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  • Friday, May 30, 2003


    The farther he goes, the safer we are.

    Since President Bush, who puts the "dip" in "diplomat", is out of the country, the federal terrorism alert level has dropped to yellow. Coincidence? I think not. Meanwhile, Laura practices her french on Air Force One:

    "Excusez-moi. Où peux-je acheter un certain Paxil et une grande quantité de vodka ?"

    "Mes filles sont en prison une fois de plus. Où peux-je trouver un bailbondsman ?"

    "Svp aidez-moi à s'échapper d'un mariage sans amour. Ne vous inquiétez pas. Mon mari ne parle pas la langue."

    posted by tbogg at 3:46 PM



    Stuff to read this weekend

    I haven't linked to anything from whitehouse.org this week.....so let's get caught up:

    Ask Condoleeza:

    Peg, from Newport News, VA writes:
    Is President Bush (or as we like to call him around here "President Hunk") really as dreamy in real-life as he seems to be on Fox News? Please say he is! *swoon*

    Dr. Condoleezza Rice:
    You know, it's interesting how often I find myself fielding this question these days. Back when I first started working in the White House, all anyone wanted to know was how I could tell the difference between the President and his mother. But now, with two wars under his belt and who-knows-how-many more to come, Southern ladies such as yourself seem to find the President's humpability quotient to be directly proportional to the number of Arabiacs he orders killed. At this rate, I figure we only need to annihilate another 50,000 or so Muslims before People magazine declares him the "SEXIEST MAN ALIVE!"

    As for me, I don't really notice such things. Why, even when I was elbow-deep in that flight suit arranging wadded-up tube socks around the First Giblets, the President was still little more than a meal ticket for me. Besides, for me to do my job right, it's necessary to maintain the kind of mental discipline that keeps my honey pot as arid as the hardscrabble patch of fire ant-infested prairie behind the President's Crawford stables where Mrs. Bush insists I sleep whenever I visit.

    Yale Reunion Itinerary

    THE PRESIDENT: That's right! How the hell are you boys? It's great to see you. Make yourselves comfy. Mi Casa Blanca es tu Casa Blanca. And I don't mean that figuratively either. Because without your vast personal fortunes earned off the stooped backs of state-schooled, luggage-hued insect people, the humble "C" student you see standing before you would still be slumming it with those sorry-assed rodeo monkeys back in Texas. (Applause.)

    I really appreciate you boys coming down here and saving me the trip up to New Haven. Sorry for the inconvenience, but because Karl has invested a boatload of time in passing me off as coming from the heartland, he won't - excuse me, don't - let me be photographed in my blue-blooded Connecticut birthplace. True, I know today won't be the same without group projectile vomiting in the trough urinal at Mory's Temple Bar, but I've cooked up a little reunion itinerary that I think y'all are gonna enjoy anyhoo. So let's hit it!

    posted by tbogg at 3:16 PM



    Navel exercises

    Boy howdy. The Columbia Journalism Review has nothing on the editors at the Lufkin Texas Daily News when it comes to matters of journalistic ethics and reporting. I mean, look at the serious career-crushing ass-whupping they put on city slicker Mo Dowd of the New York Times.

    Until she explains to our satisfaction her own ethical transgression — an apparently deliberate distortion of a comment by President Bush — you will not find the work of Times columnist Maureen Dowd on this page.

    Since publishing a mea culpa on the Jayson Blair fiasco, the ethical woes have only continued at the Times. Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Rick Bragg resigned this week after it was revealed he had passed as his own, work reported by interns and freelance writers. Not even his friendship with the Times' top editor could save him.

    The storm clouds have now moved over Dowd, also a Pulitzer Prize winner whose work has appeared here and other newspapers across the country — and coincidentally, like me, a graduate of The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. A Times spokeswoman said the newspaper is "looking into" a column, which we did not publish, in which Dowd apparently twisted to fit her point of view Bush's assessment of the danger posed by al-Qaida terrorists just days before a terror attack in Saudi Arabia.

    The shame of which will probably keep the fancy book-learnin' Mo from showing her smarty-pants face next time she passes through Lufkin (You'll Love Lufkin!) on the way to Diboll for the Sawdust Festival.

    But it's hard to edit when you're riding the high horse down the low road:

    The New York Times' considerable credibility problem is now our problem, as well.

    But unlike the Times, which has been engaged in a torturous exercise of naval (sic) gazing and self-flagellation, with its accustomed arrogance, since it was revealed that one of its younger reporters had committed all sorts of journalistic sins, we are doing something about it, and fast.

    Note to Lufkin Daily News editor: a spellchecker isn't exactly the same as an editor.

    Meanwhile, 37 students graduated from Stubblefield Learning Center Thursday night. How about a rousing chorus of He's Always Been Faithful?

    posted by tbogg at 11:14 AM



    Flopping about like a landed trout...or like Dick Cheney when he gets near the microwave

    The link isn't working ("bloggered") but Steve over at No More Mr. Nice Blog has your Friday Fresh Catch of the Day:

    CLAIRE SHIPMAN: But still, no matter how quickly we won the war, wouldn't it have made sense for example to have an enormous police or military police operation ready to go here, to simply keep order?

    PAUL BREMER: Well, the police in a postwar period, the police are called the army. That's what the Army is here for. And we did have a pretty big one. Right? Today we had 54,000 troops here in Baghdad. That's a pretty big police force. We also have got an entire brigade of MPs that have been brought in. We've got a pretty good-sized police force. That's not a problem.

    CLAIRE SHIPMAN: But they certainly weren't operating the way they might have as soon as the war ended.

    PAUL BREMER: Look. Military men are not trained to be policeman. But in an immediate postwar period, that's the role that they have to assume.

    Meet the new boss...dumb as the old boss.

    posted by tbogg at 9:11 AM



    In the vast Library there are no two identical books

    Town Hall columnist Dennis Prager considers God and monkeys and infinity:

    Thomas Huxley ("Darwin's bulldog") is said to have come up with the most famous defense of the atheist belief that life was created by chance, not God. In a debate at Oxford, he is reported to have stated that if enough monkeys randomly pressed typewriter keys for a long enough time, sooner or later Psalm 23 would emerge.

    Not all atheists use this argument, but it accurately represents the atheist belief that with enough time and enough solar systems, you'll get you, me, and Bach's cello suites.

    This belief has always struck me as implausible. The argument that infinitely complex intelligence came about by itself, unguided by any intelligence, can only be deemed convincing by those who have a vested interest (intellectual, emotional, psychological) in atheism.

    I fully acknowledge the great challenge to theism -- the rampant and seemingly random unfairness built into human life. But no intellectually honest atheist should deny the great challenge to atheism -- the existence of design and intelligence. The belief that Bach's music randomly evolved from a paramecium should strike anyone as so fantastic as to be absurd, even more absurd than the belief that a monkey could monkey Shakespeare. The finite number of years in the universe's existence and the finite number of planets would not come close to producing a few sentences, let alone Psalm 23 or a Shakespeare play.

    But a just reported English University experiment has convinced me that the number of monkeys and the amount of time are irrelevant. Psalm 23, let alone Hamlet, would never be written. Why? Because the monkeys probably wouldn't do any typing.

    According to news reports, instructors at Plymouth University put six Sulawesi crested macaque monkeys in a room with a computer and keyboards for four weeks. Though one of the monkeys frequently typed the letter "s", the other monkeys ignored the keyboard, preferring to play with one another and with the ropes and toys placed there. When they did pay attention to the keyboard, one smashed it with a stone and the others repeatedly urinated and defecated on it.

    The instructors hastened to note the study was not scientific, given the short duration of time and the small number of monkeys, but some of us find this "study" to be a hilarious vindication of our view of the "enough monkeys for enough time" argument for random creation.

    It's quite obvious that Prager has missed Huxley's point by focusing on the monkeys, but then it's not suprising when you consider that this is a man who can dismiss the idea of monkeys typing for an infinite amount of time, and states: "The argument that infinitely complex intelligence came about by itself, unguided by any intelligence, can only be deemed convincing by those who have a vested interest", yet has no problem accepting the concept of some sort of hairy unseen judgemental creator who has dabbled in world creation for an infinite amount of time. A concept that can only seem convincing to someone who has dedicated their life to the unseen 'hand in the sky', no questions asked.

    But Prager's column did get me to thinking about a few other things. First off, if you were able to put a bunch (a tribe? a pod? a convention?) of monkeys into a room, typing for an indefinite amount of time: what would they produce? The general consensus among primatologists is that you would end up with this.

    More importantly, and seriously now folks, Prager's column reminded me of J.L. Borges' The Library of Babel which I invite you to read because, although it contains only 2,690 words, it considers infinity wonderfully.

    posted by tbogg at 8:49 AM


    Thursday, May 29, 2003


    First tip off...there is the use of the word "hip".

    Jonah Goldberg is covering The New York Times magazine article titled "The Young Hipublicans". Now, I read what the elastic-waistbanded Dockers-wearing Jonah had to say about the article, but I was unable to get the link to the original article to work, so I'm going to have to take a pass on that for the moment. But there is a much bigger issue at work here that needs to be discussed: Isn't having Jonah Goldberg write about "hipness" a lot like having Kate O'Beirne write about orthodonture?

    Just asking......

    posted by tbogg at 11:55 PM



    Lisa on Reading Rainbow

    Lisa over at Ruminate This has a few things to say about Reading Rainbow. Go read it.

    ...and by the way. Ruminate This has become my favorite blog when it comes to design, use of graphics, and readability.

    Very nice. Very nice. Golf applause........

    posted by tbogg at 11:15 PM



    Sign of the times...or, damn I'm getting old.

    On my way home tonight from my daughter's soccer practice, we stopped at Best Buy to pick something up. On a whim, I bought my wife a copy of Nick Lowe's Greatest Hits. We were listening to it on the drive home when Cruel To Be Kind came on and she commented, "Hey. That's a Save Ferris song".

    As her punishment, she got a dissertation on Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello, Ian Drury and the Blockheads, and Rockpile. And you haven't lived until you've explained the song Marie Prevost to a thirteen year-old.

    That hungry little dachshund...

    posted by tbogg at 10:34 PM



    "....expatriated Americans. Hoping to find some fun"

    From the McGill Report:

    We have met the foreigner, and he is us.

    In Saudi Arabia, a strange and foreign land if ever there was, a terrorist attack two weeks ago was aimed not primarily at Saudi citizens but rather at European and American citizens who have chosen to live large portions of their lives, often raising children into their teen years, in Saudi Arabia.
    Some 35,000 Americans live in Saudi Arabia, many working for American oil and consulting companies, some for the U.S. military and some for the 100 percent Saudi-owned oil production company, Saudi Aramco. Expatriates are an unusual breed of American citizen who, after living for years in a foreign country, might think and act more like a "foreigner" than an American. When they come back to the United States, they might feel culture shock as strongly as they felt when they first moved abroad.


    I received this Internet joke in my e-mail the other day from a friend in Hong Kong: "In New York City, the United Nations adopted a resolution to study the food shortage in the rest of the world. But three delegates raised objections. The delegate from Africa did not understand the word 'food.' The delegate from Europe did not understand the word 'shortage.' And the U.S. delegate did not understand what was meant by 'the rest of the world.'"

    Is this how we want to be known by our global neighbors?

    posted by tbogg at 2:51 PM



    America's latest Christian Martyr

    She's Rachel Honer and she wants to sing "He's Always Been Faithful" at her high school graduation. Lyrics:

    Morning by morning I wake up to find the power and comfort of God's hand in mine.
    Season by season I watch him amazed, in awe of the mystery of his perfect ways. .
    Chorus: All I have need of his hand will provide. He's always been faithful to me. .
    I can't remember a trial or a pain he did not recycle to bring me gain.
    I can't remember one single regret in serving God only and trusting his hand. .
    Chorus .
    This is my anthem, this is my song, the theme of the stories I've heard for so long.
    God has been faithful, he will be again. His loving compassion, it knows no end. .

    Since the school would like her to substitute He or Him for God she's filing what Conservatives are quick to call (except in her case), a "frivolous" lawsuit.

    The lawsuit, now assigned to the court's Green Bay division, contends that the school district violated Honer's constitutional rights to equal protection, free speech and free expression of religion. It seeks an injunction that thedistrict "cease its discriminatory and unconstitutional policy or practice of censoring students from expressing their religious beliefs in their speeches, songs or performances at graduation exercises."

    Debra Honer said Wednesday she agreed with her daughter that they couldn't ignore the incident at the Winnebago County public school.

    "I am incredibly proud that she has taken a stand and not backed down. God is number one in her life, so how could she talk about anything else?"

    Honer, 18, could not be reached for comment because she is training for volunteer work at a Christian summer camp, her mother said.

    Now what this song has to do with a high school graduation or her fellow students who have to suffer through it's moon/june lyric structure isn't explained, but Ms. Honer has decided to take their moment and turn it into his moment because he is "number one" in her life. You have to wonder how she would feel if one of the other students had been selected to sing and chose this:

    (Note: I changed the song this morning 5/30, because someone jogged my memory)

    Cain slew Abel Seth knew not why
    For if the children of Israel were to multiply
    Why must any of the children die?
    So he asked the Lord
    And the Lord said:

    "Man means nothing he means less to me
    than the lowiliest cactus flower
    or the humblest yucca tree
    he chases round this desert
    cause he thinks that's where i'll be
    that's why i love mankind

    I recoil in horror from the foulness of thee
    from the squalor and the filth and the misery
    How we laugh up here in heaven at the prayers you offer me
    That's why i love mankind"

    The Christians and the Jews were having a jamboree
    The Buddhists and the Hindus joined on satellite TV
    They picked their four greatest priests
    And they began to speak
    They said "Lord the plague is on the world
    Lord no man is free
    The temples that we built to you
    Have tumbled into the sea
    Lord, if you won't take care of us
    Won't you please please let us be?"

    And the Lord said
    And the Lord said

    "I burn down your cities--how blind you must be
    I take from you your children and you say how blessed are we
    You must all be crazy to put your faith in me
    That's why i love mankind
    You really need me
    That's why i love mankind"
    God's Song -Randy Newman

    I imagine she would be okay with that. I mean fair is fair, isn't it?

    ...and by the way:

    I can't remember a trial or a pain he did not recycle to bring me gain

    may be the worst lyric ever written with the exception of

    "Girl, you're a hot-blooded woman-child And it's warm where you're touchin' me" .

    posted by tbogg at 2:11 PM



    Fragging those Everquest geek's asses

    I got the link through Susan over at Suburban Guerrilla but I thought this story was interesting.

    And now, the news that every parent dreads. Researchers are reporting today that first-person-shooter video games — the kind that require players to kill or maim enemies or monsters that pop out of nowhere — sharply improve visual attention skills.

    Experienced players of these games are 30 percent to 50 percent better than nonplayers at taking in everything that happens around them, according to the research, which appears today in the journal Nature. They identify objects in their peripheral vision, perceiving numerous objects without having to count them, switch attention rapidly and track many items at once.

    Nor are players simply faster at these tasks, said Dr. Daphne Bavelier, an associate professor of cognitive neuroscience at the University of Rochester, who led the study. First-person action games increase the brain's capacity to spread attention over a wide range of events. Other types of action games, including those that focus on strategy or role playing, do not produce the same effect.

    While some researchers have suggested possible links between video games and other abilities, this study is thought to be the first to explore their effects on visual skills. Though the number of subjects was small, Dr. Bavelier said, the effects were too large to be a result of chance.

    "We were really surprised," Dr. Bavelier said, adding that as little as 10 hours of play substantially increased visual skills among novice players. "You get better at a lot of things, not just the game," she said.


    Dr. Jeremy Wolfe, the director of the Visual Attention Laboratory at Harvard Medical School, who was not involved in the study, said he was intrigued at the idea that "socially dubious games might improve something like general intelligence."

    "It might give every 14-year-old something to tell his parents," Dr. Wolfe said. " `Hey, don't make me study. Give me another grenade.' "

    Still, he noted that an increased capacity for visual attention was helpful in tasks as diverse as flying, driving, radiology and airport screening

    Damn. I only do one of those.

    posted by tbogg at 1:14 PM



    John Carroll- LA Times Keeper of the Faith

    The Liquid List provides us with an email from the LA Times John Carroll who is afraid of "liberal bias" particularly when it comes to reporting on Texas Republicans making up links between breast cancer and abortion.

    The story makes a strong case that the link between abortion and breast cancer is widely discounted among researchers, but I wondered as I read it whether somewhere there might exist some credible scientist who believes in it.

    Such a person makes no appearance in the story's lengthy passage about the scientific issue. We do quote one of the sponsors of the bill, noting that he "has a professional background in property management." Seldom will you read a cheaper shot than this. Why, if this is germane, wouldn't we point to legislators on the other side who are similarly bereft of scientific credentials?

    It is not until the last three paragraphs of the story that we finally surface a professor of biology and endocrinology who believes the abortion/cancer connection is valid. But do we quote him as to why he believes this? No. We quote his political views.

    Gee, John. Maybe because this issue has been discredited for years and the Republicans managed to find one crank with an agenda to back up their attempt at making access to a woman's right to choose more difficult. Maybe Carroll should be leaning on the science writers for not getting differing opinions from the Flat Earth Society.

    But the larger point is the fact that the Times reflects its audience in much the same way that Fox News and the Wall Street Journal reflect their audiences. In the case of the WSJ it's fiscal conservatives, in Fox's case it's social misfits, mouth-breathers, and the kind of people who buy 3D Western Saloon Puzzles.

    posted by tbogg at 12:19 PM



    Readers guide to Mickey Kaus

    If you are the type who can actually get through the creative typography of Mickey Kaus [you mean stuff like this?-ed], then you should ask yourself A) Why is he obsessed with Howell Raines? and B) How much of what Mickey writes is true?. [Was Mickey ever fired by Raines?-ed]. While I can't provide an answer to Mickey's Howell Raines hankering, Mickey does provide us with his own guide to what is an acceptable level of truth in a internet media/news site.

    Just go to the bottom of Mickey's page on Slate [All the way to the bottom?-ed] to Mickey's links:

    Drudge Report--80 % true. Close enough!

    There you have it. 80% true is "close enough". Call it the Kaus Line, as in "Well he got the story 80% correct. I guess Jayson Blair just made the Mickey Kaus Line. Print it." [If Mickey says so-ed]

    P.S.: He also links Ann Coulter:

    Ann "Too Far" Coulter--Sometimes it's just far enough.

    P.P.S.: ...and Bush Cousin John Ellis:

    John Ellis--Forget that Florida business! The cuz knows politics, and he has, ah, sources.

    posted by tbogg at 11:51 AM



    Can we get a recall?

    As everyone has probably heard, California Republicans are attempting to get a recall vote on Gov. Gray Davis because they felt he hid information regarding the state's dire financial situation during the election. So, on a national level, what are we to make of this:

    The Bush administration has shelved a report commissioned by the Treasury that shows the U.S. currently faces a future of chronic federal budget deficits totaling at least $44 trillion in current U.S. dollars.

    THE STUDY, the most comprehensive assessment of how the U.S. government is at risk of being overwhelmed by the “baby boom” generation’s future healthcare and retirement costs, was commissioned by then-Treasury secretary Paul O’Neill.

    But the Bush administration chose to keep the findings out of the annual budget report for fiscal year 2004, published in February, as the White House campaigned for a tax-cut package that critics claim will expand future deficits.

    The study asserts that sharp tax increases, massive spending cuts or a painful mix of both are unavoidable if the U.S. is to meet benefit promises to future generations. It estimates that closing the gap would require the equivalent of an immediate and permanent 66 percent across-the-board income tax increase.

    The study was being circulated as an independent working paper among Washington think-tanks as President George W. Bush on Wednesday signed into law a 10-year, $350 billion tax-cut package he welcomed as a victory for hard-working Americans and the economy.

    The analysis was spearheaded by Kent Smetters, then-Treasury deputy assistant secretary for economic policy, and Jagdessh Gokhale, then a consultant to the Treasury. Mr. Gokhale, now an economist for the Cleveland Federal Reserve, said: “When we were conducting the study, my impression was that it was slated to appear [in the Budget]. At some point, the momentum builds and you think everything is a go, and then the decision came down that we weren’t part of the prospective budget.”

    Mr. O’Neill, who was fired last December, refused to comment.

    This is absolutely criminal and some Senators should be plenty pissed.

    posted by tbogg at 9:53 AM



    Historical note that only means something to me

    Yesterday the Atlanta Braves became only the second team to open a game with three consecutive homeruns:

    The Atlanta Braves became only the second team in major league history to start a game with three straight homers and went on to a 15-3 rout of the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday night.

    "I'll be darned," manager Bobby Cox said. "That's only the second time it's ever happened? I'm sure it's the first I've ever seen it."

    Rafael Furcal, Mark DeRosa and Gary Sheffield began the game with back-to-back-to-back homers against Jeff Austin. Before the inning was done, Javy Lopez hit a two-run homer to knock out the Reds starter.

    The only other team to start a game with three straight homers was the San Diego Padres. Marvelle Wynne, Tony Gwynn and John Kruk accomplished the feat against San Francisco on April 13, 1987.

    I was at the Padres game when Wynne, Kruk, and Gwynn hit their three. The Padres lost that game.

    Some things never change.

    (I was also at the Padres/Astros game when Gary Sheffield and Fred McGriff went back-to-back in both the first and the second inning. They won that one)

    posted by tbogg at 8:53 AM



    Lefthand?...meet the right hand.

    Both from the Washington Post:

    Page B02 Disagreements Will Follow Efforts to Change Rules on Contracting Work Out

    The Bush administration lays down a big marker today whose effects could ripple through half of the federal workforce.

    Mitchell E. Daniels Jr., director of the Office of Management and Budget, and Angela B. Styles, OMB's procurement policy chief, will announce an overhaul of the rules that determine whether federal work should remain in-house or be turned over to the private sector.

    Circular No. A-76, as the rules are called, guides when federal agencies put up jobs for bid by the private sector and how they manage that work when it's underway. It grows out of an Eisenhower administration policy that said the government should not compete against its citizens and that agencies should obtain as many services as possible from industry.

    Page A02 Use of Contractors By NASA Examined

    The board investigating the space shuttle Columbia accident is examining whether NASA's heavy reliance on private contractors contributed to a pattern of increasingly sloppy maintenance inspections and a gradual acceptance of increased risk for the astronauts.

    NASA's main contractor on the shuttle program is United Space Alliance, a joint venture owned by Lockheed Martin Corp. and the Boeing Co. that in turn uses 2,240 subcontractors to run all facets of shuttle operations. The space agency turned over the day-to-day operations of the shuttle program to the contractors in 1996 as part of a major privatization experiment and pays them more than 80 percent of the shuttle program's $3.9 billion annual operating budget.

    Retired Adm. Harold W. Gehman Jr., chairman of the board investigating the Feb. 1 accident, said yesterday that the probe is examining, among other things, whether the performance-based contract was structured in a way that rewarded contractors for cutting corners or minimizing the significance of recurring problems to meet launch schedules.

    Maybe someone should introduce Adm. Gehman to Mitch Daniels.

    posted by tbogg at 8:41 AM



    Meanwhile, the lying continues....

    Weeks later, and the US can't even turn up a can of Raid:

    Pressed in recent congressional hearings and public appearances to explain why the United States has been unable to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, senior Bush administration officials have begun to lay the groundwork for the possibility that it may take a long time, if ever, before they are able to prove the expansive case they made to justify the war.

    In the months leading up to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, administration officials charged that Iraq's Saddam Hussein had spent billions of dollars developing chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, and was poised to hand them over to international terrorists or fire them at U.S. troops or neighboring countries.

    Nearly two months after the fall of Baghdad, officials continue to express confidence that the weapons will be found. "No one should expect this kind of deception effort to get penetrated overnight," Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz said in an interview yesterday. Wolfowitz said the administration's prewar emphasis on the existence of weapons of mass destruction stemmed from "one of the most widely-shared intelligence assessments that I know of. . . . We're a long way" from exhausting the search.

    But in speeches and comments in recent weeks, senior administration officials have begun to lower expectations that weapons will be found anytime soon, if at all, and suggested they may have been destroyed, buried or spirited out of the country.

    The U.S. invasion force moved so quickly into Iraq, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Tuesday in response to questions at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, that the Iraqis "didn't have time to . . . use chemical weapons. . . . They may have had time to destroy them, and I don't know the answer."

    Let's see...they didn't have enough time to use them in the war...but they had enough time to destroy them before they were overrun.

    Does Rumsfeld hold press conferences with a laugh track?

    posted by tbogg at 8:36 AM



    Lynched in the fog of war

    Looks like MSNBC is going with AP's story of the fraud that was Saving Private Lynch.

    The U.S. commandos refused a key and instead broke down doors and went in with guns drawn. They carried away the prisoner in the dead of night with helicopter and armored vehicle backup — even though there was no Iraqi military presence and the hospital staff didn’t resist. In the tale of Pfc. Jessica Lynch’s rescue, this is the Iraqi side.

    NEW ATTENTION has been drawn to the April 1 rescue since a BBC report this month created controversy by alleging that the Pentagon exaggerated the danger of the raid.
    An Associated Press reporter spoke to more than 20 doctors, nurses and other workers at the hospital. In interview after interview, the assessment was the same: The dramatics that surrounded Lynch’s rescue were unnecessary. Some doctors and hospital workers also said the raid itself was unneeded because they were trying to turn Lynch over, although they conceded that they made no attempt to notify U.S. troops of that effort.

    On the other hand, Glenn Reynolds has invested himself so deeply into attacking the BBC and Bob Scheer on this story that he's scrambling and tap-dancing and invoking the "fog of war" clause that is quite handy when someone can't admit that they were wrong.

    With AP on the story now, we can expect the Pentagon's Victoria Clarke to hold a press conference...just as soon as her clown suit comes back from the dry cleaners.

    posted by tbogg at 8:20 AM


    Wednesday, May 28, 2003



    I'm swamped right now, but I'll be posting tonight. I've got a heapin' helpin' of partisan bile to release.

    posted by tbogg at 12:27 PM



    This guy walks into a bar...no, wait, wait, okay...this guy walks into a...wait. Oh crap!

    Pity poor J. Grant Swank, Jr. of MichNews.com. Thinking he was all witty and droll, he writes a whole column setting up his punchline...and then he blows it:

    Granted. There were conflicting reports concerning the votes from American Idol. Ooops.

    Ratings flew off the charts. Voters called in till their fingers fell off. Twenty-four million callers couldn’t be wrong. Or could they? Or could those who were doing the tallying be incorrect? In other words, what’s with adding without calculators?

    Or could have enthusiasts been dialing the wrong number?

    Clay supporters were not happy faced when American Idol host Ryan Seacrest changed figures during the TVcast. Seacrest said that Ruben topped by winning over Clay with a mere 1,335 votes.

    Seacrest also announced that the number came to a 50.28 percent pitch.

    But after further investigation — with much media attention attending same — the company overseeing the voting glut states that it oversaw more than 240,000 misdialed call-ins. There were those trying to make connection with American Idol who missed the connection.

    [snip...yadda yadda yadda]

    In the meantime, count on Clay Aiken, the diplomat as well as super vocal chords, to come through on the side of personality and integrity and good sportsmanship.

    While Fox spokesman Scott Gorgin told media that "we can’t be responsible for people who dial the wrong number," Clay refused to kick up dust, go for a lawsuit and spoil America’s fun celebration over a Ruben win.

    Whew. If only a Clinton could have been molded in the likes of a Clay we could have saved a nation angst in the last presidential election.

    Oh well, not all are singers par excellence. Nor individuals of outstanding personal quality.

    ...nor writers who know what they're talking about, nor editors who have to review drivel about crap like American Idol.

    (Thanks to Karl)

    Added: It just occured to me who J. Grant Swank reminds me of.

    Added redux: The little weasel changed it. Somebody call Howard Kurtz or Mickey Kaus or some other over-rated, balding "media critic".

    posted by tbogg at 9:40 AM


    Tuesday, May 27, 2003


    Sully-Mickey Syndrome

    The boy Professor just can't help himself. At 10:36 yesterday, he said (as pointed out below):

    All it means is that the blogosphere -- especially the Raines-unfriendly part occupied by Kaus and Sullivan -- has had all weekend to chew on the story.

    Since that time he has posted on the Times at 1:08pm.....4:45pm......7:59am.....10:14am......11:27am.....3:25pm.....5:04pm.....

    It's a good thing that Reynolds is a Raines-friendly part of the blogosphere. Otherwise we might have to take Sully's Margaret Ray award away from him and polish it up real nice for Glenn.

    posted by tbogg at 2:34 PM



    I wish I had seen this on Memorial Day.

    Thanks to Tim for sending me this. As he says: "powerful stuff". Make sure you spam it around.

    (Warning: contains sound)

    posted by tbogg at 9:23 AM



    We repeat: This is not a......

    Two U.S. soldiers die in Fallujah firefight

    A U.S. Army unit was attacked in the Iraqi city of Fallujah early Tuesday in a firefight that killed two soldiers and wounded nine, U.S. Central Command said.

    A hostile force "of unknown size" fired on the unit with rocket-propelled grenades and small arms, a Central Command statement said. (Full story)

    The U.S. troops responded with heavy fire from Bradley Fighting Vehicles and other weapons. Two attackers were killed in the firefight and six were captured, Central Command said.

    An Army Medevac helicopter was damaged during the Fallujah firefight when a Bradley accidentally ran into it while trying to move into a position to return fire. Wounded soldiers were evacuated to military aid stations in the area.


    posted by tbogg at 8:56 AM



    Mirrorless in Tennessee

    The good professor writes:

    A QUESTION: The Rick Bragg story, conveniently enough, came out on Memorial Day Friday, one of the deadest news slots of the year. (As Kaus notes, it was even a vacation day for Romenesko!)

    But was this really that smart? All it means is that the blogosphere -- especially the Raines-unfriendly part occupied by Kaus and Sullivan -- has had all weekend to chew on the story. I wonder if on Tuesday, when people come back to the office, they'll scroll through those posts and it'll set the tone, making things worse for Raines rather than better?

    For the record, on today's Instapundit 'page', Raines is mentioned 6 times and the Times or New York Times is mentioned 14 times, none of them flattering.

    Does this mean that Glenn wouldn't want to belong to any club that would have Andy or Mickey as a member?

    Well at least he seems to be growing out of France bashing...

    posted by tbogg at 8:52 AM



    Ugly, stupid emails...

    No. It's not the ones from Nigeria or adding six inches to your manhood. It's one's like this:

    It includes a picture of this stamp with the following message:

    REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of Pan Am flight 103!

    REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993!

    REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon!

    REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of the military barracks in Saudi Arabia!

    REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of the American Embassies in Africa!

    REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of the US COLE!

    REMEMBER the MUSLIM attack on the Twin Towers on 9/11/2001!

    REMEMBER all the AMERICAN lives that were lost in those vicious MUSLIM attacks!

    Now the United States Postal Service REMEMBERS and HONORS the EID MUSLIM holiday season with a commemorative first class holiday postage stamp.

    REMEMBER to adamantly and vocally BOYCOTT this stamp when purchasing your stamps at the post office. To use this stamp would be a slap in the face to all those AMERICANS who died at the hands of those whom this stamp honors.

    REMEMBER to pass this along to every patriotic AMERICAN you know .

    Odd that it doesn't remind us that Timothy McVeigh was a member of Christian Identity. So much for these stamps.

    posted by tbogg at 8:33 AM


    Monday, May 26, 2003


    I'm back...more or less

    It been a lovely almost-week off, during which I relaxed, got some reading done, and re-connected with my family (apparently I've been sending my daughter to private school for several years now. Who knew?). I'm not back to full blogging strength just yet, so I'm going to take it slow so I don't get the bends.

    Also, I about halfway through reading Ender's Game which is kind of an embarassing admission since I'm not exactly a sci-fi kind of guy, and I feel like I'm reading a kid's book with all the attendant guilty feelings because I'm actually enjoying it. It's just not the kind of book that I take out in public to read.

    And speaking of reading and the aforementioned daughter, we have a deal this summer. Ever the Buffy fan, she is looking forward to season four being released on DVD which I will buy for her through Atrios, but....she has a reading list that we made up for her for this summer before she starts high school. In order to get Buffy she has to read:

    The Great Gatsby
    Cold Sassy Tree
    Fahrenheit 451
    and Watership Down

    I'm a mean dad.

    We spent a nice quiet Memorial day with my wife on volume three of Doris Lessing's Children of Violence set, my daughter watching Mars Attacks and Shrek between studying for her finals this week, me and my Ender, and Satchmo the Wonder Basset snoring contentedly on the couch..all...day...long.

    Life is good. Ask Satchmo.

    posted by tbogg at 10:24 PM



    Conservative heal thyself....

    It's just a small goof but I took great pleasure in reading it. Bruce Bartlett is one of those think tankers who feel compelled to write about, well, anything, because that's what think tank guys do to justify their phoney-baloney jobs. Usually Bartlett's forte is tax cuts where he is invariably wrong. This week he decided to take on...Jayson Blair. This is what's known as coming down out of the hills and shooting the wounded. Here's Bartlett (you may notice the error right away. It's what he says later that makes it fun):

    The Jayson Blair scandal at the New York Times has engendered more commentary than any similar press scandal I can recall. Although in substance, the scandals involving Janet Cooke at the Washington Post, Stephen Glass and Ruth Shalit at the New Republic, and Mike Barnacle at the Boston Globe are similar, the Blair scandal seems to have much greater resonance.


    To me, the most extraordinary aspect of the Blair scandal, in which he routinely made up quotes and stories, is that no one seriously complained. Apparently, any number of people saw stories about them by Mr. Blair that were patently false and quotes from them that were never uttered, yet they didn’t even ask for a correction.

    Of course, the fact that the Times ignored many of those who did raise concerns is also a stain on the paper’s record. But I find it amazing that so many people who were abused by Mr. Blair just said, “to hell with it” or “why bother.” They may even have felt that this sort of thing is standard at the Times. Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz has called this possibility “pretty depressing stuff.”

    I’ve never spoken to Mr. Blair, but I have been quoted many times in the New York Times and other major papers. I have to say, I have never bothered to correct a reporter’s misquotation of my words—even when it was grossly in error. In my business, I want to be quoted. As long as they spell my name right, why should I risk alienating a reporter by asking for a correction when no one reads corrections anyway?

    Yeah. Let's ask Mike Barnacle.

    posted by tbogg at 10:04 PM



    A blinding glimpse of the obvious

    Look who woke up and smelled the burning of the Bill of Rights:

    The lesser of two evils doesn't seem like such a bad choice these days to some Greens.

    As the Green Party hashes out its plans for next year's presidential election, some of its activists are urging the party to forgo the race and, instead, throw its support behind one of the Democratic candidates -- all in the hopes of unseating President Bush.

    It isn't an especially popular idea, but it is being seriously considered.

    "At the moment, everything is on the table and everything is being discussed," said John Strawn, co-chairman of the group's presidential exploratory committee.

    The committee began the process of finding a candidate months ago, soliciting recommendations from its state party representatives across the country. It compiled and picked over that list, contacting about 40 people it believed might make suitable candidates -- those who could help build the party, while upholding its leftist commitments to nonviolence, anti-corporatism and diversity.

    The party declined to identify who is on its list or who has responded to its inquiries. But officials confirmed media reports that they have been conferring with two-time candidate Ralph Nader, former representative Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.), party consul David Cobb and New York activist Paul Glover. All are considering running.

    That the Green Party is also considering not running a candidate would probably surprise some. Nader brought the party to new heights during the 2000 election, winning nearly 3 million votes -- more than four times as many as he received in 1996, when he first ran for president. It wasn't enough to qualify for federal election financing, but, as Democrats have long complained, it was enough to throw the election to Bush.

    But while Nader often said, during the campaign, that there was little difference between Al Gore and Bush, the party has since become an especially vociferous critic of the Bush administration, attacking seemingly every major presidential initiative -- from the war on terrorism and the conflict in Iraq, to the latest push for tax cuts. That has some rethinking their plans for 2004. "There are Greens at all levels who are so infuriated with . . . the Bush administration that they would do anything to see him turned out," Strawn said.

    If the Greens don't give up the idea of running someone with absolutely no chance of winning then they should change their logo to feature a foot with a smoking bullethole in the middle of it... on a field of green, of course.

    posted by tbogg at 9:51 PM



    More strange fruit from Mississippi

    While you may not come away from this article on Charles Pickering with the impression that he's a racist, you have to admit that he is a liar, ethically corrupt, sloppy, and therefore unfit for the bench.

    The fact that his son is pimping for him in Congress shows the fruit doesn't fall far from the tree.

    posted by tbogg at 9:41 PM



    The fiscal trainwreck

    Paul Krugman

    The Financial Times suggests that "more extreme Republicans" actually want a fiscal train wreck: "Proposing to slash federal spending, particularly on social programs, is a tricky electoral proposition, but a fiscal crisis offers the tantalizing prospect of forcing such cuts through the back door."

    Good for The Financial Times. It seems that stating the obvious has now, finally, become respectable.

    It's no secret that right-wing ideologues want to abolish programs Americans take for granted. But not long ago, to suggest that the Bush administration's policies might actually be driven by those ideologues — that the administration was deliberately setting the country up for a fiscal crisis in which popular social programs could be sharply cut — was to be accused of spouting conspiracy theories.

    Yet by pushing through another huge tax cut in the face of record deficits, the administration clearly demonstrates either that it is completely feckless, or that it actually wants a fiscal crisis. (Or maybe both.)

    posted by tbogg at 9:03 PM



    Memorial Day

    President lays wreath at Tomb of Guy Who Took His Place In Viet Nam.

    posted by tbogg at 11:59 AM


    Sunday, May 25, 2003


    Still on vacation...

    But I thought this letter from the local paper was too good to pass up:

    Estrada the wrong judge to head for high court

    San Diegan Kay Guarino and a host of conservative commentators ask, Why are Democrats blocking Miguel Estrada's nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Washington, D.C.?

    As Estrada's classmate at Harvard Law School and a fellow member of the Sociedad Inter-Americana there, I knew him slightly and can recite the nub of Democratic concerns: his blind belief in extreme right-wing rhetoric and equal blindness to empirical evidence contrary to his beliefs.

    Though Estrada has been described by promoters as an immigrant who at 17 arrived in the United States without speaking a word of English, he was hardly the abject refugee that description suggests. In fact, he was the son of a high Honduran diplomat and therefore was a member of Honduras' very small and privileged elite. And his political views reflect the comfortable narrowness of that elite.

    He and I once had a fiery argument about democracy in Latin America. Two of the issues we discussed remain in my memory. One was his warm approval of Gen. Augusto Pinochet of Chile, who had led the coup that overthrew leftist President Salvador Allende and murdered thousands. Part of Miguel's argument was that Allende had won only a plurality of the popular vote and therefore was not legitimate in the first place; he dismissed the Chilean legislature's vote to ratify Allende's victory in a process that accorded fully with Chilean law (Allende's own party was a minority in the legislature).

    The second issue had to do with his own native Honduras. I recall challenging the legitimacy of the Honduran government, which was and still is known for its corruption, its exclusion and repression of the lower classes, and at the time had been implicated in numerous human rights abuses (including assassinations), some tied to the U.S.-supported Contra war against Nicaragua. His counterfactual answer stuck with me: "Honduras is a pure democracy, just like the United States."

    The court to which Estrada has been nominated is considered widely to be a steppingstone to the U.S. Supreme Court, so the fact that he could be "possibly the first Hispanic American to sit on the highest bench in the land" actually increases concern. There are many top-flight Latino lawyers in the United States, even from our class of '86. If a seat should be set up for an American of Latin American descent, Hispanics and moderate Republicans would do well to support someone more likely to bring a broader, and more inclusive, definition of society and politics to important decisions.


    San Diego

    posted by tbogg at 8:54 AM


    Tuesday, May 20, 2003


    Taking the next few days off....

    Due to a combination of work, reading, other blog projects, and a soccer tournament this weekend, I'm taking some time off from tbogg and will return next Monday, Memorial Day. I mentioned last Sunday that I just started reading Masters of Doom and I have to say that I'm really enjoying the hell out of it. I started on computers around the time the first Quake game came out, and it's fascinating to see where the games came from and how they drove the technology we take for granted today. If you're a gamer from way back (c'mon...fess up to your inner game geek) you'll probably enjoy the anecdotes and backstory.

    Hopefully by next Monday I'll have the promised, but not delivered, book-blog up.

    Life just keeps getting in the way....


    Keep checking out the nice folks in the Hot Links in the meantime.

    (Added)... but before I go, I have to share this one with you:

    A survey released today by Young America’s Foundation indicates top colleges and universities across the nation overwhelmingly choose liberal speakers for commencement exercises.

    Using U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of the top 50 colleges and top 50 universities in the country, Young America’s Foundation has found for the tenth consecutive year that commencement speakers at these elite schools are heavily weighted to the left.

    Commenting on the annual study, Young America’s Foundation President Ron Robinson explained, “For ten years, we’ve shown that college administrators have used commencement ceremonies to send their students off with one more predictable leftist lecture. This year the most prestigious schools exclude scholars like Milton Friedman, Thomas Sowell, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas for the likes of Kofi Annan, Madeleine Albright, Walter Mondale, and Geraldine Ferraro.”


    Notably, FOX News personalities like Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, and Tony Snow are absent from the list of commencement speakers at top universities despite FOX’s ratings as the most watched cable news channel. Instead, people like Jim Lehrer, Tim Russert, and Chris Matthews appear on the list year after year.

    Furthermore, conservatives recently appearing on the New York Times best-seller lists, like Peggy Noonan, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, and Pat Buchanan, are absent from the top school commencements whereas liberal authors like Anna Quindlen, Thomas Friedman, Chris Matthews, and Anthony Lewis are speaking at top schools’ commencements.

    As they say, some jokes just write themselves......

    posted by tbogg at 1:00 PM



    "...shapely, young jiggling tarts that roam free in this country, enticing our husbands with boobs as hard as croquet balls"


    posted by tbogg at 12:03 PM



    "...the rich do indeed get richer. "

    Warren Buffett.

    Now the Senate says that dividends should be tax-free to recipients. Suppose this measure goes through and the directors of Berkshire Hathaway (which does not now pay a dividend) therefore decide to pay $1 billion in dividends next year. Owning 31 percent of Berkshire, I would receive $310 million in additional income, owe not another dime in federal tax, and see my tax rate plunge to 3 percent.

    And our receptionist? She'd still be paying about 30 percent, which means she would be contributing about 10 times the proportion of her income that I would to such government pursuits as fighting terrorism, waging wars and supporting the elderly. Let me repeat the point: Her overall federal tax rate would be 10 times what my rate would be.

    When I was young, President Kennedy asked Americans to "pay any price, bear any burden" for our country. Against that challenge, the 3 percent overall federal tax rate I would pay -- if a Berkshire dividend were to be tax-free -- seems a bit light.

    Administration officials say that the $310 million suddenly added to my wallet would stimulate the economy because I would invest it and thereby create jobs. But they conveniently forget that if Berkshire kept the money, it would invest that same amount, creating jobs as well.

    Capsule biography of the great man.

    posted by tbogg at 11:37 AM



    Canada reports case of mad cow

    The United States has temporarily banned Canadian meat imports after Ottawa reported a case of mad cow disease in an Alberta cow, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman said on Tuesday.

    But she's Caesars Palace's problem for now....

    posted by tbogg at 11:19 AM



    Okay. I found the four who haven't, didn't, and most likely never will....

    1 in 5 have sex before 15

    Waiting to have sex is a nice idea, teenagers say, but they believe hardly anyone does it.

    Many teens, particularly boys, feel pressure to have sex, and they say drugs and alcohol often lead to sex -- often without condoms.

    Your job is to indentify the four who aren't having sex before they turn fifteen...or after they turn fifteen, for that matter. I got the first four:





    On behalf of Charles Darwin...thank you, boys.

    posted by tbogg at 10:55 AM



    The focus group hated the name Oily Pig Flatulence so we're thinking of calling it Freshenelle.

    The Liquid List points out that the Total Information Awareness agency thinks they might be a bit more popular with a little name change.

    posted by tbogg at 10:18 AM



    Ari Fleischer-Little League Coach

    Ari Fleischer, the presidential press secretary who was the public face of the White House through the Sept. 11 attacks, two wars and the scandal at Enron, announced today that he was leaving his job to write, lecture and spend more time with his new wife.


    Mr. Fleischer said that he planned to remain in Washington through the 2004 election, but that he and his wife, Becki, wanted to move to the New York City suburbs, to the Bedford-Pound Ridge area of Westchester County, where Mr. Fleischer was raised in a family of Democrats.

    "There's something very attractive about returning to the place I grew up and doing the things that normal people do: having barbecues, coaching Little League, just being involved in the community as a citizen and not as a staffer," Mr. Fleischer said in a brief telephone interview.

    "I'm sorry Bobby. I don't have any information on the strike count. I believe that you should address those questions with the umpire who oversees those matters."

    "My team is completely focused on winning this game against the evildoers playing for the Elm Street Foster Freeze Diamondbacks and that is what we are focused on."

    "We have evidence that the team that played before us was the one that trashed the dugout and we are calling for an investigation"

    "Helen. I believe that I have already covered why your son is not pitching today. I can get the transcript for you if you would like."

    "It was the previous administration of this team that believed in stealing bases. This administration thinks its time to change the tone in this great American pastime of ours."

    "I think what you're going to see today is a continuation of the team making the case to the country that they are swing-for-the-fences kind of team — and today they will make the case to the Ace Hardware Devil Rays. The team has a case to make and you will soon hear about the importance of three-run home runs which will lead us to victory as well as creating jobs and lowering taxes for the player's hard-working Judeo-Christian American parents. Thank you. That's all the time I have for questions today. Play ball."

    posted by tbogg at 9:47 AM



    Leave the gun... take the chalupa


    More than 1,000 friends and relatives of nationally known hip-hop and gospel promoter Jay Reed, who was shot and killed May 10 outside a Taco Bell in Los Angeles, gathered yesterday for his funeral at Glendale Baptist Church in Capitol Heights. The Post's Hamil R. Harris reports that the 30-year-old Reed, who was an urban music executive for BMG Distribution, started his career in the rough-and-tumble hip-hop world and then, after a spiritual conversion, concentrated on creating a new sound by blending hip-hop and contemporary gospel with acts such as the Gideon Band, Choir Boyz and soloist Steven Hurd. The Rev. Anthony G. Maclin told mourners that Reed "was concerned about working his way out of the hip-hop industry and into the gospel industry. . . . He had a desire to promote gospel and nothing else." But at the funeral, one of Reed's close friends told Harris his past association with hip-hop culture possibly resulted in his death: "He was shot like Tupac Shakur." Los Angeles Police Lt. Fred Corral told Harris that the killing doesn't appear random: "This type of shooting is very rare. It appeared to be a setup."

    Actually, I don't really know anything abut Jay Reed or the shooting. I just wanted to write the headline...

    posted by tbogg at 8:59 AM



    Maybe someone should read the liner notes....

    You know, it's things like this that cause Richard Mellon Scaife to be late with the monthly check. According to Matt Drudge's own site, well, let's let Matt tell it:


    RADIOHEAD '2+2=5' *NEW

    That would, of course, be from Radiohead's new CD Hail to the Thief. What does Amazon have to say about Hail to the Thief?

    Filling the gulf between OK Computer’s epic progressive rock and Kid A’s skittering electronic theatrics, Hail to the Thief borrows equally from each. Its title implies that this will be a collection filled with songs of anger and dissent, but Radiohead no longer howl at the moon like they did on 1995’s The Bends. Instead, they use eloquent metaphors and complicated arrangements to express the uncertainty, fear and anger arising from the 2000 U.S. presidential election and a post-9/11 world. There’s no doubt about where Thom Yorke and company stand; the prog-rock break on "2 + 2 = 5" and Yorke’s terror at the thought of being "put in a box" make that immediately clear. But there's a prevailing sense of powerlessness here. The tinkling piano behind the cold sonic surface of "Backdrifts" and the brief, swooping melody in the middle of "Sail to the Moon" are islands in a sea of confusion. Like all of the band’s best work, Thief requires more than a few listens to fully appreciate, but those who stick around will be richly rewarded

    I don't believe that Matt's audience would approve.

    Drudge better cue up the Darryl Worley before they find out.

    posted by tbogg at 8:51 AM



    Hitting all the marketing hot buttons

    Let's see......

    Foreward by Rush Limbaugh?...check.
    Linking guns with freedom and terrorism?....check.

    Yup. Wayne Pierre has a book out. Which is good news because Conservative readers are starting to get a little testy about the Left Behind books.

    Reviewer: A reader from Colorado Springs, CO United States
    Ok, publication of this series of books is taking longer than the seven years alloted for the Great Tribulation! Hence, the three stars. While I'm hooked and will probably read the last book (unless Jenkins and LaHaye decide to stretch it further), I continue to be annoyed and wearied by the wide margins and line-spacing that allows these books to be dragged on and on in the interest of marketing and profits and little else. However, I have to say that the end of this book with the band of tired and depleted original Trib Force members watching and waiting for the appearance of Christ was quite thrilling and if indeed the next book is the last, it should be a good one. This series of books has had a life of it's own and if the stories have caused people to go to the Scriptures and search for the truth that's all to the good, but enough already - please bring it to an end and stop with the marketing ploys. Continuing to publish books easily read in a couple of hours at 20 bucks a pop has ceased to be good stewardship on the part of these undoubtedly sincere people and makes me concerned that it will do more harm than good to the cause of Christ.

    posted by tbogg at 8:41 AM



    Marrying our daughters and draining our precious bodily fluids....

    Cal Thomas is worried about those pesky Muslims undermining our God-fearing Christian country by invading it and converting it's people. He doesn't say anything about killing our leaders.

    You don't have to be paranoid to fear where this can lead in Canada and in the United States -where immigration and births are dramatically increasing the Muslim population. Vote-hungry politicians might easily bow to the political objectives of Muslim voters, many of whom have agendas outside this country and, in fact, outside this world. When Muslims gain political power, the historical and contemporary record is not encouraging for people who hold democratic values and are of the "Judeo-Christian" persuasion.

    Substitute "Jews" for Muslims and "Congratulations!", you're an anti-semite!

    Can you say "religious bigotry"?

    posted by tbogg at 8:22 AM


    Monday, May 19, 2003


    Somewhere in Texas, Karen Hughes is smacking her forehead with the heel of her hand

    President Happens To Be Not Smart doesn't hold many press conferences. Here is why:

    Q And the poverty problem?

    PRESIDENT BUSH: And the poverty problem -- listen, this nation is committed to dealing with poverty. First, let me make it very clear, poor people aren't necessarily killers. Just because you happen to be not rich doesn't mean you're willing to kill. And so it's important to understand -- people are susceptible to the requirement by these extremists, but I refuse to put a -- put killers into a demographic category based upon income. After all, a lot of the top al Qaeda people were comfortable middle-class citizens. And so one of the things you've got to do is to make sure we distinguish between hate and poverty.

    (Thanks to Nina...again)

    posted by tbogg at 11:50 AM



    More on Ari

    UggaBugga points out that we shouldn't be suprised that Fleischer is abandoning ship, since it is possible that the recently wed Fleischer may have "violated Bush's abstinence-before-marriage policy".

    I would be remiss if I didn't remind Quiddity that while some people choose abstinence, others have it chosen for them.

    We're talking Ari Fleischer here, not Shaft.

    ...and here's a little Ari for your memory book, in case you're starting to miss him already.

    posted by tbogg at 11:24 AM



    The moment you realize you don't have to read any further

    I saw this yesterday over at Eschaton and just ran up against it again over at Sullivan. So I felt compelled to click on it.

    Part of the disparity also seems to lie in subject matter. The four top lefty bloggers focus pretty exclusively on political or Administration news. The six top "righties" — InstaPundit (France, nanotech, "crushing of dissent"), Sullivan (The New York Times, gay rights), Volokh (law), LGF (Arafat), Lileks (life), and Den Beste (general global strategy) — are all beautiful prose stylists (my emphasis)

    After reading that last part----someone owes me 15 seconds of my life back.

    Ruffini also alerts us to the dangers of posting your picture on your blog....unless, of course, you don't mind looking like Opie.

    posted by tbogg at 11:02 AM



    Hitch's drunken ramble

    Christopher Hitchens wants us to know that he is going to address Sid Blumenthal's Clinton Wars in the July edition of the Atlantic. And you are just going to have to wait for his deathless prose, dammit:

    I have written a long review of Sidney Blumenthal’s book, “The Clinton Wars”, which will appear in the July issue of the Atlantic Monthly. It is a political review, and if you care enough you will just have to wait for it. I am not willing, and nor was I commissioned, to burden the readers of the Atlantic with a detailed rebuttal of everything in the book that concerns me personally. Even a brief accusation or suggestion against oneself, when made in print, often necessitates a long reply. And Blumenthal’s book is a protracted mood-swing between the grand and the trivial. I do not, however, want it suspected that I have nothing to say about the comments that chiefly concern my own role. So here is my response

    ...and then he goes on for 2467 words.

    Looks like the July Atlantic is going to be thicker than a Manhattan phone book.

    posted by tbogg at 10:49 AM



    The three faces of Dr. Bennett

    Jim at Rittenhouse gives us three views of America's Vice Principal, Bill Bennett.

    Personally, I'm a big fan of the Frank Rich piece.

    posted by tbogg at 10:32 AM



    Well, that's different...

    The Moonie Times has James L. Huffman weighing in on the Senate's "good-guy filibuster" of Owen's and Estrada. He seems to think that the Democratic Senators are being a little too activist:

    As for respecting the Senate's role, where is the disrespect? The Senate's role is to provide "advice and consent." There can be no doubt that the president is getting plenty of advice from members of the Senate, each of whom has communicated his or her list of favorites to the White House. And there is nothing the president has done, or could do, to prevent the Senate from consenting, or not consenting. Indeed, all the president is asking the Senate to do is vote.

    Of course, depending on the matter at hand, we know that activism should only be the province of...the judiciary:

    Most political conservatives believe in the principle of judicial restraint. I share that conviction, but I also believe in judicial activism. My purpose today is to make a case for principled judicial activism. In the process I will argue that the traditional conservative doctrine of judicial restraint poses a serious threat to liberty, and is therefore not consistent with the fundamental objective of the framers of the United States Constitution.

    He says some other interesting things too:

    Our Conservative Judges. Our Constitution is not just a machine that would go of itself, in the words of Michael Kammen. If a machine, it is one with a purpose. When, while being maintained by the Supreme Court, it goes of itself to produce results for which it was not intended, we need a new maintenance crew which will make the necessary repairs. The conservatives on the Supreme Court are not that crew. They have as much as said (see O'Connor in the abortion cases) that if the court gets it wrong it will have to stay wrong. That is what judicial restraint requires. But that is not what liberty requires. They clearly need some help from below.

    Part of the problem is that our conservative judges, like all of our lawyers, are trained in the tradition of Langdellian legal science. All will readily proclaim themselves legal realists, but they will behave as legal scientists, asking only what is the law? It is not for the judge to ask what the law ought to be. That is for legislators. But that is for legislators only within their constitutional domain. The law ought to be what it was intended to be and when we have gotten it wrong we should set it right.


    The most significant accomplishment of the Reagan-Bush Administrations has been the staffing of the federal courts with intelligent judges. My fear is that the Reagan revolution will come to nothing as these judges sit on their hands in the name of a simplistic theory of judicial restraint. It is a theory which accepts majoritarian tyranny as a constitutional requirement. James Madison would be dismayed. The price, as Madison and his contemporaries warned, will be the continued erosion of liberty

    Did I mention this was given before the Heritage Society?

    posted by tbogg at 9:14 AM



    Boring a whole new generation of readers

    Roger Ailes points out that telephone engineer and Barcalounger Warrior Steven Den Beste is discussing military matters in the Wall Street Journal. This should move him up to the first chair in his Magic: The Gathering group.

    ...and remember. Tom Clancy was once an insurance man.

    He still writes like one, too.

    posted by tbogg at 8:47 AM



    Republican Affirmative Action of the worst kind.

    This has got to be a joke:

    Washington - Well-informed court observers say that there could be two Supreme Court resignations next month, Chief Justice William H. Rehn- quist (sic) and Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, bringing the greatest upheaval on the court in 32 years.

    Rehnquist's resignation is considered likely, though not certain, while O'Connor's is considered likely by some court insiders and less so by others.

    The White House, however, is preparing for the possibility of two or three vacancies, because if Rehnquist is replaced by a sitting justice and O'Connor also goes, two seats but three positions will be open.

    Yet another seat could open up if Justice John Paul Stevens, who is 83, retires, but that is considered unlikely.

    While the speculation in Washington is that Justice Antonin Scalia would be elevated to chief justice, objections are being raised within the administration because of his age. Though Scalia is a very youthful 67, some feel a younger person should become chief justice to ensure long-term impact.

    For some of the highly ideological conservatives who have, at least until now, held sway over President George W. Bush's court nominations, that person would be Justice Clarence Thomas, 54, who if anything has positioned himself to the right of Scalia. They say that despite his controversial background, the White House has not yet dismissed the idea.

    I predict stormy hearings no matter who the nominee, no matter who gets elevated to Chief Justice. There is no way that the Bush Administration is not going grab this opportunity with both hands and effect a sea change is American politics.

    For what it's worth, I think Ted Olson's name is going to be floated and he will show up waving the bloody dress of Barbara.

    posted by tbogg at 8:32 AM



    I think it was the stress.

    Ari is stepping down. You know, he had a thick head of wavy hair when he started...

    We will miss his comic relief.

    Now on deck, Scott McClelland. Here's a sample of McClelland's work:

    Q When the President has his intelligence briefings, does he meet with FBI Director and CIA Director and the NSA Director together, or are they each separate and one doesn't know what the other one is doing?

    MR. McCLELLAN: I'm glad you brought that up. The President has his intelligence and FBI briefings on a daily basis, as you are aware. And if you'll recall, Dr. Rice noted recently that the Presidential daily briefing -- or the PDD, as it's referred to -- includes information about a range of international issues, such as elections overseas, or in Latin America, or the current situation with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    And so the briefing begins with Director Tenet on a range of those international issues. But when it comes time to discuss counter-terrorism and threats against Americans, as Secretary Card noted yesterday, then Director Mueller and Governor Ridge join the briefing at that point. And to my knowledge, Helen, that has never happened before. And it is one of many initiatives that we have taken since September 11th to make sure that intelligence information is being shared between agencies, that our information gathering is better coordinated. And that's just one of many steps.

    Q My question is, are they all together hearing what is being handed out across the board?

    MR. McCLELLAN: When it comes to counter-terrorism and threats against Americans or American interest --

    Q No, why aren't they all in on policy, too?

    MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I just went back through that, Helen. If you'll go back to what I just said, I just went through that Dr. Rice noted, a few -- a couple weeks ago, I believe it was, in this room here, that there are a range of international issues that are discussed with the CIA Director. And those include --

    Q But why not with everyone? I mean, the FBI is into everything now. And the NSA --

    MR. McCLELLAN: And those issues include elections overseas, elections in Latin America. But when it comes time to talk about counter-terrorism, which of course is our highest priority, then that is when the FBI Director and Governor Ridge participate in the briefing. And so that -- and that is what he have said all --

    Q And the CIA people and everyone else?

    MR. McCLELLAN: And Director Tenet, that's correct. And that is what we've said all along.


    Q Did the President know ahead of time about the State Department warning on India and, if so, was he asked to approve it or --

    MR. McCLELLAN: Let me go back to what I said earlier. The State Department has made the determination, based on the best assessment of the situation on the ground. And government has a responsibility to give the best advice to Americans abroad. And that's what they are doing, trying to give the best advice based on their assessment of the situation on the ground.

    Now, the State Department --

    Q So the State Department --

    MR. McCLELLAN: I'm getting to that. The State Department makes determinations based on consultations with our embassies on the ground, and there are consultations as well with the White House and administration officials at other agencies. And the President was informed of the decision, and he supports the decision.

    Looks like the same old whine in a brand new babble.

    posted by tbogg at 8:16 AM


    Sunday, May 18, 2003


    I could post more

    ...but I'm reading this, and it's far more entertaining than I could ever be.

    At least to me.

    You're on your own.

    Check out the people in the Hot Links.

    posted by tbogg at 8:39 PM



    Showing Rick Santorum their ass.

    About one in every eight graduates walked out of Sunday's commencement at Saint Joseph's University before the keynote address by Sen. Rick Santorum, who recently infuriated gay groups and others with derogatory remarks about homosexual behavior.

    Santorum, the Senate's third-ranking Republican, didn't mention the walkout or the controversy directly.

    "We are all called to love one another, even people we disagree with, even people who hate us for what we believe," he said.

    Students were offered an opportunity to leave before Santorum was introduced to receive an honorary degree and make his speech, and about 100 graduates walked out amid competing boos and applause.

    Some students had urged the Jesuit university to rescind Santorum's invitation after he likened gay behavior to bigamy, polygamy, incest and adultery in an April 7 interview with The Associated Press. He later said he intended the remarks as a legal analysis and didn't intend to comment on individual lifestyles.

    "Senator Santorum and I are at completely opposite ends of the spectrum," said graduate Sara Foglesong, among those who walked out. "I am not incestuous. I am not a bigamist. I just happen to be bisexual. It offended me."

    At least one school was willing to cancel his commencement speeech.

    posted by tbogg at 8:10 PM



    Must read

    I'm sure I don't need to tell anyone who reads this blog that every vote in every election matters or that blocking the Bush Administration nominees is of extreme importance. Make sure that you pass on this interview with Sara Weddington, the winning attorney in Roe v. Wade.

    I have never been so concerned about the future of access to abortion, legality of abortion, as I am today. Why? Because in the past, we always had defenses. So if you had a president who was opposed to abortion, you would have either the House or the Senate that was basically in favor of Roe v. Wade. Or you would have the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, used to be, who was pro choice. But now, you have all the key factors in Congress and the Executive Branch lined up as people who are opposed to Roe v. Wade. President, attorney general, House in general, Senate in general, Senate Judiciary Committee head. And the people who are in Washington are much more aggressively anti-abortion than even those who have been anti-abortion in the past.

    A woman's right to choose is hanging by a thread and George W. Bush holds the scissors.

    posted by tbogg at 7:28 PM



    More fun than an 3-hour Amway sales pitch

    Can you just imagine a theater full of grim-faced fans of this?

    posted by tbogg at 7:02 PM


    Friday, May 16, 2003


    Well I guess we know who wears the latex hotpants in that family.

    Sullivan has been warned to lighten up on the guy who fired his ass.

    WHEN IT RAINES, IT BORES: The boyfriend has ordered that I cease and desist all further mention of the Raines-Blair scandal, so I'll just give you the link. The scandal could be widening. And Seth Mnookin clearly wants to make this story his own.

    Ten hours later, he's back at it again.

    BLAIR'S AMEX: Two days after he quit the New York Times, Jayson Blair, whose credit cards were all maxed out and who used national editor Jim Roberts' card for expenses, somehow paid off a $3853 American Express bill. Whence the sudden infusion of money?

    You are an obsession
    You're my obsession
    Who do you want me to be
    To make you sleep with me

    posted by tbogg at 11:51 AM



    Uh.....I think it's a huntin' book

    Outside of giving Dick Cheney a snowboard, is there a worse idea for a gift than to give President Very Hungry Caterpillar a signed copy of To Kill A Mockingbird?

    The gifts the Bushes decided to keep include the boat and boat dock valued at $5,728 that he received from John L. Morris' Bass Pro Shops in Springfield, Mo.; eight Rolling Stones concert tickets totaling $2,533 for his daughter, Jenna; a $1,000 cowboy hat adorned with a silver Lone Star; and a puzzle worth $1,707 that he received from the White House staff.

    Other gifts the Bushes will keep -- all valued at less than $1,000 -- included a hardcover copy of "To Kill a Mockingbird" signed by author Harper Lee; shoes; an unframed 1865 map of Texas; cufflinks, china dishes, and an honorary membership to The Yale Club of New York City.

    I can't even imagine a man who can't eat pretzels unattended trying to put together a $1700 puzzle.

    Of course, I can't pass up the eight Rolling Stones tickets for Jenna.

    I met a gin soaked barroom queen in Memphis
    She tried to take me upstairs for a ride
    She had to heave me right across her shoulder
    Cause I just can't seem to drink you off my mind

    I also thought this was interesting:

    Bush listed interest income coming from checking accounts, money market accounts, certificates of deposit, retirement accounts and nearly 30 U.S. Treasury notes. Also listed as income was $12,000 from the Henry G. Freeman Jr. Trust.

    Freeman, who died in 1917, left a will stating that after the last relatives in his will were deceased, an annuity of $12,000 would be paid every year to each first lady during her husband's term as president. Freeman's estate, administered by First Union National Bank in Philadelphia, is invested primarily in the bank's common trust funds.

    Laura's getting $12,000 a year? That almost enough to keep her in Paxil and vodka (warning:sound) every month...

    (thanks to Nina)

    posted by tbogg at 10:52 AM



    "That was the longest five hours of my life" said the francophobe

    It took Prof. Instapundit almost a whole five hours to take his first potshot at France today. He must be slipping.



    posted by tbogg at 9:30 AM



    Anarchy, yes....but it's still not a quagmire....

    Anarchy in Iraq.

    Iraqis said on Friday their patience with U.S. pledges to restore law and order in Baghdad and to improve the economy was running thin and fear of lawlessness could lead to anti-American violence.

    Iraqis, many hiding in their homes for fear of being robbed, are now calling for the establishment of any interim government that would end what many see as growing anarchy.

    Some Iraqis who had celebrated the downfall of Saddam Hussein last month in a U.S.-led invasion now say insecurity outweighs any feeling of political freedom and liberation.

    "Under Saddam we lived in fear, now we live in terror from crime and we live in poverty," said Othman, a taxi driver queuing to fill up his car with petrol.

    Wait a minute...that's our petrol! Give it back you ungrateful Iraqi bastard.

    Grievances against the Americans for moving slowly to curb crime and establish a government were widely growing.

    Wamidh Nazmi, an Iraqi political analyst questioned the logic behind keeping Baghdad almost in complete darkness and without services more than three weeks after the war ended.

    "This is the worst situation in Iraq's modern history. On top of this there is no sense of security whatsoever. People also want wages," Nazmi told Reuters.

    He stood up and pulled a pistol from his pocket and said: "I simply went to the pharmacy next door to buy medicine, but I needed this to protect myself."

    Sorry guys. We're back to being interested in al-Qaida now. Just take a number and have a seat in the lobby.

    posted by tbogg at 9:24 AM



    Seething in Philadelphia

    Jim at Rittenhouse, who is back to regular blogging now, points out yet another Philadelphia blogger worth reading: Suburban Guerilla

    Duly added to the Hot Links. Go read her, she's really good.

    ...and speaking of Philadelphia, I was in a local CD store the other day and picked up a used copy of Philadelphia's own Musiq's Juslisen which is pretty darn good if you like Stevie Wonder-ish like neo-soul. I also found a copy of Curtis Mayfield's Superfly soundtrack for $4 which is a total steal.

    Everybody's misused him
    Ripped him off and abused him
    Another junkie plan
    Pushing dope for the man
    A terrible blow but that's how it goes
    Freddie's on the corner now

    posted by tbogg at 9:07 AM



    Media Whores Online

    ....has lots of good stuff on pretend journalist and preppie tough guy Neil Cavuto as well as excerpts from James Wolcott's dismantling of the White House Press whores.

    posted by tbogg at 8:32 AM



    Affirmative action at the New York Times

    No More Mr. Nice Blog points out that those unqualified white guys are making it up as they go along over at the New York Times.

    The link is "bloggered" so just scroll down to the 9:25 am post.

    posted by tbogg at 8:24 AM




    As if you needed another reason to go see Matrix Reloaded

    posted by tbogg at 8:14 AM



    The game plan...

    I'll leave it to others to discuss just how bad this tax cut is (and it is), but is there any doubt that when the dividend cut is set to expire, the Republicans will want to extend it, and that those who won't want to extend it will be accused of raising taxes?

    posted by tbogg at 8:12 AM


    Thursday, May 15, 2003


    It was a dark and snorey night...

    So I was doing some work at home tonight and not blogging. Just sitting on the floor with the laptop....

    Laptop story: I had always wanted a laptop but could never quite convince my wife to let me get one. Honestly I didn't really have a good reason to get one other than that general male gotta-have-it compulsion that makes us so darn endearing and childlike. Fortunately, like most things that you wish for, an opportunity will eventually present itself if you only wait and know where to look for it. Some call it opportunism. I call it fate.

    This July, my wife and I will have been married twenty years. When we got married way back in the day we were po', which is poorer than poor, so what my wife got in the way of a wedding ring was best described by my late grandmother as "cute". Since that day my po' wife has borne the stigma of a "cute" wedding ring which is a stigma that is beyond the reckoning of mortal man. Fortunately (and with no help from the Bush administration...you didn't think I would leave them out, did you?) we're not po no mo, so after much discussion I relented and said that for our upcoming 20th, she could get a new ring. Within a week or two she had found The Ring and what a ring it was. It was big. Damn big. So big, in fact, that it is referred to by our friends as the BFR. Of course, it goes without saying, there had to be something in it for me, above and beyond her being my little lovepoodle of course. Hence the laptop with the big 16.6" screen, which is, of course, referred to by my friends as the BFL, because my friends are nothing if not consistent as well as being possessed of limited verbal skills. And that is my laptop story.

    ...so anyway, I was sitting on the floor tonight doing some work, leaning up against the couch, when Satchmo the Wonder Basset decided he would lie behind me and prop his head on my shoulder while he got yet more of his much deserved 19 hours of sleep a day.

    If you've never done work with a softly snoring basset's head on your shoulder you haven't lived...at least you haven't lived at my house.

    That's the only point I wanted to make here.

    Go forth and spread the word.

    posted by tbogg at 10:42 PM



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