Here's where he sees the electoral-vote math right now.
Remember, I'm predicting 300 electoral votes for W.
According to the National Council on Public Polls Polling Review Board, the Mason-Dixon Polling and Research organization did the most number of polls (23) in the 2002 elections, and yet they only predicted one race incorrectly. (In case you're curious, Zogby did worse. He's a notoriously unreliable pollster.)
On Saturday night, Mason Dixon released their latest polls. They have Bush ahead of Kerry in the battleground states of Florida (4 points), Ohio (2 points), Iowa (5 points), Minnesota (1 point), Colorado (7 points), Nevada (6 points), Missouri (4 points). Kerry is ahead of Bush in Michigan (2 points), New Hampshire (2 points), Oregon (6 points), Pennsylvania (2 points), and Wisconsion (2 points).
Americans glued to their television sets Tuesday night should get a pretty good idea of the outcome of the presidential election by 8 p.m. CST with the returns from the all-important battleground states of Florida (27 electoral votes) and Ohio (20).
These are the possible outcomes:
- The early returns show either President Bush or Sen. John Kerry has clearly won both of these two states. In that case, you can call the double winner “Mr. President” for the next four years.
- Bush is the clear early winner in either Florida or Ohio. That probably guarantees Bush’s re-election. Kerry then would have a steep hill to climb, forced to pick up states where he now seems to be trailing.
- There is no early outcome in either of those two states, or Kerry clearly wins one state and the other state’s results are unclear. Then, look for a long election night – or perhaps a long month of November – before the winner of the presidential race is determined.
Russia tied to Iraq's missing arms
By Bill Gertz
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Russian special forces troops moved many of Saddam Hussein's weapons and related goods out of Iraq and into Syria in the weeks before the March 2003 U.S. military operation, The Washington Times has learned.
John A. Shaw, the deputy undersecretary of defense for international technology security, said in an interview that he believes the Russian troops, working with Iraqi intelligence, "almost certainly" removed the high-explosive material that went missing from the Al-Qaqaa facility, south of Baghdad. "The Russians brought in, just before the war got started, a whole series of military units," Mr. Shaw said. "Their main job was to shred all evidence of any of the contractual arrangements they had with the Iraqis. The others were transportation units."
Mr. Shaw, who was in charge of cataloguing the tons of conventional arms provided to Iraq by foreign suppliers, said he recently obtained reliable information on the arms-dispersal program from two European intelligence services that have detailed knowledge of the Russian-Iraqi weapons collaboration.
Most of Saddam's most powerful arms were systematically separated from other arms like mortars, bombs and rockets, and sent to Syria and Lebanon, and possibly to Iran, he said.
The Russian involvement in helping disperse Saddam's weapons, including some 380 tons of RDX and HMX is still being investigated, Mr. Shaw said.
The RDX and HMX, which are used to manufacture high-explosive and nuclear weapons, are probably of Russian origin, he said.
Pentagon spokesman Larry DiRita could not be reached for comment.
The disappearance of the material was reported in a letter Oct. 10 from the Iraqi government to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Disclosure of the missing explosives Monday in a New York Times story was used by the Democratic presidential campaign of Sen. John Kerry, who accused the Bush administration of failing to secure the material.
Al-Qaqaa, a known Iraqi weapons site, was monitored closely, Mr. Shaw said.
"That was such a pivotal location, Number 1, that the mere fact of [special explosives] disappearing was impossible," Mr. Shaw said. "And Number 2, if the stuff disappeared, it had to have gone before we got there."
The Pentagon disclosed yesterday that the Al-Qaqaa facility was defended by Fedayeen Saddam, Special Republican Guard and other Iraqi military units during the conflict. U.S. forces defeated the defenders around April 3 and found the gates to the facility open, the Pentagon said in a statement yesterday.
A military unit in charge of searching for weapons, the Army's 75th Exploitation Task Force, then inspected Al-Qaqaa on May 8, May 11 and May 27, 2003, and found no high explosives that had been monitored in the past by the IAEA.
The Pentagon said there was no evidence of large-scale movement of explosives from the facility after April 6.
"The movement of 377 tons of heavy ordnance would have required dozens of heavy trucks and equipment moving along the same roadways as U.S. combat divisions occupied continually for weeks prior to and subsequent to the 3rd Infantry Division's arrival at the facility," the statement said.
The statement also said that the material may have been removed from the site by Saddam's regime.
According to the Pentagon, U.N. arms inspectors sealed the explosives at Al-Qaqaa in January 2003 and revisited the site in March and noted that the seals were not broken.
It is not known if the inspectors saw the explosives in March. The U.N. team left the country before the U.S.-led invasion began March 20, 2003.
A second defense official said documents on the Russian support to Iraq reveal that Saddam's government paid the Kremlin for the special forces to provide security for Iraq's Russian arms and to conduct counterintelligence activities designed to prevent U.S. and Western intelligence services from learning about the arms pipeline through Syria.
The Russian arms-removal program was initiated after Yevgeny Primakov, the former Russian intelligence chief, could not convince Saddam to give in to U.S. and Western demands, this official said.
A small portion of Iraq's 650,000 tons to 1 million tons of conventional arms that were found after the war were looted after the U.S.-led invasion, Mr. Shaw said. Russia was Iraq's largest foreign supplier of weaponry, he said.
However, the most important and useful arms and explosives appear to have been separated and moved out as part of carefully designed program. "The organized effort was done in advance of the conflict," Mr. Shaw said.
The Russian forces were tasked with moving special arms out of the country.
Mr. Shaw said foreign intelligence officials believe the Russians worked with Saddam's Mukhabarat intelligence service to separate out special weapons, including high explosives and other arms and related technology, from standard conventional arms spread out in some 200 arms depots.
The Russian weapons were then sent out of the country to Syria, and possibly Lebanon in Russian trucks, Mr. Shaw said.
Mr. Shaw said he believes that the withdrawal of Russian-made weapons and explosives from Iraq was part of plan by Saddam to set up a "redoubt" in Syria that could be used as a base for launching pro-Saddam insurgency operations in Iraq.
The Russian units were dispatched beginning in January 2003 and by March had destroyed hundreds of pages of documents on Russian arms supplies to Iraq while dispersing arms to Syria, the second official said.
Besides their own weapons, the Russians were supplying Saddam with arms made in Ukraine, Belarus, Bulgaria and other Eastern European nations, he said.
"Whatever was not buried was put on lorries and sent to the Syrian border," the defense official said.
Documents reviewed by the official included itineraries of military units involved in the truck shipments to Syria. The materials outlined in the documents included missile components, MiG jet parts, tank parts and chemicals used to make chemical weapons, the official said.
The director of the Iraqi government front company known as the Al Bashair Trading Co. fled to Syria, where he is in charge of monitoring arms holdings and funding Iraqi insurgent activities, the official said.
Also, an Arabic-language report obtained by U.S. intelligence disclosed the extent of Russian armaments. The 26-page report was written by Abdul Tawab Mullah al Huwaysh, Saddam's minister of military industrialization, who was captured by U.S. forces May 2, 2003.
The Russian "spetsnaz" or special-operations forces were under the GRU military intelligence service and organized large commercial truck convoys for the weapons removal, the official said.
Regarding the explosives, the new Iraqi government reported that 194.7 metric tons of HMX, or high-melting-point explosive, and 141.2 metric tons of RDX, or rapid-detonation explosive, and 5.8 metric tons of PETN, or pentaerythritol tetranitrate, were missing.
The material is used in nuclear weapons and also in making military "plastic" high explosive.
Defense officials said the Russians can provide information on what happened to the Iraqi weapons and explosives that were transported out of the country. Officials believe the Russians also can explain what happened to Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs.
[Welcome OpinionJournal.com readers--see the "Update" below.]
One of the great fallacies of this political season is that the election will be decided on November 2. Wrong. The whole thing will be determined this Sunday afternoon at Fed-Ex field in Washington, D.C. That's where the Washington Redskins host the Green Bay Packers. You can forget Zogby, Gallup, Rasmussen, RealClearPolitics, etc. None of them can match the track record of the Redskins Rule.
For the past 72 years, the fate of the Redskins in their last game before the election has predicted whether or not the incumbent party holds the White House. If the Redskins win, the incumbent party stays. If the Redskins lose or tie, the incumbent loses the White House. The rule has held for the last 18 elections (see below).
David Dolan, an assistant professor of mathematics at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, calculated the odds of this happening for PackerNews.com: 1 in 263.5 million. (By the way, that’s 2,600 times higher than the chance of getting killed by lightning!)
Football fans will recall that four years ago the Tennessee Titans played the Washington Redskins in the pre-election game. The game, as you may recall, was a cliffhanger. (And Al Gore was actually at the game to cheer on his team.) But the Redskins Rule held: the Titans won, 27-21. And Bush won the presidential nail-biter.
Prediction: the Redskins will win decisively.
For the history buffs, here are the details:
Tennessee 27, Redskins 21
George W. Bush defeats Al Gore—Democrats lose the White House
Redskins 31, Indianapolis 16
Bill Clinton defeats Bob Dole—Democrats keep the White House
New York Giants 24, Redskins 7
Clinton defeats George H.W. Bush—Republicans lose the White House
Redskins 27, New Orleans 24
George H.W. Bush defeats Michael Dukakis—Republicans keep the White House
Redskins 27, Atlanta 14
Ronald Reagan defeats Walter Mondale—Republicans keep the White House
Minnesota 39, Redskins 14
Ronald Reagan defeats Jimmy Carter—Democrats lose the White House
Dallas 20, Redskins 7
Jimmy Carter defeats Gerald Ford—Republicans lose the White House
Redskins 35, New York Jets 17
Richard Nixon defeats George McGovern—Republicans keep the White House
Minnesota 27, Redskins 13
Richard Nixon defeats Hubert Humphrey—Democrats lose the White House
Redskins 21, Philadelphia 10
Lyndon Johnson defeats Barry Goldwater—Democrats keep the White House
Cleveland 31, Redskins 10
John Kennedy defeats Richard Nixon—the Republicans lose the White House
Redskins 17, Chicago Cardinals 14
Dwight Eisenhower defeats Adlai Stevenson—Republicans keep the White House
Pittsburgh 24, Redskins 23
Dwight Eisenhower defeats Adlai Stevenson—Democrats lose the White House
Redskins 51, Boston Yanks 21
Harry Truman defeats Thomas Dewey—Democrats keep the White House
Redskins 42, Chi-Pitt 20
Franklin Roosevelt defeats Thomas Dewey—Democrats keep the White House
Washington Redskins 37, Pittsburgh 10
Franklin Roosevelt defeats Wendell Willkie—Democrats keep the White House
Boston Redskins 13, Chicago Cardinals 10
Franklin Roosevelt defeats Alfred Landon—Democrats keep the White House
Boston Braves 7, Chicago Bears 7
Franklin Roosevelt defeats Herbert Hoover—Republicans lose the White House
UPDATE: Welcome OpinionJournal.com readers! James Taranto writes:
This number seems vastly out of line. If we assume that the Skins have a 50% chance of winning each game and the incumbent party has a 50% chance of winning each election, the odds of the two indicators matching up for 18 elections in a row are 1 in 262,144 (2 to the 18th power). The odds that they will match up for 19 elections in a row are 1 in 524,288. Does this mean you should bet against the pattern repeating? Of course not. The odds that it will are 50-50 (with Bush and the Skins both slightly favored).
Hey. I report--you decide! If there's anyone out there who knows how to calcuate statistics, feel free to leave your answer in the comments section below, and/or email firstname.lastname@example.org!
BTW, I've emailed Professor Dolan for his response.
Update 2. Professor Dolan emailed to say that PackerNews.com misquoted him. He said "thousand," not "million." I blame Al Gore for inventing the Internet--or as George Bush calls it, the Internets. Sorry for the confusion. But I'm still predicting a Redskins--and Bush--decisive victory!
Update 3. I erred in my original post--as noted in the comments section below--by not specifying that it applies only to the last Redskins home game, not just the last game, before the election. Sorry for the confusion. And by now, everyone knows that the Redskins did indeed lose. Well, if the Red Sox can break "the curse," then the Packers can snap the "Redskins Rule"! Go W.
Alexander Sanger wants the pro-abortion movement to get over its legacy of shame and move boldly to claim that abortion is actually a positive moral good.
. . . "Few women today publicly and proudly acknowledge having had an abortion," Sanger explains. "We can no longer be ashamed of abortion. Abortion won't become safely legal until we recognize and admit how reproductive freedom, including the right to an abortion, furthers human destiny. We got over our shame with birth control. It's time we did so with abortion."
. . . In his new book, Beyond Choice: Reproductive Freedom in the 21st Century, he argues that the movement for what he calls "reproductive freedom" has been hampered by a reluctance to claim that abortion is a moral good. By acting as if abortion is a matter of shame, he argues, the pro-abortion movement has undermined its own cause.
. . . "The primary focus of the pro-choice movement should be on why reproductive freedom is vital to humanity and why abortion is good," Sanger now insists. The abortion rights movement should argue "not for legal abortion, but for abortion" he insists.
For more on Sanger's Darwinistic perspective, as well as Mohler's response, read the whole thing.
Prof. Glen Harold Stassen has argued that pro-lifers should support John Kerry because Bush's economic policies have led to increased abortion rates. The National Right to Life Committee, among others, has responded to the bits of evidence and logic Stassen uses to reach these conclusions. Now Justin Taylor has posted Stassen's response to the critiques. I don't doubt that Stassen is sincere in wanting to reduce the abortion rate. But to my mind, his response is totally unpersuasive, as was his initial "study." He doesn't establish that higher unemployment or lower health-insurance rates increase the abortion rate, that Bush's policies have caused unemployment to rise, or that abortion rates have even risen at all under Bush. For example, he does not deal with NRLC's point that abortion rates and unemployment rates don't appear to correlate with each other among states. Nor does Stassen attempt to deal with other factors that might have affected the data. Stassen also leans too much on his own family's experience, in a way that attempts to guilt-trip people out of disagreeing with him.
One side-issue that has come up here is whether a statement that the professor signed in 1977 supported Roe v. Wade. If anyone has a copy of that statement and could post it, this issue, at least, could be resolved.
Excerpt: On Flying in Theological Fog (Millard J. Erickson) - 244K PDF
Index - 131K PDF
And here are the endorsements we've received for the book.
And here are the endorsements we've received for the book.
“When evangelicals confuse an improper passion for novelty with a proper pursuit of academic and pastoral relevance, the results can be distressing. I cannot express how grateful I am for the well-formed wisdom with which this book points to the abiding and decisive relevance for future route-finding of the old theological paths.”
—J. I. Packer, Professor, Regent College
“For those evangelicals who—like myself—are increasingly troubled by extravagant claims made by various evangelical scholars about the nature of the ‘postmodern’ challenge, as well as by earnest calls to develop new epistemological and theological perspectives in response to this challenge, the writers of these essays shed much light. This book is must-reading for everyone who wants to promote a clear-thinking evangelicalism for our contemporary context.”
—Richard J. Mouw, President and Professor of Christian Philosophy, Fuller Seminary
“Here is a collection of intelligent, provocative, gutsy essays that dare to fly into the eye of the scholarly storm over evangelical identity. Though different perspectives are present even here, the underlying thesis is clear and worth heeding: the eager, and sometimes uncritical, embrace of postmodernist paradigms may be as premature as it has proven to be unproductive for the well-being of the evangelical church. One of the most important books of the new century!”
—Timothy George, Dean, Beeson Divinity School, Samford University
“Provocative, timely, and controversial!”
—Donald G. Bloesch, Professor of Theology Emeritus, Dubuque Theological Seminary
“Compromise and confusion stand at the center of evangelicalism’s theological crisis, and a clear-headed and convictional analysis of the problem has been desperately needed. Thankfully, Reclaiming the Center has arrived just in time. . . . My fervent hope is that it will open evangelical eyes, humble evangelical hearts, and awaken this generation to the peril of accommodationism.”
—R. Albert Mohler, Jr., President, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“The authors of this well-designed volume provide a bold and well-argued response to what is sometimes called ‘postconservative evangelicalism.’ This important conversation regarding the essence, center, and boundaries of evangelicalism is here explored, interpreted, and assessed from a well-informed theological, philosophical, and historical perspective. . . . I heartily commend this volume and trust it will find a large readership.”
—David S. Dockery, President, Union University
Keep on eye on a new blog which will be devoted to discussing the book:
Although the book deals only tangentially with the Emergent Church movement, we're hoping that a number of Emergent folks will read, consider, and discuss the book. I look forward to a fruitful dialogue.
"No ordinary work done by a man is either as hard or as responsible as the work of a woman who is bringing up a family of small children; for upon her time and strength demands are made not only every hour of the day but often every hour of the night. She may have to get up night after night to take care of a sick child, and yet must by day continue to do all her household duties as well; and if the family means are scant she must usually enjoy even her rare holidays taking her whole brood of children with her. The birth pangs make all men the debtors of all women. Above all our sympathy and regard are due to the struggling wives among those whom Abraham Lincoln called the plain people, and whom he so loved and trusted; for the lives of these women are often led on the lonely heights of quiet, self-sacrificing heroism."
Glen H. Stassen, the Lewis B. Smedes Professor of Christian Ethics at Fuller Theological Seminary, recently wrote an article called: Pro-Life? Look at the Fruits. His believes that the number of abortions have risen under the Bush presidency. He concludes: “Economic policy and abortion are not separate issues; they form one moral imperative. Rhetoric is hollow, mere tinkling brass, without health care, health insurance, jobs, childcare, and a living wage. Pro-life in deed, not merely in word, means we need a president who will do something about jobs and insurance and support for prospective mothers.” The implication is left that John Kerry would actually be a better pro-life president than George Bush.
My friend Matt Perman wrote a quick, persuasive response:
His first reason for the increase in abortions during Bush’s presidency is a decrease in employment and incomes, and a stagnant minimum wage. “In the past three years, unemployment rates increased half again. Average real incomes decreased, and the minimum wage has not been raised to keep up with inflation for seven years. With less income, many prospective mothers fear another mouth to feed.” He is implying that Bush’s policies are responsible for these things. I would say, instead, the economy began declining 6 months before Bush took office. Then, 9/11 hit. The recession and economic decline was therefore not Bush’s fault.
Instead, Bush’s economic policies kept the recession from being worse than it was. Almost all economists agree that in a recession, you cut taxes to stimulate economic growth. That’s what Bush did. And I’d argue, and Bush would too, that you should also cut taxes during the good times, because lower taxes increase the incentive to work and produce, thereby growing the economy more, recession or not. [Ed. note: See the recent comments by Edward Prescott—who shared the recent Nobel Prize in economics—who said the other day: “"The idea that you can increase taxes and stimulate the economy is pretty damn stupid.”] On a side note, I’d also want to add that minimum wage laws actually hurt the poor. This has been shown time and again. First, it needs to be said that most jobs are not minimum wage. Second, people who start at minimum wage don’t stay at minimum wage. If you are a good worker, you advance. But aside from those two things, minimum wage laws themselves hurt the poor. Here’s why: When there is a minimum that employers must pay, they hire less people (obviously, since the cost per employee is higher). That means unemployment goes up. Which means that there are less people that are able to get jobs, develop their skills, and move up the pay scale to higher paying jobs.
His second reason seems to be that there are fewer marriages occurring. Not sure how this can be pinned on Bush. Bush reduced the marriage penalty in our income taxes. The marriage penalty functioned as a disincentive to marriage, and Bush got rid of it. I would then add that, speaking to the last 50 years as a whole, it is actually liberal welfare programs (the kind of thing I think this author loves) that have kept so many inner-city people from marrying. The reason is that, because of the way welfare benefits were structured, it made more economic sense for an urban woman to keep having children but not marry. So welfare policies have destroyed the urban family.
Third, the author states: “Economic policy and abortion are not separate issues; they form one moral imperative. Rhetoric is hollow, mere tinkling brass, without health care, health insurance, jobs, childcare, and a living wage. Pro-life in deed, not merely in word, means we need a president who will do something about jobs and insurance and support for prospective mothers.” I agree that economic policy and abortion are not separate issues. But I totally disagree that increased government programs are the answer—and that is exactly what this guy is hinting at, obviously. I think that a pro free-market economic policy, which reduces government regulation and burdensome taxation, is actually the most pro-life economic policy you can have. The reason is that small government, low regulation, and low taxes stimulate economic growth. The result is that we have a rising tide that raises all boats. There are more jobs, so more poor can work. The economy is more productive, so the everyone, including the poor, make more money. So I am for Bush’s economic policies not because I don’t care about the poor, but precisely because I do care about the poor. Economic growth is the only long-term solution to poverty. Government expansion and entitlement programs actually make things worse, not better. This guy, then, has it backwards. He is opposing the very things that will solve the problems he cares so much about.
To these excellent points I would only add that John Kerry voted against the partial-birth abortion ban, against the bill that would make harming an unborn fetus a criminal act, and that in December of 2003, the NARL gave John Kerry a 100% rating for his pro-choice voting record. To think that John Kerry would be the better candidate to promote a culture of life in the United States, is frankly, a deeply mistaken fantasy.
UPDATE: The National Right to Life Committee has written a devastating piece on why Stassen's claims are "baseless" and how his numbers "don't add up." There's a short version and a longer version. Interesting quote, too:
Though he identifies himself as “consistently pro-life,” Stassen fails to mention that he was one of the original signatories of “A Call to Concern,” a 1977 document that expressed support for the Roe v. Wade decision and affirmed that “abortion in some instances may be the most loving act possible.”
(Hat tip: The Corner)
I love it when Teresa Heinz-Kerry does interviews! Doesn’t this quote from a USA Today interview pretty much sum up the coherence and eloquence of Teresa Heinz Kerry?
“We are continually being from somewhere.”
Also, the Kerry camp seems to have this weird fixation with insulting the family members of the Bush-Cheney team! Speaking of Laura Bush, she says:
So before John Kerry is given the opportunity to raise taxes again on American workers, shouldn't he and Teresa at least pay their fair share?