I watched this morning as the cable news networks covered Yasser Arafat's departure
from Ramallah aboard a Jordanian helicopter, en route to Paris via Amman.
Of all the hospitals in the region and throughout Europe, why exactly did he need to go to one in Paris? I really don't know if this Paris hospital has a rare specialty but I've never heard of anyone in this country needing to go to Paris for anything like Arafat's condition.
On a note that may or may not be related to the long-term future of the Middle East, here's a Debka story
from last week I meant to share sooner. Apparently the Hashemites want to reassert control over the Muslim holy places, which would mean control of Islam itself. This could only be an improvement over the current stewards, the Wahhabi Saudis.
And if you believe in subverting oppression, you might take heart in this development concerning Iranian bootleggers
Malachi York Revisited
With all the things happening in the world lately, Malachi York, also known as Dwight York among other names, remains incarcerated for his child molestation conviction as his following
dwindles but presses on. Word is the federal government will soon sell the Eatonton, Georgia compound where the cult was based. The AP has the story
This Washington Times story
is incredible. Russian special forces may have helped Saddam evacuate his weapons stocks in the days immediately before last year's invasion of Iraq. This is probably what happened to the Al Qaqaa explosives and may finally vindicate everyone who's said the WMD's went to Syria and possibly Iran and Lebanon. It sounds like a really impressive operation they pulled off, despite the obvious moral problems.
Red Moon and Sox
I was in downtown Athens last night while the game and the lunar eclipse were happening. I was at the new bar Big Shot on College Square, in fact, so I only had to go a short distance to the corner to see the lunar eclipse. For once I both remembered to watch for it and the sky was clear enough to give a good view. It was one of those things that brought strangers together, a conversation starter. Then after totality, I went back to see the game and when it ended, I made a note of the time, which I think was about 11:40, so I'd remember where I was and when it happened.
I would have liked to see a more interesting and exciting Series but maybe Boston fans needed a sweep. I think the whole thing's just really nice, really, just to keep it on a reasonable level.
Much is being made of the missing explosives cache from al Qaqaa in Iraq. John Kerry has set a new campaign speed record for seizing upon it as a last-minute election issue, making it a major stump speech theme and producing a new television advertisement in something like 48 hours or so. The most partisan Kerry supporters are joining in the noise, yet they're not stopping to consider some very obvious questions and implications
of the new position, which would seem to suggest that Saddam had a WMD program after all and that action was not taken soon enough.
I see this as an insult to the voters by Kerry and his helpers. They think their base and the undecided voters will react with all intended alarm and outrage, yet by doing so Kerry's partisans are demonstrating a very condescending attitude. This may be Kerry's most careless move yet because some of the voters he had on his side might not appreciate being called stupid and many of the undecideds, while already noticing the inconsistencies of Kerry's positions, may also realize that President Bush has never talked down to them in any such way as this.
I hear CBS and the New York Times were originally coordinating to release this story Sunday night so that it would have maximum impact on the election. This may be another major setback for big media.
I find myself seeing breaking news for the first time on blogs more than mainstream media sources these days. Fellow music fan Feddie at Southern Appeal
passes on word of British radio personality John Peel's passing
today at age 65. As someone who grew up on what would be called "alternative" music, it seemed almost every artist I ever liked had at least one Peel session in their catalog and it was something I hoped I could do myself. This is one more ambition I must let go of.
Perhaps someone will be inspired to put on a showcase production like Peel's, provided any major outlet will allow it. It's hard to find programs like Peel's above the local or public radio level in this country but in the UK it was a great and dependable resource to inform the public of up and coming talent. No one can really replace Peel but I hope someone succeeds him.
About Those Shipping Containers
We've heard the line, "95% of all shipping containers entering this country are not inspected" incessantly in this campaign season. Sounds like a disaster waiting to happen, doesn't it? Michelle Malkin
has referenced some interesting facts about the port security process. The truth of the matter is a lot less troubling than the political rhetoric. Basically, it turns out that 100% of manifests are reviewed before any cargo enters our waters and the high-risk cargo, which is usually about 5% of the total amount, is then inspected firsthand.
So the current system seems to work. To consider the suggested remedy inherent in the political rhetoric, imagine how much the cost of everything arriving by ship would rise if 100% of all cargo containers entering our waters were inspected firsthand regardless of risk. The longshoremen might not like it much, themselves.
Brazil Enters Space Age
Brazil is now a spacefaring nation with the successful launch of an VSV-30 rocket with a modest payload. Brazil also happens to enjoy an ideal location for launches, being close to the Equator. The BBC has the full story
. Thanks to Instapundit
for the news.
Real Voter Disenfranchisement
A California blogger recently went to vote early and found someone apparently used her name to register as a Democrat, something that might have gotten her arrested if the impostor had voted first on Election Day proper. Read about it here
I don't know if California requires photo ID when voting (as Georgia does) but I suppose someone really bent on stealing the election could conceivably manufacture fake ID's as well, which unsuspecting poll workers might not detect. It was hard enough for us in the nightclub business; volunteers trying to help thier community cannot be reasonably expected to notice increasingly sophisticated examples. This of course goes beyond the scope of what happened above but I think it's a reasonable scenario to anticipate. Will we need law enforcement officers at every precinct? We may be headed in that direction.
I think if I was gay, I would want the likes of Rosie O'Donnell to withdraw completely from public life for the sake of advancing the cause. Just look at the quotes in the Drudge story
. This sort of activism doesn't help John Kerry, when such plainly stupid things are said, such as "the word 'test' terrifies (Bush)" because "he never passed one at Harvard or Yale" (Bush is the first president with an MBA) and that under the Bush administration, "we would ignore (UN) doctrine and resolutions" (1441, passed unanimously, was the latest of a dozen similar resolutions related to Saddam's regime). To the credit of the very large gay community in Miami metropolitan area, only three of four dozen people even bothered to see Rosie speak.
Speaking of underattended pro-Kerry events, Cher had one of her own
at a Miami disco, and of course she blamed the organizers because, of course, it can't possibly be because thousands of people wouldn't want to see Cher rally for Kerry. I find it hard to believe that such an event would go unnoticed in the Miami area, however underpromoted it may have been.
I think Ashlee Simpson is prettier than her sister Jessica but, unfortunately, they do come from the same stock. Struggling artists among many of us, who can usually tell what song we're playing, must be wondering why the debacle on "Saturday Night Live
" was ever given a chance to happen. In other words, the injustice and corruption of the music business could not be more obvious.
Two Views of the New Tax Bill
In the last two weeks, CCTV9
, China Central Television's English-language service, was added to my basic Dish Network package and I've watched it a good bit lately to get a feel for it. I was surprised when their news program told me more about the corporate tax bill President Bush signed into law this week than I've heard from American channels, so I looked it up and, sure enough, Reuters (the source used for CNBC's news page) is characterizing
it as a giveaway for special interests and the CCTV report, which basically was read from the Xinhua story
, actually does a better job of detailing what the bill seeks to accomplish, going so far as to say that the bill "is the most sweeping rewrite of US corporate tax law in two decades," even using the term "tax relief." Parts of the bill might be seen subjectively by some as special interest benefits, such as the tobacco quota buyout, but the Chinese report makes no such judgement.
Something is wrong when government-controlled news from communist China appears more objective than Western sources.
Guardian Ends Election Interference
The Guardian (UK) has halted
its "Operation Clark County," in which British readers were encouraged to write to the voters of Clark County, Ohio and attempt to persuade them to vote for John Kerry after being matched with addresses from the county voter roll. The stunt actually yielded the opposite effect, inspiring more voters to volunteer for the Bush campaign and embarrassing county Democrats. Apparently the paper also didn't pay for its copy of the voter roll.
So in the latest photo-op John Kerry has gone goose hunting in an apparent attempt to connect as a "regular guy" who "likes to hunt." As Michelle Malkin observed
, it's good that orange vests aren't worn when hunting birds.
Maybe he'll sway a few sportsmen but what will this do to the feelings of PETA members in his base?
So it'll be the St. Louis Cardinals against the Boston Red Sox in the 100th World Series. I didn't really have a favorite in the NLCS; it would have been nice to see the Astros pull it out in the 9th inning but maybe it's good we've been spared everyone drawing parallels with the presidential race had it been Boston and Houston, even though the Rangers are really the team of George W. Bush. I don't think I have a favorite in the World Series but if the Sox "break the curse," many of us can still appreciate it without regard to other contests that only happen to have Massachusetts players involved.
Europe Approves of WMD's in States Harboring Terrorists
This may have a lot to do with European attitudes about Iraq under Saddam Hussein. The EU have completed an agreement with Syria
allowing that state to keep its WMD programs as long as it nominally promises not to proliferate said materials. Apparently they don't care how those weapons may theaten Israel or Iraq, which would also be consistent with European attitudes of recent years.
I just watched the Red Sox win the ALCS. I know our friend Mark Kilmer
isn't happy about it but I have to say, I've enjoyed this series and I'm someone who never gets into any American League teams or games. I have a feeling the World Series will go the full seven games. I don't know if I'll really favor one team over another but I hereby promise not to compare it to the presidential race in any way.
A Place Called Defiance
This could be a film that writes itself, in stark contrast to Bill Clinton's 1992 nomination acceptance speech, "A Place Called Hope." Matt Drudge reports
that a man in Defiance, Ohio, in the county of the same name, was paid crack cocaine for registering voters, which he did fraudulently at that. Supposedly a woman sent him out with 100 registration forms and was going to pay him with crack to get them filled out, so of course he chose a faster way to get his reward. Which of these individuals would you fault more? I think that could be debated at length.
While our work as Blogs for Bush is by no means done yet, we are getting close to the election and it's time to think about what each of us wants to do with our blogs after that day. I expect to expand on the retrogaming and retrocomputing aspects of this blog, which have been badly neglected in the last several months. I also expect to talk a little more about area issues and local color.
Last night I started my own mp3 blog
, not just to join the party but because I have plenty of new and unusual music I'd like to draw attention to and with the kind of tastes I have, I'll never run out of new music to share. I want visitors to have more fun when they visit my sites so I've also introduced something like organization to the links on the right. It's about time I added more links, too, I think.
Hope I can keep everyone coming back. More to come...
KRS-One & R.E.M.
I knew I was late to comment on R.E.M.'s tour with Bruce Springsteen in their latest attempt to influence voters
. Their politics are hardly news so I was going to offer mainly that this is a chance for them to tour with Springsteen, something I don't think they've done before, which has its own prestige as a career highlight among those not soured
by the effort.
Now comes news of some really stupid comments
(and unhelpful clarification
) from KRS-One, with whom R.E.M. recorded "Radio Song" for 1991's "Out of Time" album. R.E.M. can surely wash their hands of this because it's been a long time since they worked together and probably haven't communicated in that time, either. Yet their own words
don't make them look much brighter, frankly, and there's also this issue of the PETA-ELF connection
that they never have commented on.
Getting back to KRS-One, there's a rapper in our area called Ishues
who just got on the tour. It's his first big break but it could turn into a liability for him, too. He may have some tough choices to make.
I didn't announce I'd live blog during the debate because I didn't know I would until about now. I'm doing a virus scan on this particular computer and I have the TV next to me. We're on the first question and answer with Kerry at this moment.
There's no way this debate can be as good as the hype leading into it but here it is, one last time to bear with the candidates and their likely repetitive statements. I guess this serves the purpose of reaching the undecided voters and anyone else who hasn't followed political news every day and night like some of us.
The flu question is up now, in reference to the shortage we suddenly learned about in recent days. Pretty good answer from Bush, showing he really is adapting to an unexpected contingency. Kerry's saying pretty much what I've expected, talking about who's lost insurance, disregarding the many reasons why that may be besides being somehow deprived. What I don't hear is what he'd do differently about the vaccine shortage if he were president right now.
I think this might be a two-pot coffee night so I'll post now and make that pot...
John Edwards, Faith Healer
It may call for faith in something less than a higher power but John Edwards apparently found it opportune to exploit
the recent passing of Christoper Reeve with promises of medical miracles that can only come under a Kerry administration, all facts
to the contrary notwithstanding.
Actually, if his political career should end this fall, Edwards might find an attractive opportunity in a television ministry as he has the telegenic looks and skills of persuasion necessary and it could be as lucrative as his legal practice.
Debates and Updates
Last week it felt like work watching the first debate between Bush and Kerry, like a second job after the long day I'd had already. Tonight I'm watching the Cheney-Edwards debate but at least now I'm online while I'm watching. It's a few minutes after 10 so we're most of the way through the thing. I expect to watch the next two Bush-Kerry debates but I doubt many undecided voters will and, more to the point, it seems to me that partisan viewers are living not in two Americas but in two realities, to the extent that one side probably won't convert many on the other.
Once again, I think the best story of the week is the SpaceShip One team winning the Ansari X Prize
. Private space investment has turned a corner and will rapidly increase in coming years to grow a competitive industry.