diet coke for breakfast

Saturday, August 09, 2003

Posted by Jake
One More and That Makes Ten

Retired Gen. Wesley Clark 'appears to be getting close to throwing his stars into the 2004 Democratic presidential nominating contest,' the National Journal reports.

'Clark recently phoned one close adviser, who spoke on condition of anonymity, and said, 'Crank it up.' The Clark adviser said that the former NATO chief is smart to stay out of the race until after Labor Day, but not much longer after that. He pointed to the number of debates and forums that the Democratic hopefuls have on tap and the chance that these encounters will do little to clarify the race -- as was the case in the recent AFL-CIO forum in Chicago. The Clark adviser speculated that the general will be better positioned for a run if he has a message that seems fresher for not having been part of the clutter.'
(via Political Wire)

It's a shame. I was really pushing for Dean.

Posted by Jake
Name-calling in the Democratic presidential race (8/8)

I emailed this response to the writers of Spinsanity:

It is unfair to characterize this behavior as purely a phenomenon of the right. Bush has spent practically his entire presidency ignoring aspersions on his intelligence (see any column Maureen Dowd has written in the past two years). Furthermore, should we characterize an entire election or a party based on the behavior of some extremist members? I would not characterize the Democratic party as all like Al Sharpton, and we shouldn't characterize the Republicans by Ann Coulter. Finally, you were citing anonymous Bush advisors. That was what got the NYTimes into trouble in the first place, and it is not fair to say they represent Bush's views.

I will post it if I get a response.

Friday, August 08, 2003

Posted by Jake | Terrorism in South-East Asia

One witness said he had trained in the Philippines at a camp of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), a local Muslim secessionist group, before bombing a McDonald’s restaurant in Indonesia.

Somebody in Indonesia is having some fun with acronyms.

Posted by Jake
Ashcroft Orders Tally Of Lighter Sentences (

OK. I admit it. John Ashcroft is beginning to scare me. I was willing to write off what he was doing before as necessary for the war against terrorism, but now he is really starting to freak me out.

I agree with Rehnquist on this issue: Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, the American Bar Association and others strongly objected to the amendment. In a letter to Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), Rehnquist said that the measure "would seriously impair the ability of courts to impose just and reasonable sentences."

Judges are supposed to do just that: judge. I am more than willing to allow them a good bit of discretion on the subject because people get local judges who represent their views on how stringent sentencing should be.

Then there is this other crap about the "Victory Act" which includes:

Increase sentences for drug kingpins to 40 years in prison and $4 million in fines. (via InstaPundit)

What the hell does that have to do with fighting terrorism? Ease off there killer. You are scaring the children.

Furthermore, homeland security and civil liberties is one of the issues that I think the Republicans are the most vulnerable on. Bush should really be paying more attention to this.

Posted by Jake :: Daniel W. Drezner :: Thoughts on the Iraqi resistance

Daniel Drezner has some interesting points about our attempts to fashion a narrative out of an event, when maybe no coherent narrative exists.

My all-time favorite Simpsons line comes at the end of an episode when Marge repeatedly tries to offer what the moral of the story was. At which point the following exchange takes place:

Marge: Well... Then I guess the moral is the squeaky wheel gets the grease.
Lisa: Perhaps there is no moral to this story.
Homer: Exactly! Just a bunch of stuff that happened.

I bring this up in the wake of recent attacks, bombings, and assorted mayhem in Baghdad. Military spokesman, pundits, journalists, and yes, bloggers, are trying to fashion a coherent narrative to events on the ground (e.g., 'Islamic terrorism is on the rise')when there may not be one...
Evidence provided.

I like to trash the BBC and the anti-war left for pushing the quagmire narrative. But while I could very well argue for a competing narrative, the most apt description would probably be that there is no narrative -- or no one narrative.

What is going on, on the ground in Iraq is much too complicated for any one spectator to understand. We are just going to have to trust our benevolence and ride it out.

Posted by Jake
Bush Misuses Science, Report Says (

While I find most Administration tampering with science reprehensible, I think this article is sort of ignoring the fact that scientists are really political, and astonishingly Liberal.

I have read some of the editorials they are citing in Science. Really with any major science journal their is a weekly editorial trashing the Bush Administration.

Partly this is because scientists in general has accepted conclusions the Bush Administration denies: global warming, etc. But also this is because scientists are becoming more and more political and they have selected a different party.

You shouldn't pretend that scientists are apolitical, and more often than not their research reflects this.

Posted by Jake
Liberals Form Fund To Defeat President (

I love how people have finally admitted that they are campaigning to oust Bush. No particular replacement in mind, but Bush has to go.

Why don't they have campaign buttons? Instead of like your normal "Bush, Cheney" or "Gore, Liberman" they could just say "Not Bush 2004."

Sadly enough they may actually have to find someone to run.

Posted by Jake
It All Depends on What You Mean by 'Have' -- Steve Martin

Steve Martin's OpEd in the NYTimes

Let me try and clear it up for you. I think what you were trying to say was, 'At any time, did anyone in Iraq think about, wish for, dream of, or search the Internet for weapons of mass destruction?'

Of course they did have. Come on, Iraq is just one big salt flat and no dictator can look out on his vast desert and not imagine an A-test going on. And let's face it, it really doesn't matter if they had them or not, because they hate us like a lassoed shorthorn heifer hates bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

Finally, all this fuss over 16 lousy words. Shoot, 'Honey, I'm home,' already has three, with an extra one implied, and practically nothing has been said. It would take way more than 16 words to say something that could be considered a gaffe. I don't really take anything people say seriously until they've used at least 20, sometimes 25, words.

Read the whole thing.

Posted by Jake
Ariarnold Schwarzenopoulos! - Plus: Post-Leno recall questions. By Mickey Kaus

Mickey Kaus may have lost his mind. He is suggesting a conspiratorial link between Arianna Huffington and Arnold Schwarzenegger's candidacies. Here's his justification:

1) Arianna's a smart operator, and this could be a good way to snatch a dignified semi-victory from the jaws of defeat; 2) The rationale for the alliance could be their joint interest in ousting Gray Davis and fighting the 'special interests' in Sacramento; 3) They are similar types--witty, ambitious, entrepreneurial, foreign-born celebrities with colorful pasts. They probably both shop at the same Pain Quotidien on Barrington Avenue; 4) There is an obvious link between the two camps--namely, celebriphilic left-wing L.A. Times columnist Robert Scheer, who is Arianna's ill-chosen guru on domestic policy matters but who leapt to Schwarzenegger's defense in 2001 when a now-famous Premiere magazine hit piece on the actor was distributed to reporters by the Gray Davis camp.

My favorite is the link between them being Robert Scheer. First of all, Robert Scheer is a nut, and if you don't believe me read the 8/6 post on Spinsanity. Second, despite the cited "pro-A.S." column I doubt sincerely that Scheer really agrees with Arnold. Maybe he is just reading something I am not.

Arianna is running for Arianna. She is not going to be forming any strategic alliances.

Posted by Jake
Comic Relief in Cairo (

Thank you Washington Post for pointing out the ridiculousness of this international institution.

Perhaps if Iraq had a corrupt and repressive Saudi-style monarchy -- one that forbade women from driving and that sponsored charities that promoted Islamist extremism worldwide -- it might be eligible for recognition. Or maybe the league would be mollified if a coup brought in a military dictatorship like that of member-in-good-standing Libya. Or if the Baath Party somehow returned and installed a leader like Bashar Assad or simply brought back Saddam Hussein, whose "legitimacy" the Arab League never paused to question and whose regime it spared little effort to save. Few organizations demand less democracy as a condition of membership or serve as a bigger tent for thugs and tyrants than does the Arab League.

The Arab League was created for one thing and one thing only: keeping bad people in power. Better the Iraqis stay out of it completely.

Posted by Tanstaafl - Study Suggests Surge In British Measles Cases:

Nationalized Health-Care: The Wave of the Future. (sorry link requires subscription)

"Measles is posing a growing risk to children in Britain as parents decide against vaccinations for fear of side effects, and researchers warn the disease could become endemic, a constant threat to health.
British researchers report Friday in the journal Science that the level of vaccinated children in Britain has dropped below 80% and that the nation is experiencing more frequent and larger outbreaks of measles."

Brian -- How can they possibly criticize the wonder that is socialized healthcare? It's such a good idea to give everyone free medical care, and it has the best of intentions, so we really ought to be able to ignore the fact that it doesn't work. Measle epidemics and people dying while waiting for surgery are small prices to pay for easing our guilt that there are poor people in the world.

James -- Easy big guy. If you criticize their systems with your sarcasm, Canada and Britain might team-up and invade.

Brian -- Yes, it probably would take both of them to properly get their asses kicked by us.

Thursday, August 07, 2003

Posted by Jake
Public trust in BBC plummets

Trust in the BBC has been so deeply damaged by the weapons dossier affair that the corporation has lost the faith of a third of the British public in less than a year.

Just nine months ago the corporation's main news channel, BBC1, commanded the trust of 92% of the public. A new survey by Mori, however, has put trust in the BBC at only 59% - a massive 33% drop.

The report is believed to be the lowest ever level of trust recorded for the BBC, which has traditionally been the nation's touchstone for truthful and accurate news.

Let's hope for regime change at the Beeb.

Posted by Jake

Gore's Major Policy Speech Called 'Instant Classic'
(2003-08-07) -- In his first 'major policy speech' since his Saturday Night Live appearance, former Vice President Al Gore today laid out 'a statesman-like vision for America'.

Political scientists and Constitutional scholars have already dubbed the speech a 'classic' calling it the 'Trousers Ablaze Manifesto.'

'Mr. Gore demonstrated his towering intellect,' said one unnamed scholar. 'He essentially said to the President of the United States, 'Liar, Liar, pants on fire!' But it was the way he said it that will ensconce this address in the annals of majestic oratory.'

At a pace reminiscent of a digital metronome, Mr. Gore analyzed the policies of the Bush administration, and concluded 'everything Bush says is a big fat lie, or rather a pattern of big fat lies.'

Scholars continue to lament the passing of this 'policy genius' from the political scene. As one noted, 'Mr. Gore sounded very ex-vice-presidential.'

A good analysis about why Gore is full of s-- is provided by Brian Carnell. As if you didn't know.

Posted by Jake
Changing Middle East...

Grandson of Ayatollah Kholmeni issues statement for reform in Iran

Editor-in-Chief of the Ruling Ba'ath Party Daily Al-Ba'ath, Mahdi Dakhlallah calls for Reform in Syria

I seem to remember some people thinking the Middle East would be worse. Hmmm. Well I guess that didn't happen.

Posted by Jake

Posted by Jake
Lileks on Arnold

In any case, it’ll change a few minds about the possibilities of politics. All their life they saw politicians as nothing more than nerdy bloodless grinbots, and now here’s this guy: a giant with a gap-tooth smile smoking a Montecristo the size of Gray Davis’ shinbone. Heck yeah!

Only in America. And I say that as a good thing. Which reminds me: like all typical examples of American craziness, this will just horrify the Europeans.

Damn right.

Brian -- I just wanted to remind you all of the scene in Demolition Man, when they tell Stalone that Arnold had become President while he was frozen, after his popularity rose high enough that the Constitution was ammended just so that he could be elected. I'm convinced that ever since that movie came out he's had his eye on the Presidency...

Matt -- It's interesting, but all the pundits last night were talking about how Californians don't see him as 'experienced' and that the Dems will certainly push this. However, this would be a great thing, since Arnold is as experienced as anyone: He's been active on the political scene for years and has all the right connections to BOTH parties. He's an ideal politician. That was the point behind the Demolition man joke, everybody got a laugh out of it because they knew he had political aspirations: now over a decade ago! If they attack him on this too much, well...

Posted by Matthew
Everybody now: AH-NULD!!! AH-NULD!!! AH-NULD!!!

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Posted by Jake

Posted by RFTR - Hiroshima mayor hits out at U.S. - Aug. 6, 2003: "Tadatoshi Akiba said Washington's apparent worship of 'nuclear weapons as God' was threatening world peace."

It could just be me, but if we hadn't dropped the bombs the first time, he might be forced to worship an emperor 'as God,' and it seems to me that the last time around that caused quite a threat to world peace...

Matt -- I know its a little off topic, but they still do have an emperor... same family line for 2500 years! And as always, they are fanatically supportive of him. Anyway, what they were really "worshiping" at the time was the military... who like every other "power" in Japanese history gained such position by positioning themselves near the emperor who has had historically varied amounts of power depending on who his friends were.

Posted by Matthew
Comparing the US and the EU Constitutions (TaiPei Times)

Being something of a parliamentary scholar, I found this especially interesting. The real beauty of our Constitution is that it is short, to-the-point, structure-focused and written in simple (though by now anachronistic) language. By contrast the proposed EU constitution is long, wandering, pretentitious, and written with needlessy complex language.

For consideration: Our preamble has 52 words which esentially says, "We want to try to make life better, keep the peace, and leave it for our kids". Theirs has 293 words with a statement to "work for a Europe of sustainable development based on balanced economic growth, with a social market economy aiming at full employment and social progress". As the article points out, that statement alone has at least five ambiguities... not to mention seems to be aiming towards a "workers paradise".

Posted by Jake
Weblog : Dean's Misstep

Dean use of the Internet apparently includes spamming people.

Actually this whole thing about Dean using the net is pissing me off. There are incredibly popular conservative blogs that examine in the minutest detail every policy move -- and have been doing so for some time. Haven't quite heard anything about them on CNN.

Yet when Dean and his cadre of yahoos on start a site, a cohort of journalistas issue a full court press of coverage about how he is changing the way how campaigns are run and blah, blah, blah.

Politics was changed by the Internet, but it happened long before Dean. While Dean may be using it to his advantage, the conventional media has no idea the degree to which "unauthorized" bloggers are going to change how this election will turn out.

Posted by Jake
ScrappleFace: Axis of Evil Advertises for New Member

Seeking third nation to join Axis of Evil. Must be proficient in nuclear technology, have iron-fisted control of your people, and a burning desire to snuff out the candles of Christianity and capitalism. Some experience required. Will train the right candidate.

Posted by Tanstaafl
Next Step on Korea (

"We must be prepared to negotiate a comprehensive agreement that addresses the full range of issues of concern to the United States and its allies -- North Korea's nuclear, chemical and missile programs, conventional force deployment, drug running and human rights -- as well as North Korea's concerns about security and economic development."

I don't think he's far off here. The problem is the the North Korean government has shown that they play this game well. This is how things have gone over the last decade. NK starts to build a bomb. We ask them to stop and offer food, oil, what-have-you. They appeear to stop for a while. Then they get hungry, cold, what-have-you. They advertise that they're making nukes again, and the cycle restarts. Negotiating on human rights won't solve the fact that Kim Jong Il is duplicitous.

Posted by RFTR
Saddam Bodyguard's Brother Caught

Come on now, have we really gotten this desperate?

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Posted by Jake
Dean says he’s the one to beat Bush

I can't believe he said this:

Howard Dean said Tuesday he has the best chance of beating President Bush because he appeals to supporters of former independent candidates John McCain, Ross Perot and Ralph Nader as well as to Democratic Party faithful.

I got news for ya, Howie Boy, McCain, Perot, and Nader lost.

Come on, Howard. Make my job a little difficult.

Posted by Jake
Gay bishop confirmed

Brian -- That's going to change the whole world of chess...

Posted by RFTR
Persuaders or Partisans (
"A new Harvard study says the conservative editorial pages are more intensely partisan, and far less willing to criticize a Republican administration than the liberal pages are to take on a Democratic administration."

I love the way the media tries to portray itself as non-liberal. Honestly, this study seems to say that. 'Oh, look, conservative editorial pages are more partisan.' But that's not the point. The point is, when you read a news article in the WSJ, or another paper with a conservative editorial staff, you get news. When you read a news article in Reuters, the AP, NY Times, or other liberal "news" services, you get slant. Reporters are, by in large, liberal, and the media reflects this concentration. The fact that a study like this one even occured proves that they can't dispute that fact.

Posted by Tanstaafl
Mobile phone to call on power of three | CNET "Motorola and NEC America are co-developing a voice over Internet Protocol office telephone that roams from Wi-Fi onto cell phone networks, the companies announced Tuesday. "

This would be perfect at home.

Posted by Tanstaafl
Bishop-elect cleared of allegations

Sounds like he beat the trumped-up allegations.

Posted by Matthew
Blood on Our Hands?

(From the NY Times, via CNN)

Just when I was sure nothing sane could come out of the NYT... This little article is a defense of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. Where as the American intellectual community is now rethinking the bombings as an example of American evil, the Japanese historians are now basically saying, "Man, those bombs sucked, but what would have happened had they not fallen would have both sucked and blown."

Posted by Jake

This site is fantastic. I want to be a Jew.

Brian -- I told you you'd regret dropping the "berg."

Posted by RFTR - Clear Ideas Versus Foggy Bottom

Sounds like maybe we don't need Rummy at Foggy Bottom - the Pentagon has found a way to control a lot of international policy by acting intelligently and getting the President's ear. So, all we need is someone as SecState who will work with this group instead of against them.

Posted by Jake
Gay bishop-elect left in limbo

I don't know about the first allegation, but this second allegation is crap.

The link, which was removed from the Outright Web site, is on an unaffiliated site that had resources for gay youth, Baxley said. That page provided resources for bisexuals that, a few links away, provided access to porn.

Have these people been on the web. Everywhere on the web is just a few links from porn. It is like six degrees of separation. If you keep clicking, inevitably you are going to hit porn.

Monday, August 04, 2003

Posted by Tanstaafl - Davis files suit to change, postpone recall election - Aug. 4, 2003: "In the lawsuit filed with California's Supreme Court, the Democratic incumbent called for the vote to be delayed until March and for his name to be listed among the candidates seeking to replace him. "

Someone has to explain this to me. As I blogged last week, the State Constitution says CLEARLY that Davis may not be one of the replacement candidates on the ballot. I understand that often lawyers and judges find things in the law that no one inteded to be there, but can they honestly claim that it should just be tossed aside because Davis doesn't like it? Is this just a huge waste of his time and money? Is he just trying to tie it up in court until he can rally more support or in the hopes that his approval ratings will improve?

Posted by Tanstaafl
Vote on first gay bishop delayed

I don't think I have anything to say except that this is unfortunate for all involved, no matter how it turns out. This could have been a historic example of the Episcopal Church's promotion of tolerance and acceptance in public discourse. Instead this proceding is likely to become mired in the same innuendo and filth as the Catholic Church scandals.

Posted by Tanstaafl

I saw this in an ad on the top of our blog.
It's sponsored by George Soros. Is he even an American citizen? Here's another question, do people who opposed the war in the first place really have a legitimate complaint about having been deceived? If they weren't taken in by "Bush's lies", then why do they care if there was a lie? If anyone should be upset, it should be people who supported the war effort. Of course, I'm not upset because I still don't think they lied to me.

Posted by Tanstaafl

Posted by Jake
Lieberman Warns U.S. Democrats Against Turn to Left (

I am so torn. On the one hand, Bush will absolutely crush Howard Dean to the tune of Mondale. I am already planning how I am going to work it into dinner conversation when I visit my relatives.

On the other, I want Lieberman to win, because I think the reasonable person should always win -- and frankly he is the only reasonable one stepping out of that clown car.

Is there something to be said for a loyal opposition? As much as I think some of Lieberman's policies are wrong, at least he was willing to put forth a reasonable debate on the subject. At least he isn't saying ridiculous things, like that we should pull out of Iraq the day after elections. A reasonable opposition will make us safer by criticizing our failures and honest by questioning our false statements. This opposition contests our true statements and our successes. That is not loyal opposition.

Democrats, please get your shit together over there. Don't make me come over there and fix it for you.

Posted by Tanstaafl
State Dept. Changes Seen if Bush Reelected (

Condi for SecState 2004, Condi for Prez 2008?

Secretary Powell has been an amazing public servant for longer than I've been alive. However, I will not complain if someone who understands that diplomacy is a means toward furthering American interests, not an end in and of itself.

My vote would be to move Donald Rumsfeld over to State, and promote Wolfowitz to SecDef. In truth, I like Condi where she is. Right now, she coordinates, aggregates and simplifies the big picture for the President. That's where I would like her brilliance and talent. We have many capable managers, but I think there are few people who can match her ability for strategic thought.

Jake -- I totally want Condi to run for President, but don't you think that a Cabinet level position (and the ensuing confirmation hearings) would bring publicity to her. I kind of feel like people don't know who she is. Besides that I don't see Rummy leaving Defense. I think the choice is between Wolfowitz and Condi for State.

James -- I don't think Condi's confirmation would take much time or energy and thus wouldn't be that great for publicity. Anyone remember anything from Secretary Powell's hearing? How about Secretary Rumsfelds? What Democratic Senator is going to attack an African American woman about whom there have been few if any complaints in the last three years? She's not controversial like Ashcroft was, so we wouldn't see much of her hearing anyway. As for Secretary Rumsfeld, I believe that he will serve where the President asks him to. I even think he might like a chance to clean-up the State department. It would be what we call a "cross-functional rotation".

Brian -- I agree that Wolfowitz would be a good Sec Def, and Rummy good at State, but do you think he'd actually accept that transfer? While I think, as you said, he'd persue the ends of diplomacy, not diplomacy for its own sake, I think that he'd never accept the post for precisely the reasons he's perfect for it.

Matt -- I'd have to agree with Brian. Rummy isn't going anywhere. He's got power at the DoD and knows how to use it. If anything, he may retire due to his age, but he's not going to move. I find it highly un-likely that Wolfowitz is going to be moving into the State Dept. because he's too controversial. While I agree, James, he'd cause a lot of publicity, do you think the Dem's would allow him to manage foreign policy?

James -- I don't think it will happen, not because Rumsfeld wouldn't take the post, but because I don't think the Bush Administration is creative enough in employing their Human Capital. Rumsfeld strikes me as a man who likes a challenge and likes to fix organizations that he perceives to be out of control. Just look behind the scenes a little bit at defense. In the last 6 months, he's turned over both the Secretary of the Army and the Secretary of the Navy. As for the Democrats trying to prevent it, I'm not sure they'd have much say. First, this would be post 2004 election, in which, I believe (barring something unforseen) the Republicans will pick up more seats. The economy is improving, and the Democrats look like obstructionists. They only nay-say, they don't offer constructive plans. You can't run on what you prevented, you have to run on what you accomplished. Even if they don't lose seats, they will need to pull out the big stick of the filibuster in order stop his confirmation. I don't think they have enough political capital to pull that off. They're already stretching that ability with Judicial nominations. Furthermore, if Rumsfeld's considering retiring anyway, then they should nominate him just to force the Democrats hands. Either the Dems acquiesce and we get Rumsfeld fixing Foggy Bottom, or they put up a monster of a fight, exhaust the public's tolerance for filibustering, and make it a bit easier for Bush to appoint who he wants to the Supreme Court when the time comes. For that matter, as long as the rules allow it, appoint him and go for confirmation before he leaves his post as SecDef, that way, if the Administration does lose the confirmation battle, he's still running the Pentagon.

Brian -- Or, better yet, he keeps his post at the Pentagon, and Bush nominates him for all cabinet-level positions. An all-Rummy government!

Matt -- 5 words: "White House Press Secretary Rumsfeld"

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