Budget Busters

Howie Kurtz has the GOP pegged on this one:

Imagine hard as it is President Gore standing in the House chamber and delivering his annual address to the nation.

He calls for spending $400 billion over the next decade to strengthen Medicare and launch a prescription drug program.

He calls for $450 million to bring mentors to disadvantaged students and children of prisoners.

He calls for $600 million for treatment programs for drug addicts.

He calls for $15 billion over five years to combat AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean.

He calls for $1.2 billion to develop clean, hydrogen-powered automobiles.

What do you suppose the Republicans would be saying about Al Gore?

Big spender? Wild-eyed liberal? Doesn’t understand that government is the problem, not the solution?

Wouldn’t there be lots of accusations of fiscal irresponsibility especially when the $417 billion in new spending is coupled with $674 billion in tax cuts?

I would be frothing at the mouth- which is why I am furious at the “fiscal conservatives” in charge of the House and Senate.








FBI Internet Snooping

My lawyer friend sends me this link to a disturbing new method the FBI has for trailing your internet activities to determine if you are involved in terrorist activities.








Democrat Attitudes

You know those dour, serious looks Democrats are always giving? You know the ones- like when Daschle asking about ‘fundamental fairness’ and raising ‘serious questions.’ Or how about Nancy Pelosi rolling her eyes and smirking during the SOTU address? It was the kind of thing that makes you want to retch. Or Hillary, incapable of smiling and making it through an entire speech without swearing or chit-chatting with Lieberman. At any rate, these obnoxious attitudes, the incessant whining, and the general pessimism and negativity do not sell well. They think they are being more aggressive, but this is how the nation at large is starting to view them:

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Abortion Politics

Generally, I am pro-choice- my choice is that I will never support it- but I also choose to let others make their own decision and to live with themselves. However, it is illustrative that the ‘party of choice’ really isn’t:

Sen. John F. Kerry, D-Mass., promised to bring up the abortion issue if he finds himself debating President Bush next year.

“I’ll tell him, ‘There’s a fundamental difference between he and I (sic; it’s been a long time since Kerry’s prep school grammar classes): I trust women to make their own decisions. You don’t,” Kerry said. Fine words. But it looks like the only decision John Kerry trusts women to make is the decision to have or not have an abortion.

He doesn’t trust a woman to make the decision to invest her Social Security taxes in private accounts that would provide her a more comfortable retirement. He doesn’t trust a woman to own a gun. He doesn’t trust a woman to make her own decision on where her children will go to school.

The truth hurts. I’d vote for this party:

Too many people these days think “choice” only refers to abortion. I’d like to hear a presidential candidate say, “I believe in a woman’s right to choose. I believe in a woman’s right to choose whether to have a child. I believe in a woman’s right to choose any job someone will hire her for. I believe in a woman’s right to choose to own a gun. I believe in a woman’s right to choose the school she thinks is best for her child, public or private. I believe in a woman’s right to choose what kinds of art she will spend her money on, even if she prefers Madonna or Randy Travis and Congress wants to give her money to Robert Mapplethorpe or Luciano Pavarotti. I believe in a woman’s right to choose to drive a cab, even if she doesn’t have a license. I believe in a woman’s right to choose the employees she wants for her business, even if they don’t fit some government quota. I believe in a woman’s right to choose the drugs she prefers for recreation, whether she chooses Coors or cocaine. I believe in a woman’s right to choose how to spend all of her hard-earned money, without giving half of it to the government.”

Whether or not you support the right to choose abortion, surely that is a more difficult issue, involving more lives and more complexities than the right to choose a school for your child, to use marijuana, or to own a gun. And yet many of the supporters of “a woman’s right to choose” don’t support a woman’s right to make those choices.








General Humor

The Rev. Chapin’s morning comics are particularly good today.








Shut the F— Up.

Sorry for the profanity, but I might as well post my real thoughts when I read this:

WASHINGTON – President Bush’s new $15 billion initiative to fight AIDS globally includes the largest amount ever, American or otherwise, devoted to treatment of those infected with the disease in the poor world, US officials said yesterday.

But activists said the proposal also suggests that the United States wants to act unilaterally and does not trust global coalitions.

In other news, lifeguards, vineyards, and MADD all lodged complaints when Bush walked on water and then turned water into wine.

Seriously, I am not trying to claim Bush is Christ-like or some sort of hero for this, because he isn’t. First, it is our money he is spending. Second, this is a drop in the bucket and LONG overdue. But for goodness sakes, is there anything you carping suckweasels won’t BITCH ABOUT?

<via the Blogfather)

*** Update ***

Jay Caruso feels the same way I do.








Computer Advice

My cat dumped a glass of cranberry juice in my new keyboard (along with on my crotch, ruining my new flannel pj’s and slippers). At any rate, the moisture did no damage, but now keys stick when I type (or try to). What can I do other than buy a new one? Can I jump in the shower with it for a second to get the stick out, and then use a hair dryer on it again? Or should I just say to hell with it?

Any help would be appreciated.








New Links

New Permalinks. Welcome Trojan Horseshoes and Occam’s Toothbrush.








Adios Arianna

Arianna Huffington has been canned from one of her gigs. Expect much bitching from the usual suspects about the ‘conservative media.’

(via Henry Hanks)








A Plausible Explanation?

The Instapundit notes:

STEVE VERDON notices something I hadn’t — my traffic for this month has already surpassed its previous monthly high. This will no doubt disappoint some, who seemed to be hoping that InstaPundit had passed its peak.

Of course, traffic here won’t keep growing forever, and I wouldn’t be terribly surprised (or, for that matter, all that disappointed) to see it level off or even decline as the blogosphere grows. This is the Internet, and nothing is forever. (Which isn’t to say that I don’t enjoy disappointing those folks this time; I’m only human.)

It’s especially interesting, though, in light of this figure from this OJR piece, showing big-media traffic trends. What’s interesting is that they look a lot like mine, only with a few more zeros. I wouldn’t have guessed that.

I think there are several plausible explanations for the increase in traffic:

1.) More and more, internet access and use is becoming commonplace, and as people become more familiar (Glenn frequently notes the assimilation of mainstream writers into the blogworld) wit the internet and internet news sources, they become more frequent consumers. Four years ago, my father did not have a computer. Now we can not get him offline. This is not an isolated incident.

2.) The growth of the blogosphere as a source of opinion and in many cases a convenient portal for here-to-fore difficult to find information has whetted people’s appetites for news. It really is an addiction. Combined with the exhilaration of not having to rely on being spoon fed from traditional news sources, and this could explain part of the increase.

3.) These are uncertain and rocky times. The highest turn-outs in elections are when there is a contentious election of great importance or a pressing issue. Right now, with the perception of a horrible economy, the war on terrorism, and the unpleasantness in Iraq, it only makes sense that people would be looking to inform themselves. It only makes sense that people would engage in more information-seeking behaviors. That is one great benefit of an educated public.

There are other reasons, including the wider availability of internet access in the workplace (thus allowing for more time to be wasted surfing- always a better alternative to work), but those are the main ones. Sound off below if you have other ideas.








Unbelievable

The always outstanding TalkLeft points to a shocking outrage:

Miami’s last cocaine cowboy rode into the sunset last week.

Salvador Magluta, considered one of Miami’s most notorious narcotics dealers, was prosecuted in federal court for having witnesses murdered and for laundering millions of dollars in drug proceeds. A federal judge then punished Magluta with a 205-year sentence. Magluta, 48, will live in prison till the day he dies.

But Magluta was never convicted of the homicides for which he was sentenced. A jury of his peers found Magluta not guilty of the murders, and guilty only of the nonviolent money-laundering charges — crimes that carry a maximum sentence of 20 years. The jury’s verdict notwithstanding, the judge decided that Magluta was responsible for the homicides and sentenced him accordingly.

It is not racheting up the rhetoric, nor is it baseless hyperbole to state that the “War on Drugs” is one of the greatest threats our nation has ever encountered.








Euroweenie Logic

PARIS, Jan. 29 European investigators have evidence that over the past six months, Islamic militants have been recruiting hundreds of fellow Muslims to carry out attacks in the event of a war against Iraq, according to French and other European antiterrorism experts.

A French expert, who requested anonymity, said one threat to Europe came from radical groups who have links with Chechnya and have learned how to make chemical weapons, either at training camps in Afghanistan or while serving in the Soviet Army. He said Chechnya was now a kind of “neo-Afghanistan,” a new training ground and staging area for anti-Western terrorists.

What was just a working thesis a few months ago, he said, has been validated by new information about intense recruiting, training and a focus on chemical weapons. In both Spain and Britain, the police reported finding chemical protection suits during raids last week in Barcelona and London.

In France, the police prevented “serious attacks” in Paris in December, probably including attacks using chemical weapons, the French expert said.

Clearly we don’t to do anything to provoke them. Like exist.

(via Tacitus)








Is This Racist?

A little ditty about Condeleezza Rice:

“Condoleezza” (Sung to the Nat King Cole classic, Mona Lisa)

“Condoleezza, Condoleezza, what you be doin’?
That neo-facist black-haired token schwarze dog.

“Is you there ’cause you a high-toned public Negro?
Is you their black-haired answer-mammy who be smart?
Does they like how you shine their shoes, Condoleezza?
Or the way you wash and park the whiteys cars.

“Georgie junior says he trusts you, Condoleezza.
Who said our [unintelligible] off the greedy oil woes.
But then he make you clean all the White House bathrooms.
The public sink, the toilet and let’s scrub the floors.”

Hey Atrios– Is this racist? Where is the NAACP when you need them?








Old Europe, Meet New Europe

United We Stand
Eight European leaders are as one with President Bush.

Wednesday, January 29, 2003 7:45 p.m. EST

(Editor’s note: This article is written by Jose Mara Aznar, Jose-Manuel Duro Barroso, Silvio Berlusconi, Tony Blair, Vaclav Havel, Peter Medgyessy, Leszek Miller and Anders Fogh Rasmussen.)

The real bond between the U.S. and Europe is the values we share: democracy, individual freedom, human rights and the rule of law. These values crossed the Atlantic with those who sailed from Europe to help create the United States of America. Today they are under greater threat than ever.

The attacks of Sept. 11 showed just how far terrorists–the enemies of our common values–are prepared to go to destroy them. Those outrages were an attack on all of us. In standing firm in defense of these principles, the governments and people of the U.S. and Europe have amply demonstrated the strength of their convictions. Today more than ever, the trans-Atlantic bond is a guarantee of our freedom.








Norman Schwarzkopf, Soldier to the End?

It was widely reported that Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf had concerns about a possible war in Iraq:

“The thought of Saddam Hussein with a sophisticated nuclear capability is a frightening thought, OK?” he said. “Now, having said that, I don’t know what intelligence the U.S. government has. And before I can just stand up and say, ‘Beyond a shadow of a doubt, we need to invade Iraq,’ I guess I would like to have better information.”

And so – in sharp contrast to the Bush administration – he supports letting the UN weapons inspectors drive the timetable: “I think it is very important for us to wait and see what the inspectors come up with, and hopefully they come up with something conclusive.”

This morning, on Today, Schwarzkopf seemed to say that he was now convinced that war was a necessary option:

But on Wednesday, Gen.Schwarzkopf told NBC’s Today show he thought President Bush’s State of the Union speech was “very compelling,” and he said he looks forward to hearing the declassified information that Secretary of State Colin Powell will share with the world next week.

“Saddam’s got to go,” Schwarzkopf said Wednesday morning. “He’s a monster in every single way you can think of and with the linkage to the terrorists, it’s scary what in fact could be done.”

Schwarzkopf said he expects key facts to emerge after Powell briefs the U.N. Security Council next Wednesday. “I think that the intelligence people obviously have information about activities, and I think you’re going to see proof of those activities that show that in fact Saddam Hussein still has nuclear weapons or chemical weapons or biological weapons in his possession and has in fact hidden them someplace…I think that there’s going to be conclusive evidence to show that he has not destroyed all the weapons that they say he’s destroyed.”

I am not sure why he changed his mind, particularly since the President presented no new evidence (the evidence he stated has been on record- people have just conveniently ignored it).

My question- Is there a possibility that this was staged, that Schwarzkopf had always been in favor of an invasion, and the thought was that if he changed his mind publicly, it would help to sway public opinion? This sounds paranoid, but I am cynical enough to think this might have been the case. Another possibility is that he simply does not like Rumsfelfd…