June 30, 2004
Random Moving Observations
1. There are some traditionally male tasks that I handle quite well. Repairing things, for instance. Or troubleshooting software problems.
But there are few things more pitiful in life than watching the female of the species trying to wrestle large electronic devices back into their original shipping boxes. Tragic really.
2. Surreal Moment of the Day: having a Marine in cammies burst through your office door with a huge grin and announce: "I have... a scrub brush.... And peanut butter."
War And Peace
Interesting piece from Dick Morris comparing Bush-as-Churchill to Kerry-as-Atlee:
When an insurgent challenges an incumbent, he can always choose the field of battle by articulating precisely and narrowly the differences between them. Too often, challengers fall into the trap of criticizing everything their opponent does. By doing so, they take on their adversary’s strong points as well as his weak ones. A shrewd challenger bypasses the strong points, professing agreement, and concentrates on the weak ones instead. Unless the challenger attacks the incumbent over the strong elements in his record, the incumbent has difficulty putting his strengths into play. There is no more potent way to dismiss the achievements of one’s adversary than to praise them, and thereby banish them, from the campaign.
Kerry’s strategy is to stress his differences over Bush’s weaknesses like healthcare, Medicare, the environment, Social Security, stem-cell research and the like while narrowing the gap between them over terrorism and the president’s strength.
For Bush, the challenge is not only to prove his supremacy in the areas of terrorism, war, security and the like, but to keep these issues on the front page. In these dual challenges, he must walk a tightrope between success and failure. If Iraq blows up or there are serious breaches in our homeland security, he could lose his lead on these key issues, as he did briefly in April. But if all goes well and Baghdad is quiescent, the terror issue could lose its saliency and the Kerry domestic-policy advantages could move to the fore. Too much success drives his best issue off center stage. Too much failure makes it no longer his issue.
For Kerry, the frustration is an inability to control events. He cannot determine the saliency of issues. Only events far beyond his control can accomplish that. The Democrat is forced to wage an essentially passive campaign, capitalizing on Bush’s failures by narrowing the gap on the terror issue and on the incumbent’s successes by driving home the differences on domestic policies.
Each candidate has his own limitations and frustrations, which makes 2004 a true strategic nightmare for both sides.
If voters are looking for a peacetime president, it's bad news for this country because the average voter is without a clue.
I overcame my customary nausea and watched a bit of TV news last night and (just before I started throwing things) I was once again struck by how unbelievably ignorant the average American voter is regarding the role of the President in the economy, job-creation, and the passing of legislation.
The news broadcast featured a particularly vapid woman who was exercising her God-given right to make an ass of herself on national TV by expressing an opinion she clearly had not thought out in advance. A Kerry supporter, she was enthusiastically touting the advantages of Kerry's health plan. And why is it better? Because he's going to spend more on it.
I temporarily stopped breathing: struck by the monumental stupidity of this statement. The woman plainly had no idea of the relative benefits offered under the Bush v. Kerry plans, but darnitall, if it costs the taxpayer more it must be a good deal.
Combine voters like this one with the fact that most people still think we're in a recession (all economic indicators to the contrary) and things start looking very rosy for Jean Francoise Kerrie.
Fortunately I am an optimist. I keep hoping that most Americans have an innate sense of what is really important. I hope I'm not wrong.
Tanks Join 2/2 in Mahmudiyah
Does this mean we're going to get serious now? I hope so.
Thanks to JarheadDad for the link, and say a prayer for that good-looking Marine son of his (and the rest of the 2/2) if you get the chance. I know I will.
JHD passed along another link to me a while back but I was too crazy to deal with it - a Singing Marine. I can't listen to it now because my DSL went out and I'm on dialup in my office, so I'll have to trust him. Check it out.
Apparently, to some in Orange County Silence is Consent...
...in which Cassandra, Blog Princess emerges from the Gulag in which she has spent the past two years of her pitiful existence...
...and finds strange printed documents containing the news, delivered to her room... what can they be? Some call them 'newspapers'. Rumor has it that, for a nominal fee, normal people are actually able to have these fascinating things delivered right to their very doorsteps every morning. How do they get past the guards with the machine guns??? I will have to check into this.
The hotel room is downright palatial - not sure what's up with that. I suspect I am being spoiled by Someone. I like this Real World - I could get used to it.
I am behind with posting as I just got back to the base and my office filled with boxes. Will catch up shortly.
Magic Eight Ball Comes Up Empty
A slew of time-tested election predictors are yielding conflicting results:
Of six measurements for predicting the outcome of presidential contests, all with excellent track records, each signals a clear outcome in November. The problem is, they're pointing in different directions.
A formula by a Yale University economist that has correctly predicted five of the last six elections shows President Bush winning in the biggest landslide since Ronald Reagan's 49-state victory in 1984. It says Bush is a shoo-in.
But Bush's job-approval rating has slid below 50%; not since Harry Truman in 1948 has a president in that territory won the election. By this standard, Bush is guaranteed to lose.
The rally-round-the-flag reaction to terrorism, the politics of key states and other factors carry such conflicting clues that this election is impossible to predict. Analysts say the crystal balls have been clouded by an evenly divided and polarized electorate, the impact of the war in Iraq and the public's pessimism despite an improving economy.
The result: Both campaigns have ammunition to argue that victory is a sure thing and their opponent is doomed.
Maybe it's time to go back to the Magic Eight Ball.
Democrats Disenfranchising Indians?
Voting can be dangerous in South Dakota if you’re Indian. In a state with only 764,309 people, and some 64,000 Indians (about 8.5 percent of the state’s population), the Indian vote counts. On June 1, 2004, Indian were reminded of that, when Indians strong armed other Indians at the polls.
Democrats won a special election to fill former governor Bill Janklow’s vacated Congressional House seat. Stephanie Herseth beat Republican Larry Diedrich by 2, 826 votes. Herseth got 51 percent, and Diedrich got 49 percent.
But how exactly did the Democrats win? “The Indian vote,” liberals brag, along with the women’s vote. (Just what Indian warriors like to hear: we’re the same as women.) There are approximately 16,000 Indian voters in South Dakota, mostly Democrats.
But what if an Indian might want to vote differently? Rough goings at the polls, so the liberals themselves complain. But who’s intimidating whom?
Ask Oglala Sioux Indian, Bruce Whalen, who is Shannon County Republican Party Chairman and Poll Watcher for the Pine Ridge Agency. Whalen watched polls at Pine Ridge Village, the largest community of voters, with three precincts. Whalen is an elected, Republican official, but local Indian papers never asked him for any reports.
June 29, 2004
9/11 Commission: We're Winning WOT
Sequence of events:
1. Commission formed to find out how we can prevent another September 11th.
2. Commission staffer releases interim report drawing conclusion on question the commission was not asked to examine.
3. Media touts memo as proof administration lied, though Bush never claimed Saddam was behind 9/11 attack.
4. Commission chairman Tom Kean states he disagrees with conclusion in memo.
5. Media strangely silent - [yawn...].
6. Commission releases statement on something it was asked to determine:
"Bush administration's war on terror has severely impaired al Qaida's ability to organize another spectacular attack against the U.S."
7. Deafening silence from media.
Mommy, I'm confused... Isn't that good news?
Hat tip: Purple Raider
Accuracy in Media
Darn it all... I missed my chance with Brit at that cocktail party:
Democrats have called President Bush a — "liar" for saying last year that, according to the British government, Saddam Hussein (search) was seeking to buy uranium from Africa. But senior European intelligence officers now say that the African country of Niger did, in fact, negotiate with Iraq to sell Saddam's former regime refined uranium.
In other news, the BBC has decided to give the National Enquirer a run for its money:
The BBC — which is struggling with complaints about the fairness and accuracy of its work [emphasis added] — is now reporting that a woman in Iran has given birth to a frog. The BBC, quoting an Iranian newspaper, says it is believed the woman picked up frog larva while swimming in a dirty pool.
And here I thought maybe she sat on a toilet seat without using one of those little tissue-paper shields. But apparently that's just an urban legend. Some people will believe anything... But that's why we have the modern media to keep us educated and informed.
And the larva, then, grew into an adult frog inside the woman's body. The woman has two other children, both apparently human.
Hat tip (believe it or not... The Unit)
The NY Times takes to outing interviewees:
An account in the Soccer Report column on June 22 about Ethan Zohn, a former player in Zimbabwe who won $1 million on the CBS reality show "Survivor: Africa" in 2002 and has capitalized on his moment of fame by starting an international nonprofit AIDS awareness foundation on the continent, misstated a word in a comment he made. Mr. Zohn said, "We can make value judgments all we want, but through some cultural differences it has been all right for men in Africa to have multiple sex partners" — not "all right for me."
Thanks to spd rdr - if I'd had my coffee, the monitor would have been toast.
File under "Things that make you want to hurl". From an interview in
Elect John Kerry Now! Newsletter The MarineCorps Times:
Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry leans back in an oversized black leather seat aboard his red, white and blue campaign plane and muses about his brief naval career. What he liked most, he says, was “the camaraderie, the responsibility, the no-holds-barred commitment … you loved each other.”
Great: another Bud Lite moment, brought to you by the Senator from Massachusetts.
That, in a nutshell, is what makes him different from President Bush, he says. It’s what the president doesn’t get.
“Troops come first, period,” Kerry said in a wide-ranging interview June 24 aboard his campaign plane between stops in California. “I am very sensitive to strain on the military.”
Undoubtedly why he voted against funding the $87 Iraq reconstruction bill.
Over the course of 45 minutes, Kerry ticked off what he called the “failures” and “arrogance” of the Bush administration, and confidently spelled out how he would deal with key defense issues such as transformation, troop levels and stop-loss, the “don’t ask, don’t tell” rule for gays in uniform, relations with foreign allies, leadership and accountability and his suitability to be commander in chief.
“Look at this administration,” he said. “Four years ago they said, ‘Help is on the way,’ and they criticized the Clinton administration. They didn’t do anything to change what was really the deployable capacity of the military at the moment they began this war. This is the Clinton military.”
I agree - we're feeling the strain due to the massive cuts in troop strength during the Clinton administration.
After promising help, Kerry said, the Bush administration cut support for public schools near military bases, tried to cut danger pay and family separation pay for deployed troops and failed to provide enough money for the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Actually, the truth is that the danger and FSA were scheduled to return to their former levels via the original bill passed by Congress - the increases were only temporary. Labeling a scheduled return of a temporary increase a "cut" is a bit disingenuous, don't you think, Senator?
“I think there has been a general disrespect — my own opinion is, personal disrespect — toward the realities of what this war is costing us in human terms for the rank and file. I remember from my own service, that is where it matters, not in offices in the Pentagon.”
And you showed this "respect" by accusing your fellow vets of war crimes during the Winter Soldier hearings? Interesting way of showing respect.
Kerry ‘bleeds’ for families
As he runs for president, Kerry said, he keeps in mind the responsibilities of a commander in chief as he watches the death toll rise in Iraq. “I feel personally very angry about the position these troops have been put in by the president and this administration in their arrogance. I think our troops are in greater danger than they have to be.
“I think these kids are walking and riding patrols … waiting to be ambushed, very dangerous, where it’s very difficult for them to determine the difference between friend and foe. It reminds me a lot of what we went through when you start waiting to be ambushed.
“I bleed every day about it,” he said. “I feel the agony of every one of those families. I know what they’re going through.”
And that's why you got your butt pulled out of 'Nam after only 4 months in-country, unlike our guys who are getting wounded and hiking back to the front so they don't leave their buddies in the lurch.
Michael Moore Has Multiple Voter Registrations?
Michael Moore is a big, big man... so big, in fact, he gets to vote twice. Thanks to Purple Raider for the link.