MrSpkr's random thoughts . . .
Thursday, September 30, 2004
Note: These are still rough notes -- I will clean them up and offer additional commentary Friday evening. Thanks for your patience! Steve
First impressions are mixed. As one who has given numerous political speeches and other oratorical deliveries, Bush's style makes me wince (at times), but I know he is speaking from the heart, and I think it shows.
Kerry is very skilled in delivery, and is still avoiding nuancing questions. I have caught a couple of gaffes (like forgetting that Poland was in the initial military push into Iraq), but haven't seen too much else yet.
I'm PVRing the debate so that I can spend time with the kids. I'll blog later when I have a chance to watch it in toto.
EDIT:Okay, here we go. I am going to address the various questions and my impressions of the responses. I also am being assisted by MrsSpkr (aka SheWhoMustBeObeyed):
First question is a softball (what, is Kerry actually going to say he DOESN'T think he can do a better job than President Bush in preventing another 9-11?
Kerry is response is interesting. A bit defensive ("I'll never give a veto to another country"), and short of details. He emphasizes bringing allies to the table (but doesn't name names) and states he will train Iraqi police, something Bush is already doing.
Bush's response is okay -- a focus on bringing the elective franchise to Afghanistan, success in capturing Saddam, etc.
Second Question: Will we be more vulnerable if Kerry is elected?
Good answer form Bush ("I'm going to win . . . People know where I stand . . . we defeat terrorism by never wavering, constantly staying on the offensive . . . and spreading liberty"). Good opportunity to explain why Iraq is important.
Kerry's response is an attempt to present himself as resolute and portrays Iraq as a diversion from the war on terror. First reference to Bush's father (referencing a general who worked for GHW Bush). Good criticism of using Afghanistanis at Tora Bora.
Third Question: What are Bush's "colossal misjudgments"?
Kerry's response is smarmy, playing to those who will already agree with him. Kerry also seems to want to rely upon the UN. Kerry keeps emphasizing that US forces are 90% of the casualties, 90% of the costs. Talks about problems in Afghanistan, which he now characterizes as the center of terrorism.
Bush rightly throws Kerry's former statements that Saddam was a threat and that anyone who says Saddam Hussein was not a threat does not have the capability to be President. Good reminder that the UN authorized grave consequences if Saddam did not cooperate, and that the UN was unwilling to act.
Fourth: What of Kerry's attack on division of effort between Saddam Hussein and Osama.
Bush -- Good response ("We have the capability to do both -- and to say we cannot, is to fundamentally misunderstand the war on terror"). Bush's delivery is, unfortunately, halting (and thus slightly distracting). Bush says Iraq is a center on the war on terror.
Kerry rejects Iraq as a center on the war on terror. He criticizes Bush for not having a plan for the peace. Surprisingly, Kerry confuses "armor" with "armament". Kerry also claims
Bush's surrebuttal is good. Kerry's criticism of the war (wrong war, time, place) is demoralizing.
Kerry insists that he can bring allies to the table.
Fifth: What would Kerry do specifically to improve homeland security?
Kerry criticizes cutting funding to cops, firemen in the US while funding those things in Iraq. Kerry seems to suggest that we should xray all containers coming into ports. Kerry says the tax cut should be repealed and spent on various homeland security stuff. MrsSpkr aptly notes that Kerry has a lot of platitudes and criticisms, but fails to provide many details.
Bush aptly notes the cost of such things, and discusses major funding for programs. He says (and I agree) that the best way to protect the homeland is to stay on the offense. Some good lines here, but (to Mr. Nitpicky) not delivered as well as they could have been.
Kerry criticizes Bush as being weak on security because of the tax cut? Odd approach.
Bush: "You better have a President who chases these terrorists down and brings them to justice."
Sixth: When will you know that it is time to bring the troops home.
Bush says (obviously) that the best indication will be when the Iraqis are capable of governing and policing and defending themselves, and that they are stable and on their way to being a free nation. Artificial deadlines are, as he notes, the wrong way to go about this.
Kerry pulls out his "help is on the way" line. References GHW Bush again -- notes he did not go to Baghdad in 1991 because there was no way out. He also dusts off old canard that the only building we guarded when we took Baghdad was the oil ministry.
Bush calls Kerry on his conflicting messages to the troops.
Kerry -- $87 billion dollars remark was "a mistake in how I talk about the war." Not a bad way of trying to handle a very bad gaffe. Brings up Vietnam for the first time.
Eighth -- Last man to die for a wrongful cause.
Kerry handles this well, too; saying that Iraq is necessary. Nice line about Invading Iraq in response to 9/11 is like FDR invading Mexico after Pearl Harbor. Still, he wants a summit without saying why he thinks that approach would be effective. Halliburton comes up at the 32 minute mark. UN should have been consulted. We have no allies. Sigh.
Bush calls these comments "absurd". Kerry's message is "Please join us in Iraq for a Grand Diversion." Good call on Kerry's remarks -- points out ongoing summits, points out unwillingness of Allies to contribute for a man whose core convictions keep changing.
Kerry now appears to mean that the UN should have run everything after Baghdad fell. That will come back to haunt him.
Bush notes that Kerry forgets Poland, insults allies. Very nice job nailing Kerry down.
Ninth: What is the miscalculation in the post-war Iraq?
Tommy Franks did such a great job that the Saddam loyalists did not die in the initial combat as planned, but were able to melt away to fight again later. Optimistic that we will acheive our objective unless we send mixed signals. Probably Bush's best performance thus far on direct examination. Bush continues to stress our own alliances and the hard work it will take to make Iraq a success.
Kerry says that he would have gone in to Iraq without links to al Quaeda, WMDs. MrsSpkr notes that a moment ago, Kerry said there wer WMDs sneaking across the border. Now he says there were none. Kerry seems upset that we are 90% of what is going on in Iraq. Also, blames Bush for North Korea getting nukes.
Tenth: What lies have Bush told the American people?
Kerry -- (1) nuclear materials in Iraq; (2) no coalition building; (3) didn't go through all UN processes; (4) Bush failed to plan carefully; (5) we didn't go to war as a last resort. Kerry engages in a pissing match as to who has worked with foreign leaders longer. Osama uses the invasion of Iraq to spread hatred of America?
Bush -- Calls Kerry on the above, using Kerry's own words against him. Notes that Osama should not determine our policy. Calls Kerry out on changing his positions constantly -- Kerry's smirk doesn't go over very well.
Kerry responses -- trying to cover his tracks. Says he has had one consistent position (Saddam Hussein was a threat and should have been dealt with, but in a different way).
Bush -- "Only thing consistent about my opponent's position is that he has been inconsistent." Beautiful.
Eleventh -- To Bush -- talk about casualties.
Bush is really getting into the groove here. This answer came through with great emotional effect. He believes what he says. Told a widow her husband's sacrifice was noble and worthy. Ties back into the need to spread liberty to protect ourselves.
Kerry's response -- this is tough for him. He returns to Vietnam (again). Yawn. Come on, John. "Don't confuse the war with the warriors"? Very weak. MrsSpkr says he doesn't make sense.
Bush surebuttal -- notes that troops cannot follow someone who doesn't believe in the attack,
Kerry -- pottery barn rule -- you break it, you fix it? I always thought it was, you break it, you buy it.
Twelfth -- Can Kerry gives specifics for ending major US military involvement in Iraq?
Kerry -- We can begin to draw troops down in six months. We have to convince the Arabs we don't have designs on them. Wait a second -- he criticizes for our not guarding Iraqi nuclear facilities? What nuclear facilities? I thought there wer none. Kerry would train Iraqis.
Bush -- We have trained 100,000 troops, we will have 125,000 by the end of the year. MrsSpkr thinks Bush says "it is hard work too much". Call's Kerry out for criticizing Allawi and for Joe Lockhart's comments that Allawi was a US puppet. Good on him.
Kerry's comments IGNORE his rude comments on Allawi. Says Allawi describes terrorists coming into Iraq.
Bush affirms that terrorists are coming into Iraq because they do not want freedom to
Thirteenth -- Would Bush take us into another pre-emptive action?
Bush hopes not, but will not rule it out if necessary to protect the United States. "Rue the day?" Who talks like that? If Saddam were in power, we would 'rue the day'. Notes other successes, like Libya, and the value of being consistent.
Kerry -- Tries to distinguish between Saddam and Osama, and makes a valid criticism of using Afghani warlords to go after Osama in Tora Bora. Good point, but can he stop using the word "outsourcing" in reference to that.
Bush -- it is ludicrous to suggest that more resolutions would have worked against Saddam.
Kerry -- Darfur, North Korea, Iran more dangerous because Bush went into Iraq.
Fourteenth -- Kerry position on pre-emptive war.
Kerry says that was a great cold war doctrine (I always thought the doctrine was MAD, but that's just me). We cannot, however, pre-empt if it would upset anyone else in the world. Quotes Degaulle in the Cuban Missile Crisis: "Word of the President of the US is good enough for me." Upset we turned away Kyoto, other treaties. "Pre-emptive action must pass the global test" -- what the heck does that mean?
Bush -- Notes that some treaties are bad (like the International Criminal Court) and explains why. Ties Kerry to it. "Trying to be popular in the global sense if it's not in our best interest makes no sense. I'm not going ot make decisions that I think are wrong for America."
Fifteenth -- Can diplomacy solve nuclear problems with Iran, North Korea?
Bush -- North Korea, hopefully, but NK has not abided with prior agreements. That's why we brought in China, South Korea, Japan to help negotiate with them. Hopes we can work with the world to convince the mullahs to abandon their nuclear ambition. I am suspicious of this and have little hope it will work.
Kerry -- Iran -- the British, French and Germans initiated these talks without us. Kerry wants sanctions? As to North Korea -- he favors the Clinton agreement (that Kim Jong Il violated). Says our actions are why Norht Korea broke treaty. Kerry wants more bilateral talks with North Korea on all issues. MrsSpkr wonders why bilateral efforts are okay in North Korea, but not in Iraq? Me too.
Bush notes that Kerry's idea was what Kim Jong Il wants. And notes that we HAVE sancitons against Iran.
Seventeenth -- Darfur. Mr. Kerry, why not send troops to Darfur?
Kerry -- Our sanctions against Iran our only us, not Germany, France, Britain, etc.(in answer to previous question). In answer to this question, our army is over-extended (so how do we contain North Korea or Iran?) MrsSpkr is apoplectic at the perceived flip-flops. Darfur is a genocide. We have a 'back door draft' today. Kerry wants to add two active duty divisions to the US army and double the number of special forces. It is our moral responsibility to prevent another Rwanda?
Bush notes the sanctions in Iran occurred long before he became President.
Eighteenth -- Are their character diffferences between Bush and Kerry serious enough to deny Kerry the position as Commander in Chief of the United States?
Bush -- good answer -- starts with traits he admires -- family, career -- Admires the time in the Senate, but not sure he admires the record. His issue with Kerry is that Kerry sends mixed messages to our soldiers, allies, and Iraqi citizens. In the councils of government there must be certainty from the US President.
Kerry -- his differences are with the issue of certainty. You can be certain and be wrong. Not a bad response -- probably the best spin Kerry could put on things. "Certainty can sometimes get you in trouble."
Bush agrees that changing tactics on things is sometimes appropriate, but will not change core values under pressure. You cannot wilt under pressure.
Kerry -- I've never wilted or waivered in my life. I know my position has been consistent. SH is a threat, he needed ot be disarmed, we needed to go to the UN, etc., etc., but we didn't ned to rush to war. MrsSpkr notes that Kerry's earlier ocmments indicate SH was not the problem, but that Osama was. Another flip?
Nineteenth -- Mr. Kerry, what is the single most dangerous threat to the United States?
Kerry -- nuclear proliferation. Kerry claims it would take us 13 years to account for the missing nuclear materials in the former USSR. MrsSpkr -- how many times have we been attacked by nukes as opposed to protecting our borders and securing airplanes. Upset that we are researching new 'bunker busting' nuclear weapons. We will build a strong international alliance to do that.
Bush -- We have increased funding for nonproliferation by about 35%. Ouch. Agrees that nonproliferation is a significant threat. We have a sixty-nation group involved in this effort, and are being effective (notes successes in Libya, Pakistan). Calls for missile defense plans.
Kerry -- for a guy that wants multilateral talks, he is anxious to enter bilateral talks with North Korea.
Twentieth -- Is Putin's reaction to terrorism (anti-democratic) okay?
Bush -- no, and I have told him so. He is a strong ally in the War on Terror, too. Notes hit strong personal relationship with Putin, and the value of having those relationships (allows you to tell someone when they are making a mistake).
Kerry -- was one of the first Senators to go into the halls of the KGB after the Russian transformation, so he understands it. Is upset with Putin's changes, critical of Putin. Criticizes Presidential multilateral North Korea talks -- just because the president says it can't be done doesn;t mean that's true -- brings up other misnomers.
Bush -- you know my position.
Kerry -- Saddam was a threat, that's not the issue. The issue is what you do about him. President didn't go to war as a last resort.
Kerry -- Kerry will be the guy to get the kids out of Iraq, etc., and still win. Brings up Vietnam again. When will he stop. He has a plan for Iraq (but does not tell what it is). Has a plan to win the war on terror (some specifics, but nothing Bush is not already doing). Stronger here at home, respected again abroad.
Bush -- "If America shows uncertainty or weakness in this decade, the world will drift towards tragedy." We will fight the terrorists abroad so we do not have to fight them here at home. Confirms we will not have a draft. Restates importance of winning in Iraq. We have climbed the mighty mountain and can see the valley of peace below. We must be consistent, strong, and supportive of our troops to win.
MrSpkr: Bush started weak in delivery, but finished strong. He obviously is a passionate believer in his policies. I think he probably came out slightly ahead of Kerry (bad news for Kerry, because he NEEDED to win big tonight).
MrsSpkr -- in the 90 minutes I watched it, Kerry changed his positions, flipped, flopped, and moved the goalposts multiple times. Kerry's positions are contradictory as between Iraq, North Korea, Africa and Iran. She finds this maddening. Kerry also kept changing his position on whether Saddam Hussein was a threat or not. Flipped on whether there were weapons (no, then yes, but they were snuck over the border, then they were gone again). Also, where were all these Iraqi nuclear facilities? MrsSpkr believes there were more things, but she couldn't remember all his flips.
Kerry was more wordy -- MrsSpkr thinks Bush's halting style reflected thoughtfulness, and attention to details, while Kerry had platitudes. She was very impressed, however, at Kerry's call to strengthen our military (indeed, she does not believe she has ever heard a democrat do that).
MrsSpkr disagrees with the criticism of using the Afghanis at Tora Bora -- says the indigenous troops were more familiar with area and thus it was proper to use them. We both think it interesting that he criticizes the US bearing 90% of the burden in Iraq, and yet is critical of us using allied troops in Afghanistan.
She says "I think he is insane if he thinks that having bilateral talks with North Korea is not going to run China off."
Finally, she notes that while people may complain that Bush said the same thing over and over, she prefers that to Kerry, changing back and forth (flipfloppingness).
Not bad from a woman who isn't a politics junky.
More comments tomorrow.
The Federal Marriage Amendment failed the House vote, 227 to 186.
Let's make this an election issue, eh?
Army Meets Most Of 2004 Goals
In other words, the crap about us needing a draft after this election is just that -- crap. The Army has met it's recruiting goals for next year (though the National Guard has not). The Army expects difficulty meeting 2005's goal, but they have time to work on that.
Of course, this won't stop the hysteria about reinstating the draft.
I'm still looking for more information about events in Iran. Michael Ledeen has discussed some faxes (in Farsi) confirming the violence, as have (reportedly) a few international news sources. Unfortunately, these reports are largely in Farsi, and thus incomprehensible to me. I will update when I find more information.
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Jackson Joins Kerry Campaign As Adviser
Just when I thought the Kerry campaign couldn't make any worse personnel decisions, they go and do this.
Does Kerry have money on a Bush win or something?
Hat tip, Kathryn Jean Lopez.
VERGE OF REVOLUTION: Intense Fighting Throughout Iran!
Reports of fighting in several Iranian cities! Many Mullah militia commanders have been killed and the regime's control of certain areas appears shaky at best.
A note for rambunctious Democrat activists:
when you pick a fight with a local G.O.P. leader, make sure he isn't a former Army volunteer at least 20 years younger than you are.
From the Gainesville Sun (hat tip: Southern Appeal):
Democrat charged with slugging area GOP chief
Gainesville, FL -- Sep 19, 2004 -- David Philip McCally, 55, of Gainesville faces misdemeanor battery and criminal mischief charges after he was accused of hitting both committee chairman Travis Horn, 32, and a life-sized, cardboard cutout of President George Bush.
The incident occurred at the Republican headquarters in downtown Gainesville at about 7:30 p.m.
McCally went into the office at 1212 N. Main St. and hit the face of the Bush cutout, a police report states. Afterward he argued outside with Horn, police reported, then punched him in the face. Police said there was a fight and Horn struck McCally several times "but was not the primary aggressor and fought only in an attempt to escape from further conflict."
McCally was released on his own recognizance after his arrest and has been ordered not to have contact with Horn, court records show. As for hitting the cutout, McCally said, "I don't like old brother George."
McCally said he wants to see Horn charged for kicking him. McCally is a part-time instructor in social and behavioral sciences at Santa Fe Community College who started in January, confirmed college spokesman Larry Keen. He will be "removed" from the classroom pending an administrative review on Monday, he said.
Records at the Alachua County Supervisor of Elections Office confirmed McCally's political party.
Reached Friday, Horn said, "I enjoy thoughtful debate with my counterparts on the left. I think this is what makes this country great, but when you cross the line with physical violence, it's absurd."
Police happened to be pulling into the area at the time, Horn said. A police report states officers saw McCally throw what they later learned was the first punch.
This goes along with other observations involving incidents of vandalism to homes and vehicles displaying Republican or Bush campaign signs. There really is a story here on the psychological and emotional investment by liberals in political power, and the impact that any threat of the loss of that power has on their psyche.
It appears McCally has indeed been suspended from his position as an adjunct History professor. His thoughts on the whole incident?
Despite the possibility of his termination, McCally said he didn’t especially regret his actions.
"Most of me does, but some of me doesn’t," he said. "It was just one of those spur-of-the-moment things."
Indeed. Had it been a Republican assaulting a Democrat county chairman, I wonder if this fellow wouldn't be out in the street howling for 'justice'.
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
Funniest darn site on voting that I've seen in a while. Very clever, but not work- or kid-safe.
Dolly Parton gets breast reduction
Sigh. Another icon of my misgotten youth fades away.
I can still remember getting in trouble in 7th grade for drawing a rendition of the 'Dolly Parton Swimming Pool", complete with drain-nipples, on the cover of my math textbook. My math teacher, Mrs. Turney, did not approve.
Explaining that I got the idea from a model on the Johnny Carson show didn't help.
Hat tip, Sugar, Mr. Poon?
Two new offerings on the links list, both essentially conservative legal links.
The first, Professor Bainbridge, is the blog of UCLA Corporate Law Prof. Stephen Bainbridge. Good stuff on a variety of subjects, from law to economics to wine and golden retrievers.
The second, Southern Appeal, is a collaborative work by several independent lawyers and law professors. Largely law and politics from a decidedly federalist point of view.
As to a replacement comic strip -- I have been unable to find a decent replacement for Chris Muir's Day=By-Day cartoon that used to appear at the top of this blog. Unless someone has an idea for a suitable replacement, I am going to dispense with the comic strip for the time being.
One final note -- trackback. Can someone explain to me how this works and whether blogspot supports it? Thanks in advance.
This is the Army the Left undermines, discredits, and has, at times, spat upon.
Fort Riley grants ill youth wish to be Soldier
By Gary Skidmore
September 27, 2004
FORT RILEY, Kan. (Army News Service, Sept. 27, 2004) -- Seven-year-old Phillip Shriver has a new guardian angel -- a little bear angel with red, white and blue wings, wearing a helmet.
Shriver who has a life threatening illness, leukemia, received the memento during his visit to Fort Riley Sept. 20, from Command Sgt. Maj. James Savitski, 4th Battalion, 1st Field Artillery command sergeant major.
Shriver was here living his dream of being a Soldier -- if only for a day. His wish was granted by Fort Riley and the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Kansas.
Savitski said he received the bear from his daughter, Michelle, then 12 years old, while he was deployed to Iraq with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team.
"I figured my little guardian angel had done its job (kept him safe) and needed to be used somewhere else more appropriate” said Savitski. “Phillip was the right person to give it to. I hope and pray it keeps him safe and protects and comforts him."
Shriver's day on Fort Riley was filled with Soldiering.
Fort Riley’s youngest Solder arrived by helicopter, provided by Company B, 158th Aviation, of the Kansas Army National Guard, of Olathe, Kan.
Shriver's tour of duty as a Soldier began with a visit to Range 18 were members of H Troop, 1st Cavalry Regiment were honing their scouting skills.
"This is cool," said Shriver as he made his way to the hatch on the Humvee and got behind the 50-cal. machine gun mounted on the vehicle.
Shriver's next stop on the tour was the 1st Battalion, 13th Armor motor pool where he climbed aboard and explored an M1-A1 Abrams Tank.
After a quick tour and a brief explanation of the tank's capabilities, the crew fired the tank up and rumbled off with Shriver.
"We just drove him around the motor pool," said Staff Sgt. Thomas Patrick, the gunner on the battalion commander's tank. "Phillip sure seemed to enjoy it."
When the tank returned, Shriver's dad, Chris asked him what he thought about the ride. The young tanker replied without hesitation, "That tank can run over your truck!"
Next stop was the Engagement Skills Trainer where Shriver shot an M-16 and 9mm pistol in a virtual environment.
"It's like a huge video game," said Richard Eyestone, Combat Arms Simulations Training instructor, as he assisted Shriver with loading a clip in his simulated 9mm pistol. "Targets will appear on the big screen, and you just have to shoot them."
At one point, Shriver's dad got down on the ground with his son and helped him aim the realistic weapon more accurately.
"That is about as real as you can get without actually firing a 9mm gun with real bullets," said Chris. "The gun kicks, and it sound like a gun firing. You just can't get more realistic than that."
After a stop at yet another virtual trainer that simulated tanks firing, it was chow time and Shriver was hungry.
Helping him with his tray, Savitski started Shriver down the serving line where he asked for peas and steak.
"He couldn't believe all the food we have here," said Savitski who said Shriver ate well.
"He eats just like a hungry soldier," said Savitski. "He did a great job."
Following lunch, Shriver was off to the Close Combat Tactical Trainer to train on a virtual tank.
"Are you ready to fire a tank?" asked retired Sgt. Maj. Jim Sands, Shriver's escort at the facility. "This is going to be fun," he said as he and Shriver climbed into the trainer.
Sands told the honorary private, "If you need anything, I know what it's like to be sick. You just call me."
Sands is recovering from a liver transplant after liver failure and said he feels close to Shriver because of his life threatening illness.
"It doesn't matter what, just call," he said.
Command Sgt. Maj. Gilbert Canuela, 24th Infantry Division command sergeant major, greeted Shriver and his parents in his office where the young private was promoted to honorary sergeant.
Shriver's mother, Lisa, assisted Canuela with pinning the sergeant stripes on her son's collar. Her eyes welled up with tears as her son stood at attention when the orders promoting him were read.
But the best was yet to come. Canuela took the newly promoted sergeant to the lobby of the headquarters where five sergeant majors were waiting for the special visitor.
"Its my honor to promote you to the grade of honorary command sergeant major," said Canuela. In a certificate signed by the Sergeant Major of the Army Kenneth Preston, Shriver was promoted again.
With little warning to those present the youngest command sergeant major on Fort Riley, belted out, "Drop and give me 20."
With a startled hesitation, all six sergeant majors hit the ground. Counting out each push-up with "one sergeant major, two sergeant major until they had completed the task at hand.
As one Soldier asked "permission to recover," Shriver showed his leadership potential, tossing back calmly over his shoulder, "Recover," and the senior NCOs came to their feet.
Canuela said when Shriver goes home at the end of the day, he hopes he takes with him a sense of belonging.
"That he is one of us -- a band of brothers and sisters, and Army of One," Canuela said. "Only in our country (can you be) a 7-year-old and love your Army and be loved back in return," he said.
"I love this country, and I only want to return my gratitude for allowing me to serve with them," said Canuela. "Phillip is special because he gave that special love that only those with the right heart would know."
Canuela said going above and beyond for Shriver was never a question.
"It was my honor and I am truly blessed for the opportunity," said Canuela. "It is from all of our Soldiers," he said. "Every Soldier in the Army would have done the same for honorary CSM Phillip Shriver."
"He is a very courageous young boy," said Savitski.
"I think it's wonderful that he looks up to Soldiers as role models and wanted to spend time with them," he said. "I think my Soldiers were more inspired by Phillip than he was with my Soldiers. He touched everyone's heart."
Savitski said being in the military for more than 26 years, he has seen a lot of things but nothing affects a Soldier more than a child in need.
"No matter how macho a Soldier is, there is something about kids that finds the goodness in all people," said Savitski. "Its usually a child's smile."
For eight hours, 7-year-old Phillip Shriver pursued a dream that has kept him fortified throughout his battle with leukemia. He said he has always wanted to be a Soldier. And for that day, with the help from his newly found band of brothers and sisters, he was.
(Editor's note: Gary Skidmore is the command information officer for the Fort Riley Public Affairs Office.)
I was unable to serve due to a lung injury as a teenager. I will, however, always hold men like this in the highest regard. Strength in defense, compassion to the weak, and devotion to duty. That's what it's all about.
Thank you, soldiers, for the work you do at home, as well as abroad. Godspeed.
I found an excellent animated electoral vote projection map today. Check it out.
Using figures from Electoral-Vote.com, a site run by an admitted Kerry supporter, the animation clearly shows that Kerry peaked back in mid-august, while Bush is still waxing.
I'll repeat -- Bush wins, and it's not going to be that close.
I. Can't. Believe. They. Are. Doing. This.
Apparently, France insists that any international conference on Iraq must have representatives from the Iraqi Resistance (i.e., al-Zarqawi and his merry band of murderers, plus al-Sadr (is Al Bundy in on this too?).
Dubya should thank France for this latest display of diplomatic ineptitude. Just before the first (and most critical) debate, France has gifted Bush with the ability to further associate John Kerry with an arrogant, hypocritical anti-American country by pointing out that the same "European Allies" John Kerry so desperately wants us to believe would join the fight in Iraq if only Kerry were in charge (despite Germany and France's repeated statements they aren't going to Iraq no matter WHO is in charge) are now insisting that any international conference regarding the future of U.S. military action in Iraq (and indeed, the future of Iraqi freedom) should include representatives of the terrorists.
You heard that right. This is the enlightened diplomacy Kerry has said HE intends to conduct.
Hat tip, Misha.
Monday, September 27, 2004
Okay, I normally don't recommend Wonkette, as her politics are quite a bit left of mine. But I did catch this:
which I think is pretty darn funny.
It might even be accurate, given the inept campaign Kerry has run thus far.
Hamas Leader Explodes
Well, literally, in this case.
Frankly, it couldn't happen to a nicer guy. As a liason between the political and military wings of Hamas, he has been one of the key spinmeisters ni selling Hamas terrorism as some sort of legitimate armed resistance to the evil of Israel. His actions, and the actions of those like him, attempt to justify random violence against the innocent as perfectly legitimate policy goals.
I hope the Israelis do this more often.
Taliban Fighter Freed From Guantanamo Prison Killed in Attack on Police In Afghanistan
Yep, you read that correctly. A senior Taliban commander, Maulavi Ghaffar, whom we held for eight months promptly returned to his former position after being repatriated. He led or planned attacks on American forces and Afghani police in his attempt to help restore the despicable Taliban rule to the country.
The story also notes that there are several other Guantanamo alumni the U.S. believes are involved in the ongoing Taliban insurgency movement.
Why in the heck are we releasing these bastards if the fighting is not yet over? And why isn't this more widely reported as a criticism of the liberal whining regarding the Guantanamo Bay prisoners?
Scratch that second question -- the answer is obvious.
Things Iraqis Do For Fun
Very sick. Okay, so I can see a misogynistic, sexually repressed society making a grab for the porn. Heck, I was a teenager in suburbia once, I can understand the urges and obstacles (college was my great liberator).
But scarfing up beheading videos? Sick.
Were I a soldier there, it would be very difficult to resist the urge to grab and destroy those videos wherever I saw them.
Saturday, September 25, 2004
Okay, I have joined the TTLB Ecosystem. So, the more you link to me, the higher this blog will climb. It's all up to you, gentle readers.
I have also delinked the now-defunct U.S.S. Clueless. If Steven begins blogging again, I'll happily relink him.
Also, Emperor Misha needs your support. I don't normally support paying bloggers, but Misha is deserving, IMHO. His is one of the handful of blogs I have read almost daily for the past couple of years and whose works have inspired some of the posts you see here. If you can spare it, I'd be obliged if you'd help him out.
Finally, the laptop didn't arrive yesterday. Yes, yes, I am more bummed about this than you probably are, but STILL! I WANT MY LAPTOP BACK!
I'm hopefully it will come today.
Thursday, September 23, 2004
Oh man. Cox and Forkum nails it.
Tell me again why Liberal Feminists support these idiots?
Kerry Knows Better than Allawi
Just when you thought he couldn't get any more arrogant . . . .
Terry Schaivo sentenced to die by Florida Court
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. Sept. 23, 2004 — The law that state lawmakers passed last fall to keep a severely brain-damaged hooked up to a feeding tube despite her husband's orders to remove it is unconstitutional, the state Supreme Court ruled Thursday.
The unanimous court said the law that kept Terri Schiavo alive violates the separation of powers between the judicial branch and the legislative and executive branches. Lower courts had ruled that Michael Schiavo could have the tube removed, but the legislature passed the law to overrule the courts. Gov. Jeb Bush then used the law to order the tube reinserted. The court's decision came just a weeks after oral arguments.
Terri Schiavo, who lives in a Clearwater nursing home, can breathe on her own but relies on a feeding and hydration tube to live. Courts have concluded she is in a "persistent vegetative state," but maneuvering over her fate has produced a closely watched right-to-die fight.
The 40-year-old woman left no written instructions before suffering brain damage when her heart temporarily stopped beating 14 years ago. But in Florida a person's wishes must be honored even if they are expressed orally.
Schiavo's parents disagree with their son-in-law about her wishes, insisting their daughter wants to live and could be helped with therapy. Courts have generally sided with Michael Schiavo, but parents Bob and Mary Schindler have won stays that have kept their daughter alive.
The Court's decision can be found here (warning: PDF file.)
I've blogged on this in the past (here and here) I find the situation baffling and frustrating.
The putative husband, Michael Schiavo, is in an adulterous relationship with another woman (indeed, has had children by that woman), and refuses to allow his wife's family to care for Terry Schaivo, who, despite claims she is in a 'persistent vegetative state', has been filmed responding to external voice commands (a clear sign she is NOT vegetative).
Mr. Schiavo also refuses to divorce Terry.
You see, Michael Schiavo got cash in a lwsuit to take care of Terry. Of course, he though she would soon die. She didn't.
Since then, he has cut her family out of the decision loop (even going so far as to attempt to deny them permission to visit their daughter), has been heard uttering comments like "when will this bitch die?", and has spent most of the money he received in the lawsuit on attorneys he hired to help him withdraw food and hydration from Terry.
Yes, that's correct -- he wants to starve and/or dehydrate her until she dies.
If we tried to do that to a death row convict, he'd file an instant law suit alleging cruel and unusual punishment.
Terry, however, is not convict. She is simply an obstacle to Michael's "freedom".
An interesting thought from Robert Novak
In this story, Novak describes the chaos caused by Clintonites Joe Lockhart and Terry McAuliffe's involvement in shaping Kerry's fall campaign. Essentially, he argues that the pair distract voters from Kerry's message regarding Iraq, etc., etc.
Problem is, Mr. Novak never really asks the key question: "Why?"
It's an important question. Kerry is not seeing much traction with these guys (particulary newcomer Joe Lockhart). Neither Joe nor Terry are stupid -- they must recognize their actions are hindering, rather than helping, Mr. Kerry.
So why are they doing it?
I have a simple explanation -- though I am a bit reluctant to share it, given that I will probably be labelled a conspiracy theorist.
I think they are involved to see to it that, if the election is close, Kerry loses.
Simple. A 2004 Kerry Presidency would destroy the best hopes for Joe and Terry's patron family, the Clintons, of returning to the White House. Either Kerry would do well, and therefore be re-elected in 2008; or, he would do horribly, and set up a Republican landslide in 2008; or he would be mediocre, in which case 2008 is an even proposition as between Republicans and Democrats, but in any case, it would be Kerry, not Hillary Clinton, that would be the nominee.
Crazy, eh? Maybe. But explain to me why Joe Lockhart, Paul Begala, Terry McAuliffe, etc., etc., are not orchestrating this campaign nearly as effectively as we saw them do in 1992 and 1996?
Occam's Razor says we should keep it simple. The simplest explanation is that they are serving a master other than Kerry. Period.
So why does Kerry tolerate it? Again, keeping it simple -- he has no choice.
Terry McAuliffe is the DNC chair, like it or not. Kerry can do nothing about that until after the election.
The Clintons have the best network of fundraisers and activists in the country. Being President for eight years helps one develop such things. If Kerry wants ANY access to that critical network (particularly in the battleground states), he must work with the Clintons.
That means employing some of the Clinton's people, like it or no.
Now, that is not to say they are actively sabotaging the campaign. I don't think they are, and, were Kerry ahead by ten points or so, I think they would let it go (what choice would they have?).
But, nobody thought this would be a Kerry landslide. Everyone has believed it to be a close election. And, under those circumstances, Lockhart, et al., have an opportunity to go to extraordinary lengths to get Kerry elected -- or they can simply do what they have to without any special extra effort.
And so they do -- and the fact it undermines Kerry is ireelevant given their true loyalty to their patrons, the Clintons.
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
In college, we had a saying about music majors (who seemed to be the most analretentive class of students at our school): "If you gave a music major a car, she'd complain about the color."
Maybe I should change that to "If you gave an Oprah fan a car, she'd complain about the color."
Or the taxes, anyway.
Oprah's car giveaway not totally 'free'.
The essence of the story is that some winners are now complaining that
The horror! They might have to pay out about $7,000 for a $25,000 car. Sounds like a heck of a bargain to me -- and I bet you could get a pretty low payment loan on the deal.
But, Oprah gals have often struck me as being of the Music Major persona, so it isn't too surprising.
Monday, September 20, 2004
Dan Rather capitulates!
EXCLUSIVE // Mon Sep 20 2004 11:58:02 ET
STATEMENT FROM DAN RATHER:
Last week, amid increasing questions about the authenticity of documents used in support of a 60 MINUTES WEDNESDAY story about President Bush's time in the Texas Air National Guard, CBS News vowed to re-examine the documents in question—and their source—vigorously. And we promised that we would let the American public know what this examination turned up, whatever the outcome.
Now, after extensive additional interviews, I no longer have the confidence in these documents that would allow us to continue vouching for them journalistically. I find we have been misled on the key question of how our source for the documents came into possession of these papers. That, combined with some of the questions that have been raised in public and in the press, leads me to a point where—if I knew then what I know now—I would not have gone ahead with the story as it was aired, and I certainly would not have used the documents in question.
But we did use the documents. We made a mistake in judgment, and for that I am sorry. It was an error that was made, however, in good faith and in the spirit of trying to carry on a CBS News tradition of investigative reporting without fear or favoritism.
Please know that nothing is more important to us than people's trust in our ability and our commitment to report fairly and truthfully.
It's about time. I wonder whether CBS was facing an internal revolt of it's affiliates, or the loss of access, or what, that finally got Dan to swallow his pride and apologize.
I suspect it was a combination of all of the above. Unfortunately, I also suspect that CBS thinks this should all be placed in the past, now, and that we should accept any future CBS stories at face value.
Not going to happen, gentlemen, so long as Dan Rather et al. control your news organization.
Friday, September 17, 2004
You Can't Make This Stuff Up Deux!
The Democrat's Everyman candidate, John Kerry, owns a yacht (just like you and me, except that we really don't own them). Anyway, his yacht is named the 'Scaramouche'.
An okay, if haughty, European-sounding name, at first glance.
Until, of course, you look the word up in the dictionary:
1 capitalized : a stock character in the Italian commedia dell'arte that burlesques the Spanish don and is characterized by boastfulness and cowardliness
2 a : a cowardly buffoon
Man, this just writes itself, I promise.
Hat tip, the Sean Hannity show.
Sen. Kerry is like Seabiscuit: He runs better from behind. -- Donna Brazile, Campaign Manager, Gore 2000
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
Chalk this up as either
(A) One more reason Kerry is going to get beat like a drum in a Thanksgiving Day Parade;
(B) Yet another sign of how out of touch with reality (both political and otherwise) the Democrats are if they think Ted Kennedy would help Kerry get votes;
(C) A sign that the Democrats forgot how useless Teddy was last election for Gore; or
(D) All of the above.
Monday, September 13, 2004
Chris Muir, the cartoonist who created "Day by Day" (the cartoon that used to appear at the top of this Blog) has suspended publication indefinitely due to family issues.
Sad news, indeed.
Best wishes, Chris, to you and your family. I pray all goes well and you will return to us posthaste.
I will find a new cartoon for the header this week -- but will reserve a spot for Day By Day's return (sooner, I hope, rather than later).
Saturday, September 11, 2004
Wow. I think this is tremendous, but why has it taken three years for something like this, and why in the heck isn't it being done by several mainstream, respected Islamic spiritual leaders?
More importantly, now that they're 'sorry', what are they going to do to drain the fetid swamp of bigotry, hatred, misogyny, and murder that they have created in the name of their religion?
We Are So Sorry For 9-11
By Kamal Nawash
FrontPageMagazine.com | September 10, 2004
This September 11 marks the third unforgettable anniversary of the worst mass murder in American history.
After September 11, many in the Muslim world chose denial and hallucination rather than face up to the sad fact that Muslims perpetrated the 9-11 terrorist acts and that we have an enormous problem with extremism and support for terrorism. Many Muslims, including religious leaders, and “intellectuals” blamed 9-11 on a Jewish conspiracy and went as far as fabricating a tale that 4000 Jews did not show up for work in the World Trade Center on 9-11. Yet others blamed 9-11 on an American right wing conspiracy or the U.S. Government which allegedly wanted an excuse to invade Iraq and “steal” Iraqi oil.
After numerous admissions of guilt by Bin Laden and numerous corroborating admissions by captured top level Al-Qaida operatives, we wonder, does the Muslim leadership have the dignity and courage to apologize for 9-11? If not 9-11, will we apologize for the murder of school children in Russia? If not Russia, will we apologize for the train bombings in Madrid, Spain? If not Spain, will we apologize for suicide bombings in buses, restaurants and other public places? If not suicide bombings, will we apologize for the barbaric beheadings of human beings? If not beheadings, will we apologize for the rape and murder of thousands of innocent people in Darfour? If not Darfour, will we apologize for the blowing up of two Russian planes by Muslim women? What will we apologize for? What will it take for Muslims to realize that those who commit mass murder in the name of Islam are not just a few fringe elements? What will it take for Muslims to realize that we are facing a crisis that is more deadly than the Aids epidemic? What will it take for Muslims to realize that there is a large evil movement that is turning what was a peaceful religion into a cult?
Will Muslims wake up before it is too late? Or will we continue blaming the Jews and an imaginary Jewish conspiracy? The blaming of all Muslim problems on Jews is a cancer that is destroying Muslim society from within and it must stop.
Muslims must look inward and put a stop to many of our religious leaders who spend most of their sermons teaching hatred, intolerance and violent jihad. We should not be afraid to admit that as Muslims we have a problem with violent extremism. We should not be afraid to admit that so many of our religious leaders belong behind bars and not behind a pulpit. Only moderate Muslims can challenge and defeat extremist Muslims. We can no longer afford to be silent. If we remain silent to the extremism within our community then we should not expect anyone to listen to us when we complain of stereotyping and discrimination by non-Muslims; we should not be surprised when the world treats all of us as terrorists; we should not be surprised when we are profiled at airports. Simply put, not only do Muslims need to join the war against terror, we need to take the lead in this war.
As to apologizing, we will no longer wait for our religious leaders and “intellectuals” to do the right thing. Instead, we will start by apologizing for 9-11. We are so sorry that 3000 people were murdered in our name. We will never forget the sight of people jumping from two of the highest buildings in the world hoping against hope that if they moved their arms fast enough that they may fly and survive a certain death from burning. We are sorry for blaming 9-11 on a Jewish or right wing conspiracy. We are so sorry for the murder of more than three hundred school children and adults in Russia. We are so sorry for the murder of train passengers in Spain. We are so sorry for all the victims of suicide bombings. We are so sorry for the beheadings, abductions, rapes, violent Jihad and all the atrocities committed by Muslims around the world. We are so sorry for a religious education that raised killers rather than train people to do good in the world. We are sorry that we did not take the time to teach our children tolerance and respect for other people. We are so sorry for not rising up against the dictators who have ruled the Muslim world for decades. We are so sorry for allowing corruption to spread so fast and so deep in the Muslim world that many of our youth lost hope. We are so sorry for allowing our religious leaders to relegate women to the status of forth class citizens at best and sub-humans at worse.
We are so sorry.
Hat tip Drudge Report, FrontPage Magazine.
Wednesday, September 08, 2004
The Kerry Campaign response to yesterday's gun gaffe:
KERRY CAMPAIGN REBUTS
For Immediate Release
September 7, 2004
FACTS SHOW ANOTHER REPUBLICAN LIE
Charleston, WV-John Kerry West Virginia Communications Director Amy Goodwin made the following statement today in response to misleading claims made by the West Virginia Republican Party and Bush campaign.
"Let's do some straight shooting on the gun issue. John Kerry's opponents are worried because he's the first Democratic candidate to support Second Amendment gun rights and to be an avid hunter.
Excepting, of course, Harry Truman, Theodore Roosevelt, Walter Mondale, etc., etc.
"The facts are clear. John Kerry opposes banning this gun and always will.
So, why is he a cosponsor of legislation that, by it's own terms, would ban that precise weapon? Is this a question of verb tense? Was he once [b]in favor[/b] of banning this gun, but then he found he couldn't even get that bill out of committee, so he has changed his mind and is now [b]opposed[/b] to banning that gun?
John Kerry was proud to receive this union-made gun at the United Mine Workers Labor Day picnic in Racine, West Virginia.
Particularly since he hopes it will fool them into voting for him this year instead of going for Bush like they did in 2000.
"The Republican Party and George Bush's campaign will stop at nothing to mislead voters about John Kerry's record.
So long as that record doesn't involve raising any questions regarding John Kerry's record in the United States Senate. THAT is beneath the pale, don'cha know.
We challenge Bush to engage in honest debates--West Virginians deserve to hear the truth."
Okay, John, if you are interested in the TRUTH, and all, here are a few questions to get the ball rolling:
1. What do you consider to be the most important pieces of legislation that you've authored in each of the following categories?
2. Why would John Edwards make a better president during the war on terror than Dick Cheney?
a. It's been widely reported that John McCain was your first choice as running mate. If true, why did you prefer Senator McCain to Senator Edwards?
3. Earlier this year you told Tim Russert that you'd release all of your military records. You have thus far wholly failed to do so. You also refuse to release your personal Vietnam journal. Why shouldn't the public infer that the contents of these documents would undermine your credibility or otherwise damage your candidacy, and when will you release those documents?
4. You've stated that you believe that life begins at conception yet you voted against the ban on partial-birth abortions. At precisely what point is a life worth protecting, and what, if any, limitations would you place on abortion?
5. You've promised to repeal much of the Bush tax cut and while in the Senate you voted to raise taxes an average of five times per year. If current economic trends remain largely unchanged during a Kerry presidency, would you seek additional tax increases?
6. You opposed the 1991 Gulf War even though Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, had invaded another country, and France and Germany had supported the war. In the current conflict no WMDs have been found, France and Germany oppose the action, and Saddam hadn't invaded another country, yet you recently stated that knowing what you know now, you'd nonetheless authorize the use of force — even though you voted against funding it. Could you please reconcile these positions?
7. You acknowledge meeting with representatives of North Vietnam and the Viet Cong in Paris in 1970. Afterward you urged Congress to accept the North Vietnamese proposals. Please explain how this wasn't a violation of the Logan Act and, if you were still in the Naval Reserves at that time, how it wasn't a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice prohibiting unauthorized communications with the enemy.
8. In several speeches before black audiences you've stated that a million African Americans were disenfranchised and had their votes stolen in the 2000 presidential election. There are no official or media investigations that support that statement. What evidence do you have to support the statement and if you believe a million blacks had their votes stolen, why haven't you called for criminal prosecutions and congressional investigations?
9. Do you dispute the National Journal's assessment that you're the nation's most liberal senator? If you do, which senators do you consider to be more liberal and why?
10. Why did you propose cutting the intelligence budget by $6 billion in 1994?
11. As president, would you nominate anyone to be either an attorney general, FBI director, or CIA director who had been a leader and chief spokesman for a group that had discussed and voted upon a plan to assassinate U.S. senators (even if the proposed nominee had opposed such plan)?
12. You have consistently stated that you "never, never" attended the November 1971 Kansas City meeting of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War at which a plan to assassinate six pro-military U.S. senators was discussed. Several newspapers reported that when confronted with FBI surveillance reports, your campaign "all but conceded" that you were in attendance , but claimed that this was a mere "footnote in history."
a. Were you there?
b. Did you discuss the assassination of U.S. senators? What did you say?
c. Did you vote upon such a plan? How did you vote? Were any similar plans discussed by your group at any time? What were they?
d. If the plan was voted down, what steps did you take to insure that supporters of the plan didn't carry it out anyway?
e. Especially considering that this took place in an era of political assassinations and assassination attempts (Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., George Wallace, etc.), did you report the discussion to any law-enforcement authorities? If not, why not?
f. When did you resign from the organization?
g. Do you dispute reports that you continued as a spokesman for the organization for more than a year after the Kansas City meeting?
h. If this was a mere footnote in history why have you repeatedly and vehemently denied you were there?
i. Did your campaign, as alleged in several newspaper accounts, attempt to get a witness to change his story about your attendance?
13. As president, what would you do about Iran's emerging nuclear capability?
14. During your eight-year tenure on the Senate Intelligence Committee you missed more than thee fourths of all public meetings. It's also been reported that you have skipped or delayed receiving intelligence briefings during the campaign. Why should the public believe that you're serious about this issue?
15. Who among the justices currently sitting on the Supreme Court would be a model for your nominees to the federal bench? Why?
16. In a speech before Drake University Law School you characterized U.S. allies in the war in Iraq as "some trumped-up so-called Coalition of the bribed, the coerced, the bought and the extorted,..." Do you maintain that Great Britain has been bribed, coerced, bought, or extorted? What about Italy? Australia? Japan? Poland? Please specifically identify those members of the Coalition that have been either bribed, coerced, bought, and extorted and the officials who were bribed or bought.
17. You told George Stephanopoulos that you had a plan to get out of Iraq but refused to provide details. Would you consent to having your secret plan privately evaluated by an independent, bi-partisan panel of military experts who could report the plan's merits to the electorate without divulging the details?
a. Would you also consent to privately revealing to an independent panel the names of the foreign leaders who secretly support you so that the panel can confirm your story to the electorate?
b. Ditto regarding the leaders whom you say have secretly told Senators Biden and Levin that you must win?
Hat tip to Peter Kirsanow.
Tuesday, September 07, 2004
Hat tip to the DRUDGE REPORT
Shown here, Senator Kerry accepting a shotgun that would have been banned under a measure he cosponsored last year.
The legislation, S. 1431, banned many types of firearms, including shotguns and rifles with a 'pistol grip'.
The term 'pistol grip' is defined as follows:
PISTOL GRIP- The term `pistol grip' means a grip, a thumbhole stock, or any other characteristic that can function as a grip.
The picture above shows Kerry holding the firearm by what would be an illegal 'pistol grip' in his cosponsored legislation.
Isn't it amazing?
Another fun Kerry gaffe reveals just how arrogant arrogant the man truly is. On a campaign stop in Pennsylvania, he ridiculed the rather short menu at a local diner, saying the menu was it was perfect "for confused people like me who can't make up our minds about what we're going to eat."
I've managed political campaigns before, including one for a state house seat in Oklahoma. You NEVER say anything like that. Whatever the local specialty is, regardless of whether it is boiled beef brains with a side of sauerkraut or a BLT combo, you eat it and you like it.
You certainly do not imply that the restaurant has too few things available on the menu.
John Kerry continues to be his own worst enemy.