Friday, June 30, 2006
Happy Birthday Bill O: belated
Thursday, June 29, 2006
One Party Rule in Cook County
Cook County Board President John Stroger had a severe stroke in March and hasn't been seen in public since. He is obviously incapacitated. Exactly who is running County government at the moment is anybody's guess as politicians have refused to allow the appointment of a temporary replacement. After months of political machinations, a Sun-Times editorial explains what the local Democratic Party has decided to do:
We have to admit we are not aware of widespread anger over the utter disregard the John Stroger camp has shown the voting public since the Cook County Board president was sidelined by a stroke in March. But we hope people are finally getting mad as heck over the concerted efforts to keep Stroger's health a secret, to resist interim measures that would actually put someone in charge of county government and to pass on the presidency as a hereditary title.Notice its the Democratic ward committeeman, not members of the county board, which has a Democratic majority, who will actually decide the matter. And the consensus among the ward bosses appears to be that they'd best defer to the black political establishment:
Just when you thought the story couldn't get any more troubling or embarrassing, we were apprised Tuesday of a multi-pronged plan to install Stroger's son, Ald. Todd Stroger (8th) as his successor and reward Ald. William Beavers (7th) and his family. Give Stroger's family and political allies credit for punctuality: Having promised they would make an announcement in July about John Stroger's future plans, they beat that deadline with four days to spare. But here's the outrageously self-serving scheme they cooked up:
John Stroger, who hasn't been seen in public or heard from since his stroke, will remain in office until the election but drop out of the race, to be replaced on the ticket by his son, contingent on approval of the ward bosses. Beavers, chairman of the City Council's Budget Committee, would replace John Stroger in the separate post of county commissioner -- and resign as alderman on condition that Mayor Daley appoint Beavers' daughter (and chief of staff), Darcel, to replace him.
So the plan is for Todd Stroger, who has accomplished next to nothing as alderman, being schooled by Beavers in overseeing one of the largest governmental bodies in the country, with a $3 billion budget. Beavers, who is 71 and doesn't want to be board president, would be eased into a cushy retirement, and his unproven daughter would be installed in a ward with serious gang and economic troubles.
Most white committeemen agree that a Stroger replacement on the ballot should be an African-American, but they want to make sure there is a consensus choice that emerges from the black committeemen before they endorse the program, said a leading white Democrat.Ald Beavers defends this:
Committing too early, the Democrat said, could mean supporting a losing contender, which could backfire politically when seeking future help.
Beavers cited past precedent for John Stroger to pick his son, saying Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and former Cook County Assessor Thomas Hynes aided their children's political careers.The Sun-Times notes the lack of outrage about all of this and hopes that voters will remember these shenanigans when they go to the polls in November. Even if they do, history suggests it won't make any difference.
"It's not right when black folks do it but when white folks do it, it's all right," Beavers said. "Hynes, Madigan ... all the rest of them did it. Why can't we do it? That shows unity among black folks which white folks don't like."
UPDATE: The Sun-Times reports the Daley family has cut itself in on the action:
Under fire for the leadership vacuum in Cook County government, stroke-stricken John Stroger has decided to resign as county board president on June 31 rather than serve until the end of the year -- paving the way for Mayor Daley's brother to become Stroger's interim replacement.So the main beneficiaries of this deal are President Stroger's son, Ald Beaver's daughter and Mayor Daley's brother. Nepotism, Chicago style.
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
No Bogus Rules
We fought for our freedom and drafted our own Constitution. It would be ridiculous for us to give up any freedom to another country or group of countries.
From Townhall (via Michelle Malkin):
A remarkable thing happened at the United Nations yesterday. We, the United States, told the world “no”. The messenger was Robert Joseph, the Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security. Speaking before the dozens of nations that have gathered for the review conference on Small Arms and Light Weapons, Joseph told the world in no uncertain terms where the United States stood.
“The U.S. Constitution guarantees the rights of our citizens to keep and bear arms, and there will be no infringement of those rights,” he proclaimed to the dignitaries and functionaries. “The United States will not agree to any provisions restricting civilian possession, use or legal trade of firearms inconsistent with our laws and practices.”
All emphasis mine. I did not attempt to contact Sean Penn for comment.
Will Someone Please Leak This?
Remember the Barret Report? Its a heavily censored report detailing abuse of the IRS for political purposes by the Clinton administration. Six months ago, Robert Novak noted:
According to people with access to Barrett's draft, it goes into intense detail about this obstruction and on the unprecedented seizure of the Cisneros tax case by the IRS in Washington. That much in the 400-page report has survived the three senior federal appellate judges with supervising authority over the independent counsel.Rather than being redacted, the those passages should have been classified. That way the information they contain would be guranteed to become public knowledge.
Nevertheless, the question remains what three judges -- David Sentelle (D.C.), Thomas Reavley (Texas) and Peter Fay (Florida) -- blacked out in 120 pages worth of redactions. Even after the report is released, Barrett and his lawyers would face judicial sanctions if they disclosed anything that was redacted.
The three judges have lawyer-like arguments in favor of suppressing so much material. For example, they claim the Barrett report on Cisneros should not contain evidence that was collected after the plea bargain with Cisneros.
However, the judges have established an exception, or rather 535 exceptions, to the rule that nobody can see what has been redacted. Any member of Congress can read it merely by asking. Any such lawmaker, who believes American taxpayers should see the product of $23 million in expenditures, presumably could then publish the material without fear of legal sanction.
But will any senator or House member do it? Nobody is interested in further prosecution of Henry Cisneros, an exceptional public figure who might well have become the first Hispanic-American governor of Texas and perhaps even president of the United States. Rather, an unredacted Barrett report is an opportunity to observe how the Internal Revenue Service decides when to prosecute, a place where Congress until now has feared to venture.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
The Media & Disclosing Secrets
Like many Americans, I'm outraged that classified material is continuously being leaked to the media and published. The lates blow to national security comes from the disclosures concerning the SWIFT program to track the money of terrorists. Such disclosures of classified information are indefensible and unconscionable. Every new defense offered by the media regarding their duty to publish such information is more arrogant that the last.
Presented in a somewhat disjointed manner, what follows are items on the subject I've found interesting and some related commentary.
Hugh Hewitt compares and contrasts his interview with Doyle McManus, Washington bureau chief of the LA Times, who defends the LA Times decision and the published defense its editor, Dean Baquet. Hewitt exposes the many discrepancies and contradictions between both explanations.
I found this bit of the interview noteworthy:
HH:Are you and the folks at the Los Angeles Times qualified to evaluate the terrorist networks, their sophistication in how they respond to information, from classified information?I would say the best they could do would be to defer to the decisions of the elected representatives of the American people. By McManus' standard, any 5 year old child is qualified to make national security decisions.
DM: Well, we are journalists, we're qualified to go ask the smartest people we can find those questions, and that's about the best we can do.
On a related matter, Hewett quotes Baquet, then responds:
Hewitt fisks Bill Keller's defense of his decision to publish here.History has taught us that the government is not always being honest when it cites secrecy as a reason not to publish. No one believes, in retrospect, that there was any true reason to withhold the Pentagon Papers, although the government fought vigorously to keep them from being published by the New York Times and the Washington Post. As Justice Hugo Black put it in that case: "The guarding of military and diplomatic secrets at the expense of informed representative government provides no real security for our Republic."Here Baquet reveals his ignorance of the Pentagon Papers decision. Begin with the fact that the case's four dissenters are on record as not merely agreeing with the government's right to withhold the papers, but even in the more radical proposition that a prior restraint was authorized. And serious students of the case understand that the objection made during the war --compromising methods and sources-- would certainly not have survived long after the war's end, but Baquet's cavalier treatment of the facts of that case again raises the issue of whether newspapermen who lead busy but not particularly broad or learned lives are in a position to have the factual or experiential backgrounds to make judgments such as these. The triumph of cliches doesn't matter when it is just newsroom posturing and idiot editorials. It has grave consequences when national security secrets are being paraded in an age of terror.
Andrew McCarthy makes a compelling argument as to why the media shouldn't be prosecuted for publishing leaked, classified information:
There is only one real way to identify government officials who disclose classified information. You have to get it directly from the journalist who spoke to them.It is inexcusable that the Bush administration hasn't done anything like this. Immediately upon publication of classified material, a grand jury should be convened and the reporters involved subpoenaed to reveal their sources. In this case they had advance notice of what the NY Times was going to publish. They knew that a crime -- the disclosure of classified information -- had been comitted. Why not initiate an investigation into the leak before publication? Besides, by merely threatening to empanel a grand jury they may have prevented publication. Or is there something I'm missing here?
But if, as the King approach posits, the journalist were made the target of a criminal investigation, he would have a Fifth Amendment privilege to remain silent. That is, by clinging to the slim possibility of successfully prosecuting the journalist, investigators would render legally unavailable the only realistic witness to the public official's illegal leaking. So in the end, no one would get prosecuted. And the leaks would go merrily on -- undeterred, if not emboldened.
There is but a single viable strategy here. The focus of the prosecution must be the public officials who leaked, not the journalists who published. The journalists must be given immunity from prosecution. That would extinguish their privilege against self-incrimination, meaning they could be ordered to reveal their sources to a federal grand jury. There is no legal privilege to refuse. We saw that in the Valerie Plame investigation, in which a prosecutor moved aggressively against a leak that pales beside the gravity of what we are discussing.
If the immunized reporters declined an order to testify, they could be jailed for up to 18 months for contempt-of-court. Jail is an unpleasant place. Recall that it took Judith Miller only a few months there to rethink her obstructionist stance in the Plame case. And the mere specter of imprisonment inspired Matthew Cooper to surrender his source on the verge of a contempt citation.
About the NY Times, Michale Barone wonders:
Why do they hate us? Why does the Times print stories that put America more at risk of attack? They say that these surveillance programs are subject to abuse, but give no reason to believe that this concern is anything but theoretical. We have a press that is at war with an administration, while our country is at war against merciless enemies. The Times is acting like an adolescent kicking the shins of its parents, hoping to make them hurt while confident of remaining safe under their roof. But how safe will we remain when our protection depends on the Times?After making a few good points about the reprecussions of the SWIFT program's exposure, Ace has the answer to Barone's question:
The left continues to undermine national security in the most despicable, cynical way. I'm quite sure the reasonable liberals at the NYT and WaPo know full well that programs like this are absolutely vital, and their secrecy is likewise vital. However, they have made the most anti-American and evil sort of decision: While tools like this are vital for saving American lives, they will not permit any Republican President to use them. Only Democratic Presidents are permitted to employ the full panoply of powers for protecting American lives.(My emphasis)
It's blackmail, pure and simple. Either let a Democrat into the White House, or we will continue to sabotage American security and, in effect, kill Americans. We will keep secrets when a Democrat is in office, but not a Republican. So we offer the American people a choice: Let the politicians we favor run the country, or we will help Al Qaeda murder you.
I've been thinking along these same lines for some time now. I'm beginning to think Ace is right.
MORE: Armed Liberal sees things a little differently than Ace:
I don't think that the newspapers are treasonous, or doing this solely in an effort to thwart President Bush (i.e. I don't think that a Democratic president would be getting a free ride right now). That doesn't mean that the impacts of what they are doing doesn't damage the country, put lives at risk, or negatively impact President Bush's effectiveness.Via Instapundit, who comments:
I think, in simple terms, that they have forgotten that they are citizens, and that they have an obligation to the polity that goes beyond writing the good story. I don't think they are alone; I think that many people and institutions in the country today have forgotten they are citizens, whether they are poor residents of New Orleans defrauding FEMA or corporate chieftains who are maximizing their bonuses at the expense of a healthy economy.
I think that they're offended at the notion that citizenship might involve obligations to do something other than what you want to do anyway.
NY Times: U.S. Soldier spying on bin Laden
WAZIRISTAN—An American soldier, clinging to a cliff face littered with broken shale and animal bones in Waziristan, northwest Pakistan, is currently engaging in direct, unwarranted surveillance of Osama bin Laden, confidential sources have revealed to the New York Times.
The soldier’s conduct raises questions about the Bush administration’s policy of covert surveillance and intelligence gathering in support of his “War on Terror”. Constitutional experts are “troubled” by this and similar unwarranted searches that are designed to gather information on terrorists, but may reveal private information about American citizens instead.
“If there were an American citizen down there sunbathing in that Waziristan village next door to where bin Laden is conferring with his top lieutenants, then the Defense Department would now be passing around her photos,” said Cass Sunstein, a law professor.
Mr. bin Laden, who could not be reached for this interview, is a Saudi-born spiritual leader who, some say, was connected with the attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. The attack killed nearly 3000 people, many of them women and minorities. He is currently meeting with twelve lieutenants to discuss a worldwide spiritual initiative set to take place in Jakarta, Addis Ababa, Melbourne, and Houston, Texas on July 11th.
Monday, June 26, 2006
Soccer In America
Along with Bill O, I'm partly in that niche. I played a bit of soccer in my youth and soccer telecasts are refreshingly devoid of commercial interruptions. If I'm in the mood I may tune into an English Premiere League or UEFA Champions League match. At times I have even chosen to watch (at Bill O's suggestion?) Premiere League games rather than MNF, largely because ABC has, like the other networks, inserted too many commercials breaks into, and drained too much substance out of, its NFL telecasts. But I never make it a point to watch a soccer match. Except for the World Cup.
I try make time to watch matches involving the US and, to a lesser extent, England. (Because I'm familliar with many of their players. Also, there is just something appealing about listening to English fans sing God Save The Queen -- My Country Tis of Thee? -- and, say, taunting German fans by singing songs containing the line 'two world wars, one world cup.' Then again, maybe its just because I can understand what I'm hearing because they sing in English.) I enjoy watching most any World Cup match -- at least for a little while -- as much for the spectacle as for the quality of play. The stakes are as high as they can get for the players involved and the enthusiasim of the fans in the stands is infectious.
As for this year's tournament, there is no question that (deliberately?) poor officiating contributed mightily to the early exit of the US side; I agree with MattO about the Pablo Maestroeni red card and that ridiculous foul call late in the first half during the match with Ghana. But I should also note that US dug its own hole by sleepwalking through their match with the Czech Republic and the officiating during the entire tournament has been horrendous.
I also agree with Matt's observation that soccer is antithetical to US cultural traditions. Via TigerHawk, Steven Warshafsky also agrees:
In my opinion, a lack of scoring is not merely an incidental aspect of the game of soccer -- it is its essence. That is, the ultimate purpose of soccer is to engage in lots of furious activity to accomplish . . . absolutely nothing. Not surprisingly, when that elusive goal is scored (if it is scored), ear-shattering howls of euphoria erupt from players, announcers, and spectators alike, as if their very souls were being released from the depths of hell.I hope that day never comes.
Goals are indeed a rare commodity in soccer, so much so that soccer is, essentially, a zero sum game. The "pie" of goals not only is meager, it never grows. So it is fought over with an intensity that is almost never found in American sports. This isn't boring, but it is deeply unsatisfying to Americans.
My theory is that Americans have neither the belief system nor the temperment for such a sisyphean sport as soccer. We are a society of doers, achievers, and builders. Our country is dynamic, constantly growing, and becoming ever bigger, richer, and stronger. We do not subscribe to a "zero sum" mentality. We do not labor for the sake of laboring. And we like our sports teams to score. Scoring is a tangible accomplishment that can be identified, quantified, tabulated, compared, analyzed, and, above all else, increased. This is the American way.
That soccer may be "the most popular sport in the world" speaks volumes -- but not about America's lack of sporting knowledge or sophistication, as soccer aficionados like to argue. Rather, I think it reflects the static, crimped, and defeatest attitudes held by so many of the other peoples on earth.
The day that soccer becomes one of the most popular sports in the United States is the day that American exceptionalism diminishes in our souls.
ERIN NEFF: The truth hurts global warming disbelievers
I am in Boulder City visiting my mother for a long weekend and I happened to catch this editorial in the Sunday edition of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
If you've been reading this section for a while, you're bound to have some doubts that global warming is a real scientific problem.
Last week, Review-Journal Publisher Sherman Frederick scoffed at the notion of global warming as a real problem by relegating it to another of his fantasies, this one at blaming President Bush -- or was it President Clinton? -- for the melting ice in his chest of beer.
Last year, columnist Vin Suprynowicz scoffed at global warming "loonies," and this newspaper's editorials have consistently criticized the science of global warming as "pure fantasy."Even though I'm outnumbered in the Opinion office, science is on my side, and pesky data keep slipping into the real news section.
She presents a report from Oak Ridge National Laboratory about a "carbon boom" in Nevada. She says that Nevada must do something to relieve the growth in carbon dioxide emissions due to the booming growth in Nevada. She goes on to say,
The goal of the report is to encourage states to set limits on carbon dioxide and similar pollutants and reduce them by 20 percent within a decade and 80 percent by 2050. [Emph. added.]
So is carbon dioxide now a pollutant? Wouldn't that make humans into pollution factories? And wouldn't eliminating cardon dioxide be harmful to life on this planet?
I am open to new ideas. I believe the scientific method is the path to the truth. So I believe it is right to be sceptical of exaggeration when it comes to climate because I do believe that some enviromentalists have an agenda beyond concern for humanity.
What's Really Scary About Global Warming?
Dr Sanity puts it very well:
The basic issue for these radical environmentalists is not to end global warming--it is to discredit capitalism and to use global warming and other environmental concerns as a justification to impose their ideological and political agenda. They haven't a clue how to really counter the natural cooling and warming trends of the planet--but if they blame it on human beings, then the solution is to control people.
Global warming is a scientific issue. I can be convinced that the earth is getting warmer, but it will take more than slogans and hysteria to convince me that the warming is something other than a natural cycle in our planet's history that may have some repercussions on human life.
If the radical environmentalists really wanted to "do something" about global warming, then they would be calling for funding projects that explore countermeasures and methods to adapt to it. What we see instead is the same kind of religious fanaticism and holy fervor that the left so despises in the fundamental right. But what they really want is power over people.
Theirs is basically a totalitarian agenda in which they, the "elites", will dictate how people should live on this earth.
Saturday, June 24, 2006
Guillen Balks At Sensitivity Training
If this is true, good for Ozzie:
After speaking to reporters about his reported feud with Houston Astros manager Phil Garner and other assorted topics, the White Sox’ manager had a short chat with Enrique Rojas, a reporter for ESPN’s Spanish Web site, ESPNdeportes.com.That's something I'd really like to see, especially if players were ones behaving that way.
According to Rojas, Guillen says he has no intention of attending the sensitivity training that Commissioner Bud Selig ordered as part of Guillen’s punishment for using a homosexual slur earlier in the week.
“I don’t think I’ll be going. I don’t think that’ll happen,” Guillen said, according to the story that appeared on the Web about halfway through the game. “I’ll do what I have to do, at least when I have time, but I don’t think I’ll take those sensitivity lessons.”
Asked about that interview after the game, Guillen got defensive, suggesting he is being picked on.
“I’m going to start being nastier to the media,’’ Guillen said.
Though I didn't see it all, Comcast broadcast a clip of Guillen addressing the subject of sensitivity training by saying something to the effect that those conducting such a session should learn to speak Spanish because he didn't think he'd understand what was said if it were said in English. His point seemed to be (I'm speculating -- I didn't see the whole clip) that, as Spanish would be an alien language to those conducting the training, sensitivity would remain a language alien to him.
Assuming I heard him right it was a shrewd way to underscore the culture clash between people who compete for a living and do so successfully despite the lack of a formal education and those whose job it is to shape public perceptions and propagate/enforce political correctness; those who command respect through accopmlishment and those who demand respect because...well, you know why.
I'm not defending Guillen's remark. He was wrong to call Jay Mariotti a fag. He has appologized to those he may have offended (I'm among them) and that should be enough. But because he offended the media -- the gravest sin possible for a public figure -- he will probably be bullied into performing some media approved act of contrition.
On a related topic, I rarely watch/read media coverage of sports anymore. I just watch the games and read box scores if I so desire. Part of the reason for this (admittedly a small part) is that I have become disgusted with the way members of the media behave. The arrogance and lack of respect, bordering on outright contempt, members of the media seem to have for the players is simply offensive. And I don't just mean professional rabble rousers like Jay Mariotti. For example, watch any formal press conference involving MLB, NFL, NBA or NHL players following an important game/series. See how often reporters, instead of asking a question, make a curt demand for a soundbite. They say something like 'Talk (again!) about that play from the third quarter' or 'Talk (more!) about that pitch you threw to Player X that he hit for a home run.' The player may have already discussed the play at length, but the reporter lacks an original question and can't pass up the opportunity to hear himself talk and/or simply wants the player to deliver a particular soundbite for his own reasons. How hard is it to, at the very least, preface such a satement with 'Can you' or simply say please?
Friday, June 23, 2006
Americans are Right to Shrug at Soccer
The message was made clear by the ludicrous officiating.
In the June 17th match between U.S. and Italy during the 28th minute the Italian midfielder, Daniele De Rossi, gave Brian McBride a fierce elbow to the head, opening a gash under his eye, and earning De Rossi a red card. The Referee didn't like seeing the U.S. playing with a one man advantage so at the 45th minute the myopic referee, Jorge Lorrionda handed the U.S.'s Pablo Maestroeni a red card for excuting a routine slide tackle. And it needs to be noted that in addition to the fact that much more dangerous slide tackles were executed by both teams throughout the game, with not even a yellow-card showing for them, that Maestroeni actually kicked the ball before making contact with the Italian player. Clearly he was going for the ball and not the player. Nevertheless, the risible Lorrionda saw his chance to knock the U.S. down, and this is important, to do so before halftime.
Not content with his pre-half emasculation of the U.S. team, Lorrionda felt the need to prove his own manhood again early in the second half. In the 47th minute, just a few game minutes after Maestreoni's ejection, Lorrionda game U.S. Defender, Eddie Pope a second yellow card (which becomes a red card ejection)for a foul so innocuous that I can't even recall what it was.
Yesterday's game between U.S. and Ghana underscored the contempt that FIFA has for the U.S. Ghana scored in the 22nd minute after Hamino Draman steamrolled U.S. team captain Claudio Reyna to steal the ball deep in U.S. territory and score a quick goal. Draman's attack was probably legal but yesterday's referee, Merk Markus, was so whistle happy that a similar attack at any other point in the game would have been whistled to a halt. But since this attack had the clear promise of a Ghanese goal it was allowed to play out.
The U.S. played the game well, although not with the inspired agressiveness that they played against Italy. In the 43rd minute Demarcus Beasley won the ball deep in Ghanese territoy and made a masterful pass to the charging Dempsey who nailed the goal.
This could not stand. Three minutes later, again as the half was coming to a close, the referee felt the need to knock down the U.S. team. After just three minutes of celebratory play for the U.S., Merk Markus called an absolutely ridiculous foul against U.S.'s Onyemu that resulted in a penalty shot and goal for Ghana.
FIFA couldn't make their message any clearer: U.S. go home!
I've come to completely agree with Tim Park's recent essay in the Wall Street Journal wherein he outlines the root for my own disgust for soccer:
I know of no other sport where bad faith is so endemic, condoned and ritualized as in soccer, where lies and deception are ordinarily the rule.
Soccer is a game of anarchy and lawlessness. The U.S. is a nation of idealized democracy and rule of law. The two cultures do not mix.
Diego says: I watched the first half of the U.S./Italy game and agree that the red card issued the U.S. player for a slide tackle seemed wrong. I don't watch much soccer though so I don't know from experience what determines a yellow or a more severe red card. The World Cup to me is much like the Olympics, a good idea but subject to corrupt officiating and therefore not of significant interest. Not that Soccer was my favorite sport to begin with.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Ozzie Guillen, friend to puftas
Guillen also told Couch that he has gay friends, attends WNBA games, went to a Madonna concert and plans to go to the Gay Games in Chicago.
Bwahahahaha. If he was trying to show his sensitivity he failed. You mean there are gay people at WNBA games, Bill? Besides the players, yes. Yeah, I want to see Ozzie at the Gay Games. As far as Madonna is concerned I can vouch for the fact that gay men love Madonna. I took my wife to see Madonna at the United Center on Wednesday, June 14th. I think half the hairdressers in Chicago were in the stadium. The air was so thick with lisps I thought I had fallen into a snake pit. I did not see Ozzie but I spent most of the concert wishing it were over and counting the number of times Madonna cursed GW Bush. To her credit, she didn't do an encore.
I wish Ozzie the best with this controversy. I am sure that when the Sox falter, the press will try and bait Guillen with this incident. Mariotti is a jerk but he is one of their own.
Moral Suasion II
Thanks to the internet, a Sidekick was recovered and a lesson was learned. From the NYT (Bugmenot required.)
Evan Guttman had his computer, the Web and a few thousand people he had never met. That was enough.
Three weeks ago, Mr. Guttman went on a quest to retrieve a friend's lost cellphone, a quest that has now ended with the arrest of a 16-year-old on charges of possessing the missing gadget, a Sidekick model with a built-in camera that sells for as much as $350. But before the teenager was arrested, she was humiliated by Mr. Guttman in front of untold thousands of people on the Web, an updated version of the elaborate public shamings common in centuries past.
The tale began when Mr. Guttman's best friend Ivanna left her cellphone in a taxicab, like thousands of others before her. After Ivanna got a new Sidekick, she logged on to her account — and was confronted by pictures of an unfamiliar young woman and her family, along with the young woman's America Online screen name.
The 16-year-old, Sasha Gomez, of Corona, Queens, had been using the Sidekick to take pictures and send instant messages. She apparently did not know that the company that provided the phone's service, T-Mobile, automatically backs up such information on its remote servers. So when Ivanna got back on, there was Sasha.
Using instant messages, Mr. Guttman tracked down Sasha and asked her to return it. "Basically, she told me to get lost," Mr. Guttman recalled. "That was it."
You can read Evan's weblog of what happened. In a nutshell, the Army of Davids that picked up on this story put pressure on Sasha, her family, and the NYPD which caused them to act on a case which normally would not have garnered much police response.
Mr. Guttman also kept exchanging e-mail messages with Sasha and, eventually, her family. Then he heard from her older brother, Luis Pena, who said he was a military policeman and warned Mr. Guttman to let his sister alone.
Mr. Guttman posted the exchange.
Within days, he was contacted by dozens of active and retired soldiers. One said he had gone through basic training with Mr. Pena; several others told Mr. Guttman that making such a threat was a violation of military policy and promised to report Mr. Pena to his superior officers.
Mr. Guttman posted it all.
"I don't want people to be punished," he said last week. "I just want them to give the Sidekick back."
The girl's family was not pleased by the attention, especially the random visitors to their street. Though Sasha and Mr. Pena did not respond to instant messages and e-mail messages, their mother, Ivelisse Gomez, confirmed that her son was serving in the Army and had been in trouble with his superior officers after some of the visitors to Mr. Guttman's Web page called in to complain. She also said that Mr. Guttman's Web site amounted to harassment and said the family might sue him.
"They told him to come pick it up," said Ms. Gomez, speaking in the apartment of her building's superintendent last Thursday. She said she had bought the phone for $50 on a subway platform in Queens and had given it to her daughter. "We said he could have it if he gave the money we paid for it," she added.
Mr. Guttman, however, said that the offer to retrieve the phone was accompanied by a threat of physical injury. So after posting a warning that Sasha had one last chance to return the phone, he accompanied its actual owner, his friend Ivanna, to a Manhattan police station. Ivanna asked that her last name be kept private, as she was about to be married, and, she said, "I don't want to be famous for having lost my Sidekick."
"I was worried, because I had all this information on the phone — all these numbers and e-mails, personal and work," she said. "So I called Evan, because he's really good with computers."
People are not nice," she added, referring to Sasha. "Why?"
Last Thursday, the story of the lost Sidekick began meandering toward a conclusion. The police arrested Sasha and charged her with possession of stolen property in the fifth degree, a misdemeanor. (The police have possession of the Sidekick and plan to return it to Ivanna.) Sasha was released, but was not available to comment. Her mother offered a parting remark.
"I never in my life thought a phone was going to cause me so many problems," Ms. Gomez said.
Alls well that ends well, except for one thing. Evan has said that Ivanna does not want to press charges. Why? Probably because of the hassle which is the exact opposite attitude that her friend Evan has. Evan went through this ordeal because he wanted to right a wrong. As evidenced by their reactions, little Sasha and her cohorts need a permanent reminder of what is the right thing to do when you are in possession of someone elses property. Not pressing charges makes a mockery of Evan's effort. Let Sasha and whomever else was involved publicly acknowledge their guilt. Then let them off with a slap on the wrist.
P.S. Here are Evan's corrections (Update #51) to the NYT story:
Here is the New York Times FULL page article (with pic) about the story: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/21/nyregion/21sidekick.html Three notes to the story... When the mother says that they gave me an address to come pick up the Sidekick, that was the address I posted above...which turned out to be a fake address... Also, she mentions that they bought it at the subways station for $50... Yet they told me (among other stories) they got it from a cabby...and were trying to sell it to me (supposedly) at $100. Sad that the stories are still being made up. Lastly, it wasn't thousands that came to this website...it was MILLIONS... On top of that, according to Google, there are now OVER 401,000 websites pointing to this one: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=%22How+NOT+to+steal+a+SideKick%22&btnG=Google+Search
One year later
Monday, June 19, 2006
$1Trillion in ARMs Due to Reset Next Year
"ARMs are a ticking time bomb."http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/060619/foreclosure.html?.v=4
This year, more than $300 billion worth of hybrid ARMs will readjust for the first time. That number will jump to approximately $1 trillion in 2007, according to the MBA. Monthly payments will leap too, many beyond what homeowners can afford.
Last year, foreclosures hit a historical low nationwide at about 50,000. But that number has more than doubled since then, according to Foreclosure.com. And delinquency rates appear to be rising, as well.
from Institutional Advisors latest newsletter:
According to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), interest rates on $300 billion in hybrid adjustable rate mortgages will be reset this year. As market rates of interest have been going up, so will the cost of carrying a mortgage. Against an already minus savings rate, this will be interesting.
However, natural market forces will always find a way to limit excesses and these particular statistics indicate that Mother Nature is about to direct a huge amount of money from consumption into debt service.
In the meantime Moody's calculates that mortgage equity withdrawals in the first quarter amount to a sum equivalent to 8.4% (repeat, 8.4%) of personal income.
Sunday, June 18, 2006
Happy Father's Day
Isn't it time to pick up the Daddle?
Kneepads optional and they don't have a bridle but I imagine you could improvise.
Friday, June 16, 2006
Water Powered Car
While his unique electrolysis process – working simply with water and electricity – was originally designed to work in welding factories as a replacement for acetylene torches, a whole new application has come to light from Denny Klein, who recently filed a patent on his solution. He has converted his 1994 Ford Escort to run either as a water-gas hybrid, or on water alone.
I understand that you can't get something for nothing. Whatever law of thermodynamics that is. But I am wondering if this guy has a better way of converting hydrogen into fuel that can be easily used in automobiles. The problem being that we have plenty of energy to power cars but no good way to store that energy in the automobile, that is no cheaper way than we now have with gasoline. And it would have to be much cheaper because converting from one fuel standard to another is going to cost money.
Here is a newsreport about the inventor, Denny Klein:
So I think I understand the science and that this is not a way to turn water into hydrogen fuel. But it might be a more efficient way to turn water into hydrogen using electricity.
So here’s the summary: “Cancel the account. Cancel the account. Cancel the account. CANCEL THE ACCOUNT. CANCEL THE ACCOUNT. CANCEL THE ACCOUNT. FOR GOD’S SAKE JUST CANCEL THE FUCKING ACCOUNT.” After every period, insert a few minutes of AOL CSR John trying to ‘help’ Vincent somehow figure out a way to keep on paying… generally through the ingratiating method of straight out calling him a liar.
Oh, your dead? Too bad.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
I did not comment on the Ann Coulter controversy because I doubted that I had much to add. Coulter is a bomb thrower but for the right. While a leftwing pundit might make me angry because I think they are wrong and, therefore, don't appreciate their point of view. I listen to what Coulter says and smirk and probably disagree with the way she has said it. But it is nice to have someone on the right who is not afraid to give it to left. Do they think this is beyond the pale? Have they said so?
As you surely know a record of a humorous song by a Marine for Marines hit the internet this week. I call it humorous because that was the intent of the singer/writer, not because everyone who heard thought it was funny. The truth is I do find it funny but that is not why I am chosing to defend this Marine. The context in which it was sung, Marines enjoy comradeship, bonding over shared experiences and laughing at difficult circumstances is not anything we should discourage. The song is clearly not an attempt to make a joke about indiscriminantly killing civilians. Given that, we should strongly support the men on the ground. The phrase coined for this sentiment is Defend the Defenders.
Here is the contact information for the Commandant of the Marine Corps.
Update: Just received an e-mail from a credible source who encourages Cpl. Belile’s defenders to keep up the pressure.
I just got off the phone with [a source in the Pentagon]. The Cpl. reported to me that they were all VERY appreciative of the support and that this was a “Brass” decision… He said they were already getting calls and that it was helping, but they needed to get a lot more to make a difference. It really is helping the Marines to know that they are not alone and that not everyone hates them… He said these calls were making everyone’s day.
I have emailed “The Sweater Kittens” and offered to assist them with any legal representation (should it be required) and highly suggest that the Milbloggers and others make this a STRONGLY CONTESTED issue with the USMC Pentagon bureaucrats for the next week or so. Evidently, according to what I’m being told, how this situation turns out will have far reaching implications within the USMC and with the Marines who are forward deployed. It seems they are discussing a possible new “PC Policy” now for the Marines.
This sucks and I’m willing to go to the mat to fight on this. If we don’t, we’re going to be overrun with a level of PC that will completely destroy the Constitution.
Commandant of the Marine Corps
Phone: (703) 614-1034
Fax: (703) 614-2358
Let the brass know that the American people support the Marines even when they are singing songs that the jihadists and the perpetually offended might not like.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Scientists respond to Gore's warnings of climate catastrophe
Aside, I read this on the IMBD website (Linked above.):
When the lights came up, I made for the door. The entire audience stayed for the credits, but I instantly wanted to be alone. My reactions had been emotional and it was painful stifling my welling elation. Three young girls (sixteen to eighteen, at the most) filed out of the cinema in front of me. One sniffled restraint over her own reaction, as they pushed open the heavy wooden doors and squinted into the light. "I trading my car in tomorrow," she proclaimed.
"Tsssst, come on!" her friend jeered. No doubt, the group's eternal skeptic and future anachronism.
"I don't care what you say. I'm doing it!" she persisted. The skeptic piped down and the three solemnly exited the structure.
I have never had so much optimism for our future, youth, and culture.
Bwahahaha. And lots of children were afraid to swim in lakes and swimming pools in the summer of 1975. Ok, back to the subject at hand. The opinions of scientists who are experts on climate change.
Professor Bob Carter of the Marine Geophysical Laboratory at James Cook University, in Australia gives what, for many Canadians, is a surprising assessment: "Gore's circumstantial arguments are so weak that they are pathetic. It is simply incredible that they, and his film, are commanding public attention."
But surely Carter is merely part of what most people regard as a tiny cadre of "climate change skeptics" who disagree with the "vast majority of scientists" Gore cites?
No; Carter is one of hundreds of highly qualified non-governmental, non-industry, non-lobby group climate experts who contest the hypothesis that human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are causing significant global climate change. "Climate experts" is the operative term here. Why? Because what Gore's "majority of scientists" think is immaterial when only a very small fraction of them actually work in the climate field.
Even among that fraction, many focus their studies on the impacts of climate change; biologists, for example, who study everything from insects to polar bears to poison ivy. "While many are highly skilled researchers, they generally do not have special knowledge about the causes of global climate change," explains former University of Winnipeg climatology professor Dr. Tim Ball. "They usually can tell us only about the effects of changes in the local environment where they conduct their studies."
This is highly valuable knowledge, but doesn't make them climate change cause experts, only climate impact experts.
So we have a smaller fraction.
But it becomes smaller still. Among experts who actually examine the causes of change on a global scale, many concentrate their research on designing and enhancing computer models of hypothetical futures. "These models have been consistently wrong in all their scenarios," asserts Ball. "Since modelers concede computer outputs are not "predictions" but are in fact merely scenarios, they are negligent in letting policy-makers and the public think they are actually making forecasts."
So when AlGore says scientific consensus he really means...whoever calls themselves a scientist no matter their area of expertise.
Abdel Jassim: I Hate CNN
In an interview with Hugh Hewitt, Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma recounts his recent meeting with Iraq's Defense Minister:
HH: Let's talk a little bit about the new defense minister, Jassim, Senator Inhofe. How's he strike you? Is he middle aged? Is he experienced in military matters?Why?
JI: Yeah, he's very experienced. He's a general. He is a career military guy, and he's tough as he can be. And he came out with all kinds of wild things. I probably shouldn't tell you this...
HH: Oh, go ahead.
JI: But...and this is so funny when it happened. I was talking to him through an interpretor, and I didn't know whether he could speak English. And I finally got to the point where I said look, our big problem is the media, the media back in the United States, because they're lying to the people of America. All of a sudden, in clear English, he said I hate CNN.
Oh, he said all they do is talk about negative things, things that are bad, and we have nothing but successes over here. And then he start enumerating the successes, which I can verify, because I'm there all the time. The number, out of 112 battalions, they have 62 of them. That's over half of them that are either level 2 or level 1. That means they can conduct their own combat. He made the statement, and this is one of the things that he says that CNN and some of the media keeps saying, they keep saying that America is leading them, and we're in the rear. And he said that's not true at all. We are leading, and America is offering support.I wonder what Iraq's other cabinet ministers think about CNN in particular and the American media in general. Perhaps CNN could interview Mr Jassim or Prime Minister al-Maliki and ask them what they think is the biggest threat to the success of their government?
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
I might actually watch Olbermann tonight
Drudge bashes Truthout, Raw Story, and Keith ("Who?") Olbermann for ignoring the story despite predictions of imminent indictment for months.
This is the reality based community, not the "make up your own reality" community.
Yeah, hahaha. Please read the comment if you want to hear the wailing and nashing of teeth.
Going Parabolic II, The Other Side of the Mountain
Gold and silver have gone parabolic like commodities are wont to do. The chart of both markets looks like the right side of a parabola and that is very interesting because another characteristic of commodity markets is that they tend to put in spike highs and lows. Financial markets like stocks and bonds tend to have rolling tops and bottoms. In a bull market, a financial market will see its momentum slow, the stock market at tops will be lead by fewer and fewer issues, and the initial down phase will be a slow, meandering. Commodities fly into their highs and fall off just as quickly, at least when a major top is being put in place. We are witnessing gold and silver and many other metals flying higher so it is an open question about what's next.
It has long been my belief that easy credit was behind the great bull markets in stocks and bonds and that real estate, commodities, and metals are the new arenas for the perpetuation of the great asset bubble of our time. Today we see oil, gold, silver, real estate, and most stock markets near their highest prices, which is rather remarkable, and I am wondering when the contraction of credit will begin. If I am right, these markets should fall in unison, also.
I am not trying to claim that I was calling a top, of course subconsciously I might have been ;-p, but I am saying that market action since then has added credence to my contention that the credit bubble was the chief catalyst behind stocks and commodities rising. (See Charts Below.) We have yet to see oil or real estate fall by any appreciable amount. More evidence that stocks are in for a difficult second half of 2006 is the fact that world stock indices are falling with the U.S. market.
One more thing, both gold and silver have fallen into areas which should be support so I expect a rally at this point. IOW, this is not a good place to initiate a short position.
I have been very happy with my internet service since my return from Russia. In Moscow I was paying upward of $300/month for DSL which worked sporadically, often giving me fits and adding massive amounts of stress to my already stressful job. The company was called Stream.ru and they were affiliated with the main telephone company. They offered the best deal which was $50 for their high speed service and downloading 5 gigabytes of data. Each megabyte over that was $0.01. I was using TV2Me at the time to watch American TV which used a lot of bandwidth. (Before it got killed off by slingbox.)
Russians had never heard of the concept of unlimited bandwidth so I paid for going over the limit. To add more minutes I had to buy internet cards and enter them onto the website. It was much more convenient and cheaper than my first ISP- Ropnet, aka Rapenet- which required that I go their office and pay in person. That was fun! They were in a old building which required a security pass which meant waiting in line for that in a small room usually overcrowded and then up to their office staffed by 3 people two of which looked like they just didn't care. Yes, internet cards were a blessing compared to that.
So I was extremely happy with Comcast cable internet charging me approximately $40/month with unlimited bandwidth and very reliable. That is until a couple of weeks ago. I started noticing that my internet would cut out for 5-10 seconds. (That is an eternity when you are trading.) I called my clearing firm's tech guys and they told me that while Comcast was my ISP
I am hoping things will go back to the way it was before. You see, my options are pay for Comcast or get a Full T1 line at approximately $1000/month for equivalent bandwidth from (drumroll) AT&T. Bastards.
Monday, June 12, 2006
Duke Rape Case Countdown
I was wrong - it could get a lot weaker:
Weak like a calf made to sit still for all of its short life-Mmmm, veal.
Thursday, June 08, 2006
First Comment on Zarqawi's Death
Bush's idea of justice is bombs falling out of the sky?
Yup, mine too.
Read on to enjoy the nutroots, Allah's new descriptor, denigrating the good work of US Special Forces.
Death from above, or point-blank
This is the one monster who deserved to die.
While I may agree with you that "This is the one monster who deserved to die." This method violates everything my America stands for. It violates the rule of law and invokes the rule of force in what should be a criminal, not a military, matter. To give Al-Queda status by declaring that this is a war, rather than arrest and prosecution for crimes committed, the Bush Administration has given Al-Queda much more status than they deserve. [Emphasis added.]
I've said that forever
Our biggest mistake was declaring "war" on Bin Laden, and thus elevating this fucking loser creep and his freaky organization to the status of a 'nation.' Did we declare 'war' on David Koresh?
We should have focused on Bin Laden with laser-like law-enforcement capabilities and taken the bastard out. We shouldn't have turned his brutal and evil attack into the whole fiasco that is Bush's "war."
Some, and I mean very few, of the Kosiacs understand that Zarqawi and rest of the Islamists are fascists and murderers and that they deserve their fate. They don't seem to understand that fighting a foreign enemy requires our military and that it would overwhelm any law enforcement and judicial system to try and capture the jihadists.
Let's review (US "journalists" please take notes):
Zarquwi renamed his organization "Al-Qaida in Iraq" in order to recruit more followers. He did this after George Bush invaded Iraq. Bush's Iraq War led to the creation of Al-Qaida in Iraq. Al-Qaida in Iraq had almost nothing to do with Bin Laden's group named Al-Qaida, and certainly had nothing to do with 9/11. Americans delude themselves when they equate the two.
This is what is meant when we say they have a law enforcement view for fighting terrorism. Meaningless legalism instead of recognizing that Zarqawi and Bin Laden are part of the same problem, radical Islam.
Reuters seems to be having a tough time coping with this outcome (via AJ Strata):
Michael Berg, whose son Nick was beheaded in Iraq in 2004, said on Thursday he felt no sense of relief at the killing of the al Qaeda leader in Iraq and blamed President Bush for his son’s death.
The killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi removes the man who took Iraq’s insurgency to new heights of savagery but it also creates a martyr whose inspiration will mobilise new recruits.
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Moral suasion is a term I learned while studying economics but I think it equally applies in this case. It seems that a young woman has come into the possession of a T-Mobile Sidekick II (cellphone) and the owner of the phone wants it returned. (I found the link at Gizmodo.) Unfortunately for the possessor of the phone, it automatically downloads all phone records and photos to T-Mobiles servers. Also, the owner has a friend (Evan) who is technically proficient enough to start a website dedicated to shaming the girl into returning the phone. It gets better. The girlfriend has a brother in the military who has threatened Evan. Read about Evan's dealings with this girl and her friends and family. Lots of fun in the give in take between these mouth breathers and Evan. If you enjoy bad people having their bad behavior exposed to the world you will not be disappointed.
To our readers with their own blogs. Please link to http://www.evanwashere.com/StolenSidekick/
Using the internet to police bad behavior is an excellent idea. Proof that the bright light of public disclosure is a powerful check on our basest behavior.
BORN AT 6AM ON 06/06/06, HIS MUM WAS INDUCED FOR 6 DAYS, HE WEIGHS 6LBS 6OZ AND HE'S CALLED.. DAMIEN
Anti-War Protesters: Going to 11!
See them all here (via Pajamas Media). My favorates:
# 5. We are attacked by Japan and then attack France? Roosevelt is worse than the Kaiser!
#4. Why bring democracy to Europe by force and not to Korea or Vietnam? I blame racism.
But #1 on the list is probably the best.
Monday, June 05, 2006
First Neo-Con/Crypto-Con Carnival
Working through Blog Carnival, I've decided to go crazy and have a carnival of my own. The goal of this first edition to have people submit posts describing their political conversion to conservatism. You can also submit articles to me, and I'll create a blogsite to house them for the carnival. And because I personally am a crypto-conservative, I'd love to include posts from those of you who, as I did, elected to keep quiet about your political epiphany.
I'm hoping to run the Carnival on July 4, so am requesting that submissions come in by June 25. You can find a submission form here. If you think this carnival has interesting potential, even if you won't personally be submitting anything, please use your blog to let people know about it.
I got to say I love hearing about people seeing the light about loony leftism. Don't we have at least one member of Brain Droppings that could contribute?
Mickey Rourke Pledges to End Acting Career
Sunday, June 04, 2006
Moonbats comment on police video
"Every time I see that I wonder why we didn't fight back. Why we didn't defend ourselves. Why we didn't have baseball bats in our hands. It's scary to me that they would do that to us and it is scarier still that we would take it. And it terrifies me that some day we might not fight back when they are dragging us away to the camps."
Camps? We are putting these assholes in camps? Oh not yet. I guess she is so sure that we are about to don our brown shirts that a little preemptive violence is in order.
The commentator goes on to complain about the fact that police used pepper spray to break up an unruly crowd after a bottle was thrown. Before this you see the police cameraman panning the crowd and various members of this mob making obscene gestures and comments about the police. So, of course, the bottle throwing incident was a lie used by the police to spray the crowd. (Which included a three year old. Who the hell brings a three year old to a demonstration? Don't they notice that there are masked anarchists standing around them? Those guys don't wear masks because they are afraid of melanoma. At least the kid will have a good story when they grow up to smoke pot in their parents basement.)
Next we are shown more video which conclusively proves that no bottles are thrown. At least not when that video was shot. No saying what happened earlier or where the bottle might have been thrown. But you can always trust a hippie when they tell you that they never engage in violence. You get to hear the police talk about dispersing the crowd by first demanding they leave, then using force which includes pepper spray, batons, and pepper bullets. Then they do it. What would you do if the police wearing riot gear ask you to leave with the threat of being pepper sprayed? I know I would leave. But we are treated to the moonbats plaintive calls of injustice because they are denied their constitutional right to
Enjoy this glimpse into the mind of the crazed left. Brought to you by...that's right...Shoot the Pigs Productions. Can't make this stuff up. Kind of diminishes the impact of the sound of the girl crying when they are running the credits.
Friday, June 02, 2006
Clinton did not disappoint me. Starting off with gays in the military and then tax increases and the attempted nationalization of medicine the nation got what I expected from Clinton. In 1994, we woke up and sent Clinton a message he would not forget. Unfortunately, Clinton was smart enough to heed that message and he positioned himself well against the inept Republicans.
So my protest vote, plus those Republicans who sat on their hands or voted for Ross Perot, did get me Bill Clinton for eight years but it also got me a Republican control of the House of Representatives. I believe that is a major reason why the deficit fell and the economy boomed. (Easy Al keeping the monetary spigots flowing didn't hurt.) Was it worth it? Who knows what a second Bush administration would have brought but I doubt there would have been a sweep of the House. I also think that 1992 helped reinvigorate conservatives.
Recently John O told me that he thought that my vote in '92 wasn't such a bad thing. That is huge. For years we argued whether the costs were worth the benefits. I must say that there were some big costs especially when it came to foreign policy. I don't know exactly why John had that change of heart, perhaps he was being magnanimous or maybe it has to do with the morality police wing of the GOP threatening his livelyhood. (You know your political world has been turned upside down when you are yelling, "You tell 'em Barney!!!") Whatever the reason it is true that the Republican party contains people with whom I have almost nothing in common nor have any desire to see control the levers of power. (Buchanan, cough.)
I really do believe that the majority of the members of House have a clue and really want to control immigration and spending. If I were living in his district I certainly wouldn't vote against Tom Tancredo but I no compunction about voting against Jerry Lewis, the minority maker, indeed, or this clown. So I am suggesting that conservatives who live in the districts of RINOs hold their noses and vote for the Democrat. If you can't bring yourself to do that, don't vote. At least it will keep you off the jury duty rolls. The RINOs or conservatives who have been in office so long that they forgot that the goal of serving is not to get a favorable write up in the NYT or invited to the right dinner party. We know that Washington tends to wear down conservatives. So it is not surprising that the lifers are the most willing to chuck their principles. Let them know you are paying attention.
What if this causes the GOP to lose the House? I believe that the shift in American politics towards a more conservative electorate is a tectonic shift that one election will not affect. If we get some conservative Democrats elected it will not damage the chances of getting our borders under control. We might get 2 years of impeachment hearings but wouldn't that be just what we need going into 2008? A good reminder why the Democrats cannot be trusted with power. Exactly the lesson America learned from '92-'94. It also might keep our gov't from outlawing John O's career.
Allahpundit disagrees with me. He is working with the Clinton was a complete disaster mindset.
It won’t work, though. Partisan fear and loathing will kill it in its crib because even people like me who agree with her will vote strategically. When push comes to shove, Kos repulses me more than Bill Frist or Dennis Hastert does. So I won’t gamble on a Reform candidate, especially one who’s likely to draw votes from the GOP nominee, lest it tip the election to the nutroots. That happened once before, as I recall, and we ended up with a Clinton in office; conservatives won’t let history repeat itself.
And Peggy Noonan gives her thoughts on the giant liberal gravity well which is Washington, the chance for the libertarian Republicans and non-Kool-Aid drinking Democrats to find common ground on some issues. Like online poker.
Jim Geraghty wants to send the GOP leadership a strong message but thinks the protest voting is a bad idea.
I stick to my guns when it comes to turning out and voting this Election Day. (For starters, too many have bled and died to secure our right to vote to just throw that away. Even if you show up just to write in names, take the time and do your duty as a citizen. Don't forget your local races, where your vote can make a bigger impact.) I doubt the "lose in 2006, win in 2008" strategy that so many righty bloggers see as a certainty.
We are, and I am sure a lot of conservatives feel the same way, on the same page when it comes to what Republican governance has accomplished over the past dozen years. Needless to say we are looking forward to the next Republican administration. How can our "leadership" be so tone deaf?
John O responds:
Bill, your logic of supporting Clinton for political affect has made more sense to me over time, though I still disagree with your vote. If you recall, I lodged a protest vote of my own in '92 -- I voted Libertarian. Protest votes should not be used to directly support the opposition. If a Republican wanted to cast a protest vote, it should have been for someone other than Clinton.
Perhaps if the Democratic candidate had been somebody other than Clinton, I might have long ago conceded that your decision was politically astute. But Clinton was every bit the disaster I foresaw. And conservatives may be better off today had a gifted politician like Clinton, in accordance with a complicit media, not been in a position to appear so successful and to stigmatize Congressional Republicans and much of the conservative agenda so effectively.
Another reason I've warmed a bit to your argument has been how bad, foreign policy wise, the Bush 41 presidency looks in retrospect. I wasn't happy about voting for him in '88; I did so despite greatly disliking him. I saw him as a snobby, elitist wimp. As you may recall I forswore supporting him again when it became obvious that was about to violate one of the basic precepts of warfare -- and common sense -- by letting Saddam retain power. A second Bush term may have been a outright disaster of its own, as his speech given at the '8th Annual Reunion of Our Victory in the Desert' perfectly illustrates:
"I don't believe in mission creep," he continued. "Had we gone into Baghdad -- we could have done it, you guys could have done it, you could have been there in 48 hours -- and then what?Yikes.
"Which sergeant, which private, whose life would be at stake in perhaps a fruitless hunt in an urban guerilla war to find the most-secure dictator in the world?
"Whose life would be on my hands as the commander-in-chief because I, unilaterally, went beyond the international law, went beyond the stated mission, and said we're going to show our macho?" he asked. "We're going into Baghdad. We're going to be an occupying power -- America in an Arab land -- with no allies at our side. It would have been disastrous."
Bush said, "We don't gain the size of our victory by how many innocent kids running away -- even though they're bad guys -- that we can slaughter. ... We're American soldiers; we don't do business that way."
"Am I happy that S.O.B. is still there?" Bush asked, then answered, "No."
Bush said his memory of Vietnam influenced his thinking during the Gulf War. He recalled that politicians during the Vietnam War kept changing the conditions under which U.S. forces fought -- bombing halts and cease-fires.
He said his view was different, and it was a view that was backed up by the secretary of defense and military leaders.
"Let the politicians do their diplomacy -- and we worked hard to bring about a peaceful solution. We didn't want any man or woman put into harm's way," Bush said.
"We worked hard to form an international coalition," he explained, calling it historic in originality, diversity.
Returning to the issue of Hussein's longevity, Bush jokingly called it "a sore spot with me" to be "out of work while Saddam Hussein still has a job. It's not fair," he asserted.
Still however, "he is no threat to invade another sovereign nation, and pillage its culture, and murder its citizens. He can brutalize his own people, and torment and torture them, but he can no longer pose a threat to his neighbors. And that's just one of the benefits" of Desert Storm.
"As a result of that historic victory, we also saw American credibility go up.
Regarding online poker, the morality police are only a part of the problem. The main threat comes from gaming interests and the states; neither group can stand the competition. I don't think it much matters which party controls Congress. If its outlawed, quite aside from the personal financial toll, I'll be outraged on both free market and libertarian grounds. (Too bad casinos will never permit internet usage at the new automated poker tables so that I'll retain the ability to quite literally make money at two different pursuits simultaneously.)
Thursday, June 01, 2006
Conservatives Against Intelligent Design
A chance to voice your opinion on this attempt to subvert the scientific method.