Saturday, December 20, 2003


There will be light blogging this evening due to this:
A fire at an electrical substation has caused a widespread power outage here affecting about 120,000 customers, the Pacific Gas & Electric Company said.

The blackout, which started just before 6 p.m. Saturday, has affected many San Francisco neighborhoods, including parts of North Beach, Chinatown, Fillmore, Western Addition, the Mission, Sunset, Richmond and downtown, said PG&E spokesman Jonathan Franks.
That's all for now. I have to go because my battery...


The New York Times actually credits President Bush with holding the line against Libya:
Over the past five years, by turning over two suspects for trial, acknowledging its complicity in the Lockerbie bombing and paying compensation to victims' families, Libya finally managed to persuade the United Nations Security Council to lift the international sanctions that had shadowed its economy and its international reputation for more than a decade. Those sanctions were lifted in September. This page recommended lifting American sanctions as well, but President Bush left them in place pending further steps, most notably Libya's decision to end its unconventional weapons programs. It is now clear that he was right to do so. The added American pressure worked just as intended.
Wonders never cease.


John Derbyshire over at National Review Online pegs it:
So let's see: 3/4 of the way through his first administration, George W. Bush has put two dictators out of business and, without firing a shot, persuaded a third to dismantle his WMD. And the Democrats' case against administration foreign policy is... what, again?

Kabul, Baghdad, Tripoli. On to Pyongyang and Tehran!
You betcha.

Friday, December 19, 2003


Ahh, the benefits of US, UK, and 50+ countries acting unilaterally (via the AP):
WASHINGTON - Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has agreed under pressure to halt his nation's drive to develop chemical and nuclear weapons and the long-range missiles to deliver them, President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Friday. Bush said pointedly, "I hope other leaders will find an example" in the action.
"Other leaders" obviously refers to the leadership of North Korea and Iran.

I don't know about you, but I haven't been thinking much about Libya lately. This is obviously a great piece of news, and it's indicative of the extent to which the war coalition is pursuing the war against terrorism.


The Financial Times opines on the vindication of Bj�rn Lomborg's book "The Skeptical Environmentalist." Here are the money paragraphs:
First, given a choice between alarmism and honesty science must always choose the latter. There is nothing to be gained by alarmism about an uncertain future in an attempt to influence the public and change policy. It merely creates opportunities for Mr Lomborg and others to knock down these and many other straw men. The truth is that the vast majority of scientists, whether they study environmental change or other fields, already adhere to this principle.

So the second lesson is for the media, politicians and the public. If we pay attention to important scientific issues such as global warning only when disaster or salvation is confidently predicted, bad policies are almost certain to be the result. Our appetite for a good story without caveats provides an incentive for some scientists to skip the qualifiers and for us to be fed a diet of distortions.
Right on. But will fundamentalist enviros and the "if it bleeds it leads" media crowd heed this advice? Unlikely.


What ever happened to Saddam's crew of body doubles, now that the brutal dictator has been captured? Eric Gibson offers his thoughts (via
A Vegas gig would give the doubles a chance to expand their repertoire beyond stiff hand-waving and firing a rifle over the heads of a crowd. They could hang out with the Elvis impersonators, getting pointers on voice projection and hip swivels. Or they could join the cast of "Legends in Concert" at the Imperial Palace Hotel, where look-alikes for Neil Diamond, Dolly Parton, Marilyn Monroe and other pop-culture icons mimic their greatest hits. Or they could take a leaf from the Three Tenors and play packed stadiums as "The Six Saddams."
I think David Letterman should recruit them for a recurring "Dancing Saddams" feature, a la the once-popular "Dancing Judge Itos".


The Democratic National Committee web site features a blog entitled "Kicking Ass". Anyone can post to the blog with a DNC account, and today's entires are delightful, as several conservatives are posting with vigor.

You can check out "Kicking Ass" here.


Byron York over at National Review Online takes a look at the evidence that Halliburton tried to deceive the US government by overcharging for fuel supplied to Iraqi citizens. Additional facts are now available: In order to quell unrest, the US Army directed Halliburton to expedite shipments of fuel from Kuwait, where it was much more expensive. Halliburton itself then suggested much cheaper sources in Turkey:
"Not many people want to drive eight to fifteen days through a war zone with a truck full of flammable materials," the company says. "Three drivers have been killed and many others injured while performing this mission, and 60 vehicles have been damaged."

As a result, Halliburton officials say they came up with the idea of arranging for another fuel source in Turkey. "[Halliburton] initiated the idea to source fuel from Turkey," the company says. [Halliburton] presented this idea to its customer, and because of this, saved taxpayers well over $100 million."
Don't expect this to reported anywhere in the mainstream press.

York's article also discloses this interesting fact: If you average the fuel prices based on the volume of fuel delivered from each source, the number you get is $1.60 per gallon. Sigh. I wish Halliburton was delivering fuel to the Bay Area.

The entire article can be found here.


The San Francisco Chronicle missed this error not once, but TWICE:
Stories on Nov. 28 and Dec. 6 incorrectly stated that the winner of the mayoral runoff between Matt Gonzalez, 38, and Gavin Newsom, 36, would be the youngest mayor in the history of San Francisco. San Francisco mayors who were 36 or younger when they took office include John White Geary, Charles James Brenham, Frank McCoppin, Levi Richard Ellert and James Duval Phelan.
The error itself wasn't picked up until 10 days after the last story ran. And it wasn't just one other person who was the youngest mayor, but FIVE people.

Got research?

Thursday, December 18, 2003


You may have noticed that the Dow Industrial Average closed up +102.82. There were three pieces of good news, as reported by the AP:
The Labor Department reported Thursday that new jobless claims fell last week by a seasonally adjusted 22,000 to 353,000, the lowest level since Nov. 1. The decline was much larger than analysts' expectations.

Meanwhile, the Conference Board reported that its Composite Index of Leading Economic Indicators rose to 114.2 last month, offering hope that the economic recovery was gaining momentum. The 0.3 percent rise was in line with analysts' expectations.

And the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said its business conditions index, which measures the region's manufacturing sector, rose to 32.1 in December � up from 25.9 in November and the seventh straight month of gains. Economists were expecting a more modest reading of 25.

"The numbers show that the jobs situation might be better than people expected all along ... and the economy is actually going well," said Tim Smalls, trader at SG Cowen Securities.
Keen on truckin', America.


The Newseum website has a feature that allows surfers to scan over 280 front pages from around the world. The site lets you zoom in on a front page, and provides links to each newspaper's home page, as well as PDF versions that can be easily read and printed.

You can check it out here. I've also added a permanent topline link to Newseum's feature called, conveniently, "Today's Front Pages".


Tom Perry delivers an excellent fisk of CNN's coverage of protests in Iraq. If you protest for freedom, democracy, and liberty in Iraq, you are ignored. If a couple dozen of you, however, cheer for Saddam Hussein, you get plastered all over the network news.


I can still hear the ringing in my ears as the Europress, the New York Times, and the Washington Post screamed about President Bush's "bullheaded" decision to restrict prime contract bidding in Iraq to those countries that were part of the coalition. That the President would then send Jim Baker to ask these same countries to forgive Saddamite Iraqi debt represented stupidity of the worst order.

What do these pundits say now that France and Germany have both agreed to play ball (from the Washington Times lead editorial today)?:
The most revealing word in the New York Times' otherwise estimable article yesterday, reporting on Mr. Baker's success, was in the following sentence: "[the agreement] comes despite Washington's move to bar the two countries from bidding on ... contracts in Iraq." We would suggest that the word "despite" should more aptly have been replaced with "because of." In other words, the judicial use of American power tends to advance, not diminish, our interests. It is clear that Mr. Bush will continue to use our economic, military and diplomatic power. Much of next year's political debate will revolve around exactly that point: Is there efficacy in asserting our power, unilaterally if necessary, or should international consensus be a pre-condition for action? How news organizations answer that question will shape much of next year's journalistic coverage of the presidential contest.
Right on.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003


Today, the Dutch Ministry of Science threw out the findings of it's own Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty:
The Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation has today repudiated findings by the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty (DSCD) that Bj�rn Lomborg's book "The Skeptical Environmentalist" was "objectively dishonest" or "clearly contrary to the standards of good scientific practice".

The Ministry, which is responsible for the DSCD, has today released a critical assessment of the Committee's January 6 ruling. The Ministry finds that the DCSD judgment was not backed up by documentation, and was "completely void of argumentation" for the claims of dishonesty and lack of good scientific practice.

The Ministry characterises the DCSD's treatment of the case as "dissatisfactory", "deserving criticism" and "emotional" and points out a number of significant errors. The DSCD's verdict has consequently been remitted.
Of course, the Washington Post and others have not yet seen fit to cover this story, although they immediately "flooded the zone" when the DSCD first slammed Lomborg's book. Typical.

The full statement by the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation can be found here.

The DSCD statement about Bj�rn Lomborg's book is here.

My earlier post about the religion of radical environmentalism can be found here.

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) HILLARY THINKS YOU ARE STUPID

The following quotation is from Sen. Clinton's recent address to the Council on Foreign Relations:
Now, some of us spoke out about the excesses of the Taliban regime, especially its treatment of women, and the Clinton administration did attempt, through military action with missiles, to ferret out bin Laden and his training camps. In the years that followed, the government looked for efforts, covert and overt, to try to hit bin Laden, but he was, as he is today, an elusive enemy.

September 11th gave us the opportunity as well as the obligation to do what there had been no domestic or international consensus to do before we were attacked on our own shores: to go into Afghanistan and to try to root out both the Taliban and al Qaeda. We cannot afford to make the same mistake that we made in 1989, yet I fear we might unless we ramp up our involvement in this forgotten front-line land in the war against terror.
Sen. Clinton failed to mention that her husband's use of "missiles" on deserted terrorist training camps (which resulted in the bombing of an aspirin factory) was meant to distract the country from the ongoing news about Monica Lewinsky. Even more shameful is her assertion that, prior to 9/11, there wasn't "domestic or international consensus" for action against our terrorist enemies. Translation: We were too cowardly to act when the circumstances called for it (i.e. the first bombing of the World Trade Center, etc.), because of "allies" and looney left supporters wouldn't have approved.

RealOne video of the Senator's remarks can be launched by clicking here.


The Washington Times reports that Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari read the riot act to the UN Security Council about that institution's lack of concern for the Iraqi people:
Although he did not list names, France, Russia and Germany were prominent among the countries that had resisted a Security Council resolution authorizing the war in Iraq.

"One year ago, this Security Council was divided between those who wanted to appease Saddam Hussein and those who wanted to hold him accountable," Mr. Zebari said dispassionately in an address to the 15-member council.

"The U.N. as an organization failed to help rescue the Iraqi people from a murderous tyranny that lasted over 35 years, and today we are unearthing thousands of victims in horrifying testament to that failure. ...

"The U.N. must not fail the Iraqi people again," Mr. Zebari said in a plea for Secretary-General Kofi Annan to return international staffers to Baghdad for relief work and nation-building assistance.
Take that, France, Russian, Germany, et al.


From today's lead editorial (registration required):
The trial of Saddam Hussein must do several things at once. It must educate Iraqis and the world about the nature of his regime, adhere to the highest international standards of fairness, and provide a mechanism for appropriate punishment.
And who should administer justice to this tyrant who killed at least 300,000 of his own citizens, including those he gassed with weapons of mass destruction in Halabja?
The best way to achieve those goals is by creating a tribunal inside Iraq under United Nations authority, staffed by Iraqi and international judges and prosecutors.
That's right. Under UN authority. The New York Times obviously received the same DNC "internationalization" memo that went out to Hillary, Howard Dean, John Kerry, etc.


Mark Steyn appears in today's Wall Street Journal, where he evicerates the looney left:
Vermonters marked the end of the Dean era by electing a Republican governor and a Republican House. Even Vermont isn't as liberal as liberals assume. What's liberal is the idea of Vermont as it's understood across America: a bucolic playground of quaint dairy farms punctuated by the occasional boutique business that's managed to wiggle through the Dean approval process. A lot of those dairy barns are empty and belong to weekending flatlanders, the rest are adorned with angry "Take Back Vermont" signs, and the quintessential Green Mountain boutique business, Ben and Jerry's, wound up selling out to the European multinational Unilever. But these dreary details are irrelevant. To Democratic primary voters across the land, Vermont is a shining, rigorously zoned, mandatory-recycling city on a hill. And the only way up the hill is by the bike path.
The column is also available at, where you can read it with a free registration.


Mark Steyn appears in today's Wall Street Journal, where he evicerates the looney left:
Vermonters marked the end of the Dean era by electing a Republican governor and a Republican House. Even Vermont isn't as liberal as liberals assume. What's liberal is the idea of Vermont as it's understood across America: a bucolic playground of quaint dairy farms punctuated by the occasional boutique business that's managed to wiggle through the Dean approval process. A lot of those dairy barns are empty and belong to weekending flatlanders, the rest are adorned with angry "Take Back Vermont" signs, and the quintessential Green Mountain boutique business, Ben and Jerry's, wound up selling out to the European multinational Unilever. But these dreary details are irrelevant. To Democratic primary voters across the land, Vermont is a shining, rigorously zoned, mandatory-recycling city on a hill. And the only way up the hill is by the bike path.
The column is also available at, where you can read it with a free registration.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003


At the web site called the Democratic Underground [emphasis added below]:
There really do seem to be a lot of us here who are genuinely happy that Saddam is captured. This suprises me. I'm not happy they captured him. That's not to say that I'm sad. I just think today's news doesn't stir any emotion in me at all. Saddam was never a threat to me. He never did anything to me personally. I doubt he ever did anything to you. In fact, Saddam, over the course of his life and rule of Iraq, probably did more to help America than any other world leader.
No relief that the rape rooms are gone? No celebration of the destruction of facism in Iraq? What a fruitcake.


From the Wall Street Journal:
  • Underlying inflation plunged to a 40-year low of 1.1% in November as slack in the economy continued to put downward pressure on prices.

  • The current-account deficit, the broadest gauge of the nation's global trade, narrowed to $135.04 billion in the third quarter from $139.39 in the second quarter.

  • More U.S. employers expect to boost hiring than to reduce jobs in the first quarter of 2004, according to a bellwether survey by staffing agency Manpower.

  • Bush reaped a quick political benefit from Hussein's capture as a new poll showed increased approval of the president's leadership and the nation's direction overall.
More to come...


Author Michael Crichton delivered a speech to the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco last September. His assignment? Identify and discuss the most important challenge presently facing mankind. His answer?
The greatest challenge facing mankind is the challenge of distinguishing reality from fantasy, truth from propaganda. Perceiving the truth has always been a challenge to mankind, but in the information age (or as I think of it, the disinformation age) it takes on a special urgency and importance.
So far so good. I'm sure the San Francisco audience was in rapt agreement, particularly because that evil President Bush has "misled" our national into an "unjust" war.

But it gets better. Crichton's example of this challenge is... environmentalism!
Today, one of the most powerful religions in the Western World is environmentalism. Environmentalism seems to be the religion of choice for urban atheists...

Increasingly it seems facts aren't necessary, because the tenets of environmentalism are all about belief. It's about whether you are going to be a sinner, or saved. Whether you are going to be one of the people on the side of salvation, or on the side of doom. Whether you are going to be one of us, or one of them.

Am I exaggerating to make a point? I am afraid not. Because we know a lot more about the world than we did forty or fifty years ago. And what we know now is not so supportive of certain core environmental myths, yet the myths do not die.
You need to read the entire speech to get the full effect. It can be found here (thanks to The Corner at NRO for the pointer).

The uber-liberal McDermott had this to say (via FoxNews, via AP):
Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., told a Seattle radio station Monday the U.S. military could have found Saddam "a long time ago if they wanted." Asked if he thought the weekend capture was timed to help Bush, McDermott chuckled and said: "Yeah. Oh, yeah."

The Democratic congressman went on to say, "There's too much by happenstance for it to be just a coincidental thing."

When interviewer Dave Ross asked again if he meant to imply the Bush administration timed the capture for political reasons, McDermott said: "I don't know that it was definitely planned on this weekend, but I know they've been in contact with people all along who knew basically where he was. It was just a matter of time till they'd find him.

"It's funny," McDermott added, "when they're having all this trouble, suddenly they have to roll out something."
Ha ha. Very funny.

Monday, December 15, 2003


David Frum, on his National Review Online blog, opines that God has a vested interest in the outcome of the next election:
For now, let�s say that while the President�s opponents have made much sport of the idea that God called George Bush to the presidency, it�s becoming increasingy difficult to doubt that God wants President Bush re-elected.
I'm smiling, even if Frum's statement is over the top.


Andrew Sullivan has a list of "George Galloway" award nominees on his blog. A sample:
GALLOWAY NOMINEE I (for thinly veiled disappointment at the capture of Saddam): "I can't believe this. I'm crying here. I feel that we now don't have a chance in this election." - poster Carrie B. on Howard Dean's campaign blog. Way to get your priorities straight, Carrie.
If it's good for America, it's bad for the looney left.


Howard Dean has a BIG problem:
The capture of Saddam is a good thing which I hope very much will help keep our soldiers safer. But the capture of Saddam has not made America safer.
All of the cable news network stations have cut away from Dean's "major" foreign policy speech.


Rush opened his show today saying that he thought Saddam looked just like the type of guy who would vote for Howard Dean.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Saddam Hussein - We got him "LADIES AND GENTLEMENT, WE GOT HIM"

The unrestrained cheering of the Iraqi press corp showed more about the general feeling of the Iraqi people than all of the analysts at Fox, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, etc. could possibly muster.

Congratulations to our troops, our intelligence agencies, our President, and the Iraqi people.

I repeat the words of President George W. Bush:

"May God bless the people of Iraq, and may God bless America."