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Saturday, February 28, 2004
Orson Scott Card on marriage and gay marriage

It's quite long, and I can't say I agree with 100% of it, but he raises some interesting points and I do think it's worth a read.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:00 AM in Gay Marriage
Orson Scott Card on "The Passion of the Christ"
no matter what religious context you bring to the film, you will find that the critics who wrote or spoke of a festival of gore have misled you. This is not like the blood-thirsty movies that kill people left and right and seek for new and excruciating ways to titillate an audience. There is nothing here designed to promote a corpse-filled computer game.

In this movie, violence is shown as appalling, evil, vengeful, malicious. The moral context is never lost. The people in the film recoil from precisely the same actions that we recoil from. If some critics can't see the difference between this film and movies that delight in casual violence, they're in the wrong line of work.
The violence is not what makes us weep.

All my tears in this movie were shed in empathy for those who loved Jesus, and in gratitude for those who are shown attempting to be kind to him. I was moved by Pilate's wife, who knows what is right and tries to do the one small thing that is possible for her. I was moved by Mary's love for her son. I was moved by the epiphany that came to the reluctant cross-bearer, Simon of Cyrene; by the shame and empathy discovered by one of the soldiers -- the one required to pierce Jesus' body with a spear, but who can hardly bear to do it in front of his mother.

The woman who brings him water to drink at one of the stations of the cross; Pilate himself, caught in a terrible political situation where he has no good choice, but chooses his career over his integrity and makes the futile, empty gesture of washing his hands; the "good thief" (Francesco Cabras) who is promised paradise on the cross -- it was goodness, or the yearning for goodness, that brought tears to my eyes.
There is no competing record to refute the depiction in the gospels. So to say Gibson should not have shown Jewish leaders being the driving force behind the killing of Jesus is to say that Christians are not allowed to actually believe in or dramatize their own scripture.

--Civilization Watch

There's a lot more good stuff there as always. He also ends with a letter to Mel Gibson that's worth a read concerning Card's suggestions for what to do with the profits and what to do when Oscar time rolls around next year.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:43 AM in Movies , Religion

Friday, February 27, 2004
Double standard on racism
House Rep. Henry Bonilla, a founding member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, has taken back his demand that Rep. Corrine Brown resign her seat in Congress for remarks she made accusing the Bush administration of racism in its Haiti policy. But even after Bonilla accepted Brown's apology, he said the fact that her comments raised few hackles demonstrates a double standard among Democratic Party members.

"If a Republican had made such derogatory, insulting and discriminatory remarks there would be a firestorm of outrage. The current silence is deafening," Bonilla, R-Texas, said. "If we truly advocate zero tolerance for racism, then we must insist the statement be addressed."

Posted by Rob Bernard at 6:10 PM in Politics/Government
My thoughts after seeing "The Passion of the Christ"

It pulled in another $14 million yesterday for a two day total of over $41 million.

It’s an exceptional movie, but certainly not a pleasant one. There’s a lot of violence, but I was left with the feeling that what was on screen must have been what it was really like. Crucifixion was a horrible, painful practice and it just left me in awe that Jesus went through it for us and throughout it didn’t blame those who were killing him but rather asked God to forgive them.

I don't know what to say about the critics of the movie. I guess those seeing the movie from a non-Christian perspective must be seeing something different. When people come out of the theater "wanting to kick somebody's teeth in" or thinking the movie was supposed to but failed to make them feel pity for Christ I marvel that their ideas and preconceptions caused them to see such a different movie.

I left not understanding how people could see the movie as anti-Semitic. Sure, it shows some Jews calling for Christ’s death, but every protagonist in the story is also Jewish. It was the Jewish high priests that arrested him and called for his death and you’re not going to be able to make a movie about the last day of Christ’s life without that. The message that Jesus loved his persecutors and forgave them was so strong that I fail to see how people can walk out of the theater thinking that Jesus would want someone to blame His persecutors rather than forgive them.

It doesn’t tell the whole story of Jesus’ ministry, but it isn’t meant to. It’s not a movie meant to lay out His teachings, it’s a movie whose purpose is to reinforce for those who already know the story the sense of what Jesus suffered for our sakes. It’s not the complete story of Jesus and it’s not an introductory primer on Jesus’ life. For the target audience though, it is a breathtaking and heartrending reminder of Jesus’ sacrifice.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 5:47 PM in Movies , Religion

Thursday, February 26, 2004
John Kerry: Bastion of integrity

Or not... If you go and equate something to a traitor, what does it say about you when you accept support from said "traitors".

Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.), the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, frequently calls companies and chief executives "Benedict Arnolds" if they move jobs and operations overseas to avoid paying U.S. taxes.

But Kerry has accepted money and fundraising assistance from top executives at companies that fit the candidate's description of a notorious traitor of the American Revolution.

Executives and employees at such companies have contributed more than $140,000 to Kerry's presidential campaign, a review of his donor records shows. Additionally, two of Kerry's biggest fundraisers, who together have raised more than $400,000 for the candidate, are top executives at investment firms that helped set up companies in the world's best-known offshore tax havens, federal records show. Kerry has raised nearly $30 million overall for his White House run.
Kerry has come under attack from President Bush, as well as some Democrats, for criticizing laws he voted for and lambasting special interests after accepting more money from paid lobbyists than any other senator over the past 15 years.

--Washington Post

Posted by Rob Bernard at 6:48 PM in Politics/Government
Back from "The Passion of the Christ"...


It's going to take me some time to decompress before I'll be able to string together a second word about it.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 6:31 PM in Movies , Religion
U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown verbally attacked a top Bush administration official during a briefing on the Haiti crisis Wednesday, calling the President's policy on the beleaguered nation "racist" and his representatives "a bunch of white men."

Her outburst was directed at Assistant Secretary of State Roger Noriega during a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill. Noriega, a Mexican-American, is the State Department's top official for Latin America.

Brown sat directly across the table from Noriega and yelled into a microphone. Her comments sent a hush over the hourlong meeting, which was attended by about 30 people, including several members of Congress and Bush administration officials.

Noriega later told Brown: "As a Mexican-American, I deeply resent being called a racist and branded a white man," according to three participants.

Brown then told him "you all look alike to me," the participants said.
After her comments about white men, Noriega said he would "relay that to (Secretary of State) Colin Powell and (national security adviser) Condoleezza Rice the next time I run into them," participants said. Powell and Rice are black. (via Instapundit)

The whole situation pretty much ridicules itself, doesn't it?

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:56 AM in Politics/Government
Some thoughts on "The Passion of the Christ"

"The Passion of the Christ" drew in $20 million $26.6 million on it's first day. I find it somehow reassuring that in today's modern world a biblical story with the biblical violence can still draw.

I won't be seeing it until this afternoon so I can't comment specifically about what's in the film but these lines in a Yahoo! News story caught my attention.

In Salt Lake City, curiosity about the film among many Mormons was outweighed by church teachings that discourage viewing R-rated movies.

"I don't think our Lord would want me to see an R-rated film about his son," said 20-year-old Shawn Watts, a Mormon missionary.

I'm sorry, but Jesus and the Disciples LIVED an NC-17 version of the actual events. Sure, the movie is violent, that's because the Crucifixion itself was violent. God saw fit to actually put Jesus and his Disciples through these events; I find it hard to imagine that God would find it sinful for people to watch it. Sure he preached a message of peace and love, but to pretend that his life and death was this Sunday School, well coifed, sanitized version of his life I think takes something away from the story. It's taught that he died for our sins, but he didn't just pass away peacefully in his sleep. Like thousands of people in Roman times he was beaten, whipped and tortured. He was attached to the cross with nails driven through his flesh and left to die. Of course this was violent. Of course this was bloody. But it's what happened. It’s what Jesus went through. It’s what Christians believe Jesus suffered to redeem our sins and a real depiction of what happened isn't going to be straight out of the storybooks from Sunday School.

RealPolitik has a pretty good take on the whole deal.

Not that anyone cares but I have started and scrapped nearly a half dozen ideas so far.
All of those ideas developed wonderfully except there was no real point to any of them. You either get it or you don't. Gibson wasn't attempting to convert the unconverted or tell those who believed anything they didn't already know...he was merely telling the story, he wasn't explaining it to you. That seems to be one of the hot button issues with most of the negative reviews. They seem to echo the High Priest's request for a sign of divinity, yet Gibson's Jesus never really delivers for them. Which leads us to the second most popular complaint, the blood.

It seems that most of the negative reviews seem utterly appalled at the violence in Passion. This while one such reviewer rated the hideous gore-fest at the end of Kill Bill Vol. I the best fight scene he'd ever seen. Others wondered why Christ wasn't shiny and holy looking and seemingly detached on the cross like in all the previous depictions they'd seen. Reading through the naysayers complaints about the gore severely juxtaposed with their fawnings over the "realism" in other films they'd reviewed. The accuracy of the sets, the perfection of the dialog and the realism of the scenes. One has to wonder what they think a human being who has been beaten, caned, flayed open, thrown in a dirty dungeon over night, beaten some more, marched through dusty streets straining and sweating, beaten some more, fallen in the dirt and stone, beaten some more and then literally nailed to some planks of wood looks like?

--American RealPolitik: You Either Get It, Or You Don't

This morning I watched Deborah Norville's show that I Tivo'd last night. On the show a Rabbi was asked what he would have done differently if he were the one making the movie.

His answer?

"It shouldn't have focused on one person." Violence is fine in films like Saving Private Ryan because there are so many people. The Passion shouldn't have just focused on the suffering of one person.

Go back and read that again, I'll wait...

He thinks Gibson shouldn't have focused on one person. He thinks the story of the death of God's only son shouldn't have focused so much on the man who was dying for everyone’s sins.

That just amazed me.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:23 AM in Movies , Religion
Virtual stocks

Fox News today has a front page article on the Hollywood Stock Exchange and another site called They're sites that let you trade virtual stocks based on movies and movie stars. I've been a member of the community at HSX since 1998 and highly recommend it.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 10:41 AM in Movies

Wednesday, February 25, 2004
For the record...

I think I'm now officially burnt out on the gay marriage debate.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:45 PM in Gay Marriage

Welcome Instapundit readers! Make yourselves at home.

There's more on the gay marriage debate and specifically President Bush being accused of bigotry over the issue here and here.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 8:54 AM in Gay Marriage , Politics/Government
What would Kerry's policies do for workers in Ohio?

From the Bush campaign:

You don't have to look far to discover how John Kerry's policies would hurt Ohio workers and put the brakes on our economic recovery.

Did you know Sen. Kerry's bill to increase CAFE standards to 36 mpg by 2015 would kill 100,000 jobs in the automotive industry, according to a study by Penn State University? And did you know that Kerry has called for reductions in 18 weapons systems, the same systems that are winning the War on Terror today, including the M1 Abrams Tank, maintained in Lima, OH?

Look beyond the rhetoric to discover the truth about John Kerry. His record of cutting defense spending, his calls to raise taxes, and his plans for increased regulations would cost Ohio workers jobs and turn America back to the tired, failed policies of the past.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 8:43 AM in Politics/Government
Some items of note in Bush's gay marriage speech

The text of the speech is here.

First off, no matter what people may have you believe, he did not endorse the FMA, he did not endorse H. J. RES. 56 or S. J. RES 26 which have been introduced in Congress. He called for AN amendment, but not any particular amendment. He never endorses any particular wording for the amendment. No mention is made of the troublesome "legal incidents thereof". He doesn't say civil unions should be banned at the same time. In fact, he actually says it should protect marriage while leaving the door open for other arrangements like civil unions.

The amendment should fully protect marriage, while leaving the state legislatures free to make their own choices in defining legal arrangements other than marriage.

--White House

Secondly, he addresses how this isn't necessarily an action against states' rights.

The Constitution says that full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts and records and judicial proceedings of every other state. Those who want to change the meaning of marriage will claim that this provision requires all states and cities to recognize same-sex marriages performed anywhere in America. Congress attempted to address this problem in the Defense of Marriage Act, by declaring that no state must accept another state's definition of marriage. My administration will vigorously defend this act of Congress.

Yet there is no assurance that the Defense of Marriage Act will not, itself, be struck down by activist courts. In that event, every state would be forced to recognize any relationship that judges in Boston or officials in San Francisco choose to call a marriage. Furthermore, even if the Defense of Marriage Act is upheld, the law does not protect marriage within any state or city.

--White House

Kerry is in favor of an amendment as long as it allows for civil unions.

I believe... that marriage is between a man and a woman. That's my belief. If the amendment provides for partnership and civil union... that would be a good amendment.

Keeping in mind the President's "free to make their own choices in defining legal arrangements other than marriage" belief, would anybody care to point out how Kerry's position differs from that of President Bush.

I expect not, but since President Bush is a conservative some have no problem distorting his stance and calling him a bigot.

It's been pointed out that the clip I was working off of above for Senator Kerry's quote was actually in reference to a hypothetical Massachusetts amendment. That would mean that Kerry is taking a more states’ rights approach to gay marriage, but all the same he comes out banning gay marriage and allowing for civil unions, the same as President Bush.

Those calling President Bush a bigot, or who say he’s homophobic and that he doesn’t like gays aren’t doing so because of qualms over states’ rights. They’re doing so because he wants to define marriage as between a man and a woman, the same as Senator Kerry so I stand by the conclusion that he’s getting more heat than a liberal for the same opinions.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:27 AM in Gay Marriage , Politics/Government

Tuesday, February 24, 2004
The Ohio Patriot Plan

Blackfive has information on the Ohio Patriot plan, legislation introduced in Columbus that would protect reserve and national guard members on active duty outside the state. Word is that it may die in committee though, so Blackfive suggests contacting Representative Peter Ujvagi and expressing your support.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 6:00 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Whopper of the night

From Congressman Greg Meeks on Hannity and Colmes: "The Bush administration's greatest nightmare was John Kerry becoming nominee."

I think the administration has a few things that worry them more than the thought of running against John Kerry.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:16 AM in Politics/Government
This is a great line

From President Bush's entrance into the fray. (via Sullivan)

"The other party's nomination battle is still playing out. The candidates are an interesting group with diverse opinions: for tax cuts and against them; for NAFTA [the North American Free Trade Agreement] and against NAFTA; for the Patriot Act and against the Patriot Act; in favor of liberating Iraq and opposed to it. And that's just one senator from Massachusetts."

Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:07 AM in Politics/Government

Monday, February 23, 2004
Will Kerry release HIS military records?

Mickey Kaus is wondering why nobody's making an issue out of the non-release of Kerry's records.

I give Kerry points for his Vietnam service. But since it (along with some plug-n-play Shrum rhetoric) is almost the entirety of his campaign for president, can it really be true that he hasn't authorized release of his military records? Does he think this is a defensible position? ... Hello, Edwards! Get somebody to demand the release, like tomorrow, before Kerry wises up and realizes he can't say "no" (i.e. while there's still a chance he'll initially stonewall, thus dragging out the story in the days before the March 2 primaries.)


Posted by Rob Bernard at 7:41 PM in Politics/Government
Carnival of the Bush Bloggers

This week's Carnival of the Bush Bloggers is up over at Blogs for Bush.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 6:51 PM in Politics/Government
Schwarzenegger on the presidency

Schwarzenegger thinks non-natural born citizens should be allowed to run for President. (And there's even a proposed amendment to allow it. [Search for "SJ Res. 15"])

I'm telling you, Demolition Man is coming true!

Posted by Rob Bernard at 5:58 AM in Politics/Government
Orson Scott Card on the war on terror
There are two fantasy versions of the history of the campaign in Iraq.

One fantasy version is: We invaded Iraq because they sponsored Al-Qaeda's attack on the World Trade Center.
Today there is an interconnected network of terrorists... All of these terrorist groups have declared war against America, and many of them have killed Americans. The insistence that we either should or can go after only one of these groups is a specious one.

I'm especially amused when presidential candidates claim that President Bush "lost his focus" and should have kept after Al-Qaeda.

Whenever you hear such a claim you are listening to a dolt or a deceiver, because he either should know or does know that there was and is no possibility of dismantling Al-Qaeda without removing the governments that eagerly support terrorists and giving a little spine to the governments that are too frightened not to shelter them.

The second fantasy version is: We invaded Iraq because we were told that they had or were about to have extremely dangerous weapons of mass destruction, and now that all turns out to be lies.

First, no one has introduced any evidence of lies. There have been some pieces of seeming evidence that turned out not to be reliable, but the conclusion that Saddam had WMDs was universally held. At no point in the discussion in the U.N. did anyone raise the serious possibility that Saddam did not have at least some of the weapons, and programs to acquire the others. Our failure (so far) to find them surprised everybody.
What no one could have known was the degree to which Iraqi scientists, like German scientists under the Nazis half a century before, had deliberately slowed down their work to keep these weapons out of Saddam's hands.

Nor does anyone know what happened to the chemical-weapon stockpiles that we know Saddam had -- since he did order their deployment and authorize their use in combat against us, which means he thought he had them. Even these have not been found, and it strains credulity to think they never existed.
[A]s I wrote at the time and repeat now, even if not a single WMD is ever found, the campaign in Iraq was morally and legally justified by any rational standard of international law and fundamental national rights.
[I]f you give it even a moment's thought, the behavior of the U.N. is not an argument against the legitimacy of the American war against terrorism, it's an argument against the legitimacy of the United Nations as the arbiter of which wars are permissible.

I can promise you right now that if China ever invades Taiwan, the Security Council, in which China holds a veto, will not sanction American military intervention to save our ally from being swallowed up by imperialist China as ruthlessly as they swallowed Tibet.

Would that make it "wrong" for us to take military action against naked aggression by the Chinese dictatorship against a people who have made it clear they do not wish to be a part of the Chinese Communist empire?

No. This myth that we need U.N. approval or a war is "illegal" is only a temporary club designed to beat the Bush administration with.
There is only one Democratic candidate I know of who is openly pledged to support our just and necessary war against terror-loving governments: Joseph Lieberman.
All the others seem determined to surrender at the first opportunity, laying us and Israel -- and the rest of the world -- bare to perpetual blackmail by evil murderers like the ruling Ayatollahs of Iran and the Ba'athists of Syria.

--War Watch

I couldn't say it better.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 5:18 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Bush a bigot? Part II

Brian Griffin has responded to my first post on the subject and now the ball's back in my court. [He now has trackback, so now we can both know exactly when we have a problem with each other. :)]

Bush and his horde are against gay rights.

--Cincy Blog

That’s just not true. President Bush has said that he has no problem with civil unions so long as they start at the state level and aren’t foisted upon the populace by the judiciary.

“[T]he position of this administration is that whatever legal arrangements people want to make, they're allowed to make, so long as it's embraced by the state, or does start at the state level.”

-- NY Times

It’s also worth noting that John Kerry "says his position is the same as that of Bush's Vice President, Dick Cheney."(Yahoo)

Rob even tried to float the idea from radio talk show host, a real "authority," that heterosexual men have no more rights to marry men they gay men do. I hope he is just trying to be funny, because that is laughable as a reason. I guess he would say that if a black man could not marry a white woman, that is not discrimination as long as a white man could not marry a black woman.

--Cincy Blog

First off, I’m going to stick with equal rights and equal protection and not wade into the semantics of the word "discrimination" here. Secondly, the argument came independently of any radio host. Thirdly, I’m willing to bet that Neal Boortz with his law degree, is more of an authority on the legal definition of equal protection than Brian.

If you view the word "marriage" by its historical definition, the union of a man and a woman, then the prohibition of interracial marriage would of course not be an equality of rights and would be a violation of equal protection. This however is not a universe where the definition of marriage has historically been simply the union of two people and thus the parallels between gay marriage and interracial marriage are not as strong as you may like.

Bush wants to both ban homosexual marriage and civil unions. Greg Mann comments on why the Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment does both.

--Cincy Blog

There seems to be a great deal of debate over that second sentence. A great many very smart and unbigoted people can’t agree on whether it would outlaw civil unions. It seems to me that it says that rights can’t be given to “unmarried” couples simply because the rights are given to married couples. Would this disallow giving similar rights to couples in another type of union? I don’t think so, but I think the wording should be cleared up and I wouldn’t support anything that would outlaw civil unions. As I pointed out above, President Bush seems to have no problem with civil unions so long as they start at the state level and aren’t forced upon a state by judges.

And because the quote bears repeating:

"[T]he position of this administration is that whatever legal arrangements people want to make, they're allowed to make, so long as it's embraced by the state, or does start at the state level."

-- NY Times

In fact, the group that originally drafted the text has said it would be willing to change the text to ensure that states still have the right to set up civil unions.

When that text was drafted by the Alliance for Marriage, no one was really thinking about the phenomenon of civil unions. We are willing to make it explicit and unambiguous that the goal is not to deprive the states of existing authority over benefits, including, if they wish, civil unions.


Damn, even the people who drafted the amendment say they're willing to make it clear it wouldn't ban civil unions. Where are all these bigots I keep hearing about.

If civil unions was something Bush supported he would be doing the logically thing, including an establishment of civil unions in the Marriage ‘Defense’ Amendment. Why will that not happen?

--Cincy Blog

Why won’t it happen? Because supporting civil unions and making them law in every state are two completely different matters. As he has said, it is the administration’s position that civil unions must be established by the states, not thrust upon them by judges or the Federal government.

Those pushing the Amendment do not want to provide equal rights or any level of rights to gays or lesbians on issues they can't claim otherwise. That is bigotry, and Bush is supporting it.

--Cincy Blog

I'll refer you to before where the people who actually wrote the amendment have said they have no problem allowing for civil unions and the rights they provide. There's nothing to show Bush has anything but a States Rights stance when it comes to civil unions.

And moving on to one of Brian's other posts on the response of the Republican audience when Governor Schwarzenegger took a stand on San Francisco's mayor breaking the law...

Arnold could have used a little less glee in his enforcement of shutting out gays from marriage. The cheers make those Republicans sound like bigots, which I would bet they are. Yep, I called someone else a bigot! Better start complaining that I called a duck a duck.

--Cincy Blog

The problem is not that you're labeling bigots as bigots; it's that your definition of bigot is simplistic enough that it's the equivalent of defining a duck as a white thing with wings. Is a duck a white thing with wings? Sure, but so are swans and the White House. Are some of the people who were clapping bigots? Maybe, but to label them all as bigots lumps the people who simply want the rule of law followed and who don’t think it’s the job of the Mayor of one city in California to decide what the state will recognize as marriage in with the ducks. Sure you’re probably calling some ducks ducks but you’re also calling a great number of other winged creatures and executive residences ducks while you’re at it.

You can't expect people to take your arguments too seriously when you go around making accusations of bigotry against every person that applauds a governor saying the law should be enforced or simply has an opinion different than yours. The brush being used to paint here is so broad that it could stretch from coast to coast and it's wielded at the slightest whim.

Please, if you can, show me where President Bush has said he’s against equal rights for gays. (I can show you where he has said he’s for them.)

Please, show me where he has said he would like to outlaw all civil unions. (I can show you where he says he wouldn't.)

Please, show me where those pushing the amendment say it has to outlaw civil unions and all rights for gays. (I can show you where they're willing to make it clear that it doesn't.)

Please, show me some kind of proof that the people in the room with Governor Schwarzenegger were applauding keeping the gays down and not just a governor taking a firm stand on a mayor breaking the law.

In the zeal for a black and white world when it comes to gay marriage everything short of "white as the driven snow" is being lumped in with black and it isn't helping the cause.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:30 AM in Gay Marriage , Politics/Government

Sunday, February 22, 2004
Could a Kerry attack be any more off base?

Senator Saxby Chambliss says "When you have a 32-year history of voting to cut defense programs and cut defense systems, folks in Georgia are going to look beyond what he says and look at his voting record."

Kerry responds in a letter to Bush saying "As you well know, Vietnam was a very difficult and painful period in our nation’s history, and the struggle for our veterans continues. So, it has been hard to believe that you would choose to reopen these wounds for your personal political gain. But, that is what you have chosen to do."

No it's not! It is not what Bush has chosen to do. It's what you've chosen to do Senator Kerry. You are the one bringing up your 5 months in Vietnam for political gain. The Republicans haven't attacked your record in Vietnam. They've attacked your record since returning from Vietnam. You have voted against the B-1, B-2, F-14, F-15, F-16 and Harrier jets, the Blackhawk and Apache helicopters, Patriot Missiles and Aegis Cruisers. You've voted against the Trident Missile System, M-1 Abrams tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles and Tomahawk Cruise Missiles. This qualifies as a bad record when it comes to Defense, THIS is what we are attacking and it is not the same as your war record.

This was Brit Hume's take on it on Fox News Sunday:

“[Kerry’s letter to President Bush] is an amazing document in the sense that you talk about having it every which way on the issue. Kerry has been running in no small measure on his Vietnam record…. John Kerry’s Vietnam War record and his medal-winning performance over there has been a centerpiece of his campaign. Now he accuses the President of making an issue of it, which the President demonstrably has not done. … So now Kerry is saying, ‘I challenge you to a debate on this issue which you have raised. And we shouldn’t be talking about this.’ Amazing.”

Damn right.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 6:53 PM in Politics/Government

Saturday, February 21, 2004
I'm happy

1) It's my birthday.
2) See image.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 9:56 AM in Cincinnati

Friday, February 20, 2004
Boortz on the equal protection gay marriage argument

You might have a variety of reasons for wanting to push this gay marriage concept, but equal protection under the law certainly isn't one of them. I, as a straight male, do not have one single right under the law that you don't also enjoy. Not one.

You say that you aren't free to marry your gay lover? Well, guess what. I'm not free to marry another man either. Same rights. Equal protection. All single men are free to marry single women. All single women are free to marry single men. Men are not free to marry men .. ditto for women. Same rights. Equal protection.

The gay community has spent years and frankly gone through a bit of hell trying to gain a measure of acceptance in American society. It's a shame to see this good will being expended on this ridiculous gay marriage controversy. You're not doing yourselves any favors here.

--Nealz Nuze

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:42 PM in Politics/Government
Bush won't let people protest near him! He's stifling people's dissent!

The Dems are awfully fond of complaining that Bush stifles dissent by setting up zones for protestors in out of the way places where they don't pose a threat to the President. Now we discover that the exact same thing is happening for their Boston Convention.

Protesters at this summer's Democratic National Convention in Boston may be confined to a cozy triangle of land off Haymarket Square, blocked off from the FleetCenter and convention delegates by a maze of Central Artery service roads, MBTA train tracks, and a temporary parking lot holding scores of buses and media trucks.

Under a preliminary plan floated by convention organizers, the "free-speech zone" would be a small plot bounded by Green Line tracks and North Washington Street, in an area that until recently was given over to the elevated artery. The zone would hold as few as 400 of the several thousand protesters who are expected in Boston in late July.

"The area looks a little silly, to be honest with you," said Urszula Masny-Latos, executive director of the National Lawyers Guild's Massachusetts chapter. "People will not be able to express their concerns with whatever will be happening, because no one will have access to delegates. No one will be heard, and the area is just too small."

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:00 PM in Politics/Government
Will the Deaniacs and Deanie Babies show up for Kerry or Edwards?

As I commented earlier, they didn't show up for Dean so why would they start showing up in November?

But anyway, Blogs for Bush has a good roundup of comments from the "Blog for America expressing Dean supporters' disgust with Kerry, Edwards, and the Democrat party in general. One even suggests that it would be better for Bush to win so Dean can run again in '08.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:42 PM in Politics/Government
President Bush a bigot?

Brian Griffin has a link saying Bush will probably support an amendment to define marriage as a union of a man and a woman. To Brian this makes President Bush a bigot. Not that him calling people bigots is that out of the ordinary, the word's appeared in his blog 36 times in the past month.

Being in favor of defining marriage a certain way is nowhere close to the same thing as being a bigot. There are plenty of reasons someone might be in favor of an amendment to define marriage without it being bigotry.

Throughout history marriage has been defined as a union between a man and a woman. Why should the courts be allowed to change that definition based on trumped up equal rights grounds? Homosexuals have the same right to marry someone of the opposite sex as heterosexuals have, and heterosexuals have the same limits preventing them from marrying someone of the same sex. The ability to marry whomever you please is not currently a right.

This is the text of the proposed amendment: "Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this constitution or the constitution of any state, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups."

Now we come to the part of my post where I ask a bunch of questions and answer them all “No.”

Would this proposed text ban civil unions? No. Would supporting this mean that somebody is opposed to the idea of civil unions? No.

Does George Bush support gay marriage? No, but then neither do John Kerry or John Edwards. Does this mean that they’re bigots? No, opposition to the redefinition of a word does not equate bigotry.

All that being said, if you want to add a system like civil unions, whereby loving homosexuals can commit themselves to one another, then I say go for it. The more people in committed relationships the better, but getting judges to make up non-existent rights and getting Mayors to break the law and calling everyone that isn’t 100% with you a bigot isn’t the way to go about it. If you want to do it right you’re going to need to go through the legislatures and try and win the people over.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:16 AM in Gay Marriage , Politics/Government

Thursday, February 19, 2004
21 reasons for Republicans to be optimistic

Election Projection has a very good essay laying out 21 reasons why those backing President Bush should be optimistic about the election.

(via Blogs for Bush)

Posted by Rob Bernard at 10:04 PM in Politics/Government
Insight into Kim Jong Il

From his personal chef of 13 years. After an injury he forced his staff to be injected with the same pain killers he was taking for a month. While his people were starving he was splurging on jet skies and his personal chef was sent all over the world to collect delicacies.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:26 PM in
Johnny-On-Top: Folk singer for the far right

Good Pearls Before Swine today.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:41 PM in Miscellaneous
Opening "The Passion of the Christ"

Roger Friedman had a piece at Fox News on Friday decrying the theaters "Passion" is opening in as "out-of-the-way-theatres", highlighting "black neigborhoods and poor neighborhoods" and "out of neighborhoods that are considered Jewish, upscale or liberal".

David Poland in turn rips Friedman's article a new one

Sometimes, a journalist makes a mistake. And sometimes, a journalist makes a mistake that is so heinous and easily remedied by any fact checking that the person's publisher deserves to be threatened with litigation and the person in question deserves to lose their job.

Such is the story with today's breathtakingly inaccurate and malicious fairy tale by Roger Friedman, printed at regarding the release pattern of The Passion of The Christ. The premise of this unresearched mess is that Newmarket Films and Mel Gibson are avoiding big cities and Jewish populations with the theatrical release pattern of the film.

There has been no journalist who has been more critical of Gibson's self-fulfilling-prophecy style of showing this film selectively, building a furor when he is publicly claiming to be fearful that one will erupt, than myself. However, a major media outlet propagating false information in an attack on the film - especially when suggesting that it is news and not opinion - is beyond any acceptable idea of journalistic ethics.

Moreover, for Roger Friedman, a Jew, to so incautiously swing these lies around like a bag full of angry cats is, in my opinion, deeply damaging to Jews everywhere who do not wish to be accused of being willing to stoop to any depth in order to maintain our position in society.

I am not sure that Roger Friedman meant to put such a blatant factual lie in print. I am sure his editors would have stopped it had they known. But Friedman failed to do the most basic job of being a journalist… checking out the facts. Instead, he lazily went to one internet source, apparently unaware of two basic facts: 1. Ticket sales websites are not well designed for long-range presales. 2. There is no movie ticket sales website that offers tickets to all the theaters in any major market.

It took me all of two minutes to find out that Roger Friedman's facts were incorrect. I went to two web sites and made one phone call.

-- David Poland - Movie City News

He then goes on to lay out how the release isn't nearly as selective as Friedman says, and how easy it would have been for him to find out.

Then Monday Friedman comes back with a "news story" with comments like "Gibson's personal liability on "The Passion" [is] roughly $50 million. That's a lot of money to prove a point. It's $40 million more than Rosie O'Donnell spent on her musical, "Taboo." "The Passion" is now the most expensive vanity production in history." Now it seems to me Gibson's "vanity production" is a much better deal than Rosie's, considering that I've never heard of "Taboo" in my life. He goes on to claim that Newmarket added new screens but were still avoiding upscale and Jewish areas.

Ironically, in this second article he manages to both misquote himself and rail against someone else for not correcting an incorrect column.

Poland in turn fires back with a column that refutes just about everything in Friedman's second column. It isn't the most costly vanity production ever. The screens Friedman says were added were added before his Friday column.

Gotta give Friedman credit though. I never thought I'd see someone live up to the high standards for crappy reporting upheld by Harley Sorensen.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:11 AM in Media , Religion

Wednesday, February 18, 2004
John Kerry: Both for and against drilling in ANWR
MATTHEWS: How about ANWR? You guys want to see ANWR because you want to see guys working in your business. I guess there‘s a lot of Teamsters jobs up there lined up and organized, if you could put a pipeline up to the Alaska wilderness. He is against that.

HOFFA: Well, we talked about that.

He says, look, I am against ANWR, but I am going to put that pipeline in and we‘re going to drill like never before. . . .

MATTHEWS: But he is against drilling up there. What are they going to run through the pipeline?

HOFFA: Well, they are going to drill all over, according to him. And he says, we‘re going to be drilling all over the United States. And he says that is going to create more jobs. . . .

MATTHEWS: It just seems amazing that he has turned around on NAFTA, turned around on WTO, turned around on ANWR, anything to get the Teamsters.


--Hardball (via Instapundit)

I tell ya, name an issue and he's got at least 2 positions on it.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:39 PM in Politics/Government
Week old Ender's Game news nobody bothered to tell me about

X-Men 2 writers Dan Harris and Michael Dougherty are signed to write the 2nd draft of the Ender's Game screenplay.

The Fresco Pictures news item goes on to say:
"In March, Card will be meeting with Warner Brothers Consumer Products division to discuss development of the electronic games that will tie in with the movie."

Penny Arcade has a strip discussing the quality of the eventual tie-in games.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:17 PM in Miscellaneous

Tuesday, February 17, 2004
Fisking Kerry

Andrew Sullivan has a very good fisking of John Kerry's recent debate performance up at The New Republic.

My regret is this president chose the wrong way, rushed to war, is now spending billions of American taxpayers' dollars that we didn't need to spend this way had he built a legitimate coalition, and has put our troops at greater risk.
More flim-flam. Does Kerry believe that other governments would be funding the bulk of Iraqi reconstruction if they had given token consent to the invasion? He has no evidence for this. This was always going to be a fundamentally American commitment. Only the United States has the military means and economic power to bring about a transition to democracy in Iraq. Anyone who believes otherwise is engaged in a fantasy about the real world.

* * *

GILBERT: Senator Kerry, President Bush a week ago on "Meet the Press " described himself as a war president. He said he's got war on his mind as he considers these policies and decisions he has to make. If you were elected, would you see yourself as a war president?

KERRY: I'd see myself first of all as a jobs president, as a health care president, as an education president and also an environmental president. And add them all together, you can't be safe at home today unless you are also safe abroad.

KERRY: So I would see myself as a very different kind of global leader than George Bush.

Well, what we have here is a clear and damning difference. Bush thinks we are at war. Kerry seems to believe that unless you have higher employment and expanded health insurance, we are vulnerable to terrorism. Then he says, "You can't be safe at home today unless you are also safe abroad." That seems like a direct refutation of the previous sentence. Ah, I'm beginning to get it. The two parts of the answer are designed for two constituencies: doves and hawks. Once again, Kerry's response to a simple yes or no question is: both.

--The New Republic

Posted by Rob Bernard at 8:29 PM in Politics/Government
Couple quick thoughts on last night's TV

First off, I thought Mel Gibson acquitted himself quite well on PrimeTime talking about The Passion of the Christ. He wasn’t some loony evangelical trying to impose his views on others, but rather just trying to get something he believes in out there. He didn’t claim his way was the only way but at the same time made clear what he believed to be true.

Secondly, I thought The Littlest Groom came off much less exploitative than it might have. It wasn’t trying to make fun of the participants; it was largely just your standard The Bachelor knock-off with little people.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 5:37 PM in Media
It's censorship! It's censorship! Or not...

The Palm Beach Post and others are complaining about the list of shows approved and disapproved for closed captioning support from the U.S. Department of Education. The Post's bitching is particularly asinine.

[T]he shows they censored suggest a perspective that is Talibanesque.

The government is refusing to caption Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie, apparently fearing that the deaf would fall prey to witchcraft if they viewed the classic sitcoms.

Your government also believes that Law & Order is too intense for the hard-of-hearing. So is Power Rangers. You can rest easy knowing that your federal tax dollars aren't being spent to promote Sanford and Son, Judge Wapner's Animal Court and The Loretta Young Show within the deaf community. Kids with hearing problems can forget about watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, classic cartoons or Nickelodeon features. Even Roy Rogers and Robin Hood are out.

--Palm Beach Post

A "Talibanesque" perspective. That's a pretty strong accusation. Let's look at the actual lists.

The disapproved list.

On this list are shows like The Simpsons, This Week in Baseball, the Bed Bug Bible Gang, Behind the Music, Courage the Cowardly Dog and Justice League.

The approved list.

On this list are shows like 60 Minutes II, ABC World News Sunday, Barney and Friends, 39 Cable in the Classroom series, Reading Rainbow, and 61 shows with the word "News" in the title.

The Department of Education supports the captioning of shows that are "educational, news or informational.” Can you honestly tell me that the shows on the disapproved list aren't significantly less educational and informational than those on the second list? As entertaining as they are, are people really suggesting that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Bewitched, JAG or Oliver Beene are educational? Of course they're not educational. Can they still be captioned? Sure, but it's not going to be with the assistance of the Department of Education. If a company wants to chip in and get one of those "Closed Captioning provided by:" commercials at the end they're more than welcome to.

The Department of Education helps caption educational shows. The Department deciding that a non-educational show isn't educational isn't censorship, and it certainly isn't "Talibanesque".

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:07 PM in Media
Oil-for-food money used to finance foreign anti-sanctions organizations

So says The Guardian.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:00 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Monday, February 16, 2004
Carnival of the Bush Bloggers

Blogs for Bush has started up a Carnival for the people in the Blogroll for Bush. Check it out.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:11 PM in Politics/Government
Chocolate may not be good for you, but it's good for science
Princeton physicist Paul Chaikin's passion for M&M's candies was so well known that his students played a sweet practical joke on him by leaving a 55-gallon drum of the candies in his office.

Little did they know that their prank would lead to a physics breakthrough.
Chaikin and his colleague, chemist Salvatore Torquato, used the candies to investigate the physical and mathematical principles involved when particles are poured randomly into a vessel.

Writing in Friday's issue of the journal Science, they said they found that oblate spheroids -- such as plain M&M's -- pack surprisingly more densely than regular spheres when poured randomly and shaken.

When poured in, they said, spheres occupy about 64 percent of the space in a container. M&M's manage to pack in at a density of about 68 percent.

"We just stretched a sphere and suddenly things changed dramatically," said Torquato. "To me, it's remarkable that you can take this simple system with common candies and probe one of the deepest problems in condensed matter physics."

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:03 PM in Miscellaneous
Note to everyone...

Get... over...yourselves!!

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:55 PM in Miscellaneous
Dan Burkett's sanitization story

Bill Hobbs takes on Kevin Drum's defense of the Dan Burkett "the files were 'sanitized'" story.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:30 PM in Politics/Government
The Bush Resume

Looks like the liberal propaganda version of Bush's resume is making the rounds again. (Jay Solo got it)

To present the truth and just to make sure I can find it at a later date without having to wade through all the liberal web sites giddy over their drollery I offer this link debunking the "George Bush Resume".

Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:18 AM in Politics/Government
I think I've got Alias figured out

My theory is that they think that if they only have a new show every three weeks they'll be able to go a full 3 months without a complete reset of the show.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:45 AM in Media

Sunday, February 15, 2004
John Kerry: Attacking the President's record because he has no defense of his own
In response to the ad titled "Unprincipled," which was put out on George W. Bush's website, John Kerry's campaign has put out their own ad, titled "More Than Anyone" clearly a reference to the line in the "Unprincipled" video which reveals that John Kerry has received more money from special interests than any other senator.

Kerry responded in the usual way Democrats do. Whining about the "Republican smear machine" and labeling the ad "misleading." Is Kerry suggesting that he and his rivals have never attacked President Bush or put out misleading ads or statements?

The Kerry campaign's statement in response to "Unprincipled" completely misses the point of the ad and absolutely avoids justifying their claim that the ad is misleading.
Is Bush going around the country saying "I have a message for the influence peddlers … and the special interests who now call the White House their home: We’re coming, you’re going, and don’t let the door hit you on the way out!"

George W. Bush isn't proposing a plan on his website to "end the era of special interests."

Is he, John Kerry? Or is that you?

Towards the end of Kerry's video, the narrator asks, "Who’s the politician who’s taken more special interest money than anyone in history? The same one who’s attacking John Kerry’s record because he can’t defend his own."

It's [embarrassing] for the Kerry campaign that they couldn't think of anything less hypocritical to say. Did they actually watch "Unprincipled" or did they just whip out their own ad without looking once at the video they were supposed to be responding to?

Let's spell this out simply for the Kerry campaign: The video [begins] with video of Kerry speaking against interests and then goes into Kerry's record of accepting special interest money.

Get the point?

Kerry's the one going around pretending to be against special interests when accepting money from them has been a key theme of his career in politics. John Kerry is pretending to be somebody he is not. John Kerry's ad attacked Bush's record. Why? Because John Kerry couldn't defend his own record. Where's the response to all the facts regarding the money Kerry has accepted from special interests? It's nowhere. Kerry can't defend his own record, so he's tried to turn the tables around and say "Well, Bush takes special interest money." That's not defending Kerry's own record – its attacking Bush's record with even addressing the message of the video.

Who's the politician who's taken more special interest money than any other Senator and now claims to want to end the era of special interests? The same one who's attacking President Bush's record because he can't defend his own.

--Blogs for Bush

Posted by Rob Bernard at 9:40 PM in Politics/Government
You've heard of the affirmative action bake sale, now there's the whites only scholarship
A student group at Roger Williams University is offering a new scholarship for which only white students are eligible, a move they say is designed to protest affirmative action.

The application for the $250 award requires an essay on "why you are proud of your white heritage" and a recent picture to "confirm whiteness."

"Evidence of bleaching will disqualify applicants," says the application, issued by the university's College Republicans.

Jason Mattera, 20, who is president of the College Republicans, said the group is parodying minority scholarships.

"We think that if you want to treat someone according to character and how well they achieve academically, then skin color shouldn't really be an option," he said. "Many people think that coming from a white background you're automatically privileged, you're automatically rich and your parents pay full tuition. That's just not the case."

Posted by Rob Bernard at 8:26 PM in Politics/Government
There were 14 questions earlier, now George Will has 28 for Kerry

A few of them:

You abhor "special tax giveaways for the privileged and special interests.'' When supporting billions in ethanol subsidies, mostly for agribusinesses, did you think about corn-growing, caucus-holding Iowa?

Is the National Rifle Association a "special interest''? Is "special'' a synonym for "conservative''?

When you denounce "lobbyists'' do you include those for Planned Parenthood and the Sierra Club? Is "liberal lobbyist'' an oxymoron?
You say the rich do not pay enough taxes. In 1979 the top 1 percent of earners paid 19.75 percent of income taxes. Today they pay 36.3 percent. How much is enough?

You say the federal government is not spending enough on education. President Bush has increased education spending 48 percent. How much is enough?

In January 1991, after Iraq extinguished Kuwait's sovereignty, you opposed responding with force rather than economic sanctions. Have such sanctions ever undone such aggression?

On Jan. 11, 1991, you said that going to war was abandoning "the theory of deterrence." Was it not a tad late to deter Iraqi aggression?

Posted by Rob Bernard at 5:38 PM in Politics/Government
That was interesting

Having the "Bush was AWOL" argument with someone once jokingly described as just to the left of Chairman Mao is quite an experience. (I'm "Ender" in this thread.) You just keep throwing facts out to prove your case and all you get back is "his daddy got him in" and "he wasn't patriotic enough".

This was my favorite response when I asked for some proof to back up the left's claims:

I have the powers of logical inference rather than a need to believe something I know in my heart doesn't add up.

It separates us and for all your chest thumping, you know it. You picked the wrong horse here and it's ending badly for you. You'll notice I'm not even bothering to engage you in debates on this. That's the danger sign of how far off the lunatic fringe you've jumped in supporting Capn Coward as I will generally debate anything I see as sane.

The smoking gun is always going to be: "If he was so patriotic, why was he in this country?"

You guys can pretend to be unbiased all you want but if you can't acknowledge the bad losses like this, it's going to lack the ring of truth.

--HSX: Talk

There's only so much convincing you can do when inference and heart "knowledge" is believed to trump actual facts.

To be fair here, at the same time as the Mao comment I was described as just left of Hitler. In my defense though, at I scored a 0.0 on the economic left/right and a .62 on Social Libertarian/Authoritarian which is quite far from Hitler.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:45 AM in Politics/Government

Saturday, February 14, 2004
Bwah... bwah... bwah... Holy crap...

Looks like A-Rod to the Yanks for Soriano. It'll put the Yankees payroll north of $200 million. That's more than 4 times the Reds' payroll and more than 6 times the lowest payroll last year.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 6:46 PM in Baseball , Miscellaneous
D'oh! Angel cancelled

Stupid WB!

It's really a shame. One of the best shows out there. Sounds final and everything... I'd be interested in knowing if they considered approaching UPN with it.

There's a petition here.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:22 AM in Media

Friday, February 13, 2004
Another Guard member recalls Bush in Alabama in 1972
A retired Alabama Air National Guard officer said Friday that he remembers George W. Bush showing up for duty in Alabama in 1972, reading safety magazines and flight manuals in an office as he performed his weekend obligations.

"He was very aggressive about doing his duty there. He never complained about it. ... He was very dedicated to what he was doing in the Guard. He showed up on time and he left at the end of the day."
The 69-year-old president of an Atlanta insulation company said Bush showed up for work at Dannelly Air National Guard Base for drills on at least six occasions. Bush and Calhoun had both been trained as fighter pilots, and Calhoun said the two would swap "war stories" and even eat lunch together on base.

Calhoun is named in 187th unit rosters obtained by the AP as serving under the deputy commander of operations plans. Bush was in Alabama on non-flying status.

"He sat in my office most of the time -- he would read," Calhoun said. "He had your training manuals from your aircraft he was flying. He'd study those some. He'd read safety magazines, which is a common thing for pilots."

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. It's not like the Dems will let pesky a thing like facts get in the way of a good smear campaign.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 6:37 PM in Politics/Government
Guard member remembers Bush on base in Alabama in '72
Joe LeFevers, a member of the 187th in 1972, said he remembers seeing Bush in unit offices and being told that Bush was in Montgomery to work on Blount's campaign.

"I was going in the orderly room over there one day, and they said, 'This is Lt. Bush,'" LeFevers said Tuesday. "They pointed him out to me ... the reason I remember it is because I associate him with Red Blount."

--Bill Hobbs

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:24 PM in Politics/Government
Was Bush's record "purged" of "embarrassing material"?

The Boston Globe casts doubt on the story of the National Guard officer that says he heard conversations about sanitizing Bush's military record.

George O. Conn, a former chief warrant officer with the Guard and a friend of Burkett's, is the person whom Burkett says led him to the room where the Bush records were being vetted. But Conn says he never saw anyone combing through the Bush file or discarding records.

"I have no recall of that," Conn said. "I have no recall of that whatsoever. None. Zip. Nada."

Conn's recollection also undercuts another of Burkett's central allegations: that he overheard Bush's onetime chief of staff, Joe M. Allbaugh, telling a Texas Guard general to make sure there were no embarrassments in the Bush record.

Burkett says he told Conn, over dinner that same night, what he had overheard. But Conn says that, although Burkett told him he worried that the Bush record would be sanitized, he never mentioned overhearing the conversation between Allbaugh and General Daniel James III.
Conn, now a civilian government employee working with the US Army in Germany, said Burkett never told him of the conversation. And Allbaugh, a Washington consultant and lobbyist, said, "I would never be so stupid as do something like that."

Allbaugh said he discussed Bush's file with Guard officials but only because Bush wanted to review it, and had never seen it.
Conn contradicts most of Burkett's rendition. He said that he remembers introducing Burkett to Scribner at the museum but that Scribner never said he was going over the Bush file. "If he had said he was going through George W. Bush's records I would have dropped my teeth. Wow," Conn said. "I would definitely have remembered that. I don't recall that at all."

Burkett also says that, before the encounter with Scribner, he was standing with a group of Guard officers, and heard a ranking officer order Scribner to review the Bush file and remove any documents that might be embarrassing to the then-governor.

But Scribner told the Globe yesterday that no such thing occurred. "It didn't happen. I wasn't even there," Scribner said.

--Boston Globe

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:15 PM in Politics/Government
Bush didn't skip ahead of others in getting into guard

QandO serves up this post that outlining that the Dallas Morning News looked into Bush's record and found that while his unit did have a waiting list he was one of the few on the list willing and able to spend the time required to train for and fly the F-102. There weren't 500 people ahead of him as Bob Herbert would have you believe. There were ~150 waiting to get into his unit, but only a handful were looking to do what Bush ended up doing.

(Tips of the hat to The Daily Howler and Bill Hobbs)

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:00 PM in Politics/Government
The American soldier: winning wars with more than just weapons
"Thousands of Iranians have visited the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala since the war ended. Many have expressed surprise at the respectful and helpful behavior of the U.S. soldiers they met along the way.

Leila Araki, waiting in the back of a Renault sedan as her husband peddled shoes, recalled that her mother-in-law somehow lost her money on the road to Karbala. She said a U.S. soldier reached into his pocket and handed her taxi
fare back to Najaf.

"This is something quite contrary to what we have been told about Americans," aid Araki, 31, who was told of Americans flashing thumbs-up and saying, "Good, Iranians."

"They were really surprised. I would never be this respected and well-treated even in my country, by my countrymen."

Esmaeil Omrani told of a relative with asthma struggling to breathe in the dust of Najaf. A young American in full battle dress advised him to switch inhalants, then gave the pilgrim his own, plus an extra for the road. "Everybody liked them," Omrani said.

Hossein Amiri related a similar story from a thirsty relative given water by a U.S. soldier outside Najaf when the city was closed by a car bombing.

"Between our countries, there might be problems at the top," said Amiri, 48, a civil servant. "There is no problem at the bottom."

--Washington Post via Porphyrogenitus

THIS is how you win the war after the war, and in the case of Iran, the war you hope doesn't have to happen. You come in, you make sure they know that you want to help and you treat people better than the people you've beaten. You challenge the assumptions their leaders had and have been throwing at them. Above all just treat the people like people.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:00 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Thursday, February 12, 2004
Woman confirms Bush in Alabama to do Guard duty
[F]urther confirmation was supplied yesterday by a woman who dated the young George W. Bush in 1972 who says she distinctly remembers the young pilot visiting Montgomery that year to fulfill his Air National Guard commitment. Emily Marks Curtis told The Times that she and Mr. Bush met in the summer of 1972 when he went to Montgomery from Texas to work in the U.S. Senate campaign of Winton Blount, a Bush family friend. She said the two became good friends. After that election, she said, Mr. Bush returned to Texas. A few weeks later, he telephoned to say he was returning to Montgomery to complete drilling days at an Alabama squadron to which he had been transferred that year. It has been standard procedure for many years for National Guard units to excuse members from scheduled drills for employment reasons, with the stipulation that missed drill time be made up. "He called to tell me he was coming back to finish up his National Guard duty," said Mrs. Curtis, who now lives in New Orleans. "I can say categorically he was there, and that's why he came back."

--The Washington Times

There's also proof that Bush was at an Alabama base January 6, 1973.

Bush's staff provided copies of a one-page record of a dental exam, complete with drawings of Bush's teeth, that showed he was at Dannelly Air National Guard base in Montgomery, Ala., on Jan. 6, 1973.

The document is the first definitive evidence that Bush showed up at a base of the Alabama National Guard during a period of about a year, from May 1972 to May 1973, for which it was unclear how the president had fulfilled his military service. Earlier this week, the White House released records showing Bush had been paid for days of service during that period, including the date of the dental exam. But the records did not say where Bush had been.

--Washington Post

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:05 PM in Politics/Government
Who are the terrorists rooting for in the election?

Cox & Forkum takes a stab at it, and it's not Bush.

Drudge says Kerry has intern trouble
Intrigue surrounds a woman who recently fled the country, reportedly at the prodding of Kerry, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

A serious investigation of the woman and the nature of her relationship with Sen. John Kerry has been underway at TIME magazine, ABC NEWS, the WASHINGTON POST and the ASSOCIATED PRESS, where the woman in question once worked.
In an off-the-record conversation with a dozen reporters earlier this week, General Wesley Clark plainly stated: "Kerry will implode over an intern issue." [Three reporters in attendance confirm Clark made the startling comments.]


If true, the support of the voters may be secondary to the support of his wife who has all the money he needs to campaign with.

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

Wednesday, February 11, 2004
Bob Arnot leaves NBC, calls Iraq coverage biased
In a 1,300-word e-mail to NBC News president Neal Shapiro, written in December 2003 and obtained by NYTV, Dr. Arnot called NBC News’ coverage of Iraq biased. He argued that keeping him in Iraq and on NBC could go far in rectifying that. Dr. Arnot told Mr. Shapiro that NBC had alienated the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad since it shot and then aired footage of correspondent Jim Miklaszewski at the scene of the November bombing of the Al Rashid Hotel, in which a C.P.A. staffer was shown injured. That incident, he wrote, "earned the undying enmity of the C.P.A." ... Dr. Arnot included excerpts from an e-mail from Jim Keelor, president of Liberty Broadcasting, which owns eight NBC stations throughout the South. Mr. Keelor had written NBC, stating that "the networks are pretty much ignoring" the good-news stories in Iraq. "The definition of news would incorporate some of these stories," he wrote. "Hence the Fox News surge." ... In his letter to Mr. Shapiro, [Bob Arnot] wondered why the network wasn’t reporting stories of progress in Iraq, a frequently heard complaint of the Bush administration. "As you know, I have regularly pitched most of these stories contained in the note to Nightly, Today and directly to you," he wrote. "Every single story has been rejected." ... Dr. Arnot said he knew for "a fact" that Mr. Shapiro’s problem with his reporting was that "it was just very positive." ... "What happens if NBC is wrong[?]" he wrote. "What happens if this is a historical mission that does succeed … that transforms the Middle East … that brings peace and security to America. What if NBC’s role was like that of much of the media in general … allowing the terrorists to fight their war on the American television screen, where their stories of death and destruction dominate rather than that of American heroes?"

--New York Observer

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:56 PM in Media
A fellow flyer on Bush's National Guard record

Retired Colonel William Campenni, who was a Lieutenant with President Bush in the 111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, Texas Air National Guard is speaking up through a letter to the Washington Times about the questioning of Bush's record.

The mission of the 147th Fighter Group and its subordinate 111th FIS, Texas ANG, and the airplane it possessed, the F-102, was air defense. It was focused on defending the continental United States from Soviet nuclear bombers. The F-102 could not drop bombs and would have been useless in Vietnam. A pilot program using ANG volunteer pilots in F-102s (called Palace Alert) was scrapped quickly after the airplane proved to be unsuitable to the war effort. Ironically, Lt. Bush did inquire about this program but was advised by an ANG supervisor (Maj. Maurice Udell, retired) that he did not have the desired experience (500 hours) at the time and that the program was winding down and not accepting more volunteers.

If you check the 111th FIS records of 1970-72 and any other ANG squadron, you will find other pilots excused for career obligations and conflicts. The Bush excusal in 1972 was further facilitated by a change in the unit's mission, from an operational fighter squadron to a training squadron with a new airplane, the F-101...

There was one big exception to [the] abusive use of the Guard to avoid the draft, and that was for those who wanted to fly, as pilots or crew members. Because of the training required, signing up for this duty meant up to 2½ years of active duty for training alone, plus a high probability of mobilization. A fighter-pilot candidate selected by the Guard (such as Lt. Bush and me) would be spending the next two years on active duty going through basic training (six weeks), flight training (one year), survival training (two weeks) and combat crew training for his aircraft (six to nine months), followed by local checkout (up to three more months) before he was even deemed combat-ready. Because the draft was just two years, you sure weren't getting out of duty being an Air Guard pilot. If the unit to which you were going back was an F-100, you were mobilized for Vietnam. Avoiding service? Yeah, tell that to those guys.
[A]s for abandoning his assignment, this is untrue. Lt. Bush was excused for a period to take employment in Florida for a congressman and later in Alabama for a Senate campaign.
Excusals for employment were common then and are now in the Air Guard, as pilots frequently are in career transitions, and most commanders (as I later was) are flexible in letting their charges take care of career affairs until they return or transfer to another unit near their new employment. Sometimes they will transfer temporarily to another unit to keep them on the active list until they can return home. The receiving unit often has little use for a transitory member, especially in a high-skills category like a pilot, because those slots usually are filled and, if not filled, would require extensive conversion training of up to six months, an unlikely option for a temporary hire.
As a commander, I would put such "visitors" in some minor administrative post until they went back home. There even were a few instances when I was unaware that they were on my roster because the paperwork often lagged. Today, I can't even recall their names.
[T]here is no instance of Lt. Bush disobeying lawful orders in reporting for a physical, as none would be given. Pilots are scheduled for their annual flight physicals in their birth month during that month's weekend drill assembly — the only time the clinic is open. In the Reserves, it is not uncommon to miss this deadline by a month or so for a variety of reasons: The clinic is closed that month for special training; the individual is out of town on civilian business; etc.
If so, the pilot is grounded temporarily until he completes the physical. Also, the formal drug testing program was not instituted by the Air Force until the 1980s and is done randomly by lot, not as a special part of a flight physical, when one easily could abstain from drug use because of its date certain.

--The Washington Times

Not that the Dems would let pesky things like facts get in the way of a good smear campaign.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:44 PM in Politics/Government
Reds pick Steve Stewart to replace Nuxhall says Stewart's the one.

#3 announcer at WBAL for the Orioles, I said earlier that he sounded too "generic" for my taste. Oh well, I'm willing to give him a shot. I hope he's better live than the clip they had up at

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:55 PM in Baseball , Cincinnati
"Saddam Hussein Rules Over Cell With Iron Fist"
BAGHDAD—Officials overseeing Saddam Hussein told reporters Monday that the detained former Iraqi leader rules over his cell "with an iron fist." "Saddam is a very powerful man with a larger-than-life presence, and when he's in that cell, there's no mistaking who's in charge," said a special-forces officer who commands the watch of Hussein at an undisclosed location in Iraq. "We gave Saddam a small bag of nuts. While he was asleep, the rats got into the nuts and ate some of them. In retaliation, Saddam caught one of the rats' young, tortured it, and left it strapped to the wall with dental floss for days. Then, after it was dead, he stuffed its severed head with nuts and paraded it around the cell to warn the other rats." ... "Every day at around 6, he delivers his morning decree," the CIA official said. "He tells the cockroaches and other vermin in the cell that he will protect them against the oppressive Western devils and reward those who remain loyal. Then he usually sings. I once rapped on the bars with the butt of my rifle, but that just fired him up. He started cursing a blue streak at me and launched into a recitation of the "64 Rules Of Order" for the cell. Now I know to just let him tire himself out."

--The Onion

Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:40 PM in Miscellaneous

Tuesday, February 10, 2004
The difference between the establishment and household surveys

The annual Economic Report of the President tackles the widely divergent household and establishment surveys.

For the first time in the two series' histories, one showed a large and sustained decrease in employment while the other showed a large and sustained increase. In particular, the establishment survey reported a decline in employment of over 1.0 million from the end of the recession in November 2001 to August 2003, while the household survey reported an increase of over 1.4 million. In every month of 2003, the establishment survey showed employment below the November 2001 level, while the household survey showed it above this level. Such a sustained string of divergence is unprecedented. One possible explanation is that the establishment survey misses some new firms and therefore may underestimate employment at the start of an economic expansion. Past revisions to the establishment survey offer some support for this theory.

--ERP (via HobbsOnline)

Posted by Rob Bernard at 5:01 PM in Politics/Government
Kerry vs. Bush on spending
When it comes to controlling government spending, voters today trust John Kerry more than George W. Bush. A Rasmussen Reports survey found that 42% of voters believe that the Senator from Massachusetts is better on this issue than the President. Only 33% say the President is better.

--Bush vs. Kerry: Issue Comparisons

Well yeah, it's easy to be better on spending when you consistently vote against defense spending.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:21 PM in Politics/Government
PETA front group: Attacking the dead
The late Dr. Robert Atkins is being smeared for his alleged obesity at the time of his death, by a phony doctors organization that has been exposed as a front group for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and has been censured by the American Medical Association (AMA). The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) has taken in over $1 million from PETA and the animal rights movement. PCRM and PETA also share office space, board members, and staff. The AMA has formally censured PCRM in the past, calling its recommendations “irresponsible” and “potentially dangerous to the health and welfare of Americans.” The AMA has also called PCRM a “fringe organization” that uses “unethical tactics” and is “interested in perverting medical science.”

...The facts on the late Dr. Robert Atkins:

(1) Dr. Stuart Trager MD, chairman of the Atkins Physicians Council, told the Wall Street Journal that Atkins' heart disease stemmed from cardiomyopathy, a condition that was thought to result from a viral infection. Atkins' weight was due to bloating and water-retention associated with his condition, and the time he spent in a coma after his head injury.

(2) Trager's own release this morning reads in part: "Due to water retention ... [Atkins] had a weight that varied between 180 and 195. During his coma, as he deteriorated and his major organs failed, fluid retention and bloating dramatically distorted his body and left him at 258 pounds at the time of his death, a documented weight gain of over 60 pounds."

--Center for Consumer Freedom

More on the Physicians Committee for Responible Medicine.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:04 PM in Miscellaneous
Missing Russian presidential candidate turns up in Ukraine

"I decided to go to Kiev to visit friends... I left fruit and money for my wife..."

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:23 PM in Politics/Government

Monday, February 9, 2004
Jane Fonda and John F. Kerry

The infamous photo is right here.

On Labor Day weekend 1970, Kerry - then a rising star with Vietnam Veteran Against the War - teamed up with Fonda as the two headlined an ugly anti-war in rally in Valley Forge, Pa., railing against U.S. policy in Southeast Asia from the back of the same flatbed truck.

The photo shows "Hanoi Jane" listening raptly as speakers denounced American soldiers for committing "genocide" in Vietnam and accusing the U.S. of "international racism."

Posted by Rob Bernard at 7:34 PM in Politics/Government
John Kerry- Candidate for change
Voted for No Child Left Behind: now opposes it
Voted for the PATRIOT Act: now opposes it
Voted for war in Iraq: now opposes it
Voted against Operation Desert Storm in 1991: now supports it
"Opposes special interests": accepted more lobbyist money than ANY OTHER senator in the last 15 years

If we want a weathervane president, he's our man.

He's got a good economic plan though: just marry a rich heiress - TWICE!

--American Beacon

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:32 PM in Politics/Government
Mohammed Ismail Agha's thoughts on Gitmo

Mohammed Ismail Agha, 15 years old and recently released from a 14 month stay at Guantanamo Bay is speaking up about his experience:

"They gave me a good time in Cuba. They were very nice to me, giving me English lessons."

Mohammed, an unemployed Afghan farmer, found the surroundings in Cuba at first baffling. After he settled in, however, he was left to enjoy stimulating school work, good food and prayer.

"At first I was unhappy . . . For two or three days [after I arrived in Cuba] I was confused but later the Americans were so nice to me. They gave me good food with fruit and water for ablutions and prayer," he said yesterday in Naw Zad, a remote market town in southern Afghanistan close to his home village and 300 miles south-west of Kabul, the capital.

He said that the American soldiers taught him and his fellow child captives - aged 15 and 13 - to write and speak a little English. They supplied them with books in their native Pashto language. When the three boys left last week for Afghanistan, the soldiers looking after them gave them a send-off dinner and urged them to continue their studies.

"They even took photographs of us all together before we left," he said. Mohammed, however, said he would have to disappoint his captors by not returning to his studies. "I am too poor for that. I will have to look for work," he said.


And this from Faiz Mohammed, release in October 2002 after 8 months in detention:

"They treated us well. We had enough food. I didn't mind [being detained] because they took my old clothes and gave me new clothes," said the farmer, who was partially deaf.


Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:16 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
10 questions not asked of President Bush

Greg Mitchell has a column listing 10 questions Russert didn’t ask Bush on Meet the Press. Here’s my attempt to answer, refute or just mock some them.

1. When Bush said flatly that he was "not surprised" by the level of resistance the U.S. has met in Iraq after the war, Russert did not ask: If that's true, why then did the U.S. not prepare much better for what would follow?

How would you better prepare for it? How would being better prepared for it differ from what happened?
3. As a follow-up: Mr. President, What do you think of Tenet's comment that he never thought Iraq was an "imminent" threat? Or Colin Powell's remark earlier this week that he could not have justified the war if he knew the threat of weapons of mass destruction was not real?

On the first, I think he'd reply that he didn't think it was imminent either, as he said in the SOTU.

“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.” --SOTU

On the second, just because we haven't found large stockpiles doesn't mean the threat of WMD wasn't real.

4. When Bush flatly asserted "We're doing a very good job of dismantling Al-Quada," Russert did not challenge this notion at all.

Geez, maybe that's because it's true. We may not have caught Osama yet, but a very large number of Al-Qaeda members have been caught or killed.

"McClellan said 'some two-thirds' of al Qaeda leaders have been killed or detained."--CNN

5. Bush said one reason we had to go to war was because Saddam could have developed nuclear weapons "over time." Russert did not ask him to cite any fresh evidence that the Iraqi nuclear program was in any state to do this any time in the foreseeable future.

From the Kay report:

"With regard to Iraq's nuclear program, the testimony we have obtained from Iraqi scientists and senior government officials should clear up any doubts about whether Saddam still wanted to obtain nuclear weapons. They have told ISG that Saddam Hussein remained firmly committed to acquiring nuclear weapons. These officials assert that Saddam would have resumed nuclear weapons development at some future point. Some indicated a resumption after Iraq was free of sanctions. At least one senior Iraqi official believed that by 2000 Saddam had run out of patience with waiting for sanctions to end and wanted to restart the nuclear program. The Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC), beginning around 1999, expanded its laboratories and research activities and increased its overall funding levels. This expansion may have been in initial preparation for renewed nuclear weapons research, although documentary evidence of this has not been found, and this is the subject of continuing investigation by ISG." – Kay Report

6. When Bush denied that he had launched a "pre-emptive" war because, after all, he went to the United Nations first, Russert did not ask: How did that make the invasion any less "pre-emptive?"

What actually makes it less preemptive is the fact that is wasn’t a new war, simply the resumption of the 1991 war.
7. Bush claimed that we went to war because efforts at "containing" Saddam Hussein had failed. Russert did not ask for evidence that Hussein had not, in fact, been contained by sanctions, especially in light of no WMDs being found in Iraq.

8. Bush also repeatedly asserted that the United Nations had failed at "disarming Saddam Hussein peacefully" or that its efforts were "not working." Russert did not ask: How can you say this when, on the verge of war, U.N. inspectors were on the ground in Iraq and reporting that there appeared to be no WMDs there -- which, in fact, has been proven correct?

All the UN’s efforts did not keep Saddam from continuing his programs that were banned by UN resolutions.

More from the Kay report:

Let me just give you a few examples of these concealment efforts, some of which I will elaborate on later:

– A clandestine network of laboratories and safehouses within the Iraqi Intelligence Service that contained equipment subject to U.N. monitoring and suitable for continuing CBW (chemical biological weapons) research.

– A prison laboratory complex, possibly used in human testing of BW (bioweapons) agents, that Iraqi officials working to prepare for U.N. inspections were explicitly ordered not to declare to the U.N.

– Reference strains of biological organisms concealed in a scientist's home, one of which can be used to produce biological weapons.

– New research on BW-applicable agents, brucella and Congo Crimean hemorrhagic fever, and continuing work on ricin and aflatoxin were not declared to the U.N.

– Documents and equipment, hidden in scientists' homes, that would have been useful in resuming uranium enrichment by centrifuge and electromagnetic isotope separation.

– A line of UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) not fully declared at an undeclared production facility and an admission that they had tested one of their declared UAVs out to a range of 500 km, 350 km beyond the permissible limit.

– Continuing covert capability to manufacture fuel propellant useful only for prohibited SCUD-variant missiles, a capability that was maintained at least until the end of 2001 and that cooperating Iraqi scientists have said they were told to conceal from the U.N.

– Plans and advanced design work for new long-range missiles with ranges up to at least 1,000 km – well beyond the 150-km range limit imposed by the U.N. Missiles of a 1000 km range would have allowed Iraq to threaten targets throughout the Middle East, including Ankara, Cairo, and Abu Dhabi.

– Clandestine attempts between late-1999 and 2002 to obtain from North Korea technology related to 1,300-km range ballistic missiles – probably the No Dong – 300-km range anti-ship cruise missiles and other prohibited military equipment.

Iraq was continuing to develop a variety of UAV platforms and maintained two UAV programs that were working in parallel, one at Ibn Fernas and one at al-Rashid Air Force Base.

ISG has discovered evidence of two primary cruise missile programs. The first appears to have been successfully implemented, whereas the second had not yet reached maturity at the time of OIF.

3. In the chemical and biological weapons area we have confidence that there were at a minimum clandestine ongoing research and development activities that were embedded in the Iraqi Intelligence Service. While we have much yet to learn about the exact work programs and capabilities of these activities, it is already apparent that these undeclared activities would have at a minimum facilitated chemical and biological weapons activities and provided a technically trained cadre.

--Kay Report

All of these activities were banned by UN resolutions, and none were prevented by UN inspections. Every one of them was ended by the coalition's invasion.
9. When Bush, responding to the "AWOL" controversy, twice chastened critics for downgrading the National Guard, Russert did not ask him to name a critic who was doing that (as opposed to questioning Bush's specific record with the Guard).

You want a name? Ok. John Kerry.

“’I've never made any judgments about any choice somebody made about avoiding the draft, about going to Canada, going to jail, being a conscientious objector, going into the National Guard,’ Mr. Kerry said. ‘Those are choices people make.’” --New York Times

Online Political Citizens

The Institute for Politics, Democracy & the Internet at George Washington University has released a study on "Political Influentials Online in the 2004 Presidential Campaign", this would include a lot of the bloggers and blog readers out there.

  • Online Political Citizens are not isolated cyber-geeks, as the media has portrayed them. On the contrary, OPCs are nearly seven times more likely than average citizens to serve as opinion leaders among their friends, relatives adn colleagues... Normally, 10% of Americans qualify as Influentials. Our study found that 69% of Online Political Citizens are Influentials.
  • About 44% of Online Political Citizens ahve not been politically involved in the past in typical ways- They have not previously worked for a campaign, made a campaign donation or attended a campaign event.
  • [OPCs] are twice as likely as member of the general public to have a college degree; they have higher incomes, are slightly younger, and more likely to be white, single and male.
  • [OPCs] are significantly more likely to donate money to candidates...
  • E-mail is their lifeline: 87% receive political e-mail and 66% forward political e-mail to friends and colleagues. OPCs frequent political Web logs, political discussion groups and political chat rooms much more often than the general public.
  • We estimate that [OPCs] comprise about 7% of the population.
  • --Political Influentials Online in the 2004 Presidential Campaign

    There's some more interesting conclusions there.

    Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:59 PM in Politics/Government , Technology/Internet

    Sunday, February 8, 2004
    John Kerry on the threat posed by Iraq
    "It appears that with the deadline for exile come and gone, Saddam Hussein has chosen to make military force the ultimate weapons inspections enforcement mechanism".

    --Boston Globe - 3/20/03

    “I think Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction are a threat, and that’s why I voted to hold him accountable and to make certain that we disarm him. I think we need to …”

    --“All Things Considered” - 3/19/03

    “[Kerry] said the Bush administration has taken too long to make its case for military action, ‘but nonetheless I am glad we’ve reached this moment in our diplomacy.’ Kerry added: ‘Convincing evidence of Saddam Hussein’s possession of weapons of mass destruction should trigger, I believe, a final ultimatum from the United Nations for a full, complete, immediate disarmament of those weapons by Iraq. Over the next hours, I will work with my colleagues in the Senate to fully examine the evidence offered by the secretary for a complete and close reading. But, on its face, the evidence against Saddam Hussein appears real and compelling.’”

    --Boston Globe - 2/6/03

    “If You Don’t Believe Saddam Hussein Is A Threat With Nuclear Weapons, Then You Shouldn’t Vote For Me.”

    --LA Times - 1/31/03

    “[W]e need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime. We all know the litany of his offenses. He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation. He miscalculated an eight-year war with Iran. He miscalculated the invasion of Kuwait. He miscalculated America’s response to that act of naked aggression. He miscalculated the result of setting oil rigs on fire. He miscalculated the impact of sending scuds into Israel and trying to assassinate an American President. He miscalculated his own military strength. He miscalculated the Arab world’s response to his misconduct. And now he is miscalculating America’s response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction. That is why the world, through the United Nations Security Council, has spoken with one voice, demanding that Iraq disclose its weapons programs and disarm.”

    --Speech at George Washington University - 1/23/03

    “Mr. Kerry, a Vietnam War veteran and potential 2004 presidential contender, said Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction posed ‘a real and grave threat’ to the United States.”

    --Washington Times - 10/10/02

    “It would be naive to the point of grave danger not to believe that, left to his own devices, Saddam Hussein will provoke, misjudge, or stumble into a future, more dangerous confrontation with the civilized world.”

    --Congressional Record - 10/9/02

    “Americans need to really understand the gravity and legitimacy of what is happening with Saddam Hussein. He has been given every opportunity in the world to comply. The president does not control the schedule of UNSCOM. The president did not withdraw the UNSCOM inspectors. And the president did not, obviously, cut a deal with Saddam Hussein to do this at this moment. Saddam Hussein has not complied. Saddam Hussein is pursuing a program to build weapons of mass destruction.”

    --Press Conference - 12/16/98

    Damn Kerry and his misleading ways!!!

    Come on people, everybody in Washington and just about every government worldwide thought Saddam had WMD and was up to no good. If Bush was trumping up the intelligence than so was pretty much every other person not being paid out of Saddam's coffers.

    "If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program."
    - President Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998

    "He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983."
    - Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb, 18, 1998

    "Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process."
    - Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA), Dec. 16, 1998

    "There is no doubt that ... Saddam Hussein has invigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status. In addition, Saddam continues to redefine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies."
    - Letter to President Bush, Signed by Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL,) and others, December 5, 2001

    He has ignored the mandated of the United Nations and is building weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them."
    - Sen. Carl Levin (D, MI), Sept. 19, 2002

    "We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country."
    - Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

    "We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction."
    - Sen. Ted Kennedy (D, MA), Sept. 27, 2002

    --Nathan Colvin in Cincy Blog's comments

    TOM DASCHLE, on the war resolution, back in 2002:

    Daschle, D-South Dakota, said the threat of Iraq's weapons programs "may not be imminent. But it is real. It is growing. And it cannot be ignored."

    Dick Gephardt:

    "I believe we have an obligation to protect the United States by preventing him from getting these weapons and either using them himself or passing them or their components on to terrorists who share his destructive intent," said Gephardt, who helped draft the measure.


    Yeah, any lack of WMD in Iraq is obviously because the Bush administration lied about the intelligence, even though every one of these democrats developed these opinions using the same intelligence.

    Saturday, February 7, 2004
    You know your presidential bid is over when... start saying you'd take the vice presidency, as Dean now is.

    Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:18 PM in Politics/Government

    Friday, February 6, 2004
    More from Hobbs on Bush being AWOL

    The highlights:

    [O]ne of the core pieces of "evidence" that the "Bush was AWOL" liars used to "prove" Bush was "AWOL" from his post - the testimony of an officer at the Alabama Guard post where Bush was temporarily reassigned in 1972, has crumbled.

    Bush's key accuser on the matter, Brig. Gen. William Turnipseed, who told the Boston Globe in 2000 that Bush never showed up for Guard drills with his Alabama unit, had recanted as recently as this week.

    "We spoke to him yesterday," [NBC White House correspondent David] Gregory told radio host Don Imus, "and he said, 'I don't know if [Bush] showed up, I don't know if he didn't. I don't remember how often I was even at the base.'"

    When the plane was in demand overseas, Bush was not yet qualified to fly it. By the time he passed his final combat flight test in June 1970, the Air Force was pulling the jets out of Southeast Asia.

    Bush... tried to join the Palace Alert program that rotated National Guard pilots into Vietnam.

    A colonel told them only a few more pilots would go and "Fred and I had not logged enough hours to participate," Bush wrote.

    Retired Col. Maury Udell, who trained Bush to fly the F-102, has no doubt his pupil was willing to go to Vietnam.

    Udell agreed that Bush was too inexperienced for Palace Alert, but he said the young man did become a good fighter pilot. "George got really good in air-to-air combat," he said.
    Bush's commanders were equally pleased with the young officer. The Associated Press reviewed several glowing annual evaluations along with about 200 pages of Bush's military record.

    "Lt. Bush is an exceptional fighter interceptor pilot and officer," Maj. William Harris wrote on May 26, 1972, in a typical example. "Lt. Bush's major strength is his ability to work with others."
    Albert Lloyd Jr., who was personnel director for the Texas National Guard from 1969 to 1995, said it would have taken several weeks for Bush to requalify for the F-102 once he returned to Ellington Air Force Base in December, and the Guard was already phasing out the plane. Also, Bush had said he planned to leave the Guard for Harvard Business School.

    "When you stop to think about it, why expend dollars on somebody who you are not going to keep?" Lloyd said.

    Bush spent about eight more months in the Guard before he was put on inactive duty, six months early, in October 1973, according to records obtained by The Associated Press.


    Not that a pesky thing like facts would get in the way of the "Bush is a deserter" crowd.

    Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:11 PM in Politics/Government
    Panel named to look into intelligence

    Led by retired judge Laurence Silberman the panel also includes former Senator Charles Robb, Senator John McCain, former White House counsel Lloyd Cutler, former judge Patricia Wald, Yale president Richard Levin and former CIA deputy director Adm. William Studeman.

    Posted by Rob Bernard at 10:16 PM in Politics/Government
    Tivo and Nielsen team up
    Nielsen Media Research has signed a deal with TiVo that will allow the media-monitoring firm to track consumers' digital video recorder use, according to the companies. ... Nielsen has been criticized for its lack of DVR audience measurement capabilities. TV and marketing executives widely regard the increased use of digital TV devices as an important industry development.

    According to a statement released by the two companies, TiVo and Nielsen will collect data on a permission basis, utilizing an "opt-in" panel that allows users to volunteer to be monitored. The new service will collect data on approximately 5,000 to 10,000 TiVo users.

    Good. Tivo and the other DVRs are changing the way people watch TV. The processes for tracking viewership need to keep up.

    Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:55 PM in Technology/Internet
    The divide between red & blue

    Marginal Revolution has an interesting graphic that takes data from Amazon and links together books that were bought together. There's very little overlap between the red folks and the blue.

    Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:07 PM in Politics/Government
    And I quote...
    We know he was developing the delivery systems, ballistic missiles that the United Nations had prohibited. We know Saddam Hussein had the intent to arm his regime with weapons of mass destruction, because he hid all those activities from the world until the last day of his regime. And Saddam Hussein had something else -- he had a record of using weapons of mass destruction against his enemies and against innocent Iraqi citizens. Knowing what I knew then, and knowing what I know today, America did the right thing in Iraq.

    We had a choice: either take the word of a madman, or take action to defend the American people. Faced with that choice, I will defend America every time. September the 11th, 2001 was a lesson for America, a lesson I will never forget, and a lesson this nation must never forget. We cannot wait to confront the threats of the world, the threats of terror networks and terror states, until those threats arrive in our own cities. I made a pledge to this country; I will not stand by and hope for the best while dangers gather. I will not take risks with the lives and security of the American people. I will protect and defend this country by taking the fight to the enemy.
    If some politicians in Washington had their way, Saddam Hussein would still be in power. All of the Security Council resolutions and condemnations would still be issued and still be ignored, scraps of paper amounting to nothing. Other regimes and terror networks, had we not acted, would have concluded that America backs down when things get tough. Saddam would still have his weapons capabilities, and life would sure be different for the Iraqi people. The secret police would still be making arrests in the middle of the night. Prisons and torture chambers would still be filled with victims. More innocent Iraqis would have been sent to mass graves. Because we acted, Iraq's nightmare is over. Their country, our country and the entire world are better off because the regime of Saddam Hussein is gone, and gone forever.

    Unemployment down, job creation up

    Unemployment down to 5.6%, survey of employers shows 112,000 new jobs, 496,000 according to the household survey.

    In the separate survey of households, employment jumped by 496,000 last month.

    The household survey counts self-employed workers and contract workers, which are increasing. The survey of businesses does not.

    ''They're not recording the outside contractors they're not reflecting something that is tremendously fundamental now to the American corporate scene, and that's outsourcing to outside contractors,'' Mayland said.

    The Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics acknowledged the continuing discrepancies, and said it is investigating.

    In a world where (especially in the IT field) it seems everyone is a contractor how can the statistic most people use to determine changes in employment not count contractors?

    The economy has lost more than 2 million jobs since he took office, giving him the worst job creation record of any president since Herbert Hoover.

    Well sure, if you only look at the payroll numbers. Let's keep in mind that these numbers don't count contractors and the like. (Shouldn't be hard as it was said just about 3 lines up.) If you look at the household data, which would include everyone with a job, employment was at 135,999,000 in January 2001 when Bush took office. In January 2004 employment is at 138,566,000. Now my best subject was never math but I've known how to use a calculator for quite a while now and my calculator is telling me that that is an INCREASE in employment of 2,567,000. That's just a tad different than the "2 million jobs lost on Bush's watch" that keeps getting thrown around. You only get that if you use the "establishment data". (132,129,000 in '01 and 130,155,000 today)

    In a world full of outsourcing I would think that the data that actually counts the outsourced as employed would be a much more accurate picture of who actually has a job.

    Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:03 PM in Politics/Government

    Thursday, February 5, 2004
    Why a Dem won't vote for Kerry

    Kirk explains why he won't vote for John Kerry.

    The fact is that I want to vote Democrat. I vote Democrat in almost all races. I just voted in the Democratic primary. The problem is that Kerry does not represent me. Just because he is called a "Democrat" doesn't mean he represents me.

    But if you want to know my true beef with Kerry is that he doesn't take a definite stand on anything. He was for and against the invasion of Iraq. He was for and against the Gulf War (see the TNR piece I posted earlier). In an interview with Channel 5 (or maybe 4, I can't remember) he said he was pro-life and pro-choice. Even looking at his website, I can't tell where he stands other than "I'm not Bush". Sorry, but I'm looking for a little more out of a candidate than
    carefully researched soundbites that sound good to "soccer moms", "NASCAR dads", or whatever marketing group we are chasing this week.

    That is my problem with Kerry. And that is why I won't vote for him.

    --Left of the Middle

    Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:43 PM in Politics/Government

    Wednesday, February 4, 2004
    Holy bleep!

    This is seriously messed up.

    Baby born with 2nd head set for surgery Friday.

    Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:35 PM in Miscellaneous
    Ricin letter to the White House intercepted in November
    The U.S. Secret Service intercepted a letter addressed to the White House in November that contained a vial of the toxin ricin, but never revealed the incident publicly and delayed telling the FBI and other agencies, law enforcement sources said yesterday.

    The letter, signed by "Fallen Angel" and containing complaints about trucking regulations, was nearly identical to one discovered Oct. 15 at a Greenville, S.C., mail-sorting facility. It was accompanied by a metal vial that contained powdered ricin, sources said.
    [T]he existence of a similar letter sent to the White House was not disclosed until yesterday, and then only by law enforcement officials who asked not to be identified by name.

    Six sources in law enforcement and public health said the Secret Service did not immediately inform the FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service or other agencies about the White House letter when it was discovered. Three of those sources said the delay lasted "weeks," while a fourth recalled a lag of about nine days. Several said the delay was long enough that anyone exposed to the ricin would have begun to show symptoms.

    "We did not get involved in any reasonable amount of time," one law enforcement official said. "The whole thing was kept under wraps on a national security basis."

    --Washington Post

    Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:56 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
    I'd comment on the primaries but...

    I find it hard to get too worked up about it when Kerry is still a mere 9.5% of the way towards the number of delegates he needs.

    It does bug me that the media's gone and dubbed this round of primaries "Super Tuesday" when the real Super Tuesday isn't until March 2. The media obviously wants a story and they seem to be doing everything they can to play up the importance of this day of primaries.

    Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:34 AM in Politics/Government
    Just 2 thoughts on UC basketball
    1) They need to run their full court press more consistently. There are entire halfs when they don't seem to run it.

    2) When they leave someone open, they leave them WIDE open. When someone makes a 3 while guarded it's understandable, but so often it seems there's nobody within 10 feet of the shooter.

    Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:07 AM in Cincinnati

    Tuesday, February 3, 2004
    A fortuitous search engine ranking will do wonders for traffic

    Thanks to nipplegate and several high search engine rankings the site's had a 2,000% increase in traffic from yesterday. What would we do without search engines?

    Posted by Rob Bernard at 7:32 PM in Technology/Internet
    OSC on religious freedom

    As always, good stuff from Orson Scott Card.

    Oh, those peace-loving, tolerant, open-minded French. Just when you start really looking up to them as the people who teach the world how to be civilized, they pull something like this law banning headscarves, yarmulkes, and large Christian crosses from school classrooms.

    After all, as any atheist can tell you, religious belief causes all the evil in the world. So if we can just ban the display of religious symbols in the public schools, we can do a better job of civilizing the children, right?
    Notice that crosses aren't banned altogether -- only big ones. And of course there's no Christian sect that actually requires the wearing of crosses -- it's just a fashion choice.

    But for some Muslims and some Jews, the head scarf and the yarmulke are not a fashion choice, they're a fundamental expression of faith. To take them off -- especially at the orders of the state -- would be like spitting in the face of God.

    And to demand that they do so is to establish secularism (and small-cross Christianity) as the state churches of France. Good-bye, religious freedom!
    You'd think we'd had enough of people who want to force their religious beliefs on others. But no, as the French are proving, if you are really sure that your beliefs about religion are true and all others are silly or seditious, then it's OK to use the force of law to make other people do things your way.

    What would you do if you lived in France under such a law? Supposing you were a Christian who didn't wear a cross anyway? Do you just shake your head and feel sorry for the Muslims and Jews?
    The thing to remember is this: Repression of one religion -- even if it's one you despise -- opens the door to repression of all. And the most fanatical believers in the religion of Political Correctness are eager to use the power of the state to do to all conservative religions what the French are poised to do to orthodox Jews and Muslims.

    --War Watch

    Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:43 AM in Religion
    Who are the ad geniuses who came up with that one?

    The Pepsi ad with Britney, Pink, and Beyonce is really and truly bad. Words can't properly describe it.

    Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:31 AM in Media
    Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's mail tests positive for ricin
    Preliminary tests on a white, powdery substance found in the mailroom of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist indicate the presence of the deadly substance ricin, a Homeland Security official said Monday. ... Capitol police said there was nothing overtly suspicious about the envelope -- except for the powdery substance that fell out. Sgt. Contricia Sellers-Ford said there was nothing threatening or otherwise noteworthy about the letter inside the envelope.

    She said the envelope was "clipped," meaning it was run through a machine that irradiates all the mail that comes to Capitol Hill -- standard procedure ever since the 2001 anthrax attacks.
    Authorities stressed the ricin results were preliminary and that field tests often prove unreliable. They also pointed out that though ricin is an effective weapon against a single person, it is difficult to use against large numbers of people at once.

    Ricin is a natural, highly toxic compound that comes from castor beans, used to make castor oil. It can be inhaled, ingested or injected.

    There is no known antidote, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One milligram of ricin, a dose the size of the head of a pin, can kill an adult.

    If inhaled, ricin can cause death in 36 to 48 hours from failure of the respiratory and circulatory systems.

    If ingested, it causes nausea, vomiting and bleeding of the stomach and intestines, followed by failure of the liver, spleen and kidneys, and death by collapse of the circulatory system.

    Injected ricin immediately kills the muscles and lymph nodes near the site of the injection. Failure of the major organs and death usually follows, the CDC said.


    Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:14 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

    Monday, February 2, 2004
    Big bust regarding the Nigerian scam e-mails
    Dutch police have arrested 52 people suspected of defrauding gullible Internet users in one of the largest busts of the infamous "Nigerian e-mail" scam.

    Also known as an "advance fee" or "419" scheme, the scammers sent spam e-mails asking for help in transferring a large sum of money out of a politically or economically troubled country, in exchange for a generous percentage.
    A task force of 80 officers raided 23 apartments, seizing computers, fake passports and euro50,000 ($62,000) in cash. One suspect was injured attempting to escape by leaping from a third-floor apartment, he said.
    The suspects worked from their homes and sent more than 1 million e-mails, at times clogging the servers of their Internet provider, Dutch-based cable company UPC. Police enlisted UPC's help to trace them, Meulenbroek said.

    Six people, three from Nigeria and three from Benin, were convicted in a similar case in Amsterdam in May, receiving sentences of up to 4{ years. They had defrauded victims for several million dollars (euros), including a Swiss professor who lost US$482,000 after being promised 25 percent of a US$36 million sum.

    Nigeria has recently stepped up its efforts to eradicate the scam, which taints its image abroad. The Central Bank of Nigeria denies any connection to the scammers, and Nigerian agencies have been placing warning advertisements in international newspapers for years.


    Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:28 PM in Technology/Internet
    Superbowl ads

    iFilm's got video of this year's Superbowl ads.

    I liked Gillette's "Angel by Your Side" ad. Compared to the other ads it was very classy and stood out to me.

    The Truth "Glass Freeze Pops" ad was good, I think they came off a bit less preachy than normal.

    I liked all the AOL Teutul family ones.

    Ali was looking pretty good in the IBM Linux ad.

    The Simpsons Mastercard ad was right up there at the top.

    I'm not proud of it, but the Budweiser dog and gassy horse ads made me laugh. The wife yelling at the ref, the donkey, and the talking monkey ones were pretty good too.

    The Dodge "Monkey on your back" ad was good, but it doesn't take much when you've got a monkey.

    I really enjoyed the Staples mafia supply supervisor ad.

    The Snow Volleyball ad was pretty good too.

    The Pepsi ones were ok, but they were nothing special.

    The Charmin quarterback/toilet paper ad was just disturbing.

    I can't say any of the movie spots blew me away.

    The viagra clones werre just bad all around.

    Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:08 PM in Media

    Sunday, February 1, 2004
    The halftime show (including Janet Jackson's nipple)

    While I appreciate MTV and CBS's effort to flash Janet Jackson's nipple live on the most watched television show all year, I wouldn't consider 30 second clips from 15 songs to be "entertainment". The whole "let's throw every possible type of music against the wall and see what sticks" approach to the halftime show just doesn't work for me.

    Posted by Rob Bernard at 9:56 PM in Media
    Thoughts on the possible replacements for Joe Nuxhall's got mp3s up for 6 people in the running to replace Joe Nuxhall in the radio booth with Marty.

    Don't make the cut

    Steve Stewart: Does radio for the Orioles - He just sounds too generic to me. There's nothing distinctive about his voice.

    Joe Sunderman: Xavier basketball play-by-play - I get a generic vibe off him to. I'm not getting a sense of a persona behind his play calling.

    I think connecting as a person and not just a voice is even more important than being good at calling the game and I just don't think Stewart or Sunderman have that.

    Tracy Jones: Talk show host on WLW - I can't see him doing play by play. He seems too opinionated to call the game day in and day out. Much more suited to a discussion-type format.

    Ok, but not quite

    Dan Hoard: Fox 19 sports anchor and voice of UC sports - I like him, I really do, but I just don't think he's right for Reds baseball. I just don't think his play-by-play "fits".

    I'd be happy with 'em

    Chris Welsh: Works the Reds games on TV - He's probably the most like Joe in the way he speaks and calls the game. He'd be a worthy replacement for Joe. I wouldn't be at all upset if he moved from TV to the radio.

    Jeff McCarragher: Play-by-play for the Norfolk Tides who employed Marty before he joined the Reds - I like this guy. You've never heard of him but I like the way he sounds. He doesn't sound white bread, he doesn't sound bland. I get the feeling there's a person behind his voice unlike Stewart and Sunderman. He's not as much like Joe as Welsh is, but it seems he'd bring an enthusiasm for it, that he really gets into the game. I really think he'd work well.

    Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:57 PM in Baseball , Cincinnati
    Charlotte 86, UC 83.
    Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:25 PM in Cincinnati


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