Sean's Blog

A Guide To Online
Opinion And Current Events

Saturday, October 11, 2003

The Washington Post features a story on the Iraqi marsh Arabs in today's edition.

"Bush Wants Plan for Democratic Change in Cuba."

Perhaps President Bush is working to shore up his Cuban-American constituency, but I believe he is serious when he says he has instructed Secretary of State Colin Powell and Housing Secretary Mel Martinez to develop a plan for when Fidel Castro leaves power. That's a polite way to say, "when Castro dies," which we all know is the only way he's going to leave power.

Interestingly, and not surprisingly, Amnesty International is opposed to President Bush's proposals:

"Amnesty International expressed some concerns about Bush's proposals, saying they were 'far from forward-looking' and would hurt people they were meant to help.

'At a time when the U.S. should put effective human rights strategies at the core of its Cuba policy, it may well have succeeded in doing the opposite,' said executive director William F. Schulz.

"Far from forward-looking"? Actually, isn't that exactly what Bush is doing? Isn't he planning ahead and looking to the future? Amnesty International repeatedly shoots itself in the foot. They could have much more support around the world if only they weren't so far leftwing in their overall politics. The only reason, THE ONLY REASON, that Amnesty International's executive director said that is because the American president is a Republican. It was pure partisan politics with little concern for the people of Cuba. Amnesty International should be above such things, but they aren't. It's why I can't respect them and would never support them.

Via Drudge, Limbaugh in his own words:

I need to tell you today that part of what you have heard and read in the past week is correct. I am addicted to prescription pain medication. I first started taking prescription pain killers five, six years ago when my doctor prescribed them to treat post-surgical pain following spinal surgery. Unfortunately, the surgery was unsuccessful and I continued to have severe pain in my lower back and also in my neck now due to two herniated discs -- pain which I'm still experiencing because of that. Rather than opt for additional surgery for these conditions, I chose to treat the pain with prescribed medication, and this medication turned out to be highly addictive. Over the past several years I've tried to break my dependence on pain pills and in fact I've twice checked myself into medical facilities in an attempt to do so. But I recently agreed with my doctor about the next steps. So. Immediately following this broadcast, I will check myself into a treatment center for the next 30 days to once and for all break the hold that this highly-addictive medication has on me. The show will continue during this time, of course. There will be an array of guest hosts that you've come to know and respect sitting here. I'm not making any excuses and I don't intend to..........[[re other famous people who have undergone treatment]] I want you to know that I'm no role model and I refuse to let anybody think that I'm doing something heroic here or doing something great here when there are people that you have never heard of...[who] just face it. They are the role models if anybody in this is a role model. I'm not a victim and I'm not going to portray myself as a victim...I take full responsibility for this problem. At the present time, the authorities are conducting an investigation. I have been asked to limit my public comments until this investigation is complete. So I'm only going to say that the stories you've read -- the stories you've heard -- contain inaccuracies and distortions, and I'm going to clear those up when I am finally free to speak about them...........I deeply appreciate the overwhelming support that you have extended to me. It literally has sustained me, but it doesn't fool me. It is what it is. I take it for what it is, and I appreciate it more than I will ever be able to express to you. But now I want to ask for your prayers, because when this is all over with I look forward -- actually it's never going to be all over with, that's something I know. But, nevertheless, I look forward to resuming our excursions into broadcast excellence together, again, as soon as possible.

Pat Robertson:

"When you get through, you say, 'If I could just get a nuclear device inside Foggy Bottom, I think that's the answer',"

What an unbelievable thing to say, especially when you consider that this view is shared by radical muslims. I mean, Pat Robertson is making it difficult to distinguish between himself and a group that would kill us all if they could.

Friday, October 10, 2003

The Kobe Bryant preliminary hearing got ugly yesterday.

Speaking of the evidence, what happened to the reports that this woman's injuries were so severe that they were visible days later? What happened to the reports that this woman's friends were simply shocked at her physical appearance because of the injuries? It was reported last night that the injuries required magnification to be visible.

The French don't seem to care much whether their leaders are corrupt.

It's business as usual. Maybe that's why they supported their government when it opposed the U.S. over Iraq. Can you imagine if it turned out that the American government had opposed removing Saddam Hussein AND it was further revealed that our government had highly lucrative oil and weapons deals with that evil man? Can you imagine the outrage from the left? The French didn't make a peep because they expect nothing better from their leaders.

Don't give me any crap about the French position being a principled opposition. Replace the words "French oil and weapons contracts with Saddam Hussein" and add "American oil and weapons contracts with Saddam Hussein" and notice the change in your own mind.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

From Jay Nordlinger's Impromptus column:

Of course, if people aren't making the grade, you lower the grade — you lower the standards. A correspondent from the University of Michigan sent me an editorial from the Michigan Daily — the student newspaper there — that advocates dumbing down the honors program in the name of "diversity."

Said the paper, "[I]t is time for the [Literature, Science & the Arts] Honors Program to revamp its admissions process in order to dramatically increase the number of underrepresented minorities in the program. The University's strong belief in diversity must extend beyond the general admissions process to ensure that students fully realize the potential benefits of this diversity, especially in its most prestigious academic units.

"The underrepresentation of blacks, Latinos and Native Americans within the program can be attributed to the admissions process's over reliance on standardized test scores and high school grade point averages. This over reliance often works to the disadvantage of minority students."

There you go.

Here's a question: Why aren't "minority" students insulted? Many are. And it would be good to hear those voices a bit more (though it's easy for someone else to encourage martyrdom and social ostracization, right?).

Good question. Why aren't minority students insulted that standards must be lowered for them? Isn't that racism? Isn't that the definition of racism? Aren't they insulted when guilt ridden liberals demand that standards be lowered so the poor minority student can compete? I would be.

If the problem were that equally or better qualified minority job, school, and program applicants were clearly being denied their place because of their skin color then I would be demanding justice. But that's not what's happening. LESS qualified minority applicants are being placed in those positions because of their skin color.

The answer is to improve minority education. How do we do that? Well, first of all people like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and the NAACP need to quit telling minorities that our nation is so hopelessly racist that it's useless to even try. Parents need to be told that their children can succeed if they are willing to work hard and do well in school. Yes, we still have racial problems, however they are nowhere nearly as severe as they were even 30 years ago, but Jackson and Sharpton will never admit to it. Many things have changed and opportunities for minorities have never been better. When parents believe that their children can succeed they will be much more enthusiastic about their education.

Things have improved and people like Jackson are losing power because the race industry has been exposed. I believe that people are beginning to see that the race baiters have made careers out of labeling everything as "Racism!" at every opportunity even in the face of overwhelming evidence that American society is rejecting it's racist past.

I believe things improve each time someone like Jay Nordlinger points out some bit of insanity like the editorial from the Michigan Daily student newspaper.

An economic bellwether indicates that the economy is picking up steam.

First time unemployment claims are at an eight month low and the four-week average of such claims are also at an eight month low. The stock market is going to like this news. A lot.

The New York Times is reporting that the World Bank believes that Iraq can absorb only $6 billion next year in aid for infrastructure needs.

It appears that donors are beginning to open their wallets. The Times article says that Japan is pledging one billion dollars next year with total aid forecast in the billions of dollars. Europe initially pledged a measly $230 million and now it appears they may give a little more. The U.S. will also press neighboring Arab nations to do much more to help the Iraqi people.

It's my prediction that ten years from now people will be amazed at the transformation that has taken place in Iraq. I believe it will be called an economic and political miracle.

At 32 years of age, Bobby Jindal is a candidate for Louisiana governor. If the man can win that race he will become a nationally recognized figure who will be touted as a future presidential candidate. On paper and on issues the young man is that impressive.

Remember his name because it appears this young man is being groomed for bigger things.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Jay Nordlinger in National Review Online:

The war on standardized testing has been amazingly nasty (which is in the nature of war, I should know). Want to hear what the incomparable Jonathan Kozol once wrote? He is quoted in No Excuses. Standardized testing, he said, brings to mind "another social order not so long ago that regimented all its children . . . to march with pedagogic uniformity, efficiency, and every competence one can conceive — except for independent will — right into Poland, Austria, and France, and World War II."

I'll simplify it for you: Testers are Nazis.

Verbal tests are constantly accused of racial bias, but how about math tests? The Thernstroms wonder how those can be biased.

Ah, but reason has little place in this realm. The president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics — no less — said — get this — "Traditional mathematics is the mathematics of exclusion." There you have it.

I know a man — a math prof — who, years ago, spent a sabbatical in South Africa. Someone there told him, "We don't believe the white man's math."

That doesn't make a teacher's job so easy.

Ralph Peters hits the nail on the head even though I know the media doesn't care:

Reporters, on whom we rely as our eyes and ears abroad, have refused to consider the implications of their activities. They enjoy their power, even as they deny its existence.

Far too many journalists refuse to acknowledge the truth about their role in this age of endless news cycles and global access to reportage. Even when reporters don't make up the news, they make the news by selecting what they report. And the public's perception of reality, delivered by journalists, becomes the new reality.

The media is a key strategic factor today. And it is profoundly dishonest for so powerful a player to pretend it bears no responsibility for strategic outcomes.

By ceaselessly focusing on the negative, the media wear down the judgment of the American people. Recent declines in support for our policy have far more to do with the way events are reported than with the reality in Iraq.

Arnold's remarkable win yesterday in the California recall election can't be overstated. That a Republican, albeit a very moderate one, won in what has become the nation's most liberal state and that the total percentage of votes for Republicans was more than 60% of the total was amazing.

Here's the Fox News report from last nights events.

The Racial Privacy Initiative, aka Proposition 54, was handily defeated last night. That was the initiative that sought to ban collection of racial data.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Bret Stephens (reg req) has an excellent piece in the Jerusalem Post about leftwing media and their opposition to the Afghan and Iraqi wars.

I will be happy with any outcome in today's California recall election. I don't live in Cali, but it's still a win-win situation as far as I'm concerned.

If Arnold (or McClintock) wins, California will have rejected the progressive utopia that Opinion Journal touches on in today's edition. California state government has been run entirely by Democrats the past few years and it's been a laboratory of sorts. They have been free to do whatever they want and now we see what that means:

"What Californians have witnessed is what the modern liberal coalition looks like in power: a gerrymandered majority dominated by the "progressive" special-interest trinity of trial lawyers, unions (especially of public employees) and environmentalists.

Their priorities are the transfer of wealth from working people to an ever-expanding public sector; more mandates and rules on business that enhance union power but reduce the ability to invest at a profit and create new jobs; and of course legal standards and workers' compensation loopholes that create more openings for trial-lawyer assaults."

If Davis survives or if Bustamante wins, it means that California will have to put up with even more of what they seem to have wanted in the first place. Perhaps if they do keep Davis or get Bustamante the anger will grow and grow until the Democratic party completely wrecks the fifth largest economy in the world. Part of me hopes that Davis survives so he can continue to destroy California's economy until it resembles Sweden's. Part of me wants Davis to stay because it would serve the people of California right.

But then I realize that many people actively tried to get rid of Davis in last year's election. They tried and that's why, for their sake, I hope Davis is recalled and Arnold (or McClintock) wins. The majority of the people in California deserve Davis; they deserve what they voted for. But it's for that small minority that I hope the recall is successful.

Monday, October 06, 2003

Wow. Jill Stewart in the L.A. Daily News:

Since at least 1997, the Times has been sitting on information that Gov. Gray Davis is an "office batterer" who has attacked female members of his staff, thrown objects at subservients and launched into red-faced fits, screaming the f-word until staffers cower.

I published a lengthy article on Davis and his bizarre dual personality at the now-defunct New Times Los Angeles on Nov. 27, 1997, as well as several articles with similar information later on.

The Times was onto the story, too, and we crossed paths. My article, headlined "Closet Wacko Vs. Mega Fibber," detailed how Davis flew into a rage one day because female staffers had rearranged framed artwork on the walls of his office.

He so violently shoved his loyal, 62-year-old secretary out of a doorway that she suffered a breakdown and refused to ever work in the same room with him. She worked at home, in an arrangement with state officials, then worked in a separate area where she was promised Davis would not go. She finally transferred to another job, desperate to avoid him.

He left a message on her phone machine. Not an apology. Just a request that she resume work, with the comment, "You know how I am."

Another woman, a policy analyst, had the unhappy chore in the mid-1990s of informing Davis that a fund-raising source had dried up. When she told Davis, she recounted, Davis began screaming the f-word at the top of his lungs.

The woman stood to demand that he stop speaking that way, and, she says, Davis grabbed her by her shoulders and "shook me until my teeth rattled. I was so stunned I said, 'Good God, Gray! Stop and look at what you are doing. Think what you are doing to me!"'

After my story ran, I waited for the Times to publish its story. It never did. When I spoke to a reporter involved, he said editors at the Times were against attacking a major political figure using anonymous sources.

Just what they did last week to Schwarzenegger.

Weeks ago, Times editors sent two teams of reporters to dig dirt on Schwarzenegger, one on his admitted use of steroids as a bodybuilder, one on the old charges of groping women from Premiere Magazine.

Who did the editors assign, weeks ago, to investigate Davis' violence against women who work for him?


No. There's no leftwing bias in the media.

Jonathan Rauch had an article last Friday that seemed to be making excuses for the media as to why they were so hellbent on portraying Iraq as a failure. Rauch says the reason is "hindsight bias." I say "bullshit."

Here's my letter to Rauch:


You and much of the media are also guilty of stating your opinion that the pre-war intelligence was faulty. You say:

"For instance, the Bush administration should have -- must have -- seen the gaps in its pre-war intelligence (they are pretty evident now)."

What prewar intelligence? Are you talking about WMD's? If you were trying to be fair at all you would have mentioned the little fact that virtually every intelligence agency in the world agreed Saddam had WMD's.

Did you read David Kay's report? Are you one of those people who read the NY Times headline and came to the conclusion that because we didn't find barrels of WMD's there were none? Do you not consider the possibility that Saddam hid his weapons, moved them, or simply dumped them in rivers or on the ground? No you don't. You are a member of the paid media and you as a group have decided that the problem was with U.S. intelligence.

Maybe it was faulty, but you don't even qualify your statement with "maybe." It's a FACT, isn't it?

There is more than hindsight bias at play here. There are those who simply hate the U.S. because of deep ideological beliefs. There are lazy reporters who don't leave the hotel because it's too hot or because it's just easier all the way around to stay and just report what the military spokesman says. There are the drama queen reporters (Christiane Amanpour and Geraldo) who simply love drama. There are the morally superior reporters who feel the incredible urge to show the world just how damn compassionate they are by contrasting their compassion with the brutality of the war. And finally, there are media types such as yourself who are so influenced by your associates in the business that you all eventually start repeating the same lines: "Faulty prewar intelligence"......"quagmire"........"no WMD's"......."there is no bias in the media".

You're naive if you don't believe that many in the media have agendas. The American people realize it and that's why major print media and Big Three network viewership are in decline. It's why CNN is being pummeled by Fox.

Yes, Fox News Channel has biases, but the reason Fox News is thumping CNN is because people have seen for themselves how the two networks present the news. People quickly realized how badly CNN was deceiving them. After seeing this for themselves, it became time to give someone else a chance.

Hindsight bias doesn't fly. The reasons for media deception over Iraq may include hindsight bias, but the biggest reason is that reporters are human. In many cases they simply can't help themselves.

Sean Roper

It's turned into a flood. The stories coming out of Iraq about how things are really going is now too big to ignore. Glenn Reynolds has been one of the point men on the issue of big media's attempt to portray this as a quagmire.

That Glenn Reynolds link above has five threads to "the media is lying to you about Iraq" stories. And here's another one.

Rich Lowry on what the Democrats believe:

That wars should be authorized, but never fought.

That the United Nations is the world's last, best hope, and every jot of its writ should always be respected, unless it inconveniences Saddam Hussein.

That nation-building is always a humanitarian and just cause, unless it is undertaken in Iraq.

That anyone who said Saddam had weapons of mass destruction prior to the war was lying, unless his or her name is Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Madeleine Albright, Bill Cohen, John Kerry, or Joe Lieberman, or the person ever served in the Clinton cabinet or as a Democratic senator.

That French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin is always right.

That President Bush isn't devoting enough resources to the reconstruction of Iraq, and that — in light of his $87 billion aid proposal — he is devoting far too many resources to the reconstruction of Iraq.

That George Bush maneuvered the United States into war in an act of manipulative genius, and also is very stupid.

That [fill in blank with latest conflict here] is another Vietnam.

That the U.S. military is overextended — and should be smaller.

Read the whole thing.

If you read the New York Times headline, or if you watched CNN or any of the Big Three broadcast networks nighly news you would know that the war against Iraq was unjustified and that Saddam didn't have WMD's. You would know that this was true because David Kay said Saddam didn't have WMD's. Let's see what else David Kay said:

We have discovered dozens of WMD-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations during the inspections that began in late 2002. The discovery of these deliberate concealment efforts have come about both through the admissions of Iraqi scientists and officials concerning information they deliberately withheld and through physical evidence of equipment and activities that ISG has discovered that should have been declared to the UN. Let me just give you a few examples of these concealment efforts, some of which I will elaborate on later:

A clandestine network of laboratories and safehouses within the Iraqi Intelligence Service that contained equipment subject to UN monitoring and suitable for continuing CBW research.

A prison laboratory complex, possibly used in human testing of BW agents, that Iraqi officials working to prepare for UN inspections were explicitly ordered not to declare to the UN.

Reference strains of biological organisms concealed in a scientist's home, one of which can be used to produce biological weapons.

New research on BW-applicable agents, Brucella and Congo Crimean Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF), and continuing work on ricin and aflatoxin were not declared to the UN.

Documents and equipment, hidden in scientists' homes, that would have been useful in resuming uranium enrichment by centrifuge and electromagnetic isotope separation (EMIS).

A line of UAVs not fully declared at an undeclared production facility and an admission that they had tested one of their declared UAVs out to a range of 500 km, 350 km beyond the permissible limit.

Continuing covert capability to manufacture fuel propellant useful only for prohibited SCUD variant missiles, a capability that was maintained at least until the end of 2001 and that cooperating Iraqi scientists have said they were told to conceal from the UN.

Plans and advanced design work for new long-range missiles with ranges up to at least 1000 km - well beyond the 150 km range limit imposed by the UN. Missiles of a 1000 km range would have allowed Iraq to threaten targets through out the Middle East, including Ankara, Cairo, and Abu Dhabi.

Clandestine attempts between late-1999 and 2002 to obtain from North Korea technology related to 1,300 km range ballistic missiles --probably the No Dong -- 300 km range anti-ship cruise missiles, and other prohibited military equipment.
In addition to the discovery of extensive concealment efforts, we have been faced with a systematic sanitization of documentary and computer evidence in a wide range of offices, laboratories, and companies suspected of WMD work. The pattern of these efforts to erase evidence - hard drives destroyed, specific files burned, equipment cleaned of all traces of use - are ones of deliberate, rather than random, acts. For example,

On 10 July 2003 an ISG team exploited the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) Headquarters in Baghdad. The basement of the main building contained an archive of documents situated on well-organized rows of metal shelving. The basement suffered no fire damage despite the total destruction of the upper floors from coalition air strikes. Upon arrival the exploitation team encountered small piles of ash where individual documents or binders of documents were intentionally destroyed. Computer hard drives had been deliberately destroyed. Computers would have had financial value to a random looter; their destruction, rather than removal for resale or reuse, indicates a targeted effort to prevent Coalition forces from gaining access to their contents.

All IIS laboratories visited by IIS exploitation teams have been clearly sanitized, including removal of much equipment, shredding and burning of documents, and even the removal of nameplates from office doors.

Although much of the deliberate destruction and sanitization of documents and records probably occurred during the height of OIF combat operations, indications of significant continuing destruction efforts have been found after the end of major combat operations, including entry in May 2003 of the locked gated vaults of the Ba'ath party intelligence building in Baghdad and highly selective destruction of computer hard drives and data storage equipment along with the burning of a small number of specific binders that appear to have contained financial and intelligence records, and in July 2003 a site exploitation team at the Abu Ghurayb Prison found one pile of the smoldering ashes from documents that was still warm to the touch.

Never mind these silly little details. Bush lied. Right?

Sunday, October 05, 2003

I also didn't post anything on the Rush Limbaugh drug controversy. I'll have to wait to see what Rush says and to see what happens in the investigation.

For some background, here's the story.

I didn't post anything on the Rush Limbaugh/Donovan McNabb controversy so here's my take.

I agree with Rush that some in the media are eager to promote black quarterbacks. Joe Theisman used to kiss Kordell Stewart's ass everytime he would broadcast a Steelers game. He would tell us how great Kordell was and how he would, always someday, be a top tier quarterback. But the problem was that Kordell never panned out. He made crucial mistakes at the worst possible moments until finally the Steelers had to get rid of him. I don't hate Kordell because he didn't pan out. Hell, I have no illusions that I could have done any better, but the fact is that many in the media wanted Kordell to succeed and did in fact promote him by telling us how great he was. At the time I deferred to the experts. If they said he was going to be great I tended to believe them. Not anymore. I know now that Kordell was built up into something that he was not and never would be because he was a black quarterback. Yes, there is such a thing as white guilt in sports broadcasting.

With that said I think Rush was WRONG about Donovan McNabb. That's just my opinion. I may be wrong, but I saw a couple of McNabb's games last year and he was very impressive. Hell, I considered him to be at least one of the top three quarterbacks in the league last year.

So, yes Rush may have been right that there are black quarterbacks out there who don't deserve the praise that's heaped on them (Daunte Culpepper), but in my opinion Donovan McNabb is not one of them. Time will tell though. Rush may be more right than most people think.