Tuesday, November 30, 2004


Google Blocked?

This is interesting:

Google's English News channel inaccessible in China for more than a week

Shanghai. (Interfax-China) - The English version of Google's news service has been inaccessible in China for more than a week. Zhang Junwei, a Google Media official stationed in Beijing, acknowledged that the company's English News channel was inaccessible when contacted by Interfax, but could not provide further comment.

The Google English News channel, which monitors more than 4,500 online news outlets, has become a popular resource for Chinese netizens searching for information from around the world. As Interfax previously reported, the Chinese government blocked Google's News channel in September of 2002.

Although Google's English News channel is presently inaccessible in China, the search engine's Chinese language News channel was up and running as normal. Google's Chinese Language News channel does not display results from websites banned by the Chinese government.

As of November 29, Interfax was still unable to access the home page of Google's English News through normal IP services, but was able to visit the site through proxy servers, suggesting that it may have been blocked by the authorities.
This sort of blocking will become more common, as will the ability of individuals to route around it.


Softly Ironic

Amongst the semi-regular spam ads I get in my email is this one:

Cialis Soft Tabs is the new impotence treatment drug..."
Soft Tabs for impotence ... is that the worst product name of the year?


The Feasible Iranian Option

Iran is now on the verge of nuclear weapons. Taking them out militarily is a difficult option, to say the least: Debka estmates 350 targets, most of them buried and/or otherwise hardened, and deliberately placed near human shields such as schools, hospitals and the like. And these are just the ones we know about. Meanwhile, the mullahs themselves are none too popular in their homeland.

Sounds like a situation tailor-made for a coup, followed by an election. Whoever topples the mullahs would have the inside track at winning an Iranian election, anyway.

The mullahs already support terrorists as much as possible and have vowed to use their nukes against anyone they hate (it's a long list). If there's a better practical solution to the danger than a popular uprising/coup followed by elections, I haven't heard it yet.


Ukrainian Gamesmanship

Eastern Ukraine has suddenly "decided" that if the fraudulent Ukrainian elections are to be re-held, they may secede instead. In fact, it's almost as if a talking point was circulated among Putin's team and distributed from there.

the weeklong standoff in which tens of thousands of opposition supporters have blocked official buildings in the capital and eastern provinces are threatening to seek autonomy
Suddenly, Putin has an excuse to cancel the re-do of the election, in the interests of "peace" and "stability," of course. Think that's just a coincidence?

Putin will probably talk tough, first, to see if he can scare off the EU - a reasonable tactic, given their recent track record vs bullies - thereby weakening the position of the US and the Ukraine at the pivotal moment. Trying the tough-guy route is also a low-cost option for him; he can always back down later in return for a minor concession or two.

Monday, November 29, 2004


Hamas: Ban The Guns!

Hamas is talking peace. But buried in the story is a most interesting detail:

Security sources in Gaza have said that the Palestinian Authority has put together a security plan that will attempt to put an end to the illegal carrying of weapons on the Palestinian street.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, who served as Arafat's spokesman for the past decade, also recently came out against the prevalent trend of illegally bearing arms. In an interview with al-Jazeera, Rudeineh said, "Both the Fatah and Hamas need to understand that this phenomenon will harm the Palestinians rather than strengthen them."
So the terrorists are afraid of "their" people getting guns! Now why is that?

Could it be that, when all the propaganda and chest-thumping in front of the Western Media is done, that those same people then go home knowing full well they'd be better off without Hamas and their like, and might actually try to enforce the results of a real election?

Hat Tip: The Corner


A Bigger Cocoon

When we speak of the liberal cocoon, we refer to what is in fact a universal phenomenon, the tendency of all of us to isolate ourselves from contrary opinions and facts (liberals are just doing it more than anyone else at present, but it's still not exclusive to them).

Meet the new champs (though blameless under the circumstanceas):

Phnom Penh - Seven Cambodian families have been found living in remote jungle where they had been hiding since 1979 from Vietnamese troops who left the country 15 years ago.

The 34 hill tribe people, who lived off birds, wild plants and wore clothes made of tree bark and leaves, had been out of touch with the outside world since fleeing invading Vietnamese forces.
This story has not gotten much press in the West, presumably because it would remind the editors of the NYT and their followers that a lot of what occurred when the US left the region was not at all like a Joan Baez folk song. But it did happen, and it does need to be faced. History is our memory, and when we wilfully erase that memory, how can we learn?

Hat Tip: Santepheap

Sunday, November 28, 2004


A Question Without An Answer?

International Answer, discussed here in previous posts, is at it again:

International ANSWER has called for a mass demonstration on January 20th, 2004, the date of George Bush's inauguration into his second term, to say, "End the occupation of Iraq - Bring the troops home now!" ANSWER hopes to have thousands of people in a permitted protest, lining the inaugural route in Washington, DC, and there will also be protests in Los Angeles and San Francisco on that day. The ANSWER Coalition in the SF Bay Area has not yet announced its plans for that date.
IA often serves as the umbrella group that organizes all those various other groups to form a demonstration. My questions about IA remain: why would the the leaders of the other groups want to march under IA's banner? Why wouldn't they just organize the demonstration themselves? What kind of pull does a such a despicable group as IA have that it can be accepted as the de facto leader of so many other groups?

And most of all - why don't the members of each of those other groups confront their own group leadership with these questions?

Saturday, November 27, 2004


In Globalization's Wake

How pervasive are the effects of globalization? So much so that even the NY Times is reporting it thusly:

...we're in the 11th month of the most prosperous year in human history. Last week, the World Bank released a report showing that global growth "accelerated sharply" this year to a rate of about 4 percent.

Best of all, the poorer nations are leading the way. Some rich countries, like the U.S. and Japan, are doing well, but the developing world is leading this economic surge. Developing countries are seeing their economies expand by 6.1 percent this year
In 1990, there were roughly 472 million people in the East Asia and Pacific region living on less than $1 a day. By 2001, there were 271 million living in extreme poverty, and by 2015, at current projections, there will only be 19 million people living under those conditions.
Still unreported, however, are the reactions of the anti-globalization protesters of the last several years. They've been kinda quiet of late, but perhaps it's only cuz they, too, have jobs now.

Friday, November 26, 2004


Are Muslims Taking A Stab At China?

Is China (referring to the Peoples Republic thereof) fending off a larger problem with its own Muslim population than they acknowledge?

There've been a few incidents of late that, taken together, make me wonder. Regular readers (meeting in a phone booth!) will note that I don't usually trust coincidences.

First, let's review the main story in the sequence:

A man has been arrested in connection with the deaths of eight boys stabbed as they slept in a dormitory, Chinese officials have said.

The suspect was captured thanks to a tip-off to police from his mother after he tried to commit suicide, Chinese media reported.

Four other children were wounded in the attack at a secondary school in the city of Ruzhou, in Henan province.

There has been a series of stabbings in Chinese schools in recent months.
That last line is important: There has been a series of stabbings...This one was "the sixth in four months," so it's hardly isolated.

So what else caught my attention? How about this report of massive clashes between Muslims & non-Muslims in the area
almost 150 people died in the violence, which began after a taxi driver from the Hui Muslim ethnic group struck and killed a girl from the majority Han Chinese community with his car, leading to fighting and burning of homes in the area.

According to local residents, martial law is in force in the area around Langchenggang township, as armed police prohibit people from coming in or out of the area.

"They're still here...There's martial law. We can't go out," a local resident told RFA's Mandarin service.

"There are still a lot of soldiers here," another villager said. "I can't guess how many."

Other residents were quoted as saying by Agence France-Presse that more than 10 Muslims from the Hui minority and more than 10 from the majority Han Chinese population died.

"Clashes have happened frequently before but this is the worst," he said. "The two groups used farm tools to fight each other," the man said.
The fighting intensified after riot police were drafted into the area to protect the initial trouble spot from thousands of reinforcements from among Hui communities elsewhere in the province.
Guess now'd be a good time to everything together, wouldn't it? Well, this is where it gets both interesting ... and, admittedly, a little speculative. From the same article quoted previously:
Worried by the violence, schools in the capital, Beijing, and other regions have begun employing professional guards to protect students, Xinhua reported.
You do not hire guards after a one-off attack. You hire guards when you know of an existing and continuing threat.

Who stabs? It's a very old way of killing, and a quick googling reveals that stabbing is common in certain circles:
Cases such as the murder of Egyptian writer Farag Fuda, the stabbing of Nobel Prize winner Naguib Mahfouz, and the infamous apostasy ruling against Egyptian professor Nasr Hamid Abu-Zaid attest to the terror tactics The Muslims ... then made her watch the murder of all four of her children, before raping and then stabbing her repeatedly to death...when the Muslims went to inform the Prophet, he said 'You have done a service to Allah
After Pearl's throat is cut, his head is severed and held aloft by a hand
in front of the camera. The tape cuts to his murderers repeatedly stabbing
his lifeless corpse.
 A Muslim Jordanian man stabbed to death his pregnant sister because she married an Egyptian man against the family's wishes.
You are welcome to google "islam stabbing" yourself to see the results.

So there you have it: huge riots in the area, Muslim vs non-, involving thousands of people; a history of stabbing as a Muslim "mode of attack," (as Theo Van Gogh's relatives can attest); and a pattern of stabbings in Henan province indicating that the latest attack was not just an isolated incident by a lone wacko.

For a guy who doesn't trust concidences, I'm seeing a lot of them lately. What's up?

Thursday, November 25, 2004


Rope-A-Dope In Fallujah

The recent US sweep of Fallujah appears to have been perfectly timed. Almost too much so, to the point where I stop and say "hmm" whenever I think about it. Consider the following:

"The amount of weapons was in no way just to protect a city," said Maj. Jim West, a Marine intelligence officer. "There was enough to mount an insurgency across the country."

A huge store of weapons and explosives was discovered at the mosque of Abdullah al-Janabi, a Muslim cleric and insurgent leader, according to a report on The New York Times' Web site. Al-Janabi is thought to have fled the city.

The Times said the mosque compound in a residential area had sheds stacked with TNT, mortar shells, bombs, guns, rocket-propelled grenades and ammunition. A naval mine was in the street outside, it added.

Marines clearing houses in Fallujah have found Kalashnikov rifles, ammunition, rocket-propelled grenades, artillery shells and heavy-caliber cannon - with weapons caches often marked by a brick hanging by a string on homes' outside walls.

West said U.S. forces turned up a "cook book" with instructions on using mercury nitrate and silver nitrate and descriptions of nerve agents. He didn't elaborate.

Huge weapons capability was found. It included not just enough stock of existing weapons to start a revolution (I choose my words caqrefully here), but also the capability to build chemical weapons of even greater destructive force; WMDs by any other name, though I will eschew the term for now solely because it distracts from the point of this post.
There were weapons factories, too, going far beyond the usual blow-em-up devices...
In Fallujah, Iraqi forces uncovered a lab in the southwestern district of the city, where pockets of insurgents are still holding out following the assault.

"We also found in the laboratory manuals and instructions spelling out procedures for making explosives," Dawoud said. "They also spoke about making anthrax."

Dawoud showed pictures of a shelf containing what he said were various chemicals.
The results are that the Sunnis are coming back onside with elections:
The Party of Islam of Iraq (Sunni Party) after having announced that it will boycott the elections has changed its decision and now will participate in the elections. [hat tip: Powerline]
Now, the above is obviously excellent news, but I have to wonder:
  • The scale of the operations - huge weapons caches, often hidden right in the mosques that the people use - means that, to anyone living there, it was an open secret what was going on.

  • Many outlets have reported that the people of Fallujah suffered greatly under the terrorist thugs. No surprise there, but these same people hated the thugs as a result and wanted them gone. One must presume that at least a few were cooperating with the Coalition.

  • Then, wham!, at the very last moment, the Coalition sends in the troops, scoops up the weapons, smashes the infrastructure, and leaves the terrorists no time to regroup before the election. Even the Sunni opposition sees this and will now - quelle surprise! - support elections rather than be frozen out.
If I didn't know better, I'd swear the entire operation didn't "just happen." It now looks a lot more like a deliberate rope-a-dope, letting the enemy get overconfident and concentrate its efforts ineffectually, in this case in a single city, where the Coalition could then take it out with a single blow.

Was Fallujah left alone till the end specifically for this purpose? It sure seems that way.

Because, as Branch Rickey put it, luck is the residue of design. So my question then becomes: how long ago was this planned? From here, it now looks like it was laid out almost from the get-go. I'd blame Karl Rove, but really, he has to sleep sometime.


Postmodern Math in Seattle

You gotta wonder whether maybe the three R's have been neglected to long when you hear this:

with a slim margin and a candidate unwilling to concede Wednesday, the state probably has another recount — a third — to look forward to.
"A 42-vote margin, my friends, that is a tied race," she [Gregoire, the Democrat who trails] told reporters and supporters in Seattle.
Perhaps she can also explain how she'd balance the budget. Could be enlightening.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004


Rather Obvious Whitewash

So CBS has announced Dan Rather's new role before their investigation into the forged documents is complete.

Isn't that kinda like a judge announcing "you're free to go" while the jury is still out? Oh well, can't say they weren't helpfully obvious about it.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004


Cybercrime: Making An Offer They Can't Refuse

Guess what?

Criminal gangs in Britain are increasingly attempting to plant insiders in companies to steal data and aid cybercrime attacks.
If treated lightly, the next step will follow the patten of car theft:
  • First you left your keys in your car, so it was your own fault if it got stolen.
  • Then you took your keys, but didn't lock your doors, so it was still your fault.
  • Then you installed an alarm, but everyone knows criminals aren't scared of those. It was ineffective and you should have known better.
  • Then you put in "The Club" and it worked - so they carjacked the vehicle with you still in it!
As long as the penalties for the criminal acts were too low, the problem got worse; thieves can do cost/benefit and risk/reward calculations, too.

There's a whole lotta money in cybercrime, encouraging a ruthless attitude. And pretty soon now, the bad guys'll figger out, if they haven't already, that it's a lot easier to extort cooperation from a trusted techie than to plant one yourself. And if the penalties aren't that bad....


The Base(Iraq) - Part II

Recently, I posted on the theory that the terrorist "cell system" was vulnerable to attacks on its central facilities, and that Fallujah would be a major test of this. To revisit my previous comments:

The Belmont Club posted an interesting article in Septmeber, based largely on the work of Vladis Krebs, postulating that terrorist cells are hamstrung when their central base is disrupted. The basic reasoning is that the cells are generally small, no more than 100 individuals, most of whom know less than a half-dozen of their fellows in even their own cell. Without a central coordinating agency, they are blind.
First results are in
From the New York Times: "Insurgent attacks around the country have fallen sharply - to about 90 a day from a high of around 150 a day as the battle in Falluja began, according to data compiled by a private security company."
These results are preliminary, but interesting. We'll see if they continue. If they represent a trend, then a major conclusion in how to fight terrorism at the ground level will have been reached.

Monday, November 22, 2004


Chirac's $upport

Why is France now hosting the Baath Socialist Party and giving it a renewed lease on life, even as it (France) further intensifies its opposition to US plans for enabling democracy in Iraq?

Everything France has done so far has been for a payoff, not for France per se, but for specific elites and individuals within France: le betrayál, if that's even a French word (I'm a Canuck, but a Western Canuck, and we don't actually get much chance to practice our high-school French out here). So ... what's up with Jacques this time?

There's not too many who would bankroll the Baathists, are there? This is good - it reduces our shortlist as to who's buying off Chirac & co. My own bet is that the Iranians are behind the latest resurrection attempt. They might hate the Sunnis, but would rather deal with them later, after the Americans are gone. Priorities.

What's your bet? Chirac does nothin' without getting his price first, he's established that much. But who do you think's paying for the latest? (Bonus question: would it be better for the US to just buy off the Chiracs of the world for now, at least for long enough to win the GWOT first?)


Learning To Survive

Mickey Kaus raises an idea that has long intrigued me - vouchers for higher-ed (he doesn't actually call them that; it's what they are, though).

But no one has mentioned the main reason I expect them to be heavily opposed: because they would spell the end the most powerful and lucrative industrial oligopoly ever, that of higher education. Higher ed has its strengths and its weaknesses, but open it up for competition and it will by definition cease to be protected pasture.

Its costs - in the Information Age, no less - are astronomical: 4 full years of a young person's life, plus a huge debt load. It'll vary with the institution, of course, but the basic question remains: can it be done better and cheaper, meaning specifically "better for the student?"

Actually implementing vouchers would answer that question, but it's a test that I suspect many U's would rather not take. And who can - from a purely Machiavellian point of view - blame them? Why would they want to subject their industry to true competition, given the track record of other government-funded industries forced to survive in the wild? They've got it pretty good where they are (dissenters are welcome to ask their private-industry bosses for tenure and post the results in the comments section!) And politically, it could be the death-knell for the academic left.

Maybe they'll surprise me with their open-mindedness, and I'd like it if they did. But in any event, the politics involved in suppressing vouchers will be in direct proportion to higher ed's own fear of compeition. It'll be interesting to see how it unfolds, if it does.


Who Is International Answer?

When the massive protests against the (then pending) US attack on Saddam were in full swing, not many people stopped to question who was behind them. Not so much the people who demonstrated, but rather, who put them together and why. The answer is International Answer, an offshoot of a Stalinist organization.

IA is the group that has consistently been able to attract the greatest number of demonstrators. I guess no one else has as much support, and they are at it again:

Anti-war protesters planning to come to town for President Bush’s inauguration in January say they remain undeterred despite reports that Washington, D.C., is going to be a virtual fortress...
protest organizers like Brian Becker of ANSWER (Act Now To Stop War And Racism) say the move is less a response to post-Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist threats, and more a way to discourage demonstrators.
Workers World Party or WWP (that's the Stalinist parent), created International A.N.S.W.E.R. and runs it to this day. They are on record as supporting the following:

* The massacre in Tiananmen in 1989.

* The dictatorship of Saddam Hussein.

* North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il.

* Slobodan Milosevic.

The above is just a sampling of the more recent events on which they have commented.

Why don't other groups just organize their own demonstrations rather than associate with a known Stalinist group? I find it hard to believe that a majority of the protesters share IA's views on the points above, yet there they are, marching to IA's drummer. Is it just inertia, or perhaps a lack of organizational capability on the part of the other groups? What?

Lastly, no one knows how WWP/IA is funded, though it's widely assumed that various dictators such as Saddam (in his day) and Kim Jong Il use it as a front. In any event, it's certainly not transparent.

While I don't recommend that demonstrators stop demonstrating when they believe it to be for an important cause (albeit in this case I would disagree with their conclusions), I would urge them to cut their ties to IA. At the very least, they should learn all they can about just who is calling their shots; forewarned is forearmed. If you truly believe in what you are demonstrating for, you owe it to the world to do that much, eh?


Dems Too Clever By A Half?

Was the Democratic Party too clever for its own good on election night? More specifically, did they mix and match some mutually incompatible strategies, and end up getting screwed by the Dem-centric exit polls? Some have wondered, but this kinda sums it up best:

Throughout the afternoon and well into election night, the Kerry people thought they were winning. If they were winning they could not complain about how the election was being conducted. The thousands of lawyers the Kerry campaign had deployed to the battleground states could not file challenges because they didn't want their own people to call into question the legitimacy of the process.

By the time it became clear that President Bush was likely to win, it was too late for the Kerry campaign to go back to the news media and complain that there were problems with the election.
The above, btw, comes from one of the little-known gems of blogging, www.mullings.com. If you're not familiar with the site, treat yourself to a look (and if you write the site, treat yourself to a drink, and thanks for visiting!).

Saturday, November 20, 2004


The SuhaLand Express Continues

Can we all agree on one thing right now? I.e.: it's a bad idea to extort money from well-connected terrorists, as Suha Arafat is learning:

She took the files and ran after Palestinian TV broadcast Friday sermon threatening her life. She used Arafat's plane, flouting Palestinian Authority's demands for its return.
Run for your life, Suha.

BTW, am I the only one to seriously doubt that there's only one copy of these files in the entire world and Suha has it in a manila envelope or something? Even French hospitals must back up their medical records, non? Sounds more like Suha's being set up to take the fall for a more generalized cover-up.

Friday, November 19, 2004


Dem Pressure Rising

John Kerry sent out an e-mail to his supporters today. It said in part:

Regardless of the outcome of this election, once all the votes are counted -- and they will be counted -- we will continue to challenge this administration. This is not a time for Democrats to retreat and accommodate extremists on critical principles -- it is a time to stand firm."
A few people across the blogosphere have noted the tone, attitude and failure to comprehend that the election is over.

But what caught mine own eye was something else. Kerry - representing, one presumes, the views of many in his party - is openly tagging other Dems as "extremists" for not wanting to continue the same reflexive-attack approach that just cost them the election.

There's been a split brewing in the Dems for some time now between the Normals and the Loonies. Will the party move to the center, or - as it did last time - further to the left? In reply to that question, the leadership, with MSM support, has apparently made up its mind. Leftward ho!

The pressure for a split is rising and bubbling quite close to the surface now. Can defections of Democratic moderates be far behind?


The Bush/Jintao Quiet Understanding?

There's so much more going on beneath the NK surface. Suddenly, and in contrast to two generations of direct propaganda, Kim Il Sung is no longer being officially deified.

An Update on the North Korean Situation from a Reader in Japan

Friday morning (9:00 A.M. Japan time)a news/current events dicussion program on the Asahi network (affiliated with the Asahi Shimbun) is talking about a North Korean flyer they say they have acquired that is titled The Ten Great Lies of Kim Father and Son. So, it's no longer just the Sankei Shimbun.
TOKYO, Nov. 16 - Portraits of North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Il, have been quietly taken down this fall in important institutions in the country's capital, Pyongyang, several diplomats there say.

Analysts are debating the reasons, with explanations that range from a demotion of North Korea's "Dear Leader" to a simple desire to place the portraits in more ornate frames.
I wouldn't expect any of this to take place without China's blessing, as NK is a border state to them and their interest is in accordance with reality. So we have a situation where:
  • A quiet coup is already underway
  • It began immediately after Bush's re-election
  • China likely approved and/or implemented it
Too many coincidences. The entire story will not come out for years, and in dribs and drabs, but it appears that one day our grandchildren'll be looking back on the famous Bush/Jintao Quiet Understanding of 2004.

UPDATE: Also of note, Colin Powell's last major act as Secretary Of State: effectively disavowing US support for Taiwan for now. In return for ... what? Cuz a statement like that sure didn't come for free.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004


I Know What You're Thinking....

Ok, it's hard to tell how much is real and how much is hype, but I found this story interesting nonetheless:

There's a retail store surveillance camera that knows just how much you want that high-definition television set.

It can distinguish who lingers longingly before the blinking wall of TVs from who actually buys one. As shoppers dash from store to store in a mall, it can take note of who goes where, picking up subtle non-verbal cues like the spring in the step of the ones dangling new purchases, or the defeated shuffle of those who haven't found what they came for.

"Human Locator," a new software-based video surveillance system by the Montreal ad agency Freeset Interactive Entertainment, transforms the lowly digital video recorder into a sophisticated tool for observing human behaviour.

Its brain is a set of mathematical algorithms that isolates human forms from whatever else is captured on camera, and then tracks the person.

It then converts data about their location and movements, behaviour, speed and direction and a host of other variables into a continually updated statistical analysis.

The technology will be able to give store owners insights into the buying habits of customers leagues beyond what they get today by analysing sales receipts, says its creator, Freeset president Bastien Beauchamp.
Human Locator made its commercial debut last week at the Bell Challenge tennis tournament in Montreal, not as a store surveillance tool but in another intriguing incarnation: Embedded within a BCE Inc.-sponsored promotional video game, it let gamers play tennis against their own image projected onscreen as an "opponent." Their real movements were analysed and when they took a shot, the onscreen doppelganger lobbed or volleyed in return.

In other words, the "smart camera" system doesn't just passively collect statistics, it's able to trip electronic devices embedded in just about anything -- from video games, to advertising billboards, furniture, appliances and even water fountains -- using data supplied by visual images to make those devices "smarter" too.
I predict the next gen will be embedded in ordinary looking eyeglasses, providing a heads-up display to the wearer indicating whether the person you're talking to is telling the truth, planning a crime, and/or wants to sleep with you. Sales will be robust.


The Base(Iraq)

The Belmont Club posted an interesting article in Spetmeber, based largely on the work of Vladis Krebs, postulating that terrorist cells are hamstrung when their central base is disrupted. The basic reasoning is that the cells are generally small, no more than 100 individuals, most of whom know less than a half-dozen of their fellows in even their own cell. Without a central coordinating agency, they are blind.

That theory will get a good workout over the next several months in Iraq, particularly in light of the news from Fallujah:

FALLUJAH, Iraq — US forces dropped a pair of 2,000-pound bombs early yesterday morning on a bunker complex believed to be an insurgent training facility on the southern edge of this city, where the most dedicated and best trained rebel fighters are making a last stand.

The bombs shook the ground of the former insurgent stronghold and set off secondary explosions that went on for 45 minutes but could not be seen above ground, persuading officers of the Army’s First Infantry Division that there were large stockpiles of weapons underground.
Sure sounds like a central base to me.

In anticipation of the attacks, one would expect the terrorists to have made contingency plans beforehand for at least one additional wave of attacks, as they are clearly attuned to their effect in the media and will always play to that.

But as the weeks and months pass, presuming the "base attacks" are maintained and the same terrorist groups are pursued elsewhere as they set up new central bases - and they will have to try - it will be instructive to watch the long-term results.

In theory, this strategy should work in practice, but in practice, of course, it's still a theory. Results will tell.


French Reciprocity

Jacques Chirac opens his kimono and it ain't pretty:

LONDON (Reuters) - French President Jacques Chirac said in a newspaper interview on Tuesday that Britain has gained nothing from its support for the United States-led invasion of Iraq.

Chirac said he had urged Britain before the invasion to press President Bush to revive the Middle East peace process in return for London’s support.

“Well, Britain gave its support but I did not see much in return,” Chirac was quoted as saying in the Times. “I am not sure that it is in the nature of our American friends at the moment to return favors systematically.” ...
Not like Jacques' old friend, Saddam "Oil For Food" Hussein. Now there was a guy who knew how to systematically return a favor....

Tuesday, November 16, 2004


A Trap Avoided

I am still seeing criticism, usually for its own sake and usually from the disgruntled Left, that Bush should have attacked Saudi Arabia instead of Iraq. Whenever I do, I count my lucky stars that such critics were not in power on the fateful day. SA will be dealt with last, and for good reason

Consider: AQ was/is an international organization, with devotees from many countries. Statistically, this ought to have been reflected in the makeup of the hijackers. But it was not. They were Saudi and this was deliberate.

Why? Because AQ wanted the US to attack SA in retaliation. This would ensure that AQ's two biggest rivals would then be at war, with AQ prepared to swoop in and pick up the pieces.

The ground would have been fertile. Attacking SA means attacking Mecca and Medina, and that would indeed have started a true holy war, one where AQ on its home turf would have a huge advantage, throughout the ME.

This is still the case today. The House of Saud must indeed be pressured and/or toppled one day, just not yet, not till the endgame. The other ME countries must become true democracies first. After that, the House Of Saud can be dealt with as an isolated relic.

Bush correctly eschewed a very dangerous decision, one where the casualties on both sides would have measured in the millions, or something worse that rhymes with millions, and lasted for generations.

Even today, over three years later and with 20-20 hindsight, many of the knee-jerk critics still fail to see that 9-11 was not just an attack, it was equally a trap. Fortunately, they weren't in charge when it mattered.

Sunday, November 14, 2004


Speed-dating, Meet The Electoral System

There's been much talk about the role that "values" played in the presidential election. Which values were never specified, leaving each side free to substitute those of its choice in denigrating or applauding the trend, as the case may be.

But has anyone stopped to consider why this issue crops up now and - its exit-poll source notwithstanding - I think it has merit.

Here's my theory: it's because of the decline of the MSM. Most people know they can't trust their nightly news, and the few who do are usually the same people who claim that OBL works for George Bush; not a cohort to which others aspire.

If issues and policies and details are unknowable except to those willing to google and surf each one ad nauseum, what's left save for character and values?

As Sherlock Holmes said, if you eliminate all other possibilities, what's left is the truth. The truth today is that the MSM's credibility is so low that their reports are being treated by the public as little more than background music, heard but not listened to, while sizing a candidate up. And who can blame them?

Thursday, November 11, 2004


The Evolution Of Irony

Who are the people having kids today?

Immigrants, yes. That's one group. But among white, middle-class Americans, religious people are having children at a much higher rate. More and more and more children percentage-wise than non-religious people. There's a survival value in religious beliefs. They have a sense of purpose. They feel their mission in life is to multiply and be fruitful. The whole Darwinian concept -- evolution -- is on the side of evangelical Christians. They're growing by any measure.
A belief in Darwinism appears to be a distinct Darwinian disadvantage.


You'd Think She'd Know Better

Suha Arafat has reputedly cut a deal with the devil:

Last July, Arafat sent his wife $11 million to cover her living expenses and those of their daughter for six months - $1.8 million per month. The new accord guarantees her the same allowance from the Palestinian Authority as a regular annual remittance, i.e. $22 million per annum, for the rest of her life. Abu Mazen and prime minister Ahmed Qureia (Abu Ala) signed on the dotted line, although they have no notion how the penniless Palestinian Authority faced with a people in dire poverty can possibly stump up this kind of money.
Well, as I'm sure you mystery novelists and screenwriters out there noticed, it does say for the rest of her life.

Hat tip: Roger L. Simon

Wednesday, November 10, 2004


Duck & Cover Referenda

Captain's Quarters has a nice summation of the referendum in Arizona "that requires people to demonstrate their citizenship when registering to vote, produce ID when actually voting, and identify themselves as citizens or legal residents when receiving government services, despite the opposition of leading state politicians of both parties." [my emphasis] The measure passed 56-44.

To see pols on both sides lining up against a popular initiative is telling; usually they're the first to jump to the head of a parade. Until you realize ... they're using referenda the way the Left uses judges: let someone else proclaim the law, then say your hands are tied. You get what you want, and never offend a constituency.

And as for the referendum itself, imagine, having to identify yourself in order to vote! I wonder how many "unidentified" voters were in the 44 percent who said "no."


Allawi's Relatives Kidnapped


Three members of interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's family were kidnapped at gunpoint Tuesday morning as they left their home in Baghdad, according to an Allawi spokesman.

They include his first cousin, his cousin's wife and another relative, George Sada said Wednesday.
Isn't this a direct challenge to Allawi, his family and his tribe now? Did the kidnappers intend to kidnap such well-connected people, or were they just hijacking whoever showed up first? I guess we'll find out.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004


If It's Illegal, This Must Be Belgium

While the US fights to enable democracy in the Middle East, one of its most politically correct critics fights to suppress it in its own backyard:

Today (9 November), our party, the Vlaams Blok, has been condemned to death. This afternoon, the Belgian Supreme Court upheld the verdict, issued by the Court of Appeal in Ghent on 21 April, which declared the Vlaams Blok a criminal organisation. In order to preserve our party members from prosecution, we are now forced to disband. What happened in Brussels today is unique in the Western world: never has a so-called democratic regime outlawed the country's largest political party.

The Vlaams Blok was supported by almost 1 million voters in last June's elections. We got 24.1% of the vote in Flanders, where 60% of the Belgian population lives. Voting is compulsory in Belgium and no other party was supported by more people. Our party has grown continuously for two decades. Since 1987, it has won twelve consecutive elections in a row. Belgium, established in 1830 by French revolutionaries, is an artificial construct dominated by the Socialist Francophone minority in Wallonia. Our party's main objective is the secession of Flanders from Belgium. Flanders is the free-market oriented Dutch-speaking and politically minorised northern part of the country.
Dunno how yet, but I'm sure the Belgian government will find a way to blame Bush.


We Do It This Way Because....

The phrase "multicultural society" is usually touted as a virtue unto itself, because one culture is inherently no better than another, as the theory goes. Diversity, once a means, becomes an end.

But culture is a form of adapatation. In the abstract one adaptation is indeed no better than another, but in any particular circumstance ... well, that's a different story. The proverbial fish with feathers comes to mind.

Earth's population has burgeoned with the rise of individual liberty and achievement, and the liberal (in the classical sense) democracy and technological innovations it brings. Give it up - say, by returning solely to certain tribal roots, for which we still retain no lack of instincts - and our ability to sustain population levels would swiftly drop to its former, lower levels.

Those cultures well-adapted to modern life and to each other can help us to survive and flourish. Those that are not well-adapted will do the opposite. This seems to be a very hard idea for some people to accept.


Two Views Of Capitalism

We haven't done a compare-and-contrast for awhile, but here's a nice one.

Lynne Stewart is the lawyer on trial for allegedly helping smuggle incendiary messages from her client, blind cleric Omar Abdel-Rahman — who is imprisoned for life for plotting to blow up city landmarks — to terrorist followers overseas.

East Asia, however, has a somewhat more sensible approach to life.

Lynne Stewart East Asia
"I believe entrenched capitalism needs to be changed, and that's not easy," Stewart told Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Dember on her seventh day on the stand in Manhattan federal court.

Asked if violence was necessary to achieve such change, Stewart replied, "I don't think they [the targeted governments] will give up without that kind of threat.

"I'm taking about a popular revolution," she said.

Stewart said she backed a revolution in Egypt where hard-line Islamic fundamentalists would overthrow Egypt's secular government — the same view espoused by Abdel-Rahman.
With economic growth in East Asia at its highest level since the Asian financial crisis, there are fewer people than ever living in extreme poverty in the region, according to a new report.

The World Bank's six-monthly East Asia update says, with Japan excluded, growth will average more than 7 per cent this year and that the number of people living on less that $US2 ($A2.64) a day has fallen to about a third.

The past year had seen some 40 million people in the region move above that poverty measure, mostly in China, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.
You say you want a revolution?


Democracy Works

Freedom squelches terrorist violence

A John F. Kennedy School of Government researcher has cast doubt on the widely held belief that terrorism stems from poverty, finding instead that terrorist violence is related to a nation's level of political freedom.

Associate Professor of Public Policy Alberto Abadie examined data on terrorism and variables such as wealth, political freedom, geography, and ethnic fractionalization for nations that have been targets of terrorist attacks.

Abadie, whose work was published in the Kennedy School's Faculty Research Working Paper Series, included both acts of international and domestic terrorism in his analysis.
Before analyzing the data, Abadie believed it was a reasonable assumption that terrorism has its roots in poverty, especially since studies have linked civil war to economic factors. However, once the data was corrected for the influence of other factors studied, Abadie said he found no significant relationship between a nation's wealth and the level of terrorism it experiences.

"In the past, we heard people refer to the strong link between terrorism and poverty, but in fact when you look at the data, it's not there. This is true not only for events of international terrorism, as previous studies have shown, but perhaps more surprisingly also for the overall level of terrorism, both of domestic and of foreign origin," Abadie said.

Instead, Abadie detected a peculiar relationship between the levels of political freedom a nation affords and the severity of terrorism [my emphasis]. Though terrorism declined among nations with high levels of political freedom, it was the intermediate nations that seemed most vulnerable.
Democracy in the Middle East, anyone? Looks like Bush was ahead of the curve on this one.


Republican Sprawl

Given the gap between urban Democrats and the Republican suburbs, is the fashionable denunciation of "urban sprawl" within the US no more than a liberal sneer at enemy territory, then? It would appear so.

Monday, November 08, 2004


An Australian Ostrich

Here's a post-modern solution to the problem of speeding, for you:

The Victorian government wants to restrict speedometers on all new cars in Australia at 130kph (80mph).
Because, if we don't acknowledge it, it can't really exist, right?

hat tip: Tim Blair


Calling All Protesters

Well, calling all principled protesters of the US War In Iraq, which may or may not result in as large a turnout....

ACCRA, GHANA – The smoldering civil war in Ivory Coast - a two-year, on-again off-again conflict between the government and northern rebels - began looking more like a battle between France and its former colony over the weekend.

French troops - deployed last year as part of a peacekeeping mission - destroyed much of the Ivorian Air Force Saturday in retaliation for a government bombing raid on the country's second-largest city of Bouake, in which France said nine of its troops were killed along with an unnamed American aid worker.

In response, Ivorian state television urged citizens to take to the streets, which they did with a vengeance, witnesses reported. French troops spent much of Saturday night and Sunday protecting French citizens from machete-wielding mobs in the commercial capital, Abidjan.
I don't recall the UN authorizing this?

Sunday, November 07, 2004


Will China Crash The US Dollar?

Will China revalue the Renminbi? The question has merit for those of us in the West in light of the massive Asian (read, Chines & Japanese) support for the US dollar.

It works like this: China needs an undervalued currecny. This, coupled with its low cost of labor (though that too has begun to change), has enabled it to take over manufacturing and create a pseudo-capitalist economy for itself.

Other Asian countries must compete, and have therefore done their level best to devalue their own currencies in response, in a kind of race to the bottom. The devaluations are particularly important against the US Dollar of course, as that is the currency of choice of the vaunted US consumer.

'Then what do you mean to be, my boy,
When you grow to be a man?'..
..'I want to be a Consumer
And live in a useful way;
For that's the thing that's needed most,
I've heard the Economists say.
There are too many people working
And too many things are made.
I want to be a Consumer, Sir,
And help to further Trade.'
--Patrick Barrington, Punch, April 1934
It's not that the Asian countries want to devalue vs each other; rather, it's that with China, the 800-pound gorilla, keeping its currency artificially low vs the US Dollar, they have no choice but to follow.

They genuinely fear their own currencies' appreciation, so they buy US debt/dollars, with China and Japan leading the way. Without the buying, which is massive, the US dollar would plunge, with all the good and bad that this would entail.

How long can this go on, people ask? Won't China one day let the Renminbi float and revalue? Haven't they already agreed to do so by 2007? And on the day they do, won't they no longer have a need to buy US dollars, leaving the American currency without its support? Surely the dollar will dive down by 20-40 percent almost overnight. The panic! The disaster!

But I wouldn't count on it happening this way, which would ultimately hurt China as much as it does the US. Yes, the Ameribuck is overvalued by traditional measures, but I suspect its decline will be somewhat less dramatic than thought. The reason is that a rebalancing of the relative worth of each currency need not take place through a specific revaluation - it can also be achieved by Chinese inflation.

Inflation is the legislator's friend worldwide: the tax that need never be seen; the policy that need never be announced. It's the butcher, the baker and the candlestick-maker who are held to blame, not the government. Governments fight inflation on our behalf!

Louis Vincent Gave states it clearly:
...right now, it appears that this is the course that Chinese authorities have decided to embark upon.

More importantly, it is hard to see what will make them change the course; by taking care of the overvaluation through inflation, the process is gradual, painless and face-saving. All aspects that a revaluation of the RMB does not offer!
Expect to see a very gradual decline of the Renminbi, probably followed by an equally gradual decline in Chinese (and hence Japanese) purchases of US debt. Yes, the US dollar will decline, but it will likely be smooth and steady, as much as these things can be, to everyone's benefit.

(hat tip: JohnMauldin at InvestorsInsight dot com)

Saturday, November 06, 2004


Does Arafat Have Aids?

The question is being raised openly now.

And, of course, if Arafat acquired it by having sex with his bodyguards, then just how widespread is the virus in that part of the world? A tough question, given the stigma that would come with admitting it there, and I sure wouldn't trust the "offical" stats to answer it.


Canada's October Crisis

Fri November 05, 2004 01:30 PM ET

OTTAWA (Reuters) - The number of U.S. citizens visiting Canada's main immigration Web site has shot up six-fold as Americans flirt with the idea of abandoning their homeland after President George W. Bush's election win this week.

"When we looked at the first day after the election, November 3, our Web site hit a new high, almost double the previous record high," immigration ministry spokeswoman Maria Iadinardi said on Friday.

On an average day some 20,000 people in the United States log onto the Web site, www.cic.gc.ca -- a figure which rocketed to 115,016 on Wednesday.
As frustrated Dems cry out in response to Bush's victory, "America will surely become a police state now! I'm moving to Canada!" they might wish to pause for a moment first and consider this: Canada has been hit with terrorism before, so we have some history on the subject. Not the usual peacetime rhetoric from a safe distance, but concrete actions taken when we too were attacked.

Here's what happened. The year was 1970. The Prime Minister of the day was Pierre Trudeau, leader of the Liberal Party, and a man who would philosophically fit right in with the modern US Democratic party. The event itself came to be known as "The October Crisis."

The terrorist group back then was the FLQ - The Front de Libération du Québec - a separatist group that wanted the province to secede from the rest of Canada. On October 5th, they kidnapped British Trade Commissioner James Cross and Quebec Justice Minister Pierre Laporte, then issued their demands.

To make along story short, Trudeau hunted them down. They released Cross but killed Laporte. Here's the key to this story though: Trudeau did all this by using Canada's "War Measures Act," a holdover from the First World War. Civil liberties? Out the window - there were terrorists at large.

And it worked. Years later, when asked if he still felt he had made the right decisions, Trudeau replied "well, it worked, didn't it?" Canadians at the time, and to this day, supported our Prime Minister's actions.

Did 3,000 Canadians die in a fiery attack? No, two men were kidnapped. At the time that the WMA was invoked, neither hostage was known to be dead. Was the FLQ considered a threat on a par with Al-Qaeda? No, but better to nip it in the bud. Was there a nuclear danger, as there is today? Again no, but if you let the problem grow it can only get worse.

We're a pretty nice bunch up here in Canada, if I do say so myself. But if you're coming here to find an ACLU-style of civil liberties, don't hold your breath. Like you, we're most likely to say that when it's easy to say. When the threat actually becomes an attack, though, even just a relatively small one, expect Canada to support measures far more restrictive than anything Ashcroft or Bush have done, or would even consider.

We did last time.

UPDATE: Just to give you the flavor of the War Measures Act, here's a few excerpts (but read the whole thing; it's only about a page):
(a) Censorship and the control and suppression of publications, writings, maps, plans, photographs, communications and means of communication;
(b) Arrest,, detention,, exclusion and deportation;
(c) Control of the harbours, ports and territorial waters of Canada and the movements of vessels;
(d) Transportation by land, air, or Water and the control of the transport of persons and things;
(e) Trading, exportation, importation, production and manufacture;
(f) Appropriation, control, forfeiture and disposition of property and of the use thereof.
may also prescribe whether such penalties shall be imposed upon summary conviction or upon indictment
As you can see, it's pretty much total government power and no civil rights. As for the Americans thinking of coming up here, they should first ask themselves what their reaction would be if Ashcroft were to propose the above. Though the Act was eventually superceded in 1988 (by the Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulrony), the Canadian government still retains wide powers in an emergency, moreso than in the US.

UPDATE: Feb 14, 2005 - Americans still considering emigrating North might also consider the details contained in this post before deciding if Canada is the liberal nirvana they expect it to be.



Can you spot the key word in this story? I've added a subtle (pronounce the 'b'!) clue:

Yasser Arafat has issued a political last will in which he appoints head of the PLO politburo Farouk Kadoumi as his successor, senior Palestinian officials claim.
Yes, the PLO has its very own "politburo." Arafat, remember, was a creation of the USSR.
Right after that meeting, I was given the KGB's "personal file" on Arafat. He was an Egyptian bourgeois turned into a devoted Marxist by KGB foreign intelligence. The KGB had trained him at its Balashikha special-ops school east of Moscow and in the mid-1960s decided to groom him as the future PLO leader. First, the KGB destroyed the official records of Arafat's birth in Cairo, replacing them with fictitious documents saying that he had been born in Jerusalem and was therefore a Palestinian by birth.
What's in a word? Quite a bit, actually.

Friday, November 05, 2004


Remind You Of Anywhere?

Here's another one of those "clever" memes from the embittered Left:
The Hard Left View 

So they see themselves as an embattled geographical minority, surrounded by armed religious fundamentalists with higher birthrates who are trying to push them into the sea.

Oh the irony!


El Condor Pasa

From Yahoo News, an Inside Baseball recap of the Kerry campaign:

Daughter Vanessa didn't enjoy being a prop, Teresa was complaining of migraines and telling her husband she couldn't walk anymore. The candidate tried to bravely soldier on, pulling his sullen wife and children to show them the magnificent condors flying overhead.
You know, if someone feels really, really ill - migraines certainly qualify - perhaps pointing out the scavenger birds circling overhead isn't the best way to cheer them up?


Exit Poll Handbook

Such Little Things has obtained a web exclusive: an inside look at the CNN training manual "How to conduct an exit poll:"

In order to forecast the election as properly as possible, it is imperative to approach a representative cross-section of CNN viewers. But it's not as easy as it looks to get strangers to respond. To help you out, we've developed this handy checklist:
  • Neighborhoods that traditionally vote Democrat have better coffee shops, encouraging a more open-minded approach by voters. Start there.

  • People wearing Kerry/Edwards t-shirts are known to be forthright and balanced in their opinions. Use them wherever possible.

  • Wearing a t-shirt of your own that says "no blood for oil" will identify you as an independent, unaffiliated pollster, which encourages folk of all political stripes to respond.

  • Women give better responses than men; try to interview as many as possible. But see also the next point.

  • Wedding rings are bad luck for pollsters. Avoid those women who wear one.

  • People will open up about how they voted if there are some large MoveOn.org folks within earshot; this really breaks the ice.

  • Make sure you get each respondent's IQ first; the figures will be tabulated later. A good opening question: were you smart enough to vote for Kerry?

  • If the respondent says they voted for Bush, be sure to ask "are you sure?", just in case.

  • After you're done, give a gift certificate, or an extra provisional ballot, to each voter. They always appreciate it.

The above is from the 2004 manual, of course. The 2008 version hasn't come out yet.

Thursday, November 04, 2004


Analyzing The Horserace

Jay Cost at The Horserace Blog has the best post-election analysis I've seen yet. It's a two-parter: first he dissects the Kerry campaign, then the Bush campaign. Highly recommended.


Joan Baez Is Is A Young Black Girl!

How hard are hardcore Dems taking their loss? Well, if Joan Baez is any indication, real hard:

the most remarkable and disturbing episode occurred halfway through the concert when Joan stopped singing and announced that she had "multiple personalities." One of her multiple personalities is that of a fifteen year old poor black girl named Alice from Turkey Scratch, Arkansas.

Baez decided to share with us Alice's views on the election. Amazed and horrified I watched a rich, famous, extremely white folksinger perform what can only be described as bit of minstrelsy—only the painted on blackface was missing. Alice, the black teenager from Arkansas Baez was pretending to be, spoke in a dialect so broad and thick that it would put Uncle Remus and Amos and Andy to shame. Baez' monologue was filled with phrases like, "I'se g'win ta" to do this that or the other and dropping all final "g's." Baez as Alice made statements like, "de prezident, he be a racist," and "de prezident, he got a bug fer killin'." Finally, since Bush won the election with 58.7 million votes to Kerry's 55.1 million, Alice observed, "Seems lak haf' de country be plumb crazy." Since Baez was reading Alice's notes, it is evident that she thinks that Arkansas' public schools don't teach black children to write standard English.

Once Joan finished her minstrelsy riff, the audience, in which I did not see a single black person, went wild with applause and hoots and hollers
You almost get the feeling Baez needs Republicans to be stereotypes against which she can define herself. Without that, who is she? Apparently, even Joan's not sure.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004


Bush's Mandate

As the Dems lick their wounds the day after, here's a common theme emerging in their discussions:

The claim that Bush has a mandate is a joke. This was a squeaker. 51% voted for Bush. That means 49%, virtually half of the country, opposes him.
I beg to differ. Bush, in fact, has a clear mandate of almost 100% for those areas where Kerry agreed with him, including the big two:
  1. Continue to hunt terrorists globally.

  2. Maintain the commitment in Iraq.
Kerry, on numerous occasions, endorsed the above. Indeed, he did so largely because he would have had no chance otherwise. They were common policy themes from both campaigns; judge for yourself how sincere each candidate's advocacy was, but these policies were definitely in each candidate's platform. Candidates who took different positions on these most important of election issues got almost nothing.

And so either candidate, having won, gets a mandate of near-unanimity on the above 2 points, which is what Bush now has. Kerry's platform still has consequences for Democrats.

This will anger some of them, the ones who felt that Kerry was only giving lip-service to the policies, all the while expecting him to do the opposite if elected. But they need to learn: if you advocate something, you give the winner a mandate to implement it.


Ohio Still Too Close To Call For CNN

Kerry has now conceded and CNN still has Ohio listed as "too close to call." Kinda sums up the entire MSM coverage this year.

Update: OK, now at last (11:14AM PST) they've finally changed it. That was easy. Kerry's still talking, btw, but I guess even CNN wasn't willing to wait for that to end!


Daschle Loses By One Vote

Republican John Thune defeated Senate Minority Leader Daschle by precisely one reluctant vote; that of the judge who had to allow election observers, cuz Daschle and his lawyers couldn't find even a single example of intimidation.

Absent that ruling, Daschle wouldda "found" just enough votes at the last minute to win.

The judge, a longtime friend and former legal counsel to Daschle(!), was openly upset at the fact that the details of the hearing on the matter were being blogged straight onto the Internet. But justice likes sunlight.


John F. Kerry; The "F" is for "Footnote"

I just had to be the first to say it!

Now that that business is settled, here's a few other thoughts to celebrate with:

  • Who ya gonna believe, us or your lyin' eyes? The people have answered: our lyin' eyes, thanks.

  • This was the Hard Left's last big electoral chance. Bush had to campaign against both Kerry and the MSM, but the MSM's influence is in rapid decline now; no way they can manipulate the coverage this much again.

  • I wouldn't wanna be Terry McCauliffe when the Dems go looking for scapegoats.

  • The Dems will go even harder Left now, marginalizing the party.

  • Bush's first domestic priority should be to reform the voter registration and voting process nationwide.

  • Somewhere in the hills of Pakistan, a bearded man just swore to himself.

And in the spirit of what this election was all about, I leave you with this slightly paraphrased thought from the wry one:
You cannot buy peace with appeasement, you can only rent it, and the rent always goes up.


CNN Fun With Math

A tale of two comparably-sized states, as seen by CNN. As of approximately 12:15AM PST, Nov 3rd, here are the numbers as CNN is reporting them for both Ohio & Michigan.


So why does CNN have no problem calling Michigan for Kerry, but puts Ohio under "too close to call?" I guess we already know the answer, sigh.

I say this even though it's probably true that Kerry will win MI, just as Bush will win OH. But watching CNN twist this way and that rather than accept that their favored candidate has lost the election ... well, they're openly making fools of themselves now. And yes, I am kinda enjoying it, thank you!

UPDATE: Watching Dan Rather go thru the same process is also a treat. Now he's even arguing with Ed Bradley! Priceless.

Monday, November 01, 2004


Election Predictions

Ok, it's the day before the day before the next four years; time for a few prognostications:

  1. Bush will win 300+ EV's.

  2. The Republicans will pick up an additonal 4-5 Senate seats and a few extra in the House, as well.

  3. The MSM will blame Kerry's campaign rather than his message (i.e. style, not substance). They will also credit Bush's margin of victory to factors other than the war, but will nonehteless emphasize the "fundamental opposition of many" to it.

  4. Bad weather will also be blamed for minimizing Dem turnout. Later, this will be expanded to claim that Global Warming is a deliberate vote-suppression technique, conceived by Karl Rove.

  5. Al Gore will quietly be removed from a lot of Rolodexes.

  6. Most Iraqis will openly approve of Bush's victory. The MSM won't notice; they will instead interview a terrorist.

  7. The Democratic Underground will simultaneously declare fraud, call the voters stupid, demand that the US scrap the first-past-the-post system in favor of proportional representation, and pronounce democracy an obstacle to social progress. They will react much as the Arab world did to the fall of Baghdad ("but that wasn't what we were told would happen!). Then they will go to the Campus bar and get drunk.

  8. Less than 1% of Dems who threatened to leave, if Bush won, actually will. Most of them will be students studying abroad or brides & grooms marrying a foreigner.

  9. Dems will speak of impeaching Bush until someone politely points out that you need Congressmen and Senators on your side for that.

  10. Calls for a redical (i.e. violent) opposition on the Left will rise. A few nutsos will take this to heart. The MSM will romanticize them.

  11. The French will congratulate Kerry for his campaign before they congratulate Bush for his victory.

  12. Afterwards, Hillary will go home, kick off her shoes, and sip a glass of red wine while smiling contentedly.
We'll review these later and see how I did.