Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Well, When You Put It That Way...

Well, John Kerry's gotten himself into trouble again, after making some remarks at a campaign event that basically appears to call our troops fighting in Iraq uneducated:

Hat tip: Stubborn Facts

“You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”

Now, Kerry asserts that he was talking about President Bush, and not the troops. I'm not so sure, and even if that's true, what about the troops who support the mission, or those of us at home who support the mission, including members of his own Party? With all due respect, you did wrong, Senator. You ought to apologize, and for real this time, as opposed to this unhinged rant that looks to have sprung forth from Kos himself. Look, I'm not saying Kerry is anti-military, but the comments he made are stupid and denigrating to the troops. He should apologize, at least for the implication.

I say again, as someone who voted for you in 2004, you need to apologize. You really do. John McCain certainly thinks so:

McCain, in Indianapolis today campaigning for Republicans, calls Kerry's remarks "insensitive, ill-considered" and "unfortunate." More, from McCain's statement: "The suggestion that only the least educated Americans would agree to serve in the military and fight in Iraq, is an insult to every soldier serving in combat, and should deeply offend any American with an ounce of appreciation for what they suffer and risk so that the rest of us can sleep more comfortably at night." More from McCain: "Senator Kerry owes an apology to the many thousands of Americans serving in Iraq, who answered their country's call because they are patriots and not because of any deficiencies in their education."

Yes, I agree. As far as the political fallout with regards to the elections a week from now, contrary to Glenn Reynolds' view, I don't think it will hurt that much, and it certainly doesn't nullify the case for a Democratic takeover. Not that Kerry could care.

UPDATE: You know, I think the Anchoress really captures my feeling on this:

There is an art to good politics and there is a rule, too - and it’s a really simple one, but so many politicians can’t follow it, particularly if they have delusions of genius. The Rule goes like this: If you screw up, whether because you’re an idiot, or you’re just having a bad day, or a mic was left on - whatever - and you say something deplorable (even if it just sounds deplorable but you meant it well…) you admit it, you make a joke at your own expense and you apologize - even a half-assed apology will usually do.

And then the whole thing usually goes away.

I mean, this seems to be Kerry's problem. He has this thing where he presents himself as always being in control of his words and thoughts, and when he's not, he tries correcting things, when apologizing and moving on will do. I get that Kerry wants to really start getting tough on his critics, after he sort of let the Swiftvets lay into him, but there is a question of timing, and doing it correctly. As much as I convince myself this won't change the elections, I'm not sure. I mean, they're still talking about this. This will play like crazy over the next seven days. Who knows?

Well, I guess I'll just have to hope the "Liberal Media" does its job then. :)

Friday, October 27, 2006

You Know, On Second Thought...

As far as the much discussed, uber-controversial ad run by the RNC against Harold Ford Jr., I have to say that while the ad is totally ridiculous, misleading, and stupid, it probably isn't racist, or at least, wasn't intended to be. To be honest, I find myself having to strain to see racism in the ad, and while it's very possible (and likely) that racist whites in Tennesee will bow to their racist instincts, the fact that they're racists (and thus have a big problem with Ford dating white women) means that they're not backing Ford anyway. I think Mary Katherine Ham's point was valid, about how these things can get out hand rather quickly. Many have suggested that the hunter in camo was wearing blackface. I have to say, that's a hell of a stretch.

At the end of the day, this isn't Macacas. This isn't Trent Lott romanticizing the golden days of Jim Crow. This is a stupid (and totally false) ad, but probably not racist.

Hat tip: Instapundit

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Internet Explorer 7: Firefox Edition

Well, I decided to download IE 7 last night, and I must say that I'm impressed. Leave it to Microsoft to appropriate all the best features of Firefox, and bring them into their mothership. Tabbed browsing, easier image views, add-ons, it's all there. One feature I especially like is the ClearType fonts, which smooth out the text on web pages. There aren't quite enough add-ons yet, but it's still early. The only thing that kind of bothers me is that they really took everything from Firefox, in the kind of way that could lead to lawsuits, if you get my meaning. I suspect though, that Mozilla probably sold the technology to Microsoft, and become part of the Microsoft fold. Who knows. Either way, it's pretty cool so far, and seeing that my system hasn't crashed, I'm sticking with it.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Google: Slouching Further Towards Evil?

We already know that Google has been complicit in helping the Chinese suppress free speech, but now it seems that they're trying it over here. There's a new feature in the works that allows websites to control the search results that their users can see (thanks to the Anchoress for the hat tip):

The Google juggernaut has just launched the next step in bringing us a Brave New World, the world according to the Leftists’ manifesto of thought control. It’s a new version of Google Search called Google Custom Search Engine that allows a website operator to add a Google search box to his/her website — and then control what content is being searched, and also the prioritizing of the search results.

In plain English: If you are a proponant of Global Warming, and you want your readers to only be able to find articles supporting your position…well, Google’s gonna help you do that. If you’re pro-life and you want your readers to only be able to find articles supporting your position…well…I think Google is going to help you do that. You can never tell with Google. They may simply decide that your stuff is not the “right” stuff and suppress it.

Yeah, I agree. This is frightening in every way it can be. Regardless of what side you're on, this thing is a threat to free speech on its face. I'll not get into a debate about whether this is being fueled by the Left or Right (obviously some people have already made up their minds), but the impulse behind this move is dangerous at the least, and totalitarian at worst.

Can someone tell Google that they might have to change their motto, "Don't be Evil?" Or better yet, perhaps they could just stop being evil?

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Times Apologizes for Leaking the Terrorist Banking Program Story

Well, sort of. New York Times Public Editor Byron Calame has admitted that he made a big mistake in helping to undermine a perfectly legal, and effective anti-terror tool. He admits that it was a mistake, but basically still thinks it's Bush's fault, because it was Bush's criticism of the NYT that forced him to do it:

…What kept me from seeing these matters more clearly earlier in what admittedly was a close call? I fear I allowed the vicious criticism of The Times by the Bush administration to trigger my instinctive affinity for the underdog and enduring faith in a free press — two traits that I warned readers about in my first column.

So, because Bush hates the Times, he thought it was sonehow justified to take actions that undermined national security? And he's cool with that? Uhh, OK. With all due respect, I'm not one to jump on the "anti-Bush media undermines America" train, but the idea that one would allow irrational Bush hatred to undermine your job, and our national security is just plain nutty. Simply put, the Times blew it beyond measure.

Hat tip: The Anchoress, and Stubborn Facts

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Maybe I'm Misreading This,

but do I detect fear in Sean Hannity's latest rant? I hear the sound of grabbing at straws. Sorry Sean, I won't be staying home. For heaven's sake, man, you've got to calm down.

BTW, my concerns about the increasing influence of the anti-war Left and BSD on the Democratic Party notwithstanding, if I really believed that the Democrats wanted us to lose the war on terror, or wanted to abandon our troops in the field, I wouldn't support them. Period.

Oh, and my big post is still coming...

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Well, It's A Start

Heck, I'm sure we'll have a fully-functional invisibility cloak before we know it. Once we've gotten that out of the way, it's on to teleportation.

Becoming the Monster (Or, Has the Left Been Taken Over by Homophobia?)

There is a potentially serious scandal brewing in the these final days leading up to the election. It seems that a prominent Lefty blogger named Mike Rogers has "outed" Senator Larry Craig (R-ID). Craig denies the charges. Apparently, he has a long history of this, and he says he's not done. I don't know about you, but this whole thing, and the idea of using this as a campaign strategy in general is just unseemly, and frankly stomach-turning. For heaven's sake, you'd expect these tactics from the far-right. Why are so many on the Left using that playbook?

It seems that there is a twofold political strategy here: To paint gay Republicans as hypocrites, and undermine GOP support from social conservatives. The GOP's record on gay rights issues, and their consistent campaign of wedge politics notwithstanding, the idea that either opponents of gay marriage are bigots by default, or that if gays support conservative causes they somehow lose their legitimacy is hardly a liberal concept. The way this is being done, it really is McCarthyite (and Rovian). Does the Left really want to go down that road?

After all, is this really how we want to win? With all the obsession over the Foley affair, you'd think Mark Foley is the only reason to vote against the GOP? Are the Democratic idea men really planning this as the slam dunk? Do they really believe this ought to be the focus? The GOP has so many weaknesses right now. Is this all they've got? Come on, people, enough of this.

Besides, this really could backfire, in the short and long term. Glenn Reynolds points out:

Yes, "creepy, gleeful efforts" don't win you many friends or converts. Of course, they're really just meant to demoralize Republican voters and keep them home on election day.
I suspect they'll have the opposite effect. The GOP leadership has managed to alienate much of its base, but this kind of slimy and obviously organized political effort is more likely to encourage GOP voters to ignore the bad stuff and vote Republican as a way of demonstrating their disgust with the creepiness.

Are we prepared to blow the election (and our dignity) with this low-class sleaze? I'm optimistic, so I'm convinced this won't spread past the lunatic Lefty cutthroat fringe, or hurt our chances that much. Let it be known though: The more this stuff increases, the more the Democratic Party (and the country) loses.

Also, I think Captain Ed makes a good point:

People wonder why we don't attract a wider range of qualified candidates for public office. Michael Rogers sets himself up as Exhibit #1. The personal and degrading attacks convince many people to skip the trouble, and the people who do dare to run for office usually wind up experiencing the ruination of their reputations in one form or other. It comes from all sides to some degree, but this ghastly mudslinging really marks a new low.

Yeah. I agree. All this notwithstanding, I've still got a piece coming on why the Dems should win this election. It's gotten a little harder to write. Just a little.

Hat tips: Classical Values and Fern.

UPDATE: If Mike Silverman is right, it's all moot anyway.

UPDATE#2: Secondary reflection leaves me wondering if I might have overreacted as far this being a widespread campaign strategy for Democrats. The evidence does show that this is an isolated incident, and no high-profile Dems are involved with this, so it's not really fair to suggest that this have become policy. That being said, this thing with Rogers is sleazy, the policy in general is sleazy, and unfortunately has support from some Lefties. I'm totally anti-hysteria, though, and I don't want this degenerating into hysteria. At the end of the day, the GOP has truly earned its anti-gay rights rep, but Rovian sleaze tactics aren't the answer.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Eyes on the Campuses

I was just wondering what everyone thought about this. It seems to me that we really should consider this as a viable anti-terror tool in the U.S. Assuming that we're real careful (respecting civil liberties, etc), I think it would be a good policy. Considering the very real potential of terrorists using campuses as a breeding ground, it makes sense to at least focus attention there. I don't think this is talking about indiscriminate roundups, or simply hauling people in for controversial views.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Elephant's Fall

Bull Moose comments on the moral collapse of the GOP:

The Moose witnessed the Republican Revolution of '94. He remembers the fervent calls for reform and renewal. Now, the House GOP is rightly staring into the abyss. The Foley revelation is the latest representation of the perversion of power.

It took the Republicans a little more than a decade to achieve what forty years of Democratic rule accomplished - the institutionalization of corruption. The major difference is that the elephant masqueraded as a reformist, moral revolutionary. Hypocrisy is truly the tribute vice pays to virtue. These guys give Elmer Gantry a bad name.

How can fiscal conservatives continue to endorse Republican rule? How can social conservatives embrace a House leadership that neglected to expel a child predator from their ranks? How can reformists applaud the Abramoff Congress?

Indeed. I for one, see this as the coda in a long series of Republican outrages. Not that the Dems are pure, but as far as the last ten years are concerned, the GOP has been worse. They've fashioned themselves as the party of small government, family values, ethics, and have failed on every point. Nobody likes a pile on, but I must say that the GOP has earned this harvest.

The Dems should use this as an opportunity, but not to gloat, or try to coast in on GOP screw-ups. I've said elsewhere that beating the GOP this year is like beating a one armed blind man at football. We need an alternative and coherent vision. The American people deserve it. They deserve better than the GOP. They deserve real leadership.

Maybe This Will Sound Harsh,

But I have little sympathy for deserters. In fact, I have none at all. Last I checked, we have an all-volunteer military. This man knew what he was getting into. It's one thing to disagree with the morality of the Iraq war. It's an entirely different thing to abandon your fellow soldiers in the battlefield. This guy gets a deal, and basically walks? Nope. He deserves to be in jail, at the very least. Paul Hackett was against Iraq, and he didn't desert his men. What's this man's excuse?