Friday, October 25, 2002

Couple of notable passings today, of course: I first remember becoming aware of Richard Harris in 1965 when I saw Sam Peckinpah's "Major Dundee" (for the FIRST time of well over 100) at the State Theatre on Congress Ave. in Austin. I was 11 years old. He was the first actor I can remember thinking of as cool. I still think of him that way. I even like/liked 'MacArthur Park'.

Paul Wellstone, quite possibly the last of America's honest politicians, was killed in a plane crash with his wife, daughter and five others. He was a classy guy, a proud and passionate liberal, a man of courage and conviction. He will be missed, to put it mildly. Instead of linking to a news story or a tribute, I thought I would link to some of Wellstone's enemies, both to demonstrate who he was and who they are.

Freepers here andhere and here, and a moving, classy tribute from Peggy Noonan of all people. Freaks at Lucianne here. The little sucker inspired passion, didn't he? :)

Adios, guys.

** James Coburn, another cool guy also in "Major Dundee". I'm so old ...

Small world: -> John Allen Muhammad and the Maryland police chief who helped catch him share an unusual bond: Both were Oregon National Guard members eight years ago.
The two took different paths across the country that crossed again yesterday when Montgomery County police Chief Charles Moose, a former Air Guard major, identified Muhammad, a former Army guard sergeant, as the suspect in the deaths of 10 people in the Washington, D.C., area.

"In all likelihood, the next attack will result in even greater casualties and widespread disruption to American lives and the economy" than the Sept. 11 attacks, said the task force chaired by former Sens. Gary Hart, D-Colo., and Warren Rudman, R-N.H. The report was released late Thursday.
Lovely people: The Russian journalism Web site on Thursday identified Mr. Barayev as the nephew of a Chechen warlord, Arbi Barayev, who was notorious for kidnapping and ransoming foreigners at the height of Chechen lawlessness in the late 1990's.

This won't end well, I fear. Islamo-fascists to the core, convinced God is on their side.

The Chechen militants holding hundreds of people hostage in a Moscow theatre today released eight children, but the reported promise to free all foreign hostages remained unfulfilled.

The Moscow theatre at the centre of a hostage-taking drama was turned into a massive bomb waiting to be detonated last night if Russian elite units attacked, according to some of the estimated 600 hostages trapped inside.
The 40 Chechen militants holding the hostages for a second night fired rocket-propelled grenades and injured one of two women who managed to escape the theatre yesterday in the south-east of the city. Another woman who tried to escape earlier was shot dead.

Witnesses, would-be mediators, and a rebel website yesterday reported that the hostage takers include several women, said to be widows of killed Chechen fighters - an alarming development suggesting that the Chechens are taking their cue from the new breed of Palestinian female bombers.
Nice to see that Lucianne's bouncing baby boy is still so objective and unbiased.

By yesterday afternoon, National Review's Jonah Goldberg was saying online: "I'm doing a piece – very fast – for another publication about the Sniper. I need examples of the media being too eager to paint sniper as a disgruntled white right wing whacko."

"I left nobody out," Petty says. "I pick on the artist, the audience, everyone. And not just in the music industry. It could be any business. The problem is greed, pure and simple. Never mind a healthy profit; the idea is: 'We want all the money we can get. We want every damn dime out there, and our computers can show us where every dime is.' The mom-and-pop store had to care about its customers and its products to survive. These giant corporations don't care about anything but profit."

Well, duuuu-uuuhhh ... Jesus, what do they expect from TP? It's not like this is a new theme with him. This is a guy who, back in the 80's, fought a long battle with his record company because it wanted to price his new LP (remember those?) at $9.99 (hey, I have paperback books priced at 50 cents), so TP threatened to title the record "8.99".

Thursday, October 24, 2002

Yet another example of "sensitivity" run amok. Is this a joke or what?
OK, OK ... the sniper has been caught and thank God. Other than that, I don't know how I feel about it yet, other than being somewhat uncomfortable that it was a black American muslim. The enemy within, sorta McVeighish. And I think the extortion angle (hey, they knocked over a liquor store; wait, muslims hate alcohol) probably had as much to do with it as the muslim thing but, as I've said, I haven't thought it through completely. Lots more information to come out, anyway; this is nowhere near a dead story. More later ...

Here's a liberal college student viewpoint (a bit whiny), a conservative guy with a beard's, and a nice collection from Atrios.
I just noticed that if you have Rush Limbaugh’s radio program (know thy enemy) on your stereo system turned low, and you stand in the hall outside the room where the stereo system is located after coming back from the bathroom … that Rush sounds like a vibrator. I’m serious. Could it be the Vicodin?
I would never belong to a club which has Sharon Stone as a member. Even if I almost qualify.
Someone let me know if the "anti-idiotarians" who have so zealously attacked Noam Chomsky, Susan Sontag, Jesse Jackson, Ramsey Clark et al. have also routinely "fisked" the reprehensible Ms. Coulter ...

Funny, Avedon, but I hate all five of those people. And I'm anti-death penalty. Isn’t it ridiculous that some people see “the struggle” as being between Chomsky/Sontag/Jesse/Ramsey vs. Ann Coulter (Limbaugh, et. al )? I mean, it’s all black and white here. No shades of grey at all. And most of us real people – as is life -- are very, very grey.

Seeking to fill a void in the low-interest congressional campaigns, pro-Republican businesses are muscling into the Nov. 5 elections in novel ways, stuffing voter guides into pay envelopes, e-mailing workers with candidate report cards, and mounting get-out-the-vote drives that take a page from organized labor.
BIG GOVERNMENT COMES IN HANDY SOMETIMES: President Bush has harnessed the broad resources of the federal government to promote Republicans in next month's elections. From housing grants in South Dakota and research contracts in Florida to Air Force One rides and photos in the White House driveway, Bush has made Republican success on Nov. 5 a government-wide project.

More than 330 administration appointees, some of whom were told by White House officials that they needed to show their Republican credentials, have taken vacation time and are being flown by the party to House and Senate campaigns in states where control of Congress will be decided. The appointees will organize volunteers, work the phones and go door to door.
OOPS!: The company said it discovered the problems during an internal review of its books and records that was launched after the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Department opened probes into its accounting. The company declined to identify the deals involved, but said they occurred between July 1, 2000, and June 30 of this year.


At the time AOL asserted that it had accounted for those deals properly, citing the work of its outside auditor, Ernst & Young LLC, which had confirmed AOL's financial statements when they were reported over the past two years. The company also took the additional step of asking Ernst & Young to recertify the numbers in light of the Post report, and the accountants did so, reiterating that AOL had properly reported its accounting.

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Some angry, conservative (redundant?) guy wrote this: Fake Tits
Why do you do this to yourselves? Stop desecrating your body. It is beautiful as it is. If any dolt of a guy actually likes fake tits he's so much of a knuckle-dragging ape he should probably be shot (It is a mercy killing.). Honestly, fake tits suck! I cannot emphasize how much I despise fakies and the dumb
[Ed. note: He said that, not me!] superficial people who would ruin their bodies by making themselves into a cartoon character. Unless you have had breast cancer or so degenerative a disease whereby you actually need these things stop being such fucks. Fake tits are the ultimate in self hatred. You indicate your inability to love yourself, you declare your conformity and lack of all independent thought, and further toss yourself out as someone not to be taken seriously as you will acquiesce to whatever you perceive that society expects or wants from you. Stop trying to fit in or be what you think people want. People hate fucking posers and cheeseballs. Be you. You're fucking beautiful. Hard crunchy cantaloupe like tits are not good.

... and I agree with every fucking word. Beautifully written and so true. Not that I know anyone this would apply to, of course ...

Warren Zevon is scheduled for another of his not-infrequent guest shots on The Late Show With David Letterman (news - Y! TV). Zevon is set to do the show October 30, but unlike his past appearances this one comes with some baggage--it was recently revealed that Zevon, a former smoker, has been diagnosed with a terminal case of lung cancer. Assuming his health allows it, Zevon is expected to perform on the show.

Here's hoping Warren makes it. Hell, here's hoping he lasts to see the new James Bond film, something he deeply wishes to do. A truly GREAT songwriter.

I heard that Kinky Friedman (another brilliant eccentric) and Dwight Yoakum (!) have been recording with Warren in LA. (gonna try and find a link) Seems he has some tracks he wants to lay down before he checks out. Two thumbs up for Zevon.

[Memo to The Kinkster: Warren Oates is dead, and what is that thing on Billy Bob's head?]

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

Sounds like the plot of the first "Dirty Harry", 1973. Remember the "Scorpio" killer?
Note to Myself: You're actually using "blog" as a verb now, did you notice? Arrrrggggghhhhh
Rylander has some reactions to the Hitchens article blogged below.
Hitchens parts ways. Again. -> This is a term the Left can appreciate. Indeed, "lesser evil" is part of the essential tactical rhetoric of today's Left, and has been deployed to excuse or overlook the sins of liberal Democrats, from President Clinton's bombing of Sudan to Madeleine Albright's veto of an international rescue for Rwanda when she was U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Among those longing for nuance, moral relativism -- the willingness to use the term evil, when combined with a willingness to make accommodations with it -- is the smart thing: so much more sophisticated than "cowboy" language.

and ...

Its oil resources, once freed up, could help undercut the current Saudi monopoly. Excellent. (Baskett note: I love this guy.) This is presumably unintelligible to those content to chant, "No war for oil," as if it were a matter of indifference who controlled the reserves of the region, or who might threaten to ignite or even irradiate these reserves if given the chance.

and ...

I can only hint at how much I despise a Left that thinks of Osama bin Laden as a slightly misguided anti-imperialist. (He actually says he wants to restore the old imperial caliphate and has condemned the Australian-led international rescue of East Timor as a Christian plot against Muslim Indonesia). Or a Left that can think of Milosevic and Saddam as victims.

Good stuff from Rittenhouse: The ability of the Republican Party to cast itself in the public mind as the party of fiscal responsibility, let alone of fiscal restraint, is one of the most amazing accomplishments of modern politics. The propensity of otherwise intelligent people to fall for this lie, to accept unthinkingly the premise of this joke, is no less astonishing. More
Only the United States, Iran, Pakistan, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and the Democratic Republic of Congo have reported executing juvenile offenders since 1990
Liberal Oasis on Shrub's purloined drug plan.
An ex-crustacean Phd. comments that "We live in the greatest nation on the globe ... period!" and offers this to prove it. I agree.
Again, the Gulf War never ended.
If you're following this and in agreement, there's an office somewhere in the White House basement that needs you.

They don’t hire liberal Texan yellow-dog Democrats, P.M. :-)

And don't forget the personal incentives. Almost all of those ex-C.E.O.'s in the administration became wealthy thanks to the connections they had acquired in Washington; the exception is Mr. Bush himself, who became wealthy thanks to the connections his father had acquired in Washington. This process continues. Senator Phil Gramm, who pushed through legislation that exempted Enron's trading practices from regulation while his wife sat on the company's board, is retiring and taking a new job: he's going to UBS Warburg, the company that bought Enron's trading operation. Somehow, crusaders against business abuse don't get similar offers.
WAR PROBLEM # 93: The Limitless War
Terrific set of Links from Buzzflash on the Bush record.
Josh Marshall on regime change, language and "verbal goofballism".
Kevin at Lean Left on the college tuition crisis.
Note to Lenny about the name of this blog: No, I'm not a lawyer. But I am a Baskett Case.
A serious suicide bombing preceded visits by both special U.S. envoy Anthony Zinni and CIA chief George Tenet aimed at pushing the peace process forward. Similarly, now that Assistant Secretary of State William Burns is attempting to discuss a "road map" for peace in the region, terror has once again struck inside Israel.

If the aim is to destroy this mediation attempt as well, then Palestinian extremists have no doubt planned other suicide bombings inside Israel in the near future. They are not primarily motivated by a desire to retaliate against this or that Israeli act; rather, they are a deliberate and recurring strategy on the part of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian groups. Their objective is not merely to kill the maximum number of Israeli citizens, but also to wipe out any mediation attempts that would lead to a renewed dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians.
It is thus best to think of North Korea as that bankrupt nation in the Peter Sellers movie "The Mouse that Roared," based on the Leonard Wibberly novel about a small nation that declares war on the U.S., planning to lose before a shot is fired and thus be eligible for generous financial aid from the victor.
I wondered why radio talk-hosts, Freepers and other "conservatives" seem to have such a vitriolic hatred for Chief Charles Moose of Montgomery Country, Md. (aside from failing to solve the case); now I know: Chief Moose's new celebrity and his moments of pique are no surprise to people who have lived in Portland, Ore., where he was the beloved chief of police from 1993 to 1999. There, he displayed all the characteristics that have turned him into a star during the past two weeks: the military comportment, the prickly relationship with reporters, the sarcastic outbursts. Just 49, and rare among chiefs in that he holds a doctorate (in urban studies, from Portland State University), he is known as a liberal, by police standards. He is an outspoken gun-control advocate and a pioneer of community-based policing. Former U.S. president Bill Clinton's administration once singled him out as a model chief.
Administration officials said Monday the proposal, upgraded to carry a clear message that Iraq would be disarmed by force if it did not agree to surrender its weapons of mass destruction, was being circulated among Security Council members at the United Nations.
Bizarre French connection to Beltway sniper?
Pathetic, deluded commies slam Chris Hitchens. I love it ...
Go here to read Paul Krugman's article in Sunday New York Times Magazine on the disappearing middle class in America. (click on Excellent New NYT Magazine article on inequality in America) Never take shit from elitist conservatives again!

Seriously, this is a brilliant article, well worth your time to read it.
Jesus, another shooting in Montgomery County, Md. this morning, the 10th fatality.
Malleable Facts: As Bush leads the nation toward a confrontation with Iraq and his party into battle in midterm elections, his rhetoric has taken some flights of fancy in recent weeks. Statements on subjects ranging from the economy to Iraq suggest that a president who won election underscoring Al Gore's knack for distortions and exaggerations has been guilty of a few himself.

Monday, October 21, 2002

IDLE SPECULATION: I wonder, if the sniper turns out to be anyone BUT a muslim and/or a terrorist, if certain conservatives out there (the Freepers come to mind) are going to continue to believe that it is a terrorist and there is a massive conspiracy to hide the fact that "they're right" from us? Betcha the answer is 'yes'.
EXCELLENT piece by Chait in TNR: It is perhaps telling that the case for war with Iraq was most clearly made not by Republican President George W. Bush but by Democratic President Bill Clinton. "Predators of the twenty-first century," Clinton warned, speaking four and a half years ago, "will be all the more lethal if we allow them to build arsenals of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and the missiles to deliver them. ... There is no more clear example of this threat than Saddam Hussein's Iraq." And if the world were to allow Saddam to continue to construct his terrible weapons? "Well, he will conclude that the international community has lost its will," Clinton declared. "He will then conclude that he can go right on and do more to rebuild an arsenal of devastating destruction. And some day, some way, I guarantee you, he'll use the arsenal."


President Bush has cynically timed the debate to bolster Republican chances in the November elections, he has pursued his Iraq policy with an arrogant disregard for the views of Congress and the public, and his rationales for military action have been contradictory and in some cases false. I happen to believe all these criticisms are true (although the first is hard to prove) and that they add more evidence to what is already a damning indictment of the Bush presidency. But these are objections to the way Bush has carried out his Iraq policy rather than to the policy itself. (If Bush were to employ such dishonest tactics on behalf of, say, universal health care, that wouldn't make the policy a bad idea.) Ultimately the central question is: Does war with Iraq promote liberal foreign policy principles? The answer is yes, it does.


But opposing the administration's expansive new preemption doctrine does not require one to oppose its intended war with Iraq. Here, again, the administration has bungled the argument. The more persuasive justification for war is that Iraq has violated a series of U.N. resolutions requiring its disarmament and compliance with weapons inspections. Yes, lots of countries violate U.N. resolutions. What makes Iraq's violation a casus belli is that it agreed to disarm as a condition of ending the Gulf war. War with Iraq does not require trashing international law. Just the opposite: Sustaining international law is central to its very rationale.


Indeed, if you want to get technical, the Gulf war never really ended.


Perhaps the strongest evidence of Saddam's irrationality, however, is his very obsession with obtaining weapons of mass destruction. Had Saddam acceded to U.N. demands at the close of the Gulf war, international sanctions against Iraq would likely have been lifted years ago. In the absence of sanctions, Iraq could have pumped as many as six million barrels of crude oil per day; with the tens of billions of dollars that came from this, Saddam could have pursued his passion for palace-building to an unprecedented degree, built a conventional military more than strong enough to deter aggression by his neighbors, and perhaps even made his country a better place. Instead, under the sanctions regime, he has been allowed to pump just 1.4 million barrels of oil per day and has been prohibited from purchasing steel, computers, and other goods he surely covets. As a result his army is dilapidated and his populace poor and restive. Moreover, his intransigence has earned him repeated attacks from American planes and missiles, and large chunks of his country are, for all practical purposes, independent of his rule. If American deterrence renders Saddam's weapons of mass destruction useless, then why does he endure such sacrifices to acquire them? Perhaps his mania for building them is irrational--but, then, it's hard to see why he would be irrational in the acquisition of these weapons but rational in their use.


Liberals don't want to see U.S. foreign policy dictated by the interests of American oil companies. Why is it better if it is dictated by the interests of French and Russian oil companies?


But on critical issues--such as the potential threat posed by a nuclear Iraq--our national interests may supersede the advantages of international consensus. If given the choice of maintaining good relations with the rest of the world or disarming Saddam, I would pick the latter.


So, if Bush is heading in the direction liberals want to go, why do they regard his policy with such hostility? The answer seems to be that they regard their policy as one that will render war a remote, mainly theoretical, possibility. The Common Cause ad pleads that war be only "a last resort" and maintains that Saddam "can be made to respond to diplomatic pressures if these are backed by a credible and sustained military threat." But of course a threat is only credible if you're prepared to follow through on it. And at the moment it would seem to be impossible to design a military threat credible enough to alarm Saddam but not so credible that it alarms Derek Bok.

Deluded by the hope that they can have multilateralism and disarmament without the risk of war, liberals have concentrated their intellectual energies on the slim possibility that the United Nations will approve an airtight inspections system and that Saddam will submit to it. If that happens, they would not support a unilateral Bush war. And for that matter, neither would I. But the chance of that happening is small. We have eleven years of accumulated evidence suggesting that the United Nations will not approve loophole-free inspections and that even if it does, Saddam will defy it once more. Which is why it's strange to find so many liberals who consider themselves antiwar conceding that, if all else fails, they would support military action against Iraq. "All else" has failed for more than a decade. And barring a profound character reversal by Saddam, "all else" will likely fail again in the coming months. Just how many times are we supposed to go down this road before we realize our last resort may be our only option?

Peretz in TNR: What the world is experiencing these days may not exactly be a clash of civilizations. But there is no doubt that large segments of the Islamic world are at war with the tolerance and liberalism of the West, with its curiosity and its learning. The warriors aim to demoralize the West and those--including those Muslims--who find Western ways to their liking. But the West still does not grasp the danger. European leaders blithely assume that mass Muslim immigration does not threaten Western values, and those who suggest otherwise--such as Holland's Pim Fortuyn--are derided and shunned.


This is not just a war between Islam and the Jews or Islam and the West. This is a war of cosmic losers against all that offends them. It is a war of zealot Muslims against everyone else. We are all feeling and fearing what Fallaci calls "the bad smell of a Holy War," a war with real weapons, and its consequence is incinerated flesh.

Sunday, October 20, 2002

But the Kurdish goal of extending their authority to the prized oil fields around Kirkuk and Mosul – now outside the Western-protected Kurdish enclave – carries military and political risks that could trouble Pentagon planners.
Bush went furthest in his claims of a Saddam/bin Laden link in the wake of the Bali bombing. Without a shred of evidence, he claimed that Saddam was trying to use al-Qaeda as a 'forward army'. '[Saddam] is a man who we know has had connections with al-Qaeda; this is a man who, in my judgement, would like to use al-Qaeda as a forward army', said Bush - calling on the world to support both 'the war on terror and the war on Saddam'. Here Bush seems to be hoping that all the endless claims of a link will have sunk into people's minds - claiming that 'we all know' that Iraq has connections with al-Qaeda. Really?
Well-informed sources said that the people involved in the coupe are presumed to belong to the Islamic trends and that many of them have links to al-Qaida organization. The sources said that these developments coincided with the state of dissatisfaction in the country as a result of the Qatari policy which the sources characterized as supporting an American strike against Iraq.

Worthy mentioning that Qatar's relations with several Arab states, especially Saudi Arabia and Egypt, witnessed a new deterioration in recent months because of these states' disappointment over Doha's opening political lines on many sides including Israel and the USA in a way that confuses the Arab policies, and due to the critical programs broadcast by the Qatari al-Jazeera TV on the internal affairs of these states which see in this TV channel as a contributor to increasing tension between the Arab states.

"As the casualties of the Bali bombings increase, the feeling gets stronger that Australia ought to be more concerned with terrorism on its doorstep, rather than going off to fight a war in Iraq," he said.
"After all, the war in Iraq is all about U.S. foreign policy [oil] interests and not about terrorism," Mr. Williams told The Washington Times.
WAR PROBLEM # 92: The Rapture

The Christian right managed, through the rebirth of George Bush, to gain a good measure of influence over the most powerful nation on this earth. The Christian right believes that only the apocalypse will purify the souls of the heretics, and the United States will be the instrument to bring forth God’s wrath. The great resources, the military might, of the United States is part of the divine plan to bring the Apocalypse upon us.


Because the battle Israel is fighting against the Moslem Palestinians is to reclaim the lands of biblical Israel. Evangelicals believe the lands of ancient Israel must be reunited in order to fulfill the biblical prophesy of Christ’s return to earth.


What worries me is that we may be going to war to fulfill what a few deluded people believe to be biblical prophecy. And what really worries me is that we have a President who might believe this nonsense, too.
In fact, Saddam Hussein has managed to manipulate the sanctions to his benefit by rewarding supporters inside Iraq with scarce goods and bribing countries outside, like France, with lucrative oil contracts.

Even though Pollack considers an invasion of Iraq the least risky of the options available to the United States, he would advise it only if certain conditions are met. It must involve overwhelming force, 200,000 to 300,000 troops at least. The invasion must have the support of key governments in the area (Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and some states of the Gulf Cooperation Council), some support from European allies and ideally the express authority of the United Nations Security Council. The United States must make sure that there is no large-scale violence between Palestinians and Israelis when it invades. Additionally, Washington must be committed to the postwar reconstruction of Iraq and the establishment of a stable democracy, a task that will require a large occupation force for an extended period as well as a lot of money.

Muslim outrage could also make it much more difficult to keep the nuclear materials now in Pakistan out of terrorist hands. The Pakistani public has been encouraged to consider its nuclear weapons ''Islamic bombs.'' President Pervez Musharraf seems to be making a serious effort to bring Islamic fanatics under control, but most likely their sympathizers still infest his government. Even a successful invasion of Iraq could have the perverse effect of increasing the threat we had tried to eliminate. While Saddam Hussein can, with determined effort, be deterred, Osama bin Laden and his like cannot.
His passion is to stay in power and, if possible, to dominate the region. If he had nuclear weapons, he would step up blackmail attempts against his neighbors. But his bluff could be called, since he would avoid using nuclear weapons or supplying them to terrorists unless he was attacked directly and was convinced that his end was imminent.

In sum, Pollack is not convincing when he argues that deterrence (or deterrence plus some vigorously enforced containment measures) is a more risky course in the long run than invasion. An invasion would be trumpeted by many in the Islamic world as an attack on Islam. Never mind that this would be a lie; it would be widely believed and might well increase the number of misguided youths placing themselves at the disposal of Al Qaeda or other instruments of suicidal terrorism. If many Muslims concluded that the attack was against Islam, Arab governments supporting the United States could be threatened by domestic violence.

In important Congressional races around the country, a fierce battle is being waged over what Democrats assert is a stealth campaign by the pharmaceutical industry to help House Republicans.

Mr. Jarvis declined to discuss how much money the drug companies were providing, or the total cost of the campaign, other than to say that it would be "a large sum." Because of its status, the seniors group does not have to disclose the sources of its income.

Democrats and liberal consumer advocates assert that the commercials are clearly misleading, an effort to provide political cover to Republicans who would otherwise be vulnerable on the issue. The commercials do not mention that the group receives drug industry money, these advocates note, nor that the legislation it praises is a Republican bill that closely tracks the industry's position on how drug benefits should be provided.

There is a deep philosophical issue behind the struggle. Most Democrats have wanted to add a benefit to the traditional Medicare program; Republicans prefer to use subsidies to encourage private insurers to offer those benefits.

The Bush administration has decided to scrap the 1994 arms control accord with North Korea that has provided Western energy aid in return for the North's promise to freeze the development of nuclear weapons, senior administration officials said today.

The administration does not plan to publicly announce its decision to abandon the 1994 agreement anytime soon, officials say, in hopes of creating a unified front with its allies.

The senior administration official interviewed about the White House's strategy said that North Korea must end the highly enriched uranium program "in a verifiable way," a major task in a country known for its skills at digging deep caves. The official added: "This time we must also address other problems — missile transfer, the conventional forces the North has, and the abominable way it treats its people." None of those issues were covered in the 1994 framework accord.

The White House has billed the federal Office of Family Assistance $210,000 to help pay for five trips in which President Bush promoted welfare reform at official events and made separate fundraising appearances for GOP candidates.
Earlier in the week, Gephardt gave his own economic address and spoke of Clinton's $236 billion in surpluses turning into $165 million in deficits under Bush. In an interview after his speech, Gephardt pressed the point harder: "The biggest thing Bill Clinton did for the Democratic Party and the country is to produce the best economy this country has ever seen. Try as they might, Republicans aren't going to change people's minds about that."
Dusty Mangum's 27-yard field goal with 1:32 remaining lifted 8th-ranked Texas over No. 17 Kansas State, 17-14.

Business lobbyists said their wish lists include substantial nationwide limits on the amount of damages that can be awarded in medical malpractice cases, plus a major overhaul of the tax code to reduce the burden on corporations. Both measures have been part of President Bush's agenda and would have a better chance of becoming law if the GOP retook control of the Senate and kept a House majority in the Nov. 5 elections.

With the elections 16 days away, Michael G. Franc, the Heritage Foundation's vice president of government relations, said the mood among business lobbyists and economic conservatives is "guarded optimism, bordering on giddiness." He said they are laying plans to take swift advantage if Republicans complete the triple crown of the White House, the House and the Senate. "It's the domestic equivalent of planning for postwar Iraq," Franc said.

Oh you little PRICK!

In explaining their optimism about the elections, Republican officials point to polls showing that most voters do not blame Bush for the problems in the economy, and said Democrats have failed to find a winning theme. These officials said the continuing attention on national security is benefiting their candidates in enough races to restore Senate control to the GOP, which lost it in May when Sen. James M. Jeffords (Vt.) became an independent.

But the GOP wouldn't stoop so low as to exploit that, would they?

Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.), head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said Republicans' preelection hubris bolsters the argument she is making in key states that Democrats serve as a check on Republicans. "I tell people that a Democratic Senate is the only thing stopping a conservative, right-wing agenda from becoming law," Murray said.

You go girl!