Monday, February 16, 2004


This is a game you simply must play. I got myself a medal! Try it and see how you fare.

On this day in history..

On this day in history, 1945, the Bataan Peninsula in the Philippines was occupied by American troops and recaptured, almost three years after the devastating and infamous Bataan Death March. I had a great-uncle who survived the Bataan Death March, and his stories live on in my memory.

What's happening in the Dean camp??

Howard Dean's national campaign chairman Steve Grossman has left, former Gov. Dean won't say why...but it doesn't look too good for the future of his campaign. In my view, it appears that Grossman was hoping Dean would fall in behind Kerry now, or at least commit to doing so after Wisconsin. Grossman has obviously decided to hop onto the "Dems-are-united 100%" bandwagon, which is his rightful decision to make. Those most loyal and believing in Dean's message remain onboard, no matter how low the ship's bow is getting to the surface of the waters. I've believed in Howard Dean since this blog was a gleam in my eye. I admire him greatly and I hope he marches on. (Glory Hallelujah sounds like it would fit in nicely here :).
Political analyst William Saletan put it beautifully, in my opinion. In his review of last night's debate, he made these statements:
Dean's candor: It may be a fatal political flaw, but it's still a moral virtue. Yes, said Dean, your taxes must be raised in order to pay for his programs and balance the budget. No, focusing our military power on Saddam Hussein didn't make you safer. And yes, "If we do what I want to with our trade agreement, you're going to pay higher prices at Wal-Mart, because their stuff is all made in China, and labor costs are going to go up in China." God bless Dean for bringing honesty to a political process rotten with double-dealing and cowardice. That's why I'm counting on him to immediately fire his campaign chairman, Steve Grossman, for trying to slink aboard Kerry's boat even before Dean's has sunk. (Grossman's amazing statement to the New York Times: "If Howard Dean does not win the Wisconsin primary, I will reach out to John Kerry unless he reaches out to me first.") As long as there are Grossmans in the world, we'll always need Deans.
Are Democrats selling out the party by buying into warrior-America?

What is the fascination with having to have a "warrior" on board as the Democratic nominee of choice? DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe has made it abundantly clear for a long time that Kerry is going to be 'the one', by hook or by crook. In a Times' op-ed by Jake Tapper, McAuliffe is quoted as saying that one of John Kerry's main advantages in the coming presidential campaign is his"chest full of medals." These are the same medals Kerry allegedly told the Viet Nam-era American government, in one symbolic act, to shove up their rear admirals. When did Terry McAuliffe and his advisors decide winning at all costs was worth giving up the longstanding Democratic tendencies to be the doves? I realize 9-11 dealt us a terrible blow..yet it would be a shame if we allowed unrealistic fears to create a government where two parties are dominant and both sides are hawks of a feather. Give it some thought before you jump all over me, would you, please?

Iraq News Today

Acording to the Informed Comment blog, AFP reports that the Shiites say they have "alternative plans for elections" if direct elections are declared impossible by the United Nations. Some Shiites are warning of violence if the community is too deeply disappointed by the UN or US way of proceeding.
Professor Cole also has interesting commentary about the "Whodunnit?" controversy in Fallujah in which he discusses a Scotsman article (which he sees as "balanced") and their speculation concerning the identity of the attackers in Fallujah this past Saturday.

There wasn't one back then...
but there is now.

There has yet to be a proven connection between 9-11 and the twisted Iraqi government of the megalomaniacal Saddam Hussein. Columnist William Safire would have you believe, without question, that the connection is a "no-brainer", but after reading carefully into the matter, I must respectfully disagree. All the misleading statements of the past (especially made by VP Cheney) are magnified in all their emptiness by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's own statements...
In this article about a memo intercepted/dicovered from al-Zarqawi, it states:
There is nothing in the memo, however, that confirms or bolsters some key prewar White House claims: that al-Zarqawi was operating in the north as a leader of an Al Qaeda affiliate known as Ansar al-Islam, that he had set up a camp to produce deadly poisons and that, with Hussein's blessing and cooperation, he had moved people, money and supplies in and out of Iraq for months.

Terrorism expert and former FBI analyst Matthew Levitt, who has studied al-Zarqawi, noted that the memo reveals the ambitions of the "most frenetic operator working on behalf of Al Qaeda," but it does not provide ammunition for those out to prove that Al Qaeda and Hussein were in cahoots before the war.
"When people say 'I told you so' by linking the memo to prewar activities, "I'm skeptical ," said Levitt, now a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

[Daniel Benjamin, a former director of counterterrorism on the National Security Council staff] finds little evidence that jihadists prospered inside Iraq before the U.S. invasion. Instead, if al-Zarqawi's memo is to be believed, jihadists now are comfortable in Iraq. If al-Zarqawi were involved in prewar activities in Iraq, it would be a curious omission in a memo by a terrorist... '[The letter] tells us nothing about prior connections between Al Qaeda and Iraq,' Daniel Benjamin said. 'What it does tell us is, now, we have a big terrorist problem in Iraq.' "
The Kerry/Polier story moves on...

-- Allegedly, Alex Polier, the woman allegedly involved in the Kerry infidelity Drudged-up scandal recorded a "tell-all" interview for an American TV station before Christmas.

--Ms. Polier is seeking to end these rumors herself. She has released a statement to the AP, saying:
"I have never had a relationship with Senator Kerry, and the rumors in the press are completely false."
Ms. Polier's parents have also issued a public statement. Perhaps, in the absence of any other proof, this will put an end to the internet frenzy. This surely doesn't look like a Lewinsky-type fiasco. I think Senator Kerry may be coming under attack by Republican-leaning nasties.

--I am not a fan of many of the policies of the Bush administration, as you will be able to determine by reading just about any entry this blog has to offer. I have been reading and listening to allegations left and right about President Bush and his questionable National Guard service in the established media. It started with Peter Jennings of ABC (during a Democratic debate) confronting Wesley Clark (of all people) about the Bush/AWOL allegations. What right did Jennings have to raise this issue at such a totally inappropriate time? It was sleazy. Not only did he hurt President Bush, he also hurt Wesley Clark's campaign. It was the lowest thing I think Jennings has ever done. It started a snowball from hell rolling down the media mountain. The Washington Post has been no exception, chiming in along with most other "big" media outlets. And now we have the Kerry infidelity rumors. When asked about the story and whether or not the Post would be reporting on it, Washington Post London correspondent Glenn Frankel said:
"We've been down this road many, many times before. We are extremely reluctant to follow this kind of thing up unless there is a really, really compelling public interest. We don't feel there is any reason to until it reaches a threshold. All we have at the moment is that the woman's parents, who are republicans, don't like Senator Kerry. In any case, nobody would be too shocked if Kerry lied about an affair. Even if someone came to us with photographs we still wouldn't run it. Lying to Don Imus [the radio host to whom Kerry gave his initial denial] is not a federal offence...."
I can see some of his points, but you aren't going to sit there with a straight face and try to tell me this story has no "really, really compelling public interest" when you're talking about the front-runner for the candidacy for the American presidency. Balderdash. Lying to Don Imus wouldn't be a "federal offence", but it's a matter of public record now. Nobody would be too shocked? Is Frankel saying it's expected of Kerry to lie, so it's not newsworthy? Another point: How is it NOT return-tabloid-style commentary to "color" the parents of the young lady as "republicans who don't like Senator Kerry". Do you know that those "republican parents who don't like Kerry said this today?
"We appreciate the way Senator Kerry has handled the situation and intend on voting for him for president of the United States."
I can't help but think there is a strange and unexplainable treatment of this entire situation if you go by what this particular journalist is saying. These statements from Mr. Frankel are very questionable to me.

-- Columbia grad students of journalism think we have to be "more savvy" about assessing the credibility of news sources, because of a mere rumor's tendency to create this sort of huge echo-chamber effect. The students think "we all have to become smarter consumers of media". I am skeptical here. While I see their point, I also see grunts like Matt Drudge going out on treasure hunts and the "established" media folks reporting about it after all the dirty (non-savvy) work's been done. They wind up with the prestigious journalism awards. Drudge gets the lowdown-dirty-devil prize. That's just life in the journalism business.
To the students' investigative credit, they have found
"a Friendster profile of an "Alexandra Polier" where she's self-described as a "journalist/socialite" and her location is "New York, NY," potentially linking her with the Alexandra Polier that graduated from the journalism school in 2003. But no direct evidence linked her with the AP, the Kerry intern, or even the school itself." (They're doing better than I am..I searched Friendster and found nothing of the kind. Could it have been deleted since??)

Do you know the name Ricardo Esquivia..or that millions of Christians worldwide are praying for him today? Do you care? Can you help?
"Peace cannot be separated from any part of life. Peace is love, peace is identity, peace is health… We need to continue to see peace as an integration of life.... We must develop a new consciousness that acknowledges that we are all dependent upon one another...We have to think with the heart and feel with the brain."

--Ricardo Esquivia
Lutheran World Relief's website provides you with information as to who Ricardo is and what his mission is in our world today. Ricardo has seen Colombians struggle forward in faith toward peace first-hand. He is an advocate for the displaced, a defender of communities in need, a founder of a national federation for peace. Few have struggled longer or more effectively than Ricardo Esquivia. He is being threatened with arrest by the Colombian government. Evangelical Christians are asking for your help in defending Ricardo 'the peacemaker' from false arrest. If you care, there's something you can do. We are not entirely helpless, and it's only together that we can make our voices heard.