...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...

October 31, 2004

Two Days Left

Yesterday i posted about al Qaqaa, one of three major issues that have been monopolizing the news during this last week before the election. The second major issue is bin Laden's videotaped message to America, and the third is the apparent "dead heat" as shown by the polls. Here's my take on issue number two.

Syphilitic Camel Monkey's Message To America

i think this latest video by Osama bin Laden is very unusual. As far as i know this is the first time he has directed an entire message to the American people. i've heard a lot of analysis about what exactly he was trying to accomplish, and i disagree with pretty much all that i've heard.

The radio and TV pundits i've heard seem to have missed two important points that are obvious to me. One, why did bin Laden send a videotaped message instead of attacking? To me, this was very much out of character for al Qaeda. Although there are still two days left (and i hope i'm not proven wrong), it seems logical to me that bin Laden chose to send a video message because he was unable to attack us.

If that's true, all the credit goes to our law enforcement, intelligence and military communities. i think the War on Terror, as it has been prosecuted so far, has done so much damage to al Qaeda that they simply have not been able to do to us what they did to Spain. i've no doubt that al Qaeda wanted to attack us before our election. Nor do i doubt that they misunderstand Americans so much that they probably thought an attack might achieve the same outcome. But instead we got this message from OBL.

The other thing the pundits seem to have misinterpreted is the intent of bin Laden's message. Most pundits insist on analyzing the message through the prism of this question: "Will the bin Laden video help George Bush or will it help John Kerry?" The question misses the point completely because it assumes that bin Laden has a preference for one candidate over the other. And here i will probably be departing from the Republican party line, but i don't think bin Laden gives a rat's ass who wins.

He said so himself:

Your security is not in the hands of Kerry or Bush or al Qaeda.
Why would bin Laden say this if he wanted Kerry to win, as the right argues, or if he wanted Bush to win, as the left contends? i don't believe bin Laden has a preference, but he wants whoever wins to know where he stands. He will continue to try to kill Americans as long as we don't do as he says. The final line is the key:
Your security is in your own hands, and each state that does not harm our security will remain safe.
George Bush is a known quantity to Osama bin Laden. If Bush is re-elected, bin Laden wants us to know that we should expect continued belligerence from al Qaeda. But bin Laden is also under the impression that much of this country is ready to reject Bush because people believe that a more dovish Kerry administration will make us more secure.* OBL's message is intended to remind those voters, and Kerry too, that rejecting Bush is not enough to keep us safe. In other words "dovishness" means nothing to OBL unless we do exactly as he says. Translated into plain language, bin Laden is saying:
If you people think you will be safer under a Kerry administration than with Bush, think again. The only thing that will keep you safe is for your leader, whoever he is, to do as I say.
That being, as i understand it, for America to 1) get out of every Islamic nation, and 2) abandon Israel to the wolves.

If Kerry wins, the world might see America withdraw from Iraq sooner than otherwise. And some have surmised that Kerry would indeed be less supportive of Israel, not because of al Qaeda, but to placate the Europeans and the U.N. But whatever happens, OBL probably won't be around to watch. Because much as i dislike Kerry, i'm still pretty certain that even with his "more sensitive" War on Terror, that Syphilitic Camel Monkey is gonna be toast.

(But Kerry's not going to win. And you'll see how confident i am about that tomorrow when i discuss issue number three: the polls.)

* If OBL really thinks John Kerry won't go after al Qaeda, he's mistaken. Although his national security policy is weak, misguided and wrong for America, Kerry is not dovish on getting OBL. But since so many of Kerry's supporters are hate-America cut-and-run wackos, it's easy to see where OBL might get that impression.

Posted by annika at 09:13 PM | Comments (9)

What Should i Have Been For Halloween?

You Should Be a Martini for Halloween!

You Should Be a Martini for Halloween!

What should you be for Halloween?

Well, since i'm not dressing up, i believe i'll just have a martini.

Posted by annika at 11:37 AM | Comments (4)

October 30, 2004

Three Days Left And That's All They Got?

Three days left before the election, and i'm tired of all the nonsense. There are three huge stories that i have been too busy to comment on until now. Here's my take on one of them:

Al Ca-ca:

Who knows whether the explosives were there or not? i do know that the mainstream media and Kerry rushed to judgment on this story, when the facts were still hotly disputed. What do you expect? Kerry's losing, and the liberals are desperate for some kind of last minute surprise scandal that will keep them within the "cheater's margin" in a couple of battleground states.

Assuming the truth of the charge - that the explosives were there after our troops arrived and we somehow allowed them to be spirited away under our noses - i don't see that as the huge scandal the left seems to think it is. It's certainly not a reason to reject George Bush this Tuesday.

Mistakes happen in war. Nobody who's not been on the ground during offensive combat - least of all those effete nattering nabobs of negativity, the reporters - can truly understand what is called "the fog of war." Hell, i certainly don't. i only know it exists, and that's only from seven years of studying history and a lifetime of reading books and watching war movies.

In war, especially during fast moving offensive operations, there are no time outs. Not everything that you'd want to get done, actually gets done. Kerry ought to know this, since he's such a big military man. i'm not saying i believe the charges, i actually don't. Today's U.S. armed forces are the most professional in the history of the world. But even if the story were true, Kerry's criticism of George Bush for not sufficiently micromanaging this war makes me worry more about what he'd do at the reins.

Civil war example: Abraham Lincoln's military expertise was negligible when he took office. He was president during our worst war, our biggest crisis, when the actual existence of our country hung in the balance. Lincoln made plenty of mistakes as a wartime commander-in-chief. i can name a dozen off the top of my head. If John Kerry had been around back then, i can imagine the rhetoric:

Lincoln rushed to war without a plan for reconstruction!

He ignored the advice of General McClellan who said we needed more troops!*

He failed to provide the troops with the latest quick firing weapons!

He allowed General Lee to join the secession, and then he let General Lee escape when we had him in our grasp at Malvern Hill!

i could go on, but others have made the Civil War analogy before, so you get the idea.

The bottom line is that Lincoln won the war, and despite all the criticism leveled at him during the war, he's now widely considered our greatest president. And my point is, that like FDR and both George Bushs, Lincoln was a great wartime president because he did not micromanage the war.

By contrast, Confederate President Jefferson Davis was proud of his military background. After graduating from West Point, he served as a lieutenant in the cavalry with a modest record. After a short retirement and marriage,** Davis fought in the Mexican War where he was wounded and returned home as a hero. Later he served in the U.S. Senate*** and as Secretary of War.

Yet despite his military training and expertise, and arguably because of it, Jefferson Davis was a horrible wartime president. His micromanagement of the war cost the Confederacy too many brave and valuable soldiers, ensuring their defeat. Davis often rejected the advice of his generals, believing that his military background made him their equal. And his insistence on offensive Napoleonic tactics at a time when the rifle had made those tactics obsolete, increased casualties and lost the war for the South. Not that that's a bad thing mind you, but it's absolutely true.****

Back to our day. Kerry criticizes our President for not making sure that some bunkers on the tip of the spear were not secured and placed under guard as soon as we got there? Would Kerry have ordered that all offensive operations proceed only after every "i" was dotted and "t" crossed? i remember the ruckus in the media after the so-called "operational pause." You'd think we had lost the war, the way the media carried on about that. How many more "operational pauses" would there have been under a Kerry presidency?

Oh, that's right, none. Because it was the wrong war, wrong place, wrong time. Kerry would rather have left Saddam in control over all his explosives.

* McClellan, the only general i know of who managed to lose consistently when his force outnumbered the enemy's by almost two to one.

** Like Kerry, ambition might have led Jefferson Davis to marry "up." His first wife was the daughter of President Zachary Taylor.

*** Interestingly, Jefferson Davis was a Senator before he became a traitor, while John Kerry did it the other way around.

**** For more on how Davis's micromanagement of the war lost it for the South, i highly recommend this book.

Posted by annika at 09:11 AM | Comments (11)

October 28, 2004

annieconversations: Publicola

annikagyrl: i'm here now with Publicola, who is one of my favorite bloggers, and also one of the oldest visitors to my blog. Hi Publicola...

Publicola: Hi miss Annika. & I thought I was in the middle age range of your visitors?
annikagyrl: i don't mean oldest age wise, of course. But i understand you are having a birthday soon? Happy birthday. How old? If i may ask
Publicola: Thank you. I’ll be 33. Lord willing & the cholesterol level don't rise
annikagyrl: Wow a third of a century? lol, You are old
Publicola: I am not old ya whippersnapper. Where’s my cane?
annikagyrl: You know i still remember the first comment you ever left on annika's journal. Do you remember? It was to a post i did about the German machine gun
Publicola: hmmm actually no. I remember e-mailing you about the "Hitler Saw" (the MG-42) post you did as well as linking to you because of it, but I can't recall the comment I left.
annikagyrl: You chastised me for misunderstanding the specifics of muzzle velocity. You wrote me a scathing email about that. i was so embarrassed
Publicola: & I wouldn't say chastised, more like offering a simple correction of a common misunderstanding
annikagyrl: i was only trying to impress people with my broad base of knowledge
Publicola: You shouldn't have been embarrassed. A lot of gun owners make the same assumption.
annikagyrl: You totally took the wind out of my sails. That was when i discovered that although you are very long winded
Publicola: I must categorically deny the false & baseless accusations that I, when trying to explain the nuances of a point, have a tendency to circumnavigate brevity
annikagyrl: Although you are very long winded you are also very smart and one of the most intellectual persons i've had the pleasure of meeting. Even though we haven't actually met. How many words do you type a minute Publicola?
Publicola: Correctly? In a language that originated on Earth? lol
annikagyrl: No, never correctly, that’s another thing i noticed, you don't sweat the occasional typo. i bet you type faster than some legal secretaries.
Publicola: Well, possibly. Then again I've never had a typing race with anyone in the legal profession. Hell, I'd be happy if they just understood the law.
annikagyrl: And you argue as well as any lawyer. Have you ever considered becoming a lawyer?
Publicola: lol, Once, but then I realized I preferred honest work. Actually when I was a little kid my grandfather used to tell people I'd either become a lawyer or a preacher. I think that was his nice way of saying I was a stubborn smart-ass with a big mouth
annikagyrl: i've seen you demolish not a few trolls in my comments section
Publicola: Well, honestly, you have an easier variety of troll to deal with. See, I remember, back in the day, when IMs were sent on stone tablets, that trolls had a certain level of intellectual ability. Not so anymore
annikagyrl: You are very passionate about individual rights
Publicola: Yes, & it's a selfish thing. I really could care less if you or anyone else had individual Rights, but if you don't have them then I don't either. So we're all in it together as it were.
annikagyrl: Are you an independent or a libertarian?
Publicola: I'm registered as a Libertarian, but I don't usually vote a straight party line. The Libs have some good ideas, but they fall short in a few areas
annikagyrl: Like where?
Publicola: well, their view on Iraq specifically - & understand that there are two factions within the Lib Party concerning this - I think the Lib Party was almost on the right track as far as Iraq goes, but they went off course a bit
annikagyrl: i'm not sure i know what the Libertarian view on Iraq is, or yours for that matter...
Publicola: Well, here’s a link that describes the Libertarian Party's view on Iraq. Or rather Badnarik’s. Since he’s the LP candidate for president of the US, I assume it’s reflective of the official LP Party position. The gist of it is they feel the war on Iraq was unwise & unconstitutional
annikagyrl: Oh that...
annikagyrl: And your view?
Publicola: As far as the constitutionality of it, I agree with them - Congress delegated their responsibility to the president & this wasn't a good thing. For the move itself being unwise, I'm torn honestly. Getting rid of Hussein & freeing a whole people of a dictator was a good thing, no question, & it served our interests, but I keep remembering Mencken whispering in my ear that freedom is not so important that it should be forced on a people.*
annikagyrl: Do you think that the Iraqi people see freedom as being forced on them?
Publicola: Well that's the sticky part - no one would see freedom being forced on them, & I would assume that most of the Iraqi people are happy - much happier than under Hussein. But from what I understand, only the Kurds & certain other groups in the northern part of Iraq were actively trying for some sort of freedom from Hussein. It's more comparable to giving someone financial assistance - if a person's down on his luck he won't bitch if you give him the rent money, but maybe it's better if you give him a chance to earn it for himself. That way he appreciates & takes care of it a bit more than if it were a gift. But like I said I'm torn. I can't say if I were in charge I wouldn't have gone in just like Bush did (well, actually I'd have done it a little cooler. heh).
annikagyrl: i remember you were critical of the coalition authority collecting guns from the Iraqi people
Publicola: Oh yes, & I'm really pissed that that sonuvabitch Bremer made damn sure the Iraqi interim constitution specifically mentions there is no Right to Arms without government approval. Doesn't anyone understand what a Right is anymore?
Publicola: Kevin of The Smallest Minority has a theory that three things are necessary for a free people to flourish, one of those is the means to defend the other two things (which are the ability to reason and the free exchange of ideas). I really don't see any people staying free for long without being able to do so forcefully if necessary
annikagyrl: i would agree that a right is a right and a government doesn't have the moral power to proscribe what comes from God, but
Publicola: But?
annikagyrl: Don't you think there's a pretty compelling interest in Iraq for some sort of gun control?
Publicola: Um, have you ever heard the phrase "hell no" meaningfully applied?
Publicola: Gun control of the prior restraint variety (which prohibits mere possession) simply is ineffective at any of the goals it purports to accomplish. It has as much of a chance of working in Iraq as it has a record of working in D.C.
annikagyrl: Define "absolutist"
Publicola: In the sense that I use it, an "absolutist" is someone who opposes any form of prior restraint based gun control on the theory that owning & possessing the means to defend yourself & your community are Rights that should not be touched by any government. For example, California has some pretty strict gun control, in fact they just banned a whole line of bolt action rifles - do you honestly think that's gonna slow the Crips down?
annikagyrl: Crips don’t use bolt action rifles. Too hard to hold them sideways and shoot, lol
Publicola: I mentioned the bolt action thing just for the helluvit - not that I’m disappointed in Arnie or anything.
annikagyrl: Are you an absolutist?
Publicola: Yes'm. I'm about as Absolutist as they come. Hell, I'm so pro-gun sometimes I get accused of being anti-gun, lol
annikagyrl: lol
annikagyrl: You and i have become quite good friends through our correspondence, and i credit you with moving my own view on Second Amendment issues much further to the right than i ever imagined
Publicola: Well you're a bright person, all I did was push you to think about it more in depth - odds are you'd have come to the same conclusions without me
annikagyrl: i don't know, remember, i grew up in the Bay Area
annikagyrl: Still, i think there remains a large gap between our points of view. What would you say to me to make me see the light, absolutist wise?
Publicola: Well it all revolves around prior restraint - prohibiting something because of the potential for harm....if you take away the sensationalized bits of news you hear (Columbine, Stockton, etc..) & think of only the generalities could you really say that someone should be punished for mere potential instead of his/her actions?
Publicola: If I have a shotgun with a 10" barrel, which is a federal crime (Constitution be damned) without the proper paperwork, would you think I was any more dangerous than if the shotgun had an 18" barrel?
Publicola: Similarly, if a Crip had a shotgun with an 18" barrel, would you feel better about that than if he sawed it down to 10"?
Publicola: But if I had a 10" shotgun sans unconstitutional paperwork, I could get 10 years federal time. Even if I had it for years and harmed no one with it
annikagyrl: So you're saying size doesn't matter?
Publicola: Why is it women always make it a size issue? lol. It’s not just size, but possession. It's intent. Remember your Aristotle - actuality is more important than potentiality. In a very abstract sense the gun control laws we have punish the egg because it might become a chicken
annikagyrl: Aristotle?
Publicola: Yes, Aristotle - old guy, went to school with him. We used to hang out with old man Soc
annikagyrl: You really are the Basilios of Ballistikos!
annikagyrl: Devils advocate here... If our gun control laws are stupid and ineffective, why shouldn't we just try to craft smart and effective ones?
Publicola: Easy - there are no smart or effective prior restraint based gun control laws. Tell you what, you tell me how to initiate car control laws to keep people from speeding without adversely affecting their ability to drive (passing, using small bursts of speed, etc) & that'll be the same way you can have smart gun control laws
annikagyrl: That’s a good way of putting it
Publicola: What would you do ban red cars? (Like the Assault Weapons Ban outlawed guns that looked scary?) Having a licensing system (like our de facto license under the Brady law)? Would those cut down on speeding?
annikagyrl: Here’s my question: i understand the whole slippery slope argument, but what's wrong with requiring some sort of safety class for first time gun buyers. How is that different from what we require of drivers? i mean a car isn't intended to cause harm, but a gun is. So isn't it more reasonable to make sure that gun owners have some basic knowledge of safety?
Publicola: Well easy - if you require proof of the safety class in order to buy or own, then that's a form of licensing. It could be made as restrictive as any form of licensing. The slippery slope would be in play there as well. However, if it were a general requirement, say for passing 7th grade in public or private schools, then I'd go along with it. In fact, gun safety should be taught explicitly, starting at say 2nd grade - that'd cut down on the already statistically insignificant (but tragic in each case) of negligent homicides involving firearms
Publicola: And yes, a car wasn’t intended to kill, but cars account for more deaths in the US per year than guns do. Besides, a gun isn't designed to kill. A gun is designed to propel a projectile. That projectile is designed to kill. A semantic point, but a fun one if you really want to piss off a leftist/socialist anti. Not that I’d ever do that intentionally of course.
annikagyrl: My own opinions on the Second Amendment are still in flux, thanks to you. But i'll tell you where it has evolved recently, and it’s on the licensing issue. Before, i didn't see the harm in requiring licenses
Publicola: A lot of people don't. & that's why licensing is so dangerous
annikagyrl: Now that i’ve thought about the issue, i don't see any legitimate reason the govenment should need a list of people who have a gun, unless they plan to take them away in the future. So i've become firmly opposed to any sort of government licensing of gun owners
Publicola: Here's an analogy: Tell me miss Annika, is driving a Right or a privilege?
annikagyrl: We've talked about this, you and i. According to the DMV, driving is a privilege.
Publicola: And what would you say if I told you it was a Right? Would you be inclined to believe me? Or would you believe 20+ years of personal conditioning & 90+ years of collective conditioning?
annikagyrl: That's a hard one to get over, you know. It’s like Pavlov and his dog. lol
Publicola: If gun licensing isn't stopped, then your kids or grand kids will no longer see owning guns as a Right, but as a mere privilege granted by the state. I know it's hard, but the thing that most people & especially (no offense) most young people don't get is that freedom is hard. It's damn scary. & it's dangerous
annikagyrl: i'm an enthusiastic Bush supporter, as you know. Recently you wrote that you don't intend to vote for Bush or Kerry
Publicola: No ma'am
annikagyrl: "No," thats true, or "no" you didn’t say that?
Publicola: No ma'am, I won't vote for Bush or Kerry
annikagyrl: At one time, i thought you implied that you might vote for Bush if the assault weapons ban was not renewed. It hasn't been renewed. What gives?
Publicola: No, I don't ever recall saying that - what I do recall is urging people to not vote for Bush if the AWB was renewed. There's a difference, subtle perhaps, but different nonetheless
annikagyrl: So you didn't intend to vote for him either way...
Publicola: No. For me Bush is too anti-gun. I'll grant that I'm an Absolutist but his record is no better than Kerry's as far as the laws he enforces, his understanding of the Constitution, & his desire for more gun control. Kerry wants more than Bush perhaps, but what Bush wants would make it easier for someone in '08 or '12 to get what Kerry wants. No, I can't vote for a candidate who fails my litmus test
annikagyrl: It's a matter of principle, not pragmatism for you
Publicola: Actually it's both. Principles aren't merely abstract concepts one discusses over a nice cognac & amaretto. They have to be applied. Take the issue of the Right to Arms - if the government doesn't trust you with the means of your own defense, that has very practical implications - not the least of which is what other Rights it decides to not trust you with
annikagyrl: It’s a matter of voting your conscience?
Publicola: Yes, as well as voting for what I think will best ensure my freedom
annikagyrl: You and i are both fans of Hugh Hewitt, and we’ve talked about his show before
Publicola: Yes. He’s probably the most all around entertaining talk show host around
annikagyrl: i bring up Professor Hewitt because i wanted to read to you a quote from his recent bestseller, If It's Not Close, They Can't Cheat. Let me read the quote and get your comment
Publicola: k

"No Republican should ever think about pushing a gun control agenda on the party.
"But the gun absolutists have to realize that the prohibition on individuals owning machine guns and high powered automatic weapons makes sense to a large majority of Americans. So if the GOP agrees with the consensus, the gun absolutists should sit down and shut up. By demanding a theoretical purity they endanger a working majority.
"Control of assault weapons is not the first step down the slippery slope. It isn't even a slope. It's called a broad consensus. Live with it, strengthen your side, and all will be well."
Publicola: Well what really got me about that quote was that Mr. Hewitt, a Con law professor mind you, is ignorant about the law itself as well as the Constitution...
annikagyrl: How so?
Publicola: High powered assault weapons? I think you know my views of the M-16 & its civilian counterpart - aside from a complex design, the cartridge is extremely underpowered compared to say a typical deer hunting cartridge like the .30-06. Hell, most rifles covered by the Assault Weapons Ban were less powerful than your great grandaddy's .30-30 Winchester
Publicola: As for it being a broad consensus... most people support the AWB cause they, like Mr. Hewitt, don't know a machine gun from an underpowered semi-auto. Even so, majority rule does not trump an individual Right. This is not a democracy, not yet. Least not if I can help it
annikagyrl: Yes, but i imagine your objections go deeper than that, since you would also oppose a ban on .50 caliber weapons, am i right?
Publicola: Yes'm. I was objecting to his acceptance of the AWB specifically on technical grounds.
annikagyrl: And you know my great grandaddy was Danish and probably shot a Mauser, lol
Publicola: Then he used a rifle much more powerful than most affected by the AWB.
Publicola: But as far as principle, I see nothing in the Second Amendment that says it's okay to infringe on a Right so long as there's a broad working consensus. The 2nd was there primarily to protect an individual's ability to act in a martial capacity. So when Mr. Hewitt dismisses objections to gun control in the name of party politics, I would have to say he misunderstands the mechanism as well as the application of the 2nd Amendment specifically & the Constitution generally.
Publicola: But what I think is important in Mr. Hewitt's case is he's a Republican. Not a conservative. As a Republican, he'll put party above principle in certain instances. It's unfortunate. If he would see how the principled world should & does interact with the pragmatic one I think he's intellectually honest enough to reconsider. But as it stands now he won't say anything negative about Bush. Hell, I even heard him a few weeks ago attempt a weak party based defense of Spector, perhaps the worst RINO in the party
annikagyrl: Well, without arguing the specifics of that charge, i'd say Hewitt's book makes a pretty good argument for voting a straight Republican ticket every time. And that's something i've been doing since i turned 18. With the exception of a few votes for DiFi, when i was young and stupid
Publicola: Yes, I've been meaning to actually chastise you for that, lol
annikagyrl: i know, i know
Publicola: But when I was young & not so young I did a lot of things I can't say I'm proud of, so I won't hold it against you
annikagyrl: i never voted for Boxer though
Publicola: Neither did I.
Publicola: & I don't doubt that Hewitt is persuasive. Hell, if I bought into a two party system being the only possible or the best outcome I might even agree, as for the most part the Republicans are the lesser of two evils on many issues.
annikagyrl: Okay change of topic. You write about policy issues almost exclusively on your blog
Publicola: Almost yes. Nasty habit in an election year, or in a year when no election is coming
annikagyrl: You also post on another blog, The Shooters' Carnival, which i've looked at. It contains a lot of very useful info, i might add
Publicola: Yes, there are a lot of good writers over at Shooter’s Carnival. & I'm guest posting over at Stop The Bleating
annikagyrl: Yes, with Matt Rustler and Old Skool, great guys
Publicola: Yes, I've known Matt (through our blogs & e-mails) for a while. He's very bright & a real nice guy to argue semantics with
annikagyrl: He’s a lawyer, now
Publicola: Yes, well hopefully he'll find honest work someday, lol
annikagyrl: Anyways, i don't know if people know you’re a musician as well. Is that something you want the public to know? lol
Publicola: Well it's nothing I've tried to hide It's not like I run a crack house or practice law or anything & feel the need to cover it up. But yes I'm a musician. Guitar player specifically
annikagyrl: You know i'm dating a guitar player right now.
Publicola: Yes'm. Odd though - what are the chances of meeting a guitar player in California? lol. Lemme know if you ever want to bombard him with anti-guitar player jokes
annikagyrl: Do you have any advice for women like myself, who can't seem to stop dating musicians?
Publicola: Yes, date me. Seems to cure them of that almost instantly
annikagyrl: lol, that's good to know
Publicola: With few exceptions, most of my ex g/f's remember me as the b/f they had right before they met the guy they married
annikagyrl: What type of music do you play?
Publicola: As far as styles, anything that pays. But mainly I play R&B, Top 40 (rock & dance) Disco, Reggae, Blues, Light Jazz, Rock, Hard Rock, some old Heavy Metal, Bluegrass, Country, Classical, Techno - damn near anything that you can dance to or that someone would pay to hear. Though the Hard Rock/Metal thing - haven't had a gig playing that since 1987. And of course, there’s Southern Rock & Beach music. I played a lot of that when I was younger
annikagyrl: My boyfriend is kind of a folk singer, tries to write a little, when he has time (he's a first year too) and he's played in some coffee shops around here
Publicola: Cool
annikagyrl: He does lots of Neil Young, and some Beatles songs. His Norwegian Wood is amazing.... And he's not even Norwegian!
Publicola: ah Neil - ya know I'm still pissed off over that "southern man" bullshit. Canadian asshole. lol
annikagyrl: i waited all interview to lay that wood joke on you, and you’re not even lol'ing
Publicola: I'm lol'ing internally. really.
annikagyrl: i wish i could play an instrument. i sing though
Publicola: What kind of stuff do you like to sing?
annikagyrl: Hey, im asking the questions here
Publicola: You like singing Britney Spears tunes don’t ya?
annikagyrl: lol
annikagyrl: Anyways, Publicola, thank you so much for your time, you know i think you're the greatest
Publicola: You're too kind. & to think I only have to send you $20 a week for compliments like that...
annikagyrl: haha
Publicola: (hey, don't blame me if the government run postal service is slow...the check's in the mail)
annikagyrl: i wish

*  “I believe in only one thing: liberty; but I do not believe in liberty enough to want to force it upon anyone.” --H.L. Mencken

Posted by annika at 10:00 PM | Comments (8)

Blog Future Feature Teaser 4.0

Since nobody wants to interview me, i've decided to institute a new blog feature, where i conduct fascinating interviews over Yahoo! Instant Messenger with some of my favorite bloggers. This new feature will be filed under the rubric "annieconversations." Get it? annie - conversations. annika - nversations? Cute huh?

First up is my recent interview with Munuvian iconoclast Publicola, which i'll try to have up later today. Stay tuned.

Posted by annika at 09:18 AM | Comments (7)

October 27, 2004

IM Conversation While Watching The Red Sox Win

annikagyrl: the curse is over
annikagyrl: the curse is over
annikagyrl: long live the curse
leaky: nah, they're still cursed
annikagyrl: lol
annikagyrl: yah?
leaky: John Kerry is from their state
annikagyrl: hahahaah

Posted by annika at 08:45 PM | Comments (7)

Today Is Poetry Wednesday

A fun poem about drinking, by British poet John Masefield (1878-1967).

Captain Stratton's Fancy

Oh some are fond of red wine, and some are fond of white,
And some are all for dancing by the pale moonlight;
But rum alone's the tipple, and the heart's delight
Of the old bold mate of Henry Morgan.

Oh some are fond of Spanish wine, and some are fond of French,
And some'll swallow tay and stuff fit only for a wench;
But I'm for right Jamaica till I roll beneath the bench,
Says the old bold mate of Henry Morgan.

Oh some are for the lily, and some are for the rose,
But I am for the sugar-cane that in Jamaica grows;
For it's that that makes the bonny drink to warm my copper nose,
Says the old bold mate of Henry Morgan.

Oh some are fond of fiddles, and a song well sung,
And some are all for music for to lilt upon the tongue;
But mouths were made for tankards, and for sucking at the bung,
Says the old bold mate of Henry Morgan.

Oh some are fond of dancing, and some are fond of dice,
And some are all for red lips, and pretty lasses' eyes;
But a right Jamaica puncheon is a finer prize
To the old bold mate of Henry Morgan.

Oh some that's good and godly ones they hold that it's a sin
To troll the jolly bowl around, and let the dollars spin;
But I'm for toleration and for drinking at an inn,
Says the old bold mate of Henry Morgan.

Oh some are sad and wretched folk that go in silken suits,
And there's a mort of wicked rogues that live in good reputes;
So I'm for drinking honestly, and dying in my boots,
Like an old bold mate of Henry Morgan.

Sucking at the bung? Not sure i'm down with that image, lol.

Posted by annika at 08:36 PM | Comments (2)

More Evidence Of The Liberals' Tendency To Violence

Forget those guys throwing pies at Ann Coulter, (which, as my crim law professor will tell you, is both an assault and a battery), forget Elizabeth Edwards tacit approval of rioting as blackmail, SOMEONE TRIED TO KILL KATHERINE HARRIS.

i have no evidence to support this theory, but i blame the lying, hateful, disgusting, race-baiting video, which has been circulating on the internet (which i will not link to), and which demonizes Katherine Harris so severely that it literally made me wince.

And this creep, true to liberal form, says he was merely exercising his right to political expression.

Posted by annika at 07:03 PM | Comments (12)

October 26, 2004

Pop Historian Shows Astounding Lack Of Smarts

Robert Dallek is a popular Democratic leaning historian. Perhaps you've seen his toothy grin on TV. i own his thick tome on LBJ, but haven't gotten around to reading it yet. In a column for USA Today, he presents a pretty good recap of electoral history, while exhibiting an astounding lack of analytical ability.

If voters pay as close attention to a president's record as I think they do, Bush will likely sink on Nov. 2. Like Taft, Bush is vulnerable to charges of being in the pockets of corporate interests. Like Hoover, he has presided over an administration that has lost jobs. Not since the Great Depression has any other president had to run on a record of shrinking rather than expanding employment. However mindful he has been about the economic causes of his father's defeat, Bush does not seem well positioned to avoid his father's political fate.
Repeat after me Bob: "Bush will win re-election. Bush will win re-election." If you start saying it now, you may get used to the idea before it happens next week.

Dallek conveniently cherry-picks his analogies to justify his own wishful thinking, and reveals his typical liberal Democrat myopia:

Like Ford, who unrealistically denied Soviet domination of Eastern Europe, and Carter, who could not manage to rescue American hostages from Tehran or control rising oil prices, Bush's blundering policy in Iraq, alienation of so many other governments and peoples around the globe, and uncertain formula for dealing with terrorists raise doubts about his stewardship of foreign policy, which can work to deny him a second term.
Comparing Bush to Ford or Carter is simply bad historical analysis. Ford lost because of his predecessor, not because of anything he said at the debate. And Carter ran this country's economy into the ground and made the US an international laughing stock. Like it or not, while the US may have lost a few friends around the world under Bush, no one can say we're not respected in a Machiavellian sense. That's just fine with me, and i suspect it's fine with the majority of American voters too.

i also thought it was funny how Dallek ended his column by hedging his historical bet, with this bit of prospective sour-grapes:

That a president with so questionable a record is still running a competitive race is a little startling. If Bush wins the election, it would seem to represent the triumph of spin politics.
Funny, i might say the same thing if Kerry wins. But since Kerry is not going to win, i won't have to, lol.

Posted by annika at 11:00 AM | Comments (11)

Mad About Bush

[i thought Helen Hunt got killed at the Pyongyang Peace Conference. Apparently not.]

What really pisses me off about the new Helen Hunt political TV spot is the arrogant assumption that all single women are lock-step liberals. i can tell you, we are not.

However, i do agree that "We can make the difference. We are the difference." In fact, i think the unholy alliance of media-entertainment-academic elites may be surprised at the difference we make, when women voters help deliver the election to George W. Bush next week. Perhaps very surprised.

While i still think that overall, Kerry will win a majority of the female vote, i don't think it will be by the Clintonian margins Democrats took for granted in the 90's. The Christian Science Monitor noted in September:

Democrats have long held an edge among women voters, a slight majority of the electorate, and grown to count on them to offset the Republicans' persistent advantage among men. Traditionally, women have given extra care to issues that favor Democrats, such as healthcare, education, and Social Security. Now, the war on terror - and the way Bush is playing it - appears to have shifted that calculation somewhat.

'Bush is trying to reassure them on healthcare and education, saying those things are important, but really it's security,' says Democratic pollster Celinda Lake. 'Women give him a 23-point advantage on security, and that's what's really driving their vote.'

Time Magazine originally had the female vote split evenly before the first debate, then gave Kerry a dubious 14 point post debate bounce among women. A swing like that doesn't seem credible to me, and i'm inclined to believe that the final result will show a pretty striking gain for the GOP among women voters. If anyone has more up-to-date polling info, feel free to let me know in the comments.

Posted by annika at 12:51 AM | Comments (4)

October 25, 2004

Monday Night Football Pick

As a Raider fan (which is tough to be this year), i hate having to pick Denver for tonight's Broncos vs. Bengals game. i'm looking for a way to justify not doing it.

The Broncos are playing in Cincinnati, and are favored by seven points on the road. They have a five and one record, as opposed to the Bengals' one and four record. Jake Plummer's been decent, with ten touchdowns and an 87.4 rating.

Contrast that with Carson Palmer's stats: four TDs against eight interceptions, with a 59.6 rating. He sucks. But you should already know that, since he went to USC.

So, basically, there is no good reason for me to pick the Bengals tonight. But i will anyway, and hope that Denver wins by less than seven points.

Update: Cincinnati actually created the ilusion of a good team tonight, i was surprised. With tonight's Bengals win, i improved my record to 3 and 3 on the year. (Last week was my bye week, due to the computer glich.)

Posted by annika at 01:36 PM | Comments (10)

October 23, 2004

Shameless Pandering

Here's the very first paragraph you will find on the homepage of the official Kerry website today, which i found insulting:

John Kerry will strengthen and expand the middle class and help working women by strengthening the economy. In today’s economy, too many hard-working women are falling further and further behind. Instead of offering help, George Bush has turned his back, broken his promises and in some cases, taken no action at all.
This is one reason why Democrats make me queasy. It's never about Americans. It's always about classifications.

Wouldn't strengthening the economy help all Americans, not just "working women?" And wouldn't strengthening the economy help non-working women too? You know, the kind Kerry's wife insulted the other day?

This type of pandering, supposedly directed at me, is a complete turn off. Someone in the campaign reads a poll that says Kerry needs more points from the "working women" category, and so they take out their economy template and plug the words "working women" into it.

i'm sorry, but i don't buy it. i know that a Kerry administration would lose jobs by increasing the minimum wage and increasing taxes on the entrepreneurial class that creates jobs. And i plan to be looking for a job in about three years, just when the effects of a Kerry economic downturn will take effect.

So i don't appreciate the shameless pandering, as if women were all idiots who got all goose pimply, saying: "Oooh Kerry just mentioned our interest group! Isn't he the dreamiest?"

Posted by annika at 10:25 AM | Comments (6)

Krauthammer Piece

Charles Krauthammer's latest op-ed contains this thought provoking paragraph:

John Kerry says he wants to 'rejoin the community of nations.' There is no issue on which the United States more consistently fails the global test of international consensus than Israel. In July, the U.N. General Assembly declared Israel's defensive fence illegal by a vote of 150 to 6. In defending Israel, America stood almost alone.
What are Kerry's plans regarding American support for Israel? Krauthammer has a theory, and it's not very comforting.

Hat tip to commenter Shelly.

Posted by annika at 10:03 AM | Comments (1)

October 22, 2004

Annika With The Tongue

Then there's this:

'My friends always said I had an incredibly long tongue - I could make lots of money with it one day,' said Annika.
'I'm just proud that now people everywhere can read about me and my tongue,' she said.
Well, yah. That goes without saying.
'On my first day at school I had to stick my tongue out for everyone.'
But it was worth it, i guess.

Just so you know, different Annika . . .

Via You're Ugly.

Posted by annika at 02:22 PM | Comments (2)

Good Company

Sarah Bernhardt: actress, poet, playwright
Brian Boitano: athlete
Catherine Deneuve: beauty
Joan Fontaine: "Rebecca"
Annette Funicello: Mouseketeer
Jeff Goldblum: fly
Curly Howard: Comedian with a capital C
Alan Ladd, Jr.: mogul
Timothy Leary: shaman
Franz Liszt, virtuoso: maestro
Christopher Lloyd: time traveller, cab driver, klingon
Tony Pierce: celebrity blogger, and deservedly so
Tony Roberts: Woody Allen foil
Shaggy: Jamaican, reggae singer, USMC, Desert Storm veteran
N.C. Wyeth: artist, illustrator

All were born on this date.

Just my way of saying Happy Birthday, Tony!

Posted by annika at 12:01 AM | Comments (0)

October 20, 2004

Two Twins Separated At Birth? Or One Shapeshifter?


Red Sox owner John Henry . . .


. . . and Odo from Deep Space Nine.

It's eerie.

Update: i'm not the only one who's quick with the Sox-Sci-Fi gag.

Posted by annika at 06:45 PM | Comments (6)

Time Out For Cynicism

i'd like to take time out from my ongoing coverage of Election-Fest 2004 to submit the following Statement of Undisputed Facts.

If George W. Bush wins, the left will spend the next four years complaining, they will remain as obstructionist as ever, and they will blame everything on Bush.

If John Kerry wins, the left will spend the next four years complaining, they will remain as obstructionist as ever, and they will blame everything on the Republican congress.

We now return you to our regularly scheduled election coverage.

Posted by annika at 03:41 PM | Comments (4)

Wednesday Is Poetry Day

The following poem, by beat poet Gary Snyder, was posted on the inside of a bus i rode this weekend. (The whole "Poetry in Motion" idea is the best thing to happen to public transportation since Wells Fargo invented the stage coach, in my opinion.) i liked it so much, i decided to make it this week's selection:

Why Log Truck Drivers Rise
Earlier Than Students Of Zen

In the high seat, before-dawn dark,
Polished hubs gleam
And the shiny diesel stack
Warms and flutters
Up the Tyler Road grade
To the logging on Poorman creek.
Thirty miles of dust.

There is no other life.

This poem was one of those discoveries where i found myself saying "Yesss, that's it! That's how i want to do it."

It's short, it's not cryptic, and it takes me someplace new in the space of a few lines.

i love the way the little details create a scene that's instantly recognizable, though not overly familiar. Did you notice how the visual picture of the the fluttering diesel stack makes you hear the growl of the truck's engine, without the poet even mentioning the sound?

Writing about poetry is like describing wine. It's so hard to find the right words and the end result always seems meaningless, compared to the original.

Posted by annika at 11:16 AM | Comments (2)

October 19, 2004

Back Online

Things i've learned after not blogging for over a week:

  • The electromagnetic pulse weapon is real.

  • The EMP weapon is dangerous.

  • It must not be allowed to fall into the wrong hands.
(Okay, there is no EMP device. i just fucked up somehow. Don't even ask.)

After not blogging for over a week, i was also surprised to find that:

  • My head did not explode.

  • The sun still came up in the morning.

  • The Red Sox still found a way to blow it in the post-season.
Oops, maybe my lack of blogging did have a tiny effect on the space-time continuum.

Posted by annika at 09:21 PM | Comments (22)

October 11, 2004

The Fantasy Footballer's Dilemma

"Yaaah, go Chris Brown!"

seconds later:

"Yaaah, c'mon Favre!"

i am the John Kerry of football fans.

Posted by annika at 06:20 PM | Comments (2)

Football Update

Snooze Button Dreams is killing me in Fantasy Football this week. (Good luck on the interview, Jim.) The Raiders sucked again on Sunday. And Saturday, Cal outplayed USC and still lost. Very depressing.

Hey, at least the Niners beat the lowly Cardinals.

Regarding Monday Night Football, i need Chris Brown of the Titans to have a stellar game for my fantasy team. But i actually think that Green Bay will win this one. Green Bay is favored by three points and they're at home.

This is actually a pretty tough game to pick (i'm 2 and 2 on the year with my predictions). Both teams' quarterbacks are hurting, but how can you bet against a Favre led team on Monday Night? Although i also read that Green Bay's center is out, and the replacement is not as good. But i don't know if that's just bad or really bad. (i actually didn't even know what a nosetackle was until Casca told me. i thought nose tackle was when you hung a snap swivel off your nostril piercing.*)

The hardest question for me is, will the Packers cover the spread? i have a sense that the game might be close, but i know that as soon as i say the Packers won't cover, they will. That just seems to be my luck lately. So i'll pick the Packers minus three points.

Update: Chris Brown: 148 yards + 2 TDs. Will it be enough to overtake Snooze Button Dreams though? i'll find out tomorrow. Re: my MNF predictions this year, i don't want to talk about it.

* Ba-dum-bump. That's a little fishing humor for y'all.

Posted by annika at 07:33 AM | Comments (6)

October 09, 2004

Beautiful Asymmetry

These two quotes from John Kerry at last night's debate are so beautiful, all i can do is sit back and admire them.

Quote 1:

He's trying to attack me. He wants you to believe that I can't be president. And he's trying to make you believe it because he wants you to think I change my mind. Well, let me tell you straight up: I've never changed my mind about Iraq. I do believe Saddam Hussein was a threat. I always believed he was a threat. Believed it in 1998 when Clinton was president. I wanted to give Clinton the power to use force if necessary.
Quote 2:
I don't think you can just rely on U.N. sanctions [to contain Iran], Randee. But you're absolutely correct, it is a threat, it's a huge threat. And what's interesting is, it's a threat that has grown while the president has been preoccupied with Iraq, where there wasn't a threat.
Kinda takes your breath away don't it?

Via Paul at Wizbang.

Posted by annika at 06:14 PM | Comments (4)

October 08, 2004

Presidential Debate Notes 2.0

i wanna do this without listening to any of the TV pundits, so my opinion won't be tainted. Which means that i may end up modifying my opinions later after i've taken in the insights of people wiser than i am. Plus, we finished another couple of bottles of that chianti, and i'm on my second glass of Port. So waaatchout!

No, really, i think President Bush did a fine job overall. And i think he improved his national security presentation slightly over last week, though not as much as i would have liked. He didn't hammer Kerry's no vote on the 1991 war, which i just don't understand. Ultimately, i think Kerry won the foreign policy portion again, simply on the strength of his relentless attacks and the relative ineffectiveness of the president's rebuttal skills.

But, and i wonder if anyone else feels this way, i think the President blew Kerry away on the domestic portion. Who'd have thunk it? Really, he relaxed, he had facts - facts - at his fingertips, he was quick and sharp and funny too. i was not only impressed, i think it's fair to say i was surprised. Bush didn't let me down.

Also interesting was my observation that Kerry missed a few chances to hammer Bush on domestic policy. i never would have expected that. Maybe they both prepared better for their weaker events, i don't know.

Oh Gibson. Punk-ass a-hole. What's the idea of picking that last question? WTF? The last question chosen by Gibson was for the president to name not one, not two, but three fucking mistakes! The last question of the debate, mind you. That was punk-ass biased, no question about it. And the Prez refused to play that game. i'm proud of him. i liked his take too. Let the historians decide, he's the president and it's not up to him. What the president couldn't say, but which is nonetheless the real reason is that, despite the demands of the touchy-feely Oprahcized society we are now cursed with, no President of the United States should ever admit to making one single mistake on questions of policy while he sits in office. Never Ever Fucking Ever No Way Ever Never.

But anyway. i think Bush stopped the bleeding tonight, not that there was much, thanks to Cheney. But still expectations were high, and Bush needed to do well. i believe he accomplished what he needed, which was to achieve at least a draw. He did so by appearing comfortable, attacking, parrying, and connecting. Kerry got his shots in, but Kerry said some stuff that will have people shaking their heads tomorrow too. How many times did Kerry say "I have a plan?" How many times did Kerry tell us what the plan was? Answers: a gazillion, and zero.

Did you get the feeling that Bush's passion is domestic policy? i almost feel like he wishes he were not a wartime president because he seems so passionate about domestic issues: education, tax policy, even the environment. Bush is really a Truman Democrat. That's not a bad thing, even though i'm a Republican. i happen to think that Truman was one of our greatest presidents. Like Truman, George Bush's intellect has been unfairly questioned. Like Bush, Truman had to make difficult foreign policy decisions. Like Truman, a central tenet of Bush's foreign policy is the support and defense of fragile democracies around the world. Truman believed, like Bush does now, that free nations halfway around the world can make America safer. History proved Truman right about that, and history will prove George W. Bush right. But i digress.

Oh i could nitpick the president's performance a little more - he should have realized that by turning around so much, trying to connect with the live audience, he ended up showing his back to the TV audience more often than not, since the inept director on Fox News couldn't keep up with him - but i won't. i'll just say i'm happy with his performance, i feel a whole lot better now, and i hope lots of other voters agree with me.

Oh, i'll be so pissed if the big internet brouhaha tomorrow turns out to be: Bush said he doesn't own a timber company but he actually does!

More: Bill thinks the final question was outrageous too.

If i say something nice about Kevin, then i can post a trackback to his Debate Wrapup. Kevin, i think you are way cool! Plus, he too predicted a better showing in the town hall format.

i'm not quite sure about the rules for link-whoring to Allah's blog. He wants a synopsis, but of what? The debate? My post? His post? i don't want to make Allah mad at me again. Long time readers may recall that it's been a little over a year since Allah declared his fatwa on me.

And i ain't the only one to notice the Truman analogy. c.f. Sparse Matrix.

And der Commissar has the funniest one liner attributable to Kerry: "I know Chris Reeve. Chris Reeve is friend of mine; and Mr President, you're no Chris Reeve!"

Posted by annika at 08:44 PM | Comments (21)

Style Fucking Matters
(my open letter to the President)

Dear President Bush,

Have you seen the latest Electoral College map? i took the liberty of turning it into a gif file so i could highlight some important areas of concern for me, and i hope, for you too.


You see, things were looking good before last Thursday, when you decided to blow off the first debate. Now the race has tightened up considerably and, while i'm not in panic mode yet, i am a little worried. i don't like to see those battleground states see-sawing back and forth this close to the election. i don't care what anybody else says, last Thursday night hurt us.

Listen, i know how good you can be. i've listened to you give some incredible speeches. Yesterday's for instance. You can speak off the cuff pretty good too, as you proved to me after 9/11. And as for prepared speeches, well i think your remarks to the Joint Session of Congress on 9/20/01 will go down as one of the great speeches of all time.

i don't really care what happened last Thursday. What's done is done. Do you watch The Apprentice? (i hope not. You got more important things to do.) Last night on the show, there was a new team leader who took over a team that needed a win badly. i liked how she talked to the team at the beginning, so i'm going to take the same tone with you. i hope you don't mind.

i know you don't have a lot of time to prepare like Kerry does, since you still gotta be president, and he doesn't. i know you were tired last week. i know you spent the day with the hurricane victims. i don't fucking care. i know you don't like to debate. i know you have a hard time being articulate. i know you got annoyed at Kerry's distortions and contradictions. i know you feel like you shouldn't have to explain the obvious point that you've been protecting our collective asses every single fucking day for three years now. i know you get pissed at Kerry's Monday morning quarterbacking and it shows in your face. i know that Kerry's positions on national security are nonsensical and that by any logical standard, you should have won that debate. i hear the spinmeisters on our side saying that style doesn't or shouldn't or didn't matter. Well listen to me.

Style fucking matters.

i don't fucking care that you're not as good at debating as Kerry. Or that you're can't be an encyclopedia of facts and statistics like Kerry. This is important. You have to work at it. You can't just mail it in like last time. We're out here working our asses off for you and a lot of us were pretty pissed last week. And part of it was because you kinda looked like that guy your opponents say you are. You know, the frat boy who's kind of out of his league. i know you're not that guy. i know the things you said should have been more important than how you said them. i know you should have won on substance. But you know what? You didn't. Look at that map. Style fucking matters dude.

This race should be over by now. It's hard enough that you got the unholy alliance - the media, the academics, the entertainers - all against you. Hell, it's hard for me to have to listen to them too. It's kind of unfair that they're such fucked up liars and yet they can say whatever they want against you. Yah it's hard work winning an election when the other side's got that advantage.

So that's why you gotta work at this style thing. It's important. Look at that map. Just a few weeks ago it was looking pretty red. Yah i know the polls are biased too. i don't fucking care. Last Thursday hurt us. And it was not because you didn't say the right things. You just didn't prepare with enough right things to say. It's hard work. It's hard work. Yah, well it's hard work preparing for a debate too. You still gotta do it. You gotta memorize shit and practice. And you can't be so afraid that you'll say something wrong that you end up saying nothing.

If you turn in another performance like last Thursday's it's your ass. And if it's your ass, it's our asses too. Cuz we can't have Kerry in office, you see, that would be a very very very bad thing. i know you know that.

And i know you can do this thing. i watched all your debates in 2000 and you were good. Of course you were up against Al Gore. This time, Kerry's proved that he's not going to say and do weird shit like Gore did. So he won't shoot himself in the foot, that don't mean he's not vulnerable. Kerry's got big vulnerabilities. But he's going to try to hide them. It's up to you to talk about his record, his positions. It's up to you to point those things out to the audience in detail, and with confidence. Because style fucking matters in this thing.

So, just like that guy said to you in New York after 9/11, don't let us down. We're counting on you. Go out there and kick some ass this time.

Love always,

Posted by annika at 03:34 PM | Comments (4)

October 06, 2004

Wednesday Is Poetry Day

How different is this war we are fighting now. Compared to wars of the distant past.

Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) writes about a once universal irony among soldiers:

      'Had he and I but met
      By some old ancient inn,
We should have sat us down to wet
      Right many a nipperkin!

      'But ranged as infantry,
      And staring face to face,
I shot at him as he at me,
      And killed him in his place.

      'I shot him dead because --
      Because he was my foe,
Just so: my foe of course he was;
      That's clear enough; although

      'He thought he'd 'list, perhaps,
      Off-hand like -- just as I --
Was out of work -- had sold his traps --
      No other reason why.

      'Yes; quaint and curious war is!
      You shoot a fellow down
You'd treat if met where any bar is,
      Or help to half-a-crown.'

In this current war of ours, i doubt you'd find many on our side who'd share Hardy's poignant sentiment.

Posted by annika at 07:44 PM | Comments (2)

New Political Blog

RightViews.com is only a week old, and it looks like it may be a pretty good group blog. Here's an excerpt from OJ's first post, which echoes my own thoughts (while watching that a-hole Keith Olberman the other night).

Why no one in the media is holding these politicians accountable for inconsistencies and in some cases absolute contradictions is beyond me. Clearly the media is traditionally liberal but these extremes are bordering on misrepresentation. Turning a blind eye, the Media is misleading the public by not reporting the whole story and as a result, is knowingly censuring the truth as it relates to the forum. Someone needs to hold the Left responsible for what they are saying.
That someone is the blogosphere, OJ. Welcome, and good luck with your new blog.

Posted by annika at 06:21 PM | Comments (1)

How Does He Do It?

Bill Whittle posted yet another gem.


[W]e’ll look at what both men said, and through a very specific filter: not their Aggregate Presidentiality, or their respective Molar Charm Ratio. We’re going to look at what both men believe in respect to deterrence: whether their positions increase or decrease the likelihood of further attacks on the US.

. . .

And all of this rage and fury and spitting and tearing up of signs, all of these insults and spinmeisters and forgeries and all the rest, seem to come down to the fact that about half the country thinks you deter this sort of thing by being nice, while the other half thinks you deter this by being mean.

It’s really just that simple.

. . .

And although we can not run an experiment to look into the alternate futures to glean the best result, to determine the relative benefits of being nice or being mean – for those, ultimately, are the choices, believe it or not – we can at least look back to see which seems to have produced the best results in the laboratory of history.

Thus begins another intellectual journey, Whittle style. Set aside a couple of hours and read it all the way through.

Posted by annika at 06:11 PM | Comments (0)

October 05, 2004

Notes On The Vice Presidential Debate

i live blogged the debate on my crappy laptop. i don't think i'll be doing that again. It's too hard to watch and type at the same time. Here's my notes:

Edwards broke the rules in his first sentence. That wasn't nice. He spoke directly to Cheney. He knows he can get away with it now, and he's testing the moderator. Tricky lawyer. And Gwen Ifill just got done saying she was going to enforce the rules. i guess that doesn't apply to Democrats, though.

Speed up the reconstruction? Kerry's been saying it was going too fast.

Cheney sounds competent and articulate.

Edwards breaks the rules again. Directing comments to the opponent.

Edwards is asked whether Saddam Hussein would still be in power if no war. Answer the question, Senator! If we had relied only on weapons inspectors, they would have found no weapons, there would be no war, and Saddam Hussein would still be in power! As soon as the inspectors left, he'd have re-started his weapons program. The world is safer because he is gone.

John Edwards sidesteps the question and talks about Afghanistan and OBL.

Stop saying that, John. Cheney never said that there was a connection between Iraq and 9/11,

Cheney: Kerry and Edwards have a limited view of how to use American power. Good. Good. Spell it out for us, Dick.

Cheney bringing up Kerry's consistent pattern of pacifism, excellent.

30 years of being on the wrong side of defense issues.

Cheney has good energy now.

Black jacket on Cheney, trying to look like Darth Vader.

Edwards: Kerry said he'd never give anyone a veto. Sorry John, but a global test is the same thing. It's letting world opinion influence American national security policy. Your attempted reassurance is not good enough.

Cheney brings up El Salvador. Why didn't Bush do this?

The moderator stays on the global test issue. Nice followup question. i take back what i said about her.

John Edwards' response is effective only to his base. Kerry's "global test" comment is a bell that can't be unrung. People realize that no Republican would ever propose a test.

On the other hand, when Edwards talks about the cost of the war, he scores points. This is good stuff for the independents. Could be persuasive.

Cheney counters well by challenging the accuracy of the facts behind John Edwards's cost argument. Ho ho ho! He gets the first jab in too: "you probably weren't there to vote for that."

John Edwards leans over. Is he reaching for a gun?

Now the "87 billion" makes it's first appearance of the night. Cheney: "you're not credible on Iraq because of the enormous inconsistencies." Nice. Things are heating up.

Haa! Now Edwards is on the defensive. He counterpunches. And Cheney is spot on with his rebuttal: "your rhetoric is not backed up by your record." Nice one, Dick!

Kerry's judgment is flawed and the record is there - he voted against weapons in the cold war-- against the first Gulf War.

Another good punch -- Howard Dean was the reason they both flip-flopped on the 87 billion. And John Edwards doesn't respond? No, he does, by invoking Halliburton!

This is going exactly according to script, isn't it?

Who gets to keep the notes they scribble afterwards? The Smithsonian? The National Archives? It's not like they're going to need them after it's over, but the notes are historically valuable.

John Edwards brings up the 1991 Gulf War coalition as an example of the kind of coalition he favors. But isn't that the war Kerry voted against?

Edwards says they should take the Iraqis out of the country to train them. But i think we're already doing exactly that, i read somewhere.

Ha! Cheney was Defense Secretary during the Gulf War. Touche! Don't preach to him about that coalition. He knows firsthand which coalition had more countries.

John Edwards compares gulf wars. But they're not analogous. The goals were different. Of course '91 took three days; we weren't trying to do what we're doing now.

Cheney is clearly winning now. He nails Edwards for demeaning the sacrifice of the Iraqis. Edwards is visibly rattled. Talk about body language! Even a seasoned litigator looks flustered when he's on the defensive.

Iraq is now our ally in the War on Terror. Perhaps our strongest, judging by their sacrifice. If the anti-war Kerry'd had his way, Iraq would still be our enemy, working against us.

John Edwards' rebuttal is off point. He plays the "things are bad in Iraq" card. Not a terribly effective rebuttal.

Kerry wants all the 911 commision reforms. Doesn't Bush too?

Zarqawi is an example of the links between Iraq and terrorism. He moved from Afghanistan to Iraq after we took out the Taliban. Doesn't it make sense? Iraq War or no Iraq War, Zarqawi is an example of how you had to follow up Afghanistan by taking out Saddam, because it was only natural that the terrorists would move to Saddam's Iraq after they got kicked out of Afghanistan.

Edwards blunders: He makes the point that there's al Qaeda in sixty countries. "How many of those countries are we gonna invade?" This contradicts Kerry's idea that we should be going after al Qaeda exclusively. If so, the answer to Edwards' question, logically, is all of them.

John Edwards wants to speed up the reconstruction, while at the same time cutting off all pay to Halliburton. How exactly is that supposed to work?

Edwards was in Jerusalem on the day of the Sbarro bombing? i hope, for his sake, that's true, because it'd be really easy to verify.

Cheney: "The first time I ever met you was when you walked on the stage tonight." Owwww, that had to hurt. And you're no Jack Kennedy either, Senator Edwards. There's your sound bite for tomorrow.

Edwards is starting to unravel. Just slightly. "I did talk about Israel. He's the one who didn't talk about it!" He sounds like a whiny little kid. i think he was only trying to lighten the tone, but it ended up sounding childish. Bad move, John.

Yah i know. Those are style points. Trivial fluff. But that's what's fun about these things. Its how these debates are scored.

Now on to domestic policy. John Edwards gets his second wind. He seems to have recovered, and he knows this is where he can shine. Domestic is really John Edwards' strong suit, in contrast to Kerry who i think is more comfortable in foreign affairs.

Did i just see an Al Gore head tilt by John Edwards? i hope not, Gore is not the vice president you want to emulate.

Ifill's tax question unfairly accepts the liberal myth that tax cuts and increased revenue are mutually exclusive.

Edwards talking about increasing upper income taxes, while cutting taxes on the middle class. That Democratic plan will result in fewer jobs. What good is a tax cut when you're out of a job?

i like that they're focusing so much on taxes right up front. Republicans win whenever the dems are forced to talk about raising taxes. Even if they're talking about those with over $200,000 in income, that's within reach for a lot of small business owners. Plus, a lot of people still hope someday to get there. Not a winning issue, i don't think.

$200,000 is a multi-millionaire? if i may borrow a forgotten phrase from the 2000 debates, "that's fuzzy math."

The gay marriage issue. Cheney says the issue is judges. i wish he would say the words: full faith and credit clause.

Edwards passes up an opportunity to challenge Cheney on this marriage issue, going back to the tax talk and losing a bit of momentum.

Now he blows sunshine up Cheney's ass about his gay daughter.

No state for the last 200 years has ever had to recognize another state's marriage? what????? How can he say that? He's a lawyer! Full Faith and Credit Clause! WTF?

Enough with the kind words about the other guy's family, already.

Edwards says marriage should be between a man and a woman.

Ifill throws Cheney a softball, gives him a chance to bash trial lawyers and Edwards by association. Cheney won't take the bait.

This debate has had a good range of subect matter, and so far i'm impressed with the moderator, i thought Jim Lehrer was disgustingly biased, in his choice and phrasing of questions. i've been pleasantly surprised by Gwen Ifill.

i dont like the Kerry-Edwards plan for tort control, since i'm studying to be a lawyer. But i agree with John Edwards, most lawyers don't want frivolous lawsuits either.

And how does the government impose such a tort control plan on a federal system? i dont understand it. And wouldn't this just become a huge federal subsidy for a new professional expert industry.

Cheney's performance tonight, while very heartening, also makes Bush's performance last Thursday look even worse. Cheney raises the bar for Bush next time. And it must be said, that bar would not have been an issue if Bush had simply done an adequate job, instead of handing the dems a victory without a fight. His performance became the story, and it shouldnt have been. Now Bush has to prove that he can approach a minimum level of articulateness. Thankfully, he does better in the town hall format.

Edwards' biggest doozie of the night: lack of healthcare causes AIDS!

Edwards says he and Kerry want to find the terrorists and kill them before they kill us? Well, now thanks to Bush, we know where a lot of them are: in Iraq. Let's kill them there. If Kerry'd had his way, we'd be playing hide and seek with al Qaeda.

Cheney questions the questions subtly, with hardly a hint of sarcasm. Not like Rumsfeld, who basically ridicules the press.

Cheneys was laid off once? Hospitalized without health insurance? i did not know that.

Please Cheney, don't hold your hands under your chin. It blocks the microphone and muffles your voice.

Cheney's done well tonight. His name has really become synonymous with gravitas.

Kerry and Edwards want to go on offense in the War on Terror? How? What's their long term plan? With a watch list? Thats it? That's not proactive. Screening cargo? What if one gets through? We can't be perfect 100% of the time. Terrorists only have to be right once. Let's change the Middle East and spread freedom. That's the long term solution Kerry-Edwards won't talk about.

Edwards smiles, he should do that more. Edwards' "lean to the right and point with four fingers" move should be patented, or trademarked or whatever.

Hanging the flip-flop label on the administration is a loser, no one except die hard democrats are gonna buy that one.

How did Bush stop the Patient's Bill of Rights? i'm curious.

On one hand the dems are actively trying to scare college kids by saying there's going to be a draft, then they're saying Bremer's right, we need more troops. Cheney and Rummy say they're opposed to a draft, and that we don't need more troops because they trust the commanders on the ground. who havent asked for them

Oh no, the moderator fucked up. Too bad, now people will criticize her, but i think she did an outstanding job.

At the closing statement, will Cheney shock the audience by revealing that he is, in fact, Luke's father?

Will Edwards, in his closing, go for the punies, or will he limit himself to asking for only compensatory damages?

Edwards asks rhetorically whether America has ever been more divided. The answer is easy. Yes, from 1861 to 1865.

Ah, finally John Edwards mentions the millworker's son thing. He waited until his closing to do it.

If i did see incomes going down, etc, i'd blame the Democrats. So that argument is not persuasive to me.

Edwards gave a good closing though.

Cheney's closing is starting out flat. Picking up now. But he's got good eye contact, which he sometimes has trouble doing.

Cheney: "It's important that we stand up democratically elected governments as the only guarantee that they'll never again revert to terrorism or the production of deadly weapons." A very concise statement of the basic argument.

Its over, Ms. Edwards rolls out onto the stage. John Edwards got a cute kid. He should have that kid on his arm at all times, good prop, worth probably half a point in the battleground states.

i like both of these guys. It was a real good debate. Even cordial, after Edwards got burned a bit and learned to respect Cheney. Then i think Edwards regained some ground in the domestic portion. It was probably a draw, but since the foreign policy portion is more important right now, Cheney comes out a bit ahead.

Cheney is a solid debater. i never had any worries about him, and i chuckled at all the naysayers.

The debate was probably very boring to the casual viewer. i was riveted, since i love this stuff.

Vice presidential debates decide nothing, but this year, Cheney went a long way to reassure Republicans after Bush's dismal perfirmance last Thursday.

Posted by annika at 11:18 PM | Comments (17)

October 02, 2004

Monday Night Football Pick

No posting this weekend, so i'm giving you my Monday Night Football pick early. The upcoming game is between the surprisingly sucky Kansas City Chiefs and the Baltimore Ravens, at Baltimore. According to USA Today, the oddsmakers have Baltimore favored by 4½ to 6 points.

After last weeks pick, i'm hesitant to go with the favorite again. (An SI.com poll says the Chiefs are the most likely 0-3 to bag a win this week.) But Kansas City's offense seems really disorganized this year,* and MNF or not, i don't see them solving their problems against the Baltimore defense.

i'd be comfortable picking Baltimore minus five points.

* Although, statistics-wise, Baltimore's doesn't seem much different, and their QB is even worse than Trent Green has been. But the Ravens appear to have a better run defense, which they'll certainly need against Priest Holmes, and a better pass defense.

Posted by annika at 06:29 AM | Comments (7)

October 01, 2004

Debate One Deconstruction - Substance

Last night John Kerry said "The president just talked about Iraq as a center of the war on terror. Iraq was not even close to the center of the war on terror before the president invaded it."

If Kerry thinks Afghanistan is the real center of the War on Terror, it occurs to me that Iraq is just on the other side of Iran. Maybe that's not close enough for Kerry, but i think Iraq is definitely in the right neighborhood. And that's why Iraq is so important.

Kerry also said: ". . . I would not take my eye off of the goal: Osama bin Laden. Unfortunately, he escaped in the mountains of Tora Bora."

If you examine Kerry's insistence on finding Osama as the real goal of the War on Terror, you'll see the central flaw in his thinking. He still looks at this conflict as a law enforcement and containment problem. i believe most Americans realize we can't play that game anymore, just as most Europeans think that the law enforcement model is the only possible solution.

Europeans think that way because they lack the military strength for any alternative strategy. We don't suffer from that limitation. We can fix the problem of terrorism with a real long term solution. Our might allows us to do what the Europeans cannot. Like Bush said, it's hard work, but it's not an impossible task for Americans.

But Kerry thinks like a European; we all know that. He's an internationalist at the core, and always has been. Despite his hawkish double-talk, he mistrusts the use of American power the same way Europeans do. We - and i mean you and i - can't afford to mistrust our own power. The stakes are too high now.

Why? Because our enemy wants to kill us.

This is a new kind of war. Our enemy isn't like Imperial Japan in WWII. They don't want access to oil so they can create a new Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere.

Our new enemy's goal is much simpler: They want all Americans to die.

Capturing Osama will not solve the problem of terrorism. The bad guys will still have the capability and the desire to kill Americans, with or without Osama. John Kerry must not win because if he is elected, we will lose our focus on the real goal of the War on Terror.

The real focus is long term. It is the transformation of the Islamic world. The only way - the only way - we can stop this enemy is to change the societies in which they live into free and democratic societies.

If the Islamic world does not change, we will be forever on defense in the War on Terror. Bringing democracy and freedom to Iraq is the first step in a long term strategy to protect America from future 9/11s. That's what i mean by being on offense.

John Kerry and his followers miss that very important point. They would have us abandon Bush's strategic goal and substitute the short term tactical goal of hunting down the sick and probably dying Osama bin Ladin. Not that we shouldn't bring him to justice, but it won't solve the problem of terrorism. Bush's strategy is designed to be a permanent solution.

Hugh Hewitt wrote:

Would the many terrorist attacks since 9/11 in Bali, Madrid, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Beslan and elsewhere have occurred had the United States focused all of its efforts on Afghanistan? Yes. Would Zarqawi still be roaming freely throughout Iraq and the middle east, building his parallel networks? Yes. Would killing Osama at Tora Bora have stopped the Islamist fanatics around the globe? No.

John Kerry does not understand the enemy. He does not understand the war we are in, or how it must be waged. He doesn't understand the reason Libya disarmed. He doesn't get what's going on at all.

Kerry calls Iraq the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time? Sorry Kerry, President Bush was right (even when he flubbed the line) when he said "It's not a grand diversion, this is an essential that we get it right."

One more point. Despite Kerry's occasional hawkishness, don't forget that something like seventy percent of Kerry's support comes from the ant-war left. That's a big umbrella that contains few reasonable people, and a lot of kooks. We cannot allow Kerry to open the government up to this anti-American fifth column, which he will undoubtedly do. Remember, he was one of them once.

Posted by annika at 04:55 PM | Comments (5)