Debate Delirium

Thursday, September 30, 2004

The upcoming presidential debates -- surely to lack all spontaneity whatsoever -- isn't going to do much for either candidate despite Terry McAuliffe's grueling efforts. Presidential debates have as much conviction as National Primaries, and I have little desire to watch these two politicians take stage and give note-card replies to questions they've been prepared for, while only doing so after both campaigns were able to agree on predictably laughable conditions and restrictions.

A Hollywood Feminist's Logic

Cameron Diaz on why women need to vote and preserve the "right" to their bodies:

We have a voice now, and we're not using it, and women have so much to lose. I mean, we could lose the right to our bodies. We could lo--if you think that rape should be legal, then don't vote. But if you think that you have a right to your body, and you have a right to say what happens to you and fight off that danger of losing that, then you should vote, and those are the... It's your voice, that's your right.

Ms. Diaz is right. Women have a lot to lose this year. A Bush victory would mean loosing "the right to our (women's) bodies." Women won't be legally able to inject themselves with illegal narcotics, streak naked in public, write death threats to the president on their persons, assist someone commit suicide...and, oh...oh the horror!

Update: Right on Red has in interesting perspective regarding the rights of women outside of the United States.

A Gun Bill that Makes Sense

From the Washington Post:

The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a bill yesterday repealing most of the District's gun laws, in a vote that handed an election-season victory to gun rights groups and was denounced by the city's leaders as a historic violation of home rule.

By a vote of 250 to 171, the House passed the D.C. Personal Protection Act, which would end the District's 1976 ban on handguns and semiautomatic weapons, roll back registration requirements for ammunition and decriminalize possession of unregistered weapons and possession of guns in homes or workplaces.

The bill also would prohibit the mayor and D.C. Council from enacting gun limits that exceed federal law or "discourage . . . the private ownership or use of firearms."
Unfortunately, with only about a week to go before Congress recesses for the fall campaign, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) has indicated only major legislation and uncontroversial measures are likely to reach the floor. How the D.C. Personal Protection Act is neither controversial nor major is beyond me.
Rep. Mark Edward Souder (R-Ind.), the bill's sponsor, called the vote a bipartisan victory for District residents' constitutional right to bear arms. During an hour-long debate, Souder and his allies referred to Washington as the "nation's murder capital" more than a dozen of times, arguing that the city's homicide rate shows that its restrictions on guns are ineffective.

Bill supporters note that the D.C. homicide rate was 72 percent higher in 2001 than it was in 1976, while the national rate had dropped by 36 percent. Opponents say that the D.C. rate is at a 20-year low and has fallen 55 percent since 1994.
Opponents have forgotten to say that Washington D.C.'s residential population has 35,000 people less than it did in 1990 and has decreased by 1.5% since 2000. Plus, D.C. has fewer citizens than every state in the Union except for Wyoming. There's nothing optimistic about the current trends for the "nation's murder capital."
"The D.C. handgun ban . . . has failed miserably. This bill is demanded by the people of the United States," Souder said. "Only the District of Columbia prohibits a person from having a firearm assembled and loaded at home for the purpose of self-defense."

Voting for the bill were 198 Republicans and 52 Democrats. Opposed were 148 Democrats, 22 Republicans and one independent.

In a sign of how the politics of gun control have changed in Congress, the vote was almost the opposite of a 1999 House attempt to repeal the District's gun laws, which failed 250 to 175. Thirty-four House members -- 24 Republicans and 10 Democrats -- who voted five years ago to preserve the city laws switched sides and co-sponsored Souder's bill.
Anything at this point is worth a try.

Fox News Outfoxes Competition

Bad news for Fox bashers (I know, I used to be one of them), the race for ratings is hardly a close one. From Reuters:

Hot on the heels of its beating the broadcast networks in coverage of the Republican National Convention, Fox News Channel has added another feather to its cap: It averaged more primetime viewers than its competitors combined in the third quarter.

Fox News Channel averaged 1.75 million viewers in primetime during the third quarter, up 39% from the nonconvention year of 2003, according to data released Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research.

Its competitors -- CNN, CNN Headline News, MSNBC and CNBC -- averaged an aggregate 1.67 million viewers in the third quarter, which ended Monday. It was Fox News Channel's highest-rated quarter since the Iraq war began last year.

Fox News Channel captured nine of the top 10 programs in cable news along with all of the top five. "The O'Reilly Factor" led the pack with an average 2.4 million viewers. "Hannity & Colmes" and "On the Record" both showed double-digit growth.

CNN averaged 882,000 viewers in primetime, up 19% from the same period last year. CNN Headline News averaged 226,000 viewers in primetime, up 17%, and CNBC averaged 133,000 viewers, down 13%.

MSNBC grew 55% in primetime to an average 421,000 viewers, thanks not only to the conventions and hurricanes but also the "halo effect" that carrying the Olympics had for MSNBC.

Fox News got this week off to a strong start thanks to the first installment of a three-part interview with President Bush (news - web sites), which has boosted "O'Reilly" to its best ratings of the year. Monday's edition of the show averaged 4.6 million viewers, according to data released Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research.
Besting CNN, CNN Headline News, MSNBC and CNBC combined? Where are all these conservatives coming from to boost Fox's ratings? Perhaps the "fair-and-balanced" network is actually watched by the middle of the road and Democrats tired of sleeping through Larry King? Just a thought.

Kerry's a Gun Guy. Honest!

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Not sure how I came across this site, but it's nice to know other bloggers like the Bitch Girls are continually fighting the good fight for gun rights.

By the way, I picked up my brand new Hi-Point 9mm at the shop today. Couldn't be happier. Sure it's on the cheap end, but it's comfortable grip, ergonomic ability to be concealed and lifetime warranty convinced me to try it out. There's not much quality out there for less than $150 and Hi-Point is the exception.

Bill O'Reilly's President Bush Interview: Part II

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

The questions get tougher and the president looks less confident. I'll have a link to the analysis as soon as it's posted.

Bringing Back the Assault Weapons Ban

I knew this was too good to be true. Lawmakers (in New York of all places) are already trying to bring back the assault weapons ban one week after it expired. Maybe if they spent less energy trying to keep an assault weapons ban on the books they could figure out how to reduce their high crime rates - which may or may not (hmm) be thanks to their tough gun laws.

From the New York Daily News:

"Not continuing the ban on assault weapons is one of the great disgraces this year," Schumer (D-N.Y.) said, promising that members of Congress will take up the cause during its next session.

A story in yesterday's Daily News showed how the once-banned weapons can pierce through concrete and even some bulletproof vests.

And some law enforcement officials fear the powerful guns, once used to guard drug dens during the height of the crack epidemic, could make their way back into New York City.
I never get tired of refuting these baseless claims. Notice how the sentence is structured: "…how the once-banned weapons can pierce through concrete and even some bulletproof vests." And notice how the story doesn't document one case where a cop was killed as a result of a his armor being pierced. With such a bad label, these news reports would make you think that the word "assault" makes weapons more dangerous when in fact "assault" rifles are less dangerous than standard hunting rifles. (Gary Kleck, "Armed: New Perspectives on Gun Control") Yeah, it's true. Bet you never heard that fact mentioned in a liberal newspaper or on a cable news program.
"The Daily News talked about people having AR-15s," Schumer said. "Nobody needs an AR-15. These were designed as weapons of war. ... They should be abolished."
Again on the subject of need. Who's to tell us what we do and do not need? Do we need cars? What about fast food? I'm sure alcohol is not a necessity. Tobacco is pretty dangerous. These vices are legal and yet they kill far more people than guns like the AR-15, a weapon virtually never used by criminals to commit crime. So you wanna' reduce crime? Let's start by enacting legislation that actually has an impact on crime rates. Gun control bills are furthest from the solution.

Bill O'Reilly's President Bush Interview: Part I

Monday, September 27, 2004

I've written up a critique on O'Reilly's interview with President Bush tonight that you can read here. I'll have more to say after the conclusion of all three parts, but for now the score looks neutral. Part I has probably had little or no effect on moderates and the undecided.

Are Daily Show Viewers Smarter than The Factor's?

From the Associated Press:

NEW YORK - The folks at Comedy Central were annoyed when Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly kept referring to "The Daily Show" audience as "stoned slackers." So they did a little research. And guess whose audience is more educated?

Viewers of Jon Stewart's show are more likely to have completed four years of college than people who watch "The O'Reilly Factor," according to Nielsen Media Research.

O'Reilly's teasing came when Stewart appeared on his show earlier this month.

"You know what's really frightening?" O'Reilly said. "You actually have an influence on this presidential election. That is scary, but it's true. You've got stoned slackers watching your dopey show every night and they can vote."

"If the head of General Motors was watching O'Reilly's show, that could be very important to us," said Doug Herzog, Comedy Central president.

"If you listen to O'Reilly, you get the sense that it was crazy longhairs behind the show," he said. "And it's not. It's great, smart television that attracts a well-compensated audience, most of whom are voting age."

Comedy Central also touted a recent study by the University of Pennsylvania's National Annenberg Election Survey, which said young viewers of "The Daily Show" were more likely to answer questions about politics correctly than those who don't.

Although seemingly taken aback by repeated "stoned slackers" references while talking with O'Reilly, Stewart was ready with a joke.

"This election is going to rely on the undecided," he said. "And who is more undecided than stoned slackers? Ice cream or pretzels? Ice cream or pretzels? What's it going to be?"

Whether it's the slacker or no-slacker zone, O'Reilly is entering it Oct. 7, when he's scheduled to appear on "The Daily Show.
I would not be all that surprised if this turned out to be true. The Daily Show, in all its goofiness actually uses the power of irony to make several logical points missed by the mass media. Through humor, the program recaps the day's events that would otherwise be unknown to those who don't watch cable news or have time to read the newspaper everyday.

Hot-headed conservatives regularly dismiss The Daily Show as being another liberally biased program, but such claims are nonsense. Jon Stewart makes fun of everyone and gives them free passes when they have the courage to show up for an interview.

Evil Glenn Limericks

Being that I'm a recent addition to the Alliance of Free Blogs, I figure it couldn't hurt to participate in some of the weekly assignments. This week's challenge: Evil Glenn Limericks.

Glenn Reynolds is a nerd you see
Though he tries to be cool like me
His blog is so boring
We'll all end up snoring
But at least he listens to BT.

Mailbag: The Right to Loath & Profit

Tim comments on: "A Disgraceful Johnny Depp and Dumb America":

I enjoyed your editorial, but I've got a few questions comments:"They became multimillion dollar celebrities on the only soil in the world that could make such a life possible, and then flee to a foreign country where they begin their assaults"

-There are no multimillionaire entertainers in other countries? I've lived overseas and every industrialized nation has multimillionaire entertainers Americans have never heard of.
You’re telling me Johnny Depp would have found equal success as an actor in France? I never said there are no rich celebrities in foreign countries, but among them Depp and other Hollywood actors would not be included if it weren’t for American films.
"While I think it's cowardly for celebrities to say such things while in other countries"

-They say the same kind of stuff when they're here. This is America. Why would they be afraid to speak their minds in the greatest democracy in the world?
Janeane Garofalo notwithstanding, hardly any critics of our country express their hatred on our soil. It's almost exclusivly overseas. No way would Johnny Depp ever tell an American audience our country is "dumb". By the way, I respect Ms. Garofalo even if I don't agree with her politics.
"...or if you're the Dixie Chicks, say you're ashamed to be from Texas during a sold out show in front of a Texas audience."

-They didn't say they were ashamed that THEY were from Texas; they said they were ashamed that GW was from Texas.
And on your other points. They have as much right to make money and criticize the right here as much as anyone has the right to make money and criticize the left here. Again, this is America. The people who are offended don't need to buy their product, and if everyone is offended, they will stop selling their product.
My problem is not with people criticizing others while making money. People do it all the time; see for yourself the next time you walk into a Barnes & Noble past the “Current Affairs” section. I don’t respect those who flee our country to preach against it at the pulpit of a nation where the majority of its people have a less than favorable opinion of Americans.

Coulter: Women Aren't That Bright

Friday, September 24, 2004

Ann Coulter and Pat Cadell were on Hannity and Colmes last night discussing poll numbers and the narrowing gender gap. A surprised Coulter was pleased to note that Bush has been picking up female votes, exclaiming, "We're not that bright!" For Coulter, as long as women traditionally vote for Democrats they will always be dim bulbs. Hannity was quick to disassociate himself with his colleague's remark.

Get 'Em Wasted!

Thursday, September 23, 2004

It's always good to support the troops but supporting their booze binges might be going a little too far. Surprisingly, Michelle Malkin - a conservative columnist who often exposes indecency - is advocating a site to help "the world's finest fighting force get schnockered!" The site, Beer for Soldiers, allows you to directly contribute to the soldiers' beer fund and is loaded with pictures of heavily intoxicated soldiers and partially nude women. One such photo shows a cross-eyed chick with an unbuttoned shirt plunging her tongue down a tall glass of ale. Either Mrs. Malkin didn't spend much time on the site or is coming around quite nicely.

Randi Rhodes's Candle

Randi Rhodes got fired up on her afternoon program today, irate over O'Reilly's supposedly fallacious statements he made on The O'Reilly Factor last night. Dismissing Air America as a station "no one listens to," O'Reilly erroneously pointed out that the liberal network has less than 20 affiliates when in fact it has 32 and gaining. Rhodes claims that in New York her show beats O'Reilly's Radio Factor in the ratings by an astonishing margin of 5-1. I have not verified this yet but am looking to do so. I would like to see Rhodes' show continue to expand. We've got enough of O'Reilly.

Preserving God Any Way Possible

From Associated Press:

WASHINGTON - The House passed legislation Thursday that would prevent the Supreme Court from ruling on whether the words "under God" should be stricken from the Pledge of Allegiance.

The bill, which was passed 247-173, would prohibit federal courts, including the Supreme Court, from hearing cases involving the pledge and its recitation and would prevent federal courts from striking the words "under God" from the pledge.

Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., the author of the amendment on legislation before the House Thursday, said the high court is likely to rule differently if it considers the substance of the case and "if we allow activist judges to start creating law and say that it is wrong to somehow allow schoolchildren to say 'under God' in the pledge."
This is an interesting issue. I fully support the words 'under God' in the pledge because it's a testament to the limited authority of any one Government official in this country. In the end, we answer only to our divine leader...if there is a divine leader - whomever He/She/It may be.

Moreover, I see nothing in the Constitution that forbids the voluntary practice of saying the Pledge of Allegiance in the classroom. That being said, I am not one the nine justices appointed to make such a finding. Let the Supreme Court hear it. There is that something in the Constitution called Article III. Hey, I despise activist judges too, but I know the Constitution, and I know its issues should be allowed to be heard before the Supreme Court.

Real Time Nausea

Flipping through the channels trying to escape the ridiculousness that is Tough Crowd With Colin Quinn (which by the way changed its tagline from "4 Rounds of Smart Comedy" to "4 Rounds of Honest Comedy") I landed on an even more nauseating program: Real Time With Bill Maher.

Discussing an issue much too complicated for him -- the "Assault Weapons" Ban -- Maher was joined by supposedly conservative author P.J. O'Rourke, black historian and Harvard professor Cornel West, and some foreign blonde actress Julie Delpy.

Maher opened the discussion with the question: Should we have assault weapons in the hands of civilians? I'm guessing he thinks the answer is no, meaning we should just leave them all in the hands of felonious thugs. "Why do you need assault weapons?" he asks. Well, why do we need McDonalds, cigarettes, Coca-Cola, R-rated movies, samurai swords, Hummers, and Internet with access to free porn? Maybe I'm just a fool for believing we Americans have a right to life, liberty and property, and that government has no position in deciding what we do or do not "need". "Why can't you gun-people just admit that it's a vice, like gambling?" A woman who carries a derringer in her purse to defend herself from rapists does not have a vice. A father who keeps a loaded long gun (automatic or not) in his bedroom to protect his family from intruders does not have a vice. (Maher may not understand that we don't all live in his neighborhood). A hobbyist who collects firearms from around the world for his display case does not have a vice.

None of Maher's guests appeared interested in offering counterarguments to his elementary points; O'Rourke replied that letting the gun ban expire was the conservatives' way of getting back at liberals for allowing abortion to remain legal.

The conversation then segued into the election. Maher whined that for the last few months everything has been about Vietnam. "We talk more about Vietnam than Vietnam!" he smirks as the audience roars. "We're obsessed with Vietnam!" Maher fails to mention that it was John Kerry who first brought Vietnam to the front of the stage; touting his military service at the Democratic National Convention.

Maher then criticized Bush for sucking up to voters giving us this wonderful quote: "You'd (Bush) rub lotion on a old Jewish woman's ass if she was registered." More laughter from the crowd ensued.

The Right to Vote is Not a Requirement to Vote

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

A few months back I tore into Burt Prelutsky’s pointless and shameful piece on John Kerry long before the Swift Boat controversy when the only thing conservatives were attacking the senator for were his looks. But today I turn to today’s column to make a point about the purpose of not-voting.

As we come into the home stretch of the presidential campaign, I'd like to suggest that everybody stop pressuring their friends and neighbors to vote. There is absolutely nothing un-American about staying home and minding your own business on Election Day.
This is why I’m against voter mobilization movements such as Rock the Vote and P. Diddy’s Vote or Die – because - as Mr. Prelutsky questions: “can you imagine what we're going to wind up with when really dumb people start voting in record numbers?”

Registering to vote should be convenient but not imposed in the same way telemarketers spring at you during dinner. If you don’t muster up the effort to register on your own terms then chances are you aren't a political person nor have much of an interest in our government. Voter movements and campaigns target such people and they're impossible to avoid; just like telemarketers. They gain the most ground on college campuses and ambush students with forms and clipboards just so they can be registered to vote. What does that accomplish? “I registered 15 people today. How many did you reach?” “Ha, I signed up 35. And all I had to do was walk down Sorority Row and pick out the hot blondes. Now they can fulfill their obligations as American citizens!"

Green Day is Back

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Liberal panache aide, the new Green Day album, American Idiot, which hits stores today, is a fascinating collection of mature ballads by a punk rock band that has "come around" longer than most in the genre have tenfold. A longer review will be provided shortly. Warning: It's not a CD for the hardcore Bush loyalists.

Blogger Credibility

I have no doubt that within the next few years more people will turn to their Favorites folder for news than television. TV, which has bested newspapers for faster access to the most updated news has been dethroned by the Internet. Cyberspace literally brings you the latest news instantly; many times before it happens. Sites like Drudge Report is one prime example and the ever-growing blogosphere of commentators has replaced the inaudible four panel split screen called by a fruitless moderator.

As for factual substance, the Internet is notorious for producing the faux variety but bloggers - as Power Line points out - have become so keen that the smallest error is pointed out and exploited throughout the blogroll. Blogging for readership is competitive business and no respectable blogger would want to risk putting out false reports.

Ugly ball

Monday, September 20, 2004

It's been an ugly start to the 2004 football season for. Both my Tampa Bay Bucs and Kansas City Chiefs started 0-2 and my Florida State Seminoles are a mere 1-1 after the brutal loss to Miami and thumping of Alabama.

Mailbag: Automatic Weapons Misconceptions

Thursday, September 16, 2004

NetBabe requests a counterargument:

Hi, I'm a relatively new reader to your site and have been following your new blog religiously (congrats by the way), and I find the gun-control issue fascinating. While you make good points I haven't seen you respond to any editorials that favor gun control. What do you have to say about Bill Berkowitz's Is there an assault weapon in your future?

Thanks for me linking me to the article, NetBabe. Let's break it down:

Despite recent polls showing that most Americans favor it [the assault weapons ban], despite support from a number of major law enforcement agencies, and despite the unqualified support from Senator John Kerry and quasi-support from President Bush -- he claims to favor it but has done nothing to push it -- the 1994 law signed by President Clinton banning the manufacture and importation of 19 types of assault weapons, including semiautomatic versions of the Intratec Tec-9 pistol and Uzi submachine gun, will expire at midnight Monday, September 13.

The majority of Americans do in fact support the assault weapons ban and it's no surprise. The media is heavily biased against the nature of guns and injects fear into their reports. Most people don't know the issues very well and tend to wrongly believe that more restrictions on guns mean either less guns on the streets or more control on gun use. The latter is only true for law-abiding good guys, meaning the proportion of gun ownership skews to the side of the felons whenever restrictions are put in place.

Example: One of the killers used a Tec-9 when he shot up Columbine High School in 1999 even though the weapon was banned. When bans are in effect, law-abiding citizens are at a disadvantage because felons don't follow laws. Anti-gun supporters often use Columbine to state their case, but fail to recognize that bans and restrictions have no effect on the number of weapons available and introduced to society. They are already here, and with two guns available for every American in this country, they're not going anywhere anytime soon.

The 19 types of assault weapons that were banned had been chosen for the blacklist based on no concrete evidence whatsoever. Before the law was signed by President Clinton in 1994, crimes that had been committed with those 19 guns made up a whopping 2% of all reported gun crimes.

The guns to be banned were chosen because of specific modifications that somehow made them more dangerous than their legal counterparts, such devices that allowed for bayonets and grenade launchers. Please e-mail me immediately if you can remember the last time you heard or read about a crime that was committed with a bayonet or grenade launcher.
While some gun manufacturers managed to find ways around the law, and the gun lobby, spearheaded by the National Rifle Association and its congressional allies, repeatedly tried to repeal the law, the ban remained intact and according to a number of studies proved to successfully remove a rash of deadly weapons from the streets. Now, however, unless Congress acts immediately, the ten-year sunset clause written into the law will kick in and the ban on these assault weapons will automatically expire.

What studies? Whatever rash Mr. Berkowitz is talking about never made it to Columbine.
In the 2000 campaign, President Bush indicated he supported the assault weapons ban, but he has done little to press the issue in Congress. A recent USA Today editorial summed up the administration’s position: “In spite of a drop in gun deaths since the ban was enacted and despite new fears of terrorism, Bush and Republican leaders in Congress seem more concerned about courting favor with the powerful gun lobby than allowing weapons of mass mayhem back on the nation's streets.”

Bush never supported the assault weapons ban, he was just trying to go along with popular opinion. Knowing the bill would never pass his desk he was able to say he supported it. Yes, gun deaths have dropped since the ban was enacted but in reality crime is at a 30-year low that started 20 years before the ban started. Unbiased experts in the field of criminology unanimously agree that the decline in gun deaths was not a result of the gun ban.
By Tuesday, September 14, gun manufacturers selling military-style firearms will be marketing them again: “The gun industry is champing at the bit for the ban to expire," Susan Peschin, firearms project director at the Consumer Federation of America, a nonprofit association of 300 consumer groups, recently told the Associated Press.

Well, it's been some time since this prediction and now that we've lived in a ban-free world for one week -- as I've reported on this blog -- gun store owners are seeing no significant change in gun sales and aren't likely to see one soon.
A study by the Washington, D.C.-based Violence Prevention Center found that “military style semi-automatic assault weapons pose a grave risk to law enforcement officers.” According to Officer Down-Assault Weapons and the War on Law Enforcement, “one in every five law enforcement officers slain in the line of duty between January 1st, 1998, and December 31st, 2001, were killed with assault weapons.”

Let's put this in perspective. Law enforcement officers deal with the scum of society on a daily basis. As my former Law Enforcement professor once said, cops death with a filtered society. Perpetrators who kill cops are the worst of the worst. To say that one in five deadly incidents involve assault weapons is not alarming nor needs attention. Again, these thugs, like the Columbine killers, will always have access to these weapons.
And according to the Fresno Bee, “Nationwide, a 1999 Justice Department study found, 1.6% of the firearms used in crimes since 1994 were banned assault weapons... [which was a] marked reduction from the five years before the federal ban, when assault weapons accounted for 4.8% of the guns used in crimes.”

While Mr. Berkowitz cites the Fresno Bee, I cite the U.S. Department of Justice", a department with its own statistics bureau which maintains that 2% of gun crimes committed before the ban were with the banned guns. Now we're talking about maybe a 1% difference in the banned weapons use rate as a result of the 10-year ban.

Thanks again for the e-mail, NetBabe. If anybody else knows of a good pro-ban article or commentary please send it my way for debunking.

Was the President a Sex Bomb?

Yes, says many Power Line readers. Rocket writes:

One opionion she [Rocket's wife] has expressed that never would have occurred to me, is that the National Guard flap helps President Bush because they keep showing him in his National Guard uniform.

Every woman who has emailed us agrees that the photos of W. in his National Guard uniform are a plus. The most common adjectives are "adorable" and "cute," with a number of readers adding "wholesome" and "clean cut."

A number of readers also observed that before the current controversy, many people had no idea that President Bush once flew fighter jets--a very impressive accomplishment. And listening to the Dems would lead a casual voter to think that Bush skipped out on his National Guard service altogether, a notion that is refuted by the photos of him in a fighter plane.
Bush may look attractive in those early National Guard days photos, but it's a stretch to say they're helping him in the presidential race. Regardless of who was a better looking man, you can't say the photos of Bush in a jumpsuit are more "impressive" than those of John Kerry riding through the Mekong Delta; heroically or not.

No Assault Weapons Influx?

What ever happened to that influx of semi-automatic weapons onto our streets now that they're legal? Could it be that the ant-gun crowd has once again overreacted? From The Arizona Republic:

A 1994 ban on some forms of semiautomatic weapons didn't affect Fred Barten's business, and he doubts it will now that the law has expired.

"You should come in a month from now and see if there's a change," Barten said from behind a counter at the Chandler Gun Shop. "I don't anticipate one."
From Kewanee Star Courier:
The U.S. ban on assault weapons is ending not with a bang but a whimper, say gun sellers and manufacturers who expect no noticeable effect on their business.

''We're certainly not waving our hands and dancing in the streets about it,'' said Mark Westrom, owner of firearms manufacturer ArmaLite Inc.
I hope my Leftist readership (which is larger than any other ideology oddly enough) can get some sleep now that we all know our country hasn't been transformed into the lawless Wild West.

Coulter Wednesdays

From C-BS:

I'll admit, there's a certain sadistic quality to such overwrought decency toward Dan Rather. But how does Bill O'Reilly know what Dan Rather was thinking when he put forged documents on the air? I know liberals have the paranormal ability to detect racism and sexism, but who knew O'Reilly could read an anchorman's mind just by watching him read the news?

For the second time this month Ann Coulter has taken a stab at FOX's Bill O'Reilly for not "taking a stand" on the most controversial subject in the media. Three weeks ago Ms. Coulter lambasted O'Reilly harshly: "In Nazi Germany, O'Reilly would have condemned both Hitler's death camps and the Warsaw ghetto uprising. In Bill O'Reilly's world, King Solomon would have actually cut the disputed baby in half."
O'Reilly is again taking the middle road saying that even if the National Guard documents were forged, Dan Rather was most likely bona fide in his reporting. Ms. Coulter doesn't hold her breath.
By now, all reputable document examiners in the Northern Hemisphere dispute the documents' authenticity. Even the Los Angeles Times has concluded that the documents are fraudulent – and when you fail to meet the ethical standards of the L.A. Times, you're in trouble.
Quote of the Day!
In a book out this week, Kelley details many anonymous charges against the Bush family, such as that Laura Bush was a pot dealer in college, George W. Bush was the first person in America to use cocaine back in 1968, and he also regularly consorted with a prostitute in Texas who was then silenced by the CIA.

It's hard to judge the sincerity of Coulter's reaction to the allegations in Kelly's book. If Coulter's not disputing the claim that Bush used cocaine in 1968, then perhaps it's time to focus some attention on the current ineffective drug laws and policies in our country -- or was 1968 just a different time?

Art of Forgery -- Revisited

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

The guys at Powerline highlighted an amusing article in today's New York Post on the buzzing memogate scandal that has become more controversial than Bush's National Guard service, the issue CBS was either trying to report or exploit before it blew up in their face.

A master forger-turned-crimebuster who has taken a look at CBS anchor Dan Rather's documents about President Bush's National Guard service says they're such obvious fakes that they're a joke.

Ex-forger Frank Abagnale — played by Leonardo DiCaprio in the 2002 Steven Spielberg movie "Catch Me If You Can" — scoffed: "If my forgeries looked as bad as the CBS documents, it would have been, 'Catch Me In Two Days.'"

In a note of disclosure, Mr. Abagnale never saw the actual documents because CBS won't release them. His assumptions are purely based on what he's seen on TV, but still, the article is a funny read.

Those interested in the art of forgery should check out Steven Spielberg's "Catch Me If You Can," a light and funny drama based on a true story I highly recommend. I gave the film a B+ when I reviewed it two years ago saying this movie had to be based on a true story because the events are too far-fetched to be contrived in a fictional screenplay.

Mailbag: Military Life for a Bush

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Jeff stretches and fails to make a connection:

On Sept 14, 2004 O'Reilly said he has no doubt Bush got special treatment to get into the national guard, but who cares. Problem is Bush said he did not get special treatment, so O'Reilly is saying Bush is lying about it. but he does not care.

O'Reilly said he had no doubt that Bush enjoyed "preferential treatment" in the National Guard, obviously because it's no secret that sons of politicians from prominent families enjoyed privileged status. Denying an easier life is Bush's way of being humble and it isn't fair to accuse him of lying. O'Reilly never made that connection and shouldn't have to question Bush's modesty.

Bye bye ban

I published a longer article titled Death of the Assault Weapons Ban over at the main site. I'm surprised that there is very little coverage of this issue everyone claims to be so passionate about. Anyway, enjoy. Comments and criticisms welcome.

The Death of the "Assault" Weapons Ban

Monday, September 13, 2004

The 10-year federal ban on "assault" weapons has officially expired as a result of Congress failing to pass renewed legislation that President Bush would have signed had it crossed his desk. Consider the ban's expiration a victory for President Bush who didn't want to face pressure from his pro-gun constituents.

Of course, the hysterical Left is screaming anarchy, however the death of this useless bill is a benefit to the general population and law-abiding gun enthusiasts, not criminals. Anti-gun lobbyists now fear that "scary looking" (the tactic used to decide which guns would be banned) weapons are available to criminals, but the Department of Justice tells us that only 2% of guns used to commit crimes come from gun shows; 12% from pawn shops and retail stores. The majority of guns used by felons (80%) come from "family, friends, a street buy, or an illegal source," which aren't regulated by government and its "assault" weapons ban. Basically the "assault weapons" ban, even if effective, would only regulate 14% of the total crimes committed by felons.

Some have e-mailed me to write that the 30-year low in crime is a result from the 10-year ban on "assault" weapons, but that is clearly nonsense. The National Institute of Justice reports that the guns restricted by the ban were responsible for only 2% of all reported gun crimes before it became enacted.

So what's the point of having legislation that only controls 2% of bad-faith gun use out of the 14% of crimes resulting from the acquisition of a gun at either a gun show or retail store - the only outlets regulation impacts? It's a common sense issue that few seem to have the capacity to understand.

Remember 9/11

Saturday, September 11, 2004

It goes without saying that we should all pay our respects to the fallen victims of 9/11. But life goes on and today I correctly picked Tennessee over Miami. Good win for me but the FSU loss still hurts.

Game on!

Friday, September 10, 2004

I'll be attending a prestigious gathering tonight with my fellow (and a few dozen other) FSU students to watch our beloved #5 Seminoles take on the dirty #6 Miami Hurricanes. It's the game of the week and I've been waiting all year for this. Kickoff is in two hours and no hurricane can delay it this time. Ivan will just have to wait.

Update: The game was dismal, ended in overtime and again doubts have surfaced regarding the effectiveness of our quarterback, Chris Rix. I've always been a staunch Rix defender and tonight proved our O-line has not improved giving him little time to move in the pocket, but you can't defend four turnovers. Four turnovers! It's going to be a long season.

Zombie Intelligence

As you may have noticed I've taken a short hiatus from reviewing movies to take care of some more important obligations. I don't think I've missed much though, considering the large amounts of low-quality films pouring into the multiplexes in the recent months. Of "Resident Evil: Apocalypse," Roger Ebert warns: "If you encounter teenagers who say they liked this movie, do not let them date your children."

Where Was Janet Jackson?

Congrats to the New England Patriots for pulling off the 'W' over the Indianapolis Colts for a final score of 27-24 in an exhilarating football game to open the 2004-05 season. For those who missed it: With just seconds left on the clock, Mike Vanderjagt, the NFL record holder for most consecutive field goals, belted one wide-right to miss a tying opportunity that allowed the Pats to win the first game of the season.

Football fanatics like myself instantly recalled the 1998-1999 NFC Championship game when Gary Anderson of the Minnesota Vikings, record-holder for most points scored in an NFL career, missed his only field goal of the season in defeat to the Atlanta Falcons allowing them to advance to the Super Bowl. Either all streaks must come to an end (at the worst possible time) or the football gods have a horrible, horrible sense of humor.

Again, congrats New England and much thanks to Janet Jackson for not being there to spoil this Patriots victory.

Deliver Us From Taxes

Thursday, September 09, 2004

I often gripe about how burdensome our current tax structure is and here I live in a state without a personal income tax! A new Reuters article shows how once again that the most prosperous states aren't the ones with Big Brother's hands down their pockets.

New Yorkers pay the highest state and local taxes in the nation, shelling out nearly $131 for every $1,000 of income in 2002, according to a new study.

Tennessee taxed its citizens the least -- they paid just under $84 for every $1,000 of income.

Massachusetts, ridiculed in the 1980s as "Taxachusetts" fell to 40th in 2002, as its residents only paid $96 in taxes for every $1,000 of income, according to a Boston-based business group.

On a gauge where a low ranking is positive, that was a marked improvement from a decade ago when Massachusetts came in 25th.

The study was done by the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, which assessed states' competitiveness using the most recent data available.

Taxes often play a big role when companies decide where to expand or relocate. For years, New York business groups have argued that high taxes have hurt job growth.

Five states have no personal income tax, and at least two of them, Florida and Nevada, are among the fastest-growing in the nation.

And we (Floridians) don't even have legalized gambling!
New York's tax system is the nation's most progressive, however. Its residents paid just more than $44 in personal income taxes per $1,000 of income, up about $2.50 from 1992.

"For Joe Blow, I think (the study) provides him with some context for his own feelings about what the tax burden feels like," said Cam Huff, senior research associate with the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation.

Yes, and with the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks just two days away I don't think the people of New York need any more burdens on their shoulders, especially in the form of do-no-good taxes.

More Media Bias, Baby

One of my favorite columnists, Michelle Malkin, is currently in the center of a controversial storm regarding internment and racial profiling. On her blog she points out how it's no coincidence that one San Francisco newspaper refers to her as a "right-wing pundit" while referring to Maureen Dowd as…well, Maureen Dowd.

But consider the titles of the two articles: "Right-wing pundit aims for left's center Backer of racial profiling to speak at UC" vs. "Behind the sweet smile is a steely-eyed writer. Maureen Dowd's an 'equal-opportunity skeptic'"

The former talks about a Left vs. Right issue, therefore it's appropriate to give Malkin the 'Right' label. Moreover, Malkin (unlike Coulter or Limbaugh) is not yet a name that registers with the majority of San Franciscans and the description "right-wing" is more of an eye-grabber. The latter article refers to one person; not a person against an ideological issue, therefore it's appropriate to use the person's name; a well-known columnist for the New York Times. Maybe it would have been more fair had the word 'writer' been replaced by 'liberal'. This would have been an easier issue to discuss had the articles been written by the same person.

Bill O'Reilly Thursdays

Bill O'Reilly is unhappy that CNN commentators James Carville and Paul Begala have signed on with the Kerry campaign as unpaid advisors.

Traditionally, that would mean they would have to take a leave of absence from CNN or any news organization which employed them because journalistic ethics (oxymoron?) dictate that news organizations remain totally separate from political campaigns. But since we live in strange times, CNN says it will keep the guys on the air.

How the advising of Senator Kerry by Carville and Begala is any different than their nightly defense and support of him on Crossfire, I do not know. These men are unapologetically liberal both on the streets and when broadcast on CNN.
I'll submit to you that if Greta Van Susteren and I signed on with Bush/Cheney 2004, The New York Times would have passed out torches and the media mob would have stormed the Fox News castle. There's a fox in the hen house all right--it's called the left-wing press allowing their brothers to slide.

Sure, because both O'Reilly and Van Susteren claim to be unpartisan in their reporting. If Sean Hannity became an advisor for President Bush no one would care. In fact, Sean Hannity recently narrated a GOP video for the Republican National Convention!
That (CNN) network apparently feels comfortable allowing daily commentary from two Kerry strategists. Shouldn't CNN now be compelled to give equal time to the Bush campaign? How about a new program called "What's Up, George," starring Mary Matalin?

They do, it's called Crossfire with Tucker Carlson and Robert Novak!
Editorial endorsements of candidates are fine and there's nothing wrong with former political operatives being hired to analyze the news. However, there is plenty wrong with CNN's present situation.

C'mon, Bill. Allowing Carville and Begala to "voluntarily advise" the Kerry camp is no worse than FOX's managing editor for business, Neil Cavuto, giving $1,000 to a fundraising dinner for President Bush. We know these men are partisan. Come back when an investigative reporter starts advising candidates, then we'll talk Bill.

Ann Coulter Wednesdays

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

From Ann Coulter's column, "The more John Kerry changes, the more he stays the same":

Of course, it gets complicated trying to do a side-by-side comparison of the candidates' positions on terrorism since we don't know which John Kerry is running for president. The one who opposes war with Iraq or the one who supports it? The one who opposes the Patriot Act or the one who voted for it? The one who wants to work with the allies, or the one who ridicules them when they support America?
A flip-flopper John Kerry is? Yawn. Next please.

Another Unconstitutional Ruling on Abortion

U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf is the third federal judge to rule the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act unconstitutional, saying Congress ignored the most experienced doctors when it determined that the banned procedure would never be necessary to protect the health of the mother — a finding he called "unreasonable." The ruling comes off the heel of two recent decisions by federal judges in -- of all places -- New York and San Francisco.

There is an easy solution to this problem, and that is to rephrase the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, allowing for early termination if and only if the attending physician believes the mother's life or health is at risk. Not even the liberal activist judges will be able to find language in the Constitution that guarantees the right to an abortion once an exception is made for the mother's health.

Steadfast conservatives will not compromise on the woman's health issue but the idea that our country is ready to completely ban the barbaric procedure with no provisions is a pipedream. Don't mistake my position, however, as I am not conceding to the pro-choice lobby. It is important that physicians have all the resources necessary to preserve the life of his or her patient, even if it means resorting to the termination of the fetus.

More Mail: Left & Right

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Andy on O'Reilly from my anti-FOX days:


I just stumbled across an article of yours written July 30, 2003, so I'm a little late, I realize! But I was just so offended by something in it (something O'Reilly said, nothing you said!!) that I wanted to contact you.

O'Reilly says Ann Coulter is clearly not a total idealogical, bilious, nutjob since she is friends with Bill Maher. Franken, on the other hand, whom Bill calls a "vile human being" three times in just as many sentences, is totally critical of anyone less left than he. Let's look at the following from the most recent edition of Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them:

p. 19 (Ch 3) "Though it may surprise you, I have a great respect for many conservatives in the media. Terry Bradshaw, for example."

on p. 309 (Ch 25) he mentions "David Brooks, who works at the Weekly Standard but is nonetheless a terrific guy" (I agree, by the way, although sometimes Mr. Brooks's articles make me tear at my hair. Don't know anything about Bradshaw.)

In Ch. 21 and again in Ch. 23, he talks a good deal about moderate Republican John McCain. He is very deferential talking about said John McCain, and his descriptions of him in Ch. 23 are even adulatory!

In Ch. 31, he expresses his guilt at having played a prank on the ultraconservative, fundamentalist, non-accredited Bob Jones University: "...we realized we had learned something...about ourselves. We'd come to Bob Jones expecting to encounter racist, intolerant homophobes. Instead, we found people who were welcoming, friendly, and extremely nice. A little weird, yes. And no doubt homophobic. But well-meaning. Kind of." (p. 284)

And here's what he has to say about O'Reilly, ironically (Ch 13): "I think Bill O'Reilly unquestionably has talent...And I'll admit I sometimes find his program entertaining...But at the end of the day, you have to ask yourself if it's worth the emotional capital necessary to try to change Bill O'Reilly. I believe it is...When the last lie had been apologized for, the world would see a new Bill O'Reilly: fair, open-minded, genuinely impartial...." (p. 85) (Even though it's hard to distinguish jokes ever now and again in a satire, the tone of this struck me as quite sincere and even moving. O'Reilly is still a jerk, though.)

On the contrary to Andy's first comment, this is a timely article considering Franken and O'Reilly are always making the headlines. I remember that episode, when O'Reilly cleared Ann Coulter of any hard-right label because of her close friendship with Bill Maher. It was a big blunder, and I'm sure O'Reilly has since taken it back, especially since just last week Ms. Coulter criticized O'Reilly for not taking a position on the Swift Boat controversy. In a recent on-air commentary, O'Reilly has called Coulter "hard-right" and doesn't buy her claim that the Iraq war is going swell. I know, I know; the earth is round.

As for the chapters Andy pointed out, it shouldn't be a surprise that Franken does in fact have conservative friends just as Coulter has liberal pals. The chapter on Bob Jones is just ridiculous, because associating hard-right Christianity with moderate conservatism (about half the country) amounts to associating moderate liberalism with green-faced tree huggers.

Aggressive Mail

Ven vents on my Moore Vs. O'Reilly analysis:

I am so glad that you could post this debate with all of the important issues that Michael Moore brought up omitted to try and sway people to your side. Most of the things you said were pointless were actually the bread and butter of the whole debate. Great job on being an ignoramus. Hope Your one side attempt at media report gets your ass in trouble some day. People like you should be put in there place, Like Jail. Hope you can realize someday that your a part of the biggest problem in our society today, people who misinform others. Good job you are degrading our country. It would be such a shame to show all parts of the debate to let people actually form there own opinion. Thanks keep screwing it up for the rest of us.

What Ven clearly doesn't understand is that the "bread and butter" of debate is the case for war in Iraq, not the squabbling over the definition of a 'lie' which I left out of the analysis. There are only two kinds of people in this country: those who support Bush's war effort and his fight on terrorism, and those who believe his war is unjust and criminal. The group with the most voters intending to vote (otherwise Kerry would clearly win in a landslide) will decide who will occupy the White House for the next four years.

Cocaine Madness

A new book, The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty,
claims President Bush -- on more than one occasion -- snorted cocaine while serving in the National Guard, and his wife Laura at one point experimented with pot in her youth. Author Kitty Kelley has compiled a bag full of quotes in a case against the president including one from Bush's former sister-in-law Sharon who claims: "Bush did coke at Camp David when his father was President, and not just once either." Another source reveals that a younger Bush "liked to sneak out back for a joint or into the bathroom for a line of cocaine."

Regardless of whether or not any of these allegations and "family claims" are true, The Family will become an instant bestseller and take the place of Unfit For Command atop the New York Times Best-Seller List, suggesting this year's campaign season will turn out to be one most vicious in our nation's history.

For the last year the best selling books have been the ones oozing the most mud. Liberals are already licking their chops though I'd like to hear one of them make an argument that both criticizes one president's decision to do coke in college and justifies another president's decision to cheat on his wife in his executive years, embarrassing an entire country in the process.