:: ::


"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." --C.S. Lewis
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:: Wednesday, June 30, 2004 ::

Power Pundit Digest

If it's good news for Bush and the Republicans it's bad news for Kerry and the Democrats. Kathleen Parker has some interesting thoughts on the dynamics. Robert Samualson of the Washington Post comments on the the polarization of the electorate (not as polarized as one might think). Jonah Goldberg of the Washington Times critiques the questionable Bush website ad featuring Adolf Hitler (it's a stupid move). William Safire reminds us (courtesy of Mark Twain) "the problem's not just what we don't know, but what we do know that ain't so". But my daily favorite is The New York Post's assesment of the ongoing Bush-Chirac feud. Looks like Bush is winning.

Via RCP [>]

:: Max 6:06 PM [+] ::

Security Update: Download.ject Trojan

Apparently, this virus is still a major problem. US CERT (United States Computer Emergency Response Team) has interim recommendations to minimize your exposure until Microsoft completes a security patch.

:: Max 11:06 AM [+] ::

We have nothing to offer but the best that is in us. That, a thousand Liberals who read this sentiment will say with relief, is clearly not enough! It isn't enough. But it is at this point that we steal the march. For we offer, besides ourselves, a position that has not grown old under the weight of a gigantic, parasitic bureaucracy, a position untempered by the doctoral dissertations of a generation of Ph.D's in social architecture, unattenuated by a thousand vulgar promises to a thousand different pressure groups, uncorroded by a cynical contempt for human freedom. And that, ladies and gentlemen, leaves us just about the hottest thing in town.

Via Powerline [>]

:: Max 9:24 AM [+] ::
:: Tuesday, June 29, 2004 ::

The first picture is, of course, Kofi Annan with Saddam Hussein (chatting about peace n'stuff). The second picture is Kofi Annan with Jacques Chiraq (probably discussing that peace thingy). The third picture is Kofi Annan with Gerhard Schroeder (by the look on their faces, I'd suspect they're talking about olive branches and doves). The fourth picture depicts Kurdish victims of Saddam's weapons of mass destruction stern leadership. The fifth picture is an Iraqi victim of Abu Ghraib Saddam's justice system.

This is a very minor chapter in the sordid legacy of United Nations under Kofi Annan's stewardship and an example of the wholesale venality of these shamless empty suits. This is also, the United Nations John F. Kerry would empower should he be elected to the highest office on the planet.

Although I'm inclined to support the principle and intent of the United Nations, I'm unable to get intellectually beyond it's current and thoroughly corrupt administration.

In view of the billion-dollar-plus Iraq Oil-for-Food scandal, it is my opinion, Mr.Annan should certainly face the International Criminal Court on charges of Crimes Against Humanity.

Michael Moore--eat your heart out.

:: Max 11:00 PM [+] ::

Scott Burgess has this comical story from the UK (scroll down for the pictures) [>]

:: Max 7:45 PM [+] ::
Etymology: Middle English hyene, from Latin hyaena, from Greek hyaina, from hys hog -- more at SOW
: any of several large strong nocturnal carnivorous Old World mammals (family Hyaenidae) that usually feed as scavengers
- hy·e·nic /-'E-nik, -'e-nik/ adjective

According to most observers the degree, scope and depth of corruption in the Oil for Food program is so extensive and pervasive that it is difficult to grasp. Rosett says that 'had the UN deliberately set out to design a program opened to manipulation by Saddam Hussein's regime, it is hard to think how the UN could have improved upon the arrangement that was put in place.' In other words, this was no accident: the UN from the onset envisioned the Oil for Food program as a get-rich-quick program.

Okay, you might think, is skimming this money such a big deal? Well, yes, it was so big that this scam has been characterized as involving 'staggering levels of corruption,' with an estimated at $10 billion-plus in bribes, kickbacks and other payoffs to individuals and to governments. Anan's Secretariat office alone collected more than $1.4 billion over the life of the program supposedly to monitor, audit and administer it, yet due to a UN policy of extreme secrecy there are no public records of the program.

Koffi Annan is Kerry's go-to man. If you'd like to see Iraq thrown back to these hyenas, vote for John Kerry.

Via Tim Blair [>]

:: Max 5:16 PM [+] ::
Peace be Upon You

"Glory and honor to the U.S. and Allied men and women whose blood is irrigating the tree of freedom in this land; and their sacrifices, suffering, and toil is laying the foundation for a future renaissance of the Mesopotamian People. Hail soldiers of freedom and enlightenment. Do not be dismayed by the trouble and turbulence of the present, for the future generations will remember and appreciate.

And last but not least; Hail, Great El Bush, a leader not only of the U.S. but a true hero of mankind. And Hail Mr. Blair and the other Leaders of the Free World.

God Bless the New Republic of Iraq; God Bless America.

Wa Al Salaam Alaykum Wa rahamutu Allahi Wa Barakatuh

(Peace be upon you and the mercy of God and his blessings)

Quagmire...yea, right.

Alaa; The Mesopotamian [>]

:: Max 10:52 AM [+] ::
"the old bone heap"

They never faced up to post-World War II communism or to their responsibility for the cruelty and destitution that replaced their colonial empires in what came to be called the Third World. Even in the NATO alliance, they almost never met their military budgets.

Now they are sitting back and lecturing us while our coalition attempts to lift barbarism from the Iraqis, to sober up the nihilists of the Middle East and to defeat terrorism. The French and the Germans have revealed no plan, no will and no intention of bringing justice or peace to Iraq. The only evidence I have seen of their involvement in the area is long inventories of arms they sold to Saddam Hussein and catalogues of payoffs they received from the United Nations' oil-for-food scheme.


throughout the Cold War and now into the war on terror, we Americans have episodically had to witness their imbecilic anti-American rallies. As they burn our flags and ignorantly depict our presidents as cowboys, we are supposed to take instruction from their infantile tantrums.

Old Europe obviously is conflicted about cowboys. Their chattering classes are given to using the term "cowboy" as one of disparagement. Yet American Westerns remain a staple of entertainment on television stations all over the old bone heap - Orwell's term - that is Europe.

France and Germany are sleeping, politically and economically, in the socialist bed of their own making--and they might never wake up.

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr., the Baltimore Sun [>]

:: Max 7:52 AM [+] ::
Left Wondering Why Right Loves Moore

Some on the left are proclaiming Moore to be their Limbaugh. He's not. Moore is the Democrats' David Duke, but they are putting their arm around him.


:: Max 1:27 AM [+] ::
:: Monday, June 28, 2004 ::
Old Allies Not Critical to New World Order

Wretchard forecasts smaller involvement for France/Germany on larger world stage:

Yet many politicians, perhaps misled by their own youthful memories, continue to act and behave on subconscious assumptions half a century old. The accusation that President Bush was guilty of willful dereliction by not making the United Nations, France and Germany equal partners in the War on Terror is rooted in an inflated conception of their actual importance. Whatever the prestige these hoary old names may conjure, in practical terms their cooperation is probably less vital than that of Pakistan or Israel.


Some have derided the US coalition against terror, comprised of nontraditional names like Korea, Japan, Singapore, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Kazakhstan as a kind of pickup team fielded by a desperate America only because it couldn't get first-string Germany, France and Belgium to play. But this is unjust; it is not a temporary condition but a harbinger of a new state of the world. It's not that NATO has gotten smaller, just that the world has gotten bigger.

Belmont Club is extraordinary. Get more here [>]

:: Max 11:26 PM [+] ::
On Principle?

Contrary to the opinion of some, Bush is no dummy. So why is he picking on Castro and ostracizing the fervantly Republican Cuban electorate in South Florida? Maybe it's because he has a little character and has decided that toppling a communist regime is more important than positive polling numbers in a MAJOR swing state four months before the presidential election. You would be mistaken to think Carl Rove and the rest of the Bush team didn't carefully consider this risk before the President made the move to tighten sanctions on Cuba--angering a lot of good Florida Republicans in the process. Bush and his advisors are certainly aware of what's at stake here; The Presidency.

Given the limited time involved, I suspect Bush must think Castro's regime is a lot wobblier than we've all been led to believe; otherwise this probably is a very dangerous political move.

:: Max 10:12 PM [+] ::
"We shall overcome"

Come rain, come tempest, descend fog and darkness, We Shall Overcome. The Devil is going to be defeated again, as usual, by the very evil of his machinations.

And the enemy is desperate, he is striking left and right, beheading, slaughtering, murdering; blind with the rage of the wounded dying beast. And we have seen them, Egyptians, Syrians, Palestinians, Jordanians, our "Brothers", running amok in our streets, murdering our men, women and children, and for what? What are they trying to achieve? And the whole lot of lying hypocrites, shedding crocodile tears about the "Iraqi People", it is they who should get out and shut up. That is the invasion and occupation that we want to be rid of.

But We Shall Overcome; have no doubt about that. This, more than anything else, I know with every fiber of my being. And praise be to Allah, and thank you America.


:: Max 2:15 PM [+] ::

Security Update: Download.ject Trojan

Below, I point to a Microsoft security patch for the Download.ject aka Scob trojan. This is London is reporting that Microsoft has apparently not unhacked the hack.

Note to Bill Gates: Whack the Hack Jack!

:: Max 1:56 PM [+] ::
This Just In

Wow...Prairie Fire listed on Blogmaster Arthur Chrenkoffs Rightblogs Blogroll.

Thanks for the nod Aurthur.

:: Max 11:54 AM [+] ::
Democracy: A Virulent Meme*

Iraq the Model is all a-buzz:

I used to feel sorry for Arabs in other countries because I believe that we have much more freedom than they can dream of and my friends sometimes laughed at me especially when I mention Saudi Arabia or other gulf countries because my friends took only the economic aspect in their consideration.

Now, after reading hundreds of Arabs' comments, I can see jealousy in their words and they frankly envy us for what we have.
I'm sitting now in my living room expressing my feelings, posting my thoughts about any subject and criticizing anyone without fear while our neighbors still encounter serious risks when they want to *read* what someone else wrote in the internet.

Some people still doubt the effect of establishing democracy in Iraq on the region and I would like to point out that if this is what liberating Iraq has accomplished in opening some Arab's eyes (some of them wish the change to happen now!)even with all the difficulties Iraq is facing then what would it be like, say in five years, when Iraq becomes a prosperous and stable democracy!?

There were about 60 comments at the time when I viewed the forum, all of which came from Syrians, Iraqis, Saudis, and Egyptians from inside and outside their countries except for a small percentage that came from Sudan, Lebanon, U.A.E. and other Arab and Muslim countries.

I made some simple calculations and found that :
69 % of the posts were against punishing people for accessing certain websites.
20 % were with the punishment decision.
7 % denied that this incident really happened.
3 % were unsure of their opinion.

Michael Moore: Eat your fat heart out (we'll see whose meme is the most virulent).

Meme (pron. meem): A contagious information pattern that replicates by parasitically infecting human minds and altering their behavior, causing them to propagate the pattern. (Term coined by Dawkins, by analogy with "gene".) Individual slogans, catch-phrases, melodies, icons, inventions, and fashions are typical memes. An idea or information pattern is not a meme until it causes someone to replicate it, to repeat it to someone else. All transmitted knowledge is memetic.

:: Max 11:31 AM [+] ::

I'm all for the war on terror but not at the expense of the Constitution. Unless Congress acts to narrow the "Patriot Act", we may someday regret this troubling decision.

Via Drudge [>]

:: Max 11:16 AM [+] ::
This Just In

Big Time Blogger and nice guy Jeff Jarvis linked to Prairie Fire in a post this morning. About blew hot coffee out my nose when I saw it. Thanks Jeff.

:: Max 10:09 AM [+] ::

Cocktails at the Palestine Hotel Bar

Because the big-time war correspondents are mostly hanging out in the Palestine Hotel bar, the real story is being chronicled by Iraqi bloggers. Hop over to Zeyad, the Mesopotamian or Iraq the Model for updates on the transition.

:: Max 8:04 AM [+] ::

Babs Watch


My problem with the Hollywood elite is that they're so...predictable and...well obvious. Maybe this explains why network programming is so unabashedly fatuous. C'mon Babs--with all your Hollywood writers and agents, is this the best you've got?


:: Max 1:09 AM [+] ::
Speaking of High-poppa-lorum

I am going to have to find some new term to adequately describe the condition of ignorance that renders its sufferers unable to comprehend the inevitable truth that state-control means political control.

A shining example of this tragically far-too-common form of myopia can be found in one of today's letters to the UK Times:

Sir, Once again the NHS is set fair to become the filling in the Labour and Conservative policy sandwiches, and yet neither party recognises that the biggest problem besetting the service is the very political control each espouses.

Health, like broadcasting, is too important to be the political football of major parties during the first skirmishes of an impending general election. The NHS needs a charter, it needs sensitive management, it needs to value and cherish its long-suffering staff and, above all, it needs to be isolated from the political process.

The man who wrote this letter is a doctor and is, therefore, unlikely to be either dim-witted or uneducated. Yet, he passionately demands (and no doubt expects) a government-run health service that is somehow 'isolated from the political process'.

I have penned a letter of response to the Times pointing out that the only way to get politics out of healthcare is to de-nationalise it and allow provision to be bought and sold on the free market. However, I do not expect the editors of the Times will be inclined to publicise such heretical and 'extreme' views.

Read the whole thing [>]

:: Max 12:28 AM [+] ::

In Maryland, food stamp recipients don't actually get "stamps" anymore. They get a card, similar to a bank debit card, for use at grocery stores, etc. The name of this card? The "Independence Card."

As my friend Craig Harrision say, this is beyond euphemism. In Maryland, dependence now equals independence.

Via Powerline [>]

:: Max 12:00 AM [+] ::
:: Sunday, June 27, 2004 ::
"why he feels the need to just make stuff up escapes me"

Barak says 'factual inaccuracies' in Clinton autobiography

Barak said the Clinton account was also inaccurate regarding the positions of his predecessor as prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. "Netanyahu did not speak of returning to the international border line, rather a line that would leave a strip up to two miles wide," he said.

It is rather confounding and kind of pathetic really. Had he actually told the truth, the whole thing might have been compelling. History is not served well by this book and most historians, thankfully, aren't stupid enough to fall for Clinton's version of it.

:: Max 11:33 PM [+] ::
Moore's Psychotic Fantasy

Matt Labash of The Weekly Standard has, possibly, the most even-handed critique of Fahrenheit 9/11 in print:

And it is why real questions should be continuously asked, and skepticism applied. The kind of skepticism that forces leaders to account for whether they've taken the right course of action. Not the crank, grab bag of stitched-together conspiracies that encourages Moore's political opponents to be reflexively dismissive--and causes the leftish reviewer sitting next to me to say, "He infuriates me because he makes my arguments badly."

There is plenty of grist for skeptics of the war to argue that the chances of a shiny, happy democracy's flowering in Iraq reside somewhere between slim and nil. But those are still better odds than the ones on Moore's someday making an intellectually honest film.

I'm betting history will ultimately reprieve GWB on the war in Iraq--much like the Berlin Wall did for Reagan. Hopefully, it'll happen quickly enough to discredit this lying, seditious, self-loathing, pig.

:: Max 11:08 PM [+] ::
Clinton Shill Dan Rather

CBS may be in violation of FCC regulations regarding "payola" for pumping Clinton autobiography:

CBS's failure to inform viewers of this conflict of interest may place it in violation of FCC regulations against payola, the practice of secretly making money from the on-air promotion of a product.

Following up on a story first reported by RatherBiased.com, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Dimitri Vassilaros lays out the details in a column in today's edition.

"CBS is part of the Associates Program of Amazon.com. Every sale of Clinton's book -- or of any other product listed by Amazon -- will generate a commission of up to 10 percent of the total sale for CBS, according to Kristin Mariani, a spokeswoman for Amazon.com," Vassilaros writes.

Jeff Jarvis has an opposing opinion regarding the CBS "conflict":

no one at CBS is choosing to interview the former President of the United States and now author of what may be a record-setting biography beause they might make, oh, 20 bucks from Amazon. Yes, and when they put on TV's 10th home improvement show, it's obviously because Amazon sells tools, right?

These critics better be careful, for if they set this as the standard for conflict of interest, then all bloggers who open up for ads are going to find themselves tied in knots: Take an ad for Walmart and Walmart sells books and so you're tainted, eh? And what about the columnist who complains: Shouldn't he start off every column with a disclosure of all the paper's sponsors who pay his salary? Oh, yes, then there'd be no room for a column. But in this case, that may be a good thing.

Of course, Jarvis is right but I'm still fuming about the CBS 60 minute Clinton infomercial. In any case, CBS should have noted the apparent conflict of interest.

:: Max 11:52 AM [+] ::
The 7-11 Commission

The inimitable Mark Steyn on the fantastic failure of the 9-11 commission:

These poseurs have blown it so badly they've become the definitive example of what they're meant to be investigating: a culture so stuck in its way it's unable to change even in the most extreme circumstances.


Giving bureaucrats new acronyms and smarter shoulder insignia won't make America more secure. What makes America more secure is going to where the terrorists are, killing large numbers of them, and fixing -- or at least neutralizing -- the dysfunctional states in whose murky waters they breed. Remember Sheikh Muqtada al-Sadr, the Khomeini-wannabe with the 10,000-strong Mahdi Army? He threw in the towel last week. And, of that 10,000, the 1st Armored Division estimates it killed "at least several thousand."

You haven't heard about that on the network news? Well, there's a surprise.

I feel certain you could pick 10 people at random from a shopping mall crowd get a better assessment of the failures of government on the days preceding September 11. The 9-11 commission is a profound example of Washington's cripling impotency--and it's the highest order of irresponsibility given that the lives of the American people and their sons and daughters fighting in Iraq are dependent on the findings of this fatuous sham. Steyn is right, the next thing to emerge from the halls of power will be yet another commission to investigate the commission...and we're paying them large sums of money to do it!

Steyn also has a fine shakedown of My Life over at WSJ.com:

Mr. Clinton is certainly thinking of his legacy. The index lists more pages for "bin Laden, Osama" than "Jones, Paula," which isn't how it seemed at the time. You can't blame the poor fellow. As things stand, you'd be hard put to devise a more apt personal embodiment of the long holiday from history the U.S. took between the fall of the Berlin Wall and the fall of the World Trade Center. If geopolitics is the Super Bowl, Mr. Clinton is Janet Jackson, complete with wardrobe malfunctions.


:: Max 10:43 AM [+] ::
Moore's Minions

Jack Kelly of the Pittsburg Post-Gazette has some interesting thoughts on media coverage of the war in Iraq:

On June 18, Russian President Vladimir Putin disclosed that the Russian intelligence services had, after 9/11, "received information that officials from Saddam's regime were preparing terrorist attacks in the United States and outside against the U.S. military and other interests."


The Post-Gazette ran the Putin story on the front page, above the fold, where it belonged. But we were an exception. ABC's "World News Tonight" mentioned the story briefly, but both CBS and NBC said nothing about Putin's remarkable disclosure. CNN also made no mention of it in its evening newscasts, according to the Media Research Center. The New York Times and the Washington Post buried the story on inside pages.

The Los Angeles Times said in a story Monday that "[9/11] Commissioners Sunday repeated that they did not see evidence of collaboration between al-Qaida and Iraq."

This is what Bush is facing; an entirely dishonest media. Look for Michael Moore to be Jenning's color-commentator on election night.

:: Max 10:24 AM [+] ::
:: Saturday, June 26, 2004 ::
Radio Frequency ID

Antoine Hazelaar has a chip on his shoulder--or rather just beneath the skin of his left arm. It's a piece of silicon the size of a grain of rice, and it emits wireless signals that are picked up by scanners nearby. Ever since the 34-year-old Web-site producer had the chip implanted in his arm, he's enjoyed VIP status at Barcelona's Baja Beach Club. Instead of queuing up behind velvet ropes, Hazelaar allows the bouncer to scan his arm, and strolls right in. If he wants a drink, the bartender waves an electronic wand that deducts from the 100 Euro tab on Hazelaar's chip.

I can't decide if this is a really bad thing or a really good thing.

:: Max 6:47 PM [+] ::

Security Update: Download.ject Trojan

Slate's Clive Thompson has a nice article on Internet Security and reminds us that spyware problems, virus propagation and worms are largely OUR responsibility. Although I am by no means an expert, I do scan my computer regularly for pests, viruses and spyware. I use Zone Alarm Pro for my firewall, Spybot Search and Destroy and PestPatrol for routine clean-up and HijackThis for closer inspection. Also, Microsoft security patches should be downloaded regularly. If you have a suspected virus problem, Symantec provides free, downloadable virus fixes. All of these programs should be used cautiously, as you can remove some of the good stuff if you're not careful. Also, because these tools have similar functions, they can conflict with each other. For instance, Spybot can conflict with PestPatrol. When in doubt, hire a professional technician Geek.

TROJAN UPDATE: Here's a simple scan to detect the presence of "Download.ject" trojan (also known as:Also known as: JS/Exploit-DialogArg.b (McAfee), JS.Scob.Trojan (Symantec), Win32.Toofer, JScript/Toofer.Trojan) on your home computer (XP):

To determine if the malicious code is on your computer, search for the following files:


Steps for Windows XP users:

On the taskbar at the bottom of your screen, click Start, and then click Search.

Under What do you want to search for? click All files and folders.

Under All or part of the file name:
type: Kk32.dll and then click the Search button.

Under All or part of the file name:
type: Surf.dat and then click the Search button.

If either of these files is present, your computer may be infected. You can find tools to clean your computer and obtain up-to-date antivirus protection from the following software vendors participating in the Microsoft Virus Information Alliance:

Computer Associates

Microsoft security patch for Download.ject can be found here [>]

:: Max 11:38 AM [+] ::

10 Million Dollar Reward

New York Post Calls for Zarqawi's Head

If you haven't met Mr. Zarqawi, you can view his CV here [>]

:: Max 9:59 AM [+] ::

Ashcroft Conceals Whistle-Blower Docs

On Wednesday, we mentioned how good government groups are suing Attorney General Ashcroft, for making secret a bunch of previously public letters about an FBI whistleblower. Riss Kick's invaluable site, The Memory Hole, now has the letters up, for your reading pleasure.

Russ has also posted a list of government documents the feds have recently tried to pull out of public circulation -- usually for "security" reasons. Clearly, ordinary citizens shouldn't be allowed to view such sensitive material as "Mailman Training" and "The Animal Liberation Front in the '90's."

I'm gonna vote for Bush but, honestly, Ashcroft is a friggin idiot very problematic.

:: Max 8:11 AM [+] ::
The Wrong Stuff

According to this Defensetech report:

Indian flyboys in creaky Russian and French planes trumped their American adversaries 90 percent of the time during a recent exercise.

Of course, this has nothing to do with the skill of the American pilots: "U.S. Air Force brass is trying to spin their pilots' defeats against Indian fighters into cash for two new controversial, budget-busting jets"

:: Max 7:55 AM [+] ::

Patent Busters:

EFF Asks Public to Identify Bad Patents in Patent Busting Contest

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is calling on the public to help identify patents that are having negative effects on Internet innovation and free expression. As part of EFF's Patent Busting Project, EFF seeks nominations for the ten worst offenders in the world of intellectual property. Winners will become the first targets for the project's team of attorneys, technologists and experts, who will file "re-examination" requests with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), asking the agency to revoke the patents. EFF staff attorney Jason Schultz, who heads the project, said he can't wait to see what the contest turns up. "We have seen illegitimate patents asserted on such simple technologies as one-click online shopping, video streaming, and paying with credit cards online. When individuals and small businesses are faced with million-dollar legal demands, they have no choice but to capitulate and pay license fees. We aim to change that."

Wish somebody would target pharmaceutical patents and companies granted rights to chunks of the human genome.

FBI "National Security Letters" Challenged by EFF

"Before PATRIOT, the FBI could use National Security Letters only for securing the records of suspected terrorists or spies," said EFF Attorney and Equal Justice Works Fellow Kevin Bankston. "Now the FBI can use them to get private records about anybody it thinks could be relevant to a terrorism or espionage investigation, without ever having to show probable cause to a judge."

Ironically, many 'conservatives' support this kind of post 911, 'patriot-act' over-reaching by the federal government. It's becomming more and more common to see the feds utilize these broad new powers for non-terrorist related cases--just as most libertarians suspected they would. I'm with EFF and the ACLU on this one.

If you consider yourself libertarian, you might want to join the EFF. Go here for more information [>]

:: Max 7:12 AM [+] ::
:: Friday, June 25, 2004 ::
More Clinton Legacy

$500 to Hollywood Beach Country Club, $788 to Gap Kids, $1,705 to the Baltimore Orioles, $2,081 to the Brass Elephant restaurant, $30,000 for movie gift certificates and $38 for three cases of beer...

Your personal, government-issued credit card--priceless.

:: Max 9:44 PM [+] ::

"Why he feels the need to just make stuff up escapes me"

:: Max 12:50 PM [+] ::
Clinton Conservative Democrat--Bush Liberal Republican

All the vitriol aside, there is really no good reason why Democrats should idolize Clinton...anymore than Republicans should idolize Bush:

The mystery of Clinton is that he was an essentially conservative president -- perhaps the most conservative Democrat in the White House since Grover Cleveland -- and yet he was loathed by conservatives... I'm not sure I can explain it either -- any more than I can explain why George W. Bush has inspired such antipathy from the Al Franken wing of the Democratic Party even while so abjectly pandering to them with his Medicare expansion, No Child Left Behind Act, campaign finance reform and budget-busting spending increases. Here's Dubya expanding the Great Society, and yet he gets accused of dismantling the New Deal. Go figure" -- columnist Max Boot, writing in the Los Angeles Times. (link not provided due to odious registration process, which pissed me off).

Via Samizdata [>]

:: Max 1:59 AM [+] ::
A Kind Man

Honestly, I've never thought GWB was a giant intellect but I always figured he was a decent human being...call me naive, but I don't think this is the least bit phony.

:: Max 1:14 AM [+] ::

"It's not anymore the two-ply,"

:: Max 1:00 AM [+] ::
German Media Compares Abu Ghraib to (I can't believe this) you Guessed it: Auschwitz!

Jeff Jarvitz picked up this disturbing and wholesale revision of historical fact, but it doesn't really surprise me. The Germans have, for the last 50 years, tucked the Holocaust into their national closet in an effort to shield their children from the horrific truth of Germany's barbarism in WWII. Most Americans would be very surprised to read how the big-one is treated in most German history textbooks.

I try not to write when I am angry but this is WAY beyond any rational explanation; too foolish to be taken seriously. I guess it's just a kind of psycho-transferance of their collective guilt for having established the high-water-mark for barbarism and cruelty: "Why...that evil George Bush is worse than Hitler--the invasion of Iraq is worse than anything WE ever did in Poland or Hungary."

Good Lord Almighty--are these people totally delusional?

OK...Germany's off my vacation short-list and I promise not to drink any German beer ever again.

:: Max 12:07 AM [+] ::
:: Thursday, June 24, 2004 ::
Creative Discussions Between Friends Writers Constitute Sexual Harrasment

This is why I maintain a weblog: Unless you hang out with bloggers you'll miss important stuff like this:

The accuser in Lyle alleged that she was subjected to harassment by virtue of the frequent sexual banter of the writers--both male and female--of Friends while they discussed ideas and developed storylines and scripts for the show. Although she admits she was not the target of any of the comments, she claimed that some of the comments were derogatory towards women in general and therefore created a "hostile environment" for her work. FIRE joins the Center for Individual Rights and the National Association of Scholars in submitting the letter, which was written by attorney Frederic D. Cohen of Horvitz & Levy, LLP, in Encino, California.

Via Virginia Postrel [>]

If you are not familiar with FIRE, here's a link to their page: [>]

:: Max 11:23 PM [+] ::
Dean of Iraqi College Assassinated

Zeyad reminds us there are many less publicized tragedies occuring daily in Iraq. This one will never make it to the nightly news but it's very sad nonetheless:

Another barbaric incident yesterday which hasn't been given the media attention it deserves was the slaughter of Layla Abdullah, dean of Law College at Mosul University. She was found slaughtered and shot in the head together with her husband at her residence in Mosul. She has been getting death threats for a while according to her relatives.

It would seem to me the coalition would have a vested interest in protecting the dean of the Mosul Law College. The CPA might want to ratchet up security for people like this as the hand-over deadline nears. Otherwise, Iraqis are going to lose (have lost) some of their most prominent citizens--at a time when such people are needed the most.

:: Max 10:16 PM [+] ::
Instapundit points to this rather ironic, 1999 CNN article:

Saddam Hussein offered asylum

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has offered asylum to bin Laden, who openly supports Iraq against the Western powers.

:: Max 4:09 PM [+] ::
Herald Sun's Andrew Bolt Questions Big Media Blackout

Scary how little understanding there is of the great evil we face. It's as if we -- the media in particular -- don't want to know. For instance, has anyone given you this latest insight into our enemy?


He says they drove on until "the infidel's clothing was torn to shreds and he was naked in the street . . . and everyone watched the infidel being dragged, praise and gratitude be to Allah."

The terrorists then stormed a second compound, and found an "American infidel".

"I shot him in the head, and his head exploded. We entered another office and found one infidel from South Africa, and our brother Hussein slit his throat. We asked Allah to accept (these pious acts) from us, and from him."

The terrorists then killed guards at a third compound, where al-Nashami says they found Johansson: "Brother Nimr cut off his head and put it at the gate, so that it would be seen by all . . ."

They caught other workers and checked their religion.

"We found Filipino Christians. We cut their throats and dedicated them to our brothers the Mujahideen in the Philippines. We found Hindu engineers and we cut their throats, too, Allah be praised . . .

"We utilised the time for (teaching) the Koran to the Muslims who remained."

God forbid Jennings, Rather or Brokaw would ever report this gruesome stuff.

(I'm sure glad Al Gore invented this internet thingy!)

:: Max 12:10 PM [+] ::
'Our people don't want to see this'

New York Post columnist Deborah Orin has an excellent column on the main stream media's reluctance to adequately cover the brutal beheadings and torture by terrorists in Iraq and eswhere in the Middle East.

Most of the press still isn't ready to face up to how to report the real horrors of what terrorists do. It would be a good start if newspapers like the Times would admit there's a problem when they downplay those horrors.


:: Max 11:28 AM [+] ::
Choke on This Pretzle

To the extent that America is the undisputed World's Policeman with American Servicemen and women deployed in high-risk standoffs in almost every nation on the face of the friggin globe; and further, that the American taxpayer is wholly funding this elaborate international security machine for thankless psuedo-nations like France and Haiti...who-in-the-hell besides maybe Jimmy Carter thinks this is a good idea!

Admittedly, many are saying American troops are unlikely to find themselves entangled in an ICC investigation but I think, on principle, we should not have made this radical concession.

Ironically al-Zarqawi or bin Laden will never be charged by the UN as a 'war criminals' because they're not regular old foot-soldiers, they're insurgents and freedom fighters.

Update: Splash has some thoughts on this. If you're interested in a soldiers opinion, go here [>]

:: Max 10:12 AM [+] ::
Meet Abu Musab al-Zarqawi

Attacks believed to be linked to terrorism suspect Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

June 22: Kidnappers behead South Korean hostage Kim Sun-il.

June 14: A car-bomb attack on a convoy in Baghdad kills 13.

June 6: Twin car bombings kill nine outside the U.S. Army facility north of Baghdad.

June 5: An ambush near Baghdad airport kills two Americans and two Poles working for a U.S. security firm.

May 22: A suicide car bomb wounds Iraqi deputy interior minister Abdul-Jabbar Youssef and kills at least four.

May 18: A car bomb kills Iraqi Governing Council president Izzadine Saleem.

May 11: American businessman Nicholas Berg is beheaded.

May 6: Six people are killed in suicide car bombing in Baghdad.

May 2: Mortar attack that kills six U.S. Marines near Ramadi.

April 24: Suicide bombers in boats ram oil-pumping stations in the Gulf, killing three Americans.

March 17: A car bomb at a Baghdad hotel kills seven.

Feb. 18: A truck bombing outside a Polish-run base in Hillah kills at least 10 .

Jan 28: A car bombing at a Baghdad Hotel kills at least four.

Dec. 27, 2003: An attack on coalition bases and governor's office in Karbala kills one.

Nov. 12: A suicide truck bombing at the headquarters of Italy's paramilitary police in Nasiriyah kills more than 30.

Aug. 29: A car bomb in Najaf kills more than 85, including Ayatollah Mohammad Baqr al-Hakim, leader the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq.

Aug. 19: A truck bombing of UN headquarters in Baghdad kills 23, including top UN envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello.

We gotta pull the motherboard on this insane, homicidal robot.

Update: You can, of course, add today's Iraq bombings that killed at least 100 people including 3 GIs and wounded 320.

:: Max 9:36 AM [+] ::
Saudis To Issue Weapons Permits To Westerners

RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia will allow foreigners who feel threatened by the wave of militant violence in the kingdom to carry guns for their protection, Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz says.

"In principle a Saudi has the right to carry a weapon, if he has a permit. Likewise a foreign resident, if he felt in danger he could get a permit to carry a weapon," Nayef was quoted as saying by the official Saudi Press Agency on Thursday.

:: Max 9:26 AM [+] ::
:: Wednesday, June 23, 2004 ::
A Flame Still Burns in The West

Wretchard has posted a beautifully written and concise thesis of the current American polical zeitgeist. If you're looking for a wonderful analysis of the bigger political picture, this is it. Here's an excerpt:

James Lilek's friends must know that electing John Kerry to the White House will not restore the antebellum world. Things have gone too far for that. The Third World in general and the Islamic World in particular have burst their bounds; they can no longer be herded into the decrepit and threadbare tent of the United Nations; the Kyoto climate agreement; the International Criminal Court or any of Potemkin treaties woven by the European Union. Islamic fundamentalists are openly attacking Russia; besetting India; seizing British naval vessels; threatening to interdict the Straits of Malacca; menacing the House of Saud; renewing hostilities in Kosovo; bombing trains in Spain; raging through the Sudan and building nuclear enrichment plants. No Clintonian ceremony in the Rose Garden can replace the planets in their old orbits. All John Kerry can do if he must pay the price of restoring the Liberal dream is to withdraw, like Prince Prospero, into the artificial gaieties of last Bal Masque while the Red Death stalks without. Niall Ferguson, writing in the Wall Street Journal described a world exactly like that:

"...a world with no hegemon at all may be the real alternative to it. This could turn out to mean a new Dark Age of waning empires and religious fanaticism; of endemic rapine in the world's no-go zones; of economic stagnation and a retreat by civilization into a few fortified enclaves."

But that nightmare does not lie at the end of the Conservative dream; a dream which springs not from the Paris Commune but from the Declaration of Independence. And therein lies the problem for Liberals; that the only impetus to social survival springs from someone else and that illegitimate. To John Kerry's task of corralling Osama Bin Laden must be added the daunting job of persuading many Americans to renew their touching faith in the United Nations; to grasp the pages of the Time and Newsweek again as if they were gospel; to laugh on cue at the network anchor's artificial smile: to return, in short, to the Big Tent so recently punctured by the suicide pilots of the Al Qaeda -- as if nothing ever happened.

The war on terror is really a war of ideas and it requires a jugmentalism that's antithetical to the liberal mind.

:: Max 9:54 PM [+] ::
Clinton Bashing

OK...guilty as charged.

:: Max 7:25 PM [+] ::
Quote of the Day

"If multiculturalism actually meant striving to understand other cultures, that would be a genuine contribution of seasoning to the melting pot, enabling young people, especially, to contrast and compare differences. But multiculturalism has become the prevailing euphemism for discounting Western values and celebrating every ideology and mindset with an anti-American core."

Suzanne Fields - Washington Times

Via RCP [>]

:: Max 5:23 PM [+] ::
Mark Steyn has a pithy update on Air America:

What's wrong with Air America? Well, the trick for Democrats is to be like WTWK's reception in Vermont -- distorted and fuzzy. Distorted and fuzzy are the twin pillars of effective leftie strategy. Remember that favorite statistic of Bill Clinton, that 12 "kids" a day are killed by guns. When you examine the data, it turns out five-sixths of those 11.569 grade-school moppets are young adults between 15 and 19, many of whom are engaged in convenience-store hold-ups, drug deals and other activities, which, though potentially lucrative, have a tendency to go awry. But fuzziness (the inevitable invocation of "the children") makes the distortion difficult to question. And that's how the left advances its agenda -- muffling ruthless partisanship in fluffy talk.

Read the whole thing (requires registration) [>]

:: Max 5:02 PM [+] ::
Annan Pulls Race Card: Claims Lynching

William Safire has nice update on the UNSCAM probe:

Last week, Secretary General Kofi Annan claimed that my reporting of what he told me at a luncheon was "a private conversation" (no such ground rule was set) and that "some are jumping to conclusions without facts, without evidence. It is a bit like a lynching, actually."

If you make it to the end of the article you'll find this ironic twist:

But defenders of U.N. malfeasance can take heart. In a counterattack, our global servants hired an accountant to warn of "fraudulent acts" by the U.S. after it took over the U.N.'s mismanaged Iraqi oil account. Now, that will get media coverage.

And Kerry (and Chirac of course) want to put it all back in Koffi's hands.

:: Max 4:34 PM [+] ::
Ratherbiased.com Confirms CBS/Amazon.com Partnership

These guys are just shameless.

Via Drudge [>]

Update [>]

:: Max 1:30 PM [+] ::
Bush Campaign More Net Savvy Than Kerry Campaign?

Although it is being criticized as non-bloglike, Bush web campaign strategy is apparently very successful:

Net-Savvy Campaign Boosts Bush

02:00 AM Jun. 23, 2004 PT

President Bush has never been called Net-savvy. But Republican campaigners have built up an online presence over the past year that even some of the president's detractors describe as "innovative," and is in some ways ahead of the Kerry campaign's efforts to seize the Internet high ground.

Via Wired News [>]

:: Max 1:15 PM [+] ::
Hillary Namesake of New Zealand Bee-Keeper?

You gotta respect Clinton's style. He is very much the archtypal, old-school, southern politician who endears himself to the local rabble by personalizing his stump speech at every whistle-stop with a charming homily unique to the venue. With a knowing grin and a twinkle in his blue eyes, Slick Willy reaches right around your waiste, cobs your wallet and then vanishes into thin air. Later, after the Magic Bubba Dust has settled, you find yourself patting down your empty pockets.

The real biography of William Jefferson Clinton will someday chronicle the high-octane banditry of the roaring 90s. And somehow, someway, our boy will probably come out on top.

:: Max 11:16 AM [+] ::
:: Tuesday, June 22, 2004 ::

Clinton Book Line Stacked?

If this is what it appears to be it's...well...very Clintonian.

Via Glenn Reynolds.

:: Max 11:53 PM [+] ::
Good News From Iraq

Arthur Chrenkoff has another must-read roundup of good news from Iraq. If your fed up with abu Ghraib, and all the dismal, pendantic talking heads, drop in for a visit.

:: Max 11:40 PM [+] ::
WaPo Poll Also Weighted With Dems

Joshua analyzes the recent Washington Post poll. Aside from the usual suspect data, the upshot seems to be Dems are simply voting against Bush (55%) rather than FOR Kerry, while Republicans are voting FOR Bush (80%). I think a substantial majority of independents will sift out for Bush when they enter the voting booth--there's too much on the line.

Joshua also scooped this fascinating Kerryism:

KNUS is replaying the following quote from Kerry's downtown rally today:

"I want an economy where, instead of people working and working and working and working for the economy, the economy works for the people."

Wow. An economy where people don't work. I thought he wanted to create jobs.

Kerry: the lugubrious candidate.

:: Max 11:05 PM [+] ::
It's The Barbarians Stupid

John Podhoretz carefully asseses W's current polling data, contrasting the June 04 numbers to his father's position at this same point in 1992 election. I feel it is too early to make any meaningful predictions--too much instability in the area of national security. However, given the data, Podhoretz makes a pretty strong case for a Bush win in November. Here's an excerpt:

As things stand right now, Dubya's approval rating in most polls is back over 50 percent. He's taken the lead back from Kerry in almost every national survey in the past week. The Harris poll, which has long had a reputation for skewing liberal, shows Bush ahead by 10 points. Another left-leaning pollster, Stanley Greenberg, has the race at 49-48 in a survey done for National Public Radio.


Could the discomfort come back? Of course. Could the numbers get bad for Bush again? Of course.

But right now, all things considered, with 132 days to go, you'd want to be George W. Bush and not John Kerry

I have a hunch that if you asked 100 Americans who they'd rather have a beer with, Bush or Kerry, 80% would say George W. Bush. I think this is important but I'm not sure why exactly.

Prediction: If the evil-doers manage to pull off another major stunt in the US before the election, it's Bush in a landslide.

Via Hugh Hewitt [>]

:: Max 10:19 PM [+] ::
Drudge and Fox Most Centrist of ALL Media?

"One of our measures found that the Drudge Report is the most centrist of all media outlets in our sample. Our other measure found that Fox News- Special Report is the most centrist. These findings refer strictly to the news stories of the outlets. That is, we omitted editorials, book reviews, and letters to the editor from our sample"

According to this study, Fox and Drudge appear to weight their coverage in the most centrist way of all media in the study group. I'm really not too surprised as I've never felt Drudge or Fox cut Bush or any other Republican much slack (even though the left seems to think they do). But their substantial success can certainly be attributed to a perspective far more balanced than one is likely to get from any MSM source.

:: Max 2:46 PM [+] ::

"I can't believe this is happening to my brother, who is good and nice." sister, Hyangrim

"He is a man of faith. He is always leading a proactive life and attempting to accomplish something." friend and associate Kim Se-young.

Kim Sun-il, yet another inocent victim of Islamic butchery, is survived by his father, Kim Jong-kyu, 69; step-mother, Shin Young-ja, 59; Sisters, Jeongsuk, 32, and Hyangrim, 44.

The world awaits condemnation of these senseless, cowardly acts from the "Muslim intellectual community" (an apparent oxymoron).

Update: Emailer just reminded me of MY OWN POST below and suggests new Muslim intellectuals might be forming in the Blogosphere...interesting.

:: Max 1:37 PM [+] ::
Hello Down Under

Wow...big-time...got a mention from Arthur Chrenkoff this morning!

:: Max 11:33 AM [+] ::
:: Monday, June 21, 2004 ::
Fishwrapper Mathematics

Drudge links to E&P report suggesting print media falsifies circulation data to increase ad revenues. I find this very hard to believe...I mean they wouldn't lie would they?

Merrill Lynch Fears More Circ Flaps; Advertising Fallout, By Jennifer Saba, Published: June 21, 2004 12:20 PM ES:

The worst consequence could be declining ad revenue, if advertisers doubt the reliability of circulation figures. The report says that the most vulnerable spot will be preprint inserts as they are purchased entirely on circ reach. It added: "Circulation is likely to remain a controversial topic in the near term."

Update: Looks like the Blogfather was WAY out in front on this one. Drudge is going to have to get up a little earlier.

:: Max 11:51 PM [+] ::
Moore Lifts Bradbury

A non-talent slob like 'auteur' Michael Moore isn't creative enough to come up with a movie title on his own so he has to swipe one. Actually, I think this is interesting and indicative of the "progressive" mindset; a complete lack of new material whatsoever (not to mention pride). I'm really not a big Rush fan but he's right about this one thing; liberals are working out of an ancient playbook and the world is changing before their eyes. They continue to harken back to the "good old days" of Lenny Bruce, Che, Freud and John Lennon. I'm kinda fed up with these 50+ hippies with their gray ponytails and thatchey beards telling me "we almost won". They're rapidly going the way of Hunter S. Thomson and the rest of the nostalgic dinosaurs--disconnected, and hunkered down in their earth-contact hovels-- devining mythic astrology charts while protected from dreaded Neocons by quartz amulettes, patuli-oil and tin-foil headgear.

Whilst millionaire Michael Moore, with his gratuitous, one-note act has them prostating at the alter.

OK...so America is a super-power--get over it.

Update: Christopher Hitchens has a terrific critique of Fahrenheit 9/11. Hearing such honest criticism from the left, as the NYT's critique of My Life makes me long for the classic, intellectual liberals like Daniel P. Moynihan or Bobby Kennedy. Some dignified aspect of progressivism has been lost, I think, to ranting hacks like Moore, Kennedy, Dean, McAuliffe and Gore.

:: Max 9:52 PM [+] ::
Beverly Hills 90210

I've posted Fundrace before but I thought it might be interesting to play around a bit. For instance, 90210 returns some fun results as does 02584. Exclusive zip codes are very fun; a patient, dilligent individual could amass quite a mailing list. Got some free time? Have at it [>]

:: Max 9:04 PM [+] ::

First Lady First

Killer polling results for First Lady Laura Bush. I think she's a terrific woman and an understated talent but really wish she would come around on the stem-cell research issue. C'mon Laura...it's not a human-being it's a blastocyst.

:: Max 8:44 PM [+] ::
Franken Stiffed by Air America

Inside Air America's Troubles:
Optimism and Shaky Finances

As the network's star, Mr. Franken had negotiated a pay package valued at more than $1 million a year, according to a copy of the contract viewed by The Wall Street Journal. On the evening of April 26, Mr. Goodfriend says he was asked by [network executive] Mr. [Evan] Cohen to show Mr. Franken a deposit slip that would prove he'd been paid a portion of his salary. Mr. Cohen says he only asked Mr. Goodfriend to negotiate with Mr. Franken.

The next day, Mr. Goodfriend went to Mr. Franken's Manhattan apartment to meet Mr. Franken's wife, who manages her husband's finances. Over the Frankens' kitchen table, the two tore open an envelope sent over by Mr. Cohen that they thought was going to contain proof of the payment. All they found was a stack of irrelevant documents.

Via Powerline [>]

:: Max 11:27 AM [+] ::
Disturbing Move By Pentagon

Pentagon Seeks U.S. Spy Powers

A Pentagon effort to persuade Congress to allow military intelligence agents to work undercover in the United States met with resistance in the House Wednesday when the provision was left out of the highly secretive intelligence funding bill.

However, the Senate's version of the Intelligence Authorization Act of 2005 still includes the provision, which exempts Department of Defense intelligence agents from a portion of the Privacy Act, a 30-year-old law that outlaws secret databases on American citizens and green-card holders.

This stuff is getting too creepy for me. Did these guys swear an oath to uphold the Constitution or not?

:: Max 11:19 AM [+] ::
A Little Historical Perspective


President Date Positive Negative Not Sure Re-elected
George W. Bush June 2004 50 49 1 ?
Clinton June 1996 55 45 1 Yes
George H.W. Bush June 1992 32 67 1 No
Reagan June 1984 55 45 * Yes
Carter June 1980 26 73 1 No
Ford June 1976 41 57 2 No
Nixon June 1972 56 42 2 Yes
Johnson June 1968 45 No data No data No
(did not run)

*=Less than 0.5 percent

Harris has Bush and cabinet members moving up in polls.

Although it is still way too early to make any meaningful predictions, this certainly seems like good news for the Bush camp.

Via Hugh Hewitt [>]

:: Max 9:32 AM [+] ::
Iraq the Model Weighs in:

Yes they want us to act while motivated by hate and ABSOLUTE hate to become just like them, to hate each other without realizing in those angry moments that they're criminals who do not represent anything but evil itself and not any people or religion. That's the main objective; let us hate and get angry and disgusted and after that revenge will be the ideal solution to heal our wounded souls. That's why I refuse to watch these pictures because I know they will certainly provoke some of that in me.

Muslims are not stupid and most are just as outraged over these beheadings as Westerners. It seems everyone but the terrorists understand the damage this is doing to Islam. On the other hand, maybe this is a cathartic moment..like when the Berlin Wall fell. We'll have to wait and see.

:: Max 12:18 AM [+] ::
:: Sunday, June 20, 2004 ::

Pandora's Ballot Box

The 2000 election, with it's torturous manipulation of election law may very well have cracked open a Pandora's Box of vote manipulation. The American Enterprise Institute is predicting a possible 2004 election controversy:

For better or worse, the battle over the 2000 Florida election still remains with us. Billions of dollars are being spent by states to change their voting-machine systems in order to correct the perceived problems experienced in Florida. Yet much debate still exists over exactly what went wrong in Florida and whether the changes in voting machines will solve the problems or ensure an even worse disaster this November.

Gore's 2000 foray into this dangerous territory may very well affect election outcomes for many years to come. If the November election is as close as it was in 2000, look for debilitating legal challenges...a hanging chad redux complete with controversial Supreme Court rulings. In the meantime, whether you are a Democrat or Republican, pray for a decisive, unequivocal mandate from the American electorate.

As they say; it's not the votes that count but who counts the votes. This unfortunate circumstance makes me queasy.

Update: EFF has this cheery warning:

The 2004 presidential election might not be flawed like the last one was; it might be even worse. Communities across America are purchasing electronic voting (e-voting) machines, but the technology has serious security problems that aren't being addressed. Most of the machines use "black box" software that hasn't been publicly reviewed for security. Almost none provide voter-verifiable paper ballots to detect fraud. A recent analysis by several academic researchers outlines the many and varied ways that anyone from a technically proficient insider to an average voter could disrupt an e-voting system to defraud an election.

Geez, what are we here--Venezuela?

:: Max 11:45 PM [+] ::
Open Letter to President Bush From Mesopotamian

This extraordinary letter is posted on the Mesopotamian Blog. Excerpt:

And you know Mr. President when the lion marches into the bush, the wild dogs, the monkeys, the hyenas and all the other beasts of the wild scurry and run and hide at a safe distance, some perched high in the trees, others hiding in holes under the ground, and each will find his favorite refuge. Yet they will start their squeaking, screaming, barking, hissing and generally making a deafening din and clamor, while apprehensively and attentively watching every move and gesture of the King in great trepidation. Some of the monkeys might dare toss some coconut shells perhaps in his direction, but from a very safe remoteness, and some parasites, too small and contemptible to be observed might give him a sting or two; but all that cannot bother the great one much. It is the racket and noise though that can be most annoying. But who dares to come within range, for they all know very well what fate awaits them then.


:: Max 11:24 PM [+] ::
Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat will be looking for a new leader. If I'm elected, first thing we're doing is looking for a new name...sheesh.

:: Max 11:17 PM [+] ::

I was initially very exited about Gmail but this revelation has tempered my enthusiasm.

:: Max 11:11 PM [+] ::
New evidence on Iraq-Al-Qaida

UPI is reporting 'new information' on Iraq/al Qaeda connection:

The commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks has received new information indicating that a senior officer in an elite unit of the security services of deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein may have been a member of al-Qaida involved in the planning of the suicide hijackings, panel members said Sunday.

Given all that has transpired in the last 24 hours, I'm pretty skeptical about this. Maybe Rove and Chaney really are two of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

:: Max 11:03 PM [+] ::
Saudi Crackdown?

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, June 20 -- Police cars and armored vehicles flooded the al-Malaz neighborhood in the Saudi capital Sunday as security forces surrounded a house where suspected militants were believed to have taken refuge after a shootout with police.

Via Washington Post [>]

:: Max 10:48 PM [+] ::
Moore Targeting Blair?

In an interview with Reuters Friday, Moore was asked about the lack of many references in the movie to Blair and the British role in the war.

"I struggled with it because, I think, what I decided is that I need to make a separate film about Blair, at some point here. I need to do something about Blair and Britain," Moore said.

Via CNN [>]

:: Max 4:39 PM [+] ::
Poll Update

June 20, 2004

IEM: Bush 0.597--Kerry 0.453

Hedgehog: Kerry 257--Bush 247

Tripias: Kerry 279--Bush 259

Rasmussen: Kerry 46%--Bush 46%

:: Max 4:34 PM [+] ::
Saudis Celebrate Killing of al Qaeda Leader

Faiza Saleh Ambah | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor

Celebrations broke out at the news Friday night that Abdelaziz al-Miqrin, the man responsible for Johnson's death, had been killed. It was the first time in the kingdom's 13-month fight against terrorism that ordinary citizens expressed spontaneous joy at security forces' success.

Thought this might be a positive sign but then I found this:

DUBAI (Reuters) - An Iraqi group has threatened to behead a South Korean hostage if Seoul does not end cooperation with U.S. occupying authorities, a videotape aired on Arabic television station Al Jazeera said on Monday.

This grotesque barbarism would come to an end if world leaders would speak out. Their silence is damning.

Update: S. Korea Rejects Ultimatum From Iraq Hostage-Takers

:: Max 4:15 PM [+] ::

The Comeback Kid

It must be hard to be a Democrat these days. Many of them are choking and have difficulty breathing. Every time they gather in a room to talk about their candidate for President, the haggard Bill Clinton is there, sucking up the oxygen. If it's not Clinton, then it's his book, or even his portrait.

And then there is Al Gore. Whatever oxygen remains in the room is sucked up by him and his ranting. You'd think Gore was running for president again, the fire in his belly finally blazing four years too late. Sadly, the Democrat's presumptive candidate for President, John Kerry can hardly get his picture on page three of a national newspaper.

By Robert Klein Engler, The American Daily [>]

:: Max 12:05 PM [+] ::

The Hapless Statesman

Fast-forwarding to the current primary contest, the feud seems to have mushroomed into a battle for headlines and party influence -- one that Gore has been losing with one misstep after another. Gore endorsed Howard Dean at what may well be considered the height of Dean's popularity, before his fatal red-faced yaaargh following his loss in Iowa. Clinton, meanwhile, did the exact opposite, implicitly endorsing the unorthodox anti-Dean candidate, Wesley Clark.

Odd man out: Al Gore's journey into irrelevance by Collin Levey of the Seattle Times [>]

:: Max 11:52 AM [+] ::
But What If

...Clinton resigns. Gore becomes president. A popular wave of remorse turns into revulsion against the philandering hypocrites of the GOP caucus. Even more are swept out of office in the '98 midterms.

Gore gets two years to become as comfortable in the seat of power as such an awkward man could. In 2000, he runs as President Gore, so Bill Bradley doesn't run. No primary wounds.

Under this scenario, do you doubt Gore could have won the one measly state, perhaps his home state of Tennessee, he needed to keep W. away from the red phone?

Would Bush even have run? Against an incumbent, in peace and prosperity, unable to harp on restoring "honor and dignity" to the White House?

So, again, I ask those who backed Clinton until the last dog died: Happy with how it turned out?

An interesting hypothetical posed by Chris Saltullo of the Philadelphia Inquirer [>]

:: Max 11:30 AM [+] ::
:: Saturday, June 19, 2004 ::
"Brits on holiday are quite hardy, and nothing's going to put them off enjoying their free time,"

Via Oxblog [>]

:: Max 6:18 PM [+] ::
Poll Update--Kerry on Top

June 19, 2004

IEM: Bush 0.545--Kerry 0.462

Hedgehog: Kerry 257--Bush 247

Tripias: Kerry 279--Bush 259

Rasmussen: Kerry 46%--Bush 45%

:: Max 5:54 PM [+] ::
"My Life" reads like a messy pastiche...

New York Times' Kakutani pans Clinton autobiography; bonks Rather in process:

The book, which weighs in at more than 950 pages, is sloppy, self-indulgent and often eye-crossingly dull — the sound of one man prattling away, not for the reader, but for himself and some distant recording angel of history.


But while Dan Rather, who interviewed Mr. Clinton for "60 Minutes," has already compared the book to the memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant, arguably the most richly satisfying autobiography by an American president, "My Life" has little of that classic's unsparing candor or historical perspective. Instead, it devolves into a hodgepodge of jottings: part policy primer, part 12-step confessional, part stump speech and part presidential archive, all, it seems, hurriedly written and even more hurriedly edited.

Maybe there's still a spark of honesty in the Old Gray Lady after all.

:: Max 5:41 PM [+] ::
:: Friday, June 18, 2004 ::
Busting Reagan Myths

Virginia Postrel points to Milton Frieman's WSJ article on Reagan's downsizing of government (reqistration required). It seems such a simple platitude: "as government grows our freedom shrinks"--but this is one of the more profound truths of Reagan's philosophy.

"As a good social scientist, Frieman also has data. It doesn't make Bush I look too good, but it does bust the myth--popular among some libertarians--that Reagan did nothing real to shrink government."

Too bad Bush doesn't seem to grasp this concept.

:: Max 8:37 AM [+] ::
:: Thursday, June 17, 2004 ::
Massively Parallel Bioprocessor--Mob Based Intelligence

In 1906, English scientist Francis Galton visited a country livestock fair and stumbled upon an intriguing contest. An ox was about to be slaughtered, and the villagers in attendance were invited to guess the animal's weight after being slaughtered and dressed. Nearly 800 gave it a go, and not surprisingly, no one hit the exact mark: 1,198 pounds. Astonishingly, however, the average of those 800 guesses came close - very close indeed.

It was 1,197 pounds.

From a fascinating book: The Wisdom of Crowds, by By James Surowiecki [>]

Update: Coincidentally, another author proposes utilizing statistical physics for predicative data, suggesting "people in the aggregate seem to follow the same basic physical laws as matter" like gasses.

As an example, Mr. Ball analogizes the crush of a traffic jam to a phase transition; the tipping point at which water turns from a liquid to a solid. These are both fascinating scientific conjectures; given the state of technology, they probably shouldn't be taken too lightly either.

:: Max 3:13 PM [+] ::
Blogologists Tackle Blogology

Scholars Discover Weblogs Pass Test as Mode of Communication

"But I think it makes far more sense to think of blogs as a medium that permits citizens to challenge the media monopoly in determining what counts as newsworthy and what the narrative frame for those stories is. We are all media critics now. They've been able to tell us, for decades, which stories count as news and how those stories should be told. Bloggers can say: Wait a minute. What about all these other stories? Why aren't you covering those? And what makes this narrative frame self-evident? Doesn't this one make just as much sense? And why did you leave these details out?"

Interesting panel discussion over at the OJR [>]

:: Max 3:04 PM [+] ::
:: Tuesday, June 15, 2004 ::

Democrats Release Convention Schedule

Here are the highlights:

Opens with a flag burning ceremony, and moves on to events like a John Kerry "fake medal toss" and a "Free Saddam" pep rally. On six different occasions "Ted Kennedy proposes a toast."

Ends with pin-the-botox-on-the-candidate.

:: Max 9:52 PM [+] ::
Black is White--White is Black and The Moon is Made of Green Cheese

If ever there were a perfect example of left-wing media bias it would be the coverage of the EU election in Britian. Here's the answer from the blogosphere:

Via Chicago Boyz:

Jim Bennett recently offered the following bracing analysis of the EU elections, which I now put before our readers with his permission.

"The entirely predictable but still breathtakingly brazen spin of the US liberal media on the British European elections continues to demonstrate the need for alternative channels of information, particularly the blogosphere.
I just heard NPR describe the election results as "British voters punishing Blair over Iraq", echoing the Washington Post and NY Times. This has become the official line. Any sane editor would choose to lead with a headline grounded in actual factual analysis, such as:

"Three Pro-War British parties take 67% of vote, push anti-war party to fourth place"; or

"New anti-EU party displaces Liberal Democrats as Britain's Third Party"; or

"British Voters Back War but Punish Blair over Europe"; or

"BBC Host Fired for Political Incorrectness Leads Europe Rebels to Victory"; or

"Liberal Democrats Play Anti-War Card with Meager Results; or

"Britain: Only European Country with Pro-War Government *and* opposition party, now sees rise of third pro-war party, eclipsing antiwar party." or

"Euroskeptic Parties Take Majority of Vote for First Time."

All of these are factually true and would seem interesting angles purely from a journalistic point of view. Did we see any of them? Ha!

The really interesting thing about this election was that the multiplicity of parties permitted a very precise interpretation of voting intentions. Pro-Blair, pro-war, pro-EU? Easy -- vote Labour. Anti-Blair, anti-EU, pro-war? Vote Tory. Really, really anti-EU and anti-Blair, and pro-war? Vote UKIP. Anti-Blair, anti-EU, anti-war? Vote Green. Anti-Blair, anti-war, pro-EU? Vote LibDem. Anti-foreigner, anti-immigrant? Vote BNP. There's really no excuse for misreporting voter intentions in this election.

The majority British voter distrusts Blair, dislikes the EU, but supports the war despite not-unjustifiable suspicions that Blair's case for the war involved plenty of spin. But don't expect this to be reported in the US mainstream media. Much less taken into account in formation of US policy.

Good thing we have the blogosphere. The truth is out there.

Posted by Lexington Green on June 15, 2004 10:31 AM

OK...where else you gonna get this stuff--NPR?

:: Max 9:09 PM [+] ::
Time Trains Big-Media Spotlight on Bloggers

Time Magazine focuses high-wattage limelight on blogs posting an interesting online essay on the impact blogs are having on news consumption. Although the article is predictably off-kilter, it does serve to amplify the state of micropubishing on the web pointing to interesting statistics such as:

"a philosophy professor in New Zealand named Denis Dutton started the blog Arts & Letters Daily artsandlettersdaily.com) to create a website "where people could go daily for a dose of intellectual stimulation." Now the site draws more than 100,000 readers a month. Compare that with, say, the New York Review of Books, which has a circulation of 115,000. The tail is beginning to wag the blog."

Time concedes "elite"(read: 'your father's') media is just now catching on.

The article, however, is typically condescending and arrogant, stacked with phrases that, were the roles reversed, would seem entirely appropriate criticisms of MSM: "Unfortunately, there's a downside to this...sentiment--that is, innocent casualties bloodied by a medium that trades in rumor, gossip and speculation without accountability".

Right..."speculation without accountability." Who'd ever accuse big-media sources such as Time Magazine to be guilty of "speculation without accountability?" I've seen this exact sentence before...but it's more often directed at the likes of Time or the Gray Lady penned by some obscure blogger hacking it out in his basement. The difference, of course, is that almost all blogs now have a 'comments' feature that allow readers to respond quickly and vociferously to a questionable post forcing immediate retraction or correction. The elite media has no such tool (God forbid) to allow dissenting voices to countermand their random 'speculation' wisdom. I suspect it will be too late for the 800 lb. media Gorrilla's to grasp that new media is very much a 'push-pull' phenomenon so they'll continue to operate as they always have; push it down our throats--dissenting voices be damned.

If Time's on it, you can be assured MSM is very concerned and they should be. By the looks of some of the blogs I read, advertising dollars have discovered a highly targeted market where ad dollars are far more cost effective than traditional media buys. The old shotgun approach appears to be giving away to a highly clinical focus of ad revenues and bloggers appear to be proffiting from the evolution.

And here is a humorous sidebar; "according to some" many reporters are spending an inordinate amount of "time" in their cubicles not writing for their employer but surfing the blogosphere and creating their own blogs--a fact that must send shockwaves though the boardrooms of 'elite' media everywhere; if this is the case, "the jigs up".

:: Max 7:23 PM [+] ::
LA Times Skews Poll to Kerry

I posted this Thursday and was skeptical of the LA Times polling data. Drudge is now reporting the Times, in an unprecedented move, skewed the results by weighting the poll in favor of Democrats (38%) to Republicans (25%):

Roll Call:

"Not counting independents, the Times' results were calculated on a sample made up of 38 percent Democrats and 25 percent Republicans -- a huge and unheard-of margin,"

It's going to be interesting to see how "elite" media will rationalize this kind of behaviour when Bush wins re-election next fall.

:: Max 1:30 PM [+] ::
:: Sunday, June 13, 2004 ::
"Clan returns to California"

They're still at it.

At least they didn't spell it with a "k".

OK...tell me this isn't the fascist-buggar's shorthand.

:: Max 11:59 PM [+] ::
Debunking the Debunkers: The Left's Mythological Reagan

Reagan's "decade of greed" is examined in this essay by Richard McKenzie for the Orange County Register (reg-req). Mr. McKenzie dispatches the anti-Reagan myths thus:

Myth 1: The 1980s, or the Reagan years, were a decade of broad-based economic retreat for the country.

Myth 2: The country deindustrialized during the Reagan years.

Myth 3: The country lost its competitive prowess as revealed in the loss of manufacturing jobs.

Myth 4: The country's production may not have been declining in absolute terms, but it was surely declining relative to the rest of the industrialized world.

Myth 5: The Reagan years were a decade of uncontrolled debt, both in the public and private sector.

Myth 6: The Reagan years were a decade of greed.

The Clinton decade was the 'greedy' decade if you ask me. Global Crossing, Enron, Tycho, Martha Stewart, cattle futures, fat girls wearing berets...need I go on? The rest of the story is here [>]

:: Max 11:06 PM [+] ::

Cash Crop

Josh Chavetz is in Afghanistan touring agricultural sites and meeting with Afghani farmers. Understanding how these farmers live is a big part of finding solutions to the illicit opium trade in the region:

"Opium isn't just valuable as a cash crop, but as cash... and credit, too. The Afghan banking system collapsed over the decades of war and Communism, with the final blow delivered when the Taliban enforced a clumsy interest-free "Islamic" banking mandate and dismissed all female bank employees. Inflation soared, credit dried up. Only the central bank, Da Afghanistan Bank (Pashto for "Bank of Afghanistan", not ebonics for "The Afghanistan Bank") survived. Throughout rural Afghanistan, opium became the de facto currency, and opium traders paid local farmers a lump-sum in advance for their yearly crop -- in effect, a loan on highly advantageous terms for the traffickers. Even now that Afghanistan has a few banks and a stable currency, "narco-lenders" are still an important source of credit for many farmers.

The little opium-skull at the head of this post is from the UN, anti-opium, postal stamp. Go figure--a postal stamp for a country that doesn't even have a postal addresses.

:: Max 10:10 PM [+] ::

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