October 31, 2007

When Halloween Attacks
— Dave In Texas

Yeah, I know. Old. I hadn't seen it though.

Happy Halloween everybody. I'm really sad I can't be home tonight to deal with a howling goddamn beagle every time the doorbell rings.

I always want to let him loose and lick em to death. But the parents might freak a bit over that.

Posted by: Dave In Texas at 10:18 AM | Comments (7)
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Congress Authorized Torture... Of Our Own Troops
— Ace

Hm. Priorities.

Posted by: Ace at 10:07 AM | Comments (6)
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Huckabee: Let Children of Illegals Compete For US Scholarships
— Ace

It sort of sounds like he'd support in-state tuition for illegals, too, though he does not say that. But that's where the logic leads, doesn't it?

Okay, I've just about had it with the Huckabee Balloon. Apart from his religion, what precisely makes this man a worthy Republican standard-bearer? I'm not very pleased about crap like this:

I criticized Huckabee, when he was governor of Arkansas, for refusing to sign a bill that described natural disasters like tornadoes and floods as "acts of God." He said signing the legislation would have violated his conscience.

Give me a break.

The liberals love him, because they see him as the agent as the divorce between economic conservatives and social conservatives -- If Kansas finally embraces a neopopulist semi-liberal preacher, they think, they won't have to ask "What's the matter with Kansas anymore?" People will finally be voting according to their economic interests, supposedly.

"We called him a pro-life, pro-gun liberal, when I was in the state legislature and he was governor," said Randy Minton, chairman of the Arkansas chapter of Phyllis Schlafly's national Eagle Forum.

Mr. Minton voices the concerns of many conservatives that while Mr. Huckabee governed as a social conservative in opposing abortion and same-sex "marriage," he was a treacherous liberal on taxes, social welfare spending and illegal immigration.

As a national security conservative and law and order conservative, I'm not thrilled by him either.

I've got to say, I agree with Naomi Watts:

Nice guy. Soft spoken, tells a nice joke. Lost a lot of weight. I know a few people like that. I'm not voting for them to be President either.

More: Byron York on the various raps against Huckabee; Tony Blankley cautions social and economic cons to stop bashing each other's candidates.

Posted by: Ace at 09:45 AM | Comments (24)
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LOST is on Its Way To Senate Floor
— Gabriel Malor

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 17-4 to refer the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (or LOST) to the Senate floor for ratification.

I've written in opposition to LOST here and here.

I oppose the treaty because it is superfluous; we already have the advantage of its substantive provisions. Moreover, we have those advantages without having to sign on to dubious prospects like a new international tribunal.

The senator from my home state has been leading the opposition to LOST. His latest remarks on it are here. Read it, then call your senator.

Posted by: Gabriel Malor at 09:19 AM | Comments (14)
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Surge: Troop Deaths Down Two Thirds Since Last Year, Down 50% Since Last Month
— Ace

Taking a page from the Washington Post, I'll bury this on Page A14.

I don't really have a Page A14, so instead I've inserted the post back in the archives, sticking it where no one will see it, on Sept. 17.

Because I don't know if this is a trend yet, and therefore am obliged, my MSM betters inform me, to downplay important information until I myself can certify it as a bona fide "trend" that should be noted.

Posted by: Ace at 08:48 AM | Comments (13)
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God Save the Queen
— Jack M.

Is anything more awesomely awesome than this?

The King of Saudi Arabia visits Buckingham Place and the Queen's military band plays a tune to herald his arrival.

The tune? Darth Vader's Imperial March.

I find the Wahhabist faith disturbing.

Good on ya, mates.

H/T: The Corner.

Posted by: Jack M. at 08:40 AM | Comments (17)
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Boy Started the Agua Dulce Fire
— Gabriel Malor

A boy, unnamed for now, has been referred to prosecutors for starting the Agua Dulce fire which destroyed 21 homes and burned 38,000 acres. He says he was playing with matches and the fire was an accident.

So what should happen to him in terms of criminal liability? I'm not familiar enough with juvenile criminal law to know whether he must be tried as a minor (and we may be missing crucial information such as his age). So I'm asking what should be done, rather than what could be done to him.

On the one hand, I'm sympathetic. Accidents happen, although we should draw a line between an accident and negligence. When I was in junior high a friend of mine was striking matches and flicking them still-burning over his shoulder as we walked through an area of dry scrub-grass and cedar trees near our parents' homes. Before you could blink everything was on fire.

This was not accidental, in the sense that we were not doing something legitimate and the fire just got away from us. We were walking from my parents' house to his parents' house and he was simply being "Mr. Cool," flicking burning matches to either side of the path. (And we were complete pyros).

In the case of the Agua Dulce boy, it sounds like they're using the word "accidental" to mean that he didn't intend to set off a wildfire. That shouldn't save him from prosecution, even if he is a child. However, I'd prefer that this one mistake, though costly, didn't follow him into adulthood.

What do you think?

Posted by: Gabriel Malor at 08:36 AM | Comments (49)
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Pant Lawsuit Judge Loses His Job
— Gabriel Malor

"Does not have the proper temperament." Judge Pearson had been on a 2-year term as an administrative judge; for continued employment (a 10-year term) he had to be approved by the judicial committee.

A source familiar with the committee's meetings said Pearson's lawsuit played little role in the decision not to reappoint him.

Instead, the committee said it had reviewed Pearson's judicial decisions and audiotapes of proceedings over which he had presided and found he did not demonstrate "appropriate judgment and judicial temperament," according a source who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the case.

Who could have guessed that this guy, who sued his drycleaner for $54 million, had problems in judgment?

Posted by: Gabriel Malor at 07:51 AM | Comments (16)
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Economy Sizzles At 3.9% Pace
— Ace

ghengis was surprised to see MSNBC giving this big play with a home-page banner headline. They've corrected their error by now, though. Not on the home page, not on the US News page, just on the business page, because of course this news is only of interest to corporate types and day traders, right?

The economy picked up speed in the summer, growing at a brisk 3.9 percent pace, the fastest in 1½ years and an impressive performance even as a credit crunch plunged the housing market deeper into turmoil.

The latest snapshot of the country’s economic health, released by the Commerce Department on Wednesday, suggested that the economy is demonstrating much resilience and thus far holding up well to the strains in the housing and credit markets, which had intensified during the third quarter and rocked Wall Street.

A second report from the department showed construction spending rose 0.3 percent in September, the best showing in four months. All-time high spending in both commercial construction by private builders and government projects more than offset weakness in home building.

...

The third quarter’s growth rate was up slightly from a 3.8 percent pace logged in the second quarter. It marked the strongest showing since the first quarter of last year.

The increase in gross domestic product exceeded analysts’ forecasts for a 3.1 percent growth rate for third quarter. Gross domestic product is the value of all goods and services produced within the United States and is considered the best barometer of the country’s economic fitness.

The White House seized the news, scheduling a briefing for reporters with Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez and Ed Lazear, the chairman of Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers. Lazear said he was particularly pleased to see that the growth was balanced across sectors and that a worsening housing slump did not appear to leak into other areas of the economy as feared.

“This is an extremely resilient economy,” [the chair of Bush's Council of Economic Advisors] said. “It is really quite remarkable.”

Back to back quarters of 3.8% and 3.9% GDP growth, after five years of steady growth. Obviously, we're in a recession... if some people "feel" like we are.

Jennifer Connelly Cowbell? I think it's warranted.

Jennifer_Connelly_Horse1.gif

That's from Career Opportunities. See what I did there?

Had nothing to do with the sinuous, rhythmic grinding on the horse. Nothing at all.

Posted by: Ace at 07:42 AM | Comments (33)
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Nader is Back and Suing
— Gabriel Malor

Ralph Nader is still angry about the election in 2004. One would think that he'd be happy to have actually convinced 400,000 people to chose him for president. That seems like a real accomplishment to me.

Nader, however, is suing the Democratic Party.

Nader's lawsuit, filed in District of Columbia Superior Court, also named as co-defendants Kerry's campaign, the Service Employees International Union and several so-called 527 organizations such as America Coming Together, which were created to promote voter turnout on behalf of the Democratic ticket.

The lawsuit also alleges that the Democratic National Committee conspired to force Nader off the ballot in several states.

Nader's lawyer crows that the DNC should be "terrified" of the suit making it to court, which to me sounds like he and Nader are most interested in a settlement for damages. In other words, Nader is fishing.

The DNC shoots back: "Terrified? What lawsuit?"

DNC spokesman Luis Miranda said the party headquarters was unaware of the suit, but in any case, "We do not comment on pending litigation."

Posted by: Gabriel Malor at 07:35 AM | Comments (14)
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Giuliani's going for New Hampshire
— Gabriel Malor

Rudy Giuliani has been the top Republican candidate in nation-wide polls for quite some time now. But he hasn't done nearly as well in the early primary states. In Iowa, Michigan, and New Hampshire, Mitt Romney has been in the lead.

That may be changing.

That's why one couldn't help but notice that, after spending Sunday and Monday in the state, Giuliani plans to return today - and then again on Friday. Why? Sources in his camp confirm that he now believes he can win here.

Part of it is a sense that Romney has reached a saturation point, and may just prove too slick to stick in New Hampshire. Although he has spent heavily on television advertising, polls show Romney is not that far ahead of Giuliani, who has yet to take to the tube. And though McCain has stabilized his standing, doubts remain about whether he can really regain enough ground to prevail.

Thus the opportunity Giuliani will seek to seize.

New Hampshire is crucial for Romney. For him, it's practically home territory. He's got to do well; and at this point, "doing well" means taking the top spot. I suspect that even if he stays on top, a strong showing by Giuliani will still spoil his win and cost him in Iowa.

Scot Lehigh (linked above) argues that New Hampshire is a make-or-break state for both Romney and John McCain. He thinks both Giuliani and Fred Thompson can survive losses there. I tend to agree. Giuliani and Thompson are neck-and-neck in South Carolina and Thompson has strong showings throughout much of the South. And, of course, it looks like Giuliani has Florida all sewn up.

The real loss here is for McCain. The latest polls have him at 17% in New Hampshire, that's six points behind Giuliani and thirteen points behind Romney. I was hoping that McCain would drop out before the new year. If he holds on until New Hampshire, that should be the end of him.

Posted by: Gabriel Malor at 07:08 AM | Comments (16)
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Uplifting Video For Humpday
— LauraW.

It could be old, but frankly Dave, I don't give a rat's ass anymore.

Thanks to Tom M.

Posted by: LauraW. at 06:54 AM | Comments (11)
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October 30, 2007

Oct. 7: Washington Post Defends Decision To Report Plummeting Casualty Rates on Page 14 Because There's No Proof It's A Trend
Oct. 30: GAO Reports Decline In Violence Is In Fact A Trend; Washington Post Reports This On... Page 14

— Ace

Remember?

The Washington Post was right not to play this up too much, Robin Wright lectured us, because there was no evidence it was a trend. They buried it on page 14, Kurtz notes.

The independent, Congressionally-controlled GAO now tells us it's a trend.

Attacks in Iraq Continue to Decline

Positive News in GAO's Report Is Tempered by Criticism of U.S. Strategy

Attacks by insurgents and other fighters in Iraq against U.S. troops, Iraqi forces and civilians dropped sharply in September to their lowest level since early 2006, continuing a decline in violence since June, according to a new Government Accountability Office report released yesterday.

...


The GAO report provides the first public monthly update on "enemy-initiated attacks" and shows that the overall number of attacks has declined from about 5,300 in June to about 3,000 in September. Much of the decline occurred in attacks on U.S. military and other coalition forces, the targets of most of the assaults. The reduction in attacks against Iraqi forces and civilians was smaller, it showed.

Note the weak-tea attack on a lack of "strategy" -- the Democrat-controlled GAO attempting to spin what it can. But what it can't spin are the numbers.

How much did that advance the story in the Washington Post?

All the way from A14... to A14.

I'm sure our boys are pleased as punch with the rapid progress they're making in the pages of the US media.

Our soldiers need to win the hearts and minds of the enemy? Which enemy? The media?

Posted by: Ace at 10:44 PM | Comments (60)
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The Most Important 2 minutes of the Democratic Debate
— Jack M.

This is all you need to know about tonight's debate.

Hillary Clinton, blew it. Big Time.

It happened late in the debate, and I have no idea how many people stuck around to watch it. But, take my word for it, it is going to be a regularly repeating ad run by the GOP all summer long.

Hillary, perhaps feeling a little overconfident, pandered on the issue of granting illegal immigrants driver's licenses. She essentially endorsed Spitzer's plan in New York. (Which is strange, as Spitzer has pretty much pissed off everybody...the illegals don't like "different" licenses, and the general public doesn't like the illegals getting anything at all.)

And, to add fuel to the fire, she bemoaned the lack of the passage of "comprehensive immigration reform" a.k.a. Amnesty.

Why is this important? Answer below. more...

Posted by: Jack M. at 06:55 PM | Comments (96)
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The Obligatory Huge Sex Scandal Being Spiked By The LAT Thread
— Ace

Ron Rosenbaum is either being played or is being a dink. If he knows what this is all about, why not tip someone to get it out there?

So I was down in DC this past weekend and happened to run into a well-connected media person, who told me flatly, unequivocally that “everyone knows” The LA Times was sitting on a story, all wrapped up and ready to go about what is a potentially devastating sexual scandal involving a leading Presidential candidate. “Everyone knows” meaning everyone in the DC mainstream media political reporting world. “Sitting on it” because the paper couldn’t decide the complex ethics of whether and when to run it. The way I heard it they’d had it for a while but don’t know what to do. The person who told me )not an LAT person) knows I write and didn’t say “don’t write about this”.

If it’s true, I don’t envy the LAT. I respect their hesitation, their dilemma, deciding to run or not to run it raises a lot of difficult journalism ethics questions and they’re likely to be attacked, when it comes out—the story or their suppression of the story—whatever they do.


I’ve been sensing hints that something’s going on, something’s going unspoken in certain insider coverage of the campaign (and by the way this rumor the LA Times is supposedly sitting on is one I never heard in this specific form before. By the way, t’s not the Edwards rumor, it’s something else.

And when my source said “everyone in Washington”, knows about it he means everyone in the elite Mainstream media, not just the LA Times, but everyone regularly writing about the Presdidential campaign knows about it and doesn’t know what to do with it. And I must admit it really is was juicy if true. But I don’t know if it’s true and I can’t decide if I think it’s relevant. But the fact that “everyone” in the elite media knew about it and was keeping silent about it, is, itself, news. But you can’t report the “news” without reporting the thing itself. Troubling!

I am on google-chat with everyone I can think of trying to get some info on t his. JackM. has theories as to why this is all bullshit, which hopefully he'll be kind enough to add in a PS.

JackM. can't think of anyone whose coverage, as Rosenbaum claims, has reflected a sort of tension between what is known and what can be reported. I can't, myself.

I suppose if I can strain a bit I can say, "Hey, maybe they're not treating Giuliani like a front-runner because they know he's about to be sunk," or "Maybe they're not giving Thompson his props as a credible challenger because they know he has a 'colorful and wide-ranging sex-life, as we'll soon find out.' "

But that's straining mightily. I really don't know what the hell he could be talking about.

Some people I'm talking to say "the Bill Richardson groping thing," but Rosenbaum did say a leading candidate, and Bill Richardson isn't leading anything except the line to the Wendy's fixin's bar.

Someone else piped up with "Larry Flynt is set to out a closeted high-ranking Republican Senator' (a rumor that's been around forever), but that's not it. Maybe that's a bonus one.

I sort of think it's either a 1) gay thing or a 2) bad behavior long ago during an already ended marriage thing, or else the LAT would run with it. They have to treat the gay thing with kid gloves -- the sub-hed would have to be Not That There's Anything Wrong With That -- and cheating during the break up of a marriage might be lacking relevance, as the LAT's editors seem to be thinking about this story.

But if that's what it is -- why is Rosenbaum claiming it's a "major" sex scandal?

Another Update [Ace]: Off the record, a source in media, who by his own self-description is no where near the liberal heart of Beltway media chatter or the LAT, says his guess, and just his guess, is that this is about John McCain. This is the candidate about whom most rumor flies have been buzzing the longest and loudest, he thinks.

Which would make some sense. McCain is the only Republican the LAT would even think twice about lowering the boom on. He could be described, charitably, as a "leading" Presidential candidate.

And the fact that these rumors I'm told of date from the 80s or thereabouts (mostly) would seem to fit the LAT's apparent dilemma of being unsure if the story is relevant or germane -- I mean, twenty years ago. That's pretty far back.

Doesn't mean it's true, of course. Just doin' my part to move the water over the buckets of the rumor mill.

Update: "Dark Scandal Star:" Kaus:

Do you sense there is some large mass of dark matter, an unseen Scandal Star, the gravitational pull of which is warping the coverage of what seems, on the surface, a pretty dull presidential race? I do.

He's referring to Ron Rosenbaum's bit, of course. I'm talking with someone right now who's trying to connect this all to Hillary -- the "Dark Scandal Star," he suggests, is visible by the media attempting to keep Edwards and Obama viable presidential candidates, still in the hunt -- though the latest poll numbers say they're not even close.

Why fight to keep Obama and Edwards in it? Well if they know that Hillary could be torpedoed by, say, old affairs coming to light, well, they're going to need those back-ups, right?

UPDATE [Jack M.]: I'll throw in my thoughts in the extended entry since Ace asked me to chime in.

UPDATE2 [Dave in Texas]: Docweasel provides helpful graphical depiction of a Decider agonizing over his moral dilemma. more...

Posted by: Ace at 05:55 PM | Comments (138)
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Democratic Debate!
— DrewM.

I know you’ve been waiting for it and here it is, another Democratic Debate. You know you want to watch, you need to watch. If nothing else maybe Kucinich will question Bush’s mental health agin.

On a sad note, the Democrats told Mike Gravel to take a hike. That’s really going to hurt the comedy value.

On the upside, while the debate is on MSNBC, Tim Russert and Brian Williams will be asking the questions. No Matthews or Olbermann.

Posted by: DrewM. at 04:00 PM | Comments (155)
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Six Foot (Six! Wow!) Shark Caught In Iraqi River; Iraqi Teacher Immediately Calculates That There Is A 75% Chance The Americans Put It There To Scare Iraqi Children
— Ace

No, I'm not kidding. I wish I were.

I don't know if it's Islam or just the Arab mindset mixing the toxins of impotency and arrogance into a rancid brew of conspiratorial magical thinking, but seriously, these people have to wake up and join the 18th century. Baby steps.

Innocent Bystanders just sent the same tip. DARPA project?

shark2.jpg
Artist's Conception. A giant mutant
goat's head has been added to judge scale

Pic from Frink Tank, from an old article about DARPA actually thinking about wiring sharks up to act as aquatic spies.

The most perfect killing machine aquatic spies in the world.


Correction: I misread-- the shark was caught 160 miles upriver inside Iraq, not 160 miles off the coast. Thanks for correcting me.


Posted by: Ace at 02:51 PM | Comments (42)
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Is This Something?
— Ace

The Bruce Dickenson swears these videos of deified guitarists "shredding" are hysterical.

I don't know about hysterical. Kinda funny though.

Clapton "shredding:"

Slash "shreds:"

And, best of all (maybe just skip to this one), all of Metallica, "shredding" everything in sight:

Posted by: Ace at 02:16 PM | Comments (29)
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In Defense of the "Conventionally Handsome"
— Jack M.

I note with some heart-ache that the founder of this blog, Mr. Ace O'Spades, continues to view the "conventionally handsome" in stereotypically insulting terms. As a member of this targeted community, I feel it is my obligation to speak up and condemn the hard bigotry of stunning expectations.

You see, poor, ewok-looking Ace seems to believe that we beautiful people (and by we, I pretty much mean Me, LauraW, and Fox News' Miss Suzanne Sena) are inherently "dumb as a sack of retards" just because we are gob-smackingly, jaw-droppingly, gorgeous.

This is just insane. Have we not reached the point in our society where men can be judged on the content of their character rather than the David Hasselhoffian cleft in their chins? Where women can be judged on their talents in the boardroom, rather than the bedroom?

OK..I readily admit the last point is a stretch. Chicks in a boardroom? Who's ever heard of such a thing?

But back to the larger point. Don't hate me because I'm beautiful Ace. Just accept that you NEED the handsome in your seething world of envy and jealousy.

For example...you are moving back to New York. There are literally hundreds of hip and fashionable nightclubs that you stand NO CHANCE of gaining admission to no matter how long you stand in line.

But, hey, you are a friend. So I can put in a word for you, and, if you are willing to come in the kitchen door, I can probably sneak you in.

Or think about how hard it is for you to catch a cab in the City. Everyone knows that the terminally attractive always have great jobs and make more money. That's why cabbies always stop for those, like me, who are blessed with the looks of a Grecian God. If you want, I'll do you a solid and flag one down for your Hobo-chasing ass.

You see, Ace, the conventionally handsome have a lot to offer your world. But you have to stop with the hatred. I don't condemn all trollish, basement dwelling bloggers because of YOUR looks. Why? Because despite your lack of refinement and your bad luck in the genetic lottery, I was willing to give you a chance.

Can't you find it in your shrunken, shrivelled, heart to do the same for us?

Because, let's face it, you aren't going to beat us. So you have two choices: get extensive reconstructive surgery and join us, or start looking for jobs on the carnival circuit when this blogging gig ends.

I hope I've helped.

Your friend,

Jack M.

Posted by: Jack M. at 02:04 PM | Comments (24)
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Dennis Kucinich Questions Bush's Mental Health
— Dave In Texas

Apparently because Bush thinks a nuclear-armed Iran would be a bad thing.

I seriously believe we have to start asking questions about his mental health.

The DU thread on this will be, what? Hilarious? Pensive?

In related news, Brittney Spears seriously starts asking questions about the benefits of self-medicating, and R. Kelly seriously starts asking the question "Is you tweakin"?

Posted by: Dave In Texas at 01:56 PM | Comments (15)
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