Sunday, October 30, 2005



Via Drudge:

I'm starting with the venerable bottomfeeding muckraker on this story because Drudge has once again demonstrated that no matter what the flaws, foibles, or felonies of his subjects, he can always one-down them. Drudges tagline for Dowd's excellent work

"NYT DOWD TO MEN: WHY DON'T YOU GO JERK YOURSELF A SODA" says far more about Drudge than Dowd. His crass inclusion of a tacky photo and a taunting "name that photo contest" is merely icing on the cake...

I don't know where that photo came from, I don't care whose choice it is, and I don't care that Maureen is damn good looking for a fifty-something feminist warhorse... That photo is still a four-star example of bad taste.

But to topic:

Long though it is, the article is a worthy read, even a must read. Just skip over the feminist daggers like "Throughout the long, dark ages of undisputed patriarchy" or "Men, apparently, learn early to protect their eggshell egos from high-achieving women," and feel Maureen's pain...

Using anectdote and observation, Ms[???] Dowd tactitly admits the surrender of feminism and outlines its decline. It's not a surrender to that evil male patriarchy or even society but rather biology. Asking the questions "So was the feminist movement some sort of cruel hoax? Do women get less desirable as they get more successful?" and pointing out ""Nowadays, the rule of thumb seems to be that the more successful the woman, the less likely it is she will find a husband or bear a child. For men, the reverse is true..." Maureen dances around the answer, providing evidence after evidence that the un-natural nature of the feminist premise must doom it in the long run.

After 40+ years of the pill and 30 years of a million or better abortions annually, the original bra-burners finally are forced to admit the irrefutable, damning flaws in the feminist premise:


Society exists to maximize the chances that those absurdly dependent, big-brained babies of mankind will survive and man will thereby flourish. The most successful societies evolved along a single basic pattern - or were given that pattern by God, if you prefer - which best insures that survival.


The survival of our species is dependent not on the equality of the sexes but rather their very real inequality. Millions of years of natural selection has honed the specialized differences in anatomy, behavior, and ability, and that can't be undone by a social whim.


In the process of attempting to trump evolution with indoctrination, feminism largely destroys the natural stake men have in society, an attack which men, no matter how pussywhipped they may be, instinctively rebel against.

As Dowd Notes "Women... still strive to marry up. Men... still tend to marry down. The two sexes' going in opposite directions has led to an epidemic of professional women missing out on husbands and kids..."

Her colleague at the Times, John Schwartz, opined: "Men would rather marry their secretaries than their bosses, and evolution may be to blame."...

A study by The University of Michigan posited: "Men think that women with important jobs are more likely to cheat on them... There it is, right in the DNA: women get penalized by insecure men for being too independent."

Inevitably, the whims of feminism will be their own undoing as they lead those who cherish them down the path to the insignificance of personal extinction.

And even Maureen Dowd has come to this understanding.

Whoda thunk it!


I WAS OFFLINE yesterday due to my - I should say Qwests's - more or less annual shorted telephone line. In the fall before the water table absorbtion rates fully recover but after the rains start enough backup causes shorting in that decrepit old buried wire. .85 inches of overnight rain measured by my own station was enough this time.

I'm too far out for "real" internet, and promises that it is just over the horizon keep me from going wireless. And besides, this equipment was upper tier just a couple of years ago. Honestly, I'm out of my depth on this, as I am in using web services for such things as this blog.

So any advice will be appreciated, especially on the topics of equipment or web publishing.

One thing I would really like advice on is a good beginner's book for HTML.

I'd also like to take a minute to thank those of you who have read my page and doubly so to those who contributed, especially contributors who point out errors or alternatives. This isn't intended to be a page of facts. These are positions, and no position is ever 100% right.

That's just nature.

Friday, October 28, 2005



Once upon a time, a lady named Rachel wrote a scary story in which all the birds were poisoned by an evil chemical. People awoke one day to a Silent Spring.

Pretty birds... All gone.

Let's keep one thing foremost in mind. Silent Spring was a story, not a study. It wasn't a report on scientific research. It wasn't peer reviewed. It was based on a relatively small body of field research which suffered from the defects almost always found in field research, namely, the lack of controls, an excess of variables, and no "zero" point.

Ultimately, the work was found to be inconclusive. Interpretations of this abound, coming from both sides of the debate.

It didn't matter in 1972. In 1972, the environment was on the ropes and people were worried. Worried, and predisposed to believe scary stories. Largely due to political pressure, DDT was banned in 1972.

DDT has been around a long time. It's cheap and easy to make. It is devastatingly effective at killing insects. It is basically nerve gas for bugs, affecting them much the way Sarin affects people. It is almost entirely harmless, at least in the short term, to people.

The ban was a great symbolic victory for the environmental movement the pave paradise lobby has never forgotten. Repeal of the ban has been pushed in Congress many times and is being pushed again.

Enter Steven Milloy, The biostatistician who is FoxNews' resident Junk Scientist. Insisting "DDT Is Only Real Weapon to Combat Malaria",2933,173766,00.html

Mr. Milloy drags out his Rachel strawgirl and trots through all the "facts" - or at least the "facts" circa 1972 - makes a few unprovable blanket statements, and presents the "pro" case.

He notes, as do I, "DDT was ultimately banned in the U.S. in 1972 because of politics, not science."

Here's why he's just plain wrong: DDT kills bugs.

I hear the groans. Pretty birds... Ugly, bitey bugs. Few of us really like bugs, and few study them. Because of that, few people realize how drop dead vital they are to all life. Broadly speaking, the terrestrial landscape is a place dominated by trees and bugs.

That's not a story. It's a sober fact.

Experience using pesticides has taught us is that broad-range pesticides create something Entomologists call the infestation cycle. It starts with that unseen dominance of insects. Insects are the greatest plant eaters, and other insects are the greatest eaters of insects.

It's a bug eat bug world out there.

Enter DDT. Let's say, for example, you use it to stop malarial mosquitos. It'll kill maybe 99% of them, as well as 99% of all the rest of the bugs. Some survive by chance, some by natural resistance. But nature will not tolerate a vacuum, and the food is still there. Back come the bugs.

Nuke 'em again. Spray that poison. They come back. But not in the same proportions. Species that formerly were held in check by their fellow bugs by random chance establish populations without predators.

Start to use DDT, you can't stop. If you do, you get what happened in the Eastern US with the Gypsy Moth: Population explosions.

But if you don't stop, eventually resistant populations emerge.

So you stop, and it's years at best before things are back in balance. Years full of those population explosions.

This isn't an earth-worshipping "bugs over people" argument. It's people now vs people later. The infestation cycle is real, documented, and devastating.

If it were DDT or death, that would be one thing. Mr. Milloy admits it isn't, discusses some of the less effective mechanical remedies, and then dismisses other pesticides:

"...economical substitutes could be had. [for DDT in the US] But there is no economical substitute for DDT when it comes to malaria in poorer regions of the world."

Other pesticides. Other pesticides have been developed that are far more targeted than DDT. Pesticides that do not cause the infestation cycle.

It's like the difference between a carpet bombing and a cruise missile.

So what's the rub? Quoting Milloy: "there is no economical substitute for DDT."

It's the money, stupid. A nation that threw 200 BILLION DOLLARS and counting at a war in Iraq winces at the 200 MILLION dollars spent annually to help eradicate malaria in the third world.

Just use the DDT... It's cheap, and it's not our environment that will be destroyed or our crops that will be devoured in a few years by superbugs.

After all, helping the world's poor is important, but it's not that important. We have wars to wage, you know.

Maybe there are good reasons some people in the third world hate us.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

I-605 NIMBY'S:


DON'T PANIC! You haven't missed another initiative! But if you aren't familiar with I-605, you may have missed something far more important. Interstate Highway 605, if constructed, would have far more long-range impact on the State of Washington than most legislation. Bypassing the Seattle urban core with a four-lane, state of the art freeway, I-605 would completely change transportation dynamics in the Puget Sound region.

If constructed...

And that's not likely, considering the OVER MY DEAD BODY atttitude of many prominent Seattleites.

The proposal isn't new. The idea has been kicking around for years. More recently, in May, 2003, this plan, known to some as the "Kemper Freeman plan," was released. Politics being what it is, the plan has come to be associated with David Irons, the Republican currently attempting to pink-slip Ron Sims and a long-time supporter of the plan.

So it's David Irons' Highway...

Enter the NIMBY's...

Washington Conservation Voters opines, "The resulting sprawl in rural King County would devastate the quality of life for thousands of King County residents."

Jumping on the bandwagon, David Goldstein, local liberal pundit [and windmill jouster] wrote on October 25th "With I-605 would come the unmitigated sprawl that accompanies all freeways… exactly the kind of land use policies Irons’ financial backers in the building industry were looking for... So if you want to transform rural King County into an endless swath of strip malls and sub-divisions… vote for Irons.

I've taken the liberty of editing some of the anti-Irons invective from "Goldy's" remarks as unnecessary. Those familiar with Seattle politics will already be aware that Goldy would crawl a mile over broken glass to get another crack at Irons... Furthermore, the personalization is collateral to the issue and the attitudes it generates.

NO, NO, NO! NIMBY!!! Not in my backyard! And not in YOURS, either!

Welcome to liberal Seattle, the land of no... A place where denial seeks to hold back the growth nothing can stop.

Oh, they have their own non-solutions. Most of them have the word "mass" in them, as in mass transit for the masses... Rails: One, two, light, heavy... Busses! Something to get all the masses out of my lane on the Interstate!

Solutions for the other guy. Solutions that are at best poor substitutes and at worst don't work at all.

Liberal Seattle's transportation plan: Patch up MY 520 bridge, rebuild MY viaduct, finish MY HOV lanes, and get your ass on that bus!

Mr Goldstien, I'll personify this and address you directly, even if it means putting words in your mouth - something I'm certain you have done to others:

You know what Seattle is to me? It's a TROLL! A giant one-eyed monster sitting astride the most important north-south road in my state. And every time I have reason to drive north of the troll, I pay a toll: A toll in time, a toll in convenience. A toll dictated by bad planning and growth mis-management spurred on by your denialistic attitude. If Dwight Eisenhower, the great patron of our interstate highways, could see the way your bunch has mis-managed this, he would roll in his grave - with laughter.

I want a way out, a way around. I want I-605.

And I want to remind you of a few things. There has been a lot of talk lately about the Alaskan Way Viaduct. You and others have advocated shutting it down due to safety concerns. While this is obviously cheap grandstanding - common sense says the only thing that will close it down is seeing it reduced to rubble in an earthquake - Let's say we do. Or let's say that quake happens.

Where do the cars go? Back to the main interstate highways. And where does the traffic already there go? It doesn't. You think we have gridlock now, just wait. Just keep waiting - that's what your bunch does best.

Not me. I want that alternative. Every major city in this nation with a properly functioning transportation infrastructure has a beltway-style freeway which bypasses the urban centers. Sure, there are possible downsides. But these days we build with an eye to minimizing impacts and maximizing utility, which is the main reason our roads are so costly.

This much is certain: The alternative to I-605 is unacceptable. The status quo is the alternative, an alternative bound to the past and offering only a continuing deterioration as a future.

If not rural King County, then where? Nowhere, that's where.

You know, when you look at things like this, it's easy to see why there is a Cedar County movement.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005




This weekend saw the passing of an entirely arbitrary "milestone" for America's military involvement in Iraq: The 2,000th combat death.

The anti-war factions dominated by the left, always eager to embrace the symbolic, have chosen this "event" to remind the American public of that which they know all too well: The invasion, originally "sold" as necessary intervention to enforce treaty stipulations concerning verified destruction of weapons of mass destruction, has turned into an expensive occupation: Expensive in money and in lives.

Predictably, the pro-war faction, already smarting from revelation after revelation, has reacted with ferocity aimed more at the messenger than the message.

An example of the tired old message comes from the Seattle P-I Beginning with '60's "wisdom" courtesy of Country Joe & the Fish, the P-I then trots out all the I told you so's.

An example of the pro-war response can be read at

At this point the debate, reduced to raw emotion, shows little prospect of convincing anyone of anything. In the meantime, precious little thought seems to be devoted to learning the lessons the situations present.

Learning: The process by which experience brings about relatively permanent changes in behavior.

What has been learned?

What has been taught?

Lesson one: Leaders will mis-lead. For maybe the thousandth time in man's history, facts have been manipulated to convince a people to do the most terrible thing man ever does: Wage a war.

Certainly perspective demands that GWB didn't invent this sort of rabble-rousing. There is a lot of evidence, for example, that FDR knew the Pearl Harbor attack was coming and did nothing. The main difference between then and now is then the kind of domestic opposition we see today was unthinkable.

So maybe that's progress, maybe not.

Lesson two: "Clandestine intelligence" is an oxymoron. To a lot of us, common sense insisted that after Gulf I and ten years of existing in a technological straightjacket the chances of Iraq holding significant stockpiles of WMD's were pretty slim. In retrospect, it seems obvious the President and his team had access to all kinds of often conflicting information and chose among it that which supported their case.

The anti-war faction interprets this as an effort to achieve a predetermined goal while maintaining thereby a plausible argument that unexpected outcomes are errors not falsehoods. The President's supporters accept him at his word.

Both sides demand the same impossibility: Proof. Those who insist finding no WMD's settles the issue need to recall there are other, more grisly possibilities:

What if the weapons existed and were removed to ??? Syria? Russia? The black market?

Which leads to lesson three: War seldom goes according to plan and often leads to unexpected outcomes. The pro-war faction expected to be out by now... Instead we are forced to accept the role of occupier.

No army in history has been successful as an occupier. Liberator, yes. Occupier, no. Eventually it always fails.

Finally, the Iraqi "progress." The pro-war faction insists the real milestone to be observed this weekend is the passage of the Iraqi Constitution, not the casualty roll. The anti-war faction gives this lip service, typified by the P-I: "Yes, the Iraqi constitution offers modest hope that political progress will outpace continued deterioriation of security."

Sagebrush counters, "A new constitution for a newly free people "offers modest hope"? I would hate to see what PI editorialists would have written in 1787."

But it's progress, no? 78% yes vote, right?

The Constitution failed by a supermajority in two provinces and a simple majority in a third. If this had been 1787 in America, the Constitution would have probably gone down to defeat. Only last-minute compromise in that long-ago debate saved the Union.

In Iraq, there has been no similar compromise, only a promise of a future one. As things stand, we have a popular government in the oil-rich north and south that is very unpopular in the impoverished center. Perhaps ten percent of all Iraqis believe they have no stake in the "new" Iraq. Worse, significant numbers of those people were in the old ruling class.

Which reminds us of our final lesson: A democracy cannot be imposed. If it is to work, it must be created by the people who will live in it. Iraqi democracy must be Iraqi, not made in the USA. And all must have a stake, or the result is chaos.

Prediction: If concessions aren't made to the Sunni, this vote will destroy Iraq.

So where does that leave the USA? Stuck. Irrespective of who or what brought us here, we are here, occupying a nation that in some ways is worse for it and in some ways better and whose geopolitical importance dwarf's that of Vietnam. Our government, having made all the old mistakes in new ways is now forced to defend itself at home and improvise a future in a foreign land. Deja Vu all over again.

It's not the same as Vietnam. It may be worse.

Let's hope we learn something this time.


I was absent from this page yesterday. I took the opportunity to do something I haven't done in years: I picked Chantrelles. For me this is just a matter of walking, as I live on the edge of some of the finest silvaculture in the world, currently in cycle between its second and third re-forestings. Formerly I tramped the lands now in twenty year old hybrid Douglas Fir under hundred year old timber that was for all practical purposes old-growth yet would have never been considered such. In those walks I reaped a bounty. Yesterday, walking the remains of the second forest I was less fortunate but was still rewarded.

I have of late discussed the merits of Spotted Owl Protection with blogger Sagebrush recently re-sited at As so often happens in long-running controversies, in the current debates of this subject the original reason for studying the Owl has been completely lost:


It may seem odd, but those massive old-growth are utterly dependent on certain fungi in the soil and duff of the forest floor for survival. The fungi and their co-inhabitants perform the all-important nutrient recycling that feeds the behemoths above. The specific players in the system and the food chains they support vary from place to place but the pattern persists.

In other parts of the world, declines in the forest floor biota have accompanied the death of the forests. Whether this is causual or coincidental has not been established. What has been noted is this die-back tends to occur in forests that have been managed for silvaculture for long periods of time. The die-back becomes evident at or after the third forest.

So how do you study a tiny fungus? You study the food chain it participates in. The original Spotted Owl studies were intended to track squirrels which fed on fungi. Count Owls, examine their droppings, and work backward. A healthy squirrel population gives an indication of the health of their food.

The hell of it is, after all the grief, all political twisting from both sides, we still don't have a good answer to the original questions and they are important.

I'd sure be more comfortable if I could find more 'shrooms.

Monday, October 24, 2005



That the Weyerhaeuser Corporation will be closing two landmark facilities, an 81 year-old sawmill and a 50 year-old pulp mill, both located in Cosmopolis near Aberdeen.

"The Federal Way-based company cited high operating costs and aging machinery, among other problems. Weyerhaeuser said the closures were part of broader plans to fine-tune its operations."

Translation: We can do it cheaper elsewhere. So we're taking the money and running. Twelve years after the Spotted Owl. Fortyy years after they started to plan the great flight!

The greatest enemy of Capitalism is Capitalists. Sometimes, they are the greatest enemy of the common man.

Prediction: They will sell their mature timber holdings in the Aberdeen / Raymond WA working circle to overseas interests in Japan, Korea or China by 2010.

As I said in part two: Weyerhaeuser went to Georgia.

Here's one more reason to hope they keep going, straight to hell.


Anne Coulter swooped into Florida riding her newest broom to speak before a gathering of the Alachua County Republican Party, where she was roundly applauded for declaiming "[I'm] not a big fan of the First Amendment... "She noted "Democrats... 'They're always accusing us of repressing their speech,' she said. 'I say let's do it. Let's repress them.'"

Is that on the agenda before or after forcing everyone to become Christian, I wonder?

People like Anne make me all the gladder there is a second amendment...


Speaking to Tim Russert on Meet The Press, [transcript]

on the subject of the ongoing investigations of Patrick Fitzgerald, Senator Hutchinson of Texas remarked "Tim, you know... I certainly hope that if there is going to be an indictment that says something happened, that it is an indictment on a crime and not some perjury technicality..." Upon further reflection, the Senator continued "I'm not saying that those are not crimes."

Technically crimes, that is???


Reported by a number of sources, the group American Friends Service Committee has announced plans to commemorate a tragic yet all but certain event: The death of the 2,000th American soldier in Iraq. As of yesterday, the count is 1,996.

The Washington Post gives a fairly cogent account of the matter at

There are as of this morning 326 events planned Nationwide. It is reasonable to expect the one in Washington D.C. will receive the most attention.

According to the Post, the event organizers in the Capitol plan to set a somber tone: "We ask that people do not bring signs or posters, just candles and perhaps pictures of soldiers," the notice for this event read. "No megaphones or speeches. Quiet mourning, prayer and song. No opportunities to offend or exclude."

Other events, such as the one to be held in our own State Capitol, Olympia, are self-described as "vigils."

But that is not how others are describing them: According to Little Green Footballs, Ghouls Plan "2000 Deaths" Parties!

To blogger Sagebrush, AFSC are "Haters Against the Troops." "The reason we're publicizing this is not to help the haters, but rather to call attention to this sickness."

Haters planning parties! Celebrations! 2000 down!

I for one have had enough of the war party's lying and abusing the troops!

For the moment, let's put aside that which has become established overwhelmingly: The justifications for the Iraq war were pure shit. The public was deliberately sold a fantasy case, a case made in the best Madison Avenue style to appeal to the guts and not the head. A war sold the same way one would sell a new TV soap.

Let's put aside the fact that public support for the war, once reported quite high, has evaporated as the truth has been revealed, and the overwhelmingly obvious conclusion which that fact leads to: The support would have never existed without the lies.

Forget it all. Forget the fact the anti-war faction has been proven correct.

Let's just talk about the troops and ask who are their real abusers?

War has always been draped in patriotism. Our wars, Britain's wars, Japan's wars, Germany's wars, everyone's wars. War: Patriots killing patriots.

Here in America, the fiasco of Vietnam created a determination in the hearts of many that such a senseless, goal-less, endless evil should never be suffered in silence again. Americans came to understand that not all calls to war, even when made by the Nation's leaders, were valid calls. Sober history taught many that the Nation's leaders can and often do mis-lead.

When this happens, the true patriots must stand opposed, as they have in this war.

And for that they are called ghouls and haters. The Rabid Right spares no fury. A lack of support for this damned war is deliberately twisted at all opportunities into a hatred of the troops and even America.

Their message is clear: We are America. No matter whether we are honest or dishonest, no matter whether we are a majority.

No matter if we are right or wrong. Side with us, or you are a troop-hating, treasonous ghoul... An America hater.

And here we are, hiding our failed quest behind the men and women of the armed forces. They are the human shields of our cause, and we are prepared to defend that cause to the last of their lives.

If they really supported the troops, if they really valued the sacrifice, they would fill the streets of this Nation's cities demanding an end, and demanding an accounting for all the deceit that has brought us to this pass.

If the troop's lives were more important to them than a damned agenda. But it's not.

2,000 down and surely more to go, in view of the obstinate refusal of the war party to accept the truth.

Who are the real ghouls?

Sunday, October 23, 2005


Newsweek is relating the account of Anne Rice and her conversion - I should say reconversion - to Christianity.

Rice, famous for a series of riveting novels covering occult subjects, has gone back to the other side:

"I promised," she says, "that from now on I would write only for the Lord." She opines Jesus is "the ultimate supernatural hero ... the ultimate immortal of them all."

I dunno. I guess I'm just too skeptical for this sort of thing, too skeptical to ever view the convert's experience and the impulses it creates as real or even genuine.

Jesus is the ultimate supernatural hero?

If there's a God, and if he's following this tale, I bet he's pounding his head on his desk, ranting "Why? What in my name did I do to merit this??? Free will my omnipotent ass!"


VIA Drudge this morning from ABC news we have the sweet tale of the thirteen-year-old twins Lamb and Lynx Gaede and their band Prussian Blue, whose work has an Aryan bent... They're just enchanting, wearing their Hitler smiley-face T's...

"We're proud of being white, we want to keep being white," said Lynx. "We want our people to stay white … we don't want to just be, you know, a big muddle. We just want to preserve our race."

A Muddle? Hey you, I resemble that!!!

Ted Shaw, civil rights advocate and president of the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund suggests that the girls aren't espousing their own opinions but ones they're being taught....

No shit? Show me a thirteen year old with their "own" opinions. I bet Teddy took classes to learn to say things that stupid. At least he's smart enough not to attack them.

A couple of lessons on the intractable nature of man are to be found here.

First, cute blondes can sell anything...

Second and most importantly, societies never learn fringe groups thrive on persecution.

When I was in college we had all kinds of exclusive groups. We had groups for several nationalities, a couple of exclusively black groups - they were the ones constantly wanting to "free" Mumia abu Jamal - and of course women's groups. Gay and Lesbian groups.

The closest thing we had to a "white" group were the campus Republicans. If you suggested creating one, you would be met with a frosty "White isn't a group!" Or worse...

Alright, Nazi fascism is an unusually potent ideology that wreaked a lot of havoc and shed a lot of blood in the recent past. But let's not forget the Nazi movement sprang from the injustice of the Versailles treaty and thrived on the perceived persecution of Germany after WWI.

Why is this kind of separatist worse than any other? Ever listen to Louie Louie Farrakhan? David Duke doesn't hold a candle to him. Why is Farrakhan not only tolerated but even promoted? Is it just that Nation of Islam philosophy and teachings are so whacked nobody can take them seriously?

Or is the difference in attitude just plain old anti-white racism?


The persecution doesn't have to be real. It can be pure imagination or the conflation of the small slights all men endure. It's a tiny step from I'm picked on - I didn't get the job, whatever - to I'm picked on because I'm white.

If you're black, and you claim that, there are people who are happy to listen and come to your aid, people like Ted Shaw of the NAACP. If you're white, the best you can hope for is laughter.

No wonder White Supremacist groups are growing.

And another somewhat parallel situatition to consider: The Islamist Jihad. Now I'm not going to suggest Osama Bin Laden chose his path because he was "picked on." But if you have read some of his statements, you know he posits his faith is "picked on." How many followers has this earned him? I'm not talking about the big-named nutcases, the Attas or Zarqawis.

I'm talking about the poor bastards they con into wearing the bombs. Maybe if they thought their way of life had a future they would wait around for it?

Saturday, October 22, 2005


This time via Huffington Post, we have more dirt on Miers, Bush, and Texas in general...

Oh, read it yourself. Maybe Texas is just the most crooked State in the Union, or maybe the chickens are coming home to roost in Crawford.

At least Fund is right about this: It's beginning to resemble quite the Hollywood drama.


Whoda thunk it...

The Washington Post reports that the Supreme Court of the State of Kansas struck down a law that punishes underage sexual activity more severely if it involves homosexual acts.

Gotta ask: They sent this guy to jail for giving somebody a BJ. What do they think he did while in jail???

Seriously, the Court's reasoning is compelling: "Moral disapproval of a group cannot be a legitimate state interest."

That should be chiseled in stone on Courthouse walls, posted right next to the Ten Commandments. And if there is only room for ten, replace the first one with this one...



This is an expansion of an earlier post

and the reply by "Hindu" at Sagebrush

Yes, it's true there ain't no spotted owls in Georgia, but there are loggers and logging companies: A lot of them transplants from the Pacific Northwest.

To really understand the impacts on the timber industry of the Spotted Owl, and why this really is a scapegoat -ScapeOwl, that is - you can't look at just a snapshot. You have to look at the whole industry, a laissez-faire capitalism boom-and-bust industry that got itself into the mess it's in now, and whose big players escaped the fallout, which mostly fell on the little guys. Much of the following is based on personal recollection. I was there. So forgive me if some of my dates are a bit off.

Timber trouble started as I recall in the late 1960's. Before that, government at al levels had mostly avoided regulation of this activity, while the industry repeatedly ruined itself.

Sustained Yield agreements, beginning with the one between the USFS and Simpson Timber company, effected in 1949, saved communities. Beginning in the 1890's, Simpson had logged their way through 130,000 acres of private land. By WWII, their supplies were exhausted. The 1949 agreement, which dedicated 140,000 acres of the Olympic National Forest to Simpson's care, saved my hometown and set a pattern of cooperation that clearly defined publically owned timber as green power: A resource to be harvested. National forests, created years earlier for their own preservation, were suddenly just so many billion board feet. No competing value was then conceived.

Over the next twenty years, industry bellied up to the trough, gorging on this cheap timber as an alternative to their own holdings. It was a time characterized by belief: Belief in sustainable forestry and belief in the right of private industry to harvest the public wealth, often paying no more than road fees and maintenace costs for the bounty. Big timber got cheap wood; the public "got" roads, etc. in the National Forests. People got jobs.

It was quite a deal. Whole communities began to rely exclusively on the bounty without considering the "what-if's."

There is no resource anywhere more variable than virgin timber. At its best, it is peerless. At it's worst, it is near worthless. Often it doesn't meet the modern definition of "oldgrowth." But it was "managed" by map, the good going with the bad. I recall jokes about roads built to timber that wasn't there, built because an engineer with a map said it was... It doesn't seem funny today.

Naturally, this attitude helped to generate a public backlash. Public forests belong to all, and even logging private land has public impact. Furthermore, public awareness generates public concern. As we watched the export markets bloom in the '60's, we watched initiative campaigns fight to ban them. By 1968, when State regulation here in Washington made "timber cutting permit" part of our lexicon, the writing was on the wall.

And big timber was the first to read it.

Big timber had all kinds of troubles. First, the sustained yield concept didn't live up to it's brag. Harvest cycles, the kind Sagebrush refers to as "thought to be sustainable," worked in the lowlands but not the high country where much private and most Federal timber was.

Then there was labor. Woodworkers in the Northwest had been some of the first to unionize, and the International Woodworkers of America fought aggressively to better its members. Wages were damn good for union shops, and striking loggers weren't to be trifled with.

Then there was competition from Canada, with timber holdings that dwarfed those in the US.

Big timber did what it always had: It moved on. Oh, not all at once, to be sure. It took years. Northwest timber giants like Weyerhaeuser bought millions of acres in Canada - if you can't beat 'em, join 'em - and the American Southeast, plus the timber rights to millions more acres.

The Southeast has natural advantages: Timber, especially pulp species, grow far better in the warmer climate. Then there's those pesky unions, much weaker there. The Southeast is closer to major markets. And while two-thirds of the available timber in the PNW is publically owned, in the SE the timber is 90% privately owned.

As for timber in Canada: It's is so cheap many consider it unfairly subsidized.

Here is a case where those big pictures are quite revealing: In 1970, the western region produced 70% of the softwood lumber used in the US while the South region produced 26%. By 1993, the year of the timber summit, the two regions were almost dead even at 46.8% vs 47.4% respectively.

At the same time, overall lumber yield per board foot of logs rose almost 25% and pulp recycling doubled.

Still, the ESA listing of the Spotted Owl had a lot of impact, no? Timber offered for sale after the timber summit dropped 8 billion feet a year, right? Yes, but the ESA listing was only one of several legal pressures. According to USDA analysis:

"Federal legislation—such as the Wilderness Act of 1964, the Multiple Use Sustained Yield Act (MUSY), and the National Forest Management Act (NFMA)—requires that forest outputs other than timber be given due consideration in the management of national forests... In essence, public demand for nontimber outputs from federal forests has worked its way through a labyrinth of legislative and administrative channels to restrict the amount of federal timber offered for harvest."

All things considered, it's pure speculation as to how much of that 8 billion feet a year of timber would have sold at a price worth the trouble of harvesting it. What isn't speculation is that the industry in the PNW was already in big trouble, and big timber interests got out before the "crisis" they helped to create broke. Decisions to disinvest made long before the fact closed mills rather than remodeled them. Especially in the woods, union workers were laid off and private contractors hired in their stead. These contractors often had no more security than the patch they were currently logging.

In the end, it was those contractors who got screwed. It could have happened at any time for many reasons. The truth is it happened for many reasons at once, and the Owl got the blame.

And who picked up the pieces? The Federal government picked them up with community assistance, retraining, and similar assistance. I went to college on Spotted Owl money. So did a lot of others.

I went to Evergreen. Weyerhaeuser went to Georgia. As far as I'm concerned, they can keep going: Straight to hell.

Friday, October 21, 2005


That the Republicans are still in power, despite their hypocrisy, their dishonesty, and their scandals... You look to the Looney Left and remember why...

Joel Connelly relates the tale of a fund-raising letter he received from Jim McDermott recently. Representative McDermott, who is apparently too busy to be bothered with his Congressional duties, is spending his time... Fund raising, of course. He is deeply in debt due to an ongoing legal dispute with Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio. McDermott keeps fighting, and he keeps losing. At this point the best he can hope for is to die before he has to cough up the best part of a million bucks.

But there is a solution! "If each of 25,000 "known Democrats" receiving his mailing were to give $10 and get two friends to give $10, writes McDermott, "I could then concentrate on bringing our troops home instead of dialing for dollars."

Damn! If it weren't for Boehner and his silly claim, McDermott would end the war and bring the troops home!

Well, he did get Jim McDermott out of Vietnam...

The hell of it is, he'll get that money, bet on it. The same Loonie Lefties who keep sending Seattle's foremost idiot to the "other" Washington will pay his bills, and will continue to re-elect him as long as he runs.

Seattle, gimme a puff of that stuff!

So the next time you ponder the absurdity of right-wing rule, remember that it comes down to the politics of alternatives. And cuss the Democrats roundly for their lack of providing them.


This morning in the Pacific Northwest we have a story from David Goldstein at concerning David Irons, the Republican candidate for King County Executive.

The Seattle P-I second guesses the story - what else when you've been scooped - at while Joni Balter of The Seattle Times already delivered a much more temporized version three weeks ago available at

Joni's version is so much milder Goldi certainly deserves the kudos here... Or venom, depending on the outcome.

Goldi admits it's personal, he admits the timing of his expose is deliberate; he implies it's Karma:

"And so tonight, as I prepare to air Irons’ dirty laundry on the eve of the absentee ballots being mailed, I do so without remorse, and without regret. What goes around comes around."

The story is basically a character assassination piece, except, if the story is true, it's a character badly in need of it. David Irons is painted as abusive, profane, and even violent, certainly unfit to hold public office.

So what gives with the conservatives, especially the Republicans, lately?

OK, it's incumbent on any thinking person - especially those who stand up on their hind paws and think out loud - to avoid stereotyping, assigning individuals group characteristics. But it's getting difficult to avoid.

Rush "jail them all" Limbaugh a drug addict who likely broke the law to maintain his habit. Bill Bennett, Mr. Virtue, a million-dollar player in Vegas.

In Washington DC, we have the two most important Republicans in Congress, Bill Frist and Tom DeLay, one under indictment; the other under investigation and possibly headed the same way as Martha Stewart. And let's not get going on the White House. The last honest man there left long ago.

Here in the other Washington we have the example of Jim West, and now this. And then there was the Oregon leader of the christian coalition, who recently resigned after his family outed him as a molester.

Maybe it's isolated. Maybe it's just the degree of scrutiny. Maybe everyone is like this and we just don't tell each other. But increasingly as I lay on the yellow line and look right I see the pattern: Public moral icons privately immoral. Conservative perverts. And a political machine on the Right that seems to be promoting liars and control freaks.

And every bit of it dripping with the simplest, worst "moral" failing of all: Hypocrisy. The self-proclaimed party of morality anything but.

All I see when I look the other way is Slick Willie, whose greatest failing was being a slave to his penis, a failing any healthy man can understand. I don't understand, I can't understand, the impulse to control that must drive the Right.

It makes me nostalgic for Slick Willie.

Thursday, October 20, 2005



Blogger Sagebrush has provided a link to a WSJ article on the ESA and the Spotted Owl.

Sagebrush opines the spotted owl listing was "a [Clinton Administration] mistake... we here in the pacific northwest may never recover from" "the destruction of our logging industry in the 1990s."

Scape Owl, scape!!!!

Oh, we have all heard the miserable tale of how those evil environmentalists connived with Slick Willie to sabotage the noble logger. Some of us even lived through it.

Only, the conventional tale is pure fertilizer. And it's a perfect example that there are at least as many truth stretchers right of center as left.

I didn't read the WSJ article - the subscription is damn pricey and I believe in a free press - :-) but I did work through about 6 megs of original data from USDA and similar sources.

That's data, not opinions on it.

Here's the bottom line: The destruction never occurred. Example:

According to the US department of labor: The total nationwide employment in logging peaked in 1979 at 88,500 persons. It dropped to 75,400 during the crash of the early '80's, and recovered to around 88,000 by 1988. By 1990 it was 84,600, dropping to 78,700 in 1991 and 1992, the height of the bruhaha. The next year it rebounded to 81,000. Even if the entire fluctuation was owl-caused - unrelated, for example, to productivity improvements - it was less than the earlier, normal boom and bust cycle.

During the same period of time, total wood production remained relatively constant.

Alright, big pictures obscure small tragedies. A few places - Forks, on the NW coast of Washington is a good example - really suffered. Forks boomed on the strength of Federal timber harvests, and whithered without them.

And while that's a damn shame, should a town rely solely on a resource that can vanish at the stroke of a pen?

On it goes. More than I need write or anyone probably cares to read. Just about every statistic the Right advances on this subject is juiced. Sagebrush quotes the Journal, "Clinton administration effected an 80% cut in logging on 24 million acres" and goes on to conflate this with old-growth. In fact, there is only a bit over 10 million acres of old-growth left in Washington, Oregon, and California. The rest of the cited set-asides were ALREADY LOGGED!

Meanwhile the real scientific issues are ignored. It isn't the Owl at issue: It's the overall forest health. The Owl is just an indicator species. If study proves it is a flawed indicator, OK. A new indicator will be found. The original issue remains.

It occurs to me old-growth is a lot like oil. It's a non-renewable resource that is largely owned or controlled here in the US by the government, which in all cases is bound to consider the whole picture, not just the entreaties of the pave paradise lobby. Like oil, there are downsides to old-growth: It is timber far past it's prime, dangerous to harvest, and lacking of the uniformity modern lumber manufacture prefers. Like oil, any decision to preserve today can be reversed tomorrow.

But unlike oil, old-growth cannot be harvested without destroying the significant ancillary values it intrinsically posesses, whether the timber proves to be worth the trouble or not.

I have seen trees three big men together couldn't reach around hit the ground and shatter to a thousand useless pieces. I can show you places logged that will never grow back.

Worst of all, like oil and minerals, the Federal government has never gotten a fair price for "our" resources. Federal stumpage has always lagged the private sector.

And there I think is where a lot of the hoopla comes from. The record shows that the industry as a whole hasn't been affected by the ESA ruling on the Spotted Owl, but those same people lost a sweet deal, and they, and their spokespersons, want it back.

Corporate welfare: How about just saying no?

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Over at HuffPo, David Sirota blogs on the difference between liberals and progressives.

"It seems to me that traditional "liberals" in our current parlance are those who focus on using taxpayer money to help better society. A "progressive" are those who focus on using government power to make large institutions play by a set of rules."

OK. So liberals want to use government, and the monies it collects from all of us, as a tool of social engineering - oops, I mean the betterment of society - and progressives want to use the same power to bully corporations into doing the social engineering.

So a progressive is an entrepreneurally oriented mobster with a liberal agenda... I feel so much better now that we've cleared that up.


John Dickerson over at Slate summarizes the rumor mill on White House strategy for the Miers nomination in "Miers 2.0."

He ends the piece with a little unsolicited advice: "In addition to tutoring the public on what Harriet knows, they might want to do something to make Ted Kennedy really mad."

How do you make Ted Kennedy mad? Hide his booze? Or maybe give him nuns for pages?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005



Via Drudge: Breitbart is carrying brief comments from Alan Greenspan that speak volumes for the murky future of petroleum and its place in the world energy picture.

Noting first "the world would have to learn to live with high oil prices... for some time to come" Chairman Greenspan went on to note "the impact of high oil prices on economic growth and inflation was likely to be less severe than during the 1970s... Oil is only two-thirds as important as an input into world gross domestic product now as it was three decades ago."

Only two-thirds as important, even though during the same three decades oil production has better than doubled.

Macroeconomic study demonstrates that in free markets with minimal barriers to entry, demand equals price. And in the last few weeks, as prices spiked high, demand did in fact come down just a little. As it did, prices began to moderate.

A simple view? A simple truth. And good news all the way around.

There's a lot of worry these days about oil. Worry about supplies, long and short term. Worry about the environmental downsides of it's use. Worry about the power oil confers to friends and foes. Fretting about alternatives. Every day another brick is added to the worry wall, another tree in the forest of events is examined minutely while the forest goes ignored.

Alternatives? "Oil is only two-thirds as important as an input into world gross domestic product now as it was three decades ago." Why? Because alternatives have been developed and utilized. Because we get more out of every drop of oil than ever before.

Do you ever find yourself in traffic behing a '60's "muscle" car? Smell that? All those partly burned and unburned hydrocarbons? All the cars used to smell that way.

More cars, more factories, more goods. Less total pollution and far less per unit consumption. We will never run out of oil, because long before we do, using it will become prohibitively expensive and it will be replaced. It is already happening.

Economics in action. As basic as the tides and as irresistable. As new as today and as old as Europe's quest for spice.

So three cheers for high oil prices and the activities they stimulate; the innovation they prompt.

Three cheers for the dead hand of Adam Smith.

Monday, October 17, 2005


Two more from Washington's best page, OrbusMax:

Oregon Live reports Senator Cantwell is facing a "challenge" from her left flank. Left flank? I didn't know she had a left flank... On this planet, that is...

Ken Schram has endorsed Tim Eyman's I-900. It's either a sign that we have a very good idea, a very bad one, or that the world is ending.

But I must object to Ken's"pony" story. The idea of those two riding one pony... That's animal cruelty!


VIA Orbusmax, we have this from the Guardian "Report: Katrina Spending Lacked Controls",1282,-5350622,00.html

Read it yourself. Maybe I'm just grumpy because it's dinnertime.

"Lacked spending controls"... In the middle of the biggest natural disaster to ever hit this Nation, carping about accounting procedures?

If the accounting procedures had slowed down the relief, would the headline read "Report: Spending Controls Slowed Relief To Katrina Victims???" You damn right it would.

This goes along with other observations I have composting about "our" reaction to Katrina. I don't think that on balance we showed our best, and I don't mean in the response. I mean the response to the response.

We live in a land of constantly inflating expectations where even poverty is steadily defined upward. Americans have become so used to the half empty glass they don't know any other viewpoint.

Somehow, I just don't think the men and women who survived the first winters at Plymouth would look favorably on much of what we have done with their legacy.


Initiative, that is...

Measure 37, Oregon's latest attempt to deal with the just compensation issue over land use and regulations was struck down Friday by the Circuit Court for Oregon in Marion County. OrbusMax carries the ongoing story, and the ruling:

Over at NW Republican, this is just a land grab...

Dang those greedy people who stand in the way of paving paradise... There are profits to be made out there! Trees to fell! Houses to be built! Freeways! WalMarts!

Seriously, this is a good example of how not to write an initiative. M-37 was struck down on five separate grounds.

Watching from the middle of the road, the larger issue presented is proof that "fair" is where you go to look at roosters and bunnies. There is no fairness in land use. "Land use" is by it's nature an issue where some people's rights, percieved or codified, are suborned to the larger interest. Land is a finite good, a zero-sum situation. Everyone can't be a winner.

Owner "A" bought his land years ago, hoping to subdivide someday and retire on the proceeds. Owner "B" bought the ajacent property because he didn't want a subdivision for a neighbor. Owner "C" of the next parcel wanted a tree farm. Now she's sick, and the only out is clearcutting.

If "A" subdivides, "B's" quality of life is ruined. If "A" doesn't, he's stuck with ??? And if "C" clearcuts, the area will be degraded for ten years.

And what about the people who would have been delighted to live in that subdivision?

Make your own story. It's real, somewhere. One man's dream destroying another's.

Man is mortal and rights belong to men. Land is forever. Land rights are therefore transitory. It is unrealistic to "freeze" land rights at an arbitray point in time because such rights then vanish with the generations. Yet it is equally unrealistic to expect the State to either forego regulations, and the protections they afford, or pay each landowner from the State's coffers for every lost profit or diminished value.

Every lost dream...

Still, Americans want the laws of their land to be fair. So people sign onto ideas like M-37, hoping against all experience, that this is at last the way out.

Oh well. Issues like this used to be settled with Winchesters, so I suppose this is progress.


Matt Drudge leads off this morning with a flash
from Madonna. Sometimes I think Matt D. must be her secret fan, the way he follows her about...

It seems Madonna has decided the Beast - the biblical one, we are led to assume - is the modern world and all of its material excess. One has to wonder if that includes the rather large chunk of material she owns... The lady[?] goes on to insist most Priests are gay.

And to think that word used to mean "happy."

Meanwhile, John Fund at the Wall Street Journal has tossed another live grenade into the already shell-shocked Miers nomination. Fund claims to have detailed notes from a teleconference of a religious activist umbrella organization known as the Arlington group. The meeting's purpose was to provide a forum where two close friends of Ms. Miers could answer questions concerning Mires' views pertaining to social issues.

Among the attendees: James Dobson.

From Mr. Fund's account:

""Based on your personal knowledge of her, if she had the opportunity, do you believe she would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade?" "Absolutely," said Judge Kinkeade. "I agree with that," said Justice Hecht. "I concur."

The account continues: "Shortly thereafter, Mr. Dobson apologized and said he had to leave the discussion: "That's all I need to know and I will get off and make some calls."

Interestingly, Mr Fund hasn't been able to get substantial collaboration of this account... Yet.

This meeting was BEFORE Mr. Dobson alluded to insider knowledge about Mires stand on Roe v. Wade, an allusion thought then to refer to conversations between Dobson and White House spin king Karl Rove. Later the same week, Mr Dobson attempted to smooth over his gaffe, saying during a radio broadcast:

" "I would have loved to have known how Harriet Miers views Roe v. Wade," But even if Karl had known the answer to that--and I'm certain that he didn't because the president himself said he didn't know--Karl would not have told me that. That's the most incendiary information that's out there, and it was never part of our discussion.""

""I would have loved to have known how Harriet Miers views Roe v. Wade,""

""That's all I need to know and I will get off and make some calls.""

Dobson, you damned liar. Don't people of your faith think liars go to hell?

Alright, perhaps it's the source. But this looks mighty peculiar. And here is the reason I am no longer a Republican. The party has become dominated by people so obsessed with the goal of making their religious views the law of the land they will sell their souls to achieve it.

Onward, Christian Soldiers!

Trying to fit the "right" to abortion into the Constitution is like putting sneakers on a horse. I doubt the framers of the Constitution could have conceived of the kind of medical technology that makes abortion safe and practical. I understand that "privacy" isn't really explicitly guaranteed in the Constitution. But it should be. The Constitution isn't infallible.

Some issues are just too personal to be left to the clumsy hand of government, constantly pushed by social whim. Oh, but wasn't that what Roe was in the first place?

No, it wasn't. Roe was the acknowlegement that technology had placed new choices before man, and it was an attempt, however flawed, to leave those choices in the hands of those most intimately affected by them.

I don't Like Roe and I don't believe in hell. But I like far less people who insist it's their place to interpret the mind of God and use those muses to rule over such matters.

And I'm certain of this: If there is a hell, it'll be a lot fuller of liars for God than it will be full of women who made the best bad choice they could.

Sunday, October 16, 2005


For James Doohan, Known to millions as "Scotty" from Star Treck. Reuters is reporting via Yahoo That Mr. Doohan's ashes will be launched into orbit, eventually to return to earth as a shooting star.

You'll be a star again, Scotty, and William Shatner won't be there this time to upstage you.


Or maybe this one is a Darwin Award. I'm just not sure. Take your pick. Fox is reporting,2933,172415,00.html on the case of a 600 pound man who died in his burning house because he couldn't get out. Firemen finally managed to get the man on a backboard and slide him out the door but not before he died of the smoke & heat.

If I were a liberal, I might be wringing my hands over such a deplorable case. I might be demanding an investigation, even suggesting monies be allocated for special programs to protect the mass-challenged.

But I just can't do it. When somebody as big as two full-grown boar hogs dies in a fire because he can't get up and walk ten feet, well, common sense insists that's just survival of the fittest in reverse.

And if you are a liberal, the kind of person who believes society should protect people, even from themselves, answer where society was when he was amassing his bulk.


For Bigfoot.

AP Reports on the 5th annual meeting of The Texas Bigfoot Conference hosted by the Texas Bigfoot Research Center.

Attendees consider themselves to be naturalists hot on the trail of what might be the last "undocumented" large wild animal on Earth. "It's not a matter of believing, like faith, when you believe in something you can't see," said Daryl G. Colyer, "It's a flesh-and-blood animal that just has not been discovered yet. And I think we're getting closer and closer and closer," Colyer said.

While acknowledging that the Pacific Northwest is likely home for most of the estimated 2,000 Bigfoot in America, the Institute insists there are Bigfoot in Texas, too.

Those Texans...

It's probably fair to say that most people, including most biologists, are at best very skeptical of the claim an animal big enough to whip a Grizzly Bear at arm wrestling could remain hidden in the United States, leaving nothing but tracks and the occasional stupified eyewitness, it's a claim that can't be disproven, only proven.

And after all, even with the best of technology, our government can't find Osama Bin Laden. I expect the two of them to show up at about the same time...

Saturday, October 15, 2005


Drudge vs Huffington Post, part III

The New York Times has devoted considerable effort to the Judith Miller "story" [dare I say fiasco?] today, publishing two prominent articles on the subject. One is a narrative by Miller herself; one a third-party synopsis / mea culpa by the Times establishment.

Predictably, the spin masters, moving with the ferocity of Piranha, have latched onto the morsels they each find most enticing. The morsels picked first are revelatory of the bias of the Piranha - I mean journalists - involved.

Drudge, leading the charge for the Rabid Right, ignores the accounts of Miller herself, not even providing a link. He prefers the synopsis, entitled "The Miller Case: A Notebook, a Cause, a Jail Cell and a Deal."

Drudge headlines this story " NY Times: Reporter Can't Recall Who Gave Her The 'Flame' Name," a reference to an arguably insignificant and even collateral reference from Miller's notes, better explained in the article not linked.

As is often the case when Drudge is operating in full ad hominem mode, he includes an incredibly unflattering still shot of Miller as his lead. One wonders how many feet of film he must have culled to find that one ugly shot. Don't miss this one, Drudge watchers. It's a fine example of his "art."

Drudge gets double-duty out of this story by linking to a regurgitation by

HuffPo tries to hold up their end, leading with Miller's account, "My Four Hours Testifying in the Federal Grand Jury Room," which is, BTW, accompanied by a much more flattering photo of Miller.

But they are no match for the Rabid Right, and in fact seem to be on the defensive, entitling their link the the aforementioned story "New York Times' Judy Miller Can't "Recall" Her Plamegate Source…"

Arianna Huffington has personally invested considerably in the "Plamegate Scandal," hoping, one must assume, to reap a great profit of political capital at the expense of her opponents. Now it appears events have let her down.

HuffPo also links the second Times story under the headline "The Times Coverage Of Itself Under Assault: Managing Editor Regrets The Entire Thing."

Quite a change from the original "The Miller Case: A Notebook, a Cause, a Jail Cell and a Deal," and a further example of damage control.

So the battle goes to the Rabid Right, at least for now. Not because the facts originally at issue are demonstrated to support their side, but because of presentation, of slant. The facts are long since lost and forgotten.

And enough of this subject. One last word: Next time some fool - or some outright liar - insists media is slanted one way and one way only, play the headline game.


Caveat Emptor


This morning we are afforded excellent opportunities to add to the "It's the spin, stupid" file and bestow the coveted "NewsTwister Extraordinairre" and "Abuse of the First Amendment" awards...

Drudge, that stalwart standard bearer for the Rabid Right, and his new opposition from the Looney Left, The Huffington Post - HuffPo to it's regulars - lead with the same two news items.

The first item concerns that perennial cash-cow for all media, Karl Rove, and his fourth appearance before the Grand Jury investigating the Plame case.

First, Drudge.

Drudge links to a story from entitled "Top Bush adviser Rove testifies again on CIA leak."

The story leads with "President George W. Bush's top aide Karl Rove testified for a fourth time before a grand jury about the leaked identity of a CIA agent, which opponents call politically motivated." Breitbart makes no claims about the content of the testimony. The story goes on, quoting Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin. Speaking pure Lawyerese, Mr Luskin states:

"The special counsel has not advised Mr. Rove that he is a target of the investigation and affirmed that he has made no decision concerning charges."

No, yes, no... Now, that's a quality dodge... Lushkin must have done well in Dissembling 101.

So Drudge leads with: "LAWYER: ROVE NO TARGET."

Matt, Matt, Matt... Have you no shame? While it is true Grand Juries can and do inform witnesses if they are under investigation, failure to include is not exclusion.

Then over at HuffPo, we have the same event - I think it's the same event - re-spun:

We are linked to the Washington Post under the headline "Rove Pressed on Conflicting Testimony," a fair reiteration of The Post's "Rove Pressed On Conflicts, Source Says"

The story leads off with the tagline "Questions Said to Focus On Differing Accounts" and the first two paragraphs focus on information provided by "a source familiar with Rove's account "that suggests an interest by the Grand Jury and the Prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, in allegedly conflicting testimony. Later, the Post includes the same statement from Robert Lushkin without comment.

HMMM... Isn't Grand Jury testimony supposed to be closed? A source? Isn't that like a leak?

ISN'T THAT WHAT THE GRAND JURY IS INVESTIGATING? A LEAK??? Or is this leak OK? If so, who makes the "okayness" call? On what basis was this call made? Is it just that this is anonymous, or is it "OK" because everybody does it? Everybody, like maybe whoever outed Plame?

Sometimes distinctions, even accepted, legal ones, can become so fine as to lose meaning. And justice is lost in the process.

I have to award Drudge the NewsTwister Extraordinairre award for his clip-quote headline, which is clearly designed to fundamentally color the content.

But The Post and HuffPo clearly earn the Abuse of the First Amendment award, for once again using their protection of political speech to blur the line between politics and law, and they earn bonus points for potentially compromising the court in the process.


Our second study is all the more interesting, because it concerns the EXACT same story, written by John Solomon, Associated Press Writer. The story is entitled "DeLay Uses Website to Attack Prosecutor," a loaded headline if there ever was one, but one that fits the story well.

Drudge links the story through My Way at

HuffPo catches the story from Yahoo at;_ylt=At.QG0owre_gLI.wJsAlLv6s0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTA2Z2szazkxBHNlYwN0bQ--

The story details an internet campaign based at being conducted on Mr. DeLay's behalf with the dual purpose of raising re-election funds and discrediting his current nemesis, Texas Prosecutor Ronnie Earle, along with Earle's indictment of DeLay for conspiracy. After a description of the campaign, the obligatory legal "experts" are trotted out, and the rebuttals follow.

"Legal experts said DeLay's use of congressional campaign donations to attack Earle likely was permitted under campaign law, though it could lead to legal questions about whether he is trying to influence potential jurors for his trial.... "He clearly is aiming at the jury pool and aiming at voters, hoping to generate as much sympathy as he can," said Larry Noble, the government's former chief election enforcement lawyer."...

"Don McGahn, a lawyer for DeLay's campaign, said the use of the campaign for the anti-Earle effort is "perfectly legal" and has nothing to do with trying to sway jurors. The indictment is "big news in Texas so it is obviously something the campaign should address for the voters whom it affects," McGahn said. "The intent is just for people to understand the truth. There is no other purpose here.""

Unable to resist the temptation to editorialize, Mr. Solomon adds "The truth, however, is decidedly DeLay's version on the Web site."

Spin me right, spin me left, spin me into nausea...

WOW! DeLay is putting DeLay's version on DeLay's website? Thank you, Mr. Solomon! I was totally confused! I would have thought he'd be filling it with grovelling admissions and entreaties for pardon. That would be so much more in keeping with "The Hammer's" long, rigidly scrupulous record... Thanks for setting me straight! I was getting so tired of having to think!

But the fascinating part is how our primary subjects deal with the item.

Headline from Drudge: "DeLay Uses Website to Probe Prosecutor."

Headline from HuffPo: "Delay Trying To Influence Potential Jurors…"

A probe, Matt? I guess the Battle of the Bulge was a probe, too...

But HuffPo clearly out-does Drudge here, taking the opinion of a former election official and through a magical combination of inflation and conflation turning it into a statement of Mr. DeLay's intent, and at the same time using that opinion to hide an accusation of felony conduct on the part of the DeLay team.

This NewsTwister Extraordinairre award is given, hands down, to HuffPo with honorable mention to the original author for saving all of us the trouble of determining the truth for ourselves.

With pre-molded opinions like these, who needs facts?

Friday, October 14, 2005

Then, from the extreme fringes of the looney left [if not beyond] there's this.

Soon after the tidal surges from Hurricane Katrina overwhelmed the dikes of New Orleans, a story began zipping around the ether claiming that sections of the dikes were bombed intentionally, to selectively flood the city. Some versions of the story claim it was designed to protect wealthy and / or landmark sections at the expense of other areas by releiving pressure on the system.

Then there is Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan...

Reverend Farrakhan - please, if that's the wrong honorific, don't fatwa me - is reported to have stated "[I've] heard that military explosives may have been used to blow a hole in the levee... it's up to government to prove that a levee wasn't bombed to flood poor black people out of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina... [This] would amount to "mass murder.""

Prove it wasn't? The wild illogic of this pronouncement makes my head hurt.

"Flood poor black people?" The baseness of this claim makes me mad.

Louie, we all realize that it is becomming increasingly difficult for a poverty pimp to make a living, what with the constant pressure to re-define poverty up as the rising tide continues to lift all boats. But to suggest something like this, sans absolute proof, is at best irrefutable evidence of dementia and at worst proof of unforgivable malice.

The only thing that could possibly be worse would be seeing the charges proven true.

That's right, Louie. Put up or shut up, you Swell 'Ol Boy. And if you shut up, stay that way.

Ken Shram has weighed in on the ongoing saga of King County's election management at It seems Washington's curmudgeon emeritus has had enough...

So just fix it, Mr. Logan. And no more whining...

It occurs to me that perfect elections are a lot like the second coming of Jesus: They are beautiful events that haven't happened yet. Some of my earliest political memories are of rants about how the 1960 election was stolen from Richard Nixon. Every close election has its sore loser quotient. But in recent elections the sore losers have been backed up by legions of lawyers, second guessers, and activist hangers-on, all of whom sacrifice objectivity to partisanship.

Let's ignore the fact election law has been demonstrated to be somewhat vague, inadequate, and even contradictory, certainly in need of recently implemented reforms and likely more.

Let's ignore for the moment the question of whether or not well-placed individuals or groups in or out of government are stooping to the level of common thugs by comitting outright fraud. We all hope it isn't happening but most of us accept the possibility it is, and endorse efforts to eradicate it.

Let's remember that there has been no organized activity yet identified related to this subject that rose to the level of a prosecutable offense in the eyes of those whose place it would be to pursue it. And it hasn't been for lack of trying.

With 100% honesty, how much error will exist from chance or just plain stupidity?

Our last gubernatorial contest was decided by a few hundred votes out of 2,805,000. Three different counts using two different methods yielded three different answers, and we will NEVER KNOW the "right" answer. Common sense screams UNINTENTIONAL errors throughout the process were far more than the victory margin. That's a tie in my book.

OK, we can't just call it a tie and go home. But there are alternatives to count after count, court case after court case. Why not instead of recounts, revotes? 63,000 of us voted third party. An automatic runoff involving only the two top candidates would have made more sense than the circus we ended up with and will certainly end up with again, considering the deeply divided nature of the body politic. I say go beyond the "revote" movement so many of us signed onto. Change the law.

An automatic revote would have eliminated all of the arguments from the first one. And the extra scrutiny, the sheer hype, couldn't help but dampen the miscreant impulse. It would take time and cost money but the truth is we spend next to nothing on our elections compared to their importance.

That's one alternative. There are others, certainly. Just as certainly, it's time to entertain alternatives. As it is, no matter who wins, the people lose.

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