Thursday, September 28, 2006


The intellectually hefty James Wolcott?

Don’t even know why I clicked on it but I found myself reading The New Daddy Wars? - On Balance over at the Washington Post. The author, Rebeldad Brian Reid is reacting to a new cover story on the so-called “Mommy Wars” (TNR - Meow Mix) over at The New Republic. Although the TNR piece has a subscription-only availability, Rebeldad did include the opening paragraph (also available at the TNR link)…in which you learn that James Wolcott is not a father and apparently doesn’t think fatherhood looks like a lot of fun. Maybe Rebeldad was just being respectful but still, this is a phrase that screams oxymoron:

“But despite the intellectual heft of the piece, by James Wolcott,…”

As a Nerf ball probably has more intellectual heft than anything James Wolcott has ever written, I’m going to give Rebeldad the benefit of the doubt and conclude he was reaching for irony with that line.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


The Norfolk "Oriole" Tides

Congrats to Soccer Dad for his prominent link from my fellow-Holy Cross’er Baseball Crank to his (SD's) excellent summary of recent changes in minor league affiliations: Soccer Dad: Triple-a carousel

Among the recent changes is the apparent affiliation of the Norfolk Tides with the Baltimore Orioles after 30+ years with the Mets. I remember them when they were the Tidewater Tides. I was stationed in the Norfolk area while in the Navy and the Tides were an important part of the sports entertainment package. Their old stadium was located right off I-64, directly across the street from the end of a runway of the Norfolk Airport…which I always thought was a perfect location for Mets prospects to train before they moved up to Shea Stadium and its proximity to Kennedy Airport. In 1993, the team moved to a beautiful new stadium in Norfolk. It is of major league quality in every aspect except capacity. I think this is a great move for the O’s.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


If not for term limits, we'd a had a "comprehensive anti-terror strategy".

Good for the Secretary: Rice Challenges Clinton on Terror Record

“Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice challenged former President Clinton's claim that he did more than many of his conservative critics to pursue Osama bin Laden, and she accused President Bush's predecessor of leaving no comprehensive plan to fight al-Qaida.”

On the whole, I think this Administration has been fairly good about not doing a lot of needless finger-pointing…even if many on the right have not been so reticent. While I thought Mr. Clinton embarrassingly over-reacted to Chris Wallace’s question, I do believe he was genuinely upset and not just staging his temper tantrum. The GWOT is, after all, going to be part of his legacy.

The most remarkable part of Mr. Clinton’s Sunday interview was alluded to here:

“Rice took exception to Clinton's statement that he "left a comprehensive anti-terror strategy" for incoming officials when he left office.”

Now does anyone really believe that in the aftermath of 9/11 that the former Clinton administration officials who would have been involved in crafting such a plan (including Mr. Clinton) could have exercised the discipline required as individuals and as a group to not sing out about the plan in front of any camera with a power source? Are we to believe that such a plan would not have been leaked to the NY Times, Washington Post and Dan Rather? Why wouldn’t Mrs. Clinton, forever looking for all the National Security cred she can garner, have read the whole plan – chapter & verse – into the Senate Record; all the while strutting her stuff for CSPAN?

Instead, we’re to believe that all it took was a simple question by Chris Wallace to get the former President to reluctantly expose the existence of the plan.

In the alternative, maybe Mr. Clinton mistakenly left it in some Whitewater billing files, in which case…

Monday, September 25, 2006


Democrats recycle Batiste

On Sunday, I commented on a David Broder column in which he gets in a few shots at the Administration while waxing lyrical on some of the new, so-called independent faces on the rise. One blurb stuck out even while I ignored in my original comments:

“Instead, we had George W. Bush, a president who…repeatedly has used the war on terrorism as a partisan weapon against Democrats.”

Today on Capitol Hill:

“Three retired military officers who served in Iraq called today for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, telling a Democratic "oversight hearing" on Capitol Hill that the Pentagon chief bungled planning for the U.S. invasion, dismissed the prospect of an insurgency and sent American troops into the fray with inadequate equipment.”

“In testimony before the Democratic Policy Committee today, retired Maj. Gen. John R.S. Batiste, who commanded the 1st Infantry Division in Iraq in 2004 and 2005 and served as a senior military assistant to former deputy defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz, charged that Rumsfeld and others in the Bush administration "did not tell the American people the truth for fear of losing support for the war in Iraq." Three Retired Officers Demand Rumsfeld's Resignation

As the Wesley Clark ongoing media love-fest dramatically demonstrates, anyone who once wore the uniform and agrees to criticize this Administration gets all the air time and ink they need. General Batiste is a grizzled vet at the dump-Rumsfeld shtick; he blasted the Secretary back in April in the Washington Post: Maryland Conservatarian: General Batiste recycles. Thomas Hammes wrote Sling and the Stone: On War in the 21st Century which just came out in paperback earlier this year. He, too, is a veteran Bush-basher having written on Op-Ed for the NY Times this past June. Not to be left out, the member of the trio, retired Army Maj. Gen. Paul D. Eaton, also has previously gone on record with his own tirade against the Secretary.

In other words, the Democrats trotted out some reliable Administration critics to rehash previous criticisms in front of Democratic pep rally. For the Washington Post, this qualifies as big news.


Al Qaeda in Iraq??

British troops in Iraq kill top al Qaeda figure

“Omar Faruq was shot dead while resisting arrest during a pre-dawn raid by about 200 British troops in Iraq's second biggest city, Basra, British military spokesman Major Charlie Burbridge said.”
Well, the guy deserved to die just for being stupid – I mean, what was he doing in Iraq - everyone knows there’s no connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda-Hussein Link Is Dismissed


What He Said

From today's Washington Examiner: A conservatarian view of Maryland politics

Sunday, September 24, 2006


David Broder's Independence Week

David Broder’s at it again: The Tide's In for Independents This is a theme he used in his previous column (Independence Days) but once again it comes across as a just a lot of wishful thinking backed up by some cherry picked anecdotes. David Broder channels Harry Reid

I say wishful thinking because, for the most part, he highlights politicians adopting a more leftist agenda. He again takes note of the objects of his current man-crushes – Senators McCain, Graham and Warner – and adds others:

“Giuliani has flourished in Democratic New York by defying his party's rigid doctrine on social issues.”

First of all, he merely echoes Democratic clichés when he writes of Mr. Giuliani defying “his party’s rigid doctrine on social issues”. While so-called social conservatives are more likely to find a home in the GOP, such values aren’t on the entrance exam. Of course, Mr. Broder doesn’t also make such references but are there any more rigid party doctrines than the Democrats’ on abortions, unions and now Iraq? Besides, adopting Democratic Party positions in a Democratic stronghold is hardly the basis for a feel-good movie on Political Independence.

“I also would guess that Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney would be such a candidate. Like Giuliani, he has governed in Democratic territory, and he managed with an overwhelmingly Democratic legislature to pass a major step toward universal health care coverage.”

Again, getting an overwhelmingly Democratic legislature to move toward universal health care coverage isn’t exactly climbing the Mt. Everest of political feats.

“On the Democratic side, Sen. Hillary Clinton would, if she runs, provide a crucial test case for the independence movement.”

C’mon David – if you’re not going to take the game seriously. This woman is a veritable Lance Armstrong with the speed with which she backpedals on issues (notably Iraq) when she occasionally strays from the plantation (yes - that was intentional).

He later gushes over the possibilities of the future:

“And looking beyond 2008, think about a future contest involving Democratic Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois and Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina…What a boon for the country.”

…yeah, if sanctimony is what you’re looking for in a president.

Mr. Broder began his piece by mentioning Senators Lieberman’s and Chafee’s “tough reelection battles” as part of the independence he sees breaking out all over the political spectrum. He thinks voters will respond to this.

But they didn’t in Connecticut, did they. Democratic voters there overwhelmingly shot down Mr. Lieberman’s nomination bid expressly because he came across as too independent on a single issue. And Mr. Chafee’s message is expressly catered to RI voters – he is near-pariah in many Republican circles; being seen by Rhode Islanders as a visible impediment to President Bush’s agenda shouldn’t qualify someone for the political equivalent of the Silver Star.

This independence that Mr. Broder has been celebrating this week is the cause of some grinding of teeth from this side of the aisle because many of us see such acts as mere grandstanding for the press. Still, the GOP, as a whole, tolerates it because the alternative is so much worse.

But the Democrats are a coalition party – with each member holding firm to its matter of interest. And coalitions don’t respond well to independence so I’d refrain from buying the fireworks just yet (besides, thanks to nanny-staters all over, there is a good chance they’re illegal where you live).


Saturday, September 23, 2006


The Army has a good recruiting year

The Army announced this week that it had its best recruiting year since 1997. No doubt you already know all that because you’ve been exposed to the huge media splash about it. Army Ends Best Recruit Year Since 1997

“The Army is ending its best recruiting year since 1997 and expecting similar success in 2007, despite the weight of grim war news from Iraq, Army Secretary Francis Harvey said Thursday.”

Okay, I don’t have the transcripts of the AP interview but I’m skeptical that the Secretary of the Army would have cited “the weight of grim war news from Iraq” as a backdrop to this news.


The AP's version of breaking news

The AP, in the guise of President and Chief Executive Tom Curley, is on the attack:

“Bilal Hussein, an Iraqi photographer who helped the Associated Press win a Pulitzer Prize last year, is now in his sixth month in a U.S. Army prison in Iraq. He doesn't understand why he's there, and neither do his AP colleagues.” Tom Curley - In Iraq, a Journalist in Limbo

Anyone reading Mr. Curley’s piece would naturally be upset at what was going. Some might remember the case of Iraqi CBS cameraman, Abdul Hussein, who was detained, charged after a long while and then acquitted in an Iraqi court...then, they remember that this is, after all, the Associated Press and maybe, just maybe, the readers weren't getting the whole story. As it is, Michelle Malkin has been all over this case for months and is probably an inspiration behind Mr. Curley’s foray into the Op-Ed world.

“Over the past five months, I have pestered the Associated Press for answers about one of its photographers, Iraq-based Bilal Hussein. As noted here in April, Hussein's photos have raised persistent questions in the blogosphere about his relationship with terrorists in Iraq and whether his photos were/are staged in collusion with the enemy.” Michelle Malkin: Associated Press and the Bilal Hussein case

The AP reported breaking this story on September 17th: U.S. holds AP photographer in Iraq 5 mos :

“The AP has worked quietly until now, believing that would be the best approach. But with the U.S. military giving no indication it would change its stance, the news cooperative has decided to make public Hussein's imprisonment, hoping the spotlight will bring attention to his case and that of thousands of others now held in Iraq, Curley said.”

…in other words, they reluctantly break a story in September that Ms. Malkin had reported on in April:

“According to my tipster, Hussein was captured earlier today by American forces in a building in Ramadi, Iraq, with a cache of weapons.”

If the other two captured with him are legitimately held, then I’m not sweating it for Mr. Hussein. A free press does not have to be a pampered or privileged press. The standard here should be the same as any other in a similar situation. The AP press pass gets Mr. Hussein no extra credit and, if it’s a question of credibility here, no contest: the Pentagon wallops the AP.

Friday, September 22, 2006


Another Armitage Sighting

An interesting tidbit at a White House news briefing today where Bush (was) 'Taken Aback' by Musharraf Comment

In a White House news briefing after a meeting in the Oval Office, Bush and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf were asked about a threat that Musharraf has attributed to Richard L. Armitage, the deputy secretary of state at the time of the Sept. 11 attacks. In an interview with the CBS program "60 Minutes" scheduled for broadcast Sunday, Musharraf said his intelligence chief had informed him that Armitage warned, "Be prepared to be bombed. Be prepared to go back to the Stone Age." Musharraf said the purported threat was insulting and "a very rude remark," according to excerpts released by CBS"

Mr. Armitage remembers it a bit differently:

“Armitage today denied that he spoke in such terms to Pakistan's military intelligence chief, Lt. Gen. Mahmoud Ahmad, or delivered any bombing threat.”

Now, normally I would be reticent to take a guy like Pakistani President Musharraf’s word for anything – especially over the word of a trusted U.S. official…but this is second difference of memories that Richard Armitage has been linked to in the last two weeks. (Today Armitage, tomorrow...?) I include this helpful link and reminder because, remarkably, the Post’s William Branigin never once mentions Mr. Armitage’s other alleged (by the very credible Robert Novak) recent memory lapse.

Unfortunately, Mr. Musharraf was unable to further comment…and for that most American of reasons:

“Musharraf said he would like to comment, but that he was launching a book on Sept. 25, "and I am honor-bound to Simon and Schuster not to comment on the book before that day."


More bad economic news: the wealthy have wealth

The Super-Rich Get Richer: Forbes 400 Are All Billionaires announces the Washington Post today, giving Frank Ahrens one more opportunity to put on display some examples of widespread economic ignorance.

The big deal for 2006 is that, for the first time, all 400 listed are billionaires. Naturally, one might expect this to raise a few eyebrows and Mr. Ahrens delivers those concerns.

“Yet not everyone finds the billionaire boom beneficial.

"I think it's very bad," said Dean Baker, a macroeconomist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington.”

Now Mr. Baker is more than just some macroeconomist for CEPR, he’s a co-founder. His organization is a reliable source for left-leaning quotes (despite their purported non-partisanship). Here’s why he thinks it’s “very bad”.

“"If these people pull away so much wealth," he said, "that means everyone else has less."

I almost question whether Mr. Ahrens quoted him correctly because, despite ample evidence to the contrary, I still find it difficult to believe that an educated economist in this day and age apparently believes that wealth is a zero-sum game. If the stock market tanked in the next five minutes such that Bill Gates and Warren Buffet lost 75% of their wealth – how would that benefit me (or anyone) in the least? His rationale for his “very bad” verdict is, quite simply, ignorant.

And speaking of ignorant, Mr. Ahrens go to another reliable source of ignorant thought – Harvard University. There he called upon economics professor Larry Katz, formerly of the Clinton Administration:

“"We could do a lot more with the tax system and with policies . . . to help out those who are less fortunate," Katz said. On the other hand, "not every dollar that goes to a rich person is taken away from someone else."

While he at least recognizes that the rich aren’t necessarily robbing the rest of us, his instinctive appeal to use the tax system and some non-defined policies to help the “less fortunate” reflects little more than the traditional liberal mindset for solving all the world’s problems. This is little more than earnest liberal speak for "put me in charge." Not reflected is the irony of this coming from someone at Harvard. If ever there was a case for a redistribution of wealth, putting Harvard’s billions to at least a somewhat productive use would be it.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


David Broder channels Harry Reid

I guess there was a time when David Broder had something useful to say… but who can remember. If his writings often reflect a nostalgia for the old Washington ways, at least they haven’t tended to the hyperbolic. Well, he discards that positive trait with this latest submission for irrelevancy: Independence Days

Celebrating the so-called independent streaks we are supposedly seeing out of a few (predominately Republican) Senators, he begins:

“American politics reached a critical turn last week. The revolt of several Republican senators against President Bush's insistence on a free hand in treating terrorist detainees signaled the emergence of an independent force in elections and government.”

Let me go out on a limb and make this (not so) bold prediction: Punxsutawney Phil casts a longer shadow with more significance than this new, emergent independent force that Mr. Broder is gushing over. These are the three objects of his man-crush:

“These are not ordinary men. McCain, from Arizona, is probably the leading candidate for the 2008 presidential nomination. Graham, from South Carolina, is the star among the younger Republican senators. Warner, from Virginia, embodies the essence of traditional Reagan conservatism: patriotism, support for the military, civility.”

Of course, Senator McCain is an automatic entry – I’m just surprised Mr. Broder didn’t also apply the “maverick” tag to him. And I’m not sure what he means by assigning “star” status to Senator Graham because, well, he isn’t. Senator Warner? Mr. Broder probably intended to help the Senator with conservatives with his “embodies the essence of traditional Reagan conservatism” bit but the result is actually just an insult to the memory of our former President.

The hyperbole doesn’t stop there. Using language that could come straight from Harry Reid or The Daily Kos, he goes off on a Bush rant:

“Instead, swayed by some inner impulse or the influence of Dick Cheney, he has proved to be lawless and reckless. He started a war he cannot finish, drove the government into debt and repeatedly defied the Constitution.”

Repeatedly? Well, I’ll give him one act of defiance of the constitution – the President’s signature on McCain-Feingold. Presumably, however, Mr. Broder is NOT referring to that since his only problem with that piece of legislation is its apparent ineffectiveness (What McCain-Feingold Didn't Fix) - and not its impact on political speech. Aside from that, there is nothing in David Broder’s writing that even hint at any particular understanding of the Constitution that would suggest he knows a serial defier when he sees one.

Republicans who act like Democrats are always in style for many pundits. And these acts of independence will remain on display only as long as a compliant, Washington-based press is there to “ooh” and “aah” over them. This “critical turn in American politics” last week is, as has been said before, just another tale told, “…full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


The Left eats its own

Fellow Maryland Law grad and MBA-blogger Crablaw recounts a recent excursion into an economics discussion about the Minimum Wage:

“A poster on a major liberal group blog commented, in a somewhat different context, about how the problem of illegal immigrant labor competing with native citizen/lawful labor would be eliminated if higher minimum wage laws were passed.” Crablaw's Maryland Weekly: Liberal v. Libertarian

Yeah, I know that’s moronic…and so did Crablaw:

“That comment is on a blog on which I no longer participate, but it got copied to a blog I do respect. I commented that the poster was, well, a ------- idiot to think that an increase in the minimum wage was going to stop competition from illegal workers, and that I wondered if I was the only liberal left who had passed economics.

“The counter-strike from the Taliban wing of Keynesian economics was swift and vicious.”

Well Bruce – welcome to our world; Trust me, I’m laughing with you, not at you.

For the record, I oppose minimum wage laws because the record for the government – any government – correctly anticipating the market for anything is so pathetic that the tactic should be presumptively off the table. If all it takes is a bunch of legislators and a compliant executive to successfully raise wages then why stop at a mere $7 or $8/hour? Hell, why not just decree that all workers have to be paid at least $50,000/year? We can end poverty with just a stroke of the pen…and the most maddening aspect about such legislation is that the entrepreneurs out there who actually create the jobs don’t get the credit – no, instead the credit garners to the benefit of so-called public servants like Ted Kennedy.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Applebaum v. Dionne

Two editorials in today’s Washington Post go in opposite directions regarding the flap over the Pope’s recent remarks about Islam. The Crusades redux

Anne Applebaum gets it right: Enough Apologies  

Clearly, a handful of apologies and some random public debate -- should the pope have said X, should the Danish prime minister have done Y -- are ineffective and irrelevant: None of the radical clerics accepts Western apologies, and none of their radical followers reads the Western press. Instead, Western politicians, writers, thinkers and speakers should stop apologizing -- and start uniting.”

And mercifully, she doesn’t try and show how even-handed she can be by throwing in some token criticisms of what the Pope said:

“By this, I don't mean that we all need to rush to defend or to analyze this particular sermon; I leave that to experts on Byzantine theology. But we can all unite in our support for freedom of speech -- surely the pope is allowed to quote from medieval texts -- and of the press. And we can also unite, loudly, in our condemnation of violent, unprovoked attacks on churches, embassies and elderly nuns.”

Unfortunately, there is an element of the left that seemingly defines the appropriateness of anything by how the so-called downtrodden and oppressed react. Enter uber-liberal E.J. Dionne with his predictable paean to appeasement. We Need a Real Dialogue (is that title not the perfect summary for the lefts’ approach to all foreign policy)

“I was tempted to defend Pope Benedict XVI's comments about Islam on the grounds that we journalists always profess to admire leaders who take risks to say what they really think.”

Tempted but then he saw and read about the staged reactions and gosh, he just couldn’t assign 100% of the blame for such mindless and cowardly acts to those who commit them.

He takes Pope Benedict to task for not irrelevantly pointing out the far past:

“But then why did Benedict take his shot at Islam? And why didn't he pause to acknowledge that at various moments in history, Christians, including Catholics, have themselves been guilty of inappropriate uses of violence?”

Of course, you really have to be fully immersed in victimology - in all its splendor - if the Crusades still get a rise out of you. Still, even a devoted appeaser like Mr. Dionne has to recognize that Christians, as Christians, do not represent a prime demographic for the current recruitment of suicide bombers.

More of this insipidness follows:

“A significant number of Muslim religious leaders have said some harsh things about Christians, Jews and Western secularists in recent years. Would that all of Benedict's Muslim critics were as critical of anti-Christian or anti-Jewish statements from their own side.”

“Would that all…”? Would that ANY of Benedict’s Muslim critics were even SOMEWHAT “…critical of anti-Christian or anti-Jewish statements from their own side.”
But lest anyone accuse Mr. Dionne of piling on the Muslim rabble rousers, he makes apparent that he thinks Pope Benedict’s words “… take us back to arguments rooted in an era when Christianity and Islam were literally at sword's point.” Well, from where I’m sitting, that era is now.

Finally there’s the de rigueur call for tolerance:

“We should all struggle to interpret our respective traditions in ways that enhance toleration and respect.”

And, of course, a final shout-out to a liberals’ favorite solution for whatever ails us - “dialogue”:

“But religious dialogue will not progress very far if it starts off with a slap in the face.”

…or with bombs attached to young children.

Friday, September 15, 2006


The Crusades redux

Anti-Vatican demonstrations are all the rage today because apparently, the Pope has distressed some people with some comments:

“"Benedict told the audience that the "erudite" emperor addressed the scholar "with a startling brusqueness on the central question about the relationship between religion and violence in general, saying: 'Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.' "Muslim Leaders Blast Pope's Comments

Those words came from “…a book that recounted a conversation that purportedly took place in the 14th century between a Persian scholar and Byzantine Christian Emperor Manuel II Paleologos on the merits of Christianity and Islam.” Meaning it took approximately 700 years before anyone mounted any kind of demonstrations against the emperor’s words; in retrospect then, the demonstrations against the Danish cartoons, which came only a few months after their publication, seem positively spontaneous.

Fortunately, some people could keep things in perspective:

“"Benedict, the author of such unfortunate and insolent remarks, is going down in history for his words," he said. "He is going down in history in the same category as leaders such as (Adolf) Hitler and (Benito) Mussolini." Turkish Lawmaker Compares Pope to Hitler


"This is another Crusader war against the Arab and Muslim world," said Hamas official Ismail Radwan as he addressed some 5,000 chanting demonstrators.” Muslims deplore Pope speech

Here’s why Pope Benedict’s words were so unfair:

“Aslam said Muslims had a long history of tolerance, adding that when the Catholic kingdom of Spain expelled its Jewish population in 1492 they were welcomed by Muslim nations such as the Turkish Ottoman Empire.”

…and of course that grand tradition of tolerance continues today.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


Today Armitage, tomorrow...?

Wow. Robert D. Novak - Armitage's Leak It took over three years but Karl Rove has finally gotten Richard Armitage. Damn, he’s good – critics everywhere should keep one eye over their shoulders at all times.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Maryland Politics: Some Comments

Although the results are not final, the Maryland party of opportunity and inclusion has apparently favored Ben Cardin over Kweisi Mfume; Doug Gansler over Stuart Simms; and Peter Franchot over Janet Owens. It will now focus a significant amount of its resources and energy to defeat Michael Steele and Anne McCarthy. After that, perhaps a statewide party to “celebrate diversity”?    

A show of hands, please: who here thinks that if recent political history instead showed the road to the White House went through the U.S. Senate (vice a Governor’s mansion), Martin O’Malley would still be running to be our next governor?

A few years ago, Baltimore City, in an impressive move to make itself even more irrelevant statewide, elected Lisa Gladden over long-time State Senator Barbara Hoffman thus ridding itself of one of Baltimore’s most forceful and powerful voices in Annapolis. The slide toward political impotence continues as the DC suburbs wrest most of the key statewide Democratic nominations. Even the one notable exception, Martin O’Malley, is Dc-area raised and educated (Gonzaga High School and Catholic University) and his running mate is from PG County.

Apparently the three political jurisdictions with the most problems in yesterday’s election were Montgomery County, Baltimore City and Prince George’s County. Election Board Workers' Error Hinders Voting Maybe we’ll just have to ship in election officials from the Eastern Shore or Garrett County to properly train their mistake-prone counterparts before the November elections.


William Donald Schaefer

With the end in sight, a few words on William Donald Schaefer are appropriate.

Despite the verbage of many of the ideologues now running the Democratic Party, the Mayor was a long time and loyal member of his party. Forty years ago, statewide elections of Republicans in Maryland were not the political equivalents of Haley’s Comet. I believe the efforts of the likes of Mr. Schaefer (and Marvin Mandel) are the reasons the Democrats now hold the state in a virtual headlock. As a conservative (and thus, by default, a Republican), I do not think that‘s a good thing. But unlike, say, Parris Glendening, I never once doubted that the Mayor always had Maryland’s best interest at heart. The prospect of Peter Franchot as our next Comptroller only heightens my disappointment at Mr. Schaefer’s defeat.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Screw Harvard!

Stop the presses: Harvard Drops 'Early Action' Admissions.

“In a change certain to shake up college admissions, Harvard University will ditch its "early action" round of applications on the grounds that it favors wealthier students over minorities and the poor. It called on other universities to follow suit.”

Despite having Ted Kennedy on its alumni roll, Harvard continues to enjoy an over-hyped reputation…and apparently its administration buys into its own press clippings:

Harvard's statement said the university would wait one year to implement the change in part to give other universities an opportunity also to drop their early programs.”

Unless they feel that this move gives them cover to do what they’ve wanted to do all along, I can’t understand why any other school would want to drop their early-decision program on account of Harvard’s decision. And it’s not as if Harvard’s always been a trailblazer here – a few years ago they were copying Yale and Stanford:

“Harvard, after experimenting with an early-action policy that allowed students to seek similar treatment from other schools, ultimately returned to a policy similar to Yale's and Stanford's.” No sanctions planned for schools violating early-admissions guidelines

Early Decision (ED) is attracting a lot of recent criticism for the usual, modern-day reasons anything gets criticized: its impact on Diversity and its attendant stress on The Children – soon to come, I’m sure, is its effect on a Woman’s Right to Choose (with a concluding paragraph on why Bush is to blame). My reaction to them all is one long exaggerated eye-roll.

Full disclosure: When I applied to colleges (admittedly a while ago), I availed myself of the ED option (Holy Cross) because I had a first choice and I didn’t want to waste money on college applications if I didn’t have to. I didn’t get in ED but I’m convinced my applying early was an important part of my eventual acceptance. With the benefit of hindsight and the wisdom of age, I have never wavered in my certainty that I got it exactly right all those years ago.

A constant refrain we have all heard is about just how bright kids are to today – especially as compared to previous generations. Maybe so but back then most of us didn’t need high-priced college counselors to help guide us through the application maze and we didn’t fret over how a USN&WR top-ranked “Regional” college stacked up against a middling “National” one…oh, and nobody had to get rid of Joe Camel on account of our not realizing he was a cartoon character.

So I simply can’t get worked up about high-school seniors stressing over a Harvard admit. It’s just too ludicrous. If the prospect of ending up at Hartford instead of Harvard is the biggest source of stress in a young person’s life, well, then it’s been a pretty good life so far. I hope most other schools echo my posting title sentiments.

Friday, September 08, 2006


Hundreds of Thousands DON'T Rally...

It seems like just yesterday: Rally May Gauge Future of Immigration Movement

“Immigration activists plan to mass in front of the Capitol today, renewing their appeal for legislative reform as Congress reconvenes…”
“Local organizers said they expect hundreds of thousands of demonstrators from the East Coast…”

Actually, that was yesterday – from the front page of the Post’s B-section – an article on the run-up to what was supposed to be a massive pro-illegal immigration rally yesterday afternoon.

So what kind of gauge did it provide for the future?

Well you kind of got a hint that maybe things weren’t going that well when the Post’s web site carried nothing in the way of updates yesterday…and sure enough, this morning, splashed all over Page A-6: Immigration Rally's Low Turnout Disappoints Advocates

“A pro-immigration rally that promised to bring tens of thousands of marchers from across the nation to Washington yesterday managed to draw only a paltry number of demonstrators, raising questions about the movement's tactics and staying power.
“With fewer than 5,000 people attending…”

Look for appeasing illegal immigrants & their apologists to suddenly be off a lot of politicians’ agendas the next few months.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


News from Lebanon

Scott Wilson and Ed Cody continue their hard-hitting reporting from the Mid-East with the news that Israel [is] to End Blockade of Lebanon. This was my favorite tidbit:

“But Annan recently stepped up diplomatic pressure on Israel to end the blockade, calling it "a humiliation" for Lebanon during his recent trip to the region. Olmert's statement said Annan pledged that Italian, British, French and Greek forces would begin sea patrols until the German navy arrives in approximately two weeks.”

You would have thought that some rogue party unilaterally getting Lebanon into a war they had no hope of competing in would have been enough of a humiliation but apparently it was the blockade that really reddened the faces of the Lebanese. Further, Hezbollah’s real-life governance continues:

“Officials in Lebanon said Prime Minister Fouad Siniora insisted that Israel lift the blockade before his government would request U.N. help in guarding Lebanon's air, sea and land frontiers….

“The arrangements had to go through the United Nations, officials said, because Hezbollah refused to welcome the European ships directly, saying Lebanon would be handing over its sovereignty to NATO.”

The UN help will be responsible for enforcing an arms embargo against Hezbollah. This is important because “Israeli officials say Hezbollah's arms supply comes from Iran and Syria.”

Israeli officials say? Who besides Iran and Syria (and probably Hezbollah) doesn’t say the same?

…and back to the earlier subject of humiliation, shouldn’t PM Olmert be feeling a tad of it himself since, as of this writing, two Israeli soldiers CONTINUE to be held by someone in Lebanon.

Finally, this bit of annoyance:

From today’s article:

“Former Gen. Michel Aoun, a right-wing political figure,…”

From an Edward Cody article in Tuesday’s Post:

“Former Gen. Michel Aoun, a right-wing political figure,…” Lebanon Seeks to Reassert Sovereignty Over Borders

I’m guessing the Washington Post writing manual has decreed that Mr. Auon is a “right-wing political figure”. Well, he is certainly a political figure – his Free Patriotic Movement party won 21 seats in the last election – more than Hezbollah (although Hezbollah is joined with the Amal party for a bigger combined presence). (Lebanon’s Weak Government - CFR) My gripe here is that one never reads of a prominent “left-wing political figure” in Lebanon. If Mr. Auon is considered right-wing, it stands to reason that his opposite should be considered of the other wing, doesn’t it? But anyone familiar with the Washington Post’s political sympathies will understand their reluctance to publicly identify Hezbollah’s Nasrallah as a “left-wing political figure”.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Defining Marriage

Judge Harvie Wilkinson III of the US Fourth Circuit is upset because “[o]n the ballot this fall in Virginia and five other states will be proposed constitutional amendments banning gay marriage. Passage of the amendments is all but foreordained, but the first principles of American law will be further endangered.” Hands Off Constitutions

While he expresses an understanding of why states feel the need to constitutionalize their understanding of marriage as expressly between one man and one woman, he feels a constitutional amendment is a little over board because:

“Ordinary legislation -- not constitutional amendments -- should express the community's view that marriage "shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman." To use the Constitution for prescriptions of policy is to shackle future generations that should have the same right as ours to enact policies of their own.”

What a great idea – using ordinary legislation to express a community’s view of what marriage is. For an example of just how well that works, we turn to my home state of Maryland which, coincidentally, is also part of Judge Wilkinson’s 4th Circuit.

Maryland has on its books a statute that reads as follows:

“Only a marriage between a man and a woman is valid in this State”

This would seem to be a perfect example of Judge Wilkinson’s preferred “ordinary legislation” expressing the community’s view. But last January, Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Brooke Murdock nevertheless invalidated it. Hey Maryland, let me tell you what you think... What would he suggest Maryland do in this instance?

The attempted use of constitutions by legislators to express community values is almost entirely a reaction to meddlesome judicial posturing for the ages. Judge Wilkinson can hardly expect legislators to adopt a unilateral cease-fire in this matter as long as his contemporaries on the various courts continue to believe that a law degree and a black robe give them a wisdom far superior to us mere mortals.

Friday, September 01, 2006


Kofi Annan: UN Idol

TV executives looking to counter program reality TV may want to consider going with a total lack of reality – in other words, give UN head Kofi Annan his own show. Today’s episode: Annan: Syria to Enforce Arms Embargo

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Friday that Syria has pledged to step up border patrols and work with the Lebanese army to stop the flow of weapons to Hezbollah.”

Obviously, Mr. Annan remains the master negotiator: it’s a real coup to get the Syrians to agree to border patrols to keep the Syrians from CONTINUING to arm Hezbollah. I predict references to this arrangement will soon replace the old cliché about the fox guarding the hen house.

Side Note: when did it become the norm that land lost as a result of war – especially a war the losing nation initiated – is, in fact, not recognized as lost?

“As for the Israeli soldiers, Assad said he supported their release, but raised the question of the release of 16 Syrians detained on the Golan Heights for opposing the Israeli occupation of that Syrian territory.”

For the record, Syria held that territory as Syria for all of some 21 years. Israel has held it since 1967 (and, if you'll recall, that was a year of some significance) and annexed it in 1981 – meaning it’s been part of Israel longer than it was ever part of an independent Syria.

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