Saturday, February 07, 2004


John Kerry talks the talk and wants to force you to buy SUVs that get 100 miles to the gallon, thereby putting thousands out of work in Detroit. Mr. Kerry, however, doesn't walk the walk when it comes to the evil automobile. Henry Payne at National Review Online has a simply fascinating column on what the Democratic presidential candidates drive:
A look at Kerry's cars, however, suggests the senator leaves his green principles on the Senate floor. "Well, we have a couple of Chrysler minivans," begins Kerry the seasoned politician, who long ago learned to buy American brands only. "We have a Jeep. . . and a PT Cruiser up in Boston. . .and we have some SUVs. . . and an old Dodge 600 that I keep in the Senate. . . and. . . ." And suddenly, Kerry the Average American Buyer is Kerry the Blueblood with more cars than he can count. And that's not his only political faux pas. His PT Cruiser is built in Mexico. Oops.
The only other dude who has this many cars is Jay Leno. Talk about conspicuous consumption.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Thursday, February 05, 2004


The Associated Press has made a sneaky update to their story on the "imminent threat" quote:
By KATHERINE PFLEGER WASHINGTON (AP) - In his first public defense in the growing controversy over intelligence, CIA Director George Tenet said Thursday that U.S. analysts never claimed before the war that Iraq was an imminent threat. The urgency of such a threat was the main argument used by President Bush for going to war.
(Emphasis added). Pretty neat! You get the story wrong at 11:54 am (ET), change it at 3:21 pm (ET) without telling anyone, and without issuing a correction.


Once again, the President is misconstrued at the very beginning of this AP story:
By KATHERINE PFLEGER WASHINGTON (AP) - In his first public defense of prewar intelligence, CIA Director George Tenet said Thursday that U.S. analysts had never claimed Iraq was an imminent threat, the main argument used by President Bush for going to war.
Of course, President Bush never said that Iraq posed an imminent threat. In fact, he said just the opposite. Let's roll the tape of the 2003 State of the Union address again:
Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option.
We'll see if a correction is forthcoming. My guess: It isn't.


Here a link to a fascinating network map based on purchases of political books. Make sure you read Valdis Krebs's post about the map.


I've haven't yet made any comments about the Massachusetts Supreme Court decision regarding gay marriage, but in light of the yesterday's legislative opinion to the Massachusetts State Senate, I have a few observations:
  • I find it interesting, and pretty ridiculous, that a court has ordered the state legislature to pass a law, and even specified a 150-day deadline to comply. Doesn't this strike anyone as a bit odd? The decision strikes at the heart of legislative supremacy, and in my view will ultimately result in the same divisiveness as caused by Roe v Wade.
  • The court decision makes the following proclamation about marriage: "We construe civil marriage to mean the voluntary union of two persons as spouses, to the exclusion of all others." This is sloppy at best. John Derbyshire at National Review Online had this to say: "Do you, by God! Then you are construing it in a way it has never been construed before. I see nothing in your "construal" to prevent me from marrying my sister, for example. Is this actually OK in the state of Massachusetts?" The cultural institution of marriage predates the constitutional order as we know it today. So unless an activist court arbitrarily "construes" marriage in this fashion, you will find nothing in either the US or Massachusetts constitutions which allows for gay marriage.
Whether you support or oppose the concept of gay marriage (I oppose it), I think it's pretty clear that the normal constitutional order is under assault. You can count on this becoming a presidential election issue because, as soon as the MA law is signed, a gay couple from, say, California, is going to run there, get married, and then go home and demand that California recognize the marriage. This is going to happen, and the result will be a federal Constitutional amendment.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004


Maarten Schenk has this little bit o' BBC fun at his blog:

The BBC Lied, Dr. Kelly Died

PowerPoint by David Byrne NOT SO BORING POWERPOINT

Late last year, Don Nunn, an old friend of mine, featured a piece on the "dumbing down" of America via Microsoft PowerPoint over at his Spiel blog. Well, I suddenly remembered that Maria Bartiromo, famous CNBC anchor-babe, recently hosted a segment of David Byrne, former front man of the band Talking Heads.

It seems that Mr. Byrne has been preoccupied with PowerPoint as art. You can read and see some of his work here at Byrne's work with Dan Rather's head is particularly good.


The discovery of the deadly poison ricin in Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's mail is very disturbing, and it raises an interesting point, as proclaimed in today's lead editorial in the Wall Street Journal (available today at
The ricin letters are also a reminder that the threat of terror remains clear and present. There's been a lot of talk lately that the failure to discover any stockpiles of WMD in Iraq proves that the terror threat isn't "imminent" and that we can return to our pre-9/11 way of countering it. Is ricin's arrival in a Senate mailroom imminent enough?
Good question.


A discovery in Baghdad:
A 7-pound block of cyanide salt was discovered by U.S. troops in Baghdad at the end of January, officials confirmed to Fox News.

The potentially lethal compound was located in what was believed to be the safe house of Abu Musab Zarqawi, a poisons specialist described by some U.S. intelligence officials as having been a key link between deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and the Al Qaeda terror network.

Cyanides salts are extremely toxic. According to the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory, exposure to even a small amount through contact or inhalation can cause immediate death.
As I recall my high-school AP chemistry class, cyanide kills by displacing the oxygen in hemoglobin. Victims of a cyanide attack die of asphyxiation. Not pleasant at all.

But here are three observations I took from this small story, a story which has appeared on no other major news network:
  • There is increasing evidence of links between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda, despite what Garry Trudeau thinks.
  • Imagine how difficult it is to find 7 pounds of anything in a country the size of Iraq. This is the big problem with WMD -- you can keep all of the agents in small, inert quantities until they're needed.
  • If cyanide salts aren't considered to be WMD, then what compounds are?
Sleep well, tonight.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004


I find it amazing that anyone would be surprised. Here is my bullet-point commentary:
  • Janet Jackson's boobs are clearly fake.
  • What else are we to expect from MTV, a channel that distinguishes itself with what is now the bland mix of teenage angst, sex, drug abuse, and "reality" shows? The really notable aspect about this whole episode was how pedantic whole thing was, despite the FCC investigation.

  • The major networks will continue to see their viewership decline, as more and more parents get a clue. At least CBS has "Joan or Arcadia" to help stop the hemorrhaging.
Oh yeah, congratulations to the New England Patriots for a great win.


The US State Department will now be using a new font -- Times New Roman 14 (via the Australian Broadcasting Corporation):
There are only three exceptions to the draconian new typographical rules: telegrams, treaty materials prepared by the State Department's legal affairs office and documents drawn up for the president's signature, it said.
The new font will replace Courier New 12.

Jonah Goldberg at National Review Online opines: "Good for the State Department. I hope Osama Bin Laden is paying attention."