Τρίτη, Αυγούστου 17, 2004

Terror Threat in Midtown

This afternoon, I decided to walk down to school (in the Village) from my apartment (on the UES) to take care of a few things, like getting my NYU ID made, etc. I try to walk 5-7 miles a day, so the approximately 3.5-miles-each-way journey seemed like a good way to get that done. I was walking down 2nd Avenue in Turtle Bay (which is where the UN is) and had just crossed 43rd Street when I was obstructed by an orange police line at the corner. There was a drunken homeless man and a cop just on the other side of it, so I assumed that that was the issue and, along with a bunch of other people, stepped around them into the street and attempted to make our way down the block. We were then stopped by another cop who told us that they were clearing the area, we couldn't go that way, and so go around. I crossed 2nd and walked east on 43rd street until I got to Tudor Place. I walked a block south, to where 42nd street passes under the bridge that is Tudor Pl. A large crowd was assembled on the bridge, looking east. I joined them and saw that the NYPD/NYFD had closed down 42nd street from where we were all the way to Lexington (which runs between Grand Central Station and the Chrysler Building on that corner) and possibly somewhat beyond. They were letting cross traffic through on the avenues, but the street was blocked for vehicular and pedestrian traffic. They had also evacuated most of the buildings in that stretch, which is from whence many of my bridge buddies came. We were all calling people on our cell phones, trying to get information from friends and family with access to news sources. The word on the street was that a Pullman suitcase was found unaccompanied and unexplained on the sidewalk between the Pfizer building and the Daily News building. The NYPD was talking it dead seriously, and everyone from my vantage point was pretty nervous. Not so nervous as to give up front row seats to watch, but nervous. My rationale for staying on that bridge was that if it was a conventional explosive device, it wouldn't reach as far as us, and if it was a nuclear device, pretty much anywhere I would walk within 20-30 minutes would be within blast range, so might as well go for the view. Might not be the smartest strategy, but oh well. I eventually left and walked home -- I never did make it down to school. If it was an accident, which I hope it was, someone's going to be very embarrassed when the NYPD gives them their laundry back. If it was a joke, it certainly wasn't a funny one. If it was in fact a terrorist device of sorts, I hope they got it diffused and such, and I'm glad the "If you see something, say something" campaign is working. There was some speculation, up on the bridge, that perhaps our responses were being tested, and maybe there were a dozen guys with binoculars noting the NYPD/FD response.

Anyway, I don't know anything else, because it's not on the news as far as I can tell. I'll keep you updated if I hear any more.

Δευτέρα, Αυγούστου 16, 2004

Continuing on the thoughts of the post below, I find it interesting the the left holds the belief that our troops belong stateside, yet simultaneously believes that Bush was a horrible person for guarding Texas against Oklahoma. There's no pleasing some people.

Where They Belong

I'm not exactly sure when John Kerry said this (Milwaukee, I think), and my internet connection as I write is currently sketching out on me so I can't google it, but at some point recently, Kerry has said something to the effect of "we're going to get our troops home where they belong."

Now this can mean one of about three things.

1) John Kerry is a blowhard who talks out of both sides of his mouth and the central anatomical feature of his posterior region, and his words have no actually meaning because he's just pandering. Nothing to see here, folks, just keep moving.

2) Our troops are going to vigilantly guard us from attack at home. This means that there will be fighter jets over all our cities at all times, destroyers and battleships (and, my favorite, the frigate! Whatever that is...) patrolling our costal waters, the Army posted along the border, shoulder to shoulder, and the Marines controlling any high risk areas, with a rifleman on every corner and an armored battalion in the middle of Times Square. Heck, 1950s Moscow was one of the safest cities in the world. Sure, it was a police state, but it was safe. This is so crazy, it just might work!

3) Our troops are going to train vigorously to be qualified to sit around on their bases, because there is no one for them to fight at home, where they belong.

I don't know if John Kerry missed the memo on this one, but the reason the armed forces are, well, armed is so they can fight things. The US does not have a huge problem with invading armies, it has a problem with terrorists, and unless he plans to use option #2 to deal with the terrorists which is a) not bloody likely and b) a stupid idea to begin with, they're not going to get dealt with.

This may come as a shock, but Going to War is somewhat of a traditional way to do it. Odysseus went to war. Agamemnon went to war. King David went to war, and the year he decided to keep himself at home "where he belonged" he got himself into massive trouble with Bathsheba. Johnny went off to war, which is what enabled him to come marching home. George Washington went off to Valley Forge, along with his men. We went off to war in WWI and WWII and pretty much every other war we've ever fought. Generally speaking, when the war comes to your home, you have a very serious problem. Just like your mother always told you, "No fighting in the house -- take it outside in the pea gravel." (Note: wrestling someone in pea gravel is a dumb and painful idea. Not that I would know.)

I'm not saying we should randomly and wantonly send our fighting forces off to war to give them something to do, or because they're fighters, they should be fighting, but if we have enemies that feel the need to kill us, then we should kill them first, and we're not going to do that from Yonkers.

Κυριακή, Αυγούστου 15, 2004

Gilderoy Kerry

It just occurred to me exactly which fictional character John Kerry reminds me of. He's Gilderoy Lockhart, to a tee.

For those of you who aren't die-hard Harry Potterites, let me explain. Gilderoy Lockhart is the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry during Harry Potter's second year, as found in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and portrayed by Kenneth Branaugh in the movie. Gilderoy is extremely attractive (5 time winner of Witch Weekly's Most Charming Smile) award and a best-selling author. He has scores of books out, all detailing his heroic achievements against the forces of evil -- Gadding with Ghouls, Break with a Banshee, Holidays with Hags, Travels with Trolls, Voyages with Vampires, Wanderings with Werewolves, Year with the Yeti, etc., not to mention his autobiography, Magical Me. He tends not to be around when scary things actually happen, and then he makes sure everyone knows that "It's a pity I wasn't there -- I know exactly the counter-curse that could have spared her," or similar things. Throughout the year, however, he doesn't exactly inspire confidence in his abilities, as he tends to botch things when he's given the chance to act on them.

So then, at the end of the year, Harry and his friend Ron have a showdown of sorts with Lockhart, who admits that he didn't do any of the things in his books, but is exceptionally talented with a memory charm -- he took down the stories of the witches and wizards that actually had done heroic things and modified their memories so he could claim the triumphs as his own, so that he could sell books and be a hero.

It's worth remembering that true heros rarely call themselves such, that the truly brave almost never declare themselves to be, and that those with real power generally don't need to flaunt it.

Incidentally, according to JK Rowling, the only character in the Harry Potter books that is based on someone she has actually know in real life is Lockhart, only the real life version is apparently even more objectionable. I wonder, do JKR and JFK know each other?

Σάββατο, Αυγούστου 14, 2004

Unfit for Amazon

Well this is interesting. I just, on a whim, went over to Amazon.com to see what how Unfit for Command was doing on the charts. So, from the main page, I clicked on " Top Sellers" assuming that that would lead me to, you know, the books that were selling best. On the main page of that, the book highlighted was "A Matter of Character: Inside the White House of George W. Bush", which is, to be fair, a Bush-friendly book. But I still hadn't found "Unfit for Command." So I clicked on the non-fiction list. Not there. I'll list the top 20 books that were there at the bottom. So I went to New/Future releases. Not there either, only 15 on that page though. Huh. So I went to the search box.

If you search for the words "unfit for command" you get three "Most Popular Results," none of which are the book in question. Then, finally at the top the 20052 other books with those words, is the Swiftvets' book. You'd think it wasn't selling well. Unless you went to the actual product page, here and you'd see that the sales rank is, well, 1.

On BarnesNoble.com, you click on bestsellers, and "Unfit for Command" is at the top. At Amazon, it requires an effort to find.. Interesting.

The books on the non-fic list were:
1) The 9/11 Report
2) All the President's Spin: George W Bush, the Media, and the Truth
3)BushWorld: Enter at Your Own Risk
4) A Matter of Character (as seen above)
5) Running on Empty: How the Democratic and Republican Parties are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About It
6) Reckless Disregard: How Liberal Democrats Undercut our Military, Endanger our Soldiers, and Jeopardize our Security
7) Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror
8) If It's Not Close, They Can't Cheat: Crushing the Democrats in Every Election and Why Your Life Depends on It
9) What's the Matter with Kansas?: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America
10) Misunderestimated: The President Battles Terrorism, John Kerry, and the Bush Haters
11) The American Prophecies: Ancient Scriptures Reveal Our Nation's Future
12) Rewriting History
13) Worse than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush
14) Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance
15) Losing America: Confronting a Reckless and Arrogant Presidency
16) Recovering the Past: A Historian's Memoir
17) Ask the Pilot: Everything You Need to Know About Air Travel
18) A National Party No More: The Conscience of a Conservative Democrat
19) The Contrarian's Guide to Leadership (J-B Warren Bennis Series)
20) Deserter: George Bush's War on Military Families, Veterans, and His Past
21) The Missing Peace: Inside Story of the Fight for Middle East Peace
22) Deliver Us From Evil: Defeating Terrorism, Despotism and Liberalism
23) Fat Man Fed Up: How American Politics Went Bad
24) The First Days of School: How To Be An Effective Teacher
25) Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America

A Crime That Dares Not Speak Its Name

I don't want to go here again. I don't want to think about it. Too big a can of worms. But I'm curious.

Is lying while testifying before Congress perjury? Or is it only if it's in a court of law? Just if it's under oath? What's the legal standard? What's the statute of limitations on it?

If Kerry lied about, well, all kinds of things in front of Congressional committees, not that I'm suggesting we go this route, but is he then guilty of purjury? I have no idea, and I need to get out of the apartment, but I'd be interested to know if Kerry's falsifications have any legal ramifications.

I'd Vote For Him...

Susan has a beautiful little post right here. I won't spoil it. Just go. Then come back.

I Know You Are But What Am I?

I could be totally mistaken in my recollection of this, but I believe the Aboriginal creation story tells of a time before time, the Dream Time, when spirits or something sang the world into existance. Other mythologies and supersitions reference the idea of speaking something into existance -- part of the reason that the characters in Harry Potter will not speak the name of Voldemort. Why do I bring this idea up? Because the Democrats seem to have spoken their "worst fears" into existance. I use the scare quotes here because the things they claim as their worst fears actually aren't. They don't really care about Iraqi deaths (and the few that really do need to do some math and take a short stroll through Iraq the Model), they don't really have a problem with , and having a lying, Machiavellian president is fine, as long as said president is a Democrat.

The interesting thing is that the shrill accusations that have been thrown at Bush have bounced off, at least as far as facts are concerned, and stuck firmly to Kerry. It's almost like they've spoken John Kerry into existence in their tirades against Bush.

Bush Lied! Um...Bush was mistaken, but Kerry lied about Cambodia, probably about his magic hat, and several medals.

Bush is a Deserter Well, both candidates were honorably discharged, and Bush got out of the TANG early to work on a campaign, but the war was over then and there were no planes for him to fly anyway. Kerry did his darnedest to keep away from battle and happily played his Get Out of Nam Free card, leaving his men after his three Purple Hearts. I'm not going to call that deserting, because it isn't, but Blackfive, who has a right to talk on this, rightly questions:
"So I just have one question for you Active Duty Marines, Sailors, Soldiers, and Airmen: Would you ever leave your men in a combat zone because you earned the right to go home early, even though you were physically able to continue leading them?

Would the rest of you?

That's what I thought."
Bush is part of a conspiricy with evil foreign leaders to seize power. Kerry seems to be supported by a group of anonymous foreign leaders who may not all wish us harm, but sure don't seem to wish us well. And let's not forget the whole Meeting the Viet Cong to negotiate thing.

Bush Lied, People Died! See above on lying, but also... John Kerry's now-debunked Winter Soldier testimony caused the will of the American People to falter, which essentially allowed the VC to triumph, and led to the massacre and displacement of hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese and massive numbers of refugees, etc., not to mention US servicemen, especially of the POW/MIA variety. Lots of people were against the war, but John Kerry was the leader of the group that did the most damage, and his lies actively impacted the course of that war.

Now, bear in mind, just because I think that many of the descriptions of Bush better reflect his opponent, I'm not going to run around drawing horns and swastikas on him. I think that Kerry is a Machivellian opportunist, I don't trust him, I don't believe him, I don't respect him, and I don't like him, and I certainly don't believe he's qualified to be president, but I don't think that he is the Anti-Christ or Hitler or anything like that.

I just find it interesting that the Dems may want the Anti-Bush, but they may wake up a man who actually is what they say Bush is.

Παρασκευή, Αυγούστου 13, 2004

My Only Contribution Whatsoever to the Discussion of Cambodia

Many better bloggers than I have done a great job with the Kerry in Cambodia story, and I have nothing to contribute to this. However, let the record show that I, too, have a memory of Cambodia seared -- seared -- into my mind, and that is the memory of sitting for my IB ab initio Japanese test, which, when we started the subject, purported to teach us "survival level Japanese," and being given a reading comprehension on the topic of landmines in Cambodia. In case we hadn't picked up the word for landmine in our textbooks, the concept was graphically depicted through cartoons, first of a cylinder buried under ground, then a farmer in a straw hat with his foot over the cylinder, and then an explosion. All this to say, of all of the Japanese (and other languages) I've learned and forgotten, the phrase jirai ni cambojia will never leave me. Seared.

Τετάρτη, Αυγούστου 11, 2004

Why I Am A Republican

A week or so ago, I mentioned that I had been at a Democratic election watch-party and found myself the target of lots of Democratic evangelism (man, that's an oxymoron...Ed.--Be nice, Katie... No. It's my blog and I'll snark if I want to).

Some friends (parents of a girl with whom I went to high school) who I've know for many years outed me as a Republican, and then tried to convince me that I should become a Democrat. Their rationale was something like this (names have been changed to protect the Moonbats)

Mary: Katie, you should give up all that money (Note: My parents are relatively well off) and become a Democrat.

Me: Give up what money? I have no money. That's my parents' money. I have no money.

Sam: That's why you should be a Democrat.

Me: No, that's why I'm a Republican. If I ever happen to earn any money, I want to keep it, and even if I never earn any, I still don't want your money.

That doesn't fully encapsulate why I'm a Republican, although it sums up my fiscal reasoning. Obviously, I'm very hawkish, which puts me firmly in the Bush camp. I'm hard left on gay rights and somewhat ambivilant on abortion. Moreover, the Republicans seem to be the Party of Adults, while the Dems seem to be the Party of Adolescents. The world has uses for adolecents, but they generally involve dealing with French fries, not French people.

Medical Savings Accounts

Jeff Harrell, who continues to be on a roll, has a great explaination of the Medical Savings Accounts. I think these are a fabulous idea. Jeff really has a knack for going out an researching complicated policy issues and presenting them lucidly, something with which the mainstream media can no longer be bothered, presumably because the effort causes their tinfoil hats to fall off. Anyway, Jeff writes:
Put simply, HSA's work like this. First you sign up for a high-deductible health plan. The "high-deductible" part is defined in the statute and the numbers change every year, but for 2004 your plan has to have a deductible of at least $1,000 for a self-only plan or $2,000 for a family plan. During the course of the year, you can put up to $2,600 (if you're on a self-only plan) or $5,150 (if you're on a family plan) into your HSA. If you make your deposits out of your net income, you'll receive a tax deduction for the total amount on your tax return. If you prefer, you can have your contribution to your HSA taken out of your gross income by your employer, in which case you aren't taxed on it.

Say you live alone and you decide to sign up for the cheapest health plan you can find with a whopping $2,500 deductible. You make your deposits into your HSA for 11 months, then you get careless and slice open your finger. You drive yourself to the hospital, bleeding all over the interior of your 1977 AMC Pacer (if you could afford a new car, you wouldn't need to cheap out on your health insurance, would you?). They make you wait for seventeen hours, then they put five stitches in the cut that's already well on its way to being healed on its own and present you with a bill for $1,900.

Because you have a Health Savings Account, you've got the cash you need to pay that medical bill right up front. You hand your debit card to the cashier, she rings you up, the amount is deducted from your HSA, the insurance forms are filled out so that $1,900 can be applied to your annual deductible, and you go home.

But wait a minute. You didn't pay any taxes on the money you put into your HSA, because it was deductible. That means you must get taxed like crazy when you take it out, right? Wrong. HSA payments for qualifying medical expenses are 100% tax-exempt. What's a qualifying expense? Pretty much everything. Office vists. Hospital care. Surgical fees. Laboratory fees. Eyeglasses and optical exams. Crutches. Dental fees. Psychiatric care. Braces and other orthodontia. Nursing home care. Osteopathy. Acupuncture. The list just goes on and on. You can take money out of your HSA at any time and for any reason, but if you don't spend that money on a qualifying expense, you'll have to pay regular income taxes on it, plus a 10% penalty. That's to keep folks from using their HSA savings unless they absolutely have to.

But what happens if your emergency-room bill had exceeded the value of your HSA, you ask? Remember that you're allowed to put an amount equal to your insurance deductible into your HSA every year. So by definition, if you need to spend more than you have in your HSA, you've already maxed out your deductible. You'd use your HSA to pay the deductible and your insurance plan would cover the rest.
So in other words, you spend less money on your insurance, you have tax-free money with which to pay your deductible, if you don't exceed your deductible, you get the save the money, with interest, instead of having large sums of your money disappear into the Pit of Insurance Premiums and Lost Socks, and you can use the money for whatever you need it. Dude, sign me up. Except I don't currently have an income. But we're working on that, and in any case, I do hope, at some point in my life, to be gainfully employed/solvent.

Internet Access Update

I officially get internet access on Tuesday, between 12-4. Until then, I'll be haunting libraries (why are most of the Wi-Fi connected NYPLs in Harlem? Or WAY downtown? Couldn't we have a little wi-fi love up here on the UES?), etc, trying to connect, but blogging may still be sporadic until Tuesday. I'm not happy about it either. I'm gonna try real hard though, k? On the health front, my head feels somewhat better at the moment, and I have replenished my supply of Nyquil, so all is well. Still have a cough, but I've had lung problems for, oh, 18 years now, so that's not real surprising. All indications are that I will survive to blog another day.

Can We Win?

A few weeks ago, I had an interesting conversation with my mother about the War on Terror. She tenatively expressed the idea that perhaps we ought to be killing individual terrorists rather than dealing with rogue states, after all, terrorists, not rogue states, fly planes into buildings. I then said that I believe that dealing with Islamofacist terror is like treating cancer -- you have to remove the tumors so that the cancer can't spread further, and then chemo or radiate any remaining cells that might have survived the tumor removal. I said that I thought we had to change the Middle East and kill individual terrorists if we want to win. And then she asked me a very interesting question. She asked "Do you think we can win?"
My response was essentially this: "You grew up during the Cold War, right? Did you ever, when you were my age, think that it would end? Did you think that it could be won?" And she replied that they had always believed that Communism and the Cold War were something that would always be, a conflict that would last forever, a stalemate that couldn't be resolved. Sure they wanted to win, but never actually believed it would happen. I told her that I believe that the War on Terror will end in my lifetime, but perhaps not in hers. And I do believe that, although I think that victory will be expedited by leaders who are sober-minded and determined, and who actually believe that we can win. Look at the Cold War -- Carter didn't believe that we could win, and didn't try. Reagan knew we could, and did it. Kerry's strategy of holding a "terror summit" doesn't convey a belief that this is a war that can be won, it conveys a belief that it's a problem that can be managed. Bush believe he can and will win, or his successors will, building on the work that he has done.

I think that it's important that we all ask ourselves that question: "Do you believe that we can win?" (And, a corrollary for our leftist friends, "Do you want us to?") Discuss.

The Inarticulate Genius

I've been mulling something very similar to this post over for quite some time, but this comment (and the fact that I needed something to do) got me around to it. He writes, in response to my post Hold The Presses,
Oh come on, this was terrible - exactly the kind of thing that makes me NOT want to vote for Bush. I don't like the idea of someone who appears to be such a moron running our country. No, this won't change my vote, but yes, this is the kind of thing I _hate_ about the current president.

We can guess at what he _meant_ to say, but it's very clear what was said. Very clear.
Now, before I get into this, two caveats. 1) I realize the "Bush is a genius/Bush is a moron" thing has been beaten to death. I do not care. 2) My argument here is based on anecdotal evidence, which, admittedly, cannot be applied universally (for example, just because I had two roommates who were both a) black and b) evil, does not permit me to conclude that all black people are evil -- and don't accuse me of it, because I don't) but I wish to provide a counterexample to the idea that because someone mangles language, he or she is an idiot by default.

So here goes -- my younger brother talks like George W. Bush. He mangles words. He botches sentance structure. He calls avocados tomatoes and says 'inconsistent' when he means 'inconsiderate' or something else further astream. He's a slow reader. His essays are often nearly incomprehensible as he struggles to articulate what he means. He cannot grasp the relationships between Latin and English, even in relatively simple cognates. An idiot, right?

His IQ is somewhere north of 175. Average being 100, gifted 125, profoundly gifted (genius) 175. And lest this dissolve into a critique of IQ testing, let me add that everyone he meets can tell that he is exceptionally bright. He's very good with numbers, a highly gifted athlete, is a good decisionmaker and leader, and exhibits a majority of the signs of profound giftedness. Whether or not IQ tests are fair to red-headed Armenians with last names starting with H is not a relevant to this argument.

And lest this dissolve into fantasy, anyone who mentions that bogus "IQ assessment" that declares that Clinton's IQ was 180 and Bush's 90, or something like that, should first go here and then, if you still choose to make such comment, be prepared to be mocked without mercy and fisked until your bottom blisters. Just wanted to get that out there.

Now, do I think that a high IQ is an indicator of whether or not someone is competent to be a president? Not at all. I went to a special middle school where you had to have a minimum IQ of 150 to be admitted, and I would guess (this wasn't the sort of thing that was tattooed on everyone's foreheads) that most people exceeded 180, with scores ranging up to 210ish. I have kept in touch with/kept track of a fair number of these students, and I would say that I can think of one, maybe two, of those people who would be competent to be president, and in any case, the one I'm thinking of would prefer to be a political appointee.

In fact, for many occupations, and life in general, a IQ higher than about 150 is considered to be as much a hinderance as a help. I don't remember the exact instance, but there was a case of a man who was turned down from a position with the police department because he had an IQ over 140, I think it was. 125-150 is often considered to be peak functioning range. Much higher and people start to get rather weird and screwed up.

Anyway, getting back to my main point, just because someone is not particularly articulate does not make them an idiot. That's all.

View From the Starbucks

Interestingly, of approximately 8 laptop users I have seen in the 75th and 1st Starbucks over the last few hours, exactly one has been using a non-Mac laptop. Even if the people of Manhattan have lousy taste in political affiliation, they have good sense when it comes to computers. I think I'm going to give up on the Starbucksing for now and go outside, even though I'm not breathing especially well and it's hot, because I can't sit at this table much longer. C'mon, ISP people, hook up my apartment! Faster! Faster! Mush, you huskies!

Anyway... I think I want to go find a DVD rental/cheap buy-al place so that I can retreat to my apartment and lay on my futon and wheeze and feel sorry for myself in peace.

A Roundup of Goodness

Since I'm a little behind on my reading, I'm just going to put up a round-up of Good Things I Read This Afternoon.

For starters: Cold Fury has a magnificent rant of his ideal Tom Ridge press briefing. Go read it all. Be happy.

Jeff Harell has good stuff on stem cell research, presented in a cool, calm, and collected manner, as all of his writing generally is.

My War has a firsthand account from a FOB in Mosul, which he contrasts with the AP report. Includes lots of strong language. I feel that I would have used similarly strong language had I had a similarly strong experience.

This is old, but worth remembering -- The Type of Man GW Bush Is from RightWingNews

Bill Hobbs has an excellent point about the Bush recovery and small businesses.

More Update

So I've ordered internet for my apartment because it's cheaper than T-Mobile (and I can surf from my futon instead of going to Starbucks) and my arteries (and wallet) can't deal with having to order a combo meal from Mickey D's every time I need to get online. I should have it up and running within a week or so. Having been out of internet contact since Thursday evening, I'm a bit behind, so I'll be taking a little bit of time to get back up to speed. Also, as I mentioned, I'm sick, and that does dampen the exhuberance of my snark. In any case, soon the excuses will be over and I'll be back.

On another note, I've been accepted to volunteer at the RNC, in the Welcoming/Planning division, not the on-the-floor division, which is a pity, but it should be exciting anyway. If any of you credentialed blogger folks wanna give me a call when you're in town, I'd love to actually meet you.

An Open Letter

Dear Celebrities of the Beat Bush tour, or whatever it is:

If you were wondering why some of your fans have vowed never to buy your music again, you obviously don't understand your fans. First off, we're not sheep and you're not that cool. We like you, but if John Mellencamp jumps off a cliff, we're not following. Just because we like your music does not change our convictions of what's right and wrong and good and bad and wise and foolhardy. Sure, maybe you'll pick off the young and the weak, but they were likely to vote your way anyway. Second, we resent that you think of us as sheep, who will believe that you know what you're talking about because you have better hair than us. It's not that you have an opinion. We honestly don't care. The fact that you condesend to your fans by assuming that your radiant presence will change our mind, that bothers us.

Just so you know.


So I'm in New York, but blogging will continue to be light because my internet access is rather spotty, and also I have a very bad cold. But hopefully I'll be back to my bloggy self very soon. Keep checking back, and I'll try to have something interesting to say at some point.

Παρασκευή, Αυγούστου 06, 2004

The Watchers Council

The Council has spoken this week, and the winning posts are as follows:
  • Winning Council post -- Misdirected Mail from Damnum Absque Injuria

  • Winning non-Council post -- The Forgotten Enemy from A Small Victory

  • A list of all the posts that received votes is here.

    Πέμπτη, Αυγούστου 05, 2004


    Jeff over at Shape of Days has a great post about Bush's handling of the Swiftvets Ad, especially Scott McClellan's statement at the press briefing this morning. It's hard to excerpt and follow the line of reasoning, so go read it all.
    Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, the Bush administration is not saying a word about the content of the ad. They're using this opportunity to raise the level of debate about unregulated soft money and specifically not mentioning the content of the ad at all.

    Net result? The ad is out there, it's shredding Kerry's reputation, Bush is benefiting from it, but Bush Cheney '04 isn't advocating attack ads, and the White House is using this as a springboard to raise the issue of unregulated contributions again.

    Yes, folks, this is politics. But you know what? This is big-league politics. This is Super Bowl politics. This is politics the way the big boys play it. From where I sit, this looks like a flawless way to handle this whole situation to maximize the President's advantage. He gets the boost from the ad itself, he gets to distance himself from the ad, and he gets to advance his legislative agenda all at once.
    He's exactly right. He takes the high road, the vets take the low road, and they all get to Scotland before John Kerry.

    Hold The Presses!

    According to CNN.com -- <"Bush Misspeaks During Signing Ceremony -- Aug 5, 2004." Good God, he did? Better put that on the main page of CNN.com!

    And what is the content of this groundbreaking story?
    WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush offered up a new entry for his catalog of "Bushisms" on Thursday, declaring that his administration will "never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people."

    So Bush said "My administration will never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people"? Nope, even though, considering that the issue on 9/11 was a "failure of imagination." I want them to think of every way they can to harm Americans and then prevent all of those things from happening. Anyway, what did Bush say?
    "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we," Bush said.

    "They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."

    No one in Bush's audience of military brass or Pentagon chiefs reacted.
    Of course they didn't, partially because they're trained better than that, and partially because that's hardly a misspeak in context. Yes, when you dissect the sentance, it come out to mean that he thinks about harming Americans, but it's really not that far off in the sentance.

    CNN is stretching for headlines at this point, apparently. Bush didn't create a word, he didn't mangle grammer in any really egregious sort of way, and he didn't say something really heinous, like positive things about OSU. It's nice to know that while the good news from Iraq can't get coverage, a slightly sketchy sentance from Bush gets reasonable billing.

    Moving Alert

    We made it as far as St. Louis, and here we will be for the night. In the morning, my father and brother are flying to Florida for a golf excursion. My mother and I are taking three duffel bags and my banjo and flying to New York, where we will spend the night in my apartment and meet my possesions on Saturday when the Fedex man brings them. Still not much in the realm of blogging tonight, as I'm rather tired and not in the mood to be coherent. Not that that stops me. I'm not sure when, after tonight, I will have a chance to post or email until Sunday at the earliest and Tuesday at the latest. We'll see. Anyway, see you on the flip side.

    Τετάρτη, Αυγούστου 04, 2004

    Missouri Politics

    Let me just go ahead and call this one: Bush will win Missouri in November. Basic reason? The church folks remembered the way to the polls yesterday, and I will be very surprised if they forget in three months. The gay marriage amendment passed, and passed mightily, and White River gambling sank, though less mightily. Many of the churches preached on those issues and exhorted everyone to get out and vote. They did. I'm not happy about the gay marriage amendment passing, but that won't kill us. Losing the state to Kerry might.

    Statewide, voter turnout approached 45%, and about 50% of those took Republican ballots, 44% Dem, with some non-partisans and Libertarians making up the middle, even though there were some very highly contested races on the Democratic side, with the governor being unseated by the state auditor.

    I was at a Democratic watch party last night (it was painful -- I was there semi-incognito, not wearing a Bush/Cheney button but not wearing a Kerry/Edwards one either, and I was definately the only Republican there) and one of the strategists/campaign managers told us that the Teamsters had told her that 60% of the people who voted for Bush in 2000 aren't going to vote for him again. Hogwash. Assuming that no Gore voters switch to Bush (which isn't the case, but let's keep our math from getting fuzzy) and rounding Bush's 48% to 50%, that means that they're anticipating that Bush get roughly 20% of the vote, which means they are idiots. This may be a case of not knowing any Republicans except for me, who can pass at a party.

    I had to keep dodging the camera at the speeches -- they kept shooting at me trying to get reaction shots, despite the fact that I was looking less than enthusiastic about most of them. One of the pols giving a speech said, I think unintentionally, "We're going to restore peace...with honor." I feel the need to wear bellbottoms and listen to disco.

    Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory in Michigan

    First, there was the Rolls-Royce gaffe. Now he goes and tells a crowd of University of Michigan people that he just came in from Ohio, and wouldn't want to pick between Bowling Green and University of Toledo (neither would we...yee) but he's a Buckeyes fan.
    "I just came here from Bowling Green," Kerry told the crowd to subdued applause. "I was smart enough not to pick a choice between the Falcons and the, well, you know, all those other teams out there. I just go for Buckeye football, that's where I'm coming from."

    At that point, before all the boos began raining down upon him, Kerry seemed to realize his error. In an attempt to silent the angry crowd of University of Michigan supporters, Kerry said, "But that was while I was in Ohio. I know I'm in the state of Michigan and you got a great big M and a powerhouse of a team." Then his face, presumably, the Botox per
    I don't know if he realizes that he may have just cost himself the state of Michigan. Michigan children sometimes get disowned for going to college in Ohio. Some people will not wear red, because it's Ohio State's color. Beating Ohio State is the single biggest thing that happens at U of M each year, and losing to them is the single worst. Finding out that someone you know roots for OSU is comparable to finding out that they were once Klansmen. That's just the way it is. Michigan = Good, OSU = Sulfurous, Oozing, Festering, Virulient Evil. Get it right, John.

    (Via King of Fools)

    Blogging will be erratic, at best, for the next few days, as I'm moving tomorrow/Friday/Saturday. Hopefully, regular blogging will resume Sundayish.

    Τρίτη, Αυγούστου 03, 2004

    The Best Thing Ever

    Apparently, they have FINALLY released Zorro on DVD. Unfortunately, it was only the first season and they released them in France, but they do exist, and we can hope they'll come out in the US some day soon. And if not, we can hope to get them from France. Anyway....so happy....

    Δευτέρα, Αυγούστου 02, 2004

    Pols and Public Transit

    Gregg Easterbrook has a great piece about politicians, CEOs and celebrities using private planes, especially planes paid for by other people, in a waste of resources and funds, all for a massive ego stroke. On the other hand, you have Mayor Bloomberg, who, despite being a zillionare, rides the 6 train to work every day, crushed in with the unwashed masses, all the way from 77th street (my stop!) to City Hall.

    Equal Pay for Equal Work

    I mentioned this in passing earlier, but I'd like to flog it properly this time.
    WASHINGTON (Talon News) -- The Senate Ethics Committee rejected a complaint filed against Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) for continuing to draw a paycheck despite having missed most of the legislative session this year while campaigning for president. At the time of the filing, Kerry had voted only 14 times out of the Senate's 112 votes this year.

    Secretary of the Senate Emily Reynolds was also named in the complaint, citing her responsibility to enforce the federal statute that requires she make deductions from a senator's paycheck for absence. In a letter to American Conservative Union Chairman David Keene, Reynolds refused to enforce the statute because her predecessors had not done so in other cases.

    The complaint was filed by Hofstra law student Jonathan Stein, who accused Reynolds of willfully violating a federal statute and criticized Kerry for knowingly accepting salary to which he is not entitled.
    Reynolds reason was basically that the statute hasn't ever been enforced and she's not going to start now.

    I want her to start now. I want her to dock Kerry's pay, and Edwards', and Jim Talent's and Kit Bond's and Ted Kennedy's and Hillary Clinton's and every other Democrat and every other Republican, every time they miss. If the law permits (requires!) then I wholeheartedly support not paying legislators for work they didn't do. I would support additional legislation that mandates that any legislator that doesn't have attendance measuring up to the attendance standards required for, say, graduating from high school (70%ish, usually), the governor of that state is permitted and required to name a replacement. If you want to run for higher office, either do it on your own time or quit your day job. It's really very simple. The American people pay you to represent them, and lest you forget, the taxpayers who fund your salaries do not get months at a time off from work. Maybe we could get the MTV "Rock the Vote" folks to work on Congress.

    ...Lest You Sound Like a Comic Book Villian

    If I were managing a candidate (well, first, he would have a defined position on issues, but that's another story), I would keep him from saying things like "I don't care what it sounds like. The fact is that I'm not going to negotiate in public today without the presidency, without the power." It's the word 'power' at the end of that sentance that really creeps me out. He doesn't say "power to enact my ideas" or "power to implement change" or "power to nuke their sorry Islamofacist asses or camels, as the case may be." He just says "the power" and I know I'm arguing linguistic minutia, but I feel like he doesn't want "the power to do x, y, z," he wants The Power. It makes you sound like Sauron or something. That is an image I would suggest not cultivating...

    Will You Come?

    Get this:
    WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush on Monday endorsed creation of a national intelligence czar and counterterrorism center - his first steps in revamping the nation's intelligence-gathering system to help prevent a repeat of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
    Kerry, who has given a blanket endorsement to all the commission's recommendations, applauded Bush for embracing some commission proposals. But he said the president wasn't moving with sufficient urgency. "The time to act is now, not later," the senator declared, saying Bush should call Congress back from its summer recess to begin working on the changes.
    That remark is a bit rich coming from a man who has only been at about 13% of the votes this year (yet has collected 100% pay), and whose running mate has both terrible attendance at votes and at committee meetings (yet also collected 100% pay -- and this is John "We're gonna reward work, not wealth" Edwards we're talking about here), attending about 1/3. Kerry himself, over 8 years on the Senate Intelligence Committee, managed to make it to 9 out of 38 meetings. Kerry/Edwards claim that their attendance is based on their campaigns, but both had abysmal attendance before they started to run for office.

    So basically, my question, John, is this: If Bush calls it, will you come? If you come, will you stay? If you stay, will you work? Or are you above all those things just like you are above waiting in line or eating at Wendy's?

    UPDATE: Donald Sensing has slightly different attendance numbers, but the point stands, and boy is it amusing.

    Kerry the Diplomat

    I can't find a transcript of the interview right now, but I saw a little bit of the Kerry-Edwards interview on Foxnews last night, and I have to say, the combination of arrogance and vapidness was really disconcerting. The bit I saw had the interviewer asking John Kerry some question like "How would you deal with Iraq/Iran/North Korea/something?" and Kerry responding something to the effect of, "Look, I'm not going to play my hand and negotiate a position while I'm not in power. I've dealt with these things before and worked with foreign leaders and I know what I'm doing."

    Good God that's frightening. Not to mention disingenuous -- anyone remember which foreign leaders John Kerry most famously negotiated with? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Yep, that's right...the Viet Cong...while we were still, right or wrong, at war with them.

    As has been noted by Ed Morrisey and Glenn and everyone, the whole "secret plan" thing sounds quite familiar, although in this case, it would be better that the secret plan involved staying the course than getting the hell out of Dodge.

    War in the Future Tense

    I've been meaning to write something very similar to this for a while and just haven't gotten the words in the proper order in my head. Hindrocket over at Powerline has though, so go read what he has to say. His point is this:
    In the key paragraph of his acceptance speech, John Kerry said:
    I defended this country as a young man and I will defend it as President. Let there be no mistake: I will never hesitate to use force when it is required. Any attack will be met with a swift and certain response.
    My question: What's with the future tense? We've already been attacked, repeatedly, and everything the Bush administration has done to combat terrorism since Sept. 11 is part of its "swift and certain response" to those attacks. Logically, Kerry's formulation seems to imply that, should he be elected, the terrorists will have a clean slate, and Kerry will await yet another attack before contemplating aggressive action against them. Otherwise, why the suggestion that he will be waiting for a new attack before launching a "swift and certain response"?
    Read the whole thing.

    Leadership and Creativity

    I've been sitting here ruminating over different analogies to illustrate why it is that being a good (or at least decent) skipper of a swiftboat doesn't qualify you to run a country, and I'm coming back to two things: creativity and experience.

    Ruminate with me:
  • Being a good instrumentalist doesn't qualify you to conduct. Sure, you know what it feels like to be conducted, and you've observed a good deal of it, but that doesn't make you qualified to stand up at the front and wave the baton and go bossing the brass around.

  • Being a good hockey player doesn't qualify you to run the NHL. Sure, you know the game, and you know the guys, and you know every play in the book, and you know exactly what it's like to be crosschecked into the boards by 215lbs of post-Soviet aggression, but that doesn't give you the business experience or managerial experience or personnel experience to run a league.

  • Being a decent follow-spot operator doesn't qualify you to be a technical director or scenic designer. Managing a McDonalds doesn't qualify you to head up the Marketing division. Etc.

  • The real thing that sets apart the leaders from the led, at least in terms of thought process, is creativity. The led follow orders or rules or guidelines or habits. The leaders have to invent their own path out of the air. A conductor has to have a vision for a piece in order to make it materialize. The head of the NHL has to decide which cities get teams and which don't, and keep 26ish highly competitive teams at peace, and make the public want to watch the skirmishes. The TD/SD has to see the production in their mind and create a lighting plot of the show so that the lighting designer can execute it. The McDonalds Marketer has to dream up an new way to get people to eat fatty foods, and the Manager has to make surly teenagers make the fatty foods. Etc.

    The difference between being the Commander-in-Chief and being the Skipper is that one imagines and the other executes. Kerry, for all his nuance, has never had to imagine anything up. He was sent, not sending. And in fact, this is reflected in his slogan "Send me." I don't want to have to try to survive another "failure of imagination," I want a CIC who will think of big things and solve big problems and knows how to conduct the symphony, not just play second fiddle.

    He Was a Nice Boy in a Suit...

    ...and he had a nametag and everything! This is a wonderful "Dear John" letter to Kerry. Enjoy.

    Removing All Doubt

    From an article on the terror alerts:
    Some Democrats such as Howard Dean questioned the timing of the terror alert, noting it comes as Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) rides a surge of post-convention momentum.
    Dean either drank the Kool-Aid this morning or has moved on to an obscure set of linguistic usages in which 'surge' means 'bus' and 'momentum' means 'exorbitantly priced gourmet box-lunches'.

    Let's Get Regressive!

    If the GOP can and will actually pull this off... The Dems would herniate something, but that wouldn't be a huge loss. Then again, we'd have to listen to Ben Affleck and Bill Clinton sit around and gripe about the government not taking enough of their money. Maybe give people the option of sending in an additional 40% of their income just for kicks and grins. The other logical things that would go with this would be a) privatized social security and b) the healthcare savings accounts. The GOP will need somewhat of a landslide for this, but that could happen. It would be cool.

    UPDATE: Jeff, in the comments (where a thoughtful discussion is occuring, 300 words at a time) writes:
    I did some reading about this a few hours ago for a post on my site. It turns out that the Bush administration has been paying very close attention to Russia's 13% flat-tax experiment for more than two years now and are impressed with what they've seen. (Growth rate of 10% over two years, 50% higher tax revenues over the same period.)

    Furthermore, a 15% flat tax was a part of the preliminary post-war plan for Iraq. Paul Bremer signed it into law back when the CPA was still running the show, and it remains in place now with no sign of going away any time soon.

    It seems like the Bush administration has been thinking "flat tax," or at the very least "massive tax reform," for some time now. I think this might be a part of the President's second-term legislative agenda.

    It'd also be a fantastic campaign plank: get the Democrats to defend the IRS. Brilliant.
    My opinion is that planks are made for walking, and I'd dearly love to see the Dems plunge to Davy Jones' locker over this one.

    UPDATE UPDATE: In response to Abigail, and just to clarify my own position, I favor a flat tax rather than a sales tax for several reasons. First, keeping price perceptions low seems important for customer spending (in other words, if the price of my goods shoots up because of a sales tax, I'd be, at least at first, inclined to change my spending habits to conserve, not that that's an entirely bad thing). Second, if people's taxes become too incognito (or too low/nonexistant) it creates an apathy to the actions of government. My feeling is, impractical as this would be, I'd love to see all of an employee's payroll taxes deducted from his or her checks and put into an account to collect all year, and then turned over to the employee at tax time, just so he or she can sign the check for the lump sum, and feel the pain. People who don't feel the pain don't care when the government does moronic things and keep electing people who allocate money for such things. People who do feel it tend to rant about funding for NASA and the National Endowment for the Arts and such. Most of these people are Republicans.

    Κυριακή, Αυγούστου 01, 2004

    Link Whorage!

    The Watcher has his weekly offer of link whorage up and is looking for takers. If you have a post that you think is just golly-gee-willikers swell and you want people to come be amazed by your brilliance, follow this link and you will receive further instructions there. Just think -- fame, glory, traffic!

    The Salute

    I know I'm slightly behind on this, but while we're being nasty, this is what Kerry's salute reminded me of...

    I miss Zorro being on the Disney Channel...

    This ain't good

    Considering that I'm moving to Manhattan on Friday, this is not at all reassuring.

    Σάββατο, Ιουλίου 31, 2004

    Kerry's Defense Plans (shudder)

    RTO Trainer goes through Michele's list of Kerry's defense promises and decimates them. One point that particularly stood out to me during the speech and annoys me now:
    - End the military's heavy reliance on National Guard and military reservists.
    RTO says:
    Umm... Okay. How?

    Actually, its not okay. Maybe I'm not typical, but I signed up to serve. If we're fighting a war I expect to be there. The lesson of Vietnam (didn't Kerry serve in Vietnam?) was that we had to make certain that the Guard and Reserve were involved in a future war. (Recommended Reading: On Strategy by COL (ret) Harry Summers) Mission accomplished there so now the obvious lesson is to undo that? I got some compelling reasons from COL Summers for the earlier decision, I'm going to need some for this one.

    Ending the military's heavy reliance on some National Guard and Reserve specialites and units, that I can go for.

    The Dems have a rather wicked little double standard going on as it pertains to the National Guard and Reserves. On the one hand, they should never be deployed, ever, unless perhaps Iran marches on Milwalkee, because if they're deployed, it's a "backdoor draft." On the other, they seem to think that the National Guard are practically deserters and dodgers if they don't get deployed, even though they are still Brave, which the Dems use like men use "Well, she has a good personality."

    My personal feeling is that we aren't paying and training these guys to defend Michigan from Ohio, we're paying and training them to be ready and willing to go to war if and when we need them. I realize that is inconvenient, but nobody held a gun to their heads and forced them to enlist. If we need to revamp their benefits or something to compensate them more accurately for their service (I apply this everyone in the military) I say go for it, and I tell the part of my mind that is reminding me that Kerry voted against funding our troops to just simmer on down.

    Incidentally, this argument applies to Kerry's "We're gonna add 40,000 troops but not deploy them, especially not to places they might be useful, and really especially not to Iraq because that would be crazytalk" plan. No sense in spending tax dollars to fund 40,000 guys who are going to sit around in the US. No sense enlisting guys who will have to sacrifice control and normal lives and civilian haircuts if they're not going to do the jobs they're hired and trained to do.

    And another thing: Kerry says he'll, on his first day in office, "immediately reform intelligence gathering." There is exactly one way to immediately reform a government agency, and that's to cut all of its funding, and that's an option that applies to the Federal Department of Moss Management, not intelligence gathering. Besides that, I want rapid reform, but human intelligence seems to be the issue here, and that ain't built in a day. I see Kerry either a) breaking his promise or b) doing something half-cocked and half-assed that will do more harm than good.

    RTO Trainer writes from Afghanistan, and has lots of interesting things to say, so just keep scrolling.

    Kennedy Voters

    Greyhawk from Mudville Gazette has, in the interest of restoring balance to the blogosphere, kindly provided a graphic for the anti-War folks, so they won't feel left out by the whole Eowyn Voters League thing.

    Nice. Very Nice.

    Bigger Things

    I saw Spiderman 2 last night, and it had tons of good stuff about sacrifice and responsibility and courage and all that jazz. The one line that really popped out at me though was when Peter's friend Whats-His-Name was getting all bent out of shape that Peter wouldn't tell him Spiderman's identity and would choose to protect Spiderman rather than help him get revenge. At that point, Peter turned to him and said something to the effect of "There are bigger things going on here than the two of us," namely that Doc Oct was about to blow up New York.

    I think this line would be well remembered by the Bush-haters/Anybody-But-Bush people. Bush is just trying to, literally, save the world in general, and the US in specific. The terrorists are, literally, trying to kill us all, although they are willing to settle for doing it in segments. There are bigger things than whether or not you approve of his pronunciation of "nuclear"going on here. There are bigger things than whether or not the French and Germans approve of our actions going on here. There are bigger things than gay marriage going on here than.

    Far bigger things.

    Παρασκευή, Ιουλίου 30, 2004

    Bush in Springfield

    The blog ate my post. So I'm redoing. I'm not happy. Anyway.

    Bush's speech was very good this morning, and the whole experience was fun. We had to be there way early to go through the line and security and stuff, but it was an interesting place to people watch. We got to see the protesters, which the media said numbered in the hundreds, but I would say 40 is more accurate and 70 would be very very generous. Here's what I saw:
    The people on the hill and immediately in front of it are protesters, the people in the foreground facing towards the hill/left are Bush supporters.

    The AP's choice protester quote is this:
    “I’m so frightened about what’s happening to the country,” said Joan Wagnon, 72, of Springfield. She held a sign reading, “Don’t waive your rights while waving your flag.”
    She's the khaki body on the right. Her face is obstructed by an operative from the Federal Moonbat Protection Program, Nasal Division.
    Babe, you're 72 and you live in Springfield, MO, which Al Qaeda is unlikely to target over places that are actually important. Furthermore, the chances of the Patriot Act being used to subpeona lists of the Harlequin Romances you have read recently are slim. You will not be drafted. Dubya gave you prescription drug benefits. He's not going to change social security for the people currently on it, and you'll be dead when it runs out. And very few white suburban grandmothers have been interned at Guantanmo. So what are you afraid of?
    Some of the other protesters had completely incomprehensible signs. This one reads: "GWB Heroin of the Bami Air Wars" which may simply be to clever for my limited intellect.
    About 10,000 Springfieldians turned out, pretty good for a work day. It was nice to see that capitalism remained in effect.

    Finally we got through security and into the stadium, and heard warm-up speeches from Jim Talent, Kit Bond, Roy Blunt, and various and sundry other Missouri politicians. The woman running for Secretary of State promised to "count every vote, count them only once, and make sure the votes only come from people who are alive and from people who are human. St. Louis is an interesting electoral creature.

    And then Bush arrived, greeted like a rock star, accompanied by country music. He walked out with about four other men, one of whom looked a good deal like my friend Joe White. Upon closer inspection, it turned out that it was indeed Joe White, who is, in all honesty, perhaps the greatest human alive. He runs both Kanakuk Kamps (which I attended for 9 years and my brother does still), which reaches over 20,000 kids a summer and Kids Across America, which reaches thousands of inner city kids each summer, is a national speaker for Promise Keepers, plays football with the guys at Kamp, sends me graduation gifts, called my dad when he was sick last year, and knows me only as Mango, which was my camp nickname. A good man, that Joe White.

    My mother and I had made a bet on what color tie Bush would be wearing, but we both lost, as he was wearing a windbreaker and blue button-down, which was a sensible fashion decision because it was cold and misting, and anyway, it's Springfield, MO and 9am -- no need to impress.
    (I didn't take this picture) We saw the guy put the seal on the front of the podium. Apparently it has its own little pouch. I want that job.

    The text of Bush's remarks, with audience response, is here. It was a good speech and I recommend reading it all. He had a lot of specifics about what he is doing, which was a nice contrast to Kerry's speech last night, which mostly consisted of broad platitudes about things that he will do, instead of things he has done or is currently doing. As he hasn't really done anything to speak of in 19 years as a senator and has missed 90-odd percent of the votes in the past year, he simply doesn't have that much to talk about. Bush used a lot of present tense, and I like that. For example:
    We have more to do to make America's public schools the centers of excellence we all know they can be, so that no child is left behind in America. When we came to office three-and-a-half years ago, too many of our children were being shuffled from grade to grade, year after year, without learning the basics. We're challenging the soft bigotry of low expectations. We've raised the bar. We're setting high standards. We're focusing on results. We're insisting on accountability. We're empowering parents. We're making sure local folks are in charge of schools. And, today, children across America are showing real, substantial progress in reading and math. (Applause.) When it comes to improving America's public schools, we are turning the corner and we're not turning back.
    One of his main themes was that the world is changing. He applied the idea to several concepts, but the best part was this:
    These are exciting times for our country. It's a time of amazing change. The economy is changing. The world is changing. In our parents' generation, moms usually stayed home while fathers worked for one company until retirement. The company provided health care, and training, and a pension. Many of the government programs and most basic systems, from health care to Social Security to the tax code were based, and still are based on those old assumptions.

    This is a different world. Workers change jobs and careers frequently. Most of these jobs are created by small businesses. They can't afford to provide health care or pensions or training. Parents are working; they're not at home. We need to make sure government changes with the times, and to work for America's working families. You see, American workers need to own their own health care accounts. They need to own and manage their own pensions and retirement systems. (Applause). They need more ownership so they can take the benefits from job to job. They need flex-time so they can work out of the home.

    All of these reforms are based on this conviction: The role of government is not to control or dominate the lives of our citizens. (Applause.) The role of government is to help our citizens gain the time and the tools to make their own choices and improve their own lives.
    If he can pull this off, this is a great paradigm. I really like the idea of changing the way things are structured instead of making them bigger. It's like trying to get more processing power when you have one of the ancient supercomputers. You could just keep making it bigger, or you could redesign it to make it more efficent, to the point where what would once take up several city blocks is now sitting on my lap.

    Bush also did a great job explaining the Bush Doctrine, and how exactly we have made progress in the past three years. he said:
    We have more to do to wage and win the war against terror. America's future depends on our willingness to lead in the world. If America shows uncertainty and weakness in this decade, the world will drift toward tragedy. This will not happen on my watch. (Applause.) The world -- the world changed on a terrible September morning. And since that day, we changed the world.

    Before September the 11th, Afghanistan served as the home base for al Qaeda, which trained and deployed thousands of killers and set up terror cells in dozens of countries, including our own. Today, Afghanistan is a rising democracy, an ally in the war on terror, a place where many young girls go to school for the first time. And as a result of our actions, America and the world are safer. (Applause.)

    Before September the 11th, Pakistan was a safe transit point for terrorists. Today, Pakistani forces are aggressively helping to round up the terrorists, and America and the world are safer. (Applause.) Before September the 11th, in Saudi Arabia, terrorists were raising money and recruiting and operating with little opposition. Today, the Saudi government has taken the fight to al Qaeda, and America and the world are safer. (Applause.) Before September the 11th, Libya was spending millions to acquire weapons of mass destruction.

    Today, because America and our allies have sent a strong and clear massage, the leader of Libya has abandoned his pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and America and the world are safer.
    In the long run, our security is not guaranteed by force, alone. We must work to change the conditions that give rise to terror: poverty and hopelessness and resentment. You see, a free and peaceful Iraq and a free and peaceful Afghanistan will be powerful examples to a neighborhood that needs the example of liberty. Free countries do not export terror. Free countries do not stifle the dreams of their citizens. By serving the ideal of liberty, we're bringing hope to others, and that makes America more secure. By being resolute and strong, by working for the ideal of liberty -- after four more years, America will be more secure and the world will be more peaceful.
    That last bit convinces me that the Shrub from Crawford has a much clearer and more expansive vision than the Brahmin from Beacon Hill.

    About Iraq and his decision to invade, he said:
    Before September the 11th, the ruler of Iraq was a sworn enemy of America. He was defying the world. He was firing weapons at American pilots and forcing the world to sanctions. He has pursued and used weapons of mass destruction against his own people. He had harbored terrorists, he invaded his neighbors, he subsidized the families of suicide bombers. He had murdered tens of thousands of his own citizens. He was a source of great instability in the world's most vulnerable region.

    I took those threats seriously. After September the 11th, we had to look at the threat in a new light. One of the lessons of September the 11th is we must deal with threats before they fully materialize. (Applause.)

    The September the 11th Commission concluded that our institutions of government had failed to imagine the horror of that day. After September the 11th, we cannot fail to imagine that a brutal tyrant who hated America, who had ties to terror, had used weapons of mass destruction and might use those weapons or share his deadly capability with terrorists was not a threat.

    We looked at the intelligence; we saw a threat. Members of the United States Congress from both political parties, including my opponent, looked at the intelligence and they saw a threat. (Applause.) We went to the United Nations, which unanimously demanded a full accounting of Saddam Hussein's weapons programs, or face serious consequences. After 12 years of defiance, he refused to comply with the demands of the free world. When he continued to deceive the weapons inspectors, I had a decision to make: to hope for the best and to trust the word of a madman and a tyrant, or remember the lessons of September the 11th and defend our country. Given that choice, I will defend America every time.
    And that is why I will vote for him. I have great faith in a man who is willing to put his political career on the line to liberate two little sandy, rocky nations full of 50 million oppressed and forgotton people, I have great faith in a man who is willing to trust his judgement and make a decision to protect his people, and I have great faith in any man who hangs out with Joe White. Four More Years!

    UPDATE: Deacon at Powerline has thoughts on Bush's Stump Speech. He says:
    From the transcript, I'd say that , domestically, he's matching the Democrats promise for promise, while touting the job growth (1.5 million new jobs since last August) that has followed his tax cut. On values, it's all about marriage.

    But it's when he discusses the war against terrorism that, in my estimation, Bush outshines Kerry. That's because he has a strong and unambiguous record.
    I agree. The other major issue between their two stump speeches is delivery. Bush seemed at ease, happy to be there, and genuinely relatable and accessible, as much as one could be while surrounded by Secret Service and the like. I haven't seen Kerry in person, but he seems like a foreign-but-reasonably-fluent practitioner of, I don't know, American behavior or something. The other vibe I get from Kerry is "Ooh! Look at me! I'm important! Hey! Look at me! Don't you know who I am! I'm Important! Hey! Look at meeeeeeee!" Bush knows he's important. He knows he's powerful. On Bush, power and influence wears naturally. On Kerry, it looks like a little girl trying on her mothers make-up, jewelry and high heels (savor that mental picture...). In a lot of ways, Bush does remind me of Joe White -- yeah, Bush is the leader of the free world, but he'd also come over and help you deal with an ant problem in your kitchen or clear brush or go fishing with you. Kerry seems like the sort where you'd go to his mansion and sit in the parlor and you'd entertain yourselves by scolding the servants, and if you had an ant problem he might give you the name of his Insect Termination Consultant or send one of the servants, but unless he really wanted your vote, he's not the sort of guy you'd find in your crawlspace. Just my impression.

    Sure You Can!

    Go read this from LLama Butchers -- It's entitled "Who says you can't mix Tolkien and politics" and it's really quite amusing. So scamper on over. Then come back.


    I just got home from Bush's speech in Springfield. It was really very good, and I'll have more on it later, but I was up late last night and had to get up Very Early this morning to go see Bush speak (doors opened at 6:30) so I'm going to take a nap and then get right on that, so check back later and I'll have quotes and pictures and everything.

    Πέμπτη, Ιουλίου 29, 2004

    The Watcher's Council Speaks

    This week's winning posts from the Watcher's Council. The full results are here.
    The council post is Control Room by Patterico's Pontifications. The non-council post is Getting It Out by S-Train Canvas. They both come highly recommended. Go read.

    I'm fisking. I'll try to get it done in an hour or so. Otherwise it may have to wait till tomorrow. We have to get up WAY early to go see Bush. General impression: It would have been hard to have less specifics while still using nouns. I'm not inspired.

    UPDATE: No, I'm not. I'm going to watch Friends and relax. Man does not live on blog alone. Go read Rob Sama. He's good. Instapundit has a running thread too. Ed liveblogged. A good read.

    Kerry's Speech

    Lurch has entered the building. He's pressing the flesh. The Secret Service guys don't seem to be thrilled to be there. They just added the steps today so he could enter through the people. The vertical "KERRY" signs are reminiscent of highly magnified pictures of intestinal villi. He's there. There's chanting. The villi are excited. Leo DiCaprio is there. I'll be playing Cards # and #, but I have to look up the numbers in a minutes. I'll fisk the speech later, but for now, I'm just gonna have fun and yell obscinities "Reporting for duty."
    Dad: I'm going to barf.
    Mom: This is gonna be tough. Kerry: "I'm home again."
    Katie, screaming: You've been home for 35 years!!
    Mom: "If I had 'Home' on my card, I'd have Bingo by now."
    JFK:"I was born in the West Wing."
    Dad:"Hopefully this is the closest you're gonna get, buddy."

    9:22 He accepts! He can't raise any more money! He can't raise any more money!


    Okay folks, post your card number here when you call BINGO. Feel free to go for a second BINGO, or play Blackout. Whatever works. Here we go!


    Now they're dragging out Max Cleland. This speech is brought to you by the word: "Patriotism." The crowd has red "MAX" signs. John Edwards applauds prettily.

    Max is telling his story of when he met John Kerry. He was being airlifted out of Vietnam, John Kerry was heading to Vietnam. That doesn't actually tell us how they met. While Kerry was earning medals, Max was in the hospital. He resolved to make something of his life. Good for him. I support that.

    I'm going to take a brief typing break till Kerry's speech. Blogging will be light because I'm gonna play Kerry Bingo!

    Okay, Max is losing it. I didn't get a chance to get all that down, I'll update it later when the speech transcript is up. The gist seems to be that currently Bush is excluding people from education and destroying the environment.

    "He looked at me with those long sad eyes and said 'I won't let you down.'" Max, we're electing a president, not buying a puppy. This man needs to write Harlequin Romances.

    (500th Post)

    Last Chance!

    Get yer Bingo Cards. 15 more minutes!

    The Kerry Video

    Oh, here's the fabled Kerry video. Starts with lots of people talking. "A Remarkable Promise" The music is remenicsent of a slow version of the "Jurrasic Park" theme. Bio of the parents. Sister speaking. John speaking about the parents. He was 6'4". He was part of the "Electras" rock band. See yesterday's post on Edwards wife. "
    "John went to Yale."
    Who is this narrator?
    "John chose to serve in Vietnam." Albeit not for very long.
    Now John's narrating, and we have pensive string music. Now we have one or two of the few boatmates who are still speaking to him. Now we're seeing the swiftboat footage, and explosions. No Kerry in action yet. I'd like to know what video came from Kerry.

    The music is "Come Holy Spirit Come," which is gorgeous. I never thought I'd hear THAT in a Dem video, but you couldn't really make out the words, so I guess it's okay...yeah... Video of Kerry walking past camera in gear, with soldeirs behind him. He came home to fight against the war, became an activist. Testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. His pow-wows with the Viet Cong are not mentioned. Nor is the discredited Winter Solder investigation.

    He went to congress. He commuted home to be with his family. He tried to be a good senator. Will we hear about the legistlation he proposed? No. There isn't any to speak of.

    He married Teresa Heinz. The first wife has been forgotten, apparently. This is definately the Botoxed John.

    Now we're hearing Teresa's story. "Being an American is something I have to work every day to deserve." Everyone deserves the liberties we have, that's what the Declaration of Independance says. And Dubya's trying to bring those liberties to people around the world.

    Dad says: "I think I'm going to be sick!." Dead air. People are chanting. Quick -- somebody sing something.

    Now we are seeing the "John went to the funerals of some firefighters" video again.

    Now we have the members from Kerry's swiftboat. You'll notice that there aren't that many of them, and they're not even all from Kerry's boat, only the first four are. It's a bit disingenuous, because they make it seem like those guys all served on John's boat, but they kept calling out different boat names. Only about 4 were from John's boat. I'd love to have all 200+ members of Swiftboat Veterans for Truth at the GOP convention.

    Heinz-Kerry Kids

    Andre is up. His step-dad is a sportsman, a public servant, loving person etc. Andre sounds a) very formal and b) vaguely British.
    Now Chris is standing around with him.

    Now the Kerry girls are up. Both of their dresses are opaque. The red daughter wandered off. That may have been Vanessa. Or Alex. "As someone who knows all 6'4" of my dad best." I was hoping that Teresa knew all 6'4" of him best, but some families are different. I thought most of those of those families lived in Arkansas, but apparently not.

    Shocking developments: John laughs, is sad, and hugs his children. He also embarrasses them at times. "He and our mother have given us great gifts." Well they'd better have, what with a net worth of upwards of a billion dollars. "He had the courage to take risks (cough) Our house..." Right, cuz Teresa couldn't have wiped out that mortgage with a weeks worth of interest on her fortune.

    "My grandmother was ailing, she loved the autumn, and we wanted to bring her some foliage."
    This speech is brought to you by: Webster's Thesaurus

    Apparently that was Vanessa. This is Alex. She's going to tell a silly story. The hamster fell in the pond and was going to drown. Kerry fished the hamster out and began to administer CPR. Well, that will win him the rodent vote. I'm still not convinced of why that qualifies him to be president.

    Alex is giving the speech Teresa should have. She's good.

    More on the Music

    Now they're dancing in a semi-coordinated way to the "John Kerry's Tryin' to Make A Difference" song. They seem to also have the lyrics on the big screen. The dance seems to be somewhere between John-Travolta-in-Saturday-Night-Fever and Taibo. "The Real Deal keeps on flyin',
    John Kerry Keeps on tryin',
    Tryin' to make a difference."

    Please God don't ever make me listen to that song again.

    They play this goofy wash under all the quotes. This is like watching the Disco/Motown rounds of American Idol, but without the joy that is Simon. Or Clay Aiken.

    As I said, if I were planning the GOP convention, I'd go for Copeland, Sousa, etc. Gravitas. "We have experience, we can kick terrorist butt while increasing our portfolio, and we don't boogie." That is the GOP motto.

    Willie and Maddy and Alfrie

    Here's Willie Nelson with a blue-robed gospel choir singing "Livin' in A Promised Land." I can see the teleprompter. Shouldn't he know the lyrics by now. People are waving their flags whimsically. They've chosen to shine blue lights on the blue-robed people. They look like African-American Smurfs. I reiterate my contention that Democrats have no rhythm. I suspect that GOP doesn't either. As far as I can tell, the choir was there to sing the final chord.

    Madeline Albright is up. When I was in high school, all the girls on my debate team thought Madeline Albright was all that and a bowl of granola. Good God, what happened to her hair. I am no longer in awe. She starts that 40 year ago she voted for a senator from Mass. Translation: I am old.

    She has known Kerry for 20 years, and is looking forward to him being president. In this time of danger, she wants someone who will keep Amerca strong secure and safe, and will lead in the tradition of Roosevelt Truman and Eisenhower, the greatest generation folks. Translation: I am old, but better than you.

    The past few years we've seen a new enemy arise: Terrorism.
    Good call, Maddy. Our adversaries have nothing to offer their followers except hatred and death. I assume she means the terrorists.

    John Kerry will mobilize the full arsenal of American power.
    When? When Manhattan is rubble? Or before? That seems important.

    "He will use intelligence to shape policy, not twist intelligence to justify policy."
    Even Egypt and Jordan warned us that Iraq had WMDs and would use them.

    He will stop the spread of the worlds most dangerous weapons by concentrating on where they are, not where they are not.
    So we'll be attacking Iran and Syria with (shudders to type it) President Kerry?

    He will not seek a truce, settle for surrender nor accept a stalemate. We will persist until we prevail.

    Now some believe our country should never take action without permission. John Kerry will seek to explain and strive to gain support. If I recall correctly, Bush kept going back to the UN to explain himself.

    "We must help with the dangers that most threaten them. John Kerry will do whatever it take s to defend America whether it's approved by other nations or not." Even though he did say he wouldn't send out American troops without UN permission. That seems like seeking approval. Do you really think that Saddam would be in custody right now if Kerry was president? No, I don't either.

    Never ducked a fight, gone missing in battle, left a buddy behind. Whatcha trying to say, Maddy?

    "He will be ready on day one, John Kerry has always been a warrior for truth and right." I beg to differ.

    Madeline is gunning for Rummy's job. That's all there is to it.

    Now we hear her tale of immigrating. What on earth is that pin she's wearing? It looks like a small, gilded bat. I'm guessing it's an eagle, but man, it's ugly.

    Here's the "Uniter, not a Divider" shtick again. Gag me.

    "This November, we can alter the course of history by giving John Kerry and John Edwards a huge mandate to restore America to it's proper place as a beacon of truth and as the land we all love.
    Go read Iraq the Model and get back to me.

    Some Young Person says John Kerry will "Represent the United States as a place that will accept the ideals of all people."
    Does that include terrorist people? French people who hate Americans? I don't want that.

    Alfrie Woodard is up. I don't care. "John Kerry understands that being stronger at home means standing up for ordinary Americans."
    Often standing up in front of them because he can't be bothered to stand in line.

    A farmer from Kentukey is speaking. She supports John Kerry. Her voice needs WD-40. "He shares our values: hard work, faithfulness, and trust."
    Hard work: Marrying Heiresses. Faithfulness: Divorcing/Annulling one. Trust: pick your own flip-flop.

    Carol King's up, singing "You've Got a Friend."
    Mom says, "And I used to love that song."
    Carol: "We're here to honor a proven leader and a friend to all Americans."
    Mom: "Oh don't spoil the song!"

    The background music here SUCKS.

    Kerry Bingo Reminder

    If you haven't gotten your Kerry Bingo cards yet, be sure to get them before Thursday night so you can play along. Good luck!

    (UPDATE 7/28) I just added a special new card. Go check it out.

    (UPDATE 7/29) Kerry Bingo is TONIGHT! I'll be posting a comment thread which you can use to call Bingo there and linking it here and at the original post. Be there!

    Τετάρτη, Ιουλίου 28, 2004

    The Edwardses

    First up, Cate Edwards. What's up with the hair and outfit? Not my favorite.

    This is John Edward's daughter, who is slightly older than me. She is doing what Teresa should have done last night. She's doing the "Gee, my mom is swell" routine, and then the "my dad is the most magnificent human since Jesus" routine. She's human, she's personable, she seems like the sort of person I could be friends with as long as she didn't find out I was a Republican (which is, shockingly possible.)

    Alright, the choreographed signs are kinda creepy. They all have Elizabeth signs now. She's speaking. Not the best dress for her either.

    Now we're going to to end the injustice of Two Americas. See post re: Obama.

    Elizabeth is taking about how John Kerry is like her father. It's almost Electra-ish.

    John was Santa Claus to poor kids. He coached young people's teams. This qualifies him to be the President of the PTA, not one breath away from the Presidency of the United States. As Bush said when asked what the difference between Cheney and Edwards is, "Dick Cheney can be President."

    Apparently John Edwards is optimistic. This is still much better than Teresa. The vertical, red Edwards signs are vaguely remenicent of Red China. Or a bed of anemones.

    Now here comes John. It's like Vice President Ken Doll. John Edwards has a mole on his upper lip, marring his fabled beauty. Personally, I'd take Bush-in-a-flight-suit any day. This speech is brought to you by the word, "smarmy."

    He asked "How great was Teresa Heinz Kerry last night?" Not at all.

    John's parents are here. Even THEY don't look that old. There's an abnormally large adolescent sitting behing them. Not a big guy, the perspective's just wrong.

    "I want to talk" (chanting) "about our next president. For those who want to know what kind of leader he'll be, let me take you back about 30 years ago. He graduated from college and volunteered for the military yadda yadda yadda."
    Once again, we're getting into the piccolo/conductor problem. Or rather, piccolo/composer problem. Whole different kettle of fish. Did Edwards just say that "Your problems are [Kerry's] problems"? Right... Kerry doesn't have student loans and I'm not henpecked. We have different problems.

    Aren't we sick of relentless negative attacks? As opposed to those positive attacks? "This is America, where everything is possible." No it's not, you ninny.

    John Edwards loves his country. His father was a millworker. Other millworkers had lint in their hair. Now little Johnny is able to afford hair care products, but he still remembers the linty masses.

    He has spent his life fighting for the linty masses. The fact that he became a millionaire using junk science and helped drive up insurance and health care costs is not mentioned.

    Now he's riding the Two Americas bit. He's preaching that everyone can be a part of an equal America, essentially. George Orwell to the Farmhouse, George Orwell to the Farmhouse. Now he seems to be abolishing private schools, or at least saying that everyone's schools should be equally good. Do his kids go to private schools?

    "Two different economies -- people who are set for life and people who live paycheck to paycheck."
    So we just abolished the middle class.

    "Gonna get rid of tax breaks for companies that outsource."
    Teresa's gonna be pissed.

    "We're going to reward work, not just wealth.: Then how about you actually reward work? Like by letting the people that work for the money KEEP the money.

    "So now we're gonna pay for healthcare. And a tax break if your kid is the first in the family to go to college."

    "How are we going to pay for this? He's going to pay for it by hiking takes on 2% of Americans and close corporate loopholes."
    And somehow create high-paying jobs. Which corporate loopholes. And where are the companies going to get the money to pay these employees?

    We have children going to bed hungry, without clothes, etc. There are not that many of those. I don't feel like finding them right now, but the standard of living for the American poor is much higher than the standard of living for average Americans 50 years ago, and is still better than for average people in most of Europe.

    "Raise the minimum wage."
    Or we could just print more money. Then everyone would be rich. My tunnels are carping.

    "Say no forever to any American working full time and living in poverty."
    You know, encouraging marriage would be a good start for that. Marriage almost automatically lifts people from poverty.

    Why we need One America -- he saw segregation growing up. That doesn't explain why the money I earn should be redistributed. We should talk about race and civil rights everywhere. Would you talk about it in a box? Would you talk about it with a fox? He's talking about two different Two Americas.

    Now we're at war, so we gotta be One America. "As a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee..." (more on that later -- not tonight)

    "When John is President, we will listen to the wisdom of the 9/11 commission." When George in, that definately won't happen.

    Edwards did the "You cannot run, you cannot hide, we will destroy you" bit. I can't see Osama trembling in his boots over this.
    We're back to harping on Vietnam. Bingo Card #13 is sounding like a good bet.

    Veterans benefits -- I support those.

    We're stretched thin. There are brave people fighting in Iraq. Did I mention the Kerry was brave?

    "Restore respect in the world, bring allies to us. It's how we won the Cold war, it's how we won two World Wars."
    No, dear, it isn't. We won the Cold War by arms-racing the USSR into bankrupcy and the only way in which our allies came to us in WWII was in that "Help, help, we're being blitzkreiged!" sort of way. We were isolationists then, John. We didn't build broad coalitions because we didn't need them.

    We'll be safer if America's looked up to and respected. If we are respected in the world, apparently we can then bring the soldiers home. Interesting. I don't understand that causal relationship.

    "Hope is on the way." Oh good grief, they have "Hope is on the way" signs. They're like a weird flag corps. I'd never seen Edwards in action before. He seems like someone who Hollywood cast to portray a young southern politician. He's a bit shifty. And he blinks a lot.

    Praise God, he's done. His kids are cute.

    (Song: "You can feel it all over." That would have been a good song for Clinton...
    Man, I hope the GOP raids the Copeland catalog and acts like grownups. )

    Switching to C-SPAN

    Ed Rendall is currently railing on about energy independence.

    "John Kerry will free us from the Tyrrany of Foreign Oil. And he has a plan. 1) To bring down fuel cost, he will do whatever it takes to bring natural gas in abundant supply and at low prices. His speeches seem to be the implicit source."

    Ed says, "John wil roll up his sleeves and scrub coal," or something similar.
    And then he will be the first into the line of fire. The Secret Service is gonna have fun with this guy.

    Ed says, "we will become world leader in clean coal economy."
    As Den Beste notes, that is a goal, it is not a plan.

    Ed's listing states, trying to get applause, it's not working. When your big cheer delegation is West Virginia, it's not going well.

    "Moving towards energy independance means creating more jobs. Lots of people are driving hybrids, and staying on waiting lists. They're being made in Japan. John Kerry will give tax incentives for Detroit to build them, and give us tax credits to buy it."

    "He's going to boost demand for renewable, and make America leading producer of renewables."
    Good luck.

    "If I use less power, the bill will go down. That's how Kerry will cut the federal energy bill, and help everyone else do the same thing."
    This doesn't make sense to me either. Magic must be involved.

    "John Hancock signed the Declaration of Independance, John Kerry will declared energy independence."

    Here's a nifty idea -- while we're doing the voodoo required to make those things happen, why don't we drill in ANWR and build some refineries. Then we can do what we need to do.

    John Mellencamp is playing. Democrats do not seem to have an exceptional sense of rhythm. Singing about his Small Town. For reference, the number of small towns that vote Democratic is, well, small.

    Bill's proud to be the first Hispanic to be the chair of the convention. He's speaking spanish, taking about how the latino community is proud and strong. He says with opportunity comes with responsibility. He's trying to get the vote out, and says, "Nuestro voto es nuestro voz." "Bill Clinton led our nation and the world to an era of unprecidented peace and prosperity."
    NEWSFLASH: did you know that John Kerry enlisted in the Navy as a young man?

    "Our strenght as measured by our standing in the world. We are on our own in a dangerous world. We pursue the enemies of civilization with few partners. It's time for John Kerry."

    "Just four years algo, I was able to go anywhere in the world and get them to do things. Now I can't. I was able to unite the security council around American interests."
    Did it ever occur to you that our interests and their interests happened to coincide at that point but they don't now?

    Now we're into the "We're going it alone" garbage. Do you think we don't have Google, Bill? Good grief.

    Granholm's up. She can't be president, she's Canadian. Just wanted to get that out of the way. I didn't vote for her, by the way.

    "231 years ago, Boston was abuzz with the sound or rebellion."
    This is about the Tea Party. Liberal use of tea puns: brewed, steeped, etc. The founding fathers must be spinning in their graves at the moment. "

    Let us launch the rebellion to choose a new president: John Kerry."
    Gag me. These guys don't have the cojones to launch a real rebellion. Those guys are a) in the White House and b) in Iraq.

    "We are here to nominate John Kerry to be the next president of the United States."
    OH! That explains it!
    I know Granholm's aunt. She's loopy too.

    "So-called recovery."
    Bite me.

    "Americans are being financially squeezed."
    [Insert "Americans who are squeezed"/Clinton joke here.] Didja ever think that taxes might have something to do with it?

    "Who will stand up for small business owners?"
    It sure ain't you, babe. And it ain't Kerry either. When was the last time he stood up for anything. Go look, I'll wait here.

    "I'm the governor of Michigan, a state of hard work and innovation."
    As opposed to the rest of you slackers.

    "Health care is part of John Kerry's plan to help small businesses and create 10 Million jobs"
    (Mom says: "Do we need 10 million new jobs?) Like hell it will. Just like it does in Europe and Canada, where, Jenny, I note you don't live. Now we're back to that "Send Me" bit.

    "Let us wake up our neighbors."
    I'm grouchy when awakened, and liable to bite.

    "Kerry our nation forward."
    I like puns, but not on my governors. Yeesh.

    Now they're recognizing Dukakis. And chanting. Somewhere, Karl Rove is doing the happy dance.

    Now we have the John Kerry, loyal friend and brother. It's about firefighters, specifically some fire that went wrong. There is scary music. John Kerry comforted them. He attended a funeral. He was very human.

    So there we have the qualifications:
    1) he fought in Vietnam
    2) He attended a funeral for some firefighters who were his constituants.

    Some lady in New Hampshire says that she wants Kerry so "All of our children will find jobs for which they are highly qualified and which they enjoy."
    The McDonalds Corporation is not going to be pleased. Since when is employment, let alone employment in your area of qualification and enjoyment a right? Lots of people don't enjoy their jobs. Deal. I've done a number of jobs for which I am over qualified and that I didn't enjoy. And that was okay.

    A Colorado Vietnam vet says: "Combat experience and knowledge are the qualities that are required for a Commander-In-Chief."
    Ding ding WRONG. That's like saying that excellent piccolo skills are the essential quality of a symphonic conductor. Not even slightly.

    Oh God, it's "We Are Family" again. Overweight Dems boogying while wearing funny hats. Also Triumph the Insult Dog.

    John Somethingunpronouncable is speaking. I'm taking a break till Cate Edwards.