Power's menu), but also to create, from below, the societal conditions under which he can - indeed, must - act against entrenched and mega-powerful interests, which, for Lieutenant Kerry, can only mean mobilizing the multitudes to awaken and fight."

This is a message that may have been intended for Democrats, but is even more true for moderate Republicans. If Bush falls, the next four years will be vital in pushing the party back towards more centrist, moderate tones that call for inclusion into a truly "big tent" and respect for individual choices, while keeping old school, Eisenhower values. Simply laying about while Kerry holds office for four years will only give the ultraconservatives that much more time to regroup and put yet another Bush up for election in 2008.

Giordano is a frighteningly good writer. I look forward to seeing where he goes from here.


Earth to Vice President Cheney

posted by Jazz at 10/07/2004 03:15:00 PM

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Today the AP is reporting that Dick Cheney may in fact have lost touch with reality. It is very possibly too surreal to even compose an appropriate introduction, so I'll just move on to the quote.

"The headlines all say no weapons of mass destruction stockpiled in Baghdad. We already knew that... The suggestion is clearly there by Mr. Duelfer that Saddam had used the [oil for food] program in such a way that he had bought off foreign governments and was building support among them to take the sanctions down. Thus there was no reason to wait to invade Iraq to give inspectors more time to do their work"


Mr. Vice President, you spent the better part of a year insisting, along with George W. Bush, that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction which were an imminent threat to us. That was the reason, as you told it, that we had to move quickly to invade Iraq and start the war without waiting for more inspections or broader international support.

To turn around now and say that they fact Iraq did not have WMDs was the perfect justification for invading the country is... Alright. You've finally eclipsed my ability to comment. I have no idea what that is. But frankly sir, you sound insane. If that is the new talking point, there is a rocky road ahead.

More on this from: Pacific Views, Angry Bear, Oliver Willis, Tim Dunlop. The general concensus thus far seems to be that I'm not the only person who finds this completely bat sh... errr, perplexing.




Wells College Co-ed Protest Update

posted by Jazz at 10/07/2004 01:47:00 PM

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Truly amazing. The young women at Wells College, in Aurara, New York are now into their sixth straight day of living and sleeping in the Administration building of the campus in protest of the school's decision last weekend to go co-ed. A quote from the Sisterhood's Website:

"Today we barricaded the Presidential Office and picketed in front of Macmillan for a short time. After Dean Green addressed us this morning with an announcement that the Administration's "tone is changing." She gave us until 1pm to vacate the kitchen next to the AER where we have been cooking our meals, the Green room (Dean VanVechten's old office)which they had opened in order for us to store food, and to remove all of our personal belongings from Macmillan. The kitchen was locked and the DOS office has issued an extension until 7:30pm to vacate the green room. "

There has been a lot of news coverage of this, so I'll only touch on a few big hitters.



CNN has finally picked up the story. "Students in this Finger Lakes village will continue to protest until the board reverses its decision, said sophomore Rachel Crosbie. Opponents say they want to preserve the college's 136-year tradition as a school for women, and worry men may dominate the classroom if they are admitted."

The Ithaca Journal and the Star Gazette have more.

And speaking of news coverage... over two years time I have put more than a thousand lovingly constructed, carefully crafted posts on this blog. I let Georg, my wife, guest blog one time here because she is closely associated with the story. So who does the Syracuse Post Standard quote? That's right... Georg. Harrumph.

A bit of editorializing, if I may. First of all, I fully support the existence of and need for single sex schools in this country. It is not a matter of "equal rights" or opportunity. This is not the same as having racially segregated primary schools in the fifties, though some might tell you that it is. This is about women having the opportunity to attend an institute of higher education, should they so choose, where they can explore opportunities and a sense of culture that is unique to the female perspective. There is no insidious feminist revolt going on to plot the downfall of men. This is simply about opportunity and empowerment for women preparing to enter professional society.

Secondly, as a marketing professional, I have to question the business strategy behind the administration's choice to go co-ed. What was the thinking behind this? As things currently stand, being a single sex women's university was the one defining facet that set Wells apart from its competition. (And competition for students is fierce in the education community.) By going co-ed they are then forced to compete with every other smaller college out there. Plus, what will the big attraction be for potential male applicants? What is the marketing hook that you will lead with in your brochures? "Come to Wells... we've got lots of chicks?"

Unless your mind is heading straight to the gutter, there isn't going to be that big of a draw for male applicants. (And let's face it... the women at Wells are perfectly capable of getting dates because most of the boys from Colgate are driving over there for just that reason anyway.)

All kidding aside, it's not like the college is offering an NCAA Big East sports team to attract the boys. Also, Wells is primarily a liberal arts college. They don't offer the range of programs, particularly in engineering and technical disciplines, that are needed to provide a broad base of attraction for male students across the spectrum. In thinking that they will boost enrollment, the administrators are very likely shooting themselves in the foot. Male applicants may turn out to be scarce while, as these protests show, they could lose a large portion of their female population who came to Wells primarily for the single sex environment.

Bad marketing. Bad move. Bad management. Angry young women with signs and bandannas. Bad press. To the President of Wells: You blew it. This was a poor move.

Update: More news on this story continues to come in.

War Crime or Combat Footage?

posted by Jazz at 10/07/2004 10:37:00 AM

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(This item found via Attaturk at Rising Hegemon.)

This story has been around since the spring of this year, but apparently has now reached the attention of some mainstream media. There is video footage available of an American pilot in Iraq bombing a group of people in a Fallujah street, complete with cockpit audio. (Warning: This video, while not up close and graphic, shows an aerial bombing attack on a group of people and is disturbing.) You can see the video here. There is also some ink coverage of it here.

The implication via editing of this story is clear - you are intended to believe that you have just witnessed a war crime. The title of the print story is Pilots Toast Hit on Iraqi 'Civilians.' (Emphasis mine) Attaturk is fair minded and prefaces his post by saying:

"If these people were civilians, especially if there was no effort to confirm whether they were civilians..."

However the title of the print article and, more to the point, the audio from the film clip, don't give us much to go on in terms of identifying the people who were hit by the bomb. Clearly, by putting the word 'civilian' in quotes, the newspaper is indicating they don't know that conclusively. Also, for the short duration of the clip, the conversation going on between the pilot and some superior (presumably) who is not named, give us no context for the activity. In fact, they seem, in my opinion, to point against the possibility of this being some unprovoked war crime. Also, the word "toast" is a bit of a stretch. There is a person besides the pilot who, after the bomb strikes, says "Oh... dude" and I'll admit there is a hint of possible laughter in his voice. Or it could have just been shock. I couldn't say for sure.

There have been numerous battles in Fallujah this year. Some of them have been fairly large scale. This video shows a group of people - approximately two dozen - moving along a street. The camera appears to be, at a minimum, several hundred feet in the air. The figures are tiny, and distinguishing any detail is nearly impossible. They could be in civilian clothes, they could be in uniform. (Not that many insurgents run around in uniform.) They may be unarmed, but they may all be carrying guns slung over their shoulders. At that distance, I can not tell.

In short, from what little we can see in the film, this may have been a couple of dozen workers at a factory heading out on their lunch break, but it could also have been a sizable group of armed insurgents moving towards a target off screen. We can't see enough to say either way.

The audio is particularly compelling to me. The pilot who conducted the bombing clearly asked some other person for permission before releasing the bomb. Permission was given. Call me an optimist if you wish, but I prefer to think that our soldiers are not a group of wanton, random, high tech killers of innocent citizens in Iraq. By asking and receiving permission, without even time for debate, it sounds to me like this pilot was one of many people engaged in a battle in Fallujah. It's very possible that there were any number of groups of armed insurgents fighting various American units in the city. That could have been one of the armed groups of insurgents moving in on Americans and, having been spotted, the order to attack them was given.

Again, I can't prove my opinion on this any more than someone else could prove that it was an unprovoked war crime. I freely admit my opinion is biased because I don't want to think ill of our soldiers. But even putting bias aside, this looks highly suspicious to me and it does not look like the malicious act of one pilot committing a war crime. I think what we witnessed here was a tragic, but typical battle scene that will happen during any urban war.

Some Advice for Both Candidates

posted by Jazz at 10/07/2004 09:54:00 AM

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A blast from the past.

Rely on the ordinary virtues that intelligent, balanced human beings have relied on for centuries: common sense, thrift, realistic expectations, patience, and perseverance.

-- John C. Bogle

Seeing What You Want to See

posted by Jazz at 10/07/2004 07:34:00 AM

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The CIA report on Saddam's MIA WMDs is out and, as usual, bloggers from both wings are declaring it an irrefutable victory for their side. You can check out some MSM coverage of the report here, for an MSNBC report, or here, for an AP report. It only took a few minutes for the pundits to shift the spin machine into high gear. Keep in mind, here, that all of these people were looking at exactly the same information. Here are their conclusions:

Chris Bowers at MyDD saw the confirmation that Saddam had no WMDs, and even his ability to restart a program to make them had been deteriorating throughout the nineties. His conclusion?

"Even though Hussein was ignoring them, the ability to one day restart idle And degrading weapons programs that could then one day possibly lead to actual weapons is the same as having massive stockpiles of weapons. At least, that is what I assume the new Bush spin on WMD's will be following the release of this report."

Meanwhile, over at Captain's Quarters, Captain Ed looks at the same report and sees evidence of French complicity with Iraq and an admission that Saddam would have liked to start a WMD program again if he could get the sanctions lifted and take the world's eyes off of him.

"In yet another revelation that the French conspired to undermine US and global security, the Duelfer report from the Iraq Survey Group provides evidence that Saddam Hussein had bribed the French to not just sit out the war but to actively undermine any attempts to enforce the UNSC resolutions against Iraq."

The almost surreal part of these twisting reviews is that the information they are focusing in on is all actually in the report. If you oppose Bush, you see that the reasons he gave for invading Iraq were wrong. If you support him, you see information confirming your suspicion that the French have had it in for us all along, and that Saddam was a sneaky bastard who could never be trusted.

Where can the interested voter find a bottom line in all of this mess and spin? If the primary, driving issue of this election is the war in Iraq, and it certainly seems to be, then we are left to decide if Bush did the right thing or the wrong thing. Yes, he may have been fed bad intelligence, but the fact remains that this invasion was his decision, the war happened on his watch, and he will be held to answer for it.

So, was the war justified? Newsweek has an interesting look at the way-back machine today under the title of "Rewriting History." With all of the election year speeches which threaten to drown us, it can sometimes be hard to recall exactly what we were told during the runup to the Iraq invasion. From the Newsweek piece:

"Except for the allegation about Iraqi ties to Al Qaeda?a claim that is now more in question than ever?the other examples cited by Cheney in Tuesday night?s debate never have been previously emphasized by Bush administration officials, and for good reasons."

If you listen to Bush and Cheney today, you'd think that the only reason Bush ever gave for invading was a sincere, Christian desire to free the oppressed Iraqi people and spread hope and democracy in the Middle East. Stop and ask yourself the following question: if this were the Spring of 2002 and the President of the United States gave those reasons for wanting to launch an invasion of the sovereign nation of Iraq, would you, your elected representatives, or any thinking person have approved? If you can answer yes to that question, then Bush is your man and should get your vote.

If you look back at the real reasons given for the invasion of Iraq, and then read the findings in the CIA report, the war begins to look like it was, as John Kerry has insisted, a monumental blunder. All those troops in Iraq could have been in Afghanistan for the last two years. What might they have accomplished?

Spin this CIA report however you like, but give it some thought. And don't let your history be rewritten by the spin machine.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

More Partisans (On Both Sides) Behaving Badly

posted by Jazz at 10/06/2004 05:41:00 PM

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After talking to Dean and some readers in comments, I was asked if there were more examples of Republicans acting up in this manner. I feel that misses the point. It's happening on both sides of the aisle, and it lowers the level of political discourse, taking away from the national debate. You can find sites that are conservative in nature who will feature illegal actions by Democrats. Conversely, you will find liberal sites showing such scenes caused by Republicans. It all needs to be condemned by serious minded voters no matter which side you take.

Some more examples: (and we can't just pick on Republicans.)

In Ohio this week, the local news reports that a Kerry supporter puts a Bush supporter in a headlock.

A protester stood at the beginning of Kerry's speech on Wednesday and started to yell, but a man sitting next to him wearing a T-shirt from the Sheet Metal Workers union grabbed him and put him in a headlock. Two other men sitting nearby joined the fray and pushed him to the ground. Secret Service agents escorted the man outside the building. Reporters who tried to talk to the man were ordered to return inside. Officials said he was complaining that he was assaulted and they were investigating.

In other news, you really only need to look at this website. There are some serious whack jobs running around out there.



Log Cabin Republicans Appeal to Gillespie

posted by Jazz at 10/06/2004 04:31:00 PM

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Over at the Moderate Republican, (which should be daily reading for any GOP member who is sick of the radical, bigoted, homophobic sect of the party who is currently controlling our platform) Dennis has a post called The Raging Pink Elephant. A letter was sent from the Log Cabin Republicans to the chairman of the party asking him to step back from their current position.

Dear Chairman Gillespie:

I am writing on behalf of Log Cabin Republicans, the nation's largest organization of Republicans who support fairness, freedom, and equality for gay and lesbian Americans; including the 1,000,000 gays and lesbians who voted for President George W. Bush in 2000. On a personal note, I write you as a fellow Republican, fellow Catholic and fellow graduate of Catholic University. I write specifically regarding recent anti-gay tactics being employed by the Republican National Committee (RNC) and a number of GOP campaigns. While Log Cabin is busy supporting dozens of fair-minded Republican candidates for House and Senate, as well as numerous inclusive local and state candidates, and working hard to build a sustainable majority party, some in our party and at the RNC are working to knock down the Republican Big Tent.


There is much more. It's futile to try to claim that the GOP has a "big tent" in public speeches while continuing to endorse policies of exclusion. The letter is worth reading, and I recommend it to you highly.

Wolcott Weighs In

posted by Jazz at 10/06/2004 03:53:00 PM

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By this point I believe that many of us are reaching pundit overload on the veep debate and I, for one, know that I could certainly use a good nap prior to the next Bush - Kerry showdown on Friday. (Why must these be on so late? I'm an old man and I need my sleep!) However, when Wolcott speaks I am drawn by a Pavlovian response to read and usually quote. (Not to mention taking any opportunity to urge you to read his excellent book, Attack Poodles.)

Wolcott's take on the debate was different from mine, as I regrettably thought that the match was nearly dead even, with Cheney possibly taking it by a nose. However, his analysis of it is written far better than I would ever manage. A taste:

"I think we saw that [the Costanza Trap] last night. Cheney, like everyone else in the Bush White House, gets up at birdless dawn and by early evening shows unmistakable signs of testiness and snappishness. He had one good early round in last night's debate, but faded long before the finish, and his closing statement, which few of the media commentators commented upon (so eager were they to burst out of the starting gates with their spiels), was a ludicrous mishmash, while Edwards' was simple and eloquent and emotionally effective.

Like Bush last week, Cheney only fed the beast of the Republican "base." He did nothing, less than nothing, to reach out to undecideds or swing voters or anyone who wasn't already committed to the ticket. Edwards did. That's why, despite some moments of shakiness and repetition and phony tough-guyism, Edwards won."


If you don't know what "the Costanza Trap" is, I leave you to read the entire post from Wolcott. It will be worth your time.

I still believe that this debate was far tighter than the sheep to wolves defeat that Bush suffered. But reading the opinions of many others, I can see how people would feel that Cheney was speaking to none but the already converted. Friday should be interesting. I'm buying extra high test coffee in preparation.

For Dean: Republicans Behaving Badly

posted by Jazz at 10/06/2004 11:36:00 AM

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In a previous post, I commented on a list of atrocities committed by Democrats against Republicans, as reported by Michelle Malkin. Several people chimed in on this. One of the seriously shocking ones was Power Line who went so far as to throw the Nazi flag:

"Al Gore complained that Republicans on the internet are "digital Brownshirts." It's time to start getting concerned about real Brownshirts, all of whom are Democrats."

(Bold emphasis mine.) I also mentioned Dean (of Dean's world) requesting information about instances of Republicans getting into similar trouble. Dean is definitely one of the less shrill people knocking around the blogosphere, and seems to give any valid story a fair shake. Since he asked so nicely, I thought I'd take the time to dredge up a couple of samples for him from past Republican antics. (Mind you, Democrats are no better, but it sadly seems that nobody has clean hands in this fight.)

First up, we have... the Sept. 9, 2004 GOP rally at Colmar, PA.



Doesn't the young lady Democrat appear to be having a fabulous time as she is dragged out of her chair and down the aisle by her hair at the hands of one of the Republican faithful? And just look at the look on the guy's face. Even if you could excuse this kind of treatment to remove some person who is non-violently protesting, he's simply enjoying it.

Moving along... if a picture is worth a thousand words, a video must be worth a million. (Open that in IE. It doesn't play in Netscape for some reason.) This ABC video shows a valiant young Republican man kicking a female Democratic protester while she is being held down on the floor by Secret Service agents at the GOP convention in NYC. Here's a photo of our stalwart young man after he was busted by TalkLeft.




The party tried to distance themselves from the young man afterwards. Strangely, the Secret Service guys were too busy dragging the girl out of the building to arrest this fellow, and he was able to get back to enjoying the festivities.

I'll pause here for a moment and allow myself a guilty bit of caveman scorn by making an observation. At least when the Democrat in Malkin's story punched somebody, it was another man - and a younger, stronger one at that who proceeded to beat the tar out of him. When our big, burly Bush/Cheney supporting men decide to get physical, I wonder how it is that they wind up beating up girls?

Back to the news. Sadly, no pictures on this one, but out in Denver, we find a devout Christian Bush supporter punching some veterans who are marching for John Kerry. Isn't that just lovely?

A member of a Christian group has been fired after allegedly punching several veterans marching for presidential candidate John Kerry in Monday's Harvest Festival parade in Windsor, Colo.

Russell Laughlin, 40, of Nunn, was a member of the northern Colorado FamilyLife Marriage Conference and was walking ahead of 175 members of Veterans for Kerry.According to police, Laughlin was handing out pamphlets for his group while making loud insults about Kerry to the crowd gathered to watch the parade.

After about a mile, the veterans group asked Laughlin to go back to his own group, but he refused and instead stood in front of the Kerry group, refusing to move, according to a Chris Humphries, an Army veteran and Kerry campaign employee.
That's when a fight erupted and Laughlin grabbed a veteran by his shirt and started swinging, according to Gary Fedel, a Lakewood, Colo. member of Veterans for Kerry. Humphries said Laughlin then turned around punched her in the mouth.


(Emphasis added, mine.) I don't want to sound like there's a recurring theme here, but again we see a male Bush supporter punching two veterans and one of them happens to be a woman.

We could go on with this all day. The point is, there is no sense in trying to act like only Democrats do bad things. It is no more sensible than saying only Republicans do. But compared to these three guys, Malkin's story of some cardboard signs being ripped up by angry Democrats and letters being dumped on floors suddenly doesn't seem quite so horrendous, does it?


Partisans Behaving Badly

posted by Jazz at 10/06/2004 10:02:00 AM

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Today, Michelle Malkin brings us a collection of stories about Kerry-Edwards supporters causing mayhem and destruction. For the record, no matter which side of the aisle you favor, I am opposed to people breaking the law and causing injury or destruction of property in the name of partisan protest.

Her stories include a group of AFL-CIO protesters storming a Bush/Cheney office in Florida. They apparently drew graffiti on a poster of Bush and dumped some letters on the floor. This sort of behavior doesn't help anyone's cause. There are also stories of shots being fired into another Bush office, a Democrat punching a Republican, and some incidents of Bush/Cheney signs being burned.

Unfortunately, Michelle really needs to start reading the stories she links to before trumpeting them as proof of a violent liberal conspiracy. Take a good look at those links and read the entire articles. They aren't that long.

First we have the storming of the Florida office. The office was open, and the people weren't really trespassing at the time they entered. They should *not* have defaced the poster, but the letters they "dumped" were all intended for that office and opposed changes in overtime regulations. It is also worth noting that the injuries sustained in this incident were to the protesters except for one GOP volunteer who's injuries were described as "minor." They should have stayed outside to protest, but this was hardly the storming of the Bastille.

The story of the windows being shot out of another office is certainly disturbing, but the article states multiple times that neither the police nor the office workers have any idea of who the shooter was. No suspects. Yes, it could have been a partisan liberal. It also could have been an angry ex-wife of somebody who worked there or a drunken maniac who thought it was the office of Bozo the Clown. Malkin, however, doesn't let little details like that slow her down, and just lumps it into her collection as fact that it was a Democrat who did it. Why bother with a trial?

The punching story is one where there is a clear cut case of illegal activity. The Democrat in that report definitely threw the first punch at the Republican. Violence is not the answer to any problem, he deserves to be prosecuted for that, and apparently he is. However, as is so often the case, there's a lot more to that story than meets the eye if you only read Malkin's description. The attacker first punched a cardboard poster of George W. Bush. The "victim" in this case followed him out into the street and began loudly berating him. And after the attacker threw the first punch, the "victim" punched him multiple times in return, knocked him to the ground and continued to kick the man in the ribs while he lay on the ground until police arrived on the scene. Malkin, of course, mentions none of that.

The sign burning story is, again, just like the shooting story. It was a criminal act of vandalism and the perpetrator should be punished. Unfortunately, just as in the other story, neither the police nor the victim have the slightest idea who set fire to the sign. Malkin convicts local liberals without a trial. The same story also reports that local Democrats cars have had their tires slashed by people who were apparently bothered by the Kerry/Edwards bumper stickers on them. No mention of that in Malkin's report.

One other item of note in Michelle's recent offerings is worthy of mention. In her review of the debate coverage, Michelle takes Wonkette to task and berates her for comparing Vice President Cheney to the Stay Puff Marshmallow man. Fair enough - I can respect anyone's opinion that holders of national office are due at least a minimal amount of respect regardless of how we feel about them. The problem is, she makes this accusation and attack on Wonkette in the same post (and this is the title, mind you) where she endorses and echoes another person's description of Senator John Edwards as "a dog yapping at a grown-up's heels."

Can you spell "IRONY", Michelle? I didn't think so.

Edit: More on this at Dean's World. Dean invites people to send him any instances of Republicans behaving this way. Where to start? The woman dragged out of the Bush rally by her hair? The woman at the RNC who was held down on the ground and kicked repeatedly? There are pictures online for all of them. I'm a bit too busy to send them to Dean just now, but feel free.

EDIT: In the interest of "fair and blanced" editorial coverage, a post has been added of some Republicans behaving badly. It's only fair to give equal time to both parties. This was at the request of Dean at Dean's World.

One Stop Debate Shopping

posted by Jazz at 10/06/2004 07:32:00 AM

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If, like me, you are interested in seeing where the chips fell across the blogosphere regarding last night's veep debate, just click here. Joe Gandelman, as usual, has given his own detailed analysis of the event, followed by links and excerpts from dozens of blogs across the political spectrum. With all of the voices being aired, it gets rather long but well worth the read, with links to all of the pundits who are commenting.

I was not surprised to see that a majority had that same opinion as I. The debate was, for all intents and purposes, a tie. Some gave a slight edge to Cheney, myself included, and others gave the nod to Edwards by a nose. Predictably, there were a few hard core partisans who claimed that one man or the other had "wiped the floor" with their opponent, but not many. This debate was as close to a draw as you could get. Both men stayed on message and intent on their goal for the entire ninety minutes. Cheney kept his composure solidly under a series of brutal attacks by Edwards who, for his part, demonstrated a cool, calm demeanor under similar pressure.

Edit: Political Wire has some other good links for debate analysis. Taegan Goddard calls the debate for Edwards, where I saw it going slightly Cheney's way.

Edit #2: Mr. Left also disagrees with me and gives Edwards an overwhelming win in the debate. An excerpt from his analysis:

Cheney attacks Edwards "US suffers 90% of the casualties because you couldn't build a coalition" with a statistic that "50% of the casualties are Iraqi". NOW he's counting the Iraqi dead? That's awfuly conveniant.

So why did Edwards win? Because Cheney can't help himself from lying. On foreign affairs, he exposed his distain for the American people, insisting that he didn't link Iraq to 9/11. He did. Nonstop. For 3 years. We've all heard it again and again. And he disrespects all of us by assuming we'll forget it tonight because its politically convenient for him to abandon his long-held position.



Tuesday, October 05, 2004

NBC's Blogger Coverage of the VP Debate

posted by Jazz at 10/05/2004 11:16:00 PM

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There isn't much to say. Hindrocket looked unsure, mouthing words of support for Cheney (who I felt won the debate by a slim margin) and Wonkette just looked confused like a deer in the headlights, apologizing for Edwards. Yes, I think overall Edwards lost the night on domestic issues but did a good job beating on Cheney on the war on terror. It was close. NBC gave the bloggers, by my watch, about 65 seconds total. Not much time. Neither came off very well and that only serves for the MSM to say that bloggers aren't a "legitimate" part of the editorial conversation.

Poorly done by NBC. More time should have been given to Power Line and Wonkette to get their points across as well as they could.

The VP Debate Drinking Game

posted by Jazz at 10/05/2004 07:47:00 PM

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The first thing I will say about the debates is that both George W. Bush and John Kerry would be destroyed in a debate by either Cheney or Edwards. They were both masters compared to last week's debates.

My friend Mark and I decided that prior to blogging about tonight's Vice Presidential debates, we would set up an old college style drinking game to go with them. We would do a shot of beer every time Dick Cheney said any word or phrase involving:

1. War on Terror
2. 9/11
3. Danger (to America)
4. Attacks on America

Fortunately, we cancelled the game. We both would have died of alcohol poisoning half way through (and Mark is six feet four inches tall and 230 pounds). At 21 minutes, we were up to 22 ticks on the paper.

Edwards definitely came in at a disadvantage. He is a young man by comparison, and in terms of looks, he appears simply boyish compared to Cheney's grizzled experienced frame. What should have been a handicap, however, turned into an advantage. Edwards came across on the one hand as a voice of hope and optimism in the face of Cheney's fear tactics and despair. On the other hand, he pointed a sharp finger at Cheney, calling him out on his negative message and outright lies to the public.

They both, however, had strong points. Edwards and Cheney both had no signs of fidgeting or uncomfortable reactions. They both looked unshakeable. Edwards kept on the attack, and pointed out lies about Cheney and Bush regarding Iraq and the "war on terror."

On the domestic issues, I thought Cheney did better. I didn't agree with everything he said, but he delivered it better than Edwards.

Overall? It's close to a tie, but as much as it pains me to say it, I'd give it to Cheney. He was a master and never lost his composure like Bush.

Note: This post sent to The Moderate Voice to join in with others. Check them all out.

Bull Moose Republicans Fleeing From Bush

posted by Jazz at 10/05/2004 05:35:00 PM

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Anyone who reads Running Scared regularly knows of my fondness for the old school Republicans dating back to Eisenhower (who I quote in my banner) to the Bull Moose folks of Teddy Roosevelt. It seems that George W. Bush is driving folks of this mindset away in droves. As reported by Middle Earth Journal, one of our solid members (and an aide of McCain) will not be supporting Bush.

"OK, it's Marshall Wittmann channeling Teddy Roosevelt. Both Josh Marshall and Andrew Sullivan discuss this unlikely Kerry ally today. Wittmann ran the "Bull Moose" website before going to work for John (politics first) McCain in 2000. His new home is, at of all places, the DLC."

It's a sad day indeed. But you can hardly blame the man. Read the whole article, linked above.

Wells College Co-Ed Move Update

posted by Jazz at 10/05/2004 04:14:00 PM

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As reported in this previous post, Well's College, one of the oldest women's' liberal arts universities in the country, has voted to go co-ed and the students are up in arms. A web site has been established, set up in pseudo-blog fashion, with the activities pertaining to this.

Apparently a large group of women have moved into the campus admin office and are sleeping there in protest of this change. They are awaiting a meeting with the powers that be. Meanwhile, alumni from around the country (and the world in some cases) are threatening to pull all future support for the school. Here are some recent updates from their web site:

We have barricaded a wing of Macmillan with bodies. Neither Admissions nor President Ryerson's office is accessible. We have also donned black gags to show how we have been silenced by the Administration. They have given us 30 minutes to move. We have less than 20 of these left. We're not moving. Call the press!

We refused to move and when asked what we wanted, we asked for President Ryerson to come meet with us and negotiate our demands. They said they would tell her. That was about 2 hours ago. Press is not allowed in the building, but will be posting photographs on this site soon.


As my wife posted in the post linked above, schools like this offer a unique educational opportunity to young women seeking a liberal arts education in a progressive environment. If you feel that America's young women should still be afforded such an opportunity, you can help by contacting the president of the college at president@wells.edu.

Edit: More updates to this story here.

The Jersey Teacher Story Blows Up

posted by Jazz at 10/05/2004 03:49:00 PM

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It seems that The One True Tami's hunches, as I related in a previous post, were apparently vindicated. There has been a massive update by Joe Gandelman at The Moderate Voice. I'll leave you to read the entire thing, (and it's worth reading) but the bottom line is that the teacher was, in fact, pushing GOP politics in class, berating students with liberal viewpoints, and a lot more. Having been, as they say, caught with her hand in the cookie jar, she pulled a Parlock move and went to the media to look like the poor, victimized teacher. A few snippets from Joe, who is a source I definitely trust.

Clearly, the media was not given accurate information about this story -- and the only people who could champion what this teacher was doing would be Democrats and Republicans who believe classrooms should become battlefields in the presidential campaign. Ms. Pillai-Diaz is a new Language Arts teacher in the South Brunswick Schools. Recently, the school administration began receiving complaints from students and parents that Ms. Pillai-Diaz was using her position, classroom and teaching time to engage in partisan politics. Students reported that she had made statements which denigrated one party over the other. The conversations included Ms. Pillai-Diaz telling some students who offered opinions contrary to her statements, that she was ?glad they were not old enough to vote.? Other comments to students, including such statements as, ?you should be ashamed to be a Democrat? have been verified through student interviews.

A classroom bulletin board, normally intended for curriculum-related matters, was set up as what she herself described as a ?personal bulletin board.? On the bulletin board she placed a picture of the President, the President's dog, the Oval Office and several other Presidential artifacts. In addition, she placed a stuffed elephant on a classroom cabinet, which generated student reaction and discussion about partisan politics.

There's a lot more, but I'll leave you to read it. This is one Jersey situation that has completely blown up. I was defending her at first based on incomplete information, since I still feel there is nothing wrong with displaying a picture of the current president (no matter who it is) in school classrooms, if it is only for civics information. When I'm wrong, I'm wrong. Unless this story turns around again, I was wrong on this one. As they say, "developing..."





U.S. Bugged Chirac's Phone Prior to Iraq Invasion

posted by Jazz at 10/05/2004 01:07:00 PM

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(Source: BBC ) In a new book to be published in France tomorrow, "Chirac contre Bush - l'autre guerre" (Chirac versus Bush - the other war) the author claims multiple sources confirmed that U.S. intelligence regularly listened in on Chirac's private calls. This inside information added to the souring of relations between Bush and Chirac in the months before the war, with one U.S. official allegedly telling a senior French military official that the relationship between the two leaders was "irreparable."

"The relationship between your president and ours is irreparable on the personal level. You have to understand that President Bush knows exactly what President Chirac thinks of him,"

I understand that our intelligence service needs to gather all sorts of information from many sources in the interest of national security. However, when we use these resources for nothing more than the enhancement of Bush's political agenda at the expense of our relationships with our allies, that is simply an abuse of power.

Partisans on the right continue to scoff at Kerry's allegations concerning Bush's failure to build a broad, multinational alliance for the invasion of Iraq. Hearing stories like this one only serve to make me more sure than ever that Kerry is the one seeing this clearly. Bush has demonstrated a history of arrogance and intolerance for foreign leaders who were not, in effect, lap dogs for his administration's goals. We were hardly the only ones to notice this, it seems.

Your Quote of the Day

posted by Jazz at 10/05/2004 10:53:00 AM

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"The notoriously tight ship known as the USS Bushco is starting to take on water and the rats are getting pruney feet."

- Tbogg

Bloggers on Network TV

posted by Jazz at 10/05/2004 10:28:00 AM

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Following the VP debate tonight, two bloggers will be on NBC Nightly News to analyze the event. The choices? Hindrocket from Power Line and Wonkette.

Ok. You can see taking Hindrocket. Solid conservative blog, rarely if ever shrill, good credentials and reliable coverage of the political landscape from the right wing perspective. But... Wonkette? Is there any reason that TV and the MSM papers keep doting on her? Were I more cynical (is that possible?) I might think they were hoping that she is going to take her top off or start shouting obscenities. Couldn't they have matched Hindrocket up with Atrios?

CNS Documents Looking Shaky

posted by Jazz at 10/05/2004 08:11:00 AM

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An update to this story on the announcement of CNS's "exclusive" security documents detailing WMD information in Iraq and ties between Saddam and al Qaeda. Granted, this may just be one of those insane coincidences that can and do happen in an infinite universe, but on the same day that CNS made their "exclusive announcement", Bush administration bulldog Don Rumsfeld came out of the closet and distanced himself from the story. While addressing the Council on Foreign Relations, the secretary announced that we had been fooled on the WMDs and that he had not seen any hard evidence of a connection between Saddam and al Qaeda.

Rumsfeld, undoubtedly having gotten rapid, frantic phone calls from his boss and Karl Rove, started back tracking on that statement and asking for a do over. Within hours he was back before the press saying that his comments about there being no evidence of a connection had been "misunderstood" and that what he really meant by that was that there was obviously a connection. Too late, and the damage was done.

None of this bodes well for the CNS documents, particularly given the timing of their release and the "trusted source" to whom they were given. Joining in on the list of blogs hitching their wagons to the veracity of this story is Media Lies. Swelling the ranks of the skeptical, we find Middle Earth Journal (who just disregards it) and On the Third Hand (who seems to want to believe, but has taken the "large grain of salt" stand of healthy skepticism.) Ungodly Politics found the story so far off the meter that it wasn't worth blogging about.

Martians for Kerry?

posted by Jazz at 10/05/2004 06:44:00 AM

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I believe that John Kerry needs to learn that there are times when you should just answer the question that is asked, shut up, and move on to the next question. When he's allowed to ramble on in "freestyle" mode for too long it can turn ugly. This popped up again yesterday when the Senator was answering questions in a Town Hall forum in New Hampshire.

When asked about the Bush team's criticism of his "global test" comment during the debate, Kerry gave a straight, succinct answer.

"They're misleading Americans about what I said. What I said in the sentence preceding that was, 'I will never cede America's security to any institution or any other country.' No one gets a veto over our security. No one. And if they were honest enough to give America the full quote, which America heard, they would know that I'm never going to allow America's security to be outsourced."

That's great, John. Good answer - short and to the point. Unfortunately, Senator Kerry felt the need to press on and fill in some more time, so he added:

"But I can do a better job of protecting America's security because the test that I was talking about was a test of legitimacy, not just in the globe, but elsewhere."

Did he really just say, "... not just in the globe, but elsewhere"? Where else will we be protecting America? Mars? Venus? Oh, John. You had a really good presentation going there, answering the desperate sounding criticisms of the Bush team. Why did you have to throw that in?

Jack O'Lanterns for Kerry

posted by Jazz at 10/05/2004 06:06:00 AM

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This is seasonal and just too fine to miss. Mr. Left and friends have channeled some highly creative, artistic energy into making Halloween pumpkins which serve as political ads for John Kerry. In particular, be sure to check out the pumpkin that is vomiting all over Dick Cheney.

You're welcome. (You'll thank me for the link later.)


Monday, October 04, 2004

OHMYGAWD! Saddam WMD and Terror Connection!

posted by Jazz at 10/04/2004 06:23:00 PM

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Ok, this is obviously going to get some play in the blogosphere. Today, world renowned and respected credible media source Cybercast News Service, a.k.a CNSNews.com, reported that they had received...

"Ummm... excuse me. Who was that source again? Cybersomething?"

Please stop interrupting. I've never heard of them either, but this is NEWS dammit!

Ahem... as I was saying, CNS reports that they have received exclusive ownership of 42 top secret security documents proving that Saddam Hussein had possession of massive amounts of weapons of mass destruction and had proven ties to bin Laden and other known anti-American terrorist organizations which shows ...

"I'm sorry, but... did you say bin Laden? Didn't the President already say there were no connections between bin Laden and Hussein?"

Look. If you're going to keep interrupting, you'll have to leave.

Where were we? Oh, yes. CNS says that they have sole ownership of these documents which prove beyond doubt that Hussein was tied in with al Qaeda and had the WMD's that Bush never found.

Sorry. I can't go any further. The sarcasm meter just redlined and I can't afford a new one this week. But this is a serious story. This online "news" source (you'll have to follow the link above) claims to have the smoking gun that nobody else could find. Congratulations to CNS for driving up your hit count this week. Hopefully you won't go broke on Kleenex in your onanistic frenzy of celebration.

Let's take a very brief look at their claims, and the blogs who have weighed in either biting on the story or laughing it off. Some claims:

"They demonstrate that Saddam's government possessed mustard gas and anthrax, both considered weapons of mass destruction, in the summer of 2000, during the period in which United Nations weapons inspectors were not present in Iraq."

Really? Do you think, Sherlock? You think there were some ancient nerve gas agents still around a couple years before we invaded? *sigh*

One of the Iraqi memos contains an order from Saddam for his intelligence service to support terrorist attacks against Americans in Somalia. The memo was written nine months before U.S. Army Rangers were ambushed in Mogadishu by forces loyal to a warlord with alleged ties to al Qaeda.

So this involved a Somalian "warlord with alleged ties to al Qaeda." Knock me over with a feather. Even if these documents really exist, can we play a game of Six Degrees of Separation to Kevin Bacon? This brings up a sad point. I will now confess that, some twenty years ago, I voted for Ronald Reagan. He was involved in the Contra investigation. That supported feudal drug lords in South and Central America. They killed many people and dealt in bad chemicals. So I can never run for president because I endorse killing babies and shooting cocaine.

I could go on with quotes from this article all day long, but you would fall asleep and I'd feel even more silly. There are a group of bloggers who are about to feel extremely silly and some others who will be prescient. We'll deal with them in a moment.

First, as we often do with these allegations, let's break out Occam's Razor, shall we? Let's just say that such a group of documents exist. With the election polls in a dead heat and the pressure on Bush, don't you think that Karl Rove would kill his own mother and everyone in Congress to get his hands on them? And if any intelligence agency knew about such documents, don't you think that both Bush and Rove would have heard of them? If they had, do you think they would have remained secret under all the criticism Bush has received for invading Iraq when they had nothing to do with the war on terror?

I'll give you a moment to think about that. This is not just unlikely - it's fatuous.

Now, who has been chiming in on this? Michelle Malkin wins credit twice in one day for not leaping on this steaming pile of bait. But some others have.

Blogs Who I Hope Like Omelets Since They Shall Soon Have Eggs on Their Faces.

Protein Wisdom pretends to question the source, but then says, "Of course, none of this proves beyond a reasonable doubtthat Iraq would have used these weapons against American school children"
... which gives them the air of approving of the documents.

Little Green Footballs says, " It needs to be independently confirmed before we can fully trust the story..."

Fully trust? Thanks, LFG. Enjoy your eggs.

"INDC assumes a slight air of questioning it, but gives it early validity with: "If true, this is a legitimate bombshell (or at least it should be)"

Bon appetite.

Captain's Quarters, (I know you'll be shocked) buys into it like red meat to wolves: "If the translations and the authentications hold up, this is a blockbuster find."

Power Line, shockingly after their recent good run, plays the story without question. I expected better, guys.

Adding Media Lies to the list of document supporters. Did you want yours over easy or scrambled?


Blogs Smart Enough To Avoid The Steaming Pile of Bait

Secular Blasphemy pans the article. "This surely begs for an independent investigation and confirmation. Consider me skeptical."

Quad0 Blog blows it off completely.

Pandagon laughs at it from the start.

adding Middle Earth Journal. No way, Jose'.

On the Third Hand is hoping it's true, but still taking the grain of salt.

Ungodly Politics considers it not even worthy of blogging about.

There are more, and I'll try to update this as it goes, but let's all watch and see how it plays out, shall we?

EDIT: There is an update regarding Rumsfeld's comments on both WMD's and Saddam terror links in a later post, along with more blogs taking sides on the veracity of the CNS documents.


If You Live in New York

posted by Jazz at 10/04/2004 04:17:00 PM

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... and you are not registered to vote, you have FOUR DAYS to go register or get a registration form postmarked in the mail.

Yes, I know... New York is considered a "safe state" for Kerry. But there are a number of elections, including Sher Bohlert's, which are still up in the air and need your support. Plus, no matter who wins the presidential election, the mass of the "mandate from the people" is determined by the margins. (Note: Bush had zero mandate having "won" the election when more people voted for Gore.) There are a million reasons for you to vote, and no good reason not to.

If you are not registered, please go out and do so.

Michigan Ballots Have No Spot to Vote for Bush

posted by Jazz at 10/04/2004 03:53:00 PM

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From the always reliable Political Wire, one of the funnier accidents in the electoral follies.

"Michigan's ballot printer (for certain absentee ballots) erroneously printed ballots that make it impossible for the voter to vote for President Bush," Ballot Access News reports. "The ballots will be reprinted and re-mailed."

Updates to the New Jersey Teacher Story

posted by Jazz at 10/04/2004 01:40:00 PM

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First of all, let me be very clear. I did not steal the original story on this site from The One True Tami. We both just happened to be writing about it today, and she lives in Jersey so that's understandable. She has a second update to the story and both are worth reading. However, she also knows some of the players in this little drama and shared these comments with us:

"At first I was as outraged as you, but then I read all the local bits on it and I remembered that I *know* the administrators of this school, since my sister taught there for a while. They're not crazed democrat weasels or anything, and they're not so stupid that they'd start a fight over a picture of the president on the wall. The quote about this moan causing hatred tripped off an alarm too. I wonder if she's not just a very incendiary person, using this as an opportunity to make herself look like the wronged party."

So, two sides to every coin, eh? I am flatly refusing to come down on one side or the other of this without more details. However, it is worth pondering. Is this woman a beleaguered teacher being victimized by liberal partisans in her school system and her union? Or is she, perhaps, the new female version of Phil Parlock? You be the judge.

EDIT: Even more updates. There are reports, which I haven't seen confirmed, that the teacher in question had pictures of a number of presidents displayed in that classroom. If that is the case, then regardless of her personal politics, it is insanity for anyone to demand that Bush's picture be removed.

A side note: Did I mention how much I simply love doing update posts? They allow me to steal shamelessly from other people while maintaining the illusion that I'm writing new content.

Update on Kerry's Pen

posted by Jazz at 10/04/2004 01:24:00 PM

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It took less than twelve hours for this story to acquire the names "Jacketgate" and "Pocketgate." The New York Post has apparently put the issue to rest, though. Slow motion film analysis reveals that the secret object was .... wait for it .... a pen.

Kerry campaign spokesman David Wade is quoted as saying, with the oh so perfect amount of dry sarcasm, "We plead guilty to having a pen."

I would like to note that it has been pointed out to me that Outside the Beltway was not actually endorsing the veracity of the Drudge story as much as just "reporting that it was reported."

Also cheers to Hindrocket at Power Line who was not tempted to bite on the story, saying, "I'm not drinking the Jacketgate Kool-aid yet." Excellent turn of a phrase.

What is the bottom line to this bit of ado over nothing? Very simply put, both campaigns are watching poll numbers that have moved to a dead tie, even throwing out the margin of error. They are desperate for a scandal, hungry for any straw to grasp at, any shred, any whiff of impropriety, anything... ANYTHING that might drive those numbers another half a point in their direction. At this point, they will rush to press with rumors in the hopes of getting one more vote in a swing state.

At the end of the day, it is John Kerry's job to convince us that he is the man for the office. If he can not make a case based on the issues which convinces enough of us to vote for him, (or at least enough of us in three states) then he was not destined to be the president. Yes, I want Bush out of office, but I recognize that the majority gets to make that call, and if I am destined to be in the minority then I shall just have to deal with it. As Ron over at Middle Earth Journal so aptly put it recently, "Mr. Kerry you will get my vote but I will be holding my nose."


At Last: Solid Polling Numbers for Women

posted by Jazz at 10/04/2004 10:37:00 AM

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Much discussion is being given this month to the importance of the women's vote this November. I don't trust any of the big, fancy pollsters for a call on this. I'm taking the word of Mary Pat Hyland who has conducted her own poll to get the last word on this burning question. I'm shamelessly stealing her entire column and pasting it in here because most people probably aren't registered for this small town paper and it was just too funny to pass up.

An exclusive (and amusive) presidential poll

Do election polls remind you of Faye Dunaway in Chinatown being slapped by a Jack Nicholson-like pollster? "Bush is leading. Kerry is leading. Bush and Kerry are leading!"

The Gallups and Zogbys agree the winner may be determined by women voters. Their polls don't truly tap a woman's intuition, however, so here's my own. Its margin of error is plus or minus five Weight Watchers' points.

Thirty-five women responding to the poll said the following:

When asked what color would you associate with each -- red, orange, yellow, green or blue -- (the Homeland Security terror alert colors), 32 percent said red for Bush and 37 percent said blue for Kerry. Bush votes gravitated toward the warmer colors (higher alert range) and Kerry the cooler.

When asked who would be most likely to hog the TV remote control, 83 percent chose Bush. (That means no pausing at QVC, Lifetime or Oxygen.) On another character issue, 69 percent said Kerry's ego would be least bruised if a woman beat him at mini-golf.

In what might hint at who is seen as stronger on homeland security, 62 percent said Bush would be the swiftest to kill a spider in the shower stall. One woman said that not only would Bush kill the spider, but "then he'd light it on fire and blow it up." A little shock and awe to impress the ladies?

Kerry ranks highest on domestic issues: 60 percent see him as most likely to have ever changed a diaper; 73 percent to have vacuumed the living room; 67 percent to have ever done the dishes; and 65 percent to have done the laundry. Bush's highest domestic score was for diaper duty -- 34 percent.

To insure no child would be left behind, the candidates could select a Rubik's Cube, Silly Putty, G.I. Joe, monster truck or Dr. Seuss book to put first into a day-care toy box. It was a tough call for Bush, with 35 percent thinking he'd select a G.I. Joe and 32 percent thinking he'd pick a monster truck. Kerry was more prone to selecting a Dr. Seuss book (43 percent) or a Rubik's Cube (26 percent).

When it comes to trusting candidates with their money, 57 percent said they would be more apt to reveal their PIN to Kerry and 23 percent said neither. Ow! Another 59 percent said they'd trust Kerry to eliminate the sales tax on clothing and home goods.

On women's issues, 85 percent said they would trust Kerry to demand better film roles for actresses over 40. (No wonder why Barbra's a supporter!) He'd also be more likely, 66 percent said, to bring you breakfast in bed if you were under the weather. (Guess Bush would be channel surfing while Kerry was making you eggs Benedict.)

Kerry ranks highest on a critical women's health issue: 56 percent said they'd trust him most to protect the country's chocolate supply.

Both candidates flip-flop on the energy issue. To start his morning, 30 percent of the women said Bush would have a decaf and 30 percent said he'd have Mountain Dew. Kerry would have a Starbucks Espresso Macchiato, 38 percent said. Then again, maybe he'd have a green tea as another 35 percent said. Gentlemen, make up your minds -- high test or low!

Some say a candidate's chances are greatly affected by his running mate choice. Along that line the women were asked which breed of dog reminded them most of the vice presidential candidates: pit bull, border collie, poodle or bloodhound. Vice President Dick Cheney reminded 54 percent of a pit bull. Sen. John Edwards is more like a border collie, 60 percent said.

Which first lady would be most frugal? Given a choice of shopping at a dollar store, Target or Filene's Basement if the White House was put on a strict budget, 49 percent said Laura Bush would shop at Target and 57 percent said Teresa Heinz Kerry would shop at Filene's.

Finally, bean counters take note. When these women were asked a choice of baked beans (the pride of Massachusetts) or refried beans (a Texas staple), 71 percent chose baked.

Does that bode of a landslide for Kerry?