Monday, February 28, 2005
Get Well Wishes
Lebanese Government Steps Down
Will Assad get ahead of history and lead Syria out of Lebanon and into a freely-elected, multiparty democracy? Or will he dither and stand pat and attempt to survive the avalanche headed his way? These are the choices that the Anglo-American strategy of democratization have left with Assad. His father would choose the latter; Bashar might just be smart enough, like Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, to opt for the former. Either way, he only has weeks, possibly even days, to make his choices before the choices are made for him.
What I find most stunning is how fast change is occurring in the middle east. We have heard nothing but negativism from our media and friends on the left about the Iraq "quagmire," the fact that Bin Laden is still "on the loose," no "WMDs," not to mention Bush's "cowboy unilateralism."
What we aren't going to hear is many media-types (and certainly not any Democratic Senators) giving credit to George W. Bush for forcing the issue in Iraq. Without a dramatic military victory there (and in Afghanistan), the demonstrations we have seen in Lebanon and Ukraine wouldn't have happened. The free elections in Palestine, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan would never have occurred on their own. Nor the future free elections in Egypt. All of these events are good things, as they mean hope and opportunity for the people of the middle east. And indirectly, it will lead to increased safety and security for the United States.
FINAL NOTE: Some credit for these breathtaking changes in the world must also go to the advances in technology and communication that many of us take for granted. Cell phones, television, the internet and satellite technolgy help transmit images instantly. This free flow of information prevents government censorship and ruthless crackdowns on dissidents. Which results in the demonstartions of freedom that we watch, almost as fast as they occur.
Sunday, February 27, 2005
Vox Blogoli 2.2
McClellan or Grant? Should the GOP leadership in the Senate push to a confrontation with the Democrats over the filibustering of judicial nominees,and if the Dems filibuster even one judicial nominee, should the GOP move to the "nuclear option" of a rule change, even if Harry Reid threatens a Senate shutdown?Some may want to read Hugh's entire post (linked above) to get the McClellan/Grant reference, Civil War history fans will recognize it straight away. Hugh actually asks two questions, the first is whether or not the GOP should force a Senate confrontation. I say yes, and I see very little downside risk.
The GOP has been slowly picking up Senate seats for years. Some theorize that it is because of Democratic obstructionism, a voter backlash if you will. Recent GOP fund-raising drives have also focused on that obstructionism. Momentum is on the GOP's side, especially after the November elections. President Bush is spending his "political capital," and Republican Senators should do the same thing. Hugh notes the possibility that the GOP will not hold their 55 seat majority or even gain seats in 2006. Though I think the latter will happen, there are never any guarantees when it comes to future politics. Now is the time to act.
If Senate Republicans "press the bet" on judicial nominees, it will further solidify their base. Keeping the base motivated is crucial to adding more seats in 2006. Forget about courting Democrat voters. They hate Republicans no matter what the GOP does, so we might as well stack the courts while we can. Another reason why now is the time to act.
Pressing the bet in judicial terms is important because of the tremendous upside potential versus the relatively low risk. I believe, as many on the right do, that judicial activism is the single greatest threat to individual freedoms and the traditions of our country. With control over two branches of government, and a chance to make it a tri-fecta, take the nuclear option.
Forget about the MSM, they too will howl no matter what the GOP does. Though the MSM may cover the issue of judicial filibusters with the same fervor as they would a Supreme Court nominees confirmation hearings, I don't think the public will pay as close attention.
There is no guarantee that there will be any Supreme Court openings right away. Getting Senate rules squared away now, will make it seem like ancient history in a few months. It would be nice to have new parliamentary procedures in place well before Rehnquist steps down.
Last, I originally wanted to get this posted in time to participate in Hugh's Vox Blogoli 2.2. I had a real problem concentrating over the past few days. Getting any thoughts out in a way that I felt was "worthy" of such a discussion made me want to rename the discussion Vox Blockheadoli, because something wasn't clicking in my brain. After some real good exercise this evening, the blogjam has cleared. So I'm actually posting most of what I had written before, with a few minor changes. Oh well, there will be plenty of future discussions in which I'll be able to look the fool. For now, this can just be between us.....Heh.
M3C BOTW V
In a related piece, Larry Sabato has an in depth look at potential 2008 Democratic presidential nominees (hat tip: VodkaPundit).
For the record, past M3C BOTW headlining performers were:
I. LaShawn Barber's Corner
II. Roger L. Simon
III. Professor Bainbridge
IV. The Roth Report
Sleep With One Eye Open, Mrs. Eastwood
Only one thought: Clint Eastwood brought his 96 year old mother to the Academy Awards. Does anyone see this as even mildly amusing given the subject matter of Million Dollar Baby? I must admit, Mrs. Eastwood looked remarkable for her age. But if you were in her shoes, wouldn't you be even the slightest bit nervous? Hmm.....
UPDATE: Captain's Quarters also live blogged the Academy Awards. I must respectfully disagree with him on the Salma comment, though.
Middle East Problems
But since 9/11, Afghanistan has been liberated from the Taliban's ruthless control. It is now a democratic country. Al Qaeda is still operating in Afghanistan (and in many other countries), but at a dramatically reduced capacity and not with the outright cooperation of the Afghan government.
Pakistan, the only country on earth that recognized the Taliban's authority, has done a 180 degree about-face and become a strategic ally in the GWOT. President Pervez Musharraf has even visited the White House. Pakistan has delivered high profile terrorists, which suggests that their cooperation is indeed genuine.
Saddam Hussein was ousted as Iraq's dictator and Iraq is on the road to recovery. Like Afghanistan, Iraq also recently conducted their first free elections in decades. Iraq is a long way from being peaceful, prosperous and stable, but positive and significant progress is being made.
Israel is safer today than it has been in many years. The continued construction of their safety barrier has prevented many Palestinian suicide bombings (though not all--one occurred Friday in Tel Aviv). The death of Yasser Arafat ushered in a new era of peace possibilities (at least now we have a possibility of peace, which was not true while Arafat ruled the Palestinian Authority).
This week has seen protest marches in Lebanon, similar to Ukraine's recent Orange Revolution," demanding that Syria get its troops out of their country. Some Lebanese even held signs requesting a U.S. military invasion to help rid them of the Syrians.
Yesterday Egypt announced that it too will soon have free elections. This is another huge victory for the Bush administration and further proof that it's foreign policy toward the middle east is working.
Yet there is still much work to do in the middle east. Much more, in fact, than what has already been accomplished. Last week I briefly discussed Iran and their advancing nuclear weapons ambitions. President Bush made Iran, along with Iraq and North Korea, charter members in the "Axis of Evil." And this brings us, finally, to Syria.
Syria and Iran have announced that the two countries have entered into a defensive agreement or as I call it, "an unholy alliance." Iran is a well known and oft reported supporter of terrorism in the region. Syria has probably done as much as Iran, maybe more, to destabilize the middle east. Syrian sponsored terrorism has been the biggest problem in Iraq, as we continue to fight the insurgency there. Israel announced today that they have proof that Syria was behind Friday's suicide bombing in Tel Aviv. It is also pretty much accepted worldwide that Syria was behind last week's car bombing in Lebanon, which killed Lebanon's former prime minister, Rafik Hariri.
We also know that Russia has been involved for years both in helping build and defending Iran's nuclear program. Today, in fact, the Russians announced that they will be supplying Iran with nuclear fuel. Russia is also helping arm Syria with missiles that could target Israel, by the way.
So where does that leave us right now? Unfortunately, still with a lot of work to do in the region. Above all we must continue our support of Israel. We all know President Bush is committed to doing that. It is my belief that we need to continue our efforts in the rebuilding of both Iraq and Afghanistan. He will do that too. We must encourage peaceful democratic reforms in Egypt, Lebanon and the Palestinian areas. And we must engage Russia with the intent of discouraging their passive/aggressive and hostile efforts in both Iran and Syria. We should not eliminate the option of military action in either Iran or Syria if diplomatic efforts fail (this is more likely a matter of when, not if).
These middle east problems have been around for years. Left unattended, they will continue to worsen like a cancer. It would be morally wrong and a strategic disaster in terms of U.S. security to not address these problems in the middle east. Democratic change is coming to the region. Some countries, like Iraq and Afghanistan, required the military option. Some, like Egypt and Pakistan, did not. It remains to be seen whether or not Iran and Syria will force military solutions, though it seems increasingly obvious that's the way we are headed.
I think we're on the right track, despite the huge amount of work still to do. What I fear most is continued resistance from President Bush's opponents and their "willing accomplices" in the mainstream press. These folks have a twisted notion that all war is wrong, and their opposition is patriotic, but that is a discussion best left for another day.
Thursday, February 24, 2005
Keepin' it Real
This week we were treated to some secretly taped phone conversations between George W. Bush and an old friend, Doug Wead, recorded over the two year period before Bush was chosen as the Republican nominee in 2000. (Wead is now having second thoughts about having released those tapes, but that is a separate discussion for another day).
Hillary. Forget her prepared speeches, put aside her moderate statements on Iraq and abortion. This is how you know she's running for president in 2008. Ten days ago a reporter interviewed her in the halls of the Senate (another kind of
cloister) and asked if she planned to run for president. She did not say, "I'm too busy serving the people of New York to think about the future." She did not say, "Oh, I already have a heckuva lot on my plate." She said, "I have more than I can say grace over right now."
I have more than I can say grace over right now. What a wonderfully premeditated ad lib for the Age of Red State Dominance. I suggested a few weeks ago that Mrs. Clinton was about to get very, very religious. But her words came across as pious and smarmy, like Tammy Faye with a law degree. Maybe she still thinks in stereotypes; maybe she thinks that's what little Christian ladies talk like while they stay home baking cookies. Whatever, it was almost as good as her saying, "I'm running, is this not obvious to even the slowest of you?"
My point in bringing this up is that I see a profound difference between George W. Bush and either Clinton, Bill or Hillary. Let's deal with Hillary since she is currently an elected official, will probably run for president in 2008, and is the subject of Peggy Noonan's quote above.
President Bush, love him or hate him, is the same person on those tapes as the guy we see on TV giving interviews or speeches, making campaign appearances, stumbling over big words or fielding questions from reporters. One gets the sense that in sitting down with him for a beer (or diet cola) he would be no different. My friend Kenny might say, "G-Dub keeps it real."
Maybe I'm just a cynic when it comes to Bubba (eight years of garbage like this tend to make one cynical) but one does not get the sense, ever, that we would see anything different from Hillary. Do we know anything about who Hillary really is? Other than power, what does she like? And would a Hillary administration have as many scandals as her husband's? If her senate campaign is any indicator, then it surely will.
Noonan is correct, using a phrase like, "I have more than I can say grace over right now" is a clear indicator that Hillary will make a presidential run. But more importantly, it foreshadows that Hillary's modus operandi will be exactly like her husband's. Spin. Saying and doing anything to get elected is all that matters to them. Spin. Power is all that matters to the Clintons. And spin. Performance, results, doing the right thing (and most importantly, defending the nation) isn't even on the radar screen. Remember, spin spin spin. These are dangerous times, and we need leaders that put the country first, not themselves.
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
In a way, blogs can be considered a business, and to look at blogging from that perspective means that the three gentlemen I mention above are all providing a superior product in addition to excellent customer service. It goes without saying that their prices are more than fair ("free" often is). And if you do those three things, any business will be successful.
It can't be overstated how motivating those "encouraging words" can be. One thing I have noticed in the (conservative) blogosphere is how prevalent the "team" attitude is. Many bloggers are simply searching for the truth. And some want to get others more involved in politics and media. Those were some of my goals in starting My Three Cents, and to hear sincere wishes from some heavyweights means a lot to us lightweights.
Payton's Stare Down
Saturday, February 19, 2005
One Month Surprise!
As far as I can tell, Wes Roth is the first blog/website/news aggregator to link this blog. Look for M3C in the middle column entitled 'Blog Archives'. It's an alphabetical list, so at present I'm right below Mudville Gazette. And don't forget to add Wes' site to your favorites list! We support those that support us so pound www.wesroth.com daily and red line his traffic meter. Thanks again Wes!
Friday, February 18, 2005
More Kyoto Madness
OpinionJournal.com also has a piece today on how we really need to study the science behind claims of global warming before making costly (and ineffective) changes to our economy and society. Claims of global warming are hardly proven beyond a reasonable doubt, yet people with poor scientific educations (as most Americans with public educations are) don't have the skills to analyze flawed scientific claims.
Blogs and the MSM
"Blogging changes how business is done in American journalism. The MSM
isn't over. It just can no longer pose as if it is The Guardian of Established
Truth. The MSM is just another player now. A big one, but a player."
This is a good way to put it. Mainstream media isn't going away altogether. But they now have a (relatively) new form of competition. There is a large and growing blogosphere that has nothing better to do than wait for some journalist to make a mistake. Many bloggers are fine investigators too, and have a proven ability to scoop real journalists. So the result is new competition for mainstream journalists. Fierce competition, full disclosure and a truly free marketplace for ideas are what the blogosphere brings. And as Ms. Noonan so eloquently states, "This is a public service."
Thursday, February 17, 2005
Class I Senate Races
It's raining again in So. California, so the dogs are stuck inside, getting more hyper with every hour they aren't outside getting exercise. Work is crazy right now. I'm juggling new projects all over the place and today I found out that I will need to give a court case deposition sometime within the next few weeks. I haven't even had time to check out Lileks all week! The horror! And none of this whining takes into account future blogworthy news events to which I might want to add My Three Cents.
Yesterday I gave a brief overview on the 2006 Senate races. Here is the list of "Class I" senators that will be either retiring or running for re-election. Each name is linked to their biographical information. You can also link to this list here if you prefer. My plan (as it stands today) is to discuss each senator over the next months until I examine all 33. At this point, some prospective opponents are known, we will speculate for the others. Some races probably won't be competitive, (think red state/blue state) and I expect to spend less time on those.
What a Surprise....
"Both parties have called for changes to ensure a more accurate vote count.How on earth could "access to the ballot box" be any easier? All you have to do is walk into any post office or any DMV to pick up a voter registration form. Fill out any name you want, then mail it in, no questions asked. Sometimes registration drives take place in front of grocery stores or at concerts. And let's not forget the vote harvesters who come to geriatric nursing homes and sign up vulnerable senior citizens. The Democrats have a rich history of getting out the felon vote already. We do not need 4 million more criminals voting, for Heaven's sake!
Republican efforts have centered on reducing voter fraud, while Democrats have
called for making access to the ballot box easier and simpler."
We also do not need a national voting holiday. Early and absentee voting already stretch the time you have to vote to nearly a month in most states, and up to three months in Maine. Think about it: if some felon, using various false names, wanted to vote every day for a month he could. That adds up to a lot of disenfranchisement.
Voter rolls have increased by more than 20% in recent years. 26 million people registered in the first five years after President Clinton signed The National Voter Registration Act in 1993. Since 1998, millions more have registered. Lax standards and ease of registering invite phantom voters and the possibility of corruption.
There is no voter turnout crisis. I have pimped John Fund's book Stealing Elections many times already. Go get it, then contact your senators and representatives and urge them to reject any proposed legislation that doesn't directly address the issue of reducing voter fraud. If you don't, then more likely it is that you will be disenfranchised in future elections. Think about it: every fraudulent vote cancels out at least one honest vote. That's a clear violation of your civil rights!
China and Oil Prices
Interestingly, the BBC article neglected to mention how much oil China uses these days. Google turned up a Bloomberg piece on world oil consumption, dated yesterday. According to it, China is now the world's #2 consumer of oil, having passed Japan, but behind the United States. China currently uses 8% of the world's oil, the U.S. is at 25%. But this Sept. '04 article from the People's Daily Online puts China's oil usage at 16% of world totals. Whatever the number, China's oil consumption is significant, and it will only increase in the years to come.
China also has worsening air and water pollution (7 of the world's 10 most polluted cities are in China). This is sure to continue as they try to sustain their 9.5% economic growth. And buried deep in the BBC article is this interesting nugget:
"The Kyoto Protocol considers China a developing nation, and it is currently exempt from cutting greenhouse gas emissions."
The Democratic Party, and environmentalists in particular, have cited George W. Bush's unwillingness to sign the Kyoto Treaty as a primary reason for the rest of the world (supposedly) hating us so much. If only Bush wasn't so arrogant! If only Bush had reached out to the community of nations, then the French would like us, and Muslim extremists wouldn't be flying planes into buildings! Utter nonsense.
If the Chinese are exempt from a treaty that would clearly put the United States at an economic disadvantage, then George W. Bush did the right thing in not signing. The Kyoto Protocol is not about saving the environment, it is about slowing down the U.S. economy.
That being said, we still need to look at conservation and alternative energy sources. In terms of alternative sources, noting should be off the table (COUGHnuclearCOUGH) The basic economics of supply and demand suggest that oil prices will continue to rise as demand increases and production remains relatively constant at 84 million barrels per day worldwide.
Wednesday, February 16, 2005
It will be fun over the coming months to hear liberals try to enunciate clear reasons why we shouldn't intervene militarily, even as Iran moves dangerously close to going nuclear. For some time now, they have been saying that Iran was always more of a threat to U.S. security than Iraq. (I believe this was just to be contrarian to President Bush; had he gone into Iran first, they would have said Saddam was the bigger threat). So as we inch towards a military solution in Iran, to hear leftists invent reasons why Iran wasn't really that much of a threat will be amusing, to say the least. Expect more left-wing complaints about North Korea or Syria.
It may be true that Iran was, has been, or is more of a threat to the U.S. than Iraq. I don't know, and at the end of the day, I don't think it will matter. Perhaps the Bush administration calculated that toppling a hostile Iran would be easier once Saddam was out of the way. Or perhaps they honestly believed Iraq was the higher priority. Maybe they expected that the Iranian people would rise up in revolt once they saw free elections taking place in Iraq.
It's unlikely we'll know exactly what Bush's reasoning was for quite some time. But rest assured that the Left will say "Bush lied in order to make money off an illegal war" or some similar nonsense.
As we deal with Iran, the Europeans and the U.N. will do what they always do: talking, appeasing, and negotiating with the mullahs. And Iran will do what it does, which is continue to develop nukes, all the while denying their true intentions. As the Reuters link above shows, we do not have much time to wait on feckless U.N. resolutions, drunk sanctions inspectors, and lengthy, multilateral negotiations.
UPDATE:Here's another site to add to your bookmarks, a very good repository for Iran news (hat tip, Hugh Hewitt).
Less importantly, I had a few quick thoughts on the state of major sports here in our country. Today the NHL announced it is canceling the entire '04-'05 season due to the labor dispute between players and owners. Most people (me included) couldn't care less.
The NBA is a joke, with thuggery and fundamentally poor team play dominating the league's headlines. Even my beloved Lakers are no longer serious contenders due to selfish play, immature superstars, multiple internal squabbles, a revolving door in the coach's office and more drama than The Young and the Restless. Jack is still cool, but the long gone days of Magic vs. Bird are sorely missed.
Pro football is done for another 6 months, but with the New England Patriots dominating the AFC and the NFC only capable of fielding four teams with a winning record, yawn, I'm not interested.
Which brings us to Major League Baseball, awash in steroid allegations and completely unwatchable on TV. I refuse to endorse any league that would allow a team to have a name like the "Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim." Listen up, major league bubbleheads, you cannot be from two cities at the same time, let alone two counties. Go back to being the California Angels so we can bury you on page 10 of the sports section.
College football could not start soon enough in my view. I know, the BCS is a complete failure, but the games are so exciting I don't care. Most college kids play with such passion and energy, it's infectious. And next year, the World Cup will provide a wonderful distraction to all the problems with our American sports leagues. Oh well, I guess there's always blogging, dog shows, and backgammon.
2006 Senate Races, Overview
As the number of bloggers continues to grow, expect a lot of talented citizen-investigators to cover many important issues with the in-depth analytical skills that MSM folks largely lack these days. Any number of unexpected but newsworthy events and scandals may pop up, but a few future political debates that are already heating up. Everyone expects that there will be a lot of passion exhibited on both sides of the aisle as President Bush is sure to appoint at least one, possibly two or even three Supreme Court justices over his second term. Since judicial appointments are for life, the make-up of the court will be affected for many years.
We are only a few months out from last November's presidential election, but it's time to start looking at the U.S. Senate races that will be contested next year. I believe this is an important debate to have, since bloggers have already proven they can influence election coverage (the Swift Boat Vets and John Kerry know this all too well). The Senate is where a lot of legislation goes to die, but more importantly, senators vote on presidential appointments and his judicial nominees, which brings us back to the Supreme Court. In other words, if we are worried about the make-up of the Supreme Court, then we first need to concern ourselves with who is in the Senate.
At present, the Senate is comprised of 55 Republicans, 44 Democrats, and 1 Independent ("Jumpin'" Jim Jeffords of Vermont, who defected from the Republicans in 2002; from a pragmatic perspective, we need to count him as a Democrat). The Senate is divided into 3 "classes" and 1/3 of the Senate is up for election every two years. In 2006 it will be Class I's turn. A cursory overview shows that of the 33 senators whose terms will expire in January 2007, 15 are Republicans, 17 are Democrats, and the "Independent," Jeffords, make up the field.
I plan to examine each of the 2006 Senate races over the next few months (hint: look for the brilliant Michael Barone to do most of the heavy lifting). I'll continue to intersperse other (more interesting) topics so everyone familiar with M3C will no doubt continue to recognize my continued lack of focus. And I'm still searching for 1) a name change for the blog and 2) a "purpose" more important than mindless blather. I appreciate everyone's patience and continued interest.
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
Robots & Dog Shows
New puppy Gus has been sick since last week, but today, finally, he got his appetite back and seems like his old self ("old" is a relative term, given that we've only had him three weeks). His recovery is especially good news in the olfactory sense, as Gus' illness had us strongly considering a name change for the little guy to something like "Gas." Enough said. Of course, improving health didn't stop him from playing the sympathy card and demanding that we watch the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show (after his homework was done, of course). We were all pulling for Carlee, the German shorthaired pointer, to win. Gus' mother, Ninna, is a pointer so Carlee was the sentimental favorite for us tonight.
As for pertinent news, one interesting article also in the NY Times dealt with our new robot army. Nice to see our military finally catching up with the democratic party. Sorry guys, couldn't resist.
Monday, February 14, 2005
Blog of the Week III
Even though I've only been blogging for a few weeks, I am continually astounded at how smart, accomplished, and well-rounded many of the successful bloggers are. Professor Bainbridge is another good example of all three traits. Enjoy.
Happy Valentine's Day
In all fairness, Mrs. Three Cent is no valentinazi, perched high on her throne awaiting the annual delivery of tree sap from her serf. Yet I pledge annually. Because I love her. Oh yeah, and because they talk. They all talk. It's my contention that good spouses do little things for their loved ones throughout the year, at unexpected times. Thus, V-Day is rendered obsolete. Yet such brilliant logic is often lost on her gossipy friends.
Funny, but that's how government works too. You make your weekly contributions all year long, yet on April 15th, Uncle Sam wants just a little more. Oh well, the flowers were delivered. I'm safe for now.
Sunday, February 13, 2005
Rise of the Blogs
This is a good idea. Not just for politicians, but also for any business, organization, etc. who want to get information out quickly and "unfiltered" by media elites. The trend of blogging will continue it's rapid growth and the next natural step is for organizations and businesses to get on board. In his book BLOG, Hugh Hewitt urges any firm looking for a competitive advantage to take up the practice of blogging.
Convinced that Internet weblogs, or blogs, helped defeat Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle and out Dan Rather's bad reporting on President Bush 's National Guard duty, House and Senate Republicans are scrambling to put them on their government Web pages. "Senators want them even though they don't know what they are," says a strategist helping several GOP senators develop the chat and news pages.
Saturday, February 12, 2005
Paging Mr. Stanton
"Several CNN staffers say Jordan was eased out by top executives who had
lost patience with both the controversy and the continuing published gossip
about Jordan's personal life after a marital breakup. Jordan's authority already
had been greatly reduced after a management shakeup." (emphasis mine).
So it appears that bosses sometimes do fire loyal, obedient employees. Heh. There no doubt will be plenty of times in the future when my statements don't turn out as predicted. But it does feel good to be right at least once.
Friday, February 11, 2005
I'm in the middle of reading Hugh Hewitt's latest book, Blog, something I probably should have purchased before starting My Three Cents. There are many reviews out there already, so linking to Hugh's site will undoubtedly uncover many. I should be able to finish it by the time I get home this afternoon, but I don't expect to review it other than to say I have already picked up a few good tips. It's a quick read, and cheap too, I think I paid $13.99 through Amazon.
My Three Cents has been fun these past few weeks. It is hardly groundbreaking, but I have learned a lot already. Keeping a blog has given me "the bug" to teach myself more about today's technology and the flow of information, all with the added bonus of (hopefully) improving my writing skills.
I am, however, constantly thinking of ways to improve this blog. I will probably start with a new name and URL, but no promises as to when that might happen. I'm brainstorming ideas constantly, which for me, often is no more than a light mist. I am also exploring ways to increase traffic, and that's where you all come in. At present, I'm averaging around 10 visits per day. That's pathetically low by any standard. Quite humbling, really.
I want to continue blogging about those things that interest me, so it may end up that I never rise above that traffic level. It's easy to lose perspective in such a fast-paced world. As a new blogger with zero name recognition or "street-cred," I'm probably already getting more traffic than I deserve. But I am also eager to bring in new readers, so I plan to discuss some other interests from time to time just to mix things up. Also, I really get a kick out of learning new things, and hope you all do to. So sometimes I will pass along things that are previously unknown to me, with the hope that I'll build trust and slowly traffic will increase.
Anyway, I'm jazzed just by being involved in a (relatively) new medium. The blogosphere has given everyone a voice. If you have something to say, start a blog of your own. It's very easy, and free. E-mail me if you have questions or need help (my e-mail address is above the blog rolls). Off to L.A.
Thursday, February 10, 2005
Out with the Old
"But, of course, her greatest problem remains, not merely moderating her current
views, but distancing herself her Hill-and-Bill past. Women, who she would have
to win decisively, might find the historic opportunity to help elect the first
woman president quite appealing. But not if that means having Bill back in the
White House, even if he's merely hanging out in an office in the East Wing."
This is nothing more than pure gossip and fun, but it does exemplify how cynical some of us on the right can be when it comes to the Clintons. Hillary is a shrewd planner (though she doesn't strike me as quick on her feet) and Blythe also discusses her ability to "evolve." Personally, I don't think she would dump Bill (but not because of her love for him). She's calculated that she needs him on board for some reason.
There are other rumors circulating that Bill Clinton may take over Kofi Annan's job and head up the United Nations starting in 2006. Check out this Washington Times piece from last October. Last week, Annan appointed Clinton to be the U.N. envoy for Asian tsunami relief, so he's got his foot in the door.
I actually think that if Bill takes the U.N. Secretary General's post next year, it would damage Hillary's chance at becoming president (more on that in a minute). Clinton is a limelight addict, and for the first four years of George W. Bush's presidency, Clinton rarely went a day or two without shoe-horning himself into the day's events by commenting to some fawning reporter. So I expect him to go full throttle for Annan's job. I'm convinced (as others are) that he wants to be back on the world stage.
The reason why I think Bill-as-U.N.-Secretary-General hurts the Hillary-for-President drive is because of how much motivation it would bring to the Republican base, both in the 2006 mid-terms and the 2008 presidential election. The Clintons are lightning rods for conservatives. The prospect of the two of them running the world would fire up the conservative base beyond belief. I'm sure we'll have some fun over the coming months and years seeing how this all plays out.
Wednesday, February 09, 2005
Howard The Dean
The Democrats fielded a very weak field of candidates for last year's presidential campaign. Then they proceeded to select John Kerry, for no other reason except that he was "electable." A few Democratic primary voters thought Kerry could beat Bush. A highly partisan, anti-Bush, anti-war party chose a horrible presidential candidate with no credentials and zero personality. Thank you, fever swamp. And then that candidate picks Bob Shrum as his campaign strategist (Shrum had an impressive, untarnished record of 7 consecutive losses in presidential elections). Make that 0 for 8.
So now they have a little time to cool off, analyze what happened in November and make a fresh start. The first natural step would be to go back to Howard Dean, the man who got his clock cleaned by John Kerry.
On Saturday I commented that it almost doesn't matter who heads the DNC, as they have many bigger problems, in my view. Maybe all the smart, capable Democratic managerial-types also recognized those problems and decided the cancer is inoperable. In steps Dr. Dean, the only guy crazy enough to take on such an uphill battle.
I hate to sound so dismissive of the Democrats. In general it's a big mistake to underestimate your opponent. And truth be told, John Kerry did receive a lot of popular votes, something like 57 million. But in all honesty, I just don't understand how a loser's loser is fit to run the party. Somebody help me understand!
UPDATE: I have noticed that many leftists run almost entirely on emotion. Little thought and lots of anger. Thus, Howard Dean's Jan. 29th statement makes him the natural choice for the party. Dean said, "I hate the Republicans and everything they stand for, but I admire their discipline and their organization." I'm beginning to feel better.
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
Heavy Travel Light Blogging
Roger L. Simon
Roger is a (very) smart writer/blogger. You may have already noticed him on my blog roll. If you've already checked him out, I'm sure you're hooked.
Brit Hume also mentioned the story in Special Report's Grapevine segment (Fox News). This story is finally breaking through to the MSM. And Hannity & Colmes just teased that they will also be talking about it tonight. Evidently, there is a video of Jordan's remarks in Davos, and when it surfaces, that should be the final nail.
For those just now tuning in, please check out my earlier posts (here and here) on Eason Jordan. I believe this issue is a big deal. And Jim Geraghty at National Review's TKS blog had this to say (hat tip, Vodka Pundit):
If the Davos organizers refuse to release it, and CNN refuses to call for its release, and the BBC refuses to call for its release, and every other news agency refuses to call for its release...
...then remember this, the next time the media gets up on a high horse about the public's right to know. Remember this the next time Dick Cheney has a meeting with energy executives. Remember this the next time reporters complain about Bush not holding enough press conferences, and not doing enough interviews. Remember this the next time they talk about the importance of a free press, and an informed citizenry.
Because it's all conditional. None of this applies when the situation includes a media executive says something in a big forum that he later realizes he doesn't want the public to hear. Then all of a sudden, none of this matters, because it's bad form for other news agencies to look into the story if he wants it to go away. "Bad manners, old chap. We journalists have to stick together."
In my view, this scandal is a small example of what has been going on with big media for years. They know better. They will tell you what you need to know. They will tell you what's important. You don't need to hear about this. You are too stupid to understand that.
Times they are a changin'.
Take Off, Hosers!
1) What the heck is taking these sorry sacks so long to make up their minds? If you want to go to Canada, then go! No time like present! Carpe Diem! The election was three months ago, what are you waiting for? Take your ball and go home!
2) If these sore losers can't possibly stay in this country while G-dub triggers The Rapture, then doesn't their leaving for Canada thereby ensure the further conservativication of the United States?
Monday, February 07, 2005
Eason Jordan Update
"In November, as reported in the London Guardian, Mr. Jordan said, 'The realityIt seems this story is moving at a glacial pace. Finally, MSM is starting to cover what I believe is a true outrage. There is no dispute, however, that Mr. Jordan's bias was on full display in Davos. His colleagues in the MSM are either largely incompetent or similarly biased for not covering this story. Take your pick.
is that at least 10 journalists have been killed by the U.S. military, and
according to reports I believe to be true journalists have been arrested
and tortured by U.S. forces.'"
Sunday, February 06, 2005
"EVERYTHING THAT HAS BEEN WRONG with the Democrats in the past several
years was on vivid display during Hell Week: the teeth-grinding shrillness; the
race card, misplayed with such gusto; the self-interest so blatant it defeats
its own purpose; the crippling dearth of ideas. With a few brave exceptions (a
faction of one named Joe Lieberman), the Democrats split into two major camps:
the wingnuts--Dean, Boxer, and Kennedy--who know what they think, which alas
sets them at odds with the rest of the country; and the caucus of cowards--Bayh,
Edwards, and Kerry--who believe in nothing so much as their own career
prospects, and change their minds on the gravest of war and peace issues on the
basis of what serves their ends."
A few Democrat consultants that I have heard (only James Carville, Pat Caddell and Bob Beckel come to mind) have the honesty to admit that they have big problems within their party. I'm guessing that Lieberman also recognizes it, but he's remained largely silent thus far. Most of the wingnuts think they just haven't been loud enough with cries of "Iraq is Vietnam! Bush is Hitler! Halliburton Lied to Start a War for Oil!" And the more reasonable adults in the Democratic Party appear to no longer be in control.
Saturday, February 05, 2005
I have his website linked in my Top 25, and although Mr. Steyn is currently taking a hiatus from it, his columns can be found in at least a dozen publications worldwide. Those papers are all linked off his website, so www.steynonline.com is a good place to start. Steyn is also a weekly guest on Hugh Hewitt's syndicated radio show, usually Wednesdays at 3pm (Pacific).
The Trainwreck Party
"To many Washington Democrats watching the circus-like contest from afar, itI remember thinking "They doth protest too loudly" during the DNC convention every time Terry McAuliffe (or John Kerry, or others) proclaimed how unified the democratic party was. Same with the remarks about how thrilled they were with John Kerry as their candidate. Looks like McAuliffe was peddling snake oil, if Lizza's piece is accurate.
has been an embarrassment. "I think it's pathetic," says James Carville. "It's
so indicative of the Democratic Party. Now we're just playing into every
stereotype: We're weak, disorganized, flopping around...."
The Dems don't have much time to waste on their internal squabbles. And Dr. Dean, as a national candidate, is a total failure. What did he accomplish in 2004? As DNC chairman he may be able to raise lots of money, but he also knows how to spend it as fast as it comes in.
It's hard for me to understand how more money will help them get their message out; the 527s, and a highly partisan media are already doing all they can. Perhaps they should focus on their message instead. In other words, I don't think it really matters who is DNC chairman. If it ends up being Dean, fine. But the Dems have much bigger problems to overcome, and they can start by getting serious on the issue of national defense.
UPDATE: Jonathon Chait has a piece in the L.A. Times on why a Dean chairmanship would be a disaster for the Democrats.
Friday, February 04, 2005
Tech Update, Part Deux
I only mention this today because there already have been calls for 'policing the blogosphere' by some mainstreamers (notably Bill O'Reilly). As I said yesterday, full disclosure is the answer. Free markets are brutally efficient. If bloggers start following the CBS or CNN models (as some surely will), let the information consumers sort it out.
And today is Friday, which means the self-proclaimed CEO, chairman of the board, and spiritual leader of the vast right wing conspiracy has a new column out. Not sure, but WaPo may require some sort of registration to read it (which is free, and lame).
Thursday, February 03, 2005
Blog of the Week
Disclosure and Accountability
The Rathergate memo fiasco for 60 Minutes was over within a day in the blogosphere, and CBS' credibility was badly damaged as a result. It even helped launch new blogs! At the same time, the blogosphere shed light on John Kerry's fabrications during the 2004 presidential campaign, then it mocked him. Bloggers helped the Swift Boat vets get coverage that they didn't get from the mainstream media. The Swifties were fully "vetted" by the blogosphere and their claims had passed all credibility tests by the time MSM gave them coverage. By then it was too late for Kerry to respond, the damage was done.
This week's media scandal is about Eason Jordan's slanderous comments in Davos, Switzerland earlier in the week. Jordan is CNN's Chief News Executive (for the time being) and he accused our military of intentionally killing journalists in Iraq. That is not a misprint, he said journalists, not terrorists. Amazingly, CNN is doing exactly what CBS did, which is hunker down and hope the firestorm goes out by itself. Prediction: Jordan will be gone within 2 weeks (although it almost doesn't matter, as CNN's ratings free-fall, discussed here last week, will no doubt continue).
The blogosphere is hungry. It tastes blood and demands honesty, transparency and full accountability from everyone, not just the MSM. It is slowly transforming the way MSM does business. Obviously, MSM doesn't like the competition. Their monopoly on information is over. The days of intellectual laziness are over. The days of not telling important stories are over. Many bloggers are blogging for free, and doing a better job of reporting than so-called "journalists." So MSM asks questions like this.
I'm a firm believer in free markets. They require that consumers pay attention, in this case consumers of information. Word-of-mouth is a powerful thing, and can be the best (or worst) kind of advertising for any business. And I'm okay with bias in either direction, as long as it is disclosed. MSM claims of objectivity are laughable, which is why the CBS, NY Times, and a number of other media scandals have so much traction with the public.
This number is a site meter, which records how much traffic My Three Cents receives. Think of it as an odometer. I just installed it yesterday, so I'm sure I've missed many thousands of hits since M3C has been online for two weeks now. Yeah, that's the ticket, many hundreds of thousands of hits. Glenn Reynolds has nothing to fear. Heh.
SHAMELESS SALES PITCH: Help me out and tell a friend if you like what you've been reading. If you hate it, tell a few people that you don't like (annoying co-workers, that close-talking uncle with the toupee, a cop that pulls you over for speeding, or if you live in Los Angeles, maybe you will run into an embarrassingly bad talk-show host).
I've also made a few additions and changes to my Blogrolls. They are not all blogs, but I do recommend reading them if time allows. Over time, I will most likely add sites to this list, and depending on content, I may move them in and out of the Top 25, a la the college football ranking system (those looking for an explanation as to the methodology of my rankings will find that it closely mimics actual college football rankings, which is to say that no one can make any sense out of it whatsoever).
Have a wonderful day, and thanks for reading....come on, 18!
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
Gus and Payton
Gus and Payton
This is our new baby, Gus, and his (very) big sister, Payton. As you can see, they are both focused intently on a slow moving lizard in our backyard. Payton is teaching Gus the fine art of culling the lizard herd. PETA activists go away, that was a joke. It is nothing more than a stunt lizard. Hopefully we'll get some better pictures up soon, I'm still learning how to photoblog.
More Thoughts on Voter Fraud
Remember in 2000, Gore won New Mexico by 366 votes (about half what Bush won Florida with). And there were allegations of voter fraud on some Indian reservations, which are traditionally heavily Democratic. Yet there was no recount, and no contested results by the Bush campaign (perhaps because New Mexico is only worth 5 electoral votes it was considered pointless to contest a result that wouldn't affect the outcome).
Remember Florida 2000, Gore only wanted to recount traditionally Democratic counties, rather than an all-or-nothing approach. Thankfully the Supreme Court would have none of that garbage. Also, all the major networks called Florida for Gore first, before the polls even closed in Florida (the panhandle is in the Central Time Zone, which means polls there close and hour behind the rest of the state). This was probably an honest mistake by the networks, but it's estimated it cost Bush at least 15,000 votes and definitely compounded the confusion on that night.
In 2002, John Thune(R) lost his senate bid to Tim Johnson(D) in South Dakota under even more suspect circumstances, a result not contested by Thune. Thune showed class in 2000, then came back to dethrone Senate minority leader Tom Daschle in the last election, so in my opinion it's all good. Karmically at least, Thune made the right decision. John Fund has an excellent recap of this race in his book, Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy.
And by now everyone should be aware of the shenanigans in Washington State and the governor's race detailed here. By the way, if fraud could affect a close governor's race in Washington, why wouldn't it also help determine the presidential race as well?
Do I need to go all the way back to 1960 and Kennedy's win over Nixon? All credible historians acknowledge that election was rife with Democratic vote fraud both in Chicago and Texas. Also, Wisconsin's problems don't appear limited to 2004, if the Captain's Quarters post is accurate.
The bottom line is that Democrats have a long, storied history of rigging elections in this country. Therefore, I believe it is easier for them to assume the other side is cheating when elections are close (and sometimes elections are very close). Our elections system is broken. Distrust is high on both sides, and the only people who are truly disenfranchised are those of us who cast legal votes.
Tuesday, February 01, 2005
It seems that a more meaningful gesture would be to make a donation to one of several very worthy charities. Soldiers' Angels is a fine organization (they sell those ribbons, by the way. Heh). I first became aware of them through the Hugh Hewitt radio show. The Wounded Warrior Project is another organization doing good work (hat tip: Tony Snow). Please check them out. You can also send prepaid calling cards to:
Medical Family Assistance Center
Walter Reed Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20307-5001
Injured soldiers and marines recuperating at Walter Reed need calling cards in order to make long distance phone calls to their families and friends. You can get good deals on prepaid calling cards at your local Costco or Sam's Club.
I don't intend to turn this blog into some advocacy site for the cause du jour. And I know my timing sucks in this post-holiday, post-tsunami lull. I only mention making a donation because it struck me this weekend that the level of violence during Iraq's elections was remarkably low versus terrorist promises of "blood washed streets." The reason the number of successful attacks were small was because of our superb military, and the fact that they executed an effective plan to safeguard voters.
This got me to thinking that elections here are also pretty tame in terms of violence, and again, we have our military to thank (though slightly less directly compared to Iraq). The same kids defending freedom in Iraq are responsible for our collective safety, and the freedom we so often take for granted. They are also in Asia helping with tsunami relief efforts.
So give 'til it hurts. Then give some more.
UPDATE: M3C reader 'Ken' pointed out this morning that if everyone truly supports our troops, then there should be no need to validate those feelings by broadcasting it. Good point.
"One of the key things the Newsweek article misses but which War Plan Orange
emphasizes was the role played by the delay caused by seeking permission from
the United Nations to topple Saddam. It is a factor given far too little
emphasis in retrospective analysis, although it did not escape Mark Steyn, who
wrote this Iraq is going to be just fine....What made the 'insurgency' possible was the gift of time."
Had all the doom-and-gloom-antiwar-liberal-and-media-hand-wringers not wasted so much time pressing for "more diplomacy" at the U.N. Security Council, then the insurgency we are facing right now may not have had a chance to get off the ground. And maybe, just maybe, fewer of our brave troops would have been killed as the insurgency simmered. (Tragically, our decision not to crush the terrorists in Fallujah last April probably also meant more coalition troop fatalities).
Please don't misunderstand, I am not advocating senseless, indiscriminate warfare. But at some point, you have to make a decision and go with it. President Bush is generally good at making tough decisions (Fallujah exception noted above). But there is a significant percentage of the U.S. population that will never support any war for any reason. Unfortunately, much of Europe shares this view, along with all the United States' enemies at the U.N. (and let's not forget anti-war John Kerry, who ups the ante by taking the word "indecision" to unprecedented new heights).
It is this fundamental inability to make swift, tough decisions that ends up creating (or at least worsening) the very situation the diplomats and peaceniks are ostensibly trying to avoid. As a child, my parents taught me that a problem does not often go away if you ignore it. Why can't many of our friends on the left also figure that out?