Saturday, February 26, 2005

Uh-Oh

Maybe Carpe Bonum shouldn't pick at Condi so much. She might make me hold an open election for Supreme Leader of Carpe Bonafamily...

(Hat tip, Instapundit)

Who is Lynn Swann?


(Image via Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame)

Lynn Swann is considering a run for Pennsylvania Governor. He has a "Draft Swann for Governor" committee. PoliPundit Jayson, Captain Ed, Betsy, Professor Bainbridge, and Todd Zywicki have all blogged about it.

As regular readers of Carpe Bonum (both of us) know, I am not a big fan of electoral neophytes aiming for major office, but maybe Swann has enough star power to pull it off. At least he's not running for President! (Sorry, Condi, I still love you, but...)

We all know Lynn Swann the Pittsburgh Steeler hall of famer. But who is he outside of football? Let's find out.

Mr. Swan is alive. (Hey, first things first!)

At present, Lynn Swann is the chairman of the President's Council on Physical Fitness. His official bio opens with:
Lynn C. Swann, Chairman, of Sewickley, Pennsylvania - What happens to the youngest of three boys, whose name is Lynn, when his mother enrolls him in dance school as an eight year old child? What will people say?
I like this guy already! The bio highlights Mr. Swann's football and broadcasting careers, community involvement and service with the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America. And it says he collects fine wines. Professor Bainbridge, a kindred spirit! The bio on the campaign page covers similar ground but without the self-deprecation.

He was fully involved in the Bush campaign last year. Examples:
  • The anti-Fox News Channel blog News Hounds reports Swann gave a pro-President Bush interview on Fox News last summer.
  • Mr. Swann was a principal in an organization called African Americans for Bush. (Can't find their web page any more, but there is plenty of residual information on the web discussing Swann's involvement.)
  • Swann did an online chat on behalf of the Bush campaign in early September. The campaign web pages are disappearing quickly but I was able to find a partial transcript in Google's cache. Here are the excerpted questions and responses from Swann:
    Valerie Torkelson from Westfield NJ wrote: What has the response to "African Americans for Bush" been? Do you feel like you are making any progress in the African American community to rally any support for President Bush?

    Lynn Swann answered: The response has been good and solid. I am always somewhat amused by the fact that some people would ask, "Why as an African American I am a Republican." In many cases, my response is, "Why not a Republican." Why is is such a grand assumption that African Americans should be Democrats when historically the Republican Party has been a leader on issues important to African Americans.

    Neil Hutchins from Albuquerque NM wrote: Hello Mr. Swann How long have you known the president? and what was it about him that you knew you could support him.

    Lynn Swann answered: Neil, I met the President when he was Governor of Texas. What I liked about this President and this man was that he acted on what he believed. When he talks about being healthier and more physically active in an effort to save America some of the $250 billion dollars we spend on obesity and its related illnesses and diseases that are preventable, he backs it up by being physically active himself. The President ran a 3-mile race in which he ran sub-seven minute miles at the age of 55.
Mr. Swann and his wife have given $10,300 in political contributions since 1987, mostly to Republicans like John Heinz, Arlen Specter, George W. Bush, and Pete Coors. But in 1996 and 1997 he gave $2000 to John Kerry?!?! I wonder what that was about!

The Draft Swann "Why Lynn" page stakes out a few positions:Not everyone loves Lynn Swann. Last month, corporate scold Center for Science in the Public Interest called for Swann to be fired. His crime? "The former Pittsburgh Steelers football player received payment to appear at a public relations event for a vending-machine trade association."

On racism, Mr. Swann made the following comment in a 1999 Time Magazine online chat:
Heichi asks: Lynn, have you ever received any racial abuse whilst playing?

Lynn Swann: Not while playing. I think that most minorities have experienced some form of racial abuse. And I am certain many young people and some adults have been abused and not even been aware that it was going on. The important thing, I think, is that you have to continue to break down a variety of barriers. Professional, social, economic, and political barriers.
The chat was in honor of Black History Month that year, and Swann wrapped up with this comment:
Lynn Swann: This being Black History Month, I would like to ask people to celebrate the similarities and not focus on the differences between people of color and not of color. Take the time to discover how African-Americans have had a great impact on this country. In science, education, literature, art, and politics.
He makes $20,000 to $30,000 per appearance on the lecture curcuit! No, wait. He makes $30,000 to $50,000!

On the nanny state, Mr. Swann made this comment in an online chat from the White House:
Question from Smokey: What do you think of California's tax on junk food? Do you think that good health can be encouraged with economics or can it not happen unless people have the willpower to stick to a program?

Lynn Swann: I think it's important that people develop their own lifestyle and their own habits. This has to be a personal choice. This is not something that can be legislated. We're trying to encourage people to lead a healthier and physically active lifestyle. We're not trying to mandate it. Certainly people have different schedules and there are certain things they can and cannot do. We encourage them to do what they can do, but we're certainly not in a position to try and dictate, mandate, or tax them on their eating habits.
But in the same chat he made this vicious attack on bloggers:
The computer is a wonderful tool, but it should not be a way of life for everybody where you sit in front of the computer and you do nothing else.
Just kidding -- that was totally out of context. (Eat your heart out, Maureen Dowd!)

And Mr. Swan may pick up votes from some unlikely places. For example the Philadelphia Daily News reports that there is some rancor in Philadelphia's African American Community over the appointment of a traffic court administrative judge.
The State Supreme Court this week named Bernice DeAngelis as administrative judge at Traffic Court, giving her control of patronage and angering black Democrats.
...
"The last thing we need is a revolt," Campbell [head of the African-American ward leaders] said, "but I've had some trial lawyers talk to me who are looking at raising money for [Lynn] Swann."
Good luck, Mr. Swan. You will definitely make an interesting candidate.

UPDATES:
2/26/05 09:40 PST: Welcome Betsy's Page readers. Enjoy the information!
2/26/05 09:40 PST: Turns out, Mr. Swann has a personal web page, last updated March 2003. (Hat tip, Patriot-News Know@Noon)
2/27/05 18:35 PST: Welcome Professor Bainbridge readers. Enjoy!
2/27/05 19:14 PST: Welcome Volokh Conspiracy readers, too. (I missed you guys yesterday. Sorry!)

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Winter '05 in San Diego

Nice weather we've been having here in sunny San Diego.

Imagine if you will...
Scene: A cafe in which one may order up the weather. One table is occupied by a group of Vikings wearing horned helmets. Whenever the word "rain" is repeated, they begin singing and/or chanting. A man and his wife enter. The man is played by Eric Idle, the wife is played by Graham Chapman (in drag), and the waitress is played by Terry Jones, also in drag.
Man:You sit here, dear.
Wife:All right.
Man:Morning!
Waitress:Morning!
Man: Well, what've you got?
Waitress: Well, there's cold and clouds; cold wind and clouds; cold and rain; cold clouds and rain; cold clouds wind and rain; rain clouds wind and rain; rain cold rain rain clouds and rain; rain wind rain rain clouds rain thunder and rain;
Vikings: Rain rain rain rain...
Waitress: ...rain rain rain cold and rain; rain rain rain rain rain rain mud slides rain rain rain...
Vikings: Rain! Lovely rain! Lovely rain!
Waitress: ...or a lovely, spring-like day with the sun shining, birds singing and children playing while the sweet aroma of freshly cut grass gently wafts into your nostrils, like Opening Day of Baseball season with cold and rain.
Wife: Have you got anything without rain?
Waitress: Well, there's rain cold wind and rain, that's not got much rain in it.
Wife: I don't want ANY rain!
Man: Why can't she have cold clouds rain and wind?
Wife: THAT'S got rain in it!
Man: Hasn't got as much rain in it as rain cold wind and rain, has it?
Vikings: Rain rain rain rain... (Crescendo through next few lines...)
Wife: Could you do the cold clouds rain and wind without the rain then?
Waitress: Urgghh!
Wife: What do you mean 'Urgghh'? I don't like rain!
Vikings: Lovely rain! Wonderful rain!
Waitress: Shut up!
Vikings: Lovely rain! Wonderful rain!
Waitress: Shut up! (Vikings stop) Bloody Vikings! You can't have cold clouds rain and wind without the rain.
Wife: I don't like rain!
Man:Sshh, dear, don't cause a fuss. I'll have your rain. I love it. I'm having rain rain rain rain rain rain rain mud slides rain rain rain and rain!
Vikings:Rain rain rain rain. Lovely rain! Wonderful rain!
Waitress:Shut up!! Mud slides are off.
Man:Well could I have her rain instead of the mud slides then?
Waitress:You mean rain rain rain rain rain rain... (but it is too late and the Vikings drown her words)
Vikings:(Singing elaborately...) Rain rain rain rain. Lovely rain! Wonderful rain! Rain ra-a-a-a-a-ain rain ra-a-a-a-a-ain rain. Lovely rain! Lovely rain! Lovely rain! Lovely rain! Lovely rain! Rain rain rain rain!
Apologies to Monty Python.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Blackbird Diplomacy

The January 24, 2005 issue of Aviation Week and Space Technology has an interesting story from a former SR-71 pilot. In the Fall of 1984, the Soviets were delivering advanced weapons to the communist Sandinista regime in Nicaragua. A series of unusual SR-71 flights was used to change their minds.

The article is part of Aviation Week's wonderful Contrails series, an "initiative to capture the untold stories that collectively make up the rich lore of aviation and space." Check it out if you get a chance.

The link is for paid subscribers only:
Blackbird Diplomacy by Major General Robert F. Behler, USAF (Retired)

Though few taxpayers knew what we were doing, SR-71 missions near belligerent communist countries were influencing U.S. foreign policy. Today, that meant contributing to the demilitarization of Nicaragua, while allowing the Soviet Union to save face. Nobody wanted a repeat of the Cuban missile crisis in Central America.
...
Instead of arriving in the area of interest around noon, when sun-angles were optimum for a photo mission, we arrived just after sunrise, providing an unmistakable wakeup call for the Sandinistas. Even originating at altitudes above 80,000 ft., the shock wave from our SR-71 created window-rattling, double-crack sonic booms on the ground. Message: The U.S. is watching, and we know what that Bulgarian ship at Corinto is carrying [destabilizing MiG-21s].
...
The world may never know if the Bukuriani arrived in the Nicaraguan port of Corinto actually carrying crated MiG-21 fighters. In private, State Dept. officials said their objective had been to give the Soviets an opportunity to remove the jets without admitting the fighters had even been there in the first place. They believed that strategy was the best way to end the incident peacefully.

Blackbird diplomacy had worked.
Thanks for your service, General Behler.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

CNN's Inside Politics: Good TiVo Fun

After Jacki Schechner and Abbi Tatton mentioned Carpe Bonum on their Inside Politics blog segment yesterday, I thought it would only be fair to get them on the TiVo and check them out in video form (rather than just reading transcripts).

I got a chance to watch today's show, and I thought their report did a good job of informing a typical CNN viewer what was going on in the blogosphere. Atrios and Kos got too much air time for my taste, but they were clearly identified as lefty blogs.

Confederate Yankee's continuing Hinchey coverage got a nice mention.

I like the way they actually display the blogs they are discussing and let viewers see for themselves.

And it was interesting how Judy Woodruff turned the the Hinchey stuff from yesterday's blogger segment into a live interview with Hinchey today.

Inside Politics has earned the distinction of being the just the fourth news show to be a regular in Carpe Bonum's TiVo (in addition to Brit Hume, Meet the Press and Shepard Smith). Congratulations!

UPDATE: Carpe Bonawife says I shouldn't admit Shepard Smith is in the TiVo. "He looks too old now, not like during the war." Mmm kay. Sorry, Shep, you're out!

Hinchey strategy enhanced: The Big Bluff

Rep. Maurice "It originated with Karl Rove" Hinchey has enhanced his media strategy, adding to it The Big Bluff. In an interview with Judy Woodruff on CNN's Inside Politics today Rep. Hinchey said:
Unfortunately, the Congress is not doing its job. There are -- this is something that ought to be investigated by the Congress of the United States. But this Congress is not doing its job. It's not standing up for the American people the way it should. And, as a consequence, there is a certain amount of frustration out there and that frustration was voiced by the people who attended the meeting that I held last Saturday.
Excellent!

Imagine the howls of rage if the Republican-dominated Congress started investigating news outlets for running politically-motivated hit pieces: McCarthyism! Intimidation! Chilling effect!

No, Congress can't go anywhere near this and Rep. Hinchey knows it.

Let's face it, you don't survive thirteen years in Congress and eighteen years in the New York State Assembly before that unless you are one savvy dude.

Well done Rep. Hinchey.

(Of course, we may get that open investigation into the fake memos if the CBS Three go ahead with their lawsuit. Here's hoping...)

Monday, February 21, 2005

Hinchey strategy: Retreat and Moonbattery

It appears Rep. Maurice "It originated with Karl Rove" Hinchey has chosen his strategy: Retreat and Moonbattery.

It comes in the form of this Ryan Deuel piece in the Binghamton (NY) Press and Sun Bulletin: Hinchey: Rove may be behind fake documents (hat tip, Confederate Yankee).

First and foremost, Rep. Hinchey admits the recording is authentic. This will go a long way in allowing the story to hit major media as an actual story rather than a meta-story about what blogs are talking about.
Hinchey reaffirmed what he said Saturday in Ithaca during a community forum on Social Security. An audio clip of Hinchey's comments has been circulating across the Internet.
...
Hinchey said the audio clip on the Internet is accurate.
Next, the retreat-but-revel-in-my-own-moonbattery strategy. Watch for it, it's subtle but unmistakable:
"I have no proof," Hinchey said Monday night. "But if the documents originated at the White House, then it would fit the pattern of the White House manipulating the media. And if it did originate in the White House, then it must have come from the most brilliant, most Machiavellian of all of them, Karl Rove."
...
"It's my theory," he said, "that it could very well have been the White House that supplied those fake documents."
Talk about brilliant!

Moonbats hear "White House manipulation," "Machiavellian Karl Rove," and "White House supplied those documents." They swoon and sigh and break out their checkbooks. But slander lawyers hear, "I have no proof," and "It's my theory," so they sadly pack up their briefcases and go home.

Hinchey story on CNN: "Blog storm" predicted, Carpe Bonum credited for "delving deeper"

Blog reporter Jacki Schechner, and political producer Abbi Tatton covered the Hinchey story today on the blogger segment of CNN's Inside Politics. They predicted a "blog storm" and credited Carpe Bonum for "delving deeper" into the issue.

From the transcript:
TATTON: They're making fun. They're making amusing comments about it, but they're also delving deeper into it. We went to the site Carpe Bonum (ph). This now has a profile, who is Maurice Hinchey? They're looking at his background, his district, different things like that. Is this a blog storm in the making? Who knows?

SCHECHNER: I say we go on record and we predict that this is going to be a blog storm.

TATTON: It's going to get bigger. The start at the beginning of the day. And more and more conservative blogs are linking to it, so it looks like it's going be out there for a few days.

SCHECHNER: I think the anticipation is they're going to dig deeper into Hinchey at this point and try to find out what he's all about and why he's coming out, avoiding Rove.

TATTON: And whether they want him to apologize or what they want him to do.

SCHECHNER: Well, the other thing on Carpe Bonum that we thought was interesting is they think the presence of the tapes will help and not hurt in the aftermath of this and they anticipate a quick retraction and apology.
(Emphasis mine, natch.)

UPDATE: Post edited for length and to add focus.

Hinchey update

A Daily Kos commenter says CNN's Inside Politics is covering the Hinchey story (via lgf). No transcript yet.

No coverage yet from local papers, per Confederate Yankee (also via lgf).

UPDATE: Pooklekufur says:
5:38 pm: Charles is being interviewed on MSNBC at this moment. CNN has just shown a screenshot of Littlegreenfootballs.
I assume the time is Eastern since his Blogger profile says he is in New York.

UPDATE 2: Michelle Malkin is on the story with quotes from MSNBC broadcast:
Ron Reagan promos the story, calling it the "latest storm on the internet." MSNBC plays the audio recording of Hinchey's remarks.

Reagan gives credence to Hinchey's remarks, in half-jest. Crowley: "What was this guy thinking about?!...How about CBS screwed up bigtime, Ron?"

Charles Johnson's photo shown on screen, along with screenshots of LGF.

"I think it's blatant fear-baiting really," Johnson notes. Any reasonable person who sat down and tried to create Hinchey's scenario would get a "migraine headache."

Reagan: "Is this big in the blogosphere?" Duh. Johnson notes his traffic is two to three times his normal rate and mentions links from Lucianne.com, Freerepublic.com, and NRO.
The story has made it to MSM a lot faster than I thought it would. It seems they are learning!

UPDATE 3: Charles reports on his media contacts (MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News).

UPDATE 4: The CNN transcript is up, and mentions Carpe Bonum prominently. See above for more.

UPDATE 5: The Connected Coast to Coast web page on MSNBC links to LGF, but the link is to the main page, not a specific entry which is discussing Hinchey directly. CNN gets the nod for better coverage on this one, for sure.

Meanwhile, the Hinchey outburst is the first item in the Grapevine segment on Fox's Special Report with Brit Hume (about 31 minutes into the broadcast). The audio is not played, but three screens of text from the transcript are displayed. Nice.

UPDATE 6: Here is a very interesting linker to Carpe Bonum on the Hinchey story. I wonder what they are saying!

This time someone really figures it out!

Unlike Robb Allen, who theorized in his Bonfire of the Vanities post that Carpe Bonum might mean, "Damn this post sucks," Matt on Nerf Coated World hits the nail on the head:
H/T: Carpe Bonum (seize the good?)
You got it Mark!

(I still crack up over that, "Damn this post sucks!" line...)

Who is Maurice Hinchey?


(Photo from democrats.house.gov)

Here is some background on Rep. Maurice "It originated with Karl Rove" Hinchey.

He represents New York's 22nd district. Note the gerrymander required to include Ithaca.


(Map from Hinchey district page)

Rep. Hinchey's US House of Representatives home page is here. His official bio brags about some pork, some holding of Greenspan's feet to the fire, some enviro stuff and some Nixon bashing. One distinguished note is his service in and honorable discharge from the US Navy. Rep. Hinchey's Democratic Underground bio page is rather bland, and his bio on the Daily Kos seems to be an exact copy of the one on DU.

Hey, he's got a multimedia page! I'll send him a pointer to the audio and see if he'll post it!

Rep. Hinchey raised $715k last cycle. His biggest donors came from Cornell University, unions, trial lawyers, and a couple of aerospace giants, Lockeed Martin and BAE Systems. (Huh? Is that because he is on the Appropriations Committee? But he's not on the Defense Subcommittee. Strange.)

He appears to be a pro-"choice" "Catholic." And he gets a 100% score from the Planned Parenthood PAC.

Americans for Better Immigration gives Rep. Hinchey an overall grade of D for his recent immigration- and border security-related votes.

The (Hudson Valley and Catskills) Times Herald-Record says Rep. Hinchey is "big on gun rights," but he gets a C from the NRA (better than Sen. Shumer's F, I guess!). The Times Herald-Record did a candidate interview with Rep. Hinchey last cycle. Check it out for his views on some other issues.

The man travels! He's number four among all US Senators and Representatives!

I hope this helps you get to know Rep. Hinchey a little better.

UPDATE: Welcome Instapundit and Little Green Footballs readers. For your further reading pleasure use this index to read a superb series of postings telling a Silver Star-winning tank commander's story of the battle for Fallujah.

UPDATE 2: Welcome Michelle Malkin readers. Perhaps you would also enjoy a little Carpe Bonum Condi chatter.

UPDATE 3: Welcome Mudville Gazette readers. If the Armor Geddon Fallujah series doesn't float your boat, try WMD hunt fizzles -- War on Terror strategy sound.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Hinchey bombshell on Little Green Footballs

Little Green Footballs has an audio recording of Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) at a community forum in Ithaca, NY. To a clapping and cheering audience, Hinchey makes a wild accusation that Karl Rove planted the fake memos with CBS (at least he admits they are fake!):
Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY): People have been - people in the media have been intimidated. The media has changed in the last four years. People have changed in the last four years. They've had a very very direct, aggressive attack on the, on the media, and the way it's handled. Probably the most flagrant example of that is the way they set up Dan Rather. Now, I mean, I have my own beliefs about how that happened: it originated with Karl Rove, in my belief, in the White House. They set that up with those false papers. Why did they do it? They knew that Bush was a draft dodger. They knew that he had run away from his responsibilties in the Air National Guard in Texas, gone out of the state intentionally for a long period of time. They knew that he had no defense for that period in his life. And so what they did was, expecting that that was going to come up, they accentuated it: they produced papers that made it look even worse. And they - and they distributed those out to elements of the media.

...

Audience Member: Don’t you think it’s irresponsible to make charges like that?

Congressman Hinchey: No I don’t. I think it’s very important to make charges like that. I think it’s very important to combat this kind of activity in every way that you can. And I’m willing — and most people are not — to step forward in situations like this and take risks.

Audience: [Clapping and cheering.]
My prediction:

Unlike Eason Jordan's case, the recording is clear and available, so there will be no chance to lie about what Hinchey said. Once the audio makes the mainstream media, I believe there will be a quick retraction and apology, and there will be zero lasting consequences. Alternately, Hinchey will revel in his moonbattiness, his constituents will love it, and he will be set for life.

Either way, I think the presence of the recording will help, not hurt Hinchey.

Too bad for Jordan his video didn't get out.

UPDATE: Dr. Sanity is on the case:
This is the Left's new version of Descartes' "I think, therefore I am". In their view, "I feel it, therefore it is", seems to sum up their entire philosophy of life, as well as the nuances of their "thinking". Evidence or facts are entirely unnecessary.
UPDATE 2: Welcome InstaPundit and WizBang readers. For a little more Carpe Bonum drivel which you might find entertaining, check out They are insane.

UPDATE 3: Power Line is on the story also:
It's easy to write off this kind of thing as limited to the moonbat wing of the Democratic Party, but here's the thing: when is the last time you heard any Democrat criticize this kind of nonsense, or try to distance himself from it?
UPDATE 4: See also this link-laden Hinchey backgrounder: Who is Maurice Hinchey?

UPDATE 5: Myopic Deal has a nice roundup of blogospheric Hinchey buzz.

"European Superstate:" Still no threat

I've wanted to post again about the "European Superstate." In particular, what to make of the bizarre 500-page "Constitution" that is making the referendum rounds?

By all accounts, the proposed EU Constitution is a bureaucratic, socialistic, politically correct mess. Charles Moore writes (hat tip, Signifying Nothing):
Rather than confining itself to the division of powers by which a country should be governed – head of state, parliament, judiciary, what's local and what's national – it lays out scores of pages telling people how to run their lives. It supports positive discrimination, outlaws the death penalty in all circumstances, commits itself to high public spending, compulsory consultation with trade unions about changes at work, "the exchange of youth workers", "fat-free breakfasts", "distance education" and "the physical and moral integrity of sportsmen and sportswomen" (I made one of these up). And it imposes all these on nations that have their own governments and electorates.
I stand by my earlier opinion that the only threat a potential "European Superstate" would pose to the US is in how it would stifle its own entrepreneurial spirit and economic growth, thus reducing the market for US goods and services.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Little-noticed class action reform

Here's AP's take on class action reform:
Even though businesses failed to get the measure to apply to suits already in the courts, the legislation was a victory for companies that have complained for decades that they have been dragged into far-flung local courts and subjected to massive, unwarranted jury awards.

Consumer groups contend that federal courts are much less sympathetic to — or even less likely to hear — class-action suits, which are a crucial tool against well-financed industries like tobacco, oil, pharmaceutical and others. As a result, Alliance for Justice President Nan Aron called it "legislation that makes it easier for corporations to evade responsibility for making right their wrongs."
The Association of Trial Lawyers of America seems to have noticed at least:
This brazen and shameless attack on Americans' legal rights was well-funded by the insurance, drug and other industries. Indeed, the U.S. Chamber of Congress openly acknowledged this week that it spent more than $53 million in 2004 alone on efforts to lobby this bill and others that undermine the legal rights of American families.
And the U.S. Chamber of Commerce celebrates:
“The speed with which this bill passed both houses of Congress this session is a testament to the glaring need for class action reform,” continued Donohue. “This is a landmark victory in our fight to restore fairness and balance to our courts.”
But there is still precious little commentary on this, especially from the Left. Nothing from Kos (focused mostly on Gannon), Atrios (Gannon and lots of other miscellania), Drum (nothing of consequence lately except a post or two on Social Security) or Marshall (Social Security and Gannon).

Hello? Something big just happened guys! Wake up!

UPDATE: Looks like I'm just late to the party. Commenter Steve L from Secure Liberty blog noted the story when the Senate passed the bill, including reaction from Kevin Drum. I'd heard about the Senate action on the radio, but didn't have time to peruse the blogs that day. How embarassing!

Friday, February 18, 2005

Condi in '08? Matthew May says yes!

Matthew May has a nice counterpoint to Condi for President critics like Carpe Bonum here: The Bandwagon (hat tip, Decision '08)
As conservatives, supporting a candidate for the presidency who is not a career politician would do much to further the argument mere electoral success is not a barometer of exemplary executive leadership potential for the future. Sec. Rice can be that symbol, and she can continue to represent her nation – a nation that needs her – in the highest counsels of our government. Her life, her education, and her experience are uniquely American and she is represents the best ideals of the Republican Party and the United States of America.

If Condoleezza Rice is not qualified for the presidency, who is?
Well, doesn't that make me feel small.

Still, my concern is not that she is unqualified to serve, but that she hasn't developed the skill of campaigining and winning votes, and that we don't even know if she has the talent for it.

I'm willing to be proven wrong.

(But how to prove it before Campaign '08 begins? Catch-22!)

Daily Show's advice to bloggers

Ted Hitler, panda-eating Colombian drug mule: "First rule of journalism is don't talk about journalism. ...Nobody likes a snitch."

Hat tip Daniel Drezner via The Moderate Liberal.

They are insane

Dr. Sanity reminded me of a homily given by Father Bill (God rest his soul) years ago. Father Bill was discussing his work with drug addicts and alcoholics. His basic point was that you have to remember that no matter how rational they seem, no matter how well they can repeat the reasons they shouldn't use, they will do it anyway. Because with respect to their addiction, they are insane.

Father Bill then extended this concept to moral questions like abortion. He viewed many abortion proponents as incapable of rational discourse on the topic. No matter what facts are brought to bear, nothing will make them change their mind.

When I get into a debate on such a topic, I think of that homily. If it becomes clear that facts and logic are irrelevant to the other person, I gracefully exit the discussion because I know it is pointless.

In her "How Do You Solve A Problem Like Lynne Stewart?" Dr. Sanity explains the concept as a trained Psychiatrist. (Lynne Stewart is an attorney who has just been convicted of giving material support to terrorists, in this case her client the blind sheik Omar Abdel Rahman. See Andrew C. McCarthy for more.)
As in a case of hysteria, or a conversion disorder--where the symptoms are not intentionally produced but are the result of unintentional motives--the Lynne Stewarts of the Left are not deliberately being obtuse. They aren't even deliberately evil. They truly don't see anything wrong with being a nice person and kindly grandmother and simultaneously thinking that a terrorist attack in Indonesia where children might be killed is a wonderful thing. This kind of cognitive dissonance is the result of a psychological defense mechanism called "repression". Repression is necessary in the expression of a conversion disorder where some physical symptom (blindness, paralysis, pain) becomes the focal point; so that the individual is able to avoid the unacceptable thought or feeling. For that to occur, the unacceptable thought or feeling must be ruthlessly stashed away from awareness, or repressed.

But symbolic physical symptoms like blindness are not the only way that repression can be manifested. Another, and much more frequent psychological strategy to rid one's self of the unacceptable thought or feeling is to display a contradictory and often unbelievable (to an outside observer, anyway) dissassociation, or disconnect, between a person's thoughts and feelings on the one hand; and behavior on another.

This is why so often the Lynne Stewarts present an unsolvable puzzle to an outside observer. How can they argue for Peace and behave violently? How can they demand Free Speech but simultaneously suppress it in others? How can they be for Diversity and squelch any dissenting opinions? How can they claim to be for freedom and democracy, and make common cause with those who would destroy it? The catalog of paradoxes goes on and on.
So even though they can give every sign of understanding and agreeing with all the reasons not to drink, alcoholics are repressing the fact that they simply love to drink. Anti-war "peace" marches represent repression of the fact that some leftists just don't want others to be free. And "choice-" and "liberation-" spouting abortion proponents are repressing the simple truth that they just don't want more babies to be born.

It's nice to get a more clinical view of what is going on with these people. Thanks, Dr. S!

(Father Bill also had a great homily debunking the warm fuzzy image of the nativity. In truth, Christ was born into squalor. Now why would He do that? But that's another posting...)

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Class-action lawyers take one in the gut

This seems like excellent news: Congress OKs Law on Class-Action Suits:
Congress sent President Bush legislation Thursday aimed at discouraging multimillion-dollar class-action lawsuits by having federal judges take them away from state courts, a victory for conservatives who hope it will lead to other lawsuit limits.
...
Under the legislation, class-action suits seeking $5 million or more would be heard in state court only if the primary defendant and more than one-third of the plaintiffs are from the same state. But if fewer than one-third of the plaintiffs are from the same state as the primary defendant, and more than $5 million is at stake, the case would go to federal court.
Here's a couple of whiner quotes for your enjoyment:
The legislation is "a payback to big business at the expense of consumers," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
...
"It's the final payback to the tobacco industry, to the asbestos industry, to the oil industry, to the chemical industry at the expense of ordinary families who need to be able go to court to protect their loved ones when their health has been compromised," said Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass.
And yet, there seems to be very little blogger buzz about it, and no real squealing from the Democrats (notwithstanding the whining quoted here).

Very strange.

I guess one of two things must be true:
  • The legislation doesn't hurt the lawsuit industry that much.
  • President Bush has so much excess political power (at least on this issue) that it's not even worth it for the Democrats to fight.
I wonder which one it is.

UPDATE: Thomas Lifson, PoliPundit and Pardon My English (via Decision '08) notice!

Someday...

Someday, I hope to earn these titles:

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Condi in '08? I love her, but no.

There is some buzz about Condoleeza Rice as a Presidential candidate in 2008 in this article from Dick Morris and even in my own house. I greatly admire Dr. Rice's abilities and her public service, and I would almost certainly vote for her if she were nominated. But because she has never proven herself by actually winning election to any office, I don't think her running for President in 2008 would be a good idea.

Steven M. Warshawsky lists a lot of reasons for her not to run on the American Thinker: Beware the Condi bandwagon (Hat tip, Michelle Malkin).

To me, the biggest concern is her lack of experience and unproven ability to actually get elected to something. There have been several recent cases of people running for public office for the first time and choosing a major office like Governor or US Senator. Examples are people like Michael Huffington who ran for US Senate in California and Bobby Jindal who ran for Governor of Louisiana. In both of these cases and many more, the candidate had no experience being a candidate in a major campaign and had never proven their ability to actually get people to vote for them.

(As an aside, Jindal has made an excellent recovery from his Governorship loss, winning a US House seat in the last cycle and is getting off to a great start there.)

As much as I like to bash politicians of all stripes, I'm also aware that it takes real talent and skill to get people to vote for you. It goes beyond simply taking positions most people agree with. Vote-getting talent is independent of other innate characteristics like intelligence, wisdom and character. The skill requires training and practice. A lot of us Vast Right Wing Conspirators were frustrated by Bill Clinton's enormous talent and skills in this area. Ronald Reagan had a similar effect on the Left.

So my rule is: Get elected to something else first, before running for something as big as Governor or US Senator. And forget about running for President as a first time candidate.

Of course there counterexamples to this rule such as Ronald Reagan's California Governorship, Hillary Clinton's US Senate seat, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dwight Eisenhower. Each of these had exceptional circumstances which I don't see in Rice's case.

Condi is a great person. I loved what she did as National Security Advisor and what she is doing as Secretary of State. I'll back her 100% if she is nominated. But my hope is she will not run for President unless she proves she can get elected to some other office first.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Ahmad's professor responds

Remember Ahmad Al-Qloushi? He's the Kuwaiti student at Foothills College who said his professor told him to seek counseling for his pro-America views. Carpe Bonum blogged about it here: Welcome to America, Ahmad Al-Qloushi.

Well, Professor Woolcock has turned up in a comment on the Jawa Report blog (as of now, it's the fourth to last comment in the thread, very near the bottom):
I deny unequivocally all the allegations Mr. al-Qloushi has attributed to me regarding my suggestion to him that it might be helpful for him to discuss his long-standing concerns with a college counselor, as I have described here. All the other allegations made are false and have no basis whatsoever in fact.

Professor Joseph A. Woolcock
Woolcock tells his side of the story in the comment. But Frank Villon on the Now You Know blog isn't impressed:
Woolcock claims that his suggestion that the student seek therapy was taken out of context:
Based on the nature of the concerns and the feelings of high anxiety which he [the student] expressed, I encouraged him to visit one of the college counselors. I neither forced nor ordered Mr. al-Qloushi to see a counselor . . .
Frankly, mister Woolcock's statement is disingenuous. The student never claimed that he was "forced" or "ordered." That is a deliberate straw man set up by Woolcock. The student simply stated that Woolcock had suggested that he seek therapy. Of the two disparate versions of the story, I know which one rings more true to my ear. I'll give you a hint; it isn't the one who's trying to pull the Wool over my . . . ahem, eyes. And to the one who is trying to pull the Wool over our, er, uh eyes, I suggest he see a counselor. But I'm not forcing or ordering him.
While Ahmad's essay may have gotten poor marks in a fair evaluation, I'm with Frank. Woolcock's actions and statements smell.

Check the data and decide for yourself.

Thanks to reader Paul for the tip.

Not too late for a Valentine's gift!

Forwarded by reader Brian:
A husband walks into Frederick's of Hollywood to purchase some sheer lingerie for his wife. He is shown several possibilities that range from $250 to $500 in price. The more sheer, the higher the price.

He opts for the most sheer item, pays the $500 and takes the lingerie home. He presents it to his wife and asks her to go upstairs, put it on and model it for him.

Upstairs, the wife thinks,... "I have an idea. It's so sheer that it might as well be nothing. I won't put it on, I'll do the modeling naked, return it tomorrow and keep the $500 refund for myself."

So she appears naked on the balcony and strikes a pose.

The husband says, "Good Lord! You'd think that for $500, they'd at least iron it!"

He never heard the shot.

Funeral Services are pending.
It's been around the block a few times, but it's still pretty funny!

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Fighting sprit and the draft

How should a peaceful society approach fighting a just war? Should we fight with gusto, relishing every victory and eager for more, or should we approach it grimly, with reluctance, and mourn every loss, innocent, friendly and enemy?

The answer is: both.

In the policy-making plane, when we are deliberating what to do, how to pay for it, etc., we absolutely need to be sober and grim about the momentous choice of going to war. But in the operational plane, the people, resources and activities involved in actually conducting the war, unwavering commitment is critical to good performance. It is the operational plane I will discuss in this post, and show that neither recent efforts to muzzle a politically incorrect General nor the idea of reinstating the draft are useful to enhancing the war effort.

The people actually fighting the war need an enormous amount of support, because their job is unlike anything we civilians will ever experience. Joe Galloway reprints a letter from an Army lieutenant fighting in Iraq in He Has Seen the Elephant (Hat tip, Daily Demarche):
"I've said it a thousand times - 'God, I hate this country.' I've heard it a million times more - 'This place sucks.' In quieter moments, I've heard more profound things: 'Sir, this is a thousand times worse than I ever thought it would be.' Or, 'My wife and Sgt. B's wife were good friends - I hope she's taking it well.'

"They say they're scared, and say they won't do this or that, but when it comes time to do it they can't let their buddies down, can't let their friends go outside the wire without them, because they know it isn't right for the team to go into the ballgame at any less than 100 percent.
Our troops need rock solid support, both for them individually and for their mission. They also need intelligent, competent and enthusiastic leadership. Anything less erodes morale, delays victory and gets people killed.

But it is easy to mistake unwavering support and enthusiastic leadership for bloodlust.

Carpe Bonum commenter Mark, proprietor of The Moderate Liberal blog, calls me out on a comment I made regarding Marine Corps Lieutenant General James Mattis:
Mattis: "You know, guys like that ain't got no manhood left anyway. So it's a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them."

CB: "Thank God we have people like General Mattis to do it."

Jesus: " But I say to you, do not resist the evildoer. But whoever strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other to him as well." "...I say to you, love your enemy..."

Now, I'm nowhere nearly as liberal as Jesus and think in the real world we really do need to resist the evil doer. But do we really need to enjoy it?
A discussion of whether the Iraq war is just belongs in the policy-making plane, so I'm not going to get into it here. And if you don't believe Iraq is a just war, I'm sure I lost you on the first sentence of this post anyway. So, assuming we are fighting a just war in Iraq, do we need to enjoy it? Answer: no, but we need to maintain and maximize our troops fighting spirit any chance we get.

Based on comments from people who know him, such as this article in the Spectator, I am comfortable in the belief that General Mattis is not a sadist. No, what he is demonstrating is fighting spirit. It might be indistinguishable from enjoyment to an outsider, but it is different.

Which brings us to the draft. The Homespun Bloggers Homespun Symposium XII question is, "Do we have the right to insist and expect that the war against terror will not require a draft?"

The answer from a civil liberties point of view is no. In general, I see no right to avoid service when the country is in danger and the Congress has authorized a draft. But from a taxpayer value and government performance point of view, the answer is yes. As taxpayers, we have every right to insist and expect that with the money we are spending, the quality of the volunteers in the service, and the technology we are using, our government should be able to come up with a way to win the war without compulsory service.

Besides, adding conscripts to the force would severely reduce its efficiency, which was exactly Charlie Rangel's intention when he introduced his bill to reinstate the draft. It is possible to instill fighting spirit in conscripts -- Americans have done it numerous times. But it is much easier if we start with volunteers. It would also be much less efficient to try to get conscripts up to speed on the high technology we use. Rangel's bill was aptly defeated; even Rangel voted against it!

It is true that we are running a very high operational tempo with the force structure we have. The solution is not to reinstate the draft, but to use the people we have in uniform more efficiently or authorize the services to recruit more. The limiting factor is not the number of people willing to join the service, but the number of people the services have budget for. On the efficiency front, both the Marine Corps and Army are reorganizing to make more people available for ground combat while not increasing overall numbers.

In the operational plane, from service members in combat through Pentagon leadership to contractors supplying goods and serivces for the war effort, maintaining committment, fighting spirit and morale is key to victory. Enforcing political correctness on fighting generals and filling the ranks with conscripts would both detract from the effort.

George W. Bush, Mountain Biker

I love this, Presidential hobby with a thrill:
Cancel the cozy days at Camp David. Put away the underused running shoes. When it comes to weekend enjoyment, all George W. Bush seems to need is some winding trails and a helmet.

And his mountain bike.
...

Besides burning calories at a 1,000-per-hour clip, cycling gives Bush an emotional rush that sometimes surpasses the one he got from running.

"He's obsessed with it," McKinnon said. "He now likes to do nothing but work out on his bike, and he does it with a frenzy that is reserved for people like Lance Armstrong."

Bush's face lights up at the mention of biking, a heart-thumping release from the stress of his job.
...

"There's an inherent danger in the mountain bike every time you get on it. It's one of those things where you have to concentrate on doing that at the moment - you can't be thinking about Middle East peace or the future of Social Security. In that sense, it's probably relaxing," said Lewis L. Gould, a retired University of Texas historian.

That appears to be the case for Bush, who isn't chatty during bike rides, save for what McKinnon calls "hoo-hahing" and "testosterone sort of towel-snapping remarks."

"He loves to do this because it gives him mental focus," McKinnon said, adding that "the more stressful things are ... the more he works out."
This article does a remarkable job of capturing the essence of mountain biking for fitness: the mental focus, stress release, danger, how it leaves the mind clear for the next work day, and how it can seem like an obsession.

The author of the article is a Baltimore Sun reporter named Julie Hirschfeld Davis. Based on a quick Google search, she seems to have good access to the White House. But I saw nothing in her background about mountain biking other than this one article.

To have written such an incisive article, she must be either a closet mountain biker, or a very talented reporter.

I wish I were on my bike right now!

(Hat tip, Mid-Atlantic Off Road Enthusiasts mailing list via International Mountain Biking Association mailing list member Dave Scull.)

Friday, February 11, 2005

Ash Wednesday with the kids

One of the most moving moments in the Roman Catholic liturgical year is receiving ashes on Ash Wednesday and being admonished, "Remember you are dust and to dust you will return." Even though it is no surprise to hear, it is still bracing. It's a moment to bring back into focus what is truly important.

This year I took my two oldest kids (ages 11 and 8) to Ash Wednesday Mass. They wanted to know if there was a special name for every day of the week, like Fat Tuesday, Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, etc. So the mood was light-hearted.

After we got our ashes and while we were waiting for everyone else to finish, I took the opportunity to explain what the admonition means. I hadn't really talked to them about it very much before. It was eye-opening for them -- I doubt they have given much thought to such things.

But for me, the conversation was disturbing. It's one thing to hear about myself returning to dust, but it's not so pleasant to think of my kids doing the same.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

So, what's been going on?

It's been pretty dang slow blogging over here on Carpe Bonum for the last couple of weeks. Sorry about that, dear readers, but the real world intruded there for a little while. So what's been going on?

How about some hate filled stupidity from a lefty professor? I saw this dude on a cable news show. It looked like he was throughly enjoying the attention. Too bad.

There was the awesome and inspiring election in Iraq. Be sure to click through the link for tons of underreported good news from Iraq, not just the election. And also see this great photo essay from AlphaPatriot.

And we had a great State of the Union address. But someone named Janeane Garofalo wasn't impressed. (I can't quite place her either -- I think she's some kind of radio person...)

A kerfuffle erupted over CNN executive Eason Jordan's accusation that American soldiers are intentionally targeting and killing reporters in Iraq. Remember Jordan? He's the one who admitted that his network CNN for years covered up news of Saddam's atrocities in order to maintain access to the country. There's even a new blog devoted to the topic, Easongate.com (hat tip Powerpundit).

Neil Prakash and Chris Boggiano posted two new episodes in the superb Fallujah series on the Armor Geddon blog. (Complete series index updated.)

And then there was the bizarre flamefest over a "stolen" Instalanche by a 13 year old blogger. Harsh, dude. (Hat tip, Joe Gandelman, posting on Dean's world.)

Finally, I've got to mention General Mattis. The press is trying to give him the business over some things he said, such as:
"Actually it's quite fun to fight 'em, you know. It's a hell of a hoot. It's fun to shoot some people. I'll be right up front with you, I like brawling," said Mattis.

"You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn't wear a veil," Mattis said during a panel discussion. "You know, guys like that ain't got no manhood left anyway. So it's a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them."
(Hat tip, Chester via Chrenkoff)

Here's Carpe Bonum's take: Raving homicidal brainwashed lunatics who dream of heavenly rewards for comitting atrocities such as shooting fleeing children, flying planes into buildings or blowing up bars full of drunken toursits need to be killed. Thank God we have people like General Mattis to do it. Semper fi.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Armor Geddon's Fallujah series index

Silver Star winner Neil Prakash is posting a superb series telling his story of the battle of Fallujah. Here is a complete index.
Many thanks to Neil and his men for their service.

(BTW, warning, language.)

UPDATE: Fixed broken link on "10 November: For S__ts and Giggles."
UPDATE 2: Added "Mewborn, Crank It Up" link.
UPDATE 3: Added "CB: 8 November" link.
UPDATE 4: Added "12 November: Caught In The Kill Zone" link.
UPDATE 5: Fixed "CB: 8 November" link.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Carpe Bonum lives!

Thank you to the many hundreds of you loyal Carpe Bonum readers who have emailed, desperate to know where Carpe Bonum has gone. Fear not, we are still alive and well, but have gotten real busy in the real world. Expect more pithy postings on Carpe Bonum in the near future.

In the meantime, go check out Neil Prakash's account of election day in Iraq here: SPC ROBY: 1, IED: 1
The spring just laid there in the dirt just a few feet from me. I looked down at my left shoulder and grabbed the digital camera that was lanyarded to my D-ring on my body armor. I pressed my face against the window of my door to get a better look.

BOOOOOOOOM
Also, check out this jaw dropping article from columnist Mark Brown (hat tip, reader Carolyn): What if Bush has been right about Iraq all along?
Maybe the United States really can establish a peaceable democratic government in Iraq, and if so, that would be worth something.
Gee, Mark, ya think?