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Saturday, August 17, 2002
Racist white government arrests black farmers to steal their land: Now that I have the media's attention, the opposite is happening.
Zimbabwean police arrested and imprisoned 47 white farmers yesterday as President Robert Mugabe stepped up his agricultural-redistribution program and declared all-out war against farmers refusing to leave their land. The farmers, the oldest of them 78, were detained and are likely to spend the weekend in jail before appearing in court on Monday. They have been charged with failing to follow eviction orders under the land-redistribution act, which required them to leave their farms Aug. 10.
Amazing how the media that (rightfully) made "apartheid South Africa" a catch phrase during the 1980s is pretty much ignoring reverse apartheid in Zimbabwe.

She was nearly first lady: Jordana Adams over at Curmudgeonry takes issue with National Public Radio for describing Tipper Gore as the "near First Lady":
NITPICKING: An NPR reporter remarked that "near-First Lady" Tipper Gore was campaigning for John Dingle in his Democratic primary contest. "Near-First Lady"? Excuse me? Would any other wife of a losing presidential candidate (no matter how close the race) be referred to as "near-First Lady"? I think not. "Close" only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. The same goes for "near." Gore lost. NPR needs to get over it.
Sorry Jordana, your implication of liberal bias doesn't pass muster. Tipper Gore very nearly was the first lady. Her husband won the general election. He almost won the electoral college vote. The election was so damn close, the U.S. Supreme Court had to decide the outcome because of all sorts of mischief on both sides. Calling her the "near first lady" is just a statement of fact. I would have posted this as a comment, but their site doesn't offer that feature.
Boy, it's not often that I agree with anythign NPR has to say.

I am a thief: I admit it. I stole my new background from The Scoop, which is a heck of a great site about great and not-so-great journalism.

Ashcroft wants to put Americans in camps? Would America be safer if any citizen suspected of supporting terrorism or being sympathetic to our enemies were locked up for the duration? Maybe. For some that is enough. After all, some of the thousands of of Japanese, German and Italian Americans locked up during World War II might have been potential security risks. Others think that would make the United States no better than those who are trying to destroy it. I keep thinking of this quote: "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759.

Illinois Air Guard unsafe? The Chicago Sun-Times reports that leadership problems in the Illinois Air National Guard contributed to the accidental bombing of Canadian soldiers serving in Afghanistan. The article, which cites a classified report, states:
In the Afghanistan incident, a military investigative team has concluded, two Illinois Air National Guard pilots violated the military's rules of engagement when they dropped the bomb without first confirming whether the troops on the ground were hostile. According to the New York Times, in a 1,500-page report that remains classified the investigators recommend "procedural changes" for the Illinois Air National Guard's only F-16 wing, the 170th Fighter Squadron based in Springfield.
Rogan [an airline pilot and ex-F-16 squadron commander who retired from the Illinois Air National Guard in 1997 after being passed over for a promotion -- Bill Dennis] and a second former Illinois fighter pilot, Thomas Hildebrand, accuse Brig. Gen. Frank Rezac, leader of the Illinois Air National Guard, of presiding over a command structure that values friendship over talent and pushes pilots into dangerous maneuvers without proper training. A third former pilot, David W. Brauer, said he's concerned that pilots are being trained too fast. Some experts say the Guard may be stepping up the pace of training because of an increase in call-ups to active duty overseas in recent years.
I covered a midair collision of two 170th Fighter Wing when I wrote for the Canton Daily News. I remember tearing through the countryside looking for the soybean field into which the jet crashed. Getting information out of the Guard was like pulling teeth. But a source I had inside the unit said a pilot later apologized the ground crew and took personal responsibility for crash.

Why I am not a libertarian: At one time I thought I was a libertarian. Most of my views could be labeled as such. I believe less government is better than more government. But I have to admit government is needed, and that seems to make be a 'statist.' I don't hesitate to call the cops when my neighbors exercise their right to litter on their own property. I don't want the government confiscating homes and businesses for pennies on the dollar so developers can built shopping centers, office buildings and baseball stadiums. But I am not as opposed to eminent domain for the purpose of widen a road or building a new one.
Libertarians are opposed to first use of force. So am I. But I don't think we ought to wait for Saddam Hussein to build a nuclear bomb and detonate it in New York City before we defend ourselves.
Libertarians say they love their country, but fear their government. I don't fear my government. Why should I? Fear is the result of ignorance. I vote. I read the newspapers. I speak out. I have attended hundreds of public meetings. If I hid in the basement or out in the woods, I might fear my government, too.
I love my country. When it was attacked, I expected my government to defend it and I expect patriotic Americans to want to do the same. Harry Browne and his ilk responded by clicking their tongues about how the attacks were the direct result of our actions in the Middle East.
Libertarians believe that the United States government had absolutely no right to refuse to let the South secede from the Union. Technically, there is nothing in the Constitution that gave the federal government the power to fight the Civil War. But, I think it's darn good thing they did. The United States had no right to brag about being the most free nation on Earth until slavery ended.
Libertarians oppose the War on Drugs. So do I, especially when it comes to marijuana. Drug use is a health problem, and it should be fought on that basis.
I don't trust the Democrats. I don't trust the Republicans. I do not hate either. There are many good people in both parties. Guess what? You can disagree with me about just about anything and still be a decent person. The Libertarians and the Greens and the Refomers, et al, do not really matter beyond their ability to affect the election of Republicans and Democrats.
The only philosophy to which I subscribe is "anti-Idiotarianism. It's sort of like libertarianism, but it not as idiological. It is simply this: "Idiots in government (and the media) need to be exposed to the light of day." There are left-wing idiots and right-wing idiots. There are even libertarian idiots, like Harry Browne.
More to come.

What kind of boobs are running this airline? Hooters is pondering buying Vanguard Airlines. Thanks to Blogdex for the link.

Friday, August 16, 2002
She ain't no ladyCoulter is no lady: Rodger Schultz rises to the defense of Ann Coulter against the words of Washinton Post scribe Richard Cohen:
" ... chivalry demands that a gentleman defend a lady's honor from scurrilous cads."
This begs the question: What Lady? What honor?

Evil Anti-Semetic ClownAnti-Semitic clowns at McDonalds: OK, "anti-Semitic" isn't exactly accurate because Arabs are Semites. But McDonald's Web site bragged about how it has the only two restaurants in he world that can brag about keeping out Jews and Christians. Of course, their language is kind of sneaky:
Unique Restaurants
There are two unique McDonald's restaurants located in the Holy City of Makkah. These restaurants are the only two restaurants in the world that are wholly staffed with Muslim employees and who serve exclusively Muslim customers, from Service Crew to Restaurant Manager level.
The original site was taken down after bloggers started to spread the world. But Christopher Kanis created a mirror site.

Are we already at war with Iraq? Radio Free Mike cites a report on Israel-based debka.com that we are already skirmishing with Iraq.

Europe has forgotten who her enemies are: Samizdata.net is dead on in describing how Europe and the United States are at cross purposes, and how we cannot rely on them as allies in the coming war with Iraq and other state-sponsors of terrorism.
"For the EU elite, America is like a rebellious teenager that they simply don't understand. How can they insist on sovereignty when it obstructs 'progress'? How can they insist on the right of self-defense when we know that true security comes only through concessions and negotiation? How dare they cherish Western values when we know that all values are equal? For the Eurocrats, America is not just mystifying, it's offensive."
I disagree in only one way: I think Great Britain will be the exception. When push comes to shove, the British government will back us to the hilt, and those agitators and haters will be pushed to the side. Why? Too many people remember Spam, and I ain't talking about e-mail.

So much for freedom of speech: I am not going to knock Tipper Gore over this headline, Student Plans Lawsuit Over Tipper Gore Video Flap
(CNSNews.com) - American University, which boasts in a statement of its "proud tradition of support and defense of free speech, civil discourse and personal rights and freedoms," is being targeted for a lawsuit for allegedly providing a "textbook example on how to violate students' rights."
Earlier this year, an American University (AU) administrative court found student Ben Wetmore guilty of, among other things, possession of stolen property and trespass after videotaping a speech by Tipper Gore, wife of former presidential candidate Al Gore.
But I am going to recall in print that former journalist Al Gore refused to let anyone enroll in his class on government unless they agreed to not discuss what was said outside of class.

The Celebrated Idiocy of Banning the Calaveras County Jumping Frog Contest: Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, wrote "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County." The good folks of Calaveras County celebrate said publication with a real life jumping frog contest. The folks at the Animal Protection Institute do not like this this one little bit. Frogs and toads belong in the wild, not being exploited by evil humans. Members of the Animal Protection Institute would do well to remember what Twain said about the wisdom of joining any group willing to have these mental and moral midgets as members.

Once again, life imitates Star Trek:
Several weeks ago, co-workers and I were discussing an upcoming issue when the topic turned to computers. Not only to most middle class homes have one computer, many have two or more. When I grew up watching Star Trek, getting a kid his own television was considered the height of indulgence. Now, kids have their own computers. Computers are from Star Trek! They have no business being in private homes! Yet, I have two in my home. I use it exactly like Mr. Spock did. I have a question, I do a Google search. There are pocket computers that do the same thing. I walk around with a pocket telephone that works pretty much like the "communicators" Capt. Kirk used to talk to the Enterprise up in orbit. Hospitals have diagnostic beds, only they are called c/t scanners now and will be called something else when the technology improves. Eighteen months down the road, life will imitate Star Trek even more. Right now, they are developing artificial sight, just like a character from Star Trek, the next Generation. Scientists say they have teleported matter, and others say faster than light travel is not outside the realm of possibility. NASA recently launched a space craft that uses "ion drive," much like that postulated on Star Trek. We may really travel to other solar systems.

Why the hell does anyone take Reuter's seriously?Another great link supplied by WSJ's Best of the Web. The Reuter's news service came off sounding like idiots again with this dispatch about upcoming elections. The report makes it sounds as if Saddam Hussein is just another elected leader of a republic. I suppose Reuters was trying to be objective. Maybe it just feels the need to pander to clients in nations that support terrorism. I wonder how long it continued to refer to Hitler as the elected "chancellor" of the German republic.

Proof America is evil: The government is starting to solicit bids from companies wanting to supply the humanitarian aid that the United States, the source of all evil in the world, will provide after defeating the nations that have been trying to destroy it. We are so evil in fact, we will do to Iraq what we did to Japan, Germany and Italy after World War II, namely give them the gift of democracy. Thanks to Wall Street Journal's Best of the Web for the link. If the United States was as evil as our enemies and so-called allies believe, Iraq and Iran would be a glassy parking lot now.

Osama flambé: Imagine, for a moment, that some knuckleheads who run a bar decide to scare up drink sales by burning Adolf Hitler in effigy as a form of entertainment. While the taste for such an event would be questionable, the sentiment is not. Now imagine a society of German-Americans protested this decision on the grounds that it was offensive to people of German decent. The first thing that would go through my mind is that this society of German-Americans might very well be a front for neo-Nazi scumbags. Liberals would, rightly so, express their opinion that the bar had every damn right to burn Hitler in effigy if it wanted to do so. Substitute "Osama Bin Laden" for Hitler and "Islamic society" for "society of German Americans" and you have a description on what is really happening. I eagerly await the shocked expressions of outrage against American racism. Actually, the head of the local Islamic organization din't have much of an objection. He found it a little humorous.

Thursday, August 15, 2002
Unethical journalist, Part IV: From the Washington City Paper: Department of Media
"A bit of red meat for the liberal-media-conspiracy crew: Bloomberg News Editor in Chief Matthew Winkler contributed a total of $750 to the Democratic National Committee and the Gore campaign in the 2000 election cycle. At the same time, Winkler and his underlings were producing hundreds of stories on the historic Bush vs. Gore race."
For the record, Winkler claims his wife made the contribution, but disclosure forms show only his name and his occupation.
My own full disclosure.

Count de Monay not completely full of crap: I have to give the good Count some credit. He claims to be a libertarian, but his posts are 98.7 percent typical reflective conservative ramblings (his instance that anyone who defends Clinton for any reason are "kneepadders," for instance. But a recent Count post contained little slice of accuracy. Count likes to deconstruct the ramblings of CNN's Paul Begala. For example:
BEGALA: Here's what happened. President Bush inherited the strongest economy in history, and he reversed all of President Clinton's policies, and now the economy stinks. You give him a Lamborghini, he throws it in reverse, and he's surprised it goes backwards.
REALITY: Here's what really happened: President Bush inherited a shrinking economy (thanks to the unearthing of evidence that the commerce dept was cooking the books and corporations were cooking their accounting), he's maintained most of President Clinton's policies - to the anger of his base - and the economy is growing faster now than when he was sworn in. More easily discerned dishonesty from Begala.
Not much to disagree with here. I would add that presidents have little to do with the success of the economy. Oh, sure, the government can and does screw things up though protectionism and typical lard-assed Chamber of Commerce-style meddling. One reason for the good economy during most of the Clinton years: Slick Willie was so hated and mistrusted by Congress, the entire government was in a standstill. The almost complete inability of either Democrats or Republicans to pass meaningful legislation mean there was little interference and hence, the economy did well. Of course, most of the "great economy" was due to false success of the dot coms, which crumbled after people realized their stocks were horribly over valued.

Ann Coulter demonstrates, once again, that she is an idiot: In her most recent article on the FrontPage magazine.com Web siteAnn writes what she considers liberals' thinking process:
Of course, we all agree that abortion should be "rare." That's why all reasonable regulations of abortion must be fought against like wild banshees! (One proven method of making something "rare" is to make it illegal.)
That statement is provably wrong, Ann. This nation has tons of laws prohibiting drug use. Yet a majority of Americans have used illegal drugs. Illegalizing something does not prevent that thing from happening. All it does is set forth the punishment the state will impose, by force if necessary, upon those who commit that act. Abortion will not stop people from performing abortions. If abortion is made illegal, doctors will still perform them and they will be arrested, as will the women who seek and receive them. This is the difference between conservatives and libertarians. Conservatives want the law to ban things they don't like. Libertarians believe laws do not ban anything and too many of them make matters worse.

It's the Richard Jewell case all over again (maybe) When a bomb went off in Atlanta in 1996, the media turned Richard Jewell into a hero because he risked his life to get people away from the bomb. Then the Feds decided Mr. Jewell was a suspect. They began leaking damaging information. One of the guy's former employers was interviewed saying he did faked incidents there to. Tom Brokaw went on national television and said with a smirk on his face that the Jewell was guilty and that an arrest was just a matter of time. There was a slight problem: Jewell didn't do it. NBC and the Atlanta Journal Constitution got sued. As I recall, NBC apologized for its blatantly incorrect reporting, while the AJC blathered on about how their reporting was accurate, but their sources were wrong. Officially, the FBI does not consider Stephen J. Hatfill a suspect in the Anthrax letters mailed in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks. Yet damaging information that could only have come from the FBI appears in the media. The media knows in advance when the FBI searches Dr. Hatfill's home. Dr. Hatfill protests his innocence. We need to be very, very careful with what we are reporting. A bunch of us assumed that Jewell had to be guilty.

Coulter, dare I say it, gets bitch slapped In his article for the Washington Post,Blaming of the Shrew, Richard Cohen lays the smack down on Ann Coulter.
Could it be -- is it remotely possible -- that the anger and demagoguery Coulter assigns to liberals is really what the shrinks call "projection"? I mean, almost everything Coulter says about her ideological enemies could be said about her.

Making America safe from G.I. Joe: Our nation's brave airport security screeners have, once again, protected innocent airplane passengers from being hijacked by little children bearing two-inch long, bendable plastic toy rifles.

Tuesday, August 13, 2002
More ammunition for New York Times bashers: According to the Website: "The appointment of Carolyn Curiel as an editorial writer for The New York Times was announced yesterday by Gail Collins, editor of the editorial page. Ms. Curiel, a former United States ambassador to Belize and a speechwriter for President Bill Clinton, has served as a visiting fellow on The Times's editorial board this summer."
Repeat after me: "Politicians have no business working as journalists, politicians have no business working as journalists." This includes conservative Pat Buchannan, who gets paid to be a pundit on those rare occassions he is not a candidate for president.

Monday, August 12, 2002
More on unethical journalists: In his recent Editor & Publisher article, "Checkbook Journalism Is Bad For Industry," Allan Wolper writes of his amazement that the 15 journalists who contributed to Robert Reich's campaign for Massachusettes governor cannot grasp that they did something wrong:
The most interesting thing about the ad hoc Reporters Committee for Reich is that its members seemed astonished anyone would think they had done anything wrong. "They didn't realize why it was important for journalists to look independent as well as be independent," said Bill Dedman, the Globe reporter who uncovered this latest version of checkbook journalism.
He continued:
That lack of meaningful outcry saddens Bill Allison, managing editor of the Center for Public Integrity, a Washington-based good-government group that monitors questionable political activity. "There was no outrage because people expect reporters to do these kind of things," he said. "It's a sign of the low ethical standards that we have to put up with these days."

Wal-Mart of thing of beauty: Thanks to Common Sense and Wonder for the link to Mr. Fun Pundit's fine article.

Sunday, August 11, 2002
The myth of Republican competence: In the Washington Monthly article "Confidence Men,"Joshua Micah Marshall ponders why GOPers are considered competent political managers, while Dems are considered amateurs.
Many have wondered why the administration suddenly floundered when confronted with this summer's corporate corruption scandal. The real mystery is how the White House failed to advance its agenda for so long without anyone noticing. Why does the myth of Bush administration competence persist after ample evidence has emerged to show that it simply isn't true?
The author postulates that the press, made up mostly of liberal minded Democrats, tends to be more critical when things do not go the way their particular world view thinks it should go, and do not hesitate to be critical. When GOPers are in charge, the press wrongfully believes that since these guys are big deal businessmen, they must know what they are doing. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In my opinion, Democrats are enamored by the trappings of Democracy. They have trained themselves to believe that the more "input" and "diversity" that takes place, the better the end result. As a result, the process looks chaotic and by association, the result seems unpolished and flawed. Policies may in fact be flawed because they can be designed to accommodate and appease each member of the Democratic coalition (blacks, labor, etc) and put other considerations aside. Republicans come out of a corporate background, in which a board of directors pretty much rubber stamps the decision of the CEO (at least, in modern days it does), or at least keeps conflicts hidden in order to put on a united front. This makes the decision making process seem competent, when it may be no such thing.