Thursday, September 30, 2004


There is an email circulating which suggests that John Kerry refuses to release his military records not because of questions regarding his Vietnam service, but because they will reveal that he did not receive an honorable discharge from the US Naval Reserve until March 12, 2001, when he was a senior US senator and lots of people were eager to do favors for him.

Also according to this email, Kerry received an unspecified discharge on February 16, 1978, even though his service obligation should have been fulfilled by July 1, 1972.

There are five classes of service discharge; from best to worst, they are:

(1) Honorable; (2) General; (3) Other Than Honorable; (4) Bad Conduct; and (5) Dishonorable.

The disclosure that Kerry received any level of discharge other than "honorable" in 1978 would almost certainly doom his candidacy.

The email also discusses the US Constitution, the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice), and various laws that Kerry allegedly violated in the course of his anti-war activities while he was still in the Naval Reserve.

Is any of it true? All of it? I don't know. Interesting questions, though ...

Today's OED antedating: "orange-blossom"

Orange-blossom, mixed drink (sec 2, first use cited 1930): Untitled item by Franklin P. Adams, New York Tribune, January 22, 1919, p 8, col 4: "We'll no longer read that the bride's veil was caught with a single spray of orange blossom, while the groom's father was caught with a double Orange Blossom in each hand." (Re imminent Prohibition.)

More links

Who will win the debate? Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass says the winner will be whoever the media say it is.

John Kerry is orange. The late-night comedians led with it; tens of millions of Americans laughed--and the major media ignored it completely. In the Daily Standard, syndicated radio host and blogger Hugh Hewitt warns the mainstream media that they are "On Notice: Jim Lehrer and the rest of the old media should know that they have to play it straight tonight."

Little Green Footballs blogger Charles Johnson has caught CBS red-handed: after bloggers exposed the inconvenient fact that its "independent" source actually was an anti-draft activist, Johnson reported that "the following line has been added to the 'transcript' [posted online by CBS] since I first read it and linked to it earlier today: 'Beverly Cocco is so concerned she is involved with the organization 'People Against the Draft.'" And supplies the evidence: the actual before-and-after screenshots.

Power Link blogger "Deacon," aka Paul Mirengoff, quotes political consultant Michael Murphy, who claims the media have already written their new story line, effective one minute after tonight's debate ends: "Big October comeback story for John Kerry." We'll see.

Chicago Sun-Times political columnist Robert Novak supplies specific instances of Kerry "facts" that aren't. In another column, Novak discusses debate dos and don'ts.

According to Dick Morris, writing this time in The Hill, "
Kerry’s losing because he keeps punching the pillow." That is, he keeps discussing Iraq, and he can't win on that issue.

Washington Post columnist George F. Will thinks both candidates are "delusional optimists." The difference: "
By late this evening we may know whether, beyond wishful thinking, Kerry's real answer to the Iraq conundrum amounts to telling Americans to face defeat gracefully. In which case, he will have to do just that."

According to attorney Matt Hayes at
Fox News, CBS may have violated both US and Texas state law during Rathergate. (Hat tip to "Captain Ed" Morrissey/Captain's Quarters)

Demurely understated syndicated columnist Ann Coulter expresses some pleasure at Mr Kerry's declining fortunes (in the non-financial sense--at least for now): "Apparently, just like in Vietnam, it's taken Kerry only four months to piss off everyone around him."

Why can't a northern Democrat win in the South? In his first of five weekly columns for the London Guardian (huh?), Instapundit Glenn Harlan Reynolds advises that it is not due to their lack of religious faith--but because they are girlie-men on defense.

Most poll stories are snoozes, but Washington Post writers Richard Morin and Christopher Muste manage to produce an interesting one. A particularly telling statistic: "
Nearly two in three likely voters who support President Bush -- 65 percent -- said they were 'very enthusiastic' about their candidate while 42 percent of Sen. John F. Kerry's supporters express similarly high levels of enthusiasm for their choice." The conclusion: "The chasm that yawns the widest this election year is the Enthusiasm Gap."

Is it really Kerry's fault? Or is it the Democratic party's? Newsday columnist James P. Pinkerton wonders whether "The Democrats' conflicting positions on the Iraq War complicate his balancing act."

David Warren puts it in stark terms: "Anything can happen in election debates."

"Give peace a chance"? Guess which side syndicated columnist Emmett Tyrrell finds himself on in that debate.

Classical historian and essayist Victor Davis Hanson explains how the Israel-Palestine conflict is a bloody red herring.

Parody is most dangerous when it approaches plausibility. And these days, almost anything written about John Kerry appears to be plausible. Iowahawk blogger David Burge draws blood with "Kerry Stumps Behind the Cheddar Curtain."

Bradley Burston of the dovish Israeli daily Ha'aretz analyzes just what happened in "
The war that Palestine couldn't lose - and did."

Former UK Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith admits that he likes
The West Wing. Perhaps more shocking: he admits it in The (London) Guardian.

In baseball, personal statistics really do matter. Erik Spanberg of
The Christian Science Monitor has the numbers to prove it.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

The difference

On Iraq ...

Pres. Bush does what he thinks is right.

Sen. Kerry will say he will do what he thinks the voters want him to say he will do.

The voters want the president to do what he thinks is right, not what he thinks they want him to do.

Pres. Bush wins.

Still unwilling to lie, but even more eager to deceive

Last Thursday (9/23) I posted an item ("Unwilling to lie, eager to deceive") which noted that the only two bills in Congress supporting the reinstitution of a draft were sponsored by Democrats.

Nonetheless, Democratic activists have been blanketing college campuses and the Internet with dark mutterings about Pres. Bush's "secret plan" to reintroduce the draft.

And now CBS News has broadcast a report that somehow missed part of the story: ie, that it is a blatant lie.
"Captain Ed" Morrissey has some fun with it in his Captain's Quarters posting this morning.

It gets better. Morrissey also reported this juicy nugget:

"But lost in the shuffle until now is John Kerry's proposal to require service for high-school graduation, found by
Swimming Through The Spin. Brian found the original web page archived, as somehow this proposal has been mysteriously deleted from the John Kerry website. Since the Democrats brought this up, what exactly are the plans for American youth under a Kerry/Edwards administration?

"'As part of his 100 day plan to change America, John Kerry will propose a comprehensive service plan that includes requiring mandatory service for high school students and four years of college tuition in exchange for two years of national service.'"

Morrissey concludes: "It seems that Kerry has once again been caught in a severe case of projection, and once again has deleted pages from his web site to cover his tracks. His party squeals about a draft which only they have proposed restarting while trying to back-door a plan for indentured servitude for the teenagers of America."

Some others with stuff to say on this: Power Line's "Deacon," aka Paul Mirengoff; Little Green Football's Charles Johnson; and Roger Simon. And although broke the story, the link supplied by LGF does not work and that's that.

Today's OED antedating: "bull" (in bs sense)

Bull, slang, untruthful talk (n.4, sec 3, first use cited 1914): Untitled item by pseudonymous "HEK.," aka Hugh E. Keough, Chicago Tribune, September 11, 1910, p III-1, col 2: "Riddle: What character in 'Quo Vadis' do I resemble?/Answer: Ursus—he threw the bull."

More links

This could be very big: according to Carl Campanile of the New York Post, the US Justice Dept. claims that a New York Times correspondent warned an Islamic charity of an impending raid.

This could be bigger: New York Daily News columnist
Zev Chafets: "In an interview in an Israeli newspaper this week, Giora Eiland, Israel's national security adviser, made a startling statement: November will be the 'point of no return' for taking out the Iranian nuclear program. ... The ayatollahs are about to go atomic - and somebody has to stop them. That will be a dangerous and thankless job. Increasingly, it looks as if it will be outsourced to Israel. The Bush administration already has supplied the tool kit, including the F-16I, the first Israeli war plane capable of striking Iran without in-flight refueling. The U.S. also has supplied ordnance capable of piercing massive fortifications." Read the whole column.

And there's a new CBS scandal under way re its slanted piece about Pres. Bush's alleged "secret plan" to reinstitute the draft. Somehow CBS never got around to reading the two bills in Congress--both are sponsored and supported by Democrats. And only Democrats. Power Line's "Deacon," aka Paul Mirengoff, has the details. Roger Simon agrees--"they did it again!"

Are you coming to the conclusion that the John Kerry campaign is doomed? There are those telltale signs--such as Kerry turning bright orange. Really.
John Little & Preston Ledger of Blogs of War update the Charlie & the Chocolate Factory classic to bring us "Oompa-Loompa Democrats": "Oompa Loompa Democrats doo/I’ve got another doozy for you/Oompa Loompa doompadah dee/If you are clueless you’ll vote for me." They also supply side-by-side comparison photos. Then it gets worse--Hugh Hewitt sticks the knife in a little deeper.

And he figuratively stepped on his own unit yet again. National Review Online "Kerry Spot" columnist
Jim Geraghty reports that Kerry explained on ABC's "Good Morning America" that his "voted for before against" gaffe was caused by "one of those inarticulate moments late in the evening when I was dead tired." Except he said it at noon.

Syndicated columnist
Linda Chavez offers Pres. Bush excellent debate advice: "Don't get bogged down in winning the argument. Don't bite at their bait. ... Let Kerry be the in-your-face attacker, an unlikable bully. The president should remain presidential."

And Pres. Bush enters the debates with the wind at his back. New York Post political columnist Dick Morris: "Bush enters the debate empowered by three fundamental facts: [1] Virtually all of his own voters agree with his positions on these vital issues. [2] About one in three Kerry voters also approves of Bush's policy in these regions. [3] Kerry, for some inexplicable reason, has chosen to attack Bush on these very issues — his strongest point."

Kerry insists there were no links between Saddam and Al-Qaeda. Except that there were. Stephen F. Hayes provides the inconvenient facts in The Daily Standard.

Some very nasty stuff here. Columnist Joel Mowbray suppiles an essay to the Washington Times which exposes a vicious anti-Semitic attack carried out by the State Dept. and CIA against the Pentagon with the connivance of the Washington Post. Mowbray can't prove anything, but he infers that he believes Colin Powell deputy Richard Armitage was the source of the slur, and that Post reporter Robin Wright was his willing cat's-paw.

New York Post columnist Amir Taheri explains "The Real Struggle for Iraq."

Pamela McClintock reports in Variety that Fox News Channel drew more viewers in the third quarter (July-Sept) than all the other national cable news outlets--CNN, CNN Headline News, CNBC, and MSNBC--combined.

QandO blogger Dale Franks provides "Things You'd Love to Say at Work, but Can't."

Listen to Chicago Tribune columnist
Clarence Page, who is intermittently a wise man: "People, be careful. ... Put your cell phones down and pay attention to what you're doing!"

Those droll wags at The Onion report that Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has announced that "ravaged" is the state's new official adjective. It's a reference to the weather.

W. Dorwin Teague invented the dentist chair, the cash register, and the mimeograph machine--among other things. He died two weeks ago at age 94. Now this guy deserves an obituary, which the Los Angeles Times obligingly provides.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Marwan Barghouti

A significant development buried in Mark Lavie's Associated Press piece about the latest carnage in the Middle East:

"The wife of jailed Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti said her husband will run in Palestinian parliamentary elections expected next year."

Until he was captured in Ramallah by an elite Israeli commando unit in April 2002, Barghouti was the area chief of the "Tanzim," an Al-Fatah offshoot that Yasir Arafat ordered established after the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993. Arafat needed the Tanzim because he was too closely identified with Fatah and required plausible deniability for future terrorist actions that he might personally order. Barghouti also founded the notorious Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, another terrorist group responsible for dozens of murderous attacks.

Before the newest Palestinian terror campaign started in 2000, Barghouti got along well with the Israelis and gained their respect. He speaks fluent Hebrew (he did time in Israeli prisons) and is regarded to be an opportunistic moderate. The Israelis believe that Barghouti helped to plan terrorist actions--including suicide bombings--during the two years before his capture primarily to maintain his position within the Palestinian hierarchy.

The word is that the Israelis captured and jailed the charismatic Barghouti to protect him from jealous rivals who wanted him dead--a list which included Arafat. Had Israel intended to eliminate Barghouti, it would have killed him in a targeted attack with little potential risk to the Israelis. Instead, the Israeli generals sent an elite "Duvdevan" unit deep into the West Bank to snatch him.

Then the Israelis broke with longstanding practice and held Barghouti's trial in open court--not in the closed military court where Palestinian terror suspects are usually tried. And in his trial, with the world media watching and reporting, Barghouti offered a spirited and colorful defense that in practical terms kicked off his political campaign: he shouted his defiance; he characterized himself as a patriot in a kangaroo court; he denied that the Israelis had any jurisdiction to try any Palestinian for any act committed on his own land. The performance was a great hit in the Palestinian-controlled areas.

There is talk that Israel took great care to provide Barghouti with this forum for the purpose of building his street cred among the Palestinian public. And there are whispers that Israel and the US are carefully grooming Barghouti to succeed Arafat--and that Arafat knows it.

So yesterday, safely ensconced in an Israeli prison, Barghouti kicked off his formal campaign ...

Today's OED antedating: "double standard"

Double standard, employing dissimilar criteria to compare similar cases ("double," a., sec 6, first use cited 1951): Untitled item by Franklin P. Adams, New York Tribune, May 28, 1920, p 14, col 5: "If Mr. Bryan's proposed amendment providing a single standard of morals ever is added, there probably will be a law against selfishness, avarice and greed. We, for one, are all for the double standard. Why should women have all the freedom?"

More links

The Jerusalem Post reports that "top Bin Laden deputy Ayman al-Zawahri has been caught in Pakistan" by Pakistani troops.

Belmont Club blogger
"Wretchard" cites reports that Iran is 4-6 months away from "nuclear break-out," after which it cannot be stopped. All of the options stink. This is terrifying stuff.

Former star leftist/now neo-neoconservative columnist
Christopher Hitchens is contemptuous toward the "brainless and witless" Teresa Heinz Kerry and her set: "How can the Democrats possibly have gotten themselves into a position where they even suspect that a victory for the Zarqawi or Bin Laden forces would in some way be welcome to them? Or that the capture or killing of Bin Laden would not be something to celebrate with a whole heart?" (Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds.)

New York Post columnist John Podhoretz argues that the Iraq insurgency has no military signficance, and that Kerry vindicates the terrorists' strategy when he exaggerates the effect of the terror for partisan political purposes.

Like John Kerry doesn't have enough troubles. London Daily Telegraph Washington correspondent
Alec Russell warns that "President George W Bush is an unorthodox genius at live television who will spurn a debate with his opponent and instead appeal directly to viewers in Thursday's presidential showdown."

Syndicated columnist
Larry Kudlow predicts that "John Kerry is going to lose the foreign-policy debate Thursday night in Coral Gables, Fla. [because] he is a pessimist and a defeatist."

US News & World Report political columnist Michael Barone examines "The Metroliner effect" and finds good news for Pres. Bush.

You know those "allies" who are going to help us in Iraq if John Kerry is elected? Well, they're not, and they just said so--explicitly. The London
Financial Times reports that "French and German government officials say they will not significantly increase military assistance in Iraq even if John Kerry, the Democratic presidential challenger, is elected on November 2."

This time
Mark Steyn appears in the Daily Telegraph and takes aim at "modern Europe, with its head in the sand but convinced that it's the only one holding the map the right way up."

Boo, hoo. The Palestinians are depressed because their terror campaign has failed. Not that they dislike terror, mind you, but because it hasn't worked. Guilty liberal correspondent
Laura King of the Los Angeles Times gives them a shoulder to cry on--then Captain's Quarters blogger "Captain Ed" Morrissey rakes them, and King, over the coals.

New York Times columnist
David Brooks recalls the lessons learned after a series of elections in El Salvador during the 1980s and concludes: "The reason we should work for full democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan is not just because it's noble, but because it's practical. It is easier to defeat an insurgency and restore order with elections than without."

Chicago Sun-Times columnist
John O'Sullivan reflects on the West's, and particularly Europe's, inability even to grasp the evil of Islamic terror: "To be overcivilized is to be less civilized because genuine civilization includes a robust willingness to enforce its order and truths on anarchy, violence, murder and superstition."

Syndicated columnist
Dennis Prager explains "Why I was evicted from a Miami hotel." Be advised that there's much more to it than that.

A welcome and perhaps very significant story: the Anaheim Angels are in the thick of the pennant chase (1 game out of first place) with six days left in the regular season. Even so, the club suspended one of its stars because he acted like a prick.
Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports provides the details.

The counterculture isn't--in practice, it is the R&D end of the majority culture. Toronto Star book reviewer
Christine Sismondo explains. (Hat tip to ALD)

Monday, September 27, 2004

Defining "terror" and "terrorism"

In a September 18 posting, this blog suggested:

"How about a new Bush Doctrine?

"Something like this:

"The United States will not support any nation, movement, party, group, or other entity that advocates or employs terror for any reason whatever. 'Terror' is the threat of or the use of violence that intentionally and specifically targets civilians for the purpose of: (1) intimidating the political opposition; (2) intimidating the general public or some discrete part thereof; (3) influencing policy; (4) generating attention; or (5) any combination thereof."

Not bad.

But in his September 26 Tel Aviv Ma'ariv column, Jonathan Ariel interviewed "Professor Boaz Ganor, head of the ICT (International Policy Institute for Counter Terrorism), one of the world’s leading authorities on terrorism [who] takes this basic principle much further. ...

"Boaz Ganor proposes universally adopting the following definition. 'Terrorism is the intentional and systematic use of, or threat to use violence against civilians or against civilian targets, in order to attain political aims.'"

Less detailed, perhaps; also better, perhaps.

Talk like an Egyptian

Michael Young, the savvy opinion editor of the Beirut Evening Star, provides Slate online with a shrewd analysis of the Mossad's Damascus hit on a senior Hamas thug:

"Several news reports harked back to an article in Al-Hayat on Friday, ... citing 'Arabic sources in a European capital,' suggested that an unidentified Arabic intelligence service had provided Israel's Mossad with a 'complete file' on Hamas operatives and leaders living abroad. ...

"An educated guess—and it's only that—would probably lead us to Cairo.... Egypt has a convincing motive: It has repeatedly seen its efforts to mediate between the divided Palestinian factions scuttled by Hamas suicide attacks. Was the handover of the file an effort to warn Hamas to be more careful in the future? The theory is as good as any other."

Read the full piece. You'll be better informed (if not wiser) than you were before.

Orwell's rules for good writing

From "Politics and the English Language," by George Orwell (1946):

One can often be in doubt about the effect of a word or a phrase, and one needs rules that one can rely on when instinct fails. I think the following rules will cover most cases:

(i) Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

(ii) Never use a long word where a short one will do.

(iii) If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

(iv) Never use the passive where you can use the active.

(v) Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

(vi) Break any of these rules sooner than say anything barbarous.

Today's OED antedating: "dog-eat-dog"

Dog-eat-dog, figurative, ruthless environment ("dog," n.1, sec 20, first use cited 1931): Book titled The Short-Stop, by Zane Grey, 1909, ch vii, p 109: "On the field ball-playing is a fight all the time. ... Every man for himself! Survival of the fittest! Dog eat dog!"

More links

John Kerry is a fraud, as Ann Althouse illustrates convincingly in a series of postings from her blogsite over the past six months.

National Review Online columnist
Jay Nordlinger ("Impromptus") gets it pitch-perfect: "The Kerry campaign has reached rock bottom. ... I'm talking about its moral status. Its behavior during Prime Minister Allawi's visit to the United States was appalling."

Washington Times columnist David Limbaugh has an interesting theory: Kerry's flip-flopping conceals a more serious character flaw--he's "a fundamentally dishonest person."

The pseudonymous Asia Times columnist
"Spengler" warns Muslims that Pres. Bush meant what he said: when it comes to terrorism--by our definition--you're either with us or against us. And that includes indirect supporters and enablers.

Ottawa Citizen columnist
David Warren has "Some Bad News" about the Iranian nukes and Israel's recent purchase of "bunker buster" bombs: "Since Iran has the Shihab-3 missiles to drop nuclear weapons on Tel Aviv, once they have the bombs, and the Israelis have never been casual about existential threats, I wouldn't be surprised to see something happen. And it might have to happen before the U.S. election, spreading political fallout everywhere."

This is astonishing:
Jackson Diehl, a Washington Post columnist who is substantially to the left-of-center, now admits that Israel's iron fist anti-terrorism strategy--the cause of so much bitter hand-wringing among the usual suspects--actually worked. And it may provide lessons we can apply in Fallujah. Or maybe not.

Belmont Club blogger
"Wretchard" extracts the lesson supplied by the Damascus Hamas hit; ie, that the West, including Russia, will now go after terrorists everywhere: "Khalil lived in an unguarded compound in Damascus, in an ordinary residential neighborhood, free to plot the deaths of Jewish civilians. His armor was neither Kevlar nor steel but the certainty -- until now -- that Israel would not attack him across an 'international' border."

And who put the finger on the guy? According to Tel Aviv
Ha'aretz, "a report in the Al-Hayat daily ... said an Arab country had given the Israeli spy agency Mossad information about the movements and habits of Hamas leaders abroad."

According to DEBKA, this also was a warning to Syria re any plans it may be considering about causing Israel trouble (via terrorist proxies) during the Gaza withdrawal.

Ben Lynfield of The Christian Science Monitor: "'Khalil was the Salah Shehadeh of Damascus,' says a former [Israeli] security official who requested anonymity. He was referring to the chief military leader of Hamas in Gaza who was assassinated by a one-ton bomb dropped on his residence in Gaza City two years ago."

Blogger/talkradio host
Hugh Hewitt handicaps the first debate. Watch for two things: (1) a Kerry stunt; and (2) subtle pro-Kerry bias from moderator Jim Lehrer of PBS.

Chicago Sun-Time columnist
Robert Novak reveals that the CIA is trying to smear Pres. Bush. Power Line blogger "Hindrocket," aka John H. Hinderaker, elaborates.

New York Times columnist
William Safire analyzes "The Kidnap Weapon."

James Lileks has fun with the long New York Times Magazine cover piece that fixated on an obscure leftish blogger while international headlines were being generated by revelations from bloggers to her right. That's the Timesview: "What’s more compelling? A story about someone who attracts 20 million uninteresting people, or someone who attracts 100,000 people who are Just Like Us?"

Jon R. Anderson of the US military newspaper Stars and Stripes reports that the Germans threw a hissy fit and pulled out of a NATO exercise because Ralph Peters wrote a New York Post column stating that the Germans cared more about the jobs being lost by the US withdrawal from German bases than about the loss of the US troops. Really. (Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds and David Kaspar.)

Now here is something important: New York Magazine provides an in-depth look at "The Secrets of the Deli Trade."

New Yorker "Shouts & Murmurs" columnist
Christopher Buckley (son of William F.) supplies a tongue-in-cheek look at the debate rules' fine print.

Sunday, September 26, 2004


From Memoir from Antproof Case, by Mark Helprin (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1995), at 462-63:

"Fees! No one questions them. They take advantage of people's lifetimes of passivity, their years of education and molding. There are two kinds of creature in the jungle--the tiger and the iguana. The tiger sets the fees, and the iguana pays them. I want more fees."

"Arbitrarily, sir?"

"What the hell do you think a fee is? ... Do we have transaction fees?"

"On what?"

"On everything."


"Levy transaction fees. And maintenance fees. And fees for opening an account, closing an account, and having more than two accounts. I want to see late charges, early charges, and surcharges on other charges. I want a fee for foreign accounts, a fee for domestic accounts, and a fee for accounts subject to audits. You get the picture? Gradually double or triple those fees over a period of two or three years, and index them to inflation. Institute a contact fee, a telephone charge, a bookkeeping adjustment charge, a flotation fee, a sinking fee, and ... go to the New York Public Library and--I don't care how long it takes--find five fees that no one has ever heard of. Look especially hard into Babylonia, the Sumerians, Byzantium, and the Holy Roman Empire. Those guys knew what they were doing, and they had balls."

"But Mr. Edgar, we'll drive away our customers."

"No, we won't. Just be prepared to drop the fees of any customer who appears to be making good on a threat to leave, and increase those on the ones who stay put. It never fails." ...

As he said, there are two kinds of creature in the jungle: the tiger and the iguana. The tiger sets the fees, and the iguana pays them.

Bar exam

A priest, a rabbi, and a minister walk into a bar. The bartender says, "What is this, a joke?"

Today's OED antedating: "all over the map"

All over the map, figurative, colloquial, everywhere ("map," n.1, sec 8 (c), first use cited 1981): Film titled The Sweet Smell of Success, by Clifford Odets and Ernest Lehman, 1957: "ROBARD. ... I pay you a C-and-a-half a week wherein you plant big lies about me and the Club all over the map."

More links

Israel warned Syria, now it is following through. CNN reports that Israeli agents clipped a senior Hamas guy in Damascus this morning.

The World Tribune reports that US Army Intelligence believes that Saddam never abandoned his nuclear program. They think he sent the stuff to Syria in the months before the Iraq campaign started.

Con Coughlin of the London Sunday Telegraph reports that the Iraqi scientists who never worked on Saddam's nonexistent WMD program, who are now not in Damascus, are not the subject of talks re whether not to relocate them to Iran. ...

... Meanwhile, in The (Edinburgh) Scotsman,
Katherine Pfleger Shrader reports that one of those scientists Saddam did not have just wrote a book about how Iraq hid its nuclear program--part of it buried under his own lotus tree--and how close it came to success. (Hat tip to Ed Morrissey.)

DEBKA, the intriguing but occasionally-unreliable Israeli website, reports that the Zarqawi assistant killed by a US missile Thursday was the highest-ranking Palestinian in Al-Qaeda.

New York Daily News columnist
Zev Chafets sees something historic here: "Kerry is running the dumbest presidential campaign in modern history. ... [He] has dealt Bush every trump card - God, family, low taxes, optimism and victory."

The usually-liberal Washington Post columnist
Colbert King, who happens to be (a) black; and (b) a former Army officer; does not accept John Kerry's explanations for talking with the enemy in Paris and chucking his medals. He knows a lot of others who feel as he does--and they're not white right-wingers. This stuff is Kerry's worst nightmare. Well, perhaps not as terrifying as actually releasing his records ... (Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds.)

Power Line loves Kerry: "Hindrocket," aka
John H. Hinderaker, wonders why Kerry feels compelled to look jocky; "The Big Trunk," aka Scott W. Johnson, suggests that "Kerry must be the worst major-party presidential candidate since George McGovern."

Washington Times columnist
Cal Thomas thinks it's quite simple, really: Pres. Bush is coherent; Kerry is incoherent. And the voters can tell.

Memo from US News & World Report columnist Michael Barone to debate organizers: ask both candidates "what they would do to encourage peaceful regime change in Iran and North Korea."

Pat Buchanan occasionally has something to say that is more interesting than it is vile. Such as today's query: "Where's the outrage -- at CBS?" He continues: "Something is fishy here. And, indeed, the inexplicable absence of outrage suggests that there is more, much more, to this story."

Matthew Klam goes on and on about blogs in the cover story for the New York Times Magazine. No, not about blogs--about liberal blogs. The week after Power Line and Instapundit and Little Green Footballs and Hewitt made international headlines, Klam spends a most of his time with Wonkette. Who is cute, I suppose. But significant? Ah, yes: welcome to Timesworld.

Ann Althouse wonders whether the vicious anti-Allawi sneer was "Kerry's final mistake." She also provides a very good explanation from Christopher Hitchens about why the US voters appear willing to accept our Iraq casualties.

AP reports that CBS has abruptly shelved another anti-Bush hit piece, this one about the WMDs. Gee. Hmmm ...

Old-time liberal Washington Post columnist
David Broder feels compelled to equate the SwiftVets and Burkett--an instinctive defense mechanism--but his basic point is this: "We don't yet know who will win the 2004 election, but we know who has lost it. The American news media have been clobbered."

Saturday, September 25, 2004

To the quick

George Orwell: "The quickest way to end a war is to lose it."

The second quickest: to declare "quagmire" and run away.

Yom Kippur

Leviticus 23 (Jewish Publication Society 1917 Edition):

26 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 27 Howbeit on the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement; there shall be a holy convocation unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls; and ye shall bring an offering made by fire unto the LORD. 28 And ye shall do no manner of work in that same day; for it is a day of atonement, to make atonement for you before the LORD your God. 29 For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from his people. 30 And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any manner of work in that same day, that soul will I destroy from among his people. 31 Ye shall do no manner of work; it is a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. 32 It shall be unto you a sabbath of solemn rest, and ye shall afflict your souls; in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye keep your sabbath.

Today's OED antedating: "mensch"

Mensch, a person of substance and/or honor, ex Yiddish ex German for "man" (first use cited 1953): Book titled Abe and Mawruss, by Montague Glass, 1911, ch iv, p 121: "Nowadays, if a feller wants to make a success he must got to wear good clothes and look like a mensch, y'understand?"

More links

The blogger "Beldar," aka William J. Dyer, takes on The Big Lie of the 2004 campaign: the established media assertion--always without corroboration or specifics--that the SwiftVets' allegations were either "unsubstantiated" or "refuted." Hint: they weren't--not one of them. Dredging up a witness who disputes the account of an opponent's witness does not refute him/her; it merely puts the issue into play.

Chicago Sun-Times (this time) columnist
Mark Steyn rips John Kerry for his disgraceful attack on Iraqi prime minister Allawi this week. Two observations stand out: (1) "For Kerry the new world war is just a wedge issue"; and (2) "What a small, graceless man Kerry is."

"Disgraceful." Weekly Standard publisher
William Kristol uses precisely that word to describe Kerry's conduct: "Is this really how Kerry wants to go down in history: Willing to say anything to try to get elected, no matter what the damage to the people of Iraq, to American interests, and even to himself?"

Ann Althouse suggests that Kerry is "desperate": "Remember--around the time of the death of the famously optimistic Reagan--when the candidates used to compete over who was more of an optimist? Now, Kerry seems to have decided that his last hope is to win us over to his dark view of Iraq."

A Washington Times editorial wonders if it has found "Mr. Lockhart's Smoking Gun." The sequence of events is too involved for me to follow, but they seem very confident about it.

Los Angeles Times media columnist
Tim Rutten warns: "CBS: It's more than bad PR." At least some of the employees are aghast: "As the experienced member of the "60 Minutes" staff put it, 'We all think it's a mistake for management to continue to treat this as a public relations problem and not a journalistic problem.'"

Bruce Springsteen, political philosopher, expressed outrage in Rolling Stone that "Fox News and the Republican right have intimidated the press into an incredible self-consciousness about appearing objective." Arthur Chrenkoff is amused: "You've heard it here first: the evil vast right-wing conspiracy has intimidated the media into being... gasp... objective."

Writing for the National Review online,
Victor Davis Hanson is relieved that the liberal generation that grabbed control of the mainstream media is exiting stage left: "Given his history and influence, Dan Rather ... is the right person to take the collective fall for the sins of his brethren."

Re Iran's nuclear program, the French say that the "moment of truth" is approaching. Captain's Quarters blogger
"Captain Ed" Morrissey agrees--to a point: "The moment of truth has nothing to do with Iraqi compliance. It is what the French will do when the Iranians inevitably defy them."

Gerard Baker raises an interesting point in the new Weekly Standard: do the European elites actually hope that Pres. Bush wins?

Friday, September 24, 2004


Posted Friday, September 24, 2004, at 8:36 a.m.

On Wednesday (9/22) I posted the following item:

Recovered memory
On Monday, Joe Lockhart could not recall whether he discussed the forged documents with Bill Burkett: "Lockhart said he does not recall talking to Burkett about Bush's Guard records."

Tuesday, Joe Lockhart suddenly recalled, with specificity, that he had not discussed the forged documents with Bill Burkett: "Lockhart said he discussed neither the National Guard nor the documents with Burkett."

On Wednesday ... we'll see.


Well, I was a bit premature ...

Thursday, Bill Burkett sapped Joe Lockhart: "During a single phone conversation with Lockhart, Burkett said he suggested a 'couple of concepts on what I thought (Kerry) had to do' to beat Bush. In return, he said, Lockhart tried to 'convince me as to why I should give them the documents.'" (Hat tip to Beldar for link.)

Today's Friday ...


Update Friday, September 24, at 2:00 p.m.

Jack Douglas, Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, who wrote the "Thursday" story referred to above, has now filed this correction:

"The earlier version incorrectly reported that he [Burkett] had discussed the documents with Joe Lockhart of the Kerry campaign."

It's like a barrel of monkeys out there.

Today's OED antedating: "all washed up"

(All) washed up, colloquial, without future prospects ("washed," ppl. a., sec 3, first use cited 1934): Play titled Once in a Lifetime, by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, 1930, act II: "MAY. I said we’re washed up. Through, finished, and out!"

More links

This time Mark Steyn appears in The (London) Spectator: "The Kerry tack [leftward] might be effective. But I can’t see the message itself — ‘We’re losing anyway, so I’ll surrender faster’ — having much appeal to the American people." A fun column.

In a piece appearing on the Daily Standard website, US Army Lt. Col. (and counter-terrorism guru) Powl Smith may be onto something: "Iraq is Not Vietnam, It's Guadalcanal."

Sign of the times: the international media want guest columns from US bloggers. Such as Instapundit
Glenn Harlan Reynolds, who wrote this piece in The (Sydney) Australian. His conclusion: the traditional media are insular and doomed. reports that Newsweek's Howard Fineman told Don Imus Wednesday that CBS producer Mary Mapes was "obsessed" with nailing the TANG story to "save the world from a George Bush presidency." (Hat tip to Instapundit.)

Syndicated columnist Linda Chavez in today's Washington Times: "CBS just doesn't get it. It's not enough to say you're sorry when your network's most prominent and trusted journalists tried to influence the outcome of an election."

National Review online editor
Jonah Goldberg suggests that the established media are responding to Rathergate with two separate theories, neither workable.

I can't really improve upon the headline the New York Post editor attached to Amir Taheri's column: "Kerry's Answer: Cut & Run."

Little Green Footballs blogger
Charles Johnson is outraged by John Kerry's attack on Iyad/Ayad Allawi and characterizes Kerry as a "disgrace." Roger Simon calls it "shameful." I tend to agree with both.

Naomi Wolf credits Karen Hughes for getting Pres. Bush a much greater share of the women's vote than anyone would have expected. (Hat tip to JTO)

Washington Post columnist
Charles Krauthammer does not know why John Kerry is snidely alienating Australia, perhaps our best friend in the world, while simultaneously kissing up to France and Germany, who have very publicly undermined us. Good question.

New York Post columnist John Podhoretz examines the hysterical Kerry campaign's reaction to a Bush ad ridiculing "The Whining Windsurfer." Kerry even has produced his own ad to complain about it. Podhoretz: "I'm going to go out on a limb and speculate that the source and generator of this ad and the hysterical McCurry comments was John Kerry himself. There's more than a hint of injured pride and injured dignity here (rather than prudent political thinking), and that could only have come from Kerry."

Beldar defines "good faith." CBS's conduct can be defined another way.

Peter Ford of the Christian Science Monitor reports that "literary tourists are descending in droves on Paris, intent on cracking The Da Vinci Code by following in the footsteps of the heroes and villains in Dan Brown's bestselling historical murder mystery."

Bruce Anderson, one of the few sane men in the UK media, provides the London Spectator with this piece about the French/British rivalry. Savor this gem: "Mr Chirac has been in the Élysée Palace for more than nine years. I asked a foreign diplomat what the President had achieved in that time. He seemed baffled by the question. Twenty minutes later he came up with an answer: 'Chirac wasn’t trying to achieve anything. He just wanted to stay in office.'" Or this one: "During the war, Harold Macmillan was acting as an ADC to Churchill when the PM had a bilateral meeting with de Gaulle. The two eminences went into the conference room, and almost immediately, raised voices were audible. Suddenly Churchill’s head appeared round the door. 'Quickly, Harold, tell me: what is the French for the opposite of vive la France?'"

Thursday, September 23, 2004


It's not mine, but I like it and I think I will post it:

Where do you think we should fight them--in the Middle East or in the Middle West?

Unwilling to lie, eager to deceive

Yesterday, in West Palm Beach, Florida, John Kerry was asked about rumors circulated by Democratic activists that President Bush intended to reinstitute a military draft. Dan Balz and David Snyder of the Washington Post reported Kerry's response:

"'If George Bush were to be reelected, given the way he has gone about this war and given his avoidance of responsibility in North Korea and Iran and other places, it is possible. I can't tell you,' he said. 'I will tell you this: I will not reinstate the draft ... .'"

Kerry did not have the nerve actually to lie, but he was quite willing, even eager, to deceive*.

The truth is that the proposed reinstitution of the draft is supported by Democrats--and only by Democrats. The bill circulating in the House of Representatives,
H.R. 163, was introduced in January 2003 by longtime Democratic congressman Charles B. Rangel as a publicity stunt to dramatize the difficulty that young minority men have in landing jobs. The argument is that the young men have no alternative but to join the military--and to assume risks which should be shared by all.

All 14 cosponsors for Rangel's bill also are Democrats; most are hard-left members of the Congressional Black Caucus. (One exception: Jim Moran, Democrat of Virginia, the white congressman accused of anti-Semitism last year.) The concurrent Senate bill, S. 89, was introduced by Ernest Hollings, the South Carolina Democrat, without any cosponsors.

More from the Post piece:

"Asked for comment, Bush-Cheney spokesman Steve Schmidt said: 'John Kerry raising the possibility of a military draft is as irresponsible as him raising the possibility that the war he voted for is illegal. The one thing John Kerry has demonstrated this week is his willingness to say whatever he believes will benefit him politically, regardless of its effect on our troops, our allies and our mission.'"

* Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd Ed., "deceive" v., def 2: "To cause to believe what is false; to mislead as to a matter of fact, lead into error, impose upon, delude, 'take in'."

Today's OED antedating (in memory of MM): "palimony"

Palimony, slang, court-ordered alimony-substitute for unmarried person (first use cited 1979): Headline of article: "Pal-imony: A Brand New Nightmare For L.A.'s Swingers," headline by anonymous, Los Angeles magazine, October 1977, p 140.

More links

Who needs an essay when you have a headline like this: "The U.N.? Who Cares? Kofi Annan & Co. might as well move to Brussels or Geneva." Added bonus: Victor Davis Hanson wrote the piece, which appears in today's Wall Street Journal.

The USSR failed, so the left has a new false religion: anti-Americanism. And it's good for their golf game. Laura Ingraham explains.

Why is John Kerry obsessed with gaining European approval? Writing for the Daily Standard, the Weekly Standard's daily online website, Tom Donnelly concludes: "Kerry's biggest fear ... is being alone in the dark world of international politics. This is, perhaps, a drawback if you're auditioning to be commander-in-chief of history's sole superpower and official Leader of the Free World."

Fascinating analysis by the Belmont Club's
"Wretchard" re the tradeoffs between security and flexibility in terrorist organizations.

Michael Totten on the Israelis' infuriating refusal to obey politically-correct advice on how to lose gracefully--and then actually winning.

Writing in the Jerusalem Post,
Mark Steyn wonders what would happen if Al-Qaeda produced a Yasir Arafat-type (or perhaps Gerry Adams-type) "moderate" terrorist. Would he be invited to all the best European parties?

New York Post political columnist Dick Morris is astonished by Kerry's kamikaze swerve toward the anti-war left: "Liberals will cheer Kerry's new-found decisiveness, but it opens the way for Bush to deal him a counterstroke that can all but end this election and finish off Kerry for good."

Interesting and welcome context supplied by columnist
Max Boot in today's Los Angeles Times: "We are losing one or two soldiers a day in Iraq. Lincoln lost an average of 250 daily for four years, Roosevelt 300 daily for more than 3 1/2 years. If they could overcome such numbing losses to prevail against far more formidable foes than we face now, it's ludicrous to give in to today's fashionable funk."

New York Post columnist Ralph Peters adds more historical perspective--and characterizes Kerry's recent conduct as near-treason.

Emmett Tyrrell: Russia right; UN/John Kerry wrong. Everything else is detail.

Washington Post columnist Jim Hoagland considers "Worldviews That Are Worlds Apart."

Ann Coulter tells you what she thinks: "I believe we now have conclusive proof that: (1) Dan Rather is not an honest newsman who was simply duped by extremely clever forgeries; and (2) We could have won the Vietnam War."

Writing for the Daily Standard, Hugh Hewitt offers CBS chief Les Moonves the speech he should deliver, but won't.

The Joe Lockhart debacle provides ammunition to the Massachusetts gang recently deposed by the Clintonites now running John Kerry's campaign. Today the Bostonians leaked to Chicago Sun-Times political columnist
Robert Novak, whose column begins (italics added): "High-level Democrats, including some inside the Kerry campaign, were appalled by this week's political sideshow ..."

Even New York Times columnist
Maureen Dowd is sneering at Kerry. It wouldn't be fair to refer to the fat lady singing--she may be an old bat (ie, 2 years older than me), but she's very attractive on the outside.

Roger Simon thinks the two-man panel appointed by CBS to investigate CBS is, at the very least, too old: "Part of this investigation involves modern digital technologies, which were at the heart of unmasking these forgeries. I have my deep suspicions that neither of the two men chosen ... are anywhere near up-to-speed on these matters."

I don't think this is what Catfish Hunter had in mind: the World Tribune reports that some of Hamas's best hitters are tired of making peanuts from the small-market clubs in the disputed territories (West Bank & Gaza), and are accepting big-money offers to jump to Iraq. Apparently Abu Mussib Al Zarqawi does a stellar George Steinbrenner impression.

When they say "neocon," what they mean is "yid." Now do you get it?
Julia Gorin explains in today's Wall Street Journal.

Flash drives are hot because they're cool. Got it?
Michel Marriott of The New York Times explains.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004


The Germans are angling for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. They won't get it unless the US allows it to happen.

They won't get it.

Today's OED antedating: "up the creek"

Up the creek, figurative, colloquial, in trouble ("creek," n.1, sec 2 (c) (a), first use cited 1941): Book titled The Set-Up, by Joseph Moncure March, 1928, ch iv, p 69: "When he started to mix wid dat Mick,/I says to myself/He’s up th' creek!"

More links

IOWAHAWK David Burge offers excerpts from "the new Inspector Dan Rather Mystery," My Teleprompter Is Deadly. You want hard-boiled? How about this: "My name is Rather. And I’m a dick."

Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz: "CBS, Sitting Between Fiasco And Fallout."

The Weekly Standard's Noemie Emerie has some questions for Dan Rather that he can't answer.

Writing in next week's Time magazine,
Andrew Sullivan, "A member of the blogging class tells why they deserve your thanks."

And Newsday columnist
James P. Pinkerton suggests that "the story of the fake documents aired on '60 Minutes' is deeper than just one man's fall. It is the story of technology's transition - and that's a tale that will never end."

Perhaps more ominous for CBS--and for NBC and ABC as well--is the inevitability of their increasing irrelevance. Washington Post columnist
Anne Applebaum explains.

Stephen Humphries of the The Christian Science Monitor reports that "Blogs look burly after kicking sand on CBS."

Bryan Curtis offers an interesting defense for Rather--it's not that he's liberal; it's that he's nuts.

Chicago Tribune columnist
John Kass warns that "The real story in Rather ruckus remains untold." Well, it certainly remains untold by Rather.

CBS is a subsidiary of the huge media conglomerate Viacom. New York Sun reporter
Josh Gerstein reports that the Viacom board of directors is comprised primarily of liberal Democrats. So it should be interesting to watch how it resolves Rathergate.

New York Observer columnist
Bruce Feirstein ("New Yorker's Diary") is an interesting guy. Today he offers tongue-in-cheek advice to CBS, starting with this title: "Memo to Rather: Out-Fox the Critics—Go Left, Old Man!"

Veteran New York Times columnist
William Safire also supplies CBS with some sound advice: "First, Find the Forger."

Gadfly columnist
Jonah Goldberg
sees it as a good news/bad news kind of thing: "The good news is that Kerry is finally offering some ideas. The bad news - for him - is that they're the wrong ones. But hey, at least they're ideas."

New York Daily News columnist
Zev Chafets doesn't think much of Kerry's new tack: "For reasons known only to himself, Kerry has chosen to stake out a position as the new George McGovern, a can't-do standard-bearer of American defeat and retreat. That leaves Bush just where he wants to be - the candidate of national resolve and optimism."

Astute political consultant/columnist
Dick Morris does not think much of "Kerry's Confused Campaign." Washington Times columnist Tony Blankley agrees with him about "The Massachusetts Drifter."

According to the Israeli ex-spook website, the notorious DEBKA (usually accurate, but inaccurate often enough to generate suspicion), Zarqawi is beheading civilians because he wants to these two women: "Dr. Rihab Taha, a microbiologist known as Dr. Germ, and Huda Salih Mahdi Ammash, head of his anthrax project and member of the Baath ruling command council."

The Volokh Conspiracy blogger
Eugene Volokh has proof that we're getting skewed reporting from Iraq and throughout the Middle East--when was the last time you saw that an Arab terrorist was characterized as a "terrorist"?--due to systematic intimidation of the media.

Satirical online weekly The Onion reports that "Organizers Fear Terrorist Attacks on Upcoming Al-Qaeda Convention."