Saturday, October 30, 2004

Bill Jones on the Osama tape

An announcement by Bill Jones, California's Republican candidate for US Senate:
Today's tape from a person claiming to be Osama Bin Laden reinforces the message of what is at stake in this election. By issuing these threats, the terrorists apparently are hoping that the American people can be easily stampeded away from our commitment to seek justice for the victims of 9/11 and to end these threats to the civilized world.

This video is nothing more than the admission of a mass murderer. His claims of sympathy for the victims are pathetic. His efforts to shift blame for his own murderous actions to the President are laughable.

Bin Laden may have been trying to issue his own "October surprise" in an attempt to influence our elections, but his ghoulish ramblings are more in keeping with the Halloween season-our fears will become real only if we let them.

As former Secretary of State, I know our right to vote is the precious right we have. Many have died, many have been willing to be jailed, and many have suffered incalculable risks and indignities to secure the right to vote for themselves. We will not be easily swayed by the threats of a madman and a thug.

Bin Laden clearly fears the resolve of this nation and of President Bush. The attacks of 9/11 did not scare us into submission; they awoke a sleeping giant and we are now firm in our resolve to hunt the terrorists down in their holes and eliminate this threat from the world.

This tape reminds us once again that the terrorist threat will not be resolved by negotiations. It cannot be contained by treating them as simply a "policing" problem. Their hatred of Americans and our freedoms are too strong, and their sense of reality is too warped to dissuade them from lashing out and killing again.

My opponent, Barbara Boxer, has for too long misunderstood this threat. Her 22 years in Congress is replete with her efforts to diminish our ability to flush out the nature of this threat, and to arm our troops with the tools they need to hunt them down.

Boxer has a history of voting against the needs of our men and women in uniform. She voted to deny them the weapons systems they now use to such effective force. She voted to gut our intelligence agencies precisely at the time the threat from terrorism was beginning to develop. She voted against body armor for our troops. And she voted against pay raises to the men and women in our military at least 6 times while voting to raise her own pay at least 5 times.

More importantly, she ignored the terrorist threat at the very time she was Chair of the Senate's subcommittee on terrorism. Upon taking over as Chair, Boxer immediately announced that she was going to reshape the priorities of the Terrorism Subcommittee. In fact, she was quoted in the Modesto Bee saying, "We're planning on other issues in this committee and my subcommittee that deal with children, the status of children in the world, the status of women and some other things." Nowhere in those priorities is the terrorist threat.

After 9/11, Boxer continued to show she misunderstood the nature of the threat Bin Laden and the terrorists present to our nation and to the world. After the 9/11 tragedy, Boxer was quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle as saying "We didn't know we had an enemy . . . We had no idea in terms of the breadth and reach of this enemy." And this was a statement coming from the former Chair of the Senate's Subcommittee on terrorism.

After the Madrid rail bombing, Boxer was quoted on the floor of the Senate referring to a terrorist act that killed 200 and injured 1400 as "that rail accident."

Today's Bin Laden tape should make it clear who our enemy really is. In the Senate, I will add a vote and the resolve to fighting this enemy that Boxer has failed to comprehend.

Storyblogging Carnival 4

I guess Donald Crankshaw didn't like my attempt to modernize the numbering systems of carnivals by hosting Storyblogging Carnival 4 so he's got about a million posts referring to Storyblogging Carnival IV. Probably just wants to dilute the effect of my caption.

Really people, don't be so Eurocentric. This new-fangled Arabic numeral system is vastly superior to the old Roman system on every level. Don't be afraid to modernize. :-)

Friday, October 29, 2004

what a relief!

After the Spanish caved in to terrorists and elected the government that the terrorists wanted, I greatly feared that we would face something similar here. But now someone --presumably Osama himself-- has put out a videotape telling us how the streets are going to run red with blood, and I feel a lot safer.

These guys always seem to talk biggest when they have the least to talk about. Osama didn't come on TV to warn us about 9/11 or any of his other big attacks, so why would he come on to warn us about the next one? I think the reason is that he can't put together an attack for the election. He wasn't able to put one together for Australia either.

If I'm right, this demonstrates that Bush has done a terrific job of destroying the infrastructure of al Qaeda, so that they just can't put together a serious operation in a developed nation. We'll see, but I'm predicting no major terrorism before this election.

And as long as I'm predicting, I'm going to predict Bush by 8 points nationally. I know it's way out of line with the poles, but I speculate (1) that the Democrats have intimidated people about saying they support Bush, (2) that the intimidation will work against them in the privacy of the polling booth, and (3) that a lot of people who think they are voting for Kerry won't be able to pull the lever for him when the time comes.

So you heard it here first. If the prediction turns out to be close, I'll be sure and remind you about it. If it turn out not to be close, you have permission to remind me. :-)

UPDATE: Oops. It seems I was confusing two different videotapes: one by Osama (or look-a-like) and a different one that promised the streets running red with blood. If the red-with-blood tape is legit, then my point still stands. If it was just cobbled together by another anti-Bush wacko then, of course, my point is pointless.

I'm still standing by my election prediction.

Slate on voting twice

From Slate:
For all the new concern about double voting, though, the odds of getting caught remain minuscule. Comparing voter databases county by county and state by state is a needle-in-haystack undertaking, even with the aid of computers. Why not vote twice then? Michael Moore probably shouldn't do it. But you probably could.
So, I'm not a lawyer or anything, but isn't it a crime to encourage people to commit a crime?

a different kind of voter guide

Tom Harrison has a generic voter guide for local politics.


Quoted from the Economist (at Instapundit):
Still, on social policy, Mr Kerry has a clear advantage: unlike Mr Bush he is not in hock to the Christian right. That will make him a more tolerant, less divisive figure on issues such as abortion, gay marriage and stem-cell research.
I've seen this before. The Christian right is called intolerant, but these kinds of statements pretty much admit that it is the other side that is intolerant.

If the president is opposed to abortion, gay marriage and stem-cell research then you get a lot of divisiveness because the people who disagree with him will hate him and refuse to cooperate on anything. They'll fight him on foreign policy, national security, education, everything they possibly can, just to make him look bad. But if you get someone who is the opposite, then there is much less divisiveness because the Christian right will be civil and will still work with him on other issues while working politely to get him replaced with a candidate more favorable to them.

Which is really the intolerant group here?

new word

Carol Andrew Morse has a word for the persistent idea that America just can't win and it's to dangerous to try: declinism.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

the blame game

Let's suppose the worst is true. Suppose that hundreds of thousands of tons of explosives were looted from al Qaqaa after the US invasion. Just how would that be Bush's fault? What is it with you people who want to blame everything that has happened in the last four years on Bush? If Kerry is elected, are you going to blame Kerry for every bad thing that happens on his watch?

If some soldiers commit an atrocity are you going to blame Kerry for it like you blamed Bush for Abu Grahaib? If the military or law enforcement makes a serious mistake that gets people killed, are you going to blame Kerry like you blamed Bush for al Qaqaa? Are you going to hold Kerry personally responsible for every bad economic indicator as you did Bush? If France and Germany decide that their interests don't coincide with those of the US in some important issue, are you going to blame Kerry for his arrogant diplomacy?

Actually, we can answer some of those questions by looking at history. How many of you blamed Clinton for the Tailhook scandal? Hands? Anyone? I didn't think so. It's not Abu Grahaib, but it's abuse by the military of other people. A few outliers blamed Clinton for this, for his example of mistreating women. Most Americans, even those like me who didn't like Clinton, held the Naval officers responsible for their own actions.

Well, how about a mistake that gets people killed. How many of you blamed Clinton for Wako? Hands? That neither, huh? Of course in that case, Clinton's own cabinet officer, Attorney General Janet Reno was personally involved, so there was actually a case for blaming Clinton. Especially since Reno wasn't fired afterward. But I don't recall Bob Dole going around telling everyone how Clinton was personally responsible for Wako.

Economics. Do any of you blame Clinton for the stock market bust? You know, the second worst one in American history? The one that Alan Greenspan warned us about but then was pressured into shutting up? Anyone blame Clinton for that?

What about the fact that on Clinton's watch, two major treaties were passed (greatly pushed by France and Germany, oddly enough) that were intended to help bring the US down to size: Kyoto and the International Criminal Court? Oh, sorry. You people who blame Bush for everything probably think those two treaties are good things. Anything to keep America under control, and all that.

OK, then how about Oklahoma City? Anyone? Didn't think so. Republicans could have searched for, and probably found some document warning the White House, in terms however vague, of the dangers of home-grown terrorists and militias. They could have used it to blame Clinton for spending so much time with interns that he didn't have time to take care of the nation's security. Most of them thought it was more important to rally together as Americans than to score cheap political points off of a tragedy.

Clinton didn't agree though. He had no trouble using a great tragedy to score cheap political points, so he blamed Rush Limbaugh (aka "hate radio") for the bombing. He blamed religious whackos for Wako and blamed his predecessor for the Tailhook scandal (which had happened for three years on his watch).

Isn't it funny how it is always the fault of Republicans? Isn't it odd how the Democrats never, ever are responsible for anything bad?

This year the Democrats are constantly harping on how Bush never takes responsibility for his mistakes. Name one mistake Bill Clinton ever took responsibility for without forensic evidence to convict him (not counting other people's mistakes he took it upon himself to apologize for). In fact, name one mistake Democrats in general blame any of their own leaders for.

Vietnam? Well, that was a mistake (according to the Democrats), but it was "America's" mistake, not a Democratic president's. Ever notice that? When you are talking to a Democrat and they are talking about evil things that "America" has done, it always seems to be things that were done during Democratic administrations or by Democrats. The Japanese internment, various assassinations or attempted assassinations of foreign leaders, suppressing black voters. If the president was Republican, it wasn't "America" it was Reagan or Bush or Eisenhower. Reagan supported the corrupt dictator of El Salvador, but "America" supported the corrupt dictator of Vietnam.

But it's George Bush who won't take responsibility for mistakes. Go figure.


A man brings two drinking glasses and sets them on the bed-side stand. One is full of water and one is empty. His wife asks him what the glass of water is for. "In case I get thirsty and want a drink."

"And what's the empty glass for?"

"In case I don't get thirsty."

The high incidence of shower deaths of computer programmers was finally explained today when an ivestigator noticed the instructions on the shampoo bottle: "lather, rinse, repeat".

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

yes I'm still here

I expect a lot of you were worried about me, so I thought I'd pop in for a minute to say that I'm still here. I've been working extra long hours at work because of a project we need to get done. When I have free time, I've been workng on getting my new blog set up. I'll be back soon.

Meanwhile, talk amongst yourselves.

Monday, October 25, 2004

throwing down the gauntlet

The Democrats seem to be throwing down the gauntlet over this election. They are indicating that they will refuse to accept any outcome except Kerry for president. They are threatening to do whatever it takes to make that outcome happen.

Is this part of their strategy of intimidation? Are they hoping that just the fear of another four years of Democrat viciousness will intimidate voters into voting for them? Or are they really willing to tear this country apart over who is going to be in charge? I suspect it's a little of both.

The last time we had this kind of political hatred in the country there were assassinations, riots, and bombings. Democrats like to say that the era of political hatred started with Clinton. They must all be teenagers or they would remember the hatred for Ronald Reagan and the assassination attempts, the hatred over the Vietnam war that led to riots and home-grown terrorists, the hatred over integration that lead to riots, calling out the national guard and the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

And in every one of those situations, the violent people were either Democrats or on the same side as the Democrats. The hatred for Clinton was a pale thing by comparison. No one tried or ever threatened to subvert democracy with violence over Clinton.

Democrats have been tearing this country apart with violence and threats of violence since the Civil War. I thought they had outgrown it, but this election has shown me how naive I was.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Storyblogging Carnival 4

Well another fortnight another Storyblogging Carnival. I'd like to thank Donald for starting this carnival; it's been loads of fun and I've been introduced to lots of great writing.

The previous Carnival was at Beyond Salvage.
The very first Carnival was at Back of the Envelope.

As usual, we have lots of variety. The first entry is actually four stories. I'm sorting these from shortest to longest, and yes, even with four stories, this entry is the shortest. That's because each story is just fifty words. It's sort of the haiku of prose.

High Wire Fate

from Fringe
50 words each, rated PG to R
Author's Note:
A tale told in fifty words. Fifty one if you count the title, which is
just as important as the rest of the story.

The next entry is a story about ... well I'm not sure. It could be allegorical; it sort of has that Pilgrim's Progress feel to it. Or it could be something else entirely. It's a continuing effort so we'll just have to wait and see.

the child, one
from tales by sheya
381 words, rated G.
Author's Note:
Who was she? How had she come here? Why was the light so bright in her eyes?

Next we have a short but powerful scene ending with a cliff-hanger. You'll have to read the sequel to find out what's going on.

When the Mind Hears
from Sunidesus Speaks
461 words, rated PG
Author's Note:
an Outer Limits style fanfic about society's view of perfection and flaws.

The next story starts out grim and ends up funny.

Waking the Dead
from Beyond Salvage
742 words, rated PG-13
Author's Note:
The mis-adventure of a group of up and coming undesirables.

Finally, a finished, complete tale. Sort of. This isn't really a story, but it's fictional and there is a story in the background so I included it.

Victims of Slavery v Lloyd's of London
from Tim Worstall
1069 words, rated PG-13
Author's Note:
Not sure whether this story quite fits the rules but here it is anyway

The next one is a screenplay rather than prose. It carries on the adventures of Zantar and Rolph, a disreputable pair of demihumans. Don't tell anyone, but these were originally two D&D characters in a game I ran.

A Meating of the Mines
from Dave Gudeman at Doc Rampage
1323 words, rated PG
Authors Note:
A fantasy/comedy screenplay.

This next one should not be read if its late at night and you are alone. Darleen, you could have given me the same warning...

Everythings Happens on Halloween
from Darleen's Place
1498 words, rated PG
Author's Note:
What happens when a Goth teen working in an occult shop meets something truly paranormal.

The next one is indescribable. You'll just have to read it.

Isaac and Rachel: A love song
from protein wisdom
~2360 words, rated R
Author's comment:
A reimagining of the Biblical Abraham and Isaac tale.

Next, comes another good old-fashioned adventure from Donald Crankshaw. Modern guy gets caught up in some magical events. I love this stuff.

from Donald S. Crankshaw at Back of the Envelope

4,054 words of a 6,198 word story in progress, rated PG
Author's Note:
This is second part of the story which began with An Unexpected Answer. It's bad enough that Ryan is trying to help some crazy girl escape from a violent psychopath, but now Ryan's beginning to wonder whether he's going mad himself.

Next another good adventure story. I don't think the author is entirely fair to the character when he says his curiosity got the better of him. The guy was on vacation! He took an innocent little walk to see what was going on! Does he deserve... Well, OK, I guess I shouldn't say because that would be a spoiler....

audio file (when you go to the link you will see a table, look for "shadowed!.mp3" in the first column and click on the arrow in the last column of that row), rated PG
Author's Note:
Shadowed is a tale of one man's curiosity getting the better out of him. He sees what he should not and it follows him back home after a less than relaxing holiday.

Happy reading! Be sure to tell all the other kids about it.

Have you posted a story on your blog? Would you like to see it in the prestigious Storyblogging Carnival? If so, just send an email to Donald Crankshaw at and ask to be put on the mailing list.

And don't miss the next Carnival back at it's original home at Back of the Envelope. I'd tell you the date but I have a calendar-reading disability, so just start with today (Monday) and add a fortnight.

Fixed the link to Isaac and Rachel: A love song.
Fixed the title of Shadowed! and added an explanation on how to get the sound file.
Changed the description of Waking the Dead because on review, I couldn't recall why I thought the story was unfinished. I must have been confusing Robin's email with someone else's.


I know a Bush-hater who says he was glad the Florida challenge came out the way it did because he thought Bush supporters were angrier (I don't agree, but that's what he thinks). He felt it was better for them to win because that would calm things down. But this year he thinks Kerry supporters are angrier (clearly), so they ought to win.

I wonder if he hasn't stumbled across a premeditated strategy behind all the hatred and spite we are seeing from Democrats this year. Could it be that they think Republicans will back down and let them win from fear? That would explain the hateful rhetoric, the screaming and name-calling on news shows, the premeditated attack on a conservative, the violence against Republican campaign workers, and intimidation tactics against Republican voters. It is starting to look like an actual strategy rather than separate spontaneous incidents.

When this first occurred to me I thought it far-fetched. Would they really expect such a thing to work? But then I realized that I was thinking like someone who supports the Iraq war. I need to think like someone who opposes it. In fact, I need to think like someone who values international esteem more than national interest. I need to think like someone who doesn't want to go after the terrorists because it might make them really angry. I need to think like someone who would be willing to abandon the tiny nation of Israel to genocide so as not to provoke third world trouble makers.

In other words, I need to think like an appeaser. It's a harsh word, but here is the truth: I need to think like a coward.

The Democratic party is the home of the people who say we shouldn't let anyone have guns because you are more likely to shoot yourself than the bad guy. It's the party of people who think it is virtuous to surrender your wallet to a thug with a knife.

Sometimes you do have to surrender your wallet. If you are a woman or you are smaller than the thug, or if you are elderly, you may have no choice. But it's not virtuous, any more than avoiding an on-rushing train is virtuous. What is virtuous is risking your life to stop the thug. Not just to save the money in your wallet, but to make thuggery a more dangerous occupation.

Yet there is a strong movement in this country to view the passive victim as a hero and the hero as merely another thug. This is the philosophy of the coward.

It is no accident that the party that condones this philosophy is also opposed to the Iraq war. Attacking Iraq was analogous to kicking the thug in the balls. It's risky. A bad kick could get us killed. Even a good kick could get us stabbed. But if we are successful, it will make us and everyone else a lot safer.

Of course fear and intimidation work. It can work on a small scale, as when someone asks someone for a dollar in a threatening manner. Not threatening enough to make it a robbery, but threatening enough that the victim might not want to take the chance of it turning into a robbery. It works at a larger scale as when threatened riots change university policies. It can even happen at national scales, as when Spain was bombed a few days before the election. And if Bush loses in November, it will have happened to the US as well.

What the Democrats may have miscalculated is that Bush draws a large part of his support specifically from people who will not be intimidated. While Kerry voters wanted to run to the UN for comfort after 9/11, while they wanted to find a way appease the bad people, Bush voters wanted to go after the bastards.

I suspect that Bush voters are going to feel the same about any Democrats that try to intimidate them at the polls, too.

quote of the week

From Roscoe:
Well, a lot of people are going to want to give the gay people California, but I don't want to move. Can I suggest Kansas, which has a lot of empty space and is also badly in need of redecorating?