Monday, October 31, 2005

The Real Story

If anyone at the White House broke the law, they of course should be held accountable, but I think the real story here is the incompetence of the C.I.A. The Weekly Standard agrees.

Novak's column can be viewed as critical of CIA ineptitude: the Agency's response to a request by the State Department and the Vice President's office to verify whether a specific foreign intelligence report was accurate was to have "low level" bureaucrats make the decision to send a non-CIA employee (neither an expert on Niger nor on weapons of mass destruction) on this crucial mission at his wife's suggestion. Did no one at Langley think that Plame's identity might be compromised if her spouse writes a nationally distributed Op-Ed piece discussing a foreign mission about a volatile political issue that focused on her subject matter expertise?

The public record provides ample evidence that the CIA was at least cavalier about, if not complicit in, the publishing of Plame's name. Moreover, given Novak's suggestion of CIA incompetence plus the resulting public uproar over Plame's identity being revealed, the CIA had every incentive to dissemble by claiming it was "shocked, shocked" that leaking was going on, and thus made a routine request to the Justice Department to investigate. . . .

While there is no suggestion that the Special Counsel is proceeding in bad faith, there should be abundant concern that the CIA may have initiated this investigation out of embarrassment over revelations of its own shortcomings.

Why are leftwing journalist so paranoid?

Mary Mapes, of the forged Texas Air National Guard memos fame, is back, and accusing CBS of McCarthyism for (gasp), trying to impose journalistic standards. She also had this to say.

Mapes writes that she had felt the Guard segment was a big success after airing on Sept. 8, 2004, until the following morning at 11 a.m. when she learned that a bunch of "far-right" Web sites were claiming that documents were forged.

That same day about 3 p.m. she recalls staring at the Drudge Report and seeing a big picture of Rather at the top and a headline saying that he was "shaken" and hiding in his office. The phone rang and it was Rather, telling her he'd just heard about the Drudge deadline and he wanted to assure her that he was not "shaken" and was not even in his office. He signed off with a favorite expression of his: "FEA" for "---- them all."

She writes that what she didn't know at the time was that the attack on the "60 Minutes" piece was just part of the Bushites "sliming" of those who raised questions about the president.

Maybe I am just not high enough on the food chain to get invited to the meetings, but I am constantly amused by this Vast Right Wing Conspiracy theory of bloggers, that somehow we are all part of some Bush/Rove far right wing network dedicated to silencing enemies of the administration. What do they teach these people at journalism school that prevents them from understanding the simple fact that there are just plenty of people out there, who amazingly despite not having journalism degrees, know how to do things like web searches on Google, and use MS Word.

60 Minutes of Shoddy Journalism

The 60 Minutes Wednesday Air National Guard memo thing aside, I have always been a fan of 60 Minutes, but I found last nights piece on the Wilson (now Libby) controversy an example of rather shoddy journalism. They basically accepted Wilson's whole "martyr for telling the truth" story at face value without even doing the most basic attempts at journalism, and then just added some overly dramatic hyperbola for good measure, even going so far as comparing Valerie Wilson's situation with one of a CIA agent who spent 30 years in jail after being caught spying in China. The last I checked Valerie was not deep behind enemy lines, although I suppose a strong case could be made that Langley is behind enemy lines...

I found the most amusing part of the whole thing was when they went on in depth about the danger of exposing people who used to run spies for the CIA by... Interviewing and identifying two former agents by name... Who used to run spies for the CIA! Is there going to be a special agent appointed to investigate this? How many people will die due to the compromised intelligence operations that those two people used to run?

Then 60 Minutes interviewed Wilson where he dramatically, and without question, proposed that his life was being threatened because of this whole thing, by whom I have no idea. Wilson also lamented the end of his privacy, although oddly enough 60 Minutes made no mention of his book tour, photo spread in Vanity Fair, or work for the Kerry campaign. I just wish some reporter, although this is never going to happen except in the unlikely event that Robert Novak interviews him, would ask Joe Wilson the question. "Joe, if the identification of your wife as working for the CIA was so dangerous that it puts her life at risk, then why did you write a controversial editorial for the NY Times about a government trip that you went on that she helped set up, knowing that any scrutiny into this trip would unveil her role in it and thus her identity?"

Are there any reporters out there with the guts to ask real questions?

Friday, October 28, 2005

Odd standard for qualifications

In his latest editorial, which Don Luskin addresses, Paul Krugman attacks Bush by praising his fed nomination. I know that sounds odd, but if you read it, it makes sense in a typically Krugman way. One thing I noticed though, was a gratutious attack on John Snow, in which he says:

And even before the revelations surfaced about cronyism at FEMA and elsewhere, there was widespread concern that Mr. Bush would try to select a John Snow type - a businessman whose only qualification is loyalty - to run monetary policy.

OK, now even if you make the dubious assumption that being a businessman is somehow a disqualification from a role in government, and even if you concede that Snow would not have been the most qualified man for the job, how is that his "only" qualification? Let's look at his biography from the Department of Treasury website.

John Snow was born in Toledo , Ohio , on August 2, 1939 , and graduated in 1962 from the University of Toledo . He later earned a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Virginia where he studied under two Nobel Prize winners. Snow graduated with a law degree from the George Washington University in 1967 and then taught economics at the University of Maryland , University of Virginia , as well as law at George Washington. He also served as a Visiting Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute in 1977 and a Distinguished Fellow at the Yale School of Management from 1978 until 1980

At least now we have Paul Krugman on record that being an economics professor (not to mention a law professor and secretary of the treasury) is not a qualification for running monetary policy.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Make this guy a recruiter

1st Lt. Bruce Bishop, 31, a Salt Lake County firefighter, said he'll stay "because as I look around at the state of this nation and see all of the weak little pampered candy-asses that are whining about this or protesting that, I'd be afraid to leave the fate of this nation entirely up to them."

Bishop, who served in Afghanistan, is among the 450 Utah Guard members deployed to Louisiana. Most are volunteers.


I haven't even gotten around to commenting on Harriet Miers yet, and now she has withdrawn form the nomination. Personally, she seems like a nice enough person, but not exactly Supreme Court material. Remember, this is the Supreme Court, not the Slightly Above Average Court. I am sure she would be great on a school board out there somewhere. I must say as a general rule, anytime Harry Reid, Dianne Feinstein and John Kerry are all upset over something, it was probably the right decision.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Guess who is coming to town?

Everyone's favorite cigar store indian and intellectual fraud is coming to speak at Shoreline Community College. Now there is a good use of our education dollars. LGF points out that something is missing in the picture the college posts of him:

Why not, if you are inviting a fraud and a liar to speak, it is only fitting that you doctor the photo in the publicity material. Maybe if I have enough time I'll take my camera and go moonbat hunting.

The Follies of the Minimum Wage

Wal*Mart, oddly enough, is getting grudging support from the likes of Ted Kennedy for calling for a raise in the minimum wage. This simply exposes the silliness behind minimum wage laws though, since it doesn't cost them! They already pay above the legal minimum wage, so this cost is bourne by their competitors. This would be the moral equivilant of me calling for an increase in welfare payments in the state of Florida and being praised for my support of the impoverished.

The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) sums this up:

It's understandable after years of pounding from unions, trial lawyers, anti-sprawl activists and the media that Wal-Mart would go on a PR offensive. What's troubling, and more than a little curious, is Mr. Scott's desire to make price controls for labor a part of his public atonement for the company's success. Given that anti-Wal-Mart types mostly fire populist blanks, why is Mr. Scott so eager to provide competitors with real ammunition?

The answer may be that calling for an increase in the minimum wage amounts to Wal-Mart calling for a hike in the labor costs of its smaller rivals, not to mention any potential start-ups. Wal-Mart already pays its workers an average hourly wage of close to $10 and so Mr. Scott is essentially asking Congress to strengthen its competitive advantage.

The CEO said his goal is to "help working families," but minimum wage laws have the opposite effect. By putting a floor under wages, regardless of skills or competition, they can force businesses to cut payrolls or even shut down. Hence, they reduce employment in general, and especially among the low-skilled and inexperienced.

More Great Moments in Journalism

Has there ever been so much written about so little? CNN reports:

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The federal grand jury investigating the leak of a CIA operative's identity could hand up charges as early as today, but Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald is not expected to make any public announcements Wednesday, one source with knowledge of the probe told CNN.

The grand jury is meeting Wednesday in U.S. District Court and is believed to be taking up the CIA leaks case in some manner.

Many legal experts and lawyers not involved in the case had expected the grand jury to vote on an indictment Wednesday -- if the investigation is going to result in indictments -- and that the outcome would be announced publicly.

The grand jury's term is set to expire Friday unless Fitzgerald requests an extension.

Several experts told CNN it is possible the grand jury on Wednesday still could consider the question of indictments and if it votes to return one or more, the indictments could remain under seal and made public later.

These experts also said it is possible the grand jury could consider indictments later this week, or that no charges will be brought.

It is also possible Fitzgerald will let this grand jury term end and take his case to a new panel.

Well I am glad they are keeping their options open, but have you ever seen more hedging in one article? I am going to make a bold investment prediction here, write this down; the stock market could go up by the end of the year, although if the economy doesn't do well it could go down. There is also the slight possibility it may stay the same. You can take that to the bank!

Monday, October 24, 2005

It is all Bill Gates' Fault

This is just too funny. Yeah, I want to give the control of the Internet to these yahoos. It just shows that you have to pay attention to all those settings in MS Word.

Bashar al-Assad may become the first dictator to fall from power because U.N. functionaries are incompetent with computers, suggests a report in the Times of London:

The United Nations withheld some of the most damaging allegations against Syria in its report on the murder of Rafik Hariri, the former Lebanese Prime Minister, it emerged [Friday].

The names of the brother of Bashar al-Assad, President of Syria, and other members of his inner circle, were dropped from the report that was sent to the Security Council.

The confidential changes were revealed by an extraordinary computer gaffe because an electronic version distributed by UN officials on Thursday night allowed recipients to track editing changes.

I am sure Kofi Annan is sending out e-mail to all employees right now, "TURN OFF WORD REVISION TRACKING!!!!"

Friday, October 21, 2005

Winston Churchill joins

In a fit of amusement I thought what would happen if Winston Churchill were a modern liberal (begin dream sequence now).

We shall probably not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end (at least until it gets too hard) we shall fight in France (but we don't want to look like occupiers), we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air (but we don't want to look arrogant), we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be (well, unless it is too expensive, we do need to pay for that new prescription drug program), we shall fight on the beaches (except in federally protected wetlands of course), we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields (in keeping with Department of Agriculture policy) and in the streets (but we have to make sure not to make an undue impact on lower income neighboorhoods), we shall fight in the hills (just not near LA, Barbra Streisand would be pissed); we shall face the enemy with honesty and humility.

It just loses a little in the translation.

The Sound of Silence

Following up yesterday's post on Patty Murray's mafia-like threat against the Coburn ammendment I looked on google news to see if any of the mainstream media picked up this outlandish statement. Seattle Times, Seattle-PI, New York Times, Washington Post... thus far zero, zilch, nada. I know it has always been an unwritten rule that in the Senate you pretty much spend what you want, but have we really become so used to this that when a senator states that out loud, it doesn't even make the paper? Based on this rule, if Senator Joe Smith proposed $500 million for the Joe Smith Insitute of Underwater Basketweaving, by the tradition of the Senate all the other Senators would have to support it, because he "knows best what is good for his state" and any attempt to stop this waste of money would result in retaliation.


Non Sequitur

From a NY Times article on the Wilson case:

In that article he wrote that he had traveled to Africa in 2002 to explore the accuracy of intelligence reports that suggested Iraq might have tried to purchase uranium ore from Niger. Mr. Wilson said that he had been sent on the trip by the C.I.A. after Mr. Cheney's office raised questions about one such report, but that he found it unlikely that any sale had taken place.

It has been two years now, and the Times still hasn't figure out that "tried to purchase" and "sale had taken place" are two separate things! I guess they don't teach logic at the newspaper of record.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Patty "The Enforcer" Murray

First she was a PR manager for bin Laden's charitable foundations (and perpetual winner in the stupidest person in the Senate poll), now she is the mob enforcer for the transportation appropriations committee. Powerline reports:

Mrs. R. reports that Patty Murray is now speaking against the Coburn Amendment, and has just issued a threat against any Senators who vote for the amendment: we on the Appropriations Committee will take a "long, hard look" at any projects in your state. Can anyone say, "culture of corruption"?

KIRO, The local CBS affiliate omits this, but does have this choice Murray quote:

Washington Sen. Patty Murray said the sculpture park is a critical economic development project for Seattle that will encourage jobs and investment in the city. She said there are other ways to reduce the federal deficit.

"If the senator from Oklahoma wants to look for a culprit for the fiscal situation in this country, he should look at the tax cuts granted to multi-millionaires," Murray said.

Yeah, it is just the tax cuts, it has nothing to do with spending. As Ross Perot would say, let me go to my charts.

And I know I am only in my first year of business school, but how exactly does a sculpture park qualify as a "critical economic development project for Seattle that will encourage jobs and investment in the city"? What exactly are they teaching at WSU?

UPDATE: Radioblogger has an MP3 of the quote, plus a rather interesting interview with Senator Coburn, who sponsored the ammendment that drew shorty's wrath. The exact quote is:

You know, as the old saying goes, what is good for the goose is good for the gander, and I tell my colleagues, if we start funding for individual projects, your project may be next. And so, Mr. President, when members come down to the floor and vote on this amendment, they need to know if they start stripping out this project, Senator Bond and I are likely to be taking a long, serious look at their projects, to determine whether they should be preserved during our upcoming conference negotiations.

This Explains a Lot

Maybe when he was in Niger he consumed a little more than mint tea...

He said he hoped that the Iraqi constitution vote had failed, not because he wanted to see the administration fail but because he believed a negative vote would cause America and others to rethink their strategy and ``go back to the drawing board.''

``I fear what the administration will do is declare victory and move on,'' Wilson said. ``That will just institutionalize the violence in the country.''

Some in the audience urged him to run for political office. But Wilson said he'd been a true child of the 1960s and had ``too many wives and taken too many drugs. And, yes, I did inhale.''

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Which War?

I saw a giant banner at the UW today proclaiming "November 2nd Walk Out against War" sponsored by an organization calling itself "Students Against Racism and War". I found it interesting that it was just "war" and not "the war". Are they really against war in general? For example are they going to be protesting against the war the Palestineans have launched against Israel? Or the ethnic cleansing being conducted by Muslims in the Sudan? Or the war in Chechnya? If I go to this event will I see a broad condemnation of war by all parties, or only a select few? If I can schedule it I might have to go with my digital camera to get some moonbat photos.

Watch this space.

And Now, the Rest of the Story

I was recently reading (or rather listening to my usual audio CD) Rick Atkinson's In the Company of Soldiers and was reminded of this story regarding General David Petraeus, one of the best officers in the Army, and currently in charge of training Iraqi troops.

Perhaps the most remarkable test of his luck and physical rigor came on Sept. 21, 1991. Shortly after taking command of a battalion in the 101st, Petraeus was watching an infantry squad practice assaulting a bunker with live grenades and ammunition. Forty yards away, a rifleman tripped and fell, hard. Petraeus never saw the muzzle flash. The M-16 round struck just above the "A" in his uniform name tag on the right side of his chest, and blew through his back. Had it hit above the "A" in "U.S. Army," on the left side over his heart, he would have been dead before he hit the ground.

He staggered back and collapsed. Standing next to him was Brig. Gen. Jack Keane, the assistant division commander, who by 2003 had become the Army's four-star vice chief of staff.

"Dave, you've been shot," Keane told him. "I want you to keep talking. You know what's going on here, David. I don't want you to go into shock."

Keane later described the day for me. "He was getting weaker, you could see that. He said, 'I'm gonna be okay. I'll stay with it.' We got him to the hospital at Campbell and they jammed a chest tube in. It's excruciating. Normally a guy screams and his body comes right off the table. All Petraeus did was grunt a little bit. His body didn't even move. The surgeon told me, 'That's the toughest guy I ever had my hands on.' "

A medevac helicopter flew Petraeus, with Keane at his side, to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, 60 miles away. "It was a Saturday and I was afraid the top guys wouldn't be on duty. I had them call ahead to make sure their best thoracic surgeon was available," Keane recalled. "We got off the helicopter and there's this guy they'd called off the links, still in his golf outfit, pastel colors and everything."

And here is where it gets interesting.

It was Dr. Bill Frist, who a decade later would become majority leader of the U.S. Senate. More than five hours of surgery followed.

So in an amazing coincidence, Bill Frist, who has never served a day in the military, probably contributed more to the war in Iraq than any other senator.

And now you know... the rest of the story.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

More Northwest Moonbats

I saw this on the Best of the Web. Olympia is the moonbat capital of the Northwest, it must be all that pot smoke wafting over the city from Evergreen Community College.

Martial law could follow plan to fight Asian bird flu
I read with trepidation the news article regarding Bush's plans to combat possible Asian bird flu by calling in the troops. His comments brought to mind 1930s Germany, with the Gestapo (Homeland Security) and storm troopers (Rumsfeld's Pentagon) in the wings.

I wonder, could a sitting president, twice elected, and supposedly the epitome of patriotic manhood, consider consolidating his ebbing power by bringing an epidemic to his own people?

Would he use this ploy to institute martial law?

If he would give funds to Halliburton to organize the hurricane recovery in the South -- the same Halliburton that scammed millions of dollars in Iraq -- then I suppose, with the enthusiastic support of his moneyed power base, he would.

The fact that Congress voted funds, not for public health but for Homeland Security, strengthens this suspicion.

This is a sad day for our United States of America.

Peg Davidson, Olympia

More Clueless Journalists

I was watching a CNBC report on Harriet Miers, in which the reporter, I didn't catch who, referred to Rowe v. Wade as the "1973 law making abortion legal". It wasn't a law!! Regardless of whether you are in support of the "decision" or not, it is not a law, it was an interpretation of various parts of the constitution, which for better or worse, could be interpreted differently in the future.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Nope, no Media Bias Here

The mainstream media is so desperate to report bad news on Iraq that even when a constitutional referendum passes they have to try and portray it in negative terms. Now what headline would you expect in a report on the Iraqi referendum passing? I would say something along the lines of this:

Iraqi Referendum Expected to Pass

But no, that simple recitation of fact would be too positive, so our friends at the Associated Press title it as such:

Sunnis Appear to Fall Short in Iraq Vote

As if the important thing was not that Iraq will probably have a constitution and a hope of a democratic government, but that the Sunnis, a minority who have mostly been trying to thwart representative rule through the use of violence and terror, have "failed" in their attempts. Maybe someone should get Saddam Hussein, and the AP, some Prozac, so they can make it through this difficult period?

What is with Judith Miller?

This has got to be one of the weirder stories of the year. This woman goes to jail to "protect" a source who was already outed as a source, and had already signed a release to let her talk about him, regarding a subject she had never even written about. Now Miller is saying that she doesn't even remember who told her Plame's name is! This is such an important matter than we have had a 2 year investigation into it and might send people to jail, yet the most prominent figure in it thought so little of the information that she didn't even bother to write a story on it, or even remember who told her about it. I am telling you, you couldn't make up this stuff.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Back to the Duration of Unemployment

Econopundit revisits this issue that I helped start. Meanwhile, I am still serving a lifetime ban from Brad DeLong's site...

Iraq is the New Vietnam

Well the left has been saying for years, now we hear it from the authority, a letter written by bin Laden's right hand man, Al Zawahiri. You can read the full letter here.

The aftermath of the collapse of American power in Vietnam - and how they ran and left their agents - is noteworthy. Because of that, we must be ready starting now, before events overtake us, and before we are surprised by the conspiracies of the Americans and the United Nations, and their plans to fill the void behind them.

Powerline has a good analysis of this. It is pretty sad when the NY Times is more optimistic about our enemies chances then our enemies our.

Hey Gerhard, Bite Me

Gerhard Schroeder steps down as fuhrer, having narrowly lost the election, or so I think, who the hell can understand this parliamentary system, and they make fun of the electoral college. Anyway... he then does what Germans always do when things go wrong, attack the foreigners.

He quickly composed himself, hitting his stride in a passionate defence of a strong German state and lashing out at "Anglo-Saxon" economic policies favoured in Britain and the United States, which he said had "no chance" in Europe.

In an apparent reference to Hurricane Katrina, Schroeder castigated Washington for liberal, hands-off policies that left it exposed in times of crisis. The Bush administration was widely criticised for its response to the devastating storm.

"I do not want to name any catastrophes where you can see what happens if organised state action is absent. I could name countries, but the position I still hold forbids it, but everyone knows I mean America," he said to loud applause.

Hmm, where was Herr Schroeder when 15,000 Frenchmen died in a heatwave and "organised state action" was absent? Ten times as many people died from a lack of air conditioning, compared to a category 5 hurricane. Sounds like much superior social system to me. Well at least the Germans can console themselves, that Schroeder is only the second worst Chancellor of all time.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Smurfs Had It Coming

Reports that the UN issued several non-binding resolutions denouncing smurficide are unconfirmed. France immediately announced it was withdrawing its peacekeepers...

The people of Belgium have been left reeling by the first adult-only episode of the Smurfs, in which the blue-skinned cartoon characters' village is annihilated by warplanes.

The short but chilling film is the work of Unicef, the United Nations Children's Fund, and is to be broadcast on national television next week as a campaign advertisement.

The animation was approved by the family of the Smurfs' late creator, "Peyo".

Belgian television viewers were given a preview of the 25-second film earlier this week, when it was shown on the main evening news. The reactions ranged from approval to shock and, in the case of small children who saw the episode by accident, wailing terror.

Unicef and the family company, IMPS, which controls all rights to the Smurfs, have stipulated that it is not to be broadcast before the 9pm watershed.

The short film pulls no punches. It opens with the Smurfs dancing, hand-in-hand, around a campfire and singing the Smurf song. Bluebirds flutter past and rabbits gambol around their familiar village of mushroom- shaped houses until, without warning, bombs begin to rain from the sky.

Tiny Smurfs scatter and run in vain from the whistling bombs, before being felled by blast waves and fiery explosions. The final scene shows a scorched and tattered Baby Smurf sobbing inconsolably, surrounded by prone Smurfs.

The final frame bears the message: "Don't let war affect the lives of children."


Monday, October 10, 2005

Sandy Berger?

I Tivo'ed 60 Minutes last night and was rather amused by Sandy Berger defending former FBI director Louis Freeh's criticism of Clinton's lack of seriousness regarding terrorism. Sandy Berger? After being caught stuffing classified documents in his underwear, does anyone really take this man seriously?

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Party with the Police

After cracking down on the strip clubs, it looks like our men in blue are, ahem, up to other activities. I am glad they have taken care of all the murderers and drug dealers so they have time to use our tax dollars for some one-on-one service. Viewer discretion advised.

Lynnwood police concede they engaged in "rarely used" tactics during an undercover investigation into a suspected prostitution ring.

Those tactics, which included officers allowing prostitutes to masturbate them in exchange for cash, have raised questions among law-enforcement officials, legal experts and the Snohomish County Prosecutor's Office.

Lynnwood police Cmdr. Paul Watkins said he spent a great deal of time justifying the officers' actions to prosecutors to prove that the officers themselves weren't breaking the law. Snohomish County prosecutors on Monday filed a felony charge of promotion of prostitution against Myong Pang, 42, of University Place, Pierce County. On Sept. 30, they filed a misdemeanor prostitution charge against Myong Chow, 40, of Tacoma.

"The officers didn't cross that line of engaging in intercourse or oral sex," Watkins said. "I advised them no oral sex, no intercourse, that's not going to happen. That's the understood policy. There's no written policy regarding this."

But other law-enforcement officials who weren't involved in the investigation say allowing officers to engage in such acts, even in an undercover investigation, goes too far. The usual tactic, they say, calls for an arrest once someone agrees to perform a sexual act in exchange for money.

Jumbo Shrimp?

I was riding the bus to school the other day and I noticed a campaign sign for a candidate for the Seattle City Council from the "Freedom Socialist" party. You know, that seems like a huge oxymoron.

I am reminded of an old Soviet era Russian joke, which I will translate for you, to be nice.

Q: What is the difference between a democracy and a socialist democracy?

A: The same difference as between a chair and an electric chair.

I think that says it all.

Friday, October 07, 2005

You Gotta Love the French

I read this in the Wall Street Journal this morning, but I can't link to it. Apparently France can't defend Paris from the Germans, but they will fight to the death for their yogurt!

The French government is once again in trouble with the European Commission. Charlie McCreevy, the EC internal market chief, said he will block the French state's attempts to prevent foreign companies from taking over its "national champions."

The trouble has stemmed from the fact that France has actively worked to prevent foreign entities from acquiring French companies. For example, at the same time that France Telecom was purchasing Spain's third-largest mobile operator, Amena Movil, for E10.6 billion ($12.9 billion), French government ministers were publicly saying it would not permit any French "national champion" to be purchased by foreign companies. This was in response to moves by US-based PepsiCo Inc to purchase the French food company Groupe Danone SA.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

More PC Nonsense in Academia

The University of Washington has now decided to scrap its admission policies in favor of a "holistic" method measuring such factors as extracurricular activities and socio-economic status. Great, little Johnny can't read or write, but he collects beanie babies and was born in a trailer park, that should get him into school. If this is such a great method for measuring your accomplishments then why do my teachers give me grades? I want to be evaluated on the fact that I am broke, and was able to stay up all night playing football on the X-Box, while arguing with my wife, not on some arbitrary method such as the number of correct answers I get on a test.

Beginning this year, the University of Washington will no longer automatically admit top students based on their high-school grades and test scores.

The university is ditching a statewide student-ranking system called the Admissions Index, which it relied on to admit about half its students. The university is also getting rid of an internal system called the "grid," which ranked remaining students on a combination of academic and personal factors.

Instead, university staffers plan to read and review every one of the 16,000 annual freshmen applications to come up with a "holistic" assessment of each candidate. Besides academic performance, they will consider factors such as whether a student has overcome personal or social adversity, their leadership skills and their extracurricular interests.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

RUMINT in New Orleans

Why don't we hear about how racist the press is, for automatically believing all these rumors about how blacks are rampaging in the streets? CNN should get as much scrutiny as Bill Bennett.

Five weeks after Hurricane Katrina laid waste to New Orleans, some local, state and federal officials have come to believe that exaggerations of mayhem by officials and rumors repeated uncritically in the news media helped slow the response to the disaster and tarnish the image of many of its victims.

Claims of widespread looting, gunfire directed at helicopters and rescuers, homicides, and rapes, including those of "babies" at the Louisiana Superdome, frequently turned out to be overblown, if not completely untrue, officials now say.

The sensational accounts delayed rescue and evacuation efforts already hampered by poor planning and a lack of coordination among local, state and federal agencies. People rushing to the Gulf Coast to fly rescue helicopters or to distribute food, water and other aid steeled themselves for battle. In communities near and far, the seeds were planted that the victims of Katrina should be kept away, or at least handled with extreme caution.

"Rumor control was a beast for us," said Maj. Ed Bush of the Louisiana National Guard, who was stationed at the Superdome. "People would hear something on the radio and come and say that people were getting raped in the bathroom or someone had been murdered. I would say, 'Ma'am, where?' I would tell them if there were bodies, my guys would find it. Everybody heard, nobody saw. Logic was out the window because the situation was illogical."

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Winston Smith, Call Your Office

James Taranto points out how the left is attacking Bill Bennett, not for what he said, but in an Orwellian way, "what he thought". Their point being that because he automatically associates a bad thing with blacks, he must be racist. If this is true, then all the members of the congressional black caucus who automatically associate poverty with blacks are also racist.

Yes, it is true, that most Americans, black and white, are likely to associate crime with blacks. This is not the fault of any one individual though. Harvard University has an interesting study (that you can participate in yourself) where they use pictures of people and words to test people's association (it is mentioned in the popular book Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell). This is an automatic ingrained association, present in all races, is it right, probably not, but it is a societal problem, it does not mean the person who scores poorly on that test is inherently racist.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Knyaz Harry u Bosne

I was rather amused to read the dramatic language in this story on Britain's Prince Harry possibly serving in Bosnia. Maybe it is just me, but the idea of a monarchy becomes even more absurd when the tabloids become breathless over "dangerous" service in a peacekeeping mission where nobody has died as a result of enemy fire in 9 years. I salute anyone who serves in the Army, but I felt more in danger when I was on leave in Paris then in my 8 months in Bosnia last year. And I didn't get mentioned in a single newspaper article! But hey, at least they have the page 3 girls...

PRINCE Harry has decided to be a frontline soldier in the tough Welsh Guards.

His first Army posting would be leading 30 squaddies on a tense peacekeeping mission in war-torn Bosnia.

The 21-year-old prince could be SHOT at from rival ethnic groups during the six-month NATO mission.

A senior military source said last night: “Harry sees a tough infantry unit as the best way to prove himself.

“It is about the most dangerous place you can be in the Army.”

Veni, Vidi, Vici

Congrats to Don Luskin, and the Krugman Truth Squad, myself included. After 3 pseudo corrections on Krugman's 2000 election story, the NY Times finally, not only issued an accurate correction but implemented a more stringent corrections policy. The story even got linked on the Drudgereport. It is pretty sad when issuing a simple correction becomes an excrutiatingly painful exercise, and speaks volumes to the integrity (or lack thereof) of its columnists.


In describing the results of the ballot study by the group led by The Miami Herald in his column of Aug. 26, Paul Krugman relied on the Herald report, which listed only three hypothetical statewide recounts, two of which went to Al Gore. There was, however, a fourth recount, which would have gone to George W. Bush. In this case, the two stricter-standard recounts went to Mr. Bush. A later study, by a group that included The New York Times, used two methods to count ballots: relying on the judgment of a majority of those examining each ballot, or requiring unanimity. Mr. Gore lost one hypothetical recount on the unanimity basis.

One can't help but notice, but even after 4 separate corrections, the Times still can't bring itself to utter the words "President Bush" or "Bush won" and can only manage a weak "Mr. Bush" and "Mr. Gore lost one hypothetical recount...."