Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Lieberman-Miller 2008?

Judging by this Opinion Journal piece, Joe and Zell might be the only game for the Republicans to run against Hill and Barak (if Condi doesn't succumb to the charms of Dick Morris):

Does America have a good plan for ... for victory in Iraq? Yes we do. And it is important to make it clear to the American people that the plan has not remained stubbornly still but has changed over the years. ....

We are now embedding a core of coalition forces in every Iraqi fighting unit, which makes each unit more effective and acts as a multiplier of our forces. Progress in "clearing" and "holding" is being made. The Sixth Infantry Division of the Iraqi Security Forces now controls and polices more than one-third of Baghdad on its own. Coalition and Iraqi forces have together cleared the previously terrorist-controlled cities of Fallujah, Mosul and Tal Afar, and most of the border with Syria. Those areas are now being "held" secure by the Iraqi military themselves. Iraqi and coalition forces are jointly carrying out a mission to clear Ramadi, now the most dangerous city in Al-Anbar province at the west end of the Sunni Triangle.

Nationwide, American military leaders estimate that about one-third of the approximately 100,000 members of the Iraqi military are able to "lead the fight" themselves with logistical support from the U.S., and that that number should double by next year. If that happens, American military forces could begin a drawdown in numbers proportional to the increasing self-sufficiency of the Iraqi forces in 2006. If all goes well, I believe we can have a much smaller American military presence there by the end of 2006 or in 2007, but it is also likely that our presence will need to be significant in Iraq or nearby for years to come.

Thanks to Betsy Newmark for citing it first.

'I bitch. Therefore, I am'

The FLUBA Committee on Spotting Bumper Stickers on Cars Driven by Attractive Young Women is reminded of that one (above), by Paul Krugman's Holiday Season opener for the NY Times. About which it is again impossible to say anything polite:

American workers at big companies used to think they had made a deal. They would be loyal to their employers, and the companies in turn would be loyal to them, guaranteeing job security, health care and a dignified retirement.

Such deals were, in a real sense, the basis of America's postwar social order. ....

The resulting system is imperfect: those who don't work for companies with good benefits are, in effect, second-class citizens. Still, the system more or less worked for several decades after World War II.

It worked for those privileged to be part of it, he means. The majority of Americans who weren't, ought just to shut up and let there betters enjoy their lives in peace?

Americans who couldn't afford General Motors' lemons of the 1970s should have had the self-control to resist the temptation to purchase Toyotas and Hondas that weren't built by UAW workers with six weeks vacation?

We again can only shake our heads at such displays of fundamental economic illiteracy by the Princeton economist:

Regular readers of this column know what I think we should do: instead of trying to provide economic security through the back door, via tax breaks designed to encourage corporations to provide health care and pensions, we should provide it through the front door, starting with national health insurance.

In which case we would have exactly the same moribund economies as those countries (such as family friendly France) that do it Krugman's way now. The security of the corpse is absolute.

The only way anyone can enjoy an above average income in a dynamic economy is to be above average in producing that which one's fellow man values in exchange. Not by having it bestowed on one by politicians spending other peoples' money.

To attempt to have it Krugman's way will end up impoverishing everyone in the war of all against all in the political arena that will result when the Federal Govt tries to spend 30% of GDP.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Thanksgiving Turkey

Ann says it's Democrats in Congress who had the bright idea to talk up the idea of surrendering to the jihadists we're currently defeating:

Saddam is on trial. His psychopath sons are dead. We've captured or killed scores of foreign terrorists in Baghdad. Rape rooms and torture chambers are back in R. Kelly's Miami Beach mansion where they belong.

The Iraqi people have voted in two free, democratic elections this year. In a rash and unconsidered move, they even gave women the right to vote.

Iraqis have ratified a constitution and will vote for a National Assembly next month. The long-suffering Kurds are free and no longer require 24/7 protection by U.S. fighter jets.

...It is simply a fact that Democrats like [John] Murtha are encouraging the Iraqi insurgents when they say the war is going badly and it's time to bring the troops home. Whether or not there is any merit to the idea, calling for a troop withdrawal — or "redeployment," as liberals pointlessly distinguish — will delay our inevitable victory and cost more American lives.

Anti-war protests in the U.S. during the Vietnam War were a major source of moral support to the enemy. We know that not only from plain common sense, but from the statements of former North Vietnamese military leaders who evidently didn't get the memo telling them not to say so. In an Aug. 3, 1995, interview in The Wall Street Journal, Bui Tin, a former colonel in the North Vietnamese army, called the American peace movement "essential" to the North Vietnamese victory.

"Every day our leadership would listen to world news over the radio at 9 a.m. to follow the growth of the American anti-war movement," he said. "Visits to Hanoi by people like Jane Fonda and former Attorney General Ramsey Clark and ministers gave us confidence that we should hold on in the face of battlefield reverses."

Of course they could only scare up three out of 438 votes when push came to shove. Not even John Murtha would vote in favor of his own proposal. For that at least, we can give thanks.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Very light rail

Now in France:

PARIS, Nov 22 (AFP) - France was gripped by a nationwide train strike Tuesday, prompting a rare intervention from president Jacques Chirac, who pleaded for unions to go back to negotiations and said their fears over privatisation of the state rail company were unfounded.

"It is a public company and it will remain one whatever happens... I will naturally vouch for that," Chirac told reporters after a meeting with union representatives.

As passengers braved the train strike in near-freezing temperatures, the state-owned rail company SNCF also sought to defuse the conflict with a 120-euro cash bonus for staff, to be submitted to the main unions during talks underway Tuesday.

Across the country, around one in three trains was operating....

And don't think you can while away the delays in a restaurant. You won't be able to afford to do so:

... the Dutch love affair with France has been dying down over the past few years.

....For one thing, France's burdensome bureaucracy can make life tough for new arrivals. But what is really chasing them toward other countries are rising property prices in the French countryside.

"Government taxes and vendors who think all foreigners are loaded with money are pricing France out of the market," [says Jan Karst of the international financing company, Hypomatch. ]

....When they do come, "people go to restaurants less often, and spend less time in cafés," she said.

And they often bring their own food.

Woodward on Joe: Blowhard

It's only fair to conclude, after Bob's interview on Larry King:

WOODWARD: ....You know the significance of this is yet to be determined and what's the good news in all of this is when it all comes out, and hopefully it will come out, people will see how casual and offhand this was.

Remember, the investigation and the allegations that people have printed about this story is that there's some vast conspiracy to slime Joe Wilson and his wife, really attack him in an ugly way that is outside of the boundaries of political hardball.

The evidence I had firsthand, small piece of the puzzle I acknowledge, is that that was not the case. ....

WOODWARD: ....the day of the indictment I read the charges against Libby and looked at the press conference by the special counsel and he said the first disclosure of all of this was on June 23rd, 2003 by Scooter Libby, the vice president's chief of staff to "New York Times" reporter Judy Miller.

I went, whoa, because I knew I had learned about this in mid- June, a week, ten days before, so then I say something is up. There's a piece that the special counsel does not have in all of this. I then ... called the source the beginning of the next week and said "Do you realize when we talked about this and exactly what was said?"

And the source in this case at this moment, it's a very interesting moment in all of this, said "I have to go to the prosecutor. I have to go to the prosecutor. I have to tell the truth."

And so, I realized I was going to be dragged into this that I was the catalyst and then I asked the source "If you go to the prosecutor am I released to testify" and the source told me yes.

[big snip]

KING: OK. Your source, did the source indicate whether Mrs. Plame was an undercover agent or a desk analyst?

WOODWARD: Good question. And specifically said that -- the source did -- that she was a WMD, weapons of mass destruction, analyst. Now, I've been covering the CIA for over three decades, and analysts, except -- in fact, I don't even know of a case. Maybe there are cases. But they're not undercover. They are people who take other information and analyze it. And so -- and if you were there at this moment in mid-June when this was said, there was no suggestion that it was sensitive, that it was secret.

[Emphases above, the FLUBA's]

Monday, November 21, 2005

How ya gonna keep em down in the French Quarter?

Now that they've seen...Houston:

Seeing Life Outside New Orleans Alters Life Inside It


TALK to the people trickling back here, and it becomes apparent that before the hurricane, many had about as much experience living elsewhere as Ignatius J. Reilly, the protagonist in one of the seminal novels about New Orleans, "A Confederacy of Dunces," who had set foot outside this exceedingly rooted city only once (and rued doing so).

But after tasting life elsewhere, they are returning with tales of public schools that actually supply textbooks published after the Reagan era, of public housing developments that look like suburban enclaves, of government workers who are not routinely dragged off to prison after pocketing bribes.

Local leaders have realized for weeks that they must reckon with widespread anger over how they handled the relief effort. But it is dawning on them that they are also going to have to contend with demands from residents who grew accustomed, however briefly, to the virtues of other communities.

Many evacuees seem to be arriving with less tolerance for the failings of a city that under its glitzy makeup has long had an unsightly side. They do not want New Orleans to lose its distinctive character - after all, that is one reason they are back and vowing to rebuild. But they say their expectations have changed.

"What's wrong with our school system, and what's wrong with the people running our school board?" asked Tess Blanks, who had lived here all her life before fleeing with her husband, Horace, to the Houston area, where they discovered that the public schools for their two children were significantly better. "Our children fell right into the swing of things in Texas. So guess what? It isn't the children. It's the people running our school system."

And your emergency response systems, don't forget. The people Brownie had to deal with.

Not only seen and heard, but paid...

...in Scotland, are the children:

YOUNG people are to be paid to tell Scotland's new children's "tsar" how to do her job. Professor Kathleen Marshall, the commissioner for children and young people, has set aside more than £10,000 to pay "participation fees" to young people in focus groups.

Prof Marshall is planning to spend another £10,000 on an award scheme for adults who are judged to be "children's champions". And she has set aside more than £4,000 - including £1,600 for storytellers and a visual artist - as part of her plan to ask children "what matters to them".

Fortunately there appear to be a few grown-ups left:

[Members of the Scottish Parliament] on the finance committee last night refused to comment on the spending plans, preferring to keep their questions for tomorrow, when the professor gives evidence. However, there is considerable concern in private over the commissioner's spending of public money.

The Scotsman asked Prof Marshall to give more detail of the numbers of youngsters involved in the schemes, and how much they were to be paid individually, but she was unable to so. Her office also could not give further details on the "children's champions" awards.

Prof Marshall was last week criticised by members of the finance committee and the Scottish Parliament's corporate body, the SPCB, over her spending plans.

Now, when is someone going to criticize the notion of an official Big Sister?

Sunday, November 20, 2005

'Question is...'

Your patriotism, says Mark Steyn:

I wonder whether the Senate chamber itself should not be renamed the Abu Musab al-Zarqawi United States Senate. With increasingly rare exceptions, just about everything that emerges from the chamber tends to support the Zarqawi view of Iraq -- that this is a psychological war in which the Great Satan is an effete wimp who can be worn down and chased back to his La-Z-Boy recliner in Florida.

Last week, the Republican majority, to their disgrace and with 13 honorable exceptions, passed an amendment calling on the administration to lay out its "plan" for "ending" the war and withdrawing U.S. troops. They effectively signed on to the Democrat framing of the debate: that the only thing that matters is the so-called exit strategy.

....One expects nothing from the Democrats. Their leaders are men like Jay Rockefeller, Democrat of West Virginia, who in 2002 voted for the war and denounced Saddam Hussein as an "imminent threat" and claimed that Iraq could have nuclear weapons by 2007 if not earlier.

Now he says it's Bush who "lied" his way into war with a lot of scary mumbo-jumbo about WMD.

What does Rockefeller believe, really? I know what Bush believes: He thought Saddam should go in 2002 and today he's glad he's gone, as am I. I know what, say, Michael Moore believes: He wanted to leave Saddam in power in 2002, and today he thinks the "insurgents" are the Iraqi version of America's Minutemen. But what do Rockefeller and Reid and Kerry believe deep down? That voting for the war seemed the politically expedient thing to do in 2002 but that they've since done the math and figured that pandering to the moveon.org crowd is where the big bucks are? If Bush is the new Hitler, these small hollow men are the equivalent of those grubby little Nazis whose whining defense was, "I was only obeying orders. I didn't really mean all that strutting tough-guy stuff." And, before they huff, "How dare you question my patriotism?", well, yes, I am questioning your patriotism -- because you're failing to meet the challenge of the times. Thanks to you, Iraq is a quagmire -- not in the Sunni Triangle, where U.S. armed forces are confident and effective, but on the home front, where soft-spined national legislators have turned the war into one almighty Linguini Triangle.

[Thanks to Betsy Newmark who saw this before we did]

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Bonnie and Clare

More material for film noir:

The leader of a lesbian gang was jailed for 28 years last night for the murder of a country baker in a robbery described by the prosecution as revealing a clash of cultures between "two kinds of France".

The country has been shocked by the killing of Sylvain Bétrix, 22, who was shot dead as he rushed to the aid of his wife when Magali Rossi burst into their bakery in the old Roman town of Saint-Just-Saint-Rambert, near St Etienne, brandishing a hunting rifle.

Rossi got away with just £20 from the till.

The prosecuting lawyer, André Merle, contrasted the life of Mr Bétrix, who rose early each day and worked long hours, and those of Rossi and her two accomplices, "who don't work and don't especially look for work".

He told the court in St Etienne: "These are two kinds of France colliding with each other. It is for you to say which France we ought to protect and which one we must repress."

Rossi, now 34, lived with her lover, Anne-Sophie Royol, 33, Royol's daughter and a third woman, Emilie Després, 22, on unemployment benefits in what the judge called a "ménage à trois" in Marseilles.

....Until her late teens, Rossi shared her father's passions for hunting, nature and Gaullist politics. Then she went astray, drifting into a life of heavy drinking and drug taking,

It was her idea, when money had run out in August 2002, to stage a hold-up to raise funds for food and drink, the court was told.

Royol waited in their car on a sunny afternoon outside the baker's shop as Rossi entered. Mr Bétrix, who was resting, heard the terrified cries of his wife, Virginie, and tried to intervene. Wearing only underwear and socks, he confronted Rossi but she shot him in the throat.

Graminee non plus vert

Edward Scissorhands rues the day:

JOHNNY DEPP is so shocked by the riots raging through France, he's considering abandoning his home in the country.

The FINDING NEVERLAND heart-throb moved to Europe when life in Los Angeles became too violent.

He has since divided time between the two continents - but he fears France will be scarred permanently by the current troubles.

He says, "It's insane, that setting cars on fire is the new strike.

"I went there (to France) to live because it seemed so simple.

"Now it's anything but. I don't know how they'll recover from this."

Quel dommage!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Speaking of former CBS newsies

Ann Coulter opens a can of whuppass on George Clooney's hagiographic film of Edward R. Murrow:

I can prove that Murrow's good friend Lawrence Duggan was a Soviet spy responsible for having innocent people murdered. The brilliant and perceptive journalist Murrow was not only unaware of the hundreds of Soviet spies running loose in the U.S. government, he was also unaware that his own dear friend Duggan was a Soviet spy—his friend on whose behalf corpses littered the Swiss landscape.

Contrary to the image of the Black Night of Fascism (BNOF) under McCarthy leading to mass suicide with bodies constantly falling on the heads of pedestrians in Manhattan, Duggan was the only suicide. After being questioned by the FBI, Duggan leapt from a window. Of course, given the people he was doing business with, he may have been pushed.

After Duggan's death, Murrow, along with the rest of the howling establishment, angrily denounced the idea that Duggan could possibly have been disloyal to America.

Well, now we know the truth. Decrypted Soviet cables and mountains of documents from Soviet archives prove beyond doubt that Lawrence Duggan was one of Stalin's most important spies. "McCarthyism" didn't kill him; his guilt did.

....Duggan was the kind of disloyal, two-faced, back-stabbing weasel you rarely see outside of the entertainment industry. (He certainly was perceptive, that Murrow.)

....Because of Murrow's good buddy Duggan, innocent people were killed. Not just the millions murdered during the purges while Duggan was earning "employee of the month" awards from Stalin. At least one man was murdered solely to protect Duggan's identity as a Soviet spy.

That man was Ignatz Reiss who had defected when he learned of Stalin's bloody purges. Soviet agents tracked him to a restaurant in Switzerland where they killed him to keep him from outing Lawrence Duggan's spying. As Coulter says, George Clooney doesn't even mention this incident in his film, even though in real life Duggan's suicide was the catalyst for Murrow's hostility to the FBI, McCarthy, and the Cold War.

Just as Dan Rather and Mary Mapes decades later would enroll in fantasyland over George W. Bush's military service, Murrow and many, many of his colleagues denied the reality surrounding them for decades.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Mary donates the rope...

...not only to hang herself, but her entire profession with this masterpiece of illogic:

This memo is addressed to Maj. William Harris, Killian’s second in command, and the man responsible for writing the Officer Efficiency Training Reports (OETRs) for pilots in the unit.

The memo asks Harris to “Update me as soon as possible on flight certifications. Specifically—Bath and Bush.”

When we aired this story, we knew something that had not yet been reported: that in February 1972, Lieutenant Bush had started having trouble landing his F-102. In fact, Lieutenant Bush had been bumped back to the T-33, a training plane. Then he was bumped back to the copilot position on the T-33. Then he began logging additional time in the flight simulator. This was a huge change from his previous flight logs and training pattern in 1970–1971.

The February date on this memo, coupled with what we knew about the February flight difficulties Lieutenant Bush was having, underscored the likelihood that the content of this memo was authentic.

Unfortunately for Mapes she links to an AP story which gives the details of Bush's use of the T-33 trainer in early 1972, and in no way does it support what the FLUBA has emphasized in the above quote. An Air National Guard expert clearly offered one obvious and innocent explanation:

The [flight] logs also show that Bush...required two passes to land the F-102A fighter on March 12 and April 10, 1972....

Former Air National Guard chief, retired Maj. Gen. Paul A. Weaver said Bush could have been simply practicing landing skills. 'It doesn't mean anything to have multiple approaches,' Weaver said.

Which is the sound of Mary's claim exploding; pilots practice avoiding crash landings. End of story.

And as for Mapes claim that Bush was flying a T-33 trainer because his performance was suffering on the F-102, that is also demolished in the AP article:

Air Force experts said...He could have beenf practicing a skill he was struggling with, trying to learn a new skill, or help train another pilot.

Retired Maj. Gen. Don Shepperd, a former head of the Air National Guard, said Bush may have jumped into the T-33 in his effort to put in enough hours to stay current with his pilot requirements if there wasn't a F-102A jet available for him.

'....This is just speculation, but it may have had to do with the availability of aircraft.'

Which is exactly what other pilots from Bush's unit say it was, availability of cockpit hours was limited at the time because of the glut of pilots stateside with the end of the American presence in Vietnam:

In Lt. Bush's fifth year — which included parts of 1972 and 1973 — the Vietnam War was winding down due to President Nixon's Vietnamization program. Many pilots had difficulty obtaining flying slots. According to Col. William Campenni (Ret.), a former fighter/interceptor pilot with Lt. Bush in the ANG, there was then "an enormous glut of pilots." At that time, I was a B-52 Wing Commander and recall this Air Force-wide pilot surplus developing. When Lt. Bush requested a transfer to the Alabama Air National Guard for employment reasons, his superior officers granted this routine request. "In fact, you were helping them solve their [glut] problem," said Col. Campenni.

But the coup de grace for this stupidity by Mapes might be the annual report on Bush which is signed by both Maj Harris and Col Killian at the end of May 1972, in which Lt Bush is given an 'exceptionally fine' overall rating. And in both 'Judgment' and 'Adaptability' gets the highest marks possible:

Consistently arrives at the right decision even on highly complex matters.


Outstanding performance under extreme stress. Meets the challenge of difficult situations.

In the Comments section, we can read that:

Lt Bush is an exceptional fighter interceptor pilot and officer....During the past year he participated in several target force deployments and an F-102 aircraft element deployment to Canada. His conduct and professional approach to the mission were certainly exemplary and apparent to observers. His skills as an interceptor pilot enable him to complete all his ADC intercept missions during the Canadian deployment with ease...Lt Bush should be retained in his present assignment. He...would be a welcome addition to any fighter squadron.

How, in the face of the official documentation in the ANG files, can Mary Mapes, with a straight face, claim that:

The Killian memos, when married to the official documents, fit like a glove. There is not a date, or a name, or an action out of place. Nor does the content of the Killian memos differ in any way from the information that has come out after our story....

Sure, if you ignore,
exceptional fighter interceptor pilot...exemplary...complete all his ADC intercept missions ...with ease...a welcome addition to any fighter squadron, you mean.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Sweet Calendar Girl

Mary Mapes won't be 'lovin' each and every day of the year' 1972, because contrary to her claim to have turned over every rock looking for evidence the six memoes given to her by Bill Burkett were fraudulent:

I was looking for anything that didn’t fit: dates, names, references to rank, and a variety of other factors. I was looking for a stopper, a place where the Killian memos clashed with the official record, something that would indicate to me that the new memos weren’t real.

Such evidence was literally staring her in the face. Such as in this memo, supposedly written on May 19, 1972, by Col Jerry Killian detailing a telephone conversation he'd just had with George W. Bush about his options for doing 'equivalent training' while he was working in Alabama.

Apparently Killian had forgotten about the order he'd supposedly given to Bush in an alleged May 4th memo to take a flight physical no later than May 14th--Mother's Day in 1972, and a week-end on which ANG units did not ever drill according to a retired ANG Colonel of our acquaintance--because not only does Killian not mention anything about that, he allows that Bush could take a physical in Alabama if needed to maintain his flight status.

Further, Killian is saying that he warned Bush he couldn't be transferred without a 'written acceptance' (presumably from a commander in Alabama) in this memo of May 19th.

However, from an indisputably official document that Mapes got from the Texas ANG, Killian writes that: he can't evaluate Bush for the preceding year because, "A civilian occupation made it necessary for him to move to Montgomery, Alabama. He cleared this base on 15 May 1972 and has been performing equivalent training in a non flying status with the 187 Tac Recon Gp, Dannelly ANG Base, Alabama." [emphasis, the FLUBA's]

Which poses two problems of chronology for the CBS memo. One, Bush is gone four days before the supposed telephone conversation took place. Two, Bush 'cleared' the base, i.e. he transferred four days before Killian said he couldn't do so without a 'written acceptance'.

Also, Killian rated Lt Bush on May 26, 1972--a mere week after the CBS memo has Killian writing himself a memo in which he has to remind Bush of his obligations to the ANG--and had nothing but praise for him. From that evaluation you'd find no clue that Killian had any problem with Lt Bush:

Lt Bush is an exceptional fighter interceptor pilot and officer. He eagerly participates in scheduled unit activities.....He makes a welcome addition to any group or team effort....Lt Bush is very active in civic affairs in the community and manifests a deep interest in the operation of our government. He has recently accepted the position as campaign manager for a candidate for United States Senate. He is a good representative of the military and Air National Guard in the business world. His abilities and anticipated future assignments make him a valuable asset.

There's some more about Mary

There's the website for her new book, where we can behold this whopper:

Before we aired our story on September 8, 2004, I had essentially tried to marry the Killian documents with the official record. I was looking for anything that didn’t fit: dates, names, references to rank, and a variety of other factors. I was looking for a stopper, a place where the Killian memos clashed with the official record, something that would indicate to me that the new memos weren’t real.

But when she does find just that, in this memo supposedly from August 1973 which references General Walter (Buck) Staudt --who had been retired for almost a year and half by that date--she waves it away with a ridiculous explanation:

In this informal memorandum, Killian says that “Staudt has obviously pressured Hodges” about Bush. And Killian says “Harris gave me a message today from Grp regarding Bush’s OETR.” He writes that “Staudt is pushing to sugarcoat it.” It goes on: “Bush wasn’t here during rating period and I don’t have any feedback from the 187th. I will not rate. Austin is not happy today, either.”

By August 1973, Buck Staudt had formally left the Guard, but was working as an executive pilot for Conoco Oil Company, in a position based at Ellington Field. He was also on the Houston Chamber of Commerce Aviation Committee, a group he would eventually chair. Because the city of Houston owns the land on which Ellington Field sits, city politics and business interactions were crucial to the way the decisions were made about how the Texas Air National Guard and Ellington Field were operated logistically.

Staudt was on base regularly and wielding as much or more clout than he had in his days in the Guard.

Robert Strong told me that even after Staudt’s retirement, “Bobby Hodges wouldn’t go to the bathroom without Staudt’s permission.” Others backed up this assessment of Staudt’s influence after he left the Guard.

Robert Strong being an administrator--a 'ground pounder' in pilot terminology, to whom nothing would be confided by fliers--based in Austin, not at Ellington AFB.

Mapes conveniently ignores that numerous pilots from that era vigorously dispute that Staudt would have had any influence, much less power to control anyone still on active duty. And all she would have to do is read the newspapers to find this out:

Retired Col. Earl Lively, director of Air National Guard operations for the state headquarters during 1972 and 1973, said Staudt "wasn't on the scene" after retirement, and that CBS' remote-bullying thesis makes no sense.

"He couldn't bully them. He wasn't in the Guard," Lively said. "He couldn't affect their promotions. Once you're gone from the Guard, you don't have any authority."

And this is not the only 'stopper' in the memoes that should have shown Mapes and Rather that they were dealing with fraudulent documents.

[To be continued]

Monday, November 14, 2005

There's something about Mary...

...that the Fly Under the Bridge Academy Committee on Conduct Becoming Officers and Gentlemen is guessing would cause one to reconsider the adage about not hitting a girl:

EMILY WILL, COURT-CERTIFIED EXAMINER: I found problems with the printing itself, as to whether it could have been produced by a typewriter.


KURTZ: Emily Will now has a Web site in which she takes issue with parts of your book, Mary Mapes, calling references to her, at least, inaccurate and totally false.

My point is not whether she's right or wrong. My point is, why didn't you hit the brakes after some of your document experts raised these questions?

MAPES: I think you're completely misinterpreting what was said. I mean, Howard, you were one of the people that had one of what I thought was the most serious problem originally understanding the whole concept of document authentication. You used the word "authenticate" as if it meant 100 percent assurance, which is really -- that's really what it means. But there is a difference between that and vouching for the documents.

Not '100 percent', but the laws of probability do allow conclusions to be drawn with high levels of confidence. And the conclusion that comes from viewing this demonstration of the consonance of one the CBS memoes with Microsoft Word's defaults is that it was not typed on any 1970's era typewriter.

Bloggers are icky...

...says Mary Mapes to Howie Kurtz:

KURTZ: Mary Mapes, hours after that broadcast, you got hammered by people who you describe in the book as vicious and bloodthirsty bloggers with pitch forks and fiery torches.

What was that experience like?

MAPES: Well, it was terrifying. I think you have to think back to a year ago, more than a year ago now. And no one had ever seen this kind of onslaught aimed at a mainstream media organization. And gosh, I can tell you, Howard, if you were in that -- the middle of the death ray, you would have felt it, too.

We're talking about thousands of e-mails going to various CBS affiliates, blog sites with chat room -- you know, people chatting and none of them giving their names. You know, everybody was signing "Big Kahuna" or something like that and saying things about me, that I was a communist, or, you know, certainly a fool and a liberal tool. And I was somebody who had worked in journalism for 25 years.

KURTZ: Right.

MAPES: I was not political. And it was -- it was pretty panicky.

No, of course not, Mary. How would anyone get that impression from an evenhanded analyst like you:

MAPES: .... I have to say, when I grew up, if I'd been a little bit older and if I'd been a boy, I came from a social class where I would have had my rear end in Vietnam.

President Bush was lucky enough that he had other options. And so did a number of other people in his unit. And then he did not -- he was supposed to keep flying until, depending on which document you believe, May of 1974, or December of 1974.

Instead, he crawled out of the cockpit in April of 1972 and he never went back. He had a million dollars worth of training, and he never went back and kept his promise that he would fly and that he would repay America for the investment they made in him.

Those other options included training to be a fighter pilot on a plane being flown in Vietnam by Texas Air National Guard pilots at the time he signed up. And when he was qualified on that plane, volunteering to fly it in Vietnam.

The only reason he didn't end up with his 'rear-end in Vietnam' is that there were other pilots with more experience ahead of him. And that Richard Nixon started bringing pilots home as early as 1969 as he Vietnamized the war. Which process was largely complete by 1972, leaving a glut of pilots stateside competing with each other for scarce cockpit hours.

Bush and thousands of others were given early outs on their service commitments because they were no longer needed. Doesn't CBS News have a library?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Chinese Taken-In

Tyler Cowan's response
to Kevin Drum's naivete on single payer pre-paid health care reminds us we've forgotten to respond to Paul Krugman's ill informed November 7th advice to look far east, old men:

The funny thing is that the solution -- national health insurance, available to everyone -- is obvious. But to see the obvious we'll have to overcome pride -- the unwarranted belief that America has nothing to learn from other countries....

Taiwan, which moved 10 years ago from a U.S.-style system to a Canadian-style single-payer system, offers an object lesson in the economic advantages of universal coverage. In 1995 less than 60 percent of Taiwan's residents had health insurance; by 2001 the number was 97 percent. Yet according to a careful study published in Health Affairs two years ago, this huge expansion in coverage came virtually free: it led to little if any increase in overall health care spending beyond normal growth due to rising population and incomes.

Before you dismiss Taiwan as a faraway place of which we know nothing....

Perish the thought!. We distrust and verify:

The differences between care in the West and in Taiwan may, at times, seem quite pronounced. The doctor-patient relationship differs significantly and cultural differences abound in even the most modern health care settings. The infrastructure for health care in Taiwan is dependent on National Health Insurance, which covers most of the island's 22 million people. As a result, doctors and hospital-based outpatient clinics are under enormous pressure to see large volumes of patients in relatively short periods of time. It isn't unusual to find doctors seeing as many as 30 patients an hour in the largest and busiest specialties. (Many of these patients are simply renewing prescriptions.) Expect to wait in crowded, uncomfortable waiting areas to see your clinic doctor.

....Without question the most convenient place for privately insured Americans who don't speak Mandarin is in one of several western style clinics. Hospital based outpatient clinics, while frequently boasting very good doctors, will differ dramatically from Western notions of privacy and the doctor-patient relationship. Health care is generally much less expensive than in the United States. However, priority care centers for Westerners are more expensive - though generally cheaper than similar care in the U.S. Wherever you seek care, it is always pay as you go. If you are privately insured you must submit your own receipts for reimbursement.

....Although you can expect state-of-the art medical facilities in Taiwan's Medical Centers, the paramedic system is not in the same ballpark as that in the United States. There is an emergency dispatch system and ambulances can be summoned by calling 1-1-9. They are triaged by the dispatcher on the basis of the perceived nature of the emergency. Dispatchers may not speak English. There are potentially two levels of care associated with emergency medical services. Crews with more advanced training are directed to more serious cases. However, ambulances are not like those in the United States. In some instances, the ambulances resemble nothing more than a small van with emergency lights and a gurney in the back. Do not expect trained medical technicians to arrive with special medical equipment. Although the standard of care is changing, most do not even possess a simple defibrillator. Ambulance crews have not received advanced paramedic training. In many instances the driver has no training at all. Thus you cannot expect the kinds of advanced recussitative training associated with paramedics in the U.S. In cases that are less than extremely urgent, you may be better served by arranging private transportation.

....Visitors to hospitals in Taiwan find a veneer of similarity to hospitals back home. Beneath the surface, however, are big differences. In many hospitals it is expected that the patient's family will help provide routine hygiene chores frequently taken care of by licensed practical nursing staff in an American hospital. Indeed, many hospitals accommodate and expect at least one family member will sleep in the patient's room (even semi-private rooms). Some hospitals expect patients to bring their own bath towels, toilet tissue, soap and other toiletries. Often the floors, walls and medical equipment will appear much less clean than a typical American hospital.

....The vast majority of doctors have hospital-based practices and see patients in outpatient clinics which are either in the hospital or in ancillary buildings immediately adjacent to the hospital. Many are extraordinarily busy, seeing thousand of patients each day in the course of morning clinic, afternoon clinic, and evening clinic.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Fish; Bird-Brain Food

It's true:

The global decline in seabird populations is of growing concern to ecologists, and now researchers have discovered a new cause – some may be becoming too stupid to survive.

Climate change may be the root of the trouble. New environmental conditions lead fish to migrate, leaving the birds that feed on them malnourished. The new research shows that lack of a specific nutrient in red-legged kittiwakes damages their cognitive abilities and could leave them too daft to find food.

Red-legged kittiwake populations have plummeted by half since the 1980s in the Pribilof Islands in the southeastern Bering Sea. So Alexander Kitayski and colleagues at the Institute of Arctic Biology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks in Irving, US, devised an experiment to try to find out why.

The sharp drop in the seabird numbers coincided with a climate shift that resulted in a reduced abundance of lipid-rich fish in the area, though other fish species remained available as food. The researchers theorised that chicks born at or after this time lacked the lipid-rich foods they needed for proper cognitive development, leaving them less likely to have the skills needed to survive as independent adults.

Fortunately, there's some good health news: drink beer:

Research is showing that beer could join the ranks of other guilt-inducing but wildly popular foods — chocolate, coffee and red wine — as a possible disease-fighter.

It turns out that beer hops contain a unique micronutrient that inhibits cancer-causing enzymes. Hops are plants used in beer to give it aroma, flavor and bitterness.

The compound, xanthohumol, was first isolated by researchers with Oregon State University 10 years ago. Initial testing was promising, and now an increasing number of laboratories across the world have begun studying the compound, said Fred Stevens, an assistant professor of medicinal chemistry at Oregon State's College of Pharmacy.

Earlier this year, a German research journal even devoted an entire issue to xanthohumol, he said.

What Stevens and others are discovering is that xanthohumol has several unique effects. Along with inhibiting tumor growth and other enzymes that activate cancer cells, it also helps the body make unhealthy compounds more water-soluble, so they can be excreted.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

What's a nice girl like you...

doing with an IQ like that?

Attracting British men:

For Londoners, grey matter is the new black.

....Debating societies, art classes and poetry readings, all are thriving in the British capital as dating turns cerebral.

.... The appropriately named Sebastian Shakespeare wrote in London's Evening Standard newspaper: "Debates and poetry readings are fast becoming London's most romantic nights out."

....If music is the food of love, then poetry feeds the soul as novelist Josephine Hart discovered when organising her sell-out Poetry Hour in the hallowed confines of the British Library.

.... John Gordon and Jeremy O'Grady set up Intelligence Squared because they wanted to make debating sexy. So far every debate they have organised, at the Royal Geographical Society, has sold out in advance.


Can be deadly:

Relatives and friends took Benjamin A. Wright's car keys at his 55th birthday party, saying he'd had too much to drink to get behind the wheel, but he still wound up dying in a traffic accident.

Not long after being told he should spend the night at his son's place, Wright said he was going outside for a smoke. Instead, he apparently began walking home and was fatally struck by a car about 10 p.m. Sunday in the eastbound lane of Highway 2, Police Chief Fred Walser said.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Brave New Washington

One of the most accurate headlines ever to appear in the Seattle Times:

Court redefines parenthood

To be a menage a trois:

The Washington Supreme Court established what amounts to a new category of parents — one that's the legal equivalent of moms and dads — when it ruled Thursday that a lesbian who was neither the biological nor adoptive parent of a girl she helped raise has co-parenting rights to the child.

....In the 7-2 decision hailed by gays as an acknowledgement of the complexity of families, the court recognized what it called a "de-facto or psychological parent" under the state's common law as one who "in all respect functions as the child's actual parent."

....Writing for the majority, Justice Bobbe J. Bridge said, "In the face of advancing technologies and evolving notions of what comprises a family unit, this case causes us to confront the manner in which our state ... defines the terms 'parents' and 'families.' "

She said neither the U.S. nor state Supreme Court has ever restricted the definition of parent or family by biology. "Today we hold that our common law recognizes the status of de-facto parents and places them in parity with biological and adoptive parents in our state," she wrote.

We say 'threesome', because the biological mother married the biological father and was living with him and their daughter, apparently after rejecting her lesbian relationship with the woman who has now been ruled to be a 'de-facto parent'.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

My what big teeth you burglars have

If governors aren't safe, why should movie stars be:

Brad Pitt, his lover Angelina Jolie and her two adopted children narrowly escaped a vicious bear attack when the beasts broke into the actor's new Canadian holiday home.

The couple came face-to-face with two huge grizzlies after they found their way into Brad's kitchen and began rummaging for food.

The heartthrob actor returned to his home, near Calgary, accompanied by Angelina and her two children Maddox and Zahara to be confronted by the massive animals.

The quick-thinking star ushered the children and Angelina out of the house before telephoning police to report the marauding animals.

A source told America's National Enquirer magazine: "Brad was convinced he had surprised burglars but suddenly came upon these two bears.

More Deer Mayhem

Even governors are targets:

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- He was antlered and dangerous - and he almost took out Gov. Tim Pawlenty. As Pawlenty arrived for work at the Capitol Thursday, he and his entourage heard shattering glass and then saw a big buck charge past about five feet from them. The deer broke two windows at the Capitol before bounding off.

....It's the mating season for deer, when rutting bucks sometimes charge their own reflections in windows.

Back to the beatings

'Cause Russian's can't abide music:

Russian psychiatrists practicing music therapy to treat mental disorders have concluded that the healing effect of sounds fail to improve the state of most of their patients. Music that proves soothing and calming for Europeans and Americans may further aggravate disorders Russians suffer from.

....Music that proves soothing and calming for Europeans and Americans may further aggravate disorders that Russians suffer from.

....A survey by Russian doctors has revealed that sounds pleasant for Europeans and Americans may have a very different effect on Russians.

For example, elsewhere around the globe doctors used sounds of nature to treat psychasthenic neurosis. The Russian doctors, having adopted the method, discovered that Russians are afraid of the sound made by a flying mosquito, but on the other hand like the sound of oars splashing on water or the croaking of frogs.

Unlike European patients, Russians do not find the sound of logs crackling in the fireplace soothing; on the contrary, they associate the sound with the threat of fire.

Meaning that if their savage breasts can't be soothed, there's still their bottoms:

Blame Germany

And Sweden too:

[Belarus] President Aleksander Lukashenko said Sweden and Germany should be blamed for everything that goes wrong in his republic because he used these two countries as models when setting his political goals.

....“If we are doing something wrong we are not to blame, but rather you, because we have learnt from you,” Lukashenko said when receiving credentials from newly-appointed Swedish ambassador.

Lukashenko is often called by media the last European dictator for his authoritarian policy. All Belarus officials have been banned from entering the countries of the European Union since 2002, together with former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic and Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Ruled by the Harvard Faculty

William F. Buckley famously said that he'd prefer to be ruled by the first 100 names in the Boston telephone directory rather than the faculty of Harvard. Now that Stanford Law School graduates William Rehnquist and Sandra Day O'Connor are, dead, and resigning, we seem to be in for something of a Buckleyian nightmare.

The only non-Ivied Supreme Court Justice will be John Paul Stevens of Northwestern. If Samuel Alito is confirmed, his Yale law degree will join Clarence Thomas's on the Court.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg attended Harvard Law, but for some reason received her LLB degree from Columbia. Scalia, Souter, Kennedy, Breyer and Chief Justice Roberts being all Harvard Law grads.

Indoor Sport in Arkansas

Deer hunting. No wonder Hillary left for New York:

It looked like a crime scene, but no charges will be filed after Wayne Goldsberry killed a buck with his bare hands in his daughter's bedroom. The engagement lasted an exhausting 40 minutes, but Goldsberry finally subdued the five-point whitetail deer that crashed through a bedroom window at his daughter's home Friday.

When it was over, blood splattered the walls and the deer lay on the bedroom floor, its neck broken.

...."I was standing about like this peeking around the corner when the deer came out of the bedroom," said Goldsberry, demonstrating while peering around his kitchen wall. The deer ran down the hall and into the master bedroom _ "jumping back and forth across the bed."

...."He was trying to get up a corner wall and I just came in behind him and grabbed him by the horns and just started pushing down," said Goldsberry.

On Monday in Pine Bluff, the principal of Coleman Elementary School rid his building of a deer by opening a door. Students were preparing for dismissal Monday when a deer crashed through a window and bounded through a hallway.

The buck floundered on the school's slick floor for about three minutes exiting via a door along the side of a hallway. Principal Bill Tietz said the deer was slightly injured from the glass and lost an antler. Tietz says the animal leapt a six-foot fence after leaving the school.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

We knew him before he was a virgin

The happy breed over at this sceptered blog have been looking into Joe Wilson's activities prior to his enlistment with the John Kerry for President campaign in May of 2003. And finding that, like Doris Day, his pose as an innocent is belied by his past:

MOYERS: President Bush's recent speech to the American Enterprise Institute, he said, let me quote it to you. "The danger posed by Saddam Hussein and his weapons cannot be ignored or wished away." You agree with that?

WILSON: I agree with that. Sure. I…

MOYERS: "The danger must be confronted." You agree with that? "We would hope that the Iraqi regime will meet the demands of the United Nations and disarm fully and peacefully. If it does not, we are prepared to disarm Iraq by force. Either way, this danger will be removed. The safety of the American people depends on ending this direct and growing threat." You agree with that?

WILSON: I agree with that. Sure. The President goes on to say in that speech as he did in the State of the Union Address is we will liberate Iraq from a brutal dictator. All of which is true.

That was February 28, 2003. A month after George Bush uttered his famous sixteen words in the State of the Union speech, that Joe Wilson just told Wolf Blitzer were so important.

Odd that seemed so unimportant then. And shortly thereafter Wilson was predicting war:

MOYERS: You think war is inevitable?

WILSON: I think war is inevitable. Essentially, the speech that the President gave at the American Enterprise Institute was so much on the overthrow of the regime and the liberation of the Iraqi people that I suspect that Saddam understands that this is not about disarmament.

And later still:

WILSON: But I think disarmament is only one of the objectives. And the President has touched repeatedly and more openly on the other objectives in recent speeches including this idea of liberating Iraq and liberating its people from a brutal dictator. And I agree that Saddam Hussein is a brutal dictator.

And I agree along with everybody else that the Iraqi people could — would well be far better off without Saddam Hussein. The problem really is a war which has us invading, conquering and then subsequently occupying Iraq may not achieve that liberation that we're talking about.

MOYERS: So this is not just about weapons of mass destruction.

WILSON: Oh, no, I think it's far more about re-growing the political map of the Middle East.