ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Friday, August 12, 2005

NARAL Update

Well, NARAL NARAL has pulled its ad buy, not because it was full of horsehockey, but because those of us who viewed it were too dumb to understand the nuance of NARAL's argument:

Aug 11, 11:36 PM EDT
Abortion Rights Group Withdraws Roberts Ad
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- After a week of protests by conservatives, an abortion rights group said Thursday night it is withdrawing a television advertisement linking Supreme Court nominee John Roberts to violent anti-abortion activists.

"We regret that many people have misconstrued our recent advertisement about Mr. Roberts' record," said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America.

"Unfortunately, the debate over that advertisement has become a distraction from the serious discussion we hoped to have with the American public," she said in a letter Thursday to Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., who had urged the group to withdraw the ad.

Specter, himself an abortion-rights supporter as well as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee that will question Roberts next month, earlier Thursday had called the ad "blatantly untrue and unfair."

Hmmm, the text in bold is reminiscent of an apology from an Illinois Senator that I just love! As the [sarcasm]right-wing[/sarcasm] EJ Dionne points out, people who watched the ad understood EXACTLY what NARAL was saying about Roberts. Not sure how the following transcript from the ad can be any clearer:
Here's what the ad says: "Seven years ago, a bomb destroyed a women's health clinic in Birmingham, Alabama." The ad then quotes Emily Lyons, whose clinic was bombed in January 1998: "When a bomb ripped through my clinic, I almost lost my life. I will never be the same." The announcer returns: "Supreme Court nominee John Roberts filed court briefs supporting violent fringe groups and a convicted clinic bomber." Text on screen: "Roberts filed court brief supporting clinic protestors." Lyons again: "I'm determined to stop this violence so I'm speaking out." The announcer: "Call your senators. Tell them to oppose John Roberts. America can't afford a justice whose ideology leads him to excuse violence against other Americans."

Of course, EJ goes on to make some really idiotic points, but nonetheless.

Anyway, I thought I'd just do a little happy dance.

And toss back a few with my conspirators

Any time group as shrill as NARAL has to admit that they're full of it is a good day in my opinion.

However, some folks on the Left really are stunned that NARAL pulled the ad. Of course, some folks on the Left don't believe in anything such as an objective truth. I mean, they probably think that any words that squeak past the brat lodged in Michael Moore's mouth is gospel. Read this post and tell me if this is someone who recognizes that they're rabid, but just can't do anything about it:
Update: NARAL ad
NARAL has decided to pull the ad after all, on the grounds that the fuss over it is a distraction from the real issue. I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, the fuss over it is a distraction from the real issue--I am almost reluctant to blog this, having said that I did not intend to talk about the ad any more, but I figured that having blogged both the ad and their response to "fact"check's response, I should. On the other hand, whatever the merits or flaws of the ad may have been--and I believe that, while factual in a strict sense, it was somewhat misleading, although I also believe that misleading ads are the name of the game in politics, so I find it frankly hypocritical for the right to be bitching about it, and rather disappointing that political sites on the left are so uninterested in defending it--I seriously wonder if any ad that NARAL runs isn't going to be a flashpoint for controversy.

They have another one in the works, so I suppose we'll find out.

Unfortunately, when your lead ad doesn't even make the airways because it's filled with lies and smears, it's unlikely that your second one will be believed. (Although, I did watch Jaywalking on Leno last night and that might be the crowd that NARAL is targeting...)

To see what passes for enlightened discussion on the left, check out the comments for this post - they apparently are not a fan of the Saint from Wendelin.

And if the logo image for this blog doesn't just perfectly embody today's Left, I don't know what does - A little kid that doesn't know dookie about anything, but is having a temper tantrum about everything and is flipping off the 70% of people that don't agree with her.


Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Thursday, August 11, 2005

One you REALLY hope is not true...Able Danger

It now appears that military intelligence, Able Danger, was aware that Mohamed Atta was an Al Quaeda, and was in fact being surveiled, one year prior to 9/11 and that the military intelligence folks were told NOT to tell the FBI or anyone else in a position to act on that information. WHO told them not to tell the FBI?

Additionally, there is the matter of Sandy Berger's visit to the National Archives and the documentation he walked out with. Is that the same documentation that referred Mohamed Atta? One can only hope not.

It is one heck of a coincidence.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

A Sign that you are a Whacko, Lefty Nujtob

The [sarcasm]ueber-right wing [/sarcams] St. Louis Post-Dispatch says you're full of $#&*%.

THE ROBERTS NOMINATION: The blinders of certainty
Thursday, Aug. 11 2005

THE JOHN G. ROBERTS JR. confirmation debate reveals the folly, and unfairness,
of applying a single litmus test to a judicial nominee.

NARAL Pro-Choice America is airing a distorted attack ad that unfairly
criticizes Judge Roberts for supposedly excusing abortion clinic violence. The
ad pictures Emily Lyons in a wheelchair. She is the nurse injured in the
Birmingham, Ala. clinic bombing seven years ago.

"Supreme Court nominee John Roberts filed court briefs supporting violent
fringe groups and a convicted clinic bomber," the ad says. "America can't
afford a justice whose ideology leads him to excuse violence against other

The ad is more than misleading. It borders on outright falsehood. Judge Roberts
never excused abortion clinic violence; he criticized it. The abortion clinic
bombing pictured in the ad occurred seven years after the legal case
involving Judge Roberts. And Judge Roberts' brief was limited to the narrow
legal question of whether the Ku Klux Klan Act applied to illegal acts at
abortion clinics.

Judge Roberts argued for the government that the law didn't apply because the
attacks did not grow out of an "animus" toward women in general, in that many
women don't have abortions. This editorial page disagreed, but the U.S. Supreme
Court didn't. The court didn't excuse clinic violence, it just decided that the
Reconstruction-era law couldn't be used against it.

At a news conference announcing the ad buy, NARAL's president Nancy Keenan
said, "I want to be very clear that we are not suggesting that Mr. Roberts
condones or supports clinic violence."

Huh? How exactly did Judge Roberts excuse violence if he didn't
condone it? Ms. Keenan wasn't able to explain.

It's not only the true believers on the left who have their blinders on. A
group called Public Advocate of the United States proved that. The group
withdrew its support for Judge Roberts on Wednesday because of his involvement
in a successful legal challenge to an anti-gay law in Colorado.

As a lawyer at the Washington, D.C. firm of Hogan & Hartson, Judge Roberts
agreed to help with the firm's pro bono work in 1996 on behalf of a group
challenging a Colorado constitutional amendment. The amendment would have
banned municipalities from passing laws protecting gays against discrimination.
Judge Roberts played Justice Antonin Scalia at a mock oral argument.

That was too much for Public Advocate, which saw his actions as support for the
"radical homosexual lobby" in overturning a "pro-family" law in "an appalling
act of judicial activism."

Most Americans are wise enough not be blinded by their own certainties, and
smart enough to ignore the rants of those who are.

It seems that some will find this news troubling...

BTW, I agree with the P-D that the Public Advocate folks are a bunch of nuts, too... But hey, I call 'em as I see em.

Heck, it seems that even [sarcasm] uber-right-winger[/sarcasm] Al Franken can't condone the NARAL ad... But that doesn't stop the DUers from keeping the blinders on and focusing their attacks - on Al!

***UPDATE 2***
Another sign is when ScrappleFace can make you look like a complete @ss:
NARAL: Roberts' Adoptions Jeopardize Abortion Rights
by Scott Ott

(2005-08-10) -- A new TV ad from the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) claims that Supreme Court nominee John Roberts adopted two children to undercut a woman's right to choose abortion.

"Judge Roberts' shameless involvement in an abortion alternative is a threat to women everywhere," said NARAL President Nancy Keenan. "If Roberts had his way, every unwanted pregnancy would end in adoption rather than abortion. His vicious assault on women's rights should disqualify him from sitting on any court, let alone the Supreme Court."

The ad comes in the same week that another NARAL spot established Judge Roberts' involvement in abortion clinic bombings.

"NARAL will continue to make allegations about Roberts until President Bush drops him and nominates someone who holds a clear conservative position on Roe v. Wade," said Mrs. Keenan. "The haziness of his views makes it more difficult for us to whip up the rage needed for a big NARAL fundraising campaign."

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

And now for the lighter side of the news...

In an effort to keep from throwing open the window and screaming, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not taking it any more!" I try to make it a point to check out The Therapist, who I am glad to see is back up to speed after the death of his father.

As usual, he has stuck a pin in the Fashionable Left, in this case The Stones. Their gratuitous slap at America, neo-cons etc. in their latest album set the good doctor off. His cloumn was delightful. Read it and get a good laugh.

If I Didn't Have Osteoperosis, I'd Kick Bush's Butt

By Mick Jagger
Guest Columnist
Hold the presses! Update from WAPO!
washingtonpost.comJagger Says Song Not an Anti-Bush Tirade

The Associated Press
Wednesday, August 10, 2005; 6:24 PM

NEW YORK -- The Rolling Stones' upcoming album contains a song seemingly critical of President Bush, but Mick Jagger denies it's directed at him, according to the syndicated TV show "Extra."

"It is not really aimed at anyone," Jagger said on the entertainment-news show's Wednesday edition. "It's not aimed, personally aimed, at President Bush. It wouldn't be called 'Sweet Neo Con' if it was."

The song is from the new album, "A Bigger Bang," set for release Sept. 6. There is no mention of Bush or Iraq. But it does refer to military contractor Halliburton, which was formerly run by Vice President Cheney and has been awarded key Iraq contracts, and the rising price of gasoline.

"How come you're so wrong? My sweet neo-con, where's the money gone, in the Pentagon," goes one refrain.

The song also includes the line: "It's liberty for all, democracy's our style, unless you are against us, then it's prison without trial."

"It is certainly very critical of certain policies of the administration, but so what! Lots of people are critical," Jagger told "Extra."

A representative for the Stones said the group had no further comment about the song.

The Rolling Stones intend to kick off a U.S. tour in Boston Aug. 21.

Yeh, right.

As usual, AP got the Fashionable Left's party line right.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

Bush's Vacations look like mine

Without all the Secret Service protection, crowds, & news media, though...

my point was that it doesn't appear that the President's vacation isn't exactly one where you lay on the beach and eat bon-bons... He works on his vacations, similar to my trip to Florida & Cali this year (actually went somewhere this year!) where I had my laptop powered on every day for several hours.

Anyway, it seems that Bush's vacation includes doin' some of that executive-branch signin' thing...

Bush signs $286.4 billion highway bill
Associated Press Writer

MONTGOMERY, Ill. (AP) -- President Bush opened the gates Wednesday for spending a whopping $286.4 billion on roads and bridges, rail and bus facilities, bike paths and recreational trails, saying the projects from coast to coast would spur the economy and save lives.

Critics said the 1,000-page transportation bill was weighed down with pet projects to benefit nearly every member of Congress. The bill's price tag over six years was $30 billion more than Bush had recommended, but he said he was proud to sign it.

"Highways just don't happen," Bush said. "People have got to show up and do the work to refit a highway or build a bridge, and they need new equipment to do so. So the bill I'm signing is going to help give hundreds of thousands of Americans good-paying jobs."

To make his point, Bush signed the measure at a suburban Chicago Caterpillar Inc. plant in the home district of House Speaker Dennis Hastert. The Republican leader oversaw nearly two years of negotiations on Capitol Hill to get a slimmed-down version that Bush would accept.

It's a shame that almost nothing can get through Congress without an extra helping of pork... It's even more amazing that this bloated piece of legislation is the "slimmed-down version." What the heck must've the first one looked like?!? I just hope that the Dems come back strong enough ideologically so that the GOP doesn't forget its roots of fiscal responsibility.

Do we really need federal funds for bike paths and recreational trails? Seriously.... no, seriously... If someone could please show the text in the Constitution that gives that responsibility to the Federal government, I would appreciate it. (Note - Anyone pointing to the Commerce Clause will be drawn and quartered.)

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

August in Europe

Ahh, it's August in Europe. Can you hear the crickets chirping? The only ones left in the cities and towns throughout Europe (at least those that are not tourist destinations) are the old and infirm, cast aside to care for themselves for the month. Conversation overheard outside of Dusseldorf:

Ist hier ein drahtloses Telefon, Oma. Ruf uns an, wenn du etwas benötigst und wir die Großeltern der Nachbarn anrufen
Translation: Here's a cordless phone, Grandma! Call us if you need something and we'll send over the neighbor's grandparents to help!

Anyway, the International Herald Tribune (int'l edition of the NYTimes) pines for the day that we all will be taxed high enough that we demand the month of August off...
The workplace: It's August; guess where everybody is
By Thomas Fuller International Herald Tribune

PARIS The Hotel Louis II is an elegant three-star in the tourist-filled Odeon district of Paris. And while the tourism business is generally brisk around the city, the management at the Louis II has posted this sign on its shuttered facade: "Closed for Summer Holidays."

Residents of European cities have come to expect just about everything from restaurants to pharmacies to be shut for several weeks in August. But closing a hotel at the height of the tourist season is more unusual. It seems to serve as confirmation, if any were needed, of how seriously Europeans continue to take their vacations.

As you walk the deserted streets of residential neighborhoods in cities across northern Europe these days, it is hard to imagine that there was once a time when August was a month like every other. But in the timeline of European civilizations, paid summer vacations came relatively late - they were unheard of before 1913, said Michael Huberman, a specialist of economic history at the University of Montreal. If you didn't work, you didn't get paid.

Huberman said paid vacations were first instituted in the Soviet Union and other Communist countries in the 1930s. The practice then spread to Western Europe, spurred by leftist political parties.

"The left in Europe was growing and looked to the Soviet Union for answers," Huberman said. "By the mid- to late 1930s, paid vacations were common in Western Europe."

He said workers initially earned the right to one or two weeks of paid vacation. Today, all European countries have laws requiring companies to offer employees four weeks (the standard in Belgium, Britain, Germany and Italy, among others) to five weeks (as in Austria, Denmark, France and Sweden). But actual vacation time is usually longer because of collective agreements negotiated by unions or other compensation arrangements.

When actual vacation time is calculated, Italian workers average 7.9 weeks, Germans 7.8 and France 7, according to data compiled by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Two things:
  1. Do we really need to "look to the Soviet Union" for social & economicy policies now that we're 15 years beyond its demise?
  2. Does anyone in Europe seriously wonder why they have such high unemployment?

Yet it remains one of the most striking dichotomies in the Western world that longer vacation time never caught on in the United States. The United States and Australia are the only countries in the industrialized world that do not have national minimum requirements for vacation time, according to the International Labor Organization, an arm of the United Nations.

Coincidentally, these two countries have the fastest growing economies in the "Western" and developed world.... purely a coincidence
In the United States, 23 percent of private-sector workers, including part-time employees, are not offered paid vacations by their employers, according to a survey released in March 2004 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

I wonder what percentage of the 23 Percent are part-time employees? I bet it is a significant portion... By the way, should we give 8 weeks off to someone who is only working 6 months out of the year anyway?
Workers who do have the option of paid vacation are given relatively little, an average of nine days per year for employees with one year of seniority at a company, according to government data. Those with more seniority tend to get more. Employers in the United States are also not required by federal law to pay employees for sick days or national holidays, although many do, said Lonnie Golden, a specialist on working time at the University of Pennsylvania.

9 days = approximately 2 weeks vacation, the standard vacation package that someone would get when they just started working with a company. Given that the employee hasn't demonstrated their abilities yet, it's probably best to not give them 7 weeks paid vacation straight off the bat. Just a thought...
"In Europe, there's this whole notion that vacation is an investment for employees so that they stay healthy," Golden said. "In the U.S., this tradition doesn't exist."

Except for the poor grandparents who are left in apartments without air conditioning while the children & grandchildren head to the coast. Not sure how dying from heat exhausting is viewed as healthy... nor how it can be healthy (emotionally) for a worker to have his parents/grandparents croak while he/she was off tanning on the French riviera...
In recent years, economists have been fascinated by the reasons Americans and Europeans diverged so radically.

Some say higher taxes in Europe led workers to demand more time off rather than salary increases because getting more money might mean slipping into a higher tax bracket. Others contend that stronger trade unions in Europe were in a better position to demand concessions from employers. And still others say longer working hours are simply ingrained in the American psyche.

I contend it's the high-taxes... And the lack of competitive drive in the average European when it comes to anything other than soccer (sorry, football).
Will paid longer vacation time ever catch on in the United States? Probably not in the short term.

The Families and Work Institute, a nonprofit organization in New York, conducted a survey of 1,003 wage and salaried employees in the U.S. work force last year. The survey, which had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2.2 percentage points, found that among those who had the option of paid vacation, 36 percent said they were not planning to take all of it.

This, surely, is a statistic that would be met with bewilderment in Europe.

Yes, I'm sure it would be... So would our economic growth, our ability to assimilate foreigners into the melting pot that is America, our ability to govern ourselves without a Monarch or Despot for 229 years (despite what the MoveOners, Kossacks, & DUers would say)

To which I say... THANK GOD!!!

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

NARAL's Idiotic Defense

Now that NARAL has been exposed as an organization full of liars and sleazeballs, they're attempting to address the criticisms that their latest ad has received. I interject throughout.

Far-Right Spin on Roberts Ad

On August 8, NARAL Pro-Choice America launched our anti-John Roberts ad, calling attention to Roberts’ record of siding with extreme anti-choice groups that use violence – even a convicted clinic bomber. The right, as expected, has gone ballistic in a scarily disciplined way. Conservatives have settled on four talking points, all of them disingenuous:

Far-Right Spin #1: The case Roberts argued had nothing to do with violence. It was only over the interpretation of a narrow legal point.

TRUTH: Roberts’ legal activism deprived law enforcement of the tool they were using to combat clinic violence. When Roberts intervened in Bray vs. Alexandria Women’s Health Clinic violence was on the rise – in the previous few years, anti-choice radicals were responsible for at least 48 bombings and arsons in 24 states, along with 57 acid attacks, more than 4,000 disruptive acts such as bomb threats, harassing calls and hate mail. Clinics and lawyers around the country were looking for a legal weapon to use against them, and they found it in the Klu Klux Klan Act. Judges across the country agreed applied perfectly, and directed U.S. Marshals to protect health facilities. Radical groups appealed these cases and found an ally in John Roberts. This wasn’t an arcane legal dispute, but a fight over whether or not law enforcement could use their most effective weapon against extremists who use violence.

NARAL's Defense? ANY use of federal power to limit pro-life activists cannot be limited, EVEN IF it's a misapplication of power and EVEN IF there are substantial local, state, and federal laws which could be applied to obtain the same result. If you fail to approve of federal overreach (consistent with SCOTUS), you are guilty for all future violence.

NARAL's Biggest Failure In this rebuttal? Failure to mention how the Supreme Court actually ruled on the matter (ie Roberts position was upheld).
Far-Right Spin #2: This is just about harmless protest activities, not clinic bombings.

TRUTH: Roberts’ sided with a convicted bomber and other activists who preach violence. The plaintiffs Roberts supported included Michael Bray, who had already served a jail sentence for his role in a string of clinic bombings and Randall Terry, who has given a speech calling for doctors who perform abortions to be “executed.” Even purportedly peaceful clinic protests during this period often turned violent and resulted in serious injuries.

Naral's Defense? Anyone who is pro-life is a right-wing, fundie nutjob who would bomb a clinic.

Naral's biggest Failure in this rebuttal? Failure to recognize that Bray was already convicted of a bombing (which isn't the bombing incident featured in the ad) AND the questions which Roberts argued in his amicus brief were not related to Bray's innocence or guilt, nor were they intended to have him released on a technicality. Rather, it was whether a protest demonstration in front of an abortion clinic was discriminatory against women only.
Far-Right Spin #3: Roberts was just a lawyer representing a client.

TRUTH: Roberts was a senior political appointee responsible for shaping legal strategy. By all accounts, Roberts was far more than a government official. He was a senior official described as very close to Solicitor General Kenneth Starr, and appeared to be the Administration’s point person on its strategy around the clinic violence issue. Roberts appeared before the Supreme Court to argue the Bray case, and made media appearances to defend his office’s position.

Naral's Defense? Any lawyer representing a client believes in the opinions, beliefs, and values of their client.

Clearly this is idiotic.
Far-Right Spin #4: Papers released last week show Roberts opposed clinic violence.

FACT: The legal strategy Roberts crafted speaks much louder than a draft of a letter written for a superior. The document released last week was simply the draft of a letter responding to a suggestion from a Member of Congress. Roberts’ actions in Bray were official legal actions of the United States government.

NARAL's Defense? Sure, Roberts has filed conflicting docs, but the one where he's representing the administration are more important.

NARAL's Biggest Failure in this Rebuttal? They failed to mention that Roberts' amicus brief in Bray vs. Alexandria actually denounce the violence practiced by Bray, consistent with the draft letter.



Surely they can do better than this? Actually, given the sleaze that they've gotten into, I s'pose they can't.

But hey, if you're a knee-jerk, NARAL-believing liberal reading this, I suggest that you go read the frigging court decision yourself. And if you haven't already, check out Annenberg's Political which destroys NARAL's ad. No, this isn't "Right-Wing Spin" as NARAL would have you believe. These are objective facts.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Let the Borking Begin!

Well, it looks like it just took a few weeks for the sleazeballs on the Left to find their way out of the sewers.

Tue Aug 09 2005 19:41:54 ET
CNN has reviewed and agreed to run a controversial ad produced by a pro-abortion group that falsely accuses Supreme Court nominee John Roberts of filing legal papers supporting a convicted clinic bomber!

The news network has agreed to a $125,000 ad buy from NARAL, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned, for a commercial which depicts a bombed out 1998 Birmingham, AL abortion clinic.

The Birmingham clinic was bombed seven years after Roberts signed the legal briefing. The linking of Roberts to "violent fringe groups" is the sharpest attack against the nominee thus far. However, the non-partisan University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg reviewed the NARAL ad and found it to be “false.” found "in words and images, the ad conveys the idea that Roberts took a legal position excusing bombing of abortion clinics, which is false."

The Republican National Committee is preparing to send a letter to television stations asking them to pull the spot, according to sources. The RNC’s letter claims: "NARAL's ad is a deliberate misrepresentation of the facts that has no purpose but to mislead the American people."


Unfortunately for the whackjobs at NARAL, this isn't 1987, Roberts isn't Bork (compare / contrast), and there is plenty of folks that will shoot down their idiotic attempts to smear and slander John Roberts. Of course they'll get to buy the time on CNN - no surprise there. But, they'll get indirect ad time from the talking heads discussing it. No doubt Jim "The Lizard" Carville and Paul "The Forehead" Begala will defend the ad as a justified response to Bush's pick of a hard-right radical nazi homophobe... ad infinitum. Unfortunately for them, it is likely that this ad will backfire as it certainly is baseless.

The ad was fact-checked by the Annenberg and found to be a complete fabrication.
NARAL Falsely Accuses Supreme Court Nominee Roberts

Attack ad says he supported an abortion-clinic bomber and excused violence. In fact, Roberts called clinic bombers “criminals” who should be prosecuted fully.

August 9, 2005

Modified:August 9, 2005

An abortion-rights group is running an attack ad accusing Supreme Court nominee John Roberts of filing legal papers “supporting . . . a convicted clinic bomber” and of having an ideology that “leads him to excuse violence against other Americans” It shows images of a bombed clinic in Birmingham , Alabama .

The ad is false.

And the ad misleads when it says Roberts supported a clinic bomber. It is true that Roberts sided with the bomber and many other defendants in a civil case, but the case didn't deal with bombing at all. Roberts argued that abortion clinics who brought the suit had no right use an 1871 federal anti-discrimination statute against anti-abortion protesters who tried to blockade clinics. Eventually a 6-3 majority of the Supreme Court agreed, too. Roberts argued that blockades were already illegal under state law.

The images used in the ad are especially misleading. The pictures are of a clinic bombing that happened nearly seven years after Roberts signed the legal brief in question.

More in-depth analysis at the Annenberg site...

And Captain Ed is covering...

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Exalted Cyclops & Kleagle Senator Robert C. Byrd (D-WV)

Hmmm.... this About Senator Byrd page on his re-election site gives a pretty comprehensive biography of the rambling legislator from the great State of West Virginia. However, it doesn't mention his involvement in a certain organization during his early years in political power.

That's okay....Wikipedia provides all the pertinent details - with references!

Participation in the Ku Klux Klan
In the early 1940's, when Byrd was approximately 24 years old, he joined the Ku Klux Klan, which he had seen holding parades in Matoaka, West Virginia as a child, his father having been among the hooded marchers. He "recruited 150 of his friends and associates to form a chapter of the Ku Klux Klan. After Byrd had collected the $10 joining fee and $3 charge for a robe and hood from every applicant, the Grand Dragon Joel L. Baskin for the mid-Atlantic states came down to tiny Crab Orchard, W.Va., to officially organize the chapter..."When it came time to choose the Exalted Cyclops, the top officer in the local Klan unit, Byrd won unanimously." Byrd, in his autobiography, attributed the beginnings of his political career to this incident, though he lamented that they involved the Klan. According to Byrd's recollection, Baskin told him "You have a talent for leadership, Bob...The country needs young men like you in the leadership of the nation." Byrd recalls that "Suddenly lights flashed in my mind! Someone important had recognized my abilities. I was only 23 or 24, and the thought of a political career had never struck me. But strike me that night, it did."

He participated in the KKK for a period of time during World War II, holding the titles "Kleagle", which indicated a Klan recruiter, and "Exalted Cyclops." Byrd did not serve in the military during the war, working instead as a welder in a Baltimore shipyard, assembling warships.

Though Byrd did not serve himself, he commented on the 1945 controversy raging over the idea of racially integrating the military. In his book When Jim Crow Met John Bull, Graham Smith referred to a letter written that year by Byrd, when he was 28 years old, to racist Senator Theodore Bilbo of Mississippi, in which Byrd vowed never to fight:
"with a Negro by my side. Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds."
When running for Congress in 1952, he announced, "After about a year, I became disinterested, quit paying my dues, and dropped my membership in the organization. During the nine years that have followed, I have never been interested in the Klan." During this campaign, "Byrd went on the radio to acknowledge that he belonged to the Klan from 'mid-1942 to early 1943,' according to newspaper accounts. He explained that he had joined 'because it offered excitement and because it was strongly opposed to communism.' " He said that after about a year, he quit and dropped his membership, and never was interested in the Klan again.

During the campaign, Byrd's Republican Party opponent "uncovered a letter Byrd had handwritten to [...] the KKK Imperial Wizard, recommending a friend as a Kleagle and urging promotion of the Klan throughout the country. The letter was dated 1946 -- when Byrd was 29 years old and long after the time Byrd claimed he had lost interest in the Klan. 'The Klan is needed today as never before, and I am anxious to see its rebirth here in West Virginia," Byrd wrote, according to newspaper accounts of that period."

During his campaign for the U.S. Senate in 1958, when Byrd was 41 years old, Byrd defended the Klan. He argued that the KKK had been incorrectly blamed for much of violence in the South.

Yes, it was a long time ago... But this wasn't some social club that he was involved in. And his role certainly wasn't on the periphery. That his supporters waive this historical fact aside given the pork that he doles out for West Virginia and his opposition to the President is rather instructive in my opinion. Should former members of the Klan hold leadership positions in the US government? Not in my world... It's the 21st century, for Pete's sake. Is there truly no one in the state of West Virginia that is better suited than a former Exalted Cyclops and Kleagle of the Klan?

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Imposing Our Western Values on Afghanistan

Arthur Chrenkoff demonstrates that the US is truly a force for evil.

And a board game aims to teach Afghan children about rebuilding their country:

With the spin of a wheel, one Afghan child might land up in an ambush by gunmen. Another could be taken to the safety of a health clinic or classroom.

These are all scenarios 10- to 14-year-olds must confront in the Road to Peace, a board game devised by the UN. About 10,000 copies are being distributed to war-affected children, former child soldiers and refugee families, said Adrian Edwards, a spokesman for the UN assistance mission.

It comes in two languages, Dari and Pashto, and aims to teach children about the peace process and reconstruction of their country.

The foldable cardboard game is illustrated with a swirling path from one corner, the Past--with tanks, explosions and a Taliban-style execution--to another, the Future, with cheery family scenes, factories and a river.

Along the way, up to six players take turns spinning a wheel and moving their pieces.

If they land on a negative scenario, such as girls being turned away from school, they move backwards.

Landing on a positive square, such as the signing of the Bonn agreement in 2001, lets a player advance.

I mean, who are we to impose our own social construct of peace and happiness on these people? We should be accepting of the Afghan people's predilection for self-destruction and violence... And to impose our Western values about peace and prosperity through a children's boardgame just smacks of Hitlerian propaganda tactics...

Read the whole WSJ Extra from Chrenkoff, as it has all of the good news you don't hear from our MSM, such as this story:
Approximately 50 Airmen recently volunteered to organize an entire container, 20 feet by 10 feet by 8 feet weighing nearly 63,000 pounds filled with donated supplies for a tertiary mission here-adopt a village.

Airman separated the supplies into groups broken down by male, female and adult and children's supplies that would be used in the next mission.

"No one comes close" was an Air Force slogan used to describe the capabilities and accomplishments of the United States Air Force. This slogan took on a whole new meaning when over 35 Airmen traveled to a village, several miles outside Bagram, to equip local Afghan children with supplies for their future.

"No one comes close" to the pride and patriotism exhibited by the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing men and women that bright sunny day when they pulled up to the village with the cloud of dust bellowing behind the sport utility vehicles.

Airman hand-delivered bags filled with basic school supplies to about 100 children from KHAROTI--a small village within Afghanistan's Parwan Province in the Kohe Safi Region near the east river range. 13.5 km [8.5 miles] southest [sic] of Bagram.

In addition, "each child received his or her own toy and bundle of school supplies," said 1st Lt. David Knight, 455th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron operations officer.

"We also dropped off about tow pickup trucks full of large bags of men's, women's and children's clothing with the village elder. The toys and school supplies were donated by our troops here and their support system back home. The donated items never seem to stop coming!"

And I have to wholeheartedly agree with Chrenkoff's closing:
One day, hopefully sooner rather than later, Afghanistan will be a peaceful and normal country, but when that happens, Afghan math students and their countrymen will deserve more credit than the Western media.

What I don't understand though is why we don't hear this information from government officials... or at least the establishment of a "Good News" website for Afghanistan & Iraq, eliminating the filter that the MSM puts on everything. I mean, it seems to me that if it doesn't involve Natalie Holloway or Valerie Plame, it isn't news to the MSM.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

The Abuse of Cindy Sheehan

Jeff at Protein Wisdom was reluctant to touch this issue... and I will only discuss it by linking to his post (b/c he sums up my feelings quite nicely).

When I visited DU the other day, I was AMAZED at the amount of opportunistic appeals to abuse this woman to satiate their hatred for Bush.


For those looking for more in-depth coverage of the story, the inestimable Michelle Malkin provides it.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Life After the Left - New Addition to the ARC Blogroll

Thanks to Monterey John for highlighting Keith Thompson of I've just added his blog, Sane Nation, to the ARC blogroll after reading his current post at Thompson At Large and this article on Here's just an intro:

Life After the Left
Recently I published an essay titled “Leaving the Left,” an account of how I came to recognize the enormous gap between the worldview of contemporary liberalism (the cultural Left) and the principles of classical liberalism: limited constitutional government; the dignity and equality of individuals; freedom of thought, speech, and action; the right to private property.

As the piece was widely circulated on the internet, I received e-mails from close to 2,000 people throughout the world. One writer captured a common theme: “I too dislike what the left has become, but the monolithic, conform-or-die right terrifies me.” I smiled when I read this sentence, because it sounded so much like something I once might have said.

The first glimmers of trouble in political paradise came a decade after Kennedy’s tragic death. That’s when the civil rights establishment began a fateful shift from King’s commitment to equal opportunity for individuals toward enforced equal outcomes for groups. At the time I convinced myself that the shift was one of degree, not of kind. In a nutshell, I rationalized: “True, group preferences patronize their intended beneficiaries and discriminate on the basis of color. But it’s just a temporary way to balance the historic scales. The proponents mean well…and don’t forget the racism of your hometown.”

My doubts grew louder as women’s groups likewise began insisting that any gender “disparities” could only be considered prima facie evidence of culpable bias, regardless of other factors. Supreme Court legislator Harry Blackmun extended this argument with his 1978 Supreme Court ruling that enforcement of the Equal Protection clause required a new round of state-sanctioned discrimination. In a sentence Orwell would have appreciated, Blackmun proclaimed: “In order to treat some persons equally, we must treat them differently.”

This was no temporary shift. Race was back as a decisive marker of American social reality, with gender coming up fast from behind. Decrying Jim Crow as a racist for viewing individuals as members of demographic groups, the new proponents of the same discredited approach declared themselves progressives. Like Murphy, Orwell was an optimist.

Years later, when the civil rights and feminist establishments set off a sexual harassment smokescreen to discredit Clarence Thomas for the high crime of thinking independently while black, I realized liberalism had acquired the conceptual and moral equivalent of a pathological virus — but not just on domestic issues. I had opposed American involvement in Vietnam but found it impossible a decade later to grasp the Left’s romance with Daniel Ortega’s Nicaraguan reign of terror. What exactly was “progressive” about Sandinistan thugs blowing up churches, torturing priests, closing down TV and radio stations, and imprisoning labor leaders?

Yet despite my growing disenchantment, becoming a “conservative” was not an option. My mind still pegged conservatives as provincial and liberals as broad-minded, especially on social and cultural issues. Sure, the Left had its contradictions — but at least their language was right vis-à-vis “tolerance” and “pluralism.” It was easier to imagine conservatism as something far worse, monolithically so, since the liberal-left worldview was the norm in my personal and professional cultures. I didn’t even know any actual conservatives, at least none living in the open. It never occurred to me to consider that the actual diversity of my world; it was the intellectual equivalent of a gated community.

Consistent with my assertions, classical liberals are no longer in the Liberal/Progressive camp. The old canard that "Conservatives are narrow-minded and selfish, liberals are altruistic and progressive, especially on social and cultural issues" no longer holds.

Many on the Left still hold to this belief system, despite evidence to the contrary, as it would be too drastic a blow to their understanding of who they are. Friends of mine on the Left, during candid discussions regarding issues of the day, come down on the side of the issues that is opposite that of the leadership of the Left. Whether it is the inherent racism and balkanism in affirmative action, respect for private property, respect for individual liberty, or in some cases tax policies. Either these people do not understand the true positions of the Left regarding these issues or they've deluded themselves as to the true nature of the "progressive" left today.

It's true that this isn't the same Democratic Party of John F. Kennedy. But it could also be said that this isn't the same Democratic Party of Bill Clinton. The Left has moved so far afield from his positions that I am frankly amazed at their ability to succeed as much as they have. Given their devolution, we should have seen a greater implosion in 2004.

I hope that they adopt truly liberal policies, but given the current makeup of the party leaders, there is little to convince me that they even recognize that there is a problem. And, even those that do, don't understand which way they should go...

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Altar is clean - Let the Conspiracy Continue!

Well, now that all that goat blood has been cleaned up, we can resume normal conspiratorial operations here. I'm sure the boss would be pleased to know that we're fully engaged.

Just wanted to let you know the reason for my recent absence/decreased posting... I finally convinced the professors & administrators at the University to let me graduate with my Masters. For the past few weeks, the pace of my courses continued to increase and sleep was a commodity in short-supply. That was the main reason for the dropping off of posts...

Watch out, Moonbats! We're coming to make fun of you!!! (BRIAN???)

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Monday, August 08, 2005

Steyn: From Hackett to Air Enron

A Must read Mark Steyn in the Chicago Sun-Times:

Democrats' new strategy: Almost winning
August 7, 2005

The other day an official with a British teachers' union proposed that the concept of "failing" exams should be abolished. Instead of being given a "failing" grade, she said, the pupil would instead be given a "deferred success."

Oh, sure, you can scoff. But evidently the system's already being test-piloted in Howard Dean's Democratic Party. That's why the Dems' Congressional Campaign Committee hailed their electoral failure in last week's Ohio special election as a triumphant "deferred success." As their press release put it:

"In nearly the biggest political upset in recent history, Democrat Paul Hackett came within just a few thousand votes of defeating Republican Jean Schmidt in Ohio's Second Congressional District."

Yes, indeed. It was "nearly the biggest political upset in recent history," which is another way of saying it was actually the smallest political non-upset in recent history. Hackett was like a fast-forward rerun of the Kerry campaign. He was a veteran of the Iraq war, but he was anti-war, but he made solemn dignified patriotic commercials featuring respectful footage of President Bush and artfully neglecting to mention the candidate was a Democrat, but in livelier campaign venues he dismissed Bush as a "sonofabitch" and a "chicken hawk" who was "un-American" for questioning his patriotism.

And as usual this nearly winning strategy lost yet again -- this time to a weak Republican candidate with a lot of problematic baggage. Insofar as I understand it, the official Democratic narrative is that Bush is a moron who's nevertheless managed to steal two elections. Big deal. Up against this crowd, that's looking like petty larceny. After the Ohio vote, Dem pollster Stan Greenberg declared that "one of the biggest doubts about Democrats is that they don't stand for anything." That might have passed muster two years ago. Alas, the party's real problem is that increasingly there's no doubt whatsoever about it.

Fortunately, the Dems have found a new line of attack to counter the evil election-stealing moron. A few days ago, the Democratic National Committee put out a press release attacking Bush for being physically fit. It seems his physical fitness comes at the expense of the nation's lardbutt youth. Or as the DNC put it:

"While President Bush has made physical fitness a personal priority, his cuts to education funding have forced schools to roll back physical education classes and his administration's efforts to undermine Title IX sports programs have threatened thousands of women's college sports programs."

Wow. I noticed my gal had put on a few pounds but I had no idea it was Bush's fault. That sonofabitch chicken hawk. Just for the record, "his cuts to education funding" are cuts only in the sense that Hackett's performance in the Ohio election was a tremendous victory: that's to say, Bush's "cuts to education funding" are in fact an increase of roughly 50 percent in federal education funding.

Some of us wish he had cut education funding. By any rational measure, a good third of public school expenditures are completely wasted. But instead it's skyrocketed. And the idea that Bush is heartlessly pursuing an elite leisure activity denied to millions of American schoolchildren takes a bit of swallowing given that his preferred fitness activity is running. "Running" requires two things: you and ground. Short of buying every schoolkid some John Kerry thousand-dollar electric-yellow buttock-hugging lycra singlet, it's hard to see what there is about "running" that requires increasing federal funding.

Perhaps America could have a Running Czar or a National Commission on Running that would report back on the need for a Cabinet-level Runner-General. Perhaps Title IX needs to be expanded to provide a federal sneaker subsidy: a woman's right to shoes.

But I don't think so. Sitting behind yet another Vermont granolamobile bearing the bumper sticker "Bush Scares Me," I found myself thinking that perhaps the easiest way to reduce childhood obesity in American families might just to be to shout out, "Look! There's big scary Bush! Run! Run for your lives! No, wait, there's John Bolton, too! Better cut through the park before he puts his hands on his hips in an aggressive manner!" Indeed, when yesterday's coming man John Edwards dusts off his "Two Americas" stump speech -- the one with the heartwarming Dickensian vignette about the shivering girl whose parents can't afford to buy her a winter coat ($9.99 brand new from Wal-Mart) -- he might want to add a section about how an easy way for shivering coatless girls to keep warm is to run around the block a couple of times.

Speaking of shivering coatless girls in Bush's America, spare a thought for the underprivileged urchins of the Bronx. The Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club, a nonprofit social-services organization in New York, receives millions of dollars in government funds to give disadvantaged youth in poor neighborhoods a leg up the ladder of life. But mysteriously much of the money wound up being diverted to the coffers of Air America, the liberal talk-radio network whose ratings are yet another example of "deferred success." The needs of disadvantaged Al Franken and his pals apparently outweigh those of Bronx welfare recipients. Perhaps Janeane Garofalo is the coatless girl John Edwards was talking about all those months. Air America looks like the broadcast version of the U.N. Oil-for-Food program, whereby money earmarked to save starving moppets somehow winds up in the bank accounts of bloated self-described do-gooders with political connections.

The DNC's Bush-is-the-reason-your-kid-is-fat press release is a convenient precis of the party's problem: While he runs rings around them, the Dems lounge about getting flabbier by the week and telling themselves it's all his fault they can barely move except to complain about Bush's Supreme Court nominee's kid being overly cute. What's the betting for 2006? The Dems will have a few more "nearly the biggest political upsets," while the Republicans will have the actual political upsets -- a couple more Senate seats? Including Robert C. Byrd's venerable perch in West Virginia?

Republicans may see the increasingly arthritic, corpulent, wheezing, flatulent Democratic Party as a boon for them, but I don't. Two-party systems need two parties, not just for the health of the loser but for that of the winner, too. Intellectually, philosophically, legislatively, it's hard to maintain the discipline to keep yourself in shape when the other guy just lies around the house all day.

Meanwhile, Ollie Willis (aka Twinkie Meister), DailyKos, and DU can only talk about the "victory" that Paul Hackett's defeat was. Unfortunately for them, losing by 4 points after parrotting strength in foreign policy and failing to mention your party affiliation doesn't bode well for the future of the Democratic Party. Few other Dems have Hackett's resume, nor his willingness to use Bush in their campaign ads. I wonder how a true representative of the Democratic Party would fare (perhaps stepping forward from the ranks of Democratic Underground, DailyKos, MoveOn.Org, or any of the other whackjob lefties that make up "the base")?

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

A Sign that the Dems have lost their minds

They've lost the St Louis Post-Dispatch on the Roberts nomination to the Supreme Court. It seems that despite all the lather, some on the Left (which clearly includes the P-D editorial board) have to acknowledge the facts of the matter.

Monday, Aug. 08 2005

CRITICS OF JOHN G. ROBERTS JR. should save their breath on three subjects that have nothing to do with how good a Supreme Court justice he might be: his involvement with the Federalist Society, his religion and his wife's role as a volunteer for an anti-abortion group.

Whether Mr. Roberts was a member of the Federalist Society is just about as relevant as whether Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a member of the ACLU. Which is to say, it's irrelevant.

The Federalist Society is an influential group of conservative and libertarian lawyers. It was formed 23 years ago in reaction to what was perceived to the
liberal domination of the nation's law schools and soon became influential in Ronald Reagan's administration. Antonin Scalia was an adviser to the group before becoming a Supreme Court justice himself.

Roger Pilon, of the libertarian Cato Institute, thinks the questions about Roberts' association with the Federalist Society are like the old McCarthy-era question: "Are you now or have you ever been...?" Mr. Pilon told the Washington Post that he was puzzled by the White House's efforts to distance Mr. Roberts from the group. After all, Mr. Pilon said, the Federalists aren't like the Communist Party or the Ku Klux Klan.

The White House sensitivities and Judge Roberts' own statements actually have fueled suspicions among Roberts' critics. Judge Roberts makes the lawyerly distinction that he wasn't a member of the group, even though he participated in society events and was once listed as a member of a steering committee. Sounds like a distinction without a difference. But so what? The knowledge that a person is a member of the Federalist Society isn't a predictor of how good a justice he will be or whether he'll be strong on free speech, religious freedom or personal privacy.

Nor is a judge's religion or lack thereof relevant to his qualifications for the Supreme Court. It shouldn't matter that Judge Roberts is a Catholic, or that he would be the fourth Catholic on the court. Some Catholic justices have voted for abortion rights and others against.

More to the point, the Constitution says there are to be no religious tests for public office. When Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., recently asked Judge Roberts how his religion would affect his decisions, the judge reportedly told Mr. Durbin that he would be governed by the rule of law. That's all the Senate needs to know.

Finally, Jane Roberts' role as a volunteer lawyer for Feminists for Life is utterly out of bounds. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., to his credit, made this point soon after Mr. Roberts' nomination.

It would be unrealistic to think that Judge Roberts could completely wall out his wife's views any more than Justice Harry Blackmun could rule out the abortion-rights views of his wife. But Judge Roberts' nomination itself, coming after Laura Bush's comments about a female justice, go to show that pillow talk doesn't always hold sway.

The Dems have nothing, but I still think that Chuckie and Teddie will do their best to object to the nomination, not because of any issues with Roberts himself. But because they don't want to give Bush credit for picking a qualified judge that is "in the mainstream."

Their concerns are clearly political - not prinicpled.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Bill McClellan at the Post

I am a fan of Bill McClellan at the Post (don't have to agree with someone to like him), but sometimes he just says the darndest things. In an article on changes in St. Louis he diverges to take a shot at Rush Limbaugh. Why? Well, cause he believes what he believes I guess.

Anyway, after reading his column I took a little time to respond.

Below is his column and my response:

Change is in air at Strassenfest, on air at KMOX By Of the
Post-Dispatch Sunday, Aug. 07 2005

A FELLOW DRESSED in Bavarian garb was standing near the Miller Brewing Main
Stage at the St. Louis Strassenfest Friday afternoon, and I thought, "He's in a
time warp." You see, there was a time when the Strassenfest was really a German
festival. Oompah music was all you heard. The cognoscenti could sing along. The
rest of us tapped our feet and sipped our Budweiser. No more. Now you're likely
to hear rock, jazz or even Dixieland music. But wait a minute. Forget about
music. Let's go back a couple of sentences. What was the name of the stage the
man in Bavarian garb was standing near? Miller beer is now a sponsor of
Strassenfest. When I got here in 1980, that would have been unthinkable. Gussie
Busch was royalty, but a strange sort of royalty. He was a peasant king. Rough
hewn, almost vulgar, but beloved. I remember him riding around Busch Stadium in
a convertible, waving to the adoring crowd. His brewery owned the baseball team.
Now, of course, the team is owned by a conglomerate of businessmen, with the big
money coming from out of town. The big news on that front is all about change,
too. The new owners have filed for divorce from KMOX. They've bought a chunk of
upstart KTRS, and that station will now broadcast the games. The change won't
mean much for the baseball fans of St. Louis. It will be the same team, the same
announcers. Who cares if your radio is tuned to 550 or 1120? The real story is
the decline of KMOX. It's still a good station. I've got friends over there. But
the old gray mare ain't what she used to be. Not by a long shot. In 1980, it was
a local station. Think what you will of Rush Limbaugh - I'm no fan of hate radio
- but style aside, he would not have been on KMOX in the old days. Not unless he
was willing to live here. Bob Hyland ran the station then, and he believed in
local programming. Hyland was a man of immense energy, and he poured it almost
entirely into his radio station. Kevin Killeen, a reporter and commentator on
the station, did a remarkable piece recently about Hyland's daughter. She had a
cat while she was growing up, and her father never knew. I asked Killeen if he
thought Hyland just pretended not to know there was a cat living in his house. I
don't think he was pretending, Killeen said. Now the station is run by
out-of-towners. There is a local general manager, but he would know if there
were a cat living in his house. There was another institution locally owned in
those days - this newspaper. In 1980, Joseph Pulitzer Jr. was the editor and
publisher of the Post-Dispatch. He was the mirror opposite of Gussie Busch.
Pulitzer was elegant, distant, almost foppish, and hardly beloved by the
populace. But at one time, his newspaper was considered one of the best in the
world. It has not been so considered for many years. Earlier this year, it was
sold to a company headquartered in Iowa. Of course, all things change. Last
week, I spoke with a woman who remembered the St. Louis of 50 years ago. She
worked for the International Shoe Co. on Washington Avenue. It was the biggest
shoe company in the world. Right down the street was the second biggest shoe
company, Brown Shoe. "Things were so busy it was worth your life just to cross
Washington Avenue," she told me. Perhaps things are on the move again. Jack
Danforth, the patriarch of the greatest family of the last century, is talking
about reconnecting the river to downtown. Steve and Michael Roberts, two members
of what might be the greatest family of this coming century, are investing
heavily in the downtown area. Meanwhile, other developers talk about Chouteau's
Pond. Imagine a lake and a beach in St. Louis and a canal system connecting the
lake to the river. So all is not doom and gloom, but still, as I looked at the
man in Bavarian garb standing next to the Miller Brewing Main Stage in downtown
St. Louis, I thought he looked like a fellow from another time, and I wondered,
too, what such a time-traveler would think of the here and now.

E-mail: Phone: 314-340-8143

H ey Bill, enjoyed the column today, but for one part which I will get to later.

What is going on in St. Louis is mirrored by what has gone on in San Francisco, without the death part. San Francisco remains vibrant, but it bears no resemblance to the city I knew as a kid. Back then the Italians ran the city. The military was a huge presence in the Bay Area. There were no skyscrapers out of respect for earth quakes. Bank of America, the bank launched by Italian immigrants when the WASPS would not lend them money, was a fixture.What now?

Let's just say the Italians do NOT run the city any more. The military is gone, and I mean gone. Skyscrapers sprout up all over the financial district. And Bank of America? It's owned by folks in North Carolina, the same folks that bought Boatmens in St. Louis. North Carolina? Nothing is the way it was thirty years ago.

What's different in San Francisco from St. Louis that allows the former to remain great while the latter seems to be going the other way?I am not sure I know. I think that entrepreneurial spirit in California has alot to do with it.

It's a joke, with a ring of truth, that no one has a job in California. They are all busy "making deals" or running small businesses, sometimes turning them into huge businesses a la Google and Intel. They just do not sit still while the old pillars are being ripped out. The build new ones, vast numbers of new ones, and the great city goes on. San Francisco is a city with a great history, but it does not spend a lot of time looking back.

Now, for the part I disagreed with... Rush Limbaugh is "hate radio?" Did you say that just to rile the dittoheads? Was your e-mail inbox running low on irate missives?If Rush is hate radio, Air Americascam (see the recent stories on money stolen from a Boys and Girls club in the Bronx) is positively jihad radio.Anyway, aside from your gratuitous inaccuracy, I enjoyed the column as always.

Your faithful correspondent from the Left Coast late of St. Louis.

John Wilson
Salinas, CA

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn