Monday, January 30, 2006

Bush Approval Rating Hits 50%

This latest Rasmussen poll is getting some coverage (by blogs of course, not the mainstream media). As of January 31, the running poll show's Bush's approval rating at 50%.

What could explain the rise in approval?

Perhaps this?

Or this?

Or maybe this? (And it gets better here.)

Some advice for Democrats. You aren't running against George Bush anymore. Like it or not (and we all know you can't stand it to the very core of your being), George Bush will be President of the United States for 8 years. After that, his political career is over.

Do you want to regain some semblance of respectability and some chance of regaining power in 2008? Concentrate on 2006 Senate elections. Concentrate on having a party platform that is compelling to a majority of the American population and one that stands by itself. You platform cannot be Bush lied, Iraq is a failure, or Republicans are evil.

Politics is full of absurdities. But there are, it seems, limits to how far the American people can be pushed.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

CNN's Military Bashing Agenda

With Alito and trapped miners in the news, there has been little coverage of Iraq on the front page of CNN as of late. It has been said that the best sign of success in Iraq will be when the mainstream media stops caring about it.

It seems however that CNN couldn't keep their agenda held back forever. The front page has a featured article, with the headline: "Army's 'thin green line' could snap, study says." Completing the mood-setting piece is the following photo.

Normally I try to at least read the article that I'm referencing, but this time I couldn't get behind the headline and the photo. I would love to know the source of the photo. I'm pretty sure it isn't a photo troops reacting to the report. It wouldn't surprise me if they had been sitting for a long time and were just bored. But I have no way of knowing of course.

I will perhaps follow-up more later if I can find more information and analysis of this report. For now, I'll leave you with a few more photos. These we part of some a collection of "best pictures of 2005" that has been circulating the internet. I'm not sure really what I'm trying to say with these; I only know I want it to be different than the constant and consistent bile being spewed out by CNN and their kin.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Progress In Iraq? Infighting Among Terrorists

This didn't get much press (shocking I know), but I found it fascinating. Bill Roggio writes about "Faultlines in Iraq's Islamist Insurgency". In particular:
al-Qaeda in Iraq has recently issued a statement claiming to “have set up an umbrella body to coordinate their fight against U.S.-led forces and the Iraqi government.” Notably excluded from this body of insurgent groups are Ansar al-Sunnah and the Iraq Islamic Army.

Zarqawi was able to secure the commitment of a little known Islamist group called The Victorious Sect and five small organization, however he was unable to reach out to two largest groups, Ansar al-Sunnah and the Islamic Army in Iraq, two groups that have worked with al-Qaeda in the past.
Couple this story with Bin Laden's rejected (and disingenuous) call for a truce, and I can only see more progress in Iraq.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Laura Bush Responds To Hillary Clinton's MLK Comments

Yesterday I posted regarding some outrageous comments made by Hillary Clinton on MLK Day. I felt that the comments showed a moment of political clumsiness rarely showed by Ms. Clinton.

Laura Bush has criticized Senator Clinton for her remarks. (Hat tip Polipundit.) The political staging of the first lady's comments seemed a lot savvier, in my opinion. She comments while in Africa, after Monday's inauguration of Liberia's president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first woman president elected in Africa. Regardless of the content, comments made in the company of a woman such as Ellen Sirleaf seem much more respectable that those made in the company of Al Sharpton.

Of course, political staging aside, the content of Mrs. Bush's remarks deserves a lot more respect than those of Ms. Clinton.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Hillary Clinton Shows Weakness: MLK Day Comments

Hillary Clinton made some shocking comments at a church in Harlem on MLK day. I first read heard about this via the NY Daily News. Searching for more references, I found that Michele Malkin was already on the case. It's hard to provide a better collection of links than Michele, so I'll just direct you to her post on the subject. She includes a link to video of Senator Clinton making the comments.

From the NY Times coverage of the speech:
Mrs. Clinton added that the House has been "run like a plantation" under Republicans. "And you know what I am talking about," she said. "It has been run in a way so that nobody with a contrary point of view has had a chance to present legislation, to make an argument."
This seems to me to be a serious miss-step by Ms. Clinton. In the more recent moonbat and media explosions, trying to Blame Bush for something new, Clinton has wisely kept her distance. She didn't support immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq. She hasn't (to my knowledge) attacked the President about wire taps, knowing full well that her husband did the same while he was in office. She has made no crazy attacks against Alito--attacks of the sort that have made other Democrats look silly in the last week.

So why now appear in a church with Al Sharpton making outrageous and inflammatory statements? Normally she we would be savvy enough to let the Sharptons and Gores of the world make the ridiculous statements. Watching the video, only one word comes to mind.


New Horizons Mission To Pluto

In minutes, the NASA mission New Horizons will launch, with the destination of Pluto and the Kuiper Belt. Currently the launch is in a built-in hold, with the NASA team analyzing strong winds and the possible effect on the launch.

Live-blogging coverage is available at

The event is getting press as CNN, FoxNews, MSNBC, ABC, and CBS.

The NASA has a page dedicated to New Horizons, including a live video feed if you want to see the launch and aren't near a TV.

Overall, I agree with Glenn at Instapundit:
Now we need to start resume moving humanity out beyond Earth orbit.
Good luck to all the people at NASA and elsewhere that have worked for years to prepare for this moment.

Update: The launch has been delayed due to unacceptably high winds.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Gore speaks out against NSA wiretaps...

Al Gore gave a speech condemning the NSA wiretapping program. briefly had it's report on the speech as it's top story on their front page. My question is why exactly is this news worthy of an 850 word article, let alone front page news? The speech breaks no new ground. It adds no new information to the discussion of this issue. Much of the report consists of boilerplate background on the NSA story. Gore has not held political office in almost five years and is unlikely to do so in the future. Of course, it's nothing more than an opportunity to haul out the boilerplate.

Glad to see that CNN apparently agrees about the story's newsworthiness. It was soon bumped from it's top story slot by something truly importance - Golden Globe coverage

CNN out of Iran - Will their coverage improve?

CNN is reporting that their network has been banned from working in Iran. The Ahmadinejad regime is retaliating over an error in translation. The interpreter on the original CNN broadcast originally said that the Iranian president claimed to have a right to nuclear weapons, while the Iranians say he only claimed a right to nuclear energy. CNN has issued a correction and apology, but this was apparently not good enough.

My reaction to seeing this story is to wonder what new information about the Iranian regime CNN might now admit to having. Back in 2003, after American soldiers had removed Hussein from power in Iraq, CNN's Eason Jordan admitted to concealing much of the atrocities committed by Saddam's regime. (The original NYT OpEd is a pay link, but Free Republic has it posted here.) Jordan claimed that it was necessary to hide things in order to maintain access to Iraq and to protect their employees and contacts. It's easy to imagine that the mad mullahs in Tehran have committed attrocities. Based on their record it's also easy to imagine that the folks at CNN would put preserving access to Iran above truth in reporting.

Of course, I fully expect that CNN will regain access to the country after suitable ritual abasement.

Again The NY Times Caught With Fake Photos

The American Thinker has the story of the New York Times, once again, getting caught with a misleading (and likely staged) photograph. (Hat tip Instapundit.)

The story that ran spoke of the devastation being wrought upon Pakistani people in failed U.S. attempts to capture Zawahiri. To hammer the point home, the story feature the following photograph, which was said to depict the remains of a missile amidst the ruins of a Pakistani house, complete with a deeply saddened family.

The object picture above turns out not to be a missile at all (which is actually quite clear to someone with any knowledge of military hardware). It is in fact an old artillery shell that has been used as a prop in a staged photograph, designed to illicit anger against a seemingly inept and dangerous Bush administration. And it was a staged photograph that the New York Times was happy to publish without any indication of fact-checking.

Thankfully, bloggers did notice the mistake, and the Times has a corrected caption under the photograph here.
Correction: A picture caption on Saturday with an article about a U.S. airstrike on a village in Pakistan misidentified an unexploded ordinance. It was not the remains of a missile fired at a house.
But isn't the damage already done?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Analysis Of The Alito Hearings

Instapundit links to an interesting analysis of the Alito hearings so far at Soxblog.
And then there’s yesterday’s other memorable moment. So distraught was Judge Alito’s wife over the abuse the windbags had doled out to her husband, when Lindsey Graham apologized for that abuse she bolted from the hearing room in tears.

To say this was a disastrous turn of events for the Democrats would be an understatement. American’s don’t mind dirty politics. Attack politics are almost part of our national DNA.

But there is one limit – leave the opponent’s family alone.
I think that the author Dean Barret is probably being a little optimistic here. While negative attacks can backfire, they often don't do so to the degree that he suggests. I note that CNN has pushed coverage of the hearings off the front page, but still runs with headlines such as "Democratic Senator Grill Alito" and "Alito Denies Conflicting Answers".

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Conservatives Open Up Huge Lead In Canadian Polls

Steve is off on his honeymoon (congratulations Steve!) so you won't get a detailed analysis of these poll results. The news from up north is that the conservatives have opened up a huge lead in the polls--as much as 13%.

McClure at Polipundit asks perhaps the most important question:
The big question mark is the 17% undecided voters. Will they stay home or vote Liberal out of fear of the Conservatives.
There are enough undecided voters to swing the election either way, but they would have to vote en mass to do so.

Captain's Quarters Blog has more.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Alito Media Circus

I'm having a hard time finding topics to blog about these last few days. The news has been dominated by the Alito confirmation hearings, a topic which I find particularly uninteresting. For those that are of a like mind with me and would just rather the whole thing would be done with, here are the highlights of what is going to happen.
  • Democratic senators will make opening statements that have very little to do with the Supreme Court and very much to do with their hatred of President Bush. They will be very smug while they do this.
  • Republican senators will make opening statements that have very little to do with the Supreme Court and very much to do with their hatred of the people who just made the negative statements about President Bush. They will be equally smug while they do this.
  • The media and the Democratic senators will repeatedly ask Alito how he will rule on abortion cases.
  • Alito will repeatedly remind the senators that a good judge only responsibility is the rule of law and that it would be inappropriate to answer such questions.
  • Liberal, moonbat bloggers will go ape over his refusal to answer such questions. They will dig up mountains of records that try to prove Alito is fascist, a Nazi, racist, etc.
  • Conservative, anti-abortion-crazed bloggers will go ape over many things including the questions asked by the liberal Senators, the postings at the liberal blogs and the bias in the media coverage.
  • A few of the most liberal senators will threaten a filibuster.
  • In the end, a very qualified judge will be approved, thus making the entire series of events outlined above meaningless and tiresome.
I suppose there is a small chance that something interesting happens. Alito could snap under the constant barage of stupid questions, but I doubt it. Pressure from the moonbats could cause the Democrats to actually try a filibuster for real, instead of threatening it, but I doubt it.

Now to find something more worthy to blog about.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Ted Kennedy On The Goldwater Presidency

I'm not sure how I missed this yesterday. I think Senator Kennedy needs to put down the bottle again. Covered at the New Editor (hat tip Instapundit), here's a gem of a quote by Kennedy.
Briefly, Kennedy rewrote the outcome of the 1964 election. "This nominee was influenced by the Goldwater presidency," he said. "The Goldwater battles of those times were the battles against the civil rights laws." Only then did Kennedy acknowledge that "Judge Alito at that time was 14 years old."
Really? Here's a link that might help Mr. Kennedy out. I suppose it might be too much to ask for Kennedy to actually know who has been president and who hasn't. On second thought, no it's not. I wasn't really sure how it would be possible for my opinion of Senator Kennedy to sink lower. Now I know.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Iraqi Terror Connection

This won't be news to you if you get your news from a variety of blogs. But if your primary news source is the mainstream media, then this might be somewhat of a shock.

The Weekly Standard has an article concerning documents captured in postwar Iraq and Afghanistan that detail the training of thousands of radical Islamic terrorist over the four years preceding the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Michele Malkin covers the story here. And she includes links to Powerline (with a follow-up here) and to analysis by Rick Moran. As Malkin notes, this isn't the first time such intel has been made available. But that doesn't stop quotes such as the following.
Iraq was not a breeding ground for terrorism. Our invasion has made it one.
Sen. Ted Kennedy

Iraq was not a terrorist haven before the invasion.
Sen. John Kerry
I've said it before but it deserves to be said again. There are legitimate reasons to have opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq. The existence of these legitimate concerns does not justify nor excuse the fabrications of false ones in an attempt to sway public opinion.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Quick Links

I don't have much time to post today, but I thought I'd list these quick links to things I found interesting today.

I haven't written anything about the West Virginia miners; I'm not sure what can be said that hasn't been said by many. This note left behind by Martin Toler was rather moving. CNN covers it here. For the link adverse, he wrote: "Tell all I see them on the other side JR I love you It wasn't bad just went to sleep."

A somewhat edgy blog (apologies for his "not safe for work section") analyzes a Brookings Institution report on civilian deaths in Iraq. (Hat tip Instapundit.) The short summary is that while the violence continues, the number of deaths is significantly down in December; the trend is enhanced if you divide December into pre-election and post-election periods.

Pat Robertson continues to be ripped to shreds on conservative blogs such as Ankle Biting Pundit (here and here) and the Hedgehog Report.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

True Survivors Of Hurricane Katrina

The plight of abandoned pets in the wake of hurricane Katrina was well documented. Dogs rescued by the National Guard were featured on the major news networks. There were stories of people remaining behind because their pets were not allowed on evacuation buses. For sure, Katrina was a dangerous time for many animals in the affected areas.

It may surprise you, as it surprised me, just how resilient life can be. It seems that the Gulf Coast is experiencing a puppy boom. Abandoned areas where infrastructure suchs as fences has been demolished are providing ideal puppy breeding grounds.

Of course, such a boom can be problematic. Officials are, as always, advising people to have their pets spayed or neutered. But it struck me just how quickly nature can recover from a "natural disaster".

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Lebanon: Democracy In The Arab World

Micheael Totten has an interesting editorial in the Wall Street Journal. (Hat tip:

The protests that happened last year in Lebanon are a distant memory to most. Totten reminds us that:
No one thinks Lebanese freedom is a sham. This country would not be even a ramshackle sort-of democracy if the people who live here had not demanded that much for themselves. The March 14 revolt, in which almost one in three Lebanese demonstrated in Martyr's Square for freedom and independence, reverberated powerfully throughout the Middle East. Iraq still makes most Arabs shudder. Lebanon, though, is genuinely inspiring.
While the particulars of the system of democracy that has developed in Lebanon are not without their flaws, they are also an example of how democracy is starting to take hold in a place that "democracy can never work".
By tradition, the president is always a Christian, the prime minister a Sunni, and the speaker of Parliament a Shiite. Parliament decides who fills the top three government posts, and members of Parliament are elected by the people of Lebanon. Each sect's parliamentary bloc keeps the others in check. The result is a weak state and a de facto near-libertarianism. Syria and Iraq, which also are composed of rival ethnic-religious sects, may do well under a similar system.
Some who criticize the efforts in Iraq claim that they are doomed to failure. They feel that the Iraqi people are too fractured and that civil war is inevitable. Lebanon, perhaps, gives a counter-point to that argument.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Spy Quiz

On January 1, Drummond Polipundit posted a quiz about spying and its place in U.S. history. In a follow-up post, he gave the answers. The formatting makes it hard to read, but I found some of the questions interesting. For example:
2. The “MAGIC” intercepts made before and during World War Two were legal because

[A] Congress passed a bill approving them

[B] All of the intercepts were made in foreign countries

[C] As Commander in Chief of the military, FDR already held all the authority he needed.

[D] Actually, the intercepts were illegal, but no one pursued the matter
Check out the links above to see all six questions.

Although I must say I don't understand the latest flood of media attention to this "spying scandal". I think everyone knows the CIA, the NSA, and other agency keep an eye on things. After all, that's what they are chartered to do. Feigning outrage that the Central Intelligence Agency does, in fact, gather intelligence doesn't seem like an effective strategy to me. But then I haven't understood a number of the strategies used against President Bush.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Continuing Repercussions In Syria

I'm not planning on making a long list of predictions for 2006. However, I think it is clear that Syria is poised for rather monumental changes in the coming year. Yesterday, the BBC reported that the ruling Baath party in Syria has expelled former Vice-President Abdul Khaddam.
Syria's ruling Baath Party has expelled former Vice-President Abdul Halim Khaddam - a day after parliament voted to bring treason charges against him.

The moves follow remarks by Mr Khaddam implicating President Bashar al-Assad in the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in February 2005.
As the U.N. has already indicated that Syria was indeed behind the murder, it is likely that Khaddam is being persecuted in an effort to hide the truth.

I am reminded of comments made by Mikhail Gorbachev made at a speech at Miami University last October. I don't have the transcript of the speech, but my summary at the time was:
He related an anecdote where a high-ranking member of the communist party canceled a meeting where talk turned critical towards the government. Gorbachev's lesson was that a meeting could be canceled; you can't cancel the events and realities that were driving the change.
The leaders in Syria would do well to listen to the words of Mr. Gorbachev.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year

I try to keep the meta-posts to a minimum, but I just wanted to take this opportunity to wish the (very few) people who read this blog a very Happy New Year.

The big goal for me for this blog this year (besides the ever-present one of getting readership levels up) is to move off of blogspot and to a more customizable hosted environment. This will, hopefully, let me explore some more creative directions for the blog, particularly with respect to the upcoming elections this year.

I have a lot to accomplish outside of blog life, so it will interesting to see how smoothly the blog plans go.

Here's hoping you have a healthy and happy new year. And thanks for reading!