Tuesday, October 31, 2006


John Edwards sings Kumbaya for Uganda

John Edwards is once again taking a bold stance on an issue without, you know, actually saying anything we can use:

“At a moment of tremendous global hardship -- from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to the killing fields of Darfur -- it is rare to find hope. So when there is the possibility for peace, we must seize it. That's why one of the world's great tragedies, the conflict in Northern Uganda, deserves our attention.” To End Uganda's Nightmare

No doubt about it, Uganda, like its neighbor to the north, Sudan, is an absolute disaster by any measure used. And I do not mean to make light of Mr. Edwards’ sincere concern with the plight of the people over there. But this piece amounts to little more than a public expression of such concern without any concrete recommendations as to exactly what should be our course of action/reaction to the events unfolding there.

After years of civil strife, the Ugandan government and the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) are meeting to work out a possible peace agreement. This gives the former Senator cause for optimism and to further the progress, he makes some recommendations including this sure-to-be-controversial one:

“Second, the United States should publicly voice its support of the peace talks and encourage the Ugandan government and the LRA to maintain their commitment to the process…this is the closest the two sides have ever come to a comprehensive agreement. Uganda needs to know that Washington stands behind the drive for peace and will be a supportive ally after an accord is signed.”

Ah yes, the old public support of peace talks. What’s not to like. Unfortunately, Mr. Edwards doesn’t get into the issues surrounding those peace talks. But first some background.

When John Edwards was running for president in 2004, he was asked his stance on the new International Criminal Court (ICC):

“9. Do you support US participation in the International Criminal Court? YesI believe that the United States must be committed to bringing war criminals and perpetrators of crimes against humanity to justice. We were right to sign the treaty creating the International Criminal Court in 2000, and America must remain engaged with the Court in order to have our concerns addressed. Although we need to make sure that safeguards are in place to prevent abuses of the process, President Bush was wrong to disengage, which damaged American credibility among our allies and on values that we all believe in.
Source: Peace Action Candidate Questionnaire John Edwards on Foreign Policy

Fortunately, the US does not participate in the ICC but it is up and running and looking for work. One potential source of a mission is Uganda – and LRA leader Joseph Kony. In fact, the ICC has already indicted him and some associates for war crimes (warrant of arrest unsealed against 5 LRA commanders - October 14, 2005). Now, as you can imagine, Mr. Kony views his possible trials for war crimes as a stumbling block in reaching a peace agreement:

“IT HAS been presented as a classic struggle of peace versus justice. Talks aimed at ending one of Africa's longest and most savage civil wars are on the verge of collapse as the leaders of Uganda's rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) insist that there can be no peace deal unless the International Criminal Court (ICC) drops its indictments against four of their number. The court remains adamant that there can be no impunity for crimes against humanity. But as the faltering talks limp into their fourth month, a hint of possible compromise is in the air.” Uganda Will Kony come out of the bush? Economist.com

(the “hint of possible compromise” alluded to was for the ICC to refer the case back to the Uganda courts…yeah, that’s gonna work)

So what sayeth Mr. Edwards? Does the ICC drop the charges against this obvious thug in the hope that Uganda can find its way toward a lasting peace? Does the mere prospect of some kind of peace justify Mr. Kony avoiding any kind of retribution for the LRA’s 20 years of unimaginable savagery? Actually Mr. Edwards doesn’t sayeth – he ignores the issue completely. Instead he serves up a predictable pablum of the United States, the United Nations and the international community letting those involved know that, by golly, we’re there for them. But he doesn’t say whether we’ll be there for them if, say, troops are needed to maintain a peace. That would be taking a stand. And that could come back to haunt him.

In 2008, John Edwards will be asking us to make him our next president so he can more fully implement such deeply-thought-out policies…while considering that, just imagine the Carter Administration redux.

Monday, October 30, 2006


The Post reports, you decide

The Washington Post website – Front Page – at 5:24 PM EST, October 30, 2006

Pakistani Raid on School Kills 80

Top Islamic political leader says American planes were used, but U.S. military denies involvement.
–Associated Press 4:54 p.m. ET

And here’s how the actual story is headlined:

Militants Blame U.S. for Pakistan Strike

But here’s the opening of the story:

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- Pakistani helicopter gunships on Monday destroyed a religious school the military said was fronting as an al-Qaida training camp, killing 80 people in the country's deadliest military operation targeting suspected terrorists.

Strangely, no mention of U.S. involvement. And read paragraph 3: “U.S. and Pakistani military officials denied American involvement.”

So the AP is reporting that Pakistani helicopters conducted the raid but the Washington Post headline trumpets a seemingly bogus claim by the almost-never-reliable “Islamic leaders and al-Qaida-linked militants.” And the front page teaser ignores the role of Pakistani helicopters AND Pakistan’s concurrent denial of American involvement.

Meanwhile, also in today’s Washington Post, Sebastian Mallaby bemoans a current decline in trust:

The boom of the 1990s boosted trust in business; the 2001 terrorist attacks boosted trust in government. But CEOs and politicians abused these gifts with scandals and incompetence.”

…and no, I couldn’t find any mention of the press either.

Sunday, October 29, 2006


Flacking for Harry Reid

Is there a more reliable mouthpiece for Congressional Democrats than Washington Post writer Charles Babington. In today’s Post, he writes that Elections May Bring New Accord In Senate:

“Some congressional scholars say it could mean greater bipartisan accord because McConnell and Reid are consummate deal-makers whose top priority is legislative achievement, whereas Frist's presidential ambitions have shadowed his comments and deeds as majority leader.”

Huh? Does anyone of serious mind that has been at all paying attention the last several years even remotely equate Harry Reid with “bipartisan accord”? This is not a criticism, per se. Partisanship is not a dirty word for me and I don’t get all teary-eyed over the prospect of more bipartisanship – if everything was done in a bipartisan way, we wouldn’t need two parties. But Mr. Babington is attempting to throw these two together as little more than mirror images of each other. And in doing so, he is being disingenuous, if not dishonest.

Exhibit A:

“But both men are also dogged by questions about financial dealings that could provide ammunition for opponents in the next Congress, which is virtually sure to be narrowly divided.”

Seriously, only a political hack of the first order could possibly mention the questions about their respective “financial dealings” in the same breath.

“Recent hard-hitting news articles have focused on questionable land transactions by Reid and aggressive fundraising by McConnell.”

He “reports”:

“Most recently, the Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader published a series of articles portraying the senator as an insatiable solicitor of political money from interest groups -- including tobacco companies, car makers and pharmaceutical firms -- with whom he is cozy.”

“With whom he is cozy”?? No bias there, huh? The gist of the Mr. Babington’s reporting here (which is basically just spinning someone else’s so-called reporting) is that Senator McConnell has been a long-time ardent critic of limits on campaign financing because he believes it violates our freedoms of speech. He raises money to the limits available and is quite good at it. He is not under any kind of suspicion for illegalities or personal enrichment. Left unmentioned about that Herald-Leader series of articles is this little tidbit:

“The owner of the Lexington Herald-Leader will reimburse a journalism center for a $37,500 grant it used to pursue stories about Sen. Mitch McConnell's fundraising after the senator's aides accused the center of having a liberal bias.” Ky. Newspaper to Return Foundation Grant

Contrast that supposed near-scandal with this piece of hard-hitting reporting:

“Reid, 66, has occasionally been forced to explain his involvement in transactions that mixed politics with profits.”

Occasionally? Over the last three years we’ve read about how Reid-sponsored legislation that ended up favoring certain Nevada entities that coincidentally turned out to have employed some of Senator Reid’s sons and sons-in-laws. Most recently we read that despite Senator Reid’s sincere best efforts not to hide his ownership in a certain land deal that netted him over a million dollars – well, he had to amend his Senate ethics reports to officially unhide it.

But not to worry because Mr. Babington relays Senator Reid’s calming assurance:

“Reid said these issues are behind him, and he promised a new tone in Washington if Democrats take over the Senate.”

Friday, October 27, 2006


The Anne Arundel AG

The Capitol, the Annapolis paper, has predictably come out for Democrat Frank Weathersbee for Attorney General for Anne Arundel County (HometownAnnapolis.com, Opinion - For state's attorney: Frank Weathersbee)

Fair enough, he’s been in the business for awhile and hasn’t proven to be an outright fraud. But their reasoning comes across as a bit lazy:

“Mr. Fischer contends that Mr. Weathersbee and his staff are to blame for mistakes in some recent, high-profile murder cases. Although some results were disappointing to more than just the prosecutors, the responsibility was as much that of police, judges and juries - or the results came simply from insufficient evidence.”

As a lawyer, I practice from the other side – the Criminal Defense side – and in my experience, the normal route for the prosecution to take when there is “insufficient evidence” is a decision not to prosecute. Otherwise, the people have every right to trust the State believes it has sufficient evidence. Moreover, if the police have somehow hampered prosecutions because of shortcuts taken in the process, it is up to the State, in the guise of the Attorney General’s office, to catch it before it comes up at trial.

“It was a city police officer, for instance, whose flippant remark gave a crucial break to a defendant accused of murdering Annapolitan Straughan Lee Griffin. It was a judge whose decision tossed out a confession crucial to the prosecution's case.”

The case referred to above is a tragic one involving a car-jacking murder in Annapolis. The Maryland Court of Appeals tossed out a confession in the case thus requiring the dropping of the charges against one Leeander Blake. The so-called flippant remark was 28-minutes before the tossed-out confession and the Court’s decision was one that could only come out a group of legal wonks intent on ignoring everyday commonsense. (Maryland v. Blake, Leeander - a good source for related links and info).

Yes, things happen and it’s not always the AG’s fault that appellate courts make ill-advised efforts to come across as scholarly. But the criticism in this matter is not so much that Mr. Weathersbee’s office lost at the appellate level – instead it focuses on the fact that we had a brutal murder in Annapolis, a suspect in custody – and throughout no one from the AG’s office was present at the questioning. That’s a policy decision and certainly fair game for criticism.

(FYI – even though Mr. Blake’s confession was tossed and he was freed, an accomplice was convicted. In August, federal prosecutors got an indictment against Mr. Blake...so we’ll see. U.S. indictment filed in carjacking-killing)

Another case for which Mr. Weathersbee has received a fair amount of criticism involved the death of a teenager allegedly at the hands of 6 others. Noah Jamahl Jones died from injuries he received after a fight broke out in front of a house in Pasadena, Md. on July 24, 2004. The victim was black, the accused were white – you do the math. An all-white jury found one of the accused ‘not guilty’; the cases against the rest were then dropped.

So Mr. Weathersbee has been excoriated for the lack of a conviction in this case – but reading summaries of what happened you have to wonder why the cases were brought in the first place. Did Mr. Weathersbee’s office honestly think they had enough for a conviction? (BAW: Commentary: Maryland Case Shows That If You Start It, Finish It – Don’t Cry Racism) The Justice Department then looked onto the case but concluded there were no charges to bring (with the predictable race-baiting response from our very own Barbara Mikulski: Mikulski Responds to DOJ Decision on Noah Jamahl Jones Case). End result – no one has been accountable for Mr. Jones’s death…and that doesn’t sit well with many.

I can only conclude that Mr. Weathesbee brought this case because, politically, he felt he had to. In doing so, he gave unrealistic hope to Mr. Jones’s family that there would be some sort of legal retribution while at the same time expending state resources in an unsure cause. That’s not leadership, that’s pandering and again fair game for criticism.

Using the Capitol’s reasoning, almost any lack of success encountered by a prosecutorial team can be chalked up to bad luck in the assignment of police, judge and/or jury. But maybe it’s time to rephrase the old line: Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for Frank Weathersbee.

(Full disclosure: I attended law school with David Fischer, who is the Republican candidate facing Mr. Weathersbee)

Thursday, October 26, 2006


Economy tanking as home sales INCREASE

Home Prices Plunge by Most in 35 years screams the headline over the AP report by AP Economics Writer, Martin Crutsinger:

“The median price of a new home plunged in September by the largest amount in more than 35 years, even as the pace of sales rebounded for a second month.”

Is there any chance at all that the lower prices of new homes may have something to do the pace of sales being up? Any chance that classic supply and demand is at work here?

Later we read the obligatory: “The debate is whether the slowdown will be enough to push the country into an outright recession.”

What slow down? You’re reporting that the pace of sales is UP!! Back in January, this was the big question according to Mr. Crutsinger:

“The five-year housing boom is showing increased signs of cooling, and that's likely to mean slower growth for the entire national economy. The big question now is whether home prices will come crashing to Earth with even more severe consequences. Cooling U.S. home sales may crimp economy (January, 2006)”

Buried in today’s article is this bit of news:

“In other economic news, the government said that orders to U.S. factories for big-ticket manufactured goods, powered by a huge jump in demand for commercial jetliners, soared in September by the largest amount in more than six years.”

But less than a month ago, a Martin Crutsinger report was headlined: Orders for Big-Ticket Goods Drop

which was important because it “…could be seen as a worrisome development given that economists are looking for business investment to help cushion the economic slowdown that is occurring because of a cooling housing market and smaller advances in consumer spending.”

Mr. Crutsinger doesn’t bother to tell us the significance of the INCREASE in orders for same.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


In case you were wondering, the Post really, really wants Ben Cardin

For a good example at just why current campaign finance rules should be thrown out, read today’s Washington Post PAGE ONE story on Ben Cardin: A Sense of Service Sustained by Family, Faith

This is nothing more than an unpaid political ad; were someone to try and place a similar piece on Michael Steele, the cost would be prohibitive and probably illegal.


When in doubt, stick it to the developers

Gaithersburg Maryland is considering new development requirements that “would require developers to set aside 7.5 percent of owner-occupied units for moderate-income households -- those earning 60 to 80 percent of the area median income of $90,300. Another 7.5 percent would be so-called "workforce housing" -- for those making 80 to 120 percent of the median income. For rental units, developers would have to make 15 percent of the units moderately priced.” Affording Gaithersburg

As you can imagine the rhetoric is strident;

"These are working-class people," activist Patty Kaczmarski said at the hearing. "They're working, a lot of them, for below minimum wage. They are holding down two jobs. They are not lazy, they are not stupid and they are not trying to get a handout from anybody."
Who, living legally in Montgomery County, is working for below minimum wage? If they are - then obviously our first priority should be to get those businesses’s paying sub-minimum wages to comply with the law. Sticking it to developers for other businesses flouting of the law hardly seems fair. Of course, if the workers are not inclined to complain because  -ahem – they may have some documentation problems…tell me again why that should be some developers problem?

Opponents to such governmental social engineering are not claiming those eligible are lazy or stupid but it is pure hyperbole to avoid calling these proposals a handout. They are in fact a transfer of wealth from developers and other non-favored citizens to a select group based purely on economic deficiency. That’s a classic definition of a handout, Ms. Kaczmarski.


The Post's October Surprise

Did sunrise come from the west this morning? Is π now equal to 3.2? I cannot honestly say that I ever saw this one coming:

For Governor in Maryland - washingtonpost.com

“Our choice is Mr. Ehrlich.”

That’s right; the Washington Post endorsed Bob Ehrlich instead of Martin O’Malley. Endorsements nowadays are probably not that influential…except when they buck a known trend – then they can cause one to sit up and take notice.

This is probably worse news for the O’Malley campaign than it is good news for the Ehrlich camp. By almost any standard right of Daily Kos, the Post has to be considered a left-leaning newspaper. I mean, four years ago, the Post endorsed Kathleen Kennedy Townsend…so I guess you could use that as a bench mark as to just how pathetic a campaign the Mayor is running.

I’m going to ignore my impulse to nitpick at some of the Post’s wordings and just leave it at this: Kudos to the Post for getting this one right.


Not all stem cells are alike

As usual, the press is quick to jump all over Rush Limbaugh. This time the media blast is for his criticism of Michael J. Fox’s ads for certain Democrats around the country (including one against Michael Steele on behalf of Ben Cardin here in Maryland). Rush Limbaugh On the Offensive Against Ad With Michael J. Fox

But Rush’s criticisms are legitimate as a Dr. Mary Davenport lays out here:
“Mr. Fox and his ads’ sponsors are guilty of conflating embryonic stem cell research, which the GOP candidates and many Americans oppose for destroying a human life in the name of curing other people’s diseases, with stem cell research in general, which includes adult stem cell research and umbilical cord blood stem cell research.” The Unconscionable Claims of Michael J. Fox

"Michael J. Fox admits now that he stopped taking his medication prior to testifying before Congress," Hannity said. "You have a right to speak up, but he also has a right to be criticized." Michael J. Fox Can Be Criticized for Stem Cell Ad

Finally, you gotta love Michael Steele’s response to such cravenness:

“Michael Steele said, “There is only one candidate in this race who voted against stem cell research and it’s Congressman Ben Cardin. Ben Cardin had a chance to support stem cell research that would not destroy human embryos, and he voted against it – not because of his beliefs on the issue, but as a transparent political stunt. Both Senators Barbara Mikulski and Paul Sarbanes voted for this legislation. Ben Cardin wanted to politicize the issue instead of getting something done, so he voted against it. Marylanders deserve better than Congressman Cardin’s continued Washington double-talk, mistruths and sheer political gamesmanship on an issue as important as stem cell research.” SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT: Cardin Voted Against Stem Cell Research for Pure Political Gain
(OK - Technically, Ben Cardin voted against a motion to suspend the rules and pass a bill that would require the National Institutes of Health to conduct and support research on the isolation, derivation and production of pluripotent stem cells that do not destroy human embryos. The bill had previously passed in the Senate unanimously)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


We're 53rd!!!

Reporters Without Borders had just released their so-called Worlwide Press Freedom index 2006. The U.S. is ranked 53rd. Here’s why:

“Deterioration in the United States and Japan, with France also slipping
The United States (53rd) has fallen nine places since last year, after being in 17th position in the first year of the Index, in 2002. Relations between the media and the Bush administration sharply deteriorated after the president used the pretext of “national security” to regard as suspicious any journalist who questioned his “war on terrorism.” The zeal of federal courts which, unlike those in 33 US states, refuse to recognise the media’s right not to reveal its sources, even threatens journalists whose investigations have no connection at all with terrorism.

Freelance journalist and blogger Josh Wolf was imprisoned when he refused to hand over his video archives. Sudanese cameraman Sami al-Haj, who works for the pan-Arab broadcaster Al-Jazeera, has been held without trial since June 2002 at the US military base at Guantanamo, and Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein has been held by US authorities in Iraq since April this year.”

Now when you read a line like “…the president used the pretext of “national security” to regard as suspicious any journalist who questioned his “war on terrorism.”, you are on notice that this is not a serious bit of analysis but rather a staged piece of propaganda. I mean, does anyone really believe there are 52 countries more amenable to a free press? Do U.S.-based reporters actually sit around longing for the press freedom of Bosnia (#19) and Slovakia (#8)?

Being a so-called journalist isn’t a license to run amok. Josh Wolf has a tape of demonstrations at which several police officers were hurt. The prosecutor bringing this case to a grand jury thinks the video may shed some clues on who was involved. Josh has already released part of the video on his blog (The Revolution Will Be Televised) but is reluctant to release the full, unedited version. His status as a blogger should give him no less rights than a cameraman for ABC but no more rights than Abraham Zapruder.

Sami al-Haj was first detained by Pakistani authorities before being transferred to U.S. authorities. He is surely not being held because the US thinks that the detention of an assistant Al-Jazeera cameraman will cripple word-wide reporting efforts. I’ve discussed the case of Bilal Hussein before (The AP's version of breaking news) and I reiterate my faith in our military to do the right thing vice the AP.

The Washington Post has the story here: U.S. Rank on Press Freedom Slides Lower I’m guessing that since this index does not reflect well on the US or the Bush administration, no opposing viewpoints were deemed necessary.


The face of tolerance

I’m a South Park fan and one of my all-time favorite episodes is The Death Camp of Tolerance. Towards the end of the show, Mr. Garrison, a gay teacher attempting to get fired so he can sue for millions, makes the point that tolerance doesn’t mean acceptance. An excellent point and one I believe Anne Applebaum also gets at in her column today. (Ed. Note: The more I read her, the more I like her.) Ms. Applebaum addresses the issue of Muslim women wearing veils and the extent to which we need to accommodate it:

“And yet, at a much simpler level, surely it is also true that the full-faced veil -- the niqab, burqa or chador -- causes such deep reactions in the West not so much because of its political or religious symbolism but because it is extremely impolite. Just as it is considered rude to enter a Balinese temple wearing shorts, so, too, is it considered rude, in a Western country, to hide one's face.” Veiled Insult

BTW - in that South Park episode I referred to earlier (first aired in November 2002) the boys visit a Museum of Tolerance…which I thought was an hysterical dig at the PC mind set. Now I discover there really is a Museum of Tolerance (in Los Angeles). You can't make this stuff up.

Monday, October 23, 2006


The Post v. Allen

This is one of those typically inane Washington Post articles that amount to little more than puff pieces:

Women's Vote Could Tip Close Contest

Ya think?? Yet this exercise in the obvious gets front page treatment by the Post. The reporter, Lisa Rein, outlines past issues that could hurt both candidates with some women today. I think they are, for the most part, non-issues on both fronts and I was disappointed that Senator Allen chose to make Jim Webb’s 1979 Washingtonian article (Women can’t fight) an issue.

Ms. Rein notes that “Webb has hesitated to address Allen's record on women” so she helpfully does it for him.

“But in Allen's 23 years in politics, some votes and policies have dogged him. As governor in the 1990s, Allen said he would accept an invitation to a males-only country club but changed his mind amid criticism. He also opposed coeducation at the Virginia Military Institute. In Congress, he opposed federal legislation giving women unpaid leave after the birth of a child.”

I’m guessing she’s referring to the Commonwealth Club in Richmond...which is a social club not a country club. The invite was for an Honorary Membership and was traditionally offered to the Virginia governor. I just can’t get excited about this as an issue and pledge never to make it an issue that Senator Clinton attended a females-only college.

As to VMI, in the immediate aftermath of a Federal court order to allow women in, the trustees voted to underwrite a military program for women at nearby Mary Baldwin College. Here’s what the Governor said then about that alternative:

“It is a plan that recognizes the physiological and psychological differences between men and women. And instead of drawing a middle ground that would not fully benefit students of either gender, it strives to reach the same results that V.M.I. currently achieves so successfully with men." Virginia Military Institute - The New York Times

Of course, that was liberal icon Governor Doug Wilder in 1993 (George Allen didn’t become Governor until 1995.) The point is not that Governor Allen opposed the coeducation of VMI – he surely did…as did just about every other politician of note in Virginia – including then Attorney General Mary Sue Terry who led Virginia’s fight against the Federal suit. (Although, in all fairness, Governor Wilder was fairly wishy-washy on this matter)

Finally, Ms. Rein claims “he opposed federal legislation giving women unpaid leave after the birth of a child”

But much later in the article, she expounds on this:

“As a congressman, Allen voted against the Family and Medical Leave Act, which gives workers 12 weeks of unpaid leave for the birth of a child or to care for a sick family member. He said the bill, signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993, was a burden on businesses.”

so it just didn’t give women unpaid leave, it gave all workers unpaid leave. Anyone remotely attuned to George Allen’s political leanings would recognize that this was a vote against federal meddling in business and not a vote against women.

Earlier this year, the Washington Post devoted half-a-rain forest to continuing coverage of the Macaca incident (and to this day, I’ll bet not one in one-thousand people know exactly why it was supposed to be a slur). Here is a link to a Washington Post search of: macaca Allen. Meanwhile, (and there is good chance you never read about this) Jim Webb’s makes reference to “red necks” and “towel heads” – in a Washington Post interview, no less – and here’s the follow-up: Washington Post search of: "towel head" Webb

For the record, I do not think Mr. Webb was being ‘insensitive” or “racist” or (insert whatever other description of bad behavior the PC Police would normally use had this been a conservative Republican uttering these words). The Post probably recognized this and treated the matter accordingly. It simply strains credulity, though , to believe that this instance of common sense is not a reflection of an ongoing double-standard…or that the political sensibilities of the editorial page don’t permeate the rest of the reporting staff.

The Washington Post interview was conducted for an article that ran October 18th – the same day the Post ran its endorsement in the Virginia Senate race. If you feel any suspense before reading it then you just have not been paying attention. Virginia's Senate Race - washingtonpost.com

Saturday, October 21, 2006


The Blind Squirrels of Science

From the AP in today’s Washington Post: Future Forecast: Extreme Weather

“The world -- especially the Western United States, the Mediterranean region and Brazil -- is likely to suffer more extended droughts, heavy rainfalls and longer heat waves over the next century because of global warming, a new study forecasts.

“But the prediction of a future of nasty extreme weather also includes fewer freezes and a longer growing season…

"It's going to be a wild ride, especially for specific regions," said the study's lead author, Claudia Tebaldi, a scientist at the federally funded academic research center.”

But before you panic; from Thursday’s Washington Post:

"The main uncertainty in the outlook is not whether the season will be above normal, but how much above normal it will be," [Ed. Note: the also federally funded] National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasters announced in May. That forecast called for eight to 10 hurricanes and noted that the year might be "hyperactive."

“Now comes a humbling moment for prognosticators: Those predictions were wrong.” South Spent Millions on a Hurricane Season That Wasn't

But if we all do fry because of Global Warming, I blame John Kerry: usnews.com: Washington Whispers: May 2004 (3rd Item)

Friday, October 20, 2006


GOP goes negative by outlining Democratic agenda

From today’s front page at the Washington Post:

GOP Aims to Scare Up Big Voter Turnout with a sub-headline that reads: With House Losses Likely, Tactics Focus on Warnings About Democrats.

Here’s what the reliably non-partisan Dan Balz & Jim VandeHei (and yes, that’s meant to be sarcastic) mean:

“Amid predictions that demoralized conservative voters might sit out the election, Bush and other senior Republicans will escalate charges that Democrats will raise taxes, weaken national security and liberalize social policies.”

Escalate charges? This isn’t just some silly name-calling spat – the Democrats are very open about their desire to raise taxes and liberalize social policies. While no one openly runs on a platform of weakening national security (however defined), I don’t think I’m being overly partisan by noting that an emphasis on traditional notions of national security is not a Democratic crowd pleaser. And the prospect of a Congress led by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid isn’t exactly telling our enemies: “No more Mr. Nice Guy!!”

As to “demoralized conservative voters” sitting out this election, I still think that’s a reflection of some wishful thinking. I certainly qualify as one these voters…and I can’t imagine the depth of political depression I’d have to be in before I eschewed my right to vote. There is always a full slate of local elections – city, state, school board, what have you – that also demand our attention and feed into the issues that concern all us voters. November 7th may yet prove me wrong and, if so, let me preemptively express my contempt for those pouting, tantrum-throwing voters who ignored their civic duty because of some self-congratulatory petulance about Congress.

Yeah our national Republican leadership is fairly pathetic – Bill Frist and Dennis Hastert aren’t anyone’s idea of the foundation for a school on Leadership – but next to the Democratic leadership, they are practically Churchillian. Not voting, then, is not some principled act of “sending a message” but rather a slothful act of laziness and selfishness – well deserving of all the disdain and contempt it engenders.

Monday, October 16, 2006



One of my all-time favorite people:

Michael J. Ostronic - obit

Michael J. Ostronic

MJO - washingtonpost.com

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