Friday, December 31, 2004

What Is A "Beguine," Anyway?

Big Band leader Artie Shaw has died in Thousand Oaks, California, leading to the inevitable question: Good grief, Artie Shaw was still alive?

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Brush With Greatness

Okay, this is weird.

I don't watch so-called "Reality TV." At all. I've never seen "Survivor." I've seen maybe five minutes of "American Idol." I'm just not into it.

That having been said, I've heard a little bit about (and saw a promo for) something on the WB called "High School Reunion." They take a bunch of people ten years out of the same high school, stick them on an island somewhere, and they relive all the unresolved drama of their high school years.

This time around, the big buzz is that there's an insane woman on the show. Evidently she was jilted by some boyfriend (who's also on the island) back in high school, and now she's insanely pursuing him again. It's been written about by many, including Bill Simmons, my man over at (who says "Believe me, I wouldn't make a statement like this lightly -- there's a chance that she could be the craziest person in the history of reality-TV").

Anyway, I just went and picked my lunch up at Subway down the street here. There was a woman there holding forth at a table with six or seven people gathered around her, and she was talking about how she had been treated on "reality TV" and all the lessons she had supposedly learned. The people around her were asking about "hall passes," whatever that means.

Yup, you guessed it: It was crazy girl.

I checked the show out on the internet when I got back to the office, and sure enough, the high school being featured on the program is here in Ft. Lauderdale. She's listed as "Jaime, the Obsessed Ex."

She didn't strike me as crazy, though. Just a little self-involved and vacuous in that Valley Girl sort of way.

A Wave Of Guilt

The predictable liberal self-flagellation has gone into full swing in the wake of the tsunami disaster in Asia.

Why don't we care as much or more about this than 9/11? they wail. This death toll is dozens of times that of 9/11! And why are we so stingy with our relief money? It's probably more evidence that we're a racist nation!

Now as any reasonable person knows, the United States far and away gives (and will give) far more money to the relief effort than any other nation. And all Americans (including liberals) are free to write checks to the disaster relief organizations of their choice. (Which, by the way, is a much better and more efficient way of helping than our government giving tax dollars to the United Nations--money that will inevitably be skimmed by the corrupt U.N. bureaucracy.)

It's quite telling, however, that liberals want to frame American generosity purely in terms of tax money sent overseas through the United Nations. The only money that really counts as "generosity" to liberals is government funds raised through taxation, because that's where they get to engage in their favorite activity: spending other people's money to assuage their own consciences.

This disaster is one of biblical proportions, and it warrants our prayers and our giving. But I'm not going to participate in a liberal guilt-fest over my level of emotional reaction to this tragedy.

There are perfectly good reasons why we cared more viscerally about 9/11 than we do about this disaster. These make sense to any thinking person--which is why liberals are having such difficulty comprehending them.

  • 9/11 was a unique event: a foreign terror operation carried out on American soil. Nothing like it had ever happened before. In contrast, Third World death tolls in natural disasters, while regrettable, are nothing new. Nearly a million Chinese are estimated to have died in earthquakes in the 20th century alone; 400,000 of them in one quake in 1976. 20,000 people died in an earthquake in Turkey only three years ago. Natural disasters kill tens of thousands in Bangladesh every decade. In 1991, a cyclone there killed nearly 140,000. The same thing killed half a million there in 1970.
  • Proximity matters. I'm more interested when a friend or family member is in danger than someone I've never met before. Nearly everyone in America is in some way connected with someone who lives in New York City. The vast majority of people in America, when the 9/11 attacks took place, thought "I know somebody there!" In contrast, there were maybe a few dozen Americans involved in this recent disaster. You don't even know anyone who knows anyone who knows anyone who was there. Does it make us cold and callous that we care more, then, about New York City than Sri Lanka? Of course not, it's just common sense.
  • Closely related to the previous reason is familiarity. Most of you had personally seen the Twin Towers, and many of you had perhaps actually been in those buildings at one time or another. They (and the Pentagon) were extremely familiar landmarks in the American consciousness. They were a part of daily American life. The World Trade center defined the skyline of the biggest city in our home nation. On the other hand, most of us wouldn't know Thailand if you dropped us in the middle of it.
  • 9/11 was a man-made event and was preventable. The tsunamis were a natural disaster and were unpreventable. Evil intent always sparks more interest than the forces of nature. In 9/11, there were causes to evaluate and criminals to bring to justice. There was no wrongdoing or evil intent with the tsunamis, just raw force.
  • There is a general recognition that the reported death tolls are not even close to being accurate. When there is a large gathering on the National Mall in Washington D.C., they aren't even able to estimate the crowd to the nearest hundred thousand--and that's using modern technology such as aerial photos of the event itself. Crowd estimation is so notoriously difficult that the U.S. Park service won't even do it anymore. So how are we going to get an accurate estimate of the dead with nearly zero technology in a Third World disaster area? The answer is: we aren't. These figures have a margin of error of probably +/- 80%. It could be many, many more, and it also could be far, far fewer. Remember, we didn't even get a final death toll for 9/11 until something like a year after the event. And the total was much lower than all the initial predictions and estimate. The numbers being thrown around for the Asian disaster are being manufactured purely out of thin air. Nobody has even the slightest idea of the real toll.
The bottom line is, I will pray for the victims, and I will write a check to the Salvation Army or Samaritan's Purse. But I won't let goofball liberals make me feel guilty for not feeling more guilty. Write a check from your own money for once in your lives, you liberal crybabies.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

The Catcher In The Wry

I see that author Susan Sontag has died at 71.

I can think of no more fitting epitaph than the eloquent words of "Crash" Davis, the grizzled catcher in the best-ever baseball movie Bull Durham:

"The novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap."

The fact that Crash (Kevin Costner) says this directly into the face of Susan Sarandon (even if she was only playing a part) makes it even more wonderful.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

How Much Confirmation Do You Need?

According to reports, pro-abortion forces are amassing their troops to oppose the rumored elevation of either Clarence Thomas or Antonin Scalia to the position of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Both are said to be candidates to replace the ailing William Rehnquist.

Kim Gandy of NOW was quoted last week as opposing Scalia because he "is so disrespectful of his fellow and sister justices on the court. The level of disdain for the other justices in his opinions comes through loud and clear."

It's rare for me to agree with someone from NOW, but I completely concur with Miss Gandy's characterization of Scalia's attitude towards the rest of the Court. In fact, it's a primary reason why he's one of my personal heroes.

Nonetheless, I think the Bush administration would be foolish (though that's never stopped them) to promote Thomas or Scalia. Whoever is nominated to be Chief Justice will face a bruising confirmation fight in the Senate. Neither Thomas nor Scalia would fare well in such a battle. Thomas was famously lynched during his first Senate hearings in the early 90's. Scalia is hated with a passion by the left and they'd bring out everything they've got against him. So why go through a bruising confirmation battle and expend tons of political capitol on behalf of someone who's already a member of the court? The administration would be fighting a huge battle just to stay even, really. And when it's all said and done, they'd still be stuck with an opening to fill (and another horrific confirmation battle).

Instead, Bush would be smart to simply kill two birds with one stone. He should nominate the new person (whoever it is) directly for Chief Justice, and save the rest of his ammunition for the next opening, which is likely to come along sooner rather than later.

It's not at all unusual. Before Rehnquist was promoted from Associate Justice to Chief Justice in 1986, his previous two predessesors (Warren Burger and Earl Warren) both entered the Court as Chief Justices.

It would be senseless to fight two costly battles to merely add one conservative justice to the Court.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Kwanzaa, Twozaa, Threezaa, Fourzaa...

Though I've been running a bit behind, this is the time of year when it's always nice to debunk the farcical, made-up sham of a "holiday" called Kwanzaa.

This year, we'll hand the baton to LaShawn Barber, who points out, among other things, that Kwanzaa is the invention of one Ron Karenga, who besides Kwanzaa is probably best known for his conviction on charges of torturing two women in the early 1970's.

Make sure also to check out the links LaShawn includes at the end of her piece for more info on this ridiculous sham. If it's supposedly insensitive to wish someone a merry Christmas, you ought to be able to execute someone for wishing you a "Happy Kwanzaa."

Monday, December 20, 2004

"She Was A Quiet Girl, Kept To Herself..."

Somebody tell me this wasn't a psychotic episode just waiting to happen:

Friday, December 17, 2004

Some Folks Just Can't Make An Exit...

...or an entrance, either.

Pedro Martinez, on his way out of Boston, paused to insult the Red Sox GM, the team's other star pitcher, the manager, and the rest of the organization that just won the World Series. In an Associated Press story, Martinez calls GM Theo Epstein "arrogant." He also says:
I told [owner John Henry], 'You want to sign me, get it done. Please force them to get it done. I'm willing to stay here. Negotiate with them. I just don't want to be under Schilling....I'm way over Schilling as a pitcher and I've pitched pretty much like Schilling the last few years, if you're going to talk about durability.
Of manager Terry Francona, the first Red Sox manager to win a World Series in 86 years, Martinez said:
Francona is subject to what they decide....Francona had no say, like he didn't have any say in managing the team. He was manipulated from upstairs.
But at least Pedro did manage a compliment for one former Red Sox teammate, catcher Jason Veratek. In fact, Martinez says that he wants Veritek to come with him to the Mets--to replace the guy who's going to be his catcher, future Hall of Famer Mike Piazza:
Piazza is a good hitter. We can move him to first or somewhere. ... I want 'Tek. 'Tek is a good player, a good catcher.
Now that's a graceful transition.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

'Tis The Season To Be Hackneyed

It has become a perennial Christmas rite that at least one of the three major newsmagazines will publish a cover story on Jesus, examining the issue of his life and work with scholars running the gamut from liberal to super-liberal.

This year, it was Newsweek that stepped up to the plate with its entirely predictable offering. It includes the requisite copious quotes from the wildly liberal and unorthodox Jesus Seminar, a group far beyond the fringe of respectable Biblical scholarship--liberal or otherwise--yet the darling of the media on all things Christian nonetheless.

Rather than going through each of the myriad errors (which would take months), I'll simply direct you to those who've already done a great job debunking it, such as Hugh Hewitt, Dr. Albert Mohler, and Mark D. Roberts, whose terrific treatment is the most extensive point by point refutation I've seen.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Attention Fox News Channel Fans!

Though the network has been doing well, they've reached a crucial juncture. What happens now could determine the next two years of the network.

So if you are a Fox News fan, we must ask you: Would you at least consider murdering your spouse before the end of the year? I know it sounds radical, but it's imperative. With the Peterson trial ending, Greta has maybe two shows left in her at best.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

The Smell Of Kwanzaa Season

Of course, this has become the time of year where we now regularly hear outrageous stories of the ridiculous purging of any hint of religious vestiges in Christmas celebrations around the country.

John Leo writes about the New York City public schools allowing only secular holiday symbols in the classroom, "such as Christmas trees, menorahs, and the star and crescent." Yeah (as Leo points out), that star and crescent are real secular.

Jay Nordlinger describes "Sparkle Seasons," "December Nights," and "Frost Time Festivals."

In New Jersey, one parent (an attorney--go figure) nearly succeeded in having "Silent Night" removed from a school concert that also featured (unprotested) "The Dreidel Song" and "Kwanzaa's Here."

In Wisconsin, the state capitol now displays a “Winter Solstice” sign which proclaims, “There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell.”

One New Jersey school district has banned for its brass ensemble even instrumental versions of songs that mention Jesus or Santa Claus.

And the examples of silliness go on and on and on.

Joe Carter at Evangelical Outpost has an interesting post on the subject (though I think his conclusion is ultimately misguided; no, Christian symbolism at Christmas is not the most important battle there is, but it's part of an overall secularization of society that Christians worsened through passivity. And the Christian side of the issue still enjoys a good degree of popular support, thus it's a good place to take a stand for Constitutional liberty.)

In his post, Carter makes one of the best statements I've seen on the silly position of the secularists:
[E]very year I’m baffled by the animosity toward Christmas symbolism. The same secularists who think that playing Grand Theft Auto:Vice City while listening to gansta rap has no affect on children act as if hearing “Merry Christmas” will turn little Johnny into a Pat Robertson clone.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Museum Piece

This is the best one I've seen today:

PBS blowhard Bill Moyers, who, unable to compete in the journalistic free market, has suckled from the public teat for nearly all of his silly career, is hanging it up after he completes the newest edition of his program. Get this:
"I'm going out telling the story that I think is the biggest story of our time: how the right-wing media has become a partisan propaganda arm of the Republican National Committee," says Moyers.
Actually, from where Moyers stands, the media probably does appear right-wing. Which pretty much tells you all you need to know about Bill Moyers.

When he's done, they can put him in a museum next to the other unreconstructed Marxist fossils of another age.

Back To Reality

Well, now that the election is safely over, we can go back to observing how much the Bush Administration really does bite.

In addition to it's idiotic and incomprehensible policy on illegal immigration ("We like it!"), there is also the staggering arrogance.

Several examples just from the last few days:

Robert Novak writes that the Bushies refused to receive Catholic Italian statesman Rocco Buttiglione, one of the few conservative, pro-America figures left in modern Europe:
While this conduct contradicts Bush's campaign posture, there is no mystery about what is going on. The re-elected president is offering a hand in friendship to "Old Europe," at the cost of alienating the traditional Catholic constituency so avidly courted the past four years. Never having to worry about running again, Bush can give the back of his hand to Buttiglione, just as the leftist-dominated, anti-American EU refused to seat him as a commissioner.
The administration couldn't even spare a staffer to meet with perhaps our nation's best friend in Italy.

Perhaps that's because all the staffers were too busy spending the weekend dumping on Rudy Giuliani, whom they're blaming for the abortive Bernard Kerik nomination for Homeland Security chief. (It's called "vetting," Mr. President. Look into it.)

According to the Times:
Although people close to the president say he likes and respects Mr. Giuliani, they say the president has long been leery of him as a man who could not be counted on for the loyalty demanded by Mr. Bush. And while the breakdown of Mr. Kerik's nomination is not lethal to Mr. Giuliani's relationship with the White House, the friends and officials say, it will hardly burnish his credentials with the president.
As Steve Martin used to say, "Well excuuuuuuuuuuse meeeeeeee!"

Good grief, all this "loyalty" stuff is starting to sound downright Nixonian. Imperial Presidency indeed. Just how many days did Giuliani (whom I don't particularly care for) spend stumping for Bush during the past election? Towards the end, Bush and Giuliani were were spending more time together than Chang and Eng.

But that's not "loyal" enough. Is "loyalty" how the idiot savant Norman Mineta has been able to retain his cabinet post so long? If so, perhaps we ought to start looking a little less at "loyalty" and a little more at "competence."

What do you have to do to be considered loyal to these people? Donate a kidney? Carry out a hit on Paul O'Neill?

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Holy Cow!

Anthony Flew, perhaps the world's most famous atheist, has announced that he has given up his atheism due to scientific investigation.

According to ABC News:
A British philosophy professor who has been a leading champion of atheism for more than a half-century has changed his mind. He now believes in God more or less based on scientific evidence, and says so on a video released Thursday.

At age 81, after decades of insisting belief is a mistake, Antony Flew has concluded that some sort of intelligence or first cause must have created the universe. A super-intelligence is the only good explanation for the origin of life and the complexity of nature, Flew said in a telephone interview from England.
While such a faith won't do him any good, it's still a stunning admission from one whose atheism has been so prominent.

Says the article:
[B]iologists' investigation of DNA "has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce (life), that intelligence must have been involved," Flew says in the new video.

Judging Thomas

Ann Coulter has a typically terrific column today on the endemic racism of "enlightened" liberals.

Opponents of affirmative action, for example, have long argued that the program is merely white paternalism springing from an attitude that blacks are not intelligent enough to accomplish anything without white liberal help--what President Bush beautifully called "the soft bigotry of low expectations."

The liberal "intelligentsia" (such as it is) increasingly confirms the accuracy of that suspicion every day. Its latest attack has been on Condoleeza Rice, President Bush's nominee for Secretary of State. It's as if liberals (and the Democrat Party) almost can't help themselves from betraying their racist attitudes. Prominent Democrats have been running around to every microphone they can find saying that Dr. Rice "has not demonstrated great competence" and "doesn't bring much experience or knowledge of the world to this position" (as opposed to, say, that genius Madeleine Albright).

As Coulter points out:
Liberals at least give white Republicans credit for being evil. Rumsfeld is a dangerous warmonger, Paul Wolfowitz is part of an international Jewish conspiracy, Dick Cheney is "Dr. No." But Dr. Rice? She's a dummy.

In fact, after spending the last four years telling us that President Bush was an empty suit, a vessel for neoconservative fantasies of perpetual war, liberals have now found someone who is Bush's puppet: the black chick.
As Ann points out, this is not an isolated phenomenon. It's what liberals routinely do with blacks who refuse to work the Democrat Party plantation:
The late Mary McGrory, a white liberal, called [Supreme Court Justice Antonin] Scalia "a brilliant and compelling extremist" – as opposed to McGrory herself, a garden-variety extremist of average intelligence. But [Clarence] Thomas she dismissed as "Scalia's puppet," quoting another white liberal, Alvin J. Bronstein of the American Civil Liberties Union, to make the point. This is the kind of rhetoric liberals are reduced to when they just can't bring themselves to use the n-word.

Most recently – at least as we go to press – last Sunday Harry Reid, the Democratic leader in the Senate, had this to say about Justice Clarence Thomas: "I think that he has been an embarrassment to the Supreme Court. I think that his opinions are poorly written." You'd think Thomas' opinions were written in ebonics.

In the same interview, Reid called Justice Antonin Scalia "one smart guy." He said that although he disagreed with Scalia, his reasoning is "very hard to dispute." Scalia is "one smart guy"; Thomas is the janitor. If Democrats are all going to read from the same talking points, they might want to get someone other than David Duke to write them.
Understand, this is the party line with Democrats--the ultraconservative Scalia is brilliant (but evil), and the ultraconservative Clarence Thomas is his stupid puppet.

In reality, Thomas is a brilliant jurist. He and Scalia have wound up on opposite sides of more than a few cases. Kenneth Starr, in his wonderful little book First Among Equals: The Supreme Court in American Life actually argues that, while Scalia is more flamboyant and entertaining, Thomas is the most original legal thinker on the Court.

But the Democrats wouldn't know any of this, because they don't actually read legal opinions, and they don't read books either, as Coulter notices:
On the Sean Hannity radio show, Democratic pundit Pat Halpin defended Sen. Reid's laughable attack on Thomas by citing Bob Woodward's book "The Brethren," which – according to Halpin – vividly portrays Thomas as a nincompoop.

..."The Brethren" came out a decade before Thomas was even nominated to the Supreme Court. The only black Supreme Court justice discussed in "The Brethren" is Thurgood Marshall. That's one we haven't heard in a while: I just can't tell you guys apart.
There have been exactly two black Supreme Court justices in American history. And as Coulter's excellent column points out, Democrats can't keep them straight. Why do you suppose Halpin got Thomas and Marshall confused? Do you suppose it was because of the ideological viewpoint Thomas and Marshall share?

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Piling On The Cheese

A British firm with way too much time on it's hands polled people to find out what the ten all-time cheesiest movie lines are.

There seems to be some chronological arrogance involved in the selections, since every line is from a movie made in the late '80's forward. But it's hard to argue with any of the selections (though I could quibble with the order; nothing, but nothing tops "Nobody puts Baby in the corner"). They are:

1). Titanic: Leonardo DiCaprio’s “I’m the king of the world!”

2). Dirty Dancing: Patrick Swayze’s “Nobody puts Baby in the corner.”

3). Four Weddings And A Funeral: Andie McDowell’s “Is it still raining? I hadn’t noticed.”

4). Ghost: Demi Moore’s “Ditto,” to Patrick Swayze’s “I love you.”

5). Top Gun: Val Kilmer to Tom Cruise: “You can be my wingman anytime”

6). Notting Hill: Julia Roberts’ “I’m just a girl... standing in front of a boy... asking him to love her.”

7). Independence Day: Bill Pullman’s “Today we celebrate our Independence Day!”

8). Braveheart: Mel Gibson’s “They may take our lives, but they will not take our freedom!”

9). Jerry Maguire: Renee Zellweger to Tom Cruise: “You had me at hello.”

10). The Postman: A blind woman says to Kevin Costner: “You’re a godsend, a savior.” He replies: “No, I’m a postman.”

Okay, maybe I can argue a little. The number 8 line from Braveheart is actually a terrific line, in my own humble but most accurate opinion. And I think "You complete me" is an even cornier line from Jerry Maguire than the one they selected.

A few more:

  • Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan: "Earn this." Great movie. But this is the big cry line, and let's face it, it's corny.

  • Lauren Bacall in To Have and Have Not: "You know how to whistle, don't you? You just put your lips together and...blow." As my wife once said, "What does that even mean? That's not sexy, it's stupid."

  • Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween: "Was it the boogie man?"

  • Harrison Ford in A Clear and Present Danger: "Sorry Mr. President. I don't dance."

  • So what are some of your choices for corniest movie line?

    Tuesday, December 07, 2004

    Not For One More Mineta

    As long as we're purging most of President Bush's cabinet, would at least be possible to include the least competent member in that mass exodus? Norman Mineta is the most dangerous member of this cabinet, and I'm not even hearing a whisper of finally canning him so that we can bring some sanity into protecting airline passengers.

    According to a fascinating article (linked above) by the Manhattan Institute's Heather Mac Donald:
    The government antidiscrimination hammer has hit the airline industry most severely. Department of Transportation lawyers have extracted millions in settlements from four major carriers for alleged discrimination after 9/11, and they have undermined one of the most crucial elements of air safety: a pilot's responsibility for his flight. Since the charges against the airlines were specious but successful, every pilot must worry that his good-faith effort to protect his passengers will trigger federal retaliation.

    Transportation's action against American Airlines was typical. In the last four months of 2001, American carried 23 million passengers and asked 10 of them not to board because they raised security concerns that could not be resolved in time for departure. For those 10 interventions (and an 11th in 2002), DOT declared American Airlines a civil-rights pariah, whose discriminatory conduct would "result in irreparable harm to the public" if not stopped.
    This is nothing but sheer idiocy, and it's the reason why "increased safety" on the post-9/11 airlines is merely a mirage. Airline security, under threat of federal government lawsuits, is mandated to ignore the single most reliable predictive factor for hijacking.

    This is what happens when you include Democrats in anything. If the president's cabinet is going to be entirely reconfigured, why not replace Mineta (who, when asked on 60 Minutes whether a 70-year-old white woman from Vero Beach should receive the same airport scrutiny as a Muslim young man from Jersey City, famously replied "I would hope so") with someone who's actually competent and cares more about airline safety than applying affirmative action to strip-searches?

    Monday, December 06, 2004

    Sounds Like A Brokaw Record

    Recently, in a fit of nostalgic bonhomie, I realized that I had allowed myself to forget just how far off the beaten path Tom Brokaw really was.

    Generally, I've tended to look at him as the least objectionable of the Big Three anchors, and that view strengthened with his impending retirement. But in watching an MSNBC retrospective of his just-ended career last night, I recognized anew that, though he may originally be from a "red state" (a fact he likes to tout in order to bolster his supposed objectivity), his sensibilities are purely Manhattan.

    Two things he said, in particular, jumped out at me.

    1). In discussing the emerging realization of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980's, Brokaw said "My friend Larry Kramer called me...." I don't even know what he said after that. My mind froze at the sentence "My friend Larry Kramer..." I'll tell you this much: Larry Kramer (the founder of ACT UP, whom the ultra-liberal Salon magazine refers to as a "gay rights hell-raiser") is not hanging out with anyone he suspects of being more conservative than, say, Barbra Streisand. Among Kramer's notable recent accomplishments is his claim to possess evidence that Abraham Lincoln was a flaming homosexual. And he and Tom Brokaw are buddies.

    It would be the equivalent of Brit Hume saying "I really began to understand [insert issue] after my pal David Duke called me up." But hey, don't all of we normal Americans have a few friends who are flamboyantly gay, HIV positive, found radical activist organizations dedicated to "vigilant acts of political and cultural provocation," and who run around looking for evidence that America's major historical figures were sodomites? Of course we do.

    2). Brokaw, in his discussion of Ronald Reagan's presidency (which, to his credit, he gave generally high marks), claimed that Reagan was way too slow in responding to the "AIDS crisis," and that on issues of race Reagan was "still a man of the 1930's and '40's." The first claim, though mindlessly parrotted to this day, is eminently debatable. All recent evidence shows that, despite shrill media pronouncements to the contrary, AIDS in America was (and is still) primarily and overwhelmingly a behavior-related phenomenon among primarily homosexual males. The homosexual community could have stopped the spread of AIDS very quickly by discontinuing its prodigiously promiscuous sexual practices. And the notion that it's the president's job to fight diseases presupposes a rather expansive and paternalistic view of the government--a view that's certainly not conservative. Furthermore, it has been demonstrated by critic after critic that the major media actually gave wildly disproportionate coverage to the AIDS issue in the 1980's. Brokaw's toeing of the party line on the Reagan-was-negligent-on-AIDS issue speaks volumes about his basic worldview.

    As for Brokaw's slanderous insinuation about Reagan's views on race (since, after all, "stuck in the '30's on race" is euphemistic for "racist"), he's simply wrong. This again is nothing more than party-line hackery. All the evidence points to the contrary. Everyone who ever knew the man claims exactly the opposite.

    Brokaw was a decent looking fellow who could read the teleprompter and make people feel comfortable, which is important in a news anchor. But he was also every bit the reflexively liberal media dinosaur which is currently killing the network news business.

    More Of Those Super-Rational Blue-Voters

    According to the Boca Raton News, the traumatized Kerry voters had their first group therapy session last Thursday. Even aside from the delicious irony of those claiming to be rational and scientific turning to the witch-doctory of group therapy, it's fun to watch:
    The first of several free noontime therapy sessions at the American Health Association in Boca Raton was designed to treat what mental health counselors have dubbed Post Election Selection Trauma (PEST). “If I had a cardboard cutout of President Bush, and these people wanted to throw darts at it, I would let them do it,” Robert J. Gordon, AHA executive director, told the Boca News after the session. “It’s no joke. People with PEST were traumatized by the election. If you even mention religion, their faces turn blister-red as they shout at Bush.”
    The story adds:
    “There’s an overall sense of emotional helplessness and abandonment,” said Sheila Cooperman, a licensed AHA psychotherapist from Delray Beach. “In psychology, we call it ‘learned helplessness.’ After you zap a caged dog twice, he stops moving because he knows there is no place to go. That’s what happened with these Kerry voters. They’ve been zapped so many times that they’re on the verge of giving up on politics.”
    The nation should be so fortunate.

    Not In The Pink

    If you don't eat your meat, you can't have any pudding. How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?

    Friday, December 03, 2004

    Wake Up And Smell The Kofi

    Have you been keeping an eye on what's been going on at the United Nations as of late? Seriously--have you checked it out? If not, you need to. The implications of the rampant corruption being exposed there are, quite literally, mind-boggling.

    William F. Buckley has an interesting column today on the confusing departure of U.N. ambassador Jack Danforth after only four months on the job. Though Danforth cites family reasons for leaving, Buckley points out that the complete moral bankruptcy of the U.N. had to play a part in his thinking.

    Danforth was quoted earlier this week, after the General Assembly attempted to cut off a motion criticizing the horrific human rights violations in Sudan, as saying "One wonders about the utility of the General Assembly on days like this. One wonders, if there can't be a clear and direct statement on matters of basic principle, why have this building [in New York City]? What is it all about?"

    Keep in mind he actually said that after he had already written his resignation letter to President Bush.

    I keep hoping for the coup de grace that will finally either end the U.N., or end the United States' involvement in it. One can only pray that the multiple investigations of Anan & Company's regnant depravity will finally do the trick.

    Wednesday, December 01, 2004

    A Capitol Time

    Washington D.C. is a super-liberal town, filled with snarling traffic jams and homeless vagrants. Never, except in New York City, am I accosted and yelled at by more deranged people than on the streets of D.C. Yet strangely enough, I love being there. No matter how often I go or how much time I spend there, I never seem to reach a point where the Capitol rotunda comes into view and it doesn't take my breath away just a little bit. Never once have I driven past the White House without suddenly turning my head and saying "Wow! That's the White House!"

    We interviewed Gary Bauer while we were there, and found him to be far more genial and friendly than the media portrays him, which probably shouldn't be surprising. We talked about a wide range of subjects, but I thought one of his best statements was on the issue homosexual marriage. Bauer said (and I'm paraphrasing, but it's pretty close): It's ironic that liberals call the homosexual marriage opponents "divisive." In reality, homosexual marriage is one of the least divisive issues in the country. The American people are overwhelmingly unified in their opposition to it.

    We also spent some time with Terry Jeffrey, editor of Human Events yesterday. He was on deadline finishing his most recent column.

    "What's it about?" I asked.

    "The greater sage grouse," smiled the conservative pundit.

    "Huh?" I thoughtfully responded.

    Anyway, here's that column in its final form. And yes, it is political.

    Saturday, November 27, 2004

    Traveling Delays

    Will be in D.C. on business again on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, so I'll probably be scarce until Wednesday. I had hoped to fly out on Sunday evening (I have an appointment there first thing Monday morning), but I failed to realize that Sunday is the second busiest travel day of the year. The only seat I could get was on a 7am Sunday morning flight. Ugh.

    The good news is, I get into Reagan National at about 9:30am, so if I move quickly, I just might be able to make it over to Mark Dever's Capitol Hill Baptist Church in time for the 10:45am service.

    Wednesday, November 24, 2004

    Larry King-Like Non-Sequiturs

    Discoshaman is doing some riveting blogging from the front lines of the Ukrainian election crisis.

    The New York Daily News says Dan Rather ended up just like the Richard Nixon he despised.

    According to the New York Observer, Rather all but admits that the memo scandal pushed him out the door. And Keith Olbermann is evidently still peddling voting conspiracy theories on his MSNBC show (which raises that old philosophical question: If a tree falls in the forest and there is no one there to hear it....?)

    They still make Strat-o-Matic baseball, and I just bought it for my 12-year-old baseball-nut son for Christmas. Don't tell him, though.

    That video game where you shoot JFK is sick and disgusting. It's also annoyingly slow to download...

    NRO has a laugh-out-loud parody of Dan Brown (of Da Vinci Code fame) today. A snippet:
    That could only be my friend, Sir Leigh Teabing, the Royal Historian and Ambassador-Plenipotentiary to the Exchequer...

    "Good evening, old fruit!," he exclaimed as he shimmered in, his monocle popping out. "I say, how the devil are you, old bean? Lawks-a-mercy, had a spot of bother getting up the apples and pears, don't you know! Good lord, is that settee kosher or wot? Must 'ave a knees-up round the old Joanna, eh!"
    Thanksgiving has been ruined for me by Adam Sandler. I find myself walking around singing in my highest-pitch voice "Thanksgiiiiiiiving, is a special night; Jimmy Waaaaalker, used to say 'Dy-no-mite!'...."

    "Ebay" Is Pig Latin For "Be"

    I have a burned hamburger patty that looks a little bit like Gene Shalit. Do you think it might be worth anything?

    Tuesday, November 23, 2004

    The Fat Lady Sings

    It took a while, but the forged memos fiasco has finally cost Dan Rather his anchor chair at CBS.

    Of course, they waited a respectable interval so that all parties could unconvincingly claim Rather’s exit had nothing to do with the scandal. Why, Dan was just waiting for that benchmark standard which we all aim for: the vaunted 24th anniversary.

    My guess is that it went down like this: Rather planned to stay through his silver anniversary. After the memo disaster, CBS executives told him “No way. We won’t bounce you out now because you’ve been here since Murrow was a teenager. We’ll let you keep some dignity. But as soon as the furor dies down, you’re announcing your departure from the ‘Evening News.’”

    Of course, the fact that they thought Rather still has some dignity means they haven’t watched any of his recent election night performances, where he’s been crazier than Aunt Minnie at midnight drinking mason jars of Kentucky moonshine on the back porch during a full moon.

    (P.S. How fascinating that chose to categorize this story under the "Showbiz" section of their website. It's unusually perceptive and revealing on their part.)

    President John Wayne

    The reaction in Chile to the scuffle involving President Bush and his Secret Service detail has been entirely predictable.

    Evidently the Chileans cancelled a state dinner for 200 because they refused to subject the guests to the ignominy of passing through a metal detector in order to dine with the President of the United States. Lest there be any misunderstanding, it is only the president's presence at one of these tin-pot events that gives it any meaning to begin with.

    Perhaps you don't normally need this level of security for the president of Chile. That's because nobody cares about the president of Chile. Whether he lives or dies is of little consequence outside his immediate family. But when the President of the United States comes to town, you're playing in the big leagues. If you can't handle the pressure in the majors, fine. It's not as if the world will be profoundly affected if a president never sets foot again in Chile. You have two choices: either the president comes with his own security and all that entails, or he doesn't come. It's up to you.

    Here's a snippet from the Washington Post's coverage:
    Chilean journalists were critical of Bush's actions. Marcelo Romero, a reporter with Santiago's newspaper La Cuarta, said: "All of us journalists agree that President Bush looked like a cowboy. It was total breach of protocol. I've seen a lot of John Wayne movies, and President Bush was definitely acting like a cowboy."
    The more I read of this nonsense and the more I contemplate the notion of some Third World thugs separating the President of the United States from his security detail, the more convinced I am that the agents should have simply shot the Chilean goons in the face. How long have whiny and effete foreigners been trotting out this old "John Wayne/cowboy" saw? John Wayne characters actually killed people. They want to see John Wayne? I say we show 'em John Wayne.

    Monday, November 22, 2004

    Hot Dogs In Chile

    As a kid, I remember being extraordinarily moved by the image of Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy turning to face John Hinkley's revolver and spreading out his body in an effort to make himself a bigger target and absorb any bullet headed for President Reagan. McCarthy was shot in the stomach protecting the president that day outside the Washington Hilton.

    That picture taught me what honor was.

    These are people who, because of love of country, are trained to willingly trade their lives for the president's in the event of an assasination attempt. One who has made the decision to take a bullet for his leader is not likely to hand his charge over to some Third World rent-a-cop.

    All of that to say: good for the Secret Service agents who took a swipe at Chilean officials who had essentially sealed President Bush off from part of his security detail. The Chileans had blocked some of the agents outside the cultural center where the state dinner was being held--after the president had already entered the building. The Chilean goons are lucky they didn't get shot right then and there.

    And good for President Bush, who saw the incident and returned to the door to literally pull his lead agent out of the throng and into the building. He's rightfully loyal to the men who've pledged their lives to protect him.

    Will the incident engender foreign hostility? Will Bush and his entourage be seen as American bullies in the eyes of the world? I can't tell you how little I care. I know the lead agent's face well, since it appears in all the photographs I have from my brief greeting with President Bush in Tampa a few months ago. It was this agent's eyes that intently watched every move of my hand as it clasped with the president's. It was this agent who was prepared to thrust his body between the president and me if I were to suddenly produce a weapon. No Chilean security clown is going to do that for the president of a country that most of the world hates.

    Secret Service agents are genuine heroes, and need not bow to any Third World Barney Fifes.

    Feelin' Shakespearean

    How much do thy Rams sucketh? Let me count the ways.

    Heel, Boy, Heel

    The always-enterprising Robert Novak has the behind-the-scenes scoop on Arlen Specter's desperate scramble for the Senate Judiciary Committee chairmanship.

    The bottom line: Under the arm-twisting of Bill Frist and with his cherished chairmanship about to be killed, Specter had to pledge absolute support, in writing, for all of President Bush's judicial nominees.

    We'll see how it all plays out when the time actually comes. But on the face of it, this may have been the best of all possible resolutions (considering the Bush administration's botching of it by supporting Specter's re-election to begin with).

    Friday, November 19, 2004

    You Bet Your Life

    The free market works. It works for just about everything. And no matter how often you say it, there are still people--lots of people--who will try to dispute it against all evidence. Commonly, they're called "Democrats."

    Glenn Beck brought this to mind again this morning as I was listening to his show on my way into work. He was talking about the fact that TradeSports, a "futures market" website where people can actually place money on all sorts of future events, was the most accurate (by far) pre-election poll, perfectly picking all 50 states and Washington D.C. the day before the election.

    As it turns out, people with good information like to make money on that information. And when money is riding on it, people tend to use only the absolute best information. With money on the line, bias is minimized and people have a financial stake in predicting the true outcome. Put all of that together, and you're pooling vast knowledge (in the form of money) about any given event, much more so than a pundit or even a polling company is able to do. It's a beautiful illustration of how the free market works to disseminate knowledge and information in a way that no other system does (which is part of the reason I am one of the few people opposed to "insider trading" laws).

    The uncanny predictive success of the futures market in the presidential election naturally brings to mind the plan the Pentagon hatched last year to launch a futures market for terrorism, in which people would be able to put their money on the line predicting terrorist acts. It was an unusually inventive, savvy, and daring idea.

    Such a system would have brought together vast pools of knowledge from people worldwide who had good information on terrorists' plans. But the entirely predictable hue and cry rose up against such a "callous" idea that people could make money betting on terrorism, and it was quickly scotched. (Democrat Senator Barbara Boxer called it "very sick" and demanded the firings of those responsible for the idea.)

    The Pentagon caved to the political pressure. That's a shame, since such a market almost undoubtedly would have had greater predictive ability on terrorism issues than our nation's centralized (and limited) intelligence agencies. But heaven forbid that we be safer if it means someone might try to profit from it.

    Tuesday, November 16, 2004

    Bizarro World

    This is the most purely weird analysis of the evangelical impact on the election yet. (Hat tip to Michael Spencer at the BHT.)

    Just listen to leftist Barbara Ehrenreich's take in the fever-liberal magazine The Nation:
    Where secular-type liberals and centrists go wrong is in categorizing religion as a form of "irrationality," akin to spirituality, sports mania and emotion generally. They fail to see that the current "Christianization" of red-state America bears no resemblance to the Great Revival of the early nineteenth century, an ecstatic movement that filled the fields of Virginia with the rolling, shrieking and jerking bodies of the revived. In contrast, today's right-leaning Christian churches represent a coldly Calvinist tradition in which even speaking in tongues, if it occurs at all, has been increasingly routinized and restricted to the pastor. What these churches have to offer, in addition to intangibles like eternal salvation, is concrete, material assistance. They have become an alternative welfare state, whose support rests not only on "faith" but also on the loyalty of the grateful recipients.

    What makes the typical evangelicals' social welfare efforts sinister is their implicit--and sometimes not so implicit--linkage to a program for the destruction of public and secular services. This year the connecting code words were "abortion" and "gay marriage": To vote for the candidate who opposed these supposed moral atrocities, as the Christian Coalition and so many churches strongly advised, was to vote against public housing subsidies, childcare and expanded public forms of health insurance. While Hamas operates in a nonexistent welfare state, the Christian right advances by attacking the existing one.

    Of course, Bush's faith-based social welfare strategy only accelerates the downward spiral toward theocracy. Not only do the right-leaning evangelical churches offer their own, shamelessly proselytizing social services; not only do they attack candidates who favor expanded public services--but they stand to gain public money by doing so. It is this dangerous positive feedback loop, and not any new spiritual or moral dimension of American life, that the Democrats have failed to comprehend: The evangelical church-based welfare system is being fed by the deliberate destruction of the secular welfare state.
    In case you missed it, Ehrenreich (who evidently lives in some whacked-out parallel universe) is actually upset that the church is usurping the rightful role of the welfare state. It's not their crazy theology that's the danger, it's their sinister programs for clothing the poor and feeding the hungry!

    I've heard it said before that leftists believe the state is God, but I've never seen the notion quite so clearly expressed by one of its advocates.

    "I, the Federal Government, am the lord your God. You shall have no other gods before me."

    Every orthodoxy has its defenders, and Barbara Ehrenreich is not about to let a bunch of red state Goobers commit heresy against the fundamentalist orthodoxy of Secular Humanism.

    Monday, November 15, 2004

    Just So Our Priorities Are Straight

    CBS has fired a producer who interrupted the last five minutes of the network feed of "CSI: NY" to bring the world news of the death of Yasser Arafat last week.

    Meanwhile, Mary Mapes, the "60 Minutes" producer who put together a falsified story that relied on blatantly forged documents to accuse the president of the United States of shirking his National Guard duty, is still employed by the network.

    Just in case you're keeping score.

    More Of That Vaunted Kerry-Voter Rationality

    A friend of mine was getting into the hot tub at his South Florida apartment complex Saturday night when an old guy already in the tub began complaining about the temperature of the water.

    "This water is way too hot!" the guy said. "It's ridiculous that it would be this hot!"

    My friend just sort of nodded and smiled, not paying too much attention, since it was, after all, a hot tub. But the guy continued on.

    "This is absolutely nuts!" he ranted. "The people in this state are crazy! I need to move up to a blue state, where people have some brains. People here can't even think straight. They can't make good decisions on anything."

    My friend considered asking the guy if he really believed that the water temperature in the hot tub was directly related to the state's voting habits. He also considered pointing out that Kerry won Broward County, the county in which the scalding hot tub sits, by about 30 points. But ultimately he decided not to pursue further discussion with an obviously crazy person.

    Friday, November 12, 2004

    A Fluid Situation

    Great line today from Brian at Terrible Swift Word:
    Fox News is reporting that Yasser Arafat is dead ... CNN has it still too close to call.

    Thursday, November 11, 2004

    Bush's Speedy Gonzales Appointment

    I suspect many of my conservative compadres will be up in arms over Alberto Gonzales' fast appointment as Attorney General in the wake of John Ashcroft's resignation. I, on the other hand, think the appointment may be a good thing.

    Though Gonzales served on the Texas Supreme Court after being appointed by Governor George W. Bush, he doesn't have a long list of rulings to his credit by which one can judge his judicial philosophy. He's also been tight-lipped when asked about it.

    But one particular Gonzales ruling has stirred the ire of conservatives. In a confusing parental notification/abortion case, Gonzales joined the majority in ruling that a lower court erred on its basis for denying a 17-year-old girl a judicial waver that would have allowed her to get an abortion without the consent of her parents, and ordered them to rehear her case.

    Though any pro-lifer is understandably concerned about such a ruling, it may not be the "pro-abortion" decision it appears to be. Though details of the case are hard to come by, no less a liberal wacko than Molly Ivins thinks that Gonzales' ruling was no indication of a "moderate" stance--which she would clearly prefer. In a column penned back in 2000, Ivins wrote:
    Bush's appointees to the court - James A. Baker, Greg Abbott, Deborah Hankinson and Alberto Gonzalez [sic] - have something of a reputation for being more moderate than their elected Republican colleagues, many of whom are favorites of the right-to-life movement. The reputation may be a misimpression. It is based largely on the court's decisions in parental notification cases. Three of Bush's appointees were part of a 6-3 majority giving a teen-age girl a second hearing on ending her pregnancy. Under the state's parental notification law, a girl can seek a "judicial bypass" of the law's requirement that her parents be notified of an abortion. The girl must convince a judge that she is mature enough to make the decision herself or that notifying her parents would be harmful.

    One elected Republican on the court, Nathan Hecht, accused the majority of "deep-seated ideology that minors should have the right to an abortion without notice to their parents, free of any significant restriction." However, there are no signs that the Bush appointees favor abortion rights. The decisions can be read as classic strict constructionism, since the legislature, to put it mildly, did not write the law with any precision. It's also pretty clear that this court thinks judicial bypass cases are a waste of its time.
    [Emphasis added]
    While not defending Gonzales' vote (especially since I'm lacking much pertinent information), I've said all along that the solution to the current runaway judiciary is not remedial conservative judicial activism, but rather a return to the legislature making the laws and the judiciary applying them. Our system was designed for the people to be able to make their laws, rather than having an unelected judiciary make laws for them.

    But a restrained judiciary is not a panacea for our problems. To my mind, a restrained judiciary merely returns many of these questions back to the people. At that point, conservatives will still have to do the hard work of convincing the majority of their position through the political process, which is the way the system was designed to work in the first place. A conservative judiciary will not suddenly make all abortion nationally illegal. It will instead return the question to the people, where it belongs.

    From a conservative standpoint, Gonzales' job in the Texas case was not to simply rewrite the state law in a way more to his own personal liking. It was to apply the duly passed law of the people. I'm in no position to decide if he did that correctly or not, but a vote with a result that conservatives don't like is not necessarily de facto evidence of liberalism or activism.

    But even granting legitimate conservative concerns over Gonzales (and they are legitimate, when one considers, say, David Souter), here's why I think the Attorney General appointment is a good thing: it takes Gonzalez off the short list for the Supreme Court. Though the job of Attorney General is an important one, it does not have the long-term significance of Supreme Court rulings. The A.G. is essentially a cop and a prosecutor. It's not a lawmaking position. There was no question Bush, for whatever reason, was going to give him a big appointment. If Gonzales' conservatism is shaky, he won't be able to do significant damage from the Justice Department. Everything in his past demonstrates that he will prosecute the laws that are there and that he'll be effective in organizing domestic counterterrorism operations.

    Meanwhile, he's off the Supreme Court list, and if Bush's other judicial nominations are any indication, we can expect a solid, unshakeable conservative in the mold of Thomas or Scalia to be appointed. Gonzalez will be a fine A.G., and frankly I'll sleep better with his name scratched off the Supreme Court list. The rest of the list looks outstanding.

    Wednesday, November 10, 2004

    Look At The Record

    Shannen W. Coffin, a former Justice Department employee, has her own excellent tribute to John Ashcroft's record at NRO.

    Among the cold, hard facts she throws out (that you've somehow never heard in the mainstream media):
    Violent crime is at a 30-year low, declining by 27 percent during the three-year period between 2001-2003. While a staunch supporter of gun ownership, Ashcroft also realized what many of his predecessors had not — that the way to stop violent crime is to enforce the gun laws that are on the books. Thus, federal gun-crime prosecutions are up over 75 percent in the last four years. In 2003 alone, more federal gun charges were brought than any prior year on record. The result was that 250,000 fewer gun crimes were committed in the last three years than in the prior three. Drug trafficking and human trafficking have been heavily targeted by the Justice Department, resulting in severe disruptions in criminal syndicates operating in both areas. The list goes on.
    History will show Ashcroft as one of America's greatest AGs. And it will look with shame on the media's behavior during the early years of the 21st century.

    True Story

    One time in the middle of the night, my wife rolled over, woke me up, and asked "Is Abe Vigoda still alive?"

    A Job Well Done

    To no one's surprise, John Ashcroft has announced his resignation as attorney general of the United States.

    There has not been, in my lifetime, a public figure more unfairly, viscously maligned than Ashcroft. To hear his critics tell it, he's nothing more than a tyrannical, rednecked bumpkin intent on establishing an American theocracy. He's been hated with a vehemence usually directed towards dictators and serial killers, mainly for the capital crime of professing Christian faith and having a few Bible studies in his office.

    But outside of the fevered, irrational imaginations of addle-brained liberals, Ashcroft is in reality a decent, accomplished, and great man who has reached the highest points of electoral politics short of the presidency. He's humble and low-key, in startling contrast to the power-grabbing zealot he's caricatured as.

    In his career, he's graduated from Yale with honors, written several legal textbooks, been the two-term governor of Missouri, a United States senator, and the U.S. attorney general during one of the most difficult periods in recent American history. Offhand, I can't think of a single one of his detractors who can boast of such credentials...though their pronounced inferiority to him doesn't stop them from ignorantly flapping their gums.

    Thank you and God bless you, General Ashcroft, for a job well done.

    Tuesday, November 09, 2004

    Hugh Are You?

    The more I read Hugh Hewitt's blog, the more I begin to sympathize with the annoyance of my friends to the right (yes, there really are people--lots of them--to my right) with Christians over-identifying with the Republican Party. Hewitt's beginning to have about as much credibility as one of Joel Siegel's gushing movie reviews.

    His "the parrot-is-pining-for-the-fjords" assesments of Bush's debate performances were bad enough, but his ridiculous support for Arlen Specter as Judiciary Chairman is simply over the top. It's this kind of craven political expediency that got Republicans into this Specter jam to begin with. If Christians are going to start playing Hewitt's margin-parsing calculus game with him, then they ought not to attach the word "Christian" to it and instead call it what it really is: unprincipled, gutless, political gamesmanship.

    Just Say No

    If I may take a moment to tout my own foresightedness, here is something I wrote in a post last April, shortly after Arlen Specter narrowly won his Republican primary (with the help of the White House) against an actual conservative:
    If I were a Republican living in Pennsylvania, I would honestly vote for Specter's Democrat opponent in the general election in November. It would be infinitely better to have the Republicans lose their Senate majority (with which they've done precisely nothing anyway) than to have Specter chairing the Senate Judiciary Committee. We're talking about the man who led the "borking" of Robert Bork leading the committee that is already obstructing all of the excellent judicial nominees it faces.
    As we all know, Specter did win the general election, and in his first press conference rushed to declare his intention to be a huge pain in the presidential posterior as chairman of the Judiciary Committee. Fortunately, his stupidly impulsive move is now endangering his chairmanship. If voters keep the heat on, Specter will not be chairing that committee come next session.

    The Family Research Council has an excellent page of phone numbers and email links for the other members of the Judiciary Committee. Blocking Specter's chairmanship would be a breach of the usual niceties of the senatorial men's club, but if the backlash continues, these senators will have the necessary political cover to do it anyway. Let them hear from you by telephone and email.

    Monday, November 08, 2004

    The Line Of The Day

    NRO's Jonah Goldberg has the line of the day, comparing New York Times columnists Maureen Dowd and Paul Krugman:

    "As we all know, one's a whining self-parody of a hysterical liberal who lets feminine emotion and fear defeat reason and fact in almost every column. The other used to date Michael Douglas."

    Good Thing There's Plexiglass Around The Cage

    Maureen Dowd of the New York Times, never the picture of stability to begin with, has become completely unhinged at the reelection of George W. Bush. On Sunday, the bitter old spinster boozehound completely flipped.

    At this point, it's nothing more than pure monkey rage (as my friend Revjab calls it). This is not punditry. Maureen Dowd is now simply flinging her own poop around her cage:
    W.'s presidency rushes backward, stifling possibilities, stirring intolerance, confusing church with state, blowing off the world, replacing science with religion, and facts with faith. We're entering another dark age, more creationist than cutting edge, more premodern than postmodern. Instead of leading America to an exciting new reality, the Bushies cocoon in a scary, paranoid, regressive reality. Their new health care plan will probably be a return to leeches.
    Oh, well as long as we're being reasonable about it....

    Ooooh, it's impressive how cool and rational and scientific these blue state intellectuals are!

    It's Olber, Mann

    The pear-shaped (he really is; you should see him) Keith Olbermann says that Dark Forces in Ohio are stealing the election for Bush. (Thanks to Bud for the tip.) And Susan Sarandon, on Bill Maher's HBO show Friday night, claimed the election is not over yet due to those oft-invoked "voting irregularities."

    Even Maher was disgusted enough to say (of Kerry), "Oh come on. He lost. By a lot."

    Amusingly, many of the more fevered liberals are accusing Americans of having taken leave of rationality in reelecting Bush. In case there was any doubt about which side has departed from rationality, just keep listening to the likes of these clowns.

    Friday, November 05, 2004

    Rudy Awakening

    The number one name being bandied about for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination is that of Rudolph Giuliani.

    Giuliani, of course, did a great job during 9/11, and he was funny when he hosted "Saturday Night Live." But the nomination will never happen, unless the Republican Party decides to suddenly commit political suicide.

    The big story of the 2004 election is the decisive role played by "values voters." Giuliani is a trainwreck on values issues. He's pro gay-rights, pro-abortion, and has an abysmal "values" record in his adulterous personal life (having initiated a messy divorce with his wife, of which he famously notified her through a press conference).

    Believe me, it's not even worth worrying about. He'll get a lot of play because he's the media's favorite kind of Republican: a liberal one. But the guy won't be able to win a single primary. Mark my words.

    It would be fun to watch that fat kid of his go haywire behind him while he takes the oath of office again, though, wouldn't it? Of course, the kid would be like 21 then, which will be a little gross, but still.....

    Post Mortem

    As much as I've been enjoying the weeping and gnashing of teeth in the Democrat Party as the recriminations fly and they begin to consume one another like cannibals, it's worth looking back on some of the most notable mistakes of the Bush campaign this year. Though it ended well for them, it was a distinct possibility even as late as 7pm on election day that he'd get slaughtered.

    Here then, in no particular order, are some of the things the Bush campaign did that could have lost them the election had they not been running against an inept candidate from a party that has completely lost it's moorings:
    • Scheduling three presidential debates. What in the world was that? The incumbent has little to gain and everything to lose in debates. The Bush campaign took a hard line in negotiations, to the point where many were wondering if there would even be debates this year. Then, suddenly and inexplicably, three debates...three...are announced. What in the world did the Bush campaign get out of the negotiations? Was Kerry asking for ten and they felt they got a good deal? It was as if the Bushies had told Kerry "We've decided to agree to whatever number of debates you write on this here napkin."
    • Bush's disastrous performance in the first debate. Bush had a solid lead over Kerry throughout the campaign season. Then came the first debate, where Bush came off like a heavily medicated Boo Radley. There were times when one wondered if he was even going to answer the question. A pause would last two seconds, then five, then eight, and you'd be thinking "Oh my, the President has had an aneurysm." Fact is, the Bush campaign never completely recovered from this debate performance. Kerry surged in the polls, and his lead only began to recede very late in the game.
    • The endorsement of Arlen Specter in his state Republican primary. Specter, the quintessential RINO (Republican In Name Only), was receiving strong opposition from a solidly conservative, pro-life Republican. Foolishly, the White House decided to back Specter for reelection, despite the fact that he's been nothing but a thorn in the side of Republican presidents for his entire career. He's the man who led the "Borking" of Robert Bork. The Bush Administration made a deal with the devil to try to maintain what they saw as a narrow majority in the Senate. Now, they have a much larger majority than expected, but an incoming chairman of the Judiciary Committee who has already vowed to oppose conservative judicial appointments. This is the mistake of the campaign that will haunt Bush the longest. And it cost him conservative enthusiasm in Pennsylvania, a state he wound up losing.
    • The failure to even attempt a rebuttal of Kerry's Tora Bora charge. In all three debates and in stump speeches around the country, Kerry accused Bush of having Osama Bin Laden "cornered" and then "outsourcing the job to Afghan warlords." And all three times, Bush did not offer one word of response to it. Even I was starting to wonder what the story on it was. It's a serious charge, and the Bush campaign's failure to respond to it damaged their credibility on Bush's main point--national security.
    • Over-reliance on the "flip-flopper" issue. It's an important point, to be sure, but the Bushies incorrectly believed for far too long that they could ride that single issue all the way to victory. They couldn't. They never did mount a proper attack on Kerry's abysmal Senate record. Though Bush finally mentioned it in the third debate, I never saw one ad showing that, for all his talk of coalition building, Kerry voted against the first Gulf War.
    • The makeup Bush wore in the Sean Hannity interview the other night. Okay, in reality I don't actually think this was a factor. But I still had to mention it because it was just so....disturbing. I remember seeing my grandfather looking that way and feeling that the mortician had really overdone it. They must've used the same guy. One coat heavier and he's Cesar Romero on "Batman."
    The fact that Bush won a convincing victory despite all of this says a lot for him and against his opponent. Still, had these mistakes been avoided, I believe Bush's could have won it walking away.

    Wednesday, November 03, 2004

    Kerry On My Wayward Son

    Reporting for duty? Dismissed.

    It’s all over except for the formalities, and yesterday’s prediction is about as close as I’ll ever get to being right on one of these things. It’s a narrow but decisive win for GWB, and the results became a foregone conclusion last night (between 1am and 2am, I think?) when NBC and Fox News called Ohio for Bush.

    A few observations:

    • I wonder how many Democrats will still be out there trumpeting the “popular vote” today?
    • I heard a host on the fever-swamp liberal Air America network this morning sounding incredulous that Ohio’s Republican secretary of state “is actually going to let the vote-counting process play out, rather than just bringing the curtain down on it and certifying the results like Katherine Harris did.”

      Of course, there’s an explanation for that, though nobody at Air America is likely to understand it: it’s called “rule of law.” Ohio’s secretary of state is following his state’s laws exactly as Katherine Harris followed hers. Only Democrats could be amazed when public officials follow the law.
    • I feel none of the pangs of sympathy for the losing side that one normally feels in these situations. None. The Democrat Party is now the party of Michael Moore, Al Sharpton, and Patricia Ireland. They’re evil. This election, following on the heels of the 2002 shocker, might very well be the death knell of the Democrat Party as a significant national force.

      Good riddance.
    • President Bush in 2002 cut off American funding for the United Nations Population Fund, money which had been used for millions of abortions (possibly including forced abortions in China). John Kerry had promised in his campaign to restore “full funding” to the Fund. Don’t you holier-than-thou utopian political purists tell me this choice didn’t matter.
    • Has any public figure ever more deserved to have his public career come to an ignominious end than Tom Daschle?
    • Thank you, thank you, thank you Howard Dean! You won this election for George W. Bush. (Oh, c'mon Michael Moore, you know we haven't forgotten you...) Some Dems are now clamoring for you to become the new DNC chairman. After holding the presidency, kicking out Daschle, and picking up four Senate votes, I wouldn’t have thought it could get any better. But if Howard Dean become the DNC chairman, I was wrong—it can get better!
    • The mainstream of the Democrat party was hijacked by radical extremists. Dems had somehow convinced themselves that the reason they lost the 2000 election is because they hadn’t run far enough to the left. One wonders how much electoral repudiation will be required before the remaining sane members of the party take it back?
    • About 4am, I saw a Democrat talking about how President Bush was going to need to make some “bold appointments” in his second term in order to “heal the division.” Translation: Bush owes it to us to appoint more Democrats to his cabinet.

      My response: You’ve got to be kidding me. The Dems moved further to the Left, Bush soundly defeated them, Republicans picked up four seats in the Senate and a handful in the House, the left-wing Senate majority leader was unceremoniously dumped by his own state, and the Republicans need to move to “heal the division?” Wake up, Democrats! The nation has abandoned you. Your recent policies and ideas have been repudiated on an almost unimaginable scale. The nation has demonstrated in every way available to it that you don’t represent its views.

      Sorry, it’s not Bush and the Republicans’ jobs to find their way to you after yet another resounding national win. You’re the ones that need to do some major changing.

    Tuesday, November 02, 2004

    So Far, So Good

    I just cast my vote at my precinct here in Broward County, Florida about an hour and a half ago, and it couldn't have been smoother. There were only a couple of people in front of me, and I was in and out and 15 minutes. No intimidating thugs for either side at the polling place, and no lawyers asking me if I thought I had been well-treated. I didn't even see any of Michael Moore's camera people.

    Let's hope the rest of Florida goes that well.

    I woke up with a pretty good case of butterflies this morning. I'm ready for it to all be over.

    It's hard to get a handle on what will happen, but here's my prediction, for what it's worth: George W. Bush scores a narrow but decisive win. There will not be a repeat of 2000, because the confluence of events that caused that debacle are just too difficult to replicate. I believe we'll know who the next president is by about midnight Eastern time.

    Osama McAuliff?

    Good grief. The rest of the Osama Bin Laden transcript has been released, and it sounds even more like the Democrat talking points than the first six-minute segment did.

    It's all there, the Terry McAuliff/Michael Moore/John Kerry parade of hits. Halliburton. The deficit. Bush went to war to make money for his business cronies.

    According to, Bin Laden says:
    It is true that this shows that al Qaeda has gained, but on the other hand it shows that the Bush administration has also gained, something that anyone who looks at the size of the contracts acquired by the shady Bush administration-linked mega-corporations, like Halliburton and its kind, will be convinced.

    And it all shows that the real loser is you. It is the American people and their economy.
    Sound familiar? There's more:
    [T]he darkness of black gold blurred his vision and insight, and he gave priority to private interests over the public interests of America.

    So the war went ahead, the death toll rose, the American economy bled, and Bush became embroiled in the swamps of Iraq that threaten his future.
    Does at any point a Democrat voter step into the booth and think "Holy mackerel! My candidate sounds just like Osama Bin Laden!"

    I'm telling you, Bin Laden could win a Senate seat right now in Vermont.

    Monday, November 01, 2004

    More Tilted Than Mrs. Edwards' Side Of The Car

    Regardless of what happens in tomorrow's election, this year will be remembered as the nadir (and last gasp) of the so-called mainstream media. Never has the media worked harder to get one candidate elected.

    Evan Thomas of Newsweek (who's no conservative; his grandfather was the Socialist Party leader Norman Thomas) estimated that the severe media tilt would be worth as many as 15 polling points for Kerry/Edwards. They've worked hard to live up to Thomas' prediction.

    Among the contributions of the mainstream media during this election year:

    • The dropping of the Sandy Berger story. Bill Clinton's National Security Advisor was caught stealing classified documents relating to the Clinton Administration's handling of terrorism from the National Archives, and we haven't heard a peep about it since the day after it became public.
    • The breathless run-up to the release of the 9/11 Commission Report, followed by a virtual media blackout after it turned out that the report was largely favorable to Bush.
    • CBS News' still-unretracted false Alabama Guard Memos story, in which Dan Rather was clearly shown to have credulously relied upon blatantly forged documents to "prove" that President Bush did not live up to his Guard responsibilities. Not one word of the story has been documented to be true, and much of it has been proved false. But after a weeklong firestorm, the story died out while Dan Rather still sits as managing editor of CBS News.
    • Not to be deterred by one major exposing of their partisan motives, CBS News also tried to hold onto the Iraq ammo dump story to run on last night's "60 Minutes," a mere 36 hours before the election. When the New York Times prepared to run the story (which it also had), a CBS producer begged them to hold it until just before the election. Even the ethically challenged Times was horrified. According to the Washington Post's Howie Kurtz, Times editor Bill Keller refused to hold the story until Sunday, saying that to do so "wouldn't give the White House a fair opportunity to respond." Which was clearly CBS's goal.
    • Their complete ignoring of the Swift Boat Veterans, hundreds of whom served with John Kerry and vociferously oppose his candidacy. The only time the mainstream media ever referred to them was as a supposed example of how low the Bush campaign was willing to sink.
    • Their relentless flogging of the Abu Graibe story, which, while abhorrent, is certainly no more egregious than the war crimes that John Kerry himself has admitted to.
    • Etc. Etc. Etc., ad nauseum.
    As Kurtz reveals in that right wing rag, the Washington Post (citing a study from the non-partisan Project for Excellence in Journalism), anti-Bush media coverage dominated 59% of the time during the two weeks of the debates. Over 1/3 of the stories during that period were labeled as "clearly positive" towards John Kerry, as compared with 14% for Bush.

    The media has worked its hardest as the propaganda arm of the Democrat Party. We'll see tomorrow how successful their fevered efforts have been.

    Osama Endorses Kerry

    Perhaps the most amazing story of the weekend is the extent the news media has gone to obscure the real contents of the Osama Bin Laden tape released on Friday.

    In the tape, Osama sounds almost exactly like a Democrat Party spokesman. At one point in the tape, according to a now-buried transcript on, Bin Laden says:
    Then, what happened was that [George H.W. Bush] was impressed by the monarchies and the military regimes, and he was jealous of them staying in power for tens of years, embezzling the public money without any accountability. And he moved the tyranny and suppression of freedom to his own country, and they called it the Patriot Act, under the disguise of fighting terrorism. And Bush, the father, found it good to install his children as governors and leaders...

    ...And we never knew that the commander-in-chief of the American armed forces would leave 50,000 of his people in the two towers to face those events by themselves when they were in the most urgent need of their leader.

    He was more interested in listening to the child's story about the goat rather than worry about what was happening to the towers. So, we had three times the time necessary to accomplish the events.
    In other words, Osama Bin Laden is now taking his talking points from Michael Moore.

    That's the same Michael Moore who sat in the presidential box at the Democratic National Convention. This is straight out of "Fahrenheit 9/11," which former Democrat president Jimmy Carter says is one of his two favorite movies.

    The tape is so devastating to the Democrat Party that the increasingly senile Walter Cronkite was left to insanely opine Friday night on Larry King Live:
    So now the question is basically right now, how will this affect the election? And I have a feeling that it could tilt the election a bit. In fact, I'm a little inclined to think that Karl Rove, the political manager at the White House, who is a very clever man, he probably set up bin Laden to this thing. The advantage to the Republican side is to get rid of, as a principal subject of the campaigns right now, get rid of the whole problem of the al Qaqaa explosive dump. Right now, that, the last couple of days, has, I think, upset the Republican campaign. [emphasis added]
    Now that's sad desperation. Someone needs to put this addled old gasbag to sleep before he hurts himself or the sterling reputation of his former employer CBS News....oops, too late.

    Others see the problems for Democrats too. Saturday on MSNBC, Joe Trippi, who was the campaign chairman for wild-eyed leftist Howard Dean, said "I don't see any way that this doesn't hurt the Kerry campaign."

    Visceral Bush-hater Bill Maher said on his HBO program Friday night, "This statement looks like something that could have been put out by the Democratic Party," leaving former Dem presidential candidate Wesley Clark to weakly object "Well, I don't know if I'd agree with that."

    Yet most people are not aware of the similarities between Bin Laden's rhetoric and that of the Democrat Party. Why? Because the media, recognizing a disaster when they see one, are intentionally obscuring it.

    The whitewash had been so successful by Sunday night that Candy Crowley could say on CNN with a straight face, "The Kerry camp believe the ammo dump and Osama tape stories are working in their favor in the polls."

    Only with the help of a wildly friendly media could a candidate benefit from the endorsement of the nation's chief enemy, Osama Bin Laden.

    Friday, October 29, 2004

    The Quest To Be Ordinary

    The irreverent Bill Simmons of has a column on the Red Sox victory that is (dare I say it?) a bit...touching. It helps soften the blow of the Cards, World Series collapse.

    There is a strong father/son element in baseball (see "Field of Dreams"), and there's a lot of that going on here. It's why I went to fairly great lengths to take my own son to game 4, and why I've been thrilled that he's embraced the Cardinal faith of his father with great zeal. So it's hard not to be happy for them. Heading into game four, Simmons quoted some of the posters from a Red Sox website, as they closed in on victory:
    • "Win it for my Grandfather (1917-2004) who never got to see the Red Sox win it all but always believed. And for my Dad who watches each and every game wishing his Dad was there to watch with him."
    • "Win it for my 10-year-old son Charlie who fell asleep listening to Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS assuming the Sox would win. When he awakened the next morning, he asked me, eagerly, "Did we win, Dad?" When I told him, gently, No, we did not win, his anguished moan startled me. I knew I had raised him as a Red Sox fan and I began to question whether that was a good thing."
    • "Win it for my grandfather, who succumbed to Alzheimer's in 2002. In one of my last conversations with him, he asked me how Ted Williams was doing. During Game 7 on October 20, his birthday, he was smiling down on the Red Sox."
    • "Win it for my boss, a dear friend who lost his dad unexpectedly in March of this year. More than once this season, I've seen him glance at the phone after a game, half-expecting his father to call to commiserate, rejoice, or just shoot the breeze -- I've also seen the sadness in his eyes as he realizes that the call isn't coming. Win it for his dad, a lifelong fan who never had the opportunity to witness his beloved team taking it all."
    That's why baseball's not like any other sport. It just isn't.

    Still, I have to wonder if the victory might not leave the Sox fans feeling a bit empty after the euphoria wears off. I know that most Red Sox fans have ridiculed the notion that it was a bad thing to have the "curse" removed, but I'm not sure we should be so quick to dismiss the idea, absurd as it might seem at first blush.

    A major piece of the identity of the Red Sox fans has been taken away. Of course, they wanted it to be taken away and they're glad it was taken away. But in their heart of hearts, I wonder if a year or two or ten down the road, they might not miss it more than a little bit. Boston fans (whether they admit it or not) milked that legacy. They thrived on it. They reveled in the "cursed, lovable loser" image, at fate being cosmically aligned against them.

    (If you don't believe me, check out nearly any randomly chosen 15 minute segment from [Sox fan] Ken Burns' 9-part, 18-hour epic documentary "Baseball." Two-thirds of the entire program seemed to about the poor, bedraggled, cursed Red Sox. "Here's Doris Kearns Goodwin on the hearbreak of being a Red Sox fan. Now here's Stephen Jay Gould on fate conspiring against the Red Sox. Oh, by the way, Stan Musial and Al Kaline's careers happened. Now here's former Sox pitcher Bill 'Spaceman' Lee on the Curse of the Bambino...")

    It's like the proverbial guy who walks with a cane for years until being cured of his malady. After a while, he finds that he had grown quite attached to the cain and misses it, even though being cured had been his deepest desire. I'm truly glad for Red Sox fans like the sons above who have been waiting all their lives to celebrate this with their fathers.

    Simmons said in yesterday's column:
    The Red Sox were about to win the World Series. And I was about to become Just Another Baseball Fan again.

    Because that's all we ever wanted. Nobody understood that. Outsiders made up fake curses, called us losers, pointed to a legacy of failure, questioned our sanity. We kept hoping. We kept the faith.
    They got what they wanted. They're now Just Another Baseball Fan again. I hope they'll find it's what they always hoped it would be. But I just wonder.....

    I keep thinking of Alexander the Great.

    "When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer."

    Thursday, October 28, 2004

    Wake Me And Tell Me Game One's Tonight

    Well, you all saw it, so I won't belabor it (much).

    The final game was as disappointing (for a Cardinal fan) as the previous three, though I have to admit it was still fairly cool for my son to see a true piece of baseball history: the Boston Red Sox celebrating a World Series championship. (It still sounds odd to even say.)

    Though we regretted the outcome, we congratulated some of the suprisingly many Red Sox fans in attendance on the end of their long nightmare. "St. Louis has great fans," every one of them said. "These are the classiest fans we've ever met. You guys put together (actually they said "togethah") a helluva team this year. What a great town."

    Which is the kind of thing a St. Louisan wants to hear. Some criticize St. Louis fans for being too forgiving. In a lot of cities, such overtures to the opposition would be seen as some kind of weakness. But St. Louisans love their team like no other fans in baseball; they also just happen to appreciate anyone who plays good ball.

    Whatever happens next year, I could use a little less "genius." Larry Walker, the one guy who hit the ball solidly in game three, BUNTING in the first inning with a man on first? With that kind of genius, who needs stupidity?

    The Cardinals have won nine World Series titles and 16 N.L. pennants. They'll be back there again, and probably sooner than later. In the meantime, Red Sox fans ought to enjoy a well-earned, long awaited victory.

    Wednesday, October 27, 2004

    Time To Put On The Paper Bags

    St. Louis is a proud town with a bit of an inferiority complex. And this baseball team is embarrassing my hometown.

    Hope springs eternal (especially against a team battling an 86 year curse), and the Red Sox know as well as anyone that it's possible for a team to come back from three games down.

    But this is an embarrassment. I can't recall a team playing this poorly when everything was on the line. My son and I will be in the park tonight, desperately hoping that we don't have to see one of sports' most enduring curses end in our ballpark against our team.

    Tuesday, October 26, 2004

    A Partisan Tale

    As we prepared to fly to Washington D.C. a week ago Saturday, our plane had a technical problem at the gate at Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. According to the pilot, they were "getting an indicator light" in the cockpit, and it would take 15-20 minutes to fix.

    As is sometimes the case, the 20 minutes began to stretch. "Sorry folks," he said, "the fast fix they tried didn't work, so it's going to be a little longer."

    As it happens, President Bush (who's been spending a lot of time down here in the waning days of the campaign, as have Dick Cheney, John Kerry, Theresa Heinz Kerry, Bill Clinton, etc.) was due to speak in Ft. Lauderdale that same morning. As Air Force One approached the airport, our pilot told us that for security reasons, all activity on the tarmac would have to cease while the president de-planed and his motorcade left. In all, the presidential delay would add perhaps 15 minutes to the fix.

    Shortly, the motorcade was off, and one could hear the sounds of the mechanics working on our plane again. At this point, our flight was about an hour late, 10-15 minutes of it due to the president.

    A heavyset, obviously lesbian, American Indian woman sitting behind me began to get a little antsy. Since there was no estimate on how long it would take to fix the problem, the flight attendants told people to feel free to leave the plane to go back into the terminal for a time if they wanted to. The rotund lesbian was not really mobile enough to make it out, but she asked the woman sitting next to her to bring her back a Starbuck's.

    After we had been delayed about an hour and a half, she began dialing her cell phone. "Yeah, I'm going to be late," she said. "Bush just landed here at the airport and they have everything shut down. I have no idea when we'll be able to leave....Yeah, Bush. Not President Bush, just Bush....I won't call him 'president'....Yeah, I'll call you later."

    A few minutes later (with the whirring sounds of hydraulic equipment beneath us clearly audible as mechanics work on the plane), she dialed someone else.

    "Yeah, I'm stuck here on the runway in Ft. Lauderdale. They won't let anyone come or go because Bush is here...Not 'President Bush,' just 'Bush'....We saw him land a while ago, and now we're all just sitting here and have no idea how long we'll be stuck here."

    Another announcement from over the P.A. system: "Sorry folks, the mechanics are still working on resolving this issue, but unfortunately, we don't have any estimate for you yet." As I looked out the windows of the plane, I saw other airliners taxiing in and out of the terminal on either side of us. Planes are taking off and landing on the active runway. It's now been about 45 minutes since the president's motorcade left the airport, and about 40 minutes since the mechanics resumed working on the plane.

    "Yeah, I'm stuck in Ft. Lauderdale," Pocahontas O'Donnell said to another unsuspecting phone friend. "Bush--not 'President Bush;' just 'Bush'--is here and they shut everything down at the airport....I'm about to miss my connection because of him," she said.

    She called three or four more friends. Then she called the airline to try to book another connecting flight to Syracuse, and as soon as the customer service representative answered the phone, she said...well, you can guess what she said.

    Amazingly enough, this line of talk continued even after the presidential motorcade arrived back at the airport and Air Force One had departed for its next destination. In all, our flight was delayed 3 1/2 hours before finally being cancelled, and about 20 minutes of that delay was attributable to the president's arrival.

    But why should the facts get in the way of a good rant that also has the benefit of making one seem proximate to Important Goings-Ons (i.e. "Gosh, my interaction with the president is really screwing up my day...")? She called every poor soul who had the misfortune of having been programmed into her cell phone to tell them the same false story, trading on the president's importance to boost her own, even as she railed against him.

    I never got to hear, but I wonder if she blamed Bush for the ultimate cancellation of the flight, too? Maybe the electrical problem in our plane was his fault? In John Kerry's America, there will be no maintenance problems with planes.