Sunday, April 30, 2006

New Format, New Quote!



Hello all!!! : )

I hope you are having an enjoyable weekend. Today's logo includes a shot from World of Warcraft. If you'd are familiar with the game, you can take a guess as to where this was shot.

Have a good week all.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Rush Limbaugh's Common Touch

Of course you all know that Limbaugh was booked yesterday and released on $3,000 bail. I've not got much to say about that except that it is entertaining to watch him pretend this is all political.

I would like to note that Rush Limbaugh has a new sponsor, Allen Brothers The Great Steakhouse Steaks. Those of you who wish to spend $99.95 on 4 10-oz steaks, your prayers are answered. But should you wish something a little more exotic, why not try Wagyu Sirloin Strip Steaks. 4 10-oz steak of this variety cost only $265.95.

But Allen Brothers do have something for the common man - Hot Dogs. Nothing more American than Hot Dogs, eh? And at Allen Brothers, they come at the low low price of 40 regular sized hot dogs or 20 jumbo sized hot dogs for $49.95.

And people think that Rush is out of touch with the average American.

John Kerry in 2008

For those of you haven't heard, Ellen Goodman has written an article urging John Kerry to not run in 2008. I don't find it entirely convincing, but it's worth considering at any rate.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Did Stuff Happen?

For those interested in the question of whether or not 9/11 happened like they said it happened, you might check out a recent article by Ernest Partridge, entitled The 9/11 Conspiracy: A Skeptic's View.

The short answer is "Well, kind of."

Round the Horn. An Irwin J. McIckleson Production



Greetings. This is Irwin J. McIckleson, fictional 1910's plutocrat, serving as your tour guide to various websites, many of which are run by members of the Liberal Coalition.

. . . You Are a Tree has
the news that a television show called Battlestar Galactaca will produce a "spin-off" called Capricia. Both seem like unlikely names for entertainment.

What is a Battlestar?

The Countess is not writing as frequently at her blog as she is doing writing elsewhere, but she
did note that a plan for Shared Parenting failed in New York. In this plan I presume the child would be placed in two homes at once after parents have a falling out. If this is a problem, perhaps you future people should consider making Divorce nearly impossible the way we did in my day.

At any rate the Countess's blog is a very fine endeavor and we shall have to hope that she finds the occasion to update it from time to time even with her new artistic projects.

archy has a piece on
the concept of Peak Oil, which is the idea that Oil will become more expensive as it becomes more rare. Which makes sense to me, although I'd also be wary of a smart oil-invested plutocrat ripping you off.

Shystee at correntwire has
a piece on a gentleman named Joe Klien and his prescription for the Democratic party. It seems to boil down to the idea that the Democrats should focus on how best to serve the plutocratic class, which seems like a sensible strategy. The workers of the world do not really matter; rather politics should be built around who can do the best for the plutocrats.

Echidne of the Snakes has
a piece on how Conservatives feel about Liberals and also the phrase "Bitch-slap." It seems like an ugly phrase, but I suppose that fits how Conservatives feel about Liberals.

Rook's Rant has
an article that covers the difficulties moderate members of the Republican Party are facing in making piece with the more angry and extreme parts of their party.

Musing's musings has
a piece on how President Bush is punishing a government agency in charge of handling disasters because he failed to handle emergencies in a timely fashion.

Science and Politics has
a poem about a pair of water lizards. And pictures of the beasties.

Anyway hope you have enjoyable weekends.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Alternate Fuels

There are a number of articles today by Conservatives about high oil prices and how they aren't the oil companies fault. They largely add up to that old joke about a woman who comes home and finds his wife in bed with two other women. He says, "Honey, who are you going to believe? Me or your lyin' eyes?"

There is one bright spot, however, provided by Clifford D. May. He argues that we need to come up with alternatives to gas powered combustion engine vehicles. And he's right.
Bills based on the Set America Free plan for energy security are before both the House and Senate: H.R. 4409 and S.2025. Who would oppose such progress? An army of special interests that benefit from the status quo. These groups will fight like ferrets to preserve petroleum's market share and to preserve the tax and tariff advantages they now enjoy.

Is it too much to ask that a critical mass of politicians from both sides of the aisle stand up to them, break oil's monopoly, reduce America's dependence on foreign energy and allow us to stop funding both sides in the War Against Terrorism?

We don't have a hundred years to wait.
He's not wrong. I'm not sure if we would agree entirely on the solution to this problem (he is a conservative, after all), but at least we have a shared undestanding of the problem.

Waving the Bloody Shirt

For those of you unfamiliar with the term, waving the bloody shirt refers to Republican politics following the Civil War. The Civil War had cost the lives of many northerners and the South was solidly Democratic (this was in the days when Democrat = Conservative for those of you who think you have scored a point). So Republicans running against Democrats would remind everybody which party supported the south and got their sons killed. This tactic was called waving the bloody shirt.

Well, Republicans are going back to this old playbook. Only they need some new shirts. Cal Thomas has the shirt of those martyrs on Flight 93, and is waving it frantically in his new article "Flight 93: Do We Still Care?" Ben Shapiro has an even older shirt from the Holocaust in his article "The new Holocaust."

The point to both these articles is the same - to set up a false dichotomy. Either you support President Bush and the Conservative way of fighting the war on terror or you don't want to save America and, incidentally, you are dishonoring the memory of our dead.

Well I do favor protecting America from the sorts of events that scarred us on September 11, and yet I am opposed to the Bush Administrations hamfisted way of fighting that war. I'm even more opposed to how Thomas and Shapiro would fight said war (by, essentially, declaring war on Islam). If Thomas and Shapiro and their followers have a hard time understanding that, well, the problem is theirs, not mine.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Mr. Snow Goes to Washington

As most of you know, Fox Anchor Tony Snow is going to be the new White House Press Secretary. I hope this means we can all stop paying lip service to the idea that Fox News is a legitimate news service. They are a partisan news service; they've made up their mind on the issues.

Nothing wrong with that so long as they don't pretend to be fair and balanced.

Did You Know?

Jerk used to be a four letter word.

According to Bob Hope and Dick Cavett, that is.

A Lapse in Publishing

Just letting you know that sickness has struck our little office and so there will be few updates today. Hopefully I can write about this fever dream I experienced in which I played Backgammon with Voltaire (who turns out to be more like Chevy Chase than you would think). But I'll have to wait till the current fever dream (the one where I have a blog) passes.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Preventative War

That's an interesting phrase. One is reminded of the phrase "war to end all wars." How did that work out for the world? When we fight a "preventative" war with Iraq, what are we trying to prevent? Weapons of mass destruction I suppose. How did that work out?

Anyway if you want another historical perspective, you might check out this article by Arthur Schlesinger Jr.
Enter George W. Bush as the great exponent of preventive war. In 2003, owing to the collapse of the Democratic opposition, Bush shifted the base of American foreign policy from containment-deterrence to presidential preventive war: Be silent; I see it, if you don't. Observers describe Bush as "messianic" in his conviction that he is fulfilling the divine purpose. But, as Lincoln observed in his second inaugural address, "The Almighty has His own purposes."

There stretch ahead for Bush a thousand days of his own. He might use them to start the third Bush war: the Afghan war (justified), the Iraq war (based on fantasy, deception and self-deception), the Iran war (also fantasy, deception and self-deception). There is no more dangerous thing for a democracy than a foreign policy based on presidential preventive war.
Kind of troubling, particularly when you consider the history of the Cuban Missle crisis.

A Time to Kill

I have a confession to make. I don't like it when characters die. It doesn't bother me as much in books or movies, but in serial stories (like TV or Comic Books) I'm not keen on it. I understand the necessity to do it on occasion, of course. You can't have an action show with real stakes unless characters die on occasion. But I'm not keen on it.

I also don't understand why TV Shows and Comic Books seem to think killing off a character is a selling point. Take Runaways, one of my favorite comic books over the last couple of years. For those who don't know, it's a story about super powered teenagers (well some of them, anyway) who find out that their parents are super villains. It's set in the Marvel Universe and writer Brian K. Vaughn filsl the issue with old school fun mixed with really interesting characters.

And in issue 18 he's apparently going to kill one of those characters off.

Now that's his right, but why on earth is that a selling point? Why does that make people want to read Runaways more diligently? "Gosh I really like these characters, and I sure enjoy reading their adventures. Won't it be neat when one of them dies a few issues down the road?"

Again I understand there may very well be good dramatic reasons to kill one of them off, but why try to sell your comic book on that basis? Because of the collectors I suppose; an issue with death in it might end up being very valuable down the road.

As for who I think it is, let me give you the odds (this will be meaningless if you don't read the comic. If you don't read the comic go get Runaways Vol. 1 or Vo. 4 and check it out - you can get it for around $10.00).

Molly - 1 in 20. She's the cutest and the most fun and the comic book would tank if they killed her off. And Vaughn isn't an idiot.

Gertrude - 1 in 10. She's the team leader and we've already seen a future version of the character (from when she leads the Avengers). On the other hand she's not as photogenic as some of the other characters, and it's possible they've already averted the future in which she becomes the leader of the Avengers.

Carolina - 1 in 10. I don't know if she's coming back to participate in the current arc (currently she is in outer space with her Skrull "partner"). If she does, one could argue that Vaughn already considers her expendable.

Nico - 1 in 5. She has real powers, and has been one of the core characters in a number of recent stories. On the other hand the fact that she can't repeat spells limits how far she can go, and we recently saw Chase use her staff.

Chase - 1 in 5. Currently powerless (although he pilots the Leap Frog), he is probably expendable. On the other hand, killing Nico and giving him the staff of one would presumably solve both problems (and really mess Chase up, which is always good for drama).

Victor - 1 in 3. They are probably going to have to kill him off at some point anyway, given his back story, this is as good at time as any - but that obviousness makes it less likely.

Old Lace - 1 in 3. This is the easiest and least painful way to kill off one of the Runaways, and it would propel Gertrude into developing the other skills she is going to need to lead the Avengers.

Anyway go check out Runaways if you haven't already.

Give Me that Old Time Conservatism!

Sometimes I can't tell if people are serious or not. Bruce Bartlett's latest article is about the Conservative woes, but more to the point, it's about how current Republican policies don't have much to do with old time Conservatism.
On conservative grounds, Hart faults Bush for his positions on Iraq, Social Security, stem-cell research and tax policy. Their failure, Hart argues, lies in Bush's view of such issues in abstract terms that are not anchored in the traditional conservative concern for prudence, informed by the study of history and human nature. Hart concludes that Bush "doesn't have a conservative bone in his body."
Interestingly enough, Bartlett points to a book that suggests that President Bush's specific brand of religion might be part of the problem.
. . . evangelism emphasizes the personal relationship between man and God, disconnected from doctrine and tradition. In short, it is diametrically opposed to the Catholic vision of Christianity, which many conservatives view as being much more compatible with the nature of philosophical conservatism because it is anchored in doctrine and tradition.

Consequently, Bush is too easily able to invoke God in support of whatever he has decided to do. To evangelicals, his understanding of God's word is as good as anyone else's, and so he is perfectly entitled to do so. They view the depth of his belief as the principal determinant of the genuineness of his vision, not whether it is well grounded in a proper understanding of biblical principles, logic and history.
Old time Conservatism sounds just a little bit elitist, doesn't it? That is, I suspect, the tact that Rush and others of his ilk will take towards the arguments presented in this article (particularly the suggestion that evangelicalism isn't good for conservatives).

It's not clear what Bartlett thinks about these arguments as he does distance himself a bit from the argument. He's presenting other's arguments, but not commenting on them himself. He does underline the old timey-ness of these arguments, though, which does give him some wiggle room if he wants to walk away from them.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Leftists "Beloved form of Government"

I told you I would check back in the comments section under Smith's column on sedition referenced this morning. Well here's an interesting comment from PMcQB.
While I believe it's a stretch to say leftist Anti-Americans' activities are illegal, I do remember reading that Lenin referred to them as "useful idiots". And this was a founder of their beloved form of government! He must be right.
I should note at this point that while I profess an outward love for Democracy, my heart really belongs to Lobstocracy. I was initially resistant, but Space Lobsters arguments and the literature he gave me have really turned me around. I think we would be better off putting Lobsters in charge. As far as I know Lenin had nothing to do with the creation of Lobstocracy, so, at least in my case, this suggestion is totally false.

The Republican Platform

There is a great post by Robert J. Elisberg over at the Huffington Post, in which he discusses the difficult the Republican Party is going to have running on anything. He begins by taking on one of my pet peeves; the complaint that Democrats don't have a clear platform.
Despite implied-perceptions to the contrary, people actually do know what issues Democrats support: stem cell research, Medicare, stopping global warming, Social Security reform without privatization, universal health care, and not blindly "Staying the Course" in Iraq, for starters.

Certainly it all needs to be expressed more cohesively. But as a starting point, the public knows those are Democratic Party issues. The only people without any idea what the Democratic Party stands for are radical conservatives so far to the right they risk falling off the edge.
He then covers what the Republicans have to stand for. The President's programs won't work, not with him at 33% approval rating and falling. Smaller government and fiscal responsibility is out too; after having control of the whole shebang for a number of years, they haven't cut government programs, nor have they cut federal spending. And frankly there's not that much left on the table.
Yes, Democrats need to focus their own issues. But those issues are established. But if you are a Republican candidate - what national platform can you truly campaign on? At least without your nose growing longer.

Smaller government? The budget deficit? Stay the Course? Rebuilding New Orleans? Stem cell research? Halliburton Oil? Integrity? The 33% President himself?
Frankly, I believe that the Republicanoids are not going to run "for" anything, but focus on running against Democrats. They are going to try to tap into the hatred their base has for Democrats, for the media, and for elitists, and use that to carry them home.

We'll see if that hatred can go the distance.

Putting Drumheller in Perspective

There's a very good post by Josh Marshall over at Talking Points memo about Mr. Drumheller's appearence on 60 Minutes.
What Drumheller has to say adds quite a lot to our knowledge of what happened in the lead up to war. But what it shows even more clearly is that none of this stuff has yet been investigated by anyone whose principal goal is not covering for the White House.
That's dead right - as Marshall notes elsewhere, the biggest problem with losing the house in the fall is that it would give Democrats the subeona power.

One Dares Call it Sedition

W. Thomas Smith has written an article accusing Carl Bernstein, Ted Rall, and Congressman John Conyers of being close to sedition, if they haven't crossed that line yet. Actually it seems pretty clear that he thinks they have crossed that line, but equally clear that he isn't keen on letting that out.

Sedition is a crime that has been prosecuted in the past. And actually rounding up people for expressing their political opinion, however useful that might be, isn't seen as the most American of actions. So Smith wants to say that what they are doing is like sedition, and if they were good noble Americans they would shut up, without actually suggesting that Conyers, Rall and Bernstein be locked up.

Smith starts out with President Clinton, so you know he's a fair minded man. He mentions how his nephew said that he hated Clinton, but that was wrong, because even if you don't like the President you should treat him with respect. Kind of a pity for Mr. Smith that most of us remember the "respect" his fellow Conservatoids showed President Clinton.

Smith has it in for Conyers in particular.
Then there is Congressman John Conyers and his recent call to investigate and possibly impeach the president. Conyers does so with a laundry list of allegations against Bush including, "encouraging and countenancing torture."

Of course, politicians love to incite and inflame. But what have we devolved into when a U congressman may -- with all of his influence, with impunity and without any substantive proof whatsoever -- suggest that a wartime president is responsible for torturing human beings?
Emphasis mine, incidentally. And I'd like to note that "substantive proof" is, apparently, in the eye of the beholder. I think there's more than enough "substantive proof" to warrant an investigation (if not an impeachment). What we lack is the political will to follow through on the evidence.

Smith also goes the dishonest route of holding up a website that Conyers submitted an article too and providing some of the comments there as if they were Conyer's own ideas.

He concludes by noting that the Terrorists around the world are comforted when they see that Americans disagree with their President. To that, I respond, you can have freedom or you can have safety but you can't generally have both. This is America - when a President fails, as Clinton did in the Lewinsky situation and as Bush has done in Iraq (and a lot of other places), he has to take his lumps. Anything less would be, well, un-American.

Later on, if I run out of other stuff to talk about, we'll look at some of the responses to Mr. Smiths little essay.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

New Logo, New Quote!!!



Good morning all!!! : )

Hope your weekend is going great. As you can see we've updated the logo and slightly adjusted the coloring. We also have a new quote. Hope you all enjoy yourselves.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Presidential Power

Are there any limits on Presidential Power? Jeremy Brecher and Brendan Smith have written an article that explores this very question.
The President is acting as if the decisions that may get us into another war are his to make and his alone. So the Iran crisis poses not only questions of military feasibility and political wisdom but of Constitutional usurpation.

Bush's top officials openly assert that he can do anything he wants--including attacking another country--on his authority as Commander in Chief.

Last October, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was asked by members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee whether the President would circumvent Congressional authorization if the White House chose military action against Iran or Syria. She answered, "I will not say anything that constrains his authority as Commander in Chief."

When pressed by Senator Paul Sarbanes about whether the Administration can exercise a military option without an authorization from Congress, Rice replied, "The President never takes any option off the table, and he shouldn't."
So the answer is, unsatifyingly enough, we'll have to see. As long as nobody says no, the President can do whatever he likes. Once someone says no, well, then we'll find out exactly how far his power goes.

President Bush and Honesty

I don't know if we know for a fact what the Bush Administration believed about Iraq before going in. It's possible they believed everything they said about Weapons of Mass Destruction - in which case they are guilty of being wrong, but not of lying. Of course they are also guilty of willfully ignoring information that contradicted their believes.

But there is one lie that President Bush and his advisors told before the election. They led Iraq and the world and me to believe that peaceful solution was possible; it wasn't. And we get new evidence of this all the time. Tyler Drumheller, the former highest ranking CIA officer in Europe, has come forward with new information that they had made up their mind what to do in Iraq long before they told the rest of us.
"[The source] told us that there were no active weapons of mass destruction programs," says Drumheller. "The [White House] group that was dealing with preparation for the Iraq war came back and said they were no longer interested. And we said 'Well, what about the intel?' And they said 'Well, this isn't about intel anymore. This is about regime change.' "

They didn't want any additional data from Sabri because, says Drumheller: "The policy was set. The war in Iraq was coming and they were looking for intelligence to fit into the policy."
This dishonesty is hurting is now in regards to our dealings with Iraq. Understandably they don't find the Bush administration entirely trustworthy.

Thank you President Bush.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Did you Know?

If you are frusterated at finding items you are missing in the last place you look for them, you should vow to keep looking for five to ten minutes each time you find something, and you will never have this problem again.

Yeah I think I've made this joke before, but I still think it's funny.

Farewell to the Periwinkle Age

Scott McClellen is on his way out the door, and one presumes he will be swift enough to avoid getting hit on the behindus by the door. PressThink has a really interesting article about why McClellen was chosen (which hints at who the next guy might be).
McClellan’s specialty was non-communication; what’s remarkable about him as a choice for press secretary is that he had no special talent for explaining Bush’s policies to the world. In fact, he usually made things less clear by talking about them. We have to assume that this is the way the President wanted it; and if we do assume that it forces us to ask: why use a bad explainer and a rotten communicator as your spokesman before the entire world? Isn’t that just dumb— and bad politics? Wouldn’t it be suicidal in a media-driven age with its 24-hour news cycle?

You would think so, but if the goal is to skate through unquestioned—because the gaps in your explanations are so large to start with—then to refuse to explain is a demonstration of raw presidential power. (As in “never apologize, never explain.”) So this is another reason McClellan was there. Not to be persuasive, but to refute the assumption that there was anyone the White House needed or wanted to persuade— least of all the press! Politics demands assent, on one hand, and attack on the other. (And those are your choices with Bush and Rove: assent or be attacked.) The very notion of persuasion conceded more to democratic politics than the Bush forces wanted to concede.
This makes a lot of sense. Certainly I've noted that any questions about how President Bush fights the war on terror are met with a variation on the question "So you favor giving up, eh?" In the Bush Conservative mindset it really is his way or the highway.

Round the Horn. An Irwin J. McIckleson Production



Hello all. This is Irwin J. McIckleson, fictional 1910's Plutocrat. I have to say after having watched the future for quite a little while now, it still strikes me as curious.

Bark Bark Woof Woof has
the news that the religious sect known as the pastafarians are facing persecution in Kansas. Kansas doesn't have a good record with these kinds of issues, in my opinion.

Happy Furry Puppy Story Time reports on
a conversation between President Bush and the leader of the Chinamen in which the President comes off looking a bit like a nincompoop. On rereading it is, perhaps, a satire on what the President might have said.

LEFT is RIGHT has a
recent comment by President Bush that also sounds like satire, but is in fact accurate.

Iddybud has some thoughts on
recent statements by some retired generals to the effect that Secretary of War Donald Rumsfeld should step down.

I've noticed, incidentally, that you future people have rechristianed the Department of War; it is now the Department of Defense. My question is who, exactly, do you think you are fooling?

Pen-Elayne on the Web has
the news that the world is destined to be destroyed by a comet on or around May 25, 2006. Or at least according to some grass carvings created by who knows what.

rubber hose
suggests that attacking Iran (also known as Persia) would complicate matters with other allies in the area, depriving our aeroplanes of proper landing facilities.

T. Rex's Guide to Life has
a story on how the plant marijuana may have medicinal properties, but the Government Agencies choose to deny said properties.

The Fulcrum has
some poetic thoughts on how small actions might transform the political landscape.

It strikes me that Christians of the future are really unsure of themselves. How else to explain
an anger noted by Speedkill at the adoption of CE and BCE for dates?

Words on a Page has
a joke about President Bush visiting a kids class room, and his lack of desire to answer tough questions.

And that is our presentation for another week. Have an enjoyable and productive day and weekend.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Salon once more

I'm linking a lot to Salon today, I know, but I found this tidbit very exciting, concerning the possibility that Fox "News"-man Tony Snow might become the new White House press Secretary.
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann asked Wednesday whether naming Snow as the White House press secretary would be a concession that the Bush administration is interested in talking only "to that increasingly smaller group of people who believe that Fox News is the sole source of news in the world." It was a reasonable question: Is the Bush White House giving up on the middle in favor of the base, or whatever is left of it? Snow's response: "So the Olbermann theory is that all the talk about me is really an attempt to kiss up to Fox News -- by extension, I guess to Rupert [Murdoch]. I love this. We live in an age of conspiracy theories."
This is a good technique if you can successfully pull it off. You simply answer the question you want to answer rather than the one you are asked. Unfortuantely, if you do it with a lack of finesse (as Mr. Snow demonstrates) you end up looking a little delusional.

The Generals

Sidney Blumenthal's latest article covers the revolt of the generals (as the media have taken to calling it), and it contains some interesting tidbits.
Serving their civilian neoconservative superiors, they endured contempt. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's closest aide, Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Stephen Cambone, joked that the problems of the Army "could be solved by lining up fifty of its generals in the Pentagon and gunning them down," report Michael R. Gordon and Gen. Bernard E. Trainor in their new book on the Iraq invasion, "Cobra II." It was the sort of joke that Uday Hussein could have made. On Sept. 10, 2001, Rumsfeld held a Pentagon town meeting at which he declared the "bureaucracy" -- the career military professionals -- to be "a serious threat to the security of the United States."
I don't know how that sounds to you - but that just doesn't sound very good to me.

While you are logged into Salon you might want to check out a pair of articles on John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt's article for the London Review of Books, entitled "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy." The article has raised a lot of hackles and Salon presents two opinions on the subject. Jaun Cole generally agrees with the article and Michelle Goldberg thinks it makes some good points, but overplays it's hand. Anyway both articles are pretty interesting and meaty, so if this is a subject that interests you, they are well worth checking out.

Ann Coulter's New Book

For those who can't wait to read Ann Coulter's new book, here's the comments of some of her supporters (provided by Amazon.Com).
Yes and in the Democratic party one distinguishes oneself by, killing babies, spitting on soldiers, burning American flags and embracing such fine individuals as Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro. I'm glad that there are people like yourself J.E. Bishop who fell obligated at a moments notice not only to judge others of different beliefs but to insult them as well. You could really help yourself if you bothered for a second to learn something about the party you so vehemently oppose instead of watching George Clooney movies and jumping on the bandwagon. - sg2626

To sg2626, I agree with you; the acts of far-left Liberalism are some of the most appalling examples of disloyalty (and arguably sedition) on record. However, to everyone in this discussion, I do not think that Ms. Coulter's new book is about who is more pious vs. who is less pious--Conservatives or Liberals, but more about one group acknowledging the God-centered nature of the American majority vs. the almost Nietzschen atheistic, moral relativism of the minority. - Kyle R. Hudson
Ah that helps me get in the proper mood for a season of Ann being around more often. That mood is, of course, vomiting and furious.

There's also a humorous section where Jo Jo (a Democrat) points out that not all Democrats kill babies, spit on soldiers, or burn American flags, only to be reminded that by supporting Democrats you are supporting people who kill babies, spit on soldiers, and burn American Flags. D'oh.

The correct response to sg2626 is, or anybody who expresses similar feelings, is "You must be out of your f***ing mind."

The Party of Class

Nobody expects to get a letter from a member of Congress that ends with an expletive.

But that's what happened when Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, R-Mo., recently corresponded with a resident of her southeast Missouri district. The letter ended with a profane, seven-letter insult beginning with the letter a - "i think you're an ..."

. . . Connor said that Emerson personally signed the letter, dated Feb. 15. She also included a handwritten personal message at the bottom: "PS - please forgive the delay in responding."
Well I'm sure thinking up just the right expletive does take time.

From the Associated Press.

Black and White and Spied on all over

Townhall chooses to highlight columns on occasion, often during fundraisers. Today they are highlighting an article by Black Conservative Dexter Ingram. The column itself is pretty banal. Ingram notes that a lot of black people live in America's major cities and would be targets of a terrorist strike. He then expresses his opinion that President Bush's warrantless surveillance is necessary to protect these cities from getting blowed up.

That's all pretty standard, other than the racial twist. Conservatives want to portray Bush's warrantless surveillance as the only way to stop the terrorists, mocking the idea that President could do all of what he claims to have wanted to do by acting within the law (which begs the question of why it's so important to do it outside the law).

Bringing in the racial angle is more interesting because of how this column is being presented. In other words, Townhall (and I would guess radio hosts, when they get around to discussing it) want this article to be about how Liberals oppose warrantless wiretaps because we don't really care about Black people. If we really cared about Black people we'd support warrantless wiretapping. Because the article itself doesn't go quite that far, Townhall only hints at that conclusion.

Mary Poppins vs. Tyler Durden

If you are a fan of the movies Fight Club and Mary Poppins you might enjoy this article by Violet Glaze that talks about the similarities between the movies. If you enjoyed Mary Poppins and have only seen part of Fight Club (like me), you might still enjoy it.

Violet Glaze is a cool name.

Rethinking Duke

A couple of days ago at Democratic Underground I posted on the Duke rape case saying, more or less;
The accused are white males; the accuser is a black female. That seems to be all you need to know about this case.
Well a post over at The News Blog has made me rethink my position. Steve Gilliard argues persuasively that campus rape is the real story here. I'd advise you to go check it out.

Do you want to be Incinerated?

After careful consideration I've decided I don't want to be incinerated. That's why I'm taking Ross McKenzie's latest article so seriously.
Three years of diplomacy by the Bush administration - preceded by two decades of it - have brought us to this profoundly troubling moment. The question at hand: Pre-emption against Iran, or inaction - and an incinerated future for us all?
Oh my. I don't want to be incinerated (or to have an incinerated future, which would seem to be the same thing), so I must support a pre-emptive strike against Iran. That makes everything simple, I guess.

Assuming of course you accept that diplomacy has failed and will fail in the future. And assuming that you think Iran is terribly close to getting the bomb. And assuming you think Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will have no trouble holding on to his position for the long term. I suppose you'd also have to have faith in President Bush and Donald Rumsfeld to manage this mission a bit more carefully than they handled the mission in Iraq.

That's a lot of assumptions, maybe we are better off trying diplomacy a bit longer.

There's an interesting passage in Mackenzie's article for those of us who follow the Christian Faith (or Jewish or Islamic for that matter.
And for what it's worth, let this datum not be lost: biblical prophecy holds that Armageddon - which Osama, Ahmadinejad, Moussaoui and the 9/11 hijackers, et al, seem so intently to want - will be fought in northern Israel's Valley of Megido.
Hmmmmmm. Doesn't the battle of Armageddon usher in the return of Christ? Isn't that something Christians would want as well (or at least a certain type of Christian (the kind that delights in the suffering of people who aren't himself))? Anyway it's an interesting idea that the "islamofacists" are doing all this to bring to pass Biblical prophecy.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Creating New Frontiers of Ignorance

I don't know if this ever happens to anybody else. Sometimes when I'm reading an article (usually my fifth or sixth article and I'm desperate), I will see something funny or confusing and go to write about it. After a moment of writing I turn my attention back to the paragraph in question, and, in a magic eye like fashion, it resolves itself back to making sense. I note this phenomenon as a prelude to talking about why Walter E. Williams latest article doesn't seem to make sense.

Going to present a big more of his article than I usually do, for discussion purposes. It's on the deficit.
Let's push back the frontiers of ignorance about the federal deficit. To simplify things, I'll use round numbers that are fairly close to the actual numbers.

The nation's 2005 gross domestic product (GDP), what the American people produced, totaled $13 trillion. The federal government consumed $2.4 trillion, but it only received $2 trillion in tax revenues, leaving us with what's said to be a $.4 trillion budget deficit.
So far, so good, as near as I can tell. He sets up the question, where do the funds to cover that $.4 trillion come from.
By the way, it's sheer constitutional ignorance to say that President Bush spends or lowers taxes. Article I, Sections 7 and 8, of the U.S. Constitution gives Congress authority to spend and tax. The president only has veto power that Congress can override.
I don't know who is talking about here; if he is complaining about attributing the Bush tax cuts to President Bush he's just splitting hairs. President Bush didn't technically pass his tax cuts (as Williams notes, he couldn't) but his administration drafted the law and got it introduced as his tax cut plan. So if this is what Williams is complaining about, it doesn't make a lot of sense.

On the other hand, maybe Williams surrounds himself with people who don't realize that the Congress passes laws, not the President.
Getting back to deficits, my question to you is this: Is there truly a deficit? The short answer is yes, but only in an accounting sense -- not in any meaningful economic sense. Let's look at it. If Congress spends $2.4 trillion but only takes in $2 trillion in taxes, who makes up that $.4 trillion shortfall that we call the budget deficit? Neither the Tooth Fairy, Santa nor the Easter Bunny makes up the difference between what's spent in 2005 and what's taxed in 2005.
Yeah, thanks for clearing up the fact that the Tooth Fairy, Santa and the Easter Bunny don't make up the deficit difference. That really helps us out. Cause I'm sure a lot of your readers thought that might be the case. I am looking forward to seeing what makes up that $.4 deficit, though, now that you've cleared up what it isn't.
Some might be tempted to answer that it's future generations who will pay. That's untrue. If the federal government consumes $2.4 trillion of what Americans produced in 2005, it must find ways to force us to spend $2.4 trillion less privately in 2005. In other words, the federal government can't spend today what's going to be produced in the future.
Ah. So future generations won't have to pay for the deficit either - the Government has to force more money into their hands right now to pay the bills right now. So where does that money come from?
One method to force us to spend less privately is through taxation, but that's not the only way. Another way is to enter the bond market. Government borrowing drives the interest rate to a level that it otherwise wouldn't be without government borrowing. That higher interest puts the squeeze on private investment in homes and businesses, thereby forcing us to spend less privately.
This is accurate, up to a point, but it kind of makes his last paragraph a liar, doesn't it? I mean Government Bonds are a promise by the government that if you give them X dollars today, they will give you Y dollars tomorrow. Assuming the Government doesn't default on it's promises, that means that people down the road will be responsible for paying out.

William's solution is, as you might expect, for the government to spend a lot less money. But he's made it clear that 2/3rds of the government should be shut down (leaving the military and . . . well the military at any rate). So presumably Government as he envisions it will be considerably cheaper.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

One of these things is not like the others

Let's see if you can spot which one, boys and girls.









Where you able to recognize which of these objects is not like the others? If so, you are ineligible to attend GOP dinners in San Diego. We don't want you ruining it for the other little boys and girls who can't.

The Generals

Six generals have spoken out against President Bush and Donald Rumsfeld's handling of the war, so job number one on for Conservative Commentators is to discredit the Generals.
These vultures have hovered over Rumsfeld's stubbornly vibrant carcass for way too long, and they just can't let him sprint out of yet another crisis: the call for his resignation by a half dozen retired generals.

Nothing inspires liberals in the press more than the opportunity to glorify liberals in uniform.
David Limbaugh, An incurious Rumsfeld-bashing media
What is one to make of the six retired generals who, in recent days, have called not only for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, but have questioned whether U.S. troops should remain in Iraq much longer? Only that it will further embolden America's enemies who are betting that the United States is weak, morally corrupt and lacks the stomach for protracted conflict.
Cal Thomas, Retired summer soldiers.

Even if you thought that invading Iraq was a good idea, I fail to understand how you think that the plan followed has gone well. But that's not the message Conservatives want America to hear just now, so they are attacking the generals. Makes perfect political sense.

Monday, April 17, 2006

What is Liberalism?

I was reading the comments underneath that Doug Giles article referenced below out of curiosity, when I came across this startling definition of liberalism from neo-spike, which I present in it's entirety.
Wha tis a liberal ??

A liberal wants to "liberate" the masses from the terrible oppression that enslaves these masses. This begs the question of how a liberal will know when he/she is truely liberalted. Well, the liberal will be free to have sex with anybody, anything in the middle of the road with the cameras rolling for the live web cast. A liberal sees ones liberation through sexual activity.
I've been attending the wrong damn meetings apparently. Here I thought we were interested in social security and bringing the troops home from Iraq and nonsense like that, when all along we were in favor of having public sex which we can broadcast on a live web cast.

This is kind of funny, until you remember that this guy probably has the vote. And friends.

How to Keep the Limbaugh Republicans from Sliming You

There is one way and one way only to keep Limbaugh and his fellow travellers from sliming you.

Agree with him.

Nothing else will do. Obviously Rush has made it clear that he doesn't like professors, he doesn't like journalists, and he doesn't like lawyers. On the other hand, he likes captains of industry, he likes soldiers, and he likes Christians.

Being part of a group Rush (and his fellows) like will not protect you.

A general who expresses an opinion Rush disagrees with will be attacked (as witnessed by the last couple of days). A university professor who expresses an opinion Rush agrees with will be praised.

In the mind of the Limbaugh Conservative there is no such thing as honest disagreement.

So if you want to avoid being attacked and slimed by El Rushbo (and his compatriots and followers), simply agree with them.

I'm So Tired of Being Tired

From Doug Giles latest article.
Can a Christian be a liberal? Short answer: no. There is no way a Christian can buy into neo-liberal ideology and be faithful to the bigger-than-Dallas teachings of the scripture and expect to continue enjoying his hard-won religious liberties.

For the "Christian" to lean politically to the left means that he must blow off huge chunks of the Bible and replace the scripture with the make-believe notions of postmodernism's malleable "Christ." Only after torturing the scripture can the Christian then fit liberalism into his supposed relationship with God.
If Christians vote for liberals, they are voting for the outlawing of Christianity in the Public Square. If Christians vote for liberals, Christians will be persecuted on our campuses. If Christians vote for liberals, Christian Public officials will be hounded and driven from office. If Christians vote for Liberals, Christian Pastors will face persecution if they speak out on political affairs and Christian Churches will not be able to buy land or build new churches. If Christians vote for Liberals, they can expect to see "more weird crap in movies and on television."

The persecution complex here runs pretty deep, but doesn't square up with my experiences. Rather most cases of "persecution" I've seen are Christians demanding special treatment and then not getting it. Giles gives this away when he talks about how the Democratic Party "formerly embraced and protected our nation's great Christian heritage and teachings."

For something more uplifting you might check out the Christian Alliance for Progress, who seem to have a different idea on whether a Christian can be a liberal.

Oh and the title of this post is an accurate description of my frame of mind, but it's also a line from a Tom Petty song.

Men With Theories

Michael Barone's latest article is about whether or not the Democrats can take the House of Representatives in the fall. Being a Republican, one presumes he's not keen on the idea. Understandable.

So he presents two theories. One theory is that if the people are mad at the President, they take it out on the members of his party who are running for the House of Representatives. This theory is pretty popular, but bad for Republicans. So let's move on to theory number two.
Hypothesis One was developed by political scientists and psephologists over many years. Hypothesis Two is one I developed myself, and it's based only on the elections of the last 10 years. In the five House elections from 1996 to 2004, there has been very little variation in the popular vote percentages for both parties.
Oh, I forgot. Barone uses "hypothesis" where I use the much cooler and more succinct word "theory."

Anyway Barone's thesis boils down to being meaningless jargon, but the core of it is that we are so politicized that the question isn't which party is doing the best job, or would do the best job. It's which party do you hate more.

He points to the recent election in California, which trended (if you add all the Republican Candidates together and take the leading Democratic candidate by herself) exactly the same as the last general election.

Frankly the whole article smacks of a certain amount of desperation. I'm not in favor of counting chickens before they hatch, but if the Republicans are reduced to this sort of mish-mash to bolster their courage, well, that has to be good for Democrats, doesn't it?

Sunday, April 16, 2006

New Logo, New Quote!!!



Hi everybody!!!

Sorry for not being around very much lately. We are going back to making color changes on occasion, so you can look forward to that.

Anyway hope you have all had good weekends.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Round the Horn. An Irwin J. McIckleson Production



Good morning all. This is Irwin J. McIckleson, fictional 1910's plutocrat. I apologize for my absence from this publication for some time, but I became ill with the fever. For a while it looked like I might pass into the choir celestial, but thanks to the ministrations of a local physician, I am feeling much better.

Let us begin our tour through the world of the Liberal Coalition.

Sooner Thought has
the news that another General has become angry with President Bush and is speaking out against him. President Bush must be an even bigger dunderhead than I gave him credit for if he can lead his military commanders to criticize him so regularly.

scout prime at First Draft has
a story on President Bush's plan to deal with Iran and how contemplating it lead him to want to go ride his bicycle. I can understand that; sometimes you need to step back for a bit.

Steve Bates, the Yellow Doggeral Democrat,
has thoughts on the use of nuclear weaponry on Iran; he feels it would be a very bad thing. I think he is right on the mentality of President Bush, however. Once you settle for seeing what you want to see instead of what's really there, well, you are on a bad road.

Steve Gilliard's News Blog
has news on Omaha splitting their school district into a black area, an Hispanic area, and a white area. So back to the way it was previously, I gather? I will say my current experience is that this sort of plan is intended to keep non-whites from succeeding at the same level as whites.

Rick's Cafe Americaine has
the story of his encounter with an unusually honest huckster.

T. Rex's Guide to Life has
information on a drug rehabilitation program that is more cost effective than locking them up.

And that is all for this week. I will be back next week with more stuff.

Not That There's Anything Wrong With That

Republicans occasionally remind me of the characters of Sienfeld, in that they both live in a moral vacuum.

Republican Joe: "Of course we would never torture. Never."

Republican Sam: "Not that there's anything wrong with that."

Republican Joe: "Of course not. In fact we probably should be torturing."


or

Republican Joe: "Of course we have no plan to nuke Iran."

Republican Sam: "Not that there's anything wrong with that."

Republican Joe: "Of course not. In fact we probably should nuke those people back to the stone age."


Just a thought.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Can the President Commit a Crime?

From Geov Parrish's latest article.
. . . the Bush NEI leak rationale follows an all-too-familiar theme: Bush cannot break the law, because Bush is the law. He can't leak a document, because if he says it's OK to release the document it's therefore by definition not a leak. Just like torture is illegal except when George says it's not. Or warrantless domestic wiretapping is illegal, except when he authorizes it.

Bush and the people around him appear to have genuinely believed, for at least the four and a half years since 9-11, that the President by definition is incapable of breaking the law. On his sole authority laws can be ignored, overridden, or changed.
Are we a nation of laws or of men? Ruben Bolling, of Tom the Dancing Bug fame, gave the answer several years go.

You Ain't Going Nowhere

In the midst of this immigration debate, and amid numerous Conservative articles decrying foreigners, it's nice to see conservative columnist Jeff Jacoby taking a stand for people who immigrate to this country legally.
Unlike the illegal immigrants who have been raising such a ruckus across the country in recent days, green-card holders like Sumathi broke no laws to get here. Most of them are highly skilled professionals who eventually become US citizens, enriching their adopted country in the time-honored immigrant manner.

. . . It is no virtue to split husbands from wives, or parents from young children. What is being done to immigrants like Sumathi Athuluri is both unjust and unwise. Above all, it is unworthy of a nation built by immigrants.
Anyway, nice to see.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Jehovah Made This Whole Joint For You

Garry Willis has written an interesting article at the New York Times about the intersection of Politics and Christ has tended to dumb down what Christ was all about. I don't necessarily agree with everything he says, but it gives one something to think about.
He was never that thing that all politicians wish to be esteemed — respectable. At various times in the Gospels, Jesus is called a devil, the devil's agent, irreligious, unclean, a mocker of Jewish law, a drunkard, a glutton, a promoter of immorality.

The institutional Jesus of the Republicans has no similarity to the Gospel figure. Neither will any institutional Jesus of the Democrats.
I'd also like to note that the name of Ann Coulter's book, to be released on June 6, 2006, will be entitled "Godless: The Church of Liberalism." She was on Fox talking about it, and called the date (6-6-6) her "little tribute to liberalism."

Seriously I can't think of too many things more depressing than Ann Coulter taking on the subjects of Liberals and Religion. Maybe dead kitties, but there would have to be a lot of them.

Damn Liberal Media!

Here are the comments of Joe Klein, the most liberal columnist at Time magazine, at a breakfast sponsored by HBO and the Council on Foreign Relations.
"Well they won't if their message is that they hate America -- which is what has been the message of the liberal wing of the party for the past twenty years."
I'm sure you noted how Klein shielded his liberal buddies. Yeah he acknowledged something we all know, Liberal Democrats hate America. But that is so obvious he probably felt he had to admit that.

But what he failed to note was that Liberals don't just hate America. They are actively working to destroy America. Why did Mr. Klein, the most liberal columnist at Time magazine leave out that part? Well maybe he's still, in a typical liberal deceit, trying to hide the truth. Too bad that the American people are able to see through your lies, eh, Mr. Klein?

Ben Shapiro's Political Advice

Ben Shapiro has some advice for Republicans going into the 2006 elections. Essentially, it's that Republicans don't have anything positive to run on, so let's slam into the Democrats.
If Republicans want to win in 2006, they must emphasize this simple message: Judge the Democrats by their friends. They protect terrorists for political expediency; they protect illegal immigrants for political expediency; they protect Islamofascists in Iraq for political expediency; they protect those who do not work at the expense of those who do for political expediency; they protect radical abortion and homosexuality advocates for political expediency. Americans may be unhappy with Republicans, but Republicans must make clear that the alternative is a country run by those who consistently side with enemies of the American people.
This might actually be good advice. On the plus side, this line of arguing will probably hold the base. It seems clear that the core unifying conservative principle right now is hatred of democrats. So this line of attack would hold on to the base.

It could also have a positive effect on the undecided or moderate voters as well, by, paradoxically enough, turning them off of the political process. Moderates or undecided are often nice guys who like to see people getting along. Seeing the ugly politics Shapiro recommends might well turn them off from the political process, at least this go around.

The problem with this strategy is, however, it is scorched earth. If the Republicans retain control over all branches of government, well, that doesn't matter. It seems unlikely, however, that Republicans are really going to run the show forever. They could lose the House of Representatives this year, and they could lose the White House in two years. So adopting these aggressive tactics might hurt them in the long run.

I doubt that this would occur to Ben, however. Doubtless he assumes that we Democrats hate Republicans, and therefore worrying about getting along with us is a waste of time anyway.

Dirty Tricks

It takes a certain amount of chutzpah for a Conservative to complain about Democratic dirty tricks, given that we live in the age of Rove. It takes double-chutzpah to do so the day after news came out that James Tobin, who tried to jam Democratic get out the vote efforts (this would be, in fact, a dirty trick), had talked to people in the White House dozens of times while doing his dirty deed. And yet that is what Dustin Haskins has chosen to write his latest article about.

Essentially the dirty trick he is complaining about is one played by, at last count, one Democrat. Apparently this enterprising young Democrat set up a website as a Republican, claiming he was fed up with the Republican Party and was considering not voting at all or going Democratic.
Curious about the e-mail, I began a back-and-forth emailing with the “grassroots conservative,” pretended to agree with him, and two days later it became painfully obvious that he was far from a grassroots conservative. When I called the blogger out on his bogus scheme, he responded only with: “Win some, lose some.” The election games have begun.
We'll have to see if this guy has ties to, say, the Senate Minority Leaders office or the DNC.

But that's not really the point of this article I suspect. It's pretty clear to me that there is discontent in the Republican Party right now. The Social/Religious conservatives got Alito, but they still have to put up with abortion and open homosexuality. The Fiscal conservatives got tax cuts, but no spending cuts to go along with them. The Neo-Conservatives got to invade Iraq, but on the other hand, they got to invade Iraq. So it's entirely believable that we are going to see more complaints by Conservatives over the next couple of months leading up to the election.

Hawkins doesn't want Republicans to take such complaints seriously, and, presumably, he doesn't want to have to take them seriously himself. So he's crafted a back door to such complaints; when they pop up, they are probably the work of dirty trickster Democrats. Certainly that must be a comforting thing to believe, but I'm not convinced it is going to actually pan out.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

An Evening of Watching Television

Just watched last night's 24 and Sunday night's Family Guy and I have a comment on each show.
1. President Logan being the traitor is a bit baffling in two sense. The storyline doesn't make a lot of sense because he's such a cowardly dimwit. And the creators of the show are big conservatives, and this story is basically reheated MIHOP (the theory that President Bush caused 9/11 in order to take us to war with Iraq, it stands for Made It Happen On Purpose). We have a Republican President allowing terrorists to strike in the United States for reasons that seem to add up to "Well I really need a bump in the polls."

2. To the writers of Family Guy, just kill Meg off. It's painful to watch how much you and all the characters seem to totally hate her. Here, I'll write the scene for you (using the same sensitivity and kindness you show her every week).
(Peter and Brian are sitting on the couch. The phone rings, Peter answers it).
Peter: Yeah. Really? Yeah. (Hangs up phone) Meg just died?
Brian: Oh my god! Really?
Peter: Yeah. She was apparently raped and murdered by a D-List celebrity, who the police were unable to name.
Brian: Damn. I mean, Damn.
Peter: So I guess there's no reason to ever mention her again.
Brian: What are you? Some kind of monster? (thinks a moment) Actually, yeah, I can see that. Let's do that.
Just a thought. Actually you should probably pick a D-List Celebrity to do the dirty deed, but I didn't want to tie your hands by putting my own choice in.

Another Opinion on Cynthia McKinney

Cynthia Tucker's latest article, covering the Cynthia McKinney incident, makes a lot of sense to me.
Last month, The New York Times ran a front-page story outlining the dire social and economic prospects for young black men. According to a number of recent academic studies, black men, despite the obvious successes of a few, are falling further and further behind, locked in place as a permanent underclass. "Especially in the country's inner cities, the studies show, finishing high school is the exception, legal work is scarcer than ever, and prison is almost routine, with incarceration rates climbing for blacks even as urban crime rates have declined," the article said.

I waited for somebody to call a press conference. I waited for Jesse and Al to take to the streets demanding public policies that would bring black men into the mainstream. I looked for responses from the usual suspects -- the NAACP, the Urban League and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. I heard nothing.

But a misunderstanding between a minor member of Congress and a Capitol Hill police officer has apparently become a full-blown crisis, demanding the attention of self-appointed black leaders. So maybe I'm wrong about all of this. Perhaps I just need to adjust my perspective.
Something to think about, at any rate.

Immigrants and the Market

Bill Murchinson's latest article takes his fellow Republicans to task for not finding a market solution to illegal immigration reform.
With the demise of the Senate bill, the House bill stands as the GOP's sole, if just partially realized, contribution to the solution of a grave matter: the peaceful incorporation into American life of people who want -- gee-whiz, how about that? -- to work.

Even if there's no ideal solution, given justifiable fears as to the effects of opening doors too wide rather than just wide enough, it does the GOP no credit to come out against the marketplace, which is what happened in the House.
I have noted myself that the Republican party is in favor of market solutions except in those cases where it seems like the market solution won't go their way.

I will say, however, that the majority of what makes illegal immigrants attractive to American companies will melt away once they are here legally, even on a guest worker basis. Workers here legally will be paid more money, and will be entitled to safe working conditions and humane working hours. The whole attraction to the illegal workers now is that employers don't have to treat their workers fairly and the workers really can't do anything about it.

Even imagining the Guest Worker program will specifically allow the companies allowed to ignore American labor law (which is not a lock), they will be here openly. They can talk to people and complain. They can even rally and protest their poor treatment. And that's not going to be comfortable for the companies involved.

Monday, April 10, 2006

The Alchemist Speaks

President Bush made some comments at Johns Hopkins University today and then he took some questions. Salon noted one particularly interesting response from our President.
"I want you to understand this principle, and it's an important debate and it's worth debating here in this school, as to whether or not freedom is universal, whether or not it's a universal right of all men and women. It's an interesting part of the international dialogue today. And I think it is universal. And if you believe it's universal, I believe this country has -- should act on that concept of universality. And the reason I do is because I do believe freedom yields the peace.

"And our foreign policy prior to my arrival was 'if it seems okay, leave it alone.' In other words, if it's nice and placid out there on the surface, it's okay, just let it sit. But unfortunately, beneath the surface was resentment and hatred, and that kind of resentment and hatred provided ample recruitment, fertile grounds for recruiting people that came and killed over 3,000 of our citizens. And therefore, I believe the way to defeat resentment is with freedom and liberty.

"But if you don't believe it's universal, I can understand why you say, what's he doing, why is he doing that? If there's no such thing as the universality of freedom, then we might as well just isolate ourselves and hope for the best.

"And so -- anyway, kind of rambling here. Yes."
Allow me to translate the President's interesting choice of words.

1. This is all Clinton's fault.

2. People who disagree with me want are effectively anti-freedom.

Of course it's just barely possible that people who disagree with you, Mr. President, favor acquiring gold the old fashioned way, by like digging it up or panning for it in rivers. Your plan to spin straw into gold seems tempting, but frankly I just don't believe it will work. But you shouldn't confuse my doubts as to the efficacy of your plan for a lack of desire for gold.

The State Department

There is an interesting article by Robert Novak at Townhall today on the State Department. Robert Novak asks who is in charge of the state department; the answer is, that it isn't Secretary of State Condeleeza Rice, and perhaps it should be.

Than again with Novak it's hard to be sure. Obviously much of the Republican party sees the State Department in a negative light. They seem to prefer finding military solutions to problems, on the theory that such solutions are more likely to be permanent. But Novak has been more realistic than this in the past.

The article concerns R. Nicholas Burns who is a Democrat and yet has some influence over the Secretary of State. He has argued that we should join the United Nations Human Rights Council (recently created) despite the fact that our Ambassador to the United Nations had voted against it. He didn't get his way, but he might at some time in the future.

I imagine being a career State Department foreign service specialist right now must be a lot like being a chemist in a chemistry department being run by alchemist. Like your bosses come around and tell you to figure out the best way to turn lead into gold, and you patiently explain how it's impossible to turn lead into gold. So they make nasty comments to the press about you betraying their vision of turning lead into gold. Then when they are finally forced to recognize that you can't turn lead into gold, they come around very enthusiastic about spinning straw into gold.

Or to put it another way, I can understand how Mr. Burns might be a bit frusterated with his current situation.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Around the Horn. A Space Lobster Joint



Hi all. Due to my poor performance at my mail bag column (once again, due to Blogger, not to me), Cheery has decreed that I must do the Around the Horn column today. So let's get to it.

blogAmy
has revealed that she is 74% evil. I am only 63% evil, which I find very depressing.

Natalie Davis' All Facts and Opinions has
some thoughts on the release of Jill Carroll.

Collective Sigh has
some thoughts on how Democrats should talk about the abortion debate.

Bloggg has some news on
an exchange between Chris Matthews and Tom Delay, in which Mr. Matthews comes off as a bit ingratiating.

Dohiyi Mir has
an artistic picture of some shelf fungus. We were going to have Severus Shelf-Fungus, the evil fungi from Farmison 9, on the Captain Starfaller program, but his inability to move around caused him to get written out of the episode.

Dodecahedron has
the news that birds and frogs are defeating humans with the help of environmentalists.

farm runoff has
the news that Katherine Harris has felt the need to up her security.

Firedoglake has a new website and also
a discussion of what the President Bush might have declassified and the mentality that went into that decision.

Liberty Street has
the story of a man who stood up to the President. Poor guy.

Scrutiny Hooligans has
thoughts on Tom Delays exit from politics.

Anyway that fulfills my obligation. Have a nice weekend.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Did You Know?

Neil Young can be seen as a dark reflection of John Lennon.

But then, everybody can be seen as a dark reflection of everybody else.

Also, Neil Young is pretty damn good.

Presented without comment

From the Arizona Republic.
The son of Arizona's Senate president confessed that he and another counselor shoved broomsticks and flashlights into the rectums of 18 boys in at least 40 incidents at a youth camp in June.

Now Yavapai County prosecutors say they will drop all but one assault charge and likely recommend little or no jail time if 18-year-old Clifton Bennett agrees to plead guilty.

A similar agreement has been offered to co-defendant Kyle Wheeler, 19, who faces an additional assault charge for choking three of the boys until they passed out.

. . . They described Bennett as an honor student and active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, planning to go on a mission in September. "A felony conviction for assault will make his desire to complete his mission impossible," they wrote.

Under the plea agreements Bennett and Wheeler could face a maximum two years in prison. But the court could reduce the charges to a misdemeanor and no jail time.

Prosecutors have told parents that they are going to recommend Bennett and Wheeler get five days in jail on the one count, said Lynne Cadigan, a lawyer for two victims.

"If you rape 18 women, would you only be charged with one count?" she said.

How to Succeed

Find out what other people want to hear and then say that.

See how simple life is? This is not, unfortunately, a skill I have mastered myself, but if you are a young person looking to make her way in the world, this is a technique I would advise developing.

You're probably thinking that with good arguments and solid discussion you can change people's minds. You might change a few, that's true. But most people who you disagree with will not be convinced and will resent you for disagreeing with them. They will find you, to use an old fashioned word, disagreeable.

On the other hand if you tell them what they want to hear, they will find you agreeable. You will find friends galore and your superiors will want to further your career. It is a sure road to a type of success.

It's not a path for me, but I have to think it must be a very pleasant road to be on.

Moralism and It's Constraints

Cal Thomas fancies himself a moralist. He approaches politics from a moral set of rules and values and happily condemns those who fail to live up to his standards. Unsurprisingly all of his vaunted morals and values are basically set up such that Conservatives win and Liberals lose; he's, in essence, rigged the game. To be a good person and a moral politician, one pretty much has to be a conservative republican.

This moralistic way of writing about politics does have it's limits though, as evidenced by his latest article on the Tom Delay resignation. You see Mr. Delay seems to have done a bad thing. He seems to have been corrupt. On the other hand, he has been a vigorous Republican. So how do you reconcile these two problems? Well you right a mishmash of a column, one that seems kind of like an amorphous spineless blob (very few blobs have spines).

One example of this blob like qualities - he spends three paragraphs talking about Democratic scandals and bad faith in pursuing Tom Delay and then says:
All of this is beside the point. Ethics should not be a matter of how many indictments were handed down (or averted), or how close one can get to the edge of the law without violating it; neither should it be about score-carding the opposition and declaring one party more honest than the other because more of them have been forced to resign, or gone to prison than members of one's own party.
That is called having your cake (ripping into democrats) and eating it too (by rising above the partisan bickering). It's a very moralistic and spineless thing to do.

His solution to the Delay problem, incidentally, is term limits. Presumably because he doesn't trust the American people to notice corruption effectively.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

A Public Service Announcement

Singing along to "London Calling" by the Clash may lead you to be questioned by the police.

Thanks to archy for bringing this to our attention.

I can only imagine what might happen if one sings "I'm So Bored with the USA"

Wednesday Mailbag



Yeah I haven't been around for a while. I got a job shelling oysters down paradise way. Everybody goes where they go.

Anyway let's pop open the comments corner. Our first series of comments comes in response to a post on Social Republicans being upset at Congressional Republicans. I myself am a Social Drinker, and I'm very sociable. Anyway the content of these comments has little enough to do with the post subject.
Hi ich bin Chriswab aus Bottrop !! Viele Grüsse !!!!!
Chris 04.03.06 - 11:37 am #

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I wouldn't click on that link, but if someone like Random Goblin Speaks German they might translate for us.
Bryant 04.03.06 - 4:52 pm #

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"Hi, I am Chriswab from Bottrop! Greetings!"

I was in Bottrop for four months on my mission. I know it well. It's the site of the world Unicycle federation. One time, I was picking up trash in the city woods as a service project, and I heard a strange sound, and I looked up and saw something like fifty unicyclists pedaling up the pathway toward me. It was a little bit surreal.
Random Goblin 04.03.06 - 8:07 pm #

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Also, I did click on the link, and it crashed my internet explorer window. I hope I didn't get a gross Bottrop virus.

Also, you pronounce Bottrop like "Boat-rope."
Random Goblin 04.03.06 - 8:08 pm #

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Or actually closer to "Boat-trope."
Random Goblin 04.03.06 - 8:09 pm #

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Yeah it acted funky for me too.

And I think it's pronounced boat-tripe
Bryant 04.03.06 - 9:01 pm #

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Well, you're wrong. Even if that would be funny.

I know, because I used to live there.
Random Goblin 04.05.06 - 11:23 am
Beware the Unicyclers, for they are the single-wheeled harbringer of their deadly masters. In the path that they cut comes, clip-clop, their diabolical masters, the Unicorns, with a horn soaked in the blood of innocents and hooves stained with brimstone and astroturf.

Sorry - just lost my train of thought. And in the future it's pronounced Bo-a-tro-pee-a.

Anyway I wrote more but Blogger deleted it, and I'm not in a condition to retrieve it. I'll try again sometime soon.

Saddam and Bush - Two Peas in a Pod?

Well, perhaps in some ways, at least according to Steve Coll of the New Yorker.
As for weapons of mass destruction, there were none, but Saddam could not bring himself to admit it, because he feared a loss of prestige and, in particular, that Iran might take advantage of his weakness—a conclusion also sketched earlier by the C.I.A.-supervised Iraq Survey Group. He did not tell even his most senior generals that he had no W.M.D. until just before the invasion. They were appalled, and some thought he might be lying, because, they later told their interrogators, the American government insisted that Iraq did have such weapons. Saddam “found it impossible to abandon the illusion of having W.M.D.,” the study says. The Bush war cabinet, of course, clung to the same illusion, and a kind of mutually reinforcing trance took hold between the two leaderships as the invasion neared.
Worth thinking about, at any rate.

Real Fences

Terrence P. Jeffrey's latest article concerns the construction of a virtual fence to protect our boarder. This virtual fence would use cameras, motion detectors, and unmanned vehicles to patrol the boarder and track anybody who tried to cross it. Then our border patrol units could swoop in and say "Hey, we see you - you gotta go back."

Jeffrey favors a real wall because it is both discriminatory and proportional. That is to say, it would stop people from attempting to cross, but people (and large squirrels) on this side of the fence wouldn't risk triggering these cameras and whatnot.

I don't know - he's kind of convinced me that the virtual wall isn't much good, but I am also unhappy with the idea of a big physical wall. It would work as a deterrent (if it were well done), but would be enormously expensive to build and to man. And I have to admit, I just don't like the imagery.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

A Picture of Meat

Here is a picture of some meat which I prepared on Sunday.



We hope this satisfies any need you have to see pictures of meat.

The Book Report

OK, for reasons that are baffling even to me, I am reviewing what books are on the shelf at our local book emporium. In this manner I will determine how many of them are Liberal and how many of them are Conservative and how many of them are other things.



I have reviewed 150 so far so here are some highlights.

Apolitical Books I Found Interesting

Author : Mark Bowden
Title : Road Work: Among Tyrants, Beasts, Heroes, and Rogues
Blurb : Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down and Killing Pablo, here gathers 19 of his nonfiction periodical pieces, dating as far back as 1980 and as recently as June 2004, culled from the pages of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Salon, and Sports Illustrated.

Author : Roger Atwood
Title : Stealing History : Tomb Raiders, Smugglers, and the Looting of the Ancient World
Blurb : In a study that is part detective story and part history lesson, Atwood, an expert on the antiquities market who writes for ARTnews and Archaeology, focuses on one incident as a case study of the insidious effects of the illicit antiquities trade.

Author : Nate Blakeslee
Title : Tulia: Race, Cocaine, and Corruption in a Small Texas Town
Blurb : Blakeslee broke the story for the Texas Observer in 2000 and has produced a definitive account, deftly weaving the history of the growth and decline of Tulia with the stories of those caught up in the racist frame by narcotics officer Tom Coleman.

Author : T. J. English
Title : Paddy Whacked: The Untold Story of the Irish-American Gangster
Blurb : The American mob has long been seen as run by Italians and their henchmen. Edgar-nominee English (Born to Kill) sets the record straight, emphasizing that Irish ingenuity first established the mob in the U.S.

Political Non-Partisan Book I found Interesting

Author : Earl Black & Merle Black
Title : The Rise of Southern Republicans
Blurb : They also predict that the South is likely to remain a highly competitive political battleground in which both Democrats and Republicans can prosper depending on local demographics, the appeal of particular candidates and national events. This is a work of serious scholarship that lacks any hint of partisan purpose.

Partisan Liberal Book I found Interesting

Author : James Carville & Paul Begala
Title : Buck Up, Suck Up . . . and Come Back When You Foul Up : 12 Winning Secrets from the War Room
Blurb : Even if you fervently disagree with the party bias they tout proudly and often, you probably concur that Democratic political consultants Paul Begala and James Carville know what it takes to craft a winning strategy.

Partisan Conservative Book I found Intersting

Author : Rod Dreher
Title : Crunchy Cons: How Birkenstocked Burkeans, gun-loving organic gardeners, evangelical free-range farmers, hip homeschooling mamas, right-wing nature lovers, ... America (or at least the Republican Party)
Blurb : Yet crunchy cons stand apart from both the Republican "Party of Greed" and the Democratic "Party of Lust," he says, by focusing on living according to conservative values, what the author calls "sacramental" living.

Partisan Conservative Book I found Annoying

Author : Mona Charen
Title : Useful Idiots - How Liberals Got It Wrong in the Cold War and Still Blame America
Blurb : Syndicated columnist and CNN commentator Charen offers a moral indictment of those public figures-politicians, entertainers and professors-who, she says, stubbornly refused to see communism for what it was: a brutal, dictatorial death machine.

Book I found Interestingly Insane

Author : David Icke
Title : The Biggest Secret: The Book That Will Change the World
Blurb : Icke reveals a sinister web connecting everything from the British royal family to major oil companies, to 33 of the last 40 U.S. presidents, in a global conspiracy masterminded by an interstellar brotherhood vying for planetary control through the manipulation of humanity's very way of life.

Anyway probably do this every couple of weeks as I feel the urge, this is a long term project, certainly.