The Angry Cyclist

A fleeting grasp of civil, well reasoned discourse.
This blog will comment on topics of interest like politics, business, taxation, the War with Islam / Islamofascists, road cycling, football, and others.

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Thursday, January 29, 2004
Vennochi Is Spot On

It doesn't look like Bob Kuttner and Joan Vennochi exchanged notes before yesterday's deadline:

So far, the Democrats running for president have not issued a press release to complain about Boston 2004's solicitation of special interests they supposedly abhor. Or perhaps they are merely against Republican special interests, not their own? It's very confusing.

No, it's hypocritical. There's a difference...

That Giant Sucking Sound

...that you hear is Robert Kuttner attaching his lips to John Kerry's ass. How predictable...

The privileged act worried

Bob's worried?

By Robert Kuttner, 1/29/2004

ABOUT THIS time every election cycle, we receive stern lectures from pompous, arrogant Boston Globe editorial writers The Wall Street Journal and defenders of biiiig gummint kindred spirits warning that the prospective Democratic nominee is sounding alarmingly "populist." Front-runner John Kerry is following the pattern, and so are a lot of commentators. In his victory speech Tuesday night, Kerry declared, "I have a message for the influence peddlers, for the trial lawyers polluters, the teacher's unions HMOs, the federal and state government employees big drug companies that get in the way, the labor unions big oil, and the lobbyists special interests who now call the White House their home: We're coming. You're going."

Not until November, maybe not even then...

Kerry, echoing his stump speech, went on to promise Americans "a prosperity where we will reduce the poverty of millions instead of constantly reducing taxes for millionaires.

Never mind the facts:

Last week on 20/20 John Stossel did a report on Lies, Myths and Downright Stupidity. On the topic of "Do the rich pay their fair share?" Sharpton guessed that the richest 1% of Americans contribute less than 5% of tax revenues. The real answer is that the top 1% of taxpayers (measured by adj. gross income) pay 34% of all income taxes. But of course the facts didn't phase Sharpton, he still thinks the rich should pay more.

A prosperity where we create jobs here at home -- and where we shut down every tax loophole, every benefit, and every reward for any Benedict Arnold CEO or company that sends jobs and profits overseas."

Strong words. And sure enough, Journal columnist Alan Murray, reviewing Kerry's speeches, warned that such rhetoric risks creating a "rift between Democrats and corporate America" that would be "dangerous for both." Murray added that "big business still drives the American economy -- and Democrats risk regaining an `antigrowth' aura if they push this theme too far."

The concept is called class warfare, and it's the Democrat's favorite. For them to abandon it would be like taking the wheelchair from a paraplegic.

Murray fondly invoked the 1980s and 1990s, when "Democrats and big business declared a sort of truce," so-called New Democrats "eased up on anticorporate rhetoric and policies," and were rewarded with corporate contributions. Supposedly, populist rhetoric also alienates swing voters.

And during the 1980's and the 1990's we were rewarded with rates of economic growth and productivity that even the likes of Bob Kuttner and Paul Krugman would have trouble arguing with, hence the period receives short shrift here.

We've heard similar chidings from Joe Lieberman, who advertises himself as the only pro-business Democrat, and from the corporate-funded Democratic Leadership Council, which gave us The Wall Street Democratic Party of the 1990s. Indeed, it isn't only Kerry who sounds like a pocketbook populist -- it's also Kuttner Dean, Kuttner Edwards, and Kuttner Clark. (Lieberman, the antipopulist, got 9 percent of New Hampshire's vote.)

But Kerry's leading in the polls, Bob. When's a good time to start hyping him?

Next time you come across one of these homilies, keep in mind the following:

First, Democratic candidates find themselves sounding "populist" on economic issues because that's the message that rallies voters. Bill Clinton, the shrewdest Democrat in a generation, sounded very populist when he won the presidency. His 1992 campaign manifesto, "Putting People First," aligned Clinton with the pocketbook concerns of ordinary Americans. Clinton's accommodation to Wall Street came later.

One 'pocketbook concern' would be lower taxes for people who pay taxes, right? RIGHT??

Second, when Democrats win, it's usually because voters support them to redress the inequities between society's most powerful and the average American. Democrats lose when that message gets muddled. In 2000, Al Gore alternated between sounding populist and sounding confused. When he sounded populist, his support surged.

And when he puffed his chest onstage against George Bush and let out those annoying sighs like he's better than everyone else, he was exposed for the colossal bore that he is. The fact is, the major difference between Gore and Bush is that Bush touched the third rail of American politics and ran on Social Security reform, which can only be fixed in the long run by privatizing the entire program. People like Kuttner wish it to continue unreformed so that people have to depend on government.

Third, Kerry's populist declarations ring especially true in the Bush era. Voters are vaguely aware that HMOs, drug companies, and oil companies have too much entree to the White House at the expense of ordinary people. It's good politics for a major candidate to validate those misgivings and pledge to remedy them.

Well, Bob, if they're 'vaguely aware', are you saying that they're simply 'misinformed' and need your enlightened opinion or is that simply your assertion and in fact no one really gives a shit because this type of influence peddling occurs regardless of who sits in the White House?

Regular Americans have been intimated by 9/11, but they know this economy isn't serving them well.

The 9/11 attack by Islamofascists has resulted in a job loss of 108,000 and reduced economic output of almost $17 billion. But, hey, just elect My Man Kerry and everything's gonna be just fine!

Finally, it's no surprise that elite media and other business-affiliated institutions make clucking sounds whenever Democratic candidates champion ordinary people and call for regulation and taxation of society's most powerful.

That's right. Presuming Bob's self-exclusion from this lofty group, society's most powerful are just not taxed enough...

But it is distressing to hear other Democrats, or leftist cheerleaders well-intentioned media commentators, accepting that bogus framing of the real issue. "Populist" is sly epithet because it evokes an ugly history.

One wonders why you've been using the term as a badge of honor, Bob. Perhaps you've taken to Kerry's style too quickly and want to get on both sides of the issue?

In the American past, the term has been variously used to describe racists, antiforeigners, and know-nothings. But economic populism, in modern usage, means a politics of advancing the well-being of working- and middle-class Americans being dependent on using the leverage of government policies. If the rhetoric occasionally gets hot, Bush and his corporate allies have richly earned it.

He seems to be saying that 'Bush and his allies will richly earn hot rhetoric' or some such notion (?) because the Democrats will once again use their favorite rhetorical weapon, class warfare disguised as populism.

There's nothing "antigrowth" about insisting on a progressive tax system or a public policy that balances drug company profits against the public's health.

Sure there is. What you're doing is confiscating money from a productive sector of the economy and giving it to a less productive sector, the federal government. And one more thing, Bob? The economy consists of more sectors than drug companies, which are allowed by the marketplace to accumulate that nasty little incentive you contemptuously refer to as profit.

In the glory years of the post-World War II boom, well-to-do Americans lived nicely with higher tax rates, and corporations did just fine despite tougher regulation.

That's because they were glory years, isn't it? Don't these things need to be changed, i.e., reduced, during not-so-glorious years?

That regulation saved capitalism from its own excesses.

Proof? Or mere assertion?

And Wall Street might have been spared the carnage of 2000-2001 if tougher financial, accounting, and securities regulations hadn't been gutted in the 1990s (with Lieberman cheering on the repeal).

I think it had a lot more to do with the internet / stock market bubble and a loose monetary policy. Ummmm, which political party was in the White House leading up to this time frame?

Nor is there anything radical about wanting the public sector to fund public education, universal health coverage, and decent child care.

There is when a lot of people disagree with it. See: Clinton, Hillary, health care plan, 1993.

Kerry and the other populists in the Democratic field should take these elite assaults as signs that America's most privileged are getting a little worried and wear them as badges of honor.

Rare is the instance when so many words are used to express the bloody obvious. The theme of populism class warfare was used successfully by Dean leading up to Iowa, and Kerry's grabbed the torch, judging from his New Hampshire speech Tuesday night. Don't columnists got paid to express original thoughts?

Robert Kuttner is co-editor of the American Prospect. His column appears regularly in the Globe.

Copyright 2004 or 2000 or 1996 Globe Newspaper Company.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004
Super Bowl Myths

... are destroyed here.

You Think It's Cold In NH?

Check out Grand Forks, North Dakota.

I blame global warming...

Time To Smooch

The Boston Globe's 'heavy hitters' start to pucker their lips, all the better to kiss John Kerry's ass. Here's Tom Oliphant:

JOHN KERRY WON a near-landslide victory in the New Hampshire primary last night -- a broad, convincing win with huge implications for the national contest for the Democratic presidential nomination that begins today.

With months of silly conventional wisdom now in a coffin, Kerry has done more than win a rare, Iowa-New Hampshire weekly double. He has now made the only clear claim to the nomination that is based on real votes, but it is not yet an unassailable one.

Derrick Z. Jackson acknowledges reality to an extent, but still refuses to kiss honky ass:

(Gene) Piecuch's decision was particularly telling because his top issue is health care, which was supposed to belong to Dean. Piecuch's own health plan from his former job is so good that his wife's knee replacement surgery only cost him $21.

But he said: "I see the elderly people at the pharmacy when the pharmacist says this drug is going to cost $100. It makes me so angry. The elderly are paying $100 for drugs when we're spending $87 billion for Iraq. We've got to start leaving some of those billions of dollars at home."

Because, after all, the United States isn't about freedom and democracy, and liberating 20+ million Iraqi's, it's more about inexpensive out-of-pocket medical expenses for the Piecuch's, and we use others as our moral crutch.

Then there are those who, quite frankly, should be much, much better informed before voting:

"I was taken with Dean in the summer," said a social worker who did not want to lose her job give her name. In the end she chose Kerry after she saw a poll suggesting that Kerry has the best chance to beat Bush.

"I liked Dean's stand on the economy and how old people and children get health care in Vermont," she said. "I never really liked Kerry that much, but we've got to get a Democrat in the White House. We've lost so much respect in the world. It's so bad I would vote for Mickey Mouse." Freda Hawkinson, 44, who voted for Kerry, said: "We've got to get somebody in the White House who can negotiate with the Congress and get their votes. Dean was too abrasive."

Voting is the most important thing you could do to make your contribution to our country (aside from serving in our military, natch), and we have Exhibit Number One why some people shoudn't vote.

And here's the ultimate whopper:

The electability factor brought John and Kaye Underwood to the polls to vote for Kerry. John, 66, a retired high school guidance counselor, voted for President Bush in 2000 and the senior George Bush in 1992. Kaye, 62, a former nurse, voted for Gore in 2000 but voted for the senior Bush in 1992.

"If Bush spent on education, health care, Medicare, and prescription drugs what he spends on one or two days in Iraq, it would be different," John said. "I'm a Republican looking for a change of pace."

Oh, like we haven't spent enough of taxpayer money?

KRUGMAN BLAMES TAX CUTS: That's the entire reason for the deficit. Yeah, right. But how can he ignore the obvious place of exploding domestic discretionary spending under Bush? Well, we have long learned about the fragility of his intellectual honesty. The lesson for Republican presidents: you will never get credit for spending, so don't do it. Cut taxes; reduce spending. It's the only governing philosophy that conservatives ever have a chance of winning with. But they never learn, do they?

I'm afraid not...

Saturday, January 24, 2004
Another One Bites The Dust

So you're one of the top four Democratic nominees and you get your clock cleaned during the Thursday night debate. Do you become introspective, looking within yourself to ask, "What did I do wrong and how can I improve or otherwise fix the problem"?

Of course not. You're a Democrat, so naturally the problem is the Vast Right-Wing MediaTM

NASHUA, N.H., Jan. 23 ? A day after Gen. Wesley K. Clark was asked in a debate about his Democratic credentials, he was again confronting the subject on Friday, saying the question, by a Fox News anchor, was "part of a Republican Party agenda."

Never mind that it was Peter Jennings who asked the tough question.

Friday, January 23, 2004
I'm So Conflicted

The Viking Pundit takes note of two people who aren't exactly on my Christmas list, Derrick Z. Jackson and Captain Hairdo. I acknowledge Derrick Z. Jackson's point that

Kerry still needs to explain war vote


As the new front-runner, it was time for Kerry to stand his ground again. It was much too easy. With polite, if not contrite competitors and unfocused moderators who needed a strong cup of coffee, Kerry did not have to offer his gut. He won simply by not being challenged.

That's precisely the problem that I, The VikeMan and (gasp!) even Joan Vennochi have with Kerry's ever contradicting stances on almost every subject:

Kerry is eloquent when he talks about returning from Vietnam and leading veterans in protest, but when he says, "I will never conduct a war or start a war because we want to, only because we have to," the same old question arises: Then, why vote for the Iraq war resolution?

As an aside, I'm surprised Joan's not buttering Kerry's ass with his recent surge in the polls (huh huh huh - our poles are rising!). She's usually the official Globe barometer on fair-weather friendliness. Guess we'll have to wait until Tuesday to make it official.

Yesterday Peter Jennings asked two tough questions, one each to Al 'Tawana Brawley Hoax' Sharpton and Wesley Crusher Clark (more on that above). Just wait until the fire's turned on Kerry. I just hope he doesn't have a flashback when it comes.

P.S. And, uh, Eric? I don't 'hate' Derrick Z. Jackson, I just disagree with him. Strongly.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004
This Is How They Do It

Have you ever wondered what happens when a political campaign amasses $300K in debt after you acknowledge the obvious and drop out of the campaign? That's what happened to convicted tax evader Carol Moseley-Braun.

How do you pay the debt off? 1) Roll this guy three times or 2) kiss Howard Dean's white ass:

"We are going to help her with the debt," [Dean adviser Jon] Haber told me. The debt tab could be in the neighborhood of some $300,000 and Dean's camp will help Braun raise the money to pay it off. Braun will campaign for Dean three days of the week, with the Dean campaign picking up her travel expenses. Braun will become a Dean campaign consultant and will be paid about $20,000. Up to three of Braun's staffers, including [Patricia] Ireland, will be hired by the Dean campaign.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004
Idiots Of The World, Unite!

Boston Globe editorial writer James Carroll tries for some preemptive spin on President Bush's State of the Union address tonight. I will also take the liberty of utilizing Steven Den Beste's diagnostic signs of left-wing talking points, in BOLD.

Addressing Bush's state of disunion

By James Carroll, 1/20/2004

IN HIS STATE of the Union address tonight, President Bush will speak of the success nightmare he has helped to created in Iraq as if it is a dream come true. Yet the contrary facts of the American misadventure have begun to speak for themselves. When the awful story of the Iraq war is written, the two weeks just past may be recognized as a time when the deception and disarray of Bush's policy were made more clear than ever. These are events to which the president will not refer tonight, yet taken together, they reveal the true state of his disunion:

On Jan. 4, the tape of a belligerent voice claiming to be Osama bin Laden was broadcast on Al Jazeera television. The next day the CIA confirmed that it was bin Laden, and that, made recently, the tape showed he is still alive.

Uh, not exactly 100 percent verification, James. An audiotape, by definition, shows nothing , and al Jazzera played only 14 minutes of a 47 minute long audiotape. If Osama's still alive, how come we've yet to see a videotape? There are people more knowledgable about past purported bin Laden audiotapes that have their doubts about the authenticity of this one. Note that Carroll does not address this particular fact about previous statements that were not verified by the CIA.

Reliance on leftist groups as pure oracles of truth: check.

On Jan. 8, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace rebutted major Bush claims on Iraq, concluding that "administration officials systematically misrepresented the threat from Iraq WMD and ballistic missile programs."

Ah, yes, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Consider the source.

Misstatement of the Bush doctrine: check.

On Jan. 11, on television, former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill confirmed reports in Ron Suskind's "The Price of Loyalty" that the Clinton Bush administration planned war against Iraq before 9/11, "from the very beginning."

Two words - Huge hoax. Also note on the origination of this 'plan':

"People are trying to make a case that I said the president was planning war in Iraq early in the administration," O'Neill said.

"Actually, there was a continuation of work that had been going on in the Clinton administration with the notion that there needed to be regime change in Iraq."

"That's not a feature, that's a bug." check.

On Jan. 12, a paper published at the Army War College described the war on terrorism as "strategically unfocused." The assessment from within the military itself blasted the Bush-led effort because it "promises more than it can deliver, and threatens to dissipate US military resources in an endless and hopeless search for absolute security."

I think everyone realizes that the war on terrorism is a different kind of war because of the diffuse nature of terrorist groups. It is important to remember that terrorist groups survive only with the support of states such as Iraq, Iran, Syria, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. If you go after the states that sponsor terrorism, you solve half the problem.

Concern about disapproval from abroad: check.

On Jan. 13, the Bush administration reversed itself to announce that Canada could participate in contracts for the rebuilding of Iraq. Washington's punitive rejection of countries that had opposed the war was not working.

That's because Jean Chretien, ant-American prime Minister of Canada, is no longer in power. Note to James Carroll: it's called the carrot and stick approach.

Insistence on reliance on international agencies: check.

On Jan. 14, Human Rights Watch another NGO noted for its nonpartisan leanings issued a report that held some US tactics in Iraq to be in violation of the Geneva Conventions, including home demolitions that "did not meet the test of military necessity." The report accused the army of arresting and holding Iraqi civilians simply because they were relatives of fugitives.

Translation - we're adapting to the situation by realizing that we can use the tribal system against the insurgents by putting pressure on family members instead of letting our troops be targets.

My own - Uncritical acceptance of facts that do not square with past behavior - check.

On Jan. 14, it was reported that the captured Saddam Hussein was in possession of a letter he had written instructing his followers not to throw in with foreign fighters, further puncturing the myth that Hussein was in active alliance with Al Qaeda.

Classic disinformation tactic, see Stalin, Josef.

On Jan. 14, a secret study conducted by the US Army Command in Baghdad was published.

Guess it's not so 'secret' anymore...

It faulted the army's tactics in Iraq as needlessly confrontational, and it asserted -- against the claims of the Bush administration -- that "the capture of Saddam will have nominal effect within Iraqi borders."

Why, yes, James. War is needlessly confrontational.

On Jan. 15, responding to Shi'ite leader Ayatollah Ali Sistani, 30,000 Iraqis took to the streets to protest American plans for transition to Iraqi rule, making even more unlikely Washington's fantasy that Iraq will not join Iran as a Shi'ite dominated state. Will that put Iraq back on the axis of evil? thousands of other Shi'ites want to hang Hussein by his balls.

Concern about disapproval from abroad (2): check.

On Jan. 15, the Bush administration was reported to be considering opening Iraq reconstruction contracts to France, Germany, and Russia, as it had to Canada. Washington is scrambling.

Considering is different from actually allowing reconstruction contracts. Remember the 'carrot and stick' approach?

Criticism about not having UN approval: check.

By Jan. 19, yesterday, the Bush administration had reversed itself to press at the United Nations for urgent help with the transition to Iraqi self-government, the clearest sign yet that Washington's go-it-alone policy had failed.

Going it alone, with Australia, Netherlands, UK, Japan, Poland, Italy, Spain, Mongolia...

In the days before the State of the Union address one year ago, the Bush administration denigrated UN weapons inspector Hans Blix, dismissing the inspections and containment strategy favored at the United Nations.

We were expecting results, and got none.

Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld mocked what he called "old Europe." Secretary of State Colin Powell promised to provide compelling evidence of Saddam Hussein's imminent threat. The State Department published an indictment of Saddam entitled "Apparatus of Lies."

In the State of the Union address itself, President Bush bragged that he had "liberated" Afghanistan -- a country which today, except for a small zone around Kabul, belongs to warlords. He boasted that "one by one terrorists are learning the meaning of American justice" -- thinking, perhaps, of the concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay, where American justice is mocked.

Some concentration camp, where prisoners are heavier and in better health than when they arrived...

Bush detailed a long list of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. He said that Iraq had obtained "uranium from Africa," and he referred to certain metal tubes to suggest a nuclear weapons program. He said that Saddam Hussein "aids and protects" Al Qaeda, and, projecting into the future, he linked the 9/11 hijackers with Saddam. He promised that Colin Powell would provide evidence of the link between Saddam and the terrorists.

Do you believe Saddam Hussein to be as pure as the driven snow? If he didn't have these things, why did he stonewall the UN inspectors for twelve years?

The president set a rigorous standard last year, constructing an apparatus of lies it will be hard to match tonight. One bald falsehood not even he will dare repeat: "We seek peace," Bush said a year ago, "We strive for peace."

Place your bets...

James Carroll's column appears regularly in the Globe.

Copyright 2004 Globe Newspaper Company.

Sunday, January 18, 2004
NFL 2003 - 2004, Championship Round

The System says (Home team in CAPS):

Ind +3
Car +4.5

My picks:

NE -3
Car +4.5

Indy at NE: It's another weather game, snowing in Foxborough as I write this, you have a dome team on the road, and in the playoffs, go with the better defensive unit.

Car at PHI: More of a hunch than anything else, and I'm not thrilled picking a team whose starting halfback (Stephen Davis) has a quadricep injury, but they have DeShawn Foster as their backup, and he looked pretty good last week. Plus, that's what the System says.

Last week = 2-2.

For the year = 32-42-5.

Friday, January 16, 2004
Jihad, Boston Style

The Boston Herald reports on the connection between the mosque builders in Boston and one of the founders of PTech, Inc, a Quincy, MA software firm, weakly reported by yours truly thirteen months ago.

Local Islamic leader has ties to raided Quincy co. founder

By Jonathan Wells

Friday, January 16, 2004

The leader of the local Islamic group planning to build a major new mosque in Roxbury is ``close friends'' with one of the founders of the Quincy software company raided a year ago as part of a federal anti-terrorism investigation.

My surprise meter seems to be busted...

The friendship between Islamic Society of Boston chairman Osama M. Kandil and Ptech, Inc. founder Hussein Ibrahim was described to federal agents last year by a financier now awaiting sentencing in a terrorism-related immigration case in Virginia.

Financier = bagman / intermediary / fall guy if & when something goes wrong, as it did here.

The financier, Soliman Biheiri, convicted last year of holding multiple passports immigration violations, told the agents during a June 15 interview ``that (Hussein) Ibrahim and (Osama) Kandil were close friends, and were both active in the Muslim Students Association (MSA),'' acccording to a U.S. Treasury Department investigative report made public Monday in U.S. District Court in Alexandria.

Well, that's good to know, Soliman, but where are you getting your money from?

Kandil, Ibrahim and Biheiri are subjects of a complex federal terrorism financing probe that began in Northern Virginia two months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and has expanded to other cities around the country, including Boston, according to court records and law enforcement sources.

That might explain why Ibrahim's not been indicted since December 2002.

Kandil and certain other individuals involved with the Islamic Society of Boston are being looked at by investigators partly because of the group's plan to build the largest mosque and cultural center in the Northeast on land in Roxbury, according to one high-level law enforcement source.

Roxbury - cheap land and cover by black Muslim leaders so anyone snooping around can be labeled a racist.

Another subject of the probe is Ptech, which was bankrolled by Yasin al-Qadi, a wealthy Saudi investor who has been officially designated by the U.S. government as a terrorism financier.

There's a little more about al-Qadi there, which I've seemed to miss. So much for my career at super blogging journalism. Check out the Google search for those of you who are interested.

Ptech was raided by federal agents in December 2002 and remains under investigation, sources said. No officers or employees of the company have been charged with a crime and al-Qadi has denied any involvement in financing terrorists.

The wheels of justice grind ever slowly...

The company's close relationship with al-Qadi is of concern to investigators because Ptech provided software and consulting to numerous federal agencies, including the FBI, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Defense.

All of which should have been uninstalled the next day. Asshats.

In 1985, Biheiri and Ibrahim founded an Islamic investment company in New Jersey called Bait ul Mal, or BMI, Inc. Biheiri said he and Ibrahim took money from handled various investments for al-Qadi, including an initial $5 million for Ptech routed through Kadi International, a U.S. company controlled by al-Qadi.

Classic shell game with front companies.

Later, al-Qadi invested another $5 million in Ptech directly, without the involvement of BMI, Biheiri said.

Gotta meet the payroll, after all.

Biheiri also disclosed in the interview that Kandil invested $25,000 in BMI and ``made a slight profit and received his money back.''

Which is why the IRS is involved.

Three other major investors in BMI were the mother, sister and nephew of terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, Biheiri said. Bin Laden's nephew, Abdullah bin Laden, invested approximately $500,000 in the company and made additional investments in BMI on behalf of his terrorist uncle's mother and sister, but Biheiri did not recall the amounts.

Of course he didn't...

Kandil and Abdullah bin Laden were both founding directors of the nonprofit Muslim Arab Youth Association, a controversial group that served as a platform for extremist elements of the Islamic world.

That's redundant...

The two men have also served as directors of Taibah International Aid Association, a group long suspected by U.S. authorities of supporting terrorism.

Could you have picked a worse name than Talibah?

Thursday, January 15, 2004
Car Chases

Here's the Sun's list of the top ten car chases of all time. The Blues Brothers chase scene goes unmentioned, but I have a few videos to rent this weekend to verify this list (Ronin and the original Italian Job, namely).

I have this fantasy about recreating the French Connection chase in Quincy. It starts at the Braintree T stop and goes into Boston. I'd do it in my Intrepid (1996, front wheel drive, 3.5 L), although I'd prefer a rear wheel drive Intrepid with a Hemi engine without the governor. The path follows Rt. 3 US to Newport Ave. up through the JFK T stop, and maybe the Andrew, Broadway and South Station T stops. With me driving.

I can dream, can't I?

9-11 Democrats?

The more I see evidence of former Democrats saying they'll vote for GWB in November, the more I'm convinced there's a serious schism in their party between the people who realize national security is a serious issue and those who do not. I'm glad that some Democrats are able to maintain priorities, and thanks for voting for the continued existence of the United States.


Howard Dean recently stated that George W. Bush invaded Iraq because he was obsessed with his father's failure in Iraq, and he's clearly implying that President Bush has some psychological issues.

The shoe now seems to be on the other foot (it's from NEWSMAX, so it must be true. :-) ).

Thursday, Jan. 15, 2004 3:06 p.m. EST

Dean Details Treatment for Anxiety Attacks

Democratic presidential front-runner Howard Dean offered more details this week on psychological counseling he underwent for anxiety attacks suffered in the 1980s - and revealed that he had a panic attack the day he took over as governor of Vermont 13 years ago.

Reacting to news of Gov. Richard Snelling's death in August 1991, Dean told People magazine, "I hyperventilated and I started hyperventilating and I thought, You better stop that or you won't be much good to anybody."

The panic attack was understandable, Dean said. "To suddenly get told that you have responsibility for 600,000 people ? it provokes a little anxiety."

That's precisely what worries me about DemocRATS and why I reflexively distrust the SOB's - they're running governments, and nothing more, but they routinely overstate their responsibilities and think they're in (significant? complete?) charge of everyone's lives.

Dean's history of anxiety attacks goes back to the early 1980s, when he said he sought counseling for the problem.

"I was just anxious and I didn't know why," the Democratic front-runner explained.

Of the counseling sessions, Dean said: "It wasn't easy. You've got to work and you've got to uncover things that matter to you. And of course, we talked a lot about my father and all that other stuff."

So, wait, who has the obsession with the father?

Dean eventually traced the cause of his distress to the premature death of his brother, who disappeared while exploring Laos in 1974.

The top Democrat denied that his treatment involved any anti-anxiety drugs, but admitted that he sometimes still has to take "stuff" to get to sleep at night.


"You know, once in a while, I take stuff for sleep," Dean told People. "That makes sense."

Me? I just drink a few beers, that does it for me.

He explained: "Anti-anxiety drugs and sleep drugs were essentially the same thing when I was practicing [medicine]. And my experience was whenever I took a sleeping pill, there would be rebound insomnia and so I didn't like to take them."

The leading Democrat said he doesn't expect a repeat of the hyperventilation episode if he wins the presidency.

"I think everybody has a little anxiety when they approach a job like that," he told People. "But I think that over my life, I've made hard decisions about people who could die if I made the wrong decision. ...

Governor, this is the Big Leagues you're aiming for now. I think we, as potential voters, need to be assured that this is no longer a problem. I have some doubts now. Well, more than I did before...

"The key to making tough decisions is to make it, not sit around and agonize about it," Dean said.

I kind of doubt we'll see this line of attack again. Then again, I could be wrong...

Keep Digging, Boys

It seems the Kerry campaign and the Clintons Clark campaign are trying to unearth dirt on Howard Dean (Kerry report from Drudge, copied here because Drudge doesn't archive very well):



With the clock ticking it's a wild scramble to find dirt on Dean as primaries near.

A woman named "Robin" from John Kerry's New Hampshire campaign has been rummaging through files at Vermont's Secretary of State’s Office in recent days, sources tell the DRUDGE REPORT.

The first thing "Robin" asked for this morning was Dean's state campaign finance records, including those from this year, a well-placed source tells the DRUDGE REPORT.

Robin was told how the information from this year was federal. She then abruptly asked where she could get it. One archive employee -- who called Robin overly agressive and "nosey" -- patiently told her to check the FEC website.

Robin was joined by a guy named "Sam" and two others, one of whom was referred to as an economist. Sam was there from 9 until 12 looking for Dean pardons. The two other Kerry researchers were looking at Dean's budget and environmental records.

According to sources, at one point on Wednesday, Robin was yelled at by Louise Corliss, one of the archive staffers, for looking and fingering through boxes she had not requested.


I mention the Clintons Clark campaign because it's now an obvious proxy war between Dean and the Clintons via Clark's campaign.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004
Bush Lied, Act CLXXVI

This line of argument is getting extremely tired. Who else but our bloated senior Senator to rant six months after the fact? Ted's a day late and a dollar short, in my book.

Kennedy: Bush Broke Faith with Americans on Iraq

By Vicki Allen, 1/14/2004

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Fueled by martinis highballs former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill's blasts at the Bush administration, the U.S. Senate's leading liberal Democrat on Wednesday accused the Republican White House of breaking faith with Americans by forcing them into an unnecessary war with Iraq.

And if our goal is to rid the world of terrorists and the states who sponsor them, why was this war 'unnecessary'?

Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts said President Bush and his advisers capitalized on the fear created by the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and put "a spin on the truth to justify a war that could well become one of the worst blunders in more than two centuries of American foreign policy."

Oh, I could think of a much worse foreign policy blunder involving your brother, Senator. At least we won the war in Iraq, capiche?

"If Congress and the American people knew the whole truth, America never would have gone to war," Kennedy said in a speech to the Center for American Progress.

This implies that either he knows something the rest of us schlubs don't, or he's talking out of his ass once again. Since he doesn't want to reveal 'the whole truth', I'll assume the latter.

He said the administration "has broken faith with the American people, aided an abetted by a congressional majority willing to pursue ideology at any price, even the price of distorting the truth."

Is this the same military action that the other Massachusetts Senator voted for?

He also said the Iraq war has made the effort to stop terrorism more difficult. "We knocked al Qaeda down in the war in Afghanistan, but we let it regroup by going to war in Iraq," he said of Osama bin Laden's network, blamed for the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.

I don't think the senior Senator has been apprised of recent events in Afghanistan.

Kennedy said the statements by O'Neill, Bush's first treasury secretary, that the president focused on ousting Saddam Hussein from his first days in office "revealed what many of us have long suspected.

Yes. That we need contingency plans for dictators we've been at war with for twelve years, plans that were first developed by the Clinton administration in 1998.

Despite protestations to the contrary, the president and his senior aides began the march to war in Iraq in the earliest days of the administration."

So on one hand, we were planning on a possible military action against Iraq six years ago, and on the other hand, once the attack of 9/11/01 occurred, it seems all we heard out of Kennedy's mouth is:

"But few can also deny that after that, President Bush squandered too much of the good will of the world community because of his single-minded rush to war with Iraq even if he has a few – or even no – allies to go to war with him, and even when there are other ways to contain the threat posed by Saddam’s Iraq," Kennedy said. His address was broadcast live on C-Span.

Yup, that's consistent criticism...

O'Neill, ousted about a year ago in a shake-up of Bush's economic team, has sparked a firestorm with interviews and his contributions to a book depicting a disengaged president and an administration bent on toppling Saddam long before Bush cited Iraq as a terrorist threat after the Sept. 11 attacks.

And he's been backpedaling ever since.

The White House has lashed out at O'Neill, launching an investigation on whether he disclosed secret documents.

Um, that would be classified documents. Where do they get these reporters?

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Tuesday said the idea that Bush came to office "with a predisposition to invade Iraq ... I think is a total misunderstanding of the situation." Bush decided to invade Iraq in March last year "after trying everything else in the world," Rumsfeld said.

Which is right. We went to the UN Security council twice and were blown off twice. In the meantime Iraq continued to target coalition aircraft in the northern and southern no-fly zones at a rate of one or two a week by locking Russian made radar equipment onto our planes. That shit had to end at some point.

But Kennedy said the administration's "agenda was clear: find a rationale to end Saddam's regime," and he said the White House timed its announcements on Iraq to influence 2002 congressional elections.

Never mind that we actually went to war months later...

"War in Iraq was a war of choice, not a war of necessity. It was a product they were methodically rolling out," he said.

Yes. We chose to end twelve years of getting jerked off by Hussein when the UN lacked the balls to enforce seventeen of its own resolutions against them.

Kennedy branded the administration as "breathtakingly arrogant," convinced "they know what is in America's interest, but they refuse to debate it honestly."

If you felt so strongly about it, Senator, why didn't you say something about it when you voted on it, say, by filibustering the motion like your party is wont to do with Bush's judicial nominations? Any complaints thereafter is just crybaby whining, so kindly put a lid on it.

Copyright 2004 Reuters. Reuters content is the intellectual property of Reuters or its third-party content providers. Any copying, republication, or redistribution of Reuters content, including by caching, framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters.

Bite me.

NFL Quarterback Ratings

I, for one, have always wondered how this stat's compiled, namely in light of Peyton Manning's 'perfect' rating of 158.3 during the first week of the playoffs, even though he didn't complete every pass (which would be the conventional definition of perfect). For those curious souls, wonder no longer.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004
(Not So) Beautiful Loser

Al Franken signs a radio deal. Can't wait to see the ratings.

Franken Signs Deal With Liberal Progressive Media

By SETH SUTEL, AP Business Writer

NEW YORK - They haven't got a name or a launch date yet, but the entrepreneurs who dream of launching a liberal radio network have just landed themselves a lead man: Comedian and best-selling author Al Franken.

Dream on...

Progress Media planned to announce Tuesday that it has reached an agreement with Franken to host a live, three-hour daily broadcast that would form the anchor of the programming schedule, according to people familiar with the matter.

A three hour broadcast. Let me guess - will this be competing against the 12-3 slot that Rush Limbaugh currently commands?

In an interview, Franken said the format of the show was still evolving, but he said he was certain that it wouldn't be akin to that used by his rival Rush Limbaugh, which Franken described as "non-guested confrontation."

Does that mean Franken will try to set up conservative guests on his show? I recommend Ann Coulter as your first 'guest'.

"He has no one on the show but it's confrontation," Franken said. "His show is just him railing for three hours."

Which won't work. Try watching something like Crossfire for a half-hour, when all the participants do is yell and scream at each other. It's like being married, but worse...

Franken said he planned to use a mix of interviews, calls from listeners and scripted comedy. He said he planned to have a co-host with long experience in radio, but he said that role had not been finalized.

Whoever it is needs a lot of convincing or a lot of $ to play this game. He'd be bragging about this person otherwise.

Franken had long been rumored to be interested in a deal with Progress Media, the startup company that is assembling radio stations and talent for a radio network to challenge conservative talk show powerhouses like Limbaugh.

But Franken had been holding off in recent months, partly to promote his hot-selling book, "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right," and partly because he had reservations about the depth of the pockets of the previous owners of the venture.

Promoting a book with a fair and balanced title, isn't he?

"Things got more serious in terms of putting together stations and money to make this possible" with the change in ownership, Franken said.

Translation - Al has a new and richer sugar daddy.

Last November the company was bought by an investment group led by Mark Walsh, a former America Online executive and adviser to the Democratic National Committee (news - web sites), from the venture capitalists Sheldon and Anita Drobny.

Walsh, who serves as CEO of Progress Media, also said the new network had reached its first major distribution agreement, with the Chicago AM station WNTD. He said he expects to announce at least three other distribution deals in the coming weeks.

At a minimum they need NYC and LA as two of the three other markets in terms of listeners. My best guess as to the third market is Atlanta or Miami. San Francisco, Boston and other East Coast cities are out for semi-obvious reasons.

Walsh acknowledged that much work remains to be done on the network before it becomes a viable business, including lining up technical arrangements and setting up offices and studios.

That's where the sugar daddies come in. They haven't ponied up any cash just yet.

He said that about 65 percent of the network's programming has been decided, but he declined to elaborate beyond disclosing another new show to be co-hosted by the environmental activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. called "Champions of Justice."

Sounds like they could just play old NPR pieces instead. I wonder if this could lead to 'radio Fisking', a new way to refute leftist arguments?

The network also has yet to decide on a name. Last month the company indicated it would call the radio network Central Air, but Walsh said Tuesday the company was no longer certain it would be using that name.

Hot Air? No, too obvious...

Putting Franken in the midday time slot of noon to 3 p.m. Eastern time is a direct challenge to Limbaugh, whose hugely successful show occupies the same time slot.

It's not a direct challenge, it's suicide. Please tell me Ladbroke's or someone's laying odds on this.

Franken, whose earlier book was called "Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot," said he plans to call up his nemesis for advice on his own show since Limbaugh has often said he wonders why new radio hosts don't seek out his counsel.

Another fair and balanced book title. Ever wonder why Al Franken has trouble establishing credibility? Rush will tear you a new one, Al.

"I'll ask him advice: how he approaches a show, how he frames an issue. If it doesn't happen it will be — very understandably — because he won't take my call," Franken said.

The why won't you do something thoroughly professional and challenge him to a fistfight, you hypocritical loser?

Franken said his contract with Progress Media would last just one year, after which time both sides would reassess how things were going. He also said he very much wanted to do the show during a presidential election year.

Very convenient contract length, no? Collect the checks for a year, then see how bad you got you ass kicked.

"I'm interested in doing what I can to affect this election," Franken said. "I've been thinking about what's the best use of my energies — I hope this is it."

Hope springs eternal, Al...

Friday, January 09, 2004
NFL 2003 - 2004, Playoffs, Round 2

Home team in CAPS:

TEN +6
Car +7
GB +5.5

Of the remaining teams,

Best offense - KC (148)
Best defense - NE (133)
Worst offense - CAR (95)
Worst defense - KC (103)

That's according to The System. For a few reasons, I'm making adjustments.

My picks:

NE -6 (it's a weather game), take the under, if it's offered, at 35.
Car +7
Ind +3
Phi -5.5

I've adapted the picks according to The Sports Guy. Go forth and read the Thirteen Commandments of betting on playoff football. He's 4-0 against the spread, so my hat's off to him.

Last week - 1-1

For the year = 30-40-5.

Time To Dismount

Once again, here's the Boston Globe crackpot Derrick Z. Jackson's weekly anti-Bush tirade.

Mounting evidence shows Iraq didn't have WMDs

By Derrick Z. Jackson, 1/9/2004

THIS WAS an important week to remember that Vice President Dick Cheney once said, "There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction." And that President Bush once said there is "no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised." And especially that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld once said, "We know where they are."

That's interesting. This President said much the same thing. Was this opinion taken into account, Derrick?

The original justification for invading Iraq crumbled even more this week. A 5,000-word Washington Post story said that while Iraqi scientists were trying to sketch and design missiles, the weapons did not exist. While former Iraqi officials engaged in "abundant deception" about their dreams of future weapons, the dreams were nowhere near the nightmare depicted by Bush

The Post reported: "Weapons investigators have found no support for the two main fears expressed in London and Washington before the war: that Iraq had a hidden arsenal of old weapons and built advanced programs for new ones. In public statements and unauthorized interviews, investigators said they have discovered no work on former germ warfare agents such as anthrax and no work on a new designer pathogen -- combining pox virus and snake venom -- that led US scientists on a highly classified hunt for several months.

"The investigators assess that Iraq did not, as charged in London and Washington, resume production of its most lethal nerve agent, VX, or learn to make it last longer in storage. And they have found the former nuclear weapons program, described as a `grave and gathering danger' by President Bush and a `mortal threat' by Vice President Cheney, in much the same shattered state left by UN inspectors in the 1990s.

"A review of available evidence, including some not known to coalition investigators and some they have not made public, portrays a nonconventional arms establishment that was far less capable than US analysts judged before the war."

And we have this Syrian journalist who says there are three sites in Syria, long rumored to be hiding them, where Saddam's WMD are concealed. Who to believe?

The Post story detailed a battered Iraqi arms infrastructure that never recovered from the 1991 Gulf War. Its nuclear arms program was reduced to "less than zero," according to one of the would-be developers of an Iraqi nuke, Sabah Abdul Noor.

The Post obtained a document written by Hossam Amin, a top Iraqi official who was supposed to work with weapons inspectors. The document, written to Qusay Hussein, one of Saddam's sons killed by US forces, said that biological weapons were destroyed in 1991 after the Gulf War.

When was that document written, I wonder? As the US liberation of Iraq grew more imminent, there was a lot of ass covering by Saddam, and having these documents in circulation around that time would be consistent with trucking WMD to Syria in order to be painted in the most sympathetic light.

"Whatever its desire," the Post wrote, "Iraq did not possess the wherewithal to build a forbidden armory on anything like the scale it had before the 1991 Persian Gulf War."

Yet there are examples of Saddam using WMD against the Kurds and Shiites before and after the 1991 war. Again, who to believe?

That assessment was coincidentally seconded this week by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Oh, there's an unbiased source if I've ever heard one...

In a 111-page report, the endowment concluded that while Saddam Hussein's desire for weapons was a "long-term danger that could not be ignored or allowed to fester unaddressed," the weapons program did not "pose an immediate threat to the United States, the region, or global security." The report said that "administration officials systematically misrepresented the threat from Iraq's nuclear, chemical, and biological weapon programs and ballistic missile programs."

On the restarting of a nuclear program, the endowment said, "Iraq's nuclear program had been dismantled and there was no convincing evidence of its reconstitution."

On the supposed ties between Saddam and Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, frequently alluded to by the Bush administration, the report said: "The most intensive searching over the last two years has produced no solid evidence of a cooperative relationship between Saddam's government and Al Qaeda."

So what were Iraqi 'citizens' doing in Afghanistan, learning terrorist hash smuggling techniques? Derrick, are you really naive enough to think shit like this isn't signed off of at the high levels?

Among them are some Iraqis captured in Afghanistan, Miller said, though he declined to say how many.

On weapons inspections, which the Bush administration repeatedly trashed, the report said: "Nine months of exhaustive searches by US and coalition forces and experts suggest that the UN inspection teams were actually in the process of finding what was there."

Fifty plus years after the fact, the mainland Chinese uncovered chemical weapons left by the imperial Japanese during World War II. Derrick has the expectation level of a Wendy's drive-through order.

The report also left the door open as to whether the US intelligence community had been unduly influenced by White House pressure as the administration escalated its anti-Saddam rhetoric. The report said "it strains credulity" to believe that White House actions "did not create an environment in which individuals and agencies felt pressured to reach more threatening judgments of Saddam Hussein's weapons programs than many analysts felt were warranted."

The Czech government stands by its finding of a meeting between Mohammed Atta and an Iraqi spy diplomat. Does Derrick think such ties are printed on billboards?

As the Post story and the Carnegie report drive home how much the White House lied, the administration has shown a major card of knowing it will never find any truly threatening number of weapons of mass destruction. The New York Times reported this week that a 400-member military weapons inspection team has left Iraq. Defense Department officials said the team left "because its work was essentially done" and that "they picked up everything that was worth picking up."

That is a haunting statement. If they had picked up anything worth a war, we would have heard about it a long time ago.

Well, you would have, Derrick, if you ever bothered to look...

Derrick Z. Jackson's e-mail address is

Copyright 2004 Globe Newspaper Company.

Thursday, January 08, 2004
Bill Of Wrongs

Captain Hairdo continues to grasp at straws to find a winning formula before he gets his ass kicked in the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries.

Kerry announces plan for workers

By Raja Mishra, Globe Staff, 1/8/2004

STRATHAM, N.H. -- Senator John F. Kerry castigated corporate "Benedict Arnolds" during a campaign swing through New Hampshire yesterday in which the presidential candidate cast himself as an economic populist, promising to return a sense of fairness to the American workplace by cutting health care costs, raising wages, and prosecuting errant executives.

What is 'errant' supposed to mean? Will he prosecute executives who actually commit crimes like fraud and embezzlement, or is this a code word for 'prosecuting executives who don't behave as I expect'?

Polls indicate Kerry is a distant second behind former Vermont governor Howard Dean in the Granite State, with retired Army general Wesley K. Clark close or tied in several recent surveys. Kerry's base in New Hampshire lies in liberal urban areas and college towns, and among commuters to Massachusetts. But blue-collar voters will comprise a significant chunk of the Jan. 27 primary electorate, according to political specialists, and Kerry's campaign stops yesterday clearly targeted this vital block.

Just as he targeted another 'vital block' two days ago .

"In all my years in Washington, I've never seen such a creed of greed," Kerry told a breakfast meeting of New Hampshire business people, ticking off Enron, Halliburton, WorldCom, and other corporations under fire.

Enron. WorldCom. Tyco. Global Crossing. Let me ask, Senator, which political party was in power in the White House while this 'creed of greed' was allowed to go unchallenged?

Kerry flew to New Hampshire after campaigning late into Tuesday night in Iowa, reflecting the do-or-die importance these two electorates have over his political fate. A strong showing in Iowa, Kerry hopes, will revive his flagging support in New Hampshire, once thought to be a lock.

Miss any votes in the Senate lately?

Kerry introduced yesterday his "Workers' Bill of Rights," a repackaging of tired, shopworn liberal ideas of interference in the marketplace several of his key proposals on taxes, health care, and corporate governance. It included promises to eliminate entry-level jobs raise the minimum wage, raise corporate income tax rates close numerous corporate tax loopholes, remove executive incentives place limits on executive compensation, add regulations without cost-benefit analysis update workplace safety laws, and maybe, someday privatise protect pensions.

How many of these things has he done or endorsed while he was a Senator? That's how he should back up his words, with past examples of deeds.

At its core was Kerry's health-care cost reduction plan: He would have taxpayers the federal government pay the vast majority of the costs for caring for extremely sick patients, a tiny majority that consumes a disproportionately large share of health dollars.

Private insurance, anyone?

Kerry said this would reduce annual health costs almost $1,000 per American, though specialists say the effect would be more modest.

A politician overestimating the savings of a proposed government plan? Never!

Kerry is, however, a Democratic candidate with a proposal to reduce health costs, which polls indicate is a top economic issue among Americans.

Um, what's the top economic issue, then? Where does this issue place in relation to the top one (taxes?)?

Kerry's morning speech at the "Politics and Eggs" breakfast at the Bedford Inn restaurant in Bedford was boring as only Kerry could make it a long and involved discourse. One member of the audience, Jennifer Donahue, a political affairs adviser at St. Anselm College in Manchester, said Kerry needs to do more to connect with voters.

Yes! We have a winner!

"Dean is a doctor who speaks the language of average voters and Kerry is, well, a senator," she said. "Communications have separated Howard Dean and Kerry in this race."

"...and Kerry is, well, a Senator." Ouch! I could have not have stated it any more succinctly, and this ought to be the epitath on Kerry's political gravestone for this campaign.

Kerry later held a town hall meeting at the Stratham headquarters of the Timberland Co., the maker of boots and jackets. Shedding his sport coat and roving the aisles with mike in hand, he was more animated than at the breakfast gathering.

"There are people who are pouring great sums of money into the political system, and they're setting the agenda," he said, accusing the Bush administration of excessive coziness with corporate America.

You mean like this exemplar of corporate America? Great sums of money, indeed...

Rather than dwell on workplace issues, the question-and-answer period focused mostly on foreign policy. Kerry asserted he would head off nuclear crisis in North Korea by engaging more intensely with Pyongyang than President Bush has.

Like the last Democratic president, signing the Agreed Framework with North Korea in 1994 and promptly broken by uncle Kimmie? Appeasement doesn't work, Senator.

He said he would push a Manhattan Project-like effort to develop new energy sources to wean the United States from Middle Eastern oil so "no American in uniform would be held hostage" by US energy needs.

How about a few windmills in your back yard?

He left the applauding Timberland crowd with a reminder and a request: "I don't care what the polls say. You all are independent-minded people."

Please! Of course you care about what the polls say:

-- The polls: Dean still trails far behind his party rivals in four recent nationwide polls of likely Democratic voters, but has placed first in the unofficial www.Democrats- .com straw poll the last three weeks.

The bad news: A Zogby poll said 84 percent of Iowans don't know Dean's name, despite the fact he's visited the state 18 times. The good news: American Research Group gave Dean 15 percent support in New Hampshire, second behind Kerry, who had 27 percent.

Copyright 2004 Globe Newspaper Company.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004
A Political Campaigning Tip

I have to anoit Dennis "Department of Peace" Kucinich by far and away the dumbest of the Nine Dwarves. I hold this truth to be self-evident:

Kucinich Shows Pie Chart on Radio Debate

I thought this was something from Scrappleface when I first saw it.

By Associated Press

January 6, 2004, 8:44 PM EST

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Federal spending was the topic and Democratic presidential hopeful Dennis Kucinich came prepared with a pie chart to argue his point about a bloated Pentagon budget.

1) Does this guy have any advisers to tell him not to be so stoopid? 2) Why is it only the Pentagon's budget which is bloated?

But although many listened to Tuesday's presidential debate, few could see the Ohio congressman's prop.

Uh, did any listeners see the lunatic's congressman's prop?

The debate was broadcast only on National Public Radio.

NPR and Kucinich. A fit like O.J and his glove...

As Kucinich challenged Democratic front-runner Howard Dean for refusing to acknowledge that the Pentagon budget needs to be cut, debate moderator Neal Conan of NPR interrupted.

"Congressman Kucinich is holding up a pie chart, which is not truly effective on radio," Conan told his listeners.

You don't say?

Kucinich was not deterred.

"Well, it's effective if Howard can see it," he replied.

You're a blip on the radar screen. Well, not for long, with idiocy like that...

Copyright © 2004, The Associated Press

Nope, No Hypocrisy Here

Democratic presidential candidate and current frontrunner Howard Dean decides the release of certain records is just fine and dandy:

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission says former Gov. Howard Dean and other Vermont officials violated federal law by releasing secret protection plans for its nuclear power plant in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Did you e-mail Osama bin Laden a copy just to make sure?

The NRC's charge had Vermont officials scrambling to impound top-secret nuclear documents the Democratic presidential front-runner wrongly made public.

Some of the documents regarding the Vermont Yankee nuke plant include so-called ``safeguards information,'' which is to be released under ``need to know requirements and . . . not publicly releasable,'' said NRC spokesman Scott Burnell.

The documents are included in files Dean made public - even as he opposes the release of other records on the grounds that they may include similar security or personal information.

``They have been made aware that these documents aren't supposed to be publicly available,'' said Burnell. ``They have assured us that steps are being taken to remove the documents from public availability.''

It sounds like a case of selective release by Dean's office.

Burnell said visible warnings on the records weren't heeded by Dean's office, the Vermont secretary of state and the state archivist - making civil or criminal charges a possibility.

``If warranted, there is going to be an investigation,'' Burnell said.

I won't hold my breath.

And, of course, the release of other records is not cool:

Dean has come under steady fire for refusing to release many of the files from his 11 years as Vermont governor until 2013.

The front-running Democrat has said he doesn't want his gubernatorial records released for political reasons but said he also worries that security data and things like constituent medical information could accidentally be released if all his documents were made public.

So, Dean doesn't consider the release of records pertaining to a fucking nuclear power plant as having anything to do with security?

The NRC review follows a Herald report last month that documents containing security and personal medical information were tucked in Dean's public files.

The documents undercut Dean's argument that files should remain private and have been used by his competitors, most recently by U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman during a debate in Iowa Sunday.

Did anyone ask him this question - why?

Dean has also been criticized for reports of lax security at the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant after the 2001 terrorist attacks.

Maybe he's trying to cover his ass?

Officials at the Vermont state archives told the NRC that documents were released only after an OK from Dean's office, according to Burnell.

Dean campaign spokesman Jay Carson refused to comment. But Vermont Secretary of State Deborah Markowitz, a Democrat, said her office is equally to blame for the gaffe.

``Because of the very quick and intense interest in Gov. Dean's records, we simply missed this batch,'' Markowitz said. ``It was ultimately a result of the pressure our office had, we weren't ready for it.''

Taking one for the ol' governor? How quaint. She's hoping for a high profile position in the Dean administration, I'm sure...

Markowitz said governors are supposed to exclude data not subject to public records laws. But, she said, her office is the last check. ``We're the custodian of the record. The buck stops here,'' she said.

Thank you, Mrs. Truman...

The nuclear files have been removed from public view. Archivists and officials from the NRC will soon review all public documents to ensure there aren't other secret files available, officials said.

Vande Velde Leaves US Postal For Liberty

Christain Vande Velde follows Roberto Heras' lead and bails out on Team Lance. Contract details and a statement from Vande Velde aren't part of the article, or this one, so it's too early to tell what caused him to jump.

It's The Hair, Isn't It?

Captain Harido, AKA Senator John Forbes Kerry, is trying to gain traction with his campaign by diversifying his base.

Kerry courts female voters

By Patrick Healy, Globe Staff, 1/6/2004

DES MOINES -- Intensifying his outreach to female voters, Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kerry laid out a "common sense" economic plan at a luncheon yesterday with more than 200 women, promising to spend billions of dollars to improve schools, lower college tuition, and stanch job layoffs.

Of course, these three measures might benefit men as well, but I'm detracting from the obvious pandering...

The Massachusetts senator, who by the way served in Vietnam whose campaign manager and national chair are women and who employs many other women as aides, used his 40-minute speech to touch on issues such as education, environmental protection, and health care that are popular with female focus groups. He used expressions such as "we'll clean house" in Washington to ally himself with the crowd (emphasis added).

This best demonstrates why Kerry is just a Clinton wannabe in terms of leadership. He has to rely on what polls and focus groups tell him to do instead of acting on personal conviction or his own sense of right and wrong.

"I'm running for president because the American people are calling 911 for help, and it's about time that someone in the White House picked up the phone," Kerry said. "Middle-class families have an agenda, too, and it's about time someone in the White House held a special meeting for them."

Actually, the local police pick up the 911 calls, Einstein. What is it with all the overblown rhetoric? Something to match his overblown hairstyle?

Kerry's plan includes providing $25 billion more a year for two years to states and municipalities to stop spending like drunken sailors education cuts and fee hikes "resulting from [President] Bush's economic policies." In a pledge to keep jobs in America, Kerry also said he would require telephone call centers to identify to customers whether the center is based domestically or overseas, noting that many of them have moved to less developed nations to save money. He also said he would investigate outsourcing of US jobs abroad and stop the government from awarding contracts to foreign companies if the jobs can be done in America.

If we're serious about keeping companies here instead of somewhere else, why not give them incentives to do so, such as lower tax rates and / or less intrusive regulations?

Kerry kept the focus of his speech squarely on the Bush administration, rather than risk irking his audience with criticism of his two leading rivals in Iowa's Jan. 19 caucuses, former governor Howard Dean of Vermont and Representative Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri.

That's one reason Kerry's going to lose, and badly. Dean can afford to 'take on' Bush because he's the frontrunner. Kerry first has to get past Dean and Gephardt, and not focusing your efforts accordingly is simply picking the wrong fight. Or is that what some focus group told him?

Most public opinion polls put Kerry at third place in Iowa, but he has been campaigning aggressively there, and recently received endorsements from a state legislator and two public safety officials -- a sign that people see him as a winner, campaign aides said.

Enough to knock off the other guys? Color me skeptical.

In a downtown hotel ballroom before a campaign banner with a new slogan, "A Fighter With Results," Kerry described the Bush administration as operating a "corporate crony" policy of access for lobbyists and directors from big business, while shutting out women and ignoring the needs of middle-class and working-class families.

Some people, myself included, are simply delighted with the idea of being ignored by Washington.

"We need to end an administration that lets companies like Halliburton ship their old boss to the White House and get special treatment while they ship American jobs overseas," Kerry said, referring to Vice President Dick Cheney, who once led the energy giant.

Looks like Kerry's with some fine company on that front!

Patrick Healy can be reached at

Copyright 2004 Globe Newspaper Company.

UPDATE - Some special treatment, no?

Saturday, January 03, 2004
NFL 2003 - 2004, Playoffs

Home team in CAPS:

BAL +1
Sea +7

Last week - 3-5

For the year = 29-39-5.