Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Schwarzenegger: Girlie Men

Hmmm, maybe Schwarzenegger didn't mean "girlie men" as a compliment after all...

Based on the response of the GOP convention delegates to his re-use of the phrase in his convention speech Tuesday, the average delegate isn't any more PC than he is.


Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:20 PM

One for the Steelers Fans Out There

Blogger Captain Ed, blogging at the Republican National Convention, just met Pittsburgh Steelers great Lynn Swann.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:22 PM

Club For Growth Blog

The Club for Growth now has a blog.

I wonder how long it will be before nearly every conservative and free market organization has one?

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 8:57 PM

The Commons at Paulie World

The Commons at Paulie World is a relatively new blog that is really hitting its stride.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:15 AM

Monday, August 30, 2004

John McCain: You Reap What You Sow

An observation by National Center executive director David W. Almasi:
Senator John McCain (R-AZ) isn't happy with the Federal Election Commission's Ellen Weintraub because she appears to be deliberately holding up reform of the unregulated spending of 527 political groups. Due to her footdragging, any chance to closing the loophole in the senator's namesake campaign finance regulations will happen until next year -- after groups such as and Americans Coming Together spend tens of millions of dollars attacking President Bush. Because of this, McCain now calls Weintraub an "apparatchik" of the Democrats.

What a difference a few months makes.

Weintraub, who was nominated to the FEC by Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD), once counted McCain as her knight in shining armor. When conservatives in 2002 raised concerns about Weintraub's impartiality due to to her law firm's close ties to partisan campaign committees and her marriage to Senator Russell Feingold's legislative director, McCain put a hold on ALL Bush Administration nominations until she got a recess appointment.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:38 PM

Just Call Them Untermenschen

A Reuters editor expresses anger that some people want to allow conceived children to be born.

Among other things, he says of children he believes should be aborted: "Who will pay for policing our streets & maintaining the prisons needed to contain them...?"

Addendum: David O'Gwynn slices through this story on the Sparse Matrix Politics blog. It's harsh, but so is the subject matter.

Addendum 2: JunkYardBlog comments on the Reuters story from his perspective as a former radio news editor.

Addendum 3: Stop the Bleating! says: Why stop there? If human welfare is not a concern, we can save even more money by eliminating all social programs.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:31 PM

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Giving Birth: Doubly Life-Giving?

Women who have been through pregnancy tend to say pregnancy is not always easy, but that it is very much worth it for the child's sake.

Turns out to be doubly worth it: According to new research in the Journal of the American Medical Asociation, giving birth might someday save Mom's life.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:07 AM

Saturday, August 28, 2004

The Olympics: I'd Rather Sort Socks

Jack Rich has a good post up on the Olympics, which brings to my mind a pet peeve about them from the other night.

Husband David watched a lot of Olympic coverage, while I hadn't watched any. One evening, he told me I just had to watch one race. I didn't really want to, because the laundry needed doing, but I figured "how long can one race last"?

Turns out, quite a while, because the officials couldn't start it. Too much booing from the crowd for the starter sound to be audible. Booing of Americans, it seems. Unlike the whiners Jack Rich blogged about, these booers apparently weren't upset that we led the liberation of Afghanistan and Iraq. No, these -- to borrow Jack's term -- idiots and ingrates were mad at Americans because some Greek dofus failed to show up for a drug test and was disqualified from the race. Following the world's standard rule: Whenever anything goes wrong, Blame America First, the crowd was booing the American runners who had showed up for their drug tests.

Apparently, the purpose of the Olympics is to cause friction between nations. It was starting to make me hate Greeks (and just when I was starting to forgive them for adoring the anti-American demagogue Andreas Papandreou and their insistence on maintaining poor airport security, leading to incidents such as the hijacking of TWA 847 and the murder of the young American sailor Robert Stethem), so I went back to doing the laundry.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:30 PM

Conservative Jerks

Don't know whether to be insulted or flattered. Someone stuck the search term "conservative jerks" into Google, and this blog ranked #2.

Addendum: Now this blog ranks #1... I guess I shouldn't have said anything.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:57 PM

Chris Lightfoot's Political Survey

ProfessorBainbridge has posted his results for Chris Lightfoot's Political Survey. I took it, too, with similiar results. He posts a link for those who want to try it for themselves.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:35 AM

Friday, August 27, 2004

Purple Heart Quiz

Just for fun, husband David sent over a quiz.
Who was awarded the largest number of purple hearts?

A. John McCain, whose injuries were so severe that four years after his release from the Hanoi Hilton he was prevented from receiving a sea command.

B. Former Senator Daniel Inouye, who lost an arm during World War II.

C. Former Senator Bob Dole, who lost the use of his right arm and spent three years in military hospitals.

D. Former Senator Max Cleland, who lost two legs and an arm during the Vietnam war after a grenade went off in his hand.

E. Senator John Kerry.

Answer: John Kerry. Kerry received three; Bob Dole, two; Daniel Inouye, one; John McCain, one and Max Cleland, zero.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:15 PM

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Bush's Europe Policy

Husband David has a letter published in the Washington Post today.

It was written in response to this Post op-ed by Ronald D. Asmus beginning:
Harry Truman must be turning over in his grave.

The planned withdrawal of U.S. troops from Europe and Asia that President Bush announced this week, if allowed to stand, could lead to the demise of the United States' key alliances across the globe, including the one that Truman considered his greatest foreign policy accomplishment: NATO...

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:37 PM

"The Only Answer That Could Have Saved Her..."

Always-thoughtful blogger Jack Rich has another worthy essay on his life, liberty, & the pursuit of happiness blog, this time a reasoned rebuttal to the bumper sticker slogan "War is Not the Answer."

Jack's blog is one of the best out there. I read everything he posts.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:17 PM

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

We Might As Well Just Invite in the Visigoths

A friend drew our attention this evening to this Washington Post story in which an AFL-CIO leader gives this advice to Pentagon employees who are union members:
Our job is to be the irritant, piss ant stinging them on their ankles at every opportunity.
In your workplace, be creative, be disruptive, be a royal pain in the [expletive]!!
This is the kind of thinking that makes me believe that the only good labor union is an extinct one.

Why are any employees at the Pentagon unionized, anyway? The entire notion is pathetic.

We might as well just invite in the Visigoths and save the trouble of a battle.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:05 PM

Blogger's New Feature

Readers will notice a new feature on this blog -- the opportunity to e-mail the url of any blog post you especially like (or dislike) to a friend. To use this feature, click on the little envelope with an arrow on it. Your friend will receive the url of the post you have selected, but will not receive the full text. You can add a short message to the e-mail if you wish.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:29 PM


Blogger and Project 21 member La Shawn Barber has some blunt words for a few NBA All Stars who apparently have more courage on the court than they do in real life.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:53 AM

Tommy Franks on "Vampire Press"

Tommy Franks takes on TV military pundits in this Redhunter post.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:00 AM

Tuesday, August 24, 2004


Maybe I'm the last one to notice, but just in case I'm not, Google News now has a bar at the top permitting users to access the top stories from ten nations.

I just tried all ten. Interestingly, updates in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal was the Google News Overall #1 story just now for two nations (and only two nations): France and Germany.

Gloating, are we?

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:48 PM

David Broder's Harsh Assessment

David Broder opines today that "the only thing that will save the country" is that the baby boomers eventually will die off.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:10 AM

Chris Matthews: Not Hardball But Hogwash

I let MSNBC's marketing scheme work in my case and as such I watched Chris Matthews' Hardball show tonight.

I'm not impressed. It is hard to be impressed by a man over 13 who intentionally messes up saying another person's name (Michelle Malkin's) just because he disagrees with her political opinions. Matthews did that tonight, and was unfair to Michelle Malkin in other ways, too. For instance, Matthews insisted repeatedly that he asked Malkin a question 12 times on Friday's show and Malkin didn't answer. The issue was not how often Matthews asked, but that he refused to listen to her answer. Better he had asked her once, and then shut up and listened to Malkin's reply. Then he could have asked a follow-up. (I admit this is a revolutionary suggestion on my part, but it just might have worked.)

In another criticism of his professionalism, I question why Matthews referred to Republican donors repeatedly as "Republican fundraisers." A fundraiser raises money, a donor donates it. Matthews is a political hack; he knows the difference. Having no other explanation, I can only conclude that using the accurate terminology just isn't important to him. Certainly, in this instance, it doesn't really matter, but if a "journalist" does not care about accuracy on small things that don't matter, how hard will he push for accuracy on matters that do matter, especially if they lead to conclusions he does not like?

Of course, I may be biased. First, I tend to hold people who claim to be journalists to fairly high standards on things such as word usage. (I seem to be a rare bird in this regard.) I also expect them to know more than diddly-squat about the subjects they are doing stories on. Second, this institution spent the first six years of its existence (we were founded in 1982) supporting Ronald Reagan's national security policy. We were fought tooth and nail by the Democrat Congress. Chris Matthews was Tip O'Neill's chief of staff during (roughly) that same period of time. I'm not exactly bitter about our experiences then, even though they were hard years (by office job standards), since we did win the Cold War. But I admit it is hard for me to look at his face on the TV and not remember so many of us having to fight so hard against domestic opposition in order to do so. To this day I don't understand why so many Democrats refused to be on the side of freedom.

I have not been watching Chris Matthews' show on MSNBC these last howevermany years. Some have told me Matthews' show was good during the Clinton impeachment trial because he, Matthews, reportedly did not make excuses for adultery and perjury, yet he was not reflexively anti-Democrat, either. If so, good for Matthews. But I would find it hard to regularly watch a show dominated by someone over 40 who seems to have a teenager's level of maturity, even if we had been on the same side of the climactic battle for world freedom that consumed nearly the entire 20th Century.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:21 AM

Monday, August 23, 2004

Strengthen the Good: Gulf Coast Community Foundation Of Venice Hurricane Charley Disaster Relief Fund

The new Strengthen The Good network of bloggers banding together to support worthy charities has selected its first charity for support: The Gulf Coast Community Foundation Of Venice Hurricane Charley Disaster Relief Fund.

I encourage folks to visit this link and evaluate this charity. If you like what you see, please consider a donation. Until $100,000 is collected, all gifts are being matched dollar for dollar, so everytime someone gives a dollar, the charity receives two.

Gifts can be made by credit card, PayPal or post office mail.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:26 AM

Campaign Free Speech

Project 21 member Deroy Murdock is making a good point on Joe Scarborough's MSNBC Show right now (blogger Hugh Hewitt is another guest), specifically: That so-called "outside groups" (of all political persuasions) have First Amendment free speech rights.

I'm with Deroy on this one. Let everyone speak. The voters are smart enough to separate the wheat from the chaff.

In my opinion, we should limit our campaign finance laws to full and prompt disclosure of all campaign contributions.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:14 AM

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Abortion More Dangerous Than Childbirth, Stats Say

Abortion, apparently, is not just more dangerous than childbirth for the child. It is more dangerous for Moms, too.

Hat tip to Bill's Comments.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:10 PM

Is It Just Me? Part III

Husband David Ridenour, whose musings have been published here before, has a few more thoughts:
  • Prominent conservatives use expletives only when pushed to anger, while their liberal counterparts do so on purpose to project an "oh so cool" image. Yet, conservatives get more adverse publicity.

  • To borrow a joke attributed to former Rep. John LaBoutillier about the House Speaker under whom he served: What do Michael Moore and the federal budget have in common? They're both big, bloated and out-of-control.

  • When most Americans do the morally reprehensible, it is because they can't help themselves. According to his new book, when Bill Clinton does so, it is just because he can.

  • If higher prices reduce demand for and thus use of gasoline - something liberals claim to want - why are so many liberals lamenting high gasoline prices?

  • Seizing or destroying the enemy's command and control - which includes communication facilities - is key to winning war. So why, in our war against international terrorists - a war without borders - hasn't Al Jazeera been reduced to a pile of rubble?

  • Liberals preach sensitivity, compassion and self-esteem. Yet, they're the first to question the intelligence of conservative politicians - Ronald Reagan, Dan Quayle and George Bush, to mention just three. If these conservatives really are "stupid," isn't it insensitive to mention this? And shouldn't they be praised for rising above their limited talents? While we're at it, shouldn't we require government across the board to slow down and simplify so that such politicians aren't left behind? That's what we do with our school system. It's all about self-esteem, you know.
  • Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:29 PM

    U.S.-French Relations

    A look at U.S.-French relations, circa 1944.

    A look at U.S.-French relations, circa 2004.

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:39 AM

    New Overtime Rules

    When you hear some people talk, you could almost be convinced that the Bush Administration's new overtime policy is bad for workers.

    Here's what I wrote on this a few months ago, relying heavily on information from the Heritage Foundation. If you click the link, you'll see who really likes the old rules Bush is reforming (trial lawyers) and why they like them (confusing rules equal lawsuits equal cash cash cash -- for lawyers, not lower-income workers).

    Speaking of overtime and the Heritage Foundation, Heritage has a wealth of info up about this on its main webpage right now.

    Bottom line: The new rules are better than the old for workers and better for America.

    Now, if we really want worker flexibility (which a lot of working parents really, really like), we'll get the government out of the matter entirely, but that's a discussion for another day...

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:00 AM

    Saturday, August 21, 2004

    Bush's Swift Boat Connections

    BeldarBlog examines the New York Times chart that attempts to show connections between the group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and George W. Bush.

    The chart is amazing -- an amazing example of wacky journalism. I actually read parts of it a couple of times because I could not believe my eyes.

    For example, here's a key connection between SBVT and George Bush, according to the chart: One of Swiftee John O'Neill's law partners used to be married to a woman who was named to a state appeals court by George W. Bush when Bush was governor of Texas.

    Yes, that's one of a whopping six connections the New York Times has on the chart.

    Maybe there's a tighter connection in real life, but, if so, it's not on the chart.

    Beldar wonders why he didn't make the Times list. I'm wondering, too. I once lived in an apartment building owned by a company partially owned by someone who gave $25,000 to the Swift Vets, and I worked for the Republican National Committee 25 years ago.

    Coincidence? You decide.

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:22 AM

    Asbestos Scandal

    Joe Perkins has a harsh yet informative op-ed in the San Diego Union-Tribune this week about asbestos litigation. Asbestos litigation is a topic that makes people turn away because they think it sounds boring...

    ...which is what those who are enriching themselves through it are counting upon.

    Says Joe:
    It is, arguably, the biggest racket in American history - asbestos litigation.

    It is bigger than bootlegging during the Prohibition era.

    Bigger than cocaine trafficking during the drug-addled 1970s.

    Bigger than securities fraud during the get-rich-quick 1990s.
    Read the rest. You won't be bored. I promise.

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:20 AM

    Participate in a Poll

    If you've ever wanted to be asked to participate in a poll but never seem to be, click here.

    I don't know these folks, but I just took their media bias poll anyway.

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:22 AM

    Friday, August 20, 2004

    Saudi Incompetence

    Regarding this post about Saudi Arabia's PR campaign, Lionel Waxman writes to say:
    Is it possible the Saudis don't know any better? How many Americans do you think know better?
    He may have a point. They may not know better. Maybe it is a competency issue; not an honesty issue.

    Having said that, though, one has to be immensely incompetent to run an expensive ad campaign with false checkable information in it the way the Saudis did.

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:57 PM

    Chris Matthews Theory

    Husband David has a theory about Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann. He thinks their over-the-top obnoxiousness (see Michelle Malkin's August 20 blog entry and other commentaries all over the blogosphere) is a attention-getting ratings ploy.

    No one, he figures, is this obnoxious naturally. So, it must be a calculated effort to create buzz and thus, perhaps, ratings points.

    Addendum: This theory seems all the more likely, since MSNBC spent a good bit of time tonight bragging that Chris Matthews is obnoxious (they worded it differently, of course).

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:27 PM

    Elliot Spitzer: Your Personal Shopper

    TigerHawk has a good question about New York Attorney General Elliot Spitzer and his new taxpayer-funded plan to help New Yorkers shop:
    If I were a New York politician other than Eliot Spitzer or a taxpayer in that state (actually, I am, come to think of it), I would want to know why this is the attorney general's job. If this is within the mandate of his office, what isn't?
    Hat tip to Professor Bainbridge.

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:37 AM

    Extreme Weather & Global Warming

    Iain Murray has a good post on extreme weather events and global warming on The Commons Blog. Quoting Spiked's Brendan O'Neill, the post says, in part:
    Dr Mark Saunders, a weather expert at University College London (UCL), says we need to cool down. 'I don't think the weather we have seen is particularly unusual, to be honest. Somewhere in the world you will always get extreme weather events - whether it's a storm, a flood, or a drought. There are always people being affected by extreme weather. There is no study to my knowledge which shows that more people are being affected now, or that more people will be affected by freak weather this year than in previous years.'
    There's more in Iain's post.

    Back in 1998, husband David wrote a paper for us on this topic. Titled "Don't Like the Weather? Don't Blame it on Global Warming," the paper examined charges that mid-90s forest fires, heat waves, blizzards and hurricanes were indicators of global warming. Because the paper reviews a century's worth of trends on these extreme weather events, it remains one of the most popular downloads on the National Center's website even now, six years later.

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:09 AM

    "America Was Built By European Garbage"

    Interesting theory about anti-Americanism by Europeans on Redhunter Thursday.

    I doubt it is the full explanation, but it is food for thought.

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:54 AM

    Gergen's Curious Leadership Selection System

    David Gergen, speaking on Hardball, just referred to Ann Coulter as a "Republican leader."

    Is the standard now that every right-of-center pundit is a Republican leader and every left-of-center pundit a Democrat leader?

    I assume Gergen -- apparently a registered Republican but a "Democrat leader" by this standard -- thinks so.

    It used to be that one had to be elected to public and/or party office to be a party leader. Very quaint -- the party members actually had a say in who their leaders were.

    Under Gergen's system, the media picks the leaders -- whomever is a guest on a talking head show is annointed.

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:02 AM

    Thursday, August 19, 2004

    Media Censors Poll

    Davids Medienkritik opines about silently deleting an online presidential poll showing John Kerry way ahead...

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:00 PM

    Wednesday, August 18, 2004

    US Basketball Team Stuns US Basketball Team

    More musings from husband David:
    What's next? The United States Olympic beach volleyball team will lose in an upset to the District of Columbia's beach volley ball team?

    Over the weekend, the US basketball team was reportedly defeated by Puerto Rico's basketball team.

    Did I miss something?

    The last time I looked, Puerto Ricans were full U.S. citizens. Were Puerto Ricans to move to any state in the United States, they could vote in federal elections like every other citizen. They'd also earn the "right" to pay federal taxes -- which may explain why they often don't.

    The "chief of state" in Puerto Rico is George W. Bush. In Puerto Rico, the United States controls nationality and citizenship; currency; foreign relations; commerce; military service; mining and minerals; social security; the postal system; and the list goes on and on.

    So what gives with the Olympics?

    Shouldn't the sports headlines have read: "US Basketball Team Stuns US Basketball Team"?

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:18 PM

    Coalition of the Willing Dominating the Olympic Games

    From husband David:
    The Coalition of the Willing countries are dominating the Olympic games.

    As of August 17, Coalition nations had amassed 90 medals, compared to only 67 for all other nations (over 40% from communist regimes).

    Nineteen of the Coalition's medals have been won by the United States.

    But hold on a minute...

    If the United States did such a poor job building the alliance for Iraqi freedom, where did all the other 71 medals come from?

    It's quite a mystery.

    Better get U.N. Inspectors on the case.

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:56 PM

    Tuesday, August 17, 2004 Swift Boat Ad Moves On News Pages

    I haven't actually counted the news articles, but it looks to me as though's new ad about the swift boat veterans ad is getting more establishment media coverage than the swift boat veterans got when they unveiled their ad.

    If this trend keeps up, watch for conservatives to start attacking their own attacks on liberals just to get the establishment press to cover their original charges...

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:22 AM

    Monday, August 16, 2004

    Frustrating Hurricane Reporting

    This Reuters story doesn't make sense to me.

    Referring to Florida residents hardest-hit by Hurricane Charley, on the one hand, Reuters reports:
    Immediate needs such as water, food and shelter appeared to have been quickly met. Some 4,000 National Guard troops ferried supplies, erected tents for temporary shelter and patrolled against looting.

    "We're very well taken care of, there's lots of everything," Kathy Tooker, 30, said. She and her four children were among some 500 people at a Red Cross shelter at the L.A. Ainger Middle School in Englewood.
    On the other hand, the article goes on to say:
    But frustration, fatigue and anger were beginning to set in. Some of the people at the shelter were wondering when they would get vouchers for food and housing...
    The story seemingly is reporting both that the displaced residents have been given food and housing yet are frustrated that they do not have vouchers for food and housing...?

    The story goes on to interview residents who want money from the federal government:
    "It's tough.... Just trying to clean up. Tough to start over," said Anthony Jones, 42, whose two-bedroom mobile home in Punta Gorda was shredded.

    Jones, speaking after a day of picking through his scattered belongings, said he was not insured and hoped for help from the federal government.
    I realize what I am about to comment is going to offend some people, but why the heck did he live in a mobile home in hurricane country without insurance? And why should federal taxpayers who live in lower-risk states (many of whom bought insurance for their own homes despite -- in probably most cases -- lower risk of home loss) give him their heard-earned money? I do have sympathy for the fact that he lost his home, but I think this sounds like a case in which (if he can't afford to buy a replacement home) he should get himself a rental apartment and leave his fellow taxpayers out of it.

    Back to the article. On the Reuters website, it is headlined: "Floridians Who Lost Homes to Charley Frustrated." Yet the only indication of frustration is the mysterious matter of wanting food and housing vouchers. The rest of the story is about officials expressing gratitude at the low loss of life and satisfaction that the food and housing needs of the displaced have been so successfully met.

    I'm sure it is very tough for the hurricane victims. I'm sure it is even tough for those who evacuated and came home again, particularly those in poor health or who had to travel with small children. I'm also sure that most Floridians handled all this with grace under pressure and without expecting or requesting public funds. I bet most Florida homeowners actually have insurance. Why doesn't this Reuters story reflect this? Why must disaster reporting always seem make it seem like folks are up a creek without a paddle unless and until the federal government steps in?

    The people of Florida, I bet, are way more self-reliant than this article lets on.

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:40 PM

    Sunday, August 15, 2004

    Inversion: Post Covers Recreation, Blogs Unearth News

    The Washington Post devotes the cover story of its weekly magazine to blogging.

    So is the Post finally aware that it is being outscooped by the blogosphere? Not so you'd notice. They wrote about a sex blog.

    Meanwhile, Captain's Quarters blog is so far running rings around the Post and the rest of the establishment press on the swift boat story.

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:04 PM

    Conservative Clothing, Liberal Thinking

    Two of the many things that struck me as I watched C-SPAN's rebroadcast of the 1971 debate between John Kerry and John O'Neill on the Dick Cavett show...

    First, people dressed a lot better then. We make fun today of clothing styles of the 70s, but when the camera pans the audience, the men are in suits and the women in dresses.

    Second, this country is a lot more conservative now.


    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:42 PM

    Unique Truth

    Ed Haislmaier says columnist Mark Steyn agrees with me about Gov. McGreevey's speech.

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:40 PM


    Best Olympic Picture.

    Maybe best picture of the year.

    Hat tip: Franco Aleman via Vodkapundit

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:16 AM

    Saturday, August 14, 2004

    Why We Fight

    I'm a couple of days late in noticing, but Redhunter has posted an excellent essay on the war on terror. One of several notable points:
    By carrying the war to the enemy we have forced them to fight where we want to fight, at a time and place of our choosing. That they are carrying out ambushes and bombings does not change this, for these are merely tactical offensives, and do not change the basic nature of the campaign. By carrying the war to them we are on the offensive. We have taken the war into their neighborhood, and by doing so have kept it out of ours.

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:53 PM

    Global Warming Lawsuits -- AGs Ignore Science, Constitution

    The Providence Journal was kind enough to publish an op-ed I wrote. It addresses the eight state attorneys general who are attempting to run a coup on Congress by taking over our national global warming policy.

    Rhode Island's AG is one of the offenders.

    Addendum: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has now printed it as well. Wisconsin's AG also is one of the eight. The paper also printed an opposing view in favor of this legislation by litigation by John Passacantando, executive director of Greenpeace USA.

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:29 AM

    Friday, August 13, 2004

    That Does Not Compute

    On Wednesday, I reported on hilarious doings at the Davids Medienkritik blog.

    The story is even funnier now.

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:12 PM

    Let Every Vote Be Counted

    Husband David has some thoughts on New Jersey:
    A liberal mantra over the past several years has been "Let every vote be counted," a none-too-subtle suggestion that all the votes weren't counted in Florida in the 2000 presidential contest (despite about a bazillion recounts), throwing the election to George Bush.

    But I agree with the sentiment: Let every vote be counted.

    Let the votes of 8.6 million New Jersey residents -- including those of 1.7 million blacks -- be counted to select a replacement for Governor James McGreevey.

    Where's the outcry from the NAACP and the Congressional Black Caucus that 1.7 million blacks have been disfranchised?

    Note to liberals: I think your hypocrisy is showing... again.

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:13 PM

    Thursday, August 12, 2004

    An Acceptable Reality

    Jeff Jarvis is all over the McGreevey story. So is Clayton Cramer.

    Personally, I thought McGreevey's speech was quite possibly the dopiest thing I ever heard. "One's unique truth" -- bletch! No such thing! There is truth, and there is falsehood. Not a bunch of little unique truths.

    I know this because I looked "deeply into the mirror" of "my soul" and realized it. Or maybe thinking so is just one of the "virtue[s] of my traditions." Bletch again!

    McGreevey said: "I began to question what an acceptable reality really meant for me." For me it means no more blatherskite speeches like this!

    Addendum: I'm watching Arianna Huffington tell Keith Olbermann on MSNBC that McGreevey's speech was powerfully moving or some such blather. Triple bletch! By the way, did anyone notice that although McGreevey praised his wife during the speech, he did not glance at her even once while doing so -- even though she was standing next to him? That's not natural behavior if one means what one is saying. Now Arianna is claiming we should "celebrate" this speech...

    However, the interview does have one redeeming characteristic: Olbermann let Huffington complete a thought. That's more than Chris Matthews let a representative from Veterans for Kerry and John O'Neill do on the immediately-prior show on MSNBC tonight. Every time the two guests started to tell their version of a story, Matthews interrupted them. It might have been an interesting show, but Matthews refused to let the viewers to hear enough to be able to compare the contrasting views of the two guests.

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:42 PM

    Three Little Ridenours Can Sleep Soundly Tonight

    Iain Murray explains on The Commons Blog that global warming is not the threat to coral reefs that some previously thought.

    So, he says, Nemo is safe.

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:04 PM

    O'Neill v. Kerry

    In Wednesday's New Republic Online, Kenneth Baer argues that it would be in John Kerry's interest to sue Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

    Trial lawyer William J. Dyer takes an opposing view on his BeldarBlog.

    My [limited] observation:

    Unfit to Command co-author, prominent SBVT member and Kerry nemesis John O'Neill, who is a trial lawyer, seems to be mapping strategy using tactics he learned in courtrooms. If I'm right, this dispute -- however it may be resolved -- is unlikely to unfold in the manner typical of past political controversies.

    Modern political controversies have tended to be battles of the soundbite, as each side attempts to appear to have the upper hand during each news cycle. So campaign consultants tend to be experts in mastering this skill. Subtlety, moreover, is no virtue to a campaign manager. He'll use the political equivalent of a nuclear weapon as his first option.

    Trial lawyers, on the other hand, have mastered death by a thousand cuts. Subtley helps them trap an opponent when he's least expecting it. Soundbites and their equivalent of a news cycle (ending the day on a high note, for instance) play but a supportive role.

    Trial attorneys tend to release evidence in a slow and (they hope) damning drip, drip, drip. They master pacing. Political strategists let out all their talking points pretty nearly the minute they think of them. Pacing to them is something to do when poll numbers don't look good.

    The craft of trial lawyering is different from that of campaign consultants in another way, too. Campaign consultants don't worry too much about the truth. If they can convince you that Candidate X will deliver world peace and prosperity within a day of taking office, they'll gladly do so and call it a good day's work -- regardless of the truth.

    Yes, of course, trial lawyers lie, too -- sometimes in the most preposterous ways. (Witness various arguments against tort reform.) But basic training in the trial lawyer craft is that an attorney should keep his feet on the firmest ground available. Trial lawyers are taught not even to ask questions in trials unless they know what the answer is likely to be. By contrast, you can't watch two minutes of a political debate on a cable TV talk show without realizing that campaign people will say nearly anything.

    If caught falsely promising world peace, a political candidate is trained simply to ask: "Why is my opponent against world peace?"

    Political campaigns commit logical fallacies with abandon. Sometimes doing so is the only reason they are successful. (Witness Bill Clinton's successful effort to beat back impeachment.) Trial lawyers do so only at their own peril.

    O'Neill v. Kerry will played out by very different strategies than that parallel competition, Bush versus Kerry.

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:25 AM

    Wednesday, August 11, 2004

    Pro-Bush Poll Censored

    Visit Davids Medienkritik, a German blog (written in English), to read the hilarious story of major German news organizations that have stopped running online Bush v. Kerry popularity polls because -- apparently -- they didn't like the poll results.

    Davids Medienkritik provides wonderful insights about "Old Europe." I added it to my blogroll, and visit it often.

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:51 PM

    McCain and Swift Boat Vets: "I Had No Idea McCain's Eyesight Was so Good"

    David Ridenour shares this musing about John McCain's eyesight:
    John McCain described the commercial by Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth as "dishonest and dishonorable" as though he has some first-hand knowledge of the facts of the case.

    At the time John Kerry claims he saved Jim Rathman's life, John McCain wasin the "Hanoi Hilton" (1967-1973) close to 700 miles as the crow flies from the Mekong Delta.

    I had no idea McCain's eyesight was so good.

    McCain is no more qualified to serve as a witness to the events at the Mekong Delta than I am to serve as a witness to a car accident from where I am (Washington, D.C.) in Peoria, Illinois (also roughly 700 miles as the crow flies).

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:38 PM

    Letter to Glenn Reynolds

    I sent the following letter to Glenn Reynolds at today in response to his post containing a letter from a federally-funded scientist regarding stem cell research:
    I would be more impressed by the claims of scientists regarding embryonic stem cell research if any of them took the time to satisfactorily explain how it is that research on embryonic cells can simultaneously be immensely promising and yet also unable to attract private funding.
    Addendum: There's an excellent essay in Slate on this topic. Hat tip to ProfessorBainbridge.

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:53 PM

    A Visit with President Bush

    Power Line has a very moving story about a Rabbi's impressions of a visit with President Bush.

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:23 AM

    Tuesday, August 10, 2004

    "It's Just the Live Ones They Cannot Tolerate"

    Explaining Auschwitz: A group of Jewish university students is attacked by French tourists. Quote:
    [Laurence] Weinbaum [Director of Research at the World Jewish Congress and resident scholar for the group], who has been to Poland more than 30 times on educational tours, says he never before saw anything like what happened, happen. "It was simply shocking," he says. "In some way, I felt that these men were satisfied to visit Auschwitz. This was another reminder that in Western Europe there is sympathy for dead Jews; it's just the live ones that they cannot tolerate."
    The attack occurred at while the group was on a tour of the museum at the Auschwitz death camp in Poland last Sunday.

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:35 AM

    Hat Not So Lucky, Maybe

    BeldarBlog has a link to a Washington Post story in which John Kerry describes his "good luck hat," which, Kerry says, was "given to me by a CIA guy as we went in for a special mission in Cambodia."

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:00 AM

    Worth a Look

    Found an interesting new blog today, Below Street Level - Subverting Youth Culture .

    It has thoughtful commentary and some superb links, such as this one to a Washington Post story explaining (in very straightforward terms) what America's current stem cell policy actually is (as opposed to what some folks imply that it is.

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:10 AM

    Monday, August 09, 2004

    Court Rules Journalists Are Not Above the Law

    Reporters are being held in contempt of court for believing they don't have to testify under subpoena as lesser mortals do.

    (Link above has a pdf copy of the U.S. District Court's court's ruling, for those who like their news in the original.)

    As I asked (rhetorically) before, would a blogger be free to refuse to cooperate in a law enforcement investigation of an illegal action that he covered in his blog?

    The answer, of course, is no. The same rules should apply to compensated journalists.

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 8:48 PM

    If You Don't Cry, You Get a Good Laugh

    Captain Ed has an amazing post today about an alternative high school in California that teaches that there are 53 states in the U.S., but our flag only has 50 stars because we haven't updated it yet.

    And you would not believe what it teaches about our bi-cameral legislature.

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:14 PM

    The One Secret Washington DC Has Been Able to Keep (Or Not)

    Yesterday marked the 30th anniversary of President Nixon's resignation.

    Thirty years of official mystery: Who is "Deep Throat"?

    In thirty years, "Deep Throat" never wanted to write a book, be known for his (presumably most famous) achievement, get a little attention or simply settle the issue once and for all.

    Yet, according to Bob Woodward, "Deep Throat" is perfectly OK with the notion of Woodward revealing his name after he's dead. So, he obviously doesn't mind if his family and friends know.

    So, why so shy? It's not like Nixon's going to try to get revenge -- or that anyone else will even care enough to try, after thirty years.

    Edward Jay Epstein's take on the matter is worth serious thought.

    Keep in mind one other thing: Have any other major public secrets not involving national security been kept in Washington for thirty years?

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:35 AM

    Coca-Cola Can't Win

    While reading various legal blogs tonight (including Overlawyered,,, BeldarBlog, The Curmudgeonly Clerk, ProfessorBainbridge and others), I was reminded of one of the stories in The National Center's own Legal Briefs newsletter (in this particular case, Overlawyered was one of the sources):
    The recipe for Coca-Cola is a closely guarded secret, and the Coca-Cola company has been pleasing customers since 1886. But that hasn't stopped a group of class action lawyers from suing the company, saying they don't like the company's recipe.

    It seems that Coca-Cola uses the sweetener Aspartame in bottles marketed for home use, and uses saccharin (in part) in soda fountains. The reason, Coca-Cola says, is that Aspartame is not as stable for fountain use.

    Plaintiffs in the case say they should have been warned that fountain soda contains saccharin instead of the preferred Aspartame.

    Meanwhile, another group of plaintiffs is suing Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and ten other companies for using Aspartame, saying it "is a drug masquerading as an additive."
    Damned if they do; damned if they don't.

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:15 AM

    Sunday, August 08, 2004

    Kranish-Elliott Re-Creation

    The BeldarBlog has a fun fictional speculative re-creation of the telephone interview of Captain George Elliott by the Boston Globe's Michael Kranish.

    If accurate, it could explain much. One quibble, though: As noted below, Kranish probably didn't call Elliott "Captain" in the interview.

    Has the Boston Globe yet said if Kranish taped his Elliott interview? I can find no evidence that the Globe has answered this question (or been asked, for that matter). Yet, given the significance, high profile and controversial nature of the subject matter, it might have been done.

    Anyone else know?

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:26 AM

    Speaking from the Floor of the Senate, Lt. Kerry

    David of the No Caliban blog has a response to my query about whether Swift Boat veteran George Elliott is properly addressed as "Captain" (Human Events, Washington Times, his own affidavits and others) or "Lt. Commander" (Boston Globe, New York Times, others).

    Assuming David's theory about the mix-up is correct, this kind of error is not a good sign about the reliability of the reporting of the Boston Globe and New York Times on the Swift Boat Veterans story. Calling a Naval Captain, retired or not, "Lt. Commander" just because he once was one (weren't they all?) is rather like calling Queen Elizabeth "Princess Elizabeth" just because she used to be a princess.

    Will they next refer to John Kerry, properly addressed as "Senator John Kerry," "Lt. Kerry," because that once was accurate? I doubt it.

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:24 AM

    The Atheist Sloth Ethic

    Professor Bainbridge has another fun post, a discussion of and link to an essay by historian Niall Ferguson exploring why it might be that Europeans work much less than do Americans.

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:19 AM

    Freedom's Truth: Liberating Iraq

    I've just added the Freedom's Truth: Liberating Iraq blog to my blogroll. It has very comprehensive Iraq coverage -- it is the Instapundit of Iraq-oriented blogs.

    Note also that Freedom's Truth has a fascinating blogroll in several categories: Iraqi blogs, soldier blogs, websites supporting Iraqis and our troops, Arab/Middle East blogs, anti-coalition blogs, links to key Iraqi and coalition websites and a lot more. One could spend a lot of interesting time just investigating his blogroll.

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:27 AM

    Saturday, August 07, 2004

    Nice News

    The blog has a nice post up today listing easy ways to tell a soldier, sailor or Marine you appreciate their work and hardships in defense of our freedom and safety.

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:32 PM

    Swift Boat Vet Elliott: Captain or Lt. Commander?

    I've read more articles about the Kranish-Elliott you-said-it-no-I-didn't debate since my my post about this a few minutes ago and have noticed that some, such as The Washington Times, give swift boat veteran George Elliott's rank as "Captain."

    Checking, I see that Elliott, in his recent, much-discussed affidavits, refers to his own rank as "Captain."

    I am unable to explain why the New York Times and Boston Globe refer to Elliott as "Lt. Commander." Surely, a checkable, absolute fact such as the man's military rank is something every journalist covering this story ought to be able to get right. Yet, somebody must be wrong here.

    If Elliott's rank is Captain, I apologize to him for getting it wrong in my prior post.

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:32 AM

    New York Times Readers Deserve Full Story

    The New York Times just posted online an article exploring Friday's contretemps over a swift boat veteran, Lt. Cmdr. George Elliot (USN-Ret.) a visible member of the group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, who says he was misquoted by the Boston Globe, and the Globe's denial of the misquotation charge.

    The article notes a major funding source for Swift Boat Veterans for Truth but failed to note a rather major money issue it has vis-a-vis the Boston Globe: The New York Times Co. owns it, and thus has a vested interest in the Globe's reputation for accurate journalism.

    I think New York Times readers deserve to be told about conflicts of interest of this nature.

    (As a side note, I wonder why the New York Times story does not tell us if Boston Globe reporter Michael Kranish's interview of Elliott was tape-recorded. That's the second question I'd ask the Globe, right after "do you stand by your story?")

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:55 AM

    Impressive Man, Sad Story

    I added a new blog to my blogroll, The Black Informant.

    Among other interesting features, it describes how the champion boxer Joe Louis, when he earned $371,000 boxing, voluntarily paid back the welfare payments his stepfather had received from the government.

    Unfortunately, the story has a sad ending.

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:00 AM

    Friday, August 06, 2004

    Money-Making Opportunity?

    The ProfessorBainbridge blog has a fun commentary on France's new enemy: SUVs.

    Seems the Paris City Council is trying to get rid of these vehicles.

    I think I'll buy stock in some firms that make SUVs...

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:07 PM

    Cows, But No Fish

    Radley Balko has a solid piece explaining his take on "the tragedy of the commons." Money quote:
    The best example of the tragedy of commons occurs in the oceans. Why is it that we regularly hear about how we're running out of various species of fish, but we're always well stocked with beef, pork and poultry? The difference is that the latter are raised on dry land, where there are clear, discernible property rights.
    Robert Kennedy, Jr. -- among others -- should read it.

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:01 PM

    Robert Kennedy on History

    Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is not only not a serious environmentalist, as I noted below, nor a free-marketeer, as Jonathan Adler has just demonstrated on The Commons Blog, but he's not much of a historian, either.

    Note this Kennedy paragraph in Grist magazine:
    When Roman law broke down in Europe during the Dark Ages, a lot of the feudal kings began reasserting control over the public-trust resources. For example, in England, King John began selling monopolies to the fisheries and he said the deer belonged to nobility. The public rose up and confronted him at the Battle of Runnymede and forced him to sign the Magna Carta, which of course was the beginning of constitutional government. In addition to having virtually all of our Bill of Rights, the Magna Carta has two other chapters on free access to fisheries in navigable waters. And those rights descended to the people in the States when we had the revolution. And virtually every state constitution says the people of the state own the waters and the fisheries, the wildlife, the air. They're not owned by the governor, the legislature, the corporations. Nobody has a right to use them in a way that will diminish or injure their use and enjoyment by others.
    There's too much to address here for just a blog entry, but a few points:

    1) King John was one in a long line of Norman/English/British Kings who believed that the nobility had the right to control hunting rights in "public" forests. William the Conquerer, King John's grandmother's grandfather, was a big believer in exercising the sovereign's "right" to control the land, and the practice did not end with the signing of the Magna Carta (although that document does address the matter).

    2) The Magna Carta does not "hav[e] virtually all of our Bill of Rights." It was mostly about preserving the prerogatives of a small number of families against the power of the monarch.

    3) Note Kennedy's line "those rights descended to the people in the States when we had the revolution." The the governmental philosophy of the United States is that rights descend to the public (actually, all individuals) from our Creator, not from some dude or dudette in London ("...all men are created equal... endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights").

    4) Kennedy's timeline ("those rights descended to the people in the States when we had the revolution") is baffling. The Revolution ended the authority of any British monarch and his/her governments over the American (ex)colonies. It was not a lobbying effort aimed at convincing King John's heirs to grant Americans a few more "rights."

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:05 AM

    Wednesday, August 04, 2004

    Overlawyered Finds Another Doozy

    Overlawyered's Walter Olson has found another doozy for his frivolous lawsuit files: Leona Helmsley is suing Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx for $150 million because the "view" from the family mausoleum has changed -- for the worse, she says.

    I say, if anyone in the mausoleum can actually see, let them out.

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:52 AM

    Robert Kennedy on Environment

    Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. has been known to make exaggerated claims -- utterly ridiculous, completely laughable statements -- about environmental issues.

    This quote from him may explain why:
    I have so much mercury in my body right now, having tested it recently, that if I were a woman of childbearing years, my child, according to Dr. David Carpenter, the national authority on mercury contamination, would have cognitive impairment -- permanent IQ loss.

    In the same interview, from Grist magazine, the following exchange occurs:
    Grist: So if you were to tell our readers the single most important environmental action they should take, what would it be?

    Kennedy: If your choice is to buy a Prius or go work for a politician who is going to implement the CAFE standards, you better work for the politician. The most important thing you can do is participate in the political process. Support the environmental groups that wage legal action and lobby for these bills. Get rid of the politicians who are whoring for industry. It's more important than recycling. It's more important than anything you can do.
    So rather than drive a small, fuel-efficient car, Kennedy advises, it is better for you to vote for a politician who will force you to drive a small, fuel-efficient car.

    Why not eliminate the middleman?

    That is, if you want to take your life in your hands. In 2002, the U.S. government's National Academy of Sciences released a report (Effectiveness and Impact of CAFE Standards 2002) saying that since CAFE standards were imposed in 1975, an additional 2,000 deaths per year can be attributed to the down-sizing of cars required to meet these fuel efficiency standards.

    The National Center has a webpage devoted to fuel economy standards, our Fuel Economy Information Center. Stop by and take our quick poll: Should CAFE standards be raised, lowered or left where they are?

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:51 AM

    Bad Day

    I've had bad days in my life, but I've never had my pants explode.

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:26 AM

    Tuesday, August 03, 2004

    NAACP: Living Off Its Past

    I recommend an essay by Ward Connerly on the NAACP on National Review Online Monday. A brief excerpt:
    Historically, the NAACP has represented black people who were confronted with the worst kind of racial oppression imaginable: prohibited from eating at public lunch counters, forced to sit at the back of public buses, denied the right to vote, and denied access to public schools. In all of these instances, the NAACP has been the champion of those who have been without defenders. Clearly, all of us owe this organization a debt of gratitude.

    In the fullness of time, however, it is not unusual for organizations to find themselves living off their past and not keeping pace with changing times. Instead, they become stagnant and atrophy fighting old battles that no longer apply, never realizing when they have achieved what they set out to accomplish. Preservation of the organization becomes more important than the original mission.

    I fear that this describes the NAACP.
    There's lot's more.

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:00 AM

    Monday, August 02, 2004

    Mamamontezz's Open Letter to the Troops

    Mamamontezz's Mental Rumpus Room blog has posted the following call to action after reading Joe Roche's post about the impact of Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9-11 on our troops:
    A Call to Action: It is up to each of us to counter what this man has done, and to heal those who's hearts and minds bare his bitter wounds. Do what's right. Send your support. However small or insignificant you may think it is, there is no such thing. Tell someone you support them and the job they're doing in your name, in our names.
    The "Call to Action" is part of a much longer and very sweet open letter to the troops she has written and posted on her blog.

    Check it out now, if you can. She links to a fellow blogger who will arrange to have letters of support to the troops hand-carried to Iraq.

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:14 PM

    Sunday, August 01, 2004

    Stem Cell Research: Legal, But You Wouldn't Know It

    The Notes & Musings blog has a post about stem cell research that provides an excellent quick summary of one side of the debate in less than 250 words. If you don't understand where Bush is coming from on this issue, check it out.

    I want to highlight just one sentence from it: "President Bush's ban doesn't outlaw the research; it outlaws federal funding of the research." Yes, and even that's not a total ban. Still, how often do we hear about "Bush's ban on stem cell research" as if he had actually banned all stem cell research? How many Americans even realize that privately-funded embryonic stem cell research remains perfectly legal?

    Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:02 AM

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