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The official blog of the National Center for Public Policy Research, covering news, current events and public policy from a conservative, free-market and pro-Constitution perspective.

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Friday
Aug132004

That Does Not Compute

On Wednesday, I reported on hilarious doings at the Davids Medienkritik blog.



The story is even funnier now.

Friday
Aug132004

Let Every Vote Be Counted

Husband David has some thoughts on New Jersey:

A liberal mantra over the past several years has been "Let every vote be counted," a none-too-subtle suggestion that all the votes weren't counted in Florida in the 2000 presidential contest (despite about a bazillion recounts), throwing the election to George Bush.



But I agree with the sentiment: Let every vote be counted.



Let the votes of 8.6 million New Jersey residents -- including those of 1.7 million blacks -- be counted to select a replacement for Governor James McGreevey.



Where's the outcry from the NAACP and the Congressional Black Caucus that 1.7 million blacks have been disfranchised?



Note to liberals: I think your hypocrisy is showing... again.

Thursday
Aug122004

An Acceptable Reality

Jeff Jarvis is all over the McGreevey story. So is Clayton Cramer.



Personally, I thought McGreevey's speech was quite possibly the dopiest thing I ever heard. "One's unique truth" -- bletch! No such thing! There is truth, and there is falsehood. Not a bunch of little unique truths.



I know this because I looked "deeply into the mirror" of "my soul" and realized it. Or maybe thinking so is just one of the "virtue[s] of my traditions." Bletch again!



McGreevey said: "I began to question what an acceptable reality really meant for me." For me it means no more blatherskite speeches like this!



Addendum: I'm watching Arianna Huffington tell Keith Olbermann on MSNBC that McGreevey's speech was powerfully moving or some such blather. Triple bletch! By the way, did anyone notice that although McGreevey praised his wife during the speech, he did not glance at her even once while doing so -- even though she was standing next to him? That's not natural behavior if one means what one is saying. Now Arianna is claiming we should "celebrate" this speech...



However, the interview does have one redeeming characteristic: Olbermann let Huffington complete a thought. That's more than Chris Matthews let a representative from Veterans for Kerry and John O'Neill do on the immediately-prior show on MSNBC tonight. Every time the two guests started to tell their version of a story, Matthews interrupted them. It might have been an interesting show, but Matthews refused to let the viewers to hear enough to be able to compare the contrasting views of the two guests.

Thursday
Aug122004

Three Little Ridenours Can Sleep Soundly Tonight

Iain Murray explains on The Commons Blog that global warming is not the threat to coral reefs that some previously thought.



So, he says, Nemo is safe.


Thursday
Aug122004

O'Neill v. Kerry

In Wednesday's New Republic Online, Kenneth Baer argues that it would be in John Kerry's interest to sue Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.



Trial lawyer William J. Dyer takes an opposing view on his BeldarBlog.



My [limited] observation:



Unfit to Command co-author, prominent SBVT member and Kerry nemesis John O'Neill, who is a trial lawyer, seems to be mapping strategy using tactics he learned in courtrooms. If I'm right, this dispute -- however it may be resolved -- is unlikely to unfold in the manner typical of past political controversies.



Modern political controversies have tended to be battles of the soundbite, as each side attempts to appear to have the upper hand during each news cycle. So campaign consultants tend to be experts in mastering this skill. Subtlety, moreover, is no virtue to a campaign manager. He'll use the political equivalent of a nuclear weapon as his first option.



Trial lawyers, on the other hand, have mastered death by a thousand cuts. Subtley helps them trap an opponent when he's least expecting it. Soundbites and their equivalent of a news cycle (ending the day on a high note, for instance) play but a supportive role.



Trial attorneys tend to release evidence in a slow and (they hope) damning drip, drip, drip. They master pacing. Political strategists let out all their talking points pretty nearly the minute they think of them. Pacing to them is something to do when poll numbers don't look good.



The craft of trial lawyering is different from that of campaign consultants in another way, too. Campaign consultants don't worry too much about the truth. If they can convince you that Candidate X will deliver world peace and prosperity within a day of taking office, they'll gladly do so and call it a good day's work -- regardless of the truth.



Yes, of course, trial lawyers lie, too -- sometimes in the most preposterous ways. (Witness various arguments against tort reform.) But basic training in the trial lawyer craft is that an attorney should keep his feet on the firmest ground available. Trial lawyers are taught not even to ask questions in trials unless they know what the answer is likely to be. By contrast, you can't watch two minutes of a political debate on a cable TV talk show without realizing that campaign people will say nearly anything.



If caught falsely promising world peace, a political candidate is trained simply to ask: "Why is my opponent against world peace?"



Political campaigns commit logical fallacies with abandon. Sometimes doing so is the only reason they are successful. (Witness Bill Clinton's successful effort to beat back impeachment.) Trial lawyers do so only at their own peril.



O'Neill v. Kerry will played out by very different strategies than that parallel competition, Bush versus Kerry.

Wednesday
Aug112004

Pro-Bush Poll Censored

Visit Davids Medienkritik, a German blog (written in English), to read the hilarious story of major German news organizations that have stopped running online Bush v. Kerry popularity polls because -- apparently -- they didn't like the poll results.



Davids Medienkritik provides wonderful insights about "Old Europe." I added it to my blogroll, and visit it often.

Wednesday
Aug112004

McCain and Swift Boat Vets: "I Had No Idea McCain's Eyesight Was so Good"

David Ridenour shares this musing about John McCain's eyesight:

John McCain described the commercial by Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth as "dishonest and dishonorable" as though he has some first-hand knowledge of the facts of the case.



At the time John Kerry claims he saved Jim Rathman's life, John McCain wasin the "Hanoi Hilton" (1967-1973) close to 700 miles as the crow flies from the Mekong Delta.



I had no idea McCain's eyesight was so good.



McCain is no more qualified to serve as a witness to the events at the Mekong Delta than I am to serve as a witness to a car accident from where I am (Washington, D.C.) in Peoria, Illinois (also roughly 700 miles as the crow flies).

Wednesday
Aug112004

Letter to Glenn Reynolds

I sent the following letter to Glenn Reynolds at GlennReynolds.com today in response to his post containing a letter from a federally-funded scientist regarding stem cell research:

I would be more impressed by the claims of scientists regarding embryonic stem cell research if any of them took the time to satisfactorily explain how it is that research on embryonic cells can simultaneously be immensely promising and yet also unable to attract private funding.
Addendum: There's an excellent essay in Slate on this topic. Hat tip to ProfessorBainbridge.

Wednesday
Aug112004

A Visit with President Bush

Power Line has a very moving story about a Rabbi's impressions of a visit with President Bush.

Tuesday
Aug102004

"It's Just the Live Ones They Cannot Tolerate"

Explaining Auschwitz: A group of Jewish university students is attacked by French tourists. Quote:

[Laurence] Weinbaum [Director of Research at the World Jewish Congress and resident scholar for the group], who has been to Poland more than 30 times on educational tours, says he never before saw anything like what happened, happen. "It was simply shocking," he says. "In some way, I felt that these men were satisfied to visit Auschwitz. This was another reminder that in Western Europe there is sympathy for dead Jews; it's just the live ones that they cannot tolerate."
The attack occurred at while the group was on a tour of the museum at the Auschwitz death camp in Poland last Sunday.


Tuesday
Aug102004

Hat Not So Lucky, Maybe

BeldarBlog has a link to a Washington Post story in which John Kerry describes his "good luck hat," which, Kerry says, was "given to me by a CIA guy as we went in for a special mission in Cambodia."

Tuesday
Aug102004

Worth a Look

Found an interesting new blog today, Below Street Level - Subverting Youth Culture .



It has thoughtful commentary and some superb links, such as this one to a Washington Post story explaining (in very straightforward terms) what America's current stem cell policy actually is (as opposed to what some folks imply that it is.

Monday
Aug092004

Court Rules Journalists Are Not Above the Law

Reporters are being held in contempt of court for believing they don't have to testify under subpoena as lesser mortals do.



(Link above has a pdf copy of the U.S. District Court's court's ruling, for those who like their news in the original.)



As I asked (rhetorically) before, would a blogger be free to refuse to cooperate in a law enforcement investigation of an illegal action that he covered in his blog?



The answer, of course, is no. The same rules should apply to compensated journalists.

Monday
Aug092004

If You Don't Cry, You Get a Good Laugh

Captain Ed has an amazing post today about an alternative high school in California that teaches that there are 53 states in the U.S., but our flag only has 50 stars because we haven't updated it yet.



And you would not believe what it teaches about our bi-cameral legislature.

Monday
Aug092004

The One Secret Washington DC Has Been Able to Keep (Or Not)

Yesterday marked the 30th anniversary of President Nixon's resignation.



Thirty years of official mystery: Who is "Deep Throat"?



In thirty years, "Deep Throat" never wanted to write a book, be known for his (presumably most famous) achievement, get a little attention or simply settle the issue once and for all.



Yet, according to Bob Woodward, "Deep Throat" is perfectly OK with the notion of Woodward revealing his name after he's dead. So, he obviously doesn't mind if his family and friends know.



So, why so shy? It's not like Nixon's going to try to get revenge -- or that anyone else will even care enough to try, after thirty years.



Edward Jay Epstein's take on the matter is worth serious thought.



Keep in mind one other thing: Have any other major public secrets not involving national security been kept in Washington for thirty years?

Monday
Aug092004

Coca-Cola Can't Win

While reading various legal blogs tonight (including Overlawyered, SickofLawsuits.org, PointofLaw.com, BeldarBlog, The Curmudgeonly Clerk, ProfessorBainbridge and others), I was reminded of one of the stories in The National Center's own Legal Briefs newsletter (in this particular case, Overlawyered was one of the sources):

The recipe for Coca-Cola is a closely guarded secret, and the Coca-Cola company has been pleasing customers since 1886. But that hasn't stopped a group of class action lawyers from suing the company, saying they don't like the company's recipe.



It seems that Coca-Cola uses the sweetener Aspartame in bottles marketed for home use, and uses saccharin (in part) in soda fountains. The reason, Coca-Cola says, is that Aspartame is not as stable for fountain use.



Plaintiffs in the case say they should have been warned that fountain soda contains saccharin instead of the preferred Aspartame.



Meanwhile, another group of plaintiffs is suing Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and ten other companies for using Aspartame, saying it "is a drug masquerading as an additive."
Damned if they do; damned if they don't.

Sunday
Aug082004

Kranish-Elliott Re-Creation

The BeldarBlog has a fun fictional speculative re-creation of the telephone interview of Captain George Elliott by the Boston Globe's Michael Kranish.



If accurate, it could explain much. One quibble, though: As noted below, Kranish probably didn't call Elliott "Captain" in the interview.



Has the Boston Globe yet said if Kranish taped his Elliott interview? I can find no evidence that the Globe has answered this question (or been asked, for that matter). Yet, given the significance, high profile and controversial nature of the subject matter, it might have been done.



Anyone else know?

Sunday
Aug082004

Speaking from the Floor of the Senate, Lt. Kerry

David of the No Caliban blog has a response to my query about whether Swift Boat veteran George Elliott is properly addressed as "Captain" (Human Events, Washington Times, his own affidavits and others) or "Lt. Commander" (Boston Globe, New York Times, others).



Assuming David's theory about the mix-up is correct, this kind of error is not a good sign about the reliability of the reporting of the Boston Globe and New York Times on the Swift Boat Veterans story. Calling a Naval Captain, retired or not, "Lt. Commander" just because he once was one (weren't they all?) is rather like calling Queen Elizabeth "Princess Elizabeth" just because she used to be a princess.



Will they next refer to John Kerry, properly addressed as "Senator John Kerry," "Lt. Kerry," because that once was accurate? I doubt it.

Sunday
Aug082004

The Atheist Sloth Ethic

Professor Bainbridge has another fun post, a discussion of and link to an essay by historian Niall Ferguson exploring why it might be that Europeans work much less than do Americans.

Sunday
Aug082004

Freedom's Truth: Liberating Iraq

I've just added the Freedom's Truth: Liberating Iraq blog to my blogroll. It has very comprehensive Iraq coverage -- it is the Instapundit of Iraq-oriented blogs.



Note also that Freedom's Truth has a fascinating blogroll in several categories: Iraqi blogs, soldier blogs, websites supporting Iraqis and our troops, Arab/Middle East blogs, anti-coalition blogs, links to key Iraqi and coalition websites and a lot more. One could spend a lot of interesting time just investigating his blogroll.