Friday, March 04, 2005

You Talkin About Me? offers an excellent essay about the value of the "Blogosphere":

Bloggers are the best thing that has ever happened to journalism.

They make a good reporter look better. They expose the phonies, the poseurs, the fast-writing conmen, with the speed of light.

They give the journalist a greater access to more information and informational context than ever before.

They provide swift exposure to varied points of view, and, most importantly, a constant, sometimes rough, but always important gauge of a reporter's skill, judgment, industriousness and integrity.

And now we give fringe media outlets like TechCentralStation some needed exposure!

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Winning The Hearts & Minds of The Liberal Media

Being an on-again, off-again viewer of Comedy Central's The Daily Show, I can tell you the show's host Jon Stewart is an unabashed liberal. But I have always found him to be at least principally honest about his politics. I can not however say the same for his guest from last Thursday.

On Thursday, Clinton aid, Nancy Soderberg was on the show to promote her book, "The Superpower Myth: The Use and Misuse of American Might." which as far as I can tell w/out reading it, blasts Bush's idea of bringing Democracy to the Middle East as a means to end tyranny and terrorism.

Jon Stewart, much to my shock and awe used the entire interview to undermine the entire premise of the book. According to The Washington Times:

One such moment came when Mrs. Soderberg said, "[A]s a Democrat, you don't want anything nice to happen to the Republicans, and you don't want them to have progress. But as an American, you hope good things would happen." To which Mr. Stewart replied, "Do you think that the people of Lebanon would have had the courage of their conviction, having not seen -- not only the invasion but the election which followed [in Iraq]? It's almost as though that the Iraqi election has emboldened this crazy -- something is going on over there. I'm smelling something."

But Soderberg continued:
"Well, there's still Iran and North Korea, don't forget. There's still hope for the rest of us ... There's always hope that this might not work."

There is a domino effect going on not only in the Middle East but in the studios of America's Liberal Media Outlets as well. Kudos to Jon Stewart for not being afraid to buck the talking points of the liberal media and putting to words his changing heart. Shame on Ms. Soderberg for making light of the incredible Democratic Reforms going on in the world.

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Breaking News: Syria Not Committed To Full Troop Withdrawal From Lebanon

According to the Associated Press:

Syrian President Bashar Assad was expected to announce a troop pullback to eastern Lebanon near the Syrian border - but not a full withdrawal - in a speech Saturday to parliament, Syrian and Lebanese officials said Friday. The move would fall short of U.S. and Arab demands for a full withdrawal.

This is crap. President Bush, France and Saudi Arabia must each follow this "speech to the Syrian parliament" with speeches of their own denouncing Assad's position as "way too little and too damn late". Anything else would be playing right into Syria's plan to get out from under this problem while saving as much face as possible thus undermining the reason Bush is pushing so hard to get Syria out of Lebanon in the first place. A forced Syrian withdrawal will undermine Bashir Assad's authority at home thus weakening his totalitarian regime, hastening its demise.

UPDATE: President Bush on Friday flatly rejected any partial withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon, saying he will not accept the kind of "half-measures" Damascus is expected to propose as a compromise.

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Read SoCalPundit's writing on this from yesterday, HERE.

Edward Morrissey over at the blog, Captain's Quarters has penned a very good letter that he has sent to applicable lawmakers in Washington. Mr. Mossissey has asked that blog readers copy his letter and email it off to your representatives. Here are his specific instructions:

Here's where you can help me out. Please copy my letter above and paste it into a message with an introduction of your own and send it to both Senators from your home state. That way we can be sure that all 100 Senators not only see this letter but your endorsement of it.

At Town Hall, they have a Web form set up to do this, but many of the autoresponses indicate that they will not reply to messages sent from constituents outside their state.

Here is the letter that Captain's Quarters is asking you to copy/append/send:

To the honorable Senators McCain and Feingold, et al:

I have read with considerable dismay the effect that your recent lawsuit against the Federal Election Commission, upheld by Judge Colleen Kollar-Ketelly, will have on political speech on the Internet. I write a political media-watchdog blog, Captain's Quarters, which enjoys a not-insubstantial daily readership. No one pays me to do this; I operate my site and write on topics purely from personal convictions and a deep desire to improve the world around me and make the nation stronger. I can unequivocally say the same about my many colleagues in the "blogosphere", both liberal and conservative.

Now we understand from Bradley Smith, one of the FEC commissioners, that your lawsuit forcing them to regulate speech on the Internet will have the effect of turning our efforts into in-kind contributions, especially when we provide hyperlinks back to candidate sites for referencing their positions and excerpt text from their on-line documents. Hyperlinks allow our readers to check our references to ensure our accuracy and context, and perform the hygienic task of holding our politicians accountable for their campaign practices. All of this not only should fall under the protection of the First Amendment, but it should be the primary reason for the First Amendment -- to protect and encourage free political speech and foster genuine debate.

Your legislation and the accompanying lawsuit that forced the FEC to regulate Internet political speech threaten all of that. If my links to political sites such as and counted as contributions and I was forced to accept responsibility for the cash value that the FEC designated to them, I would have been charged with several misdemeanors and possibly felonies, as I provided many such links during the past election cycle. During this cycle, my blog published over 680 essays on the presidential election. In fact, I linked to Senator Kerry's site four times as often as President Bush's site, which would have meant to the FEC that I was a major contributor to his campaign -- when in fact I opposed Senator Kerry and supported President Bush. These regulations would have forced me to retain the services of a full-time accountant and retain an attorney to understand when and where I overcontributed. At the very least, the burden of proof would be on me to make the FEC believe that my blog does not constitute in-kind contributions subject to the limits imposed on both hard and soft money contributions.

The effect of this would have been to force me to shut down my blog, or convert it to something else. In fact, it would have caused me less legal heartache to convert my site to a porn blog and do nothing but post hard-core pictures all day long. In the twisted environment of the McCain-Feingold Act, that kind of website would enjoy greater First Amendment protection than my political speech, a result for which every single Senator should feel shame and outrage.

Each of you should read the Constitution you swore to uphold and defend, and reflect on the unequivocal language of our forefathers:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

We may debate about the effect of unregulated cash on our electoral system, but if this new FEC effort comes to pass, the only people debating will be the corporate-owned media and the politicians. The rest of us will have been effectively bound and gagged, unable to contribute in any way thanks to the efforts of those who fear their own constituents. You can be assured that none of us in the blogosphere will fail to recognize those who do not act to defend our rights to free and unfettered political speech, and regardless of political party, none of us will rest until those voices of repression are stripped of office by the voters they hold in such low regard.

I, for one, will not be daunted by your attempts to stifle us. My many friends and colleagues on both sides of the political aisle stand as ready as I to defend the Constitution. We demand a hearing on McCain-Feingold, with open testimony before the press and our colleagues, and we demand action to reform or repeal this dangerous and un-American muzzle on political speech.

We await your response, sirs.

Edward Morrissey
Captain's Quarters

It is vital that we not allow government to silence the blogosphere. Do your duty as an American, regardless of political affiliation.

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Will A Judges Error Keep Terri Schiavo Alive?

Judge Greer may have excuded oral arguments against removing Schiavo's feeding tube based on flawed information. The facts the judge got wrong surround comments reported to have been made by Schaivo in 1982 where Terri indicated she disagreed with a mother's decision to remove her child from life support. According to

Parents Robert and Mary Schindler contend Pinellas County Probate Court George Greer made a "clear mistake" when he discounted the testimony of Diane Meyer, who said that in 1982 Terri Schiavo told her she did not agree with the well-known decision by Karen Ann Quinlan's parents to take their daughter off life support.

Florida law allows for consideration of oral expressions of end-of-life wishes. Husband Michael Schiavo claims his wife told him she would not want to be keep alive through artificial means, but her parents don't believe that.

Attorneys for the parents of Terri Schiavo filed a new motion claiming a trial judge made a reversible error that affected his determination of whether the brain-damaged Florida woman would want to be keep alive in her present condition.

Parents Robert and Mary Schindler contend Pinellas County Probate Court George Greer made a "clear mistake" when he discounted the testimony of Diane Meyer, who said that in 1982 Terri Schiavo told her she did not agree with the well-known decision by Karen Ann Quinlan's parents to take their daughter off life support.

Florida law allows for consideration of oral expressions of end-of-life wishes. Husband Michael Schiavo claims his wife told him she would not want to be keep alive through artificial means, but her parents don't believe that.

Terri Schiavo is not hooked up to any machines, but she requires a small feeding tube for nourishment and hydration. In 2000, Greer ordered that the tube be removed, and last week, denying a motion for a further stay, gave the Schindlers until March 18 at 1 p.m. to appeal before the order is carried out.

At the 2000 trial, Greer, although initially finding Meyer's testimony 'believable,' concluded that the conversation could not have occurred in 1982, because he believed Quinlan died in 1976. At that time, Terri would have been only 11 or 12 years old and, therefore, would not have made her end-of-life wishes as an adult.

So basically it is said that this false information led to a desision by judge Greer that is not legal. Thus it is necessary to hear arguments and for Judge Greer to issue a determination all over again.

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Is The World Getting It Yet?

I once asked this question of my readers and now it is being asked all over the world. In today's Times of London Online, Gerard Baker, in different words, asks the same question. He wonders, What have the Americans ever done for us?, and then proceeds to answer it by comparing the question to an old Monty Python skit:

ONE OF MY favourite cinematic moments is the scene in Monty Python's Life of Brian when Reg, aka John Cleese, the leader of the People's Front of Judea, is trying to whip up anti-Roman sentiment among his team of slightly hesitant commandos.
"What have the Romans ever done for us?" he asks.

"Well, there's the aqueduct," somebody says, thoughtfully. "The sanitation," says another. "Public order," offers a third. Reg reluctantly acknowledges that there may have been a couple of benefits. But then steadily, and with increasing enthusiasm, his men reel off a litany of the good things the Romans have wrought with their occupation of the Holy Land.

By the time they’re finished they're not so sure about the whole insurgency idea after all and an exasperated Reg tries to rally them: "All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?"

That is a brilliant comparison and the rest of the commentary follows along the same lines. America, under teh leadership of George W. Bush has ruffled a lot of feathers and may indeed be seen as the enemy, even by some of it's own people, but the contributions that this nation is making to the pursuit of Democracy around the world can not and must not be ignored.

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Job Creation Exceeds Analysts Forcasts For February

From The Associated Press:

The median forecast of Wall Street economists polled a week ago was for a nonfarm payroll gain of 220,000 jobs...

U.S. employers created 262,000 jobs last month, the biggest gain in four months and double January's pace, as auto workers returned from temporary layoffs and construction activity snapped back from a cold January, the government said on Friday.

In other Financial News:
U.S. factory orders unexpectedly rose 0.2 percent in January on electrical equipment strength while a gauge of business spending also posted solid gains, a government report showed on Friday.

The rise in factory orders to a seasonally adjusted $380.53 billion defied Wall Street expectations for a 0.1 percent drop.

UPDATE: The stock market has taken notice of the excellent data despite The Associated Press' attempts to downplay the good news with headilines like; Job Gains Strong, But Jobless Rate Climbs.

UPDATE: Oil Prices Cooling - A sharp rally in oil prices to near-record peaks stalled on Friday after OPEC-member Nigeria said the cartel may agree later this month to raise output to cool the red-hot market.

U.S. light crude was off 7 cents to $53.50 a barrel, after dropping as low as $52.90. A rally that started at midweek had prices briefly within 50 cents of last October's $55.67 record.

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