Archive for November, 2005

May The FOUR Be With You

November 23, 2005

Last Saturday’s Auburn-Alabama game inspired me deeply. The result is here.

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E.J. Dionne Is Lying

November 15, 2005

Check out this howler from the increasingly-unhinged E.J. Dionne in the Washington Post:

He doesn’t want us to remember that he injected the war debate into the 2002 midterm election campaign for partisan purposes, and he doesn’t want to acknowledge that he used the post-Sept. 11 mood to do all he could to intimidate Democrats from raising questions more of them should have raised.

The big difference between our current president and his father is that the first President Bush put off the debate over the Persian Gulf War until after the 1990 midterm elections. The result was one of most substantive and honest foreign policy debates Congress has ever seen, and a unified nation. The first President Bush was scrupulous about keeping petty partisanship out of the discussion.

The current President Bush did the opposite. He pressured Congress for a vote before the 2002 election, and the war resolution passed in October.

Now, almost none of this is remotely accurate. Sherman, set the Wayback Machine for the summer of 2002! Here’s then-Senator and then-Majority Leader Tom Daschle, speaking on July 31, 2002, a full two and a half months before a resolution came up for a vote in Congress, and long before the mid-term elections:

Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-South Dakota, agreed. “It would be a big mistake for the administration to act without Congress and without its involvement,” he said.

“I think there has to be a debate; there has to be some good discussion,” Daschle said. “There has to be some opportunity for the people to be heard. … Congress needs to be equal and full partners in this discussion, and ultimately in the decision.”

Daschle spent most of the summer of 2002 demanding a Congressional vote on the use of force in Iraq. This was simple pandering to the pacifistic core of the Liberal base, and politically idiotic during a national election year, but Dionne can hardly blame Bush for Daschle’s incompetence (well, he can, but the complaint doesn’t make any sense). When Bush agreed early in the fall that yes, Congress should vote on going to war and Daschle finally realized the political consequences of getting what he’d been asking for for months, he nearly had a stroke. The vote, on October 11, 2002 was 77-23, and Daschle was among those voting in favor, saying:

[T]he threat of Iraq’s weapons programs “may not be imminent. But it is real. It is growing. And it cannot be ignored.”

To further jog Dionne’s Bush-Derangement-Syndrome-addled memory, here’s a bit of good sense from that noted member of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, David Corn of The Nation, written a couple of weeks before the congressional vote on Iraq:

The GOP is perfectly within its rights to urge voters to back Republican candidates who support Bush and his war on terrorism and his war on Iraq to come, and to claim that these are the most important questions facing the United States. It is up to the Democrats, if they so desire, to present a different case. That is the essence of politics. The Democrats can argue they care about national security and domestic matters. They can champion a different definition of “national security” than that embraced by the Republicans. They can assert Bush is using a justified or unjustified war to divert attention from the in-the-dumps economy. Democrats who oppose the war can try to persuade voters they know better. That is what an election is about.

War should not be beyond politics. When Karl Rove, Bush’s master political strategist, earlier in the year was caught suggesting Republicans could gain from the war on terrorism, Democrats howled. But he was really only saying GOPers should position themselves close to a popular President and a popular war, and let the voters decide. When a computer disc containing a GOP briefing that advised Republican candidates to focus on war was found on a street, Democrats again complained about politicization. But this is not politicization. Perhaps exploitation. It also is what every politician does: emphasize the issue that provides a perceived advantage. But a crucial component of a campaign is debating what topics deserve focus.

There is nothing underhanded about defining an election as one between a party in sync with a president and a war (or two) and a party opposed to a president and filled with some who support those wars and some who do not. The Democrats are upset because, split as they are, they do not believe they benefit from such a comparison.

Just so. And that’s also why Dionne and others on the Left are in a hissy fit right now. Apparently, it was completely fair to attack Bush for doing things he didn’t actually do–but it’s entirely unfair for Bush to counter by talking about what Democrats actually said in 2002, and are actually doing now.

E.J., get some therapy. You aren’t doing yourself or your side any favors by printing this kind of dishonest tripe.

Good News, Bad News

November 11, 2005

Good news: the LA Times is finally dropping wacko leftist Robert Scheer from its editorial page, and picking up none other than Jonah Goldberg.

Bad News: they’re also dropping David Gelernter.

As Butt-head Once Said To Beavis…

November 10, 2005

… this is going to be cool.

Den Beste is back.

Making The Almanac

November 9, 2005

Steve hasn’t mentioned it yet himself, but his “Monster” post from yesterday was picked up by the reigning guru of American politics, Michael Barone. Barone mentioned the post on Fox News last night, and writes about it today on his own blog.

It’s an interesting world these days. Five years ago, a Barone never would have read anything by a Colorado Springs investor and racouteur, and the Washington Post or BBC never would have dreamed of quoting an obscure engineer and occasional sports writer from suburban Atlanta. Interesting world, and in a real and better way, a much larger one.

As for myself, while Steve gloats and prepares to buy the Boeing, I’ll just sit around in reflected glory–and only moderately insane jealousy…

UPDATE: Correction time, I misread an email about Barone, thinking it said that’d he’d appeared on Fox News Tuesday and referenced Steve’s post. I was apparently incorrect, and the fault in this case is entirely mine. All apologies. I stand by my reporting of the post on Barone’s blog, since, er, that part wasn’t wrong.

HDTV Bleg

November 7, 2005

I finally broke down and got the FRIGGIN’ HUGE TV set that I’ve been lusting after for lo, these many years, and verily, it is good (okay, honesty time–it was my wife who broke down; I’d been ready to buy the thing for months). At Steve’s suggestion, I added a DirecTV HD Tivo box, and it’s also very, very good.

My only problem at this point–other than the looming credit card bill–is tuning in the local CBS affiliate in HDTV.

(Oh, don’t start. It’s not for 60 Minutes. It’s for SEC football, and the Auburn-Alabama game is next Saturday, so pay attention.)

The DirecTV box includes an off-the-air tuner, which I’ve hooked up to the ancient 70’s-vintage VHF/UHF antenna on my roof, which is pointed as near as I can manage at that station’s transmitter. Unfortunately, even after installing new coaxial cable and new connectors from the antenna to the house, CBS is the only station in town that isn’t coming in 5X5. It’s running about 70% max signal on the DirecTV box’s signal meter, and the picture is subject to frequent breakups.

All you RF and/or digital TV experts out there (and you know who you are), any suggestions?

Required Reading

November 3, 2005

Two notable long pieces for your perusal today. The first is a Theodore Dalrymple account of conditions in the French immigrant ghettos:

Whether France was wise to have permitted the mass immigration of people culturally very different from its own population to solve a temporary labor shortage and to assuage its own abstract liberal conscience is disputable: there are now an estimated 8 or 9 million people of North and West African origin in France, twice the number in —and at least 5 million of them are Muslims. Demographic projections (though projections are not predictions) suggest that their descendants will number 35 million before this century is out, more than a third of the likely total population of France.

Indisputably, however, France has handled the resultant situation in the worst possible way. Unless it assimilates these millions successfully, its future will be grim. But it has separated and isolated immigrants and their descendants geographically into dehumanizing ghettos; it has pursued economic policies to promote unemployment and create dependence among them, with all the inevitable psychological consequences; it has flattered the repellent and worthless culture that they have developed; and it has withdrawn the protection of the law from them, allowing them to create their own lawless order.

No one should underestimate the danger that this failure poses, not only for France but also for the world. The inhabitants of the cités are exceptionally well armed. When the professional robbers among them raid a bank or an armored car delivering cash, they do so with bazookas and rocket launchers, and dress in paramilitary uniforms. From time to time, the police discover whole arsenals of Kalashnikovs in the cités. There is a vigorous informal trade between France and post-communist Eastern Europe: workshops in underground garages in the cités change the serial numbers of stolen luxury cars prior to export to the East, in exchange for sophisticated weaponry.

A profoundly alienated population is thus armed with serious firepower; and in conditions of violent social upheaval, such as France is in the habit of experiencing every few decades, it could prove difficult to control. The French state is caught in a dilemma between honoring its commitments to the more privileged section of the population, many of whom earn their livelihoods from administering the dirigiste economy, and freeing the labor market sufficiently to give the hope of a normal life to the inhabitants of the cités. Most likely, the state will solve the dilemma by attempts to buy off the disaffected with more benefits and rights, at the cost of higher taxes that will further stifle the job creation that would most help the cité dwellers. If that fails, as in the long run it will, harsh repression will follow.

Reading Dalrymple’s account, my mental images flashed back to John Carpenter’s schlocky but entertaining 1981 movie “Escape From New York.” Carpenter’s fictional dystopia, set in a “fascist” future America, has have been realized across the Atlantic, nurtured into terrible reality by a toxic stew of statist bureaucracy, socialist economics, blind multicultural pieties, and finally, rising Islamic radicalism. Except that there isn’t just one walled and lawless city in La France; there are over 800 of them.

UPDATE: The article above is from 2002, and I should have noticed (and noted) as much. That said, today’s news indicates that if things have changed since then, it hasn’t been for the better.

Also of note today, this remarkable post at CBS News’ Public Eye site, regarding last year’s Memogate scandal. A sample:

Are the documents fake?

Nothing I’ve seen leads me to believe they are authentic. The Thornburgh-Boccardi report (pdf) makes painfully clear that the documents used in the “60 Minutes Wednesday” report were neither authenticated nor believable in many ways. They certainly did not come remotely close to meeting standards for air. The report, written by lawyers in a style only lawyers can love, found that the panel could not prove the documents to be forgeries. But, to this day, no one has discovered where they came from or who may have written them. In any case, it was CBS’ responsibility to prove they were authentic, not for anyone else to prove they were fake.

Points made in the report — from the failure to trace the documents to the conflicting statements given by Bill Burkett as to how he came into possession of them to questions raised by experts about them prior to air — lead me to conclude they are not authentic. And from various discussions, I haven’t found anyone else at CBS who believes otherwise.

Some continue to claim that even if the documents are fake, the gist of the story is true somehow. Wrong. The documents were presented as evidence to prove the story’s accuracy. The fact that they have been discredited undermines the veracity of the entire story, and it’s not an acceptable defense of it.

Mapes’ contact with the John Kerry campaign is troubling by itself but more so when the contradictions are added. Mapes says she contacted Kerry spokesman Joe Lockhart to ask him to contact Bill Burkett as a condition of obtaining the documents. According to the panel, Mapes claims the subject of the documents was not discussed, nor was the story she was working on. Lockhart remembers it differently, saying Mapes told him about the story and the documents, going so far as to describe himself as feeling uncomfortable about the conversation.

The report does not find that political bias was a factor in rushing this flawed story to air in the heat of a hotly contested presidential campaign. I find it hard to believe some kind of bias, political or otherwise, did not play a role.

If the post-Rather, post-Mapes, post-Hewitt CBS News has the integrity and guts to undergo that kind of self-criticism on a regular basis, it’ll be a far better and far more trustworthy organization.

Major kudos are due to PublicEye blogger Vaughn Ververs for penning today’s piece, which is far more honest than 99% of anything written about the Memogate story in the rest of the MSM, and 100% better than anything in the self-described “watchdog of the press in all its forms.” I’m guessing Ververs isn’t the most popular guy within CBS today, but he may well be the most valuable member of their staff going forward.

For both of today’s linked articles, you should read the whole thing.

ANOTHER UPDATE: I also neglected to note that Ververs’ post has been up since last week (October 28). Bad day for dateline checking here at VodkaPundit, my apologies.