Saturday, August 14, 2004

59 Years Ago Today...

Japan surrenders. Thank you, Pacific veterans.

The Strib joins the (tiny) Chorus

Well, the Star Tribune has finally printed a story about the Swift Vets attempt to present their opinions about John Kerry's Vietnam service. Predictably, the emphasis in the story was on the controversy surrounding the claims and the reactions (mostly by critics of the SBVT) to them instead of actually investigating their substance (and veracity). This behavior pretty much conforms to the rest of the media reporting on the subject.

In my opinion, this creates a credibility problem for the mainstream press. They fell all over themselves demanding every last detail of President Bush's Air National Guard service when Democrats tried to use it to discredit him. Now, when a group of vets who served in the same unit as Senator Kerry criticize the way he describes (outright lied about, in their view) his service, there is no rush to investigate their claims and Kerry's. This just reinforces an already existing perception that the media is both liberally biased and in the tank for John Kerry. The media would be doing us (and themselves) a major service by paying the same kind and amount of attention to this story about Kerry's service as they did to Bush "AWOL" story.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Steve Sack's Sack Full o' S---

Once again, the Star Tribune lives down to my expectations, this time via a cartoon by Steve Sack, depicting the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth as a group of GOP elephants in a barge dumping garbage into the water under the banner "Operation Smear Kerry" (Unfortunately, no link available at this time. It will probably show up online in a few days.). I guess this is Mr. Sack's audition for the Ted Rall scholarship at the Stupid Cartoonist's Institute. It fails at that too, if only because Sack is a much better artist. In terms of content, it lacks the true malice necessary to aspire to Ralldom. What it does not lack, however, is ignorance and hypocrisy.

Let's start with the ignorance first. What factual justification could he have for this cartoon? Since no one has actually debunked the claims of the Swift boat vets, how does he know what they are doing is a smear? So far, the Kerry camp's reply to the Swifties has been ad hominem attacks and legal threats. Perhaps he should have waited for his compadres in the press to actually, you know, investigate the Swifties' claims? Maybe, before drawing this cartoon he should have actually looked into their claims and the motives for making them, like this letter (via the Captain) from John O'Neill sent to TV stations in reply to a threat from the Kerry campaign to sue if the stations ran the Swifties' ad attempts to do. But that would involve work and even intellectual honesty, qualities often missing from the Star Tribune editorial pages. It's much easier and faster to suck down a Kerry Kool-Aid instead.

Hypocrisy. Sack (and the Star Tribune) spent some considerable effort reporting and opining on the bogus Bush AWOL 'scandal'. In fact, here's a Sack
cartoon on the very subject. What is it about the Swift boat vet's claims that allow them to be so easily dismissed, as Kevin Drum does by calling them lunatics? Thier claims are at least as good as the ones that got the press in a tizzy for weeks trying to prove President Bush was AWOL. Is the swift boat vets' Vietnam experience somehow less valid or less valued than Kerry's, so they can be discounted? Or, doesn't our objective press want to investigate credible claims against their favored candidate?

Every one of those lefty bloggers and newspapers that were demanding every effort be made to verify Bush's Air National Guard Service should be demanding that the allegations made by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth be given the same type of attention. Anything else is a demonstration of their hypocrisy.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

"Nice" going, Star Tribune!

Here's another fine example (free registration may be required) of a cutesy-attempt-to-be-funny, but ultimately crappy editorial from the Strib. In it, they try to use the fact that Dr. Stephen Hawking has changed his mind about the properties of black holes to score cheap points against President Bush and St. Paul mayor Randy Kelly for allegedly flip-flopping. In the case of Mayor Kelly, it was his announcement that he was supporting GWB for re-election this November. As far as GWB is concerned, the Strib considered his desire to be a "Peace President" to be a flip-flop. Let's examine:

In the case of the Mayor, he couldn't have flip-flopped on this issue because he never said he would support John Kerry in the first place. Sure, he's a Democrat, but I don't see the Strib castigating Republicans who support Kerry for choosing the candidate for the other side, so that can't be it, could it?

In the case of President Bush, well, all presidents want to be a "Peace President". Nothing new there. I suspect that Bush prefers that we arrive at that peace through victory in the Middle East. I'm not sure we can say the same about his opponent.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Thanks, MnDOT

I'd just like to take a moment to mention my total lack of appreciation for the efforts of the malevolent, sadistic bast- er, fine traffic engineering professionals at the Minnesota Department of Transportation in making my daily commute to work from St. Paul such a thing of pleasure this summer.

They have provided me with plenty of time to catch up on various in-car activities that for some reason I had fallen behind on, such as listening to traffic reports that tell me I'm stuck in traffic. I have to curse bow to the kind of evil genius that timed our summer construction such that not one, not two, but all four major routes across the river into St. Paul from the southern suburbs have construction-related constipation at the moment, thus turning a 20 minute trip into a leisurely hour's drive. Is it not too much to ask that these things be staggered, thus not creating miles-long traffic jams on both sides of the river bridge on I-35E, Hwys 5, 52, and 61?

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Positive Campaigning, Democrat Division

I saw an article in the August 2nd, 2004 edition of the East Side Review ,a weekly newspaper delivered to our neighborhood here in St. Paul, that highlights one of the things I hate about the political season.  I've reproduced a few paragraphs of the article here (typos are mine, there was no link available). 

Politically motivated graffiti has been popping up on stop signs throughout the suburbs of North St. Paul, Maplewood and Oakdale, and overlapping into the Battle Creek area of St. Paul.
  Vandals have been painting "Bush" at the bottom of stop signs to create the phrase "Stop Bush". The graffiti appeared last Thursday morning on main thoroughfares around the area.

This turns out to be more than a petty prank, since there is a problem with removing the graffiti:

    The type of ink or paint used must be removed chemicals, making the signs unable to reflect light and extremely difficult to see at night. As a result , all signs with graffiti must be replaced.
    "Basically, they're ruining the signs," said Mark Bartholomew, North St. Paul public works superintendent.
     Signs, which cost $50 apiece, and when city workers' time and equipment are factored in, the total amount to replace each sign comes to at least $70 and could cost as much as $100.

One would think that if these folks had any respect for the taxpayers of this area, they wouldn't indulge in stupid acts of vandalism that undermine the point they are trying to make.  Even if the point is stupid and juvenile.