Extorting payment from someone by sitting at their front door and staying there without food, threatening violence, until you get paid.
A man with a few shares in several companies who extorts money by threatening to come to the shareholders' meetings and cause trouble.
That's pretty much the same guy, isn't it? File the above under interesting lines of work, as well as these:
A dealer in stolen cats.
BUZ-BAZ Ancient Persian
A showman who makes a goat and monkey dance together.
Perhaps our trade schools can offer a program in buzbazitry. And then there is interpersonal relations:
To make a squeaking noise by sucking air past the lips in order to gain the attention of a dog or a child.
WAR NAM NIHADAN Persian
To murder somebody, bury their body, then grow some flowers over the grave in order to conceal it.
My theory is that the War Nam Nihadan got tired of the squeaking noise. And my personal favorite:
SACANAGEM Brazilian Portuguese
Openly seeking sexual pleasure with one or more partners other than one's primary partner during Mardi Gras.
One wonders if New Orleans will be rebuilt in time for all the sacanagem that usually goes on.
The Hill is reporting on a possible challenger to West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd and the race's relationship to the Daschle/Thune race:
While Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) keeps political observers guessing about whether she will challenge Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) next year, one thing is certain: Former West Virginia University basketball coach Gale Catlett is running for Congress.
Whether Catlett sets his sights on the House or Senate depends on Capito, said Republican Andy McKenzie, the state Senate’s minority whip.
If Capito passes on the Senate race, McKenzie explained, Catlett would run against Byrd, as many in political circles and the press have speculated. But, McKenzie said: “If Shelley runs for the U.S. Senate, Gale will run for her seat” in the 2nd District.
Catlett could help assuage Republican fears that if Capito exits the House to challenge Byrd the party would have a tough time holding on to her seat.
Capito won her first term with 48 percent of the vote, her second with 60 percent after spending more than $2.5 million, and her third, in 2004, with 58 percent.
Although Catlett is a political novice and not a full-time resident of the district — he has homes in Morgantown, in the 1st, and Hedgesville, in the 2nd — he enjoys high name identification, Republicans said.
Catlett did not return a phone call seeking comment.
The all-important question is what Capito will do. For now, no one, including the congresswoman’s father, former Gov. Arch Moore Jr. (R), seems to know whether she will challenge the eighth-term Byrd, 87, wait for for the senator to retire, or challenge Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D) in 2008.
“We’re a very close family, and … we have confidence in our daughter, and we listen,” Moore said, adding that he “rarely” discusses the Senate race with Capito. “Whatever our daughter does in that regard, of course, we’re going to be with her full barrel.”
The former governor declined to say whether he would like to see Capito challenge Byrd. But he did outline a game plan for Republicans, suggesting the GOP tackle the state’s senior senator much the way it did former Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), who lost his reelection bid last year to John Thune (R).
While Byrd routinely portrays himself as a conservative Democrat when he’s home, he aligns himself with his party’s more liberal leadership in Washington, Moore said.
“That proved to be quite fatal to Daschle,” he said.
Moore’s comments echoed those of many Republicans in Washington, including officials at the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), who have made much of the liberal activist group MoveOn.org’s backing of Byrd.
Excerpts from today's Argus Leader:
Air Force officials are looking at Ellsworth Air Force Base as a possible location for a military financial-services operation that could mean the addition of more than 700 jobs, Rep. Stephanie Herseth said.
Although no decisions can be made until the Base Realignment and Closure Commission officially completes its work, a visit this week to the base by Air Force officials lays the groundwork, Herseth said.
About 110,000 square feet is needed for the facility, and it eventually would accommodate 775 people, according to information provided by Herseth's office. It would be required to house 50 to 100 people by March 2007 and would be operational by October 2008.
The processing center would include new employees and would draw personnel from other bases. Plans still are preliminary, so it is not certain how many civilian jobs such an operation could bring to the state, Herseth said.
Let us suppose for a moment that the Chicken Hawk argument were valid. One might then want to ask what the soldiers themselves think. By most estimates, servicemen and women voted Bush by about 80%. The figure is probably much higher for the infantry.
In that light, consider this piece by Katherine Kersten in the Star Tribune. The piece focuses on one "Marine Col. Jeff Vold . . . [who] returned last March from seven months in Fallujah and Ramadi, the heart of the violent Sunni Triangle." Here is his view.
Vold knows the painful cost of aborting a mission midstream. He was in Somalia in early 1994 when America turned tail. "We abandoned the Somali people because we took 18 casualties in October 1993," he said. "It was a shameful act." That same year, he sat in frustration on a troop ship off Kenya as hundreds of thousands of people were hacked to death in Rwanda. After the first Gulf War, he says, we left the Shiites to a bloody fate. "In Iraq, we're going to stay the course against the terrorists and give the people a chance at freedom and a representative government."
Vold ticks off the extraordinary progress underway in Iraq. In Ramadi, he witnessed ordinary Iraqis braving mortar fire to vote in the January 2005 elections. In just two weeks, on Oct. 15, he adds, these courageous people will have another historic opportunity -- a chance to vote on Iraq's new constitution.
Across Iraq, Americans and Iraqis are working together to reclaim the country from Baathists and terrorists. They are building or refurbishing schools, hospitals, roads and sewer systems. "The battle with the terrorists left Fallujah in rubble," says Vold. "But every day, people thanked us. 'We might have to rebuild our house,' they said, 'but you gave us back our city.' "
Since by Chad's logic I am not allowed to form my opinions about the Iraq war, would it be alright if I borrowed those of Col. Vold?
Professor Schaff below gives a very serious reason why Chad's Chicken Hawk argument is dreadful. It is, among, other things, a classical fallacy, referred to as an "ad hominem argument." In that form, you argue that X must be wrong because X is a certain kind of person (usually very bad). But that of course is nonsense. An argument stands or falls on its evidence and logic, which is one of the reasons that every human being is entitled to his or her own opinions.
But I can't resist pointing out that is really such a thing as a chicken hawk, which is a popular name for the red tailed hawk. Here's one now:
The chicken hawk is, more or less, a short eagle. A guy like me is tempted to put that on his business card. So if Chad really wants to compare us to these majestic raptors, who am I to complain?
From the AP:
The Army is closing the books on one of the leanest recruiting years since it became an all-volunteer service three decades ago, missing its enlistment target by the largest margin since 1979 and raising questions about its plans for growth.
Many in Congress believe the Army needs to get bigger - perhaps by 50,000 soldiers over its current 1 million - in order to meet its many overseas commitments, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Army already is on a path to add 30,000 soldiers, but even that will be hard to achieve if recruiters cannot persuade more to join the service.
However, apparently no body at the AP bothered with actual number comparisons. Mathematician Dafydd ab Hugh adds them up.
HT to Power Line.
Mike Rosen of the Rocky Mountain News has a great article on the anti-Columbus crowd in Colorado. The group has attempted to block an Italian-American parade celebrating Christopher Columbus and their heritage. However, this year Denver has a new law (or, rather, a modified version of a previous law) that outlaws the obstruction of authorized parades like this one. Check out the whole article. Excerpt:
Indian activists resent the depiction of Columbus as the man who "discovered" America, arguing that their people were here first. Of course they were. So what? The point is that Columbus discovered America - the "New World" - from the perspective of Europeans, who later followed him here and imported their ideas, customs and system of government. Spanish conquistador Vasco Nuñez de Balboa is said to have "discovered" the Pacific Ocean in 1513. But, of course, the fish were already there. Again, it was a European discovery. The only real "native Americans" were dinosaurs and cockroaches. Indians were Johnny-come- latelys, too, many crossing the land bridge from Asia.
The inimitible Quentin Riggins informs me that we've been "called out" by certain forces in the South Dakota blogosphere as being "chicken hawks" because we, generally speaking, support the war in Iraq but have not and do not serve in the military. I will defer to a great man of pure brilliance, Michael Kelly, to answer the charge. As readers may know, Kelly was a reporter/columnist for the Washington Post who lost his life in Iraq as an "imbedded" reporter. Kelly himself supported the war, although he had never served in the military. You can read his whole column on the subject here. Here, I think, is the pertinent part:
So it is with "chicken hawk." Its power lies in the simplicity that comes with being completely wrong. The central implication here is that only men who have professionally endured war have the moral standing and the experiential authority to advocate war. That is, in this country at least, a radical and ahistorical view. The Founders, who knew quite well the dangers of a military class supreme, were clear in their conviction that the judgment of professional warmakers must be subordinated to the command of ignorant amateurs -- civilian leaders who were in turn subordinated to the command of civilian voters. Such has given us the leadership in war of such notable "chicken hawks" as Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Further, the inescapable logic of "chicken hawk"-calling is that only military men have standing to pronounce in any way on war -- to advocate it or to advocate against it. The decision not to go to war involves exactly the same issues of experiential and moral authority as does the decision to go to war. If a past of soldiering is required for one, it is required for the other. Chicken doves have no more standing than "chicken hawks." We must leave all the decisions to the generals and the veterans.
If those who have not served in the military have no right to call a war just, do those who have not served have any moral standing to say a war is unjust? Do I need to point out that the idea that only military veterans have the right to speak to the issues of the day, since they have put their life on the line, is the argument of Robert Heinlein's proto-fascist Starship Troopers. Perhaps that is not the company that the anti-war folks want to keep. FDR, of course, never served in the military, but was a great war president. Perhaps we should deride him as a chick hawk. Lincoln only had modest experience in the Black Hawk War of 1832. He would later make fun of his modest service in a speech supporting Zachary Taylor in 1848 against Lewis Cass of Michigan. Lincoln joked that he had lost alot of blood in the war, all of it to mosquitoes. So I guess Lincoln, who prosecuted the bloodiest war in American history, was also a chicken hawk. If one has arguments against the war, make them. The chicken hawk argument is an ad hominem, which, as we all know, is a kind of logical fallacy.
Roberts takes the oath of office from John Paul Stevens. The only problem I have with that is that Stevens is a cubs fan. I'm not sure that's a good omen. There might even be something in the Constitution about it.
I have a somewhat different reaction to today's Senate vote from my SDP colleague, Quentin. Daschle did, after all, come out in support of John Roberts. Out senior Senator, Tim Johnson, joined John Thune in voting to confirm. Of course, there is good reason to suspect that the outcome would have been different if the Democrats had a majority in the Senate.
As it was the Democrats split 22/22. That, to put it mildly, is a mixed message. Looking at the votes by state is interesting. Roberts carries pretty much every red state Democrat, including both Arkansas and Wisconsin Senators. He loses most of the blue states and Democratic Presidential hopefuls, with a few notable exceptions like Vermont (Leahy and independent Jeffords both vote yea) and of course Wisconsin's Russ Feingold.
The Democrats are already circling their wagons for the next pick. They may even get the support of a few Republicans like Collins and Snowe of Maine. They are going to put a strong emphasis on a "balanced court." It would be a terrible mistake for the Republicans to endorse that principle. No president has ever been bound by it before. Clinton surely was not. It would tend to make the court a static thing, instead of the adaptive creature that Democrats claim to admire.
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Gay and Lesbian Leadership Awards
Annual Oate-Shrum Event
Thursday, October 25, 2005
VIP Reception 5:30
Awards Ceremony 6-7pm
101 Constitution, NW
United States Senator Tom Daschle
Mayor Richard M. Daley (Chicago, IL)
For more information or to join the Host Committee, call 202-842-7306 or visit www.victoryfund.org/events
I know just enough about campaign finance law to be dangerous. Allison Hayward knows so much about campaign finance law that she has devoted an entire blog to it. Here are her thoughts on the indictment of Tom Delay:
How the prosecutors in this case think they can get criminal charges to stick when these funds trading practices were engaged in regularly pre-BCRA and tolerated by the FEC is beyond me. Sure, Texas law isn’t federal law, but how do you show criminal intent? This is just nuts.
I am not making any predictions here, but if Hayward is anywhere close to right then Delay is going to be cleared of these charges.
The New York Times broke this great story two days ago.
Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, asked Judge Roberts for his views on New York Times v. Sullivan, the 1964 Supreme Court decision that revolutionized American libel law. Judge Roberts's response was terse and cautious, but it contained a faint echo of a blistering 30-page critique of the case that he wrote as a White House lawyer in the Reagan administration in the early 1980's.
The critique was vigorous, brilliantly written and informed by a deep hostility toward the press, said Anthony Lewis, the author of "Make No Law: The Sullivan Case and the First Amendment" and a former columnist for The New York Times.
There's only one problem. Robert's didn't write it. Today the New York Times corrects itself, something it is doing so often it might as well print another addition just to make room.
Judge John G. Roberts Jr., nominated to be chief justice of the United States, was not the author of an unsigned memorandum on libel law that was the focus of an article published in The New York Times yesterday. The Times erroneously attributed it to him.
Bruce Fein, a Washington lawyer who was general counsel of the Federal Communications Commission in the Reagan administration, said yesterday that he wrote the memorandum, a caustic critique of New York Times v. Sullivan, the 1964 Supreme Court decision that revolutionized American libel law, and of the role played by the press in society. [My emphasis].
HT to Andrew Sullivan.
Senator Thune made these remarks on the Senate floor regarding the confirmation of John Roberts:
Mr. President, I rise today to voice my strong support for the nomination of Judge John G. Roberts to be Chief Justice of the United States. This is a historic moment, Mr. President, as many of my colleagues have already noted. This moment marks only the 17th time in the history of our Republic that the United States Senate has considered a nominee to be Chief Justice.
As one of the Senate’s newest members, it is a great privilege for me to participate in this process. To have had only 16 individuals lead the judicial branch of government in our history illustrates the most important characteristic of the judicial branch, and that characteristic is lifetime tenure.
I believe the guiding question for each of us in determining a nominee’s fitness for this post should be whether the person is dedicated to applying the Constitution to every case considered by the Court, and not adding to or changing the Constitution’s text to suit his or her own personal policy preferences.
I was pleased to have met privately with Judge Roberts just yesterday. I came away from that meeting even more convinced that this man has the ability and temperament necessary to lead the Supreme Court. I believe Judge Roberts is dedicated to the rule of law and the principle of judicial restraint, and most importantly, will not substitute his own policy preferences for those of the elected representatives in the executive and legislative branches of our government.
I believe Judge Roberts’ career embodies these principles, Mr. President. As Judge Roberts stated during his hearing, judges are like umpires, and umpires don’t make the rules, they apply them. I do not believe Judge Roberts will engage in the judicial activism that we have witnessed on the Supreme Court and the lower federal courts in the past few decades.
We have seen what damage the Supreme Court is able to do when it is composed of individuals who are not committed to judicial restraint. Instead of acting as umpires and applying the law, some on the Supreme Court and the federal bench are pitching and batting.
The most recent example came in the case of Kelo v. City of New London, decided just this past June. As you know, Mr. President, the Constitution says the government cannot take private property for public use without just compensation. However, in the Kelo case, the Supreme Court emptied any meaning from the phrase “for public use” in the Fifth Amendment.
In Kelo, the Supreme Court held that a city government’s decision to take private homes for the purpose of economic development satisfies the “public use” requirement of the Fifth Amendment. This case makes private property vulnerable to being taken and transferred to another private owner, so long as the government’s purpose for the taking is deemed “economic development.”
Mr. President, I read in today’s edition of the Washington Post that several of our Democratic colleagues, as well as the Democratic National Committee Chairman, are already threatening to filibuster the next nominee to the Supreme Court. It is shocking to me that they are threatening a filibuster of the next nominee before they even know who the nominee is going to be. They are even threatening to filibuster possible nominees who were just confirmed to the appellate courts and explicitly included in the “Memorandum of Understanding” that seven Democrats and seven Republicans signed onto last May.
That is wrong, Mr. President, and the American people will see it for the blind partisanship that it is. I would remind my colleagues on the other side of the aisle that they have sworn to uphold the Constitution through their representation in this body, not to thwart its intent or reshape its application to suit the nattering liberal elite and their special interest groups. I implore my Democratic colleagues not to blindly abuse the filibuster. These threats are symptomatic of the breakdown of the nomination process, and they must stop.
I believe Judge Roberts is eminently fit and qualified to serve as the next Chief Justice. I will proudly cast my vote for him, and I urge my colleagues to do the same.
Thank you, Mr. President. I yield the floor.
"My meeting with Judge Roberts today only furthered my high opinion of him and my confidence in his ability to serve as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court," Thune said. "This is a man of high moral character and sound legal judgment, who has a profound respect for the Constitution and the role he is ready to assume. I look forward to voting to confirm Judge Roberts this week and to the fine service he will provide the nation and the Court for years to come."
The Senate is expected to vote on Judge Robert's confirmation Thursday. At this point it appears Roberts will be confirmed and I'm more curious as to who will be Bush's nominee to replace Justice O'Connor. I was way off with my predictions last time, so I'm not even going to speculate this time. Any thoughts from our readers who the nominee will be?
KELO has more on Sen. Thune's meeting with judge Roberts.
I blogged on the Patriot Act a couple days ago. Now the only radio talk show host I can stand, the very intelligent Dennis Prager, takes up the fight. Although the column in its entirety is a bit weak, I appreciate the following comment and note it is not just leftist who are hysterical over the Patriot Act:
The Patriot Act: According to leftist spokesmen and groups, the Patriot Act is a grave threat to liberty and democracy. It is frequently likened to the tactics of a fascist state. This is pure hysteria. The Los Angeles Times recently published statistics concerning the use of the Act. Through 2004, of the 7,136 complaints to the Justice Department's inspector general, one was related to the Patriot Act. The number of "sneak and peek" warrants, allowing searches without telling a subject, totaled 155. The number of roving wiretaps was 49, and the number of personal records seizures under Section 215 of the Act was 35.
The great British magazine The Economist has an article about John Roberts in their Sept. 15, 2005 print edition [Update: Here's the link; subscription required]:
The nominee pleases almost everybody
One of the surest ways to guarantee high drama in Washington is to nominate a conservative to the Supreme Court. In 1987, Robert Bork's confirmation hearings gave the world a new word--"Borking". In 1991, Clarence Thomas complained of an "electronic lynching". John Roberts is a candidate not just for a seat on the court but for chief justice. But his appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee was about as dramatic as a kabuki play.
The Democrats tried their best to reveal the fanatic behind Mr Roberts's butter-wouldn't-melt exterior. They grilled him about his views on the right to privacy (ie, abortion). They reminded him of memos that he had written as a young lawyer for the Reagan administration--particularly one in which he talked of the "so-called" right to privacy. Arlen Specter, a rare pro-choice Republican, held up a huge sign to illustrate that Roe v Wade is not just a precedent but a "super-duper precedent". Ted Kennedy gave his usual impression of an about-to-explode volcano.
But Mr Roberts--alarmingly similar to Perfect Peter in the "Horrid Henry" books--remained preternaturally composed. He even brought his perfect family along with him, his son wearing a bow tie and his daughter with a huge bow in her hair. Facing his inquisitors, he hit all the right notes. Judges should be modest, he said (a signal to conservatives that he doesn't believe in judicial activism). But they should also believe in precedent (a signal to liberals that he won't take a scythe to activist decisions).
He made skilful use of the Ruth Bader Ginsburg gambit--refusing to answer questions on specific subjects that might come before him on the bench. He also handled the abortion issue well. He made enough conciliatory comments on the right to privacy and the importance of respecting precedents to allow centrist Democrats to vote "aye". He also insisted that there is nothing wrong with judges changing their minds. But he avoided a right-wing backlash by refusing to say whether the right to privacy extends to abortion.
Russ Feingold, a Democratic senator, forcefully pointed out that "this is a confirmation proceeding, not a coronation". But a coronation was what it looked like.
In an earlier post that attracted some attention, I quoted Christopher Hitchen's piece on the organizers of the anti-war rally in Washington. Hitchens points to David Corn's LA Weekly expose on International Answer, one of the two major sponsors of the event. That Hitchens was right, and I was right, about International Answer, I here include some notes from Corn's piece.
First, I wish to note a couple of things. I am not suggesting anything about the thousands who attended the rally. They were no doubt a very mixed bag. I am certainly not suggesting that anyone who opposes the war is in any way tainted by the decidedly nasty history of International Answer. As I have said repeatedly, there are many honest and intelligent people on both sides of the question.
Second, Corn is an impeccably left wing journalist. He writes for the Nation, and is very fond of scathing stories about the Bush Administration. I would be very disappointed if he is not vehemently anti-war. This is what Corn says about International Answer. Note that this is a 2002 article, and so is not discussing the recent rally.
[The] Workers World Party, a small political sect that years ago split from the Socialist Workers Party to support the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956. The party advocates socialist revolution and abolishing private property. It is a fan of Fidel Castro’s regime in Cuba, and it hails North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il for preserving his country’s “socialist system,” which, according to the party’s newspaper, has kept North Korea “from falling under the sway of the transnational banks and corporations that dictate to most of the world.” The WWP has campaigned against the war-crimes trial of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. A recent Workers World editorial declared, “Iraq has done absolutely nothing wrong.”
Officially, the organizer of the Washington demonstration was International ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism). But ANSWER is run by WWP activists, to such an extent that it seems fair to dub it a WWP front. Several key ANSWER officials — including spokesperson Brian Becker — are WWP members. Many local offices for ANSWER’s protest were housed in WWP offices. Earlier this year, when ANSWER conducted a press briefing, at least five of the 13 speakers were WWP activists. They were each identified, though, in other ways, including as members of the International Action Center [my emphasis].
Now I humbly submit that an organization that supported the Soviet Invasion of Hungary, one of the most brutal episodes in the Cold War, cannot in any sense be described as an "anti-war" group. It is pro-war. It just wants the other side to win. And it is not in the least concerned with human rights. It admires people who ruthless crush them.
With a sponsor like this, its not surprising that George Galloway showed up as a key speaker. Galloway, a British MP, is also a professional apologist for Saddam Hussein. He is also decidedly on the side of the insurgents. In fact, he encouraged them in their campaign in the vilest terms on Syrian television. From the London Telegraph:
Mr Galloway appealed to the Arab world, drawing a parallel between Baghdad under coalition control and Jerusalem under Israeli control since the 1967 war.
"Two of your beautiful daughters are in the hands of foreigners: Jerusalem and Baghdad," he said. "The foreigners are doing to your daughters as they will. The daughters are crying for help and the Arab world is silent. Some of them are collaborating with the rape of these two beautiful Arab daughters. Why? Because they are too weak and too corrupt to do anything about it."
Now that guy is on the other side. Kill Americans and Brits, if you value your daughter's virginity. That is as vile as it gets. If he is invited to speak at the rally, there is something wrong with the rally. Can this really be good for the anti-war movement? Can it be good for anyone on the left of the American spectrum? I note that almost no serious member of Congress, certainly no Hillary Clinton, attended the rally. They knew better.
I humbly submit that my previous post was right on target.
I have posted a comment on Chad's site requesting a retraction. Here is the note.
Thank you for saying that I'm the sane one around here. You should see the other inmates.
As for your passionate note:
1) As I say on SDP, you badly misquote me. I did not say:
"You say anti-war protestors support Castro and Kim Il-Jung and are "on the other side"?"
I do say:
"The groups sponsoring the Washington meeting are not anti-war at all; they are just on the other side."
The difference in wording is obviously critical. My criticism applied solely to those two groups-International Answer and United for Peace and Justice- which are clearly named at the beginning of my blog.
I also provided a meaty quotation from Christopher Hitchens Slate article which substantiates my criticisms of the two organization. Hitchens himself refers to two very left wing journalists who have made similar points about these two organizations. They are also based on watching some live footage in which one speaker describe the insurgents in Iraq in glowing terms.
Perhaps you know of information to the contrary? If not, then you cannot know that my points were false.
2) This past summer you jump all over my butt for daring to defend James Dobson. What if I and the rest of SDPolitics attended a meeting sponsored by Dobson? In all honesty, wouldn't you be all over that? Why can't I make the same kind of complaint?
3) For the record, I believe that many reasonable, honest, and intelligent people oppose the war in Iraq, and I am more than willing to include you in that group.
I said nothing to the contrary, and if it is thought that I implied something about anyone else, let this stand as a retraction.
4) What's with the "embarrassed for Northern" and remark about the President at the end? Do you suppose that the President of the University is in the business of policing the speech of his professors? Is that what you believe in: bullying people until they stop saying things you don't like? You almost sound like Erin up there: Mom! Mom! He blogged nasty things about me! But I think better of you than that.
5) I humbly request at least a modest retraction. I did not say what you said I did. I cannot come down on you too hard, since I myself have made similar mistakes. I am perfectly willing to believe your misquote was an honest error. Perhaps you were in a hurry. At any rate, I think am within reason to ask that the misquote be acknowledged.
As I said above, I do not wish to come down too hard on Chad for the misleading description of what I said. In the heat of blogging it is easy to make mistakes.
I am a little more miffed about the rather snide references to Northern. Anyone who reads the Aberdeen American News will notice that Jim Seeber is at the opposite end of the political spectrum from me, judged by our respective columns. Students at Northern are exposed to Professors with a wide range of political opinions. That's what colleges should be like. If someone wishes to send their kids to a college where the political opinions of the Professors are rigorously monitored, and dissent is suppressed with more or less veiled comments, they shouldn't send them to Northern or to most other institutions. Maybe a cloister would be more appropriate. I emphatically add that all opinions expressed on this blog are my own and have nothing to do with my institution.
I caught just a bit of former FEMA head Mike Brown in front of a House committee that is investigating what went wrong with Katrina relief. I must say watching Brownie in front of these jerks is like watching Florida vs. Florida State in football: I am rooting for injuries (that's a joke).
It must be said that these hearings have fulfilled their purpose, namely giving congressmen an opportunity to preen in front of the cameras. I found nothing informative going on here. This was purely political theater, and that's it. Congressmen doing what they do best: being indignant so they can prove to the rubes back home that they care. One almost expects Chris Shays to shout, "I am shocked, shocked! to find gambling going on in this establishment." But one must ask Congress some questions. Where were you in all of this? Why weren't you performing your oversight responsibilities? If Mike Brown was so obviously incompetent and if FEMA was so obviously under-funded, why didn't Congress do anything about it? Why didn't they appropriate more money for flood control or levee construction? I heard no one, Republican or Democrat, complain about this stuff until after Katrina.
Let's go to the record. If FEMA and Mike Brown were so incompetent, why were they so praised just last year when hurricane Charley hit Florida. Here's a news story from the St. Petersburgh Times, August 17, 2004:
"I'm not ready to start ripping FEMA," Wayne Sallade said Monday, referring to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. "They've been here. They've been good partners. If the need arises to tell it like it is, I will."
While there are similarities between Andrew and Charley in their devastating impact, early signs indicate a major difference: The response by the federal and state governments is quicker and better this time.
Gov. Jeb Bush sought federal help Friday while Charley was still in the Gulf of Mexico. President Bush approved the aid about an hour after the hurricane made landfall.
Read the whole thing, as they say, and you'll see lots of similarities to our present FEMA predicament. Here's another story, this time from the Boston Globe on August 15, 2004:
After Hurricane Andrew left thousands homeless in August 1992, the first President Bush's administration was bitterly criticized for moving too slowly to deliver food, water, and troops. Although his campaign vastly outspent that of Bill Clinton, his support ebbed and Bush was forced to defend what once had been considered home turf, winning by only a small margin.
The federal response was noticeably different this week. Even before Hurricane Charley struck, the second Bush White House was poised to act, this time backed by another Bush in the Florida governor's mansion. Hours after Hurricane Charley made landfall, federal aid was flowing, and the president arrives this morning.
A year ago these guys were praised. Now they are morons. Let's do some methodology here. Last year there was George Bush, Mike Brown at FEMA and Florida Governor Jeb Bush. This year there is George Bush, Mike Brown at FEMA and Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco. What's the independent variable?
Update: John Hinderaker is nicer to Michael Brown than I would like, but still, we are largely in agreement.
Last week NRO reported the number of hurricanes hitting each state in the past 104 years:
Direct Hits, 1900-2004
North Carolina 29
South Carolina 16
New York 9
Rhode Island 5
New Hampshire 2
New Jersey 1
A state conspicuous by its absence is South Dakota. I think we've got a new tourism slogan: "Great Faces, Great Places, No Hurricanes."
Now it turns out that the Wall St. Journal suggests developing inland U.S., including the Dakotas so as to keep our infrastructure and, more importantly, our people away from vulnerable coasts. What can one say to that? "Bully!" Major Georgia hat tip to Joe Knippenberg. Here's what the Journal has to say:
More broadly, as a nation, we may want to consider ways to encourage greater development further inland. Americans have been crowding into the coasts for generations, even though one of our great assets is the broad interior hinterland. Our continued population growth--from 310 million now to 400 million by 2050--may make repopulating the hinterlands more economically viable. Instead of offering "homesteads" or funds for repeated rebuildings on the crowded, and sometimes dangerous, coasts--particularly in below-sea-level New Orleans--it might make more sense to encourage settlement and investment deeper into our nation's interior.
I seem to have offended Chad at the CCK by my recent post. Chad and I have been reasonably cordial to one another, which explains his comment, addressed to me, that I was the sane one [here at SDP]. Fortunately his complaint is based on a mistake. Chad says I say this:
You say anti-war protestors support Castro and Kim Il-Jung and are "on the other side"? Not only is that a low blow, but it's blantantly false.
Its a low blow only if its false. But in fact, I did not say that. What I said was this:
The groups sponsoring the Washington meeting are not anti-war at all; they are just on the other side. They speak glowingly of the insurgents who have murdered thousands of our soldiers and tens of thousands of their own countrymen. They admire the gangster Kim Il Sung.
And not only do I say it, but I base the judgment on quotations from Slate, an online and quite professional journal. The author is Christopher Hitchens, pro-war to be sure, but with solid leftist credentials. Moreover Hitchens refers to exposes about the event sponsors by David Corn and Marc Cooper who are impeccable lefties. But they are sober enough to realize that letting the anti-war movement be run by this sort of folk might not be the best strategy.
Lest there be any misunderstanding, let me be explicit. I did not say, nor do I believe, that everyone who opposes the war "supports Castro or admires Kim Il Sung (or Kim Jong Il for that matter). I am on record in my columns and in this blog as saying that reasonable, intelligent, and good people can oppose the war. In fact, some of those people are conservatives.
John Thune is being nominated to chair the NRSC, which is a key Senate leadership position:
Celeste Calvitto: Pollster says Thune should lead GOP committee
Will Sen. John Thune be the next chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee?
He ought to be, according to David Winston, a Republican pollster and contributing writer for Capitol Hill's Roll Call newspaper.
Winston said in a telephone interview that in addition to Thune's "giant killer" reputation after defeating former Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle last year, his role in the successful fight to save Ellsworth Air Force Base — which Thune downplays — has further increased his cachet among Senate colleagues.
"He took on Daschle and the Defense Department and won. It is a very big thing to defeat the leader of the other side. Then, you add BRAC," Winston said, referring to the vote by the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission to reject the Pentagon's plan to close Ellsworth. "A lot of other senators did not have that level of success with BRAC, and they have respect for that accomplishment. … The way the whole BRAC Commission effort evolved, starting on the short end, working the commission and ultimately winning, shows he has the ability to get things done."
Winston said that's why Thune would be a good candidate to lead the National Republican Senatorial Committee, or NRSC, which recruits and supports candidates.
Thune spokesman Kyle Downey said Thune "has been approached" about the job.
"It is always flattering when your colleagues throw your name into the ring for a leadership position," Downey said. "But it will be quite some time before he will make a decision like that, and he would weigh how that position would affect South Dakota."
Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C., currently heads the NRSC. The vote for a chairman will be after the November 2006 elections and before the Senate reconvenes in January 2007.
Foreign Policy is providing this interesting table of countries that have donated money and supplies to the United States for relief efforts for Katrina.
America’s friends abroad, and even some of its foes, have responded to the horrific destruction to the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina by pledging money and sending supplies to assist the recovery effort. Qatar, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates lead the pack, offering $100 million each. A touching $25,000 was pledged by tsunami-ravaged Sri Lanka. And Iran offered 20 million barrels of oil—if the United States lifts its sanctions. FP offers a complete breakdown of the kind (and sometimes surprising) generosity of more than 50 countries around the world.
While most of the rest of us were working, a hundred thousand protesters armed with Ipods descended on the Mall in Washington D.C. Cindy Sheehan was there, of course, apparently complaining that everyone was paying too much attention to the hurricanes and too little attention to her. The Press is very interested in the anti-Bush sentiment of the crowd, but shows very little interest in the organizations which sponsored the event: International Answer and United for Peace and Justice. As usual, Christopher Hitchens has the goods on them.
I suppose that it is possible that Michael Janofsky has never before come across "International ANSWER," the group run by the "Worker's World" party and fronted by Ramsey Clark, which openly supports Kim Jong-il, Fidel Castro, Slobodan Milosevic, and the "resistance" in Afghanistan and Iraq, with Clark himself finding extra time to volunteer as attorney for the génocidaires in Rwanda. Quite a "wide range of progressive political objectives" indeed, if that's the sort of thing you like. However, a dip into any database could have furnished Janofsky with well-researched and well-written articles by David Corn and Marc Cooper—to mention only two radical left journalists—who have exposed "International ANSWER" as a front for (depending on the day of the week) fascism, Stalinism, and jihadism.
The group self-lovingly calling itself "United for Peace and Justice" is by no means "narrow" in its "antiwar focus" but rather represents a very extended alliance between the Old and the New Left, some of it honorable and some of it redolent of the World Youth Congresses that used to bring credulous priests and fellow-traveling hacks together to discuss "peace" in East Berlin or Bucharest. Just to give you an example, from one who knows the sectarian makeup of the Left very well, I can tell you that the Worker's World Party—Ramsey Clark's core outfit—is the product of a split within the Trotskyist movement. These were the ones who felt that the Trotskyist majority, in 1956, was wrong to denounce the Russian invasion of Hungary. The WWP is the direct, lineal product of that depraved rump. If the "United for Peace and Justice" lot want to sink their differences with such riffraff and mount a joint demonstration, then they invite some principled political criticism on their own account. And those who just tag along … well, they just tag along.
To be against war and militarism, in the tradition of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, is one thing. But to have a record of consistent support for war and militarism, from the Red Army in Eastern Europe to the Serbian ethnic cleansers and the Taliban, is quite another. It is really a disgrace that the liberal press refers to such enemies of liberalism as "antiwar" when in reality they are straight-out pro-war, but on the other side. Was there a single placard saying, "No to Jihad"? Of course not. Or a single placard saying, "Yes to Kurdish self-determination" or "We support Afghan women's struggle"? Don't make me laugh. And this in a week when Afghans went back to the polls, and when Iraqis were preparing to do so, under a hail of fire from those who blow up mosques and U.N. buildings, behead aid workers and journalists, proclaim fatwahs against the wrong kind of Muslim, and utter hysterical diatribes against Jews and Hindus.
The groups sponsoring the Washington meeting are not anti-war at all; they are just on the other side. They speak glowingly of the insurgents who have murdered thousands of our soldiers and tens of thousands of their own countrymen. They admire the gangster Kim Il Sung
It turns out many of the horror stories coming out of New Orleans in the wake of Katrina were, well, false. It seems the claims of social breakdown were highly exaggerated. I wait patiently for the media to correct itself. I also await more stories about the thoroughly corrupt New Orleans government. And what's the solution to New Orleans' problems? Give these corrupt people more money, evidently.
From today's The Hotline:
NORTH DAKOTA: Karl's Roeven, Lookin' For A Candidate?
ND GOP leaders say WH Dep. CoS Karl Rove's visit to ND "provided a boost, no matter what happens after his scheduled meeting" with Gov. John Hoeven (R). Rove "delivered a low-key speech" to about 60 GOP cmte members 9/24, before attending an event with Hoeven and others. State Rep. Ron Iverson (R): "John Hoeven is going to do what John Hoeven wants to do. Of course, I would like to see him up for Senate. I think he would beat (Sen. Kent) Conrad (D)."
"Rove, who did not take questions from reporters, mentioned Hoeven once in his speech," calling him a "remarkable man." Hoeven did not attend, but others "said Rove's pep talk contained more substance than hype" (Kolpack, AP/Grand Forks Herald, 9/24).
Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) "criticized" the trip, writing in a letter to Pres. Bush: "It would be expected that Mr. Rove would be a this post '24/7' during the crisis" (Home News Tribune, 9/24). Iverson: "The hurricane just hit. Karl Rove being there is not going to stop the rain from falling. It's not going to stop the people from doing the jobs they're supposed to do."
ND Dem spokesperson Rick Gion: "We don't believe that Karl Rove shares the values of most North Dakotans. He's a dirty politician and we're surprised they would bring him here" (AP/Grand Forks Herald, 9/24).
Check out John Hinderacker's post about our neighbors to the west. Excerpt:
Judging from most news reports, you would think that the Republicans are everywhere in retreat, and the increasing radicalism of the Democratic Party is free of any consequences. Every now and then, however, reality intrudes. As it did on Saturday in Wyoming . . .
New York Post, Sunday, September 25, 2005, page 29.
HEADLINE: "Mrs. President: Five who could be the Very First Lady." Picture of Geena Davis who is playing the first woman president in a TV series, and then pictures and bios of Stephanie Herseth, Kathleen Sebelius, Hillary Clinton, Condoleeza Rice, and Mary Landrieu.
"Quick take: Young, single, and attractive, Herseth doesn't look good just by comparison to the old, cantankerous men in Congress--the comely brunette would turn heads in any swank SoHo nightclub."
"Pros: Herseht is one of the few House Democrats with any star power, earning it in a special election in South Dakota, and then cruising to re-election. She comes from a political family: Her grandfather served as governor."
"Cons: The House is a bad platform for seeking the presidency. Unless Democrats gain control of Congress, Herseth won't have any power to push a positive agenda, and will have to buck her own party to get attention."
The left is critcizing Karl Rove for his visit in the burgeoning political hotbed of North Dakota:
A senator from New Jersey is criticizing White House adviser Karl Rove for planning to attend a North Dakota fundraiser the same day Hurricane Rita is expected to hit Texas.
Democrat Frank Lautenberg sent a letter to President Bush Friday saying "it would be expected that Mr. Rove would be at his post '24/7' during this crisis."
Rove is scheduled to attend a Fargo fundraiser for the North Dakota Republican Party on Saturday. He also is scheduled to speak with Gov. John Hoeven, who some Republicans are pushing to challenge Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad.
Conrad is up for re-election in 2006, and Hoeven has been touted by state and national political officials as his strongest potential Republican opponent. But the governor has been quiet on his plans, deferring questions on a run without denying he is considering it.
"Rove is putting politics over people," said Rick Gion, a spokesman for the state Democratic Party. "What is he doing politicking in North Dakota when the people of the Gulf Region need his help?"
The White House pushed several high-profile Republicans to run in the 2004 election cycle, including Republican John Thune of South Dakota. Thune ousted Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle last November.
A spokesman for Conrad echoed criticism by Lautenberg and Gion.
"I find Karl Rove's sense of priorities very curious," said Chris Thorne.
Fear is beginning to set in for the ND Democrats. They obviously recognize that Hoeven could defeat Conrad, so in response they charge Rove of politicking to discredit the action.
After Hurricane Betsy swamped New Orleans in 1965, President Lyndon Johnson stroked its citizens ("this nation grieves for its neighbors") and pledged federal protection. The Army Corps of Engineers designed a Lake Pontchartrain Hurricane Barrier to shield the city with flood gates like those that protect the Netherlands from the North Sea. Congress provided funding and construction began. But work stopped in 1977 when a federal judge ruled, in a suit brought by Save Our Wetlands, that the Corps' environmental impact statement was deficient. Joannes Westerink, a professor of civil engineering at Notre Dame, believes the barrier would have been an "effective barrier" against Katrina's fury.
Now if it were true that this barrier could have saved New Orleans, and that it would have been built but for an environmental group's lawsuit, then "Save Our Wetlands" is much more responsible for the tragedy of New Orleans than the city's mayor, Louisiana's Governor, or President Bush.
This reminded me of an article from the Rapid City Journal.
Three timber-thinning projects on more than 50,000 acres of the Wyoming side of the Black Hills are stalled by environmental appeals. The delays show that, despite changes in federal regulations and a new federal law to speed up such decisions, forest management disputes can still bring logging and thinning to a halt.
There were a number or reasons for the project.
The projects called for a combination of commercial logging, noncommercial timber thinning, prescribed burns and brush removal in mosaic patterns inside the boundaries of each of the three project areas. Much of the land inside the project boundaries would remain untouched, including patches of private land.
Aaron Everett of the Black Hills Forest Resource Association, a timber industry group, . . . contends, along with the Forest Service, that these projects would have reduced the risk of catastrophic wildfires and runaway bug infestation by thinning dense stands of Ponderosa pines. Everett also says thinning, including logging, can improve wildlife habitat and protect streams.
Jeremy Nichols of Biodiversity Conservation Alliance said last week: "Management shouldn't be focused on industrial exploitation." By that, he means commercial logging. . . . Old-growth timber and stands left to die and decay through natural process provide valuable habitat for such species as goshawks, pygmy nuthatches and the fringed myotis (a bat).
The bottom line for most environmentalists is that economic growth is bad because pretty much anything that human beings do or that makes them happier is bad. Trees felled and made into lumber are a crime against nature. Trees burnt to a crisp by fire are a sign of the wonders of nature.
Environmentalists certainly think they know better than the people living in such places as the Black Hills or New Orleans.
Most local residents and virtually every government official in the Black Hills — local, state and federal — oppose Biodiversity's appeals of the three projects.
The South Dakota State Historical Society recently received a diary kept by a ranch hand who lived in western South Dakota at the time of the Wounded Knee Massacre.
Henry P. Smith's diary was donated to the society for safekeeping by his granddaughter, June Koerper of Wichita, Kan. The dairy contains his memoirs from October 1889, when he arrived in western South Dakota as a 23-year-old ranch hand, through May 1891.
The diary includes a rare, firsthand, non-governmental account of the Wounded Knee Massacre of Dec. 29, 1890. It is based on information from his older brother, James Benjamin Smith, who witnessed the event.
The diary was featured in the Summer 2004 issue of South Dakota History, the society's quarterly journal.
Henry Smith came to South Dakota from Indiana at the urging of his brother, James, to establish a ranch after the Great Sioux Reservation was opened for non-Indian settlement. The brothers' ranch was on the north bank of the White River, east of current-day Interior and Cedar Pass in Jackson County.
The diary records that after warnings of the danger of an Indian outbreak, James Smith and a neighbor on Dec. 26, 1890, traveled 60 miles south "to the seat of war" to learn what was going on.
James Smith returned home on Jan. 2, 1891, and his brother's diary entry that day was particularly long as he related the events of the Dec. 29 massacre.
The Rapid City Journal has a brief piece by Celeste Calvitto on Johnson's decision to support John Roberts.
"The individual he (Roberts) is going to replace was a very conservative member of the court, so his confirmation does not change the overall look of the Supreme Court in terms of its ideology," Johnson said in a conference call with reporters. "It seems to me that Judge Roberts is a skilled lawyer who is within the mainstream of conservative legal thinking, and for that reason he deserves to be confirmed."
That's two arguments: one, that the Court should remain "balanced," which probably means, for Johnson, that it shouldn't get any more conservative that it is now; and two, that Roberts is within the mainstream. The first argument seems to be held in reserve in case the Democrats decide to attack the next nominee even if she is just as much within the "conservative mainstream" as Roberts.