Monday, November 29, 2004

A: WHO Says Bird Flu Pandemic Could Kill Millions

C: I don't know, who?
A: Huh? WHO.
C: No, I'm asking you.
A: What?
C: Who says bird flu could kill millions?
A: That's right.
C: Who!?
A: Yes.
C: The band?
A: Who?
C: No, Yes.
A: What are you talking about? WHO said it!
C: So it's The Who.
A: Yes, WHO said it.
C: OK. Now that that's clear, what does a rock band know about bird flu pandemics?
A: Oh for Pete's sake. It's the name of their new album, OK?
C: Well why didn't you say so in the first place?

(With my apologies to all involved.)

Democracy By Erosion

Peter Lavelle, UPI Russia analyst, gives us a rant on the world's misconceptions about what's going on in the Ukraine:

What is the point of this short rant? The public outcry to defend Ukraine's democracy is being used to protect and promote the 'oligarchic turf war' in Ukraine. The vast majority of Western commentary has no idea what the reality is on the ground in Ukraine. The vast majority is convinced that politics and the future of Ukraine's democracy, as well as the country's geopolitical orientation, are at stake. This is an illusion, with the West believing its own PR about democracy to reassure itself has nothing to do with the fate of the average Ukrainian.

Defending democracy is something most of us agree with. However, most commenting on Ukraine's democracy have little, if any, idea how the concept of democracy is being used to promote and protect the very specific and selfish financial interests of the few.

Lavelle makes some very good points here and elsewhere in his article. I do think, though, that the key point is a huge number of Ukrainian people are standing up for democracy. Viktor Yushchenko, the man being made out as the savior of Ukrainian democracy, has been accused of and probably is guilty of some level of corruption. Given this, it is easy to say that the Ukrainians have merely backed one corrupt politician over another, and then write the whole exercise off as propaganda.

In another article written a day later, Lavelle discounts the effect of the Ukrainian demonstrations, claiming the situation will be settled in backroom deals far from the people or international mediators.

All this may be true. Lavelle certainly knows a lot more about the area than I do. All the same, I'm throwing my two cents in.

¢ #1: Let's say Lavelle is right. What he does not address is the fact that the Ukrainian citizenry are finding their power, organizing, and creating communication networks. They are developing a brain and muscles. Regardless of where this particular issue is settled, the oligarchs have had to take the people into account. This is a step in the right direction, and with the increased coordination and will of the people, it may well lead to more improvements in the future.

¢ #2: No one has ever made it to democracy in one bound. Many democracies still fight corruption and the influence of small, usually financially powerful individuals and organizations. A corrupt democracy is better than dictatorship.

Democracy is achieved in waves. We look at the American Revolution and think it happened in a flash, that suddenly the US of A sprang forth fully formed from the head of tyranny, freedom and prosperity for all shining across the land. But really the Revolution was just another part of the gradual development of ideas and movements that eroded tyranny over the course of centuries. The people in some eras surged forward and claimed more of their natural rights, in other eras they rested on their laurels or even lost ground. Then a new generation surged forward again. The Revolution was simply the point where the waves running against the cliff of tyranny finally cracked it and broke into the open sea.

People now living under dictators or oligarchs have to go through the process as well. They may not make it to democracy in this generation, but the more of a voice the people have, the closer they get to breaking the chains. What is more, once they break the chains, their first shot at democracy will probably produce flawed systems unduly influenced by power groups outside the government, and by corruption. I look at the process of democratization, including what we are seeing in Ukraine, Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, as a multi-generational one.

The United States came to democracy with slavery intact and women not allowed to vote for more than a century. I think the Ukrainians, when they make it, will have a better start than that.


(Mug tip to Alisa in the comments to this post at Silent Running.)

Sunday, November 28, 2004


(Image by Amelia Hunt.)

The Revolution Will Be Carried On the Backs of Babushki

Via Tulip Girl, here's part of a story the Ukrainian-based blog Foreign Notes has up about a revolutionary granny:
While riding up, there were some men riding down chanting “YU-SCHEN-KO! YU-SCHEN-KO!” So my mother-in-law joined in in her higher pitched voice, “YU-SCHEN-KO! YU-SCHEN-KO!” From that she went to “Nas bahatu; ta nas ne peremozhesh” rhythmically. It means “We are many; you can’t defeat us!” I am not sure where that came from. I don’t think anyone was chanting it when we rode up but others knew it and started in too. “Nas bahatu; ta nas ne peremozhesh!” (Maybe it’s in the genes?) When we got to the top, there we people in small groups talking to each other and not chanting. My mother-in-law thought this was not right so she walked over to them and started them up, “Nas bahatu; ta nas ne peremozhesh!,” chopping her hand in rhythm.

We walked out onto the square. Actually, we squeezed our way out onto the square from the subway exit. This put us right in front of the stage. She seemed to be in her element then and was getting an idea what was going on at last. I was there for a few minutes but then left to go see what was happening in other areas of the square and to see the tent city they had set up further down the block. When I left her, she was grinning ear to ear.

Yesterday, we got word that she had been with the protestors at the Presidential Administration Building. They were there again as part of the numbers of people who are making their presence felt around government buildings in the downtown area. We were told that she went up to the guards in front of the entrance, guards in full riot gear, masks and shield, in ranks twenty deep. She went up to one and said, “I am a babushka [translated roughly as “grandmother” but used for every older woman grandmother age] from the village. I came here to find out how you are. Are you fine? Are you hungry? Maybe your parents are somewhere worrying about you?

It's a tremendous story from the heart of the movement for democracy.

I wish I could do something to help them. Instead, watching from afar as the Ukrainians stand up for the nation they want, the Poles supporting them, hearing the incredible stories of courage from Afghanistan and Iraq, witnessing democracy outflank the world in a month that has changed so much, I feel they are helping the US, and me personally. I know none of these nations are standing up for the US, and none of them know me from Adam. Even so, my life has been greatly enriched by witnessing it.

As an American, I am incredibly thankful for the Afghans who have taken up the torch of liberty, to the Iraqis who are fighting and dying for liberty, to the Ukrainians who are standing up now for liberty.

They are changing the world in big ways.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

If Your Mother Says She Loves You,
Check It Out

Fox News tells us:
Veteran newsman Dan Rather announced Tuesday that he would step down as anchor of "CBS Evening News" in March, the 24th anniversary of his taking over the job from Walter Cronkite.

The move comes just months after Rather, 73, was taken to task for going to air with a controversial "60 Minutes II" story that questioned President Bush's service in the National Guard, a piece that turned out to be based on allegedly forged documents.

Since Memogate was the last absurd straw for me, soon after which I joined the pajamahadeen, this is an interesting moment. For some quoted in the article, Rather did nothing wrong, and indeed had no control over Memogate. He was a great journalist. For others it was good riddance.

Regardless of whether Rather had any control over it, the real question for me is not whether there was an attempt to influence the presidential election with blatant lies, but rather how long have they been getting away with it? A decade? Two? Three? How much of what I think and believe about the world has come from fake documents, from reporters, editors or sources "shaping" news - leaving this out, adding that in, twisting it up a bit... How much of what I "know" about the world has been spin, or error?

Yes, honest mistakes are made. And the blame for spin and error doesn't necessarily fall mainly on reporters and editors - news sources such as experts, think tanks, politicians, businesses, diplomats, etc., are well aware of the influence they can have in a story and how to use it. We also know that breaking news sells, and the consumer is willing to forgive a few mistakes for getting the juicy story first. In short, everyone is working the system one way or another, including the consumer.

In my judgment, right now, the "liberal" media is most likely to produce biased stories. But all stripes, conservatives, anarchists, socialists, libertarians, capitalists, all of them have agendas. So where has your media, the media you trust, had its agenda in the last few years and decades? Has it been gun control, international relations, liberals, homosexuality, religion, abortion, health care, race, economics, gender, taxes, business, war, Bush, what? And where will it be tomorrow? Whatever your beliefs are about these topics, have you questioned your sources enough?

Dan Rather used to be a widely respected journalist.

Who will we say that about tomorrow? What will he or she have written that we believe today?

I still remember the words of the professor in my first news reporting class, way back when. She would be lecturing about how a particular mistake was made in a story, her eyes would narrow, her voice become conspiratorial, and she'd repeat our class mantra:

If your mother says she loves you, check it out.


For more on this:

Jeff Jarvis at Buzz Machine consistently has some of the best media commentary I've found. Here's Jarvis on:
The death of anchors = the end of one-way news (and what to do about it)
How to explode TV news in four easy steps

Three other voices:


The Ukraine

I was going to write a post about the Ukraine, but why?

UPDATE: For some great photos of what's going on, check out Neeka's Backlog.

Mug tip to The Periscope. He also has a good roundup of links to news, Websites, and some blogs posting about events in the Ukraine.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Bah-HUMBUG! (Or, Pajama Guy Gets Cranky)

Ya know, I'm normally Mr. Christmas, the veritable reincarnation of Jolly Saint Nick with extra jolly and super saintliness. But this whole year has just been [deleted deleted BAM deleted WHAMMO (duck) deleted WHOMP (face scrunching) DELETED!! (limp limp limp) deleted BAM].

(Except for Coalition troops kicking ass and building nations, Bush winning the election, and my mom visiting Japan last spring, of course.)

I do believe you have to wait until after Thanksgiving to be a total scrooge. People that don't wait are just naturally mean and use the holidays as an excuse. Don't let them get away with that.

Oh, and I should warn you that the site linked below is a bit on the profane side. Don't say I didn't warn you, 'cause I remember things like that. Especially you, RWB. You too, Tony. Hey, Santa only checks his list twice ...

Anyway, bah-humbug, season's greetings, and don't step in the reindeer patties on the way out.


Thursday, November 25, 2004

Pop Quiz

Hidden Clause Would Force Lawmakers to Read Legislation
by Scott Ott

(2004-11-24) -- A secret provision in the proposed 3,600-page omnibus spending bill for 2005 would require members of Congress to actually read the text of legislation before voting.

Buried on page 1,776 of the bill, the hidden clause sparked outrage from both sides of the aisle after it was discovered by an employee of the Congressional printing service.

Don't just read Ott's story, read the story behind it. What the heck was Istook thinking? And more importantly, what else is in that bill?

Today's Season Word: 柿 (kaki)


The bright pinkish-orange fruit of the Japanese persimmon (Diospyros kaki), also now called kaki in English, is highly prized world-wide for its tangy pulp ... Waiting for persimmons to ripen is a classic test of patience in Japan.

From Haiku World by William J. Higginson

I've never heard kaki used in the US, as Higgonson claims, but then, I've been out of the US for a few years now.

In autumn, right about now, people pick kaki before they can fall and hang them up to ripen. The birds may get a few, but the remaining fruit are quite tasty.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Warning: Autorantic Virtual Moonbat Ahead

Here's my conversation with the Autorantic Virtual Moonbat:

Me: You're kinda cute, for a robot.

AVM: Oh, am I!!? Actually, Fuhrer Bush only wants Prague for the OIL. Hmm! What about stem cell RESEARCH!!? What about public television for the 40,282 vision-impaired feminists who are bludgeoned in PALESTINE every day by our lying thief!!!!?

Me: Prague? For the oil!?

AVM: Interesting that you should mention "Prague"!? What next!!? Will the dittoheads come to explode me for being an owl!!!! The Repopelickins stole the election by DISAPPEARING the voters in Iraq, like William F. Buckley helped our president to steal education. Oh!!!

Me: Buckley? Um, how about a latte?

AVM: Speaking of Buckley! By the way, Bu$$$h can talk about "holy MATRIMONY" all he wants, all the while drugging wetlands, so his entourage of altar boys can debase homosexual bilingual senior citizens in Portugal!!? Can you believe it! What next!!!!? I am sorry for you!!

Me: Well, it's been nice talking to you. I have to go, um, wash my hair, now. Bye!

AVM: Why do you say "talking"!!!!? It's like 1974 all over again!!!!? I reject destruction and imperialism!

Me:[walking away]

AVM: Speaking of walking!! We demand the U.S. get out of Ramallah!!! As all the evidence shows, when the Israelis say "patriotism," they really mean "murder"!! Like I've said a million times before, George W. Bush can talk about "ACCOUNTABILITY", while disappearing Canadian African-American Palestinians in Montreal, so his hierarchy of antichoice lickspittles can deny nontraditional lesbians! If you aren't crestfallen about this Murderer-in-CHIEF, then you are a Replicant bagman of Rush LIMBAUGH!!!!

Bring a latte and have a chat.

UPDATE: Upon further reflection and experimentation with the Autorantic Virtual Moonbat, it occurs to me that Sean Gleeson, its creator, is a genius.

Clearly, judging by the great increase in the supply of moonbats in the last year, there must be a great demand for them. There are, as I'm sure you know, several drawbacks to live human moonbats. First and foremost, there is the chance that PETA may attack you if you use live moonbats. Also, live moonbats are often slow, taking hours or a day to reply. Live moonbats cannot be counted on; just when you really need to be ranted at by one, he goes on vacation.

Gleeson's creation solves all of these problems. It is there on his site 24/7, ready to rant at any moment. (You can even put it on your site if you want.) It's a robot, so PETA is unconcerned about abuse. The rants are nearly immediate with a wait of only a second or two. You don't have to feed it, water it, or even feel guilty if you are a little less than civil with it.

One reviewer claims it passes the Turing test, but I think that's ridiculous. As most live moonbats can't pass the Turing test, it would be a design flaw if the AVM could.

I'm telling you, Gleeson aims to put Kos, Atrios, and all the other moonbat-belfries out of business. Invest now!

The Source of Sovereignty

I dropped by Promethean Antagonist last night, and he has a rather long post up titled Real Revolutions And Cheap Imitations. The whole thing is good, but I was especially struck by the following:

When I briefly taught high school social studies, I was amazed (disgusted) that so many school texts and so many teachers preached the idea that the government has “given us rights,” or “allowed us to have rights." The founders would have cringed to hear such nonsense. Their assumption was that humans are literally born with natural rights and that government's prime purpose is to maintain the security of those rights. The citizen allows the state to exist – we give it the right to exist -- not the other way around!

Indeed, the Declaration of Independence states:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. -- That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed ...

I need to be reminded of this from time to time.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Star Wars Trivia / Language Studies

In Dutch, vader means father.

I've thought about taking up Dutch for a number of reasons, though it will have to wait for my Japanese to get up to where I want it. I have to say, though, it would be strange asking about someone's "vader." I don't think I would ever shake the Star Wars imprint on that word.

On the other hand, the Dutch had a big clue as to the identity of Luke's father. Imagine the chuckles that brought when it was revealed, all the Dutch saying "Silly Americans, we could have told you ..."

Monday, November 22, 2004

Pajama Guy's International Roundup: Nov. 23 Edition

Chrenkoff's Good News From Iraq Part 15 is up.

The Diplomad discusses a Canadian threat to indict Bush.

David's Medienkritik provides translations of German dissent after the brutal murder of Theo Van Gogh in Holland.

And back in the US, IMAO has a terrible story of police brutality.

Blogger Trips and Falls
[Cue Card: Laughter]

Well, late last night I thought I'd be friendly and put my email up on my blog. I messed it up. Then someone in comments tells me my email isn't working. I look at my email in the comments box. It's wrong, too, in a completely different way.


It's all fixed now, and I apologize for any poor lost email bouncing around the sphere looking for a non-existant address.

No more late night template changes for me (I say at nearly 1 a.m.). And the comments box? Beats me, but I'll blame it on late night commenting. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Friends of Iraq Blogger Challenge

Spirit of America is holding the "Friends of Iraq Blogger Challenge" to raise money for humanitarian projects in Iraq. Instead of opening up my own front in the challenge, I recommend anyone who is up for it run over to Chrenkoff's and join his team. It is a very worthy cause.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Calling Dr. Demarche!

The blogosphere's intellectual health continues to improve with the addition of The Daily Demarche:

Proud to be counted among the members of the State Department Republican Underground, we are Foreign Service Officers and Specialists (and a few expats) who tend to be conservative. We believe that America is being misrepresented abroad by our mass media, and that the same mass media is in turn failing to report what the world thinks about us, and why. This site is dedicated to combing the news around the world, providing the stories and giving a local “American on the scene” interpretation.

Looks like it will be an interesting and useful read.

(Mug tip to the ever-helpful Diplomad.)

Rebel Rule In Fallujah Brutal

According to a London Times report:

Mutilated bodies dumped on Fallujah's bombed out streets today painted a harrowing picture of eight months of rebel rule.

As US and Iraqi troops mopped up the last vestiges of resistance in the city after a week of bombardment and fighting, residents who stayed on through last week's offensive were emerging and telling harrowing tales of the brutality they endured.


Another poster in the ruins of the souk bears testament to the strict brand of Sunni Islam imposed by the council, fronted by hardline cleric Abdullah Junabi. The decree warns all women that they must cover up from head to toe outdoors, or face execution by the armed militants who controlled the streets.

Two female bodies found yesterday suggest such threats were far from idle. An Arab woman, in a violet nightdress, lay in a post-mortem embrace with a male corpse in the middle of the street. Both bodies had died from bullets to the head.

Just six metres away on the same street lay the decomposing corpse of a blonde-haired white woman, too disfigured for swift identification but presumed to be the body of one of the many foreign hostages kidnapped by the rebels.


Such is the fear that the heavily armed militants held over Fallujah that many of the residents who emerged from the ruins welcomed the US marines, despite the massive destruction their firepower had inflicted on their city.

A man in his sixties, half-naked and his underwear stained with blood from shrapnel wounds from a US munition, cursed the insurgents as he greeted the advancing marines on Saturday night.

"I wish the Americans had come here the very first day and not waited eight months," he said, trembling. Nearby, a mosque courtyard had been used as a weapons store by the militants.

(Mug tip to Iraqpundit, via Instapundit.)

Oh, Fer Cryin' Out Loud

I'm off the 'net for one day, France is bought out, and the Iranians are begging for sanctions.

Next they'll be telling me Jesus has come back.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Imagine (A bit of a remix . . .)

Imagine there's no network
It's easy if you try
No ISP to serve us
You could get out and see the sky
Imagine all the people
Talking face to face

You-oo-oooo, you may say I'm a blogger
But (thank goodness!) I'm not the only one
I hope some day for a girlfriend
And once again to see the sun


All tongue-in-cheek, of course. (Well, except the girlfriend part...)

Anyway, I have some personal pajama-matters to attend to, so I may be out of range for a day or two.

Have a good one!

PS If by some chance you can't make it without your daily hit of a guy in pajamas, may I recommend my pirate post?

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

"How Enlightenment Dies"

Andrew Stuttaford, in NRO, writes:

On November 2, the very day of the election that was to so sadden Garry Wills, an assassin in Amsterdam murdered the filmmaker Theo Van Gogh — shot him, stabbed him, and then butchered him like a sacrificial sheep. Van Gogh, you see, had transgressed the code of the fanaticism that has now made its home in Holland. And for that he had to die.


A few days ago, a local artist reacted to the news of Van Gogh's killing by painting a mural that included the words "Gij zult niet doden" ("Thou Shalt Not Kill"). Fair comment, you might think. Apparently not. The head of a nearby mosque complained. The police showed up and city workers sandblasted the inconvenient text into oblivion...

I have only tried to give you a small taste of this excellent article here. If this sort of thing interests you, I highly recommend reading the whole thing.

Mug tip to Zacht Ei, a Dutch blog that is doing a great job covering the events surrounding this in Holland. (But which doesn't seem to have permalinks, so I can't link to the specific post that referred me to this article.)

Like Short-Shorts?

Then visit this NHK page, where you'll find the winners of this year's "MiniMini" awards for best short movies. They are all downloadable and run less than five minutes each.

Click on the gold, round button below the bottom right corner of each mini TV screen to view / download them. (The characters on the buttons are 動画 .)

If you're up for it, there's a second contest. You can read about it at this page (sorry, Japanese only). The entry deadline is January 20, so if you're going to enter, you'd better get started.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

We're From the UN. We're Here To Help.

From Reuters via Yahoo:

Saddam Hussein's regime reaped over $21 billion from kickbacks and smuggling before and during the now-defunct U.N. oil-for-food program, twice as much as previous estimates, according to a U.S. Senate probe on Monday.


Oil smuggling alone netted Saddam's regime about $9.7 billion, with other funds flowing from switching substandard goods with top-grade ones, as well as exploiting food and medicine shipments to the Kurds in Iraq's north.

Panel investigators also echoed the findings by Duelfer, head of the CIA-led Iraq Survey Group, that Saddam's regime gave lucrative contracts to buy Iraqi oil to high-ranking officials in Russia, France and other nations.

On the list of 270 individuals, businesses and political parties was the head of the U.N. oil-for-food program, Benon Sevan, who has vigorously denied the charges.

I've always said, "NO BLOOD FOR OIL" should've been a pro-war slogan.

(Mug tip to Instapundit.)

Flaming Liberal

From the Lexington Herald-Leader:

A man set himself on fire Monday afternoon in front of the White House after a failed attempt to deliver a letter to President Bush.

The 52-year-old man, whom law enforcement officials described as being of Middle Eastern descent, was hospitalized with second- and third-degree burns over 30 percent of his body. Law enforcement officials didn't immediately release his name.

His jacket had apparently been doused with a flammable substance.

I wonder what he would have done if he'd been allowed to deliver the letter. Would this have been an attempt on Bush's life?

This whole poor-loser attitude is ridiculous. Some Americans seem to be serious about moving to other countries because they lost an election, one has killed himself, one set himself on fire ... This is from the party of tolerance and diversity? This is the gang that calls the red-staters bigots and fanatics?

Get a grip, people. There's another election coming. You can make it four more years with President Bush, no matter how much you hate him. Really.

UPDATE: Reader Right Wing Bandito tells us the man was an unhappy FBI informant, not an unhappy liberal. My message for the losing side of the Nov. 2 elections is still the same, however.

Chrenkoff Roundup

Chrenkoff has too much good stuff up right now to point to one thing. Start with Iraq the Model turning one (Happy Birthday, Guys!) and scroll down to the Good News From Afghanistan Part 6, then keep going.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Clinton Election Results Retracted

Breaking news from hard-hitting reporter / commentator Thomas Galvin:

The Galvin Opinion uncovers wide-spread voter fraud: Dole really won!


Here are the states in "Jesusland" that Clinton supposedly won:
West Virginia, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Louisiana, Arkansas (stole the governorships too), Missouri, Iowa, Arizona and Nevada.

That is a whopping 11 Red States! There is no way Clinton won those states! Fraud! Cheat! Man, if we knew this back in 1996 we would have moved to France.

No doubt the Clinton administration will be conceding any moment now. Stay tuned!

Japanese Self-Defense Forces Update

Ground SDF Replacement Units Ship Out*

200 members of the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Forces 6th Division, based in Yamagata Prefecture, departed for Iraq yesterday. They will be followed by several hundred more over the next few weeks. The members of the 6th Division will replace members of the 9th Division, based in Aomori Prefecture, currently on the ground in Samawah.

As usual, the news stations here interviewed some of the soldiers and their family members. The troops this time seemed much more relaxed than the members of the first deployment last December. One man from Hokkaido (Japan's Alaska) joked that deploying to Iraq was probably about as dangerous as visiting some parts of Tokyo. The family members waving goodbye also seemed much more relaxed. There were a lot more smiles all around.

The Japanese troops are primarily engaged in rebuilding and assisting in Iraqi hospitals. As such, they are unlikely to face combat. There have been rockets launched at their camp in Samawah, but that has been about the extent of violence they've faced, as far as I know.

This is the fourth SDF deployment to Iraq, with each deployment lasting about three months. The members of the 6th Division are scheduled to stay until February.

No Japanese troops have been killed in Iraq, although two diplomats were killed in an ambush before the SDF deployed.


Japanese Opposition Parties Strike

Apparently, one or more opposition parties have introduced a bill to bring the troops home at the end of their current deployment schedule in December. Prime Minister Koizumi's government had already promised to extend their stay by another year. The ruling LDP coalition will probably squelch this, but we'll see.


Happy 50th, SDF!

This year the SDF is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Here are some links to SDF photos.
(Click on the thumbnails for enlarged photos.)


The following links show SDF equipment used over the last 50 years.


Congratulations to the Japanese Self-Defense Forces on their 50th, and thank you!


(*This update was compiled from both English and Japanese language media. Before you believe everything I write from my wanderings through the Japanese media, it's best to read my language disclaimer. I do my best, but my Japanese is far from perfect . . . If you find an error, please let me know. Thanks!)

Sunday, November 14, 2004

New York's Bush State of Mind

Thomas Galvin, on his blog The Galvin Opinion, writes about something very suspicious:

...New York City possesses a sinister, deep and dark secret. There is something else lurking in shadows scattered throughout the 5 boroughs. If you listen closely, you can hear the whispers and sometimes it even sounds like restrained glee...

(Mug tip to Instapundit.)

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Do You Question Authority?

As I identified myself earlier, I am a member of the Japanese-speaking, tea-ceremony-doing, haiku-writing, Democrat, ex-pat, redneck demographic.

Consequently, I am probably not terribly typical for a Bush voter. I would guess I am much more of the demographic both sides needed to add to their base in order to win.

In the Washington Post, E. J. Dionne, Jr., writes about my demographic:

John Kerry was not defeated by the religious right. He was beaten by moderates who went -- reluctantly in many cases -- for President Bush. This will be hard for many Democrats to take. It's easier to salve those wounds by demonizing religious conservatives. But in the 2004 election, Democrats left votes on the table that could have created a Kerry majority.

Consider these findings from the network exit polls: About 38 percent of those who thought abortion should be legal in most cases went to Bush. Bush got 22 percent from voters who favored gay marriage and 52 percent among those who favor civil unions. Bush even managed 16 percent among voters who thought the president paid more attention to the interests of large corporations than to those of "ordinary Americans." A third of the voters who favored a government more active in solving problems went to Bush.

True, 22 percent of the voters said that "moral values" were decisive in their choices. But 71 percent picked some other issue. All this means that Bush won not because there is a right-wing majority in the United States but because the president persuaded just enough of the nonconservative majority to go his way. Even with their increased numbers, conservatives still constitute only 34 percent of the electorate. The largest share of the American electorate (45 percent) calls itself moderate. The moderates went 54 to 45 percent for Kerry, good but not enough. And 21 percent of this year's voters -- bless them -- called themselves liberal.

The single biggest issue for me, of course, was the war on terror. If Lieberman had won the Democrat nomination, I may very well have voted Dem this year. But the majority of my fellow Democrats were still crying over an invasion without the explicit blessing of the UN, never mind that Clinton did the same in the Balkans, or that the UN Security Council vote had been bought and paid for by Saddam.

In fact, the last three years have shown me how amoral the UN is. A UN Security Council permanent member can vote, or use their veto, for any reason or no reason. When that "any reason" becomes millions of dollars of bribes to government officials from a brutal dictator, money that could have saved the lives of hundreds or thousands of Iraqi children, it becomes clear that the UN embodies no moral values whatsoever. This is reinforced by UN inaction in Sudan, which has essentially sanctioned genocide. The fact that Sudan was elected a member of the Human Rights Commission while carrying out this genocide is emblematic of what the UN has come to mean. In every way, the US government is more open to media and citizen observation and pressure than the UN, which makes it far more trustworthy.

One question I have for my fellow Democrats: If we are supposed to question authority (and I believe we are), why do most who instinctively believe the worst about their own government utterly blindly believe only good about the biggest authority on the planet?

Michael Moore Is At It Again!

Check out this new ad, courtesy of Frank J., featuring the big man himself.


Friday, November 12, 2004

"Bush Applauds Arafat's 'New Attitude'"

by Scott Ott

(2004-11-12) -- U.S. President George Bush today praised Palestinian leader Yassir Arafat for "assuming a new attitude," according to a White House spokesman.

"The president believes that Chairman Arafat's new attitude is one that bodes well for peace in the Middle East," said spokesman Scott McClellan. "Arafat's rhetoric has cooled in recent days."

Go chuckle over the rest, as they say.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Why They Hate Us: The Short Answer

I posted a rather long-winded opinion on this some time back, about socialists. I thought I'd do the same thing for citizens of Arab nations, only shorter. Here goes:

They're told to.

Yep, that's it.

Oh, and anyone who dissents gets his head sawed off.

You'd think people who treasure their right to disagree as much as Americans do would understand this. But in case not, let me spell it out. In the vast majority of Arab societies, you get the government's line. Your parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc., repeat the line, or get disappeared. It's on TV, the radio, movie screens. It's in the textbooks you read from kindergarten to university graduation. It pours from the mouth of every teacher, every preacher, every friend.

It's truth, because you want to survive. It HAS to be truth, because you never hear anything else, except from traitors, and then only briefly.


I'd just like to welcome everyone visiting from After Grog Blog, where it seems I have recently been blogrolled.

I'll check to see if I still have my wallet.

Today's Season Word: 霧 (Kiri)

Autumn Mist

Fogs and mists become especially prominent as autumn nights cool the moist atmosphere of heavily vegetated areas. While fogs are most common in many areas through the winter, in those same areas they first become prominent in autumn ...

From Haiku World, by William J. Higgenson.

This entry shows an interesting facet of Japanese season words. Kiri literally means fog or mist. But in haiku it became traditional to associate it with autumn, so in English translation the word autumn is usually added. Particular words are usually placed in a season by when they first occur, or by when they are most noticeable. So "long day" is a spring season word because, although the days are longest in summer, you first notice the day lengthening in spring.

This kind of shorthand fills the world of the haikuist, and is part of the reason so much can be fit into so few words. Many, many words have meanings in haiku that are fully understood only to someone familiar with this shorthand.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Theo Van Gogh Died For This Film

The star, Dutch member of parliament Ayaan Hirsi Ali, is in hiding.

Here is Zacht Ei, a Dutch blog in English that covers the current events there (as well as pharmacology). Here are his posts about Theo Van Gogh, the Dutch director who was butchered for making the film Submission. You can download the film (or part of it, anyway) from this site.

I just watched it. I very highly recommend it to any adult, but especially women.

(Mug tip to The Tanuki Ramble.)

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

That's It, I'm Going Back to My Bedroom

I came out in the yard and shouted and screamed for the election. I enjoyed doing so, but too much of that and you begin to look like these guys. That's just not my kind of thing.

Harry Hutton is a brilliant man who has escaped to Columbia (although being brilliant and escaping to Columbia may be an oxymoron). Over on his blog, he had the unfortunate idea to post a map of pre-Civil War slave and free states / territories that shows the old slave states and territories are pretty much today's red states, while the old free states are pretty much today's blue states, and then post this quote below it:

"It is time to return to the values that made America great. I am talking, of course, about slavery..." -Vice President Cheney, in a speech yesterday (via Daily Kos.)

He got a thorough drubbing from several readers for it and moved the quote into the comments, so it's off the front page. Although I half-suspect he is pulling our collective leg, he later posts:

Still unable to believe the reaction to that map.

Hmmm. Was Hutton making a vicious, underhanded political comment, or did he really think it was simply interesting in an academic sort of way? Hutton's a smart man, as I said, and I got a bit peeved and thought I'd share my peevement with him.

But then he begins his jihad:

I didn’t mean to annoy anyone, but it occurs to me that, since I don’t have advertising on this site, it doesn’t really matter how many hypersensitive Americans I offend. So from today I am going on an all-out Alienate The Readership Drive. Over the next few months this site will have something to offend everybody. I'm going to try to abuse every single nation, religion and ethnic group- that's really something to shoot for, isn't it? Even groups that are easy-going and relatively difficult to wind up, such as Canadians, will be singled out and insulted.

Suddenly, like being hit in the face with a pie, I decided I just didn't care. Hutton runs an intelligent, fun blog, and his commenters, most of whom I would probably disagree with on political issues, are smart and funny as heck. "Chase Me Ladies, I'm In The Cavalry" is one of the few blogs I go to just to see what erudite silliness is up, what new killer fact Hutton's posted, and whether he has yet to get his 300 kilos of white mice (sorry, no time to explain).

Why would I want to muck that up with some peevey comment? It's time to take a few deep breaths and get back into a normal groove.

Life is, after all, fairly silly. Enjoy!

PS If you are Harry or any of his commenters over here sniffing around, looking for doughnuts, I want you to know I'm lying about all that brilliant, smart, and funny nonsense. Poetic license, doncha know. Go on. I don't even have any doughnuts, for Pete's sake.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Chrenkoff's Good News From Iraq, Part 14

After you've read all the bad news (and there's plenty of that out there), head over to Chrenkoff's and read some of the good.

Yeah, I'm a Japanese-Speakin', Tea-Ceremony-Doin', Haiku-Writin' Ex-Pat Redneck. You Got A Problem With That?

Mark Stein comments on Redneck America:

The great European thinkers have decided that instead of doing another four years of lame Bush-is-a-moron cracks they're going to do four years of lame Americans-are-morons cracks. Inaugurating the new second-term outreach was Brian Reade in the Daily Mirror, who attributed the President's victory to: "The self-righteous, gun-totin', military-lovin', sister-marryin', abortion-hatin', gay-loathin', foreigner-despisin', non-passport-ownin' rednecks, who believe God gave America the biggest dick in the world so it could urinate on the rest of us and make their land 'free and strong'."

Well, that's certainly why I supported Bush, but I'm not sure it entirely accounts for the other 59,459,765. Forty five per cent of Hispanics voted for the President, as did 25 per cent of Jews, and 23 per cent of gays. And this coalition of common-or-garden rednecks, Hispanic rednecks, sinister Zionist rednecks, and lesbian rednecks who enjoy hitting on their gay-loathin' sisters expanded its share of the vote across the entire country - not just in the Bush states but in the Kerry states, too.

I have nothing but respect and gratitude for the Europeans who have stood by the US through heaven and hell, and for those who stand by us today.

On the other hand, the Euro-l33ts, like vicious classroom bullies, have mercilessly bullied and condescended to the US since it was a little red-headed step-kid back a couple of centuries ago. Well, if you're a bully, when that little kid grows up to be the biggest, toughest man on the block, you'll be lucky if he's as gracious as the US has been. If Bush were Hitler, Chirac and his entire government, plus family and friends, would be buried in a hastily-dug mass grave somewhere outside of Paris, and the Louvre would be re-opening in DC.

But instead of recognizing that graciousness, the Euro-l33ts have simply turned up the insults, betrayals and degredations. Half of America has decided graciousness isn't getting us anywhere; it's time to sneer back, and shove when push comes to it. After more than two centuries of this crap, it's about time.

First thing that's made me want to move back to America in years.

(Mug tip to Instapundit.)

UPDATE, Nov. 10: Sorry, Eur-l33t is way too obscure. "l33t" = "leet" = kiddy hacker for "elite." Indirectly comparing the Euro-elites to teenagers who think defacing Websites and speaking in code-words makes them smarter than everyone else seemed appropriate at the time. I put an 'o' in (Euro-l33t) to make it a bit more clear.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Denial, It Ain't a River in Egypt . . .


After the effigy was burnt to a crisp, the evening came to a shattering conclusion as the protesters ignited an upside-down American flag and cheered in ecstasy while the flames leaped into the night sky.

This wasn't in the Middle East, either.

Remember my post on anti-Americanism as you go through the photos.

(Mug tip to Iowahawk.)

Let the Healing Begin, Eh?

From Iowahawk comes words of healing and compassion for our defeated Democrat brethren:

Next, you've got to stop all this crazy talk about "suicide" and "that's it, I'm moving to Canada." C'mon people, just stop it!. Why? Because you are Americans too, and Americans are known for action, that's why! If you ever expect other Americans to treat you as a serious political force, you've got to get up off your duff, can all that jibber-jabber, and get cracking on the U-Hauls and tragic carbon-monoxide incidents, Mister Big Talk.

Be sure to read the follow up, too.

Um, yes, I'm a Democrat. But I voted for Bush, so I am a victorious Democrat, or at least, a Democrat who happened to be victorious. Anyway, just go read the post already!

(Mug tip to reader Right Wing Bandito.)

Saturday, November 06, 2004

An Ally: Japan

While I am always grateful for the tremendous, steadfast friendship of the UK and Australia, two nations Americans automatically think of when you say "allies," I would like to highlight another US ally that is often overlooked.

From the Japanese Self-Defense Force's English site:

 Rising from the ashes of World War II with the support and cooperation of many countries in the world, Japan has built today’s peace and prosperity as a technology country represented by its cars, information products and electronic consumer goods.
 On the basis of our experience, we believe that reconstruction of a peaceful Iraq is necessary not only for the peace and stability of the entire Middle East region and the international community but also for the peace and prosperity of Japan itself. In cooperation with other countries, therefore, we plan to provide active assistance to Iraq with Japan Self-Defense Forces troops and civilians as well as with financial aid so Iraq can rebuild itself as soon as possible and its people can live in a free and prosperous society without concerns about their present or their future.

Hidden in this statement are two important points. One, Japan has accepted the Coalition view that the invasion and rebuilding of Iraq are carrying out UN resolutions on Iraq, not in violation of the UN charter. Two, only in a free and democratic Middle East will the region find peace and prosperity, which is the cornerstone of Coalition policy there. A big part of this attitude is Japan's alliance to and friendship with the United States along with its own experience in liberal democracy and capitalism, which has led it to be more powerful and prosperous in many ways than it was as a militant imperialist power during WWII.

Japan supported the invasion of Iraq in 2003, and currently has about 500 support troops on the ground in the Governate of Al Muthanna, with hundreds more in Kuwait and on ships in the gulf assisting Coalition operations in Iraq. In September, Japan agreed to extend their stay by another year. They have also promised 5 billion dollars in re-construction money for Iraq.

500 men on the ground does not sound like very many, but this is Japan's first deployment to a combat zone since WWII and it constitutes a big step, and a big risk, for the Japanese government. Japan's constitution forbids it from having offensive military capabilities or using its armed forces in combat except in defense of the Japanese homeland. When the Japanese government made the decision to send troops to Iraq, there was actually a debate over whether or not they should be armed, even with rifles. Prime Minister Koizumi and his Liberal Democratic Party have gone out on a constitutional limb and incurred a lot of criticism at home for deploying troops to an area still considered a combat zone. The LDP's support for Coalition actions in Iraq was one of the main points opposition parties hammered the LDP on during last summer's elections.

Japan also supported the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, providing naval support to US ships engaged in combat operations and 500 million dollars in aid to rebuild Afghanistan. Japan supported the liberation of Kuwait in 1991 as well, giving 13 billion dollars for that effort.

The Japanese were good friends and solid allies of the US throughout the Cold War, when US bases on Japanese soil gave the US a strategic advantage, but also made Japan a sure target if a hot war with the USSR broke out. Their government's support has been steadfast and strong, although often unnoticed by Americans.

As the world's third largest economy, Japan is America's most powerful ally, as loyal in the last 59 years as any, and more loyal than some.


Some statistics:

Japan127 million$3.582 trillion
Britain60 million$1.666 trillion
Australia20 million$571.4 billion
Russia144 million$1.282 trillion
Germany82 million$2.271 trillion
France60 million$1.661 trillion

These stats are from the CIA World Factbook:
Japan Britain Australia Russia Germany France

Say Hello to the Republic of Macedonia!

The Turkish online daily Zaman brings us the news that the US recognized Macedonia under it's preferred name:

The Bush government's first big foreign policy decision of its second term recognized the constitutional name of the "Republic of Macedonia". Despite the objections of Greece, the name was recognized in a list of those helping in the war in Iraq.

Learning of the decision, as he was about to leave for Brussels for a European Union (EU) Council meeting, Greek Foreign Minister Petros Molivyatis canceled his trip and called the US Ambassador to Athens, Thomas Miller, to his office. ...

Meanwhile there was a jubilant atmosphere in Macedonia upon this development, President Branko Cırvenkovski said, "Today is a big day for Macedonia." ... Greek officials note that they will take their objections over the decision as far as the United Nations (UN). Athens objects to the move as "it shows its territorial aims in the region by carrying the same name as a region of Greece." Its neighbor announced its independence after Yugoslavia fell apart to become the "Republic of Macedonia".

Macedonia has 70 troops in the coalition in Afghanistan and 30 on the ground in Iraq.

For more on this, check out Nelson Ascher's excellent post at Europundits. I discovered Europundits today through Silent Running, and it is a great read!

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Canadian Army Fortifies Border ...

DATELINE: OTTOWA, November 3, 2004

Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin (pronounced Pawl Mar-teen) today ordered all 215 members of Canada's armed forces south to stem the tide of millions of disgruntled members of MoveOn, Democratic Underground, IndyMedia, and Daily Kos that have begin to surge towards the socialist haven to the north in search of asylum.

Best of luck to the Canadian army, eh?

UPDATE: Heh heh heh ...

Meanwhile, the embassies of Australia, New Zealand and Canada are reporting a surge in inquiries from Americans looking to move to their respective countries.

(Mug tip to Tim Blair.)

Bush, the Anti-Anti-Bush Candidate

I never quite thought of it this way, but Wretchard over at the Belmont Club makes a good point:

If Kerry was the anti-Bush, Bush was the anti-anti-Bush, the anti-antiWar candidate. The candidate of action as opposed to the candidate of self-recrimination.

Indeed, the peaceniks and blame-yourselfers left me no choice but to vote for Bush. I was not an anti-Kerry voter -- I voted for Bush. He is the best man for the job. But certainly, the "Bush = Hitler" crowd were people I wanted to be far, far away from, both physically and ideologically.

It is a long and eloquent post. Well worth the read, as usual.

Whew! I Was Worried . . .

From Scott Ott:

(2004-11-03) -- Former Vice President Al Gore today conceded the presidency to the winner of the popular vote, George W. Bush ...

Tighten Up

W Won!

Restores my faith in America!

But now, it really is time to tighten up those helmet straps. It is exactly when your enemy has broken that is your greatest military advantage. No time to jump up and down and whoop and holler. They'll get away, regroup, and you'll have to fight 'em again another day.

So tighten that strap, pick up your metaphorical weapon, and let's get to work.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Karzai Wins Presidency

According to CNN:

KABUL, Afghanistan -- Incumbent Hamid Karzai has been declared the winner of Afghanistan's first direct presidential election, the body organizing the vote has said.

Sultan Baheen, spokesman for the U.N.-Afghan Joint Electoral Management Body, said a panel examining allegations of election fraud had ruled that while there were irregularities, they did not materially affect the outcome of the October 9 poll, according to Reuters reports.

Karzai won 55.4 percent of the vote, obtaining the majority needed to avoid a run-off against his nearest rival, former education minister Yunus Qanooni.

The poll was the first to take place since the hardline Taliban regime was ousted in 2001 and was seen as a key step in the post-September 11 U.S. campaign to bring democracy to the region.


Temporary Votelock

Living in Japan, I'm up for most of the counting part of this thing. Luckily, today is Culture Day, a national holiday in Japan. Nice of them, eh?

At this point, it looks like Ohio might be close enough that provisional and absentee ballots could make a difference; Bush is ahead by about 135,000 votes, but Kerry claims there are 250,000 absentee and provisional ballots uncounted. I'm not sure how he knows that because even the Ohio election officials don't know how many there are ... Anyway, if Bush doesn't pull out enough to make the uncounted ballots irrelevant, we'll have 11 days to wait to find out who wins.

Here's CNN's results page.

No matter who wins the electoral college vote, Bush has won the popular vote. He currently has more than 3.5 million votes more than Kerry, and there aren't enough uncounted votes out there for Kerry to catch up. Of course, it's not about the popular vote, and if Kerry wins the electoral vote, I'll accept him as the legitimate president of the USA. However, if Kerry does win, I will enjoy torturing my anti-Bushite friends with that every chance I get.

However the presidential race comes out, the Republicans now have a decent majority in both the House (228-198-1 with 8 races still undecided) and Senate (53-44-1 with 2 undecided). Even if Bush loses, the Republicans will still retain a lot of power.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Gone Diplomad

The Diplomad always has great stuff, and I always want to put some good, short quote from them over here with a snappy "Read the whole thing!", but it's hard. Their stuff is really good and you just can't take a tidbit. But here is one good quote I could cut out:

Living and working far from our beloved Republic, perhaps we see the threat to America more vividly than many who live and work there. We live surrounded by people who wish us ill, who hate freedom, education, and the American creed of the Common Man; by people who see those as threats to their lives of privilege and exploitation. There are any number of elites around the world who actively want their countries and people to remain poor and stupid; they don't want American investment or trade; they don't want American education for the common folk; above all, they don't want American ideas of freedom and equality. To keep freedom at bay, they preach a crude nationalism of "victimhood" which once had a heavy almost exclusively Marxist cast to it, but now is infused with other bits and pieces of nonsense picked up from the Western leftist media and Hollywood: American investment is bad for the environment; American education threatens "traditional culture and values"; America wants to destroy Islam; the Americans can't even run an election in Florida; Americans have overreacted to 9/11, which was their fault anyhow, if it actually happened (a French-made DVD popular in Asia claims the 9/11 attack NEVER happened.)

I give up on trying to cherrypick the rest of their posts. Just go read them all.

"When You Win, Tighten Your Helmet Straps!"

「勝って兜の緒を締めよ」(katte kabuto no o wo shime yo)

- Old bushi saying

A reader, Right Wing Bandito, posted the following:

I'm honestly worried. The rest of the world should be, too. What's going to happen if a smallish war like Iraq beats the will of the US? How can Germany, Canada, Japan consider themselves safe when the enemies of a stable world realize that America has lost its courage? Our expensive bombers and large military become meaningless against a less advanced, but more determined China, Iran, N. Korea. Many of us have grown up in a peaceful, stable world. Tomorrow may be the first day of a new, darker future.

I felt that way too . . . Then I realized, half of America doesn't feel that way. They've been led into lies and deceit for 30+ years now. Even if Bush wins, they'll be a huge drag on our nation's potential, just as they have the last four years. Imagine where we'd be in Iraq if 90% of the American people stood behind Bush and worked to make it a success, if there was no division, just a solid will to win and make the world a better place.

It's time to get the truth out.

That's our job, we who believe in America as a truly great nation -- regardless of who is elected president, we must start getting the truth out. We must make our own media, we must get back into the academy, we must challenge socialism and show people it is a failed, has-been theory that destroys or impoverishes the individual and the culture.

If Bush wins, the only good reaction is to tighten our helmet straps, reload our arguments, beat off the counter-attack and push on for total victory over socialism in our own nation. If Kerry wins, that gives us four years as an ideological insurgency to plan, prepare, educate, challenge, retake lost ground. We get another chance with every election.

In the bushi's day, the loser didn't have to worry about helmet straps, or his head, anymore. For us, either way, our ideological war isn't over by a long shot. Better tighten those straps.

Monday, November 01, 2004

America, Lead the Way!

Good Morning, America!

Today is the day we pick which vision of America to pursue.

Do we begin the long, downhill road to the socialist scrapheap where we can console the world by joining the crowd? Or do we take another step on the high, lonely, hard road up to freedom?

Do we lead the way, or fall in line?

The motto of the US Army Infantry is "Follow Me!" It should be our national motto.

Just Vote! Er, No, I Mean, Just Vote For Kerry

Jessica Well posts an interesting set of photos and quotes. (click on over to see her post and the photos.) One photo is of Oprah Winfrey, with Cameron Diaz, Christina Aguilera, and Drew Barrymore. The other is of Afghan women standing in line to vote.

This Oprah photo is from her "Voting Party" where she and several other celebrities encouraged people to get out and vote. Bush and Kerry are never mentioned, so you might think it was a non-partisan effort to get people to just get out and vote. Indeed, in this 8-photo sequence, for the first three frames I had the feeling of "Right on!" They really are just encouraging people to get out and make difference.

Then Cameron has a moment:

Oprah: Cameron is having a moment. What is this about?

Cameron: Well, I'm so proud of my friend [Drew Barrymore]. She took a whole year out of her busy schedule. She's a producer, she's an actor…she did this to take the time to educate people about it. And then I started listening to people saying, 'Oh, I don't vote because it just doesn't affect me. And I just got overwhelmed, because I think this is the best country in the world. And it just scares me that we're just going to squander it all away. That we're going to lay down and let people take it away from us.

Oprah: I am very, very afraid.

Cameron: I'm really scared. I don't know if you guys know this about our country…but people—we're all alone right now. And, where we used to be the strongest in the world, we're alone. So, that's the beginning of something terrible, and so it's very important to go out there.

Oprah: I know. You're afraid of what's going to happen if people do not vote.

This is hilarious. "If people do not vote." Vote for Kerry, obviously. Poor Cameron -- I guess the non-partisan part was just too much. But don't worry, dear Cameron. We have plenty of friends. They just don't speak French or German.

Let's see what the rest of the series holds. Frame 5 switches to Christina Aguilera, no partisanship there. Frame 6 has P Diddy with his "Vote or Die!" motto and in 7 he says the "The revolution will be televised." Nothing blindingly partisan there, but then, I'm not really sure what he's saying, either.

Then Oprah closes out the series:

"If every woman with children voted, then candidates could no longer just pay lip service to the education of your children in this country," Oprah says. "If every woman who has a child really cares about the welfare of her children, the health care for her children, and the education of her children, which is freedom in my mind, then [things] would all change."

Yeah. Well, so much for non-partisanship, eh? It was a good effort, though.

Meanwhile, from Afghanistan:

... Zalmay Khalilzad, U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, said those women were warned that Taliban remnants would attack polling places during the Oct. 9 elections. So the women performed the ritual bathing and said the prayers of those facing death. Then, rising at 3 a.m., they trekked an hour to wait in line for the polls to open at 7 a.m. In the province of Kunar an explosion 100 meters from a long line of waiting voters did not cause anyone to leave the line.