Friday, December 31, 2004

Contra Sharansky


The most concise response I could think of to Natan Sharansky's "Toward a moral foreign policy," as sent to the Slick-D email discussion list:

---BEGIN---
Quoth Glenn Wolf, quoting Cal Thomas, quoting Natan Sharansky:

-----
There is an important distinction between the freedom desired by
Southern blacks in the days of Dr. Rice's youth - and nations under
Soviet domination in the years of Natan Sharansky's imprisonment -
and the freedom the administration wants to offer the Middle East.
-----

Yes, there is. Southern blacks in the days of Dr. Rice's youth -- and
nations under Soviet domination in the years of Natan Sharansky's
imprisonment -- desired freedom from being shot at, bombed, kidnapped
and murdered. The freedom the administration wants to offer the
Middle East is the freedom to be shot at, bombed, kidnapped and
murdered by Americans instead of Arabs.

Tom Knapp
--END---

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Western civilization's crowning achievement?


Finally, after so many false starts and disappointments, the true convergence of beer and chocolate.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Death as a metaphor


The main theme of the death of Sontag is not discourse per se, but postdiscourse. Her estate will no doubt promote the use of the subconstructivist paradigm of discourse to rook the funeral home.

Hat tip for the drivel above to The PostModernism Generator . Bottom line: Susan Sontag has left the building. She died today, at 71, after a battle with leukemia.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

YAGBS*


"Chocolate-makers have long mixed liqueurs into their creations. Now, a Chicago candy-maker has come up with a twist on the classic pairing -- beer-flavored chocolates. Chocolatier Katrina Markoff infuses her latest truffles with Jamaican Red Stripe beer and tops the dark-chocolate spheres with crushed cocoa nibs."

Mmm, Mmm, good. Hat tip, as friggin' always, to Fark.

* Yet Another Gratuitous Beer Story.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Back to gratuitous beer stories ...


Beer spills aren't always inconveniences. Sometimes they save lives. Here's a rockslide story for the books:

"No one was injured because there was no one on the roadway at the time of the rock slide. An earlier tractor-trailer crash had spilled 76,000 bottles of beer on the road, forcing crews to close I-70. The driver of the beer truck, Kenneth F. Campbell, 48, of Parowan, Utah, had been hauling the beer from Fort Collins to Riverside, Calif. He was treated for minor injuries. Ironically, Campbell was charged with careless driving even though his accident kept motorists out from under the tons of debris that tumbled 1,000 feet onto the roadway, smashing the pavement and flattening guardrails."

Read all about it.. Hat tip to Fark.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated ...


Yes, I know it's been two weeks without so much as a never-you-mind. Sorry -- this has been in the process of adding that into its daily operations and I've been busy.

I'll try to get back into the swing of things shortly.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

BlogClip: Democratic Freedom redux


As I've said, I'm trying to keep an open mind to the notion that libertarian goals might be productively pursued from within the Democratic Party. For all that they've not been as noisy within the Libertarian Party as the Republican Liberty Caucus lo these many years, the Democratic Freedom Caucus seems to be ready to make some noise -- and Greg Costikyan has set down a stirring manifesto to get things started.

Email Oopsies


I haven't visited my Gmail account in some time, because whatever changes have been made cause it to freeze up my browser. I thought I had changed my email address in the places it needed to be changed, but I forgot my Blogger.Com profile ... so if you've been sending email to me, I haven't seen it. I've fixed the profile now, and can be reached at thomaslknapp (at) yahoo.com.

Monday, November 15, 2004

BlogClip: "Liberated Fallujans"


It's a photo, so I can't exactly excerpt it. But you should see it at UnFair Witness.

NewsClip: Purge at CIA?


"The White House has ordered the new CIA director, Porter Goss, to purge the agency of officers believed to have been disloyal to President George W. Bush or of leaking damaging information to the media about the conduct of the Iraq war and the hunt for Osama bin Laden, according to knowledgeable sources."

Full story.

A rather pointedly biased account to be sure ... but let's get to the $64 question. Is this a long-overdue reform/overhaul package of an agency plagued by political sinecure holders and poor performance, or is the administration geting long knives out for the people who won't tell George W. Bush what he wants to hear?

Someone tell me. I don't know.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Email Rant: The Rape of Fallujah


A bit o' reaction to the latest edition of RRND:

Re: [RRND] 11/12 -- Iraq: Attacks spread as rape of Fallujah continues; US troops force fleeing refugees back into carnage

From: Thomas Knapp (Rational Review)
To: [address redacted]
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2004 11:52:20 -0600

Dear Sir:

> RAPE of Fallujah?
>
> Take me off your mailing list, you Commie bastard!

Done.

> The "insurgents" - terrorists operating out of Fallujah have been
> responsible for far more death, rape and destruction than our brave
> forces. Maybe you should join them in their "heroic" struggle.
>
> Or does martyrdom not appeal to you?

What the "insurgents" -- a word you will always find accompanied by the notation [sic] in RRND, as they are no such thing* -- have done is irrelevant to the character of the assault on Fallujah:

"rape, n. 2. the act of despoiling a country in warfare"

-- WordNet 2.0 at www.dict.org

Cordoning off a city of 300,000, turning back refugees who try to escape, then conducting large-scale aerial and artillery bombardment of the place prior to demolishing it house by house is, by any reasonable definition of the word, rape as defined above.

It's rape if the people doing it are the "good guys," and it's rape if the people doing it are the "bad guys." It's rape if the people the attackers are after are the "good guys," and it's rape if the people the attackers are after are the "bad guys."

Yes, I know that some of the people in Fallujah are "bad guys." I consider it unfortunate that "our" troops have been put in the position of being "bad guys" too -- but "vee ver justtt followink orderrrz" hasn't cut any mustard since 1945. Fallujah goes into the books with Guernica and Grozny. You don't have to like it -- but it will remain a fact whether you like it or not.

As far as me "joining" anything, sorry -- I already spent ten years humping a rifle in the Marine Corps, including some of the same patches of sand and versus some of the same bad guys. I was fortunate in the fact that my Commander in Chief at the time, for all his faults, was not quite the idiotic barbarian that his son is.

Regards,
Tom Knapp

* "insurgent, n. A person who rises in revolt against civil authority or an established government; one who openly and actively resists the execution of laws; a rebel."

There are terrorists in Iraq, to be sure. There is also a resistance in Iraq, and I am certain that the two groups have a great degree of overlap; I try my best to distinguish between the two, including in RRND's headlines and content. There is not, however, an "insurgency" in Iraq, because there is no established government or civil authority for "insurgents" to rebel against. Quislings of an occupying military force do not constitute an established government or a civil authority.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Release: The fat lady has been notably silent


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 11, 2004
POC:
Blair Bobier, Cobb Campaign -- 541.929.5755 or 414.364.1596
Stephen Gordon, Badnarik campaign 256-227-8360 or communications@badnarik.org

PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES TO DEMAND OHIO RECOUNT

David Cobb and Michael Badnarik, the 2004 Green and Libertarian presidential candidates, today announced their joint intent to secure a recount of presidential ballots cast in Ohio.

"Due to widespread reports of irregularities in Ohio's voting process, we are compelled to demand a recount of the Ohio presidential vote," the two candidates said in a joint statement. "Voting is at the heart of the American political process and its integrity must be preserved. When Americans stand in line for hours to exercise their right to vote, they need to know that their votes will be counted fairly and accurately. We are acting to protect the rights of the people of Ohio, and the rights of all Americans. Public trust in the democratic process is at stake."

The candidates also demanded that Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, a Republican who chaired the Ohio Bush campaign, recuse himself from the recount process.

Ohio's election proceedings were marred by numerous press and independent reports of voter intimidation, mis-marked and discarded ballots, problems with electronic voting machines and disenfranchisement -- apparently by design -- of African-American voters. A number of citizen and voting rights organizations will hold hearings this Saturday in Columbus, Ohio to give an airing to, and investigate, these claims. The hearings will be held from 1-4 p.m. at the New Faith Baptist Church, 955 Oak Street. Voters, poll workers, journalists and voting experts are invited to testify. A second hearing will be held on Monday at a location to be announced, from 6-9 p.m.

The Badnarik and Cobb campaigns are in the process of raising the required fee, estimated at $110,000, for securing a complete recount. The campaigns are accepting contributions through their web sites. The Badnarik-Campagna website is http://www.badnarik.org. The Cobb-LaMarche website is http://www.votecobb.org.

Throughout this election cycle, the Cobb and Badnarik campaigns have worked together in a spirit of cooperation and civility rarely found in electoral politics. The campaigns jointly participated in and/or sponsored a series of independent debates, and the two candidates were arrested together in St. Louis protesting their exclusion from the restricted, two-party corporate-sponsored "debates." Now, as the election results remain in question, Michael Badnarik and David Cobb are proud to once again act together on behalf of the rights and interests of the American people in reaching the truth.

-30-
385 words

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

BlogProps: Libertarians For America


Could the Democratic Party become the preferred political vehicle of libertarians? The people at Libertarians For America think it just might.

I'm skeptical, but interested. For libertarians who advocate working within a "major" party, the GOP is clearly out of the running ... and that kind of narrows it down, doesn't it?

BlogClip: The Landrith Strikes Back


"Establishment" media types are starting to get a little touchy about the bloggers in the corner. Watch as James Landrith takes one of the whiners apart.

Nice going, Mr. Landrith -- and Semper Fi/Happy 229th Birthday.

NewsClip: Brits demonstrate pointers for USO


"These sickening scenes are from the secret lesbian sex show video at the centre of a Ministry of Defence investigation. The depraved film of two pretty girl soldiers performing degrading acts as drunk squaddies jeer them on was shot six weeks ago -- inside a British Army tent in the heart of the Iraqi war zone."

Depraved, I tell you! Depraved!

Not quite safe for work. Not quite to the level of worthwhile porn, either, but it beats the hell out of Al Franken, Charlie Daniels and the other crap passing for "troop entertainment" these days.

Hat tip to the AntiWar.Com Blog.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

NewsClip: Rape of Fallujah proceeds, casualties mount


"U.S. forces punched into the center of Fallujah on Tuesday, overwhelming bands of guerrillas in the street with heavy barrages of fire and searching house to house in a powerful advance on the second day of a major offensive to retake the insurgent stronghold. At least 16 Americans have been killed in the past two days across Iraq, the military said including three killed in Fallujah combat on Tuesday, two killed by mortars near the northern city of Mosul and 11 others who died Monday, most of them as guerrillas launched a wave of attacks in Baghdad and southwest of Fallujah. The 11 deaths were the highest one-day U.S. toll in more than six months."

Read the whole story

Question: What will our Glorious Leaders say when the Rape of Fallujah doesn't, as advertised, "break the back" of the resista ... er, "insurgency?"

BlogClip: MacLeod sums it up -- sort of


"More than half the US electors have voted for smirking evil. They've voted for a President who openly believes he is above the law. They've voted for torture, tyranny and aggressive wars of conquest. They've voted for religious obscurantism. They've cast a vote of confidence in the past four years, and asked for four more years like them. They've done all this because they believe that this is what it will take to make them safe. They've voted against liberty for a little temporary safety, and they deserve and can expect but little of either."

Well, Ken, it's by no means apparent that more than half did vote for Bush ... but that will get hashed out sooner or later, and to effect or not. Nice summation, though.

Read the rest at The Early Days of a Better Nation

GonzoClip: The pain of losing


"Today, the Panzer-like Bush machine controls all three branches of our federal government, the first time that has happened since Calvin Coolidge was in the White House. And that makes it just about impossible to mount any kind of Congressional investigation of a firmly-entrenched president like George Bush. The time has come to get deeply into Football. It is the only thing we have left that ain't fixed. "

HST on ESPN

Monday, November 08, 2004

Right before our eyes


Did George W. Bush steal last week's presidential election? It was a given that if he won, the accusation would be made, and it has been. And there's some evidence, at least of the circumstantial variety, to support the claim. While the media falls all over itself to explain why last Tuesday's exit polls were "wrong," the fact remains that in states with auditable vote counts, the exit polling matched the counts to within 0.1%. It was only in states that used electronic voting machines, unencumbered by any "paper trail" which could be checked, that the results inexplicably tilted in Bush's favor by about a 5% margin over the exit polls.

The toothpaste probably can't be put back in the tube. The lack of auditable results didn't just make theft possible -- it makes it untraceable unless some independent corroboration (testimony from those involved in the fraud, for example, or the recovery of physical evidence of tampering) can be found. We will never know who legitimately won last week's election.

What we do know, however -- or at least what I know -- is that votes were, in at least one case, systematically "disappeared." I know it because I watched it happen; if the reader considers my testimony unreliable or non-objective, so be it ... but it is true nonetheless. Eppure si muove, the demands of the Inquisition notwithstanding.

The victim of the vote theft which I witnessed was, as one might easily guess, Libertarian presidential candidate Michael Badnarik. I witnessed it only because I had the distinct privilege of working on Badnarik's campaign team, and specifically on election night, following incoming precinct returns. Here's what happened:

The election night watch party was held at Legends, a sports bar in Austin, Texas, near the campaign's headquarters. While other Libertarians gathered to celebrated and watch "the election results" on the bar's 30 televisions, a few of us undertook an operation of a type which has probably not been possible for Libertarian presidential campaigns in the past. The Associated Press charges $15,000 for a live feed of incoming results ... an expense the campaign was not prepared to pay.

However, the Internet, like 9/11, has changed everything. We set up a whiteboard on which to track Badnarik's performance by state -- his total votes "in the bank," the percentage of the return so far that those votes represented, and the percentage of precincts reporting. And we set up four computers to follow the incoming results via Yahoo!'s display of their AP feed, as well as by pinging the sites of the various Secretaries of State directly. In this manner, we were able to track Badnarik's progress through the evening. Additionally, one Libertarian had created a spreadsheet program to keep running track of overall "banked votes," and to project the final total -- the formula being, of course, (V/PR)*100, where V is votes and PR is precincts reporting. If Badnarik had 100 votes with 10% of precincts reporting, the projection would be for him to have 1000 votes with 100% of precincts reporting.

It is by no means apparent that such a projection formula is automatically accurate for any particular state. A candidate may do well in rural precincts and not as well in urban precincts; one or the other type of precinct may be more likely to report early; he may do better in early/absentee voting, and so forth; and therefore a candidate may be seen losing or picking up votes versus the projection as the vote total approaches 100%. But while the projection formula may not be accurate for any particular state, it probably is accurate "in the round" -- different kinds of precincts report at different times in different places, some states count absentee ballots first and some count them last, etc. On average, the formula is sound. A candidate might see his percentage go down in one state, but it will go up in another, if the same criteria are at play.

What we saw instead was this: As each state hit 20-25% of precincts reporting, Badnarik's "votes added" began to descend. This descent seemed -- I didn't keep running track of each state as the trend didn't become apparent for awhile -- to be fairly uniform across the country, but with a somewhat higher attrition in Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico, states where he seemed likely to affect the disposition of electoral votes. Since the polls across the nation close in one-hour increments by time zone, the effect was staggered. It was probably about 9 p.m. Central time when Badnarik began dipping below 1% in Massachusetts; and 11:30 or so when his projected totals began their nosedive in California.

As of the first precinct reports from the Pacific time zone, Badnarik was tracking at a projected total of about 1.2 million votes. This projection was already beginning to descend; the key time marker in my mind is 9:30 p.m. Central, when campaign manager Fred Collins asked for the numbers, preparatory to the evening's "thanks to everyone and here's how we're doing" speech at 9:45. At that time, the projection was still well over one million.

The descent was rapid, steep and formulaic. Someone, for some reason, was systematically "disappearing" Badnarik's votes from the later precinct counts with two specific goals in mind: To ensure that he affected the disposition of no electoral votes, and to "norm" his vote total to about 400,000. There's really no other way to interpret what happened.

I expected -- and my expectations were not disappointed -- rejection of this hypothesis by some whom I initially shared it with. They pointed out that such a phenomenon seems to imply the existence of a massive conspiracy, the cooperation of hundreds or thousands of individuals, and a sophisticated organization which it would be difficult to keep secret. They were right to point these things out. In reply, I can only quote Galileo again -- Eppure si muove -- and in addendum the words of a character as fictional as Badnarik's reported vote count: "When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."

Monday, November 01, 2004

Time out for the unruly


When parents tell a kid not to do something, and make him promise not to do it, there have to be consequences when he turns around and does it. Those consequences must not be avoidable -- if he can wheedle his way out of punishment this time, there will be a next time. And when that mode of interaction between parent and child continues over a long period of time, the result is not a transition to civilized adulthood for the child, but a lifelong nightmare for the parents -- a "where did we go wrong?" retirement package in which the word "bailout" -- or perhaps even "bail" -- is likely to figure prominently.

I'm not a child psychologist. I don't even play one on TV. But the above is not a controversial claim. It's common sense. And it's something that one might reasonably expect proponents of "family values" to understand, even when it is applied to a social process which occurs on a larger scale than individual child-rearing ... like, say, presidential elections.

Why, then, are establishment conservatives pulling their collective hair out at the prospect that their errant children -- President George W. Bush and the Republican Party -- might face consequences tomorrow at the polls for four years of gross misrule which, by any account, encompass complete betrayal of the core conservative principles of limited government and respect for the Constitution?

The instant occasion which raises this question in my mind is David Kupelian's Open Letter to Libertarian, Constitution Party Voters on the popular WorldNetDaily web site. Kupelian is upset that libertarians and conservatives are abandoning the GOP presidential ticket to vote for "third party" candidates like Libertarian Michael Badnarik.

Kupelian's thesis, separated out from some fairly specious mischaracterizations of Bush v. Kerry ("okay, honey, so we caught him celebrating a Black Mass -- but that doesn't mean he's the lesser of two evils, it means that he's doing homework in comparative catechisms"), is that we have to tolerate misbehavior on the part of Republican presidents because ... well, just because. If we don't vote for the Crip, the Blood might win, and our kid's street gang is better than their kid's street gang.

Sorry, Mr. Kupelian. Your excuses wouldn't make the cut in any second grade playground controversy, let alone in the crucial, current adult discussion about this country's future. It's time for establishment conservatives to start taking responsibility for the party they parent and for the politicians they patronize instead of expecting libertarians and responsible conservatives to stand by as little Georgie writes on the wall with permanent marker, flushes mommy's diamond earrings down the toilet and bloodies the kid next door's nose.

Because establishment conservatives have failed to take their political spawn in hand, libertarians and responsible conservatives are now in clear support of the playground monitor's decision to send those children home to mommy. Stop whining Mr. Kupelian, and start setting a better example instead of expecting the rest of us to coddle your little monsters.

Friday, October 29, 2004

GonzoClip: Speaking of twisted and bizarre


The latest from America's greatest living writer:

"The genetically vicious nature of presidential campaigns in America is too obvious to argue with, but some people call it fun, and I am one of them. Election day -- especially when it's a presidential election -- is always a wild and terrifying time for politics junkies, and I am one of those, too. We look forward to major election days like sex addicts look forward to orgies. We are slaves to them. Which is not a bad thing, all in all, for the winners."

The whole enchilada ...

NewsClip: Necrobeerophilia


"Sheriff's officials have arrested a woman for digging up her dead boyfriend's ashes more than 10 years ago and drinking the beer that was buried with him, possibly out of spite for his family. Karen Stolzmann, now 44, was arrested Tuesday in a case Columbia County Detective Wayne Smith calls 'twisted and bizarre.'"

Can't make this stuff up ...

Leave it to the sickos at Fark to keep me in strange beer tales.

NewsClip: Wheels within wheels, bindreth


"The strongest evidence to date indicates that conventional explosives missing from Iraq's Al-Qaqaa installation disappeared after the United States had taken control of Iraq. Barrels inside the Al-Qaqaa facility appear on videotape shot by ABC television affiliate KSTP of St. Paul, Minn., which had a crew embedded with the 101st Airborne Division when it passed through Al-Qaqaa on April 18, 2003 -- nine days after Baghdad fell."

Full story ...

I won't say that I've ever accepted "news" uncritically just because it was "news," but at one time I at least believed that reporters were really trying to tell me something about what was happening. This election cycle has my color-coded "who's behind what here" system constantly in the red.

So ... did Rove plant the original story, planning to let it backfire on Kerry, and is he now caught with his pants down by this video?

Or did the Kerry campaign plant the original story, get caught with its pants down by the rebuttal, and have the good fortune to cover its ass back up with this video?

Or did the media have the video from the beginning, run the story knowing that the rebuttal would push it into the "big news" category, and save the video until after the run-up for maximum effect?

Or ... who the hell knows? Any more, the real item of interest in the story isn't the story itself, but the attempt to figure out who is doing the spinning and why.

The funny thing is -- and this card is so obvious that I can't believe Kerry hasn't played it yet -- is that it really doesn't matter whether the explosives were removed before or after the US forces reached Al Qaqaa. There's little doubt that they were removed because of the invasion, or because of the threat of the invasion. No matter how you cut it, it was the Bush administration's actions which resulted in the disappearance of the stuff. And if it is now being used to wreak havoc, then they are partially culpable for that, too.

It's really no different than when a bank guard has a heart attack and dies during a robbery. Regardless of whether the robber intended to kill anyone or not, he's now on the hook for homicide.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

NewsClip: Bush wins election. No, not that one.


"With U.S. voters soon to pass their verdict on President George W. Bush, readers of a British magazine have rated him the year's top screen villain. Bush won the dubious accolade, announced Wednesday, for his appearance in Michael Moore's anti-Bush documentary 'Fahrenheit 9/11.' He beat a shortlist that included the nefarious Doctor Octopus, played by Alfred Molina, in 'Spider-Man 2;' 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre''s cannibalistic Leatherface; Andy Serkis' creepy Gollum from 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy; and Elle Driver, the eyepatch-wearing assassin played by Daryl Hannah (news) in 'Kill Bill.'"

Read more ...

Hat tip to Fark.

BlogProps: Not a BlogClip ... it's something else


I try to remember courtesy and hand out hat tips where they're due. And I have Ye Olde Blogroll, of course. And I occasionally clip a piece of an interesting entry. But for some reason, Stupid Evil Bastard never shows up in the main column of this site. Dunno why ... I think the content stream is just different enough. Nonetheless, when I really enjoy a blog, I like to mention it, and this is one that I enjoy. Check out the beard, man.

NewsClip: Gratuitous beer story


"Now playing in Corvallis [OR], Pi Beta Rho fraternity, brought to you by Pabst Blue Ribbon. In what marketers believe is the first instance of a beer brand sponsoring a student group, the beer maker has adopted the unaffiliated Oregon State University fraternity."

Read more ...

Rock concerts, fraternities ... why don't the beer companies never sponsor, um, me?

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

An inexplicable urge to conformity


Everyone seems to be offering these things on blogs (although I've also seen them advertised at $10 a pop while exploring the idea of setting up an "exchange" site), and I have six of'em. So, here's how it works:

The first six people to leave a comment asking for one and including an email address get a Gmail invite.

Hint: If you are comment #7 or later, don't bother. When I have more invites, I'll post'em, not come looking back at this post. As a matter of fact, I'll probably delete the post when the six are given out.

Monday, October 25, 2004

NewsClip: Is that all the October Surprise ya got?


"U.S. Chief Justice William Rehnquist, the leader of the Supreme Court's conservative majority, has undergone surgery for thyroid cancer, a court spokeswoman said on Monday. His illness, disclosed just eight days before the presidential election, threw a focus on the issue of possible replacements for aging judges on the nine-member court, some of whom are expected to retire during the next presidency."

Which, of course, is exactly what it was intended to do.

Here's the story ...

I have to admit it: I'm underwhelmed. I expected Bush to swagger out for a press conference with Osama bin Laden's head on a platter, or arrange for a nuclear detonation in a major blue state city, or something extravagant. I expected him to think big, dammit.

This isn't extravagant, it's just petty. We'll probably see Antonin Scalia faking grand mal seizures on the sidewalk in front of the court next, or maybe Clarence Thomas in a close encounter with the artist formerly known as Mrs. John Bobbitt. "Puh-leeze, voters, don't elect a president who'll appoint Raul Castro to the Supreme Court -- can't you see we're dying here?"

The Republicans apparently think the electorate is stupid enough to buy into "the increased number and ferocity of attacks in Iraq prove we're winning," but smart enough to give a rat's ass about Supreme Court appointments over the next four years, but yet again stupid enough to believe that Rehnquist just happened to schedule his surgery for the week before the election.

Pathetic.

NewsClip(s): Latest presidential endorsements


George W. Bush has garnered endorsements from the head of Iran's security council and the dictator of the former Soviet Union. Way to go, George.

Meanwhile, Bob Barr has endorsed Libertarian Michael Badnarik.

Nobody's endorsing Kerry, but the media speculates that he may spoil Badnarik's chances in several key states.

NewsClip: Methinks Ed doth protest too much ...


"The head of the Republican National Committee has threatened to take legal action against the pro-voting group Rock the Vote and to challenge its non-profit status if the group continues to discuss the possibility that the government may reinstate the draft. In an extraordinary letter sent last week that has received almost no media attention, Republican chief Ed Gillespie wrote to the group and accused it of 'promoting a false and misleading campaign designed to scare America's youth into believing that they may be drafted to serve in the military.' Last month the group sent a mock draft notice by email to over 600,000 email addresses. Gillespie described the possibility of the reinstatement of the draft as an urban myth and as proof cited a statement by President Bush that there would be no draft."

Here's the article -- includes copies of letters, and show transcript.

Hat tip to Fark.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Knappster: Yankee Imperialist Running Dog?


Well, sort of.

Occasionally I find one of these "make money on the Internet opportunities" worth a shot. Usually I turn a small profit and then the thing goes moribund. I just came across a promising one -- it's called "$2 empire," although I haven't quite figured out why -- and this is my pitch for it.

It works like this: You pay $2.97 to me, and $1.97 in "setup fees" to get your own "flog the opportunity" web site just like mine. In return, you get access to a bunch of e-books (of the "how to make money on the Internet" variety) and software (of the "free tools that you could probably find on your own, but which are probably a good deal at $4.94 instead of spending hours to hunt down" variety).

Then you flog your site, like I'm doing now, and you get $2.97 per sale.

Since I'm a Linux user, I haven't viewed all of the stuff you get yet (I'll port it over to my Windows machine later). Some of the e-books are in PDF format, and they're okay. Others are in a proprietary Windows format -- I've seen a few of them before, and they're okay, too. Naturally, this is characterized as "over $5,500 dollars worth" of software, but let's not go getting crazy about it. It's a good deal at the price, and it has some profit potential.

I'm not going to promise that this will make you a millionaire, but the way I see it, two sales puts me into the "profit zone" -- and the same applies to you. If you have a site or a blog, and want to make a little money, this may be your bag.

Anyway, here's the link. You know what to do.

NewsClip: Ann Coulter, meet Coconut Cream


Conservatism's answer to affirmative action ("hey, she's got a vagina, hire her -- who cares whether or not she can write?") has a Close Encounter of the Baked Kind:

"Author and conservative columnist Ann Coulter was assaulted by two men who threw custard pies at her during a talk at the University of Arizona. The Arizona Daily Wildcat reports as Coulter was answering questions in front of a packed house at the university's Centennial Hall, the men ran up on stage and threw the pies, one of which connected with her shoulder while missing her face -- a pie-thrower's traditional target."

Read the story ...

Jeez, guys, how can you miss a piehole that's the size of Rhode Island and always open?




Thursday, October 21, 2004

NewsClip/Analysis: A realistic conspiracy theory


Televangelist Pat Robertson is causing quite a stir with his statement that President George W. Bush told him "Oh, no, we're not going to have any casualties" in Iraq.

Here's the story ...

And here's my theory:

Robertson could be telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, without it being (yet another) indication that Bush is a stark-raving nutsoid.

Bear with me for a minute here.

As you'll recall, the Bush administration preceded the invasion of Iraq with "precision strikes" intended to kill Saddam Hussein. As a matter of fact, I seem to recall that at least one of those strikes occurred a little before the "magic deadline."

Is there any reason to believe that this was done ad hoc, without a plan in place to exploit it if it worked, other than the fact that the Bush administration makes a habit of doing things ad hoc without plans in place to exploit them if they work?

My tentative conclusion is that Bush already had a deal cut with one or more Iraqi military leaders: If we could take Hussein and the Revolutionary Command Council out of the picture, they'd assume control, lay down their arms and welcome the "liberators" in to set up a new Iraqi government that the US could work with. If I'm not mistaken, some Iraqi commanders did keep their troops in barracks and surrender early, although that may have been just propaganda or wishful thinking. Trying to discern reality through the lens of CNN or Fox is like trying to bash a pinata during a tornado.

But if such a deal was in the works, it's entirely conceivable that Bush believed this would be a bloodless coup with few, if any, casualties. He probably wasn't going to tell Pat Robertson why he believed that, but he might have told Robertson that he believed it.

Grain of salt as always, but let it never be said that I don't give Bush the benefit of doubt when there actually is some.

BlogClip: Of course there won't be a draft! -- the FAQ


Q: Is there an elephant in this room?

A: Of course not! How could we miss an elephant in the room? That's so crazy! You've been listening to crazy rumors about crazy elephants on the crazy internet, that's what we think.

Q: Then what's that huge gray animal in the corner with the large flappy ears and prehensile trunk surrounded by heaps of elephant feed, elephant dung, and a sign reading 'Do Not Touch The Elephant'?

A: That is an armadillo.


Read the rest at Fafblog ...

Hat tip to Joe Crow.

CyrptoSlashDotIcon


It's Neal Stephenson. It's a Slashdot interview. Need I say more?
Here's the interview ...

Hat tip to Ken Holder of The Libertarian Enterprise.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

NewsClip: Scenes from a banana republic


"Sen. John Kerry has a simple strategy if the presidential race is in doubt on Nov. 3, the day after the election: Do not repeat Al Gore's mistakes. Unlike the former vice president, who lost a recount fight and the 2000 election, Kerry will be quick to declare victory on election night and begin defending it. He also will be prepared to name a national security team before knowing whether he's secured the presidency."

Read more ...

Hat tip to Res Publica 2004.

The blogger there ("Susan") seems to regard Kerry's preparations as a plot to steal the election.

Most Democrats, on the other hand, genuinely believe that the 2000 election was stolen and that they need to be able to stop it from happening again.

Both "major" parties -- or, rather, both wings of the One Ruling Party -- are playing a very dangerous game here. Call the results of one election into question, and you're defending democracy. Call the results of two elections in a row into question, and you're indicting the system itself.

Not that I have a problem with the Dem and Rep top hats taking that road, mind you -- but they should realize that they'll be the first ones up against the wall when the revolution comes.

BookNote: Good To Be King


Michael Badnarik, the Libertarian Party's 2004 presidential candidate, on the Constitution and what it means. Good stuff -- and already in the Amazon.Com Top 100!


$13.97 at Amazon.Com

New Blogroll: WTF is a "Progressive Blog Alliance?"


It all started with a misapprehension -- I thought I was reciprocally linking with one site, when in fact I was joining some kind of mutual blogrolling society.

But what the heck? The additional load time is negligible and the interchange of ideas can't hurt. If it works out, it works out. If it doesn't, I may have to see about a "Libertarian Blog Alliance." We are, after all, the real progressives, right?

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

New GeeGaw


Listed on BlogShares


It says this is a "growing blog." Cool.

NewsClip: Air Force One, you are cleared to taxi



Yes, it's Karl. Read about it here. Hat tip, as is not unusual, to FARK.

NewsClip: But it's okay if you heard about Viagra on TV


"A routine kidney transplant that was supposed to take place Monday was cancelled after the doctor who was going to perform the operation said he had 'ethical concerns' about the procedure because the donor and recipient met on the Internet. Bob Hickey of Edwards, Colo., is in dire need a kidney transplant because his one remaining kidney is failing. He met a willing kidney donor on a Web site called www.MatchingDonors.com. The site connects people in need of an organ transplant with those willing to become live donors."

Read the story ...

The guy needs a kidney. He's lined up a willing donor. If doctors and hospitals consider it "unethical" to pony up for donor location, or even to outright buy an organ from a willing seller, then how is it that medical care is so expensive? What? You mean the doctors and hospitals don't waive their fees? Do tell.

Speaking of which, this is a good place to flog LifeSharers -- a market-oriented approach to organ donation. Check'em out.

Monday, October 18, 2004

BlogClip: The sins of Sinclair


I don't always agree with Ron Davis, but he's one of my favorite bloggers (and prior to that one of my favorite columnists in my former home of Springfield, Missouri). I disagree heartily enough with his blog entry on the Sinclair Group's broadcast of an anti-Kerry film to mention it here.

Davis is upset about an editorial in the Springfield News-Leader by Robert Leger. I've worked with Leger before as an op-ed writer (he's the paper's editorial page editor, as well as a dead ringer for Boo Boo on that cartoon about bears at JellyStone Park) and as a community representative on the News-Leader's editorial board. I don't always agree with him, either, but he's level-headed and he got this one right: "Speech should not be collared."

Yes, the movie is anti-Kerry propaganda.

So?

Davis has a thing about the airwaves being "public" and this making the situation different, in principle, from a newspaper op-ed or even a movie screened in theatres or sold on DVD (Hello, Michael Moore).

That doesn't fly with me. If the problem is that the airwaves are public, let's privatize them. Speech is either free or it isn't. Streetcorners are public, too, but Davis would never suggest that the FCC regulate his old column in the News-Leader, sold on those streetcorners, for that reason. And if the American people don't have the brains to sort out the propaganda and then sift the real facts from it, Sinclair Group is just a symptom, not the problem.

Site Review: Stupid traffic trick? No, not really


I'm a sucker for banner exchanges and other "traffic enhancement tools," but they're almost uniformly disappointing. I expected to think the same of BlogExplosion, but it actually seems to be working out pretty well.

Here's how it works: You sign up, register your blog, and then you "surf for points." In other words, you visit blogs served up by BlogExplosion (yes, I'm flogging a referral link -- more on that in a minute) in a frameset. Spend a minimum of 30 seconds on each blog, and for every two blogs you visit, they send one surfer your way.

You can also rack up referrals by rating blogs (it's like a random drawing scenario -- rate blogs in a frameset, and every so often, "you've won n points" comes up), or use some of your credits to display banner ads for your blog on their site. And you grab a share of the credits those whom you refer accrue as well (hence the referral link).

The usual rule of thumb here is, if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is. So far, though, I'm having fun with BlogExplosion. I just open up the "surfing" and "rating" pages in a couple of extra tabs while I'm doing other things. When I have a free moment, I look at or rate the blogs in the tabs and set it to loading new ones.

I've found a few blogs that I've bookmarked and/or blogrolled this way, so it's not a total waste of time. Offhand, I'd say 1 in 5 of the blogs are interesting enough to spend more than the required 30 seconds on. And the way I see it, at least some small percentage of those visiting my site via BlogExplosion will like it enough to bookmark or blogroll it themselves.

For once, everybody really does win.

Check out BlogExplosion

NewsClip: In the latest beer news ...


"Bottles of Newcastle Brown Ale are to carry health warnings similar to those printed on packets of cigarettes. The labels will tell drinkers how many units of alcohol a can or bottle contains -- typically about two units for a can of lager. "

Read more ...

Hat tip to FARK.

Sounds like the Brits are following America's lame, dour example. Why can't we get real, useful warnings on our beer -- "she's not as attractive as you think she is right now" or "don't eat the big white mint" or "if you can still read this label, you haven't had enough to drink yet?"

Sunday, October 17, 2004

BlogClip: Sciabarra on the Big Picture


"The ideological veneer that allows Bush administration officials to speak of the 'free market,' also allows them to champion what they hope will be commercial 'spin-offs from spending on domestic security that are likely to offset some of the drag. The Internet, after all, started life as a Pentagon-financed research project, connecting military and academic laboratories.' Note, however, that the corporations involved in producing domestic security are now clamoring not for the free market, but for even greater government regulation."

Read it here ...

OpEdClip: Casey at the bat


"You've heard all the reasons why you should vote. Most of them are humbug at best, and some -- like 'It doesn't matter how you vote. Just vote' -- are simply idiotic. Voting today has nothing to do with 'civic duties' you learned about in grade school. Your fellow citizens aren't Jimmy Stewart and Gary Cooper look-alikes earnestly trying to do the right thing. Well over 50 percent of U.S. citizens are now net tax recipients, and they've trundled down to the polls in their tank tops and shower slippers only to help ensure they stay on the gravy train."

Read more ...

Gotta love Doug Casey. I do wish that WorldNetDaily would post his commentaries in a timely manner, though. He's listed as a Thursday columnist, but his articles generally aren't there when I check on Thursdays. They show up later, when I'm not looking. Hat tip to Strike the Root for the heads up on this one.

A modest campaign ad proposal


Do you have a web site? Are you willing to use that web site to promote your preferred candidate?

If so, it can be easy (and, so far as I know, the BCRA police won't come knocking at your door -- but don't blame me if they do).

1) Join a "banner exchange" program, such as e-bannerx.com. There are others -- a web search will pull them up. Your choice. Insert their code into your web site's HTML so that you're displaying others' banners and accruing credits to have your own displayed elsewhere.

2) Grab the banner from the bottom of this page, or here. Right click, save as ... you know the drill.

3) Upload the banner and point it at www.badnarik.org. If your banner exchange program lets you do targeting, have the ad displayed on sites likely to have an interested audience.

That's it. Easy enough to do. I just set it up myself and am donating the impressions from my own sites to the cause. No reason that even a few of us can't rack up hundreds of thousands of Badnarik ad impressions over the next two weeks -- so let's do this.

Saturday, October 16, 2004


Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

NewsClip: File under "You Have Got to be Shitting Me"


"The President of the United States does not believe it was appropriate for Sen. Kerry to bring [up] Mary Cheney at the debate," said White House press secretary Scott McClellan.

Read it ...

I'm sure that the President of the United States does not believe it was appropriate for Senator Kerry to bring up the war in Iraq, deficits, education, taxes, health care or anything else, either. That's beside the point.

Dick Cheney hasn't scrupled about using his daughter as a political tool in the past -- as a matter of fact, specifically to put a "human face" on the Bush administration.

Nor did Cheney object when Edwards mentioned her in the vice-presidential debate.

Nor, for that matter, have Cheney or Bush ever publicly repudiated Alan Keyes (R-Psych Ward) for not only bringing up her "selfish, hedonistic" lifestyle, but calling her a "sinner."

The question asked of both candidates, lest anyone forget, came down to "is homosexuality a choice?" Bush droned on about the Defense of Marriage Act for a bit in response. Kerry didn't knock it out of the park (sorry for the baseball allusion, Radley, but I couldn't think of a better one that didn't involve double entendre); he just pointed out that he was sure the Cheneys loved their daughter and didn't regard her as having made some conscious choice to defy their deeply held beliefs, but rather as someone who is who she is.

If this is the best spin the GOP can come up with on the debate, they might as well pack it in and take the next two weeks off. There's nothing controversial about this except among the desperate.

Just what is the goal in Iraq?


Something about the new US offensive against Fallujah nagged at me all day yesterday, but I couldn't put my finger on it. There's the obvious, which I've already mentioned and won't belabor, but something else, too.

I've figured out what it is:

U.S. troops detained Fallujah's top negotiator in the peace talks, witnesses said.

I guess I will belabor the obvious once again for a moment: 27 million Iraqis are watching. No, the occupational forces and their collaorators can't be expected to just stand down for Ramadan, but launching a major offensive going into Ramadan isn't much of a heart- and mind-winner, either.

Others are watching, too.

Namely, the resistance.

Estimates of the resistance's size varies -- as of last November, DoD was saying 5,000. As of last month, they were saying 20,000. Most non-DoD sources think that the Iraqi resistance is much larger and growing like Topsy.

The resistance is obviously composed of a multiplicity of groups, each with its own agenda. Some of them are going to be "fight to the death" types who won't consider reaching a modus vivendi with the occupation or its collaborators under any circumstances. It's not them I'm thinking about.

We've seen, with Moqtada al Sadr's Mahdi Army, that some of the resistance groups have limited goals. They'd happily eject the occupiers if they could; failing that, they're conditionally willing to ground their arms for a place at the Iraqi political table.

If, that is, the Americans can be trusted to honor the agreement. Al Sadr had to drive this lesson home after the US violated its first ceasefire with him. I thought that the affair had been entered into the "lessons learned" notebook. Apparently not.

Detaining envoys sent to negotiate agreements doesn't seem like the best way to engender the trust necessary to halting hostilities.

To put a finer point on it, if Grant had kidnapped Lee and spirited him away, the Army of Northern Virginia would have a) doubled in size as outraged new recruits flocked to its banners and b) fought to the last man.

I'll let you in on a little secret: The US has no chance whatsoever of defeating the Iraq resistance in toto. It can't be done, because the fighting itself brings new recruits to the cause faster than they can be killed. The only chance of achieving "pacification," slim as it is, lies in diverting most of the resistance into a political process and isolating the diehards. The latter are a "vanguard" whose recruiting prospects will diminish once they are no longer part of a much larger movement.

So, how many of the resistance groups are likely to even talk to the US if the people they send to do the talking are scooped up and hauled to Abu Ghraib?

What the hell are we trying to accomplish over there? The indications are that it isn't anything resembling "pacification."

Friday, October 15, 2004

NewsClip: Way to win hearts and minds, bozos ...


"U.S. warplanes pounded the insurgent [sic] stronghold of Fallujah, where residents were marking the first day of the holy month of Ramadan on Friday, a day after city leaders suspended peace talks and rejected the Iraqi government's demands to turn over terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. U.S. troops detained Fallujah's top negotiator in the peace talks, witnesses said. Khaled al-Jumeili, an Islamic cleric, was arrested as he left a mosque after prayers in a village about 10 miles south of Fallujah, they said. There was no immediate U.S. comment.

Read more ...

This is the kind of thing that makes me wish the guys over at Stupid Evil Bastard hadn't already taken the motto "What the fuck is wrong with you people?"

Don't get me wrong. War is war, and it is indeed hell. The resistance isn't going to stop resisting for Ramadan, and the occupational forces can't just give their guys a 28-day furlough in the expectation that nothing will be happening.

But it's not just the resistance that matters, if the goal is, as alleged, "democratizing" or even "pacifying" Iraq. What matters is 27 million Iraqis whom the US forces allegedly want to get hooked on mom, baseball and apple pie. Does timing a major offensive to coincide with Islam's holy month strike anyone as the best way to win friends and influence people? No, it didn't strike me that way either.

Yes, I know that Iraq is a lost cause ... but if our Lords and Masters in Washington are going to pretend otherwise, they should at least keep up appearances. This is stupidity on steroids.

NewsClip: But honey, all the guys are doing it ...


"Members of a Romanian political party were surprised to find out they need wives signed agreements if they want to be included on lists for parliamentary elections."

Read all about it ...

Speaking of which ... has anyone called John Edwards' mom to let her know why he's always late getting in after glee club practice?

NewsClip: Former Reagan official endorses Badnarik


"To vote for either the Republican or Democratic presidential candidates in 2004 is not only a vote to maintain the status quo, but is also a vote for ever greater levels of intrusion by the government in your personal and professional lives. If, on the other hand, enough people vote for Badnarik, then a process will be set in motion whereby the two major parties will have to take notice. If less government and more freedom is what you want, then the Libertarian Party is the mechanism to get you there. There is no other choice."

Read Lance Lamberton's entire op-ed here ...

Lance Lamberton of Cobb County [GA] was deputy director of the White House Office of Policy Information under President Reagan.

Note: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution requires readers to register. If you don't have an account, and don't want one, then login with the email address "info@news-digets.com" and the pwd "news-digests."

NewsClip: Support the troops


"A 17-member Army Reserve platoon with troops from Jackson and around the Southeast deployed to Iraq is under arrest for refusing a 'suicide mission' to deliver fuel, the troops' relatives said Thursday. The soldiers refused an order on Wednesday to go to Taji, Iraq -- north of Baghdad -- because their vehicles were considered 'deadlined' or extremely unsafe, said Patricia McCook of Jackson, wife of Sgt. Larry O. McCook."

Read more ...

Hat tip to AntiWar.Com

This one requires some action.

In the normal course of things, if a particular NCO or enlisted man refuses to obey a lawful order, he's charged, his case is disposed of through Article 15 proceedings or a court martial, and that's the end of it. The next person down the chain of command takes over for him, and the order gets carried out.

That's not the case with this platoon from the 343rd Quartermaster Company. If the article is correct, every last man and woman in the platoon backed their platoon sergeant.

Ergo, something smells rotten in Denmark. This is mutiny, and mutiny is exceedingly rare in the Armed Forces of the United States. I have trouble believing that an entire platoon would refuse a mission unless something were dead wrong about that mission.

The claim of the platoon, in essence, seems to be that a) the mission entails a high likelihood of attack, and b) the state of their equipment is such that they would not be able to effectively defend themselves in case of an attack.

You know what to do. Here and here are the tools to do it.

NewsClip: In the latest beer news ...


"After months of intense competition from over 60 great cities across the USA, Leisure Technician LLC, owner and operator of the Beer Hall of Fame, U.S. Beer Drinking Team, Beer Radio and Beer Television has initiated negotiations with a prominent business development team led by Randall Herbst of the Vision Implementation Group LLC (VIG) to have Cincinnati, Ohio as the permanent host city for the Beer Hall of Fame."

Read more ...

Thursday, October 14, 2004

NewsClip: Boobies alert


Gotta keep up the search engine optimization, and my research indicates that boobies is a top-flight keyword. So I need to mention boobies whenever possible. Boobies, boobies, boobies.

Thus this article on the increasing popularity of artificial boobies among Chinese men. Anyone know the Mandarin word for boobies?

Hat tip to FARK, your one-stop shopping for boobies news.

Debate and election musings


No, I didn't watch the debate [sic] last night (had a meeting). I got my impressions of it from brief clips later on the cable news networks, and from articles on the web.

That's how most people are getting their impressions of these affairs. Why watch paint dry when someone else will do it for you and let you know how it peeled?

If you're interested, here's a transcript. Hat tip to HundredPercenter NewsWires.

I continue to hold that what counts in the "debates" is not specific issues stands or policy proposals, but personal impression. William Saletan of Slate summed it up in that respect better than I can:

"The closing statements confirmed the tide of the race. Kerry spoke like a man closing a deal. He recalled his service to his country, promised 'tested, strong leadership that can calm the waters of the troubled world,' and vowed to protect the nation in the tradition of FDR, JFK, and Reagan. Bush spoke like a man pleading for a second chance."

That's really what it comes down to -- not just in the "debates" but in the election itself. Yes, Kerry has a record (one he's done his best to minimize). But Bush has a record as president.

A sitting president has to run on his record.

A sitting president with a real chance of re-election refers to what a great job he's done and watches the votes roll in.

A sitting president in trouble defends his record, convinces people that he's done a great job and watches the votes roll in.

A sitting president who's not going to get a second term does what Bush has done through three "debates" now. He talks about what "hard work" it is. He talks about the problems he's "inherited." He asks for another chance. And he watches the votes roll out.

Nearly every Republipundit on the spin scene -- the obvious exception being Hugh Hewitt -- sees the writing on the wall. They know their guy's going down. Some of them are trying to put a brave face on things; others are getting frantic; most are already beginning the post-election autopsy.

Here's the key (and it's nothing I haven't already said, elsewhere if not here):

"Gimme a mulligan" doesn't work with undecided voters.

If a sitting president doesn't have someone's vote in pocket after nearly four years in office and six years on the campaign trail, it's an uphill battle.

"Do-over" doesn't get it.

Unless Bush can convince those undecided voters to ignore the nagging uncertainties of their own experience and to re-write the last four years of their own lives as an era of Bush-induced paradise, complete with 72 houris -- they are not going to vote for him. They're undecided because they have doubts; unless the doubts are erased, they're going to roll the dice, not stay the course.

Bush has all his money on the pass line -- and it looks like the shooter is about to throw craps.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

NewsClip: Kevin Tull kicks ass for liberty


"U.S. Senate candidates from four political parties converged on MU's Jesse Hall on Tuesday to debate a range of domestic and foreign issues, including education, Missouri River regulation, health care and the war on terrorism."

Read more ...

BlogClip: Dean's World Double Whammy


Dean's World has a couple of really good pieces up:

An interview with Swift Boat Vet George Elliot

and

A perceptive review of the pollsters.

I'm not really sure what to think about the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. On the one hand, I'm inclined to give them some benefit of doubt. They were there, after all. On the other hand, after 30 years of silence -- and, in some cases, even support -- it's not unreasonable to wonder about motives. The Elliot interview actually allays some of my skepticism, as in the following sequence:

DW: Do you intend to keep speaking out against Kerry if he is elected in November?

GE: Once it's over it's over. I have no reason to continue, the American people will vote and make their choice. I don't know that I---I would not continue to oppose a sitting American President if the people put him there.

DW: Has the Senator ever apologized to you for his statements about war crimes and atrocities supposedly committed everywhere with the full support of all levels of command in Viet Nam?

GE: Never.

DW: If he did apologize would you accept it?

GE: If he tried to apologize between now and the time of the election, no. Win or lose on the 2nd of November, if he were to stand up and apologize to me and the hundreds of thousands of other veterans that he has offended over the years, I would accept his apology.

DW: Do you think that anyone who protested the Viet Nam war was fink? Are you simply mad at Kerry for protesting the war?

GE: Of course not, of course not. Every American's born with the right to criticize their government. Even Jane Fonda, she didn't have to fight to earn that right, it's a birthright.

What is not a birthright is lying in order to support your protest.

Please stand by for our Search Engine Optimization break


Time to beef up those search engine results again. I'm still getting hits from people looking for the Rockmelon ring tone that's supposed to increase the size of one's boobies (boobies is at number 255 with a bullet on Wordtracker's "surge list" right now -- boobies, boobies, boobies, I guess).

So, what do we have? FactCheck.Org weighs in at #3 on the surge list, presumably because of Dick Cheney's gaffe in last week's vice-presidential debate (he told people to go to factcheck.com, when he meant factcheck.org -- and someone snatched up the factcheck.com domain name and redirected it to George Soros's blog before the debate had ended). Yep, gotta mention factcheck.org a few times. Very low KEI, but I have a gut feeling about it. Factcheck.org. Rolls right off the tongue, doesn't it?

Okay, to the "long term" list. Anyone have a clue what "pelajar uitm bogel" is supposed to mean? Sounds like some kind of ethnic food. Hmmm ... most of the search results on it go to those "manufacture an on-the-fly link" pages (learn more about pelajar uitm bogel! Buy pelajar uitm bogel!). Here we go: According to the Search Engine Optimization Forum, it means "nude UITM student" in Malay. It's going strong at #120. She must be one good-looking gal.

Thank you for your patience. We now return to our regular programming.

Negative ad of the Day


OK, yeah, it's bad. Still, if Dick Cheney had tossed it off as a one-liner with Kerry as the target, Republipundits would be falling over themselves pointing out how "tough" and "tell-it-like-it-is" he is, and chiding the lefties for their "political correctness."



Here's the whine about it from the Traditional Values Coalition.

Hat tip to McQ at Questions and Observations.

Where's George?


Investment banker George Soros has a new blog, on which he attempts to explain his rationale for wanting to unseat George W. Bush. He also invites feedback and questions.

So talk to him.

Topic suggestion: While Soros isn't by any means an ideological libertarian, he does share some issues perspectives with us (for example, he has funded marijuana decriminalization initiatives around the US). And a lot of us share his desire to Boot Bush. Finally, he can really only shove so much money at Democratic candidates and organizations effectively.

Why isn't Soros putting any of those millions into the Libertarian Party, its presidential campaign and PACs, 527s, etc.? Inquiring minds want to know. I've asked. Maybe if you ask, too, he'll come up with an answer. Or a check.

A modest suggestion


Suicide cults seem to be going high-tech now. And, as an entrepeneur, I'd like to get in on some of that action. If you'd like to become a member of the Knappster Indexed Suicide Pact Fund, just drop me an email, modify your will to make me your sole heir and off yourself. If it pleases you to wait for some significant astronomical event or religious anniversary, don't feel rushed or anything. Take the time to get your portfolio diversified and in good shape first.

NewsClip: Couldn't make it up if I tried


"Police responding to a call of a convulsing Elvis Presley impersonator soon found themselves in a high-speed chase of another faux celebrity a man dressed as one of the Blues Brothers. Crystal Police Capt. Dave Oyaas said the bizarre string of events began when officers were called to a veterans hall Monday morning to find a man dressed as Elvis Presley apparently in convulsions. When the officers approached, Oyaas said the man suddenly jumped up and yelled, 'Viva Las Vegas!' before singing show tunes. At about the same time, two women said another man at the veterans hall dressed as John Belushi's character in 'The Blues Brothers' had stolen their car and driven to a nearby airport."

Read more ...

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

NewsClip: Only Bush is allowed to screw soldiers in public


"Two soldiers charged with public lewdness remained jailed Monday after they were observed having sex on the grounds of one of the nation's most revered historic sites, the Alamo. "

Read more ...

NewsClip: Bureaucrats are such @ssholes


"A father in central China has been refused permission to name his son '@.'"

Read more ...

NewsClip: Just another article which mentions beer


"While the people of Nelson, B.C. were busy arguing with U.S. veterans about proposals for a statue honouring American draft dodgers last month, 50 kilometres down Kootenay Lake, the town of Creston was having a similar battle. There, the statue at issue is a three-metre bronze of a sasquatch carrying a case of beer."

Read more ...

Hat tip to FARK.

Monday, October 11, 2004

No guts, no glory part 2


Updated electoral vote prediction:

Alabama (9)Alaska (3)Arizona (10)
Arkansas (6)California (55)Colorado (9)
Connecticut (7)DC (3)Delaware (3)
Florida (27)Georgia (15)Hawaii (4)
Idaho (4)Illinois (21)Indiana (11)
Iowa (7)Kansas (6)Kentucky (8)
Louisiana (9)Maine (4)Maryland (10)
Massachusetts (12)Michigan (17)Minnesota (10)
Mississippi (6) Missouri (11)Montana (3)
Nebraska (5)Nevada (5)New Hampshire(4)
New Jersey (15)New Mexico(5)New York (31)
North Carolina (15)North Dakota (3)Ohio (20)
Oklahoma (7)Oregon (7)Pennsylvania (21)
Rhode Island (4)South Carolina (8)South Dakota (3)
Tennessee (11)Texas (34)Utah (5)
Vermont (3)Virginia (13)Washington (11)
West Virginia (5)Wisconsin (10)Wyoming (3)


Since my last prediction, I've moved Iowa's 7 electoral votes and Missouri's 11 electoral votes into the Kerry column, for a new projected outcome of:

President-elect John Kerry: 336 electoral votes
Outgoing President George W. Bush: 202 electoral votes

NewsClip: Boy, 13, grows monster pumpkin


"A 13-year-old schoolboy has grown a 700lb pumpkin -- by feeding it beer."

Read more ...

But will he drive the damn thing to its AA meetings?

Review: "Fahrenheit 9/11"


"Is it too late to review 'Fahrenheit 9/11?' I don't think so. Millions of Americans haven't seen it -- more than have, as a matter of fact. But we'll all see it eventually. It's inescapable, like all the best propaganda.

"Yes, propaganda. Michael Moore didn't intend to make a dispassionate documentary. He intended to impale George W. Bush on a stake of celluloid, and that's exactly what he did. But even if you consider yourself a Bush supporter or a Republican, you owe it to yourself to watch 'Fahrenheit 9/11.' It's not just a movie. It's a cultural artifact of this particular time in history."

Read the entire review at Epinions

Solution: For those who fear the "wasted vote"


Kent van Cleave offers an interesting proposition for those who plan to reluctantly vote for the "lesser evil" -- and who have a friend planning to reluctantly vote for the other "lesser evil." Check out VoteBuddy if you resemble this remark.

OpinionClip/Analysis: The light begins to dawn ...


"It's tempting for conservatives to believe several major polls showing President George W. Bush four to six points ahead of Kerry right now. Tempting, but probably a mistake. A new tracking poll released by John Zogby on Thursday -- and taken in the wake of the president's disappointing performance in the first debate -- finds a statistical dead heat, with Bush at 46 percent, Senator Kerry at 44 percent, and 8 percent undecided. ... by far the most interesting -- and disturbing -- finding in his poll is that 'among undecided voters, only 15% feel the President deserves to be re-elected, while 39% say it is time for someone new.' What if the undecideds break 2-to-1 against the president less than 30 days from now? We could be looking at a Kerry landslide."

Read Joel C. Rosenberg's National Review piece

The Republicans seem to be surprised by this. They shouldn't be.

John Kerry has been campaigning for the presidency for a year and a half, and for only about six months as the presumed nominee of the Democratic Party.

George W. Bush, however, has been campaigning for the presidency since at least 1998, and for nearly four years as the incumbent.

Hint: When you've been campaigning for nearly six years, and when you've been able to do so for nearly four years from a platform of 100% media penetration and with the ability to actually do, rather than just promise ...

"Undecided" means "not very happy with the way things are."

The only undecided voters who might go for Bush are disaffected Republicans who are very unhappy with him, but not quite unhappy enough with him to have already firmly committed to a third party candidate or perhaps even to Kerry.

All of those undecided voters are default non-Bush voters unless Bush suddenly comes up with a reason for them to support him -- something he hasn't been able to do in the last six years, and something that he's unlikely to do in the next three weeks.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Back on the horse


Whoo ... it's been a heck of a couple of days, folks. I've been too busy with the Badnarik campaign to blog much. I'll probably write about it soon, but not just at this particular moment. Stand by for a return to normal bloggage.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Event: In a few minutes ...


3:00-3:30 p.m. central today, I'll be on Scott Horton's "Weekend Interview Show." Listen in!

Here's the show's site

Friday, October 08, 2004

Event: Meet me in St. Louis


If you're attending the "debate" protest event in St. Louis today/this evening, don't be a stranger. Look for Badnarik signs. Someone holding one will know me and be able to point you at me.

Web site on the protest events

Thursday, October 07, 2004

NewsClip: Kerry gains key Republican endorsement


Yep, folks. It's Alex P. Keaton. Hat tip to Ezra Klein at pandagon.

"Actor Michael J. Fox is returning to TV -- in a commercial praising Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry for his stance on stem cell research.

"'John Kerry strongly supports stem cell research. George Bush is putting limits on it,' Fox says in an ad Kerry's campaign unveiled Thursday. 'Stem cell research can help millions of Americans whose lives have been touched by devastating illnesses. George Bush says we can wait. I say lives are at stake and it's time for leadership. That's why I support John Kerry for president.'

"The campaign said the ad would run in local media markets in states considered battlegrounds.

"Fox, who has Parkinson's disease, campaigned with Kerry in New Hampshire on Monday and filmed the ad after the event."

Read more ...

NewsClip: Brother, can you spare ten ounces of light, sweet crude?


"Crude oil in New York rose to a record $53 a barrel after rising 14 of the last 16 sessions on concern that U.S. supplies will be inadequate to meet winter demand."

Read more ...

Lessee ... 42 gallons in a barrel of oil. That works out to not quite a penny an ounce.

Another little factoid: The yield of gasoline from crude ranges from about 35% to about 50% -- which means that the manufacturing cost of gasoline at these price levels is going to be somewhere between $2.50 and $3.60 per gallon. No, not the pump price -- the refining cost. That doesn't include little niceties like shipping, taxes, retailer markup, etc.

I wouldn't be planning any cross-country road trips in the muscle car if I were you.


Wednesday, October 06, 2004

HST -- Freezerbox interview


Urrah! An interview with the Greatest Living American Author, that I'd missed!

"What kind of music are you listening to?"

"Let's see. I just got the new Bob Dylan box set from the Rolling Thunder tour from 1975. It's kind of a big package with a book and several CDs in there. It's maybe the best rock and roll album I've ever heard."

"You don't think that was after his peak?"

"Shit. You really are dumb. You have to listen to it and find out. If you think that, you really are ignorant. What do you want to talk about, Eminem?"

Read the whole thing

Hat tip to John at Arkanssouri for finding this one.

BlogClip: Hack on Rumsfeld and the coming draft


From Vox Day's blog -- an excerpt of Col. David Hackworth's latest column, with comments. My comment was too long for the form, so I'm posting it below

Here's the article on Vox Popoli

The good news first: Right now, the Selective Service Administration is in a "be ready, but nothing's happening" posture. There was no money in last year's budget for training new draft board members. So far, my understanding is that there's no money for doing it THIS year either. And there's certainly no money appropriated yet for opening up the additional facilities which would be needed to process and train massive numbers of conscripts.

How am I in a position to know this? I'm one of those new draft board members, and I have a voice mail message on my phone from the head of the board telling me so.

Now, the bad news:

* The "news" about recruiting keeps bouncing around. One week they're turning people away, the next week the National Guard is 10% below quota and soldiers at Fort Carson are being threatened with transfer to Iraq-bound units if they don't re-enlist to keep up lagging unit quotas.

* Earlier this year, Secretary of Donald Rumsfeld announced his intention to expand the Army by 30,000 in 2005. I understand that that number has subsequently gone up, but I don't know what it's gone up TO. I did hear John Kerry say that he wanted an expansion of 40,000. I think that 30,000 is a reasonable baseline number to work with.

* As of March, at least 11,000 and possibly as many as 18,000 military personnel had been medically evacuated from Iraq. I've had trouble finding a firm number for that statistic as of now; I've seen 30,000 mentioned by I don't place great stock in the sources. Once again, let's go with a conservative number: 20,000. And let's make the reasonable assumption that someone sick enough, or badly wounded enough, to be moved out of theatre will not be available for subsequent overseas deployment.

* President Bush plainly stated that if the commanders in Iraq called for more troops, they'd get more troops. And last week, General Abazaid plainly stated that he needed more troops.

* The British experience in Malaysia and Northern Ireland, as quoted in a RAND Corporation report last year, indicates that the minimum realistic ratio of troops to population for pacification is 20 troops per thousand population. For Iraq's 24 million, that's 480,000 troops.

Right now, the US has 140,000 troops in Iraq, and they are 90% of "coalition" troops, for a total of 154,000. The Bush administration claims it has trained 100,000 Iraqi troops. More credible estimates fall below 50,000, but let's go with the administration's claim.

Any way you cut it -- even if the best estimate of indigenous troops is correct and even if those troops are as trustworthy and effective as their American counterparts, we are 230,000 troops light on the ground in Iraq to be able to pacify the place.

And any way you cut it, we are 50,000 troops light -- 30,000 in growth, 20,000 medically surveyed out -- against the DoD's own force size projection for 2005, even to keep the troops we have in Iraq NOW adequately rotated.

The math ain't too difficult. In order to pursue the Bush administration's agenda for Iraq, America has to squat and poop 280,000 new soldiers.

And they can't do it over a two-year period, which is the typical path for a volunteer army (enlist prior to senior year in high school; boot camp and MOS training, integration into a unit in the US, etc., totalling up to a year, after graduation).

What they have to do is find a way to start pumping out soldiers in 15 weeks and getting their asses to Iraq. How do you do that?

It's simple: You send the 18-year-old high school graduate an induction notice. 30 days later he reports for boot camp. Six weeks after that, he's done with boot camp. Four more weeks, he graduates a basic infantry school. He gets a week of home leave either after boot camp or after MOS school ... and then he ships out for Baghdad.

It is my considered opinion that the Bush administration is just trying to hold the line in Iraq until after the election before beginning this process. I could be wrong, of course, but no matter how I run the numbers, it comes down to a) withdrawal from Iraq or b) conscription.

Naturally, I favor option a.

Post-debate analysis


Honestly?

I fell asleep.

Really. Took some cold medicine and just conked in the middle of the damn thing.

Unless something changed dramatically, my prediction was wrong. Edwards didn't walk all over Cheney. The closest he came to landing a mean punch while I was still awake was some pettifoggery about corruption at Halliburton, to which Cheney could only retort "well, this guy played hookey as a Senator."

Every time I see Edwards, I want to call his mom and ask her if she knows he's out late and hanging with the wrong crowd.

Guess I'll go see what the other nattering nabobs of negativism have to say about it.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

NewsClip: You know your congresscritter is lying ...


... when he casts a vote a month before the election.

"Republicans accused Democrats of raising the specter of compulsory military service to sway voters against President Bush's re-election bid as the House of Representatives seemed set on Tuesday to defeat a bill to reinstitute the draft. Both Republicans and Democrats predicted an overwhelming vote to crush the bill, which is being pushed by New York Democratic Rep. Charles Rangel. Republicans scheduled the vote for late in the day to dampen rumors of an impending draft that have swept college campuses and the Internet, worrying young people and parents across the country."

Read more ...

"Debate" predictions


Two of'em:

1) No attention whatsoever will be paid to the real, all-party vice presidential debate in Cleveland. After all, if the vice-presidency, as Jack Garner had it, isn't worth a pail of tepid saliva, who really cares about the opinions of the also-rans for it?

That sucks. There'll be a lot of joyful weirdness there. Peter Camejo, an old commie who previously ran for president on the Socialist Workers Party's 1976 ticket, is Nader's running mate. Richard Campagna, my own party's nominee, is a devotee of what he calls "Rational Existentialist Liberty." Sartre versus Trotsky in a no-holds-barred cage match! That's entertainment.

2) The match everyone will be nodding off through will be the one at Caesar's Pala ... er, Case Western Reserve University: John Edwards v. Dick Cheney. And if any pair personifies the "bucket of warm spit" sentiment, it's this one. Nonetheless, this debate may be the first important VP moment since Admiral Stockdale's 1992 "why am I here?" performance.

My prediction: Edwards will romp. He's a trial lawyer, and he's eager to make the Closing Argument to the American public. His Rolodex Of The Mind is full of little cards cataloging every lie, prevarication, misstatement and mistake Cheney's ever made, and he'll work them all in there. With a smile.

Cheney's playing out of his league. The absolute best he can hope for is to hold the line, giving the GOP three more days of faint hope before Bush tanks with finality in St. Louis.

But that seems unlikely. By Friday, the battleground states will be turning uniformly blue and Bush's handlers will be urging him into seclusion in the hope that by keeping his mouth shut he can eke out a win, or at least come close enough for another intervention by Rehnquist and Co.

NewsClip: Green voters watch more porn


"Porn-users are more than twice as likely to vote Green compared with the general population, according to the preliminary findings of a new Australian study."

Read more ...

All right, you Libertarian slackers! Dig that old copy of "Behind the Green Door" out of your closet and start pulling your ... weight ... for the cause.

NewsClip: Election Spoiler [sic] May Turn Out to Be a Libertarian


"Just as in 2000, a third-party candidate could tip the balance in this year's presidential contest. This time, however, the spoiler may not be Ralph Nader, but a man whose name most voters have never heard. The presidential nominee of the Libertarian Party, Michael Badnarik, is on the ballot in 48 states."

Read ,more ...

How come we never hear about the Democrats and Republicans "spoiling" the election of the Libertarian candidate? Hell, if they would shut up, go home and stay off the ballot, he'd be a shoo-in.

Email Rant: Dulce et Decorum Est


Quoth Eric Dondero:

----
Do I think the death of a single American soldier is more important than reporting on successes in Iraq?
-----

Yes, reporting actual, factual news is more important than reporting non-existent successes.

-----
No, not really. Especially when you consider that in one single day in the Civil War at the battle of Gettysburg...

Over 60,000 American soldiers lost their lives.

I'm going to repeat that number. Pay close attention.

OVER 60,000 AMERICAN SOLDIERS LOST THEIR LIVES IN ONE SINGLE DAY AT GETTYSBRUG.
-----

Okay, I paid close attention.

If you can't even be bothered to check your facts on something as well-known and historically documented as Gettysburg, why should I trust your reportage of anything else?

The total casualties for both sides combined at Gettysburg, over the course of three days of fighting, were approximately 51,000 -- and not nearly all of them were killed. The total Union dead in the entire battle was 5,291; the total Confederate dead is more speculative, but probably around 5,700.

-----
Over Half a Million American Soldiers died in WWII.
-----

Your math skills need work. 291,557 is not 'over half a million.'

-----
I am sure that our other Veteran on this List, Thomas L. Knapp will back me up in saying that there is NOTHING MORE HONORABLE than to die for one's country.
-----

No, I won't.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.

-- Wilfred Owen

I was fortunate in never having to deal with casualties of chemical warfare as Owen (who died in battle seven days before the WWI armistice) did. My analogous experience involved flinging a Marine, with 2nd and 3rd degree burns over most of his body, in the back of a Humvee and then bringing in the chopper to medevac him.

There's certainly no _dishonor_ in dying for one's country if it's necessary, and sacrifice can be noble in a good cause, although I think the higher honor is in making the other poor bastard die for his (as Patton said) ... but the troops in Iraq are not dying for their country. They're dying so that former Bush administration officials can have sinecures at Lockheed Martin when they leave Washington.

Tom Knapp

Original post on the "libertarianrepublicans" Yahoo! Group

NewsClip: Maybe it's Miller Time


"In an effort to revive flattening sales and attract new drinkers, Anheuser-Busch is unveiling a new concoction -- a fruity-smelling beer, spiked with caffeine, guarana and ginseng. ... Anheuser-Busch shares fell 28 cents to close at $50.20 on Monday on the New York Stock Exchange."

I can't imagine why. Who comes up with this crazy shit?

Awhile back, I was sitting at Blueberry Hill (Chuck Berry's local haunt) with former Libertarian Party chair Jim Lark (yeah, so I'm name-dropping; sue me). He ordered a Budweiser -- "what beer drinkers drink when they aren't drinking beer."

Read more ...

Monday, October 04, 2004

NewsClip: They did it


"A stubby private rocket plane blasted through the Earth's atmosphere for a second time in a week on Monday, capturing a $10 million prize meant to encourage space tourism."

Read more ...

BlogClip: Contra Mac


Here's one that I wanted to give a couple of days of thought to, especially after someone of Wendy McElroy's stature took the time to quote me in a complimentary manner. Here's the point of divergence that I'd like to gnaw on for a moment:

"I disagree with Thomas one point, however. I think there are significant differences in the policies of the two men. Just one example: their attitudes toward North Korea and strategy for handling NK's nuclear presence."

Read Wendy McElroy's article in its entirety here ...

My first impulse is to throw up my hands and say "fair cop -- I guess there really is a difference." But after a little thinking and a little research, I don't agree. Here's why:

The stated policy difference between Bush and Kerry is that Bush is pushing six-party talks including China, and Kerry is pushing bi-lateral talks directly with North Korea.

This is, of course, counter-intuitive. Kerry spent most of the debate stressing alliances, while Bush spent most of it emphasizing the need for the US to act unilaterally in its own interests.

In the end, I don't find it that contradictory, however.

Bush doesn't have quite the aversion to alliances that he's portrayed as having, or he wouldn't have tried to put together the "coalition of the willing" for the Iraq war. He makes a virtue of unilateralism to the extent that he feels unilateralism is forced on him by an intransigent UN Security Council and such.

Kerry, on the other hand, wasn't really counseling unilateralism with regard to North Korea. He was counseling having the US speak for the other parties to the talks ... and China has actually recommended bilateral, as opposed to six-party, talks.

In other words, nothing really surprising, revealing, or departing from what we already knew about these two candidates.

But the final question, really, is "what can be done about North Korea's nuclear weapons program?" And the answer that both candidates know, although neither will admit it, is ... nothing.

Kim Jong Il will not bring his fission devices to the table for six-party talks. He won't put them into play for bi-lateral talks, either. North Korea is now a nuclear power. It's going to remain one. Rhetoric aside, that is an absolute certainty. Neither Bush nor Kerry is going to attack North Korea in order to try and shove the nuclear genie back into the bottle; neither will any of the Asian powers. That's the thing about nuclear genies ... you don't want to mess with them.

The other certainty is that nuclear arms or no, Kim is a rat in a cage. His nukes, like those of any other country, are useful only as a deterrent against attack. Any offensive use of those weapons will result in the conversion of Pyongyang to a smoking, radioactive cinder. He knows this. So does everyone else.

The absolute limit of any talks, six-party or bi-lateral, will be to decide when and how the US is going to give the rat some cheese in return for meaningless, token concessions.

Either candidate, as president, will find a way to deliver a few morsels. Either candidate, as president, will claim that the cheese delivery has made the US "safer." Nothing of substance will change that wouldn't change anyway (i.e. Japan or South Korea are just as likely to get nuclear weapons of their own on President Bush's watch as on President Kerry's).

And ten years or so from now, whichever president does so will be roundly and retrospectively condemned for "appeasement" when Kim Jong Il pulls his next "Stupid Communist Dictator Trick."

I don't see any substantive differences here.

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