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Colin Powell, the Kay Report, and a Little Logic

NPR’s Morning Edition had an excellent story today about the Kay Report. We all know that the Kay Report found no WMDs in Iraq. But what I found more interesting were the implications regarding the containment of Iraq from 1991-2003. As NPR’s Mike Shuster put it:

Kay reported that the 1991 Gulf War, and the efforts of UN weapons inspectors coupled with economic sanctions had largely kept Saddam Hussein’s appetite for WMDs in check.

No surprise there – it’s a reasonable reading of the Kay Report, though it is one that the Bushies have not emphasized, for obvious reasons. So imagine my surprise when they included a clip from Colin Powell last week saying the following regarding the Kay Report:

“[The Iraqis] were determined to have the capability to develop [WMDs], and it is clear that they never lost that intent. The programs were kept intact. They were just waiting to see if they could break out of sanctions, if they could break away from the constraints of the United Nations, and start all these programs back up again.”

Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t this mean that Powell is saying that the containment of Iraq worked perfectly well to keep WMDs out of Hussein’s hands? Put another way, doesn’t this imply that Powell understands that, as long as the UN kept up its sanctions and other constraints, Iraq could not develop WMDs? The logical implication is that the war was not necessary to keep Hussein from getting WMDs. Too bad Colin Powell refuses to follow his own reasoning to its logical conclusion. Because if he did, he would have to admit that the war did nothing to keep the US safe from WMDs.


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California Update

Turnout is reportedly quite high, which in a majority Democratic state, is probably good news for Davis:

California voters appeared to be turning out in large numbers today for the state’s extraordinary election to decide whether Gov. Gray Davis (D) should be recalled from office and to choose one of 135 candidates vying to replace him.


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What Would Rush Say? (If he hadn’t been kicked out on his fat ass?)

As you all know, Rush Limbaugh resigned (apparently after being ordered to) from ESPN’s pregame show. Now, sadly, we are left to try in vain to make sense of one of the most amazing Monday Night Football games ever — a game that witnessed the biggest four minute comeback of all time — without Rush’s wit and wisdom. But I’ll do my best to fill in for the sage analyst and pill junkie.

Harumph. What I want to focus on is the liberal white media and their corrupting of the overtime part of the game.

For those who didn’t see the game, here’s what happened in overtime. Tampa Bay won the toss and elected to receive, but they ended up punting, and the Colts started out at their own 13 yard line. They drove to the Tampa Bay 22 yard line and then Colts kicker Mike Vanderjagt missed the field goal, his first miss of the season. This was my first hint of what was really going on in this game. Could Vanderjagt have pulled it? Perhaps, but it was Colt’s coach Tony Dungy’s birthday. A questionable (but apparently technically correct) penalty gave Vanderjagt a second try, from 11 yards closer. Here’s where it gets interesting. By all the laws of football and physics, Vanderjagt’s second kick should have missed:

“Vanderjagt made the second kick — barely, as it went off the right upright and through after being deflected at the line by a Tampa Bay player.”

How the kick managed to go in is a mystery, unless you understand the awesome power of the liberal white media. Here’s something you may not know about this game (pictured left is defeated Tampa Bay coach John Gruden; right is victorious Indianapolis coach Tony Dungy):


Yes, it is all so very clear now:

The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback coach do well. There is a little hope invested in McNabb Dungy, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn’t deserve. The defense kicker carried this team.”

Sheesh. If the white liberal media keeps this up, soon black families will be able to enjoy dinner together without freaking out conservative white columnists and their families. Well, maybe not that soon.


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Mankiw Believes in Rubinomics

Employing a startling new tactic that was surely designed to throw opponents off balance, Greg Mankiw took the unprecendented step for a Bush administration economist of sounding like an actual economist yesterday:

“Naturally the budget deficit is a cause for concern,” Gregory Mankiw, chief economic adviser to President George W. Bush, told Germany’s Handelsblatt newspaper. “It could push up interest rates.”

Now Mankiw just needs to hold a Macro 101 class for some other members of the administration, past and present. Earlier this year, Dick Cheney and Mitch Daniels both said that they don’t believe that budget deficits push up interest rates. And Glenn Hubbard thought that this silly idea was just a partisan trick by the Democrats, which he labeled “Rubinomics.”

Who knows, maybe Bush will eventually even let the economists have some say in economic policy making…? Nah.


UPDATE: Brad DeLong points out that Mankiw needs to mention a couple of other well-known economic insights before he sounds like a real economist: budget deficits take a long time to fix, and so we should be starting now; and budget deficits almost never get fixed without a formal enforcement mechanism like the recently expired Budget Enforcement Act. Points well taken.

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Leaking With a Vengeance

That’s the title of this harsh story on the cover of Time. Here’s the lead paragraph

She was smart and beautiful and disarming, married to a former ambassador and the 40-year-old mother of 3-year-old twins. Best of all, she had a job that let her try to save the world. At least she did until July 14. That’s when her role as a cia spy tracking weapons of mass destruction (WMD) was revealed by columnist Robert Novak after two Bush Administration officials leaked her identity to him. Her exposure was more than just a personal tragedy, though it was certainly that too. “Her career as an undercover operative is over,” says former CIA officer Jim Marcinkowski, now a prosecutor in Royal Oak, Mich. He was a classmate of Plame’s during the year rookie spies spend at the Farm, the Camp Peary, Va., school where CIA recruits learn how to read code and sneak through checkpoints and memorize secret documents. At the Farm, Plame stood out, he recalls, for being the best shot with an AK-47 in the entire class. “She will no longer be safe traveling overseas,” he says. “I liken that to the knee-capping of an athlete.”

There’s a lot more.


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Thoughts about California

First, this old proverb, sometimes attributed to Ben Franklin and more recently publicized by Hunter Thompson:

“In a democracy, people usually get the government they deserve, and deserve the government they get.”

We’ll see what kind of government Californians deserve tomorrow.

Second, a question. Is California the only state that would boot out Davis, and vote in Schwarzenegger? Put another way, if there was a similar recall ballot in another state, would they vote to keep Davis in power? And would they choose someone over Schwarzenegger?

The reason I pose this second question is because I was talking to someone over the weekend who argued that California is just like the rest of the United States — just with more democracy. I wonder if that person didn’t have a pretty good point…


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Once in a Blue Moon…

…someone does what he believes is the right thing even though it enrages his constituency and peers. And he knows he’ll be shredded in the press and by friend and foe alike for doing said right thing. But he does it anyway. Even less frequently, he gets credit from unexpected places: making the final cut for a Nobel Peace Prize.


P.S. Yes, it was easier for Ryan because he had no shot at reelection, but he knew all along the massive heat he would take for the blanket commutation, as opposed to the easy moratorium path. And he deserves credit for ignoring that.

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Tom DeLay is on Board!

Mr. DeLay apparently wants a full investigation of the Plame affair.

At a press conference, Tom DeLay released a letter calling for an FBI investigation signed by the Republican House Leaders:

Whether or not that specific story originated with the White House or its allies, clearly there is credible evidence that an organized campaign of slander and intimidation may exist. If these reports are true, the actions of the individuals responsible are pure and simple intimidation — no different than threatening jurors to change their verdicts in organized crime trials.(*)

Actually, that was back in 1998, when national security was threatened by allegations that the White House, and Sidney Blumenthal in particular, was feeding the media stories about Henry Hyde’s infidelity. Later, it was learned that the source of the story was actually a friend of the estranged husband of the woman with whom Hyde was having the affair. Still, DeLay’s point is well-taken; perhaps he should repeat it now that thing of substantive importance are at issue.


(*) The Clinton Wars, p. 478, citing Republican Leaders Ask FBI to Look for Source of ‘Dirt’, Washington Times, September 18, 1998.

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Via Kuffner, this depressing story from the Austin-American Statesman:

[T]he House voted Thursday to adjourn until 2 p.m. Sunday for possible debate — which could go on beyond sundown — on any map approved by House-Senate conferees. House Speaker Tom Craddick said that if there is no map to be considered Sunday, the House would convene Monday.

Monday is Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement that begins at sundown Sunday. For Jews, the day is marked by fasting, daylong prayers and not working.

In an attempt to avoid a conflict with Yom Kippur, Rep. Jim Dunnam, D-Waco, on Thursday asked the House to adjourn until 8 p.m. Monday, when the observance would be over.

“I’m told by some of our members on the floor that they will have to be out of here by 3 o’clock p.m. (Sunday) so they can make their arrangements to observe the holiday,” Dunnam told colleagues. “And I know and you know that we wouldn’t do this on Easter.”

Dunnam’s motion was rejected, and the House, by a 66-35 margin, then voted to convene Sunday afternoon.

I’m neither Jewish nor religious, but at this point can the Texas Republicans just fess up and proclaim, “we’ve got the power right now and we’re white Christians, so f*ck the Jews, Hispanics, and Blacks”?? There’s no point keeping the hoods in the closet anymore, either. Just put them on and go to work–apparently your ignorant constituents will adore you for it.


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Apparently, my old RSS feed went down, so I’ve switched from using blogmatrix to using blogstreet, meaning you may have to update your aggregator. I think I’ve got the code right, but I’m not certain. If any techies feel like viewing the page source and checking it out, I will appreciate it greatly.


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