Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Joe Biden's Campaign Ends 15 Minutes After It Begins

"I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man.” - Biden, today, on opponent Barak Obama.

Look, I like you. I like your new, fresh, I-don't-need-no-stinking-talking points attitude. I'm no expert but, are you sure you wanted to open with that?

The Truth Shall Set You Free (If The White House Doesn't Supress It)

Two thousand years ago Jesus walked around as the ultimate pragmatist, claiming that truth would set people free. Recent testimony about how the Bush Administration has suppressed scientific information on global warming has become a sad metaphor for how far we have fallen.

The life changing “truth” Jesus spoke of was knowledge through a relationship with God. From what I can tell he never tried to trick anyone. He hardly ever even asked for belief. He trusted that with enough information people would make the right decision. Compare that to the way President Bush has operated on a myriad of topics, but in this case global warming. His tactics finally saw the light of day today in congressional hearings.

Federal scientists have been pressured to play down global warming.

Climate scientists frequently have been dissuaded from talking to the media about their research.

Interview requests of climate scientists frequently were "routed through the White House" and then turned away or delayed.

Scientific findings have been edited by the White House to reveal more positive findings.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has asked for those documents and, not surprisingly, the White House has been slow to hand them over.

The shady behavior among a supposed Christian administration is one thing. But a fear of science is not exclusive to the White House. In an incredible example of cognitive dissonance, Americans spend almost $6000 per person on health care, and yet more than half also reject the theory of evolution. We happily enjoy plastic surgery, air travel, and longer life spans, and 13% have never even heard of global warming. Our daily lives are lined with the benefits reaped from science and yet so many of us are deathly afraid of it.

Which principle of Christianity sets it in opposition to science? Why is an increase in knowledge feared? I don’t recall Jesus ever hiding knowledge. In-fact, most sermons you hear probably revolve around Jesus’ role in expanding God’s revelation, and then letting people make their own decisions based on that information.

Christianity should certainly not be opposed to pragmatism. Anyone can say they love God. Christianity says you can’t claim to love the unseen if you can’t love that which you can see. And so you get the command: who ever loves God must love his brother. Had John faced this current group of believers maybe he would have said asked how some can claim to love God while fearing facts? The church has done more to discredit itself by consistently fearing truth than any group of anti-religious zealots ever could.

The worst, perhaps, is acceptance of science only when it is convenient, a sad extension of many people’s faith. And that, perhaps, is why so many are disgusted with organized religion. So many of its fiercest supporters fail to see a disconnect when people who have devoted a lifetime to studying God can somehow find a way practice things that would shame even the sickest of people. Their reaction does not indicate any appreciation of newfound truth, but, rather, frustration at getting caught.

Scientists have now embraced what Christians should have been cherishing: truth. God only knows how you are supposed to elicit sincere appreciation by blocking knowledge. What is not hard to recognize is how such thinking corrodes life itself. Many Americans are racked with an impressive mixture of guilt, ignorance, and incompatible beliefs, and, in a reversal, their lives are bound by their thinking, or lack of it.

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Start Your Morning With BS From Fox and Friends (Video)

Look, I don't expect much from a show called "Fox and Friends." It sounds like some kind of after school special, and runs on about as much brain power.

What's with Fox's constant reference to ratings? Here are a bunch of people who apparently think news reporting is a lot like running for class president (including mocking opponents). But my favorite part is that dork laughing it up while he takes his spot in front of his goddamn weather map. Holy shit, how offensive is that? That's like some guy in high school making fun of you while he ducks into the home economics room.

And, as we learned in school, throwing stones is a nice way to cover shady, latent behavior:

That story, of course, was completely false. Oh, uh, are we supposed to verify anonymous news stories off the INTERNET?? Maybe next time, guys. The non-story dressed up as "huge" news was so believable that John Gibson used it as the perfect opportunity to finally reveal his alarming distaste for Muslims. It's nice to see people with such a healthy self-image, even if that too is completely fictional.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Hating Jimmy Carter, Living With Apartheid

In an incredible maneuver, Jimmy Carter has managed to drain even more water from the already depleted pool that is his reputation. And how did he manage such a thing? By vying once again for peace in Palestine. In doing so he has become more despised than one of the worst human rights violations in modern times.

Carter, who helped forge the half-successful Camp David accords, opted for a more brusque approach this time, suggesting that the road to peace in the Palestine probably does not involve occupying, and discriminating against an entire population of people. Of course I am referring to Carter's new book Palestine Peace Not Apartheid and the current facts on the ground in the Holy Land.

His book has ignited a firestorm very thin on substance, but fueled with ad-hominim attacks. Carter has been called a racist, a bigot, and anti-Semite. Even when the flack gives way, the current "debate" over Carter's book runs along these lines:

Person A: I saw a man beat another man in the alley.
Person B: He had it coming.
Person A: Maybe, but he still beat the man. Can we agree on that?
Person B: No. But he had it coming.

It's hard to find anyone who does not call Israel's current handling of the Palestinians a hard form of discrimination and segregation. It is not a matter of what the Palestinians did to deserve this, it is that such treatment is simply a violation of basic human rights. That is to say, no entire group of people deserves such treatment. And that is all. There is no way a viable peace process can move forward in Palestine if we can't even acknowledge these basic facts.

Washington Post writer Michael Kinsley has penned the most articulate critique of Carter's book I have found. He claims Carter's use of "apartheid" is wrong, writing, "Apartheid had a philosophical component and a practical one, both quite bizarre. Philosophically, it was committed to the notion of racial superiority."

It is inaccurate to make the argument that Israel's treatment of Palestinians is not apartheid because it is not inherently racist or practical. First, it must obviously seem practical to some people. Second, apartheid, which means apart-hood, is not limited simply to racial motivations. Kinsley goes on to say:
To start with, no one has yet thought to accuse Israel of creating a phony country in finally acquiescing to the creation of a Palestinian state. Palestine is no Bantustan. Or if it is, it is the creation of Arabs, not Jews.
This, of course, is highly debatable. The current Palestinian state has almost no sovereignty at all except for elections. It certainly has been powerless to stop Israel from building settlements on its own territory, and, currently, walls encasing those settlements, beyond the established borders of the Palestinian territories. Finally, he writes:
And the most tragic difference: Apartheid ended peacefully. This is largely thanks to Nelson Mandela, who turned out to be miraculously forgiving. If Israel is white South Africa and the Palestinians are supposed to be the blacks, where is their Mandela?
This misses the obvious point that blacks vastly outnumbered whites in South Africa. When Nelson Mandela, a leader with singular abilities, arose and united them they were then taken seriously. Currently Palestinians do outnumber Jews in Palestine, though barely. As their numbers continue to increase, no doubt it will become harder and harder to ignore them.

Even in this well thought-out peace you can find no facts denying how the Palestinians are treated. Their conditions don't even seem to register and that, of course, is exactly the problem. The argument only centers on semantics, which is irrelevant and insulting. You'd care little about terminology if you had spent your life in a refugee camp. Whether "apartheid" or a friendlier word is used, the facts don't change.

President Carter could have easily avoided such a subject, but he has lent himself this cause. He is not the first person to call the treatment of the Palestinians "apartheid." Notable Jewish writers like Daphna Golan-Agnon, a human rights activist, also employ the term. Happily there is common ground for people on all sides and that is the goal of peace. How will this be accomplished? Will peace be served by denying facts? By attacking the messenger?

No matter which side you are on, apartheid is unacceptable. It is both a human rights violation and a breeding ground for violence and terrorism. It erodes both justice and security. In light of this, it is almost laughable that Jimmy Carter is being vilified because he used a term that can't be refuted. True peace is going to take a lot more effort than that. It'll even take more than the energy now being wasted on hating Carter.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Cheney's Sick of You All Being Such Dicks

Why can't you all just go along with his fantasy? That's all he asks. Is that too much? Now he has to kill even more people.

Defending Iraq War, Defiant Cheney Cites 'Enormous Successes'

John Gibson: I hate myself and others

He's ugly as goat, and twice as stupid. John Gibson all but donned his pointy hood and white sheet as he conducted his own brand of debunking on CNN's report that the Barak Obama "madrasssa" story, which Fox News acted on, was a work of fiction. Obama's staff has fired back, specifically at Gibson, for engaging the story without confirming the charges.

Gibson, in an effort to salvage his journalistic integrity, said that the reporter who debunked the story "probably went to the very madrassa.” But he wasn't finished smearing an entire religion or a real reporter's methods. Not by a long shot.

GIBSON [W]hat did they see when they went to the madrassa where Barack Obama went to school?

HOST: Kids playing volleyball.

GIBSON: Playing volleyball, right. They didn’t see them in any terrorist training camps?


GIBSON: No. Um, but they probably didn’t show them in their little lessons where they’re bobbing their heads and memorizing the Koran.

HOST: I didn’t see any tape of that, no.

This guy is so ridiculous he would be funny if his special brand of ignorance and ethnocentrism didn't produce a shocking amount of terrorism. His books read more like hate manifestos. He's obviously trying hard to keep up with the conservative pundit curve, what with that dork Glenn Beck stealing all the headlines.


Fox's Gibson: CNN Reporter Who Debunked Obama Smear Probably Went to the Same Madrassa.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

John Kerry Will Not Seek the 2008 Presidency

It gave me pause to hear that John Kerry will not be seeking the presidency in 2008. His defeat in 2004 became the inspiration for this blog. He was a Vietnam vet, swiftboated, smeared, and soundly caricatured as an elite, New England liberal. It must sting like hell to loose to a guy like George Bush. Since then, Kerry, having done absolutely nothing from the executive branch, has proven himself to have been the far superior choice. Yet, all things must pass. And all future Kerry e-mails will now be flagged as spam.

Bachmann to Bush: Call Me?

I guess I wasn't the only one who noticed representative Michele Bachmann acting like a low-rent groupie at the State of the Union address. My actual thought while I watched her grip Bush's elbow and shoulders was "he's a married man." And I don't even give a shit about that kind of thing.

News of her inappropriate behavior towards the president has spread across the internet and into mass media.

Like others who wanted "face-time" with the president, she claimed her spot in the chamber early in the day--like she was waiting in line for Metallica tickets. When the president entered she greeted him with exuberance, much more so than the normal bullshit that goes on during this sort of thing. She touched him while he passed as if he were Jesus Christ. But then, after the speech, she made her move.
Bachmann had her hands on the president for a good 30 seconds while he tried to talk to people on his way out of the chamber. Finally, he allowed her to kiss him on the cheek, to which she blurted, "He kissed me in Minnesota, too."

Maybe it's love, Michele.

At least she got an autograph for making such a fool out of herself. I'll bet she was something before electricity.
Bachmann replaced Republican Mark Kennedy in the November elections, but apparently wishes to continue his tradition of shameless debauchery towards the president. I've been fired for less touching than that. No wonder Laura looks completely out of it all the time. I actually feel bad for her.

See the video here: MN Congresswoman can't keep her hands off Bush

NY Times: Michele Bachmann's death grip

No means no: Michele Bachmann feels up president

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Trackposted to Outside the Beltway, Is It Just Me?, The Random Yak, and Sujet- Celebrities, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

State of the Union: Speculative

I just finished watching Bush's state of the union speech, a time-honored tradition where the President gives his honest assessment on the current state of our great nation. I was so drunk by the time it was over.

I was happy to see they assembled Cheney for his sixth public appearance. He didn't look too happy to be out of his hyperbolic chamber though. His mask hastily fastened on, his head crudely welded to his exo-skeleton. Oh well. Glad to see Pelosi survived over 60 minutes of Vice Presidential exposure. Makeup blocks radiation?

Did Bush really say the government had to spend money wisely? It's always good to open with a joke.

Is the first lady suffering from some type of facial nerve damage? She looked like she was sitting on a gag buzzer the whole time. BUZZZZ. Smiles, everyone!

When is the last time Supreme Court justices heard this much speculation? If stricken from the record the speech would have consisted of the President clearing his throat and waiting for the applause to die down.

Let's see...No Child Left Behind, tax cuts, immigration, screwing America over....yep, all there.

Bush just came out against foreign oil. I guess he was serious about our addiction. Looks like he's going to fight it the way any good Christian would--lots of prayer, and some guilt. Seriously though, this oil thing has to be addressed. Not just because it puts us in bed with people who are sick of us, but there's that whole "global climate change" thing, which must be the new administration approved euphemism for "global warming."

I noticed Bush and Cheney drank their water at the same time. That's how in step these Republicans are. Spooky. I'll bet it was an inside joke to leave madam speaker out of the loop.

Is McCain sleeping?

Since we can't measure success by anything in Iraq, we will now measure it by what didn't happen: I guess we've thwarted various terrorist attacks in our global war on terror. However, terrorist attacks and violence we not only did not stop but helped cause are not an indictment on our current policy. It's neat how that works.

Wow. Bush just made Dick Durbin disappear!

Do the terrorists really hate freedom? Or are they tired of seeing their countries played like puppets? I'm sure all this terrorist stuff started when a bunch of idiots in caves thought, "You know who sucks? Those Americans. Freedom sucks! Let's destroy ourselves and others to stop it!"

Chertoff shaved his mustache. He almost doesn't look like the guy who helped ensure one of the biggest man-made disasters in American history.

Now Bush is babbling about building free societies in the Middle East. I'm just half-assing it at this point but don't you think that's what they're pissed about? How much dignity and freedom have we suppressed in the Middle East through the Cold War to keep the region an anti-communist block? Or, a cheep source of oil? When are we going to be done using the Mid-East as our political science lab project?

Cheney just started laughing hysterically. Man, he's weird.

I'm tired of people, especially anyone remotely linked to this administration, pontificating about what would happen in Iraq if we pulled the troops out. It's not that they're right or wrong, it's that no one knows. Especially not these people who have proved grossly ignorant on the entire affair. Bush is confidently predicting what will happen in Iraq, and the guy will probably get locked in a closet on the way out of the building.

That said, we're going to increase the size of the military. What this country needs now, more than ever, is more of those "Marines" commercials. My attitude is, if you're willing to put your life in the government's hands after this five year long commercial of incompetence, nothing I say will stop you. I'm going to stop worrying so much about it.

We've vowed to stop Iran from getting "nuculer" weapons, what ever those are. It's the nuclear ones we should be concerned about. Pwned.

Oh, here's the human interest segment! The president introduced Wesley Autry as a humble guy who saved a stranger in the New York City subway. As the audience started to applaud Autry jumped from his chair, raised his arms out, made a slow circle, basked in the glory and, before sitting his ass back down, gave the president some mad props. For real. That's about as humble as we get these days. I look forward to his book deal or motivational speaking tour.

Thomas Jefferson discarded the practice of giving the speech in-person because he thought it was too monarchical. Instead he wrote the speech down and sent it to congress to be read by a clerk. This continued until 1913. Watching all the pomp and circumstance today I think Jefferson was on the right track.

Dude, having Ted Nugent close the show probably wasn't the best idea.

Have You Accepted Cruise As Your Personal Lord and Savior?

He's not crazy, he's actually a lot like Christ, says Scientology leader David Miscavige about embattled actor Tom Cruise. According to a Sun Online story Tom Cruise is the new Christ. My only question is when is his execution?
The Mission: Impossible star has been told he has been “chosen” to spread the word of his faith throughout the world.

And leader David Miscavige believes that in future, Cruise, 44, will be worshipped like Jesus for his work to raise awareness of the religion.

A source close to the actor, who has risen to one of the church’s top levels, said: “Tom has been told he is Scientology’s Christ-like figure.

“Like Christ, he’s been criticised for his views. But future generations will realise he was right.”

Actually, by that criteria Cruise is much more like any Christian disciple, perhaps an evangelist, definitely a televangelist. Regardless, being crowned the new Jesus Christ has to be at least as big as winning American Idol, right? After all, Jesus, you're my American Idol. I for one welcome our new misunderstood savior. I can be very useful in rounding up Christians to work in his underground sugar caves.

Scientologists also expect his name to be widely used in vein 1000 years from now, and to be the focal point of all the wars between the seven Kingdoms of Suri and the moons of Jupiter. Praise, Tom!

McCain: I Too Am Tired of Carrying Water

The Politico reports that John McCain has finally come out against the handling of the war in Iraq. After carrying water for the administration Senator McCain has decided to take a bold stance and come out against Vice President Cheney much the same way Princess Diana once came out against land mines.

Although McCain had once lavished praise on the vice president, he said in an interview in his Senate office: "The president listened too much to the Vice President . . . Of course, the president bears the ultimate responsibility, but he was very badly served by both the Vice President and, most of all, the Secretary of Defense."

McCain added: "Rumsfeld will go down in history, along with McNamara, as one of the worst secretaries of defense in history." Donald Rumsfeld served as President Bush's secretary of defense from January 2001 to December 2006. Robert McNamara was Secretary of Defense during the Vietnam War.
McCain, who recently topped a list of the 50 Most Loathsome People in America, will be seeking the presidency in 2008. He is currently on a roll, changing his stance on gay marriage, tax-cuts, and abortion, all to position himself for the big run. Just two years ago McCain was an avowed Cheney admirer, describing him as "one of the most capable, experienced, intelligent and steady vice presidents this country has ever had." But today we welcome John McCain to the 70% of America that believes the Bush Administration has absolutely no idea what is going on or how to conduct a war, any war, but especially a war on terrorism, a war in Iraq. What took you so long?

During McCain's lauding Cheney extended his contempt for the American people and continued a pugnacious attitude that has led to a deteriorating national image, two failed wars, thousands of civilians killed, and huge contracts for Haliburton. Thankfully the American people have forged the way, handing down Nixon-like poll ratings for Bush / Cheney et. al., which means now McCain and probably other Republican presidential hopefuls can summon the courage to identify Dick Cheney, and, perhaps, the other in-office criminals, as a liability to the Republic.

Next Up: Obama Planned Kennedy Assasination?

Last week conservative blogs broke a story, reportedly leaked by Hillary Clinton's campaign, that Barak Obama was educated at an Islamic religious school in Indonesia known as a "madrassa." Fox News helped float the story and also did not refute the false claim that Obama was a Muslim. Soon news of Obama's radical Islamic upbringing was all over the internets.

Today CNN debunked the entire story.

But reporting by CNN in Jakarta, Indonesia and Washington, D.C., shows the allegations that Obama attended a madrassa to be false. CNN dispatched Senior International Correspondent John Vause to Jakarta to investigate.

"It's not (an) Islamic school. It's general," a former member of the school said. "There is a lot of Christians, Buddhists, also Confucian. ... So that's a mixed school."

The Obama aide described Fox News' broadcasting of the Insight story "appallingly irresponsible."

Personally, I'm shocked, no, stunned, to hear that ignorance has raised its ugly head in our country. Hold that thought...this just in... Insight Magazine has just learned that Barak Obama planned the 1963 Kennedy assassination...

CNN Debunks Obama 'Madrassa' Smear

Friday, January 19, 2007

Is America Ready for a Smart President?

Senator Barak Obama came one step closer to running for President by forming one of those gnostic exploratory committees. This news road the heels of a 28 year old woman's death from drinking two gallons of water to win a Nintendo Wii. The juxtaposition is, perhaps, timely, because the big question concerning Senator Obama's presidential chances is: are we ready for a black smart president?

Participating in any contest conceived by the sugar-filled mind of a radio DJs is a lot like letting the inmates run the asylum. I don't really expect anyone working in radio to know or care about things like water intoxication. But I'm pensive about considering our reality when someone will sign a waver for the chance to win a $250 gaming console.

That is one end of things. Then consider someone like Barak Obama, a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School, former law professor at Chicago University, and current silver-tongued, golden boy, and twice platinum Senator from Illinois. You can see the massive mountain someone like this must descend from in order to even attempt to be able to represent the United States as her president.

Truly, no one will ever do the job as accurately as President George W. Bush has.
Say what you will about him, but he had his finger on our pulse before his hands went to our throats. One of his most endearing, and accurate qualities is a consistent sodomizing of the English language. Now there's a guy who knows where you're coming from when he commits more troops to Iraq.

Remember that geek Al Gore? What's he doing now? Hawking his slide show with gregarious amounts of scientific evidence linked to "climate crisis"? (Yawn) Adviser to Google's senior management? (Big shot) A member of Apple's board of directors? (Pinko commie left wing liberal) Who finds these guys?

John Kerry never had a chance either. He was lauded, rightfully so, for being too verbose. Ask him about anti-terrorism security measures or diplomacy with North Korea and the guy will talk a blue streak. Who asked for his life story? Four years with him as President would have been like watching the debate team captain dating the head cheerleader.

Would Barak Obama understand these, the inane, and often deadly, nuances of American life? DJs who devise contests that kill the contestants and contestants who participate in them are all part of one, great American symbiosis not unlike the one involving a President and his subjects. This, along with the sheer number of hunting accidents and other improbable disasters, do not just speak to the ingenuity of the American spirit, but they demand adequate representation.

Is America Ready for a Smart President?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Everyone's Talking Obama: Your Guide to Right-Wing Blogs (with sarcasm)

Barack Obama has rocketed to #2 on Technorati (He has become Sonny Bono to iPhone's Cher...). This puts the Senator from Illinois well ahead Democratic front-runners Hilary Clinton and John Edwards. He's even ahead of Britney Spears.

All of this buzz means that some people are very excited about his potential candidacy and some are pretty nervous. I immediately wondered how the other half was reacting to all this Obamamania, so I took a journey up river to visit some of my more conservative brethren. My quest was to identify which irrational fear will eventually cripple Obama's run for president. What follows are my findings, the fascinating and frightening, like stumbling upon an undiscovered tribe in the heart of the jungle.

From Right Wing News:
My gut instinct is that there are 7 or 8 Republican candidates who could beat him in a Reagan style landslide because he's inexperienced, very liberal, and beyond charisma, he brings nothing to the table.
Perception: he's inexperienced.
Odds of taking hold:
1 in 5. We all say we want experience but that almost never decides anything. We never had a president Gore or a President Kerry. We've had the noobish President Bush re-elected. Bill Clinton, a very inexperienced governor from Arkansas, came before him.

Next, from RedState :
Clearly, Obama has struck a chord with celebrity watchers, liberal Democrats, and even ordinary Joes who ache for someone to mount the White Horse and ride to the rescue; the shining knight saving us all from our partisan follies and rancorous politics. But is there anything inside the armor our savior is wearing? Or is it simply a matter of us filling that empty suit with whatever hopes and dreams we can stuff inside it?

Obama is not an everyman. He is an "anyman" - he's anything you want him to be. Until he defines himself, he risks having his political opponents do it for him. And that's an opportunity that Team Hillary is salivating for.

Perception: Obama doesn't stand for anything.
Odds of taking hold:
1:3. It's familiar territory for most Democrats, a party coming up with so many plans and ideas that the administration can say they have no plans or ideas. Standing for something specific can only get you in trouble. Look how President Bush's campaign promises are often dug up and used in mudslinging sessions. Now he stands for vague, undefinable concepts that can neither be proven wrong or right. Well done.

Again, from RedState:
There really is no other way to describe the fawning, goo-goo eyed coverage of Mr. Obama in the press except "Obamania." More has been written about his pecs than about his thoughts on Iraq. One would think his first name is "Rock Star" given how many times that appellation has appeared as a descriptive of his impact on a crowd. His books have rocketed to the top of the bestseller charts - thanks to millions of dollars in free publicity given by the media.
Perception: Obama is allied with the liberal media.
Odds of taking hold:
1 in 2. The liberal media is one of the biggest fears out there. And they should be. Four years ago almost all of them cozied up to the invasion of Iraq.

Perception 2: He has killer pecs?
Odds of taking hold: None. Move on.

Next, from Rightwing Guy:
He was elected in 1996 to the Illinois state Senate, where he earned a reputation as a consensus-building Democrat who was extremely liberal on such social and economic issues as backing gay rights, abortion rights, gun control, universal health care and tax breaks for the poor.
Perception: he's a humanist?
Odds of taking hold:
1 in 2. This could sink him for sure.

Next, from Atlas Shrugs:
One of the most entertaining opportunities that will emerge in 2007 will be using Barack Obama to fight Islamofascism. He is the product of a black Moslem from Kenya, Barrack Hussein Obama, and a white atheist from Kansas, Shirley Ann Dunham, who met at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. That is why his middle name is the same as Saddam’s: Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. His first name is taken from the Islamic term in Arabic for “blessed,” baraka, used in the Koran.
Perception: he's Muslim?
Odds of taking hold: 1:1. Oh, sure, he says he's a Christian, anyone can say that. But his upbringing, race, etc. are all working against him here. This will play real well to ignorant stereotypes and I look for it to be mined exhaustively. Almost every blog I read was careful to write out his entire name, Barak Hussein Obama, as often as possible, as in "Will a Hussein really fight terror?"

Next, from Republican Michigander: Barack Osama, I mean Obama is in for 2008.

Perception: his name sounds like Osama?
Odds of taking hold:
1 in 1. It's so stupid it can't miss.

I would like to see potential candidates rise and fall on their merits, but we all know that's not going to happen. So, chose your weapon. If you're looking for a little mainstream tact in your quest to hate or defame Obama, I recommend RedState. It's very well-done and tackles a wide range of issues with diplomacy. For example: its latest offering is a nice rebuff of global warming.

If, how ever, you really want to quit being a pussy and get down to business I recommend Atlas Shrugs. The venom coming out of this blog is potent; only a true snake handler should venture in there. Well done, sir!

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This Day in Amundsen History

On this day, 1912, English explorer Robert F. Scott and his expedition reached the South Pole, only to discover that Roald Amundsen had gotten there first.

Scott's expedition has been viewed as a metaphor for disastrous
planning and mismanagement. Scott used skis, dogs, tractors (which broke down about 50 miles from base camp), and Mongolian Horses (which were eventually killed for food) on the initial stages of his journey. They did not handle dogs in the manner of Amundsen and did not use ski effectively. Scott calculated the supply requirements based on a number of expeditions, both by members of his team and by those of Shackleton. The shortage of food and fuel that eventually killed Scott's team was due to the unexpectedly cold weather and the injuries of members of the team slowing their progress and a leakage of fuel from the cans stored in the depots. The British Empire quickly adopted Scott as a hero after he and his party's frozen bodies were recovered on the Ross Ice Shelf, their sleds still heavily laden with scientific equipment.

The fact remains that Amundsen's party had good equipment, correct clothing, had a different understanding of the primary task, understood dogs and their handling, used skis effectively. He pioneered an entirely new route to the Pole and they returned.

Other stuff: Just a quick update, I've changed the way Thought Alarm accepts comments. Mainly so I could have the "recent comments" widget in my sidebar. Yeah, that's it. I'm fickle that way. Everyone's comments are still saved if I roll back to the original way of doing it. Feel free to give the new mechanism a spin, courtesy of HaloScan.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Surfing Muslims unveil 'burkini', otherwise known as the 'wet suit'

Muslim swimwear designers have discovered the wet suit. They're calling it a burkini and it is currently all the rage among observant female surfers.

Judge for yourself.

The new burkini allows Muslim women to go to the beach, yet remain modest and almost completely covered. The two pieces of overlapping synthetic fiber, which bears no resemblance to a bikini whatsoever, is selling for $160. Manufacturers are hoping its appeal will spread beyond only Muslim women.

Body Glove was unavailable for comment.

Meanwhile born again Christians have harnessed the power of rock music and turned it into a completely innocuous and placid form of expression, dubbed 'Christian rock.' Christian producers are hopeful that 'Christian rock' will gain acceptance outside of the church.

Religion. Is there anything it can't redefine?

Monday, January 15, 2007

Too Much Terror?

A recent report showed that since Christmas more Americans have died in New Orleans than in Iraq. This was used by some to show that Iraq is not a raging civil war, but is, in-fact, safer than some places in America. Needless to say I did not find much comfort in the comparison. Have we gone from measuring Iraq against ourselves to measuring ourselves against Iraq? This report is indicative, and the facts seem to bear it out: Iraq, the grand front in the war on terror, seems to be a much higher priority than many elements of our own country. It seems to make little sense to do everything we can to protect ourselves from rogue organizations when in the process we end up doing far-more damage than they could ever hope to accomplish.

How terrifying is terrorism? In a recent poll Americans ranked it as a greater threat than global warming. It is already the dominant issue for potential presidential candidates, while we channel trillions of dollars to attempt to fight it. Indeed a widespread dismay and suspicion over terrorism has set in across the country. John Muller's uses this as the base for his book A False Sense of Insecurity. The book suggests that perhaps we have an inordinate fear of terrorism. To make the point Muller points out terrorism is actually less harmful to Americans than peanut allergies. However, most people understand the inherent difference between death by peanuts, and death by terrorism. And that difference is right where we expect the government to step in: to protect us from people out to kill us. But I think we also expect the government to act to the appropriate degree. Muller's effort raises a valid question: are we trying too hard in the war on terror?

The terrorists have only one angle and that is to strike fear into as many people as possible. From that perspective the White House has done an incredible job of PR for them. On October 21, 2004 Vice President Dick Cheney told us we were "far better off" fighting in Iraq than "fighting them here in the streets of our own cities." He uttered the very same statement just three months ago. This type of rhetoric is typical of the administration which has allowed a nervous mind-set to settle in across the country. Such paranoia is no-doubt what prompted Glenn Beck to ask congressman Keith Ellison whether or not he was "working with our enemies." You see, Ellison, along with being a natural born citizen, is also a Muslim. The enlightened founding fathers never had to fight a war on terror.

And the key strategy in fighting against terror seems to be to terrify citizens and use that fear as the reasoning for invading Iraq, or suspending various civil liberties. In their wildest, terror-filled dreams did the 9/11 planners ever think the United State's renounce freedom itself? While they succeeded in scaring us, the death of American values has been an unplanned terrorist victory. Today some people are so worked up we are expected to pay any price to fight terror. Perhaps this would explain a recent article which stated even if we loose 6,000 Americans or more in Iraq it will be worth it to avoid another 9/11. On such reasoning our contemporary society flows. President Bush recently painted the war as the "ideological struggle of our generation." We personify it to a level unimaginable by even the most zealous terrorist. We have currently committed over half a trillion dollars to fight it in Iraq, or about eight times our annual education budget. We fear terrorists much more than uneducated citizens. Sowing irrational concerns to an poorly educated public equals big returns at the polls but it also plays into the wrong hands.

Experts agree that the real threat is not another 9/11, but that a rogue organization will acquire a nuclear weapon and detonate it in a highly populated area. Along those lines how effective has Iraq been? Our own government releases reports saying we have increased the pool of potential candidates who would use WMDs against us. So, while our false sense of insecurity boiled over into the invasion of Iraq, we may not be concerned enough about how ineffective the invasion has been. Terrorism needs to be addressed in the right way, not in an overblown, hyperventilating paranoia. The price we have paid is enormous, not the least of which has been handing over our identity and ignoring the needs inside our country. We vowed we would never allow the terrorists to change us. But have we lost ourselves trying to change the terrorists?

This piece also appears on BlogCritics.

Trackposted to: Outside the Beltway, Is It Just Me?, Perri Nelson's Website, Mark My Words, The Random Yak, Adam's Blog, Big Dog's Weblog, basil's blog, DragonLady's World, Common Folk Using Common Sense, Conservative Cat, Pursuing Holiness, Sujet- Celebrities, Rightwing Guy, Wake Up America, The HILL Chronicles, Faultline USA, third world county, Stageleft, The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns, stikNstein... has no mercy, Pirate's Cove, Blue Star Chronicles, Planck's Constant, The Pink Flamingo, Dumb Ox News, Dumb Ox News, High Desert Wanderer, Right Voices, OTB Sports, and Gone Hollywood, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

Bush Educator-in-Chief? Life is Now Officially Worse Than Middle School

In-case you missed the Bush interview on 60 Minutes allow me to sum it up: I'm the Prez, so fuck off. The President answered questions on the only things that matter to anyone, anywhere, anymore: the war in Iraq, terrorism, mistakes, and how the world is a better place without dictators who have a tenuous grasp on reality (hypothetically, of course).

The questioning began on the current lack of support for the war in Iraq. Bush said failure in Iraq would embolden the enemy. It would provide a safe heaven for terrorists. It would empower Iran. If we fail in Iraq the enemy would follow us here.

(Interviewer Scott Pelley gave Bush a good deal of time to dole out enough rope to hang himself by. If losing in Iraq is that dangerous, if Iraq is that essential to global security, shouldn't we have given it a little more thought from the beginning? And that is exactly where the interview went.)

PELLEY: But wasn't it your administration that created the instability in Iraq?

And then the President tried to explain how Iraq was unstable before we invaded.

BUSH: He was a significant source of instability.

PELLEY: It's much more unstable now, Mr. President.

BUSH: Well, no question decisions have made things unstable. But the question is can we succeed. And I believe we can.

(The President had just defined "success" as not empowering Iran, not providing a safe haven for Iraq. Before we invaded Iraq was Iran's sworn enemy, and a secularist country most terrorists hated.)

After discussion various Presidential mistakes Pelley asked if we didn't owe the Iraqi people an apology.

BUSH: That we didn't do a better job or they didn't do a better job?

PELLEY: Well, that the United States did not do a better job in providing security after the invasion.

BUSH: Not at all. I am proud of the efforts we did. We liberated that country from a tyrant. I think the Iraqi people owe the American people a huge debt of gratitude, and I believe most Iraqis express that. I mean, the people understand that we've endured great sacrifice to help them. That's the problem here in America. They wonder whether or not there is a gratitude level that's significant enough in Iraq.

Then Pelley asked Bush about al-Sadr, who every expert knows is running the Maliki government.

PELLEY: You don't fear that al-Sadr's actually running the show?

BUSH: He may wanna be but, no, I don't think he is.

Then Pelley went to the video of Saddam's execution. Saddam's was executed to shouts of "Muqtada!" But Bush didn't make the subtle connection that while the Maliki government hanged Saddam, the Iraqi people themselves saw it as the hand of al-Sadr moving. Also, the President, who governed over 131 executions in the state of Texas, seemed uncomfortable viewing capital punishment at work.

PELLEY: Well, you keep saying "parts of it." What do you mean you didn't wanna watch the whole thing?

BUSH: I wasn't sure what to anticipate beyond the yelling and stuff like that. And I didn't . . .

PELLEY: You didn't wanna see him go through the trapdoor.

BUSH: Yeah. Yes. I didn't.

(Yeah, capital punishment is unwatchable isn't it?)

Then, the conversation turned to The President's new plan.

PELLEY: Do you believe that the House has the constitutional authority to prevent you from the troop build-up? Can they stop you?

BUSH: By not funding the troops I suspect is what you're referring to.

PELLEY: That would be one . . .

BUSH: I assume that's one of their options. I will fight that, of course. 'Cause I think when you got a soldier in harm's way, they deserve a full support.

(In other words, if, hypothetically, a delusional president ordered the invasion of a country, and that move turned out to be such a disastrous mistake he ordered more troops in to correct it, he has a blank check from congress.)

Bush then talked about how the Democrats have no plan and that, ironically, it's not the Democrats's responsibility to have a plan but he wants the Democrats to explain why their plan will work.

Pelley told Bush that most Americans feel he hasn't been straightforward with the country.

"On which issue?" the President asked.

And Pelley started to rattle off issue after issue until the President stopped him.

(Ohhhh, those issues? Bush, of course, then rejected the entire line of thought.)

PELLEY: You seem to be saying that you may have been wrong but you weren't dishonest.

BUSH: Oh, absolutely.

PELLEY: When was it that you first found out or it dawned on you that, indeed, there were no weapons of mass destruction? And I wonder, did you think, "What have I done?"

BUSH: I wondered what went wrong, because you can't conduct this war on terror unless you've got good intelligence. And so the first thing I did was I put a commission together to take a good, hard look at what did go...

(Actually, civilians came up with the idea of the 9/11 Commission, which the president rejected. The Democrats picked it up and finally the President caved and agreed to let the commission go forward. After that the President gave CIA Director George Tenent the Medal of Freedom.)

PELLEY: I wonder if you feel like you've been ill-served by your Cabinet members, [Defense Secretary] Mr. [Donald] Rumsfeld, perhaps even Vice-President [Dick] Cheney. Wrong on WMD. Wrong on the connection between 9/11 and Iraq. And now you're in a fix. And I wonder if you look back and wonder who let you down.

BUSH: Let me correct something on this connection between Saddam Hussein and 9/11. That was never the case in this administration. You know, I always said we never had evidence that Saddam Hussein ordered the attacks on 9/11. And so I don't know who continues to say that.

PELLEY: The vice-president suggested there was a connection, not necessarily 9/11, but certainly to al-Qaeda.

BUSH: [Al Qaeda’s Abu Musab] al-Zarqawi was in Iraq. But rather than debating the past, let me get back to the question.

PELLEY: Yes, sir.

BUSH: The vice-president's been a great vice-president. And Don Rumsfeld did a really find job as Secretary of Defense. Quite the contrary, I feel like this country is blessed to have those kind of people serving.

PELLEY: Vice-president involved in these war plans?

BUSH: Absolutely.

PELLEY: As much as he ever has been?

BUSH: Oh, yeah, sure. I mean, I rely upon my National Security Council, and I expect everybody to make contributions, and I expect to hear everybody's opinions. And when I make up my mind, I expect them to salute and say, "Yes, sir, Mr. President."

PELLEY: Final question. How can you escalate the war when so many people in this country seem to be against it?

BUSH: The best way to succeed at this point in time is to increase troops in Baghdad to stop the sectarian violence so that a political process, an economic process . . . so that the will of the 12 million people that voted in Iraq can be realized.

(The will of 12 million Iraqi's trumps the will of the American people.)

BUSH: Scott, sometimes you're the commander-in-chief, sometimes you're the educator-in-chief, and a lot of times you're both when it comes to war.

(Did Bush has just appointed himself Educator-in-Chief? Sweet is now officially worse than middle school!)

BUSH: I believe there ought to be a Palestinian democracy.

(There is a Palestinian democracy. Just no Palestinian state.)

BUSH: I think it's interesting that in the midst of all the troubles, that there are people who are actively fighting a form of government which is beneficial to people, and that's democracy. We are in an ideological struggle, and it's a really classic ideological struggle, and Iraq is part of it. And it's very important for me to not only continue to explain why I believe we can be successful in Iraq but explain to people that what happens in the Middle East will affect the future of this country.

(BUSH: Cheney sings that to me when he tucks me in at night.)


he entire 60 Minutes transcript

The Shameless President on 60 Minutes


I found one dissent:

What Liberal Media?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Fallout Over Bush's New Plan

President Bush unveiled his new plan last night and the backlash has been swift.

Some Republicans immediately opposed it.

News analysts seemed stunned.

A poll found that only 36% of Americans support Buh's new plan.

I took a moment to formulate my own thoughts on the news, in an article called on BlogCritics called "Plan 9 From Iraq". It's currently at -4 on Reddit, which means its probably right on point. On Digg and Netscape it's at least in the positive. I invite you to judge for yourself and participate in the dialog.

It seems that everyone is alarmed about the escalation--not just in Iraq, but also concerning Iran. Bush is calling for a widening of the offensive in the Middle East. On NPR I overheard a Senator declare that "this is the worst policy blunder since Vietnam." Do you think it's crazy to be alarmed about war with Iran? We thought the Iraq talk was crazy once too. But the President has a knack for making the unimaginable very real. People once found it compelling that he paid no attention to polls. And now?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Bush's New Plan: Escalation in Iraq, Strike Force for Iran

President Bush unwrapped some late Christmas gifts tonight: 20,000 more troops to fight in Iraq, and a carrier strike force to intimidate Iran. Bush addressed the country tonight and laid out his new plan for expanding the ongoing war in Iraq. Bush called the conflict as the "ideological struggle of our time" and said more troops are needed to secure Baghdad.

His plan to increase the troop total in Iraq comes as a surprise to no one. Bush also spurned most of the Iraq Study Group's recommendations (but managed to invoke the report's name a few times) and wide-spread public opinion against sending more troops.
But the biggest news is Bush's plan to broaden the military, increase the number foreign affairs advisers for various "nation building" activities, and a carrier strike force to keep Iran in check. Rather than turn to pragmatism, Bush sounded more imperialistic than ever.

These goals fly in the face of the public opinion which has turned steeply against the war.
At this moment each American needs to ask one simple question: do you trust the President's judgment? Would you trust him to fix your plumbing? Do you trust him to navigate the complex and tenuous Middle East? Do you trust your son or daughter's life in his hands? The answer is no. After four years, 400 billion dollars and 3,000 lives, the President cannot ask us to escalate our trust in him while he escalates troops in Iraq. If America is the greatest country on earth we are well within our rights to demand better from our President.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

McGwire Hall of Fame?...going, going, gone

You may have heard that Mark McGwire did not make it into the Baseball Hall of Fame today. It didn't take me long to discover this picture and a blog post was born. I've been somewhat torn over the McGwire / baseball steroid issue for a while now. Line56 has an interesting article that uses McGwire's situation as a market analogy. I like analogies so here it is:

For some reason, the furor over Wal-Mart's new software reminds me of the righteous indignation at Mark McGwire, the former baseball now denied entry to the Hall of Fame. It is symptomatic of a certain kind of schizophrenia that we demand our heroes to kill the cow and then interrogate them over how they got the meat. Wal-Mart is, after all, responding to our demand. We want big home run hitters and $9 DVDs and plenty of other things that someone, somewhere has to sacrifice to achieve.

If baseball fans hadn't salivated over the McGwire-Sosa home run derby, and appreciated Ichiro's style of baseball more, steroids wouldn't have taken over the big leagues. If we remained willing to pay $22 for DVDs, Wal-Mart workers wouldn't be paid minimum wage.

Why should Mark McGwire and Wal-Mart suffer for our greed?

That's essentially how I feel about this whole issue. Let's face it, we're taking McGwire, Palmero, Bonds and others down for basically giving us what we wanted. Often the 1998 McGwire / Sosa home run chase is credited with saving baseball. I don't know if I'll go that far but it did serve as a huge turnaround. Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci has become the resident watchdog for purity in baseball, but even he was not immune, when recapping the '98 season he called McGwire's 70 home runs "good for baseball." We were all turning a blind eye to the obvious.

Still, I'm glad the Hall of Fame voters stood up and erred on the side of ethics. The things we value one moment and the things we honor for a lifetime are two different things. Baseball, for better or worse, is a game of tradition. It is a game of comparison. Perhaps most of all it is a game of purity and innocence. Or, at least, we'd like to think it is. When football's Shawne Merriman failed a steroid drug test earlier this season he was suspended for four games. He came back and was elected to the pro-bowl. When baseball's Rafael Palmeiro committed the same gaff everyone knew his career was over.

Football has a much shorter memory. Rules and records are broken but the game is fixated on next Sunday. Mark McGwire's congressional testimony may have said that he didn't want to look at the past, but that's all baseball fans look at. It is a game linked to history. Knowing what we know now about the use of steroids in baseball, it is not hard to extrapolate backwards to McGwire. He may have saved baseball, but his day in Cooperstown will have to wait.

What do you think?

Welcome to the Hall Cal and Tubby

Monday, January 08, 2007

The Rumors on the Internets of Khamenei's Death

The rumors on the internets of the Ayatollah Khamenei's death were greatly Michael Ledeen. Some consider Mr. Ledeen to be an "an expert on U.S. foreign policy." Well, ok, that's what his bio says over at the American Enterprise Institute where he is also a freedom scholar, or fellow, or level 20 grand wizard or something.

But back to the death of Khamenei, I know we have low standards for foreign policy expertise these days but this is ridiculous. Maybe they'll take anyone at the AEI, as long as you recite their oath of initiation. Why am I being so critical? Well, the AIE is a conservative think tank which just released a plan for victory in Iraq, most of which President Bush will be using as his talking points during his upcoming speech. Nothing quite like crib notes before the big test, huh? But if this Khamenei death thing is any indication, the AEI may still be working off the same intel sheet used for the Iraq war. If so, God help us all.

Ah, So That Accounts for the Abject Failure Success of Trainwreck Media!

Another wingnut blog story up in flames: PJ Media prints rumor as fact

My Thoughts on NASA's Destruction of Life on Mars

It reinforces the advice my father gave me on my wedding day: If you ever travel to Mars don't step on anything.

Thank you for your time.

GM Introduces Plug-In Electric Car Due Many, Many Years From Now

From today's Washington Post comes news of the electric car redux!

General Motors Chairman G. Richard Wagoner Jr. on Sunday unveiled an innovative prototype, the Chevrolet Volt -- a plug-in vehicle that derives its power primarily from electricity rather than gasoline -- as the world's automakers take on global warming and U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

I, for one, was prepared to welcome our new electric overlords but then I read this:

GM hasn't given a date when consumers can buy the Volt because the advanced lithium-ion batteries needed to power the vehicle -- similar to technology used in cellphones -- are still years from widespread use in automobiles.

Somewhere a big dog barked. I'm filing this right next to the hydrogen fuel cell, and magical, swarming robots.

Shareholders were unavailable for comment.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Words from the waterboys

In my thoughts about Saddam Hussein's execution I lamented that this entire affair seemed manufactured. From our reasons to invading Iraq all the way to guards recording the execution itself it was like a Hollywood project green light for all the wrong reasons and continued regardless. I posted a screenshot showing Saddam Hussein's current popularity on YouTube, grim evidence that this thing was probably more about sadism than justice. That article alone has sent hundreds of people to this web page.

My own article on BlogCritics produced more than a few comments that sounded completely sympathetic to Saddam. In many countries including Iraq, Saddam has gone from being a convicted criminal to a compelling and tragic figure. This week The New York Times has reported that images of his hanging are making Saddam Hussein a martyr.

By standing up to the United States and its client government in Baghdad and dying with seeming dignity, Mr. Hussein appears to have been virtually cleansed of his past.

“Suddenly we forgot that he was a dictator and that he killed thousands of people,” said Roula Haddad, 33, a Lebanese Christian. “All our hatred for him suddenly turned into sympathy, sympathy with someone who was treated unjustly by an occupation force and its collaborators.”

Just a month ago Mr. Hussein was widely dismissed as a criminal who deserved the death penalty, even if his trial was seen as flawed. Much of the Middle East reacted with a collective shrug when he was found guilty of crimes against humanity in November.

But shortly after his execution last Saturday, a video emerged that showed Shiite guards taunting Mr. Hussein, who responded calmly but firmly to them. From then on, many across the region began looking at him as a martyr.

I agree that video was unfortunate. It was produced from the same place that our original invasion was: vengeance rather than justice. I've never argued that Saddam did not deserve justice, but I have a hard time finding it here. The injustice to Iraq began with the hyping of pre-war intelligence. This was done in order to generate the collective rage needed to invade that country. You don't have to try very hard to understand how a people who value justice, who live in a region that has been treated so unjustly, now view this as another example disastrous Western meddling.

I say this with no satisfaction, but it does us no good to ignore current facts the way we've ignored Middle Eastern culture and history. Just prior to invasion an Iraqi exile had a long conversation with President George Bush explaining that there were, as it turns out, two sects in Islam. I suspect the President figured he had more important things to worry about. We were so confident that Democracy and freedom would trump history and culture that such minor details could hardly be worried over.

Just days before the war, on "Face the Nation", Dick Cheney said the fight would be "weeks rather than months. There's always the possibility of complications that you can't anticipate, but I have great confidence in our troops." Cheney also predicted the fight would "go relatively quickly, but we can't count on that."

Hours later on NBC's "Meet the Press," Cheney said, "I think things have gotten so bad inside Iraq, from the standpoint of the Iraqi people, my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators." It was then he predicted that the regular Iraqi soldiers would not "put up such a struggle," and that even "significant elements of the Republican Guard . . . are likely to step aside." Asked if Americans are prepared for a "long, costly and bloody battle," Cheney replied: "Well, I don't think it's likely to unfold that way. . . . The read we get on the people of Iraq is there is no question but what they want to the get rid of Saddam Hussein, and they will welcome as liberators the United States when we come to do that."

It is time for us all to become realists. Hubris got us into this mess, maybe sober judgement can get us out. We glossed over incidentals, brushed aside reasonable concerns, and ignored the international community, all to take Saddam down. And, of course, it turns out we erred at almost every step of the way. We proved entirely unworthy to impart justice but we did anyway. Is that civilized? Is that an American? In fact it's so distasteful its creators are trying to slip out the back window unnoticed.

The American Conservative has published an incredible article entitled "Selective Amnesia" blasting neoconservative pro-war advocates for now changing their story on Iraq.

The invasion would not have occurred had Americans not been persuaded of its wisdom and necessity, and leading that charge was a stable of pundits and media analysts who glorified President Bush’s policies and disseminated all sorts of false information and baseless assurances.

Yet there seems to be no accountability for these pro-war pundits. On the contrary, they continue to pose as wise, responsible experts and have suffered no lost credibility, prominence, or influence. They have accomplished this feat largely by evading responsibility for their prior opinions, pretending that they were right all along or, in the most extreme cases, denying that they ever supported the war.

The article then goes on to crush Michael Leadon, a "Freedom Scholar" at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington. I was also very happy to see Charles Krauthammer did not escape the article's wrath. Krauthammer, one of the most vocal pro-war critics, has recently written an article in the Washington Post calling Saddam's execution a travesty. Indeed, most reasonable people are compelled to view it that way. The real travesty, of course, has been the entire endeavor. The incredible implausibility of their ideas aside, how come more of these people didn't foresee the high possibility of failure by asking this administration to conduct an operation so complex, which required so much sensitivity?

I think it is one thing to have favored the war, and to have lent reason and rhetoric to the cause. I can excuse that, in a way, because perhaps their heart really was in it. You can see how their eyes glow when they talk of battalion and brigades, these Monday morning hawks. But notice how the war they once favored they are now distancing themselves from and reluctantly trying to solve. I love how they say, "I wasn't asked but here's how I would solve the problem.." as if it were someone else's evil creation and they had nothing to do with it. It is as if I, after years of watching on television, presumed to know how to run a football team and, after running that team into the ground, I confidently present my ideas to fix the problem.

They are done "carrying water" as Rush Limbaugh triumphant stated.
But the most disturbing thing to me is that these people are still taken seriously. Maybe the greatest injustice is that these waterboys are given a chance to influence the team to such a powerful degree. Their previous ideas have not completely disqualified them. They should be viewed in the same way we view Pat Robertson: insane. Why is it considered crazy to call for the assassination of Hugo Chavez for rhetorical saber rattling about the United States, and not crazy to call for the invasion of Iraq for possession of WMDs? At least Robertson's belief is, incredibly, the reaction to a fact.

Consider Vice President Cheney again who, on "This Week" two days before the mid-term elections, pontificated on all kinds of things, confidently. Honestly, I have no idea where that kind of nerve comes from after being so completely wrong on so many things. I view him as I would someone who has just told me with utter confidence that he has just returned from the planet Tralfamadore. I will give Cheney credit on Haliburton though. A foreign affairs expert he is not. A keen businessman? Indeed. It's a sad day when those two priorities meet each other in back alley dealings.

C.S. Lewis once wrote that it is not the evil person we should worry about, but the person doing evil who thinks he is doing good. That person cannot be reasoned with. That person will never stop. This week the American Enterprise Institute has produced a publication entitled "Choosing Victory: a plan for success in Iraq". There is no shortness of nerve or lack of hindsight. I find it insulting. These are the words from the waterboys. The people who helped bring you an ill conceived war, which has led to the deaths of thousands and the creation of a Sunni martyr, are now offering you their plan to correct it all. They are, after all, from a "think tank." At least their plan has the obligatory colon in the title. That's Think Tank 101: If there's a colon in the title it can't be ridiculous.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Army ask dead to return to service

Bush needs more troops and the Department of Defense is on the job. Recently it sent letters to a few servicemen killed in Iraq asking them to return to duty. A story by the AP reports:

The Army said Friday it would apologize to the families of about 275 officers killed or wounded in action who were mistakenly sent letters urging them to return to active duty.

The letters were sent a few days after Christmas to more than 5,100 Army officers who had recently left the service. Included were letters to about 75 officers killed in action and about 200 wounded in action.

Could you imagine being a family member and getting a letter saying the military wants you back, except the loved one in question is dead or wounded? I would write more about this, about how incompetent this seems, not to mention disrespectful, this blunder could be satirized all day long, except for the simple fact that there are deceased and wounded soldiers involved. I'll just ask this: would you want your life in this department's hands? Yes, the military needs your help, never mind the fact that it cant even determine who's dead or alive anymore.

Liberal - Conservative Quiz

I picked up this quiz from Outside the Beltway which reports:

This Political Quiz published in a 1994 edition of USA Today is making the rounds for some reason, with Andrew Sullivan, Ann Althouse, Glenn Reynolds, and Eugene Volokh all taking and commenting on it.
I took it and scored a 13, which puts me between Bill and Hilory Clinton (how's that for a visual?). For a range Ronald Reagan represents the "perfect" conservative (40 points) and Jessie Jackson the perfect liberal (0 points). Of course it's all highly subjective but it's a good time waster.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Dumbass of the week

The coveted, and increasingly competitive, Dumbass of the Week award goes to a 47 year old woman who thought it'd be cool to go drinkin' and clubbin' with her 15 year old daughter and friend. Today, Ann Marie Ciarcia, known on myspace as 'RoccerMom', pleaded guilty to manslaughter in a drunken car crash that killed her daughter's friend and seriously injured her daughter and the driver of the other car. She was driving the wrong way down a parkway and slammed into another car after a night of clubbing in Manhattan.

Look, honey, really...clubbing with teenagers? Jesus. You were really "out there" weren't you? Unfortunately it took manslaughter for your troubled mind to discover your clubbin' and rockin' days are over. Now you get two to six years and, hopefully, a lifetime of remorse which is nothing compared to how those related to the girl you killed must feel.

The rest of us, with kids, keep it real. Yeah, sometimes our kids hate us. Sometimes we're not the 'cool parent', but we see them to adulthood. We've learned that there's more to life than clubbing, getting ripped, and acting like assholes. But I'm sure you're too screwed up to really even grasp anything that I'm saying. So, I'll leave it at this: Congratulations. I'll see you in hell.

Here's the whole story.

Making a Killing: Reflections on Saddam's Exeuction

I've cobbled together my thoughts on Saddam Hussein's execution, the article is also posted on over on blogcritics.

What do I know about international relations? I’m no man of the world. I’m not cunning like Richard Perle. I don’t pretend to know anything about the required ingredients for international "democratic reform", like so many involved in that budging cottage industry. I have my own, mundane problems to solve.

Still, there’s Saddam Hussein’s execution, weighing on my mind. And, I suppose, it should be since so many of my tax dollars have gone to see it through; since so many of my fellow Americans have died to enact this justice. For what it has cost us all, directly or indirectly, Saddam's execution calls us all to reflection.

The dictator’s eerie resemblance to my own father aside, I have misgivings about our heavy hand in this sad chapter of world history. We selected and invaded a country. With one hand we put its ruler on trial, and with another we attempted to rebuild what was broken. Such an idea is beyond the fiction any wild-eyed writer could ever hope to dream. Yet this is our reality, and it should be considered carefully.

There’s no arguing that Saddam was a tyrant. But there are a lot of tyrant dictators holding sway over countries; some, obviously, much more dangerous than Hussein. Why did we chose him and not another leader? Asking hard questions is one thing, but the answers are far more disconcerting. Saddam was selected because he was a deemed a threat to our country, for his stockpile of WMDs and his ties with terrorism. Thus, the man had to be destroyed, and a blow would be dealt to terrorism, and reform would begin in the region.

Only one of those things has happened. And our initial reasons for toppling Saddam proved to be entirely inaccurate: he had no weapons of mass destruction (the ones we had sold him he had already used). He was no threat to America; he also had no loyalty to terrorists. He may have been an evil man, hardly exceptional, but he was also quite innocuous. It is not that he did not deserve justice, what bothers me is the manner in which we extracted it and the delusion that we have accomplished something positive.

There can be little satisfaction in breaking into a man’s home, dragging him into the street, and lynching him, while the rest of the neighborhood watches horrified. Even if that man was evil. Especially after our reasons for dragging him into the street proved false. In that story, which agent commits the greater evil? In World War Two we fought two empires at the same time. Today we destroy crippled countries, preemptively. We wonder why, in that reality, so many rule absolutely, and clamor to acquire a nuclear deterrent. It was not Iran we invaded. Not North Korea. But Iraq, the one with no real deterrent. I have no doubt the rest of the world has gotten the message.

And was this the embodiment of civilized justice or a blistering repayment? As the rope was put around his neck Saddam was mocked by his executioners. Is that justice or vengeance? What started as a spectacle in shock and awe ends in the spectacle of execution. When the video hit YouTube it was an explosion in sadistic voyeurism. And why not? This whole endeavor, of course, has been, not in the least, to satisfy our blood-lust. The public wanted a crucifixion and it got one. Now that we have extracted repayment for 9/11 will we leave Iraq?

We will see where the priorities lie now, but with Saddam dead I feel our idealism for Iraq much deflated. This thing, for all intents and purposes, is over. Saddam's blood is on my hands, but the mess is for someone else to clean up.