Sunday, October 31, 2004

By 6:00pm pt

I think Chicago Sun-Times political columnist Robert Novak may have nailed it with his prediction that we will likely know who won the presidency much earlier than conventional wisdom expects--that is, by 6:00pm Pacific Time. Yes, Tuesday.

Novak thinks that the race will be decided by Florida (27 electoral votes) and Ohio (20), and he sees three possibilities:

(1) "The early returns show either President Bush or Sen. John Kerry has clearly won both of these two states. In that case, you can call the double winner 'Mr. President' for the next four years";

(2) "Bush is the clear early winner in either Florida or Ohio. That probably guarantees Bush's re-election. Kerry then would have a steep hill to climb, forced to pick up states where he now seems to be trailing"; or

(3) "There is no early outcome in either of those two states, or Kerry clearly wins one state and the other state's results are unclear. Then, look for a long election night -- or perhaps a long month of November -- before the winner of the presidential race is determined."

Old school tie

From Robert Morley's biography on the Internet Movie Database website:

"When asked to give a talk at his old school, Wellington, he said the only reason he would return to the school would be to burn it down."


I am increasingly fond of the London Times letters to the editor. (The romance is easier to pursue since The Times opened scattered nooks and crannies of its site to surfers unwilling to pay extortionate subscription rates.) This item appeared yesterday:


An English teacher of mine received from his book club a demand for £0.00, which he ignored. Increasingly threatening demands followed, despite correspondence pointing out the stupidity of the same.

The demands ceased only when, in desperation, he sent a cheque in the sum of £0.00.

Yours faithfully,

Renaissance Chambers,
Gray’s Inn Chambers,
Gray’s Inn,

Today's OED antedating: "to go for broke"

To go for broke, colloquial, to employ full effort or to risk all ("go," v., sec 58 (h), first use cited 1951): Article titled "Those of the First Generation," by John Lardner, New Yorker, March 31, 1945, p 47, col 1: "'Go for broke' is a Hawaiian pidgin expression conveying the idea of all-out endeavor ... ."

Sunday 10/31 links

Here's a scoop: London Sunday Telegraph political editor Patrick Hennessy reports that Tony Blair will call a snap election to be held in February.

Today a New York Daily News editorial endorsed Pres. Bush: "Right war, right time, right man."

Washington Times columnist Donald Lambro supplies a superb analysis which merits notice. The short message: "It's the turnout, stupid."

Captain's Quarters blogger "Captain Ed" Morrissey runs the numbers and is happy.

Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass: "Bush's resolve is best answer to bin Laden threat."

Ironic, isn't it, that it takes a patronizing anti-American lefty such as London Sunday Times columnist
Rod Liddle to reveal the dirty secret: "Even the Democrats don’t fancy Kerry."

San Diego Union-Tribune columnist
Joseph Perkins warns that the democratic system is at risk if the Democrats follow through on threats to mire the election in litigation after they lose. (Hat tip to John H. Hinderaker/Power Line)

Appearing this time in the Chicago Sun-Times, columnist
Mark Steyn morphs into Gertrude Stein: "When the lawsuits are over and the bloodletting begins, serious Democrats need to confront the intellectual emptiness of their party, which Kerry's campaign embodies all too well. The Dems got a full tank from FDR, a top-up in the Civil Rights era, and they've been running on fumes for 30 years. Their last star, Bill Clinton, has no legacy because, deft as he was, his Democratic Party had no purpose other than as a vehicle for promoting his own indispensability. When he left, the Democrats became a party running on personality with no personalities to run. Hence, the Kerry candidacy. Despite the best efforts of American editorialists, there's no there there."

Boston Globe columnist
Jeff Jacoby explains why Pres. Bush should be reelected: it's "A question of character."

US News & World Report columnist
John Leo attacks the "journalistic malpractice" of the mainstream media desperate for Kerry to win.

Washington Post columnist
George F. Will prefers Bush to Kerry, but is not particularly happy about it: "Reelect Bush, Faults And All."

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist
Jack Kelly describes how The New York Times wrecked CBS's last-minute ambush of Pres. Bush.

US News & World Report publisher
Mortimer B. Zuckerman catalogues the situation the Palestinians now face: "The moment of truth is now upon them."

London Sunday Telegraph correspondent
Con Coughlin supplies an incisive profile of Ariel Sharon.

Transterrestrial Musings satirical blogger Rand Simberg reports: "FEC Launches Investigation Into Al Qaeda." He quotes a Bush campaign spokesman: "This new Kerry endorsement by yet another world leader is just their latest October surprise, coming just four days before the election. 'Bush lied, we made the terrorists mad, he sat there reading to kids instead of evacuating the trade center,' yada yada yada. They can deny it all they want, but Osama's clearly illegally coordinating with and Michael Moore." (Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds/Instapundit)

Saturday, October 30, 2004

More re Barghouti

From the London Economist editorial "The end of the Arafat era?"; discussing potential candidates to succeed the so-called "chairman":

"Few Palestinian leaders, young or old, are thought to command broad support in the larger West Bank. One possible exception is Marwan Barghouti, a senior Fatah figure who is currently in an Israeli prison serving five life terms for his role in armed attacks on Israeli civilians (he denied involvement). Many Israelis regard the pragmatic Mr Barghouti as a man with whom they might be able to do business. Mr Sharon could choose to free him, clearing the way for an authentic national leader to don Mr Arafat’s mantle. But almost no one believes this will happen."

Remember, you read it about in P&C first ... and second ... and now third.

There will always be an England

Letters to the editor in today's London Times, collected under the headline: "Bowled Over, But Still Not Out."


Mr D. W. S. Gray (letter, October 27) comments that he can no longer wear his bowler hat in the street without inviting public comment.

This seems also to apply to any hat worn with a business suit, which presents a problem to those of us who need to protect our heads from the weather. Being a little short of hair on my head it can be painfully cold crossing London Bridge in the morning without a hat. The trouble is, any hat worn with a suit now invites comment or even ridicule, and, at best, makes an unwanted fashion statement. Trilby, bowler, flat cap, woolly hat: all have their connotations. For all of us balding suit-wearers, a new design of classless and practical headgear acceptable for use with a suit is urgently needed, preferably before the next cold snap this winter.

Yours sincerely,

1 The Chestnuts,
Gardner Street,
East Sussex BN27 4LD.


In the world of the horse, the bowler usefully distinguishes officials at three-day events and race meetings, though female holders of these posts seem to cope without.

Yours faithfully,

Ashleigh Cottage,
Opposite the Church,
Oaksey, Malmesbury SN16 9TQ.


My grandfather, a Belfast engineer, told me that foremen in the local shipyards wore bowler hats not only as a mark of status but also as protection from dropped rivets, accidental and otherwise. I suspect that their use on building sites was for similar reasons.

Yours faithfully,

62 Hallgarth Street,
Durham DH1 3AY.


The bowler has also served at sea. When I made mine redundant, because of dying fashion, it was acquired by my son, who was then serving in submarines. It was adorned with an RN cap tally and worn whenever opportunity and surface-running permitted.

It was finally buried at sea when a messmate removed it from my son’s head, and the wind whipped it from his hand.

Yours faithfully,

17 The Meadway,
Shoreham-by-Sea BN43 5RN.


Recently, while planning the visit of a service engineer to a Korean motor plant, I was asked by the client to arrange for our engineer to bring with him a bowler hat; apparently it bestowed great prestige on the wearer. A thorough search throughout central Scotland finally located the correct size in an Edinburgh shop.

Yours faithfully,

14 Springwood Avenue,
Stirling FK8 2HN.


The bowler remained a special item of working-class headgear north of Watford until at least the late 1950s. My wife’s ex-miner grandfather kept one in his wardrobe to wear in place of his cloth cap when attending funerals.

Your faithfully,

Conifer House,
Ferry Road,
North Fambridge,
Essex CM3 6LS.

Today's OED antedating: "edge"

Edge, advantage (n., sec 2 (e), first use cited 1958): Untitled item by Franklin P. Adams, New York Tribune, September 2, 1914, p 6, col 3: "'We have the edge now,' says Mack, 'and should get the next three games.'"

Saturday 10/30 links

Acute Belmont Club blogger "Wretchard" notices something nobody else apparently saw in Osama bin Laden's newest tape: "He has stopped talking about the restoration of the Global Caliphate. There is no more mention of the return of Andalusia. There is no more anticipation that Islam will sweep the world. He is no longer boasting that Americans run at the slightest wounds; that they are more cowardly than the Russians. He is not talking about future operations to swathe the world in fire but dwelling on past glories. He is basically saying if you leave us alone we will leave you alone. Though it is couched in his customary orbicular phraseology he is basically asking for time out."

New York Post columnist
John Podhoretz to Michael Moore: OBL's your biggest fan.

New York Times semiconservative columnist
David Brooks imposes "The Osama Litmus Test": "Bush's response yesterday to the video was exactly right. He said we would not be intimidated. He tried to take the video out of the realm of crass politics by mentioning Kerry by name and assuring the country that he was sure Kerry agreed with him. Kerry did say that we are all united in the fight against bin Laden, but he just couldn't help himself. His first instinct was to get political."

Weekly Standard columnists
William Kristol and Stephen F. Hayes are appalled by "The Kerry campaign's extraordinary response to the newly released tape from al Qaeda's leader."

Captain's Quarters blogger
"Captain Ed" Morrissey has fun with a deluded lefty columnist who actually claims, apparently with a straight face,"that Islamic terrorists feel that George Bush has been 'good for business.'"

Weekly Standard columnist Fred Barnes relates how in "The Circuitous Campaign," "Bush got where his strategists predicted, but not how they expected."

National Review Online columnist
Jonah Goldberg argues that Sen. Kerry is losing because he is the anti-war candidate but can't say so: "Sometimes he speaks in a unique Kerry grammar one could call the future-past perfect. When asked if we were right to invade Iraq, he has responded that it depends on what happens in the future. And other times he's said we were right. And other times he's said we were wrong. But my favorite response was when he was asked if we'd have gone to war with Iraq if he'd been president, and he shot back confidently, 'You bet we might have.'"

London Times columnist
Mick Hume, who admits he is "on the British Left," tries to untangle "The trashy politics of Bushophobia." His conclusion: "How much easier it is for the liberal Left to blame stupid voters and the lying media for propping up Mr Bush and the Iraq war, rather than face up to its own failure to mount a convincing case or win the argument."

Washington Post writers Charles Babington and Brian Faler report that recent polling in South Dakota indicates that Tom Daschle's numbers are in free-fall. Two points: first, Daschle's immediate response is to fly in tons of lawyers to litigate himself into reelection; second, the poll numbers were so lopsided that the pollsters "adjusted" them--ie, ignored them--and just assigned a 3-point lead to John Thune without any basis whatever.

Dubai resident
Youssef M. Ibrahim supplies a fascinating essay to the International Herald Tribune that candidly discusses "The fear that chokes the Arab world."

Napoleon won't die, and
Paul Johnson reviews yet two more studies of the great general for the London Sunday Telegraph.

New York Times writer
Micheline Maynard reports that the mainstream airlines are finally getting the message: prospective passengers do not choose based on amenities--it's price and schedules. Period.

Prolific satirical blogger ScrappleFace Scott Ott's latest: "Kerry: Bush Outsourced Bin Laden Video Production."

Friday, October 29, 2004

After Arafat

Yasir Arafat is dying, and the end appears to be near, if not imminent. Both Tel Aviv Ha'aretz columnist Danny Rubinstein and the World Tribune report that the present Palestinian prime minister, Ahmed Qurei (aka Abu Ala), and his predecessor, Mahmoud Abbas (aka Abu Mazen) will share substantive power after Arafat goes.

But they are old men, and control will soon pass, as Rubinstein put it, to "members of [a] younger cadre, among them Jibril Rajoub and Mohammed Dahlan, [who] will lend their support to the two veterans, [and] who will divide up the governing authority between themselves."

Will control pass to a "younger cadre"? Certainly. But will it go to Rajoub or Dahlan? Perhaps not. Four weeks ago, on September 28, I posted this

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 ...


UPDATE: From the Great Minds Dept., this paragraph appears in Rubinstein's Friday column, titled "Don't interfere, they're looking for an heir":

"The feeling in the Palestinian territories today is such that only a man who is seen as a bitter enemy of Israel may gain popularity. Palestinian Council member Marwan Barghouti, for example, enjoys an especially high status in public opinion polls in the West Bank and Gaza only because Israel sentenced him to life imprisonment. He is called 'the engineer of the intifada,' a title seen as a great honor in the territories."

Today's OED antedating: "nothing doing"

Nothing doing, slang, flat refusal ("do," v., sec 34 (c), first use cited 1910): Short story titled "According to Their Lights," by O. Henry, aka W. S. Porter, collected in The Trimmed Lamp (And Other Stories of the Four Million), 1906, pp 187-88: "[Y]our uncle ... expects that the engagement between you and Miss Vanderhurst shall be ... 'I authorize you to report that there is "nothing doing." Good night.'"

Friday 10/29 links

London Times Washington correspondent Gerard Baker reports that Sen. Kerry is already picking his Cabinet. Apparently Del. Sen. Joe Biden will be Secretary of State, even though former UK Labour Party chief Neil Kinnock never served in that capacity. (During Biden's short-lived 1988 presidential campaign he was caught out appropriating Kinnock's biography.) Evidently Kerry is immersed in a pregnant chicken inventory.

This could be a big development in the campaign: Sen. Kerry just got caught in a lie on national television, and Captain's Quarters blogger "Captain Ed" Morrissey puts it all together. Last night, Kerry to Tom Brokaw: "My [military] record is not public. So I don't know where you're getting that from." Sept. 15, Kerry to Don Imus: "We've posted my military records that they sent to me, or were posted on my Web site. You can go to my Web site, and all my -- you know, the documents are there." In April, to Chris Matthews: "I released all my military records. ... Everything. All of it. Including my officer fitness reports."

New York Post political columnist Dick Morris explains "Why Bush Will Win." What a lovely way to start the day.

This time in the London Spectator, Mark Steyn is so confident that Pres. Bush will win that he promises to quit if Bush loses.

National Review Online "Kerry Spot" editor Jim Geraghty agrees after getting the lowdown "From a Source Close to the Campaign": "According to the Bushies, the last few days have seen a huge burst of momentum in their numbers. They think Bush is ahead by a few points nationally. ... The internal polls show a significant lead in Florida (outside margin of error) and Arkansas is out of play, with a Bill Clinton visit or without. As for most of the other big ones - Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, internal polls show all too close to call."

New York Post columnist John Podhoretz displays no small degree of schadenfreude as he asks: "Did John Kerry make a colossal blunder by deciding to spend the last week of the campaign highlighting the fact that Saddam Hussein's Iraq was one giant ammunition dump?"

Washington Times editor-in-chief Wesley Pruden concludes "There's no surprise for this October"--and wonders why the media expected the explosives story to explode.

Syndicated columnist Thomas Sowell reviews the blatant partisanship and bias of the media in campaign coverage.

Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer is disgusted that "John Kerry has managed to transform our Afghan venture into a failure -- a botched operation in which Bush let Osama bin Laden get away because he 'outsourced' bin Laden's capture to 'warlords' in the battle of Tora Bora. ... 'Outsourcing' is a demagogue's way of saying 'using allies.' (Isn't Kerry's Iraq solution to 'outsource' the problem to the 'allies' and the United Nations?)"

National Review Online columnist
Victor Davis Hanson puts it in stark terms: "One candidate urges us to return to the mindset of pre-September 11 — law enforcement dealing with terrorists as nuisances. He claims the policies that have led to an absence of another attack at home, the end of the Taliban and Saddam Hussein, idealistic efforts to extend freedom, and radical and positive changes in Pakistan, Libya, the West Bank, and the Gulf have made things worse. In contrast, the other reminds us that we are in a real war against horrific enemies and are no longer passive targets, but will fight the terrorists on their home turf, win, and leave behind humane government. No choice could be clearer. It is America's call."

Syndicated columnist Mona Charen agrees that Sen. Kerry would not make the same mistakes that Pres. Bush has made--and that's the problem.

London Daily Telegraph diplomatic editor and former Middle East correspondent Anton La Guardia returns to find "A Just Wall": "Palestinians are not simply victims of Israel. They are also co-authors of their own tragedy."

London Sunday Times New York correspondent Sarah Boxer admits "I'm a Democrat for Bush"--and then tells why.

New York Post columnist Amir Taheri describes "John Kerry's Fantasy Friend." He's talking about Jacques Chirac.

The Israeli ex-spook DEBKA website reports that one result of the Arafat hospitalization is that "The Palestinian-Israel War Gains a French Dimension"--that a clique of hardliners who accompanied him to Paris "will try to run Palestinian Authority business from the French capital. Claiming they are relaying orders from Arafat, they will gradually erode the authority of the Abu Mazan-Abu Ala clique."

Also re the Palestinians, canny Tel Aviv Ha'aretz columnist Danny Rubinstein warns: "Don't interfere, they're looking for an heir."

Prolific satirical blogger ScrappleFace Scott Ott supplies two items: first, a new entitlement ("Kerry: Americans Deserve Arafat-Quality Healthcare"); second, a new poll ("Battleground Poll Shows Bush 51, Springsteen 49").

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Today's OED antedating: "smear"

Smear, a scheme to defame (n., sec 3 (c), first use cited 1943): Essay titled "Not All the Leopards," by Heywood Broun, The New Republic, September 20, 1939, p 186, col 2: "For instance, Mr. Stalin might say, 'Morrie Ryskind had a piece in The Nation last week which I found most objectionable. Please see that he gets a smearing at the hands of all the fellow-traveling critics.'"

Thursday 10/28 links

From New York Sun correspondent Khaled Abu Toalmeh: "Yasser Arafat is in critical condition and doctors are trying to save his life, a P.A. Cabinet minister told the Jerusalem Post last night. 'President Arafat is dying,' said the minister, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Israel said it will allow Mr. Arafat to be moved 'anywhere' to receive medical treatment and also said that any medical equipment can be brought into Ramallah. Israel has also given Egypt permission to send a special medical team to Ramallah."

A brilliant line by Belmont Club blogger "
Wretchard": "Twenty years of European and UN Middle Eastern policy may be lying on the deathbed with Arafat."

What will the Palestinians do as they grapple with the post-Arafat era? Tel Aviv Ha'aretz columnist
Danny Rubinstein: "For now, it looks like the two senior veterans, Abu Mazen and Abu Ala, are the candidates slated to succeed him in his two primary roles ... Members of [a] younger cadre, among them Jibril Rajoub and Mohammed Dahlan, will lend their support to the two veterans, who will divide up the governing authority between themselves."

World Tribune largely concurs: "The Palestinian sources identified the three-member successor leadership as Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei [Abu Ala], his predecessor, Mahmoud Abbas [Abu Mazen] and Palestinian National Council chairman Salim Zaanoun. The sources said Zaanoun would serve a symbolic role."

Ace Washington Times reporter Bill Gertz reports that the Russians helped the Iraqis to secretly move to Syria those explosives that Sen. Kerry has been yammering about. But Captain's Quarters blogger "Captain Ed" Morrissey doesn't think it happened: "I doubt that the cash-strapped Russian military, with its own Islamist problems in Chechnya and elsewhere, would have acted as a hire-out moving service for Saddam Hussein in March 2003, with the US poised to invade."

Washington Post media reporter
Howard Kurtz reveals that The New York Times and CBS colluded on the story, and that the only reason the Times went with it on Monday, October 25--rather than waiting for CBS to sap the White House with the story two days before the election the night of Sunday, October 31--was because it was leaking to the Internet, and not because there was anything morally wrong with trying to tip the election with a highly suspect story.

But Power Line blogger "Hindrocket," aka
John H. Hinderaker, fisks the hell out of Times' executive editor Bill Keller's self-serving revisionist scenario as displayed in the Kurtz piece.

ABC News reports that it wasn't 380 tons of the stuff that went missing--but 3 tons. (Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds/Instapundit)

New York Post political analyst/columnist Dick Morris rips off a great line: "Once again, John Kerry shows his instinct to go for the capillaries, rather than the jugular."

And New York Post columnist Ralph Peters states flatly that "The Myth of the Missing Explosives" is just that: "Sen. Kerry knows this is a bogus issue. And he doesn't care. He's willing to accuse our troops of negligence and incompetence to further his political career. Of course, he did that once before."

London Times columnist Gerard Baker argues that if for no other reason, "Look at Bush's enemies: they are the reason why he deserves re-election."

Chicago Sun-Times political columnist Robert Novak reports that the Democrats have a big problem: "Kerry unable to crack Bush base."

Washington Times guest columnist
Martin L. Gross predicts that it will not be a close election--that Pres. Bush will win by at least five percent in the popular vote and more in the electoral college. I tend to agree with him.

San Francisco Chronicle guest columnist Victor Davis Hanson argues that "The Real Divide is Only in Elitist Minds."

Washington Post columnist
George F. Will explains that "Liberalism's constant problem is that Americans are aspirational, not envious."

Syndicated columnist Ann Coulter on political reality: "Here's the deal on politics and race in America: Republicans don't need black voters, but they want them. Democrats don't want black voters, but they need them."

Syndicated columist Emmett Tyrrell: "The really disturbing aspect of this election [is] the possibility of widespread voter fraud and the Democrats' efforts to institutionalize voter fraud."

New York columnist John Podhoretz analyzes "Sharon's Stunner."

Columnist Uri Dan has known him for nearly a half-century, and he insists "there is no 'new Sharon.'"

Columbia University is an anti-Semitic cesspool. Today a
New York Daily News editorial asks the university administration what it intends to do about it.

Indefatigable satirical blogger ScrappleFace Scott Ott reports the news that the "Electoral College Added to Michael Moore Speaking Tour."

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Today's OED antedating: "fixation"

Fixation, transferred, often jocular, obsession, ex psychiatry (sec 3 (b), first use cited 1963): Book titled The Mysterious Mickey Finn, by Elliot Paul, 1939, ch ix, p 86: "'Mr Evans has an oil fixation,' Miriam said. 'You’ll get used to that.'"

Wednesday 10/27 links

Former Army officer and now New York Post columnist Ralph Peters got a letter from a friend: "He's an Army veteran of three wars. ... And he's worried. Not about terrorists or insurgents. He's afraid John Kerry will be elected president. 'Kerry's rhetoric is giving the bad guys a thread to hang on. They're hoping we lose our nerve. They're more concerned with the U.S. elections than with the Iraqi ones.'"

Two items from prolific Captain's Quarters blogger "Captain Ed" Morrissey:"
first, that CBS already reported that the stuff was missing before we got there; and second, that it must have taken a full company of men one week to spirit the stuff away--at least. While we were already there? Fat chance.

Weekly Standard publisher
William Kristol observes that Sen. Kerry's chief foreign policy adviser, Richard Holbrooke, refuses to vouch for the story's accuracy--while Kerry continues to campaign on it nonetheless.

Meanwhile, perhaps re Holbrooke (but, to be fair, perhaps not), today New York Post "Page Six" gossip columnist
Richard Johnson offers a riddle: "Which high-profile diplomat who was hoping for a big job in the John Kerry administration — if there is one — is having a not-so-low-profile affair with a gorgeous, red-headed divorcée with an interest in foreign affairs? Even if his wife doesn't find out, the fling might wreck his chances for the big job."

New York Daily News columnist
Zev Chafets got an interesting angle on Bill Clinton's Philadelphia campaign appearance for Sen. Kerry: "Kerry stood in Bill's shadow."

TCS publisher
James K. Glassman is relieved that the Democrats' explosive "October Surprise" is a dud.

Political guru Dick Morris is having a busy day. In today's New York Post, he claims that "the wolf ad has sparked an amazing surge in Bush's support to the point where every poll but one shows him well ahead of his Democratic rival." Then, in the Washington insider newspaper
The Hill, he asserts first that "John Kerry’s domestic focus seems to be too little, too late"; and second, that "the conventional wisdom is that the election will be close. It still may be, but the evidence suggests that it is volatile but not necessarily close."

Stop the presses! Washington Times columnist
Cal Thomas breaks the news that the "Big Media" (ie The New York Times and the Washington Post) support Kerry. And Editor & Publisher reports that "New Study Suggests Some Media Favored Kerry in First Two Weeks of October." (Hat tip to "Captain Ed" Morrissey/Captain's Quarters)

More re media bias from syndicated columnist
Brent Bozell: "To the uncommitted voter, let us state directly: The media are partisan players. They see their role as journalists as not to inform, but to persuade." And from syndicated columnist Linda Chavez: "The media rule seems to be if a story might hurt George W. Bush, play it up big; if it might help Bush, bury it; and if might hurt John Kerry, ignore it altogether. In an election as close as this one, the media's role could be decisive."

Washington Times Baghdad correspondent
Borzou Daragahi reports that the Iraqi terrorists now state explicitly that the upsurge in violence there is specifically intended to oust Pres. Bush in the US presidential election. If the terrorists want Sen. Kerry to win, what does that tell you?

IOWAHAWK satirical blogger
David Burge breathlessly scoops the world with "More October Surprises Found." Such as: "WEDNESDAY REPORT: OHIO UNEMPLOYMENT AT 87.8%"

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Today's OED antedating: "stall"

Stall, a calculated act of delay or misdirection (n.2, sec 4 (b), first use cited 1945): Poem titled "Tosca," by pseudonymous "Flaccus," aka attorney Newman Levy, New York Tribune, August 2, 1921, p 8, col 5: "I framed it so they'll pull a fake shoot fer a stall."

Tuesday 10/26 links

Appearing this time in the London Daily Telegraph, Mark Steyn takes aim at Charlie Brooker, the imbecile who called for Pres. Bush's assassination in Saturday's London Guardian. You know, the one the newspaper characterized as an "ironic joke"--the moment they realized just how bad it was going to be.

Here's a news flash: the most recent front-page New York Times exclusive blasting Pres. Bush, this time for not securing high explosives in Iraq, is false. (As though the president is supposed to do that in the first place.)
Matt Drudge, Captain's Quarters blogger "Captain Ed" Morrissey, Hugh Hewitt, Belmont Club blogger "Wretchard," and the other usual suspects cite the first-hand NBC report that the stuff was gone when US troops got there--and gleefully pile on.

And it keeps getting better and better.
Morrissey also reports that when the Bush campaign blasted Sen. Kerry for continuing to refer to the story even after it was discredited, Kerry's spokesman Joe Lockhart said: "The White House is desperately flailing in an effort to escape blame. It is the latest pathetic excuse from an administration that never admits a mistake, no matter how disastrous.'" As Morrissey puts it: "Unless Lockhart is a practicing ironist, which might be a side effect of working for Bill Clinton, that statement contains more projection than an IMAX theater."

New York Sun writer
Josh Gerstein reports that Kerry is a plagiarist. (Hat tip to Hugh Hewitt)

New York Post columnist
John Podhoretz pose a great question: "What if there are no undecided voters left?"

Power Line blogger "Deacon," aka
Paul Mirengoff, compares the 2000 and 2004 elections. He sees some similarities--but some significant differences.

Meanwhile, Tech Central Station columnist
William J. Stuntz compares the 1948 and 2004 elections--and while perhaps Pres. Bush is no Harry Truman, Sen. Kerry certainly resembles Thomas Dewey.

Syndicated columnist
Dennis Prager argues "How Jews Should Vote." Boston Globe columnist Jonathan D. Sarna describes how both parties are fighting for every last Jewish vote, although Jews are only 1/50 of the population. Two Weekly Standard columnists, William Kristol and Joel Engel, also weigh in.

New York Post columnist and former Army major
Ralph Peters insists--absolutely, positively, [insert your own superlative adverb here]--there will not be a draft.

Chicago Tribune columnist
Eric Zorn goes behind the scenes at

Online satirist ScrappleFace, aka
Scott Ott, posts another classic: "Saddam Worried Explosive Cache Now in 'Wrong Hands.'" The subtext: why wasn't Sen. Kerry worried about this stuff when Saddam controlled it?

A lovely piece in the generally less-than-lovely Chronicle of Higher Education (that's not fair; it is a very good publication):
Thomas H. Benton really loves books: "My Own Private Library: An assistant professor suspects that he is a scholar because he is a bibliophile rather than the other way around."

Whimsical New York Times columnist
Clyde Haberman (really--Haberman appears to have been assigned the "whimsy" beat) interviews a national treasure; ie, the guy who designed the New York subway map. And New York Daily News guest columnist Clifton Hood, who wrote a book about building the subway, remembers the guys who did it.

Pants on fire

Sen. Kerry's presidential campaign plummets (the FAA now calls pilot error "controlled flight into terrain"), and now he's being caught out on lie after lie after lie.

Two of the most recent: first, in today's Washington Times, Joel Mowbray reports that Kerry lied when he repeatedly claimed to have met with all the UN Security Council ambassadors during the heated 2002 debate over Iraq. It turns out that he met with four of the fifteen.

Second, and much more entertaining: Kerry has repeatedly claimed that during the sixth game of the 1986 World Series, at Shea Stadium in New York, he was sitting "30 yards away" when the ball skittered between Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner's legs and cost Boston the championship. That, too, was a lie: the self-described Football Fans for Truth did some digging and found that Kerry was at a political dinner in Boston that night. (Hat tip to Hugh Hewitt)

UPDATE: I posted this item yesterday; I had thought that the Buckner error occurred in the seventh game of that Series; it actually occurred in the sixth game. The Football Fans for Truth suggest that Kerry may have attended the seventh game, and confused that game for the sixth--but it still does not explain his clear recollection of the Buckner error that he never saw.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Today's OED antedating: "to hammer"

To hammer, figurative, as here, to strike forcefully or to batter; also and ex literal (v., sec 2 (e), first use cited 1948): Headline of article: "Giants Hammer Young Pitcher," headline by anonymous, New York Times, July 24, 1910, p III-1, col 3.

Monday 10/25 links

The Asia Times's superb pseudonymous columnist "Spengler" has deigned to post a new essay, titled "In praise of premature war." An extract: "Whether or not Saddam Hussein actually intended or had the capacity to build nuclear weapons is of trifling weight in the strategic balance. Everyone is planning to build nuclear weapons. They involve 60-year-old technology no longer difficult to replicate. It hardly matters where one begins. 'Kill the chicken, and let the monkey watch,' as the Chinese say. Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, the theocrats of Iran, the North Koreans and soon many other incalculable reprobates have or will have such plans. It hardly matters which one you attack first, so long as you attack one of them."

Belmont Club blogger "
Wretchard" supplies a superb piece about the "Arab way of war," Okinawa, and how we're winning in Iraq.

Well, this is disappointing. Last night the blogs were agog--yes, agog--speculating over the blockbuster anti-Kerry piece that
Joel Mowbray was to splash this morning in the Washington Times. But alas, it's a ho-hum "gotcha" piece that no one's going to give a rat's about. Kerry didn't meet with the Security Council ambassadors before the Iraq vote as he has claimed; rather, he met with several individually. Big deal.

The brilliant
Christopher Hitchens, once the most formidible voice of the left and now a valuable ally in the War on Terrorism, responds eloquently to still-leftist critics at The Nation: "An irony of history, in the positive sense, is when Republicans are willing to risk a dangerous confrontation with an untenable and indefensible status quo. I am proud of what little I have done to forward this revolutionary cause."

Appearing in National Review Online,
Noemie Emery reports that the mainstream media are angry with Pres. Bush because he stubbornly refuses to apologize for things he didn't get wrong.

Andrew Rawnsley of the left-of-center London Observer argues that only one Labour member of parliament would vote for Pres. Bush--but that member is Tony Blair: "The mind of Mr Blair was summarised for me in vivid terms by someone who has an extremely good claim to know what is going on inside it: 'Tony thinks the world is a very dangerous and precarious place. Bush is the tough guy who keeps the bad guys under their rocks.'"

Weekly Standard essayist
Joshua Muravchik contends that Sen. Kerry has continuously misrepresented his anti-war activities, and the mainstream media are complicit in promoting his very selective account.

National Review Online political columnist
John J. Miller analyzes the Senate races state-by-state. His prediction: GOP +2.

Ruth Wisse notes how the faculty from our carefully "diverse" elite universities are participating in the political process: "Campus bloggers computed the percentages of Kerry contributions over Bush: Cornell 93%, Dartmouth 97%, Yale 93%, Brown 89%."

The Moslems support Kerry because it is in their interest to do so. New York Times columnist
William Safire wonders why the Jews refuse to support Bush for the same reason.

World Tribune White House correspondent
Trude B. Feldman conducts an superb and detailed interview of Pres. Bush. Subject: Israel and the Middle East.

Sunday, October 24, 2004


The ancient (approaching ninety years old) London Daily Telegraph columnist W.F. (Bill) Deedes was the model for the inexperienced foreign correspondent who was the protagonist of Evelyn Waugh's classic comic novel Scoop, published a lifetime ago in 1937. Deedes still posts a weekly column, and in tomorrow's effort he defends young Prince Harry, who last week hauled off and popped an overly-intrusive photographer at a fashionable nightspot:

As a frequenter of nightclubs in the 1930s, let me take the stand for a moment. When he joins the Army and gets involved in serious business - such as being sent by a Labour prime minister to fight in Iraq - Prince Harry will find the hardest struggle in prolonged conflict is not being brave, but staying awake.

And this, I found, is where we nightclubbers had the edge over fresh-faced young men, not long out of school and fit as fleas, who, after a day and a night without sleep, found it hard to keep their eyes open.

Leaving a nightclub at dawn, taking a quick shower and then getting through a day's work in this office helped me to get fit for war. So lay off Prince Harry.

Today's OED antedating: "the big lie"

(The) big lie, a blatant falsehood that gains credibility through repetition ("big," a., sec B (2) (a), first use cited 1946): Play titled There Shall Be No Night, by Robert E. Sherwood, 1940, scene 3: "KAARLO. ... I cannot help wondering just how you establish proof that these other races are inferior, especially when you know it is a lie./.../ZIEMSSEN. ... They are eager to accept the big lies we give them, because they cannot comprehend the big truth."

Sunday 10/24 links

The Europeans are descending into barking dementia. Yesterday the London Guardian published a column by one Charlie Brooker; he advocates the assassination of Pres. Bush: "On November 2, the entire civilised world will be praying, praying Bush loses. And Sod’s law dictates he’ll probably win, thereby disproving the existence of God once and for all. The world will endure four more years of idiocy, arrogance and unwarranted bloodshed, with no benevolent deity to watch over and save us. John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr - where are you now that we need you?"

You'll love this one: the hard numbers indicate that Pres. Bush is smarter than Sen. Kerry. What makes it even better is that John Tierney's revelation appears in The New York Times. (Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds/Instapundit)

Canny New York Daily News columnist Zev Chafets reports that the Democrats are concentrating on Pennsylvania and Ohio but may lose the election in Michigan.

US News & World Report columnist Michael Barone suggests that the conventional wisdom that undecided voters tend to go against the incumbent will be reversed this year.

This time appearing in the Chicago Sun-Times, columnist Mark Steyn is uncharacteristically serious: "There are legitimate differences of opinion about the war, but they don't include Kerry's silly debater's points."

Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass wants to know why Sen. Kerry suddenly is talking like Jethro Bodine--you remember, the nephew who was the brains of the outfit on The Beverly Hillbillies?

US News & World Report columnist John Leo keeps it simple: Sen. Kerry is in trouble in part because many Americans simply don't trust the Democrats to defend them.

New York Post columnist and former army major Ralph Peters: "What Europeans fail to grasp — what they willfully refuse to face — is that the nature of terrorism has changed. ... The new terrorists are vastly more dangerous, more implacable and crueler than the old models. The political terrorists of the 1970s and '80s used bloodshed to gain their goals. Religious terrorists see mass murder as an end in itself, as a purifying act that cleanses the world of infidels."

Washington Post columnist George F. Will expects widespread and calculated voter fraud. Particularly from the Democrats. Power Line blogger "Hindrocket," aka John H. Hinderaker, elaborates.

Reuters correspondent Parisa Hafezi reports that Iran has flatly rejected another European plea that it stop working on nukes. No doubt the Europeans will task an elite cadre of clerks to draft an even more strongly-worded letter in response, because they mean business this time.

The Israeli ex-spook DEBKA website reports that Yasir Arafat is very ill with gallstones. Alas, it's almost certainly not fatal.

"What Would Patton Say About the Present War?" Victor Davis Hanson tells you.

Jerusalem Post guest columnist Colin Shindler explains the once-honorable London Guardian's (see above) role in the "Drip-drip delegitimization of Israel."

New York Times writer Timothy L. O'Brien warns that if you're not worried about identity theft, you should be.

Saturday, October 23, 2004


Are the Democrats nuts?

Yesterday there were several reports of open, even blatant physical intimidation of Bush supporters at early-voting sites around Florida. Power Line blogger "Hindrocket," aka John H. Hinderaker linked to a piece in the Palm Beach Sun-Sentinel in which voter after voter complained of grotesque violations of Florida voting laws.
What was the lead for this posting again? Oh, right--are the Democrats nuts? Don't they realize that these incidents will gain wide exposure? Don't they realize that vast numbers of undecided and even soft Kerry voters will be so incensed that it will trigger a surge pulling the Bush lever?

This is a toss-up state! Do they really think they will intimidate voters into voting for Kerry? Or is it intentional: are Florida Democrats trying to throw the election?

Probably not. What was that lead again? Oh, right--are the Democrats nuts?

Today's OED antedating: "custard pie"

Custard pie, gooey allusive symbol of slapstick comedy, for which it is a celebrated prop ("custard," sec 2 (b), first use cited 1933): Essay titled "The Ostermoor School of Drama," by Heywood Broun, Vanity Fair, June 1919, p 53, col 1: "The bed seems to be, to the farce of the moment, what the custard pie was to the early moving pictures—the entire plot."

Saturday 10/23 links

Weekly Standard publisher William Kristol characterizes next week's vote as "the 9/11 Election": "September 11 is not simply about 'the bad guys,' about the attacks on America. September 11 is also about our response."

Mark Alexander concludes that the reason Sen. Kerry refuses to release his military records is that he was not granted an honorable discharge.

Former London Daily Telegraph editor
Charles Moore poses the question: "So who gains if Bush loses? The Labour Left, of course, and the political power of the European Union, the Guardian readers who have been writing magnificently counterproductive anti-Bush letters to the voters of Clark County, Ohio, and every twerp who says with a trembling lip that Mr Bush and Mr Blair have 'blood on their hands'" and "Abu Musab al-Zarqawi ... . Such men believe they have already changed the government in Spain; they will claim at once that they have done the same in the United States. They will be right."

Arthur Chrenkoff distills the essence of the Europe's preference for Sen. Kerry: "The Europeans are like teenage children of a divorce, who prefer to spend time with their Democrat mother rather than a strict Republican dad, not because they like the mother more (dude, parents they like, suck, or what?) but because she won't force them to take out the trash and clean the dishes. No wonder the father is increasingly thinking that his 59 year old teenager should finally move out of home and start supporting himself."

Belmont Club blogger "
Wretchard" analyzes a recent BBC documentary that claims that Al Qaeda does not exist. Really. London Daily Mail columnist and blogger Melanie Phillips is appalled: "The British are lapping it all up and believing it. Wicked stuff."

Does Ariel Sharon have popular support to withdraw from Gaza? Tel Aviv Ha'aretz columnist Yoel Marcus observes that Sharon won two of the most lopsided elections in Israeli history and concludes: "You bet he's got a mandate."

Blogger Beldar, aka William J. Dyer, exposes the truth! about John Kerry. Did you know that in Vietnam Kerry "regularly engaged in piscatory activities with several of his crewmen — at the same time?" Or that at Boston College Law School, he "openly matriculated with each and every one of the young women students who began classes there at the same time he did?" I thought not. While we're on the subject, you really should read the classic piece from the December 1970 issue of Mad Magazine and posted in 2001 by Bill Garvin.

ScrappleFace satirical blogger
Scott Ott takes aim at those forward thinkers who run what is euphemistically called "organized labor," which tends to be neither: "America's labor union leaders are mounting perhaps the largest grassroots effort in history to elect John Forbes Kerry, using all of the latest technology including telegraph, trains, stage coaches and handbills."

New York Times guest columnist and subway aficionado
Joe McKendry notes that the New York subway system turns 100 years old on Wednesday. You can keep Disneyland--for my money the New York subway is the Magic Kingdom.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Anonymous email

This anonymous email has circulated recently; it starts with some interesting and likely accurate information, but the kicker carries that distinctive stench of hoax or urban legend. Who knows whether there is any truth to it or not? Well, someone knows--just not me. Thanks to HN for supplying it ...

How the flu vaccine works: Influenza vaccine is produced by growing the virus in eggs. The virus is killed and processed to create the vaccine, which is given by injection under the skin. The body then produces antibodies to the virus over the next two to four weeks. If the immunized person then comes into contact with the influenza virus, the antibodies attack and kill the virus before it has a chance to cause infection. The vaccine contains the 3 most likely strains to be active during the "flu season."

Why the shortage: Almost half of the nation's flu vaccine will not be delivered this year. Chiron, a major manufacturer of flu vaccine, will not be distributing any influenza vaccine this flu season. Chiron was to make 46-48 million doses vaccine for the United States. Chiron is a British company. Recently British health officials stopped Chiron from distributing and making the vaccine when inspectors found unsanitary conditions in the labs. Some lots of the vaccine were recalled and destroyed.

Why is our vaccine made in the UK and not the US? The major pharmaceutical companies in the US provided almost 90% of the nation’s flu vaccine at one time. They did this despite a very low profit margin for the product. Basically, they were doing us a favor. In the late 80's a man from North Carolina who had received the vaccine got the flu. The strain he caught was one of the strains in that years vaccine made by a US company. What did he do? He sued and he won. He was awarded almost $5 million! After that case was appealed and lost, most US pharmaceutical companies stopped making the vaccine. The liability out weighed the profit margin. Since UK and Canadian laws prohibit such frivolous law suits UK and Canadiancompanies began selling the vaccine in the US.

By the way... the lawyer who represented the man in the flu shot law suit was a young ambulance chaser by the name of John Edwards.

Today's OED antedating: "tax-and-spend"

Tax-and-spend, redistributive political philosophy, also adjective (no entry): Article titled "Revolt of Electorate Ends One-Party Rule," by Arthur Krock, New York Times, November 13, 1938, p IV-3, col 2: "It is this group which generated the arrogant and cynical confidence of which Administrator Harry L. Hopkins became the spokesman to a group at the Yonkers (not Saratoga) race track: 'We will spend and spend, tax and tax, elect and elect.'"

Friday 10/22 links

If you ask classicist/essayist Victor Davis Hanson, John Kerry's worst problem is this: people don't like him. So much for the popular vote. VDH's best line--and it is splendid: "Putin wants Bush, while Arafat prefers Kerry — and that is all we need to know."

So far, so good. Captain's Quarters blogger
"Captain Ed" Morrissey reads the poll numbers, and they are good for Pres. Bush.

Syndicated columnist
David Limbaugh observes: "Here we are less than two weeks from the election and John Kerry is still playing 'hide the ball.'"

Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post columnist
Charles Krauthammer thinks there is only one way that a Pres. Kerry could ever accumulate that so-called "international"--ie, Western European--support that he always talks about: "Sacrificing Israel."

And New York Daily News columnist
Sidney Zion: "Kerry promises a return to Bill Clinton's policy of engagement. Which simply means pressuring Israel, in line with the editorial policy of The New York Times."

If you ask New York Post columnist
John Podhoretz, he'll tell you that this sure is an exciting campaign. And those bloggers, well ...

Well, this puts it in stark perspective: Reuters correspondent
Matt Spetalnick finds that the Israelis support Pres. Bush; the Palestinians, Sen. Kerry. Exhibit A: "Gaza shopkeeper Abu Gomaa hopes instead to see Bush's re-election bid go down in flames on Nov. 2. 'I want to laugh ... at his humiliation,' he says. ... 'Israel loves the president because he holds the umbrella that protects it from its enemies,' wrote Shmuel Rosner, a columnist for the Haaretz newspaper."

United Press International
Roland Flamini reports that Bill Clinton wants to be UN secretary general. (Hat tip to Matt Drudge)

Syndicated columnist Emmett Tyrrell: "The Democratic opponent slipping behind in the polls today is neither a George McGovern from 1972 nor a John F. Kennedy fighting the Cold War. He is at one with the Draft Dodger of 1992, though without the charm."

Satirical blogger Iowahawk
David Burge supplies "clarifications" from the Kerry-Edwards wives; from Elizabeth Edwards: "Mrs. Edwards added that 'as Democrats, we believe that gay citizens should be welcomed freely in society, whether they are teachers, artist, or a bulldyke softball leather fetishist like Dick Cheney's daughter.'"

Wall Street Journal online columnist
James Taranto provides a reader's version of Kerry's French-styled alert system.

The Wall Street Journal's
James Taranto offers this analysis: "The Boston Red Sox beat the New York Yankees last night in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series. The Sox will face either the Houston Astros or the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. But the Yankees, who won the first three games in the series before going to lose four straight, had more runs in the series (45-41), which means the Sox may have a pennant, but they lack a mandate."

The lefty London Guardian
editorial about "America's curse"--Bosox, not Bush--starts well, builds momentum, and then runs off a cliff. What a surprise.

Jerusalem Post writer
Margot Dudkevitch reports that the Israelis clipped a big one: Hamas's #2 and chief bomb engineer.

And Los Angeles Times correspondent
Laura King supplies a surprisingly good piece about Israel's contingency plans to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities.

The World Tribune reports that Israel has experimented with several revolutionary new weapons systems--against the Palestinians.

Why do they hate us? Washington Times guest columnist Daniel Mandel shares some thoughts on the subject.

New York Times computer columnist
David Pogue waxes rhapsodic--yes, rhapsodic--about Google's new search too. It does Windows.