Saturday, February 21, 2004

This is getting pretty lame:

In the president's radio address today, Bush said:
The terrorists know that the emergence of a free Iraq will be a major blow against a worldwide terrorist movement.
Really, now. Iraq was a non-player when it came to terrorism directed against the United States. And a free Iraq will do what? First of all, we have no idea what a free Iraq will look like. Bush seems to imply that a free Iraq will be some sort of liberal democracy like Iceland or New Zealand, but freedom has many faces, and we shouldn't overlook the possibility that Iraq will be "free" to become a theocracy - or something worse. And anyway, since when did the "worldwide terrorists movement" bet the farm on Iraq?


Friday, February 20, 2004

A repeat of an earlier post:
Nader Hit With Pie During Calif. Event (On or about 13 August 2003)



We read in the New York Times: (excerpts, emphasis added)
In the New Economics: Fast-Food Factories?

The latest edition [of the Economic Report of the President], sent to Congress last week, questions whether fast-food restaurants should continue to be counted as part of the service sector or should be reclassified as manufacturers. No answers were offered.

In a speech to Washington economists Tuesday, N. Gregory Mankiw, chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisers, said that properly classifying such workers was "an important consideration" in setting economic policy.

"When a fast-food restaurant sells a hamburger, for example, is it providing a 'service' or is it combining inputs to 'manufacture' a product?" the report asks.

"Sometimes, seemingly subtle differences can determine whether an industry is classified as manufacturing. For example, mixing water and concentrate to produce soft drinks is classified as manufacturing. However, if that activity is performed at a snack bar, it is considered a service."

The report notes that the Census Bureau's North American Industry Classification System defines manufacturing as covering enterprises "engaged in the mechanical, physical or chemical transformation of materials, substances or components into new products."



We read this in (another!) Washington Times story: (excerpts, emphasis added)
Evangelicals frustrated by Bush

... right now social conservatives are mad over what many consider the president's failure to strongly condemn illegal homosexual "marriages" being performed in San Francisco ...

Top religious rights activists have been burning up the telephone lines, sharing what one privately called their "apoplexy" over Mr. Bush's failure to act decisively on the issue ...

"... on every front, are worse off on things they care about," said Gary Bauer, president of American Values. "The gay rights movement is more powerful, the culture is more decadent, the life of not one baby has been saved, porn is in the living room ..."

[Robert H. Knight director of the Culture and Family Institute, an affiliate of Concerned Women for America (CWA)] points to Mr. Bush's having "promoted the Ted Kennedy Leave No Child Behind education bill, which expanded an Education Department that social conservatives see as a fully owned subsidiary of the National Education Association, which has grown more stridently left wing in recent years. The NEA has boldly promoted the homosexual agenda for schoolchildren."

Also, Mr. Knight said, Mr. Bush "upped the budget for the National Endowment for the Arts, which has boldly promoted the homosexual agenda for schoolchildren.

Mr. Knight said runaway federal spending under Mr. Bush worries some social conservatives who "fear their children will become slaves to the government someday.
Clearly, George Bush should address the concern of many, that the government is promoting the enslavement of homosexualized schoolchildren who watch porn in the living room.


Chalabi admits it, why won't the neocons?

Get this, from the Washington Times: (excerpts, epmhasis added)
An Iraqi leader accused of feeding faulty prewar intelligence to Washington said his information about Saddam Hussein's weapons — even if discredited — achieved the aim of persuading the United States to topple the dictator.

Ahmed Chalabi and his London-based exile group, the Iraqi National Congress, for years provided a conduit for Iraqi defectors who were debriefed by U.S. intelligence agents.

During an interview, Mr. Chalabi, by far the most effective anti-Saddam lobbyist in Washington, shrugged off charges that he had deliberately misled U.S. intelligence.

"We are heroes in error," he said in Baghdad on Wednesday. "As far as we're concerned, we've been entirely successful.

"Our objective has been achieved. That tyrant Saddam is gone, and the Americans are in Baghdad. What was said before is not important."
Tell that to the families of the fallen soldiers.


Thursday, February 19, 2004

President Bush - Man of Action!

From the White House transcript:
PRESIDENT BUSH: I strongly believe that marriage should be defined as between a man and a woman. I am troubled by activist judges who are defining marriage. I have watched carefully what's happened in San Francisco, where licenses were being issued even though the law states otherwise. I have consistently stated that if -- I'll support law to protect marriage between a man and a woman. And obviously these events are influencing my decision.

Q Are you close to a decision?

PRESIDENT BUSH: I'm watching very carefully. But I'm troubled by what I've seen. People need to be involved with this decision. Marriage ought to be defined by the people, not by the courts. And I'm watching it carefully.
What the hell is he watching carefully? Is there some detail about the marriages that will tip the balance?

Of course, "watching carefully" is something you say when you don't have anything to say - which in Bush's case is anytime his advisors (especially Rove) haven't told him what to think.


Washington Post ... hire a new fact-checker:

In the news, we read about a statement from the Union of Concerned Scientists, Restoring Scientific Integrity in Policymaking, which is critical of the Bush administration's handling of scientific data. Accompanying the statement is a list of signatories. The Washington Post tells us:
The statement -- whose signatories include 12 Nobel laureates ...
But when we visit weblogger Calpundit, he writes:
The UCS report, which is endorsed by 20 Nobel prize winners ...
So which is it, 20 or 12?

If you check the signatory list, it turns out that Calpundit is right and the Washington Post is wrong. Remember, Calpundit is your source for accurate information.

NOTE: Yeah, the Post story might have been "put to bed" at a point in time when there were only 12 signatories, but a Google news search shows everybody else (except those reprinting the Post) with a count of 20.


Wednesday, February 18, 2004

You can't follow the game without a program! (or a diagram):

The blogosphere is currenty chatting about how the Chalabi family and friends have received over $400 million in contracts (Talking Points Memo,'s Iraq blog, Atrios). The initial story was reported in Newsday by Knut Royce. It's worth reading. The story is, however, somewhat complicated, and so we present a diagram that shows key elements of the relationships.

INTERESTED IN MORE? A year ago we made a diagram of Chalabi's previous business (and fraudulent) activities. It's here (once again, our super-duper old hosting service seems to be on the fritz, so you might not see the image - we are working on it, yet again).


Instapundit misleads his readers:

Instapundit writes:
NOT EVERYONE HAS GIVEN UP on the Kerry infidelity story. Eric Scheie notes that over at the John Edwards campaign blog some of Edwards' supporters are still hoping to give the story legs.
Sounds serious. If it comes from the John Edwards campaign blog, major players in Edward's team are fanning the flames of the infidelity rumor. Or are they?

No, professor Reynolds.

Most of us are familiar with a closed blog - where only authorized users are allowed to post (Kerry has one). But Edwards has a open blog - which is nothing more than a message board. And who posted this entry on John Edwards blog?
Sunday February 15, @06:59AM

The news media, particularly the foreign media, is showing increasing attention to the Kerry Interngate story. The media seems to now be encamped outside of the home of Alexis Polier's parents -- Terrence and Donna Polier -- on Madeline Drive inMalvern, PA.

But so far, I have seen no photographs online of Alexandra Polier's apartment at 3147 Broadway, New York NY 10027 or her hideaway in Belmont, Massachusetts, at 6 Springfield Street.

It was posted by Anonymous. That's how well sourced it is. Anybody could have posted that. David Horowitz. Ann Coulter. A Limbaugh ditto-head. A reader of Instapundit.

What a hack.


Who the Wall Street Journal editors like:

There is a page with dozens of links to the "Favorite Sites" that the WSJ editorial section likes. Buried down in the page are links to The Onion, Talking Points Memo, and even the Internet Movie Database. But they have a top-tier set of links. Here they are, in the order listed by the WSJ:
Washington Times
National Review
Jim Romenesko's Media News
Fox News
The Drudge Report
Congratulations to Mickey Kaus! You made it, man. You're in the same company as Drudge, InstaPundit, and the Washington Times.

Other links on the WSJ page:
Little Green Footballs
And in their "Serious Research" section, we find:
Serious research? Of course. Now all columnists have a college degree, thanks to Ben Shapiro's stint at UCLA.


How much are they paying at the pump?

We read that gasoline prices have jumped by twenty cents over the last month, with a nationwide average of $1.66 for self-serve regular (CNN), and in California people are paying - in some cases - up to $2.30 a gallon. It's expected to get worse: "The Lundberg Survey, an independent market researcher in California, predicted last month that retail gasoline prices will range from $1.71 to $1.96 per gallon by April." Those are nationwide prices, so you can be sure it will be even higher in certain areas. Now, how often have you wondered how much it costs to fill-up one of those SUVs? We did a little research, and here are some selected models, their weight, fuel capacity, and the price for a full fill-up at three different gasoline prices.

Model - all for 2004   Weight Fuel capacity
@ $1.70/g
@ $2.25/g
@ $2.40/g
Toyota Prius (hybrid) 2855 11.9 $ 19.64 $ 26.78 $ 28.56
Toyota Corolla CE (base model) 2568 13.2 $ 21.78 $ 29.70 $ 31.68
Ford TaurusLX Sedan (base model) 3306 18.0 $ 29.70 $ 40.50 $ 43.20
Ford Explorer 4X2 XLS 4.0L (base model) 4302 22.5 $ 37.13 $ 50.63 $ 54.00
Ford Expedition XLT 4x4 5.4L 5671 28.0 $ 46.20 $ 63.00 $ 67.20
Ford Excursion 4x2 XLS 5.4L (base model) 6650 44.0 $ 72.60 $ 99.00 $ 105.60
Lincoln Navigator 4x2 Ultimate 5714 28.0 $ 46.20 $ 63.00 $ 67.20
Cadillac Escalade 2WD 5367 26.0 $ 42.90 $ 58.50 $ 62.40
Cadillac Escalade EXT Sport Utility Truck 5879 30.9 $ 50.99 $ 69.53 $ 74.16
Toyota Truck Tundra 4X4 SR5 Regular Cab V8 4490 26.4 $ 43.56 $ 59.40 $ 63.36
Nissan Truck Titan LE King Cab 4X4 5287 28.0 $ 46.20 $ 63.00 $ 67.20
HUMMER H1 Wagon 4 Door 7558 42.0 $ 69.30 $ 94.50 $ 100.80
HUMMER H2 Sport Utility 6400 32.0 $ 52.80 $ 72.00 $ 76.80

For further commentary about heavy, gas guzzling SUVs, check out Easterblog (he hates 'em). And on a related note, this New York Times Op-Ed critical of new fuel standards proposed by Bush - written by both (!) the executive director of the Sierra Club and the president of the U.A.W.


Tuesday, February 17, 2004

We have a winner - us!

The winners for the 2003 Koufax Awards have been announced. We were nominated for Special Effects, a category that includes animation (something we don't do at the moment), charts, and pictures. Our strength is with diagrams and we are pleased to announce that we won for Special Effects. Since we won on the strength of diagrams, we thought it would be appropriate to create one showing the steps it took to reach this point. Here it is:


Monday, February 16, 2004

Fuzzy math?

Bush spoke today about jobs at Nuair Manufacturing, located in Tampa Florida. Here's what he said:
... there are thousands of entrepreneurs in America, all over the country, making the same kind of decisions -- 40 workers here, five workers there begin to add up to excitement and new jobs.
It sure adds up. 40 + 5 = 45

America wants to know:
(Photo taken on 9 Feb 2004 at SRC Automotive Plant in Springfield, Missouri.)


Way under the radar:

Bush announced that the last two members of the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction will be Charles M. Vest and Henry S. Rowen. Charles M. Vest has served as President of MIT since 1990.

Who is Henry S. Rowen?

The San Francisco Chronicle has this to report: (emphasis added)
He is a member of the Defense Department's Policy Board, a 28-member panel that urged action against Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein before the war.

In 1997, he signed a "statement of principles" calling for increased military spending, stronger ties to allies and stronger challenges to hostile regimes. The statement, calling for "military strength and moral clarity" was signed by a conservative who's-who, including William Bennett, Dick Cheney, Dan Quayle, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz.
So, one member on the committee signed the Project for the New American Century's Statement of Principles, and is a member of the Policy Board - which was headed by Richard Perle.

Talk about Bush having one of his own guys on the investigation.

(Democratic Underground's Top Ten Conservative Idiots clued us to this appointment, but even they missed the Policy Board aspect.)


Sunday, February 15, 2004


White House releases picture taken in December '73 at Dixon's Five and Dime, located in Spring Hill, Alabama.

Note: the image above has been Photoshoped, and is not genuine.

Actually, we're not sure where the picture comes from. We found it in our files with a date of September 2000; it was either e-mailed to us or found on the Internet. In any event, we thought it fit in well with the perception of what the scene was like back then, thirty years ago.