December 14, 2002


Iraq is upping the ante, setting ambushes for our pilots to fly into. D'ya think Sean Penn will scold Saddam about this?
Posted by B. Preston at 12:15 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

December 13, 2002


Who were among the first people to criticize Trent Lott, and call for his ouster as majority leader? Conservatives. Rush Limbaugh, the man Tom Daschle accused of fomenting violence by exercising his First Amendment rights, was out in front, calling Lott's remarks "stupid and indefensible." Not that I'm in the same league with Rush, but I started commenting on this, and calling for Lott to step down, right off the bat. National Review was there too, as was the Weekly Standard and lots and lots of conservative pundits. The liberals in the media, and their Democrat allies, were nowhere to be found in the early going. Well, for our efforts to do the right thing we get tarred by the likes of the despicable Paul Krugman. Just go read his tripe. The discredited economist is using Trent Lott to tar all Republicans and all Southerners, and it's a disgrace. If I may use the term, Krugman has proven himself every bit as "racist" as any segregationist--he's just biased against people from a certain region and of a certain political persuasion. If you're a conservative, you're a bigot no matter what you believe, what race you're from or who you are.

Not to be outdone, Joseph Crespino uses Lott to smear Ronald Reagan. What do these two wonderful writers have in common? Well, both found their way onto the op/ed pages of the New York Times today. It seems Howell Quixote has found a new dragon to slay, and this one's juicier target than the uber-wealthy golf club he'd been charging against.

As angry as Lott's comments, and his poor handling of their fallout, have made me this past week, the Times has managed to aim my heat in a whole new direction. We conservatives, who I should hasten to add hail from a party that ended slavery when the Dems were making war to preserve it, that never supported segregation, that never implemented it and voted it away in greater numbers than the opposition, were out in front on the Lott question, and for that we get collectively smeared. The only word I can come up with for Krugman and his ilk is rather impolite, and as this is usually a clean site and I have a certain reputation to uphold I won't write it. But I'm thinking it. And I'm not forgetting this episode, just like I'm not forgetting the past year of liberal adbication of this nation's defense.

I'm done with Lott for now. The man has a questionable history, but no more questionable than many people who grew up when he did and certainly no worse than the "first black President." I don't think Lott is an out-and-out racist though. He's just an occassionally dumb guy with a tendency to bring home the pork and sell out conservatism. So for the time being I'm done bashing him, but I'm not done blasting away at the left for its lies, its demagoguery and its complete disregard for America and the safety of her citizens.

(For the record though, Lott should still step down. Every day he hangs on he just hurts the nation and the GOP more, and gives our opponents cover to lie about us.)
Posted by B. Preston at 11:34 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack


Throughout the whole Trent Lott fiasco, I've been wondering where our "first black President" is. It's very unlike Billy Jeff Clinton to refrain from opining on anything, especially when you'd think he could knock Sen. Lott straight out of the park. But the scandal is already a week old, and no comment from the former cigar afficianado in chief. What gives? Newsmax offers a possible answer: Clinton's past and continued association with and admiration for William Fulbright, himself a passionate segregationist. And Clinton's alleged habit of liberally using racial slurs himself. Perhaps, but it's still very uncharacteristic of Clinton to remain silent for long. Shooting off his mouth is part of his genetic makeup, and the more audacious the utterance the more likely it is to come from him.

I think he'll wait until it has died down a bit. I give him a month or two, and then he'll come out and start to demagogue this whole thing to death. In the mean time, he'll get his cover lined up within his own ranks, to make sure a few allies are ready to hit the airwaves in his defense should anything blow back. He also doesn't want to play "me too," which is what he'd be doing if he came out and said something now. So he'll wait. But he'll say something on the subject, and it's sure to be outrageous. Mark my words.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Forrest Gore may not run in '04.
Posted by B. Preston at 04:07 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

HANOI JANE... Baghdad Sean.
Posted by B. Preston at 09:25 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


It seems the next 48 hours or so are Trent Lott's dark night of the soul. If he gets through them, he's probably golden. Once again, though, here's just how bad this whole thing is for Lott's own party: Suppose he faces a fight for the majority leader's post, and it gets a little bit ugly. Suppose he loses by a vote or two, and decides to pull a Livingston and just resign his actual seat. Mississippi's governor is a Dem, and since he'd get to pick Lott's successor, the hard-won Senate would probably go back to 50-50. Suddenly, Sen. Lincoln Chafee becomes a very important man again. He could threaten to switch to the Donks or do a Jeffords and go "Independent" while caucusing with the Dems, and they get control again. So Lott would have, for the second straight year, frittered away the US Senate by mishandling the situation. This is leadership?
Posted by B. Preston at 12:18 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

December 12, 2002


It was not quite a year ago now, in his State of the Union address, I believe, that President Bush outlined a group of states that he called the "axis of evil." Those states are Iraq, Iran and North Korea. His grouping of those three nations together earned him some praise from people who already liked him, and much scorn from people who didn't. Europe howled. Much of Asian reeled. Iraq, Iran and North Korea scoffed.

This past week has been interesting, though. First up, Iraq continues to be a thorn, and some reports indicate that it has had as many as 100 contacts with our arch nemesis, al Qaeda. Iraq may even have passed nerve gas off to the terrorist underworld. Any guesses what they'll probably try and use it for?

North Korea has been caught shipping SCUDs to Yemen, and has announced that it pretty much wants to pick up where it left off in the nuclear weapon acquisition game a few years ago, by proclaiming the intention to bring a couple of its suspect nuclear power plants back on line. And this, after declarations earlier this year that it has been violating the Agreed Framework, which mandated that it cease and desist all attempts to acquire nukes in exchange for some goodies from us, Japan and South Korea.

Now, Iran has some nuclear skeletons coming to light, too. It's been building a couple of big nuclear power plants, keeping them off the books apparently, and these plants are likely big enough to assist in weapons programs should the mad mullahs want such things. But why would they want such things? Where would they possibly find a use for them? Hard to say, isn't it.

President Bush took a ton of guff when he called Iraq, Iran and North Korea the "axis of evil." Do you suppose any of his detractors will pipe up with anything approaching an "Um, sorry, but you were right" now? Not likely.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:57 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack


Yup, I guess I've arrived or something, because the Blog Basher guy has taken a velvet hammer to me. Now, Blog Basher is to real blogs what Ed Wood was to filmmaking, but I have to wonder, can that guy even read? He wonders if I'm confused about my political persuasion. Huh? How many times does a guy have to claim to be a Christian righty before people take him seriously? He complains that I post too many one-liners ala InstaPundit--look around, man. Between the little one-line bits I post 1,200-word pieces too, some of which are actually readable. Whaddya want, perfection? Should I make every post exactly 800 words, whether the subject deserves two words (which is one more than Reynolds can usually muster) or two thousand (which is about three thousand less than Den Beste usually dumps on us)? This ain't the Washington freakin' Post. It's a blog. And leave the Cowboys out of this. They may be awful, but they've still managed to beat the Chesapeake Watershed Indigenous Persons 10 straight times.

Anyway, the guy forgot to rate me like he has everyone else. Glenn Frazier got a 7.5, Heretical Ideas got a 5.5, and InstaPundit got a 5, while I get squat. I guess I'm off the scale, um, in one direction or the other. He says my comments section is well run. That should count for a least a point or two by itself.

Oh, and for the record one more time, I'm a Christian righty. I'm a Republican. I'm a conservative. Any questions?

UPDATE: The Basher rates me a 7.5. And after my sarcastic tirade. Cool. Take that, InstaPundit. Or, is this like golf, where the low score wins?
Posted by B. Preston at 11:47 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack


North Korea has had an interesting week. First, there was that weird episode with the Yemeni SCUD ship, which was tracked for months and months, finally halted by a joint US-Spanish contingent on the high seas, then allowed to go on its way. Now, Pyongyang says it's turning one of its old nuclear power plants back on. The plant they're re-firing up was built with Soviet tech, and was suspected of helping in the North's quest to get nuclear weapons back in 1994. They claim that it's being brought back online to help its people cope with the coming winter, but as South Korea points out it'll take two months just to get it back up and running. Winter will be half over by then.

It's obviously tied to the seizure of the SCUD ship, and is the North's little way of getting back at us for it. They're trying real hard to outdo their "axis of evil" cohorts.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


This great and prosperous land must become a single nation of justice and opportunity. We must continue our advance toward full equality for every citizen, which demands ... a guarantee of civil rights for all.

Any suggestion that the segregated past was acceptable or positive is offensive and it is wrong. Recent comments by Senator Lott do not reflect the spirit of our country.

He has apologized, and rightly so. Every day our nation was segregated was a day that America was unfaithful to our founding ideals. And the founding ideals of our nation and, in fact, the founding ideals of the political party I represent was and remains today the equal dignity and equal rights of every American.

And this is the principle that guides my administration: We will not and we must not rest until every person, of every race, believes in the promise of America because they see it in their own eyes, with their own eyes, and they live it and feel it in their own lives. We have work to do. Let's be honest about it. We got a lot of work to do in this country, because there are pockets of despair in America. There are men and women who doubt the American dream is meant for them.

To me, that sounds like someone who deserves to lead the Party of Lincoln.
Posted by B. Preston at 04:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Vanity Fair's David Rose offers more about the 100 contacts between Saddam's henchmen and Osama's minons.

Since his defeat in the Gulf War in 1991, Saddam's supposed secularism has looked decidedly thin. Increasingly, he has relied on Islamist rhetoric in an attempt to rally the "Arab street". Meanwhile, Osama bin Laden's 1998 fatwa justified its call for Muslims to kill American and Jewish civilians on the basis of a lengthy critique of US hostility towards "secular Iraq."

It is also undisputed that Iraqi-sponsored assassins tried to kill George Bush senior on a visit to the Gulf in 1993. The same year, Abdul Rahman Yasin mixed and made the

truck bomb which wrought destruction and killed six in the first New York World Trade Center attack - then coolly boarded a plane for Baghdad, where he still resides.

There is strong evidence that Ramzi Yousef, leader of both the 1993 New York bombing and a failed attempt two years later to down 12 American airliners over the Pacific, was an Iraqi intelligence officer. All this was known in the Nineties. Nevertheless, the "no connection" argument was rapidly becoming orthodoxy.

The 9/11 attacks were, selfevidently, a failure of intelligence: no one saw them coming. Awareness of this failure, and its possible consequences for individuals' careers, are the only reasons I can find for the wall of spin which the spooks have fed to the media almost ever since.

This will, or at least should, become a huge story in coming weeks.
Posted by B. Preston at 12:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


I gotta get me one of these.
Posted by B. Preston at 12:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Relevant has my take on how Run DMC and Aerosmith saved the Billboards.
Posted by B. Preston at 09:57 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 11, 2002


Um, well, they're not similar at all, unless you're Ted Turner. Way to go, Ted, you've just one-upped Trent Lott.
Posted by B. Preston at 10:52 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


By now you probably already know that Trent Lott has apologized, again. This time around he was more direct and his comments more appropriate. Too little too late, but better than nothing. Given the fact he has said the same offensive remark before, it's hard to take him at face value when he explains it as a gaffe.

The blogosphere is all over this issue, as it should be. We were the first to deal with it, and can take some of the credit for building the pressure that forced him to apologize twice. Now, we should make sure he isn't the Senate Majority Leader come January.

One more thought about Lott's comments. Even if he was speaking in support of the states' rights plank of the Dixiecrat platform as opposed to its segregationist centerpiece, states' rights was largely a canard by which the Dixiecrats hoped to maintain segregation. Their predecessors had used the same line of thought to defend slavery. States' rights is a legitimate issue to raise in many aspects of our federal system, from tax policy to education to a whole range of other issues. But states' rights should never trump human rights, and any attempt to use states' rights in this way is immoral, and deligitimizes raising states' rights where appropriate. If the right of any innocent American to live his or her life in a basic state of freedom is abriged by the laws or actions of a state, the federal government has not only the right, but the duty, to stop that state and rescind its offending law. That's what the Civil War was about, and what the civil rights movement was all about. Human rights are always superior to states' rights. It was true in the days of slavery, it was true in the days of segregation, and remains true today in the days of legalized abortion on demand.

In writing the Constitution, the framers held certain truths to be self-evident, that all humans are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights, and among those are the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of hapiness. Those are basic human rights, and no state has the power to take them away arbitrarily.
Posted by B. Preston at 10:35 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack


Someone has taken on the Sysiphian task of documenting the spins, lies and general idiocy of Michael Moore.
Posted by B. Preston at 04:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 10, 2002


David Rose's Vanity Fair article, in which he outlines some of the evidence of Iraqi collusion with al Qaeda, has hit the stands (though it isn't online anywhere I've seen). I've read through it, and I have to say it's a fascinating piece. The al Qaeda evidence is something of a sidebar--the story actually centers on Ahmad Chalabi, founder of the Iraqi National Congress, an anti-Saddam and pro-democracy group dedicated to regime change in Baghdad. A theme that runs throughout the piece is the competence, or lack of, within the CIA's counterterrorism efforts. Rose cites several examples showing that the CIA simply isn't up to the job, and its weakness was a major contributing factor to 9-11. It seems to me that the CIA is in similar shape to the INS--inept and even unwilling to do its job.

As for the al Qaeda angle, it seems solid. Here's the money graph:

"In the Cold War," says another official, "often you'd draw firm conclusions on the basis of just four or five reports. Here there are almost 100 separate CIA reports of Iraqi-al-Qaeda cooperation going back to 1992." The CIA grades intelligence reports' credibility. All of the reports examined by the special Pentagon unit, says the official, came from the highest category--defined as a report from a source whose information had proved reliable in the past. The reanalyzed CIA material included the claim that Farouk Hijazi, one of the Mukhabarat's (Iraqi secret police) most senior agents, traveled to Afghanistan in 1998 to meet with Osama bin Laden, and details of journeys by two of the 9-11 pilots, Marwan al-Shehhi and Ziad Jarrah, to the United Arab Emirates, where they are said to have met with Iraqi intelligence officers. Both of these claims were first brought to light by the I.N.C. (Iraqi National Congress).

"In 32 years in Washington," says Richard Perle, "I have never seen anything like it." Driven by its entrenched beliefs, the CIA has seemingly closed its eyes to the inescapable conclusions of its own information. "It's either criminal negligence or criminal incompetence," Perle says. "We do not have a fully functioning intelligence system on this issue." [any typos are mine--no cut and paste from a paper magazine]

One thing that occurred to me on reading about the CIA's treatment of Chalabi--they kept rejecting him out of hand, though he kept turning out to be right--is that it may have been a direct result of a change in policy that occurred during the Clinton years. The Clinton Administration made it anathema to deal with anyone with an unsavory past, apparently under the impression that Boy Scouts and choirboys will be in a position to discover and deliver quality intelligence data to US agencies. The naivete of the policy is breathtaking, and may explain why the CIA kept Chalabi at arms' length. Chalabi's family was once the richest in Iraq, and during his years in exile following the 1958 military coup he established the Petra Bank, which was in many ways the first modern bank in the Middle East. Petra eventually ran afoul of Jordanian authorities, and was shut down in 1989 amid allegations of fraud and embezzlement. Chalabi was later convicted en absentia for the crimes, but as former bank officers point out, he owned 75% of the bank's assets--had he committed the crimes he would have been stealing from himself. Chalabi says Jordanian officials were corrupted by Iraqi operators (which is possible, given Iraq's perfidy in all areas and Jordan's oddly cozy relationship with Saddam at the time), and they trumped up the charges against him and got his bank shut down to discredit him. It worked, at least with the Clinton Administration--its policy of not dealing with anyone with anything unsavory on their record likely led to its treatment of Chalabi, which caused it to miss several opportunities to effect change in Iraq. The CIA may still be operating out of that old attitude with respect to Mr. Chalabi.

Rose's piece is an interesting, and disturbing, read. Pick up a copy if you get the chance. The same edition also has an article about Israeli efforts to hunt down terrorists. I haven't read that one, but probably will soon.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:24 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


It's good to see Mad hasn't lost its touch...
Posted by B. Preston at 05:59 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


North Korea is apparently trying to send missiles to the Horn of Africa.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Hey, it's his description, not mine. Though I do agree with it, and applaud him for saying it.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Stunning moral depravity rewarded with a Rhodes scholarship.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Yeah, Trent Lott has apologized, but it was a pretty weak effort if you ask me. My attitude remains similar to Kevin's: Lott's mindbendingly stupid quip has given all our enemies just the chance they desperately needed to hit us. Lott could easily have said something good about Thurmond that didn't evoke the worst parts of his Dixiecrat past while at the same time reminding us of Lott's own questionable history. It's not that hard--he could've lauded Thurmond for devoting more than half a century to serving his country or for some good piece of legislation he sponsored (he must've been behind something good during 50 years in office). But no, we get stupidity.

As a result, Paul Krugman is all over us, Andrew Sullivan and lots of others are saying that this episode shows why they just can't bring themselves to become Republicans, in itself a pretty dumb attitude, and so forth and so on. The GOP is the majority party now by every measure, but its majority is tenuous. Many voted our way because the opposition showed itself to be unreliable on the big issues of the day, but many of those that broke for us held their noses in the voting booth. They doubt us when we say we're not racists, that we don't favor lynchings and that we really do believe our take on the issues is better for everyone, not just rich white guys. Lott has undoubtedly made some of them regret their decision, and may have helped them make up their minds two years from now.

Apart from the utter immorality of the plain meaning of his words and the weasely apology, that's why I'm mad at him and that's why he needs to step down. Majority leaders lead, and to do that they need some political capital and some moral capital, and they need to keep in mind the fact that just about everything they say will somehow find its way into the press. Lott has squandered a big pile of both types of necessary capital, and has set the GOP back a few years in its quest to convince skeptical voters that it is not only tolerant of racial minorities, but welcomes them. How can we welcome them if he's one of our most visible spokesmen?
Posted by B. Preston at 05:24 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


Treasury Secretary nominee John Snow has only been the President's choice to replace Paul O'Neill for, what, a day now. But he's already resigned his membership at August National, caving in to Martha Burke's crusade to get a membership in a club that not only doesn't allow women but is famous for holding out invitations to men who are too public about wanting to become members. Sheesh. This is a bad sign. Snow should've had some backbone and stuck with the club he's probably been a member of for years. It's as though he just woke up today, nominated to a high post in government, and suddenly decided "Well, I just won't have time to play Augusta anymore." Gimme a break.
Posted by B. Preston at 12:35 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


A bunch of air-headed celebrities have drafted a letter to President Bush asking him to stop saying mean things to the Butcher of Baghdad. It's apparently lost on them that Bush's war rhetoric has focused the world on Saddam and his WMD machine, with the aim of dismantling it. What to they want, to give Iraq free rein to make any weapon it chooses, to deliver to the terrorist group of its choice?

This group is led by actor Mike Farrell, who if memory serves played Dr. B.J. Honeycutt on MASH. He also led a similar effort this past summer to stop the Senate from voting to approve burying nuclear waste in Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The Senate passed that measure, 60-39. Let's hope his current pet project is just as effective.
Posted by B. Preston at 12:20 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir seems to think so. He claims al Qaeda offered him the chance to interview the mass murdering megalomaniac in Iran in July, though al Qaeda didn't want him to reveal where the interview took place.

I honestly don't think I guy this tale. First, al Qaeda never actually offered up Osama by name--just an "important person." Most people would take that to mean Osama, but it could just as easily mean his #2 or #3. Second, it's not that hard to conceal where an interview takes place. Mir could have done it, so I think his reasoning for the interview offer falling apart--that al Qaeda wanted its location kept secret, while he didn't think he could keep it secret--holds water.

It sounds to me like another attempt to make it seem like Osama is still breathing, which convinces me all the more that he isn't.
Posted by B. Preston at 12:11 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


So says the new head of the Centers for Disease Control, Dr. Julie Gerberding.

Last year, as acting director of the CDC's National Center for Infectious Diseases, Gerberding played a key role in orchestrating her agency's response to the Sept. 18-Dec. 8 postal-system-launched anthrax attacks in New Jersey, New York City, Florida, Maryland, Connecticut and the District of Columbia that infected 22 people and killed five.

That the FBI hasn't yet caught the perpetrator of the anthrax attacks isn't surprising, she noted.

"I think it is a huge challenge -- in part, because it's (like) looking for a needle in a haystack," the infectious disease clinician explained.

Whoever launched the anthrax attacks possesses "incredible, sophisticated knowledge about what they are dealing with," she continued. "They had to protect not only themselves, but the people in their environs from exposure to the powders, which basically function as a gas."

Gerberding added that the method in which the anthrax attacks were carried out indicates intricate planning and a level of sophistication that suggests the culprit's "not somebody who went in their garage and cooked this up over the weekend."

I guess I'd have more confidence in this if the CDC didn't increasingly spend its time on social "diseases"--alcoholism, wife-beating, and gun crimes--which take time away from doing things like keeping the country prepared for real health disasters like, oh I don't know, anthrax attacks. Cholera outbreaks. Flu epidemics. Things like that.

I'd also probably give this report more weight if it didn't seem so likely that the anthrax killers died aboard a few airplanes on 9-11-01. Call me a whack job, but when the first anthrax attack shows up within a few miles of where a few of the 9-11 hijackers lived, and when some of the hijackers reportedly displayed anthrax symptoms, it tends to make me think they might have had something to do with it. I know, it's a real leap to think that al Qaeda might have been evil enough to combine a multiple hijack/crash attack with a biological attack, thinking the latter would be far more effective than it turned out to be, but I'm willing to take that leap for now. I just can't figure out why our government isn't.
Posted by B. Preston at 12:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 09, 2002


Vice President Dick Cheney's energy task force is in the clear--the GAO's lawsuit against it has been kicked aside.

U.S. District Judge John Bates said the lawsuit filed by Comptroller General David Walker against the vice president was an unprecedented act that raised serious separation-of-powers issues between the executive and legislative branches of government.

"No court has ever before granted what the comptroller general seeks," wrote Bates, an appointee of President Bush (news - web sites).

The judge said that the comptroller general, who runs the General Accounting Office (news - web sites), "does not have the personal, concrete and particularized injury required" under the Constitution and that "his complaint must be dismissed."

Courts historically have not stepped in to resolve disputes between the political branches, wrote Bates.

"This case, in which neither a House of Congress nor any congressional committee has issued a subpoena for the disputed information or authorized this suit, is not the setting for such unprecedented judicial action," wrote the judge.
Posted by B. Preston at 06:09 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack


The US is setting up free health clinics in Afghanistan, to minister to the needs of people who've lived in squalor and under the thumb of the repressive Taliban for years. We're also showing the locals a narrated video of the 9-11 attacks, to explain why we're there. It's easy to forget that while we are wired into the world and can bring up facts and figures and news reports about the entire world at the push of a button, much of the planet lacks that access. So here's to hoping that the video, and the medical care, make a difference.

I have to wonder, though, what took so long to get this operation going?
Posted by B. Preston at 12:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


I generally support President Bush, but I have to say the "Islam means peace" schtick is getting a little bit tiring. We have a stamp that celebrates the end of Ramadan now. He's given something like 17 speeches declaring how peaceful Islam is. Apparently, I'm not the only one who's heard about enough:

American Muslim groups have urged Bush to speak out more forcefully against conservatives who have maligned Islam as an enemy of the United States. Even these groups, however, have been surprised by the number of opportunities Bush has taken to deliver his "Islam is peace" message, as Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations described it recently. "Even I get a little tired of that," Hooper said.

As for these "American Muslim groups" urging the President to say even more--clean up your own houses before meddling in ours, got it. Step up to the plate, help us figure out who the potential terrorists are, and quit carping about every little thing we do to try and protect ourselves. Then, and only then, you might have built up enough credibility where we'll listen to you. But every day you're silent about the killers that may be in your own ranks is another lost day that may lead to more lost lives.
Posted by B. Preston at 01:26 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 08, 2002


: InstaPundit is flooding the zone on this one--Sen Majority Leader Trent Lott's appauling comments regarding Strom Thurmond, 1948 and racism, which means by now most of the blogosphere has already weighed in. Unsurprisingly, no one's risen to defend Lott. Neither will I--what he said is beyond excuse or spin, and is awful.

But it is curious that the left side of the political aisle is thus far silent. You'd think they'd be out in force already, demanding Lott not only step down from his leadership post but from his seat in the Senate as well. Maybe they're too busy getting worked up over Augusta National's no-chick policy. And it's also noteworthy that most of those voicing outrage are from the center and right. According to the lefties and most of the media, we're the racists, so why won't we tolerate a racial comment from our leadership?

Well, I can't speak for everyone else but I do have my own reasons for being irritated at Lott's comments. First, I simply detest racism, an attitude that comes straight from my faith--in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek (meaning there are no racial distinctions). Among the first non-Jewish converts to Christianity were a Roman centurion and an Ethiopian eunuch. Jesus was infamous for publicly speaking with Samaritans, a race that most of the Jews of His day loathed, and took a lot of guff for letting prostitutes and other "undesirables" into His presence.

Second, racism hits close to home for me. I've mentioned before that my wife and I are of different races--I'm a white guy, she's a Japanese babe. We've encountered racism a time or two, both in Japan and here. One of the first times was when we were engaged and visiting Texas so she could meet my family. We were walking down the street in San Antonio with an American friend of mine and a Japanese friend of hers when a car load of black teenagers drove by. As they neered us, one of them stuck her head out the window and yelled "Go back to China!" Which was odd, since none of us had ever even been to China. The epithet was obviously based on ignorance, as is all racism. Our son is of course of mixed heritage--an Amerasian, some may call him. I'm sure he'll run into a few racists in his life.

Trent Lott has long been a thorn for conservatives generally since he became the GOP's leader in the Senate. He caves when he's in a position of strength, and has the tendency to circumvent good legislation and assist bad. Now, he's gone off and either made himself look like a racist or exposed his actual underlying racism. I don't know which--I can't see into his soul and Lord knows I've said and done things that I wouldn't want in the headlines, and which could be misconstrued. But there is no way to misconstrue the plain meaning of what he said--that in essence Strom Thurmond was right all those years ago to fight tooth and nail for segregation.

So Lott should, at a minimum, relinquish his Senate leadership post. He should apoligize, or clarify if he's been misunderstood. No spin--just clarify. And if he really believs that segregation based on race was a good thing, he shouldn't be a Senator. It's as simple as that.

UPDATE: The JYB's Memory Division, Chris R., writes in to point out that maybe the Dems' silence is due to the fact that they live in a big, giant glass house when it comes to racial slurs. We all know about Sen. Robert Byrd's notorious past membership in the KKK, and his use of racial slurs on national TV just a few years ago, but I'd forgotten about Hillary Clinton's anti-Semitic remarks during her successful run for the Senate. Her occassionally faithful husband also seems to have a fondness for anti-Semitism. This could explain some of the silence, but only if you accept the notion that the Dems have some sense of fairness and shame. Which I don't, so I still think there must be some other explanation.

UPDATE AGAIN: Andrew Sullivan is, as usual, reacting hysterically to the Lott situation. Why on earth should the entire Republican Party have to face an either/or choice because one member said something stupid? That's what he says--the the GOP either has to get rid of Lott (a suggestion I favor) as Majority Leader, or come out as a party in favor of returning to segregation. This makes no sense, and I haven't seen Sulli say anything similar about Dem leaders who say dumb, offensive things. During the 2000 campaign Paul Begala kept referring to different Republicans as so-and-so's "butt boy," a clear and unmistakable gay slur. Did Sulli say that because Begala has held leadership posts in the Democrat Party that the Dems should all either immediately disavow him or come out in favor of slurring gays? The same kind of thing went on during the 2002 mid-terms--where was Sulli's demand of the Dems then?

Let's not get carried away here, folks. Lott is a bad Majority Leader, and always has been. He said something stupid, offensive and wrong. He's even wrong on the plain history, as David Frum points out--the GOP's candidate was on the right side of the debate and history (Frum is also right about the damage Lott has done here, and lights up a few anti-war types too boot). Lott should make amends, by either clarifying his remarks if he thinks he's being misunderstood, or step aside and let the GOP get a real leader in there who has better control of his own tongue. But GOP needn't face an either/or here. We're not a groupthink party.

YET ANOTHER...Henry Hanks sends along some Hillary quotes making fun of Willie Brown's speaking style. So we now have Hillary Clinton tossing slurs in multiple directions, across a span of a few years. Not one remark, but several. Does it mean she's a closet racist? Well, you can probably drop the word "closet."

Of course, this doesn't mean that Lott shouldn't step aside. It just means he's not alone. So if he has to go from the Senate entirely, so should Byrd and Clinton. It's only fair.

LINKS AND MORE LINKS TO CLINTONIAN RACIST SLURS: I'd never realized just how prolific the Clinton couple has been when it comes to slinging out the racist hash. Though he's of Irish descent, Clinton slurred the Irish during sensitive periods of the cease-fire talk a few years ago. Twice. And Hillary refers to Jews as "you people", and dishes up the canard that all Jews are frugal with money. And while we're talking about Dems and race, Al Gore, Sr. was on the wrong side of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, voting against it. Rev. Jesse Jackson once referred to New York as "Hymie Town," etc etc. In fact, here's a whole page devoted to chronicling the Democrats' race record. Which party has had a long relationship with the KKK since that organization's founding, and to which party did the Klan's founders belong? Which party's president interred Japanese-Americans during World War II? Find the answers to these questions and lots more by following that link. It's ugly.

So you can see that Sen. Lott is hardly alone in staying and doing stupid, indefensible things that are tinged with racism. No excuses--what he said is awful, and he should step down as leader. The Republicans have a deep bench, and can do better. But there is a huge double standard when it comes to events like this--the Dems can use any word they want and set up for office people with literally anything in their past, from former Klansmen to murder-inciting race baiters, and they'll get a pass. A GOP Senator says one dumb thing and suddenly people who don't much like the GOP anyway (whatever they say in public to the contrary) use it to smear the whole party. In fact, we'll get compared to the Taliban--while we're at work ousting the real Taliban, and without much support from an awful lot of the Dems. It ain't right.

(thanks to Chris R. and Henry Hanks for invaluable link support)
Posted by B. Preston at 10:55 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack


Yeah, I'm tweaking the template to make things run a little more smoothly around here. Apparently Haloscan's Java code and the little tiny bit of Java I'd misused on my own to make that little yellow link highlight didn't like each other. I don't know, I'm not a code monkey. So I ripped the whole thing apart and am putting it back together. I think I'm almost done, except for getting the "Comment" links to appear smaller--it's kind of silly that they're the biggest print on the page. The comment window itself looks quite a bit different now, too.

You may notice right off that my blogroll is gone. Well, it was getting out of hand, so I moved it off to a second page which is conveniently linked over to the left as "The BlogRoll." It was also causing some headaches with the new template, so if I can get that straightened out it may come back to this page. I also removed my email address link, but the address itself is still there, up on the left. I've gotten real tired of getting spammed, and some nasty person keeps trying to send me viral stuff via that link. Hotmail catches them, fortunately, but maybe removing the link will also slow 'em down.

My archives still don't work. They're online, but Blogger Pro or Blogspot or some darn thing around here won't get them to show up correctly on this page. That's been true for a while, and I have no idea why.

Anyhow, the new look is alot like the old look, but simpler in some ways and should work a little better. If not, let me know. Might as well fix everything now.
Posted by B. Preston at 12:46 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack