Saturday, September 27, 2003

"Cruz Bustamante is just another shade of Gray"
The latest Yes on Recall TV ads now feature the Cruzer as well as Gray Davis.
I hate those contemporary worship services! - Uproar over Hindu god statue
Malaysian shops selling imported statues of the Hindu god Ganesh talking on a mobile phone have been warned to remove them immediately, reports said Thursday.
The appearance in local shops of the elephant-headed Ganesh wearing shoes, a turban and using a handphone caused outrage among Hindus earlier this week.

Today's hoot
I haven't mentioned David Blaine's "man in a plastic box for 44 days" publicity stunt in London for much the reasons that Jeff Jarvis describes - it's just a publicity stunt, and not a particularly good one. But Jeff has words for the Guardian's Michael Billington who is looking for the "true meaning":
Man, this guy could find the true meaning in a pile of dog poop.
Maybe Michael can give us an update on his navel gazing next!
News you can use
From retroCRUSH:
This section of a first aid poster is hilarious. Apparently when someone catches fire, the best course of action to take is to roll them up into a giant cigar. And if a child is choking, just shake them by the feet until everything's all better!

Friday, September 26, 2003

Green gooey stuff alert!
Giant avocados, large enough to make three gallons of avocado soup or two pounds of guacamole, are about to go on sale in Britain.

Fourteen inches in circumference and as large as a water melon, the naturally grown pears are eight times the size of a normal avocado and will feed a family of six.
Staff at Tesco, the first supermarket to import the freakish fruit, have nicknamed the giant avocados "J-Los" after Jennifer Lopez's best known anatomical feature.
Oh and it's a natural mutation so the Frankenfood whiners will have to pound sand.
Everyone needs a hobby
First World Championships Challenge Yoga Karma:
Muscles rippled, heads appeared in impossible places and the sweet smell of incense wafted in the air as the first World Yoga Championship ever staged in the United States got off to a mind-boggling start on Thursday.

Some 70 contestants limbered up for a four-day pose off in a contest aimed both at challenging the concept that competition is anathema to the ancient spiritual practice of yoga, and laying the groundwork for yoga to become an Olympic event.

"Yoga doesn't mean just sitting and meditating and eating health foods," said championship organizer and "hot yoga" guru Bikram Choudhury at the Los Angeles Convention Center, where the event is taking place.
"It is a combination of body-building, Miss World, Mr. Universe and gymnastics," he added.
Who knew?

That sounds a tad exhausting to me and fraught with the danger that various portions of my anatomy might get stuck in ungainly positions. How about the World Beard and Moustache Championships instead?
Occupational Hazard Alert!
A good rule of thumb for an identity thief is not to steal the name of someone whose reputation is worse than yours, such as a sex offender.

Limousine Liberals Alert!
Shawn Macomber at the American Prowler on the The Other Other Half:
New Hampshire -- In 1890, journalist Jacob Riis published a detailed and devastating portrayal of poverty, How the Other Half Lives. On a blindingly bright summer day, along a meticulously manicured lawn, I found today's other half in a most unlikely place: Durham, New Hampshire. And more than a couple of them are running for president. There, and in dozens of "house parties" in the Granite State, they crowd in the huddled but fashionable masses and tell dire tales of woe while people munch on foie gras and quaff champagne.

The poverty of today is a well-hidden scourge. It's a lesson I learned traveling to several of these Democratic gatherings sprouting up all over the state this past year. I was leaning on a rocking horse in an Exeter home one evening not so long ago, waiting for Howard Dean to breathe some life into the party. Suddenly, the lady of the house glanced at me from across the room, her eyes widened, and she beat a path through the crowd toward me, index finger extended.

"Can you please not sit on that, it's an antique," she said, tugging at her sweater set.
Before I could answer, another man, in a Brooks Brothers suit, marched up and demanded to be heard. "The core issue nobody wants to talk about, not even Dean, is we need to start the process of liquidating the assets of the fat cats in this country and get about redistributing the wealth," he sermonized. It gave me a flavor of the steroid addled populism of the campaign to come.
Conspicuously absent from the proceedings, of course, were the traditional poor -- i.e., people who actually have no money, and who are, therefore, icky. The poorest people at these soirees were the reporters covering them. As someone whose income last year registered well below the poverty line, I always harbored hopes that some of this enthusiasm for wealth redistribution would prompt the partygoers to take pity on us poor ink-stained wretches. Alas, it never happened.
Poor Shawn should get into fictional documentaries like Michael Moore. These Kool Aid drinkers would lap it up and he could live on the Upper East Side too!
Environment or Heredity?
The heredity fans are pulling ahead after viewing this photo of the parents of Rachel "Roadkill" Corrie presenting a painting of their "activist" daughter to Ole Fishface. Fishface, in return, gave them the Bethlehem 2000 medal for their daughter's support of terrorism. What a pal they have in Yasser!

As expected, there's been some Photoshopping going on and some early results are in at Little Green Footballs and Aaron's Rantblog. Since that's well in hand, I'll merely point to some associated wingnuttery:
Jewish Peace Group Targets Caterpillar Corporation
Press Release, Jewish Voice for Peace, 25 September 2003


...the largest grassroots Jewish peace group in the U.S. announced today that it is targeting Illinois-based Caterpillar Corporation for its role in diminishing the chances for Middle East peace. Caterpillar has knowingly allowed its bulldozers to be used by the Israeli military for the demolition of thousands of Palestinian homes, settlement construction, and the building of Israel's Wall.
I'm sure Caterpillar is really shaking in its shoes.
Iraq vs. Kosovo
John Hawkins has a modest proposal:
As all of you know, we've heard incessant complaining about how the rebuilding effort is going in Iraq. Many people have suggested that we should turn things over to the UN who are even now showing their commitment to Iraq by having some of their staffers flee the country. But before we get our "allies" in France, Germany, Russia, & Syria (who showed such commitment to Democracy in Iraq before the war) involved in the decision making via the UN, perhaps we should look at another UN rebuilding effort in Kosovo.
All the dirty details by following the link, but here's a hint - betting on United Nations' competence is a sure way to lose your grubstake.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

I'll be gobsmacked!
Daley Fund-Raisers Charged in Probe:
CHICAGO - Two members of a prominent family close to Mayor Richard M. Daley were indicted on fraud charges Thursday, accused of getting more than $100 million in city contracts through schemes including passing off male-controlled businesses as woman-owned.
Ah, affirmative action at work in the big city!
The indictments follow a four-year investigation and mark the first time corruption charges have been brought against anyone so close to the mayor, although many aldermen and other Chicago political officials have been convicted of corruption in recent years.
Well, that's a relief! Unfortunately, they didn't catch up with Daley himself. This time.

And speaking of surprises - Aging Actor Tony Randall Fantasizes About His Funeral:
Actor Tony Randall has a fantasy: when he dies President Bush and Vice President Cheney show up to pay their respects but they're turned away - because his family knows he didn't like them.
Good fantasy, Tone! But do your part first.
I was wondering about that
Also from Tim Graham at The Corner is a reminder about the John Burns story of a few weeks ago:
On Slate today, contrarian media critic Jack Shafer is asking why no one in the supposedly vigilant press corps is asking questions about the testimony of John Burns, the Pulitzer-adorned war reporter for the NY Times.

In a new book compiling the stories of reporters (as we've mentioned here) embedded in the recent war, Burns charges that a correspondent "with a major American newspaper," seeking the favor of the Iraqis, printed copies of his and other reporters' stories and gave them to the ministry of information "to show what a good boy he was compared to this enemy of the state" — namely Burns.

While reporters were all declaring to American audiences they could not wear flag pins on the air, Shafer recounts how Burns scathingly condemns how reporters sucked up to the Iraqi minister of information, wining and dining him, "plying him with mobile phones at $600 each for members of his family, and giving bribes of thousands of dollars." Burns, who names no names, says TV correspondents gave hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to senior members of the ministry and then "behaved as if they were in Belgium. They never mentioned the function of minders. Never mentioned terror." And yet Christiane Amanpour can only complain about "foot soldiers" at Fox!
The Slate article is titled the "The Rat of Baghdad." How about "The Whores of Baghdad"? Wait, Christiane may have that one trademarked!
I guess I've led a sheltered life!
Over at The Corner, Tim Graham amuses with a link to a NY Daily News story about a CBS TV show called "CSI" that is going for less seamy storylines. Sheesh, I've never heard of it. But here's the best part:
PS: Don't be too glum about my pals down the hall. CBS is still saving an upcoming episode (for sweeps, I'm guessing) titled "Fur and Loathing" which examines a crime that takes place among a group of adults who dress in animal costumes and participate in a sex act known as a "fur pile."
I wonder if they have to dry clean the outfits?
Iraqi War Stories
Individual unit stories of the Iraq war are beginning to come out and make for interesting reading. Some snippets from some accounts I saw recently and remembered to bookmark:

Mackubin Thomas Owens at NRO provides The Marines’ Perfect War:
The March Up: Taking Baghdad with the 1st Marine Division by "Bing" West and Major General Ray "E-tool" Smith, USMC (ret) provides a remarkable description of a campaign conducted by some truly remarkable young Americans.
My daughter asked about his nickname. "E-tool" is an abbreviation for "entrenching tool," military jargon for the small shovel that soldiers and Marines carry for digging their fighting holes. Trying not to be too graphic, I explained Smith's nickname by paraphrasing his own words: "Unlike a rifle, a shovel doesn't jam." As is the case with most legendary characters, the story of how he earned his sobriquet has many variations. Let's just say that the incident involved Ray Smith, a small shovel, and one or more North Vietnamese soldiers.
Sounds like a Kumbaya shortage!
The jihadis asked no quarter and the Marines gave them none. The Marines
knew the difference between these jihad fighters and the militia. Consequently the Marines shot them in the ditches and in the field. They threw grenades into the bulrushes and shot the fighters when they ran out. They threw grenades into the drainage pipes running under the road…A few of the foreign fighters surrendered, but most did not — they had come to Iraq to die, and die they would.
As one Marine put it, this was the perfect war. "They want to die, and we want to kill them."
It's great when everyone is happy!

Also worth reading is Thom Shanker in the NY Times who provides How Green Berets Overcame the Odds at an Iraq Alamo. The major story is how lightly armed Special Forces held off an Iraqi armored column with Javelin missiles for which Sargeants Adamec and Brown won Silver Stars. But what happened next is interesting too:
There was a move by some Iraqis to surrender. More than a dozen Iraqi infantrymen left their trenches waving pieces of white paper. But two white S.U.V.'s drove up, and six men got out. Their flowing robes suggested that they were enforcers for the governing Baath Party; fedayeen fighters favored combat gear.

"Through our binoculars, we could see a heated discussion, and then these guys in robes started executing those guys who were trying to surrender," Sergeant Antenori said. "They shot every one of them, and then walked around to make sure they were dead."

The massacre was over in less than 30 seconds. The Americans decided something had to be done.

"We called in an F-18 to drop a 750-pound bomb on those S.U.V.'s," Captain Wright said. "It was like a magic show. You know, now you see 'em, now you don't. The S.U.V.'s, the guys in the white robes — they simply vanished."
They blowed up real good!
The Inmates Must Be In Charge!
The Gweilo spots a beauty:
Southern Methodist University, in Texas, shut down a student bake sale in which cookies were offered for sale at different prices, depending on the race and/or gender of the buyer.

The sale was conducted by the Young Conservatives organization, as a protest against the use of race and gender as a factor in college admissions.

White males were charged $1 for a cookie, white women 75 cents, while Hispanics had to pay 50 cents and blacks 25 cents.

A black student filed a complaint with the university, saying he found the sale offensive, and school officials promptly responded by shutting it down.
"This was not an issue about free speech," Tim Moore, director of the SMU student center, said in a story for Thursday's edition of The Dallas Morning News. "It was really an issue where we had a hostile environment being created."

[. . . .]

Matt Houston, a 19-year-old sophomore, called the group's price list offensive.

"My reaction was disgust because of the ignorance of some SMU students," said Houston, who is black. "They were arguing that affirmative action was solely based on race. It's not based on race. It's based on bringing a diverse community to a certain organization."
Of course it's about free speech you great bloody ass.
No chilling effect on dissent here! Move along!

And while you're visiting Gweilo Diaries, check out NK Blames Japan for Abductions. It's an Oriental version of "The USA was responsible for 9/11."
Shucks, I missed it!
I gave the California recall debate a pass as there was no fun shortage around the ole homestead. From the press reviews, I liked this best:
Somewhere in the 90-minute event, a conscientious voter could have learned that Green Party candidate Peter Camejo objects to using the word “illegal” to describe immigrants he said “are the children of the indigenous people of this planet”
As opposed to what, Petey?

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Dang! She's all ready for Halloween!

Hillary's dressing up as a general!

Pretty scary, eh kids?
Today's Hoot
Over at Little Tiny Lies, Steve makes his own contribution to political jargon:
I was just reading about the idiotic deal in California, where they're giving illegal aliens drivers' licenses. I find it highly amusing that they call these people "undocumented aliens."

It occurred to me that we should be just as kind to other criminals. For example, burglars are "temporary residents without papers," and rapists are "undocumented boyfriends."
And politicians could be Handlers of the Public Purse.
What's wrong with this picture?
Chip Scutari astounds in The Arizona Republic with Poll: Voters would end public aid to migrants. (Hint: As an aid to comprehension, whenever you see the words "migrant", "immigrant", or "undocumented" realize they are discussing illegal aliens.)
Despite loud denunciation by the majority of the state's political power brokers, voters are supporting a proposed initiative that would prevent undocumented immigrants from receiving public assistance and would require Arizonans to prove their citizenship before they could register to vote.

Seven of 10 voters support the Protect Arizona Now initiative, according to a poll released Tuesday by Arizona State University.

Politicians ranging from U.S. Sen. John McCain to Gov. Janet Napolitano have criticized the proposal, which could get on the November 2004 ballot if supporters gather enough signatures.
You guessed it, didn't you!
"It shows how big the disconnect is between politicians and the public they serve," said pollster Bruce Merrill, an ASU journalism professor. "When times are tough and people are worried about their jobs, people are looking at the costs of illegal immigration. It cuts across race and party."

Merrill, who surveyed 390 registered voters last weekend, said his poll also indicates that some Hispanics aren't opposed to this plan because undocumented immigrants are competing for their jobs, too.
Ya think?
Protect Arizona Now backers say that undocumented immigrants are draining state and local governments and that officials turn a blind eye to the problem of illegal immigration. Opponents call them political extremists and "uneducated fools."
There's a typical well reasoned response.

Why do politicos and the chattering classes think the taxpayers should fund a foreign aid program for illegal aliens living in their backyard? I must have overlooked the part of the Constitution that guaranteed welfare, schooling, and medical care for anyone in the world who sneaks across the border. As for voting, isn't aiding and abetting vote fraud a crime? Throw McCain, Napolitano, and the rest in the clink!

UPDATE: The Curmudgeon has some words on this one too:
First, this is so obvious that the fact that legislation is necessary to encact it says it all. Second, even if Arizona voters follow through, what are the odds that some Clinton/Carter judge won't declare them, the voters, nul, void, and irrelevant? Take your pick between slim and none. I know what you're thinking, "Jesus, has Schultz taken his Prozac today?" No, I haven't. I'm out of Scotch.
I'll drink to that.
To know Wes is not to love him
(Via FR) Joan Garvin of The Los Altos (CA) Town Crier reports on a speech by the retired former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Hugh Shelton:
His review of that historic event and his 38 years in the military kept the audience's rapt attention throughout. But it was his answer to a question from the audience at the end that shocked his listeners.

"What do you think of General Wesley Clark and would you support him as a presidential candidate," was the question put to him by moderator Dick Henning, assuming that all military men stood in support of each other. General Shelton took a drink of water and Henning said, "I noticed you took a drink on that one!"

"That question makes me wish it were vodka," said Shelton. "I've known Wes for a long time. I will tell you the reason he came out of Europe early had to do with integrity and character issues, things that are very near and dear to my heart. I'm not going to say whether I'm a Republican or a Democrat. I'll just say Wes won't get my vote."
I'd say the issue is that Weasley has no character, but Gen. Shelton was being polite.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Today's Hoot!
Tim Blair on Michael Moore's upcoming screed:
When the powers-that-be succeeded in ignoring-and then silencing-the nation's widespread dissent over war, one man stood on an Oscar stage and, in front of a billion people ...
... was booed by them.
And now he's back — daring to ask the most urgent question of these perilous times:
”Can I have fries with that?”
Maybe he'll nose out a few truffles this time!
UN Humor Alert!
The President wasted his time chatting up the expense account jockeys at United Nations headquarters today - Bush Calls on U.N. to Unify Against Terrorism. Quick, what has 191 assholes and no brain? Answer here.

It was nice of ole Sophie Cannon Kofi Annan to welcome the President by whining about unilateralism. Everything is more fun if you do it in a group! Including doing nothing, I guess.

And I'll bet the President didn't know the UN was already on the case as the Chicago Sun-Times editorializes:
The United Nations is beleaguered, under physical attack by terrorists in Iraq and rhetorical assault by those who have come to question what purpose the U.N. is serving in this complex, violent world. So the U.N. decided to re-establish its relevance in a characteristic way: It's holding a conference, seeking to understand the motives of terrorism and divine the "roots of evil.'' Of course it is.

''We have to deal with the roots and fanaticism behind terrorism in order to make the fight more effective,'' said Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik, chairman of the conference. ''Fighting terrorism should be about more than using your military and freezing finances.''

It should? Perhaps if you are already using military might against terrorism and freezing its assets, but the U.N. is doing neither in any significant fashion.

Otherwise a conference is exactly the sort of thumb-twiddling that has created the image -- or, if you prefer, the reality -- of the U.N. as an expensive stage for the tin pot dictatorships of the world to tweak the nose of the United States in prime time.
Why are we still wasting time and money on this farce?

Buh Bye!
Jimmie Moore at Talon News astounds with Dixie Chicks to Leave Country Music Over Reaction to Remarks:
Fresh off their "Top of the World" European tour, the Dixie Chicks announced Monday that they no longer want to be considered a country music band because of the backlash they endured from country music fans after members of the group made outspoken remarks on foreign soil against President George W. Bush as well as Republican California recall candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger.

"We don't feel part of the country scene any longer, it can't be our home any more," said Dixie Chicks violinist Martie Maguire. Ironically, Maguire had been the only member of the Dixie Chicks who has not made any public political statements.

Maguire told Spiegel magazine that the group was very disappointed with the lack of support they received from other country music artists earlier this year after lead singer Natalie Maines told a London audience, "Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas."
The once-popular country music superstars were unable to garner any honors at this year's Country Music Awards, where the mention of the Dixie Chicks was greeted with boos from the audience.

Maguire claims this is what has forced the group to officially leave country music and pursue future music interests in the pop/rock genre.

"We won three Grammys against much stronger competition," bragged Maguire. "So we now consider ourselves part of the big rock 'n' roll family."
Y'all don't let the garage door hit ya on yer skanky butts, hear?

And hush! Don't tell Weasley or the New Patriotism Police will be after me!
That Weasley is sure a cut up!

Wesley Clark, the comedian

Bob Novak has the details. Weasley must be the life of the party!

Oh yeah, here's Ratko's Interpol wanted poster.
Weasley Alert!
Seems that Wesley Clark got invited to speak at the CItadel by Philip Lader, a visiting professor of political science who was ambassador to Great Britain during the Clinton administration. About 150 people showed up to hear the candidate stupefy the crowd - Clark Calls for a 'New American Patriotism'. There was something the matter with the old fashioned kind? Who knew?

Anyhow, here's the gist of what Mr. Precious Bodily Fluids had on his mind:
Gen. Wesley K. Clark called today for "a new American patriotism" that would encourage broader public service, respect domestic dissent even in wartime and embrace international organizations like the United Nations.
"We've got to have a new kind of patriotism that recognizes that in times of war or peace democracy requires dialogue, disagreement and the courage to speak out," General Clark said. "And those who do it should not be condemned, but be praised."
Which means exactly what, Weasley? You planning on prohibiting snarky comments about Susan Sarandon? Zzzzz.
General Clark made it clear he believed that the administration had unfairly focused on whole classes of immigrants, for fear of a minority within them.

"Three million Muslims have come to this country from Asia and the Middle East," he said. "They didn't come because they were afraid of our values. They came because they wanted to live under them."
Sucking down the CAIR Kool Aid, eh Wes? Sheesh, the biggest criticism is that the administration doesn't focus on where the problem is. C'mon Granny, drop your socks, you might be carrying a nail file!

And then there's this:
Today was Day 6 of the campaign, and General Clark's 20-minute stump speech at the hastily arranged event here had a few rough patches.

"Patriotism doesn't consist of following the orders, not, not not when you're not in the chain of command," the general said, stumbling over his words and catching himself before he inadvertently encouraged insubordination in the ranks.
Easy for you to say, Weasel Boy!

Monday, September 22, 2003

Klinton Kool Aid Alert!
William Safire noticed the charming couple behind the curtain - Clintons Anoint Clark:
The Clintons decided that the Democratic primary campaign was getting out of hand. Howard Dean was getting all the buzz and too much of the passionate left's money. Word was out that Dean as nominee, owing Clintonites nothing, would quickly dump Terry McAuliffe, through whom Bill and Hillary maintain control of the Democratic National Committee.

That's when word was leaked of the former president's observation at an intimate dinner party at the Clinton Chappaqua, N.Y., estate that "there are two stars in the Democratic Party — Hillary and Wes Clark."

Meanwhile, the four-star general that Clinton fired for being a publicity hog during the Kosovo liberation has been surrounded by the Clinton-Gore mafia. Lead agent is Mark Fabiani, the impeachment spinmeister; he brought in the rest of the Restoration coterie. When reporters start poking into any defense contracts Clark arranged for clients after his retirement, he will have the lip-zipping services of the Clinton confidant Bruce Lindsey.

As expected, fickle media that had been entranced with Dean (Dr. Lose-the-War) dropped the cranky Vermonter like a cold couch potato and are lionizing Clinton's fellow Arkansan and fellow Rhodes Scholar.
Poor Howie - what the media giveth, the media can take away. And you know then when the Clintons said jump, the newshawks didn't even ask, "How high?"
Today's Hoot!
James Taranto over at Best of the Web noticed something a tad peculiar:
Has anyone else noticed that The Washington Monthly isn't exactly on the cutting edge anymore? Here's an excerpt of a piece by Joshua Micah Marshall that appears in the current issue:
The president and his aides don't speak untruths because they are necessarily people of bad character. They do so because their politics and policies demand it. . . . George W. Bush campaigned as a moderate, but has governed with the most radical agenda of any president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Indeed, the aim of most of Bush's policies has been to overturn what FDR created three generations ago. On the domestic front, that has meant major tax cuts forcing sharp reductions in resources for future government activism, combined with privatization of as many government functions as possible. Abroad, Bush has pursued an expansive and militarized unilateralism aimed at cutting the U.S. free from entangling alliances and international treaty obligations so as to maximize freedom of maneuver for American power in a Hobbesian world.
This sounds awfully similar to the observations of Joelle Fishman:
As the seemingly endless lies and betrayals of the Bush administration come into the light of day, the insidious nature of the right-wing agenda is becoming more widely understood. Many national leaders now speak of the intent of the Bushites to bankrupt government; dismantle every public entity from education to Medicare; destroy union representation, civil rights and civil liberties; appropriate the spoils of the earth and dominate the entire world.

Marshall's article was published Sept. 1. Fishman delivered her report to the National Committee of the Communist Party USA on June 28--more than two months earlier. We know magazines have long production cycles and all, but c'mon, guys, get the lead out!
Makes me nostalgic for the old style pork barrel Democrats. At least they weren't providing aid and comfort to barbarians.
Higher Education Alert!
(Via On the Third Hand) Let's hear it for Weevil State University! It's the Trojan Horse of the Axis of Weevil amongst the effete elite.
Chilling effect alert!
What's up? A Dixie Chick have a hangnail?

Nope. The Sacramento Bee decided to muzzle their opinion columnist Dan Weintraub's weblog in response to complaints from the California State Legislature's Latino Caucus. It seems that Dan, who has been distributing brickbats rather evenhandedly to deserving California pols, made the mistake of saying something critical about that clapped out political whore, Cruz Bustamante. Well that will certainly never do!

So now Dan has a SacBee editor looking over his weblog's shoulder to maintain political correctness, which I guess means no criticism of "Latino" pols, even if they are as sleazy as the Cruzer. Hugh Hewitt seems to have broken the story in the blogosphere (see 9/21 post at 8AM):
Weintraub has written a lot of pointed commentary, much of it aimed at Arnold. I have disagreed with many of Weintraub's conclusions about the race and especially his criticisms of Arnold's campaign decisions, but never doubted they were honestly arrived at. I started putting Weintraub on the radio a month ago, and now seek him out daily for an update. We brawl over specifics, but he is on top of the race in its many dimensions.

The Bee's powers have now decided to start supervising Weintraub. Why? Because the Latino Caucus complained about one of his entries.

It is a tough entry, one that blasts Cruz Bustamante and the Caucus. Weintraub is an opinion journalist, and in this particular posting his opinions on Cruz and his colleagues are not high. In fact, it deserves that classic phrase of journalistic approval: "hard-hitting."

So the Caucus blasted back. Usually an editor then stands up for the columnist and the paper's independence, citing a long tradition of press vigilance over entrenched political power and the glory of the First Amendment.

Not this time.
Writing the truth about the left at the Sacramento Bee will get you spanked by the Ombudsman and muzzled by Rodriguez. Another triumph for journalism.
Where's that little pissant, Al Franken?

Anyhow, the story is now all over the blogosphere as Hugh reports this morning (9/22, 5:50 AM):
FreshPotatoes has begun a FreeWeintraub League, which is more icing since Mickey, Instapundit, Roger L. Simon, P&I, Infinite Monkeys and others have all rallied. Of course the fact that the Scramento Bee is surrounded by a legion of bloggers banging their spears has no practical effect, just an underlining of the fact that the editors and publisher are dopes and will forever be known as dopes. "Oh, the Bee said that? Isn't that the bunch of geniuses that decided to "edit" the only feature that brought it national attention?"

The Bee also started, heh, a group blog among its editorial board members, which will be among the most ignored sites on the web. Their slogan: "Get the scoop on what the Latino Caucus thinks!" I have written before that no one starts out in life hoping to end up an anonymous writer of unread editorials. Why would we read the flagship blog of the easily intimidated?
A second-rate paper that could have made a run for first rate instead chooses to go third rate because the Latino Caucus barked.

A fine day in journalism. They will be teaching about this for some years to come, in the class for stupid editors in training.
"Now remember class, when someone plays the race card, just bend over!"

Sunday, September 21, 2003

Today's Hoot!
From Mark Steyn of course - Here comes General Clark, his policies will follow shortly:
Howard Dean, the insurgent Leftie from Vermont whose metaphorical battle cry of "Give me ideological purity or give me death" has so roused the party faithful, has successfully killed off all the other viable candidates, mainly by driving them nuts and dragging them far farther to the Left than any sane man would want to be.

Last week, though, Hurricane Howard appeared to have temporarily run out of puff.

So in jumped Gen Clark. Brilliant timing. As if to underline that it is now Dean vs Clark, Senator John Edwards, the pretty-boy trial lawyer from North Carolina, officially launched his campaign the day before the General, and nobody noticed.

The media trampled him into the asphalt as they stampeded on to Arkansas to coo over the Democrats' new "white knight". And here's the thing: Clark was terrible. I assumed all the time that he was on CNN claiming to be wrestling with his decision that he had a campaign platform in the freezer all ready to warm up once he gave the signal. But it seems he genuinely hadn't made up his mind.

Judging from his initial appearances, he still hasn't.
Actually, that's a polite take on it.
He is running for President because he thinks he is the best man for the job. Why? Well, no tricky follow-up questions, please: he'll get back to you later on that.
That's more like it.
More Clark puffery
Karen Tumulty at Time creams her jeans - "Wes Clark has launched a presidential bid that has a four-star luster":
Welcome aboard, sir. Clark's announcement that he was running landed like a rocket-propelled grenade in the messy bunker that is the Democratic presidential field.
Violent imagery form the PC crowd? Yoicks!
What's most striking about the Clark boomlet is how little his supporters really know about the candidate in whom they have invested such sudden and stratospheric hopes—a man who didn't declare himself a Democrat until a few weeks ago and who says he isn't sure whether he voted for a Democrat for President before Bill Clinton ran.
On a post-announcement swing through Florida and Iowa, Clark deflected questions on issues that ranged from aids in Africa to the Patriot Act. But that did not dampen the enthusiasm of the supporters who greeted him wherever he went
Duh! Let's hear some more snarky comments about Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Adding luster to Clark's aura with dissatisfied Democrats is the perception that he is running with the benediction of Bill and Hillary Clinton.
Ya think?
For all the excitement he generated with his announcement, Clark's first days as a candidate were anything but smooth. Besides his waffle on the Iraq vote, he seemed uncertain about how to answer some straightforward questions that more experienced candidates handle with ease. When the Miami Herald asked his position on the death penalty, Clark endorsed a moratorium on executions, then pleaded, "Stop. Stop. I promised I wasn't going to take a strong position." His campaign first said he would participate with the nine others in this week's Democratic debate in New York, then said he wouldn't because he was committed to making a paid speech in Texas, then reversed again and said he would.
All turban, no jihad as Mark Steyn would say.
"He can save this goddam nation from self-destruction," declares New York Congressman Charles Rangel, who is arranging a meeting for Clark with the Congressional Black Caucus, possibly as early as this week.
Well, I'm certainly relieved!

The amazing thing to me is that so far the Deanie Weenies don't realize that they've been snookered by the HillBillies. I wonder when they'll wake up and smell the biscuits?
And speaking of good news
Robyn Meredith in Forbes hears a Giant Sucking Sound:
The new Electronic Data System office in Mumbai (formerly Bombay) is half a world away from company headquarters in Plano, Tex. Getting to this Indian office requires a bumpy two-hour drive from downtown Mumbai. At every stoplight women dressed in rags and holding emaciated, dull-eyed infants tap car windows to beg. In the slums lining the roads, thousands of people live crammed into dirt-floored rooms, sheltered from monsoon rains by plastic sheets.
You wonder how many local customers EDS can have in conditions like that? Turns out the customers aren't local.
At the end of the drive is a heavily guarded, new office tower that rises above the slums. This is where Amit, 24, works. "This is Andy. How may I help you?" he says politely, hour after hour, to the Midwesterners who have forgotten their e-mail passwords or need the phone number of a colleague. EDS (nyse: EDS - news - people ) hired Amit and 500 of his colleagues--young men and women dressed in khakis or saris--to answer phone calls and e-mails on behalf of American companies that have outsourced tech work or customer service calls to EDS.
And why?
Amit and colleagues are paid $1.25 an hour. His counterpart in the U.S. would get $10.
Much more by following the link.
Well, here's good news from England!
It's official: you can no longer fail your exams:
School exam chiefs are to remove all risk of failure from key national tests by replacing the current F for "fail" grade with an N for "nearly".
The instructions cover English, maths and science exams at key stages one, two and three, which are taken by seven, 11 and 14-year-olds in all state schools and some private schools. The booklet for the stage two tests says: "The following method is used to note the marks awarded: 1 means that a creditworthy response has scored one mark; 0 means that a response is not creditworthy."
Er, like wrong?
The spokesman said the use of "creditworthy" was justified because some answers to maths questions were worth several marks and it was possible to gain some marks even if the final answer was wrong.

He admitted, however, that many questions had only a single answer and that in those cases "when we say it's not creditworthy then I suppose we do mean it's wrong".
But wait, there's more!
It adds: "Children who narrowly fail to achieve the lowest level targeted by the levels three-five tests are awarded a compensatory level two. Children who score fewer marks than required for a compensatory award will be awarded N."

A "compensatory level two" and "N" were used because "the focus is on reaching level three, the lowest level targeted by the tests, so if pupils don't reach that target it does not mean that they have failed; it means they have nearly reached the target".
But don't worry about your non creditworthy answers getting you an "N," kids - Maths GCSE pass mark cut to avoid mass failure.

Of course, the headline writer meant "mass nearly."