Thursday, September 30, 2004

They Just Don't Learn!

This story just keeps getting better. And now there are other stories in the sam vein. Read it again, then read the updates.

Originally Posted 10:00 AM September 29, 2004
Thanks for the Memory to Ace of Spades HQ.

OK, I've been trying to find my own material on which to blog, but this one is just so ridiculous, I have to chime in.

One of the hallmarks of intelligence, I am told, is the ability to learn from one's mistakes -- to recognize a causitive relationship between an action and its consequences, and to choose to refrain from that action in the future in order to avoid those consequences.

Let's take a recent example of an action and its consequences, and see if WE can learn anything from them, shall we?

One of the... no, THE biggest story in the blogosphere in recent weeks has been "Memogate," the controversy surrounding Dan Rathers' 60 Minutes story on President Bush's service record and the falsified records used to support the story. I won't link to the story, it's so thoroughly blogged that it's ridiculous.

So what lessons can we learn from this, children (or "Rather," what lessons should CBS have learned)? Specifically, what action and consequences should CBS have observed and avoided in the future? Allow me to make a few suggestions:

The first observation in general is that there are people who are so devoted to their political cause that they are willing to lie and even commit forgery in order to advance their cause. We have also learned that while they are supposed to be impartial and dedicated to verifying the accuracy of their reporting, the mainstream media is at times willing to overlook niggling little concerns regarding their sources in order to get a story out if that story supports their own opinions or beliefs. In the case of the CBS story, that included both the use of forged documents, as well as a reliance on "unimpeachable sources" that have proven to be highly partisan individuals. That is the Action.

The consequences are that in the age of blogs, if you rely on verifiably untrue sources, the odds are very great that you will be caught, exposed, and discredited.

The Lesson, then, would be? Anyone? Anyone? /Ben Stein

The Lesson is to VERIFY your information before REPORTING it.

So let's take the lesson learned and apply it to another story that's been making the rounds and has garnered a lot of attention: The Draft Controversy. There's been an email circulating warning people that the government, and specifically the Bush administration, plans to reinstate the draft in order to recruit troops for Iraq. It has generated a lot of ill will towards the President, and I even read a very angry letter about it in Sunday's Portland Oregonian.

There's only one problem: The email is lying. As a matter of fact, as the FactCheck article points out, only two draft-related bills have been proposed, both were sponsored by Democrats, both were prior to Iraq, and both were stillborn.

So let's take our lesson learned and apply it to this email. IF you were a journalist -- no, if you were a CBS Journalist, how would you approach this issue?

I think you see where I'm going with this. That's right, CBS failed to learn its lesson. Furthermore, not only did they rely on an already debunked document (this time an email), they also quoted a highly partisan source. they just didn't learn.

I don't know what you'd call this -- Hubris, desperation for a story, blind devotion to a cause, or just plain stupidity. But the one thing you can't call this, by the standard established at the beginning of this post, is intelligence.

UPDATE!
Again, credit goes toAce of Spades HQ. The man's en fuego.

Bill at INDC has interviewed several representatives of CBS regarding this story. Read the whole report here.

One exchange that caught many readers' eyes, as well as my own, was this one:

INDC: "Probably the main concern with the story is that the e-mails that are shown in the piece are false; they've been debunked on various internet sites long ago ..."

Schlesinger: "The fact is, they were going around. I know several people that got them, and it’s gotten people all riled up. Whether or not there’s any reality to there being a draft, is almost besides the point. Do I think there’s going to be a draft? No. But it's an issue that people are talking about."


In other words (and I wasn't the first or only to pick up on this), "The documents are not authentic, but they're accurate)" Furthermore, if people are riled up because of false information, why, as has been asked, is CBS reporting on how upset people are, instead of letting them know how unfounded their reason for being upset is? Why are they reporting that people are afraid because of a lie, and not on the fact that it's a lie?

They Just Don't Learn.

Yum! Crow With Maple Syrup!

If any of you have checked the comments to my post about the email I received Tuesday, you'll see that Venom commented, and I responded pretty harshly. In addition to banning his IP address, I deleted his email.

Well, almost. Then I went ahead and read it. He had some good points, so I've decided to lift the ban, despite the nasty tone of the third email he sent regarding being banned. I'm also making an exception to what I said in the comments, and responding to him in a post, ONE LAST TIME:

*sigh*

You've made some comments that, unfortunately, require a response. It's funny how you make comments making me out to be a troll, yet you do your own trolling in replying. And you're calling me a hypocrite...


It’s not exactly trolling when the intent was to respond in kind.

Several points to your comments and (hopefully) that's it (since I also didn't expect it to get to this level, though your final comment in the bumper sticker post prompted my email to you):

I take exception to being called a hypocrite.


Then don’t come across as one. What prompted that comment was your accusing me of generalizing about you right after you’d generalized about me.

I can observe you being anti-left (which you are)

Yes, I am. But to say “its obvious within a few lines of reading that you share no sympathy for anyone left-of-Reagan.” Goes beyond pointing out my politics and is a generalizalition, you must admit.

and identify myself as not being left-leaning (since I'm not) without contradiction. Because it's true. I call a spade a spade, and if you don't like it, that's your issue. I can be critical of other conservatives if I take exception to the manner in which they voice their opinion.

Ironically enough, that’s exactly the issue I took with your email.

I'd hardly call that being left-leaning. Rather than spend countless energy trying to denigrate the left, I would prefer to do more to show the positives of the right. But, unfortunately, this kind of "take the high road" mentality is becoming more and more
scarce these days, and why politicking has turned into a match over who can sling more mud than the other (with both parties equally guilty).


A valid point. I would point out some reasons why I think those expectations are unrealistic, but that’s an entirely different thread, so I’ll concede the point for now.

2) Not once in the bumper sticker post was it mentioned about the other bull$hit you and your wife have endured leading up to this. You can excuse me (and the rest of us) for not knowing you were near the breaking point. If you had mentioned this beforehand (with as little or as much detail as you think it may have warranted), it might have helped put the situation in context. And, in the end, you lost a bumper sticker and not your voice. And yes, I was poking fun. I actually wasn't intending to troll; I just thought it was a little much (you acknowledge this, as well) to rant about 1 bumper sticker. Again, in context, it amounts to more.

That’s another good point. I forgot that you neither know me personally nor have been reading my blog long, you’d have seen that leftist violence and nastiness is something I have a high level of annoyance towards, and would have recognized this as a last straw. As for not losing my voice, I never said I did. I said that this was an example of someone trying to shout over my voice, by defacing my property.


You're right, you do write about more than just politics. You can apologize for your error (in assuming I was an ally from the idiots who defaced your bumper), and I can apologize for my error.

Accepted. Although they didn’t deface my bumper, since I put the sticker on the window.

"The distaff of this, is, of course: If you don't like what I have to write, DON'T READ IT!" It's kind of hard to not like something if I haven't read it, wouldn't you say?

Rather. I was thinking more of the adage “Once bitten twice shy.” Your persistence prompted that comment.

"Exactly where do I complain about anyone exercising their free speech? Show me. Put up or shut up, Tinkerbell." Hmm...I'd have to say that this comment: "How naive do you think I am, to expect me not to pay attention to the antics of movie producers making hate and lie-filled movies, "comediennes" standing on stage and making snide, obscene comments about the president, or 527's like MoveOn, the Media Fund, and all of Soros' other little whores/handmaidens," sounds like a pretty big complaint by you. If you're not complaining about these people's opinions, what are you doing, then?

Complaining about the hypocrisy of the left in doing those things while accusing Republicans of being the ones fighting a dirty, negative camapaign. Read a bit further up: “I've heard a lot of pissing and moaning lately from the left about how nasty and mean Republicans are. I've heard all the chatter about Bush=Hitler and how our freedoms are being trampled on by the Right and how I'm a digital Brownshirt. I've heard Democrats say that it's time they stopped playing nice and fair and started slinging mud the way they claim Republicans do.”

This post occurred right after the RNC, and that was the entire tone of the rhetoric coming from the Democrats. I may be offended by the things Soros, Hollywood, Moore, and their ilk say, but as long as they don’t commit slander or libel, they’re free to say it. What I was complaining about was the blatant self-ironic hypocrisy of them saying those things and then complaining about anything a Republican says. That’s my beef, their double standard.

And "Tinkerbell?" Is this what you've been reduced to? Name-calling? Seems pretty defeatist of you to resort to that. Taking a shot at manhood? What, you didn't grow up from high school?

It was out of line, and I do apologize. Think you can avoid the personal shots too?

Anyhow, by your own admission, you've said some things over the top and I'm probably guilty of that. The Internet, of course, has the ability to distort emotion. What could often times be an amicable debate in person ends up being more unpleasant than it probably warrants over a computer screen.

It’s not the Internet necessarily. Politics have roused this kind of passion for generations.

And his third email:

LOL! Wow, you're all about free speech. LMAO! Banning me because I happen to question you and point out faults in your argument.

No, I banned you because I thought you were being a rude, smug jackass. I’ve admitted my mistake, don’t make me regret it. As for free speech, as you’ve pointed out, yours is still intact, and was, even when you were banned -- you have other outlets for expression, don't you? You can say anything you want, I don't have to let you into my living room to do it. My blog is my intellectual property, not Hyde Park. I retain the right to police it any way I see fit. See my first post on this policy.

Please. Pick a fight with you? It's called debating. And you can't withstand even a little of it!

Sorry if I didn’t see a comment like your first one (Wow, a bumper sticker. What is this world coming to?) as an invitation to open debate, it sounded pretty dismissive.

You're definitely quite the neophyte in this, aren't you.

You’re making it personal again, aren't you. I'll overlook it, but please, let's both try to be civil.

One last thing. If you want to email me because you want what you say, good or bad, to be kept between us, for whatever reason, fine. I posted one email because I thought you were a jackass, I’ve posted this second because I acknowledge I was one too. But if that’s the reason you email, say so. If you want to make a long public comment, do what I do – create a WP document, then cut it and paste it in sections to several concurrent comments. That’s fine. Again, the character limit is Haloscan’s not mine.

Live Debate Feed

You'll notice a new box on the right side of my blog. This is temporary. It contains a live feed which will be updated during the debates, and will be used by the Bush campaign to fact check any claims made by Kerry. According to the Bush campaign, "each time John Kerry says something false or inaccurate during the debates, the live feed will be updated instantly with the facts."

You can get more information regarding this feature, including the HTML code to add it to your own blog, at the Bush Website.

Dutch Treat

I'm still jazzzed from my Malkinlaunch, and to a certain extent from the response to my post on the hate mail. So I thought I'd share the love.

One of the lines in the letter that I just kind of took in stride the first time has proven prophetically ironic. That's where the writer says, "its obvious within a few lines of reading that you share no sympathy for anyone left-of-Reagan."

Let's set aside for now the reply already made, as well as the fact that I'm probably slightly to the left of Reagan on a few issues, as well as to the right of him on a few others. Let's go back and ponder the fact that this writer considered it an insult to compare me politically to Reagan. This comment appears to me to be similar to the hyperbole I or other conservatives use on occasion to make a point, when we say that, for instance, John Kerry *is* a moderate -- when compared to Pol Pot. The connotation seems to be that Reagan is about as evilly far out to the Right as Mao or Lenin is to the Left.

This is laughable. When you consider the great good accomplished by the man, his victory over the Soviet regime, the only thing a man like RWR has in common with a Mao or a Lenin is his impact on history. He is, in my opinion, one of the greatest American Presidents ever, certainly one of the two greatest of the 20th Century.

And now I've been afforded an opportunity to honor him. I was sent an email regarding this movie:



"In the Face of Evil," to Open Conservative Liberty Film Festival
in Los Angeles October 1st

Hollywood, CA - September 22nd 2004- Writer/Director Stephen K. Bannon's "In the Face of Evil: Reagan's War in Word and Deed" will open the 2004 Liberty Film Festival, Hollywood's first openly conservative film festival. The festival will be held Oct. 1st-3rd at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood.

"In the Face of Evil: Reagan's War in Word and Deed" is a controversial look at Reagan's victory over Communism within the context of mankind's continual fight against evil, including the current war against Islamic Fascism. Based on Executive Producer Peter Schweizer's book "Reagan's War," "In the Face of Evil: Reagan's War in Word and Dead" was produced by Tim Watkins, and co-written by Julia Jones.


Screening time: 6:40 pm

Screening Location:
SilverScreen Theatre at Pacific Design Center
8687 Melrose Avenue
2nd floor Center Green
West Hollywood , CA 90069
site: www.libertyfilmfestival.com

"The must-see movie of the season...disturbing and deeply-moving...I found myself weeping" - Maggie Gallagher, NEW YORK POST

"A brilliant effort...extremely well done."- Rush Limbaugh

“ A powerful portrayal of a critical point in history that exposes the intensity of
the struggle against communism and President Reagan’s campaign for victory.
As someone who had lived these times, I was very moved by the detail and
emotion in which they were brought out on film. The lessons of our struggle
against the evil empire are more relevant than ever in regards to the conflict
of today’s world.”

- Lech Walesa, Nobel Laurite and former President of Poland

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Maybe We Are... (Movin' On Up)

Remember this post about Blog Mobility? In it, I qouted Michelle Malkin. In fact, the whole post was inspired by her entry.

Well, guess what?

SHE RETURNED THE FAVOR!!!!!!

WOO HOO!!!!!!

Let's see. In about 24 hours, I've received my first hate email, AND been quoted by a major pundit both in the blogosphere and the MSM.

If this generates a significant abount of traffic for my blog, given the subject of the post, I can't help but notice the synchronicity.

P.I.T.S.

That's Pregnancy Induced Tourette's Syndrome, or just "Pregnancy Tourette's," a term my wife coined to describe the sudden outbursts of sailor-intimidating profanity she is prone to these days, inspired by the nausea, indigestion, and general discomfort that are her constant friends.

She's at 18 weeks, well into her second trimester. We've been told these are the halcyon days of pregnancy, when morning sickness abates and before the awkwardness of late term zeppelinitis.

My response to those who seek to encourage us with this hope? Well, I think my wife's P.I.T.S. speaks for both of us.

We Get Lots and Lots and Lots and Lots of Letter!

(Letterman Viewer Letters Theme)

... Ok, we get a FEW letters. Two or Three. If you don't count the ones that say "STOP WRITING ME!"

But yesterday was a milestone. I got my first... (drumroll please)... HATE MAIL! Woo Hoo! I've arrived! I just thought I's share. I have to admit a mixture of annoyance and amusement when I read it.

Now to be fair, I did provoke it to an extent. The letter was written in response to my comments to reader Venom in the comments to another post, regarding the theft of my bumper sticker. You might want to read the comments before reading the letter. Got that taken care of? Good. Then without further ado, the letter (I'll respond afterward):

From: "Venom Is Watching"
venomhatesyou[at]hotmail[dot]com
To: greywanderer987[at]yahoo[dot]com
Subject: Continued from the blog...
Date: Tue, 28 Sep 2004 13:23:24 -0400

Your blog doesn't support 1000+ character comments. Fair enough and a good
policy. I'll answer your comments this way. This was taken from the posting about the bumper sticker. Reply or ignore, I don't care.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Actually, you're being pretty presumptuous saying that people who steal bumper stickers are my "allies" when you don't know a thing about me. Do you normally generalize about things, or just when it suits you? I thought this kind of thinking was only suited to Al-Jazeera, but maybe I'm wrong (see, I'm admitting I can be wrong - now you try).

Of course I think theft is wrong. It was wrong when the Republicans orchestrated the Watergate burglary, it was wrong when Democratic congressman Larry Smith was convicted of tax evasion. I not once ever said that theft was right; YOU made that assumption.

You lost a bumper sticker. Life sucks, but it goes on. But your "article" wasn't really about your bumper sticker, was it? And it certainly wasn't about theft, though you're trying to paint me into some kind of theft-loving corner, again, to suit your own "arguments." It must be nice to change the goalposts on a whim.

Rather, it was more about how its theft was against your unassailable right to free speech. This First Amendment, which you claim in your article was defiled against you, yet you complain about the free speech of "leftists" and the media that supports them. I sincerely doubt that if it was a "Vote for Kerry" bumper sticker that you would have minded as much, or ranted about how this was against a Democrat's right to free speech. And no, I'm not generalizing here - your vitriol is so anti-anything-that-smells-Democrat that its obvious within a few lines of reading that you share no sympathy for anyone left-of-Reagan. And no, I'm not a Democrat (or a "leftist," even by your narrow standards), though it would be pretty convenient for you to pigeonhole me like that. Do you label anyone who disagrees with you a Democrat? Or, better yet, a leftist?

Anyways, its apparent that you can't take teasing very well. I teased you because I thought you were overreacting. I mean, was an essay that necessary on you losing your bumper sticker? Seriously, its a bumper sticker. Stealing is wrong and through your blog you're right to free speech is apparently still intact. But are you that deprived of attention that you feel the need to post every mundane thought you have and attach some kind of political blithering to it? Well, maybe you are, in which case I've helped out and thrown you a bone. Don't like it? Cry me a river. You put your little diary online, so deal with people's reactions.


OK, I'll take a shot at this:

Haloscan thinks the character limit is a good policy too, that's why they implemented it -- not me.

Fair enough, it was a bit presumtuous assuming you were an "ally" of the idiots in question. However, given the tone you took, and the similarity it bore to other posts by other trolls, in that post and others, it was not that big a leap to assume that you made the comment because you disagreed with my politics. For that error I do apologize.

I not once ever said that theft was right; YOU made that assumption.

No, you didn't. You did, however, blow it off as nothing because it was just a bumper sticker. Which again, misses the point.

But your "article" wasn't really about your bumper sticker, was it?

Very good. You're catching on.

And it certainly wasn't about theft, though you're trying to paint me into some kind of theft-loving corner,

A bit paranoid, aren't we? Yes, the comment "So are you saying that petty theft is ok?" was over the top. But the rest of my comment, and the entire gist of it, was that I disagree with your assertion that the insignificance of the item mitigates my annoyance. Which again, misses my point.

Rather, it was more about how its theft was against your unassailable right to free speech.

Yup, bingo! Or to be more specific, it was about how this theft was specifically motivated by the political views of the thief.

yet you complain about the free speech of "leftists" and the media that supports them.

Exactly where do I complain about anyone exercising their free speech? Show me. Put up or shut up, Tinkerbell.

I sincerely doubt that if it was a "Vote for Kerry" bumper sticker that you would have minded as much, or ranted about how this was against a Democrat's right to free speech.

First of all, if it had been a "Kerry" bumper sticker, in this town it would most likely not have been touched. That's the kind of town I live in -- one where stickers that show Lee Harvey Oswald's picture with the caption "Back by Popular Demand" are profuse, along with too many anti-bush (not pro-democrat, but "Bush is evil Hitler bad man icky defeat him if it means electing Carrot Top") stickers, where my pregnant wife hear "F&*$ Bush!" three times in as many minutes while parking her car downtown, where another car calls me a "F%&*ing Republican Commie" for my sticker, a place that makes Berkeley seem conservative. That's why I was so annoyed, this was the final freaking straw in a series of annoyances generated by living in a town where Ted Kennedy is considered a right wing fascist.

Having said that, if it was a Kerry sticker stolen, it would be just as wrong, and the owner of the bumper sticker would be just as justified in his/her annoyance as I in mine. That's the reason for the outrage -- the personal nature of having something happen to you. Try it sometime -- you'll be amazed at how much it magnifies ANY affront.

And no, I'm not a Democrat (or a "leftist," even by your narrow standards), though it would be pretty convenient for you to pigeonhole me like that.

This from someone who just a sentence before said:

And no, I'm not generalizing here (Yes, you are.) - your vitriol is so anti-anything-that-smells-Democrat that its obvious within a few lines of reading that you share no sympathy for anyone left-of-Reagan.

Pot and Kettle much there? Hypocrite.

Do you label anyone who disagrees with you a Democrat?

As a matter of fact, no. But I do disagree with most Democrats.

Or, better yet, a leftist?

You mean worse yet. And again, no. When you live in Eugene, you know the difference between a true leftist and someone who happens to be slightly to the left of you in their views. We have plenty of both here. It's the former I take the greatest issue with.

Anyways, its apparent that you can't take teasing very well.

I don't buy the "I was just teasing" line, especially when you list your home page as "gfy.com" You were being a troll and you know it. Congratulations, you succeeded.

I teased you because I thought you were overreacting. I mean, was an essay that necessary on you losing your bumper sticker? Seriously, its a bumper sticker.

It's called venting. Sure, it was overreacting a bit. But it was cathartic, and I felt much better,thanks.

But are you that deprived of attention that you feel the need to post every mundane thought you have and attach some kind of political blithering to it?

Nope. That's why I post on things like coffee, and football, and my wife's pregnancy, and volcanoes, and my love for my home state, and beer, and cooking, and QVC, and Bike Locks, all without bringing politics into it. But again, questioning my need for attention after feeling the need to troll yourself seems a bit... self-ironic.

You put your little diary online, so deal with people's reactions.

Yes, good point. The distaff of this, is, of course: If you don't like what I have to write, DON'T READ IT!

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Movin' On Up -- Or Are We?

I have a confession to make: I am a traffic junkie. Ever since I discovered the TTLB Blog ecosystem and the tools afforded my by Site Meter, I have become fascinated with my stats, and with tracking how many visitors I get, as well as where they originate, and how many page views they go to while here. While I still write what I want, when I want, and how I want, I do get excited when I get a response, and I'm not too proud to advertise with links on other blogs where I think the owners and/or readers will appreciate my offering, nor to trackback when one of my entries is inspired by another blog.

And I'm pleased to report that my readership has steadily risen over time. I currently have an average of 116 visits per day, with a one day record of around 250. Now, that's admittedly peanuts compared to the big boys, but still, considering how new I am and how limited my blogging time is, I think that's a pretty decent gain. All by being myself.

All of this is to provide background for my take on the following blog entry by Michelle Malkin:

HOW MUCH MOBILITY IS THERE IN THE BLOGOSPHERIC ECOSYSTEM?

In the LA Times, former blogger Billmon writes that bloggers have sold out. His thesis is that "[a]s blogs commercialize, they are tied ever closer to the mainstream media and its increasingly frivolous news agenda."

I was particularly interested in his argument that "a charmed circle of bloggers" is gaining "larger audiences and greater influence," while the rest of the blogosphere is being left behind. Media exposure to the top blogs, he argues, "is intensifying an existing trend toward a 'winner take all' concentration of audience share." He goes on:

Even before blogs hit the big time, Web stats showed the blogosphere to be a surprisingly unequal place, with a relative handful of blogs — say, the top several hundred — accounting for the lion's share of all page hits.

In Billmon's eyes, the blogosphere is an inegalitarian place, with little opportunity for new blogs to break into the "charmed circle" of high-traffic sites that have sold out in pursuit of advertising dollars. I am not familiar with Billmon's writings, but I get the sense that he (or she) probably feels the same way about economic opportunity in the U.S.

How well does this pessimistic view of the blogosphere align with reality? Is mobility really as limited as Billmon suggests?

A little more than a year ago, John Hawkins listed the most influential center-right bloggers. (He ignored left-of-center blogs and non-political blogs because he was not well acquainted with them.) His list was as follows:

1. Andrew Sullivan
2. Instapundit
3. The Corner
4. The Volokh Conspiracy
5. Little Green Footballs
6. Lileks (James) The Bleat
7. Steven Den Beste
8. Scrappleface
9. A Small Victory
10. Tim Blair

If Hawkins were to create such a list today, I have no doubt we'd see plenty of new names--sites like Powerline, Hewitt, Allah, and perhaps Wizbang and INDC Journal. Not coincidentally, these are among the most consistently interesting and informed sites in the blogosphere.

In essence, Billmon believes the game is rigged. But in blogging, as in life more generally, there is tremendous opportunity for those inclined to seize it.

It cannot be denied that early bloggers enjoy an advantage over latecomers. A blog that launches today, no matter how good or heavily promoted, will not soon overtake Instapundit or Daily Kos. Yet even the mightiest blog won't retain its position in the "charmed circle" for long if it is running on fumes.


More thoughts on Billmon's op-ed (from liberal bloggers) here: 1 2 3

Update: It turns out that Hawkins ranked the top 125 political blogs just this week. Compare to his October 2003 list here and his January 2003 list here.

Update II: For blog newbies, N.Z. Bear's weblog ecosystem is a fascinating barometer of blog mobility (though it seems to be down this morning for maintenance).


I am in agreement with Michelle on this. A while back I blogged about Memogate (who didn't?), and in particular about the level of fact checking and policing done by blogs, OF OTHER BLOGS. In it, I also touched on the issue of blog quality and how it affects blog popularity. To shamelessly quote myself:

The internet and blogs changed that. Now you have an outlet. Now everyone can have a voice. If that voice is used poorly, you will be ignored, mocked, and refuted. But while it may be small at first, if what your new internet voice has to say is right, and significant, and well said, it will get heard. And listened to. And repeated.

That, I think, is the point that Billmon has missed. The Blogosphere is truly a "Free Market of Ideas" in the sense for which that term was truly intended. Not only are you free to express your opinions on a blog, but your success, at least in terms of readership, is directly related to how well-expressed and well-received those opinions are BY YOUR AUDIENCE -- not by a publisher or producer. Unlike the MSM, where only those who please the ear of the bigwigs ever gets a chance to present their views to the public, anyone can post to a blog. From there, its success is up to you and your audience. Admittedly, there are bloggers who have received commercial support, and who continue to blog because of it. But as Michelle points out, these blogs don't necessarily get the readerhsip they once did.

Furthermore, she could have used as examples two of my favorite blogs, both of whome have been gaining in readership and influence (and upon whose coattails I have made some of my most spectacular gains): Ace of Spades and MyPetJawa. Both of these guys blog because they enjoy doing it, yes, both care about recognition, but no, neither one has bee coopted by the forces of conformity because of it.

While it may be arguable that blogs in general are not as upwardly mobile as Billmon wishes we were, one thing can be said in our defense:

At least we're self-propelled.

Guest Post

You'll recall, perhaps, a post I made early on in my blogging about how my Christian faith shapes my political views.

Well, one of my best friends in the whole world read it, we had a dialogue, and the following blog entry is his response. With his permission, I am reprinting it here, without comment from me:

As you called for on your blog several weeks ago, there is a need for "righteousness" in American government. It is, in fact, a virtue toward which individuals and institutions are morally obligated to strive. Despite the claims in recent years by some in the political arena, the pursuit of justice has always been (to varying degrees) a part of the American experiment. This is evident in the three great documents of the American form of government - the U.S. Constitution, Declaration of Independence and Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. These documents wit-ness to certain principles, ideals and virtues that the state must recognize and strive to secure or, at the very least, recognize above all others:
· All citizens will have liberty
· All citizens will be equal
· All citizens will be justly governed - i.e., justice

Whereas liberty and equality are oriented toward the individual, justice (as the highest of the three) is always geared toward the common good.(1) Because "good" is a moral term, the common good is understood as a political science about what is best and right for the whole. This is how and why justice will "run into" or at times "run over" liberty and equality. Of course, the devil is in the details, and our task as citizens of a representative republic is to seek the proper definition of the common good and then to create an atmosphere in order for people to achieve it.

This naturally leads to a discussion of rights, which should be understood as natural rights recognized (though not created nor established) by our democracy. Tocqueville wrote that it is by reference to natural rights that "men have always defined the nature of license and tyranny." In other words, no nation can be called great without having respect for natural rights. It seems to me that it could be persuasively argued that without this there can be no real civil society at all (unless one considers types of tyrannical societies "civil").

Even a rudimentary inspection of American history will show that liberty and equality have always quarreled with each other in our democracy. And they will do so in any democracy. This is what Alexander Hamilton and James Madison feared the most when considering the future of democracy in America. In fact, this is the explanation for John Adams' fear of the eventual failure of the American experiment, writing (in a private letter after his presidency) that "all democracies eventually self-destruct."

As Mortimer J. Adler wrote in The Time of Our Lives (1970) the conflict in our society between liberty and equality occurs only when neither is limited by justice. The application of this principle is extraordinary: from affirmative action to abortion. Only justice has the natural ability to resolve the inevitable tension and conflict between liberty and equality that will arise in any type of democracy. Justice must be the controlling principle among these three since it alone has the ability to determine the scope of the other two without sacrificing either. Left unchecked, liberty will run roughshod over equality and vice-versa. Justice, when properly conceived in coordination with "the common good" and "natural rights" must be recognized as the ultimate discriminating virtue in government.

Definitions:

Below are some detailed definitions of several key terms I have outlined above.

Natural Rights
There are several ways to define natural rights. One way is through the observing that natural rights are to be identified by our natural needs. This is to say that human beings possess no natural right that does not correspond to a natural need. Justice and natural rights are inherently linked together because our ability to determine right and wrong in both private and social contexts is based on what is really and objectively good.
A just government must recognize and secure the natural rights of men and women in order that they may be able to make good lives. This is what the Declaration of Independence is speaking of when it mentions our natural right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." No government has the power to grant a good life. The good life entails meeting our natural needs through the possession of real goods, as well as the possession of those goods or wants that we have that do not interfere with our natural needs (or those of others).
All of this is possible, of course, because all human beings possess the same essential nature. If this were not so, society would be impossible. This last point has been famously rejected by many political, biological, sociological and, sadly, even religious thinkers of the past century. Thankfully, not all have fallen into this serious philosophical error.

Liberty
To understand liberty properly (which is synonymous with freedom) we need to under-stand the four kinds of liberty. Circumstantial liberty is the ability and right of self-realization. Moral liberty is the freedom to perfect oneself - that is, to be perfected by means of a virtuous character. Natural liberty is the ability and right we possess for self-determination. The final kind, political liberty, can be considered as a type or aspect of circumstantial freedom - that is, a person possesses political liberty or freedom only when they are living in economic, social, and political conditions that foster it. The essence of this last type of liberty is the ability of an individual or a society to be governed by their consent and to have a voice in that government.

Equality
Like liberty, there are several types of equality. For the purposes of the present discussion, political equality is based on circumstances, but is entitled to all human beings by virtue of being human. In other words, these are conditions that should be experienced by everyone - specifically, the political conditions of status, treatment and opportunity.
The issue of slavery is a good, if not obvious, example to use to explore these conditions. In terms of status, the reason why slavery is wrong is because no person is more or less human than another. This means that every member of society deserves the same general treatment since no one naturally deserves more dignity than anyone else. As for opportunity, every human being naturally deserves the same opportunity afforded to others for the same reason - their shared human nature. If and when these conditions are not distributed equally, it is the duty of a just state to override liberty and do what is necessary to correct the situation (e.g., Brown v. Board of Education). Every person is by nature equal to all other persons and is naturally entitled to an equality of political, social and economic conditions. Our greatest President and statesman, the honorable Abraham Lincoln, recognized this as one of the core principles of democracy, even though it was not evident in American society at the time. This is why he called the ideals in the Declaration of Independence as a promise to the future rather than a statement of fact.

Justice
Aristotle (4th century B.C.) distinguished between two types of justice - universal and particular justice. Particular justice deals with such things as fairness in exchange, the distribution of goods and taking corrective steps to ensure equality (like in the example given in the immediately preceding paragraph). John Rawls, the late Harvard professor, was mistaken when he argued that justice was limited to fairness in how we deal with others. When it comes to universal justice Aristotle asked the question, what is lawful? By which he meant, what is right and good? Understood in this way, justice is recognized as one of the four cardinal virtues (along with courage, temperance and prudence). This idea can be traced back to his teacher Plato who had the insight to observe that justice consisted in virtuous acts toward others. It is universal justice that we speak of when discussing political justice.
Aristotle also recognized that, while all other animals are social to various degrees, only man is a political animal. When seeking to understand the proper relation of justice to the state we must ask whether the principle of justice is prior to the political state (including its constitution, laws, etc.) or if justice is relative to the political state. If it is relative then we are forced to into two positions. First, that justice is completely dependent on the power of state. Second, that justice is the result of the state’s laws rather than the basis of them. This is tantamount to saying that saying that justice is merely political. However, if we say that justice is antecedent to the political state, then we are claiming that political justice is deter-mined by natural justice. Hence, justice is understood as natural and rational rather than conventional. In other words, justice is not man-made. If it were then justice would change with the coming and going of different political regimes. Instead, because justice is natural it is, therefore, universally binding on all people in all places and at all times.
It was this definition of justice that led Lincoln to conclude that the obligations of a just government were to do for its people what they, individually, cannot do for themselves. The preamble of the U. S. Constitution summarizes these obligations well - "establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity."

(1) Admittedly, these terms are not oriented wholly to the individual. They are corporate terms that also possess specific personal and/or individual application.

- David Alan Reed

Pundit Review's Upcoming Schedule

From an email I received from Pundit Review:

This Saturday (10/2) at noon we will have on Dean's World to talk about the latest project for Operation Hope and then we will have Scoott Johnson of PowerLine. The show can be heard live at www.wbix.com and archived at punditreview.com. If you want to call in, the number is 877-711-1060.

We have a great line up, including Don Luskin of Poor and Stupid.com on 10/9.

Mini-Rant

1. Open the top to the coffee pot.
2. Slide the pot under the brewer.
3. Slide the filter basket out of the brewer.
4. Dump the old filter and grounds in the trash.
5. Place a new filter in the basket.
6. Place the basket in the dispenser and pull the handle twice.
7. Slide the basket back in the brewer.
8. Press the "Start" button.

Eight steps. A total of oh, two minutes. How freaking hard is that? And yet, every day, when I come to work, ONE OR BOTH OF THE POTS IS EMPTY!!!!!

I can only assume this is attributable to rudeness or stupidity. Or both.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Uh-Oh, Here We Go Again!

Thanks for the Memory to Rusty at MyPetJawa (Actually, I'd already heard about it, but tracking back to Rusty gets me gobs of traffic!).

US volcano that wreaked havoc 24 years ago rumbles to back life

LOS ANGELES (AFP) Sep 27, 2004
Mount St. Helens, a volcano that devastated swathes of the US northwest when it erupted 24 years ago, has rumbled back to life, raising fears of a fresh explosion, seismologists said Monday.
Experts believe that a sudden and potentially dangerous event could be on the way after a wave of nearly 100 small earthquakes began hitting the area in the states of Washington and Oregon in recent days.

"We have had small swarm of earthquakes that begun last Thursday and are worried that a small explosion may occur without warning," said Peter Frenzen, a scientist from Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.

"The earthquake activity is occurring below the dome -- all this could increase the likelihood of small rock slides from the lava dome," he said, adding that the mountain had not been hit by waves of quakes since 2001.

Trails up the mountain were closed to climbers and hikers after quakes measuring between two and to 2.8 on the Richter Scale shook the area amid fears of mud and rock slides over an eight kilometer (five mile) area around the peak.

The area north of the peak was hard hit in the 1980 eruption of Mount St Helens that left 57 people dead, devastating hundreds of square kilometers (miles) and spewing ash over much of the Pacific Northwest region.

The mountain's top lies around 88 kilometers (55 miles) northeast of the Oregon's main city of Portland, which was also covered in a thick layer of ash in the 1980 eruption.


I remember. Here in the Pacific Northwest, unless you're talking to someone VERY young, all you have to do is say May 18th, and people know what you mean. Before she blew, St. Helens was called "The Fuji of America" because she was so perfectly symmetrical. The initial eruption pulverized a cubic MILE I was living just to the east of Washington in Idaho, and we got a light dusting. My church's camp is in Camas WA, less than 50 miles from MSH, but away from the direction of the blast. The ash there was a couple of inches think. The stuff was incredibly fine and got into EVERYTHING. It was abrasive and destroyed engines and paint jobs. Interestingly enough, if heated hot enough, it makes a beautiful glass that can be blown in artwork. It turned the skies black at noon. It was a weird time, kind of exciting as a kid, especially since I was a bit removed from it, but scary at the same time.

As I told Rusty, Washington's Mt. Rainier and The Three Sisters here in Oregon have both been showing signs of awaking. If The Sisters go, I'll have an incredibly good view, but a fairly safe one. It's the people in Central Oregon who will be screwed. That's cattle country, the cost of evacuating livestock will be phenomenal. We don't put up with tornadoes, or hurricanes (well, not true. Storms on the PNW coast are routinely of Hurricane force, and the Columbus Day Storm was the hardest blow to ever hit the US in terms of wind speed. But there's hardly anyone there to notice it), or as many bizzards as the midwest or earthquakes as California, but when we finally do have a disaster, we do it with flair.

Finally

Oregon won Saturday, 48-10 over Idaho. Yeah, it's "only" Idaho, but they had already lost to "only" Indiana, so it was a relief to see them stay focused. The only thing sad about the game for Ducks fans was the fact that Michael Harrington was the Vandals' QB, and it reminded us just how much we miss his older brother Joey.

Joey lost yesterday, to Philadelphia, but Detroit hung in there and played well, the Eagles are just scary. San Diego lost, that was a bit of a bummer, but the Vikings won, and so did Seattle, demolishing SF 34-0!!!! Who ever expected to hear the words "Seattle" and "Led by their defense" in the same sentence?

Worth the Trip

Pop on over to my friend Ricky V's blog Vices & Virtues and enter the Caption Contest. Even if you don't win, heck, even if you don't enter, it's worth the trip just for the photo.

DeFazio Violates Election Rules

The following press release was issued by the Oregon Republican Party, and forwarded to me by a local GOP activist. I'd appreciate any help I can get from other conservative bloggers, especially on the Left Coast, to get the news out:

DeFazio Campaign Website Violates House Ethics Rules

Eugene, OR—On Friday, Lane County Republican Central Committee Chair Robert
Avery filed a formal complaint with the U.S. House Committee on Standards of
Official Conduct against Democratic Rep. Peter DeFazio.
House Standards Committee rules clearly state that no member’s campaign
website can include links to members’ House sites. However, DeFazio’s
campaign web site contains two links to his House site.
One link reads, “If you’d like to read about my current affairs in Congress,
or to contact my office about an issue, please click on this link:
http//:www.house.gov/defazio/.”
The second states: “Read about my forest thinning legislation:
http://www.house.gov/defazio/073004EGRelease.shtml.”
Bruce Harvie, campaign manager for Republican 4th Congressional District
candidate Jim Feldkamp, said he was surprised to see such a blatant
violation go unnoticed.
“The rules state very clearly that campaign sites and House sites should not
be linked,” Harvie said. “Those links are still on his campaign site right
now, which is in clear breach of official protocol.”
Oddly enough, the Democratic Party of Oregon filed a complaint against
Feldkamp, alleging that trips he made to Washington D.C. for Naval Reserve
drills and to Boston to visit his daughter were in violation of election
rules governing the disclosure of campaign expenditures. Feldkamp, who was
recently endorsed by the Grants Pass Daily Courier, has documents that
verify his presence at those Naval Reserve drills.

“It’s ironic to me that the same people who would choose to file a frivolous
and unfounded complaint against Jim would be so unaware of a legitimate
violation taking place,” Harvie said. “Trips that he paid for out of pocket
are scrutinized, yet official misconduct goes unnoticed. I guess this just
demonstrates the extent that some people are willing to go to in order to
advance a partisan agenda.”
Havie said that a veteran legislator like DeFazio should be aware of such
rules by now.
“Anyone who has spent 18 years in the House should be familiar with the
basic laws set forth by that body,” Harvie said. “Either he’s unaware, or he
chooses to ignore them, and I don’t see either scenario as being very good.”

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Countdown to the Apocalypse

Well, not exactly, but close enough...

Last night, as I was watching my standard guy fare on the History channel, the Feared Redhead called to me from the bedroom where she was surfing for a more chick-friendly program. "Hurry," she said, "Turn it to channel 16. You have to see this!"

Channel 16 is QVC. I complied (because she is called the Feared Redhead for good reason) with great trepidation. And there it was, scheduled for 9 PM PDT:

Countdown to Christmas

On September 24th.

It hurt my head. Then she informed me that the local Ross had Christmas stuff out at the end of August.

I'm just waiting for the plagues of locusts. Yep, any day now.

Friday, September 24, 2004

An Open Letter to the Left-Wing Jerk

Who Peeled the Bush/Cheney Sticker Off of the Back of our Car:

(originally posted 9:19 AM PDT, September 4, 2004 -- Update at bottom)

Thanks a lot, jackass. Thank you for respecting my private property. Thanks for thinking that my opinion doesn't have a right to be expressed on my car. Thank you for showing me what brave and honorable defenders of the First Amendment you Leftist scumbags are. And thanks for reminding me once again why I'm glad I'm a Republican.

I've heard a lot of pissing and moaning lately from the left about how nasty and mean Republicans are. I've heard all the chatter about Bush=Hitler and how our freedoms are being trampled on by the Right and how I'm a digital Brownshirt. I've heard Democrats say that it's time they stopped playing nice and fair and started slinging mud the way they claim Republicans do.

What utter rot. What kind of deep woods hermit do you think I'd have to be not to have noticed the five years of effort trying to make all sorts of mud stick to President Bush? What ROCK have you been hiding on not to have observed the books and bumper stickers and protesters' signs calling conservatives and our leaders nazis, and villains, and all sorts of evil, vile names, calling for the assassination of the POTUS, gleefully celebrating the deaths of American troops because it will damage the President politically? How naive do you think I am, to expect me not to pay attention to the antics of movie producers making hate and lie-filled movies, "comediennes" standing on stage and making snide, obscene comments about the president, or 527's like MoveOn, the Media Fund, and all of Soros' other little whores/handmaidens? This little bumper sticker was NOTHING compared to the crap you've been flinging in your monkey pens for years. But this was personal.

So go ahead, peel off my bumper sticker. I'll just get another.

Go ahead, peel off my bumper sticker. It just strengthens my resolve to campaign for the President.

Go ahead, peel off my bumper sticker. You can't so easily deny me my VOTE. Although I'm sure you wish you could.

Added Note: Based on some feedback from commenters, I feel it prudent to explain why a mere bumper sticker should set me off so. Setting aside for a moment the affront to my personal property, please understand that this was the last straw in a series of incidents of harassment prompted by my display of support for the president. I live in Eugene/Springfield, Oregon, a community with a large population of individuals whose politics make most liberal Democrats seem like Zell Miller by comparison -- Greens, anarchists, Supporters of the likes of Nader, Kucinch, Mumia, etc. Suffice it to say, my conservatism is not often well-received. I've been called a "F@&#ing Republican Commie", my visibly pregnant wife has been cursed at by three different people in as many minutes as she has parked our car, and then this. So while a Bumper Sticker may seem like a small matter, it was one of many small matters that added up. This was my catharsis. 10/01/04

UPDATE 09/24/04:
Thanks for the Memory to Russ at TacJammer.

I know it's not the same person, Vancouver WA's 2 hours north of here. But the following story recounted to Larry Elder by one of his listeners from Vancouver certainly makes me feel a little better:

Dear Larry,

Last Thursday I put out one of my Bush/Cheney signs in my front yard. Between midnight and 3:00 a.m. someone stole it. On Friday night I put out sign No. 2. Since I didn't have to get up early, I thought my dog and I would "stake out" our sign. This time I put the sign a little closer to the gate leading to my backyard. With my dog on an extra long leash, I planted myself on a lawn chair and read "Unfit for Command" by flashlight until about 1:00 a.m. Here comes the fun part . . . I noticed that the car coming down the street was slowing down and pulling over to the curb right next to my yard. Sure enough, he gets out of his car and heads right for my sign. Just as he was about to uproot and desecrate it, I opened my gate and let my dog make the initial introduction! As he ran to hide behind the rear end of his car, I promptly moved to the driver-side door, which was still open. It was a fairly nice car with power everything and still running. While my dog continued to "introduce" herself, I rolled up the window and hit the power door lock button. With that, I slammed the door, grabbed my Bush sign and headed into the back yard.

And now for the "rest of the story." About 40 minutes later, I heard a knock at the door. I opened the door to one of our city's finest . . . the Vancouver Police Department. The officer asked me what was going on and when I told him, he could not stop laughing! I followed him out to the perp's car and stood there while he asked the guy a few more questions. Upon learning that the guy lived a couple of streets down, I -- knowing what was about to happen -- asked him, "Why do you have Oregon plates on your car if you live just down the street (here in Vancouver, Wash.)?" Larry, Oregon has no sales tax, so often Washington residents will buy and register cars in Oregon to avoid paying sales tax . . . it's a crime and the fine is pretty stiff. Here comes the best part. . . . The look on this guy's face told me he knew he was about to get busted. When the officer asked for his license and registration, the "Democrat" mumbled that (his license) was suspended. Just for kicks and giggles I asked the officer if he smelled any alcohol coming from the guy! The officer looked at me, smiled and promptly gave him a field breathalyzer test. Guess what? You got it, he blew a .10, legally drunk in the state of Washington.

DUI, illegal registration and the brand of "MORON," all 'cause he hates Bush!

Sincerely,

John


Cost of Bush signs: $5.95 each
Cost of Flashlight batteries: $3.95/Pack
Seeing a Leftwing Numbskull carted off to the hoosegow: Priceless.

Oh, He's a Democrat, and He's OK...

He flips all night,
and flops all day....


Thanks for the Memory to a Large Regular.

A bit of a Pythonesque jab at the Kerry/Edwards campaign:

Dead Parrot Redux

John Edwards enters Terry McAuliffe's office with John Kerry in tow.

Edwards: Hello, I wish to register a complaint.

(McAuliffe does not respond.)

Edwards: Hello, Miss?
McAuliffe: What do you mean "miss"?
Edwards: I'm sorry, I have a cold. I wish to make a complaint!
McAuliffe: We're closin' for lunch.
Edwards: Never mind that. I wish to complain about this candidate that I got teamed with not two months ago from this very office.
McAuliffe: Oh yes, the, uh, the Boston Blueblood Vietnam Veteran Protester ...What's,uh...What's wrong with him?
Edwards: I'll tell you what's wrong with him. He's politically dead, that's what's wrong with him!
McAuliffe: No, no, he's uh,...he's resting.
Edwards: Look, I know a politically dead candidate when I see one, and I'm looking at one right now.
McAuliffe: No no he's not politically dead, he's, he's restin'! Remarkable candidate, the Boston Blueblood Vietnam Veteran Protester. Beautiful to watch when he's wind-surfing!
Edwards: The wind-surfing don't enter into it. He's stone politically dead. And I know stone politically dead because I campaigned against Kucinich.
McAuliffe: No no no no, no, no! He's just resting!
Edwards: All right then, if he's just resting, I'll wake him up! (shouting at Kerry) Hello, Mister War Hero! I've got a lovely story of Halliburton making billions.
McAuliffe: There, he moved!
Edwards: No, he didn't.
McAuliffe: Yes he did!
Edwards: (yelling and hitting Kerry on the arm repeatedly) HELLO JOHNNY!!!!!Testing! Testing! Testing! Testing! Jane Fonda's on the phone. Alec Baldwin wants to speak with you. This is your nine o'clock wake-up call!

(Takes Unfit for Duty off McAuliffe's desk and hits Kerry on the head with it.)

Edwards: Now that's what I call a politically dead candidate.
McAuliffe: No, no.....No, he's just stunned!
Edwards: STUNNED?!?
McAuliffe: Yeah! The Swift Boat ads stunned him, just as he was getting his momentum after the DNC! Boston Blueblood Vietnam Veteran Protesters stun easily, John.
Edwards: Um...now look...now look, Terry, I've definitely had enough of this. This ticket is definitely deceased, and when I signed on not two months ago, you assured me that his total lack of charisma was due to him being tired and wiped out following a prolonged primary season.
McAuliffe: Well, he's...he's, ah...probably pining for the fjords.
Edwards: PININ' for the FJORDS?!?!?!? What kind of talk is that?, Look, why did he fall flat on his back the moment the DNC was over?
McAuliffe: The Boston Blueblood Vietnam Veteran Protester prefers campaigning on it's back! Remarkable candidate - isn't he? He's a great skateboarder!
Edwards: Look, I took the liberty of examining the poll numbers when I got home from the DNC,and I discovered the only reason that he had been sitting on his top of the ticket perch in the first place was that he had been NAILED there by the New York Times and by you.

(pause)

McAuliffe: Of course he was put up at the top of the ticket! If I hadn't nailed him up at the top of the ticket, then "VOOM" his wife and George Soros would have withdrawn all their money from this campaign!
Edwards: "VOOM"?!? Terry, this guy wouldn't "voom" if you put four million volts through him! Face it - the ticket is friggin' demised!
McAuliffe: No no! He's just pining!
Edwards: He's not pining! He's history! This ticket is no more! We have ceased to be! He's making Mondale look good! He's a stiff! Bereft of honesty! He makes people yearn for Dukakis!! THIS IS AN EX-CANDIDATE!!

(pause)

McAuliffe: Well, I'd better replace it, then (he takes a quick peek in a folder on his desk).
McAuliffe: Sorry John, I've had a look around and uh, we're right out of candidates.
Edwards: I see. I see, I get the picture.
McAuliffe: I got a Tom Harkin.

(pause)

Edwards: (sweet as sugar) Pray, does he have a combat history?
McAuliffe: Nnnnot really.
Edwards: WELL HE'S HARDLY A FRIGGIN' REPLACEMENT, IS HE?!!???!!?
McAuliffe: Look, if you wait four years - maybe I can hook you up with Hillary.
Edwards: Hillary, eh? Very well.

Radio Blog-ah

I received the following email, and think this is a cool idea:

Who: Pundit Review Radio

What: A show featuring the work of the most interesting, influential
bloggers and the impact they are having on the mainstream media

When: Saturday's between Noon and 1pm on Boston's business news station,
WBIX AM1060.

Where: The show is streamed live at www.wbix.com and will be archived
on www.punditreview.com. The show will also be made available to all
bloggers.

Why: We hope to interview our favorites each week and get their fresh
perspective on the news of the moment.

Scheduled Guests Include:
September 25: Matt Margolis, Blogs for Bush

October 2: Scott Johnson, Powerline Blog

October 9: Donald Luskin, Poor and Stupid

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Sam Adams Would Approve

Thanks for the Memory to Michelle Malkin.

According to Stars and Stripes, a group of GI's stationed in Iraq has come up with a great way to boost morale: a way for people to buy soldiers beer online.

I can't think of anyone who deserves a frosty one more than the men and women serving our country. GO TO BEER FOR SOLDIERS AND GIVE!

Kerry: For the Red Sox Before He Was Against Them?

Thanks for the Memory to Blogs for Bush.

Apparently, for Kerry, flip-flopping is not limited to political affairs. The Junior Senator from Massachusetts, a regular attendee of Boston Red Sox games, has now declared his loyalty to the New York Yankees, hated arch foes of the Bosox:

At the fundraiser, Kerry reflected on his reborn self. He praised the triple victories of the Jets, Giants and Yankees and said: "I came here to bask in your glory, came here to grab onto that winning streak."

That's gotta sting, eh Mass.? Especially since two of the wins in that streak have come against the Sox.

Kerry: Building Consensus By Alienating ALL of Our Friends

Thanks for the Memory to Blogs for Bush.

One of the chief claims that the Kerry campaign has made regarding the war on Iraq and the reason Kerry is a better choice for president is that President Bush has alienated the world community by his actions, and that John Kerry will be able to heal these rifts.

Well, he didn't get off to a good start today.

For that matter, he hasn't done such an impressive job even before hand. The dismissive, scornful tone he takes when referring to the coalition is not bound to sit well with nations like Poland, Australia, and Great Britain who are already on our side. Furthermore, the nations most frequently discussed when people bring up these issues aren't exactly helping him any: France is the target of terrorist attacks despite their anti-US stand on the war, and has stated that they will not send troops there regardless of who wins the election. And as a result of the School Massacre, the Russians are now taking an even harder-line stance than Bush, let alone that of Kerry.

But now Kerry has decided to ice that cake and insult the Iraqis as well.

Iyad Illawi, interim Iraqi Prime Minister, addressed a joint session of Congress today, and thanked the United States, saying in part, "We know Americans have made enormous sacrifices.... We promise you your sacrifices are not in vain."

Well, apparently, that's not good enough for John Kerry:

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry said Thursday that Iraq's Ayad Allawi was sent before Congress to put the "best face" on Bush administration policy.

Nice, Senator. You've just told Allawi he's nothing but a mouthpiece for the administration. I know that's a popular view on the left, but how do you thing that sits with Iraq?

Bush "missed a huge opportunity" at the United Nations this week to try to persuade leaders of other nations to join the United States in Iraq and the broader anti-terror war, Kerry said.

How will you do that, senator? By belittling our allies? By kowtowing to countries who had a vested interest in seeing the US fail? By giving the terrorists a timetable so they know exactly how long they have to lay low before Iraq will be left high and dry? By returning to the ways of the administration prior to this one, and reassuring the forces of evil that the US is a blowhard full of empty threats and swagger, without the will to back up our threats with actions?

No thank you.

The Bush campaign's response echos my own:

"Today, John Kerry showed he lacks the judgment and credibility to lead the United States of America to victory in the War on Terror.

"His attacks on the veracity of the Iraqi Prime Minister's historic address to Congress reveal a stunning propensity to take political cheap shots for his own benefit by denigrating our allies in this important struggle against a global terror network. President Bush is proud to stand with Prime Minister Allawi while John Kerry attacks progress and resolve and advocates a policy of retreat and defeat in the face of terror.

"John Kerry said today, 'And when you people judge me and the American people judge me on this, I want you to judge me on the full record.' We're confident the American people will."


Oh, we will, Marc. And I for one will find Senator Kerry wanting.

Hello Minnesota!

I was just monitoring Traffic to my blog and discovered a reader accessing it from the server of the Minnesota Republican Party.

What a happy coincidence. The Feared Redhead (my wife) is a native of Minnesota, and grew up in the Twin Cities suburb of Plymouth. We were married near Lake Minnetonka, and I think you have the second prettiest state in the Union (I'm biased).

So welcome to Oregon, enjoy, I hope you like what you see. Keep fighting the good fight, it's good to be in a state that's in play again, isn't it?

Offender of the Faith

UPDATE:
Via the Seattle Times

Evangelist Swaggart apologizes for remark about gays.

Original Post, 1:27 PM PDT, 21 September, 2004:Thanks for the Memory to the Twisted Spinster.

Apparently Eugene Volokh over at the Volokh Conspiracy is upset by a comment made by Jimmy Swaggart:

I'm trying to find the correct name for it . . . this utter absolute, asinine, idiotic stupidity of men marrying men. . . . I've never seen a man in my life I wanted to marry. And I'm gonna be blunt and plain; if one ever looks at me like that, I'm gonna kill him and tell God he died.

Oh, apparently, Andrew Sullivan weighs in on this too. There's a surprise.

First of all, let me say I'm not a regular visitor to Volokh's blog. I know it's popular, and from what I see, well-written, but it's not on my list of frequents. Nothing against it, I just thought it fair warning.

Apparently what upset Volokh most was not the comment itself, but the lack of outrage from the Christian Community:

But it seems to me that decent Christians ought to condemn this defender of murder, who publicly says that he'd violate the Ten Commandments when someone "looks at [him]" the wrong way, while purporting to preach God's word and lead Christian congregations. Tell us, at least, that this supposed Christian — who was once one of the nation's leading evangelists, until he was tripped up by another of the Commandments — doesn't speak for you.

Trust me, Eugene, he doesn't speak for me -- about a great many things. I'm not at ALL a member of Jimmy Swaggart's regular audience -- nor for that matter, a WILLING member of his audience PERIOD. Setting aside the above quote, the man espouses a doctrine (the Word Faith Movement) I find abhorrent. I believe that most Christians who follow it are merely deceived, and doctrinally in error, but I am also firm in my belief that most pastors teaching it, especially leaders like Swaggart, are espousing Heresy. About that I will not equivocate. For this reason I would discourage ANY Christian from paying heed to ANYTHING being preached by Swaggart.

And that's the reason THIS Christian has not yet denounced Swaggart's comment -- because I do my best to completely avoid or ignore him, I had no idea Swaggart had said something like this. If I had, I would have denounced it, as I do now. I wonder how many other Christians, and even pastors, are in the same boat. While Swaggart is still popular in some circles, I doubt he's as influential as he once was, or as Volokh believes him to be.

Having said that, I do denounce this statement. It is not at all in keeping with Christian Doctrine to speak of killing someone because they look at you with unwanted sexual intent -- nor, for that matter, for sinning at all. That's the Law, we live under Grace. As for the part about "telling God he died", theologically, that's just... What's the word? Oh, yeah -- stupid.

I do hope that any Christian leader who hears of this will vocally step to the plate and agree.

But there was something else about the Volokh blog entry that bothered me. In an update to the post, he linked to a response from another blogger, Sweeny A. of Ipsa Loquitur, who writes in part:

Eugene is certainly right that ethical people should condemn [Swaggart's] words, but one wonder's [sic] about Eugene's implication that this moral stain is automatically conferred to other Christians until they renounce it. One might say that for a Christian who has heard this comment to consciously refuse to renounce it is a tacit endorsement. That may be true, but the very terms in which Volokh has couched the ultimatum is unfair.

Since advocating murder because a gay man looks at you wrong is an obvious violation of the Christian ethic, why should Christians, qua Christians, feel obligated to renounce the remarks any more than people who share the last name of Swaggart?


Volokh has a lengthy response, but this is the part of it that caught my attention:

Christianity is a belief system — not just an involuntary status such as race or ethnicity, but a consciously chosen belief system that is based on certain writings and certain traditions. Historically, Christians have often stressed the importance of those writings, which supposedly provide something of an objective standard of behavior, and of a Christian community, which helps enforce this behavioral standard. In recent decades, many Christians have also tried to downplay denominational differences (say, between Protestants and Catholics), and to stress the common purpose of those who follow Jesus's [sic] teachings.

When someone who is a Christian minister, and still something of a Christian leader, makes a claim about what Christian scriptures mean, it seems to me that those Christians who condemn his views — and condemn them as deeply evil, rather than just subtly or slightly wrong — do have a responsibility to speak out.


and later,

I'm not asking for anything much — I'm simply saying that Christians should be outraged at Swaggart's essentially slandering their religion, and should denounce his views, to make clear that his views (though purportedly Christian) are not mainstream Christian views.

If I interpret Volokh's point correctly, he believes we Christians should not only condemn Swaggart's statement as morally reprehensible, but as doctrinally unorthodox. When he says "Historically, Christians have often stressed the importance of those writings, which supposedly provide something of an objective standard of behavior," that's as close as he's ever going to come to what we say when we acknowledge the inspiration and authority of scripture. In other words, we should reassure him that Swaggart doesn't speak for us because "That's not what our Scriptures teach."

Well, fine, Eugene. If you'll go back to my response to Swaggart's statement, that's exactly what I did. I stated my denouncing of the statement out of adherence to sound doctrine.

And here's the irony. That same adherence to sound doctrine requires that I take stances on many issues that I'm sure Volokh and Sullivan would both find... Distasteful, at best. That includes believing that adherence to certain tenets of the faith is requisite for being acknowledged as a Christian, believing that orthodox Christianity is the exclusive means by which an individual can know and have fellowship with God, and, yes, believing that homosexual behavior is in opposition to the commands of God.

Yet when I make such statements, rest assured that a great many people, both theologically liberal Christians and Non-Christians alike, will denounce me as being too closed-minded, too narrow, too devoted to an ancient book.

I'm sorry, you can't have it both ways. If you want Christians to speak out against Swaggart, and specifically want us to do so based on his violation of some standard of orthodoxy based on our Scriptures, then you are giving us your assent that we are correct in acknowledging the authority of those scriptures in establishing ALL standards of orthodoxy.

RECALL OF KRYPTONITE BIKE LOCKS

Thanks for the Memory to KVAL TV the Feared Redhead.

I hate to link to a CBS affiliate news station, but that's who's covering the story in this area, and being a bicycle rider, this one's important to me -- especially since I own one of said Kryptonite locks.

Bike Lock Recall

By Dana Rebik

Eugene -
Bike theft is becoming more and more of a problem in Eugene and around the country.

The company Kryptonite is now recalling its cylinder lock after finding people can break into it easily with a Bic pen.

Today we visited the owners of Riley and Paul's Bike Shop in Eugene. They demonstrated how to pick the lock and had it open within a matter of seconds.

Students are arriving back and the University of Oregon and many were surprised to hear their locks can be picked so easily.

"It's news to me," says Theron Wells. "I thought my bike was safe. I've had this Kryptonite lock for years and it served me well. I'm surprised all it takes is a Bic pen to unlock it."

Some say it's best to put two locks on your bike to deter thieves. Better locks can help, but some think bike theft could decrease if police are more aggressive in responding.

"Bike theft needs to be taken seriously and there also has to be a law enforcement effort to suppress this activity," says Paul Robertson.

Eugene police say September and October are the peak months for bike theft.

For information on how to return your Kryptonite lock, click on the link below or send an email to: kryptonite@irco.com

The "Blair" Which Would You "Rather" Believe Project

Thanks for the Memory to Rathergate via No Left Turns.

Now blogs are scooping the MSM with interviews.

Mark Hemingway of Rathergate.com has obtained an exclusive interview with Jayson Blair (yes, THAT Jayson Blair) regarding his thoughts on the Dan Rather memo controversy. He has a very unique and relevant perspective, and his contrition over his own offenses is in refreshing contrast to Rather's bluster. I would highly recommend you read it.

Nicea on the Hudson

Thanks for the Memory to reader 51st State for this from the Ashbrook Center.

The Liberals’ Creed
by Robert Alt

We believe in the United Nations, and Kofi Annan, the maker of international legitimacy.

We believe that the UN inspections worked.
We believe that SCUD missiles fired at U.S. troops minutes after the war began don’t change anything;
We believe that 3 liters of sarin gas used against U.S. troops doesn’t change anything;
We believe that finding evidence of mustard gas doesn’t change anything.

We believe that the war in Iraq conducted by a Republican president was unjustified because it lacked UN approval;
We believe that the "military action" in Kosovo conducted by a Democratic president was justified without UN approval.

We believe that the Iraq war was unilateral.
We believe that the participation of Albania, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Estonia, Georgia, Honduras, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom, and Ukraine does not change the fact that the war was unilateral;
We believe that multilateralism can only be achieved with the participation of France and Germany;
We believe in multilateralism.

We believe that this war was motivated by greed and oil;
We believe that when France, Germany, and Russia opposed the war, they were motivated by principle, and not by sweetheart oil deals or Oil-For-Food kickbacks;
We believe that US oil prices are too high, and that the administration failed in its responsibility to do something about it.

We believe that the U.S. may only legitimately use force for humanitarian ends in one place if it does so in all places where aid might be needed;
We believe that the U.S. may not quell threats in places where the cost is relatively low unless it is willing to use force in places like North Korea, where the cost in lives would likely be very high;
We believe that a humanitarian action is only truly humanitarian if there are no strategic interests to muddle the altruism.

We believe that President Bush lied.
We believe that Prime Minister Blair lied.
We believe that when Hillary Clinton and Dick Gephardt voted for the war based on the same intelligence relied upon by Bush and Blair, they made reasonable decisions based on the intelligence available at the time.

We believe that the administration did not make the case for war;
We believe that the administration offered many different reasons but could not offer a coherent message explaining the need to go to war;
We believe that the administration made perfectly clear that the only reason we were going to war was because of the threat from WMDs.

We believe that there were no WMDs.
We believe that finding sarin gas is 14th page news;
We believe that if the sarin gas is old, then it really isn’t a WMD we were looking for;
We believe that it wasn’t really sarin gas;
We believe that sarin gas isn’t necessarily a WMD.

We believe that there was no terrorist connection to, or threat from, Iraq.
We believe that members of Abu Nidal in Iraq would not have committed terrorist acts if we had not invaded;
We believe that al Qaeda operative Abu Musab al-Zarqawi would not have committed terrorist acts if we had not invaded;
We believe that Saddam’s terrorist training camp at Salman Pak—complete with a Boeing 707 plane used for hijacking drills—did not exist or posed no real threat;
We believe that it was merely a coincidence that the pharmaceutical factory bombed by President Clinton in Sudan was using al Qaeda funds and a uniquely Iraqi formula to produce VX gas;
We believe that we are responsible for bringing terror on ourselves.

We believe that the prisoner abuse in Abu Ghraib is widespread and is probably the tip of the iceberg;
We believe that Abu Ghraib proves that the America’s occupation is no different than Saddam’s tyranny;
We believe that any attempt to suggest that there is a moral difference between a regime which systematically killed 300,000 people and tortured countless others and a regime which punished the acts of Abu Ghraib is illegitimate.

We believe that soldiers deliberately target women and children;
We believe that the soldiers abuse and kill Iraqis because they are racists;
We support our troops.

We believe that no one should question our statement that we "support our troops;"
We believe that the best thing that could happen for this country would be for Bush to lose in November;
We believe that the best way for Bush to lose in November is for the Iraq effort to go poorly, even if that means that more Iraqis and troops will die;
We believe that most of the troops are minorities and the poor;
We believe that when the word "heroes" is used to describe our troops, it should always be enclosed in scare quotes.

We believe in quagmire.
We believe that when fringe Iraqi groups attack hard targets and are soundly defeated with relatively low Coalition casualties, that this is inescapable evidence of crisis;
We believe that Iraq is Bush’s Vietnam.

We believe that Vietnam is the lens through which all wars should be viewed.
We believe that soldiers in Vietnam were baby killers;
We believe that John Kerry is a hero for his service in Vietnam.

We believe that because John Kerry is a hero, he necessarily has the national security expertise necessary to be commander-in-chief.
We believe that any attempt to question his national security expertise based on his voting record, including his decision to vote against a supplemental bill used to buy the soldiers body armor, is an unfair attack on the patriotism of a hero, who by virtue of this honorific has the expertise to be commander-in-chief.

We believe in the trinity: NPR, CNN, and the New York Times. We believe in Ted Kennedy, Tom Harkin, John Kerry, and all the DNC, and we look for President Clinton yet to come. Amen.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Blue Collar Academia

Thanks for the Memory to Dr. Bauman at In Extremis.

With Sincere Apologies to Jeff Foxworthy: You Might be a Liberal If . . .
By: Dr. Michael Bauman

Even though some liberal politicians don’t like using the "L" word, it’s still possible to know who’s a liberal and who is not.

You might be a liberal if . . .

You think that consenting adults can engage freely in every activity except capitalism.

You think the really alarming violence takes place outside the abortion clinic.

You’ve ever referred to the “root cause” of something.

You pray to “The Woman Upstairs.”

You think we never gave peace a chance.

You had to be told that “Manhattan,” “menopause” and “boycott” were not sexist words

You begin sentences with the words “I feel.”

Your driver’s license has a hyphen because, for you, one last name just isn’t enough.

You think OJ is out looking for the real killers.

You don’t know that you see B.S. when you watch CBS.

You think Fox News is faux news.

You get your economic theory from John Mellencamp and your foreign policy from Sean Penn.

You think it takes a village.

You think higher education is about diversity, not excellence.

You think that the words “to promote the general welfare” in the Constitution mean to promote welfare generally.

You think that conservatives, like preservatives, ought to be federally regulated.

You ever wore earth shoes.

You have ever wondered out loud, “Why can’t we all just get along?”

You think the New York Times prints all the news that’s fit.

You think that Bill O'Reilly is just an entertainer.

You spent Columbus Day reading Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.

You reach the limits of your talent and then complain that you ran into a glass ceiling.

You wear more ribbons on your lapel than in your hair.

You think that the really dangerous McCarthy was Joe, not Eugene.

You blame the Unabomber’s parents.

You fail to see the connection between Lenin and Lennon.

You have ever agreed with Alec Baldwin.

Seriously, if you haven't been to In Extremis, GO NOW!!!!! Bauman and Oren are two of the most underrated bloggers I've read!

Separated at Birth?

I Report:





You Decide.

When They Call it "Last Comic Standing," I Don't Think They Mean the Host

I watched "Last Comic Standing" last night, and only have one piece of advice for host Jay Mohr:

Dude, your guest stars were Carrot Top and Louie Anderson.

That's "Dial Down the Center" Carrot Top and Louie "Just When You Thought Family Feud Couldn't Get More Pathetic" Anderson!

FIRE

YOUR

AGENT

!!!!!


You're this close to Hollywood Squares status!

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Gore Campaign: More Journalistic Integrity Than CBS?

Thanks for the Memory to Drudge.

Gore campaign rejected allegations similar to CBS report, former campaign chief says

- MATT KELLEY, Associated Press Writer
Tuesday, September 21, 2004


(09-21) 15:54 PDT WASHINGTON (AP) --

Former Vice President Al Gore's presidential campaign heard but did not pursue allegations about George W. Bush's Air National Guard service, similar to the information in discredited documents aired by CBS News this month, a former campaign official said Tuesday.

Tony Coelho, who ran the campaign for several months in 2000, said he did not follow up on the claims because they were not serious enough to demand further attention.

"Of everyone I talked to, no one had anything that rose to the level that we should get ourselves into," Coelho said.

CBS and anchor Dan Rather apologized Monday for a "60 Minutes" segment that quoted documents purported to be from one of Bush's commanders in the Texas Air National Guard. The documents say the commander, Lt. Col. Jerry Killian, ordered Bush to take a medical exam, which he did not, and felt pressured to sugarcoat an evaluation of then-1st Lt. Bush.

Rather said the network could not determine if the memos were authentic.

White House officials and other Republicans suggested that Democrat John Kerry's presidential campaign was behind the CBS report. Kerry campaign officials denied that.

Kerry adviser Joe Lockhart said he spoke with Bill Burkett, who gave CBS the documents, after a network producer suggested it. Lockhart and Burkett said they only discussed how Kerry could respond to a group of Republican veterans who accuse Kerry of exaggerating his Vietnam War record.

Coelho said he remembered taking phone calls in 2000 from several Texans with allegations about Bush's Guard service. He said he did not remember if any were from Burkett, a former Texas Army National Guard officer and longtime Bush critic.

"I never felt there was anything substantive for us to try to deal with or not, so we never pursued it," Coelho said. "We never had any documents given to us. That would have been something different. We would have had to check it out."


I'm not sure I completely believe Coelho -- there's a lot of "CYA" going on in leftist circles these days.

If he's lying (plausible), it's one more example of rats abandoning a sinking swift boat. If he's telling the truth, it speaks volumes that CBS was eager to jump on a story that even the avowed nemesis of the story's target wouldn't touch.

The Enemy of His Enemy is His... Enemy?

Thanks for the Memory to Drudge.

One of the criticisms of President Bush leveled by the Left is that he's "a Divider, not a Uniter." They are, of course, referring to the current polarization of the electorate, both to the left and the right.

Given that criticism, and the fact that he represents the left, don't you think Kerry should refrain from Dividing the Left Itself?

Nader Blames Kerry for Ballot Access Fight

By Sue Pleming

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader accused his Democratic rival Sen. John Kerry on Tuesday of being responsible for a campaign to try and keep him off the Nov. 2 ballot.

Seen by many Democrats as the "spoiler" in the 2000 election that elected Republican George W. Bush as president, Nader's campaign said it was fighting 21 legal cases in 17 states in a bid to get the consumer advocate on the ballot.

Nader pointed the finger at Kerry and Democratic Party Chairman Terry McAuliffe for being behind what his campaign says is a program of harassment, intimidation and phony lawsuits that are costing tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees.

"The ballot access has drained our time and our resources," Nader told a news conference. "I have to hold Sen. John Kerry and Terry McAuliffe directly responsible."

The Kerry campaign did not immediately return phone calls asking for a response.

Nader's campaign played a tape they said was testimony by the head of the Democratic Party in Maine who is heard saying that the Democratic National Committee is paying for her time and expenses related to trying to keep Nader off the ballot.

The Nader campaign said that kind of coordination appeared to be illegal and should be investigated by the Federal Elections Commission.

His campaign said Nader was on the ballot in 29 states.

Nader called the Democrats "gutless, spineless, clueless and hapless" and said their gamble that people would vote for anyone but Bush was misguided and would make them lose the election.

Democrats around the United States have been challenging Nader's presence on the ballot, fearing he will again boost Bush's re-election chances by drawing votes that would otherwise go to Kerry.

Polls indicate the 2004 election may be as close as the one in 2000 when the Supreme Court ruled on the Florida recount to hand Bush victory over Democrat Al Gore.

Last week, Florida's Supreme Court ordered Nader could be allowed to compete in the state and a judge also ordered that he be included on the ballot in Colorado.

Judges in New Mexico and Arkansas have denied Nader access to the Nov. 2 ballot, but he did win a spot on the ballot in Maryland.,


And in Oregon, I think she meant to say. I've blogged on the whole Nader issue before, specifically because of his influence here in Oregon.

The irony here is delicious. As I've stated, being the Not-Bush has been such a huge part of Kerry's appeal to the left. Yet in the way he's dealt with Nader, he is alienating the extreme left -- the one group of people who most often take up the "Anybody but Bush" battlecry.