Sunday, November 30, 2003

Scenes from the Old Place

I decided not to get all morose on you, but to keep my feelings bottled up inside. But I did come across one thing I saw in my home town I'd like to share.



Get that? The original pancake house is in Yorba Linda, CA. Before that pancake house, nobody else had the idea to have a pancake house. It was a whole new concept.

You know what would make this joke even better? If it was a chain.

Also caught a bit of Senator Tom Daschle promoting his book on C-Span. What a miserable performance. First of all, he basically let the Republicans off the hook for trashing the Wellstone Memorial. Essentially he agreed with them, that it was a dispicable performance. Then he said words to the effect that he spends hours looking at his phone before calling the majority leader and apoligizing or clarifying his position. Not very good.

New Quote

Theres a new quote, but since I'm on the road, no new quotes page for a couple of days.

Saturday, November 29, 2003

Your Weekly Rush

Rush Limbaugh takes time out of a heavy holiday schedule to remind us all that we have no reason to be grateful to the Indians and neither did the Pilgrims. Yeah the Indians helped a little, but, according to Rush, not significantly. Instead the Pilgrims pulled themselves out of their troubles by adopting capitalism. So there's no need to feel particularly grateful fo the Indians, or, more to the point, no need to feel sorry that we took the Indians land.

Of course this particular theory may or may not be supported by evidence, but who cares?

Friday, November 28, 2003

Another Well Thought Out Scheme

Well, it's been a while since I used this title (I think it was last used for the brilliant scheme of giving the Statue of Liberty back to France).

Well the latest scheme is replacing FDR with Ronald Reagen on the Dime. According to the Fort Wayne Journal (I think), Rep. Mark Souder (R) wants to make the big switch. "This is time for us to make a statement, right now, because we feel Ronald Reagan's been unfairly trashed referring to the cancelled CBS mini series. So not only did we have to cancel that series now we need to get rid of FDR on the dime?

But of course what Mr. Souder would hope is that we, as a nation, reevaluate FDR's legacy and decide that Reagans was more important. Well, I don't agree with that interpretation, and I'm not sure how many do.

Jonah Goldberg - An Honest Federalist

Not to imply that he's the only one.

He writes again about gay marriage and his somewhat surprising opposition to the Federal Marriage amendment (FMA). "So, we have the FMA barreling down the tracks. The FMA would ban gay marriage "or the legal incidents thereof" - which many take to mean civil unions as well - in all 50 states for all time.

That may sound like a good idea if you're against gay marriage, civil unions and all the rest. But to me it sounds an awful lot like a replay of Prohibition. I can't tell you what the unforeseeable consequences of such an amendment are because, duh, they're unforeseeable. But what I can predict with almost mathematical certitude is that the FMA will not make this issue go away. Rather, it will more likely serve to radicalize the anti-FMA forces in much the same way Roe vs. Wade radicalized anti-abortion forces. . . .

You can't favor federalism for only good ideas or ideas you like. Experimentation means allowing local communities to make mistakes.
"

I do hope other conservatives listen to Mr. Goldberg because on this issue he's making a lot of sense. However, it seems unlikely in an election year. After all, this issue, according to some, has the potential to put President Bush back in the White House, particularly if he runs against Howard Dean, who has some history on this issue.

Thursday, November 27, 2003

News

A staffer in the office of Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) has been put on administrative leave pending an investigation of his hacking onto the computer services of Senators Kennedy and Durbin (both Democrats). He or she may have been the source of damaging memos released to the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Times. Senator Hatch is shocked that such a thing could happen in his office, and he may be telling the truth. But, Senator Hatch, you and your party and your movement have been describing this as war for a couple of decades now. Certainly its embarrassing to get caught, but all is fair in love and war. And if you didn't want this war, you should have spoken out against it.

Story here.

Poem

Hard to come up with stuff for Thanksgiving, and most of the articles are either complaints about the Medicare Prescription Benefit bill or dull, dutiful articles about Thanksgiving (making sure we all know the religious and patriotic significance of this holiday).

Gathering Leaves

Spades take up leaves
No better than spoons,
And bags full of leaves
Are light as balloons.

I make a great noise
Of rustling all day
Like rabbit and deer
Running away.

But the mountains I raise
Elude my embrace,
Flowing over my arms
And into my face.

I may load and unload
Again and again
Till I fill the whole shed,
And what have I then?

Next to nothing for weight,
And since they grew duller
From contact with earth,
Next to nothing for color.

Next to nothing for use.
But a crop is a crop,
And who's to say where
The harvest shall stop?

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Cal Thomas is Upset

"Smaller government and less spending? That's a joke. Eleven years ago, Newt Gingrich, who would soon become Speaker of the House, blasted Democrats for seeing "no contradiction between adding a billion and a half dollars in pork-barrel (spending) for the politicians in their big-city machines and voting for a balanced budget amendment." Now that Republicans are doing precisely what Democrats did when they were in the majority, what shall we call these overspending Republicans? Hypocrites? Liars?"

He also castigates President Bush for promising to limit spending to cover the loss of revenue due to his tax cut.

I'm tempted to agree with Cal Thomas, but our solutions for the problem would be different, as I assume he would favor cutting needed services, and I favor a sensible revenue program (such, as maybe, taxing corporations? Cracking down on off-shore bank accounts?).

I'm on the road

I'm in Southern California, which is where I grew up. I grew up in Yorba Linda but I'm in Riverside. You get the idea.

Yorba Linda was the birthplace of Richard Nixon a great man brought low by his own paranoia and stupidity. It'd be nice to say that politics surrounded me growing up, but if it did, I didn't notice it much. Oh, I had talks about racism with some co-workers, and some discussions of politics with my Dad.

Drove in from the Airport listening to Pearl Jam's latest (A collection of B-Sides and rare tracks called "Lost Dogs" that is excellent in my book). I was struck by a faint surreality, looking up at the brown sky, and down at the crowded highways. Pearl Jam seems like such a part of my life now (which I admit is a little embarrassing, but not as embarrassing as the fact that the Pet Shop Boys are a part of my life too), but they didn't release their first album until after I had left California.

Anyway look forward to lots of reminences over the next couple of days. And maybe some pictures.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Words from our President

"A peaceful Iraq and a free Iraq is part of our campaign to rid the world of terror. And that's why the thugs in Iraq still resist us, because they can't stand the thought of free societies. They understand what freedom means. See, free nations are peaceful nations. Free nations don't attack each other. Free nations don't develop weapons of mass destruction.

So either Mr. Bush is unaware that the United States has one the largest arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in the world, or he does not believe us to be a free nation. Take your pick.

Of course there is a third answer; President Bush knows that we'll believe anything he chooses to say. I hope that's not the right answer.

Here's the link, it's a little less than half way down.

Two Points of View

"What? Where in the ad did President Bush question the Democrats' patriotism? He said nothing about that. He merely stated accurately their opposition to his policy of preemption and his decision to strike even without the approval of every nation on the planet.

Just what about those statements is wrong, Senator Daschle? If you are ashamed that President Bush is accurately characterizing your endless opposition, and if you think it makes you and your colleagues look unpatriotic, then perhaps you should consider changing your policies. But don't blame President Bush for pointing out the folly of your policies. And don't issue disingenuous preemptive political strikes against Republicans claiming they've questioned your patriotism when they haven't. But if that shoe fits and you don't like the way it looks -- that is, if you find it politically unstylish -- by all means, take it off.


These statements are from David Limbaugh's latest article. Funny how his nose, which is so finely attuned to slurs against President Bush doesn't pick up the obvious slam on Democrats. Also interesting that the only solution is for the Democrats to support President Bush's plans. Yep, the only way for Democrats to be patriotic citizens is to support President Bush. What a great message, particularly in an election year.

The irony is that the ad features the president delivering the 2003 State of the Union speech, which has turned out to be an enormous embarrassment of admitted distortions, including one claim, based on a forged document, that Iraq was a nuclear threat. It was in that speech that the president touted the imminent threat of Iraq's so-far-undiscovered weapons of mass destruction while implying that Saddam Hussein collaborated with Al Qaeda on the 9/11 attacks -- a charge that the president himself recently conceded was without foundation.

In fact, the Iraq war has proved to be a terrible test case for "preemptive self-defense" because the intelligence it was founded on is so much loose sand. If you say somebody is a threat and then it turns out they aren't, your "preemptive attack" is no longer "self-defense."

Worse, though, as Gen. Wesley Clark points out, is that the Iraq war and occupation have been a distraction from the war against Al Qaeda. "I'm not critical of President Bush because he's attacking terrorists," Clark said. "I'm critical of President Bush because he is not attacking terrorists."
"

Not much to criticize in Robert Sheer's piece, but then again, I'm biased. But it is the obvious question; how is attacking Iraq protecting us from Terrorists?

It's a Beautiful World

Listening Underworlds "Cowgirl" today at work. That's the one where they keep singing about "a razor of love," and it's off their Best of which just came out, and includes big hits (for a dance band) "Cowgirl", "Born Slippy", "Jumbo", "King of Snake", and "Two Months Off." All great songs, although I'll admit the music is a bit obscure. Unlike, say, Eminem or Britney Spears it requires a little effort to find. It takes effort to find such other generally unheralded treasures as Pepe Deluxe, DJ Me DJ You, The Beautiful South, Fantastic Plastic Machine, and the Cocteau Twins.

But you can find Eminem and Britney Spears in every third car stereo.

I comment on this because Mona Charen wrote an article today entitled "I Hate Popular Culture." She spends the first part of it annoyed that much of news caters to the lowest common denominator and that the Democratic Party hasn't run Al Sharpton out of the party on a rail. She then makes this one line comment. "Popular music? Whom do you prefer: Eminem or Britney Spears?"

Well, I chose neither, Ms. Charen, and neither should you. Visit Borders and look around; you'll see hundreds of CDs that don't have either Eminem or Britney Spears performing on them.

It's interesting that she doesn't go into television (other than TV news) or books or films or the theater or anywhere really. Just the sordid quality of news and Britney Spears/Eminem. I don't know if that is because those areas don't have any problems or because they aren't worth even bringing up.

Monday, November 24, 2003

It must be Obvious

Charles Taylor, at Salon, writes about the latest ad from the RNC. You know the one that says that "Some are attacking the President for attacking the Terrrorists." Kind of a goofy sentiment right there, as going after Osama bin Ladin and the Taliban had widespread support. But perhaps the RNC is still under the illusion that there is some kind of link between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Ladin.

Mr. Taylor ends his piece saying, "This ad is not going to change anyone's mind about Bush, neither supporters nor detractors. If the RNC had played strictly to Bush's immediate post-9/11 leadership, it might have been on firmer ground. To raise the already widely rejected link between 9/11 and Iraq suggests a real blunder. The ad is a glimpse of the themes the Republicans plan to use in the election. If the Democrats can't make hay of this, then their candidate might be left like Jon Lovitz as Mike Dukakis in the "SNL" sketch saying of another Bush, "I can't believe I'm losing to this guy.""

We'll have to see what the DNC comes up with.

Mickey Mouse or Why New Coke Failed

Laura M. Holson writing at the NYTimes suggests that the Disney Corporation either retire or "improve" Mickey Mouse.

Do you all remember New Coke? Well, here's the story. New Coke was designed because Pepsi was beating Coke. So Coke monkeyed with the formula and took it on the road. In Blind Taste Tests, everybody loved New Coke. It was the mack-daddy of blind taste tests (sorry about my odd phrasing there, but I have to use the phrase Mack Daddy once every 15 months in order to remain accredited). Anyway everybody loved it.

So the Coke people realized they must have a hit on their hands. And they introduced New Coke. And it sank like a stone. Actually it sank so fast, that for a brief period the phrase "sink like a stone" was revised to "sink like New Coke."

Why? Because the people at Coke didn't realize what Coke met. Coke was part of America, an integral part. And nobody was going to monkey with it, as far as the American people were concerned. There's a world of difference between lifting one of those little plastic cups to your lips and lifting a Coke can to your lips (and don't get me started on Coke in little green bottles).

So what does this have to do with Mickey Mouse? Everything. Yeah, Mickey is square. He's a little dull, particularly compared to Daffy Duck or Goofy. He embodies values and virtues that perhaps we don't see in these days. There's not an ironic bone in his body (and frankly, we certainly don't need another irony filled cartoon charectar). But, still, he's one of us.

And woe unto the Disney Exec who follows Ms. Holson's advice. I don't think, even now, that the American people could stand to see Mickey Mouse monkeyed with, and I don't think any attempt to bring Mickey "up to date" could succeed.

President Bush and America

Suzanne fields writes a travel memoir of President Bush's recent and possibly ongoing trip to the United Kingdom (I'm not sure when he gets back). She includes snipes at the protestors as well as praise for the President. She concludes by commenting on how the Queen and the President got on. "Queen Elizabeth, like Tony Blair, toasted the special relationship. America and Britain, she said, are like close friends who have their spats, and can disagree with each other. But they know how to make up quickly.

She might have been reading Churchill, too. "No people respond more spontaneously to fair play," said the man whose eloquence and common sense was one of the super weapons of that earlier war to save the West. "If you treat Americans well, they always want to treat you better."


Well, I'm not sure that the Queen was as friendly to President Bush as you might think. Apparently she wasn't a big fan of his decision to bring along his own cooks, for example (story here, about halfway down the page).

I'm also not sure that President Bush, despite his best efforts (and those of Karl Rove) is all that Churchillian. Nor do I have the idea that he has that expansive a spirit. Despite what Churchill says, if the United Kingdom isn't with us for Gulf War Three (Iraq and/or Syria), than Newsmax and Rush Limbaugh will add them to the Axis of Traitors, muttering something about contracts, and President Bush will say nothing. He might even take a few subtle digs at the UK.

But, of course, I could be wrong.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

New Quotes Page

Updated the Quotes Page, as you might have expected. Plus the quote up top is different.

Saturday, November 22, 2003

Kathy I'm Lost

Where is America? You know, the real America. Land of Apple Pie. Baseball. The Hamburger. Big Cars. Big Hair. And so on. Well, if you are looking for America, Michael Kinsley (who's been writing some bang up columns lately) has some advice on where not to look for America.

"Wherever a Democratic candidate happens to be from, that place turns out to be isolated and unrepresentative and not part of the real America. They are having a good time at the moment dissing Vermont, home of former Gov. Howard Dean. It's way up there in the Northeast somewhere. (Yeah, not too far south of the Bush family hangout in Maine.) It doesn't have any black people. Its best-known product is some hippie ice cream. Worst of all, it's (gasp!) "bucolic."

Odd, but I don't recall these points being made by any politician, Republican or Democrat, about New Hampshire, which is adjacent to Vermont. In the next few months, as always in election years, we will be hearing repeatedly about what a wonderful place New Hampshire is. Second only to Iowa. But, Vermont—now, that's a different story.
"

So there you have it.

I dont know about anybody else, but I'm not a big fan of the idea of a "real" America. For one thing it rarely contains me. I mean is there room in the "real" America for a guy who really likes The Chemical Brothers or Underworld or The Baldwin Brothers (the band, not the brothers)? Is there room in the "real" America for New York? Los Angeles? Is there room in the "real" America for the millions that have joined the Democratic Party?

Depends on who you ask, I guess, but I personally think so.

Your Weekly Rush

Well,Rush is back.

Apparently he's never really talked about addicts on his program. "But this business about me being hard on addicts, may I be honest with you? I was a drug addict - well, I still am - was a drug addict from about 1996, 1995, whenever, to just five weeks ago. The truth of the matter is I avoided the subject of drugs on this program for the precise reason that I was keeping a secret." I wonder if anybody's followed up on this?

Also he thinks us liberals hate citrus fruits, because there were boycott calls against orange juice when he was a spokesman for Florida Orange juice, and because the Senate Democrats described the new Medicare bill as a Lemon. "Yet, the Democrats are out there not only running down Republicans and running down Medicare, they're now running down fruit! These people have lost all touch with reality, ladies and gentlemen. It's important that you know this."

I like Tangerines myself. But it's good to have Rush back.

Friday, November 21, 2003

Same Sex Marriage

As I'm sure you all heard, the Mass. Courts ruled this week that the Mass. constitution does not prohibit same sex marriages from being recognized. This is problemattic because traditionally if you are married in one state, you are married in all 50 states. So a person from, say, Texas could go to Mass. and get married and come back and demand all the benifits of marriage from the state of Texas.

This is being seen as a boon for President Bush, as it will be an issue during next years campaign. Both sides will presumably try to uphold traditional values while respecting the rights of homosexuals. As Jonah Goldberg puts it, in his latest article, "It's a funny stalemate. The Republicans can't afford to be seen as too "anti-gay," lest the Democrats demagogue them with tolerant suburban voters, and Democrats can't afford to be seen as too "pro-gay" lest the GOP demagogue them in Southern and rural states."

He also comments on the idea of civil unions, making some sense in my mind. "One of the reasons I favor civil unions is that I believe they would forestall gay marriage while at the same time doing right by gays and society on a host of public policy issues.

Though a great many conservatives disagree, civil unions strike me as the right balance between principle and tolerance. Marriage has a specific meaning: a union of a man and a woman. But the state shouldn't bar gays or anyone else from naming heirs or sharing property as they see fit.
"

We'll see what happens.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Hey, aren't we in Iraq?

I know I've been sort of focused elsewhere. But we are still in Iraq, and Thomas Friedman has some ideas about the Bush's recent decision to step up the time table to getting the new Iraqi government going.

"Tom Malinowski, from Human Rights Watch, perfectly described Mr. Bush's core problem: When you look at the muted reaction to the president's important speech on the need for democracy in the Arab world, you see that "President Bush has moral clarity, but no moral authority." He has a vision — without influence among the partners needed to get it moving. His is a beautifully carved table — with only one leg.

The Bush team's decision to change course in Iraq, and to transfer authority by July 1 to an interim government indirectly elected by community leaders from each of Iraq's 18 governates, is a good new start for generating legitimacy for the U.S. presence in Iraq. I do not know if this plan will work, but those who dismiss it as a cut-and-run strategy have it wrong. This plan is actually the only way America can stay. Only a legitimate Iraqi authority can give cover for a long-term U.S. presence and do what it takes to finish the war.
"

Friedman might be right, but will the Bush administration stick it out when it becomes politically tough for them? Too soon to tale, but the history is not good.

GOP and Prescription Drugs

Robert Novak is worried about the negative downside to enacting the Prescription Drugs plan.

Odds are that Medicare legislation, after nearly four months in a Senate-House conference following passage by both houses, will not sink. It is intended to inoculate Bush's re-election campaign from charges he has no compassion for senior citizens. Whether it actually achieves that end, the strategy worries many Republicans.

The inoculation's side effects could depress the Republican political base in next year's election with disastrous consequences for the president. Apart from any political downside, the first fully Republican government -- presidency, Senate and House -- in 38 years is building a major addition to the welfare state. The prescription drug subsidy will be the first major new federal entitlement since Medicare in 1965.


Yep, it is a real downer that President Bush is going to keep a campaign promise. But then again, maybe it will be like the No Child Left Behind initiative, which President Bush passed and then failed to pay for, letting it die on the vine.

Oh, and "Negative Downside"? Totally redundent phrase. But I used it anyway.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Truth in Advertising?

Was on the road today. Saw a cab while I was waiting at the airport. "Accurate Taxi Co." Yep.

It's a funny old world.

Ben Shapiro Makes a Good Point

I'm on the road today, so this is a brief and solitary post, but I'll post more this evening.

While I'm on the road you might check out Ben Shapiros latest, in which he details how the Republicans have screwed up this judge issue so badly.

Of course you might wonder if the Republicans really want to win this battle. They might shore up more support if they fail. But I leave that as exercise for the reader.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Jon Alvarez

Jon Alvarez, patron saint of Patriotic Americans Boycotting Anti American Hollywood, wrote an article for renewamerica today on a forthcoming boycott of Michael Moore's Farenheit911. Here's a quote.

". . . a campaign to inform the American public of the true nature of this film has begun. Michael Moore, the film's controversial director, is using the victims of 9/11 for what will surely amount to a political assassination piece. This should bring about a public outcry so loud, a backlash so severe; no theatre chain should be willing to carry it. That will be the ultimate goal of this campaign. If a sense of decency and respect for the subject matter cannot convince them, then a boycott of their establishment might convince them otherwise.

Some critics might attempt to label this campaign as some form of censorship. Nothing could be further from the truth.
"

Now just in case you missed the main points I'll reiterate them.

1). Michael Moores Film is bad.

2). The goal of Jon Alveraz is that this film not be shown in any theater anywhere in the United States.

3). This is, in Alveraz's mind, not censorship.

Hmmmmmm. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth than to say that this proposed boycott constitutes censorship. Maybe I'd better go look up what Censorship means again.

Well according to the American Heritage Dictionary its "The act, process, or practice of censoring. And a Censor is "A person authorized to examine books, films, or other material and to remove or suppress what is considered morally, politically, or otherwise objectionable." Ah. The key word is authorized. Who would provide such authorization? Well, I'm guess Mr. Alveraz would say that since he isn't authorized by the government to do this, that gets him off the hook.

But I'm still not sure if calling Mr. Alveraz a freelance censor is really the furthest thing from the truth. He does want to suppress Farenheit911, keeping his fellow Americans from seeing it.

More on the judiciary

David Limbaugh wrote another article on the four judges that Democrats have blocked the nomination of. You know even if you are part of the religious right, why are you settling for four judges? I mean, wouldn't it be better if you got slightly less ideological extreme judges on the bench so that your Senators could get to, I don't know, faith based initiatives?

But anyway, he says that the widely touted 168 to 4 figure thrown around is misleading, because it includes all the judges, and we should only include those judges for the federal appellate bench. "Plus, Democrats have said they intend to filibuster an additional six judges, making it 12 out of 41 Bush nominees to the federal appellate bench they will have blocked. So when Democrats say they've confirmed a great percentage of Bush nominees, they're talking about trial judges. It's appellate judges who have more impact on the course of the law -- and the Democrats' confirmation rate on these judges is abysmal. And their obstruction is retarding the administration of justice (the 6th Circuit Court alone is 25 percent vacant, according to Senator Mitch McConnell)." Ah. So counting 6 judges that President Bush hasn't nominated yet (and which we have no way of knowing whether or not they'll actually be filibustered), President bush has gotten a little less than 3/4 of all the judges he's nominated even using these cracked statistics.

So again it begs the question; President Bush got 3/4 of what he wants, even on the appellate bench. Why shouldn't he drop these extremist candidates and put up more qualified people (qualified in the sense that they can actually get through the approval process).

It's also fun to watch David Limbaugh pretend that politics has nothing to do with these nominees; one wonders if David Limbaugh even believes that himself.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Rush Limbaugh is Back

Caught the very end of his show today. He closed it with these words. "Memo to liberals. The party's over; I'm back."

I don't know about the rest of you but I plan to keep on partying.

My My Hey Hey

Rock and roll is here to stay.

But Diane West wishes it would go away. In her latest article, she writes, "I've always had a soft spot for the Cleveland mayor who, nearly 40 years ago, after a Beatles concert in his fair city ended in mayhem, banned all rock concerts from public venues. The reason? Rock music, he said, "did not contribute to the culture of the city and tended to incite riots." The words sound fantastic now, but once reflected a popular belief that rock music was a cultural and moral menace that would undermine ... well, our culture and our morals."

The main point of her article is the irony of people she considers anti-American and pro-communist making music that helped Eastern Europe prepare to reject communism (as suggested by Andras Simonyi of Hungary, who recently spoke at Clevelands Museum of Rock History). Of course she only considers the irony one way. That is to say, she considers the irony of John Lennon's music helping Ronald Reagan, but does not consider the Irony of Ronald Reagan being helped by John Lennon's music. Maybe what they were really looking for is not the puritanical christian capitalism that Diane West triumphs nor the soulless communism they had grown up under, but some middle path.

She also rags on Neil Young, commenting "Indeed, Simonyi titled his talk "Rocking for the Free World," a play on a 1989 Neil Young song, "Rocking in the Free World" -- a tune USA Today notes is "a savage attack on the policies of Ronald Reagan and the first President Bush ... (and) anything but a celebration of democracy." I guess it depends on what you mean by democracy. One (in this case one refers to me) suspects that Ms. Diane West's vision of freedom is very limited indeed.

In the interest of balance, and because I like them, here are the lyrics of Rocking in the Free World.

Rockin' in the Free World


There’s colors on the street
Red, white and blue
People shufflin’ their feet
People sleepin’ in their shoes
But there’s a warnin’ sign on the road ahead
There’s a lot of people sayin’ we’d be better off dead
Don’t feel like satan, but I am to them
So I try to forget it, any way I can.

Keep on rockin’ in the free world,
Keep on rockin’ in the free world
Keep on rockin’ in the free world,
Keep on rockin’ in the free world.

I see a woman in the night
With a baby in her hand
Under an old street light
Near a garbage can
Now she puts the kid away, and she’s gone to get a hit
She hates her life, and what she’s done to it
There’s one more kid that will never go to school
Never get to fall in love, never get to be cool.

Keep on rockin’ in the free world,
Keep on rockin’ in the free world
Keep on rockin’ in the free world,
Keep on rockin’ in the free world.

We got a thousand points of light
For the homeless man
We got a kinder, gentler,
Machine gun hand
We got department stores and toilet paper
Got styrofoam boxes for the ozone layer
Got a man of the people, says keep hope alive
Got fuel to burn, got roads to drive.

Keep on rockin’ in the free world,
Keep on rockin’ in the free world
Keep on rockin’ in the free world,
Keep on rockin’ in the free world.

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Well, what do you know?

This issue is wandering around the blogosphere. This guy wrote a scenario in which several liberal senators were killed by assassins so that republicans could nominate the replacements. It also included a bit where five supreme court justices were killed, and nominations had to be made.

What's interesting is how fanciful this scenario is and how cynical the outcome is. Does he really think that the republican Governors faced with massive and open political assassinations would just blindly nominate republicans to replace all the Democrats killed? Would president Bush really nominate hard core republican nominees to replace all the more liberal members of the bench?

I don't think so.

New Quote

New quote.

New quotes page.

Enjoy.

CIA - Traitors?

The treasonous CIA once again proves their disloyalty in the war in terror. They have reported that Saddam did not try to sell his WMDs to terrorists or give them away.

"ANTHONY CORDESMAN, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, provided new details about the weapons search and Iraqi insurgency in a report released Friday. It was based on briefings over the past two weeks in Iraq from David Kay, the CIA representative who is directing the search for unconventional weapons in Iraq; L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. civil administrator there; and military officials.

“No evidence of any Iraqi effort to transfer weapons of mass destruction or weapons to terrorists,” Cordesman wrote of Kay’s briefing. “Only possibility was Saddam’s Fedayeen [his son’s irregular terrorist force] and talk only.”


How long will President Bush have to put up with the slings and arrows of this outrageous organization. It's not like it's there job to evaluate threats; their job is to find evidence supporting actions the President has already decided to take. We need a more faith based intelligence agency--one that will blindly accept what the president says.

But I guess there could be a benefit to an independent CIA evaluating threats independent of non-experts and their political agendas.

Edited to add the link which I forgot the first time

Saturday, November 15, 2003

Poetry Week Concluded

Forget to post a poem yesterday--but here's a bonus one to make up for it, plus todays. One by E. E. Cummings, the other by Robert Frost.

next to of course god america i
e. e. cummings

"next to of course god america i
love you land of the pilgrims' and so forth oh
say can you see by the dawn's early my
country tis of centuries come and go
and are no more what of it we should worry
in every language even deafanddumb
thy sons acclaim your glorious name by gorry
by jingo by gee by gosh by gum
why talk of beauty what could be more beaut-
iful than these heroic happy dead
who rushed like lions to the roaring slaughter
they did not stop to think they died instead
then shall the voice of liberty be mute?"

He spoke. And drank rapidly a glass of water



Fire and Ice
Robert Frost

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favour fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

John Edwards on the Senate Floor

"Mr. President, my Republican colleagues are calling this 30-plus-hour marathon ``Justice for Judges.'' Now, I'm all for justice for judges. And that's exactly what every single one of President Bush's judicial nominees has gotten.

But I ask my colleagues, where is Justice for the American people? They seem more concerned about Justice for a handful of judges--the 2 percent of those Bush's nominee who haven't been confirmed--than justice, fair play and opportunity for the American people.

The Republican majority claims that we're facing a vacancy crisis in our Federal courts. Ninety eight percent of Bush's judges have been confirmed and this is a crisis? Two percent of Bush's judges have not been given lifetime appointments and we're in a crisis?

. . . We have confirmed 168 of President Bush's nominees. I voted for the vast majority of these judges, even though many of these judges have held conservative ideologies with which I strongly differ, because I believed they would ultimately enforce the Constitution and the law.

But I cannot and will not vote for these four nominees, for good reason. These nominees not only do not represent the mainstream, but they have demonstrated an unwillingness to set aside their personal views to uphold the law and protect civil rights. We have good reason to oppose these nominees. And we not only have the right, we have a constitutional obligation to stand up to the President when he makes unacceptable nominations to the bench.


I hate to say it, but I might have underestimated Senator Edwards. Here's the link, but you have to scroll down and find it.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Should Democrats be Mean to President Bush?

This is a tough question. I don't know about the moral side of it, I'll deal with that later. Let's just look at the political side of it, or even better, let's look at what Salon has to say about it.

"As long as the nomination remains undecided, all the contenders, including Edwards, will keep trying to "get Democrats on their feet cheering." Party activists have been applauding attacks on Bush and screaming for more. "Bush gets Democratic base voters very angry -- more even than Reagan," declares Democratic pollster Geoff Garin. That's because Bush ran as a moderate "compassionate conservative," won a disputed election, and proceeded to govern as a confrontational conservative, with three consecutive top-bracket tax cuts and a new doctrine of preemptive war. Also, if the Democrats are an uneasy coalition of the underpaid working class and the overpaid meritocracy, Bush seems genetically engineered to offend them all: a president's son who, by his own admission, stumbled through life until age 40, after which he acquired a baseball team, a governorship, the presidency, and an aura of unearned entitlement.

With nine contenders competing for the favor of any angry party membership in a primary season that's starting sooner and probably ending earlier than ever before, Bush bashing is smart politics. But is it the ticket to beating a sitting president who is most comfortable casting himself as an ordinary guy beset by overly aggressive adversaries, from Texas Gov. Ann Richards, who called him "Shrub" in 1994, to Vice President Al Gore, who hovered over him during their debates in 2000?
"

Well, there it is. Nobody questions that playing to the base is the way to win primaries, and then you move to the center for the election. Since President Bush will face no serious threat during the Primary Season, he can position himself early as a centrist, and so capture the undecided vote. But what if, as some have suggested, the base is the key to Election 2004?

I took a poll on two message boards and collected a whopping 49 opinions. Of those 49 participants, 18.37% accept the proposition that the Base will decide the election. 81.63% voted the opposite way. This suggests that I have too much time on my hands. What do you think?

President Bush and Nation Building

Michael Kinsley writes today on President Bush's changing foreign policy, pausing only to take several swipes at the legitimacy of Bush's presidency.

"In 2000, Bush said that the Clinton-Gore administration had been reckless in overcommitting the United States, and the military in particular, to exercises in "nation-building." By that he meant trying to establish institutions of democratic government and civil society. The intervention in Somalia, for example, begun by Bush's father, "started off as a humanitarian mission and it changed into a nation-building mission and that's where the mission went wrong." Just as with his current nearly opposite philosophy, Bush stated the principle in the categorical terms of someone who has adopted it and checked it off his list without diving for subtleties.

. . . A man who sincerely has changed his mind about something important ought to hold his new views with less certainty and express them with a bit of rhetorical humility. There should be room for doubt. How can your current beliefs be so transcendentally correct if you yourself recently believed something very different? How can critics of what you say now be so obviously wrong if you yourself used to be one of them? But Bush is cocksure that active, sometimes military, promotion of American values in the world is a good idea, just as he was, or appeared to be, cocksure of the opposite not long ago.
"

What Mr. Kinsley apparently forgets is that as President Bush has no need to explain himself to us. Others might have to explain themselves to him, but he doesn't need to answer to anybody. He said so himself, to Bob Woodward. Certainly he doesn't have to explain himself to the American People (at least not till about a year from now).

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Poetry Week continued - William Blake

I love William Blake, the poet and prophet of London. A very strange man, but mighty in his own way.

The Human Abstract.

Pity would be no more,
If we did not make somebody Poor:
And Mercy no more could be,
If all were as happy as we;

And mutual fear brings peace;
Till the selfish loves increase.
Then Cruelty knits a snare,
And spreads his baits with care.

He sits down with holy fears,
And waters the ground with tears:
Then Humility takes its root
Underneath his foot.

Soon spreads the dismal shade
Of Mystery over his head;
And the Catterpiller and Fly,
Feed on the Mystery.

And it bears the fruit of Deceit,
Ruddy and sweet to eat;
And the Raven his nest has made
In its thickest shade.

The Gods of the earth and sea,
Sought thro' Nature to find this Tree
But their search was all in vain:
There grows one in the Human Brain.


As you may or may not know, Blake was an engraver as well as a poet. He engraved his poems, illustrated them, and printed them. He then took the prints and colored them by hand. Hence, one of his original works is worth an enormous amount of money. For a picture of how this page originally looked, check this out.

John W. Dean on those Judges

You might have heard the canard from the right that the move to block four judges (and approve 168) is unprecedented. That means without precedent. Well, check this out from someone who knows, Mr. John W. Dean, former counsel to President Nixon.

During the past four decades, selecting judges and getting them confirmed has become far more contentious. According to a report of the Congressional Reference Service, filibusters and clotures have been involved in 35 nominations, most of them since the late 1980s.

Notwithstanding the finger-pointing by the Republicans for filibustering four Bush nominees, this practice started in 1968 with Republicans, with the help of Southern Democrats (who now come to the Senate as Republicans), filibustering President Lyndon Johnson's nominee for Chief Justice, Abe Fortas. Republicans blocked Fortas so Nixon could get the chief justice appointment, assuming, correctly, he would be elected.

It was pure politics, and it began the game that is now being played out. Indeed, Frist, the mastermind of this stunt in the Senate tonight, voted against cloture (and for filibuster) during the battle over one of President Clinton's court appointees. But what is a little hypocrisy when wasting the Senate's time pointing fingers?


Dean suggests we accept that a supermajority (3/5 or 60 senators) is the requirement for a judicial nomination. Why not? Judges are on the bench for life; one bad judge can make policy for decades. And if you can't get 60 senators to support a candidate, well, maybe that candidate isn't good enough.

Cal Thomas, Soft on Crime

In case you are wondering, Cal Thomas never did respond to my question.

But today he takes the dangerous tack of actually making sense when talking about our system of criminal justice. "According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), the U.S. prison and jail population exceeded 2 million for the first time in June, 2002. By the end of last year, 33,000 more inmates had been added to the total. That means one out of every 142 residents is incarcerated in this country. The average cost to states per inmate per day is $57.92, according to the 2000 Corrections Yearbook. In Georgia, where about 35,000 citizens are behind bars, it costs taxpayers more than $20,000 per year per inmate and each jail cell costs $60,000 to build.

What are taxpayers getting for their money? They get a false sense of security, as if putting current criminals behind bars insures there won't be future criminals. If locking up everyone now committing crimes would eliminate crime, I'd be all for it, but new criminals are born, or made, every day. Something is wrong with the system.

Violent and dangerous offenders should be locked up and, in capital cases, executed. But violent offenders are just 49 percent of the prison population. Again, according to BJS, the rest of the prisoners are behind bars for property crimes (19 percent), drug crimes (20 percent) and crimes affecting the "public order" (11 percent). This half of the prison population ought to be doing something else besides sitting in prison and costing the law-abiding money.
"

I don't know what his plan is exactly, but it seems to be that those charged with destruction or theft of property would have to repay those they have wronged. Restore that which was lost. Nice idea, but there's a bit from Matthew (Matt. 5:25-26) I'm reminded of. "Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.

Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.
"

I guess what I'm saying is I don't know if Cal Thomas is talking about them working off their debt from prison or under some sort of house arrest or what? Certainly there are those who would love a stable prison work force for certain types of work. But I'm going to be charitable and assume he meant that the convict should work out of his community to repay his debt.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Poetry Week Continued

Not sure if this will last till Friday, but here's one more poem.

On His Blindness

WHEN I consider how my light is spent
E're half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one Talent which is death to hide,
Lodg'd with me useless, though my Soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, least he returning chide,
Doth God exact day-labour, light deny'd,
I fondly ask; But patience to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, God doth not need
Either man's work or his own gifts, who best
Bear his milde yoak, they serve him best, his State
Is Kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed
And post o're Land and Ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and waite.

Not Much Interests Me Today

I mean you have Linda Chavez mad because the Democratic members of the intelligence committee might want sensible foreign policy, and the press didn't jump down their throats enough.

You have David Limbaugh mad because Liberals want a multilateral foreign policy. He seems to particularly dislike the word "multilateralism."

Maybe I'll come up with something later--if you have any ideas e-mail me.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Problems with Cartoons Addressed

For an example, check out this cartoon.

Well, apparently the problem with that cartoon is that it fails to address every single situation in which a person might weblog.

Yep, you see in his little cartoon, Tom Tomorrow mocked those who support the work from their computers without going to war themselves, but he fails to address those people who blog from the front logs in support of this war. So by failing to address that small segment of the warblogging population, his point is completely negated. It's a good thing Instapundit was on the job to point out that Tom Tomorrows little cartoon failed to address every single possible situation in which a person might warblog.

For Mr. Tomorrows response, see here.

On a similar note, I am offended by Tom the Dancing Bugs cartoon of August 28, 2003.



You see the problem. Tom the Dancing Bug suggests that all Bloggers live off of begging from their readers. But I, in fact, do not beg from my readers (which, frankly, would be a fruitless task (although I might get a few tomatoes (are tomatoes a fruit? Did we ever, as a civilization, work that one out?))). Tom the Dancing Bugs comic therefore, does not accurately and completely reflect the real world. So I insist that he offer a full retraction and give me a pony.

Oh wait a second maybe that's an unfair standard, and his point about bloggers begging is accurate most of the time. Actually it's pretty funny.

More Poetry--for Veterans Day

Rudyard Kipling "Tommy"

I WENT into a public 'ouse to get a pint o' beer,
The publican 'e up an' sez, " We serve no red-coats here."
The girls be'ind the bar they laughed an' giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again an' to myself sez I:
O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' " Tommy, go away " ;
But it's " Thank you, Mister Atkins," when the band begins to play
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
O it's " Thank you, Mister Atkins," when the band begins to play.

I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
They gave a drunk civilian room, but 'adn't none for me;
They sent me to the gallery or round the music-'alls,
But when it comes to fightin', Lord! they'll shove me in the stalls!
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' " Tommy, wait outside ";
But it's " Special train for Atkins " when the trooper's on the tide
The troopship's on the tide, my boys, the troopship's on the tide,
O it's " Special train for Atkins " when the trooper's on the tide.

Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap.
An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when they're goin' large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin' in full kit.
Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an` Tommy, 'ow's yer soul? "
But it's " Thin red line of 'eroes " when the drums begin to roll
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it's " Thin red line of 'eroes, " when the drums begin to roll.

We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints,
Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints;
While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an` Tommy, fall be'ind,"
But it's " Please to walk in front, sir," when there's trouble in the wind
There's trouble in the wind, my boys, there's trouble in the wind,
O it's " Please to walk in front, sir," when there's trouble in the wind.

You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires, an' all:
We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an` Chuck him out, the brute! "
But it's " Saviour of 'is country " when the guns begin to shoot;
An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
An 'Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool - you bet that Tommy sees!


From Paul Krugman's column today

One of George W. Bush's major campaign themes in 2000 was his promise to improve the lives of America's soldiers — and military votes were crucial to his success. But these days some of the harshest criticisms of the Bush administration come from publications aimed at a military audience.

For example, last week the magazine Army Times ran a story with the headline "An Act of `Betrayal,' " and the subtitle "In the midst of war, key family benefits face cuts." The article went on to assert that there has been "a string of actions by the Bush administration to cut or hold down growth in pay and benefits, including basic pay, combat pay, health-care benefits and the death gratuity paid to survivors of troops who die on active duty."

Monday, November 10, 2003

President Bush's Judges

This bears repeating.

"Conservative activists have been demanding that Senate Republicans do more to push through the Bush administration's most extreme judicial nominees. So the Republican leadership is planning a 30-hour talk marathon later this week to protest the Democrats' blocking of a handful of candidates. To up the public-relations quotient, there may be calls for votes on three controversial female nominees. Lost amid the grandstanding about a "crisis" in judicial nominations are the facts: 168 Bush nominees have been confirmed and only four rejected, a far better percentage than for President Bill Clinton.

Bush administration nominees have been moving through the Senate at a rapid clip: in his first three years in office, President Bush has gotten more judges confirmed than President Ronald Reagan did in his first four. When Republicans controlled the Senate, more than 60 Clinton administration judicial candidates were blocked.
"

The way some conservatives talk, you'd have to assume that the Democrats had blocked every nomination, when it appears that the opposite is in fact true.

Sour Times

W. H. Auden "September 1, 1939"

I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:
Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;
The unmentionable odour of death
Offends the September night.

Accurate scholarship can
Unearth the whole offence
From Luther until now
That has driven a culture mad,
Find what occurred at Linz,
What huge imago made
A psychopathic god:
I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.

Exiled Thucydides knew
All that a speech can say
About Democracy,
And what dictators do,
The elderly rubbish they talk
To an apathetic grave;
Analysed all in his book,
The enlightenment driven away,
The habit-forming pain,
Mismanagement and grief:
We must suffer them all again.

Into this neutral air
Where blind skyscrapers use
Their full height to proclaim
The strength of Collective Man,
Each language pours its vain
Competitive excuse:
But who can live for long
In an euphoric dream;
Out of the mirror they stare,
Imperialism's face
And the international wrong.

Faces along the bar
Cling to their average day:
The lights must never go out,
The music must always play,
All the conventions conspire
To make this fort assume
The furniture of home;
Lest we should see where we are,
Lost in a haunted wood,
Children afraid of the night
Who have never been happy or good.

The windiest militant trash
Important Persons shout
Is not so crude as our wish:
What mad Nijinsky wrote
About Diaghilev
Is true of the normal heart;
For the error bred in the bone
Of each woman and each man
Craves what it cannot have,
Not universal love
But to be loved alone.

From the conservative dark
Into the ethical life
The dense commuters come,
Repeating their morning vow;
"I will be true to the wife,
I'll concentrate more on my work,"
And helpless governors wake
To resume their compulsory game:
Who can release them now,
Who can reach the deaf,
Who can speak for the dumb?

All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.

Defenceless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.


It seems a bit more real every day.

Anyway having a hard time finding a good article to comment on today, and this poem is well worth the time one gives to it. But I'll be back later.

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Candy Bar Dooms Snow Leopards

Or possibly Snow Tigers.

I was in a local health food store, and saw this candy bar staring back at me as I was waiting in the check out counter.



It was sitting there with four or five other candy bars each extolling the virtues of saving a particular animal, based on your selection. I went with Chocolate Peanut Butter, which looked good. But then it occurred to me; why not save the Snow Leopard. I mean it's not like I prefer Giraffes to Leopards; quite the contrary. But the Snow Leopard was flavored with Mocha which I don't like. So the Baby Giraffe lives, while the Snow Leopard is on its own.

You ever wonder if you are making a mountain out of a molehill?

New Quote

And here's the new Quotes Page. Enjoy.

Saturday, November 08, 2003

On the CBS Reagan Mini-series

Michael Ventre over at MSNBC wrote on this issue today, saying, "Forget “The Reagans” for a moment. Forget that you stand squarely on one side of the aisle or the other, and have a firm opinion on how President Reagan should be portrayed. This miniseries might have been the finest cinematic effort of our time, or a piece of trash.

What matters is that a major media company chose profits over the First Amendment and caved when a few vocal groups bent on getting their way applied pressure.
"

That is the troubling bit about the Reagans. It showed that Conservative Boycotters do have teeth. They can accomplish their ends. Media corporations will cave into pressure. Which should be scary to people who like free speech.

Friday, November 07, 2003

Movies to Avoid in November

Just so you know, Patriotic Americans Boycatting Anti American Hollywood (PABAAH) has designated the following films to avoid, due to the leftist leanings of some of the actors in them.

Elf
Love Actually
21 Grams
Dr. Suess' The Cat in the Hat
The Cooler

There will probably be further updates. Interestingly the Matrix Revolutions didn't make the list despite the involvement of Laurence Fishburne, a signer of Artists for Winning Without War. I don't know whether Mr. Alvy, head of PABAAH, is interested in taking on a movie that big.

I know that if I was running this kind of Boycott, I could sure find excuses for movies I wanted to see, and no excuses for movies I don't want to see.

More on Howard Dean

As you know Dean has apologized for his remarks, and the Conservatives have made considerable hay out of this issue. Dean might be out of it at this point.

Paul Krugman has some comments today that explain what a tragedy this is for the Democratic Party. " Howard Dean's remarks about the need to appeal to white Southerners could certainly have been better phrased. But his rivals for the Democratic nomination should be ashamed of their reaction. They know what he was trying to say — and it wasn't that his party should go soft on racism. By playing gotcha, by seizing on the chance to take the front-runner down a peg, they damaged the cause they claim to serve — and missed a chance to confront the real issue he raised.

A three-sentence description of the arc of American politics over the past 70 years would run like this: First, Democrats and moderate Republicans created institutions — above all, Social Security and Medicare — that provided a measure of financial security to ordinary working Americans. The biggest beneficiaries of these institutions were African-Americans and working-class Southern whites, and both were part of the moderate-to-liberal coalition that dominated American politics until the 1960's.

But the right opened an increasingly effective counterattack, with a strategy that included using racially charged symbolism to get Southern whites to vote against their own economic interests. All Mr. Dean was saying was that Democrats need to understand and counter this strategy.


At any rate, I hadn't taken Dean too seriously before this, and he's still third or fourth on my list, but he's right on this issue. I just wish he hadn't chickened out and apologized.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Interesting story

"A decision by the House Republicans to strip the Iraq supplemental bill of an anti-profiteering provision has outraged the Democrats.

Some Democrats have accused the White House of pulling the strings on the effort to nix the language.

“The White House and House GOP leadership didn’t want [the provision] in there,” charged Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), an author of the language.

The provision — included during the Senate Appropriations Committee markup with unanimous support but removed in conference — would have subjected those who deliberately defrauded the United States or Iraq to jail terms of up to 20 years and costly fines.
"

Well, I await explanation as to why the White House nixed this aspect of the bill. I would think they would oppose fraud and waste. Full story here.

From the Kicking Ass

Your Weekly Rush

Well, not really. Rush is apparently coming back middle of this month, and presumably shortly after that, I'll start this up again. But in the mean time . . .

The guy doing the show on Tuesday (I think, having one of those weeks where it all blends together), commented on a story that Global Warming is causing better grapes which is causing better wine. This isn't the first time this sort of story comes forward. Everytime there is good news because of Global Warming, Rush promotes it. Global Warming makes crops grow for a longer time. Global Warming makes Snapple taste great. Global Warming makes Tarzan the tv show somewhat intersting.

Except that any time there is news that Global warming might not be an unmitigated blessing, it ceases to exist entirely. You got that? When Global Warming is good it exists, but when it is not good it does not exist. Do conservatives think the American people are that dumb? Possibly.

News

Well, the New York Times, or as some like to call it, the Treason Times, has an interesting story today. Apparently Iraq, through back channels, sent the United States a message before the war began. "As American soldiers massed on the Iraqi border in March and diplomats argued about war, an influential adviser to the Pentagon received a secret message from a Lebanese-American businessman: Saddam Hussein wanted to make a deal.

Iraqi officials, including the chief of the Iraqi Intelligence Service, had told the businessman that they wanted Washington to know that Iraq no longer had weapons of mass destruction, and they offered to allow American troops and experts to conduct a search. The businessman said in an interview that the Iraqis also offered to hand over a man accused of being involved in the World Trade Center bombing in 1993 who was being held in Baghdad. At one point, he said, the Iraqis pledged to hold elections.


Well this puts everything in sharp relief. The story does hinge a bit on the word of Imad Hage, a Maronite Christian from Lebanon who relayed the messages from Saddam. If he proves unreliable than the story falls apart.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Howard Dean and the Confederate Flag

Again I'm a little behind the times on this one, but apparently it's bad that Howard Dean said, "I still want to be the candidate for guys with Confederate flags in their pickup trucks." That's bad because, naturally, the Confederate flag is a symbol of pure evil and guys with it in the back of their truck don't deserve to vote.

But, it turns out, they do. And while I certainly have ambivalent feelings (at best) towards the stars and bars, I'm not sure we should write those voters off. Joan Walsh, editor of Salon News, wrote on the subject today, crystalizing some of my reactions to Deans statement. "After his remarks last week drew criticism, Dean released a statement saying: "I want people with Confederate flags on their trucks to put down those flags and vote Democratic -- because the need for quality healthcare, jobs and a good education knows no racial boundaries."

Dean put his finger on something crucial that explains the Democrats' lack of nationwide mass appeal: While they correctly addressed the problems of racism from the 1960s on, they lost sight of the issues of class, which don't always dovetail with race. Defending his remarks yesterday in Iowa, Dean explained: "What Franklin Roosevelt did was to get the Southern white working class to vote with the Southern African-American working class," said Dean, about the former Democratic president. "The only time we're ever going to make progress in this country is when black people and white people and brown people work together and put race aside." I happen to believe that, too. It's disturbing if other candidates don't.
"

Anyway, Dean moves a little up the list with that comment.

CBS and Reagan

You'll already have come across this story. CBS has pulled the Ronald Reagan movie. It will apparently run on Showtime where it will have less exposure. Linda Chavez is happy about it, as one would expect. "CBS executives seem to have come to their senses, and none too soon. The network's last-minute decision not to air the controversial, four-hour TV movie "The Reagans" means I won't have to join millions of other conservatives in boycotting CBS programming."

Well, hooray for the boycotters. They got their way. If they couldn't silence a viewpoint they didn't like, they at least got it moved somewhere where few people will be exposed to it. The interesting thing about a successful boycott is how little respect CBS will get. I guess for the same reason that bullys don't start respecting the little kids who give them their lunch money. The best you can say for CBS is that they were pansy enough to let conservatives push them around.

I do, however, want to make a distinction between this boycott and the others against Hollywood celebrities who criticized the Bush administration or the War in Iraq. As you know there are boycotts going on right now encouraging you to avoid movies or tv shows with, say, Johnny Depp or Martin Sheen, because they are un-American jerks. The boycotts are related to comments they made in interviews, as private citizens, not for their onscreen talents. It is penalizing someone for speaking their mind, and the hope is that liberal views will no longer be spoken.

The boycott against the Reagan film is a boycott of what is actually put on the screen, and as such it is a bit different, although still not something I'd be proud of.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Iraqification

This is the title of a new article by Fareed Zakaria over at MSNBC. In it he talks about the problems we might face if President Bush takes the hurry up approach for political reasons.

"Putting more Iraqi soldiers and policemen on the ground makes sense. By taking care of routine policing and security, they will free up the American Army to conduct raids, pursue leads and fight the guerrillas. But the desperation to move faster and faster is going to have bad results. Accelerating the training schedule (which has already been accelerated twice before) will only produce an ineffective Iraqi Army and police force. Does anyone think that such a ragtag military could beat the insurgency where American troops are failing?"

Anyway he's got some good ideas, but it should be obvious to everybody that hurrying out of Iraq won't end up to well for us or for the Iraqis.

Your Humble Narrator is a Dope

Apparently the powers that be in the Blogoverse have decided that today is not Luskin is a stalker day. So ignore the previous post. Atrios himself requested this not happen--according to Mr. Pollack. "I must also announce that tomorrow’s previously proposed protest, Donald Luskin Is A Stalker Day, has been indefinitely delayed at the request of my good friend Atrios, the Internet’s latest potential free-speech lawsuit victim. Apparently, Atrios believes that reasonable discourse will solve his problems better than wise-assed agitation. We shall see, oh great liberal blogmaster. Tomorrow won’t Donald Luskin Is A Stalker Day after all. For now, hold your fire. "

Anyway I'm not going to take down previous post, but will modify it slightly.

Luskin is a {Reference Deleted}

For those who don't know what this is in reference to, check out this former post. You might also check out Donald L. Luskin's own website, Poor and Stupid. Other than a report on a change of the New York Times editorial policy, there are some 7-8 articles in a row focused on Paul Krugman. You might also check out this particular article at National Review Online. Notice the title? "We Stalked, He Balked."

Now follow this if you can. Luskin doesn't like Krugman and seems to have made it his mission to make sure the rest of America realizes what a fraud Krugman is (I've quoted Krugman repeatedly, so I guess you know where I come down on this issue). He writes an article entitled "We Stalked, He Balked," referenced above. Krugman then, apparently, responded by calling him a stalker . . . or something. Details are sketchy. Oh, and Luskin called Krugman an anti-Semite, which charge Krugman denied.

Anyway Atrios, the unknown bloggist who's page I've linked too there at the left also called Luskin a Stalker. Luskin responded with characteristic good humor by threatening to sue Atrios (a nuisance suit with no merit) and to use the magic power of the subpoena to force Atrios to reveal his real identity. There's only one word to describe a tactic like that. Despicable. And Boneheaded. I guess that's two words.

Anyway in response, the blogging community, such as it is, has, under the leadership of Neal Pollack for some reason, declared that today we are going to call Luskin a {Reference Deleted}. Unfortunately I've revealed my identity repeatedly so I'm not in the same danger. Or am I? Could it be that while by day I'm a mild mannered bloggist, while at night I am a master of Kung Fu beating the living bejeevers out of criminal?

Nope.

But, for those interested, Luskin is a {Reference Deleted}.

edited to add, at the request of Atrios, as referenced above, this is not really Luskin is a {Reference Deleted} day. Have a nice day.

Monday, November 03, 2003

The Local Draft Board

Well, the draft machinery is getting oiled up. The Bush administration has made a push to fill all the draft boards and draft appeals boards, although they have not, as yet, decided to restart the draft machinery. Salon has the story, which like all political stories has a number of threads. Here they are in short form.

1). The Department of Homeland Security wants to fill all its Draft Board and Draft Appeals Board vacancies.

2). Some Military experts, in and out of the pentagon, believe that our current troop deployments will prove insufficient.

3). Getting a draft law through Congress, to the Presidents desk, and then implemented may take a year and half or more.

4). Restarting the draft would not be a popular move, and could cost President Bush reelection, if he does it before next year.

OK. So given 1, 2, 3, and 4, what can we assume? Also, ask yourself, if President Bush wins reelection, do you think we will invade Iran or Syria?

Anti Intellectualism

It's fun to mock college professers. We all know this. Useless do-nothings who sit around learning have always been fair game in America, and why not.

Still, there's something more in Suzanne Fields latest. Take this paragraph. "My favorite example is a freshman English course at Williams College entitled "Green World," which deals with the environment and explores "ways in which literature has constructed and interpreted the green-written word."

Environmental exploitation is illustrated with the identification of "the archetypal symbol of man's desire to transform chaos into civilization and art - to tame, order, idealize and copy nature's bounty while humanizing plundering and destroying the environment." (Italics [bold] mine.)

The young scholars will no doubt expose Wordsworth for the devastation he brought to the landscape by daring to dance with the daffodils. MacBeth might be alive today if his enemies hadn't cut down all those trees in Birnam Wood.
"

Notice what is there; an attitude of mocking. Notice what is missing; any explanation whatsoever of why this is a bad thing. It's clear that there have been environmental disasters in the past, and its clear that attitudes towards nature have changed since, say the 1700s. It's also true, although Ms. Fields may not be aware of it, that literature is a reflection of the world around which it is written. So using nature or the environment as a framing device to discuss literature, well I'm just not sure it's such a terrible thing.

She later on accuses Amherst college of being flawed. "Amherst's history department, for example, offers "Race and Nation in the U.S.-Mexican Borderland," an overview of pre-1600 Japan, the Middle East from 600 to 1800, and "Women's History, America: 1607-1865." But there's not a single freshman overview course to examine the fundamental events of Western civilization." Well, first of all, Ms. Fields needs to explain why it's wrong to teach women's history or Japanese history.

I guess she's mostly upset that there is no Western Civilization or World History class. Now, be aware, there are classes in American History and Europeon history galore, but not a simple dull overview of every important event since 1610 or whenever the cut off point is for modern history. I can think of a pretty good reason this might be the case--such courses are dreadfully dull and don't really teach anything. So why not focus the class a bit more, give the teachers a chance to teach what they know rather than trying to hit "the 150 most important events, people, places and ides of the last 400 years."

Something to think about, at any rate.

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Saturday, November 01, 2003

Tombstone Blues

I don't pretend to know what "Tombstone Blues" (Bob Dylan)is about completely, but these verses seem to describe our current situation.

Well, John the Baptist after torturing a thief
Looks up at his hero the Commander-in-Chief
Saying, "Tell me great hero, but please make it brief
Is there a hole for me to get sick in?"

The Commander-in-Chief answers him while chasing a fly
Saying, "Death to all those who would whimper and cry"
And dropping a bar bell he points to the sky
Saving, "The sun's not yellow it's chicken"

Mama's in the fact'ry
She ain't got no shoes
Daddy's in the alley
He's lookin' for the fuse
I'm in the streets
With the tombstone blues

The king of the Philistines his soldiers to save
Puts jawbones on their tombstones and flatters their graves
Puts the pied pipers in prison and fattens the slaves
Then sends them out to the jungle

Gypsy Davey with a blowtorch he burns out their camps
With his faithful slave Pedro behind him he tramps
With a fantastic collection of stamps
To win friends and influence his uncle

Mama's in the fact'ry
She ain't got no shoes
Daddy's in the alley
He's lookin' for the fuse
I'm in the streets
With the tombstone blues