Saturday, January 24, 2004

Now that's scary!

Wonkette has a Kerry photo that'll send shivers down your spine. While you are there, check out the Google ads on the sidebar - refresh a couple of times to see them all. It looks like every Donk candidate that has cash is Googling. Of course, my favorite is the National Ad Council crap at the top enjoining "Art. Ask for More." in several variations. Sheesh, now it's considered public service advertising to tout art classes and demand funding for them.

And speaking of scary, remember the Rolling Stone cover photo of Big Weird Al which was created by his style consultants to further his "alpha male" image? Well now we have Lil Weird Weasley and his Advocate cover. Nice tee shirt little fella! And he's getting help with this demographic from Allah himself as well as others.
I was looking at "pitchers"

The sight of blissed out Mary Steenburgen (linked in the previous post) prompted me to cruise through the current selection of Yahoo! News Photos for amusement. It wasn't exactly a bumper crop, but I liked the one of the proprietor of a "Foodies for Dean" blog. Might be worth visiting so I would know what not to eat.

Also amusing was the caption to this one - "the state's next physical year".

Sheesh, I'm criticizing the spelling on photo captions. Time to head down to the lower forty and get some fresh air.
That's more like it!

Reuters reports a new poll that says Kerry Holds Lead But Race May Be Tightening. The Polipundit says the polls are bunk and I agree, but they provide endless amusement. They're also an opportunity for Reuters to include a snap of Mary Steenburgen looking like Jim Jones just handed her a big frosty mug of Kool-Aid, when its only Weasley Clark in a sweater. Hmm, they are kind of similar.
Look what the cat dragged in!

I stopped by Drudge and saw some of my favorite people. No, not Weasley and Howie, though they are there too. First, there's Anthony Pellicano - Hollywood Investigator Gets 30-Month Term in Weapons Case. Why would I care about some wacko Hollywood PI? Well the NY Times doesn't mention it, but Pellicano was Hill and Bill's muscle in trying to quash scandalous revelations about the sinkmaster. And here's an interesting coincidence:
Interestingly enough, some of Pellicano's targets, like former Los Angeles Times reporter Anita Busch and one-time "Hard Copy" correspondent Dina Dimond, report break-ins and property vandalism, the kind of problems encountered by Clinton accusers like Flowers, Sally Perdue, Kathleen Willey and Juanita Broaddrick.
30 months in the slam isn't long enough for this pond scum.

If that isn't distasteful enough, what else do I see but a Cherie Blair whine. Now I find Cherie, the "human rights lawyer," to be a source of great amusement (1, 2, 3) but Tony should have figured out by now that anyone who would hire an ex-topless "model" as a "lifestyle consultant" shouldn't be let out without a keeper.
Welcome the New Neighbors Alert!

The Raleigh News and Observer (who coined "welcoming the new neighbors") is shocked that Crowds crush DMV offices:
Immigrants trying to beat a Feb. 2 cutoff for some forms of ID swell lines for licenses across Triangle

An initiative meant to keep criminals and possibly terrorists from obtaining driver licenses is creating congestion, confusion and frayed nerves at the state's Division of Motor Vehicle offices.

As a crush of immigrants seek licenses before the state stops accepting Mexican identification cards and some other IDs on Feb. 2, a trip to the DMV is turning into an hours-long ordeal.

Some customers camped out overnight, and others arrived before dawn to be in line when the doors opened at 8 a.m. Friday at the DMV office on Miami Boulevard in Durham. People waited a half day or more for service at other offices in the Triangle, and the DMV warned that the problem will get worse.
When the initiative takes effect Feb. 2, Mexican immigrants will no longer be able to use several ID cards that they've relied on to get driver licenses. They include military and voting cards issued by Mexico and the popular matricula cards issued by Mexican consulates in the United States and commonly used by illegal immigrants.
Hey, I know how to thin out the lines! Park big vans with a huge signs saying "Border Patrol" next to the offices.

And speaking of the Border Patrol, how about Border Patrol: Did Bush send you here?
Border Patrol agents along the southern frontier are surveying illegals to find out if President Bush's controversial immigration reform plan announcement prompted them to come.

Agents have been instructed to ask one out of every five illegal aliens they catch if they were aware of Bush's proposed guest worker program and if it motivated them to come, the Tucson Citizen newspaper reported.

The daily said a citizen border watchdog group, Civil Homeland Defense, believes it already has seen an effect from the announcement.

The group caught 85 people entering the country illegally last weekend, said founder Chris Simcox.

"They were, like, 'What's the problem? President Bush said it was OK,'" he told the Tucson paper. "That's the attitude out there, and [Border Patrol] agents are totally demoralized."
And more:
But according to the Los Angeles Times, agents say there is anecdotal evidence a new wave of immigration has begun, as detainees have demanded "amnesty" upon their capture.
Well that's swell news although no surprise to anyone with even minor acquaintance with human nature. UPDATE: More in Bush Plan a Magnet.

And speaking of human nature, the usual suspects like to trot out the whine that "American was built by immigrants" and the illegals "are just looking for a better life for themselves." Aside from the fact that earlier immigrants were legal and not living off the largesse of the taxpayers, there's a wee problem that along with all the swell folks streaming across the border there are some who aren't so nice. Besides the occasional terrorist like Alleged Hizballah 'Fighter' Snuck Into U.S. from Mexico how about The Illegal-Alien Crime Wave?
Police commanders may not want to discuss, much less respond to, the illegal-alien crisis, but its magnitude for law enforcement is startling. Some examples:

• In Los Angeles, 95 percent of all outstanding warrants for homicide (which total 1,200 to 1,500) target illegal aliens. Up to two-thirds of all fugitive felony warrants (17,000) are for illegal aliens.

• A confidential California Department of Justice study reported in 1995 that 60 percent of the 20,000-strong 18th Street Gang in southern California is illegal; police officers say the proportion is actually much greater. The bloody gang collaborates with the Mexican Mafia, the dominant force in California prisons, on complex drug-distribution schemes, extortion, and drive-by assassinations, and commits an assault or robbery every day in L.A. County. The gang has grown dramatically over the last two decades by recruiting recently arrived youngsters, most of them illegal, from Central America and Mexico.

• The leadership of the Columbia Lil’ Cycos gang, which uses murder and racketeering to control the drug market around L.A.’s MacArthur Park, was about 60 percent illegal in 2002, says former assistant U.S. attorney Luis Li. Francisco Martinez, a Mexican Mafia member and an illegal alien, controlled the gang from prison, while serving time for felonious reentry following deportation.

Good luck finding any reference to such facts in official crime analysis.
And why's that?
Some of the most violent criminals at large today are illegal aliens. Yet in cities where the crime these aliens commit is highest, the police cannot use the most obvious tool to apprehend them: their immigration status. In Los Angeles, for example, dozens of members of a ruthless Salvadoran prison gang have sneaked back into town after having been deported for such crimes as murder, assault with a deadly weapon, and drug trafficking. Police officers know who they are and know that their mere presence in the country is a felony. Yet should a cop arrest an illegal gangbanger for felonious reentry, it is he who will be treated as a criminal, for violating the LAPD’s rule against enforcing immigration law.

The LAPD’s ban on immigration enforcement mirrors bans in immigrant-saturated cities around the country, from New York and Chicago to San Diego, Austin, and Houston. These “sanctuary policies” generally prohibit city employees, including the cops, from reporting immigration violations to federal authorities.

Such laws testify to the sheer political power of immigrant lobbies, a power so irresistible that police officials shrink from even mentioning the illegal-alien crime wave. “We can’t even talk about it,” says a frustrated LAPD captain. “People are afraid of a backlash from Hispanics.” Another LAPD commander in a predominantly Hispanic, gang-infested district sighs: “I would get a firestorm of criticism if I talked about [enforcing the immigration law against illegals].” Neither captain would speak for attribution.
Here's a test you can do at home - Google the web for your county or state's "Ten Most Wanted List" and see how many are Spanish-surnamed. For the case of the little rural county I live in, there are 3 people on the Most Wanted List but 2 are Spanish-surnamed. For the state, 3 of 7 are Spanish-surnamed. Since I live in one of the original 13 colonies over 1000 miles from Mexico, I don't think too many of these folks had roots here.

But Cracker, you say, "We just can't round up all of them and ship them back!" I say that economics brought them here and economics will send them back if we crack down on employers of illegal aliens. I'd also like to say crack down on a variety of taxpayer benefits like schools and hospitals too, but the usual suspects have gotten some judges to discover new rights in the Constitution for illegal aliens. We'll have to work fast before they find that the Constitution guarantees illegal aliens the right to a job too.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Naughty Johnny!

(Via Nikita Demosthenes) Mr. Edwards's Bundle of Secrets
A BIG PIECE of North Carolina Sen. John Edwards's campaign message is about how he would work to "clean up" Washington if elected president. He accuses President Bush of putting "the interests of lobbyists and campaign contributors above the interests of regular people." But Mr. Edwards -- alone among the serious candidates for president -- declines to provide a list of his major campaign financiers ...
Hmmm, what could he have to hide?
Based on the latest data available, Mr. Edwards has collected a bigger chunk of his donations in the form of $2,000 checks, the largest allowable, than any of the other Democratic candidates: 65 percent, compared with Mr. Kerry's 55 percent and Mr. Dean's 13 percent. Now, with his surprise second-place showing in Iowa, Mr. Edwards is scrambling to collect even more of those checks. It's no secret that the backbone of Mr. Edwards's financial support has been his fellow trial lawyers, nor does Mr. Edwards minimize that part of his biography; rather, he embraces it as a role in which he fought for ordinary citizens against powerful corporations. That's fine; voters can judge for themselves between his view of the profession and the Republicans' depiction of trial lawyers as sharks savaging the public interest. What's beyond dispute is that trial lawyers are a special interest. They pump millions of dollars into Democratic coffers because their livelihoods depend on such legislative issues as caps on damages in medical malpractice cases, limits on class action lawsuits and the settlement of asbestos litigation.
That reminds me of this story from May 2003 which bears a minor repeat - Donations to Sen. Edwards questioned:
Sen. John Edwards’ presidential campaign finance documents show a pattern of giving by low-level employees at law firms, a number of whom appear to have limited financial resources and no prior record of political donations.
Stacy and Robert Kern of Los Angeles, for example, are among those who contributed to Edwards’ candidacy. Stacy Kern is listed as an administrator at the law firm of Howarth & Smith. The firm participated in the class-action suits against the tobacco industry.

On March 6, Stacy Kern contributed $2,000 to the Edwards campaign. Two associate attorneys and five of the firm’s six partners also contributed the maximum amount. Los Angeles County records show that Stacy Kern is not a registered voter and has not previously voted or contributed to a federal campaign.

Her husband Robert, a self-employed travel agent, also gave $2,000 on the same day. Robert Kern was at one point registered to vote in Los Angeles, but after numerous unanswered letters since 1996 from the county registrar of voters, he was dropped from the voter rolls last year. As with his wife, Robert Kern has no record of having voted and made no previous federal campaign donations.

In 1998, Stacy Kern declared Chapter 7 bankruptcy in California, with assets of $7,925 and liabilities of $126,769. In 1994, California assessed her husband with a $33,254 state tax lien, active until 2004. The Kerns are not listed as property holders.

Stacy Kern said there was no coordination at the firm of donations to Edwards. But she added: “I mean, it’s not coincidence. I mean, we talked about him [around the firm].”

She said she does not remember the nature or specifics of those talks. Her husband Robert did not return several calls from The Hill.

A 2002 survey conducted by the Legal Assistant Management Association (LAMA) found that paralegals earn an average pre-tax salary of $44,416. Clerks make $30,345 on average, and managers receive $81,151. LAMA noted that salaries for legal assistants in San Francisco, San Jose and Los Angeles tend to be 11-29 percent higher than those nationwide.
It's nice to know that Johnny has the little people so solidly behind him that they'll donate a substantial fraction of their income despite perilous financial conditions! Why is he ashamed to let the rest of the world know?
You have to be kidding!

James Taranto at Best of the Web:
On CNN's "Crossfire" yesterday, Kerry's fellow Massachusetts Democrat Rep. Edward Markey attributed the senator's rise to the stunning new revelation that he served in Vietnam:
John Kerry has to get out this message honestly that he was a winner of the Silver Star and the Bronze Star in Vietnam. This is not--was not well known before the Iowa caucus.
Of course, it could hurt Kerry if word gets out that he's haughty and French-looking.
Vast Republican Conspiracy Alert!

Unlike Jeff Jacoby, Weasley Clark did not think that Brit Hume turned in the best performance at last night's debate - Clark: GOP agenda at play in New Hampshire debate:
Presidential candidate Wesley Clark on Friday complained that one of the moderators in Thursday night's debate was carrying out a Republican agenda by questioning his Democratic credentials.

They're all out to get me!

Actually Peter Jennings got in a few embarrassing questions for Weasley too, which he fumbled in his usual manner.
More Donk Debate Reactions

John Derbyshire at The Corner - DON'T ASK ME
Watched the debate in repeat late last nite from the bottom of a deep happy well, having spent the previous 3 hrs scarfing down a Chinese New Year banquet with lots of that clear Chinese liquor you can use for cleaning out grease traps.

Let's see: Edwards knows squat about Islam, Clark is agnostic about whether my President is a "deserter," Sharpton doesn't know what the Federal Reserve Board is, Kucinich wants to pay my kids' college fees (you know, from out of that big brass-bound chest in the White House basement, the one labeled GOVERNMENT MONEY), Dean has a cold, Kerry served in Vietnam, Lieberman mnghhh.

Please don't make me write about the debate Kathryn.
John Ellis provides his take and an interesting discussion of the press view of Kerry - The Kerry Nightmare
Veteran reporters and commentators who watched last night's debate in New Hampshire agree that Kerry emerged unscathed and therefore the winner (in political terms). Clark was awful, Dean was qualudian, Edwards reinforced the idea that he's not quite ready for prime time and Sharpton was (and is) a fool.

So the take-away was Kerry is going to win the New Hampshire primary. If he does, then all the money will start flowing his way and it will be very hard to deny him the nomination.

This is a grim prospect for the veteran reporters/columnists. I would venture to guess that 85% of them would vote against Bush in virtually every hypothetical (save Sharpton). But I would also guess that 85% of them can't stand Kerry. So their mood is sour.

Why don't they like Kerry? Because they think he's a pompous phony. The new phrase making the rounds is "Gulfstream populist" (his wife, Theresa, owns a private plane). And they're tired of the whole Vietnam shtick. They heard it in his Congressional race back in the seventies, in the race against Ray Shamie in 1984, in the race against Weld in 1996 and they're hearing it again in Iowa and New Hampshire. And they're just sick to death of it and of him.
The French guy served in Vietnam? Who knew?
Just Damn

The latest ARG Tracking poll has Deano down to 3rd in New Hampshire, although it's too early to reflect last night's debate or the Diane Sawyer interview with Deano and his wife.

I'm not allowed to watch any more Donk debates since my cussing and yelling frightens the livestock and sets the dogs to barking. But most accounts I have read seem to echo John Podhoretz's view - Kerry and Deano did OK, Clark and Edwards didn't. Skipping the details and heading right for the snarky lines:
Edwards isn't ready for prime time. It's not even clear whether he's ready for the time of day when SpongeBob Squarepants is on.
I thought SpongeBob was always on, but I get the idea.
There's been a lot of talk that Wesley Clark would make a great vice-presidential candidate. Let me put this plainly: Anybody who picks this weirdo as vice president would need to have his head examined.
Well at least he didn't break out a roll of aluminum foil and start making a beanie - yet.

And while this was supposed to be the last debate before the primary election, I see that there is an effort to organize another one on Sunday focusing on "women's issues". Be still my heart!

As for the "couple interview" of Deano and Judy with Diane Sawyer, I didn't watch that either, but the general reaction seems to be benign or even positive in comparison to the notorious Hill and Bill show on 60 Minutes in 1992. Timothy Noah, however, says they shouldn't have taken as much crap as they did from Diane. I always say that about the unannointed priests of the press, Tim, but if you lay down with dogs, you have to expect to get up with fleas.

UPDATE: More debate goodness from Jeff Jacoby (via On the Third Hand) - A tedious night, with a bit of humor:
There can't be much doubt about who turned in the best performance in last night's New Hampshire debate. Only one man on that stage was consistently calm and thoughtful, well-spoken and well-prepared.

He didn't wilt under pressure, he was forceful without being discourteous -- if anyone appeared ready for the responsibilities of the White House, it was he. Too bad Brit Hume isn't running for president.
It was worth the price of admission just to see that blowhard Al Sharpton try to answer a question about the Federal Reserve. It was funny to discover that John Edwards doesn't appear to have the slightest idea what the Defense of Marriage Act is all about. And it was hilarious to watch Clark try to wriggle out of Brit Hume's devastating query about his political loyalties: After reciting a litany of examples of Clark's pro-Republican record, Hume asked, "Can you tell us when you first noticed you were a Democrat?"

Hume really was terrific last night. Maybe it's not too late to get him on the ballot.
I also hear that Peter Jennings did a surprisingly good job too, hard as it may be to believe. He was the one who asked Sharpton about the Federal Reserve. Transcript is here.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Odd Couple Alert!

(Via Croooow Blog) Wesley & Me: Ever seen Bowling for Columbine, General?
Who's the political odd couple of the campaign season: Judy and Howie? John and Teresa?
Nope, it's Stan and Ollie.
Try Wesley Clark and Michael Moore. The union between the Silver Star winner and the self-described peacenik was consummated last week on the stump in New Hampshire.
I won't go there. But there's something more than a tad odd about it:
Moore hasn't always been so taken with Clark, at least if his Oscar-winning film Bowling for Columbine is to be taken at face value. Indeed, the documentary repeatedly slams the shining moment in Clark's career: stopping Serb aggression in Kosovo, the highlight of his tenure as NATO supreme allied commander. In fact, Moore suggests that the bombing tactics employed by NATO—and thus Clark—were in part to blame for the massacre at Columbine.
Well that certainly casts a pall on the party!
So has Clark actually watched Bowling for Columbine? It's hard to say. Clark staffer Jamal Simmons says that Clark "is generally a fan of Michael Moore" but mostly his earlier works.
Could the campaign ask the general if he saw the movie? Nope. Too busy, says Simmons, pointing out that Clark doesn't "pre-screen the views" of all who support him.
Jamal could have saved some oxygen by just saying that Weasley is a smarmy panderer who will do anything to get elected.
Ruh Oh!

The Mars Rover stops working and the President makes an unscheduled stop in Roswell, NM. Dang, where's my tin foil beanie?
Ecoweenie Alert!

Evan Coyne Maloney interviews the Kool-Aid drinkers who showed up for Prince Albert Gore's January 15th speech on the environment. Cut to the videotape - Gettin' a MoveOn.
Don't be a Gloomy Gus!

After the gloomy post below, I'm feeling much better, thanks! It's because I read Deborah Orrin in the NY Post - Dems May Be in for a Brokered Convention:
The Dean Debacle - Howard Dean's post-Iowa primal shriek meltdown - has Democrats buzzing that there's now a real prospect of a long bitter fight for the nomination that isn't settled until the convention.

Because now, there are four major contenders plus Al Sharpton competing for the nomination - and that could make it very hard for anyone to muster the majority of 2,162 delegates needed to clinch it.

All in the thick of it are the down-sliding Dean, Iowa victor John Kerry, runner-up John Edwards and Wesley Clark. While Sharpton has no chance, he appeals to black voters who are a major Democratic force.

The problem in getting to a majority is that Democratic Party rules guarantee delegates everywhere to anyone who gets 15 percent of the vote.

So Kerry may have "won" Iowa, but he doesn't even get half of the 45 delegates at stake. Right now he's in line for 20, Edwards for 18 and Dean for 7.

"If Kerry achieves liftoff and can sell in the South, he's the nominee, but if he doesn't, there's a real chance of a brokered convention," says a Democratic insider.
And when you say "brokered," you're talking Hill and Bill. This could be really good!
Follow the money!

Can you still remember Carol Moseley Braun? Well Lynn Sweet at the Chicago Sun-Times has some interesting details on her quitting her big presidential campaign in Braun drops out, but wins anyway:
Braun campaign manager Patricia Ireland -- the former National Organization for Women president who was never able to energize the feminist community behind Braun -- started talking to Dean campaign manager Joe Trippi at the end of last week. Trippi turned her over to Dean senior adviser Jon Haber.

That means during Sunday's debate in Iowa, when Braun defended Dean after he was attacked by Al Sharpton for his lack of minority hirings while Vermont governor, Braun was already crafting her exit strategy with Dean.

By early this week, Ireland was in negotiations with Haber on the details of Braun's departure. Braun's issues: She has a big campaign debt, and the trickle of money she was getting would dry up once she quit the contest. Braun also wanted an understanding on what role she would play with the Dean team. Ireland and Haber sealed the deal Wednesday evening.

"We are going to help her with the debt," Haber told me. The debt tab could be in the neighborhood of some $300,000 and Dean's camp will help Braun raise the money to pay it off.

Braun will campaign for Dean three days of the week, with the Dean campaign picking up her travel expenses. Braun will become a Dean campaign consultant and will be paid about $20,000. Up to three of Braun's staffers, including Ireland, will be hired by the Dean campaign. In the short term, Braun will head to New Hampshire and South Carolina for the Dean campaign. A large number of Democratic voters in South Carolina, which holds its primary Feb. 3, are African-American.
I hope she got the money up front - Deano's checks may not be good real soon the way things are going!

But there's always an upside:
After Braun handed her baton to Dean in Iowa, she took off for Hollywood, Fla., where she was to be the paid keynote speaker at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration. I don't know how much she got for the appearance, but her presidential run may translate to bookings on the lecture circuit.
Now there's a true entrepreneur!

(Hat tip: Tim Graham)
Dismal News for Comedy Fans!

Kerry takes lead in NH, new Herald poll shows
Sen. John F. Kerry has catapulted into a 10-point New Hampshire lead six days before the nation's first primary, bouncing out of Iowa and over longtime frontrunner Howard Dean, according to a new Boston Herald poll.
I know that Iowa and New Hampshire are just two rather small states, but where's and George Soros and the rest of SPECTRE? How could they let this happen?

And what could happen to turn this around? Other than the French guy's wacky wife catching him entertaining four Hooters girls in a hot tub, the best thing would be a independent candidate. At one point Howie threatened to go independent if he didn't get the nomination - that would be fun indeed. And there's always Ralph Nader who is claiming he will make up his mind in "three weeks", although I still haven't figured out why he doesn't want to run as a Green anymore. I just don't know - it seems like there is a real fun shortage developing.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Wait 'til they find out about the logging companies' plans for the Moon and Mars!

Dagnab it!

Poll Shows Kerry Surge in New Hampshire. C'mon Howie, you have to pull this one out in order to maximize entropy!
"We have got to do better than this. Our country is in serious trouble," Dean said Wednesday at a campaign event in Manchester. "We've got to save this country."
That's the spirit!

But as Robert Moran mentions in a post below, it's not "winner take all", so there may be some fun left.
Uncoordinated Whine Alert!

Democrats' response: Text of comments by Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Tom Daschle

Forty-three years ago today, as a college student standing in the freezing cold outside this Capitol building, I heard President Kennedy issue this challenge in his inaugural address: "My fellow citizens of the world," he said, "ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man."


For the last couple of weeks, I've been traveling through my home state of South Dakota, visiting the people and small towns that are America's backbone. And the folks I met were asking something, too: "What about us?"
Perhaps a little message synchronization is in order?

UPDATE: Edited to correct a grievous error on my part that was flagged by John in the comments. Yes, Nancy has the quote correct.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Today's Hoot!

Jay Leno: They put Dean in a sweater to take off the edge and now he resembles Mr. Rogers with rabies.
Let a smile be your umbrella!

Robert Moran at National Review - Big-Picture Politics: We're in for a long race.
Once again the mainstream media miss the big picture. Instead of seeing the forest that is the Democratic primary system, they're analyzing bark. Big mistake.

It's always easier for talking heads to focus on the micro-level engagements that a camera can easily capture. But, when actual thought and knowledge of the Democratic primary system comes in, the picture quality starts to blur.

The big picture that the mainstream media is missing is that (a) the Democrats are in for a protracted battle for the nomination in which (b) no candidate may be able to garner a majority of the 3,500 pledged delegates. And (c) even if one candidate is able to get the delegates he needs before the process concludes, he will be bloodied and broke.

Republicans should be smiling.
I certainly hope the Donks will take as much time as they need to "dialogue" about their differences.
So what does Number 1 say about SPECTRE's candidate going down the hydroflush?

Soros snacking on side dishes
January 20, 2004 -- It sure is hard to juggle your wife and your girlfriends - just ask billionaire investor George Soros.
Well dang, even the evil billionaires can't keep their eyes on the ball anymore!
Dang it Howie! You're not supposed to implode until after you're nominated!

Explode either. From Disaster for Dean in Iowa:
Dean's collapse, combined with the combined surge of Sen. Kerry (Mass.) and Sen. John Edwards (N.C.), who finished second, threw the race wide open.

It also raised fresh questions about Dean's temperament when he launched into a screaming, clenched-teeth rant before his supporters after the vote count.
Rolling up his shirt sleeves and shrieking so loud that his voice cracked, a raging Dean rallied his supporters with forced optimism and a pugilistic tone that stood in contrast to the formal upbeat speeches by his opponents.

"I'll see you around the corner, around the block," Dean said, sounding like a bully taunting Kerry and Edwards, whom he'll face in the New Hampshire primary Tuesday.

"He's crazy," said Republican pollster Frank Luntz after watching Dean's bizarre performance. "This is everything that voters don't want to hear from him. He's just lost the Democratic nomination for president. He's too hot."

Dean told his supporters, "We will not give up. We will not quit, now or ever. We have just begun to fight. We have just begun to fight."
I saw this on the tube and thought Deano was going to have a coronary! Drudge is all over it ('Dean goes nuts") and has an audio clip. Tim Blair is having a Planet Deano contest - ("Go nuts Dean-style in your own country").

And speaking of the tube, I watched a couple minutes of the two caucuses that CSPAN televised (on two different channels) and ran screaming from the room. More entertaining was the Free Republic live thread on the caucuses which featured a variety of snarky comments on what CSPAN was providing. Highlights included the pony-tailed yutz passing around the paper bag for "Dollars for Democrats" and the inability of the characters at the other caucus to properly add up the votes.

Aside from the failure of Deano's vaunted Internet organization to deliver the goods, I think the other big story was the failure of the labor union muscle of both Gephardt and Deano. See Lowell Ponte's Dis-Union in Iowa.

However, there's a long row to hoe before the Donks finally nominate someone and it's looks like plenty of good amusement is in store. I can hardly wait!

Speaking of which, can someone explain this? Girls gone wild?

Monday, January 19, 2004

Line of the day!

Grins and Grenades
"Clark portrays himself as an outsider when he's really just another Washington insider," said Dean spokesman Jay Carson. "It turns out that this guy was a registered lobbyist long before he was a registered Democrat."
It just gets better

James Taranto notes some more Burpelson moments:
More Wesley weirdness:, an official campaign Web site, features a series of very strange online surveys. "What is the best Democratic ticket for '04? asks one--and of the 10 choices offered, Clark heads the ticket in only four of them. Four more have Clark as No. 2 on the ticket, and two of them (Dean/Edwards and Edwards/Dean) shut out Clark entirely. The most popular ticket, garnering more than a third of the votes, is Kucinich for president, Clark for veep.

Another poll asks "Would Lyndon LaRouche make a good Treasury secretary?" Only 40% say no, though the results are perhaps inconclusive, since only five people have cast votes in the poll.
Lyndon LaRouche for Treasury secretary? Don't tell the Queen, she'll be pissed!

But thinking of Lyndon, I was reminded of this post by Jonah Goldberg at The Corner:
One of our "Iowa guys" writes:
Jay and Jonah:

I thought you might be interested in this Dean GOTV tactic. I compared notes with a friend (both of us live in Des Moines), and the same thing happened to him:

Dean campaign calls, identifies itself and asks if I have a candidate selected for the caucus.

I say only: I will not be supporting the Governor. My friend identifies himself as an Edwards supporter.

Within an hour, I get a call from St. Louis (Gephardt's home district) and some guy tells me why he is supporting Dean. My friend gets TWO calls from Dean supporters in North Carolina (Edward's home state) with the reasons why they support Dean. (He's the only one who get beat Bush, blah, blah, blah).

Good evidence of the Dean campaign's organizational efforts which will be key to beating Gephardt's traditional labor support.
My question is who do they get to call you if you tell them you are for LaRouche?
Eddie Haskell Slaps Beaver Cleaver!

Kerry belittles Edwards, then takes it back!

It's a tempest in a teapot, but Kerry did manage to work in that he served in Vietnam. And check out the snap of the two - the French guy is looking mighty dilapidated.
What is it about the Iowa caucuses that keeps bringing me back to Dave Barry?

Iowa's decision huge, until maybe tomorrow
DES MOINES -- It's caucus day, the day when hundreds of thousands of Iowa voters, finally getting their chance to respond to months and months of campaign rhetoric, will stay home.

I'm not kidding. Officials here are predicting a ''record turnout,'' but it turns out that ''record turnout'' means ``at least 75 percent of the voters will not be turning out.''

I blame the political attack ads. Every time you turn on the TV out here, there's an announcer saying something like: ''What do we REALLY know about Howard Dean's role in the JFK assassination?'' You watch 17 of these ads in a row, and the LAST thing you want to do is caucus. You want to crouch in a closet, whimpering.

But those Iowans who are strong enough to get out and caucus this year will be rewarded, because they will be helping to make a decision that will reverberate throughout the annals of American history, loud and clear, until about noon tomorrow, at which point all the candidates, pollsters, media, etc., will have gotten the hell out of here, headed for New Hampshire, leaving the Iowans safe, at last, to turn on their televisions again and start following the Michael Jackson story like everyone else.
I'm hoping for a tie among the "big four" so that the comedy can be prolonged up to the last possible moment!

Look for the union label ... on government employees

John Fund has an interesting piece at the WSJ on the changing nature of the labor movement and the Donk candidates they support - Meany vs. Deanie. Here's the big picture:
The industrial unions may be declining in membership, but they have redoubled their investment in politics to the point that some unions now routinely deplete their entire treasury in election years. The industrial unions are also now completely unforgiving of any deviation from protectionism.
I'm sure the union members had nothing better to do with the cash, but this isn't all that new. What's new is:
On the other side of the labor divide, government and white-collar union members are more secure but growing ever more powerful within the Democratic Party. "The big story in labor in the last 15 years is that the hard left has taken over the public-sector unions, and no major Democrat will stand up to them," says Steve Silberger, who was chief Washington lobbyist for AFSCME from 1980 until 1988 and now mourns the leftward shift of the union movement. "The Democratic Party is becoming a pure party of government--the public interest is being subordinated to a special interest that prospers when government grows."

Should Howard Dean win Iowa and go on to become the Democratic nominee, it will mark a major shift in the power structure of the union movement. Back in the 1950s, only 5% of union members worked for the government. In 1983 that figure had reached 32%. Today, a full 46% of all union members are in the public sector. David Denholm of the Public Service Research Foundation notes that in 2002 private-sector unions lost 445,000 members while their public-sector counterparts gained 165,000 members. "Within a few years, a majority of union members will work for the government," he says. That could have a profound impact on the Democratic Party. "Private-sector workers tend to want companies to grow and prosper even if they want more pay and benefits," says pollster Scott Rasmussen. "That was the philosophy of the late George Meany and the AFL-CIO in the 1970s. But public-sector workers want government to grow first, and the overall health of the economy isn't as relevant to them."
Since they zone out when the source of taxes is discussed, we're in for a rough ride.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Today's Hoot!

Mark Steyn:
Where are we going to find the un-Dean? That was the cry of Democratic power brokers as Howard Dean rose unstoppably through last year, and the wise old birds fretted that he was unelectable. Judging from the polls, New Hampshire Democrats seem to have found their un-Dean. It's Wesley Clark.

So now the Dem big shots can all start looking for the un-Clark.

If they aren't already, they ought to be. Dean might be bad for the health of the party, but that's no reason to go from bad to Wes. If the rap against Dean is that he's gaffe-prone, shoots from the hip, says loopy stuff, that goes tenfold for Clark. Let me say, by the way, in a spirit of bipartisanship, that I don't believe Howard Dean is nuts. From my perch in New Hampshire, I watched him across the river governing Vermont for a decade, and although he was certainly mean and arrogant, the chief characteristic of his political persona was its blandness. But this is no time for a Democratic candidate who feels your pain. Democratic activists want someone who feels their anger, and Mad How the mad cow was pretty much invented by the somnolent Governor Dean to fit that bill.

So I'd say Howard Dean is a sane man pretending to be crazy. Whereas General Clark gives every indication of a crazy man pretending to be sane.
Copious examples by following the link.
Turmoil Amongst The Kool-Aid Drinkers!

Soured on Howard for "Being Like Bush"
DES MOINES, Iowa - Call them the Dean Defectors - they used to like Howard Dean, but now are so turned off that some offer the ultimate insult for a Democrat: He reminds them of President Bush.

"I was interested in Dean, but he turned me off," said college student Katy Cunconan, 21, of Des Moines. "It's like he talks before he thinks. His remark about the Confederate flag is what started it. Then in the last debate, he seemed like he got too angry.

"In the way he comes off, he just reminds me of Bush. He just doesn't sound as intelligent as the other candidates. I don't want another president who will embarrass us," added Cunconan, who now backs John Kerry.
Apparently no humor intended.

More crunchy granola politics by following the link.
Cracker Barrel Swami Predicts the Winner in Iowa Caucuses!

Beats the heck out of me!

I can't even figure out how the durn things work, although William Saletan and Matt Schiller try their best to 'splain it in Slate. Frankly, it makes my head hurt.

Dave Barry also tries to 'splain it and his version sounds like more fun:
I've been covering these things since 1984, and I have never once heard a coherent explanation of how Iowans caucus. We know that they do it indoors, at night, and they form little groups, and eventually there are Jell-O shots and something called ``The Happy Pants Dance.''

Also the largest man present must smear his naked body with margarine and fight a boar.

But beyond that, it's a mystery.
Dave is actually in Iowa covering the snooze, and offers a brief assessment of the erstwhile leaders:
Usually, this [the winner] is Rep. Dick ''Dick'' Gephardt, five-time winner of the World's Whitest Man competition. Dick comes from Missouri (a state near Iowa) and has won the Iowa caucuses 14 times, although once he was edged out by Sen. Tom Harkin, who is actually FROM Iowa.

In any event, when the caucuses are over, everybody moves on to New Hampshire, and nobody thinks about Iowa again for years. This time around, however, Iowa is in turmoil. Dick is here again, of course, but he is threatened by a newcomer named Howard Dean, who is from Vermont or possibly Rhode Island, neither of which is anywhere near Iowa.

Yet Howard is making a strong showing, thanks in part to thousands of young campaign volunteers who have come to Iowa out of a sincere and idealistic desire to skip classes. They are highly organized: According to a Washington Post story, ``the Dean field operatives have purchased mountains of bottled water and granola bars, and cell phones and flashlights by the dozen.''

Yes, flashlights. The Post doesn't say why. Maybe it has to do with ``The Happy Pants Dance.''
More of Dave's coverage of this milestone event in A big carrot calls for peas on earth and See nice and manly men at a rally near you.
What is it about the Olympics that gets my goat?

I think it's the insufferable hype. Anyhow, I'm glad to see that someone else is grumpy too. Andrew Stuttaford at The Corner - Olympic Joy:
In any list of poisonously sanctimonious, excruciatingly dull and grotesquely self-important institutions the Olympic Games must rank high, up somewhere near the United Nations and the League of Women Voters. Horrifyingly, London is now joining New York and the other lemming cities that want to host this ghastly event.

Samizdata’s David Carr is not impressed:
“No. Non. Nein. Njet. Let the French have it. Or the Russians. Or the Brazilians. Or somebody. Anybody. Just not here. Go away. Sod off. Scram. Sling your hook. Get lost.”
He’s right.
Yeah, it's like the United Nations except it only pops to annoy every four years instead of continuously.
Here's swell news

Ridley Scott's new Crusades film 'panders to Osama bin Laden'
Sir Ridley Scott, the Oscar-nominated director, was savaged by senior British academics last night over his forthcoming film which they say "distorts" the history of the Crusades to portray Arabs in a favourable light.

The £75 million film, which stars Orlando Bloom, Jeremy Irons and Liam Neeson, is described by the makers as being "historically accurate" and designed to be "a fascinating history lesson".
The only problem is that the "history lesson" is what would have been thought up by a not-too-bright 7th grade child of Kumbaya spouting parents. Lots of details by following the link, but here's my fave:
The Knights Templar, the warrior monks, are portrayed as "the baddies" while Saladin, the Muslim leader, is a "a hero of the piece", Sir Ridley's spokesman said. "At the end of our picture, our heroes defend the Muslims, which was historically correct."

Prof Riley-Smith, who is Dixie Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Cambridge University, said the plot was "complete and utter nonsense". He said that it relied on the romanticised view of the Crusades propagated by Sir Walter Scott in his book The Talisman, published in 1825 and now discredited by academics.

"It sounds absolute balls. It's rubbish. It's not historically accurate at all. They refer to The Talisman, which depicts the Muslims as sophisticated and civilised, and the Crusaders are all brutes and barbarians. It has nothing to do with reality."
And catch this:
The script depicts Baldwin's brother-in-law, Guy de Lusignan, who succeeds him as King of Jerusalem, as "the arch-villain". A further group, "the Brotherhood of Muslims, Jews and Christians", is introduced, promoting an image of cross-faith kinship.
Prof Riley-Smith added: "Guy of Lusignan lost the Battle of Hattin against Saladin, yes, but he wasn't any badder or better than anyone else. There was never a confraternity of Muslims, Jews and Christians. That is utter nonsense."
Dr Philips said that by venerating Saladin, who was largely ignored by Arab history until he was reinvented by romantic historians in the 19th century, Sir Ridley was following both Saddam Hussein and Hafez Assad, the former Syrian dictator. Both leaders commissioned huge portraits and statues of Saladin, who was actually a Kurd, to bolster Arab Muslim pride.

Prof Riley-Smith added that Sir Ridley's efforts were misguided and pandered to Islamic fundamentalism. "It's Osama bin Laden's version of history. It will fuel the Islamic fundamentalists."
Thanks Ridley!
The Donks need quotas!

Jay Bryant explains The significance of Carol Moseley Braun:
Carol Moseley Braun, who ended her presidential campaign this week, is frequently and accurately described as the only African-American woman ever to serve in the United States Senate.

But, assiduous newsreader though I am, I have never seen her identified by the following descriptor, which in addition to being equally accurate is vastly more remarkable:

Carol Moseley Braun is the only African-American Democrat ever to serve in the United States Senate.
Ruh oh!
Isn't that really astonishing? A political party that for the past seventy years has claimed the allegiance of as many as ninety per cent of the black voters of this country has elected precisely one of them to the Senate. And the only way Moseley Braun won was by challenging and defeating the Illinois Democratic Party's anointed and endorsed candidate – incumbent Senator Alan J. Dixon in 1992.

I paused in mid column just now and did some rough math, which suggests that somewhere between a quarter and a third of all Democrats are African-Americans. So if we applied the concept of affirmative action quotas to the Democratic Senate membership, there should be approximately twelve black Democratic Senators in the current Congress. But in fact, there are none. There weren't any in the last Congress either, or the one before that. Except for Moseley Braun's single six-year term, there have never been any black Democratic Senators.

There have been three black Republican Senators: Hiram Revels, Blanche Kelso Bruce and Edward Brooke.

Oh, Democrats will let African-Americans serve in the House of Representatives, but only after carefully carving out black-majority, which is to say segregated, districts for them. Well, you can't expect white Democrats to vote for one of them, can you?

So the Democratic Party's policy, throughout the modern, post-World War II era has been to create separate-but-equal congressional districts. Keep blacks in the ghetto – the urban plantation. The handful of African-American Republican members of Congress, by contrast, have come from suburban and rural areas, where they have been, often enthusiastically, supported by Republican voters. Moreover, whenever the Republican Party has attempted to run black candidates in black areas, they lose overwhelmingly, and this pattern holds for other offices, too.

White Republicans have no problem whatsoever voting for black Republicans, when they can find one to vote for. Black Democrats won't vote for a black Republican. White Democrats won't vote for a black Democrat. Which is the racist party?
Much more by following the link. When are Jesse and Al holding the press conference?
They're Impurifying His Bodily Fluids! And He's Angry!

Weasley continues his challenge to Deano for the angry flip-flop crown - Pumped up Clark vows he'll beat down Bush.
Stepping up his fiery defense of perceived flip-flops on Iraq, retired Gen. Wesley Clark yesterday said he relishes Republican claims he once backed the war - and vowed to ```beat down'' President Bush if he ever used it against him.
Hmm, but after he gets finished thumping his chest and howling:
But, asked again why he said he ``probably'' would have voted for the resolution authorizing force in Iraq, Clark said, ``that was also a strategic mistake. It was a bobble, and there's no explaining it.''

Though apparently admitting he gave conflicting comments on the war, Clark wouldn't acknowledge a change in opinion.
I'm going to have to start calling him the Bobble from Burpelson.

Bernadette Malone has a catalog of Weasley "bobbles" and an assessment in the Union Leader - Old style' voters getting wise to Clark:
IN WESLEY CLARK'S opinion, "old style politics" has got to go. "Old style politics" is Clark's defensive response every time someone asks him to reconcile two conflicting statements he's made — often within hours of each other. It means holding candidates accountable for what they said. It's what New Hampshire does best, but it's dismaying the former general. That is, the former praiser of Republicans, who conveniently switched allegiances in time to run for the Democratic Presidential nomination.
I'm sorry for being recalcitrant, but it's hard to feel comfortable with all Clark's back and forth, yes and no, "Don't-you-dare-question-my-inconsistencies" approach to leadership. His biggest asset is his experience as a general, but I can't imagine him winning the admiration of his troops if he behaved like this. It makes me think long and hard about what the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said about Clark: He was dismissed from the Balkans as NATO commander because of "integrity and character" issues. Clark dismisses those comments from Gen. Hugh Shelton because the North Carolinian and former chairman serves as an adviser to John Edwards, the North Carolina senator also running for the Democratic nomination.

So we shouldn't believe Gen. Shelton because he's involved in an opponent's political campaign. But Gen. Clark, you're involved in your own political campaign, so why should we believe you? Oops, old style politics again. Dirty tricks. Nasty smears.
Impure bodily fluids.

All you really need to know about Weasley is that the odious mound, Michael Moore, is introducing him at campaign rallies. Check out this snap of Stan and Ollie groping each other. Has Mikey grown another chin?