Sunday, October 31, 2004


Two Commentaries about The Presidential Election

(The following are excerpts from two recent posts here on The Hedgehog Blog. The first is from a "True North" column by Sonja Eddings Brown, a mother, a media consultant in Los Angeles, the current Governing Board President of Granada Hills High School, the largest charter high school in the United States, and my wife. The second post is mine, and was an entry in a Hugh Hewitt on-line symposium on the presidential choice facing voters. Mr. Hewitt referred to the post on his nationally-syndicated radio show.)

Every Last Vote by Sonja Eddings Brown

On Tuesday, November 2nd, we need to organize small, committed groups of people everywhere.

We need every American registered to vote, on every corner, of every neighborhood, in every town, behind the wheel of every car on every expressway, in every astonished easy chair sitting before every TV set, to answer the call for George W. Bush. He is not in the middle of a campaign, he is in the middle of an all out war, and it’s not in Iraq.

To see the rest of this article, go here.

What This Election Is All About by Lowell C. Brown

Neville Chamberlain, the John Kerry of his time

Hugh Hewitt asks: "In 250 words or less, why vote for Bush and what's wrong with Kerry?"

I will vote for George W. Bush; there has never been any doubt about that. I’ll write this post for those who are still not sure for whom to vote, but are leaning Bush. I believe there are hundreds of thousands of such voters.

Kerry is the Neville Chamberlain of our time. I believe Kerry is intelligent, patriotic, well-educated, and well-meaning. But he is tragically wrong about the war against Islamofascism. (I use the term “tragically” in the classical sense. Kerry has a tragic flaw, he does not even know he is flawed, and if he is elected I fear that flaw will eventually result in disaster for himself and millions of Americans.)

To see the rest of this article, go here.

Our Annual California Voters' Guide

A ballot from an 1893 Iowa City municipal election

This year we have once again received many requests for our regular election advisory summary. This November 2nd marks one of the most crucial elections in the country's history. The following information may be shared or passed on to others. Here are some recommendations, based on in-depth study of the issues at hand, consultation with local political officials, city employees, and respected Southern California judges and attorneys. We hope this effort will supplement your own voting research.


George W. Bush

For our thoughts about this choice, go here and here.


Vote Republican: Bill Jones, or anyone but Barbara Boxer.


Vote Republican: Robert M. Levy

Despite the fact that Brad Sherman is the incumbent, and has a remarkably impressive educational and finance background, Sonja has worked with him in the past two years, has met him personally, listened to his views and arguments, AND listened to his staff . Unimpressive, and protected in a fairly safe Democratic district.


Vote Republican: Mark Isler


Team California, which casts a conservative eye on judicial appointments, recommends the following choices:

Superior Court No. 18: Pat Campbell
Superior Court No. 29: Lori Jones
Superior Court No. 52: Laura Priver
Superior Court No. 53: Either candidate
Superior Court No. 69: Judy Levey Meyer


Measure 1 A Protection of Local Government Revenues

YES; prevents legislature from taking funds from local governments

Measure 59 Public Records/Open Meetings

YES; gives public more access to government meetings and records

Measure 60 Election Rights of Political Parties

YES; guarantees continuance of California's long-standing primary election process and prevents new political maneuvering of that process

Measure 61 Children's Hospital ProjectsNO; on its face, this proposition seems to demand a "Yes" vote. But the proposition would authorize $750 million in bonds and does not guarantee that the proceeds would go to Children's Hospitals. Should California incur even greater indebtedness at this time in its history, with no guarantee as to where the money will go?

Measure 62 Elections Primaries

NO; tries to change the current primary election process into the one used in Louisiana. You will end up often choosing between two candidates from the same party, like we do in local elections already.

Measure 63 Mental Health Services Expansion

NO; taxes those making over $1 million an additional 1% tax to create new fund for mental health services. Bad precedent.

Measure 64 Limits on Unfair Business Competition Laws.

YES; reduces frivolous lawsuits, which are ruining the business climate in California.

Measure 65 Local Government Funds and Revenues

NO; requires voters to approve any legislation to REDUCE license fees, sales tax powers, revenues & property taxes.

Measure 66 Three Strikes Law

NO; this proposition may "sound" right, but is a smoke screen. The "three strikes" law may well need revising, but this proposition simply goes too far and is not the answer.

Measure 67 Emergency Medical Services Funding

YES or NO; depends on your philosophy of government. Los Angeles is rapidly losing its few remaining emergency trauma centers. The federal government requires hospitals to provide free emergency services but does not help pay for them. This proposition increases telephone surcharges to generate 500 million dollars annually to keep our emergency rooms open. If you think you might need a trauma center sometime this is one tax increase that may make lots of sense to you.

Measure 68 Non-Tribal Gaming

NO; expands casino gaming in California.

Measure 69 DNA Samples

YES; requires DNA samples from all felons and others arrested or charged with specific crimes. Cost: 20 million a year.

Measure 70 Tribal GamingNO; but nice try. Can't fool us twice. Forces Governor to honor tribes' exclusive gaming agreements.

Measure 71 Stem Cell Research

NO; a controversial and complex issue. Everyone is hopeful that stem cell research will continue. This proposition, however, commits Californians to spend $6 billion investigating this one area of medical research, and would enable extensive embryonic stem cell research, which involves the destruction of what many people consider to be life. There is great promise already in research using adult stem cells—which involves no destruction of life. President Bush has approved millions of dollars in federal funding of embryonic research, but has limited the funding to 22 “lines” of embryonic stem cells already in existence. This measure is an attempt to open that research widely, and to use California taxpayers as the “bank.” All states should encourage interest in this research, but one state alone should not bear a 6 billion dollar burden.

For an interesting TV ad about Prop 71, narrated by Mel Gibson, look here.

Measure 72 Health Care Coverage Requirements

NO; this proposition could destroy California's already fragile business environment and close many small businesses, because it requires all employers to provide mandatory health coverage. Wrong century.

COUNTY MEASURE A Los Angeles County Public Safety

YES or NO; this proposition promises to put 5000 new policeman on the street in Los Angeles, improve terrorism response, and build public safety programs. Would raise state sales tax by half cent. How safe do you feel?


YES or NO; every election it seems there is another clean water initiative. This is a matter of personal choice, but the measure would require the County to sell 500 million dollars in bonds to clean up groundwater and beaches surrounding our beaches.
These recommendations are based on our consults with Los Angeles legal minds, civic leaders, and our study of the issues behind each proposal. We are not a think tank or a professional political orgnaization; we are citizens just like you. After all is said and done, these are our opinions. We hope they help you to make your own decisions.

Paul Johnson: Kerry Must Be Stopped, Bush Must Win

Paul Johnson is an Englishman and a prominent historian. His op-ed piece on Tuesday's election is here. Excerpts:

The great issue in the 2004 election—it seems to me as an Englishman—is,
How seriously does the United States take its role as a world leader, and how
far will it make sacrifices, and risk unpopularity, to discharge this duty with
success and honor? In short, this is an election of the greatest significance,
for Americans and all the rest of us. It will redefine what kind of a country
the United States is, and how far the rest of the world can rely upon her to
preserve the general safety and protect our civilization. . . .

I don’t recall any occasion, certainly not since the age of FDR, when so
much partisan election material has been produced by intellectuals of the Left,
not only in the United States but in Europe, especially in Britain, France, and
Germany. These intellectuals—many of them with long and lugubrious records of
supporting lost left-wing causes, from the Soviet empire to Castro’s aggressive
adventures in Africa, and who have in their time backed Mengistu in Ethiopia,
Qaddafi in Libya, Pol Pot in Cambodia, and the Sandinistas in Nicaragua—seem to
have a personal hatred of Bush that defies rational analysis. . . .

I cannot recall any election when the enemies of America all over the world
have been so unanimous in hoping for the victory of one candidate. That is the
overwhelming reason that John Kerry must be defeated, heavily and

Well, I certainly agree. I hope Tuesday's voters do too.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

A Happy GOP Halloween


Thanks to Instapundit for the photo.

“How . . . did I reach the point where I agree with Osama bin Laden on Bush?”


Indeed. Those words were spoken by an American liberal Democrat. Just how did he allow himself to get to that point?

The Kerry Spot, at National Review Online, raises some points and ask some questions that are should be very uncomfortable for those on the American left. An excerpt:

There was an old saying about politics stopping at the water’s edge. There
was a reason for this, and for the concept of the “loyal opposition.”
. . . No party wants to be seen as putting foreign interests ahead of their own
citizens’ interests, so they have to be on guard that their arguments aren’t
providing fodder for foreign powers with different interests than America.

Over the last three years or so, we have seen that concept obliterated.
We’ve seen a truly unparalleled deluge of criticism of the president that well
beyond policy differences. He is tarred as a war criminal, a fool, an idiot, a
warmonger, a man who trades blood for oil, a mass murderer of innocent
civilians, a stooge of sinister corporate interests, a puppet of Cheney, a
terrorist himself, the anti-Christ, the second coming of Hitler, a slave to
Ariel Sharon, an anti-Muslim hatemonger… and I’m sure I’ve left out

You get the idea. As they say, read the whole thing.



Praying for A Landslide

Remember these?

Now I lay me down to sleep
All my worries heav’n to keep
Please don’t let me lie awake
Counting ballots instead of sheep.

I have a knack. Don’t you think? For poetry, I mean.

My husband Lowell and I actually started to have our own marital problems during that first recount in 2000. Some days we simply couldn’t speak for fear a lengthy debate would ensue. We ruined Thanksgiving that year for some lovely friends of ours who happened to be democrats simply because they unknowingly invited us to join their extended family for turkey. They were so sweet. They invited Lowell to offer the prayer on Thanksgiving dinner.

That was a mistake too. He has never truly accepted the separation of Church and state.

We nearly blew a tube on the TV (just an expression) that holiday season because the set was on nearly 24 hours a day. When the whole mess went to the Florida State Supreme Court, I told Lowell that he could just finish putting up all the Christmas lights by himself if he didn’t quit flying off the ladder every time he heard the annoying Fox News bulletin music screech from the house.

He was so jumpy during those bleak November and December days.

I was much calmer. I called all over the country until I got a hold of Bush advisor Karen Hughes. Well, her college assistant really. I announced that I was willing to make myself available to direct Bush’s televised statements on the recount, from my house. Clearly no one else was doing it and I at least, was a producer. It seemed like the candidate-elect had never worked in front of a teleprompter before.

I felt my country needed me.

If there’s a recount in 2004, for whatever reason, I simply will not be able to endure another season of uncertainty listening to my husband talk back to the TV and exhibiting mood swings that can change from newsbreak to newsbreak.

He will just have to overeat like I do.

That’s why I’m praying for a landslide. And it could happen too. Karl Rove is no dummy. While Kerry strategists are bleeding details on national television about their extensive Get-Out-The-Vote plans, I have this inkling that Rove is quietly working an untapped network of Denny’s waitresses all over the battleground states.

You can bet that it will be over morning cups of coffee that many voters in Ohio and Wisconsin will really make their final voting decisions. That’s why homegrown, street wise, public opinion leaders dressed in aprons and Denny colors will make indispensable campaign operatives.

All a brilliantly-prepped waitress has to say is,

“Cream or sugar? I don’t know about you, but I’m just not going to be able
to do it. I just can’t trust my life to John Kerry. Can you?”

Just that genuine little ache of doubt placed in the hearts of Denny’s customers all over the Midwest, ought to do it. That’s exactly what White House strategist Karl Rove means when he says that this entire election hinges on . . . the women's vote.

Finally, don’t be discouraged by the fluctuating polls. I’m quite certain the pollsters have forgotten to access cell phone numbers, so there is no way they have their fingers on the pulse of the nation. They’re only calling landlines, and I don’t know about you, but I am never home to answer mine. If a pollster really wants to project what America is thinking, they need to call us while we’re in traffic like everybody else.

Be positive. Bush could do it.

He could deliver a Norman Rockwell portrait of a peaceful and prosperous Thanksgiving for all of us, simply by winning by five percent instead of one. We just need everyone in New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Ohio, New Mexico, Oregon, and of course Florida, to see the bigger picture . . . and put my marriage first.

Saturday Morning Musings


As the campaign lurches into its final wild days, a few thoughts:

1. Most news media reports from now until Monday evening will be pretty much undifferentiated noise. The Chicago Tribune, which, to the surprise of many, has endorsed President Bush, makes these observations, which have the feel of wisdom:

This year . . . a mudslide of charges is oozing into print and broadcast
reports. It has tended to reinforce the perception among some Americans that
many journalists are rooting for Kerry. . . . No, we're not going to skip down
that path holding hands with Rush Limbaugh. But it's harder to refute those
suspicions when CBS, which reported the weapons story cooperatively with the
Times, acknowledges that it originally planned to break the scoop on "60
Minutes" this Sunday--two days before the election.

For news consumers, blaming reporters for turning last-minute leaks into unflattering stories is one option. The better option is to realize that most journalists want to chase potentially important stories whenever they occur. Best to pay attention, even in the closing days of a campaign, but with a grain of salt close by. Remember, when the embarrassing story breaks late, there's usually a reason.

2. is an indispensable source of interesting and important commentary and news, on both sides of the issues. Everyone interested in politics should bookmark it.

3. This Power Line commentary on Osama bin Laden's latest tape is simply terrific-- and devastating.

4. Is anyone else tired of the punditocracy's predictions about who will win which state and which issue is cutting which way for which candidate? The folks we refer to as pundits (bless 'em) are just doing their job. But I remember how, since the 1988 election, the Fred Barneses and Bill Presses of the world are wrong at least half the time. After all, it's their job to comment, not to be right. In the election post-mortem, they'll all be on talk show and think tank panels, wittily commenting on how they were wrong about this or that, and how "that just goes to show you."

5. Despite no. 4 above, I do pay attention to Hugh Hewitt. He is a real GOP cheerleader but seems to be right more than he is wrong. He certainly got the 2002 results right in many places where the mainstream media "wise men" were wrong.

6. Dick Morris, one pundit who seems to be right a little more than he is wrong, sees it this way:

a) Ask yourself: What is the issue we are talking about these days? Are we
focused on terrorism and Iraq, or on health care and jobs? The answer is
obvious: terrorism and Iraq.
b) Now look at the polls. Not the page that shows who they're voting for. That changes every hour. Look at the page that asks, "Which candidate do you think would do the best job of handling the war inIraq?" The answer is always President Bush, usually by 10 points. And right below that, on "Which candidate do you think would do the best job of handling the War on Terror?" Bush leads again, usually by 20 points. If the issue is terrorism and Iraq, and Bush wins those issues by double digits, then the winner will be . . . voila, Bush!

I think Morris may well be right this time. I certainly hope so. Read the whole thing.

6. As a life-long (and very happy) Boston Red Sox fan, I was a little annoyed that John Kerry tried to associate himself with the Sox and their World Series victory. (This is the man who, as the Senator from Massachusetts, tried to pose as a Red Sox fan by named as his favorite Sox player Eddie Yost, who never even played for Boston.)

So I had to grin when Curt Schilling, the ace Red Sox pitcher and playoff-World Series hero pictured here, enthusiastically endorsed Bush, on national TV. (Still grinning about that one.)

7. For a little boost (maybe a big boost) to your spirits, watch this Bush advertisement. I hope millions of American voters see it before Tuesday.

UPDATE: Here is an interesting column by Joseph Perkins in today's San Diego Union Tribune about the impact of Al Gore's decision to contest the 2000 election results. I think Mr. Perkins is spot on.

Friday, October 29, 2004

TRUE NORTH by Sonja Eddings Brown: EVERY LAST VOTE

(I am delighted to introduce the "True North" column, which is a new feature on the Hedgehog Blog. The columns are written by Sonja Eddings Brown, a mother, a media consultant in Los Angeles, and the current Governing Board President of the largest charter high school in the United States. She is also my wife.)


On Tuesday, November 2nd, we need to organize small, committed groups of people everywhere.

We need every American registered to vote, on every corner, of every neighborhood, in every town, behind the wheel of every car on every expressway, in every astonished easy chair sitting before every TV set, to answer the call for George W. Bush. He is not in the middle of a campaign, he is in the middle of an all out war, and it’s not in Iraq.

During the last three and a half years, the President has broken the rules of Washington politics and he has enraged the lions of self-interest. The first thorn in their paws was his winning the presidency in 2000 by hundreds of votes, instead of hundreds of thousands. The Democratic Party has been loading its bullets ever since.

Despite being elected without the mandate of the popular vote, President Bush has been unafraid of political consequences. He has stood on principle. Nothing in the world is more threatening to Washington’s practiced politicians than a man of principle.

Or a man who is unafraid to say that he knows his way to a prayer.

He has stood up to the world community and put America’s interests first, and done so with the passion of a father protecting his own family from predators. He has succeeded in reducing taxes and wrestling a fraction of our paychecks back from the hands of entrenched congressmen who don’t trust us to spend our own money. While fighting terrorists with one hand, he has used the other like a stop sign preventing well-organized special interests from re-defining marriage without a vote. He has drawn a line in the sand against continuing the rare, dangerous and unconscionable practice of partial-birth abortions, stood steady behind proven judicial nominees, and used wisdom in putting government money behind the wishful, but quite unproven embryonic stem cell research.

Almost at every turn, the challenges before the presidency of George W. Bush have been of the most daunting kind. On the home front he steadied an economy that could have gone up in flames along with the World Trade Towers on September 11th. On the world front he stepped fiercely forward and liberated Afghanistan and then acted on the pressing reality that Iraq was also becoming an International House of Pancakes for terrorists. At every turn, despite constant criticism and scrutiny of his every ability, George Bush has risen to the occasion.


Did you find yourself missing the quivering lower lip of Bill Clinton atop the rubble of the World Trade Towers? Would our troops have felt more supported by the arrival of Al Gore at Thanksgiving Dinner in Baghdad? Would our families have felt safer or our government more resolute with John Kerry addressing a joint session of Congress, promising never to waiver in the face of an attack on America?

We must get out every single, last vote for George Bush.

We must put down our newspapers. Turn off the TV. Get to the telephones. Call our friends. Remind our neighbors across the fence. And we must send a message.

We don’t own our own networks. We don’t have our own shows. We don’t have personal millions with which to create crafty commercials. We can’t control the editorial pages of the elite and stylish big city newspapers, and it’s not likely that we will be invited guests on provocative radio programs.

We’re not cunning, and we don’t use the tactics of unscrupulous political strategists who will win at any cost. Through any means. With any lie. Without a serious thought to the consequences.

But we have the power to vote.

We are the regular folks. The taxpaying, traditional, sometimes silent majority of this country, the ones who get up and carry the water everyday supporting the lifestyle of all those of great wealth and all those who are poor, and on November 2nd, 2004, we are showing up at the polls.

And we will stand with George Bush.

Why Bush Supporters Can Take Heart, And Why The Democrats And The Old Media Are Desperate


The first thing all Bush supporters need to do is take a look at this web site, which lays out the latest Battleground Poll tracking numbers. Battleground is one of the most reliable polls, historically. Bush is doing very, very well in every important category.

That is why we are seeing this kind of activity:

  1. First, the coordinated New York Times-CBS "late hit" on the Al Qaqaa explosives story, which appears not to be much of a story at all. Power Line has an interesting summary of that one here.
  2. Kerry seizes on the story and runs with it while the ink is still fresh on the New York Times.
  3. To educated observers, he looks foolish. There's no telling who it plays with voters who can't or won't take the time to investigate further. Kerry's own national security adviser admists that no one knows what happened to the explosives or when they were taken from the site.
  4. "60 Minutes" of CBS acknowledges that it planned to run the Al Qaqaa story Sunday night, October 31, two days before the election, when no one would have had time to verify anything about the now-discredited story.
  5. Then the FBI announces it is investigating Haliburton's no-bid contracts. Here's that story.
  6. Kerry seizes on the story while the ink is still fresh on the New York Times.
  7. ABC News goes all breathless over a piece of videotape one of its affiliates shot at Al Aqaa while embedded with the military. Supposedly the video shows something that looks like the kind of weapons that were later missing, although there's no telling what it really is or how much is there.
  8. John Edwards says, at a rally in Davenport, Iowa, "You cannot stand with Halliburton, big oil companies and the Saudi royal family and still stand up for the American people." Are these the words of a campaign that feels it is on the way to victory?
  9. Scott Lindlaw, a well-known anti-Bush writer for the AP, lovingly details what he considers the spate of bad news dogging President Bush in the final days of the campaign. That's here, if you are in the mood to read a hit piece.

We all knew that things would get wild in the final days. If you want to understand why the other side is flailing this way, just look at the Battleground numbers. If I were they, I'd feel a little desperate too.

Now, things may change in the final days; they did last time (remember the DUI?). But right now there's every reason to be encouraged and to get that vote out! Go here and sign up for the 72-hour effort!

Thursday, October 28, 2004

E-Mail From Afghanistan


Here is Staff Sgt. Torres' latest e-mail home. I'll post pictures a little later:

Before I begin to tell my adventure let me start my saying I am doing well and
missing everyone. I have said it before and I will say it again there is no
place like home no place like home! It rained down here and the mountains are
getting their share of snow. Does that mean Christmas is coming soon? Because
it’s getting mighty cold! Oh wait turkey day is coming up next.

The sweet smell of home cooking fills the mind with thoughts of family and friends.
The games and movies shared with the family will truly be missed this year.

Well here is the latest of another of my patrols.

Once again we were selected to go. We walked to a village that shot at one of our towards last night. They shot at it with an AK-47. I was really surprise. The elections went well, so why now?

Well we boarded the Hummers picked up two interpreters and off we went to the gates. We went out gate 3. To my surprise the whole patrol was done by foot. Lord have mercy! My aching feet as I write this email to you guys. You may not be aware but Afghanistan does not have good roads or sidewalks to speak of. This means that your feet bend and move in different directions as you move over these mounds of dirt and rocks. Not to mention the additional gear you must carry! The additional weight does wonders for the feet. My flag vest alone is about 22 lbs. plus the additional gear food, water, cold weather gear, compass, binoculars and helmet you name it. At least 10 miles or so of this torment. To make it worse walking through what appeared to be deserted towns looking for clues of any misdoing. Strange how people look at the ghettos of Los Angels. You should see these ghettos. Scary when you walk through these small rickshaw type streets. Looks like something Hollywood created at their studios. You wait and hope no one pops out firing their weapons. You then hope that you find a large cache of ammunition because that would mean fewer
things for them to fire with.

We finally came across a village where people stood and watched you. The women run to their houses or gather around. They squat as to hope you do not see them. The kids knew how to ask for chocolate. Amazing even the small 2 year old knew how to ask. All boys, but the girls stay far away. I didn’t like this village. The kids where to uncontrollable. Let me explain what happen, I have an assault pack full of candy and other items I may need if we can’t get back. I asked a corporal to assist

I had more kids around me then I could manage. I was straight out scared for me and the corporal. Little hands were coming at us, I had sensitive military equipment that I sign for and if one is missed, I’ll let you think of all the paperwork and court proceedings I will have to deal with. Well the kids got their candy and I was not missing any equipment and most important of all a new lesson learned. Well we talked to the village elders and moved on. We did what are leaders asked. We went through 13 checkpoints and found nothing.

No words I write can ever explain the lessons and things seen. Truly I tell you god does work in mysterious ways. The things that take place are for you to learn. Shared, yes with others of his choice but felt in different ways. Tell me how unique is that? I’ll let you ponder on your own experiences.

Well thank God almighty that we made it back! The mortars were set up and standing by in case we met resistances.

But things went well and there was no engagement.

Well that’s it for now enjoy the pictures and God bless you all!

SSG. Torres, Jorge L.
Observer, Camp Bulldog
Bagram Airbase, Afghanistan

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

NBC's TODAY Show Goes Over The Cliff


My wife, a former television news reporter and current news media and public relations consultant, was so distressed by the TODAY show's coverage of the Qaqaa missing explosives matter that (a) fired off an e-mail to NBC and (2) resolved to start her own blog. More about the blog later. Here's the e-mail she sent to NBC this morning:

I hope you will pass this message on directly to Ms. Couric. We started in
news at the same time many years ago. I have been one of the most
dedicated and satisfied viewers of TODAY for some 30 years. I have always
admired Katie Couric's skills as a reporter.

I am now a news media consultant in Los Angeles, and I too have lost confidence in the news coverage of TODAY. This does not discount your great feature abilities, but as a source for news, which was the first priority of TODAY for decades, you seem to have lost your way.

A morning seldom goes by that I don't wonder why Couric and Matt Lauer no longer abide by the critical, and very basic, rules of journalism, and deliver only the who, what, where, why, and how. No editorials. No questions carefully phrased or skeptically delivered. No reflection of the interviewers own personal views. Those used to be the basic rules of integrity for any reporter.

All I feel I receive now are the questions of producers who want to "get" George Bush, or "get" Condi Rice, or "boost" Kerry, or "suggest" a conspiracy on this political subject or another.

Do you think that soccer moms, professionals, parents, and most genuine thinking people in the audience don't "get" that there is an agenda in your news coverage?

It's measureable, and it is embarrassing, and it fails the long, excellent reputation of the newspeople who preceded the staff of today's TODAY.

Suck it up. Be journalists. Cover the news, don't be the news. Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned in Dan Rather's very public and personal embarrassment.

I don't want to turn off your show, but you know what? You are part of the establishment: The major news media, to whom we have always turned, and an establishment of which I have also been a part.

But the major news media is becoming irrelevant because your slips and your bias are constantly showing.

I start my own “blog” today, and so, it seems, is everyone else I know-- because the public can get its OWN news now, quicker, faster, with more detail, with more input, and with more objectivity, than NBC News.

And that’s a shame.

"A Partisan Fool?" Me? Never!


A commenter below (my buddy Chip) opines that I am coming across as a "partisan fool" by repeatedly posting photos of Kerry in awkward athletic poses. As Chip knows, during the past four years I have regularly castigated others who claim that Bush is, well, dumb. (Chip used a more colorful term.) Through sheer incompetence, I deleted Chip's comment from this blog. So I'll respond here.

First, dumb or smart, Bush is not being photographed in weird NASA bunny suits or repeatedly catching footballs with his eyes shut and a pained look on his face or throwing a baseball like a (forgive me) girl. Kerry is doing all those things. So there seems to be some degree of higher intelligence working for Bush, whether it is on the part of the candidate himself or his advisers.

Second, Chip called me "a partisan fool." Now, I can take being called a fool, but partisan? In the United States of America? A partisan?

It's clear that the election is almost over. The level of discourse is sinking way, way below acceptable levels. Next thing we know, Chip will be calling me a Republican.

Election day can't come too soon.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Why Do His Advisers Continue To Allow Him To Be Photographed This Way?


(Thanks to Power Line for this photo.)

Here's what I don't understand: All the campaign consultants and PR people I know say it is foolish for Kerry to be photographed again and again like this. He looks like a doofus. On top of that, Kerry has made repeated goofy statements about sports: Calling Lambeau Field "Lambert Field," calling Michigan the home of "Buckeye football," and saying his favorite Red Sox player was Eddie Yost, who never played for the Sox. It looks like he's trying too hard to look macho. (Further evidence of that: The goose-hunting trip with 10 days left in the campaign, when he presumably had more important things to do.)

I have read that Kerry does not take advice well. Maybe that helps explain why he keeps playing catch on the tarmac.

Or maybe he really is just a doofus.

About That New York Times Story on "Lost" Weapons


News flash: New York Times writers badly burned after rushing anti-Bush story into print.

Hugh Hewitt's all over this. Check in here from time to time for developments. This won't be as big as Rathergate but it's a pretty good development for the home team (Bush) if it gets enough play in other newspapers and TV news outlets.

Monday, October 25, 2004

There's Nothing Quite Like Living Or Working in An Echo Chamber

I work in the West Los Angeles office of a large law firm where I am known as the resident political conservative. I get along very well with my partners and other colleagues but am continually amused by the comfortable uniformity of views among them. I regularly walk into an office lunch meeting where politics are being discussed and hear everyone present agreeing on deeply controversial subjects. Examples:

  • Bush is not very bright.
  • Bush is arrogant.
  • There is no "moderate" position on abortion, you either support a woman's right to choose or you don't.
  • Gore really won the 200 election.

And so forth. When I cheerfully pipe up with a dissenting comment or question, the older lawyers who know me smile, laugh, and engage me in friendly debate. Others, who might be less well-acquainted with me, are simply shocked - shocked! - and either stare at their lunch plates or change the subject. They seem a little embarrassed for me. (How could an educated partner at a fine firm hold such beliefs? I thought we were safe here from such views.) One long-time partner simply refuses to discuss politics with me because she finds it too upsetting. I get a big kick out of all this, of course. These are all well-educated, smart people.

I thought about those experiences when I read Harvard professor Ruth Wisse's op-ed piece in today's Opinion Journal. You can read it here. Professor Wisse writes of the repressive political atmosphere in academia and specifically at Harvard. She first reminds us of the overwhelming uniformity of opinion in elite academia:

The Sacramento Bee reported that the University of California system gave more
to the Kerry campaign than any other single employee group, and that Harvard was
second, with only 15,000 employees to UC's 160,000. Campus bloggers computed the percentages of Kerry contributions over Bush: Cornell 93%, Dartmouth 97%, Yale 93%, Brown 89%.

This is all evidence, Wisse notes, of "the 'herd of independent minds'--the image is Harold Rosenberg's--charging through the American academy."

Read the whole thing. Among the many interesting and refreshing observations Wisse makes, you'll enjoy this one:

Students making the transition from liberal to conservative are often
wounded by their first exposure to the contempt that greets their support for
the war in Iraq or opposition to abortion or whatever else separates them from
the liberal campus. I suggest to them that, as opposed to living in constant
terror of offending some received idea, they relish their freedom of expression.
The self-acknowledged conservative never experiences intellectual constraint.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Pants on Fire


The remake is coming out soon, starring John Kerry.

"Integrity, integrity, integrity." In the third presidential debate, that's what John Kerry said his mother told him to emphasize in his run for the Presidency. It turns out that maybe Kerry, well, forgot what his mother told him.

This story in the Washington Times details how Senator Kerry did not speak to the entire U.N Security Council about Iraq, although he told the nation he did so in the second presidential debate.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Maybe no other news organization will pick it up. Surely Kerry and co. will attack the source. But the article looks like pretty good shoe-leather reporting to me.

The tongue of a man is tied on this,
On the liar who lies to nations,
The liar who lies to the people.
The tongue of a man is tied on this
And ends: To hell with ’em all.
To hell with ’em all.

Carl Sandburg, The Liars Volume: Smoke and Steel - IV, 1922

A Profile in Courage?


In the first two paragraphs of this article in the Washington Post by Bob Woodward, we learn that Senator Kerry has steadfastly avoided an interview with Woodward about what Kerry, as president, would do, or would have done, in Iraq:

At the end of last year, during 3 1/2 hours of interviews over two days, I asked President Bush hundreds of detailed questions about his actions and decisions during the 16-month run-up to the war in Iraq. His answers were published in my book "Plan of Attack." Beginning on June 16, I had discussions and meetings with Sen. John Kerry's senior foreign policy, communications and political advisers about interviewing the senator to find out how he might have acted on Iraq -- to ask him what he would have done at certain key points. Senior Kerry advisers initially seemed positive about such an interview. One aide told me, "The short answer is yes, it's going to happen."

In August, I was talking with Kerry's scheduler about possible dates. On Sept. 1, Kerry began his intense criticism of Bush's decisions in the Iraq war, saying "I would've done almost everything differently." A few days later, I provided the Kerry campaign with a list of 22 possible questions based entirely on Bush's actions leading up to the war and how Kerry might have responded in the same situations. The senator and his campaign have since decided not to do the interview, though his advisers say Kerry would have strong and compelling answers.

In other words, "I am not going to tell you what I would do in Iraq, but boy, if I did, you'd just be blown away by my answers."

Saturday, October 23, 2004

The Clintonista Influence In Kerry's Campaign


News reports of John Kerry's statements reveal the themes Kerry wants to emphasize in the closing days of the campaign, when polls show he has ground to make up. Everything he is saying reminds me of the types of statements that we all heard daily during the Clinton impeachment era. That's not surprising, since the same advisers-- Joe Lockhart, Mike McCurry, James Carville, and Paul Begala-- are the ones standing by Kerry and slipping the brass knuckles on his hands.

The latest example appears in this AP story. Kerry's catchline this weekend is that "A president as to be able to do more than one thing at the same time." Mike McCurry elaborates on the statement:

"The argument is that the singular preoccupation with eradicating evildoing
in the world ... it creates blinders that allow you to miss the other things
that are important to the American people," McCurry said.

McCurry argues that Kerry can be a "president who can simultaneously
conduct an aggressive war on terror but not drop the ball on jobs and health

The AP, true to form, makes sure the intended anti-Bush message comes through, and that we all understand what Kerry/McCurdy are really saying:

The laughter and cheers that erupt after Kerry delivers the line show the
friendly audiences at campaign speeches and rallies take it another way — as a
subtle dig at Bush's intelligence and ability to juggle the tasks of the

Ah yes, the sneering, winking low blow, a Clintonista specialty. Sounds just like them. Never mind that those who have seriously investigated the matter empirically (using SAT scores and military aptitude exams taken by the candidates) have found that Bush is of high intelligence, and possibly smarter than Kerry himself. Here's one example. This is old news. But the elitist notion that liberals are just smarter than the rest of us plain conservative folk is an old liberal conceit from way, way back.

My own deeply-held, non-empirical belief is that collectively, the American electorate is very smart. I don't think they buy the brass-knuckles Kerry message. I also don't think they will vote, as a majority, for a man they don't trust. Bill Clinton, for all his slickness and moral flabbiness, was able to get voters to trust him. I don't think Kerry can do that. I do think Bush can, at least more than Kerry can with undecided voters. In a few days we'll know.

Friday, October 22, 2004

As The Campaign Nears Its Conclusion, An Animated Commentary On Political Discourse




This is the new Bush ad, called "Wolves," which the campaign staff says will be running in battleground states until the election. Reportedly the ad has gotten strong response in focus groups, although it did not really bowl me over. I guess I am a little skeptical of attacks based on a legislator's votes on spending bills. Even so, I do not doubt that "Wolves" will be effective. It does carry the most important message of the campaign. Watch the ad here.

"Team America"


Here's an interesting review by Shawn Macomber of "Team America," the new South Park animated movie. I don't intend to see the movie (and have never watched any "South Park" episode), so reviews will be all I ever know about this one. Given all that, I can't really say much about the movie but I am sympathetic to the points Macomber makes.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Two Dopey Statements By Mrs. Heinz Kerry


Just about everyone knows that Teresa Heinz Kerry made this statement in an interview with USA Today. I call it Dopey Statement Number One:
Well, you know, I don't know Laura Bush. But she seems to be calm, and she has a
sparkle in her eye, which is good. But I don't know that she's ever had a real
job — I mean, since she's been grown up.
Groan. Then, showing that like her husband, she does not understand that the first rule of holes is that when you are in one, you must stop digging, she issued Dopey Statement Number Two:

I had forgotten that Mrs. Bush had worked as a school teacher and librarian, and
there couldn't be a more important job than teaching our children. As someone
who has been both a full-time mom and full-time in work force, I know we all
have valuable experiences that shape who we are. I appreciate and honor Mrs.
Bush's service to the country as first lady and am sincerely sorry I had not
remembered her important work in the past.

Of course, Statement Number Two was issued by the campaign and was surely carefully (if not intelligently or sensitively) written. When I first heard the statement on the car radio, I thought it was a fairly gracious apology. Then I read the language. The statement clearly implies that, in Mrs. Kerry's view, if Mrs. Bush had not worked as a schoolteacher and librarian, and had been exclusively a full-time mother instead, she would not have ever had a "real job" and thus would not have been as wise and cosmopolitan as Mrs. Heinz Kerry, whose "real job" was evidently marrying a very rich man (John Heinz) and then becoming a philanthropist with his money.

Well, maybe the Kerry campaign figures it's not going to get the votes of full-time mothers anyway, so it's OK to slight them in this way. Still, it seems to me this can't be helpful to the Senator's efforts.

UPDATE: Here's Power Line's take on all this. John Hinderaker notes there:

Until this year, it had never occurred to me that a Presidential candidate's spouse could be an important factor in a campaign. This year, she just might be.

This Is Not A Sports Board, But . . .

Johnny Damon after hitting his grand slam.

I am a Boston Red Sox fan, and this is a special day for anyone who loves the Sox. It also happens to be my birthday today and birthdays do not get much better than this. Consider:

The Red Sox are now the first team to come back from an 0-3 deficit in a championship series in the history of baseball. And they did it against their historic nemesis, the New York Yankees, at Yankee Stadium. That alone is simply too wonderful for words.

The game was never really in doubt after the second inning. Johnny Damon hit a grand slam. The Red Sox hit four home runs total. Alex Rodriguez, the would-be cheater and proven whiner, who could have been on the Red Sox, but instead opted for the Yankees, the "glamor team," has now ended up eating the Red Sox' dust. For Red Sox fans, who were disappointed at losing "A. Rod," that alone is sweet justice.

And forevermore, Red Sox fans will have this on the Yankees: Our team made the greatest comeback in sports history, and did it against THEM! (By the same token, the Yankees committed the worst collapse in sports history, and they did it against THE RED SOX. As my 14 year-old son said, how great is that?)

Red Sox fans everywhere are rolling around in all of this like pigs in mud.

My wife and younger son gave me a Red Sox jacket and hat for by birthday. At their insistence, I opened the package after the sixth inning, put on both the hat and the jacket and wore them the rest of the game.

(Warning: Blatant political partisanship follows.) I am trying to put this in a political context. Yes, soft-headed liberals like Ben Affleck and Matt Damon and half the Harvard faculty are Red Sox fans. Well, that's OK, I'm glad they are not wrong about everything.

Even John Kerry pretends to follow the Red Sox, but as noted here earlier in the summer, in an interview he named Eddie Yost as his favorite Red Sox player, even though Yost never played for the Sox. A classic Kerry moment. When Kerry tried to throw the first pitch at a Red Sox game, he bounced it in front of the plate. (Fittingly, President Bush threw a strike at Yankee Stadium a few weeks after 9/11.) So Kerry is in no position to bask in the Red Sox' success or draw strength from it.

To me, the Red Sox win is simply evidence that this year, the hard-working Everyman, like the Red Sox or George W. Bush, will defeat the more glamorous Blue State elites like the Yankees, or like John Kerry. It's our year.

So: Go Red Sox. Go George W.!

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Fear-Mongering on The Campaign Trail

William Safire expounds here on the Kerry campaign's dark desperation.

Will The Curse End Tonight?

Red Sox v. Yankees, Game 7. It doesn't get any better than this. Somewhere, the Bambino will be watching. I think he will approve as the Red Sox toss that monkey off their backs.

Parallels to the presidential campaign are hard to find here. How's this: Maybe Bush, like the Sox, will win both the popular and electoral vote this time and get rid of his own monkey.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Watch This Video

Not surprising, but another insight into the well-known compassionate character of George W. Bush. View the video here. Then ask yourself: Can John Kerry ever come across this way?

The Red Sox, The Yankees, and The Polls


David Ortiz after his winning single in Game 5

Scrappleface has a penetrating bit of satire on polls here. That it involves the Red Sox only makes it more appealing.

The First Annual Hedgehog Blog Presidential Wartime Mistakes Contest

We keep hearing from the Kedwards camp and its supporters that President Bush never admits mistakes. Even the (gasp!) "mainstream media" press this question from time to time, most famously in the last Bush press conference. Just last evening Crazy Al Gore thundered about Bush's "refusal" to admit mistakes.

I think it's time for a contest. Can anyone name a U.S. president who, during a time of war, officially admitted his mistakes in prosecuting the war? For example, did FDR ever chat with the press about all the Allies' miscalculations on D-Day, or in the Kasserine Pass? Did Lincoln ever give a speech about how maybe he should not have suspended habeas corpus during the Civil War? What about Wilson? Truman? Johnson? Nixon?

I really don't know the answer. I have a hunch that none of these presidents ever admitted wartime mistakes during the war. But whatever the answer is, it will add some badly needed perspective to this favorite Democrat talking point.

Post away! Winners will be posted prominently on this board and everywhere else I can get you posted.

Monday, October 18, 2004

You Know, I've Wondered The Same Thing

Opinion Journal's Best of the Web Today (a site I scan daily; I recommend you subscribe) wonders whether the Kerry campaign's showing signs of desperation:

In the past 10 days or so, the . . . campaign has:

Accused the Bush administration of planning to reinstitute a military draft.

Recycled the "no blood for oil" canard of the looney left.

Alleged that the Bush administration is somehow in the pocket of the Saudi royal family.

Told voters that, if they elect John Kerry, "people like Christopher Reeve are going to walk, get up out of that wheelchair and walk again."

Suggested that President Bush was planning a "January surprise" to privatize
Social Security

Advised Democratic campaign workers to launch a "pre-emptive strike" charging voter "intimidation" on election day even if no evidence exists.

Warned Florida voters that Republicans are "trying to keep people from voting."

Blamed the flu vaccine shortage on President Bush.

Twice called attention to the fact that Mary Cheney is a lesbian.

If you didn't know better, you might think they were getting desperate.

I certainly hope so.

What This Election Is All About


Neville Chamberlain, the John Kerry of his time

Hugh Hewitt asks: "In 250 words or less, why vote for Bush and what's wrong with Kerry?"

I will vote for George W. Bush; there has never been any doubt about that. I’ll write this post for those who are still not sure for whom to vote, but are leaning Bush. I believe there are hundreds of thousands of such voters.

Kerry is the Neville Chamberlain of our time. I believe Kerry is intelligent, patriotic, well-educated, and well-meaning. But he is tragically wrong about the war against Islamofascism. (I use the term “tragically” in the classical sense. Kerry has a tragic flaw, he does not even know he is flawed, and if he is elected I fear that flaw will eventually result in disaster for himself and millions of Americans.)

An excellent blogger named Peter Mulhern summed up Kerry’s flaw perfectly:

Kerry said something else today that shows even more clearly how little he
understands about the world: “It is completely consistent that you can
see[Saddam] as a threat and deal with him realistically just as we saw the
Soviet Union and China and others as threats and have dealt with them in other
ways.” Kerry seems to be saying that since we didn’t have to invade the Soviet
Union we shouldn’t have had to invade Iraq. Give me the old time
deterrence, it’s good enough for me.

It’s great sport for Democrat true believers to make fun of Bush’s syntax, but there is a choice to be made on November 2, and we need to get serious about it. What is to be done about Islamofascism? I personally believe Kerry, if elected, will get many thousands of Americans, maybe many, many more, killed right here in our country. I hope I am wrong, but that's what I think.

To the Kerry/Michael Moore true believers, GWB can never do anything right. No, Bush has not conducted the Iraq war in the flawless manner in which Kerry and all other Democrats would conduct it (we all know, after all, that mistakes are never made in war, right?). But Bush is not afraid to use force. The overwhelming evidence in John Kerry's record is that Kerry is indeed afraid to use force, or is at least so reluctant to use it as to endanger all of us.

That's about all there is to it, as far as I am concerned. Those who disagree should cheerfully vote for Kerry and stop calling Bush a dummy. Those many thousands of voters who are nervous about Kerry should simply go with their guts and vote for Bush, the man who is willing to fight, and to take enormous political hits as a result.

What is morbidly fascinating about this election is that so many Americans seem willing to entrust their security to John F. Kerry. Some pessimists have said that we need to elect Kerry, and to suffer a disaster here in America on his watch, before more Americans will understand the need to defeat Islamofascism utterly.

Like most of you, I love my country too much to let that happen without a fight. I live in Los Angeles, but I’ll be working Ohio get-out-the-vote during the 96 hours before the election.

I think I blew the 250 words, Hugh.

A Little More On The Cheneys And Democrat Hardball

William Safire's column in today's New York Times summarizes the issue well, and with the perspective of a man who has been around presidential politics for a long time. His concluding paragraph:

When polls showed two-to-one disapproval of the calculated Kerry-Edwards
abuse of the young woman's privacy, the Democratic strategists who concocted
this base-suppressing dirty trick orchestrated a defense that it was Dick Cheney
who "outed" his daughter months ago. They are advising Kerry that he would look
weak or, worse, slyly manipulative were he to apologize for tagging the Cheneys
with the word "lesbian" before 50 million viewers.

Kerry will, I hope, assert his essential decency by apologizing with
sincerity. Other Republicans hope he will let his self-inflicted wound fester.
They have in mind a TV spot using an old film clip of a Boston lawyer named
Welch at a Congressional hearing, saying "Have you no sense of decency, sir, at
long last? Have you left no sense of decency?"

Having heard Kerry say yesterday that in a Bush second term Medicare benefits will fall by 35-40%, I think I know the answer to that question.

UPDATE: John Hinderaker of Power Line adds his analysis here. Hinrocket notes:

. . . I think the Dems have been done in by their own bigotry here. The only way their strategy made sense is if they thought that Republican evangelicals would be
shocked by the knowledge that one of the Cheneys' daughters is gay, and would
therefore abstain from voting. What this shows is their misunderstanding of, and
misplaced contempt for, their political opponents.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Weekend Entertainment

My friend Steve Finefrock pointed me to these ads by the Club for Growth. Fun to watch. I am not sure where they are being aired.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

I Hope He Is Right; I Think He Is


Professor Hanson

From Victor Davis Hanson:

John Kerry is probably going to lose this election, despite the "Vote for
Change" rock tour, despite Air America, despite Kitty Kelley's fraud hyped on
national media, despite Soros's hit pieces, despite Fahrenheit 9-11,
despite the Nobel Prizes and Cannes Film Awards, despite Rathergate and ABC
Memogate, despite the European press, despite Kofi Annan's remonstrations,
despite a barking Senator Harkin or Kennedy, despite the leaks of rogue CIA
Beltway insiders, despite Jimmy Carter's sanctimonious lectures, despite Joe
Wilson, Anonymous, and Richard Clarke — and more. You all have given your best
shot, but I think you are going to lose.

Why? Because the majority of Americans does not believe you. The
majority is more likely to accept George Bush's tragic view that we really are
in a war for our very survival to stop those who would kill us and to alter the
landscape that produced them — a terrible war that we are winning.

When all is said and done, it still is as simple as that.

Read the whole thing here.

Humor for The Post-Debate Phase of The Campaign

You have to be in the right mood for this piece by David Brooks, but if you are it should bring a smile to your face. Among other things, Brooks reminds me how glad I am that the debates are over.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Nightline, The SwiftVets, And The Viet Cong


Kerry getting one of his medals

I didn't see it but I have read that last night ABC's "Nightline" inteviewed former Viet Cong soldiers for corroboration of John Kerry's verson of some events during his four months in Vietnam. John O'Neill has issued a statement about that. It's here, and it raises some legitimate questions indeed.

You'll find ABC's promotional posting about the show here, with links to video.

Ted Koppel

Just A Little Tidbit About Kedwards' Mary Cheney Gambit


Mary Cheney

I am traveling and happened to be in my hotel room when Wolf Blitzer's show came on CNN (I was trying to find the Fox News Channel on my room TV). I actually think Blitzer is one CNN newsman who reports the news straight up (the only one who comes to mind, in fact).

Wolf set up the Mary Cheney story with the appropriate news clips. Then he introduced the two experts who would comment on the story: Bob Barr, the fire-breathing arch-conservative former congressman from Georgia of Clinton impeachment fame, and . . . Al Franken!

Maybe on CNN that's considered serious commentary. I kept hunting for Fox (successfully, it turns out).

UPDATE: Today's Borowitz Report has a typically devastating satiric take on this matter.

This election season needs to be over, and soon.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

New SwiftVet Ads Are Out


You can view them here. Hat tip to Power Line.

Kerry Apologizes for Cheney Daughter Comment!


Well, not really. But Scrappleface has a very funny post about that.

Kedwards The Healer


Note this comment by John Edwards sometime during the last few days:

Well, if we can do the work that we can do in this country, the work that we will do when John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve are going to walk, get up out of that wheelchair and walk again.

So Kerry is now a healer? Is there a creeping Messiah complex at work here?

Hmmm. I don't know if anyone else noticed Kerry's attempts to quote scripture in last evening's debate, but I did, and all I can say is, if he's going to emphasize a Messianic element in his campaign he ought to at least quote the Bible accurately.

Islamofascism Can Be Such A, Well, A Nuisance! And about That Los Angeles Times


This is from today's L.A. Times. Are you surprised that such a commentary could appear in the Times, that paragon of agenda journalism?

Well, Mike Ramirez is the only regularly-appearing bright spot on the Times editorial page. When I glance at the page to see if there happen to be any credible writers appearing on it, I always check for the Ramirez cartoon. I wonder what Michael Kinsley (recently-named Times editorial page editor and vicious partisan) thinks of Mr. Ramirez' cartoons? I also wonder whether Kinsley would ever have hired Ramirez.

Speaking of Mike Kinsley, how seriously can we take an editor who prints an unsigned editorial in a major newspaper, insisting that there is ample reason to question President Bush's intelligence? Here's that editorial, wittily titled, "Is He A Dope?" The descriptive term "beneath contempt" comes to mind.

Anyone familiar with Kinsley's work over the years recognizes his touch immediately. Kinsley's fingerprints are also all over today's lead editorial . (Times links require registration.)

Before you suggest that I cancel my subscription: I'd love to, but my wife needs to take the paper for her professional endeavors. I read the sports page.

What a waste of newsprint.

The Tomb of The Unknown Soldier

On duty at the Tomb.

UPDATE ON THE FOLLOWING POST: Much of the information here is inaccurate. For reliable information about the Tomb of The Unknowns, go to this June 14, 2005 post. My apologies for the mistake.

Facts: The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

I received the following information in an e-mail from a friend and am passing it along.

1. How many steps does the guard take during his walk across the tomb of the Unknowns and why?

21 steps, alluding to the twenty-one gun salute, which is the highest honor given any military or foreign dignitary.

2. How long does he hesitate after his about face to begin his return walk and why?

21 seconds for the same reason as answer number 1.

3. Why are his gloves wet?

His gloves are moistened to prevent his losing his grip on the rifle.

4. Does he carry his rifle on the same shoulder all the time and if not, why not?

He carries the rifle on the shoulder away from the tomb. After his march across the path, he executes an about face and moves the rifle to the outside shoulder.

5. How often are the guards changed?

Guards are changed every thirty minutes, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

6. What are the required physical traits of the guard?

For a person to apply for guard duty at the tomb, he must be between 5' 10" and 6' 2" tall and his waist size cannot exceed 30." Other requirements of the Guard: They must commit 2 years of life to guard the tomb, live in a barracks under the tomb, and cannot drink any alcohol on or off duty for the rest of their lives. They cannot swear in public for the rest of their lives and cannot disgrace the uniform (fighting) or the tomb in anyway.

After two years, the guard is given a wreath pin that is worn on their lapel signifying they served as guard of the tomb. There are only 400 presently worn. The guard must obey these rules for the rest of their lives or give up the wreath pin.

The shoes are specially made with very thick soles to keep the heat and cold from their feet. There are metal heel plates that extend to the top of the shoe in order to make the loud click as they come to a halt. There are no wrinkles, folds or lint on the uniform. Guards dress for duty in front of a full-length mirror.

The first six months of duty a guard cannot talk to anyone, nor watch TV. All off duty time is spent studying the 175 notable people laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. A guard must memorize who they are and where they are interred. Among the notables are: President Taft, Joe E. Lewis (the boxer) and Medal of Honor winner Audie Murphy (the most decorated soldier of WWI, of Hollywood fame).

Every guard spends five hours a day getting his uniforms ready for guard duty.

In 2003 as Hurricane Isabelle was approaching Washington, DC, our US Senate/House took 2 days off with anticipation of the storm. On the ABC evening news, it was reported that because of the dangers from the hurricane, the military members assigned the duty of guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier were given permission to suspend the assignment. They respectfully declined the offer, "No way, Sir!" Soaked to the skin, marching in the pelting rain of a tropical storm, they said that guarding the Tomb was not just an assignment, it was the highest honor that can be afforded to a service person. The tomb has been patrolled continuously, 24/7, since 1930.

I don't usually suggest that many emails be forwarded, but I'd be very proud if this one reached as many as possible. We can be very proud of our young men and women in the service no matter where they serve.

God Bless and keep them.

I Can't Seem to Get These Debates Right


I guess I am not a reliable judge of debates. I thought Bush lost the first one decisively. That seems to be the consensus. (That is, except for Hugh Hewitt, who thinks Bush stomps Kerry every time. Hugh is a bit of a GOP "homer," I'm afraid, but I am still a devoted fan.) I thought Bush did very poorly in the second debate, but the consensus seems to be he did much better and lost only narrowly. (Hugh, of course, scored it as a big win for Bush.)

Now, last night I think the President simply cleaned Kerry's clock. Examples of home runs:

"A litany of complaints is not a plan."
"Ted Kennedy is the conservative senator from Massachusetts."
Kerry out of the mainstream.
Kerry's vote against the 1991 Gulf War.
And so on.

Many of the talking heads seem to agree with me. Bill Kristol, no fan of Bush's, seems almost ecstatic. On the other side, the ever-reliable liberal commentator Bill Schneider of CNN thought Kerry clearly won, but I am hard-pressed to think of a pundit who has been wrong more times than Schneider. Why does CNN keep him around? Dick Morris, who is often right, thinks Bush did as well as he possibly could, but with the subject matter of the debate inherently favoring Democrats, Kerry pretty much had to win.

So ... I don't understand the polls showing Kerry winning by a comfortable margin. I agree with The Big Trunk at Power Line: "I can't reconcile what I saw and heard with the poll results that judge Kerry to have prevailed last night."

UPDATE: Mickey Kaus seems to agree with me. I feel better. Here's his analysis.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

The Choice: Between Henry IV and Hamlet

Reader, former law partner and friend Ralph Kostant sums up the election with a Shakespearean twist:

Shakespeare analyzed this election and the candidates’ respective approaches on the war against terrorism perfectly. In fact, Henry V even anticipates the difference between the President’s foreign policy speeches during his 2000 election campaign and post-September 11:

HENRY V (George Bush):

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more,

Or close the wall up with our English dead!

In peace there 's nothing so becomes a man

As modest stillness and humility;

But when the blast of war blows in our ears,

Then imitate the action of the tiger:

Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood.

Shakespeare also seems to have pegged John Kerrey perfectly:


Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;

And thus the native hue of resolution

Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,

And enterprises of great pith and moment

With this regard their currents turn awry,

And lose the name of action.

Of course, there are aspects of John Kerrey in Henry V. He misappropriated the phrase “Band of Brothers” for the members of his swift boat crew (other than the gunner who belongs to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth), and he might have used the following words to woo Teresa Heinz:

No; it is not possible you should love the enemy of

France, Kate [Teresa]: but, in loving me, you should love

the friend of France; for I love France so well that

I will not part with a village of it; I will have it

all mine: and, Kate [Teresa], when France is mine and I am

yours, then yours is France and you are mine.

A Little Preview of What Bob Schieffer's Questions Might Be Like

You can find some revealing quotations here.

Pre-Debate Humor

A little light-heartedness here from Scrappleface.

This Will Be Interesting to Watch Develop


I think it is too late in the campaign for a story like this to make a difference, but it is interesting. Apparently Senator Kerry's honorable discharge from the Navy is truly fishy. Read about it here.

So why aren't Mary Mapes and Dan Rather all over this story?

Seriously, I think this report deserves skepticism. There are plenty of reasons to vote against Kerry and for Bush. We don't need any more of this kind of thing.

News Media Bias: More of The Same


Byron York

Byron York catalogues a few recent examples here. It's a wonder President Bush is not losing the election, given the information that people are getting from their traditional news sources.

In Honor of This Evening's Presidential Debate


I thought I'd post a photo of the man of whom John Kerry reminds so many of us:

Neville Chamberlain. Not a bad man. A gentleman, a patriot, well-educated and deeply sincere about the principles he believed in. Wrong about foreign policy. Irretrievably wrong. Tragically, horribly wrong.

Yes, John Kerry does remind us of Neville Chamberlain.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

The significance of this cartoon will be lost on all but a few readers of this blog.

You Go Out of Town for A Couple of Days . . .


and all kinds of interesting things happen. John Kerry had an interview published in the New York Times Magazine in which his true foreign policy views seem quite clear. As Hugh Hewitt stated (and as I quoted him below), Kerry is our Neville Chamberlain. He is not unpatriotic or a bad man. He is simply and terribly wrong. It now happens that William Tucker has a piece on that very subject in The American Spectator. One word describes Tucker's article: devastating.

A nice, warm moment from the campaign trail.

William Weld, former governor of Massacusetts and Kerry's unsuccessful challenger in the 1996 Massachusetts Senate race, has an interesting piece on Kerry in today's Wall Street Journal.

UPDATE: David Brooks summarizes the essence of the clashing worldviews of Bush and Kerry, and of conservatives and liberals, in this New York Times op-ed piece.


"Study. That's all. It's not tough. You're not picking cotton. You're not picking up the trash. You're not washing windows. You sit down. You read. You develop your brain."

--Bill Cosby speaking at the Fred D. Thompson Middle School in Richmond, Va. where 65 percent of the 700 students meet low-income criteria for free or reduced-price lunches.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

The Duelfer Report; And A New JibJab Cartoon


I haven't been able to pore over any of the 1,000 pages yet, but David Brooks' analysis is interesting and revealing -- especially regarding the old media's predictable coverage of the report.

The creators at JibJab have a new cartoon. See it here.

The People of Afghanistan Speak


While I'm posting photos, here's a Power Line link to one from today's historic election in Afghanistan that also says many, many things, and that makes me proud to be an American and hopeful for the future. Read the Power Line post and analysis here.

The Washington Times reports:

Ordinary Afghans place great hopes on the elections, which they see as a
turning point that would result in the disarming of warlords and an increase in
international support for economic reconstruction. "God willing, after tomorrow things will improve," said Abdul Wahid, a young grocery store owner who said he would vote for Mr. Karzai. "People know the difference now between constantly fighting and leading a normal life."

"We don't want any more destruction, we want development," said truck
driver Mohammed Serajuddin. "So we'll vote, we are not afraid."

Sometimes a picture says much, much more than a thousand words.

The Curse of The Bambino Is Fading

I couldn't let this day go by without honoring my Red Sox, who (for those who do not follow Major League Baseball) won the first round of the American League Championship Series yesterday after sweeping the California Angeles in three games. Go Sox! Bring on the Damned Yankees!

If You're Really Fed Up with Unthinking Opposition to The Iraq War . . .

then this piece by Jonah Goldberg will resonate with you the way it did with me. Read the whole thing, but here's his stem-winding concluding paragraph:

I'm not saying there are no good arguments against the war. I am saying that
many of you don't care about the war. If Bill Clinton or Al Gore had conducted
this war, you would be weeping joyously about Iraqi children going to school and
women registering to vote. If this war had been successful rather than hard,
John Kerry would be boasting today about how he supported it — much as he did
every time it looked like the polls were moving in that direction. You may have
forgotten Kerry's anti-Dean gloating when Saddam was captured, but many of us
haven't. He would be saying the lack of WMDs are irrelevant and that Bush's lies
were mistakes. And that's the point. I don't care if you hate George W. Bush;
it's not like I love the guy. And I don't care if you opposed the war from day
one. What disgusts me are those people who say toppling Saddam and fighting the
terror war on their turf rather than ours is a mistake, not because these are
bad ideas, but merely because your vanity cannot tolerate the notion that George
W. Bush is right or that George W. Bush's rightness might cost John Kerry the

A More Positive Saturday Morning

Okay, I feel better. Hugh Hewitt, for one, has cheered me up. Hugh notes the many politically damning statements and flip-flops Kedwards has made. One must reduce whatever Hugh says about such things by 10-15% because the dear man is such a GOP homer, but even at 75% acceptance, Kerry's substantive problems, as identified by HH, are potentially devastating. I wonder if we will see some Bush ads soon making use of some of them.

Note: Hugh also thinks it's time for Bush-Cheney to bring out Kerry's vote against the 1991 Gulf War. Maybe in the third debate? Think of it: All Bush has to do is say (and please stay calm and enunciate clearly when you say it, Mr. President) is this:

If Senator Kerry had his way, Saddam Hussein would have never left Kuwait
and would still be in power.

Now, tell me that would not leave Kerry reeling.

Good news in the war on terror: Prime Minister Howard won re-election, despite strong internal opposition to Australian participation in the war. Get info about the elections here. (Link requires registration, but it's free, and is an excellent way to check in occasionally with Australian news and thinking.)

Friday, October 08, 2004

And Another Thing . . .

Karl Rove just said on Hannity & Colmes that if John Kerry had his way, Saddam Hussein would not only still be in power in Iraq but would control Kuwait as well.

Now, I cannot for the life of me figure out why the President has not made that point in either debate. After all, it is a killer. Maybe he's just saving it up for the final debate.

The Debate: I Hope It Was A Draw

Just switched back to Fox and see that Chris Wallace is interviewing Hillary Clinton. Well, some things are just unbearable, folks, so I came into the office to blog. No TV in this room!

I am a little surprised that most pundits are calling this one a tie. Frankly, I thought Bush got pummeled during the foreign policy questions, but I hope I am wrong. Part of my reaction may be due to my having listened to that portion of the debate on the radio. My wife (a TV person) says Bush came across better on television.

I thought the questions had a clear pro-Kerry bias. Don't know what to make of that. The final question was ridiculous-- Bush is supposed to name his three biggest mistakes? And Kerry simply gets to elaborate on that? What???

Anyway, here were the big fat medium-speed fastballs right up the middle that I think the president whiffed on:

  • Tora Bora. Why do Kedwards get to keep saying we had Osama surrounded and let him go? No one knows that to be true, certainly not Kerry. But he has gotten a pass twice now on saying he does know. I don't get it.
  • General Shinseki. The General announced his retirement in 2002, long before any decisions as to troop strength on the ground were made. Not a big point but easy to dispose of-- and it would have made Kerry look slippery.
  • The courts. Oh, the courts! The courts! A major reason to vote for Bush! But Kerry won that point. Bush mutters about Dred Scott and it's Kerry-- Kerry! - who's quoting Potter Stewart. Maybe Bush could have said something about the 4-3 decision of the Massachusetts Supreme Court, finding a right in that state to gay marriage, as an example of the kind of justices he would not appoint? Is that not an obvious point to make, or am I just missing something? (If you think you feel frustration leaking through my comments here, you are right.)

Bush did win the health care debate. And partial-birth abortion. And stem cells. Kerry was stumbling there.

I hope I am overreacting. I wanted Bush to do better. But if he's perceived to have tied, I'll be happy. Really. And relieved.

I'm still a loyal Bushie. I just hope he can survive these debates and get re-elected.

To all you parents who want your kids to grow up to become president: Makes sure they take plenty of speech classes and read lots of books. It helps to be a master of the English language if you want to be president!

To those of you who think Bush did better than I think he did: I'd love to hear from you. Please use the "comment" feature below!

The Tora Bora Question

In a post below I asked for the response to the claim, made by both John Kerry and John Edwards, that coalition forces had Osama bin Laden surrounded but let him escape by "outsourcing" the capture to local Afghan forces. (I must admit, we do have to give Kerry's team credit for coming up with the "ousourcing" term in that context.)

The Power Line guys have the response here. Unfortunately, the facts do not lend themselves to a quick sound bite-type statement. Maybe Bush and Co. can find a way to use them anyway.

Quote of The Day; And Some Thoughts about The Future

This is from Peter Mulhern's blog as part of the Hugh Hewitt symposium:

Kerry said something else today that shows even more clearly how little he
understands about the world: “It is completely consistent that you can see
[Saddam] as a threat and deal with him realistically just as we saw the Soviet
Union and China and others as threats and have dealt with them in other ways.”
Kerry seems to be saying that since we didn’t have to invade the Soviet Union we
shouldn’t have had to invade Iraq. Give me the old time deterrence, it’s good
enough for me.

If that is what Kerry was driving at then he learned nothing from September 11, 2001. That was the day every American with a healthy respect for the value of his own hide learned that we cannot deal with threats from the Arab world by relying on deterrence, international sanctions, summit meetings or gaseous statements of goodwill.

One commenter below (we'll call him Chip; he and I are acquainted) says:

Bush hasn't been right yet on anything when it comes to post 9/11 actions. If
anything, the argument you should make for voting for Bush is something along
the lines of "he can't be wrong all the time, can he?"

Chip is a fierce critic of President Bush and delights to point out what he considers Bush's idiocy. But there is a choice to be made on November 2, and we need to talk what is to be done about Islamofascism. I personally believe Kerry, if elected, will get thousands of Americans killed right here in our country. I hope I am wrong, but that's what I think. To Chip, GWB can never do anything right. No, Bush has not conducted the Iraq war in the flawless manner in which Kerry and all other Democrats would conduct it (we all know, after all, that mistakes are never made in war, right?). But Bush is not afraid to use force. The overwhelming evidence in John Kerry's record is that Kerry is indeed afraid to use force, or is at least so reluctant to use it as to endanger all of us.

That's about all there is to it, as far as I am concerned. Those who disagree should cheerfully vote for Kerry and stop calling Bush a dummy.

What is so interesting (and worrisome) about this election is that so many Americans seem willing to entrust their security to John Kerry. It may be that we need to elect Kerry, and to suffer a disaster here in America on his watch, before more Americans will understand the need to defeat Islamofascism utterly.

And that would be a tragedy of the first order.