Friday, April 28, 2006

Creationism Science Fair

Some of the funniest shit I've seen in a LONG time.

"1st Place: "My Uncle Is A Man Named Steve (Not A Monkey)"
Cassidy Turnbull (grade 5) presented her uncle, Steve. She also showed photographs of monkeys and invited fairgoers to note the differences between her uncle and the monkeys. She tried to feed her uncle bananas, but he declined to eat them. Cassidy has conclusively shown that her uncle is no monkey."


US representatives arrested at Sudan embassy protest

Maybe no Republican congressmen were arrested because they're saving up their arrests for, uh, you know, other stuff...


Let's all wish a 'Happy Birthday' to my main man Saddam Hussein.

The Gitmo Gulag

Yesterday's WaPo had a well-written piece on a Guantanamo detainee who has been cleared of being an "enemy combatant", yet remains imprisoned in that ungodly hellhole, denied even the means to cultivate a little garden.

It was written by Saddiq's lawyer, so it qualifies more as editorial than news. Still, there's no denying that Saddiq's story is a powerful illustration of what's wrong there.

One day the sordid history of Guantanamo will be written. There will be chapters on torture, chapters on the how the courts turned a blind eye, chapters on cruelties large and petty, on the massive stupidity and uselessness of the place. Many pages will illustrate the great lie of Guantanamo -- that it is a "terrorist detention facility" -- with accounts of goatherds and chicken farmers and stray foreigners sold by Pakistani grifters to the United States for bounties. Saddiq may have one of the oddest chapters of all: jailed first by the Taliban as an enemy of its regime, then by us.

For all that, as the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote, "There lives the dearest freshness deep down things." Maybe the History of Guantanamo will have a few uplifting footnotes. America denied them seeds and trowels and they created life anyway. We tried to withhold beauty, but from the grim earth of Guantanamo they scratched a few square meters of garden -- with spoons. Guantanamo is ugly, but man's instinct for beauty lives deep down things.

(Incidentally, I just discovered a great site - perhaps you guys all know about it already. provides logins and passwords for all sorts of registration-required sites like WaPo. Check it out if you are unable to read the linked article.)

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Let the Iraqis Decide

Jonah Goldberg has an interesting idea. Let the Iraqis vote on whether the US troops should stay or go.

He thinks (and I agree with his analysis) that the vast majority would vote for us to stay. This would take the legs out of all the rhetoric about "evil occupiers" that Al Qaeda and the Democrats use in describing the operations in Iraq. If the majority votes for us to leave, then we show respect for the ballot and go.

I am interested in hearing arguments against the proposal. There has to be some downsides that I am not seeing at first pass.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Is Tony Snow a Terrorist?

“George Bush has become something of an embarrassment.” [11/11/05]

Whole fuck, perhaps it's another 'Rovian' plot?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Pub Quiz 4/25, 4/26

1) In the Year 2525, 10 points
2) Al's Baby, 12 points
3) Match- Ancient Chinese Secrets, 13 points
4) Bizarro World, 16 points
5) Dead or Canadian- Rabbit vs. Gunn, 10 points
6) Pictures, 15 points
7) General Knowledge, 24 points

Anybody in? Today? Tomorrow?

Gitmo's Legacy

The Wall Street Journal outdoes itself in pure chutzpah. Below is the entire text of today's short editorial, "Gitmo's Nomads" (no link, avail to subscribers only):

As a measure of Europe's concern for the men held at Guantanamo, we offer the story of 15 Uighur inmates. Captured in Afghanistan where they were for reasons that remain unclear, the men are not considered "enemy combatants" by the U.S. military, which wants to release them.

Only these Uighurs can't go home to China, which brutally represses this Turkic-speaking Muslim minority of some eight million living in the country's northwestern corner. So Washington is looking for a third country willing to grant sanctuary. Sweden, France, Germany, Finland, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey are among those that have been approached, according to news reports. You'd think that Europe, so critical of U.S. detention policies, would jump at an opportunity to reduce the prisoner pool at Gitmo. Yet not a single country has offered to take them in.

Last week the U.S. Supreme Court deferred to a lower court an appeal by two of the Uighurs who want to be released in the U.S. If Washington's talks with Europe falter, U.S. asylum may be the only humane option. But the Uighurs are not America's problem alone. They were picked up during the "good war" -- good in the sense that Europe supported it -- in Afghanistan. The German daily Die Welt reports that Berlin rejected Washington's request because it didn't want to offend Beijing. When we called the German government, the reply was a curt "no comment."

Chancellor Angela Merkel has done much to repair the diplomatic damage done by her predecessor Gerhard Schröder. But even she found it necessary to open her first visit to Washington in January with a call to close Guantanamo. Ms. Merkel will be back in Washington next month, giving her an opportunity to show that she wasn't playing to the anti-American gallery. Reserving 15 seats for the Uighurs on her flight back might do the trick.

So desite the fact that they have loudly criticized our illegal detainment of prisoners at Guantanamo, because Europe "supported" our invasion of Afghanistan, they are obliged to take these guys off our hands? I'm sure we don't want to offend Beijing any more than the Germans do, which I assume is why we're trying to pawn off the Uighurs to them.

This is yet another example of those who presumably fight for the cause of freedom speaking out of both sides of their mouth. If freedom for Iraqis is worth fighting a war over, surely freedom for Uighurs is worth offering them asylum.

This is not about Europe's lack of concern for Guantanamo detainees. This is about the US government not standing up and taking responsibility for its own actions.

The Uighurs are not Europe's problem, but our own.

Monday, April 24, 2006

On Waking Up Sleepless in the Middle of the Night by John Brown

TO: The President
FROM: A former American diplomat
SUBJECT: Waking up in the middle of the night

Mr. President: Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night? Do you? Do you ever wake up sleepless in the middle of the night?

What have you done in Iraq? Do you ever realize, in the middle of the night, what you've done? Do you?

1. You've caused over 2,370 American soldiers to die in an impoverished land that never attacked us. Was that the right answer to 9/11 or the "threat" from Iraq? Do you ever ask yourself that question?

2. Because of your Iraq invasion, thousands of U.S. enlisted personnel are maimed, physically and mentally, for life. What can you tell these victims of your war? That you're honored by their duty towards you, our "mission-accomplished" commander-in-chief?

3. Your decision to go to war has led to the death of tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis. Do you have any remorse for this, Mr. President? Or was it that, for you, Iraqis only really deserved to serve as props in "shock and awe" -- your name for your made-for-TV porno/violence program at the beginning of the war, produced and distributed directly into our living rooms by the mainstream media? (Thank you, Fox News.)

4. Will you ever, ever accept responsibility for making torture all-American at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, and elsewhere? And the Statue of Liberty -- why, tell us why, did you allow it to be replaced by that image of an abused, hooded, helpless prisoner on a box? Aren't you the least bit concerned at how America is seen by the rest of the world because of your war -- as a brutal aggressor nation, dismissive of the opinions of mankind?

5. What about your mercenaries ("Pentagon contractors") that our tax dollars pay for? Who are they? What are they doing in their multi-thousands in Iraq, and to the Iraqis? Do you know? Or don't you care to know?

6. You said you wanted to "rebuild" Iraq -- but isn't it true that all you've really done is construct a Roman-Empire-style camp, a "Green Zone" for Iraqi collaborators (whom you now mistrust) and U.S. personnel in the heart of Baghdad that is an invitation to insurgent mortars? Haven't you -- tell the truth -- destroyed in Iraq more than you have built? Haven't you?

7. You say Iraqis now live in a land of "freedom" -- but what kind of freedom? How can it ever be like the Four Freedoms of Franklin Delano Roosevelt -- freedom of expression and worship, joined with freedom from want and freedom from fear? As electricity fails and bombs terrify citizens in Baghdad, where is the freedom you promised Iraqis, Mr. President?

8. Your occupation of Iraq has led to a bloody sectarian conflict. Why do you and your ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad now blame the Iraqis for their problems? Don't you share responsibility for the desperate situation they are in?

9. Your trillion-dollar binge of destruction in the cradle of civilization -- who will pay for it? The widows of our soldiers? Our young people, already too debt-burdened paying for their educations? Or their baby-boomer parents who may see their pensions evaporate to support your war?

10. Why can't you truthfully tell us, Mr. President, the reasons you led America into war? Was it for the WMD, for regime change, for the oil, for grand neocon visions, to avenge your father, to win elections at home? What were your real intentions? Are you afraid to tell us? Or is the truth that, deep down, you never really knew?

11. And, Mr. President, as you contemplate another war, this time against Iran, won't you ever wake up in the middle of the night, and stop more madness before it is too late?

John Brown, who writes regularly for Tomdispatch and, is a former diplomat who resigned from the State Department over the planned war in Iraq, compiles the Public Diplomacy Press Review, available free upon request at the site.
Copyright 2006 John Brown

Iran Prepares for Counter Attack

From the London Times:

IRAN’S president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, attended a meeting in Syria earlier this year with one of the world’s most wanted terrorists, according to intelligence experts and a former national security official in Washington.
US officials and Israel intelligence sources believe Imad Mugniyeh, the Lebanese commander of Hezbollah’s overseas operations, has taken charge of plotting Iran’s retaliation against western targets should President George W Bush order a strike on Iranian nuclear sites.

Mugniyeh is on the FBI’s “Most Wanted Terrorists” list for his role in a series of high-profile attacks against the West, including the 1985 hijacking of a TWA jet and murder of one of its passengers, a US navy diver.

Now in his mid-forties, Mugniyeh is reported to have travelled with Ahmadinejad in January this year from Tehran to Damascus, where the Iranian president met leaders of Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and Hamas.

The meeting has been dubbed a “terror summit” because of the presence of so many groups behind attacks on Israel, which Ahmadinejad has threatened to wipe from the map.

Iran has had a long relationship with Hamas and using them for terror attacks on the US going back to the '80's. I'm not surprised.

It is another reason to attack if they don't stop the nuclear effort. We still have a couple of years before the window of opportunity closes on our dealing with Iran before they get the bomb. Let's hope a Rose Revolution occurs before then, but I'm not holding my breath.

Change Date of Book Club Meeting?

Per my e-mail sent around this morning, I propose we move our Book Club meeting to next Monday, May 1. This will give more of us (ie, me) a chance to read the book, and all of us to determine a place to meet. Suggestions for such a place are welcome.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Ugly Americans Abroad

Speak softly, don't argue, and slow down, say the experts. But isn't being an ugly American our constitutional right?

Under a programme starting next month, several leading US companies will give employees heading abroad a "World Citizens Guide" featuring 16 etiquette tips on how they can help improve America's battered international image.

Business for Diplomatic Action (BDA), a non-profit group funded by big American companies, has also met Karen Hughes, the head of public diplomacy at the State Department, to discuss issuing the guide with every new US passport. The goal is to create an army of civilian ambassadors.

I say, if you don't like the way we act when we visit your country, go back to Russia.

(The photo has nothing to do with the post, I know. But I couldn't resist.)

Nuking the Economy


Considering next week's meeting of the minds on immigration, I thought this was an appropriate piece.

"Job growth over the last five years is the weakest on record. The US economy came up more than 7 million jobs short of keeping up with population growth. That’s one good reason for controlling immigration. An economy that cannot keep up with population growth should not be boosting population with heavy rates of legal and illegal immigration"

Immigration aside, this is very bad news for all Americans irregardless of your stripes or persuasion. Read it and weep?


Koo-Koo-Ka-Choo, make sure you scroll down for the lyrics.

Will Bush Plead Insanity?

Commit him.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Adults on the Left?

I have read in a couple of different places about the Euston Manifesto.

A summary of the manifesto:
D. Conclusion

It is vitally important for the future of progressive politics that people of liberal, egalitarian and internationalist outlook should now speak clearly. We must define ourselves against those for whom the entire progressive-democratic agenda has been subordinated to a blanket and simplistic 'anti-imperialism' and/or hostility to the current US administration. The values and goals which properly make up that agenda - the values of democracy, human rights, the continuing battle against unjustified privilege and power, solidarity with peoples fighting against tyranny and oppression - are what most enduringly define the shape of any Left worth belonging to.

This seems like a more principled and coherent opposition to some of Bush's policies. Contrast this to the lunitic ravings of the left driven by bitter hatred of Bush like we get from Iowaherbman. His posts are so filled with vitriol and distortions that it is hard to find his point at times. The fact that he hides his arguments in adhominem attacks on anyone who disagrees with him (I've been called a Bush Ass licker) pretty much helps me tune him out, even if he has a valid point.

Please let the adults retake the democratic party. The US is better off with an effective opposition, even when I disagree with its policies.

A Recurring Nightmare

The Bush Regime is certifiable nucking futs over black gold. Does anyone honestly think this can be done? We all know it shouldn't be done, but with our government's track record NOTHING is surprising. This whole nuclear thing is merely a precept for war, similar to the WMDs/Iraq fiasco. Goddamn liars.

"This is much more than a nuclear issue, one high-ranking diplomat told me in Vienna. That's just a rallying point, and there is still time to fix it. But the Administration believes it cannot be fixed unless they control the hearts and minds of Iran. The real issue is who is going to control the Middle East and its oil in the next ten years."

When will we learn from our mistakes?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Jerusalem's Jewish Bias

"Arab Jerusalemites, now about 33% of the city's residents, get just 12% of its welfare budget, even though their poverty rate is more than double that of Jewish residents. They get 15% of the education budget, 8% of engineering services, just 1.2% of the culture and art, and so on. Overall, their share of the services' budget is under 12%, meaning a four-to-one difference in spending per person between Jews and Palestinians. In countless other things, from the number of garbage containers on the streets to the employment rates at city hall, there is a massive disparity in favour of the city's Jews. "

Hmm, this coupled with the fact that the Arab citizens of the city have been boxed in via the retaining wall should serve notice to future suicide attacks. No?

Why I Can't Take the UN Seriously

From the UN's website:

In other business, the following delegations were elected as Vice-chairpersons [of the UN Disarmament Commission], by acclamation: Chile, Uruguay and Iran.

This is why the UN is useless, along with Libya and Cuba on the Human Rights commision a couple of years ago.

Why anyone puts any stock in what the UN does is beyond me. It's the League of Nations all over again.

Pub Quizesses(es) 4-18/19

I'm up for both how about you?
1) We Built This City 11 pts
2) Keep it on the QT 11 pts
3) Match- Whirled Capitals 14 pts
4) Bizarro World 16 pts
5) Dead or Canadian- Flowering plant or Pharmaceutical company 10 pts
6) Pictures 16 pts
7) General Knowledge 22 pts
A badly undermanned (2 member) Los Souvenir Jackitos finished tenth out of fifteen teams. Worst... finish... evar.

What Changed?

From FOX news (which doesn't automatically disqualify it as true).

Former Clinton CENTCOM commander, Anthony Zinni — the most prominent of the retired generals attacking Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld — now says that, in the run-up to the war in Iraq, "What bothered me ... [was that] I was hearing a depiction of the intelligence that didn't fit what I knew. There was no solid proof, that I ever saw, that Saddam had WMD."

But in early 2000, Zinni told Congress "Iraq remains the most significant near-term threat to U.S. interests in the Arabian Gulf region," adding, "Iraq probably is continuing clandestine nuclear research, [and] retains stocks of chemical and biological munitions ... Even if Baghdad reversed its course and surrendered all WMD capabilities, it retains scientific, technical, and industrial infrastructure to replace agents and munitions within weeks or months."

So what changed between 2000 and the invasion in 2003? Where Zinni and Clinton in on Bush's 'big lie'? Pretty handy since Bush hadn't even been elected yet.

I think this is a case of revisionist history that most critics are suffering from today. It's easy too look back today and say the intelligence was bad, but no one knew for sure in 2003. In any organization the size of the US intelligence agencies you can find dissenting opinions, but the preponderancece of the evidence pointed to Iraq have WMD. Remember, inspectors were shocked at how advanced the Iraqi WMD programs were (especially nuclear) in 1991. Again, intelligence is not a precise art. Never has been, never will be.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

When in doubt, look at the data

I wasn't sure whether to put this as a comment on the Global Cooling post or make a new post, but I figure since it is my first I should make it easy to see.

I looked at the data of the group mentioned in the article, and it sure looks to me like there has been some global warming, and that it did not peak in 1998.

Am I missing something? If not, that Telegraph article is extremely misleading.
In fact, looking at that graph together with these two graphs from wikipedia, it sure looks like
it would be prudent to spend more money on reducing carbon emissions.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Is Rumsfeld Really Incompetent?

Note: this started as a response to Germanicus' post on firing Rumsfeld, but grew long enough to merit its' own post.

This is a tough subject to know which side is correct. We are seeing a difference in philosophy between the view of a leaner, transformed military and the more old school approach of overwhelming force of the Weinberger doctrine. I don't think we know which side is right, and there may never be a way to know conclusively.

Rumsfeld was under attack before 9/11 by many in military leadership and on capital hill. Before 9/11 it was widely assumed that Rumsfeld would be the first cabinet secretary to resign under Bush because of all the heat he was getting.

What was his crime? Challenging the reigning orthodoxy and pushing transformation. He was trying to kill cold war legacy systems to save money and make the military lighter and more deployable. He killed the Crusader artillery system and the Comanche attack helicopter to name a couple. Generals who grew up in the cold war and had trained their whole careers to fight the Soviets in central Europe had trouble adjusting to the new world. He also angered a lot of congressman who lost jobs in their districs because of these cuts.

This is a natural human reaction on the part of the military men and I don't really blame them. There is a history of fighting change in the military. A couple of examples are the battleship admirals in the '30s downplaying the aircraft carrier. The Admirals revolt in the '48 when Truman killed the USS United States (a new 'supercarrier' in its day) to save money and concentrate more on strategic bombers armed with atomic weapons. Its very hard to recognize a seismic shift in when everything you have studied and done for 20+ yrs is challenged.

The Wienburger doctrine (or Powell doctrine) talks about using overwhelming force, having clear objectives, and having a clear exit strategy. This is great in an ideal world, but is not always possible. Gulf I is the only example I can think of where it was possible to meet all of these conditions. US troops have fought heroically and won without overwhelming force. The 1st Marine division at Guadelcanal was outmanded and at the end of a shaky logistics line and still managed to defeat the Japanese after 6 months of combat. Clear objectives are the easy part, take Berlin, take Baghdad, liberate Kuwait etc. A clear exit strategy is not so easy. We didn't have an exit strategy before WWII or Korea, and we still have troops in both places. That is the real world.

I believe the generals are sincere in what they are saying and believe they are saying what they believe the best policy is. I think there point is now being overhyped by many to use as an attack on Bush. There is another side of the story, but the critics are being presented as being correct without question. ( I find it ironic that most of the critics on the left that were against the war attack Bush and Rumsfeld for not having enough troops, not too many).

I think the evidence of who is correct based on Iraq is split.

Rumsfeld was absolutely correct in the war fighting phase. The forces deployed, even with the Turkish refusal to allow the 4th ID in from the north, were enough to crush the Iraqi forces and take Baghdad in 3 weeks. This is a crushing victory on any historical scale that has never been matched. There were 2 army divisions ( the 3 ID, 101 airborne, plus a brigade from the 82nd) and 1 marine division (the 1st, plus task force Tarawa, 2 RCT) The only close comparison is the First Gulf War, where we had about 2 1/2 times the force and did not go to Baghdad. The technology edge, the quality of our troops, the high morale were and still are unequaled in world history.

The aftermath of the war is where it gets dicey. Critics assume that more troops would have produced better results. I wonder if this is true. In order to stop the looting and keep the peace presence alone is not enough, we must be willing to use the force we have. This is a political war as much as anything. Would we have been willing to shoot looters in order to stop them? What would have been the reaction to that video on Al Jazera? Would we be in better or worse shape today if we cracked down? It's impossible to know. We could have 500,000 soldiers in country and still be fighting an insurgency, that is what happened in Vietnam. I don't think its clear cut that more troops as Gen. Shinseki said before the war would have prevented the problems we have, or they may have created different problems.

I personally think Rumsfeld is closer to correct than not in the philosophical debate from everything I have read. I don't think there is a case for saying he is incompetent. Critics of Bush, Rumsfeld and the war are using the dissenting voices in a philosophical argument within the military to beat them up.

Fire Rumsfeld Now!

What does it mean when several generals come out of retirement to harshly criticize Secretary Rumsfeld? It speaks volumes, according to them.

The retired commander of key forces in Iraq called yesterday for Donald H. Rumsfeld to step down, joining several other former top military commanders who have harshly criticized the defense secretary's authoritarian style for making the military's job more difficult.

Batiste noted that many of his peers feel the same way. "It speaks volumes that guys like me are speaking out from retirement about the leadership climate in the Department of Defense," he said earlier yesterday on CNN.

Batiste said he believes that the administration's handling of the Iraq war has violated fundamental military principles, such as unity of command and unity of effort. In other interviews, Batiste has said he thinks the violation of another military principle -- ensuring there are enough forces -- helped create the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal by putting too much responsibility on incompetent officers and undertrained troops.

His comments follow similar recent high-profile attacks on Rumsfeld by three other retired flag officers, amid indications that many of their peers feel the same way.

Bush has repeatedly said that he bases his decisions on Iraq troop levels on the information he receives from the commanders on the ground, implying he respects their opinion on military matters. Yet despite repeated calls for Rumsfeld's exit - not to mention (if the reports are to be believed) Rumsfeld submitting his own resignation years ago - the President has kept him on.

Perhaps apologists and defenders of this administration can explain to its critics how keeping Rumsfeld around is anything but a bonehead play.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Pub quiz(es) 4-11, 4-12-06

1) Rebel, Rebel 12 pts
2) The Devil, the Haymarket, and the White City 12 pts
3) Elementary, My Dear Watson 11 pts
4) Bizarro World 16 points
5) Dead or Canadian Autobot or Decepticon 10 pts
6) Pictures 15 pts
7) General Knowledge 24 pts

Who's in tonight? How bout' Wednesday at the Local Option?

UPDATE: I paid my taxes over a year ago! finished in fourth place, 9 points away from third place due to a brutal round on atomic weights. Unfortunately the atomic weight of Bolognium was not asked. (Correct answer: Delicious. Also acceptable: Snacktacular.)

Monday, April 10, 2006

If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it...

Am I a bad person for finding this funny?


Century-old tree falls on group of deaf tourists; 1 man dead

Items compiled from Tribune news services
Published April 10, 2006

ROME, ITALY -- A century-old tree fell on a group of deaf tourists in central Italy on Sunday, killing a man and injuring seven people who were unable to hear a bus driver's shout of alarm, police said.

The Italian tourists had finished a day of sightseeing and were about to board a bus in a square outside the L'Aquila train station to return to their homes near Rome, police said.

"The bus driver shouted to warn them, but they couldn't hear," said Angelo Cardelli, an official at police headquarters.

A 47-year-old man from Valmontone, a suburb of Rome, was killed instantly when struck by the horse chestnut tree, police said.

Global Cooling is Coming (Again)!!!

A new study of temperature data over the last 8 years shows global temperatures actually dropped slightly (but not a statistically significant amount). What happened to global warming??

Seriously, I think this shows we don't know enough about what causes the temperature to fluctuate (I read a report that the sun is more active than it has been in the last 300 years, could this be the cause of the rise in temps?)

This article takes a look at the new report and gives some context over the long term. Even the 100 yrs of the hockey stick is a blink of an eye in the history of the earth. Some key points:

For many years now, human-caused climate change has been viewed as a large and urgent problem. In truth, however, the biggest part of the problem is neither environmental nor scientific, but a self-created political fiasco. Consider the simple fact, drawn from the official temperature records of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, that for the years 1998-2005 global average temperature did not increase (there was actually a slight decrease, though not at a rate that differs significantly from zero).

Two simple graphs provide needed context, and exemplify the dynamic, fluctuating nature of climate change. The first is a temperature curve for the last six million years, which shows a three-million year period when it was several degrees warmer than today, followed by a three-million year cooling trend which was accompanied by an increase in the magnitude of the pervasive, higher frequency, cold and warm climate cycles. During the last three such warm (interglacial) periods, temperatures at high latitudes were as much as 5 degrees warmer than today's. The second graph shows the average global temperature over the last eight years, which has proved to be a period of stasis.

I am not convinced that humans are causing the raise in temperature we have seen. I think it is more likely this is just natural cycles.

Former Federal Prosecutor Weighs In on Bush's Mishap

"Is a President, on the eve of his reelection campaign, legally entitled to ward off political embarrassment and conceal past failures in the exercise of his office by unilaterally and informally declassifying selected -- as well as false and misleading -- portions of a classified National Intelligence Estimate that he has previously refused to declassify, in order to cause such information to be secretly disclosed under false pretenses in the name of a "former Hill staffer" to a single reporter, intending that reporter to publish such false and misleading information in a prominent national newspaper?"

Silly Hardball politics?

Silly Librul Media

"Steps toward democracy in the Arab world, a crucial American goal that just months ago was cause for optimism — with elections held in Iraq, Egypt and the Palestinian areas — are slowing, blocked by legal maneuvers and official changes of heart throughout the Middle East."

Where is the moonshine and roses?

Keeps Getting Better

...Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald for the first time described a "concerted action" by "multiple people in the White House" -- using classified information -- to "discredit, punish or seek revenge against" a critic of President Bush's war in Iraq.

Bush and Cheney are going to get beaned in the game of "hardball" politics.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Bringing "The Hammer" down on McKinney

The former House Majority Leader weighs in on the McKinney kerfuffle:

Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who on Tuesday abandoned his re-election bid under a cloud of ethics charges, weighed in on Wednesday, saying McKinney "is a racist."

"She has a long history of racism," DeLay, R-Texas, said on Fox News Channel. "Everything is racism with her. This is incredible arrogance that sometimes hits these members of Congress, but especially Cynthia McKinney."

Not sure who exactly Tom means by "these members," or for that matter how he would characterize McKinney's "long history of racism." Maybe he's referring to McKinney's being a Marxist, which is how mkchicago (hyperbolically?) characterized her recently. Perhaps he'd care to elaborate on how her voting record advocates a classless society where workers collectively own the means of production.

Bush Won't

be able to withstand scrutiny and talk of impeachment after this revelation. Adios cocksucker.

Let Moussaoui Live!

By putting Zacarias Moussaoui to death, we are playing right into his hands, and validating everything our enemies say about us. Richard Cohen makes the very sensible case for life imprisonment in today's WaPo:

The process is almost a parody of justice -- a laborious procedure to carry out what most of us recognize is nothing more than revenge. Call it justice if you will, we all know what it really is....With the government's help, [Moussaoui] will attain what he always wanted -- martyrdom.

Zacarias Moussaoui's execution will do no good. We will see it as justice, but so will he. With a lot of money and immense effort, we will give some of the world another martyr -- and Osama bin Laden can finally close the book on his most successful mission.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The "Double Taxation" Myth

Just admit HeartLeg, you're a corporate socialist.

Elite Socialism

Who would have thought that this would happen? Jesus Christ, they act like this is an unintended consequence or something.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Wam Bam Thank you Man

From Tom Engelhardt,

"But of course nothing like this happened. In that terrible moment when a choice might have been made between the vision of apocalypse and the reality of al-Qaeda, between a malign version of the smoke-and-mirrors Wizard of Oz and the pathetic little man behind the curtain, the Bush administration opted for the vision in a major way. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, and other top officials chose to pump up al-Qaeda into a global enemy worthy of a new Cold War, a generational struggle that might comfortably be filled with smaller, regime-change-oriented, "preventive" hot wars against hopelessly outgunned enemies who -- unlike in those Cold War days -- would have no other superpower to call on for aid. "

Goddammit, this guy seals the deal.

4-4-06 Pub Quiz

1) Going Bold 11 points
2) Through the Back Door 10 points
3) Match- Mmmmm... 64 Slices of American Cheese 13 points
4) Bizarro World 16 points
5) Dead or Canadian- Turning Japanese 10 points
6) Picture Round 16 points
7) General Knowledge 24 points
Who's in?

UPDATE: Robotic Richard Simmons came in third after losing a tie breaker. Who the f*ck knows the number of people in Madison County Iowa anyway?

BONUS! Son of Pub Quiz.
Anybody want to try the Wednesday pub quiz at The Local Option on Webster ?

Monday, April 03, 2006

Obama on Censure

It surprised me to discover that Sen. Obama opposes censure:

But my and Senator Feingold's view is not unanimous. Some constitutional scholars and lower court opinions support the president's argument that he has inherent authority to go outside the bounds of the law in monitoring the activities of suspected terrorists. The question is whether the president understood the law and knowingly flaunted it, or whether he and his aides, in good faith, interpreted their authority more broadly than I and others believe the law allows. Ultimately, this debate must be resolved by the courts.

Also, a censure resolution does nothing to deal with the underlying problem of unchecked executive power. It would not force the president to modify his domestic surveillance program or force the Senate Intelligence Committee to do its job. In order to do that, Congress must reassert its constitutional role in overseeing the domestic surveillance program. And it should bring the warrantless wiretapping program back under the authority of the court established by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Therefore, my focus is on crafting an effective surveillance program that both combats terrorism and contains meaningful judicial review of wiretapping, which is the most effective way to restore balance between the battle against terrorism and the rule of law.

Kudos to the Senator for recognizing the Judicial Branch's responsibility re: checks and balances; it's mystifying why he doesn't recognize his own responsibility. It reads like he's chickenshit to support censure because it's not unanimously agreed upon by everyone in the land. If you're not going to use your power to check the Executive, why even have it?

Democrats have been "saving themselves for a bigger fight" for too long. I understand that in politics, you often lose the battle in order to win the war. Obama supported Roberts and Alito because he wanted to save the "nuclear option" of filibuster for another, more important battle. I don't see why he and others consider censure to be a similarly distasteful all-or-nothing option. It doesn't remove the President from office or strip him of any powers, including the power to wiretap. In fact, if he opposed censure because it lacked teeth, I might be behind him (probably not though; a symbolic gumming would have value and impact).

So maybe the argument goes: we can't censure, because when we take the White House, the GOP will go out of its way to censure us. This is so preposterously short-sighted, and ignorant of recent history, that I find it hard to believe a smart guy like Obama would harbor this contention.

The other half of what he's saying here is almost as alarming, since it amounts to: "I want to move on from the President's illegal wiretapping, by making it congressionally-sanctioned, loophole free, legal wiretapping." It's a bloody shame that Obama has bought into the whole pull-up-the-bootstraps, devote-all-our-resources-to-fighting-the-terrorists mentality. I thought this guy was supposed to elevate the discourse; instead, he's playing the high ground to the lowest common denominator.