My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Presidential Politics Musings

I would guess that if the media were really doing its job and spending a little time telling the story of Mississippi, Hayley Barbour would begin to appear at the top of some pretty important lists regarding 2008. For that matter, let's put the team of Giuliani and Barbour together: proven leadership in times of crisis, a centrist lead with a solid conservative chaser.

That would be a strong combination. I'd work for them (which I cannot say about McCain).

Tale of Two Cities


By the afternoon of Aug. 29, 2005, it was clear the Mississippi Coast had been obliterated. Thousands of structures had been washed away in the great surge that destroyed so many homes, businesses, landmarks, personal treasures and lives.

But Hurricane Katrina did not destroy the hopes, dreams, memories or the will to survive that has sustained coastal Mississippians through the centuries. . . .

Life, death and hurricanes are certainties of existence on the Mississippi Coast. So, too, is the notion of surviving against odds that may seem to some too great to comprehend. But not here - not ever.

And, two:

Even to a storm-savvy population, Katrina seemed to sneak up on the city. Around the region more than a million people awoke Saturday, Aug. 27, to begin their usual weekend routines.

Then came the alarming news: The hurricane's expected northeastern bend into the central Mississippi Gulf Coast had not materialized overnight.

The storm instead drifted west, barreling right at New Orleans.

Alerted, the city in 24 hours completed the largest mass exodus in its history. About two-thirds of the metro area's citizens drove to safety, to upstate Louisiana or to higher ground in such states as Texas, Mississippi, Tennessee and Georgia.

But hundreds of thousands remained behind, too poor, too frail or too isolated to leave.
Many others, Crutchfield among them, elected to stay. They remained because they did not believe Katrina would be a mass killer. In particular, they did not think Katrina could kill them, that it could kill them in neighborhoods that had never flooded, inside a modern American city ringed by large-scale flood defenses fashioned by the Army Corps of Engineers.

They were confident, and they stayed.

In the course of a morning, Katrina would envelope them in arguably the largest natural disaster in U.S. history -- and certainly American civil engineering's greatest failure, as levees and floodwalls failed across the metro area.

The toll: 1,464 Louisianians dead, almost all of them in the New Orleans area. One hundred and forty square miles of a major city flooded for six weeks; St. Bernard Parish demolished, wall to wall; lower Plaquemines Parish devastated; southern Slidell and much of Metairie north of Interstate 10 flooded. In all, 160,000 homes destroyed or substantially damaged across five parishes.

And a more enduring tragedy: the forced relocation of about 240,000 New Orleanians who may never return.

Katrina would prove a three-stage disaster.

Just note the tone. Neither of these are straight news articles--they are both provided as, at least in part, commentary. But the entire tone of the Mississippi article is one of defiance, of survival, of self-reliance, of perseverance, and of ultimate success. Contrast that with the tone of the New Orleans article.

On this one-year anniversary of the horrific tragedy that was Katrina, arguably the greatest untold story of the whole event is the relative progress being made in Mississippi. I would argue that that progress is largely a reflection of the attitude of Mississippians. I would further argue, based on years of coaching and teaching, that attitude is 95% a function of leadership.

So let's contrast the leaders: who would you want working for you? Hayley Barbour, or Kathleen Blanco and Ray Nagin? I know where my vote would go.


Anniversary Pop Quiz

Quick, as we approach the anniversaries of two major moments in recent history, pick which image (or close approximation thereof) you are most likely to see in Old Media in the next two weeks.

Heck, I'll even handicap the contest: since there's only a few days left until the first anniversary, we'll prorate the first images by a multiplier of 2.5. Only for the purposes of the pop quiz, of course . . .

Image 1:

Image 2:

Image 3:

Or, perhaps, image 4:

Seriously, which image do you suppose we're likely to see more of in the MainStream Media?

I know which one's got my bet. And even without the odds I gave, I will bet anything I've got (ha ha ha) that we will see images of the desperate suffering of poor, black people in New Orleans about 20 times more often than we will see images of desperate victims flinging themselves out the hundredth story windows.

And it's not that we shouldn't see the former--images of persistent poverty need to be in front of the American populace, if for no other reason than to create a debate about opportunity and smart choices.

But the one image plays a certain way politically, and the other plays the other way politically (because, like it or not, every time the American people are reminded of the horror of 9/11, it reminds people that only one party is serious about terrorism)--and, therefore, we will see the second image very little.


Is Anybody Else . . .

going to bed a little nervous about the whole August 22nd thing? Maybe planning on watching the news a little more carefully tomorrow morning? Especially after Iran refused to allow U.N. observers access to their nuclear facilities today?

Or is it just me?

On Underdogs and Artistry

I think pulling for the underdog is practically a tenet of the American Creed.

Americans LOVE the underdog. I think it might have something to do with how the whole thing started--a ragtag bunch of militias held together by the force of personality of one man, and ideal, and . . .what? duct tape? going against THE dominant army in the world at that time. I mean, really, what were the odds? And I think it's pretty much become part of the American psyche that we love to root for the little guy, the David against Goliath.

And I'm as American as the next guy in this regard: I like underdogs. I appreciate the struggle of guts and heart and spirit trying to overcome superior physical prowess.

That said, I watch with rapt attention every single time Tiger Woods is in contention in a golf tournament.

It's not just that he's physically dominant in the sport, which he is. Though, there are guys who hit it farther, there are certainly guys who hit it straighter, better putters, etc . . . But, there is nobody--NOBODY--who combines his physical gifts with his creativity (I mean, really, an eight-iron, splayed open, from the sand trap 45 yards short of the green!!), and then puts that together with an impossible force of will. Dan Patrick went through a list of the final round playing partners of Tiger in majors and their average score was well over par, while Tiger hums along at a few shots under par, winning by about 5 strokes.

It is much the same way that I appreciate Mozart--it isn't that he's doing something nobody else can do; it's that he's doing things others can do in ways that NOBODY has conceived of, and doing it so perfectly that it just looks like a completely different thing.

Everybody has their own art form. Everybody has the potential to do one thing--their thing--well enough to elevate it from whatever mundane task it is into an art form. Whether that is solving equations, or training dogs, or raising children, or laying concrete, when it is done with precise care and singular purpose, it has the potential to reach artistic levels.

And that is what separates Tiger. Watching him play golf is a lot like watching a true craftsman finding his groove and creating something unique and wonderful. And, sure, it's just a game, it's just a sport.

But it's a privilege to be around when somebody is elevating their thing to an art form. And, maybe it's counter-cultural to hope Tiger keeps winning--and winning big.

But, then again, I'll bet there were observers who watched Wellington and Cornwallis do their thing in their time and just marvelled at how they changed the world. And maybe even some Americans were among those observers.


Spot On, Couldn't Be More Right, Gotta Read

This is one of the best pieces of writing I've I've seen in a while. Both eloquent and brilliant, it is a must-read for everybody serious and concerned about the survival of the West. Courtesy of Hugh Hewitt.

The thesis:

The near panic which gripped Teheran and Damascus in the early days of Operation Iraqi Freedom was not the result of the fear that America had found new weapons -- the lethality of those weapons were already known -- but that it had found unexpected the will to use them. Today even better weapons are there yet the American force in Iraq is regarded as having become totally impotent, not because it has become militarily weaker; through fixed airbases, experience, new weapons it has become immeasurably stronger than it was in 2003. But it's impotence is due entirely to the perception that it's will has drained away -- that it cannot use its power. That leaves American power weaker than had it never been used. As Tom Schelling taught commitments that are repudiated -- such as by those politicians who now say they were against OIF even before they voted for it -- destroy not only the current commitments but the possibility of future commitments.

Oh, yeah--did I forget to mention that it's not an essay to cheer you up about the prospect of survival of the West. It actually fits my recent mood quite well.


Of Limousine Liberals and Leftist Libertines

I suspect--better say "hope", given the current state of the Republican Party--that when all is said and done at the end of this election season, August 17th will be a date looked upon as the day the Democrats lost the "sure-thing" election of 2006.

And why? you might ask.

Exhibit A--a small idea, and one which I may be a little late in noticing; but it seems the Democrats are targeting WalMart as a centerpiece of their campaign for the Fall. This, despite the fact that the vast majority of middle class and poor families shop there. But, then, we needed the likes of Ariana Huffington and Barbara Streisand to tell us how bad it is to buy decent goods at relatively low prices.

Exhibit B--A federal judge ruled Thursday that the government's warrantless wiretapping program is unconstitutional and ordered an immediate halt to it.

U.S. District
Judge Anna Diggs Taylor in Detroit became the first judge to strike down the National Security Agency's program, which she says violates the rights to free speech and privacy as well as the separation of powers enshrined in the Constitution.

Many others, including Powerline and Hugh Hewitt , have written learned and lucid analyses of the ruling itself, so I won't try to get into that particular theater.

But I do think this is a strangely good thing for the country. It may serve as a reminder, come November, that one party is serious about national security, and one party thinks terrorists deserve more protections than organized crime bosses. And, as for the plaintiffs in this lawsuit, which side do you think they support? Hint: the plaintiffs were the ACLU.

So, a couple questions for Ned Lamont, Bob Casey, Ed Perlumutter, and every other Democrat up for reelection this year.

A. Do you think Judge Taylor ruled correctly today?
B. Do you think the judge should have taken into account the five Appeals Courts' rulings that contradict her reasoning?
C. Will you sponsor legislation to give the government the power to try to intercept terrorist communications with individuals in the U.S.?
D. Will you return any campaign donations made to you by the A.C.L.U. for their role in blinding the U.S. government to threats from abroad?

And, quick, everyone, let's do some research and find out how much money the ACLU has given to which candidates, and start to hammer them with their association to restricting U.S. intelligence-gathering capabilities.


7th Congressional District Sees (UN)Welcome Visitor

Do you suppose the O'Donnell campaign will be using pictures like this one in the next few months?

Or how about this quote:

"His eye is on the ball," Pelosi said of Perlmutter after her speech. "He knows what he represents. He knows what he is coming to Congress to do, and that is to be an independent representative of the people." Which makes one wonder what the heck SHE is doing in town. SHE, who has rightfully earned a reputation as one of the most combative and effective Minority Leaders of the House. The discipline she exerts over her own caucus just about guarantees that an "independent representative" will not sit in high favor with her.

Two more points: if Pelosi values "independent" Congressmen, then where was her support for Joe Lieberman two weeks ago?; and only someone as far Left as Pelosi would manage to sound sincere describing Perlmutter--described in the Denver Post a couple weeks back as "a Democrat's Democtrat"--as "independent."

But my favorite part is the tacit acknowledgement of where the 7CD really stands.

Democratic congressional candidate Ed Perl-mutter showed up late and stood off-stage Tuesday as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi whipped up support for her party and his campaign.

Perlmutter, . . . kept some distance from the San Francisco liberal whom Republicans feature in ads to remind voters of what a Democratic-controlled Congress could unleash.

This is why I counsel the GOP to welcome a nationalized debate in this election cycle. The GOP may have been ineffective as a ruling party for the last two years, but those other guys are JUST PLAIN CRAZY!!


Three Questions

1. If the Bush Administration policies have made America so much less safe, why have there not been any successful attacks on American soil in almost five years? For that matter, if we have been so distracted, how is it that we have managed to disrupt so many plots (Lackawanna, 8/16, etc . . .)?

2. Can you find a better staging area for action against Iran than Iraq? And if that is the case, as it must be, then how can you make the argument that we are in no position to take action against Iran because of the Iraq War?

3. If the Bush Administration policies are to blame for the proliferation of terrorism around the world in the last five years, how can you explain the comparison between the number of successful terrorist attacks against American interests during the Bush Aministration (1) to the number of successful terrorist attacks during the Administration prior to Bush (five)?

This, in response to the growing Democratic meme that the Dems would take a robust approach to the threats against us . . . .IF ONLY we weren't tied down in Iraq.

Which leads me to wonder why this argument makes so much sense to me but hasn't been forcefully raised by the White House. Perhaps I overestimate myself.

Or maybe the White House just doesn't care to join the battle. Which, in case they haven't noticed, THEY ARE LOSING.


Warning: Pessimism Attack Coming (with correction)

This post was originally going to be titled "Warning: Electoral Massacre Coming." But I thought maybe I should reveal my state of mind instead of prognosticating.

So here's the confluence of datae that are driving my pessimism.

--Start with my post from last night.

--proceed to this poll and this poll, both showing generic Congressional vote going Democrat by an 18-point margin. Yes, I know that this is never a great predictor of actual electoral results, but . . . . 18 points!

--Two words: Arlen Specter. If that is cryptic to you, refer here.

--Nobody in the GOP seems willing to state the obvious--that the media has taken sides and are making whatever "mistakes" they can to influence the electorate away from the GOP and--in some cases--survival.

--How's that Immigration Reform coming along? Border Security, anyone?

--Tax Code Reform? Social Security? The Judiciary (sure, we got Roberts and Alito, but the Circuit Courts are still awfully empty)? Energy Independence?

--And all those issues with a 30-vote advantage in the House, and a 55-45 advantage in the Senate.

And then, to add folly to failure, the U.S. pushes a resolution through the United Nations that does NOT have a "Chapter VII" component, does NOT call for an international force to secure South Lebanon (instead opting for the already-proven useless Lebanese army and a larger, already-proven useless UNIFIL contingent), and does NOT call for a disarming of Hizbullah; and does NOT insist on a return of the Israeli hostages taken in the event that started the war; and legitimizes the odd dispute over the Shaaba Farms. This, in effect--and with a HUGE piece of cooperation from Ehud Olmert--returns the situation to the status quo, just more crowded; in effect, it hands Hizbullah a victory, makes Nasrallah a Muslim hero, and achieves NOTHING of what Israel said it wanted.

[CORRECTION: apparently, the resolution DOES call for the return of the Israeli hostages--though in the context of an exchange. However, it does not mention Iranian or Syrian involvement, so . . .]

And that is what SecState Rice worked so hard to accomplish.

And at the same time the whole process gives weight to the obvious anti-Semitism of the U.N. in general and of Kofi Annan in particular.

What has happened to the Republican Party, on a national level, since about Labor Day of last year, is that they have not only proven to be ineffective at fighting for the their principles thanks to certain members' squishiness, but in many cases they have proven to be UNWILLING TO FIGHT.

For that matter, they even sometimes appear willing to be complicit in the schemes and maneuvers of the other side.

You want to talk about losing your base? It's possible to recover the base when you just appear weak--given the other choice.

But it is not possible to get your base to do what you need them to do before and on election day if you appear to be inrecoverably bumbling and inept.

People are willing to side with weak. They are not willing to side with weak and wrong--and at this point, that's what the GOP looks like.

So, knowing nothing, have no data to back this up, I'm going to predict that the House will pass to Democratic control by more than five seats, on the Senate could easily end up being one of those goofy 50-48+2 ties.

Wake up, Republicans. Try, just for a minute or two, to remember what matters and go out and fight for it.


Unfortunately, Some People DID Speak Clearly Today

Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA): Five years after 9-11, it is clear that our misguided policies are making America more hated in the world and making the war on terrorism harder to win

Sen John Kerry (D-MA): This event exposes the misleading myth that we are fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them here. In fact, the war in Iraq has become a dangerous distraction and a profound drain on our financial and military resources

Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV): The Iraq war has diverted our focus and more than $300 billion in resources from the war on terrorism and has created a rallying cry for international terrorists. This latest plot demonstrates the need for the Bush administration and the Congress to change course in Iraq and ensure that we are taking all the steps necessary to protect Americans at home and across the world.

Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR): It is important, based on past counterterrorism cases that did not lead to terror convictions, that we withhold judgment until all the facts of this case come to light. We also ask public officials and commentators to avoid using stereotypical and ill-defined terminology when referring to this and similar cases.

As the largest American Muslim civil rights and advocacy group, it is our religious and civic duty to reach out to all Americans to reaffirm Islam's teachings of peace, justice and tolerance for all. [ed: just a thought--maybe you should reach out to all MUSLIMS and reaffirm Islam's teachings of peace, etc . . .]

And all those wonderful, supportive, and confident messages coming after a SUCCESS in the War on Terror. Memo, people: WE GOT THEM THIS TIME!!!

And I won't even get into what the Left of the blogosphere is saying.

I swear, the Left has lost its mind. It lacks a moral compass and is so blinded by its hatred of GWBush that it is incapable of recognizing, much less celebrating, good news.

Their only advantage coming into the Fall is that their running against a Republican Party that has lost its vigor--like a vintage car that has no gas.

My Kingdom For An "Orator In Chief"

Below is the text of the President's statement this morning regarding the foiled terrorist plot.

The recent arrests that our fellow citizens are now learning about are a stark reminder that this nation is at war with Islamic fascists who will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom, to hurt our nation.

I want to thank the government of Tony Blair and officials in the United Kingdom for their good work in busting this plot. I thank the officials in Washington, D.C. and around our country who gather intelligence and who work to protect the American people. The cooperation on this venture was excellent — cooperation between U.K. and U.S. authorities and officials was solid. And the cooperation amongst agencies within our government was excellent.

This country is safer than it was prior to 9/11. We've taken a lot of measures to protect the American people. But obviously, we're still not completely safe, because there are people that still plot and people who want to harm us for what we believe in. It is a mistake to believe there is no threat to the United States of America. And that is why we have given our officials the tools they need to protect our people.

Travelers are going to be inconvenienced as a result of the steps we've taken. I urge their patience and ask them to be vigilant. The inconvenience is — occurs because we will take the steps necessary to protect the American people.

Again, I appreciate the close cooperation between our government and the government of the United Kingdom. The American people need to know we live in a dangerous world, but our government will do everything we can to protect our people from those dangers.

Thank you.

I was able to listen to this statement as it was being delivered this morning, and it struck me as, well . . .


Sure, there was the soon-to-be-controversial use of "Islamic fascists," but, come on . . . And the text does not quite convey the haltingness or lack of passion in this statement. Seriously, this is supposed to be this guy's strong suit, the staff had almost 9 hours to prepare the text of this statement, and this is what he comes up with.

How about "With the full cooperation of members of the American government and law enforcement at all levels, our British friends and brothers have averted a massive plot to kill hundreds of innocents. MI5, Scotland Yard, and the government of Tony Blair deserve our thanks and admiration for their diligence, vigilance and courage.

"There are those who seem to have forgotten the constant threat that the United States is under; that there are hundreds, maybe even thousands of militants in the world who work every day to find a way to penetrate our defenses. In part, that is because of the continued success of our efforts and the efforts of our allies. Unfortunately, this success today by British authorities only diminishes that threat by a small part. We can be sure that other groups are trying, as we speak, to position themselves to kill huge numbers of free peoples.

"The British government used the tools at their disposal to great effect today; unfortunately, in our own country, some of the tools we use to protect our citizens have been compromised. But the American people need to be reassured that we in their government are doing everything in our power to protect them from the hatred and violence of a foul ideology. In some instances, this will cause great inconvenience; that is, unfortunately, the price a people pay when they are at war with vicious men who have no moral qualms about murdering the defenseless and the innocent.

"Again, I wish to congratulate and thank the British people and government for their great efforts in defense of democracy today. And while we rejoice at the preservation of life represented by today's arrests, we pledge to redouble our efforts to work cooperatively around the world with every government and people who strive to be free of the shadow of evil.

"God Bless the Queen, and may God continue to bless the United States of America. Thank you."

Of course I allow a myself a little conceit here that I have any clue how to write--it's my blog, so, dammit, I'll go ahead and allow that conceit.

But what my writing lacks, whatever the President said today was still weaker, in my opinion. GW is at his best speaking directly, honestly, and from his own convictions. Today's statement was like a laundry list of things he "has to say."

And, unfortunately, this isn't just about politics; after an event like this, the country cries out for leadership. Strong, direct, unwavering leadership. And I doubt anybody felt ready to jump up behind the President after this morning's statement.

Another missed opportunity.


In the Meantime, Back To Your Normally Scheduled War . .

In developments today, Israel suffered its bloodiest day yet.

Israel reports finding Iranian identification papers on several of the dead bodies found during this current offensive.

And the Israeli war cabinet has approved an expansion of the ground offensive in Lebanon.

So how does the inexperienced civilian leadership in Israel respond to these developments?

Israel has put its massive new ground offensive into southern Lebanon on hold for two or three days to give the U.N. Security Council more time to come to an agreement on a cease-fire, an Israeli Cabinet minister and senior officials said Thursday.

Perhaps they will find a way to agree to the Arab League proposal. Yeah, that's the ticket: put things back to the situation to what it was before July 12th.

And the White House is encouraging this.

Sometimes, I just think the West does not deserve to survive.

Just In Case You Thought We Were In The Clear . . .

Authorities in London thwarted a terrorist plot to blow up an aircraft in mid-flight between Britain and the U.S. using explosives smuggled in hand luggage, police said Thursday.

As of right now, there are very few details--the AP story only hit the wires 42 minutes ago. So, no, we don't know if it was British home-grown or imported, if it was multiple targets or just one, if there were chemical or biologicals involved--nothing.

Watch this space for updates.

UPDATE: From the SkyNews site:

Police say they have disrupted a major plot to blow up a dozen planes over UK and US cities with explosive devices smuggled aboard as hand luggage.

Two words: holy crap.

Police say the threat was though to be imminent and those arrested were mainly young, British-born Asian men.

Gotta believe those poor, oppressed British-born young men were incensed at the treatment of their . . . distant, never-acquainted, . . . unknown brothers in . . . oh, say, Palestine.

And, yes, in case you missed it, that last phrase should be read dripping with sarcasm.

But let's not get too far ahead of ourselves. We really know very little at this point, so I don't want to ascribe too much to the plotters.

Stay tuned . . .


A Rarity: A Good Night Of Predictions For Me

Well, okay; let's be honest--I didn't exactly PREDICT anything last night. However, I did, I think, make my preferences known, and they seem to have worked out pretty well today.

Lieberman Loses--Three-term Sen. Joe Lieberman fell to anti-war challenger Ned Lamont in Connecticut’s Democratic primary Tuesday, a race seen as a harbinger of sentiment over a conflict that has claimed the lives of more than 2,500 U.S. troops.

Unbowed, Lieberman immediately announced he would enter the fall campaign as an independent.

It was, however, far closer than anybody predicted: 52-48 is not exactly the NutRoots landslide hoped for and predicted by the goofballs on the Left. It is also a close enough result to completely justify Lieberman's independent run in the fall.

Which will occupy a lot of energy and resources on the left. Which will be spending the next four weeks trying to explain how what happened tonight is not some sort of a "purge."


Perlumutter Wins CD7 Primary In another lurch to the Left, Democrats in the 7th district have picked the candidate described by the Post's analyst as "a Democrat's Democrat". I find it hard to believe that, in this split district which has twice elected Bob Beauprez (once easily, once by like 37 votes), a man that far to the left can be elected.

Whatever my beliefs on the matter, this is a brilliant move by the O'Donnell campaign. Seize the initiative, man.

My One Disappointment: Lamborn Wins CD5 Primary Two hours ago, when I stepped away from the computer for a while, it looked like Jeff Crank was going to take this one. But then they counted the absentee votes and Lamborn pulled it out by 1,400 votes.

Oh, well. Can't account for everything, I suppose. You have to wonder if the smear campaign by the Christian Coalition for Colorado had spewed their bile two weeks earlier if it would have changed the absentee vote results.

Oh, and, by the way, Cynthia McKinney got handed her walking papers by the voters in the Georgia 4th. And, in a surprise move, she immediately complained about voting fraud. Gotta love a woman with that much class.

So we come out of primary night with the Dems lurching to the left, and a safe Colorado district being driven through the mud. Not a pretty picture for the country.

I like how John Hinderacker put it: Some Republicans think a Lamont win will be a good thing, demonstrating how far off the rails the Democratic Party has gone. Not me. This is no time for partisanship. These days, I feel like a character in Invasion of the Body-Snatchers, with my fellow citizens turning into pods in alarming numbers. I'd like some reassurance that the pod people aren't yet a majority, even among Democrats.

I agree with the sentiment; I also can't help but think that the body snatchers are here.


Primary Day

So there's this little election thingy going on tomorrow. Being in CD 7, I know who my Congressional candidate will be (Rick O'Donnell), and I know who my gubernatorial candidate is going to be (Bob Beauprez), and my State House candidate is also unopposed (Bill Crane), so tomorrow's not a very interesting day for me.

Nonetheless, there are a few interesting races to watch. Here's my VERY amateur read on what to watch for tomorrow.

CO CD 7--Dem primary: this has gotten pretty ugly lately, with Dottie Lamm and Ed Perlmutter slinging it pretty hard, while the third candidate has been largely absent from the debate. This is interesting in this way: Lamm has been labeled as, and to some degree has claimed the mantle of, the moderate in the race. In this crucial swing district, key to the Democrat hopes of taking over the House in November, it will be interesting to watch if the Dems put forward a moderate to challenge for the seat or if they try to jam a hard lefty through.

CO CD 5--Rep primary: speaking of ugly, the Christian Coalition of Colorado has been guilty of hurling some of the ugliest smears anywhere while trying to slime Jeff Crank and get their candidate, Doug Lamborn, through the primary. I think everyone involved will be happy to get this one over with. Personally, I'm going to join the chorus and endorse Mr. Crank for this seat, hoping to send a message that a. the 11th commandment MUST matter, and b. there is a price to pay for taking the low road.

Connecticut Dem primary--I'm hoping Ned Lamont wins this one. For one thing, it will encourage the nutters in Colorado to fight against their own (like the Salazar brothers) when they don't toe the line; for another thing, it will occupy an awful lot of Dem resources in the general election getting their guy propped up against the Leiberman independent bid; and third, though clearly the Dems have forgotten about it, I would like to imagine the cosmic justice of Joe losing this one after being a party to trying to get military votes excluded in Florida in 2000.

So, there's a few to keep an eye on. And then, let the games begin!!


Preferring Mockery to Scorn . . .

Captain Ed has posted one of the funniest things I've seen in a while. If you're unfamiliar with the Reuters controversy regarding photo"journalist" Adnan Hajj, you should bone up a little bit (here) so that the joke makes sense.

UPDATE: Reuters has announced that it will no longer be using pictures from Hajj. Guess he'll just have to settle for CBS. . .


Not To Reveal Too Much Ignorance, . . .

but since I've admitted before, on a number of ocassions, to not understanding economics, I guess I can wade out into it again. So . . .

How is it possible for the following lede to be real?

Hiring slowed in July as employers added just 113,000 new jobs, propelling the unemployment rate to a five-month high of 4.8 percent . . .

Now, here's where I get stumped, I guess: how is it possible to add new jobs, but at the same time have a noticable jump in the number of people without jobs. Logically, that's not possible.

And, of course, that's the problem: logic and economics DO NOT work together comfortably.

Now, I know there is always the actual mathematical formulation which says that if the number of actual workers in the market increased by an amount greater than the job creation number, the unemployment percentage would jump. But, some quick math, using as a baseline the projections for these numbers (145,000 jobs, unemployment unchanged at 4.6%) would point to the number of workers in the country as . . . let's see . . . cross-multiply . . . carry the one . . .

16 million.

Which, of course, for a country of 300 million, is a phenomenally small number.

In other words--completely unrealistic numbers, with no grounding in anything real or actual.

Welcome to economics.


Why This Election Matters

From tonight's This World with Neil Cavuto: [transcription by me--please forgive errors]

Neil Cavuto: Let's switch gears . . . Fidel Castro. There's people dancing in the streets in Miami, thinking he's dead or close to it.

Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) : That's obscene.

NC: Why?

Rangel: Because, no matter what the force is, here's an old guy--you like him, you don't like him--but to be dancing in the street, hoping that he would die, so that you can go to Cuba, when you and your parents never even been to Cuba, is ridiculous . . .

NC: But if your family fled from Cuba, and you had relatives who were killed in Cuba, because they were against Castro--I'd be doing a jig, too.

Rangel: You'd be doing a jig, but I hope you wouldn't be expecting your President, the leader of the Free World, not only supporting you, but to be asking for money to overthrow Castro, not knowing who follows Castro . . .It's ridiculous to have an emargo . . .

NC: So, are you saying . . . you're FOR Castro?

Rangel: No, I want a Democratic change. But I don't believe dancing in the street and spreading our money in Havana and in Miami is the way to do it

NC: This guy has killed a lot of people.

Rangel: Well, I wonder how many people we're killing at Guantanamo. I mean, we don't have the human rights record to . . . .

NC: Wait a minute: are you equating Fidel Castro with what's happening at Guantanamo?

Rangel: You bet your life. If we're talking about human rights . . . .

Huh. Or, there's this view:

Professor Marifeli Pérez Stable, a Cuban American who once supported the revolution, reflects on the costs of the Cuban revolution. "[There were] thousands of executions, forty, fifty thousand political prisoners.

But, in Charlie Rangel's world, holding 500 or so of the worst terrorists in the world in an awful confined space where they recieve a 4000 calorie diet and have their holy book treated with kid gloves while they have full rights to worship according to their custom (and full rights to throw fecal matter (and other excretions) at their guards) is just about the same thing.

Ladies and gentlemen, your next chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee if the Dems win 15 seats in November.


CSAP Results Are Out

And the news is cautiously optimistic.

Colorado students continue to show slow progress in statewide achievement tests, scores released Wednesday show. . .

Students scored higher on most reading, writing and math tests over last year. But high school math continues to be a stumbling block, with only 31 percent of 10th-graders this year scoring at the advanced or proficient level - the same percentage as scored unsatisfactory, the equivalent of failing.

To see your local schools' scores, go here.

After I've had a chance to get in and play with some of the numbers a little bit, I'll write more. But for now, I'm glad that scores are generally up; on the other hand, scores up in the lower grades are largely meaningless if the high school scores remain the same. I'll have more to say on this later.

This Worries Me In A Profound Way

More than a third of the American public suspects that federal officials assisted in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks or took no action to stop them so the United States could go to war in the Middle East, according to a new Scripps Howard/Ohio University poll. . . .

Thirty-six percent of respondents overall said it is "very likely" or "somewhat likely" that federal officials either participated in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon or took no action to stop them "because they wanted the United States to go to war in the Middle East."

It would appear the tinhat brigade is a wee bit larger than previously suspected.

One out of three????!?!? One out of three cars on the road is driven by a tinhatter. . .

That'll keep you awake at night.


Two Reasons To Hope . . .

that reports of Fidel Castro's demise are not premature.

First, of course, is I would LOVE to have access to Cuban cigars. Look, I try to limit my vices, and, for the most part, I succeed. But I do enjoy a good stogie every once in a while, and the one Cuban I've had in my life tells me that its worth it to enjoy the very best in that vice.

And, second, I am hopeful that there are more musicians suffering under the heel of Castro like this one that got out. If you have never listened to Arturo Sandoval play "I Remember Clifford" you are missing one of the great musical experiences ever. And by the way, when I say "hopeful" it's not that I hope they're suffering, it's that I hope the world will have an opportunity to know them when the dictator goes to the great revolution in the sky.

Thankfully, I Was Wrong . . .

to prematurely criticize the Israeli civilian leadership for its rubber spine.

Israel poured up to 10,000 armored troops into south Lebanon Tuesday, and separately dropped helicopter-borne commandos deep into the eastern Bekaa Valley where they raided a Hezbollah-run hospital and fought pitched battles with guerrillas, in a major escalation of the three-week-old war.

After the raid on the ancient city of Baalbek ended, the Israeli military said it had captured some guerrillas and hit others. The military statement said all its soldiers returned unharmed to their base, but gave no further details.

In point of fact, it would appear that the "cessation" of air strikes the other day was probably not a concession to anything at all; it was probably, in fact, a neccessary breath before the launch of bold ground actions.

Go get 'em, IDF.


I Don't Believe the Term "Human Rights" Applies to These

The prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay during the war on terror have attacked their military guards hundreds of times, turning broken toilet parts, utensils, radios and even a bloody lizard tail into makeshift weapons.

Pentagon incident reports reviewed by The Associated Press show Military Police guards are routinely head-butted, spat upon and doused by "cocktails" of feces, urine, vomit and sperm collected in meal cups by the prisoners.

It speaks volumes--BIG THICK TOMES--about the character and professionalism of our men and women serving that there have not been any reports of guards beating the #%^$ out of the prisoners.

The Massacre at Canaan: A Stage Play Brought To You By Hizbullah?

Last night I spent a bit of time in my post discussing some of the inconsistencies in the stories coming out of Qana (the Biblical city of Canaan, for your reference) that make the whole massacre, well, "questionable" in my view. Today, ConfederateYankee (via The Corner) has posted some pictures which take me much further down the road away from "questionable" and much closer to "doubtful." See for yourself.

Warning: unpleasant pictures ahead.

AAARRRRRRGGHHGHH!!!! Update: Blogger is having a hissy and not letting me upload the pictures. So I'll link to them, with pertinent questions.

pic 1: http://www.flickr.com/photos/confederateyankee/202983117/ Ask yourself: if this child had just been crushed in a building, why is he not bloody and dusty?

pic2: http://www.flickr.com/photos/confederateyankee/202983118/ Same question.

pic 3: http://www.flickr.com/photos/confederateyankee/202983121/ Same question.

pic 4: http://www.flickr.com/photos/confederateyankee/202983119/ If these people were evacuated just one hour after the bomb struck, why has rigor mortis set in already? Rigor normally takes 3-4 hours, with full rigor setting in between 12 and 24 hours.

And again, a question: how is it possible that ALL the dead are women or children? Not even an old man around for balance.


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