June 2003

According to USA Today, Nader is considering running in 2004. In 2000 he pulled in just under 3% of the vote, which was a lot more than Bush’s margin of victory. It would be a reasonable inference that most Nader voters would have voted for Gore if Nader had not run. Democrats are probably right to blast Nader for running again because he would cost them any chance of victory in a tight election.

Conventional wisdom has it that Clinton easily beat Bush in 1992. But Perot received an astounding 18.9% of the votes in that election, far more than the 5.6% that separated Clinton and Bush. Had Perot not run that election might have been much closer.

I suspect 2004 will be more like 1996, where a strong sitting President easily beat a weak opponent and the third-party candidate (Perot again) had little impact. But if the race tightens up, Republicans would breathe a little easier if Nader ran.


Did Cheney really say Saddam had nuclear weapons?

Nicholas Kristof spreads another whopper, as Eugene Volokh points out in his NRO guest column.

We’ve seen Dowd invert the meaning of the President’s words by judicious use of an ellipsis. Now Kristol takes a sentence that, when seen in context, is obviously a verbal slip, and uses it to accuse the Vice President of lying.

Is it too much to ask NYT columnists to quote Bush administration representatives honestly? That seems to be the case.

While Westerners assume the Palestinians are acting out of enlightened self-interest, that assumption ignores the role of Islam in their thinking and actions. Over at LGF, Charles blogs on the ceasefire and links to a site that explains what such a treaty means to Muslims.

Robert Spencer, in “Islam Unveiled” reports on an incident witnessed by Jack Kelley of USA Today, “at a school run by Hamas , [where] he saw a youth of eleven years give a report to his class:

“I will make my body a bomb,” said the boy, “that will blast the flesh of Zionists, the sons of pigs and monkeys…I will tear their bodies into little pieces and will cause them more pain than they will ever know”. His classmates shouted in response, “Allah Akhbar,” and his teacher shouted, “May the virgins give you pleasure.”

Is this just bluster or was the kid deadly serious? If he wasn’t, hundreds were, as the nation of the “sons of pigs and monkeys” knows only too well. Worse, thousands of Palestinians want to follow those martyrs to get at those virgins. One poor sap I read about had even taped protection to his genitals so they wouldn’t be destroyed when his bomb when off.
Try transposing what that kid said to a Western context.

“I will make my body a bomb,” said the boy, “that will blast the flesh of Muslims, the sons of goats and camels…I will tear their bodies into little pieces and will cause them more pain than they will ever know”. His classmates shouted in response, “Praise the Lord,” and his teacher shouted, “May the nuns in heaven give you pleasure.”

Doesn’t quite work, does it?

But what that kid said is little different from what Bin Laden and radical Imans across the Muslim world say to their followers. If we thought the way they think, they’d all be dead. Ain’t they lucky we’re not like them.

Let’s see if I’ve got this straight.

By using GM techniques, scientists can produce crops that are:

    1. Resistant to pests – reduces pesticide use
    2. More productive – reduces land-use
    3. Less prone to spoilage – reduces waste
    4. Adaptable to salty or arid conditions – reduces land-use through increased productivity
    5. More nutritious – improves human health
    6. More rigorously tested for safety than non-GM foods – improves human health
    7. Able to glow in the dark – scares the pants off Greenies

Against these obvious advantages, the GM opponents cite the problem of transgenes transferring to the wild through cross hybridization. There are two issues here. Firstly, it can only happen within species. There is no way for the transgenes in golden rice to show up in wheat, for example. Secondly, it is unlikely that transgenes would provide a selective advantage for the recipient in the wild.

The rest of the opposition boils down to invocation of the precautionary principle, which, if adopted as a general principle, would rule out any further human progress. There is also the resentment that private businesses might make a profit from selling GM seed stock to poor people.

By some estimates, golden rice can prevent half a million children from becoming blind every year and another million from dying of vitamin A deficiency. Let’s just work with that figure of a million children per year.

Greenpeace and its political allies are fighting tooth and nail to prevent the introduction of golden rice. If they can stall the introduction of golden rice by six years, they will have condemned six million poor Asian children to death and blinded another three million. That’s a record that would make Hilter proud.

Just trying to get a little perspective here, of course. I didn’t even try to estimate the impact of denying GM technology to Africa.

Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani, Iran’s former president said last year that on the day the Muslim world gets nuclear weapons the Israeli question will be settled forever “since a single atomic bomb has the power to completely destroy Israel, while an Israeli counter-strike can only cause partial damage to the Islamic world.”

Mr. Ayatollah, don’t count on Israel leaving any survivors if you carry out your threat.

The BBC certainly earned its nickname of Baghdad Broadcasting Corporation during the recent war on Iraq. It is even more leftist than our public radio station, National Palestinian Radio. But what I really dislike is the fact that the BBC is funded by a special tax on TV owners. You pay your money but you get no choice. Disclaimer – I pay that tax, sorry, license fee.

Anyways, check out this story on the dispute between Alastair Campbell, Blair’s communications supremo and the BBC. Blair’s opponents have been taking him to task for the “missing” WMD and the BBC has been putting the boot in, as they say over there.

Here’s another choice quote from her column:

The dissent is a clinical study of a man who has been driven barking mad by the beneficial treatment he has received.

It’s poignant, really. It makes him crazy that people think he is where he is because of his race, but he is where he is because of his race.

Let’s try it again with some minor, but consistent rewriting:

Her column is a clinical study of a woman who has been driven barking mad by the beneficial treatment she has received.

It’s poignant, really. It makes her crazy that people think she is where she is because of her sex, but she is where she is because of her sex.

I think that about nails it. She knows, in her heart of hearts, that she is a beneficiary of affirmative action for women, a female Jayson Blair. Affimative action is just about the only reason I can think of why the Times could give such prominence to a vapid gossip with a mean streak.

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