Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Kerry questions

AP publishes a timeline of Kerry’s military service. But, as Instapundit points out, there is an error in the timeline. AP says Kerry was discharged in 1970, whereas in fact, he was in the Naval Rserves until 1978. (Also see Justoneminute). Instapundit points out that when Kerry managed to arrange a private meeting with North and South Vietnamese negotiators in Paris (the 26 year-old Kerry was visiting Europe with his new wife Julia Thorne), he was still in the Navy. But the New York Story in April missed this fact back in April.

Olympic Soccer

Iraq beat Australia in the quarterfinals to advance into the semifinals. Amazing.

CBS Poll

Just after the Democratic convention, the CBS Poll had Kerry leading Bush by five points. The latest CBS Poll has Kerry up by one point. "The race for the presidency is now essentially tied, with a gap between the two major party candidates within this poll’s margin of error. Voters are paying more attention to this campaign now than at this point four years ago, and their overall opinions about each candidate’s strengths and weaknesses remain relatively stable.

Just after the Democratic convention, John Kerry led President George W. Bush by a small margin; the recent tightening of the race reflects a loss of support for Kerry among some of this election’s most contested groups: Independents, veterans and Catholic voters."

Venezuela exist polls

Michael Barone has a lengthy reflection on the exist poll issue in Venezuela (read: election fraud). Note in passing Jimmy Carter’s unfortunate involvement in the matter.

527 money

Powerline points us to the twenty-five largest contributors to 527’s. It should not surprise you that only one is a Republican. Note that Peter Lewis has given about 14 million, while George Soros has given about 12 million. I think the Swift Vote Vets have spent about one million so far. I would say they are getting their money’s worth. Also see this morning’s Washington Post’s piece on the total amount of money raised by both the campaigns and 527’s. so much for campaign finance reform. As Charles Krauthammer put it about a week ago: "You wanted campaign finance reform. You got campaign finance reform. McCain-Feingold promised to take the money out of politics. If you believed that, you deserve what you got."

Bring it On: The Swift Boat Vets’ second ad

There is no question that the Swift Boat Vets’ ads are taking their toll on the Kerry campaign. Kerry wanted to make his Vietnam service the point around which his campaign would revolve, and his opponents have made Kerry’s actions and speeches after he got back from the war the issue. Kerry has already lost this costly battle. How he thought he would get away with it is a mystery to me. Take a look at the new ad the Swift Boat vets have put out. This is the ad that has been all over TV yesterday (although it won’t be used until next week.) A very serious ad, even better than the first, and is based on Kerry 1971 Senate Foreign Relations testimony. In the meantime some Vietnam vets in Viet Nam have come out in support of Kerry. I do not understand how Vets in Vietnam are supposed to be helpful to Kerry. This sends, shall we say, mixed signals. Glenn Reynolds thinks they may be working for Karl Rove! NRO has put out Kerry’s 1971 testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Read the whole thing by clicking here. Also take a look at Fred Barnes’ very good article in the latest Weekly Standard, "The Bloody Shirt is Back." He is very presuasive in arguing that this remarkable attempt on Kerry’s part to show his wounds (compare this JFK not doing it, or Ike, or George Bush senior) might backfire. I say it will.

And take note of Bill Kristol’s piece in the same issue. Powerful. His last two paragraphs:
"John Kerry was hostile, to say the least, to the exercise of American power in 1971. He remained so for the next three decades. John Kerry was critical--to say the least--of America’s claims to moral leadership as a nation in 1971. He has remained so ever since. More than any presidential candidate since George McGovern, John Kerry is a creature of the anti-Vietnam war movement. His entire public career makes clear that he was and is--and I use this term descriptively, not pejoratively--a McGovernite. The difference is that George McGovern acknowledged this. John Kerry doesn’t.

Another difference is that McGovern had the decency not to tout his war medals. Nor did McGovern claim to be "reporting to duty" when he made his case for the presidency. By indulging in that gesture, Kerry turned a spotlight on his Vietnam-era actions and invited scrutiny he may come to regret. Kerry’s attempt now to suppress this debate will not work. In effect, and without intending it, Kerry invited his fellow veterans to ’bring it on.’ So they have."

Nixon’s legacy

Walter McDougall considers Nixon’s legacy at a speech given at the Nixon Library. While I am no Nixon fan (especially on domestic policy), McDougall’s piece is good. Notice that he considers some history textbooks’ views of Nixon, and what he finds. One Western Civ textbook mentions Nixon only once, that he visited Latin America in 1959 when he was pelted with eggs and rocks!  

Support the Swift Vets

There apparently has been lively debate among Republican strategists about whether the Swift Boat Vets’ efforts are helpful or harmful to Bush, but it appears from the reaction of the Kerry camp that they are deeply worried about it. Anyone so inclined to support the Swift Vets efforts can make contributions here.

Iraqi police enter mosque

This just came in from Reuters: "Police detained hundreds of Shi’ite militiamen when they entered the Imam Ali Mosque in Najaf on Friday, but radical Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr was not found, Iraqi officials said.
A government source put the number of fighters in the shrine at 400 but an interior ministry spokesman said police who entered the mosque had found 500 lightly armed men prepared to surrender.

’There are 500. They were escorted from the shrine then the police will help them as much as they can. They may well be covered by the amnesty,’ Sabah Kadhim, a spokesman for the interior minister, told CNN television in a live interview.

He said radical Shi’ite cleric Sadr may have escaped the U.S.-led military siege of the Imam Ali Mosque."

Kerry’s faux pas

John Kerry has decided to speak to the issues raised by the Vietnam vets. He says they are a "front for the Bush campaign" and "When you’re under attack the best thing to do is turn your boat into the attacker." This I find a little odd, given the purpose of Swift boats: draw enemy fire, the enemy reveal their positions, you call in the coordinates, and others hit them. Perhaps this is what Kerry should have done; he should have others counter the vets. But now questions about his honesty have moved front and center in the campaign. And because he has already lost (i.e., found to lie) on a fundamental issue--being in Cambodia--the rest are details that reasonable men can disagree over: were we under heavy fire when we went back for the guy in the soup, or not; were his wounds serious, or mere scratches, etc.? But these disagreements have and will settle into the voters’ consciousness, doubt now will rule. When you add all this into his distortions and exaggerations in the past (e.g., talking to foreign leaders, throwing medals away, etc.) the sense that this guy smells more and more like Al Gore (the one who invented the internet) will settle in.

And this is Kerry’s fault. He has based his candidacy on his short Vietnam service; but he should have remembered how angry he made soldiers then serving (never mind those who were being held as POW’s) when he accused all of them of war crimes. He should have have talked about his Senate career. And it will do no good to blame a Republican conspiracy on this (which the press is playing up); yup, some Republicans have given money to these guys, and would the Liberal media complain if George Soros had dropped at least ten million on the project? I guess not. It is also counterproductive to threaten television stations with a lawsuit if they run the Swift boat vets’ ads.

Watching the media try to spin this will be more fun--although less consequential--than watching Kerry and his people sweat out a response. Even Mickey Kaus says that Kerry (and the media) made a mistake: "Respectable big-time journalist friends who met with the anti-Kerry vets recently found them a lot more credible than expected." Bingo. Watch this develop. After all, these guys are 250 strong, articulate and well decorated Vietnam vets! Right, keeping hitting them hard, as if they were a bunch of sleazy thugs, instead of being a "band of brothers." It won’t sell. Infidel Cowboy has a lot of detail with good links, as does Captain’s Quarters, as does Powerline, and, of course, Instapundit. I am not going to follow the ins-and-outs of how the The New York Times and the rest of the Liberal media is going to try to spin it, but I will pay attention--and try to figure out--the political consequences for the Kerry campaign. I think it will take its toll, and Kerry knows it, hence his personal response and accusation. I saw John O’Neill on PBS last night (and three other news casts) talking about all this, and he was very impressive. These guys will be hard to ignore. Kerry’s campaign folks must be seriously concerned, if not yet in a panic.

Liberty-loving technophiles blog

There is new blog out, called The Technology Liberation Front. Their purpose: "We aim to report on, and hopefully help to reverse, this dangerous trend of over-regulation of the Internet, communications, media and high-technology in general. We will not hide our love of liberty on this site and we will take every opportunity to castigate those who call for expanding the reach of government into these fields." And: "We are liberty-loving technophiles who are passionate about progress and suspicious of government meddling in the high tech arena. We are deeply concerned that Silicon Valley is gradually normalizing relations with Washington, DC. We fear that politics will slow the pace of innovation and corrupt the independent spirit of the high-tech world." It is written by a number of different folks from Pacific Research Institute, Cato, Heritage, Competitive Enterprise Institute, and others. Worth a look.

Chavez and vote tampering?

Did Chavez actually survive the recall vote in Venezuela? From the International Herald Tribune:
"The perception that a massive electronic fraud led to President Hugo Chávez’s mandate not being cut short in the recall referendum on Sunday is rapidly gaining ground in Venezuela. All exit polls carried out on the day had given the opposition an advantage of between 12 percent and 19 percent. But preliminary results announced by the government-controlled National Electoral Council at 3:30 a.m. gave Chávez 58.2 percent of the vote, against 41.7 percent for the opposition.

At first people scratched their heads in disbelief, including many Chávez supporters, but accepted these figures after César Gaviria, secretary general of the Organization of American States, and former President Jimmy Carter said their own quick counts coincided with the electoral council’s figures. Two days after the referendum, however, evidence is growing that the software of the touch-screen voting machines had been tampered with."

Also see this, by Thor L. Harvorssen from the Wall Street Journal for a glimpse at the awful ways of a tyrant.

Pulling the Plug on Federalism

Jonathan Adler suggests here that assisted-suicide legalization and regulation should be left to the States in order to preserve our federalism. Take a look.

Punchline Contest

This story just moved on the AP wire: Error Puts Ted Kennedy on No-Fly List.

Why the hell not? He’s already on everybody’s "No Drive" and "No Boating" list. Doesn’t sound like an error to me. Michael Moore should investigate, just as soon as he finishes eating the back half of his local Safeway store.

Re: Election Extension

I’m breaking summertime bloggins silence and my book-writing discipline to comment on Peter’s post from below about the rising number of votes cast weeks before the election by absentee. This is a perfect phenomenon for quantitative political scientists to study. My own hunch is that most early voters are partisans who have their mind made up, and are not likely to be swayed by late news, a last debate, etc. So it may not really make any difference to the outcome, though it will mean an even more maniacal focus on the "undecided" voters, who are typically a confused lot.

Of course we don’t really know. I’ve asked around a few DC political scientists (i.e., Norm Ornstein) if we have any idea about the cohort that voted early in 2000, and the answer is, we don’t.

No spectators in Athens

Richard Cashman, writing in The Australian, reflects on why there are so few spectators at the games in Athens. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that the Greeks are just not sport enthusiasts. "It is ironic that although Greece is the home of the Olympics, it does not have a strong culture of Olympic sport in more contemporary times."

"Although Sydney had less spectator capacity and a smaller aggregate of 6.7 million spectators, it set a benchmark for the proportion of tickets sold -- more than 90 per cent. This was an impressive take-up figure because it occurred across the board -- it included preliminaries and finals, popular and minor sports."

Reader’s Comments

This note is to bring to your attention our "Comments" section, in case you don’t read it religiously. I read it daily, and am grateful for the many thoughtful comments I find. There is some carping, but it’s not much. Most of it is learned, thoughtful, or witty. I appreciate it, even when I don’t agree. I don’t, of course, respond to much of it and only rarely bring an individual comment to your attention. But you should have a look at it when you can. My thanks to those who write.

Bush Country

To follow Schramm’s post on the election, here’s Horace Cooper’s latest analysis predicting a Bush November victory. Upshot: The country is just too darn conservative for the Kerry-Edwards ticket to prevail.

Ohio, the trump state

I would say--not in a self-interested way--that Ohio is the most critical of the so-called Battleground states in the election. In fact I would go so far as to say that most of the so-called battleground states are not really in play. A few examples: Bush will win the states he won in 2000: West Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, Arisona, Nevada, Missouri, New Hampshire, and Florida (I also think he is going to take Wisconsin and Iowa, may take Oregon, but will lose New Mexico, all of which he barely lost in 2000). While I also think he is going to win Ohio, yet, the buckeye state takes on special importance because no Republican has become president since Lincoln without taking Ohio. And I believe it is also true that Bush hasn’t yet quite nailed down the state (although he will after the convention). This

Gallup Poll of Ohio voters reflects this. Gallup has Kerry on top with registered voters, but with those likely to vote, it is Kerry 47% to Bush 45 (Nader 4%). Without Nader (oddly) it is 48-46 for Kerry. Now, the margin of error is about 5 points, so all this--arguably--doesn’t mean very much. The main reason Bush hasn’t taken off in Ohio is because the economy here is perceived to be the main issue, and not the war. That has been changing and will continue to change, to Bush’s advantage. According to Pew Research: "For the first time since the Vietnam era, [1972 was the last presidential election in which national security issues were rated as the most important by Gallup] national security issues are looming larger than economic issues in an election year. Such issues as war, terrorism and foreign policy were named as the most important facing the nation by four people in 10, while one-fourth of those polled said economic issues were most important. In January, national security issues were even with economic issues in this poll." This will be to Bush’s advantage, nationally and Ohio. Iraq and the war have become, as I have always predicted, Bush’ trump card, while Ohio will become his trump state.

Election extension

David Broder doesn’t seem to object to the fact that the election is really weeks long and that November 2 is no longer the election day, but rather the last day to vote.

Muqtada al-Sadr’s last gambit

Whalid Phares explains with clarity who Muqtada al-Sadr is, and how he has gained the power that he currently wields (with Iran’s help and by assassinating his opponents). Very clear article. John F. Burns recounts the latest developments in today’s New York Times. The Iraqi government is giving him a new ultimatum that is going to go into effect "within hours." It is demanding that Sadr speak in his own name, rather than send memos or subalterns. No one trusts him. Also note that U.S. Marines have taken over Sadr City, part of Baghdad. I believe this is an important development; Sadr City had to be secured before the Iraqis decided to act against Sadr in Najaf. This is the first time we have occupied the whole area, and the first time Sadr’s army has had to fight us throughout Sadr City (and we have killed at least fifty). It is probable that Iraqi forces will do the rest of the fighting at the Mosque in Najaf (although we did all the preparations), while the Americans will do what has to be done in Sadr City, should there be another uprising there. This has to be ended, it has to be done and well done. This could make or break the Iraqi government and, therefore, our policy.

You might want to glance at the New York Times article from yesterday and note the paragraph about the 62 bad guys killed by Marine snipers. Note that this indicates the intensity (and precision) of the combat, and that so many are killed by so few. This "skill imbalance" (as Phil Carter puts it) is critical in urban combat, and that’s why we are winning such engagements. We have excellent warriors.

Diversity is best when less?

William Voegeli argues that it looks like some blacks are more equal than others, or, to put it another way, while diversity is wonderful, "it’s now going to be hard to explain that getting affirmative action right requires making it less diverse." Some Harvard alumns are quetioning its admissions policies because the "wrong" blacks are being helped. Eight percent of Harvard’s students are black, but the majority (maybe even two-thirds) of them are West Indian and African immigrants or their children, or to a lesser extent, children of biracial couples. That leaves only about a third of the students "from families in which all four grandparents were born in this country, descendants of slaves," as the New York Times puts it.

The Parties and Foreign Policy

In the LA Times, Ronald Brownstein argues that the Bush proposal to reduce the numbers of U.S. troops in Europe and Asia, and Kerry’s stated opposition to that move, represent a switching of foreign policy positions between the two parties. Brownstein notes that the arguments the president has used in favor of his proposal are identical to those employed by Bill Clinton in 1992.

Well, maybe, but this assumes that one ought to take seriously anything that Clinton said regarding foreign affairs in 1992. It will be recalled that in that campaign he faulted the G.H.W. Bush administration for leaving Saddam Hussein in power and "appeasing" Red China. Of course, once in office Clinton pursued a foreign policy that was practically indistinguishable from that of his predecessor. The current president’s policy broke with this tradition, of course, but this was more the product of 9/11 than any natural predilection on Bush’s part. As I’ve said before, I would expect that in the event of a Kerry victory in November the current strategy would continue, in large part, to be followed, no matter what Kerry the candidate may say now.

Koran stolen, village dead

The Koran, dating from the 7th century, is gone and farms lie untended and workshops stand silent in the Iranian village.
"Hundreds of villagers from Negel, in Kurdistan province on the Iraqi border, have held a week-long protest at the village mosque demanding officials hunt down the thieves and return the leather-bound Koran to its rightful home.

’The village is dead without its Koran,’ said one young woman dressed in the all-enveloping black chador."

Kathmandu encircled

I once had the chance to fly to Kathmandu from Peshawar, and didn’t take it. The plane seemed small and flimsy. I have always regretted this act of cowardice, having always wanted to see this far-off place. I am told that because Kathmandu had already declined my romantic notions would have been overthrown, so maybe it was best I didn’t go. That decline is likely to be even more precipitious given that

Maoist rebels have encircled the city and imposed a blockade. The Hindu monarchy is teetering. The U.S. "strongly condemns" the latest actions of the Maoists. This is the CIA’s Factbook on Nepal.

World Population

USA Today reports on a study by the Population Reference Bureau (PDF format): "Many of the world’s largest industrialized nations will lose population between now and 2050 as low birth rates, struggling economies and curbs on immigration stifle growth, says the author of a world population report.
The annual study by the private Population Reference Bureau found that, while the world’s population will increase nearly 50% by mid-century, Japan will lose 20% of its population in the next 45 years, while Russia, Germany and Italy will also see declines." If the current trends continue, Russia’s population will decline by 17%, or 25 million people. Bulgaria will decline by 38%. With the exception of the United States, which is expected to grow by 43 percent to 420 million people, other western developed countries will register population declines. Developing countries will grow about 14 times as fast as industrialized countries between now and 2050.

And India, the study claims, will overtake China by 2050 as the world’s most populous nation.

Rolling elections

Experts, that is, political scientists(!!), estimate that about 20% of voters will actually vote before election day (in 2000, about 15% of voters voted early). The campaigns, naturally take this into copnsideration, and will act accordingly. (By the way, an Annenberg survey found that early voters were 7.2 percent more likely to vote for Bush than Gore in 2000.) Apparently, 27 states now allow for unrestricted absentee voting. Voting laws have been eased over the years in order to get more registered voters to vote. What you end up having is rolling elections. In Iowa, for example, there is a five-week election day. This is foolishness, of course. I think people should vote on the same day and they should do it with paper and pencil. John Harwood also writes of this in the WSJ, and states: "Most of the potential battleground states in the contest between Mr. Bush and Sen. John Kerry will allow voters to cast ballots before Election Day -- without requiring a reason. In Iowa, early voting begins just three weeks after the Republican convention ends, on Sept. 23. In Arizona, where ballots can be cast as of Sept. 30, the Bush campaign calculates up to half the vote will be cast before Election Day, up from 37% in 2000. In Florida, where voting starts Oct. 18, the total of early voters could hit 30%, doubling the 2000 level." Note the chart at the end of Harwood’s article, pointing out that more than half of the battleground states have early voting.

Beer opener rifle

A reader responds to the video about Germans opening beer. "True fact: the Israeli Galil rifle has a built-in bottle opener on the bayonet lug, as specified by the Israeli military." Very clever, I say.

Germans opening beer

This thrity second video shows how clever Germans are in opening a bottle of beer. Click on the lower right-hand corner, "Nochmal abspielen." Amusing.

World War IV

Last night, on CNN’s Headline News, I saw a two minute clip on a meeting/demonstration in London put on by British Muslims. The whole thing was generically anti-Western, but the effect became especially powerful when two Muslims were interviewed. Both were intelligent, well-dressed and well-spoken, with educated English accents. Here is the gist of what they said (a near quote): "You Westerners don’t understand that your understanding of democracy, freedom, human rights, capitalism, and all those things you hold dear are nothing more than figments of your imagination. There is no freedom, no democracy, no human rights, except in Islam. And we mean this and you will lose. Islam will rule." I was looking into the eyes of an ideologue, of a fanatic, of a tyrant. Such scenes, and such graphic and and clear voices, will be replayed over the next many years, and we should be reminded of not only who they are, and what they stand for, but also of who we are, and why they hate us. It was shocking. More such interviews should be done and shown. I looked for it on CNN’s web site, and couldn’t find it.

Norman Podhoretz writes a lengthy essay in the September issue of Commentary (PDF file, long) called "World War IV: How It Started, What It means, and Why We Have to Win." In it, he says that he has tried to step back from the pressure of events "to piece together the story of what this nation has been fighting to accomplish since September 11, 2001." He thinks the only way to understand it all is by calling it World War IV. While I don’t doubt that much of this lengthy piece can be disagreed with, I also don’t doubt that it will be worth reading. I’ll try to read it tonight. In the meantime, the Belmont Club has a few good paragraphs on it.

Tom Harkin attacks Cheney

A reader has brought to my attention the latest oddity in the Kerry self-forgetting/lying affair: Sen. Tom Harkin is
attacking the patriotism of VP Cheney. But, "Harkin himself claimed to have battled Mig fighters over North Vietnam while a Navy pilot. He was a pilot, but never went to Vietnam," as
Donald Sensing points out. Weird, all this, I must say. There is more at Instapundit.

War on poverty and the "two Americas"

Thomas Sowell reminds us that it is the 40th anniversary of the War on Poverty, and also makes clear that it was not only a failure, but that it had awful consequences.  

Abducted reporter’s story

This is James Brandon’s (a Brit reporter in Iraq) first hand account of being abducted and then released. And here is the Belmont Club’s comment on it: "There’s a particular kind of exhilaration that people who have come out whole, not just physically but morally whole, from a deep crisis, justifiably feel. Yet ’to have no secret place wherein one stooped unseen to shame or sin’, as Guest once wrote, is also to be aware of how near one came to failing the test. Really brave men understand cowardice better than most. Brandon’s account unconsciously mirrors the bravery, ruthlessness, modesty and humanity of a man who has seen the Elephant, and rode away on it."

Active military in the Olympics

This story is on the eighteen active members of the U.S. military taking part in the Olympics.

Phil Carter has a short comment: " The Army, Navy and Air Force each sent servicemembers to compete this year, and a few are expected to bring home a medal based on what I read last week in Sports Illustrated. Of course, soldiers competing in the Olympics is nothing new. Warriors competed in Ancient Greece, and many of the events continue to retain the martial influence of those original games. Sports such as shooting, wrestling, and even men’s gymnastics contain some elements of military skill. Indeed, the modern pentathlon was originally only open to military officers -- a very young George S. Patton competed for the U.S. in this event in the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm. (He placed 5th overall) Today’s American warrior-athletes can lay claim to a long and proud lineage, and I look forward to seeing them on the medal stand this year."

Islam and economics

Virginia Postrel offers an overview of Islamic economics (with a focus on banking) using the book, Islam and Mammon: The Economic Predicaments of Islamism by Timur Kuran.

Kerry questions

In trying to pay attention to the news again--moving a bit slow--and am finding that Kerry is a bit spooky, frankly; what is all this stuff about being in Cambodia on Christmas of 1968, listening to Nixon on the radio (when LBJ was the pres), etc. Weird.

John H. Hinderaker and Scott W. Johnson consider the Kerry’s 1968 Cambodia issue as fraudulent and ask why the media is not covering it. They have more at Powerline. Robert Novak has more, including the confusion between John Kerry and Bob Kerrey, and which was vice-chair of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee.

Basketball in Athens

A reader, Kevin, had a rational response to my irrational outburst (with the Poet’s help) regarding our BBall team’s performance in Athens:

"Re-USA Basketball Wow. I am detecting somewhat of a tongue in cheek post here. Pretty good, but I think that your ire is misplaced. This team was constructed on a flawed premise. The most talented players should not have been selected. The players whose game most suits international play (which is very different from NBA play) should have been selected. The A-list stars (and their versatility) declined to attend, as is their right. The B-list stars (and their lack of versatility) stepped into the breach, but they just don’t understand the international game. Better to be upset with the selection process than the players. The players are doing the best they can with the tools they have. The just don’t have the right tools."

How Kerry Would’ve Reacted on 9/11

Someone commenting on another thread raised this issue, but it’s worth paying greater attention to. On August 5 John Kerry hammered the president for the way he reacted to 9/11. "Had I been reading to children and had my top aide whispered in my ear, ’America is under attack,’" he told reporters, "I would have told those kids very politely and nicely that the president of the United States had something that he needed to attend to -- and I would have attended to it." This is something that filmmaker/gasbag Michael Moore attacked Bush for in "Fahrenheit 9/11," and it’s the subject of a screed by Bill Maher which is on Moore’s web site.

Fair enough, but if this is to be a campaign issue, it’s worth considering how Kerry reacted to the news that morning. Here’s what he told Larry King on July 8:

"I was in the Capitol. We’d just had a meeting -- we’d just come into a leadership meeting in Tom Daschle’s office, looking out at the Capitol. And as I came in, Barbara Boxer and Harry Reid were standing there, and we watched the second plane come in to the building. And we shortly thereafter sat down at the table and then we just realized nobody could think, and then boom, right behind us, we saw the cloud of explosion at the Pentagon."

Once again, we must ask which John Kerry we are to believe.


You may have noticed the empty seats at Olympic events. A bit of a panic is starting to set in. Worth paying attention to. You’ll start seeing schoolchildren being bused in to fill those empty seats soon, I’m betting.

Here is the first piece of good news from the games: Iraq has won its first two soccer games, beating Portugal and Costa Rica. I saw the Costa Rica game, and the Iraqis played pretty well. I also noted that the crowd was loudly on their side. Too bad many European politicians are not cheering. Good for the Iraqis! They have made it to the quarterfinals. Also note that Arash Miresmaeili, an Iranian judo champion, declined to get in the ring with an Israeli. As the Sports Illustrated points out, he should either be barred from future Olympic competition, or ban all Iranians because of their government’s action, if this was a state-sponsored act.

The USA’s basketball team was a sorry sight, and I have this say of them: You are no better than peevish baggage and pestilent knaves, you sluggards and popinjays, you are but guilded loam or painted clay, you malignant things, fools, cowards! You have all been touched and found base metal!
I hope the multiplying villanies of nature do swarm upon you all! Ignomy and shame upon you!
You overwheening rags of France, go live long there and let your misery increase with your age, or go to your kennels! There is neither honesty, manhood, nor good fellowship in thee! Each one thrice worse than Judas! You indigest deformed lumps! Shameless fishmongers!

Kerry and his faith

Joseph Knippenberg explains with wonderful clarity what John Kerry’s faith, and his "welcoming people of faith" into his campaign, really means. While there is no reason not to believe Kerry when he says that he finds personal strength and solace in his faith, Knippenberg persuasively argues that his political agenda is "faith-based in only the most attenuated sense." Judging by what Kerry said at the convention, Knippenberg argues that
Kerry’s "most authentic profession of faith was of his faith in the power of science to extend the scope of human accomplishment and power."   

Europe and Kerry

John Zvesper, writing from Europe, very thoughtfully explains why we shouldn’t exaggerate the anybody-but-Bush syndrome to be found in Europe, and also note (as many Europeans themselves have recently noted) that in the unlikely event of a Kerry victory, a Europe-U.S.A. rapprochement is by no means assured.   

Great trip

Flannery and I got back from our ride to the Adirondacks. We had a fine cabin on Upper Saranac Lake. Our bikes were flawless, the roads were winding and smooth, the scenery wonderful, the conversation, food, and drinks were perfect and plentiful. Add to this the humor of Chris getting a ticket for not having a helmet on--he rode out one early morning (in the middle of nowhere) to pick up a newspaper without his helmet--and the good became the best. The only flaw in the trip was the storm we rode through on our way home coming out of Buffalo; about a hundred miles in serious rain (not wearing our rain gear, of course!). We were wet from head to toe and cold, but, being the real men we are, we only whined about it for a day or so. Great trip, good to be back.

Why I Miss Georgia

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports on a theater owner from Rome, Georgia, who after showing "Fahrenheit 9/11" donated all of the proceeds (a paltry $1,500--this is smalltown Georgia, after all) to the Bush-Cheney campaign.