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Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Is it asking too much for the person that checked The Fountainhead out of the library before me to at least shake out all the cat hairs before it's returned? They're all over the place.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:15 PM in Miscellaneous

Some more interesting poll results, this time from Rasmussen.

Looking out over the next four years, 55% of American voters think George Bush will be more aggressive leading the War on Terror than John Kerry. A Rasmussen Reports survey found that just 28% believe Kerry will be more aggressive.

The survey also found that half of America's voters (50%) believe that Richard Clarke is making his accusations about the President either to sell his book or to help John Kerry's campaign. Just 39% believe Clarke is merely a concerned citizen telling the truth about what he saw.

As with most issues in this election system, opinions are shaped along partisan lines. Republicans, by a 88% to 6% margin believe Bush will be more aggressive leading the War on Terror. Democrats, by a 53% to 29% margin, believe Kerry will be more aggressive.

Half of those not affiliated with either political party (50%) believe that Bush will be more aggressive while just 21% of unaffiliateds pick Kerry.

The same is true on the question of Clarke's motives. The Rasmussen Reports survey found that 60% of Democrats believe that Clarke is just telling the truth. Only 13% of Republicans hold that view. Those unaffiliated with either major party are evenly divided on this point.

--Election 2004 Clarke Impact

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:10 PM in Politics/Government

Tuesday, March 30, 2004
Let's be clear here

This is not Opening Day. I do not recognize any game played prior to the first game played by the Cincinnati Reds as Opening Day.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:35 PM in Baseball , Cincinnati
"Remarkable turnaround"
A USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll shows a remarkable turnaround in 17 battleground states where polls and historic trends indicate the race will be close, and where the Bush campaign has aired TV ads. Those ads say Bush has provided "steady leadership in times of change" while portraying Kerry as a tax-hiking, flip-flopping liberal.

The ads have been one factor in wiping away an inflated lead Kerry held in those states. Most of them have had primaries or caucuses that allowed Democrats to dominate the news and Kerry to emerge as a victor. In a survey taken in mid-February, Kerry led Bush by 28 percentage points in those states, 63% to 35%. Now Bush leads Kerry in them by six points, 51% to 45%.

In contrast, there has been much less volatility in states where the ads haven't aired. Kerry held a four-point lead in them in February; Bush holds a two-point lead now.

The Bush campaign also has begun defining Kerry before he has defined himself. In the states where the ads have run, Kerry's unfavorable rating has risen 16 points since mid-February. In the other states, it's up just five points. The margin of error for each group of states is +/{ndash}5 percentage points.

--USA Today

Posted by Rob Bernard at 7:22 PM in Politics/Government

Monday, March 29, 2004

What the hell happened to Gobstoppers?! They're like half the size they used to be!

This is simply unacceptable. Gobstoppers were the perfect size, these are just an abomination.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 10:36 PM in Miscellaneous
Jersey Girl

Saw Jersey Girl on Friday and I have to say, it seems a bunch of reviewers are on crack. To be sure, it has a few problems; it's rather formulaic at times, but it's nowhere near the level where many critics put it. In a feeding frenzy of bashing they're trying to put it up with Gigli for one of the two worst films ever. That's just not the case.

It's certainly not like anything Smith has made before. There's a little bit of sexual dialog, but nowhere near the language and sexuality of his previous films. All in all it's just a sweet little movie about man and his daughter. It won’t be winning any Oscars, but it’s also not the second coming of Gigli as some would make it out to be.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:06 PM in Movies
Blogs do accomplish something #2

There's been quite an uproar in the blogosphere over the NY Times' refusal to correct their columnists. The Times has now decided to make some changes.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who would have made an excellent editorial page editor if he could have put up with the meetings, once said that "everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts." Gail Collins's determination that corrections will appear on their own at the end of a succeeding column, and not disappear into an unrelated digression, is on its own a significant piece of progress. But it's her assertion of responsibility that matters most. Critics might say her statement of policy is very gently phrased, but when I asked her if there was wiggle room, she was unequivocal: "It is my obligation to make sure no misstatements of fact on the editorial pages go uncorrected."

In the coming months I expect columnist corrections to become a little more frequent and a lot more forthright than they've been in the past. Yet the final measure of Collins's success, and of the individual columnists, will be not in the corrections but in the absence of the need for them. Wayne Wren of Houston, a self-described conservative and "avid reader" of National Review Online, expressed it with great equanimity in a recent e-mail message to my office: "If Mr. Krugman is making egregious errors in his Op-Ed column, they will catch up with him." Same goes for Brooks, Dowd, Friedman, Herbert, Kristof and Safire - and, most important, for The New York Times.

--NY Times

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:37 PM in Media

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Church retreat Saturday morning through Sunday afternoon, so again not much this weekend. In the meantime, if you're looking to spend a lot of money on Reds Opening Day tickets and want to sit next to me here's your chance. :)

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:27 AM in Baseball , Miscellaneous

Friday, March 26, 2004
Heh, again.

The official Kerry campaign blog has a link to "Republicans for Kerry". What do you get when you click on that link? "There is no group called republicansforkerry."

Posted by Rob Bernard at 7:00 PM in Politics/Government

I think it's time to start taking up donations to get the Democratic party a sense of humor transplant, the one they have now certainly isn't working.

President Bush gave the traditional comedic speech at the Radio and Television Correspondents Association dinner. He had what everyone there seemed to think was a very funny joke about President Bush looking under the WH furniture for WMD.

Now the Kerry campaign's gone and gotten itself in a tizzy over it.

"How Out of Touch Can This President Be?

"George Bush insulted me as a veteran and as a friend to many still serving in Iraq. This act lowers the dialogue about weapons of mass destruction. War is the single most serious event that a President or government can carry its people into. No weapons of mass destruction have been found and that is no joke - this is for real. This cheapens the sacrifice that American soldiers and their families are dealing with every single day." -- Brad Owens (Iraqi War Veteran, US Army Reserves)
That's supposed to be funny?

If George Bush thinks his deceptive rationale for going to war is a laughing matter, then he's even more out of touch than we thought. Unfortunately for the President, this is not a joke.

585 American soldiers have been killed in Iraq in the last year, 3,354 have been wounded, and there's no end in sight. Bush Turned White House Credibility into a Joke George Bush sold us on going to war with Iraq based on the threat of weapons of mass destruction. But we still haven't found them, and now he thinks that's funny?


Yeah, yeah, every word in any way related to war is an insult to veterans and questioning people's patriotism, blah, blah, blah. Get over yourselves.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 6:57 PM in Politics/Government

The GOP has a new version of Kerry vs. Kerry up, this time featuring commentary by Don King.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 6:35 PM in Politics/Government
Reds Trade

Reitsma to Braves for reliever Jung Bong and minor league pitcher Bubba Nelson.

Can't get too worked up about this trade. Nelson is ranked as the Braves' third-best prospect and O'Brien seems to think Bong could be a starter so it's not like the Reds got obviously screwed on this one. Chris Reitsma's a good guy. Sad to see him go, wish him nothing but the best.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:47 PM in Baseball , Cincinnati
Attacked by the left (literally)

Matt Margolis of Blogs for Bush and the eponymous Matt Margolis Blog got into a bit of a row when union members outside a Bush fundraiser started taking swings at he and his brother.

A brawl erupted between opponents and supporters of President Bush last night behind police barricades a block from his fund-raiser at the Park Plaza Hotel.

Two Bush supporters, twin brothers Matt and Aaron Margolis, traded blows at the corner of Arlington and Boylston streets with several men who they said were union members.

The fight started after a man wearing an Ironworkers Local 7 sweatshirt, perched atop a subway entrance, repeatedly taunted the brothers.

"They told us to get out of here or we'd get beaten up,'' said Matt Margolis, 24, of Beverly.

"I said, `I support your freedom of speech - please support mine. Come on down and we can have a conversation.'

"He jumped down and swung on my brother. Then they all jumped in and tore our signs apart.''

One union worker, declining to give his name, said the brothers instigated the brawl.

"They called the guy down, and he obliged them,'' the union member said.

--Boston Herald

Matt goes into more detail over at Blogs for Bush.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:34 PM in Politics/Government

Thursday, March 25, 2004
Big changes at Tech TV

Comcast has agreed to buy TechTV and is folding it into their own network, G4. Additionally tonight was Leo Laporte's last night as host of The Screen Savers. Sad to see Leo taking a diminished role on TSS, personally I'd rather see him give up Call for Help, but I understand that there's not really a good alternative hosting option for CFH like there is with TSS.

I can't say I've ever seen one show on G4 that I liked, so let's hope they don't mess with TechTV's shows too much. At the very least I think they need to keep Call for Help, The Screen Savers, Tech Live, Fresh Gear, and X-Play(which is a better gaming show than anything G4 has).

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:35 PM in Technology/Internet
Grasping at straws?

Brian Griffin thinks I'm grasping at straws with Tuesdays post on a report of a document that may show that Osama bin Laden was an Iraqi "collaborator". I'm going to have to disagree.

For 2 years we've heard from the left that Iraq had nothing to do with Al Qaeda. We can't attack Iraq, they have nothing to do with Osama. Iraq under Saddam is a secular government; Al Qaeda hates them as much as they hate us!

Documents like this and those that show that Abdul Rahman Yasin, 1993 WTC bomber, was given safe harbor in Iraq go to show that no matter how much the left may disagree, the Iraq war was not completely disconnected from the War on Terror. We didn't attack Iraq because we needed oil (have you looked at gas prices recently?). We didn’t attack Iraq because it was good politically. We didn't attack Iraq just because we felt like it. We attacked Iraq because they had terrorist connections and our best intelligence said they had WMD. We attacked Iraq because we thought they posed a threat.

I can't say whether the document is real or if real, true, but if it is then it's an illustration of the threat a Baathist Iraq posed. It would certainly be important and certainly is not "grasping at straws".

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

Wednesday, March 24, 2004
Richard Clarke in '02
Um, the first point, I think the overall point is, there was no plan on Al Qaeda that was passed from the Clinton administration to the Bush administration.

Second point is that the Clinton administration had a strategy in place, effectively dating from 1998. And there were a number of issues on the table since 1998.
And the third point is the Bush administration decided then, you know, mid-January, to do two things. One, vigorously pursue the existing policy, including all of the lethal covert action findings, which we've now made public to some extent.
So, point five, that process which was initiated in the first week in February, uh, decided in principle, uh in the spring to add to the existing Clinton strategy and to increase CIA resources, for example, for covert action, five-fold, to go after Al Qaeda.
Over the course of the summer — last point — they developed implementation details, the principals met at the end of the summer, approved them in their first meeting, changed the strategy by authorizing the increase in funding five-fold, changing the policy on Pakistan, changing the policy on Uzbekistan, changing the policy on the Northern Alliance assistance.

And then changed the strategy from one of rollback with Al Qaeda over the course [of] five years, which it had been, to a new strategy that called for the rapid elimination of al Qaeda. That is in fact the timeline.
QUESTION: What is your response to the suggestion in the [Aug. 12, 2002] Time [magazine] article that the Bush administration was unwilling to take on board the suggestions made in the Clinton administration because of animus against the — general animus against the foreign policy?

CLARKE: I think if there was a general animus that clouded their vision, they might not have kept the same guy dealing with terrorism issue. This is the one issue where the National Security Council leadership decided continuity was important and kept the same guy around, the same team in place. That doesn't sound like animus against uh the previous team to me.
QUESTION: The elimination of Al Qaeda, get back to ground troops — now we haven't completely done that even with a substantial number of ground troops in Afghanistan. Was there, was the Bush administration contemplating without the provocation of September 11th moving troops into Afghanistan prior to that to go after Al Qaeda?

CLARKE: I can not try to speculate on that point. I don't know what we would have done.

Unless you're one of those who will believe anything that is unflattering towards Bush I think you'd have to admit that something is fishy, at the very least, about Clarke’s recent apparent Bush-bashing.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:10 PM in Politics/Government

Tuesday, March 23, 2004
Iraq's connection to Osama

The Washington Times has obtained an Iraqi Intelligence Service document from 1993 that lists Osama bin Laden as a "collaborator". Could be fake, but an official says it appears authentic.

We have obtained a document discovered in Iraq from the files of the Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS). The report provides new evidence of links between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

The 1993 document, in Arabic, bears the logo of the Iraqi intelligence agency and is labeled "top secret" on each of its 20 pages.

The report is a list of IIS agents who are described as "collaborators."

On page 14, the report states that among the collaborators is "the Saudi Osama bin Laden."

The document states that bin Laden is a "Saudi businessman and is in charge of the Saudi opposition in Afghanistan."

"And he is in good relationship with our section in Syria," the document states, under the signature "Jabar."

The document was obtained by the Iraqi National Congress and first disclosed on the CBS program "60 Minutes" by INC leader Ahmed Chalabi.

A U.S. official said the document appears authentic.

--Washington Times (via HobbsOnline and Powerline)

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:50 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
The whacko element of the left

Brain Terminal has a good video exposing just what some of the crazier element on the left believe. They took a camera to Al Gore's/MoveOn's January speech on global warming and just interviewed some of those who attended.

Additionally, here are some amazing pictures from a protest in San Fransisco on Saturday.

If these people didn't take part in the selection of our government some of this stuff might just be funny.

(via Instapundit)

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:29 AM in Politics/Government

Monday, March 22, 2004
Nathaniel Jones: Case Closed
Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen cleared six Cincinnati police officers of criminal wrongdoing in the death of Nathaniel Jones, an intoxicated man who died after a violent struggle with officers as they tried to arrest him.

Allen said today that he will not present the case to a grand jury.

"My office sees no evidence that any crime was committed by any police officer," Allen said.
"It is always troubling when someone dies in police custody, but when officers are subjected to unprovoked attacks by citizens, they have not only the right, but the duty to defend themselves," [Allen] said. "In defending themselves, they also defend you and me."

Good. It's tragic that he died, but nothing I've seen suggested that the officers acted unlawfully.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 9:50 PM in Cincinnati
On Richard Clarke

Ok, in Richard Clarke you have a man who thinks he was demoted by the Bush administration. A man who teaches at Harvard with John Kerry's foreign policy advisor. A man whose biggest charges seem to involve his personal interpretations of people facial expressions and actions. A man who seems to put the full blame on a 9 month old administraition and ignores the 8 years of the previous administration. An interview with a news program owned by the same company as his publisher is, in which that connection was not disclosed.

Forgive me if I take his charges with a big ol' grain of salt. I realize he's saying bad things about a Republican so many immediately want to believe him and raise him to the level of a hero,
but you might want to read the administration's take on it.


What follows is the part of a story on cyberterror by Declan McCullagh from 1 year and 1 day ago that relates to Richard Clarke.

But now that agency budgets are up for review, Ridge seems to be treading the same alarmist path as did his former cybersecurity deputy, Richard Clarke, who quit in January.

Clarke was a professional paranoiac, a modern-day Chicken Little blinkered by a career spent in the cloistered intelligence community. It didn't help that Clarke's résumé featured such harrowing tasks as planning for the "continuity of government" after a nuclear strike on Washington--a job where no precaution is too extreme. Soon after President Clinton appointed him to a "national coordinator" post in 1998, Clarke became infamous for darkling warnings about the specter of a "digital Pearl Harbor" that would snarl computers and roil the world's economy.

To understand this bureaucratic mindset, consider that--while at the U.S. State Department in the mid-1980s--Clarke concocted a zany plan to incite a coup against Moammar Gadhafi to punish the Libyan strongman for embracing terrorism. Clarke's suggestion: SR-71 spy planes would buzz Libya, creating sonic booms that would appear to herald an invasion, thus unnerving Gadhafi. Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy would fake hostilities off the coast and the State Department would encourage "speculation about likely Gadhafi successors," according to a memo coauthored by Clarke. After news of the plan leaked, an embarrassed Reagan White House unceremoniously ditched it. The New York Times' William Safire dubbed the scheme "stupid and venal."

Clarke's penchant for the dramatic, which I witnessed firsthand when I spent an hour interviewing him in December 2001, extended to a farewell statement he circulated in January. It warned of the dangers of the SQL Slammer worm, which infected servers running Microsoft software.

In that statement, Clarke claimed that Slammer "disabled some root servers, the heart of Internet traffic." Not true. A report from the RIPE Network Coordination Center--one of the Internet's four regional registries--said that at most the worm slowed connectivity to two of the 13 root servers and did not disable any of them. "This did not cause any degradation in (domain name system) service," RIPE concluded.
It's not just Clarke and Ridge. Exaggeration is easy when you're a bureaucrat hoping to make yourself seem more important and thereby fatten your paycheck at your next job, or when your funding is up for review, or when you want to lobby for new and probably unwise laws that would endanger privacy or impose additional costs on technology firms (one of Clarke's pet ideas).

Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:14 PM in Politics/Government
Back from West Virginia

I can definitely imagine why the state as a whole is so poor. It looks nice and all, and I can't speak about the entire state, but what I saw was about 95% hillside. To build a road you need to either blast through a mountain or wind it along the side of the hill and in the process make it take twice as long to get from point A to point B. I imagine it would be terribly difficult to convince high-paying companies to locate there.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:10 PM in Miscellaneous

Friday, March 19, 2004
John Kerry's defense record

Even fellow Democrats were blasting his amendment to cut spending in 1994.

When John Kerry offered a surprise plan to trim $43 billion in spending a decade ago, he encountered some harsh resistance: The cuts would threaten national security. U.S. fighter pilots would be endangered. And the battle against terrorism would be hampered, opponents charged.

And that's just what Kerry's fellow Democrats had to say.
"We are putting blindfolds over our pilots' eyes," Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, a decorated World War II veteran, said of the impact of Kerry's proposed intelligence cuts. Senators rejected Kerry's plan on a vote of 75-20.
"The amendment offered by the senator from Massachusetts would reduce the fiscal year 1994 budget for national defense by nearly $4 billion," said Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va. ... "We have already cut defense spending drastically. ... Cutting another $4 billion is simply unwise and insupportable."

Sen. Dennis DeConcini, D-Ariz., then the Intelligence Committee chairman, took Kerry to task at the time for reducing intelligence spending by $6 billion over six years, saying it would leave Americans vulnerable while facing problems such as the war in Bosnia, nuclear proliferation and terrorism.

"It makes no sense for us to close our eyes and ears to developments around the world," he said, wondering aloud why Kerry didn't raise the idea of his cuts with the committee first.

Inouye... rebuked Kerry for proposing military cuts without consulting Pentagon leaders. "This is clearly micromanaging the Defense Department without any input from our military commanders," the Hawaii Democrat said.

Inouye several times criticized the Kerry amendment for what he said was contradictory spending choices. For instance, he said, it would stop production of Titan missiles capable of carrying military satellites into the sky even as the military proceeded with new satellite development.

--Yahoo! News (via Blogs for Bush)

Posted by Rob Bernard at 7:27 PM in Politics/Government
Slow day

Nothing's really caught my attention as blogworthy today so I'll just lump a couple things together here.

1. UC's first round win. Happy they won. Probably shouldn't have been as close. I found myself greatly disliking Tim Smith, but I'll give him credit, he put on quite a show.

2. A new Wonderfalls is on tonight at 9 on Fox. Give it a shot.

3. I'll be in West Virginia Saturday and Sunday so don't be expecting much here.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 7:20 PM in Miscellaneous
Because it probably should be noted

In all the 24 hour coverage it seems to have gotten lost that the death toll from the bombing of the Mount Lebanon hotel on Wednesday was revised down to 7 from 27.

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

Thursday, March 18, 2004

If you didn't catch Wonderfalls last week the premiere is being repeated tonight at 9PM Eastern on Fox. The premiere was great, one of the best new shows of the season. Plus it's got a talking monkey statue. It may not be everybody's cup of tea, but I suggest you give it a shot.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:58 PM in Media
New Ad

President Bush's campaign already has an ad (the one on the left) using John Kerry's "I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it" line.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:30 PM in Politics/Government
This is good

John Kerry was responded to a questionnaire from the HumaneUSA PAC. One of the questions was "Do you have any pets that have made an impact on you personally?"

Now he couldn't possibly work into his answer that he served in Vietnam, could he?

When I was serving on a swiftboat in Vietnam, my crewmates and I had a dog we called VC. We all took care of him, and he stayed with us and loved riding on the swiftboat deck. I think he provided all of us with a link to home and a few moments of peace and tranquility during a dangerous time. One day as our swiftboat was heading up a river, a mine exploded hard under our boat. After picking ourselves up, we discovered VC was MIA. Several minutes of frantic search followed after which we thought we'd lost him. We were relieved when another boat called asking if we were missing a dog. It turns out VC was catapulted from the deck of our boat and landed confused, but unhurt, on the deck of another boat in our patrol.

--Humane USA

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:03 PM in Politics/Government
Jim Traficant moved
Former Rep. Jim Traficant (D-Ohio) was transferred last week to a higher security federal prison facility in upstate New York, a move that generally means a prisoner has misbehaved while behind bars.

--Roll Call

My guess: He was jealous of all the air time Donald Trump's hair has been getting. It's hard to get enough press for your hair to stay at the top of the "Worst Hair Ever" list when you're in prison.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:47 PM in Miscellaneous

Wednesday, March 17, 2004
John Kerry: Both for and against funding our troops
"I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it," he said.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:49 PM in Politics/Government
Highway Sniper suspect caught

In Vegas.

And just in time as I'll be going through Columbus the next two weekends.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:40 PM in Miscellaneous

Tuesday, March 16, 2004
How the Iraqis feel about the war

The BBC has a new poll of Iraqis.

Seventy per cent of people said that things were going well or quite well in their lives, while only 29% felt things were bad.

And 56% said that things were better now than they were before the war.
In the poll of Iraqis, nearly 80% favoured a unified state with a central government in Baghdad; only 14% opted for a system of regional governments combined with a federal authority.
About 15% say foreign forces should leave Iraq now, but many more say they should stay until an Iraqi government is in place or security is restored.

Looking back, more Iraqis think the invasion was right than wrong, although 41% felt that the invasion "humiliated Iraq".


Posted by Rob Bernard at 10:24 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Kerry's leaders

On the foreign leaders brouhaha Kerry seems to just keep digging himself deeper and deeper.

The Boston Globe reporter who was covering a Florida fundraiser for Kerry on March 8 wrote in a pool report, which was distributed to the rest of the press corps, that Kerry said he had spoken with "foreign leaders" who had indicated they want him to beat Bush.

But on Monday, the reporter said that, upon review of his tape, he realized that Kerry had in fact said "more leaders" want him to beat Bush.

--LA Times

So Kerry may not have actually said foreign leaders. The problem is, his campaign's once again on both sides of the issue. On one side, he was misquoted and it shouldn't be a story:

But the campaign said Monday that the Globe's clarification demonstrates some ambiguity about what Kerry meant. His reference to "more leaders," said Kerry's spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter, "could mean anybody." The media's repeated references to "foreign leaders" allowed critics to suggest he was talking about heads of state. "He was misquoted," said Cutter. "Had he not been misquoted, this wouldn't be a story."

--LA Times

And from Kerry, I meant it:

John Kerry is not backing down from his claim that some foreign leaders privately support him against President Bush, dismissing suggestions by the White House that he is lying if he is not willing to identify the leaders.

"I'm not making anything up at all," Kerry told The Associated Press in an interview Monday.

--Yahoo! News

So the basic message: "I was misquoted, I didn't mean it, this shouldn't be a story, but I meant every word of it."

Posted by Rob Bernard at 10:20 PM in Politics/Government
Al Qaeda's plans to change Spain's government

CNN has a story on how they thought attacking Spain would change the government and seperate Spain from the allies. And it seems to have worked.

A document published months before national elections reveals al Qaeda planned to separate Spain from its allies by carrying out terror attacks.

A December posting on an Internet message board used by al Qaeda and its sympathizers and obtained by CNN, spells out a plan to topple the pro-U.S. government.

"We think the Spanish government will not stand more than two blows, or three at the most, before it will be forced to withdraw because of the public pressure on it," the al Qaeda document says.

"If its forces remain after these blows, the victory of the Socialist Party will be almost guaranteed -- and the withdrawal of Spanish forces will be on its campaign manifesto."

That prediction came to fruition in elections Sunday, with the Socialists unseating the Popular Party three days after near-simultaneous bombings of four trains killed 200 and shocked the nation.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 9:57 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Monday, March 15, 2004
Columbus Highway Shooter suspect ID'd
The Franklin County Sheriff's Office said Charles A. McCoy Jr., 29, should be considered armed and dangerous. Investigators did not provide a hometown.


--Update-- More at CNN, including a picture.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 7:37 PM in Miscellaneous

My RSS reader bombed out last night and for some reason half my feeds disappeared. Had to go back and find and reenter all the XML urls I had before. That went ok, but now I've got one spot left and I have no idea what feed went there. I've gone up and down my blogroll and I just can't find one that I had before that I don't have now. *sigh*

Posted by Rob Bernard at 10:02 AM in Technology/Internet
Pop quiz: How many planets are in the Solar System?

9? Think again. Say hello to Sedna.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:08 AM in Miscellaneous

Sunday, March 14, 2004
Things seems to be happening in Iran

There's been an uprising going on in Fereydunkenar for several days. Good luck and god/Allahspeed to those trying to overthrow their oppressors.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 8:18 PM in Politics/Government
Ladies and Gentlemen, I present you with the biggest terrorist win yet in the War on Terror

I give you Spain.

The terrorists have successfully effected a favorable change by killing civilians. The people of Spain have elected a government that will pull the troops out of Iraq. They have done this not because of the goals in Iraq but because they took the wrong lesson from the 3/11 terrorist bombing. They have decided not that they must redouble their efforts in the War on Terror, but rather that if they pull out of Iraq maybe the terrorists will leave them alone. They have decided that if they give in to the terrorists they will be left alone comfortably in the middle. They have been targeted and they have been scared and they have decided to leave the fighting to others.

I tell you now, the fight against those who believe that terrorists can be appeased or who think they must shy away from confrontation because they themselves might be targeted is just as important as the actual capturing or killing of terrorists. The middle ground of appeasement and fear is the most reprehensible place in the fight against terror. It claims to oppose the one side while doing everything it can to obstruct the efforts of the other.

There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil. The man who is wrong still retains some respect for truth, if, only, by accepting the responsibility of choice. But the man in the middle is the knave who blanks out the truth in order to pretend that no choice or values exist, who is willing to sit out the course of any battle, willing to cash in on the blood of the innocent or to crawl on his belly to the guilty, who dispenses justice by condemning both the robber and the robbed to jail, who solves conflicts by ordering the thinker and the fool to meet each other halfway. In any compromise between food and poison, it is only death that can win. In any compromise between good and evil, it is only evil that can profit. In that transfusion of blood which drains the good to feed the evil, the compromiser is the transmitting rubber tube...

--Ayn Rand - Atlas Shrugged

Posted by Rob Bernard at 7:28 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Saturday, March 13, 2004
Ohio Patriot Plan Update

Steve Lynch, who originally brought the Ohio Patriot Plan to everybody's attention with his letter to Blackfive, left an update on the status of the Ohio Patriot plan. He had this to say:

Thanks for getting the word out. Earlier this week, I met with the sponsor, Rep Ujvagi,, and he was very impressed with the number of e-mails he's received from Ohioans serving around the world.

FYI, the Ohio Patriot Plan now has a bill no. (House Bill 426.). Testimony in favor of the bill is scheduled for March 23rd at 1500 - I'll be there to testify. Once it gets out of the house, it still needs Ohio Senate approval. One Ohio state senator to contact is Senator Robert Gardner from Madison, Ohio. His e-mail is

If you'd like to hear a news report on the Plan, here it is.

I'll keep providing updates. Thanks again.

Steve Lynch

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:18 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Wonderfalls debuted on Fox tonight... last night... ok, Friday night, and I was very impressed. I'll have to see a few more eps before I can really make a judgment, but with Las Vegas falling off slightly as the season's gone on, it's got a good shot at being one of the top two best new dramas this season. If it doesn't drop off I could definitely see it ranking up there with Joan of Arcadia, Las Vegas, I'm With Her, and Arrested Development among my favorite new shows of the season.

I love how the inanimate objects that talk are using Hello My Baby, which was sung by Michigan J. Frog back before The WB when he was just a dead, singing frog in a WB short.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:33 AM in Media

Friday, March 12, 2004
Who do the terrorists want to win?

According to a survey, people think it's John Kerry by a more than 2 to 1 margin.

A survey by a Washington pollster released Friday found a majority of those surveyed think terrorists would prefer to have Sen. John F. Kerry as president.
Asked, "Who do you think the terrorists would prefer to have as president," the independent poll found that 60 percent said Kerry while 25 percent said Bush.

--Washington Times

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:14 PM in Politics/Government
John Kerry's intelligence record
With the end of the Cold War, some in the Clinton White House and the Democrat-controlled Congress saw the opportunity in the 1990s to sharply curtail spending on one of their least favorite government organizations: the Central Intelligence Agency. ... Operatives were discouraged from recruiting those whose backgrounds included unsavory aspects such as human rights violations. Such individuals are, by their very nature, the types who have close-in access to the plans and intentions of international terrorist movements, criminal enterprises and dictatorial regimes such as that of Saddam Hussein. U.S. intelligence capabilities atrophied seriously.

Where was the junior senator from Massachusetts? Serving as a senior member of the Senate Intelligence Committee from 1993 to 2000, John Kerry had direct oversight for every facet of the U.S. intelligence community. Did he fight the cuts in intelligence spending or the restraints on U.S. intelligence operatives?

Far from it. In fact, he was leading the way to make deep and devastating cuts.

Kerry's antipathy to the U.S. intelligence community dates back to his first unsuccessful run for Congress in 1970, when Kerry promised to ``almost eliminate CIA activity'' if elected. Nearly 20 years later, in 1997, Kerry questioned his colleagues in the Congress, ``Now that [Cold War] struggle is over, why is it that our vast intelligence apparatus continues to grow?'' During his 19 years in the Congress, John Kerry proposed or supported cuts in intelligence spending reaching into the billions.
Kerry, like many other Democrats, now complains that U.S. intelligence has been inadequate to meet the challenges of the war on terrorism and Iraq. The Bush administration did indeed inherit a demoralized and downsized intelligence community, but if John Kerry wants to criticize those shortcomings, he should first account for his own record.

In the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, the Bush administration has made the most sweeping reforms in intelligence in decades. Budgets are up, recruitment of key capabilities is up, morale is up and U.S. intelligence operatives are leading in new and innovative ways to try to keep America safe from terrorism.

It would be irresponsible to guarantee that the nation will ever be completely safe. But because of President Bush's leadership, we are certainly safer as a result of his support for a revitalized, well-funded and more effective U.S. intelligence community. And, as the record shows, all without the support of the junior senator from Massachusetts.

--Tampa Tribune

Posted by Rob Bernard at 6:09 PM in Politics/Government

Thursday, March 11, 2004
President Bush's new ads are out

One lays out where John Kerry wants to take the country, the other where President Bush wants to lead it and how we can't go back to the old way of thinking about threats to us.

They're here.

There's also a radio ad and the background facts for his claims about Kerry's plan.

The question now is whether the Dems, who just today were complaining about how sensitive people were to attacks, will complain when the President lays out Kerry's plan.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 9:07 PM in
President Bush's blog on Kerry's smear
Note to Senator Kerry: We don't think you're a crook, but we do think that raising taxes and refusing to acknowledge that the war on terror is actually a war are what's really scary to American voters.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 7:11 PM in
Payroll employment vs. Household employment

The Heritage Foundation has a very long and detailed look at the Payroll survey, which shows a decrease in jobs since President Bush took office, and the Household survey, that shows in increase in jobs.

Their conclusion:

The payroll survey may be systematically undercounting job growth, creating an unprecedented job growth gap between its total employment measure and the household survey's. In the past six months, the BLS has approved new techniques to smooth the household survey's measure of total employment in order to make month-to-month comparisons. Analysts can now point with confidence to the employment of a record number of Americans as of January 2004 and the employment of an additional 2.2 million workers since the recession ended.

Why has the payroll survey missed so much recent job creation? The BLS is skeptical of the start-up explanation, and recent benchmarks confirm the BLS's position. Self-employment is a different matter, and the latest statement by the BLS commissioner confirms the appearance of a new class of contractors. The evolution of the workforce--specifically, the demographic emergence of consultants and contractors who do not consider themselves self-employed--is a likely wedge between the surveys. Self-employment has grown by over 600,000 in two years, and misidentification by the LLC and consulting workforce implies a much higher number.

--Heritage Foundation (via Blogs for Bush)

Posted by Rob Bernard at 5:11 PM in Politics/Government
Kerry's campaign of hatred and smears

Blogs for Bush has a roundup of the hateful, vitriolic things to come out of the Kerry campaign so far.

The Dems complain that President Bush’s campaign will at some point in the future be the dirtiest and most hateful ever. They should know, the Democrats have been running that campaign for the past 7 months.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 5:05 PM in Politics/Government

Xavier routs unbeaten St. Joe's 87-67. Looks like Xavier's picking it up at the end to prove they should be one of the 65 teams in the tournament.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:27 PM in Cincinnati
A sad day in the War on Terror

At least 190 dead in Madrid where 10 bombs went off on trains and in train stations. The Spanish at first blamed Basque separatists, but since a van with Arabic tapes has been found and a group has claimed responsibility in the name of al Qaeda. My heart goes out to the people of Spain.

The War on Terror isn’t over, and it won’t be ended simply by capturing Osama. Today it was Spain, tomorrow it could be any country that’s helping defend civilization in the War on Terror.

--Update --
Sky new has the al Qaeda letter.

An email to the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper said the Brigade of Abu Hafs al-Masri was responsible for the worst terrorist attack on a European city since the second world war.

It also warned that a "big attack" on the US was "90% ready".

"The death squad (of the Abu Hafs Al-Masri Brigades) succeeded in penetrating the crusader European depths and striking one of the pillars of the crusader alliance - Spain - with a painful blow," the email said.

"We bring the good news to Muslims of the world that the expected 'Winds of Black Death' strike against America is now in its final stage...90 percent (ready) and God willing near," the letter said.

Bari Atwan, the newspaper's editor, told Sky News he was certain the claim was authentic.

--Sky News

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:24 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Wednesday, March 10, 2004
Kerry attacks Bush team as "crooked" and liars
Earlier Wednesday in Chicago, Kerry toughened his comments about his GOP critics after a supporter urged him to take on Bush. "Let me tell you, we've just begun to fight," Kerry said. "We're going to keep pounding. These guys are the most crooked, you know, lying group I've ever seen. It's scary."

--AP/Blogs for Bush

And now a vocabulary lesson. Because between AWOL, Halliburton, being warned of 9/11, misleading and so forth it seems to be the only thing that comes out when the Dems open their mouths.

ad hominem
Pronunciation: (')ad-'hä-m&-"nem, -n&m
Function: adjective
Etymology: New Latin, literally, to the person
1 : appealing to feelings or prejudices rather than intellect
2 : marked by an attack on an opponent's character rather than by an answer to the contentions made

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:39 PM in Politics/Government
Are the Democrats really all riled up?

Not according to a nonpartisan study of primary turnout.

At the height of this year's presidential primaries, on Feb. 20, Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe declared that "people are turning out in record numbers" -- even though in the Virginia primary 10 days earlier, the 7.5 percent of Democrats who voted failed to match the only previous Democratic primary, and the figure was well below the 13.2 percent of Republicans who voted in their party's 2000 primary.

Only New Hampshire and Wisconsin saw truly impressive increases, according to Curtis Gans, who conducted the survey for the nonpartisan Committee for the Study of the American Electorate.
In New York, on the other hand, the Super Tuesday primary on March 2 marked a historic low: just 5.39 percent showed up to vote in the Democratic primary, down from 7.40 percent in the 2000 race between Al Gore and Bill Bradley. In Massachusetts, Republican participation plummeted this year, understandably, given that Bush has no competition on the GOP ballot. Democrats voted at a rate of 13.65 percent, up from 12.55 percent in 2000, but down from the 17.99 percent who voted in 1992 and the record 22.24 percent who voted in 1980.

--Boston Globe

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:00 PM in Politics/Government

Microsoft, AOL, EarthLink and Yahoo are filing lawsuits under Can-Spam against what they say are six of the most prolific spammers. Most of the suits are against John Doe but this is the first step in tracking down who is responsible.

It's good to see. It's not a permanent solution, fixes need to be made to the e-mail system itself, but it’s nice to see somebody taking the spammers to task.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:31 PM in Technology/Internet
Chinese food

Would it kill Chinese restaurants to have somebody on staff who was born in this country? Not saying they need a non-Asian, but just somebody who speaks English without an accent to answer the phones and work the register.

--Walk in

--"Hello. Pickup?"



--"Huh? 'What time?'"

--"*barely intelligible*"

--"Oh, almost done..."

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:22 PM in Miscellaneous

Tuesday, March 9, 2004
NY Post on the uproar over President Bush's ads
To hear some folks tell it, families of the 9/11 victims have risen en masse to denounce President Bush for using brief images from Ground Zero in his campaign commercials. We have no doubt that the use of the images is appropriate - given that the president's leadership in the wake of 9/11, and his conduct of the War on Terror, are under drumbeat assault by John Kerry and the Democrats.

But now it turns out that this whole furor is driven by a tiny group that's motivated by a far-left agenda and a festering hatred of the president - and has some quite dubious financial ties.

Leading the rhetorical charge has been an outfit called September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows - which, the group admits, has only a few dozen members and represents relatives of no more than 1 percent of the 9/11 victims.

More to the point, the group was formed specifically to oppose the entire War on Terror: Not just the campaign against Saddam Hussein, but also the toppling of the Taliban in Afghanistan.
They... demanded that Congress set up a $20 million fund to compensate Afghan "victims" of the U.S. military.

And back in January 2003, the group said had it had gotten a "verbal commitment" to the fund proposal from the junior senator from Massachusetts - John F. Kerry.

Little surprise there - because Peaceful Tomorrows' parent group, the San Francisco-based Tides Foundation, has received millions from foundations controlled by Kerry's heiress wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry.
Tides has also funded groups like United for a Fair Economy, which has been involved in violent anti-globalization street protests.

For example, the Ruckus Society, which was largely responsible for the anarchy in Seattle in 1999 and trains would-be environmental terrorists in the practice of "monkey-wrenching" - the willful destruction of construction equipment and so on.

Tides gets much of its funds from philanthropists like Mrs. Kerry and billionaire George Soros - who has made defeating President Bush his top personal priority.
This, then, is the fringe crowd that declares itself "offended" by the Bush ads.

They're people who are offended by anything this president does - and they are working hard to put John Kerry in the White House.

Remember that the next time you hear a news report about "widespread popular outrage."

--New York Post Online

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:54 PM in Politics/Government
DNC Demands Bush Drop 'President' from TV Ads

(2004-03-09) -- After slamming the Bush-Cheney 2004 re-election campaign for its use of 9/11 imagery in campaign ads, the Democrat National Committee (DNC) today again demanded that the ads be pulled, this time because they refer to Mr. Bush as "president."
"Some families of the victims of the 2000 election have come to me, weeping because the commercials reminded them of that tragic time."


Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:41 PM in Politics/Government
What good are polls?

Went searching for polling data from 1984 and lucky for me Tim Blair's already had some.

Let's recap. In 1984 Walter Mondale lost in November with 13 electoral votes. That's about 1/20th of the electoral votes he'd need to win. President Reagan recieved 58.8% of the total votes to Mondale's 40.5%. This election was the textbook definition of a landslide.

Now what did the polls look like before months before the election?

July 23, 1984: Poll Puts Mondale Even With Reagan

Democratic presidential nominee Walter F. Mondale, on a post-convention fishing vacation in Gunflint Lake, Minn., did not catch any fish but hauled in some good news yesterday from a poll that showed him pulling even with President Reagan.

May 3, 1984: Mondale-Hart, Reagan-Bush Tickets Running Neck and Neck in New Poll

If the November election were held today, a Democratic Mondale-Hart ticket would run even with a Republican Reagan-Bush ticket, according to a new Gallup Poll.

--Tim Blair.

That's right, the biggest landslide in presidential history polled as a tie 4 months before the election. Polls show John Kerry as tied with President Bush 8 months before the election.

Care to tell me now how Kerry's being tied is proof that he'll pose a challenge for President Bush in November?

-Note- This isn't proof that President Bush will win in a landslide in November but it does show that Kerry's current poll numbers are certainly no proof that he'll stay tied or take the lead.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:29 PM in Politics/Government
So close and yet...

Woman tries to pay for $1671.55 worth of goods at Wal-Mart with a $1 million bill.

To be fair though she did first try to pay for it with her $2.32 worth of Wal-Mart gift cards.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:50 PM in Miscellaneous
Colin Powell on Hannity & Colmes

If you didn't catch it you can see the video at Fox News' site. The format's different but I think it's comparable to Blair's speech last week. It's a clear, articulate defense of and case for what we have done in Iraq and what we will do in the future. He lays out that we used the best information available at the time and that President Bush's critics came to the same conclusions with the same information.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:08 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
John Kerry v.2002 on the Iraq war

In October 2002 the Senate debated whether to authorize President Bush to use force to disarm Saddam and enforce UN resolutions regarding disarmament. With the Iraq war being such an important issue in the upcoming election and John Kerry being the presumptive Democrat candidate for president I thought it might be good to back through the Congressional Record and actually see what he thought back then and not just go by what he now says he thought back then.

First off, for those who say President Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell misled the country as to the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, let's look at what John Kerry believed about the threat posed by Saddam.

[Saddam] has continually failed to meet the obligations imposed by the international community on Iraq at the end of the Persian Gulf the Iraqi regime provide credible proof war to declare and destroy its weapons of mass destruction and delivery systems and to forego the development of nuclear weapons. during the 7 years of weapons inspections, the Iraqi regime repeatedly frustrated the work of the UNSCOM--Special Commission--inspectors, culminating in 1998 in their ouster. Even during the period of inspections, Iraq never fully accounted for major gaps and inconsistencies in declarations provided to the inspectors of its pre-gulf war WMD programs, nor did the Iraqi regime provide credible proof that it had completely destroyed its weapons stockpiles and production infrastructure.

It is clear that in the 4 years since the UNSCOM inspectors were forced out, Saddam Hussein has continued his quest for weapons of mass destruction. According to intelligence, Iraq has chemical and biological weapons as well as missiles with ranges in excess of the 150 kilometer restriction imposed by the United Nations in the ceasefire resolution. Although Iraq's chemical weapons capability was reduced during the UNSCOM inspections, Iraq has maintained its chemical weapons effort over the last 4 years. Evidence suggests that it has begun renewed production of chemical warfare agents, probably including mustard gas, sarin, cyclosarin, and VX. Intelligence reports show that Iraq has invested more heavily in its biological weapons programs over the 4 years, with the result that all key aspects of this program--R&D, production and weaponization--are active. Most elements of the program are larger and more advanced than they were before the gulf war. Iraq has some lethal and incapacitating agents and is capable of quickly producing and weaponizing a variety of such agents, including anthrax, for delivery on a range of vehicles such as bombs, missiles, aerial sprayers, and covert operatives which could bring them to the United States homeland. Since inspectors left, the Iraqi regime has energized its missile program, probably now consisting of a few dozen Scud-type missiles with ranges of 650 to 900 kilometers that could hit Israel, Saudi Arabia and other U.S. allies in the region. In addition, Iraq is developing unmanned aerial vehicles UAVs, capable of delivering chemical and biological warfare agents, which could threaten Iraq's neighbors as well as American forces in the Persian Gulf.

Prior to the gulf war, Iraq had an advance nuclear weapons development program. Although UNSCOM and IAEA International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors learned much about Iraq's efforts in this area, Iraq has failed to provide complete information on all aspects of its program. Iraq has maintained its nuclear scientists and technicians as well as sufficient dual-use manufacturing capability to support a reconstituted nuclear weapons program. Iraqi defectors who once worked for Iraq's nuclear weapons establishment have reportedly told American officials that acquiring nuclear weapons is a top priority for Saddam Hussein's regime.

According to the CIA's report, all U.S. intelligence experts agree that Iraq is seeking nuclear weapons. There is little question that Saddam Hussein wants to develop nuclear weapons. The more difficult question to answer is when Iraq could actually achieve this goal. That depends on is its ability to acquire weapons-grade fissile material. If Iraq could acquire this material from abroad, the CIA estimates that it could have a nuclear weapon within 1 year.

Absent a foreign supplier, it might be longer. There is no question that Saddam Hussein represents a threat.
And while the administration has failed to provide any direct link between Iraq and the events of September 11, can we afford to ignore the possibility that Saddam Hussein might accidentally, as well as purposely, allow those weapons to slide off to one group or other in a region where weapons are the currency of trade? How do we leave that to chance?
The Iraqi regime's record over the decade leaves little doubt that Saddam Hussein wants to retain his arsenal of weapons of mass destruction and, obviously, as we have said, grow it. These weapons represent an unacceptable threat.

--Congressional Record, October 9, 2002 (S10172)(S10173)

Let me just pull out a couple sentences there.

"According to the CIA's report, all U.S. intelligence experts agree that Iraq is seeking nuclear weapons."

This first sentence would seem to contradict the current memes that President Bush cherry-picked data and misled Congress and the people. John Kerry's belief that Saddam had WMD and was seeking nuclear weapons didn't come in some White House briefing or the like. It was a CIA report. And with "all U.S. intelligence experts agree" it hardly seems that the CIA reports were brimming with doubt about nuclear weapons as we've been led to believe since then.

And the sentence that summarizes his stance then:

"There is no question that Saddam Hussein represents a threat."

Now tell me, does this sound like a man presented with vague, cherry-picked data that might or might not prove that Saddam was dangerous?

He lays out the same basic ideas that Colin Powell brought to the UN and yet somehow the Bush administration, that believes the same thing as Kerry, is lying and misleading and cherry-picking.

Now let’s move on to what Senator Kerry thought he was voting for when he voted for the authorization to use force. He has since said "I voted to threaten the use of force to make Saddam Hussein comply with the resolutions of the United Nations."

I want to underscore that this administration began this debate with a resolution that granted exceedingly broad authority to the President to use force. I regret that some in the Congress rushed so quickly to support it. I would have opposed it. It gave the President the authority to use force not only to enforce all of the U.N. resolutions as a cause of war, but also to produce regime change in Iraq, and to restore international peace and security in the Persian Gulf region. It made no mention of the President's efforts at the United Nations or the need to build multilateral support for whatever course of action we ultimately would take.

--Congressional Record, October 9, 2002 (S10173)

Here we see that Kerry didn't go into this vote blind. If he voted to authorize more than he thought he did, it certainly wasn't because he just didn't think about the breadth of authorization being discussed.

The revised White House text, which we will vote on, limits the grant of authority to the President to the use of force only with respect to Iraq. It does not empower him to use force throughout the Persian Gulf region. It authorizes the President to use Armed Forces to defend the ``national security'' of the United States--a power most of us believe he already has under the Constitution as Commander in Chief. And it empowers him to enforce all ``relevant'' Security Council resolutions related to Iraq. None of those resolutions or, for that matter, any of the other Security Council resolutions demanding Iraqi compliance with its international obligations, calls for a regime change.

In recent days, the administration has gone further. They are defining what ``relevant'' U.N. Security Council resolutions mean. When Secretary Powell testified before our committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, on September 26, he was asked what specific U.N. Security Council resolutions the United States would go to war to enforce. His response was clear: the resolutions dealing with weapons of mass destruction and the disarmament of Iraq. In fact, when asked about compliance with other U.N. resolutions which do not deal with weapons of mass destruction, the Secretary said:

The President has not linked authority to go to war to any of those elements.
I would have preferred that the President agree to the approach drafted by Senators Biden and Lugar... It would require the President, before exercising the authority granted in the resolution, to send a determination to Congress that the United States tried to seek a new Security Council resolution or that the threat posed by Iraq's WMD is so great he must act absent a new resolution--a power, incidentally, that the President of the United States always has.

I believe this approach would have provided greater clarity to the American people about the reason for going to war and the specific grant of authority. I think it would have been a better way to do this. But it does not change the bottom line of what we are voting for.

The administration, unwisely, in my view, rejected the Biden-Lugar approach. But, perhaps as a nod to the sponsors, it did agree to a determination requirement on the status of its efforts at the United Nations. That is now embodied in the White House text.
If the President arbitrarily walks away from this course of action--without good cause or reason--the legitimacy of any subsequent action by the United States against Iraq will be challenged by the American people and the international community. And I would vigorously oppose the President doing so.

When I vote to give the President of the United States the authority to use force, if necessary, to disarm Saddam Hussein, it is because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a threat, and a grave threat, to our security and that of our allies in the Persian Gulf region. I will vote yes because I believe it is the best way to hold Saddam Hussein accountable. And the administration, I believe, is now committed to a recognition that war must be the last option to address this threat, not the first, and that we must act in concert with allies around the globe to make the world's case against Saddam Hussein.

--Congressional Record, October 9, 2002 (S10173) (S10174)

Now the word “threat” appears there 4 times, but always in reference to the threat of Saddam Hussein. Not once does the word “threaten” appear. He makes it clear that he’d oppose the President if he arbitrarily walked away (and let’s keep in mind that when diplomacy did finally end France was threatening to veto any resolution stronger than “we’ll think about war again in 6 months”), but he makes it quite clear that he is voting to give President Bush the authority to use force, not just threaten its use.

The administration must continue its efforts to build support at the United Nations for a new, unfettered, unconditional weapons inspection regime. If we can eliminate the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction through inspections, whenever, wherever, and however we want them, including in palaces--and I am highly skeptical, given the full record, given their past practices, that we can necessarily achieve that--then we have an obligation to try that as the first course of action before we expend American lives in any further effort.

--Congressional Record, October 9, 2002 (S10174)

Now here let’s remember that Iraq did not cooperate fully with inspectors. They haggled over when U2s could fly over and whether they'd destroy missiles. They dragged their feet and were not at all proactive in their disarmament.

It is clear the Senate is about to give the President the authority he has requested sometime in the next days. Whether the President will have to use that authority depends ultimately on Saddam Hussein. Saddam Hussein has a choice: He can continue to defy the international community, or he can fulfill his longstanding obligations to disarm. He is the person who has brought the world to this brink of confrontation.

He is the dictator who can end the stalemate simply by following the terms of the agreement which left him in power.

--Congressional Record, October 9, 2002 (S10175)

Here Kerry was right. Hussein could have ended the whole ordeal if he had proactively disarmed. Instead he offered a little cooperation at first, and then when things started to get serious he offered a little more cooperation. At no point did they fully cooperate and in the end France et al seemed content with this noncompliance. They refused to entertain the thought that there should be any limit at all on the amount of time Saddam would be given to stymie inspectors, leaving President Bush no choice but to walk away when it was evident that the cooperation that was needed to disarm Iraq, both from within Iraq and from the Security Council, would never come.

Senator Kerry can make the argument that President Bush pulled out too soon. (I've made my case as to why holding out longer would have done no good.) He cannot however honestly say that he didn't think Iraq was a threat. He cannot say that President Bush misled him on the threat Iraq posed. He cannot say that he voted to "threaten to use force", he talked only of authorizing the actual use of force, never once even giving the impression that President Bush was only allowed to threaten and would have to come back to Congress to actually be allowed to use it.

He knew at the time that it was a bill authorizing actual force and not just threats and he knew that Iraq posed a threat.

He was right at the time to vote for the resolution. He was right to believe that Iraq posed a threat. Now however it is an election year and suddenly he needs to make President Bush look bad. Now he claims he was lied to by President Bush about the threat Saddam posed. His very own words above disprove that. He knew, just like everybody else that Saddam posed a threat. He said "all U.S. intelligence experts" agreed that Iraq was trying to gain nuclear weapons. They may have been wrong, but if so then the intelligence was wrong. As much as Kerry wants to smear President Bush, intelligence experts providing the President and Congress with wrong information is not the same as the President cherry-picking evidence and lying to and misleading Congress and the American people. Kerry left no doubt. The evidence was "clear", all the experts agreed. It is disgraceful that Kerry is now trying to turn this into some grand scheme and lie from President Bush when he himself was convinced by the same reports, the same evidence.

Today he is trying to weasel out of his record and to deny what he knew. He has been constant in wanting multilateral support (though considering that we had the help and support of at least 34 countries, perhaps what he actually wanted was omnilateral support), but his positions on the use of force authorization and the threat posed by Saddam are pure examples of flip-flopping of the most politically expedient kind. He held certain beliefs. Now that the exact opposite can help him he not only says he believes the opposite but is trying to rewrite history in such a manner as to make people believe he never held his original beliefs at all.

Dear Abby: My life is a Simpsons episode

This is great. Next Monday's Dear Abby column has been pulled because one of the letters was the Simpsons episode "Life on the Fast Lane" with different names.

The writer says her husband, Gene, gave her a bowling ball for her birthday - complete with the holes drilled to fit his fingers and embossed with his name. Undeterred, the woman decides to learn to bowl and heads to the local lanes, where she meets another man, Franco, who is "kind, considerate and loving."

They fall in love and Franco proposes.

"I no longer love Gene," writes Stuck in a Love Triangle. "I want to divorce him and marry Franco. At the same time, I'm worried that Gene won't be able to move on with his life. I also think our kids would be devastated. What should I do?"

After the letter raised the suspicions of the newspaper editor, Universal Press Syndicate did some research and discovered that Gene seemed a lot like Homer Simpson's thoughtless character in an episode titled "Life on the Fast Lane."

In both the letter and the Simpsons episode, the husbands grow suspicious when they stumble across bowling gloves - obvious gifts to their wives from the other man.
Jeanne Phillips, who writes Dear Abby, told "Stuck" to tell her husband why she strayed. "To save the marriage," she wrote, "he might be willing to change back to the man who bowled you over in the first place."


Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:42 AM in Miscellaneous

Monday, March 8, 2004
"They do not represent me"

Debra Burlingame, who lost her brother on 9/11 takes issue with those that raised a ruckus over President Bush's ad.

It is one thing for individual family members to invoke the memory of all 3,000 victims as they take to the microphone or podium to show respect for our collective loss. It is another for them to attempt to stifle the debate over the future direction of our country by declaring that the images of 9/11 should be off-limits in the presidential race, and to do so under the rubric of "The Families of Sept. 11." They do not represent me. Nor do they represent those Americans who feel that Sept. 11 was a defining moment in the history of our country and who want to know how the current or future occupant of the Oval Office views the lessons of that day.
Whatever these 9/11 families may think of the president's foreign policy or the war in Iraq, I ask them to reconsider the language and tone of their statements. We should not tolerate or condone remarks such as those of the 9/11 relative who, so offended by the campaign ads, said that he "would vote for Saddam Hussein before I would vote for Bush." The insult was picked up and posted on Al-Jazeera's Web site. In view of the sacrifice our troops have made on our behalf, this insensitivity to them and their families suggests a level of self-indulgence and ingratitude that shocks the conscience.
Ms. Burlingame, a life-long Democrat, is the sister of Charles F. "Chic" Burlingame, III, captain of American Airlines flight 77, which was crashed at the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.


Good news from Iraq

Iraq has a signed interim constitution. (The text is here.)

Additionally, things seems to be going better for our troops. In the past 12 days only 1 of our 100,000+ troops in Iraq has died. While every death is tragic, it's a far cry from the "two or three a day" leading up to the election that some had been warning of.

There was a period of time after the war where casualties were pretty rare and unorganized. Then they got some organization and they started using IEDs and whatnot. Recently things seem to have fallen back to unorganized. 1 IED death in the past 19 days and enemy attacks on houses and empty hotels would seem to indicate a dropoff in enemy activity and organization and would seem to bode well for our troops.

I can only hope the trend continues and things keep getting better (both for our troops and for the Iraqi citizens) as Iraqis continue to see how much better off they are than they were under Saddam and that their enemy isn't the United States but those waging war on the ability of Iraqis to be a free people.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:11 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Sunday, March 7, 2004
The "Open Letter to America"
More than a dozen families who lost relatives in the Sept. 11 attacks released a letter Saturday declaring their support for President Bush and his use of images of the destroyed World Trade Center in campaign ads.

"There is no better testament to the leadership of President Bush than Sept. 11," the letter states. "In choosing our next leader we must not forget that day if we are to have a meaningful conversation."
"In the November election we will have a clear choice laid before the American people," the letter reads. "President Bush is rightly offering us that choice and the images of Sept. 11, although painful, are fundamental to that choice. The images in President Bush's campaign television ads are respectful of the memories of Sept. 11."

When asked about the ads on Saturday, President Bush said he will "continue to speak about the effects of 9-11 on our country and my presidency."

"How this administration handled that day, as well as the war on terror, is worthy of discussion. And I look forward to discussing that with the American people," he said.
Jimmy Boyle, former president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association, said he came up with the "Open Letter to America" after hearing that the president was being criticized for the ads.

"I don't think he's taking advantage of Sept. 11 and I feel that he's given us the leadership that we need," said Boyle, who said he will be voting for a Republican president for the first time in November.


Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:08 AM in Politics/Government

Friday, March 5, 2004
Blair on Terror

Blair knocks it out of the ballpark. (Or cricket field or whatever they'd use over there.)

But the key point is that it is the threat that is the issue.

The characterisation of the threat is where the difference lies. Here is where I feel so passionately that we are in mortal danger of mistaking the nature of the new world in which we live.

Everything about our world is changing: its economy, its technology, its culture, its way of living.

If the 20th century scripted our conventional way of thinking, the 21st century is unconventional in almost every respect.

This is true also of our security.

The threat we face is not conventional. It is a challenge of a different nature from anything the world has faced before. It is to the world's security, what globalisation is to the world's economy.

It was defined not by Iraq but by September 11th. September 11th did not create the threat Saddam posed.

But it altered crucially the balance of risk as to whether to deal with it or simply carry on, however imperfectly, trying to contain it. . . .

The point about September 11th was not its detailed planning; not its devilish execution; not even, simply, that it happened in America, on the streets of New York. All of this made it an astonishing, terrible and wicked tragedy, a barbaric murder of innocent people.

But what galvanised me was that it was a declaration of war by religious fanatics who were prepared to wage that war without limit. They killed 3000.

But if they could have killed 30,000 or 300,000 they would have rejoiced in it.

The purpose was to cause such hatred between Moslems and the West that a religious jihad became reality; and the world engulfed by it. . . .

This is not a time to err on the side of caution; not a time to weigh the risks to an infinite balance; not a time for the cynicism of the worldly wise who favour playing it long.

Their worldly wise cynicism is actually at best naivete and at worst dereliction.

--BBC (via Instapundit and Harry's Place)

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:29 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
More on President Bush's ad

Citizen Smash has a round up of reactions to the 9/11 footage hubub.

Through Smash's page:

John Hawkins looks at the people who have been complaining about President Bush's ad and finds that most of them have attacked President Bush in the past and that Harold Schaitberger, being touted as the voice of fire fighters, is "co-chair of the Kerry for President campaign".

Moderate Voice provides this from Rudy Giuliani: "Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani came forward, insisting he had volunteered to speak out:''This is part of the President's record,' Giuliani told the New York Daily News. 'It's part of history. He did such a good job it would almost be false advertising not to include images of 9/11.'"

And Dean Esmay provides this:

So, in response to this one innocuous ad, Democrats (and one labor union that endorsed John Kerry months ago) shrieked and sprayed spittle, ranting about how the President was "trying to scare people" and "acts as if the last three and a half years never happened" and is "using people's deaths for his own re-election," and on and on and on.

It has been nauseating to listen to, it really has been. I know I'm not the only one who feels that way, either. I never thought Democrats could top their mean-spirited, shallow sniping of the last couple of years, but they've alrady managed to do it in their response to this one 2-second flash in a single series of ads.
If this is how Democrats run the rest of their campaign, Bush is going to destroy them in November. Absolutely destroy them. Except for gentle jokes and barbs, he'll launch very, very few attacks at all. I am in awe watching it start to unfold.

It's a pretty long post, go read it all.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:05 PM in Politics/Government
Yep, North Korea seems to like Kerry
North Korea's state-controlled media are well known for reverential reporting about Kim Jong-il, the country's dictatorial leader.

But the Dear Leader is not the only one getting deferential treatment from the communist state's propaganda machine: John Kerry, the presumptive Democratic candidate, is also getting good play in Pyongyang.

In the past few weeks, speeches by the Massachusetts senator have been broadcast on Radio Pyongyang and reported in glowing terms by the Korea Central News Agency (KCNA), the official mouthpiece of Mr Kim's communist regime.
Mr Kerry was first introduced to North Korea's information-starved people in early February, when Radio Pyongyang reported that opinion polls indicated he was likely to defeat Mr Bush.

A few days later, the station broadcast comments by Mr Kerry criticising Mr Bush for deceiving the world about Iraq's elusive weapons of mass destruction. Later in February, KCNA welcomed Mr Kerry's pledge to adopt a more "sincere attitude" towards North Korea if elected.

"Senator Kerry, who is seeking the presidential candidacy of the Democratic Party, sharply criticised President Bush, saying it was an ill-considered act to deny direct dialogue with North Korea," said the news agency.

Pyongyang's friendly attitude towards Mr Kerry contrasts with its strong anti-Bush rhetoric.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:21 PM in Politics/Government
Stamps for e-mail?

Bill Gates is suggesting that we should have to pay per e-mail.

This is such a bad idea. We don't need to pay more money. What we need is an e-mail system where the "From:" address can't be faked. Allow people to always know what address an e-mail is coming from and then you'll have the ability to actually enforce current and future anti-spam laws.

The great problem of e-mail isn't that it costs nothing to send it, that's a great benefit. The problem is that you have no way to ensure that the address in the "From:" field is the actual address it was sent from.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:47 PM in Technology/Internet
Not quite as graphic as "The Passion"

You haven't truly seen the story of the Bible until you've seen it in Legos.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:32 PM in Religion

Thursday, March 4, 2004
Blogs do accomplish something

Ted Rall's comic has been dropped from the New York Times website. Rall blames blogs.

My trouble with the Times website dates back to the "terror widows" controversy. That cartoon, which appeared in March 2002, became the target of a coordinated email attack by right-wing "warbloggers." These pro-Bush bloggers, coasting on a wave of post-9/11 patriotism, sent out emails to their followers (helpful souls forwarded some to me) asking each other to deluge the Times and other papers with complaints that purported to come from their readers.
It seems that the warbloggers consistent campaign of email harrassment has finally taken its toll over at Times Digital. Because they're annoyed by receiving so many email complaints about my work--all of them motivated by partisan politics--the Times has decided to drop my cartoons entirely.

--Ted Rall

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:17 PM in Media
Refuting the idea that we invaded Iraq for their oil...

Haliburton may be totally ripping off the US government, they may be overcharging us for gas or doing half the work for twice the price or whatever, but that isn't the same as us taking Iraq's oil. It may be unethical, immoral, or illegal, but it's not stealing Iraq's oil or taking some of their profits.

The oil production is actually now up to prewar levels and a lot of money is going into Iraq's coffers.

Iraq's oil industry has undergone a remarkable turnaround and is now producing and exporting almost as much crude oil as it did before the war, according to officials with the American-led occupation and the Iraqi oil ministry.

A month before the April 1 deadline set by Iraq and American officials for restoring the industry to prewar levels, the country is producing 2.3 million to 2.5 million barrels a day, compared with 2.8 million barrels a day before the war.

With additional production increases expected, oil exports this year could add $14 billion to Iraq's threadbare budget, compared with a little more than $5 billion last year, said a senior official with the Coalition Provisional Authority, the occupation government.

--NY Times

If you've got a link showing that Haliburton, another company, or the US government is getting a percentage of the actual oil profits please let me know. (And this doesn't include links to Halliburton overcharging for gas or getting a whole bunch of contracts to rebuild infrastructure or build military bases. Only the actual distribution of profits from pumped oil that should be going to Iraq.)

Posted by Rob Bernard at 7:08 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East takes issue with parts of a Kerry attack ad

The nonpartisan group is correcting several statements in a video sent to Kerry's supporters.

At one point the ad shows Bush saying “we must provide the best care” for veterans, then shows a graphic saying: “200,000 veterans cut off from health system.” It cites the Department of Veterans Affairs as the source. But the statement is false.

In fact, no veterans have had benefits cut off under Bush. Quite the contrary, as we’ve previously noted , spending for veterans benefits has grown 27% since Bush took office, and the ranks of veterans drawing benefits have increased by more than 1 million.

The Kerry campaign says the ad is referring to a proposal in Bush’s budget for fiscal year 2005, which begins Oct. 1. But that proposal has not been enacted and, in fact, a similar proposal was rejected last year. Congress is expected to reject it again this year.

Furthermore, the proposal would not “cut off” veterans as the ad says. It would instead raise the cost of the VA’s popular prescription–drug benefit. The VA estimates this would cause an estimated 200,000 veterans to leave the system -- voluntarily -- because they have better benefits from other sources. The drug benefit currently requires no payment to gain coverage, and a $7 co-payment for each one-month supply of prescription drugs. The Bush administration proposes to charge $21 per month for coverage, and to raise the co-payment to $15 per one-month supply of prescription medications.
The ad wrongly states that 2.9 million jobs have been lost under Bush, and cites the Bureau of Labor Statistics as the source. That’s wrong.

BLS figures actually show the loss in total payroll jobs has been 2.2 million jobs. The Kerry ad overstates the job loss by a number that exceeds the population of Washington DC. (via Hobbs)

And that's not even addressing the difference between the payroll and household survey.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:41 PM in Politics/Government
Guess what... We Americans are Nazis

Or at least so says a nation that actually has concentration camps.

North Korea is teaching teaching "The Diary of Anne Frank" in a way that doesn't at all jive with the original intent.

Here, they teach that today's Nazis are the Americans – and that today's Hitler is George W. Bush. And, to hammer that home, whenever North Korean students refer to President Bush, or to other Americans, they're taught to call them “Nazis,” or “warmongers."

“As long as the warmonger Bush and the Nazi Americans live, who are worse than Hitler's fascists, world peace will be impossible to achieve,” says another student.

--CBS News (via BOTW)

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:26 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
It's official

It's baseball time again. Reds are on the radio, scores are arriving on my phone. And to top it off the Reds are so far undefeated in 2004.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:53 PM in Baseball , Cincinnati
A handy-dandy list of Kerry's waffling

9 issues Kerry has waffled on in one convenient table over at Slate.

The issues: Welfare Reform, Mandatory Minimums, Affirmative Action, the Death Penalty, Education Reform, Double Taxation, Gas Taxation, Social Security and Trade.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:34 PM in Politics/Government
Oh no! There were pictures relating to 9/11 in the President's ads!

I'm sorry, but this seems like a lot of commotion over nothing. These ads aren’t showing the planes crashing into the towers. They aren’t showing the towers collapsing. They aren’t showing people jumping to their deaths. They are showing brief images to illustrate the collective tragedy that was 9/11. Of course President Bush is going to be mentioning 9/11 and in an age of both audio and visual there are going to be images to go with the narration. 9/11 is THE defining event of the past 4 years and though some would very much like to forget the events of September 11th and pretend that it wasn't a major influence in President Bush's foreign policy, President Bush can't and won't simply pretend it didn't happen and not bring it up in his commercials.

Is using pictures related to 9/11 somehow politicizing the tragedy of 9/11? Probably. But then would it have not been politicizing if it had just been a black screen while somebody talked about 9/11? Is it not politicizing to claim that the Administration failed in their duty to prevent 9/11? Is not any mention of 9/11 during a political campaign politicizing it? This is a political campaign, and it's a political campaign where 9/11 must be discussed. To say this is out of bounds is like suggesting that FDR shouldn't have been able to mention Pearl Harbor or WWII in his 1944 campaign.

9/11 will be a major part of this campaign, on both sides. President Bush's performance cannot be evaluated in a 9/11-free vacuum. To suggest that in the debate about who will lead us in the next four years of the war on terror the candidates aren’t allowed to bring up an event where 3,000 Americans were killed by terrorists does a grave disservice to the nation.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:32 AM in Politics/Government
John Kerry: The choice of Kim Jong Il
North Korea has never had a real election, doesn't believe in democracy and wouldn't dream of putting the political fate of "Dear Leader" Kim Jong Il in the hands of ballot-wielding commoners. But it does have an election strategy — as far as the United States is concerned.

The regime in Pyongyang, analysts say, is rooting for virtually anyone other than George W. Bush to be the next U.S. president. That's why many observers are expecting little progress at the six-party talks aimed at halting North Korea's nuclear program that started yesterday in Beijing.

"North Korea is waiting for its own regime change — in D.C.," said Pang Zhongying, professor of international relations at China's Nankai University.
Pyongyang is betting that by stalling, it can achieve a better deal with a new administration, analysts say. Nor does it want to grace President Bush with a diplomatic victory that might help re-elect him.

--The Seattle Times (via Hootinan)

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:25 AM in Politics/Government

Wednesday, March 3, 2004
Someone give these guys a raise

After seeing President Bush's first TV ads I can't imagine the people who made them are being paid enough for what they do. They're positive, they're actually, I think, moving, and I think they're going to be quite a contrast to Kerry's.

Edwards may not have been able to beat Kerry with his positive message but in the beginning at least President Bush is taking the idea and running with it.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 6:59 PM in Politics/Government
A nice quick summation

Saw this elsewhere and it seemed a nice, efficient summation.

"What's wrong with Kerry?"

"Weebles wobble but they don't fall down."

Posted by Rob Bernard at 6:49 PM in Politics/Government
7 misunderstandings

Beliefnet has an article laying out 7 ways Jews and Chritians misunderstand each other when it comes to "The Passion of the Christ".

1) Christ's suffering is important
The movie's violence brings many Christians into Jesus' world and helps show just how much he had to give up in order to give us the gift. In that sense, the violence is extremely spiritual.

2) Most of this really is in the Bible
It is quite possible that much of what’s in the Bible is not historically accurate but Jews need to understand that when they say that this basic plotline is anti-Semitic they are saying the New Testament itself is anti-Semitic and hateful.

3) Most Christians don’t even entertain the question of blame

Most Christians believe that Jesus went to his death willingly, so the identity of the killers is utterly irrelevant. Jews are sensitive to being blamed because they have been, but they also need to realize that most modern American Christians view that as a peculiar sideshow.
4) Christians feel persecuted
When Jews criticize the movie, they need to realize that, unless carefully worded, their complaints will feel like not merely theological disputes but personal insults and attacks.
1) Mel Gibson is terrifying

Christians need to understand just how scary a person Mel Gibson is to Jews. The comments from his father Hutton Gibson don’t represent ordinary country-club anti-Semitism but David Duke, neo-Nazi anti-Semitism.
2) This is not ancient history
Beliefnet member Shira writes, "My father could not go near a Catholic school around Easter because he knew he was going to get beaten up." It wasn’t until 1965 that the Catholic Church officially declared that the entire Jewish people were not guilty of deicide. Moreover, anti-Semitism is right now on the rise in Europe and the mideast.
3) Christian support of Israel is irrelevant
Obviously, supporting Israel does not give anyone a free pass to tolerate anti-Semitism in other realms. Besides, while most Jews delight in and appreciate Christian support for Israel they are also quite aware of their mixed motives.


Posted by Rob Bernard at 5:22 AM in Movies , Religion
Broadband over power lines

Cinergy is rolling out BPL (broadband over power lines) in Cincinnati. It's maybe a little slower than DSL or Cable, but it's also $12-$15 cheaper and uploads are as fast as downloads.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:40 AM in Cincinnati

Tuesday, March 2, 2004
R.I.P. Marge Schott

She had her problems, there's no denying that, but she loved Cincinnati and the Reds and was generous with her money. It's sad to see her go.

"Marge was a paradox," said Cincinnati Mayor Charlie Luken. "While there is no excusing some of the indelicate things she said, there was a kindness to Marge that made her a woman of the people."
"Selling the ball club was a blessing in disguise for the community as a whole," Brennaman said. "Look at all of the contributions she's made since then. She has never gotten enough credit for all of the money she's donated to causes in this city."

Cincinnati knew - and benefited from - the good Marge. While many in the Queen City reviled her for her racist remarks, many others revered her for her charitable contributions.

"Marge has done more than any other citizen to improve the quality of life in Cincinnati," said Bill Heckman, president of the Children's Heart Association.
[Gregg] Hudson marks his third anniversary as the zoo's executive director in April. He admitted that when he came to town and before meeting with Schott, he had "all of the stereotypes in my mind."

He figured he would be meeting with a woman who was rough around the edges, prone to making inappropriate remarks and tough to deal with.

"She was a lot of what everybody thinks," he said.

"She called me honey.

"She was brash. And smoked a lot of cigarettes.

"But the thing I never really knew is that she had this huge heart. She loved animals and children. She did great things for this zoo.

"And this city."


Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:31 PM in Baseball , Cincinnati
There's still time

If you can vote in an election today and you've informed yourself on the issues, then make sure you get out and vote. If you aren't informed on the issues then get informed. If you don't feel like getting informed then please, don't vote.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:20 PM in Politics/Government
Dennis Prager on "The Passion of the Christ"

People of different backgrounds really are seeing different movies when they walk into the theater.

For two hours, Christians watch their Savior tortured and killed. For the same two hours, Jews watch Jews arrange the killing and torture of the Christians' Savior.
It is essential that Christians understand this. Every Jew, secular, religious, assimilated, left-wing, right-wing, fears being killed because he is Jewish. This is the best-kept secret about Jews, who are widely perceived as inordinately secure and powerful. But it is the only universally held sentiment among Jews. After the Holocaust and with Islamic terrorists seeking to murder Jews today, this, too, is not paranoid.

However, what Jews need to understand is that most American Christians watching this film do not see "the Jews" as the villains in the passion story historically, let alone today. First, most American Christians -- Catholic and Protestant -- believe that a sinning humanity killed Jesus, not "the Jews." Second, they know that Christ's entire purpose was to come to this world and to be killed for humanity's sins. To the Christian, God made it happen, not the Jews or the Romans (the Book of Acts says precisely that). Third, a Christian who hates Jews today for what he believes some Jews did 2,000 years ago only reflects on the low moral, intellectual and religious state of that Christian. Imagine what Jews would think of a Jew who hated Egyptians after watching "The Ten Commandments," and you get an idea of how most Christians would regard a Christian who hated Jews after watching "The Passion."

Jews also need to understand another aspect of "The Passion" controversy. Just as Jews are responding to centuries of Christian anti-Semitism (virtually all of it in Europe), many Christians are responding to decades of Christian-bashing -- films and art mocking Christian symbols, a war on virtually any public Christian expression (from the death of the Christmas party to the moral identification of fundamentalist Christians with fundamentalist Muslims). Moreover, many Jewish groups and media people now attacking "The Passion" have a history of irresponsibly labeling conservative Christians anti-Semitic.

--Dennis Prager - beliefnet

Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:46 AM in Religion

Monday, March 1, 2004
My Oscar thoughts

Thought it was a solid show all in all. Crystal did a decent job.

Some are complaining that it was boring, that there weren't any upsets. Personally I'd rather give the awards to the people who actually deserve them than have a lot of upsets and excitement.

Some complain that no matter how good Lord of the Rings was it didn't deserve to win in every category it was nominated in. To that I say "I can't think of one category they should have obviously not won." I don't think you can say it shouldn't have the technical categories it did. That just leaves you Best Song, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Picture. All the songs sucked royally, so I can't see why LOTR shouldn't have won that one and everybody knew going in that LOTR would win Director and Picture. That just leaves you Screenplay and even there I don't think you can say any of the contenders were head and shoulders above LOTR.

It wasn't the most exciting awards show ever, but it was entertaining. So while I don't think Renée Zellweger should have won and I would have liked to see Bill Murray win, I don’t think there were any great travesties in who won.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 6:17 PM in Movies
Who's doing the smearing?

It's conventional wisdom now that this may be one of the nastiest presidential campaigns ever. But those keeping score should observe that, right now, the muddy epithets thrown at President Bush outweigh those thrown at Democrats by tons.

That's not the way things are being reported, though. The media seem to be uncritically accepting the Democratic charge that any criticism of Sen. John Kerry's (Mass.) public record is "sliming" or "smearing."

But for months now, Democrats have accused Bush of being a "liar" who "misled" or "deceived" the nation into the Iraq war; a "usurper" who "stole" the 2000 election in Florida; "a right-wing extremist" on tax, social and foreign policy; and a "menace to the nation's basic liberties," owing to his employment of Attorney General John Ashcroft. …

Democrats claim that Republicans either have questioned or will question their patriotism in this campaign, but actually the only accusations of lacking patriotism have come from Democrats.
[N]o Republican of any stature has yet thrown what could even remotely be described as a low blow. If that changes, I'll scream. But so far, if anyone's "sliming," it's Democrats. And the media should call them on it

--Mort Kondracke - Roll Call (subscription required)

Posted by Rob Bernard at 5:12 PM in Politics/Government


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