Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one.

-C.S. Lewis

Sunday, July 31, 2005


  1. Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon

  2. Cracklin' Rosie

  3. Sweet Caroline

  4. Kentucky Woman

  5. I'm A Believer

Who To Blame?

As a follow up to his verbal ass-licking of President Bush, I want to ask Mr. Hinderaker a few questions (not that he will hear them, seeing as Bush's butt cheeks are clamped down over his ears). I know you believe that every ice-cream cone that doesn't drip is the result of the sage pronouncements of our president. But if it comes to nuclear war between Israel and Iran, who will take ownership of that?

Developments beneficial to the U.S., like the welcome disarming of Libya and the inspirational elections in Lebanon, seem to you to occur solely because of Bush's wisdom. What about the ugly developments? Do those not count? How about Iraq's overthrow directly emboldening Iran's military ambition? Do you actually think that only good and happy things are the result of George Bush's "brushstrokes" (don't get too excited now) whereas any bad and frowny things must be due to the "evil" in others? Do you realize how ridiculous that line of reasoning is?

If, as you suggest, Bush's policy is responsible for Ukraine, Lebanon, and Libya, which it may very well be, do I have your permission to blame him utterly if there's a nuclear war with Iran?

I think that the context of Hind-rocket's fawning was over the alternate climate treaty Bush recently proposed. I'm not sure he realizes how low he's setting the bar for our President. Putting aside for a moment what total horseshit Bush's proposal is, a smart move would have been to have rejected Kyoto and IMMEDIATELY come back with a counterproposal. Bumbling around for five years ignoring an issue is not good diplomacy, it's not smart politics, and it's certainly not genius. But I realize it must be tough for John to see the big picture when all he sees when he opens his eyes are huge close-ups of in-grown ass hairs.

No Link, Just Laughs

"It must be very strange to be President Bush. A man of extraordinary vision and brilliance approaching to genius, he can't get anyone to notice. He is like a great painter or musician who is ahead of his time, and who unveils one masterpiece after another to a reception that, when not bored, is hostile."

- John Hinderaker, Powerline

The Left Inert? I Think Not.

Here's a quote from a recent post on the Daily Dish.

That goes for politics more generally, I think. With liberalism so intellectually inert, all the most interesting discussions and debates are within conservatism itself.
Now I don't begrudge Andrew for saying this, as he is still a conservative and I would expect us all to believe that it's within our own side where the truly important discussions are taking place. But I can't see how anyone could say that the left is completely inert. After all, Guaranteed Healthcare For All Americans is a pretty big idea, no? Energy Independence? Am I missing something here?

Woman Demands Written Apology For Indecent Exposure Ticket

You go girl. You better believe you deserve an apology.

"This isn't right. Women shouldn't be harassed for breast-feeding their children," Dorian Ryan said.

Colorado lawmakers agree. A law passed last year gives women the right to breast feed anywhere she's allowed to be in public.

Ryan, 43, was ticketed for indecent exposure July 14 when she breast fed her son at the Carter Lake swim beach in Larimer County. She was shielded from view by two umbrellas and a towel.
The guy who gave her the ticket sounds like he was kind of a newbie. I'm thinking he just figured, "see boob, write ticket." OK, so maybe he hadn't read up on the latest laws. We all make mistakes, so I don't have anything against this guy in particular.

But how do you change a culture when it seems to default to a situation contrary to your rights? You make a huge flipping stink about it and make the guy get down on his knees and apologize so he'll remember never to do it again. And he tells that story to his cop friends and they all have a laugh and then his friends never do it again either.

Sunday Random 12

  1. The Beautiful Ones (Prince and the Revolution, Purple Rain)

  2. Drive My Car (The Beatles, Rubber Soul)

  3. Whatsername (Green Day, American Idiot)

  4. Perfect Circle (R.E.M., Murmur)

  5. Evil (Interpol, Antics)

  6. Funky Boss (The Beastie Boys, Check Your Head)

  7. I Know (The Beta Band, The Three E.P.'s)

  8. Da Art Of Storytellin' (Part 1) (OutKast, Aquemini)

  9. Don't Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder) (The Beach Boys, Pet Sounds)

  10. Doctor Robert (The Beatles, Revolver)

  11. In The Jungle (The Vines, Highly Evolved)

  12. We Don't Care (Kanye West, The College Dropout)

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Happy Birthday Medicare!

On this date in 1965, President Johnson (who actually had a substantial mandate for sweeping change) signed Medicare and Medicaid into law. My great hope is that life truly does begin at 40 for these two public healthcare programs. Thanks to the Democratic vision of a cooperative and strong America, the poor and the elderly in our country have had some access to the abundance of our healthcare resources. Taking this philosophy to the next level may not be easy, but it is simple. We are Democrats and we want guaranteed healthcare for all Americans.

America, this is your future!

Bummer Week for BSA

Man alive. It's been a pretty bad week for the Boy Scouts.

What's the over/under on how long it takes Rick Santorum to declare that a "culture of unpreparedness" has left Scouting at the center of a storm of tragedy?

I'm sure the Senator would agree that maybe a few acts of God will come down on the BSA for being just "generally" evil, but at least the blame can't be laid on Boston-style libertinism. After all, the Boy Scouts have banned gays. What virtue! And since their HQ in Irving, Texas is so far away from the hub of liberal sin that is Boston, Mass., I guess while the odd punitive lightning strike is understandable, it definitely isn't a place where you'd expect anyone to be repeatedly molested by their leaders. Wait...

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Olympics. Chicago. 2016.

Hell yeah. Chicago is the boss city of the United States and it's about time for the world to recognize.


This looks like a really good movie.

What Terrorists Are Afraid Of

We hear a lot of stupid crap from Bush and the his cronies about how the more violence we see, the better the fight against terror is going. "Things are blowing up, see, cuz the terra-ists are scared." Wrong answer, George.

Here is what scared terrorists actually look like. Not while blowing things up, of course. That, it hardly needs to be said, is when they are at their "not-scarediest." Rather, it's getting their political arm to plead with the government not to send an ambassador to Iraq.

The Secretary-General of the party, Hamza Mansour, said, "Maintaining the life of any citizen should be the priority of the government concerns. Our demand is derived from maintaining the safety of the Jordanian embassy personnel and its employees in Baghdad, in addition to the safety of any Jordanian citizens residing in Iraq."

The memorandum drew attention to, "the very hard conditions", which Iraq is witnessing, and what it considered as 'the absence of the national authority, which is trusted by the Iraqi people and expresses their interests, which makes many people targets for snipers, kidnapping and assault.
Riiiiiiight. I guess that TLC he seems to wanna break off for every last Jordanian doesn't quite cover the ones he outfits with a dynamite doublet. More like he realizes the only thing that can save Iraq at this point is if other Arab countries recognize the government.

The idea that the U.S.A. is going to "establish" "democracy" in "Iraq" is patently ludicrous. Especially since we can't even seem to get the lights turned on over there. However, if the surrounding Arab nations ever get it into their heads that they're going to, in the words of Michael Stipe, "put [their] heads together, and start a new country up," then we may really have something.

Of course, what terrorists mainly oppose is secular order of any kind. Some people still think war will stop them, but those people are wrong. War is a-o-k just fine with terrorists. It's fun, actually, because it's anti-order. And it convinces them that they're right. Terrorists aren't going to be too scared of doing something they basically enjoy. But when it comes the prospect of establishing secular institutions like embassies, they're, like, against it. So when it starts happening, they get scared. They start thinking that they might be wrong. After all, there's really very little you can do to an idea if all you have is a bomb.

A Bitter Anniversary

91 years ago today, Austria visited Serbia via telegram with a declaration of war, marking the beginning of what would become known as The Great War. Not until more than 31,000,000 people had been killed or wounded did Europe rest. And even then...

Sadly, a gentler time it was not.

Pope Pines For Purer Past

You'd think a smart guy like Pope Benedict XVI wouldn't succumb to spouting tired, fantastical "good 'ol days" crap. But then you'd be wrong of course.

He says the Church is "dying." Exactly how so, Benny? Pining for the time when we were all so faithful that we burned people alive? Or marched off to kill Muslims? Or made Jews wear yellow hats? Now every history, no matter what of, is going to have its warts, but the idea that we're slowly slipping into sin and evil is just pure nonsense. People have always been exactly as sick and depraved as they are right this second.

Even more shockingly dumb is this:

Benedict he said the "joy" at the growing numbers of churchmen in the developing world is accompanied by "a certain bitterness" because some would-be priests were only looking for a better life.

"Becoming a priest, they become almost like a head of a tribe, they are naturally privileged and have another type of life," he said. "So the wheat and the chaff go together in this beautiful growth of vocations.
What a compelling grip of the obvious this pontiff has. I suppose this little theory of his wouldn't explain all those Irish priests who were ordained while the Emerald Isle basically starved in the late 1800's/early 1900's. Because, you know, things were so much better back then.

Monday, July 25, 2005


  1. The Louvre (Paris)

  2. The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City)

  3. The Hermitage (St. Petersburg)*

  4. The Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago)

  5. The National Gallery (Washington, D.C.)


Sunday, July 24, 2005

Dan Savage Blogs!

I don't think it's possible for a human being to be more psyched than I am right now. You better believe that the inimitable Dan Savage will be taking over for Andrew Sullivan while he's on vacation.



Sunday Random 12

  1. The Queen Is Dead - Take Me Back To Dear Old Blighty (Medley) (The Smiths, The Queen Is Dead)

  2. Auf Asche (Franz Ferdinand, Franz Ferdinand)

  3. Haiti (The Arcade Fire, Funeral)

  4. In The Car (Barenaked Ladies, Stunt)

  5. Square One (Coldplay, X & Y)

  6. Side Of The Road (Beck, Sea Change)

  7. Keep On Runnin' (Cat Power, You Are Free)

  8. Singin' The Blues (Marty Robbins)

  9. Ego Tripping At The Gates Of Hell (The Flaming Lips, Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots)

  10. Paranoid Android (Radiohead, OK Computer)

  11. Hello City (Barnaked Ladies, Gordon)

  12. So. Central Rain (R.E.M, Reckoning)

Sen. Pat Roberts, Waterboy

Just a great post from ex-CIA Larry Johnson over at TPM Cafe, reprinted here in toto:

I guess Senator Pat Roberts believes that if he repeats a lie long enough it eventually becomes true. While it is one thing for a political bag carrier like Ken Mehlman to be woefully ignorant about CIA practices and procedures, it is downright alarming that Senator Roberts can be so misinformed. Today, while appearing on CNN's Late Edition, Roberts repeated the specious claim that Valerie Plame could not be undercover because she went to work everyday at CIA Headquarters.

Folks, there is no excuse for this level of incompetence. There are thousands of undercover CIA employees who drive through the three gates at CIA Headquarters in McLean, Virginia everyday. And this Senator from Kansas who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee has the audacity to blame CIA for intelligence failures? How can he recognize failures when he does not even understand the very simple basics about people who work undercover at CIA. He should spend more time reading up on the CIA and less time memorizing Ken Mehlman talking points.
Pat Roberts is either fantastically stupid or a shameless liar. Take your pick.

Random Searches Ineffective

I agree with Lindsay here. Random searches just aren't an effective method of controlling terrorism. Has there ever been a single instance where a random search has uncovered explosive devices on a suspect's person? Plus, if you're a terrorist, don't you just blow yourself up when it becomes clear that a search is inevitable?

Seems like we could be using our resources more wisely. Hmmm, where have I heard that before...

Friday, July 22, 2005

Mugabe Slams Slums, U.N Slams Mugabe

Not sure what good it'll do, but the U.N.'s report on Mugabe's slum clearing venture is pretty scathing. Maybe this'll help ameliorate the situation. Probably not, though.

Of course, bulldozing slums is exactly the opposite of what a leader should do when faced with large, poor, basically DIY communities. Instead of leveling the neighborhood, he should be determining precisely what informal arrangements have been made between residents regarding ownership and tenancy. Once discovered, the informal agreements should be formalized with legal recognition, the stamp of government's approval.

I guess this just shows us one more reason it's nicer to be rich. If you build yourself a house that's uglier than sin, chances are the government won't drive a backhoe through your kitchen while you're in the middle of breakfast. But a poor person builds a house out of corrugated aluminum and forgets to install plumbing, he's pretty much rolling the dice.

By the way, if it seems like I am brazenly ripping off my ideas from Hernando de Soto's "The Mystery Of Capital", it's because I am.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Algerian Diplomat Abducted

Insurgents have now abducted an Algerian diplomat. As I've written before, one can only hope that this will compel the Arab world to draw a distinction between those fighting for their interests and those simply opposed to secular order of any kind.

Kill TV News

I'd like to issue a challenge for my lefty blogger brethren: no TV news for a month. Nothing. Nada. Rien. Who's with me? It might seem difficult at first, but I don't see why this wouldn't be the easiest thing in the world. After all, we're liberals! When we don't like something, we boycott it. Why have we taken the complete opposite approach with TV news, watching it almost religiously, hoping to harvest the latest media scandal from Wolf Blitzer, Tweety, Joe Scarborough, Brit Hume, and on and on and on and on? Just stop watching! If it feels good after a month, try another month. Then try forever!

The truth is we don't need to watch TV news. We don't need them, they need us. We get virtually nothing from them, while they get precisely what they want from us. They get ratings, ad dollars, prestige, legitamacy and we get...mad. Just stop watching. The audiences for those cable news broadcasts aren't very big. The 500,000 of us (man, that's a lot) who log on to DailyKos every single day would make an enormous impact on ratings if we stopped watching altogether. Let's hit them where it hurts.

We don't need to watch speeches - we can read the transcript the next day. We don't need to watch the Sunday morning shows - if anyone says anything slightly interesting/controversial, it'll get reported. What about the context, you ask? Screw the context. Elections are won and lost out of context. It might do us some good to quit arguing that what Joe and Jane Sixpack heard at the watercooler is wrong because they didn't hear the context. And we certainly, absolutely, positively never have to watch CNN, Fox News, MSNBC ever again, for any reason whatsoever. We can get our news from newspapers, blogs, radio and Internet newswires. The non-stop speculation and "loaded questioning" that goes on during 23 out of 24 hours on the major cable news networks is utterly worthless tripe that isn't worth a minute of our time.

There is not one reason someone could come up with to keep watching television news that is not ultimately subordinate to the benifits of bringing those bastards to their knees via a good old fashioned boycott. Media Matters is handling the watchdog thing just fine. The rest of us really don't need to add to the problem by tuning in. Let's put Ann Coulter out of work. Stop watching TV news.

Crossposted at DailyKos.

Pakistan Condemns Violence

News that Pakistan has called for a jihad against extremism seems encouraging.

After a blitz of detentions of suspected militants and Islamists, Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf called for a holy war against preachers of hate and announced steps to curb militant Islamic schools and groups.

Musharraf spoke on Thursday in a televised address to the nation, which was awaited with keen anticipation both at home and in Britain after revelations of Pakistani links to the July 7 bomb attacks on London that killed at least 56 people.

"I urge you, my nation, to stand up and wage a jihad (holy war) against extremism and to stand up against those who spread hatred and chaos in the society," Musharraf said.
Seriously, I wish that they could just condemn somthing without always calling for "holy" war. After all, isn't it that kind of thinking that gets us into this mess in the first place? I suppose they have to describe things in ways that make sense to their people. Or maybe something is lost in translation?

Anyway, it seems a positive development. Maybe other Muslim nations will follow suit. I wonder which Arab nation will be the first to make such a declaration.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Ex-CIA Officials Set the Record Straight

From the archives of the unstoppable Josh Marshall, here is an open letter to Congress from eleven ex-intelligence officers responding to ignorant statements about the nature of intelligence work currently being circulated in the media. As an example of such statements, we have this gem from one of the bright lights of right-wing intellectual circles, Michael Medved, speaking on Larry King Live on July 12, 2005:

"And let's be honest about this. Mrs. Plame, Mrs. Wilson, had a desk job at Langley. She went back and forth every single day."
It is shocking that an intelligence community expert like Medved would display such a simplistic view of the nature of undercover work. After all, he's written reviews of such genre faves as Spy Kids and Spies Like Us. Armed with such knowledge, you'd think he'd give our Non-Official Cover agents a bit more credit.

Whatever. Let's get right to the point, shall we? Shorter letter: RNC talking points are complete BS.

Thought Nugget

There is no way to peace, peace is the way.

- Mohandas Gandhi


  1. Rose

  2. Orchid

  3. Columbine*

  4. Sunflower

  5. Cyclamen


Eric Rudolph and Silence

I don't say that prominent Muslims clerics shouldn't denounce the violent element in their midst, but where are the prominent Christian leaders' remonstrations of Eric Rudolph? Aren't these the same leaders who wonder aloud, "where's the outrage" over Islamist terrorist acts? Well I wonder then, where indeed is the outrage? It couldn't be because they actually agree with Eric Rudolph, could it? That they're so taken with their cause that they're willing to overlook the means by which it is achieved?

To my mind, the most instructive thing one can do if one seeks to "understand" the origins of terrorism and how it operates within a society is to look at the Christian fundamentalists of our own country and how they have responded to an act of terror that, from a certain point of view, could be seen as furthering their goals. They have, of course, elected not to respond at all. Not every pro-life group has been so reluctant to to call Eric Rudolph an unqualified killer, but unfortunately, these voices are difficult to hear above the deafening silence of their leaders. There has been no statment by James Dobson condemning the act of hatred, no howls of disagreement when Eric Rudolph says "force is justified," no Pat Robertson asking us to pray for an end to the use of violence. Their refusal to speak out gives the stamp of approval to all the wannabe Eric Rudolphs who make up hateful fringe of America. Even though La Shawn Barber is right to point out that Eric Rudolph is hardly a Christian, the fact of Rudolph's actual personal beliefs are irrelevant here. The real issue at hand is that others, whose misguided view of Christianity compels them to violence, might see the relative silence from the Christian leadership as the green light for future activity. Being a hero, being a martyr, doing the task that others might wish but not dare do, even at the price of your life or freedom, carries a strong appeal.

Fundamentalism, as another word for orthodoxy, breeds violence. Once orthodoxy to a certain worldview is considered the ideal, it doesn't take very long to make such orthodoxy mandatory. And since the human race is not comprised of robots, some will naturally reject such a worldview and seek out an alternate path. The fate of these guys is usually to be killed by those who would have them conform. This is probably the single dominant theme of human history. Of course, in places like America, our government system is pluralistic enough and liberal enough to prevent any single group from consolidating power so much as to be able to pull this off. In fact, as you may know, the 1st amendment specifically addresses this issue and wisely makes it illegal. In Christian Europe 500 years ago, orthodoxy was the law. If you were a heretic, you were burned alive. Killing non-believers isn't unique to a particular moment in history and it certainly isn't unique to any certain religion. It is, however, in every case, unique to the institutionalization of orthodoxy.

In many countries today where the dominant religion is Islam, the fundamentalists have achieved their goal of temporal power. The terrorists in those countries are empowered by a ruling class who refuse to condemn violence, instead pointing out the terrorists' "understandable" goals and decrying the injustice that "forced" them to violence. This is hardly a call for change in tactics and exactly the kind of thing that emboldens a new generation of terrorists. There will always be, in every society, violent haters. The trick is to make sure that those who advocate violence as a cure for non-orthodoxy never feel empowered to act.

I'm sure that Christian fundamentalists who seek to order our country on "Biblical" terms don't intend for their efforts to end in violence and death, but history tells us that is how it would end if successful. This is not to downplay the disgusting acts of Islamist terrorists. I don't even imply that Christianist terrorism is even close to the level of Islamist terrorism. But do I think that Christians are more immune to whatever lures a person into terror than Muslims? Absolutely not. I would argue that the terrorism we see from the two religions is roughly proportional to the amount of temporal power each religion's fundamentalists currently enjoy. As such, Islam has a lot, Christianity practically none. The roots of terror are not planted by the foreign policy of another country, but by the tacit approval of otherwise well-intended people whose view of faith has become so warped as to believe the ends justify the means.

Anti-American Texas

Thinking that entire high-school gyms full of kids might spontaneously turn gay upon hearing them, the Texas state government just barred boys from singing high notes in the glee club. This is just what we needed. It's about time that government stepped in and stopped these guys from singing like sissies.

Boys cannot audition for soprano or alto roles in that state's All-State Choir. Girls cannot audition for tenor or bass. No matter where their talents lie.

As a result, 17-year-old Mikhael Rawls, who already has won awards for his countertenor — the male parallel to soprano — can't try out in the part where he excels.
Seriously, what could possibly have been the rationale behind this decision? That Jesus had a low voice? The Apostolic barber shop quartet song book had no treble clef? Other than infringe on a young man's pursuit of happiness, I'm not sure what this ruling does. Well, other than do its darndest to show Texas as a place unworthy of being called part of our great Union. What's next? Demanding that medical school textbooks show that men have one less rib than women? The anti-American, anti-freedom Christianist lunatics are not a fringe group anymore. They are completely in charge of the GOP.

By the way, if you would, please forgive me for assuming that the Texas Music Educators Association is comprised mainly of Republicans. I'm pretty confident to roll the dice on this one.

Via the relentless Amanda at Pandagon.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Hizbollah in Lebanon

I'd like to know how Power Line would answer this question: Is the elected government in Lebanon a manifestation of a rising tide of freedom or a victory for terrorists?

Hizbollah, the Shia Muslim militant group long regarded as a terrorist organisation by Washington, won a direct foothold in Lebanon's government for the first time last night.
I do not presume to know the answer to this question myself, but I would imagine that claiming Lebanon's status as evidence of freedom's being "on the march" would not be contingent on the results of legitimate elections. Nevertheless, Hizbollah has won some key posts and certainly an increase in political influence. I would not even begin to argue that Hizbollah is not a terrorist group, but my question remains.

Actually, I really would like if someone reasonable tried to answer this for me. As far as the guys at Power Line are concerned, I just wanted to see smoke come out of their ears.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Mark Steyn Attempts Jedi Mind Tricks

OK. Hold on just a minute here. First it was the CIA not taking WMDs seriously enough, then, when there were no WMDs, it was "but, but, but...the CIA told us they were there." So now we're back to the CIA being the sissy dove?

But in the real world there's only one scandal in this whole wretched business -- that the CIA, as part of its institutional obstruction of the administration, set up a pathetic ''fact-finding mission'' that would be considered a joke by any serious intelligence agency and compounded it by sending, at the behest of his wife, a shrill politically motivated poseur who, for the sake of 15 minutes' celebrity on the cable gabfest circuit, misled the nation about what he found.
I really do recommend this column. It's got everything. The old "these aren't the droids you're looking for" technique, the "he's just looking for attention" routine, the random swipe at Wilson's wife's political affiliation, a rehash of WaPo's retracted misprint of Iraq when they meant Iran (what's the over/under on how long "I want to believe" right-wingers continue to make this error, 30? 35 years?), another circle-through-a-square attempt to claim that no wrongdoing was committed, a bit of up-is-down-ism: "exposing secret agents actually saves lives, see?" Even an overabundance of "air-quotes" (yes, I realize I'm one to talk, but it's still fun to imagine Mark Steyn making the quotes with his fingers).

These guys are ridiculous. It was a crime. It was Rove. Deal with it.

Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Hell)

This item is a few months old, but I saw it on Ezra Klein and figured it could use another go around. You know, just so Google wil have some fresh links. Rep. Sam Johnson of Texas seems to have a predilection for discussing his homicidal fantasies from time to time, or, as he refers to them, homicidal jokes. Well, not sure about you, but as Rep. Johnson was making funny (if you consider the bodies of women and children being vaporized by a blast wave funny), I was vomiting in my mouth.

Speaking at a veterans’ celebration at Suncreek United Methodist Church in Allen, Texas, on Feb. 19, [2005,] Johnson told the crowd that he explained his theory to President Bush and Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas) on the porch of the White House one night. Johnson said he told the president that night, “Syria is the problem. Syria is where those weapons of mass destruction are, in my view. You know, I can fly an F-15, put two nukes on ‘em and I’ll make one pass. We won’t have to worry about Syria anymore.”

The crowd roared with applause.
In case anyone is wondering why we Democrats consider mainstream Republicans to be violence-obsessed, bloodthirsty warmongers, consider this exhibit A. It's not that Democrats become outraged by this kind of venom because we are by nature dovish, we aren't. It's just that we are not by nature homicidal maniacs. This, however, does seem to be the current mob mentality of our wild-eyed, final-solution nostalgic conservative brethren. If my analysis should seem too extreme, perhaps you can offer an alternate explanation for the feral roar that followed the elimininationist bile spewing from the fetid incubus that is Sam Johnson.

Now, lest my conservative readers become offended, whom I mean by this are not your classic Goldwater types, but the James Dobson end-times lunatics who think the "sword of His mouth" is an actual sword. "But this is just a fringe group," you say. Fringe it may be, my friends, but alas, this fringe has both hands on the steering wheel. These are the guys that you've voted into office. This is, in living color, your modern-day, moral-socialist, bring-on-the-apocalypse GOP.

As I like to say: our fringe makes movies, your fringe makes laws. God save us all.


  1. Kind of Blue, Miles Davis

  2. A Love Supreme, John Coltrane

  3. Take Five, The Dave Brubeck Quartet

  4. The Savoy and Dial Studio Sessions, Charlie Parker

  5. Giant Steps, John Coltrane

Bush and "The Facts"

George Bush, in an article in the International Herald-Tribune.

"If someone committed a crime, they will no longer work in my administration," Bush said in response to a question, after declaring, "I don't know all the facts; I want to know all the facts."

Just ask, George. Just ask.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

French Anti-Terror Policy

Maybe this is a good idea and maybe it isn't, but I'm getting really tired of all the simpletons out there who have set France up as this terror-coddling straw country. For one thing, there is absolutely no truth to that assertion. For another, it is a complete waste of time and energy. Why get so mad at France? Really, what's the point?

Sunday Random 12

  1. You May Know Him (Cat Power, Moon Pix)

  2. Space Invader (Pretenders, Pretenders)

  3. Heroes And Villains (Brian Wilson, Smile)

  4. Wind Down (Bedhead, What Fun Life Was)

  5. Pitseleh (Elliott Smith, XO)

  6. Hell Yes (Beck, Guero)

  7. It's Gonna Go Away (Korn, Issues)

  8. Say Hello 2 Heaven (Temple Of The Dog, Temple Of The Dog)

  9. Stormy Weather (The Pixies, Bossanova)

  10. Message In A Bottle (Police, Regatta De Blanc)

  11. Good Morning Good Morning (The Beatles, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band)

  12. Outtathaway (The Vines, Highly Evolved)

Media Matters vs. AIM

After hearing yet another "liberal media" comment on the TV the other day, I took a quick look at what are arguably the two most prominent media watchdog organizations, on the right and Media Matters for America on the left. The two sites could not be more different. One has actual close readings of newspaper articles and radio and TV transcripts, and the other has a predictable line-up of talking points. Click on the links and see for yourself. You may certainly argue that the talking points are all true and the media debunking is just partisan cherry picking, but the simple fact is that one of these websites is interested in analyzing media outputs whereas the other website, quite frankly, isn't.

Rafael Palmeiro: Former Cub

Congrats to Rafael Palmeiro on smacking his 3,000th hit. I think it's fair to take a pot shot here at Jim Frey, Cubs General Manager from 1987 to 1991, who, after trading Raffy to the Rangers for an igloo cooler and some pine tar, said that Palmeiro would "never hit for power." Seeing as Palmeiro now ranks 7th all-time in extra-base hits I'm tempted to ask Jim whether he wants his crow boiled or fried. Just another stupid stupid stupid Cubs trade.

Help Wanted: Arabic Translators

Here is a very sad, chilling and ultimately infuriating post on
The Counterterrorism Blog
. It details how a shortage of Arabic translators contributed directly to terrorists' ability to communicate with each other. The post spotlights the case in 1993 of "14 letters that were exchanged between the convicted World Trade Center bombers and a Spanish terror cell." Some of these letters even made it into the OpEd sections of Arabic newapapers.

Now this was back in 1993 and obviously Clinton was in charge, so please no stupid comments saying, "But Clinton..." I think we forget sometimes how insulated we all felt prior to September 2001. You can argue that Bush's policies have been an overall good response or an overall bad response, but the truth is that after the towers fell, the existence of terrorism stopped being a guy whose name we'd heard once or twice and instead barged right into our living room, sat down and cracked open a beer. So if 9/11 "changed everything" then you'd think that policies like these would warrant a closer look, especially in light of the fact that missives written in Arabic have eluded us in the past.

Nine Army linguists, including six trained to speak Arabic, have been dismissed from the military because they are gay.

The soldiers' dismissals come at a time when the military is facing a critical shortage of translators and interpreters for the war on terrorism.
The above link is from 2002, but just as we have no reason to believe that all preventable communication between terror cells has ceased, there's nothing to indicate that gay translators wouldn't be just as readily subject to discharge today as they were back in 2002. Regardless, the issue of terrorism was in stark relief in 2002, and it is telling that even then the Bush administration valued politics over effective policy.

To be fair, DADT (Don't Ask, Don't Tell) discharges are down since 9/11, but it seems this is more a function of Commanding Officers' individual decisionmaking rather than a manifestation of new policy. Indeed,
...the Army issued a memo to all its commanders urging them to do everything possible to reduce the number of discharges among this younger group of soldiers. The memo also altered the protocol for discharges of soldiers who have abused drugs and alcohol, failed a physical fitness test or demonstrated unsatisfactory performance. The memo indicated this change was also a way to make it harder for discharges to occur.

The memo did not change the way DADT violations are prosecuted.
It's unfortunate that we seem to have lowered the bar in just about every dischargable category except the one that has no impact on one's ability to serve.

The Counterterrorism Blog link via Instapundit.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Gays and the Priesthood

Via Andrew Sullivan, the National Catholic Reporter says that Pope Benedict XVI may soon make a decision regarding the ordination of gays.

Sources indicate that the long-awaited Vatican document on the admission of homosexuals to seminaries is now in the hands of Pope Benedict XVI. The document, which has been condensed from earlier versions, reasserts the response given by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in 2002, in response to a dubium submitted by a bishop on whether a homosexual could be ordained: "A homosexual person, or one with a homosexual tendency, is not fit to receive the sacrament of Holy Orders."

That reply was published in the November-December 2002 issue of Notitiae, the official publication of the congregation.

It is up to Benedict XVI to decide whether to issue the new document as it stands, to send it back for revision, or to shelve it on the basis that for now such a document is "inopportune."
As a bishop is quoted saying later in the article, you'd think that there'd be no problem with gay men receiving the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Since homosexuality is not in itself a sinful state, and seeing as the the priesthood requires celibacy, the "problem" sort of solves itself. But I'm not holding out too much hope that ol' Ratzy makes the right call on this one. After all, even though the Church is backtracking a bit here, this is the same guy who thinks that the popularity of Harry Potter books is just another manifestation of the insidious creep of il diablo.

John Gibson = Pond Scum

Lest we forget what a loathesome simpleton John Gibson is:

I say give Karl Rove a medal, even if Bush has to fire him. Why? Because Valerie Plame should have been outed by somebody. And if nobody else had the cojones to do it, I'm glad Rove did — if he did do it, and he still says he didn't.
Yes, by all means out Valerie Plame, destroy the cover of the front company she "worked" for, undermine all of her work in the service of the United States of America, endanger the lives of all of her colleagues, and what's more, do all of this right in the middle of the War on Terror. What contemptible slime.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Sun-Times Watch

Front page items about Karl Rove’s involvement in an act of treason against the United States of America:

7/11/05 – none
7/12/05 – none
7/13/05 – none
7/14/05 – none
7/15/05 – none

Front page items that have nothing to do with Karl Rove (I think):

7/11/05 – I forget
7/12/05 – Judge Judy for Supreme Court, Lincoln Park Zoo, Bob and Jakob Dylan, city corruption, triple homicide
7/13/05 – Mike Ditka arguing smoking ban, home field for White Sox, London bombings, stem cell research, Michael Sneed, Richard Roeper
7/14/05 – Harry Potter, city corruption (hired trucks), Segway riders, London bombers, Sneed on Hillary, Marshall Field’s
7/15/05 – Fugitive apprehended, London bombers, Chief Justice Rehnquist, Willie Wonka, charity bracelet drive


  1. Descartes

  2. Lagrange

  3. Laplace

  4. Cauchy

  5. Fermat

Interview With Egyptian Foreign Minister

Check out this interview with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul-Gheit regarding Egypt's diplomatic intentions in Iraq following the murder of Ambassador Ehab El-Sherif.

...when it comes to diplomacy, I believe the best way to avenge Ehab El-Sherif's murder is for Egypt to stay the course with its mission in Iraq -- because that was the mission El-Sherif aimed to serve when he went to Baghdad in the first place. Egyptian diplomacy's regional and international role will not be undermined by such heinous acts, and Egypt will not be terrorised. As for other measures to be duly decided by the state, Egypt is perfectly capable of avenging the killing of its diplomats overseas, whether in Iraq or Islamabad. Our goal is not revenge: I want to stress this point. We want to right the wrong that has been done.
Sounds like he's tiptoeing on the razor's edge between defending his nation's interests and distancing himself from any possibility of Egyptian military action in a fellow Arab nation. I guess he's just doing what he has to do. Meanwhile, pardon me if I'm doubtful that Egypt will come through anytime soon with a replacement ambassador.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

No Apologies

I've got a favor to ask of Democrats. Stop asking for apologies. Stop asking for people to "come clean." Stop asking for people to be fired. For God's sake just stop. Why? Because to ask for these things is beyond pointless. The only way a politician is going to comply with any of the above requests is if it's in his or her political advantage to do so. Well, except if you're Dick Durbin, but no matter. Sure it's tempting to put your adversary on the spot and it's certainly inviting to try to paint someone into a political corner, but these tactics DO NOT WORK. All these questions do is put the focus back on your adversary. But isn't that what we want? NO!!! We want the focus to be on us! We want the air to be flooded to overflowing with OUR talking points. We want the media to record OUR every utterance. We want to define our adversary down. We want the public perception of our adversaries to come out of OUR MOUTHS, not theirs.

When the Democras make their apology requests it sets them up to look weak. Everytime you "demand" something, there's a implicit "or else" contained in that demand. So they ask for the damn apology, or else, and of course they don't get it. And implicit in refusing to apologize when asked is a big, fat "whatcha gonna do about it?" The answer to that question, of course, is nothing, so the Democrats come off looking like a bunch of fools. But the worst part about demanding ridiculous verbal justice is that it implies that after the requested apology is received, everything's going to be A-O-K. No. Let me tell you what would be A-O-K. Voting these jerks out of office would be A-O-K. They can take their apologies and the guys I want them to fire and all the clear air in the world and blow them out their asses for all I care. Meantime, I'm gonna get on TV and tell everyone how corrupt, venal, petty, and dangerous these GOP types are. And when they say that I'm not being fair, I'll say it again, only this time through a megaphone.

But ask for an apology, and what happens? The discussion stops, the mics turn off, and the collective consciousness of the media turns away to listen. For what, you ask? To whom? To our adversaries of course! For that damned apology that YOU asked for. They're waiting to hear if the man YOU asked to be fired will indeed be fired. They're listening in the hopes that someone "clears the air." And now, idiots, the spin can begin. "Well I won't apologize because...(media leans in closer to hear)...I've done nothing wrong." Why would anyone yield the floor to someone and allow them a chance to defend themselves? Why do we give these people room to breathe, time to prepare a statement, a chance to regroup and get their story straight? Why?!?!?! Yet we do it all the time. Sometimes I think it's all we ever do.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Ditka A Smokin' Debater!

Chicago, my beautiful hometown, is deciding whether or not to ban smoking inside of bars and restaurants, among other places. Good thing local expert Mike Ditka was kind enough to share his disinterested opinion.

"Don't impose the will of the few on the lives of the many," said Ditka, who drew a strong reaction from the audience when he used an expletive to describe the proposed smoking ban.

Ditka's testimony stretched more than 30 minutes during a nearly 3-hour session, the first in a series of public hearings to discuss the latest anti-smoking moves that could result in some of the toughest prohibitions in the nation.
Harkening back to his days on the high-school debate team, Ditka relied on the principles of formal logic when he found himself forced to speak extemporaneously without the benefit of proof, corroborating information or anything resembling evidence to support his point.
"If you take this revenue away from restaurants, you are going to lose a lot of jobs," Ditka said.
Meanwhile, back in the real world, let's see how New York made out with their smoking ban.
Andrew Hyland, an associate professor at the University of Buffalo's Roswell Park Cancer Institute, said studies of New York's ban on smoking in restaurants and bars, first imposed in 1995, showed that 22,000 more employees now work in restaurants in that city, an 18 percent increase. He said his research was geared primarily toward the true economic impact of a smoking ban.

"Data from multiple, objective sources all indicate that the law worked--the air got cleaner, people supported it, and it was not bad for the hospitality economy[.]"
Blow it out your ass, Coach.

France Tough On Terror

Via The Counterterrorism Blog, yet more evidence that Jon Gibson is a complete idiot.

More broadly, President Jacques Chirac instructed French intelligence agencies just days after 9/11 to share terrorism data with their U.S. counterparts “as if they were your own service.” This cooperation is working: former acting CIA director John E. McLaughlin calls this bilateral intelligence tie “one of the best in the world.” The British may have a “special relationship” with Washington in Iraq, but the French have one in the war on terror.

France accords terrorist suspects fewer rights than any other Western state, permitting interrogation without a lawyer, lengthy pre-trial incarcerations, and evidence acquired under dubious circumstances. Were he a terrorism suspect, says Evan Kohlmann, author of Al-Qaida’s Jihad in Europe, he “would least like to be held under” the French system.
I'm not a Francophile or anything, but it is pretty simple-minded to assume that France is hailing cabs for terrorists to take through the Chunnell.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


  • Verdun - Feb., 1916

  • Gallipoli Landings - Apr., 1915

  • Jutland - May, 1916

  • First Ypres (Christmas Truce) - Dec., 1914

  • Second Marne - Jul., 1918

Fundamentalism and Hatred

Wow. Not sure how to react to this. Maybe it's dismissive to call this guy crazy, but his worldview is so far out of whack with what is acceptable in a civilized and pluralistic society that what else can I call it? I guess I don't have to call it anything, but I do have to reject it utterly. Now I don't think Iraq was the answer to the problem of foreign terror and it certainly didn't merit the tremendous amount of resources we've thrown at it. But does our being there "cause" such behavior? Listening to this guy talk, I can't see how anything other than a lifetime of listening to poisonous hatred from his religious leaders could have produced such a violent, anti-social man.

"I don't feel your pain," he said. "I have to admit I don't have any sympathy for you. I can't feel for you because I think you're a nonbeliever."
I hate to invoke Godwin's Law here, but saying that our actions "caused" this man and those like him to commit their nihilistic acts is roughly analogous to saying that the Treaty of Versailles "caused" Hitler to build the Nazi war machine and kill millions of "unworthies." Yes, every event is driven by its historical context, and maybe you could even make the argument that if France hadn't pushed for such harsh measures to be levied on Germany, World War II wouldn't have happened. But whither the hatred inside of a young ambitious Hitler? Men like this are not driven to anger and bile. Rather, their anger seeks out a driver.


  1. Ren & Stimpy

  2. The Simpsons

  3. The Bullwinkle Show

  4. Beavis and Butthead

  5. Batman: The Animated Series

Monday, July 11, 2005

Sunday Random 12

Few days late. Big deal.

  1. Only Superstition (Coldplay, Brothers & Sisters)

  2. Wake Me Up When September Ends (Green Day, American Idiot)

  3. The Other Side Of Town (Curtis Mayfield, Curtis)

  4. Soft And Sleep (The Sea And Cake, Nassau)

  5. Runaway (Linkin Park, Hybrid Theory)

  6. Remember Me (Willie Nelson, Red Headed Stranger)

  7. The Song Is Over (The Who, Who's Next)

  8. Cross Bones Style (Cat Power, Moon Pix)

  9. Fame Throwa (Pavement, Slanted And Enchanted)

  10. Suffer (Smashing Pumpkins, Gish)

  11. E-Bow (Sigur Ros, ())

  12. It's Gonna Be A Beautiful Night (Prince, Sign O' The Times)

Karl Rove: Good Samaritan

Check out the headline for the Karl Rove story in today's Chicago Sun-Times. Sort of misses the point doesn't it?

"Internet Is The New Printing Press" Take 57

There is a Harry Potter fan site so exhaustive that J.K. Rowling herself consults it to "keep her plot lines and characters' idiosyncrasies on track."

The Internet: repository of information or meta-source? Perhaps it can be both.

Curry Cures Cancer

As if I needed any other reason to devour large quantities of Indian food.

Curcumin, the ingredient that gives curry its yellow hue, blocked the growth of melanoma tumor cells and even stimulated their death in the laboratory, researchers report.

"We could completely inhibit the growth of the tumor if we used a big enough dose," said study co-author Bharat B. Aggarwal, chief of the Cytokine Research Section in the Department of Experimental Therapeutics at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. His report is set to appear in the Aug. 15 issue of Cancer.
To me, this is like finding out that reading baseball boxscores boosts your immune system.

Karl Rove

I’d like my pals on the right, who are cooking up reasons to justify Rove faster than shit through a goose, to take the Michael Moore test. If Mr. Moore had revealed the identity of a covert operative, whether she was on active assignment or not, whether he gave the name explicitly or just laid out for a reporter the means to find out, whether he even intended to reveal her identity or not, would you advocate that Moore merely be incarcerated for life, or would you go so far as to call for the death penalty as the traditional punishment for treason? Just as I correctly predicted that conservatives, sensing the guilty stench of their man, would try to downplay a crime the severity of which is simply un-down-playable, let me go so far as to guarantee that you would have heard the words “death penalty” and “Michael Moore” in the same sentence on the state-run Fox News Channel within a week. I suppose that squares with the slap on the wrist that they’re hoping their buddy Karl “The Season for Treason” Rove gets. So very principled, the right.

Personally, I think orange is Karl Rove’s color. He’s really more of an autumn than a spring. And I hear that leg irons are this fall’s must-have accessory. Here’s hoping that today is the Labor Day to Rove’s summer of sleaze. You can wear orange after Labor Day, can’t you? Guilty or not, though, the more time Rove has to spend defending himself, the more time Bush is out on his own. Seeing as nearly every solo press appearance Bush has scheduled has been an unmitigated failure, we all know how that goes. I can hardly wait.

P.S. Welcome Ezra Klein, Kevin Drum and New Patriot readers. I'm pretty new to blogging so being linked to, even through the comments, is still quite a thrill. Stay a while if you're so inclined. Hopefully there's something here for everybody to enjoy.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Ignoring Crystal Meth

A lot of what you hear from the "just say no" anti-drug crusaders (right after they finish a stiff drink) just isn't true. Their exaggerations of the dangers of marijauna serve more to reinforce their own preconceptions about the role of substances than to educate anyone about the real differences between use and abuse. They'd even tell you that these differences don't exist. Of course, they forget that caffeine, an extremely addictive drug, and one that is lethal in high doses, is used by millions of people every day, indeed specifically for its effects on the body. They also overlook the fact that there is certainly a distinction between the positive social effects of a couple glasses of wine and the destructive effects of alcohol abuse. They might not even consider alcohol to be a drug, even though withdrawal from dependence is both excruciatingly difficult and potentially deadly.

Crystal meth, however, is a different story entirely. This drug is the real deal. It is every bit as bad as they say it is and probably worse. This study by the National Association of Counties reports that 60 percent of counties sees Crystal Meth as the top drug problem. So what is the Bush administration's response? Deny there's a problem and cut funding for prevention, treatment of addicts, and enforcement of existing laws.

The cuts were justified by Administration officials as a reflection of their effectiveness.

Horton, who works for Burns, defended the administration's proposal to cut $804 million from local drug enforcement grants in the 2006 federal budget, saying the programs the grants support have failed to prove their effectiveness.

"The administration has to make sure the money goes where it can be more effective, that it is performing," he said.
Fair enough. I guess that philosophy explains this wise use of resources.
Baird said the administration continues to pump billions of dollars into eradication of coca plants in South America while efforts to control international trade in the precursor drugs used to manufacture methamphetamine get short shrift.

It'd be nice to have a coherent drug policy in this country.

Evolution Not Mysterious Enough For Catholic Church

The Catholic Church is now reasserting itself in the "debate" over evolution. Cardinal Schönborn, "God's sheepdog," I suppose, wrote a Op-Ed in the New York Times last Thursday about misunderstandings of the official Catholic position on evolution. He says:

Evolution in the sense of common ancestry might be true, but evolution in the neo-Darwinian sense - an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection - is not. Any system of thought that denies or seeks to explain away the overwhelming evidence for design in biology is ideology, not science.

What? So if I don't say, "Praise the Lord," after I leap off a stoop I am somehow espousing an un-Catholic view of gravity? Now, God's plan to keep me from floating off into space was clearly one of his more elegant ideas, but what of it? Does one's studying the curvature of time and space and its effects on bodies seek to "explain away" the hand of God? What does that ridiculous phrase "explain away" even mean? Is he accusing science of attempting a coup on God by the gradual accumulation of evidence against him? As if such "evidence" can even exist! I'm very disappointed in Schönborn. What he's saying strikes me as a fairly juvenile desire for "miracles" as "proof" of God's existence. Evolution gets too scientific for him, I guess. Schönborn must be one of those guys whose faith depends on unexplained gaps in our human knowledge where God jumps in and waves his magic wand. Can't we just agree that God created the whole darn thing? The stuff, the system, and the science? Unfortunately, it's not that easy for some. They can say to themselves that science is just an inquiry into what exactly God did, but if such research does not turn up a satisfactory repository of "miracles" and "scientists still cannot explain..." then they get discouraged and retreat into willful ignorance.

Schönborn quoted a 2004 document of the International Theological Commission, of which the now Pope Benedict XVI was the head.
...including those of a neo-Darwinian provenance which explicitly deny to divine providence any truly causal role in the development of life in the universe.
I don't understand this sentiment at all. Does the commission envision a day where scientists will stop exploring our world? Would he rather that scientists throw their hands in the air and say "God did it! Guess we can hang up our bunsen burners." What on earth does he mean by "truly" causal? Is Benedict waiting for the science that "proves" that God did it? Science concerns itself with observable phenomena (or phenomena whose effects can be observed). I thought the existence of God had to be taken on faith, that part of our very faithfulness is the inherent impossibility of ever epirically confirming our belief. So why do they expect such proof from biology? But being unable to ever have proof, means that it can't ever be diproved either. So you can rest easy, fellas!! And if it's not proof they're after, we're back to my original question: should biologists just end all of their research papers with "brought to you by Jesus Christ?"

Schönborn then turns to the Catechism to back him up.
Naturally, the authoritative Catechism of the Catholic Church agrees: "Human intelligence is surely already capable of finding a response to the question of origins. The existence of God the Creator can be known with certainty through his works, by the light of human reason." It adds: "We believe that God created the world according to his wisdom. It is not the product of any necessity whatever, nor of blind fate or chance."
All this quibbling over whether God guided, nudged, coaxed the evolutionary process or wound the watch and turned a cold shoulder to its clickings and whirrings is a redux of the old, self-parodic "how many angels on the head of a pin" question. So we must reject randomness completely and chalk the whole process of evolution to love taps from our Creator? What does a "nudge" from God even look like? How could one even claim to know it when one saw it? Is probability theory the baby that goes out with the bathwater then? What if God wanted it that way? After all, he invented probability, too, didn't he? It's all too silly. Complaining that the theory of evolution does not give enough "credit" to God completely misunderstands both science and religion, as well as shortchanges and second-guesses the wisdom one of God's most elegant creations. In sum: so after scientists figure out how it works (at least as it is observable to humans), you're going to tell God he could have done it better?

Within a universe the totality of which was created by God, saying that "God guided the process" is both redundant and simple-minded. What we see when we open our eyes is God's world, no more and no less. The more we see of its complexity and simplicity, the more God's glory is revealed. The response to what we learn from looking at God's world is to open our eyes even wider, not to close them.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

The IOC Sucks

Now that the IOC has responded to the unprecedented groundswell calling for the removal of baseball and softball from the 2012 Olympics, I hope that the networks will spend more time covering the completely ridiculous events of Team Handball, Synchonized Swimming, and Rhythmic Gymnastics.

Both sports (baseball and softball) are also considered by many to lack global appeal -- saddling some host cities with expensive facilities they will have little use for once the Olympics are over.
Well, good thing for the globally appealing Olympic Handball teams that they could probably play their games in a burned out warehouse.

Ribbon! Ball! Hoop! Bowling pins! Pathetic.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Give 'Em The Rushdie Treatment

Andrew Sullivan points to a particularly valid question posed by Charles Moore in the Telegraph.

Remember how hard many of the Muslim clergy went after Salman Rushdie? It'd be nice if they went after al-Qaida like that. I'd never heard Rushdie's experience mentioned (in this context) before now. Odd, because it seems the most natural benchmark for how a truly effective (not to mention sincere) intra-Muslim condemnation of terror would look.

Egypt Caving?

From the headline, it seems that Egypt is pulling out of Iraq. This quote seems to point in the same direction:

Saad Mohammed Ridha, head of Iraq's diplomatic mission in Cairo, said Egypt's Foreign Ministry told him late yesterday that the Egyptian mission in Baghdad will close temporarily and the staff is being recalled.

"We are very sorry about this decision," Ridha said. "We are as sad as they are. It (al-Sherif's killing) was a horrible act."

I'm going to wait a bit to decide what Egypt plans on doing here. This article has a little more detail.

Cairo is an ally of the US and Iraqi governments.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has said his government will not be deterred from supporting Iraq.


Egypt's foreign minister said the reduction of the diplomatic staff would take place because of the "given current circumstances and for a set period of time".

"The Egyptian flag will remain, the buildings will remain and the embassy too," Mr Aboul Gheit said.

I wonder if this is a double appeasement. Cater to al-Qaida by backing down, while stringing along the US by flying the flag and keeping the embassy "open." With no staff, who raises and lowers the flag? I wonder how long before that flag is in tatters. I'm going to file this one under "wait and see."

Hat Tip: upyernoz

Thursday, July 07, 2005

First Reactions

Professional asshole Brit Hume of the state-run Fox News propaganda network had a slightly different reaction to this morning's London bombing than the rest of us. Instead of lamenting the loss of life, he wanted to call his broker! Hey Brit, I've got an idea! Let's sell a whole buttload of futures short and then go bomb a subway in a major city! We'd make lots of money for sure! "And in other news, is George Soros a traitor for making his fortune on the declining dollar? More on The Big Story with Jon Gibson."

HUME: Well, maybe. The other thing is, of course, people have -- you know, the market was down. It was down yesterday, and you know, you may have had some bargain-hunting going on. I mean, my first thought when I heard -- just on a personal basis, when I heard there had been this attack and I saw the futures this morning, which were really in the tank, I thought, "Hmmm, time to buy." Others may have thought that as well. But you never know about the markets. But obviously, if the markets had behaved badly, that would obviously add to people's sense of alarm about it. But there has been a lot of reassurance coming, particularly in the way that -- partly in the way the Brits handled all this, but also in the way that officials here handled it. There seems to be no great fear that something like that is going to happen here, although there's no indication that we here had any advance warning.

Via Atrios, via Media Matters.

Abducted Egyptian Ambassador Killed

They killed him. I dare say Egypt's response will be indicative of the immediate future of the War of Terror. If Egypt responds by sending another ambassador accompanied by a large troop of bodyguards, this will bode well for US interests in Iraq and the Mid East. If Egypt caves, look out.

If It's Too Good To Be True...

Found this in the ol' inbox today:

Dear Friend,

I have a profiling amount in an excess of US$450M, which I
seek your partnership in accommodating for me. You will be
rewarded with 40% of the total sum for your partnership. Can
you be my partner on this?

I am Ms.KIMAEVA LIOUDMILA, a personal secretary to Mikhail
Khodorkovsky the richest man in Russia and owner of the
following companies: Chairman CEO: YUKOS OIL (Russian Most
Largest Oil Company) Chairman CEO: Menatep SBP Bank (A well
reputable financial institution with its branches all
over the world)

The documents of the above funds in question was handed
over to me to be used in payment of an American oil
merchant for his last oil deal with my boss Mikhail
Khodorkovsky. Already the funds have been deposited with
A TRESURY SERVICES PLC UK ,where the final crediting is
expected to be carried out. While I was on the process, My
Boss got arrested for his involvement on politics in
financing the leading and opposing political parties (the
Union of Right Forces, led by Boris Nemtsov, and Yabloko, a
liberal/social democratic party led by Gregor Yavlinsky)
which poses treat to President Vladimir Putin second tenure
as Russian president. You can catch more of the story on

All I need from you is to stand as the beneficiary of the
above quoted sum and I will arrange for the documentation
which will enable A TRESURY SERVICES PLC UK transfer the
sum to you. I have decided to use this sum to relocate to
American continent and never to be connected to any of
Mikhail Khodorkovsky conglomerates. The transaction has to
be concluded in 2 weeks before Mikhail Khodorkovsky is out
on bail.

As soon as I get your willingness to comply through my most
private email address [] I will
give you more details.
Thank you very much


Just one question: should I invite KIMAEVE to gmail?

No Lance Armstrong

This has got to be the fourth or fifth time since he's been president that Bush has fallen off his bicycle. Who the heck falls off of bikes? We need to get George a new hobby.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005


  • The Starboard WOW!

  • Pour-Me-Gin Booze Lines

  • Bilge a Bridge

  • Spoonin’ N’ Harpoonin’

  • Floater

Cab Drivers and Cell Phones

Do cab drivers have some ultra-cheap cell phone plan that no one else knows about? Those dudes are on the phone ALL THE TIME. Are they running a multi-national corporation from the driver's seat? Are they live-broadcasting their big city experiences back home to their native country? How is their phone bill not $800 per month? It really doesn't make a shred of sense how they can do it, but they do. And not just talking, people are calling too. They hang up and within 10 seconds their phone is ringing again. I remember a long cab ride I took and the driver got four separate calls. That was an extreme case, but I'm telling you that this happens all the time. Who could these people possibly be? It is truly one the great unsolved urban mysteries.

Meth Is The Problem

To claim that marijuana is a bigger problem in this country than crystal meth is an outright joke. Heck, alcohol is a bigger problem than marijuana. Political inertia at its finest. Nobody’s ever heard of crystal meth, so go after the big marijuana bogeyman with a resolutely clenched jaw and millions of suburbanites will nod their little heads in approval. Morons. This type of willful ignorance from the authorities just infuriates me.

P.S. This is yet another issue that the Dems could jump on to reach out to rural voters. I won't hold my breath.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

No Thank You

I'm all for constructive action on environmental issues, but the idea that the US is even slightly obligated to approve a particular course of action as a "thank you" for another state's commitment to Iraq is laughable.

"I really don't view our relationship as one of quid pro quo," Bush said. "Tony Blair made decisions on what he thought was best for keeping the peace and winning the war on terror, as I did."
Bush is absolutely right. This is to say nothing of the wisdom of the Kyoto Protocol or a like accord (or whether I agreed with Bush's tactics on the WoT, for that matter). I really don't know enough about it to give an opinion. The idea that we owe to the world some creativity on environmental issues as the earth's sole superpower and top polluter can be debated on its merits. But whatever obligation we may or may not have is certainly not as a result of any favor done for us.

I'm sure that if there is any fallout from this, it will be due to diplomatic heavy-handedness, rather than our actions in and of themselves. I consider diplomacy to be doing exactly what you want, while convincing your friends that it was their idea. Bush is pretty good at the first part, not so much on the second.

Watershed Moment in Iraq?

Like I posted before, this is a development that is sure to help the US in Iraq.

Insurgents mounted attacks against Arab and Muslim diplomats in Iraq on Tuesday, wounding Bahrain's top envoy in a kidnapping attempt. Pakistan's ambassador also escaped an assault on his convoy.

The attacks came three days after gunmen seized Egypt's top envoy to Iraq as he was buying a newspaper in the capital, appearing to signal an insurgent campaign to discourage Islamic countries from bolstering ties with the U.S.-backed Iraqi government.

Bad move, insurgency.

Ribbon Magnets

I fail to understand the contempt from some of my fellow liberals directed toward the magnetic Support-The-Troops decals as well as those who put them on their cars. What possible reason, other than to alienate Joe and Jane Sixpack, could they have for doing this? The magnets are totally innocuous, completely well-intended, and utterly unworthy of any wasted breath. They are what they are: an expression of support for the sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform. Do some people affix them to their Hummer, belching fossil fuels, in a blatant attempt to out-patriotic Bob across the street? Of course. Does this describe the majority of people who have put them on their cars? Let me hazard to guess that it’s not even close. Let’s make sure we keep that broad brush on the palette until we really need it, ok? This is exactly the kind of thing that makes the Sixpack family say, “you know, those Republicans seem to be totally inept at following up on any of their campaign promises, but maybe they have a point when they call those liberals anti-American.” And really, if we’re going to get this worked up over bumper decals (BUMPER DECALS!?!?!), what else could they call it?

American Taliban

This is one of the best posts I've seen in awhile. Lifted wholesale from Kos at DailyKos.

Funny how the wingers try to claim American liberals are in league with crazy fundamentalist Muslims.

Reality is, we hate everything Islamic fundamentalism stands for. On the other hand, the Dobson's of the Republican Party -- you know, the people running the show -- have far more in common with the enemy than they'd ever like to admit.

Religion in government

Al Qaida/Taliban: One and the same
American Taliban: One and the same
Liberals: Separation of church and state


Al Qaida/Taliban: Religious indoctrination. Run by clergy.
American Taliban: School prayer. Religious indoctrination (creationism and "intelligent design"). Private religious school system.
Liberals: Leave religious teachings to parents and sunday school.


Al Qaida/Taliban: No school, must cover entire body, no rights
American Taliban: Government control over reproductive freedoms, hostility to Title IX, hostility to working women
Liberals: Equality of the sexes

Religious freedom

Al Qaida/Taliban: 'Think like us, or we'll whiip you and/or chop off your head'
American Taliban: 'Think like us, or we'll condemn you to hell'
Liberals: To each her own


Al Qaida/Taliban: Eradicate them from society
American Taliban: Eradicate them from society
Liberals: Equality under the law

Yes moral equivalency is silly here, because James Dobson doesn't (yet anyway) publicly call for the beheading of his enemies. But, in light of all that history has taught us about the depraved capabilities of mankind, to think that American fundamentalists are somehow exempt from advocating violence to achieve their goals is a tad naive. We liberals are the custodians of the American dream. We must keep a watchful eye indeed if we intend to preserve it for our children.

Monday, July 04, 2005

I Hate Fireworks

Is that un-American of me? I'm content to read the Declaration of Independence and marvel at its beauty, economy, and courage.

Chicago sounds like one giant Jiffy Pop pan tonight. The darn things keep waking the 12 sided baby.

Karl Rove's Blow-Job

My opinion on Karl Rove is pretty straightforward. The man represents the very worst impulses of a representative republic. But at least the man's no mystery. You know what you're going to get. You'd think that by knowing their enemy so well the Dems would enjoy at least a modest edge, but for them to actually leverage an advantage would really be too much to hope for.

However, even though Rove himself nauseates me, how I feel about how to proceed in the Plame case is very simple. Indictment, trial, verdict, judgment. If he is found guilty of blowing the cover of a CIA covert operative, then he deserves the appropriate penalty for that crime. I don't think that anyone could argue that this is not a reasonable approach. He stands accused of having violated some very sacred written and unwritten laws. I can rant and rave in my blog about the unwritten stuff, but I realize that only the written stuff actually carries any weight. So let's whip out those scales of justice and see just exactly how much it weighs. Either Rove is guilty and he goes to jail, or he's not guilty and he goes on being the same wretched incubus that he is today.

But I know for a fact how this is going to come down. All the ex-felon (voting?) Fox News types, like Oliver North and G. Gordon Liddy, will start to rationalize that the crime itself wasn't really that bad. I'm sorry, but let me say this again: either Rove is guilty of an extremely serious crime or he is not. There is not an option C here where Rove can be guilty of "just a harmless prank." After all, compromising the ability of the intelligence service to act in the interests of the US in order to score a political victory is an incredibly serious charge. A bit more serious, I would say, than a blowjob, which is certainly not illegal, at least outside of Texas. Personally, I would like to know what those to my right feel is an appropriate punishment for such an offense. That's the exposing of the CIA agent, fellas, not the blowjob.

"But it's not the act itself, it's the lying," they used to say. Great. Great. Well in this case, I fully expect both.

Omaha World-Herald Wishes John Doe The Best Of Luck

Even though Atrios already linked to this, I'm going to do the same to help the push to nationalize this story. It's sort of like pissing in the Mississippi, but what the hell (totally OT, but while I'm at it, someone give me the Mississippi state flag and I'll piss on that, too).

Bottom line, the Omaha World-Herald ought to be ashamed of themselves for knowingly endangering the life of man who is acting on his conscience. They ought to run a retraction and an apology.

Let the right-wing rationalization-a-thon begin!!!

Egyptian Diplomat Abducted

If violent insurgent groups want to truly Arabicize (not to be confused with aerobicize) the conflict in Iraq, this would seem to be a pretty sure-fire way to do it:

Ihab el-Sherif was snatched by gunmen from a Baghdad street on Saturday days after Iraq indicated he was soon to become the first Arab diplomat with the rank of ambassador since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

I can't imagine that a sovereign power, no matter what its true sympathies, takes too kindly to having its diplomats abducted. More diplomats will be sure to follow. Next time, I wonder if they'll be escorted by a more heavily armed cadre of soldiers. There's probably a very fine line between guarding one's diplomats and active engagement in an anti-insurgency campaign. If the insurgents forsake the tacit support of neighboring countries via a tactically ill-advised strategy of kidnapping foreign ministers, they may find themselves cut off completely. For U.S. interests, that would be a welcome backlash indeed.

Diplomats say Sherif may have been kidnapped by insurgents to send a message to Arab countries not to strengthen ties with the U.S.-backed government in Baghdad.

Washington is hoping to counter the Sunni Arab insurgency in part by winning legitimacy for Baghdad's government in the wider Arab world, where virtually all governments are led by Sunnis. It hopes recalcitrant Sunni groups within Iraq will also join the political process.

Diplomacy must play a central role in resolving the conflict in Iraq. Getting as many Arab foreign ministers as possible into Iraq is an excellent first step. Getting them kidnapped by insurgents may be an unfortunate, but effective, second step. Not to say that the U.S. would facilitate violence towards diplomats, just an acknowledgement that the personal risk that a foreign minister endures is probably directly proportional to a shift in allegiance by the Arab country that sent him.

Sunday, July 03, 2005


  • Break On Through (To The Other Side)

  • Riders On The Storm

  • The End

  • Love Me Two Times

  • L.A. Woman

Jim Morrison R.I.P.
December 8, 1943 - July 3, 1971


  • West Side Story

  • Singin' In The Rain

  • The Sound Of Music

  • Rent

  • Oklahoma!


48 winners in a straight set championship victory? Yeah, I'd say Roger Federer looked pretty good out there. Andy's got more personality, and I was kind of rooting for him (it'd be nice to have an good old fashioned back and forth rivalry), but Federer is in a place where you just have to sit back and admire the brilliance of one of the all-time greats.

Federer was completely in control for the entire match. Roddick's approaches were weak, and it looked like he got stuck at the net every time he went for it. And Federer's passes were absolutely devestating. I would like to have seen Roddick at the top of his game as well, because I don't think he played at his peak, but I'm not sure that anyone could have beaten Federer today.

Random Sunday

A capital idea from fellow Liberal Coalescer Michael at Musing's Musing: the Random 10. Put your iPod on Shuffle Songs, record to your blog the first 10 songs that come up (no cheating!) and reveal the inner workings of your soul in the process. Of course, mine will be the random 12. Track (Artist, Album). Voila.

  1. Out-Side (The Beta Band, Zeroes to Heroes)

  2. You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go (Bob Dylan, Blood On The Tracks)

  3. Hot Topic (Le Tigre, Le Tigre)

  4. The Gloaming. (Softly Open Our Mouths In The Cold.) (Radiohead, Hail To The Thief)

  5. Kamera (Wilco, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot)

  6. And Your Bird Can Sing (The Beatles, Revolver)

  7. Heroin (The Velvet Underground And Nico, The Velvet Underground)

  8. Details On How To Get ICEMAN On Your License Plate (Don Caballero, American Don)

  9. Ain't That Love (Ray Charles, The Best Of Ray Charles - The Atlantic Years)

  10. Midnight Cowboy (Faith No More, Angel Dust)

  11. Pimpf (Depeche Mode, Music For The Masses)

  12. London's Burning (The Clash, The Clash)

Friday, July 01, 2005

Supreme Court Vacancy

Well one thing's for sure: Harry Reid looks like a genius. After having put out the names of four GOP Senators as acceptable nominees for Supreme Court Justice, he cut the legs out from any GOP attack that the Dems would simply block anybody. I think Reid threw the names out there just within the last week so it's still fresh on everyone's brain (or mine at least). The upcoming nomination battle(s?) is one that I think the Dems can "win," at least in terms of getting a moderate to the bench. They'll just have to play their cards right. Senator Reid has already raised before the flop. This is going to be great.

This blog is based on a true story.