Thursday, November 25, 2004
  Happy Thanksgiving

I trust you're all traveling safely, eating well, visiting with friends and family and remembering everything that is good in your life. I'm sure you all know who we need to remember, beginning with our servicemembers and extending to peoples throughout the world, from the oppressed in Darfur, Sudan to the disenfranchised of Ukraine and everyone in between. Remember that Thanksgiving is a national holiday, too, so observing and celebrating it is in itself a demonstration of the strength of our nation and the best kind of example to show the world.
Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Andrew Stuttaford at NRO's the Corner refers us to this Ukrainian pro-opposition website which is doing a good job of relaying new developments up to the minute, including news of Russian special forces troops arriving in Kiev.

Surely the Russians wouldn't be foolish enough to apply force in this situation, I would think, but they've made rash decisions before. We all need to watch this story closely.
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
  Michelle Malkin

A Virginia newspaper has dropped Michelle Malkin's column for being "too stridently anti-liberal," and the explanatory editorial goes on to cite such qualities one typically finds in columns by Molly Ivins and David Broder, among many others on the other side which nobody seems to mind. One editor found it necessary to say Malkin is "an Asian Ann Coulter," the sort of comment which no conservative would be allowed to say with impunity.

I don't know any more than the linked story says about the editorial character of the Virginian-Pilot. This blog continues to link to and recommend Michelle Malkin's blog and columns.
Monday, November 22, 2004
  Blue State Racism

If the liberal intelligentsia are to be believed, we in the red states are the superstitious and racist unwashed, undeserving of union with blue states. Yet Long Island has seen a cross burning on an interracial couple's lawn, "the first since 1998," which doesn't seem like a very long time.

Here in Georgia, the heart of NASCAR country, I see interracial couples all the time, particularly in Athens and Atlanta but not limited to those cities. Cross burnings are less frequent here. Tell me again who the enlightened people are.
Friday, November 19, 2004
  North Korea Mystery Movement

Roger L. Simon continues to attract some of the best comments of any blog, especially when he as a mystery writer addresses real life mysteries. This thread on the recent happenings in North Korea includes some interesting insight into what might be happening. I was surprised to hear earlier that Kim Jong-il's portraits are being removed from places all over the country; clearly this is out of character for such a classically Stalinist state and what I thought was a more effective cult of personality. Whatever's happening, it has to mean good news in the end.
Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Condoleezza Rice will apparently succeed Colin Powell as Secretary of State and I think she'll do just fine, no matter what other people are saying about it now. I also think Powell is leaving for exactly his stated reasons, because he really only intended to serve for one term and because he'd like to get back to doing other things before he gets much older, and that probably goes for the other departing secretaries. All these people wondering if he's being "forced out" are essentially disrespecting his by disbelieving his word.

Instapundit refers us to a thread on Roger L. Simon's blog about the possibility of a two-woman race for president in 2008 between Rice and Hillary Clinton, which was originally predicted in 2002 by William Safire. It may be a little early to talk about who'll run then but it's not too soon to discuss this particular scenario because of all the unique implications it would introduce and because of how it would completely wreck conventional wisdom all around. I would be happy to see it.
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
  Finally Dead

It's official; Yasser Arafat has died at long last.
  Suicide Note Found

Andrew Veal's suicide note has been found and reported. Now we know there were multiple issues contributing to Veal's state of mind, and the election results may have been but the catalyst. I can empathize with how those feelings work but the whole thing still sounds really convoluted for something so absent of purpose. Poor guy.
Monday, November 08, 2004
  New Distaster Singles

These days my music is made under the name Distaster. Last night I went ahead and made a temporary web site using free space and tonight I have uploaded two new net singles, "Almost Like Another Day" and "Spartanburg." The first is holiday song and part of "A Very Lester Xmas," a collection of all-original holiday songs. The second is a rough mix of a non-holiday song, one of two songs recorded in July with Asa Leffer.

Distaster is probably a stupid name because people might think I can't spell "disaster." That's not the name. The root word is "distaste." I know how to spell but this name comes from a misspelling in an old BASIC text game called "Kingdom," which was a primitive forerunner to the likes of "Age of Empires." The object of the game was to manage land and food and to keep the people in your kingdom alive. When you ran out of food and everyone died, the screen would say "Distaster! All of your people are dead!"

Part of why I decided on it for a band name is my own taste, which many people may find suspect, and my great distaste for what other people like, so that's my "artistic" meaning.

Anyway, these songs are free and complete. They may not be for everybody but you're encouraged to share all the same.
Sunday, November 07, 2004

I waited a few days to mention this, to see how it would play out. I think I would be negligent to put it off any more if I want to call this a pro-life blog. I have signed the petition at notspecter.com and I would encourage everyone of like mind to do the same.

To me, it's not just a matter of ingratitude from Specter to President Bush, who deserves all the credit for helping Specter win a close primary race against Pat Toomey. I see it as the prospect of a judiciary committee chairman who will not base his support for or opposition to any judicial nominee on purely constitutional grounds. Besides, a judge has to hear a case before ruling, so to say one would block any nominee for a political position is to insult the public.

That the Senate usually lets most senior committee members become chairs is customary but is not an entitlement. If there's one thing senators notice, it's a high volume of mail and phone calls from constituents. More information is available at the website.
  More on the Suicide

Here's the New York Times take on the Veal suicide. Apparently CNN isn't going to mention this story because they haven't yet and it's the top of the hour again. This means I still haven't seen a photo but the NYT article shows I'm not the only local who doesn't know much about the subject.
  Suicide Update

The New York Post has a few more details on the Veal suicide, gathered from some reporters here in the area. I found the Athens Banner-Herald story, way down under "UGA News." And the New York Daily News story includes a quote from Veal's supervisor at UGA which I think is very telling, in reference to what I said below about those who were enabling irrational thinking.
  Ground Zero Suicide

So it turns out the suicide at Ground Zero in New York is one Andrew Veal from here in Athens, Georgia. I don't think I know this person by name but I'm likely to have seen him when I was working at the club. I might recognize a photograph if someone from the Athens Banner-Herald ever gets around to the story (Flagpole will but it's past the deadline for the next issue already). More about Veal's background can be found in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's report.

I will say that this is a bad thing to have happened. Neal Boortz and I may both catch grief from some for appearing insensitive but what are any of us supposed to do about it? Either this guy had other issues compounding a clinical condition, for which we know he had resources (and should have had knowledge of same) to find help, or UGA sociology degrees are too easy to get. For some reason, this educated person, employed in a supervisory capacity, still allowed his beliefs to amplify into the irrational. For a vegetarian liberal, he doesn't seem to have minded having a shotgun and carrying it across state lines.

Like I said, I'll probably hurt some people's feelings, some of them friends. If there is anything precipitating this tragedy that other people may be responsible for, it's enabling and reinforcing some very stupid thinking in a fragile and unhealthy person.

I'm waiting for CNN to mention the story now that they're broadcasting live again. I'll post if anyone produces a photo and I have any more to add.
Friday, November 05, 2004
  Not Just Red States

Jane Smiley needs to look at this map.
Thursday, November 04, 2004
  Best Wishes

I want everyone to know that I wish for the best possible treatment and cure for Elizabeth Edwards. I'm glad they have all the resources they need to deal with it because the Edwards children need their mother and the outgoing Senator deserves our personal support in this matter.

I honestly feel very differently about the current condition of Yasser Arafat. I hope instead for an end result that can never be achieved by any terrorist organization, whether it's Hamas or Fatah. Arafat has a lot to answer for on the other side.
Wednesday, November 03, 2004

More New South

I neglected to mention that we had more historic gains in Georgia, most importantly, the first state House Republican majority since Reconstruction. The state Senate majority held as well, making this also the first time since Reconstruction that Republicans have held both houses and the governorship. Even in the last 20 years, it went almost without saying that anyone elected to state and local races would be a Democrat. This long era of monolithic one party rule is completely over in Georgia. Even more remarkably, this was achieved despite district apportionment and state election laws that were designed to keep Democrats in the majority.

Mandate Talk

The whole topic of conversation right now on "Hardball" is the idea of a Bush "mandate." Maybe Dick Cheney did mention the word today but he certainly didn't introduce it in the current discourse. To my recollection, the first president-elect to claim a "mandate" was Bill Clinton, elected by a 43% plurality. President Bush at least has a more valid claim based on the popular vote this time.

Words mean things. "Mandate" more or less means "obligation." The president's only real obligation is to uphold the Constitution, which details what he must do. Everything else he does as president is more accurately called prerogative because he was basically hired by the people to use his own judgement to lead and administer. Every issue will have its own respective levels of support or opposition which can be communicated to the president and to Congress by the people; citizens don't have to just sit and watch between elections.

You don't really have to be watching "Hardball" right now to guess who's talking the most about this. It's more idle talk from some of the many MSM professionals struggling to keep some sense of having influence.

Four More Years

President Bush is delivering his victory speech at this moment. I slept through Kerry's concession speech but woke up to see people waiting for the president to come out.

Let us never forget that 'W' stands for Walker.

Shift Change

Andrew Card just finished making his statements. The Ohio secretary of state believes the 140,000 or so margin is "statistically insurmountable." The Bush campaign believes it's now reasonable to call Nevada in the president's favor.

I think this was a wise move by the Bush people. Making a victory speech before the Ohio vote was certified might not have been good. Iowa and New Mexico really do have more outstanding votes than the margins in their respective results. Still, I don't think there's anywhere near 3 million uncounted votes in the uncalled states, including Ohio, so I don't believe there's any realistic chance of Bush losing the electoral college vote.

The news networks have relieved their exhausted prime time commentators and the new shifts are definitely having an unusual day at work.

Here in Georgia, we had a few items of good news. Johnny Isakson will succeed Zell Miller as senator. Charlie Norwood won the 9th district race with 74% of the vote. Phil Gingrey held his seat.

Cynthia McKinney is back but in the next Congress, I really don't see her doing any real lasting harm. We lost Max Burns but this is not all bad, for in this area many Democrats and Republicans agree that getting John Barrow out of Athens is a good thing.

I might take a break now from live blogging but I don't think I'll be aleep anytime soon. I made more coffee.

Thune and More Good News

John Thune has given his victory speech. The mighty Tom Daschle has been retired from the Senate by a 51-49 vote, further expanding the Republican majority.

51-49 is also the final split for regular ballots cast in Ohio with 100% of precincts reporting, leaving certainty to the uncounted provisional and absentee ballots. Odds are highly against these ballots helping Kerry to overcome Bush.

Michelle Malkin actually went on Fox around 4:17, 3 minutes earlier than expected. I guess all the networks' coverage is a little less exact at this time. We're now less than half an hour away from seeing the normal 5 AM crews come on with their usual programs so that's what I'm looking forward to now.

Still enjoying the tired commentators. Ron Reagan is one or two openings away from saying something really raw, I think...


Bush's lead is actually growing as the Ohio totals are known for 99% of precincts reporting. CBS is showing a Bush win in Nevada with 100% of precincts reporting, even though they haven't actually called it. Totals from Iowa and New Mexico are indicating Bush leads.

Meanwhile, the network anchors are getting funnier. Dan Rather is more unguardedly Texan than we're used to seeing. The MSNBC team is getting more loosened up. Larry King might get more cranky any time now. Wolf Blitzer seems about the same as he ever does.

Rudi Bakhtiar, of course, always works the night shift so she looks fabulous...

Up All Night

When the network anchors and other pundits found themselves up all night following the 2000 election, I found satisfaction in seeing it for myself. Seeing the great top anchors stumbling around and struggling to make sense was funny.

Tonight I'm not really inclined to make fun of everyone who's up far past their bedtime but it appears we're all up late again. Ohio is definitely the top election issue and there won't be an answer for a while yet. NRO's Corner bloggers are up and actually posting more frequently than I've ever seen them. Michelle Malkin has announced she'll be on Fox at 4:20 this morning. John Edwards gave his shortest speech yet, announcing their intention to count every Ohio vote. President Bush is definitely not a night person, although the energy of this occasion might be helping him along.

I, in contrast, am more used to late nights and I've had plenty of good coffee here at home. I'm having a good time. Still watching and waiting...

All About Ohio

Now it's a matter of what the Cuyahoga County totals look like and what the margin in the final statewide count is versus the actual number of provisional ballots cast, which is unknown. Kerry is not likely to concede before these matters are settled. If it does come down to a provisional vote count, we're looking at an 11-day wait for answers. I don't expect the uncalled states to produce an electoral vote total higher than 290 for Bush, which would remove Ohio from contention.

Excellent liveblogging highlights are posted at Backcountry Conservative with a list of other participating live bloggers. It's helpful to me because I was away from the TV and the Net earlier tonight, entertaining company. Still watching and waiting...


Drudge has declared a Bush win in his current headline. Mary Beth Cahill has issued a statement saying the vote count in Ohio remains incomplete and Kerry will overcome Bush's lead. President Bush has summoned photographers and his top advisers to join him for the moment of victory. CNN Headline News is actually live in this segment and featuring one of my very favorite anchorwomen, Rudi Bakhtiar, yet CNN apparently has not called Ohio because they're projecting only 249 electoral votes for Bush. No other state has been called that might put Bush over the top. I'm waiting and watching...


Fox and MSNBC are calling Ohio with under 90% of precincts reporting and Alaska with only 44% reporting, projecting 269 electoral votes for President Bush. Bush needs one more state for a definitive win. Kerry could conceivably take all uncalled states and force a vote in the House of Representatives which would presumably favor Bush. Educated guesses are that at least Nevada will go for Bush although it's not a sure thing. Hawaii may yet prove to make all the difference.

I'm gravitating most towards MSNBC's coverage and Fox's secondly. Brief glimpses of other networks' covereage doesn't look that interesting. Still changing channels, though...
Tuesday, November 02, 2004

I Have Voted, Have You?

I got to the precinct in Crawford, a ball park clubhouse, at about 7:20 this morning because I wanted to just go ahead and get it done early, especially after staying up all night. It had rained around 6 but no rain fell as I waited, which is good because there was no shelter outside and I wouldn't have wanted to lose my place in line. There were maybe 50 people there already, probably to get it done before going to work in most cases and in some cases, wanting to just get it done like I did. For this reason I had about a 45-50 minute wait but the line was moving along steadily and no time was wasted. Coming out I noticed the line was shorter since it was after 8 and more local people would have left for work by then. I was still glad to get it done when I did; I wasn't bothered by the wait at all. And as I left the clubhouse, I saw three ducks walk by on their way to the adjacent lake. It may not be a sign but it was a nice touch for my setting. Everyone should have as pleasant a voting experience.


Theo van Gogh Murder Update

The BBC has a more complete story on today's murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh.

Theo van Gogh Murdered

This breaking AP story says that Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was murdered today. Van Gogh made a movie recently about some of the darker elements of Muslim culture, particularly the way women are treated by some Muslims. The story doesn't say if the suspect was motivated by this but given the low crime rate in the Netherlands, odds are high this is a hate crime.
Monday, November 01, 2004

A Vote for the Rational

So the Washington Redskins lost their home game today, that last home game before Election Day that supposedly correlates to incumbent performance in every election from 1936 to 2000. It doesn't mean a thing. I expect a Bush victory for rational reasons.

Maybe the curse of liberal senators from Massachusetts will be reversed. It may well be happening for South Dakota.
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