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Monday, February 23, 2004
Up and Running at the New Site!
Well, we're up and running at the new Captain's Quarters at http://www.captainsquartersblog.com! I'll mostly be working on finishing up some of the programming there for the rest of the day. I will try to e-mail everyone on my blogroll to let them know we've moved. In the meantime, if you have me blogrolled or bookmarked, please update to the new site when you can. I won't be posting here except in emergencies from this point forward.
I have moved everything off of the old site and imported it into the new site as of about 3 pm CST today. Anything posted, commented, or TrackBacked after that will be lost, so you may want to duplicate it on the posts at the new site. I will be continuing my service at Typepad for the forseeable future, although I'll probably scale back the plan. If you've just started thinking about blogging, Typepad is a great way to get started and see what you can do. They have a great system and software (which is why I stuck with Movable Type when I got my own hosting) and very reliable service.
Come visit my new digs and let me know what you think!
Sunday, February 15, 2004
This Explains A Lot About My High-School Love Life
Just in time for Valentine's Day, CNN reports on an anthropological study that explains why Homo Erectus had such a thick skull:
After studying fossils in a region called Dragon Bone Hill in China, anthropologist Russell Ciochon of the University of Iowa concluded males of the species were clubbing one another over the head, probably to win females.
Those with thicker skulls who survived these bloody confrontations would pass that trait to offspring, Ciochon said.
If you're male and you've been through high school, you should be very familiar with the mating-selection process that seems to favor aggressive, thick-skulled candidates who had no problem beating the others on the heads with clubs ... and books, and hoses, and rocks, and really almost anything else on hand, including the hand. The process is not limited to high school, either; you can observe the same results at nightclubs and other places where the younger crowd socializes. In fact, I observed this almost throughout the entirety of my single life, until I met the First Mate, who professed a distaste for head-butting as a romantic gesture.
Perhaps this article should be required reading for adolescent women, with the caveat, "If you make these kinds of choices, you'll wind up with thick-headed offspring." I know that would make millions of male chess-playing marching-band members very, very happy.
Mark Steyn: A Tale of Two Tales
I missed this column from Mark Steyn last night, but fortunately The Big Trunk at Power Line didn't. Steyn notes the hypocrisy and blatant bias in American media in how they responded to two poorly-sourced scandal stories, and how only one of them actually pans out -- and that's the one they're not covering:
Now let's consider the Kerry scandal: If you read the British newspapers, you'll know all about it. It's not about whether he was Absent Without Leave, but the more familiar political failing of being Absent Without Pants. It concerns a 24-year old woman - ie, 41 years younger than Mrs Kerry - and, with their usual efficiency, the Fleet Street lads have already interviewed her dad, who's called Kerry a "sleazeball". But if you read the US newspapers or watch the news shows there's not a word about the Senator's scandal. Though it seems to have a somewhat sounder factual basis, and at least one witness more relevant to this situation than the loose-lipped Gen Turniphead was to Mr Bush's, it's the media that's gone Awol. In this case, it seems it would hurt to ask. So Mr Bush has been unable to do the John Kerry routine, declining to comment but adding that "it's not my marital record that's at issue". We have two flimsy "scandals" tangentially related to character, but only one of them's all over the networks.
I'm not going to make a case for covering the John Kerry adultery scandal, although I may be in a minority on the right (see comments) in my belief that marital infidelity doesn't disqualify one for political office. However, that story has better sourcing and more verification than does anything about Bush's National Guard service and file-shredding accusations. People can certainly argue about relevance, but truth is an absolute defense anyway, and the truth is that Bush was honorably discharged in 1973, which means that the Defense Department concluded that Bush's service was both honorable and complete.
Nor does Steyn argue for more bimbo eruptions in American politics; he, like myself, wants journalists to practice the same thresholds for publication whether the target of allegations is Democrat or Republican. And in the case of John Kerry, it's the media that's gone AWOL, as Steyn says, and he continues:
By contrast, the Kerry narrative is almost impenetrable. If Vietnam bitterly divided a nation, split communities, tore apart families, etc, etc, Sen Kerry somehow managed to wind up on both sides of the fence: in the 1960s, he was John Wayne taking out the gooks in 'Nam; in the 1970s, he was Hanoi Jane Fonda, leading the protest movement; now, after two decades in Congress opposing every new weapons system for America's military, he's campaigning like Bob Hope on a USO tour flanked by wall-to-wall veterans. What story accounts for Senator Flip-Flop these past 40 years?
If character is the issue, Bush can relax. And, if doing your bit for national security is the issue, then John Kerry's been AWOL for two decades.
Read the entire article; as always, Steyn is a delight to read.
Washington Post Hits The Nail On The Head
In the midst of running up big primary wins, John Kerry has managed to finesse his past policy contradictions and focus almost primarily on attacking George Bush. Today's Washington Post lead editorial pulls the string on Kerry and demands some explanations from the new front-runner:
The most important confusion surrounds Mr. Kerry's position on Iraq. In 1991 he voted against the first Persian Gulf War, saying more support was needed from Americans for a war that he believed would prove costly. In 1998, when President Clinton was considering military steps against Iraq, he strenuously argued for action, with or without allies. Four years later he voted for a resolution authorizing invasion but criticized Mr. Bush for not recruiting allies. Last fall he voted against funding for Iraqi reconstruction, but argued that the United States must support the establishment of a democratic government.
Mr. Kerry's attempts to weave a thread connecting and justifying all these positions are unconvincing. He would do better to offer a more honest accounting. His estimation of the cost of expelling Iraq from Kuwait in 1991 was simply wrong; and if President Bush was mistaken to think in 2003 that there was an urgent need to stop Saddam Hussein from stockpiling weapons of mass destruction, Mr. Kerry made the same error in 1998.
Kerry has yet to explain these glaring contradictions in his record, and for good reason: his positions are not generated by an overall political philosophy but by sheer political expediency. In that way, Kerry and Clinton are cut from the same cloth. The Post argues that these myriad contradictions -- they mention several more in the article -- indicate nothing about how Kerry would lead if elected president. Well, almost nothing; I suspect it indicates that Kerry, like Clinton, would lead by market research and focus-group testing, meaning simply if it feels good, do it. In fact, that may well be Kerry's lifelong political philosophy after all.
Addendum: George Will, in his WaPo column today, helps Kerry focus on his own platform for America by reminding the Senator of his many (28, in fact) policy misstatements and political contradictions over the years. He asks Kerry for answers to questions such as:
When you denounce "lobbyists" do you include those for Planned Parenthood and the Sierra Club? Is "liberal lobbyist" an oxymoron?
You say the rich do not pay enough taxes. In 1979 the top 1 percent of earners paid 19.75 percent of income taxes. Today they pay 36.3 percent. How much is enough?
In January 1991, after Iraq extinguished Kuwait's sovereignty, you opposed responding with force rather than economic sanctions. Have such sanctions ever undone such aggression?
You strongly praise former Treasury secretary Bob Rubin, who strongly supports NAFTA and free trade. Have you changed your mind about him or about free trade (as you have changed your mind about the No Child Left Behind Act, the 2002 war resolution, the Patriot Act, etc.)?
The answers will be forthcoming, I am sure ...
Score One for the Iraqi Police
The new Iraqi police force have captured their first important fugitive, the Four of Spades in the US deck of cards:
Mohammed Zimam Abdul-Razaq -- the four of spades in the military's "deck of cards" of 55 most-wanted Iraqis -- was arrested at one of his homes in western Baghdad, Deputy Interior Minister Ahmed Kadhum Ibrahim told journalists. Abdul-Razaq sat next to the Iraqi official wearing a traditional black robe. Ibrahim said he did not resist arrest. ...
While presenting Abdul-Razaq to reporters, Ibrahim appealed to the top Iraqi fugitive, Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, to surrender, promising he would be treated with dignity. Al-Douri is the former vice chairman of the ruling Revolutionary Command Council.
This couldn't come at a better time, as the Iraqi police have weathered a series of attacks, culiminating in yesterday's daring raid on an Iraqi police jail that freed dozens of insurgents and killed over 20 policemen. While the Iraqis maintain that the raid was staged by foreign-based insurgents, American analysts are convinced that the tactics used indicate former Iraqi military involvement.
Saturday, February 14, 2004
Mr. Bush Can Play Hard-to-Get Too, M. Chirac
Jacques Chirac, who reneged on promised support to George Bush and Colin Powell, now waits by the phone and can't understand why they don't call:
The official invitation has been lying in his in-tray for several months, but President George W. Bush has failed to let the French know whether he will attend the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landings in June. France's president, Jacques Chirac, is expecting at least 15 heads of state to be present at the commemorations marking the decisive Allied offensive against the Germans in Normandy on June 5, 6 and 7.
15 heads of state will be on hand to celebrate, huh? Won't it be embarrassing for Chirac if the US president has something better to do the first week of June, even more so since this will be the first time a German Chancellor has been invited to attend. On the other hand, it's also the first major anniversary since the French defaced the cemeteries of Allied soldiers with Nazi symbols and spray-painted insults to the British and the Americans.
However, in the words of one Paris-based diplomat, Mr Bush is "making the French sweat". Relations between France and America have been strained since the French vehemently opposed US-Anglo military action against Saddam Hussein a year ago. The French government is hoping that the D-Day commemorations will help break the ice between the two countries. President Bush's failure to respond to the invitation is seen as a mark of his continuing personal anger and bitterness over France's formation of an anti-Iraq war axis along with Germany and Russia.
Apparently, the visits of two French ministers have not resulted in the message being received: it wasn't the anti-war position of the French that was objectionable, it was their reneging on their promise to support us if we voted for UNSC resolution 1441 and it failed -- which it did, and miserably so. Their motivation for betrayal has been uncovered in arms sales and bribes to highly-placed French officials. The French sold us out, and now they wonder why we're not excited to visit Normandy to commemorate the sacrifice of thousands of American lives in liberating them 60 years ago.
The truth is that in an election year, Bush could use the good domestic coverage that the D-Day ceremonies would bring, but his appearance would likely result in demonstrations by thousands of French protestors who would have been shot if they'd uttered a peep while occupied by the army that the British and Americans kicked out of France, starting on D-Day. I'm not sure it's worth it, and I'm certain that the current corrupt and treacherous French leadership isn't. It's extremely unlikely Bush would skip the celebration, but let's hope his schedule fills up before then.
Here's an update from the construction site at the new Captain's Quarters -- it's coming together really nicely, thanks to Mel at Skinny Dippin' Designs. We're not quite ready for visitors, but we're getting close. I think we may actually launch by Monday, if not earlier. Don't forget that the new URL will be http://www.captainsquartersblog.com. (If you click it and come back here, we're not under way yet.)
If you want a creative and responsive designer for your MT blog, make sure you stop by Skinny-Dippin' Designs. Mel's been terrific so far and I think you will love the new layout.
Dean Campaign Fading, Not Yet Ready to Die
The Boston Globe today paints a picture of a campaign that has lost all forward momentum and awaits one final, terrible blow to put it out of its misery:
Though the former Vermont governor, who for months led polls in the race for the Democratic nomination, says he will continue campaigning regardless of the results of the Wisconsin primary -- which polls indicate he is likely to lose by a significant margin -- his actions are beginning to say otherwise.
His calendar for next week is not booked beyond Wednesday, when he plans to return home to Burlington, Vt. ... Turning serious, he told a group of reporters who joined him on a dairy farm tour: "I'm going to go back to Burlington and kind of regroup and figure out how to tackle 10 of the biggest states in the country at the same time."
Yet moments later, when asked if he would remain an official candidate heading into the March 2 "Super Tuesday" voting in those 10 states, Dean said, "I don't know the answer to that question yet."
The article describes skeleton crews manning silent phones at Dean's headquarters in Burlington, and staffers who openly discuss vacation plans and almost as openly debate the merits of working for other campaigns. In polls leading into Wisconsin's Tuesday primary, Dean trails Kerry by 42 points, 53%-11%, and is being edged by Edwards for second place -- barely -- at 16%. In fact, as many people are undecided as are voting for Edwards, which only means that it may be a dogfight as to who gets to lose better to the Kerry juggernaut.
Although he may not acknowledge it, Dean's campaign ran aground in Iowa when he finished a distant third behind Kerry and Edwards, and he sealed his fate with his weird performance in the aftermath. With his temperament a continuous question, as well as his judgment and his foot-in-mouth speaking tendencies, Dean managed to crystallize all of these doubts into one singular, spectacular "Yeeaagh!" Muskie cried; Dukakis rode a tank; Dean held a pep rally. All that's left for the Dean campaign is to decide when and where the corpse should actually lay down. That target keeps on moving. First, Washington's caucuses were the threshold date, but that quickly changed to Wisconsin when polling numbers came back from the Pacific Northwest. Now Dean talks about Super Tuesday, but the parade has passed him by, and he knows it.
But of course, a much-subdued Dean still can't resist displaying arrogance, even under these conditions, as an anecdote at the end of the article illustrates:
At one point, as the entourage swept past empty cattle stalls, Dean pointed to a deep gutter running the length of the barn -- a trench for manure runoff. "Once when I was governor, I was on a dairy farm during campaign season," Dean recalled. "So as I was walking around the corner and wasn't looking what I was doing and -- Whoosh! -- and of course it was full."
Turning to his media entourage, whom he branded "city slickers," he said: "For those of you who don't know anything about dairy, this is a manure trench, and it's not good to step in it in loafers."
Well, Farmer Dean, the press may not know a lot about dairy, but they sure know manure when they see it. And it seems an odd thing to warn the press about stepping in it, when Dean's been doing that, figuratively speaking, since December.
Friday, February 13, 2004
A retired officer with the Alabama Air National Guard says he witnessed President Bush serving his weekend duty in 1972 -- an account that could be significant given Democratic questions on whether Bush fulfilled his service obligations during the Vietnam War.
Speaking on the phone Friday from Daytona Beach, Florida, John B. "Bill" Calhoun said he commanded Bush and that Bush attended four to six weekend drills at Dannelly Field in Montgomery. He said Bush was with the 187th Tactical Reconnaissance Group in Alabama in 1972. ...
Joe LeFevers, a member of the 187th in 1972, said he remembers seeing Bush in unit offices and being told that Bush was in Montgomery to work on Blount's campaign. "I was going in the orderly room over there one day, and they said, 'This is Lt. Bush,'" LeFevers said Tuesday. "They pointed him out to me ... the reason I remember it is because I associate him with Red Blount."
Red Blount's son, Winton Blount III, said Bush was the campaign's deputy manager and spent a lot of time in Birmingham and north Alabama. "He was a very active part of that campaign," said Blount. "And as my aunt said, she hoped people would act as nice in other people's homes as he did."
Not only did Bush serve in Alabama for his required drill time, but we also have confirmation that he volunteered to fly combat missions in Vietnam, but was refused, in a letter first noted by Hugh Hewitt:
According to Campenni, Bush inquired about participating in a volunteer program called Palace Alert that used Air National Guard pilots flying in the F-102 Delta Dagger interceptor jet in Vietnam.
The Air Guard advised Bush he did not have the desired 500 hours of flight time as a pilot to qualify for Palace Alert duty, and, in any event, the program was winding down and not accepting more volunteers.
Now we have the President's DD214, his honorable discharge, his pay records, his points awards records, and people who saw him at drills in Alabama. Despite not having a shred of credible evidence of any wrongdoing, Bush has provided all of the evidence demanded of him by the people on the left who were and are as virulently anti-military as any group in the US. And now that he has produced all that -- and has ordered the entirety of his military records released for public review -- I want to get an explanation for the following:
1. Why is Terry McAuliffe still the DNC chairman after engaging in slander?
2. Why hasn't John Kerry apologized for equating National Guard service with draft dodging?
3. Why haven't the media apologized for running with a story with a single source, no confirmation, and no proper investigation other than to ask obviously ignorant questions that anyone with any reference to military standards could have explained to them? Failing that, explain the difference between the Bush AWOL allegations and the Kerry infidelity allegations in a way that demonstrates a clear reason why a single unverified source was good enough for publication in one but not the other.
Until we get these issues cleared up, it is obvious to anyone who's followed these stories that the national media has two standards for publishing allegations, and that the Democrats -- whose last successful Presidential candidate admitted to gaming the draft system to avoid service altogether -- will repeat any lie and make up any story to get themselves elected and to destroy anyone's reputation along the way. They've done that repeatedly during the judicial confirmation process, abetted again by the national media, and they're doing it again in the presidential election.
The Presidential Dating Game
No, I'm not talking about John Kerry's supposed dalliance. Last night, Dennis Kucinich appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and played a celebrity version of The Dating Game:
The Ohio congressman asked questions of a trio of unseen women in a "The Dating Game" takeoff Thursday on NBC's "Tonight Show with Jay Leno." Responses by Jennifer Tilly, actress Cybill Shepherd and Los Angeles radio talk show host Kim Serafin blended sexual innuendo with politics and references to Kucinich's environmental concerns.
I don't recall this much attention being paid to Jerry Brown's bachelor status when he ran for President in the 80s, but due to his dating history (Linda Ronstadt, for one) and his good looks, people may have assumed he could get his own girlfriends. Kucinich has no such pedigree, but he does seem to have a good sense of humor about himself and has played along with these publicity draws in the spirit of fun. And what middle-aged bachelor could refuse a panel that included Jennifer Tilly and Cybill Shepherd? (I'm not familiar with Serafin.) He wound up winning a date with Tilly, and if you've ever listened to Shepherd talk, you know he made the right decision.
While I consider Kucinich a ludicrous candidate for President as I've mentioned before, I have to admit I'm getting more respect for him as a person as he hangs tough and displays his self-deprecating humor. I'm sorry I missed the show; I guess I stopped TiVoing Leno too early in this election cycle!