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Saturday, November 16, 2002

QP Saturday

Will Vehrs
This is my first "lazy" Saturday in a long time ... no soccer, no King's Dominion, no commitments. It's nice to have a break, but I do wish I was at Fritz Schranck's Delaware Blogger Bash ....

It was supposed to be raining cats and dogs this morning, but barely a sprinkle. Why do I keep hearing so much about advances in weather forecasting? Meterologists are still right up there with pundits when it comes to predictions.

Blunt Talk My favorite Democrat continues to be former Virginia Governor Doug Wilder. He was at it again yesterday, speaking the truth. Wilder heads a commission that is thinking about cutting a sacrosanct program, the State Compensation Board, a little-known funnel for state funds going to localities. The money helps pay various local officials. From today's Richmond Times-Dispatch:

Former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder scolded local constitutional officers for packing meetings of his commission on streamlining government, suggesting they are putting self-interest ahead of performing their duties at home.

Wilder opened yesterday's commission meeting by noting that dozens of local officials were in the audience, just as they have been at previous sessions.

"It raises a question as to who's doing the work while ya'll are gone," Wilder said, speaking directly to the court clerks, city treasurers and commissioners of revenue from throughout the state who came to Richmond for the meeting

You tell 'em, Doug.

Tracking Down Crime When we think of DNA testing, we usually are thinking of innocents freed because of this advanced technology. Virginia is proving that DNA testing is a powerful tool to find guilty parties. The state has just announced its 1,000th "cold hit."

A cold hit occurs when DNA found at a crime scene is matched by computer with DNA profiles taken from Virginia felons and stored in the databank. It also occurs when DNA from one case is matched with DNA from another case, indicating the same perpetrator might be responsible for both crimes.

We rightly applaud when an innocent person is freed. I suspect, however, that there are more unsolved crimes than innocents falsely imprisoned.

False Start? On Thursday I noted a Senator Zell Miller suggestion that Democrats embrace an expansion of Head Start into a more learning-based universal pre-K. As this article in today's WP observes, there's a lot of controversy swirling around Head Start now--Republican "cronyism" and Head Start intransigence are just two of the issues.

Friday, November 15, 2002

Ninety Second Response

Tony Adragna
Can't... write... today...... Cranial... digital... coordination... subroutine... needs... system... reset..

Two Minute Drill

Will Vehrs
Let's see if Blogspot will let me get something published this morning without eating it first.

Bureaucratic Nightmare Tony, I think I've always been agnostic on the Department of Homeland Security. It's probably a good idea in theory, but an absolute nightmare to implement and make work in the short term. As always, the devil is in the details, and I suspect a lot of the details will be devilish. I'm not fond of the word "czar" for leaders, but if ever something needed a "czar," it will be the Department of Homeland Security.

Home Schooling Diversity A Richmond Times-Dispatch front page story highlights an emerging trend in home-schooling:

Once perceived as a preserve of white conservatives and separatists, home-schooling is undergoing an image change. More black families ... are taking on the responsibility of teaching their children at home.

Their reasons include religious beliefs and what they see as a failure of public schools to diversify curriculum, keep their children safe and hire teachers who can address the needs of children from all backgrounds.

According to a 1999 study by the Center for Education Statistics, 850,000 American families home-schooled and black families accounted for 1 percent of the total - about 8,500.

According to estimates by Brian Ray, president of The National Home Educators Research Institute, in the three years since that study, the number of home-schooling families has nearly doubled to 1.6 million, and the percentage of black families has shot up to 5 percent. That's about 80,000 black families, almost 10 times as many as home-schooled in 1999

I don't think this trend has any cosmic significance, but it is indicative to me of an issue or option that might break off a small percentage of black voters from unswerving allegiance to the Democrats. Another is support for school choice; still another is government support of faith-based organizations.

On Sports Although I am not nearly the sports fan I once was, I never watched anything except the games themselves. I really only care about what goes on between the white lines. An editorial in this morning's Richmond Times-Dispatch captures some of my feelings, although the crack about a Punditwatch staple hurt:

One of the problems is that sports in general and football in particular are over-analyzed. The sportscasters in the booth, the color commentators, the studio experts, and the on-field reporters aren't content simply with describing the game and occasionally adding a tidbit of humor or news. Instead, they behave as though they were covering D-Day. The coaches are not mere coaches, but generals whose tactics are parsed as though they resembled war plans drawn up by Douglas MacArthur or the Desert Fox. Coaches promote the myth by wearing fancy headsets and studying playcharts. The great games usually feature plays the quarterback drew in the dirt.

"NFL Today" is not "Meet the Press" - which, Heaven knows, is dismal enough

Caption Contest Controversy Another week, another Dodd Harris Caption Contest result. Only Dan (last week's winner) and yours truly (chronic loser) entered from The Refuge. Rags, where are you?

Dodd, as near as I can figure, has always seemed to use whimsy and pop cultural references as his standards for picking a winner. This week, however, he overrode those two bedrock considerations. HIs winner was a newcomer's entry that used "dry insinuation of insult." Hmmm ... another factor to vex us.

If Dodd is going to break new ground, then so will I. For the first time ever, this Caption Contest Critic will reveal the entries he would have chosen as semi-finalists:

"Just tell me if my feet are still there and I'll give you some crack." - Laurence Simon.

"Forbidden Love, Part 2 will return in a moment." - Mark Mills.

"Burrshit! You no rook rike Gally 'U.S.' Bonds!" - Dan Dickinson

Dodd's latest contest involves newly elected House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Let's all gather our pop cultural references, dry insinuations, and SWAGs about Dodd's whimsy and set a new record for entries.

Thursday, November 14, 2002

I've Always Opposed the Dept of Homeland Security...
... And so did He once, too...

Tony Adranga
Will, you know that I've thought the new department a stupid idea from the begin. In fact, when the idea was first floated, I wanted to lay a two b' four alongside somebody's skull. Remember when that was? Washington Post Staff Writer Helen Dewar doesn't remember so well:
The drive to create a federal Department of Homeland Security, one of President Bush's top priorities since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, drew close to fruition yesterday as key senators agreed to a slightly revised version of the White House's proposal.
Bob Somerby responds, " Say what? Bush, of course, opposed the department when it was proposed—and opposed it for roughly eight months after that!" Right, I thought there was something fishy about Dewar's piece when first I read it. The way I remebered it was Joe Lieberman's idea to give Ridge a budget & line authority — on that same day Lieberman called for some reorganization "to meet threats to the security of the American homeland", and on Oct 11th he proposed the DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL HOMELAND SECURITY ACT OF 2001.

What I didn't know is that the story goes back even further than that. On March 21, 2001:
Congressman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) today introduced legislation that would reorganize the federal government to better prepare for threats against the American homeland.

“We live in the freest and most open society in the world,” Thornberry stated. “Yet with this freedom and openness comes an increased vulnerability to attack. This threat has only increased since the end of the Cold War. As the world’s only superpower, America has become the number one target of terrorists.
Indeed, Mac Thornberry spent 15 months repeatedly urging the President to move on this idea, and welcomed Lieberman's support long before Mr. Bush came aboard. Yet, Mr. Bush resisted — Mitch Daniels even dismissed the idea at one point as being just more big government.

Mr. Bush didn't put anything forward 'til June '02. Why did it take so long for Mr. Bush to come around? Certainly it wasn't that he needed time to consider such a serious matter — he had no problem with truncated consideration of the ill-concieved (and stupidly named) USA PATRIOT Act. And, as has been noted, the Homeland Security Department idea was around months before September 11.

It took so long because Mr. Bush didn't want the Dept of Homeland Security. Now he WANTS the Homeland Security Department, and he wants it NOW. What changed his mind?

OK fine, but it still wasn't Mr. Bush's idea, it's still a stupid idea, and it's still correct that he initially resisted the stupid idea.

Addendum: While we're talking about legislation that Mr. Bush doesn't like, how 'bout his veto threat over the current defense authorization bill's inclusion of new pension benefits for disabled military retirees — I wonder how many letters Mr. Chambliss has to write before Mr. Bush flops his flip on this one...

Smile, You're on Homeland Camera

Tony Adragna
The House of Representatives passed the Homeland Security Act of 2002 by an overwhelming majority — a little more than two-thirds of the members voted Yea. The Senate meets on the matter today. What kind of odd should I give that, at Mr. Bush's urging, we'll soon see "sophisticated security measures such as those used in the nation's capital [brought] to cities and states across the country." What kind of measures?:
Bush made his remarks in a speech at a city government auditorium at One Judiciary Square, after touring the Joint Operations Command Center at police headquarters across the street.

Hundreds of digital surveillance cameras from across the region feed into the command center, which coordinates police and rescue response during protests, terrorist incidents or major crimes. It was activated after the Sept. 11 attacks and during the recent string of sniper shootings in the Washington area.
OK, just because that's what we've got here doesn't mean it's going to appear everywhere. The Federal government has jurisdiction over good chunks of the city, and they've always devoted a fair amount of resources — including electronic resources — to keeping an eye on happenings. There's nothing to suggest that this show will go on the road to a city near you, or your own city.

Well, not exactly nothing. Who knows what's apt to happen when some legislator starts invoking "Homeland Security"

At least the House had the good sense to reaffirm the continued importance and applicability of the Posse Comitatus Act...

Recent Developments Augur Otherwise...

That 1975 case lacks the currency of Commonwealth v. Atkins, or Atkins v. Virgina as it's known at the appeals stage. I don't mean to suggest a slam dunk is in the offing for Horan. I'll certainly not even intimate that Virginia jurors don't give defendant's claims a proper hearing — especially in a death penalty case. But the record — even the record from the '75 case, which did eventually end in conviction — suggests that jurors will, in the end, be more receptive to the Commonwealth's presentation than to the defense claims.

It's odds-on that Horan wins.


Will Vehrs
I've read just about every word written by Democrats and for Democrats in the wake of last week's election. Today's prescription from Senator Zell Miller in the WSJ (subscription required) is a bit different from everyone else's.

Some of Zell's suggestions for Democratic policies:

1. A national lottery that would fund college scholarships
2. Head Start morphing into universal pre-K
3. Move government bureaucracy from Washington, DC and spread it out among the states.

I'd oppose #1, I'm open to #2, and I'm intrigued by #3.

For homeland security reasons, #3 makes some sense. It's also potentially attractive in light of Northern Virginia's recent defeat of a transportation referendum. Perhaps the only way to really reduce NVA's traffic woes is to reduce the number of workers using the roads.


Will Vehrs
Another "Two Minute Drill" got eaten by either Blogspot or my server. I was going to talk about this Richmond Times-Dispatch article, indicating that a conviction and death penalty sentence for 17 year-old John Lee Malvo may not be a slam-dunk in Virginia. Robert Horan, the man prosecuting Malvo, has seen a "sure thing" slip away before:

Twenty-seven years ago next month, Horan watched in stunned disbelief as a Louisa County jury made its way from deliberations and told a circuit judge that it was hopelessly deadlocked over the fate of a cherub-faced young black man named Curtis Darnell Poindexter.

Dozens of witnesses had been horrified 10 months earlier when the 22-year-old pulpwood worker burst into the Louisa County courthouse, pulled a shotgun from under his raincoat and gunned down longtime General District Court Judge Stewart A. Cunningham, who was sitting at the bench.

Poindexter left the courtroom and went into a hall where he shot and seriously wounded Sheriff Henry A. Kennon, who would later describe Poindexter as a boy whose family he'd known for years.

"It was an incredible case," said defense lawyer Francis Chester, who was joined then by a state senator from Richmond, L. Douglas Wilder, now a former governor.

"There were 36 witnesses who saw what happened, but the verdict when the jury hung was eight innocent by reason of insanity and four to convict," Chester recalled yesterday.

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Chicken Hawks & Patriots (cont.)

Tony Adragna
I'll be briefer than I was last night — there's less to cover here — but I did say I'd return to the Chambliss - Cleland imbroglio, so here I am.

It's been suggested by our friend Mark Dahley — though the suggestion is well qualified — that "Those who fought as soldiers deserve a great degree of deference..." I wouldn't even go that far! I'd urge due deference, but deference only in the sense that when they offer serious opinions, those opinions deserve serious consideration. And critics should tread with caution when the path they've chosen leads to impugnning the character of anybody, not just veterans.

Heck, I won't even go so far as to say that a veteran's character is out-of-bounds — I've taken enough pokes at Oliver North over Iran-Contra.

So, I say, question Cleland's record. Point out his wrongheaded views. Force him to explain votes that are believed to be not in the best interest of America. I'd even defend an assault on Cleland's character if I thought there was anything to the charge. But the charge against Cleland went too far. From the Atlanta Journal Constitution, posted on Saxby Chambliss | US Senate
"At a speech in Washington today," Chambliss said on May 17, "Max Cleland claimed to be bound by the same oath as our president, George W. Bush, 'to protect and defend' Americans but his action as a United States Senator directly contradict that oath."
What Chambliss took issue with is Cleland's vote on an amendment to the resolution ratifying the Chemical Weapons Convention, and I won't deny that the vote might be called wrongheaded — though, maybe it wasn't. If getting the treaty ratified was in the best interest of America — or so that could be argued — and that couldn't happen with the exceptional condition, then maybe the vote wasn't wrongheaded. In that case, those who voted Nay were voting in a way that would make America less safe. In either case, to assert that Cleland broke his oath — that's what it means to act in a way that "directly contradicts" one's oath — is an attack on more than just the legislative record.

And if the charge sticks to Cleland, then it must stick too to Bill Frist — the same Bill Frist who also voted with Biden 56 - 44 in favor of the amendment. Then, it's also got to stick to those who voted 76 - 24 on agreeing to the resolution — if the treaty is so flawed that it puts us at risk, then they've all broken their oaths by voting for it. Right?

Of course, I'm right, and that's why Chambliss wouldn't go there when Cleland brought up the fact that 11 GOP senators also voted for the amendment — Chambliss certainly couldn't call Frist an oath breaker if he was wanting Frist's support for the campaign.

Chambliss threw out his own "silly smear", but in his case it's excused as a valid criticism of Cleland's legislative record. Gimme a break. And if Chambliss doesn't smear it around evenly, then he's not so much principled as he is a hypocrite.

You want an oath breaker, try on Chambliss when it comes to abortion — he signed the forms , then said he didn't mean it, and blamed it on his staff:
"Saxby has never changed his position regarding the three exceptions (rape, incest and the mother's life)," said [Chambliss campaign manager] Harmon. As to the pre-primary questionnaire, Harmon said, "Somebody on the staff simply checked the wrong box -- it's no big deal."

But it's a very big deal, said state Right to Life Political Action Committee Director Daniel Becker, who promptly produced not one but four questionnaires committing to the one-exception doctrine -- all signed by Chambliss. The question on the state and national forms couldn't be clearer.
I've got an adjective for people who blame it on the staff when they get caught out — and the same adjective applies to Chambliss' feigning that he wasn't meaning to impugn Cleland's character.

A final word on "Chicken Hawk" — I don't remember, though I'll admit my memory might be failing, hearing any denunciations from the GOP when Tom DeLay used that verbiage...

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Chicken-Hawks & Patriots: Who's Telling the Truth?

Tony Adragna
Since you've linked the two, Will, I'll attempt making a case on how both Hitchens and Chambliss are wrong for their rhetorical excess.

Hitchens makes some valid points, but some of what he suggests as logically flowing from the opposing argument isn't the only way to understand those arguments. Some of what Hitchens writes doesn't even address the points being made by the opposing arguments. And, worst of all, some of what Hitchens writes is actually counter-factual. Hitchens writes
You've heard it all right. The concept embodied in the contemptuous ["armchair"] usage is this: someone who wants intervention in, say, Iraq ought to be prepared to go and fight there. An occasional corollary is that those who have actually seen war are not so keen to urge it.

The first thing to notice about this propaganda is how archaic it is...
Hitchens then goes on to explain what's so archaich about "this propoganda", but oughtn't he also explain how it's "propaganda"?

The easiest place to begin a rebuttal is with Hitchens' suggestion that the "occasional corollary" is "propaganda". He won't come out and call it an outright lie that " those who have actually seen war are not so keen to urge it", so he chooses a noun that means "deceptive or distorted information that is systematically spread." He's correct in asserting that the manner in which the information — that warriors aren't enthusiastic about war — has been distorted by the anti-war movement. But he never acknowledges the underlying truth of the information, leaving readers with an implication that the information istelf is untruthful. That implication is counter-factual — as Josh Marshall points out, the military & foreign relations establishments may be wrong to resist the policy goals of Richard Perle et al, but they do nonetheless.

Hitchens then goes on to explain that the "propaganda" is "archaic" because, "The whole point of the present phase of conflict is that we are faced with tactics that are directed primarily at civilians [...] Should things ever become any hotter, it would be far safer to be in uniform in Doha, Qatar, or Kandahar, Afghanistan, than to be in an open homeland city." While this point is true, it's got not a thing to do with refuting the "armchair general" argument against those arguing for the next phase — putting troops in the field overseas to fight a war of intervention.

In either phase it's correct to assert civilian control, but in both cases it's not invalid to point out that the policy folks are oft wont to make their case with an overabundance of optimism not shared by the folks whose experience in the field — the same folks who will be once again called on to fight not the policy battles, but the war on the ground — leads them to prudent caution.

And the policy folks are sometimes wrong to the other extreme, as in Vietnam, where our troops in the field were winning the battles but the folks back home lost us the war.

While the anti-war folks make too much of the "armchair general"'s lack of experience, Hitchens never deals with this nugget of truth at the core of the criticism. Even President Lincoln, who is constantly cited for urging on his overcautious generals — especiallay McClellan — sometimes pushed his generals past the point of sound military decisions: see Burnisde at Fredericksburg in December 1862. That battle was, by all accounts I've read, a "slaughter" of Union troops.

I'm not suggesting that Hitchens is wrong to be dismissive of anti-war propaganda, but he isn't dismissive. Rather, he pays all too much attention to the loony left, and in his haste to denounce their arguments he runs into trouble with his own. That trouble, as I've pointed out, is in not distinguishing the rantings of propagandists from the valid concerns of more thoughtful people. You might say that he needs not distinguish because it's obvious that his comments are contexted as an attack against propaganda. But, you'd be wrong to make such an assertion — Hitchens explicitly addresses two of his points to two individuals whose arguments deserve a serious reply. Instead, Hitchens launches into vitriol.
It is said, for example, that someone like former Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey has more right to pronounce on a war than someone who avoided service in Vietnam. Well, last year Kerrey was compelled to admit that he had led a calamitous expedition into a Vietnamese village and had been responsible for the slaughter of several children and elderly people. (He chose to be somewhat shady about whether this responsibility was direct or indirect.) Do I turn to such a man for advice on how to deal with Saddam Hussein? The connection is not self-evident, more especially since, as far as I am aware, Kerrey knows no more about Iraq than I know about how to construct a chess-playing computer.
Well, as far as I'm aware, Hitchens spent some time above noting that military experience doesn't matter to whether one might have the correct answer, but now he says that, in the case of this individual, military experience makes the judgement suspect. I make the point that, though the military oughtn't have the last word, the experience of of men who have been in combat ought count for something. Nowhere does Hitchens disagree with my point, except to make his point he finds it necessary to impugn Bob Kerrey's character just as much as the anti-war folks have impugned Richard Perle's — nothing like a bit of hypocrisy to make your argument stand upright.

By the way, Bob Kerrey seems to have some knowledge of our history with Iraq, and though Hitchens comfortably leaves the impression that Kerrey might agree with the anti-war folks, the opposite is true. Indeed Kerrey argued cogently for the proposition.

But Hitchens isn't done! His next target is Chuck Hagel:
A related term is "chicken-hawk." It is freely used to defame intellectual militants who favor an interventionist strategy. Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska made use of the implication recently, when he invited Richard Perle to be first into Baghdad. Someone ought to point out that the term "chicken-hawk" originated as a particularly nasty term for a pederast or child molester: It has evidently not quite lost its association with sissyhood. It's a smear, in other words, and it is a silly smear for the reasons given above, to which could be added the following: The United States now has an all-volunteer Army, made up of people who receive fairly good pay and many health and educational benefits. They signed up to a bargain when they joined, and the terms of the bargain are obedience to the decisions of a civilian president and Congress. Who would have this any other way?
Well, someone ought point out to Hitchens that the word "chicken" has long been synonymous with "coward", so its association with "sissyhood" depends not on the Latin pullarius derived "chicken hawk". It's not then a stretch to suggest a new usage signifying "a coward who is keen on sending others into war." It's still a silly smear, but not for the reason that Hitchens suggests — unless he wants to also argue that "chicken" is a silly smear because pullus was what the pullarius chased.

But here's the worst part of Hitchens argument — while he leaves the reader an impression that Hagel actually said it, the truth is that Hagel didn't say it. What Hagel said was "You can take the country into a war pretty fast, but you can't get out as quickly, and the public needs to know what the risks are." Then he added, "Maybe Mr. Perle would like to be in the first wave of those who go into Baghdad." There's the implication that Perle's enthusiasm for the policy has begotten unrealistic expectations, and in light of other comments Hagel made, it's clear that Perle is included in that group of people who have never been in combat yet are the most keen on war.

However, in none of what Hagel said did he ever once use the "chicken hawk" language, and it's a stretch, even based on the appended quip, to suggest that Hagel meant to even intimate an impugnning of Perle's character — to "smear" Perle. Hitchens is, of course, free to read Hagel's comments any way that pleases himself, but I prefer to give both Perle and Hagel the benefit of a fair read, rather than jumping to the worst conclusion.

As for Hitchens' inane rhetorical question: Of course we don't want it any other way. But, I haven't heard anybody argue that it ought be any other way. Such an argument does logically flow from other assertions that only those who have done battle should have a voice in debate on war, but those assertions come from a group known for its own illogic — think of an argument that says war is bad, but then defends suicide bombers — so why pretend that those arguments need a response?...

At the end of Hitchens comments about Hagel, he then appends a parenthetical "Mind you, I have the impression that if the 'armchair' arguers got their way and asked only war veterans what to do about Saddam Hussein, there would have been a rather abrupt 'regime change' in Iraq long before now." Not so fast! — see above in re Fredericksburg and Vietnam. Remeber, it's the "armchair" arguers and the war veterans who are supporting the generals' call for caution, support from the American people, and international cooperation.

I've gone on too long, so I will on the morrow proffer my thoughts on Chambliss' impugnning of Cleland's integrity — the evidence of slander goes beyond simply questioning the legislative record, and points up some hypocrisy...

p.s.: In re the suggestion that the opinions of folks who have served in war ought be immune from criticism, I've yet to hear such a suggestion. Actually, I've seen the same folks who argue that those opinions are the only ones that matter turn around and denounce veterans who write or speak in defense of going to war. I have also heard and seen it repeatedly asserted that the opinions of veterans ought count for nothing at all — you wanna guess the source of that assertion?

Two Second Drill

Will Vehrs
I'm going to be trapped in a "Strategic Planning Session" for the next two days. Despite the state budget crunch, apparently there is enough money to pay professional facilitators to lead navel-gazing exercises.

In my absence, I commend Christopher Hitchen's Slate piece on "Armchair Generals" and "Chicken Hawks," a topic still salient in light of the Cleland defeat in Georgia and John Kerry's emerging campaign.

Monday, November 11, 2002

A Voter's Thoughts on Veterans Day

Tony Adragna
Something I've never given any thought to is the proximity — unintentional as it is — of Veterans Day to Election Day. What's turned my thoughts to this topic isn't that talk of war loomed over the campaign season. It's not the first time candidates have electioneered on war, and it won't be the last. Rather, it's a line I heard last night in the final installment of "Piece of Cake" — a mini-series about an RAF squadron during the period September 1939 through August 1940.

The line didn't come from Churchill's "The Few" — as elequent and deserved was the praise, I'm thinking of something a bit more mundane. At least, it was about as mundane as anything you'll hear from pilots sitting around waiting for the scramble. As mundane was the dialog, the line struck at the heart of a political agnosticism about what is owed not just to The Few, but too to the many others, and to one's self.

In a word, the exchange was about voting. The dialog centerd on one pilot's incredulous reaction to finding out that others of his comrades hadn't ever voted — and I'm not talking about the younger men who couldn't yet legally vote.

While I don't share in the aforementioned character's incredulity — actually, next to nothing surprises me anymore — I do find it disheartening that so many people don't vote. Nearly 50% of the "voting age public" opted not to have their voices heard during the 2000 election.

Now, of course, people have a right to not vote, and even that right is something for which veterans have fought, and for which many of their comrades have died. But I'm not letting folks cop that plea so easily, especially when most of those folks have absolutely no problem pissing & moaning about "what's wrong with America".

In my [NOT] humble opinion, what's right with America is that so many veterans have given of themselves to protect so many people who think of nothing but themselves — I don't know whether that's a comic tragedy, or an irony, but it's what I wanted to say on this Veterans Day...

Veterans Day 2002

Will Vehrs
In honor of Veterans Day, I offer this photo gallery of Virginia and Virginians during World War II. Let us remember the veterans of today as they were: young people in their prime, putting their lives on hold to bravely step forward in sacrifice for their nation--and the world.

Sunday, November 10, 2002

Punditwatch Finds No Introspection

Will Vehrs
When Blogspot cooperates, Punditwatch will be posted. Pundits avoid talking about their prediction debacle, Kerry goes on the attack, and other Democrats crowd the center. Tony Snow tries some voter intimidation. It's all in there!

QP Sunday

Will Vehrs
The Heat ended their season by losing a thriller, 3-2. I really enjoyed coaching those kids--it was almost sad when I had to hand out the trophies. I didn't want it to end.

I read that McDonalds was closing over 100 restaurants. I have a nomination. A Richmond City Mickey D's I visited last night at 5:45PM was out of Chicken McNuggets, ketchup, cookies (fresh and bagged), and all Happy Meal toys from the last five promotions. The milkshake machine was also broken. The staff didn't seemed all that bothered..

Here's a strange headline from a Mark Holmberg column (not online) in this morning's Richmond Times-Dispatch: "Military Often Serves Its Soldiers." Huh? Just "often?"

Michael Getler, the Ombudsman of the Washington Post, has a good piece on the value and uses of newspaper endorsements:

Editorials are not supposed to pick winners. They are supposed to be succinct, well-reasoned arguments why someone, or something, deserves support. They are meant to be influential, to provide a compass, to make you think. They can also make you mad. And there is always the possibility that readers will believe that editorial opinions, endorsed by owners and expressed through the editorial page, intrude on the coverage in the news sections. I can say with confidence that the "wall" between editorial and news seems intact and secure at The Post. But you can't blame readers who are not students of journalism for suspecting otherwise. The mail I get as ombudsman frequently reflects that. During the presidential recount two years ago, many people based their allegations of reportorial bias on the earlier editorial page endorsement of Vice President Al Gore.