INCITE
Incite -- (v) 1: give an incentive; 2: provoke or stir up; "incite a riot"; 3: urge on; cause to act
Sunday, October 31, 2004

 
WTF, OVER.
Written by: Brent Brophy

To shouts of "Death to America," Iran's parliament unanimously approved the outline of a bill Sunday that would require the government to resume uranium enrichment


This is not a good sign. If asked, Bush will probably say that the Iranians are really our "good friends". Compared to Kerry, that's a good thing.

Goe, saying WTF, OUT.


Friday, October 29, 2004

 
AWOL again
Written by: Beck

I'm off for another week or so. This should be the last trip I take for a while. Until I return, I leave you in the capable hands of my assorted co-bloggers. Which basically just means Goemagog.

If you get bored, just watch this play on repeat for an hour or two. I'm told it leads to either transcendental enlightenment or grand mal seizures. Either way, you definitely get your money's worth.


 
Osama lives!
Written by: Brent Brophy

I haven't seen the tape, so I don't know if he really is channeling Michael Moore like someone said on the Corner, but I would like to offer a hearty NEENER-NEENER to Beck and others who had predicted Osama's demise. Osama, just like most Democrats, claims that the planning for the attacks started in the late 1990's to get Bush's attention.

The solutions to the Osama problem are many.

1) More bombs being dropped on osama habitats.

2) More bullets being fired at osama supporters.

3) A nice pike on which to put his head.

4) Stop pretending his friends are our friends. Nuke Paris.

Goe, solving problems.


 
USSR REFORMED!
Written by: Brent Brophy

The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is reborn as most of the countries who lived in the soviet shadow surrender. This was done in Rome, as the railcar traditionally used for Euroweenie surrenders was busy carting Jews out of the region.

Goe, will rip apart the document itself later.


 
A Libertarian's Guide to the Election
Written by: Beck

This is for any Libertarians out there who either want their vote to actually matter, or who realize that Michael Badnarik is a pathetic waste of space and an embarrassment to the Libertarian party. David Hogberg of Hog Haven has assembled a terrific breakdown on where the two main candidates stand on an assortment of issues as seen from a libertarian point of view.

David considers 15 issues and weighs in on which candidate better fits the Libertarian perspective for each issue. Issues considered are abortion, taxes, social security, gay marriage, government spending, health care, education, affirmative action, minimum wage, tort reform, energy, welfare reform, judicial activism, and the environment.

I agree with almost all of David's assessments (except with regard to government spending--Bush has been bad, but Kerry would be worse to a magnitude which would require thirteen digits to express). His final score is nine issues to Bush and three issues to Kerry. Naturally, any one person will weight the importance of issues differently, but Bush, no surprise here, comes out as by far the more attractive candidate from the perspective of a Libertarian voter.

Of course, if you want to see the specific scores & commentary on each issue, you'll have to go read the post yourself.

(Hat tip: Instapundit)


 
It's the economy, stupid
Written by: Beck

Thirteen of the fifteen quarters since Bush has taken office have seen real GDP growth, including the last twelve in a row. Furthermore, the losing quarters were the first and third--quarters over which a new president has the least amount of influence.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us


Data for the most recent quarter, just released, shows a 3.7% increase in real GDP for the most recent quarter.

Would someone like to explain to me why it is that "Bush has trashed the economy" remains a Democratic talking point? And why do people continue to take such crap seriously!? Me... I blame the media. And the French.


 
Funny shit
Written by: Beck

This is great.

Be sure and watch it 'til the end.

(Presented by The Daily Recycler, INDC Journal, and Protein Wisdom)


 
The virtue of being succinct
Written by: Beck

Presented without commentary--none is really necessary, and besides, I'm starting to feel like I've already said all there is to say (yeah, obviously that feeling won't keep me shut up for long)--an excerpt from the Scotsman:
To the dismay of his speechwriters, Mr Kerry's attempts to "make it real" at rallies has led him to ramble so much that any snappy phrases composed for him are drowned in a sea of verbosity.

[...] During one speech, Mr Kerry's script writers had crafted the concise pledge: "I will work with Republicans and Democrats on this healthcare plan, and we will pass it."

In the candidate's hands it became: "I will work with Republicans and Democrats across the aisle, openly, not with an ideological, driven, fixed, rigid concept, but much like Franklin Roosevelt said, I don't care whether a good idea is a Republican idea or a Democrat idea. I just care whether or not it's gonna' work for Americans and help make our country stronger.

"And we will pass this bill. I'll tell you a little bit about it in a minute, and I'll tell you why we'll pass it, because it's different from anything we've ever done before, despite what the Republicans want to try to tell you."
The rest of the article is fairly humorous as well.

(Hat tip: Best of the Web)


 
Che Death
Written by: Brent Brophy

I just recently saw a trailer for the film Motorcycle Diaries, about the life of Che Guevara before he embarks on trying to turn the whole of Latin America into a killing field. Since promoting genocide, dictators, and genocidal dictators seems to be the primary business of Hollywood these days, I think I know the next logical step. If someone is willing to front the production money, I'm sure Beck and I could write a comedy about Pol Pot.

He's mistaken for a rickshaw driver named Pot Pol. He's sent to a camp where he befriends the guards by devising new ways to kill the other prisoners while the rickshaw driver falls for Pol Pot's french mistress who dissuades him from stopping the killing. His resistance to her bloodthirsty habits makes her suspicious and she eventually figures it out and has to rescue the real dictator from a torture center, leaving the rickshaw driver to die in his place. For any slow parts, we'd have voiceovers of famous americans giving their public support to the Khmer Rouge.

If you wanted an Oscar, we could even make Pol Pot handicapped and/or gay.

Goe, against genocide but for a good laugh.


Thursday, October 28, 2004

 
Indicative
Written by: Beck

The papers have all begun announcing their endorsements for president. Most have not been especially surprising. But what of the newspaper which perhaps knows John Kerry best--the newspaper from his hometown of Lowell?

OK, so obviously I wouldn't be blogging this were Kerry's hometown rag endorsing Kerry. They've chosen to endorse Bush. So yes, I enjoy rubbing it in, but Lowell Sun makes some good points, and they definitely seem to have an up-close and personal feel for the Senator's personality.
John Kerry... has all the attributes of the shape of water when it comes to telling us what he believes and what he'd do for America. Like incoming and outgoing tides, Kerry is content to go with the flow. In a dangerous world infested with sharks, Kerry would be chum at America's expense.

We in Massachusetts know John Kerry. He got his first taste of politics 32 years ago in the cities and towns of Greater Lowell.

In his 20 years in the U.S. Senate, Kerry, a Navy war hero, hasn't risen above the rank of seaman for his uninspiring legislative record. He's been inconsistent on major issues. First he's for the 1991 Persian Gulf War, then he opposes it. First he's for the war in Iraq, then he's against it. First he's for a strong U.S. defense, then he votes against military weapons programs. First he's for the U.S. Patriot Act, then he opposes it.

Kerry's solution to stop terrorism? He'd go to the U.N. and build a consensus. How naive. France's Jacques Chirac, Germany's Gerhard Schroeder, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and other Iraq oil-for-food scam artists don't want America to succeed. They want us brought down to their level. And more and more, Kerry sounds just like them. In a recent campaign speech, Kerry said America was in the wrong war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

No doubt John Kerry sincerely wants to serve his country, but we believe he's the wrong man, in the wrong place, at the wrong time.
Kerry has defined his candidacy as an alternative to Bush's. His arguments for why we should elect him revolve around deficiencies--perceived or real--in Bush's presidency. Kerry's campaign has been one of finding fault with imperfect actions taken to resolve a host of complex, thorny issues in an increasingly complex, thorny world.

The Lowell Sun does something which many would be well advised to do themselves. Think not about Kerry as simply "the alternative to Bush." Rather, think about Kerry the man. What does Kerry really represent? What does Kerry really believe in? What will Kerry really do as president? And most importantly, what kind of man is John Forbes Kerry?

I had a professor once who, when speaking about ethics in business, said that everything comes down to, "Character, with a capital 'C'." Some people have it, and some people don't. You might not like Bush's social policy, his stance on abortion, gay marriage, socialized health care; you might not like his fiscal policy, his tax breaks or his spending hikes; you might think that Bush has done a poor job managing the situation in post-war Iraq, his prosecution of the War on Terror.

I would disagree with you on many of those points. There are plenty of grounds for debate on any of a host of contentious policy issues. But there's one thing about which I have zero doubt. About which I think there is zero ground for debate. Bush has Character; Kerry is profoundly bereft of it. If Kerry wins this election, the American people will reap what they have sown.

And they we will deserve what we get.


 
The end is nigh
Written by: Beck

I'm not all that familiar with the specifics of the Revelation of Saint John, but I'm pretty sure I spotted at least three signs of the pending apocalypse within 1 minute of booting up my computer this morning.

Sign 1: Searches for sex online as a percentage of total web searches declined by 75% in the past 7 years.
"Twenty percent of all searching was sex-related back in 1997, now it's about 5 percent," said Amanda Spink, the University of Pittsburgh professor who co-authored "Web Search: Public Searching of the Web" with Penn State professor Bernard J. Jansen.
If there's one thing that I know, it's that the proper and intended use of the internet is to search for porn. If people can lose sight of that, they can lose sight of anything. What is the world coming too!?!

Sign 2: There was a lunar eclipse last night, and I didn't find out about it until today, so I completely missed it, and that kind of ticks me off. It's a well known fact that me being ticked off heralds the riding forth of the horsemen of the apocalypse. Nifty factoid for you:
During totality, when the moon is completely immersed in shadow, it might turn red, the result of Earth's atmosphere bending hints of all the world's sunrises and sunsets simultaneously onto the moon while the sun's primary light is blocked.
Sign 3: A missing link in the human evolutionary chain... OK, more of a failed digression from the human evolutionary chain... stick with me here, you'll see what I mean in a second... has been found. And that missing link is hobbits.
Scientists in Australia have found a new species of hobbit-sized humans who lived about 18,000 years ago on an Indonesian island in a discovery that adds another piece to the complex puzzle of human evolution.

The partial skeleton of Homo floresiensis, found in a cave on the island of Flores, is of an adult female that was 3 feet tall, had a chimpanzee-sized brain and was substantially different from modern humans.

It shared the isolated island to the east of Java with miniature elephants and Komodo dragons. The creature walked upright, probably evolved into its dwarf size because of environmental conditions and coexisted with modern humans in the region for thousands of years.

[...] Local legends tell of hobbit-like creatures existing on islands long ago but there has been no evidence of them.

[...] Brown and his colleagues have found the remains of seven other dwarf individuals at the same site since the first find.

"The other individuals all show similar characteristics, and over a time range that now extends from as long ago as 95,000 years to as recently as 13,000 years ago -- a population of hobbits that seemed to disappear at about the same time as the pygmy elephants that they hunted," said Bert Roberts, one of the authors of the Nature study.
Current theories to explain the disappearance of the hobbits include encroaching human settlement, massive warfare, or maybe just smoking too much weed. One cave drawing which hints at this depicts a strange demon creature with huge eyes wearing a ring, lots of other demon creatures with spears fighting men on horses, and a cryptic scene which scientists have described as, "A bunch of hobbits being trampled by pygmy elephants."


Wednesday, October 27, 2004

 
bleh
Written by: Brent Brophy

I have a cat. My cat is broken. She is broken beyond the means of duct tape to repair. I have had cats before that didn't meow like a cat should. They made other vocalizations, like muted caterwalling or pigeonesque cooing sounds. In yet another surrealistic moment in my life, my cat made a different noise. She quacked.

Goe, because none of this makes sense.


 
Today's morning reading
Written by: Beck

Matt Margolis has posted an interview with Richard Miniter, author of the book Shadow War. The book, and consequently the interview, detail how the war on terror is being prosecuted in over 100 countries. In essence, it makes the point that the election campaign focus on only two theaters--Iraq and Afghanistan--is an entirely inaccurate representation of what's actually going on in the world. Some choice bits:
Here's the key statistic: More 3,000 al Qaeda fighters have been seized or slain since 9-11 in 102 different countries. That shows that the effort is larger than the public has been told--3,000 may be equal to one-quarter of al Qaeda's total strength--and far more global than the public believes. If you destroy a division of the enemy and it does not score a comparable victory against you, you are winning. That is the position of the U.S. today.

The war is more than Iraq and Afghanistan: In all but a handful of those 102 cases, those captures and kills have occurred with the help of local governments. Forget the 30 allies we have on the ground in Iraq, we have almost 100 allies in the war on terror--including virtually every Muslim-majority country in the world...

The key difference between the candidates on the war comes down to the nature of the threat. Kerry seems to see the war as limited to Afghanistan and Iraq--despite the intelligence briefings he has received. And he has surrounded himself with Clinton NSC officials who saw terrorism as primarily a law enforcement problem. I'd feel better about Kerry if I thought that he and his advisers had thought deeply about the counterterrorism mistakes of the Clinton years and the size of the threat manifested on 9-11. But I see no signs that they have learned from these bitter experiences.
In answer to a question about measuring success in the WoT (and whether or not that's even really possible, Miniter has this to say:
Still, records of captures and kills are hard numbers. Lists of stopped plots--such as the plot to sink U.S. warships off the coast of Spain, to blow up the US embassy in Paris, the US embassy in Bamako, Mali and to kill the US Ambassador to Singapore--are hard to dismiss as any thing other than clear-cut victories. And consider al Qaeda's "victories": all but the March 11 bombing in Madrid occurred in Muslim-majority countries. They have been unable to carry attacks in the Western world for more than 3 years. And, with the exception of the bombings in Turkey, they have been unable to strike twice in quick succession in the same country--because their cells have been smashed, slain or seized. That is another sign of victory.
Finally, a point which especially spoke to me--the damned if you do, damned if you don't double standard used by the press & others with regard to the current administration. Miniter has this to say in response to a question about the infamous August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing:
The only evidence that I see in the PDB that CIA was aware of a gathering threat was the title--and that title was a based on a specific question put to the CIA in July following a plot to kill Bush in Italy in July 2001. So if anything the president was more focused on the threat than the CIA.

And since you asked, the Bush Administration had developed a plan to strike Al Qaeda in Afghanistan in retaliation for the attack on the USS Cole in October 2000. The Clinton people had declined to act, as I explain in my book Losing Bin Laden. The Bush people saw the necessity of combating the threat and had developed a plan. All of the relevant agencies, including State, Defense and CIA, had approved the plan by August 2001. Condi Rice had approved the plan in September, before 9-11. A meeting was scheduled with the president, but before he could be briefed, two planes slammed into the World Trade Center. The Administration simply did not know it was in a race against time.

If Bush had attacked bin Laden before 9-11, and the attacks on New York and Washington happened anyway, I'm sure a certain segment of the press would have blamed Bush for provoking the attacks through unilateral action.
Read the rest.

Related here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.


 
Alright, I'll bite: missing explosives pseudo-scandal redux
Written by: Beck

If you haven't yet heard about the missing Iraqi explosives flap which the NYT first reported on Monday, you might want to think about leaving your bomb shelter for fresh air a little more often.

I ignored the story at first because, well, it was bad for my candidate of choice. Then I ignored the news from NBC the very same day that the Times story was a load of hooey (and yes, I have a permit for use of the word "hooey"). I've only decided to finally rise and take the bait of this non-story because the WSJ has a very good article today neatly summarizing everything. So, helpful guy that I am, I thought I'd share.
Kudos to the Kerry-Edwards campaign for responding on a dime to the news that some 380 tons of high-grade explosives have gone missing from the Qaqaa munitions depot near Baghdad.

The story was first reported on Monday by The New York Times and CBS News; by Tuesday, the Times headline was the featured visual in a new Kerry campaign ad damning President Bush for having "failed to secure" the cache. "This is one of the great blunders, one of the great blunders of this Administration," says the junior Senator from Massachusetts.

But here's something our Democratic friends might keep in mind: The next time you try to set a land-speed record for demagoguing an issue, first check if the story has wheels. In this case, it doesn't.

[...] Following the first Gulf War, the International Atomic Energy Agency put the Qaqaa cache under seal, where it remained until U.N. inspectors were kicked out in 1998. Upon the inspectors' return in late 2002, some 35 tons of HMX were found to be missing; the Iraqis claimed some of it had been removed for civilian use.

That's the last we know of their whereabouts. According to a Times source, U.S. troops "went through the bunkers, but saw no items bearing the IAEA seal." NBC News, which was embedded with the 101st Airborne when it arrived at Al-Qaqaa on April 10, 2003--the day after the fall of Baghdad--also reports this week that back then it found no sign of the explosives either. Stands to reason: Of course Saddam would remove his precious HMX from its last known location before U.S. cruise missiles could find it.
But wait, there's more! Ed over at Captain's Quarters has done something no one else bothered too--the math on what it would take to abscond with 380 tons of, well, anything. Have a look at the calculations yourself if you like, here are his conclusions:
Total = 19-20 trucks, 90 men working continuously for two weeks to "loot" facility.

Bottom line this operation would take the resources of AN ENTIRE COMPANY (approx. 100 men) OVER TWO WEEKS, good Intel to know exactly where the "right" explosives were hidden and a means of breaching huge steel doors and concrete of an ASP.
Naturally, no modern politics news story would be complete without a conspiracy to discredit the sitting president at its heart. CBS has already shown their colors in seeking to toss the election to Kerry in any way they can. They did the same in 2000 when they reported, at the last possible second, on Bush's DWI (which really did nearly cost him the election). Ed researches the various conspirators with much aplomb.
In a story rich with irony, the Los Angeles Times reported last night -- before NBC made the Al-Qaqaa story moot -- that CBS had the story first but couldn't nail it down before the New York Times published it...

Unnoticed in all of the attention given to the NY Times was CBS's broadcast of essentially the same story, based on its own reporting, which turned out to be just as incomplete as the NYT. The Gray Lady graciously gave its partner some of the credit/blame.
James Taranto in today's Best of the Web has more to add, linking the IAEA--which has already made itself rather a nuisance to the Bush administration--to this whole mess. He summarizes from a New York Sun article:
The New York Sun notes that the Times/CBS report was based on a letter from Mohamed ElBaradei, who is seeking a third term as head of the International Atomic Energy Commission. The Bush administration opposes ElBaradei's reappointment, so one suspects that this was a foreign effort to influence the outcome of America's presidential election, aided by our domestic partisan liberal media.


Tuesday, October 26, 2004

 
Today's special feature: Meet a United Nations Member!
Written by: Beck

Today's important United Nations member is the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It's the largest nation in Africa, and if John Kerry becomes president of the United States, they'll be one of the 200 or so decision makers at the UN who will be dictating your brand new, happier, friendlier foreign policy. If we're really lucky, they'll be dictating our domestic policy as well!

Here, have a look at some of the wonderful things going on in the DR of the Congo lately:
Fighters in Congo have raped at least 40,000 women and girls over the past six years yet the health system in the central African country can offer the victims little help, Amnesty International said on Tuesday.

Although war in the Democratic Republic of Congo was declared over in 2003, fighting has continued sporadically in the east with some horrific rape cases occurring in June this year, according to the human rights group.

[...] All of the more than 20 groups involved in Congo's conflict had committed rape and sexual violence, it said in a statement.

As one example of many crimes, Amnesty cited testimony from the youngest of three sisters raped by up to 20 members of a faction which seized the eastern town of Bukavu in June.

"Jeanette was raped by seven soldiers in the storeroom, Francine by eight soldiers in the shop," 16-year-old Edith said.
Ah, those zany, fun loving Congolese!

Of course, you may be thinking, "But that nation can't possibly be important enough to have any sort of real influence on the United Nations and, by implication, American foreign policy under a Kerry administration." As the French would say, "au contraire," which translates to either, "on the contrary," or, "I surrender!" depending on context.

The DR of the Congo has all sorts of relevance in the United Nations. Just have a look at the committees of which it is a member:

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization
The United Nations Refugee Committee (on the Executive Committee)
United Nations Industrial Development Organization
United Nations Economic Commission for Africa
International Atomic Energy Agency (You know, the people responsible for keeping states like North Korea and Iran from developing The Bomb).
Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (Signatory Member)
International Labor Organization
Food & Agriculture Organization
World Health Organization
International Bank for Reconstruction and Development
International Development Association
International Finance Corporation
Multinational Investment Guarantee Agency
International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes
International Monetary Fund
International Civil Aviation Organization
International Telecommunication Union

Yes, the United Nations really knows how to put the "bloated" in bloated rapacious bureaucracies. And the wonderful rapists bureaucrats of the Democratic Republic of the Congo are involved at every step of the way!


 
Scenes From Mario Puzo's Scratch Pad
Written by: Beck

So there's this guy. He gets thrown in a Spanish prison for online credit card fraud and identity theft. There he meets & recruits several dozen other like-minded prisoners into a tightly knit crime organization--the men linked by family, racial, and religious ties. Once free, this guy, now the ring leader of a fairly hefty crime family, procures a ton of explosives and plans to use it to blow up the National Courthouse in attempt to both destroy documents related to his criminal activities and kill various judges, civilians, etc. Not a nice dude in other words. Willing to commit any crime, no matter how monstrous, should it work to further his goals. His organization has links to other organized crime families in Morocco, New York, Algeria, and also to Central Asian opium smugglers. At the last moment, before he can blow the courthouse straight to hell, the ring leader is arrested in Switzerland after his bombing plot is uncovered by Spanish police.

Standard Mafia story. The guy running the show--the don, the godfather, the criminal mastermind, the numero uno dude in this organization of bad dudes wears the name Mohamed Acharf. Spain currently is working to get him extradited from Switzerland.

Acharf is a terrorist. You'll find his story in brief right here. And no, I'm not getting "Mafia" and "terrorist" confused. Islamists, Muslim fundamentalists, Marxist extremists, it doesn't matter. They have their dogma, they have their goals, and they state baldly that their dogma justifies attainment of their goals via violence against civilians.

At the end of the day, they're just a bunch of organized criminals. They kidnap people to raise money. Rob banks. Engage in various forms of fraud. Ultimately their goals lose priority to mindless violence an thuggery. The similarities between terrorists and common organized criminals are striking. At the end, the logical conclusion is that for most of these thugs, the principles and pronouncements of Islamic extremism are really just window dressing to justify an indulgence in crime and raw violence.

Think of them as the theological equivalent of serial killers.


 
Know your enemy
Written by: Brent Brophy

He knows you.

Goe, against commies.


 
CPS
Written by: Brent Brophy

A space geek sent me a link to a story about the Commie Positioning System, known as Galileo. The United States and NATO are standardized on the GPS system we started putting in place back in the late 80's. This means that the Euroweenies have unlimited access to it. Thanks to the miracles of civilian technology, pretty much everyone else does too. The catch is that the accuracy can be reduced by the Pentagon during a war, so our enemies can't use it. Our allies would still be able to use it, but civilians wouldn't get the exacting detail.

Our NATO allies decided that wasn't good enough. They wanted to make their own system, because they either think Europe ceased being part of the globe or they plan on being one of those enemies.

Previously, officials touted only the commercial benefit of Galileo, which is expected to tap into a burgeoning market for satellite positioning systems that doubled from 10 billion euros in 2002 to 20 billion euros in 2003.


If they wanted to make money off of positioning, why don't they make stuff that works off of the GPS system? They're paying the cost of building another satellite network that does the EXACT SAME THING as ours. Either they're wasting money by building stuff that won't work (like most euromilitary hardware) or they're planning on not having access to our system.

The really fucked up part is that the euroweenies are letting every country that wants access to have access. If everybody has access then you can't turn the damned thing off, or down, or anything else. The newest addition to the Commie Positioning Consortium is China, a country which is planning on going to war with the United States no later than 2020, a 16 year window. Putin's Russia, already headed deep into totalitarianism, is already involved. Toss in the Euroweenies, to whom rights are either a direction to turn or enemies of the "people", and you've got the socialist triumvirate.

On the plus side, India's becoming less socialist by the day so we may not have to stand alone. Unless the State Department gets involved, then nobody will want to help us.

Goe, wonders why our state department works for france.


Monday, October 25, 2004

 
Name that trend
Written by: Beck

First a rise in European antisemitism, now this. Sure, they don't seem related on the surface, but there's definitely a theme shared in common.
Locally, Bush-Cheney and other Republican campaign signs have been burned, chain-sawed and simply stolen, while Democrat Arn Menconi also reports some mysterious disappearances of his election signs. The most starkly sinister anti-Bush messages are the large 4-by-8 foot torched and blackened Bush/Cheney sign that still stands near Wolcott, and the two back-to-back signs with their centers sawed out, located in Avon off the I-70 exit overlooking Wal-Mart.

[...] On the national level, the sign destruction has amped up into the trashing of Republican offices, physical attacks on Republicans, and even hails of bullets through the windows of campaign offices.

[...] Intimidation tactics against the Republican message, Republican headquarters, and Republicans themselves has been reported nationwide, prompting Bush-Cheney '04 Campaign Chairman Governor Marc Racicot on Oct. 11 to send a firm letter to John Sweeney, who heads the AFL-CIO.

Wrote Racicot, "Over the past several weeks, acts of violence and vandalism have occurred at Republican and Bush-Cheney campaign headquarters across the country. In addition to the injuries, property damage and disruption associated with these acts, these events have created a threatening and intimidating atmosphere abhorrent to our democratic process."

[...] In many locations, the protesters attempted to enter, or entered, campaign or party facilities. As one protester said, "Actually, we're storming into an office."

In Orlando, Florida, injuries and damage were sustained. Protesters forced their way into the facility, fracturing the arm of one staffer, and vandalized the office.

In Michigan, Protesters entered a headquarters and engaged in activities apparently intended to disrupt volunteers trying to make phone calls."

[...] A Seattle Republican office break-in where laptop computers with critical information were stolen from top organizing officials.

At a break-in in Canton, Ohio, a staffer locked herself into an office while the burglary and ransacking was in progress.

Gunshots fired into Bush-Cheney '04 offices in West Virginia shattered glass while local party members were watching Bush’s convention speech.

Gunshots were also fired into Bush-Cheney offices in Florida and Tennessee.

In Wisconsin, an 8-by-8 foot swastika was burned into the lawn of a citizen with Bush-Cheney yard signs.
In completely unrelated news, November 9, one week after election day, marks the anniversary of Kristallnacht.

(Hat tip: Powerline)


Sunday, October 24, 2004

 
Day of mourning
Written by: Beck

At least, that's what I assume United Nations Day is all about.

To celebrate, I was going to Fisk a few of the online Messages in Commemoration of UN Day, but I found them to be too bland to have much fun with. There was one thing, however, which caught my eye. From Kofi Annan's message:
I believe we can build a better United Nations. That's why I will soon be putting before world leaders a package of measures to renew the Organization. [ed: I've noticed that throughout various UN dignitaries' speeches, they persist in referring to the UN simply as, "The Organization." Is it just me, or does that make it sound vaguely like something affiliated with the Mafia?] It will be up to your leaders to respond with vision and goodwill. They must find common ground at a historic meeting this time next year.

I ask you to encourage your leaders to give our world the United Nations it deserves. With your help, I know we can do it.

We are in a new era. We need a new United Nations. Let's make it happen.
I can't help but wonder what sort of new monstrosity Annan intends to attempt to inflict upon us. Here, I'll hazard a guess or two as to what Annan's "package of measures to renew the Organization" entail:

1) The Package of Measures will make the UN more powerful at the expense of member nations, especially larger and wealthier nations

2) The Package of Measures will weaken the Security Council & strengthen the General Assembly

3) The Package of Measures will require the UN to exceed projected revenue needs; thus, it will be accompanied by a call for new funding. This new funding will be disproportionately allocated to the USA.

4) The Package of Measures will do nothing to address the widespread inefficiency, corruption, and institutional rot which tirelessly serves to erode what little respect & legitimacy the UN still retains.

5) The Package of Measures once revealed, regardless of what it turns out to specifically entail, will really piss me off.

6) At the end of the day, regardless of whether the Package of Measures is implemented or not, the UN will remain a massively bloated heap of ineffective inertia run by unelected bureaucrats primarily dedicated to thwarting American security and prosperity.


 
Osama "Pasty Red Smudge" bin Laden follow-up
Written by: Beck

The latest Washington Times headline: Bush says bin Laden dead; A stuned John Kerry replies: "Oh, fuck. Really?"

It's the Washington Times, so you know it's true.

(Hat tip: Protein Wisdom, who had nothing to do with the Wash Times article. According to a reliable source. Really.)


 
A friend in need
Written by: Beck

A long, long time ago in a blogosphere far, far away, Misha of The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler was the first major blog to link to INCITE. It made a big difference in our traffic early on, and certainly helped in this site's launch. Now it's Misha who's in need of a little help, and the very least I can do to help out is return the favor with a link going the other way. So go have a look. If you've ever enjoyed the tons of entertaining, high quality, and free content Misha has cranked out over the years, now's your chance to let him know you appreciate it.


 
Congratulations to the Commissar
Written by: Beck

The Politburo Diktat is officially one year old. If you don't read the Politburo, you should. You'll find yourself hard pressed to find a better, more creative conservative satirist. That, and he's even been known to link me a time or two (viva la revolucion trackback, right Commissar?)


Saturday, October 23, 2004

 
Dumb comes to Dallas
Written by: Beck

Get a grip people. Seriously. You already long since missed the clue train, but you've still got a chance to at least retain your sanity.
Elections Administrator Robert Parten said Monday that anyone sporting a Cowboys logo at an Arlington voting site will be told to cover up their allegiance to the team if they want to cast a ballot.

He said he ordered the prohibition because of a provision on the Arlington ballot that asks whether taxpayers should help pay for a $650 million Cowboys stadium in their city.

"Anytime you go into a polling place and what you're wearing shows something that's on the ballot, that's electioneering," Gayle Hamilton, assistant elections administrator for Tarrant County, said.

State law prohibits voters at the polls with clothing, jewelry or badges that promote or denounce a candidate or proposition on a ballot.
Robert Parten, I officially declare you to be a moron. As you are clearly in need of assistance in the performance of your job, I've provided you with a simple primer:

  • Shirt that reads, "Legalize Pot:" Electioneering

  • Shirt that reads, "Marijuana, it's not just for breakfast anymore:" Not Electioneering

  • Shirt that reads, "No blood for oil:" Electioneering

  • Shirt that reads, "More blood for vampires:" Not electioneering

  • Shirt that reads, "Vote for the proposition to build the Cowboys a new stadium:" Electioneering

  • Dallas Cowboys Jersey: Not electioneering, it's just a (horribly misguided) football fan wearing a goddamned shirt. Do you actually think the sight of a Dallas Cowboys football jersey is going to influence someone's vote? Frankly, this asinine policy is more likely to impact voter behavior than anything else. Incidentally, anyone whose vote can be influenced by a football jersey doesn't deserve to vote. Of course, the same goes for anyone who's a Dallas Cowboys fan, but for completely different reasons
And now, time for the lightening round! Woman's shorts with "Keep Your Hands Off My Bush:" Answer: ambiguous. To determine, grab woman by the crotch. If she reacts angrily, the slogan was a reference to her pubic region. If she does not react angrily, the slogan was clearly a reference to the President, and thus constitutes electioneering. Inform the woman that she must remove her shorts immediately.


 
An open letter to The Guardian (Update)
Written by: Beck

Recall how the Guardian was giving Ohio voters' mailing addresses to British readers, encouraging them to write in support of Kerry? (Original post here). Big fucking surprise, the episode seems to have backfired rather severely.

I don't think this really comes as a shock to anyone (anyone in America anyway--the Brits seem to have been caught perfectly off guard), regardless of party affiliation. One American trait which definitely spans party lines is that we don't react well to people trying to tell us what to do and how to live our lives, regardless of whether we agree with them. That's part of the reason people come to this nation in the first place--to get the hell away from the goddamned nitpicking nanny-state mentality Euro mindset and/or to get away from the goddamned velvet-gloved (or iron fisted) pseudo-democracy (or outright dictatorship) regulatory states. In fact, one of the biggest reasons I could never bring myself to vote for Kerry is that he embodies that very European mindset so in conflict with the American spirit.

Where in hell was I going with this? Oh yeah. The Telegraph has the story.
The Guardian yesterday ran up the white flag and called a halt to "Operation Clark County", the newspaper's ambitious scheme to recruit thousands of readers to persuade American voters in a swing state to kick out President George W Bush in next month's election.

The cancellation of the project came 24 hours after the first of some 14,000 letters from Guardian readers began arriving in Clark County. The missives led to widespread complaints about foreign interference in a US election.

It also prompted a surge of indignant local voters calling the county's Republican party offering to volunteer for Mr Bush.

[...] He then acknowledged that no more addresses were being distributed, blaming attacks on The Guardian website by Right-wing hackers. [ed: attacks by right-wing hackers? My guess is that their servers crashed after all the email they got from pissed off Clark County voters.]

[...] The scheme seemed to backfired from the start as the reactions of the first recipients varied from indifference to anger and even alarm.

The surrender was announced in a lengthy "mea culpa" by Ian Katz, the G2 editor at The Guardian, who dreamed up the scheme.

He began with a lengthy denunciation of the American Right for over-reacting to his scheme, and painted his project as the victim of its own success [ed: Yeah, that's the ticket. It couldn't possibly have been a victim of being, well, a really stupid idea in the first place, could it? Nahhh.], after many thousands of readers wrote to Clark County voters.

[...] There had been mounting evidence that urging foreigners to send anti-Bush letters to Clark County - an isolated slice of the rural mid-West - was only hurting Senator John Kerry, the Democratic presidential candidate.

[...] Mr Katz acknowledged that an ever-growing number of Democrats, among them Sharon Manitta, the spokesman in Britain for Democrats Abroad, tried warning The Guardian: "This will certainly garner more votes for George Bush."

Mr Katz wrote yesterday that the paper had considered the possibility, but "we didn't believe it". He insisted: "Folks in Clark County itself have best recognised the spirit of the enterprise. Local media coverage has been consistently fair and good humoured."

"Good-humoured" headlines in the local newspaper, the Springfield News-Sun have included "Butt Out Brits, voters say" and "Trashing letter campaign" - a reference to the fact that the first woman to receive a letter from a Guardian reader, Beverly Coale, threw it away, fearing it was from a terrorist.
The truly amusing thing here is The Guardian's fantastically willful blindness to the most basic rudiments of the American mindset. American Democrats even tried to dissuade The Guardian--it was that bad of an idea.

(Hat tip: INDC Journal)


 
Housekeeping
Written by: Beck

I've changed the archive formatting at INCITE. Now, when you click a post's permalink, it'll show the post on its own unique page rather than simply scrolling to that post in the middle of a months' worth of archived material. Old links seem to still be working just fine, so hopefully this transition will be basically transparent. Please email me if you have any trouble viewing or linking to the blog.


 
Here's something you won't read in the Times
Written by: Beck

From VDARE: could Bush actually be more intelligent than Kerry?

Incidentally, did you know Bush got a 1206 on his SAT?

If you think about it, the only real evidence supporting the widely held assumption that the Prez is a moron is that he's a sub-par extemporaneous speaker. Frankly, a whole hell of a lot of intelligent people are lousy extemporaneous speakers. What other evidence is out there? Leave it in the comments.

(Hat tip: Wizbang)


 
I heard the news today, oh boy!
Written by: Beck

Did you know that Osama Bin Laden is dead? OK, so there isn't actually any evidence that he's dead, but Matthew Heidt over at Froggy Ruminations makes an observation that I've been mulling in my mind for a while now. If OBL is alive, then why have we only heard from his subordinates since the Tora Bora campaign?
Maybe you're wondering how I know he's dead. Perhaps one of my SEAL buddies let me in on the secret? NO. I know because a publicity whore and grandstanding scumbag like UBL could not possibly resist the multitude of opportunities to inspire his cult members. His number 1, Zwahiri, has appeared on video or audio broadcasts every few months since 9/11. UBL has not been heard from since Tora Bora despite developments in the GWOT in Afghanistan and Iraq that make it unthinkable for him to have remained silent. Not to mention successful attacks in Bali, Madrid, Turkey, and Jakarta to name a few that remain unremarked upon by UBL. The invasion and occupation of an Islamic state by the US and not a word. Elections held for the first time in Afghan history, and he had nothing to say about it in the lead up. AQ tried once early on to air a tape that never mentioned key developments in the Afghan campaign and was quickly discredited as an attempt to put one over on his followers by airing a previous recording. Zwahiri decided that it was better to just pretend that UBL was alive because there was no plausible martyr story to tell. UBL went out running for his life like a coward. He is dead. His remains are turds shat by scavenging animals in the mountains of Afghanistan blown by the wind and stomped on by US troops.
Of course, since this is so obvious, why hasn't Bush said anything? After all, it would be a wonderful counter to Kerry's wonderful soundbite about, "Outsourcing Tora Bora," or whatever foolish inanity it was. Matthew has an answer to that question too:
Because the President knows that making UBL a martyr would serve to further inspire his minions, and he realizes that preventing this from happening is more important than his re-election. Instead, UBL remains forever silent even as his recruits yearn to hear his voice. Eventually these cultists will realize themselves that UBL went out like a punk, not a martyr and that the AQ head shed has been lying to them for years. That realization combined with US combat boots knocking their teeth down their throats will go a long way to beating this cult into submission. But it is important to recognize that the President's commitment to killing terrorists supersedes his commitment to his own re-election. I'm sure he hopes that the American people will come to this conclusion on their own and vote for him anyway, but it is quite a risk to take in the ultimate ME situation.
Naturally, were Bush to have stepped up to the plate at the debates and said, "Well, we don't know for sure, but if I were a bettin' man, I'd say Osama Bin Laden is a pasty smear under a caved-in pile of rubble," he would have been running a lot of incidental risks. For one thing, on the offhand chance that OBL actually is still alive, he could have chosen that moment to pop up with a copy of the latest NYT in one hand, flipping the bird with his other, and inviting Bush to, "Suck it." And that would be the end of Bush's candidacy. Further, a declaration by the Prez that OBL is probably dead, apart from the damage it would do--as Matthew pointed out--by making OBL's martyrdom official, would invite an avalanche of hoaxes, false claims, and other bits of outrage that, frankly, aren't going to help our cause in the least.

But just because Bush can't come out and say OBL is most likely dead doesn't mean I can't.

He's dead folks. Dead as a fucking doornail.


Friday, October 22, 2004

 
Ancient parallels
Written by: Brent Brophy

National Geographic ran a show recently on their PBS program about the ancient Phoenicians. They were a set of small kingdoms who turned their natural resources into a trading empire. They sacrificed babies, created royal purple, and circumnavigated Africa. Except for the sacrificing of babies, we know almost nothing about them.

This provides the basis for most of the show. They were hated and envied to such an extent that other societies, often just as barbaric, had nothing kind to say about them. What remains of their own culture are primarily relics of their trading empire: Greek statues, Roman carvings, Egyptian coffins, etc. When it came to items, the Phoenicians weren't picky. Anything worth having was worth having, regardless of it's origins. The stuff they had tended to reflect whichever society was dominant in non-trade aspects of life.

The show never pointed this out, but the Phoenicians were a mirroring society. The Phoenicians wanted wealth, but so did everyone they traded with. If the Romans made a bunch of stylized reliefs of lion-fighting, the Phoenicians did likewise. If the Egyptians had some extra statues, they could decorate a Phoenician palace just as easily as any in Egypt. The three most distinctive aspects of Phoenician culture were the trading, baby sacrificing (unlike everyone else's infanticide), and an otherwise lack of distinctiveness.

Except for the baby-sacrificing, they're pretty easy to compare to us. We've parlayed our natural resources into a global trade network. Others trade with us to make themselves rich but are resentful that we have the same motivation. We're accused of oppression by countries that encourage slavery, and of aggression by countries hell-bent on conquering their neighbors. They want to be good farmers and we grow fat. If something useful emerges in Europe or Japan, it'll be readily adopted here.

We're a mirror society, to other coutries we are a reflection of their own desires. If something useful emerges in the world, it'll be readily adopted here, but the reverse is not true. If something useful emerges in the United States, it'll be discouraged worldwide as more American imperialism and cultural subversion. We're not the hindrance to the emergence of a global society, we are the global society. Our values, our language, every aspect of our country has been borrowed and adopted from somewhere else. Only tribalists can't find a way to make themselves successful here, because they don't think big enough.

We are the global society, and the globe hates us for it because they haven't the courage to try what works. As a general rule, the less a country or society likes us, the less adaptable and flexible they are. Being hated tells us nothing about us. India was a staunch opponent of the United States until it began to shed socialist controls and permitted it's people to be adaptable, making it one of our better allies in the world.

We are the global society because we mirror whatever works. Like the ancient Phoenicians were envied and hated by the other cultures of their world, we are envied and hated by the other cultures of ours. The root problem isn't with our success but with their envy, but not being the cause of the problem won't save us from the Phoenician's fate. To survive, we'll have to defend our flexibility, we'll have to encourage others to try ways that work instead of their customary ways, and we'll have to kill the ones who want to kill us.

Goe, cause a tradition of failure is a stupid thing to follow.


Thursday, October 21, 2004

 
The first thing we do...
Written by: Brent Brophy

Socialized medicine destroys the quality and quantity of healthcare available. What would socializing the legal profession do? I would think that, at the very least, there would be fewer of the bastards.

Jennings, Brokaw, and Rather have circled their wagons and have their networks support in slanting the news. I guess that's what would happen if the Ministry of Truth were broken up and privatized, the essential mission of telling people what to think wouldn't change.

Dennis Miller and Fox News are the only ones on television giving out a different message, even Jon Stewart of the Daily Show has turned into a pod person, hissing on Crossfire. Dennis Miller is good, but Fox News has too little news and too many 'celebrity' newscasters.

Why is it that reporters today are unable to tell the difference between telling a story and conveying information? They all think that they're master storytellers and the rest of us are idiots to whom the subtler aspects have to be repeated. Reporters aren't supposed to make things happen, just report. If I want make-believe than I will watch CBS News, but if I want to find out what is going on in the world, there aren't any real choices.

Goe, wishes he could speak conversational Shakespeare.


Friday, October 15, 2004

 
Just when things were picking up again...
Written by: Beck

I'm going to be away from the computer for a while. No more blog posts from me. I should be back online and writing a week from Saturday.

Later!


Thursday, October 14, 2004

 
An open letter to the Grauniad Guardian
Written by: Beck

Dear sirs:

Speaking as an American voter, I encourage you to continue attempting to influence the outcome of the American presidential election. Hopefully, if enough Americans become aware of just how obnoxious, presumptuous, officious, and crass the Euro-liberal mindset really is, they will come to their senses and vote for anyone other than the man who embraces precisely that mindset--John Kerry.

Regards,
John Beck

In case you're wondering, here's what the hell I'm going on about.

If you'd like to send a letter of your own--something which I highly encourage--just click the "Dear sirs" link above, and it should pop up an email with the addresses collected by Tim Blair already populated in the To: field.


 
Common sense on jobs & outsourcing
Written by: Beck

Well, any candidate for president who stands up and tells people, as some are, that they're going to just stop it by getting tough on trade or whatever, is lying to the American people.

Outsourcing is particularly painful at this moment because we haven't been creating jobs, and we haven't been creating jobs to some measure because of the overhang of the 1990s, the excess capacity that we were left with and the need to sort of burn it up. Now, there's a huge amount of stimulus in our economy right now and we're beginning to see some of the impact of that.
Spoken by... John Kerry on December 3, 2003. I suppose it goes without saying that you won't be hearing anything like that from him these days.

(Hat tip: Rambling's Journal)


 
Required reading - Stephen Green
Written by: Beck

This is quite possibly the best thing I've ever read at Vodkapundit, and that's saying a lot. It explains why, while I can have a reasonable and intelligent discussion with a liberal, I can never vote for a Democrat. When I see a Republican that I simply can't support, I vote Libertarian. Some choice cuts:
To [the Democratic party], winning office is more important than the sanctity of elections. Holding power is more important than the Constitution. Much as I despise at least half of what most Republicans stand for, they don't seem nearly as willing to trash the system they're trying to run. Too many Democrats, especially at the national level, just don't care that our system, our nation is far more important than any single election.

[...] Democracy is the free market of political systems. And like any free market, it can't function without some basic level of trust. That trust comes, slowly, from hammering out rules even competitors can live with. That trust comes, with difficulty, by honoring those rules, even when your candidate doesn't win. That trust exists in relatively few places around the world.

[...] The system, the trust, is far more important than anything else. It's more important than the White House, or Congress, or Social Security, or jobs, or even the Terror War. Our Constitution is rigged to make it hard for any party to screw things up in the short time of four years. There's always another election around the corner, if you think the current crop of office-holders is screwing things up – that's the beauty of our system.

[...] Now, I know this is an angry essay. However, I don't mean to imply that all Democrats are evil and all Republicans are sweetness and light. Far from it. But for the first time in 16 years, I'm going to vote Republican straight down the line. If I have to punish a couple of local Democrats I'm fond of, then so be it, but I have to try to get a point across: The national Democratic Party is bad for this country.

I don't say that because of their policies, which I probably agree with more than I do the Republicans. But because their tactics would cause more harm to this country than the Federal Marriage Amendment, the Republican budget deficit, and Congress's corporate tax giveaways, combined.


 
This message has been brought to you by Walter Sobchak
Written by: Beck

For your information, the Supreme Court has roundly rejected prior restraint.

For those who prefer a little more elaboration:
The Federal Communications Commission won't intervene to stop a broadcast company's plans to air a critical documentary about John Kerry's anti-Vietnam War activities on dozens of TV stations, the agency's chairman said Thursday.

"Don't look to us to block the airing of a program," Michael Powell told reporters. "I don't know of any precedent in which the commission could do that."

Eighteen senators, all Democrats, wrote to Powell this week and asked him to investigate Sinclair Broadcast Group's plan to run the program, "Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal," two weeks before the Nov. 2 election.

Powell said there are no federal rules that would allow the agency to prevent the program. "I think that would be an absolute disservice to the First Amendment and I think it would be unconstitutional if we attempted to do so," he said.


 
The United States Presidential Election: My Prediction
Written by: Beck

Every blog on the planet (by which I mean every blog I read) seems to have either a long post commenting on the third debate, a wrap up of other blogs who have commented on the debates, or, in many cases, both. I briefly entertained doing a roundup of the roundups, but then I suddenly realized what a lame idea that was.

So instead I'm going to move beyond the debates to talk about the election itself. It's less than three weeks away now. In a very real sense, the election has already begun. Absentee balloting began earlier this month, and the ratio of absentee ballots to total ballots cast this election cycle is expected to set a record.

It's go time.

There are very few things left which could significantly affect the outcome of this election. The debates are done. Scoring according to reactions from the punditocracy, the debates went Kerry, tie, Bush, in that order. Amusingly, Kerry took the foreign policy debate and Bush took the domestic debate. Regardless of your own personal opinion on the scoring of the debates, the truth of the matter is that they have not succeeded in significantly moving the polls (the first one seems to ahve shifted things a few points toward Kerry). Moreover, any movement in the polls the debates were likely to cause is done as of tomorrow.

How much is left that could influence the outcome of the election? Both candidates are in full campaign mode, but that's been pretty much a constant & impact-free influence for a solid month. There could be a terrorist attack at home, some massive debacle in Iraq, or some gargantuan gaffe on the part of one of the candidates. That's what it'll take to create a significant move in the statistics at this point.

Let's assume that none of those things happen. Result: things will be down to the wire & polls will remain--within the margin of error--effectively tied.

I've stayed away from making an election outcome prediction. Election predictions are worth scant little, as anyone who knows their election history can tell you. For the most part I've played devil's advocate. When it looked like Bush couldn't possibly lose (i.e. before the Democratic Primaries really got into swing), I was talking about the example of Bush's father. When Kerry was looking strong and bullet-proof after the DNC, I talked about waiting until the RNC was done.

But now it's time to make a call. As I've argued, there's nothing big left on the schedule. So who wins the election? What's my prediction?

Bush wins, with a popular vote margin of 1.5%.


 
Jay Tea nails it
Written by: Beck

Jay Tea, one of the writers at Wizbang blog, has written a succinct, clear, and cogent essay on the topic of media bias. Yes, yes, yes, everyone has heard so much about media bias that the very phrase sends shivers of aversion down their spines. Jay Tea's post is not one of the spine crawling variety. It's more in the dismayed-call-for-sanity department. Anyway, go read it. A sample:
I've never been the type to speak about overwhelming bias or conspiracies in the media (probably a lingering side-effect of my brief tenure in journalism), but of late I've noticed a few things that's forcing me to reconsider.

[...]

I'm not saying that the media is evil, but they are acting irresponsibly. The media has a huge role to play in our nation, and with that role comes huge responsibilities. And when they fail at their responsibilities, it is our duty as citizens to speak out, to call them on their errors, and to force them to correct them.


Wednesday, October 13, 2004

 
McCain-Feingold Online!
Written by: Brent Brophy

Link

"I don't think anybody here wants to impede the free flow of information over the Internet," Weintraub said.


The free flow of information has been bottled up everywhere else, so why the sudden hesitancy to censor?

And why do these people want to censor everything? They claim they don't want campaign financing to be the deciding factor in an election, so they try to achieve this by censoring the one place where any idiot can shout their views worldwide. The politicans will still get their messages out, even if they have to forge more memos for CBS "News" to do it. The intent seems to be to cut you and me, mostly you because everyone loves what I have to say, out of the loop.

It's not the PAC's that worry them. It's the rest of us that Fred Wertheimer wants to shut up. I don't like being told to shut up, especially from people who talk a lot more than I do. A quick glance at Democracy21.org's site shows that they think DeLay is evil incarnate and will post that in the same internet they don't want anyone else using. These people are fucktards. How long before they decide that we're still expressing our wishes and that the only way to save "democracy" from the evils of private citizens is to ban voting?

Goe, hoping for some good news.


 
Asked And Answered
Written by: Beck

Background: Sinclair Broadcasting Group plans on airing an anti-Kerry documentary on their channels shortly before the election. This is causing a lot of controversy. For one thing, it's quite likely in violation of McCain-Feingold. For another, as they are a broadcast company (and not a cable company), they're using the public air waves for partisan political purposes.

Kevin of Wizbang has an excellent round-up of stories relating to the controversy. At the end of his round-up, he remarks:
As much as I railed against the sleazy lies of "Fahrenheit 9/11," I never once suggested that it should NOT be shown. Those of you who so loudly proclaimed it as the ultimate exercise of free speech should consider how silly you look when trying to deny that right to others.

The ultimate irony is that I can now turn around the words of "Fahrenheit 9/11" defenders for use against them.

"What are you so afraid of?"
David Anderson of ISOU takes umbrage at the comparison of the movie Fahrenheit 9/11 with a TV company's behavior. In my opinion, he makes two very strong points--for one, the two situations are not comparable, and two:
In this case Sinclair is abusing their Broadcasting License by forcing affiliates to carry what amounts to an extended political commercial, this is bullshit and you know it. The airwaves belong to all of us, and NO MAN has the right to use the public airwaves to do a political hatchet job just because he owns a broadcasting company.
David then proceeds to get rather bent out of shape over the whole thing. Considering that I often like to get bent out of shape for fun, I can't say I hold it against him.

But now I'd like to share my thoughts on the whole thing.

First and foremost, the McCain-Feingold rules which restrict broadcast of certain ads at certain times from certain people based on certain tax statuses and laws is complete and utter horse shit. Sinclair Broadcasting Group may well indeed be in violation of McCain-Feingold. That's not my point. My point is that M-F is a gross abridgment of the freedom of speech and press.

My second point is that the whole notion of a TV station being restricted in content because it uses the public airwaves is a problem which emerges only because of the flaws inherent in government regulations to begin with. Inasmuch as chaos would ensue should anyone with a transmitter be allowed to broadcast anything on any frequency, the airwaves need to be portioned out. Accomplishing that was the first task of the FCC, and frankly, it's the only one they ever should have been allowed.

The broadcast spectrum should be auctioned off at regular intervals (say every 5 or 10 years). The airwaves go to the highest bidder. After that, whoever bought their slice of bandwidth owns it. It's theirs to do with as they please. If Howard Stern wants to talk about fornication, then let him. If Sinclair wants to air an anti-Kerry documentary and CBS wants to air F 9/11, then let them.

These problems only arise in the first place as a consequence of systematic stomping on both freedom of speech & the free market. The government has only itself to blame for the massive legal, ethical, and financial snarls it gets itself into, and I for one have no sympathy.


Tuesday, October 12, 2004

 
You want the truth? You can't handle the truth!
Written by: Beck

Mark Steyn's latest column is too hot for television to print. From Steyn's website:
Today, for the first time in all my years with the Telegraph Group, I had a column pulled. The editor expressed concerns about certain passages and we were unable to reach agreement, so on this Tuesday something else will be in my space.
I suspect it had something to do with this paragraph (you can read the column by following the link above):
None of us can know for certain how we would behave in [decapitated Briton Kenneth Bigley's] circumstances, and very few of us will ever face them. But, if I had to choose in advance the very last words I'd utter in this life, "Tony Blair has not done enough for me" would not be high up on the list. First, because it's the all but official slogan of modern Britain, the dull rote whine of the churlish citizen invited to opine on waiting lists or public transport, and thus unworthy of the uniquely grisly situation in which Mr Bigley found himself. And, secondly, because those words are so at odds with the spirit of a life spent, for the most part, far from these islands. Ken Bigley seems to have found contemporary Britain a dreary, insufficient place and I doubt he cared about who was Prime Minister from one decade to the next. Had things gone differently and had his fate befallen some other expatriate, and had he chanced upon a month-old London newspaper in his favourite karaoke bar up near the Thai-Cambodian border and read of the entire city of Liverpool going into a week of Dionysian emotional masturbation over some deceased prodigal son with no inclination to return whom none of the massed ranks of weeping Scousers from the Lord Mayor down had ever known, Mr Bigley would surely have thanked his lucky stars that he and his Thai bride were about as far from his native sod as it's possible to get.
As commenter Silicon Valley Jim over at Protein Wisdom (whence I first heard about this story) observes, "You'll also note that Mark doesn't whine that he's being censored. Mark is a grown-up." Regardless, Steyn's column is definitely worth the read.


 
40
Written by: Beck

That's the number of "possible" mass graves thus far identified in Iraq. Just a few thousand more reasons the world is a better, safer place without Saddam Hussein in charge of a country.
Investigators have conducted their first scientific exhumation of Iraq's "killing fields," discovering hundreds of bodies that they hope will help convict Saddam Hussein of crimes against humanity.

They say nine trenches in a dry, dusty riverbed at the Hatra site in northern Iraq contain at least 300 bodies, and possibly thousands, including unborn babies and toddlers still clutching toys.

[...] International organizations estimate more than 300,000 people died under Saddam's 24-year rule, and Iraq's Human Rights Ministry has identified 40 possible mass graves countrywide.
Not much more I can add to that.


 
Weapons of, wait, what was that?
Written by: Beck

So anyway, turns out there weren't any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. But nuclear bomb making materials have gone missing. Wait. What was that?
Equipment which could be used in an illicit nuclear bomb programme has disappeared from previously monitored sites in Iraq, and radioactively contaminated items from there have been found abroad, the International Atomic Energy Agency has told the UN.

Installations in Saddam Hussein's former nuclear bomb programme were being systematically dismantled, its director general, Mohammed ElBaradei, has told the security council, warning of the implications for trafficking.
Am I missing something here? There were no WMD, yes, fine, sure. But Saddam had a whole series of installations for making nuclear weapons? What, were we not supposed to invade until he'd actually put the parts together to make a bomb?
"The invasion of Iraq was supposed to be about stopping weapons of mass destruction. It was supposed to be about stopping nuclear materials from getting out from under UN control," Greenpeace said yesterday.

"The only winners in this story are those who are looking to capitalise on security failures by scoring loose nukes."
Wait, there were loose nukes? OK, that's a statement from Greenpeace, I won't do the injustice of accusing anti-war people of taking Greenpeace seriously. But wait, there's more!
In June, just before the US handed authority in Iraq to the interim government, the
US forces secretly flew almost two tonnes of uranium and associated equipment from Iraq to the US, causing a diplomatic row with the IAEA, which is mandated to monitor and verify the nuclear complexes and stockpiles.

The IAEA, Dr ElBaradei said, "continues to be concerned about the widespread and apparently systematic dismantlement that has taken place at sites previously relevant to Iraq's nuclear programme".
Godamnit. Why on earth hasn't Bush made more noise about the fact that we found TWO TONS of uranium in Iraq? To sum up: Saddam had uranium and a nuclear bomb making program. But there were no WMD and we had no legitimate reason to conduct a preemptive strike. Yeah.

Oh, and one last thing. Lest anyone conclude that the missing materials scandal is some sort of black eye for Bush, have a quick look at this follow-up article.
"The locations that belong to the Science and Technology ministry are secure and under our control," [Iraq's Science and Technology Minister Rashad] Omar told Reuters.

He said nothing had disappeared since a looting spree shortly after last year's U.S.-led invasion, which the United States and Britain said was to rid Iraq of weapons of mass destruction. Both countries now admit Saddam had no banned weapons.

Omar said Tuwaitha, a vast compound south of Baghdad that included Iraq's main nuclear facility, was being turned into a science park. "The IAEA came back one month ago, they inspected the plant and others and didn't say anything.

"We are transparent. We are happy for the IAEA or any other organization to come and inspect," he said, adding that he had not seen the agency's report to the Security Council.
You see, it turns out the IAEA hadn't been in Iraq since long before the war. They drew their conclusions from satellite imagery, but what's been going on on the ground has been with the knowledge and consent of the occupation authority. I guess after being made to feel monumentally impotent by Iran, the IAEA feels the need to assert themselves by making mountains where not even molehills exist.


 
Your morning slice of random
Written by: Beck

Everything you ever wanted to know about making money via the ancient art of blogging. Obviously, INCITE is currently engaged in precisely zero of these activities.

Since it's October, everything you ever wanted to know about pumpkins.

Finally, stumbled across by pure accident while searching for "everything you ever wanted to know about cheese," a how-to guide to ripping off your employer should your employer happen to be McDonald's.

Be sure not to miss the "Ten things to do when it's dead" link towards the bottom of the page, with its bizarre mix of PC self-righteousness, for example, from #3, "Who's really popped a rocket:"
VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: Never make anyone play either version of the game if you think they might not want to or might feel pressured into it. Never comment on other people's bodies if you are concerned it might cause offence or might be experienced as harassment. That shit's not right.
And nihilistic anti-social sensibilities, such as suggested by #8, "Split the deck:"
Simply split the deck and whoever gets the lowest card has to take a big sniff of "time out" or some other toxic cleaning substance. After a bit everyone is buzzing out their nut, brilliant! Alternatively you can play this game with a couple of bottles of vodka stashed in the crew room, or with a couple of grams of amphetamines. Substance abuse helps pass the time and staves off the indescribable numbness produced by hours of pointless and degrading tedium.
Enjoy!


Monday, October 11, 2004

 
Great news from Iraq
Written by: Beck

Are you beginning to detect a theme?

It's actually not that stupendous, but it's definitely a step in the right direction. You see, for a long time, there have been two major forces at work in Iraq to contend with. On one hand you had home grown, sectarian conflict as typified by Muqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi army. On the other, you have forces which are new to the area since Saddam was deposed. al-Sadr and his army were always waiting in the wings to emerge. al-Qaeda, Iranian irregulars, and random kidnappers and terrorists were kept suppressed by Saddam.

The latter forces we have no choice but to confront head on. Confronting them head on is, in fact, desirable. They are the enemy. al-Sadr, while a complete shithead who represents a great deal of things which I hate, is still an intrinsic aspect of Iraqi culture which, if properly managed, can be digested and assimilated. Were I a Star Trek geek, I'd insert some sort of comment about the Borg at this point. But I'm not. So I won't.

While it's a shame that al-Sadr is poised to get away with all of his naughtiness, and while it's a shame that this will permanently reflect negatively on American strength in the eyes of Iraqis particularly and the world generally, the fact that I'm reading this article today, taking what has passed thus far as a given, is a good thing:
Followers of radical Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al-Sadr trickled in to police stations in Baghdad’s Sadr City district to hand in weapons Monday in a first step toward bringing peace to the Shiite militant stronghold after weeks of fighting with U.S. forces.

[...] The government was hopeful that the surrender of weapons by al-Sadr’s followers would spell the end of the Shiite revolt and allow the Americans and their Iraqi allies to shift attention to the more extensive Sunni Muslim insurgency.
Proposed new motto: The United States of America, assimilating hostile ethnic groups in regions that hate us one fringe lunatic militant cleric's militia at a time.


 
Great new from Afghanistan
Written by: Beck

Saturday morning some time around 7 o'clock, I was watching the morning news on CNN. It was thoroughly dismal, and then the news of the Afghan election came up. It suddenly occurred to me that if things went especially well or especially badly during Afghanistan's (first ever) elections it could have an especially potent effect on our own election here at home.

Think about it. The war in Iraq, while a contentious issue, is a relatively static affair. You might have a rise in violence or a drop, al-Sadr may do one jackass thing or another. A few more brave American servicemen will undoubtedly die. But it's unlikely that anything could have a huge impact on American polls.

Assuming that the third presidential debate goes much like the second, it would currently seem that, keeping all other things equal, Bush will win by 2-3 percentage points.

So anyway, it occurred to me that things could potentially go very well or very badly in the Afghan elections. There didn't even need to be violence, in fact violence at the polls wouldn't really surprise anyone all that much. Allegations of widespread or systematic fraud, however...

Essentially, the election in Afghanistan is the first solid evaluation of the US's ability to effect positive regime change in an inherently hostile region of the world. If things go off without a hitch, people's hopes for the long term success of Iraq, and by implication their support of Bush's policies, will rise. The reverse, obviously holds true.

Perhaps I shouldn't have been surprised that CNN worked hard to emphasize the negatives in the Afghan election. The major opposition candidates were boycotting the election because an "indelible" ink used to mark people who'd already voted--intended to prevent double voting in a nation with virtually no reliable record keeping or identification system--could be washed off. And at long last, I come to the point:

The primary challenger to assumed winner Karzai has rescinded his call to boycott the election results. It would seem that the guy is actually genuinely concerned about doing what's in his nation's best interest.
Ethnic Tajik candidate Yunus Qanooni, considered the likely runner-up to interim President Hamid Karzai, made the announcement at his Kabul home, a day after two other candidates also peeled away from the boycott. He said he had made his decision after a meeting with U.N. representative Jean Arnault and U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad.

I don't want to be against the election and I appreciate the good will of the people of Afghanistan," Qanooni said. "I want to prove to the people of Afghanistan that the national interest is my highest interest."
Any way, of the 15 opposition candidates who initially staged the boycott, it would seem many have now backed down, including the three biggest opposition candidates. It's looking like democracy has somehow actually miraculously taken hold in Afghanistan. Let's hope.


Sunday, October 10, 2004

 
Well I'll be damned
Written by: Beck

It turns out there IS a bigger joke than the Nobel Peace Prize. I can't imagine how I never heard of this before, but it turns out there's an annually awarded, get this, Moammar Gadhafi human rights prize. Really. I'm not making that up.

Appropriately, this year it was awarded to Venezuelan President and Thugmeister General Hugo Chavez. He's in good company, but he'll have a lot to prove in the strong-man-blood-bath-rule-with-an-iron-fist-run-your-country's-economy-into-the-ground-crush-all-beneath-your-mighty-fist department if he wants to live up to the standard set by former Moammar Gadhafi human rights prize winner Fidel Castro.

But don't take my word for it.


 
Kerry panders like a bear.
Written by: Brent Brophy

In Miami, Kerry goes into uberpandering mode.

As he often does before black audiences, Kerry said he has a legal team that will aggressively respond to any allegations of disenfranchisement.


Aggressively defending the disenfranchisement of all Nader voters, he means to say. Can't have blacks voting for greens, we have to keep our color-coordination. "Vote for me or your vote won't count!" is hardly a good endorsement for public participation.

November 2, the power is in your hands, hands that once picked cotton," Jackson said.


I could be wrong about this, but somehow I think that the congregation Jesse Jackson is talking to has spent more collective time shooing alligators from their yards than picking cotton. Miami Vice never mentioned cotton fields around the city, and Dave Barry never complained about cotton weevils.

"We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance."


If terrorists are treated like they were, then we'll just play along, like the passengers of the three planes that hit buildings. It was policy on planes to treat such things as a nuisance. Play along, go along, and nobody gets hurt. Everybody on those three planes died.

On the fourth plane, they didn't treat it as a nuisance, but as a threat to be focused on. They fought back, and everyone on that plane died.

The differences? The passengers on the fourth plane had a fighting chance at seeing the next day, the others didn't. That's the real choice in this war. To sit calmly and get killed without protest, or fight and have a chance of living through it.

Unfortunately, between John "It's just a temporary nuisance and we'll all be dead soon" Kerry and George "Please go on vacation and enjoy yourself while you can" Bush aren't giving us much of a choice.

Goe, won't stand in the sheep line to be slaughtered.


Saturday, October 09, 2004

 
Sign of the times
Written by: Beck

I tried to get good and angry and worked up over this article, but I just find myself having an ever more difficult time being surprised, caring, or thinking my outrage is anything less than pissing in the ocean.

Alfred Nobel, when he founded his prize institution, wanted to reward people who made this world a more peaceful place. You know, people who oppose war and whatnot. My guess is he felt guilty about the whole dynamite thing. While Nobel Peace Prize winners from previous years like Yasser Arafat are a mockery of the award, at least you knew the deluded sycophants who granted it actually believed, somehow, that he was on the side of freedom and justice.

Sure, they were rewarding a terrorist who has done more to incite conflict in the Middle East than anyone else in the past century, but there was something poetic about a Peace Prize being awarded to a warmongering shithead.

This though...
Maathai, 64, is the first African woman to win the prize. She was cited for her work as leader of the Green Belt Movement that has planted more than 30 million trees across Africa.

The award marks a new environmental theme in interpreting the 1895 will of Swedish philanthropist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite who founded the prestigious prize.

Until now it has most usually gone to people seeking to end armed conflicts.

"Peace on earth depends on our ability to secure our living environment," said Ole Danbolt Mjoes, the head of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.
Does this mean the drunken captain of the Exxon Valdez was a war criminal? Peace depends on the environment. Yep. You heard it here first folks. Sorry, I meant the "living environment." 'Cuz you gotta phrase it in the appropriate newspeak terms. Lest someone think you're talking about securing one of the other environments out there.

The Nobel Prize committee should just cut out the crap, announce that all future Peace Prizes will be awarded to Kim Jong Il for not... oh who cares what rationalization they use. The Prize has become such a farce now, I can't make any jokes at its expense that hasn't already been done by the Committee members themselves.


Friday, October 08, 2004

 
Steak-eating capitulating cowboys
Written by: Brent Brophy

While reading some other sites, I saw this...

Herbert Lottman, describing the last days of Paris before it fell to Germans in 1940 describes the strange mixture of urgency and lassitude, of obsession with long term schemes counterpointed by an indifference to the immediate in a nation that had just weeks to live. It was the perfect portrait of a country which did not know it was at war.


I would have to disagree. The Crapauds understood that they were not at war. Their war had been lost, and by ignoring all aspects of the war, they made themselves non-threatening to the advancing Germans. The cowards understood that to be non-threatening they would need to pose no direct threat while keeping their own population subdued and under control. This willful ignorance is why so many frogs who had been only weeks before fighting against the invaders were rolled into the Vichy government. They weren't really self-ruling, but they went along willingly to get what little scraps of power the Germans threw down for the lapdogs to fight over.

Winning the war wasn't important. Resisting the occupation wasn't important. Setting themselves up as potential collaborators was the only thing that mattered.

And that brings me a little more up to date. Kerry wants international approval for any anti-terrorist actions we take. This would require a considerable amount of groveling to the governments who are paying, and being paid by (France again), the terrorists. That would essentially put us at the mercy of the people trying to kill us. The Kerry approach to the war seems to be based on getting our 'old friends' to put in a good word for us so that he can run a vichy-style puppet show on their behalf.

The Bush plan is a bit more realistic, and relies on encouraging (bribing mostly) the local goons to pressure each other to accept Bush as the vichy president in exchange for large tributes ("aid").

Neither plans to try fighting the war because they both assume it to be lost. That's why neither will do anything about Arafat even though he's been a terrorist longer, having founded his own terrorist organization a year before bin Laden was born. Instead of fighting the world's number one terrorist, both want to give him more influence on our foreign policy, particularly the means by which we sacrifice Israel like so many Czechs. This makes Arafat happy, because it's why he got into the terrorist business all those many years ago.

Both Kerry and Bush also support tracking Americans around within the country, not unlike Big Brother's surveillance in Orwell's 1984. Neither of them has suggested keeping track of who crosses our borders or following terrorists. Both view Presbyterians as a greater threat than Muslims, although Kerry probably fears Baptists the most. That international terrorism, since the loss of Soviet sponsorship, is exclusively a Muslim strategy is not considered important. Keeping Americans subdued and under control is all that matters to either.

Goe, telling you to purge non-islamic thought before something vichy this way comes.


Wednesday, October 06, 2004

 
Carnival of the Vanities #107
Written by: Beck

When I signed up for INCITE to host the Carnival of the Vanities, I recognized that a lot of work would be involved. Reading Carnivals of the time--it was nearly 4 months ago that I stepped onto the waiting list--I was amazed that you would often see twenty to thirty entries. So you can imagine my surprise upon receiving over fifty Carnival submissions. Unfortunately, that means that for most of the submissions, I won't be able to say more than a sentence in summary, though these fine samples of writing deserve far more. The only alternative, unfortunately, would be to crank out a Carnival so long the posts at the end would likely never see the light of day.

On top of that, a number of my favorite blogs did not make a submission, so I'm exercising the Carnival editors' prerogative to pick a few of the best posts from around the blogosphere. And so, without further ado, I present to you: The 107th Carnival of the Vanities!

Editor's Selections:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThe first choice for this week's carnival appropriately comes from the site I (among others) will be guest blogging for starting October 7, the always brilliant: Protein Wisdom. Because embracing controversy is fun. If you don't get it, well, you've got plenty of company I'll imagine.

If you read nothing else from this entire Carnival, read this: Roger L. Simon's post The Subject About Which Kerry Dare Not Ever Speak. My partisan stripes are certainly showing through in the selection of that post; nonetheless, it's an important topic (UNSCAM & the diplomatic divide between the United States and continental Europe) regardless of one's political affiliation which deserves serious consideration.

Next we move on to one of the hardest working bloggers I know of, INDC Bill. Keeping with the too-inside-baseball pattern (that, or embracing controversy--you be the judge) I can already see emerging in my editor's picks section, Bill's post likely won't be of too much interest to non-bloggers, but I'm picking it anyway. 'Cuz I'm the editor, and I call the shots.

Next I nominate the master of the Blog Stunt, The Commissar of The Politburo Diktat. Few have done more than he to foster a spirit of community across the blogosphere, so I'm always happy to send him a link when I get a chance. I couldn't decide which of his posts over the past week I liked the best, as all were relevant for different reasons. So for the price of one, you get three posts from him today. Read them all. Now!

Finally, from INCITE's official token liberal on the blogroll--proving we're open minded should anyone harbor doubts--David Anderson of In Search of Utopia offers a handy pre-debate preparation plan. Kidding aside, I'm happy to have this opportunity to point out to the world that Anderson runs a great site & is one of the most reasonable liberals I've met.

International Selections:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usWith the pending election, things going on in the rest of the world tend to become forgotten. It turns out, there are more nations in this world then simply the United States and Iraq. The news, perhaps unsurprisingly, is not especially positive.

From Koranteng's Toli, a long, thoughtful and serious essay on the human tragedy going on in Haiti.

I especially appreciated this post from Strat Speaks Out on a subject I myself have recently discussed, the liberal worship at the cult of Che Gevara is only one example of an all too common--and frightening--phenomenon. For some reason, the political brethren of Jimmy Carter can't get enough of despotic cruel, evil dictators.

Tim Worstall tackles the latest bout of EU insanity--a combination of eroded liberty, infringed freedom, and bureaucratic bundling is crippling the pace of medical research in Europe.

Tex the Pontificator ties the concept of buyers' remorse into the current state of Palestinian-Israeli affairs, with a long look at the history of the situation in that region.

For the post from point2point, I think I'll simply serve up the title & leave it to you, the reader, to figure out the post's contents: Raping Kidnapped Children and Other Surprisingly Popular Pastimes.

In a similar vein, RoguePundit addresses the issue of internet child pornography--a problem spanning across from some of the worlds' poorest nations to some of the wealthiest. I apologize in advance for what that link is going to do to skew your Google search results Rogue.

The always fantastic Foolsblog by Feste offers up a very insightful discussion of anti-Americanism--both at home and abroad.

The always amusing Aaron of the aptly named Aaron's Rantblog offers up the latest in a series of ads for iSlam.

Q&O offers an especially relevant post with Overcivilized. The premise is that the barbarians are always at the gate--so the less willing to get dirty and slit some throats a civilization becomes with time, the more imperiled it is by the barbarians at the gate. What's more, Dale goes on to quote P.J. O'Rourke, one of my favorite authors.

Peaktalk makes the argument that Iraq is no Vietnam.

Israellycool offers a humorous photo essay soliciting employees for UNRWA. If you can't figure out why this is really funny, you really need to watch the news on TV read blogs more regularly.

Domestic Selections:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usRunning a Google image search for the word "domestic" turned up this lovely picture of a latrine, and it just seemed too appropriate to pass up. Incidentally, when I was slotting things into the domestic category, I stuck exclusively with those which had little or nothing to do with the upcoming presidential election.

The Smallest Minority produces an extremely well thought out discussion of gun rights in a critique of the work of Dr. David Hemmingway--an anti-gun rights advocate.

The blog Socialized Medicine presents letters from doctors arguing that much of the reason for high medical costs in America are a result of government regulation.

Greenie Watch attacks the concept of "Smart Growth" vs. "Sprawl."

Personal Reflections:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usOriginally, I was going to toss up a picture of Wonkette with Washingtonienne and call this section "journals" or "diaries" or some such, but frankly, many of these posts are far to insightful and serious to hand off such light treatment. So in stead I tossed up another Zdzislaw Beksinski picture and decided to leave it at that.

In perhaps the most significant of the posts in this section comes from LaShawn Barber addressing what must be an exceptionally challenging situation: living life as a black conservative.

Taken in Hand attempts to answer the age old question: what is it that women want in a man? (It turns out that the answer is not, "Must write for a blog" after all).

Miss O'Hara, meanwhile, attempts to answer yet another age old question: why is it that women don't look for blog authors when seeking a mate? Well, that's not quite the way she puts it, but that's the way I read it. Miss O'Hara's site, incidentally, was one of the first to link to me way back in the day. Thanks!

Blog d'Ellison, in a discussion of American breakfast cuisine, discusses that most sainted of treats: smoked salmon. Evidently also quite useful as a cultural ambassador.

Kiril of Sneakeasy's Joint has a lot of thoughts on Southern California baseball. My only thoughts on the subject: Go Astros!

Da Goddess has a simple yet sincere message for the blogosphere--those who know what she's talking about will understand. From Da Goddess: Thank you.

On Blogging:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us What, you didn't expect me to waste a perfectly good Wonkette picture, did you? The Blogosphere has garnered a lot of attention over the past few months, mostly as a consequence of our coverage of issues surrounding the upcoming elections. Without the blogosphere, after all, there would have been no Rathergate. As a consequence, many in the mainstream media have felt an uncontrollable urge to lash out. Naturally, quite a few bloggers felt the urge to respond in kind. Following are submissions to the Carnival who did just that.

The Eleven Day Empire offers up Bloggers vs. the Mainstream Media, Part the Nth+1. There are a lot of stereotypes about the "typical" blogger, and James takes it upon himself to break them down, one by one.

The Moderate Voice offers: The Media's Disrespect for Bloggers Lives On and On. Big Media is scared, and hasn't yet come to grips with the fact that A) we're here to stay, and B) no amount of smear pieces on their part are going to ruin our credibility. Joe has an awful lot to say on the subject, and if you're a blogger or a media watcher, you should definitely read through it.

And finally, over at MadKane, along with a hefty series of links, a take on the blogosphere is offered... in verse. Go read it, you'll smile.

Just Plain Random:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usAnd now, the penultimate category--submissions which couldn't readily be fit into any other category. And so follows a survey of pieces performed in the key of random.

Andrew Ian Dodge of Dodgeblogium has an announcement to make: he has officially published his first work on paper! With bindings no less! I believe the medium involved is typically known as a "book."

The blog Give Me Spirit Fingers Dammit! offers up the latest in must-own novelty: monogramed toilet paper.

From The Zero Boss, Blogging for Books! Quoting from the original email: In Blogging for Books, I and a monthly guest author sift through blog submissions written on that month's theme. The best-written essayist receives a free, signed copy of the author's book.

Gun Watch has a story about an unarmed man who opened a can of whoopass on a would-be armed robber. Don't you just love heart warming stories like that?

Education Watch has a story asserting that schools have become anti-boy.

Wicked Thoughts has a list of amusing church announcements. My favorite: "Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children."

From the People's Republic of Seabrook, quite possibly the only person in the world to do so, marks the passing of the Montreal Expos.

Election Selections:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usAnd now, at long last, we come to our final section: posts about the election. I left these for last for two reasons. First of all, it's the longest section, and I felt that it was the most likely to wind up driving away potential readers from ever reaching the other portions of the Carnival. Second, the election is only a month away, and everyone is starting to get a bit burned out on it I think. I myself have been cranking out near daily commentary on the damned thing since the 3rd of March. I cannot wait until the whole thing is over with.

To open things up, let's turn to Dean Esmay's Dean's World wherein he posts his exclusive interview with a member of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth organization. Many have heard too much about this story already, but for political junkies like myself it is an absolute must read. Really.

Ye ol' Watcher of Weasels submits Making the Grade, a take down of John Kerry's "Global Test" for dealing with nations that make naughty. This was a late submission from the watcher intended to replace a previous submission, but I liked 'm both, so I'll also link you to Peak Performance, an analysis of the first Bush-Kerry debate.

Eric, writing for long time favorite of mine Classical Values cranks out a gargantuan fisking for this week's Carnival. Let's just say it involves Dianne Feinstein, the WaPo, and Iraqi interim president Allawi. In other news, I'd like to officially nominate the writers of Classical Values to take over the now vacant Steven den Beste Chair of Blogosphere Essayists.

Beautiful Atrocities presents an amusing outline of all the events surrounding Rathergate.

Strat Speaks Out offers up a rather interesting discussion of the campaign from the paradigm of Style over Substance. That's a woefully unfair abridgment of an excellent post, but I'm running out of room here!

The Big Picture wonders what it is that Kerry's doing right. The myriad things he does wrong are readily apparent, yet he still polls at roughly half of the electorate, so he must be getting something straight.

Brian J. Noggle asks us a simple question.

Espresso Sarcasm offers some presidential debate humor for your consumption. After all, who doesn't love top ten lists?

The Moderate Voice, in his second submission for this Carnival (I let it slide) presents a thorough and insightful analysis of the first Bush-Kerry debate.

Let's Try Freedom makes the argument--which cannot be stressed too often--that most of "campaign finance reform" really just equates to squashed freedom of speech.

Dissecting Leftism offers up "The Leftist 'Community' Myth" for your consumption.

More campaign humor from Attaboy. Take the quiz already.

Eric Berlin asks What is a Flip-Flop? His lengthy answer is worth a look.

Hello, Chapter Two! takes on the issue of Kerry's opposition to nuclear bunker busters.

The Smarter Cop tackles the issue of voter fraud (and tackles Oliver Willis in the process).

THE LAST POST! THAT'S RIGHT! HERE IT COMES! The Key Monk takes aim at a slightly different war the CIA is engaged in: a war with the Bush Administration. I wish him the best of luck with hitting his target.

Well folks, that's it for the 107th edition of the Carnival of the Vanities. I won't be in front of a computer for at least another 12 hours, so if I left you off or something's screwed up... sorry!


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