Saturday, March 27, 2004

Jan Berry, of Jan and Dean has died

Powerline has a nice remembrance. I was 14 in 1966. I remember lines like
It's not very cherry, it's an oldie but a goody;
Two girls for every boy;
And then I saw the Jag slide into the curve;
and then
But parked in a rickety old garage,
Is a brand-new, shiny red, super-stock Dodge!

In 1966 Jan survived the Dead Man's Curve scenario in real life, but not quite in as good shape as the narrator of the song. His accident said to a lot of teenagers that life isn't really the dream of the Beach Boys and Jan and Dean songs. Later Brian Wilson's saga would reinforce that. Still there's nothing like the exhilaration of those surfing and car songs of the early 60s.

Jan was 6 years older than me. Now he's telling my generation that death is ahead too, but not to fear it. I firmly believe that those moments of youth are still there in the permanent record and that we'll visit them again, but not really relive them. The memories of illusions are sweeter than they are themselves.

Diligence is rewarded

For some reason, Friday's Bleat (3/16/2004) is truncated on Mozilla. I tried it over and over. It ends with " One side: theocratic mullahs who fund terrorism and build nuclear weapons are part of the Axis of Evil. The o" Must be some difference between IE, or whatever Apple people use, and Mozillia. Finally I ran IE for that single page and found the conclusion to his review of the Clarke kerfuffle.

I'm glad I did because I'd have otherwise missed:
One side: theocratic mullahs who fund terrorism and build nuclear weapons are part of the Axis of Evil. The other side: let�s streamline visa procedures.

And I bring this up . . . why? Because I want to blame the Clinton administration? Look: to me that�s ancient history. That�s Flintstone time. If it weren�t for these hearings I wouldn�t give a tin fig for who didn�t do what when and where. September Eleventh was the bright red gash that separated the Now from the La-la Then, and we�ve been living in the hot spiky Now ever since. I am interested in the Now and the What Next. I don�t have much patience for people who believe that the salvation of Western Civilization depends on hiking the marginal tax rates to pre-2002 levels. But if you want to play Eight Years vs. Eight Months, fine. Just remember that before 9/11, the skies over Afghanistan were clear. After 9/11, they thrummed with the sound of B-52s until the job was done.

No small distinction.

(Italics added)
He nailed it.

What difference does the whole issue make in deciding between Bush and Kerry? If the Dems want to base their campaign on the bitter recriminations of a disappointed office seeker, let them. Maybe that's why we should be glad Gore isn't president today.

Update: Here's what should be dominating the news today. Do we really want a president who will strengthen ties with governments like that in France?

Update: Read Mark Steyn's take on Clarke. As Instapundit says, double ouch! Meanwhile the libblogs are waxing indignant over the "character assassination" of their newest witness against the Evil Bush and Conniving Condoleezza. I wouldn't mention character assassination if my guy had written about Condoleezza Rice not recognizing the name of al Qaeda.

100 Movies that deserve more love according to

I agree with Gattaca, Dragonslayer, Mousehunt, the Iron Giant, Young Sherlock Holmes, Top Secret! with a bullet, Antz, The Long Kiss Goodnight, To Live and Die in LA, LA Story, The Hollywood Shuffle & The Hudsucker Proxy in spite of Tim Robbins. The rest, I haven't seen or just deserve their obscurity.

Don't waste your pixels.

Powerline Blog carefully debunks Paul Begala's hate dump on Condoleezza Rice on Friday's Crossfire. What's the point? This country is so polarized right now, that I doubt facts and logic will make any difference. Anybody who saw or heard this spit-up sees instantly that he leaps from citing two possible contradictions of Rice statements to calling her a liar who commands no respect whatsoever. Good circus. Bad debate. It's a great example of a lie going around the world before truth can get its boots on. As long a absurdities can be shouted at a rapid rate, this kind of silliness will be in play. If it was really effective, though, there wouldn't be a Republican Party.

If you look at blogs like Kos or Talking Points Memo, you find that the only real difference between them and the NYTimes or WaPo is that they are more openly partisan. They talk in terms of 'we' versus 'them' while the news media generally just report the news from the point of view that everybody already agrees with the assumptions of the left: freedom has had bad results such as unequal distributions of wealth, harm to the environment or the development of military hardware and science, and prevented good results like socialism, eliminating poverty, and a single world government manned by the same class as those who now report the news and the French and EU bureaucracies.

I don't really notice a lot of that 'we' among conservative bloggers. Maybe it's there and I'm just missing it, but it pops right up on many of the more liberal blogs, along with a lot of bitter denunciation of their ideological opponents without much basic logic for their conclusions.

The Richard Clarke thing is only the latest example. Today I saw a link to TPM to the effect that declassification is being used in order to 'slime' Clarke. I haven't seen anything from the Republicans that resembles sliming, which I associate with digging up unsavory and unfair details, particularly false or shaded ones, about a person's past. What Fox News Channel did by seeking permission to release the recordings of Clarke's old background briefing wasn't 'sliming.' It was what the press is expected to do. Fact check, dig up relevant records, and compare what a person is saying now with what he said previously. It's not sliming John Kerry to play his 1971 testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and point out his anti-war activities which limned all troops who served in Vietnam as depraved thugs and their leaders as worse. It's not sliming to discuss his voting record and point to his public statements, especially recent ones. It's really not sliming someone, when you stick with facts and your opponents aren't.

Richard Clarke, whom I had seen before as an expert guest on news programs, wasn't someone I was primed to doubt. But the first remarks I heard quoted from his book raised questions, and Condi Rice's statements made he wonder about them more. When one learns that he was Clinton's Terrorism hotshot for years before Bush was elected, that he served under Bush for more than a year into the new administration, resigning when he didn't get a job he wanted, that he hasn't said 'boo' about the Bush foreign policy since he left and that his bombshells are quoted from a new book he is promoting. I think his credibility for blaming 9/11 on Bush while clearing Clinton is pretty weak.

What's the response? "He apologized to the nation for his own failure."

Oh, well, then! That makes him an honest broker. I'm sure that every Democrat in the country has bought his book by now and the intelligentisia of the left are busily reading it to be able to find more bombs to throw. But why should your average swing voter care about that. The guy admits that he thought it was his job to deceive the press. Who's to tell whether he's lying now for profit or was lying back then?

Step back a bit and ask yourself how Clinton reacted to 9/11. Did he look like an outraged patriot who knew this was coming and had been pleading with the new administration to tackle these guys; or did he look like deer in the headlights mumbling weak excuses for not stopping Bin Laden? What was he doing during the last hours of his time in office, poring over CIA and FBI reports on terrorist activities (he'd had three major terrorist attacks during his tenure, remember), or pardoning a list full of big donors to himself or his party? The very fact that Clarke pardons Clinton while condemning Bush has to tell you something about where his bread is buttered.

I don't buy everything I read, but when I continually find that my own conclusions are are echoed by others I respect, sometimes surprisingly, I tend to believe their sources more than those whose statements and arguments just don't wash. This whole 'Bush knew' stuff is just not credible. Having seen what he did after 9/11, does anybody really think he would have just sat there and let it happen if he had known it was about to happen? If he does, he's intellectually dishonest or a moron.

Success of 'Passion' spurs re-release of 'Brian'

No, it's true! I liked 'Brian,' but they have to know that the audiences for 'Passion' aren't going to show up to see what most of them will consider sacreligious. My guess is that it's just another way for the remaining Pythons to satirize the absurdities of apostate religions.

Liberals are not only crazy, they have no sense of humor.

Bush shouldn't be laughing about not finding WMD!

Hey, didn't the first JFK joke about failing to provide air support for the Bay of Pigs invasion?

I think what makes them sore is that he has drawn the sting out of a lot of potential political cartoons.

But, seriously, do we really want a leader who goes into deep funk when he suffers a setback? Are these folks really upset because they think he wasn't serious about Saddam having WMD? Most of them agreed with him about that before the liberation of Iraq began. Why else was the U.N. sending inspectors?

No, the real reason these jokes bug them is that they base almost their whole criticism of the war on the fact that no stockpiles of WMD have been located. Never mind that Saddam tortured and killed thousands upon thousands of people in some of the most hideous ways imaginable. Never mind that he started two wars against his neighbors in a period of 10 years and had failed to comply with the ceasefire agreement he had signed to end the Gulf War. Nevermind that he was regularly firing on U.S. and British flights authorized by the U.N. to enforce the No-fly zones established to keep him from further genocide of Kurds and Marsh Arabs.

Dueling Quotations

�When you're skiing, if you're not falling you're not trying.� -- Donald Rumsfeld

"I don't fall down!" -- John F. Kerry


"Most people spend their time on the 'urgent' rather than on the 'important.' � -- Robert Hutchins (In Rumsfeld's Rules, first link)

"I believe the Bush administration in the first eight months considered terrorism an important issue, but not an urgent issue," -- Richard Clarke

"Accidentally like a martyr,
The hurt gets worse and the heart gets harder.

The days slide by
Should have done, should have done, we all sigh." -- Warren Zevon

"[Richard Clarke] becomes not just a perjurer but a partisan perjurer. He savages Bush for not having made al Qaeda his top national security priority, but he refuses even to call a 'mistake' Clinton's staggering dereliction in putting Yasser Arafat and Yugoslavia(!) above fighting al Qaeda." -- Charles Krauhammer

It's not only design

Design Observer links to this piece by Michael McDonough, about The Top 10 Things They Never Taught Me In Design School. The list doesn't seem all that specific to design. It probably should be in any list of lists for how to succeed. McDonough's site seems to be overwhelmed at present so read the first link to get the gist.

Mostly they boil down to "Learn to work hard. Focus your efforts. Learn people skills. Do what you're good at. Be decisive. Don't fear failure." Always good things to remember, although on the last, a designer would probably be better advised to add, "except engineering failures." Failure may be a valuable learning experience in business, but if you want a career as an architect, your buildings better not fall down.

Here's another good list from a successful and, in my view, great man.

This is your argument?

Fred Kaplan says he believes Richard Clarke that the Bush administration led us to disaster on 9/11. It wasn't the 8 years of inaction by the Democrats, after all. It was that bungling Bush who didn't put Clarke at the head of the Civil Service national security team.

But didn't Clarke admit that if he lied to the press about Bush's focus on terrorism, it was because it was his job to make the boss look good? Now it's his job to sell his book. What does that tell you?

Bush-haters and Democrats lusting for jobs with power are slobbering all over Clarke, proclaiming his sincerity and honesty ("Pay no attention to that man at Fox News!"). Has anyone else in the media even thought about checking Clarke's allegations? Let this be a lesson to you. If you're going to write an attack book, attack Republicans. You'll sell just as many, if not more books, plus the media will accept whatever you say as gospel. You can be as crass and boorish and dishonest as you want, and you'll be treated like royalty except on Fox News Channel where you'll be asked tough questions. But hey, you don't have to go on FNC if you don't want to.

Friday, March 26, 2004

Why I hate labor unions.

They were needed once, but nowadays they foster thuggery and hold back progress. Too many unions have sold out their members by aligning permanently with Democrats like Kerry, and talk about them being "for the working man." If union dues are being spent to support political candidates, they're too high. Maybe they should be forced to credit their members' personal campaign donations against their union dues.

I had a neighbor who was killed in a mine fire in 1984. He used to tell me how the mine kept dropping safety practices to save money. The last one was to do away with his job as a dispatcher at the mine portal and send him to work on the long wall miner. The union did nothing. That's where he died.

Bias watch

Have you noticed that mainstream press accounts of Clarke's earlier statements which contradict his book are always reported as an attack by Bush's "attack machine?"

Also, this nonsense about how Clarke's apology for 9/11 proves he's telling the truth. It's just a rhetorical devide used for exactly that purpose.

Well, the mainstream media are the Democrats' attack machine, and they are focusing, as Clarke does, on Condoleeza Rice.

Hugh Hewitt has been replaying Paul Begala's rant on today's Crossfire calling Dr. Rice a liar, on the basis of two examples in which something she said was contradicted by some other government source.

I occasionaly hear conservatives bemoaning the fact that Republicans no longer have someone like Lee Atwater, because the Democrats have a bunch of them. Personally, I just think they need to be smarter about answering this kind of childishness fast, and work at educating people on the way rhetoric is used to manipulate them.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

The last on Richard Clarke

He is now emerging as an incompetent. These letters from Christopher Shays reveal him to be useless as a briefer. I suspect that the Bush administration sized him up pretty well when it came in and realized he wasn't a trustworthy advisor but the kind of guy who had no loyalty. They had to have wondered if this guy is so hot to nail Al Qaeda, why didn't he do something before? Condoleezza Rice remembers that he was interested in a top job in the Homeland Security Department and resigned only after he didn't get it.

Yep. That's a true patriot, all right!

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

From USA Today:

Via Instapundit, this story, with a typically biased headline, "Bush team attacks Clarke" or something like that, actually provides evidence of his lack of credibility.

Chameleon Clarke

Fox News reports an background briefing by Richard Clarke, taped by by Jim Angle in early August 2002. Excerpts:
there was no plan on Al Qaeda that was passed from the Clinton administration to the Bush administration.

. . . [T]he Clinton administration had a strategy in place, effectively dating from 1998. And there were a number of issues on the table since 1998. And they remained on the table when that administration went out of office . . . And in January 2001, the incoming Bush administration was briefed on the existing strategy. They were also briefed on these series of issues that had not been decided on in a couple of years.

. . . [T]he Bush administration decided then, you know, in late January, to do two things. One, vigorously pursue the existing policy . . .. The second thing the administration decided to do is to initiate a process to look at those issues which had been on the table for a couple of years and get them decided.

. . . [T]hat process which was initiated in the first week in February . . . decided in principle . . . in the spring to add to the existing Clinton strategy and to increase CIA resources . . . for covert action, five-fold, to go after Al Qaeda.
They report. I decide. I think his credibility is shot full of holes.

Of course, today Clarke's got a book he and the Democrats on the 9/11 Commission are flogging and those statements were made before he didn't get the job he wanted in the Homeland Security Department. But he says, "I will not accept any position in the Kerry administration should there be one." I don't think he needs to worry about that. Nobody but an idiot would appoint a guy who has switched sides twice. On second thought, he might make a good lobbyist.

Update: William Saletan is trumpeting Clarke's revelations without a hint of skepticism or question. It's his smoking gun to show that Bush did nothing and lied, yadda, yadda, yadda.

Monday, March 22, 2004

It's been a great week for good writing

This is from a commenter on Michael Totten's blog:
For most of these anti-war liberals, it's not about what's right, it's about who's right.
That really is spot on. It's at the heart of the irrational rage on the left. They're bereft of power over the presidency or Congress and they can't stand being powerless, even if the Supreme Court is sliding slowly their way.

One of these days, a justice will just keel over, and we'll reap the whirlwind of the court's making itself into a third political branch of government. It will make the Bork and Thomas confirmation hearings look like beanbag.

Give Clarke a break

OK, he's a bitter bureaucrat who didn't get the job he wanted in the Homeland Defense Department, but he once had a brain. He did campaign within the Clinton administration to do something about bin Laden. Now he's opted to sell out to the Democrats after being rejected by the Republicans. I'm sure he'll do well with his book. If Michael Moore and Al Franken can, why not him?

I just hope he doesn't wake up after election day and realize that his best bet to get back into government is President Kerry. That would make a true patriot feel like Judas.

OK. From now on I'm linking to USA Today

It's obvious that this newspaper has been neglected by bloggers in favor of the mystique of the NYTimes and WaPo. If the Times is so outrageous, and it is, why continue to cite it for news? The whole American news media has sunk into a big rut of letting one or two newspapers define what's fit to print. Criticizing bias is fine, but what difference does it make as long as there's no competition? And how bad can other papers be compared to the L. A. Times and lately the Times of New York? The NYTimes is an icon among liberals and people who were educated in eastern universities. It has vast resources, but one has to wonder why readers should have to dig for significant facts that are constantly buried in stories or stories relegated to inside sections. Maybe I'm being unfair, since my access to the print editions of these papers is very limited and their web versions aren't arranged the same, but the last time I looked at the NYTimes website, it looked like the stories were being chosen by the Kerry campaign.

Update: At least one sees the point, if not exactly going as far as to tout replacement. Unfortunately, however, he brings up Jack Kelley from USA Today.

Is it OK to challenge their patriotism now?

Lileks links to LGF with a photo of some vicious twit carrying a sign that reads "I [heart] New York even more without the World Trade Cente." He should be arrested and shipped to Aghanistan, where he can support al Qaeda to his heart's content.

I'm sure the defense would be that this is why we have the First Amendment. Yeah, we have it specifically to allow people without a clue to spout off and show everybody else how indecent, hate-filled and narcissistic they are. These are the kind of people who will wonder how we could have reelected George W. Bush. After all, they had lots of people at the demonstration.

They're not only treasonous, but thugs according to this account by a woman protesting the protest:
At one point things got really pretty dicey as one of my fellow protest warriors was being choked right there in the middle of the street and the NYPD came in and rescued us! They corralled us into a bull pen sort of place and protected us from the peace marchers . . . Then, they assigned a scooter brigade to guard us while we expressed our right of free speech. My poor sainted husband, who I talked into coming with me was being shoved and screamed at by the ANSWER security squad (brown shirts) and he remarked that we have free speech in the U.S. to which the goon screamed in return "there is no [expletive] free speech."
(Link via Best of the Web)

As I keep saying, with people like this, rights go only one way. If they ever get power, there will be no more freedom to protest. How many stories have we read from students whose grades are threatened by lefty professors who were demanding tolerance and understanding when they were the students, but have no qualms about preaching punishing dissent in their own classrooms? Post-mdernism seesm more like post-freedom these days.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Jay Rosen has a great fisking of a NYTimes' story on Bush campaign strategy.

Among cases submitted for explanation I would try to have placed this morning's lead story in the New York Times. According to the editors, the most important thing for me, a Times subscriber, to know about today, in a world exploding with reality, is: "90-Day Media Strategy by Bush's Aides to Define Kerry." By Jim Rutenberg, writing out of Washington, March 19. (His beat is the media angle on the campaign.) Some prose from it:
The aides said the strategy was planned weeks ago in coordination with Karl Rove, Mr. Bush's chief political aide, while Mr. Kerry was battling for his party's nomination.
Wow. Weeks ago this thing was planned. Must be pretty carefully thought out.
Go read the rest. The Rutenberg piece struck me when I saw it as pretty cheesy when I first saw it. It looks worse now. The Times is clearly on the skids. I'm assembling my own news media from blogs that I admire. Commentators like Rosen, Kaus, Welch, Tim Blair and more I can't think of immediately don't need editors. They're great writers and reporters. They see the key facts buried in stories, and they write with flair and perspicacity. Who'd want to go back to the biassed blather that fills the mainstream media.

Say, could the president use these?

Mark Steyn, joke writer:
Q: How many John Kerrys does it take to change a lightbulb?

A: At least four. One to unscrew the old lightbulb. One to simultaneously announce his courageous commitment to replacing the old bulb. One to vote against funding the new light bulb. And one to denounce George W. Bush and America's Benedict Arnold CEOs for leaving everyone in the dark.

Q: Why did John Kerry cross the road?

A: He didn't cross the road. He crossed to the middle to demonstrate his grasp of the nuances and subtleties involved in crossing the road, and was still explaining them to the New York Times reporter when the logging truck hit him.
Maybe he needs to learn to use polls before he speaks like Clinton did, except before the Grand Jury.

Then there's this:
For months he's been droning in his stump speech that, if George W. Bush wants to fight this election on national security, Kerry has three words for him: ''Bring it on!'' So Bush brought it on -- with a 30-second ad arguing that the senator is weak on defense. And suddenly the campaign's curled up on the floor in a fetal position whimpering that it's just totally unfair making such a horrible personal attack.
The sad part is that the media seems to be doing a lot of the whimpering itself, when it should be, Mickey Kaus, demanding that the Democrats not insult us with this stiff.

The Times (NY) is playing down the catch of a big fish

We still don't know whether Zawahiri was there or not, but just to be safe, Milt Beardenn "reports" that it really wouldn't hurt al Qaeda to be decapitated. This sounds a lot like "The U.S. is no safer today because we killed Zawahiri."

At least they're not all idiots

Andr� Glucksmann, a French liberal philosopher, explains what Europeans don't get. "Mad is the European who thinks himself immune to terror for having opposed Saddam's overthrow," he writes. And mad is what the majority of them seem to be. Maybe socialism does that to you.

Another quote: "What's the point of political campaigns, meetings, reports, programs and debates if within a few hours, the bombing of packed train cars can reverse the result?" Before the past year, I would have sworn that most people could see that for themselves, but the phobia for any kind of violence, even in self-defense or to prevent worse violence, together with the naive belief that governments create prosperity, is so great with people who have been taught dependence on the state that they do seem - well, mad. I would expect Americans, at least of my generation, to be perverse enough to give terrorists the finger and vote for the war president just to show that they can't be cowed by a bunch of criminals. Now, I'm not so sure.

More and more I'm impressed that political debate consists of careful explanation of what should be obvious by conservatives and a response by the left with slogans and dumb sophistries.

Scalia's scalding refusal to recusal

From The NYTimes this critique of Justice Scalia's refusal to withdraw from hearing a cas involving Cheney's review of energy policy:
The Times invited six law professors specializing in legal ethics to evaluate Justice Scalia's legal arguments: Stephen Gillers of New York University, Monroe H. Freedman of Hofstra, Steven Lubet of Northwestern, James E. Moliterno of William & Mary, Ronald D. Rotunda of George Mason and G. Edward White of the University of Virginia.
I'm sure that that group is as even handed and impartial as any SCOTUS justice. Of course, they ignored the point that Scalia's duck hunt with Cheney doesn't make him any more likely to be impartial than say Justice Bader-Ginsburg ruling on a NOW suit. You can talk all you want about the appearance of impropriety, but it's hardly a secret where Scalia is likely to come down on this suit, and being at a duck hunt with the VP would hardly change that. I think he has made a decision that the issue here is more about using lawsuits to interfere with the Executive Branch's policy making to make it more like a judicial or legislative hearing, and that this is a transparent attempt to shape the outcome more than any actual concern about favoritism. If they're going to play hardball politcs with him, he's going to do the same. This isn't how it should be, but the suit is pretty silly, and dangerous as well.

Speaking of Fox News

Brett Baier had an extended day-in-the-life special on Donald Rumsfeld this week. I'm sure that he wouldn't have allowed a CNN or NYTimes reporter that kind of access, but I was still pretty impressed even if it were a puff piece. He's 71 years old. He works at his desk standing up and plays squash 3 times a week. He has a resume that won't quit and he manages like a drill sergeant, with his famous "snowflake" memos that put tough questions to his subordinates and his willingness to take on a lot of entrenched brass in the Pentagon in order to transform our military into a more mobile and nimble force to deal with its current missions.

Rumsfeld is one of the best reasons I can think of for re-electing Bush. Who would Kerry appoint to replace him? Wesley Clark, most likely. Ugh!

Did they get him or not? Who's running this show?

There are reports today from the Times of London that Zawahiri has been killed, although the administration is flatly denying it. There are also reports that U.S. troops are directing the operations in Waziristan. Who knows? I hope they got him and we can prove it.

There are also reports that Zawahiri has claimed that al Qaeda has a Soviet suitcase nuke purchased from disgruntled scientists. It could be a dirty bomb. The administration is launching a new study of fallout, so they may be giving it credence.

Update: Mansoor Ijaz reports that the Pakistani forces have called a cease fire and are allowing local tribal elders to negotiate a settlement. Musharaf has backed down. Ijaz characterized the Times of London reporter as being very good and the report very detailed, but wasn't willing to directly contradict the CIA or Pentagon, who are flatly denying the report about Zawahiri being killed. The report is based on statements from an unidentified source that Zawahiri was killed by Task Force 121, the same group who found and captured Saddam.

The Pakistanis have captured a number of foreigners from the fight, so they didn't come up completely empty. I can't imagine that it would really be a standoff if Musharraf really wanted to wipe the group out, but I think he didn't dare, for political reasons, to involve the U. S. and their JDAMs. It could also be that he knew that we had nailed Zawahiri and that it wasn't worth further losses. There are a number of Pakistani hostages in the stronghold, he'd like to get out through negotiation.

Update: Tom McInerny says the U.N. Oil For Food scandal is about to erupt. We can certainly hope.

No wonder they lost

Joe Lieberman and John McCain appeared on Fox News Sunday claiming that voters are already turned off by the negative tone of the campaign so far and will fail to vote as a result. They called for greater unity and civility by both sides.

Yeah, that'll happen.

We hear this in every campaign, but how can anybody expect Bush to take all the attacks on him both personal ("too dumb to be president") and policy. Kerry's flip-flopping on issues is hardly an irrelevant issue, any more than Bush's Iraq policy is. How is showing an unedited clip of Kerry saying, "I voted for the $87 billion, before I voted against it," unfair? I'm sure that a lot of Democrats think it's unfair that Bush is able to raise more hard money, just as Republicans are enraged by George Soros' promise to spend a large part of his fortune to defeat Bush.

Criticism of one's political opponent is at the heart of the First Amendment. This whining is just another form of it. In a country where some of our greatest leaders have been called apes, fornicators, etc. what makes us think that negativity is unamerican?

Update: Tim Blair has a great rejoinder to the "quit picking on Kerry" non-story: KERRY SURVIVES KNIFE-WIELDING SARIN GAS VAMPIRE BUSH ATTACK. He also summarizes the challenger's week, "Keystone Kerry." I like that.

Circle the Wagons!

The NYTimes seems worried. Mickey Kaus interprets:
While the Times' Adam Nagourney conspired with The Note's Mark Halperin during a sinister Media Elite gathering at 'Cesca in New York, his eighth paragraph--the one in which he buried the big, unwanted news that Bush had gotten traction against Kerry-was predictably blossoming into the lead story in Saturday's paper. ... Jim Rutenberg's article limns the debate over whether Bush's effective early advertising will beat Kerry aide Bob Shrum's post-June campaigning. Note that this debate replays the post-1996 dispute over whether Dick Morris' early ads for Clinton won the election against Bob Dole--or whether, as Shrum contended at the time, they had little effect.
Kerry has lost 10 points in the polls, but it's kind of early to panic, which his supporters in the media are doing. Maybe they are realizing that his weaknesses as a candidate may not be things he can change easily, like his naive insistence that we need to rely more on the U.N., his voting record in the Senate and his record of anti-war activism and voting against national defense. His aristocratic arrogance was on display when he claimed, "I don't fall down!" and cursed one of his taxpayer-hired bodyguards for getting in his way. Personally, I don't think his ties to the French help him much here at home, either.

High Ideals

In going through my bookmarks, I found this one about sustainable consumption which asks, ""How do we create a society that does not steal from the future?"

It's a good question, but one that is probably unattainable so long as people are free and selfish. I'd say a good first step would be to abolish the welfare state and social security. Groups like this tend to end up using idealistic goals as a lever to add to the power of governments, and that certainly doesn't create a "society that doesn't steal from the future." Democracies have the built-in tendency to create entitlements, because sooner or later politicians will happen upon the idea of buying votes with tax revenues, and that leads to borrowing (stealing?) from the future to fund benefits to the present generation.

The founders of this nation understood this principle, and they tried to place limits on federal power, but they made one big error. They created a federal judiciary that, once appointed, is unanswerable to anyone except higher courts, and they made the Constitution too difficult to amend, at least with 50 states and scattered populations as we have today.