I have a theory about why John Kerry's campaign seems to be falling apart at the seems, why he's unable to get on message, and why no less a liberal source than The Village Voice is calling for The Democratic Party to dump him. It's not that Kerry threw medals away, or that he's really anti-Iraq war and even that he's wrong on defense, though the ads the Bush campaign have been running are the best political ads I've seen in years. No, it's that John Kerry was always running for the Democratic nomination, and not for President. To understand, we must get in the wayback machine and return to the long-time-ago land of last August and September. Howard Dean was ascending the polls, basically riding his anti-Iraq war stance and angry populism to the top of the heap of the less than stellar Democratic nominees. He had tapped into what the pundits at the time said would be the main issue of the campaign-the war in Iraq. There were a significant number of old-line liberals and young people who hated the war, and Dean spoke their language. Dean defined the issue of the primaries of "I was right on the war, the others guys weren't". Except of course Dennis Kusinich, who has never been right on anything.
The dissembling started across the board, except for the admirable stance by Joe Lieberman. John Edwards became Mr. Cheerful while embracing class warfare. Gephardt thought the Unions would pull him through, and poor John Kerry, who had voted for the war resolution and had, just in Febuary, declared Saddam a major threat. He was in trouble. He was falling behind. Online betting pools started a "Kerry Campaign Pullot Watch". And the John Kerry, suddenly, became anti-Iraq war. He voted against the $87 billion dollar aid package to Iraq, and did so proudly. He started to talk about the ecomony as well, something that Dean had missed out on in his anger, primarily because Dean didn't know jack about the economy. In short, Kerry became Dean with more credibility. He straddled the issue just enough to make Dean look like a fanatic and became the safe, Anybody buy Bush choice. Sadly for the Democrats, no one took that hard a look at Kerry until it was to late. Dean got the full media attention in early January, and as much as Deaniacs and leftists think the media conspired with the DNC to kill Dean, Dean killed himself in Iowa, a state that is always difficult to read and doesn't take well to insane Northeastern governors. Next to Dean, Kerry projected experience, confidence, and a sane alternative. He was, after all, against Bush's war. And he wasn't as darkly populist as the rather slimy Edwards, and he seemed electable, unlike the others. So he won, with no attention payed to his actual record because he couldn't possibly be as bad as the alternatives.
Kerry, of course, is paying for this now. It's transcending the usual "Primaries run to the fringe, general election run to the center" blowback. Kerry probably voted against his concience when he voted against the $87 Billion for Iraq. He was voting with the nomination in mind, at a time when he needed to answer Dean's charges that he was just as guilty as Dubya for the war. Kerry's vote was indicative of his straddling. The famous quote now used so effectively against him was "I actually voted for the $87 Billion, before I voted against it." This dissmebling doesn;t even work in Washington, let alone the heartland, but he was answering Dean's charges while trying to seem like he supported our troops at the same time. His biggest, most damaging flip is not "medalgate", which he brought on himself, GOP conspiracy or no, it's the vote against the funding. He seemed clued in to primary voters, while Dean melted down. He was strong, if not charismatic, and his only remaining challanger, Edwards, fumbled the ball when everyone seemed to think Kerry was gonna slam Bush and win. Edwards wanted the Veep slot. So Kerry slid undamaged through the primaries by co-opting Dean's message with his own straddling and lack of will from the other candidates.
Now, Kerry is being called a loser by the left wing New York Observer as well, as they note that even in easy interviews he fumbles, unable to answer questions about his past that in his eagerness to become a viable alternative to Dean, he obviously forgot about. The brave Anti-war Vet stance works with priamry voters, and Kerry basked in it, but he only had to go there because Dean made the primaries about the war, and instead of difining himself, tried to make himself into the sane version of Dean. When the final page of the 2004 election is written, Howard Dean will have become more than a footnote. Historians will look back and say he killed the Democratic Nominee by being new and radical in his approach, and making the issues not about who truly was electable, but who APPEARED electable. As Daniel Drenzer writes in The New Republic, "It's not that Bush is unbeatble, it's that Kerry makes him LOOK unbeatable". And the Democrats have Howard Dean to thank for that. Watch for him to fall away from the spolight forever after the election is over. And look out for Hillary at the Convention. If this "Dump Kerry" movement gains steam, why shouldn't she come after a beatable President with no scars on her at all. It would be a more interesting campaign, that's for sure. Kerry can't be written off yet, but if he can't answer softball questions from Chris Mathews, what can he do? As a Republican, I hope he stays. His last choice is to name a VP who makes him look better. Someone said Al Gore. Funny but true, as Al Gore is probably the most hated Dem in his own party other than Zell Miller. Of course, the rest of the country kinda hates him too, but Kerry would look like a king in comparison. The GOP didn't get their preferred nominee, Dean, but they actually got someone better. A guy who pretended to be Dean for a while, and they treid to be tough on terror later. Crazy Dean is one thing. He inspires his ground troops. Flip flopping Kerry doesn't inspire anyone except Bush ad writers. Thanks Howard, we owe you.
:: C.M. Burns 4/28/2004 02:02:00 PM [+] ::
:: Monday, April 26, 2004 ::
Kerry Digs Himself Another Hole
Really, John Kerry's handlers need to put him in the same bunker they put Theresa Heinz Kerry, his verbose, kinda nutty wife. Kerry has once again written an add for the Bush campaign, this time about the infamous story of Kerry tossing his Vietnam War medals over a fence in protest in DC back in 1971. Kerry has calimed many times that this is just a rumor, that he never did it, or that he threw his ribbons, or that he threw someone ELSE's medals. Well, there hadn't been any real statement from John Kerry circa 1971 on this issue until ABC News, that hotbed of reactionary conservatism, dug up a TV interview from 1971 on DC's own WRC-TV. Lets go to the tape. Said the future Senator: "I gave back, I can't remember, six, seven, eight, nine medals." Whoops. Appearing on Good Morning America today, Kerry was questioned by Charlie Gibson about his many, many contradictory statements. Here's what he had to say, courtesy Drudge:
"charlie, i stood up in front of the nation. there were dozens of cameras there, television cameras, there were -- i don't know. 20, 30 still photographers. thousands of people and i stood up in front of the country, reached into my shirt, visibly for the nation to see, and took the ribbons off my chest, said a few words and threw them over the fence"
To his credit, Charlie Gibson, who was AT THE RALLY told the Senator that he had seen him toss MEDALS over the fence, not some ribbons. Kerry's reply:"no, you didn't see me throw them. Charlie, Charlie, you are wrong. that's not what happened. I threw my ribbons across"
After essentially calling Gibson a liar, which apparently didn't take well with Gibson, Kerry blamed the whole controversey on "politics", complained about the vaunted Republican Attack Machine(I'm waiting for the parts for mine), and essentially imploded on TV. Even Charlie Gibson wouldn't take a bite on the "dirty politics" angle, because Kerry has said so many different things about the medals that Kerry would have to claim he was brainwashed and programmed to tell different stories to the media by Republicans for that charge to stick. Now, this is a small thing, unrelated to policy. But it does paint a picture of John Kerry: political opportunist. A man who would do or say anything at any time to win approval. The GOP should just release the tape of the interview, no editing needed. Kerry's going to sink himself, and while Kaus keeps praying the Dems dump the flip-flopping Senator, it seems unlikely that will happen. I'm glad. The Bush camapign can save money on ads if Kerry writes them for us.
:: C.M. Burns 4/26/2004 09:49:00 AM [+] ::
:: Friday, April 23, 2004 ::
Kerry on Earth Day
So, wait, he's NOT as liberal as Ted Kennedy? Would a moderate wear that? Hell, even Bill Clinton wouldn't pander that much.
:: C.M. Burns 4/23/2004 10:29:00 AM [+] ::
Kerry Is His Own Worst Enemy
John Kerry's staff needs to get him to stop talking or something, because he honestly keeps talking himself into embarassing corners. The latest came yesterday (It was Earth Day yesterday. Remember when Earth Day was big for like a year, and then we all forgot about it? I wonder what ever happened to "50 Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth". I imagine they're giving back to Mother Earth in some landfill somewhere). Anyway, Kerry was in a conference call and was asked if he, the Environmentalist in favor of higher gas standards, owned an SUV. Kerry answered that his 'Family' owns the SUV, it's Teresa's, not his. Seriously. WHat the hell is wrong with Kerry? Admitting to owning an SUV may be punishable by Death if you belong to Earth First or the Sierra Club, but for a Senator it should be no big deal. They're safe in a lot of ways Senator's should care about, particularly in the defense against attack mode. Why does Kerry have such bizzare explinations for everything? Lately, he;s been writing Bush/Cheney ads by himslef. Like the latest, pretty damaging ad about Kerry and Iraq. The ad asks "What does John Kerry say about his vote against funding our troops in Iraq" and then Kerry appears, speaking at a rally, and says "I actually did vote for it, before I voted against it". It really has to be seen to be believed. I mean, really. It's that pathetic. Bush just had a terrible month. 99 military deaths in Iraq, the 9/11 commission, a really bad press conference, and he's up by 4-6 in most polls. And Kerry's been advertising. So has Bush, and Bush spent $50 Million, but Kerry's lack of answers on these pretty relevant charges is what's killing him. If this is all that Kerry has to offer, will the Dems take Mickey Kaus' advice and dump Kerry at the convention? Technically, they can do it. I'd like to see it just because it would be fun. I think some Dems might want to see it because they don't want Kerry handing Bush another 4 years. Whatever. OF course a revolt as the convention, in Kerry's hometown(!), would kill their chances this year, but it could save their party. And as much as I don't like Kerry, I think America needs a Democratic party, if nothing else than to keep us GOPers honest. I think Dems and GOPers shoud band together to get rid of Kerry. We can keep hammering Kerry, and the Dems can wake up and dump him. I think the former is a certainty, and the latter an impossibility, but I can't stop them from killing themselves.
:: C.M. Burns 4/23/2004 10:26:00 AM [+] ::
:: Wednesday, April 21, 2004 ::
John Kerry's Slander of Vietnam Vets Gets a Beat-down
There's a swirll of controverey running around these days about John Kerry's military service. This weekend on "Meet the Press", Kerry said his only regret about saying that all the soldiers in Vietnam were essentially war criminals was that he had used were a bit "over the top". That's it. Apparently, it was too much for retired Naval Officer John O'Neil, who once publically debated Kerry on the "Dick Cavett Show" after Kerry's infamous testimony in front of Congress. Last night on "Wolf Blitzer Reports", O'Neil made his first televised appearance in 30-plus years. The transcript is here, scoll down to the bottom. O'Neil has refused multiple overtures from Rebublicans to attack Kerry during campaigns. When asked why he's doing it now, O'Neil, who served in the same unit as Kerry a few months after Kerry returned home, said "Why are we coming forward? Because we were there. We know the truth and we know that this guy is unfit to be the commander in chief." The "we" he refers to are what he calls the vast majority of vets who served in the same sections Kerry did. When Blitzer inquired about the Vets who seem to be embracing Kerry, O'Neil had this to say: "Wolf, what you've got is the same seven or eight people recycled over and over again. I think you'll find when you match numbers out of Coastal Division 11, the people that knew him, the people that came from the unit like I did, I think you'll find that he'll get less votes than a Republican would get in South Boston." Harsh critiques. For pure comedic reasons, scroll to the response from the Kerry camp by advisor Marty Meehan. It's pure doublespeak, and he's probably the only person I've ever heard refer to Vietnam Veterans Against the War as "moderate"
Alexander Rose on John O'Neill on National Review Online gives a fuller profile of Mr. O'Neil, and details his life, including the frosty reaction O'Neil got from President Nixon when he told him he voted for Humphrey in 1968. O'Neil is no rank partisan, and he's not out for glory. He has no book to sell, and no agenda other to make sure that the man who slandered every vet of the Vietnam War does not ride his "heroism" into the position of Commander-in-Chief. O'Neil is certainly more heroic than John "Don't You Know Who I Am?" Kerry.
:: C.M. Burns 4/21/2004 03:03:00 PM [+] ::
:: Thursday, April 15, 2004 ::
Oliver Stone Gets Roughed Up on his Castro"Documentary"
Over at Slate, Ann LouiseBardach
verbally kicks the crap out of Oliver Stone to his face over his HBO documentary "Looking for Fidel", which is a sort of fawning piece of Fidel Castro. It was due to come out last year, but right before the release, highly anticipated by pro-Fidel Hollywood, Castro jailed a bunch of dissadents and had three people shot for trying to hijack a boat to take to America. International organizations went batty, and HBO pulled the doc, never aired it, and sent Stone back to Cuba to get more time with Fidel, who was only too happy to give it to Stone. In her interview with Stone, Bardach essentially gets him to admit he was a willing dupe for Castro proaganda without Stone ever realizing what he's admitting to. Stone is an excellent filmmaker. "Platoon" is one of my all-time favorite films, and "JFK" is wildly entertaining, if not actually grounded in reality. "Born on the 4th of July" is still a heartbreaking film, and contains Tom Cruise's only performance since he became famous in which you forget he's TOM CRUISE. Still, Stone is a leftist(not a liberal), and he is what Lenin called a "Usefull Idiot", a dupe willing to spread propaganda in his home country because he's so blinded by what he wants to see that he doesn't actually see the truth.
Check out this exchange in the interview where Bardach hammers Stone about his "interview" with jailed dissidents IN FRONT of Castro. Stone thinks that Castro's presence didn't change their answers:
ALB: They seemed very willing to bring up sound bites that Castro is partial to—that they wanted to leave Cuba only for economic reasons, not political ones, etc.
OS: You're going to the theory that they were trying to get good time in front of the camera to get lighter sentences.
ALB: I'm going even further than that. I'm suggesting that they had no choice but to appear there, and that in some ways it was a bit of a mini-show-trial, sort of "Look how well we treat our prisoners."
OS: It does have that aura, absolutely. But I do maintain that if it were a Stalinist state … they certainly do a great job of concealing it.
Stone doesn't know a Stalinist state when he sees one. I guess his use as a filmmaker is, essentially, finished. Perhaps he can retire to Cuba and blind himself to his own unimportance. Read the whole damn thing.
The New York Post has a story about over 40 9/11 families having written an open letter "thanking National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice for her testimony to the commission probing the attacks and saying it should end "the incredible notion" that President Bush knew 9/11 was coming and did nothing." Former United Firefighters Association chief Jimmy Boyle lost his son in the attacks, as he was trying to save the lives of the husbands of the "Jersey Four", who have done little then or since to help anyone but themselves to media hype. At least someone is saying something now, and even if it will only get play in New York, perhaps that's where it will matter most. To put it another way, who would you trust more? The father of a man who lost his life trying to save a widow's husband, or the widow who seems incapable of thanking anyone at all for the heroic efforts taken at the scene of the attack?
:: C.M. Burns 4/14/2004 02:53:00 PM [+] ::
The Gettysburg Address
Because I can't resist...
Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation: conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war. . .testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated. . . can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war.
We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate. . .we cannot consecrate. . . we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.
It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us. . .that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion. . . that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain. . . that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom. . . and that government of the people. . .by the people. . .for the people. . . shall not perish from the earth.
There's a great editorial piece on Lincoln in today's Opinion Journal, touching on Lincoln's pioneering use of all the avenues available to him to hold the Union together, including Religion, especially evangelical Protestantism. Lincoln was a Calvinist in practice, but he knew a good thing when he saw it. Although I am often critical of evangelicalism, that it has it's place and that it helped end the greatet evil this country ever produced should not be ignored.
:: C.M. Burns 4/14/2004 01:26:00 PM [+] ::
Death of the Thoughtful Democrat
Republicans have been accused of using the politics of hate, fear, facisim, everything under the sun and more. Why? Well, because it's an effective, if untruthful, message, especially when you have nothing else to offer the public. Republican's questioned Kerry's voting record on defense after he won the nomination. Kerry asked why they were "questioning his patriotism", primarily because he can't defend his votes and to this day still hasn't. Every Republican ad is touted as being part of the "GOP Attack and Smear Machine", although all Kerry has been accused of by the GOP is being soft on defense and a guy who likes tax cuts. The hysterical response from the Dems and their shills in the media is that the President is "afraid to run on his record, so he's attacking with negative ads". You'd think he called Kerry a commie in 1952 with the amount of indignation his campaign spews when questioned on anything. And the media laps it ALL up, while ignoring the Democrats hateful, very personal attacks on the President and Republicans.
Not all Democrats are pleased with this. Democratic Blogger Vanderleun has had enough of "The Degneration of the Democratic Party" as he puts it. Front and center: The Daily Kos, who I will not link to, but he does. The Daily Kos is a widely read Dem blog that has now entangled itself in two blogoverse controversies, the first when Kos himself wrote that the 4 contractors killed and mutilated two weeks ago deserved what they got. "Screw 'em" he wrote. Libertarian blogfather Glenn Renyolds at Instapundit picked up on it and linked to the offending article, which apparently caused Kos to be deluged by angry Republicans and "wingnuts" as Kos called them, and offered a sort of non-apology and blamed Reynolds for the mess and then said he didn't care he got called on it because he was going to get more ads for more money because of the increased site traffic. Great guy.
Well, just yesterday, Kos blogger/"diarist" Soj flat out called SecState Colin Powell an "Uncle Tom", a featured a pictured of Powell with the caption "Yes suh, yes suh, right away suh!". Soj seemed geniuenly shocked that this was controversial, and while some intelligent Dems condemend him doubly for A)using a completley racist term and B)Obscuring his own message because of it. More desturbing was that many respondents accused those saying "Soj" had gone too far of being right-wing pawns and idiots, and that Secretary Powell deserved it. I'm not linking to it again because I'm not sure it's still up(they take down controversial stuff sometimes), and I will NOT encourage traffic to the site. Actually, Vanderleun doesn't link it either, he just has a screen grab of the picture. The twisted logic of the Democrats, now no longer just the left, is, according to Vanderleun, "that anyone or anything that stands with or supports, not the policies nor the positions of George Bush, but the very person of George Bush is to be attacked and denigrated with every slur at their command." He also points to Garry Trudeau having Dubya's nickname for Condi Rice be "Brown Sugar". And Trudeau is "mainstream". Trudeau is now on vacation. I wonder if the flap prompted it.
Anyway. Vanderleun, a man who is quite the traditional Democrat, is now denouncing his party and it's intolerant, hateful base. He says that until this year, the only Republican ballot he has cast was for Rudy Guilianni's second term as mayor. The man has voted for Hillary, Schumer, Cuomo, Dukakis, Gore, Clinton, Carter, McGovern, etc, etc. And now he sees that the Democrats are intellectually and ideologically bankrupt, so bankrupt that THEY use the tactics of fear and hate to win support, and then in the grandest hypocrisy turn it around and say it's the GOP doing it. Read any recent Salon.com editorial to see that twisted logic. I believe Vanderleun is thoughful. Peruse the rest of his blog and you'll see he's no reactionary, no dummy, no neocon. He's a Democrat who's party has left him as it has no real goals or purpose, that has let poltiical discourse fall so far below what was normally acceptable and that is so deluded in it's own hatred of the President that they blame their own descent on him. I see fewer and fewer thoughtful Dems online these days. They do exist. But even fewer are the ones in Washington. I can count on one hand the number that I know. One of my best friends back in Chicago is a Civil Libertarian liberal with a strong fiscal Conservative streak. Who does he want to represent the Democrats in November? Slick Willy C. as President and Rumsfeld as Veep. I think he'll write it in. More power too him. The party has abandoned all rational thought. And another thoughtful Democrat becomes an independent. This should make me happy, but as a political animal I like debate. But I don't see it coming from the angry, rudderless, spiteful Democrats, and neither do a growing number of their traditional, thoughtful base. Too bad for America.
:: C.M. Burns 4/14/2004 12:41:00 PM [+] ::
On This Day in 1865...
President Lincoln was shot in his box at Ford's Theater 139 years ago today, mortally wounded by John Wilkes Booth. Here's the NY Times story from that awful occasion. Lincoln is a personal hero of mine, and his death was tragic not just for the loss of a great man, but because it unleashed a harsh reconstruction on the South. The Radical Republicans ensured a lasting unease between the two regions, and despite their quick adoption of voting rights for former slaves and othe reforms, probably made things worse for American race relations in the long run. The wounded South scapegoated them for the suffering that Reconstruction caused. Lincoln and his chief General, Grant, wished that a lasting and just peace would be adopted. After his death, the peace was lasting, but it was harsh, and pockets of the South are still angry. Would his survival have insured good race relations? None can say for sure, but I bet they would have been better, and the rift between North and South would have healed faster. Today, we should remember Lincoln for what he did and that he too eventually gave his all, his "last full measure of devotion" to the country he so loved. He still belongs to the ages.
:: C.M. Burns 4/14/2004 10:51:00 AM [+] ::
The 9/11 Widows-How do I despise the "New Jersey Four"? Let me Count The Ways
Last night, after the prerequiste partisan carping by the two members of the 9/11 Commission appearing on his show, Chris Matthews had three 9/11 widows on to discuss the day's testimony. I had seen these women before. Everywhere, in fact. They are commonly called the "New Jersey Four", though only three made it on last night. The all are "just four housewives from New Jersey", brought together by the tragedy of losing their husbands. And now, they want blood. But not the blood of Al Qaeda, or Osama, or even a random bad guy or two. No, they want the government to suffer for the "3000 murders on Geroge Bush's Watch", to paraphrase Kristin Breitweiser, widow of a man lost in WTC Tower 1, and a woman who the media have suggested should be a questioner on the 9/11 Commission.
Ms. Breitweiser's champions are all liberal, and all make hay out of the fact that she is a Republican who voted for Dubya in 2000. That her voting history and party affiliation is irrelevent since she now has but one issue on her mind-9/11-is lost on her champions. Thankfully, finally, SOMEONE has called her and her cohorts on their complete lack of credentials. In today's Opinion Journal Dorothy Rabinowitz voices my frustration with these self-appointed 9/11 experts. She finds their appearance and impotance in the media as baffling as I do. Or, not so baffling, as the media parades them out to be the spokespeople for all 9/11 families, even when other large groups of family members decry their inane, psudeo-investigative role. In her column, Ms. Rabinowitz points out that the media doesn't want to hear from Widows who believe that the "Jersey Four" have helped turn the 9/11 COmmission into a farce. She writes of a LIBERAL widow:
"Debra Burlingame--lifelong Democrat, sister of Charles F. "Chic" Burlingame III, captain of American Airlines flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, did manage to land an interview after Ms. Rice's appearance. When she had finished airing her views critical of the accusatory tone and tactics of the Jersey Girls, her interviewer, ABC congressional reporter Linda Douglass marveled, "This is the first time I've heard this point of view."
Of course Douglass had never heard that most of the 9/11 families are angered by the Jersey Four. People who want to move on, and aren't playing the blame game don't get on TV. But when Kristin Breitweiser wants to know, having watched "All The President's Men" one two many times, what the President or Condi Rice knew and when they knew it, well, all lights on this new "hero". And don't you dare critizise her! She lost her husband, and it's George Bush's fault!
Not so shockingly, Kristin Breitweiser and her cohorts are asking what they call a simple question: "We simply wanted to know," Ms. Breitweiser said, by way of explaining the group's position, "why our husbands were killed. Why they went to work one day and didn't come back." Uh, they were killed because terrorists who hate America hijacked four planes and rammed two into the WTC, one into the Pentagon, and a third into Pennsylvania. That's what your husbands didn't come home. But this isn't good enough for the Jersey Four. They seem to think that they are owed SOMETHING for what terrorists did to their husbands, and they think the government owes it to them. And despite the hearings, which have demonstrated that their is enough blame to go around, that everyone is sorry it happened, that we're taking steps to make sure it never happens again, when the reasons are right in their faces, the women want more. Yesterday after it became incredibly clear that the wall between the FBI and the CIA was so high no one could get over or under or around it, there three of the widows were, claiming that more could have and should have been done. When Chris Matthews actually asked them, "well, back before 9/11, isn't it realistic to think that the PC attitude of the country and lack of legal authority kept some agents from being able to put all the pieces together", one of the women said that they should have gone ahead and done it anyway, an easy thing to say in hindsight, but in a country founded on civil liberties and where criminals get off for the SMALLEST infringement, with no clear guidelines, what could they have done? Nothing.
I would suggest reading the entire opnion piece. The "Jersey Four" might lose their luster to the left, as when they talk about what should have been done, they suggest draconian messures of surveilience of Muslims that John Ashcroft conspiracy theorists couldn't have dreamed up in their worst nightmares. When pressed, one of the widows essentally advocated a policy of fewer rights for men of arab decent pre-9/11 as long as it meant her husband would still be alive. The Patriot Act tore down many of the walls that caused 9/11 to happen. The government has taken steps. But Ms. Breitweiser and company only want more. Democrats should indeed be careful. If what the women advocate as "reform" is adopted, America might yet become a police state. The lesson is, just because someone lost a loved one in the worst terrorist attack in American history doesn't mean that they aren't bat shit crazy. Get these foolish, venegful women off TV. They don't seem to be thinking clearly, and the press just looks worse when the coddle them. Justice is too important to be left in the hands of angry widows.
Florida Democrats Want "Up Against The Wall"-Rummy Responds, "Go ahead, make my day"
In what is sure to be another ugly milestone in an already ugly camapaign, a Florida Democratic group has published a full page ad in the Gabber a St. Petersburg paoer which reads in part "We should put this S.O.B. up against a wall and say 'This is one of our bad days,' and pull the trigger," (Via Drudge, who has a gif file of the ad). That's pretty nasty. The phrase "Up against the wall" was popularized during the socialist revolutions of the early 20th century, referring, of course, to putting one's enemeies up against a fire squad and killing them. According to Drudge, the group's spokesman, VP Edna McCall, defends the "pull the trigger" comment as "'Pull the trigger' means let Rumsfeld know where we stand, not to shoot him!" While I have no doubt that's what they mean, the rest of the statement is pretty harsh. Here's a link to the ad, whose full paragraph on Rummy reads "And then there's Rufsfeld who said of Iraq 'We have our good days and our bad days.' We should put this S.O.B. up against a wall and say 'This is one of our bad days,' and pull the trigger" Sounds a bit more than simple "Vote Kerry" agit-prop. It sounds like a call to arms. But I can see Rummy's response: Tactical dropping of a MOAB on St. Petersburg. Can the campaign get uglier? Look to MoveOn and Air America and the innacurately labled "Think Tank" Center for American Progress for more nastiness. All the Republicans have questioned is Kerry's record. Kerry's supporters are questioning the integrity of every Republican in town.
:: C.M. Burns 4/13/2004 03:42:00 PM [+] ::
When Are We Going To Feed Andy Rooney To Sharks? I Mean It, I want A Solid Date on This
Andy Rooney, the crazed, bizzare and creepy news "commentator" for CBS's "60 'Corporate-synergized' Minutes" "news" program has once again managed to insult a large number of people in yet another shockingly ill-concieved commetary. In his syndicated column, Rooney wrote yesterday that today's GI's in Iraq are not heroes, but victims. That Rooney is wildly off the mark in all of his analysis is par for the course. While I'd be willing to concede his point that "our soldiers in Iraq are people, young men and women, and they behave like people - sometimes good and sometimes bad, sometimes brave, sometimes fearful", and that some have done horrible, and not brave or hororic things(I have a friend in the JAG Corps, and they see some nasty cases), this is true of all wars. In his column he talks wistfully about the WWII generation, wishing an Ernie Pyle could tell him the truth about what was going on. I know Rooney served in WWII in Europe, and I wonder what he would have thought back then if someone handed him an article by his beloved Ernie Pyle that said we shouldn't call our boys "heros", but that they were victims. I'm sure he never WOULD see it, as army news was incredibly censored back in those days, more so than now, and Pyle would have been shot or at least discredited forever for writing that the GI's of that war were victims of civilians who treat "soldiers fighting their war as brave heroes...an old civilian trick designed to keep the soldiers at it."
Rooney seems to also feel pity for these poor, misguided, unloved, unheroic soldiers. Take this unfathomable paragraph:
"We pin medals on their chests to keep them going. We speak of them as if they volunteered to risk their lives to save ours, but there isn't much voluntary about what most of them have done. A relatively small number are professional soldiers. During the last few years, when millions of jobs disappeared, many young people, desperate for some income, enlisted in the Army."
That Rooney has done no research on this is obvious, as many of the younger soldiers now over there signed up after 9/11 to serve their country. While a few obviously did this for economic reasons, the vast majority of soldiers enlist not because the economy is bad, but because the Army offers them an opportunity to advance, whether through the GI bill, techincial training, or making a career out of it. My two friends now in Iraq(both college grads and one with a masters from the London School of Economics) would tell you that when they signed up, the weren't soft-sold on the perils of combat. Rooney's statements are absurd and without merit or corraboration. He is, in short, a fool.
He has final two points-One, that many in Iraq are National Guard or Army Reserve and that they didn't sign on for this and want to come home. Well, he can't really say WHAT they want, he can only infer and assume based onhis own prejudice towards the war. Did he ever want to come home during WWII? Was he ever unhappy? Does he not realize that when you sign up for the reserves or the guard you are, in fact, signing up for the military? Two, that the war most be horrible and not all soldiers are "happy" because 23 took their own lives last year. Well, his point is conjecture with no basis in fact. Yes, 23 killed themselves last year, and that is tragic, but Rooney does not know the case histories of those soldiers, nor does he cite other statistics on suicide. If he was, he might find something interesting that negates his point. In a letter to National Review Online, a reader points to the National stats on Suicide. The rate is 10.7/100,000, with a 4:1 male to remale ratio. However, in Iraq, the Male to Female Ratio is 6:1, and among men, suicides are always higher. According to the statistician, a rate of 23 suicides per 130,000 or so soldiers in Iraq is about the equivalent of the standard US rate, factoring in the Male/Female ratio. Rooney also ignores the military suicide rates from the past. Sparatcus looks back through the years and finds that the average suicide rate in the Army over the last 14 years was 12.8 per 100,000, and that the rate in Iraq for the Army is about 13.5 per 100,000, a whole .7 higher. Which, considering how stressful combat can be, is actually pretty amazing.
While any suicide is horrible, using those numbers to say that in general our troops are unhappy, not heroic, and want to come home in vast numbers is just as horrible, if not more so. The President is consistantly accused of using the troops for his political interests. Yet it's his opponents who are more than happy to add up the numbers and use military deaths to try and negate the purpose of those deaths-freeing Iraq. The left is using the troops and their families in a craven, disgusting way that should make anyone who ever served sick. The President does not make a show of it when he visits injured soldiers at Walter Reed in Maryland or other military hospitals. He allowed a photo to be taken as he went from bed to bed on Easter, but since the war began, the President has made MANY visits. He seems to actually care about the troops, where his opponents would rather use them to attack him, while they belittle the achievements of those who have sacrificed and those that fight on. Frankly, I'm a little sick of it. Andy Rooney can go to hell, as far as I'm concerned. He wraps up his column on his "concern" for the troops by attacking the President. Again, they are mere props in a play. If Rooney wants to debate the Iraq situation on it's merits, I have no problem. I disagree with the war with many of my friends. But none are so vile and cruel as to drape themsleves in the bloody shirt of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Rooney has disgraced himself. He's been senile for years. I say, fire him and put him in the crooked old age home I saw on CNN the other day. What a piece of shit.
:: C.M. Burns 4/13/2004 11:17:00 AM [+] ::
Hitchens Destroys The "Iraq is Vietnam" Fiction
British born contrarian and all-around genius Christopher Hitchens writes today in Slate that the Vietnam analogy doesn't hold water in Iraq. He first quickly destroys the theory that America is acting in a traditionally "imperial" manner and beats up on his fellow liberals(and make no mistake, Hitchens and I agree on one thing politically-the war on terror) for claiming that the sky is falling after a gang of radical sunnis and some shites tried to force the US to leave and let the country fall into anarchy. Hitchens dismisses not just that comparison, but the Lebanon-Isreal comparison making the rounds in Europe and probably headed to an Op-Ed page near you. He does not excuse the US for his mistakes, but says that it's certainly not time to panic, and I agree. If you read the NY Times of Salon, Iraq is already finished, hope is lost. If you read blogs from the country itself and from people working there to make it a democracy, hope is just as plentiful as it was a year ago. That some resist change is inevitable. That we give up so easily is unthinkable. I wish some of the President's political opponents would be more honest in their assessment(I'm looking at you Senator Kennedy!). Hostile critiques with no alterntive only come off as election year politicking(see Sen. Kerry's Op-Ed in the Washington Post today. He offers no real solution). Anyway, Hitchens is smarter than both of those blowhards combined, and certainly smarter than I am, so I'll hitch my wagon to his train on this one. Beats Teddy's fat, murdering ass.
:: C.M. Burns 4/13/2004 09:56:00 AM [+] ::
Losing blood quickly in Missouri? Make Sure That Packet of Plasma's not From U of Missouri-Columbia
In a story that can ONLY involve the collegiate Greek system, an email from the "blood drive coordinator" of Gamma Phi Beta Sorority as the University of Missouri-Columbia urged all sisters to give blood, and to lie when answering important health-risk questions if that lie would allow them to give blood. The reason? As with most things in Greek life, the blood drive has become a competition amongst sororities at the school. The Blood Drive Coordinator, named Christie Key, wrote the following in an email to her fellow sisters:
"I dont care if you got a tattoo last week LIE. I dont care if you have a cold. Suck it up. We all do. LIE. Recent peircings? LIE...We're not messing around. Punishment for not giving blood is going to be quite severe."
I find all of this hysterical. I mean, only a sorority could take something as wholesome as a BLOOD DRIVE for PEOPLE IN HOSPITALS or other LIFE OR DEATH situations, and make it all about them. Ms. Key seems to have inherited the "charity" gene inherent in all greeks(Frat and Sorority members, not people from Greece, you bastards). The gene causes them to believe that ALL charity begins and ends with how it can help THEM, not those who are supposed to benefit. It comes from the intense compeition to win meaningless prizes and honors to lord over the other houses. It's kinda sick. I mean, what if one of the girls got a tattoo and a nipple piercing on a trip down to South Padre for Spring Break and hooked up with a guy at a Limp Bizket on th beach show? She shouldn't be giving blood! The whole point of GIVING blood is that you do it to HELP someone, not yourself. You certainly don't threaten them into giving. A lot of people are afraid of needles. It's a real phobia. Forcing them into a situation like that by threatening "severe consequences" isn't just unethical, it's cruel. I have no doubt that every single sorority on that campus sent out a similar email to each member. While charity for charity's sake should be applauded, charity for the furtherment of you sorority's social postion is sick and wrong. I hope they toss those girls off campus and charge Ms. Key with conpsiracy to commit fraud and endangering the public health. She's an embarrasment to the once proud greek tradition that has fallen apart across the country over the years.
:: C.M. Burns 4/13/2004 09:13:00 AM [+] ::
:: Monday, April 12, 2004 ::
And People Say Gambling Is a "Problem"...
In a turn of events sure to have desperate losers everywhere packing their bags to the cityof Sin(I say that with respect), a man sold all of his possessions, moved to Vegas in March, and Sunday bet all he had left on Red 7 at a roulette table-And WON! He was surrounded by family and wearing a rented tux, as he had SOLD HIS CLOTHES. He won $270,600, as he had lost a bit of cash from the original $135,300 he brought with him. The payback on a single bet to land on red 7 is 35 to 1 on average, meaning that his actual bet was about $7715, if the article is correct. It may not be. Or it could be an odd coincidence, or poor reporting. He won twice what he brought on that one spin. The article never mentions the size of the bet. If he had bet all $135,300 on one number, his take would have been $4.7 Million. Still, that's a lot of cash for one bet, and will give hope to desperate types like yours truly that they CAN win. I don't have a problem, I swear.
:: C.M. Burns 4/12/2004 12:20:00 PM [+] ::
:: Wednesday, April 07, 2004 ::
Shiloh-142 years Ago Today
On this day 142 years ago, General Ulysses S. Grant, already famous for smaller victories, grabbed the attention of the Nation by defeating Confederate forces at the Battle of Shiloh. It was the bloodiest battle of the war up to that point, and indicated that General William Techumsah Sherman was correct and not insane when he predicted a long, bloody conflict(after he predicted a long war, the Army had him institutionalized for a while). The text of the reporting from the battle in the New York Times is here, called "The Battle of Pittsburgh", initially naming the battle after Pittsburgh Landing, although Shiloh was fought in Tennessee. It was a horrible, bloody battle, and until Gettysburg over a year later, would be the worst battle of the war.
Correction: The bloodiest day of the war would actually come in September of 1892, at Antietam(Sharpsburg for you Sons and Daughters of the South). That single day saw more dead than any other in the war, I think holding the worldwide record until WWI. Shiloh was the bloodiest total battle until Gettysburg, Shiloh being a two day battle and Gettysburg a three day fight. Sorry for the lack of clarity.
:: C.M. Burns 4/07/2004 09:49:00 AM [+] ::
:: Monday, April 05, 2004 ::
Dr. Detroit Makes It To AMC
I was utterly shocked yesterday morning to discover that Doctor Detroit, the 1983 comedy starring a thin Dan Aykroyd as a mild-mannered professor who becomes the baddest pimp in Chicago, was being shown on American Movie Classics. Yes, the network that used to show classic films was now showing a goofy, oddly memorable wierdo comedy from the 80's that hasn't been seen on television sinch the year after it was released. This would be stunning, but it was followed by some serious crap and AMC lost it's "Classic" status over the course of three years when they went from showing widescreen, uninterrupted movies that were made from the dawn of cineman until the mid 1960's, to a gimmick heavy net that called "Police Academy" a classic some weeks back. Next to that, Dr. Detroit isn't just a classic, it deserves preservation in the AFI vaults.
Anyway, I have fond memories of the film, memories that were destroyed forever by actually watching it again. Not only is it poorly written, it features Howard "Dr. Johnny Fever" Hessman as a pimp who is actually afraid of a large yet stupid madame/crime lord named "Mom". Hessman drives in a limo and lives in the best apartment in Chicago, yet only has 4 girls in his stable, one of whom is played by Fran Drescher and shouldn't even count. Four girls? If watching that documentary about Heidi Fleiss last week (no, not the made for TV movie) tough me anything, it's that to live like that, you need a LOT of high priced hookers, and you can't just hang with them in your limo all day, and you definitly can't send them out on the street to get arrested. Those girls aren't going to bring in the kind of cash you need to live that lifestyle.
Anyway, the movie manly exists to set up bizzaro-world comic set pieces in which Akyroyd, still at the top of his game comically, imitates a southern lawyer, a crazy pimp, or a nerdy professor, and various others. Akyroyd still seems to be slumming here, as his career didn't really die until about 10 years later. He is easily the only good thing in the film. In an early moment that comes from nowhere, he buys a Col. Sanders suit from an ambulance chasing lawyer at the Cook County courthouse for $20 so he can persuade the intensely Southern judge to dismiss the charges against one of his ladies. It's actuallu quite funny, and you really don't wonder what a deep-fried southern judge is doing in Chicago. Aykroyd shows off what were once considerable comedic talents with pratfalls, goofy sex scenes, and the classic line in which he, dressed as superpimp Dr. Detroit, asks the large, gender-nuetral Mom and her cronies "Which one of you is Mom?" Funny because the other flunkies are bald and clearly male and Mom's gender seems to be "other". Plus she looks like a man. I wouldn't have bothered to explain how bad the joke was, but Aykroyd sells the line with such comic conviction that you can't help but laugh out loud.
The film is a mess, actually. You never really get what the hell Mom is doing in the crime world, besides running a scrapyard and employing bald men in valet uniforms. Drugs are around since it's the 80's, and there's an attempt at on-topic political humor involving the financial failure of Aykroyds univeristy and the constant threats of suicide from his father, the Chancellor. Some zany scheme involving the Hookers is cooked up to save the school, and Mom is apparently killed by her own scrap metal. The movie is memorable also for the fact that at the end of the credits, a sequel is promised: "Dr. Detroit 2: The Wrath of Mom". Sadly, that wonderful sequel never came about, presumably since Aykroyd hit it big in the next few years with "Ghostbusters", "Spies Like Us", and "Dragnet", though since he made this film AFTER the wild success of "Trading Places" and "The Blues Brothers", one has to wonder what he was thinking. Plus, considering he has no career now, a return to Dr. Detroit would be welcome, with the only problem being that Mom is dead, the director has gone on to be a successful collaborator with David E. Kelly, and Fran Drescher is more annoying now than ever. Plus, Howard Hessman really couldn't come back, as no one knows who he is. Also, none of the writers has done anything of note since, which is a shame for one of them, as he had written Jaws and The Jerk, two fine films, and also Jaws 2 and Jaws 3-D, not so fine films. I guess his promise died with "Dr. Detroit". Sad, really, as a professor turned Pimp who enjoys group sex, cocaine, and tandoori chicken had a shot at a franchise. Well, it's not to be, but turn on AMC somday, and between showings of "Cannonball Run" and "Ishtar", Dr. Detroit may be there to warm your soul, and tickle your funny bone.
:: C.M. Burns 4/05/2004 11:16:00 AM [+] ::
He lays waste to the claim that Cleland was smeared as "unpatriotic" for voting against the Homeland Security bill, and rightly asserts that other campaigns have been nastier and that Cleland, surprise surprise, wasn't a very good Senator. Veteran who deserves admiration yes, giant of the Senate done in by villanous Republicans? Hardly. Crowley also seems to dispair that Cleland is being used by Kerry as a sort of prop, bringing him to every event and using his image as the wrongly smeared hero to drum up bloodlust in a Democratic party that has no new ideas. Cleland is sort of the symbol of the Kerry campaign-Angry, yet unable to find any other political courage.
:: C.M. Burns 4/05/2004 10:36:00 AM [+] ::
:: Friday, April 02, 2004 ::
308,000 New Jobs In March, 513,000 New Jobs this year
The economy added 308,000 jobs in March, and revised figures for job growth in Januray and Febuary showed a total increase of 513,000 jobs in the first three months of the year. If this keeps up, by the end of 2004, the economy will have added jobs under the Bush administration. This news is especially bad for Democrats, as long as the rate hold up, as they've made the weak job picture a key factor in their election strategy. If the economy is adding jobs up through election day, John Kerry will have a hard time calling the president's economic plans a "failure". Which is fine with me, because I hate John Kerry. While the unemployment rate ticked up .1%, this is attributed to more people restarting their job hunts, which in the long term also means good things for Dubya. I have to say, with Hellboy coming out today and it also being Friday, this is turning into a very pleasant day indeed.
:: C.M. Burns 4/02/2004 11:15:00 AM [+] ::
I Feel Important
Just a week or so since ranting about the decline of ESPN, there appears on Slate.com the following awesome article: "This Is SportsCenter? - The decline and fall of ESPN's franchise." It's by By Matt Feeney, and I daresay he's a fan of this blog. Well, I doubt that, but he slams Linda Cohn and harkens back to the good old days of "The Big Show" to demonstrate just how bad things have gotten over at ESPN HQ. I feel vindicated! Huzzah!
:: C.M. Burns 4/02/2004 10:29:00 AM [+] ::