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    Wednesday, March 31, 2004
      San Francisco "living wage" killing jobs

    A new just law went into effect in San Francisco, raising the minimum wage from $6.75 to $8.50. From Fox News:

    A lot of restaurants are barely hanging on as it is, and this is definitely going to be the nail in the coffin for a lot of places," said Craig Stoll, co-owner of Delfina Restaurant (search).

    Stoll said the $1.75 increase in the hourly wage that he must pay his workers will cost him $30,000 this year.

    I would bet that most of those affected would rather make $6.75 per hour than $0.00 per hour.
      Condi Rice and Judge Pickering on 60 Minutes

    When I saw that Condi Rice and Judge Charles Pickering would have segments on 60 Minutes last Sunday, I decided to temorarily suspend my boycott of that usually left-leaning show. I was not disappointed. There were several times that Ed Bradley would ask a question, then not let Dr. Rice answer. He frequently interrupted her. In spite of this, Dr. Rice was able to express her viewpoint, and to provide powerful and timely refutations to the allegations of Richard Clarke.

    I was more impressed with the segment featuring Judge Pickering. He was finally allowed to present to a wide audience the facts behind the charges that he is soft on cross burners. WIth the facts exposed, the Democrats' claims against Judge Pickering were shown to be baseless. Also, the segment showed Pickering's long history of fighting civil rights and equality between the races, and his work against the KKK, which caused him and his family to need FBI protection.

    The segment made Senator Charles Schumer look like a foolish northeastern liberal with no knowledge of the South.

    The most powerful part was the defense of Judge Pickering by Charles Evers (brother of slain civil rights activist Medgar Evers) to Hattiesburg NAACP leader Clarence McGee:

    Charles Evers: You know, maybe you don't know, you know that Charles Pickering is a man helped us to break the Ku Klux Klan. Did you know that?

    Clarence McGee: I heard that statement made.

    Charles Evers: I mean, I know that. Do you know that?

    Clarence McGee: I don't know that.

    Charles Evers: I know that. Do you know about the young black man that was accused of robbing the young white woman. You know about that?

    Clarence McGee: Nope.

    Charles Evers: So Charles Pickering took the case. Came to trial and won the case and the young man became free.

    Clarence McGee: I don't know about that.

    Charles Evers: But did you also know that Charles Pickering is the man who helped integrate his churches. You know about that?

    Clarence McGee: No.

    Charles Evers: Well, you don't know a thing about Charles Pickering.

    Schumer's reaction, unfortunately, will probably be typical of all of the grandstanding Democrats - continued obstuctionist tactics.
      Wictory Wednesday

    Now it is more important than ever to support President Bush in his reelection effort. The Democrats are attacking in earnest. President Bush needs to be able to counter these attacks. You can do your part by volunteering, or donating to his campaign. Bloggers are encouraged to join the Wictory Wednesday Blogroll:

      Another study shows that IT outsourcing creates net jobs

    A ITAA/Global Insight Study has found that IT outsourcing has increased jobs in the US.

    The in-depth Study found that global sourcing of computer software and
    services, while displacing some IT workers, actually benefits the U.S. economy
    and increases the number of U.S. jobs. According to Study findings, the U.S.
    economy has much to gain from global sourcing and an environment of free
    trade, open markets and robust competition. Benefits include job creation,
    higher real wages, higher real GDP growth, contained inflation and expanded
    exports resulting in increased economic activity.

    Once again, the facts refute a Kerry argument.
    Sunday, March 28, 2004
      More sound bite over substance from Kerry

    The Bush over Kerry blog has made a very interesting point about John Kerry's promise of 10 million new jobs in the next four years. One problem: who will fill those new jobs? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are only 8.1 million unemployed.

    Read the whole post. It makes an assumtion about future labor force growth, and calculates the unemploymet rate that would be needed to achieve 10 million new jobs: 1.4%, lower by a third than it has ever been since 1948.
      California Democrats wanted to extend budget crisis for political gain

    Via Patriots for Bush:

    The San Francisco Chronicle reported last July that a microphone was accidentally left on inside a closed door meeting of California Assembly Democrats. In the meeting, the Democrats were plotting to extend the length of the budget crisis in an effort to make it easier to raise taxes on Californians.

    Some members of the group, including Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg, said if the budget crisis were extended, it could improve chances for a ballot initiative that would make it easier for the Democrats to raise taxes by lowering the threshold for passage from two-thirds to 55 percent.

    I don't remember hearing about this last year, but there is no doubt that it would have been virtually impossible to avoid hearing about it if it were Republicans doing something similar.

    California Democrats are the ones who created the budget crisis in the first place, by increasing spending to unsustainable levels during a strong economic cycle. Then they wanted to lengthen the crisis and use it as a tool to extort more money from California taxpayers.

    This information needs to be spread far and wide in the Golden State.
      Rumsfeld on Fox News Sunday Morning

    When asked about Richard Clarke's assertion that the administration was focussing on Iraq in 2001, Donald Rumsfeld responded that Iraq was the only place in the world Americans were being shot at. He also said that Clarke testified about some comments Rumsfeld made at a Sept 4, 2001 meeting. Only problem: Rumsfeld wasn't even at the meeting.
    Saturday, March 27, 2004
      The key to a Bush victory

    Dr. Jack Wheeler of To The Point News, explains the key to a Bush victory in November: hiring Arnold Schwarzenegger as California campaign director.

    He is today the singularly most popular politician in America (and perhaps the world, judging by the constant interview requests by journalists and TV news crews from every country on the planet). Arnold doesn’t ever lose -- ever. Not in bodybuilding, not in business, not in movies, not in politics. He is utterly ruthless. As Chairman of the California campaign, there’s only one way he would play -- to win.

    Dr. Wheeler also points out that forcing Kerry to spend time and money in California would take that time and money away from campaigns in Midwest battleground states. He also imagines the reaction to an announcement of Arnold as campaign director:

    ...every Democrat Party boss will suffer scatological release.

    Read the whole thing.
      MacDonald's hiring

    Er, that's Randy MacDonald, IBM's senior vice president for human resources.

    Sorry, I couldn't resist.
    Friday, March 26, 2004
      IAFF president Schaitberger has upset a lot of rank and file firefighters

    Here is a column from Dan Schrader, Ex-International Association of Fire Fighters Local 67 member. Apparently, a lot of firefighters are upset at their union president for supporting John Kerry.
      Blogger assaulted by union members for supporting Bush

    Fellow Blogger for Bush Matt Margolis, and his brother Aaron, were assaulted by angry union members in Boston for carrying a sign stating, "A vote for Bush is a vote for freedom."

    The fight started after a man wearing an Ironworkers Local 7 sweatshirt, perched atop a subway entrance, repeatedly taunted the brothers.

    ``They told us to get out of here or we'd get beaten up,'' said Matt Margolis, 24, of Beverly.

    ``I said, `I support your freedom of speech - please support mine. Come on down and we can have a conversation.'

    ``He jumped down and swung on my brother. Then they all jumped in and tore our signs apart.''

    Go on over to Matt's blog and thank him and his brother for supporting President Bush in hostile territory.

    (Thanks to commenter Fly at Blogs for Bush.)

    UPDATE - Here is a first hand account of the altercation.

    UPDATE II - Matt's account.

    UPDATE III - More from Matt
    Thursday, March 25, 2004
      Remember the USS Stark

    Saddam Hussein did this.

    On May 17, 1987, Saddam Hussein murdered 37 American sailors. An Iraqi fighter pilot fired two French Exocet missiles at the USS Stark. The first missile struck the hull eight feet above the water line, did not explode, and penetrated seven bulkheads while spilling 120 pounds of burning solid missile fuel into crew sleeping quarters. Thirty seconds later, the second missile struck, penetrated five feet, and exploded. The missile fuel immediately erupted into a 3500° fire. Adjacent spaces quickly heated to 1500°.

    The crew fought the fire for 48 hours. Eventually, the heat became so intense that the fire fighting water began to boil. Firefighters were burned when their water streams turned to steam. The ship listed 16° to port, making it difficult for the crew to keep their footing while fighting the fire. They had to stop fighting it when they ran out of oxygen cannisters for their oxygen breathing apparatuses. Other ships came to their aid, and delivered more oxygen cannisters.

    Miraculously, through the heroic efforts of the crew, the ship was saved.

    At that time, I was serving aboard the USS Inchon, deployed to the Mediterranean Sea. Later that year, I transferred to the USS Elmer Montgomery, a ship similar to the Stark. About one year afer the incident, we deployed to the Persian Gulf.

    I vividly remember when the reports about the attack came through. Being deployed at the same time, and hearing of the loss of 37 fellow sailors, I felt that it hit close to home, and even more so the following year being deployed on a similar ship to the same part of the world.

    I have paid close attention to the debates in the news about the crimes of Saddam Hussein. This incident, however, seems to be absent from the discussion.

    I would just ask that everyone reading this to remember what happened that day. Remember the USS Stark and the 37 sailors who gave their lives defending the United States on 17 May, 1987.
      Signs of desperation from the DNC

    Bob Mulholland, a member of the DNC, has published a litany of tired old lies and personal attacks on the President. Apparently, his mantra is, "repeat the lies often enough, and they will be believed". While Bush has used Kerry's own words and voting record against him, Mulholland refers to "outlandish attacks" showing that Bush is "in a panic". Seems to me, Mr. Mulholland, that the one panicking is that guy in your bathroom mirror.

    Mulholland's screed contains a long list of lies and personal attacks:

    - Bush is a liar
    - Bush is incompetent
    - Bush lies to our allies
    - Bush lies to the American people
    - Bush was a drunk
    - Bush was a drug addict
    - Bush is uninformed (because he doesn't read the attacks on him by the liberal media)
    - Bush is dyslexic
    - Bush destroyed almost 3 million jobs
    - Bush is "stuck" in Iraq
    - Bush has a "jobless economy"
    - Bush attacks Kerry's patriotism
    - Bush is negative, not Kerry
    - Bush was AWOL
    - Bush is less qualified than Kerry, because Kerry has war medals

    The only one of these charges that has any basis in truth is the alcoholism charge, but Bush stopped drinking ages ago. Nobody's perfect, and Bush overcame that shortcoming. The rest of the charges are completely unfounded. Mulholland's column does not back up any of these accusations with anything even resembling fact. The lies are merely thrown out in the open to fester. Mulholland is hypocritical in accusing Bush of "outlandish attacks" in a column that the word "outlandish" hardly does justice.

    Also, take note of the URL of the link. This column was published overseas. Mulholland is trying to discourage our allies from cooperating with President Bush.

    Mulholland claims that the President is in a panic. But it is obvious by this column that it is the DNC, not Bush, who are panicking.

    Some would say that Bill Clinton perfected the art of politics of personal destruction. This column does fall under the "personal destruction" category, but it is hardly art. It is merely a large pile of trash.
      A former Marine's view of John Kerry

    Former Marine John Ferlins has published a column in The Union Leader (New Hampshire) about John Kerry. Mr. Ferlins states that John Kerry routinely puts his own personal gain ahead of national interests.

    [Kerry] stepped way over the line with his infamous April 1971 testimony before Congress. Wearing his old uniform, complete with combat decorations, the former Lt. Kerry eloquently accused our armed forces of committing unparalleled, widespread wartime atrocities on a “day by day basis.”

    While isolated cases of war crimes did occur, Kerry exaggerated these instances and negatively characterized our fighting men to the point of fiction, even lies, Naval War College Prof. Mackubin Thomas Owens reported in January. A successful political career was launched by slandering the vast majority of veterans who fought with dignity and restraint. The rest of the world was listening, too.

    Kerry’s congressional testimony of April 1971, repeated by news outlets throughout the world, dealt a blow to American prestige and gave heart to our enemies. Hanoi was awarded a huge propaganda victory, as were other U.S. adversaries around the globe. It was a vivid demonstration of one man’s personal ambition over the greater national interest.

    Kerry's actions may even have affected the outcome of the Vietnam War:

    [A] quote from the 1985 memoirs of former North Vietnamese General Vo Nguyen Giap should be added. The former top commander wrote that North Vietnam would have eventually surrendered had it not been for American protest groups, specifically naming John Kerry’s group, Vietnam Veterans Against the War.

    John Kerry continues to place his own interests ahead of those of the nation. He has demonstrated this again and again on the campaign trail, saying whatever it takes to try to get more November votes, regardless of whether his statements contain even a nugget of truth.
      Commentary on whether Kerry is presidential material

    J. Grant Swank, Jr. has commentary at MichNews.com on whether John Kerry is presidential material. His list of reasons why Kerry isn't:

    a Kerry who exaggerates grandiose claims
    a Kerry who refuses to reveal his war medical records
    a Kerry who plays religious hypocrite to his own Catholic membership
    a Kerry who swears at his own secret service man
    a Kerry who offers little more than worn cliches on the campaign trail
    a Kerry who has no impressive Congressional record regarding bills passed and votes made
    a Kerry whose Senate absentee record is outrageously high

    Mr. Swank goes on to quote a Washington Times article which comments on Kerry's long history of exaggerating claims:

    "It's always been Kerry's tendency [to exaggerate], but he has become expert at it because the Massachusetts electorate has indulged his missteps over the years," said Robert Gray, a Republican media strategist in Boston who was spokesman for Republican William Weld's 1996 attempt to unseat Mr. Kerry. "And now he can't help himself. It's become a bad habit."

    He then cites some examples:

    Mr. Kerry told a press conference in June 1996 that he had "introduced yesterday" legislation providing health care subsidies for children. He then began running TV ads touting the plan. But the Boston Globe reported Oct. 2 of that year that Mr. Kerry had not introduced the bill until the night before — after the newspaper had called to ask about the legislation.

    Mr. Gray said Mr. Kerry survived the controversy because Massachusetts is so heavily Democratic. "The health care bill — in a majority of the 50 states, lying like he did about filing a health care bill he was campaigning on likely would have cost Kerry the election," he said.

    And then there's this:

    Mr. Kerry scolded Mr. Weld for breaking a personal spending cap that the two men had agreed to, even though Mr. Kerry had "the only clear violation of the cap" by spending $1.7 million of his own money.


    In the face of questions by the paper, Mr. Kerry retreated from an assertion that his first Senate floor speech was made in defense of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision finding that abortion is a constitutional right. On another occasion, he disavowed a statement entered into the Congressional Record under his name that claimed an Irish heritage.

    Mr. Swank seems to be saying that John Kerry has been lying so long while campaigning that he no longer knows how to be honest.

    I must agree with Mr. Swank's conclusion that John Kerry is definitely not presidential material.
      Christopher Shays' letter to the 9/11 Commission

    This letter from Congressman Christopher Shays, Chairman of the National Security Subcommittee of the House Government Reform Committee, to the 9/11 Commission is a must read. Richard Clarke comes off looking like a buffoon:

    Before September 11, 2001, we held twenty hearings and two formal briefings on terrorism issues. Mr. Clarke was of little help in our oversight. When he briefed the Subcommittee, his answers were both evasive and derisive. He said a comprehensive threat assessssment, as recommended by GAO, was too difficult.

    Mr. Clarke said it would be "silly" to try to articulate a national strategy. In lieu of a threat assessment or strategy, he offered a laundry list of terrorist groups, as if the fight against global terrorism were nothing more than a hunt for common criminals.

    Read the whole thing. Included is Congressman Shays' letter to Condoleeza Rice about Richard Clarke.
    Wednesday, March 24, 2004
      More damage to Clarke's credibility

    In his book, Richard Clarke has claimed that in 2001, Dr. Condoleezza Rice cared little and knew less about the terrorist threat from Al Qaeda. He claimed that she appeared to have never even heard of the terrorist group or its leader, Osama Bin Laden. These claims are demonstrably false.

    NewsMax is reporting that Dr. Rice gave an interview to Detroit radio station WJR in 2000, in which she spoke about the terrorist threat and the problems with how the Clinton administration was addressing it. She even mentioned Bin Laden by name:

    [After mentioning Bin Laden by name, Dr. Rice said,] "You really have to get the intelligence agencies better organized to deal with the terrorist threat to the United States itself. One of the problems that we have is a kind of split responsibility, of course, between the CIA and foreign intelligence and the FBI and domestic intelligence."

    Then, in a chillingly prescient comment, Rice named bin Laden a second time, warning, "There needs to be better cooperation because we don't want to wake up one day and find out that Osama bin Laden has been successful on our own territory."

    It appears to me that Dr. Rice knew far more about the terrorist threat than Clarke did.

    One more point: I think Dr. Rice would be a highly capable successor to President Bush, and a formidable opponent for Hillary in 2008.
      Bo Dietl, former NYC homicide detective and friend of Kerry, says Kerry may have committed a crime

    From NewsMax:

    "I like John very, very much as a person," said Dietl, who's a personal friend of the Massachusetts Democrat. "But if this has any validity to it, it could be earth-shattering."

    Dietl said Kerry may have committed a crime if he took part in any discussions about the assassination plot.

    "When you talk about killing somebody, that's conspiracy to commit murder," he told Crowley. "At the point you talk about it you're guilty of a crime."

    Dietl said it made no difference whether or not the plot was carried out, telling Crowley, "By just talking about it, it's the crime of conspiracy."

    Note that Dietl did not say that arguing against the plot made it OK. Just by participating in the discussion, and subsequently not reporting it to the authorities, would make Kerry guilty of conspiracy. And remember, this was during wartime.

    If this is true, then it is obvious that Kerry should not be president, nor should he be a senator, nor even a free citizen. He should be an incarcerated convicted felon.
      NewsMax: Clarke blocked extradition of Bin Laden from Afghanistan


    Clinton administration diplomatic troubleshooter Mansoor Ijaz charged Monday that one-time White House terrorism czar Richard Clarke blocked efforts to gather intelligence on al Qaeda and torpedoed a deal to have Osama bin Laden extradited from Afghanistan in the years before the 9/11 attacks.


    Ijaz told Fox: "In each case of things that were involved in the Clinton administration, Richard Clarke himself stepped in and blocked the efforts that were being made over and over and over again."

    Another blow to Clarke's already tattered credibility.
      More arrogance toward the commoners

    Yesterday on his radio show, Sean Hannity had a caller from Ketchum, Idaho. The caller stated that about 200 Kerry supporters had gathered at a rally, and that Kerry had promised to stop by. The caller said that Kerry kept the crowd waiting for two hours while he ate dinner a couple of miles away, and then had an aide call to tell them that he couldn't make it to the rally.

    My guess is that Kerry knows that Idaho is Bush country, and that a couple hundred supporters in Ketchum could not change that, so he saw no advantage for himself in appearing at the rally. For me, keeping a promise and showing appreciation for the support of loyal followers would be ample reason to at least make an appearance. But apparently for Kerry, these reasons are not compelling.

    Kerry once again demonsrates why the reelection of George W. Bush is such an imperative. And why your support toward this goal is so essential.

    Today is Wictory Wednesday. There are many ways to support the "wictory" effort for George W. You can donate to his campaign, or you can volunteer. If you are a blogger, please join the Wictory Wednesday blogroll:

      A truism

    Sean Hannity on his radio show today: "The only issue [Kerry] has never flipped on: raising taxes."

    Spot on.
    Tuesday, March 23, 2004
      Negative campaigning

    Just over two weeks ago, before John Edwards dropped out of the race, and when President Bush had just started running campaign ads, the St. Petersburg Times called it a "nice-guy campaign", and asked if the Democratic candidates had been too nice. Well, the Democrats (and especially John Edwards) were only nice to each other, but spewed venom (especially John Kerry) at the president.

    Now that the president has been actively campaigning for almost three weeks, many in the media, and even some in Congress have started complaining about the negative tone of the campaign. I guess I should not be surprised that a journalist can ignore John Kerry's months of mostly unfounded attacks, unsubstantiated rumors, and outright lies, and publish a column about the "nice guy campaign". But when the president starts to defend himself from these attacks, the press starts complaining about his negativity. Sure, the president has run some ads that attack Kerry, but he has confined his attacks to Kerry's voting record (fair game), Kerry's public statements (also fair game), and Kerry's policy positions (in the rare cases when they can actually be discerned).

    The jounalist, Bill Adair, actually does have a valid point, and it is a point that tacitly supports negative campaigning: that during the primary, Kerry's weaknesses did not get enough scrutiny. The real reason for this, though is that the Democratic candidates (except John Edwards) spent most of the time campaigning negatively against the president, not each other. To me, this does not constitute a "nice guy campaign".

    The fact that the complaints about negative campaigning have ramped up only after the start of the president's campaign, after months of campaigning from Kerry and other Democrats that has been far more negative than anything the president has used, is yet another indication of liberal bias in the media.
      Deroy Murdock details Saddam's support for terror

    Deroy Murdock has written an article, entitled Saddam Hussein's Philanthropy of Terror, for the Hudson Institute detailing Saddam Hussein's extensive support for terrorist organizations.

    Many critics of the war in Iraq belittle claims of Saddam Hussein’s ties to terrorism. In fact, for years, he was militant Islam’s Benefactor-in-Chief.

    This table summarizes the terrorist groups that have benefitted from Saddam's largesse:

    Anyone who argues that invading Iraq was not a legitimate part of the war on terror needs to read this.

      Richard Clarke on Iraq/Al Qaeda

    Richard Clarke, author of the new book Against All Enemies, and "National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counterterrorism, National Security Council" during the Clinton administration, and who blamed the Bush administration for the 9/11 attacks on 60 Minutes, has indicated in the past that there was a link between Osama Bin Laden and Iraq.

    From the Washington Post, 23 January 1999:

    [Richard Clarke] said that intelligence exists linking bin Laden to El Shifa's current and past operators, the Iraqi nerve gas experts and the National Islamic Front in Sudan.

    This is more evidence showing the link between Al Qaeda and Iraq. But Clarke, in his role as "National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counterterrorism, National Security Council", by using the phrase "Iraqi nerve gas experts", implicitly shows his belief, as of 1999, in the existence of Iraqi chemical weapons programs. In other words, this is also a rebuttal of the "Iraq had no WMD's" argument.

    (Thanks to FreeRepublic.com for this scoop)
    Monday, March 22, 2004
      Daniel Drezner on outsourcing jobs

    Daniel Drezner presents compelling arguments for the benefits of outsourcing jobs.It is a long article, but worth the time to read. Some excerpts:

    Should Americans be concerned about the economic effects of outsourcing? Not particularly. Most of the numbers thrown around are vague, overhyped estimates. What hard data exist suggest that gross job losses due to offshore outsourcing have been minimal when compared to the size of the entire U.S. economy.

    The creation of new jobs overseas will eventually lead to more jobs and higher incomes in the United States. Because the economy -- and especially job growth -- is sluggish at the moment, commentators are attempting to draw a connection between offshore outsourcing and high unemployment. But believing that offshore outsourcing causes unemployment is the economic equivalent of believing that the sun revolves around the earth: intuitively compelling but clearly wrong.

    Protectionism would not solve the U.S. economy's employment problems, although it would succeed in providing massive subsidies to well-organized interest groups. In open markets, greater competition spurs the reallocation of labor and capital to more profitable sectors of the economy. The benefits of such free trade -- to both consumers and producers -- are significant. Cushioning this process for displaced workers makes sense. Resorting to protectionism to halt the process, however, is a recipe for decline. An open economy leads to concentrated costs (and diffuse benefits) in the short term and significant benefits in the long term. Protectionism generates pain in both the short term and the long term.

    At first glance, current macroeconomic indicators seem to support the suspicion that outsourcing is destroying jobs in the United States. The past two years have witnessed moderate growth and astonishing productivity gains, but overall job growth has been anemic. The total number of manufacturing jobs has declined for 43 consecutive months.

    Democrats seem to believe that the electorate cannot see past the "first glance". They apparently see this as another way to make the current administration look bad. They do not want people to see that there are significant benefits to the economy in allowing businesses to operate as efficiently as possible.

    During the 1990s, offshore outsourcing was not uncommon. (American Express, for one, set up back-office operations in India more than a decade ago.) But no one much cared because the number of jobs leaving U.S. shores was far lower than the number of jobs created in the U.S. economy.

    Most jobs will remain unaffected altogether: close to 90 percent of jobs in the United States require geographic proximity. Such jobs include everything from retail and restaurants to marketing and personal care -- services that have to be produced and consumed locally, so outsourcing them overseas is not an option.

    As for the jobs that can be sent offshore, even if the most dire-sounding forecasts come true, the impact on the economy will be negligible. The Forrester prediction of 3.3 million lost jobs, for example, is spread across 15 years. That would mean 220,000 jobs displaced per year by offshore outsourcing -- a number that sounds impressive until one considers that total employment in the United States is roughly 130 million, and that about 22 million new jobs are expected to be added between now and 2010. Annually, outsourcing would affect less than .2 percent of employed Americans.

    There is no denying that the number of manufacturing jobs has fallen dramatically in recent years, but this has very little do with outsourcing and almost everything to do with technological innovation...The United States saw an 11 percent decrease in manufacturing employment over the course of those seven years; meanwhile, China saw a 15 percent decrease and Brazil a 20 percent decrease. Globally, the figure for manufacturing jobs lost was identical to the U.S. figure -- 11 percent. The fact that global manufacturing output increased by 30 percent in that same period confirms that technology, not trade, is the primary cause for the decrease in factory jobs.

    Delta Airlines outsourced 1,000 call-center jobs to India in 2003, but the $25 million in savings allowed the firm to add 1,200 reservation and sales positions in the United States.

    How can these figures fit with the widespread perception that it jobs have left the United States? Too often, comparisons are made to 2000, an unusual year for the technology sector because y2k fears and the height of the dot-com bubble had pushed employment figures to an artificially high level. When 1999 is used as the starting point, it becomes clear that offshore outsourcing has not caused a collapse in IT hiring.

    This is just a sampling of the many good points Dr. Drezner makes. I recommend reading the whole thing.
      Drudge: 60 Minutes fails to disclose financial stake in book hyped on show

    Matt Drudge is reporting that CBS has failed to disclose its financial stake in Richard Clarke's book, Against All Enemies. The book is being published by FREE PRESS, a subsidiary of SIMON & SCHUSTER. Both CBSNews.com and SIMON & SCHUSTER are units of VIACOM.

    CBSNEWS did not inform its viewers last night that its parent company owns and has a direct financial stake in the success of the book by former White House terror staffer turned Bush critic, Dick Clarke, the DRUDGE REPORT can reveal.

    60 MINUTES aired a double-segment investigative report on the new book "Against All Enemies" -- but did not disclose how CBSNEWS parent VIACOM is publishing the book and will profit from any and all sales!

    Sunday, March 21, 2004
      Was liberating Iraq the right thing to do? An Iraqi view

    Sarmad Faraj at the Road of a Nation blog:

    The shared dream for all Iraqis was to be released from Sadaam's regime... and many of them even said "I will accept any one who will help us, even if he was the devil himself!" That was because of what
    we suffered ,and you might feel for us, but you could not imagine our situation. Three destroying wars ,thirteen years of sanctions ,two million killed , four million left the country ,and the rest despaired
    in their ignorance,

    But what happened on the 9th of April
    (Saddam statue toppled at Firdos Square) made many Iraqis feel like they were reborn, and brought others to life after they had been dead. They began to think and respond to changes after they could not speak or
    think, (even with your self!) You can now think, and dream, and share your dream, and let any one know what you are thinking. This is one good step forward, and the rest will come.

    Before, we got only one-sided media: the regime's media, and we must watch what they want us to watch. It was "copy and paste media." We were drudges. We couldn't feel any thing... and even if we felt
    anything, we couldn't understand it.

    Now, look at what we have! More than 200 daily newspapers! In Baghdad, more than 6 TV channels! Yes! Every one is showing their way, from their own point of view--but that's good thing, to have more than one opinion. At [least] [last] we can see how all or the majority are thinking. And disagreeing is a healthy thing, if it is done peacefully.

    And as to one dream-- but it's an important one--
    saddam no longer exists.

    Reas the whole thing. (Hat tip:Donald Sensing)

      Mark Steyn on John Kerry

    Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mark Steyn:

    ''His vote against the first Gulf War was, he says, a sign of his support for the first Gulf War. Whereas his vote in favor of the Iraq war was a sign of his opposition to the Iraq war. And his vote against funding America's troops in Iraq is a sign of his support for America's men and women in uniform. On the same principle, I think the best way voters this November can demonstrate their support for John Kerry is by voting against him.''

    Saturday, March 20, 2004
      Bet you won't see this in American media

    From New Zealand's National Business Review:

    As the turnover date for the governance of Iraq nears -- and an independent poll shows that overwhelming numbers of ordinary Iraqis want Coalition forces to stay on, at least until a stable government is established -- anti-war protests around the world yesterday drew smaller crowds than anticipated.

    ...The messages sent by organisers rang curiously hollow since many emphasised the importance of self rule for Iraq, a goal that is already part of the core Coalition agenda.

    ...A few big centres of activity, like Rome, took in bus and train loads of protesters from all over Europe, but still fell well short of the numbers that filled the streets there last February, before the war actually commenced.

    Rome officials put the turnout at 250,000 but organisers inflated those figures to upwards of 2 million.

    ...The low turnouts in countries that have been loudest in their opposition to the war may indicate that the issue is losing steam in the popular imagination as Iraq moves toward political autonomy.

    The report I heard on an ABC radio station said nothing about low turnout. But it did allow a man to read a letter from nis son in Iraq. THe son reported increasing hatred for US troops in the eyes of Iraqis, and the only reason there weren't more casualties was because the Iraqis are bad shots.

    While I have no reason to doubt the authenticity of that letter, I seriously doubt that it is representative of the vast majority of troops in Iraq, especially considering the poll results I linked to in the preceding post.

    The "mainstream" media are still pushing the "quagmire" myth. It is sad that I should need to go to a New Zealand source to get reliable news coverage.

      Interesting poll results from Iraq

    New Zealand's National Business Review is reporting on results from a poll from Oxford Research International.

    70 per cent said their lives were very good or quite good these days;

    18.6 per cent said their lives were worse now than before the war, 23.3 per cent said their lives were about the same and 56.5 per cent said their lives were better since the war;

    71 per cent said they think their lives will get better over the coming year -- and only 6.6 per cent said their lives would get worse;

    48.2 per cent thought the war was justified and 39.1 per cent said it was wrong;

    The United States (20.4 per cent) and Japan (19.8 per cent) were the countries most chosen by respondents as suited for a major role in rebuilding the country (no other country scored in double digits and the UN scored only 3.6 per cent);

    No national or religious leader, by name or generic title, scored in the double digits as someone the repondents trusted, but Ahmed Chalabi earned the distrust of 10.3 per cent of the respondents -- more even than Saddam Hussein himself, who garnered only 3.1 per cent of those votes (the next highest percentage);

    85.9 per cent said Iraq most needs to become a democracy -- and 81.1 per cent said the country needs a single strong leader.

    Asked directly, only 15.1 per cent of respondents said Coalition forces should leave immediately and 59.9 per cent said they should stay for periods ranging from more than an additional year (4.3 per cent) to such time as a stable government was in place (35.8 per cent) -- 1.5 per cent said they should never leave.
    Friday, March 19, 2004
      Firefighter Union President and Sen. Kennedy conspire on bill that would eliminate 50% of all volunteer firefighters

    Harold Schaitberger, the supposed "ordinary firefighter" who was recruited by John Kerry to express outrage at President Bush's campaign ads, who is also president of the International Association of Firefighters (the IAFF union) and cochairman of Kerry's campaign, has been lobbying Ted Kennedy to pass a bill that would force all firefighters to join the union. According to Linda Chavez:

    Two days after the terrorists struck, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee--chaired at the time by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D.-Mass.)--passed the IAFF's top legislative priority, the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act. A few nights later, Sen. Kennedy tried to sneak the bill through the full Senate on "unanimous consent," a maneuver more appropriate for non-controversial items such as National Dairy Week.

    Despite its innocuous-sounding title, the bill was a huge power grab by public employee unions to force individual police and firefighters to accept union representation regardless of whether they want it.


    The bill would even have jeopardized community volunteer fire departments. According to the National Volunteer Fire Council, the largest advocacy group for volunteer firefighters, volunteers make up an estimated 75% of all firefighters in the United States, and about half of these are career firefighters who volunteer their services in the communities in which they live. But the IAFF constitution specifically forbids its members from "acquiring or maintaining membership . . . in volunteer fire departments or associations," and the union can fine, suspend or expel members who violate this provision. By forcing more local governments into collective bargaining agreements with the IAFF, the pool of trained volunteers for smaller communities would have shrunk dramatically.


    Thankfully, the IAFF-backed bill did not pass--it was opposed by the National Governors Association, the Conference of Mayors and the National League of Cities, among other organizations--but has been re-introduced in the 108th Congress and remains the top priority for the union.

    I live in rural South Carolina. My children attend school in a small neaby community of 800. There are three churches in this community, and four schools - primary, elementary, middle, and high - that serve the community and the areas surrounding it. There is also a fire station. This fire station has one full time salaried firefighter. The rest are volunteers.

    If the IAFF"s bill were to become law, it is possible that half of these volunteers would be forced to stop volunteering in this community. If, heaven forbid, one of the schools were to burn, the fire station would be severely undermanned, and the potential for the loss of young lives would be greatly increased.

    As Ms. Chavez said, this bill is just a power grab by the union, an effort to forcibly increase the rolls of dues paying members. It would mean more money for the union to donate to candidates like Kerry, against the wishes of a large proportion of the rank and file. And it would put countless lives in unnecessary danger. But Schaitberger and Kennedy don't care about that. They only care about the power and money.

      My prediction shows up at NewsMax

    About two weeks ago, I posted this:

    Torricelli dropped out, not because his ethics violations made him ineligible for the Senate, but because he had become obviously unelectable.

    What's to stop the Democrats from repeating this scenario on the national scale, with Kerry in the role of the "obviously unelectable" Torricelli, and Hillary in the role of the Democratic savior Lautenberg?

    Well, at least half of my prediction has shown up in this Jack Wheeler column at NewsMax:

    A few days ago, my buddy Capt. Larry Bailey – former Commandant of the Naval Special Warfare Training Center (the place that trains the Navy SEALs) – made an interesting prediction. "You know, Jack, I wouldn't be surprised if Kerry ends up like Torricelli."

    Dr. Wheeler then goes on with a long list of reasons that Kerry's candidacy will implode. He sums up:

    The show will be better than a Ringling Brothers circus. The only question is when does the curtain rise and the show begin – before or after the Dems' July convention?

    If after, with Kerry formally and legally nominated, will they try to pull a Torricelli? The show won't be pretty, but it sure will be fun to watch.

    Read the whole thing.

      Kerry has river redirected, sticks Idaho with the bill

    From the American Spectator:

    Apparently overlooked in Wednesday's stories about Senator John Kerry's $5 million estate in Sun Valley, Idaho, was his most glaring indulgence. Never mind the 500-year-old English barn, each piece of which was numbered and reconstructed after shipment from a small town in southern England, or the quarter million dollars worth of landscaping on the property. Kerry saved his greatest indulgence to share with the taxpayers of Idaho.

    After paying for all the landscaping on the Sun Valley property, the Kerrys determined that their water supply was not great enough to keep their vegetation thriving. And so the couple petitioned the state to have a small river redirected so that its waters could be used to keep their garden nice and green. The state complied, leaving taxpayers on the hook for the work done. The state covered the cost ostensibly to ensure that the river's redirection would be environmentally sound.

    Wasn't there enough money in the ketchup fortune to pay for it, Mr. Kerry?

    (Thanks to Connecticut Yankee for commenting at Blogs for Bush.)
      Firefighters for Bush

    So, Harold Schaitberger and the IAFF don't speak for all firefighters. Go see for yourself at www.firefightersforbush.com.

    (Thanks to Blogs for Bush for the link.)
    Thursday, March 18, 2004
      93 members of Congress don't think we're better off without Saddam

    CLick here to see which 93 members of Congress (including 90 Democrats and one Socialist) do not think the world is better off without Saddam Hussein.

    From CNSNews.com:

    House Speaker Dennis Hastert wondered how anyone could vote against a resolution "that commends the Iraqi people for adopting an interim constitution; commends our military for their brave efforts in liberating Iraq; and affirms that the world is a better place without Saddam Hussein in power."

    Text of the resolution here.

    UPDATE: I should mention that from my home state's delegation, Jim Clyburn (D-SC) is the only one who voted no. I would vote against him in November, but I live in another district.
      NewsMax: Kerry was at VVAW meeting where assassinations were discussed

    NewsMax is reporting that Gerald Nicosia, author of the book "Home to War: A History of the Vietnam Veterans' Movement" and a Kerry supporter, has evidence that John Kerry did in fact attend a VVAW meeting in November, 1971 in Kansas City, where possible assassinations were discussed. Nicosia claims to have redacted FBI files indicating that Kerry was at the meetings.

    Kerry was at the meeting, Nicosia insisted, pointing to FBI files and the minutes from the VVAW meeting, which he has obtained. "The minutes of the meeting, November 12th through the 15th, it's got John Kerry there, it's got John Kerry resigning there on the third day," Nicosia said.

    Nicosia provided CNSNews.com with a copy of the FBI's redacted files of that November 1971 VVAW meeting. The files refer to the fact that Kerry had "resigned for 'personal reasons.'"

    "You are talking to a Kerry supporter, but I will tell you, after everything that I have heard and seen, I would conclude that he was there," he added.

    If Kerry had knowledge of an assassination conspiracy, was he not bound by law to report it? Isn't he guilty of a serious crime for not doing so?

    UPDATE: Blogs for Bush links to a New York Sun article that says that, presented with FBI evidence that contradicts his earlier denials, Kerry is backing away from the denials, and into the Clintonian faulty memory defense.
      NewsMax: New Bush ads to feature Kerry vs. Kerry

    From NewsMax:

    President Bush's campaign for re-election has an easy job running anti-Kerry ads. All it has to do is quote John Kerry.

    The most laughed-about quotation in the new TV commercial about the Massachusetts Democrat's flip-flop on Iraq: "I actually did vote for his $87 billion, before I voted against it."

    I can't wait to see the ad.
      Capturing Zawahiri?

    I am hoping that the Pakistanis capture Zawahiri alive and well. I am sure that the Pakistanis have effective ways of extracting information from monsters like him.
      Yet another flip flop

    After over a week of Kerry insisting that certain unnamed foreign leaders were supporting him, we get this from his campaign:

    “This election will be decided by the American people, and the American people alone. It is simply not appropriate for any foreign leader to endorse a candidate in America’s presidential election. John Kerry does not seek, and will not accept, any such endorsements.”

    Just like a fish in the bottom of the boat, the flip-flopping continues.

    (Thanks to Blogs for Bush.)
    Wednesday, March 17, 2004
      Kerry approves of Aristide's election tactics, too (and Al Gore's)

    John Kerry calls Jean-Bertrand Aristide a demcratically elected leader. (Link from Jessica's Well)

    But he calls George Bush's election fraudulent. Kerry lies, "Florida is the place where America's democracy was wounded. We had more votes; we won!" In spite of the unofficial recount by the following entities:

    USA Today, the Miami Herald, the Tampa Tribune, the Bradenton Herald, Florida Today, the Tallahassee Democrat, the News-Press of Fort Myers, the Pensacola News Journal, Knight-Ridder newspapers, and the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago (hired by the Washington Post, the New York Times, and several other newspapers)

    Their conclusion:

    [N]ot only did Bush win the ballots that were officially counted, but he also won after counting every ballot cast.

    Andrew Cline writes:

    While Kerry deliberately and incorrectly portrays President Bush as having been fraudulently elected, he mischaracterizes (deliberately or ignorantly, we don't know) Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide as a democratic leader. Kerry told the New York Times that Haiti under Aristide was a "democracy" and a "democratic regime."

    A Cox News Service story reported that, on Haiti, "Kerry challenged the premise of undercutting a democratically elected leader based on the quality of their governance."

    Kerry's daughter Vanessa said that the United States "just helped overthrow, basically overthrow a democratically elected president." Asked on Good Morning America about his daughter's statement, Kerry did not disagree with it or correct it.

    Again Kerry ignores the conclusions made by independent election observers. In calling Aristide a democratically elected president, Kerry disregards the Organization of American States's conclusion that Aristide's 2000 election was hopelessly tainted.

    Kerry's views on the Haitian and American elections of 2000 make one thing very clear: This is not a man you'd want leading your local elections board, much less the free world.

    Well said.

    According to one headline at einnews.com: "You wouldn't even want John Kerry on your school board." (Subscription required)
      Congresswoman Waters spouts bile

    Congresswoman Maxine Waters is commenting on Jean-Bertrand Aristide's overthrow in Haiti:

    "Did the United States of America plan, orchestrate and implement a coup d'etat against a democratically-elected president?"

    Certainly, as a member of Congress, Ms. Waters must be better informed than the average citizen. As such, she must know a lot about the circumstances of Aristide's last election:

    In fact, Aristide's election was illegal under Haitian law and capped off an election cycle that was ridden by fraud and marred by violence.

    On May 21, 2000 some 60 percent of the electorate voted in an impressive, dignified manner in the legislative elections. The OAS monitored the vote. In the following days, ballot-box stuffing and violence against oppositionists cast a shadow over the results. Then came the deliberate miscount of the senatorial ballots by Aristide partisans on the election commission.

    The OAS calculates that 1.2 million votes for 101 senatorial candidates were discarded. "The refusal of the CEP to modify the calculations eventually led the Mission to conclude that the highest electoral authority of the country violated its own Constitution and electoral law," the OAS reported. The elections were "fundamentally flawed."

    If Ms. Waters considers Aristide a "democratically elected" president, then perhaps the OAS should observe this fall's election in Waters' district.
      I guess this was inevitable

    Al Qaeda is calling a "truce" in Spain to see if the new government will withdraw its troops from Iraq. The statement lists the countries they hope to intimidate out of Iraq:

    "Whose turn is it next? Will it be Japan or America, or Italy, Britain or Oslo or Australia?" the statement said, adding Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were also targets.

    For Spain, this truce is like a deal with the devil. If Al Qaeda does succeed in driving out coalition forces from Iraq, they will use the country and its resources to regroup and rebuild its strength, only to terrorize the world anew in the years that would follow. Al Qaeda's ultimate goal is the deaths of all non-Muslims, and the subjugation of all surviving Muslims under Taliban-like rule.
      A blogger's tragedy in Iraq

    The parents of blogger Scott Elliott, of Election Projection, were murdered while doing missionary work in Iraq. Click here to express your condolences and to learn how to contribute to their memorial.
      Peter Jennings in Baghdad

    Just got done watching ABC Nightly News, with Peter Jennings in Baghdad, reporting on today's hotel bombing. My question: why do they only interview Iraqis who are critical of the Americans, and who blame America for the bombing? One woman, according to Jennings, blamed the explosion on an American missile. Jennings admitted that she didn't know what she was talking about, but they still put her on the air. They did not put anyone on the air who blamed the terrorists. I guess I will need to check with Zeyad, Alaa, and Omar, Ali and Mohammed for the true reactions of Iraqis.
      Wictory Wednesday

    Blogs for Bush links to a NYT article quoting John Kerry about funding the troops in Iraq:

    "I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it." - John Kerry

    Leave it to John Kerry to so succinctly and brilliantly characterize his own flip-flopping in one short sentence. This statement once again shows that the man is nothing but a political windsock who will change his position with the slightest political breeze.

    This is one of the multitude of reasons that all Bush supporters should strive for a Bush "wictory" in November. Our nation is facing threats of a type never before seen in our entire history, and President Bush has been facing down those threats masterfully. This is why I am urging all who read this to either volunteer for or donate to the Bush campaign, and for bloggers to join the Wictory Wednesday blogroll.

    Tuesday, March 16, 2004
      Another scandal for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan?

    NewsMax is reporting that a flight data recorder, missing from a 1994 crash that killed the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi, has been found in a locked file cabinet at the UN.

    NewsMax claimed that Annan's insistence he knew nothing about a missing flight data recorder from a 1994 U.N. plane crash "strained believability." The crash occurred over west Africa in a U.N. jet carrying the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi.

    Shortly after the accident, came the massive genocides which the U.N. estimated killed more than 600,000 people. War crimes tribunals overseen by the United Nations are currently underway.

    It was suspected, but never proven, that Rwanda's current president, Paul Kagame, who led a rebel insurgency, ordered the plane shot down.

    Annan, ... as undersecretary-general for peacekeeping affairs at the time, had responsibility for the crash investigation.

    Read the whole thing.
      Economy's lagging indicator - employment - predicted to improve strongly in 2nd quarter

    FoxNews is reporting a survey indicating that 1 in 4 employers will add employees in the second quarter of 2004.

    Roughly one in four employers plan to add workers in the second quarter of the year to keep pace with increased demand for their products or services, according to a survey of 16,000 businesses by Manpower Inc.,(search) set for release Tuesday.

    Manpower's CEO and chairman, Jeffrey Joerres, said that substantial job growth will come if companies fulfill their hiring projections for the quarter.

    William Mezger, chief economist with the Virginia Employment Commission, said companies cannot continue to rely on increased productivity to satisfy increased demand.

    According to the Manpower survey, companies in all regions of the country expect stronger job prospects in the second quarter. Employers in the South expect the most activity, while the Northeast expects the least.

    All 10 industries surveyed, including hard-hit manufacturers, also are more optimistic about hiring in the second quarter than they were last quarter and a year ago.

    This is bad news for John Kerry, but good news for the rest of us.
      Government to reexamine job-killing regulations

    NewsMax is reporting that the Bush administration will reexamine, and possibly overhaul or eliminate many regulations that have put American manufacturers at a competetive disadvantage.

    Questions about the effectiveness, if not the destructiveness and counter-productiveness of burdensome regulations that have piled up over the years, have led the Bush administration to conduct a government-wide review. The idea is to determine whether such regulations have crippled the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers.


    [T]he administration seeks to comb through the 10,000 regulations that have been adopted since 1980, when the Office of Management and Budget began to keep records.


    AP quoted [the director of OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Dr. John D.] Graham as saying, “The U.S. manufacturing industry is hindered by regulations that don’t account for improvements in science and technology over the last 20 years.”

    The Democrats like to blame President Bush for the job losses in manufacturing, but most, if not all of these regulations were pushed for by Democrats and/or their supporters.
      John Kerry is hoping these guys are wrong

    From NewsMax:

    Greenspan said it was "probably feasible" the economy would reach the Bush administration's forecast of adding 2.6 million jobs this year, provided growth continues and the productivity rate slows to more typically levels.

    "I don't think it's 'Fantasyland,'" Greenspan said.

    "I agree with him," said John Ryding, chief market economist at Bear Stearns. "I think that we will create 2.5 million, possibly more, jobs over the balance of the year."

    Indeed, John Kerry is hoping that the economy will tank, unemployment will rise, Iraq will erupt into a conflagration, and Bin Laden wiill remain at large. All for his power hungry drive for the presidency. This is a serious character flaw, not only for Kerry, but for many prominent Democrats.
    Monday, March 15, 2004
      Moon, all 5 naked-eye planets to be visible at once

    From this week until the end of the month, all five naked eye planets will be visible in the evening sky at the same time. (Actually, at 6th magnitude, Uranus is technically a "naked eye" planet, but my eyes are unable to see it, and it is not included in this spectacle.) March 29 will be the best time to see the speedy and elusive Mercury, which never strays more than 19° from the sun in our sky. It will appear at -1.3 magnitude, as bright as the brightest star(besides the Sun), Sirius. Venus will reach maximum elongation (46°) on the same day, and will shine at -4.4 magnitude. Mars will be in the constellation Taurus at magnitude 1.1. Saturn will be in Gemini, and Jupiter will be in Leo, rising in the East at sunset. The crescent moon will appear on March 22, and will be passing through this part of the sky until April 2.

    This will not occur in the evening again until April, 2036.

    An even rarer phenomenon will occur on June 8: a Venus transit across the Sun's disc. The last one was in 1882, and they recur at these intervals (years): 121½, 8, 105½, 8. Another transit will occur on June 6, 2012, then will not repeat until 2117. The transit will last several hours. The entire transit will be visible from Europe and the Middle East. For the eastern US and Canada, the transit will begin before sunrise, but will still be visible. For the western US, southern half of Argentuina, and all but northernmost Chile, sorry, you're out of luck. NASA has low res and high res maps showing visibility of the transit.

    DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE SUN! Proper solar filters are available anywhere astronomy equipment is sold.
      Kerry was warned about lax security at Logan Airport

    My jaw hit the keyboard when I read this Paul Sperry opinion column in the New York Post.

    He just ... passed the buck" on back through the federal bureaucracy, said Brian Sullivan, a retired FAA special agent from the Boston area who in May 2001 personally warned Kerry that Logan was ripe for a "jihad" suicide operation possibly involving "a coordinated attack."(Emphasis added)

    [On] May 6, 2001... a Boston TV station (Fox-25) aired reporter Deborah Sherman's story on an undercover investigation at Logan that Sullivan and another retired agent helped set up. In nine of 10 tries, a crew got knives and other weapons through security checkpoints - including the very ones the 9/11 hijackers would later exploit.

    The next day, Sullivan fired off a two-page letter to Kerry highlighting the systemic failures.

    Sullivan followed up by having the undercover videotape hand-delivered to Kerry's office.

    More than 11 weeks later, Kerry finally replied to his well-informed and anxious constituent. "I have forwarded your tape to the Department of Transportation's Office of Inspector General [DOT OIG]," he said in a brief July 24, 2001, letter, a copy of which I've obtained.

    Yet Sullivan had made it clear in his letter that going to his old agency was a dead end. He and other agents had complained about security lapses for years and got nowhere. "The DOT OIG has become an ineffective overseer of the FAA," he told Kerry. Sullivan suggested he show the tape to peers on committees with FAA oversight. He even volunteered to testify before them.

    But he never heard from Kerry again.

    At that point, Steve Elson, the other agent who'd teamed up on the TV sting, decided to take a crack at the junior senator.

    A fiery ex-Navy Seal, Elson spent three years as part of an elite FAA unit called the Red Team, which did covert testing of airport security across the country, before retiring as a field agent in Houston. He offered to fly to Washington at his own expense to give Kerry a document-backed presentation about the "facade of security" at Logan and other major airports.

    But a Kerry aide said not to bother. "You're not a constituent," Elson was told just a few weeks before the hijackings.

    ...the warnings apparently did stick in Kerry's mind: In the days after 9/11, Kerry told the Boston Globe that he'd triggered an undercover probe of Logan security by the General Accounting Office in June 2001.

    But he wrote Sullivan no such thing in his July letter, stating only that he passed his warning and tape on to Transportation, not GAO. And GAO, though it is the investigative arm of Congress, didn't seem to know what the senator was talking about. The agency had tested security at two airports before 9/11, but neither one was Logan. And Kerry confessed he didn't know the outcome of the probe he says he triggered.

    Is this how John Kerry plans to defend the United States as president? Heaven help us all if he is elected.

    (Thanks to The8re for commenting on this at Blogs for Bush.)

      NASA announces discovery of possible 10th planet

    It was discovered by Michael Brown, associate professor of planetary astronomy at the California Institute of Technology. The object, called Sedna for the Inuit goddess of the sea, at more than 3 billion kilometres (~2 billion miles) beyond the orbit of Pluto, is believed to be the most distant object ever found orbiting the sun. The preliminary value for the object's diameter is 2000km, or slightly smaller then Pluto. This figure is uncertain, and the object could very likely be larger than Pluto.

    Sedna is located in a region called the Kuiper Belt, the most likely souce of comets. From the article:

    The Kuiper Belt contains hundreds of other known bodies and astronomers believe there are many more yet to be found. Most are small worlds of rock and ice but some could be comparable to the dimensions of planets.

    Many astronomers have argued that Kuiper Belt objects, including the newly discovered Sedna, and even Pluto, should not be considered major planets. I personally suspect that as more objects like Sedna are discovered, there will be increased debate on this.

    (I will post a link to this on NASA's website when I find it.)
    UPDATE - News briefing will be at 1:00pm EST today.
    Sunday, March 14, 2004
      Is the liberal bias taking its toll?

    A newly released study from the Pew Research Center indicates a general decline in the audiences of print, television, and radio news media. But the audience for internet news has grown. From the Kansas City Star:

    The study, "The State of the News Media 2004," examined the newspaper, television, magazine, radio and Internet news industries in detail, and found that only online journalism and ethnic or alternative sources of news, such as Spanish-language newspapers, are seeing audience growth.

    "We're in a period of change and dislocation," said Tom Rosenstiel, the project's director. "Clearly, some of the older media are suffering." The Project for Excellence in Journalism is part of Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. The study was funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

    From USA Today:

    The 500-page report, an inaugural effort at a comprehensive annual look at the media, paints a dim picture of the dominant mass media of the 20th century, newspapers and network television. It finds them both in serious and long-term decline (daily newspaper circulation down 11% since 1990; evening news viewership down 28% since 1993). Only three out of eight media sectors are seeing audience growth: ethnic, alternative and online media.

    Some statistics from the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

    • Daily newspaper circulation has fallen 11 percent since 1990.

    • Network evening news ratings have declined 34 percent since 1993.

    • Viewership of cable TV news is flat since 2001.

    • Many U.S. newsrooms are seeing significant cutbacks. There are one-third fewer network TV correspondents than in 1985. There has been a 3 percent decline in news and editorial employees at newspapers since 1990 and a drop of 44 percent in full-time radio newsroom employees between 1994 and 2001.

    But three categories of news — online, alternative and ethnic — are growing. Traffic to the 26 most popular news Web sites grew 70 percent from May 2002 to October 2003, according to Nielsen/NetRatings.

    Here is the key quote from the Kansas City Star:

    The study also found that, overall, trust in news sources is down drastically. The percentage of people who believe what they read in newspapers has declined from 80 percent in 1985 to 59 percent in 2003, and the percentage who give high grades in credibility to the network news divisions dropped from 74 percent in 1996 to 65 percent in 2002.

    And from USA Today:

    But in a world that wants news now and has dozens of places to look for it, all media find themselves on probation. For almost two decades, whether it's because people think the media are simply out to make a buck or reporters have a hidden agenda, trust in the media has steadily declined.

    And from the Times Daily (Northwest Alabama):

    At the same time, the public is taking an increasingly dimmer view of journalists.

    The number of Americans who think news organizations are highly professional shrunk from 72 percent in 1985 to 49 percent in 2002. People who feel journalists try to cover up mistakes rose from 13 percent to 67 percent in the same time, according to polling done by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.

    The New York Times headline on this story ironically seems slanted to me: "Study Finds a Waning Appetite for News", but they do acknowledge the growth surge in news web sites.

    It seems logical to conclude that as trust in the traditional media has been lost, rather than losing their appetite for news, people would look to alternative sources, like the internet. (That's what I did.) I find it interesting that the New York Times version of the article failed to mention anything at all about the decline in trust, thus affirming the public's judgement on that matter.
      Does Ted Kennedy ever say anything constructive?

    Not in this CNN recap of the President's radio address, and Kennedy's response. Kennedy implies that the curret 5.6% unemployment rate is bad, but his "benchmark" is the end of 2000, at the peak of the tech bubble. His benchmark also includes hundreds of thousands of temporary census workers. (I guess it is Bush's fault that these workers lost their jobs too, right Mr. Kennedy?)

    Kennedy states "Job creation in America is in the basement. Last month, the economy created only one new job for every 390 out-of-work Americans, and not one of those new jobs was a private sector job." This seems like an invalid comparison. There will always be some number of Americans out of work. Kennedy implies that these workers will be unemployed until new lobs are created for them. We have a dynamic job market. Millions of jobs are created and millions of others are eliminated every month. Also, people quit jobs, retire, die, get promoted, etc. all the time. This month's 5.6% are not all of the same individuals as last month's 5.6%. Kennedy also claims that there were zero private sector jobs created in February. I'd like to see where he got that number. Probably the dank, dark, alcohol-saturated recesses inside his own skull.

    Kennedy says, "[Families] see their own jobs shipped overseas. They hear the president's chief economic adviser say shipping jobs to China is a good thing for America." It is easy to find someone who recently lost a job, and then put that person in front of a camera to tell his own sad story. It is also easy to create negative sound bites with phrases like, "shipping jobs overseas". Kennedy doesn't want Americans to understand what really happens in a truly free market. (See my earlier posts here, and here.)

    Finally, Kennedy says that for the new jobs created, workers received 21 percent less pay. This is flat out wrong. The newly created jobs are often higher paying.

    The democrats are quick to accuse Republicans of negative campaigning. BUt that is currently their only kind of campaigning. They have yet to offer any suggestions as to how they would make things better.
      Travel agents joining ranks of obsolete occupations?

    The advance of technology continually makes certain occupations obsolete. Will travel agents be the next to join the ranks of chimney sweeps and ice deliverymen? Not if they can help it. Darwinian rules of natural selection - adapt or perish - apply in the job market, too.
      I must have missed this on ESPN

    A report from the All-England Open Badminton Championships in Birmingham.
      I guess this was inevitable

    Porn on automobile DVD players. What's next? Lawsuits against the porn industry for causing traffic accidents? I doubt it. The porn industry is one of the beloved scions of the liberal left.
      Los Angeles considers selling its name

    Los Angeles is considering selling its naming rights. Maybe we here in the blogosphere should have a "Los Angeles Naming Contest" and send the winning results to Mayor James K. Hahn.
      Repeat it enough times, they will believe it

    Here we go again. This time, in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Anthony B. Robinson trots out more unfounded and disproven claims. He goes right to work in the first paragraph with "blame America first":

    ...those who are so convinced of their own righteousness as to be blind to their capacity for evil (referring to America).


    We have learned that this war was on the administration's agenda when it took office, months before 9/11.

    Well, yes. Toppling Saddam has been our official objective since 1998, established by Bill Clinton.

    The Bush administration wanted this war and was in no mood to build the international coalition or consensus that might have given it legitimacy and heightened the chances of post-war success.

    This is just a flat out lie. Bush bent over backward trying to bring the recalcitrant Russia, France and Germany into the fold. But they were to busy enriching themselves with the lucrative corruption of the Oil for Food program. And I guess that an any group of 34 nations cannot be considered and "international coalition" without the participation of France and Germany.

    The year has also revealed that the three oft-repeated reasons for war were largely without substance. Those reasons, some stated explicitly while others were implied, were that Saddam was behind the 9/11 attacks, that Iraq was linked in substantive ways to al-Qaida and that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, including an active nuclear weapons program. Adding the three equaled the casus belli conclusion: Iraq posed an imminent threat to U.S. national security.

    1.I don't ever remember the President arguing that Saddam was behind 9-11. I thought we blamed Bin Laden from day one.
    2. Evidence has indeed turned up that Saddam was aiding Al-Qaeda, by providing funds and facilities. It is also well known that Saddam was paying large sums to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers.
    3. Saddam did have WMD. He used them against Iran, and against civilian Kurds. The biggest threat from Saddam to the US was the very real possibility that he would sell or give these weapons to Al Qaeda. Obviously, Saddam was paying more attention than these liberals while Bush was trying to convince the UN to disprove its irrelevance. He had plenty of time to hide the WMD's. And finally, how many times do we need to tell these liberals: GO BACK AND READ THE TRANSCRIPT OF THE 2002 SOTU! "...We should not wait until the threat is imminent..."

    Once again this crowd was too certain it was right for it to do right by checking its facts and having solid evidence to support its allegations.

    Well let's see. Every major intelligence service in the world believed Saddam had WMD. Even liberals like Hillary Clinton and John Kerry believed it. Why? He had used them before. Remember that UN resolution 1441, ordering Saddam to declare everytihng or face the consequences, was passed unanimously by the Security Council in November, 2002. That means that Russia, and Germany, and France, and even Syria believed Saddam had WMD, and that he must be deprived of them.

    So confident was the administration of its power and virtue that it lacked a credible plan for post-war Iraq.

    This is oft repeated, but never supported with facts. Of course there was a plan, and it is playing out nicely now, if only the media and the liberals would admit it.

    Imagining that U.S. troops would be welcomed as liberators, valuable time and trust were squandered in the months following the war.

    Don't any of these liberals remember how quickly our forces advanced to Baghdad, with the Iraqi army melting away in front of them? Weren't any of them watching the celebration at Firdos Square on April 9?
    Didn't they see the crowds of Iraqis dancing on top of the toppled statue? It sure looked like a liberators' welcome to me.

    The administration was so mesmerized by U.S. military might and unrivaled technological prowess -- which did indeed prove excellent at the work of destruction -- that it was blind to what cannot be accomplished by bombs, bullets or technical means alone, that is, the work of construction, the work of building and rebuilding a society.

    Actually, it is liberal comlumnists like Anthony B. Robinson (the author of this screed) who are "blind to ...the work of construction, the work of building and rebuilding a society" that has been accomplished by coalition forces. Or else they are wilfully ignoring the tremendous progress that has occurred in Iraq, so that they can continue smearing the President.

    Let us hope too that the administration begins to speak truthfully to the American public of its plans, its aims and agendas.

    Here we go again with "Bush lied". Liberals have not caught Bush in a single lie. Because they can't. Because he hasn't.

    If events of the past year have revealed anything, it is how greatly the Bush administration has overestimated the degree of its own sight.

    If events of the past year have revealed anything, it is the pathetic extremes that liberals will go to in order to avoid admitting that they wre wrong about anything.

    If the United States is to have anything like success in Iraq and civil war in Iraq is to be averted, repenting of our sins of arrogance and deception would be an excellent place to start.

    If the United States is to have anything like success in Iraq and civil war in Iraq is to be averted, staying the course is the only thing to do. Iraq is already well on its way to establishing a free, peaceful, democratic society, as evidenced by the signing of the interim constitution by Shiites, Sunni, Kurds, and Christians, and by the showing of solidarity among these groups in the face of the mass murders during Muharram, in spite of Al Qaeda efforts to incite the civil war that MR. Robinson fears.
      Fellow pilot comments on Bush's military service

    Col. John H. Wambough USAF (Retired) comments on the military service of Lt. Bush:

    Lt. Bush’s mission, as a squadron fighter interceptor pilot, was to intercept and destroy enemy aircraft inbound to the United States; for example, Soviet Nuclear Bombers. Remember, we were still in the Cold War in the 1970s with Air Defense a high priority mission.

    Indeed. But Kerry would disparage those who fulfilled this vital role. More:

    Cowards (or people who lack courage) don’t take on the risks that Lt. Bush did in flying Fighter Interceptor Aircraft. Flying jets in wing formation in the weather and carrying explosive ordnance on board is dangerous work. The pilots in these squadrons (including Lt. Bush) did what their country asked them to do. They performed their assigned mission and did it well. In November 1970, the Commander of the Texas Air National Guard, Lt. Col. Jerry B. Killian, called Mr. Bush, then 24, "a dynamic outstanding young officer" who stood out as "a top-notch fighter interceptor pilot.""Lt. Bush's skills far exceed his contemporaries," Colonel Killian wrote: "He is a natural leader whom his contemporaries look to for leadership. Lt. Bush is also a good follower with outstanding disciplinary traits and an impeccable military bearing."

    Another good point:

    During the Vietnam conflict, military pilot training was greatly expanded to accommodate the increased need for pilots. Thousands of pilots were trained during this conflict, primarily to support mission and pilot rotation requirements. F-105, F 4 fighter pilots, and the pilots of other combat aircraft were routinely rotated out of the combat theatre after completing their 100 combat missions. That meant that other pilots needed to be trained to take their place. As the Vietnam conflict began to phase down around 1971, there was a surplus of hundreds of pilots in the U.S. Military, for which there were relatively few flying jobs. Thus, the active duty force as well as ANG and Reserve forces could be very accommodating to those who wanted to pursue alternative career paths (such as Lt. Bush going to Harvard Business School). In fact, these sorts of administrative actions (early releases) helped alleviate the challenges facing the services of a pilot surplus.

    Finally, comments on the behavior of John Kerry and Terry McAuliffe:

    Just think about how our national security would likely have been handled by the anti-war left of the Democrat party and Sen. Kerry. We would probably still be debating what to do in the United Nations; Afghanistan would likely still be under control of the Taliban; Iraq would still be under the control of Saddam Hussein, and cities in the United States would have come under attack on multiple occasions as terrorist organizations were further emboldened by our meek responses. And it wouldn't be surprising if we were negotiating with al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations to preclude further attacks on our cities.

    Excellent points here. I would add that one thing the "blame America first" leftists seem not to understand is that there is no negotiating with the fundamentalist Islamists. Their goals are 1) the slaughter of all non Muslims, and 2) the establishment of a Taliban style fundamentalist theocracy to subjugate the people they haven't slaughtered.
    Saturday, March 13, 2004
      It's obvious who this Pakistani is rooting for

    Afzaal Mahmood on Kerry:

    - On the domestic front, Mr. Kerry promises to restore in his first 500 days all the 2m-3m jobs lost under George Bush.

    - [T]he broad outlines of Mr Kerry's foreign policy agenda are the following: within weeks of his being elected, he would return to the United Nations and not only rejoin the community of nations but also turn over a proud new chapter in America's relations with the world. He will restart negotiations on the Kyoto anti-global-warming treaty; open bilateral talks with North Korea and Iran; appoint envoys to the Middle East and for nuclear proliferation; and aid- failed states. One of Kerry's main themes is that diplomatic indifference has let problems in the Middle East and North Korea fester unnecessarily.

    - If he wins the election, he may try to follow the "progressive internationalism" of Roosevelt and Truman that characterized the American foreign policy during the cold war.

    And on Bush and Republicans:

    - He is already under attack for promoting the interests of his conservative and affluent supporters. He has bypassed the Senate to appoint conservative judges; before the Iraqi venture he branded the United Nations "irrelevant"; he has enforced massive tax cuts that will largely benefit the rich.

    - ...Republican-sponsored measures like ... the controversial Patriot Act which empowers the government to spy on citizens.

    At least he's not 100% for Kerry:

    [T]he attitude of a Democratic administration towards Pakistan's nuclear programme and proliferation scandals may stiffen and lack the sympathy and understanding shown by President Bush.

    We must remember that a large proportion of Pakistanis supported the Taliban, and the dangers Pervez Musharraf faces in supporting the war on terror were strongly illustrated in the recent assassination attempts. It would naturally follow that many Pakistanis would root for Mr. Bush's defeat.
      Woman shows Kerry "My Abortion Hurt Me" sign, staffer destroys it

    A woman attending a Kerry campaign event in Tampa, toted a sign reading "My abortion hurt me." She got the opportunity to show it to him while he was "pressing the flesh". Seconds later, a Kerry staffer ripped the sign from her hand, telling her, "You can't have that sign here." The staffer then tore the sign to pieces in front of the woman, and wouldn't even let her have the pieces.
    Friday, March 12, 2004
      A long and detailed study on offshore outsourcing of jobs

    Here's the whole thing.

    Here are the conclusions:

    • The vast majority of the jobs lost in the post-bubble US economy from 2000 to
    2002 in occupational categories threatened by offshore outsourcing has occurred
    in the manufacturing sector. This indicates that discussions of white-collar job
    losses cannot be separated from economic problems in the manufacturing sector.
    • Most jobs lost have been in high-paying management positions, a different
    occupational category from the projections most frequently cited.
    • Jobs have been lost non-uniformly across different states with some gaining and
    others losing jobs, suggesting that no singular nationwide trend other than the
    regular business cycle is occurring

    The US economy every quarter generates many more jobs than are projected to be
    lost to offshore outsourcing over the next decades
    • The majority of US jobs, projected by the most widely quoted industry report on
    the issue, to be lost in occupational categories threatened by offshore outsourcing
    pays less than the US average wage, suggesting that many of these jobs may face
    medium-term elimination through technological change, regardless of whether
    they are outsourced to offshore locations or not.
    • Some IT occupations have declined, but the declines are concentrated in lowskilled
    IT occupations, and in occupations where economy-wide trends dominate
    (managers and manufacturing). This mitigates the overall macroeconomic impact
    to the US economy of such job losses.
    More than 70,000 computer programmers have lost their jobs since 1999, but
    more than 115,000 higher paid computer software engineers have gotten jobs
    since 1999.
    • High-paying IT occupations have generally expanded since 1999
    (Emphasis mine.)
      Kerry's reaction to Bush ad criticizing Kerry on tax cuts and WOT

    John Kerry says, "I think the president needs to talk about the real priorities of our country."

    Gee, I thought the war on terror, and the economy (and how the tax rates affect it) were pretty much the top two priorities of our country. Are you saying that defending America, and spurring the economy are not real priorities, Mr. Kerry?
      Limousine liberal hypocrisy and ignorance

    An excellent editorial about Hollywood's reaction to Mel Gibson's "The Passion of Christ". My favorite part:

    For critics to slam The Passion for being too violent is disingenuous at best, and hypocritical at worst. I will point out that the “too violent” charge comes from the very community that lauded Quentin Tarantino’s gratuitously bloody “Kill Bill Vol. 1.” Other mindlessly violent movies have met with similar approval. At the very least, The Passion’s violence has a historical context.

    As for The Passion being too narrowly focused, one reviewer commented that Gibson showed too much of Christ’s suffering and too little of His life and teaching. Perhaps this critic should have looked up [The] Passion in a dictionary before seeing the film. Included in the definitions found in the American Heritage Dictionary are: The sufferings of Jesus in the period following the Last Supper including the Crucifixion, and a narrative, musical setting or pictorial representation of Jesus' sufferings.

    Hello mister movie critic, the film is intended to be narrowly focused.

    Read the whole thing.
      So, an Act of Congress named for our 42nd President...

    "Cheeseburger Bill"
      Kudos to ABC

    I can't believe I just said that. But it's true.

    ABC's "Extreme Makeover Home Edition" selected the home of a Guardsman deployed to Iraq for "extreme makeover". He had been deployed for over ten months, and left behind a wife and three sons, 12, 9, and 7.

    Somehow, ABC convinced the Guard to allow him to return home early to help with the remodeling. When the rest of the family returned to see their new home, their biggest surprise was Dad, waiting for them in the backyard. It was a very happy, tearful reunion.

    The show was very uplifting.
    Thursday, March 11, 2004
      Splits galore

    Splits were rampant last Monday during my bowling league. I battled them valiantly, though. I converted 3 of 5 large splits, including the infamous "Greek Church" (the last one shown):

    My three game total was about 75 pins below my average.

    Tuesday was better, all three games at or above 200, and my 3 game total 19 pins above my average.
      South Carolina 2003 job count revised upward
    This article was published today in The State (Columbia, SC).

    South Carolina’s employment picture brightened Wednesday with revised estimates that showed a slight gain in jobs last year, rather than a loss.

    South Carolinians held a total of 1,812,500 jobs last year, the Employment Security Commission reported. That’s a gain of 7,800 jobs, or 0.4 percent, from 2002.

    The commission also said unemployment fell to 6.3 percent in January from 6.7 percent in December, while employers created 0.6 percent more non-farm jobs in January after seasonal adjustments.

    Wednesday, March 10, 2004
      NBC's "Law and Order" disparaging soldiers

    NBC's "Law and Order" episode being broadcast as I type this (as a rerun of a recent episode) is disparaging our soldiers in Iraq. It depicted a whole Army unit, deployed to Iraq, tattooed as such: "Killing is our Business" on one arm, and "Business is Good" on the other.

    I am thoroughly disgusted with NBC. Even the "Bush lied" meme showed up.


    Later in the episode, the Army is being depicted as helping cover up a murder attempt by one of those soldiers, by losing the sidearm allegedly used in the attempt. The victim of the attempt was a formerly embedded reporter who broadcast tactical information to the world (a la Geraldo) and supposedly caused the deaths of three soldiers.


    Now the FBI is complicit in the cover up.


    Michael Moore quotes now: "...fictitious war, fictitious President..." (from the reporter)


    The reporter is now trying to use the first amendment to defend giving away troop locations and movements, and disparaging the Pentagon and the government for trying to stop him. It turns out the reporter staged his own shooting to gain publicity. The soldier was exonerated, as were the Army and FBI.

    For the first 50 minutes, I was ready to swear off "Law and Order", but at least it ended on the right note. Perhaps the former Senator Fred Thompson (who plays the D.A.) insisted on that. I am still upset about the tattoos and the heavily slanted anti-war, anti-Bush rhetoric pervading the script.