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Monthly Archives: August 2004

One Last Thing

August 23rd, 2004 - 12:58 am

OK, I finished up the column, and — who knows? — it might even be suitable for publishing. But before I go to bed, here’s a little Compare & Contrast game suggested by reader Gregory Schreiber.

First, we have a Boston Globe story from last year:

Kerry had been wounded three times and received three Purple Hearts. Asked about the severity of the wounds, Kerry said that one of them cost him about two days of service, and that the other two did not interrupt his duty. “Walking wounded,” as Kerry put it. A shrapnel wound in his left arm gave Kerry pain for years. Kerry declined a request from the Globe to sign a waiver authorizing the release of military documents that are covered under the Privacy Act and that might shed more light on the extent of the treatment Kerry needed as a result of the wounds.

“There were an awful lot of Purple Hearts — from shrapnel, some of those might have been M-40 grenades,” said Elliott, Kerry’s commanding officer. “The Purple Hearts were coming down in boxes. Kerry, he had three Purple Hearts. None of them took him off duty. Not to belittle it, that was more the rule than the exception.”

But Kerry thought he had seen and done enough. The rules, he said, allowed a thrice-wounded soldier to return to the United States immediately. So Kerry went to talk to Commodore Charles F. Horne, an administrative official and commander of the coastal squadron in which Kerry served. Horne filled out a document on March 17, 1969, that said Kerry “has been thrice wounded in action while on duty incountry Vietnam. Reassignment is requested … as a personal aide in Boston, New York, or Wash., D.C. area.”

Then there’s Colin Powell, speaking last week to the VFW:

I also went to Walter Reed last week to see some of the troops who have been injured. I went to the orthopedic ward and met a number of these wonderful, wonderful, young men and women who have been injured. And you just can’t help but be enormously proud of them. One young man who had lost his leg, the only thing he wanted to talk to me about was not his injury, not how it happened, but what he said to me was, “General, how soon do you think they can get me back up on my new leg so I can get back into the Army and get back into the fight?” That’s the kind of kids we have. (Applause.) With that kind of spirit, you can be sure we will prevail.

‘Nuff said.

UPDATE

Bill writes:

I’m a battalion commander currently serving in Baghdad, and have been around alot of purple heart winners like the one that Sec Powell encountered.

I think the purple heart issue as it relates to Sen Kerrey speaks volumns about him as a leader. He was not a private, but a Lieutenant, a small unit leader. He was taught that as a leader his two critical tasks were; accomplish the mission, and welfare of his soldiers. No leader I know would ever dream of leaving their troops behind especially not on a technicality. 3 medals equals ticket home. A leader should represent Army values of duty, honor, and most importantly selfless service. His actions seem more selfish than selfless.

Secondly, a person who truly earned a purple heart, and had been part of a band of brothers would never disrespect the award by throwing it away. No matter what he thought about the war, he or she would understand they had joined an honored group going back to the revolutionary war. This causes me to doubt he truly has an appreciation for what the award represents because as Bod Dole said, “he didnt bleed”.

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Notice

August 22nd, 2004 - 11:29 pm

Working on another Tech Central Station column. Hopefully, I’ll have it done in time to do some blogging tonight.

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Happy Hour With Chris Rose

August 20th, 2004 - 4:21 pm

Chris Rose, of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, is one of the best and most unjustly-unknown writers in the country. Think James Lileks crossed with Dave Barry and Lewis Grizzard, except Rose spends more time in bars than with Gnats (in retrospect, that’s a horrible comparison; Chris Rose is just Chris Rose, and his work can stand on its own with no help from me). His columns about a customer revolt involving a long-term waiter at Galatoire’s are already legendary in New Orleans, and an utter delight to read, even if you’ve never been there. They’re fall-on-the-floor funny if you know the city at all (I’d link it in a heartbeat if I could find the complete text; here’s a tiny excerpt from an old blog page).

Here’s a sample from his latest, particularly appropriate for this site:

This scenario is reproduced dozens, hundreds, thousands of times a night in New Orleans. A single drinker at the bar, a touchy-feely couple in a dark corner, an office party in a side booth, a mob of singles clogging up some tony Uptown saloon.

People are enjoying their cocktails, a word so square that it’s hip again. The definition of “cocktail” varies, depending on whom you ask and where you look it up and what year you’re talking about, but suffice it to say it’s a mixed drink, served chilled in a glass, and it packs a punch. This much has been constant since the beginning.

And in the beginning, there was the word.

Although it sometimes seems like New Orleans claims that everything related to poker, music, prostitution and liquor was invented here, the fact is: A lot of it was.

Go make yourself a drink, then read the rest. If this doesn’t start your weekend off right, you’re doing something wrong.

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A while back, I related my belief that John Kerry, while playing to his base and listening to his own East-coast elite sensibilities, has dug himself into a considerable hole regarding foreign policy. Previously, I talked about how Kerry

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Weekend Reading

August 20th, 2004 - 9:57 am

He’s tanned, he’s rested, he’s ready to blog.

If you don’t already know Frank Martin from the comments section here at VodkaPundit, then you’ve been missing out. He’s finally given in to popular pressure and started his own blog.

His first week’s archives are your homework assignment this weekend.

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“Interactive visual material.”"

August 19th, 2004 - 11:30 pm

Porn is good for you.

(Work-safe link, I swear.)

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Worthy Cause

August 19th, 2004 - 11:22 pm

Adopt a sniper.

No, I’m not kidding.

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Request

August 19th, 2004 - 11:18 pm

I had a few people email me, to tell me Chris Matthews lost it yet again on Hardball last night.

Anyone have a transcript?

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There Must Be Fifty Ways to Buy Your Vote

August 19th, 2004 - 11:15 pm

Should Kerry win in November, print this list of linky goodness and save it for four years.

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Fish/Barrel

August 19th, 2004 - 11:13 pm

Anyone care for a thorough (and thoroughly funny) fisking of Ted Rall?

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Bring It On

August 19th, 2004 - 11:10 pm

Well, here’s what the European diplomacy we asked for has purchased us in Iran:

Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani warned that Iran might launch a preemptive strike against US forces in the region to prevent an attack on its nuclear facilities.

“We will not sit (with arms folded) to wait for what others will do to us. Some military commanders in Iran are convinced that preventive operations which the Americans talk about are not their monopoly,” Shamkhani told Al-Jazeera TV when asked if Iran would respond to an American attack on its nuclear facilities.

“America is not the only one present in the region. We are also present, from Khost to Kandahar in Afghanistan; we are present in the Gulf and we can be present in Iraq,” said Shamkhani, speaking in Farsi to the Arabic-language news channel through an interpreter.

Of course, we already know that Iran (or at least Iranian weapons) is already in Iraq, hand-in-hand with al Sadr.

And why would Iraq threaten a preemptive attack on American forces? Out if impotence:

“If Israel fires one missile at Bushehr atomic power plant, it should permanently forget about Dimona nuclear center, where it produces and keeps its nuclear weapons, and Israel would be responsible for the terrifying consequence of this move,” General Mohammad Baqer Zolqadr warned.

Iran would actually have a difficult, if not impossible, time trying to attack Dimona. Better to threaten the Americans, instead.

So they think, anyway.

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Redeployments

August 19th, 2004 - 10:56 pm

Ralph Peters is firmly in favor of cutting back our military presence where it’s no longer needed:

Regarding the Democrats’ claim that we’ll lose influence in Europe, the obvious question is, “What influence?” We’re not stabbing our French and German “allies” in the back. They stabbed us. And they’ll do it again. Our troop posture in Europe doesn’t give us influence over the Europeans

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Excuses, Excuses

August 19th, 2004 - 10:28 pm

Obviously, Thursday got away from me. Here’s what happened.

Woke up this morning and put on a turtleneck. Turned the furnace on, too

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Notice

August 19th, 2004 - 9:37 am

Put a movie into the DVD player after dinner last night, and — fell asleep on the couch. First time I’ve been asleep before midnight since high school, I think.

Anyway, up and and about now. Back once I’ve read the news.

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Roadblog

August 18th, 2004 - 4:32 pm

In Seattle for a business meeting. Checked into my hotel, walked around the corner looking for a cafe with free wireless, and wound up at the city library (brand-new and very nice; I’m typing this from near the Microsoft Auditorium–hopefully I won’t get booted out for using an iBook).

The DNC has college kids staked out all up and down the sidewalk. Their pitch to passers by: “Would you like to learn about defeating George Bush?”

I’m not in the habit of giving advice to the DNC, but the thought that keeps coming to my mind is, these guys have forgotten 1996. Remember that one? War hero nominated by the out-of-power party, but that party’s entire focus was on how much they couldn’t stand the incumbent. And they got shellacked.

Hatred didn’t beat Clinton, it didn’t beat Reagan, and what the hell, it didn’t even beat Richard Nixon.

At any rate, it’s sunny and beautiful outside, and I don’t have any meetings until tomorrow morning. I’m off to dodge the DNC gauntlet and start enjoying myself.

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A Fisking

August 18th, 2004 - 12:06 am

Ronald Asmus, former Clinton-era deputy assistant secretary of state for European affairs, doesn’t like the idea of decreasing our military presence in Europe and elsewhere. Normally, an issue like this one is cause for a civil and reasoned debate

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Notice

August 17th, 2004 - 10:29 pm

I’ve got a fisking to perform. The latenight blogging will be later than usual.

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And Now For Something Completely Different

August 17th, 2004 - 10:14 am

Exceptionally weird dreams the last two nights. A sampling; make of it what you will:

Picture a long wooden table on top of a vast, wind-swept plateau, not unlike the one in the movie of “The Two Towers.” Seated around the table are the members of Aerosmith, dressed in heavy, ornate robes and furs. At one head of the table is Moe Syzlak from The Simpsons, but Moe isn’t a cartoon; he looks a lot like one of the lizard guards from “Den” in “Heavy Metal.” Moe’s voice-over says, “And now for another edition of, Ask Aerosmith!”

Moe asks a philosophical question (I can’t remember it exactly) of Brad Whitford, who’s wearing a dark blue fur-trimmed robe. There’s a large, nasty-looking knife embedded in the back of Whitford’s high-backed chair, just to the left of his head. Whitford does not answer to Moe’s satisfaction. Moe picks up an identical thick-bladed knife and hurls it at Whitford with an epithet. It thunks into his chest, and Whitford flips backwards out of his chair and off the edge of the plateau, falling hundreds of feet to the valley floor below. Then Moe turns to Steven Tyler, seated at the far end of the table.

And I wake up.

I am not an Aerosmith fan. Go figure.

Then there’s last night. I’m watching a documentary about a country-bluegrass-mariachi-tinged trio (possibly related to my seeing BR549 and ZZ Top a few hours earlier, in waking life). They’re not bad, either. Not great, but not “ugh, let’s go somewhere else” bad. Mildly entertaining, in a kitchy way. After listening to them play for a bit, the story focuses in on one of the members, a stout, balding Mexican guy who plays some kind of funky accordion. We see him cleaning up a large, dingy, industrial-looking bathroom. Perhaps this is his day job?

But then we see him applying vast amounts of a gooey soap to some kind of dispenser on the wall, meticulously cleaning it out with a dirty rag. His face is twisted in painful concentration. Then we see him standing on a sink, reaching up into an overhead air vent. He begins to pull out wiring, metal ducts, plastic parts, vast amounts of old hardware strapped together in a large, precarious column.

Eventually, we realize that he is an obsessive-compulsive, driven to take apart and clean these fixtures madly. His hands are slashed to ribbons by his efforts, the blood mingling with water and thick liquid soap as he scrubs parts in a filthy sink.

Then the dog had a dream, too, and his whimpering woke me up.

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Alternate History

August 17th, 2004 - 1:00 am

For a criminal psychopath, Adolf Hitler could sometimes be strangely legal-minded. Yeah, he started a bunch of wars, but in his warped brain, he always had a good reason.

Believe it or not, Hitler wanted war with Czechoslovakia. “Plan Gr

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I Do So Love the Olympics

August 16th, 2004 - 10:48 pm

Especially women’s beach volleyball.

(Clicking “Read More” might not be entirely work safe.)

(more…)

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Biting the Hand that Strokes You

August 16th, 2004 - 10:41 pm

Larry Sabato doesn’t think New Jersey’s McGreevey Situation will put the state in play for Bush — but it might just have national repercussions for the Republicans:

The Democrats may have New Jersey locked up, except in the very unlikely case of a Bush landslide, but the Republicans can squeeze some advantage out of the messy McGreevey matter in some of the key battleground states. Here’s how. As of now, it appears that there will be referenda in eleven states on the subject of gay marriage, held simultaneously with the November presidential election: Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, and Utah. You’ll notice that this includes the swing states of Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Oregon. Missouri has already had its referendum on primary day on August 3, and the results were stunningly one-sided: 71 percent in favor of keeping marriage between a man and a woman, only 29 percent in favor of permitting same-gender marriage.

We’ll bet the referenda pass everywhere, even in liberal states, and by large margins in most places. This helps George W. Bush. For one thing, it stimulates gigantic turnouts by conservative Christians, who overwhelmingly favor Bush’s reelection–and whose absence from the polls in large numbers may have cost Bush the popular vote in 2000. (Gays will also have record voter turnouts, but the numbers aren’t there in most states to match the increased conservative participation.) Second, this hot-button social issue has the potential to equal the emotion being generated by Iraq. Just as Kerry benefits from the anti-Iraq fervor, so too will Bush profit from the gay marriage issue.

As longtime readers here know, I strongly favor gay marriage. But I’m afraid that New Jersey’s gay governor has done more to set back the cause than George W. Bush ever will.

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Sexist, Uh, Pigs

August 16th, 2004 - 10:32 pm

Bruce Bridges forwarded an Amir Taheri column to me, but he didn’t have a link. I couldn’t dig one up, either, but here’s the good part:

According to officials in Athens, the number of Muslim women participating in this year’s game is the lowest since 1960. Several Muslim countries have sent no women athletes at all; others, such as Iran, are taking part with only one, in full hijab. And state-owned TV networks in many Muslim countries, including Iran and Egypt, have received instructions to limit coverage of events featuring women athletes at Athens to a minimum.

Where is the feminist outcry?

I’ll post the whole thing under the “Read More” button until I can find a link to the original article.

UPDATE: David has the link from the New York Post.

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Get Real*

August 16th, 2004 - 10:26 pm

We have better hair,” John Kerry said five weeks ago.

Well — you get what you pay for.

*My just-woke-up hair is better than Kerry’s. Just sayin’, is all.

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Testing

August 16th, 2004 - 10:15 pm

Is this thing on? Looks like it finally is. Bad internet connection most of Monday, but we’re back in business now.

Time for a cocktail and a look at the news.

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Boo. Freakin’. Hoo.

August 16th, 2004 - 4:04 pm

Germans Wary of U.S. Troop Withdrawal

Look at it this way, Euros: if you don’t behave yourselves, they’ll be back.

Maybe.

Or maybe not.

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Update

August 16th, 2004 - 9:47 am

Byron York looks into the John Kerry-David Alston story at NRO, and concludes that Alston did serve under Kerry for a few days. Captain Ed isn’t entirely convinced.

As for myself, I’m thorougly confused at this point, but I think Instapundit has a good point on this one: if Kerry and Alston did serve together, even if only for a few days, a short period of getting shot at probably would have been enough to forge a personal bond.

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Late Night Rambling

August 16th, 2004 - 12:39 am

As Glenn Reynolds already noted, Europe’s (by which I mean Germany and France) intransigence (by which I mean, “almost-but-not-quite actively working for the other side) in the Terror War (by which I mean “America’s fight for her very existence”) could lead to a new era of American isolationism.

Well

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Mea Culpa

August 15th, 2004 - 11:40 pm

I already said Charles Sakai’s essay on Military Intelligence was today’s Required Reading — but that doesn’t mean you’re allowed to skip this post from Robert Musil:

The New York Times today publishes a rather panicky interview by Deborah (“This Can’t Be True! Nobody I Know Is Voting For Bush!”) Solomon of Yale Professor Ray C. Fair – creator of the “Fair Model” for predicting presidential races – a model that Professor Fair updated as of July 31st to show a coming Bush landslide of 57.48 percent of the two-party vote that has Ms. Solomon so worried. Unlike Ms. Solomon’s questions, Professor Fair’s answers are themselves models of professional restraint.

The interview is priceless, and so is Robert’s commentary. Don’t miss either one.

And both will provide fodder for my next Tech Central Station column — assuming it passes muster with that editor-to-end-all-editors, Nick Schulz. (Seriously, Nick told me to chop my Game Plan essay in half. I couldn’t cut it quite that much, but the result is a much better read than the original. Thanks, Nick.)

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Tragedy of the Commoner

August 15th, 2004 - 11:15 pm

John Kerry — bad for American jobs? Read:

A proposal unveiled yesterday by Senator John Kerry to impose an eight percent royalty fee on minerals operations in the West would cost between 18,000 and 44,000 jobs and result in a net loss to the federal Treasury of $400 million to $500 million based on independent analyses. The $600 million dollars raised by the proposal would go to maintenance in the nation’s parks and hoped-for jobs creation in associated service businesses.

“We support the National Parks, but funding minimum wage jobs on the backs of miners is bad economics and is bad for the country,” National Mining Association President Jack Gerard said today. “Senator Kerry obviously has not done his math. He would destroy the highest paying jobs in Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico, for example, to pay for entry-level service industry jobs and devastate mining communities throughout the West in the bargain.”

FYI: Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico are all states Kerry must at least be competitive in, if not outright win, in order to have any chance on November 2.

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Twofer

August 15th, 2004 - 11:11 pm

Patterico gets two — count’em, two — links today.

First, there’s an excellent analysis of how word choice colors an “objective” “news” article:

You see, whenever one candidate criticizes another, there are two ways to characterize what’s happening. If you think the criticism may be valid, you will refer to the criticism passively, and discuss the “mounting criticism” of the candidate being criticized. But if you don’t like the criticism, then you will refer to the criticism as an “attack.” You will consistently phrase the description of the criticism in the active voice, as in: “Cheney attacked Kerry over the issue of . . .” Rather than saying that the parties voicing the criticism have “pointed out” their opponent’s misstatements, you will say they “seized on” those misstatements.

The whole post includes plenty of examples, so you’ll want to read it all.

Then there’s a more specific critique of how the LA Times covered the Bush AWOL story.

Get to it.

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