Saturday, November 29, 2003

A family affair
Neil Bush has his claws in Iraq, it seems:

"Neil Bush, a younger brother of US President George W. Bush, has had a $60,000-a-year employment contract with a top adviser to a Washington-based consulting firm set up this year to help companies secure contracts in Iraq."

Looks like you don't even have to be a legitimate human being to get a sweet job these days!

Log Cabin fever
Andrew Sullivan gets his liberal on for TNR re: gay marriage amendment.

Bad news from the peninsula
Just in case you're curious what our allies are up to.

Bad news for imports
The Euro nearly reached $1.20 versus the dollar Friday.

"But general fears about the U.S. trade and budget deficits, factors that can undermine a country's currency, continued to weigh on the dollar as they have for months.

The weakening currency helps U.S. businesses against foreign competitors by making U.S. goods cheaper in comparison. But it makes imports and foreign travel more expensive for Americans.

The dollar also hit a five-year low against the British pound, making the sight of Big Ben and Parliament about 7 percent more expensive since the start of this year. The euro bill for that favorite hotel on the Left Bank in Paris will cost 14 percent more."

KtL update
I've added the comments option to the site, so now all 7 of you can make me feel important by saying something.

Via the WaPo
Photos/information of the fallen in Iraq.

Another mistake of the liberal media
So despite what some people would want you to think (with their sources relying primarily on Internet chat rooms), an ex-commander says that Wesley Clark played no role in Waco.

What goes around...
A result of the Bush administration's strategy of lessening policeman background checks and shortening training, it appears that Iraqi police may be taking part in the attacks against U.S. troops.

Tracking the military
A little insight into insurgent tactics.

Going to the source
So when cutting off Middle Eastern terror money, where would you strike first? Oil? Terror-supporting regimes? Drugs?

The first two haven't been confronted, and the situation with drugs is getting worse. After years of the Taliban cracking down on drugs, the U.S. has been unable to get a firm grasp on the crops.

Friday, November 28, 2003

Post-war is hell
November, 6 months after the war apparently ended, was the deadliest month of the war thus far.

"With November nearly over, the official death count yesterday stood at 79, surpassing March (65) and April (73), when the invasion was underway and fighting was most intense and widespread.

The surge has reflected an increase in the effectiveness and the frequency of guerrilla attacks."

So perhaps Bush should get back on a carrier and ask for round 2.

Anyone else a little worried that Soros might just stab Bush one day?

Fair and balanced
Here's something to think about.

It appears that CNN journalists were told that nothing was happening and hence were not allowed to follow the president to Iraq, but Fox News people were.

Slightly more slander
Check out this attempt to link Clark to Waco.

"An Army division commanded by Wesley Clark supplied some of the military equipment for the government's 51-day standoff with a religious sect in Waco, Texas, and Clark's deputy, now the Army Chief of Staff, took part in a crucial Justice Department meeting five days before the siege ended in disaster, according to military records.

Clark's involvement in support of the Waco operation a decade ago was indirect and fleeting, according to his former commanding officer. But the assistance to civilian law enforcement agencies by military officers around Clark and soldiers under his command has prompted a flurry of questions to his presidential campaign. "

So what they're saying is that Clark had nothing to do with it, but they're grasping in the air. But wait! They think that he might have been involved with the planning, which still wouldn't mean anything but could damage his campaign. What were their sources?

"Internet chat rooms and several news stories speculate that Clark played a role in the tactical planning for the operation that ended with the deaths of about 80 followers of the Branch Davidian religious sect and its leader, David Koresh."

Ah yes! The infallable Internet chat room! How could I forget?

Despite what Fox said, experts are saying that there was little risk in going to Iraq.

Where size matters
The WaPo discusses the success of the "smaller is better" theory when dealing with public schools. This has been a long time coming, but breaking larger public schools down into smaller ones (thus reducing class size) is clearly a huge step forward for the collapsing inner city system.

George backs down (like he should)
It looks like Dubya may just toss out the steel tariffs that caused the EU to threaten $2.2 billion in sanctions on goods.

The closest he's ever been to a war
Fox News has a story on Bush's visit. Apparently it was more dangerous than I had thought:

"In fact, the president was willing to order Air Force One to turn around at the last minute if word one about his secret, danger-fraught mission was leaked to the press."

Danger-fraught? I have my doubts that Bush was ever in real danger (imagine the headline: "Bush surprises soldiers on Thanksgiving; shot dead." There can be no question that the military had to keep him protected. Now here's a real headline:

U.S. Soldier Killed in Iraq Hours After Bush Visit.

The latest from Paul
Krugman has a great editorial on the ups and downs of free trade.

$9.1 billion down the drain
The WaPo is saying that missile defense will be an issue in 2004:

"On his desk in a spacious corner office looking down on the Pentagon from a nearby hill, Air Force Lt. Gen. Ronald T. Kadish keeps a model of the plane the Wright brothers flew at Kitty Hawk.

It reminds him of the skepticism the brothers confronted, a parallel that he sees with his own circumstance as director of the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency.

"The Wright brothers faced the same problem that we face with missile defense," he said in a recent interview. "They had eminent scientists of the day saying that man would never fly, and they were proving them wrong.""

Yeah Ron. Except the Wright brothers' plane worked.

Updates updates
I've alphabetized the small but ever-growing blogroll after realizing how irritating it can be when they are random.

Thursday, November 27, 2003

Quotes from the opposition
Things that conservatives have to say about gay marriage:

''It will take incredible resources both in terms of manpower and finances to defeat the efforts of radical homosexual activists to take this decision and impose it nationwide but we can win.''

And of course:

''Now you're going to see millions of them raising their voices. ... They don't believe gays and lesbians have the right to define marriage for everyone else.'' let's think about that second quote. Who is defining marriage for "everyone else" here? That's right, the gays. If they use this spin anywhere in the public forum, I can't wait to see the beating they receive.

Toying with your subconscious
It's a great example of how politicians play with words: the U.S. didn't want to be labeled "occupiers," but "liberators."

Then perhaps we shouldn't have occupied them...

Non-combat gunfire
Here's how CentCom reports suicides:

MOSUL, Iraq – A soldier, attached to the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), died from a non-combat related gunshot wound Nov 26.

Happy Thanksgiving from Kick the Leftist
Have a good one (and yes, I'll be doing some blogging today).

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Pharmaceutical phat cats
The same business who we just shipped billions with the Medicare bill are now stuffing their pockets by trying to roll back price controls overseas.

A miracle
Me and Bill Frist are finally on the same wavelength.

PCism run amok
Los Angeles county officials are trying to eliminate descriptions of hard-drives as "master" and "slave."

They were going to do something useful but decided against it.

The AARP may be resting on its laurels currently, but it's facing the possibility of massive defections:

"Senior citizens angry over the AARP's endorsement of the Medicare bill are ripping up or burning their AARP membership cards and flooding the lobbying group's Internet message board with complaints in what could be the biggest revolt in its ranks since the 1980s.

Many fear the Republican-backed bill approved by Congress on Tuesday will harm senior citizens, and they say the AARP - the nation's most influential retiree lobby, with 35 million members - sold them out.

The bill "destroys one of the most successful programs in the history of this country," Isaac Ben Ezra, president of the Massachusetts Senior Action Council, said as he led a demonstration of about 40 people here against the bill Monday. "Shame, AARP.""

"Better to fight them in Baghdad than St. Louis"
If you're willing to sift through some conservative rhetoric, the Weekly Standard has a good article on stupid war cliches.

UPDATE: It's early Friday, and for some reason I hadn't noticed that this post contained no link.

Focus shift for the AARP
The NYT has an article about the future of the AARP: could it be the baby boomers?

This could be bad news for the Dems. With the elderly being such a reliable voting group, the relationship between seniors and Dems was always solidified through the AARP. Who is in more trouble here, the Democrats who could lose the AARP, and perhaps a portion of the elderly vote, or the AARP, who have alienated Republicans in the past and are alienating Democrats right now?

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

The war on crime in New England
Massachusetts: liberal, but not liberal enough to spend more on schools than prisons.

"For the first time in at least 35 years, Massachusetts is spending more on prisons and jails than on public higher education, according to a report released yesterday.

This year's state budget included $816 million in appropriations for campuses and student financial aid, and $830 million for prisons and jails, said the report from the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation."

Who got the better deal?
So the energy bill died, and the Medicare bill passed. So who won this week, the left or the right?

Considering the Dems were the one's pushing the drug benefit (before the Republicans altered it for their own corporate purposes), and that the energy bill is essentially a far-right piece of legislation, I'd say we can breathe just fine this Thanksgiving.

Slight hypocrisy
Ladies and gents, we have found a gem.

Bush actually said this:

"Free nations are peaceful nations. Free nations don't attack each other. Free nations don't develop weapons of mass destruction."

I didn't make it up, I swear.

Chopping up overtime
The Economic Policy Institute conducted a study on the Bush team's proposed changes to overtime rules.

"The millions of employees who will see their pay reduced will, in all likelihood, see their hours of work increase at the same time. Once employers are not required to pay for overtime work, they will schedule more of it."

Sounds Bush-tastic.

He was just pretending
Arnold in August: Now, does this mean we're going to make cuts? Yes. Does this mean education is on the table? No.

People of California: Wow, he's so smart and strong! What a great candidate!

What Arnold did today: "The governor's cuts to the higher education system total $159 million."

People of California: Probably not paying attention.

Now that the Medicare bill has made Big Pharma even bigger, feel free to shake your head at the state of the union.

Monday, November 24, 2003

Part time idiots
So Clayton Cramer is an idiot. His conclusion - that the U.S. didn't deal with Saudi Arabia because it was dealing with Iraq - is ridiculous. Even if it WAS true, why couldn't we sever the extensive ties to the country? Bush was just getting as much oil as possible before we had to bomb them?

Of course not. The fact is, many people, not just liberals, having been crying foul over Saudi Arabian terror for years. Perhaps because large numbers of terrorists just happen to be Saudis (also, their schools preach jihad, but who cares, right?). After 9/11 there was an outcry. And then before Iraq there was another outcry. Cramer chooses to stick with this recent outcry and claim that no one had ever mentioned Saudi terror ties before last March. Of course, Instapundit thinks he's on to something.

Who hates the truth?
The AARP rigged its own poll:

Of the 494 members surveyed in what was touted as a “nationally representative sample, with a margin of error plus or minus 4.4 percentage points,” it becomes clear, contrary to AARP’s claims, that those members surveyed did not conclude and could not have concluded that the new Medicare package would in any way help low-income elderly and those with high prescription drug costs.

The survey simply shows that AARP and its pollster worded the question in such a way that it creates the illusion of support. It brings to mind Karl Rove and his Rovian methodology.

First of all, the members polled could not have concluded that the Bill does in fact “help low-income elderly” because 62% of those polled said they were either completely unfamiliar with the Medicare Bill or were not very familiar with the specifics of the Bill. Only 2% felt they were very familiar with the Bill and 35% reported they were merely “somewhat familiar” and 1% refused to answer the question!

In order to ask a question of a group of people who are overwhelmingly ignorant of the subject, the pollsters had to educate the polled members—in other words, the pollster hand fed the answers they wanted to hear.

So the pollsters proceeded to remind those being polled that Medicare does not presently cover prescription drugs. Then the pollster boiled the complex bill down to three sentences. They tossed in another four sentences describing the benefits to the poor and those with high drug costs. Thus the pollsters created the “knowledge-base” for 97% of those who were polled.

Then the pollster asked the following question:

“Even if this plan won’t affect you personally either way, do you think it should be passed so that people with low-incomes or people with high drug costs can be helped?”

Seventy-five percent answered “Yes.”

The Frist get richer
TBOGG reminds us why Bill Frist loves the Medicare bill.

Fiscal conservatism
The cost of the budget is catching up to the GOP.

Free speech in the ME
The New Republic's latest has these quotes:

"The tradition of free speech exercised with enthusiasm is alive and well here in London...They now have that right in Baghdad as well." Dubya, November 19

"American soldiers handcuffed and firmly wrapped masking tape around an Iraqi man's mouth after they arrested him for speaking out against occupation troops.

Asked why the man had been arrested and put into the back of a Humvee vehicle on Tahrir Square, the commanding officer told Reuters at the scene on Tuesday: "This man has been detained for making anti-coalition statements."

He refused to say what the man said." Reuters

They speak for themselves.

Idiocy in action
A KKK member at a ceremony of some sort today fired into the air. The bullet came down and nearly killed another member. I've posted this only so you can avoid caring about it.

YCT strikes again
The Young Conservatives of Texas have released a list of professors they call "too politicized," but everyone else knows that means "too liberal for our weak little minds." One of them is apparently not a liberal.

They would, of course, like every professor to keep their mouths shut because professors make them feel less intelligent.

Handouts to Big Pharma
The Medicare bill that is about to pass will give $125 billion to health care firms and businesses. And of course, they can do what they want with it.

"Liberal and conservative health policy analysts say the payments undercut a significant goal of the White House and congressional Republicans in redesigning the Medicare system: preventing it from running out of money in the near future. "

Yeah...I'm sure all the conservatives are up in arms about it.

As a "political punishment" for supporting the Baath party in the past, Bremer has fired 28,000 Iraqi teachers.

"A Central Command spokesman, speaking to UPI from Baghdad, acknowledged that the firings had taken place but said the figure of 28,000 "is too high."

He was unable, however, after two days, to supply UPI with a lower, revised total."

This goes along with the Bush theory of collapsing education as a stepping stone to success.

Solving problems in California
Here's a story about the fiscal mess in CA.

"Neither Schwarzenegger nor legislative leaders have proposed a way to compensate local governments for the loss.

"We're out of money. There is no money for us to provide to local government,'' said state Sen. Wes Chesbro, D-Arcata, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee."

They're gonna raise taxes. Watch. You'll see. They'll raise them and Arnold will look like slightly less of a god.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

I almost had a heart attack there. But just so you know, if the Chiefs ever lose two in a row I will probably have a seizure and not be able to post for a good six hours.

Coulter on life, death, and religion
Ann Coulter displays overwhelming tact in her latest column:

"But the Democrats have discovered a surprise campaign issue: It turns out that several of them have had a death in the family. Not only that, but many Democrats have cracker-barrel humble origins stories and a Jew or lesbian in the family. Dick Gephardt's campaign platform is that his father was a milkman, his son almost died and his daughter is a lesbian. Vote for me!"

"In addition to having a number of family deaths among them, the Democrats' other big idea – too nuanced for a bumper sticker – is that many of them have Jewish ancestry. There's Joe Lieberman: Always Jewish. Wesley Clark: Found Out His Father Was Jewish in College. John Kerry: Jewish Since He Began Presidential Fund-Raising. Howard Dean: Married to a Jew. Al Sharpton: Circumcised. Even Hillary Clinton claimed to have unearthed some evidence that she was a Jew – along with the long lost evidence that she was a Yankees fan. And that, boys and girls, is how the Jews survived thousands of years of persecution: by being susceptible to pandering."

Ahem. Bitch.

Dead or Alive
It appears that bin Laden is now "out of the picture."

We can all sleep well now that al Qaeda has been deprioritized.

It gets worse
Insurgents killed two U.S. soldiers in a new way today...they slit their throats.

The whole world hasn't gone mad
Despite the fact that Republicans have been crying out about American opposition to the gay marriage ruling, it appears a poll in Mass. shows otherwise.

"If people want to be together, who cares? Let them," said Bill Luff, 32, a nightclub owner in Worcester.

Well damnit, Bill. Run for Congress.

Dirty tricks
Allow me to reiterate precisely why the Medicare bill passed in the House.