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Friday, October 31, 2003
'It looks like we are coming out of the recession,' Stephanopoulos said. 'Wages are starting to go up. Productivity is starting to go up. Generally if you look at polls across the country people respect President Bush even when people don't agree with his policies. He has an amazingly strong hold on the Republican party. He's not going to have a primary opponent. I think when you add all that up it puts President Bush in a very strong position going into the next election.'

Stephanopoulos said he expects the campaign will occur during a good economy and that national security will be the biggest campaign issue, something Democrats classically have had a hard time with. He was especially discouraged by front-runner Howard Dean's campaign based on antiwar outrage, believing Americans will prefer Republican optimism.

"I was meeting with Bush officials today," Stephanopoulos said, "and they were salivating to run against Howard Dean so they can accuse him of raising taxes."

--The Daily Northwestern:

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:58 PM in Politics/Government

The rationalizing going on in DU's fastest growth since '84 thread is quite amusing.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:49 AM in Politics/Government

The DU thread on Zell Miller's endorsing Bush is just too entertaining.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:32 AM in Politics/Government

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Damon Lynch -- minister, Cincinnati city council candidate, and one of the leaders of the idiotic boycott of Cincinnati -- is upset. Posters have started popping up in Over-the-Rhine showing a "dramatization" of Lynch shaking hands with rich white man, Reds owner, and banana barron Carl Lindner and claiming that Lindner endorses Lynch. Lynch is livid over this, calling it political dirty tricks and slander. The fact that he thinks being endorsed by Carl Lindner is slander either says something disturbing about his racial politics or it says something about just how much people don't want to be associated with the Reds.

--UPDATE: Cincinnati Blog has a picture.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 8:30 PM in Cincinnati , Politics/Government
When you make your living bashing malicious corporate CEOs, it's best not to remind people that you're using giant media companies to carry your message.

After all, the bottom line is all about profits, not prophets.


Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:13 PM in Politics/Government

Thomas Friedman has a must read piece in the NY Times on how Iraq is not Vietnam.

What to do? The first thing is to understand who these people are. There is this notion being peddled by Europeans, the Arab press and the antiwar left that "Iraq" is just Arabic for Vietnam, and we should expect these kinds of attacks from Iraqis wanting to "liberate" their country from "U.S. occupation." These attackers are the Iraqi Vietcong.

Hogwash. The people who mounted the attacks on the Red Cross are not the Iraqi Vietcong. They are the Iraqi Khmer Rouge — a murderous band of Saddam loyalists and Al Qaeda nihilists, who are not killing us so Iraqis can rule themselves. They are killing us so they can rule Iraqis.

Have you noticed that these bombers never say what their political agenda is or whom they represent? They don't want Iraqis to know who they really are. A vast majority of Iraqis would reject them, because these bombers either want to restore Baathism or install bin Ladenism.

--NY Times

Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:42 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Boy, if this is Bush's failed economic policy who needs a policy that works?

Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:37 PM in Politics/Government

'Liberation is at hand. Liberation-- the powerful balm that justifies painful sacrifice, erases lingering doubt and reinforces bold actions,' Clark wrote in a London Times column (4/10/03). 'Already the scent of victory is in the air.' Though he had been critical of Pentagon tactics, Clark was exuberant about the results of 'a lean plan, using only about a third of the ground combat power of the Gulf War. If the alternative to attacking in March with the equivalent of four divisions was to wait until late April to attack with five, they certainly made the right call.'
"The campaign in Iraq illustrates the continuing progress of military technology and tactics, but if there is a single overriding lesson it must be this: American military power, especially when buttressed by Britain's, is virtually unchallengeable today. Take us on? Don't try! And that's not hubris, it's just plain fact."

Here's another fast-accelerating meme: the president led the American public to believe that the post-war reconstruction of Iraq would be easy, he never anticipated these problems, and can only blame himself for not lowering expectations. The one true aspect of this seems to me to be the gratuitous symbolism of the USS Lincoln landing and that hubristic banner: 'Mission Accomplished.' I think I've been proved right about the over-reach there. But rhetorically, it's fair for the White House to point out that the president did indeed warn about the post-war.

He goes on to give quotes to illustrate it.

On the "Mission Accomplished" banner, personally I don't see what the big honkin' deal is. The crew wanted a banner saying their mission was accomplished. The White House provided the banner. So what? There mission was accomplished. They were on their way home. So now we need to attack Bush because he said the crew put it up when the truth is simply that the crew wanted it put up? There are plenty of things you can criticize Bush about, but about not being sure of the origins of one particular banner at one particular photo-op? I mean, come on...

Wednesday, October 29, 2003
SENATOR ZELL MILLER OF GEORGIA, the nation's most prominent conservative Democrat, said today he will endorse President Bush for re-election in 2004 and campaign for him if Bush wishes him to. Miller said Bush is "the right man at the right time" to govern the country.

--Weekly Standard
Posted by Rob Bernard at 5:23 PM in Politics/Government
Dean declared himself a "metrosexual," the buzz phrase for straight men in touch with their feminine sides, as he touted his accomplishments in "equal justice" for gay and lesbian couples.

--Denver Post
Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:20 PM in Politics/Government

An interview with Gen. Wesley Clark appears in the November issue of Maxim Magazine. A couple of his answers caught my attention.

Any skeletons in your closet?
No, no, I did not inhale.

Is he aware that "not inhaling" was in fact one of the skeletons in Clinton's closet? I was pretty young then but even I remember the uproar when Clinton weasled out of the drug question by saying he didn't inhale. I doubt he's actually saying that he tried pot but didn't inhale, he's probably just trying to be cute, but it's a kinda boneheaded way to be cute.

Any revolutionary ideas? A $2 gas tax? Privatize Social Security? Buy Canada?
In the 19th century, we were motivated by manifest destiny. In the 20th century, it was the idea that it was our duty to contain the spread of Communism and keep open the door for freedom. Today there is no substantial challenge to American ideals. The question is this: Where can we, with all our wealth and capabilities, lead mankind?

Let me repeat one of those sentences for you... "Today there is no substantial challenge to American ideals." Ok, one more time just so we're all on the same page: "Today there is no substantial challenge to American ideals."

No substantial challenge to American ideals? Is he serious?! 2 years ago 3,000+ people died because religious fanatics didn't like our ideals. Terrorists blew up more than 30 people in a single day this week because they don't like our ideals. Countries are trying to develop weapons of mass destruction because the don't like our ideals. Call me crazy but I call that a pretty bleepin' substantial challenge to our American ideals.

People are trying to kill Americans and those who share our ideals every single day. Every day is a battle in the war between our ideals theirs. They would destroy everything that opposes their brand of Islam and because we hold ideals that say you can live free and believe whatever you want to believe they challenge us. The same freedom that allows groups of wackos to protest on the Mall in Washington is why they challenge us.

Our ideals are challenged every minute of every day one of the top candidates for the Democrat nomination for President says "Today there is no substantial challenge to American ideals." Like hell there isn't. And just think, this is the guy the Dems are hoping will bring them credibility on national security.


Belligerent Bunny has some good pics and commentary on the recent protests in Washington.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:06 AM in Politics/Government

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

In the past 8 days I've received 4 times as many responses to my resume as I'd received in the 5 months before. Could bode well for job growth. Could be total coincidence.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:44 PM in Politics/Government

The US is being equated with the Nazis now. Well, that's Ted Rall for ya.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:15 PM in Politics/Government

Downloaded the new Napster 2.0 and I have to say I much prefer the interface of iTunes. Napster's new interface just seems unnecessarily complicated and muddled and just overall confusing.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:12 AM in Technology/Internet

Monday, October 27, 2003

Arresting people doing illegal things is now terrorism according to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said on Friday police raids on dozens of U.S. Wal-Mart stores in the search for illegal immigrants this week amounted to "terrorizing" workers.

"It instills a great deal of fear in people who are only trying to earn a living and put food on the table for their family," Pelosi, a California Democrat, told reporters ...

"We think there might be a better way to go about this because the fact is that it is against the law for the employer to hire these people so there should be more focus on the employer and less in these terrorizing raids," Pelosi said.
Pelosi said the Wal-Mart raids showed the need to legalize undocumented workers in parts of the economy other than just the agricultural sector.

Or maybe it shows the need to crack down on the ability of people to cross our borders at will.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:37 PM in Politics/Government
[L]ast month, Friedman wrote in The New York Times, 'It's time we Americans came to terms with something: France is not just our annoying ally. It is not just our jealous rival. France is becoming our enemy.' Friedman was right then, which means he's still right now. One U.N. vote - which, by the way, was accompanied by a swift French promise that they'd do nothing to help with the reconstruction - hardly signals a fundamental change in France's desire to hamstring America. What is astounding is how much of a free pass this one-time ally is getting here in America. Because the war was unpopular with many liberals, it's assumed that France's actions are informed by the same principles as, say, Howard Dean's. I think Dean's positions on the war are scandalously dim-witted and ill-advised. But he still wants what is best for America and even Iraq. It is impossible to say the same thing about France.
Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:27 PM in Politics/Government

They're attacking the Red Cross now.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:14 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
More than five years after people got their first easy way to download music off the Internet, they're finally getting a reasonable opportunity to pay for it. That it's taken this long for an otherwise functional capitalist system to go after this market is an embarrassment.

--Washington Post

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:11 PM in Technology/Internet

I spent the debate pretty much doing the MST3K thing so I figured I might as well do a proper fisking.

The transcript’s from the Washington Post. And for the record, yes there’s a lot of stuff skipped over but I think all the juicy tidbits are covered. And it's not at all Fair and Balanced.

CAMERON:... Is it inconsistent for you to support the resolution and not the reconstruction money?

KERRY: Not in the least. In fact, it is absolutely consistent, because what I voted for was to hold Saddam Hussein accountable but to do it right.

This president has done it wrong every step of the way. He promised that he would have a real coalition. He has a fraudulent coalition.

fraud n. (frôd)
1. A deception deliberately practiced in order to secure unfair or unlawful gain.

So good news, Kerry has proof that every intelligence service in the world was deliberately deceiving us since they're all in Dubya's control.

He promised he would go through the United Nations and honor the inspections process. He did not.

He did. He may not have put our safety second to pleasing France but he did go to the UN and he did give them a chance to act.

He promised he would go to war as a last resort, words that mean something to me as a veteran. He did not.

*DING* Ok, who had 88 words in the “How long until Kerry reminds us he’s a vet” pool?

He broke every promise. He's done it wrong.
And he's even doing this wrong, because what he ought to be doing is internationalizing this effort -- going to the United Nations, asking the United Nations to take part in a larger way,

Which he has…

which they would be willing to do if he was prepared to shift real authority to them.

Yeah, let’s shift real authority to the people who pulled almost all of their people out of Iraq after a single attack against them. I’m sure the UN would stick it out no matter what.

You have to take the target off of American troops. You have to get rid of the sense of American occupation. And that's the only way to invite other countries to be part of this.

The only way? That’s odd, seems to me we’ve already got 30+ countries being part of this.

And finally, Joe Biden and I brought an amendment to ask Americans, and the wealthiest Americans, to share.

Share? The top 10% of Americans are already paying more than 60% of the taxes That isn’t sharing? Damn wealthy people and their job creating ways!

He wouldn't allow that to happen. I'm not going to vote for him to continue to do it wrong.

WHAT?!?! You’re telling me that John Kerry, Democrat candidate for president isn’t going to vote for the other parties guy? I’m SHOCKED, just shocked!

PERKINS:… Reverend Sharpton, thousands rallied yesterday in Washington against the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq. You spoke to that crowd, saying that it was time to bring the U.S. troops home right now.
Would that not be an admission of defeat, and would it not throw Iraq and the entire region into chaos?
SHARPTON:… You cannot get right out of wrong.
Bush was wrong to go in in the first place.
To delay coming out is not going to make it right.

Ahhh, the old “Two wrongs don’t make a right” theory of national security. Sure it won’t make it right in his eyes, it’ll just cause a terrorist state to spring up leading to the possible future murder of hundreds, thousands, or millions of Americans. Yep, that’s the kind of thought I want in the leader of the nation.

We need to not get into another Vietnam, talking about withdrawing with honor. Mr. Bush put the honor of this nation aside when he deceived the public by putting us in harm's way with no weapons of mass destruction.

His grammer isn’t totally clear but I’ll just assume here he’s saying that Saddam didn’t have WMD, not that the President should have armed our troops with them.

We need to go to the U.N., we need to say that we are working a multilateral commitment. And we need to show that we really love the troops by bringing the troops home.

See above.

PERKINS: General Clark, your campaign implies that your combat experience gives you a better understanding of the implications of war, but your political message is confusing.

But you have also so far refused to take a firm position on the president's request for more money. Can you tell us exactly where you do stand?
CLARK: I'd be happy to tell you where I stand. I think I've been very consistent from the beginning.
Right after 9/11, this administration determined to do bait and switch on the American public. President Bush said he was going to get Osama bin Laden, dead or alive. Instead, he went after Saddam Hussein.

Instead he went after Saddam? “Instead”? First off I seem to recall a little war in Afghanistan aimed at bin Laden. Secondly I find it hard to believe that he honestly thinks we totally stopped looking for bin Laden when we went after Iraq.

He doesn't have either one of them today.

Yeah, and I’m sure had he been in office he would have been caught.

I've been against this war from the beginning. I was against it last summer, I was against it in the fall, I was against it in the winter, I was against it in the spring. And I'm against it now.

Sure, he was against it in the winter, the spring, and now. The question is was he against it this summer and fall when he flipped his opinion a half dozen or so times.

It was an unnecessary war. There was no imminent threat.

President Bush would agree on the imminent threat point.

Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike?

I do have the feeling though that he’d take issue with the “unnecessary” part.

…this country was attacked on 9/11, and it was right that this administration went into Afghanistan. And I supported that war; so did 90 percent of the American people. That Taliban government should have been taken out.
But the failure of this administration was not to put the troops in to finish the job against Osama bin Laden.

Right, because putting more troops in the country where bin Laden more than likely isn’t would just totally clear up the problem.

And you know why they didn't do it? They didn't do it because, all along, their plan was to save those troops to go after Saddam Hussein.

Heaven forbid we should use our troops so that we have enough to fight multiple threats.
Skipping down a tiny bit…

GEPHARDT:… We've got some differences here in opinion about this war and the money. But I think it's an abomination for this administration and this president to call people who disagree with him, as sometimes we do, as lacking patriotism. I think the highest act of patriotism is saying what we believe.

Please, would somebody please let me know where all these people are who are calling people unpatriotic? From all the talk of dissent being called unpatriotic you’d think there were daily press releases from the White House with a list of unpatriotic opponents. This isn’t happening, and to the best of my knowledge no major political figure has called any of these Democrats unpatriotic. If it really has happened I really wish somebody would step up with some specifics.

EDWARDS:…Well, my view of leadership is standing up for what you believe in, Joe. I have stood up for what I believe in. I believe that Saddam was a threat that had to be dealt with; therefore I voted for the congressional resolution.
However, I said at the time that it was critical for us to have a plan for what would happen now. This president has no plan of any kind that I can see.

Hmmm, $87 Billion for Iraq, 20-some billion dollars for rebuilding Iraq, a Constitution in 6 months to a year, elections in about a year. How big a plan does he need?

Second, that we bring our friends and allies in and this become an international effort, not just an American occupation and an American effort.

Wait, the Polish and British are American now? Are those two countries that are taking a major part in the occupation aware that John Edwards has annexed their countries? Whoohoo! Somebody dig up Betsy Ross, we need to sew a couple more stars on the flag!

Then the president of the United States comes to us and says, "I want $87 billion, trust me on this, I'll be back next year to ask for more and more money."

True, except for the trust me part and the asking for more money part… oh wait, that’s pretty much all the parts isn’t it?

Here's my view, Joe: For me to vote yes on that would be to give this president a blank check, and I am not willing to give George Bush a blank check.

These democrats have a funny idea of a blank check. The dollar amount of the check was filled in. It’s that little 8 and 7 followed by nine zeros that they’re all carping about. The pay to the order part’s filled out too:

for security, relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction in Iraq , $18,649,000,000, to remain available until September 30, 2005, to be allocated as follows: $3,243,000,000 for security and law enforcement; $1,318,000,000 for justice, public safety infrastructure, and civil society; $5,560,000,000 for the electric sector; $2,100,000,000 for oil infrastructure; $4,332,000,000 for water resources and sanitation; $500,000,000 for transportation and telecommunications; $370,000,000 for roads, bridges, and construction; $793,000,000 for health care; $153,000,000 for private sector development; and $280,000,000 for education, refugees, human rights, democracy, and governance
--H.R. 3289

So it seems to me the only part left blank on this check is the line where John Edwards signs it.

KERRY: Well, Joe, I have seared in me an experience which you don't have, and that's the experience of being one of those troops on the front lines when the policy has gone wrong.


And the way you best protect the troops is to guarantee that you put the troops in the safest, strongest position as fast as possible.

Well geez, why don’t we just bring them home where it’s safe and sound then? Oh yeah, because if they’re not over there fighting the good fight it won’t be very safe over here either.

… Now they've got enough money for the next few months. Nothing we did in that vote puts them in jeopardy.

Well yeah, but only because enough people voted differently than you.

CLARK:… I didn't believe last year we should have given George Bush a blank check in Iraq. He said he was going to go to the U.N., instead he started a war.

Yeah he started a war… after going to the UN…

LIEBERMAN: OK. I want to say obviously I respect John Kerry's military service to our country, but that's not what this is about. This is about the votes that he's cast that I believe are inconsistent.
In fact, what do we look back and wonder about our time in Vietnam? We didn't support our troops. If everyone had voted the way John Kerry did, the money wouldn't have been there to support our troops.
KERRY: That...
LIEBERMAN: Tough decision. $87 billion is a lot of money. $87 billion is a lot of money. It should have been less if George Bush had brought in our allies and had a plan.

Lieberman’s always sounded the most presidential to me, at least until he gets around to the Bush is a failure part.

EDWARDS:… The problem with the PATRIOT Act and the reason we need to make changes is because it gave entirely too much discretion to an attorney general who does not deserve it. It's that simple.
CAMERON: But, Senator, wasn't the legislation written by the lawmakers providing that very latitude? Didn't you create that latitude in the legislation that you wrote?
EDWARDS: Yes, and the attorney general of the United States came before us and told us that he would not abuse his discretion.

And he hasn’t.

He has abused his discretion.

No he hasn’t.

He has consistently abused his discretion. We all know that now.

Really, I’m telling you, he hasn’t. The reviled “we can look at your library records” part of the act has never, I repeat, NEVER been used.

And this from Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein:

"I have never had a single abuse of the Patriot Act reported to me," she said. "My staff e-mailed the ACLU, and asked them for instances of actual abuses. They e-mailed back, and said they had none."
--Voice of America

Yeah, that evil Ashcroft is just trampling our rights everywhere, isn’t he?

MOSELEY BRAUN:… I stand with the mothers of the young men and women who are there, and believe that, as Americans, we have to bring our troops home but we have to bring them home with honor. We blew the place up; we have to fix it back.

First off, I think she forgot an “up” there, but quibbling aside, it’s not because we blew it up that we need to fix it up. We didn’t blow up most of the things that we’re paying to fix. What we’re fixing over there is the infrastructure that was destroyed by decades of Saddam’s rule. We didn’t blow up their oil infrastructure, remember, we were the one’s evilly looking to confiscate all their oil for our own. We’re giving them $2+ Billion to fix it, but it isn’t because we destroyed it. Heck, if you look today, it’s the Iraqis who are doing most of the blowing up over there.

And at present, the United Nations and none of the -- happily, we're moving toward internationalizing the force, but even the United Nations won't put troops in the ground there because it's too dangerous.

See previous part about the UN being pansies. :)

PERKINS: Congressman Kucinich, you have been consistent in your opposition to the war, but there are reports that you have also refused to sign the intelligence nondisclosure form, which means that you are not allowed to see all the information collected in secret by the CIA and FBI.
And the question is, how can you oppose something that you do not know?
KUCINICH: Well, actually, I knew enough not to vote for the war without having to sit in on briefings that were totally phony.

Well this is great news. They blame Bush for getting his news filtered through aides. They say the White House has been lying to him. They eviscerate Bush for making up his mind beforehand. Now what do we find out? One of the Democrats’ candidates isn’t getting any of the news and he made up his mind beforehand about whether to go to war. Well that’s it; this guy and his Department of Peace definitely need to be in the White House. We don’t need our President getting briefed on secret intelligence or anything do we?

I could tell you that I've actually presented a plan -- it's on my Web site at -- it's an exit strategy to get the U.N. in and the U.S. out of Iraq.

Well, Heaven help me, I went there and for the life of me I couldn’t find anything more solid than “It is time to bring the troops home! It is time to get the UN in and the US out of Iraq....”

As the only African-American in the United States Senate, it was not inappropriate for me to visit countries in Africa, including Nigeria.

True, but it isn’t the fact that she’s an African-American that makes it not inappropriate. It’s the fact that she’s an American citizen. Everybody has the right to visit Africa, not just those whose ancestors were born there.

GEPHARDT: … [Bush] walked away from a North Korean agreement that President Clinton got. I'm more worried about nuclear weapons coming to the terrorists from North Korea than I am Iraq.

Geez, I wonder if walking away from the agreement with North Korea had anything to do with North Korea shredding that agreement and then lighting those shreds on fire and then building their nuclear weapon program on the agreement’s ashes. (Figuratively of course.) The agreement Clinton worked out paid them for not developing nukes. North Korea now has nukes. And Bush is somehow to blame for the fact that North Korea is led by a brutal, insane man with freakish hair???

KUCINICH: Well, first of all, my proposal was to create a separate, Cabinet-level position, a Department of Peace, which would work domestically to make nonviolence an organizing principal in our society.

When we contrast that with the purpose of the Department of Defense, that's to provide military force. Now, I think that we have to have a commitment to work with the nations of the world to make war archaic so we won't need to send our men and women abroad in search of wars or to fight wars that they never should have had to fight in the first place.

Well isn’t that just fine and dandy. Where to start… where to start… Ok first off the purpose of the Department of Defense is not to “provide military force” it is to provide for the defense of America. That means that when some idiot decides to pick a fight with us we’ll be able to defend ourselves.
Secondly, I’m struck by just how naïve his “why can’t we all just get along” theory of national security is. There will always be evil people who hate what is good. It’s the kind of thinking that led to “peace in our time” and the Kellog-Briand pact. And it’s that thinking that led to WW II.
And finally can we all just agree on how stupid an idea the Department of Peace is?

This president has completely disengaged in North Korea. If you watch what happened, the Clinton administration was actually engaged, making progress. As soon as President Bush came into office and this administration took over, they disengaged.
EDWARDS: They had no policy. There's been an inconsistent policy. They alienated our friends in South Korea.

Yeah, if by “alienated” you mean defending them by putting our soldiers between them and the mortal enemy that is only 30 miles from their capital city.

SHARPTON: Let me say three things, because I want to respond to some others as I get to your answer.
One, I think that it is very dangerous on the second anniversary of the PATRIOT Act to empower this attorney general in any way that can target people.

Yeah, Heaven forbid the Justice Department be allowed to target people. It’s obviously the cows and monkeys of this country that should be targeted, they’re the real troublemakers!

This administration wants to stifle and to stop dissent.

See above regarding no reported misuses of the Patriot act and nobody being called unpatriotic, and let me throw in a “nobody has been jailed or threatened by the government for showing dissent in an orderly, non-riot-type way”.

Secondly, in the Middle East, it's not a question of terrorists. Who defines terrorists?

Allow me.
ter·ror·ist n.
One that engages in acts or an act of terrorism.
ter·ror·ism n.
The act of attacking civilians or civilian property in an attempt to create fear and coerce the populace.

Today's terrorist is tomorrow's friend.

Actually if I understood the arguments of the anti-America crowd it’s actually today’s friend that is tomorrow’s terrorist but we just got off Daylight Savings Time so I’ll give him a break on the time issue.

We were the ones that worked with Saddam Hussein. The United States worked with bin Laden.

Oh look, that’s exactly what I was just talking about.

I went in 2001 and met with Arafat at the insistence of the Israeli foreign minister.

Huh, after castigating the US for supporting the other bad guys he goes and tells us he met with a terrorist too... ok…

KERRY:…General Boykin has confused the heck out of the White House on all this talk about the Almighty, when he talks about the Almighty, the president thinks he's talking about Cheney, ... Cheney thinks he's talking about Halliburton, and John Ashcroft thinks they're talking about him. So they don't know where to go…. I also must say, as I listen to Governor Dean, I'm not sure, if I were he, I'd want to use George Bush as a reverence for a governor becoming president without foreign-policy experience...

Oh look Kerry’s showing his funny side…

GEPHARDT:… I have a plan to get this economy moving again, to create jobs in this society and to get us into a place where we're creating jobs again, as we did in 1993 when I led the fight for the Clinton economic program.
We did it. Remember? 22 million new jobs in this country.

Yeah, and if the new jobs were because of Clinton or the loss of jobs were Bush’s fault he might have a point.

EDWARDS: Well, we've lost over a million jobs in urban America just last year alone. People are struggling and hurting.
I have a plan called -- I've written it down -- called Cities Rising. The idea is to first bring jobs to urban America. Let's create incentives for new businesses to start there, incentives for existing businesses to locate their plant and facilities there. And not just jobs -- good-paying jobs, with good benefits, with access to health care.
Second, to do something about the shame of having two public school systems in America, one for the haves and one for the have- nots.

Oooh! Oooh! He's written it down. Isn't that special...

Actually I believe we have hundreds of public school systems in America, totally dependent on where they’re physically located.

CLARK:… They came to office with no policies except tax cuts. And they were tax cuts for the wealthy.

Imagine that, tax cuts for the people paying taxes. What a radical idea.

They said tax cuts would help us. They said tax cuts would bring us jobs; they didn't. They said they'd fix Social Security; they didn't.

More correctly, they haven’t brought us jobs so far. (I should know, not having a job and all.) That doesn’t however mean that they’ve failed. The economy is currently on the upswing and the jobs will follow.

KUCINICH: No, actually the tax cuts that go to people in the top brackets ought to be repealed and ought to be put into a fund to provide for universal college education, free tuition for the 12 million American students who are currently attending public colleges and universities.

What?! A Democrat wanting to raise taxes in order to implement more entitlements? Again, I’m just shocked!

My economic strategy would be to fuel growth in the economy by having a full-employment economy, by working to rebuild our cities with a massive new WPA-type program.

Well that’s good, his plan for having a good economy is to have a good economy.

My economic policies will work toward universal health care, which will inspire further growth in the economy

Well yeah, if by “growth in the economy” you mean “the incredible bureaucracy that comes with socialized healthcare”.

CAMERON:…What sacrifice would you put upon averaging working families to carry their share of the burden in the coming Sharpton economy?
SHARPTON: First of all, I think that the average working family is already sharing their part of responsibility, Carl.

Let’s revisit the “who pays taxes” issue. In 2001 the bottom 75% of Americans, those earning less than $56,085 paid 17.1% of America’s taxes. I tell you, there are some funny definitions of “fair” out there.

On the average, 60 percent of the people in this country got a $304 tax cut. One percent, which are rapidly writing $2,000 checks to George Bush, got a $26,300 tax cut.

And again, those evil one-percenters pay a full 1/3 of the national taxes.

KERRY:…I believe Americans want somebody who can defend the security of the United States. And this war on terror is far less of a military operation and far more of an intelligence-gathering, law-enforcement operation. And the American people deserve somebody who can lead them to do it correctly and make us safer and stronger in the process.

Yep, and that’s why they’re going to reelect Bush.

IFILL: … Congressman Kucinich, we looked it up today, the last member of the House who was elected directly from the House to the presidency was Abraham Lincoln.
That was a long time ago. How do you plan to break that string of failure?
KUCINICH: Well, actually, that president, who was James Garfield, lived in the same county that I am from. So I'm looking to repeat history, in that regard.

Well geez, I live in the same county as Senator DeWine, does that mean I can be a Senator?

PERKINS: …Congressman Kucinich, you said something earlier in this debate that I think is important that we correct for you to know and for the nation to know. You mentioned that there were... 300 people dead in the streets of Detroit in September. That is absolutely untrue… You said that there were 300 people dead in the streets of Detroit in September...
KUCINICH: No, it's 35. I misspoke.
PERKINS: Yes, please. Let's consider, there's actually been a 30 percent reduction in the homicide rate in Detroit. I think you need to be clear on that.

Now if Bush had screwed up like that he’d be called an idiot and it would wind up on calendars and such. But since it’s a Dem it’s just a small mistake. It’s not like he said it was 10x worse than it was, just 8.5x worse.

EDWARDS: George Bush's America is not our America, but we have to do more than say, "I told you so."
I have a very concrete plan about how to move this country forward. I have written it down. It's not a wish list. It's not political rhetoric.

Edwards seems to be going to great efforts to convince us that he’s actually written down his plan. Is he under the impression that we don’t think he can write?

SHARPTON: … I have also talked about how we must save this party from continually moving to the right and away from the base voters that depended on this party historically.

Well this is good news for Republicans. Nothing would help get Republicans elected better than the Dems moving to the left and alienating the necessary moderate voters.

That is why I have said we have got to stop these elephants that are wearing donkey jackets.
I intend to slap this donkey, the Democratic Party, until this donkey kicks George Bush out of the White House next November.

I find this really disturbing. Do we really need to hear about Hannibal Lecter elephants and sadomasochistic donkeys? Ewww…

CLARK:… I learned in the United States Army, in my military career, how to stand up to dictators. I learned how to put a plan together. I learned how to keep our troops safe and accomplish the mission.
I've put my finger in the chest of a dictator and told him if he didn't shape up, we'd bomb him. And when he didn't shape up, we did. And he's in The Hague now, awaiting trial for war crimes.

Sure he stood up to a dictator and war criminal, but then again he also stopped and swapped hats and posed for pictures with indicted war criminal Gen. Ratko Mladic.

IFILL: Which will be the final word. That concludes our debate.
We would like to thank the candidates for their time, the Congressional Black Caucus Institute, the very lively audience here at the Fox Theatre in Detroit...

Ok, I’ve got nothing here; just needed something to show you it’s the end of the debate. Ok, it’s done. Now if you don’t mind I need some sleep. :)

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:51 AM in Politics/Government

Sunday, October 26, 2003

I don't think it would be possible for Sun to make it any more confusing when trying to download the Java SDK. You only need to wade through about a half dozen levels of pages only to get to a page that gives you about 50 different files you can download. It's like they're trying to weed out the people who aren't smart enough to be doing programming in the first place.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:32 AM in Technology/Internet

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy is on a trip to Iraq and is blogging while over there.

Ever since we landed in Baghdad yesterday, I've been amazed at the morale of our troops. I talked to one soldier who said even though we haven't found the weapons of mass destruction, he's convinced that we are in Iraq for the right reasons. He felt that the conditions that the people of Iraq were facing under Hussein were so bad, that even being here just to help them free their country was reason enough. I've got a lot of reservations about the run up to the war in Iraq. Poor intelligence, lack of a coherent message from the Administration and a faulty plan for winning the peace are all problems, but seeing our work with my own eyes has been helpful. We're doing a lot of good over here.



RealPolitik has some good cartoons up.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 5:19 PM in Politics/Government

Friday, October 24, 2003
The terrorists hope to gain chemical, biological or nuclear weapons -- the means to match their hatred. So we're confronting outlaw regimes that aid terrorists, that pursue weapons of mass destruction, and that defy the demands of the world. America, Australia, and other nations acted in Iraq to remove a grave and gathering danger, instead of wishing and waiting while tragedy drew closer. (Hear, hear.)

Since the liberation of Iraq, we have discovered Saddam's clandestine network of biological laboratories, the design work on prohibited long-range missiles, his elaborate campaign to hide illegal weapons programs. Saddam Hussein spent years frustrating U.N. inspections, for a simple reason -- because he was violating U.N. demands. And in the end, rather than surrender his programs and abandon his lies, he chose defiance, and his own undoing.

Who can possibly think that the world would be better off with Saddam Hussein still in power? Surely not the dissidents who would be in his prisons, or end up in his mass graves. Surely not the men and women who would fill Saddam's torture chambers and rape rooms. Surely not the families of the victims he murdered with poison gas. Surely not anyone who cares about human rights and democracy and stability in the Middle East. Today, Saddam's regime is gone, and no one... should mourn its passing.
In the months leading up to our action in Iraq, Australia and America went to the United Nations. We are committed to multilateral institutions because global threats require a global response. We're committed to collective security, and collective security requires more than solemn discussions and sternly worded pronouncements -- it requires collective will. If the resolutions of the world are to be more than ink on paper, they must be enforced. If the institutions of the world are to be more than debating societies, they must eventually act. (Hear, hear.) If the world promises serious consequences for the defiance of the lawless, then serious consequences must follow. (Hear, hear.)

Because we enforced Resolution 1441, and used force in Iraq as a last resort, there is one more free nation in the world -- and all free nations are more secure.

--White House


John Podhoretz has a column in the NY Post on how prescription drugs, the partial-birth abortion ban and the economy have made this a bad week for the Dems and their chances in '04.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 5:02 PM in Politics/Government

Paul Krugman's got a new piece today which basically sets up his columns a year from now that will say, no matter how the economy is doing, that Bush's economic policies are failures.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:53 PM in Politics/Government

Realpolitik has a good post in which Democrat Senators Biden and Feinstein defend the Patriot act.


From CNN.

This really isn't going to work. The do-not-call list works because telemarketing is done by reputable companies within the United States. Spam is a lot more likely to come from outside the country and/or to be from one or two people operating out of their home. But even with that you could stop it if it weren't for the problems with the e-mail system itself.

Spammers don't need to put their real e-mail address on the spam. It's a lot harder to go after spammers when you don't know their address. Even if you can get their ip address from the header it's still not a simple task. The best way to solve this issue I think is to fix the e-mail system itself. E-mail servers really need to be fixed so as to force the from-address to be the sender's real address. This would be an inconvenience for some who want an e-mail from one of their accounts to look like it came from another, but the benefits of having an actual address for the spam you receive would far outweigh it.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:47 AM in Politics/Government , Technology/Internet

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Check it out.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 5:20 PM in Politics/Government

The Iraqi governing council isn't pleased about it either.

A top Iraqi official attending an international conference on raising funds to rebuild Iraq warned Thursday that France and Germany's limited donations would not be forgotten.

Ayad Allawi, the current head of Iraq's U.S.-appointed governing council, said he hoped German and French officials would reconsider their decision not to boost their contributions beyond funds already pledged through the European Union.

"As far as Germany and France are concerned, really, this was a regrettable position they had," Allawi said. "I don't think the Iraqis are going to forget easily that in the hour of need, those countries wanted to neglect Iraq."

You can complain all you want about the US being a rogue nation, or we didn't need to go to war when we did, or Iraq needs to pay us back, or whatever, but that doesn't change the fact the Iraq does need help rebuilding right now.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 5:06 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

About 250 "undocumented workers" rounded up at Wal-Marts nationwide. There's a redneck comment to be made here that's taking all my strength to hold in...

Posted by Rob Bernard at 5:01 PM in Politics/Government

It's a country that has more than 150,000 political prisoners in slave labor camps according to FOX News and the U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea. The prisoners are subjected to "starvation diets, inhuman conditions, and torture". According to the television version of the report pregnant prisoners are forced to have abortions unless they're far along in the pregnancy in which case the child is born and then immediately killed. One man, Kim Yong, the only known escapee from the camps, was sent there at the age of 44 he was sent to the camps simply because it was discovered that his father and uncle were spys.

The starvation was so severe that one prisoner was apparently killed simply for collecting chestnuts that fell on the ground.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:19 AM in Politics/Government

If somebody isn't shrouded in shadows just wait half a second and they will be.

On the plus side I'm really pleased with how Angel is going this season.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:23 AM in TV

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

The "Rumsfeld Memo". It's not like he said we were losing or criticized the State Department or anything.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 7:23 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Or at least that's what the bill's opponents would like you to believe. In reality what Congress passed was a bill outlawing one specific kind of late-term abortion. There's nothing in the bill about when the procedure happens. It simply outlaws the partial delivery and subsequent killing of a fetus/baby. And also despite what some would have you believe the bill also includes an exception when the life of the mother is in danger.

This subsection does not apply to a partial-birth abortion that is necessary to save the life of a mother whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself.

Of course the opponents want you to think of it as a sweeping bill that will deny millions their right to an abortion and kill many many women.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 6:27 PM in Politics/Government

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Returned National Guardsmen at Fort Stewart in Georgia have had to wait weeks to see a doctor.

Neal Boortz points out how this relates to the national health care debate:

Today it's National Guard and Army Reserve soldiers at Ft. Stewart. Tomorrow it's you. This is government health care. This is what happens when you turn the health care of these people over to government ... and this is the future of health care in the United States.

This is the future of health care in America because you believe that your health care isn't your business. No ... it's up to your employer or the government to take care of your health needs, certainly not you. Life insurance, auto insurance, homeowners insurance .. that's fine. You'll go out there and competitively shop for those products. But health insurance? No way! That's not your responsibility, is it? Noooooo. That's your employer's responsibility.

Unless there is a huge and very quick change of attitude on the part of the American people, socialized medicine is inevitable in the United States. Right now these soldiers at Ft. Stewart have to wait weeks or months to see a doctor. Wait until the politicians get their way way with some sort of national health care plan. What makes you think they can do any better administering health care on a national basis than they can on one Army post?


Posted by Rob Bernard at 8:11 PM in Politics/Government

I assume by now that you know all about the guy that left the box cutters, bleach, and clay on the airplanes. Now people are calling him a hero, and saying he certainly shouldn't be prosecuted, he's doing a necessary service, blah, blah, blah... This guy isn't a hero, he's a world class idiot. We do need to know whether the security at airports actually works, but this is an idiotic and dangerous way to go about it. Besides I think most people knew beforehand that it was still possible to sneak things through. If you want to prove that you can get things through security you get it through security and then somehow document that you got it through security. You don't then take it on the airplane and hide it in the bathroom. We can't have every screwball trying to prove something leaving mystery packages on airplanes. This guy should be, and has been, charged, and that's good. There are good and noble ways to question how our government is protecting us and this was in no way one of them.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:32 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Monday, October 20, 2003
I never understood why there has to be only one reason to go to war. I preferred the "checklist"... approach. There were lots of good reasons to topple Saddam. And while it makes sense to emphasize some over others, they all added up to a list of benefits to making the right decision. ... I doubt Saddam had anything to do with planning 9/11 and frankly I don't give a damn. The lesson of the 3,000 dead was that we're going to take our responsibilities seriously again. And that means cleaning up unfinished business and telling the rest of the world we are serious. Nobody — nobody — has made a remotely persuasive case for why it would have been good to keep Saddam in power. Nobody dares make the case that Saddam and his regime didn't deserve everything they got — because that would be like arguing you shouldn't fix the shot brakes on your car because your last accident was the result of bald tires. ... Regardless, the gripes we hear today are the predictable complaints of people who grew pretty comfortable in the shadow of a sleeping giant. The giant was rudely awoken. And if the resultant harsh light of day is unpleasant or inconvenient to you, too frick'n bad. The United States is taking care of business and we've got nothing to apologize for.

--Goldberg File

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:52 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

When it comes to the future of Iraq, there's not just one Democratic Party; there are three.
Saddam Hussein would be jubilant in Pelosi's Iraq. He has long argued that America is a decadent country that will buckle at the first sign of trouble. If the Pelosi Democrats had won yesterday's vote, the Saddam Doctrine would be enshrined in every terrorist cave and dictator's palace around the world: kill some Americans and watch the empire buckle.
The Bayh Democrats are centrist but not visionary, and they seem to worry more about adding an extra $10 billion to the deficit than about the future of the Middle East. They may have read memos from the Democratic pollsters on the unpopularity of the $87 billion plan, but they don't seem to have read about the Versailles Treaty and what happens when strong nations impose punitive burdens on proud ones.
The Cantwell Democrats are dismayed with how the Bush administration has handled the postwar period. They'd like to see the rich pay a bigger share of the reconstruction cost. But they knew yesterday's vote wasn't about George Bush. It was about doing what's right for the Iraqi people and what's right, over the long term, for the American people. These Democrats supported the aid package, and were willing to pay a price to give the Iraqis their best shot at a decent future.

--NY Times


The Treasury is spending something like $30 million to advertise the new $20 bill. This doesn't upset me really. What upsets me is that in this big what do we hear about? The new features?

The peach color? Not mentioned.

The blue eagle thing? Not mentioned.

The portrait change? Not mentioned.

The small yellow 20s? Not mentioned.

The only things they mention are color shifting ink, watermark and security thread. We've had these features for 5+ years now. If you're going to spend our money at least tell us what's new about THIS bill.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:54 AM in Miscellaneous

Saturday, October 18, 2003

Back on the 9th NPR's 'Fresh Air' had an interview with Bill O'Reilly that didn't end well. O'Reilly got fed up with the questioning of Terry Gross, the host, and walked out.

Various people were irked some because they thought the questions showed NPR's liberal bias and some because they thought O'Reilly is an idiot, doubly more so for walking out.

Now comes an interesting piece from the NPR ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin:

I agree with the listeners who complained about the tone of the interview: Her questions were pointed from the beginning. She went after O'Reilly using critical quotes from the Franken book and a New York Times book review. That put O'Reilly at his most prickly and defensive mode, and Gross was never able to get him back into the interview in an effective way. This was surprising because Terry Gross is, in my opinion, one of the best interviewers anywhere in American journalism.

Although O'Reilly frequently resorts to bluster and bullying on his own show, he seemed unable to take her tough questions. He became angrier as the interview went along. But by coming across as a pro-Franken partisan rather than a neutral and curious journalist, Gross did almost nothing that might have allowed the interview to develop.

By the time the interview was about halfway through, it felt as though Terry Gross was indeed "carrying Al Franken's water," as some listeners say. It was not about O'Reilly's ideas, or his attitudes or even about his book. It was about O'Reilly as political media phenomenon. That's a legitimate subject for discussion, but in this case, it was an interview that was, in the end, unfair to O'Reilly.
Finally, an aspect of the interview that I found particularly disturbing: It happened when Terry Gross was about to read a criticism of Bill O'Reilly's book from People magazine. Before Gross could read it to him for his reaction, O'Reilly ended the interview and walked out of the studio. She read the quote anyway.

That was wrong. O'Reilly was not there to respond. It's known in broadcasting as the "empty chair" interview, and it is considered an unethical technique and should not be used on NPR.
--NPR : The Ombudsman at National Public Radio

Posted by Rob Bernard at 7:18 PM in Politics/Government

Friday, October 17, 2003
Former U.S. Treasury Secretary George Shultz, sitting in serene retirement in his office on the campus of Stanford University, likes to tell this story about Arnold Schwarzenegger.

``Buffett and I'' -- that would be billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who with Shultz heads the soon-to-be-governor's team of informal economic advisers -- ``were doing a conference call with Arnold back in September. A number of businessmen had joined us. And one of them, a Latino restaurant owner, starts to push this driver's license thing.''

That would be the new California law, signed by a desperate Governor Gray Davis shortly before last Tuesday's recall election, allowing illegal immigrants to obtain drivers licenses.

``This fellow says, `Arnold, all my employees are for it. All my customers are for it. You support this thing and I can guarantee you a lot of votes.'

``There was a long silence. Finally Arnold says, `But I don't support it.'

``And this businessman says, `But it would be very good for you,' and so on and so on.

``Another long silence.

``Finally, Arnold says, `I'm sorry, I can't. What kind of governor would I be if I started supporting things I don't believe in?'

``Remember, this was not a public event for public consumption. This wasn't some kind of grandstanding. I just thought, Wow. Bam. What an answer. This guy's got it. This guy's the real thing.''


Posted by Rob Bernard at 5:45 PM in Politics/Government

"Americans are losing the victory in Europe"

"We have swept away Hitlerism, but a great many Europeans feel that the cure has been worse than the disease."

Jessica's Well has posted a couple articles from a 1946 Life magazine that are quite similar to some today's Iraq reporting.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:27 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

It seems to me this is quite possibly the stupidest reason to oppose a bill I've ever seen. And it's all over the place among the Dems. It's especially asinine when viewed in conjunction with the other favorite: "We can't spend more money, we're running a deficit!"

So they both want to spend $87 Billion here at home and not spend a penny more than we are now... assuming of course that they really mean what they say and aren't just objecting for the sake of objecting... which is actually a fairly big assumption.

We're not rebuilding Iraq just because we think it's a cool idea, we're doing it because it's important for our national security. Better schools, a cleaner environment, or more money being poured into a particular group of voters doesn't help us if we've got dirty bombs blowing up in Manhattan or a Smallpox epidemic in the District of Columbia. We're rebuilding Iraq because it's an important part of making Iraq a country that doesn't want to blow us up.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Best Buy is doing away with VHS videocassettes in their stores.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 8:33 PM in Movies

He's got some very strong stuff to say about Kill Bill and Tarantino in general.

One of these days he’ll make a movie where the hero kills a kid. And if it gets cut from the final release, he’ll hang on to a copy so he can run it in his home theater, and sit in the middle of the room with a bucket of popcorn in one hand and his personal pink crayola-stub in the other.

--James Lileks

Posted by Rob Bernard at 6:36 PM in Movies

Spinsanity takes Michael Moore to task over his latest book.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:09 PM in Politics/Government

Check it out.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:35 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Oh, wait...

Well at least there was lots of dissent and it was not nearly unanimous...

Oh, wait...

Wednesday, October 15, 2003
At any rate, the idea that the party that has downplayed every success in Iraq, completely distorted the SOTU so that the actual speech has little or no connection to the DNC talking points, lied about the Kay report, lied about their stance before and after the war (and for good fun- tune into the Democrat debates, where you can see them switch positions real-time), lied about pre-emption, then lied about the 'imminent' threat claim, lied about yellowcake, lied about being bogged down during the war, lied about how long or how easy this Bush claimed this would be, and lied about what is going on after the war, all so that they can attempt to diminish the current administration so that they can re-take the White House next year, the idea that this party is now going to claim Republicans 'politicized' the war is enough to make me sick.

--John Cole


A study came out about a week and a half ago.

Funded by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Ford Foundation, the study was conducted from June through September. It surveyed 3,334 Americans who receive their news from a single media source. Each was questioned about whether he held any of the following three beliefs, characterized by the center as "egregious misperceptions":

-Saddam Hussein has been directly linked with the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

-Weapons of mass destruction have already been found in Iraq.

-World opinion favored the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
Sixty percent of all respondents believed in at least one of the statements. But there were clear differences in perceptions among devotees of the various media outlets.

Twenty-three percent of those who get their news from NPR or PBS believed in at least one of the mistaken claims. In contrast, 80 percent of Fox News viewers held at least one of the three incorrect beliefs.

Among broadcast network viewers there also were differences. Seventy-one percent of those who relied on CBS for news held a false impression, as did 61 percent of ABC's audience and 55 percent of NBC viewers. Fifty-five percent of CNN viewers and 47 percent of Americans who rely on the print media as their primary source of information also held at least one misperception.


The entire study can be found here.

Now, what does this study show?

Does it show that Fox News viewers are dumber than NPR viewers? No.

Does it show that Fox News viewers are more gullible than NPR viewers? No.

Does it show that Fox News viewers are more likely to be ill-informed or have misperceptions about the war? No.

What this study shows is that Fox News viewers are more likely to hold those 3 particular misperceptions. It says nothing about anything else. It doesn't show that Fox News is any more likely to mislead their viewers than any other network.

The study included only pro-war misperceptions. They didn't include anything like "The US acted unilaterally in Iraq" or "UN resolutions required inspectors to prove that Iraq had WMDs" or "Bush said that Iraq was an 'imminent threat' to the US". Ask the viewers of any of a number of other networks these questions and I imagine you'll find that every network fosters its own set of misperceptions.

Pipa suggests that "it does appear likely that support for the war would be substantially lower if fewer members of the public had these misperceptions." I'd suggest that support for the war would be greater if fewer members of the public had misperceptions like those I listed above.

There is a thing or two to be drawn from this study, but not as much as most seem to think.


We've all been getting those Nigerian scam e-mails for quite some time, and as I said yesterday I've started receiving Christian spam lately. Today I open my mailbox only to find a Christian version of the Nigerian scam. *sigh*

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:03 PM in Technology/Internet

John Podhoretz chronicles the "sick glee" of Rush's critics during the drug scandal.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:55 PM in Politics/Government

The Dems are getting ready to start it up again. Would it be too much to ask that the Republicans actually show a little backbone and make the Dems actually get up in the chamber and filibuster? If they're going to use the filibuster we might as well make them actually talk till their throats are dry.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:51 PM in Politics/Government

Just how much more capitalistic can China get before they're no longer communists and are just a socialistic despotism? They've got Hong Kong infecting them, they've got a growing middle class. It seems the only part of communism they're still devoted to is the cracking down on religion thing.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:46 AM in Politics/Government

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

The Chicago Cubs: Living down to expectations for 95 years.

It should be noted though that even though the fan may have cost them an out, it was still the Cubs players who let the fish score 8 freakin points in one inning.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:06 PM in Miscellaneous

Just for the record, I need a job. Graduated from the University of Cincinnati in June with a BS in Computer Science. If anyone has need of a software developer/system analyst type guy let me know. Currently in the Cincinnati/Dayton area, but open to relocation.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 6:37 PM in Miscellaneous

Might as well tackle the Pledge dealie.

First off, I hope the 9th Circuit's Pledge ruling is overturned. Not because I think "Under God" should be either in the Pledge or on our money, but because I don't think it's unconstitutional to have it there. If you don't like it then I'd fully support a grassroots campaign to get the government to change things. I think there's a very strong case to be made for it being unnecessarily divisive.

It kind of parallels my views on abortion. I'm not so much against abortion as I am against the courts saying that we the people don't have the right to decide things on our own.

And while I've got my head firmly entrenched in the bees' nest ala Winnie The Pooh I might as well say this: Atheism is no less a belief than Christianity is. (Or Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism or any other religion of your choosing for that matter.) You may be able to explain everything in the universe without a god, but it can also be explained with Him, Her, or It. The existence of a higher power can no more be proved than it can be disproved.

I guess I'm just tired of the... holier than thouself-righteous, we're smarter and more logical than you attitude that comes from many atheists. (Note that I don't support the holier than thou, we're going to Heaven and you're not attitude that comes from many religious people either.) The secular humanists/atheists have people on their side just as condescending as on the religious side of things, but I think many only see the self-righteous pricks on the other side of things.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 6:23 PM in Religion

I am now actually getting Christian spam. "You are loved", "Jesus died on the cross to save us all", "Search for The Bible on the internet", blah, blah, blah. The least they could do is let people who are already Christians opt out.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:52 PM in Technology/Internet

The game had everything: mercenaries, dictators, seedy bars, finances, an accountant... it really was a very good game when it came out in the early-to-mid '90s. *whistful sigh* why don't they make games like that anymore?

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:56 AM in Miscellaneous

Monday, October 13, 2003

Or not.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:23 PM in Politics/Government
Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option.

-- State of the Union Address

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:22 PM in Politics/Government

Lileks LILEKS (James) fisks the life out of a Colleen Rowley editorial. Thus according to many on the left (and from what I gather from Rowley's piece her too) somehow limiting her freedom of speech by disagreeing with her.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:19 PM in Politics/Government

Saturday, October 11, 2003

Absolutely ridiculous. The pitch was nowhere near his head.

Also, the proper response for when a guy like Pedro has a short, bald, old guy like Zimmer charging him isn't to throw him to the ground, it's to put his hand on his head and hold Zimmer out of range as he ineffectually flails his arms at you. That's what cartoons and the 3 Stooges have taught me anyway.

And for the record this is coming from a guy rooting for whatever team is playing the Yankees.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 5:47 PM in Miscellaneous

There's really not much to explain about the plot of Kill Bill. Assassins played by Daryl Hannah, Michael Madsen, Vivaca A. Fox, and Lucy Liu, and led by David Carradine as Bill do quite a number on "The Bride" (Uma Thurman) on her wedding day. They beat the *&#$ out of her and leave her with a bullet in her head. Four years later The Bride wakes up from a coma and sets out to kill all of them. That's really all you need to know.

This is "The 4th Film By" Quentin Tarantino. (Which raises the question of whether Volume 2 will be his 5th or still his 4th.) It's been called "indulgent" and it certainly is, but that's why you go to see a Tarantino film. You don't go to hear the story, you go to experience what Tarantino has put together. One entire "Chapter" of the film is done in Anime. One overhead shot follows The Bride to the restroom using the most astonishing, breathtaking angles. One astounding fight scene (There are many.) takes place essentially between the silhouettes of the fighters in front of a backlit blue Japanese screen. These scenes don't need to be presented the way they are to tell the story, they're presented that way to tell the story the way Tarantino wants to tell it. There are precious few directors who can outshine the stars and put their own stamp on a film and Tarantino is certainly one of them.

That being said, Kill Bill: Volume 1 isn't a pleasant film. Blood spews everywhere. It gushes from severed limbs (and there are a lot of severed limbs). It is grossly exaggerated blood, almost comedic at times, but let's just have this act as fair warning, the more of your snacks you finish before the movie starts the better. I have a fairly strong stomach, but after a while I was putting some serious thought into whether I should be finishing off my Twizzlers at that moment.

I enjoyed the movie. It is a Tarantino movie though and if you don't like Tarantino movies in general or wouldn't care for a VERY bloody samurai movie I imagine you'll have some problems with Kill Bill: Volume 1.

3 1/2 out of 4

Posted by Rob Bernard at 5:26 PM in Movies

Friday, October 10, 2003

Try the Democratic Underground thread on Rush's addiction. Heck, they even want to throw the doctors who treated his hearing loss in jail.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 7:52 PM in Politics/Government

Electricity is now back to prewar levels. Factories are producing more thanks to the electricity and "In terms of security, women and families can feel safe shopping after dark."(USA Today)

It's not all good though. "'Now the children will not leave the house,' says Lamia Younis, a mother of four. 'They just sit at home all day watching satellite TV.'"(Again, USA Today)

Geez, 6 months and we're already turning them into couch potatoes.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:33 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

[David Kay] says he's "amazed" the media thinks his search has failed.

Did journalists actually read his report, which lists startling new evidence of Saddam's weapons?

Says Kay: "This is information (that), if it had been available last year, would have been headline news." He's now certain "we're going to find remarkable things" in the future, too.
[B]ut what did the ISG actually find?

Answer: Plenty, including "significant information" that the Iraqi Intelligence Service after 1996 worked on biological and chemical weapons, and set up "a clandestine network of laboratories and facilities within the security service apparatus". These could be "activated quickly to surge the production of BW (biological weapons) agents".

Says Kay: "This network was never declared to the (United Nations) and was previously unknown." His report even shows a picture of lab equipment found hidden in a mosque.
IRAQI witnesses agreed Saddam had wanted to make many more biological, chemical and even nuclear weapons the second the UN took its eye off him.

"When Saddam had asked a senior military official in either 2001 or 2002 how long it would take to produce new chemical agent and weapons . . . he responded it would take six months for mustard," Kay says.
THE pattern of Saddam's deception and evil intent is absolutely clear.

But UN inspectors, Kay suggests, would have battled to find anything in Iraq, and once they'd given up, Saddam was free to spread a new technology of death beyond his borders.

"We have found people, technical information and illicit procurement networks that if allowed to flow to other countries and regions could accelerate global proliferation."

Which is precisely the reason the Coalition leaders gave for going to war.

Read the full report, and you'll see why the headlines last week should have read "Iraq war justified". So why were you told the opposite?

-- The Herald Sun

That's why we went to war.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:27 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

I'm sure you know by now that Iranian lawyer Shirin Ebadi won the Nobel Peace Prize this morning. Gotta say, it's nice to see it go to somebody for a reason other than they ticked off the US.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:58 PM in Miscellaneous

Thursday, October 9, 2003

A good cartoon.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:27 PM in Politics/Government

J. David Chadwick had a chance to ask Secretary Rumsfeld the following question:

JDC -- Mr. Secretary, I'm [J. David Chadwick]. My question is, considering that we still have troops in every area that we have conducted operations during the Clinton administration, why is this operation in Iraq viewed negatively in the press as a Vietnam- style quagmire?

Check out Rumsfeld's answer.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:37 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Wednesday, October 8, 2003

It's now nothing more than a tired ER retread. None of the snappiness it originally had. None of the wit. Nobody's life was in danger. Just unnecessary angst.

On the plus side I think the Angel folks have handled the W&H/Spike transition quite well.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:46 PM in TV

What do the Dems take away from the recall debacle?

The Dems are saying that this is misdirected anger. That people really are angry with Bush and just voted Davis out by mistake. That people are fed up with Bush's "tax cuts for the rich" and crappy economy.

The problem with this thinking?
1) If the voters of California really wanted their taxes raised as a fix they had the clear choice of Bustamante. Bustamante essentially ran on a platform of "I'll raise taxes". The voters seem to want solutions other than "If elected I'll take more of your money".

2) The Dems are putting themselves in a really bad position if they're putting their election chances next year on the possibility that the economy still sucks. The economy's turning around. We gained jobs last month. There's really no reason to believe that the economy will still be bad 11 months from now.

If the Dems take away from all this that the voters want everyone in power out, regardless of the opponent's positions, they're in trouble. Not that I have a big problem with that though. :)

Posted by Rob Bernard at 5:32 PM in Politics/Government

The crazies who claim to have clones a human are saying now they're growing new arms for an Iraqi boy. Riiiiiiiight.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:15 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Cubs in the NLCS, Sox in the ALCS, Kennedy's standing behind the newly elected Republican Governor of California... Satan must be feeling a bit chilly.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:06 AM in Miscellaneous

His interview with Chris Matthews earlier was simply nonsensical.

Jackson: What's important are Issues A and B.
Matthews: But why would you support Issue B? I would think someone like you would oppose B.
Jackson: Issue B isn't important here. What's important is Issue C!
Matthews: Wait, you just said that Issue B is important.
Jackson: No I didn't.
Matthews: *Rolls eyes*
Jackson: What's really important is more taxes for the rich!

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:07 AM in Politics/Government

Tuesday, October 7, 2003

By Arnold Kling.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:31 PM in Politics/Government

I feel I'd be remiss if I didn't include a blog post with a Simpsons reference.

A reader sums up one way in which the anti-war left is still fighting the war - by trying to create a new narrative of the pre-war. Of course, the analogy is from the Simpsons. The argument about the war is a little like Apu's citizenship exam (my reader paraphrases from memory):

Exam Giver: 'What was the cause of the Civil War?'
Apu: 'The split between abolitionists and secessionists had come to a head in in The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 when...'
Exam Giver: 'Just say slavery.'
Apu: 'Slavery it is, sir!'

'What was the reason given for the war against Saddam?'
'Well, the previous Gulf War's truce required Saddam to give up all WMD research and development and weapons, and U.N. Resolutions ... '
'Just say we said he was on the brink of killing us with nukes!'
'Weapons it is, sir!'

So we get the baldfaced untruth that the war was because Iraq posed an 'imminent' threat. It wasn't. Or that it was about a causal link between Saddam and 9/11. It wasn't. Or that it was based in intellgience from Niger. It wasn't. Technically, the war was a continuation of the last one, and was fully supported by umpteen U.N. resolutions, including a 15-0 Security Council vote to force Saddam to comply.
-- Andrew Sullivan

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:25 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

According to Elton John anyway.

"Americans are always asking why the rest of the world hates them," John said after singing his first song, "Tiny Dancer." "Well, the reason is Dennis Miller."

"You've all gone mental if you liked that," John said, before looking at the floor and shaking his head in disgust.

-- Las Vegas Sun

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:00 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Monday, October 6, 2003

The toy drive for Iraqi children started by Chief Wiggles now has a name (Operation Give) and it's own web site.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 5:54 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Sunday, October 5, 2003

I'd just like to take a sec and point out that I did in fact address the question of why we went to war when we did in the post entitled "WHY DID WE GO TO WAR WHEN WE DID?"

To quote myself:

The only way we ever would have had the whole world on our side is if Saddam had actually used his weapons. If France and others had their way inspections would have continued indefinitely. In a world where WMDs are as attainable as they are we can't afford to wait until the threat is "imminent" and Bush laid that out leading up to the war.
The threat was not imminent, but it was still a threat. France et al were completely unwilling to do anything firmly. There was no "If Saddam doesn't come clean in 3 months then it's ok." There was only "If Saddam doesn't come clean in 3 months then we can get back together and discuss it further." We attacked when we did because it appeared those opposing our timetable weren't opposing when we were doing it, but that we were doing it at all. Might it have been better if we had waited for a better postwar plan? Sure, but that's 20-20 hindsight talking. There was not a single person, either pro or anti, talking before the war about the postwar plan.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 6:15 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Saturday, October 4, 2003

His comic today is all about how we can't possibly know whether our soldiers are killing the prisoners at our "concentration camp" (aka Gitmo) because the Red Cross, families, and lawyers can't get in. He then follows that up with the statement that "We know they're being abused". That's an odd statement see as we don't even know if they're being killed.

And then there's the pesky fact that the Red Cross actually has visited Gitmo.

Of course I'm putting far too much effort into showing that Rall's an idiot.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 8:59 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Polish troops in Iraq have found four French-built advanced anti-aircraft missiles which were built this year, a Polish Defense Ministry spokesman told Reuters Friday.

France strongly denied having sold any such missiles to Iraq for nearly two decades, and said it was impossible that its newest missiles should turn up in Iraq.

"Polish troops discovered an ammunition depot on Sept. 29 near the region of Hilla and there were four French-made Roland-type missiles," Defense Ministry spokesman Eugeniusz Mleczak said.

"It is not the first time Polish troops found ammunition in Iraq but to our surprise these missiles were produced in 2003."

-- Reuters

Again, can't know the full truth, but it's yet another reason why letting France dictate the terms of us attacking Iraq might not be the brightest move.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:37 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Cincy Blog would like to know.

First off a little backup from Andrew Sullivan.

The administration claimed that Saddam had used WMDs in the past, had hidden materials from the United Nations, was hiding a continued program for weapons of mass destruction, and that we should act before the threat was imminent. The argument was that it was impossible to restrain Saddam Hussein unless he were removed from power and disarmed. The war was legally based on the premise that Saddam had clearly violated U.N. resolutions, was in open breach of such resolutions and was continuing to conceal his programs with the intent of restarting them in earnest once sanctions were lifted. Having read the report carefully, I'd say that the administration is vindicated in every single respect of that argument. This war wasn't just moral; it wasn't just prudent; it was justified on the very terms the administration laid out. And we don't know the half of it yet.

-- Andrew Sullivan

Now I'm not convinced that Saddam didn't have actual, physical, ready to kill millions, WMDs. There are reports everywhere that Saddam was shipping WMDs out all over the place. Kay himself has actually confirmed the dates and routes of some of these shipments, but says he can't confirm it was actually WMDs being shipped. But as I've said the physical WMDs aren't the end-all and be-all of war justification. We went to war because Saddam was blatantly disobeying UN resolutions. This report shows that Saddam was disobeying UN resolutions.

The only way we ever would have had the whole world on our side is if Saddam had actually used his weapons. If France and others had their way inspections would have continued indefinitely. In a world where WMDs are as attainable as they are we can't afford to wait until the threat is "imminent" and Bush laid that out leading up to the war.

From the State of the Union Address:

Our nation and the world must learn the lessons of the Korean Peninsula and not allow an even greater threat to rise up in Iraq.
Twelve years ago, Saddam Hussein faced the prospect of being the last casualty in a war he had started and lost. To spare himself, he agreed to disarm of all weapons of mass destruction. For the next 12 years, he systematically violated that agreement. He pursued chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, even while inspectors were in his country. Nothing to date has restrained him from his pursuit of these weapons -- not economic sanctions, not isolation from the civilized world, not even cruise missile strikes on his military facilities.
Before September the 11th, many in the world believed that Saddam Hussein could be contained. But chemical agents, lethal viruses and shadowy terrorist networks are not easily contained. Imagine those 19 hijackers with other weapons and other plans -- this time armed by Saddam Hussein. It would take one vial, one canister, one crate slipped into this country to bring a day of horror like none we have ever known. We will do everything in our power to make sure that that day never comes.
Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option.

-- White House

The threat was not imminent, but it was still a threat. France et al were completely unwilling to do anything firmly. There was no "If Saddam doesn't come clean in 3 months then it's ok." There was only "If Saddam doesn't come clean in 3 months then we can get back together and discuss it further." We attacked when we did because it appeared those opposing our timetable weren't opposing when we were doing it, but that we were doing it at all. Might it have been better if we had waited for a better postwar plan? Sure, but that's 20-20 hindsight talking. There was not a single person, either pro or anti, talking before the war about the postwar plan.

And as for this...

Now of course we know there were no weapons, just plans for weapons. There are "plans" for weapons at UC. Why don't we invade Clifton? Those evil Bearcats are a threat to my Redhawks, damn it!

-- Cincy Blog

The reason you don't invade Clifton is because UC didn't invade Oxford 12 years ago, lose, and promise to get rid of those plans in order to get Miami to stop shooting.

Though come to think of it that invading Oxford thing isn't such a bad idea... let me make a few calls. :)

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:22 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Friday, October 3, 2003
EVIDENCE DISCLOSED Some of the evidence of Iraqi weapons programs disclosed by CIA weapons inspector David Kay during congressional committee testimony Thursday:

A clandestine network of laboratories and safe houses within the Iraqi Intelligence Service that contained equipment that was subject to U.N. monitoring and was suitable for continuing chemical and biological weapons research.

A prison laboratory complex that possibly was used to test biological weapons agents on humans. Kay said his investigations have shown that Iraqi officials working to prepare for U.N. inspections were ordered not to declare the facility to the U.N.

Reference strains of biological organisms concealed in the home of an Iraqi scientist. One of the strains can be used to produce biological weapons.

New research on biological weapons-applicable agents, Brucella and Congo Crimean Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF), and continuing work on ricin and aflatoxin -- none of which were declared to the U.N.

Documents and equipment, hidden in scientists' homes, that would have helped Iraq resume uranium enrichment by centrifuge and electromagnetic isotope separation.

-- CNN

I would point out that these programs alone constituted a breach of UN resolutions.


3. Decides that, in order to begin to comply with its disarmament obligations, in addition to submitting the required biannual declarations, the Government of Iraq shall provide to UNMOVIC, the IAEA, and the Council, not later than 30 days from the date of this resolution, a currently accurate, full, and complete declaration of all aspects of its programmes to develop chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, and other delivery systems such as unmanned aerial vehicles and dispersal systems designed for use on aircraft, including any holdings and precise locations of such weapons, components, sub-components, stocks of agents, and related material and equipment, the locations and work of its research, development and production facilities, as well as all other chemical, biological, and nuclear programmes, including any which it claims are for purposes not related to weapon production or material;

-- U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441(via State Department)(emphasis added)

We invaded Iraq because they we thought they weren't living up to their end of the UN resolutions. These finds, without a single WMD find, prove that they weren't.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:37 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Thursday, October 2, 2003

Kuwaiti security authorities have foiled an attempt to smuggle $60 million worth of chemical weapons and biological warheads from Iraq to an unnamed European country, a Kuwaiti newspaper said on Wednesday.
The pro-Government Al-Siyassah, quoting an unnamed security source, said the suspects had been watched by security since they arrived in Kuwait and were arrested "in due time." It did not say when or how the smugglers entered Kuwait or when they were arrested.

-- Kuwait foils smuggling of chemicals from Iraq :

Is it true? Only time will tell.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:14 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East


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