Posted by Jack @ 8:15 pm on November 30th 2007

Clinton Siege Ends: Mark Penn Announces Hillary Gaining Among Disturbed New Hampshire Gunmen

For context, see Ambinder

Posted by Adam @ 6:51 pm on November 30th 2007

Non-apologetic apology

Kathryn Jean Lopez comes clean about some of the reporting at National Review Online’s “The Tank” blog, which implied a definitude over some Lebanon reports that wasn’t justified by what was actually seen by the blogger:

Bottom line: NRO strives to bring you reliable analysis and reporting — whether in presenting articles, essays, or blog posts. Smith did commendable work in Lebanon earlier this year, as he does from S.C. where he is based, as he has done from Iraq, where he has been twice. But rereading some of the posts (see “The Tank” for more detail) and after doing a thorough investigation of some of the points made in some of those posts, I’ve come to the conclusion that NRO should have provided readers with more context and caveats in some posts from Lebanon this fall. And so I apologize to you, our readers.

So, over to the blogger, W. Thomas Smith Jr:

Some unfinished business from before the Thanksgiving holiday…

A good start; casual, breezy, telling the audience to prepare for something that’s not really that important, some minor formality.

A reporter recently contacted NRO questioning the accuracy of two blog posts I filed for “The Tank” while I was in Lebanon this past September and October.

It’s all about the reporter, you see. That prick.

On September 25, I filed a post, in which I described a “sprawling Hezbollah tent city” near the Lebanese parliament as being occupied by “some 200-plus heavily armed Hezbollah militiamen”: According to the e-mail, my detractors said that, “…there are rarely 200 people there at all — much less ‘heavily armed,’” and, “…at least once a week I walk or jog through this area. I have never seen a civilian carrying a weapon.”

Damn those detractors. Allow Smith to explain:

I can’t possibly know what someone else saw or witnessed or where they were jogging or on what day. But I do know this: The Hezbollah camp in late September — and up until the time I left in mid-October — was huge (“sprawling”). And though the tents were very large and many of them closed, I saw at least two AK-47s there with my own eyes. And this from a moving vehicle on the highway above the camp. And in my way of thinking, if a guy’s got an AK-47, he’s “heavily armed.”

2, 200; it’s not so different. And let Smith finish with a sentence with some pedantry, to avoid the main point that he has been engaged in what people in the business call “making stuff up”.

Did I physically see and count 200 men carrying weapons? No. If I mistakenly conveyed that impression to my readers, I apologize.

But he doesn’t appear to mean it, of course. Allow him to expand:

I saw lots of men, lots of them carrying walkie-talkie radios, and a tent city that could have easily housed many more than 200.

Lots of men, some with walkie talkies, which could easily have been AK47s that might have been taken from a tent that might have contained AK47s in a tent city that might have housed a lot of people.

My detractors’ argument that they had never seen weapons in the camp does not mean there is an absence of weapons. But don’t take my word for it. For further reading, I would recommend this recent AP article (and multiple others) about the increasing prevalence of armed civilians in Lebanon. I would say I was justified in believing not only my sources, but also my own eyes in this case.

Good repetition of ‘detractors’. Those pricks, trying to damage his reputation with their enthusiasm for ‘facts’ and ‘honesty’. Smith is now, however, secure in his belief that no one who actually cares about whether he tells the truth about a moslem militia is still actually reading. He can let himself go a bit. Oh, and he does:

Now, should I have been more specific in my writing in terms of what I physically witnessed as opposed to what I learned from sources regarding the tent city? I wish I had, but it was a blog, which tends to be less formal.

Smith is apparently now confident that no one who cares whether or not he tells the truth at all is still reading.

However, when blogs contain original reporting, that reporting needs to be sourced. In the future, I’ll provide more context.

Of course, he’s writing on a blog. What you read may not be true (see above).


Posted by Brad @ 5:08 pm on November 30th 2007

Breaking — Gunman with Bomb Storms Hillary Clinton’s New Hampshire Office, Takes Hostages

CNN front page:

Two hostages released at Clinton ’08 office

Two people held hostage at Sen. Hillary Clinton’s campaign office in Rochester, New Hampshire, have been freed. Neither hostage was harmed, CNN affiliate WCVB reported. An armed man believed to be carrying a bomb walked into the office earlier and took at least two people hostage, police said. The gunman is believed to be still in the office. developing story.

Posted by Adam @ 3:02 pm on November 30th 2007

More Giuliani forgiveness

Bill O’Reilly gets into the Giuliani-Romney immigration spat. Now, I don’t have any problem with Giuliani’s former immigration position, myself. I think that it made sense and makes sense, and not just because of the political ‘reality on the ground’ in New York City. O’Reilly moves from optimism to forgiveness:

With the improving situation in Iraq and the economy still fairly strong, illegal immigration may emerge as the top issue in next year’s election. Democrats are largely sympathetic to the plight of illegals, while Republicans are taking a harder line. All the GOP candidates know this is a core issue for conservative voters. So there’s little doubt that border security and employer accountability will be a mainstay of the Republican platform.

So is Rudy Giuliani soft on illegal immigration? Not anymore. And that’s what counts.

I don’t understand why some people care so little about track record. Sure, O’Reilly’s logic that Giuliani did what he had to, politically, in NYC can be applied to his presidential run too, but doesn’t that mean that he’ll say one thing to win the nomination and another to contest the Presidential Election that follows? In which case, O’Reilly has to believe that what the positions he prefers will be winners in the Presidential Election, too. That’s a fair way from ‘illegal immigration may emerge as the top issue’ (emphasis added) and by O’Reilly’s logic, if it doesn’t then Giuliani should damn well change his position again, right? Is O’Reilly’s real position that the best candidate is the one who panders most cynically? Also, if O’Reilly’s confident opinion is that anti-immigration rhetoric is going to be at the base of Republican success in November 2008, any of the candidates would be OK, surely, as long as they were sufficiently unprincipled so that they changed all their positions to match those of Bill O’Reilly?

No sane person expects a candidate to hold all their positions in the face of electoral reality, but if O’Reilly’s ‘not anymore’ is enough to excuse any previously-held position, why hold primaries and elections at all? Just elect a butter statue of a human being and remould it whenever the electorate’s opinion shifts.

Posted by Brad @ 1:48 pm on November 30th 2007

The McCain-Paul Dilemma

Unless it’s somebody else quoting Rojas directly, I have a sneaking suspicion that this letter at Sully’s is from one of our own bloggers. It mirrors a conversation we’re having here, and which I intend to contribute to in a post of my own this weekend.

The letter itself on Sully’s site is well worth reading, and thinking about. I think Rojas nails it, but in some instances doesn’t even go far enough (again, I’ll write my own post on the subject when I’m not at work).

Posted by Adam @ 1:20 pm on November 30th 2007

Excellence in advertising

Buy one, get one half price: purchase Christmas today and get 50% off Easter! Celebrate the birth and death of Our Lord with God’s greatest creation, cash.

And verily, it came to pass that on December’s eve, the Corner at National Review Online accepted advertising revenue and in accordance with the Contract displayeth the Good News under a banner scribed ‘ADVERTISEMENT’.

Posted by dizzy @ 5:56 am on November 30th 2007

From crisis to police investigation – the Government is falling apart

Dear Merkins,

I’m ever so sorry that it has taken so long for me to write this letter but unfortunately politics has run away with itself in the UK. Once upon a time a Conservative Prime Minister called Harold Macmillan, when pressed about why his best intentions had been thwarted uttered the now timeless words, “EVENTS DEAR BOY! – EVENTS!”. For it is events that will get you in politics not necessarily your policy.

This is a lesson that the current Prime Minister Gordon Brown is now learning to his cost. When he rowed back from the General Eleection fever and said he wanted to set out his “vision” a month or so ago it was a bad moment for him, but the next six weeks were key to his future. If events went his way then he would be alright, if they didn’t he would be…. well he would be screwed.

And ‘Lo, it came to pass. Six weeks of plague upon the House of Labour and the House of Brown. It began with the news that the Government’s figures on the number of immigrants entering the country were below reality by hundreds of thousands. They corrected them. Then it transpired that their correction was still wrong. They corrected it again.

Then last week it was revealed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer (the Finance Minister and considered Number Two) that Her Majestys Revenue and Customs (the IRS) had copied 25 million records from a database onto a cd, including names, addresses, childrens names and bank details and popped it in the post. The cd never arrived. A strike at the heart of the very competence of Government at a time when identity theft and fraud is ever increasing.

Could it get any worse? Well it did this last weekend. A stroy broke saying that the Labour Party of which the Prime Minister leads had accepted over $1 million dollars in donations from a businessman through secret intermediaries. This action is a criminal offence under the very law created by the Labour Government a few years previously. The General Secretary of the Labour party resigned when he admitted he knew about it, and they hoped that was the end of it.

But in the last few days the plot thickened ever so slighty. It transpired that the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Harriet Harman had accepted money from the same intermediary for her deputy leadership election campaign. Last night she made a statement saying that Downing Street aides from the Prime Minister’s personal campaign pointed her in the direction of the intermediary – the “if I’m going down I’m taking others with me” strategy for all to see.

A few hours earlier to her statement the Evening Standard newspaper ran a story implicating the Prime Minister’s chief fundraiser as someone involved in a cover-up of secert donations even though he had publicly said the opposite. Legal threats were made and the paper stood by its story saying its source was good.

Who could the source be? Well late yesterday afternoon I learned that a prominent Parliamentary supporter of the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party was seen dining withthe journalist that wrote the story in a very expensive restaurant in Westminster the previous night. The briefing circus had clearly come alight and the knives were not only being sharpened but stabbed in the backs of colleagues in the hope of taking some other out at the same time.

As the evening progressed, the Electoral Commission (who monitor donations) said that they had passed the matter to the Police. The Police then made a statement that a full-scale investigation into Downing Street and the Labour Party would begin. Less than a few months since the Police were knocking on the door of Downing Street to interview Blair about the possible sales of seats in the Upper House they would be knocking again about dodgy donation in what is now becoming known as “Donorgate”.

The crisis for the Government is now unrolling at a pace that even experienced journalists as saying is extraordinary. New revelations are appearing thick and fast. Late last night another deputy leadership contender and member of the Cabinet, Peter Hain, admitted that he received a donation from the man from Downing Street implicated in a cover-up and failed to register it. The Government is quite simply falling apart.

I shall bring you more news soon.

Yours excited and amused,


Posted by James @ 1:23 am on November 30th 2007

We should get paid for this.

Why? Because as far as I have seen none of us has written anything as bad as this travesty of visuals penned by a staff reporter at :

It’s hard to tell these days whether the sands shift faster on the Tigris or on the Potomac…

This so belongs in the metaphorical dust bin of badness.

Posted by James @ 12:46 am on November 30th 2007

Biden his time

I kind of like Joe Biden in that he is one of the few Democrats out there that don’t cause me to projectile vomit. I like his easygoing style and folksiness. However, he has a rather large mouth and feet to match, and he knows how to use them, whether blatantly or subtly, just as he did during a forum at Seacoast Media Group in Portsmouth, New Hampshire when he discussed his plan to decentralize the Iraqi government. See if this sounds familiar:

Now the last thing I want to accuse Joe Biden of is plagiarism, but that sounded an awful lot like what Ron Paul is suggesting for America. If Biden sees ‘his’ solution of a constitutionally mandated federalist system of government as the correct course in Iraq, how can he see it as wrong for the United States? Has he read our Constitution?

Posted by Jack @ 11:33 pm on November 29th 2007

Three Additions to the Blogroll

The Crossed Pond welcomes three additions to our blog roll:

Ed Brayton’s Dispatches from the Culture Wars

The select group of bloggers at Positive Liberty and

KipEsquire at A Stitch in Haste

As one of the new bloggers here at TCP, the original cast generously offered me the opportunity to add a few to the roll, and after a week of mulling it over, I think these are the best fit. I selected them based upon three criteria:

1) They are not one of the big boys in the blogosphere. Besides, we already have Kos, Sullivan, CQ, why add another huge blog that everyone already reads?

2) They have had, and continue to have, a significant influence on my political and economic philosophy

3) They overlap with the general political spectrum here at TCP, but with enough differences to widen the viewpoint. Thus they are, for the most part, small “l” libertarians, but, among other things, are not supporters of Ron Paul. I felt we had enough of those represented, and the Lew Rockwell crowd needs to be balanced with some of the dissenting voices in libertarian circles.

About each blog:

Ed Brayton was the first blogger I ever bookmarked, back when he used to write under St Cynic. He is a prolific poster with wide interests; you never know what subject you’ll find at Dispatches, but a large portion of his writing addresses constitutional law, the evolution-creationism debate, and civil liberties. Additionally, he livens things up with forays into the esoteric field of high stakes professional poker. Ed’s layman explanations of constitutional law issues, particularly Bill of Rights and Fourteenth Amendment subjects, have vastly improved my understanding of U.S. legal standards. He is a co-founder of Michigan Citizens for Science; a group that seeks to combat the neo-creationist attempts to pervert public school science education. Ed also blogs at The Panda’s Thumb and Positive Liberty.

Ed lead me to Positive Liberty, where five highly competent bloggers hold forth on constitutional law and libertarian economic theory, but often from a historian’s perspective. Positive Liberty is likely to have long and in depth analysis in a few posts, sort of the opposite of an instapundit style of blogging. If you are looking for extraordinary analysis of our founding father’s legal, political, economic, and religious beliefs, this is a great site for you. If you want a detailed discussion of Ludwig von Mises’ monetary theory, you’ll find it here, interspersed with less academic comment on modern society. Incidentally, that’s my quote just above their blogroll.

A Stitch in Haste is a recent addition to my daily read list. Uncompromising and unapologetic libertarian social commentary wrapped in sardonic wit, Kip’s blog and associated video blogging rarely fail to stimulate my thinking muscle. Kip often provides a surprising contrarian perspective on opinions that I might otherwise assume were settled wisdom in the libertarian or civil libertarian arena. He self describes as a gay libertarian econo-lawyer, which should give you a good idea as to the type and take of his posts. The Crossed Pond is listed in Kip’s Elite Eleven, which came as a pleasant surprise.

Now, go read them.

Posted by James @ 11:12 pm on November 29th 2007

What if?

I have written about why I support Ron Paul both here and here. I see Ron Paul as a man who represents a balance between the cynic in me and the idealist that cynic has pretty much chained to the basement wall and plans to kill later. If you have read any of my stuff at The Crossed Pond, once you get by gag reflex you will see that I depart company with Dr. Paul with regard to the threat that fundamentalist Islam (like any such fundamentalist religion) poses to free societies. However, the idealist still rattles the chains that bind him.

After 9/11, an event that personally affected my family in a way I’ll not discuss here, I bought into the bellicose approach of a gentleman whose cheek was stung by glove of another. I still do to some degree and think there is a place for such. However, there is a time and place for everything and correctly choosing both usually decides the success of the outcome. I will talk about this aspect of things another time because this is neither the time nor the place. Here I want to discuss the possibilities, well not me but the idealist in the basement does.

The old saying, “winning the war and losing the peace” applies more than ever these days. In fact, we are losing the war by losing the peace these days. While trying to combat a movement of debatable scale because we see them as a threat to our way of life we are changing our way of life in a way that actually brings us closer to the vision we claim to combat. We have permitted encroachments on individual freedom that, while not unprecedented (e.g. McCarthyism, WWII propaganda, suspension of habeas corpus during the Civil War, etc.), I hardly think it is something any American wants to aspire to. When we do it is the result of a single thing: fear. That fear is manifested in our approach to every problem as a people, whether it be “The War on Terror” or “Global Warming”. Everything is a crisis, everything must be solved right now! The problem is, it never is.


Posted by Jack @ 8:11 pm on November 29th 2007

Post Debate Thoughts on the Post Debate Analysis

In the frenzy of post debate reportage we have seen, read, or heard a great deal of analysis as to which candidates helped themselves and who attacked whom. I don’t have anything particularly new or insightful regarding those two areas, but here are some thoughts on the coverage of the debate, specifically right-leaning online journalistic (vice blog) articles:

Jonathan Martin at Politico brings up the quite valid point that this debate marks a significant turning point in the Republican primary:

After seven debates where the Republicans mostly took shots at Hillary Clinton and the Democrats, the presidential hopefuls gathered here Wednesday finally trained their fire on one another.

True enough, Jonathan. So I suppose you will now give us a balanced assessment of how all the candidates attacked and countered one another, no? No. Instead, there follows
37 paragraphs overwhelmingly devoted to a Giuliani-Romney blow by blow account. NO other candidate is mentioned until 2/3 through the article, when we get rather glowing praise for Mike Huckabee’s disarming debate performance:

While the two most-watched candidates had their tough moments, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee turned in another quip-filled performance that kept the audience laughing and, at times, even drew chuckles among the cynical reporters in the press filing center.

Asked a smart-alecky “What would Jesus do” question regarding the death penalty, Huckabee was ready with a deft dodge. “Jesus was too smart to ever run for public office,” he said.
Later, a dour young man held up the Bible and demanded to know: “Do you believe every word of this book?”

Giuliani was to answer the question, but the former head of Arkansas’ Southern Baptist Convention spoke up, “Do I need to help you out, mayor, on this one?”

Even when Huckabee was faced with a difficult question about whether he had offered the children of illegal immigrants tuition breaks as governor, he smoothly showed an ability to win over a skeptical audience.

“With all due respect, we are a better country than to punish children for what their parents did,” Huckabee said to applause. “We’re a better country than that.”
John McCain is not mentioned until nearly ¾ through the article, when we get two sentences, and no more, regarding his minor joust with Ron Paul. Then it’s right back to the Romney –Giuliani battle of the titans coverage.

And Fred Thompson? The sole mention in this 38 paragraph article: in a Giuliani spokesperson’s quote he is listed among the candidates Mitt Romney has been attacking.

Fred Barnes, noted fellator in chief, shares his dissatisfaction with the debate questions, format and, of course, Ron Paul’s continued presence.

My impression was that Ron Paul, the libertarian, got considerably more attention than he usually does in debates and far more than he deserves as a marginal candidate. At least Paul’s harping on the need to keep American troops at home prompted one good exchange. John McCain’s response to Paul was that he’d been with the troops on Thanksgiving and their message was, “Let us win. Let us win. Let us win.”

One senses that Fred would not be satisfied unless the current Whitehouse occupant was allowed to participate. Despite his misgivings, Fred provides a rather interesting left-handed compliment to Congressman Paul:

Nonetheless, it was a good night for Paul if only because he was treated as a major political figure rather than as the Republican version of Dennis Kucinich. The other candidates, with the exception of Mike Huckabee, were losers. They came off as a bunch of squabbling cousins.

Despite my objections to Fred’s objectivity, he does provide a concise, though dismissive, hypothesis as to why Huckabee won this event:

He seems to understand that a CNN-You Tube debate is not a serious forum at which serious people discuss serious issues. So he doesn’t get worked up, and this posture works.

Contrast Fred Barnes dour reaction to RCP’s Jay Cost, who provides an enthusiastic endorsement of the event:

I have to say that I enjoyed this debate. It must have been because journalists were not asking the questions. And so – the discussion was geared toward giving voters information about the candidates’ policy positions.

The thrust of Jay’s debate review is that it is pointless to judge who “won” on each debate point, but it is useful to observe who and how candidates go after each other. From this we can see where each candidate perceives himself to be relative to the field, and sense where the race will focus in the coming weeks. Some excerpts from his analysis:

1) There was a total of seventeen “hits” on one candidate against another. All of them were policy based, i.e. designed to highlight issue contrasts between candidates. In particular, all of the hits were designed to indicate that a given candidate deviates from the GOP’s median position, i.e. where the average Republican stands.

(2) More than half of these hits – nine of seventeen – were on immigration. Few of these were actually prompted by CNN. This is a sign that these candidates recognize the salience of the issue to the Republican electorate. Again – all of these attacks were designed to indicate that the candidate deviated from the median Republican position on the issue.

(3) Giuliani seemed like the frontrunner, at least in terms of attacks. He was attacked more than any candidate – six times. And he attacked only attacked Romney twice (as many times as he attacked Hillary Clinton). Both hits regarded immigration.

(4) Romney acted like more of a challenger tonight. He made five hits – against Rudy (twice) and Huckabee (thrice). Thus, we saw pretty clearly here that Romney perceives both Huckabee and Romney to be threats to his candidacy. What is more, all of Romney’s hits occurred during the immigration exchanges at the beginning of the debate.

(7) No candidate attacked Thompson.

(9) No candidate attacked McCain.

His final analysis, hardly revolutionary, reinforces the growing consensus: It’s a Romney Giuliani Huckabee race now, no one else matters, and Huckabee hurts Romney more than anyone else.

And finally, one comment on the NY Times coverage: RP mentioned once, in paragraph 16 (of 23). After Duncan Hunter. Surprise surprise.

Posted by Mark @ 3:05 pm on November 29th 2007

Heart of Gold

If I donated in this way, would I get a tax deduction?


Posted by Brad @ 1:31 pm on November 29th 2007

Juan Cole on McCain’s Vietnam History

Great post from Juan Cole synthesizing a lot of my objections to McCain’s end of his exchange with Ron Paul, as well as reiterating a point that Republicans seem to often need reiterated to them in regards to the Vietnam/Iraq comparison.

McCain also repeated his standard lie that Iraqis would attack the United States if US troops were withdrawn from that country. He contrasted the Vietnamese Communists, who, he said, just wanted to build their workers’ utopia in Vietnam once the US left, with Iraqis, who he continues to confuse with Usamah Bin Laden (a Saudi living far from Iraq who never had anything to do with Iraq).

Of course, back in the early 1970s, if you had asked McCain, he would have said we have to fight the Vietnamese because of the Domino effect, and if we lost there then International Communism would be in our living rooms. Now, he says the Vietnamese Communists weren’t expansionist at all, and just wanted socialism in one country.

So then, John, if that was true and there was never any danger of a domino effect, why did we sacrifice 58,000 US lives and kill a million to two million Vietnamese peasants? You just admitted we weren’t in any danger from them, even if they defeated us.

But since you were wrong about the domino effect with regard to Vietnamese Communism (which I remember arguing in a class debate as a teenager in 1967 was just a form of nationalism), how do we know you aren’t just as wrong or wronger about your fantastic Muslim domino theory? After all, international communism was a big important political movement to which many governments adhered. Al-Qaeda is a few thousand scruffy guys afraid to come out of their caves, who don’t even have good sleeping bags much less a government to their name.

Read the rest for more dissection.

Posted by Brad @ 12:57 pm on November 29th 2007

Ron Paul in Michigan

As I wrote earlier, in a post that’s now largely factually inaccurate as things have shaken out, Michigan poses an interesting situation, in that the polling for it is now basically useless because the entire process has been upended. Essentially, it is now going to be an open primary with delegates awarded by congressional districts. What’s more, there won’t be a Democratic primary at all, due to the DNC turning it into a straw poll, and the only major candidate whose name is on the ballot is Hillary’s. So, it seems likely that interest in the Democratic race on the part of Democrats is going to be about as low as you can get. The good news for Ron Paul (and McCain) — they can vote in the Republican primary by showing up and asking for a GOP ballot.

There are a lot of factors swirling around that make it a state to watch. Eric Larson, now blogging at RedStateEclectic, takes a look at them, and his conclusion is worth reading. Essentially, it looks pretty good that Dr. Paul is going to leave Michigan with delegates.

Posted by Mark @ 12:49 pm on November 29th 2007

Prosaic? Hardly!

Counterstrike, it is not.

Ever had dreams of being the Head Grounds keeper at a stately home? Well now you can realise that dream and more! Lawnmower Simulator 2007 allows you to mow the most beautiful lawns in Britain.

In career mode, impress your employer with straight lines and artistic mowing patterns to earn bigger and better lawnmowers and upgrades to your tea shed. Each lawnmower can be fully customised – anything from a new Electric Blue paint job, to engine upgrades and sportier gear ratios on the deluxe ride-on models for increased mowing speed.

In Multiplayer mode, go head-to-head with your rivals in the Stadium Challenge! Both players take half a football pitch and points are awarded for speed and artistic creativity. Points are deducted for messy lines and areas of turf left uncut. In Extreme Multiplayer you will face the extra challenge of defending your artistic creation from sabotage by your opponent and those pesky footballers. Dispatch them by spraying grass cuttings at them before they make divots with slide tackles or, if close enough, mow them down!

Of course, we can only hope that any of our readers back in dear old blighty will pop into the gaming section the next time they are in their local Tesco supermarket and pick up a copy.

Presumably the X-rated certificate attached the game refers to a “Hot Coffee” unlockable mini game.

My English blood is aboil over the possibility of such an exciting combination of lawn mowing and simulated sex!

Of course, subtitles may be needed for anyone south of the Watford Gap:

Language: English (Scouse)

All credit to The Register for this breaking story.

Posted by Brad @ 12:33 pm on November 29th 2007

Quote of the Day

Courtesy of Jackart.

The British Army is no More

The British Army strength has fallen under 100,000, which is the NATO definition of “Army”, so perhaps it should correctly be termed the British Militia?

Posted by Brad @ 12:14 pm on November 29th 2007

Music Video of the Midweek

Dizzee Rascal – Dream

Maybe I’ll start making a point of posting strange but peppy little English videos that make prominent use of puppets

Posted by Brad @ 11:00 am on November 29th 2007

Sorry folks, that question about gays in the military is invalid and should be disregarded

There are some things that I just plumb don’t care about, and other things that I don’t understand why ANYBODY cares about them.

To wit, I thought one of the best questions of the night in last night’s YouTube debate was from a retired army general, openly gay, asking the candidates about Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. It appropriately shamed the Republicans who answered it, and generally made them look like callous, pandering scoundrels.

It came to light very quickly afterwards that the retired general lent his name to a Hillary Clinton steering committee. He’s given no money to the campaign, and he was interviewed by CNN this morning and says he is indeed undecided, is a member of the Log Cabin Republicans, supports GOP candidates on occasion, and that while he agree to be on that steering committee list after a request from a friend, and because Clinton is good on gay issues, he’s done no work for the campaign and has donated no money to it. He said it didn’t even occur to him that this would be a problem, and at the end of the interview said he appreciated CNN’s desire to air all this for the sake of transparency.

Meanwhile, on Fox News at the same time, the story was running every 15 minutes or so, as the morning crew were gleefully expressing shock and outrage that CNN sucked so bad and that Hillary Clinton is such a manipulative bitch.

Apparently also, the fact of his affiliation makes his question invalid. Enough so that CNN has decided viewed should not be exposed to it.

CNN’s statement:

Following the debate, CNN learned that retired brigadier general Keith Kerr served on Clinton’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender steering committee.

CNN Senior Vice President and Executive Producer of the debate, David Bohrman, says, “We regret this incident. CNN would not have used the General’s question had we known that he was connected to any presidential candidate.”

Prior to the debate, CNN had verified his military background and that he had not contributed any money to any presidential candidate.

Following the debate, Kerr told CNN that he’s done no work for the Clinton campaign. He says he is a member of the Log Cabin Republicans and was representing no one other than himself.


I watched the CNN re-broadcast of the debate this morning from 3-5am (the joys of morning drive radio), and I kept waiting for Col. Keith Kerr’s question. He never showed up. CNN apparently deleted his entire appearance from the re-broadcast.

Thumbs up for the nod to journalistic integrity, but a big thumbs down for the incredible journalistic incompetence. CNN gave Hillary Clinton’s campaign five minutes of the GOP’s presidential debate. Will they give Lt. Col. (ret.) Ralph Peters five minutes of the Democratic debate?


To his great credit, Mitt Romney was asked about this by said Fox News morning crew, who asked him “Can you believe how terrible that was?” Mitt’s response was to shrug it off and say “It was just a question”.

There are times when partisan blinders get in the way of reason and common sense. Was there something wrong with the General’s question? Was he pushing a Clinton agenda? Should Republicans not have to deal with the incredible emotional suffering and distress caused by getting a tough question from somebody that’s not a party loyalist? Should Americans not be allowed to hear the candidate’s answers on this rather important issue because the guy asking it might be affiliated with a rival party? Do I have to listen to the Corner bitching about this for the next 36 hours?

Posted by Brad @ 4:32 am on November 29th 2007

Hookers For Ron Paul

As if there was any doubt.

Posted by Rojas @ 12:14 am on November 29th 2007

John McCain picks a fight

For those who missed it, John McCain tonight became the latest candidate to call out Ron Paul.

For my tastes, this was Paul’s finest moment in any of the debates.

Dr. Paul not only fended off McCain’s ambush, but won the exchange. Decisively. And I say that as a person who tends to agree more with McCain than with Paul on the issue.

But there’s another matter that merits discussion in the wake of this incident, and that’s the use to which John McCain is putting his moral credibility. (more…)

Posted by James @ 11:10 pm on November 28th 2007


…John Edwards’ supporters why they are just that and perhaps this rather effective spot will answer that question.

Let us consult another Democrat and one each in the previous campaign video would agree was an inspiration. A man that asks a us still who we want to be.

In what party would he be in if he were alive today? Who are we?

Posted by Brad @ 9:40 pm on November 28th 2007

Ron Paul Co-Option Watch

Here’s a strange edition. VP watch?

“I’m thinking about Ron Paul” as a running mate, Kucinich told a crowd of about 70 supporters at a house party here, one of numerous stops throughout New Hampshire over the Thanksgiving weekend. A Kucinich-Paul administration could bring people together “to balance the energies in this country,” Kucinich said.

The first instance of the Kucinich-Paul thing I thought was just an honest answer from an honest guy giving some props to a friend and sometimes-fellow traveler. The second was just Kucinich’s wife being Kucinich’s wife.

This one strikes me as a different animal.

Kucinich’s entire campaign is basically predicated on the idea that Democrats and Independents, anti-war types and social liberals, fed up with the mealy-mouthed frontrunners and party establishmentarians, will put Dennis on their shoulders and parade him into a place of semi-viability in the public square. Of course, that’s already being done, on the Republican side, by Ron Paul, particularly in New Hampshire where he and Kucinich may be competing for the same votes, in the Fed Up Undecideds category. Paul, as he’s doing for many campaigns (I’d include Thompson and Gravel as well), has sucked a lot of the oxygen out, and is starting to be a real threat for the home of all us political insurgents, from across the spectrum.

Dennis knows this. I don’t think it was just a flippant remark on his part. Now that it’s been (on Ron’s part, innocently) run up the flag pole, expect more of this from Kucinich. He’s actively trying to ingratiate himself with Ron Paul supporters, and to rut himself in Ron Paul cred. And he seems actually either worried that he’s losing air (and voters) to Ron Paul, or at the very least hoping to ride some Paulian coattails.

Which is pretty flattering, actually.

But still: no, Dennis. Just, no.

Posted by Jack @ 9:08 pm on November 28th 2007

More on Muslim Mitt

Brad beat me to the post yesterday, and covered the religious bigotry angle in detail. But I don’t want a couple of other points to get lost in the discussion. Once again, here is the contentious alleged Romney quote:

…based on the numbers of American Muslims [as a percentage] in our population, I cannot see that a cabinet position would be justified. But of course, I would imagine that Muslims could serve at lower levels of my administration.

Aside from the pure religious test for office angle, Jim Henley asks, I assume rhetorically:

So, the Mittster is saying that cabinet positions are diversity tokens a President hands out to ensure representation of important demographic groups. Republicans hate that kind of talk, don’t they?

Point to Jim. Meanwhile, a few have pointed out that, regardless of the small population percentage represented by Muslims, there is a pretty strong precedent for one particular practitioner of Islam to take a cabinet position under the next President, assuming he is Republican. As Yglesias asks, why not Zalmay Kahlilzad, US Ambassador to the U.N.? Afterall, we have extraordinary precedent for moving from UN Ambassador to a cabinet level positon: Madelain Albright (State), Bill Richardson (Energy), John Negroponte (Dir Nat Int) George HW Bush (CIA).

“But Romney’s telling us that current UN Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad is too Muslim to be so much as considered for a cabinet post? Really? How repugnant. ”

Meanwhile, those members of the right blogosphere that have already declared for Romney jumped to his defense, including noted Mitt fan and Cornerite Katheryn Jean Lopez

After reading both Geraghty and Mike Allen it seems like he was responding to an Ijaz Muslim mandate idea. We no more NEED a Muslim than we NEED a Catholic or (dare I?) a Mormon in the Cabinet…is what I assume Romney was saying. The Cabinet should have people who are qualified for the agencies they’re assigned to.

If the original report on this is reasonably accurate, and follow on reports suggest that they may even be understated, K-Lo’s interpretation is somewhere between incredibly strained and partisan charity.

Meanwhile, the emerging consensus is that Mitt’s “gaff” was a completely intentional play for Southern voters, particularly in South Carolina. Call it a plank in the new GOP Southern Strategy. Call it dog whistle politics barely disguised. Call it whatever you want, but how will it effect the race? In the primaries, given the target audience for whom he is competing, I doubt it will hurt him at all.

Posted by Jack @ 8:40 pm on November 28th 2007

Rumor Mongering

Once again portions of the right blogosphere have activated their manufactured outrage circuits over the “lefty blogs” running with the Trent Lott – gay escort stories. They consider such rumor mongering juvenile and inappropriate, and accuse The Left of an unhealthy obsession with outing Republicans. A few points:

– I am not of “The Left,” but I do have a healthy obsession with exposing hypocricy, and sometime hat means outing, socially conservative Republican politicians. There, I said it. And I am completely comfortable with this… orientation. If you make the conscious decision, repeatedly, to assist, endorse and even lead the GOP in demonizing gays, if you support a wide array of legislation aimed at limiting equal access and protection under the law, and if you routinely tout your traditional family values, then you can expect that I, and many other straight but not narrow bloggers will gleefully crucify you when your non-traditional sexual escipades become public. Given how often this happens, I would have thought you had figured this out by now.

– Rumors regarding a high profile politician are standard blogger fare. To suggest otherwise is disingenuous, to express outrage is obviously ridiculous. I participated in all of this by including the male escort story, along with two other hypothesis, in my Trent Lott post because it was already out there, it was relevant, it had some promising leads, it was juicy as hell, and I wanted all the leading theories included, not just the happy-clean-family-safe-unembarressing options.

– The story, in light of some additional information, is most probably not true. It’s certainly not my leading option. But seriously, Rick Moran, to call the story “categorically false” based entirely on the word of the prostitute in question suggest a rather unexpected faith in the honesty of all mankind, including the gay kind, that you have previously not demonstrated. What could be behind your new found attitude, I wonder?

– The righty blogs that are tut-tutting the impertinence of these posts might want to address with their ideological brethren, most of whom are in your blogroll Rick, some rumor mongering over the Hillary ClintonHuma lesbian story.
In particular, you might want have a rather long sit down with the author of this head-trauma deranged post.

” I am not reporting it because it is a lesbian thang, I am concerned and distressed that a Muslim raised in Saudi Arabia would have such intimate access to a would be President.”

That derangment echoed and amplified at length here.

Hat tip: Alicublog and Sadly, No

Posted by James @ 8:38 pm on November 28th 2007

A chilly night in Chappaqua

That is what Bill Clinton will likely find the next time he and Hillary are curled up by the fire in a writhing blur of fingernails and flying tufts of hair. His latest comments to catch the fickle winds of the media were made while giving a speech in Muscatine, Iowa on behalf of his wife’s bid for the Democratic nomination. I caught wind of it earlier today on Drudge (you know, that silly site that no one reads at least several times a day?) and there was a YouTube video of the speech linked that I watched and decided I would write about later. The video link has mysteriously disappeared from Drudge and despite my best searching efforts I can find no evidence of it on YouTube. The NYT ran a story on it as well. And Drudge? In absence of the earlier video link he has piled on with this piece a la the AP.

Seems Bill Clinton may be stretching the tether along with the truth with this “I was for the war before I was against it” moment. I don’t know if any of this will have legs, but I bet there is a new and smaller doghouse being built behind the old one somewhere in Chappaqua, NY. Call it a hunch.

Posted by Rojas @ 5:13 pm on November 28th 2007

Hawkeye Huckabee

For the first time, a poll has Huckabee actually leading in Iowa, though the second-choice skew to Romney could still mean he’s the real leader in terms of the way the caucuses themselves operate.

The swing to Huckabee over the last two weeks or so has been dramatic and is registering in a big way both in external preferences and in the internal dynamics of polls, particularly Rasmussen’s. At the moment Huckabee’s core voters are not merely more likely to be previous caucusgoers than Romney’s, they are also more committed to their man.

Needless to say, if Huckabee does win Iowa, Romney’s campaign won’t survive the event. Romney’s already done just about all he can to portray himself favorably in the state media; now he more or less has to go negative. No other candidate is going to do the work for him–they have too little to gain in the state.

Mitt Romney has one month to save his candidacy.

Posted by James @ 11:35 pm on November 27th 2007

The mainstream news media is totally unfair to Dennis Kucinich

It is. I don’t agree with Kucinich. I think of him as an old hippie who was sucked into an RPG and emerged as an obnoxious little troll who snarls at things that defy the dice rolls. I think that is pretty much how he sees himself too. He also hypnotizes women with some kind of UFO voodoo. That is the ONLY thing that would explain his wife Elizabeth. Nevertheless, he is getting screwed by the same people that are screwing the less prominent candidates running for the presidential nomination of the two major parties in the United States of America. Meanwhile, swimming toward this desert island of those marooned by the media elite are a rabble of others with voices drowned out by the foghorns. Most of these would have drowned under the weight of their own radicalism anyway…right? Who will ever know?

I had insomnia last night. Insomnia is not something I commonly experience, but when I do, I just try to go with it and watch a movie or TV figuring that I will sleep or die later. Last night I perused the cable news[sic] channels. What a treat.

FOX News’ input into the world of insomnia consisted of a god awful program rather appropriately named Red-Eye or some such. There I momentarily observed who I think was the host of the show (a fellow that appears to be what you would get if you beamed Jay Leno, Dennis Miller, and Joe Pesci down to the same crack house) doing a monologue to the glee of what looked like a handful of people yanked out of an American Idol audition line. Ah, but I digress.

At any rate, after flipping past the face of someone I think was Nancy Grace on CNN Headline News, I was “fortunate” enough to catch about two minutes of headline news on a break in the late night repeat of CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360”. I am not even going there right now other than to ask this rhetorical question: if you follow a 360, where do you end up? In the mean time, I’ll moved on to MSNBC ‘s slice of the shit pie called ‘Hardball – Power Rankings’ with Chris Matthews, where Chris (obviously a field hockey player when it comes to pitching a left curve) gave his viewers…well…the Hard Ball POWER RANKING, dammit!

Out of all this ‘comprehensive coverage’ one something was missing. It was more of a someone actually. It was Dennis Kucinich, and with him: Mike Gravel, Ron Paul, Duncan Hunter, and Tom Tancredo; and even Randy Crow. Even in a horse race the last horse has a name.

I shut off the TV at about 4:00am. It was a quiet night as I finally drifted to sleep, too quiet. Funny thing is, it was morning.

Posted by Jack @ 9:10 pm on November 27th 2007

Pro-Torture, Pro-Wire Tapping, Pro-Security State, Pro-Forever War Libertarians.

Has there been anything written this week that demonstrates greater misunderstanding (or willful distortion) of libertarianism than Patrick Ruffini’s bowel movement at Hugh Hewitt’s Townhall blog?

A vicious fisking is in order. Oh wait, its been done. Lets start with John Cole, who disabuses Patrick of the notion that Ron Paul has been the cause of libertarian rebirth within the GOP. Essentially, Ruffini appears to perpetrate, at best, a correlation to causation fallacy, and at worst a cause and effect reversal:

His popularity is not causing a resurgence of libertarianism in the GOP, it is caused by a general disgust WITH the GOP. If Ruffini would check Hugh’s archives where he wrote this, he will see what the party apparatchiks think of Paul and Paul supporters. He can also check at Red State, where he used to write.
The rise of Paul is not going to cause a surge in libertarianism in the Republican party. The rise of Ron Paul is due to his filling the void in a party filled with moralists, in-your-face social cons, warmongerers, and authoritarians.

And what are we to make of this Ruffini nonsense:

“Mainstream Republican libertarians might be gung-ho for Paul’s small-government idealism, they might adopt Glenn Reynoldsish skepticism of the homeland security bureaucracy”

I think Cole’s snarky response about sums it up:

I know when I think of skepticism to the overreaches of this administration and the Homeland Security Department and the recent privacy issues, the first person I think of is Glenn Reynolds

On second thought, perhaps Patrick’s reference to the instapundit, his singular example of a self-identified libertarian, goes a long way toward explaining his confusion regarding the philosophy in question. As a corrective, I recommend any of these Alicublog tests.


Posted by Jack @ 8:26 pm on November 27th 2007

Trent Lott’s Resignation Announcement: Theories and Reactions

First there was the surprise announcement of his immanent retirement, complete with the traditional more time with family meme.

There followed extensive speculation as to the true reasons for his sudden departure. Early leader: By resigning now he avoids new lobbyist restrictions affecting former Senators that takes effect at the beginning of the new year. This seemed reasonable, though boring. And we can’t have that.

A somewhat juicier hypothesis: FBI agents are raiding his brother-in-laws offices as we report, and Lott, in the recent past, may have inappropriately intervened to protect him from prosecution. Ok, we’re getting there, but needs more zip, more pizazz.

But this! Trent Lott and a male escort! Which means Gay! With extra juicy Larry Flynt involvement! My schadenfreude levels are red-lining! Although the source’s credibility, due to a possible history of serial plagiarism, is rather questionable.
If confirmed this would certainly reenforce James Wolcott’s growing suspicion that all Republican men are privately, passionately, exceedingly gay.

But lets get beyond all that, and head straight to the epitaphs in which, considering Trent Lott’s Republican icon status, the right blogosphere has been aggressively condemnatory. Beltway blogroll provides a bipartisan roundup, here are the conservative outtakes:

Glenn Reynolds: “He will not be missed”

Michelle Malkin: “Inveterate Beltway creatures who love the pomp and power of their office do not just decide they are ‘ready to move on.’ ”

Captain’s Quarters: “Lott will most likely be remembered for his arrogance and his inability to adapt to the paradigms of open government in the Internet/blogosphere era”

Erick at Red State: “Trent Lott long ago stopped being useful and started being bitter. He hates the Porkbusters. He hates conservatives. He hates most anything other than establishment Republican ideals of entrenched power and earmarks. ”

That’s gotta hurt. Hat tip to Andrew Sullivan for both the right’s response and the juicier theories about Lott’s timing.

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