Archive for October, 2004

October 31, 2004

MARK STEYN’S LAST PRE-ELECTION COLUMN is up.

October 31, 2004

UNHINGED: The Beeb asked its audience “What is your reaction to the [bin Laden] tape and its message?” Whoo boy. Britain’s Eric the Unread points out that way too many of those polled are wallowing in conspiracy theory-riddled bollocks.

October 31, 2004

A KERREY GEOGRAPHY FUMBLE IN OHIO: Here. “How inconvenient that people who actually live in or around Galena actually exist! Did you not know that you were intended to be a mere rhetorical frill? Since when do figures of speech send email?” Heh.

October 31, 2004

CBS OVERPLAYS ITS HAND, and drives another voter into the Bush camp.

UPDATE: And, though I don’t think CBS is to blame, Dale Amon is announcing for Bush, too:

It really came down to a no-brainer though. I have voted for a Republican for President for the first time in my life. I don’t agree with George Bush on many issues, but I do indeed agree with him on the war and the war cabinet is one I quite like. There is a minor plus that all the right people are totally off the wall and over the top insane about the prospect of him winning.

Okay, maybe CBS did figure in somewhere.

October 31, 2004

BELDAR LOOKS AT politicians and their secrets.

UPDATE: Hmm. Compare these transcripts with this report and Beldar’s double standard is emphasized.

October 31, 2004

OCTOBER SURPRISE: A new Kerry radio ad using Osama’s words? Heh.

October 31, 2004

THE BELMONT CLUB rounds up news on Fallujah.

October 31, 2004

JOYCE MALCOLM CONTRASTS self-defense in Britain and America.

October 31, 2004

I SHOULD HAVE LINKED THIS BEFORE, but as I am an idiot understandably absent-minded professor, I forgot. But here’s my review of Neal Stephenson’s new novel, The System of the World.

October 31, 2004

JIHAD TV: THE DIRECTOR’S CUT: At least some people took a look at the uncut and unrated version of Osama bin Laden’s latest episode of Jihad TV. Niles Lethem at the New York Post has the details.

Officials said that in the 18-minute long tape — of which only six minutes were aired on the al-Jazeera Arab television network in the Middle East on Friday — bin Laden bemoans the recent democratic elections in Afghanistan and the lack of violence involved with it.

On the tape, bin Laden also says his terror organization has been hurt by the U.S. military’s unrelenting manhunt for him and his cohorts on the Afghan-Pakistani border.

A portion of the left-out footage includes a tirade aimed at President Bush and his father, former President George H.W. Bush, claiming the war in Iraq is purely over oil.

The tape also sparked some concern that an attack aimed at disrupting Tuesday’s election may be planned.

October 31, 2004

IT’S A HALLOWEEN ROUNDUP over at BlogCritics.

October 31, 2004

MORE UPSTANDING BEHAVIOR AT THE UNITED NATIONS:

A senior UN official was cleared of sexual harassment earlier this year because the secretary general rejected the verdict of an internal watchdog. High Commissioner for Refugees Ruud Lubbers, 65, a former Dutch prime minister, escaped censure in July when Kofi Annan dismissed a complaint.

But a revised report issued by UN watchdogs on Thursday revealed that investigators supported the allegation.

I’m shocked.

October 31, 2004

TEARS FOR TERRORISTS: At the BBC.

October 31, 2004

BOB KERREY’S DEFENSE OF JOHN KERRY ON “MEET THE PRESS.” Read the whole transcript. Overall, it was a bumbling performance, but let me point out two things he said. First:

One thing we know about Osama bin Laden, his whereabouts, he’s not in Iraq. By the way, for the American people, this guy is a mass murderer. You know, he’s Jeffrey Dahmer times a thousand. So nobody should listen to him with any sympathy. Nobody should listen to him and try to make their decision about who they’re going to vote for based upon what he says. We need to track this guy down and arrest him or kill him, one of the two.

This is the old view that bin Laden is a criminal — like Dahmer, but with more victims — who needs to be arrested. Of course, this chimes with recent statements of John Kerry’s.

Second:

MR. RUSSERT: George Bush by going into Iraq has removed Saddam Hussein, has eliminated hundreds of thousands of tons of munitions, and if John Kerry was president, Saddam Hussein may still very well be in power.

MR. KERREY: Yes.

MR. RUSSERT: So how can he criticize the president for having munitions that are missing?

MR. KERREY: Well, the problem is 400 tons of HMX and RDX are now in the hands of terrorists and they weren’t before. That’s the central point. Look, I supported the war in Iraq and still do, still believe it was the right thing to do. But, boy, I’m telling you this president tested my support for that war when he stands the Iraqi army down and now has our military over there acting as a police force and border security. You can’t sustain that, Tim. It’s become unpopular.

I was in Galena, Ohio, down in the southeastern part of Ohio. They don’t give a damn about the war in Iraq. They’re terrified about the loss of their job, health care, their pensions. That’s what’s bothering them and then wondering what we’re doing sending out Guardsmen over there to be a police force in Iraq.

I cried out in pain when Kerrey said “They don’t give a damn about the war in Iraq.” What a bunch of selfish louts Kerrey imagines the people of small town Ohio to be! In Galena, those people can’t even imagine the wider world. They’re all about “where’s my money .. where are my benefits?” I know how badly you want to win Ohio — really, Ohio is practically the whole game, now, isn’t it? — but in your eagerness to please them, you reveal your contempt for them!

UPDATE: (Posted by Glenn Reynolds) Several readers send emails like this one:

Mr. Kerrey needs to consult an atlas. Galena, Ohio is about 20 miles north of Columbus which is, the last time I checked, in the middle of the state. Also it is a bedroom community for Columbus with a lot of new homes starting in the $400,000 range.

p .s. I live in Columbus

I looked on MapQuest and, well, it’s true. It’s another “Lambert Field” gaffe.

ANOTHER UPDATE: (Althouse, here) How inconvenient that people who actually live in or around Galena actually exist! Did you not know that you were intended to be a mere rhetorical frill? Since when do figures of speech send email?

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: (from Glenn Reynolds) Reader Barry Dauphin emails: “If the Dems can’t find Galena, how can they help find explosives in Iraq?”

AND ANOTHER UPDATE: (Althouse, again) I received an email suggesting that Kerrey had meant to say Gallia, which really is a place in southeastern Ohio. So I went back to my TiVo’d “Meet the Press,” and there really is no “n” in the town name he says. It’s “guh – LEE – uh” on the show, not “Galena” as in the transcript, so I don’t think this is a case of not getting the geography. I do stand by my original point, though, which is that he is assuming that people in a small town in Ohio are only concerned about their personal economic situation.

STILL MORE: (Still Althouse) More email came in from overnight, after I posted that “Gallia” update. I’m told it’s “GAL – yuh” — though I’m not positive I’m not being tricked into mispronouncing it so I’ll look like an outsider, which I am. One emailer, who called herself “a Buckeye” (and you know I’m a Badger), added: “Ohioans have strange ways of pronouncing towns, Versailles is ‘Ver-sales’ and Rio Grande is ‘Rye-oh Grande.’  It’s a secret way to weed out outsiders who speak with a forked tongue. … As a lifelong resident I can tell you we’re all united in one thing around here: we can’t wait for this election to be over so people like Bob Kerrey will stop pretending to care about anything other than our votes.”

October 31, 2004

A MUSICAL INTERLUDE: Stopped off at a place this afternoon and they were playing Shadowy Men on a Shadowy PlanetHaving an Average Weekend, which you can hear a snatch of by following the link. They came to Knoxville several times about ten years ago, playing at the late, lamented Ella Guru’s. They rocked.

October 31, 2004

THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS ENDORSES BUSH:

The News endorsed Clinton and Gore in the three races beginning with 1992, each time judging their domestic agendas in the best interests of the American people. But it is no longer Sept. 10th. The world has changed. And nowhere has it been more tragically altered than in New York. And nowhere are the stakes higher.

As the preeminent symbol of America, this city remains Ground Zero, primary target of Islamic radicals. How best to win the war against terror so the country and its leading city emerge from jeopardy is the overriding concern in the election. The News believes Bush offers the stronger hope in this urgent regard.

Tested severely by 9/11, Bush recognized it was not enough — it had never been enough — to treat Islamic terrorism as a criminal-justice matter, or just to hunt down Osama Bin Laden and his henchmen. The President had two crucial insights: First, that rogue states were a grave threat in that they could provide weapons of mass destruction to terrorists as a force multiplier. And, second, that the Mideast’s backward, repressed societies were generating virulent, homicidal hatred of the U.S. . . .

Kerry has promised to be tough on terror. His words are resolute — he will hunt down and kill terrorists — but they betray a skittishness about the exercise of American military power, conjuring up endless diplomacy before action while reducing the fight against Al Qaeda and cohorts to cell-by-cell skirmishing.

Forged in Vietnam, where he was both valorous and appalled by U.S. policy, Kerry has long been uncomfortable with the use of American might. Witness his senatorial votes against defense and intelligence spending proposals. And witness his vote in 1991 against giving the first President Bush authority to drive Saddam out of Kuwait, a step that was compellingly necessary to prevent Saddam from becoming a dominant force over the Mideast and its oil.

There’s no doubt that Kerry has become more realistic since then, but his votes for and against the war and his shifting campaign rhetoric raise grave doubts about what, exactly, a President Kerry would do in Iraq.

Indeed.

October 31, 2004

READER DAVID FROST emails that he used to not be able to figure out where I stood politically, and that he’s disappointed to see me abandoning ambiguity to support Bush. Well, Bush isn’t my ideal candidate, but elections are about making choices and being counted. I’ve chosen to support Bush because the Democrats have left me with no choice, given the importance I place upon the war. And I’m damned unhappy with them for doing that.

October 31, 2004

THE MOORE’S LAST SIGH?

October 31, 2004

HOLLYWOOD WOMEN VS. AFGHAN WOMEN: A photo essay from Jessica’s Well.

October 31, 2004

ANTICIPATORY RETALIATION posts a roundup of U.S. presidential election endorsements by Iraqi bloggers.

October 31, 2004

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER WRITES on “Kerry’s Afghan Amnesia:”

Within days of Sept. 11, the clueless airhead president that inhabits Michael Moore’s films and Tina Brown’s dinner parties had done this: forced Pakistan into alliance with us, isolated the Taliban, secured military cooperation from Afghanistan’s northern neighbors, and authorized a radical war plan involving just a handful of Americans on the ground, using high technology and local militias to utterly rout the Taliban.

President Bush put in place a military campaign that did in two months what everyone had said was impossible: defeat an entrenched, fanatical, ruthless regime in a territory that had forced the great British and Soviet empires into ignominious retreat. Bush followed that by creating in less than three years a fledgling pro-American democracy in a land that had no history of democratic culture and was just emerging from 25 years of civil war.

This is all barely remembered and barely noted. Most amazing of all, John Kerry has managed to transform our Afghan venture into a failure — a botched operation in which Bush let Osama bin Laden get away because he “outsourced” bin Laden’s capture to “warlords” in the battle of Tora Bora.

Outsourced? The entire Afghan war was outsourced. How does Kerry think we won it? How did Mazar-e Sharif, Kabul and Kandahar fall? Stormed by thousands of American GIs? They fell to the “warlords” we had enlisted, supported and directed. It was their militias that overran the Taliban.

“Outsourcing” is a demagogue’s way of saying “using allies.” (Isn’t Kerry’s Iraq solution to “outsource” the problem to the “allies” and the United Nations?) . . . .

Once again, the senator’s position has evolved, to borrow the New York Times’ delicate term for Kerry’s many about-faces.

This election comes down to a choice between one man’s evolution and the other man’s resolution. With his endlessly repeated Tora Bora charges, Kerry has made Afghanistan a major campaign issue. So be it. Whom do you want as president? The man who conceived the Afghan campaign, carried it through without flinching when it was being called a “quagmire” during its second week and has seen it through to Afghanistan’s transition to democracy? Or the retroactive genius, who always knows what needs to be done after it has already happened — who would have done “everything” differently in Iraq, yet in Afghanistan would have replicated Bush’s every correct, courageous, radical and risky decision — except one. Which, of course, he would have done differently. He says. Now.

Ouch.

October 31, 2004

THIS SEEMS LIKE GOOD NEWS:

U.S. employers probably added 175,000 workers to payrolls in October, the most in five months, while the unemployment rate held at a three-year low of 5.4 percent, the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of economists shows. . . .

Manufacturing, responding to increased third-quarter consumer demand and business spending on equipment, probably expanded in October, a report tomorrow is forecast to show. The Institute of Supply Management’s gauge of factory activity is forecast to hold at 58.5 in October. Readings above 50 signal expansion and the index has shown growth since May 2003.

I’m guessing this report won’t get much attention.

October 31, 2004

THE STRUGGLE OF IDEAS: Marc Danziger (aka Armed Liberal) fisks Richard Clarke and the Century Foundation. His blog Winds of Change is having technical difficulties so I agreed to host his essay at my place.

October 31, 2004

THE EMPTY THRONE: An election-eve message from Iraq, via The Mudville Gazette.

October 31, 2004

THE DEEP ROOTS OF BUSH-HATING. Larry Ribstein overcomes his recent reluctance to blog about politics to remind us that the virulent hatred for President Bush, which during the campaign has found expression in criticism of the war in Iraq, was well in place before the war. He sets out a long quote from a Michael Moore email sent out on September 12, 2001. Moore wrote:

In just 8 months, Bush gets the whole world back to hating us again. He withdraws from the Kyoto agreement, walks us out of the Durban conference on racism, insists on restarting the arms race — you name it, and Baby Bush has blown it all. . . . .

Ah, I remember on the morning of September 11th being told by one of my colleagues that the attacks were a response to our withdrawal from the Durban conference on racism. Living in Madison for the last twenty years, I’d grown used to hearing strong left-wing opinion without verbally reacting, but that was the moment when I started to say no. It wasn’t a decision I made, but purely instinctive revulsion that this was someone’s first assessment of the events of that terrible day.

What the Iraq war has done, Ribstein suggests, is to give the extreme left an issue that works in discussions with more moderate voters. But I would note that the extreme left lost the candidate it wanted in the primaries. Even among the Democrats, a more moderate position was sought, and Kerry got the nomination. Kerry has made a mush of his positions over the months by trying to keep the extreme left segment of the voters, and though he lost me by doing this, I still am somewhat sympathetic to the problem he faced, which is pretty similar to the problem Bush faces on his extreme right. Like Ribstein, I hope Bush wins and I hope, if he does, the Bush haters settle down. But, by the same token, I hope that if Kerry wins, the Kerry haters settle down. There is difficult work ahead for whoever wins, and he’s going to need our support. I think reasonable, moderate, sensible people are in the great majority in this country, and passionate as things may feel as the election comes down to the wire, when the election is over, we’ll be paying a lot less attention to overheated windbags like Moore.

October 31, 2004

ELEVATING THE TONE:

John Kerry’s stepson, Chris Heinz, 31, displayed his mother Teresa’s famous lack of rhetorical restraint at a recent campaign event with a group of Wharton students. Philadelphia magazine reports: “Heinz accused Kerry’s opponents – ‘our enemies’ – of making the race dirty. ‘We didn’t start out with negative ads calling George Bush a cokehead,’ he said, before adding, ‘I’ll do it now.’ Asked later about it, Heinz said, ‘I have no evidence. He never sold me anything.’” Heinz also reminded writer Sasha Issenberg of Pat Buchanan by saying, “One of the things I’ve noticed is the Israel lobby – the treatment of Israel as the 51st state, sort of a swing state.”

I agree with Duane Patterson that this doesn’t sound like a winning campaign.

UPDATE: Ed Morrissey has more thoughts on the oblique anti-semitism in Heinz’s remarks. Oblique?

October 31, 2004

VARIFRANK posts an election-related photo essay.

October 31, 2004

THE MUDVILLE GAZETTE has a series on G.I.s and the election, and characterizes Osama’s latest video this way:

Now go away, or I shall taunt you a second time!

Heh.

October 31, 2004

GEORGE WILL:

Reasonable people can question the feasibility of Bush’s nation-building and democracy-spreading ambitions. But, having taken up that burden, America cannot prudently, or decently, put it down. The question is: Which candidate will most tenaciously and single-mindedly pursue victory? The answer is: Not John Kerry, who is multiple-minded about most matters.

Tuesday’s winner will not start from scratch but from where we are now, standing with the women of Bamiyan, Afghanistan. Back in Washington recently, Zalmay Khalilzad, U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, said those women were warned that Taliban remnants would attack polling places during the Oct. 9 elections. So the women performed the ritual bathing and said the prayers of those facing death. Then, rising at 3 a.m., they trekked an hour to wait in line for the polls to open at 7 a.m. In the province of Kunar an explosion 100 meters from a long line of waiting voters did not cause anyone to leave the line.

Which candidate can be trusted to keep faith with these people? Surely not the man whose party is increasingly influenced by its Michael Moore faction.

Surely not. Meanwhile, read these thoughts on Bush’s alleged incompetence:

Now the one thing that strikes me about the military efforts to date is just how incredibly successful they’ve been, and how masterfully planned and executed they turned out to be. Not perfect, of course (You mean there’s terrorists setting off explosives? Against Americans and their supporters? In the Middle East, no less? Say it isn’t so!). But a lot of the toys that John Kerry voted against turned out to be damned useful in the War on Terror. I don’t want to even think about how an Afghanistan operation with Vietnam-era technology and tactics would have gone for us – I think in that case we’d have been wishing for another Vietnam. And if you’ve ever cracked a history book, you’ll realize that only 1200 deaths in a year and a half of invading a dictatorship, overthrowing its dictator, and fighting a chronic insurgency is astoundingly good news, especially when added to the fact that the long-predicted flood of refugees never materialized, the terrorists that Saddam’s regime had nothing whatsoever to do with suddenly got extremely interested in the fate of Iraq . . . and Iraqis are still signing up to take on the battle for their country against these thugs and getting set to vote in their first-ever real election in a couple of months.

And the Commander-in-Chief at the helm during these amazing accomplishments is called incompetent? You’ve got to be kidding me.

Or someone. Nothing’s perfect, but I think those who expect a mistake-free war haven’t paid much attention to history, and warfare. Or they’re just posturing.

UPDATE: Andrew Sullivan seems to regard these as “the same old arguments” — but he hasn’t refuted them. Nor can he.

October 31, 2004

PHOTO BLOGGING: Gerard Van der Leun posts 50 reasons to vote for George W. Bush, in pictures.

October 30, 2004

THIS WILL SCARE SOME PEOPLE! Courtesy of reader Pamela Barbey.

October 30, 2004

N.Z. BEAR corrects an erroneous New York Times report regarding his blog rankings, and is politely ignored.

October 30, 2004

DON’T MISS RON BAILEY’S REPORT on the Foresight Institute’s nanotechnology conference last weekend.

October 30, 2004

RADICAL BUSH VS. REACTIONARY KERRY: Not the first article to make this point, but it’s made well here. (Via Roger Simon).

October 30, 2004

IF BUSH LOSES, the press should expect a colossal backlash, as it’s been very obviously in the tank for Kerry. As John Leo observes:

Isn’t this journalistic malpractice?

The open partisanship of big media organizations in trying to hurt Bush and help Kerry — a phenomenon that, as Leo notes, is not limited to CBS and RatherGate, but extends to places like The New York Times — is very troubling. The loss of credibility that results will come back to haunt the press in a lot of ways, no matter who wins. I doubt that, in retrospect, they’ll think it was worth it, but I don’t think it was ever calculated, exactly. I think they just can’t help themselves.

UPDATE: Speaking of which, be sure to read this post by Tom Maguire on the unravelling “missing explosives” story.

October 30, 2004

DONALD SENSING IS BACK and has thoughts on Osama’s latest video: “Al Qaeda is down. It’s time to kick, kick hard, and keep on kicking until there is nothing left to kick.” Indeed.

October 30, 2004

UPSIDE DOWN: Immediately after the attacks on September 11 irony was declared one of the casualties. That didn’t pan out. Quite the opposite, in fact. Lawrence F. Kaplan notes in Opinion Journal that liberal Iraqis, “the thousands of academics, lawyers, rights advocates and other educated elites leading the effort to create a new Iraq” overwhelmingly support the re-election of George W. Bush.

October 30, 2004

WHY THE LEFT NEEDS TO LOOK IN THE MIRROR: I agree. When even Kerry supporters note the similarity between Osama videos and Democratic campaign propaganda, it’s a problem.

UPDATE: A commenter at Michael Totten’s echoes some email I’ve gotten:

Isn’t it just a bit curious that right when Prof. Reynolds leaves the country we get a new video tape of OBL?

I deny all responsibility.

October 30, 2004

A LATE-BREAKING ELECTION — Michael Barone has thoughts:

We have had close elections before but not usually ones attended by such bitterness and anger. The 1968 race beween Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey and the 1976 race between Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter turned out to be very close, closer indeed than expected. But few partisans on the losing side considered the winner unacceptable. That’s not the case today.

In the debates, John Kerry recalled that Bush campaigned in 2000 as a unifier, not a divider, and criticized him for dividing the nation as president. Yet the harshest rhetoric of this long, long campaign season has come not from Bush and the Republicans but from Kerry and the Democrats. Democrats have called Bush and Dick Cheney unpatriotic, not the other way around; Democrats have charged that Bush was ” AWOL” in the Texas Air National Guard; Democrats have claimed that Bush “lied” about Iraq. The Democrats are the opposition party and as such can be expected to attack the incumbent. But they are not conducting a campaign that will make it easy for them to unify the country if they win.

Nor have they been conducting themselves in a way that will make it easy for them to govern. One of the hardest things in politics is to come up with campaign proposals that will help you win the primaries, help you win the general election, and help you govern. Bill Clinton did a good job of this in 1992, though he made a detour on healthcare in 1993-94. George W. Bush also did a good job of this in 2000, although the September 11 attacks led him to refashion foreign policy as no other president has done since Harry Truman in the Cold War. John Kerry has not done such a good job.

I agree, and think that if Kerry should be elected he will find it very difficult to govern effectively. Read the whole thing.

October 30, 2004

PERHAPS IT WAS 8,000. While most in the media uncritically repeat the results of Lancet study that asserts 100,000 Iraqi civilians were killed since the end of the war, Fred Kaplan at Slate takes a meat axe to its methodology. At least two on the anti-war left, Marc Cooper and Matthew Yglesias, are colored convinced.

October 30, 2004

COCOONING ON THE INTERNET: A MYTH, according to a new Pew poll, which says that wired Americans get more exposure to different points of view. Well, yeah.

October 30, 2004

IT’S BAD NEWS EVERYWHERE for Osama.

October 30, 2004

IN WHAT HE CALLS A “MOMENTARY LAPSE OF JUDGMENT,” my brother Jonathan (the history-professor brother, not the rock-and-roll-touring-musician brother) has joined the blogosphere.

UPDATE: If you’ve got a fast connection, you can see a short video segment featuring the rock-and-roll brother (wearing, I should note, my Knoxville World’s Fair t-shirt onstage) here. The band lineup’s changed a bit since I shot this last spring while testing out a new video camera.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Graphic evidence of why it’s better to be a touring rock-and-roll musician than a historian or law professor.

October 30, 2004

WELCOME BACK, GLENN. Thanks for letting us hang out over here while you were away, and for saying don’t go away yet. This is a bit like having your parents come back from vacation, after you’ve had the run of the house all week. Do you go to your room or stay downstairs? I have the first thing I want to say this morning, and I’m torn about where to put it, but I’ll go ahead and put it here. It’s about Walter Cronkite on “Larry King Live” last night:

KING: Now, bin Laden, of course, could help Bush in that it reminds people of a terror issue in which he runs strong. It also could hurt Bush in that reminds people he’s still alive. So this could be a double edged sword, right?

CRONKITE: Indeed. Indeed. And the thing that in bringing this threat to us, there is almost, in the fact that he dressed well, that he looked well, he was clean shaven, nearly clean shaven as those folks get. It seemed almost, to me, that he wanted to enter into negotiations, that he was really up — he wants to move into a leadership role in international affairs instead of the role of a brigand. And he spoke calmly about this thing. The threat was there, no question about it. He’s delivering a warning to us, no question about that. And certainly, I don’t think there’s any reason to feel that we can take him to our bosom just because this speech at all. He’s perfectly capable of blowing us up.

Yes, we’ll need some more calm talk from the well-groomed — for him! — old rogue before we clasp him in our arms, won’t we? Thanks, Walter. And considering that OBL has a full beard down to his chest, am I to assume you were cracking an ethnic joke when you said “clean shaven, nearly clean shaven as those folks get”?

UPDATE: Several people have emailed me about this part of the Cronkite interview:

So now the question is basically right now, how will this affect the election? And I have a feeling that it could tilt the election a bit. In fact, I’m a little inclined to think that Karl Rove, the political manager at the White House, who is a very clever man, he probably set up bin Laden to this thing. The advantage to the Republican side is to get rid of, as a principal subject of the campaigns right now, get rid of the whole problem of the al Qaqaa explosive dump. Right now, that, the last couple of days, has, I think, upset the Republican campaign.

I disagree with people who are saying Cronkite is nuts. I think he was joking. The point is, the bin Laden tape is so helpful to Bush that it is as if Bush partisans are behind it.

October 30, 2004

LIKE MCARTHUR, I HAVE RETURNED — only without the staged photo-op. Regular blogging will resume later, but I want to thank my guestbloggers for doing such a great job in my absence. Scrolling down, I’m very impressed by what I see. I’ve asked them to continue to drop in occasionally between now and the election — there’s too much going on for me to fly solo, here.

One of my travel-reading books this week was Eric Flint’s The Grantville Gazette, a book of stories in Flint’s alternate-history world that were written by fans; many are quite good. Flint’s introduction explains how he built that world as a collaborative exercise via his publisher’s website, and the whole process sounds a bit, well, bloggy. The result is certainly good. Once again, the line between readers and writers is blurring. And that’s a good thing.

Meanwhile, over at her own blog, Megan McArdle issues her long-awaited Presidential endorsement. “Kerry’s record for the first fifteen years in the senate, before he knew what he needed to say in order to get elected, is not the record of anyone I want within spitting distance of the White House war room. . . . For all the administration’s screw -ups — and there have been many — I’m sticking with the devil I know. George Bush in 2004.”

October 30, 2004

UNCLE! The Belmont Club says Osama bin Laden’s latest episode of Jihad TV is a thinly disguised surrender proposal – his own surrender, that is.

October 29, 2004

HALLOWEEN MISCHIEF OF THE POLITICAL KIND. Yeah.

October 29, 2004

JEALOUS? Do you think there’s any connection between Osama Bin Laden’s releasing a new videotape after all these years and that asinine “Assam the American” tape of a few days ago? Was Osama jealous? Hey, I want to be the scary terrorist guy who swings the election!

My advice to Americans: Vote for whoever you would have voted for anyway!

October 29, 2004

(VERY) BAD METHODOLOGY: A Lancet study (free registration required) estimates 100,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed since the fall of Saddam’s regime. It has since been demolished by Shannon Love.

October 29, 2004

HANDS OFF THE SNOOZE BUTTON: John Kerry seems to forget elections are won in the center, not on the margins. He sounded like a flailing irrelevant activist today when he told me and everyone else to wake up. Suggesting we’ve all been asleep for four years isn’t the smoothest way to woo the opposition, but I suppose it’s better than accusing us of having false consciousness.

October 29, 2004

CHIEF JUSTICE REHNQUIST IS RELEASED FROM THE HOSPITAL, according to this report, which quotes Justice Clarence Thomas saying he expects the Chief back “as unforgiving as ever,” the Court being “a place where people work as if they’re paid by the hour.”

October 29, 2004

JUST IN TIME FOR HALLOWEEN: Ever wonder what the skulls of the candidates look like? Well, now you know.

October 29, 2004

DEPARTMENT OF NONSENSE: So Osama has released a new video in which he harshes on Bush:

“It never occurred to us that the commander in chief of the country (Bush) would leave 50,000 citizens in the two towers to face those horrors alone … because he thought listening to a child discussing her goats was more important,” bin Laden said, referring to Bush’s visit to a school when the attack occurred.

Just goes to show, you get a little nutty when you spend too much time living in a cave.

October 29, 2004

A NEW BIN LADEN VIDEO AIRS ON AL-JAZEERA. But you can’t tell from this early report whether there was any material in his statement proving it is a recently made video. There’s also nothing about how sickly he looked.

UPDATE: Now, we have a longer story complete with a screen-grab photo showing OBL — or someone who looks like him — holding up his index finger in lesson-giving style. There is a mention of John Kerry as well as George Bush, which provides some basis for guessing when the tape was made.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Is this an OBL effect?

October 29, 2004

THE AFTERMATH OF THE KERRY VISIT TO MADISON. You might be picturing a hot political environment here in Madison today, but you would be wrong. I just walked down Bascom Hill, through the Library Mall, and up State Street, and I saw no political activity whatsoever. I started looking even for buttons and stickers and saw just one backpack with a Kerry sticker. There are lots of young people here today. For one thing, the weather is very warm, in the 70s, and people are out and about in sandals and tank tops. For another thing, it’s the big Halloween weekend, which is a major event drawing many people to Madison. I don’t hear people talking about politics on the street or in the restaurants and cafés. Well, for that matter, even at the rally yesterday, I didn’t hear the kids in the crowd talking about politics. The streets are full of young people today, but I think they are in a Halloween-partying frame of mind. To me, the college kids don’t seem that political.

I’m blogging this in a restaurant, where I just opened a fortune cookie that reads: “Be patient, you will hear comforting news.” I’m sitting at a table by the second floor windows, and I’m just starting to see some costumes mixed in with the street clothes. Have fun kids! This may be the most important Halloween of your lifetime. And don’t break anything!

October 29, 2004

THOSE NEOCONS! Now they’re giving people shingles. Way to go, neocons.

October 29, 2004

HOPE IS NOT A STRATEGY: David Hogberg takes issue with the notion that electing John Kerry would force him and his party to take the terror threat seriously. Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and even tough guy Ronald Reagan under-reacted. He argues with Andrew Sullivan in particular. (I do not mean to pick on Sullivan. I know where he’s coming from. I made the same argument a month ago myself.)

October 29, 2004

REVOLUTION CALLING: Iran Press News reports that more than 150 anti-government protests, strikes, and riots took place in Iran in the second half of September and the first half of October. That’s an average of more than five per day. 20 involved violent street battles with Iran’s “disciplinary forces.” A government office in Ramsar was attacked by armed gunmen.

October 29, 2004

DO I HAVE TO DRAW YOU A PICTURE? IMAO draws you a whole set of pictures to explain who to vote for. Alternatively, there’s this audio.

October 29, 2004

FRENCH DOCTORS think Yasser Arafat may have leukemia.

October 29, 2004

A U.S. ARMY OFFICER told Fox News that one of his 3rd Infantry Division teams moved 250 tons of material, including explosives, from the al Qa Qaa facility in April 2003.

October 29, 2004

TWO BUSHBABIES. Here and here.

UPDATE: I’ve removed two updates with bad links. Sorry. Hope that didn’t violate any Instapundit standards and practice!

October 29, 2004

JOHN KERRY has a new constituency: Underpants gnomes.

October 29, 2004

MAKE UP YOUR MIND ALREADY!!! One by one, the undecided voters in my family have fallen, two to Bush and one to none of the above. I’ve lingered, though. I know that few people believed this, but this wasn’t some stunt; I’ve honestly been undecided. A couple of times I came {imagine two fingers pressed together} this close to deciding for Kerry, on the grounds that Bush is a pigheaded incompetent; one time I decided I was going Bush, because Kerry is a rank opportunist and a multilateralist naif. But then something has always pulled me back into the battleground of indecision. I’ve been here before; I voted for Gore in 2000 at the last minute, and then switched my allegiance during the Florida Ballot Wars. What can I say? I’m a flip-flopper nuanced.

But now I’ve decided. You can read the endorsement at my blog (where you can comment), or click for an extended entry. As you can see, I was up into the wee-sma hours writing this, so be kind on any grammatical errors or typos you may find.

One more thing: though I’ve decided who to vote for, it wasn’t an easy choice, and I won’t be too jubilant if he wins, nor downcast if his opponent comes in. Like all Americans (I hope), I’ll be wishing whoever wins the best of luck in Iraq and a rising economic tide to lift all boats.

Continue reading ‘MAKE UP YOUR MIND ALREADY!!! One by one, the undecided voters in my family have fallen, two to Bush…’ »

October 29, 2004

WHAT HAS ARAFAT GOT? Medpundit thinks cancer, with liver metastes. I have absolutely no medical qualifications whatsoever, but I also thought cancer when I saw him, from his emaciated face and bloated belly. And he looks . . . small . . . the way dying people do. I think he may be close to the end.

October 29, 2004

SAY MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM: This week’s Carnival of the Recipes is up!

October 29, 2004

PHOTO FINISH: A reader emails the following:

If you review the pictures on the KSTP web site that has the ABC video everyone is using you can see a very clear picture of a seal with its number (#144322). The PDF document of the UN inspections available show the numbers of the seals and none of them have that number. Therefore, it is clear that the bunkers that ABC videoed were not the ones that held the HMX the UN inspected.

I’m more inclined to trust a news organisation than a UN bureaucracy, but its certainly worth investigating.

UPDATE: A colleague points out that the seal in question is just a sample, not one of the ones that’s supposed to be at the site. Mystery explained.

October 29, 2004

BUTTONS. Megan and Michael aren’t here yet, and I’ve got to get my notes together for my CivPro2 class, which means I’ve got to start settling my mind around the topic of supplemental jurisdiction. So let me leave this for you, dear Instapundit readers. It’s a collection of buttons displayed in the window of a shop on State Street in Madison, Wisconsin:

October 29, 2004

DEALING WITH THAT DRAFT RUMOR. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld writes:

To my knowledge, in the time I have served as secretary of Defense, the idea of reinstating draft has never been debated, endorsed, discussed, theorized, pondered, or even whispered by anyone in the Bush administration.

But are the people who believe the rumor about the draft going to believe Rumsfeld? I’d like to think people are getting savvier about political manipulation all the time. But I guess then you have to be skeptical of Rumsfeld as well as the people who are selling the draft rumor. Who knows what force drives people down one decisional path or another? I’m glad no one really knows how people decide who and what to believe. It make it harder to manipulate them. That the human mind is a mystery is one of the great safeguards of democracy.

UPDATE: Or is the mystery about to be unlocked?

ANOTHER UPDATE: Several people emailed me a link to this lame Tom Harkin piece, aimed at Minnesota students. But this is the email-of-the-day on the draft, I think:

Short of a hot WWIV in which our borders are overrun with hordes of enemy combatants, there will be no draft and conscription of “cannon fodder”! My husband works very high-level force reconfiguration issues for the Army and I can PROMISE you there is no talk of a military draft. A draft is the last thing our professional armed forces need and want. Draftees are a tremendous drag on the system, training and discipline issues are just for starters, and the military has studied for years how important domestic political goodwill is essential for supporting military ops and campaigns. Drafting unqualified and unhappy warm bodies into the military would degrade our readiness to a tragic degree, and our military from the top brass down to Privates knows this. Viscerally. Remember ‘Nam?

Today, we have the best armed forces in the solar system, with motivated, highly qualified, and super competent personnel. Yes, they are stretched in our current engagements, but not to the breaking point. Redeployments, force reconfigurations and hardware systems coming on line will alleviate and strengthen any strain. Also, re-enlistment rates are quite good. The only people “asking” for a draft are liberal Democrat scaremongers in Congress who have cravenly written up some draft bills that are essentially dead but which are being used to trick our young folk into believing they are at risk of being conscripted. The effect of what they are doing is also to treat even voluntary service as if it were something to be avoided. Dems don’t have to say this directly, only to raise the specter of military time as being one of privation and death.

There is no equivalency between Rumsfeld’s denial about the draft and authoritative word on this issue and that of unethical Democrat partisans using cheap fear tactics in an important election. This situation alone, their unbelievably irresponsible and dishonest abuse of our military and its planners, would compel me never to put Kerry and his DNC in charge of our armed forces. They have gone and are going a lie too far. They don’t care the damage they do to military morale or to citizens’ trust in our military and their policy. And they’re doing this while our amazing men and women are in harm’s way on our account and while they are accomplishing all sorts of “progressive” missions in Afghanistan and Iraq, such as allowing for democratic elections and more civil liberties and building infrastructure in countries that had suffered under regimes deadly dangerous to us and to their own people.

Oh, I forgot. “Progressive” these days doesn’t mean in support of liberation, democracy, security and prosperity for those living under oppressors and madmen opposed to the US. My bad!

October 29, 2004

TWO STRATEGIES AT THE KERRY RALLY IN MADISON YESTERDAY, as reported in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. First, campaign workers swirled through the crowd (I saw them) asking who has a cell phone.

Thousands of cards asking people to call and urge others to vote for Kerry were passed out. The cards included a script that people could read, and the crowd was asked to make the rally “the biggest phone bank in political history.” But not many people appeared to be making calls.

This is an interesting study in human behavior. I think people doing a scripted phone call don’t like to be standing around in public being seen and heard. I’m not surprised people weren’t eager to do this. I can also see why campaign people got fired up thinking it would be great: all those kids have cell phones … what if they all called from the big rally? Some high tech ideas just don’t take off. And I wonder if the campaign people realize how sick of phone calls from them at least this person of Wisconsin is.

Here’s the second strategy:

People … were urged to go from the rally to the nearby Madison city clerk’s office to vote early. However, no major surge of people appeared to be doing that. Early and absentee voting has been brisk in Madison and elsewhere in the state. The clerk’s office said it would stay open until 8 p.m. Thursday to accommodate voters.

So that one wasn’t so popular either? I guess part of the idea of early voting is to avoid lines, so when 80,000 people are urged to go over and vote, you’ve really lost the whole attraction. And remember, the crowd was urged to show up at 10 a.m. and the rally ended around 2 in the afternoon. Time to trudge over to another downtown location and stand around. No, maybe time to go get something to eat or do some studying. Yesterday was actually a big mid-term exam day here on the UW campus.

UPDATE: According to this report, fewer people showed up to vote in City Hall yesterday than came in the previous day.

October 28, 2004

MORE DRINK-RED-WINE ADVICE. Fine, I’m always open to that suggestion. Apparently, white wine makes it worse, and rosé is like running in place. Ah! What the hell? Don’t even go to the link. Just drink red wine. Scientists say it’s good for you. And get on with life. What’s to object to?

October 28, 2004

NICK COHEN AND OLIVER KAMM explain how Britain’s Liberal Democrats betray both liberalism and democracy.

October 28, 2004

THE O’REILLY SETTLEMENT. Beldar has some intriguing speculations.

October 28, 2004

THEN AGAIN, those explosives at al Qa Qaa may have gone missing after Saddam’s regime fell. Here are some screen shots of videotape taken April 18, 2003, which may show the cache of explosives in question.

UPDATE: Or maybe not.

October 28, 2004

GET A PAPER ROUTE: Jim Rutenberg wrote an article for the New York Times about journalists spooked by “Internet writers.”

Journalists covering the campaign believe the intent is often to bully them into caving to a particular point of view. They insist the efforts have not swayed them in any significant way, though others worry the criticism could eventually have a chilling effect.

A chilling effect? Journalists, chill. Do you have any idea what it’s like to be an “Internet writer?” Do you really think we don’t get criticized, too? Come on. My blog has a comments section that on any given day dozens and even hundreds of people use to yell at me and at each other. Instapundit doesn’t have comments, but it does have email. I can’t even read it all, let alone answer it.

The blogosphere is not an entity. It’s a network. The political blogosphere has two halves. And those who inhabit different halves blast each other’s writing as often as they train their sights on the media.

When I was a kid I worked at a pizza joint. The manager liked to say “if you can’t work with people, get a paper route.” That’s great advice. It goes for adults, too. If you can’t take criticism you can always deliver the paper. You don’t have to write for it.

October 28, 2004

“BRUCE COME UP FOR A BEER.” So read a sign some UW students hung out on their balcony during the big Kerry/Springsteen rally here in Madison today. And he did drop in, the L.A. Times reports. Punchline: “When asked to name their favorite Springsteen song, the young women looked at each other blankly and dissolved into embarrassed laughter.”

October 28, 2004

OCTOBER SURPRISE IN BERLIN: Germany got an October Surprise of its own when the largest German newspaper (which also happens to be the largest in Europe) endorsed the re-election George W. Bush.

October 28, 2004

Yesterday, I wrote about a plan, reported in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, for using schoolchildren in a get-out-the-vote effort. Today, the MJS reports that the Milwaukee Public Schools Superintendent William Andrekopoulos has suspended the program after the many critical phone calls that came in after the MJS printed its story yesterday.

The program was a project of the Wisconsin Citizen Action Fund, whose parent organization has endorsed Kerry. The group’s co-executive director Larry Marx has this to say:

The students are bearing the brunt of a decision based on political pressure that is being brought on the district … This is a project that the district should be proud of. It is outrageous that partisan pressure is brought to bear that is making kids suffer.

Glad to see Marx is such a staunch opponent of political pressure! And that he’s so concerned about the suffering of children who might have experienced the joys of going door-to-door and now will be imprisoned in those dreary classrooms with their books and teachers. At least in Racine and Madison the program continues apace.

October 28, 2004

ABOUT THAT TAPE. I’ve got to disagree with my co-guestbloggers. Megan and Michael have both said ABC ought to run the tape it has of a hooded man mouthing al Qaeda commonplaces like “it’s your turn to die” and “the streets will run with blood.” That tape is a big nothing. Why should the newsmedia run al Qaeda’s lame advertisements?

UPDATE: I should note that Megan is saying that “if ABC is planning to air this tape at all, it should air it now; there’s no excuse for waiting.” I think there is some excuse for delaying it. The idea would be that it is newsworthy, but that it should not be sprung at the last minute where it can’t be examined and responded to and where it will get way more attention than it deserves.

ANOTHER UPDATE: I saw the portions of the tape that were shown tonight on “Special Report With Brit Hume,” and I got a good laugh at this dumb American jawing his headwrap up and down and flailing his fingers at the camera. I’m willing to believe this clown is dangerous, but he’s nothing special. Anyone can swaddle his cranium in a checkered scarf and make general threats that sound like things we’ve heard before. What difference does it make? We already know there are people who want to kill us. There’s nothing about what I’m seeing here that has anything to do with the difference between idle threats and imminent threats. You’d have to be a fool to change your vote one way or the other based on this!

October 28, 2004

GLENN REYNOLDS explains the Anglosphere in his new column in The Guardian.

October 28, 2004

Drudge reports that the Al Qaeda videotape obtained by ABC News was sent to the FBI and the CIA and has since been authenticated. But ABC cut the last fifteen minutes of the tape, the portion where Americans are threatened with greater attacks if Bush and Cheney are re-elected, according to Drudge’s unnamed top government source.

ABC thinks it knows what the CIA ought to see, but they’re reportedly still scratching their heads about what they should say to us proles.

One ABC source, who demanded anonymity, said Thursday morning, the network was struggling to find a correct journalistic “balance” before airing any story on the video.

Here’s some advice for you guys. Just air the damn tape without any edits or comments. You report. We’ll decide.

October 28, 2004

A MADISON SIDEWALK STENCIL. Found on Bascom Hill, near the Law School:

UPDATE: This emailer has definitely thought more deeply about the meaning of the stencil than I did:

Okay, maybe it’s me: I’m middle-aged and doubtless ossified (or “dirigiste” if I grok Glenn’s delightful turn of phrase in his latest Guardian column), after all. But I really don’t get it. Or I get it, but in more than one way. Or that I don’t get why someone would go to the trouble to produce sucky minimalist agitprop which provides no blindingly obvious and instant recognition, and thus defeats the whole raison of StencilPolitik (at least for the dirigiste among us).

So, is capitalism the gun-guy, and “we” are the victim? Or is it that there is no you-we, and the idea is capitalism means the robbery of nameless, faceless innocents by nameless, faceless guilties? Or that “we”, as the proletarian-intellectual solidarity movement of the PR of Madison, have the Gun Of The Dialectic pointed at the blank, bourgeois head of capitalism? Or that, a la “Fight Club”, fringe Young Republicans are carrying out a secret recruiting drive under the very noses of Badger mainstream by posting cryptic, mocking communiqués known but to those whom they seek? ( “First rule of Madison Capitalist Pig Club; nobody talks about Madison Capitalist Pig Club .”) Please, reveal all.

Man, I so can’t reveal all I didn’t even realize when I posted this how less-than-all I understood about this inscrutable stencil. I think I’m just charmed by inscrutability (like that “Plants Can’t Vote” sign, which an emailer is bringing me down by saying it’s crushingly obviously about medical marijuana). But I can reveal this: I absolutely love the movie “Fight Club.” And wasn’t 1999 a great movie year? I had so much hope then about how cool movies were, and what happened?

October 28, 2004

A LIBERTARIAN GUIDE: Are you a libertarian? Unimpressed with Michael Badnarik? Torn between Bush and Kerry? David Hogberg is here to help.

October 28, 2004

THE THIRD WAVE OF DECLINISM: Carrol Andrew Morse argues with Kerry-supporting hawks, and singles out Andrew Sullivan and Christopher Hitchens in particular, in his new Tech Central Station column.

Mr. Morse sees two options ahead of us: confrontation or, as he puts it, declinism. Put another way, he sees the election as a choice between two very different men: one who seeks victory over terrorism, and another who hopes to effectively manage the problem.

Sullivan and Hitchens think the election of John Kerry would force the Democrats to “get real” about Iraq. I agree with both of them. This would be a likely result. But toward what end? Victory? Or something less ambitious?

October 28, 2004

PICTURE THAT MOST EXEMPLIFIES THE MOOD OF THE CROWD at the Kerry rally in Madison today:

A Madison point of view:

A glimpse of the candidate:

UPDATE: Lots more pictures at my regular blog.

ANOTHER UPDATE: That “Plants Can’t Vote” sign is drawing a lot of email. One reader wrote:

I dunno…  At my place, Rose, Iris, Basil, Ivy, Petunia, Rosemary and Leland are all wanting to register.  As much as their votes for a beautiful Bush would please me, I’m going to lock the garden gate on Tuesday.  Cheating’s not right, and they’ll just have to wait for plants rights to catch on in our animal based society.  I just wish that certain unscrupulous voter registration activists/profiteers felt the same way.

Another wrote:

I don’t get it. Did Kerry come our for legalizing pot or something? Or is it that she was trying to make a point about the environment, but a marijuana leaf was the only handy example of a plant when poster-making time arrived? I mean, you’d think an environmentalist might have a fern, or an aloe plant, or something like that in her dorm room, or might at least be able to recall the appearance of the leaf of one plant besides marijuana.

That’s what I love about it.

ANOTHER “PLANTS CAN’T VOTE” UPDATE: I like this email:

Have you read “The Botany of Desire” by Michael Pollan? To compress an excellent book into one sentence, his theme is that those plants we have domesticated beyond all recognition have actually, in a sense, used us — our peculiar human desires and biological compulsions — to advance their own species far beyond what could be achieved in nature. One of the four plants on which Pollan focuses is — you guessed it — marijuana.

From this perspective, the idea that humans might be compelled by their marijuana plants to vote a certain way is slightly chilling.

I haven’t read the book (yet), but I used Amazon’s “Look Inside The Book” and found these results for “marijuana.” Fascinating! I guess I’m completely ready to read a book that contains the question “How do you tell when a jaguar is hallucinating?” — which was the first thing I read when I clicked on a “results” page.

October 28, 2004

BACK FROM THE BIG KERRY/SPRINGSTEEN RALLY IN MADISON. If you’re wondering where I’ve been all day, well, I had to teach at 11, and then “I busted out of class” and made my way over to the Capitol Square to see if I could catch some of the big Kerry rally. How close could I get? The gates opened at 10. I arrived close to 12:30 and there was a huge crowd, so I couldn’t tell how much had already gone on. I talked to a young guy who said all that’s happened so far is that Dave Grohl came out at 12:05 and sang a couple songs, accompanying himself on guitar. I’m told he was “pretty good.” At that point, the loudspeakers were playing Starship-type 80s rock, and it was none too entertaining. I took some pictures and started to walk away, but after a few blocks, I saw a path down a side street to walk in much closer, so I went back and got some more pictures. I turned to walk away again, but then I heard the announcement that Governor Doyle and Bruce Springsteen were about to come on stage. So I put up with Doyle’s groan-inducing speech based on on Springsteen song titles (“John Kerry was born in the USA …”). Then Bruce came out with his accoustic guitar and sang two songs, one of which was “No Surrender.” He proceeded to give a little speech that went like this:

mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble health care mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble folks mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble people mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble John Kerry mumble mumble mumble

All right, enough of that. I walked away again, heading back toward the Law School, and, I saw another nice opening, down a pretty, leafy street, that would take me right up to the back of the stage, so I walked back just as John Kerry was coming out and beginning his speech. Despite the crowd of 80,000 (to take Governor Doyle’s number as the fact), which packed the streets for blocks, I got within 40 feet of John Kerry and was able to photograph him. There was really no visible security presence — aside from a perimeter of loosely hinged-together metal gates and a handful of Madison police lolling about at the road blocks. But the crowd was exceedingly mellow. The people didn’t cheer or chant much. There was no heckling of any kind. No one bothered the few people who held up Bush/Cheney signs. There were tons of students, assorted other folks, and a few Madison characters — and many of them had been standing around for four hours. The speech itself you already know, so there’s nothing to report there. The most notable thing to me about the live experience was how entirely pacific that huge sea of people was.

I’ll have some photos soon.

UPDATE: Bruce seems to share my distaste for the Gov. Doyle’s speech: “I think this will be the governor’s last experience as my opening act.”

October 28, 2004

Jim Treacher offers me more reasons not to vote for Bush.

October 28, 2004

HEH.

October 28, 2004

INDEED.

October 28, 2004

THE WORLD’S YOUNGEST BLOGGER (or so she says, she’s 13) hosts the Halloween edition of the Carnival of the Vanities.

October 28, 2004

A PALESTINIAN IN PARIS: Yasser Arafat is being flown to Paris for medical treatment. Israel has lifted its one-man travel ban, not wanting to be blamed if he dies outside a hospital. There is no word on whether or not they will give him the right of return.

October 28, 2004

REACH OUT AND TOUCH SOMEONE: If you want to get in touch with one of us guest bloggers — or just see our normal blogs — here’s our info:

Michael Totten
Blog: michaeltotten.com
Email: michaeltotten001 -at – yahoo -dot – com

Ann Althouse
Blog: Althouse
Email: her last name, followed by @wisc.edu

Megan McArdle
Blog: Asymmetrical Information
Email: janegalt -at- janegalt -dot- net

October 28, 2004

IT’S REAL, SO RUN IT: The CIA has apparently authenticated the tape of a terrorist threatening new attacks, but ABC is holding off because of the political implications.

It’s no better to hold a story until after the election because of its political impact, than to hold one until right before the election because it will make a bigger bang. Nor would it be right to hold a tape telling Americans to elect Kerry, or else he’d kill them.

There are legitimate questions about whether news organisations should air tapes made by terrorists, because it raises questions of whether we are in some way becoming instruments of terror. But if ABC is planning to air this tape at all, it should air it now; there’s no excuse for waiting. ABC is a news organisation; the tape is news; and it’s been authenticated. ABC should run it tonight. The story’s going to get out anyway.

UPDATE: Howard Kurtz reports that ABC may not run it at all, saying they aren’t convinced it represents a real threat. Fair enough, but if it’s distributed by Al-Qaeda’s house cinemetography shop, as I’m reading it is, that would seem a good indicator.

FURTHER UPDATE: A source at a news organisation emails the following:

A CIA spokesperson whom I spoke to mere moments ago was very adamant in saying the ABC terror tape has “not, not, not, not, not, not, not, not yet been authenticated.” Thought you might like to know because, thanks to Drudge, a lot of people are getting this wrong.

October 28, 2004

POLL-WATCHING: The Washington Post says there are major problems with the polls

Costs are soaring as cooperation rates remain at or near record lows. In some surveys, less than one in five calls produces a completed interview — raising doubts whether such polls accurately reflect the views of the public or merely report the opinions of stay-at-home Americans who are too bored, too infirm or too lonely to hang up.

October 28, 2004

I THINK IT’S SAFE TO SAY That Bush’s lead in Missouri is now locked up. Of course, his campaign might try to start a whispering campaign pointing out that a man who thinks that Eddie Yost and “Manny Ortez” play for the Sox can’t be that much of a fan. But how to keep the Red Sox fans from hearing about it? And wouldn’t this just bring up the painful subject of “Lambert Field” in a state that Kerry really needs to win?

October 28, 2004

ON THE OTHER HAND: Gerard Baker says I should vote for Bush because he’s pissing off the right people.

October 28, 2004

ROCK THE VOTE Electoral-Vote.Com, one of the political-junkie polling sites I linke a few days ago, has excellent advice for everyone planning to vote in this election:

Several lawyers have contacted me about the issue of what to do if you show up to vote and the election officials say you are not registered. Here is the procedure. First, be absolutely sure you are in the correct precinct. If you are in the wrong precinct, in most states, your vote won’t be counted. If you are not 100% certain of your polling place, go to www.mypollingplace.com and check. Alternatively, call the toll-free number 1-866-OUR-VOTE or your county clerk. If you are sure you are in the correct polling place and the officials claim you are not registered, ask for a provisional ballot and fill it out correctly. You are entitled to one by law. Politely, but firmly, insist on being given a provisional ballot.

October 28, 2004

ARE EXPATS REALLY GOING KERRY? In response to my earlier post, a reader writes from Bulgaria:

I’m an ex-pat in Sofia, Bulgaria and have been watching CNN World do pieces called “A View From Europe,” which shows a series of snippets from expats living throughout (old) Europe. Every one I’ve seen has been anti-Bush (eg. pro-Kerry by default). Most are a bit stylized, well-edited jobs with excellent voice overs while the expat walks down streets, or buys groceries, or does other normal things (working in this field myself, I always laugh at what I know is contrived, albeit well-contrived).

Most of the fellow ex-pats I meet around here are split 70/30 Bush. And most of those Bush supporters dread—as I do—a Kerry presidency based on their understanding of the ‘rest of the world’ (that sounds arrogant, but it’s exactly the ‘ex-pat’ knowledge of the ‘rest of the world’ that makes their expertise seem to matter more, yes?).

Kerry is seen as weak. And frankly, many people, even here, work in risky jobs and don’t want another “Tomahawk thrower.” With Bush, at least, an overseas bombing or kidnapping will be reported in the news (repeatedly, with accompanying editorial), prompting the current administration to act if it hasn’t already. In short, most are looking out for #1, and know who is the Reagan and who is the Carter in our current election.

The 30% or so going for Kerry still have nothing good to say about Kerry, but stick to the Bush Dumb=I’m Embarrassed and Alienated From Important Foreign People meme. It tends to be a reflection of what CNN World is televising, and apparently what is being reported over in the States.

October 28, 2004

THE FINAL NAIL IN THE COFFIN? The prestigious endorsement of The Economist has gone to . . . [insert drumroll here] . . . . John Kerry. But it’s not exactly a ringing endorsement.

Like those two previous challengers, Mr Kerry has shaped many of his positions to contrast himself with the incumbent. That is par for the course. What is more disconcerting, however, is the way those positions have oscillated, even as the facts behind them have stayed the same. In the American system, given Congress’s substantial role, presidents should primarily be chosen for their character, their qualities of leadership, for how they might be expected to deal with the crises that may confront them, abroad or at home. Oscillation, even during an election campaign, is a worrying sign.

If the test is a domestic one, especially an economic crisis, Mr Kerry looks acceptable, however. His record and instincts are as a fiscal conservative, suggesting that he would rightly see future federal budget deficits as a threat. His circle of advisers includes the admirable Robert Rubin, formerly Mr Clinton’s treasury secretary. His only big spending plan, on health care, would probably be killed by a Republican Congress. On trade, his position is more debatable: while an avowed free trader with a voting record in the Senate to confirm it, he has flirted with attacks on outsourcing this year and chosen a rank protectionist as his running-mate. He has not yet shown Mr Clinton’s talent for advocacy on this issue, or any willingness to confront his rather protectionist party. Still, on social policy, Mr Kerry has a clear advantage: unlike Mr Bush he is not in hock to the Christian right. That will make him a more tolerant, less divisive figure on issues such as abortion, gay marriage and stem-cell research.

The biggest questions, though, must be about foreign policy, especially in the Middle East. That is where his oscillations are most unsettling. A war that he voted to authorise, and earlier this year claimed to support, he now describes as “a mistake”. On some occasions he claims to have been profoundly changed by September 11th and to be determined to seek out and destroy terrorists wherever they are hiding, and on others he has seemed to hark back to the old Clintonian view of terrorism as chiefly a question of law and order. He has failed to offer any set of overall objectives for American foreign policy, though perhaps he could hardly oppose Mr Bush’s targets of democracy, human rights and liberty. But instead he has merely offered a different process: deeper thought, more consultation with allies.

They go for Kerry for precisely the reason I’m thinking of doing so:

Many readers, feeling that Mr Bush has the right vision in foreign policy even if he has made many mistakes, will conclude that the safest option is to leave him in office to finish the job he has started. If Mr Bush is re-elected, and uses a new team and a new approach to achieve that goal, and shakes off his fealty to an extreme minority, the religious right, then The Economist will wish him well. But our confidence in him has been shattered. We agree that his broad vision is the right one but we doubt whether Mr Bush is able to change or has sufficient credibility to succeed, especially in the Islamic world. Iraq’s fledgling democracy, if it gets the chance to be born at all, will need support from its neighbours – or at least non-interference – if it is to survive. So will other efforts in the Middle East, particularly concerning Israel and Iran.

John Kerry says the war was a mistake, which is unfortunate if he is to be commander-in-chief of the soldiers charged with fighting it. But his plan for the next phase in Iraq is identical to Mr Bush’s, which speaks well of his judgment. He has been forthright about the need to win in Iraq, rather than simply to get out, and will stand a chance of making a fresh start in the Israel-Palestine conflict and (though with even greater difficulty) with Iran. After three necessarily tumultuous and transformative years, this is a time for consolidation, for discipline and for repairing America’s moral and practical authority. Furthermore, as Mr Bush has often said, there is a need in life for accountability. He has refused to impose it himself, and so voters should, in our view, impose it on him, given a viable alternative. John Kerry, for all the doubts about him, would be in a better position to carry on with America’s great tasks.

October 28, 2004

HEY, DID YOU JUST COME OVER HERE FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES to check out the “hearty praise of the Administration” dished out — with “vitriol”! –for a “fervent readership”? Thanks for linking, New York Times, and I know I’m just a humble guestblogger — my real home is over here — but that doesn’t sound like a very apt description of Glenn’s writings. Anyway, the linked article is about the tradition of Friday catblogging, so if you didn’t just come here from there, you might want to go over there and read about the warm, fuzzy alternative to blogging about politics. But, really, when is MSM going to notice how sound and rational much of the political blogging is?