Saturday, June 04, 2005

Star Wars is pro Bush?

The Huffington Post has a lot of good posts, but you can't hit the ball out of the park all the time. This post, by Billy Kimbell, shows a certain antipathy towards the Star Wars films, but fails to entirely get their facts straight.
Finally, although Padme may lament the impending collapse of democracy, we should not forget that she herself if a princess and was once a queen, entitled to privilege and deference. Her children will be hereditary aristocrats, even if one of them, for a while, will be unaware of the fact. The retrograde allure of dukes and counts and princesses adds swash to Star Wars' buckle just as it explains the political appeal of Bush's campaign to repeal the Estate Tax.
OK, that's a bit goofy, since it's clear that Naboo has an elected monarchy. The term Queen is more or less synonemous with President, as near as I can tell.

Of course, I get the sense Mr. Kimbell would make fun of me for knowing the planet Padme came from, so maybe it's a wash. But I don't have to worry about that, as he explains at the end of his post.
Anyway, hopefully, the Huffington Post will rally geek legions to defend this idea and also to attack it and if it's already a cyberspace commonplace, then please accept my apologies in advance. I never read blogs except, of course, this one.

Friday, June 03, 2005

The Obstacle Military Recruiters Face

It's no secret that these aren't the best times to be a military recruiter. Joining any branch of the military could lead to combat service. But one military recruiter was surprisingly upfront with te New York Times about one of the biggest obstacles Military Recruiters face.
"Parents," said one recruiter in Ohio who insisted on anonymity because the Army ordered all recruiters not to talk to reporters, "are the biggest hurdle we face."
It's scary to consider what the Bush Administration has done to our military prepardness.

Round the Horn - Part 6.5% Feel Good Inc.

Listening to the new Gorillaz Album which is hella tight. Go buy it today.

Archy has some math fun for Dick Cheney, involving the phrase "last throes."

Mercury X23's Fantabulous Blog has some thoughts on posting the first commandment on public property.

Ricks's Cafe Americaine has a bit on Harry Potter and freedom of expression.

The News Blog (formally Steve Galliard's News Blog) has a piece on how the Southern Army was integrated. Or wasn't integrated.

First Draft has a story on military recruitment, grenades, and baseballs.

T. Rex's Guide to Life looks at his potential to intimidate.

The Podunt Press (previously Words on a Page) has some reactions to the revelation that Mark Felt is Deep Throat.

The Yellow Doggeral Democrat also has a reaction to this revelation, considering the possibilities.

And that's it for now. Maybe I'll be back later.

Fruedian Slip at Fox

I am running a bit behind on my Friday Around the Horn feature, so here's something to tide you over. A Media Matters story in which the news anchor makes a bit of a fruedian slip.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

I'm Just Sleepy and Cranky

I couldn't get to sleep last night, which is always good. There's no better mental state than the one you get in starring at the ceiling, angry cause you can't fall asleep. Anyway that makes me cranky today. I've already had to delate five or six posts for excessive profanity. So instead I'm just going to point out this particular passage and you can fill in your own profanity.

It's from Emmett Tyrell's latest article. His first paragraph in fact.
Our war against terror is in trouble now. Lawyers from some of our most prestigious law firms are trundling down to Guantanamo Bay to represent detainees. If any group in America can bring a project to foozle it would be a group of American lawyers intent on humanitarian service. It is only a matter of time before a new Ramsey Clark Jr. emerges to fill American courts with bogus legal charges to stoke international anti-Americanism. Then accomplished poseurs such as the Clintons and Jean-Francois Kerry can chirp about how the whole world is increasingly hostile to us. They will, of course, urge the Bush Administration to heed the concerns of "the world community."
The rest of his article covers the reliable anti-Muslim and anti-Lawyer bases. In other words those bastard muslims deserve to be tortured. And anybody who thinks the rule of law is important is some pinko commie freak. Or something like that.

Troubling Question

Randall Robinson over at the Huffington has a question he'd like to ask President Bush. A troubling question. And, therefore, not one that is actually going to be asked.

The Problem with Torture

Is the problem with torture that we do it? Or is it that people are reporting on it?

As you know Amnesty has produced a report that strongly indicts the United States for our torture policies (along with holding people without representation or without being able to contact their families). This report has proven less than popular with the Bush Administrations, which I suppose none of us should find all that surprising.

Sidney Blumenthal, in his latest article for Salon, covers the Bush reaction.
By the moment of Bush's press conference, every nuance of his response on the issue had been carefully configured and rehearsed by Cheney, Rice, Myers et al. "I'm aware of the Amnesty International report, and it's absurd," the president began. Then he repeated himself: "It's an absurd allegation." The country, he declared, is virtuous, and therefore, he suggested, his motives must be innocent. "The United States is a country that is -- promotes freedom around the world." Under him, the rule of law prevails: "When there's accusations made about certain actions by our people, they're fully investigated in a transparent way."

Bush repeated himself again: "It's just an absurd allegation." Once again, he claimed nothing had gone amiss. "In terms of the detainees, we've had thousands of people detained. We've investigated every single complaint against the detainees." Every complaint, he assured his audience, was false because the motives of the detainees are as evil as his are pure: "It seemed like to me they based some of their decisions on the word of -- and the allegations by -- people who were held in detention, people who hate America." Here, Bush turned lexicographer: "people that had been trained in some instances to disassemble -- that means not tell the truth." In conclusion he banged again on his drum: "And so it was an absurd report. It just is."

It may be of minor ironic interest that before the invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration cited Amnesty International's reports on Saddam Hussein's violations of human rights as unimpeachable texts. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld often claimed Amnesty as his ultimate authority. Now, inexplicably, Amnesty has gone over to the side of the devil. (On Wednesday, Rumsfeld assailed Amnesty as "reprehensible" and losing "any claim to objectivity or seriousness." But he admitted that some detainees have been mistreated, "sometimes grievously." Thus, according to the secretary of defense, they were not all "disassembling.")
America is clearly the good guy in this conflict.

Good guys don't torture.

America, therefore, doesn't torture.

Amnesty international must be full of crap if they accuse America of torture.

I think that covers it.

Meanwhile over at This Modern World, Tom Tomorrow continues to belittle the blogs (as is his wont). And Greg Saunders has a clue as to what the Bush Administration hopes to accomplish with their assault on Amnesty International.
. . . it's clear what's going on here. The Bushies are focusing in on a single word and are going to hit back at Amnesty International until they say something even vaguely conciliatory. At that point, they'll declare victory.
That kind of fits the pattern, when you think about it.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Superman - Hero or Zero?

Lots more evidence here.

Deep Throat

As you may know, Deep Throat turns out to have been W. Mark Felt. This information was revealed yesterday. Once again, we at Make Me a Commentator!!! live up to our commitment to bring you yesterday's news! This dates back to our founder, old Silas Tecumsah Commentator!!! who made a pretty penny selling yesterday's papers to the simple rustic folk of Richardsville.

Anyway enough obscure levity. The New York Times has an editorial on the revelation of deep throats identity.
Although serious students of the scandal that toppled the Nixon administration always considered Mr. Felt a prime candidate, it was more fun - although deeply unrealistic - to imagine that the mysterious figure who kept stepping out from behind the shadows to feed information to the reporter Bob Woodward was a famous face like Alexander Haig or Henry Kissinger. You don't read a mystery to find out that the answer to the central riddle is the guy who had a walk-on part on Page 143.
And that's pretty much how I feel about it too. Still it's nice to know. I guess.

The Compromise Went down to the United Nations

Linda Chavez is shocked (shocked!) to discover that the Compromise over filibustering judicial nominees does not seem to apply to non-judicial nominees (or, presumably legislation). That's not even the fine print, but apparently she missed the part about it being about judicial nominations.
But the spirit of the compromise was to render the filibuster the exception, not the rule, in dealing with Bush nominees. And even if all Democrats were not bound by it, the signatories certainly had some obligation to abide by its spirit. Yet, by week's end, only three of the seven Democrats who signed onto the compromise were willing to invoke cloture on the Bolton nomination, which would have allowed the nominee to be confirmed or rejected by the full Senate.
She's complaining about Democrats violating the spirit of the compromise, when the day the compromise was reached, Bill Frist wasn't sure he would support it.

To this observer, it sounds like Linda Chavez thought the Compromise meant that Republicans in Congress should get whatever they want. Which wouldn't make it much of a compromise.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

How We Got Here

Townhall has an interesting article by Bruce Bartlett up today. In it he traces how the switch to Direct Election of Senators lead directly to the current climate in which parties are tied up with ideologies. This is largely the story of the transition of Southern Conservatives from the Democratic party to the Republican Party, which he covers well enough, from a conservative perspective. You can't really expect a conservative to cover the racism that infused Southern Conservatism in much of the 1900s.

He ends with these worrisome paragraphs.
As a consequence, ideology and partisanship have become merged together in the 21st century in a way that was not the case in the 20th. Liberals mostly were liberals first and Democrats second, and conservatives were conservatives first and Republicans second. Now, it is much harder to maintain those distinctions. There is tremendous pressure on ideologues of both parties to be partisans first and support the party, even if it means compromising their principles.

This, I believe, is at the root of the current impasse. Purely partisan fights have been suffused with ideological fervor, thus making deals impossible for now.
I don't know if impossible is the right word, but certainly deals are more difficult to come by than they have been in the past.

The Tee Shirt People

Just downloaded this pic off of Townhall.

I mean she's a pretty girl and all, but she kind of looks like she would drain your soul and take it back to Nabascar, The Dark Lord of Brightly Colored Fabrics.

Also for those interested, my latest piece is up over at the Practical Press.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Rush Limbaugh and the Performing Arts

Salon has an interesting story over on Rush Limbaugh and his coverage of a recent play put on at Harvard. The play is about Abu Ghraib, and Rush Limbaugh characterized it as anti American and nearly treasonous. The story is penned by one of the performers, who used to listen to Rush Limbaugh with her Dad, a long time fan. He's not a fan any more, apparently.

Anyway it's a good article, talking a bit about what Abu Ghraib means.
And to respond to the tragedy, we must first recognize the stories of the victims and perpetrators, some of which are told in the play. We must accept that state-sponsored abuse can happen to anyone, anywhere, not just to prisoners in Iraq.
The one flaw in the article is that they have to pretend to be non-partisan when it is extraodinarily clear that they are pretty partisan. That doesn't mean the message they are sharing isn't true, because it is.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

New Format, New Quote!

And a new quotes page.