February 21, 2004


It seems all the national polling organizations have fallen asleep at their telephones. Searching on Gallup, Zogby, Opinion Dynamics and Google News for the predictible backlash in the numbers supporting gay marriage/anarchy comes up empty. Forget overnights, we can't even get polls on last week's story. I guess it makes some sense though, since it took a month to find out the nation supports Bush on the National Guard non-issue.

Interestingly, there is a San Francisco organization that conducted a poll the entire week leading up to the weddings and overlapping a couple of days through the 16th. But that seems to be a coincidence and it certainly isn't the scientifically valid information everyone is interested in. The media is touting this poll anyhow since it covers the subject of gay marriage in California and was "released on Friday!" Few articles explain that this new poll isn't as fresh as it may appear to be.

My guess is that Sen. Boxer and Gov. Schwarzenegger have conducted serious internal polling and their public position on the issue reveals the results. Stay tuned, and post/send links to any new scientific polls you find. I'm guessing liberal judges should also take a nosedive in the polling if anyone asks that question. That may help Bush and the Senate push through the conservative judges America really wants. Just when conservatives were maybe feeling resigned and ambivilent on the issue of gay marriage they now see an opportunity for a final stand against the issue as an assault on our legal system and culture. This may be the very thing needed to push a constitutional amendment over the top.

Posted by Chris Regan at 10:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


John Kerry's Vietnam Veterans Against the War marched under the Communist and North Korean flags when they protested the war.

They weren't just anti-war. They had joined the other side.

But all of this is becoming a problem for Kerry, so much so that he is now lying about his past:

In a stark about-face, Democratic presidential front-runner John Kerry is now denying that he ever accused U.S. soldiers of committing war crimes in Vietnam, despite amply documented comments - some televised, others delivered while under oath - in which he did exactly that.

Asked on Thursday whether he had accused his fellow soldiers of committing war crimes in Vietnam during his April 1971 testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Kerry told CNN's Judy Woodruff:

"No, I was accusing American leaders of abandoning the troops. And if you read what I said, it is very clearly an indictment of leadership. I said to the Senate, where is the leadership of our country? And it's the leaders who are responsible, not the soldiers. I never said that."

At some point, John Kerry is going to have to tell John Kerry to stop lying about his record:

Kerry told the Senate that Winter Soldier witnesses "testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia, not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command."

Speaking under oath, Kerry continued:

"They told stories at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires with portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan."

A few days before his Senate testimony, Kerry gave the following account on NBC's "Meet the Press":

"There are all kinds of atrocities, and I would have to say that, yes, yes, I committed the same kind of atrocities as thousands of other soldiers have committed in that I took part in shootings in free fire zones. I conducted harassment and interdiction fire. I used 50 calibre machine guns, which we were granted and ordered to use, which were our only weapon against people. I took part in search and destroy missions, in the burning of villages."

John Kerry was lying to the Senate in his 1971 testimony--most of the "veterans" he was quoting were fakes, and there was no command structure or philosophy that condoned war crimes. In 2004, he is lying about that testimony.

What else will John Kerry lie to you about?

Posted by B. Preston at 08:43 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


In the Democrat race to prove "electability," John Edwards has proven that he can lose elections. To date there have been nearly two-dozen primaries, and to date Edwards has won exactly one. Wes Clark won one. John Kerry has won all the rest.

But now Edwards has that two-man race he's always wanted. Clark is out. Dean is done. Kucinich and Sharpton are still hanging around, but who cares? At this stage it's fair to say that neither of those guys could win even if they were running unopposed. They're side-shows to the main bout, John vs John, which will decide who gets to take on George.

In several national polls, Edwards and Kerry fare equally well against President Bush, which puts a dent in the one big card that has carried Kerry to the top of the heap, which is his perceived electability against Bush. But how does Edwards turn his national electability, which equals Kerry's, into the kind of electability that helps him win actual primaries and gather up more delegates than Kerry for the Democrat convention this summer? Until the convention, that is Edwards' task--beating Kerry, not Bush.

Nine out of 10 pundits agree--Edwards the sunny southerner must go negative. He must distinguish himself from Kerry by pointing out that he is more electable than Kerry, which means attacking Kerry on something. Edwards must also prove to skeptics who see him as too inexperienced and too, well, nice, that he can deliver and take a punch. We are at war, after all, and wars entail making hard decisions and being able to take setbacks, make tough calls and accept losses in pursuit of gains. Thus far Edwards has run a sunny-side-up campaign, and has yet to show any ability at all to either take or give a good, solid punch.

Well, Edwards has gone negative. But he slugged the wrong target:

Looks like John Edwards has more than a little Howard Dean in him, judging by the way the Democratic presidential hopeful shot from the lip at Columbia University Thursday. In a none-too-subtle blast - actually, there was nothing at all subtle about it - Edwards accused President Bush of scheduling this summer's Republican convention in New York for no other reason than to "take political advantage" of the 9/11 attacks.

"George Bush and his team, they think they're going to exploit this tragedy right here at this convention for a few days," said Edwards.

This, Edwards knows, is hogwash. New York offered both parties the chance to hold their conventions there; the Dems wanted exclusivity while the Republicans simply said yes. If either party was politicizing New York, it was the Dems. But what else is new? They literally politicize the air we breathe and the water we drink.

But for Edwards, this particular line of attack is a miscalculation for a couple of reasons. First, he isn't running against Bush yet, and as things stand now he never will be. Kerry has five times the delegates Edwards has. Kerry doesn't seem interested in putting Edwards on the ticket as his veep. With Super Tuesday coming up fast, Edwards is against the wall--only a sweep or near sweep will keep him viable. Nearly everyone voting in the Dem primaries already thinks Bush should be replaced, so for Edwards to trump up yet another fact-free conspiracy theory is a little like adding another gallon of water to Niagra Falls--it isn't going to make much difference. Edwards simply hit the wrong guy with this attack. It's like George Foreman fighting Muhammad Ali, but ends up trying to slug Joe Frazier because he'll be Foreman's next opponent if he beats Ali and Frazier happens to be watching the Ali fight from the front row. You have to beat the guy in front of you before taking on the next guy, and Edwards apparently doesn't grasp that rather basic fact.

Point two against Miss Breck's negative attack is that it's just a stupid attack. It's absolutely not factual that the GOP is holding its convention in New York to exploit that city's 9-11 connection. To suggest that it is is just another "Bush KNEW" kind of lie meant to smear people for no good reason and divide people over a non-issue. The truth is the Democrats got the same offer, but weren't smart enough to act on it. Edwards' attack has brought all that stuff back up again. Dumb. Very dumb.

And if anyone cares, it's also a bald-faced lie.

So Edwards didn't use the few days he has left to go after the guy in front of him. He is still giving Kerry a pass, and that pass is likely to put the nomination in Kerry's hands and send Edwards back to chasing ambulances. Only now, Miss Breck has managed to join the moonbat brigades. He'll have a hard time returning to office anywhere in the South if he continues generating conspiracy theories like this one.

Posted by B. Preston at 08:30 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 20, 2004


Internet chatter swirls around an American war hero--did he or didn't he meet with a mysterious tall, blond visitor.

Edwards is involved.

So are a well-known figure's dental records.

And after a flat "No," family members refuse further comment. Are they hiding something that the American people have a right to know?

It's gratifying that the Washington Post is finally chasing a story that merits our attention.

I mean, with so many important stories out there to choose from, it's good to see the mainstream press is finally reporting on this shocking scandal!

UPDATE: MSNBC quickly yanked the story, but we still have a copy from Google's cache. The Washington Post hasn't yet pulled their original story on the rumor. Clearly MSNBC has higher editorial standards and this one just temporarily slipped past them.

Posted by B. Preston at 10:12 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


Intelwire has posted a very, very interesting account of the circumstantial case for believing that Terry Nichols, convicted for taking part in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, was an al Qaeda recruit. It's too good to just pull a quote or two--you should really do yourself a favor and read the entire piece. But here's little bit to whet your appetite:

In November 1994, Terry Nichols and Ramzi Yousef both walked on the grounds of the same college campus in the Philippines. Whether their paths crossed is a question that still dogs researchers. But it's increasingly clear that what separates their respective itineraries is sometimes a matter of yards, feet or even inches, within a span of days, hours and sometimes mere minutes.

They even booked travel on the same airline, on the same route and apparently on the same day — the exact date Yousef planned to unleash a massive September 11-style attack on the United States.

It's unclear what it will take to officially draw a line directly connecting the two most notorious terrorist attacks of the 1990s — the 1993 World Trade Center bombing masterminded by Yousef, and the Oklahoma City bombing, which Nichols was convicted of assisting (the exact extent of his involvement is still the subject of an ongoing criminal prosecution).

While a substantial amount of myth and misinformation surrounds Nichols and his possible connections to al Qaeda terrorists, the provable facts in the case are shocking enough in context, and perhaps even convincing merely on the sheer volume of the circumstances involved.

Although such connections have not yet been proven by a "smoking gun" piece of incontrovertible physical evidence, there is ample evidence to support continued attention and investigation by enterprising journalists. Unlike many so-called "conspiracy theories," the question of whether al Qaeda had some degree of involvement with the Oklahoma City bombing seems well within the reach of a credible investigation.

It's a gripping read.

As for my own take, I'm at about 80% on the side that the OKC bombing was an al Qaeda operation. There are just too many coincidences piling up to dismiss as chance.

Posted by B. Preston at 09:21 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

February 19, 2004


At some point, John Kerry is going to have to explain his 1971 actions, either to defend them or to denounce them. For some of his fellow vets, though, no amount of apology may be enough:

Paul Galanti learned of Kerry's speech while held captive inside North Vietnam's infamous "Hanoi Hilton" prison. The Navy pilot had been shot down in June 1966 and spent nearly seven years as a prisoner of war.

During torture sessions, he said, his captors cited the antiwar speeches as "an example of why we should cross over to [their] side."

"The Viet Cong didn't think they had to win the war on the battlefield," Galanti said, "because thanks to these protesters they were going to win it on the streets of San Francisco and Washington."

That sounds familiar.

He says Kerry broke a covenant among servicemen never to make public criticisms that might jeopardize those still in battle or in the hands of the enemy.

Because he did, Galanti said, "John Kerry was a traitor to the men he served with."

Now retired and living in Richmond, Va., Galanti, 64, refuses to cool his ire toward Kerry.

"I don't plan to set it aside. I don't know anyone who does," he said. "The Vietnam memorial has thousands of additional names due to John Kerry and others like him."

I don't know if Galanti represents a minority or majority of Vietnam vets, but he certainly represents reality: Kerry's anti-war activities played right into the hands of the Communist North, which after 1969 planned its battlefield activities around agitating unrest in the US and thereby winning the war. His actions in 1971 contributed to the defeat of the US and South Vietnam, and to misery for millions for decades afterward, and his speech was used against Americans held captive in Vietnam.

He has to answer for all of this. I suspect he will begin to, right after the Democrats' convention.

Posted by B. Preston at 04:44 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack


More eggheads sniping at President Bush about something--what else is new?

This time an outfit called the Union of Concerned Scientists is casting furrowed brows at the Bushies for "politicizing science."

Of course, this Union is the same Union that favored nuclear freeze, putting them in the same class as the great unwashed who took cash from the Soviets to agitate for Commie causes right on American soil. And though they boast a Nobel laureate or two among their number, Jimmy Carter has a Nobel for "peace" when his policies did much to give us the terrorist mullacracy that infests Tehran and plagues Israel from afar. 'Nuff said about the Nobel. Sometimes even the great Nobel rewards utter incompetence.

But there's a more intriguing angle that a sharp-eyed JYB informant pointed out: It may be the Union of Concerned Scientists doing the politicizing, not the Bush administration.

How so?


A commission member, Anthony L. Janetos of the John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and the Environment, noted that the climate program involves high level members of the administration. (my emphasis)

...John Heinz III Center for Science....Why, that wouldn't be the same John Heinz that helped generate the wealth of one Teresa Heinz, now married to one John Kerry, would it?

Why, yes, it would. And a scientist funded by that very center is on the board of the Union of Concerned Scientists, criticizing President Bush, who just happens to occupy the job that our Mr. Heinz, I mean Kerry, hopes to take from him.

So who is really politicizing what, exactly?

(Thanks to JG)

UPDATE: Make sure to catch this, too:

In 1969, forty-eight professors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology formed the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) to protest America's involvement in the Vietnam War. The group conducted a highly publicized strike in March 1969, that included such speakers as leftist MIT professor Noam Chomsky, and Eric Mann of the Weatherman faction of the Students for a Democratic Society. (SDS was the terrorist organization responsible for bombing the U.S. Capitol Building in 1971.) The Union used the strike as a forum to declare that "misuse of scientific and technical knowledge presents a major threat to the existence of mankind." This philosophy was starkly articulated by key organizer, Jonathan Kabat: "No, we want capitalism to come to an end."

These "scientists" are a deep shade of red, and I don't mean Bush-state red. I mean Hanoi John and Jane red.

Posted by B. Preston at 03:17 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


I'm happy to see blogger Michael Totten has landed himself a column at TCS. But I hope his first effort is not his best.

Don't get me wrong. The premise--kill Saddam ASAP--resonates with me. But after he says that, Totten goes on about hating the death penalty, and then drops this bit:

[A] dead criminal is no less dangerous than a caged one.

It's not often that I come across a line in a column that's so dumb that I can't read further. But this was such a line.

Caged criminals are still criminals. They can still be very dangerous, and not just to the other criminals around them.

Caged criminals are obviously more dangerous than dead criminals. Ever hear of dead criminals taking over a prison, holding guards hostage and demanding ransom of some sort? Of course not. But you have heard of caged criminals doing that, most recently in Arizona. Prison riots are not at all uncommon. Graveyard riots, according to the laws of physics, cannot happen. So caged criminals are more dangerous than dead criminals.

How about the effect caged criminals can have outside their prisons? Dead criminals can't break out, can't get parole and don't get off for "good behavior," only to slide right back into their criminal ways. Dead criminals don't spend all day dreaming up new legal maneuvers to get themselves sprung so that they can resume that criminal lifestyle. Dead criminals don't file complaints with the ACLU to get themselves better TV or bigger weightrooms or any of that. Dead criminals are dead--their days of agitation and aggression are over. I bet you've never heard of an executed criminal picked up for armed robbery, but I bet you have heard of a criminal who should have been locked up picked up for murder or worse. Joseph Smith is a case in point.

We've all heard about drug kingpins who end up in jail, only to continue running their criminal enterprises from behind bars. The Almighty Latin Kings gang actually formed in prison as an offshoot of the Latin Kings, one of the most violent gangs during the 80s and 90s. Again, dead criminals don't form gangs. They're dead.

I could go on, but hopefully by now you get the point. It's simply not true that dead criminals are no less dangerous than criminals in jail. I'm sure when Totten wrote that line he meant it as a throwaway, not meant to do much for the the overall article one way or the other. But as is often the case, just because a statement sounds good doesn't mean it's true, and it's certainly not true that dead criminals and caged criminals are equally dangerous.

Posted by B. Preston at 02:46 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Say one thing about Ann Coulter--she always manages to bring out the worst in Democrats and their press spinners.

Last week, Coulter blasted Dems for chasing the Bush was AWOL meme far past the limits of common sense and far past any point the facts justify. Noting that triple amputee Vietnam vet Max Cleland has become the Dems' point-man for some of the most thunderous Dem chest-pounding on this issue, Coulter straightened out a few points about Cleland's war record:

Moreover, if we're going to start delving into exactly who did what back then, maybe Max Cleland should stop allowing Democrats to portray him as a war hero who lost his limbs taking enemy fire on the battlefields of Vietnam.

Cleland lost three limbs in an accident during a routine noncombat mission where he was about to drink beer with friends. He saw a grenade on the ground and picked it up.

Predictably, several Dems started calling Coulter names, calling for her head, calling her a liar, and so forth. CNN's Al Hunt led the charge on Capital Gang:

HUNT: Mark, a right-wing hit lady named Ann Coulter charged that Max Cleland, who won a Silver Star in Vietnam and is a prominent Kerry supporter, lost his three limbs while getting ready to drink beer with pals. She said it just as easily could have occurred in the Texas Air National Guard. That's irrelevant, that's vicious, and that's a lie. Captain Cleland lost his legs and an arm on a reconnaissance mission in Vietnam. They don't usually carry live grenades and M-16s in the Texas Air National Guard. This despicable venom was carried on the Heritage Foundation Web site.

So who's lying? Did Clelend lose three limbs for a beer or in a battle? Well, Coulter has fired back with a pile of facts:

Sadly for them, dozens and dozens of newspapers have already printed the truth. Liberals simply can't grasp the problem Lexis-Nexis poses to their incessant lying. They ought to stick to their specialty – hysterical overreaction. The truth is not their forte.

One of the most detailed accounts of Cleland's life was written by Jill Zuckman in a lengthy piece for the Boston Globe Sunday magazine on Aug. 3, 1997:

Finally, the battle at Khe Sanh was over. Cleland, 25 years old, and two members of his team were now ordered to set up a radio relay station at the division assembly area, 15 miles away. The three gathered antennas, radios and a generator and made the 15-minute helicopter trip east. After unloading the equipment, Cleland climbed back into the helicopter for the ride back. But at the last minute, he decided to stay and have a beer with some friends. As the helicopter was lifting off, he shouted to the pilot that he was staying behind and jumped several feet to the ground.

Cleland hunched over to avoid the whirring blades and ran. Turning to face the helicopter, he caught sight of a grenade on the ground where the chopper had perched. It must be mine, he thought, moving toward it. He reached for it with his right arm just as it exploded, slamming him back and irreparably altering his plans for a bright, shining future.

Interestingly, all news accounts told the exact same story for 30 years – including that Cleland had stopped to have beer with friends when the accident occurred (a fact that particularly irked Al Hunt).

"He told the pilot he was going to stay awhile. Maybe have a few beers with friends. ... Then Cleland looked down and saw a grenade. Where'd that come from? He walked toward it, bent down, and crossed the line between before and after." (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Dec. 5, 1999)

"[Cleland] didn't step on a land mine. He wasn't wounded in a firefight. He couldn't blame the Viet Cong or friendly fire. The Silver Star and Bronze Star medals he received only embarrassed him. He was no hero. He blew himself up." (Baltimore Sun, Oct. 24, 1999)

"Cleland was no war hero, but his sacrifice was great. ... Democratic Senate candidate Max Cleland is a victim of war, not a casualty of combat. He lost three limbs on a long-forgotten hill near Khe Sanh because of some American's mistake ..." (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Sept. 29, 1996)

The story started to change only last year when the Democrats began citing Cleland's lost Senate seat as proof that Republicans hate war heroes. Indeed, until the myth of Republicans attacking Cleland for his lack of "patriotism" became central to the Democrats' narrative against George Bush, Cleland spoke only honorably and humbly about his accident. "How did I become a war hero?" he said to the Boston Globe reporter in 1997. "Simple. The grenade went off."

As Calpundit might say, Coulter's story is "internally consistent," largely because she's quoting sources summarizing Max Cleland on his own war record. According to Max Cleland, Max Cleland was injured in an accident, not combat. Ann Coulter is right, and Al Hunt is either mistaken or lying. Either way, Max Cleland should set the record straight about Max Cleland's injuries.

Why does this matter?

Simple. The Dems, weak on national defense in national polls and their own minds, are trying to puff up their creds in this area. They're turning to war hero turned pro-Vietcong agitator John Kerry to run for President, hoping the public accepts the hero line and either doesn't find out about or doesn't care about the war protest Kerry. They're turning to Cleland, until 2002 a Democrat Senator, and are trying to turn him into something that, by his own admission, he's not--a war hero. Say what you will about his injuries, but they're not the result of heroic action. They're the result of an unfortunate accident. Lt. George W. Bush, flying the notoriously difficult to control F-102 for the Texas Air National Guard, could just as easily have suffered grievous injury during his service. But he didn't. To some extent, that's the luck of the draw. Accidents happen.

But it's no accident that the Democrats are puffing up Cleland's war record, as Coulter has demonstrated. It will be fun to see if Hunt et al drop their attacks on her or try another round. It will be fun mostly to see Coulter shred them again.

(Chris R. contributed to this report)

Posted by B. Preston at 08:31 AM | Comments (20) | TrackBack

February 18, 2004


Dean is done. No White House for you!

Most galling quote:

Dean sounded a theme of party unity, saying, "The bottom line is that we must beat George W. Bush in November, whatever it takes." (my emphasis)

Letting terrorists off the hook for trying to kill us all? Jackbooted thugs at suburban polling places? Hacking GOP websites to post fake pics of W. eating babies? Garden-variety law-breaking, corpses voting, fraud piled on innuendo and spiced with a little old-fashioned dirt? Is there a line the Democrats won't at least rhetorically cross this year?

The Dean-O's are promising to help the Donks win this year, "whatever it takes."

Expect more of this crap.

Posted by B. Preston at 01:51 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Twin takedowns of the left's point-man on all things AWOL (except Johns Kerry and Edwards, who haven't shown up for Senate votes in ages).

First, John Cole.

Then, Bill Hobbs.

Then bask in the warmth of smoldering Calpundit crediblity, burned to the ground by a lie.

Posted by B. Preston at 11:20 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


John Kerry's The New Soldier may not be the Vietcong hymnbook that I expected. Some intel suggests that he hardly wrote any of it even though he put his name right above the mock Iwo Jima flag raising on the cover, but I'd still like to lay eyes on it. I've been looking at other sources from the same period, sources that describe Kerry's activities with Vietnam Veterans Against the War, and The New Soldier would probably be useful to complete the picture that's already forming in my mind.

That said, I know that one splinter cell operative claims to have the book, but when they tried to email me it bouced back because my Hotmail account was too spam-laden to accept anything. It was the work of dirty tricks operatives, no doubt, trying to tempt me to purchase "herbal" products intended to increase the performance of certain body parts.

As if I had such a need.

The spam has been deleted. Splinter cell op "Andy," please try again.

In the mean time, our northern splinter cell has sprung into action. The following is his account, which I have redacted to protect vital JYB secrets:

I decided that I would check the XXXX (university name redacted) library's online catalogue to see if we might, for some reason, have this book. Our library is infamous around campus for having absolutely nothing of relevance. However, this WAS and old book and this IS a liberal campus.

I go to the search, and punch in the name "Kerry". After sifting through some entries, paydirt. We have a match. I click on the title "The New Soldier."

Not only one, but TWO copies. This is looking promising. However, I notice something disappointing: Checked Out: Due on 05/16/2004.

You don't have to be a genius to realize that this is a long time for a library book to be out. This will be after the end of the semester! What could be the cause of this? More liberal coverups? Also, it says there are two copies, but only one "Checked Out" label. Is there still hope?

Time to go find out. Donning my Intelligence Community air, I suit up and head out to my car.

I head out to Xxxxxxxxx Library in Jeff, my blue Chevy, playing "Highway to the Danger Zone." Once I have arrived, in full researcher gear (Australian Bush hat), I put my skill into action. My first step is to locate the book. I notice that the book is one of the Dewey Decimal books - one of the few left in our library. I go to the third floor to check. It isn't on the shelf.

Not yet defeated, I go down to the circulation desk, who directs me to the reference librarian. He notes with me that the first copy does seem to be out for a long time; after telling him I checked the shelf location without success. He also tells me that the other copy SHOULD be here; there's only one checked out notice. He directs me back to circulation to fill out a search request form for the book. He also directs me to the XXXXX system, which is like a Xxxxx college Inter-Library Loan system, and the fastest way to get a book that isn't in.

I go back to circulation and fill out the form. Then, I duck into a computer lab to request the book through XXXXX. Having done all I can do for the time being, I leave the library. Only half an hour has passed, and I have put out two requests for Kerry's book. I am hoping that one will arrive by the end of the week. I guess this is why the intelligence community has hired me; for raw skill and tenacity. I will keep you posted if I receive a copy of the book.

A fascinating account. Why indeed would someone need to spend at least three months poring over Kerry's Marxist tome?

But the most vexing question is who names their Chevy "Jeff"? And what kind of Chevy are we talking about, an S-10 or a Cavalier? Maybe a Corvette? The JYB takes care of its splinter cells, but does not line their pockets so that they can afford such sleek transportation. Unless our northern splinter cell agent is in fact a double agent, and is on the take from the Tides Foundation?

I am puzzled, intrigued, and suspicious. And a little hungry.

UPDATE: On a more serious note, Hugh Hewitt played audio of Kerry's 1971 testimony on his radio show yesterday, and received intense negative reaction. I heard bits of that testimony on Hannity a week or so back, and my own reaction was fairly strong too--Kerry came off just in tone as a snooty know-it-all Massachusetts aristocrat. The content--slandering the military as a gang made up entirely of war criminals on a par with the Nazi Deathshead troops--is even worse. The 80 percent of Vietnam vets who are still proud of their service will not take kindly to a fellow vet calling them baby killers during sworn testimony before the US Senate.

Kerry had better hope the GOP doesn't find ways (or the spine) to use it against him. If that tape winds up in ads in any swing states this fall, Kerry is toast.

Posted by B. Preston at 10:46 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack


You know this country is screwed up when bald eagles and the American flag are controversial...in Georgia!


Malice in Wonderland:

Kerry's friends and cohorts are trying to compare George W. Bush to Benedict Arnold because he didn't serve in Vietnam. To grasp how tawdry and hypocritical this is, you simply have to recall that these are the very same people who were attacking Vietnam vets 30 years ago, calling them baby-killers and spitting on them. Now they hate the president because he didn't go to Nam?!

Can you imagine what they'd call him if he had?

They've already called him "Hitler." What's left?


An interesting Jewish take on The Passion.


The 1000 Styles of Rumsfeld. (personal favorite--Viper Fang!)


An Online Tribute to William Hung. You'd think the name alone would be enough to get this guy more dates...


"You hate Kerry for being a pinko.
You hate Dean for being a nut.
You hate Bush for being born.

Meet a man guaranteed not to inspire strong feelings of any sort.

Yeah, I guess.


And finally...it's not about WMD. It's about DMV!

Posted by B. Preston at 10:07 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Janene Garofalo is publishing a book.

For Those About to Salute, We Will Rock You," a collection of political essays, is scheduled to come out this fall.

"The book is like Susan Sontag meets The Onion, but not. ... I just wish it were like that," Garofalo said in statement released Tuesday by her publisher, Simon & Schuster.

Garofalo wants to be like Susan Sontag, who started blaming America for 9-11 on, well, 9-11. She aspires to be an apologist for terrorists. This should just about stick a big shiny fork in her career.

Why isn't she a war profiteer, or at least an anti-war profiteer? If not for the war, she wouldn't have a book to sell.


On the bright side (well, brighter side, if this does for her career what I expect), Garofalo's book will have a very short shelf-life:

Garofalo, a leading opponent of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, is focusing her book on "the abuse of power in finance; the state of our national consciousness; the failures of the Bush administration; and the upcoming presidential election," according to Simon & Schuster.

Look for it in the cut-out bins for around $0.49 plus tax by mid-November.

Posted by B. Preston at 09:16 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 17, 2004


Usually I'm loathe to get into a legal argument with Eugene Volokh, but this post about the San Francisco gay-marriage gate crash made my jaw drop:

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is issue marriage licenses to gay couples, something that California statutes definitely do not allow. Should he be condemned the way Alabama ex-Chief Justice Roy Moore was condemned when he insisted on keeping up the Ten Commandments monument in the courthouse?

I think the answer is "no," or at least "not yet," though I know that others disagree (see InstaPundit's post and Rod Dreher in NRO's The Corner). Here's why.

I agree that generally government officials ought to obey the law, even when they rightly believe that the law is wrong; that is part of what we think of as the Rule of Law. We can all imagine exceptions, when the law is so horribly wrong that the demands of justice vastly outweigh the benefits of the rule of law. But in those situations, those who don't share the government official's underlying judgment may rightly condemn him, not just for error in judgment, but for interference with the rule of law.

But part of American law is the principle that unconstitutional laws are not laws at all. This principle isn't always taken to its logical conclusion, but generally it is understood to be the principle. As I understand it, Mayor Newsom's position is that California's male-female-only marriage law -- which is only a statute, albeit one that was implemented by a voter initiative -- violates the California Constitution. If he's right, then refusing to marry same-sex couples (thus complying with the invalid state statute) would be violating the law, because it would be denying people the equal treatment that the constitution allows them; agreeing to marry same-sex couples (thus violating the invalid state statute) would be upholding the law, because it would be complying with the constitutional command. His actions are, I suspect, partly calculated to create a test case that would lead the California Supreme Court to decide the matter.

Maybe I'm just having a bad day, but I can't really see the logic here that ends in castigating Judge Moore while giving Mayor Newsome a pass. Both think the law, or another court's interpretation of the law, is unconstitutional. In Moore's case, he at least had several decades of precedence (such as the presence of Ten Commandments plaques, monuments and depictions in various government buildings around the country) on his side. Newsome has....what, exactly? Not the voters of California, who voted to maintain man-woman marriage as the norm by a 60% vote. Not the law as construed anywhere outside Massachusetts. Not tradition--which Moore also does have on his side.

So tell me again why Newsome may get a pass while Moore should not. Is it simply because Volokh approves of same-sex marriage while disapproving of monuments to the Ten Commandments on government property? And at the end of the day, which is likely to make a bigger difference to the culture at large--a big slab of stone or thousands of newly minted, though currently illegal, marriage licenses and all the legal trappings that will follow them? Newsome is introducing a measure of chaos into the legal system that no number of Ten Commandment monuments could possibly produce, and he is doing so against the specific wishes of the people of California.

I think Volokh is wrong here on the law and the substance (said the blogger with no legal training whatsoever). The mayor of San Francisco is not responsible for making law, even in his own city, on a unilateral basis, which is what he is doing. He is charged first and foremost with upholding the law as it exists. If he wants the law changed, presumably he has to work through the system just like anybody else, though his position affords him greater capacity to make changes. He can work with the city council or whatever San Francisco calls it. He can work to persuade the people of the city, or propose a referrendum for California voters to approve.

Oops. That was already done, wasn't it. And the anti-SSM side won, didn't it.

So where is Newsome's legal authority to order city employees to systematically break the law? I don't see it. And I truly don't see how Judge Moore has done anything worse or more illegal than what Newsome has done. Judge Moore made a monument. He put it in a government building. He got sued and ordered to remove it, and refused. He didn't order anyone to break any law on his behalf. He took the heat himself for flouting a higher court's order.

Newsome is unilaterally attempting to circumvent laws that the voters of California specifically voted to uphold. He is ordering employees to aid and abet his lawbreaking (will he fire them if they don't comply with his illegal orders?). He should be impeached, because he has failed to uphold his duties as mayor in upholding the law. We do not elect miniature kings when we elect mayors, and Newsome is acting like a despot.

If Volokh's world comes to pass--that we will have officials empowered to break any law they deem unconstitutional for any reason--we will have chaos on a significant scale. In fact we already do to some extent, as many cities have chosen not to enforce federal immigration law. That situation has led to the creation of "safe havens"--cities where illegal aliens can and do routinely collect welfare checks while committing violent crimes while cities look the other way. And in the gay marriage case, Jacob Levy (also writing on the Volokh Conspiracy) notes:

[T]he California constitution apparently specifically prohibits state agencies and non-judicial officials from unilaterally deciding that state statutes are unconstitutional. The Lambda/ ACLU folks are arguing that city officials aren't relevantly state officials, but that seems like a stretch to me; city governments are entirely creatures of state law.

That seems ironclad to me: San Fran's mayor is not empowered to break the law, and is certainly not empowered to order others to do so. But to some SSM proponents, it's apparently okay to break laws you don't agree with, but not okay to break laws you do agree with, even if relevant state law specifically prohibits such violations--and this coming from a constitutional lawyer of Volokh's calibre.

Scary. Seriously.

I think we're seeing the end of morality and the beginning of legalism. The law divorced from original purpose can be twisted by clever people to mean anything they want it to mean--witness all the purging of any mention of Christian thought from the public square via a twisted reading of the First Amendment. If we empower the clever to make law as they see fit and interpret it on the fly without due regard for our traditions and cultural norms, we are empowering our own enslavement to the legal class.

Posted by B. Preston at 06:15 PM | Comments (15) | TrackBack


The topic of Google, news, rankings and bias has been bandied around before. Here's what has me thinking about it again.

After posting the Weekly Standard story about Iraq, I got to thinking about various Clinton admin players who have been out of the limelight. William Cohen in particular interested me for a couple of reasons, not least being the fact that as a senator he had a big R trailing his name. He was in fact nominated to become Clinton's SecDef precisely because it was thought that his party affiliation would bring a bit of gravitas to the national security realm and might also do something to make Washington politics a bit less acrimonious when it came to dealing with defense matters.

Since leaving government, Cohen has founded a business consulting group called the Cohen Group. Once in a while he speaks on foreign policy issues, but apparently because he does not accuse the Bush administration of betraying America, he doesn't attract splashy headlines. But in another time, Cohen attracted his fair share of headlines when he opined that Iraq had created enough VX to wipe out the entire population of earth. So at least during his tenure at the Pentagon, Cohen was more hawkish than not on Iraq.

Today, I Googled "william cohen iraq." Pages one thru three of the search contained links that mostly led back to remarks Cohen made in 1997 and '98, the last big Iraq crisis prior to 2003. But on page four, check out the top entry:


Click on it if you want to see a bigger version. The text states:

WILLIAM COHEN, FORMER US DEFENSE SECRETARY: Good to be here. ... With those comments, that's proof that the administration exaggerated the case for war in Iraq.". ...

Seems inflammatory, no? Well, click to see the actual story linked, which is a transcript of a CNN Q & A with Cohen, and you'll see that the text in Google's blurb did not come from Cohen at all. It came in the form of a question about the Kay report, from host Zain Varjee, in the context of Paul O'Neill's withdrawn allegations that the Bush admin improperly planned for the Iraq war long before 9-11. But you'd only know this if you actually click on and read the story.

To take Google's description at face value, you'd think that former SecDef William Cohen (R), who served during the latter Clinton years, believes that the Bush administration hyped the threat from Iraq and sold the war on lies. That's what I thought when I read it, and clicked on the link to see if that was Cohen's line. It would be big news if Clinton's former SecDef, a Republican, charged the Bush administration with hyping the Iraq threat. Google's blurb does seem to put those very words in Cohen's mouth, even though he never said them. And why, out of all the sentences in that transcript, did Google focus on the most inflammatory one and juxtapose it with Cohen's name in such a way as to mislead readers? Since the topic was O'Neill, wouldn't it have more sense to include something about him in the blurb?

Is this evidence of Google bias? Looks like it to me.

Posted by B. Preston at 03:44 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack


The Weekly Standard makes the case:

September 11 had added new dimensions to the danger. For as Bush and many others argued, what if Saddam allowed his weapons capabilities to be shared with terrorists? What if, someday in the future, terrorists like those who crashed airplanes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon had nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons? Would they hesitate to use them? The possible nexus between terrorism and Iraq's weapons program made Iraq an even more urgent issue. Was this concern far-fetched? If so, it was exactly the same far-fetched concern that had preoccupied President Clinton in 1998, when he warned, in his speech on Iraq, about a "rogue state with weapons of mass destruction, ready to use them or provide them to terrorists," and when he had spoken of an "unholy axis" of international terrorists and outlaw states as one of the greatest threats Americans faced.

Nor was it surprising that as President Bush began to move toward war with Iraq in the fall and winter of 2002, he mustered substantial support among Democrats as well as Republicans. A majority of Democratic senators--including, of course, John Kerry and John Edwards--voted for the resolution authorizing the president to use force against Iraq. And why not? The Bush administration's approach to Iraq was fundamentally in keeping with that of the Clinton administration, except that after September 11, inaction seemed even less acceptable. The majority of the Democratic party foreign policy establishment supported the war, and not because they were misled by the Bush administration's rhetorical hype leading up to the war. (Its hype was appreciably less than that of Clinton secretary of defense William Cohen, who appeared on national television in late 1997 holding a bag of sugar and noting that the same amount of anthrax "would destroy at least half the population" of Washington, D.C. At a Pentagon press briefing on Iraq's WMD, Cohen also noted that if Saddam had "as much VX in storage as the U.N. suspects," he would "be able to kill every human being on the face of the planet.") Nor did they support the war because they were fundamentally misled by American intelligence about the nature and extent of Saddam's weapons programs. Most of what they and everyone else knew about those programs we had learned from the U.N. inspectors, not from U.S. intelligence.


Now, of course, we know more definitively that Saddam did not comply with Resolution 1441. That is a part of Kay's testimony that has been widely ignored. What Kay discovered in the course of his eight-month-long investigation was that Iraq had failed to answer outstanding questions about its arsenal and programs. Indeed, it had continued to engage in an elaborate campaign of deception and concealment of weapons activities throughout the time when Hans Blix and the UNMOVIC inspectors were in the country, and right up until the day of the invasion, and beyond.

As Kay told the Senate Armed Services Committee last month, the Iraq Survey Group "discovered hundreds of cases, based on both documents, physical evidence and the testimony of Iraqis, of activities that were prohibited under the initial U.N. Resolution 687 and that should have been reported under 1441, with Iraqi testimony that not only did they not tell the U.N. about this, they were instructed not to do it and they hid material." Kay reported, "We have had a number of Iraqis who have come forward and said, 'We did not tell the U.N. about what we were hiding, nor would we have told the U.N.,'" because the risks were too great. And what were the Iraqis hiding? As Kay reports, "They maintained programs and activities, and they certainly had the intentions at a point to resume their programs. So there was a lot they wanted to hide because it showed what they were doing was illegal." As Kay reported last October, his survey team uncovered "dozens of WMD-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the U.N. during the inspections that began in late 2002." Specifically, Kay reported:

*A clandestine network of laboratories and safehouses within the Iraqi Intelligence Service that contained equipment suitable for research in the production of chemical and biological weapons. This kind of equipment was explicitly mentioned in Hans Blix's requests for information, but was instead concealed from Blix throughout his investigations.

*A prison laboratory complex, which may have been used in human testing of biological weapons agents. Iraqi officials working to prepare for U.N. inspections in 2002 and 2003 were explicitly ordered not to acknowledge the existence of the prison complex.

*So-called "reference strains" of biological organisms, which can be used to produce biological weapons. The strains were found in a scientist's home.

*New research on agents applicable to biological weapons, including Congo Crimean Hemorrhagic Fever, and continuing research on ricin and aflatoxin--all of which was, again, concealed from Hans Blix despite his specific request for any such information.

*Plans and advanced design work on new missiles with ranges up to at least 1,000 kilometers--well beyond the 150-kilometer limit imposed on Iraq by the U.N. Security Council. These missiles would have allowed Saddam to threaten targets from Ankara to Cairo.


There was an argument against going to war last year. But let's remember what that argument was. It had nothing to do with whether or not Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and WMD programs. Everyone from Howard Dean to the New York Times editorial board to Dominique de Villepin and Jacques Chirac assumed that he had both. Most of the arguments against the war concerned timing. The most frequent complaint was that Bush was rushing to war. Why not give Blix and his inspectors another three months or six months?

We now know, however, that giving Blix a few more months would not have made a difference. Last month Kay was asked what would have happened if Blix and his team had been allowed to continue their mission. Kay responded, "All I can say is that among an extensive body of Iraqi scientists who are talking to us, they have said: The U.N. interviewed us; we did not tell them the truth, we did not show them this equipment, we did not talk about these programs; we couldn't do it as long as Saddam was in power. I suspect regardless of how long they had stayed, that attitude would have been the same." Given the "terror regime of Saddam," Kay concluded, he and his team learned things after the war "that no U.N. inspector would have ever learned" while Saddam was still in power.

So it is very unlikely that, given another three months or six months, the Blix team would have come to any definitive conclusion one way or another. Nor, therefore, would there have been a much greater probability of winning a unanimous vote at the Security Council for war once those additional six months had passed. Whether the United States could have kept 200,000 troops on a permanent war footing in the Persian Gulf for another six months is even more doubtful.

Read the whole thing--it lays out the entire history of our post-1991 dealings with Saddam Hussein's Iraq, a history which ultimately justified war to end Hussein's regime.

The only problem I see for the Bush administration in all this is that the truth about Iraq is not easily distilled into a soundbite. Bush's opponents can simply toss up variants of "Bush LIED," or hyped the threat or whatever, knowing that their statements are misleading but effective on a populace that does not keep detailed memories of events six or more years in the past. In response, the Bush team has to lay out a case encompassing a dozen years of history and hundreds of twists and turns. If there were any true patriots in the Clinton administration, they would step forward and offer support for the Bush administration's case, since it was in fact the same case their own administration made time and again throughout the 90s, and culminating with the 1998 attempt to take us to war against Iraq. But few Clinton administration officials have offered any support at all. Former Secy of State Madeline Albright has become one of Bush's most strident accusers. Former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger and Secy of Defense William Cohen have been mostly silent. Former Vice President Gore says now that Bush "betrayed" America. Only Bill Clinton himself has offered any support, and his has been low-key. Politics apparently trump truth, even in matters of war.

Posted by B. Preston at 11:46 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


One of the great fallouts from the Iraq war--and a fallout the left will never ever acknowledge--is the peaceful turn of Libya from rogue terrorist state to state's evidence. War never solved anything, say the peaceniks--except forcing Muammar Gaddafi to rat out his nuclear friends, ending Saddam's rape rooms, toppling the Taliban, blitzing the Nazis, turning militarist Japan into a thriving democracy...but I digress.

Back to Libya--a while ago, I postulated that we would learn something from its turn toward us and away from its rogue past. Not to toot my own horn, but I was right: We're learning quite a bit from Libya:

Investigators have discovered that the nuclear weapons designs obtained by Libya through a Pakistani smuggling network originated in China, exposing yet another link in a chain of proliferation that stretched across the Middle East and Asia, according to government officials and arms experts.

The bomb designs and other papers turned over by Libya have yielded dramatic evidence of China's long-suspected role in transferring nuclear know-how to Pakistan in the early 1980s, they said. The Chinese designs were later resold to Libya by a Pakistani-led trading network that is now the focus of an expanding international probe, added the officials and experts, who are based in the United States and Europe.

That probe is the culmination of a US intel success, again, a fact that the left will never acknowledge. They will blame America for all ills, even ills caused by our "strategic partners" (to use a Clintonian phrase) in Beijing.

The Chinese designs cover much more than just how to make a bomb. They also cover how to make a nuclear weapon into a true warhead:

The packet of documents, some of which included text in Chinese, contained detailed, step-by-step instructions for assembling an implosion-type nuclear bomb that could fit atop a large ballistic missile. They also included technical instructions for manufacturing components for the device, the officials and experts said.

"It was just what you'd have on the factory floor. It tells you what torque to use on the bolts and what glue to use on the parts," one weapons expert who had reviewed the blueprints said in an interview. He described the designs as "very, very old" but "very well engineered."

So how again did we learn all this?

The package of documents was turned over to U.S. officials in November following Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi's decision to renounce weapons of mass destruction and open his country's weapons laboratories to international inspection.

And why did Libya renounce nukes and decide to hand over its entire program to us?

A spokesman for Mr Berlusconi said the prime minister had been telephoned recently by Col Gaddafi of Libya, who said: "I will do whatever the Americans want, because I saw what happened in Iraq, and I was afraid."

But I keep hearing that war never solved anything. Oh well.

US nuclear experts note in the story that while Libya had made minimal progress in actually building its own nukes and had no missiles capable of delivering any based on the Chinese designs, both Iran and North Korea do have missiles that could do the job.

But will the left acknowledge that the success in Libya, success that came as a direct result of both the war in Iraq and the Bush approach to North Korea (the Proliferation Security Initiative), may actually help make the world a bit safer in the long run? I'm not holding my breath.

Posted by B. Preston at 10:32 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 16, 2004


Indymedia, the radical web sites best known for calling President Bush "Hitler" and generally act like childish, poorly educated anti-American rubes, gets some of its funding from an outfit called the Tides Foundation.

So what?

Well, according to this article, Tides is responsible for funneling large sums of money to far-left organizations. And among its major donors...Mrs. John F. Kerry:

During the years 1995-2001, the Howard Heinz Endowment, which Heinz Kerry chairs, gave Tides more than $4.3 million. The combined Heinz Endowments (composed of the Howard Heinz Endowment and the Vira I. Heinz Endowment) donated $1.6 million to establish the Tides Center for Western Pennsylvania, a Pittsburgh office of the San Francisco-based Tides Center. Since that time, the local branch has tirelessly pushed an anti-business agenda in the name of “preserving the environment.” However, it is the Tides Foundation’s national organization whose connections are most disconcerting.

The Tides Foundation is a major source of revenue for some of the most extreme groups on the Left. Tides allows donors to anonymously contribute money to a host of causes; the donor simply makes the check out to Tides and instructs the Foundation where to forward the money. Tides does so, for a nominal fee. Drummond Pike told The Chronicle of Philanthropy, “Anonymity is very important to most of the people we work with.” That becomes understandable when one views the list of Tides grant recipients. And who are the beneficiaries of this money?

Ok, Tides takes money from donors and sends it a rogues gallery of far-left groups. And Mrs. Kerry is a major donor.

Where does her money go:

Tides established the Iraq Peace Fund and the Peace Strategies Fund to fund the antiwar movement. These projects fueled such hysterical protest organizations as MoveOn.org, the website that recently featured two separate commercials portraying George W. Bush as Adolf Hitler. (Howard Dean, not Kerry, won MoveOn.org’s “virtual primary.”)

The antiwar movement often boasted that MoveOn.org and the radical website Indymedia provided them “alternate media coverage.” Indymedia, an enormous news and events bulletin board with local pages in most of the world’s major cities, provided a vital link for radical activists often with violent agendas to coordinate their protests. Indymedia received $376,000 from the Tides Foundation.

Tides also funds Ramsey Clark's International Action Center, which has apparently supported Slobodan Milosevic and Kim Jong-Il. Clark's outfit is also tightly integrated with International ANSWER. Remember them? They're the communist front that organized most of the anti-war movement last year.

And Mrs. Kerry is a financial supporter.

Wait. It gets better.

Tides isn't merely a far-left anti-war group. It funds Islamicist-sympathizing CAIR:

Tides has also given grant money to the Council for American Islamic Relations. Ostensibly a “Muslim civil rights group,” CAIR is in fact one of the leading anti-anti-terrorism organizations within the Wahhabi Lobby, with links to Hamas. CAIR regularly opposes and demonizes American efforts to fight terrorism, claiming, for instance, that Homeland Security measures are responsible for an undocumented surge in “hate crimes.”

CAIR officials have reason to fight Bush’s anti-terrorism measures: all too many CAIR officials are on the record supporting terrorism. CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad openly stated in 1994, “I am a supporter of the Hamas movement.” Community Affairs Director Bassem K. Khafagi has been arrested for visa and bank fraud. Randall Royer, a Communications Specialist and Civil Rights Coordinator at CAIR, was arrested along with a group of Islamic radicals in Virginia for allegedly planning jihad. CAIR has defended terrorist “charities” shut down by the Bush administration. Every few months some CAIR campus official is arrested for aiding and abetting terrorism.

And Mrs. Kerry Heinz, who might become our First Lady, funds them. Her millions also fund communist fronts such as the Ruckus Society, a rabble-rousing gang of enviros who orchestrated the 1999 World Trade Organization meeting riots in Seattle. The Tides Foundation also funds gun control advocacy via Handgun Control, Inc, many chapters of the ACLU, Amnesty Internation (the once decent human rights group that has lately taken to criticizing the US while largely ignoring real abusers elsewhere) and the War Resisters League, a pacifist group that opposes war in general and ours specifically.

To be fair, Tides has also funded Habitat for Humanity, the YMCA and a few other more moderate and mainstream groups over the years. But the bulk of its funding takes a sharp turn left, from shades of pink to a deep ketchup red.

And John Kerry's millionaire wife is a major contributor.

Of course, Mrs. Kerry is a also a major contributor to Mr. Kerry's run for the White House, in the form of a mortgage on their multi-million dollar home on Beacon Hill.

Posted by B. Preston at 10:55 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Doug Payton has an interesting idea--taking his blog to the airwaves. He's capturing clips of himself on the radio, chiming in on talk shows and that sort of thing, and posting clips.

Will it catch on? Beats me. But it's another mutation of the blog media.

Payton does have an interesting post about gay marriage:

Same-sex marriage licenses a new thing? Not according to former Boulder, Colorado County clerk and recorder Clela Rorex.

As a newly elected political rookie in 1975, Rorex was approached by a same-sex couple who asked if she would issue a marriage license. After securing a legal opinion from the Boulder County district attorney at the time, who said state law did not preclude issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, Rorex issued the license.

She's very proud of what she did, "prouder than ever", to be a precursor to what is happening now. But will she continue to be proud when things continue now as they did then?

Soon after [a ruling by the state attorney general that marriage was a union between a man and a woman], Rorex stopped issuing licenses, especially after a man came in trying to get a license for himself and his horse, Dolly. Rorex told him the horse was too young to get married without parental consent.

Not that it was nutty, not that it was immoral, but simply because of the age of the horse.

"I issued licenses because I didn't want to be legislating morality," Rorex said, adding she knew little about homosexuality at the time and did not know many gay people.

One thing you can always count on--humanity will always find new ways to do deviant, bizarre things. And if you don't draw lines, pretty soon you don't have a civilization.

So I ask gay marriage proponents, if you think same-sex marriage is okay, where would you draw the line? What would you consider out-of-bounds? And who are you to impose your narrow morality on others? Let's face it, any morality is going to be narrow by someone else's standards. But if you don't set standards of some kind, institutions such as marriage quickly lose their meaning.

Posted by B. Preston at 10:12 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


The Da Vinci Codes is a work of fiction, a novel thriller that asserts that Jesus Christ married Mary Magdalene, that she fled to Europe and bore him a daughter after the crufixion. I haven't read the book, but it's been a boffo seller, even reaching the inner sanctum of the White House in the past couple of years.

Many Christians have taken that book at face value, not that it's a fiction from one end to the other, but that it's a thriller with some basis in fact. That accepting the Codes as fact would amount to recasting Christianity and tossing aside pretty much the entire New Testament doesn't seem to bother most of these Christians. Clearly, churches need to do a better job of basic education.

Anyway, Codes isn't based on fact in any way. Its premise is based on the "scholarship" of Michael Biaget, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln, in their book Holy Blood, Holy Grail. That book turns Arthurian legends into Templar "history" and finally into a grand unified theory of European history. It's a fun book, full of nonsense.

I read that book a few years ago, intrigued as I always am by the odd rantings of Graham Hancock and his ilk. Hancock became famous a few years back for asserting that, among other things, the lost Ark of the Covenant is in Ethiopia and that there was some grand and global advanced civilization that predates, as much as 50,000 years, our own advanced but very non-global Western civ. The Ehiopian case is bolstered by the fact that that country actually claims ownership of the Ark, but it is hurt by the models of the Ark that get toted around once a year, models which bear no resemblance to the Ark as described in the Old Testament. The destroyed global civ bit is just silly, but fun to think about in the same way that Atlantis is fun to think about. And actually, Atlantian myths pretty much form the basis of Hancock's work, if I remember right.

Such books make entertaining reads, as long as you keep in mind that they are full of smoke, mirrors and miscellaneous bunk.

And Holy Blood, Holy Grail is indeed full of bunk. It's a pseudohistory based on flimsy "evidence," illogical leaps and factless arguments less capable of holding water than a rusty sieve with a 6-inch hole punched in the bottom. But as the basis for Dan Brown's Codes, the thing has taken on a life of its own, and doubtlessly led many a good Christian straight to heresy. I'm sure certain elements of today's Episcopalean heirarchy would approve of that, provided no schism results. But I digress.

Codes is a silly book as history. Dan Brown is just being a pretentious prig out to sell books when he says otherwise. I can't speak for how it holds up as a thriller, but it strikes me as a dressed-up version of Foucault's Pendulum, which I did read and enjoy. But I never for a second took it seriously as anything other than a work of pulp fiction.

If you're interested in all this, the Washington Times has a decent deconstruction of Da Vinci.

(via Boar's Head Tavern)

Posted by B. Preston at 05:52 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


One principal accuser has been discredited, and the other has Alzheimer's.

Liberals, anything to say now? Go ahead, slink away and lick your wounds. We all know you'll be back with some new lie before long.

Posted by B. Preston at 02:42 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


That's the greeting you'll get from the Washington Post if you want to read its stories from now on (well, until you actually register, because it's required).

I don't have a problem with having to register for a free site. But I do have a problem with the tone WaPo has adopted here.

Who's the idiot who wrote that line? Who thought it would be good public relations to issue a command and back it up with a requirement in the space of seven words? Could they have found a more unfriendly way to greet their readers?

Posted by B. Preston at 10:58 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack