I always see a bit of actual fall coloring by the end of July, but this year seems to be unusual. Everywhere I turn I see bits of coloring. Look at the hillsides in the distance and they’re green, but up close you can see oranges and reds. It’s like mid-September instead of mid-August.
8 Aaron, at SomethingToCryAbout, has chosen a new look to his blog. Check it out! And congratulate him on his new job.
8 The latest from Chris at KerryWaffles:
This one actually scares me a bit. I think [the Kerrys] will come down on me hard on this one because of attorney/client privilege. Go crazy on this one. The media is in court for this stuff, while we have the smoking guns right in front of us.
8 Oh, crap. Does this mean I shouldn’t snark on Jessica Simpson?
DOING THE 'RIGHT' THING IN L.A.
IS there a growing cadre of closet conservatives in Hollywood?
In an exposé on secret Hollywood Republicans in its upcoming September issue, Details magazine unmasks a host of stealth celebrity conservatives, including Adam Sandler, Freddie Prinze Jr., Jessica Simpson and Shannen Doherty.
In a piece appearing in the same issue, powerful young Sony producer Mike DeLuca comes clean on what it's like being an open Republican in Hollywood, telling horror stories full of screaming environmentalists, vandalized cars, and being looked at like "you've recently been exposed as a serial killer."
DeLuca blasts hypocritical Hollywood liberals: "They scream about the environment before they hop onto their private jets and blow 8,000 pounds of fuel getting to the Hamptons. Maybe the anger stems from the fact that the left is out of power, or maybe it's because creative people are passionate by nature and prefer emotion to facts."
8 Slick will do ANYTHING to outsell Her Royal C’s book.
NEVER A REST
EVEN when he's on vacation, Bill Clinton is working. At his book-signing the other day at the Bunch of Grapes bookstore in Vineyard Haven on Martha's Vineyard, customers started lining up at 7 a.m. with proof they'd bought their copies there. After many had waited over five hours, the fans were told there would be no personal inscriptions. Still, the store ripped through its stock of "My Life," selling some 875 books. Clinton celebrated over clam chowder at the Bite in Menemsha with Chelsea's boyfriend, Ian Klaus.
8 Y’wanna bellyache about Bush without getting fired? Get a blog!
A man who heckled President Bush at a political rally was fired from his job at an advertising and design company. The graphic designer said he was told he'd embarrassed and offended a client who provided tickets to the event.
8 Fabulous Fly has discovered two (possibly three) potential parts, based on real life headlines, for Nick Nolte: A former mayor who’s too small for his britches, a black bear who prefers Rainier Beer to Busch, and an Oklahoma judge with naughty bench habits.
8 Fly is the one who turned me on to angryalien’s absolutely hilarious bunny flicks.
Jennifer Shiman is back with another short-attention-span spoof of a blockbuster film re-enacted by animated bunnies.
LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLE (FOR FUN & PROFIT)!
TOURIST PROTESTERS: NO BUTTONS, NO PEACE
A city program to encourage peaceful political protest with discounts at local stores during the Republican convention has already gotten ugly.
Tourists and savvy New Yorkers who have dropped by the NYC & Co. visitors' center to pick up their "Welcome Peaceful Political Activists" discount button are going away empty-handed — and some are decidedly turbulent about it.
"I tell them that we're out of buttons and some people get really angry," said one of the greeters at the Seventh Avenue tourist center yesterday.
You don't need to obtain a button — or even pledge to be peaceful — to secure your discount.
A wallet-sized card can be downloaded from www.nycvisit.com.
$350 GOODY BAGS FOR EXTREMELY GIFTED DELEGATES
Delegates to the Republican convention will receive gift bags chock full of goodies — including a gym membership, elephant-shaped macaroni and cheese and a book by former Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Convention organizers shelled out $1.5 million to stuff 22,000 New Balance messenger bags with items ranging from coffee to key chains and diaries to DVDs.
With discounted pricing from sponsors, the convention host committee spent less than $100 on each bag and its contents, but the real value of each goody bag is closer to $350.
SLAVE WAGE SILLINESS
Not even fast food joints pay minimum wage these days. Teenagers, for whom these jobs are primarily intended, simply refuse to work at that scale. I’d like to know where these minimum wage jobs are. I want names, places and dates! And before anyone begins regurgitating the tired old lines of how all those mean ol' big business Scrooge McDucks keep minimum wages low, read Russell Roberts here:
The real problem is that when 97% of the American work force earns more than the minimum wage, it's hard to make the case that regulations keep wages high. Competition keeps wages high.
and here with an update:
In 2003, using data from the BLS's household survey, there were 138 million people working of which 73 million were paid by the hour. Of that number, 2.1 million, or 2.9% were paid the minimum wage or less. So the 2.9% number is probably an overestimate for the labor force as a whole.
I'm not referring to the latest sexual kinkiness or that lounge lizard's nickname, but a stock scam.
BOGUS PHONE MESSAGE USED TO PUMP UP STOCKS
A creative new stock scam is sweeping the country, with a sugary-sweet woman's voice leaving "wrong number" messages on answering machines and voicemails touting worthless stocks.
The Securities and Exchange Commission issued a warning yesterday, explaining the heist.
A woman leaves an intimate sounding message for "Tracy," her girlfriend, saying the price of a certain small, thinly traded stock is about to take off. She indicates she got the tip from "Evan, that hot stock exchange guy I'm dating."
"We are concerned because the stock prices of companies mentioned in these calls have gone up, presumably as people listen to the messages and buy."
Pump-and-dump stock scams have become increasingly complex as more people buy and sell stocks over the Internet.
Investors who have been targeted in this scam should contact the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330 or e-mail Enforcement@sec.gov.
BRING IT ON!
I love this advice! Hey protesters , BRING IT ON! HA HA HA !!!
WHAT PROTESTERS CAN DO FOR N.Y.
By John Podhoretz
Now, because of you, Lower East Side bodegas, Greenwich Village tattoo parlors and some of the city's many glorious cheap-eats places will be overflowing. Vibrant ethnic neighborhoods like Brooklyn's Sunset Park and Sunnyside in Queens will play host to you, and while you sleep late after a long evening of party protesting, its residents will be trudging uncomplainingly off to work at the capitalist enterprises that seem to cause you such ideological distress.
Feeling angry about the city's efforts to keep the demonstrations away from Central Park? No problem. Just walk there yourself. The only problem for you is that you won't be able to turn the Great Lawn into a free sleep-outside encampment. Why should you be able to? I can't sleep there, either. Oh, and by the way, the reason the Great Lawn is so nice is that very rich people — just the sort of rich people you hate — have given tens of millions of dollars to Central Park to ensure its beauty.
Now, here's the best thing from my perspective. By all means, go nuts. Walk around the city naked. Hang Bush in effigy. Get into fights with cops. Misbehave. The more exposure you get for such conduct, the more you will be seen by those swing voters out there in middle America. If you think they will prefer such hijinks to the sobriety of George W. Bush, you have been growing too much hemp in your garden.
IT’S IN HER KISS
Contrary to what the title may imply, I read this is and cheered as Alan Bromley succinctly summarized what many of us have been thinking and saying. YES! YES! YES!
No Holiday From Hate
BY ALAN BROMLEY
"Screw you!" someone shouted from across the porch.
"Speaking for myself," the Philly wife declared, "any news that helps defeat Bush makes me happy." Hubby nodded, as did a couple of others swinging on the veranda.
Will a documentary on how the press covered Elian get a fair screening?
The AFI's [American Film Institute] Michael Jeck, Mr. Blázquez says, told him that "Covering Cuba 3" was "too controversial." That would be an odd objection, given that the Silver Theater is now featuring Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11." In an e-mail to us, the AFI explains that it had simply concluded that Mr. Blázquez's film "did not have the quality of filmmaking and storytelling that we are looking for" and offered three films attesting to AFI's "significant history of screening works from the Cuban exile community."
Most galling was the bitter irony behind Elian's return: While he was sent back on the basis of a parent's sacred rights over his child, in Cuba the state reserves that authority for itself.
IF YOU CAN'T BE WITH THE ONE YOU LOVE
Thanks to Blue and Mike for the pix!
Nurse G and hubby, CO, and Little H took off for a couple of days for some badly needed R&R, so I stepped in as Chief Potty Patrol Officer for their BIG black lab-mix named Zeus (a.k.a. Hey Zeus, not to be confused with Jesus). The Bushes’ dog Barney should have it so good. Oh, wait, he does.Taking off bright’n’early, while still in my sweats, interrupted my normal blogging routine, for which I felt guilty, until I read roberto's claim that he limits his blogging time to 45-90 minutes/day. I’m too embarrassed to admit how much time I spend.
I wonder how Chris’ site KerryWaffles did today after Lucianne listed it in her Must Reads. Originally, she had listed that online scrapbook by Kerry’s groupie until the groupie took it down. All that hate e-mail made her stomp her foot and cry. Lucianne learned that Chris, recognizing a site about to belly up, had retrieved all her stuff and posted it on HIS site. So, Lucianne listed KerryWaffles in place of hers. All the groupie wanted to do was sell her books and buy a house (sniff sniff).
CrushKerry has an essay contest for liberals. Read what they’ve gotten so far.
Oprah should have been on the OJ jury. Two hours! That’s all it took this jury she was on to convict a murderer.
Bad blood is still boiling between the BITCH Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth and her nemesis from "The Apprentice," Ereka Vetrini. A wedding is involved this time.
Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi is expanding his business. “No soup for you!” But how about a soup franchise?
Men don't like to tell women when they're not interested - and women don't want to hear it anyway. Buy the book “He’s Just Not That Into You.” NOW they tell me.
Rush decided upon the spur of the moment to take a vacation in Scotland next week beginning Tuesday. Do be careful, ol’ boy; they’ve had some nasty weather over there and mudslides, too. He said he’d return in time for the convention.
I never miss a Bill Croke column in The American Spectator. Both of his recent articles, here and here, are refreshing changes.
1972 HURRICANE AGNES
The main 4-corners on historic Market Street in Corning, NY.
The Corning/Painted Post, NY, area knows the agony of hurricanes. Two years was the 30th anniversary of the Hurricane Agnes Flood. Coastal regions have the added danger of winds during hurricanes, sometimes in excess of 140mph. For inner areas flooding is the problem. Here is an excerpt detailing what happened here in Corning beginning on Friday, June 23, 1972:
Some residents evacuated in the early hours of the morning as word spread through neighborhoods of possible danger. But still people could not accept the reality of the impending flood. Departing residents sometimes stopped to place an item up high, on the refrigerator or on the top of a bureau, not dreaming how futile the act was. To their regret many people walked out of their homes empty handed or with unimportant items when they could easily have taken along important business papers. They went to the homes of friends or relatives, to schools, or just parked on a high street. At daylight residents on the hills were surprised to see extra cars on their streets. In some cases it was their first indication that something was wrong in the city.
The dikes broke in several places. The first break occurred in Painted Post about 4 a.m.; Friday, June 23, flooding the Post, Riverside and the Northside. The New York Central railroad bridge, which had been loaded with coal cars to weigh it down, collapsed about and hour later and by 6 a.m. the water was over the Southside dikes. The river crested in Corning about 9 a.m.
The water trapped many people. Some were forced to take refuge in attics or the crawl spaces of their homes, where they could only pray that the water would not come higher than their shelter and that the house would not be washed from its foundation. Others were rescued from porch roofs or second story windows by strangers in boats. At the Lodge-on-the-Green, 135 people were taken off upper story porches. One hundred people waited out the flood on the roof of St. Vincent's School.
But not everyone escaped. In the Corning area eighteen lives were lost, an amazingly small number considering the complacency and the inadequacy of warning.
Many stores, including the Corning Museum of Glass, have marks noting the water level. I’m 5’2” and I cannot touch the marks without a ladder. Most homes’ first floors were totally under water; some homes had water in the second stories. We moved to the area, from central NY State, in April of ’73, but that’s another story.
8 Don’t forget the essay contest for liberals at CrushKerry! Here’s your chance to spam-comment to your heart’s content.
Here's the link w/ the contest rules. Again, there is no catch to this. See if any of your liberal readers - and if experience tells us anything there are a good number of them out there - are up to the challenge. Tell your readers to mention in their essay where they saw the contest idea at your site will be mentioned in the article.
8 Tyler, at RedLinerAnts, has thoroughly read the NY Times’ piece on charter schools and found
some glaring omissions. Simply put, the NYT is wrong. Federal data actually shows no difference between charter schools and traditional schools that serve large populations of disadvantaged and minority students.
Did I say that all charter schools are mini-miracles? Of course not. Many need improvement. Many will be closed down and many more will open. That's the beauty of it all though. Not only are the nation's 3,000 charter schools held to the same high standards as all public schools under NCLB - just as they should be - poorly performing ones can be shut down.
8 First Twins Jenna and Barbara Bush will host the opening bash for the GOP convention on Sunday, Aug. 29, at Roseland with Andre 3000, Stephen Baldwin, Barret Swatek ("7th Heaven"), actress Angie Harmon and hubby Jason Sehorn (St. Louis Rams) and Bo Derek. . .
8 ELECTION OVER
SARAH Jessica Parker is so optimistic about John Kerry's chances that she's teaching her son, James Wilke Broderick, to call the Democratic nominee "President Kerry." While Parker shot the Gap campaign, insiders on the set were amused to see young James uttering "President Kerry." "It was really cute," said a witness. "And Sarah Jessica was talking about how great the Democratic National Convention in Boston was. She also said she and [hubby] Matthew [Broderick] were trying for another child."
A PAPER TRAIL?
This news should interest Chris at KerryWaffles. Check out actual Heinz Center e-mails he's posted there. Those e-mails are the reason a certain “political party” had his site closed down 3 times.
Papers want to unseal Sen. Heinz estate records
Two newspapers want a judge to unseal the estate records of the late Sen. H. John Heinz III, contending the documents possibly could shed light on Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry's presidential campaign.
The Morning Call of Allentown and the Los Angeles Times petitioned Allegheny County Court to make the records public. Common Pleas Administrative Judge Frank Lucchino has scheduled a Sept. 14 hearing on the request.
Probate records generally are public information in Pennsylvania. The newspapers' petition states the public has a constitutional right to inspect such records.
"There is no indication ... that this estate requires special treatment that justifies maintaining the blanket sealing order currently in place," states the petition filed by attorneys Scott Henderson of Pittsburgh and Kelli Sager of Los Angeles.
"These records would provide valuable insight into the extensive philanthropic activities of Mrs. Heinz Kerry, and answer questions about whether those activities bear any relationship to the presidential campaign of her husband ... Democratic nominee Sen. John Kerry."
8 The latest from Chris at KerryWaffles:
Got it all from Johnny Chung to the Big Dig. Wheeww this page wore me
8 I LOVE this! All you anti-Bush types out there, and you know who you are, here’s your chance to put your spam-commenting to good use:
Crush Kerry Announces Leftwing Essay Contest
Crushkerry.com is conducting a Leftwing Essay Contest. We’re asking liberals from all walks of life to tell us why they are going to vote for John Kerry for President.
But here’s the catch. You aren’t allowed to mention President George W. Bush or his administration. You can only write about the positive attributes that qualify Kerry for the Oval Office.
Now, we hope a lot of liberals out there visit and submit their essays. If they do, we’ll publish them. We promise. But we’re convinced there are so few (if any) reasons to vote for John Kerry – once you remove the liberals’ rabid Bush hatred – that we’ll actually receive very few (if any).
8 Calling all SOUTH PARK aficionados:
SOUTH PARK eLECTIONS
LAST WEEK TO VOTE, and it looks like Cartman and Butters are still battling for the Presidency. Exercise your right to choose the South Park Class President! The winning candidate will be featured in a week's worth of original episodes next month.
8 I love Don Bourdreaux and Russell Roberts at CafeHayek. They always make economics fascinating and fun. I feel like I owe Don one since I snarked the last one I linked. It was a good article, don't get me wrong, but it was about wine and I’m not into wine. I’m not into alcohol at all, although I am trying to develop a taste for Vodka Martinis. I’ve had one so far … I think. Don’s latest is on
The Causes of Poverty?
Poverty is humankind’s default mode. It’s what exists if we do nothing. “Creating” poverty -- causing poverty -- is no challenge whatsoever.
Escaping poverty has causes – that is, wealth has causes.
This point bears repeating. Poverty has no causes. Wealth has causes.
8 ACE has everything you need on Kerry’s medals. Fantastic effort here!
John Kerry's medals
Started 25JAN04. Updated as new revelations hit the press. Last updated 1600Z WED 04AUG04.
How did John Kerry earn his medals in Vietnam, and what was the extent of his anti-war role when he returned stateside?
BARNEY CAM I
Gnat Grudge here, reporting for the Stars and Stripes. I’m here at the 44th Medical Unit Hospital in Sa Dec talking with Majors Margaret Houlihan and Frank Burns who treated Lt. Kerry on Christmas Eve.
Q: Is it true that Lt. Kerry was unconscious when he arrived at the 44th?
FB: Yes, Lt. Kerry had suffered a concussion when he was thrown from his vehicle.
Q: Did his swift boat hit a mine?
FB: No, he was riding his bike and lost control.
Q: Lt. Kerry was riding a bike?
MH: Yes, a Serotta … an Italian bike.
Q: Was his injury serious?
MH: No, he regained consciousness as soon as he arrived at the 44th.
Q: Major Burns, what about the shell fragment?
FB: So what if it was an eggshell? It could have blinded me! I won that Purple Heart fair and square.
MH: Not you, Frank, Lt. Kerry!
FB: Oh, him.
Q: Did you operate on Lt. Kerry to remove the fragment?
FB: Well, I would have if the fragment hadn’t fallen off.
Q: Where is Lt. Kerry now?
MH: On his rounds.
Q: His rounds?
FB: Yes, every day he visits each soldier’s bedside and reassures them that he’s fine and not to worry about him.
MH: He’s wonderful! My nurses and I call him Big John.
FB: Margaret, you promised me you wouldn’t look!
MH: I’m a nurse, Frank! It’s my job to look.
Q: Then Lt. Kerry is well liked here by the other soldiers.
FB: Wellllll … Ho-Jon, the camp houseboy, did give him that floppy green hat he had found.
Q: When will Lt. Kerry be well enough to leave the 44th ?
FB: Oh, he’s not still here because of his injuries.
Q: Then why is he here?
MH: He hasn’t finished filming yet.
This is Gnat Grudge, here at the 44th, signing off for now.
DUBYA DOES IT AGAIN
W. TRUMPS KERRY WITH TROOP MOVE
By John Podhoretz
So why are the Kerry people so hysterical in their denunciations? They realize they've been trumped. Kerry clearly believed he had hit upon the perfect way to come at the president both from the right and the left when it came to military matters.
Kerry wants the American people to believe that he will bring soldiers home from Iraq in a year. But he doesn't want to appear weak, so he won't say how he's going to do it other than that he will mystically convince foreign leaders who oppose the U.S. presence there to fight the war for us.
The president has beaten Kerry at his own game. The hawk of hawks has found a way to tell America that he is bringing soldiers home, even as he vows to stand firm and tough on Iraq until the job is done. What's more, unlike Kerry, Bush has offered specifics, and by doing so has made it clear he is not acting precipitously.
8 STRONG ECON DATA EXPECTED
Industrial activity in the Northeast expanded this month and production at U.S. factories rebounded in July, providing evidence the economy is gaining momentum, Federal Reserve reports are expected to show this week.
Regional surveys by the New York and Philadelphia branches of the Fed are expected to show factories are placing more orders and hiring workers to increase production in August. Rising investment in new equipment and gains in payrolls suggest the economy is accelerating after last quarter's lull.
8 BOSS BASHER
MARILYN O'Grady, the long-shot Conservative Party candidate challenging Sen. Charles Schumer, has launched a TV ad campaign bashing Bruce Springsteen for his upcoming concert tour to unseat President Bush, reports The Post's Kenneth Lovett. "He thinks making millions with a song-and-dance routine allows him to tell you how to vote," O'Grady says in the ad. "Here's my vote: Boycott the Boss. If you don't buy his politics, don't buy his music." The commercials are set to run on Fox News Channel.
8 Cindy Adams had two good bits of news:
1) Porter Goss, the ad ministration's appointment last week as new head of the CIA — whom we're told is eminently qualified, whom we're told is the best man for the job, whom we're told has a long history with the Agency, whom we're told President Bush is indeed honored to be able to announce for the post — was, basically, Vice President Cheney's pick. The phrase actually attached to this information is: Cheney felt "comfortable" with him. Felt he "could work with him." What exactly that means, I don't know. I just tell you what I hear. You figure it out yourself.
2) WASHINGTON and Hollywood: Michael Moore's anti-presi dential screed comes out in video in October. Motormouth, who you shouldn't believe isn't as interested in making money as he is in making trouble, dredged up another way to ooze more bread from his film. The video will contain additional unseen footage.
8 Chris, at KerryWaffles, has posted more of those incriminating Heinz-Kerry e-mails.
Posted the email where the Kerry campaign emailed Jeff Lewis, President of the Heinz Center, to put a lid on their funding of a pro terrorist website. More to come...just gets worse.
ANOTHER LANDSIDE-FOR-BUSH POLL
From a Kerry supporter. Read the entire interview. Unbelievable!
Bush Landslide (in Theory)!
Interview by DEBORAH SOLOMON
Q As a professor of economics at Yale, you are known for creating an econometric equation that has predicted presidential elections with relative accuracy.
A My latest prediction shows that Bush will receive 57.5 percent of the two-party votes.
Q The polls are suggesting a much closer race.
A Polls are notoriously flaky this far ahead of the election, and there is a limit to how much you want to trust polls.
Q It saddens me that you teach this to students at Yale, who could be thinking about society in complex and meaningful ways.
A I will be teaching econometrics next year to undergraduates. Econometrics is a huge deal, because it is applied to all kinds of things.
Q Are you a Republican?
A I can't credibly answer that question. Using game theory in economics, you are not going to believe me when I tell you my political affiliation because I know that you know that I could be behaving strategically. If I tell you I am a Kerry supporter, how do you know that I am not lying or behaving strategically to try to put more weight on the predictions and help the Republicans?
Q I don't want to do game theory. I just want to know if you are a Kerry supporter.
A Backing away from game theory, which is kind of cute, I am a Kerry supporter.
The Left has an unrealistic read on President Bush.
By Ronald Kessler
EDITOR'S NOTE: This piece was originally set to appear as an op-ed in USA Today. According to Ronald Kessler, the op-ed was accepted by USA Today back in July, to run to coincide with the publication of his new book A Matter of Character. The piece, however, wound up not running last week, and was eventually killed by USAT. A spokesman for the paper told The O'Reilly Factor late last week, "Mr. [Brian] Gallagher had questions about the piece that couldn't be resolved with Mr. Kessler, so we didn't run the column."
Ronald Kessler, however, says: "To say that Brian Gallagher, the editor of the editorial page, had questions that I couldn't resolve is misleading. Gallagher had objections — not questions — that were so obtuse that John Siniff, the Forum editor who had approved the op-ed to run the next day, said he could not understand them. Still hoping he could run the piece, Siniff therefore asked me to speak to Mr. Gallagher directly. When I did so, Gallagher said he did not think the op-ed made a persuasive case that the caricatures of George Bush as a dimwit were wrong. In supporting that claim, he said a favorable quote about how Bush conducted his own research into why kids can't read from Alexander "Sandy" Kress was suspect because Kress was pro-Bush. As it happens, Kress is a former chair of the Dallas County Democratic party. But Mr. Gallagher's clear implication was that anyone who has a favorable opinion of Bush is not credible."
Kessler's publicist, Sandy Schulz, further explained to NRO: "The ultimate rejection of the piece by Kessler, whose three op-eds on CIA subjects had run unscathed in the past three months, coupled with Gallagher's point that a quote from a pro-Bush person is not credible, clearly demonstrates the anti-Bush media bias Kessler documents in his book. "
If you believe the media and the recent spate of books about George W. Bush, the president has a short attention span — yet from the day he took office he was obsessed with attacking Iraq. He is a puppet of Dick Cheney or Karl Rove, but he does not listen to anyone's advice. His decisions are made for him by warring factions within his administration, but he stubbornly clings to his own views. He graduated from Yale and Harvard Business School, but is a dimwit. He appointed Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice to two of the most powerful positions in the government, but is an intolerant right-winger.
Japanese Army soldiers stand among Iraqi students for a picture in a primary school in the southern city of Samawa, 260km south of Baghdad July 21, 2004. REUTERS/Mohammed Ameen
If you thought the news from Iraq was primarily bad, then read this refreshing article. Mr. Chrenkoff reports on the good news in Iraq, from the coalition to reconstruction to schools to utilities to their economy and even their own brand of trash tv. Everything.
Taking the Field
A roundup of the past two weeks' good news from Iraq.
BY ARTHUR CHRENKOFF
As Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby writes, "The press tends to emphasize what's going wrong in Iraq because of an inbuilt bias for the negative--only the plane that crashes, not the 999 that land safely, [makes] news. The result is that while the bad news in Iraq gets reported everywhere, the reports of good news you have to look for."
[P]rogress continues to be made on the ground in Iraq, even during the most dangerous of times and often against the odds that we--so insulated by the safety, comfort and predictability of life in the West--can hardly even begin to comprehend.
Iraq of March 2003 was not a normal, well-functioning state thrown into chaos and mayhem only by the arrival of the Coalition forces. In reality, the preinvasion Iraq was a wreck of a country whose great potential of the 1950s and 1960s has been all but completely squandered for the sake of the aggrandizement of one man and the hegemony of his party. It's important to bear that in mind before rushing to criticize the coalition authorities for failing to rebuild in a year what took three decades to destroy.
That the Iraqi people are not giving up on their desire to overcome the tragic and soul-destroying legacy of the Baath Party misrule and are courageously forging ahead with their new lives is truly a testament to the power of the spirit and human tenacity.
Baghdad's favorite radio station, Radio Dijla, continues to be a huge hit with the audience: "At the studio microphone--as he is for a remarkable seven hours a day discussing everything with his listeners from politics to pop music, sewage to suicide bombing, corruption to conjugal disharmony--Baghdad's top jock, Majid Salim. . . . How has life changed [since Saddam's overthrow]? Well, [Salim] says with a smile, for one thing you couldn't mention, let alone play the music of, Iraq's most popular singer, Kazem al-Saher, after he failed to turn up to a birthday party of Uday Hussein. More seriously, he says: 'You couldn't mention the word Kuwait. Or Iran.' He adds: 'Now I have the freedom of giving my opinion as a presenter and to encourage the listeners to give theirs.'
The Iraqi Olympic team was flown from Baghdad to Athens by the Royal Australian Air Force. In the words of Australia's foreign minister, Alexander Downer: "It's very appropriate that a country like Australia, which has helped to free the Iraqi people from Saddam Hussein, should play a role in getting their Olympic team to the Olympic Games. I think there's a nice symbolism about that."
The Iraqi soccer team, by the way, has just upset Portugal with a 4-2 win in the Olympic competition. "This victory will be received with happiness by my people, who have suffered through much," said Iraqi coach Adnan Hamad.
Iraqi fans celebrate with Iraqi players after Iraq defeated Costa Rica 2-0 during a mens first round group D Olympic soccer match at the Karaiskaki stadium in Athens, Sunday, Aug. 15, 2004. (AP Photo/Diether Endlicher
Behold the nastiness McCain-Feingold has wrought
By CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER
YOU WANTED campaign finance reform. You got campaign finance reform. McCain-Feingold promised to take the money out of politics. If you believed that, you deserve what you got.
And what you got is an avalanche of money into politics this year as George Soros, Democratic big shots and, to a lesser extent, Republican money men (Republicans are slower on the uptake) get into the business of “independent” political expenditures.
The ads have another restriction. They cannot advocate voting for anyone. I love that part, for two reasons. First, it produces comical scripts that say “President Bush, friend of Halliburton, likes taking food from the mouths of orphans. If you think that this is not nice, write President Bush and tell him so.” Of course, the ad buyers mean: “Vote Kerry.” But they cannot say so.
Second, I like the poetic justice. The goo-goo do-gooders who endorsed campaign finance reform have another great cause: the awfulness of negative campaigning. Well, they have produced a system now that is practically designed to produce negative ads.
The Democrats next charge that the very idea of attacking the military service of a heroic American is disgraceful. On this there are two points. The “heroic” part is precisely what is at issue here, and the Swift boatveterans who themselves served honorably have some questions about it. More importantly, who brought up Kerry’s military record in the first place? If Kerry had not made his Vietnam service the very centerpiece of his campaign — “I’m John Kerry and I’m reporting for duty” — this attack on his record could more justly be deemed scurrilous mud-raking. But if you run as a war hero, your claims of heroism are fair game.
Under the law, George Bush cannot tell the Swift boat vets to stop even if he wanted to. That’s campaign finance reform — the panacea that took the money out of politics, remember?
photo by Kitty
Yesterday, Nurse G and I had to get out of our homes, had to go some place. We’re both running on financial fumes these days, so driving to the lake was more gas than we wanted to afford. Besides, this weekend is the Sirius NASCAR Race Weekend in Watkins Glen, and we wanted to avoid all that traffic. So we ended up by driving to Elmira College. Nurse G earned her bio-med degree there in the mid-90s, and last summer she quite her job in research for Corning Inc. to return to her alma mater to earn her BS in nursing. (She’s a junior this year; classes begin next month.) The tiny campus is home to Mark Twain’s study. The cozy structure sits atop an incline. With me at the top and Nurse G positioned below, we taught Little H to roll down the hill, giggling all the way. We didn’t spend a penny, other than a trifling on gas, yet the moments were priceless.
It should come as no surprise to long-time dittoheads that Rush empathizes with New Jersey’s Gov. McGreevey, not for the scandals he’s brought upon himself, but for coming face-to-face with his double life being gay. Rush had to face the fact last year that he had led a double life as a drug addict, so he can appreciate the pain of coming clean in public.
So I'm just honest with you here. This would not have been my take a year ago and I'm glad that it is my take today, especially when you look at [McGreevey's] two little girls. I mean, you cannot help but feel sorry for them as well, or have feelings for them. The youngest one is one-year-old, and this is something that they're going to have to now deal with because of his actions, and don't think that's not weighing on him, either. You know, for all of the political ramifications, for all of his career, the personal life aspects of this cannot be easy, but he's, for whatever reason, is here taking the first step toward setting it all straight. And I want to be one to wish him well in his personal quest here to make this a positive and liberating an event as it can be.
WE MUST WIN
This is a long piece, so I'd advise printing it to read later. My copy is 57 pages long, but it's well worth the time required to read.
World War IV: How It Started, What It Means, and Why We Have to Win
By Norman Podhoretz
I will attempt to show, we are only in the very early stages of what promises to be a very long war, and Iraq is only the second front to have been opened in that war: the second scene, so to speak, of the first act of a five-act play. In World War II and then in World War III, we persisted in spite of impatience, discouragement, and opposition for as long as it took to win, and this is exactly what we have been called upon to do today in World War IV.
The point I wish to stress is not that Clarke was exaggerating or lying.2 It is that the attack on 9/11 did indeed come out of the blue in the sense that no one ever took such a possibility seriously enough to figure out what to do about it. Even Clarke, who did stake a dubious claim to prescience, had to admit under questioning by one of the 9/11 commissioners that if all his recommendations had been acted upon, the attack still could not have been prevented. And in its final report, released on July 22 of this year, the commission, while digging up no fewer than ten episodes that with hindsight could be seen as missed "operational opportunities," thought that these opportunities could not have been acted on effectively enough to frustrate the attack. Indeed not—not, that is, in the real America as it existed at the time: an America in which hobbling constraints had been placed on both the CIA and the FBI; in which a "wall of separation" had been erected to obstruct communication or cooperation between law-enforcement and national-security agents; and in which politicians and the general public alike were still unable and/or unwilling to believe that terrorism might actually represent a genuine threat.
TERRORISTS: A WORLDWIDE PROBLEM
Revealed: 20 al-Qaeda suspects on Scots hit-list
BRITISH security services have compiled a ‘hit-list’ of 20 al-Qaeda terrorist suspects who are living in Scotland and said to be connected with a plot to unleash mass murder on the streets of the UK.
The dossier, compiled by MI5 and Special Branch, contains the names of more than 80 alleged extremists across Britain whom security services allege were involved in a plan to kill, using the deadly poison ricin.
The 20 suspects living north of the Border are all Muslims and based in the Central Belt. Some are said to be British citizens.
But a legal source close to the asylum appeals told Scotland on Sunday: "There are 20 people on this list of 82 who are living in Scotland - both men and women.
"All of them are Muslim and they live in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
SNP leader John Swinney said: "The idea of 20 terror suspects at large in Scotland will no doubt cause great concern. But we must remember that terror organisations set out to terrorise us out of our way of life. We must not give in to fear."
Yesterday, Scotland Yard said only that the ricin plot is still a live inquiry. The Home Office also refused to comment.
STRAIGHT TALKIN’ BUSH
KERRY 'TAXING' PRESIDENT'S PATIENCE
"We've still got about 80 days to go in this campaign, and the fellow I'm running against has already made about $2.2 trillion of new promises," Bush said.
"And so I said, 'Well, how are you going to pay for it?' And he said, 'Oh, don't worry, we'll tax the rich.'
"You've heard that rhetoric before, haven't you? It's why the rich have got accountants. Figure out how he can't tax them."