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Friday May 7, 2004

If you don't read anything else today read this. It will open in a new window. It's that important.

For someone in a coffee-house in Brussels the idea that Bush apologizes for a dozen or so prison guards makes him the same as or worse than Saddam and his sons shooting prisoners for sport — moral equivalence lapped up by the state-controlled and censored Arab media that is largely responsible for the collective Middle East absence of rage over the exploding, decapitating, and incinerating of Western civilians in its midst.

Key here is our own acceptance of such moral asymmetries. Storming the Church of the Nativity is a misdemeanor in the Western press; shelling a minaret full of shooters is a felony. Blowing up Westerners in Saudi Arabia or Jordan is de rigueur; asking Muslims to take off their scarves while in French schools is a casus belli. If Afghanistan has roads, a benevolent man as president, and al Qaedists on the run, call it a failure because Mr. Karzai has not been able, FDR-like, to tour the countryside in a convertible limousine waving to crowds.

A stone a day and pretty soon you have a wall.

The United Nations has sent a stern letter to an important witness in the Iraq oil-for-food investigation, demanding that he not cooperate with congressional probes of the scandal, The Post has learned.

The letter - in the name of oil-for-food program chief Benon Sevan - was sent to a U.N. consultant after it was learned he had been talking to congressional investigators about allegations of wholesale corruption, officials said last night.

"This particular individual is someone we have been in contact with for more than a month," said an investigator. "This letter has chilled his willingness to cooperate with the congressional investigation. This individual also appears to be genuinely frightened by the implications inherent in the letter."

The U.N. letter, obtained by The Post, reminded the consultant that under his contract with the oil-for-food program, he "may not communicate at any time to any other person, government or authority external to the United Nations any information known to them by reason of their association with the United Nations, which has not been made public."

"In view of the contractual provisions referred to above and the fact that these matters relate to internal U.N. procedures for administering the Programme, we would ask that you consult with the U.N. before releasing any documentation or information," the letter said.

Rumsfeld, should resign. Rumsfeld should resgin. That's the chant now coming from the left. Clearly, Rummy erred by not informing the President of the abuses of prisoners at Abu Ghraib. If nothing else, it made Bush look bad. "Doesn't the President know what's happening on the ground in Iraq." That's the meme. Out of touch. But, to implicate the Sec-Def in "GhraibGate" is clearly over the top. Here's the spin from the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

The Bush administration justified the attack on Iraq by pointing to Al-Qaida's attacks of Sept. 11 and the consequent need to wage an offensive war against terror. But nothing that happened on Sept. 11 or subsequently justified the torture and brutalization of the many Iraqis rounded up and thrown into Abu Ghraib. They are now telling their stories, and the details are horrifying. Indeed, those details make the United States much less safe from terrorism than it would have been had Bush simply left Iraq alone.

The Arab world is inflamed with justifiable hatred of the United States over the appalling abuse of detainees. Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz are the architects of that hatred. They have no further business running the Pentagon.

Of course, the entire justification for the war in Iraq was 9/11. I've heard it many times, but never from the President or his administration. The point is that 9/11 changed our thinking. It changed the way we have to deal with terrorists and those who harbor them in order to ensure our safety and survivability. We could no longer just sit back and wait for them to attack us and then deal with them legally. We had to be proactive. There were many justifications for the war with Iraq and they were not related to 9/11. September 11 simply made us rethink and adjust our strategy. I know it's been a long, cold winter, but by May 7th you would think the braintrust in Minnesooooota would have thawed. Does anyone really believe that America would be more safe with Saddam in power? Take another slurp from that Icee.

Clearly, we were not justified in degrading and dehumanizing these prisoners. The good news is that this type of activity in Iraq is now notable and newsworthy. For the past decade, Abu Ghraib has been the scene of state sanctioned killing and torture by the Saddam regime with nary a peep from their Muslim brothers or the International Community. Now, the whole world is outraged. This outrage is understandable, although much of it feigned.

Senator Fritz Hollings (D-SC) has doffed his tin-foil hat and announced to the world that he has divined our reason for going to war with Iraq:

Of course there were no weapons of mass destruction. Israel’s intelligence, Mossad, knows what’s going on in Iraq. It is the best. It has to know; Israel’s survival depends on knowing. Israel long since would have taken us to the weapons of mass destruction if there were any, or if they had been removed. With Iraq no threat, why invade a sovereign country? The answer: President Bush’s policy to secure Israel.

Every president since 1947 has made a futile attempt to help Israel negotiate peace. But no leadership has surfaced among the Palestinians that can make a binding agreement. President Bush realized his chances at negotiation were no better. He came to office imbued with one thought — re-election. Bush felt tax cuts would hold his crowd together and spreading democracy in the Mideast to secure Israel would take the Jewish vote from the Democrats.

I consider myself somewhat of a news junkie, but I've not heard that one before. Bush invaded Iraq to win the Jewish vote and thus ensure his reelection. Muuhhhwwwwaaaaa, Evilly Brilliant. Bush as Simon Bar-Sinister. One question: if Mossad knew that Iraq was not a threat and didn't possess any WMD's, then why did they instruct all citizens to open and fit their gas mask kits prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq? Sorry Fritz, this just doesn't fly. Put on the hat and try again.

Here's some good news form Iraq. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is doing good things:

* We have rehabilitated eight power plants and are installing three new ones. We are also replacing towers, stringing wires, rebuilding lines and installing new generators.

* We have played a key role in restoring Iraq's transport and communication systems. Among other things, we have repaired the Baghdad airport and the country's deep-water port. We have rebuilt bridges, improved rail service and repaired the fiber optic network.

* We expect child mortality and water-borne disease to drop sharply as a result of our commitment to repair and rehabilitate the water and sewerage system throughout the whole of the country. We are in the process of vaccinating 3 million Iraqi children. We are reequipping 600 health-care clinics, training doctors and nurses and distributing high-protein supplementary food rations to hundreds of thousands of pregnant and nursing mothers.

* USAID has also helped uncover mass graves where as many as 400,000 Iraqi victims of Saddam's genocide campaigns lie buried. Hundreds of thousands of others, including untold numbers of children, died from deliberate neglect, indifference and politically motivated deprivation.

And we're helping the Iraqi Human Rights Association inventory the mass murder that took place under Saddam. A spokesman of the group put things very well when he said that what Iraq needs most of all is "not technicians and engineers" - "but someone to rebuild our souls."

* Which brings us to USAID's efforts to rehabilitate and restructure the Iraqi educational system so that it can shed the legacy of four decades of totalitarian rule and enter the ranks of the civilized world as a fully modern and productive nation.

* We're also working to build democracy at the grassroots, empowering the many enlightened and talented people of Iraq, men and women, who were repressed and silenced under Ba'athist rule.

*We have built local governments throughout the country, so they can deliver the essential services a modern Iraq needs. Our efforts have resulted in the formation of councils in 16 governates, 78 districts, 192 cities and sub-districts and 392 neighborhoods representing 80 percent of the country's population.

The Terry Nichols trial is underway, although it doesn't seem to be getting much coverage:

Defense attorneys questioned six witnesses Thursday on an issue that is key to Nichols' defense, that McVeigh had contact with people other than Nichols in the final days before the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building.

Thursday May 6, 2004

This from The American Thinker:

While the American and world press obsess about photographs of abusive behavior by soldiers assigned to be prison guards, Kofi Annan and his minions at the United Nations are covering up the paper trail of what appears to be the largest bribery scandal in history. The corrupt administration of the so-called Oil-for-Food program, in which bribes were allegedly paid to senior UN officials, and in one of whose major private contractors the Secretary-General’s son was employed, provided the secret funds for Saddam Hussein to fund Palestinian death cult bombers, build WMD, as well as lavish palaces for himself, and apparently, bribe senior governmental officials in France and Russia, if published documents from Iraqi Oil Ministry files are to be believed...

The United States taxpayers provide 22% of the funds used by the United Nations, by far the largest share of any country. The United States Congress should begin drafting a bill cutting-off all United States monies flowing to the United Nations, should full disclosure of all evidence, to all inquiries, not take place.

The Weather Channel has announced it's position on global warming:

Global warming is real. Global average temperature has increased 1 - 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit during the past century. Impacts can already be seen, especially in geographic locations like Alaska where melting glaciers and the retreat of Arctic sea ice have increased the vulnerability of local populations and then there are effects such as coastal erosion. "It's difficult to determine precisely to what extent the current warming is due to human activity," said Cullen. "Throughout history, there have been large -- and sometimes sudden -- climate changes -- most of them before humans could possibly have been a factor. Plus, the sun/atmosphere/land/ocean 'climate system' is extraordinarily complex." However, it is a fact that burning of fossil fuels injects additional carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. This adds to the "greenhouse effect," a natural process that keeps the earth's surface warmer than it would otherwise be and helps make it habitable for human life. Scientific assessments of changes in amounts of greenhouse gases and in the world's temperatures provide strong evidence that a significant portion of the current warming is a result of human activities.

I think that the (highly politicized) global warming debate has not been whether or not global warming exists. There is now enough empirical evidence with fairly large datasets to indicate that globally averaged temperatures have, in fact, been rising. I think most climatologists would stipulate to that fact. The real debate is the cause. I think the WX Channel position strikes a fairly good balance (although I would quibble about the words "strong" and "significant" in the last sentence). Clearly (and again measureably) we have added known "greenhouse gasses" to the atmosphere. Clearly, demonstrably so, these gases do act to increase temperatures (although there are many complex interactions and negative feedbacks. One quickie: warmer temperatures would result in more convection, thus more clouds, which would increase global albedo (reflection of incoming solar radiation), which would then decrease radiation at the surface which would act to lower temperatures). So, the essence of the debate is this: to what degree to these increased greenhouse gasses contribute to the (measured) increase in temperature. That is the big unknown. TWC finesses this point (which is good, since we really don't know the answer) by stating that there is: "strong evidence that a significant portion of the current warming is a result of human activities". It's a reasonable position without the demagoguery that typically accompanies this debate.

From Scrappleface ( it's satire, you maroon):

Concerned that Americans do not yet know Sen. John Forbes Kerry, his presidential campaign has launched a $25 million TV advertising burst which reveals that the candidate served in the Navy during the Vietnam war.

The ad campaign, called A Lifetime of Talking About a Few Months in the Service, focuses on a little-known chapter in Mr. Kerry's life, his four months as a swift boat commander in Vietnam.

"While most voters are familiar with Kerry's sterling record of legislative achievement as a leader in the Senate," said an unnamed spokesman, "they're surprised to discover that he actually served during wartime."

Would you expect your auto insurance to pay for gasoline, oil changes and tune-ups? Then why have we allowed medical insurance to evolve into such an all-encompassing monster? If free market forces were allowed to operate without government interference, prices would be lower and service better.

Last week the congressional Joint Economic committee on which I serve held a hearing featuring two courageous medical doctors. I had the pleasure of meeting with one of the witnesses, Dr. Robert Berry, who opened a low-cost health clinic in rural Tennessee. His clinic does not accept insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid, which allows Dr. Berry to treat patients without interference from third-party government bureaucrats or HMO administrators. In other words, Dr. Berry practices medicine as most doctors did 40 years ago, when patients paid cash for ordinary services and had inexpensive catastrophic insurance for serious injuries or illnesses. As a result, Dr. Berry and his patients decide for themselves what treatment is appropriate.

Freed from HMO and government bureaucracy, Dr. Berry can focus on medicine rather than billing. Operating on a cash basis lowers his overhead considerably, allowing him to charge much lower prices than other doctors. He often charges just $35 for routine maladies, which is not much more than one’s insurance co-pay in other offices. His affordable prices enable low-income patients to see him before minor problems become serious, and unlike most doctors, Dr. Berry sees patients the same day on a walk-in basis. Yet beyond his low prices and quick appointments, Dr. Berry provides patients with excellent medical care.

We can hardly expect more government to cure our current health care woes. As with all goods and services, medical care is best delivered by the free market, with competition and financial incentives keeping costs down. When patients spend their own money for health care, they have a direct incentive to negotiate lower costs with their doctor. When government controls health care, all cost incentives are lost. Dr. Berry and others like him may one day be seen as consumer heroes who challenged the third-party health care system and resisted the trend toward socialized medicine in America.

Late Breaking News from Right Wing News:

After one of the bloodiest months of fighting in Europe, House Republican leaders called for all United States forces to be withdrawn from Europe. "This is a quagmire," said one house member. "There is no evidence whatsoever that Nazi Germany had any connection to the attacks of 12/07 and fighting with Germany is a distraction from our war on Japan. We need to finish the job in the Pacific before getting involved in Europe’s problem and besides, it’s not as if Nazi Germany is an imminent threat to America. They haven’t even been able to conquer Britain. Besides, isn’t this a matter for the League of Nations?"

Asked about reports that there were some concentration camps in Europe, another House member replied, "He [FDR] has never said that this was about liberating the concentration camps in his 12/08 speech. In fact, how could he [FDR] say a word about this when we ally ourselves with dictators such as Josef Stalin and Chang-Kai-Shek?"

One Republican Senator opined that, "FDR has squandered all the good will we built up from WW1 in a few short years and for what? So we can conquer Japan and Germany to acquire cheap radios and German automobiles. It’s about enriching FDR’s Wall-Street buddies".

Marvin Olasky (who coined the term "Compassionate Conservative") cites five reasons why the pro-abortion groups will continue to lose ground. Here's reason five:

The apostle Paul, in chapter one of Romans, writes about our human tendency to suppress the truth in unrighteousness -- but it may be that we can fully suppress it only for so long. Forget the cleverness of the pro-aborts Saletan describes: Truth eventually overcomes propaganda. Ultrasound technology plus intrauterine photography is making the humanity of the unborn child visible to all. Beyond all that, God's in charge and He works on consciences. The heavens declare His glory, and an unborn child, fearfully and wonderfully made, displays his handiwork. That teaching from Psalms 19 and 139 shows us why the pro-life side will eventually win the abortion war.

But eventually is a long time, especially for today's womb-babies. So I'd advise anyone concerned about abortion not to spend time worrying about what the other side is doing. I'd tell such folks: Thank God for the pro-life heroes who put in long hours (for example, counseling at crisis pregnancy centers), and perhaps become one yourself.

Andrew Sullivan on Iraq:

Two recent things: the fact that the imposition of a Saddamite general on Falluja spurred the Shi'a leadership in the South to isolate al Sadr further shows how some bad things can lead to good things. Ditto the horrors at Abu Ghraib. What they reveal is something true: Americans are no better and no worse as human beings than anyone else. They can become savages as well. But our system - the open press, the internal reviews, the democratic accountability - minimizes the damage of our flawed human nature. I hope that this incident demonstrates to the Iraqi people that it's the system that we're trying to help them build. This system is not American. It is simply the best of the worst options for human government there is. They deserve it, after the terror of so long a tyranny. We need to hang in there. Through the inevitable mess and mistakes, the goal is clear and noble and essential.

Reminds me of what some smart guy once said: (No, I don't recall who. Where is my editor? Where's my fact-checker?) Democracy is the worst form of human government....except for all the others that have been tried.

Tuesday May 4, 2004

Stonewalling at the UN? Is anyone surprised?

Strong words by John O'Neil in todays Wall St. Journal:

Like John Kerry, I served in Vietnam as a Swift Boat commander. Ironically, John Kerry and I served much of our time, a full 12 months in my case and a controversial four months in his, commanding the exact same six-man boat, PCF-94, which I took over after he requested early departure. Despite our shared experience, I still believe what I believed 33 years ago--that John Kerry slandered America's military by inventing or repeating grossly exaggerated claims of atrocities and war crimes in order to advance his own political career as an antiwar activist. His misrepresentations played a significant role in creating the negative and false image of Vietnam vets that has persisted for over three decades.


A terrorist bomb plot to kill President Bush was thwarted yesterday when Turkish police nabbed 25 members of an al Qaeda-linked cell who planned to assassinate world leaders in Istanbul next month - then flee to Iraq. Investigators yesterday announced that they seized 16 of the men in the Turkish town of Bursa last Thursday, along with guns, explosives, forged ID documents, bomb-making booklets - and 4,000 CDs featuring training instructions from Osama bin Laden.

Turkish TV said three of the suspects had been planning for as long as a year to blow themselves up with a bomb that would also kill Bush and other Western leaders. The plot had reached a very advanced stage and terrorists had begun testing explosives, The Times of London reported.

Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and dozens of other world leaders are scheduled to attend a NATO summit in Istanbul on June 27-28.

I sure hope this makes everyone feel better:

Adhering to a policy instituted 10 years ago, but not always followed, the UI athletics department recently canceled a baseball game with Bradley University of Peoria, Ill., because of the school's mascot.

The game was originally scheduled to be played today, but the athletics department canceled the nonconference game in February, recognizing that Bradley's nickname - the Braves - falls under the university's policy to not schedule nonconference games with teams that have American Indian mascots.

I suppose that if it's a conference game then, well, some things are just more important than offending someone's sensibilities.

For you science buffs, this is interesting:

The CDMS II result, described in a paper submitted to Physical Review Letters, shows with 90 percent certainty that the interaction rate of a WIMP with mass 60 GeV must be less than 4 x 10-43 cm2 or about one interaction every 25 days per kilogram of germanium, the material in the experiment's detector. This result tells researchers more than they have ever known before about WIMPS, if they exist. The measurements from the CDMS II detectors are at least four times more sensitive than the best previous measurement offered by the EDELWEISS experiment, an underground European experiment near Grenoble, France.

WIMPs, which carry no charge, are a study in contradictions. While physicists expect them to have about 100 times the mass of protons, their ghostly nature allows them to slip through ordinary matter leaving barely a trace. The term "weakly interacting" refers not to the amount of energy deposited when they interact with normal matter, but rather to the fact that they interact extremely infrequently. In fact, as many as a hundred billion WIMPs may have streamed through your body as you read these first few sentences.

What can I say, I'm a sucker for disaster movies. I love the Irwin Allen flicks from the 70's: Earthquake, Towering Inferno, etc. That said, the NBC miniseries "10.5" was just cheesy and amateurish. But I still watched it. Couldn't help it. But don't you hate all that screwy camera work. Herky Jerky. Zoom in, zoom out. I guess that adds drama. Perhaps it's art. I first noticed "the technique" a few years ago in commercials and then it made it's way into TV shows--NYPD Blue was the first. Pure artsy crap to my way of thinking. The funniest scene to me was a short clip of a news program describing the disaster. The crawler at the bottom of the screen read: President Declares Marshal Law. Marshal Law! What did he do? Send in Matt Dillon? Definately C team production. But I loved it.

Monday May 3, 2004

The abuse of Iraqi prisoners is horrible. It goes against everything that we stand for as a country. Those who perpetrated the abuses and those who willingly allowed them to occur should be dealt with severely. Some now say that we have lost all moral authority to act in Iraq. Others say that we're just as brutal as the Saddam regime that was overthrown. To many in the Arab world, these events simply confirm their views of America. That is a tragedy and will make our work in the Middle East more difficult. But, before you write America off, here are some points to consider:

Why has this scandal caused so much reaction? Because it's an aberration. It's not the way that America typically operates. Throughout much of the world, brutality and torture and human degradation are commonplace. Indeed, the mass graves and the testimony of thousands of Iraqi's are testament to the brutality of the Saddam regime. We treat our enemies more humanely than many countries treat their own citizens. Promotion of basic human rights has long been a tenet of American foreign policy. So, is this hypocrisy? I say no. No human institutions are perfect and our military is no different. We have some terrible individuals who will have to come to justice. When fault is found, we act to correct it.

It also should be remembered that the reason that this whole incident came to light is because of a whistleblower. A U.S. military member initially reported it. This individual saw the abhorrent conditions and events and reported them up the chain of command. Our military investigated the incidents and found the reports to be credible. The U.S. media (CBS News) then broke the story worldwide when they broadcast photos of some of the incidents. Many have criticised the decision of CBS, in fact General Myers acknowledged that he tried to dissuade CBS from airing the broadcast. I believe that CBS was justified in their decision: shining the light of truth on evil and corruption is rarely a bad thing. Already, some of the perpetrators have been charged and will face justice. The investigation has widened, as it should, to ensure that these events have not and will not occur at other locations. These are all rightous actions which belie the accusations of American indifference.

Lastly, Americans are outraged--and rightly so. There is widespread condemnation, from President Bush down to me. There are no celebrations, no dancing in the streets, no passing out candy to children Our outrage equals or exceeds that of the rest of the world. Perhaps I'm wrong, but I don't recall outrage in the Arab world when Iraqi terrorists killed hostages on videotape or hung their charred bodies from bridges. Moral condemnation only applies to Americans and the West--all others are immune.

No, America is not perfect. Our military is not perfect. Our Government is not perfect. No human institution can be. But, as a Christian nation that is what we strive towards (yes, I said Christian nation because, although many would like to disabuse you of that notion, it continues to be true --ed.). When we detect evil, corruption, imperfection, we seek to eliminate it. That is not hypocrisy. That is morality. That is America.

Victor Davis Hanson makes many of these same points far more eloquently than I:

We have seen terrible things since September 11 -- monotonous public executions, taped decapitations, videos of brutalized hostages, diplomats gunned down, aid workers riddled with bullets, children's bodies blown apart by improvised explosive devices, nuts, bolts and rat poison added to suicide bombs -- most under either the sponsorship of some autocratic Middle Eastern governments or of terrorist cabals that could not exist without at least the tacit support of thousands in the Arab street.

So as we in America address the moral inadequacies of a handful of our soldiers, let those in the Middle East take heart from our own necessary and stern democratic inquiries and audits, and thus at last now apply the same standards of accountability to tens of thousands, far more culpable, of their own.

Finally, here's the take from an Iraqi blogger:

Of course the behavior at Abu Ghraib is terrible and I think everybody agrees; and most certainly the few who perpetrated these actions do not represent anybody but themselves. They have betrayed the Coalition soldiers and all the friends of democracy, before anybody else. However, the Media, and especially the famous Al Jazeera, Al Arabia & Co. are having great time with this affair. It’s like Christmas over there. Saturation coverage, trying all the time to sound objective and merely reporting what the western media are saying.

Well I am an Iraqi, and hate what I saw, but I would like to say in all honesty that compared to the practices of the old Baathists, this is a drop in an ocean. The terrors of Saddam torture houses make this isolated condemned practice by a small group of perverted individuals seem nothing, awful as it is. And more important, the outrages of the Saddam regime were sanctioned and perfectly well known and approved from the highest levels of the state and there was no question of any criminal investigations of the practices, the victims simply buried in any convenient ditch near by. But we never heard any righteous and noisy protests from Any Jazeera or Arabiya, nor did we witness much “Arab” anger during many years when torture, rape and murder were going on a regular basis and massive scale. Perhaps those hundreds of thousands of victims were not “Arabs” and did not deserve the righteous pity of the brotherly Arab masses.

Here's a disturbing look at the root causes of Islamic terrorism.

Here's an equally disturbing look at the rationale from a Muslim perspective.

Those dastardly Israelis have found yet another way to harass and intimidate the peace loving Palestinians:

An Israeli firm has developed a laser device that can detect a suicide bomber's explosives belt or chemical weapons from dozens of metres (yards) away, an executive said on Monday.

International Technologies Lasers Ltd (ITL), a publicly traded company that makes semi-military equipment such as night vision systems, began developing the laser spectroscopy solution three years ago.

"The device can detect anyone who is carrying explosives on his body, is wearing an explosives belt or has been working with explosives ... they will all be contaminated with particles," said ITL's business director, Ami Rudich.

Why, oh why did President Bush appoint Lakhdar Brahimi to be special envoy of the United Nations to Iraq? I have no clue. Here's what he said to ABC News:

"I think that there is unanimity in the Arab world, and indeed in much of the rest of the world, that the Israeli policy is wrong, that Israeli policy is brutal, repressive, and that they are not interested in peace, no matter what you seem to believe in America."

James Lakely, writing in the Washington Times, laments that President Bush stays above the fray and simply lets his surrogates do the dirty work:

Mr. Bush's surrogates recently blasted the Massachusetts senator's discrepancies in his account of a medals-throwing event, in which he participated while protesting the Vietnam War. During an interview last week on ABC's "Good Morning America," Mr. Kerry was forced to explain his statements about the medals, instead of touting his anti-Bush message.

Where, do you think, Lakely got this idea of Bush surrogates? Kerry told him so. Here's the quote from the Good Morning America transcript:

"If George Bush wants to ask me questions about [what I did or did not do 35 years ago] through his surrogates, he owes America an explanation about whether or not he showed up for duty in the National Guard. Prove it."

So the surrogates are....? Charlie Gibson? Yeah, everyone knows that GMA has long been a part of the VRWC--a truly stealth player. Seems to me that Senator Kerry is his own worst enemy. Perhaps he's the Bush surrogate. Well, Lakely does manage to mention conservative talk radio. But wait, don't the liberals have Air America....oops. Of course the usual suspects at NPR/CNN/ Minutes/PBS wouldn't be deemed as surrogates for Kerry. They're simply honest institutions intent on telling the unbiased truth. Yeah, right. Here's the spin from the New York Times:

It was the campaign story of the week, but that was not what actually made headlines in the New York Times. What should have been a front-page story was actually buried among the last three paragraphs appearing on page A16 of an article that began on the front page under the astonishing headline, "Kerry Questions Bush on Guard Attendance."

The Times completely turned the story on its head. Rather than leading with what Kerry had been dealing with all day – having been caught on national television lying about his anti-war protest activities – the Times decided to lead the front page with Kerry's laughable response to the serious inquiry spearheaded by Russert and Gibson: Kerry's rehash of the long-ago debunked charge that Bush didn't "show up for duty" in the National Guard. (Of course, the Times didn't bother to report any of the facts that have since borne out Bush's service record).

Doug Powers on the recent march on Washington by the ones who got away the pro abortion group:

Some speakers brought their kids up on stage with them. What a great message to put into the head of your child. "Of course you're special to me ... I let you live to full term, didn't I?"

Nothing says "I love you" to somebody like not killing them.

Watching the rally on television, I started thinking that maybe, somewhere out there, a young, indifferent person, just like I was, may have happened upon C-Span that day and become horrified into a pro-life position. That's one thing for which we may owe the "Abortapalooza" participants a debt of gratitude.

This bit by Powers is hillarious:

The usual cast of "center square" level celebrity characters were in attendance, along with many politicians, including Madeline Albright, who is the human equivalent of a car going 40 mph in the freeway passing lane with the turn signal forever blinking.

Sometimes you can only look to levity when events are so terribly tragic. Chuck Colson, however, sounds a more somber (and realistic) note:

“I think abortion is killing a life. [But] the person who is pregnant should decide whether to do it or not.”

Those are the words of Estrella Flores, an immigrant from Ecuador, who attended the so-called “March for Women’s Lives,” held here in Washington, D.C., this past Sunday. Ms. Flores and thirty-four other immigrants from her Brooklyn neighborhood were bused to the march by the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, one of the march organizers. They were among the reported 500,000 who marched in the pro-choice rally. I’ve been in Washington since the civil-rights marches of the sixties, and from my office in the White House, I have watched the anti-Vietnam protestors. There’s one thing I have learned that’s true of almost all of these demonstrations: People don’t come. They are brought.

...The “don’t tell me what to do” mentality will unravel the very fabric of our society. If people actually believe that their autonomy is so important that it gives them the right to kill the innocent, then none of us is safe. I wonder how many of those folks getting bused to Washington ever thought of that.

Interesting details on the escape of Thomas Hamill from his Iraqi captors:

U.S. truck driver Thomas Hamill was holed up in a six-foot-by-six-foot windowless stone shack in central Iraq when he decided to make a run for it on Sunday, escaping his armed abductors after three weeks in captivity.

Hearing the sound of American Humvees nearby, Hamill kicked down a metal-plate door propped up by a piece of wood and made a stumbling dash across tomato fields with only socks on his feet, hoping to reach a U.S. patrol some 400 metres (yards) away.

"He was shouting 'I'm an American, I'm an American POW (prisoner of war)' and he was waving his shirt above his head," First Lieutenant Joseph Merrill, one of the soldiers who came across Hamill, told a news conference on Monday as he described the first sight of the hostage.