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Wednesday, June 30, 2004
Wictory Wednesday


This is Wictory Wednesday. Please volunteer or donate to help the President win reelection.

President Bush needs your support now more than ever to help counter the lies, untruths, and misleading spin being put out by the Left.

You can also sign up to get e-mail from the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign.

If you are an Ohioan who supports the President please consider joining the Ohioans for Bush-Cheney Yahoo! Group.



Posted by Rob Bernard at 6:14 PM in Politics/Government
A convergence of two posts

An interesting convergence between two posts from yesterday, one with a link tearing apart the Washington Post's Baghdad chief, the other talking about Iraqi reactions to Paul Bremer's farewell speech to Iraq.

The Baghdad chief had a piece in the Washington Post today saying that the speech never happened. Bold is mine.


When he left Iraq on Monday after surrendering authority to an interim government, it was with a somber air of exhaustion. There was no farewell address to the Iraqi people, no celebratory airport sendoff. Instead of a festive handover ceremony on Wednesday, the date set for the transfer, an improvised event occupied five minutes on a Monday morning.

--Washington Post


Lebanon's Daily Star confirms there was a speech.

Truly a great day for the Washington Post’s journalistic integrity.

Hat tip to Tim Blair.

--Update--

The LA Times also blows it.


L. Paul Bremer III, the civilian administrator for Iraq, left without even giving a final speech to the country — almost as if he were afraid to look in the eye the people he had ruled for more than a year.

--LA Times

--Addendum--

The text of Bremer's farewell speech:


The future of Iraq belongs to you, the Iraqi people. We and your other friends will help, but we can only help. You must do the real work.


The Iraq your children and their children inherit will depend on your actions in the months and years ahead. You Iraqis must now take responsibility for your future of hope. You can create that future of hope by standing fast against those who kill your police and soldiers, who kill your women and children, who wreck Iraq's pipelines and power lines, and then claim to be your champions.


You can create that future of hope by supporting your government and the elections they are pledged to bring you. You can create that future of hope in a thousand different ways by sharing through your words and deeds a personal commitment to a stable and peaceful Iraq.


You, Iraq's Kurds and Arabs, Shi'a and Sunni, Turkomen and Christian, you are more like each other than you are different from one another. You have a shared vision of how a united Iraq can, again, be a beacon of hope to the region. You have a shared hatred of the violence inflicted on you by those who abhor your vision. And you have a shared love of this wonderful, rich land.


Let no one pit you against each other. For when Iraqis fight Iraqis, only Iraqis suffer.


I leave Iraq gladdened by what has been accomplished and confident that your future is full of hope. A piece of my heart will always remain here in the beautiful land between the two rivers with its fertile valleys, it's majestic mountains and its wonderful people.

--CNN (Hat tip Tim Blair)

Posted by Rob Bernard at 5:57 PM in Media , War/Terrorism/Middle East
"Michael Moore is a Big Fat Stupid White Man"
The new book Michael Moore is a Big Fat Stupid White Man from David T. Hardy and Jason Clarke is out. Looks like it should be worth a look.
Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:56 AM in Politics/Government
Movie review: Spider-Man 2

Thought it was great! I cannot name a better superhero movie. Only Batman comes close and I'm disqualifying that for lack of actual superpowers.

It's not afraid to put the action on hold for a bit and have some actual storytelling and that's good, it's probably a big part of what made it so good. This isn't just an action flick; Peter Parker really has his own problems and isn't certain that he really can or even wants to play the hero. The problem with the X-Men movies has been that they just have too many people to really explore each character in depth. With 2 hours devoted to a single superhero Spider-Man can really be fleshed out.

As for the villain, Doc Ock is a much better villain than the Green Goblin was. Alfred Molina does a superb job of making Octavius a real person, and not just your standard supervillain who goes crazy and wants to kill people and smash stuff up. As with Spider-Man they really devote the proper amount of time to his development. There's real depth to him.

Kirsten Dunst plays Mary Jane to a T and I have to say I'm happy to see how MJ plays a part in Peter doubting himself. Is he willing to give up MJ in order to be a hero? Is he willing to give up being a hero in order to be with MJ?

James Franco’s Harry Osborne is perhaps a little one-note, but that’s what you get when a character is obsessed with avenging his father. From the very start there’s a rift between Peter and Harry because Peter continues to be close to Spider-Man. (Like he really has a choice…) That rift widens throughout the film and concludes in a very tantalizing way.

The movie’s full of CGI, but it looks real enough and the closest it game to distracting me was when it occurred to me "Hey, this is some really good CGI." It really does feel like there’s a guy in a red and blue suit swinging from building to building.

The closest thing I can come to a criticism is that Tobey needing to act in battle sequences sometimes leads to the mask coming off at the most inopportune times. You’re a superhero, keep your frickin’ mask on!

The movie flows very well, it doesn’t feel like they’re rushing to cram too much into 2 hours and it doesn’t lag or feel stretched at all. There is exactly the proper amount of story and the proper amount of action, and the proper amount of romance and the proper amount of humor.

It’s simply a great movie and probably the best superhero movie ever made.


4 out of 4 stars.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:56 AM in Movies



Tuesday, June 29, 2004
"I’m beginning to believe"

Iraq the model has a great post on the reaction of some Iraqis to the handover of sovereignty and Paul Bremer's departing speech.


I was deeply moved by this great man’s words but I couldn’t prevent myself from watching the effect of his words on my friends who some of them were anti-Americans and some were skeptic, although some of them have always shared my optimism. I found that they were touched even more deeply than I was. I turned to one friend who was a committed She’at and who distrusted America all the way. He looked as if he was bewitched, and I asked him, “So, what do you think of this man? Do you still consider him an invader?” My friend smiled, still touched and said, “Absolutely not! He brought tears to my eyes. God bless him.”

Another friend approached me. This one was not religious but he was one of the conspiracy theory believers. He put his hands on my shoulders and said smiling, “I must admit that I’m beginning to believe in what you’ve been telling us for months and I’m beginning to have faith in America. I never thought that they will hand us sovereignty in time. These people have shown that they keep their promises.”

--IRAQ THE MODEL

Posted by Rob Bernard at 6:56 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Do you like being able to keep your own money and use it as you see best?

If so you'd better not vote Democrat.


"Many of you are well enough off that ... the tax cuts may have helped you," Sen. Clinton said. "We're saying that for America to get back on track, we're probably going to cut that short and not give it to you. We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good."

--SF Gate


Because we all know that taxing the economy to a screeching halt is the "common good"...

Posted by Rob Bernard at 6:23 PM in Politics/Government
Comparing the critics to themselves

Beautiful Atrocities has an interesting look at how critics reacted to Fahrenheit 9/11 and The Passion of the Christ.


A.O. Scott, New York Times:

F9/11: Mr. Moore's populist instincts have never been sharper...he is a credit to the republic.

Passion: Gibson has exploited the popular appetite for terror and gore for what he and his allies see as a higher end.

William Arnold, Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

F9/11: A masterful job of ridiculing the personality, intellect and employment resumé of George W. Bush ... could well become the docu-equivalent of "The Passion of the Christ" and even affect the presidential election.

Passion: Despite Gibson's claim that he's finally telling "the true story," his movie strikes me as less faithful to the Gospels than the earlier Christ movies. Crammed full of scenes and dialogue and minor characters that he's completely made up.

Jami Bernard, NY Daily News:

F9/11: I was in tears after first seeing "Fahrenheit" at Cannes.

Passion: The most virulently anti-Semitic movie made since the German propaganda films of World War II.

J.Hoberman, Village Voice:

F9/11: Let us not forget that Dana Carvey did more than anyone in America, save Ross Perot, to drive Bush père from the White House. There are sequences in Fahrenheit 9/11 so devastatingly on target as to inspire the thought that Moore might similarly help evict the son.

Passion: Sitting through the film's garishly staged suffering, one might well ponder the millions of people—victims of crusades, inquisitions, colonial conquests, the slave trade, political terror, and genocide—who have been tortured and killed in Christ's name.

Geoff Pevre, Toronto Star:

F9/11: A plea for America's deliverance ... it may not be an argument one agrees with, and it may be unbalanced and propagandistic, but it is both convincingly argued and sincerely motivated.

Passion: A work of fundamentalist pornography.

David Sterrit, Christian Science Monitor:

F9/11: Is the label "documentary" appropriate for this openly activist movie? Of course it is, unless you cling to some idealized notion of "objective" film.

Passion: The highly selective screenplay includes only a few of Jesus' words, spoken in occasional flashback scenes.

--Beautiful Atrocities (via BOTW)

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:54 PM in Movies
Tearing apart the Post

Marine Corps reservist and participant in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Eric Johnson has an article totally eviscerating the Washington Post's Baghdad chief.

It's quite the damning indictment of the Post's operations in Iraq. Check it out.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:36 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Wow

Stephen over at The Right Side had quite an ordeal tonight. A man invaded his house, after a struggle bound him with duct tape at the point of two guns, and robbed him. He's ok and the bastard got away with nothing all that expensive, though it was quite the eclectic list (including beer steins, DVDs, the remote to the TV and his cigarettes).

Just glad he's ok, it could have been so much worse.

--Update--
Stephen now has the story up at his site.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 6:20 AM in Miscellaneous



Monday, June 28, 2004
*sigh* It's the type of hits you hate to receive...

The number 1 search term directing people here is "Spc. Matt M. Maupin". For those looking for more information on him I'll direct you to WCPO's story that I linked earlier and WCPO's special section. For those looking for the video, I know of no place where it is available... and probably wouldn't link to it if I did.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 9:39 PM in Cincinnati
If reports are true...

R.I.P. Matt Maupin and thank you.

--Update--
More from WCPO.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 6:44 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Cleaner fireworks

Disney has perfected a new method of getting fireworks aloft that uses only compressed air instead of black powder which creates a lot of ground-level smoke.

To top it off they're working to donate the patents involved to a non-profit group so that they can be licensed to other fireworks providers.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 5:33 PM in Miscellaneous
Kerry plays "Let's Pretend"

Another excellent article from Orson Scott Card.


Kerry is stealing a page from the Clinton election handbook by focusing on the exact issue where the Republicans have him beaten.

He's not pulling a Howard Dean and raving about pulling our troops out.

No, he's talking like Clinton: Bush has done a terrible, terrible job. Elect me and I'll do a lot better with this war on terror. And you know how I'll do it?

By doing every single thing that President Bush has done. Only I would have done it sooner and better.

Why would anybody believe him? Kerry may or may not have been a war hero -- it's for darn sure he saw more active duty than George W. Bush. But we're not voting for favorite ex-soldier, we're voting for the policies that will protect us from foreign enemies.

Kerry's voting record in the Senate says that he'd rather our military consisted of a sixty-man chorus dressed in camo and singing "Give Me Some Men Who Are Stout-Hearted Men."

And maybe, maybe, one bugler.

If it had been up to Kerry, we wouldn't have had enough of a military to take over downtown Dallas, let alone Iraq.
...
The Democratic Party knows that Kerry isn't serious about running a tough anti-terrorist war. And the Republican Party knows he isn't serious about it.

But the vast middle group, the people who get their news from Leno and Letterman and Saturday Night Live and The Daily Show, all they know is "Bush Is Dumb" and "Kerry's Going to Win the War." So guess which one they'll vote for.
...
Regardless of what Kerry promises during his campaign, a vote for him is a vote to end any serious effort to fight terrorism using our military abroad. And since he is also committed to dismantling the laws that make serious homeland security possible, just how do you think he's going to do against our sworn enemies?

There is a difference between the two candidates. A huge one.

--World Watch - Orson Scott Card

Posted by Rob Bernard at 5:17 PM in Politics/Government
"Let Freedom Reign!"

Reuters has the letter that informed President Bush that Iraq was sovereign.


Mr President,
    Iraq is sovereign. Letter
was passed from Bremer at
10:26 AM Iraq time -
                   Condi

President Bush then wrote "Let Freedom Reign!" on it.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:51 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Newsday on Fahrenheit

Newsday has a take on the limited view presented in the film. Most noteworthy IMO is this section:


Moore suggests Bush's conflict of interest was manifest shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks when the White House "approved planes to pick up the bin Ladens and numerous other Saudis" who, fearing reprisals, were flown out of the United States. Embellishing the well-known scenario, Moore interviews a retired FBI agent who says authorities should have first questioned the bin Ladens.

But the bin Ladens were questioned. The commission investigating the attacks reported in April that the FBI interviewed 30 passengers: "Nobody was allowed to depart on these six flights who the FBI wanted to interview in connection with the 9/11 attacks or who the FBI later concluded had any involvement in those attacks."

--Newsday


Yes, that would be something in Moore's film that's *surprise!!* not true.

Happy Iraqi Sovereignty day!

The handover of sovereignty has been moved up 2 days to today. Fox News reports it has already happened.

Meanwhile the Washington Post shows fairly widespread support among the Iraqi people for the new government.


"68 percent of Iraqis have confidence in their new leaders. The numbers are in stark contrast to widespread disillusionment with the previous Iraqi Governing Council, which was made up of 25 members picked by the United States and which served as the Iraqi partner to the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority. Only 28 percent of Iraqis backed the council when it was dissolved last month, according to a similar poll in May.
...
But 73 percent of Iraqis polled approved of Allawi to lead the new government, 84 percent approved of President Ghazi Yawar and almost two-thirds backed the new Cabinet. These impressive showings indicate that the new leaders have support spanning ethnic and religious groups, U.S. officials said.
...
Four out of every five Iraqis expected that the new government will "make things better" for Iraq after the handover, with 10 percent expecting the situation to remain the same and 7 percent anticipating a decline, the poll shows.
...
[P]ublic confidence in the new police and army has reached new highs, the poll shows. Seventy percent of Iraqis polled supported the new army, and 82 percent supported the police."

--Washington Post

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:09 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East



Sunday, June 27, 2004
Iraq seeking uranium from Niger?

Gregory Djerejian brings news of a Financial Times piece saying that while some documents may have been forged, human and electronic intelligence from before those documents became public showed that Iraq was trying to purchase uranium from Niger.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 9:29 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Fahrenheit 9/11

Just like Columbine, it's a long series of self-contradictory arguments many of which are or border on conspiracy theories. President Bush wanted to invade Iraq after 9/11! He only invaded Afghanistan because it was obvious al Qaeda was being harbored there! No, we invaded Afghanistan simply so we could set up a natural gas pipeline! As with Columbine he's just throwing reasons up against the wall hoping that something will stick.

He jokes about people thinking that the Wal-Mart in their town might be the target of a terrorist attack. Of course that's silly, it's not like a couple weeks ago people were arrested for planning to blow up a shopping mall in the Midwest. That's just crazy talk!!!

The assumption going into every point made seems to be that the vilest of motives and reasoning possible can of course be assigned to President Bush. A name is blacked out in personal documents released? It couldn't possibly be to protect the privacy of the person who's name was blocked out! It's obviously a nefarious scheme to hide from people that the person whose name is blacked out is connected with the bin Laden family. And never mind that there's nothing wrong with having associations with that family. GEORGE BUSH IS EEEEEEEEEEEVIL!!!!!!

It distorts the Dickens out of the real world. You walk out under the impression that every person in America thinks President Bush is an evil, money-grubbing, power-hunger monster and that not one person in the military thinks liberating Iraq was the right thing to do. If you went solely on this film you would think that Saddam was the most beloved of all rulers, that he treated his people fairly and humanely and no harm ever came to them until that evil George Bush showed up.

It does have its heart wrenching moments, but even with those you can sense Moore trying to shoehorn them into the case he's trying to make. They're good reminders of the sacrifices people make, but then Moore feels the need to start throwing around opinions presented as fact like "the war in Iraq is immoral".

All that being said, it really is a very well-made little propaganda film. There probably hasn't been a better propaganda movie made in 70 years or so. Those who come in wanting to believe that President Bush is the source of all that's wrong in America will have no problem coming out believing every word of it, believing that "Truth" is the limited and flawed worldview presented in this film.

To close this out I'm going to point you back to Christopher Hitchens who rebutted the film so well. It really is a film that cries out for a good fisking.




Saturday, June 26, 2004
Some perspective

A good piece from Peter Worthington of the Toronto Sun.


When some claim President Bush shouldn't have started this war because Iraq never threatened America, it could be recalled that in 1941 President Franklin Roosevelt went to war with Germany, which never attacked America. Japan did.

From 1941-1945, 450,000 American lives were lost -- an average of 112,500 per year.

President Harry Truman concluded the war against Japan ... and started one in Korea. North Korea never attacked America as al-Qaida did, but from 1950-1953, 55,000 U.S. lives were lost, an average of 18,334 per year.
...
John Kennedy started the Vietnam conflict in 1962. Vietnam never attacked. President Lyndon Johnson turned Vietnam into a quagmire. From 1965-1975, 58,000 lives were lost -- an average of 5,800 per year.

When he was president, Bill Clinton went to war in Kosovo, without UN or French consent. Serbia never attacked America. Clinton was offered Osama bin Laden's head on a platter three times by Sudan and did nothing. Osama has attacked the West on multiple occasions.

In the two years since 9/11, Bush has liberated two countries. Crushed the Taliban. Crippled al-Qaida. Put nuclear inspectors in Libya, Iran and North Korea without firing a shot and captured a terrorist who slaughtered 300,000 of his own people.

The Democrats are complaining about how long the war is taking, but it took less time to take Iraq than it took Janet Reno to take the Branch Davidian compound -- a 51-day operation.

We've been looking for evidence of chemical weapons in Iraq for less time that it took Hillary Clinton to find the Rose law firm billing records.

It took less time for the 3rd Infantry Division and the Marines to destroy the Medina Republican Guard than it took Ted Kennedy to call the police after his Oldsmobile sank at Chappaquiddick.

It took less time to take Iraq than it took to count the votes in Florida.

From this perspective, President Bush as commander-in-chief is doing a great job, with military morale high.

Some people just don't see all the facts.

--Toronto Sun - Peter Worthington

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:27 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Maybe not the best choice of battles

The Kerry campaign is up in arms. Thursday President Bush's campain released this web video that exposes what the President's oponents are saying about him and how they're saying it.

The Kerry campaign sent out an e-mail yesterday:


Yesterday, the Bush-Cheney campaign, losing any last sense of decency, placed a disgusting ad called "The Faces of John Kerry's Democratic Party" as the main feature on its website. Bizarrely, and without explanation, the ad places Adolf Hitler among those faces.

The Bush-Cheney campaign must pull this ad off of its website. The use of Adolf Hitler by any campaign, politician or party is simply wrong.

We sent you a fundraising plea earlier this morning. But when this came up, we decided it was important to show you just what we're up against: a presidential campaign that is willing to do or say absolutely anything to win. You're our only line of defense against these underhanded tactics.

--OxBlog


President Bush's campaign responded, saying they agree completely.

Dear ____________,

On Thursday, the campaign launched a web video titled Kerry's Coalition of the Wild-eyed. The video featured Democrats who support John Kerry making negative and baseless attacks against the President. Interspersed in the video were segments of two ads that appeared on a website sponsored by MoveOn.org - a group campaigning for Kerry - in January.

On Friday night, John Kerry's campaign denounced our use of these ads, and called that use "disgusting."

The Kerry campaign says, "The use of Adolf Hitler by any campaign, politician or party is simply wrong."

We agree. These ads, like much of the hate-filled, angry rhetoric of Kerry's coalition of the Wild-eyed, are disgusting.

Where was John Kerry's disgust when he hired Zack Exley - the man responsible for encouraging the production of these ads as part of a MoveOn contest - to run the Kerry campaign's internet operation?

Where was John Kerry's sense of outrage when Al Gore, just yesterday afternoon, compared the Bush Administration to the Nazis saying, "The Administration works closely with a network of 'rapid response' digital Brown Shirts who work to pressure reporters and their editors for 'undermining support for our troops.'"

Where was John Kerry's anger when Al Gore in May spoke of "Bush's Gulag"?

Why has John Kerry not denounced billionaire and Democrat Party donor George Soros for comparing the Bush Administration to Nazis. Soros stated, "When I hear Bush say, 'You're either with us or against us,' it reminds me of the Germans. It conjures up memories of Nazi slogans on the walls, Der Feind Hort mit ('The enemy is listening')."

Why has Kerry not spoken out against filmmaker Michael Moore who last October compared the Patriot Act to Mein Kampf. "The Patriot Act is the first step. 'Mein Kampf' - 'Mein Kampf' was written long before Hitler came to power."

We created this web video to show the depths to which these Kerry supporters will sink to win in November.

Is this the Democratic Party of Franklin Delano Roosevelt who reassured his countrymen we have nothing to fear but fear itself?

No. This is John Kerry's Coalition of the Wild-eyed, who have nothing to offer but fear-mongering.

Sincerely,

Ken Mehlman
Campaign Manager


Yeah, when complaining that the other side is comparing you to Hitler ya might want to check first and make sure it's not your side that's comparing the other side to Hitler.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 5:37 AM in Politics/Government



Friday, June 25, 2004
Note to VH1

Lara Croft is not a superhero.

To be a superhero you must have super powers. Unless you count Jolie's circus-freak-worthy lips there is nothing super about Lara Croft.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:14 AM in TV
The Simple Life 2

This show depresses me. It's hard to believe that a civilization with people like this in it can long survive.

This new season is like a Celebrity version of that NBC reality show Lost from a few years back. In Lost they took a bunch of Americans and dumped them in Mongolia and made them race back to New York with pretty much no money. The show was basically well-off Americans who I'm sure all have TVs and cars and homes back in the States panhandling from Mongolian nomads and Russians barely making enough to feed themselves.

In The Simple Life 2 they take two of the richest women in America and dump them in the South and these women are panhandling from ordinary, everyday, hardworking people. They pull up to a toll booth and have to get out and ask people in other cars for the money. They park their Airstream in the Burger King drive-thru, walk inside, order $22 worth of food, eat it at the counter and then tell the manager they're $12 short. They then go around the Burger King asking the ordinary customers for money, eventually grabbing some cash out of a guys hands.

THESE WOMEN ARE WORTH MILLIONS OF DOLLARS AND THEY'RE TAKING $12 FROM A GUY SITTING DOWN TO LUNCH AT BURGER KING!

This simply should not be! This is disgraceful.

And don't even get me started on how they were being paid to work as maids so they put on their regular clothes, called a maid on the room's phone, had that maid make up the room and then told the maid to charge a tip to that room... a room that wasn't theirs.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:07 AM in TV



Thursday, June 24, 2004
Supreme Court sends energy task force case back down

From CNN.

I've never understood what's so important about knowing who was consulted when coming up with a policy/law. The energy plan is out there. It's big and convoluted, but it's no secret. If there are bad things in there you should be able to find them in the plan itself, it shouldn't matter who was consulted in coming up with it. Whether the consulted evil oil people or Greenpeace, it doesn't change the actual language of the plan. If something in the plan would be wrong after finding out who inspired it, it should still be wrong without ever knowing who was behind it.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:52 PM in Politics/Government
Clinton on NPR

"In America it's the people on the Right who have deified their heros and demonized their enemies. The Democrats haven't done that as much and are uncomfortable with doing that." --Bill Clinton

I call bullshit on Democrats not feeling comfortable demonizing their enemies and offer up Linda Tripp, Ken Starr, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter and Hitler... I mean President Bush as proof.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:32 PM in Politics/Government
Could Fahrenheit 9/11 be trouble for Kerry?

Jim Pinkerton over at Newsday thinks so.

[Maybe] Bush doesn't really need to worry about this movie. And here's why: If Bush and the Iraq war are this bad, why vote for John Kerry? After all, in 2002, Kerry voted with Bush and the Republicans - and against a majority of congressional Democrats - to support the war.

Try as he might, Moore will not get his R-rated film before the mass of American moviegoers. Instead, it will play heavily in liberal areas - places that are already likely to go strongly for Kerry. Bush voters will be few and far between.

Here's the rub: The more left-leaning the locale, the more likely that third-party candidate Ralph Nader will be a force there, too.

Indeed, as public opinion has turned against the war, support for Kerry has increased, but so has support for Nader. The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll shows Kerry besting Bush by four points. But Nader, who strongly opposed the war all along and proposes an immediate American pullout, is gaining, too. In recent months he has surged from asterisk levels to 6 percent. Almost all of those votes come out of Kerry's hide.
...
So if Moore's film is a hit at the box office, it's more likely to turn Kerry voters into Nader voters than it is to turn Bush voters into Kerry voters. That probably isn't Moore's intention, but the problem with zealous prosecutors is that once they get their blood up for the big confrontation, it's hard to get them to cool down, even if that would have been best for their case.

--Newsday.com

Posted by Rob Bernard at 10:46 AM in Politics/Government
This however I think you'd have to be expecting...

~70 dead in bombings in Iraq, mostly Iraqi security forces. Of course the terrorists and insurgents are going to step up their attacks just before Iraqis take sovereignty. Next Wednesday they lose the excuse of "The United States is the occupier".

Posted by Rob Bernard at 10:30 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Can't say I was expecting this...

'Under God' serves good secular cause
...
A nation should be under something. If not God, then some set of human values, of principles of human behavior that are bigger, even, than a Constitution. To acknowledge being under something is a good exercise in humility.

The "under God" phrase serves that idea, if imperfectly.
...
Is the phrase constitutional, given the Constitution's ban on "an establishment of religion?" When the U.S. Supreme Court heard a case challenging the "under God" language this month, most of the justices dodged the constitutional issues....

But Justice Sandra Day O'Connor said the phrase is constitutional. She said the phrase, far from establishing anything, is part of a custom of "ceremonial deism." Deism is a belief — held by some Founding Fathers — that a god created the world and its rules but does not get involved in its affairs. The term is sometimes used as a reference to minimalist religion, a belief in God with no other implications.

That formulation ought to comfort those who see any acceptance of a reference to God in government as a new inroad for the religious right, a path toward dominance by conservative Christians.

The O'Connor formulation points a way toward acceptance of the pledge — as is — that just about everybody ought to be able to live with.

--Dayton Daily News Editorial

Posted by Rob Bernard at 10:26 AM in Religion



Wednesday, June 23, 2004
How we beat al-Sadr

Good piece over at the Washington Times.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:44 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Zarqawi threatens Iraqi PM Allawi

"As for you Allawi, the supposedly democratically elected prime minister, we have prepared something very special for you," the voice on the tape said.

"We have prepared a special poison for you and a sharp sword and we have filled a glass for you and we have filled a glass with death especially for you.

"You don't even know how you have repeatedly escaped from our many attempts, but we promise you we will continue the match with you until the end," the voice said.

--CNN.com


Not that we really needed the note, I think it could pretty much be assumed that the terrorists would want the new PM of a sovereign Iraq dead.

I do like Allawi's response though:

Allawi shrugged off the threat after reading a transcription of the tape.

His spokesman, Georgis Sada, told CNN that Allawi smiled and said: "Zarqawi is not the enemy of Iyad Allawi only, but he is the enemy of all Iraqis."

Allawi... said Zarqawi must know that conditions will change for insurgents after Iraq achieves sovereignty.

He said the Iraqis know how to defend themselves and their country, and that Iraq's march to democracy will succeed. But he acknowledged it will anger the insurgency.

--CNN.com

Posted by Rob Bernard at 9:51 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Thoughts on an Iraq-bin Laden connection (circa 1999)

FrontPage magazine has a roundup of more than 15 articles from 1999 that speak of a relationship between Saddam's Iraq and bin Laden.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 9:33 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
"Net-Savvy Campaign Boosts Bush"

Wired has an article describing how President Bush's campaign is using the net to their advantage.

"They've basically taken the idea of a viral, team-led campaign structure, where they find these team leaders, who go recruit friends, neighbors and relatives," he said. "That gets a much higher response rate. Friend-to-friend is a much more effective solicitation than campaign-to-individual. They've also combined it with a Camel Cash approach. It's a good way to spread the message."

--Wired

Posted by Rob Bernard at 6:49 AM in Politics/Government
A suggestion for the enterprising soft drink company

Develop an aluminum can that doesn't have that little lip between the hole and the wall of the can. That little lip is quite annoying, forcing you either to slurp or else leave a perfectly good, if minute, amount of pop at the bottom of the can. In this day and age we should be able to overcome this annoyance.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:12 AM in Miscellaneous
President Bush and the families of the fallen and missing heroes in Iraq

Because if I don't mention it people will keep saying President Bush doesn't care about casualties and their families...


Maupins meet with President Bush

The parents of Spc. Matt Maupin, the Clermont County soldier held captive in Iraq, were aboard Air Force One for a private meeting with President Bush before he left for Washington Monday night.

Carolyn and Keith Maupin "were very comforted by what the president had to say to them," said Maj. Mark Magalski, the Army family assistance officer who has aided the Maupin family since the 20-year-old Army reservist was taken captive by Iraqi insurgents in a convoy assault on April 9.

--Cincinnati Enquirer



Families of slain military men say Bush shed tears with them

Some of the families who met privately with President Bush during his visit to MacDill Air Force Base said he shared their grief and shed tears with them.

Donna Ginther, the widow of Navy Petty Officer Ron Ginther who was killed by mortar fire in Iraq last month, told The Ledger for a story Thursday that she expressed to Bush her fears of raising her 9-year-old daughter without a father.

"When I told him that, he pressed his forehead against mine and said, `You can do it, and we'll all help you through it,'" she said. Bush met with Ginther and nine families of slain servicemen after his Wednesday speech to troops at MacDill.

--AP/Gainesville Sun


And from back in May...

President Meets With Captive Soldier's Family

President George W. Bush made two public appearances in Greater Cincinnati Tuesday, but he also made one very private stop.

The president reportedly met with the family of Matt Maupin, a soldier from Batavia who is being held hostage in Iraq, WLWT Eyewitness News 5's Jonathan Hawgood reported.

A source close to the Maupin family told WLWT that the visit was heartfelt and emotional. The exact location of the meeting was not revealed.

--WLWT

Operation Tiger Claw

Protest Warrior has a great page up detailing one High School student's effort to make his beliefs heard at school. It's a pretty entertaining read, go check it out.

Though I will disagree with Bryan, the student, in that I don't think "Operation Tiger Claw" was a failure. He may not have gotten the posters that were taken down put back up, but I think he certainly got his message out.




Tuesday, June 22, 2004
South Korean hostage killed

Hostage Kim Sun-il beheaded.

Can we dispense now with the idea that the beheadings of Berg and Johnson were simply because of Abu Ghraib? South Korea had nothing to do with Abu Ghraib yet their hostage got the same barbarous treatment. Abu Ghraib was merely a convenient excuse these barbarians don't need some great wrong perpetrated on them to commit such uncivilized behavior.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:21 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East



Monday, June 21, 2004
Hitchens on Fahrenheit 9/11

Some great stuff from Christopher Hitchens.


To describe this film as dishonest and demagogic would almost be to promote those terms to the level of respectability. To describe this film as a piece of crap would be to run the risk of a discourse that would never again rise above the excremental. To describe it as an exercise in facile crowd-pleasing would be too obvious. Fahrenheit 9/11 is a sinister exercise in moral frivolity, crudely disguised as an exercise in seriousness. It is also a spectacle of abject political cowardice masking itself as a demonstration of "dissenting" bravery.
...
A film that bases itself on a big lie and a big misrepresentation can only sustain itself by a dizzying succession of smaller falsehoods, beefed up by wilder and (if possible) yet more-contradictory claims. President Bush is accused of taking too many lazy vacations.... But the shot of him "relaxing at Camp David" shows him side by side with Tony Blair.... A meeting with the prime minister of the United Kingdom, or at least with this prime minister, is not a goof-off.
...
[In] spite of the film's loaded bias against the work of the mind, you can grasp even while watching it that Michael Moore has just said, in so many words, the one thing that no reflective or informed person can possibly believe: that Saddam Hussein was no problem. No problem at all.
...
Moore has announced that he won't even appear on TV shows where he might face hostile questioning. I notice from the New York Times of June 20 that he has pompously established a rapid response team, and a fact-checking staff, and some tough lawyers, to bulwark himself against attack. He'll sue, Moore says, if anyone insults him or his pet.... By all means go and see this terrible film, and take your friends, and if the fools in the audience strike up one cry, in favor of surrender or defeat, feel free to join in the conversation.

However, I think we can agree that the film is so flat-out phony that "fact-checking" is beside the point. And as for the scary lawyers—get a life, or maybe see me in court. But I offer this, to Moore and to his rapid response rabble. Any time, Michael my boy. Let's redo Telluride. Any show. Any place. Any platform. Let's see what you're made of.

--Slate - Unfairenheit 9/11 - The lies of Michael Moore. By Christopher Hitchens


The entire things good, go read it.

Very cool

Mike Melvill: First civilian astronaut.


"Beautiful sight, Mike," mission control said to Melvill as the gliding spaceship slowly circled toward its landing.

Later, standing on the tarmac beside the ship, Melvill said seeing the Earth from outside the atmosphere was "almost a religious experience."

"You can see the curvature of the Earth," he said. "You got a hell of a view from 60, 62 miles."

He also found time for a demonstration of weightlessness by opening a bag of M&M's candies and watching them float through the cockpit. "It was so cool," he said.

Federal Aviation Administration (news - web sites) representative Patricia Grace Smith presented Melvill with the agency's first commercial astronaut wings.

--Yahoo! News - Plane Soars Out of Earth's Atmosphere

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:06 PM in Miscellaneous
Saddam a WMD
When asked to comment on the American political debate surrounding WMDs not being found in Iraq, [new Iraqi president Ghazi al- Yawer] said that wasn't the real issue.

"After all, the real issue is, 'Was (Saddam) a destabilizing factor in the area?' Definitely he was," Yawer said. "He was a weapon of mass destruction by himself."

Yawer said he was opposed to "military interference" in Iraq at the outset of coalition operations to get rid of Saddam, but soon became a believer.

"Every time I look at it, I find out (that) without a military interference we wouldn't have got rid of Saddam," he said. "The major good thing is we got rid of the most vicious regime that established a dynasty of villains in Iraq."

--DefenseLINK News (Hat tip Hobbs)

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:31 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Hotmail blocking Gmail?
bonhomme_de_neige writes "Emails and invitations sent to Hotmail from Gmail accounts do not bounce, but nor do they arrive in the recipient's Inbox - they vanish mysteriously into the aether. Joel Johnson writes in his Gizmodo weblog that invitations he sent to a Hotmail address bounced (this even received coverage from ZDNet). Search Engine Roundtable writes that several ISPs are blocking Gmail. It's already well-documented that Yahoo moves Gmail invites into the Bulk Mail folder. I've personally confirmed the Hotmail and Yahoo blocking." Please note: I've not been able to verify this one way or another.

--Slashdot


If this is true, would you really want to use an e-mail service that just discards valid e-mails?

And just for total disclosure, my main e-mail is handled through my web host. I do however have Yahoo and Gmail e-mail accounts.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:57 PM in Technology/Internet
Ray Bradbury wants title of Fahrenheit 9/11 changed

Ray Bradbury is demanding an apology from filmmaker Michael Moore for lifting the title from his classic science-fiction novel Fahrenheit 451 without permission and wants the new documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 to be renamed.
...
Bradbury, who hadn't seen the movie, said he called Moore's company six months ago to protest and was promised Moore would call back.

He finally got that call last Saturday, Bradbury said, adding Moore told him he was 'embarrassed.'

Joanne Doroshow, a spokesman for Fahrenheit 9/11, said the film's makers have the 'utmost respect for Ray Bradbury.'
...
Bradbury, who is a registered political independent, said he would rather avoid litigation and is 'hoping to settle this as two gentlemen, if he'll shake hands with me and give me back my book and title.'

--Straits Times

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:23 AM in Movies



Sunday, June 20, 2004
Fisking

A commenter going by "DenVilda" saw fit to disagree with my post of a few days ago debunking the idea that a letter President Bush sent Congress claimed that Iraq was involved in the 9/11 attacks. This comment just cried out for a good tearing apart. What follows is my own comment:

Ooooh, I love it when people on the left expose what just how wrong they can be while still being sanctimonious.

Where to start... where to start... well, let's try the beginning. (Keep in mind I reserve the right to mock the spelling and grammar of those who spew ad hominem attacks and so forth.)

I've just read one of your blog entries and you've already demonstrated two failins: 1) you cannot comprehend long sentences and 2) see things that are not there.

I love it; he's complaining about my failings yet exposes a failing of his own in misspelling "failings". He then moves on to accuse me of not being able to comprehend long sentences when it appears he can't properly write them. He either needs a "you" in his second point or his first "you" should be outside of his first point.

Moving on...

Since you cannot comprehend long sentences, I'll break it down for you:

Consistent with section 3(b) of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (Public Law 107-243), and based on information available to me, including that in the enclosed document, I determine that...acting pursuant to the Constitution and Public Law 107-243 is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against...nations...who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.

Now did Iraq participate in the terrorist attacks of 9/11? Not according to George Bush, so the letter he sent to Congress in March of 2003 clearly contradicts his later statements.

No, Iraq did not participate in the attacks of 9/11. This however is where you, sir, are seeing things that aren't there. This does not say that attacking Iraq is a part of the effort to "take the necessary actions against...nations...who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001." What it says is that the attack on Iraq is consistent with continuing to take those actions. And if you had bothered to read further in my post, or had the integrity to admit a fact counter to your viewpoint into your mind, you would have seen that "consistent" does not mean "a part of", it means "compatible with".

"consistent with the United States... continuing to take the necessary actions" does not mean the same thing as "a part of the United States... continuing to take the necessary actions" it is akin to "compatible with the United States... continuing to take the necessary actions".

This phrase was in the resolution passed by Congress, do you really think that Congress would have authorized force on Iraq only if they were part of the 9/11 attacks? Congress did not authorize force as payback for 9/11; they authorized it because of continued flouting of UN resolutions. The idea that they tied attacking Iraq to Iraq having been part of 9/11 is absurd and I challenge anybody out there to provide me with proof that Congress meant for Iraq to be attacked only if President Bush had proof that Iraq had a role in the 9/11 attacks.

Now let's get to the part about you seeing things that aren't there.

You write, "Now that section above simply says that using force is compatible with the War on Terror, not that invading Iraq was a part of going after those responsible for 9/11."

There is no official, legal, or authorized War on Terror. That is a cheap, incoherent, phrase the Bush Cultists use to draw various groups, nations, persons, and organizations together to give the Iraqi war a false moral clarity.

Are you suggesting that there is not a fight being waged against those who wage terror against the US? Whether an official war has been declared or not (something, by the way, that you can’t do against a group that isn’t leading a nation) there is most certainly a series of battles being fought against those who are waging a battle against the United States and our allies using terror as their weapon. That is what the “War on Terror” is and to suggest that just because it is not a fight between nations that it can’t be called a “War on Terror” is linguistic hair-splitting at the best and a complete lack of comprehension of the situation we are in at the worst.
I also need to mention that your political philosophy really needs some sharpening as well. Those against the war are not on the Left, unless you consider Brent Scowcroft, Pat Buchanan, Robert Novak, Srdja Trifkovic, Thomas Fleming, Sam Francis, Tucker Carlson etc on the Left. The supporters of this war -- like the mother Teresa-hating Marxist, Christopher Hitchens -- are Neocons, people who have broad and sundry influences but are not on the right, unless you consider "hard Wilsonians," and Trotskyites part of the Right.

Again, you're seeing something that isn't there. (Unless, of course, I've got an alternate language version of this site just for uncomprehending ignoramuses that I haven't bothered to inform myself of yet.) Not once in this post did I say that everyone against this war was on the Left. (Though oddly enough, with your “those against the war are not on the Left” you do say that none of the people against the war are on the Left, which is just blatantly untrue.) There are certainly those Isolationists and others on the right and in the middle who want nothing to do with Iraq. They however do not seem to be the ones misinterpreting this document and dreaming up lies about President Bush. For those that do however I will likewise criticize them, as I did USA Today for their shoddy journalism.

BTW, you're also an ingorant windbag.

For a guy who made so many claims about my post that simply aren’t true I don’t know that you should be throwing around the charge of “ignorant”. And windbag or not, at least I know how to spell “ignorant”.


Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:16 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East



Saturday, June 19, 2004
Whoops

Unfortunate program teaser overheard yesterday on 610 WTVN, the same day that Paul Johnson was beheaded by al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia: "Who knew executions could be fun?!"

Posted by Rob Bernard at 8:34 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Russia: Iraq planned terrorist attacks against US

"I can confirm that after the events of September 11, 2001, and up to the military operation in Iraq, Russian special services and Russian intelligence several times received ... information that official organs of Saddam's regime were preparing terrorist acts on the territory of the United States and beyond its borders, at U.S. military and civilian locations," Putin said.

--CNN


1: Saddam's Iraq certainly had ties to terror.
2: Evidence shows Iraq did have certain ties to al Qaeda.
3: The Bush administration has never said that Iraq had anything to do with 9/11.
4: It now appears that Iraq had its own plans for terror.
5: Saddam had WMD in the past and was never able or willing to account for what happened to them or his ability to make them.

1, 4 and 5 above are enough to justify this war for me. Forget about al Qaeda at all, you cannot have a rogue nation seeking WMD with close ties to terror.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 6:14 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East



Thursday, June 17, 2004
PRESIDENT BUSH SAID IRAQ WAS INVOLVED IN 9/11! (it's perfectly true, except that, ya know, he did no such thing...)

Many are using this letter that President Bush sent to Congress on the day the war began in Iraq, or a similar one 3 days later, as proof that he did say that Iraq was involved in 9/11. The people saying this are full of it.

The letter states:


Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)

Consistent with section 3(b) of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (Public Law 107-243), and based on information available to me, including that in the enclosed document, I determine that:

(1) reliance by the United States on further diplomatic and other peaceful means alone will neither (A) adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq nor (B) likely lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq; and

(2) acting pursuant to the Constitution and Public Law 107-243 is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.

Sincerely,

GEORGE W. BUSH

--Whitehouse.gov


The more ill-informed among the left are claiming that section 2 above is proof that President Bush said Iraq was involved in 9/11. That's simply not true.

This is a letter that Public Law 107-243, the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002, requires the President to send to Congress within 48 hours of using force in Iraq.

Specifically it says:


Presidential Determination.--In connection with the exercise of the authority granted in subsection (a) to use force the President shall, prior to such exercise or as soon thereafter as may be feasible, but no later than 48 hours after exercising such authority, make available to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate his determination that--

(1) reliance by the United States on further diplomatic or other peaceful means alone either (A) will not adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq or (B) is not likely to lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq; and

(2) acting pursuant to this joint resolution is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorist and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.

--Public Law 107-243


Do sections 1 and 2 there look familiar? That's right, exactly the same as the sections in the letter sent by President Bush with the exceptions that in Section 1 Congress uses "either-or" while President Bush uses "neither-nor" and in Section 2 President Bush replaces "this joint resolution" with "the Constitution and Public Law 107-243" and makes "terrorist" plural.

consistent with... continuing to take the necessary actions against... terrorist organizations...

That's the part the Left essentially has its panties in a bunch over. Let's look at the definition of "consistent" real quickly...

con·sis·tent Pronunciation Key (kn-sstnt)
adj.

1. In agreement; compatible:

--Dictionary.com


Now that section above simply says that using force is compatible with the War on Terror, not that invading Iraq was a part of going after those responsible for 9/11.

Section 2 in the resolution simply means that the President must assure Congress that using force in Iraq would not be detrimental to continuing to take action against terrorists and that part of the President's letter is simply doing so. This is Congress' way of ensuring that the war in Iraq does not harm the War on Terror, not the President's way of telling Congress that Iraq was involved in 9/11.

There, we have that straightened out now. The more out there on the Left can go back to dreaming up more lies to tell about President Bush.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 8:18 PM in Politics/Government
Top Ten reasons John Kerry is running for President
Top Ten Real Reasons John Kerry Is Running For President

10. To bring renewed tedium and uncertainty to the Democratic party

9. Vows to be the greatest horse-faced President since Polk

8. Couldn't live with himself if he didn't hold a higher office than Schwarzenegger

7. Needs an excuse to get out of a wedding in February

6. Get elected, eat a ton of waffles, become the fattest President

5. Long days on the campaign trail beats sitting around being nagged by the wife to put away the socks

4. An unusually persuasive horoscope told him he should

3. Did you know if the President kills some guy in a bar fight the FBI will make it cool?

2. A leader who supports both sides of every issue is a friend to all Americans

1. Show the world not all Democrats are ass-grabbing womanizers

--Late Show with David Letterman Top Ten Archive: June 15, 2004

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:40 PM in Politics/Government



Wednesday, June 16, 2004
Wictory Wednesday


This is Wictory Wednesday. Please volunteer or donate to help the President win reelection.

You can also sign up to get e-mail from the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign.

If you are an Ohioan who supports the President please consider joining the Ohioans for Bush-Cheney Yahoo! Group.



Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:42 PM in Politics/Government



Tuesday, June 15, 2004
The Cuba situation is all FDR's fault

If he had just sent Castro the $10 bill he asked for who knows how things may have turned out. :)

Posted by Rob Bernard at 5:27 PM in Miscellaneous
Things continue to look up for job growth
In Dayton, 33 percent of the companies interviewed for the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey said they will hire additional employees in the third quarter. Seven percent will reduce payroll; 58 percent will maintain employment levels; and another 2 percent aren't sure what the future holds.

Nationally, 30 percent of the 16,000 U.S. employers interviewed, or 4,800 employers, expect to hire workers in the third quarter. An estimated 6 percent, or 960 companies, expect to cut jobs; 59 percent foresee no change; and 5 percent are unsure of hiring plans.

--Dayton Daily News

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:53 PM in Politics/Government
Surprise, surprise!

The LA Times poll mentioned previously was working with a sample of 38% Democrats and 25% Republicans.


Sen. John Kerry "has taken big lead," according "to an L.A. Times poll."

But the Times poll that showed Kerry "beating Bush by 7 points" has created a controversy over whether the poll's sample accurately reflects the population as whole, ROLL CALL reports on Tuesday.

"Not counting independents, the Times' results were calculated on a sample made up of 38 percent Democrats and 25 percent Republicans -- a huge and unheard-of margin," ROLL CALL claims.

--Drudge


That's some high quality polling there LA Times. You know, I bet if you polled only Democrats then Kerry's "lead" would be even bigger! In fact if you only poll the Democrats that support Kerry I bet he'd be a lock to win this election!

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:30 PM in Politics/Government
On "under God"

Personally I wouldn't be opposed to taking "under God" out of the pledge simply on an argument of "let's be inclusive" or "let's not offend anyone", but if that does happen it should be a free choice, not something forced by the courts. If people want to remove it they should petition their Congressmen to change it rather than running to the courts.

I certainly don't think having it in the pledge is a breach of First Amendment rights. The First Amendment was put there to keep the government from establishing an official state religion like the Church of England and I don't see that having "under God" in the pledge does that. And even if one doesn't believe in a "God", nobody's forcing them to say those two words in the pledge, there's no reason they can't stand there with everyone else and just say "one nation......... indivisible, with liberty and justice for all".

Any court decision declaring it unconstitutional would, I believe, be a bad one. There's no Constitutional right to not be offended. I will however fully hold open the possibility of a reasoned debate leading to the conclusion that lawmakers should take it out.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:00 AM in Religion



Monday, June 14, 2004
Bad week for "Bush's enemies"

The UK Times has a piece laying out how the past week has gone badly for those opposing President Bush.


All in all, it seems that in a single week the reputations of George Bush and Tony Blair have moved from the valley of despair to the bright uplands reserved for those who get it right in the tough world of geopolitics.
...
[This] is a misfortune for John Kerry. His campaign rests on a three-legged stool. The first leg is that Bush is a job destroyer; but the economy has created almost 1m jobs in the past three months, and is probably adding more than 10,000 every day.

The second leg is that Bush has antagonised America’s allies and is isolated. The 15-0 Security Council vote to recognise the Bush-backed Iraqi government saws that leg off.

The final leg is that the Bush tax cuts have been a disaster. But Reagan’s death has reminded everyone that the late president’s tax cuts helped to end the recession he inherited from Jimmy Carter, just as Bush’s cuts kept the Clinton recession short and mild.

It has not been a good week for the president’s foes, here and abroad.

--TimesOnline.co.uk (hat tip AlphaPatriot)

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:34 PM in Politics/Government
Somali native in Columbus charged with plotting to blow up a mall

A Somali native living in Ohio has been charged with plotting with other al-Qaida operatives to blow up a Columbus-area shopping mall, according to an indictment unsealed Monday.

The four-count indictment, returned by a Columbus grand jury, charges that Nuradin Abdi, 32, conspired with admitted al-Qaida member Iyman Faris and others to detonate a bomb at the unidentified shopping mall after he obtained military-style training in Ethiopia.

--Dayton Daily News


Faris is the Columbus-based truck driver who had admitted to plotting to cut the cables of the Brookly Bridge. He is now serving a 20 year federal sentence.

Don't be thinking that just because you don't live on the coasts you're safe from terrorism.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:26 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Thoughts on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Heavy duty spoilers for both the book and the movie so click the "Continue reading" link.

I'm kind of wishing I hadn't just finished rereading the book last week. Every deviation from the book threw me off a bit.

Sirius wasn't introduced at the Dursley's... Harry didn't spend any real time at the Leaky Cauldron/Diagon Alley... the Firebolt didn't come in the middle of the year... Hermione and Ron never really fought... they only went to Hogsmeade twice... how Fudge & McGonnagel (sp?) explained the Sirius situation to Rosemerta... Harry seeing Pettigrew on the map and going looking for him after dark... how the Dementors flew... how the Patronus didn't run the dementors down but rather just expanded.....

My biggest problem with the movies though has always been how Hogwarts in general has been portrayed. In my head I've never seen the Hogwarts grounds being so hilly. Everything outside like Hagrid's cabin, the Whomping Willow, etc... just seems to not be right because of it. The entrance to the common room shouldn't have been out in the open like that. And Trelawney's room wasn't anything like it should have been. I think they just go a bit overboard with the magical clutter. Just because they're witches and wizards doesn't mean everybody's a slob, leaving 150 different kinds of magical trinkets around the room.

And even though this was the last of the regular sized books the plot still felt rather rushed. It seemed they were trying to cram a lot of plot into a very tiny number of words and I think it often lead to some awkward phrasing/performances.

All that being said, I really did like the movie. (The Knight Bus part really was well done.) Many of my problems are me judging it based on the movie I thought should have been made rather than just judging the movie that really was made. I had my biases going in and I know it. I'd just like to see it again when I'm a bit more removed from the book.

Orson Scott Card feels as I imagine I would have felt had I not been so distracted.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:40 PM in Movies



Saturday, June 12, 2004
Again on Reagan

Once more I'll be brief.

One of the greatest testaments to how much things have changed thanks to Ronald Reagan came today.

The former leader of the Soviet Union sat next to the former Prime Minister of Great Britain at the funeral of the former President of the United States. Take a moment and go back in your mind 25 years or so. Back then do you think anyone could have imagined such a thing happening?

My, how things have changed.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:56 AM in Politics/Government



Friday, June 11, 2004
Putin: No moral right to attack President Bush over Iraq
Speaking during a joint press conference yesterday at the G8 summit in Sea Island, Georgia, [Russian President Vladimir Putin] was asked about news articles questioning Russia's place at the G8.

He replied that such articles were part of an internal U.S. political debate. Then, he followed up with this little gem: "I am deeply convinced that President Bush's political adversaries have no moral right to attack him over Iraq because they did exactly the same. It suffices to recall Yugoslavia. Now look at them. They don't like what President Bush is doing in Iraq."

This is almost too good to be true, but Putin is 100% right. Liberals like to bash President Bush for allegedly "going it alone" in Iraq (even thought there were other countries involved, and the U.N. did have resolutions on the books threatening Iraq with the use of force.) They love to talk about Bush's unprecedented, unilateral action, but at the same time, Democrats and their buddies in the media conveniently forget about President Clinton bombing the Serbs 5 years ago. There was no U.N. approval there at all, but as usual, Clinton gets a pass.

--Neal Boortz

Posted by Rob Bernard at 7:48 PM in Politics/Government
New Iraqi government takes over oil
Iraqi officials declared Tuesday that the interim government has assumed full control of the country's oil industry ahead of the June 30 handover of sovereignty from the U.S.-led occupation administration.

"Today the most important natural resource has been returned to Iraqis to serve all Iraqis," Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said. "I'm pleased to announce that full sovereignty and full control on oil industry has been handed over to the oil ministry today and to the new Iraqi government as of today."
...
"We are totally now in control, there are no more advisers," Ghadbhan said. "We are running the show, the oil policies will be implemented 100 percent by Iraqis."
...
A force has been established solely for the protection of the oil infrastructure, made up of about 14,000 guards.

--Yahoo! News


But shhhhhh! We can't let news like this get out. Everybody knows that this was just a war for oil and that we're stealing it all and giving it to Halliburton.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:49 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East



Thursday, June 10, 2004
The LA Times poll

The LA Times has a poll out that shows Kerry leading in a national poll (of course worth nothing due to the Electoral College) 51% to 44% in a two-way race. It seems quite likely though to have oversampled Democrats by quite a bit.


Bush campaign senior advisor Matthew Dowd tells First Read that the poll "is a mess. Bush is leading independents by three, ahead among Republicans by a larger margin than Kerry is ahead among Dems, and we are down by seven. Outrageous. And it gets worse. They have Dems leading generic congressional ballot by 19. This means this poll is too Democratic by 10 to 12 points."

Dowd adds, "Apparently the Los Angeles Times has uncovered a Democratic revolution in this country that has happened in the last ten days."

--MSNBC


And as much as the poll is being touted as good news for Kerry it shows Bush with a double-digit lead in Missouri and even with President Bush in Wisconsin and Ohio. Even a real lead in the national poll does you no good if you're not winning in the battleground states.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:40 PM in Politics/Government
Following up...

Cracker Jacks are back at Yankee Stadium.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:25 PM in Miscellaneous
Hmmmm....

Banned Iraqi weapons parts and equipment that could be used to make WMD found in Jordan and Rotterdam.

Yup, Iraq was fully complying with UN resolutions... riiiiiiight....

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:59 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East



Wednesday, June 9, 2004
Mmmmmmmm

Proposed:
The Gyro is the most overlooked of the really, really good foreign foods.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:49 PM in Miscellaneous
Wictory Wednesday


This is Wictory Wednesday. Please volunteer or donate to help the President win reelection.

You might also consider giving to Republican 527s, such as The Club for Growth, GOPAC, Progress for America, the College Republican National Committee and Grassfire.org. The Dems have a big lead in the 527 area thanks to the likes of George Soros so the Conservative 527s need all the help we can give them.

You can also sign up to get e-mail from the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign.

If you are an Ohioan who supports the President please consider joining the Ohioans for Bush-Cheney Yahoo! Group.



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



Tuesday, June 8, 2004
"And my good friend Frankenstein is now Frankenreagan."
Burns: Welcome fellow Republicans, to start with the old business, brother Hibbert will read a report on our efforts to rename everything after Ronald Reagan.

Dr. Hibbert: All Millard Fillmore schools are now Ronald Reagan's, the Mississippi River is now the Mississippi Reagan--

Dracula: And my good friend Frankenstein is now Frankenreagan. Blah!

Burns: Excellent!

Look out Alexander Hamilton! President Reagan's coming!

Personally I think there are better options than getting rid of Hamilton or splitting the dime with Roosevelt. Can anyone explain why Grant deserves to be on the 50?

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:26 PM in Politics/Government
R-cards

GKC Theaters are now handing out R-cards, cards that will allow kids under 17 to see R-rated movies. Parents go with the kids to sign up and pay the $2 fee for the card and from then on out the kid can see any R-rated movie they want without the parent/guardian having to come with them.

I'm in favor of making it easier to let parents let their kids see R-rated movies if they think their kids are ready for them, but I also can understand the critics who complain about how this system is all or nothing; if you get the card the kid can see EVERY R-rated movie.

I would favor more a system that gives kids the card, but then gives parents a pin number/password too. The parents could then log into a website (either at home or in the theater lobby) where they could authorize certain movies for their kids. If you think Billy should be able to see Troy then you log onto the website, select Billy's account and add Troy to the list of movies he's allowed to see. Then when Billy shows up at the theater to buy a ticket he hands the person at the box office his card, they scan it and they see if the movie he's trying to buy a ticket for has been authorized for his card. If it is then he gets a ticket. If not, then tough luck. This would also allow parents to differentiate between the kids. If Susie's a couple years younger than Billy and you don't think she's ready for Troy then you just don't add Troy to her card when you add it to Billy's and then when both Billy and Susie show up at the theater Billy can buy a ticket and Susie can't.

Many theaters already have the hardware to read cards and check the database. They've got Moviewatcher cards and Regal Crown Club cards. To implement this would really only require some new software to check the new card against the new database and some web apps on the parental side. A decent amount of the extra cost I imagine could be defrayed with ads on the cards, ads on the sites, and initial account setup fees.

The parents would have to check the accounts regularly to ensure that the kids hadn't cracked their password, but I really think that something like this could work.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:53 AM in Movies



Sunday, June 6, 2004
And now for something completely different...

Jonah Goldberg has a column on Buffy the Vampire Slayer that ties it into bigger life lessons of the Conservative variety.


You could always tell Whedon was deeply influenced by Marvel Comics.... The overriding message of almost all Marvel stories from the 1960s to 1980s was, in the words of Spider-Man... "with great power comes great responsibility."

This was the unifying motivation for Whedon's heroes. "Do you think I chose to be like this?" asks Buffy. "Do you have any idea how lonely it is, how dangerous? I would love to be upstairs watching TV or gossiping about boys or ... God, even studying. But I have to save the world. Again."

In an age when the entire world seems to think "might makes wrong" when it comes to American power, the resonance of this message should be obvious.

Running like a steel spine through Whedon's work is the conviction that evil exists, isn't going away and must be constantly fought or it will win. Indeed, the series finale of Angel last month concluded on the eve a massive battle we'll never see, offering a simple message — redemption is for tomorrow, but the battle against evil is for right now.

This may not be how they teach things at Sunday school, but in secular culture, which often sniffs at the notion morality is real, this message is welcome.

--Jonah Goldberg


Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:57 AM in Politics/Government , TV



Saturday, June 5, 2004
RIP
Ronald Wilson Reagan dead at 93.

Don't have time to write at great lengths. I will say though that he was certainly the best President of my lifetime and he's right up there on the all-time list.



My fellow Americans. I'm pleased to announce that I've signed legislation outlawing the Soviet Union. We begin bombing in five minutes.



Whatever else history may say about me when I’m gone, I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears; to your confidence rather than your doubts. My dream is that you will travel the road ahead with liberty’s lamp guiding your steps and opportunity’s arm steadying your way.

The Challenger speech:

...
We've grown used to wonders in this century. It's hard to dazzle us. But for 25 years the United States space program has been doing just that. We've grown used to the idea of space, and perhaps we forget that we've only just begun. We're still pioneers. They, the members of the Challenger crew, were pioneers.

And I want to say something to the school children of America who were watching the live coverage of the shuttle's takeoff. I know it is hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It's all part of the process of exploration and discovery. It's all part of taking a chance and expanding man's horizons. The future doesn't belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave. The Challenger crew was pulling us into the future, and we'll continue to follow them.

I've always had great faith in and respect for our space program, and what happened today does nothing to diminish it. We don't hide our space program. We don't keep secrets and cover things up. We do it all up front and in public. That's the way freedom is, and we wouldn't change it for a minute. We'll continue our quest in space. There will be more shuttle flights and more shuttle crews and yes, more volunteers, more civilians, more teachers in space. Nothing ends here; our hopes and our journeys continue.
...
The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved good-bye and slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 9:35 PM in Politics/Government



Friday, June 4, 2004
Once again, more jobs

248,000 jobs added in May. Additionally March and April numbers revised up by 16,000 and 58,000 jobs respectively. The only sector of employment that didn't gain jobs this past month was the Government sector. Manufacturing added 32,000 jobs.

Since President Bush took office the number of jobs added according to the Household survey is up to 5.019 million and the nonfarm job loss according to the Establishment survey is down to only 905,000. (If the next 3 months turn out like the past 3 months then the Establishment survey will be showing an increase in jobs under President Bush's leadership following the release of the August data.)

You want to see the worst possible spin of this news? Check out CNN/Money. The job related headlines on their front page: "Will jobs dent profits?", "More jobs, but hunt is still hard" and "Job seekers don't believe it".

--Addendum--
The Bush team has a new ad touting the growing economy and highlighting Kerry's economic pessimism.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:35 PM in Politics/Government
Because I liked how I said it elsewhere...

The difference between Baseball and Hockey/Soccer is like the difference between a good drama and The Fast and the Furious.

The drama has tension and expectation and excitement when it's appropriate. The Fast and the Furious has plenty of action but it's the same damn thing repeated over and over for 106 minutes until you just want to want the misery to end.

I'm sure they're all great fun to play/act in but for my personal viewing I'll stick to the Baseball/drama side of the equation.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:49 AM in Baseball , Movies
FYI

May be blogging at a less than normal rate over the next few days. Brother's High School graduation and ensuing party Saturday and Sunday and a job interview on Monday. If I can just find the time and energy to get through my e-mail each day I figure I'll be doing better than expected.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:16 AM in Miscellaneous



Thursday, June 3, 2004
Rasmussen also finds President Bush leading in Ohio

On the heels of the Plain Dealer poll showing President Bush leading Kerry 47% to 41% in Ohio comes this poll from Rasmussen Reports showing President Bush leading 46% to 44%. This same poll had shown Kerry to be ahead of President Bush in March. The President's lead in the new poll is within the margin of error but I believe it does, when combined with the Plain Dealer poll, lend weight to the idea that there were problems with the ARG and Zogby polls that had shown big leads for Kerry.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:30 AM in Politics/Government
"Cops" back riding with the CPD
Cincinnati Police Chief Tom Streicher today re-invited the television show Cops to film here.

He said he expects crews to start riding with Cincinnati officers after they finish eight weeks with other area departments.

Streicher reversed himself after six City Council members - a majority of the nine - signed a memo reinforcing that it should be his and the city administration's decision.

--The Enquirer


You know my feelings.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:43 AM in Cincinnati



Wednesday, June 2, 2004
Kerry at the Wall
Ted Sampley, a former Green Beret who served two full tours in Vietnam, spotted Kerry and his Secret Service detail at about 9:00 a.m. Monday morning at the Wall. Sampley walked up to Kerry, extended his hand and said, "Senator, I am Ted Sampley, the head of Vietnam Veterans Against John Kerry, and I am here to escort you away from the Wall because you do not belong here."

At that point a Secret Service officer told Sampley to back away from Kerry. Sampley moved about 6 feet away and opened his jacket to reveal a HANOI JOHN T-shirt.

Kerry then began talking to a group of schoolchildren. Sampley then showed the T-shirt to the children and said, "Kerry does not belong at the Wall because he betrayed the brave soldiers who fought in Vietnam."

Just then Kerry - in front of the school children, other visitors and Secret Service agents - brazenly 'flashed the bird' at Sampley and then yelled out to everyone, "Sampley is a felon!"

--NewsMax


It's good to see he was able to handle the whole incident so calmly and cooly. I'd hate to think a Presidential candidate would engage in anything but the highest level of discourse and debate.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:02 PM in Politics/Government
Well this should be a close and exciting race

Voinovich leads Fingerhut 55% to 24%.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:50 PM in Politics/Government
Wictory Wednesday


This is Wictory Wednesday. Please volunteer or donate to help the President win reelection.

You might also consider giving to Republican 527s, such as The Club for Growth, GOPAC, Progress for America, the College Republican National Committee and Grassfire.org. The Dems have a big lead in the 527 area thanks to the likes of George Soros so the Conservative 527s need all the help we can give them.

You can also sign up to get e-mail from the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign.

If you are an Ohioan who supports the President please consider joining the Ohioans for Bush-Cheney Yahoo! Group.



Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:06 PM in Politics/Government



Tuesday, June 1, 2004
"Every war with fascism is our business"

A very interesting interview with Marek Edelman, the last surviving military leader of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.


Edelman: And do you know any war where nobody dies? I don't. Alas, it's in man's make-up; there's a fatal flow there that makes him kill, for pleasure or over some silly beliefs.

Interviewer: So this war is one over some silly beliefs?

Edelman: Now, now. Who started killing people? Americans didn't invade a wonderful democratic Iraq. There was a dictatorship there, torture, terror.

Interviewer: But there are people who say it's not our business.

Edelman: And whose business is it? Every war with fascism is our business. In 1939 there were also many people who said that the war in Poland was not their war, and what happened? Great nations fell because politicians listened to those who were saying that it's not worth dying for Gdansk [Danzig]. If only we'd intervened militarily after Hitler re-entered Rhineland we probably would not have had the war and the Holocaust.

Interviewer: Many people do understand that, but they don't understand why the Americans have to go to the other side of the world and fight over Iraq now.

Edelman: And why did they go to Europe then? Who defeated Hitler and saved Europe from fascism? The French? No, the Americans did. We thanked them then because they saved us. Today we criticise them because they're saving somebody else.

--Chrenkoff (Hat tip Hobbs)


There's plenty more to the interview and it's very much worth reading. Go read the rest.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:18 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the interim president of Iraq

Sheikh Ghazi al-Yawar

Dr. Ibrahim Jaafar and Dr. Rowsch Shaways are Brahimi's choice for the vice-presidential positions. The more powerful position of prime minister goes to Iyad Allawi.

Can we now lay to rest the meme of "It's ________ before June 30th and we still don't know who we're handing Iraq over to"?

Posted by Rob Bernard at 5:07 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East



 
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