Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Farewell to February Pub Quiz 2-28-06

1) Who shot J.R.? 13 points
2) Frank Thomas 10 points
3) M- Goodbye, Farewell, Amen 16 points
4) Bizarro World 16 points
5) Dead or Canadian- 1960 or 1980 10 points
6) Pictures 15 points
7) General Knowledge 20 points


Our special lady Starla got our demo tape to the manager at KZUG and as a result "Can I Borrow a Feeling?" went to #1. Curry fries and Brocolli taste extra good when purchased with a $50 gift certicate. (A much better picture of the album cover can be found here.)

A Plea for Sanity

I'm fine with graphics in the banner, but for all that is holy and good can we kill the dancing Epstein.

In general, I find the animation very distracting. Graphics ok, animation not so much. Just my opinion.

Further Perils of a Free Press

Maybe this guy can get a job in Denmark:

Mullin, 56, soon found himself mired in another huge controversy after publishing a cover story headlined ''Meth Made Easy'' that included a recipe for manufacturing methamphetamine, a highly addictive drug.

Readers were outraged, businesses yanked ads and citizens swiped thousands of copies of the Feb. 2 issue from news racks, Mullin says. He got hate mail and irate phone calls. "The voice mails were just vicious. I stopped counting the death threats.''

He printed the meth recipe knowing he'd get heat. ''I thought, and I still think, that it served a couple of good purposes. It was very, very explicit in letting people know what is in meth, what the ingredients are -- really, really awful stuff. Acetone, brake cleaner . . . '' He also figured it would grab people's attention "to keep it from suffering the fate of so many meth articles -- they don't get read.''

Besides, he says, meth recipes are all over the Internet.

Good point. Someone should tell those irate Muslims that blasphemy lives forever in cyberspace.

When does the bombing begin? Part II

From the NYT

Iran has accelerated its nuclear fuel enrichment activities and rejected demands of international inspectors to explain evidence that had raised suspicions of a nuclear weapons program, according to a report by a United Nations agency. {IAEA)

The report laid out a long list of fresh examples in which it said Iran had stonewalled the agency, responding with incomplete and ambiguous answers and refusing repeated requests to turn over documents and information.

In another development, Iran informed the agency that it was planning at the end of this year to set up 3,000 centrifuges that enrich uranium as it moves toward industrial-scale enrichment, ignoring international demands that it return to a freeze on its uranium enrichment activities at its vast facility at Natanz, the report said. That would be enough to make a weapon if all technical problems were resolved.

How much longer to we go through the motions with the UN?

My guess is this plays until Jan '07, then we flatten all the facilities we can find. I think Bush will wait until after the midterm elections and Christmas. I think he will try and use the time to get other nations on board by showing exhaustion in the UN, like he did before Iraq (not that it did us any good by hesitating).

Monday, February 27, 2006

Danish Solidarity

I was looking for some of my fellow Brigadiers when I came across this.

Who Still Thinks

invading Iraq was a noble cause?

The Creeping Threat

This Mark Steyn column may be a little on the hysterical side, but I think his larger point is valid.

He recognizes the larger enemy we are fighting, Islamofacism, and recognizes the small incremental gains it is making. The cartoon wars we have been talking about are one part of the larger fight. The fact that the MSM has caved and not shown the cartoons is one example of how the US is having to live under Sharia. It's not against US law to show pictures of the prophet.

Single Payer Health Care

Count me out.

I think Jeff help Canada up as a model. Doesn't sound so utopian to me.

I'm the first to admit our system isn't perfect, but I haven't seen any proposal that isn't at least as flawed, if not more.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Wow. Just wow.

Hey kids, a wacky wave of treason is sweeping the nation, and everyone is getting in on it!

Friday, February 24, 2006

Governor Clueless

Sounds like one of Blago's media handlers dropped the ball on this one.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich wasn't in on the joke. Blagojevich says he didn't realize "The Daily Show" was a comedy spoof of the news when he sat down for an interview that ended up poking fun at the sometimes-puzzled Democratic governor.

"It was going to be an interview on contraceptives ... that's all I knew about it," Blagojevich laughingly told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in a story for Thursday's editions. "I had no idea I was going to be asked if I was 'the gay governor.'"

The interview focused on his executive order requiring pharmacies to fill prescriptions for emergency birth control.

Interviewer Jason Jones pretended to stumble over Blagojevich's name before calling him "Governor Smith." He urged Blagojevich to explain the contraception issue by playing the role of "a hot 17-year-old" and later asked if he was "the gay governor."

At one point in the interview, a startled Blagojevich looked to someone off camera and said, "Is he teasing me, or is that legit?"

The segment, which aired two weeks ago, also featured Illinois Republican Rep. Ron Stephens, a pharmacist who opposes the governor's rule. Stephens has said he knew the show was a comedy.

"I thought the governor was hip enough that he would have known that, too," Stephens said.

Dissing the Arabs

From the Israeli Policy Forum.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Dying to Win: The Interview

Here's an interview from The American Conservative with Robert Pape. It summarizes pretty handily the more contentious aspects of his book, though obviously there's not much room for substantiation.


Here's the ad as it appears on Craigslist:

A mixed group of conservatives and liberals will be gathering in front of the Danish Consulate at 12:00 PM tomorrow, Friday, February 24, to support Denmark and the right of its people and press to express themselves freely. No whooping and hollering, just a quiet show of solidarity with an embattled ally, and a bipartisan affirmation of the Enlightenment ideals we share.

Here's where to go:

Royal Danish Consulate-General and Trade Commission of Denmark
211 East Ontario Street, Suite 1800

We hope to see you there!


Please forward the link to anyone you know downtown who might want to show up. I'm bringing shortbread cookies!

The Return to Dark Alleys and Coat Hangers in SD

The 1950's are back
South Dakota Senate Passes Abortion Ban
Proponents say the law is designed for a Supreme Court challenge to Roe v. Wade.

PIERRE, South Dakota (Feb. 23) - Legislation meant to prompt a national legal battle targeting the landmark 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion, was approved by the South Dakota Senate, moving the bill a step closer to final passage.

The measure, which would ban nearly all abortions in the state, now returns to the House, which passed a different version earlier. The House must decide whether to accept changes made by the Senate, which passed its version 23-12 on Wednesday.

"It is the time for the South Dakota Legislature to deal with this issue and protect the lives and rights of unborn children," said Sen. Julie Bartling, the bill's main sponsor.

Proponents say the law is designed for a Supreme Court challenge to Roe v. Wade.
The timing is right, supporters say, given the recent appointments of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito to the high court. The two conservatives could pave the way to a decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

The bill, carrying a penalty of up to five years in prison, would make it a felony for doctors or others to perform abortions.

Bartling and other supporters noted that the recent appointment of Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito make the Supreme Court more likely to consider overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.

President George W. Bush, a Republican and an abortion foe, might also have a chance to appoint a third justice in the next few years, they said.

Opponents argued that the measure was too extreme because it would allow abortions only to save the lives of pregnant women. They said abortion should at least be allowed in cases involving rape, incest and a threat to a woman's health.

Planned Parenthood, which operates the only clinic that provides abortions in South Dakota, pledged to challenge the measure in court if the measure wins final approval from the Legislature and is signed by Gov. Mike Rounds.

Rounds, a Republican and a longtime abortion opponent, has said he would "look favorably" on the abortion ban if it would "save life."

Other state legislatures are considering similar measures. But South Dakota is the only state so far to pass such an abortion ban, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive rights organization in New York and Washington, D.C.

02-23-06 01:31 EST

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press.

Buy Danish!

Here's some content for the leaflet.

An Unlikely Pair

Bill Bennet and Alan Dershowitz cowrite a column on the weakness of the media on the cartoon story in the Washington Post. At least someone other than us insignificant bloggers are starting to speak out.

I just wish that WaPo had had the guts to publish the cartoons with the column.

Update: More from Christopher Hitchens.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Mission Accomplished!

A big ole Texas salute to our tough talking monarch who we see here spreading some festive red, white, and blue cheer via the guise of permanent bases. Fuck Yah America! Let's bomb Iran now.

Europe and Free Speech

It appears that the Iranian paper that held the Holocaust cartoon competition was accurate in their conclusion that the taboo on defamation of the memory of Shoah victims is the best European analogy for mocking representations of Mohammed.

Austria's sentencing of Holocaust revisionist David Irving for denying that Jews were murdered by gassing at Auschwitz certainly seems to call into question all the self-righteous pontification about the inviolate nature of unhindered political expression in the West.

How should this obvious double standard be viewed by Muslims who are sympathetic to the vocal opponents of the cartoons? First of all, it's important to note that nobody rioted on the occasion of Irving's books being published. However, it's easy to see that the publishing of the turban bomb, etc., cartoons falls into the category of "speech we like," which requires no moral courage to protect, while Holocaust denial is clearly "speech we don't like," which, as the received wisdom goes, is the most important kind to defend. Sure, no one rioted against Irving, but then no one had to, since everyone knew that the power of the state would be brought to bear against him.

If you want to argue that some things are just too sacred, and that the sacredness of such things requires state protection--which is what most European countries do, whether it's the Holocaust, France's war crimes in Algeria, or any number of other historical sore spots--your protests that the Danish state rightly has no ability to regulate the conduct of its newspapers is going to seem pretty lame, and is going to go down as yet another public relations disaster in the fight to convince Muslims that our way of organizing society is better than theirs.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Caution: Advertisement


Monday, February 20, 2006

Iraq utilities are falling short of prewar performance

This article was re-printed by the left-leaning US Airforce AIM Points.

My question is this: What's the deal with these "supplemental funding requests," which allow Bush's budgets to look slightly less horrific than they actually are? Is their widespread use a Bush innovation, or does this go back to Johnson? Anyone know?

BY: James Glanz, New York Times, 02/09/2006

WASHINGTON, Feb. 8 — Virtually every measure of the performance of Iraq's oil, electricity, water and sewerage sectors has fallen below preinvasion values even though $16 billion of American taxpayer money has already been disbursed in the Iraq reconstruction program, several government witnesses said at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Wednesday.

Of seven measures of public services performance presented at the committee hearing by the inspector general's office, only one was above preinvasion values.
Those that had slumped below those values were electrical generation capacity, hours of power available in a day in Baghdad, oil and heating oil production and the numbers of Iraqis with drinkable water and sewage service.

Only the hours of power available to Iraqis outside Baghdad had increased over prewar values.
In addition, two of the witnesses said they believed that an earlier estimate by the World Bank that $56 billion would be needed for rebuilding over the next several years was too low.
At the same time, as Iraq's oil exports plummet and the country remains saddled with tens of billions of dollars of debt, it is unclear where that money will come from, said one of the witnesses, Joseph A. Christoff, director of international affairs and trade at the Government Accountability Office.

And those may not be the most serious problems facing Iraq's pipelines, storage tanks, power lines, electrical switching stations and other structures, said Stuart W. Bowen Jr., the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, an independent office.

In one sense, focusing on the plummeting performance numbers "misses the point," Mr. Bowen said. The real question, he said, is whether the Iraqi security forces will ever be able to protect the infrastructure from insurgent attack.

"What's happened is that an incessant, an insidious insurgency has repeatedly attacked the key infrastructure targets, reducing outputs," Mr. Bowen said. He added that some of the performance numbers had fluctuated above prewar values in the past, only to fall again under the pressure of insurgent attacks and other factors.

The chairman of the committee, Senator Richard G. Lugar, Republican of Indiana, began by billing the session as a way of deciphering how much of America's original ambitions in the rebuilding program are likely to be fulfilled with the amount of money that Iraq, the United States Congress and international donors are still prepared to spend on the task.

This downsizing of expectations was striking given that $30 billion American taxpayer money has already been dedicated to the task, according to an analysis by Mr. Christoff of the accountability office. Of that money, $23 billion has already been obligated to specific rebuilding contracts, and $16 billion of that amount has been disbursed, Mr. Christoff said.

Mr. Bowen's office has pointed out that another $40 billion in Iraqi oil money and seized assets of Saddam Hussein's regime was also made available for reconstruction and other tasks at one time or another. Last week, Robert J. Stein Jr., one of four former United States government officials in Iraq who have been arrested in a bribery and kickback scheme involving that money, pleaded guilty to federal charges.

Mr. Bowen pointed out in his testimony that the news on reconstruction in Iraq is not all bad. Despite the recent financing and performance shortfalls, the rebuilding program now seems to be much less ridden by fraud, corruption and chaos than it was in the early days when people like Mr. Stein were in charge.

James R. Kunder, assistant administrator for Asia and the Near East at the United States Agency for International Development, in the State Department, emphasized things like what he called a 30 percent "potential increase" in electricity output because of new and reconditioned power generators in Iraq.

"We have done a lot of reconstruction work in Iraq over the last couple of years," Mr. Kunder said. "We did not meet all of the goals, the ambitious goals, we originally intended," he conceded.
Mr. Christoff of the accounting office said the latest numbers may actually overstate how well Iraqis have been served by the reconstruction program.

Water numbers, for example, often focus on how much drinkable water is generated at central plants, he said. But he said 65 percent of that water was subject to leaking from porous distribution pipes, which often run next to sewage facilities.

"So we really don't know how many households get potable, drinkable water," Mr. Christoff said.
Mr. Christoff also brought another new figure to the hearing: he said that on a recent trip to Baghdad, the American forces there had told him that they would need another $3.9 billion to continue training and equipping Iraqi forces, in part so that they can better protect the infrastructure.

The money would presumably be included in a 2006 supplemental funding request in which the Bush administration has said it would ask for more money to support the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, an official at the Office of Management and Budget said. The administration "told us it would include this type of expenses," the official said, adding that no total for Iraqi security forces has yet come directly from the White House.

If the $3.9 billion that the American forces believe they need is actually appropriated, it would bring the total amount spent simply on training and equipping the Iraqi Army and the police to about $15 billion.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Iraq in NATO?

This is interesting.

The Iraqis have shown more fight than the rest of NATO (except Britain) has in the last 15 years. This may not be a bad idea.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

"Together, my lord Sauron, we shall rule this Middle-East!"

We all remember the misappropriation of Bert by Osama Bin Laden, and the horror inflicted upon children across the nation as they questioned the patriotism of a beloved TV icon. But now we ask ourselves: Are suburban basement-dwelling Dungeons & Dragons nerds next?

With the adoption of Saruman the White as its new standard bearer, Hamas annexes yet another piece of evil Western pop-culture in the fight to defend the Islamic traditional order from the onslaught of occidental nihilism.

Let us hope and pray that their Urukai technology remains as retrograde as their miltary and consumer product capabilities.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Political Science

Mr. James Hansen, the NASA scientist silenced by Shrub and Co., again shows the discerning reader that "killer cars" and unmitigated industry are on the prowl . Think anyone will listen?

Stupid Poetic Justice!

Let's assume for a moment that Ann Coulter didn't intentionally commit a felony by falsifying her address on her voter regsitration card (even though assuming that would imply that she didn't know where she actually lived). I've got a shiny new penny for the first person who finds an Ann Coulter column calling Democratic voters in Florida in 2000 "retards," or "morons," or some other stupidity-attributing epithet for not figuring out how the butterfly ballots worked.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


Sexyretard has shown us where his true allegiances lie by choosing his "paying job" at Triton College over the KKRB for the balance of this semester (one cannot serve both Kang and Mannon, it appears). He has, however, offered to host the next meeting at his place, provided it falls within the Triton spring break week, which is March 12-18. I don't remember exactly, but I thought there was somebody who was unable to attend during that week. Please sound off in the comments as to your availability, and maybe we can make it work.

Victor Davis Hanson...Optimist?

Today in a piece in Commentary from KKRB favorite VDH is an article where he seems to think Europe will pull their collective heads out of their asses and do something to actually defend themselves.

I'm not so sure Europe has it in them anymore. To take from the last paragraph of the piece, I think Europe is still more Chamberlain than Churchill, and I'm not sure it is going to change anytime soon. I do hope VDH is right, though.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Circumventing FISA

An excellent treatment of the President's disregard for FISA, and its Constitutional ramifications, from today's Wall St Journal. [No link, as it's a pay site - sorry.]

Bush loyalists, take note: the author is in favor of renewing the Patriot Act, but still concludes that the Administration's circumvention of FISA was illegal. Just a reminder that it's possible to retain your GOP street cred without foolishly following a tyrant down a spider hole.

Executive Power on Steroids

February 13, 2006; Page A16

President Bush's domestic surveillance program against al Qaeda has spawned multiple controversies. Intelligence skeptics ask, for example, whether the potential gains from snooping are worth the hassle. Civil libertarians doubt whether the warrantless surveillance and wiretaps can be squared with the Fourth Amendment. On both these disputes, my sympathies run with the president. I support his efforts to renew the Patriot Act; and I believe our first order of business should be to retool the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to meet the challenges of modern communications technology.

Yet the key legal struggles over domestic spying go not to its wisdom, but to the thorny issue of whether the president has exceeded his constitutional powers in disregarding FISA. He has.

The Constitution gives Congress the power to set policy; it gives to the president the right, and the duty, to execute it. The president claims first that he has secured the needed congressional blessing for the NSA's domestic surveillance through the Authorization of Use of Military Force Act, passed in the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001. Not so. AUMF does not contain one word that dislodges FISA, and the law disfavors any "implied repeal" of major legislation. Right now, the president can both hound al Qaeda and follow FISA requirements for domestic warrants. If he wants to go further, he should seek explicit congressional authorization.

The administration's more aggressive claim is that an "inherent commander in chief power" lets the president act on his own. To see why this claim fails, it is critical to set out -- they're short -- the precise provisions that implement the constitutional separation of powers in matters of war and peace. First off, the Constitution gives the Congress the power "to declare" war. [So it's not just naive liberals who fail to comprehend the gravity the threats we are faced with; our founding fathers were clueless too! I guess they have the excuse of being dead...] Next, only Congress can appropriate the funds to operate the land and naval forces. Most critically for the spying dispute, Congress has the explicit power "to make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces." It has similar powers for setting the standards (or "discipline") for the state militia. Congress's power applies in both peace and wartime, and is subject to no express limitations on the nature and content of its general rules.

On the other side of the ledger, "[t]he President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia when called into actual service of the United States." Note the word "power" appears no where in this sentence. The operative verb is "shall be."

The choice of words is not inadvertent. Later in the same section the Constitution provides that the president "shall have the Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment," and the "Power, by and with the Advice and consent of the Senate to make Treaties." Elsewhere the president shall "receive" ambassadors and "require" reports from his subordinates.

Words matter. Only powers allow for a change in legal status of the persons over whom some power is directed. Thus the president's power to grant reprieves and pardons is rightly described as "plenary," precisely because Congress has no stated power to hedge it in by legislation, for example by declaring certain offenses unpardonable. The president's power to make treaties is likewise plenary, but now subject to the explicit check of Senatorial advice and consent. At no time, however, can Congress send its own delegation off to negotiate with Iraq.

So understood, subtly adding in some "inherent commander in chief power" upsets a carefully wrought constitutional balance. Let the president have plenary power over military affairs, then it becomes an inevitable political tussle over whether his inherent power is stronger than Congress's stated one. But why twist accurate constitutional language to make a shambles of our basic governance structure? Congress gets to set the general rules governing military efforts. The Constitution does not confer the identical power on the president.

This view does not reduce the commander-in chief-clause to some ceremonial nullity; rather, it has four critical functions. First, it guarantees the civilian control over the military. Second, Congress cannot circumvent the president's position as commander in chief by assigning any of his responsibilities to anyone else. Only the president can execute any laws that Congress puts in place, and all inferior military officers from the Joint Chiefs of Staff on down answer only to him. Third, the Congress is barred from making any specific order on military matters once it lays down the rules. It cannot micromanage the military, nor put inferior military personnel in the impossible position of deciding whose commands to follow, or why. Fourth, the president, like any inferior military commander, can respond on his own initiative to an immediate attack, without congressional authorization.

The president's defenders insist that any gap in his power is filled because the Constitution provides that the president "shall take Care that the laws be faithfully executed." But this clause cuts in exactly the opposite direction. FISA is one law that the president must "take care" to enforce: He cannot choose to flout or ignore it, even if he has wide discretion in how to implement it. Nor can the president obviate the need for legislation by making selective disclosures of his activities to certain members of Congress whom he then subjects to a vow of secrecy. Our constitutional structure of checks and balances is not subject to unilateral presidential circumvention by ad hoc procedures. The precise detailed enumeration of powers and responsibilities in Article II just do not confer on the president a roving commission over foreign and military affairs. He is a coordinate player, not a dominant one.

So who cares about these close textual and formal arguments? We all do, or should. The major danger with presidential surveillance does not lie in this particular overreaching of executive power. It's what comes next. If President Bush can ignore FISA, then he can disregard a congressional prohibition against the use of nuclear force. His defenders often claim that national defense is too important to be left to a wobbly Congress -- which on my view might prohibit the use of live ammunition in combat. And so it could. But political forces are always in play, and no legal institutions are simultaneously robust against all forms of incompetence.

As Madison reminds us, "Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm." [Maybe those founding fathers were prescient after all!] If we accept executive power on steroids, then what's to be done if a reckless president drags our nation into foolish conflicts? Over the long haul, we'll do best by sticking to the original game plan on military matters rather than rewriting the Constitution to let the president alter the rules of the game. Under our Constitution, that power belongs to Congress. May it use the power wisely.

mmmmmm, pizza

What toppings are (not) desired for tonight's snackage?

Jimmy Carter..Hypocrite

From a story in the Washington Times on warrentless surveilence:

But in 1977, Mr. Carter and his attorney general, Griffin B. Bell, authorized warrantless electronic surveillance used in the conviction of two men for spying on behalf of Vietnam.

The men, Truong Dinh Hung and Ronald Louis Humphrey, challenged their espionage convictions to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, which unanimously ruled that the warrantless searches did not violate the men's rights.

In its opinion, the court said the executive branch has the "inherent authority" to wiretap enemies such as terror plotters and is excused from obtaining warrants when surveillance is "conducted 'primarily' for foreign intelligence reasons."

This also shows a clear legal basis for Bush's operation that was done with congressional oversite.

Federal Reserve

Warshie, you're gonna do a heckuva job!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Looney Toons

The human race is crazy by nature?

Friday, February 10, 2006

The Iran Problem

This entry started as a response to Teo's comments on my previous Iran post, but grew long enough to merit it's own post.

To Teo's point I don't think I would say this is the straw, but I think it helps bring into focus what we are dealing with. Fanatics have controlled Iran for over 25 years and have committed numerous ACTS OF WAR against the United States with no response.

Iran shows no sign of moderating. Just the opposite. We all see the news stories of President Ahmadinejad increasing the rhetoric against the US and Israel. Iran has recently restricted the access of the IAEA inspectors.

Diplomacy has been given a chance and has failed. The west is going to spend another year going through the motions of diplomacy by going through the UN. Even if China and Russia don't block sanctions, there is nothing in Iran's recent history to believe sanctions will do any good. Iran was embargoed after taking the US embassy in '79, but pointedly did not change its behavior. The True Believers did not care about the standard of living of regular Iranians.

I think regime change is the ideal solution, but I don't think it is likely to happen anytime soon. There were some signs of moderation in the '90s, but the recent "election" was so corrupted it was meaningless. The mullahs have reasserted control.

The basic question we have to face with Iran is will we live with this government having nuclear weapons?

If the answer is yes, we bluster and go through the UN and do nothing.

If the answer is no then we have to either destroy their capacity or change regimes (or both).

Notice there is no good or easy option listed above. That is the reality we face.

Doing something means acting militarily. Obviously this is a tough road. There are two different military options, airstrikes and all out invasion.


Can we do enough damage in a sustained campaign over a couple of weeks to set back the program? From what I have read I think the answer is yes. There is just too much equipment needed to enrich uranium and keep all of it underground, as well and the power and utilities to run the operation.

The downside of airstrikes are the potential Iranian countermeasures. Terrorist attacks in Lebanon? Iraq? The US? What if they use the their silkworm missiles to attack tankers in the Straits of Hormuz? Do we bomb those sights. Limited invasion to secure the shores of the waterway? This could escalate quickly into full invasion and all out war. My guess is that the Iranians won't take a bombing campaign without retaliating, but it may be manageable.

Regime Change:

Do we have the troops to invade? Can we build a large enough coalition to get the troop strength? I suspect the answer is no on the coalition. No other army in the world has enough troops that are combat ready and deployable to make a real difference.

I have read one proposal that the mission should be regime change only and no reconstruction. We drive to Tehran, chase off the mullahs and leave. We would hope the younger generation that hates the mullahs takes over and moderates. It's an interesting idea but I would not support it. Leaving chaos behind would be terrible.

I firmly believe that we cannot allow this government in Iran to get nuclear weapons. I think we have to take these whackjobs at their word when they talk about destroying Israel. No one believed Hitler when he said he wanted to kill all the Jews in Mein Kampf. I hope we have a learned out lesson.

I think airstrikes are the least bad option. There would be some reprisals, but probably manageable. I say this with full understanding that it could escalate. My reasoning is that it is better to have the fight now than in 5 years when Tel Aviv is a crater and Iran has nukes.

This is my thinking today. I am still wrestling with this. I am open to other options that I'm sure I have missed.

Cherry Picked Part XXXVII

Does this surprise anyone? The same shit is currently being attempted with Iran. Is it me, or are the libido's (if they even have one) of all wing-nuts centered around the fantasy of warfare? Hurt leg can barely keep his pants on when discussing the prospect of bombing Tehran. Maybe it's me, but sure seems like you'd need to be pretty sick and deluded to get all jazzed up over the prospect of explosions and carnage.

The Problem with the "Terror" Thingy

Rather a weak post by the estimable(?) Warren Whipple ("former Editor of Creative Loafing's Adult Scene", whatever that is/was). Warren is clearly confused, and writing this essay has done nothing to clear up that confusion. But he strikes at the heart of something that's bothered me for a long time: how can we be at "war" against a tactic?

I understand that we are presently engaged in a "War on Terror". Four and a third years have gone by and I'm still the slowest guy in the room. I simply do not get it. You can't be at war against a tactic; you have to be at war against somebody or something. Even the highly touted and extremely successful "War on Drugs" has some semblance of a target.

On September 11, 2001, we were attacked by a group called Al-Qeida, or somthing. They had declared war on us, the US, and carried out an act of war on us. Funny, but we didn't declare "war" on them back. We declared "war" on anybody that used the tactics that they used, whoever they may be, wherever they may live. In legal jargon, this would be termed an opinion that is "overbroad".

Those hawks that excoriate us doves for our naivete regarding the new face of conflict and the dangerous, dangerous world we live in should do a better job of explaining how this is supposed to work. To me, declaring War on Terror is as silly as the whole North Korean "juche" thing - a self-contained miasma of circular logic which only the brainwashed would truly "believe."

The War On Poverty was also a vague war on a concept, and was an early example of playing fast and loose with what constitutes a "war". But to my knowledge, nobody was actually the target of ACTUAL acts of war in the War On Poverty.

Also, while one may argue that the War On Poverty may not have succeeded (poverty still exists), this contention illustrates well how all of these wars on concepts are doomed to failure. We talk about benchmarks in the Iraq war/reconstruction/whatever, but how will we ever know we've "won" the War On Terror? Is there some "Strategy for Victory Over Terror" document I'm unaware of?

And another thing: What about the bullies that patrol the hallways of every high school in America? To say they inspire terror in the hearts of nerds is not mere hyperbole. So are they terrorists too? Are we at war against them?

Forced Objectivity Strikes Again

Too-too funny. This was the headline on a new AP story on the "bipartisan ethics scandal":Care to guess as to what's missing from the story? If you said "Any indication whatsoever that Reid ever met with Abramoff," you'd be spot on.

More to the point, however, is the other thing that's missing: any credible evidence of a quid pro quo between Reid's office and Abramoff, Abramoff's firm, Abramoff's associates, or any of the other tortured euphemisms the MSM is test-driving in order to enlarge the universe of this Republican ethics scandal just enough to include some Democrat, any Democrat, please!

The main points of the article are that Reid:

1. Lobbied against the expansion of Indian casinos off reservation, and then received donations from Abramoff clients or Abramoff's firm "around the time" of having done so.

2. Had one of his top legislative aides hired as a lobbyist by Abramoff’s firm.

3. Met with Abramoff's deputy regarding Ted Kennedy's minimum wage bill, which threatened to increase the minimum wage on the Marianas Islands to that of the US mainland.

The problem with all of this innuendo is that:

1. Reid had always lobbied against the expansion of Indian casinos off the reservations, which makes sense given the fact that he represents Las Vegas.

2. This happens all the time. While there are cases in which legal sanctions can apply (like when Boeing hired the Pentagon procurement officer who had awarded it a contract only a year before), AP makes no indication that this is one of them, nor does it explain how Reid could have had anything to say one way or another about his aide's career moves.

3. Reid supported Kennedy's bill and lobbied for it, against the interests of Abramoff and his clients. If he was secretly employing back-channel methods to kill the legislation, AP certainly doesn't suggest it, nor did they find anyone who does. In fact, the crack AP investigative team of JOHN SOLOMON and SHARON THEIMER didn't even attempt to contact the Abramoff deputy who met with Reid for their story.

All that said, however, more digging will occur, and if actual evidence turns up that Reid exchanged legislation (or defeat of it) for cash donations, he should be imprisoned on a Marianas Islands Indian reservation and forced to manufacture garments and handicrafts next to his corrupt Republican brethren.

Until that time, give it up, MSM.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

When does the bombing begin?

Iran is such a lovely place. Now they want nukes?!

We've owed these mullahs a good ass kicking since '79. The embassy, the Marine barracks bombing in '83, attacks on tankers in the '80s in the Gulf (that led to the Kuwaiti reflagging operation), seven hostages in Beruit for years, the torture and death of William Buckly (CIA station chief), and the Khobar towers bombing in Saudia Arabia in the mid '90s to name a few.

Why we have put up with this shit for over 25 years is beyond me.


Great Victor Davis Hanson piece, though it's funny that he lists Bill Clinton as the most prominent American to have condemned the cartoons.

Bad taste and freedom
By Victor Davis Hanson

Sparks sure fly when the premodern world of religious piety and the postmodern world of Monty Python collide. Middle Eastern Muslims have demonstrated, threatened, boycotted and burned in their fury over European newspapers republishing months-old distasteful cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

Stunned, European diplomats have tried in vain to explain to Arab ambassadors that, in the West, governments neither own nor muzzle an often unwise and tasteless press. Hurt feelings and much worse are the price we are supposed to pay for free expression so central to consensual government. Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, Jews or Muslims in secular democracies simply don't burn foreign embassies when their faith is impugned in the free press.

Nor did the offended wish to hear that the intent of the cartoons, originally published in September by a Danish newspaper, was to ridicule extremists who use religion to justify terrorism and the killing of civilians, rather than gratuitously to insult Islam.

We are seeing an escalating clash of civilizations — against a tense backdrop of the Iranian government's call for Israel to be wiped off the face of the earth, the election of Hamas terrorists in the Palestinian territories, and Western efforts to protect the new democracies in Afghanistan and Iraq from jihadist bombers.

There is a great asymmetry in all this. Western notions of cultural tolerance and liberality are the benchmarks Muslims employ to condemn insensitive European journalism. Meanwhile, the Islamic Middle East is given a pass, as anti-Semitic state-run papers there daily portray Jews grotesquely.

As the controversy heated up, the word globalization came up a lot, with many banally noting that "we are all interconnected now" — and that what a small newspaper prints in a small country like Denmark can affect the entire world. But that is only half-true.

Globalization is, in fact, mostly a one-way process. Western technology, democracy, freedom, capitalism and popular culture continue to infect the non-West. Once there, they often bulldoze time-honored culture. That resulting clash leads to a radical divergence of perceptions. The cocky West assumes non-Westerners wish to emulate it. They often do, but also soon resent deeply their newfound dependence and appetites for what is often antithetical to traditional life.
Europeans and Americans rarely demonstrate when Jesus, the pope or the Jewish faith is lampooned abroad. In contrast, the insecure and touchy Middle East is hypersensitive about any affront to its religion — or honor. Thus the mere possession of a Bible is felonious in Saudi Arabia, while mosques typically operate without scrutiny in once-Christian Europe.

There is also an expectation that Westerners, purportedly soft and decadent, will apologize for the excesses of their culture, while Muslims abroad need not for the extremism of an Iranian president promising another genocide or Osama bin Laden's periodic vow to murder thousands more Americans.

Indeed, a number of sadly misguided Westerners — most prominently Bill Clinton — have condemned the published cartoons, missing the issue entirely and so sending exactly the wrong message: A private Western newspaper can crassly editorialize and lampoon as it likes. If it couldn't, or if it censored itself from doing so out of fear, then there would simply no longer be a West as we know it. That's why papers across Europe, from Spain to Poland, have republished the cartoons and faced the consequences.

After the London and Madrid bombings, the murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, the French riots and the failed European efforts to reason with the Iranian theocrats, Europe has had it with Islamic extremism. French President Jacques Chirac now openly talks about resorting to nuclear weapons against the state sponsors of terrorism. A new government in Germany compares the Iranian theocracy to Hitler. Muslim Turkey will probably not join the European Union, and Hamas may well lose its EU handouts.

And so now, in refusing to accept Muslim-imposed censorship, brave little countries like Demark and Holland are saying enough is enough — and waiting, perhaps in vain, for a word of support from America or Britain.

Of course, in a logical world, most irreverent Westerners would not much worry whether a particular tactless newspaper provoked offense far abroad, despite the protestations of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Gulf royals. But oil dependency, Middle Eastern petrodollar surpluses, jihadist terrorism and fear of nuclear weapons in the hands of terrorist-sponsoring regimes have, in varying ways, held too many in the West psychologically hostage.
But even more disturbing than such overt material constraints, the West is also increasingly unwilling to defend, or even to articulate, its own unique values, in fear of seeming hurtful and judgmental. In this latest incident, Europeans are expected to show remorse — not so much for their bad taste as for their very way of life.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Defeat of Social Security Privatization? What Defeat of Social Security Privatization?

Love him or hate him, you have to admire the President's moxie. It's as if John Kerry, having lost the election, showed up to the Oval Office the next day, ready for work.

Bush's Social Security Sleight of Hand

By Allan Sloan
Wednesday, February 8, 2006; Page D02

If you read enough numbers, you never know what you'll find. Take President Bush and private Social Security accounts.

Last year, even though Bush talked endlessly about the supposed joys of private accounts, he never proposed a specific plan to Congress and never put privatization costs in the budget. But this year, with no fanfare whatsoever, Bush stuck a big Social Security privatization plan in the federal budget proposal, which he sent to Congress on Monday.

President Bush didn't mention a new proposal for privatizing Social Security in the State of the Union, but it's in his budget. His plan would let people set up private accounts starting in 2010 and would divert more than $700 billion of Social Security tax revenues to pay for them over the first seven years.

If this comes as a surprise to you, have no fear. You're not alone. Bush didn't pitch private Social Security accounts in his State of the Union message last week.
First, he drew a mocking standing ovation from Democrats by saying that "Congress did not act last year on my proposal to save Social Security," even though, as I said, he'd never submitted specific legislation.

Then he seemed to be kicking the Social Security problem a few years down the road in typical Washington fashion when he asked Congress "to join me in creating a commission to examine the full impact of baby boom retirements on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid," adding that the commission would be bipartisan "and offer bipartisan solutions."

But anyone who thought that Bush would wait for bipartisanship to deal with Social Security was wrong. Instead, he stuck his own privatization proposals into his proposed budget.

"The Democrats were laughing all the way to the funeral of Social Security modernization," White House spokesman Trent Duffy told me in an interview Tuesday, but "the president still cares deeply about this. " Duffy asserted that Bush would have been remiss not to include in the budget the cost of something that he feels so strongly about, and he seemed surprised at my surprise that Social Security privatization had been written into the budget without any advance fanfare.

Duffy said privatization costs were included in the midyear budget update that the Office of Management and Budget released last July 30, so it was logical for them to be in the 2007 budget proposals. But I sure didn't see this coming -- and I wonder how many people outside of the White House did.

Nevertheless, it's here. Unlike Bush's generalized privatization talk of last year, we're now talking detailed numbers. On page 321 of the budget proposal, you see the privatization costs: $24.182 billion in fiscal 2010, $57.429 billion in fiscal 2011 and another $630.533 billion for the five years after that, for a seven-year total of $712.144 billion.

In the first year of private accounts, people would be allowed to divert up to 4 percent of their wages covered by Social Security into what Bush called "voluntary private accounts." The maximum contribution to such accounts would start at $1,100 annually and rise by $100 a year through 2016.

It's not clear how big a reduction in the basic benefit Social Security recipients would have to take in return for being able to set up these accounts, or precisely how the accounts would work.

Bush also wants to change the way Social Security benefits are calculated for most people by adopting so-called progressive indexing. Lower-income people would continue to have their Social Security benefits tied to wages, but the benefits paid to higher-paid people would be tied to inflation.

Wages have typically risen 1.1 percent a year more than inflation, so over time, that disparity would give lower-paid and higher-paid people essentially the same benefit. However, higher-paid workers would be paying substantially more into the system than lower-paid people would.

This means that although progressive indexing is an attractive idea from a social-justice point of view, it would reduce Social Security's political support by making it seem more like welfare than an earned benefit.

Bush is right, of course, when he says in his budget proposal that Social Security in its current form is unsustainable. But there are plenty of ways to fix it besides offering private accounts as a substitute for part of the basic benefit.

Bush's 2001 Social Security commission had members of both parties, but they had to agree in advance to support private accounts. Their report, which had some interesting ideas, went essentially nowhere.

What remains to be seen is whether this time around Bush follows through on forming a bipartisan commission and whether he can get credible Democrats to join it. Dropping numbers onto your opponents is a great way to stick your finger in their eye. But will it get the Social Security job done? That, my friends, is a whole other story.

Sloan is Newsweek's Wall Street editor. His e-mail issloan@panix.com.

Hitchens on Cartoons and Religion


Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Comrade Bush Uses State Apparatus to Advance Interests of Glorious Proletariat!

As I've said before, I'm not one to congratulate/blame a president for the job gains/losses on his watch, but wouldn't it be ironic if this were Comrade Bush's economic legacy?

Pub Quiz 2-6-06

1) A long, long time ago... 12 points
2) 1/3 of NAFTA 11 points
3) Match- Super Bowl MVP's 12 points
4) Bizarro World 16 points
5) Dead or Canadian- Harry or Hynde? 10 points
6) Pictures- 17 points
7) General Knowledge 22 points
UPDATE: Divided we fall. Due to logistical problems the Brigade was split into different teams. In a 15 team field Freaky Fried FISA finished 10th, and the Globex Corporation was 7th.

Images of Mohammed

In case you haven't seen what all the hubub is about, here are some of the blasphamous pictures along with other images of Mohammed.
Depictions of Mohammed Throughout History


Some background on the controversy from Wikipedia

You too can draw Mohammed

And where do they get Danish Flags in the middle east ?

Classy as always, Iran responds .

Friday, February 03, 2006

End Democracy Now!

Hitler was democratically elected. Saddam Hussein was democratically elected. Hamas was democratically elected.

Maybe we should declare War On Democracy, since it causes so damn many problems.


I don't know what to say about this.

What's the Catch?

This article on alternative fuel seems promising.

I'm curious if there is a caveat somewhere that for the amount of ethanol needed the Rocky Mountains have to be plowed under to grow all of the necessary corn.

One question I would have is what would happen to the price of food if the appetite for fuel is competing for the same resources?

Groin-grabbingly conscience-shocking

I was unaware of these lawsuits, but I remember Christine Todd Whitman saying publicly not long after 9/11 that it was OK to go back to the massively polluted lower Manhattan. Seemed premature to me, given the toxic nature of buildings and airplanes, especially when they collide.

The system works. Or is this just another activist judge?

(Mad props to Toldeo's ABC affilliate, channel 13, for blowing the lid off this story.)

Judge: Christine Todd Whitman sent people back to lower Manhattan too soon

(New York-AP, February 2, 2006) - A federal judge blasted former Environmental Protection Agency chief Christine Todd Whitman on Thursday for reassuring New Yorkers soon after the Sept. 11 attacks that it was safe to return to their homes and offices while toxic dust was polluting the neighborhood.

U.S. District Judge Deborah A. Batts refused to grant Whitman immunity against a class-action lawsuit brought in 2004 by residents, students and workers in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn who said they were exposed to hazardous materials from the destruction of the World Trade Center.

"No reasonable person would have thought that telling thousands of people that it was safe to return to lower Manhattan, while knowing that such return could pose long-term health risks and other dire consequences, was conduct sanctioned by our laws," the judge said.

She called Whitman's actions "conscience-shocking," saying the EPA chief knew that the collapse of the twin towers released tons of hazardous materials into the air. Whitman had no comment, according to a spokeswoman. A Justice Department spokesman said the government had no comment.


In her ruling, Batts noted that the EPA and Whitman said repeatedly - beginning just two days after the attack - that the air appeared safe to breathe. The EPA's internal watchdog later found that the agency, at the urging of White House officials, gave misleading assurances.

Quoting a ruling in an earlier case, the judge said a public official cannot be held personally liable for putting the public in harm's way unless the conduct was so egregious as "to shock the contemporary conscience." Given her role in protecting the health and environment for Americans, Whitman's reassurances after Sept. 11 were "without question conscience-shocking," Batts said.

U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat whose district includes the trade center site, said the many people who worked at the site and developed respiratory diseases deserve answers.
"It is my assumption that thousands of people - workers and residents - are being slowly poisoned today because these workplaces and residences were never properly cleaned up," Nadler said in a telephone interview.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

In the freest society in the world, shouldn't it be easier to say "lie"?

Go ahead--count the euphemisms.

Assertions on Spying, Jobs And Spending Invite Debate
By Glenn Kessler (February 1, 2006)

In his State of the Union address last night, President Bush waded right in the middle of the debate over his warrantless domestic eavesdropping program, making a number of assertions that have been subject to intense debate.

For instance, Bush strongly suggested that the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks could have been prevented if the phone calls of two hijackers had been monitored under the program. This echoes an assertion made earlier this year by Vice President Cheney.

But the Sept. 11 commission and congressional investigators said the government had compiled significant information on the two suspects before the attacks and that bureaucratic problems -- not a lack of information -- were the main reasons for the security breakdown. The FBI did not even know where the two suspects lived and missed numerous opportunities to track them down in the 20 months before the attacks.

Bush also asserted that "previous presidents have used the same constitutional authority I have." But the most recent example cited by the administration -- involving actions by President Bill Clinton -- is hotly disputed by Democrats who say the current and past situations are not comparable.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which required the executive branch to get approval from a secret court before conducting wiretaps within the United States, was silent on warrantless physical searches of suspected spies or terrorists. So the Clinton administration asserted that it had the authority to conduct such "black bag" jobs, including searches of CIA turncoat Aldrich Ames's house, which turned up evidence of his spying for Russia.

Clinton later sought amendments to FISA that brought physical searches, as well as wiretaps, under the FISA framework. Bush has never sought such amendments, and he did not publicly acknowledge the program until it was revealed in news reports.

In other sections of his speech, Bush omitted context or made rhetorical claims that are open to question.

Referring to Iraq, he said the United States is "continuing reconstruction efforts." He did not use the word "spending" because officials say the administration does not intend to seek any new funds for Iraq reconstruction in the budget request to be submitted to Congress this month. About $18 billion was previously budgeted, and $16 billion of that has been committed, but nearly a third was devoted to security and law enforcement.

At another point, Bush said the number of jobs went up by 4.6 million in the past two and half years. There was a reason he chose not to start from the beginning of his presidency -- that would have brought the net number of added jobs down to 2 million over the five-year period.
Bush also made a pair of contradictory pledges on the budget. He said the budget deficit -- which has soared during his presidency -- is on track to decline by half by 2009. But he also urged a permanent extension of his tax cuts, due to expire in five years. The Congressional Budget Office says this would send the budget deficit soaring after 2011.

The president said he has reduced "the growth" of non-security discretionary spending. This only means it did not increase as much from year to year. Moreover, overall discretionary spending has exploded during his tenure, especially when military spending is included. White House budget documents show that overall discretionary spending has climbed from $644 billion in 2001 to $840 billion this year, an increase of more than 30 percent.

Looked at another way, discretionary spending as a share of the overall economy is at its highest level in 13 years, according to the CBO.

Bush made a plea for cutting imports of oil, saying it is "often imported from unstable parts of the world." But the two biggest suppliers of oil to the United States are very stable neighbors -- Canada and Mexico. Only three of the 10 biggest suppliers are from the Middle East -- Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Algeria.

At several points in his speech, Bush made odd rhetorical leaps.

He repeatedly warned against the dangers of "isolationism," but the Democratic leadership has not called for isolationist policies, and polls show that the American public has little interest in them.

Bush ended his address with a stirring image that "every great movement of history comes to a point of choosing." But then he said, "The United States could have accepted the permanent division of Europe, and been complicit in the oppression of others."

This is historically misleading. At the end of World War II, the United States allowed the division of Europe between Soviet and Western spheres, though it drew the line at giving up West Berlin. And the United States permitted the Soviet Union's grabbing of large parts of other countries -- or even whole countries, such as the Baltic states.

Bush should know this. In May, he flew to Latvia and declared that the United States bore some blame for "the division of Europe into armed camps" -- what he called "one of the greatest wrongs of history."

Researcher Zachary A. Goldfarb contributed to this report.

My Article

I know I missed the last meeting and did not present and article. I would like to suggest this piece as my selection for the month.

This is a pretty good summary of the state of the Iraq War from an optimistic standpoint. My sense from reading broadly is that Iraq is closer to this article than the NYT's view, but the truth is somewhere in between.

I am becoming more optomistic about the outcome as I read about Iraqi's fighting the Jihadists and as Iraqi security forces take over more responsibility and become more proficient.

Iraq = Troy?

The strained analogy in this very biased interview is reminiscent of the rhetorical gymnastics Victor Davis Hanson engages in when comparing the War On Terrah to the Battle of Thermopylae.

This epic poem illustrates the Achaeans' drive for power and their settlement on the coast of Asia Minor, beyond the Hellespont. Both Herodotus and Thucydides considered the Trojan War as the first expression of the conflict between Asia and Europe, between East and West. And here are our leaders today, embarking on another Trojan War.

Bit of a Hansonian stretch, as far as I'm concerned. Still, the interview is not without its interesting moments:

Alas there is no Achilles in our modern Iliad. For there can be no Achilles without a Hector. Achilles' glory matches Hector's glory. Yet we deny our enemies any heroism. We deny them worth and courage: Saddam is but a bloodthirsty dictator, Ben Laden a murderous madman, Zarqawi a second-rate criminal, Muslim kamikazes are suicidal cranks, Iraqi insurgents are drug-addicts and drop-outs, the Taliban are lunatics, the new Iranian president is a despicable hostage taker, etc. How can we possibly gain glory by fighting such enemies? Caesar drew his glory from Pompey, Richard the Lionheart from Saladin, Wellington from Napoleon, but what kind of hero can possibly produce a war waged against madmen, maniacs, lunatics, cowards and criminals?

I too have been unimpressed with the quality of our enemies. Cheering for this war often feels like cheering for bum fights - satisfying only to the more vicious among us.

Percy Kemp : Being born to a British father and a Lebanese Arab mother, I am, symbolically at least, both a victim and an executioner of the 7/7 London bombings. You will therefore understand that I do not wish to express myself on the subject in my capacity as an "expert".

Bravo, Percy! Finally, a so-called experts who acknowledges being, merely, a so-called expert. (Though frankly the "symbolism" Percy mentions eludes me. Those subway bombers [or "executioners," as Kemp would have it] weren't Lebanese!)

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Name Game

I am starting to notice a correlative relationship between ridiculous first names and NFL success. First there was Michigan State product Plaxico Burress. Not to be outdone, the University of Virginia presents...

D'Brickashaw Ferguson!

According to si.com, the 6'5", 295 lb offensive lineman "has solidified himself as one of the draft's top-five players." Look for announcers to murder his name, or maybe just crack up while saying it, for many NFL seasons to come.

Run George, Run!

From the left-leaning New York Times:

But in Washington, he [Ben Bernanke] is barely on some people's radar screens. Indeed, here is what Senator George Allen of Virginia, who is considering a bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, said when asked his opinion of the Bernanke nomination.

"For what?"

Told that Mr. Bernanke was up for the Fed chairman's job, Mr. Allen hedged a little, said he had not been focused on it, and wondered aloud when the hearings would be. Told that the Senate Banking Committee hearings had concluded in November, the senator responded: "You mean I missed them all? I paid no attention to them."