Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Who else could say it with a straight face?

Ivory Coast accuses France of shooting civilians

The Government of the Ivory Coast is planning to take legal action against French troops accused of shooting civilians.

The Ivorian Government is taking its case to the International Court of Justice.

Ivory Coast accused French troops of killing up to 60 people during an anti-French demonstration in the commercial capital, Abidjan, last week.

Human Rights Minister Victorine Wodie says the perpetrators must be punished.

But France says its soldiers were not responsible for the killings.

But of course they weren't. Undoubtedly, some other people who just happened to look French decided to shoot up an anti-French protest. In fact, if these civilians were randomly shot in a fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, raped, with ears and heads cut off, I have a hunch who you should be looking for. But wait - as is always the case with France, there's more to the story.

France: Minimal force used in Ivory Coast

The head of France's armed forces, Gen. Henri Bentegeat, acknowledged Friday for the first time that his soldiers opened fire to hold back what he called a "pack of looters, rapists and uncontrollable or manipulated people" attacking foreigners in Abidjan.

Naturally. Those barbarous little brown people were either berserk or brainwashed, so regrettably this wholesale slaughter could not be avoided. It is a shame that these wayward children cannot conduct themselves in a civilized fashion and must require the stern, but loving parent of France to slap their wrists - but what else can France do? You may slide off the hook for this one, Kerry, but your bacon's still on the griddle.

I'm certain that we should all be thankful for the miracle that apparently none of these attacked foreigners appear to have been hurt. It's probably not so miraculous, I'm sure that the little brown ones are just so horribly inept that they simply didn't manage to hurt anyone, but the intent was all there. I guess that just leaves one question, then - if France didn't do it, where did 60 bodies come from?

But he told Europe-1 radio the soldiers did "the absolute minimum" in self-defense and alleged that gunmen in the crowds killed "a very large number" of people.

Of course, forgive me. I should have understood at once that the frenzied mob of little brown people was so completely unhinged that the loyalists were killing themselves and each other. How could I even dream that French troops were involved? We may all sleep soundly now that reality has been redefined favorably to France.

Don't interrupt my reverie

We have confirmation; Rice for Secretary of State.

WASHINGTON -- President Bush today nominated national security advisor Condoleezza Rice as his secretary of State, to replace Colin L. Powell as "America's face to the world."

In Rice, the world will "see the strength, the grace and the decency of our country." Bush said.

Ok, I don't dispute that Dr. Rice is absolutely brilliant, that her lifelong quest for excellence in every endeavor has shaped her into a welcome cabinet addition for any administration, but is she really ready to be our top diplomat?

As a girl in the segregated South, Dr. Rice saw the promise of America violated by racial discrimination and by the violence that comes from hate.

Well then, it certainly sounds like she's ready to tackle both Democrats and Europe.

"I am a realist. Power matters. But there can be no absence of moral content in American foreign policy, and, furthermore, the American people wouldn't accept such an absence. Europeans giggle at this and say we're naive and so on, but we're not Europeans, we're Americans-and we have different principles." (source)

Give 'em hell. Godspeed, Condi - we hardly deserve you.

The new economics

It's a country whose products are known and respected, whose engineering is renowned; from electronics to machinery to component and consumer goods its economic landscape features world industry leaders. Germany is one of the world's greatest exporters; just a couple years ago, it surpassed the USA for the first time. With a highly educated work force and the largest economy in the eurozone, on the surface it would appear perfectly positioned for success. We know that this isn't the case in practice.

If you were asked just where Germany's present-day economic woes stem from, what would you say? Perhaps you'd say that the Soviet collapse dried up East Germany's industrial client base, and they still haven't recovered. You might say that Kohl torpedoed what was left of East Germany's industry when he integrated West and East currency at an equivalent exchange. You could point a finger at the wage controls which pin Germany's wages at one of the highest rates in the world, the giant annual cash transfers from the west that provide a pseudo-economy to the east, persistent unemployment, or the exorbitant welfare state. But what would the German Finance Ministry say?

Wait for it.

It's America's fault.

Germany blames strong euro on US policies

BERLIN, Nov. 13 (Xinhuanet) -- A senior German official has blamed the financial policies of the Bush administration for the strong euro hurting European economies, according to the German weekly "Der Spiegel".

In its latest issue to be published Sunday, the weekly quoted Caio Koch-Weser, a state secretary of the German Finance Ministry,as saying that the double deficits in the US budget and trade had worried the market, leading to the depreciation of the US dollar against euro.

Koch-Weser urged the Bush administration to change its financial and economic policies and launch a "middle-term, sustained budget consolidation".

Lest anyone need a reminder, this admonishment comes from a country that penned the Euro Stability Pact, and will not abide by it in order to put forth stimulus tax cuts.

[Nov. 2003] German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder on Wednesday defended a decision to suspend the EU’s deficit rules in order to promote euro zone growth. But he also told parliament that Germany would continue budgetary consolidation.

Addressing parliament during a debate on the 2004 budget, Schröder said Berlin needed to give priority to bringing forward planned tax cuts by one year to help get Europe’s largest economy back on track.

“We need consolidation without question,” Schröder said. “But we need to stimulate growth. We have to pull these tax cuts forward to support growth.”

For those of you who thought that only France could manage world-class hypocrisy - think again. The other half of Europe is pretty good at it too.

Update: I should have presumed that Medienkritik's already been here.

Monday, November 15, 2004

More preparations for a Clinton secretariat

Normalizing sexual harassment is an important transitional step in preparing that most august international body, the United Nations, to have a chair shined by the gluteus maximus of B.J. Clinton. For an organization more associated with legitimizing thuggery and robbery however, it may take more than that. Kofi's going the extra mile.

MOVIE beauty Nicole Kidman is to be named Citizen of the World by the United Nations.

The star, 37, will be given the humanitarian award by Secretary-General Kofi Annan at a lavish dinner next month.

Nicole filmed upcoming thriller The Interpreter with Sean Penn at the UN's New York HQ.

Actress Angelina Jolie, 29, won the same award last year.

A Hollywood actress for "Citizen of the World" every year? Kofi's planning on semi-retirement; he's angling for a job as Clinton's trim coordinator.

As strange as fiction

Tim Robbins will invade an oil rig.

The braying of Barnier

France urges creation of Palestinian state

Well, there it is; proof that France is still relevant. A Palestinian state - who ever would have thought of it, if not for France?

France's foreign minister said Saturday an independent Palestinian state should be created as soon as possible - even with "temporary" borders - and called on the United States and Europe to work urgently toward brokering Middle East peace.

"I think it is possible to create, perhaps even with temporary borders, this Palestinian state, which is one of the conditions for peace and security for all the countries in this region," Michel Barnier told Europe-1 radio. He did not elaborate.

"Hand over the carrot now, and then we'll discuss that stick." Nice try, Mike. Don't you have some other terrorists to fellate?

Barnier commented on remarks made a day earlier by US President George W. Bush, who said in Washington he hoped for the creation of a Palestinian state within four years. The timeframe referred to the length of Bush's second term.

"I think it is possible to go faster," Barnier said. "The sooner the better, even before the end of (Bush's) mandate."

Oh, my - the "m" word! That has all the hallmarks of Barnier trying to talk his way into bed. But tell me - would it be possible to sit down and shut up while this process goes forward? Or will France yet again insist on being an impediment?

Everyone is familiar with the spectacle of two boys who aren't entirely sure that they want to fight inside a circle of more enthusiastic kids. France is the kid whispering into the Palestinian boy's ear "Oh! Did you hear what he said about your mom? Are you gonna take that?" Peace gets easier when France gets called home for lunch.

Barnier echoed a call by Bush to make Middle East peace a global priority.

"To restart the peace process between Palestinians and Israelis is an urgent and priority task for the Americans and the Europeans together," Barnier said. [emphasis mine]

I'll translate the weaselese to English: "We totally screwed the pooch. We could have rode it out until January, but we cannot maintain for four more years that we did not. I will scrounge for any excuse to try to rebuild the goodwill that we squandered. If that means pretending that France's opinion regarding Israel-Palestine matters, it is not beneath me."

Sorry, weaselboy - that dream is crumbling as I type.

Colin Powell announced his decision to step down as US Secretary of State today, marking the end of a period in office dogged by in-fighting.

Washington’s top diplomat told staff he had handed in his notice to President George Bush but would delay his exit until a successor was appointed. (source)

So, dovey Colin Powell won't be your debating partner for the next administration. It can't be that bad, right? It just means that you'll spend the next four years making kissy faces at someone else, right? So, who is that successor, anyway? The odds-on favorite (and please be sure to terrorize the rest of Europe -- you know, Joschka Fisher -- with this news) is Dr. Condoleeza Rice.

Knowledgeable Republican sources described Rice as the likely successor to Powell, whose resignation was announced on Monday. A successor to Powell was not expected to be announced on Monday. (source)

Please... the one thing in the world that I now want to see is the face of any of the ABB-Europe crowd upon hearing the news that Condi Rice is our new Secretary of State.

It's good to be alive.

Paying homage

Via E-nough -

French consider naming streets after Arafat

Several French municipalities governed by communist and left-wing majorities are considering naming a street or a square after Yasser Arafat.

The French police intelligence service, Renseignements Generaux, reportedly warned the Ministry of Interior that such initiatives might trigger heated polemics and tensions between Jews and Muslims, especially neighborhoods ridden by ethnic violence.

In several suburban cities near Paris and Lyons governed by communist mayors, large Muslim and Jewish populations live side by side.

Is any commentary needed?

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Evil is afoot

United Nations Establishes Working Group on Internet Governance

Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced today the members of the United Nations Working Group on Internet Governance, which is to prepare the ground for a decision on this contentious issue by the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society in 2005.

I'll not mince words - the last thing that I want the United Nations to get its slimy claws on is the internet. This "working group" isn't actually going to do anything, mind you - its purpose is to make preparations for preparing for any action. And just what sort of eventual action do they have in mind? Well, funny you should ask - the preparations for preparations suggest that they don't really know, but they seem certain that it's vital that the U.N. get involved anyway. The article credits the working group with the responsibility to

- Develop a working definition of Internet governance;

- Identify the public policy issues that are relevant to Internet governance;

- Develop a common understanding of the respective roles and responsibilities of governments, international organizations and other forums as well as the private sector and civil society from both developing and developed countries.

In other words, before the World Summit on the Information Society can really get started they need to determine how much power to grant themselves. But wait - it gets worse.

"There is a general convergence of views on the need to treat Internet governance from a broad perspective and to build on what has been done elsewhere," said Markus Kummer, the Swiss diplomat who heads the Geneva-based secretariat of the Working Group. "Issues that we expect to address include the management of Internet resources, network security, cyber-crime, spam and multilingualism." [emphasis mine]

Resource management, network security, and multilingualism have never had their best solutions come from government. These are technical issues that are best left in the hands of the technical people who provide the solutions; government involvement is a hindrance here, not a help. When you get a herd of bureaucrats, who know about the technology only what they hear from a pet geek they consult once or twice a month, together to make decisions about technology it's poison. They don't know what they're doing, and it routinely shows. They don't need a working group to examine this, I can already tell them how much power they should have over these issues - not one iota.

Criminal law is another matter; that's expressly government business. Cyber-crime and crime-related laws in the U.S. have been evolving all along, but at a snail's pace. Junkware has been infecting and crippling the computers of millions of unsuspecting users for a few years now, and there is finally some discussion of perhaps seeing if we can get some effective law together concerning that. Even though spam has for even longer been clogging inboxes and costing service providers staggering amounts of money annually, we're only recently seeing useful anti-spam laws. The alacrity with which government got out in front of that one being typical of government's ability to keep pace with technology, I can't imagine any scenario where a U.N. commission handles a problem before it's been replaced with 6 more that are worse. An independant -- and selective -- body would be much more efficient for developing international criminal law. Wait - don't we already have those? Well, I guess you just can't have too many.

But perhaps I'm just being too alarmist again. I'm sure we can all rest easily and trust in the sage wisdom of the United Nations to make the internet a harmonious experience for all. Judicious restraint in granting power over the governance of the internet is certain to be applied smoothly and efficiently when the panel includes representatives from China, Cuba, Saudi Arabia and Iran. I'm sure that they well understand that "information wants to be free", and will make decisions with our best interests foremost in their minds. Really.

(Cross-posted to The Left Right Debate)

From Russia with love

Get over it

The simple fact is that John Kerry lost his bid to turn the United States of America into a socialist country.

It has only been a little over one week since President Bush successfully and soundly beat John Kerry in one of the hardest fought presidential elections in United States history. Even though President Bush beat Kerry by an amazing 52 to 47 percent and by more than 2 million votes, most liberal Democrats cannot accept the fact that Kerry lost. Instead, they are showing their true liberal colors by trying to prove the elections were somehow fixed to help President Bush.

I guess it just wouldn't be Pravda if the numbers were correct.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

A 21st century look back at a 20th century war

Jane has written of the new perspective that she - and hopefully many Americans - has found regarding the Vietnam war and the events surrounding it. Anything more that I say about it will only delay you from reading it, which you should do.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Biggest non-news of the day

9th Circuit: Cow Palace wrongly limits protesters' speech

Yes, Cow Palace. No, it's not a burger place.

An animal-rights activist brought the case, saying small "free-expression zones" set hundreds of feet from the entrance stymied him and others from protesting circuses and rodeos. A unanimous three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed.

We let you people breathe, don't we? Isn't that enough?

"Cordoning protesters off in a free expression zone the size of a parking space, located over 200 feet from the entrance, far from encouraging interaction with them, is more likely to give the impression to passers-by that these are people to be avoided," Judge Marsha S. Berzon wrote in Kuba v. 1-A Agricultural Association. Judges Edward Leavy and Richard Paez joined in the decision.

Martha, dear, let me explain it; these people are to be avoided. 'Kay?

The case was brought by Alfredo Kuba, a California animal-rights activist who was prohibited from demonstrating in the walkway to the entrance of the arena. He has been arrested there three times, he said.

Kuba, 47, the founder of the Silicon Valley chapter of In Defense of Animals, plans to protest an Oct. 29 rodeo at the Cow Palace.

"I intend to exercise my rights of free speech without being forced in an area where people don't even walk by," the Mountain View man said.

Alfredo, get a clue. If anyone wanted to walk by you, they would.

More Faux News lies and propaganda

Election posts are so last week, but I was catching up on Iraq The Model and couldn't pass this by. Omar translated this letter, which he says had collected over 1,000 signatures in about a day.

In the name of God,
Sir, President George W Bush, President of the United States of America.

On behalf of the families of the victims of the mass graves, on behalf of the martyrs of “Halabja” and “Anfal” and on behalf of all the Iraqis that you liberated from dictatorship and oppression; we have prayed for you and now we want to send you our congratulations on being reelected as a president of the United States.

Mr. President, we’d love to congratulate you and the people of the United States on the beginning of a new phase of democracy, freedom and prosperity and we wish you and the American people the best, as they have led the liberation of Iraq and sacrificed their sons and daughters for the freedom of the Iraqis; the historical achievement that the United States has accomplished together with the other liberating countries.

The united States and the coalition, among all other nations were the ones who recognized the suffering of the Iraqi people and saved them from a regime that was more lethal and more destructive than any weapons of mass destruction. A regime that murdered, slaughtered and enslaved Iraqis for long, dark decades, denied them their freedom and their right to live a decent life until God inspired you and helped you to rescue us, liberate our country and put us on the road of freedom and democracy.

Mr. President, we-the Iraqis-are on your side and we’ll keep supporting and blessing your efforts in eradicating terrorism inside and outside Iraq and all those who carried weapons against the liberating coalition forces and the new Iraqi police, hunting down the criminals who murder innocent civilians, whether Iraqi or American civilians.

We-the Iraqis- are determined to establish democracy and freedom in our country starting with general elections that exclude no one whether inside or outside Iraq. These elections would lead us to a democratic Iraq and we wish that you could help focusing on the role of the Iraqis outside Iraq and make use of their qualifications in the reconstruction process.

We also want to emphasize the necessity of establishing an international legislation that incriminates the Ba’athists, terrorists, fanatic salafis and all the parties, and governments that support them, not forgetting the media that promote the ideology of killing and terrorism. These parties ought to be confronted and fought to achieve peace and stability in Iraq, America and the rest of the world.

We’re also determined to establish a strategic, permanent relationship with our friends; the government and people of the United States to whom we hold the utmost feelings of gratitude, love and friendship for what they have given us and what they’re still offering. We will be united on the road of freedom and peace and we will always be supportive to all the efforts of America in bringing peace to the region.

In the end, we ask God to guide you and bless all your efforts to do the best for humanity as a whole.

All the glory to the American and Iraqi martyrs
long live America. Long live Iraq, free and allied nations.

Your brothers in the “Iraqi Parliament” voice chat room and in “Sawt Al Iraq” website.

I wonder how many red/blue governates Iraq has.

I surrender

Between a combination of time constraints and technical problems, I haven't posted in a week. I really wanted to get the Veteran's Day post up though, so I kept intermittently trying until Blogger gave back something besides a server error and finally got it up. Then, since I was taking a time out anyway, I decided to check the referrer log to see just how anemic traffic has been in the absence of any posting whatsoever. WHAM.

Remember when I mentioned getting an awful lot of Maureen Dowd search hits, and how weird it was that my little ol' blog would be ranked so high? I thought that particular fixation would diminish as the article aged, and those search hits would peter out. I even posted the picture to keep people from having to search for it more than once. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the referrers of nearly 1/3 of all logged traffic was along these lines:

maureen dowd rolling stone picture
maureen dowd picture rolling stone
rolling stone magazine maureen dowd
Dowd Rolling Stone
rolling stone magazine maureen dowd
maureen dowd rolling stone magazine picture

That's it; I give up. I'm not gonna fight it. In fact, I'm going to stop looking this gift horse in the mouth, and I'm going to own it. Therefore, I welcome all readers to the new "Maureen Dowd Picture Rolling Stone" edition of Loose Coins.

And while I'm on it - the question some of you are after is "Why did Kerry lose", not "Why did Kerry loose", and if you really don't know you're not going to get it from a search engine. Read more blogs. Additionally, many of you appear to have a fixation with Judy Jetson that's at least as disturbing as the one with MoDo. Really... I'm not sure that's healthy. Blogs probably won't help you.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Thank you

You know who you are. You landed at Normandy, fought across Pacific Islands, and kept South Korea independant. You held the line at the Fulda gap, and kept the balance from Vietnam to Grenada. You lost comrades in Beirut, Somalia, and off the coast of Yemen, but did not lose heart. You took back Kuwait, toppled the Taliban and Saddam. You fly the planes, drive the trucks, operate the ships, subs, and tanks to make it all happen, and you make it possible for others to do so. I never had the nerve to do the jobs that you do, so thank you for taking up my slack. You will always deserve the best from me.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

UN Prepares for Clinton secretariat

Annan asked to clarify harassment ruling

"Because I feel that it is of importance to set this precedent."

Wait, no, that was the voice in my head. Sorry.

New York, NY, Nov. 4 (UPI) -- The United States is reported to have asked U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan why he overruled claims of sexual harassment against a senior staff member.

An American woman alleged Ruud Lubbers, the high commissioner for refugees, harassed her after a meeting in his office in Geneva last year, the BBC said Thursday.

An internal investigation into the allegation reportedly supported her complaint. But, Annan said he rejected findings on the basis of legal advice that the charge was unsustainable in court.

In other words, the "Liar, liar, pants on fire" defense is admissible at the United Nations. Slick Willy could not be reached for comment, but is said to be in high spirits.

Burn, baby, burn

At 11:49 am EST, a member of the White House press corp informed the President that Yasser Arafat is dead. No confirmation yet. First step to Pali/Israeli peace?

Update: Only a couple sources maintain that Arafat is dead; most say that he's brain-dead. If his condition is improving, why didn't they just say so?

Depends on what you mean by 'ally'

U.S. Allies Welcome Bush Re-Election

In Europe, French President Jacques Chirac sent a congratulatory letter saying he hoped Bush's second term "will be the occasion for strengthening the French-American friendship."

"We will be unable to find satisfying responses to the numerous challenges that confront us today without a close trans-Atlantic partnership," wrote Chirac.

Correct, Jack - you will be unable to find those responses. On the other hand, we've been finding them with trans-Atlantic partnerships, trans-Pacific partnerships, and transcontinental partnerships of every stripe. You're welcome to bring along a truffle-hunting pig if you promise not to make it soil the carpet, but release the delusion that a trans-Atlantic partnership of necessity must include France. Those days have passed.

Election interest in Europe was intense, as was the disappointment many felt over Bush's victory.

"There is a major and lasting lack of understanding between the American people and the rest of the world, in both directions," said Hubert Vedrine, a former French foreign minister. "Almost all nations, with perhaps three or four exceptions, wanted change."

Funny how it's all so mutual, huh? Take for example the intense disappointment that many feel over Europe; with perhaps three or four exceptions, we'd like to see them change.

Sharp as Marbles

Kerry's Vision Not Clear, Analysts Say

Those analysts - they're pretty quick on the uptake, huh?

BOSTON — Sen. John F. Kerry had nearly all the ingredients to mount a successful challenge to President Bush: a tepid economy, an unpopular war plagued by setbacks, and a fiercely motivated Democratic base.

But, in the end, political analysts and party strategists agree that the Massachusetts senator was missing one key element: a boldly rendered portrayal of himself and his vision for the country.

Maybe not. The problem is that there was a boldly portrayed image of Kerry - and it was watercolor.

Back in the day, a Purple Heart

Kerry Concedes, Says He Hopes Healing Can Begin

Of course, what he means is that it's time to start licking his self-inflicted wounds.

"We had a good conversation, we talked about the danger of division in our country and the need, the desperate need for unity, for finding the common ground, coming together. Today I hope that we can begin the healing," Kerry told supporters in historic Faneuil Hall.

Isn't that a bit like hitting someone with your car and then remarking how it isn't safe to walk the streets anymore?

Haven't they suffered enough?

Daschle Pledges to Keep Working for S.D.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, denied a fourth term by South Dakota voters, pledged Wednesday to continue working to solve the state's problems.

You're a fiend, Daschle. Just when the state thought they had fixed their problems...

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

In the market for a President?

This image (stolen without shame from Alpha Patriot) speaks volumes. The text might help some people, though.

Market Reaction

Gentlemen, start your whining


Let the wailing and gnashing of teeth begin

It's not over 'till the fat lawyers sing, but they're warming up right now. No one's willing to declare a winner yet; CNN and C-Span both stand at 254-252 with Ohio, New Mexico, and Iowa uncalled, while Fox has the race fixed at 269-242, with New Mexico, Nevada, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Delaware in the balance. By all appearances however, the fourty-fourth President of the United States, to be inaugurated on January 20th, 2005, is President George W. Bush.

Kerry's holding on until it's undeniable that he and the Breck girl have been declared the weakest link, but I predict that none of the litigious contests predicted will take place. It's all but official that we will have the first president elected by a majority of the popular vote in 16 years. The electorate of this nation banded together to clearly unite behind the challenges of our new common goal - driving Europeans stark raving bonkers.

Today I also predict a spike in blood pressure-related maladies between the Emerald Isle and the Ural mountains. Bashir Assad will break out in hives, George Galloway will choke on a danish, and Carolyn Parrish will be stricken with with Tourett syndrome which will go unremarked. Kim Jong Il will order a truckload of Windex and puppies.

Speaking of which, I should thank someone before I forget - Guardian, you really helped button down Ohio! I know it wasn't selfless, you've helped yourself to four more years of carping about the cowboy, but still - nicely done! Now go scribble something churlish about what ogres we are.

(Cross-posted to The Left-Right Debate)

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

When Democrats Attack

GOP Vehicles Vandalized In Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE -- Election Day got off to an ugly start at a parking lot on Milwaukee's northwest side.

Someone slashed the tires on 30 vehicles that were designated for the local Bush/Cheney campaign.

"We showed up this morning, and it appears the tires were slashed on the vehicles we were going to transport our people to the polls to conduct our poll watching effort," said Rick Wiley, the political director for the Republican Party of Wisconsin.

They're disenfranchising and intimidating drivers!

(Cross-posted to The Left Right Debate)

Dirtiest trick yet

GOP Complains About School Voting Over Alleged Ice Cream Bribe

LUFKIN, Texas -- Lufkin-area Republicans are complaining about voting by residents from the local state school for the mentally disabled.

The Lufkin Daily News reports the Angelina County GOP headquarters was told that Lufkin State School employees bribed students with ice cream.

And what does the Boss Tweed of Lufkin State School have to say in his defense?

But school administrator Randy Spence denies any wrongdoing. He says being a state school resident doesn't bar the resident from voting. The federally funded organization Advocacy Incorporated says Texans lose the right to vote only if a judge declares them mentally incompetent.

That's right - answer charges of coercion as if their right to vote had been challenged. Evidence continues to support the conclusion that screaming "discrimination" is a Democrat reflex to being caught red-handed.

(Cross-posted to The Left Right Debate)

On your mark, get set, vote!

The early bird catches a break in the poll lines - get up, get out, and do your thing. Red state, blue state, battleground - I don't care where you live, just go vote.

Just on the off chance that you're one of those elusive undecideds and are just now scratching through the blogsphere for the last little item to make up your mind, let me throw my two cents in. I haven't bothered making any announcement before now because frankly, being as partisan as I am, I don't think it was a mystery to anyone which side of the ticket I'm standing behind. However, there is one non-partisan reason that my support is behind Bush rather than Kerry, and it isn't founded in something so subject to opinion as security, Iraq, or the larger War on Terror.

The issue is the difference in leadership qualities needed in different parts of a hierarchy. It's not an unusual issue to hear discussed during elections, and before this race I've considered it to be standard political discourse in races where it becomes appropriate. It's a difference found everywhere from Walmart to our government at every level; there is one set of skills that serves an executive, and another that serves a leader closer to the ground. Both are vital leaders, but they require different types of leadership to be effective.

A General needs to know and recall numerous relevent details, and to effectively coordinate the efforts of numerous subordinates with multiple objectives in mind. Someone farther down the chain needs to do this to a much lesser degree; more important to this person is the ability to accurately assess the resources at their disposal, to make good snap decisions based on their limited picture, and communicate an accurate picture of this up the chain. Both officers are vital to have, but for one it is most important that they have strategic capacity, and the other needs to be better able to act tactically.

The difference can perhaps more easily be understood when considering how they might function in response to a hypothetical attack. The Sergeant Major must be able to make an instant assessment, and immediately direct an effective response. He doesn't know or need to care about what's happening in the larger enterprise to lead effectively; that's the General's problem. The General on the other hand needs to rely on the Sergeant Major to be effective, and consider what bearing this attack has on the overall enterprise. Aside from perhaps arranging some assistance for his subordinate, his role requires that he not respond instantly. Effective leadership from him requires that he assemble what can be known about the threat first, while continuing to rely on those below him to handle decisions of the moment.

This issue screamed to be discussed when John Kerry famously declared that he would have jumped to his feet and gone and done something instead of reading My Pet Goat for seven minutes. If he genuinely meant that, and it was not simply a calculated swipe at Bush, then he was declaring that he did not understand what a Commander in Chief is, what he does, or what he should do. When I saw Kerry supporters (or, let's be honest, Bush haters) everywhere respond "Yeah! He shoud have been doing something!", I knew that they did not understand this difference in leadership either. I also suspected that I knew why.

When you consider the course of his career, Kerry's response to My Pet Goat is not necessarily surprising. The focal point of his campaign is four months that he spent in a position of tactical leadership; he was supposed to jump when we were attacked. Since a brief stint in the DA's office, he's been suckling the taxpayer teat while playing 100-way pattycake in undistinguished legislational subservience to Senate leaders like Ted Kennedy. When you consider the course of media coverage in this election, his supporters' response is not surprising either.

As I mentioned, this sort of qualitative difference exists across all types of hierarchical structures, and our media has taken opportunities to discuss it in the past. For example, when Senator Dole ran against President and former Governor Clinton, the difference between executive and legislative leadership was made much of. When General Wesley Clark first entered a wartime race, this aspect of leadership was explored again. When Senator Kerry was up against that frothing lunatic the favored Governor Dean in the primaries, executive experience vs. legislative was discussed again. In each case, it was made plain that the preferred candidate was better suited to presidency thanks to their executive experience.

As when Governor Bush ran against Senator Gore however, the media has been curiously silent on the issue in discussing the race between Senator Kerry and President/former Governor Bush. If we the people are to understand effective leadership - a critical part of selecting effective leadership - then clearly this is a discussion that we need to keep having. The Democrat shills media has failed us badly in this regard. If you really are an undecided looking for that one last issue to button down your vote for someone, this is it. Bush has that executive experience; he's been doing it for years.

(cross-posted at The Left Right Debate)

Monday, November 01, 2004

Ill omens

A different election projection -

LANDOVER, Md. (AP) - Since 1936, the outcome of the Redskins' last home game before the election has correctly predicted the winner of the election.

Sillyness, right? Snopes says no.

Last home gameResultRace Winner
Nov. 1, 1936Won vs. CardinalsIncumbent (Roosevelt)
Nov. 3, 1940Won vs. PiratesIncumbent (Roosevelt)
Nov. 5, 1944Won vs. RamsIncumbent (Rosevelt)
Oct. 31, 1948Won vs. YanksIncumbent (Truman)
Nov. 2, 1952Lost vs. SteelersChallenger (Eisenhower)
Oct. 30, 1960Lost vs. BrownsChallenger (Kennedy)
Oct. 25, 1964Won vs. BearsIncumbent (Johnson)
Oct. 27, 1968Lost vs. GiantsChallenger (Nixon)
Oct. 22, 1972Won vs. CowboysIncumbent (Nixon)
Oct. 31, 1976Lost vs. CowboysChallenger (Carter)
Nov. 2, 1980Lost vs. VikingsChallenger (Reagan)
Nov. 5, 1984Won vs. FalconsIncumbent (Reagan)
Nov. 6, 1988Won vs. SaintsIncumbent (Bush)
Nov. 1, 1992Lost vs. GiantsChallenger (Clinton)
Oct. 27, 1996Won vs. ColtsIncumbent (Clinton)
Oct. 30, 2000Lost vs. TitansChallenger (Bush)

16 races in a row! Who would have believed it? And this year?

Oct. 31, 2004Lost vs. Packers

So if the worst should happen on Tuesday night, blame the refs - the fix was in.