Archive for August, 2004

August 31, 2004

WATCHING THE AFTERTALK, I think that Jeff Greenfield has it right — Arnold’s speech evoked optimism, and enthusiasm for America and for the common man, in a way that — once — was associated with liberalism but that has now become a hallmark of the Republicans.

UPDATE: Schwarzenegger transcript, here.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Roger Simon didn’t like any of it, even Arnold, but he reports that Pat Buchanan, who was standing next to him, really didn’t like Arnold.

Roger’s commenters seem to feel differently, though. My sense is that the Democratic convention speeches played better in the hall than on TV, and that these speeches are playing better on TV than in the hall.

August 31, 2004

LAURA BUSH: Competent, but no Arnold. Stem cell research must be polling strongly.

UPDATE: ABC’s insta-analysis says she played well with women. Well, I’m not a woman.

ANOTHER UPDATE: But Halley Suitt is, and she loved Laura’s speech:

I thought Laura Bush was excellent tonight. She delivered a great speech, hitting just the right note, with her remarkable dignity and integrity which gives her an awesome quiet power.

I suspect she touched a nerve in many people, but especially in mothers. She dared to say our children will be safe again and her husband will make that happen.

If it had this much impact on Halley, of all deeply-Bush-disliking people, then it obviously delivered a punch that those of us with Y chromosomes can’t fully appreciate.

August 31, 2004

JENNA AND BARBARA: Arnold’s a tough guy to follow. But they didn’t follow him very well. Okay, the hamster joke wasn’t bad.

UPDATE: Well, if this was the plan, I guess it worked.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Brian Noggle: “They didn’t do too well, but they’re just 22. What was I doing at 22? Stocking the dairy section at a grocery store. However, I was doing open mikes, so I would have had better timing.”

But Ann Althouse liked them: “They are fun and self-effacing.” Maroonblog agrees: “Not so bad.”

Then there’s this mixed review: “It felt like bad MTV VMA filler, but I totally want to ask them both out.” On the other hand, some female viewers were less impressed: “George P. Bush does have a beautiful smile. The word “yum” does come to mind. The twins didn’t impress me much – tried to be too cute, and it didn’t fly.” Hmm. The Bush clan — something for everyone!

Er, except for James Lileks. But Gerard van der Leun gets the last word: “Not every moment can be a perfect gem, folks.”

August 31, 2004

GREAT ARNOLD LINE: “I was a little boy — I was not an action hero yet.”

UPDATE: Here’s a recent immigrant who likes Arnold’s speech. “I didn’t think anyone could match Rudy’s performance last night, but Arnold is doing it.”

I thought it was excellent, too.

August 31, 2004

POWERLINE IS ON A ROLL: Now with a photo of the Al Franken shoving match!

August 31, 2004

THE KERRY CAMPAIGN MUST BE HOPING that the Republican Convention will distract people from things like this. And this. It might.

UPDATE: Douglas Brinkley probably has similar hopes.

August 31, 2004

STEPHEN BAINBRIDGE has thoughts on Bush’s “ownership society.”

August 31, 2004

LEWIS LAPHAM WAS LOST IN TIME: Jeff Goldstein reports that Salon is Lost in Space.

I like Lost in Space!

UPDATE: Ed Morrissey has more extensive thoughts on the Salon piece.

August 31, 2004

ACE OF SPADES OFFERS sitemeter advice for bloggers.

August 31, 2004

ANN ALTHOUSE, who is on a roll, is liveblogging the Republican convention. “My TiVo has caught up with the live feed and I can’t fast forward. Aaaah!”

UPDATE: Don’t miss these late-breaking comments from Virginia Postrel. And Ambra offers a scathing review.

ANOTHER UPDATE: More here from Ed Morrissey.

August 31, 2004

JOHN THUNE HAS CLOSED THE GAP with Tom Daschle.

August 31, 2004

GENERAL TOMMY FRANKS ENDORSES GEORGE W. BUSH: Powerline has posted an exclusive video interview. Excerpt: “I know what John Kerry’s against, but I’m having a little trouble figuring out what he’s for.” Franks also responds to criticism that Bush lacked a plan to “win the peace.”

UPDATE: Transcript here — covering more than just what’s in the video.

ANOTHER UPDATE: And here’s audio. And there’s more here, from Tom Bevan at RealClearPolitics.

August 31, 2004

TURMOIL IN THE KERRY CAMPAIGN: Mickey Kaus is asking the right questions.

Kerry campaign spin: “The new additions strengthen an already impressive campaign team!”

The guy they need is Joe Trippi. Er, well, really he’s the guy they needed a month ago. . . .

UPDATE: Tom Bevan has a Kerry turmoil roundup.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Contrary to the Kerry press release, Mel Levine isn’t new. His appointment was announced two weeks ago.

MORE: Reader Heidi Gunther emails:

Kerry is having Serious problems, almost deadly. The media is giving him an extra minute in the neutral corner to catch his breath because they have so much invested in him. The news guys want him to win so badly that they will sacrifice their reputations to get what they want.

Watch for mass retirements in the media when Bush wins.

Hmm. Interesting. Read this, too. And there’s this, from N.Z. Bear:

Let’s be serious: can anyone actually imagine Kerry, or his senior advisors, suddenly interrupting a staff meeting to declare: “We’re screwed! Get Joe Lockhart on the horn — he’s the only one who can save our asses!” . . .

The even worse news for Kerry is that despite the exceptional job his campaign has been doing at executing political hari-kari, the Bush team hasn’t even started to attack him yet. . . . Kerry’s recent Swift-Vet-driven collapse is the political equivalent of a boxer being clocked by a random spectator on his way to the ring.

Ouch. Stephen Green has further thoughts.

August 31, 2004

MORE CRUSHING OF DISSENT: BoiFromTroy reports that CNN is refusing to air the Log Cabin Republicans’ ad, calling it too controversial.

You can see the ad here. What do you think?

UPDATE: John Kalb thinks the ad is unfair to Jerry Falwell.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Michael Demmons observes: “Remember, Falwell’s the guy who said gays and feminists were to blame for 9-11.”

Good point.

August 31, 2004

MORE VIDEOBLOGGING from Powerline.

August 31, 2004

THE BELMONT CLUB has harsh commentary on France’s response to the hostage-taking, which appears to consist of wandering around the Middle East looking for someone to surrender to:

This suggests that the French diplomats are attempting to link the release of the French hostages to changes in the method and manner in which the Iraqi elections will be held. The mere fact that France is negotiating implictly means there will be a quid for the quo. After all, in 2003, European hostages held by Al Qaeda affiliate Algerian Islamic militant Group for Preaching and Combat were released in exchange for $6M dollars, according to Deutsche Welle. There were even demands from German politicians to force the ex-hostages to reimburse the state for the payout. . . .

Paying tribute is all part of the nuanced foreign policy of former great states. But whether the French ante up with secret political concessions or payouts, the result will be the same. More Americans and Iraqis will die as the price of French appeasement. Yet the French will not escape the carnivorous attentions of the terrorists in the end. Promises by blackguards are made to be broken.

Indeed. They’d be better off taking Iyad Allawi’s advice.

August 31, 2004

THIS has got to be an embarrassment.

August 31, 2004

JAMES LILEKS offers convention thoughts and some media criticism. Excerpt: “Read the papers, and you might wonder why he’s quoting Cheney. Read the blogs, and you know exactly why.”

August 31, 2004

WELL, THIS IS CHEERFUL:

U.S. intelligence agencies are investigating a series of thefts of official vehicles and uniforms, including an Air Canada uniform, amid fears al-Qaeda operatives could be acquiring such items for a terrorist attack.

Reports about stolen government and company identity cards, trucks and uniforms have been coming in from across the United States in recent months, leading to warnings the incidents might be related to a terrorist plot.

I’ve been quite critical of homeland security, but in truth we’ve gone nearly three years without a major attack on U.S. soil — which few of us, I think, would have dared hope for in September of 2001. But that’s no reason to relax now, as stories like this illustrate.

August 31, 2004

ERROR-CORRECTION UPDATE: Well, maybe. A while back I ran this post, noting that the Los Angeles Times hadn’t corrected a false statement to the effect that none of the people in the Swiftboat Vets ads had served on Kerry’s boat. (The LAT has since corrected the error.) I also noted that The New Republic had made the same mistake.

Reader Jonathan Miller, however, says that TNR was only referring to the first of the Swiftboat ads. That’s not entirely clear from the language, but to the extent it’s true, then the TNR statement was (I think) literally correct — though of course, it loses a lot of force once you realize that the statement wasn’t true of the ad campaign as a whole, and that in fact an ad featuring Steve Gardner, who served with Kerry longer than anyone else, appeared the same day the TNR piece was published.

Nonetheless, since we here in the blogosphere strive to outperform the mainstream media on stuff like this, I’ll note the point, and I should have been more clear about the difference between the Los Angeles Times’ point (which was about the group) and the TNR point, which was about the ads. Given that, as best I can tell, TNR never corrected its egregious Suriname error, this seems on the generous side. But why not be generous? It’s only pixels, and nobody thinks less of you for correcting an error, or even a statement that might have created a misapprehension.

UPDATE: Jason Zengerle emails that TNR has, in fact, corrected the Suriname error, with a correction appended at the end. But the free subscription that they sent me doesn’t work any more, and so I can’t see it. I did check the article for several days after I posted on it originally, though, and saw no correciton then.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Ah, here’s the correction:

Correction: This article originally stated that Islam was the majority faith in Suriname. In fact, Suriname is only about 20 percent Muslim, and has populations of Roman Catholics, Hindus, and protestants of roughly this same size. We regret the error.

I don’t know when it went up, but it’s nicely done.

August 31, 2004

LEWIS LAPHAM’S TIME TRAVELS: Nick Schulz writes that it’s the tip of the iceberg:

That’s right, Lapham wrote about the GOP convention speeches before anyone even stepped to the podium. Lapham has apologized for what he’s calling a “rhetorical invention,” use of “poetic license,” and a “mistake.”

But the only “mistake” Lapham made is in revealing for all to see what has long been known by anyone who pays attention to the news: the major media routinely bring to their coverage of significant political events a predetermined storyline — you might want to call it a “Lapham”. Facts that undermine the storyline are ignored or explained away as aberrations to The Truth. For the editor of Harper’s and other establishment press figures, it really makes no difference to them what will be said at Madison Square Garden because the Laphams are already set, loaded in the scribblers’ word processors and television anchor tele-prompters and ready to go.

We at TCS have seen Laphams at work at a number of gatherings we’ve covered over the years.

A “Lapham.” I like that. And TCS is on the lookout for more Laphams, and asks you to email them with any examples you happen to run across.

August 31, 2004

LAZINESS, BIAS, AND INEPTITUDE: My TechCentralStation column looks at how these characteristics have combined to produce a media meltdown this election year.

August 31, 2004

SOMETIMES, I ALMOST FEEL SORRY for the Sioux Falls Argus Leader.

August 30, 2004

JULIAN SANCHEZ spots something that seems right:

I spot the one Ben Sherman in a solidly Brooks Brothers room (actually Benetton, I discover, but Benetton trying to look like Ben Sherman) and try to suss out how gay Republicans are feeling in light of the Federal Marriage Amendment push. And his answer’s a pretty good one: That the gay rights issue is largely a generational one, and that it’ll be won inside of 10 or 15 years as a result of demographic changes regardless of which party’s in power.

That’s how it looks to me.

August 30, 2004

I DIDN’T WATCH the Convention programming tonight, but Ann Althouse did. (More — devastatingly harsh — thoughts here.)

UPDATE: Roger Simon has a pithy summation: “John Kerry should take speech-making lessons from John McCain. And if McCain is busy, he should try Giuliani.”

August 30, 2004

THIS MUST BE ONE OF THOSE MOVEON-AFFILIATED OUTFITS, even though it doesn’t admit it.

They’ll say anything to make Bush look bad. . . .

UPDATE: My God, these people will stop at nothing!

August 30, 2004

HEH. JUST SAW THIS PICTURE. Nobody tell Atrios. . . .

August 30, 2004

VIDEOBLOGGING FROM THE NYC PROTESTS as anarchists attack.

(More here.)

August 30, 2004

IF YOU’VE ENJOYED JEFF SOYER’S BLOG, now might be a good time to hit the tip jar. I just did. (It’s on the upper right, with the bullets — I had to look twice to find it.)

If you need a stronger sales pitch, Jay Solo’s got it.

August 30, 2004

CONGRATULATIONS to Daniel Drezner!

August 30, 2004

THE GREAT EURO-UNLEARNING CONTINUES:

PARIS — The plight of two French journalists abducted by Islamic extremists in Iraq dominated French public life today as journalists, Muslim intellectuals and others rallied on the hostages’ behalf and top officials raced against an ultimatum issued by the kidnappers. . . .

The hostage ordeal has hit France hard. It is a gloomy rebuttal of the theory held by some-though not by most French government officials or those knowledgeable about Islam-that France’s anti-war, pro-Arab policies had inoculated the country against such aggressions.

Meanwhile, Iyad Allawi is giving the French some advice, which Greg Djerejian has translated. Excerpt:

The French, like all democratic countries, can’t content themselves with adopting a passive position. The Americans, British and other nations that are fighting in Iraq are not only fighting to protect Iraqis, they are fighting to protect their own countries.

The governments that decided to stay on the defensive will be the next targets of the terrorists. Terrorist attacks will occur in Paris, in Nice, in Cannes or in San Francisco. The time has come to act against terrorism, in the same fashion…that Europe fought Hitler. Every day, tens of people are killed in Iraq. They are not dying because we are going through a major national crisis, but because we have decided to combat evil. That’s why the entire international community must assist us, as rapidly as possible, to improve the security of our country.

…the U.S. decided to disembark in Normandy, to eliminate Hitler. They suffered heavy losses to accomplish this objective. The same thing is happening today. People must assume their responsibilities. The decision to assist Iraq is courageous. Let me tell you that the French, despite all the noise they make–’We don’t want war!’–will shortly have to fight the terrorists.

Djerejian also translates an editorial from Le Monde suggesting that the French are catching on. Best bit: “We have touched the limits of anti-Americanism that seems to too often take the place of French foreign policy.”

Indeed.

August 30, 2004

NEAL BOORTZ is photoblogging from the RNC:

Three years ago I wouldn’t have been able to see the Hudson River from this room. Eighteen months ago this room, and this whole hotel was empty. I wouldn’t be able to see the river because the view would have been blocked by two skyscrapers, and I wouldn’t have been staying in this room because this particular hotel was closed for 20 months to repair damage from the collapse of the World Trade Towers. Right below me, Ground Zero.

Indeed.

August 30, 2004

JONAH GOLDBERG ASKS: “What do fat people, MoveOn.org and the Swift Boat Vets for Truth have in common?”

August 30, 2004

TOM HUMPHREY has gotten some bad information:

After all, bloggers, I am instructed, do not have to follow those ironclad rules of attribution, fact-checking, logic and such that burden the daily production of stuff to print by traditionally ink-stained wretches. You can just babble like a talk show radio guy.

Or maybe he’s just been reading Dan Rather’s blog.

UPDATE: Some sounder information for Tom, here.

And here. He’s a smart guy — he’ll catch on.

August 30, 2004

OLD MEDIA VS. NEW MEDIA: The new media wins, the old media whines.

August 30, 2004

POWERLINE HAS POSTED ITS FIRST VIDEOBLOG FROM THE REPUBLICAN CONVENTION: Sean Hannity makes an appearance.

August 30, 2004

NO NETWORK COVERAGE TONIGHT for the RNC. Is this bias? I don’t think so — just more evidence that the major networks aren’t nearly as big a source of news as they used to be.

August 30, 2004

HERE’S AN INTERESTING NEWSWEEK INTERVIEW with Kfir Alfia of ProtestWarrior.com. Excerpt:

I think the punch we pack with our style is very powerful. That’s why we’ve attracted a lot of college students and high-school students who are hungry for an outlet to do exactly this. They look like the type of person you would find at the antiwar protests, but that doesn’t mean they share the same ideology. Part of the appeal of the left up until now has been, “Look, forget ideology, we’re cool. We’re here to have fun.” That really struck a chord with a younger generation. I think that’s changing, and I think we’re part of evidence.

I guess this is just another sign that the left is losing its teen spirit, something that’s been discussed before.

UPDATE: Michael Ubaldi emails:

Alfia has a point about image and iconography. The stereotype that righties are old guys in suits smoking cigarillos made from $100 bills has been spoon-fed for decades; just open a thesaurus and look up “conservative.” But just give a quick look around: who’s calling for Third Worlders to be given the same rights we enjoy? Protest Warriors, Sabine Herold’s Liberté Cherie, Conservative Punk, adjuncts to Daneshjoo; all friends of the right. I don’t think Bruce Springsteen and friends understand how silly and hypocritical they look by talking about love and peace while flipping the bird to Iraqis and Afghans.

Besides mocking the left, Protest Warrior offers a chance for young adults to be part of real protests for real progress.

Indeed.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Here’s an older interview of Alfia from when Protest Warrior was just getting started. Best bit: “And since the Republican party is sure to continue its tradition of weak, pathetic, uninspiring ads, it’s time for the grassroots to pick up the slack.”

August 30, 2004

JOHN KERRY: MIA? Can this be right?

August 30, 2004

CAMPAIGN FINANCE “REFORM” HAS BEEN A MISERABLE FAILURE, and John McCain is unhappy.

August 30, 2004

THE NATION has been blogging the NYC protests.

I find the Reason convention blog more interesting, though.

And Jim Glassman has more thoughts.

August 30, 2004

HOPE NOT FEAR: This commercial from the Log Cabin Republicans seems just right to me. And you know, these guys are going to win.

(Via BoiFromTroy).

August 30, 2004

JEFF JARVIS is having a big blogging panel with a host of luminaries, tomorrow night in New York. If you’re in the area, show up.

Er, unless you happen to be “Michael J. Copps, the Democratic member of the FCC and the one most likely to tear down both the free marketplace of both ideas and commerce.” Then it might be a mistake to come within striking range of Jeff.

August 30, 2004

RYAN SAGER has exclusive assassin photography from New York.

August 30, 2004

BLOG FATIGUE: STEVEN DEN BESTE has grown tired of being a public utility. I’m not in the same place, but I understand where he’s coming from.

UPDATE: Related thoughts here — including the amusing origins of “Mindles Dreck” as a pseudonym. Plus this. Heh.

August 30, 2004

TOM MAGUIRE WANTS KERRY TO RELEASE HIS MEDICAL RECORDS, and offers some cogent arguments as to why that’s an issue.

It’s been an issue for a while, actually, with the Washington Post noting back in March that Kerry had lied about his health earlier, to the Boston Globe. “Kerry lied to the Boston Globe when asked whether he was sick.”

August 30, 2004

JAMES MORROW WRITES that it’s 1972 all over again.

But not exactly. Because in 1972, at a rock-and-roll event, Democrats wouldn’t have been booed. (You can see video here.)

Ann Althouse writes: “You could conclude that it’s a shame that these young people today don’t care about politics, but that’s not the impression I got. I think it’s politically savvy to reject an attempt to usurp a music party for a political purpose. It’s a solid political opinion to believe that politics don’t belong everywhere.”

UPDATE: This CNN story claims that it was the Bush daughters who were being booed, but the reader who sent it says that they didn’t come on until afterward. I didn’t see it.

ANOTHER UPDATE: The above CNN report is contradicted by . . . this from CNN. And reader Chris Greer reports: “I watched the awards show last night, the crowd started booing when the Kerry daughters started speaking and continued booing while the Bush daughters made their statements. Basically, the crowd did not want any political agendas pushed during the award show.” The personal isn’t political, I guess.

August 30, 2004

IN THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE, Mary Schmich writes that the media are eating away their own credibility.

August 30, 2004

RNCBLOGGERS is picking up all the posts from bloggers at the RNC, and aggregating them for your convenience.

August 30, 2004

IS BUSH GETTING AN OLYMPICS BOUNCE?

August 30, 2004

PATRICK BELTON NOTES that we’ve entered a new era of peace: “Research from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute and the Canadian NGO Project Ploughshares indicates that the world has actually become a substantially safer place lately – at least measured in terms of major conflict. The number of people killed in battle has fallen to 20,000 per year, the lowest number in the post-Second World War period.”

That’s nice to hear.

UPDATED: More thoughts here.

August 30, 2004

SOXBLOG: “Since I love the rumor and fervently wish for its accuracy, it is my pleasure, nay my responsibility, to continue its irresponsible dissemination. Reading the tea-leaves, Kristol has concluded that McCain might be poised to replace Cheney on the ticket.”

I’d prefer Condi Rice, or Colin Powell, but this would be OK with me. And I admire Soxblog’s forthrightness!

August 30, 2004

IT PROBLEMS, HOTEL PROBLEMS, and Dan Rather’s keen nose for news: Ed Morrissey has started his convention-blogging.

UPDATE: Roger Simon has reports and photos, too.

ANOTHER UPDATE: More photoblogging at RedState.

August 30, 2004

STEPHEN GREEN points to this William Raspberry column, and wonders if the punditry is starting to distance itself from Kerry.

August 30, 2004

IF CONVENTION-POLITICS IS BORING YOU, check out this week’s Carnival of the Capitalists, where it’s all about business- and econo-blogging.

And there’s also the Carnival of the Dogs, though in some ways that’s more reminiscent of the political season. . . .

August 30, 2004


MY COUSIN-IN-LAW, Brad Rubinstein, has posted more photos from the RNC protests. He’s got commentary here, too.

I’ll try to do a big roundup of photoblogging later today, so if you’ve got some good photo links, send them along.

UPDATE: Meanwhile, David Adesnik writes that the big-media coverage of the protests is missing the story. “The big papers also fail to convey how the protest resembled a carnival of the absurd, with every obscure leftist faction in attendance. For example, there were hundreds of big red signs provided by a coven of conspiracy theorists who insist that Bush had advance warning of 9-11. If I had bigger pockets, I could’ve collected at least half-a-dozen different socialist and communist newspapers and newsletters. . . . If you read the NYT or the WaPo, you get the impression that the protest was filled with reasonable people who just don’t like George Bush. . . . So there you have it. The big papers managed to be unfair to both sides while failing to provide critical information. Let’s hope things get better from here.” Scroll down for more.

August 30, 2004

ARTHUR CHRENKOFF has posted his regular roundup of under-reported good news from Iraq, and once again it’s long, it’s link-filled, and it’s hosted by the Wall Street Journal folks.

August 30, 2004

IT’S BEEN A LIGHT-BLOGGING BIRTHDAY WEEKEND, and the email reading has been even lighter. That means I neglected to note that the Los Angeles Times has corrected its error in claiming that no one who served with Kerry appeared in the Swift Boat Vets ad. Congratulations to Patterico, who was on the ball as usual.

And speaking of birthdays, thanks to all the people who donated. If your donation involved an email address (you have to click a button on Amazon for that to happen) I’ve sent a thank-you. But thanks to everyone — it’s much appreciated.

August 29, 2004

DISSENT ON THE 9/11 COMMISSION REPORT: Jeff Jarvis rounds up some interesting stuff.

August 29, 2004

KERRY’S WORLDVIEW: Gred Djerejian looks at Kerry’s 1971 testimony and thinks about what it might mean about Kerry’s positions today.

UPDATE: Related item here: “The war-torn soul of John Kerry.”

August 29, 2004

RYAN SAGER has posted many new photos from the NYC convention protests.

You can also find more here.

Not all that many nice smiles to be had, though, overall.

August 29, 2004

MY NIGERIAN SISTER-IN-LAW VICTORIA, who’s now an American citizen, is always irritated when people tell her that she’s not an “African-American.” If I’m not one, she asks, who is?

Robert Tagorda has an interesting post on that debate.

August 29, 2004

I GUESS THESE ARE ANALOG BROWNSHIRTS, rather than the digital kind:

Nearly 40 protesters gathered Saturday at the home of the chief financial backer of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, whose ads criticize Democrat John Kerry’s military record.

Or something like that.

August 29, 2004

JOHN ROSENBERG looks at Joe Biden vs. John Kerry.

I actually defended Biden in The Appearance of Impropriety, the ethics book I coauthored with Peter Morgan. You can read that chapter online here.

August 29, 2004

JERALYN MERRITT OF TALKLEFT has a column on convention-blogging in the Denver Post.

August 29, 2004

EXIT INTERVIEW: Tbogg’s father has died, and he’s written a moving farewell. Please send him your condolences.

August 29, 2004

BETSY NEWMARK notes that Amazon.com has changed its comment policies where the SwiftBoat Vets book Unfit for Command is concerned.

August 29, 2004

AN AMUSING PRANK in Massachussetts.

August 29, 2004

SELF-INFLICTED WOUND: “Kerry can rail all he wants about the unfairness of criticism by the Swift boat veterans. But to see who is ultimately responsible for this controversy, Kerry should look in the mirror.”

August 29, 2004

CROSSWIRE is a new GOP-Convention blog set up by the Knoxville News-Sentinel. It features well-known Knoxville blogger SKBubba on the left, and new blogger WestKnoxMomma on the right. (Via Michael Silence).

August 29, 2004

THERE’S A TOUCH OF BLOGOSPHERE TRIUMPHALISM in the quotes at the end of this article. But under the circumstances, I think it’s warranted.

UPDATE: Read this, too.

August 29, 2004

INTERESTING GRAPHIC FROM THE DETROIT NEWS on the impact of Bush’s tax cuts.

August 29, 2004

I MISSED MAUREEN DOWD’S LETTERMAN APPEARANCE, but Ann Althouse didn’t, and notes that Dowd was (repeatedly) dismissing Kerry as “lame.” It makes me think that Ed Morrissey was right when he wrote that Kerry’s media honeymoon is over.

UPDATE: Althouse has more thoughts here on the media and Kerry: “The media are looking ahead and imagining how the history of the 2004 presidential campaign will read and how their performance will measure up.”

Meanwhile, reader Rick Lee emails:

haven’t seen anybody mention what I thought was the best line of the Dowd/Letterman interview… he asked her if she was backing Kerry (or something like that) and she answered that (roughly quoting from memory) “NY Times columnists aren’t permitted to endorse candidates… [sotto voce] although apparently Paul Krugman is ignoring that”. At this point Dave made a joke about this answer going over his head.

Heh. Wish they posted transcripts.

August 29, 2004

SPOONS MAKES the conservative argument against Bush. He’s actually been doing that for a while. Bush’s dumb position on Campaign Finance “Reform” plays a major role.

August 28, 2004

TOM MAGUIRE IS QUESTIONING THE TIMING of leaks concerning an espionage investigation in the Defense Department. I don’t know what to make of this, but if The New York Times is downplaying the importance of the suspect, saying that he wasn’t in a position to influence policy, then it’s probably not a big deal given the potential for embarrassing the Bush Administration, and the NYT’s willingness to stretch things to do so. Needless to say, if the guy’s guilty, he should get slammed. Moles, even for friendly powers, can’t be tolerated.

UPDATE: Hmm. I’m not sure if this is comforting or not:

“From everything I’ve seen, the guy’s not a spy,” the official said. “The guy’s an idiot.”

On the other hand, this definitely isn’t comforting:

An FBI probe into the handling of highly classified material by Pentagon civilians is broader than previously reported, and goes well beyond allegations that a single midlevel analyst gave a top-secret Iran policy document to Israel, three sources familiar with the investigation said Saturday.

The frightening thought is that Sandy Berger’s behavior might have just been par for the course in the national security establishment. Sheesh. Roger Simon has related thoughts.

August 28, 2004

HUGH HEWITT administers a spanking to Jim Boyd of the Star-Tribune.

August 28, 2004

RYAN SAGER is photoblogging the convention protests in New York. He’s got quite a few photos.

I hope that a lot of people will be photo- and even video-blogging this stuff, as I suspect that it won’t get as much attention from the mainstream media as it otherwise might.

Nice smile.

August 28, 2004

NOW THIS IS COOL:

Enthusiasts on Friday unveiled an effort to establish an annual competition for space-elevator technologies, taking a page from the playbook for other high-tech contests such as the $10 million Ansari X Prize.

The project, spearheaded by the California-based Spaceward Foundation, would focus on innovations in fields that could open the way for payloads to be lifted into space by light-powered platforms. Such platforms, also known as climbers, would move up and down superstrong ribbons rising as high as 62,000 miles (100,000 kilometers) above Earth’s surface. . . .

If space elevators could actually be built, the cost of sending payloads into space could be reduced from $10,000 or more per pound (455 grams) to $100 or less — opening up a revolutionary route to the final frontier. Like the X Prize for private spaceflight, Elevator:2010 is aimed at jump-starting the revolution.

I was involved in the early X-Prize work, and I have to say that it has exceeded my hopes.

August 28, 2004

OUCH:

Here’s how “presidential historian” Douglas Brinkley figures it: Various factual inaccuracies and contradictions in Tour of Duty, his famously sycophantic biography of John Kerry, are frequently cited by opponents of Kerry’s presidential campaign. On the other hand, the sycophantic parts of the book are just as frequently cited by Kerry’s friends. In other words, both parties find his work useful. And what better proof of his academic objectivity and integrity could there be than that?

I mean, seriously: Ouch.

UPDATE: More on Brinkley from Ann Althouse.

August 28, 2004

ALAN KEYES: Beyond flip-flopping. I’d say he’s ventured all the way into the realm of flap-flips.

August 28, 2004

A LOT OF PEOPLE EMAILED ME about irregularities in John Kerry’s citations, including the fact that his Silver Star citation was signed by John Lehman, who wasn’t Navy Secretary until the Reagan Administration. I put it down to some sort of paperwork mixup (I didn’t even link this piece when everyone was sending it to me).

But now the Chicago Sun-Times’ Thomas Lipscomb, who had an article on those records yesterday, has another article out today, quoting Lehman as saying that the whole thing’s a “total mystery” to him. (“It is a total mystery to me. I never saw it. I never signed it. I never approved it. And the additional language it contains was not written by me.”)

I think it’s far too early to speculate, as some readers are, that this is a case of fraud or forgery, and it’s entirely possible that there’s an innocent explanation, but I’m glad that someone with Big Media resources is looking into it. It’s puzzling that Kerry hasn’t simply released all his military records to clear up these questions. Nonetheless, I continue to regard the medals issue as a distraction, though perhaps a better-founded one, on closer examination, than I had originally thought.

UPDATE: Reader Andrew Lloyd emails:

When I got a law school transcript reissued to me a couple of years ago, it was certified by someone who wasn’t the registrar when I was there. That doesn’t mean I didn’t graduate in 1997 because someone else signed it in 2002.

I don’t know Navy process, but Kerry may have asked for a new certification in the 1980′s, and Lehman’s signature may have ended up on it as a matter of course.

See, that’s what I thought initially. But the language of the citation also changed, suggesting that it’s not a simple clerical thing. What’s more the “V” on the silver star doesn’t exist. You’d certainly be suspicious of a transcript with a different signature and different grades. Or of a Yale Law School transcript from recent years that showed an A+ average (Since Yale doesn’t have those letter grades). . . To the extent that analogy applies, anyway.

UPDATE: Ed Morrissey:

Just when I think this story may lose momentum, it just grows new legs. The Torricelli option continues to beckon the Democrats the longer Kerry refuses to release all the records and put an end to all the speculation.

Meanwhile, ABC’s The Note is looking to the future:

The new joke in Washington — told by all gallows, quasi-panicked Democrats — goes like this:

“John Kerry read in The Note that this was his race to lose, and he’s giving it his best shot.”

Someday, Karl Rove’s precocious grandchildren will say to him, “Grandpapa, what’s it like to run a presidential campaign against an opponent who has had his own background thoroughly researched well before the general election; who is broadly personable and possessed of great campaign skills; and who projects an image of constancy?”

To which Grandpapa Rove will reply, “I haven’t the slightest idea.”

(Via Power Line.) Somehow, though, “Grandpa Rove” makes me think of Grandpa Munster, but they’re in different parties.

MORE: This John Kerry timeline may be useful in keeping track of what happened — or didn’t happen — when.

More observations here, making me wonder if Kerry didn’t order duplicates and get “crosstalk” between the Bronze and Silver Star citations.

STILL MORE: Meanwhile, Matt Rustler is looking into questions about Bush’s medals. Bush had medals? Well, that’s the question. No clear answer yet, but we do learn that Mark Kleiman is now getting his stuff from Democratic Underground, which is informative in itself. And certainly Rustler’s inquiry is more searching than anything the left side of the blogosphere — including Kleiman — engaged in when the Kerry / Cambodia story was appearing.

August 28, 2004

I’M BACK: Spent the night up at the lake, took the boat to Calhoun’s and had barbecue, then hung out with the Insta-Dad, Insta-Wife, Insta-Daughter and the youngest Insta-Brother.

More blogging later, but in the meantime I have some thoughts on blogs, campaign finance “reform,” and free speech over at GlennReynolds.com. And over at The Corner, Ramesh Ponnuru has some harsh-but-true words on Bush’s stance regarding free speech and campaign finance “reform”:

A brief history: 1) I’m against it, and you should vote for me over John McCain on this basis. 2) Some campaign-finance reforms amount to a restriction on free speech, and I’ll veto them on that basis. 3) I’ll sign the bill, let the judges sort it out. 4) The bill I just signed bans all those George Soros ads. 5) I’m going to sue to get those ads all banned. 6) I’m going to support legislation to ban those ads that I already banned, even though they used to be free speech. I think (5) and (6) are new this week.

Here’s a better idea: Rep. Roscoe Bartlett’s First Amendment Restoration Act.

It seems that another Scrappleface parody is on the verge of becoming reality.

Ponnuru’s link to the bill doesn’t work, but this one provides some useful background.

UPDATE: This media analysis column makes some related points.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Readers point out that John Kerry was a co-sponsor of the McCain-Feingold act. Yeah, there’s lots of blame to go around.

August 27, 2004

IT’S MY BIRTHDAY, which means no more blogging today unless something rather major happens. If you’re bored tonight, check out the InstaWife’s TV show Snapped on the Oxygen Channel. If you happen to be a Nielsen family, please invite several dozen of your friends to watch with you. . . .

August 27, 2004

BOOKBLOGGING: In what I laughingly call my “spare time,” I’m reading Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, and so far enjoying it. It’s vaguely reminiscent of Tim Powers’ Expiration Date and related books.

August 27, 2004

EXPLOSIVE TRACES FOUND in crashed Russian plane. Much longer story here, suggesting an Al Qaeda connection.

August 27, 2004

TOM MAGUIRE IS BACK: The blogosphere can breathe a sigh of relief.

August 27, 2004

HERE’S MORE on lawyer overlap and 527s. There seems to be rather a lot of it.

August 27, 2004

“KERRY REQUESTED A PURPLE HEART,” says Admiral Schachte. The wound was accidentally self-inflicted, he says. (“‘Kerry nicked himself with a M-79 (grenade launcher),’ Schachte said in a telephone interview from his home in Charleston, S.C. He said, ‘Kerry requested a Purple Heart.’”)

That’s not malfeasance or anything, but it certainly plays to his image as an opportunist who worked the system to get out of combat as soon as possible. (“John Kerry, reporting for duty — until I can finagle a way out of here!”) More here, and Beldar has more analysis, with some interesting stuff in the comments.

That said, the medal issue is really a distraction. It’s Kerry’s postwar behavior that deserves more scrutiny. Here’s his 1971 testimony. And here’s a 1971 TV interview where he talks about throwing away his medals, and about opposing the war “right there in Vietnam,” and about how veterans, especially minority veterans, remain a menace after returning to America because they’re angry and were “taught to kill.” He backs away a bit later, in an early version of his signature straddle, but it’s still pretty damning stuff.

UPDATE: Thoughts on records that Kerry should release — from Vietnam and elsewhere — here, and a review of Kerry’s testimony here.

ANOTHER UPDATE: More records questions here, in an interesting article from the Chicago Sun-Times.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: More on the Admiral here.

August 27, 2004

IS IT ALL DOUGLAS BRINKLEY’S FAULT? That would explain why he’s laying so low.

UPDATE: Or maybe it’s all neurochemical evolution.

August 27, 2004

RECIPEBLOGGING: This week’s Carnival of the Recipes is up. Soon we’ll need a Carnival of the Carnivals.

August 27, 2004

ANTI-TERRORISM GOOD NEWS:

BALTIMORE (AP) – When three Baltimore County police officers saw someone aiming a camera from a sport utility vehicle on the Bay Bridge and decided the videotaping looked suspicious, Maryland’s intelligence center was notified within minutes.

The state’s counterterrorism center has local, state and federal authorities sitting next to each other 24 hours a day at an FBI building in Calverton in Prince George’s County. That’s why police were able to arrest Ismael Selim Elbarasse, a man wanted for questioning in Chicago about the finances of the Hamas extremist group, so quickly, state officials said.

More on the arrest here and here.

August 27, 2004

JAMES LILEKS:

Leaving aside that pesky constitutional prohibition, Clinton could have gotten the nod if he’d wanted. He would have beat George W. Bush in 2000. He would probably beat Bush today, given our nostalgia for the happy, shiny ’90s. But perhaps he enjoys retirement. Sure, it’s good to be king, but there’s something to be said for turning on “Monday Night Football” and letting someone else worry about loony long-beards with nukes. . . .

So why does Kerry want to be president?

The reason is almost tautological: John Kerry wants to be president because he is John Kerry, and John Kerry is supposed to be president. Hence his campaign’s flummoxed and tone-deaf response to the swift boat vets. Ban the books, sue the stations, retreat, attack. Underneath it all you can sense the confusion. How dare they attack Kerry? He’s supposed to be president. It’s almost treason in advance. . . . Inconsistencies are irrelevant, because he’s consistently John Kerry. And he’s supposed to be president.

That does seem to capture the tone. And don’t miss Lileks’ conclusion.

August 26, 2004

TRAFFIC: Already way ahead of last month’s, which set a record. Just a dollar a pageview, that’s all I ask. . . .

Okay, actually I don’t ask anything. I’m just glad that someone besides my mother reads this stuff.

August 26, 2004

CONGRATULATIONS TO ED MORRISSEY, who had a piece in the New York Sun today.

August 26, 2004

HOWELL RAINES has a piece on Presidential intelligence in The Guardian that isn’t all that bad. Perhaps Howell has learned that there’s more to management than SAT scores. . ..

However, he can’t avoid this line: “Does anyone in America doubt that Kerry has a higher IQ than Bush? I’m sure their SATs and college transcripts would put Kerry far ahead.”

Actually, Ann Althouse was doubting that very thing. We seem to know Bush’s grades and test scores. But I haven’t seen Kerry’s anywhere — release the transcripts! — and so it’s all a matter of inference from things like where he went to law school. Given Kerry’s tendency to trumpet credentials he’s proud of, the absence of any data here may support an inference of its own.

But we also learn — well, confirm — something about Howell Raines. He hasn’t seen the numbers. He doesn’t offer any real comparison or data. He just knows that Kerry is a lot smarter, and it seems that he knows this because everyone he talks to thinks the same thing. Which is, no doubt, the case.

August 26, 2004

JOHN PERRY BARLOW plans to disrupt the Republican Convention through spontaneous dancing.

This would work, if the Republican Convention were taking place in the movie Footloose.

August 26, 2004

TRAITORS to Rock and Roll.

August 26, 2004

TIME TRAVEL UPDATE: On the Harper’s website, an apology for Lewis Lapham’s, er, premature account of what transpired at the Republican Convention. There’s something a bit odd about the heading, though:

Posted on Thursday, August 26, 2004.
Originally from Harper’s Magazine, October 2004.

Let’s do the time warp again!

August 26, 2004

HOW JOHN KERRY COULD SALVAGE THINGS: A helpful observation from Bill Adams.

August 26, 2004

SET YOUR VCR: Tonight on C-Span at 8:PM – John Kerry 1971 Testimony Before Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

UPDATE: Here’s the full text.

Thoughts on the testimony here. I’ve read it before, but what struck me looking at it again just now is how little Kerry is questioned or criticized. He’s really never had to stand up to serious criticism before, which is, I guess, why he’s handling it so badly now.