<body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\x3d12201415\x26blogName\x3dThe+Limburg+Letter\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dBLUE\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3dhttp://brashlimburg.blogspot.com/search\x26blogLocale\x3den_US\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3dhttp://brashlimburg.blogspot.com/\x26vt\x3d4164645979927554901', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Ari Berman Has Fun with Numbers

Thank you Mr. Berman.

After a long weekend in Vegas there's nothing better than an easy post. Fortunately I'm a leading scholar in the study of the "Ari Algorithm"; in layman's terms:

Ari Berman + Polls or Statistics = Newsweek caliber reporting.
Rather than spend a paragraph ridiculing him, let's cut to the chase. Ari's article argues for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq, and cites popular support from the public as one of the reasons:

"The majority of America must then be liberals, judging from recent public opinion polls. Iraq tops the list of American concerns in the latest Gallup poll, with three-fourths of those respondents advocating an immediate withdrawal. Sixty-four percent of conservative Democrats in a Pew survey want the troops brought home as soon as possible. "
His first point, that three-fourths of American's advocate withdrawal is an outright lie, painfully twisted from actual data. I'd go into it here, but someone was helpful enough to do it in the comments section of his article. Rather than beat the horse Ari left to die, I'll take up point two.

I have a hard time even wrapping my head around this one. If you remove his first point, the paragraph reads as such: "The majority of America is liberal (by which he means anti-war) because 64% of conservative Democrats want the troops brought home". That's akin to saying the majority of America is pro-lynching because 64% of the KKK supports it. And even if you can follow Ari's tortured logic, the poll he's referencing explicitly contradicts his reasoning. The nationwide poll (the total of all the broken down interest groups) shows that a majority of Americans support staying in Iraq, but maybe he didn't count that since it includes right-wing extremists.

Here's the damnedest thing of all, something that's going to require further study of the equation; in this case Ari is so wrong, he's actually right. The poll reports that 52% of liberals support staying in Iraq as well, so to summarize: the majority of America is liberal, they both support keeping troops in Iraq. To paraphrase the old cliche "From the pens of morons..."

Thursday, May 26, 2005

John Kerry Wishes He Thought of It

French leaders are in a full-bore panic this morning over the impending referendum on the EU Constitution. Reports are that it will it will be voted down conclusively, effectively throwing a giant wrench into Jacques Chirac's plan for world domination (or whatever).

What interests me is not so much the outcome, but the process itself. Many of the EU member countries didn't even hold a referendum, instead letting the parliament decide. Countries find this convenient because it avoids all that voting nonsense, and guarantees that Diebold won't be able to rig the election. No doubt Chirac would have preferred that method, but pressure from the peasants forced his hand.

Now that it's apparent that the constitution won't pass in France, the sitting president of the EU has come up with a novel idea:
"The countries that have said No will have to ask themselves the question again. And if we don't manage to find the right answer, the treaty will not enter into force"
Of course, a do-over! What better way to guarantee a fair (and correct) outcome? Let me remind you that these are the people that would presumably be running the "global test" John Kerry talked about during the campaign. Nothing like democracy, European style.

Special Note: The Limburg Letter will go on hiatus until Monday. I'll be doing some field work in Las Vegas, important stuff. Enjoy the weekend.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

New Fools vs. Old Hacks

Seems like the rest of the blogsphere has moved past the filibuster compromise already, but I'm still decompressing. In particular I'm having a good time watching the Left settle on a collective opinion. Actually make that collective opinions, because a very distinct line has been drawn in this case between New and Old Guard of the Democratic faithful.

Yesterday I jumped the gun a bit saying the Left had settled into "cautious acceptance". I hadn't yet visited my friends over at The Nation, who are definitely not happy about the compromise. David Corn summed up their opinion by asking the timeless question "Did the Democrats get screwed--or screw themselves? " Now I've been telling Democrats to screw themselves for years; I can't imagine why they would start listening to me now. Either way, it's clear that for this group the entire filibuster debate was about the judges. They're wrong on every level of course, but at least they're consistent in their socialist ideology.

The fools over at Daily Kos can make no such claim, unless "We Hate Bush" passes as some kind of higher philosophy. Since we all know that Bush is pure evil, nothing but total victory would have been acceptable. The very idea of compromise is like sympathy for the devil. That said, now that they've "lost" this debate, they don't seem to really care about the consequences. It's the fight they're interested in, the issue itself is secondary. This morning they've already moved on, warning Democratic Senators that if they compromise on Social Security too, "all hell" will break loose. After all:

"Why any Democrat would want to give bush "half a victory" rather than an anvil is beyond me, and completely and utterly unacceptable."

And so the Left continues it's slide from smart people with crazy ideas, to crazy people with no ideas. These are the people that made Howard Dean the DNC chairman. It's the Kozies, the New Guard, that run the party now.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The Night the Lights Went Out in Limburg

I'm still speechless. I've been all over the web, through the blogsphere and down both ends of the dial, and after all that I still don't know what to say. Everyone has their opinion about last night's "compromise" between 7 Democrats and 7 Demo.... I mean Republicans. The right is mostly furious, while the left has settled into a sort cautious acceptance. I tend to vacillate between the two.

On one hand I'm still pissed. I can't help but feel betrayed by these senators. To throw two of the nominees under the bus like that shows how badly these people covet the "moderate" title, especially if it means they get to stand next to John McCain. On the other hand, I can't believe Frist had the votes to drop the bomb, and letting the Dems kill it with a full vote would have been much worse than this deal. Furthermore, at least some of the Republican senators seem to think they can still back out of this thing if the Dems are acting irresponsibly during future confirmations (does the sun rise in the east?). By then these three judges will already be confirmed, so even if we're back to the status quo at that point, we'll still have 3 small victories.

Now that I'm over last night's freak out, I'm comfortable with "wait and see"; I don't know what else to do...

Monday, May 23, 2005

So Pissed...

What are we gonna do with our party?

Michelle Malkin says it all
.

Ari Berman Tries His Best

Ari Berman (writer of The Daily Outrage Blog on thenation.com) is really incredible. It takes a special human being to write a blog for one of the Holy Books of the liberal movement, and consistently screw up your stories. It's like amateur hour over at The Nation every time he logs on, yet he still shows up to work each day with his head held high. We should all have that kind of self-esteem.

I've actually made a game of finding his mistakes each time he posts, for example let's look at today's masterpiece. His fourth bullet looks promising, which is to say I know he's completely wrong:

"Forget Al-Qaeda, violent animal rights extremists and eco-terrorists are now one of the deadliest threats to American security, the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms told a Senate panel this week. As Bin Laden plots from a cave and insurgents target US soldiers daily in Iraq, tree huggers and fur haters have emerged as ripe for the picking. "

Oh Ari, it's so cute when you don't even read the headline of the story you're linking to; you have the blissful ignorance of Mr. Magoo. Just so you have it when you sit down to write your retraction, it's "FBI, ATF address domestic terrorism". That's domestic terrorism Ari, as in not international, as in not Al Qaeda. A quick search on the FBI's website will provide you with a thorough explanation of the differences if you're still having trouble.

These are so much fun (and so easy) I'm gonna keep posting them until Ari figures out that you can't just make stuff up when you're posting your sources. Nice try Ari, you get an "A" for effort.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Harry "Jelly of the Month" Reid

As much as I like the nickname "Dusty" Harry, I'll always think of him as my own little Jelly of the Month Club, a gift that keeps giving, all year long. When Lil' Harry rises to give a speech in the Senate, projecting all the authority of the AV Club President, I can relax knowing tomorrow's post will pretty much write itself. Yesterday, he didn't disappoint.

Reid got started with his defense of the filibuster by recalling this classic exchange between our founding fathers:

"A conversation between Thomas Jefferson and George Washington describes the United States Senate and our Founders Fathers vision of it. Jefferson asked Washington what is the purpose of the Senate? Washington responded with a question of his own, 'Why did you pour that coffee into your saucer?' 'To cool it,' Jefferson replied. To which Washington said; 'Even so, we pour legislation into the senatorial saucer to cool it.'"

Never mind the fact that this sounds suspiciously like something from Harry's copy of "Senate Fairy Tales and Bedtime Stories". If this statement supports the filibuster at all, it supports it as a delaying tactic, not a veto. In order to support that, Jefferson would have replied "So I can throw my saucer at the wall, and not have to drink it anymore."

Next Reid exhibited his mastery of the Constitution:

"Of course the President would like the power to name anyone he wants to lifetime seats on the Supreme Court and other federal courts."

Um, yes Harry, and that's exactly what the founding fathers intended. Maybe he dozed off before his Mommy got to that story; I think it's towards the end.

Finally, Harry laments the current state of the government:

"Republicans have sought to destroy the balance of power in our government by grabbing power for the presidency, silencing the minority and weakening our democracy."

OK, listen up Reid (and all you Dems), because this is the last time I'm gonna say it. The president didn't elect himself. The Republican leadership didn't make you a minority. You are silenced and marginalized because no one voted for you. No one wants you making decisions, no one cares about what you have to say. You're a bunch of whining children and your threat to shut down the Senate if the "Nuclear Option" passes just reaffirms my image of you as the spoiled little kid who quits the game because he doesn't like losing and takes his football home with him too so no one else can play.

Oh, and keep up the good work, you little comedy gold mine you.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Only In America

...can someone like this be a victim:
"Bob Levan bought season passes to Six Flags Great America for his daughters and their best friend, but he is worried he won't be able to ride the roller coasters with them because he is a convicted sex offender"
And no, this isn't a case of accidentally brushing up against a female co-worker:
"Levan was convicted of molesting an 8-year-old relative when he was 16. He served a brief jail sentence and underwent treatment in a mental health facility"

And the cherry on top?

"Andrea D. Lyon, president of the Illinois Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, complained that the language sends the message that sex offenders are social outcasts despite whatever steps they may have taken to rehabilitate themselves."

My God, think we've taken the "I'm OK, You're OK" culture a bit too far?

With All Apologies to El Rushbo...

See I told you so. In a couple of days Newsweek has gone from being bad guy to the victim. What a beautiful spin we weave. The Left has predictably fallen in line with the "Bush Lied First!" defense.

Just to demonstrate how laughable it is:
"Newsweek relied on faulty intelligence to write a magazine article. George W. Bush relied on faulty intelligence to start a war which has cost over $200 billion, and which has taken the lives of over 1600 Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis.Here's the difference. Newsweek didn't know its intelligence was phony. And Newsweek apologized. " - Bill Press
"My Fellow Americans, In the past few days, the White House asked for and got an apology and retraction from Newsweek for reporting that our military had defamed the Koran at Guantanamo Bay... in the spirit of consistency... I am today apologizing for the falsehoods that led to an invasion of Iraq that has led not to 17 but approximately 1600 American deaths, over 10,000 wounded, 100,000+ Iraqi deaths and to the collapse of esteem worldwide" - Mark Green speaking as George Bush
None of this crap merits serious analysis, but to be fair, at least it's better than Norman Mailer's contribution. Can we just put this guy in the ground yet? Clearly his quality of life can't be any better than Terri Schiavo's.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

When I Grow Up, I Want to Be Like Dr. Phil

Let's play a game. One of these things is not like the other, one of these...you get the idea.

George Patton/Douglas MacArthur/Dwight Eisenhower/Ellen DeGeneres

If you chose Ms. DeGeneres, you have half a brain cell. If you chose Douglas MacArthur, then your IQ is sufficiently low enough to be the creator of "Greatest American", a new special on the Discovery channel hosted by Matt Lauer. The idea is that America will go online and choose from 100 nominees the greatest American in history. While the idea sounds OK in theory, the execution is a train wreck.

First, there are the nominees themselves. Aside from TV's Ellen, we can choose from legends like John Edwards, George Lucas, Madonna, Barack Obama, and of course, Dr. Phil. These people are being offered as the peers of Einstein, FDR, and Martin Luther King. If Lauer can pull off those comparisons without cracking a smile, he might as well run for office.

While you could explain those choices as simple stupidity, a closer look reveals the true culprit: naked left-wing bias. For starters I offer you these two mini-bios from the website:
"During the administration of X, the U.S. enjoyed more peace and economic prosperity than at any other time in the nation's history. He turned the greatest fiscal deficit in American history into a surplus"
and
"He was known for being a prolific letter writer, esteemed for his love letters to his wife..."
Give up? The first was Bill Clinton, the second was Ronald Reagan. Love letters for God's sake. Do I have to go any further? OK, how about Rush Limbaugh, who was clearly added only so they could justify Michael Moore as well:
"Staunchly conservative political radio commentator Rush Limbaugh...[r]ecently he has been dogged by scandals involving prescription drug use and making alleged racist comments against Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb during a network football show."
Yup, that's pretty much all you have to know about him. Meanwhile we're reminded that John Edwards was named "America's Sexiest Politician" by People magazine.

I could go on with these for another 40 paragraphs, but I'll just let you visit the site for yourself. Of course none of this matters since the show will probably draw half a dozen viewers, but it's still hilarious.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The 24 Hour Spin-Cycle

I'm glad I chose to sit one news-cycle out on this Newsweek story, because it's been interesting to watch it develop. It's a textbook case of how spin evolves in the age of blogs and 24-hour news channels. Lets review:

As everyone who doesn't get their news exclusively from Vanity Fair knows by now, Newsweek published an article about soldiers at Guantanamo Bay flushing the Koran during interrogations. The story sparked protests in Afghanistan that left 17+ dead. Yesterday the magazine announced they "might" have been wrong, today they formally retracted it. Rather than face the consequences of putting Bush-bashing ahead of responsible journalism, the Left began to spin furiously.

Take One: Richard Bradley, who's written for fine publications like "Mother Jones", came out of the gate early with this, a weak modification of the "Don't blame the messenger" defense :
"Predictably, the backlash has begun. 'People are dead because of what this son of a bitch said,' Pentagon spokesman Lawrence DeRita said, apparently referring to Newsweek's source. No, people are dead because angry Muslims rioted, not because of something printed in a free press in a democracy where, thankfully, that kind of reaction to a magazine article is frowned upon rather than encouraged."
The stupidity of this argument is too deep to explore, so I'll let it stand on its own. Needless to say we haven't heard that one repeated much.

Take Two: The Daily Kos posted this deep thought from Arthur Silber:

"Censorship is what they're after, and don't let them tell you otherwise. "

Censorship....on a story that's already been printed....that has already been questioned by the magazine that published it...I just, don't even know how to respond to that. Another dud.

Take Three: This morning the blogsphere seems to have settled on a final product: the old, reliable "Yea but....Bush Lied!" defense. This is the genius of the anti-war crowd. Since the Left takes as gospel truth that Bush lied about...everything ever, any lie or distortion from their side can be instantly excused (even if "People Died").

And just like that the news-cycle has passed us by. The spin has been set, the lines have been drawn, and no one has to think about 17 grieving families.

Monday, May 16, 2005

No War for Oil...Deal?

The other day I stopped at the gas station to fill up, and as I handed over the $40 it costs to top off my tank, I found myself wondering, "What ever happened to our 'War for Oil'?" I was informed by numerous protesters that I'd be swimming in a sea of cheap gas by now, thanks to Bush's petroleum crusade. I don't remember buying a car with a 100 gallon tank since then, so what could account for the $40 fill up? I haven't heard any retractions from the activist community, so I must be missing something right?

Well, it turns out they were right after all God bless'm. Every major news outlet in the world is reporting today that high ranking officials in the Russian government, all the way up to Honest Vlad Putin, received bribes in the form of oil vouchers from one Saddam Hussein. This comes less than a week after French government officials were accused of the same. According to recently released reports, these officials received bribes in exchange for a pledge to use their positions on the U.N. Security Council to end sanctions against Iraq and veto any resolution to invade the country.

If only we hadn't dismissed those protesters just because they're unemployed, unkempt, and generally unhinged. They were trying to warn us the whole time that we couldn't trust France and Russia's intentions. No matter how much diplomacy we tried (sorry Sen. Kerry), these countries had already made a deal: No War for Oil.

Friday, May 13, 2005

The Secret Life of George Voinovich

I would hate to be George Voinovich's secretary today. No doubt the phone's been ringing off the hook all afternoon, and those that couldn't get through made sure to blog their frustrations. Within 1 hour of announcing he couldn't support Bolton, he was labeled "spineless" and "lack[ing] the intelligence to understand what's going on". One blogger even suggested we "Daschle his ass".

As fun as it is to play "pile on the moderate", I decided to take a look at his record before jumping aboard. Preparing for a Jeffords Jr., I was surprised to find this:
  • Rated 0% by NARAL, indicating a pro-life voting record
  • Rated 100% by the US COC, indicating a pro-business voting record
  • Rated 27% by the NEA, indicating anti-public education votes
  • Rated 100% by the Christian Coalition: a pro-family voting record.
  • Rated 15% by the AFL-CIO, indicating an anti-labor voting record
  • Rated 0% by SANE, indicating a pro-military voting record
Definite conservative credentials if ever there were, so what gives? Robert Novak, among others, have effectively demonstrated that opposition to Bolton's nomination is a matter of policy rather than "bad behavior", but why would Voinovich suddenly join the "Global Test" crowd?

Maybe he already was.

Despite his otherwise stellar voting record, I found a couple of troubling outliers. The first was a 2000 amendment called the "China Nonproliferation Act". The amendment would "provide for the application of certain measures to covered countries in response to the contribution to the design, production, development, or acquisition of nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons or ballistic or cruise missiles", "covered countries" meaning China. Seems like a reasonable goal, yet Voinovich voted to kill it.

The second instance was an 2001 amendment to protect US military and government officials from any international court to which the US did not belong. The amendment passed the Senate, yet again Voinovich voted "No".

It should surprise no one to hear the names of those he voted with: Kennedy, Reid, Biden, Boxer...you get the picture. I could be jumping to conclusions, but this may be old George's Kryptonite. I can't reconcile these votes with his strong support of the Iraq war (plain old politics maybe?), but he votes like a member of the Cult of International Community. His "No Confidence" vote on Bolton is just further confirmation.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Starring Barack Obama as Faust

About a month ago I related to you the sad story of Laura Hershey, a handicapped woman forced to endure her fellow liberals counting down with glee as Terri Schiavo starved to death. The article (still in the April archives) was part of a larger reflection on how liberals are able to overlook the sickening behavior of other liberals in order to support their own pet cause.

One would hope that those chosen few who have risen through the Democratic ranks would be immune from this phenomenon; apparently not. Illinois Senator Barack Obama, considered by many to be a legitimate presidential candidate, is now officially the #1 fund-raiser for Senator Robert Byrd. Aside from being completely senile, Sen. Byrd is best known for being a former member of the KKK, as well as filibustering the 1964 Civil Rights Act (oh sweet hypocrisy).

I'm sure plenty of people on the Left will spin this as a great man demonstrating an extraordinary act of forgiveness, but forgive me if I don't shed a tear. Seeing as how the entire deal was put together by Moveon.org (a group Obama will need to court if he has any ambitions for higher office), this sorry spectacle is politics, pure and simple. Apparently Sen. Obama doesn't see the irony in endorsing an outspoken racist in order to become the first black president.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Rob Reiner You Stupid Pile of Goo

This is almost too good to be true. I knew Arianna Huffington's new blog was going to provide me with a wealth of fodder for my own site, but I didn't think it would pay off so soon. Enter today's entry from Rob Reiner.

In a post entitled "Where Have You Gone Woodward and Bernstein?", this human dirigible laments the lack of good journalism in America. After all, he claims,
"[T]here is no better proof than the fact that about 3 in every 4 people who supported President Bush believed that Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11 and that we actually found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq."

He backs up this astonishing statement with this link. Seems like pretty damning evidence doesn't it? Only one problem; it's completly made up. Had he bothered to even read the article he cites, he would see that the actual percentage of Bush voters that believed Saddam was directly involved in 9/11 is 13%. Furthermore, the percentage of Kerry voters that believes the same is 7%. Damn Rob, that doesn't help your argument at all does it?

The second part of his "fact" is even better. Not only is there nothing in the report which states that "3 in every 4 people who supported President Bush" believe we actually found WMDs, THERE'S NO SURVEY OF THAT QUESTION AT ALL! The closest question is whether or not Saddam had WMDs right before the war, to which only 19% of Bush's supporters replied in the affirmative, along with 7% of Kerry's. Reiner completely made up this statistic; amazing!

The real beauty of it is this: these morons are used to being able to shoot off their mouths and say whatever they want without ever being called on it (so long as they stay off Fox News.) Now Miss Huffington has the brilliant idea of committing them to a medium where they actually have to back up what they say, and hilarity ensues. Expect a lot more "Huffington Post" related blogs; they're just too easy to pass up.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

If It's Good Enough For Us, Then They Want Something Better

Ask your average Johnny Q. Liberal what he thinks about Social Security Reform, and you'll get something along the lines of "There is no crisis! It's a risky scheme cooked up by Wall Street! Bush Lied!" Of course they have no idea what they're talking about, but someone has to be feeding them this nonsense.

Truth is it's actually a lot of someones, a Vast Left Wing Conspiracy if you will, so in the interest of brevity let's look at just one: the National Education Association. One would hope the NEA would be focusing its time and money on, oh I don't know, making sure kids could read, but sticking their noses in the SS debate apparently ranks higher.

First and foremost among the NEA's grievances is opposition to Personal Accounts (or Privatization, because it sounds more devious). The website declares:
"Privatization carries great risk and will jeopardize the secure retirement of many Americans."
and
"The push to privatize Social Security is a risky scheme for America, but a sure bet for the financial services industry. Financial firms stand to gain billions -- probably hundreds of billions of dollars -- in fees from private accounts."
I found this surprising for two reasons. First of all, how is it that the same people who are against having their pay based on how well they teach Math suddenly qualified financial analysts? Secondly, if personal savings accounts are so risky, and such a windfall for the financial services industry, then why does the NEA offer its own Member Savings Plan? That makes so little sense I can't even come up with a snide remark.

Even the NEA can't be comfortable with that much hypocrisy, so there must be something else driving their resistance. A little more digging reveals the answer: what they're really afraid of is a reform package that includes mandatory enrollment in the system. A lot of people don't know it, but teacher in 15 states don't pay into the system at all, instead they enjoy the generous pension plans that are currently bankrupting those states (California anyone?). These plans regulary raid the state coffers to hand out extra benefits to retiring teachers, and why not, taxpayers end up picking up the bill. The NEA admits as much on it's website:
"Mandatory coverage would weaken existing state and local retirement plans that often offer benefits superior to Social Security."
By it's own admission, the NEA doesn't think much of the current system, but they're fighting tooth and nail to make sure that you stay in it. Thanks guys, but I think I'll pass.

Monday, May 09, 2005

I guess He likes His ponies

The experts were wrong again this weekend. From out of nowhere, a 50 to 1 longshot won the Kentucky Derby. The winning horse, Giacomo, was the second highest payoff in derby history. If you don't follow horseracing, then you probably don't care, but bear with me on this one.

The horse was named for Sting's son, which is all well and good, but Sting's last album wasn't really that good, so something else has to account for this upset. The answer comes from the small but dedicated compulsive gambling/devout catholic delegation. Whereas most Catholics simply scratched their heads when Cardinal Ratzinger took the name Benedict the XVI, this group correctly identified it as a message from the greatest handicapper of them all. A quick Google reveals it's significance; the last pope to take that name was Cardinal Chiesa, or as his friends called him, Giacomo della Chiesa.

Mysterious ways indeed.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Red Stains Are the Hardest to Get Out

While Vladmir Putin steers his state ever closer to its communist roots, the American press is slowly beginning to acknowledge that the new monuments of Stalin being constructed throughout Russia probably aren't a good thing. The Wall Street Journal has an excellent editorial to this end so I won't embarrass myself by doing a poor retread, but there is another story buried in the international section that merits a closer look.

Too many American's would be surprised to learn that we have our own oil rich, communist dictator right in our own backyard. "President" Hugo Chavez (trust me the quotation marks are more than appropriate) has been slowly nationalizing his country for years now, taking farm land, oil production, and anything else of value from foreign investors and redistributing it among "the people". Meanwhile, the left has been busy writing love letters and printing up "Viva Chavez" caps to go with their Che Guevara tees.

While the response from our liberal friends isn't surprising, the speed at which this worker's paradise is collapsing is. Most experts figured that Chavez could keep up this charade as long as oil prices stayed high, and anyone who doesn't own a hybrid can attest to the fact that they are. Why then, is Venezuela unable to meet production quotas set by OPEC? While Chavez himself has admitted a shortfall of 120,000 a day, independent analysts put the number closer to 500,000.

While I'd like to be able to sit back and laugh at Chavez reaping what he's sown, there are two reasons to be concerned about this. The first is obvious: output falls, oil prices rise, gas prices soar, and I can't afford to drive to work. The second is much darker. Chavez has commissioned "Operation Black Gold" to investigate alleged "sabotage" that is keeping the country from meeting its quotas. While analysts blame the shortfalls on poor management and a lack of skilled workers, Chavez has sent out military goons to find those responsible for attacking his infrastructure. Would anyone be surprised if the guilty parties include some of his loudest critics? In a world where Joseph Stalin can still be held up as a hero, America must not let this dictator establish himself any more than he has. Venezuela is slowly being dyed red with blood, and history has shown us that it's the hardest stain to get out.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

On the Educational Value of the Paris Hilton Tape

Actually this post isn't nearly as exciting as the title promises. I just wanted to get your attention now so that you'll be prepared tomorrow morning when all the liberals start crowing about how the court's have exonerated Lynndie England.

What's actually happened is that the judge in the case threw out England's plea deal based on the testimony of her superior/lover Charles Graner. Graner really just repeated his own failed defense, namely that he was just following orders, but in doing so contradicted England's testimony that the now famous pictures were taken purely for amusement. Granger argues that the pictures were meant to be a training aid for other guards, and had the blessing of his superiors.

Despite what the Left would like to believe, this excuse it ludicrous. Even ignoring the fact that another court has already found this to be so much BS, there's another mostly ignored fact of the case that completely discredits him. It turns out there was more on the infamous roll of film than pictures of tortured prisoners, it also included a wide selection of amateur porn starring none other than Graner and England.

Now maybe I just suffer from a lack of imagination, but unless Graner was moonlighting as a Sex Ed instructor, I doubt his skill with the camera was put to any official use. Clearly this weirdo was keeping a personal collection, and didn't intend on sharing it with anyone but his most perverted friends.

Of course liberals can keep trying to argue otherwise, pointing to some grand conspiracy involving Bush, Rumsfeld and Area 51. If they do manage to pull off the conspiracy defense, I hope they give Miss Hilton a call. I'm sure she'll want to get in on that excuse.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Like Fish in a Barrel

It's too easy, it really is, but someone has to make fun of the anti-nuke protesters that staged a rally in New York earlier this week, and let no one say Brash Limburg is above doing it. A lesser man might just post this picture of one of the organizers (he actually is by the way)



But I owe my readers a little more work then that, so I went beyond the group's coverboy to get the real story. By some quirk of Google, the first report I found was on ChinaNews.cn. I figuired the Chinese could report on it as well as anybody, until I noticed they credited the march to a group called "United for Peace and Justice and Abortion Now". I wouldn't put it past one of these groups to take that name, but that was a little too honest to be correct.
Abandoning my Google search, I moved on to old, reliable thenation.com. Sure enough, they had a nice article detailing what a great rally "United for Peace and Justice and Abolition Now" put on:
"That frustration toward the United States and its fellow nuclear powers (France included) was certainly on display during the march through Manhattan--in chants and songs as well as dances and theatrical performances. "
Chants? Songs? That sounds really fun! My next stop was the official website for the rally to find some chants that I could practice at home. The offical "Songs and Chant for Peace" page provided me with these gems:
"If Bush and Cheney start a war,
we won't vote for them no more!"
Well hmm. I hate to be a grammer Nazi, but that's a double negative. I'm not sure we want to yell about how we "will vote for him some more" in a crowd of people wearing "Bush=Hitler" t-shirts. Let's try another one:
"If Bush and Cheney attack Iraq,
we will take this country back."
Whoops, already tried this in November. Kinda loses its edge since we already blew it. How about:
"No Blood for Oil
Stop the War on Iraq!"

Oh come on! That one doesn't even rhyme. Frustrated with the lack of quality chants and not having the strength to tackle the entire Anti-War Christmas Carols section, I gave up.
To close I'll leave you with this profound thought from one of the speakers:
"As you know, the United for Peace and Justice marshals are responsible for maintaining law and order at this event ... since there are so many of you here, I believe it is quite dangerous. Therefore, I propose the following: We should find the eight largest and richest marshals and give each one of them a state-of-the-art machine gun... that way, if there are any troublemakers...they can quickly take care of them. Do you like my idea? Does it make you feel safer that a few marshals have the capability to kill us all in a few minutes?"
Well, if those troublemakers have machine guns too and are threatening to use them, then yes, yes it does.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

The Curious Case of Abe Fortas

In the short time I've been blogging, I've learned that there are a few absolutes in dealing with liberals. Today we'll examine one of my favorites: "If a liberal claims that someone is lying, they are not only telling the truth, but have hit upon something deeper that the libs desperately want to bury." Case in point, the abbreviated career of Justice Abe Fortas.

"Remember Abe Fortas!" has become the knee-jerk, liberal reaction to any claim that the current Democratic filibusters are unprecedented. Abe Fortas (not to be confused the irreplaceable Abe Vigoda) was a Supreme Court Justice nominated by Lyndon Johnson in 1965. So far, so good, no filibuster. In 1968 however, Johnson nominated Fortas to replace Earl Warren as Chief Justice. Poor old Abe's nomination was filibustered by the Republicans and eventually withered on the vine. This is where liberals abruptly end the story and refuse to say anything else except "Bush Lied!"

While all of that is technically true, the devil is in the details, and since they seem to make our liberal friends so upset, lets take a closer look. First of all, while 24 Republicans were responsible for the filibuster, so were 13 Democrats. What were the other 10 Republican Senators doing? They were trying to bring the nomination to a vote. This was a bipartisan filibuster in the truest sense of the word, and bears no resemblance to the strictly partisan process occurring today (unless you count the turncoat Republicans, I'm looking at you Mr. Voinovich).

Second, it's informative to look at the reasons for the filibuster. As one would expect from a bipartisan filibuster, this had nothing to do with ideology. The issue before the Senate was a $15,000 speaking engagement Fortas had accepted while serving on the court. It was a major faux pas at the time, and the only reason for the filibuster.

So when Republicans say the current filibusters are "unprecedented", they are not lying, the Fortas filibuster has nothing in common with today's situation. That said, it's not the facts of this filibuster that Democrats want to bury most, it's the epilogue. Just one short year after being denied the role of Chief Justice, Abe Fortas was forced to resign from the court altogether. It seems the good judge had also accepted $20,000 from a financier who was under investigation for securities fraud (and later convicted). Contrary to liberal dogma, the congress does have a means to "defend democracy from the courts", and it's not the filibuster. When a judge's behavior is so appalling as to be a threat to democracy, the people (acting through congress) have the power to impeach him or her. It's an extreme move, and it's meant to be, in order to protect the judiciary from the political process while still keeping an emergency hatch to preserve democracy.

If the President's nominations were as terrible as the Democrats have charged, they could threaten them with impeachment and have them removed. Lacking serious charges and fueled only by naked partisanship, the Democrats have no choice but the unconstitutional measure of the judicial filibuster. The system works, as the case of Abe Fortas proves out, and the Democrats in the Senate are trying to circumvent it for political gain.

Monday, May 02, 2005

When Anger Fizzles into Apathy

Sunday did me in. A couple hours watching Fox News Sunday and Meet the Press and I don't ever want to hear about Social Security or the Senate filibuster agan. What's the point? The Democrats refuse to have an adult conversation about either, instead choosing to stand in the corner with their arms crossed like a two year old having a temper tantrum. So be it. Here and here are the reasons Republicans are right on these issues, when you Dems are ready to sit at the big person table let me know and we can have a nice debate.