:: Sic Transit Gloria ::

A sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament...
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:: Friday, January 30, 2004 ::

Dean's Broke, should be Gone Soon, Political Junkies Cry

Howard Dean is rapidly dissapearing from the national stage, and will soon most likely become the answer to a political trivia question like Bob Dole, Jack Kemp, and Michael Dukakis before him. Dean's question will most likely be: "Who squandered a massive campaign treasure chest and went from frontrunner to also ran in the shortest amount of time?" I say this because CNN is reporting that Dean's once massive, nearly insurmountable $41 Million War Chest is down to $5 Million and Dean has asked his staff to put off getting paid for two weeks. This, coupled with Dean essentially giving up on next tuesday's primaries, should spell the end of his campaign. Even with a massive organization, he simply can't do anything without the money, and since he's adopted the look and tone of a loser, he's not likely to start raking it in. Plus he dumped Joe Trippi, the guy who built Dean's revolutionary online fundraising machine.

I'm sort of sad his money is gone, because the chance of a wild, brokered or even open convention that would be cool to watch is now about zero. Plus, the other candidates are so bland, including Kerry who has less personality than Gore, and that's saying A LOT. It's gonna be a lot less interesting. Of course, it could be fun to go over to the Dean Campaign blog and read about his supporters going insane. Oh well.
:: C.M. Burns 1/30/2004 02:13:00 PM [+] :: ::
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Penguin Beating

This simple online game came to my attention today. You play the abominable snowman, and you knock penguins around. It's great fun. Eat that, PETA!.
:: C.M. Burns 1/30/2004 02:03:00 PM [+] :: ::
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:: Monday, January 26, 2004 ::
John Kerry, Before and After Dean

I caught a whole lot of political coverage this weekend. I saw Kerry and Clark interviewed at least twice, and while all I can say about Clark is that he makes me angry because he's such an incompetant, I positively despise John Kerry. The man has absolutely no convictions whatsoever. Dean supporters rightfully claim that Kerry co-opted their message. What they should do is start saying that by adopting Dean-like stances, Kerry is running against his own record as a Senatror, as Rich Lowry points out today on National Review Online. Also, over at opinionjournal.com, a Vietnam Vet takes Kerry to task for being too faced on Vietnam and for actions he's taken that dishoner some of the fallen in that conflict.

It's no secret that I don't care for Dean much as a candidate, but at least he has his own ideas in this campaign. He'll lose to the more "mainstream" Kerry, but he was good for the Democrats, and even better for Republicans, as Kerry's reinvention of himself is causing him to look like the second worst serious candidate, next to Clark who words would not do justice to his total stupidity on the issues. Regarding Clark, he was given a dozen oportunites to climb out of the whole he dug by heartily accepting Michael Moore's endorsement and to take back what he said about how when he is President, there will never ever again be a terrorist attack on American soil. Instead, he dissembled like crazy in front of Tim Russert and came off looking sad and clueless. His massive ambition and ego seem to make him incapable of admitting a mistake. President Bush has the same problem on certain things, but he doesn't have foot in mouth disease like Clark.

So who would I vote for if I was a Dem? Edwards, because although his populisim is as odd as Al Gore's was, he's much more authentic than raised in DC Gore, and he's actually happy to be in the race, whereas everyone else seems to see it as a chore. So, go Edwards, get second, nail down that VP slot, lose with dignity in November(I hope), and come back in 2008 for a better shot at the nod.
:: C.M. Burns 1/26/2004 10:21:00 AM [+] :: ::
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:: Wednesday, January 21, 2004 ::
Parrot Update: Was Charlie Churchill's?

Yesterday I posted a story about how Winston Churchill's parrot Charlie was still alive at 103 and still cursing the Nazi's. Now, Sir Winston's daughter is diputing the claim, and everyone is wondering Is that really Churchill's parrot swearing? Her objections seem to be that Winston Churchill would never teach a Parrot to swear. Well why woldn't ne? He liked rough language. And why would some guy teach an ancient parrot to speak with a Churchillian voacl inflection, much less tell it to say "fuck Hitler"? I'm just gonna believe the Parrot was Churchill's because I WANT to belive!
:: C.M. Burns 1/21/2004 11:26:00 AM [+] :: ::
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The Paranoia of the Left

Evan Coyne Maloney has, for the past year, been pioneering video blogging at his website, brain-terminal. He basically interviews people and puts up what they say without much comment, which allows them to sort of bury themselves. He got started by attending International ANSWER anti-war marches last February, and has continued to visit areas where the hate Bush Left congregate. For his latest, called Gettin' a MoveOn, he sat outside the Manhattan theater where Al Gore gave his recent Global Warming speech sponsered by Move On.org. He simply asked the participants basic questions about their views on Bush. There answers are at times frightening because of the utter sanity these people display. Yes, he puts up a couple of loons(Kennedy's Assasins are apparently Bush's backers to two nutjobs), but the others just seem like typical liberals who hate Bush. They also don't seem to understand Conservatives, nor do they seem to want to. The ending statements from a rather dedicated Kusinich supporter are quite chilling in that he seems to be living in a different world. Or maybe Bush IS an evil moron controlled by a shadow government in place since 1963. I could be wrong.
:: C.M. Burns 1/21/2004 10:56:00 AM [+] :: ::
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SOTU-Sucked!

That was the worst speech Bush has given since 9/11. The only good part was the foreign policy stuff, which I guess I should like since he really called out the Dems on it. The rest sounded like Clinton-tiny programs that make it look like something is happening. Pretty weak. Of course, it was Lincolnesque compared to Pelosi and Daschel's bizzare Democratic response. Pelosi needs less Botox and Daschel needs to stop whining. Why didn't Kennedy give the speech?
:: C.M. Burns 1/21/2004 12:19:00 AM [+] :: ::
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:: Tuesday, January 20, 2004 ::
Howard Dean Challanges John Kerry to a Cage Match!

I think he's calling him out!

:: C.M. Burns 1/20/2004 11:36:00 AM [+] :: ::
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Winston Churchill's Parrott Is Still Alive, Still Hates Nazis

This is the strangest thing I've read in a while. Apparently, Winston Churchill's 103 year old Parrott Charlie is still alive and cursing the Nazi's. This could be a prank article, and it is in the Mirror, one of the UK's biggest tabloids, but the story appears legit. It's pretty cool. Apprently the parrott even has Churchill's vocal inflections. I want an audio of that.
:: C.M. Burns 1/20/2004 11:23:00 AM [+] :: ::
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Just one question regarding Howard Dean

Right, so Iowa was pretty cool political watching tonight, and Edwards and Dick Gephardt gave nice speeched. Kerry gave a dull speech, but that's to be expected, and he should not be changing his formula right now. But a question on Dean's speech: Did he miss his meds, or was his staff to terrified to tell him he lost? I mean, wow. That was the most bizzare political speech I've ever seen: pure rage from an untested, crazy, crazy man. I think his staff may have actually told him he won. Perhaps they have a computer program that interrupts his TV feed and they put up different numbers. Dean already lives in his own universe, so why shouldn't he have had different results?

Briefly, Edwards is the guy to watch, it's good that Dick Gephardt is leaving the National Stage forever, and he did it with class, and next week Lieberman drops out. I'm going to bed now.
:: C.M. Burns 1/20/2004 12:33:00 AM [+] :: ::
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:: Thursday, January 15, 2004 ::
My Take on the Paul O'Neil Thing AND Ted Kennedy's Crazy Speech, Written by Someone Else

I was all set to write my opinion about the O'Neil/Iraq "controversy", and you can tell be my use of quotation marks there I didn't think much of it. I did for about 12 hours when I first heard about it, and then I saw two transcripts, one of which was the transcript of Katie Couric's hilariously desperate attempt to get O'Neil to stop killing her assumptions about the president. You can read it here and even I was shocked at how dumb O'Neil is. I don't think anyone "got" to him. I think he's nieve about Washington. The second thing that made me think this was much ado about nothing was the Presidential Debate transcript from 2000 in which Jim Leher directlty asks Bush if he, essentially, wanted to get rid of Saddam. Let's got to the transcript:

MR. LEHRER: With Saddam Hussein, you mean?

GOV. BUSH: Yes, and --

MR. LEHRER: You could get him out of there?

GOV. BUSH: I'd like to, of course, and I presume this
administration would as well.

The link is from instapundit, and it has a link to the entire debate, if you want to try and see how dull they really were that we would forget them.

So anyway, I had decided that the left had made a HUGE deal about nothing, and indeed, only the far left types like Eric Alterman and Joe Conason even really care about the story anymore. No one inside the beltway cares because when former officials write negatove books about the White House, the officials come off looking worse, taking Don Regan's, Ronald Reagans first chief of Staff, and George Stephonapolus' tell-all's as examples. The administrations in both cases were assaulted by the other party for a couple of days and then the heat came on the dirty rats who spilled there guts. While some hay has been made that the Bush administarion "puts a high value on Loyalty", I'd like to find the last administration that DIDN'T. I think it was Truman, since he only expected loyalty from his dog. Well, I was gonna write some of this up, and then I cam across
Jonah Goldberg's Goldberg File on National Review Online today in which first he takes on my favorite gasbag, Teddy Kennedy, and then rips O'Neil just like I was gonna. Same phrases, sometimes. So I'll just let him do it. The O'Neil story is pretty much dead here in DC anyway. I doubt that Treasury Investigation will even take place. Sour grapes, it seems, aren't newsworthy.
:: C.M. Burns 1/15/2004 09:34:00 AM [+] :: ::
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:: Friday, January 09, 2004 ::
Is Clark loopier than Dean?

I still think Howard Dean is a certified nutjob, but the more I hear about his "middle of the road" alternative Wes Clark, I get nervous. For an educated man, Clark says some definitly un-smart things, and even seems to be suffering from paranoia. Jay Nordlinger's Impromptus on National Review Online delves deeply into the Clark quotes you never hear in the news. Recent ones, not ones from 10 years ago. It seems Clark was an early advocate for preemptive war, but has shifted to run for President. In fact, I think his first book, "Waging Modern War" made a strong case for it. Since his second book "Winning Modern War" has come out, just one year or so later, he's gone 180 degrees on that and several other issues.

On another wierd Clark note, apparently he's wearing Angora sweaters to appeal to the women's vote. Seriously. It's in a NY Times piece on the campaign today. I don't have the direct link, and you need an account to access it online, but it's worth the read if you do. He creeps me out big-time now.
:: C.M. Burns 1/09/2004 10:12:00 AM [+] :: ::
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Return to Moon Base Zero!

Well, the President has just announced two expensive goals over the past couple of days. One is the well-meaning yet disasterous illegal immigrant amnesty plan. The second is the well-meaning, ambitious, and altogether inspiring plan to send us back to the moon and from their to Mars. NASA says that the goal would be by 2018 to get a Moon base set up as a launching pad to the Red Planet. Whatever the cost, this is one project you could raise my taxes over.

Since the end of the Apollo era and the dawn of the Space Shuttle era to the present, NASA has launched only a handful of truly ambitious projects, such as the Space Station, the Hubble, and small but important projects like the recent Mars missions and the study of comets and asteroids. As interesting this is to a space junkie like me, it's hard to present to the public as very exciting. During last weekend's landing of the Mars Rover, the NASA officials were acting like we'd never landed anything on Mars before, perhaps forgetting the two Viking missions in th 1970's and the Mars Pathfinder mission of 1997 that sent us spectacular images of the red planet back then. NASA has been suffering from poor PR for a while now, and these new goals, which George H.W. Bush talked about in 1989, might be just what the doctor ordered to draw new people to NASA and to get this country excited about space exploration again.

The biggest prohibitive factor is of course the cost. It's going to be expensive, we have deficits, how are we going to afford it? Well, that's something we need to work on, but I think in the end the benefits will far outway the costs. So much innovation came about because of the Apollo program. All sorts of things we take for granted today have come out of the Space Program. Also, it will ignite imagination and innovation amongst the young and the idealistic. America is a cynical Nation, but when space exploration is considered, people become a little misty eyed and idealistic. Idealism is a very positive thing in science. Which means that perhaps we'll have more students entering in the sciences right when we need them. Grants and scholarships can be set up, and a new generation of explorers, ground based and those who will take us to Space, will be born. Finally, there is the intangible hope of "discovery". Not just discovery of new sciences and understanding, but of discovering more about our solar system and ourselves than we ever thought possible. It's a chance for my generation to do something great, to achieve the next step in human evolution. I'm a little excited about this, but since I love the possibilities that come with space travel, I really am getting worked up about this.

The other problem is the inherent dangers with this kind of endevour. The United States has been extremely lucky, numbers wise, is that we've lost so few people to space travel. Not a single fatality in any of the launched Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo launches. Apollo 1's crew died in a test on the pad, but considering the risks in space, that's a hell of a record. Now, we've lost two shuttles and their crews in 16 years. That's not so good, but the shuttle program was probably a mistake to begin with. Facing budget cuts, NASA went with the least interesting program, a ship that could only orbit and return. The promise of Apollo was left behind and all we got were experiments that the average citizen could not relate to. Yes, there is inherent risk in exploration, but risk should be our business. As a nation, we should not grow so complacent and weak that we fear that risking ones life for a chance at the stars is not worth it. Plus, if there are those who are willing to go, and I'm sure there will be, why say "no"? Just because they might die? Thankfully human nature yearns to explore at risk to life and limb, even if this nation can sometimes be overly cautious. I tell you this. If they said I had a 50/50 chance of not coming back, I'd go. Hands down. And I wouldn't be the only one.

Some of the President's critics are calling this a campaign stunt, are mocking him, and accusing him of thinking he's JFK(There are some mean-spirited people out there. I didn't like Clinton, but I respected his efforts with NASA). As if only JFK could take us to the moon. The economic conservative in me says we need to control spending, but the 5 year old inside of all of us says screw the cost, lets get our asses to Mars. Frankly, I hope it happens. I don't think this is a distraction or a ploy or anything else. I think it's a great idea. I think we should get started now. And I want a trip to the moon before I die. Lets get to work. To quote JFK "We choose to go to the moon. Not because it is easy, but because it is hard". We could use that thinking right now.
:: C.M. Burns 1/09/2004 09:28:00 AM [+] :: ::
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:: Wednesday, January 07, 2004 ::
"Cold Mountain" as History

Everyone I know wants to know what I think about "Cold Mountain", the Civil-War era drama/Oscar Bait out this winter. The truth is, I haven't seen it, and have no interest in seeing it. I consider myself a Civil War buff, but I have no interest in seeing an Englishman and an Aussie portray two doomed Southern lovers in 1864 North Carolina. I've heard the movie lives up to it's title in that it is emotionally frigid, and frankly, I could do without Renee Zellwegger, too, so this one will have to wait until DVD.

This makes two dull Civil War flicks in 2003, the first being the spectacularly, mind-bendingly boring "Gods and Generals", a movie I had wished to see for a long time as it's based on one of my favorite novels. It was a snore. I saw it because one reviewer said only Civil War fans could love it. Well, not EVEN Civil War fans. But it did portray many things about the war accurately, with the only outstanding moment of the film coming during the Battle of Fredericksburg, which was a Union debacle of epic proportions. It's a tough scene to watch, but the best emotionally. You could really feel what that hell might have been like.

I hadn't given much thought to "Cold Mountain" as history lesson until I read
this review by Mackubin Thomas Owens on National Review Online. He wrote one of the only positive reviews of "Gods and Generals" I've ever read, and I just reread it and man is he off on a lot of his review, but his observations on the film's innacuracies make sense. He calls "Cold Mountain" the anti-"Gods and Generals", by which I first thought he meant it was enteratining, but what he means is that it shows a more realistic, less romantiszied version of the Southern Cause. Again, based on his review, I might almost see the film, if not for his positive take on "Gods and Generals". However, he explores how films can be history lessons, and gives "Cold Mountain" points for accuracy in the telling of life in the war-torn South, and he rips apart the shameful "lost cause" theory that glorified the "ideals" the South allegedly fought for and that he though were too much on display in "Gods and Generals". It's a good read, and it delves into parts of the film's impact many reviewers would only touch on. So it's a good read, and if anyone else asks my opinion of "Cold Mountain", I'll email them his review. I'll be watching "Return of the King" again, instead.
:: C.M. Burns 1/07/2004 10:21:00 AM [+] :: ::
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Visits To Iraq are Changing Lawmakers Minds

The Cristian Science Monitor, which has always been an excellent source of news (it was one of the top papers we used back in my debate days), has a facinating story up about how almost 1/3 of Congress has now visited post war Iraq, and that members are coming back more in favor of what we did then before. Chief among these convertees are Hillary Clinton and several other Democrats who were wobbly on the issue. The article also notes that this isn't getting any National attention. Hmmm. Wonder why.
:: C.M. Burns 1/07/2004 09:38:00 AM [+] :: ::
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:: Tuesday, January 06, 2004 ::
Neo-Cons Exposed!

In todays NYTimes, lone conservative writer David Brooks has written a facinating column on what he calls "The Era of Distortion". He mostly takes to task those in the media and the left who have distorted what a "neo-con" is(Brooks says that to these people, Con means Conservative and Neo means Jewish) and he talks about the evil vast, 5-person staffed Project for a New American Century group, which issued a memo on Foreign Policy several years ago that the more crazy lefties believe is a blueprint for a Neo-Con takeover of America. Brooks also says that todays liberal arm-wavers are no worse than the crazy right-wing types who put Bill Clinton at the center of all evil in the early 90's. It's a great read, and I will bet money that Eric Alterman will link to it today or tomorrow and call Brooks a mean name since that's all Alterman does. If it happens, I will link to his page to prove it.

Also, while Brooks' leftist neo-con definition is good, I like Tim Blairs. He said that to the left, Con means "evil" and Neo means "REALLY".
:: C.M. Burns 1/06/2004 11:32:00 AM [+] :: ::
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Lives Saved By Iraq Invasion Counter

Yes, that's right. UML Guy at Blog o'RAM has put up a counter at that site based on the deadly death stats racked up by Saddam and his Baathist pals during their reign. You can check out the counter, which updates daily, here at Blog o'RAM.

Also fun are the comments. The clock pretty much exists to prove a point more than anything, but some of the people who think it's wrong need their medication adjusted.
:: C.M. Burns 1/06/2004 11:24:00 AM [+] :: ::
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My Take on the Presidential Campaign

Well in just four weeks, unless Dr. Doom, I mean Dean, says something so utterly insane that even he can't spin it away or it's revealed that he secretly dreams of bombing Syria, he will be the Democratic Nominee for President. Usually, political pundits like to analyze what the the winner did right and what the losers did wrong, but I'm betting that since Dean could do no wrong in the eyes of his supporters and that the other candidates could do no right, this year the lists will be inverted to save time. Here's what Dean did wrong: Nothing, if he wants the nomination, everything if he wants to be President. The rest did nothing right period, as they have all opened up Dean to an easy defeat by allowing him so much time on TV to say insane things that Bush will only have to pay an editor to cut various clips together, therefore using the rest of his dough to make great positive ads and run them 24 hours a day. If the Democrats are serious about a major left turn, poor Joe Lieberman, the most honest man in his party, will most likely be killed later this year for handing Bush the perfect way to defeat Dean-point out his crazy ideas and how often he flip flops. While that doesn't matter to the 20% of voters who would vote for Dean no matter what, it's gonna really bother those 10-15% of swing voters that will decide the election.

So Dean is the nominee. Does Bush win? Well, if the election were held tomorrow, yes. But it's in November, and that is an eternity in Politics. Anything can happen. However, Bush is in better shape. The media WILL turn on Dean. It always happens, and Dean has never been popular with the media like Kerry or Gephardt because Dean is an elitist asshole who makes Peter Jennings look like a quiet populist from anytown USA(or Canada). The media doesn't like that. They don't like Bush, either, because he hates them too, but Bush isn't as quick to anger as Dean, and Dean's personal blow up is now just a matter of when, not if. There was a great article in the Sunday Washington Post about how Dean's biggest problem is that he is a medical doctor. The writer of the op-ed observed that doctors are ill-suited to the Democratic process because they are used to being obeyed without question, answer only to other doctors, and bristled when their means are critisized. Dean WILL explode in rage over something petty. That is the only thing I am certain of. Whether he loses because of it depends.

Bush has learned a lot in the past four years. He's better on TV, he's better with the media, he's moe comfortable on air. All plusses. He still is inarticulate, but all the jokes on SNL and by his critics haven't dented him much. After 8 years of Clinton-speak, regular people actually appreciate a president who doesn't talk down to them, another reason Gore didn't kill Bush in 2000. Also, Bush is in luck because as a brave man from Seattle writes in an op-ed, people are stupid. Brave of him to admit what no other lefty will-his contempt for average Americans.

Actually, Bush is in luck because the Left actually can never understand why Bush maintains popularity because they resent that he is not an elitist. He really isn't. He really has taken to Texas though, not just in name but in attitude. That doesn't play on the coasts, and they just don't understand it. To the left, everything Bush says is a lie. Everything. It's not even really based on a history of what we would call "lies". As Mark Steyn puts it in the current "National Review", Bush's alleged lies are really "not-yet-fully-verifiable circumstantial inferences" or, if you read the "lies" that are "documented" in the recent books by Joe Conason, Al Franken others, they are either policy disagreements or a failure on the part of the President to pass every piece of legislation he ever talked about. It's a bit odd. Steyn uses a "matrix" analogy, saying that the left thinks that only they have access to "reality" by taking the red pill and seeing how far the rabbit hole goes. According to Steyn, most Dems, with the exception of Sens. Biden, Clinton, and Lieberman, seem to be chugging down red pills by the boatload, and he's right. The entire Democratic party machinery is ramping up to prove that Bush lied about everything, from Iraq to Afghanistan to a promise during the campaign to be a "uniter not a divider". It's a sickness that could kill the party.

However, Republicans may have blinders on about Dean. At the same time that the Left goes after Bush for "lies", the right is too quick to call it irrational Bush hatred. Most of it may be irrational, but Dean has tapped into a segment of the population that DOES vote. Bush 41 hated campaigning, so he lost. Bush 43 appears to like it, so he has a better than 50/50 shot. He's already at higher numbers than Clinton was before the GOP nominated it's out of touch candidate of the 90's, Bob "Bob Dole" Dole. Anyway, complacency is no way to run a campaign. This presidential race will be decided either by the conventions or will go to the wire. What I mean is, Bush could kill Dean early with average voters, or he could wait too long and give Dean a foothold which allows him to swing to the middle. If Bush goes after Dean in late March, Bush increases his chances. After that, it gets closer, depending on the economy and the war. The issues Dean has brought up now are not the issues that will win him the election, but there are others he could use. It will be a very interesting, ugly year. I can't wait.
:: C.M. Burns 1/06/2004 11:06:00 AM [+] :: ::
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