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Saturday, September 21, 2002

Lies, Distortions, and More Button Pushing

[Following is a more coherent response to my friend from Iowa, drawing my friend from Virginia into the debate — I shouldn't write as late as I did last night]
Tony Adragna
"If we try to act against Saddam Hussein, as obnoxious as he is, without proper provocation, we will not have the support of other nation states who might do so."...
"I don't believe that America will justifiably make an unprovoked attack on another nation," he said. "It would not be consistent with what we have been as a nation or what we should be as a nation."
In response to a reporter's question, he said: "My own view would be to let him bluster, let him rant and rave all he wants and let that be a matter between he and his own country. As long as he behaves himself within his own borders, we should not be addressing any attack or resources against him."
Can you guess whose words those are, Will?

Before I tell ya, maybe you can tell me why everybody's mau mauing the Dems over this Congressional Resolution business. Yea, yea... I know Mr. Daschle is a noted obstructionist, but he doesn't run the other chamber. Why hasn't the House moved a resolution 'til this late date? It can't be because Speaker Hastert has abdicated to Mr. Gephardt — the same member of the Democratic leadership who said in early June:
"I share President Bush's resolve to confront this menace head-on [...] "We should use diplomatic tools where we can, but military means where we must to eliminate the threat he poses to the region and our own security,"
That statement from Mr. Gephardt was reiterated on Aug 26, well before Mr. Bush's September 12 UN presentation!

The reason why the House hasn't acted yet can only be because there are members of the House GOP who are just as skeptical as Democratic members. In fact, there are GOP members to whom the label Anti-War is more appropriately applied: I previously pointed to Rep Ron Paul, and now it's time to reveal who spoke the words I quoted in the begin — Rep Dick Armey![ By the way, it's interesting that these two GOP critics of Mr. Bush's approach to Iraq are both from Texas]

Now, Krauthammer had a chance to take down Armey, but he punted. In that same op-ed piece Krauthammer called the GOP division on unilateral v. multilateral a "Fictional Rift":
It turns out that the disagreement among Republicans was less about going to Iraq than about going to the United Nations. It was a vastly overblown disagreement, because even the most committed unilateralist would rather not go it alone if possible. Of course you want allies. You just don't want to be held hostage to their veto. And as the first President Bush demonstrated when he declared that the United States would liberate Kuwait unilaterally if necessary, the best way to get allies is to let others know you are prepared to go it alone and let them ponder the cost of missing the train.
Exactly a week later, in addressing Democratic criticism of Mr. Bush's rhetoric prior to going to the UN versus support afterwards, Krauthammer says:
When the case for war is made purely in terms of American national interest -- in terms of the safety, security and very lives of American citizens -- chins are pulled as the Democrats think it over. But when the case is the abstraction of being the good international citizen and strengthening the House of Kofi, the Democrats are ready to parachute into Baghdad.
First, this latter essay is a distortion of the Democrats' position vis a vis the threat — Krauthammer completely overlooks the debate on whether the threat is sufficient to justify unilateral preemptive action. In his prior essay Krauthammer says "even the most committed unilateralist would rather not go it alone if possible", but he can't bring himself to say that even the most committed multilateralists are willing to go it alone when needs be.

Then, Krathammer distorts the Democrats' position vis a vis the UN — what we told the President, and what he came around to us on, is that the best way to get the international community's support is to present to them the case that inaction threatens the viability of the world body. That's not to say that we wouldn't agree with a unilateral approach if that was our only option. In fact, history tells a story of Democratic support for acting against the wishes of the international community where there is agreement that we have no other option. But we don't agree that we're at that point yet, and we've decided that since Mr. Bush is now backing our approach, we can't but support him.

What really irks, though, is that not only did Krauthammer distort the Democrats' position, but he did it purposefully in order to make an argument contra his prior assertion that this genre of disagreement is really not disagreement when Republicans are doing the disagreeing.

I won't deny that there are Democrats who are truly Anti-War. Indeed, Rep Barbara Lee has introduced a resolution with 26 cosponsors calling on the administration to deal with Iraq "through mechanisms such as the resumption of weapons inspections, negotiation, enquiry, mediation, regional arrangements, and other peaceful means."[emphasis added]

But do those 27 represent the prevailing view of the Democratic party? You can assert that they do, and contrive distortions of what Gephardt et al have said to support such an assertion, but you're still stuck with an assertion that's completely at odds with what Democratic leadership actually said.

At the same time that you're arguing against what a samll group of Democrats are saying, if you're not also critical of GOP opposition to Mr. Bush — including opposition from a member of congressional GOP leadership (Mr. Armey) — then your criticism is nothing more than partisan disingenuousness.

I've also got some problems with liberals who are expressing criticism of Democrats, Will, but that's gotta wait 'til tomorrow — Shields comments from last night are going to be my springboard, so I'll wait on your latest installment of Punditwatch

QP Saturday

Will Vehrs
Tony, it's jarring to return after travelling the countryside like I did the last few days. I didn't get to listen to the radio, had no time for newspapers, and only caught a few snippets of news on television. If I had to summarize what I know about what happened while I was gone, it would be suicide bombings resumed in Israel, a first base coach got attacked by drunken louts, and President Bush agreed to a 9-11 inquiry.

I'll tell you what's really jarring, though: coming home to find out that my offer to "help out" has resulted in me being named soccer coach of the "Heat," my daughter's team of 7 to 9 year olds. I've never played the game, barely ever watched it, and find its rules arcane. Oh, well. The "Heat" is going to play like their hair's on fire. Our first practice is this morning.

My trip was about attending meetings to solicit ideas for Governor Warner's Economic Development Strategy. The places we went were in the distressed areas of Southwestern Virginia and Southside Virginia. In some of the counties I passed through, only 35% of the workforce has a high school diploma or a GED. In most other parts of the state, 90% have finished high school. It's no wonder there's so much economic disparity in Virginia, but I was both surprised and disappointed at the lack of ideas from local leaders on ways the state could help their regions. Of course, with the budget crunch in Virginia state government, any idea that costs a nickel is probably out of the question.

Somebody Tries to Answer Me "Why?"

Tony Adragna
[Following is a rambling response to my friend in Iowa, so please bear with]

Dave is getting clever again, but I didn't just fall off a turnip truck. See, Dave's response only works if you suppose that the questions being raised by Dems equaled opposition to the underlying proposition — Hussein must go, and by unilateral force if it comes ot that!

But there have been valid criticisms coming from Dems — and some Republicans — on "the case" that was being presented prior to Mr. Bush's speech to the UN. What Dave says "could be charitably described as 'having doubts' about Bush’s Iraq policy" on the part of Kerry isn't about "Iraq policy":Kerry says:
“No one disagrees that even if we go it alone in Iraq, we will win and we will replace Saddam, but what this administration has failed to do is make their case on the international stage or to the American people for the rationale of starting the war or the means of ending it,” he said. “We cannot afford to put the security of our allies, the region and ultimately our own at risk for the vague offerings we have heard to date.”
What that criticism is about is failure to make the case, and rationale for application of the ultimate policy tool. The other side of that coin is make a good case and get us international support — we don't want to go alone if we don't need to, and we won't know if we need to 'til we've made the presentation — and we're behind you.

Mr. Bush did exactly what Dems and pere's advisors argued he should, and Dems finally got an administration position that they've repeatedly said they could get behind — that's not of a sudden support any more than Mr. Bush's sudden appearance at the UN was a 180° turn from the rhetoric eminating from his Cabinet.

It's about plans & intentions WRT implementing policy, not the policy per se. Support for regime change was 10 to 1 in the House in '98, and passed on a unanimous voice vote in the Senate. While Mr. Kerry said at the time, "this bill is not a device to involve the U.S. military in operations in or near Iraq", he made clear in that same statement:
This bill, when passed and signed into law, is a clear commitment to a U.S. policy replacing the Saddam Hussein regime and replacing it with a transition to democracy. This bill is a statement that America refuses to coexist with a regime which has used chemical weapons on its own citizens and on neighboring countries, which has invaded its neighbors twice without provocation, which has still not accounted for its atrocities committed in Kuwait, which has fired ballistic missiles into the cities of three of its neighbors, which is attempting to develop nuclear and biological weapons, and which has brutalized and terrorized its own citizens for thirty years. I don't see how any democratic country could accept the existence of such a regime, but this bill says America will not. I will be an even prouder American when the refusal, and commitment to materially help the Iraqi resistance, are U.S. policy.
That is The Policy, and on that there's no disagreement. Pursuit of that policy has taken on a new urgency since Sept 11, and support for "U.S. military in operations in or near Iraq" has been building in Congress since notwithstanding valid concerns raised on how to get there and what implications follow.

In re Gore's remarks:
"I certainly question why we would be publicly blustering and announcing an invasion a year or two years in advance,” Gore told a Capitol Hill Democratic gathering last week.

Gore also faulted Bush for not assembling the kind of coalition of nations to oppose Saddam that Bush’s father put together in 1990. He suggested that if the United States acts alone or with only a few partners, other nations would resent it.

“If the rest of the world does not see what it regards as a sufficient provocation to justify an invasion by the United States, then the diplomatic cost would be extremely high,” Gore said.
Again, not about "policy", but about rhetoric. And what does it matter — 'cept for political capital — what Gore thinks anyway: He's neither in Congress nor the administration, so his endorsement is irrelevant to whether we ought go to war.

What part of Lieberman's statement is opposed to "policy":
Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., said Bush has mismanaged the effort to win the nation's confidence in expanding the war, shown by invasion and airstrike plans leaked to the press in July.

“There’s not been a clarity of leadership,” said Lieberman, who was in Iowa campaigning for Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack and other Democrats on Wednesday and Thursday
What Joe was saying here is the same thing I've said repeatedly — not that the product wasn't good, but that the President screwed the sales pitch!

But hey, why should you read what the Dems are actually saying when it's so much more fun to argue that they really mean something else:
BARNES: You know, Daschle really did get burned when he voiced this, I thought, very – fairly mild criticism. In truth, the issues he talked about were not really what I think most of these Democrats think. They're not that worried about consultation or unilateralism. I think they have real European-like qualms about extending the war after Afghanistan. I don't think they want to go into Iraq.
In truth, conservative haven't a clue what "these Democrats think" 'cause conservative have been so busy reading between the lines that they haven't given any serious consideration to the Dems actual words.

Now, I understand the question has been framed by the administration as debate on an "imminent threat", and on that there's been much disagreement — a lot of us still aren't sold on the proposition that the threat is as imminent as the hawkish rhetoric asserts. And if the "policy" question is whether or not to pursue unilateralism in applying military force notwithstanding that we aren't yet at the point of needing to take such a route, then I agree that there's also been much disagreement — but the hawks lost that debate.

Yes, the White House did propose a resolution on Iraq to Congress, and the language there is pretty much what the hawks want. But to go from support of a resolution on force to support of that resolution — which would clearly be a turn around by the Dems — is a stretch. Congress — both houses — has already signaled that they are going to draft their own language, and that's what they're going to vote on.

It's too early to say that Dems have capitutlated on anything 'cept having a vote before the election — the resolution that comes out of Congress is more apt to be what Congressional skeptics of unilateralist rhetoric desire of the President than what the President wants from Congress.

But the worst distortion of the Dems' position is the one that's held for months — and still is offerd as a fair read — they're looking for a reason to oppose Bush. In truth, the Dems have been very clear about what they oppose — "unilateralism" — and have been telling Mr. Bush that their support only requires a dropping the "screw multilateralism" rhetoric and making a strong case (rather than the nebulous al Qaeda linkage): Mr. Bush did, and the Dems do.

And you still haven't answered my why not highlight GOP opposition to Bush, like Ron Paul forceful statement. Moreover, since conservatives have sought fit to dredge up Dem oppositionism from '90, then why not beat up Don Nickles for his opposition to war in '99.

I'll say it again, the Democratic disagreement has been the same anti-unilateral arguments that Krauthammer said "was less about going to Iraq than about going to the United Nations" — why is it suddenly more about going to Iraq simply because the Democrats are the ones being disagreeable?

Try this logic exercise: If A (the Kissinger et al arguments) = C (not opposition), and B (the Kerry et al arguments) = A (multilateralism preferred; unilateralism last resort; declared policy "enforcement of resolutions"), then B must also = C. That is, if you use the normal convention of words meaning, well, exactly what they mean, rather than assuming the speaker really means something else...

Either that, or Krauthemmer was completely wrong, not just rhetorically wrong. And if Krauthammer's wrong, then maybe Kurtz is wrong too... Hell, I'll even admit when I'm wrong, but at least I'll be wrong in good faith rather than because I bought into faulty CW...

And nice try, you clever you, trying to answer my question WRT a specific passage by pointing to a different sction of text as if that's the verbiage I took exception with — I did, and I do, but you still rewrote the question...

Friday, September 20, 2002

Read My Tech Central Station Column

Tony Adragna
It's all about "Great Scott! How He Lies"...

Ooops... I didn't write that, but I coulda... I don't know... it's getting all blury...

Thanks for the linkage Mr. Hanks...

Oh No, Mr. Bill,
Not the "Massive Intelligence Failure!"

Tony Adragna
WaPo's Dana Priest is pushing Bill Herbert's buttons, but Bill ain't having any of that.

Bill is, of course, too right — there was no "massive intelligence failure." Indeed, QP asserted back on Aug 1 that "there was no 'intelligence failure'" in the sense that has been put forth in some argument and lots of reportage.

What we had was what Paul Wolfowitz correctly described as an endemic failure. Where we "failed" was where bureaucracies always fail: It's an unmanagable task. It's true that the task is overwhelming — so overwhelming that to attempt managing all at the same time is really an unmanagable task — which is why you task resources where they do the most good against the assessed threat. We were getting lots of intel, and the Community was doing its best to manage what it was tasked to do.

Unfortunately — and this is in the nature of a flaw in the way disparate agencies within the Community worked — not everybody was on the same page, or even communicating with each other on whether they should be reading a different book. And oft times somebody knows they ought be reading a certain chapter, but blow it off assuming that others have got it covered.

Even the problem I've had with the way that Zac M. was handled doesn't amount to an "intelligence failure" so much as a missed opportunity to snag some intel from a source that could have proved fruitful, but that was nowhere near the intelligence community's fault. The blame there rests with bureaucratic bumbling...

Bill's recitation of Schilling is apt.

Thursday, September 19, 2002
Update 10:20 PM: Further to the addendum to the post below, and answering the question who opposes war in Iraq, read "A Foreign Policy for Peace, Prosperity, and Liberty" — that's from Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), and in today's hearing he used the words "I oppose this war". Mr. Paul's statement makes very clear his opposition to "interventionism" and his concern vis a vis the slippery slope WRT us becoming the "world's policeman"... Hey, I can't make this stuff up...

Are We Closer to War,
or Has Going to the UN Set Us Back?

Plus, Tony does a little button pushing...
Tony Adragna
I've heard Chris Mathews ask that question of his guests several times since the Iraqi "offer". The answer is, of course, counterintuitively closer to war.

How's that so if we're dragging our feet at the UN?

Well, we're not dragging our feet. In fact, with the Iraqi "offer", we now need not waste time on the element of "inspections" — Saddam has already declared his intent (for what his word is worth) to allow "unconditional inspections" — so we can get right to the point of discussing the most important element of any new Security Council action: Resolving to apply military force if Iraq fails to comply.

Joshua Marshall made the same point several days ago, except he actually made it a few months ago. And I agree with Josh with respect to who got bent to whose will. I happen to think that Mr. Bush was leaning in our direction anyway — despite the hawkish "unilateralist" rhetoric coming from a wing of his Cabinet — and I've said before that Mr. Bush knows he can't get support by pissing in everybody's coffee cups.

Now, if we could just get the administration to stop using the word "preemption" we'd be a lot further along. This isn't just a case semantics, but a matter of principle — what we're talking about doing in Iraq is "intervention" before an imminent threat presents.

Some say that the threat is already imminent, but that case has yet to be made — unless you change the definition to something more like we don't know when, but eventually. Even Mr. Rumsfeld can't paint a picture of "imminent threat" out of the dots he's connected. And that, Mr. Will, is why the President didn't use the magic words "clear and present danger" — because the picture is a bit more nebulous than clear, and we really don't know just how "present" (i.e. a direct threat to the U.S.) the danger is.

And there lies the fallacy in much criticism of Democrats. It's repeatedly asserted, as Mr. Will does, that Democrats won't act unilaterally even in self defense without the world body's authorization. That assertion is hyperbole in its highest form — unless you can find me a single Democrat who argues we don't have the right to act in self defense, then the statement stands as nothing more than assertion. I however, can cite Democrats whose words prove Mr. Will's assertion counter-factual:
SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN: The hard question is going to be whether or not one has the capacity, does that necessarily mean they have intent? For example, the Chinese have a capacity. Does the President have the right to preemptively go strike the Chinese, a Communist regime? The answer is no. So but with Saddam, there is... it's much more tenuous because he has used weapons of mass destruction before. He has made assertions about intentions to use these weapons, and therefore it gives more credence to the President's capacity to be able to go act preemptively.
Note that Biden doesn't even condition "preemption" on a threat posed directly at the United States, or on UN authorization, but simply on Hussein's willingness to use his arsenal against anybody. I could pull more examples, but I shouldn't need to — unless Republicans truly believe that Democrats are as naive as Mr. Will wants to color us.

The "case" that Democrats have been asking the administration to make is the one for "premptive" and "unilateral" action, and what we're looking for is not a "smoking gun", but a "cocked pistol" about to go off. If that case can be made, then 'tis not the Democrats "failing their Constitutional duty", but the President himself: Mr. Bush has the inherent authority — and the duty — to act in the face of such a threat, so why hasn't he acted if he believes that such a threat is "imminent"?

Nevertheless, we've made a strong case against Iraq, the same case Mr. Churchill argued with repsect to NAZI Germany. You'll get no disagreement on Hussein being a danger — except from anti-war "leftists" and non-interventionist type libertarians — and the need to face him down. If we need to act without UN authorization, you'll not get opposition from the vast majority of Democrats — despite insinuations to the contrary.

But at this point the only case to be made for truly "unilateral" action — absent a "clear and present" imminent threat — is an assumption that the rest of the world is gonna tell us to go take a leap. Oughtn't we first give the world a chance — we might just be surprised when everybody... well... agrees with us. If we end up getting told where to get off, did we lose anything? No: not even any face — we're gonna take down Saddam anyway, because it's the right thing to do, and Saddam ain't giving us any other options...

Addendum: Why don't conservatives wanna say the word "intervention"? Well, probably because for a long time they argued that we oughtn't be intervening unless our "national interests" — economic & strategic — were threatened.

Liberals, on the other hand, have argued for intervention on a much broader scope — as was the case vis a vis Yugoslavia in 1999, at which time the GOP was saying things like "I hope we won't start a bombing war against Serbia. That is an act of war".

'Course, the instant case clearly passes the conservative test on "national interest", so why can't they say the word "intervention"? Probably because they don't want to set a precedent on "intervention" that says we can go there before the threat presents — they'd still rather stay away 'til the situation becomes a problem needing immediate action, which speaks volumes 'bout the "immediacy" of the instant [rhetorical] case...

Update 3:14 PM: What happened to GOP "opposition", which was all over the Op-Ed pages? Well, remember that The Hammer said it wasn't really opposition — 'twas just about disagreement over going to the UN & why such a rush. Um, 'scuse me for bringing up the inconvenient fact that if that is true, then the Dems haven't really been opposed either... Not on the question of going to war in Iraq, which Charles says is the main point. 'Course, a fair read of what Dems have been saying, rather than buying into partisan assumptions on what the Dems really mean, would make the point better than I can.

Dems on Iraq...
and More of Pushing Tony's Buttons

Tony Adragna
I've had to do a bit of revising and extending lately as — after taking people at their word — campaign season has focused around military action in Iraq. Howard Kurtz notes today that the issue has placed Dems in a bit of a fix vis a vis their campaign agenda.

The worst part, though, is that Dems have allowed themselves to be cast as the "anti-war" party — opposed to Mr. Bush — which simply isn't a true characterization. From that premise flows the kind of reporting that Kurtz cites on the part of Ron Brownstein of the Los Angeles Times:
In rapid succession, the leading Democrats considering a race against George W. Bush in 2004 are lining up behind the president's push for possible military action against Iraq.

"Since Bush's speech last week to the United Nations, Sens. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.) and John Edwards (D-N.C.) have made clear they would back the use of force against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, while House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.) has suggested he would, as well.
The problem with that reportage is that these very same people have been in Bush's corner for months.

In fact, Sen Lieberman has been urging Mr. Bush "to remove Saddam Hussein from power" since way back on Dec 16, 2001!

Somebody wanna answer me why everybody seems to think that the Dem '04 hopefuls have of a sudden come around to Mr. Bush's side? And why have we suddenly stopped hearing 'bout GOP Members [of Congress] who have been just as skeptical as the Dem skeptics...

Would y'all stop pushing my buttons!

Hands-On Style of Being in the Dark

Tony Adragna
Will — who I feel obliged to talk about while he's gone — was looking for more than Josh had on Secretary White. I bought into a possible explanation for how Mr. White coulda been out-of-the-loop on what was going on in his business unit.

Seems I was too quick to cut Mr. White some slack — just because Josh didn't get the scoop doesn't mean the dirt wasn't there. Jason Leopold found the smoking gun email[scroll past the Krugman piece], which I'm finally reading about thanks to Mr. DeLong's reproduction of the article.

I always did find it kinda hard to believe that this former general didn't know what was going on in his business unit.

'Course, that doesn't mean that what he did after leaving Enron was in any way illegal [maybe still unethical in light of what he oughta knew, and likely did know] — Dems definitely took the wrong tack in that hearing...

Two Minute Drill

QP Staff Writer
Too early for me to write — go read the news.

Start with 9/11 Probers Say Agencies Failed to Heed Attack Signs ( Whether we would have been able to prevent the attack is still debatable, but that we should've been expecting something on that scale no longer is. QP has been editorializing on how the government ought to have handled some pre-Sept 11 matters differently in light of what the threat assessment ough to have been in light of what the government knew — no smoking gun, but plenty of signals...

NYT is reporting that Rumsfeld Says Other Nations Promise to Aid Attack on Iraq. No surprise to anybody 'cept those who believe we've acted "unilaterally" in the past — and should or shouldn't depending on which partisan camp is talking. QP is still betting on a strong resolution from the Security Council, but even absent such an explicit authorization of force the U.S. will still lead a force into Iraq with multilateral support — especially the support of Muslim nations in the region.

Safire covers The German Problem — U.S. political oppositionism can't hold a candle Schröder's clique.

And John Edwards comes out in support of Congressional clarity — a resolution making clear that we won't let Saddam's intransigence continue...

Wednesday, September 18, 2002
Update 6:15 PM: If I believed the "he did it for money" theory and wrote an argument supporting that proposition, then this cartoon would accompany — even though I don't buy that argument, I do agree with Jim Miller that it's a good cartoon as far as political cartooning is concerned...

That Ritter Critter

Tony Adragna
Geo at Words goes a bit further back on Le Affair Ritter — seems that Ritter was pissing people off even while he was still in The Corps:
Ritter, a native of Florida, is an unusually colorful figure in the scientific-military community. He left the Marines as a captain in 1991, in part because he was not going to be promoted. Ritter, an intelligence officer with several commendations on his record, angered his superiors by marrying a Russian woman, according to a source.
I remembered reading something about Ritter having been "passed over" — not promoted on schedule. If Ritter was as much an irritant to his military superiors as he's been to everybody else he's worked for, then there's no doubt they would've been looking for any reason they could to ease him out the door — they could [not] outright sack him, because he was, well, on target with what he was saying.

How irritating was Ritter while working for UNSCOM? Enough so that "Probably the only thing that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and retired Gen. Norman Schwartzkopf might agree on is that former Marine Scott Ritter is a 'troublemaker,' as Saddam called Ritter this week when announcing that he would forbid further weapons inspections led by the American." When you're pissing off friend and foe alike, that's oft time a good indication of just how close to the impolitic truth you're getting.

The problem is that Ritter can't have been correct then and correct now. Geo say's that he believes Ritter because Ritter "has the experience and integrity" to wit he's "someone who knows what they're talking about." I come to the completely opposite conclusion on the same basis that Ritter knows what he's talking about — knowing what Ritter knows, I don't see how he can be making the assertions he now makes.

The only explanation that makes sense is the same one that has held since Ritter resigned from The Corps — he's an opportunistic oppositionist whose oppositionism just happened to be on the correct side of an argument then, but had to change in order to stay in the opposition.

If the problem with Ritter was just about his being an impolitic, hard-charging, in-your-face kinda Marine, then there would be no problem. Indeed, gung ho isn't just myth in The Corps — it culture. But Ritter isn't gung ho for the team: He's gung ho for Scott Ritter...

Note: Geo did point to writings here as "must read" — in my humble opinion, it's Ritter's words now & then that are "must read", which is why I pointed to those words.

Two Minute Drill

Will Vehrs
Partisanship Dodd Harris has a very thoughtful entry on partisanship. It really hit home with me, given recent antics in The Refuge. I highly recommend it, just as I highly recommend not always ascribing base motives to those who take an opposing view.

Requiem for Reno Former Attorney General Janet Reno has conceded in the race to oppose Jeb Bush. She has vowed to support Bill McBride. I was not a fan of Ms. Reno during her tenure in the Clinton cabinet. I think she was in over her head and was buffeted by political winds that couldn't help but interfere with her judgment. I thought her campaign for Governor was quixotic and I think she is hampered by the unfortunate turn her health has taken.

Nonetheless, I admire Janet Reno for stepping into the arena. Like many others, she could have taken the high-paying job and carped in op-eds from the sidelines, but she decided to take a more difficult, and, in my mind, more noble route. I think she was motivated by many things, but especially redemption. I don't think she wanted her stewardship of the Clinton Justice Department to be the last word on her career. She fought the good fight. I hope she can find a way to serve that preserves her health while she awaits history's verdict.

Requiem for Reich Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich has lost in his bid to oppose Mitt Romney in the Massachusetts Governor's race. I've never been a fan of Reich, but he is a man of intellectual heft. I admire him for stepping into the arena, for his willingness to put his policy pronouncements to the test. He is still vigorous and I suspect he will remain active in the national dialog.

Fun With Arnold Sometimes a stale political contest can suddenly become fun, especially when a wacky, but not altogether implausible scenario is introduced. Mickey Kaus is reporting that Arnold Schwarzenegger is considering a write-in bid for California Governor. Talk about an October surprise!

Travellin' Man I'm leaving this afternoon on a long car trip through Southwest and Southside Virginia. I probably won't be back until QP Saturday. Keep stirrin' the pot, Tony. (As if I have to remind you ....)

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Mr. Hussein's Perfidy

Tony Adragna
On to Iraq, and we will get there eventually.

Note that Annan referred to "he" last night — as in Saddam Hussein — when announcing the Iraqi agreement to let weapons inspectors back in. The administration's response is It's not about "inspections", but "disarmament". The question comes down to whether or not "he" is ready to act in good faith.

See, the administration changed the emphasis from inspections to disarmament, and some are citing this as bad faith in Washington. Ah... not so quick, says I — 'tis always been that 687's primary demand with repsect to the weapons in question that Iraq disarm and cease activities to acquire new weapons. The inspections were always an adjunct to that requirement: to wit We must be able to verify compliance.

Mr. Bush is too right to bring the focus onto disarmamnent, because that's where it always should've been. If Iraq believes that they've resolved something by simply allowing inspections to resume while Hussein carries on with his shell game, then "he" is a naif.

The message from "him" deliverd by Mr. Annan is a cheese sandwich wrapper. I think we'll still get a resolution out of the Security Council that says: Disarm or else! And, by the way, you've got to move on 687's other conditions! If we don't get such a resolution, then — as Mr. Bush made clear to the General Assembly — the UN Charter itself is nothing more than a cheese sandwich wrapper...

The world body has a choice, and I'm pretty sure that the bellicose rhetoric we've heard from the U.S. has gotten everbody's attention — either they come on board, or we go it alone, and they really don't want to be left standing on the pier wondering what happened...

[ Note: I don't think we'll actually end up acting unilaterally, but there's nothing wrong with puttin' the fear of God into the hearts people who have trouble getting it together to do the right thing — that's different from my concerns about the screw the UN & screw international law arguments]

But Is He "Anti-War"?

Tony Adragna
Punching my buttons, you are, Will!

The headline on Perritt's op-ed — "My Party Must Say No to War" — gives the "anti-war" impression, but nowhere does he say that he's against military action per se to force Iraqi compliance. Rather, he quite explicitly argues against "unilateralism."

Perrit asks us to "Consider the impact of the United States unilaterally starting a war to drive Saddam Hussein from power." And states exactly that against which he intends raise his voice — "a unilateral, preemptive attack against Iraq." Of course he prefers "engagement, multilateralism and pursuit of civil society", but neither of those excludes consideration of military action where it's justified. All he's saying is that in the instant case there's no justification the type of unilateral preemptive action that the "hawks" have pushed — that's a debatable point, as are the issues he raises with regard to "impact", but it's not an "anti-war" argument.

This call for a "multilateral" approach has also come from prominent Republicans, yet they aren't labeled "anti-war" — why not? You wanna bet the answer has something to do with why congressional Democrats haven't been so visible on the op-ed pages...

And Mr. Perritt's gibe at congressional Democrats stretches the point — they've definitely made views known on the preference for a multilateral approach, and continue to express skepticism over whether the threat is imminent so as to justify preemptive action.

Two Minute Drill

Will Vehrs
Short Night I usually stay up until the bitter end when the Redskins play a Monday night game. Last night, the game was over after the first quarter and I barely made it into the third before turning the lights out. This game rivaled the famous "body bag" game for Eagle dominance over Washington. Unless it was just the most "off night" of off nights, the Redskins defense appears to have been highly overrated coming out of preseason and the dream that journeyman quarterbacks would rekindle their college glory under Steve Spurrier appears to have been just that--a dream.

No Sex Please, We're Teenagers Former Chicago Tribune columnist Bob Greene has gathered lots of defenders in blogdom for having had sex with a teenage girl. There are a lot of messy details in this story and not as much solid information as I'd like to see, but put me on record as pretty much opposing sex between middle-aged men and those under 18.

As for the part about Greene meeting this teen through his column, here's what troubles me: how many teens taking journalism or working on a project for a class contacted this prominent writer for a quote, an interview, or some advice? How did he respond? Unless Greene was extremely generous with his time for every kid who approached him, the revelation that he took one such student to dinner and later had sex with the student is a real problem. If I'm some 27 year old in Chicago who got a form letter or no reply at all from Bob Greene when I was doing my high school project and I hear about this, I'm more than a little miffed.

Anti-War Dem Found! The Washington Post had to look pretty hard, but they managed to find an anti-war Democrat willing to submit an op-ed to that effect. He's Hank Pritten, Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 10th District of Illinois, on leave as dean and professor at the Chicago-Kent College of Law. Here's his analysis:

Too many Democrats, while questioning the timing and the motivation for launching an attack, shrink from challenging the underlying premises of the administration's bellicose posture. Some other opinion leaders, mostly outside the ranks of Democratic officeholders and candidates, have begun to crystallize the arguments against unilateral action: no justification exists; an attack would cause a reaction that would threaten Israel's existence; it would undermine America's ability to lead international opinion; it would violate international law; it could mire the United States in a nasty, prolonged conflict; it would profoundly destabilize international relations to the detriment of U.S. interests because it would stimulate a rush to develop weapons of mass destruction to deter future U.S. action.

A weakness in the anti-war argument, it seems to me, is their idea that projecting strength will "stimulate" more countries to develop weapons of mass destruction and encourage the growth of terrorism. I think a stronger case can be made that not showing strength and a willingness to use military force will lead to those things.

DC, Model of Democracy--They're Better Than Florida! E. J. Dionne, Jr., noting that Washington, DC, seldom gets kudos for anything, properly praises them for running an efficient primary election that overcame huge glitch potential:

Consider that this was an election in which (1) citizens were using spanking new voting equipment for the very first time, (2) none of the main candidates for mayor even appeared on the ballot, (3) 91 percent of the votes were cast as write-ins and yet (4) the results came in more quickly than promised, and without challenge.

Of course, Dionne can't resist reminding us of the 2000 Florida fiasco:

The elitists said that if these voters were too dumb or uneducated to use the equipment right, they deserved to lose their ballots. In a season of outrages, there were few more telling comments than the question asked by Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor during the oral arguments on Bush v. Gore. "Well, why isn't the standard the one that voters are instructed to follow, for goodness sakes?" she sniffed. "I mean, it couldn't be clearer." Translation: Oh, those dimwit voters in Palm Beach have caused this honorable court so much trouble!

Dionne argues that clear ballot procedures give no one, not even the uneducated, any problems. Well, E.J., I agree with that, but the implication is always that the Jeb Bushes, Katherine Harrises, and assorted Republican thugs conspire to rig ballots. They're awfully good, then, because they only seem to do it in areas where the electoral machinery is controlled by Democrats.

Ups and Downs The War on Terror, with recent arrests and captures, seems to be going as well now as it seemed to be going nowhere a few months ago. I think the president warned us that this would be a long struggle and that we wouldn't see all that was happening in the dark corners. He was right and I think we'll continue to see successes and reverses. Inexorably, though, I think we'll make progress. We just have to stay the course.

Monday, September 16, 2002

Crime & Class: News Reoprting or Class Warfare

Tony Adragna
Will, I agree with Kurtz — when the children of public figures get into trouble, there's a story you can't get away with not reporting. But, how you report the story matters. It does seem that the reportage sometimes amounts to nothing more than attacking the parents by beating up on their proxies — the children.

Look, if somebody wants to hold up the the treatment well born children as a contrast to the treatment of us lesser folks and our children, I think that's a fair point. Far as I'm concerned, ain't a mother's child oughta get special treatment.

But my original and only response to Guy went to his closing comment. I think it's fair to read the remark as: Good on 'em, spoiled little brats — they deserve to be knocked down a few pegs... besides, Mater & Pater are gonna take care of 'em later anyway, so what's a little mud bath gonna hurt now — the perks of being well off offset any nastiness they gotta deal with now.

I think that sentiment is simply spiteful!

Did Scott Ritter Get Paid

Tony Adragna
I previously noted that I don't think Ritter did it for the money. But, questions still are raised 'bout the $400 thousand from an Iraqi-American source. I think there have been some wrongheaded inferences drawn from the reporting.

First, the money wasn't directly paid to Ritter. All of the reportage I've seen on the financing refered to it as a "line of credit" that Ritter was to have access to for the purpose of producing the documentary.

More importantly, though, is that the traitor for pay is actually an exception, rather than the rule. Most people who turn do so for personal reasons — either disillusionment born of ideologocal betrayal or anger in pursuit of a grievance. Even those who do it for the money tend to have some cause other than personal enrichment toward which they intend on applying the money. Ritter's activity fits somewhere into those categories.

Most importantly is that I don't think Ritter is a "traitor" — spiteful & arrogant, ready to change his story as needed in order to stay in the opposition and appear frustrated, and willing to ally himself rhetorically with groups whose agendas are far more worriesome than his own, but none of that makes him a "traitor".

What it does make Ritter is an irritant — somebody who ought be irrelevant, but he makes too much noise to simply not be paid attention to. But he would be doing all of that regardless of the financing, as he indeed was doing — the only difference is that after the Dec '98 military action it began to mean something different to be in the opposition...

Kurtz, TNR, and QP Saturday

Will Vehrs
I've posted my Q & A's with Howard Kurtz over at Punditwatch, along with an extended excerpt from TNR Online's Sunday Spin (subscription required). I'm going over to The Refuge right now to post three questions, one of them mine, that Kurtz took on the Bush daughters/Gore's son that was the subject of my "QP Saturday" post. That Q & A will be in this thread.

Inconvenient Facts: FISA v. The FBI

Tony Adragna
I'm a bit late on this, but “Mr. Musil”, responding to comments I made on FISA, asks "So why does Tony Adragna have so many difficulties with all this?”

Well, “Mr. Musil” starts off by taking exception with the National Legal Aid & Defender Association's verbiage in distinguishing the FISC from "Article III judges." "Musil" is correct to the extent that the judges who serve on the FISC are Article III judges, but he misses the point that NLADA is attempting to make: The procedures and standards at FISC — not to mention the issues before that court — are not the normal dealings of an Article III court.

The reason for the distinction is explicit in the statute that places those issues before the FISC — FISA deals with “national security issues” where Title III deals with “normal” crime.[ No, I'm not confusing "Article III" with "Title III". The point is that "normal" wiretaps etc. are dealt with by judges under a different statute — Title III — than the FISC looks to — FISA]

"Musil" goes on to take issue with what John Lewis was quoted saying in "FBI Forbidden to Tap Hijack Suspect". "Musil" notes that Lewis is either "quite simply wrong. Or, possibly, he has been misquoted." In example "Musil" offers that "the very article in which Mr. Lewis is quoted as making this statement also quotes a report of the National Commission on Terrorism as asserting that the Justice Department Office of Intelligence and Policy Review (OIPR) "does not generally consider the past activities of the surveillance target relevant in determining whether the FISA probable cause test is met."[emphasis original]

Now I hafta ask myself, did "Musil" actually read the commission's report?

If he did, then he woulda got the context he obviously missed in the article. Let's look at the National Commission on Terrorism's report. Under the heading Eliminate Barriers to Aggressive Collection of Information on Terrorists. In addressing the FBI's guidelines, the commission notes that "A full investigation may be opened where there is a reasonable indication of a criminal violation, which is described as a standard 'substantially lower than probable cause.'"

The commission goes on to say that despite having "sufficient legal authority to conduct its investigations. In many situations, however, agents are unsure as to whether the circumstances of a particular case allow the authority to be invoked. This lack of clarity contributes to a risk-averse culture that causes some agents to refrain from taking prompt action against suspected terrorists." In other words — as I ad nauseam asserted — It's the guidelines, stupid!

The commission recommended:

• The Attorney General and the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation should develop guidance to clarify the application of both sets of guidelines. This guidance should specify what facts and circumstances merit the opening of a preliminary inquiry or full investigation and should direct agents in the field to investigate terrorist activity vigorously, using the full extent of their authority.
It seems that field agents — at least in Phoenix and Minneapolis — were doing exactly as the commission recommended. So, what went wrong?

Read on in the commissions report:
The Department of Justice applies the statute governing electronic surveillance and physical searches of international terrorists in a cumbersome and overly cautious manner.

The Commission heard testimony that, under ordinary circumstances, the FISA process can be slow and burdensome, requiring information beyond the minimum required by the statute. For example, to obtain a FISA order, the statute requires only probable cause to believe that someone who is not a citizen or legal permanent resident of the United States is a member of an international terrorist organization. In practice, however, OIPR requires evidence of wrongdoing or specific knowledge of the group’s terrorist intentions in addition to the person’s membership in the organization before forwarding the application to the FISA Court. Also, OIPR does not generally consider the past activities of the surveillance target relevant in determining whether the FISA probable cause test is met.
Read in context it's quite evident that the commission is critical of OIPR on the point, and it's an important criticism for several reasons.

First, the "probable cause test" under FISA is not the same standard as at Title III vis a vis the 4th Amendment, and the FBI's guidelines reflect the distinction notwithstanding that OIPR seems to be unaware. Second, the criticism was supposedly addressed in the Counterintelligence Reform Act of 2000, which was passed as part of the FY 2001 Intelligence Authorization Act. Section 602 of the Act reads:
(b) PROBABLE CAUSE.—Section 105 of that Act (50 U.S.C. 1805)
is amended—
(1) by redesignating subsections (b), (c), (d), (e), (f ), and
(g) as subsections (c), (d), (e), (f ), (g), and (h), respectively;
(2) by inserting after subsection (a) the following new sub-section
‘‘(b) In determining whether or not probable cause exists for
purposes of an order under subsection (a)(3), a judge may consider
past activities of the target,
as well as facts and circumstances
relating to current or future activities of the target.’’; and
(3) in subsection (d), as redesignated by paragraph (1),
by striking ‘‘subsection (b)(1)’’ and inserting ‘‘subsection (c)(1)’’
That amendment with respect to "past activities" is the one that Sen. Leahy noted in his remarks on the bill was something that was already being done anyway, but that OIPR found the past activities too stale to be relevant in the Wen Ho Lee matter (the case which prompted the amendment). The distinctions in probable cause for the purpose of FISA versus Title III are clear, though not well codified. Despite excuses now being made, both congress and the FBI understand the distinctions, and the need to codify them, as is apparent from the exchange between Sen. Specter and Director Freeh during a hearing on the 2000 Act, which concludes:

Senator Specter. Now, coming back to the specific point about whether there has to be a crime currently in process, which you have to do for a criminal warrant, my sense is that we ought to codify, because there was a misunderstanding in the Wen Ho Lee case. And this is in the report and I am not asking you to comment about that, but just the generalized desirability of writing it down in the statute and then you don't have an argument as to what the rule is. Everybody who works on these cases is not a constitutional expert; you don't have them making out the warrants or passing on them.
    So the question is, number one, do you agree with that difference on probable cause so that when we have a criminal warrant the instrumentality must be used in the commission of a crime, contrasted with a FISA warrant where you do not have that immediacy?
Mr. Freeh. Yes, I agree with that.
Senator Specter. And, secondly, the desirability of codification so it is plain to someone who picks up the statute and reads it and is in dialogue with an FBI agent who wants a FISA warrant that this is the appropriate standard?
Mr. Freeh. Yes, I understand the reason for that, and if you recall one of the past Congresses where you sponsored a provision for the Intelligence Authorization Act, Section 811, which put into statutory form the requirement which was the practice then, hopefully a requirement that any and all agencies who come up with information with respect to counterintelligence or espionage activity must refer that immediately. So there is no downside in codifying that.
    Again, I think the current statute contemplates that, and a fair reading of it would permit it and has permitted it and does permit it. But I don't have any objection to your suggestion.
What point do we still don't get 'bout the problem not being what the law — statute & case law — "doesn't allow"? Isn't it painfully obvious by now that the problem is what people wouldn't allow the law to do — function as it was intended?

For example, there are still those — like Ann Coulter and Mark Riebling — who argue that FISA requires a showing of "probable cause to believe that a particular crime is being or has been committed by a specific individual" (Coulter), or that the target "has actually committed, or is conspiring to commit, a terrorist act"(Riebling). But, there's the inconvenient fact that it's simply not true that such a showing is required in cases involving "foreign persons", and even in the cases involving "U.S. persons" the "probable cause" standard used in FBI guidelines is "a reasonable indication", not "fair probability..."

Here's the "Inconvenient Fact": DoJ was aware of the proper standard and what they needed to show in satisfying the test — as is evident from the commission's review of guidelines, prior performance, and testimony from individuals who work with the statute — but due to ineptitude and ignorance on the part of some supervisors the ball got dropped.

I've already conceded that amendments might not be so inane if they work toward clarifying the statute's intent. But, if the FBI's supervisors screwed the pooch in re Zac M's "pact activities" even after Congress codified consideration of the same, then I've gotta doubt the efficacy of any further clarifications. It seems clear to me that giving the Justice Department more language just gives them more to misapprehend & misapply...

Two Minute Drill

Will Vehrs
Gadgets Tony, I read your "Adventures in Kitchen Gadgets" with some amusement. I do all the cooking at my house, but thus far I have resisted the lure of George Foreman et. al. Life is complicated and too many "things" complicate it even more, so my motto is, "A jug of wine, a loaf a bread, a stove, and an outdoor grill.

Powell Power Robert Novak reacts to Bush's UN speech by noting the "comeback" of Secretary of State Colin Powell:

As the drumbeat against Iraq heightened in public declarations by Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney, Powell seemed irrelevant. Recently, however, Powell made a comeback. He is credited with impressive diplomacy in the India-Pakistan confrontation, with Powell's alter ego--Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage--on the scene in South Asia. Powell's performance at the Johannesburg global warming conference turned an expected humiliation into a coup for the United States. Most important, he has changed the American tone on Iraq.

Even given Novak's anti-interventionist bias, this is a fair reading. Powell's work with India and Pakistan is definitely an unsung success story.

Safire Synthesis William Safire analyzes the "Four Resolution" strategy that he infers from Bush's UN speech. I was fascinated by his reading of the separation of powers angle:

On the Senate Democratic spectrum from hawkish Lieberman-Edwards to dovish Daschle-Kerry, the message has gone forth: We're going to have to vote on this before the election, so let's engage the White House in drawing up a resolution before the election that we can back out of in another resolution afterward.

That's because the original Democratic position — let's not vote before the election lest the voters' jingoistic views affect our decision — was untenable. No governmental decision is more important than going to war to prevent an attack, and voters have a right and an obligation to find out where their representatives stand.

In the same way, President Bush had to abandon the notion that all he had to do was "consult" with Congressional leaders. He needs Congressional authorization to wage war, just as Congress needs to make its views known by a difficult vote in a timely fashion. Such mutual deference between branches is essential

Safire notes that Saddam has to "cooperate" in this strategy by being intransigent.

Kurtz Questions Howard Kurtz is taking questions again on the WP website at noon. I've submitted quite a few and will let you know if he says anything relevant to Punditwatch. My "QP Saturday" post caused a bit of a stir in The Refuge, so I've asked Kurtz about that, too.

Sunday, September 15, 2002
Update 7:00 PM: Pudding's On! Pushed ourselves away from the table an hour ago, and I'm just now dragging my gluttonous self upstairs to the 'puter. The turkey came outta the cooker looking just as shown in the infomercial — crispy skin & juicy flesh!Ron Popeil is da Man!... Now I gotta go get me a piece of that double-chocolate chocolate cake & a mug of mocha java so's I can settle down in front of the Cartoon Network... not too crazy 'bout the Justice League — probably because I remember the old version of this same concept — but Samurai Jack is on next — I think Jack is way kewl!

Silly Sunday: Kitchen Gadgets Battle for Tony's Soul

Tony Adragna
The Sweet Little Sicilian Boy — that's me — loves to eat, and eat well. Growing up in a large family — there were seven children in the house — I learned to cook at an early age: You either pitched in or you didn't eat. We of course had to be frugal with ingredients, but we also had to be frugal with time — feeding a family of 9 two meals a day (three on weekends) required the planning and organization of a small catering business. Thank God for gadgets!

Without gadgets to relieve some work and free up some time, our kitchen woulda been a madhouse — not of too many cooks in the pot, but just plain ol' too many cooks in too many pots & not enough time and space. So we had a lot of gadgets — crock pot, microwave, rice cooker, rotisserie... — that got people in and out of the kitchen quickly. They weren't quite set-it-n-forget-it types of gadgets — you still hadta check on things — but they definitely saved work and made more efficient use of space & time

Note especially well: Don't attempt to "save time" on cooking — if you wanna do it right, then you've gotta give it time. But, that doesn't mean you've gotta be there the whole time — that's what these gadgets are all about.

There were a couple of recent events here in The Hyattsville Homestead that are of great significance to The Sweet Little Sicilian Boy. See, I do most of the cooking because... well... because I love to eat well and I don't trust the other two Homesteaders to feed me properly. 'Course, they do buy the ingredients, and take me out on fine dinning excrusions when I feel like going along, but I don't understand why they would pay outragous prices for peasant food — i.e. osso buco and cassoulet — just because it's served at some place with white linen and gold trimmed china. I can cook all of that stuff at home!

I really appreciate when they buy me new kitchen gadgets, though. To a point! Not all kitchen gadget are equal, and some aren't even equal to the good ol' fashioned way of cooking with fire.

The "Government Employee" brought home George Foreman's Lean Mean Fat-Reducing Grilling Machine — that's Event Number One. Total waste of money and time! You actually hafta stand there with the machine the whole time. And, while the machine does cook from both sides, the lid element is flat and will burn the top of your food if you don't flip. Plus, I could only cook two patties at a time — and smaller patties than I normally cook — so it actually took more time for me to cook.

The machine does, as promised, reduce the fat. But that's not such a good thing far as I'm concerned. I'm with Emeril — if you ain't gettin' a little pork fat in the diet, then you ain't livin'.

Foreman mighta been The Champ, but his machine is a chump — I KO'd it after the first round.

Now, The Capitalist Pig finally made a purchase that didn't evoke my usual wasteful spending response. It arrived in the mail on Friday, and The Sweet Little Sicilian Boy couldn't hold back — he was literally cooing to it. Event Number Two was the addition of a Showtime Model 3000-T Rotisserie to the kitchen gadget collection.

By now everybody has heard the mantra "Set it and forget it", but is it true? Surprisingly, YES! You do want to check every once in a while to make sure nothing's burning, but if you're sure of the timing, then you don't really need to. However, you may end up standing in front of the thing anyway — 'tis really a beautimous site!

And what a product you get outta the machine! Rotisserie cooking is — in the humble opinion of this gourmand — the best way to do meat, and actually reduces fat without removing every last trace of flavor.

There's a 6½ pound turkey breast cooking as I'm typing. Friday I cooked a 4 pond chicken. Saturday was a 3½ pound pork tenderloin. I don't know what's for tomorrow, but I do know that we're getting a chest type freezer on Wednesday — gotta have somewhere to store all the meat destine for the new cooker...

Punditwatch is Up!

Will VehrsIt's right here. A visit from Punditwatch's sister and a blogger outage led to the late posting ....