Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Espresso Sarcasm: Parental Guidance Suggested

Norman at Espresso Sarcasm is posting a series on parenting advice.

Definitely lives up to the blog's name -- although telling kids that chicken nuggets are made from the Easter Bunny so they'll be willing to eat something else seems inspired. What did children eat before chicken nuggets were invented?

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:27 PM

Animal Rights Activist Wants to Live Like a Pig

An animal rights activist in Australia says he wants to live like a pig:
An animal rights activist is seeking a piggery owner who will let him live in a pig stall in an attempt to bring attention to piggery conditions.

Ralph Hahnheuser, from Animal Liberation of South Australia, has challenged commercial piggeries to put him in a sow stall for three weeks...

Mr. Hahnheuser hoped living in a pen would draw attention to the plight of pigs but said it could have serious repercussions on his health and he could be hospitalised during the stunt.

"This is not something that should be done willy-nilly," he said...

Mr Hahnheuser is currently facing contamination of goods charges after he allegedly fed ham to a shipment of sheep bound for halal-conscious Muslim markets.

Almost 2,000 sheep had to be slaughtered and a shipment of 73,000 animals to Kuwait was delayed for two weeks following the discovery of ham in a sheep feedlot at Portland, in Victoria's south-west, last November.
Hahnheuser, the Melbourne Herald Sun article says, "was having difficulty finding a piggery that would agree to his challenge."

That's no surprise. Maybe he should consider building one of his own.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:33 PM

Wacky Names for Kids

Inspired by Julia Roberts, the Washington Post lists some truly wacky names celebrities have given their children, and then asks: "Isn't it hard enough being the child of a celebrity without having to endure additional commentary about one's unusual name? Hi, everyone, my name is... Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily?"

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:28 AM

Friday, November 26, 2004

Putin's Russia: An Air of Politburo

Yukos Oil surrenders, as its top executives flee Russia.

This story explains:
Eight months into President Vladimir Putin's second term, momentum for economic reform in Russia has all but halted as vested Kremlin interests fight for control of the nation's resources and purse strings, economists and analysts say.

"What's happening in Russia at the moment is an asset grab across the board," said UBS Brunswick economist Al Breach...

The reform of state-controlled Gazprom, now "dead in the water" according to the World Bank, as well as steps to rein in monopolies, are key to Russia's long-delayed entry to the World Trade Organisation...

"These guys ... don't believe in a free market. They don't believe in liberties..."

Alfa Bank analyst Chris Weafer said part of the government's strategy for growth is to take a chunk of available cash flows from the natural resource industries.

He said this would eventually hurt Russia's economic boom, which has seen annual growth rates in excess of eight per cent in the early months of 2004.

"Why bother with privatisation when the state can enjoy the benefits of ownership... We were all being naive, expecting reforms," Weafer said. "Now there is an air of Politburo to the place."
Read the entire story here.

Or, if you are in a hurry, you can just read my thirty-word version of the Yukos saga: Yukos Oil was Russia's top blue-chip company. Then its CEO became known as a possible political rival to Putin. So Putin used the power of the state to crush it.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:45 PM

Christmas Sales

I just want to go on the record on this, the projected busiest shopping day of the year, with a prediction that, sometime in January, retailers will pronounce sales during the Christmas 2004 shopping season "disappointing."

It seems to happen every year, and get headlines every time.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:07 AM


If I were Captain Ed, I would have dug deeper into my pocket.

(Just kidding.)

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:25 AM

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Fighting Words - Oh, Never Mind, It's Just Not Worth It

As Sean once said about a screed by an American leftist, sometimes these left-wing communiques just fisk themselves:
I have sensational news for everybody who thinks that the general European Anti-Bush "movement" is simply created by biased media, and that Bush is a misunderstood intellectual.

We do not hate Bush because of that. We dislike him because of the politics he advocates.

Bush is not a "strong leader." A strong leader is a man who knows what he is dealing with, who is able to consider every aspect and many viewpoints on a case before making big decisions.

No one can seriously accuse Bush for being that. Bush is a mediocrily gifted man without much knowledge of politics or the world in general, nor has he much interest therein. He does never think twice before doing what his advisers tell him.

His war on terror has not and will not make the world a safer place, because its efforts are directed at the wrong places (Iraq instead of Saudi-Arabia).

Bush has scorned many international agreements in a minute - Kyoto, Hand weapons, ABM-treaty, landmines, international court tribunal and alternative energy.

We disagree with his attitude towards homosexuals, abortion and capital punishment, and we have his belief that he is in contact with God in as much derision as the like belief of Osama Bin Laden - yes, in that aspect they have indeed much in common.

No positive press could help these facts - we simply do not like his politics, and that's it.

And we can actually read American news - contrary to 99% of the U.S Americans, we Europeans actually speak more than one language.

And no, we can't allow ourselves to be indifferent of which president the U.S.A elects - your policies have profound consequences for us as well. We will ultimately pay a great deal of the price that will soon need to be paid for Bush's disastrous economic policy with the huge budget deficits.

Bush is the president, that's right - we have to live with him, but we do not have to like him - and we never will - we simply have too little in common.

That's the hard facts - Americans, DEAL with it, then we will try to live with George Bush.

Christoffer B. Harder from Denmark

P.S. Please don't call me anti-American because of this - I come from Denmark, one of the few European countries whose government still supports Bush's war in Iraq (though most people did not or were very skeptical). I really do think that even a U.S.A led by Bush is to prefer as sole superpower from which it could be else - China, France or Russia, who knows.

We still think that Europe and the USA have indeed much in common. But I also do think that my above view is absolutely fair, balanced and based on facts, viewpoints and opinions from many sides.
I have no doubt this gentleman believes himself to be "fair and balanced," and I do credit him with the grudging compliments to the U.S. he did make (we're better than Russia, China or France). But it seems pretty clear that he does not understand us very well.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:00 PM

Arctic Warming -- Or Not

Wondering if there is anything to the latest bit of Chicken Little global warming alarmism, to wit, the "news" that the Arctic is melting?

Sean at Everything I Know Is Wrong tackles it for you.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:40 PM

The White Ann Coulter and Her Clone

I find it interesting that the journalist from the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot who called Michelle Malkin an "Asian Ann Coulter" used those words. Why didn't he just refer to Michelle as "another Ann Coulter"?

After all, if Michelle Malkin is an "Asian Ann Coulter" (see David Limbaugh and Michelle Malkin), shouldn't the Virginian-Pilot refer to the original Ann Coulter as "the White Ann Coulter"?

(Frankly, though, anyone who confuses Ann Coulter with Michelle Malkin hasn't been paying attention. Maybe to some leftists, all right-of-center women who speak plainly seem alike, except for racial differences, of course. We wouldn't want to judge people by the content of their character. That so 1963.)

Addendum: Dean's Journal has an interesting take on this.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:48 PM

Squaring the Boston Globe: A Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving message was written by Harry Forbes at the Squaring the Boston Globe blog.

As I read it, my mind's ear (if there is such a thing) began to hear it in Ronald Reagan's voice. It is that Reaganesque.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:40 PM

Dean's Journal: The Blind Acceptance of Anything "Government"

Dean's Journal fisks the indignant e-mail we received Monday from a college student regarding our non-government funded website.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:34 PM

Limbaugh Should Have Slugged a Black Quarterback

Let me get this straight. Rush Limbaugh loses his job at ESPN merely for saying the news media hopes black quarterbacks will do well.

Meanwhile, NBA players slug their customers and only get suspended (yet still, their union complains).

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:10 AM

Negroes vs. Black Conservatives

Mychal Massie doesn't mince any words.

Addendum: The Sparse Matrix is kind to Project 21.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:03 AM

Debating Intelligence Reform: A Visit to the Rush Limbaugh Echo Chamber

Says Rush Limbaugh on the intelligence reform bill:
Oh, woe is us! Oh, woe is America! The media obsessed today with: 'Why can't Congress agree on intelligence reform?' It's another non-story that's being blown up and ballyhooed... My first question is: Who said, where is it written, that the 9/11 commission's recommendations get implemented without question? Who the hell are these people? Nobody elected them. Why in the world do we have to sit there and whatever they come up with, we have to implement? Everybody's so concerned that there's no debate in the Bush administration, right? 'We're not debating anything at the State Department anymore. No! Bush is going to coalesce power there. Why, there's no debate! Why, Bush is stifling debate. Why, Bush is stifling debate in the CIA. Oh, no. Oh, no!' Well, what are we doing in Congress? We're debating the bill. Oh, no! We're supposed to rubber-stamp that. We're supposed to rubber stamp something that Richard Ben-Veniste had something to do with? Excuse me. I want a timeout.

We're supposed to rubber stamp something that Jamie Gorelick had something to do with? Excuse me, I want two timeouts. We're supposed to rubber stamp something that Timothy Roemer had something to do with? Excuse me, I want three timeouts. We're supposed to implement something without question that Richard Clarke had a role in? Excuuuuse me! I want halftime. Because, my friends, we're debating this.
Gotta agree. Debate is what they are supposed to do.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:02 AM

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Sparse Matrix: Politics is Ugly, Politics is Dirty, Politics is War

David at The Sparse Matrix provides a Cliff's Notes version of the debate between Professor Bainbridge and I over the House GOP rule change.

He then concludes we're both wrong.


I'd love to say he's wrong about politics, but, alas, I cannot.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:57 PM

Commonwealth Conservative: Worth a Visit

If you are interested in Virginia politics, as we DC-area conservatives tend to be, this blog may interest you.

Actually, it may interest you even if you don't care about Virginia politics.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:52 PM

Chocolate as Cough Medicine

Will this be coming soon to your druggist's shelves? Hershey's Chocolate Cough Syrup.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:00 AM

Monday, November 22, 2004

Another Horror Story

How many babies are going to die horribly in Texas (and elsewhere) before people take post-partum depression seriously?

Death penalty.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:54 PM

CBS: No DeLay Indictment

CBS News reports (almost sounds like the beginning of a joke, doesn't it?) that all the kerfluffle about the House GOP changing its rules for Tom DeLay was just that: Kerfluffle.

Says CBS:
The powerful GOP chieftain is unlikely to be indicted by a state grand jury probing alleged campaign finance violations in Texas, according to an official involved in the investigation.

"No, no, I really don't think DeLay will be indicted," the official told "And to be quite honest, [DeLay's] lawyers know that."
Of course, the source here is CBS, and a sidebar to the story uses the phrase "even if convicted by grand jury." Of course, grand jurys can't convict.

For what it is worth, however, I doubt he'll be indicted as well.

Addendum: Instapundit has some good CBS jokes up today.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:59 PM


A college student writes us to say she is shocked, shocked to find that not every aspect of the policymaking arena is controlled by the federal government:
Hi, I'm a college student who recently accessed the Envirotruth website while researching a science topic, and I was very confused. I noticed that Envirotruth was sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research, which sounds like a some sort of government office, but I was appalled when I realized it was a conservative propaganda group! I am upset that I was tricked by your official-sounding name when looking for real scientific information for my report. Real scientific information is nonparisan, obviously. Even our conservative-run federal government offers nonpartisan scientific information (see the EPA).

I am forwarding this email to everyone I know, conservative and liberal, for them to explore your websites and discover that your information is not "fair and balanced" at all. You should indicate that Envirotruth is partisan so as not to trick other students (or is that the point?!) How horrible.

Stella Bergman
[email protected]
Minneapolis, MN

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:22 PM

Strengthen The Good: Building a Future by Building a Library

Strengthen The Good's newest charity is a book-donation project.

Visit here to read the story of a little school in a land that once was communist, where the children are trying to build a library of books so they can learn English.

Strengthen The Good has a list of books the school is seeking. You have have some on your bookshelves already, especially as some of these books are widely assigned in U.S. schools. Why not clear a little clutter and help some deserving young people at the same time?

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:42 AM

I love Jet Noise: Offended on Condoleezza Rice's Behalf

The I Love Jet Noise blog has a good post about the way Dr. Condoleezza Rice is being treated.

Good comments in the comments section, too.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:03 AM

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Power Line: 'DeLay Rule' a Good Thing

Hindrocket understands.

Critics of the House GOP rule change, it seems to me, are putting more faith in the judgment of prosecutors (any prosecutor) than in the House GOP caucus.

Not me.

I know it is fashionable to deride Congress, but I still prefer to be governed by an elected body.

Political philosophy aside, I believe critics also are misjudging the, to use an overworn phrase, situation on the ground.

Professor Bainbridge, for example, believes GOP caucus members would be unwilling to vote Tom DeLay out of his leadership position, apparently even if a credible indictment were to be handed down. I read the dynamics of the House entirely differently. (Members wake up every morning with the Washington Post front page, not with -- however much they may like him -- Tom DeLay.) I also believe they would not have to. If a credible indictment occurred against Tom DeLay, I believe he would voluntarily surrender his leadership position.

Let's remember (as some who send me emails apparently don't realize) that Tom DeLay has not been indicted. The caucus is responding to the possibility of an irresponsible indictment by a prosecutor who is perceived to be acting as a rogue agent. The caucus is quite properly refusing to be dictated to by someone whose professional judgment it does not believe it has reason to respect.

I do agree with Blogs for Industry that the new rule isn't quite what it should be (I don't agree with Blogs for Industry's opinion of Tom DeLay). Like Blogs for Industry, I would prefer a mandatory vote of the entire caucus to a vote of the Republican Steering Committee. But I don't want to overstress this, as I think the Steering Committee would tend to reflect the views of the members. I also think that most cases of indictment have facts that are far more cut and dried than in this hypothetical indictment, in which it is assumed that there would not only be doubt of guilt, but even that a crime took place at all.

Finally, Professor Bainbridge has opined that right-leaning bloggers "have lots of incentives to stay on the reservation. Inauguration balls. CNN and Fox News appearances. And so on..." The incentives implication is misplaced. There's the little matter of integrity, for one thing. However, even if we folks on the pro-rule change side didn't have any of that, as a practical matter, inauguration tickets and TV bookings just aren't being affected by this rule change. Emotions aren't running that high on this matter on the Hill. Even if they were, inaugural tickets and TV bookings aren't Congressmen's weapons of choice.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:07 AM

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Charge of the Light Brigade Mangled by So-Called "Jesus Freaks"

American liberals are in such good humor these days...
To Whom It May Concern:

As always, I find many errors on your web pages, but understanding that your group knows very little about history (and usually tries to re-write it), you may want to correct the contents of one page (referenced below) that cites the date when Tennyson's poem was written.

Your page claims it was written on April 10, 1864 when, in fact, the poem was first published in 'The Examiner' -- an English newspaper -- on December 9th, 1856.

"Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it". Do you think that Bush would like to learn some history regarding the Iragi conflict?

I don't think so -- you 'Jesus Freaks' have a hard time with reality...

Jon Mattes
[email protected]
He's right -- we did list 1864 instead of the correct date of 1854 (Mr. Mattes had an incorrect date, too: the Examiner actually published it on 12/9/1854). In our defense, we got the date from a University of Virginia special collections manuscript of the poem, but further investigation reveals Tennyson wrote that particular copy in his own hand on that date, not the first edition ever published.

BUT, what does any of this have to do with Our Lord and Savior, President Bush or the war in Iraq? Must everything be about politics, and, if so, must it be so hostile?

P.S. We did correct the web page. Future generations are safe from this particular bit of our right-wing malpractice.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:58 AM

Sean Gleeson's Autorantic Virtual Moonbat!

Now this is original.

Hat tip: Sparse Matrix.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:55 AM

Friday, November 19, 2004

Everything I Know Is Wrong: Changing Minds

Sean at Everything I Know Is Wrong tends to have fresh perspectives on the issues he discusses. It is one of the reasons I like to visit his blog. Sean's take on the discussion between Professor Bainbridge and myself on the House GOP rule change is no exception.

(By the way, Sean, it is no stretch for me to be respectful toward Professor Bainbridge. I suspect he is smarter than I am. And, you may have a point about communism being a personality disorder.)

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:24 PM

Racists Stalk Condoleezza Rice: Open Season on Conservative Minorities

To hear certain liberals tell it, Condoleezza Rice belongs in the kitchen.

With all due respect to Dr. Rice's cooking skills, the black conservative network Project 21 disagrees:
Black Activists Condemn Anti-Rice Hate Speech; Civil rights Leaders Criticized for Ignoring Attacks on Conservative Minorities

President Bush's nomination of Condoleezza Rice as secretary of state has resulted in harsh liberal criticism that members of the black leadership network Project 21 consider racist.

Along with their condemnations of offensive commentators and cartoonists, Project 21 members also are critical of self-professed civil rights leaders who are remaining silent on current and previous racial attacks on black Bush Administration officials.

Over the past few months, and peaking this week with her appointment, cartoonists have been using Dr. Rice's race as a point of ridicule. Demeaning political cartoons by Pat Oliphant and Jeff Danziger accentuate Dr. Rice's black features and feature her speaking in rural southern dialect. Garry Trudeau called her "Brown Sugar" in his "Doonesbury" comic strip. Earlier this year, cartoonist Ted Rall questioned Dr. Rice's race in a comic suggesting she was President Bush's "house nigga" and needed "racial re-education." Universal Press Syndicate distributes Oliphant, Trudeau and Rall. The New York Times distributes Danziger.

On November 17, radio host John "Sly" Sylvester called Dr. Rice "Aunt Jemima" and secretary of state Colin Powell "Uncle Tom" on his WTDY (Madison, Wisconsin) radio show. Sylvester, who also is the station's program director, is refusing to apologize, but has said, "I will apologize to Aunt Jemima." The station's owner, the Mid-West Broadcast Group, is declining to discipline him.

In late October, a conservative host at WISN in nearby Milwaukee was suspended for a week for calling an illegal Mexican immigrant a "wetback."

While some local leaders have condemned Sylvester's comments, the Madison chapter of the NAACP has so far declined to make a statement. Project 21 asked the NAACP's national leadership to condemn Rall's racist cartoon in July, but no action was taken. Jesse Jackson and the National Association of Black Journalists were also contacted at the time. They took no action.

"To hear the leftists tell it, conservative blacks have become the new 'trash class' of American society," said Project 21 member Michael King. "And with the continued cricket-filled silence from the professional civil rights crowd, the Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharptons give tacit permission and acceptance of such language and tactics."

King's comments are echoed by Project 21 member Mychal Massie: "The recent racist attacks and mimicry of Condoleezza Rice are infuriating and despicable. Even more insufferable is the deafening silence of the elite liberals. I believe their silence is proof positive of their personal racist attitudes. Obviously condemning racist attacks against a man and woman who are conservative and black is not a worthy undertaking for them."

Project 21, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization, has been a leading voice in the black community since 1992. For more information, contact David Almasi at (202) 371-1400 x106, e-mail [email protected] or visit Project 21's website at
Some people just can't stand it when blacks do well.

Too bad the NAACP leadership appears to be among them.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 5:04 PM

Darwin's Theory of Evolution: Public Says the Jury is Still Out

Gallup has today posted a new poll showing that only one-third of the American people believe the theory of evolution is "well supported by evidence."

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:26 AM

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Reed Irvine, RIP: Funeral for a Friend

NCPPR executive director David W. Almasi eulogizes conservative movement icon Reed Irvine:
The conservative movement is mourning the loss of Reed Irvine, the founder and long-time chairman of Accuracy in Media. Irvine was a thorn in the side of the liberal media for decades, and it will be a long time -- if ever -- before the aches he caused them go away.

It wasn't until this year's forged document fiasco that many people realized the extent of the contempt CBS News and Dan Rather hold for conservatives. Not so with Irvine. He was said CBS was "Rather Biased" and urged the network to "Dump Dan" back in the 1980s.

He was wise to Peter Arnett long before CNN fired the veteran reporter for his sloppy and politically-motivated reporting. During the Gulf War, Irvine led a protest in front of CNN's Washington headquarters where someone dressed as Saddam Hussein manipulated another person representing Arnett like a marionette.

I remember it well. I was the one in the Hussein mask.

Reed Irvine gave me my first full-time job in Washington. I was fresh out of college and looking to make my way in the conservative movement. For two years, I edited Campus Report (to complement AIM, Irvine founded Accuracy in Academia to fight political bias in college classrooms).

Irvine should have been taking it easy. He was retired from a career as a government economist, and others his age were kicking back and watching the world go by. Irvine instead dedicated himself to fighting for conservative values and against communist expansion. He worked well into the night -- every night -- editing his columns and newsletters that exposed media misdeeds and their detrimental effects on our society.

He founded AIM, AIA, and the Conservative Leadership Conference and oversaw the Council for the Defense of Freedom and the monthly McDowell luncheon group. He kept light shining on underreported issues like the strange death of Vince Foster, the threat of Soviet intervention around the world, global warming, acid rain and countless other issues.

He was 82 at the time of his death, but had the heart and the stamina of someone half his age even in his final years. He will be missed.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:36 PM

Letters on the House GOP Caucus Rule Change Debate

Two letters on the House GOP rule change debate:
With all due respect, Ms. Ridenour's rationalization for changing her point of view on the recent change in the Republican rule on leaders who get indicted is exceedingly weak. Despite her pride at "running a D.C. think tank for 22 years" it seems to me that her argument reflects very little thought but is flush with an abundance of ideology. Her argument envelops itself in a legitimate concern for the perils and price of an inappropriate or politically motivated investigation. However, it is a thin envelope indeed, one whose commemorative stamp bears the image of the Great North American Red Herring.

The rule that has been discarded, no doubt through the efforts, influence and, I submit, arm twisting of Mr. DeLay, disqualified one from a leadership position, upon indictment -- not upon the initiation of a criminal investigation. Prosecutors often launch investigations, in D.C. and elsewhere, that do not result in indictment. Such investigations may be launched for political reasons or public relations reasons or other reprehensible reasons, as well as legitimate ones. As one who has been a criminal defense lawyer and a prosecutor for 30 years, I can assure Ms. Ridenour that the nation's capital does not have the market cornered on investigations motivated by less than legitimate criminal justice reasons.

In our system, the grand jury is supposed to act as bulwark against improperly motivated prosecutors. The way things were designed to work, when the grand jury acts, by finding that probable cause exists to charge someone through an indictment, it does so after hearing and deliberating upon some of the evidence that has been amassed, or not, by the government. Of course, an old trial lawyer like me is neither idealistic nor naive enough to ignore that famous dictum to the effect that a skilled prosecutor could indict a ham sandwich, if he/she so chose. Notwithstanding that sage and accurate observation, the grand jury does still represent an initial hurdle that a prosecutor must leap to bring a criminal charge. A hurdle that DOES NOT have to be negotiated to initiate an investigation.

Thus, a group of at least 12 people who are not prosecutors must agree with a prosecutor that probable cause exists that a crime was committed and the accused committed it.

Many public officials, police officers most readily come to mind, are relieved of their duties, if not their incomes, upon indictment. Why should the likes of Mr. De Lay enjoy a privilege that others given the public trust do not?

The reason, plain and simple, why it happened is RAW POWER. Neither justice, fairness, nor any other laudable reason was the cause. Too bad Ms. Ridenour chooses to serve as an apologist for it.

-Anthony Zarrillo
My comment: It seems to me that Mr. Zarrillo's argument comes down this: Other public officials suffer if they are unjustly indicted, so why shouldn't Tom DeLay? But isn't it better to stop injustice when we can?
I agree with Amy about DeLay, despite my great respect for Prof. Bainbridge. If we allow a positive benefit as reward for bringing up trumped-up charges, we will soon have nothing but.

In Minnesota, the Democrat AG, Mike Hatch, has been desperately trying to position himself to run for governor for about 10 years. Now that it is "his turn" (the other pretenders have lost big in the last two elections), he is facing a personable incumbent, Tim Pawlenty, who has a 60% approval rating. His response was to invent a charge and get an obscure local Democrat DA in a rural district to file an indictment against the highly effective head of the Minnesota GOP, for the sole purpose of generating a headline in leftist Star Tribune newspaper. After which the indictment was thrown out of court by the first judge who saw it, as nonsense.

Politics of personal destruction anyone? For Dems with media sycophants at the ready, it pays. We shouldn't reinforce their ugly instincts.

-Duane Oyen

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:34 PM

House Rule Change Blogging Debate Covered in Washington Post

Howard Kurtz quoted this blog and others about the House GOP rule change in his Washington Post column today.

My argument doesn't seem very coherent in the excerpt, but that's my fault. I should have been more concise.

Thanks to Professor Bainbridge for getting the discussion going and the incomparable Instapundit for bringing the conversation to the attention of the Post.

Addendum: It turns out that Glenn Reynolds has written a book on a closely-related topic. I just placed an order. (How prolific can one guy be?)

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:48 PM

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

House GOP Rule Change: The Right Action

Here is my promised response to Professor Bainbridge's reply to my response to his post opining that the House Republican Caucus should not (as it did later today) repeal their 1993 rule requiring persons serving in a leadership position to leave their post if indicted. Rather than take the good Professor's points on a case-by-case basis, I am simply stating what I believe, and leave it to others to judge.

I believe it is bad public policy to let law enforcement authorities determine the leadership of Congress. Voters and caucus members should do so.

I agree the caucus should eject a leader they have solid reason to believe may be corrupt, but believe there are not so many caucus leaders and indictments to make it impractical for members to make case-by-case assessments.

If the caucus could be 99 percent sure no Member ever would be indicted except on the basis of reasonably sound evidence (as I believe was the assumption when the automatic-ejection rule was adopted), it might not matter overmuch if the ejection were automatic, but that is not the situation now.

The DeLay matter is taking place in an atmosphere in which political and policy differences too often (in my view) are criminalized instead of being openly debated and then put before the voters.

In my view, inappropriate and unwarranted investigations, not just indictments, are a key tool of what I believe is an increasing, and non-partisan, problem.

Imagine being accused of criminal fraud because you wrote something about a public policy issue. Would this have a chilling effect on your speech?

Would you be comfortable knowing that your fellow citizens, in the course of expressing their opinion, might face criminal probes?

Would you consider such a state of affairs good for democracy?

If you would, you can stop reading now. I've lost you. But if not, let me say this: The use of criminal probes as a political tool doesn't stop with targeting Tom DeLay, and it isn't used exclusively by Ronnie Earle, or by just one political party.

Government officials have very many ways of chilling speech.

For you bloggers out there who have a link on your blog asking for contributions: How many of you have even considered whether you might run afoul of laws in several dozen states requiring that persons/entities who solicit contributions register with that state -- even if you don't live there? When you write posts, do you think about the possibility of facing a criminal investigation for fraud by these states if someone disagrees with one of your posts?

I bet most of you take it for granted that this won't happen.

In the think-tank world, we used to assume that things like this wouldn't happen, either, but we don't anymore. Consider these real-life cases:
* A non-profit organization mails a letter stating a position on a foreign affairs issue, and requesting voluntary contributions in support of a project relating to it. An associate at a law firm whose partners made political contributions to the relevant state official sees the letter, and disagrees with the foreign policy position taken. Using his law firm's letterhead, he formally requests an investigation. The elected official complies.

* A different non-profit organization includes an illustrative, fictitious federal tax invoice in a letter advocating the privatization of certain government services. A liberal lawyer complains to a liberal state official who received campaign contributions from the complainer's law firm. The elected official hires another law firm -- one that also contributed to their campaign -- gives them de facto subpoena authority, and conducts an investigation costly to the non-profit group. No wrongdoing is found. However, the state informs the non-profit group that it will only close the investigation if the non-profit pays the bills of the law firm that investigated it.

* After a recent federal budget is signed into law it is discovered that someone who advocates nationalized health care has secretly inserted a provision in the legislation limiting the ability of Americans over 65 to purchase certain health care services outside of Medicare. The provision is unpopular and is a hardship to seniors who need services not covered by Medicare. Think tanks and columnists alert the public and advocate its repeal. A national seniors group sues the federal government, saying the provision violates the civil rights of seniors. The chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and a respected Senator jointly introduce legislation to repeal the provision. Then, one of the think tanks receives a subpoena and a visit from federal law enforcement. A Congressman who supports federalized health care has asked the federal government to open a mail fraud investigation against the group. The Congressman doesn't say the group misled the public about the provision's impact in publications it mailed around the country, but claims -- laughably -- that the provision simply doesn't exist. The think-tank is forced to "lawyer up" -- an expensive and time-consuming process. Funds that could have gone to public education projects instead go to lawyers, and the group remains in legal limbo for over a year.
If nothing about these stories bothers you, then you can quit reading this post. But if you think America can do better, then I hope you will agree that cases of alleged wrongdoing in today's heated political atmosphere should be judged on their individual merits and not by a blanket rule that rests on the assumption that all government investigations and indictments have equal or near-equal merit.

And I hope, also, that we can agree that rules which tend to encourage the worst instincts of those (thankfully, rare) prosecutors who are politically motivated are not in our national best interest. The one-strike-and-you're-out rule of the GOP caucus did tend to encourage overzealous prosecutors (under the rule, Ronnie Earle can get Tom DeLay ejected from his leadership post just by getting an indictment, even if the indictment is later tossed out of court -- as Earle's greatly-publicized indictment of Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson was). A check on the system, in the form of a caucus vote before indicted leaders are ejected, is a reasonable step.

Moreover, consider this, fans of clean government: What sends a better message? A vote to eject a genuinely corrupt leader, or the automatic ejection of one who can claim he was tossed out on a legal technicality?

Finally, this: Some say Congressmen will not vote to oust one of their own leaders. I believe they will, but, typically, they won't have to. A party leader who sees a truly serious tempest brewing (think Newt Gingrich following disappointing election results) will leave on his own. If one facing serious ethics charges doesn't do so, and his caucus doesn't vote to oust him, the voters will see them all for what they are, and be enlightened. There is value in that.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:48 PM

House GOP Rule Change: Recommended Links

I'm about to reply to Professor Bainbridge's response to my disagreement with his post saying the House Republican Caucus should not (as it how has) repeal their rule requiring persons serving in a leadership position to leave their post if indicted, but before I do so, I wanted to recommend the following posts on the matter by others:

"Rule Change Controversy," posted on Neutiquam erro, and "The Intersection of Criminal Law and Politics," posted on Crime & Federalism.

Good points made on each, in my view.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:41 PM

Professor Bainbridge: I Dissent

It seems to me that Professor Bainbridge is failing to take something to account: Specifically, the degree to which political disputes and rivalries are becoming criminalized.

In other words, it is increasingly common in Washington now for lawmakers and others who disagree with someone to call for -- and obtain -- a criminal investigation of them.

Professor Brainbridge, a great blogger and one I read very often, nonetheless is a professor at UCLA and not (to my knowledge), particularly close to DC political circles (apologies to the Professor if I am wrong about this). As such, I assume he may not be aware of the extent to which this is happening. Few are. It is the nature of the beast. The minute an investigation starts, a target's lawyers immediately urge them not to talk to anyone -- and that includes telling the press and allies what one has been accused of, even if the charge is laughably bogus. By the time a subject has been cleared, the matter is old news. Plus, there is a natural reluctance to go public with the news that one ever was investigated in the first place.

When the House GOP caucus originally approved the rule saying a party leader should step down if indicted, I agreed with it. I no longer do. I've seen too much use of the criminal justice system as a political tool here over the last ten years, the vast majority of the cases never receiving media coverage. Keep in mind, too (as I suppose most of you don't know), that I've been running a DC think-tank for 22 years, so I have some basis for comparison. There are good, honest people in town you've never heard of (let alone the high profile targets) who could probably wallpaper a room with copies of subpoenas. And put their kids through college on the legal fees they've paid.

Is there corruption in Washington? You bet there is. Is it possible to become the target of a criminal probe just because of the position one holds on a public policy issue? Regrettably, this is true as well.

Wait 'till the blogosphere starts getting subpoenas -- and not just the big guys. I wish I didn't think it will happen, but I do.

With this in mind, do you think, fellow bloggers, that if you become a target, that you should give up your day job before the verdict comes in?

Addendum: Professor Bainbridge has kindly responded to my thoughts. I'll reply a little later today, after I think about how appropriate it would be for me to reveal some of what I've seen in this town over the last few years. And, maybe, if I take the time to write thoughtfully, I can make a stronger case.

Meanwhile, thank you, Glenn, for mentioning this discussion.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:12 AM

Michael Ledeen Explains

Michael Ledeen explains what is going on at the CIA.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:44 AM

Atlantis Not Found: Mud, Anyone?

From the Frankfurt, Germany Allgemeine Zeitung, November 16:
Occasionally, it occurs that hobby researchers make important scientific discoveries. If one accepts the press conference that was recently organized in Cyprus by an architect from Los Angeles, one could get the impression that such feat was pulled off once again.

Robert Sarmast claims that he has definitely discovered the Acropolis of Atlantis in the Mediterranean Sea between Cyprus and the Syrian coast, presenting multicolored images based on measurements of underwater sonar. These images allegedly show the ancient castle of the sunk city, a channel as well as remainders of a city's wall.

What Sarmast did not know (or what he concealed), is the fact that [German] geophysicist Christian Huebscher of the University of Hamburg (Zentrum fur Marine und Atmospharische Wissenschaften), together with colleagues, analyzed and measured this particular area of the sea last summer on board the Dutch research ship "Pelagia."

The researchers were not in search for the lost island of Atlantis. As scientific experts on the mighty salt layers that rest under the bottom of the eastern Mediterranean, they wanted to find out more about their condition. Their sonar data also detected those submarine hills, which Sarmast now interprets as the Acropolis of Atlantis.

According to Huebscher, however, these [structures] are old mud volcanoes that are approximately 100,000 years old. These volcanoes were produced because the mud which lies under the salt layers penetrates through fractures and breaks into the salt layers and bulges the bottom of the sea floor. Such 'mud diapirs' exist on the bottom of many oceans. Thus, such finds are not as spectacular as the baseless statement that the legendary Atlantis has been discovered.
Hat tip and thanks for the information to Benny Peiser, who has more.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:09 AM

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Ted Rall Ridicules Handicapped Kids

belowStreetLevel has kindly said some nice things about this blog, for which I thank them, but I want to direct readers to their post linking to yet another Ted Rall monstrosity: A cartoon in which Rall tries to make fun of President Bush, but in his incompetent, malevolent way, viciously ridicules physically and mentally handicapped kids instead.

Ted, handicapped children bring a lot of joy into this world. You, on the other hand, don't.

Addendum: The following story (excerpt only) appeared in Editor and Publisher on November 18, 2004: is no longer running the cartoons of hard-hitting liberal Ted Rall.

Rall said he thinks the site dropped his work because of a Nov. 4 cartoon he did showing a drooling, mentally handicapped student taking over a classroom. "The idea was to draw an analogy to the electorate -- in essence, the idiots are now running the country," he told E&P.

"That cartoon certainly drew a significant amount of negative comment from our users," said Executive Editor Doug Feaver when contacted by E&P. But he added that the decision to drop Rall was a "cumulative" one that had been building for a while.

"Ted Rall does very interesting work," Feaver said. "Some of it is not funny to an awful lot of people. We decided at the end of the day that it just did not fit the tone we wanted at"

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:05 PM

Condoleezza Rice: Aunt Tom?

Marie of Roumania wonders if Condoleezza Rice is an "Aunt Tom."

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:55 PM

Sparse Matrix: Bush's Second Term

David at The Sparse Matrix does me the honor of linking to and discussing a recent column I wrote (available on our website in the form of a short paper).

The column was part of a debate Knight-Ridder published on November 3 -- they asked one liberal and one conservative to each write a 650-word op-ed on what the President should do over the next four years. The pieces were marketed as a set.

I was the conservative, Mark Weisbrot of the Center for Economic and Policy Research was the liberal.

The piece was a bit bit tricky to write, not least because it was due noon the day after the election, and thus had to be written while votes were being tallied. (I decided to take a chance and write it as if Bush would win.) It also was tricky because it is impossible to describe every important issue a President should cover over four years using just 650 words or less.

I covered the war and economic prosperity, because you just have to. Then I tossed in Social Security, health care/Medicare, taming the federal regulatory monster (or, at the very least, reducing its growth), and legal reform.

David at the Sparse Matrix believes I should have added two more. I think he's right about the first issue he raised. The second issue was new to me. I'd heard of private space exploration, of course, but I had no idea that anyone among the feds wanted to squash it like a bug. Sometimes I suspect government sees its role as crushing every ounce of spirit humanity has (excepting that related to laviscious artwork and banal thoughts on public broadcasting). I hope David will continue to cover this issue in his blog, as I'd hate to see the federal government stop private space exploration.

My piece generated a lot of really vicious hate mail. I didn't even bother having it posted in our hate mail samples file. A lot of it was worse than what's in the sample file, even after I responded politely just to see if the sender would get a little bit abashed when he realized a real person was on the other end of his venting. You wouldn't believe the nasty things that were said. Even the critics who didn't call me names said I was a liar (people who disagree with my point of view on Social Security seemed particularly likely to dismiss the entire issue by screaming "liar! liar!."

People also were upset because some of the newspapers ran the piece under a headline saying Bush had a mandate. I didn't write the headlines and didn't address the mandate issue, but I got both barrels for it anyway.

I mention all this as one more bit of evidence that the left really has lost its mind since November 2. My piece was, after all, published as part of a tandem with a liberal author (copies of Mark Weisbrot's piece can be found in the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, the Cincinnati Enquirer, or his organizations's website, among other places) who was pretty critical of Bush and the right, so it isn't as if both sides weren't represented.

So, anyway, I enjoyed reading the Sparse Matrix's take, especially as my morals and my intelligence weren't slammed even once in the entire piece. Refreshing!

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:05 AM

Monday, November 15, 2004

Heritage Foundation United Nations Prediction

The Heritage Foundation's Nile Gardner, who is closely following the United Nations oil-for-food scandal, is predicting (on Fox's O'Reilly Factor tonight) that Kofi Annan may go down because of the scandal.

If Gardner is right, I hope Annan takes the whole U.N. organization down with him.

Addendum: Everything I Know Is Wrong has an informative post up on oil-for-food, covering new comments on the controversy by William Safire of the New York Times and Lou Dobbs of CNN.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:57 PM

Condoleezza Rice's Nomination

I wonder what Ted Rall will say now?

On a more sane note, blog readers might be interested in an op-ed Dr. Rice contributed to Project 21's national op-ed syndication service, New Visions Commentaries, last year. It is a good piece (by the way, folks are welcome to reprint it -- assuming they give full credit to the author, Dr. Rice, of course) that makes me feel encouraged about her nomination to the very important post of Secretary of State.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:29 PM

NLPC Asks Verizon to Stop Funding Jesse Jackson

The National Legal and Policy Center has submitted a shareholder resolution to Verizon Comunications requesting that the Verizon "Board of Directors to establish a policy precluding future financial support of Jesse Jackson, the Citizenship Education Fund, Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, and/or any other nonprofit organization founded, headed or primarily identified with Jesse Jackson."

Among several reasons for the action given by the NLPC are, according to the shareholder resolution:
The Company's relationship with Jesse Jackson creates controversy and impacts the Company's corporate image, brands and reputation. The news media has critically examined the relationship and will continue to do so as long as the Company is publicly identified with Jackson.

In order to demonstrate a sincere commitment to diversity, rather than supporting Jesse Jackson, the Company should support individuals and organizations that promote genuine civil rights and economic empowerment.
The resolution has been proposed for consideration at Verizon's 2005 annual meeting.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:15 PM

Saturday, November 13, 2004

CodeBlueBlog: As The News Squeezes Out

CodeBlueBlog continues to try to unravel the mystery surrounding Yasser Araft's cause of death, while fisking -- in a highly amusing way -- statements made on the matter by the late terrorist's associates.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:01 AM

Friday, November 12, 2004

Global Warming

I was planning to blog about Ron Bailey's new piece on global warming in Reason, but I see that Sean at Everything I Know Is Wrong has just done so.

So, instead, I recommend Sean's piece -- and I would have done so even if Sean hadn't ended it by kindly linking to the National Center's own Global Warming Information Center.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:28 PM

Eliminating the U.N. -- By Stealth

From an article by Irwin M. Stelzer in the November 22 issue of the Weekly Standard:
More than one of the policy wonks scattered throughout the administration is giving serious thought to a radical change proposed almost 10 years ago by Charles Krauthammer (a contributing editor to this journal): marginalization of the U.N. At a conference last week in Washington, sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute, Krauthammer re-floated that idea. The U.N. can't be eliminated, its gleaming tower converted to higher-value uses. So parallel institutions should be created. Over time, these new institutions -- which will consist only of the world's democracies, if Soviet dissident and Israeli minister Natan Sharansky has his way with the Krauthammer proposal -- will replace the U.N., which will wither into irrelevance.

That won't mean that America will always have its way. But it will mean that the new body will consist of nations whose main incentive is to produce better lives for their voters, rather than create external enemies as excuses for impoverishing their people. Right now, the development of these alternative institutions is only a gleam in the eye of far-thinking policy types. Rather as the U.N. was in the 1940s.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:14 PM

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Reuters: Plane Carrying Arafat's Coffin Arrives in Cairo

Says Reuters: "Plane Carrying Arafat's Coffin Arrives in Cairo."

What, no hijacking?

I guess the old bat really is dead.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:55 PM

Joel Rosenberg: After Arafat

My old friend Joel Rosenberg, a novelist, remembers Arafat.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:41 PM

Fighting Theophobia*

From a Morton Kondrake column in the November 8 Roll Call (excerpt):
"...Democrats need to understand where Evangelicals are coming from, what George Bush's faith is all about and stop being either terrified by or (often) bigoted against what they imagine conservative Christians are all about.

A prime example of condescending bigotry was the widely read Oct. 17 New York Times Magazine hatchet-job against Bush, "Without a Doubt," by Ron Suskind, which likened Bush's "faith-based presidency" to the Islamic extremist movement.

If fair-minded secular Democrats went to church -- they are open to the public, by the way -- here's some of what they'd learn:

Lesson No. 1: Far more than abortion, evolution or homosexuality, Evangelical Christianity is about love, redemption, forgiveness, charity, humility, hope and self-sacrifice.

The best Evangelicals I know truly change lives - they turn around people who are addicted to drugs and pornography. They give the despairing and the guilt-ridden reason to persevere. They restore marriages. They transform criminals in prison.

They try to follow Jesus, who, if they studied him a little, no Democrat could possibly be scared of. I think this is what Bush's faith is all about - not arrogance or mindless certitude, but humility and a sense of duty.

Lesson No. 2: Evangelicals are scared, too. They are scared of the fruits of secularism and the deterioration of the culture in which they're trying to raise their children. Of hip-hop lyrics that encourage rape and murder. Of PG-13 movies and "family hour" sitcoms that tell children that if they're not having sex at 16, they're out of it. Of the scuzzy showbiz people who often surround Democrats."
There's lot's more, not all of which I agree with, but it is thought-provoking.


* "Theophobia" refers to people with an irrational fear of religion or religious persons.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:38 PM

Twins Named Yasser and Arafat

Good thinking, Mrs. Hassan, new mom of twins named "Yasser" and "Arafat." Maybe one will grow up to be a mass murderer, and the other, a thief.

Just warms your heart, doesn't it?

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:27 PM

Boehner v. McDermott Phone Tape Case Apparently Resolved

I missed this when it was announced October 29, and suspect others who followed this case (which received a lot of attention from conservative talk radio) may have as well.
Roll Call, October 29, 2004 (excerpt):

Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) has been ordered to pay Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) $60,000 in damages, plus "reasonable" attorney's fees that could total more than $500,000, a federal judge ruled...

The groundbreaking case stems from a December 1996 phone call among House GOP leaders to discuss strategy for handling the ethics case against then-Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.). Boehner, who at the time was GOP Conference chairman, took part in the call using a cellphone while parked at a northern Florida restaurant. The call was electronically intercepted by a Florida couple, Alice and John Martin, who eventually gave a copy of the tape to McDermott. He then gave the tape to three newspapers.

In March 1998, Boehner sued McDermott, alleging that the Washington Democrat had violated both federal and Florida wiretapping statutes by leaking the tape to the media. Since that time, there have been numerous legal twists and turns in the case, including a 1999 decision by Hogan to dismiss it that was later overturned by an appeals court, which then sent the case back to Hogan. Settlement talks in 2002 collapsed, and the two sides continued to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on their legal teams, shelling out approximately $900,000 overall, according to the latest estimates.

In his decision to award Boehner both statutory and punitive damages totaling $60,000, Hogan criticized McDermott's "outrageous conduct in this case." Hogan added: "The Court finds that Defendant's conduct was malicious in that he intentionally disclosed the tape to the national media in an attempt to politically harm the participants through an invasion of their privacy."

Boehner's attorney, Michael Carvin of the firm Jones Day, said he expects that McDermott will eventually have to cover all of Boehner's legal bills. "You always have nibbling at the margins, but we have a good reasonableness argument here," said Carvin. "We're quite pleased" with the ruling.
Addendum: Reader Eric F. recommends this Seattle Post-Intelligencer story on the Boehner-McDermott case:
Another interesting tidbit on McDermott's fine -- he's getting lots of help ("heavy lifting") paying it off: McDermott's Allies Line Up to Help Him Pay Damages.

Funny (but not surprising) how the PI turns it around and makes the issue into a Republican issue.
I liked the end of the piece:
The judge's ruling was a double blow because Boehner, a seven-term congressman who is chairman of the House Education Committee, said he was willing to settle for a much lower amount.

"I told him there are three issues," Boehner told the P-I in August. "Admit you were wrong. Apologize. And since I was suing him for $10,000, I wanted him to make a donation to charity. He couldn't bring himself to do it."
Addendum II (11/20/04): Apparently, it is not resolved. McDermott plans an appeal.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:55 PM

Belgium Bans Democracy

Yet another strike against the European Union.

One begins to get the impression that Europeans horrified by the re-election of President Bush are not just horrified at the U.S. vote tally, but that George W. Bush was allowed to run for office at all.

Hat tip: The Sparse Matrix.

Addendum: It occurs to me that Belgium is one of the "good" nations in the United Nations. Food for thought.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:44 AM

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Ronald Reagan Postage Stamp

Little Red Blog has a picture of the new Ronald Reagan commemorative postage stamp.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:55 PM

Most Charitable States -- Red or Blue?

Michelle Malkin has a chart.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:51 PM

Born Again Christians Shouldn't Vote and More

From Power Line: Garrison Keillor "jokes" that born-again Christians should not be allowed to vote, while the New York Times runs a piece ruminating on the implications of assassinating President Bush.

I know this is the silly season, but I truly expected less silliness from people/institutions who actually have (had?) reputations to protect.

Addendum: Keillor, writing on his website (viewed November 15, 2004) clarified his opinion somewhat in response to a letter. The following is the letter and that part of Keillor's response dealing with the subject of Christians voting:
Dear GK -

I listened this week to the post-election show and enjoyed your comment about wanting a Constitutional amendment to prevent born-again Christians from voting but would like to clarify a little. Born-again is a little imprecise, don't you think? I consider myself born again, that is born again of the Spirit (see John 3:5). But even as I laughed, I thought, no, he means post-millenialists. Those are the ones that think the sooner the world goes to hell in a handbasket, the sooner they get to the rapture. However, there are plenty of "born-agains" who care deeply about the world, would like to repair it, are even political activists. I really wasn't offended, because as an evangelical Christian I've gotten used to being lumped in with people whose application of their faith is abhorrent to me - I opine that they haven't read the Scriptures carefully and I venture to say that Mr. Bush has not really understood many things about Jesus very well at all. If I thought this dreadful situation was permanent, I'd not get out of bed in the morning. But I believe that somehow God wins, wins every battle and rights every wrong and wipes away every tear, and doesn't need the Constitution to do it. And I love you and your show - it's been part of my life for so long I can't remember not hearing your voice.
Caroline Sato
Long Beach

I grew up among post-millenialists and probably that's why I conflated them with born-agains in one big ball of wax and I apologize for my inaccuracy. However, I don't think that the term "post-millenialist" would instantly register with our public radio audience, so one is forced to use shorthand. Thanks for your thoughts...
Keillor then went on to another subject entirely, his memories of singing the Star Spangled Banner.

So, after reflection, Keillor says he does not advocate a constitutional amendment taking the vote away from all born-again Christians -- just some of them. Thanks for the clarification.

Addendum (11/20/04): I received the following e-mail regarding Ms. Sato's (and Garrison Keillor's) use of terms:
Caroline Sato is incorrect. It's dispensational premillennialists who believe the world is going to hell in a handbasket. They believe in an always imminent rapture. Postmillennialists believe that through the preaching of the gospel, the world can be transformed.

Gary DeMar
(For more on Mr. DeMar's views on this issue, go here.)

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:02 AM

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

CodeBlueBlog: Did the French Kill Arafat?

CodeBlueBlog has more on the Arafat diagnosis mystery.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:14 PM

From Mrs Suha Arafat

From Mrs Suha Arafat

Good Day

I know that this mail might be a surpriseing to you but do consider it as an emergency. In a nut shell, My name is Mrs Suha Arafat, soon-to-be widow of the late leader of the Palestinian people, now seeking assistance in the matter of the urgent transfer of $1 billion (ONE BILLION UNITED STATES DOLLARS).

Please accept my sincere apologies. In bringing this message of goodwill to you. In order to transfer out (ONE BILLION UNITED STATES DOLLARS) from our bank here I have the courage to look for a reliable and honest person who will be capable for this important transaction, believing that you will never let me down either now or in future.

I discovered that if i do not remit this money out urgently, it will revert to associates of my husband who want to bury my husband alive.

I want to transfer this money into a safe foreign account abroad but i don't know any foreigner, except people who live in France, i am only contacting you as a foreigner because this money can not be approved to any local bank here in France, without it being taken by most untrustworthy persons.

I selected your name from the Chamber of Commerce (CHAMBER OF COMMERCE) directory. I prayed over it and selected your name amoung two names reported to me as someone who would never grab power from an ailing leader.

I can do business with,and by their recommendations I must not hesitate to confide in you for this simple and sincere business. I want you to assist me in this transaction. My soon-to-be late husband does not want this money to go to France (FRANCE), he said they took enough already.

But my husband a beautiful flower, surrounded by weeds was poisoned to death or had AIDS (AIDS) or a mystery disease I do not know what I only know that $1 billion (ONE BILLION UNITED STATES DOLLARS) is not too much for me in my position as wife of the leader of the Palestinian people as it is a position that is difficult and entails much suffering.

Presently, I am saddled with the problem of securing a trust worthy foriegn personality to help me. I will map out 15% for you if you will Stand on my behalf as the beneficiary for the claim of the inheritance from the many many foreign accounts since the management of the bank adviced that the money was stolen by my husband and they will not release it to his poor widow (SOON TO BE) and I have suspicion they want to try it for themselves.

i need your co-operation to make this work fine, because the management is ready to approve this payment to any foreigner who has the correct information to this account, and living on $100,000 per month (ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS) is painful to me greatly.

Conclusively I wish you send me a reply immediately you recieve this proposal.Email If you are interested, please reply immediately to my private email address and when you replying this mail kindly include your Telephone and Fax number for better communication. Or you can callme

Awaiting for your urgent reply.

Best Regards

Mrs Suha Arafat (MRS SUHA ARAFAT )

P.S. My late husband won the Nobel Peace prize in 1994.
(Yes, this is a parody. So far.)

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:06 AM

Monday, November 08, 2004

The Sparse Matrix: Ridenour Monday

Thanks, David! I'm extremely flattered!

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:40 PM

Macedonia: A Rose By Any Other Name

I've said before on this blog that I believe the creation of the European Union was unwise: "...a continent full of nations that have spent hundreds of years killing each other's citizens on the slightest of pretexts cannot repair their discord by vastly increasing the number and significance of the issues on which they are forced to agree."

Well, perhaps I shouldn't have used the word significance.

I recommend the EuroPundits blog for a review of Europe's latest silly, yet divisive, controversy: Greece is scared of Macedonia, but only if it is called Macedonia. And now Greece is mad at us because we intend to call Macedonia -- you guessed it -- Macedonia.

Greece actually has threatened "many negative effects" for the U.S. because of this. (What are they going to do, spit in our olives?)

Greece has summoned the U.S. ambassador to Greece in order to give him a formal protest. (I could never be an ambassador. In a situation like this I'd burst out laughing at the moment of sternest complaint.)

It is a good thing the British don't share the Greek attitude of wariness against anyone who uses a name after they've used it first. Given the number of faux-British housing complexes we have, not to mention little things like New York City, they could never be friends with us if they did.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:38 AM

Sunday, November 07, 2004

CodeBlueBlog: Arafat and AIDS

Does Arafat have AIDS? CodeBlueBlog examines the evidence.

Hat tip: Kevin, M.D.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:02 PM

Mychal Massie: There's Still Racism

Project 21's Mychal Massie says: "You bet there's still racism."

(But maybe not the kind you expect.)

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 8:58 PM

Dr. Brian Moench, Anesthesiologist: No, Thanks

Would you let the author of this piece put you under?

Addendum: The article referred to in this entry, "Young Rove's Dreams Became Everyone Else's Nightmare," by Dr. Brian Moench, appeared in the Salt Lake (UT) Tribune on October 24, 2004. The link above no longer takes readers directly to the piece, but access can be purchased for a fee from the Tribune.

In addition, various blogs and websites have reprinted it in whole or in part, including The Smirking Chimp, Corrente, Running Scared, Free Republic, and Hot Blava. I have no idea how long these links will remain useful.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:39 AM

BlameBush! Suggests a Wonderful Gesture of Goodwill

Very funny, Larry.

Hat tip: What If?

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:20 AM

Blackfive: Someone You Should Know

Blackfive regrets that this story isn't likely to told by the mainstream media. Me, too.

I find it very refreshing to read about Americans like this. It is good to be reminded that Jane Smiley types are the exception, not the rule.

Blackfive has other stories like this here.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:12 AM

Jane Smiley: A Thousand Slurs

After reading this essay on Who Moved My Truth? about an article posted on Slate by Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Jane Smiley, I checked out Smiley's piece.

Wow. She really, really hates conservatives.

According to Smiley, we conservatives are evil. ("They are full of original sin and they have a taste for violence.") Ignorant and stupid. ("Red state types... are virtually unteachable.") And powerful. (Smiley blames us for atrocities that occurred before we were born.)

That's when Smiley's being consistent. She doesn't make a habit of that.

She writes an essay calling conservatives stupid and evil that condemns her GOP relatives for their "classic Republican feelings of superiority." (Projection, Jane?)

Her hatred for the right leaps off the page in an essay containing the words "blue state citizens make the Rousseauvian mistake of thinking humans are essentially good." (Yep, Jane, that's your problem, all right.)

She says this, meaning it to be about other people, yet not quite convincing the reader she's not talking about herself: "If you are sufficiently ignorant, you won't even know how dangerous your policies are until they have destroyed you, and then you can always blame others."

Her lack of self-awareness looks positively introspective, however, compared to her ignorance of the country whose voters she spits upon.

Here's her take on the 1980 Carter-Reagan matchup: "Jimmy Carter... asked Americans to take responsibility for their profligate ways, and promptly lost to Ronald Reagan, who told them once again that they could do anything they wanted."

Anyone else remember the 1980 election as a contest between a budget cutting Carter and a "let's bust the bank" Reagan?

Even Carter, no stranger to the deep end himself, probably doesn't believe that one.

She blames red-staters living in 2004 for Quantrill's Raid, a Civil War-era plunder/massacre that took place in Lawrence, Kansas: "The red forces, known then as the slave-power, pulled 265 unarmed men from their beds on a Sunday morning and slaughtered them in front of their wives and children."

The actual death toll was far less, she cited the wrong year, and many of the victims died in other ways, but these are minor quibbles compared to the injustice of blaming the modern GOP for a raid by a Confederate cavalry officer that took place 141 years ago -- when the Republican Party was fighting the Confederacy. (As Who Moved My Truth? observed: "I Suppose Abraham Lincoln Was REALLY Stupid.")

Smiley keeps strange company: "...most important, when life grows difficult or fearsome, they (politicians, preachers, pundits) encourage you to cling to your ignorance with even more fervor..." Okay, I can accept that she probably voted for Kerry and most likely reads the New York Times, but what church can she possibly be going to?

I'd tell you that Smiley's essay has to be read to be believed, but I'd be lying. You can't believe it even if you do read it.

P.S.: If you think I'm harsh on her, read the reviews on the page for her book that won the Pulitizer Prize, A Thousand Acres. (Apparently, she morphed Shakespeare's King Lear into a red-stater who abused his daughters -- doubly unoriginal.) Some of the reviews on that page make this look like a love letter.

Addendum: Doing my evening blog reading, I see that other bloggers have discussed Smiley's essay. In an excellent piece, Sean at Everything I Know Is Wrong, for example, says: "It fisks itself as you read it." (Good line, Sean!) Daly Thoughts has a good critique, too, as does The Paragraph Farmer.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:23 AM

Saturday, November 06, 2004

MoveOn or Move Out?

Robert Novak says support from MoveOn PAC (sister organization to hurt some Democratic candidates.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:18 PM

Friday, November 05, 2004

But They Are Very Busy

BelowStreetLevel says there are just six liberals living in the United States.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:54 PM

Chirac Snubs Iraq Democracy

I have to agree with Jeff at on this one.

Addendum: A Heritage Foundation Policy Weblog November 5 post says Kofi Annan is no better than Chirac.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:51 PM

Putin and Kyoto

He did it.

Putin made Russia's ratification of the Kyoto global warming treaty final today.

The Kyoto Treaty now takes effect worldwide among nations that have ratified it. Thankfully, this does not include the U.S.

We'll now sit back and watch to see which European nations live up to their treaty obligations -- and if any of those that don't are among those that have criticized us for not joining in this folly.

Oh, lest I forget: Don't expect the world to get any cooler just because Kyoto has been ratified. This treaty is hot air -- expensive hot air, but hot air nonetheless. Just as well. Warm air and CO2 helps plants grow.

Nature comes first.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:54 AM

Nation Not So Divided

Sean at Everything I Know Is Wrong has written a top-notch election post-mortem.

It is too good to excerpt, so I recommend the whole thing.

I also recommend Sean's thanks to Viet Nam Vets.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:13 AM

Ancient Cosmetics

This BBC article describes the discovery of an ancient Roman tin of cosmetic cream, and expresses appreciation for the complicated recipe the Romans used. (The tin was found in an archeological excavation in London inhabited by the Romans during the Roman occupation of Britain.)

It is interesting that a culture that didn't use soap, and washed clothes in urine, would go to such effort to create cosmetics.

The European preference for cosmetics over soap apparently started early.

The London Telegraph had a funny comment about this:
[Analysis of the cream] shows that British [read: Roman] women led the way when it came to "green" cosmetics: the cream relied on tin oxide as a whitener, a much healthier and more environmentally sound alternative to the toxic lead acetate used by their high society peers in Rome.
Healthier, yes. But do we really believe that the ancient Romans, who held slaves and murdered people as a form of organized sport, cared about the environmental impact of their cosmetics?

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:01 AM

Davids Medienkritik: European Hatred of Bush Won Him Some American Votes

Davids Medienkritik, a German blog (written in English) has published comments found on the BBC website from Americans who say they were more inclined to vote for President Bush because Europe, by and large, doesn't like him.

A fun read.

Davids Medienkritik is asking Americans to post a comment describing why they voted the way they did. If you are inclined to share your thoughts, you can do so here.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:01 AM

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Ed Haislmaier: Simple Elections

Ed Haislmaier comments on my silly international coverage post:
Here's another silly international coverage example for you:
China's communist rulers are not particularly fond of elections -- the results are just so unpredictable.

In their opinion, international relations would be much simpler if we did not have to choose a new leader every few years. In China, of course, it is much more simple.

- Rupert Wingfield Hayes, BBC Beijing correspondent, How World Sees Bush Victory
Well, I do give him points for honesty. I also appreciate the British flair for understatement deployed in the phrase, "not particularly fond of elections" (I'm envisioning that famous picture of the pro-democracy protestor confronting the tank in Tiananmen Square). However, given the left-wing tilt of "the Beeb" I wonder if he was just trying to tweak his editors.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:19 PM

Christian Moritz: Al-Jazeera Poll

My brother, Christian Moritz, reports on a poll from an unusual quarter:
CNN reports that Al-Jazeera asked its viewers to mock vote. Bush got 43 percent -- not bad from the enemy.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:50 PM

Soldiers Pleased By Election Results

Joe Roche reports that most of the soldiers he comes into contact with are "super happy" about the presidential election results.

Joe is with the 1st Armored Division, presently in Germany.


Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:45 PM

Operation Clark County: Ouch

Britain's left-wing Guardian's blog examines the question: Did the Guardian's "Operation Clark County" help deliver Ohio to Bush?

Their blogger's conclusion: "Ouch."

Addendum: The Paragraph Farmer picks up where this post left off, in an interesting way.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:00 AM

Silly International Election Coverage

Now that I have recommended two excellent pieces (here and here) about the U.S. election in the foreign press, just for fun, I'll make fun of some silly ones:
...the government that Americans woke up to is a dangerous cocktail. Republicans control the White House, the Senate, the House of Representatives, a majority of state houses and soon, President Bush will be able to stack the Supreme Court with conservative judges. America is a divided two-party democracy with an increasingly one-party state. ...For Canada and the world, not to mention Americans themselves, this will be a worrisome four years. Some analysts expressed concern that a Kerry White House would see the rise of a protectionism that could hurt Canadian interests... However, the potential impacts of a Kerry administration... would have been relatively minor compared to the challenges we face in dealing with an angry, arrogant Bush administration unconstrained by the need to seek re-election and imbued with an almost providential belief in its mission. This will be a dangerous four years for Canada and the world. - Adrian Dix, who failed in the entire piece to mention even one actual threat George Bush poses to Canada, CBC News (Canada)
In the end it was as bad as the pessimists feared. Spurred by a Senate clean sweep in the South, the Republicans have strengthened their grip on the Senate and the House of Representatives, giving President George Bush a freer hand to push through his conservative legislative agenda in a second term. - Rupert Cornwell, writing a supposedly objective news story in The Independent (UK)
In Ohio the Republicans made one million phone calls in the last days of the campaign. To do that they needed their allies in every right wing group to cooperate fully. Granted the vote was probably stolen from Kerry, but it was also organized for Bush. - Duncan Cameron, who apparently knows something about voter fraud even John Kerry doesn't suspect, writing in The Rabble (Canada)
and my personal favorite
A mystery Northern Ireland man has become a hero of right wing Americans after claiming on national TV and radio that 95% of Northern Ireland wants to see President Bush re-elected today. The man, who identified himself as "Christopher," phoned in to a TV and radio show hosted by Rush Limbaugh, American's most popular right-wing talk show host, to claim that Northern Ireland was backing President Bush because of his stand on terrorism... Do you know Christopher? email: [email protected] - Sean O'Driscoll, writing in The Belfast Telegraph (Northern Ireland)

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:02 AM

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Kerevan: Scots-Irish Elected Bush

Columnist George Kerevan, writing in the Scotsman (UK), has an interesting take on why Bush won: The influence of our citizens of Scots-Irish heritage.

I don't agree with all of it (especially the silly bit about George Bush possibly appointing "reactionaries" to the Supreme Court -- sticking to the Constitution's text rather than making stuff up on a whim does not make a justice a "reactionary"), but I recommend this piece for its fresh and mostly thoughtful perspective.

Some samples:
Here in Scotland, where the mainstream view is anti-Bush, the instant reaction will be to dismiss [the America that gave Bush his majority] as redneck, racist, bigoted, gun-loving and ignorant. But hold a mirror to thyself: the part of America that doggedly voted Republican on Tuesday is its ethnic Scottish-Ulster heartland. These are the descendants of the lowland yeoman folk who colonised Virginia in the 17th century, then crossed the Appalachian Mountains to open up the frontier in the 18th, joined by the refugees from the Govan slums in the 19th.

They brought with them a Celtic tribalism, a small-farmer self-reliance and a rationalist Presbyterian morality based on the Good Book. They also brought their own home-spun music, with its sentimental narratives and view of this world as a trial to be endured. From the bluegrass fiddle music of the Appalachian crofts to the Burns-like honky-tonk ballads of the itinerant oil workers in the Texas dustbowl, country music has evolved to dominate contemporary musical tastes. But beyond the saccharin-sweet commercialism of country rock, it is music that still defines the mental and moral landscape of a community that was prepared to defy the world last Tuesday. Never in a million years were America's Scots-Irish going to vote for John Kerry, whatever the eastern pollsters thought.
I... suggest a way for Europe to understand a resurgent American nationalism that conforms pretty much to what the Scots-Irish made it. Contrary to European myth, it is not an especially imperialist nationalism, but when provoked it sees things with a terrible, biblical simplicity.

The Scots settlers who first colonised America, and then illegally slipped across the Appalachians to live among the Indian tribes, were not out to found a new empire. Having been chased out of Scotland and Ulster for economic and religious reasons, then having clashed with the conservative English merchant elites who ran the eastern colonies, the Scots just wanted to be left to their own devices. To this day, their predilection for owning guns is less to do with the desire to blast away at dumb animals, as pique at the idea that someone should tell them what to do. That's why it is not a good idea to try to frighten them by crashing airliners into tall buildings: it just makes them mad.
When roused, usually by a wholly correct moral indignation, Scots-Irish America believes it is the agency for Divine retribution. Don't snigger: you are here because of this gut reaction. Back in 1940, the United States was split down the middle - nothing new there - over the war in Europe. The large German immigrant communities of the industrial Mid-West (think Ohio) were fervently isolationist. They had just re-elected Franklin Roosevelt on a platform of non-intervention. The Americans in favour of dealing with the fascists were the Scots-Irish, who had a long tradition of military service, especially during the Civil War (on both sides). Otherwise, the capital of the EU would be called Germania.
Like it or lump it, a Bush White House is now a fact of life. But if Scotland calms down a minute, we might discover that his America is a far less alien place than we imagine.
I recommend the whole thing (free registration required).

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:00 PM

Why Putin Supported Bush

A very amusing article in the Moscow News explains why Vladimir Putin supported Bush's re-election:
First, Mr. Putin is a white male, which makes him a Bush voter with a probability of 61 percent.

Second, the Putin family's financial situation clearly improved over the last four years. 79 percent of voters who share this view regarding their own families vote for Bush.

Third, Putin's annual income clearly exceeds $50,000, and 55 percent of people in this income group are supporting Bush.

Fourth, neither Putin nor his wife, his pet dog or his daughters belong to any sort of union, which makes Putin's household likely to support Bush in 55 percent of cases.

Fifth, Putin is employed full-time, and Bush enjoys the support of 52 percent of full time workers.

Sixth, Putin is neither liberal, nor moderate. His reverence to both Soviet and Orthodox Christianity legacies makes him a clear conservative, and 83 percent of all American conservatives vote Bush.

Seventh, Putin is married with children, and 56 percent of voters in this bracket vote Bush.

Eighth, Putin is the acting head of the entire Russian military, and 57 percent of uniformed voters and vets support Bush.

Ninth, Putin isn't gay, nor is he a lesbian or a bisexual. Which means a 52 percent probability of voting for Dubya.

Finally, we've seen and heard Putin preoccupied with the terror problem lately, and 86 percent of those that see terrorism as the most important issue supported George W. Bush in his reelection bid Tuesday.
Good stuff.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:57 PM


Husband David summed it up perfectly:
I love the American people.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:19 PM

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

English Spoken Here

Michelle Malkin has a very pretty daughter.

Like Michelle and her husband, David and I vote in Maryland. We left our kids at home this time (though I am anxiously awaiting their report later today on how they voted in the pre-school mock election), after they tried to vote for me in 2002 (admittedly, they were only two years old then and, shall we say, they behaved as such).

Voting in upscale and very blue Montgomery County, Michelle found to her dismay that voting stickers there are published in two languages. Not so where we vote, a bit to the west in Anne Arundel County. At least based on past elections, we're a decidedly red oasis in a predominately blue state.

There are some nice houses for sale in our neighborhood, Michelle. Hablamos Ingles aqui.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:42 PM

Bin Laden's Conflicting Goals

Bin Laden aims to bankrupt the United States, says this UPI story:
Among comments not released until Monday, bin Laden said: "We are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy," adding it was "easy for us to provoke and bait this administration."
Bin Laden's reference to provking and baiting the Bush Administration makes it clear that he's referring to the costs of Bush Administration anti-terror policies (presumably, the invastions of Afghanistan and Iraq), not 9/11-related economic costs.

Bin Laden presumably is trying to make the American people believe the invasions worked against our interests. That's pretty good evidence they didn't.

(It is also pretty good evidence that Bin Laden knows no more about economics than he does about theology.)

Bin Laden is showing his weakness. He has claimed he attacked the U.S. to get us out of the (supposedly holy) lands of Saudi Arabia. Now he claims his strategy all along was to get us to send armies to the Middle East.

You can't have it both ways, Osama. Bottom line: America's tiniest little baby girl is a better man (and strategest?) already than you'll ever be.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:48 AM

Bigotry Update

The Pope weighs in on anti-Catholic bigotry in Europe.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:18 AM

Monday, November 01, 2004

Schools are for Politics

Like Whitney Houston, NCPPR executive director David W. Almasi believes that children are our future:
Almost every public school in the DC area will be closed on Election Day. Some are closed the day before as well. It is allegedly for teacher workdays and conferences, but I can imagine there is also a political motivation for the timing. After all, teachers' unions are one of the major players in liberal politics.

When I was in school, seeing the steady stream of adults coming to our school to cast their ballots helped instill in me my duty to vote. I don't think sending them home to watch television or hang out at the mall instills quite the same civic duty.

There's another reason why I am bothered. They close the schools in our area at the mere threat of snow. As a result, kids sometimes worry they are going to be in classes into July (and then parents and administrators begin worrying about schools without air conditioning being too hot). Previously-set holidays like spring break often get shortened, enraging parents who already made deposits on trips with the expectation of no school. Despite this happening on pretty much a regular basis, administrators never seem prepared for it. With this in mind, it appears selfish to seemingly put kids second and politics first. But politics seems to be the main concern of the unions these days -- not their employees or, in this case, the students their members are charged with teaching.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:56 PM

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