Daily Archives: December 22, 2003

Robert Novak on the Democrat's Dean Dilemma.

The Dean dilemma was spelled out to me by a sage Democratic practitioner whose views I have sought since 1968. He has felt for months that the former Vermont governor faces horrendous defeat against President Bush. Last week, this party loyalist told me he felt Dean will be nominated unless an act of intervention stops him. He added that he is sure Dean can be stopped but at the cost of unacceptable carnage. Implicitly and reluctantly, therefore, he is swallowing Dean.

The hope inside the Democratic establishment has been that once Dean perceived himself on the road to the nomination, he would pivot sharply toward the center. He may be unable to perform or even attempt this maneuver. He is no ideologue, but he has not outgrown being the smart-aleck kid from Park Avenue with a hard edge. The Democratic savants I have contacted can only shake their heads over his stubborn insistence that Saddam Hussein's capture has not made the country safer.

Most Americans and, indeed, most Democrats are hardly aware of Howard Dean's existence. The national polls that have propelled him well ahead of any other candidate still give him support from only one of four Democrats (slipping slightly after Hussein's capture). He runs far behind Bush in any one-on-one poll.

WSJ Editorial on Libya's WMD Retreat.

The timing and nature of this conversion also vindicates the Bush anti-terror Doctrine. Gadhafi's emissaries first approached British officials in March, just as the war in Iraq was getting under way. From the first days after September 11, Mr. Bush offered state sponsors of terrorism a choice to be with us or against us. If Gadhafi had any doubts about U.S. resolve after the Taliban fell in Afghanistan, they vanished once he saw that Saddam Hussein was also headed for the spider hole of history.

It's amusing to see the same people who have opposed the Bush Doctrine now claiming that Gadhafi's conversion is the triumph of “diplomacy.” European Commission President Romano Prodi averred on the weekend that Libya's reversal “demonstrates the effectiveness of discrete diplomacy and engagement, which has been the European Commission's consistent approach.” The French and Senator John Kerry said something similar, as usual.

But years of diplomacy by itself didn't seem to move Libya from its terrorist ways. Only when Gadhafi could see that WMD programs were a path to his own self-destruction, as they were in Iraq, did he agree to turn state's evidence against himself. Mr. Bush's new Proliferation Security Initiative, which is attempting with 10 other nations to use the military to intercept WMD shipments, was also noticed by the Libyan.

Mr. Kerry's Saturday statement that “this significant advance represents a complete U-turn in the Bush Administration's overall foreign policy” shows why he's going to have to mortgage more than his Beacon Hill home to become commander-in-chief. He doesn't understand that the credible threat of force, and often its use, is essential before diplomacy has any chance of working.

I started a moderated mail list for people who use RSS, either as a publisher or reading feeds in an aggregator. The list is moderated to keep it on topic and away from personal issues. It's just about using RSS, not debating its merits or other formats that may be like RSS. I wanted to have this list to get ready for the session I'm doing at RSS Winterfest, below, and of course if it's an active resource it'll be around for a long time after that.

Here's a “Userland” opportunity. This happens too often for a product in use by many novices.

Lack of customer support?. I post this reluctantly. I have used the customer service 'support' e-mail address provided when I sought to upgrade my storage capacity. I sent 3 friendly informative e-mails on 19.12.2003. and have received absolutely no response. Each e-mail more clearly explained my position as I sought to diagnose more fully the problem. Can someone advise what I need to do to receive support please? Surely, if I have used the contact e-mail address Radio UserLand provides, it ought to have been processed by now? Any thoughts anyone? Martin [Radio UserLand Messages]

Interesting Article on the UN in WSJ Online.

For the U.N., it seems, no task comes easy. Charged with everything from preventing war to regulating international mail, the U.N. and its galaxy of agencies, funds and programs appear accountable to nobody, yet micromanaged by many.

Over a six-decade history, the U.N. has evolved into a world unto itself. Its 18-acre New York compound is international territory, not part of the U.S. or any other country. The U.N. operates everything from its own post office to a basement workshop that continually reupholsters hundreds of now-vintage chairs, keeping the organization's modernist headquarters perpetually in the 1950s.

As the U.N. struggles to redefine itself in a fast-changing world, a central problem is its own ritualized culture and bureaucracy, which seems stuck in another era. Diplomats still smoke under no-smoking signs. The General Assembly's regular session lasts just four months a year, on a schedule many delegates believe dates from 1940s steamship timetables.

The Clarkbot is a “Perl script written by Rick Heller. It searches the Feedster RSS search engine for references to “Wesley Clark” To be picked up by the Clarkbot, a blog must generate an RSS Feed, and that feed must be listed with Feedster.”