November 5, 2006
K.C. JOHNSON posts a Nifong Duke rape roundup.
K.C. JOHNSON posts a Nifong Duke rape roundup.
RANDALL PARKER LOOKS AT “Eternal Youth, Overpopulation, And Instincts To Reproduce.”
How do I know the “Get Out The Vote” machine in full swing?
Well, my phone has received a phone call every hour for the past two days. I enjoyed the Ben Stein call, but the rest just go right to the delete button. It’s not that they are bad, its just that theres nothing more annoying the someone still trying to sell you when you’ve already bought the car.
There is one other thing I’ve noticed. All the calls are for Republicans and Republican issues. I havent received a single call or pamphlet from the Democrats for their candidates or issues in over a week. Its as if the Democrats ran out of ammo a week early.
IT’S A NEWLY REVAMPED POWER LINE NEWS, with lots of new features. Check it out.
A BIG ANTI-CHAVEZ MARCH IN VENEZUELA:
Hundreds of thousands of people on Saturday marched in Caracas to support opposition presidential candidate Manuel Rosales, whose populist campaign has focused on reducing crime and redistributing oil wealth.
Rosales, governor of the oil-rich Zulia state, trails leftist President Hugo Chavez by around 20 percentage points in most private polls ahead of the December 3 election.
Chavez is a close ally of Cuba and fiercely opposes the Bush administration even though Venezuela provides around 12 percent of U.S. oil imports.
Opposition sympathizers donning Venezuela’s signature red, yellow and blue patriotic colors joined the march, which spanned some 12 miles across most of the capital city.
Photos, video, and more at VCrisis.com. Just keep scrolling.
YES, BLOGGING HAS BEEN LIGHT: Among other things, I was interviewed by some guys from Irish TV, who set up in our dining room, as you can see. We interviewed them right back — this media thing is a two-way street — and that podcast will be up later.
HEH: “Oh, no! It’s the dreaded Sunni reaction to the death sentence for Saddam Hussein. I’d heard it was going to be horribly chaotic and violent, but this, this is terrible. I mean, I’m assuming it’s a pretty violent PlayStation game, probably. Don’t you think?”
MICKEY KAUS: “In 2002, remember, it was a generic ballot shift at the last minute–downplayed by the NYT’s Adam Nagourney–that signaled a disappointing day for Democrats. I don’t expect that to happen this time, but … “
HAROLD FORD at the Tennessee / LSU football game. Les Jones posts a report, with photos.
USING WIKIPEDIA to spread computer viruses. Ouch!
“STOP U.S. AID TO ISRAEL:” I don’t think this is actually part of Ned Lamont’s platform.
ANN ALTHOUSE LOOKS AT JAMES WEBB’S VIEWS and asks: “So why is Webb running as a Democrat? Can you imagine how the Democrats would rake him over the coals for saying these things if he’d happened to run as a Republican?” Maybe that’s why. It’s interesting, though, that he’s gotten so much support from the Netroots crowd. Back when the race was new I was surprised to discover that they were backing him, precisely because his views seemed so different from theirs.
UPDATE: Related thoughts on mental flexibility here.
MICHAEL RUBIN TO VANITY FAIR: “If they have nothing to hide — for example taking quotes out of context — then they should have no worries. Vanity Fair: Publish the full transcripts. Now. Before the elections. Stop playing games.”
Ed Morrissey has more on the subject, leading reader C.J. Burch to email: “If reporters won’t tell their sources the truth why should the rest of us assume they are telling their readers the truth?”
“SHE’S A LOT HOTTER THAN YOU, BUCKO:” My brother’s take on the Amanda Congdon interview. Well, yeah.
OBSCURELY FAMOUS: A look at the guy who scored the first-ever perfect game of Pac-Man.
IF THE SITE’S BEEN ACTING FUNNY, it’s because I’ve finally gotten around to a Movable Type upgrade. Things should settle down soon.
NEWS FROM EUROPE: “Lutheran vicar Roland Weisselberg, aged 73, set himself alight in Erfurt where Martin Luther took monastic vows in 1505. Bystanders rushed to extinguish the flames. The man later died of his injuries. In a farewell letter to his wife the vicar wrote that he was setting himself on fire to warn against the danger of the Islamization of Europe. . . . The UK Times reports, ‘The Protestant Bishop of Saxony, Axel Noack, said the suicide had shocked the community and that he hoped it would not hurt relations between Christians and Muslims.’”
ORSON SCOTT CARD has thoughts on the 2006 and 2008 elections:
I say this as a Democrat, for whom the Republican domination of government threatens many values that I hold to be important to America’s role as a light among nations.
But there are no values that matter to me that will not be gravely endangered if we lose this war. And since the Democratic Party seems hellbent on losing it — and in the most damaging possible way — I have no choice but to advocate that my party be kept from getting its hands on the reins of national power, until it proves itself once again to be capable of recognizing our core national interests instead of its own temporary partisan advantages.
To all intents and purposes, when the Democratic Party jettisoned Joseph Lieberman over the issue of his support of this war, they kicked me out as well. The party of Harry Truman and Daniel Patrick Moynihan — the party I joined back in the 1970s — is dead. Of suicide.
Read the whole thing.
UPDATE: Further comments from Eric Scheie.
A NEW ROUND OF MASON-DIXON POLLS shows Republicans likely to keep the Senate. Do I trust ‘em? Polls have been pretty iffy the last several elections, so . . . no, not really. And I really doubt that Harold Ford is 12 points behind Corker. I think Corker’s ahead, but not by nearly that much.
Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and two other defendants were sentenced to death in Baghdad Sunday for crimes against humanity. . . .
Despite a curfew, Iraqis celebrated in the streets of Baghdad while protests were held in Saddam’s hometown of Tikrit.
I hope they don’t take as long with the execution as they took with the trial.
UPDATE: Hmm. Turned on the TV. Fox was covering Saddam, but CNN was running an election-themed piece on stem cell research, and MSNBC was reporting on the hot prospects for the Harold Ford campaign. You’d think this would deserve more attention than that . . . .
Oh, wait, they just teased a coming story with “Will Saddam Hussein’s sentencing spark more violence in Iraq?” I should’ve figured on that spin, shouldn’t I?
And here’s another big roundup from Gateway Pundit.
ANOTHER UPDATE: More thoughts from Austin Bay:
I know, the NY Times and John Kerry have told us Iraq is a disaster. No. The US has already gotten about 90 percent of what it needed on September 12, 2001. Thereâ€™s a democratically elected government in the potentially most powerful (predominantly) Arab Muslim nation, a government trying to learn to crawl under the most trying conditions. Itâ€™s a government that is learning by doing â€” and learning often by failure. However, as long as the US and coalition remain around to coach, train, and respond to crisis, Iraqi failures will be controlled failures.
Yup. Fostering the development of choice in the Middle East â€” a choice other than tyranny or terrorâ€“ is a tough process.
But will we get that story? I doubt it.
Still, congratulations to the people of Iraq.
Read the whole thing.
“WHO’S ROSANNE BARR?” Not even Tom Arnold knows, any more.
THERE’S NOW A MYSPACE PAGE for The Nebraska Guitar Militia.
A GOP DATING LINE COMMERCIAL, from Mary Katharine Ham. This is pretty funny.
SOME BOLD ELECTION PREDICTIONS from Dean Barnett.
STEVE HARRIGAN OF FOX NEWS VOLUNTEERED TO BE WATERBOARDED: You can see the video here.
I KNOW THE ELECTIONS ARE COMING, and there’s football on TV, and everything. But the good folks at Project Valour IT need your help to get laptops to wounded soldiers. I’ve already made my donation (I generally don’t shill for charities I’m not willing to donate to myself), but I’ll donate again. If you haven’t donated, please consider doing so.
These guys have already given.
UPDATE: Sorry, the donation buttons were slowing page loads too much so I had to take them out. Follow the link above to give.
WHEN I WAS A KID I remember eating New Zealand butter and thinking it was the best thing I’d ever had. When I visited New Zealand a few years back, it was as good as I remembered. But it’s very hard to get in the United States — I assume there’s some sort of trade barrier. On a whim, I searched Amazon the other day, found it, and ordered some. It came yesterday, and yes, it’s very good.
UPDATE: Oops, now Amazon seems to be sold out. Reader Patrick Carroll recommends this Irish butter. I’ve ordered that in the past, and it’s good, but I think the New Zealand is a bit better — it has more of those floral notes that make it really good. Jeff Kline recommends this canned butter from New Zealand. I’ve never tried it. Canned butter?
MORE: No, I have no idea what they mean by “Certified kosher under the supervision of Halal.” I understand that Kosher and Halal are pretty much synonymous, but still . . .
WAITING FOR THE SADDAM VERDICT, in Baghdad.
“EITHER WE WIN, OR YOU CHEATED!” Not a very constructive way to approach the elections.
There will soon be another war in the Middle East, this time a renewal of the conflict between the Israel Defence Force (IDF) and Hizbollah. The conflict is inevitable and unavoidable. It will come about because Israel cannot tolerate the rebuilding of Hizbollah’s fortified zone in south Lebanon, from which last year it launched its missile bombardment of northern Israel.
Hizbollah has now reconstructed the fortified zone and is replenishing its stocks of missiles there. Hamas is also creating a fortified zone in the Gaza Strip and building up its stocks of missiles. Israel, therefore, faces missile attack on two fronts. When the Israel general staff decides the threat has become intolerable, it will strike.
War does not reward temporizing and half-measures — or, rather, it rewards them, but with more war.
WOODY ALLEN AND BILLY GRAHAM: The humor, and mutual respect despite obvious disagreement, shown in these clips is the kind of thing we don’t see enough of today. And it’s great television, which makes me wonder why we don’t see more of it.
We’ll all find out soon whether next week’s elections yield the “Democratic wave” so many political seers have predicted. There isn’t much doubt, however, about another kind of electoral wave that has been building across America and is set to crash on Tuesday.
That tsunami is the property-rights backlash, which is the direct result of last year’s misguided and deeply unpopular Supreme Court decision in Kelo v. City of New London. A narrow Court majority decided that the Constitution’s “takings” clause somehow allowed the government to seize private property not merely for “public use” but also on behalf of other private interests. . . . No fewer than 11 states (see nearby table) have ballot measures designed to limit government’s ability to pilfer private property for someone else’s private economic development. Eight initiatives would enshrine those restrictions in state constitutions, and polls show that most are headed for victories.
Bring it on!
NOBODY LOVES DONALD: Or at least, there’s a sudden wave of anti-Rumsfeld sentiment from people who have been supportive in the past. Jules Crittenden called for Rumsfeld’s resignation earlier this week (he also wants Cheney to resign and be replaced by Condi); on Tuesday the four military papers (Army Times, Navy Times, etc.) will call for Rumsfeld to be replaced, and it’s hard to avoid a sense that the buzzards are circling. On the other hand, this December Vanity Fair article — conveniently made available just before the election — suggests that the issue isn’t so much Rumsfeld as President Bush, though the critics, especially Ken Adelman, get in plenty of swipes at Rumsfeld, too.
It’s hard to know what to make of this. Rumsfeld’s a polarizing figure, and antiwar people have been talking smack about him for so long that legitimate criticism tends to get lost in the fog of politics. But this critique of Rumsfeld’s management style from Michael Ledeen is more troubling, because it’s specific.
Bush, of course, has said that Rumsfeld isn’t going anywhere — and if he’d wanted to manage a political subject-change before the election, replacing Rumsfeld would have been a way to signal a new direction and perhaps win over some doubters, so how likely is it that he will change his mind afterward? At any rate, who would replace Rumsfeld? Harold Ford, Jr. suggested Sam Nunn, but I don’t think that’s very likely.
My concerns about losing momentum in the war on terror really go to the top — if Bush wanted more action, I think Rumsfeld would be delivering it. He certainly has in the past.
UPDATE: Reader Len Smith is unimpressed with the criticisms:
Read the critique on Rummy and felt it was not specific enough for me to judge whether or not he is performing well. It actually sounded like a lot of grousing I hear in corporate break rooms. No direction, Boss is sending me on a wild goose chase again, etc., etc.. Pretty common comments in a dynamic environment. My boss and I once decided not to put any â€œgoalsâ€ on my annual review because it was a worthless exercise. In my business, what is important today is old news tomorrow. So I tend to discount these type of complaints.
What I want to know is:
Are the goals of the US military clearly stated to both the administration and the troops?
Are we better today than we were yesterday?
Are the risks, both military and geopolitical, clearly defined and communicated up and down the chain of command?
Can we fight a 3 block war in the Middle East and a conventional war in Korea?
Is our logistics system better than WalMart’s?
Are we prepared for today’s mission and tomorrow’s threat, what about the next decade?
What are our plans to fight the informational war?
These are the kind of things I would like to know before I pass judgment on SecDef’s performance. My son is an enlisted grunt with the Marines so I hear every gripe about â€œmanagementâ€, and yet he can not wait to deploy to Iraq in a couple of months. I personally prefer to look at retention numbers as a good measurement of performance. When the guys that live in the organization keep coming back for another 4 years, one has to ask â€œwhat are we doing right?â€
I can not say with any certainty that Rummy is performing well. I do know that I don’t want the job. Too many whiners!
Yes, our political system is very efficient at delivering those. And Greyhawk emails:
The “four military papers” aren’t military publications – they are the publications of Gannett’s Military Times Media group. Gannett is America’s largest newspaper publisher in terms of daily circulation. In addition to numerous “local papers” (here’s a list http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gannett_Company ) they publish USA Today. Army Times is an official Army publication in the same way USA Today is an official USA publication.
“Trade journal” might be an apt description, but circulation of the papers has never been very deep among individual service members. “Office copies” abound.
Yes, I realized that they’re not official, but I still thought it somewhat significant. But it’s worth mentioning this in case others didn’t know.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Michael Ledeen says that Vanity Fair misrepresented him:
Readers of NRO know well how disappointed I have been with our failure to address Iran, which was, and remains, the central issue, and it has been particularly maddening to live through extended periods when our children were in battle zones where Iranian-supported terrorists were using Iranian-made weapons against Americans, Iraqis and Afghans. I have been expressing my discontent for more than three years. So much for a change of heart dictated by developments on the ground.
So it is totally misleading for Vanity Fair to suggest that I have had second thoughts about our Iraq policy. But then one shouldn’t be surprised. No one ever bothered to check any of the lies in the first screed, and obviously no fact-checker was involved in the latest “promotion.” I actually wrote to David Rose, the author of the article-to-come, a person for whom I have considerable respect. He confirmed that words attributed to me in the promo had been taken out of context.
And reader Frank “Varifrank” Martin emails:
Anyone who thinks Rumsfeld is doing an awful job doesn’t understand his job or his mission from the President. Rumsfeld [doesn't] just hold a position in the cabinet, his mission from the President was to literally transform the Military. In terms of organizational culture, there is no culture in the world more institutionally resistant to change than the Military. Add to that, the difficulty of cutting or changing the various lines of revenue to industry that are naturally going to be impacted by that change, and you get a wicked combination of people who are very unhappy at the start that you’ve appeared on the scene.
Rumsfeld is not a nice guy and he has no ambitions beyond this job. He’s not looking at this job as a way to trade up for Presidency someday. That makes it difficult for anyone to “influence” his decisions, which means they go to “plan B” by attacking him at every turn in an attempt to make his job harder, in hopes that he will ask them to knock it off, and give them some form of favor in return. He of course, doesn’t give a damn, which in their minds is what makes him the ‘most dangerous man’ in Washington.
The Military needs transformation, everyone agrees on that, not because the people in it are bad, or that the men and women in it are bad, but its an organization built for a job that’s changed tremendously with world events. It hasn’t changed, and it wont, without someone forcing that sort of institutional transformation. Its a hard job and its rarely successful.
The Military cannot change itself, no organization can do that. Imagine your company or organization suddenly saying that it needs to change to meet business challenges because that’s what the CEO read in a magazine over the weekend. How’s that work? You spend months on “Mission statements” and going on useless employee retreats and in the end, the same lame-o fatass managers run the same asininely redundant departments only with different titles and cost centers. How do you get a company to change? You don’t change because you want to, you change because the competition forces you to change. You get creamed in a quarterly result, or you get merged with the competition. So what happens to us if our Military gets creamed in combat or “Merged”? In that respect, Rumsfelds transformation doest seem so bad now does it?
The Military cannot change itself. Air Force screams at the Navy, Navy screams at the Army, and everyone screams at the Marines, and the Coast Guard continues to go on unfunded. Congress just sits squirms in its seat every time someone wants to do something simple like close an air force base, Private Industry? Oh sure that will work out fine, no self interest there, right?
So what do you do? You get a man just exactly like Rumsfeld, who’s been around forever, knows exactly what works and what doesn’t work, knows where all the bodies are buried at every level of the chain of command and you let him loose by putting him at the top.
Rumsfeld is uniquely and highly qualified to do exactly what he is doing. He is an institutional nightmare to the lifetime bureaucrat. Think of Rumsfeld as one of those CEO’s that gets hired to turn around a company in bankruptcy court, or like Tom Peters without the PR team. This is not to say that the Military is “bankrupt”, but it has lost its way in some places. Do we really need a dozen more Seawolf submarines or should we have 50 more C-17s and C-5s? F-22′s or MV-22′s?, Airborne Laser Missile Defense or another 10 brigades of Marines and Special Forces? I don’t know the answer to those questions, but I know better than to ask Admiral Chuck “Seawolf” Hardmore if we need more Seawolf submarines.
That’s why we are lucky to have him, and that’s why everyone hates him, because in the end Rumsfeld will be remembered as the greatest change agent of all time.
I certainly hope so.
MORE: David Frum also says that Vanity Fair is misrepresenting his position:
My most fundamental views on the war in Iraq remain as they were in 2003: The war was right, victory is essential, and defeat would be calamitous.
And that to my knowledge is the view of everybody quoted in the release and the piece: Adelman, Cohen, Ledeen, Perle, Pletka, Rubin, and all the others.
(Not that it matters, but this fight is very personal for many of those people. Cohen and Ledeen have both had children serve in Iraq, Cohen’s in the Tenth Mountain Division, Ledeen’s daughter in the civil administration and his elder son in the Marines. As a civilian adviser in Iraq, Rubin displayed impressive personal courage living solo for long periods of time in the Shiite zones of east Baghdad.)
Vanity Fair then set my words in its own context in its press release. They added words outside the quote marks to change the plain meaning of quotations.
Vanity Fair dishonestly shilling for the Democrats just before an election? Who’da thought it?
MORE: And here’s more from Michael Rubin, who was also quoted in the piece:
Some people interviewed for the piece are annoyed because they granted interviews on the condition that the article not appear before the election. Vanity Fair is spinning a series of long interviews detailing the introspection and debate that occurs among responsible policymakers every day into a pre-election hit job. Who doesnâ€™t constantly question and reassess? Vanity Fairâ€™s agenda was a pre-election hit job, and I guess some of us quoted are at fault for believing too much in integrity. What the article seeks to do is push square pegs into round holes. Readers will see that the content of the piece does not match the sensational headlines. Were people gathered around the author gripping about Bush? No. Were people identifying faults in the implementation? Yes. Are people sick of the autodafe whereby pundits demand â€œneoconâ€ confessions to fit their own silly conspiracy theories? Yes. Have those interviewed changed their mind about the war? I have not, no matter how self-serving partisan pundits or lazy journalists want to spin it. I canâ€™t speak for others. . . .
We cannot go around the world betraying our alliesâ€”in this case Iraqis who believed in us or allied with usâ€”just because of short-term political expediency. This is not just about Iraq: If we abandon Iraq, we will not only prove correct all of Usama Bin Ladenâ€™s rhetoric about the US being a paper tiger, but we will also demonstrateâ€”as James Baker and George H.W. Bush did in 1991â€”that listening to the White House and alliance with the United States is a foolâ€™s decision. We can expect no allies anywhere, be they in Asia, Africa, or Latin America, if we continue to sacrifice principles to short-term realist calculations. Itâ€™s not enough to have an attention span of two years, when the rest of the world thinks in decades if not centuries.
Vanity Fair apparently feels otherwise.
STILL MORE: A reader who prefers anonymity emails:
There is no “loss of momentum” in Iraq.
The deliberate, carefully thought-out mission there is to force the Iraqis to build up a military/security apparatus strong enough to defend the country. If we try to “crush” the insurgency ourselves, the Iraqis will have no incentive to fight. They will sit back and let us battle the unending waves of jihadis, Ba’athists, and Shi’ite militias. We will have to stay there forever while the government enriches itself in the traditional Arab style.
The ball is in the Iraqis’ court. We took away the obstacle to their freedom. If they choose to embrace death, corruption, incompetence, lethal religious mania, and stone-age tribalism, then at least we’ll finally know the limitations of the people in that part of the world.
The experiment had to be made.
Hmm. Some support for this notion — and for the idea that attrition is running in the U.S.’s favor — can be found in this analysis. But for better or worse, the so-called “three year rule” is well-known to U.S. planners — U.S. voters will support a war for three years, but then get antsy for a conclusion. This attitude may be bad, especially as applied to “messy small wars,” but it’s a reality. If the Bush Administration embarked on a strategy that was going to bring this into play, it should have worked much harder on the domestic side, and it hasn’t done that.
On the other hand, it’s also true that if democracy can’t work in Iraq, then we should probably adopt a “more rubble, less trouble” approach to other countries in the region that threaten us. If a comparatively wealthy and secular Arab country can’t make it as a democratic republic, then what hope is there for places that are less wealthy, or less secular?
MORE STILL: Tom Bevan reprints a letter from a reader:
I just came from three years in the bowels of the Pentagon and the SECDEF is generally though of there as tough but fair. Have mistakes been made? Sure, they always are but the professional military learns from it’s mistakes.
Rumsfeld should have probably committed more soldiers to the peacekeeping in Iraq. We didn’t need more to win the battle but to pacify the country afterward. Problem is the services are so small after the Clinton years that there just aren’t enough forces to go much above 140K on a continuing basis. And no one here wants a draft. It would have been nice to get further international support, but that didn’t work out, especially after Madrid. I think everyone in the Pentagon, if not the entire DOD hoped the Iraqis would take more responsibility for themselves and not destroy their country’s infrastructure and their countrymen. But unfortunately they are not.
The Army Times op-ed probably won’t change a single mind in the services. We’re all pretty hard-headed and don’t generally take our cues from the press. We wouldn’t be in the Service if we did.
Read the whole thing. Also, here’s a response from the Pentagon to the Army Times, etc. editorials.
EVEN MORE: Reader Chip Fussell emails:
My son is a USMA educated (ranked 50th in a class of almost 1,000) CPT in Army Special Forces. On January 3, 2005 his team was ambushed in Afghanistan, he was seriously wounded and came as close to dying as I think possible and not die. One of his men, a John Kerry educationally challenged SGT who had a BS in Chemistry and was an NCAA cross country champion was killed, and another of his team members ultimately lost a leg. The IED that initated the ambush did the damage, the team repelled the small arms follow-up with what I imagine was over whelming ferocity. My son recovered in time to return to his team on the Pakistan border and accomplish quite a lot in the war on terror.
Having said that, I voted for President Bush in large part so that Rumsfeld would remain as Sec. of Defense, and I continue to support the President and the Secretary as does my son and almost everyone with whom he has contact in the Army.
For the record, I am a registered Democrat and have always been, although my Dad, retired from the Air Force to Harrison, Tennessee, left to join the Repubs and my son, more influenced by my Dad, is a Republican.
Further thoughts from Elephants in Academia. It seems that some people love Donald after all. Meanwhile, Pierre Legrand thinks Rumsfeld should be asking for more money. “Defense spending in 2006 remained at 3.7% of GDP a level not far from the lowest point of the Clinton years and which we were led to believe by Candidate Bush was too low.” And Kurt Hoglund sends this link, and this one.
FINALLY: Various lefty bloggers keep linking to this post for the “more rubble, less trouble” language and misrepresenting that as something I’m advocating. In fact, of course, I’m advocating exactly the opposite as should be clear to anyone who is not deeply dishonest or hopelessly incapable of reading comprehension. The “more rubble, less trouble” phrase refers to what Victor Davis Hanson calls a kind of “punitive isolationism” that I think we’ll see if we give up in Iraq — and that was presaged by the Clinton Administration’s cruise-missile-based antiterror policy. It’s what I hope to prevent, not what I hope to see, and it’s the likely consequence of doing what the lefties want in foreign policy.
I DID AN INTERVIEW WITH AMANDA CONGDON as part of her Amanda Across America tour. Only problem is, she drove right through Knoxville, being under the impression that I lived in Nashville. So we did a makeup, with her asking questions by phone while Helen operated the camera, with her splicing it together later. You can see the interview here.
And the painting in the background is one I bought from those famous Israeli art students.
TWO HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS FROM TWO WORLD WARS: An interesting reader find at BoingBoing. Very cool.
LONGEVITY UPDATE: Here’s more on resveratrol, at FightAging.org.
I agree that even if it works as well as could be hoped, it’s no more than a modest palliative. But count me among those who think that any working anti-aging therapy will encourage much, much more work in the field.
TOM MAGUIRE HAS MORE on those Iraqi nuclear plans.
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER says we’re probably heading for a ho-hum electoral result, by historical standards:
According to the pollsters, pundits and pols — Democratic and nervous Republican — a great anti-Republican wave is a-coming. Well, let’s assume major Democratic gains: 20 to 25 House seats and four to six Senate seats. The House goes Democratic for the first time in 12 years. The Senate probably stays Republican, but by such an excruciatingly small margin that there is no governing majority.
What to say about such a victory? Substantial, yes. Historic, no. Before proclaiming a landslide, one has to ask Henny Youngman’s question: “Compared to what?” (His answer to: “How’s your wife?”) Since the end of World War II, the average loss for a second-term presidency in its sixth year has been 29 House seats and six Senate seats. If you go back to Franklin Roosevelt’s second term, the House loss average jumps to 35. Thus a 25/6 House and Senate loss would be about (and slightly below) the historical average.
I confess that I have no idea what will actually happen. But whatever does, the winner will claim a mandate!
UPDATE: Reader Allen Lerold emails: “If the Republicans hold both houses, by most definitions and certainly by Krauthammer’s, it would be a mandate. Any modest gain by the Dems would just be average. Pfff.”
This would allow a non technical person to manipulate the system. I think it’s time for lie detector testing of election commission personnel and a long overdue purging of the voter database.
I have found 360 voters who, from my records, previously haven’t voted in the past ten years, but now have voted in early voting. At some point, the database has got to be cleaned up. The only way to make that happen is to purge the election commission of those who don’t want to purge the database. And, yes, I’m sending that table to the AG’s office too.
The cards may be smart, but the people in charge of them . . . not so much.
UPDATE: Hey, it could be worse — we could only be protecting the cards as well as we protect nuclear secrets at Los Alamos.
MARY KATHARINE HAM interviews Michael Steele in the latest Ham Nation.
BLOG WEEK IN REVIEW is up, featuring me, Austin Bay, and Tammy Bruce.
READER BEN BORWICK WRITES:
Why are you carrying the torch for James Webb? The guy is a complete scum-bag, severely ethically and morally challenged, has run arguably one of the dirtiest campaigns in Senate history…..ok so Allen has the macaca story, but let’s face it he has his previous tenures as Governor and Senator to judge him by…..
Actually, I’ve gotten a lot of email like this, to go along with accusations that I’m Harold Ford’s “butt-buddy.” I just call ‘em as I see ‘em. Webb’s campaign has been kind of lame, but so has Allen’s. (Though Allen’s rapid-response has gotten a lot better since he hired a blogger, it speaks badly of his judgement that he didn’t do that until he was in deep macaca.) The plagiarism charges against Webb seemed suspiciously timed, and I said so. That’s hardly an endorsement of Webb, though in fact I don’t think it would a disaster if Webb won.
I GAVE THE WRONG LINK for the Economist “Democracy in America” blog earlier — it’s here.
NIDRA POLLER looks at burning buses in France: “Facts pop up once in a while like fish bubbles on a quiet lakeâ€”hundreds of cars burned on a relatively calm night, at least a hundred every night all year long, 2500 policemen injured since January 2006â€”and disappear without consequences.”
A Canadian author’s book about the need to defend Western civilization against Islam’s demographic juggernaut — and the United States’ vital role in that effort — has become a best-seller in the United States, but remains all but impossible to buy at stores in this country.
Conservative columnist Mark Steyn’s book America Alone has shot up best-seller lists: It stands at 13th on The New York Times list and 23rd on Amazon.com.
But Canada’s largest book seller, Indigo Books and Music Inc., does not have the book in stock at its Chapters outlets or its other book-selling subsidiaries.
I QUESTION THE TIMING: “The unemployment rate dropped to a five-year low of 4.4 percent in October as employers added 92,000 new jobs flashing a picture of a strong labor market as the midterm elections draw near.”
UPDATE: Reader Ron T. emails: “I mailed you this afternoon to inform you that the Labor Department’s release of the October statistics at 9 AM today was standard procedure. I am surprised to visit your site nine hours later and see that your “suspicious timing” line remains in place. It concerns me that the author of a high profile blog wouldn’t make a phone call to confirm or disprove his suspicions over a very routine event.”
I missed the earlier email . . . but this post was entirely tongue-in-cheek, which I thought was obvious. But, just in case it wasn’t to everybody, well, now it is . . . .
IN THE MAIL: Dr. David Gratzer’s new book, The Cure: How Capitalism Can Save American Health Care. I haven’t read it, but the Insta-Wife grabbed it and reports it’s good. Plus, it has a foreword by Milton Friedman.
A JET-POWERED BIODIESEL SUPERCAR? Cool.
MORE ON VOTER FRAUD: The Wall Street Journal looks at the Acorn indictments:
So, less than a week before the midterm elections, four workers from Acorn, the liberal activist group that has registered millions of voters, have been indicted by a federal grand jury for submitting false voter registration forms to the Kansas City, Missouri, election board. But hey, who needs voter ID laws?
We wish this were an aberration, but allegations of fraud have tainted Acorn voter drives across the country. Acorn workers have been convicted in Wisconsin and Colorado, and investigations are still under way in Ohio, Tennessee and Pennsylvania.
The good news for anyone who cares about voter integrity is that the Justice Department finally seems poised to connect these dots instead of dismissing such revelations as the work of a few yahoos. After the federal indictments were handed up in Kansas City this week, the U.S. Attorney’s office said in a statement that “This national investigation is very much ongoing.”
Read the whole thing.
They both look interesting. But The Economist’s tradition of institutional authorship remains. I wonder how well that will work where blogs are concerned?
UPDATE: Ack! Second link was wrong. Fixed now.
ANOTHER EVANGELIST SEX SCANDAL: I don’t think I’d ever even heard of this Haggard guy, but you’d think the picture would be enough to tip people off about the gay part. . . .
Anyway, La Shawn Barber has a roundup and thoughts, including this:
Hypocrisy is mightier than the sword. When you preach/teach/nag against something and people find out youâ€™re doing the thing you preach/teach/nag against, you are a hypocrite who deserves ridicule, especially if youâ€™re high profile.
Having said all that, I have to say this: No Christian should be surprised that Haggard may have given in to his perverted thoughts and turned them into perverted actions. Itâ€™s a temptation we all face. . . .
Christians constantly are being watched, and rightly so. Any little thing we do that appears hypocritical, unbelievers jump on it.
Christianity, of course, is not about perfection. Nonetheless. . . .
“You know, when I was a young man, hypocrisy was deemed the worst of vices,” Finkle-McGraw said. “It was all because of moral relativism. You see, in that sort of a climate, you are not allowed to criticise others — after all, if there is no absolute right and wrong, then what grounds is there for criticism?”
“Now, this led to a good deal of general frustration, for people are naturally censorious and love nothing better than to criticise others’ shortcomings. And so it was that they seized on hypocrisy and elevated it from a ubiquitous peccadillo into the monarch of all vices. For, you see, even if there is no right and wrong, you can find grounds to criticise another person by contrasting what he has espoused with what he has actually done. In this case, you are not making any judgment whatsoever of his behaviour — you are merely pointing out that he has said one thing and done another. Virtually all political discourse in the days of my youth was devoted to the ferreting out of hypocrisy.
“We take a somewhat different view of hypocrisy,” Finkle-McGraw continued. “In the late-twentieth-century Weltanschauung, a hypocrite was someone who espoused high moral views as part of a planned campaign of deception — he never held these beliefs sincerely and routinely violated them in privacy. Of course, most hypocrites are not like that. Most of the time it’s a spirit-is-willing, flesh-is-weak sort of thing.”
“That we occasionally violate our own stated moral code,” Major Napier said, working it through, “does not imply that we are insincere in espousing that code.”
Stephenson’s position as a moral thinker is underrated. Of course, that’s an advantage of writing science fiction — you can slip that stuff in without being overbearing.
ON THE TRAIL WITH MICHAEL STEELE, at Hot Air.
WOULD THE EARTH BE A BETTER PLACE if humanity were extinct? Pardon me for not buying into that kind of ecological thought.
JIM GERAGHTY writes: “I’m sorry, did the New York Times just put on the front page that IRAQ HAD A NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAM AND WAS PLOTTING TO BUILD AN ATOMIC BOMB?”
UPDATE: Ed Morrissey has more:
This is apparently the Times’ November surprise, but it’s a surprising one indeed. The Times has just authenticated the entire collection of memos, some of which give very detailed accounts of Iraqi ties to terrorist organizations. Just this past Monday, I posted a memo which showed that the Saddam regime actively coordinated with Palestinian terrorists in the PFLP as well as Hamas and Islamic Jihad. On September 20th, I reposted a translation of an IIS memo written four days after 9/11 that worried the US would discover Iraq’s ties to Osama bin Laden.
It doesn’t end there with the Times, either. In a revelation buried far beneath the jump, the Times acknowledges that the UN also believed Saddam to be nearing development of nuclear weapons. . . . The Times wanted readers to cluck their tongues at the Bush administration for releasing the documents, although Congress actually did that. However, the net result should be a complete re-evaluation of the threat Saddam posed by critics of the war. Let’s see if the Times figures this out for themselves.
Kind of undercuts that whole “Bush lied about WMD” thing. Reader Eric Anondson emails: “It surely must have been a Rovian plot to somehow get the Times to admit that Iraq has a nuclear weapons program on the verge of an atomic bomb by as early as 2003… and right before an election where the Iraq War is listed as the top election concern among likely voters.” (Actually, it was 1991, I believe, but this does underscore why WMD fears were reasonable, especially as Saddam was trying to restart things).
TigerHawk: “Seems that the New York Times owes Judith Miller an apology. Or at least a hat tip.”
MORE: Judging from some of the delighted emails I’m getting, I need to warn people not to get too carried away — this doesn’t say that Saddam would have had a bomb in 2004. But it does say that he had all the knowledge needed to have a bomb in short order. And as we know he was looking to reconstitute his program once sanctions were ended — and that sanctions were breaking down in 2003 — that’s pretty significant. However, perhaps even more significant, given that we knew most of the above already, is that the NYT apparently regards the documents that bloggers have been translating for months as reliable, which means that reports of Iraqi intelligence’s relations with Osama bin Laden, and “friendly” Western press agencies, are presumably also reliable.
COFFEE GRINDER UPDATE: I got lots of advice, including “drink instant, it’s silent” (the coffee equivalent of responding to PC questions with “get a Mac!” I guess) and a suggestion to just put an oven mitt over the grinder. Well, if my Braun weren’t busted, I might try that . . . .
The most positive recommendations went to this Kitchenaid model — a little pricey, but people say it’s quiet and will last forever. Did I say pricey? It’s cheaper than this one, which several people also recommended. InstaPundit readers aren’t chintzy on the kitchen gear, apparently. Yowza.
Much cheaper was this Capresso grinder, which several people liked — or this one, which is also more my price range. And reader John Kluge suggests that I just go for the Cuisinart grind and brew coffeemaker. Looks good, but I’ve done all the coffeemaker buying I plan to do for a while. For the history of that, go here and here. I still like the DeLonghi coffeemaker, by the way.
UPDATE: James Lileks emails:
I’d recommend the Cuisinart, because it has a nifty & convenient feature: the cup in which you grind the beans is detachable, so you can pulverize your beans at one location and transport the result to your machine.
Unfortunately, my unit has gone rogue. Bean molecules have foiled the safety feature. Like most units, you can’t turn on the grinder without pressing down a safety button; in this case it’s the part that covers the detachable cup. Recently the grinder decided to spin up the blades as soon as the cup was reseated, shooting up a brown cloud of finely-ground coffee. So now I have to unplug it after using it. Other than that, and the possibility of losing a finger, it’s one of those appliances about which I can confidently say: the finish doesn’t show fingerprints as bad as I thought.
Well, there’s a recommendation!
A SUICIDE BOMBER at Penn.
Perhaps he’ll be comfortable in this restroom at UCLA.
UPDATE: Eugene Volokh thinks the suicide-bomber costume is no big deal: It’s Halloween, after all. Hmm. Would a university President really pose for photos with someone in a Klan outfit, or wearing blackface? I find that hard to imagine. And if not, why is the suicide bomber outfit OK?
The Nazi analogy is, I think, a poor one. Nazis are a vanquished former enemy. Suicide bombers are a current enemy. Could that be a relevant difference?
ANOTHER UPDATE: Eugene responds: “I would likewise defend someone who came to a party as a Klansman. Same theory — Klansmen are scary; Halloween is about scary costumes; Halloween is not about endorsing the characters you’re dressing as.”
I remain skeptical that a Klansman costume would be received in the same fashion, or that an Ivy League university President would be comfortable being photographed with someone wearing a Klan costume.
ICE ON THE MOON? Maybe not. Dang.
THEO VAN GOGH’S RETURN.
ON HAROLD FORD:
Went to the Harold Ford Jr. rally this morning.
Never would have bet this mountain woman would be standing at Five Points listening to a Memphis Ford endorse tax cuts for corporations to create jobs.
Times are a’changing.
A familiar paradox about leftist celebrities in the entertainment industry is that their embrace of progressivism almost never includes a wholehearted embrace of progressive taxation, i.e., the principle that the richer you get, the larger the percentage of your income you ought to pay in taxes. The latest example is U2′s Bono, a committed and unusually sophisticated anti-poverty crusader who is taking surprisingly little heat for the decision by his band, U2, to relocate its music-publishing business from Ireland to the Netherlands in order to shelter its songwriting royalties from taxation.
The irony was stated in admirably stark terms by Bloomberg’s Fergal O’Brien, who reported on Oct. 16: “Bono, the rock star and campaigner against Third World debt, is asking the Irish government to contribute more to Africa. At the same time, he’s reducing tax payments that could help fund that aid.”
It’s easier to be generous with other people’s money. Cheaper, too! And yet if anything it seems to be more admired than being generous with one’s own.
THE HISTORY CARNIVAL is up!
MORE REASON TO BE UNIMPRESSED WITH HOMELAND SECURITY:
A Morocco-born computer virus that crashed the Department of Homeland Security’s US-VISIT border screening system last year first passed though the backbone network of the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement bureau, according to newly released documents on the incident.
The documents were released by court order, following a yearlong battle by Wired News to obtain the pages under the Freedom of Information Act. They provide the first official acknowledgement that DHS erred by deliberately leaving more than 1,300 sensitive US-VISIT workstations vulnerable to attack, even as it mounted an all-out effort to patch routine desktop computers against the virulent Zotob worm.
I THINK THAT THIS ASSESSMENT of George Allen’s political future is probably right:
One does hope that Allen doesn’t make Kerry’s mistake and think himself still a viable presidential candidate if he prevails on Tuesday. This ineptly run campaign has finished him in that regard, and he will show a lot more character if he just faces that fact and moves on.
His stumbles may not have been Kerry-league, but they’ve been bad enough.
ADVICE BLEG: My coffee grinder is on the fritz. It’s a Braun, works fine (er, until it broke), but has always been very loud. Can anybody recommend a replacement model that doesn’t sound like a circular saw when it’s running? I hate to wake people up when I make coffee, and they don’t let you test them with real beans in the stores.
AUSTIN BAY is looking for comments from the troops on Kerry’s remarks.
THE PRO-GUN ARGUMENT for James Webb.
IT’S A YOUTUBE ELECTION, even at the local level.
A.C. KLEINHEIDER NOTES two new polls showing Corker with a substantial lead over Ford. I wouldn’t recommend too much faith in those numbers — I think the race remains very close, and winnable by either side.
DEFENDING THE COCOON: Patterico notes that the New York Times misquotes Kerry’s remarks, leaving its readers with a false impression.
THE INSTAWIFE looks at the murder of an unarmed security guard here in Knoxville. He happened to cross the path of a criminal and was shot. No gun, no bulletproof vest.
As Dave Hardy has remarked:
Unarmed security guard sounds a little like a contradiction … at best a deterrence to the more stupid or minor criminals (don’t steal that bike — there’s a guy in uniform), at worst, a man put in an impossible situation, charged with protecting others, but having nothing but a radio to call for help, and maybe his fists.
Yes. People hire them, I suspect, because they don’t want to pay the premium it would cost to hire someone who can be trusted to carry a gun while dealing with malefactors and non-malefactors. But as with an awful lot of “security” efforts, they’re really paying for the appearance of security without its substance. Only someone else, the guard or a victim, sometimes winds up paying the price for the difference between appearance and substance.
TIRED OF THE WEBB/ALLEN CIRCUS? Meryl Yourish is running for Senate in Virginia.
WHAT’S LEAKED VS. WHAT GOES UNREPORTED, in Iraq.
I GUESS IT’S NOT JUST HERE that airport security is a joke:
More than 70 Muslim workers at France’s main airport have been stripped of the security clearance for allegedly posing a risk to passengers, officials say.
The staff at Charles de Gaulle airport, including baggage handlers, are said to have visited terrorist training camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
One man is thought to have been a friend of Richard Reid, the so-called British shoe bomber. . . . It is also believed another worker had been close to a senior figure in an Algerian terrorist group with links to al-Qaeda.
But some of the men who have lost their security clearance are suing airport authorities.
They claim they are being discriminated against because of their religion.
It almost makes you wonder how any flight ever reaches its destination in one piece.
“GIS DROP SMART BOMB ON KERRY” — the real question is what brilliant strategist thought that Kerry would do much for Angelides even if everything went right?
OPERATION SUNSCREEN: Arnold Kling looks at climate engineering as a response to global warming.
THE SANITY SQUAD looks at attitudes toward women in segments of the Muslim world.
NIELSEN NET/RATINGS: “36.6 percent of U.S. adults online are Republicans, 30.8 percent are Democrats and 17.3 percent are Independents.”
VOTE FRAUD INDICTMENTS in Missouri:
Investigators said questionable registration forms for new voters were collected by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, a group that works to improve minority and low-income communities.
The four indicted — Kwaim A. Stenson, Dale D. Franklin, Stephanie L. Davis and Brian Gardner — were employed by ACORN as registration recruiters. They were each charged with two counts.
Federal indictments allege the four turned in false voter registration applications. Prosecutors said the indictments are part of a national investigation.
STOMPING ON CANCER WITH VIRUSES: I approve of this.
I remember in one of Fred Saberhagen’s Berserker stories, a man captured by an alien killing machine managed to get it to biopsy his tumor when it was taking tissue samples, so that the “lethal” virus it created was instead a cure for cancer. Okay, this isn’t quite as exciting a story, but still . . . .
A NEW GEORGE ALLEN SCANDAL?
What happened was, one year he got parking tickets that weren’t paid, and the next year he had a citation for fishing without a license.
First Abramoff, now this? I’m appalled. I guess they don’t call them “rethuglicans” for nothing . . . .
I HAVEN’T PAID MUCH ATTENTION TO TENNESSEE POLITICS other than the Ford-Corker race (which I see as more a national race than a Tennessee race, really) but it’s worth noting that Tennessee blogger Bob Krumm is running for State Senate against incumbent Senator Doug Henry.
There’s no question that Krumm has used the Internet more effectively. I remember Henry from when I interned for the state Senate back in the 1980s; sitting in his office on a Saturday with a broken leg talking about Omar Khayyam, who I was reading at the time and with whose work Henry was quite familiar. I liked him. But Krumm’s more 21st Century in his approach, I think it’s fair to say.
A LAMONT CAMPAIGN PRE-MORTEM in the New York Observer:
The apparent end of the much-ballyhooed Lamont phenomenon is causing a great deal of soul-searching and recrimination in all corners of the Democratic Party. The bloggers that once championed Mr. Lamont as an awkward but earnest savior now alternately blame Washington’s strategists for hijacking their candidate and Democratic leaders for abandoning him. Beltway consultants fault the Lamont campaign for failing to move the candidate beyond his left-wing celebrity and define him for a greater electorate. . . .
The night of his primary victory, when Mr. Lamont first introduced himself to the wider Connecticut electorate, his campaign betrayed the first cracks of disorganization by allowing a motley crew of out-of-state politicians, including such controversial figures as the Reverend Al Sharpton, to appear behind him onstage.
Then the candidate seemed to simply disappear.
“Everybody went on vacation—Ned, the communications director, the campaign manager,” said a Democratic strategist who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “Anybody who has ever been on a campaign before knows that the day after the primary is when you have to start defining yourself.”
But hey, my “pre-mortem” for the GOP is looking slightly premature in the wake of John Kerry’s dumb remarks. Perhaps some Republican equivalent of John Kerry will breathe new life into Lamont’s campaign.
N.Z. BEAR has thoughts on the Kerry affair.
TENNESSEE SENATE UPDATE: So the Insta-Mom volunteered at Harold Ford, Jr. headquarters today. Downside for Ford: This was because a friend of hers who was volunteering said they had a shortage of people making phone calls. Upside for Ford: She said that most of the people she called (obviously identified as likely Democratic voters) said that they’d already voted for him in early voting.
Also, I note that you see a lot of Ford signs out in the rural countryside. I have a friend who keeps promising to send me a picture of a house in Sixmile with a Harold Ford sign in the yard and a Confederate flag hanging on the porch, but so far he hasn’t delivered. I trust his report, though.
Researchers at the Harvard Medical School and the National Institute on Aging report that a natural substance found in red wine, known as resveratrol, offsets the bad effects of a high-calorie diet in mice and significantly extends their lifespan.
Their report, published electronically today in Nature, implies that very large daily doses of resveratrol could offset the unhealthy, high-calorie diet thought to underlie the rising toll of obesity in the United States and elsewhere, should people respond to the drug as mice do.
Resveratrol is found in the skin of grapes and in red wine and is conjectured to be a partial explanation for the French paradox, the puzzling fact that people in France tend to enjoy a high-fat diet yet suffer less heart disease than Americans.
The researchers fed one group of mice a diet in which 60 percent of calories came from fat. The diet started when the mice, all males, were 1 year old, which is middle-aged in mouse terms. As expected, the mice soon developed signs of impending diabetes, with grossly enlarged livers, and started to die much sooner than mice fed a standard diet.
Another group of mice was fed the identical high-fat diet but with a large daily dose of resveratrol. The resveratrol did not stop them from putting on weight and growing as tubby as the other fat-eating mice. But it averted the high levels of glucose and insulin in the bloodstream, which are warning signs of diabetes, and it kept the mice’s livers at normal size.
Even more strikingly, the substance sharply extended the mice’s lifetimes. Those fed resveratrol along with the high-fat diet died many months later than the mice on high fat alone, and at the same rate as mice on a standard healthy diet. They had all the pleasures of gluttony but paid none of the price.
Bring it on! There’ll be more human research out in about a year. Until then: “Have another glass of pinot noir — that’s as far as I’d take it right now.”
A ROUNDUP OF “RIGHT-WING NUTJOBS” — I guess real Democrats, on Kerry’s say-so, won’t vote for any of them . . . .
HOMELAND SECURITY REMAINS A JOKE: That’s not funny, but the fake boarding pass saga is. Sort of.
GAY MARRIAGE — THE PRO-FAMILY OPTION!
Seventeen years after recognizing same-sex relationships in Scandinavia there are higher marriage rates for heterosexuals, lower divorce rates, lower rates for out-of-wedlock births, lower STD rates, more stable and durable gay relationships, more monogamy among gay couples, and so far no slippery slope to polygamy, incestuous marriages, or “man-on-dog” unions.
Gay marriage — it’s for the children!
JOHN KERRY APOLOGIZES ON IMUS:
In an unscheduled call-in interview this morning, Senator John Kerry (D-Ma) spoke with Don Imus about his misstatements in a speech Monday. He said that he is “sorry for the botched joke,” and that “everybody knows I botched a joke.” He also says he is going back to Washington so that he is “not a distraction” to the campaigns.
Be sure to read the transcript. One thing this affair illustrates is just how badly the Democrats did to nominate Kerry in 2004. I’m reminded of what John Zogby wrote a year ago about a poll he had run:
In our new poll, every president since Carter defeats Bush. But Kerry still loses to Bush by one point. What am I missing here?
What he was missing was that Kerry was an extraordinarily weak candidate. Bush himself was a pretty weak candidate; he was just stronger than Kerry. I’d really like to see the Democrats run somebody decent next time around. Even Hillary! As I’ve noted before:
I still maintain hopes that she might turn out to be “the most uncompromising wartime President in United States history.” After all, she argued that President Bush had “inherent authority” to go to war against Saddam!
Plus, we might see the tough-talking Secretary of State Atrios!
You go, girl. Meanwhile, Tom Maguire offers some thoughts on how Kerry — and the Democrats — got themselves in this fix.
UPDATE: James Taranto observes:
Even if the statement was a “botched joke,” what on earth would possess Kerry to think that this excuses what he said? George Allen and Trent Lott didn’t get passes for “botched jokes”; indeed, here is what Kerry himself said about Lott, according to Salon . . . . “I simply do not believe the country can today afford to have someone who has made these statements again and again be the leader of the United States Senate.”
I thought that about Lott, too. And I think the same about Kerry, though happily he’s unlikely to ever have the opportunity to resign any office of greater consequence than Senator.
UPDATE: The Anchoress notes that the formerly uncompromising Hillary is now compromising her position on the war. Dang.